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And Words Are All I Have

Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.
I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person.
Or he became me. Or we met at some point.

~~ Cary Grant

Falcons, Grid-Girl, and Lexophiles.


The peregrine falcon reaches speeds of 200 miles per hour on its dizzying downward dive toward prey. I find that unfathomable. (A third eyelid clears their eyes of debris on the way down.) They mate for life yet are quite solitary. The female flies upside down below the male to receive prey he drops to her from his mouth.

This poem I wrote during a stay in Ireland explores my enchantment with them.

While Visiting a School of Falconry in Ireland.

Large birds of prey are quite malodorous
close up like this;
Bits of still-warm sinew and flesh wedged
deeply inside their fearsome hooked talons,
lodged within the recesses
of their dense coats.

The lesson is in progress.
Responding to the familiar whistle
the peregrine falcon appears suddenly
from the treetops,
looming, wings spread, four feet across,
incongruous in its grace as it sweeps downward by rote
toward accustomed rewards,

slowing the beat of its wings on approach,
the frenetic wap wap, wap, becoming the subdued
whoo, whoo, whoo,
its outsized, yellow plasticine-like feet
coming to rest on the student’s arm,
producing always the same look of sudden terror,
then simple astonishment,
as the raptor’s full weight, its other-worldliness,
settles, entirely,
on to the receiver’s outstretched, leather-clad arm.

Their large, liquid, alien eyes,
their bobbing heads,
are never still.
They hit our marks because it suits them.
Story goes there was one that
scooped up a Yorkshire terrier
off the high street once.

Peregrinus, meaning to wander.
They cannot,
they will not,
be known.

Going Off the Grid.

I was asked the other day if I had ever considered “going off the grid.”

I am still laughing. Granted, it’s a hysterical laugh because the mere thought of moving off the grid leaves me shaken to my stilletoes. I am a peron who defines camping as anything below the 10th floor of the Four Seasons.

The person asking me this is what the current culture would term a survivor – ie. a warrior in the out of doors, Who needs pesky running water, I can start a fire inside a sleeping bag in a rainstorm kind of a person. And indeed she has been completely off the grid for longer than I have been wearing nail tips.

Propane factors heavily in her life as do multiple layers of clothing in winter and hypothermia. I told her that not only had I never considered going off the grid but that I may even be considered married to the grid in some cultures. I know it’s a close call as to which I value more, my husband’s fidelity or an indoor toilet. Just don’t make me choose.

She said there were two types of people and when she said this I knew it wasn’t going to be flattering to me. Don’t ask how I knew that: I just did. She said the first type could be dropped off naked in the forest and feel comfortable. The other type, well, the other type wouldn’t. Feel comfortable, I mean.

I told her that I didn’t even feel comfortable naked in my own shower at home, but I don’t think she believed me. People never do.

She said we have too many possessions and that we are plastic people. Yes, of course we have too many possessions. Blah, blah. Just hands off my itemized, alphabetized shoe closet.

She said I had to be prepared to do without, that the time is coming when we’ll all be forced to live by our wits and eat berries and wash our hair with lichen.

I asked her what lichen was, if Pantene made a decent one, and what about people like me who are allergic. Then I assured her that if we go apocalyptic, she’d be the first person I’d call.

woman solitary
Lexophilia (def.):
A form of addiction describing those who are obsessively enamored of words, especially those set in a new framework, such as "You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish,” or “When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.”

One who exhibits this syndrome is known as a "lexophile."

A competition to see who can come up with the best of these is held every year in an undisclosed location. Here are but a few of the noteworthy submissions.

.. When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

.. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

.. The batteries were given out free of charge.

.. A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

.. A will is a dead giveaway.

And my favourite, when a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

Try one yourself and send them to me. Warning: they appear (deceptively) easy.

Snowboarding would be fun if it wasn't for the snow. And the board.

If the Moon Happened Once

If the moon happened once,
it wouldn’t matter much,
would it?
One evening’s ticket
punched with a
round or a crescent.
You could like it
or not like it,
as you chose.
It couldn’t alter
every time it rose;
it couldn’t do those
things with scarves
it does.

~~- Kay Ryan

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you:
I am here to live out loud.

~~ Émile Zola
pencil drawing red heart
I am here, listening. Share your own stories with me, gentle reader.
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