Observations, Recent and Uncatalogued


I was struck by the rightness of a Morandi still life, leading me to believe (again) I could paint something similar, or should try in any case.  Are my old oils still any good?  Am I better with either color or depth?


“There’s a dead branch out there,” she said, pointing out the window.

“You dissembler,” he said, raising a knee and tapping it with the opposite hand.  Then raising the other knee, tapping it with the other hand.  “These are my new calisthenics,” he said.

“There is a dead branch hanging off the tree out front,” she intoned.

“You demagogue.”

She pounds him with her eyes.

“If it were dead it would be on the ground,” he said, tapping a knee, then another.  “That branch is not on the ground.  It is still breathing.”

“Then I want you to kill it.”


I am repeatedly interested in experiencing an earthquake, something perceptible.  I am on edge for it, anticipatory and, I must admit, craven and naive.


Fourteen minutes pass.  I fire up my phone again, this time in order to look up “phlebitis”.  I have two dictionaries I treasure, one my father’s.  But neither is in this room.  What is the meaning of “dislocated”?  What of “obsessed”?


‘Chili powder’ are not going to be the last two words of this story.  Chili powder.  But, see, it doesn’t end there.  Don’t read ahead—I’ll trick you.  Stop it, I’ll sneeze.  There is a little basket with 12 different jars of spices, several different brands, but all the same model jar.  They are packed in side-by-side, anonymous, nothing atop them to indicate what they are.  I pull them out one by one.  I’m cooking, I’m hot, the stove is going.  This is a symphony, “Tchaikovsky Eats His Heart Out in Red Square.”  Who needs tarragon?  And celery seed is only needed once a year, at Halloween, for making a big ole Bloody Mary.  Is it soup season yet?  Drinks, everyone, and places.


A piece of ice on the kitchen floor, at Teasdale.

Chili powder.

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