books and brunch in boston

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I have bruises on my body, but spring in my soul, following this warm weekend up north with my favorite human.  M and I brunched and browsed all over Boston, and the sun stayed with us far longer than we’d even hoped.  From Brighton to Brookline to Chinatown, Beacon Hill, Cambridge and back again, we made our way through boro(ugh)s and backstreets until our tired, unscented brains* could explore no more.  We visited some of our very favorites, including Tatte and The Middle Gray, where I scribbled this little ditty into my journal, which I’m going to call Ode to An Arepa…

black and white

and grey all over

where beginning 

meets end and

trains transcend

tea-stained flowers

bloom and bend

sriracha-soaked arepas

poison sinuses

our bodies defend

fight the careful blend

my dearest friend

you challenge my senses

so I guess the contents

in your favorite hot sauce trend.

 

*Have you ever googled “What does a human brain smell like?”  Not recommended.

whirlwind

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in a whirl of tulle

and white lights

and lace

rosin’d pointes rock away

sticky grid lock

in their place12370988_10102539865236501_2810790328239385870_o

parties move on

from Silberhaus to 

my own

a growing tree stacks its dust

where festive bulbs

once shone

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flower petals brown

in dark skips where

they lie

whispering of stale sweets

and waltzes 

gone by

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gauzy ghosts of dancers

now wisp in 

their place

flooding the empty theater

with a harrowed

hallow grace

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final bits of chalky snow

flake away and off

the stage

a calendar completely cracked

it must be time to turn

the page…

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creepy poetry by a sleepy me, photos of FBP dancers by the talented Jacob Hoover.

for more from Mr. Hoover and his ultra cool camera, head on over here.

apollon musagéte

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history, mythology
symbolism wrapped in white
the Youth of Zeus, both god and muse
wheeling in circles toward the light
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artistic divinity, physical symmetry
curator of beauty, movement and word
collector of gesture, youth under pressure
born fresh to a body fore matured

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flexed hands, open hips
collect more space in less time
mice that flinch and toes a-ginch
3 muses scatter a musical rhyme
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Mr. B’s revolving mirrors
simple steps with precise execution
chariots, chains, clocks and trains
final apotheosis: elevated resolution.
– from the mind of Kirsten, channeling Calliope
Apollo choreography by George Balanchine thanks to the George Balanchine Trust©
photos by Melissa Wong.

the tragedy of tsarevna

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a fire red bird and a golden tree
history performs deja vu anew,
this distant, muffled memory
enchanted princesses peek a weeping eye
crowns peaking like St. Peter’s imperiled imperial
Visilisa Tsarevna’s palace lies in the dark heart of Katchei
Ivan’s affections, bold curiosity exposed
a circle dance, a faithful pledge, a hoard of monsters
the way forbidden love always goes
villainous capture, seized by surprise
a magic feather’s protection
one powerful bird brings eternal sunrise
a brave fight for a subtle paradox
freedom to wed, reign, remain
a sparkly little princess, locked up in a box.

life in motion

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Recently, my days have been a bit freer than I’d like them.

Our first program is beautiful, but small, and my roles rather brief.  Though productive to a fault and never one to complain about free time (hello, homework!), I’ve been fighting to keep this light rehearsal schedule from affecting me emotionally.  I don’t like to admit it, but my relatively dance-less days have been getting me down.

Fortunately, as if sent by the gods of interweb revelations, this blog post made its way to my browser in the peak of last week’s pity party.  One  paragraph and a few sips of chamomile later, something remarkable had happened; Through the shared struggle of someone a thousand miles away, my spirits were lifted.  I felt a strong connection to a dancer whom I’ve never actually met (thanks for that, technology) and the emotional slump we were experiencing together, but apart, suddenly seemed a whole lot more manageable.  Mahallia’s grace, in both words and dancing, reminded me just how strongly the prosperity of my mental health relies on expression through physical movement.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in ballet’s brain game that I forget to simply enjoy the inherent therapy in motion.

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I found the above quote taped into my new locker at the start of this season.  An excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet left behind by an over-thinking dancer of the past, these ten lines felt wholly uniting.  They seem to be speaking directly to us- those who move to live, those completed by their career, those who find themselves making a living which makes them right back.

If ever you catch yourself toiling in the unsolved answers, I invite you to stop.  Stop looking ahead.  Stop searching for solutions.  So curiosity may drive an exciting ambition, but why not experiment with that potent thirst?  Direct it towards the questions themselves, and dedicate some time to examining what it is you’re asking.  Relish in the observance of negative space, of blank pages, and empty hours.  Experience the unraveling.  Live the questions.

End rant.  Happy Monday!

first photo by Michael Collins.

when beacon beckons

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bricks that track from our toes to the sky
pave sweet grated pathways
in their burnt, rusty red

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those eager vines that rush more than crawl
flood every fiery facade
in a lush twisting green

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steeped in history, every crevice speaks
the soothing wordless soliloquy
of gaslit alleys and sun drenched squares

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inside ivory tiles surround
eighteen caged white bulbs glow and
baked blonde treats tarte-in and pop over
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out on and in corners under churches
electric hand on my cheek
your warmth connects, arrests and protects

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hebrew names that start with f
evade the soundtrack of the park

while mosaic half shells made of wood
watch our lazy outdoor naps

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fuzzy paintings drinks and walls
follow from the Hill to Hanover
stooped pizza breaks buzz us
and St. Anthony’s loud feast parades down the streetIMG_2394

a new Hill to Watch
another urban mountain to climb
a gold Beacon guides our steps
up up away in and together so we rise.
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-from a Beacon-drunk mind on Monday the 31st of August, 11:42 pm. 

unplanned

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we Watch july’s final sunset from a Hill
cheap thrill
golden full moon rimmed by stars that spill
melting into the blue waves’ sound
surround
a striped sky globed protectively around
like this small beach town is
all there isIMG_1668pink
drink, tipped matches,
tea room, my mind attaches
Marcia’s cats are mischievous
fishing grey smiles and jungle spotted thievery
palm trees
a reminder never to drink alone
from a framed man and his talismans
a bar cut into thirds
how is it that a painting speaks of its creator without words?IMG_1670
winnie-the-pooh walls and wooden beams
sing us to sleep, but the morning steams
all sunshine, hot tea, and muffin crumbs
you call me Lady
my hands go numb

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amber honey, thin syrup, glass bottles, iced tea
buttery rolled lobster in the clouds
artichoke hearts and vitamin d
a soulful walk to Hammonasett
tiny towels steeped in sand
our day in lists, firsts and new places we’ve kissed
all so perfectly unplanned.

a collaborative dancing diary

Why do we dance?  Why are we drawn to watch?  What is it that elevates flesh and bone into displays of heartstopping beauty?IMG_9510

Two days ago, when it was May but the weather wailed JULY!, I sat under the wisteria-covered trellis on the airy patio of my beloved Seven Stars Bakery with a cold drink (iced green tea, splash of lemonade) and The Emma Press Anthology of Dance.  Much like its internal observations of the waltzing world around us, the book itself seems to rattle and shake, pages exploding with figures (by the book’s editor herself, Ms. Emma Wright) whose loosely sketched limbs flutter from one line to the next.

We are introduced first, and again throughout, to the universality of dance through the eyes of animals, the flailing bodies of the uncoordinated, the intoxicated, the lush from love who swagger in kitchens and on side streets.  Clare Dyer’s On The Sand describes the dancing of a buzzing beach, and suddenly I am noticing the gentle whirling of the wisteria above me and the erratic foxtrot of the tiny finches underfoot.

The tone shifts now from chirpy humor to one I know a bit more intimately.  With Hilary Gilmore’s Ballerina of The Night Pool, we meet the mysteriously elegant “statue drowned mid-pirouette”, constantly evading the authors shy advances to “dance pas de deux with her reflections”, as minxy stone ballerinas often do.  Rachel Piercey’s The corps is a musing even more familiar, singing the secret successes of the corps de ballet, “parabola arms exactly / chalked onto the air”, “half known and half felt: / the precise, unfurling / geometry of cells.”  The flawless harmony of a well-oiled corps, despite each dancer’s yearning for spotlight, our final stanza puts it perfectly: “the acute longing / to be set apart, / the charm of belonging.”  A double-edged sword that every ballet dancer will wield in the onset of their careers.

As the anthology progresses, so too does the strangely relatable introspectivity of each poem.  From finding your own footing in Rosie Sandler’s Breathing Underwater, to escaping by means of dancing down the page of a notebook in Catherine Smith’s My Dancers, to the impossible stashing of a step like “the stapling of motion on a sheet” (what a great line!) found in Richard O’Brien’s Dansmuseet, the apex of this anthology is an explorative one.  We discover the fleeting nature of dance, the joy in hearing dance when it is not able to be seen, and perhaps the most poignant point of all:

“We dance to learn about a part of ourselves books can’t teach.”

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The Emma Press Anthology of Dance C/O The Emma Press.

train rails and pony tails

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In the heat of a July day in May,
I empty my lungs as we slip out
Over dusty train tracks in the sky.
Fractured wooden planks posing as handrails
Seem to float up accidentally from the river below,
Ebbing and bobbing like nomadic mobile mazes
Coolly ducking our grazes
You with those magnetic gazes…IMG_8886
Walking and talking about heights and hair,
Islands and pride and people with stories of their own.
On a graffitied concrete slab testing my phobia
Our legs dangle over the edge now, heads rest on the hard surface,
All of it softened by this foreign fluttering inside me.
Habit begs me to be afraid, but I left my breath back on those tracks
And there’s a comfort to your company, a contentment in our closeness.

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Sliding under the mighty jaw of the draw and into its mouth
You show me life in a decaying metal mountain,
Ornamented with lilacs, a painted steel tree
With branches as delicate as its trunk is strong.
My breath returns for an inhale only to be twice seized
By the scorched tongue of the bridge beneath me,
A false floor with more space than base.IMG_8877
Willing my wobbling legs not to give up now
Sweaty hands clench my mother’s vintage leather at my hip.
My guarded gaze glides cautiously Up,
Up into the throat of a tipped bridge,
Up to the soaring swing where those who seek adrenaline in asylum go to release amid the clouds.
For a moment I am brave enough to close my eyes,
And I fly on the blue backyard swingset of my childhood.IMG_8897 (1)
Your sudden reckless affection does not disrupt my flight
But instead elevates it,
Extends, excites and exhalts it,
And I’ve been floating for so long now
My feet can’t seem to touch the ground.
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-1:08 am, 5.17., a restless mind writing.