TBI 7: The Cherry Tree Motel
The Cherry Tree Motel sits placidly beside the hospital
wearing a necklace of chain-smoking chambermaids
clustered by the back door day or night. Apron-wearing pigeons
they coo, huddle and peck around a lacy cast iron table,
centered with a crescent shaped ashtray, sixties remnant
overflowing with lipsticked cigarette butts, all clutching coffee cups.
Nervous motel guests smoke there too, backs to the painted wall,
arms folded like cigar store Indians, worry rising in smoky spirals.
The Cherry Tree Motel has a buzzing red and green neon sign.
This is not the place to send out-of-town wedding guests
celebrating beginnings and blendings next to the ambulance bay.
We are all residents in the ICU catch basin, family trout-in-waiting,
until we find out if we get to swim away or turn belly up, deadened
with grief and loss. Celebrations here are patched together things
made of the desperate need to believe it will be all right. We all peer
into doctors’ faces, wishing we could read what they are not saying.
The Cherry Tree Motel has two floors of hallways lined with brown doors.
Room 212 has a picture window looking down to cars parked
in slanted spaces, across to a brick wall and up to blue sky. Nightly,
the alley morphs to runway, line-of-sight for life flight helicopters,
their blades whop just above me, stirring up the dust below.
Sleepless, I hear them coming, purring like metal cats
until they are close enough to hear the blades’ syncopation,
engines dog whining, landing and shutting down to off load damaged cargo.
I lay in my room in the Cherry Tree Motel these September nights,
praying the copters in and waiting for my own miracle to come.
This motel was straight out of HP Lovecraft if HP was ever in Billings, Montana….
Winning entry from the Wild Poet's Forum Creativity Challenge 3/29-4/11. I'm very happy to have won and impressed with the caliber of entries I beat. My strongest work seems to be centered around my crazed family of origin and my ongoing struggles to make sense of my upbringing. I think it informs my writing and painting. When my parents were not very, very bad they were very, very good and so much fun. I think the crazy part was figuring out which people you were going to get on any given day. I'm hoping to complete an entire book about what love is and is not, "Knot Love" has been under construction for a long time now but I'm getting there. Here is the piece ffrom the It's Not About Challenge for your delectation.
It's Not About Escape
This poem is not about my parents
creaking, fighting, beating the actuarial tables
at ninety years each.
it’s not about how much I love them or hate them
or how I can’t rise above the pain handed out on platters
so heavy I finally had to let go and slouch away.
It’s not about my brother and sister
two broken puzzles scrambled in tatty cardboard boxes,
both still echoing red leftovers of parental fear fifty years on.
My trajectory was always up, away from sizzling lightbulb love,
the kind that burns off wings and drops you crawling.
No, this is not about how I cannot save them
flightless and scarred, still looking for that toxic molasses high.
I can't deny the pull, I listen to them all,
an endless buzzing loop of tears and repercussions.
This poem is not about how I got to be the family archangel
when all I want to do with this flaming sword
is cut a hole in the sky, spread white wings
and fly forever into the quiet blue,
just me, the sun and the wind.
Oh alright, back in the studio again…I spent yesterday and Saturday doing outdoorsy things because I live in Washington and the SUN was out. Incredibly warm, somewhat windy but lovely all the same. The gardens have been signalling to me desperately as I stroll past and I finally got to work and pulled out a freight car of weeds from about half of the beds.
The kiwis are popping into leaf and its already time to get in there and fight them to a standstill. For those who know the small-fruited kiwi bush/plant/tree, the thing is beautiful but it will strangle anything it can scramble over, this includes power lines, my beautiful copper beech, other trees, the neighbor's fence and slowing moving cats. When I'm bored I just go prune the kiwis, a fast cure for the doldrums and it lets me take out my ire on something stronger than me.
Son Joel and g-daughter Cam were down from Seattle on Friday night, thoroughly enjoyed a Jamie Oliver-style stir fry before Joel toddled off to his party and we settled down to making eclairs. Yummy. Sunday, the sun was still out, I put the top down on the Mini Cooper and we made a quick pilgrimage to Good Will for salt shakers. I am in throes of an obsession with green garden art and I am having a lot of fun with salt shaker garden hangers.
Amazing how hard it is to find really quirky salt and paper shakers. There are so many really blah ones out there. I found a set of watermelon shakers that fit the bill nicely and they will be joining the garden brethren on my website in the Green Rabbit division shortly.
I scrounged up some nice copper pieces for jewelry too and even found a most excellent old floor lamp that will soon see new life. There was even time to get home and hop on the motorcycles for a quick spin to blow out the cobwebs before the day ended.
Today is back in the studio with lots of wonderful bits and pieces waiting for me. I'm starting on about a hundred, really, old jars that are becoming outdoor candleholders with wire bales and decorations. Fun and they will be so affordable for everyone. I'm excited! Best of all although its cloudy today the week promises to get sunnier and more springlike every single day until the weekend.
Photo expedition on Friday to the tulip fields with wonderful weather for the day.