Posts Tagged ‘love


’tis the season



flowers, art, and death

this morning when the alarm rang it woke me up in the middle of a dream that i was robert motherwell’s studio assistant/biographer (last night before i fell asleep i had been reading about richard ellman, james joyce’s and oscar wilde’s biographer) and motherwell was finishing one of his monumental black and white paintings and it was all black except for at the very right edge where the black overlapped a block of white that had been painted to look like the edge of a sheet of deckled paper laid over a narrow section of black, and as that was revealed to me, i said, “that bastard.”

i assign no meaning to the above paragraph.

i am a compulsive obituaries reader. today, there was a lengthy paid obit about the life and times of a 94 year-old man. one paragraph, as they are, was devoted to his survivors and those who had predeceased him. those who had gone before were a sister and a son, ronald. then the list of survivors began, it included his second (loving) wife, children from both marriages and their spouses, grandchildren (11) and great-grandchildren (unnamed, but numbered, there were 18), [numerous] nieces, nephews (one named kieron, singled out for some reason), and the coup de grace: peter paul rubens (not his real name), the deceased’s son’s partner (italics mine).

i thought that was sweet, charming, progressive, and a sign, perhaps, that even in death, love is universal.


an old married (as if) couple

my partner (left, below) and i have been together for 30 years today.

then, at le jardin du luxembourg, paris

i can clearly recall the first time i saw you; standing against the wall at the bushes on halsted in your suit, tie undone, its knot playing peek-a-boo with a thatch of dark chest hair. that smile you gave me. then standing between my outstretched legs, did we kiss?

a week later, our first date, seated at the wooden picnic table at the back of halsted street fish market (so much of our lives in chicago took place on halsted they should name it after us — and you and you and you and you, you know who you are–and of course, the ghosts that haunt any love story that started in 1982), my friend joyce, the owner’s wife, sitting with us, her little girl rasp and giggle smoothing over any awkwardness there might have been.

but there wasn’t much, was there? we fell together and in love quite naturally, an “as if it were meant to be” moment if ever there were one. i laugh now at how you received a full body immersion with my friends; ralph and the french deaf theater group just a couple of weeks  later — taking over your apartment as you and i discovered just how small my little attic hideaway really was. but it didn’t matter, did it?

i believe we kissed. a lot. (there’s more, of course, but this isn’t that kind of story.) and we may have kissed some more, and held each other, and smoked a cigarette or two (or a pack, who remembers?) we drank wine, beer, cocktails–you a scotch, me a tequila gimlet — there were times when even that seemed unnecessary, the joy of being with each other a completely lovely high all its own.

and now, at our neighbor’s home for a cook-out

you taught me about the ‘do-nothing’ vacation, which i took as my birthright, and who knew getting naked on a beach could be so much fun? (what? you’ve never? darling, trust me, you absolutely must do it at least once, somewhere where you can go swimming in warm clear blue water, with white sand, a palm tree leaning from the tradewinds, it is to die for.) but had it not been for you i may have never had that experience.

we bought a house. that golden brick bungalow just north of pratt blvd. and i would walk to the touhy station to take the train downtown in the winter, and it never got tiresome, although i do think that summer’s were worse, that walk a sweat factory, suit, dress shirt soaked through, but i loved our home and our yard, and nicky in his kiddie pool playing with the water squirting out of the hose, and the clematis; oh god, do you remember that strip of earth between the sidewalk and our neighbor’s driveway that we planted with a gazillion bulbs and seasonal perennials that made it the most beautiful one foot wide strip of earth you’d ever seen. crocus, tulips, daisies, asters, and mums. iris, roses, and the vegetable garden, such bounty. just like our love.

our careers took off, you got into the art biz; we had an opportunity to live in paradise–your family came to visit and all of the wonderful friends we made there…and speaking of friends, have we not been lucky? all these years later and we still have so many: cheryl & sophia, bill & ralph, rosie and sister arlene, lenny, barbara, and joe, vicki, patricia & corey, sally and our dear charlotte, charlie & jerry; oh i know i’ll forget someone, so i better stop by saying we love you all, thank you for being a part of our life.

and now, we find ourselves here, warm and dry, loved by billy and joey; each of us with a lot less hair and a few more pounds, but here, together, and that counts for something, doesn’t it? i know it’s not always easy, but we always hang in there, find a way to make it all work.

thirty years. ain’t it grand?


a week of self-portraits: friday


sonia redux

her scent is intoxicating (trite, but true.)

her beauty is incomparable. (tried, but true.)

my love for her is indescribable. (sad, but true.)


the snail and the leaf, a parable

nothing happened. the snail made its way slowly across the sidewalk, ignoring the leaf i had placed in its way, and leaving behind it its silvery trail of slime. there are times in the late afternoon when the sun is just so in the sky that the sidewalks shimmer with snail’s trails, beautiful silvery ribbons of goo with little breaks every few inches where the snail has pulled up and off the sidewalk in order to move itself forward. at night they congregate in a mosh pit of snail love, all one upon the other; if you’re very still you can hear henry rollins and black flag just before he throws himself shirtless off the stage into the arms of his raving fans [although that may be my memory of seeing them perform at the mud club in chicago in 198_, but whatever. –author]


sir gawain, the green knight, and other dreams of the dead

they were smiling at me, so close i thought i could reach out and touch them. their love emanating from their smiles in visible waves of air (a distortion of my psyche); i ached for it to be true, although i knew that it was only a dream and that they were long gone from my life and this reality. i like it when they come to visit, but i always wonder what they want when they do. what can it mean when they seem so alive, but i know that they are dead?

sir gawain and his pursuit of the green knight came to my consciousness without warning or prompting, they were just there last night at around 9:17 pm pst. it wasn’t an unpleasant visit, even though it has been more than 4_ years (yes, that is a 4 in front of that underscore, it is there because memory is like that) since i had met them. all things camelot were the rage, we were all reading t.h. white’s “the once and future king.” why i do not know. i liked gawain, his honor, his fears, his duplicity, and his redemption. its alliterative verse underscoring (in a john williams movie score kind-of-way) the valor and the grandeur of the court of arthur. did my thoughts of gawain prompt the visit this morning, just before waking, of my smiling, lovely friends? i do not know, but today i believe i will let them accompany me, their love my knight-in-shining-armor.

p.s. my interview at artist career training is up.



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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