Friday, December 2, 2011

Airports, Landings & Home

Drawings:  Margaret Scott.

After Halloween and a few days before Thanksgiving, I carried out a plan to travel to the Pacific Northwest...a kind of journey of the heart, to visit two octogenarian friends, staying four nights with one, then driving to Whidbey Island together to visit another--just for lunch. Both women have been large in my past, one, an iconic figure in fine art photography; and both important to my own history of growth and change over time.  

What I hadn't foreseen was how I would feel walking into my past, especially on Whidbey Island. I have been there before, but when juxtaposed to having lunch with a former role-model (when I was young, had never worked, was a Navy wife) and seeing my years in life, as if stretched out on a long operating table--it was very powerful. Also...witnessing their physical changes, and a mirroring of self in other.   I saw my journey into the future, even as I was experiencing "their moment" and our brief time together.  

When re-reading my poetry (Senryu) later at home, I realized I carried a kind of sadness with me (paralleled by the Pacific Northwest weather), and that, in turn, resulted in a kind of flat, disconnected language and mood--almost totally without the sense of humor that generally characterizes Senryu. My friend, Doreen Starling, also read the series and pointed that out to me with her comment.

Flying, driving, car ferry...familiar...
Weather in the Pacific NW:  The atmospheric condition was gentle, but decidedly somber almost the entire trip that began in Portland, OR, then to Olympia, WA, then Whidbey Island, WA--and back to Portland, then MD.  The clouds, mist, and fog that might have soothed my emotions simply intensified them. As reality sank in...and "togetherness" questions and errors multiplied, I stiffened and became calloused at times (Saying inside: Let's get this over with!) even as my surface had to remain as calm as possible--for me. Only my traveling companion could put all of this together. I think I was impatient.

Margaret Scott read all the poems and selected nine to illustrate, creating a haunting theme of repetition that makes our collaborative piece even more meaningful to me...I believe you will see how she knows me, sees through my "cover," and reveals the core of things. As always, I am grateful to Margaret: Her art, her professionalism, her friendship.  A few of my photos are included in this feature.

A Senryu Travel Series

Airports, Landings & Home

What more can I say?
You get what is meant for you—
over and over again.

November 10

Leaving – what’s the point?
Octogenarian friends.
But I will die first.

Goodbye to myself
when I say goodbye to home.
I'll find it elsewhere.

BWI to SLC     First Leg of the Journey

Salt Lake City now.
Jeans and boots prevail, I note.
I fit right in here.

How to choose your place?
When they look like you in “dress,”
you know you’ve found home.

Microphone blaring –
Announce Delta flights from here.
I long for silence.

Intermediary Destination, Portland, November 10

Cab to Riverpoint –
My girl is waiting in boots.
I am “home” again.

River view again!
Willamette, and so peaceful.
It puts me to sleep.

Aramis older –
Many white spots on his back.
He sleeps on the bed.

A kind of quiet
I am trying to discern.
It makes me sleepy.

November 11    On to Olympia, WA

Cab to train station?
No, she is taking me.
We are together.

Train arrives in Olympia 2 hours late in a torrential downpour.  Mary runs to meet me with an umbrella; drives to her home. She is 87.

I am settling in.
We eat at the Oyster House.
The gulls make me smile.

November 12   Mary's house, Olympia, WA

Awake, alone now,
Looking at each wall of art
her friends gave to her.

Every space is filled
with books, paper, amazing
how peaceful it is!

Pottery Shop. Mary's art.
She went back to bed
while I crazily scribble.
She liked my sonnet. 

We drive to Ashford
on the way to Mt. Ranier,
her art in a shop.

November 13   

On the road soon…

Did she like it, hmmm?
Not sure she is listening –
or remembering.

Driving to Whidbey,
about 4 hours away,
then right back again.

Having doubts again –
Both the drive and the driver.
I want to cancel.

Most joyful moment!
Feeding the crows, then watching –
Listen to them squawk!

Over the rail. View from the Mukilteo Ferry.
November 13  
Destination   Whidbey Island

How to describe it?
The ferry was easiest –
Then, the memories.

Cold, with rain and mist.
Nothing can relieve the pain
Of not being “me.”

Waiting ‘til Noon   (Time we were to arrive at Trudy's)

Yes, prodded by fear,
left Olympia early
arrived here early.

Scenic Heights entrance.
House overlooking the Sound.
“Never go back there.”

House built late 60's. So much change.
But we had the time
And did end up back again.
I said, “Go in there.”

Adam’s A-Frame here;
our house dark blue with decking.
It made my heart sink.

Lunch with Other

Wherever I go –
Levels of sincerity,
I feel ‘show and tell.’

What do I expect?
You can’t give more than you are.
We are each “inside.”

A beautiful house
looking out on Puget Sound.
Connective tissue.

Monica cooked it –
Single cheese enchilada
glistening with fat!

Mary could not eat –
Her lower plate is missing:
They both liked to talk.

Friends in 80’s

How they connected
was not surprising to me.
But I won’t go back.

Long trip back to Olympia   (November 13, continued)

Mary wanted more
in the way of “Trudy Time.”
I thought it was enough.

Dinner, Oyster House, Olympia

Another gin, then,
at a local restaurant.
Halibut was dry.

Eat it anyway –
With these small tastes of the past.
I need to go home.

I miss the web friends,
And even more, my two cats.
Train and plane, between.

On the couch, remembering Whidbey Island lunch

Major memory!
They compared Moms’ death ages:
Ninety; One-0-two.

Lucille was gone
At a mere 80 years old.
That will be my time.

How many ways, now,
do we spin “green jealousy”
again and again?

November 14  
Missing Them

I can’t believe it!
I yearn for my Facebook Friends,
those outbursts and all.

Beloved cat friends:
Fur, expressions, and litter.
I love you so much.

Tell me how you feel
Before it’s too late for me.
I am ‘numbed out.’


What you return to
again and again and again
should be who you are.

So, is it coffee?
Is it other who tells you
who and what you are?

Where are you going?
Do you leave a trail of self
or just cleanly go?


For me, it’s her crows.
They talk in the trees for food.
I photograph them.

It all ends this way!
Glad to come and glad to go –
Seems a good balance.

But those crows fly on.
They hover like a good death,
calling for our food.

Dinner with her friends

Before, no feelings.
One, “Geo-thermal Kathy.”
“Amazing Carla!”

Did not disappoint!
They were both incredible.
Dancer and lawyer.

A long room – wood floors –
We ate healthy food, drank wine,
talking until 8:00.

November 15, Back to Portland by train

Over and over,
She says the same thing to me:
“I have to get gas.”

Yet her memory
of events when she was eight
is clear as sunlight.

Packing & Train Station.

Finally, I feel
a semblance of myself here:
It’s time to go home.

She can’t eat my food,
so I’ll take it back with me –
apples, almonds, all.

Terrible thought now,
that you become where you are:
A paper mountain.

When we die, then who
makes sense of it all again?
“My storage” looming.

We are here early
and again, goaded by fear.
Then, we wave goodbye.

Train back to Portland, OR
Rain, blurry lights. Somewhere...freeway.

Moods are up and down
when it’s time to leave—somewhere
into your unknown.

Then, what do we know
between this and the next one?
Probably, nothing.

The schedule, yes,
and a tight plan, yes, we know.
Those variables!

Midnight, wake up

How many mistakes
Do we get before we learn
to see the real things?

Love—floating out there—
Let me hang on to you now,
then gently…let go.

November 16   Another airport,  more rain...all looks the same...

Fidgety again –
Can’t read; can’t think; can’t feel.
I’m numbed up for flight.

The rain stopped briefly,
seemingly, to let us fly.
Those gulls are watching.

Airport Rhythms...Portland, OR

Hear “Chattanooga!”
I wish I were going there.
Choo  choo  choo  choo  choo!

But no – Baltimore,
Atlanta; “Balto.”
The cats await me.

Where do I go next?
Thanksgiving time upon us,
then Rehoboth Beach.

Airport Mantra     End of Travel

Over and over,
hear “Final Destination.”
I know what that means.


Mary wrote to me.
Said she would frame my sonnet.
Enjoyed my stay there.

Went to Rehoboth!
Solo trip without my cats!
Came home with the flu.


Blog content:  Kay Weeks
Drawings: Margaret Scott

Posted on December 2, 2011


helen said...

A very interesting blog... like the photos of different places.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kay, for this. What a wonderful collaboration and what a poetically productive time. Love the combination of art and words ... and as for those crows ...

Caroline Gill

Anonymous said...

I always follow your journeys, worth the read.


Anonymous said...

You Two!!!! As usual, I enjoyed this very much and look forward to more!!! Thanks for sharing!

Ann White Matthews