Monthly Archives: April 2011

So Many Bones in the Boneyard

 in which our reluctant heroine picks a fight, wonders what the Rebbe would think, loses the fight and postpones the contemplation of a deep and abiding friendship


I’ve spent the last two days with you, song, trying to recollect the initial shock of you.  You terrorized me with words like “magnolia” and “slavery ,” “plantation,” “whip and “squire”.  I was over-stimulated by your condemnation, apologetic and implicated.  I didn’t know an arrow in a doorpost could condemn a land, hadn’t listened to enough of the real Blind Willie Mctell, decided that Willie McTell was irrelevant to the narrative and then admitted that wasn’t right, either.  I’m fairly certain there’s more sea than ground stretching between New Orleans and Jerusalem but now I think I see your point.  I’m a little scared and sorry, too, you who are the yawpiest of all of Dylan.  I made great efforts to puzzle you out, first on a hissy cassette tape on the drive up Mount Tabor and much later with my long since dead mother-in-law driving through pastures on the far side of Mesa where I put on a better recording and really heard you.  The sound of your piano’s foot pedal.  The hush and the knock.  I wanted to exist in that moment of building tension for hours.  And after that I thought I could sleep for days.

One Hive Closer to an Actual Apiary

In which our reluctant heroine gets rid of her sinus infection, starts beekeeping and checks back in with her daughter

It happens on the 5 every morning on my drive to work, at 5:30 in the morning on the 5 it so happens.  Just as I ascend the curve into the bridge I remember that I’m about to see the lights of downtown Portland, cast forth like sequins in complete disarray and I love sequins.  They’re shiny and faceted and cheap.  I remember I’m about to feel a zap of happiness connected to neither memory nor hope.  A bobbing joy on the surface of my day connected to no thing.  Anchored down by nothing.

Somewhere there is a song that wants to be married to that moment but for now that moment is dating Patty Griffin’s “No Bad News “.

It’s a brave little jaunt of a song.  A stringy stomp of the foot whose singer has had enough of closed doors and pinched hearts, burned houses and disease.  I, too, am done with these things.  Where my once-husband once lit our little house on fire, burning up memories that belonged to my daughter, I’m putting a beehive.  And in the home of my heart I’m adding on.

No Bad News by Patty Griffin