just suppose

B IS FOR BABY (original acrylic on canvas 8x10 by Alice Keys (c) 2014)2just suppose
didn’t know they lied
nice people

nice people
captive audience
did their best

did their best
taught as they’d been taught
blinded young

blinded young
forgot the daylight
ever was

ever was
next door to never
became same

became same
simpler not to change
rules are rules

rules are rules
generations pass
words as chains

words as chains
instruments of our
creation

creation
light and life free but
grand scale thieves

grand scale thieves
stole freedom and gave
service jobs

service jobs
the newest word for
slavery

slavery
at ev’ry level
prisoners

prisoners
nation in chains of
profit greed

profit greed
endless hungry wolves
leave nothing

leave nothing
but claim something will
trickle down

trickle down
didn’t know they lied
just suppose

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Thanks for reading.

Alice

crocodiles with dreams

JACKET IN MY DISASSEMBLY LINE (pic by Alice Keys (c) 2014)Last night I dream I watch a torrent of clear water behind a glass window in a wall of my home. A box is caught under water among branches. It shifts in the current. The box would be within reach if I could put a hand through the glass. The box is me and the inside of me. I wonder how to get what’s inside, out.

* * *

Yesterday, while my boys shopped for Halloween costume parts at thrift stores, I shopped for leather for my latest creative endeavors.

Paul found a floor length eastern tunic embroidered with gold to use as the base for a wizard costume. George found a long black hooded cape. Some scary face paint for George and a pointy hat for Paul and they’ll be ready to go.

I traded twenty-eight dollars and got four jackets to take apart for leather. But I left behind two jackets in greenish-brown faux snake. Although the scale-print leather would have made fascinating medicine bags and leather pouches, the jackets cost fourteen dollars each. I also left behind two sleek black jackets and a beat-up black overcoat that were priced at twenty-five dollars each. They were too expensive for me to cut up.

I also found a thickly-fringed motorcycle-style jacket with skull and cross-bone buttons. When I tried it on George for fun (sleeves way too short), this brought the jacket to the attention of a re-seller. He popped it into his cart.

Re-sellers prowl thrift stores with their collecting carts heaped with found treasures. As least, I presume they’re re-sellers on the hunt and not simply hoarders with storage unit bills and secrets. These big shoppers block up the aisles and hang around talking like it’s their living room. They smile like crocodiles with dreams.

Thankfully, we live in a very small house. There’s no storage beyond our bedroom closets and dressers ao I can’t bring much home. And I have to disassemble these jackets into neat slim stacks of raw materials right away.

THIS USED TO BE A WHITE LEATHER BLAZER 2The best two jackets I brought home were in soft red suede and a soft black suede. Both are well-made and look new. It will be difficult for me to take my seam rippers to them. But the other two jackets were less attractive. Disassembly is easier.

The large brown man’s jacket has a distressed finish. I bought it because the cowhide might be stiff enough to learn to use my lace cutter on. The largest expanses of skin could become a sturdy shoulder tote or a tool roll.

I spent the evening cutting the stitching out of a soft blazer the color of cream. I feel less troubled by taking apart this jacket than I did the incredible lambskin pants of last week. This off-white jacket was never so nice as those black pants. These skins are less well matched. It seemed to have been stitched together in a rush. Plus, there are blue ink stains on the side and the leather on the right forearm sleeve A PILE OF LEATHER.is quite worn. It’s as if the jacket was owned by someone who wrote a lot.

This white jacket was bound for a landfill. But the leather is friendly to touch and there’s plenty that’s good. I imagine making it into medicine bags and drawstring pouches similar to my black prototypes.

Last night, at the end of the evening I smoothed buttery leather shapes into a neat stack. I smiled like a crocodile with medicine-bag dreams.

release of steam

RELEASE OF STEAM (wikimedia commons)laced chain mail corsets
gears adorn smug leather hats
release of steam punk

* * *

released grips aieeeeee
climate change killed gravity
fall up forever

* * *

symbolizes what?
release white doves at wedding
and feed red-tail hawks

* * *

smile, catch and release
he follows regulations
fisherman speed dates

* * *

my husband my man
catch and release bugs spiders
but not mosquitoes

* * *

These haiku were inspired by the Haiku Horizons words prompt “release”. I enjoy more haiku or to join in the words prompt fun, click the badge below.

THIS IS THE LINK TO HAIKU HORIZONS WORD PROMPT.* * * * * * *

Thanks for reading.

Alice

black leather pants

WE SHOULD SHIP OUR OLD CLOTHES TO THE FRENCH RIVIERA. (pic by Alice Keys (c) 2014)Yesterday, I cut up a pair of tailored soft black leather pants that looked like they’d never been worn. I live in a country so stuffed with material wealth that our castoffs could be new clothes in another part of the world.

First, I slashed the lining out of the pants. The lining was made of a denser fabric than the outside of this winter’s new coats. I preserved the lining in large sections more out of remembrance for what fabrics used to be than out of any need.

Then I opened the leg seams using with my thread-cutting seam-ripper. They’d had been stitched with a heavier thread than I can find for sale in fabric stores. The seams had been carefully back-stitched and locked at every intersection.

I hesitated when I got to the complex assembly and stitching at the top of the garment. In my distant past, I’ve sewed everything from aprons to ballet costumes to tailored suits. I understand the amount of careful work this represented. I thought of making the top of the pants into a pocketed purse just to preserve the work in some meaningful way.

But I’d already hacked out the lining in my hurry to get over the emotional conflicts involved in my hacking. Then, the stitching was too well-done to pick out and rip apart. It would take weeks. So I pushed myself to cut off the waistband and cut around the zippered fly. I opened the triple-stitched crotch seam by cutting the leather as close as I could.

MY MEDICINE POUCH IS 1.5 X 2 INCHES NOT COUNTING FRINGE AND STRIP. 2 (art and pic by Alice Keys (c) 2014)All the while I cut and ripped, I prayed to the animals, the leather tanners and the women who had made the pants and thanked them for their gifts. Praying seemed like the right thing to do.

It was almost as difficult to cut up out-of-date and unwanted pants as I imagine defacing a book would be for me. Books have been sacred objects for me since I first discovered the magic of reading them. In college, I worked in the library where I learned how to repair books and how to bind stacks of journals to preserve them. Wonderful old books were guarded in special collections.

I’m still horrified by those who mark in books with pens and highlighters, fold page corners down or use even old paperbacks in craft projects. When I bought coloring books for my children, I copied the pages for them rather than give them the originals to scribble on. I even approach snipping twenty-year-old magazines to make into art collage with anxiety.

Cheaply glued books made from rough paper and filled with unedited marketing-driven content are a creepy sacrilege in my personal religion. Our treasures have been stolen and they’ve been replaced with mockeries.

Yesterday was the first time I’d been able to bring myself to perform this kind of wanton destruction on good clothes. The pants are now beyond recognition as clothing and resemble flat sections of animal hide. Surely Heck has a special corner for people like me who use scissors in this way.

THIS POKE WOULD NOT HOLD A VERY BIG PIG. 3 x 4. (art and pic by Alice Keys)I have great respect for clothes that are well made from fine materials and in great condition. It’s hard for me to be the agent of their destruction. But I bought those pants from a thrift shop because I was looking for exactly this kind of soft thin well-dyed leather to experiment with. Re-purposing old leather garments is way cheaper than buying little squares new from a craft store or leather supply. And it’s also a way to get more good from the deaths of the animals.

Yesterday, I designed and stitched a drawstring “poke” sack and a medicine bag necklace. The poke is pulled open by leather tabs and pulled closed with a double draw-string. My fringed medicine bag necklace buttons with a sky blue “evil eye” bead.

I cut the bodies for these first projects from the leather pockets. I cut leather strips from the seam allowances and from a circle out of the pleated front of the pants. This leather is so fine and soft that I hardly notice my new medicine bag on my neck.

THE DRAW STRINGS WORK WELL. (art and pic by Alice Keys (c) 2014)New creations wait to be born inside thirty-year-old discarded clothes that were made before this era of grease-thin plastic fashions loosely assembled with puckered stitching. I also have two red silk blouses, a tan raw silk skirt, a densely-sequined purple skirt and a long red velvet tunic that await their re-birthing. I wonder what they’d like to become next.

* * * * * * *

Thanks for reading.

Alice

jim lost it

1 JIM LOST IT (art by Alice Keys (c) 2014)2 HE DIDN'T HAVE POCEKTSW TO CHECK SO...3 HE LOOKED UNDER HIS COUCH4 HIS JUNK DRAWER5 WHEN HE COULDN'T FIND IT ANYWHERE6 HE CALLED HIS NEW GRILDFRIEND TO CANCEL7 SHE WAS MAD8 HE FOUND IT RIGHT WHERE IT BELONGED* * * * * * *

Thanks for reading.

Alice

New to my Jim comic strip? Try these:

http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/jim-likes-autumns/

http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/jim-couldnt-make-up-his-mind/

http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/jim-felt-sick/

http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/jim-was-friendly/

Then there’s “Betty”:

http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/after-nola-left-betty/

and the baby alligator:

http://alicekeysmd.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/baby-alligator/

puppets

640px-The_English_CouncillorsI gave up television in 2002 to help free my mind from corporate marketing terrorism. There’s no entertainment worth trading my mental freedom for.

But I do talk to people who expose themselves to the media. I get bites from the scariest of the scary. Then, last night, I wandered the internet to learn more about the latest fear-mongering puppet strings being pulled.

So. Ebola made it here to the USA and we’re being terrorized with this information.  But we directly kill close to a hundred Americans each and every day with cars.  And this is not in the news.

Ebola is not new. (Neither are automobile deaths.) But America seems unprepared to contain or treat this virus beyond using it for marketing terrorism to sell survivalist supplies. Terrorism-boosted shopping seems to be both our marketing and coping strategies as a nation. We tremble with fear and then buy buckets of dried food, bottled water, gas masks, rubber gloves and insurance schemes.

Perhaps news of the ebola virus will cure our country’s lagging corporate profits and take our minds off our endless wars. Instead of hula hoops, I should be selling ebola survivor blood and hazmat suits.

The stock market is crumbling. Again. It seems that stock prices and profits have been held irrationally high by invisible forces. Again. Now, the big boys have taken their marbles and profits and gone home. Again. This has left individual retirement investors and 401K plans emptied. Again.

640px-Apollo_10_Cernan_and_Snoopy_at_news_conferenceThe question is not “Why did the market fall?”. Again. The real questions are “Where did the fake stock market steam come from?” and “Whose pockets is the money in now?”

Most people I know are still under-employed, unemployed and uncounted. And those who have low-pay service industry jobs live in rental sheds and garages, closets and campers. Kids don’t grow up, leave home and start families of their own any more. They stay home or join the military or borrow money for endless school or slide down to the streets or get sucked into prisons.

The interest I’m paid on my savings is still barely higher than zero. It’s almost as if our corporate puppet masters don’t want people to save money in Federally-insured and protected venues. Hmmm.

Housing is over-built and sitting empty but prices waft ever-higher and are still beyond the reach of 95% of the population. Foreclosed homes from the last housing market collapse have not yet been released for sale. Even though housing sales have stalled in all but the loftiest of prices ranges (1-5 million dollar beach cottages for the world’s wealthiest), by some magician’s miracle, ordinary home asking prices continue to rise.

During a time of reduced consumption, world oil glut and gas prices in free-fall, the price at the pump in my home state of California is being artificially held high by unseen puppet-masters. I suppose Californians haven’t been pumped dry enough yet.

The only answers I’ve come up with to personally manage our financial life in this weird manipulated California financial bubble environment (besides moving away) is to keep our life overhead as low as possible. Since just the property taxes on a two-bedroom 800 square foot termite mound can run ten thousand dollars a year and list prices are near $800,000, we must keep being renters (we are). We must not shop other than the barest of essentials (we don’t). We must eat home-cooked beans and rice and vegetable soup every day (we do), keep our kids at home with us (we do) and drive as little as possible (we do). We must make things and try to sell them (as we are). Our energy and water conservation tactics have been keeping our utility costs down as well.

640px-Ventriloquist_Ramdas_Padhye_with_his_Puppet_ArdhavatraoBut everyone had better not do as we do.

If everyone decided to adopt these frugal financial management approaches to living under the thumb of our profit-driven corporate oligarchy, this would be really bad for corporate profits.

Less consumer shopping, driving, burning, using, eating and pack-ratting means the tsunami of consumer stuff sits unsold. Less consumer buying means less profits for the ultra-wealthy few. And when corporate profits fall, our overlords start more wars.

And those newly minted Chinese rich blamed for our California housing bubble have vanished. Without their chi to keep the investment housing kite in the air, it should all fall down. Right?

I read that the Chinese government had a morality shakedown and imprisoned a bunch of their homegrown financial criminals. And imprisoning the wealthy for wrong-doing smells of the Chinese cultural revolution. It could have happened. A maneuver like this is not a bad idea if you still have the government power to do it. But perhaps this is simply a cover story for an American-style takeover at the helm of the Chinese industrial complex by bigger corporations with rougher hands and bigger guns. Or perhaps this is the Chinese way to thin the ranks of their very rich so wealth can be ever-more focused among a very few.

WHO BELONGS TO THE MARIONETTE UNION TODAYThe sky is falling all around. But, in California, we’re left with housing prices that no one with an ordinary job can afford, buying expensive imported food while living in the world’s largest and most productive agricultural zone and buying corporate bottled water from our own drought-ridden municipal water systems.

Like our ever-high California gas prices in the time of a fuel glut, our ever-higher housing prices are only an investment-fool’s paradise held in place by invisible wizards beyond our control.

* * * * * * *

Thanks for reading.

Alice

knit flames into love

WHITE FLAGsweet suffering’s slow
lingering blade slashed
left me a window
without glass or screen
no shutter either
only white curtains
rags flap blind nothing

signaled surrender
longing’s blossom struck
left me hollow
without hope of fill
only spirit mists
fire burns everywhere

saints sang salvation
liberty boat sailed
left me on death’s shore
without a ride home
only my two hands
knit flames into love

* * * * * * *

Thanks for reading.

Alice