The Reaper

I am the soul of November,
Wandering down through the days,
Reclaiming the ground for the Winter,
to be born again in the Spring,
In nights that grow ever colder,
In skies filled with clouds full of rain,
I am the soul of November,
Changing the landscape again.

Dreaming curled up near the fire,
Sleeping so deep in the dark,
I am the soul of November,
the last of the light and the spark,
that rests through a season transforming,
that gathers its strength in repose,
I am the soul of November,
Holding the hope of the bloom of the rose.

 

 

Teri Skultety
November 4, 2019

With All Fine Corpses

With All Fine Corpses

Autumn has come,
With all fine corpses masquerading in the folds,
Of her steady winds as they ride cool,
Through the night.
At her building breath,
The trees shedding their fading endowment,
Of a Season past.
She is present now,
In all her fired splendor,
In all her rain-soaked ash,
Her dance a whirling dervish of delight,
Upon the Harvest.
Her song a children’s chant,
On the Eve,
of All Saints.
Her light a dim glowed candle
in the center of the lantern.
Her perfume, mulled, spiced cider,
Sweet cinnamon,
Her tea, a little Sassafras with black silt mud,
To keep away the wicked
for a while.

The house rattles, shutters shake,
A kitchen cabinet creaks open,
Swings free on a gust swept in,
Through the window.
Settle now,
Settle down,
Settle in.
In the shrinking distance,
Hear Winter,
Howling at the Moon,
on her way…
Over hill,
Through the shadows,
Galloping,
Even paced over the well-trod path
Of every wooded thicket.
Her icy fingers grasp tight the reigns,
Her blood a river of veins,
Frozen blue,
In her skin the white of snow,
Her flowing cloak the Arctic wind.
Her eyes disguise the Northern Lights,
Behind her midnight scalloped veil of dreams,
Asleep in her depths,
The transformation of the landscape,
The death of Autumn,
Riding on her heels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From “Covenants of Lingering Bones”, available on Amazon.
Originally published with Thunderdome Writer’s Collective- 2011

Image, internet gif

 

 

 

 

 

Lacordaire

“Man forms himself in his own interior and nowhere else.” – Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Man Walking on the Beach, Half Moon Bay, 2014
Teri Skultety

Instagram

I had bailed out on all social media for a while. I needed to reevaluate some things and take a minute. Creatively speaking it can be draining to be putting a lot of content out there, I needed to find my equilibrium with replenishing my well, so to speak. I love taking pictures. I missed using Instagram. So, if you are of a mind to follow along there, here’s the link…  Teri’s Red Rose Vine on Instagram.

Thanks for following along!

TS

 

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”, Act II, Scene II

 

 

Photo, Red Rose, the Last Blooms of Summer, 2019
Teri Skultety

Autumnal Equinox

The City, the weather turning now. The Harvest Moons rising high against the edge of the water. Boats rocking against the piers. Tankers and cargo ships anchored in the bay, the waves pushing against the locks. Giant glowing balloons beckoning the bounty of Autumn shorn from the surface of the plentiful terrain, loaded into the wild tilt cart, transported into the colder slate. Ashen colored caverns of the street, the carved cement walls of mirrored glass reaching into the night sky, their windows twinkling in the darkness like the eyes of Jack O’ Lanterns. The sidewalks teeming with leaves from trees that reside in four by four squares separating the sidewalks, dividing the concrete landscape every fifteen feet. They crunch and slide under the feet of the traveling masses, crawling the evening. The clicking of heels, the verb and the hum, the vibration of subterranean worlds inches from their soles. Metal sheathed slithering ribbons launching through the tunnels of the underground, “the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.” The holes bored through the earth in catacombs filled with the mysteries of a million stories of eyes that rarely look directly into those of any other soul. Passing strangers en route to destinations anonymous. Steam rising from the vents, giving a hint of something deeper, places unspoken. Creatures that walk among the living, haunting the dreams and memories of those who hunt them, knowing that the Eve of All Saints approaches and the City never sleeps.

 

written on September 23, 2011

Image, Coit Tower from Pier 39, San Francisco, 2018

Photographs and Memories

I’ve been a Jim Croce fan all my life. This is music my mother introduced me to. We’d listen to records while we did chores. I’ve mentioned that my upbringing wasn’t a particularly happy one, but it wasn’t all bad, there were moments that were amazing, poignant, joyful. There is “good and bad” in every life, we learn to sift the wheat from the chaf.

TS

 

Featured image: Jim Croce and Maury Muehliesen, on The Helen Reddy Show, 1973. NBC/NBCUPhoto Bank/Getty Images

 

Stoicism

Stoicism

Beneath the layers
of the artifice of years,
The ego,
The tough exterior that isn’t,
Or, wasn’t.
The chip off the old block
On my shoulder,
I am truly
Sweetness.
My rebellion broken
With my realization
Of my pain
And the release
Of my anger.
The shrew barely tamed,
And renamed.
Though some rebellions,
Are quieter.

 

Teri Skultety

 

 

From my forthcoming book “Magdalene Aubergine”

Iconic Photographs: Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon, 1957

In 1957, photographer Richard Avedon had a photoshoot with actress Marilyn Monroe, already one of the most photographed women in history, to take some pictures to help promote the release of her new film with Sir Lawrence Olivier, “The Prince and the Showgirl”, and to some, the results were stunning.

 

I’ve never seen that film. I would not call myself a “Marilyn Monroe fan” in terms of her films or work. Many years ago, decades, I’m pretty sure I managed to watch the film “The Seven Year Itch” to completion, though I couldn’t tell you how it ends. I’ve seen some of her scenes from the film “Bus Stop”, likewise from her unfinished last picture, “Something’s Got to Give.” Out of something verging on what I guess would be morbid curiosity, I’ve seen the film “The Misfits”, the last film completed by Monroe, as well as being Clark Gable’s last film, and I can only describe it as heart-wrenching. There is a Marilyn Monroe film that I do happen to adore, 1953’s “How to Marry a Millionaire”, co-starring Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, William Powell, Cameron Mitchell, David Wayne, and Rory Calhoun. Marilyn Monroe’s comedic performance in this film is brilliant. To me, this performance said everything about Marilyn Monroe in that it illustrated perfectly that this woman was anything but a “dumb blonde.” No, what has  interested me about Marilyn Monroe at all isn’t her films, it is her story, it is knowing that despite seeming to have everything or having everything materially speaking, she felt unloved, she was a lonely heart, a lost soul, one who perhaps never quite got the respect she deserved while she was alive. Some people, iconic figures, interest me in that way. Not to digress, but Katharine Hepburn is another whose story interests me, it is because of her films that we know about her and without that her story wouldn’t be as interesting, however, I can take or leave her films for the most part, but she is an endlessly fascinating character to me as a person, as a figure. So, there, we’ve established that I’m not a huge Marilyn Monroe fan in the usual sense.

 

“For hours she danced and sang and flirted and did this thing that’s – she did Marilyn Monroe. And then there was the inevitable drop. And when the night was over and the white wine was over and the dancing was over, she sat in the corner like a child, with everything gone. I saw her sitting quietly without expression on her face, and I walked towards her but I wouldn’t photograph her without her knowledge of it. And as I came with the camera, I saw that she was not saying no.” – Richard Avedon regarding the now-famous photoshoot from May 1957

Some of the photographs Avedon took of Monroe that day are not necessarily flattering by some standards. Monroe was not a skinny supermodel type, she was not a waif. She was curvy and fleshy. Monroe possessed the body of a woman, not a girl. Some of the photographs seem taken from odd angles that accentuate the wrong features. The dress seems wrong, like it was wearing her, and in some of the photos, the dress seems to make her look shorter than her already petite five foot five frame.

And some of the photos captured Marilyn in all her Marilyn Monroe glory…

 

 

But then there were these…

 

These images seem haunted. And though Avedon said he would not take photos of Marilyn without her knowledge of it, and from that one could reasonably assume that these photographs could also be Marilyn playing to the camera in some way, Avedon nonetheless managed to give light to the other side of the coin.

In my opinion, the images that made Marilyn Monroe an enduring icon, even while she lived, were not the perfect images of a glamorous movie star, a blonde bombshell, after all there have been plenty of blonde bombshells and pin-up girls with gleaming images and sparkling sex appeal, but were instead the images that showed the other side of the coin, that showed Marilyn to be an intelligent human being who had a life and heart-breaks and dreams and a depth far beyond what any photograph could ever contain.

 

Some have said that this photo taken by Richard Avedon in May of 1957, is the most honest photo of Marilyn Monroe ever taken. But I wonder if that’s true. I wonder if perhaps the most honest photograph ever taken of Marilyn Monroe wasn’t just some easy moment when she was relaxed and happy and laughing in her everyday life, that’s what I like to think.

TS

photo credit unknown

 

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

Photos used in this post not otherwise notated or credited are photo credit Richard Avedon, presented for topical discussion, no copyright infringment intended.

Every Picture Tells A Story

I have no idea who took this photograph, or where it was taken. It looks like there may have been some alterations involved as to the hue, etcetera, but I’ve not altered it myself. It was on Tumblr a few years ago and it reminded me so much of a memory that I found myself staring at it for quite a while. Then I realized it wasn’t necessarily evocative of a particular memory, but of a feeling. To me, this photograph feels like walking across the schoolyard on a winter day so cold the air is stinging my nose and ears. It reminds me of pulling my coat up and breathing down into the collar, shoving my hands into my pockets, of trying to figure out how to carry my books without exposing my fingers to the cold. The grass is wet and soaking through the toes of my tennis shoes a little, the brisk air is nonetheless invigorating. The steam and the smoke from the buildings remind me of finding dryer vents or heater vents to warm our hands under for a minute before returning to playing four square. It reminds me of the relief of reaching the warmth of the classroom but still not taking our coats off for a minute or two. It reminds me of early mornings and late afternoons in Wintertime.

It is an elegant photograph in a warm hue of what seems a cold day, in which there are hiding and living many stories and dreams.

TS