Denise Dances: A Return to Perfect Health - Body, Mind & Spirit!

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Look What They've Done to My Song"

Hi! Nothin' like a Spring Rain. Outside my window this morning, all was still. Then, suddenly, the rain came pounding down. Hesitated. Then again. Just like the symphony I plan to attend tomorrow night! Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, balcony, aisle. Been away too long! LOOK WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO MY SONG "Conversations with Paula" Niantic, CT April 30, 2009 Lunch at Dunkin' Donuts on my gift card, a Christmas present from my sister Karen! A good idea to re-charge for those impromptu lunches, when out browsing the Book Barns or catching a matinee! Turkey, Bacon, & Cheddar Flat with a raspberry iced tea = > $5.00. Mean protein! The ocean view is great, too. A/C is nice and cool. Almost like being on vacation! :) After lunch, I sat on the new black wrought iron bench outside the new Charter Oak Bank, just beyond the new condominium complex one street over. B.C., McDonald's of Niantic stood where the brand new bank took its place. Look what they've done to my song, Mom! Look what they've done to my song! They tied it up in a plastic bag and turned it upside down, Mom! Look what they've done to my song. Y regardez a ma chanson, Ma! Y regardez a ma chanson.... Across the street, I strolled to McCook's Point Park and Hole in the Wall Beach. Opted to walk along the small beach up to the hillside park than the rocky boardwalk. 1st Station of the Cross: "Bayside" a talk with Paula. Spoke of how my next door neighbors only care about money. About how my friends have had it good thus far. How, now, everyone else is having problems but I'm getting better! How I shouldn't feel sorry for anybody. It's all lessons. It will make each of them a better person. So now THEY are jealous of ME. Because I get "better with age." 2nd Station of the Cross: "Ocean View" Behave. Don't indulge in alcohol alone. Not at home. Do not eat lunch or dinner alone at any restaurant that serves alcohol. Never go back to a place that is "bad" for me. Reasons why not: it's expensive. dangerous due to strangers and driving. depressant. Lessons for life. No matter what my station is. 3rd Station of the Cross: "Hilltop" Overlooking the sea, through the trees and McCook's Beach in East Lyme! (Could buy a walk-in pass!) Paula, I don't know when you want to cross over. I'm not in a hurry to say goodbye to you. I know you miss Tommy and your friends and family. I know you are lonely and a little bored, probably. So I'm glad you took Tony. He will be a good friend for you. I know you will cross over before he does, because after he helps me; he will take care of "B" and the rest of his family. OK, thank you, Paula. What a nice, relaxing day! A perfect day. I'm going now. I know. Move quickly. Get going. I'm not hearing your words now, so much as feeling them. Knowing in my heart. Thanks for being with me this winter. I still need you! And I love you. And I always will. Denise

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

National Poetry Month

Hi! I think this concludes the poems I have culled for my blog during National Poetry Month, the month of April. Some were my own, some selected from my Walt Disney movie DVDS, some were books on display at the Groton Public Library, some were from songs from the US Coast Guard concerts, and one I saved when I lived in New York, one of my personal favorites discovered while spring cleaning. In May, I promise to bring more of my screenplay / novel about my life in NYC and some articles on the craft of writing itself. Denise St. Vincent Millay

"Millay for Mother's Day"

More on Millay! Happy Mother's Day!! :) * * * excerpts from "Literary Neighborhoods of New York," by Marcia Leisner, Starhill Press, Washington D.C., copyright 1989 "No. 75 Bedford known as the Millay House...Her poems spoke for the 'new woman' who emerged after World War I, freed from corsets, long skirts and long hair, independent ...challenging conventions and greedy for life." "Millay was a Maine girl, the eldest of three sisters...Fame came early with her long poem, 'Renascence' {about being buried alive} {sic};...After a cold and hungry winter in a furnished room at 138 Waverly Place, she was joined by her sisters." "She was fascinating...Red-gold hair, green eyes, and a flair for clothes -- but not a certified beauty. She could be quite plain at times-- a mouse in a corner -- until the mood overtook her and she spoke out in that rich, vibrant voice, so amazing issuing from such a small body." "For several years and with half a dozen suitors, Millay hesitated on the brink of matrimony...because she felt that domesticity wouldn't work for her...writing passionately and frankly about love...What she didn't mention was that in those mornings, she inevitably retreated into her work....For all their gaiety and unconventionality, Millay and her Village writer friends were a serious, hard-working lot." "When she was thirty one, she found a man with whom marriage would work...Eugen Bossevain, a Dutch coffee merchant...understood perfectly that Millay's job was to write, his to run the house and protect her from an increasingly invasive world. Few women have had such luck or such pampering." "With book royalties and poetry reading tours, she was making money, but New York, with its crowds and noise oppressed her....the rest of her life was divided between Steepletop {a 700-acre farm in upstate New York} and an island off the coast of Maine..." "This most Village-y of poets spent only eight years in the neighborhood." excerpts from Introduction by Nancy Milford, "The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay," 2001 Modern Library Edition, Random House, Inc.; (Copyright 2001) and available at the Groton Public Library. "Yet, for all her shenanigans, she was far more elusive than her own myth suggested...she was always the Girl Poet and her poetry the rallying cry of the jazz age...coming into contact with the formidable strength of character that lay behind her attractiveness and brilliance, something as different as possible from the legend of her...Village reputation, something austere and even grim." The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver ...she sent it to her mother twice from Paris, where she'd written it...and...dedicated it to her." "A ballad is the simplest four-line English. With its clear lines and even beats, it tells a plain story...But it is never an excercise in innocence, for it is almost always a tale of violence ending in death." "Millay is using the story of her own life and her mother's...iron poverty and maternal equip the child for a grander life...The mother does provide for her child but at the cost of her own life." I am happy to quote it for you here, in honor of all mothers on Mother's Day!
The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver
"SON," said my mother,
When I was knee-high,
"You've need of clothes to cover you,
And not a rag have I.
"There's nothing in the house
To make a boy breeches,
Nor shears to cut a cloth with
Nor thread to make stitches.
"There's nothing in the house
But a loaf-end of rye,
And a harp with a woman's head
Nobody will buy,"
And she began to cry.
That was in the early fall.
When came the late fall,
"Son," she said, "The sight of you
Makes your mother's blood crawl,--
"Little skinny shoulder-blades
Sticking through your clothes!
And where you'll get a jacket from
God above knows.
"It's lucky for me, lad,
Your daddy's in the ground,
And can't see the way I let
His son go around!"
And she made a queer sound.
That was in the late fall.
When the winter came,
I'd not a pair of breeches
Nor a shirt to my name.
I couldn't go to school,
Or out of doors to play.
And all the other little boys
Passed our way.
"Son," said my mother,
"Come, climb into my lap,
And I'll chafe your little bones
While you take a nap."
And, oh, but we were silly
For half an hour or more,
Me with my long legs
Dragging on the floor,
To a mother goose rhyme!
Oh, but we were happy
For half an hour's time!
But there was I, a great boy,
And what would folks say
To hear my mother singing me
To sleep all day,
In such a daft way?
Men say the winter
Was bad that year;
Fuel was scarce,
And food was dear.
A wind with a wolf's head
Howled about our door,
And we burned up the chairs
And sat upon the floor.
All that was left us
Was a chair we couldn't break,
And the harp with a woman's head
Nobody would take,
For song or pity's sake.
The night before Christmas
I cried with the cold,
I cried myself to sleep
Like a two-year-old.
And in the deep night
I felt my mother rise,
And stare down upon me
With love in her eyes.
I saw my mother sitting
On the one good chair,
A light falling on her
From I couldn't tell where,
Looking nineteen,
And not a day older,
And the harp with a woman's head
Leaned against her shoulder.
Her thin fingers, moving
In the thin, tall strings,
Were weav-weav-weaving
Wonderful things.
Many bright threads,
From where I couldn't see,
Were running through the harp-strings
And gold threads whistling
Through my mother's hand.
I saw the web grow,
And the pattern expand.
She wove a child's jacket,
And when it was done
She laid it on the floor
And wove another one.
She wove a red cloak
So regal to see,
"She's made it for a king's son,"
I said, "and not for me."
But I knew it was for me.
She wove a pair of breeches
Quicker than that!
She wove a pair of boots
And a little cocked hat.
She wove a pair of mittens,
She wove a little blouse,
She wove a little blouse,
She wove all night
In the still, cold house.
She sang as she worked,
And the harp-strings spoke;
Her voice never faltered,
And the thread never broke.
And when I awoke,--
There sat my mother
With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
And a ligth about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
Frozen dead.
And piled up beside her
And toppling to the skies,
Were the clothes of a king's son,
Just my size.
Happy Mother's Day!
Love, Denise
May 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


sunshine sings
Purty, purty, purty!
Some say it's the Northern Cardinal's call
But I know differently.
Whenever I hear this uplifting chime,
I know my Sunshine sings brightly.
(Never dolefully)
The first words I taught my sweet baby bird to say
My sweet Sunshine sings brightly
Alive and well to this very day.
"Purty, purty, purty!" (Babe)
I once taught my sweet baby bird to say
Alive to sing freely forever more
Sunshine sings on this promising day!
Denise Hickey
(March 2009)
dedicated to Sunshine
Canary yellow parakeet
Dec. 6, 2007-August 13, 2008

"Colors of the Wind"

You think I'm an ignorant savage
and you've been so many places
I guess it must be so....
but still I cannot see
if the savage one is me?
How can there be so much
that you don't know?
You don't know...
You think you own whatever land you land on
The earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and every tree and creature
Has a life, has a Spirit, has a name!
Think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you --
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew.
Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the Blue Corn Moon?
Or ask the Grinning Bobcat why he grins?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth.
The rainstorm and the river they are my brothers
The heron and the auk they are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
And in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.
How high can the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know.
And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the Blue Corn Moon
or whether we have white or copper skin
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind.
You can own the earth and still,
All you'll own is earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind.
from "Pocahontas"
Walt Disney Pictures
10 Anniversary Edition
Academy Award winning music

"A Call to the Wild"

A Call to the Wild
By Gregory M. Feldman
So far from me -- you are
A space in time
I can't even begin to
Oh, I wish
I could float
into omnipotence
To make time this;
This sheet of paper
I write on
Time would fold over
and I'd meet you
Meet you
at the crease.
This space is all
too complex
A Rubex cube of
infinite colors
But it is with you
You I feel at home
And it is you
You, I don't even know
(Knowledge is of
the mind)
Emotion of the soul
Is my only bridge
Over distant seas
Of culture and habit
My "soul" reason
To reach that crease
Although, my skin
be white
And blood be Jewish
My spirit is free
As sugar is sweet
Come -- come red one
Save me from the
Of a factory belt
And show me smoke
Of a wilderness fire
Paint me up
And call me
Sitting Duck --
Dance with me
To the pulsation
of a Flame --
Give me a bow
Carve me an arrow
And honor me
with a feather
For our widowed mother
I will preserve
You can hear me!
Save me
Save me from
Laundramats and
the Lottery
Don't let bureaucracy
and BurgerKings get me
I want to howl
at the night
With braided hair
from Creations Magazine
c/o The Inner Light Center
Roslyn, NY
(Circa 1990)
Forest Hills, New York

"A Few Figs from Thistles"

A Few Figs From Thistles
Edna St. Vincent Millay
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends --
It gives a lovely light!
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
We were very tired, we were very merry --
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright and smelled like a stable --
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hilltop underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
We were very tired, we were very merry --
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and the pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.
(I would like to dedicate this poem to Paula Gillespie
For the Friendship We Shared
Fall 2000 - June 2007)
How shall I know, unless I go
To Cairo and Cathay,
Whether or not this blessed spot
Is blest in every way?
Now it may be, the flower for me
Is this beneath my nose;
How shall I tell, unless I smell
The Carthaginian rose?
The fabric of my faithful love
No power shall dim or ravel
Whilst I stay here, --but oh, my dear,
If I should ever travel!
Love, though for this you riddle me with darts,
And drag me at your chariot till I die, --
Oh, heavy prince! Oh, panderer of hearts!--
Yet hear me tell how in their throats they lie
Who shout you mighty: thick about my hair,
Day in, day out, your ominous arrows purr,
Who still am free, unto no querulous care
A fool, and in no temple worshiper!
I, that have bared me to your quiver's fire,
Lifted my face into its puny rain,
Do wreathe you Impotent to Evoke Desire
As you are Powerless to Elicit Pain!
(Now will the god, for blasphemy so brave,
Punish me, surely, with the shaft I crave!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Remembering Tony"

"Notes on Tony" He took notes wherever he went. He filled 5-subject notebooks of them. Well-informed, he could converse on anything! From World History to new ideas for the Connecticut Mastery Test! New London School Superintendent Christopher Clouet said he never missed a meeting while he served on the Board of Ed. He had his hand in everything; he went everywhere. His office looked like a garage sale. He always believed in what was best for the children. Very well-spoken -- she could be a teacher -- his daughter Mamie said he was interested in everything. He adoped the pet hobby of growing orchids. One day, he arrived home with the potted plants and a container which stank to high heaven -- "fish emulsion" -- but "it was what the plants needed." A fellow teacher from New London spoke of Tony as her best friend. They used to get up early in December, call each other. Watch the North Star as it traversed the sky at 4 a.m. She called him from California once -- when there was an earthquake in Connecticut -- he barely missed it -- because he refused to get up at 4 a.m. on that morning -- to watch the North Star! For the past week or so, I have felt "called" to do my weekly grocery shopping at Stop & Shop in Waterford. Instead of Groton for the past couple of years or East Lyme, more recently. I thought it was because S&S-W is where I met Paula and where we worked together -- I as a cashier -- she as a bagger --from Fall 2000 to Spring 2001 -- evenings to supplement my income as a classroom aide in East Lyme. To see the people still there who knew her. (Besides, I don't care what the neighbors think anymore!!) But it was "B" who I saw first at Tony's Memorial Service on Saturday morning. Someone whom I worked with at S&S-W and knew well. "Who was he? uncle?" "He was my father." (Told you this was a small town! ain't so bad -- sometimes.) Tony believed that when you gave a book to someone as a gift, "B" said, you should write something in it to the one receiving it. Then, when someone else borrowed it, they could share in the reason for the giving. He once wrote in "B's" book: It doesn't matter what you do. Helping other people is what makes you happy. A photographic memory, "B" introduced me to her mother as, "Denise, my best friend," after the service. Once, at work, I told off a young cashier who was bossing "B" around. "Faster! Faster! Hurry up! Move it!" My words to this cashier came out like gunfire! "I am not," the young cashier said. "Well, ya are!" I said. She was much nicer to "B" after that. Notes on "B" "We're all boxed in!" while delineating a box in the air with her finger. "Total craziness." "It ain't gettin' no better!" For years after I quit working there (twice), I would utter these three phrases upon sight. She always wore a nice dress with heels, white pumps to work. "Oh, 'B'!" I cried at the end of the memorial service, at the funeral home, absent of the pompousity of The Church. (Indeed, Tony was spiritual, not religious.) "I feel so bad. I lost Paula. It's going to be all right! The first year is hard." I gave her another hug. I then told his wife that I once visited them in their home while an intern with the UNH Masters in Education program, 1995-96. She seemed to remember! "He's out there!" I said. "He's watching over you." she said. (Indeed, as I rewrite this last, at my dining room table at 10 p.m.; I glimpse a sudden shadow -- quicksilver!) (Oh, Denise. You work too hard.) --That's Paula. What a team they will be! On the way out, I promised "B" I would see her when I shopped at S&S in W. On a regular basis. As I sat during the service, I could see her eyes on me from where she sat on the couch with her family. Gathering strength, I hope. Just by my presence. On my way out the door, I grabbed two blue rocks, which the family said represents Tony, "Dr. B," "the doc," a rock to all who know him. "We're all boxed in!" "It ain't gettin' no better!" Denise Hickey Impelliteri Funeral Home Montauk Avenue New London, CT Saturday, April 25, 2009 (New Moon) On the way out

"The Soloist"

THE SOLOIST Sat April 25 09 4:00pm 1 Nianti PG13 38 1 Ad Mat $5.00
The Soloist, the friendship between two men.
Steve Lopez, Staff Writer, LA Times
Nathaniel Anthony Ayers,
Street Cellist.
Based on a true story.
When he was indoors, he heard voices -- had to drop out of Juilliard in his second year.
Voices -- "everyone hears your thoughts."
Indoors, TV screens, distractions, cognitive dissonances, the voices of those who occupied the space before him, the people around him.
A woman on Skid Row said the voices comforted her. When they put her on lithium, the voices went away. She had no one to comfort her.
His friend found him a room.
"I don't want to die in here -- locked off from life."
He preferred the sounds of the city, the tunnels, the streets.
"I don't belong here. I'm never coming back. You want to put me away."
They've been diagnosed with everything from A to Z. The last thing they need is one more person telling them they need medication.
"You can't fix L.A."
A bust of Beethoven for a gift.
The simple act of being someone's friend can alter their brain chemistry. Improve their functioning in society.
I can't believe you would still want to be friends with me after all of those things I said.
"Friends piss each other off."
Why don't YOU step out from that lens, my friend? And apologize for all the lies that YOU'VE been living in?