"It's about words, and words are all I have…"



They say the ghost of Claude Monet haunted Joan Mitchell’s

Paris garden   Her paintings  abstractions of Giverny   Watery

purples + glistening pinks   Lover of Jean-Paul Riopelle   Hard

colours  +squares   And penile   They say in the notes to the show

(AGO to May 6)  that they met in Paris  fell in love  + enjoyed a

wild  social life    The subtext: wilder than yours


My own gardens have been haunted  mainly by Jewish poets  Your

ghosts find you   Monet far too angelic  +peaceful  for an angsty red

headed Jew with an un-wild social life for at least a decade   Oh  and 1

Jewish photographer  a suicide   Daughter of ritzy clothiers   Arbus

Angsty as they come   Then there is Mandelstam  persecuted  + gulaged


On Tuesday as I departed a Jewish retirement residence  a woman touched

my hand: Mumala do you speak Yiddish?  I understood:  Peace  God  Luck

But it was when she switched to English that a punch administered to gut   I

last saw my mother at 15   There was a knock at the door   I knew what was

coming   Your interlopers find you:  survivors   kidnapped +burned children


In the camp there was something  someone  always pushing at my back  Do

you know who?   I thought of everything in life   I was a business woman  But

I never thought of this    She gestured around the lobby   I stumbled out into the

frigid night  Leftover cheesecake bouncing against arthritic knee  Would I trade

my aging psyche  for a younger body?   MRI’s now writ large in my wild social life


While I would have said no  a mere week ago  the drill in my rotator cuff  is creating

nostalgia for my un-formed 20’s   The unlimited possibilities  +the ghost of Lennon

finding me   Years before survivors of wars + tortured children   Light of heart  Angst

free  (mostly)   Once  a wise + jovial aunt  who spent many years incapacitated  said:

We live our lives backward    This at a wine+cheese  on the eve of my 1st engagement



Life strikes a deal with the coming night….

2 Joan Mitchells



Spring  2018  ..

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