(In honor of Venice-of-America’s 109th Birthday)
In a time that was,
(And in a time that was not)
Abbot Kinney hid in a bin on a dock
To safeguard his life
From Turks bayoneting any infidel found
Oh, how the blood of Christians
Spilled onto the dock that day
A carmine blood delta flowing to the sea.
And Abbot Kinney knew his life was over
But it was not, it was not….
Destiny had other plans for Abbot Kinney
And procured a small boat to sail toAfrica
With only his life
With only HIS life!
And Abbot Kinney now Knew
Oh, the preciousness of life!!
Not only his, but all life
The mighty as well as the weak….
That was the day Abbot Kinney’s soul
Made a stringent vow to never trivialize
The significance of his own life
With mundane endeavors of any kind
And his heart heard…and knew the truth of it
And his intellect heard and knew the truth of it
And thus sanity was born in Abbot Kinney
And Abbot Kinney returned from Africa
An integrated man, enveloped within his own intuition…
Fast forward to another lifetime in OceanPark
A partner dies, a partner buys
The usual arguments of money and greed emerging
Abbot Kinney calls a meeting of the partners
To trade all of his holdings in their developments
For a mosquito swamp to the south
A sump already deemed
By experts as unsuitable for habitation
The investors gleed in their greed
Oh, the wily Kinney has finally gone mad, he’s mad!
Wind-fallen prosperity they nabbed with avarice
And signed the papers oh so quickly
Deeding the marshland to Kinney
Before the asylum came to claim
The insane Kinney and drag him away.
But Abbot Kinney had walked those bogs
And marshlands to the south
He had felt an energy harbored there
Oh, yes, we still sing the song of those spirits
In Venice to this very day! Nothing to be done with marshes, but canals
And so it was on the first day of dredge
As steel blades of chuffing bulldozers
Pushed dank Cambrian ooze to formulate banks
Abbot Kinney saw faint illuminations of vapor
From the foaming primordial mud
An interred Goddess emerged
The workmen saw the apparition not
But it was The Goddess Venus
Come to ply Abbot Kinney with visions
Golden tresses bewitched by the
Breaths of her attendant deities and fairy folk
And then Venus began her songs of creation
In altered states of melodic harmonies
Goddess songs of cities ancient and mythical
She sang of past golden cities of magic and light
To enchant Abbot Kinney with the land in his keeping
And ply his mind with visions of a creation
And its significance to the Earth and to the World
Abbot Kinney, smitten, changed the name of the city
To Venice to honor the Goddess VenusAnd her Aura…..
Venice — a place of learning and enlightenment
Venice — a haven of harmony and inspiration for artists
Venice – a perfumed sensory experience
Venice – where transformation is guided by Muses
And Abbot Kinney continued in his creation of a city that
Venus sang as revelation to him
A city that he fiercely loved with all of his heart
A city he gave to the world for all time
That city is called Venice
Published in the Free Venice Beachhead JULY, 2014
Ahhhh….Spring in Venice…for some it means jasmine perfumery, The Venice Art Walk, or the return of the tourists to the beach. For me, spring’s atmosphere wrenches with a cry of desolate despair: the cry of the baby mockingbird.
I am particularly sensitized to it since Michael and I have raised two mockingbird orphans: Amelia and Beauregard. We began with the name Amelia as inspiration for it to fly, but when we inherited another one the next year, naming them in alphabetical order seemed to be called for. As a child, one of my favorite books was one where the heroine had 26 dogs, one for each letter of the alphabet. (This might be a clue for my rescuing of any creature lost or abandoned so that I, too, could gather so many of the earth’s needy.) Here I might add, Michael holds the reverse philosophy, and opts that the universe to deal with any issues at hand. As you can imagine, this is raw material for, shall we say, interesting ‘discussions’ throughout our relationship. In any case, I am always meddling in everyone’s biz, just ask any one of my neighbors…
Speaking of neighbors, I have been racing at the neighbor’s cat, Jack, on the attack, clapping and yelling like a mad woman to chase him from any vicinity of the nest. Poor Jack is now quite confused; at other times of the year, I pet him so he falls on his back, paws in the air, belly vulnerable and exposed. No more! At the first alarm from the mockingbird parents, loud clicks and daring dives of gray flecked with white, I race from our studio on the alert. Buckets of water stand at the ready. Last night at dusk found me at my loquat tree battling a very large and very pissed off raccoon with a rake. No matter that he probably only had hankerings for the sweet fruit. The mockingbirds had sounded their clicking alarms, and out I ran, at first thinking it was one of the cat, buts…no, he was just a very wild raccoon. I called Michael for help and out he came immediately with a long stick to assist in my battle like a knight of old. You can see the difference in how each of us deals with the world — Michael generally is just trying to save me from the results of my many interventions…..
But back to the raising of baby mockingbirds…a large box will generally suffice as a cage. We always had a cat, so we got a cage to keep the babies out of harm’s reach. We used a dropper to squirt water down its throat for hydration. The baby bird acts like it’s being drowned, but ours thrived in spite of our efforts. For food, we found that frozen peas and ground turkey work best, the ground turkey closest to our idea of regurgitated worms. However, I must warn you. Forget about having any life other than feeding and caring for this featherless bit of blue-veined flesh. The baby mockingbird is relentless in its demands. Absolutely relentless. Its loud voice adamantly claims that it is starving to death and very nearly at the end of its rope. Michael and I were either feeding it, or cleaning its nest every 15 minutes. As a result, I totally get putting one’s children in front of the TV; for peace, we would wearily put the cover over the baby mockingbird’s cage so it would shut up and go to sleep. With some guilt, I might add, until dawn, when our day of servitude would begin all over again.
When we were raising Amelia, I had to go to Texas for work for a few weeks. (You can see why Michael hates me to get involved in anything – when I do, he invariable does as well.) When I returned, Michael came out to greet me, Amelia hot on his heels, mouth gaping, wings outstretched, running as fast as she could to keep up with him, yelling at the top of her lungs. It is one of the most endearing snapshots I dearly hold in my memory. As well as his…
No matter…how I have come to love that early springtime warble of the mockingbird to attract its mate. Trills and spills of percussion and melody that outdo Louis Armstrong or Jimi Hendrix. As Harper Lee said, “mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
Amen. Especially in the sacred city that is Venice!