Archive | September 2022

Lunch with Kerfe

My husband and went into NYC to see Kerfe. It’s been a long time. We met at her place and had lunch at Sarabeth’s.

As our readers know, Kerfe and I have been friends for many years. Getting together today it was as if no time had passed. I can talk to Kerfe about anything, although I couldn’t complain about my husband today (only for a minute when he used the rest room).

I asked her if I could post the cards she’s sent me over the last years and she agreed (surprisingly because she is very modest). Aren’t they good? They all have poems on the reverse side.

Kerfe suggested starting this blog in 2014 as a way of seeing each other’s art and encouraging same. Kerfe took to blogging and to my mind is a superstar on here. It has allowed us to look back at what we’ve done and keep doing it!

Stay safe, all, and have a good weekend. Nina

Devil Guardians (Thursday Doors)

Trickery, these choices
between opposing forces–
one equal to the other
at their meeting place.

Is there ever a way
to pry them apart?–
it seems impossible
to distinguish any difference.

sometimes up can change
completely, depending on
who or where you are.

And sometimes down is
really up in disguise, waiting
to surprise you.

I have many random photos I’ve taken of doors with no idea where they were taken and no context to show the entire building or the buildings around them.. These doors with devil guardians are part of that group.

Devils seem a peculiar guardian for a door. But perhaps the devil you know provides a shield against all the ones you haven’t yet met.

I love the arched windows on these brownstones too.

Punam at dVerse asked us to consider good and evil as a subject for our poems. I think there is a thin line, often even an overlap, between the actions of gods and demons. The promised safety of obedience to a God or a risky uncertain bargain with the Devil? One website I visited said that, in folklore, the Devil is often interchangeable with the Fool. The Fool contains all possibilities, both good and bad. It’s not always easy to distinguish between truth and lies, illusion and fact. Would we choose to eat the apple? Paradise or Knowledge? Each one of us will answer in their own way.

And as always look for more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

The Kick-About #63 ‘Vilhelm Hammershøi’

Some explorations of light and space.

Red's Kingdom

Our last Kick-About together was inspired by continual movement and the accompanying changes of scale and perspective. This week’s showcase of new works made in a short time is, by contrast, a mediation on silence and stillness, as we explore together the hushed, pensive environs that feature in the paintings of Vilhelm Hammershøi.

Graeme Daly

“Hammershøi’s paintings feel so breathy and poetic, like you are peeking into the lives of the mysterious figures. I can’t help but think of a Victorian doll house with all its little furniture placed exactly as the collector envisions. I was initially inspired by the gorgeous light throughout Hammershøi’s paintings and awoke at the crack of dawn to capture the sun as it pooled in through the shutters and windows where the light licked the walls, doors and wooden furniture. I decided at the last minute to perch myself in areas that could resemble the…

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Rosh Hoshana/weekend work

Today is Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year and beginning of the High Holy Days. We will spend the day quietly; it is a beautiful day and my husband and I will take a walk soon. I am fervently hoping for peace in our troubled nation and in the world.

I’ve been working on canvas board lately, using elements cut out of other (failed) paintings and creating collages. The boards take glue well and also gouache and acrylic paint. I showed the top one to a neighbor and she thought it looked like Alaska, so I gave it that title.

I hope everyone has a good week. Nina

Shorts for the Weekend — Red Phoenix, featuring Kerfe

Teagan has made a story out of Six Happiness–enjoy!

Teagan's Books

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Altered Pixabay imageWelcome to my sanctuary.  You’re in a safe place.  When I started this series of short stories, I had asked readers to send images I would use to spontaneously inspire the tales. Of course, I got off track, when inspiration flew under my nose.  I read Kerfe‘s beautiful poem and asked her if I could use it, along with a couple of her photos from that same post.  I loved her poem because the symbol of the phoenix has always resonated with me.

Note:  This story is my own fiction. It is not meant to be a statement of any of Kerfe’s personal beliefs.  When I asked her permission to use the poem, I had no idea what the story would become.


Actually, this odd tale has been clawing to get out for weeks.  However, 99.9% of my stories have happy endings —…

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Six Happiness (Thursday Doors)

Her life was overflowing red,
painting absence into corners.
How much joy can one hold? she said–
it’s crossed over every border.
I can taste the good luck, the wealth–
like chili peppers—hot, untamed.
Mix it with longevity, health–

the Phoenix rises scarlet, flamed.

I’ve always been intrigued by this Six Happiness door, which belongs to an Asian Fusion restaurant, although I think the door is older than this iteration of Chinese Food. They have a pleasant outdoor dining space too.

It was only when doing research for this post that I discovered this is the back side of The Endicott, a co-op apartment building that was formerly a hotel. It takes up the entire block between 81st and 82nd street on Columbus Avenue.

The actual apartment entrance, on 81st Street, is imposing, but not as memorable as Six Happiness. Storefronts along Columbus Avenue include a Starbucks, a branch of the Strand Bookstore, a restaurant, and several clothing stores.

The Endicott Hotel was built in 1890. The architect was Edward L Angell, who designed the brownstones in my Juliet Balcony post. In the early 1900s, it served as a meeting place for “society” and the city’s Republican Party. Plagued by disasters, scandals, and money problems, it became a center for organized crime in the 1930s. The 60s and 70s saw its deterioration, along with much of the neighborhood, into a welfare hotel that was the scene of many violent crimes.

One positive note: it was also the site of the NY Dolls’ first public performance.

In the 1980s, again like many of the buildings on the Upper West Side, The Endicott was renovated and converted into luxury co-op apartments, as part of the re-gentrification of New York. It has since been landmarked, so the ornamentation and window guardians will be preserved.

The Endicott Hotel has its own Wikipedia page, if you want a more detailed history.

The poem is a Dizain for Muri’s W3 prompt, which asks us to write from the perspective of someone with synethesia.

I learn new things with every one of these posts. In Chinese culture, there are Five Happinesses–variously called, in the course of my research, good luck, joy, happiness, prosperity, wealth, harmony, longevity, good life, blessings, fertility, virtue, health, and peaceful death. And all things related to joy and happiness are associated with the color red, the most auspicious of Chinese colors. And also the color of the auspicious Phoenix and its fire.

The Sixth Happiness? –evidently, that’s the one you discover within yourself.

Visit Dan Antion, the host of Thursday Doors, here, to see more doors and add some of your own.

Jewish Museum (Thursday Doors)

aging in place

paths of other lives well-worn–
of layered movement,
other steps repeated, present–
lives remembered, reborn,
well-worn–renewed and also ancient

The Jewish Museum was originally located in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary on the Upper West Side. In 1944, Frieda Schiff Warburg, the widow of financier Felix Warburg, donated the family mansion to the museum to house its growing collection. Landmarked in 1981, the mansion was designed in the French Gothic chateau style by architect Charles P H Gilbert in 1908. It is one of the few surviving residences from the early 1900s on upper Fifth Avenue.

It was the first Jewish Museum in the United States, and holds the largest collection of Jewish art and culture outside of Israel. I visited a few weeks ago to see the “New York 1962-1964” exhibit. In the 1960s, the museum was a leader in exhibiting contemporary art, and this show contains over 150 artists working in the city at the time who were exhibited here.

The interior contains doors that look just like you would expect doors to look in a Victorian Age mansion. But somehow it works with all kinds of art. In the photo below, you can see in the far room the video of Walter Cronkite giving the news that JFK had been assassinated. The exhibit contained videos, music, dance, poetry, and cultural references as well as visual art.

Here’s a different view through a door into another room.

And here’s a beautiful emergency exit door.

I really like this museum because it’s not too large, it’s never too crowded, and they curate their exhibits so well. There was of course work by many artists I was familiar with, but I was glad to make the acquaintance of some new ones too.

Martha Edelheit
Carolee Schneeman
Emma Amos

My poem is in the Emmett form, for Muri’s scavenger hunt.

You can visit the Jewish Museum website here.

And as always look for more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

The Kick-About #62 ‘Powers Of Ten’

This week from the macro to the micro with Charles and Ray Eames.

Red's Kingdom

From the internal and endlessly expansive spaces of our memories, as inspired by our previous Kick-About together, we’re this week exploring the mind-boggling extremities of different scales, courtesy of Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 short film, Powers Of Ten. Enjoy this latest showcase of ‘new works made in a short time’, the big and the small and everything in-between.

James Randall

“As a youngster I recall the concept of infinity as an exciting concept that had huge at one end and tiny at the other. Then it got a bit messy and I threw in the concept of mother nature as a religion to cover the extremities. I approached this KA as a mechanical exercise where a square is 1×1 of a certain colour, 10×10 are lines across and down in the next colour wheel colour (and I varied the thickness of the lines and added some variation within…

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Weekend Work 9/12/2022

A friend wanted to buy a piece from me. It was this one, previously posted, done on handmade paper (from Kerfe) which wrinkles and bends and must be pressed flat every time it’s worked on.

This was one of my favorite pieces but I was glad it went to a friend. I decided to do more with the handmade paper. Top photo is what I worked on this weekend. The new one is more decorative and I may have to add more to it.

Have a good week! Nina


sky clear crisp blue–
time stands still once again–
ghostname voices–
bone rattled leaves–
bottomless sings the wind

I’ve rearranged some of my previous poetry from 9/11 into a Laurette poem for Muri’s scavenger hunt. Images also from past posts.