Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ariel Blue Sky

Ariel the day she visited

Ariel Blue Sky

    She was walking briskly down Morgan Street with purpose, pushing a small cart with frightfully damaged wheels. The wheels snaked down the sidewalk instead of rolling. Their elliptical shape caused the cart to bob and weave as it moved; forward motion interrupted by lateral. From across the parking lot she asked, “Are you affiliated with Crocker’s?”

    The veil of preconception and first impression allowed me only a vision of a bag lady... perhaps even a prostitute. She was neither. I was expecting a solicitation for money or an offer of services. Instead she asked if I had any wheels that would fit her cart. As she asked she told me, “I’ve been down the street and those people are bad business. They insulted me terribly!” I could imagine that what they had said to her was what I had thought. From my vantage point very near the ground, the veil was lifted and I took a second look.
    Mohair. She was a study in mohair, black and gold, from head to toe. Her calf length skirt, her jacket and hat were all black and gold mohair. Her arms from above the elbow to her fingertips were covered in black leather gloves. She had rings on almost every finger... over the gloves. We had only spoken of her cart so far, nothing else. Simply a polite exchange about what needed to be done to repair it and the possible costs involved. The outfit that she had on distracted me so, that I felt compelled to tell her how much I liked it. She reminded me of a character in a French absurdist play... the name wouldn’t come.

    “That is a great outfit!” I said. Not very profound, but it was the opening Ariel was waiting for. Her response was out of a James Joyce novel, pure stream of consciousness. “My name is Ariel Blue Sky. I’m affiliated with the Circle 7 and Yayah Selah. In fact I know all of the Selah family. They are from New York, you know. I’m also affiliated with Drs. Smith and Garner. I’m from Newport... do you know where that is?” She paused long enough for me to say, “Rhode Island?” “No silly, North Carolina!” She laughed a pleasant laugh as she corrected me. “You know  where that is?”
“Sure, down near th...” “ Yeah, down at the coast... down east.” I recognized the “down east” in her speech after she told me. “ I own a forty acre farm down there.”

    At this point I was re-evaluating my first impressions of Ariel Blue Sky. My first take was certainly not right. She wasn’t a prostitute. At least I didn’t think so. On second look I was beginning to think she had escaped from some institution. Dorothea Dix Hospital, the mental hospital, was only a few blocks away. What was Yayah Selah, who were the Drs. and what is this about forty acres in Newport? The questions came and the only answer stood before me. A lady in an outrageous though striking outfit telling tall tales, pulling a broken down cart and  looking like (I remembered the story as she was talking) The Madwoman of Chaillot. She talked for at least another thirty minutes, non stop, about her other interests and adventures. I found it hard to believe my eyes or my ears.

    She left her cart for repair. Ariel vowed to return Monday to pick up her “car” as she called it. While she was telling her tales she had been unloading the cart. Every article of clothing, every bag and every unusual item that came from the cart had become a part of her wardrobe. The mohair outfit was covered with a red, full length, leather coat.  A brightly colored sash around her waist and “things” sticking out of every pocket made it a progressive makeover. But it could not hide Ariel Blue Sky my Madwoman of Chaillot.
    Though I didn’t expect it Ariel returned on Monday just as she said she would. Perhaps I looked the skeptic to her. She brought along all of the things that belonged in the cart and more. First she showed me her “business cards”. Do you remember the Circle 7 Ariel said she was affiliated with? Well, the first business card she showed me was a circle with a 7 in the middle... just like the convenience store on Peace Street. The proprietors name was... Yayah Selah. On the back of the card was this impression, left by a rubber stamp, solely for that purpose “ Dr. Smith and Garner - (Ariel - is ‘29’(c) ) and below that “Blue (c) Sky” . Other cards from other local businesses bore Ariel’s trademark stamp on the back as well. She asked if she could have a few of mine. I could not have forgiven myself had I not granted her request and become part of the tale she tells. Do you remember the forty acres in Newport, not Rhode Island, North Carolina? Ariel pulled out a plat map... of a forty acre tract in Newport and proceeded to describe it in detail and with pride. Not only that, she produced a playbill from the VFW Hall in Cary. It read this way, “Divas Night Out - A celebration of local female musicians and artists” Added to the playbill in handwritten script was the following, “Ariel (c) Blue Sky & her Oct. ‘97 ~Jesus Icon~ Played by Frankie~ His Band Wicked & the Hip” The playbill finished with “Music- Dance- Arts- Jewelry - Damn Grand Time!” On the back was a copy of an original artwork created by Ariel. It was one of her Icons as she called them. A picture of Jesus, maybe, crowning Mary with another woman close at hand. It was captioned “The Fifth Glorious Mystery-The Coronation of Mary & The Tobacco Queen- For: President of the U.S.A. ‘2000’ & Circle (7). I guess I left out the part about Ariel running for President in 2000.

    Ariel then asked me how much she owed me for the repair of her cart. It hadn’t really occured to me to charge anything. I didn’t think money would come easy for her. The stories she told me and the visage she presented were payment enough in my estimation so I answered her question this way, “ Ariel, I would really like one of your pictures.” She seemed both  relieved and surprised. A few days later she returned with a framed picture titled “Mount Zion”. Like Ariel the picture was an eclectic mix of color and theme. Its composition, a pink and blue sky, a double blue mountain, a lake surrounded by yellow fields and green trees and a single small star in a brightening part of the sky. Ariel left that day with a story of trouble where she lived. Seems the landlord wanted her out and was trying to evict her; trying to put out that one small star.

    Over a month later Ariel revisited the shop. She was dressed in the same fashion as before although her face was profoundly sad and lacking its usual pleasant smile. She asked me if I would call a cab for her. Then she told me a tale of woe. Not only had she been evicted, she had been assaulted by a person twice her size. The altercation in her apartment complex was the “straw that broke the camels back” with her landlord. The cab ride downtown would take her to the courthouse where Ariel planned to plead her case. We loaded Ariel’s cart into the back of my pick-up truck and headed downtown. I asked for a hug and wished her good luck. I have not seen her since that day.

    At the end of the play, “The Madwoman of Chaillot” by Jean Giraudoux, the wicked of the world evaporate and leave behind the Madwoman and her friends. The Deaf-Mute speaks these words “Sadness flies on the wings of the morning-and out of the heart of darkness comes the light” and then becomes silent again. The Madwoman goes about her business of saving the world, reminding her friends of this “Nothing is ever so wrong in the world that a sensible woman can’t set right in the course of an afternoon. Only, the next time, don’t wait until things begin to look black. The minute you notice anything, tell me at once.”

    We notice that you are gone, Ariel. Raleigh is not quite the same.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Side Dish: We have a winnah!

So... a couple of days ago was a most-amazing-day for me and tomorrow will be another for the hottest book cook in El's Kitchen... Ellen Meister.

Buy this book! You won't be disappointed...

Side Dish: We have a winnah!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Amazing Legs

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ekphrastic on Wayne Taylor's "Trapeziums Dancing"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dancing Madly Backwards-Scary quiz

My walk is:
A Mix of Hopping, Dancing and Writhing in Pain


Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The Thirty-Fourth Day

Dichotomy of moon
Half disc illumed
Speaks day into day
Time into time

The light and dark of it
Present absent
Breaks life into parts
Of a puzzle

On the shadow pieces
A time to die
A time to pluck up
A time to weep

On the illumined ones
A time for birth
A time for planting
A time to laugh

Intersection of two
Disparate shares
Of one persons life
A line between

One day tells its tale to another

Friday, March 04, 2005

Old Vises Posted by Hello

The Thirty Third Day

Come heart mental eyes me
F U dare
My love is philioing through
Ere oh centric
Leaving store G behind
Four a Greek tragedy
Of words

Which box
Did you put me in
Send away?

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