Bricks and Mortar, Flesh and Bone

Latte, pain au chocolat, Sunday’s New York Times.
Then Monday, Marvelous Market’s gone without a trace.
Months on, another cafe opens there. It’s not “that place”
for me. I stay away.

Lavandou—cuisine of the south of France—
reminded me of summer weeks, Provence!
Then, one day, whoosh! That restaurant’s gone;
Another treasure lost; I feel forlorn.

Accustomed now to losses more severe,
(at my age friends may disappear like mist)
I want my consolations fixed and set,
my brick and mortar backdrop in its place.

It’s hard enough to lose friends’ flesh and bone,
their banter, voices, laughter gone for good.
Like you, I’m just one actor on my stage. The cast
dwindles small before I think it should.

On New Year’s Eve Gordon, descending
steps to party, fell, was gone.
Bea, light and frail, walked to the polls
Election Day, and windblown flat, was spirited away.

And Molly’s Mike lost hearing, wandered halls,
then disappeared. So many gone—
Jan’s songbird John, sang his last words,
then she heard silence.

I’ve lost a closest too, quite long ago. Another
closest came, but that took years. It’s later now;
I know how flesh and bone can quickly disappear.

I need my bricks and flesh both to stand still.

©2014 Marguerite Beck-Rex


About inkpaintwords

A feminist writer and artist with a penchant for all things French, living in Washington DC. My love of language led me, indirectly, to my pleasure in gardening, drawing and watercolor. It began with a book, a collection of New Yorker garden columns by Katherine White, wife of its founding editor E.B.White. Her enthusiastic appraisal of the literary merit of various garden catalogs led me to collect and keep her favorites as well as to hoard with them some more recently-emerged seed, bulb and seed catalogs. The beautiful catalogs inspired me to little by little turn our entire front lawn (our home had a wooded ravine close behind) into a garden. That grew into a lovely site with two simple arches, a gliding bench on a little sitting patio and modest slate paths winding through beds of shade lovers and whatever plants supposedly in need of full sun that I could manage to coax into colorful healthy bloom. A curiosity about color and color theory emerged as I became keenly interested in impressionist painters; that interest merged in some way with my urge to garden. I acquired more than one book about Monet’s garden and gardens of other impressionist painters, both French and American. One day I picked up a magazine for painters, and found inside an article about a painter I’d known. Among examples of her splendid watercolor paintings was her watercolor of her garden at that time. Suddenly I could think of nothing more exciting than painting my garden. I enrolled in her watercolor class in The Art League in Alexandria, VA. The influence that the collection of Katherine White’s columns about the literary merits of certain garden catalogs has had on my life has come full now. Ink, Paint & Words combines what has become an obsession with drawing and watercolor with my passion for language. Yes, I still garden. A table full of blooming potted plants sits on my apartment patio, backed by an ivy covered fence with park trees behind. My patio, and my larger environment of Washington DC, together provides wonderful vistas for drawing and painting. For a number of years annual trips to France gave me and my companions extravagantly colorful panoramas and charming tableaux for brush and pen. And yes, now I’ve painted in Monet’s gardens several times. But that, as they say, is another story.
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4 Responses to Bricks and Mortar, Flesh and Bone

  1. Greg Rex says:

    Another Masterpiece!!

  2. Rhoda Trooboff says:

    A beautiful poem, Marguerite! May I share on my FaceBook page and link to Inkpaintwords?

  3. Marianne Soponis says:

    Dear Marguerite,
    You have once again touched my heart with your beautifully expressed thoughts….

  4. I feel it too and see it all around us over here in Brookland at Turkey Thicket where things are changing day by day. Lost here are the quiet and peace and wild green spaces turned to brick and mortar monsters… but we have “urban gathering places” now. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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