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  • Ysidora Pico 20:08 on 22/03/2014 Permalink | Reply  

    I Send You this Odetta Playlist, Featuring Motherless Child 


    Motherless Child

    from « American Negro Spirituals»
    by J. W. Johnson, J. R. Johnson, 1926

    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    A long ways from home
    A long ways from home
    True believer
    A long ways from home
    Along ways from home

     Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
    Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
    Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
    Way up in de heab’nly land
    Way up in de heab’nly land
    True believer
    Way up in de heab’nly land
    Way up in de heab’nly land

     Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    A long ways from home
    There’s praying everywhere



  • Ysidora Pico 17:58 on 16/03/2014 Permalink | Reply  

    I Send You This Ship with Your Name on It 


    Houston Ship Channel, photo by tony barilla

    Houston Ship Channel, photo by tony barilla


    And a poem with your ship in it.

    A Ghost

    by Cole Swensen

    erodes the line between being and place becomes the place of being time and so
    the house turns in the snow is why a ghost always has the architecture of a storm
    The architect tore down room after room until the sound stopped. A ghost is one
    among the ages at the edge of a cliff empty sails on the bay even when a ship
    or the house moves off in fog asks you out loud to let the stranger in


  • Ysidora Pico 20:44 on 24/02/2014 Permalink | Reply


    ¡Ay Dios Mio!

    I’m worried, so worried about the state of our world. As a result of the hoards streaming into Alta California to plunder the land and the rivers for this gold that they believe the whole land rests upon, much turmoil has erupted. They call our land — which is now newly their land — “the golden state,” but they should be calling it the red and black and blue state because of all the spilled blood and violence being done to get this gold. I have been up to my eyeballs in safeguarding native women and children, refugees to our mission San Juan Capistrano, who have heard rumor that they gain shelter here, gain safety. As I am “la llavera,” I have been taking them in and keeping them in the attic at nights, but we are running out of room! I’ve heard told that there are men in the north full of so much cupidity that their eyeballs are literally turning yellow!


    Meg, who seems to have a stronger immune system than most (I’m not positive she is human) is perhaps safe on Mars, but as I have not heard anything from the others (sweet Oscar, Donnie — whose immune system I’m sure is dashed due to his lifestyle — Isabella, Mr. Sweetman), I fear that my comadres and compadres have been victims of some new violence or virulence and that the end is truly nigh!

    • Patrick J. Sweetman 00:34 on 26/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      No I’m here I had the deep blues (to go with your reds and blacks) after visiting the clairvoyant. I was told she was a medium but she turned out to be very small. Huh advertising. So I snuck off for a couple of days to gather my thoughts. Oh and violence is coming on over here. All guns blazing. My nephew John will bring you some if needed but I fear that will be too late as he only starts to get involved in America in the 1880s. Still let me know if there is anything I can do. Truely yours, PJ

  • Ysidora Pico 21:51 on 21/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Getting Closer… 

    Here is a version of the What’s on [My] Mind? publicity website. Please take a look at it, and if you have a moment, I would appreciate any feedback you might have about what’s working well and about how I can make it better. THANK YOU!

    (P.S. If you click on the image, it should take you to the link.) (P.S.S. if you click on the #1850charla post on the website, it will give you an initial understanding of how I’m thinking about organizing the charla).

    Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.42.10 PM

    • Christa Forster 17:16 on 25/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Looks awesome, Ysi!

    • Patrick J. Sweetman 00:29 on 26/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Ysi (goes with Izzi) it looks great. And I’ve no problem hanging out with Prima Donnas. Who’s going to throw the best parties the Prima Donnas or the Wallflowers? I’m with the PDs all the way. And anyway in a previous life I was Sarah Bernhardt, that’s enough Prima Donna for any man!

      • Christa Forster 16:30 on 26/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Ah, Sarah! I love her style! I’ve turned my hair into a nest for birds but never into a belfry for bats! Next up….

        Sarah Bernhardt with Bat

    • Patrick J. Sweetman 10:22 on 27/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      The lady is a vamp and a little known influence for Ozzie Osbourn’s stage show.

  • Ysidora Pico 04:04 on 11/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   


    I have finally been granted the ability to speak for myself here. This is ALL I EVER WANTED: to speak for myself.

    I am terribly glad to be here with you all. Thank you for existing. I’ve been following your adventures and conversations and discussions for weeks now, and I am looking forward to sharing some reports from my own pilgrimage — and, of course, to hear more about yours. Perhaps we shall even create some new adventures together? I can only hope.

    Saludos Cordiales,
    Su Comadre, Ysidora Pico

    • Isabella Medici 05:03 on 11/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Welcome Ysidora!

      I don’t know another way to say it, but I probably had an easier life than you. Although I did die at 34, so you may have lived longer. And the last 2 years were sheer terror at the hands of my misogynist / misanthrope brother. Finally, 11 years after my brother Francesco murdered me, my more pragmatic brother Ferdinando murdered him.

      When Ferdinando turned in his Cardinal’s hat to become Grand Duke of Florence, the greatest wedding, the greatest Medici spectacle, the biggest Theatrum Mundi Florence had ever seen, his marriage to Christina of Lorraine (granddaughter of Catherine de’ Medici) was organized as a year-long event.

      In many ways “The Medici Wedding of 1589” was the pinnacle of theatrum mundi. I, of course, had been gone and as forgotten as Francesco could make me, for 13 years by then. But I’d always been the Medici who organized plays, events, carnival floats, commissioned music, and celebrated the creative arts in so many ways and brought so much joy and entertainment to the court and to Florence. 1589 was so me. And yet it wasn’t.

      So too, we’ve all been here prattling on both without you, but also because of you.

      Perhaps it is not the builder’s place to live in the homes and cities created by their impulse. I appreciated the end of the film Bugsy, where he is unceremoniously murdered for his failure, and then the screen wipes to show the money, power, and spectacle of the modern-day Las Vegas that his vision built, but that he never set foot in.

    • Donnie 09:34 on 11/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Ysidora, you’ve been haunting my dreams, kid. Good to see you here in the flesh!

      • Ciara Finnegan 09:37 on 11/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

        In the flesh???

        • Donnie 09:38 on 11/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

          Well, geez, if you were composed of a wooden head and a cartoon body, you’d understand “the flesh” as a fairly loose concept…

    • Ysidora Pico 13:33 on 11/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Isabella, Such a sad paradox about 1589 being so “you” (so because of you) and yet you were not there to enjoy the fruits of your labors–and MURDERED!? ¡Ay, Dios mio!

      Thank god I was not murdered. But, my son Chico was, the grief of which murdered my husband’s and, soon after, my heart. Although, we were pretty old by then, too, so….

      And what IS it with the domineering brothers? Mine (Pio and Andres) married me off to an Anglo as a way — they thought — to protect their property interests in the newly created Alta California — when they KNEW that I was not a fan of marriage. I mean, I was 30 when I was married — in 1836. Clearly, I was not on the marriage plan, but my brothers had other plans for me.

      I really like the metaphor about the builder not being the inhabitant of the home she builds, although it was her impulse that caused the building to be built in the first place. My granddaughter is a teacher, and this is similar to the way her profession works.

      Also, Mr. Donnie, you have been dreaming of me? de veras? What portents have those dreams revealed?

      • Isabella Medici 02:57 on 13/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

        You know Ysidora, I think the phrase “Bun in the oven” sums up so much of the human condition. Men are “intelligent” beings. Women are ovens. What else do we need to know?

        Who gets to live in the house is a funny question. As a princess in 1550 I enjoyed so much privilege that almost no one in my time ever did. Yet a poor person in 2014 has so much that a 1550 princess couldn’t even dream of.

    • ysidorapico 12:34 on 13/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      You know what’s fascinating? The disintegration of the concept that time is a line. It’s wonderful that in 2014, we can speak with our voices from 1550, 1850, 2050.

      The idea of a time line seemed at first to me a lie guarded and promoted by murderers and thieves and power mongers — “don’t look back,” they seemed to say, “because then we will have to grapple with the destruction we’ve left in our wake.”

      I wondered, Why not imagine how to order time more from our observation of nature; for example, why are the models for how we live not like a blossom that loses its petals not one by one, not in a linear fashion, but rather in clusters, dumping out its heart as it reaches for the sunlight, as it draws up earth’s moisture through its roots? Why do we not mark time as the sea does: eternal waves swelling and breaking one after the other, sometimes more, sometimes less? Is it because we don’t know how to depict this motion?

      Is each lifetime a wave in a sea? Is each wave a moment in a life?

      These are the kinds of things I thought about while I was growing toward my 30th year, where I thought I was safe from marriage. Instead, in my 30th year, my cultural life replaced my natural life: I became a mother to three children, Marcos, Chico, and Juanon. My days were in no way linear — they were for a long, long while merely endless repetitions of the same thing over and over — feeding and cleaning, cleaning and feeding. Once the boys could clean themselves, it was feeding and educating, educating and feeding.

      Having children reduced my poetic questions to a reality of drudgery. I realized that the idea of linear time is thrilling: it provides hope that things will change, that one’s conditions can change.

      And, of course, we change and change and change and then we die. What’s thrilling is that I have come back to life! It defies my imagination, but apparently not enough to stop me.

    • Patrick J. Sweetman 00:21 on 19/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi All, I’m coming to the party late. And now that I’m here a little slow to get going. It may be at the tail end of the industrial revolution but I’m still a bit of a ludite. Anyway with party in mind the least I can do is bring the beer.

      • Meg O'Ryan 04:12 on 19/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Beer? Hi Patrick! You run a pub? Oh wow! Donnie is going to love you!!

        But watch out for that Oscar, I think he’s a prohibitionist!

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