Happy Halloween!

A Token
By Annette Marie Hyder
(Halloween 2013)

“My sticky strength touches everything and weaves
The fabric of the universe together just as much as it
Loosens the bonds between things
From the largest to the small
While connecting them
From both sides of my web,”
Said Death.

“My bone trees sing
And the whistling and the rattling of their song carries
Through time and space
Gets sweeter with every veil you pierce.”
Death hummed a little tune at this point.

“On All Hallow’s Eve
Meet me at the crossroads and we shall see
If you belong on this side or the other,” said Death
As he bowed at the waist catching the coin he tossed in the air
As he did so and hiding it from me
Between his left forefinger and thumb distal phalanges
So I couldn’t see if it was heads or tails.

The unintended corset of his ribcage
The way that I could see him only
From the corner of my eye
The way he whispered
But in such a way as to be perfectly audible
As if he spoke directly into the microphone of my skull
And broadcast his words on a frequency that every raven for miles around,
Every wolf, every furred and feathered thing and I
Could hear
Had me transfixed to the spot.

The ravens exploded in black buckshot against the waning crescent moon.
The wolves gave one long unanimous howl and were gone.
But I stayed there
Listening to the after-effect noises
Like the pling and cling of underwater music that one hears
When the element of water caresses the ears
And holding between the cushions of my forefinger and thumb
A faceless coin though I couldn’t tell you the manner of its coming there.

A coin, a tithe, a token of Death’s esteem?
Something for Charon or something for me?
I have yet to spend it and loathe to look on its clear unblemished

The Witch’s Hat*

Photo courtesy of pfmreports.com

The Witch’s Hat Tower of Prospect Park East River Road
a Halloween story by Annette Marie Hyder

Sometimes on the day after Halloween you can see a new tree growing, like a blemish, on the hill where the tower stands. Some folks wonder at this — ask themselves if the trees upon the hill don’t look somehow more numerous — and some folks never notice. And then there are those folks who know what such a growth on the hill portends. They know why there is a new tree growing in the shadow of the tower the day after Halloween.

The tower is called The Witch’s Hat. Most think it was named in a light-hearted mood of whimsicality. But there was no whimsey involved in this naming. No. The Witch’s Hat tower looks like it is wearing a witch’s hat and so it is called eponymously. But the truth is, it not only looks like a witch’s hat, it is such a thing. And the tower itself is a witch imprisoned in the form of a tower for every day of the year, except for Halloween.

The tower is a real witch and she walks the streets of St. Paul every Halloween. She shows up at public spaces where parties are being held, at bars and at open venues and mixes with the crowds. She is looking for lovers to spend the witching night with. She lures them with her great beauty, for that was one spell she never had to cast. These lovers of hers think that they will spend one night with her but they end up staying forever — or until the end of time when it is rumored that she and her forest of lovers will have the choice of fighting on one side or the other in the battle that is prophesied to come.

But in the meantime, young men and women both have been caught by her, have disappeared without a trace other than their shaking limbs upon the hill, other than the low moan that escapes them collectively when the wind is just right and can carry their lament off the hill.

The only way to make sure you are not caught by the tower witch and turned into one of her trees — if you are intent on going home with someone strange on Halloween — is to look for the extra finger on her left hand. She has two middle fingers instead of one. And she has one more tell-tale feature, a mole that she can’t conceal — no matter the spell — at the corner of her left eye. Two middle fingers and a mole stricken left eye are the only warnings you’ll receive. But she is clever and wears gloves, the one on her left hand skillfully constructed to conceal her extra digit. And she keeps her left side in shadow, turned away from your gaze, using all of the allure of her person to keep your attention fixe.

So be on your guard this Halloween. Don’t let a stranger bewitch you into a tryst because the stranger whose beauty and great personal allure tempts you might come with a horror filled twist. That sexy treat of a siren just might be the ensorceled tower witch.

And her liaison with you not any sweet treat but her annual snatching trick.

*Composition note: If you’d like to read the official history of the Witch’s Hat Water Tower, the story they would like you to believe of how it came to be, you can read all about it here. Boo!


Ghosties and pumpkins and leaves

The ghosts are out early, wait not for the dark.

I didn’t know when my daughter decided to get off her bus early and take the long walk home from school, through adjacent neighborhoods, that she would be accompanied by ghosts! (Photos kind courtesy of Jasmine Hyder.)

Check out tonight’s Give & Take!

Photo courtesy of TU Dance

Check out tonight’s Give & Take — dance, beer, and floating islands

What do you know? What do you want to know? Give & Take uses these simple questions to launch an interactive
evening of presentations, performances and participatory games – tapping
into the knowledge and curiosity of participants to spark unexpected
conversations and connections.

Tonight’s Give & Take will take place in and showcase the CREATIVE ENTERPRISE ZONE.

Located mid-city between St. Paul and Minneapolis, and traditionally
home to makers of all kinds, the CREATIVE ENTERPRISE ZONE has the goal
to be a recognized center of creativity and enterprise, a place where
more people make a living by their creative capacities. As all of the
presenters will demonstrate, the community that’s in the neighborhood
now is dynamic, intriguing and surprising.

Tonight’s Give & Take will feature short interactive presentations from:

Every Give & Take CREATIVE ENTERPRISE ZONE happens in a different
part of the neighborhood. Tonight’s event is happening at Tu Dance Center, a non-profit professional dance organization located in the
Creative Enterprise Zone.

Co-presented by Works Progress Studio, Saint Anthony Park Community Council and the Creative Enterprise Zone


Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Doors @ 6:30 PM
Program @ 7:00 pm
All Are Welcome!

Tu Dance Center
2121 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55114

Tu Dance is located on the North Side of University Avenue, one block
east of Vandalia, directly behind Subway on the building’s east side.

Want to know more about tonight’s presenters? As if the words ‘dance’ and ‘beer’ and ‘floating island’ were not information enough? OK. Here you go:

Tu Dance Center

TU Dance is an award-winning non-profit professional dance organization founded
in 2004 by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands. The Minnesota-based company
reaches across dance styles, drawing on a broad range of dance
traditions from contemporary ballet to modern and traditional forms. TU
Dance’s work aims to reveal the connective power of dance, celebrating a
beautiful diversity on stage. In its first few seasons, TU Dance has
premiered a compelling repertory of new work by choreographer Uri Sands,
named as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” for 2005, and recipient
of the inaugural 2005 Princess Grace Award in choreography. The company
has also premiered work by leading American choreographers such as
Camille Brown, Dwight Rhoden and Ronald K. Brown. Source: Creative Enterprise Zone, Kyle Mianulli

Bang Brewing Company

The Creative Enterprise Zone is quickly becoming a destination for
upstart microbreweries, and Bang Brewery at 2325 Capp Road is setting
the trend. With the official opening of
their taproom last month, Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo’s Bang Brewery
became the first of several planned breweries to open their doors in the
area. They are brewing delicious all organic beers in their circular
metal prefab building reminiscent of a grain bin. The CEZ-based firm
Alchemy Architects designed the energy efficient structure that allows
patrons to enjoy a freshly poured beer in the same room in which it was
brewed. Source: Creative Enterprise Zone, Kyle Mianulli

Midwest Floating Island

Midwest Floating Island BioHaven® systems provide a concentrated wetland
effect by utilizing a buoyant matrix mat made from 100% recycled
plastic and natural vegetation to mimic what occurs naturally in healthy
wetlands around the world. Source: Midwest Floating Island
There are lots of great photos at their Facebook page.

Friday is a branch scratching at my window

Image via Maquillaje Hippie Chic

Branch, Leaves, Swing
By Annette Marie Hyder

Friday scratches with the tips of her fingers at the window
rattles my concentration along with the leaves
that she is wearing.
She holds out her arm
a branch that twines from the topmost floor
where I am perched
all the way down to the street.
It’s cold outside and she tweaks my nose,
ruffles my hair,
when I open the window.
But I don’t care.
I climb over the sill and start hand-over-handing
and shimmying down to her feet.
Believe it or not, for the last bit of climbing there is,
she cups one of her hands into a swing.

Happy Friday!

Paper Transcendant

Birdcage Sculpture with White Bird and Butterflies by Susan Najarian*

Bird in a Cage
By Annette Marie Hyder

He had a paper bird
he kept in a vintage cage
and one day that bird changed itself
into a paper plane.
It slipped itself between the bars
and jumped
on a friendly windlet’s sailing tack
and rode the open sky
without ever looking back.

*I love that birdcage and if you do too and would like to know where to get one like it (that one has been sold), go to this blogspot, blackbirdsandbumblebees, or this Etsy shop, redtruckdesigns.

Sunday Things: “Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.” — Carl Sandburg

Breakfast biscuits and assorted jams and spreads: strawberry jam, raspberry jam, pear butter (yum!) and butter. Photography, biscuits, jams, and pear butter by Annette Marie Hyder*

Biscuits and Jam

If poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits, as Carl Sandburg says, then we had the makings of some mighty fine poetry this morning.

What kind of beverage would you pair with this? We already had a pot of coffee gurgling away to chase the sleep away on this cold overcast morning but then we thought of hot cocoa. Once the thought of hot cocoa has drifted its way into your thoughts, whispering of its creaminess, its shaved chocolate, milk and sugar stirred and heated to a passionate perfection on the stove top, of the clouds of whipped cream that float on top of its dark heaven, you might as well give in to its temptation, its heated whispers. And so, hot cocoa it was with lots of whipped cream.

Happy Sunday!

*I used Martha Stewart’s Slow-Cooker Pear and Apple Butter Recipe as a jumping off point to make my pear butter but omitted the apples and added ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. There are a lot of great jelly and jam recipes here. Look around and see what appeals to you.