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Creative Engagement with Hugh and Mary Behm-Steinberg’s Good Morning! (Dusie, 2012)

Dusie chaps are always exciting to receive. They come in spurts, sometimes swelling the mailbox, and then nothing is heard or seen of Dusies for quite some time. This morning Hugh and Mary’s book got here. As is always the case, I ripped open the package while drinking extremely spicy cardamom and chile infused chai tea. Good Morning! was the name of the book.  A title–but also a calling out to me. I saw when I held it in my hands, that the book was pretty short, so I sat there on the pavement under the strange shade of the cottonwood tree and read it, then and there. It ended up making me late for work, because though short in text, Good Morning! is an experiential wonder!

Fuzzy ostriches, partially materialized, extending distendeds. Smeared landscapes with citadels and positions being expressed. Submersions. Even the texture of the paper is experiential. I am sure that Hugh and Mary had to print on thicker paper since the whole book is in color sheets, but the paper itself is so lovely. Clean but silky. This exquisite creature-of-a-book feels like a non-coded message meant for me (and other mes) specifically. A message slipped in between the crispy pages of the next book in a series of books that I check out from the library.

“An ostrich carefully walks into our bedroom. We pretend to sleep as we hear her footsteps, as she gets in bed with us. Her body is so warm, I can’t help it, I start to stroke the smooth skin of her neck: then we take turns, you’re delighted by the sounds she makes when we do this.” [] “We don’t remember how we were anointed, that we knelt and waited, that we waited. Our hair full of pollen, latent. How I turned to look at you and saw you wearing a crown of bees. How astonished you looked.”

This is pastoral surrealism–compelling drapery-figures being wrapped in and wrapping cocoons–marking ephemeral time on a tilt o whirl. This is a promise of verdant, not only because verdant is often the place in which we dream, but because verdant is literally offered here.

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