Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Farewell Soon, Key West

When my mother, Ruthie, passed away, I left our home and made my way out west from Clearwater, Florida. Time was of no importance. There  was no one to look after and  " one's future to decide..."  I rode on waves of grief and joy, lone gypsy with camera and a .357 Magnum. I camped along the way, stayed in mom and pop motels, slept in my car, wandered back roads and blue highways.

Six months out  I headed back to Florida. When I landed in Key West, a sense of providence jolting me with the immediate connection with two women, one new to me, and the other a friend I hadn't seen since we were in our twenties. It was their kindness, generosity and shamanistic spirit that in great part made it possible for me to remain in Key West as long as I have.

I will forever be grateful for what this island has given me as an artist. Some of my best work was born here and with what I take with me, I know the best is ahead.

Next week I will be heading up to Clearwater, in the Tampa Bay Area.
I'll be staying with friends Patti and David while I get sorted out. [Thank you McAvoys]

I will be minutes away from Bay Pines VA Med Ctr...much easier to bear than the six hour roundtrip to Miami VA Hospital.

Things are coming together to convince me I'm heading to the right place at the right time.

Distance is an illusion. I will  ever be at the corner of prospect and refuge.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

"just before the rain"

"just before the rain"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"embrace of being"

Three years silent
no hint of spike
and then...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"mini phalaenopsis"

Budding, unfolding, home in a branch of a schefflera tree.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"purple walking iris"

"purple walking iris"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"palms in rain"

"palms in rain"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The elegant hibiscus pours from its center like a gentle waterfall.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"washington street bougainvillea"

Just one of my favorite streets in Key West to wander with camera. 

Bougainvillea never fails to capture my attention.

Friday, February 14, 2014

"koi shade"

koi shade

water lily
pad and bloom

shadowed carp
at scorching noon

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"zephyr lily"

"zephyr lily"

Also known as Zephyranthes. 
Zephyrus: god of the west wind. Anthos: flower.

"Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left --
fields everywhere invite you into them."

from Mary Oliver's West Wind

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"night calls"

It was almost midnight. I received a phone call from a friend, "Get over here as soon as you can, the cereus is blooming!" I grabbed my camera and hurried to my friend's garden. The cactus was pregnant with buds and blooms. So delicate. So beautiful. Cycle of life exampled once again.

A few days later I had breakfast with another friend. We talked about my session with the night-bloomer. She was reminded of a poem by Thomas Merton.

Excerpt from Merton's Night-Flowering Cactus:

I neither show my truth nor conceal it
My innocence is described dimly
Only by divine gift
As a white cavern without explanation.

The last few lines told the story of that night:

Have you seen it? Then though my mirth has quickly ended
You live forever in its echo:
You will never be the same.

I saw. I will never be the same.

*post dedicated to Monica Dahl and Jane Worth.

Monday, January 27, 2014

*pieces of the giving tree*

Michele R. Strüb
All Rights Reserved
27 January 2014

[photographs taken in front of Shel Silverstein estate in Key West]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

*seventeen years*

I bought a typewriter at a flea market for five bucks.
I took it to a repair shop to find ribbon replacement. The proprietor unwound the old ribbon, wound new on the stock spool, then cleaned the works beautifully. He only charged me thirty-five bucks. A bargain considering my relationship with the old typewriter produced a batch of poems and caused me to revisit previous work. As it had been some time, it would also be some time before I would write again.

As David Stevenson said in a post back in October:

"Writer's Block" is the ultimate first world problem.
But he also said, "Pffffff."


portable Remington
charming little machine
with red seal declaring
"to save time is to
lengthen life" --
cuts in chronicle
well chosen words
for bloodletting
-- passionate
kind and cruel

Michele R. Strüb, 11/1996

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

*moment of ex-hotel room seller in a tourist town

Two honeymooners 
riding down Catherine Street  -- 
"...we should come back for our first anniversary."
PR scenarios waft through thought. 
I rattle and roll my head and go back to editing photographs. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

*panic room, explained*

A Key West friend, Amy Culver, is project lead for an organization called *The Busara Project, created to provide access to its audience "the understanding of three of the the oldest tribes in Tanzania, East Africa", opening our eyes to the challenge of cultural and geographical preservation as these people fall prey to the modern world of landgrabbing greed. The website has some fascinating stories of the lives of the Datoga, Bushmen and Maasai tribes. 

In the meantime, having just recently returned from one of many visits to Africa, Amy posted this on Facebook!

"I just came back from the gym and bike ride. I turn on the tv and it is the show Million Dollar Listings. I am laughing so hard...explain in Swahili a panic room! Got to be kidding me...explain to an African a 'panic room'."

A short scenario I had in mind:

Oh shit! simba ni kuja kwa ajili yetu!"

Oh shit! A lion is coming for us!

Lazima kujificha kutoka simba!

We must hide from the lions!

Lazima kwenda kwenye chumba hofu! haraka!

We must go to the panic room! fast!

-- Ni nini hofu chumba?

What is a panic room?


Ni mahali ambapo hatujui hofu.

A place where we do not know fear.

-- Ah, mimi kuona! Sisi lazima haraka kwenda huko sasa!

Ah, I see! Then we must quickly go there now!

Nadhani ni kuchelewa mno. Sisi kuzungumza sana.
Imekuwa ni furaha yangu kwa kujua wewe, rafiki yangu!

I think it is too late. We talk too much.
It has been my pleasure to know you, my friend.

*If you would like to support the amazing work the Busara Project is so passionate about, you can link here for the donation page.

Friday, October 18, 2013

*this post is so 1960*

Monday, August 19, 2013

*cactus dancing up palm*

Michele R. Strüb
All Rights Reserved
19 August 2013