Leigh Hyams: Art is Life!

Creative expression is available, one way or another, to anyone at every stage of life, in every culture, and it is accessible at any time. We have only to learn how to access it and to use it openly and freely, by overruling conventional, limited ideas about what is acceptable, giving ourselves permission to fly with paint, with dance, with music, with poetry or film. Attitude is everything. Draw or paint or sing because you want a richer, fuller life, and it will happen...
.--Leigh Hyams from How Painting Holds me on the Earth.

Last Sunday, April 21st, it was brilliant and sunny, balmy even, warm enough for summer clothing--always a rare treat for San Francisco. I spent the afternoon at the Meridian Gallery downtown on Powell Street at a memorial for the Bay Area artist, Leigh Hyams, the mother of one of my dearest friends, Gina Hyams (read an interview with Gina here on xpoetics). Many years ago, I visited Leigh at her studio/loft in the old Sears building on Ceasar Chavez here in San Francisco and bought from her a little painting which still holds court in our living room. Here it is:

When she was a teen, Gina lived at the one room loft/studio with her mom. That must have been an unusual adolescence! Probably everything about Leigh was unusal.

photo by Richard Whittacker
You can read Leigh's obituary here.
At the packed memorial, at least 125+ persons filling the three floors of the gallery, people told stories about Leigh. Many had been her students. Many seemed to think of her as a spiritual as well as artistic guide. As people got up and spoke, I was reminded how years ago I would hear from Gina that people, mostly women, would take one of Leigh's classes and they'd end up quitting their jobs, changing careers, leaving lovers and spouses. They would devote themselves to painting; they'd travel. Leigh did not have a lot of financial resources but cobbled together what was required and seemed to think that if necessary, one should "sell the couch" in order to paint. She did not go quietly through the world. And I suspect she was a powerful role model, advocating a feminist recognition and pursuit (whether or not she called it that) of one's own ambitions. She was a provocative voice advocating a studio of one's own, art of one's own, and travel, travel!
I was surprised to hear from Dale Djerassi who spoke warmly and highly of Leigh that she was the first Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and functioned as the program's selection "committee," really getting that program off the ground. Leigh was also responsible for the large table with a drum in its center that is still a part of Djerassi. The idea for the Meridian Gallery took shape at Djerassi and was shaped by Leigh who was also a participant in the Solid Tunnel Society, a group of artists who regularly met and talked. A number of people referenced Leigh's Friday night critique sessions. As Djerassi noted, Leigh had a spectacular network and clearly loved community, though Mary Hull Webster, who was a colleague of Leigh's at John F. Kennedy University, told us she didn't really know Leigh as the extroverted figure many at the memorial referenced. For Webster, who has written about Leigh's work, Leigh was introverted. Webster offered that Leigh knew herself through her work. You can read part of Webster's review on Hyams' work here.
Some of the quotes people attributed to Leigh included:
"Go in deep. Don't be nice. Fuck that canvas!"
When one woman told Leigh she was worried about whether or not she was a good enough painter, Leigh said, "Get over it!"
Another noted that Leigh was "the perfect goad."
Another that, she was always up for an adventure and would go to the fish market with you at 4 a.m., just to see how beautiful the fish were.
Another noted Leigh said "skill is the enemy" and was always seeking ways to keep herself and everyone off balance.
Leigh's direct and perhaps sometimes acerbic wit and cool demeanor were balanced by her respect for those she encountered. Someone noted that Leigh often met people in moments of vulnerability, sometimes when they were in their darkest moments, and she was able to offer them something. She had, someone noted, "total faith that art was life."
Annalena, Leigh's granddaughter quipped that her grandmother was a "badass," and Gina concurred! Dave Barrett, Hyam's son-in-law, noted that at the memorial in San Miguel De Allende, where Leigh had been living the last 12 years, the mariachi band spontaneously played a Mexican version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way," a song that aptly characterizes Leigh and the way she lived her life. Dave and Myles Boisen of Splatter Trio then treated us to their version of the song.

During the memorial, I was pleased to catch a glimpse of Fran Herndon, an enchanting San Francisco artist who was urged by Jack Spicer to pursue art school. Herndon went on to work with Spicer creating lithographs for his The Heads of the Town Up to the Aether. I chatted briefly with Herndon, reminding her of a time when I had come to her house to speak a little French (see earlier xpoetics post on this here) and she told me that Leigh Hyams had been her teacher. What a small world. She said that she Leigh wanted her to go with her to purchase some dishes, Spanish plates that Herndon still has. Leigh had trouble picking these out and Herndon was good at it. You can find out more about Herndon here.

 Here's another excerpt from Leigh's book:
"The Power of Painting in One's Head"
At night, I lay awake in bed painting in my head, trying out different background colors and textures, adjusting color values and intensities, making definite decisions for changes to make on a canvas the next day. The decisions are seldom valid when I see the painting in the morning, but rejecting them after the night's work leads to reckless wild trust in painting the disputed area in previously unthought-of-ways. This new unthinking commitment, made possible by exasperation, usually results in the perfect solution (83).

Mary Hull Webster on Leigh Hyams

Leigh Hyams at Meridian Gallery
by Mary Hull Webster

an excerpt from Artweek, February 2004, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p19,

     To get hold of the invisible you must penetrate as deeply as possible into the visible.
    --Max Beckmann

     In paintings, drawings and artist's books, Leigh Hyams has, for several decades, pursued the complementarity of surface and depth. Known particularly for her edgy line quality, instinctive color and loose execution marked by carefully rendered details, Hyams's work ranges between externally observed nature and pure abstraction. While expressionism is probably her primary influence, materials and gestures were closely filtered into strains particular to the content of each piece in these renderings of architectural sites, animals and plants. Having followed Hyams for about ten years, I saw something new in the recent work. Her hand displayed a more active quality; there was less water and darkness, more form and animation. Mostly from 2003, the greater aliveness of the show, dedicated to the memory of her son Jan, who died a year ago after a long illness, seemed to be a direct response to the clarity of death.

     Seeing the work, a viewer might imagine a petal glinting briefly in the sunlight under the watchful eye of the artist who causes the moment to reappear in red pastel turnings of a newly opening rose, as in Green Stems on Yellow Ground. In work that bears witness to brief openings in time, the artist's hand bridles against the magic object seen in her Mexican garden. In the scraping rhythm a heightened sense of listening charges the juxtapositions of color and hesitant line, which seems more received than made.

     Hyams's edgy attention catches things that move--insects, flowers, an alligator, a volcano and many birds. Six examples from the Gorilla Portrait series (charcoal on paper) display the movement of inner feeling in the startling expressions on the faces of gorillas--thoughtful, angry, remorseful, worried faces that carry an anthropological quality. With stick-like birds recalling a description of the Buddha as the one who just left, Slate Book with Birds is a standout among the artist's books. My Garden, mixed media on paper, is a masterful display of almost smokey ground overlaid by notational shapes and movements, each turned in on itself as though referencing the softly undulating vastness. Black Stems on Yellow Ground sets slender red flowers against the heat of a yellow day that pulses behind the forward movement of the plants.

     Hyams's work has long relied on blacks that recall Albert Pinkham Ryder or Odile Redon, as though her visions are to be found in dark places--midnight skies, the hidden things on the bottom of a pond, historical treasures lost and then brought to light like archaeological finds long silted over in the collective mind. A small canvas, El Maiz, pictures an ear of corn that brings with it an entire culture. Mayan Temple, a midsized canvas, displays an edifice of mottled bright light rising out of a dark jungle beneath a thinly painted, purple sky. What mystery created the building that inspired the painting? The doors are too high for entrance, the lower story lost in brambles and forbidding defenses. Mayan Temple is a signature painting for Hyams, displaying nature/structure, darkness/light--all carried by the sensitivity of her painted, and, especially, charcoal lines.

     Nacimiento, (mixed media on canvas) was reserved for a single day's showing because Hyams says it's from a different voice, one based in the folk traditions of her adopted country, Mexico. But like so much of her work, Nacimiento, translated as "crèche," cannot be confined to a particular culture. It looks like a Tibetan thankga with all the images pulled up to the front surface of the canvas. People, madonnas, animals, dwellings, churches, a waterfall, trees and unidentified colored lights jostle occasional angels, babies and stars set beneath the curving horizon of a mountain range. Hyams seems to want viewers to see that all are present and of equal merit. Recalling Edward Hicks's Peaceable Kingdom (ca. 1848), Nacimiento gently portrays the interdependence of living and imagined beings, a shimmering realization in beautiful color that makes this one of the most unselfconsciously joyful paintings in recent memory.

     Leigh Hyams: New Works on Paper and Canvas closed in December at Meridian Gallery, San Francisco.

Source: Artweek, February 2004, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p19, 1p

Leigh Hyams' Obituary

Leigh Hyams
1926 to 2013
Leigh Hyams (Martha Mae Nickerson), age 86, passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at her home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with her children by her side.
Born in Papillion, Nebraska on April 22, 1926, she was the daughter of Mae (Baxter) and Ralph Nickerson She decided in the third grade that she was an artist and never wavered from that conviction. She studied art at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, earned a B.F.A. at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an M.F.A. at University of Guanajuato’s Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. She did post-graduate work at New College Fine Arts Institute in Sarasota, Florida, where she had the honor of being studio monitor for Philip Guston.
Over the years, her painting subject matter ranged from European megaliths and Mayan temples, Brazilian rain forests and Yosemite waterfalls, to giant images of imaginary flowers, Mexican folk art, dogs, cows, and her family. Her work was distinguished by an edgy line quality and luminous color. She said she was driven by “a passion for what frees us, makes us aware of a deeper reality, and brings us closer to the universe around us and the one inside ourselves.”
Her drawings, paintings, and artist’s books are in the permanent collections of the Achenbach Foundation in San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California Art, Des Moines Art Center, Joslyn Art Museum, Palácio Imperial in Curitiba, Brazil, and University of California at Irvine, as well as private collections in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Her museum exhibitions included solo shows at the Paco Imperial Center for Contemporary Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at El Museo de la Ciudad de Santiago Querétaro in Querétaro, Mexico. She was represented by Meridian Gallery in San Francisco, California.
She was a Fulbright scholar, having received a Western European regional research grant for her series of paintings based on Megalithic sites, as well as the recipient of ten painting fellowships, including Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, American Academy in Rome, and George Rickey's Hand Hollow Foundation. She served as founding executive director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Project in Woodside, California.
A beloved teacher, she worked as an adjunct professor of art at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, John F. Kennedy University, California College of Arts and Crafts, and University of California at Berkeley Extension. She taught art in mental institutions, Athabaskan Indian villages in Alaska, and at retreat centers in exotic locales, among them Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and La Serrania in Mallorca, Spain, for a devoted following of painters from around the globe. For many years, she also led international art tours for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
She published a book about her artistic journey titled “How Painting Holds Me on The Earth: Writings of a Maverick Painter and Teacher” and produced a half-hour video about her teaching philosophy titled “Making Marks: On the Excitement and Importance of Making Art.” For more information about her work, see www.artsreal.com.
She loved to travel. Her first husband, Robert Bolling, was a Navy pilot, whose work led them to live in Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, and Rhode Island. She divorced him when their sons, Kris and Jan, were little and moved to Mexico, where she lived for four years before marrying artist Ralph Hyams, who had two sons, Charles and Nicholas. They lived in New York City and later in Sarasota, where they ran the education department at the Ringling Museum of Art. The couple had a daughter together, Gina.
When she divorced her second husband, she changed her first name from Martha to Leigh and moved with her young daughter to San Francisco. She never had much money, but she managed to take many trips to Europe, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, as well as to India, Russia, and South Africa. She also enjoyed dancing and singing, doing yoga, reading thrillers, and eating Snickers candy bars. She spent her last dozen years in Mexico, where she relished the colors, sunshine, and humane pace of life.
She was predeceased by her son Jan Bolling and stepson Charles Hyams, and leaves behind her sister Joan Prior, son Kris Bolling, daughter Gina Hyams, son-in-law Dave Barrett, and granddaughter Annalena Barrett.


Simone White and Alli Warren Read for Small Press Traffic March 24th

Sunday, March 24th seems like ages ago already and here I am slow to post the news about a truly awesome and pleasurable reading! Two powerhouses: Alli Warren and Simone White made of our Sunday afternoon a great treat.

Simone White and Alli Warren
photo: Kevin Killian

I've been following Alli's work for awhile, and although I've always enjoyed it, I have to say I was blown away by this reading. Her gifts are only increasing. I'm envious of the way Warren can bring together lyric and sonic pleasures and social critique in language that continues to stretch and bend, subverting predictability. Her ear is attuned to the plastic pleasures and power of sound. I can't wait for her City Lights book to come out later this year.

Read two poems by Alli here!

Simone read second and she too wowed us, reading poems that unfold with a specific form of luxury--long lines, extended syntax, one that might suddenly snap, and catch you off guard; White's new poems called out to us. As always her work is witty in its complex exploration of race, racism, relation, language. She treated us to a poem called "Was Old Lion, or, on the Camino Trail,"  a playful meditation on and homage to cat-love. Simone has shared poems from House Envy of the All the World with Xpoetics readers before; check them out here.  Her new chapbook, Unrest, from Ugly Duckling Press is now available here! Don't miss it.

Click here to read one of the poems Simone read on March 24th; It is entitled "Comment."

One by Simone White


Commentary, first mode of elaboration, before inquiry, people just rapping in caves.

In feelings of and for total loss, the fullness of maturity mauled and harassed me. In my marriage and with my mother, there was truly no celebration of my imaginary self, still caterwauling in the way-behind.

The subways could be anywhere because a state of unhearingness prevails there, unless there is an emergency and people begin to speak.

From the Old French comment and before that the Latin for “invention, contrivance, enthymeme.” Speech from or with mens: Speech that has wishes, wishing to be more than sound; that non-talk for which the poetic so painfully hopes.

Also, commend. I commend to you a period of abstinence. Preferably from drink. I eked out the most moderate drunkenness for many lonely days. I poured thimblefuls of white wine and still staggered under the same motherfucker of a headache. My liver was tender, very tender. I wanted to say, “The principle of this body is to put out. Invagination is a cosmic scam!”

You have a complicated way of speaking.

This chicken store was not yet operational. Its nice grey sign attempted a ridiculous balance between [come hither] and [it doesn’t so much matter whether you come or not]. I know what a chicken is, though. What is that talent called, with fonts? Because fried chicken is a wholesome snack, I command you:

Get outta here, nigga! Kiss my black ass! These are commands from “[d]iscours qui font rire.”

Hot Bird. Hot Bird. Hot Bird. Every few miles on the circuit: one need not starve to death this evening. Lemon yellow and red, yolk and hen, rolled in red dirt.

My relationship to chicken is uncomplicated.

Your sentences trail off into muttering when your nerves get the better of you. Your thigh becomes frantic, your palm presses down on it as if in secret, but everyone can see your thigh, which is not connected to your palm, but to your hip and the ball of your foot. Eyeballs, tongue, your whole leg kicks out against the piece you would say. I see how patience is a kind of caress. Let history be borne out in stutters, in mania and grappling.

Awash in delay forever, I had wished for it, and made it so. What was true was also filthy, was surgical. I had the fingers for it. 

Simone White’s new chapbook is Unrest (Ugly Duckling Presse, Dossier Series). She is also author of House Envy of All of the World (Factory School, 2010) and the chapbook Dolly (Q Ave Press, curated by Ross Gay, with the paintings of Kim Thomas), and her work has appeared in The Claudius App, Aufgabe, The Recluse, Callaloo, Ploughshares, Tuesday; An Art Project, the exhibition catalog for the Studio Museum of Harlem’s Flow, and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade. She lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Two by Alli Warren

I make a list of demands
the right not to be
always a sight, distant
splendor of night
hard metal
dirty mink
scratching song
in the soft parts
before release
How’d that tussin treat you?

All hitherto existing society
Excuse me you’re being paged

on the way to the bar
I pass three other bars
what is known mediately
in trampled domains
with the wetness of a girl
on the phone fingering
a taut cord, a coveted bloom
of indecision
dots the horizon
thru this peep hole
I toe the light
I jab my finger in it
nay, I ginger gently
At the very moment
of emergence, obsolescence
as seen on drunk with dreams
over and above
my undying love?
Tar sands, high winds, and friendship
Sopping up the excess
with a cocktail napkin
as seen in fidelity
to our newest member
aeroelastic dream fluff

Alli Warren was born where the Santa Ana winds blow, and has lived in the Bay Area since 2005, or 2001 if Santa Cruz counts. Recent work can be read in a chapbook called GRINDIN (Lew Gallery), and heard via KQED (http://www.kqed.org/arts/programs/writersblock/episode.jsp?essid=107775). In the fall of 2013, City Lights will publish her first book, Here Come the Warm Jets. Alli co-edits the Poetic Labor Project (http://labday2010.blogspot.com/) and continues to contribute tidbits to that out of fashion form known as the weblog. (http://theingredient.blogspot.com/).


Erica Hunt Reads at Mills College March 19th, 2013

Erica Hunt, photo courtesy of Alan Bernheimer

Luckily for me,  I was able to make it to Erica Hunt's reading on Tuesday March 19th, part of the Contemporary Writers Series at Mills College. Attending readings on Tuesdays, given my teaching schedule, is usually out of the question, but chance arranged things so that I was one of the lucky ones in the audience.

Prior to this event, I'd never heard Hunt read and I can't remember the last time she was in the Bay Area. However, her work has been a touchstone for me and her essay "Notes for an Oppositional Poetics," originally appearing in Charles Bernstein's The Politics of Poetic Form: Poetry and Public Policy, remains significant and powerful, addressing as it does, claims about language and liberation, form and politics, identity and poetics.  Along the way, it asserts:

"Contiguity, as a textual and social practice, provides the occasion to look beyond the customary categories of domestic and international, politics, history, aesthetics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and so on. As a social practice it acknowledges that the relationships among groups who share an interest in changing the antidemocratic character of the social order is not as oblique as their individual rhetoric would represent. As a reading and writing practice, it suggests new syntheses that move out of the sphere of a monoculture of denial; syntheses that would begin to consider the variance between clusters of oppositional writing strategies with respect for what has been achieved by each and a sense of the ground that holds it in place" (205).

It closes this way:

"Certainly writing itself cannot enlarge the body of opposition to the New Wars, it only enhances our capacity to strategically read our condition more critically and creatively in order to interrupt and to join" (212).

Hunt, as Unique Robinson's introduction details, has been busy working running the 21st Century Foundation and so we readers have had few opportunities to read recent work; however, she has recently left the Foundation, completed an MFA in creative non-fiction at Bennington College where she's found herself focusing on sentences; Hunt has been writing away, both poetry and prose. She is a powerful role model for a life fully lived, suggesting too the possibility of turning again to one's own work with renewed vigor. Opening the reading with prose, Hunt read a playful, autobiography entitled "My Life With Cars," to which she brought her customary sense of linguistic snap, hum, and rhythm--"punned and pinned to narrative...funk in the trunk."  This piece emerged out of her own family's experience attending the World's Fair in Flushing, and her thinking about Robert Moses's highways, the way they cut across neighborhoods. Hunt treated us to a bunch of other work, including "Piece Logic," "Invisible Hands," and others. Several are included here. Enjoy!

Read Unique Robinson's introduction to Hunt here!
Read Hunt's Poems here!

Unique Robinson on Erica Hunt

Introduction to Erica Hunt, Contemporary Writers Series, Mills College 3.19.2013

By Unique Robinson

To say Erica Hunt is a poet, essayist, and organizer is an understatement. She is a continual leading expert on Black social justice and economic issues, hailing from New York City, where she continues to reside today. In 2010, she stepped down from her Executive Director position at the 21st Century Foundation in New York, where she sought to strengthen Black giving and community-based philanthropy through donor education. Under her supervision, 21CF has grown from an all-volunteer organization, to a premier national $8 million public foundation.

This was unbeknownst to me in 2009, when I was a recent graduate of Hampshire College along with her daughter Madeleine Hunt-Erhlich, and stayed at their lovely house one night before an interview the following morning. Over dinner, she previewed a film she had organized with Mario Van Peebles entitled Fair Game, which investigated the post-racial myth that Black men now had a level playing field since Obama’s election. This film featured a who’s who of Black men in the entertainment industry, and an examination of institutionalized racism that still plagues this country today. I watched in awe, like, “whoa Maddie. Why didn’t you tell me your mother was a powerhouse?”

She holds a B.A. in Literature from San Francisco State University, and spent a considerable amount of the 1970s and early 1980s right here in the Bay Area on the poetry scene, after which she returned to New York. They deemed her a part of the “Language poets” scene, but she far surpasses this label. Her writing investigates the notion of an “oppositional poetics”, which in her own words, consists of “a field of related projects which have moved beyond the speculation of skepticism to a critically active stance against forms of domination. By oppositional, I intend, generously, dissident cultures as well as ‘marginalized’ cultures, cutting across class, race and gender.” Poetic engagement with politics should, she states, produce not pronouncements of policy positions but “poetry that extends beyond the boundaries of the self, to the open question of the possible, the construction of a society that promotes the ‘best’ (free, democratic, just, flexibly dialectic, etc.) in our human natures.” The question is never either/or in her writing: form or content, black or avant-garde. She writes poems that teeter on the verge of legibility, blur private and public, set boundaries anew and implicate us as practitioners of this moment and the next.

Just a fraction of her works include:

  Time Slips Right Before the Eyes, 2006

  Piece Logic 2002

  Arcade with prints by Alison Saar 1996

And she has been published in these anthologies 

  Nineteen Lines: A Drawing Center Writing Anthology (New York, ROOF Books, Lytle Shaw, editor, 2007)

  Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Ten Years of Cave Canem, 2006

In 2007 and 2006 respectively, along with a league of essays and awards and fellowships, namely Duke University/University of Cape Town Center Fellow for Leadership and Public Values from 2004-2005.

In talking with her, I learned she also just completed her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Bennington College in January.

Currently, she is devoting herself full time to writing, writing, and writing…which is where I’d hope to be too, with a career as accomplished as hers.

 Ladies, gentlemen, and genderqueers, Please give it up for Miss Erica Hunt.

Three Poems by Erica Hunt

There’s living done

This morning I was well in love
making and fluctuating this side of
Remote: here.  Over and over
I moved him closer into my arms
Him.  Till sleep still ensorcels
Him and stillness leans
on my breasts.  Nothing to puncture this
wide awake moment.
Nothing downstairs or upstairs
Nothing I owe
no shrines to pine at
but a given art
pauses thought’s caught thread.

In the well of this morning’s
making Here over, I step back
towards the opening.  I think
Here.  That’s him sliding back against me
where we rub edges and coincidentally meet.
He steeps remote steep
slippery sides and still
breasts retain echo.  I throw the door
open and step back
wide awake into the fluctuating
think I have thought this here before
but that was sewing without thread.
Now I take each part,
take both sides,
lurching onward with the pin.

What I know now

procrastination is a signal
to attend to the scent
earth unhinges,
to fall into the step
desire ungrids,
to write in blue ink and commit
to gesture
a map
match unknown
to its incognito.

I know now
when you think
the weather’s turning
it is inner
unstopped heart moves
stones as if clouds blown
across the sky, unstopped
eyes notice food lines’ length
unstopped attention notes
pavements filled with sleepers,
how the brutal war startles
even statues into panic,
losing the power to wake up
the future, its urgent

I know now
to vote for sense
even if the tongue
risks blisters
through direct speech,
threatens barbwire,
to commit to motion always
my Black woman body’s
a spice cabinet,
a space ship,
my thick vessel
a perfect work.


He sees what others do not see.  He marries a blind woman who cannot contradict what he says he sees. He sees his hands even when he is not awake but dreaming, fists open or closed.  He sees how people’s bodies speak even when they are not talking but waiting, when people think they are blending in. He sees that often he is the only person paying close attention.  He has always been observant and comes from a long line of observant people.  

For instance
lip licking
eye twitching
crotch touching
arm holding
neck bent to one side
chin lowering
chin holding
chin rubbing
leg crossing
leg shaking
knee rubbing
ankle rubbing
ankle rotating
bottom shifting
underpants snapping
sitting up straight
leaning forward
hip holding
hip akimbo
hip dipping
neck rolling
Hands between the legs protectively as one sleeps.

lip licking (pace)
eye twitching (arrhythmia)
crotch touching (length of time)
arm holding (angle of repose)
neck bent to one side (degree)
chin lowering (impulse control)
chin holding (fixed)
chin rubbing (heat)
leg crossing (closed circuit)
leg shaking (tempo)
knee rubbing (wish)
ankle rubbing (erase)
ankle rotating (ignition)
bottom shifting (agreement/disagreement)
underpants snapping (punctuation)
sitting up straight (alarm)
sloughing (archaeology)
leaning forward (edge search)
hip holding (measure)
hip akimbo (skeptical)
hip dipping (stroll for the people)
neck rolling (enemy sighted)
Hands between the legs protectively as one sleeps.