Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In my attempt to not write my syllabus, I went for a truly pathetic run in my neighborhood. I paused on the hills. I took shortcuts. I was a running slacker. And I think I'm going to run the half-marathon in Portland this fall. Gawd. I need a trainer, some vitamins and a younger body.

Then I came home, still determined not to write any blankety-blank syllabus and weeded a bit, actually large frightening plants that had mysteriously appeared all over my yard. Like a poppy higher than my head. And those fricken ivy plants that go viral everywhere. I pulled them off my raspberries ferociously until I realized I had RIPE RASPBERRIES just waiting for me to eat them. So I did. And I ate one little strawberry I planted this year and it was so good I began to cry. It was the essence of strawberry before the beginning of the world when g-d was thinking about making shit and g-d the great voidness said, "I'll create a berry that grows on the ground so the creatures will have to bend over (knees hadn't been invented yet) and pluck the soft red berry covered with wee seeds. And the taste will be a combination of sweet and perfume and delight and great sex. Then the creatures will swoon and praise existence and peace will reign and someone will bake little cakes and someone else will figure out the whipped cream thing and all will be right on the planet."

However, I didn't need shortcake or whipped cream. My little strawberry, my symphony.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I have to write a syllabus and I don't want to. I want to sit on my deck and eat raspberries and read the NYT. That's the trouble with being a putative adult. You agree to a) go to work on time or b) keep the neighbors from knowing you are a hoarder by at least clearing a path on the front porch or c) let your children know that you're living in the cellar again because the house is haunted and talking to you incessantly. You just want the mail to stop coming. You avoid answering the phone. And when you agree to teach a class, you have to produce a syllabus and a reading list and you have to think about the structure of the classes (sigh) even though you've taught the class for a hundred years and basically, nothing is different. Oh, and you have to not swear in class because an occasional student is offended by swearing. Sheesh, swearing is good, is necessary. In my house growing up, you never swore. Never. As soon as I could, I took up the habit. I mean, I don't smoke, do drugs, or drink (well, sometimes, but not much). I'm a vegan, for cripes sakes.

"...your head is full of liquor and perfume." Chris Pureka. She swears in her songs. And she's mournful. I love her. If she weren't half my age, I 'd attempt to have sex with her. I mean, after dinner and tea and finding out what her sign was.

My writing group is meeting this week. EEEEEEEEE!!!!! Whatever will I bring? Maybe if I bring some chocolate dipped strawberries, they won't notice that I've brought a poem from 1998. Plus I got a rejection from Arsenic Lobster. Nope, but send more. Just publish a poem, dammit. How hard could it be?
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. This is an eternal law.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Off on another retreat, this time in Nanaimo, BC. Back in a week. James and I dug in the dirt today, became regular mud balls. After visiting the plant nursery, we retired to eat lentil soup and drink tea. Because it is effing freezing and wet and cold, I even turned on the heat. In June. Sometimes Seattle weather defies description. Nasty. Miserable. Intolerable. I turned the heat on June 20th. Gawd. It doesn't rain for 24 hours and I think I have to water. Because the plants are ALWAYS WET. We have a type of madness in the Northwest. It has no name. We know when we are afflicted. It involves muttering and substance abuse and/or an unusual preoccupation with food. Notice next when you are in the bank and the person in front of you is mumbling and snarling. If they also have secreted away bulky groceries under their raincoat, you know you are in the presence of lunacy caused by perma-sodden shoes, coats, hair etc. It's very sad.

Oh, I go to Victoria tomorrow on the ferry. I might stop for high tea, food of my people. Bitty sandwiches with the crusts cut off and wee cakes. And pots of tea. With a tea cosy. See what I mean about the food thing?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Once again, I'm leaving for a week into silence which I tried to do today to no avail. So I'll go to Nanaimo BC where the cell gods can't find me and I'll turn off all electronic devices which fuck with the navigational instruments so we get to NeverNeverLand on time and speaking of MJ, surely one of the great freak shows of all time, I recently watched This Is It, a film of his doomed final show/extravaganza with all singing/dancing/acrobats/fireworks etc and it was magnificent I would have gone to see it/him sing and dance so I went back and watched the old videos from Thriller and Billie Jean and Michael was beautiful and sleek and altogether a brilliant and messed up human. Even if his nose at the end looked like a small horn.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here in Seattle it is so cold the ice cream truck playing Turkey In The Straw is ironic or merely annoying because you were previously in your yard in your fur coat and mittens and you were shocked to see that your roses were blooming surely a freakish mistake and even 5000 iu's of vitamin D won't scare away the inevitable blues that accompany the sunless and frigid clime wherein you live and you can't convince your children to move back (why the hell would they, from California where they have what they call "nice weather" which means, I believe, warmth and sun which is why their brains go all soft and they elect an Austrian actor to play governor for them during a terrible fiscal season really I'm wandering far off the topic where was I oh yeah) anyway the lack of sun/warmth is very fine for lettuce and spinach the roses are just being foolish blooming as they are trying to get attention I suppose but actually I would like to silence the ice cream truck in a clever and deceitful way like teleportation or I could slip the driver a wee bit of mescaline which as I remember was a very entertaining experience and he would have to cease playing that damn tune and instead toss ice cream cups cones and redwhiteblue popcicles onto the ground and he'd be temped to take the first ferry to Victoria to see his only love before the illusions wore off and he wouldn't mind mortality or natural disasters or even his true love's snaggletooth or liniments made of rue.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the tragedy

what about the girl who threw herself down the stairs

to get the baby out

she’s been bleeding for 2 weeks

a long time to bleed in a poor country where there isn’t enough food

only rice and everyone is living in plastic tarps

hurricane season is coming

so the baby is a real inconvenience

I mean the baby can’t be a real person

it’s to be got rid of

it’s already hungry and it can’t be born hungry

the girl is tall and graceful

in the way island women are graceful

they have air under their feet

even in the lacerated streets

they float

they glide in their golden shoes

babies are a nuisance

they need milk and fish and mangos

there is no milk

no fish

no mangos

at least not for free

all the girl has is for free

she has one dress and three brothers and the dead

all around her

buried under the mountains made of concrete

they once called it Port au Prince

now they call it a graveyard

the death city

where the dead walk

looking for their bones

waiting for their bones to be found

liberated from what has crushed them

dumb bones

waiting for the dump trucks and the street crews

with their shovels to move the mountains


where everyone lives now



the dead are thick with their demands

still the girl bleeds

quick choose what to save

here in the charnel grounds

there is no time to sleep

Monday, June 14, 2010

This one is for James who tried to kill me yesterday well he didn't actually try to kill me but it sounds good. We went to someplace beyond Steamboat Island behind Olympia and he assured me the current would be just right and we'd cruise along like a gentle spring stream hardly having to paddle our kayaks we'd just look at the coasting birds and the seals spyhopping and it would be glorious and we'd eat peanut butter sandwiches and drink heavenly water and then slide back to the park where we had put in however there was a fierce gale which didn't even ruffle the trees but bent a mighty jumble of water full of whirlpools and wavey waves and choppy chop and the wind toyed with us spinning us around so hard I thought my arms would snap off well they did snap off and I prayed to Neptune to take my sorry ass to his undersea home where I would go a'roamin' no more and my watery grave would be a bliss and a blessing rather than my dislocated shoulders and arms and blistered thumbs. Period.

Today I'm ready for further punishment. Kayaking is great fun. You should try it. I recommend wine, ibuprofen and a whole pizza after. And a bath. And a lie down for about 12 hours.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I went to see the foolish Karate Kid II movie and Jadon Smith is rather gorgeous and Jackie Chan is old now even though he's still my hero because he threw himself around in movies so much that he's broken all his bones, some several times, like his nose, but the movie is stupid except for the mountain top temples and the Great Wall which makes me want to go to China except for the usual things but really my neighborhood smells like burning wood which makes me VERY NERVOUS I keep looking around my house to make sure my house isn't on fire and no one else's house is on fire either I mean why would you have a fire in your fireplace today it's warm out and spring-y with roses and flowering dogwood and such. I'm just not in the mood for a fire on the block with spectators and fire trucks and drama.
I took a pitchfork and pickaxe to my yard. Ta-da! A mess o' dirt, worms and torn up sod. Now I'm gonna hire a strong young man to amend the soil and then I'll have the delicious task of visiting the local nurseries for plants.

This is how I garden. Some people have a 'plan' and they think about colors and how big plants tend to get and other silly things like that. I plant willy-nilly and therefore the red twig dogwood have to be severely reprimanded at least three times a year. I wade in and whack away. A rhododendron is completely buried by a plant with little yellow flowers (oh yeah, I can never remember what plants' names are...embarrassing during the garden show which I wasn't invited to participate in this year, thank gawd.) Anyway, I plant here and there and wait to see what happens. I've learned about ground cover and it makes me grumpy. Strawberry plant ground cover goes everywhere and those stupid shamrock things, which I hate. Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. The wisteria has tried to get into the house several times. I used to be a timid pruner, but no longer. Plants want to be BIG and tough and they're greedy, pushing whimpy plants aside or burying them. It's a plant eat plant world out there.

However, I ***love***my Styrax japonica trees. Right now they have their little bell shaped flowers all over them. When no one is looking, I kiss them right on the bark.

By the way, my naturopath is a genius. She told me to go run and see what would happen to my injured ankle. I've been such a weeny, getting all sorts of treatments and acupuncture and PT and thinking my running career was over and I was just going to turn into an old non-running fart. So I ventured out today and I ran three miles, hooray!!! And I felt so good, endorphin drunk and sweaty. I can still run. I think I will live for a few more days, after all.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The sun came out today for a bit but fortunately it began to rain again. A soft warm rain. The kind I don't mind getting wet in.

I've begun to take up more sod in my back yard. I'm expanding the flower beds. Sod weighs thousands of pounds. It was so heavy, I couldn't wheel my compost bin out of the yard because I couldn't get it up the single stair. So I went through the gate, into the front yard, all the way around the trees and onto the sidewalk. It is sitting on the curb now. It may sit there until doomsday, as my mother used to say. What is doomsday? A day of doom, I suppose. Today could be a day of doom. It's raining and dark.

Nah. Seattle has lots of doomsdays if that is the case.

I really think I should be made queen so I could have servants to help me with sod removal and other tasks. Sometimes, I just not up to certain things. Like the fuzz on the hanging lights. Should I get a ladder and dust them off? See, I think servants should do that, dust fuzz. And water the plants. Feed the cats. In fact, do all household chores so I could be free to lie abed and think great thoughts. Like the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The air is moist and seductive. I can wring out handfuls of air. The hornets are back, banging into the windows. I'm going to walk to the lake now and take another look at the goslings. Such a lovely word, gosling. I want to be a gosling, meet a gosling, wear a dress as slender as goslings. Goslings were posted at the edge of town. I found three goslings under the back porch. I fed them pomegranate and brie. I saw a terrific movie about a lonely gosling who wrote pulp mysteries for a living and kept cheetahs as pets.

*The goslings at Seward Park lie in clumps, in nesting clumps. You can tell which nesting group hatched first, they're different sizes. Goose eggs are about 9 inches in size. Their incubation period is about 30 days. On the ground, geese are called a gaggle. In the air they're called a wedge or a skein. During migration, geese can fly as much as 650 miles a day. They can live for 30 years and they mate for life. *

I once ate a Canada goose. I'm sorry. I was a child and still doing what my parents told me to.

Friday, June 04, 2010

step off the plane into wet blanket slap 100 degrees 98% humidity you remember this from years before tho the air is thick with stench diesel charcoal fires burning plastic at least no corpse smell it’s been too long in the heat bodies are bones now buried in the mountains of rubble once a city capitol building leaning crazily like melting ice cream cones however you press into the airport swirl with sweat slicking your feet your hands saltsting in your eyes obscuring the agitated crowd of Haitian men jostling for attention your attention carry your bags for a few US dollars your passport is under your shirt your money belt buried in your backpack you can’t breathe Creole rushing past you so many faces and eyes you came to offer what exactly the crowd is a living moving animal swaying in the heat you can feel the desperation the empty bellies and the crush made of grief anger pride and something feral

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. Holy Cow. Effing genius. I just realized something, watching this movie---I loved Bob Dylan. He was the first poet I loved. My father would not allow me to listen to his records so I'd get up in the middle of the night, creep downstairs and put his records on the turntable, press my ear to the speaker on real low and sing along. I memorized his songs. When I hear them now, I remember the words, like they're burned into my skin, on the backs of my hands. He got me out of that house, that stifling house, hypocritical, pretend family house. Bob Dylan opened up the world, the world I wanted to find out about. Skinny guy with hair, a terrible/beautiful voice and poetry. Look out kid, it's something you did...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I'm making myself stay in bed all day. When I get a cold, it always turns into a barking cough that scares the cats. My colds are obnoxious and long and stupid. Some people scarcely wipe their noses and they make polite little sneezes. I hack and wheeze and spit. Disgusting. (Ok, I went into the garden in my pajamas and pulled weeds for a bit. I couldn't help it). And I'm blasting an artist I found, Chris Pakeda, an 'indie' folksinger type. I am playing her obsessively. So, I can. While staying in bed with juice and tea and the cats, I read part of a manuscript my friend James sent me. I want to be his literary agent and editor. I want him to lavishly praise me in his intro, he' s that good. I reviewed a midwifery exam that has been languishing for months. I'm about to compare health insurance rates (snore) because my insurance is going up TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH, robbery, I tell you, just because I had a birthday. I don't know who I despise more, the insurance industry or BP.

The rain has been my companion. When the sun is out, I feel forced to be smiley and go outside and leap around. Rain isn't demanding in that way. When it rains, I don't feel like I have to pretend I feel good, all rainbow-y and unicorn-y. I can play depressing music and wear my ratty bathrobe all day.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The AT & T store did back-flips for me today when I took the phones in that DID NOT WORK in Haiti. While we were there, Karen and I stuck to each other so it wasn't so important to have phones. I just thought I was a damn genius to think of buying phones that would work there. Plus with a missing bag with my tent, mosquito netting, thermarest and food in it, at least we would have phones, yeah!

I'm still not right. Or the world isn't right. This agoraphobic thing I get into is tedious.

There are just too many ghosts.