Wednesday, December 26, 2007


are annual fun for me. Because this month has sucked in such a big way, I forced myself to go to the Handel's Messiah sing-a-long as I usually do. You know, no rehearsals, volunteer orchestra and the Unitarian Church provides MOUNTAINS of cookies and hot cider. I sing all the parts, well not the soprano. It is too high. The bass is kinda low at times. I pretty much poisoned myself with a wide selection of cookies (and I ate a few grapes, 2 to be exact so I could feel like I have eaten fruit today) during the intermissions.

Tomorrow I go to a retreat at the Great Vow Zen Monastery with Holly. We are staying there until New Years. Fortunately we are not adhering to their schedule. I looked it up. They get up at 3:50 AM to sit, oh my gawd, and they go all day until 10 PM or such. Those Zen people, yikes. We are going to be singing and dancing and writing and doing theater. I'm not sure about the theater part. I feel so unstrung and wobbly, I might start throwing up or something. I think you can die from grief. I don't intend to do such a thing, however.

Holly's birthday is tomorrow and we are going to make her a cake with frosting. I think we should put sprinkles on it and wear paper hats.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I figured it out

Last night Dana and I visited Dante's 7th Circle, inner ring of hell, ergo:

· Inner ring: The violent against God (blasphemers), the violent against nature (sodomites), and the violent against art (usurers), all reside in a desert of flaming sand with fiery flakes raining from the sky. The blasphemers lie on the sand, the usurers sit, and the sodomites wander about in groups. Dante converses with two Florentine sodomites from different groups: Brunetto Latini, a poet; and Iacopo Rusticucci, a politician. (Cantos XIV through XVI) Those punished here for usury include Florentines Catello di Rosso Gianfigliazzi, Ciappo Ubriachi, and Giovanni di Buiamonte, and Paduans Reginaldo degli Scrovegni and Vitaliano di Iacopo Vitaliani.

So there you have it. Art violence, and we witnessed. They stuck a knife in art and killed it. We barely escaped with our lives. Whew.

Friday, December 21, 2007

poetry readings

beware. Tonight Dana Guthrie Martin and I went to a reading in my neighborhood. It was a kind of poetry hell, some featured readers and an open mic. Sounds tame, you think. Not so. Cody Walker was a featured reader and he was entertaining and thankfully, not full of himself. But the open mic, lord help us. Especially the lady who basically was preaching about Jesus saving us in a poem that went on for FOUR pages. I thought I might have to pass out and cause a commotion so she would stop. And then Dana, bless her, got up and read a poem about Jesus encountering a condom, reservoir tip and all. I was afraid we might spontaneously combust from the blasphemy. It was SOOO wonderful. Other readers felt compelled to read about thankfulness and praying because of the season. I just wanted to garrote them. I'm not in the mood right now for smarmy holiday remarks. Actually, I can't go to a reading ever again unless my friends are reading. At least I know they will be bearable.

Oh, the best part. Dana and I were reduced to passing notes. One of the other 'featured' readers read interminable confusing poems and every time I sneaked a look at Dana, she had that glazed look in her eye and a bright little smile on her face. Then he tried talking to her and he asked her out for coffee. Ha! She replied, " No, I don't think I can do that." It was a brilliant moment of evening theater.

I'm not sure Dana will ever accompany me again. And I can't say I blame her. It's the type of evening that gives poetry a bad name.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The movies

are so important. I remember when I was breaking up with my first husband and it was LA and I stayed up all night and at 3AM Sunset Boulevard came on and it was wonderful with Gloria Swanson and a dead guy floating in the pool. I totally forgot my whole life was messed up at 20. Movies are the panacea for so many things. Today my friend and I went to see Juno, an indie film and it was fantastic, funny and about pregnancies and how wrong they are sometimes in the right way but the music was written by SOMEONE I KNOW, Kimya Dawson. So great to hear songs I know in a movie. And so great for her to be famous. The script is by Diablo Cody, pure genius.

It took my mind off suicides and Yogi for 2 hours.

Last night I went to a suicide support group, kinda like AA but different. I felt normal there. I cried so much there was snot on my shirt and nobody minded. I told them everything and they didn't freak out or anything. It was such a relief.

My cat Lola has been on my desk in a serious way. There are cat prints on everything and the papers are rearranged. I think she is trying to steal my ideas. Except that she isn't very smart.
Or as they say in Juno, she's not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed.

Only 12 more days until this month is over. Nothing else bad can happen. I mean it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


It's hard to take this personally so I'm going to try not to. My beloved dog, Yogi, is dying by degrees and I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow for the last time (euphemism-put down, put to sleep, etc). Shit. I just want something to lighten up already.

So a few years ago, I was having a very bad day so I put on Beethoven's 9th, very loud, got some cigarettes and some Scotch and lay on the floor in the living room with the windows open in October. It was cold, it was loud, it was pretty much of a drunken misery moment. Yogi came in, took in the whole scene, and left. I disgusted even my dog, old loyal friend. And HE had attitude with ME, the nerve, when I have seen him eat duck poop and roll in dead salmon.

God, I'm going to miss him.

For New Years I'm going to make some burnt offerings or something. What do you burn in those things anyway? Clothes that don't fit? Old love letters you were excited to get 25 years ago and upon recent viewing are rather stupid and lame? Boxes of horrid poetry you wrote in high school?

For my birthday next year, I'm going to have a Bad Poetry party. Everyone has to bring a bad poem, preferably one they wrote in college. Lois treated us to a poem about walking along the shore and thinking deep thoughts. Profoundly bad.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Last night

my writer friends and I read at (untitled) Intersections and we were brilliant. Rebecca Loudon, our mentor and guiding light, introduced us and she said kind and flattering things. We are from her two writing groups, The Foundry and The Wallingford Irregulars. I did not know but she has hosted writers since 1998. She began hosting writers as an experiment, to see what could happen in a non academic setting. Because she is an excellent poet and teacher, we flourish. Really. I was so happy to hear Martha's poem, Indigo, again. And she was angelic in pink. AND she had practically memorized her poems. Cripes. Rebecca has suggested that we memorize a favorite poem so I chose a Jorie Graham poem that's about 4 pages long. What was I thinking?

I bought shoes yesterday, with spirals on them. If there was a perfume called 'shoe leather', I would wear it. Kinda like 'new car smell' for guys. I HATE the whole shopping thing, especially right now, except for shoes. Then I can have a Fran's chocolate, the kind with salt on them.

Did I say how much this time of year makes me SHUDDER. The relentless christmas songs in all the stores, the towering piles of crap for us to consume. I even went to a toy store for Milo, who is 5. Holy mother of god, plastic, as far as the eye can see. So I got him 2 superhero dolls, they look like androids on steroids but they have capes, a very important fashion accessory when you are a 5 year old boy, apparently.

I admit it, I slept next to my new shoes. I can see them from the bed. They are on a little platform, like an altar. So maybe they are my version of superman in blue tights and a cape. So put me in jail.

Monday, December 10, 2007


when someone in your family commits suicide, you can stay in bed all day with the cat and call the crisis line for the suicide group. The person on the phone has to make sure you are ok, you aren't also suicidal too so they ask questions about your friends (yes, I have some), are you sleeping (no, of course not) and they tell you they are sorry. Then you call for an appointment with a therapist and they ask the same questions except they don't say they are sorry. They want to know if you need an emergency appointment. Wow. It is all so banal.

I feel like a pariah, being stalked by the suicide gene.

I read with my writer friends this Friday. Not suicide poems. Sylvia Plath did a damn fine job with Ariel.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Allentown, PA

where Annie and I stayed. We drove a lot. We talked a lot. We looked at a lot of pictures of my brother and his friends, mostly drinking. The weather mostly sucked. We went to a brewpub for dinner, the waitress spilled drinks all over me, and there were no vegetables on the menu. At all. People in PA smoke and eat fried food and iceberg lettuce. Between Scranton and Allentown, there was a billboard with a picture of the Dalai Lama on it. It felt like my friends put it there so we would see it. He was smiling with his big ole glasses on. I love him and he loves me back. I don't think he would ever kill himself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


for NY tomorrow, to see my sister who lives on the St Lawrence, practically in Canada. Our youngest brother committed suicide yesterday. How do you tell people this? Everyone gets the horror eyes. How do you live through such a thing? It's the 9th most popular reason people die in the US. I didn't know this. I wish I didn't know this. Don't Google suicide poems. They're awful, in a different awful way.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

what to do

when it is cold out and you are wearing the bathrobe with the threads hanging out and stains on the sleeves.

Hot chocolate recipe:

Some milk in a pan
many scoops of organic unsweetened chocolate
some sugar

Whisk all together and heat up. Don't boil or burn so keep stirring. Add some vanilla at the end. Put in your big French cup, put your feet on the coffee table and savor.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


For everything, the wide blue sky, the cold, my old dog who is better with medication, for Buddhists and artists and writers and Milo for turning 5, for mothers and the babies within them, for the turkeys who lived through another year, for the whole mess, may everyone have enough to eat today and a warm place to sleep.


A written definition of intent or principles


1. A philosophy, often translated into art forms, holding that humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and that any search for order by them will bring them into direct conflict with this universe: "True absurdism is not less but more real than reality" John Simon.

2. An act or instance of the ridiculous: "This strained conceit never quite locates screen equivalents for the stage absurdisms" Village Voice.

The absurdist manifesto:

The intent is ridiculous. Put a paper bag over your head. If you can’t fight your way out of it, or you prefer the dark, smell of the pulp mill, crinkling and groaning of arboreal forest, continue your bag costume. Anonymity is comforting. Hold fast to your concepts. Sleeping dogs yip and mutter. Twitch. Cover your indelicate toes. Bite these pages.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My big vacation

I went to Oakland for the weekend. Try running in Oakland, near the Grand Cinema. I dare you. I left my friend's house and ran up the hill, which is a at a 90 % angle from her driveway. I am not exaggerating. OK, I wasn't running. I was kind of hopping a little and swearing. I got to the summit and the street plunged straight down to meet another enormous uphill. Crap. This is why there ARE NO PEOPLE ON THE SIDEWALKS. Why the hell would they want to go anywhere? They could just lie down and roll. Lake Merritt is flat, thank god, so I went there the next day. I saw a pelican by the overflow drainpipe. Weird.

We did go to the Grand Cinema twice, worth it to see old movie projectors and Tiffany glass in the lobby.

I can go back to the Wallingford Irregulars next week. I'm so happy my toes curl.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I had to buy another cell phone so I went to cell phone hell, the mall. At the entrance to the store there was a little girl ballerina in a pink tutu. Her hair was all pulled up into a little girl bun with pink fake roses. She was twirling and doing floaty arms. Her mother was right behind her in the store sitting at a card table with ballerina pictures on it. What is this, I said to myself. Maybe they are working on getting her over her fear of dancing in front of strangers. Or it is a prelude to Halloween. Or it is so surreal, the cell phone purchasing experience is somehow enhanced. Pink sticky-outy skirt, white tights and pink ballet slippers. And a hair bun. Yikes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

All the names of love: a pernicious manual

I never lie

I never said that

I have a plan

I have all the money you need

I can’t live without you

I can’t live without you

The bruises don’t show

I can quit any time I want

I have no secrets

I will never leave you

I promise

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Of course, Seattle news is BIG WINDSTORM COMING. Tie the children down, get water, flashlight batteries and canned food!! And it was a bit windy, leaves pelting the streets, birds blown about. Thats it, no more. In the Northeast, we have some weather, frozen toes and winter forever and ever. This stuff is just so...mild, silly really. Only a few more weeks and I can rejoin my writing group. I am an amputated limb without them ( to steal from Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, or maybe The Lady in the Lake).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

what to do on the weekends

Yesterday Judith and I went kayaking in South Sound. That is to say that Judith drove up from Portland loaded with gear and expertise and I showed up with gum boots and a kayak paddle that wouldn't go together (frozen apparently) and lunch and willingness. The day began foggy, so foggy we couldn't see across the bay. While trying to wiggle into her very narrow boat, I slid off into the water so I started wet, very wet. And cold. And I looked like I knew what I was doing, obviously. So we started out. It was...beautiful, quiet, lots of seals and sea birds. We stopped for lunch and by that time we were so cold we were hopping around like fools, hallucinating hot tubs, fluffy robes, big fires, etc. I took off whatever wet clothes I could. Then, miraculously, the sun came out and we were saved.

Today Ramey and I went to hear the Mozart Requiem. The lady next to me had symphony Tourrettes. She alternated between sighing, clutching her chest, tapping on her program, and groaning in time with the music. I closed my eyes and that helped. I realized that soloist singers get to wear big dresses that look like curtains. Where to they make such dresses? I don't know.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Today we made 67 jars of grape jelly, a long, messy process, much sugar underfoot and burned on the stove and the satisfying little 'pop' when the lids seal. Some of it is amber and some is pink, depended on the color of the grapes (of course). We ate a bunch with spoons, really the only way to appreciate the subtle flavors and so GRAPEY. Our neighbors said they opened their jar and ate it on ice cream. Then they just ate it plain, on their fingers. Now the counter is littered with jars. Oh, and there is still raw juice in the fridge, crap, and a TON of grapes outside on the vine. Just say no, let the raccoons have 'em.

Went for a walk around Seward Park. Wind blowing and rain, just right.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


So I got a ticket for running a red light and it was one of those camera/video things on Denny and Fairview. I just got a ticket in the mail. Wha...!!! I don't even REMEMBER running a red light but, yup, there is my car cruising through the intersection. Crap. Now I feel all paranoid, like, whatever else did I forget last week? Did I rob a bank, have an affair, run naked through my neighborhood? I could feature the naked bit, cold air on my skin...

I have been called to jury duty countless times, even though I am emotionally unstable. The last time I HAD TO APPEAR even though I said, look, I'm a midwife, I have a crazy schedule, etc. You get these bus tickets and boy o boy, riding the bus to the courthouse, whew, many recently released persons having activities around the bus stops. Then there is the cattle call for juries, very unusual kind of experience. So I was an alternate for a guy accused of assault and battery. He was sitting there at the table with his lawyer, playing with a pencil and trying to look nonchalant. I said to the guy next to me, 'he looks so guilty" and he agreed, probably an anger management problem. Then the plaintiffs name was mentioned and it was an East Indian name so then we decided it was a hate crime too. We had the guy behind bars for years. Then the judge asked if anyone had a hardship and couldn't serve. I stood up and said,"I'm a midwife, bla, bla" and he said," get outta here".

Eden changed my pictures. I must convince her to continue to amuse me.

Dr Tesla's Grocery List

1. Dirigible
2. Salt substitute
3. Scabrous leakage stain remover
4. Milk, butter, eggs
5. Box of crosshairs
6. Breath mints
7. Milk of magnesia
8. Proper nativity set (with lights)
9. Mouthwash

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day and night all mixed up. When I stay up all night with someone in labor, I feel pretty weird all the next few days, hungry, sleepy, confused. Without my writing group I'm unhinged. I think about an on-line journal called Hinge or Mabby or Luther. Eden's photos of Yoko Ono are in Arthur. All the hip restaurants are one syllable words too; Crave, Spoon, Yetch.

Vashon Island has a drink called Blue Velvet, not the movie. It is Earl Grey, foamy milk and a splash of vanilla syrup. Almost enough to move there.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I slept all night, didn't think I would, a few clients imminent but no one called in labor. Started a series of poems on Dr Tesla, mad misfit genius. Although I thought he had a hand in the atom bomb. Nope, he played with electricity. And he was a 'confirmed bachelor' code for gay or too weird or too socially inept to get dates. I imagine him in a Frankenstein lab with his hair sticking out and jolts of lightening running up and down cathode ray tubes with bubbling Bunsen burners going full blast. Found McSweeney's WEB site, REALLY funny writing. I will convince Kelly we must start our own on-line journal. Then we don't have to be at the mercy of rejections. We can publish ourselves and sit in judgment on others, yea!

Rebecca and The Foundry met last night but I couldn't go. I wither without their company. We laugh so much we sound like a jolly half-way house. We eat snacks and sometimes we drink wine. We read poetry with merciless kindness.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The wonders of alcohol

We were all on the Oregon Coast, really beautiful, with the ocean going back and forth like it does, stars overhead and phosphorescent sand at night. Hazel, who is 2 1/2, had no trouble running naked into the water over and over. If you hold her up-side-down, she laughs and kisses you right on the lips. Milo alternates between Batman and Superman pajamas for day time wear, depending on which was wet and/or grubby. Superheros are an important part of beach life.

So, Ok, the car camping experience. First there are the massive RVs complete with awnings and satellite dishes. And little dogs wearing sweaters. The middle tier are the campers with pop-up trailers loaded with bicycles and lawn furniture. They decorate their campsites with tarp ceilings, over their tents and picnic tables. They have large hostile dogs tied to trees. That bark. A lot.Then there is us, the trash. We have overstuffed cars, we put our tents up in the rain without directions and we even have a KID POTTY right next to the fire pit because Hazel is learning the ropes, so to speak. Oh, and we have a clothes line with a lot of 'little prinicess' underpants for inspiration. What is our common denominator? Why, alcohol of course. The guy on our left with 4 dogs tied to trees, was having a Bud at 10 this morning. The young things to our right have a picnic table loaded down with beer empties and those little hard liquor bottles like you get on the plane. We opened our wine bottle by pushing the cork in (no corkscrew, of course) and the wine geysered all over our polarfleese and then we put the remainder in the cooler without a cork so it spilled all over the bottom. Wine soaked string cheese and avocado. Yum.

I'm supposed to do a 5 K run tomorrow but right now I am eating pita chips and drinking 15 year old Scotch. And thinking about my next camping trip. I'll remember to bring a corkscrew.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Yesterday, Maya, Milo and I went to the Puyallup Fair. Whoa. It happened to be Senior Tuesday so there was plenty of parking and a lot of old people riding around in trolleys and wheelchairs. Milo (age 4+) wasn't having the crafts and giant pumpkins. He wanted junk food and the rides. I went on one ride with him, a roller coaster and it was fine. I didn't lose my lunch. We did have curly fries and we all wondered how they make them curly. Milo had a swirly lollipop that made his tongue black. There was a 'petting zoo' with a bunch of terrified animals, especially the sheep who stood panting and looking blankly around. The horse barn was full of teenage girls sitting next to their lovely horses, what a fantasy.

When I got home there was a rejection from Paris Review, yeah! Why is it that rejection slips are literally that? What, we don't rate a whole piece of paper? They are conserving resources?

Mimi Allen and many other conceptual artists are having an event at the Aurora Motel, being torn down this Friday, the 15th. I'll be on the Oregon Coast with Maya.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How to Impress People

I went to the Cranky reading at Hugo House last Thursday. I paid my money (three bucks) and told the lady I hated Cranky. She asked why and I said cuz they rejected some poems and she said, "Hi, I'm Cranky, I'm Amber and I don't remember your work, who are you, etc??" Then she gave me her Cranky pin. Gawd, nice going. Well, when I submit next time, she'll remember me.

Catherine Wing read some great stuff, very clever and sad. Well attended too, for a Thursday night. Zachary Schomberg, wunderkind with a book, "The Man Suit" was a stand up comic, droll and loose.

My tomato plant has gone nuclear, really this time. It is crossing the lawn and heading for the cars. I think it wants to get to the bar down the street. It has no time for tomatoes, the fruit or vegetable or whatever.

My daughter, grandson and I are going to the Fair on Tuesday. Cotton candy and funnel cake, and oh yeah, deep fried Twinkies. Only in America.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fallout shelters

My sister passed her nursing boards and my brother is going to court for DUIs and spousal abuse. Cool! I think there should be more church bells that ring on the hour, all over town. In my home town there was a factory siren that blasted at noon for the workers to go eat lunch. Syracuse China. You can find Syracuse China everywhere. Look at the bottom of your cup the next time you are in a greasy spoon, especially if it is a thick, heavy cup without designs.

I hiked by myself last Saturday. Wallace Falls, in Gold Bar. I forgot about the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe so the traffic was a snarl. My father used to take us to the NY State Fair outside Syracuse. We would have to visit the animal barns before hitting the rides and cotton candy. Endless cages of chickens, rabbits and penned cattle. One year there was a model fallout shelter, with cans of food and a metal toilet. I think if we had to live under ground, someone would have broken out and exposed us all to radiation. All I could think about was the lack of light and going to the bathroom in front of my brothers. Yuck.

The garden is slowing down. There is a time when the plants stop growing and begin their involution. The leaves turn tatty and begin to brown. Even the weeds look tired.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I have been thinking about haystacks. I have been thinking about toothpicks and boxes and lampshades made of varnished toothpicks. Birdcages, covered matchboxes. Toothpicks. I guess they weren't used toothpicks. Who thought of toothpicks, making toothpicks out of trees? I worry about chopsticks too and the styrofoam stuff my Pho is packed in. Or nurdles-microscopic plastic bits in the ocean, way more numerous than plankton. Alan Weisman wrote a book, The World without Us, reviewed in today's NY Times Book review and he imagines humans disappearing and all the plants and animals returning. The house would founder, the way abandoned houses look. They start to slump, then grass starts growing in the gutters, windows go missing, the door sags, the steps crumble. Pretty soon, the foundation splits and a sumac grows out of the crack. All the appliances rust and fester, rats and raccoons vie for nesting space in the oven. Over it all, morning glory and blackberry run through the ruins of the garden. I expect the yellow rose to hold her own. Her spikes are legendary. She knows how to draw blood.

Friday, August 31, 2007


It's a boy!
It's a girl?
You're rich!
You lived!
It's not dengue fever!
You will walk again!
You don't need oral surgery!
Your ass looks great in a thong!
You are an instant runoff winner!
You will graduate even after the incident!
You aren't pregnant!
We have your favorite color/flavor/antidepressant!
We aren't arresting you!
The dog you ran over was already dead!
The nail you stepped on is worth a fortune!
You are the thousandth shopper and entitled to a tiara!
You are as good looking as Miss America!

* fear of hearing good news

hunger and thirst

There was a hummingbird in the yard washing herself in the fountain. A green hummingbird. Last Saturday night I was coming home at 3AM along 31st Ave South. An odd dog in the road with skinny legs and big ears, sketchy. As I got closer, he turned and looked at me while he made for the curb. I slowed down and he faced me. I rolled down the window and exclaimed, "you're a coyote!" as he headed for Frink Park. Like he cared that I identified him. I worry about a posse that will form to capture him because the neigborhood cats are disappearing or someone thinks he is a threat to the kids. So wild, we forget how it used to be.

In Alaska, there aren't many people. It's mostly trees and mountains and snow and glaciers. And lots of critters; salmon so thick in the creeks you have to step on them to get across. Bears and eagles, whales and seals. The West coast looked like that, before we got so crowded, so tame. We banished the coyotes but they are returning. I hope they are smart about it. Caniphobia-fear of coyotes. Zemmiphobia-fear of the great mole rat.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


This morning, I went swimming at Rainier Beach Pool and every Sunday there is the Glory of God congregation in the gymnasium. They have a band and ladies in the back sit by the baked goods and the cash box. The preacher walks around with a mic and people stand up and sway.

I got confused because I was hearing a preacher from the other side of the street while I was still in the parking lot. I'm thinking, maybe he has a speaker outside and he can throw his voice and my bum ear is playing tricks on me, etc. But I got inside and they were playing music. Nobody was preaching. I did my swim and decided to head South. There on the opposite corner was another preacher, amp, mic and a plexiglass podium, preaching away to the cars going by. So whoa, I thought. We are in need of saving and it's getting pretty bad. AND, the Baptist Church down the street is FOR SALE. I mean, can you SELL A CHURCH?

Meanwhile, Ramey and I listened to a dharma talk about the paramis, a confusing lesson for this month. Really confusing. But it got me thinking about a 'tight' mind, unlike a relaxed mind. If everything comes in via the senses through the mind filter and the mind is tight...and there was this book review I was reading and it mentioned that there are more senses than 5. There's proprioception, equilibrioception, thermoception, nociception and maybe hunger, thirst and balance.

Balance includes unicyclists, Chinese acrobats and one legged yoga postures. And we are all falling down so the book suggests we practice balancing while brushing our teeth.

I fall down while running. I just lie there bleeding, feeling sorry for myself. Then I have to get up and keep going. I once fell while on a treadmill. I got up and got right back on, blood running in a slow trickle down my leg. It was at a college gym with LOTS of college students all around me. So embarrassing.

Babies have to learn about proprioception. They keep bopping themselves in the face until they do.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Will Stafford

William Stafford was asked to write poems for a project along the Methow River Valley. You can find seven poems on route 153.

A Valley Like This

Sometimes you look at an empty valley like this,
and suddenly the air is filled with snow.
That is the way the whole world happened-
there was nothing, and then...

But maybe some time you will look out and even
the mountains are gone, the world become nothing
again. What can a person do to help
bring back the world?

We have to watch it and then look at each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully
save it, like a bubble that can disappear
if we don't watch out.

Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When mornings and evenings
roll along, watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party that your life is.

I was weeding my garden after dinner. The neighbor's little violets are volunteering at the border, mixing in with the hyssop and the roses. Weeding is my favorite exercise. So pointless too.

The Baptist church a block away is for sale, yikes! Really expensive and available for 'mixed use'
If they put in a Whole Foods, I'm moving. I'd prefer Hari Krishnas instead. They could stand on Rainier with their orange robes and white stripes on their foreheads, banging on drums and passing out holy books. It would liven up the nieghborhood.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gettin' published

So excited, Borderlands:Texas Poetry Review has accepted a poem, yahoo!!! I was yelling in the kitchen because I was opening the envelope and thinking, yah, another rejection, NOT THAT I CARE and it was a lovely acceptance. Made my whole day.

Attended a birth the other night and the babe had a true knot in his cord, whew. He didn't seem to mind. His auntie, a dear friend who died last March, must have been watching over the whole thing. Babies can tangle themselves up in their cords in all kinds of ways, really crazy. Usually they just dive right through.

I have to go back to Sunday, the day I returned from LA. That morning, I ran around a little lake called Echo Lake in the Echo Park neighborhood where Eden lives. Early and so many people out, sitting around, groups of men, walkers and joggers, dog walkers. And so much stuff on the street, mattresses, exploding couches, stuff of all kinds. The air was thick, like it had a texture.

I came back to the house and ended up watching Van, Eden's g'friend and Amy skating on a half pipe while the nieghborhood boys stood around in awe. They were GOOD. Then we crashed an apartment swimming pool to cool off. Before all that, we went to the farmer's market where they had everything, absolutely everything, mango crepes, fresh dates, cactus fruit, huge bunches of basil...yum. What a town, Scientology, Yogananda, movie stars, skater girls and Korea Town.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I'm in LA with Eden and it is really HOT here so of course we went to a gardening store and bought compost and plants so we could GARDEN IN 300 DEGREE HEAT. Last night we went to Korea Town and had amazing food at a huge restaurant. Boiling tofu soups with seaweed and tofu salad and cast iron pots of rice and little bowls of kim chee and pickled veggies. Before that, she took me to a Korean ladies spa where we got scrubs and a hot oil massage. The woman who worked on me was merciless. She knelt on the table and pounded on my back after scraping all my skin off. The topper was when I was lying on my stomach and she asked me to put my face into the table so she could pound my neck. I thought my nose would break. It was glorious.

Very early this morning I got up to meditate on the porch. What a noisy city. Reminds me of NYC, sirens and bad mufflers and car alarms. Humming with human activity.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jobs I would rather have

Libraries of obscure words. That's s where I want to work. My favorite dictionary is the Webster Second Edition, the huge one the libraries used to have on a pedestal. It even has colored plates. We have ours turned to the poisonous plants page. I bought it in a used bookstore for $75. It is a beautiful book. There are also many pages of photos of library illuminati, mostly men of course, with their spectacles and wavy hair. In a fire, I would save it, along with the dogs. The cats will have to fend for themselves.

Don't forget Taber's Medical dictionary, a thing of beauty itself. Many indexes, including a phobia index. Lovely phobias and more born every day. Comforting somehow. We can all be on someone's list.

Eden, my daughter, had a photo shoot with Yoko Ono. I have a large photo of her looking over her sunglasses at me. The woman is 72 and looks fabulous, black tights and demin skirt. I could be her valet.

Take a look at wicked alice, a gorgeous WEB site of women's poetry. Kelly's poems are there.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Start here

I have said this before but my friend Kelly is a brilliant writer and she has a river under her house. It gives a whole new meaning to floating universes. We went to a reading where Rebecca Loudon was the featured reader and during the open mic we couldn't look at each other for fear of blowing iced tea out our noses. And Rebecca was so elegant and incendiary.

Today we hear that Karl Rove is leaving for family reasons. He is off to ruin more lives, maybe just his intimates.

Read Radish King by Rebecca. Read Crush by Richard Siken. Mimi, another poet I write with, lent me Crush and now I can't return it until I have my own copy. I can't even read it very well. I don't want to open the cover for fear the words with fly off the pages and leave the book bound blanks.

Rebecca's work is like that. She transcends what the words mean, in any ordinary sense. Like fire and heat. The pages are hot to the touch.