Wednesday, November 30, 2011

repetition + silence

Here there was a field of endless wildflowers, the clover with its white blooms, the bluebells in spring, dandelions with their wishes in the heart of summer. The field was everything: the site of excavations for dinosaur bones and buried treasure, the savannah where lions and zebras were hunted with rifles made from fallen tree branches, the wide wide sea where the Spanish Armada was conquered and pirates walked the plank.
reading
the completion of 30 Poems in 30 Days!

weather
so long November!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

memory of

Thanksgiving: all of that, and then much more.

This week is an memoriam to a mentor: the gifts of compassion and calm beauty; the smoke of Hu-Kwa Tea; the perfect soufflé.


Soufflé

melt 6 T butter, whisk in 6 T flour
cook until thickened (~10 seconds)

whisk in 2 c milk, salt & pepper
stir until thickened (~2 minutes)
remove from heat, let cool


beat well 5 whole eggs (unseparated)
add to eggs 2.5 c (6 oz) grated Swiss cheese, chives


bake at 400 F for 30-40 minutes in a buttered 6 c gratin dish

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the little dog laughed

Watch, watch closely and carefully, and I will show you magic. Not a magic trick, those cheap flashes of smoke and mirrors propagated by the men who prey on society's gullibility and desire to be deceived. No, this is real, the coercion of matter into substance of a radically different type, the bending of the laws of physics into new shapes and dimensions. This is not alchemy, it is neither chemistry nor biology, those fields beloved by technicians in pristine lab coats with official clipboards for tabulations and recordings of precision and hypothesis. Nor is this the gypsy trickery, the carnival games of fortunes, crystals, messages from the dead. You have grown cynical and disbelieving after watching the dazzle and color of the Houdini's of the world, but the magic I produce and promise is richer, deeper, than any of these sleights of hand.

reading
The sense of an ending / Julian Barnes

weather
this rain rain rain could be snow snow snow: tires in place! shovel in place! ice scraper in places!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

one potato, two potato

We were to go to the fair that day, as we went to the fair every autumn, the corn as big as watermelon, the pumpkins orange and just coming in for harvest. The previous year -- last year -- I had been too short for the midway rides, not allowed on the roller coaster with a loop de loop or on the giant spider machine with little airborne cars that spun and swooped. I wasn't allowed on the Ferris wheel, the biggest in the nation, or the merry-go-round, with its fancy tigers chasing beautiful horses and sparkling zebras to ride, even though I'm sure that I wasn't too little for a trip on the Ferris wheel so high that the moon is bigger than the earth or to sit upon the gorgeous rearing black stallion under the calliope organ pipes.

reading
Transgressions : stories / Sallie Bingham

weather
late-summer-sneaks-into-November

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

knights of malta

The first day was spent getting beyond the city center, a scramble between bus lines and trains whose routes and schedules had been altered by the new regime and no longer followed any published maps or timetables. There were rumors of where buses could be caught, of when trains might appear, but the rumors were only as accurate as the intentions of the speaker. The system could change from day to day, depending on the particular favorites chosen by the transport operators. By dusk on the first day, I was approximately three miles from where I had begun, having taken a series of increasingly contorted buses and trams down streets which had previously been little more than unmarked alleyways.
reading
Mr Fox / Helen Oyeyemi

weather
how nice, how nice, to have light and heat after extended dark and cold

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Poems in November

There's a benefit going on this month for the Center for New Americans, in Northampton, MA: write a poem a day. Get people to underwrite your poem a day. Donate to help literacy.

Poetry isn't something I write. Not even in the deepest darkest recesses of an unlit New England night by flashlight under the duvet. How does one know when a poem is done? A story finishes (even if others don't like the ending). But a poem . . . every comma matters. Every verb matters. Is that the definite article where the indefinite article would be more appropriate? How does one avoid the maudlin, the confessional? What's up with the line breaks?

How could I subject a reading public to a poem a day -- given its unfinished and maudlin appearance -- in the deep dark recesses of November? Even to benefit something so lovely as literacy? It's like exposing a marsupial mammal to the ravages of the environment when it should be warm and snug in a pouch.

Here's the compromise. I'll write a check to the Center. You can write a check to the Center. Mail it to them. I'll write poems, given the above caveats and disclaimers. They'll be compiled and uploaded here to a pdf or something at the end of the month. Maybe. Probably.