Wednesday, February 22, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things (Appended)

Let's be self-indulgent shall we?
(bit of a rhetorical query since the blog is a self-indulgent medium!)

- Fresh sheets from the dryer are wonderful.. you lay them on the bed so nice and clean. (Fresh jeans from the dryer are not a good thing. You lay on the bed as you pull them on.)

- Waiters who kneel next to you when answering a question on the menu. Even better are waiters who pull up a chair and sit with you at the end of a shift.

- A kiss on your cheek. It comes with the purest intentions.

- Deep dark chocolate. If it weren't for the bitter, you wouldn't appreciate the sweetness

- The Carpenters

- Pulling a book off the library shelf and inhaling into the pages.

- Standing in sand on the beach. The water crashes at your feet. The ocean pulls back her waters, and with it takes the sand under your feet. You feel like you're being pulled also, but you're really not. You're still stationary with your feet firmly planted in wet sand.

- Indulging in the most sinful, tallest, gooest, chocolate dessert with girlfriends.

- Listening to "Sleepy Hollow" on the WXPN radio on Sunday mornings, and going through the Travel and Entertainment sections of the paper with hot cups of coffee.

- Stepping on snow - making fat crunchy sounds.

- Singers with voices that bring up images:
* Lata Mangeshkar has a timeless voice. When she sings, it reminds me of a red satin sheet fluttering in the wind.

* Sarah McLachlin voice reminds me of bubbles floating and then just popping, releasing a note (The song "Angel" especially).

* Jewel sings and it sounds like she's skiing - going up and down over the snow mounds, and then just gliding along.

* Natalie Merchant is like a hot cup of peppermint cocoa - rich and smooth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Poet Laureate Ted Kooser

I heard the Poet Laureate Ted Kooser on NPR the other day. I wish I could find that interview though, I found these clips of his interviews.

What stayed with me was his comment about the rewards of poetry. He said he had a poem in Atlantic Monthly magazine recently. It was a 5-line poem and he got $5 per line. A whopping $25.

So, he said because the financial gains aren't there, "poetry is more pure." It's written from true feelings with real intentions.

Actually, this makes much sense to me as I'm struggling with 2 poems. I'm writing them for anthology, which has requirements for theme. I can certainly write a poem on this theme, but I'm not feeling it. So, it's become very dry. Not at all fluid. I feel like the words are bricks that I'm laying on top of each other to form a tall structure. Conforms to the themes, but doesn't serve any purpose to me. A building that doesn't even shelter me.

Anyway, I like Ted Kooser and was fascinated by him during a tv interview. First of all, something about him reminded me of my grandfather, who always encouraged me to read and write. Maybe it was Kooser's round and kind face with prominent ears?

The other thing I liked about him was that he worked for an insurance company for years. He would rise at 5 am and write poetry. Then, proceed with his day.

I don't have any set time for my poetry writing. I tend to squeeze it in during the day. Our weekly production meeting is an excellent time for me to write. Else, if I'm waiting for an an application process to be finish, I'll pull out my notebook or open a Word doc.

It's encouraging to hear this from Kooser; he's an academic now, but that's what I keep worrying about. Must you be in academia to get published?

Enough of my fretting. Enjoy Kooser!


What once was meant to be a statement—
a dripping dagger held in the fist
of a shuddering heart—is now just a bruise
on a bony old shoulder, the spot
where vanity once punched him hard
and the ache lingered on. He looks like
someone you had to reckon with,
strong as a stallion, fast and ornery,
but on this chilly morning, as he walks
between the tables at a yard sale
with the sleeves of his tight black T-shirt
rolled up to show us who he was,
he is only another old man, picking up
broken tools and putting them back,
his heart gone soft and blue with stories.

from Delights & Shadows, Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA 2004

Flying at Night

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.

Published in "Flying at Night

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Bubbles (My poems): A Child Is Not a Poem. A Poem Is Not a Child.

This is a metaphor.

How do you learn to spell?
Blood, sky & the sun,
your own name first,your first naming,
your first name,your first word.
- Spelling by Margaret Atwood

Your first Naming.
Naming your First.
Feeling the power and
privilege of raising a human
to grow into a human

One who would make decisions
based on answers
you provided and birthed in
hidden memories.
The burden of parenting
is not in the nightly
The physical demands of motherhood
can be handled
She was created by an invisible hand.
yet she will be raised under my

Do I know the words?
Aren’t I still seeking to form
the vowels in my mind that build the world
into words I can consume?
Yet those consonants are like thorns in my throat.
I cough up words and hope
they will spring themselves into an umbrella
for my child to use in downpours.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Quote on Love

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. - James Baldwin, author


This was on our corporate webboard today. It really drives home that love is about being honest, being the authentic self, and the acceptance of another person wholly.

I always believed that when people are dating, they're eagar to keep a certain face, say the right things, be a bit careful with the other person. Once the couple decides to commit into marriage, then it becomes real. All the skeletons spill out of the closet: the credit card bills tumble first, the family members that were hid in the corner are now taking center stage. It's as they say on the "Real World", "people stop being polite, and start getting real."

So, you could be dating for 2 years or 2 months, it's only when you commit do you become real.

By the way, speaking of love, here's another cliche for you. Unconditional Love of a Child. Wait - don't click "Next Blog" so soon. I can't believe it is true.

Annika is horrible eater and tends to dawdle and chat incessantly through dinner. It's very frustrating that it takes an hour to eat. Then, while goofing around, the dinner spills over on the floor. Now, I lose it. I get mad and send her upstairs and she starts crying. I feel bad about all this. When I come upstairs and tell her it's time to read a book, she finds her book and climbs into my lap. I apologize and ask her if she understands what happened. She does and reiterates it to me. Then, we read our book and it's a wonderful bed time.

So, that is unconditional. No matter what you do or say, she loves me so much. Un-condition-al-ly. Without condition. Without a reason.

Mind you - lest you walk away thinking we're all happy and kissing all the time, she has slammed the door on me, yelled at me for being a bad mom, etc. So, she can get mad at me. But, then we come back together.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bubbles (My poems): Step by Step

Why didn't they tell you how
complicated it would be
when they handed you a little girl,
aflush with life and your blood,
a swaddling of soft white cotton with
black marble eyes that never leave you
though they dart about you,
looking to see more.

Why didn't they tell you that
you are her mother
and she will turn to you for everything -
how to be a girl,
to be a woman,
to be a person of her own,
even though you are still learning the steps yourself.

She will look to you to show her,
but then she’s also going to shut

you out when she thinks she knows everything
and then you have to watch her
walk alone...

She may make the choices you taught her she wanted,
or will you watch her go astray
or will she shut the door
and keep you from seeing

her repeat your mistakes,
because she thinks she knows the answers

just like you knew everything
when your mother tried to tell you.


Speaking of motherhood, I read recently an observation. When father is converted to a verb, "fathering," it means providing a sperm (e.g., he fathered 2 children and adopted 1). When mother is converted to a verb, "mothering," it means so much more (e.g., she questioned her mothering ability) The word itself conveys feelings of warm laps and convenient shoulders for tears, nurturing of the body and mind. So, again, the mother bears the bigger burden.

However, "mothering" is one letter away from "smothering." - So, please keep that in mind!