Thursday, May 31, 2012

Poetry Thursday ... back in the States

By Charles Tomlinson b. 1927 Charles Tomlinson

IV. The Fireflies

I have climbed blind the way down through the trees
(How faint the phosphorescence of the stones)
On nights when not a light showed on the bay
And nothing marked the line of sky and sea—
Only the beating of the heart defined
A space of being in the faceless dark,
The foot that found and won the path from blindness,
The hand, outstretched, that touched on branch and bark.
The soundless revolution of the stars
Brings back the fireflies and each constellation,
And we are here half-shielded from that height
Whose star-points feed the white lactation, far
Incandescence where the single star
Is lost to sight. This is a waiting time.
Those thirty, lived-out years were slow to rhyme
With consonances unforeseen, and, gone,
Were brief beneath the seasons and the sun.
We wait now on the absence of our dead,
Sharing the middle world of moving lights
Where fireflies taking torches to the rose
Hover at those clustered, half-lit porches,
Eyelid on closed eyelid in their glow
Flushed into flesh, then darkening as they go.
The adagio of lights is gathering
Across the sway and counter-lines as bay
And sky, contrary in motion, swerve
Against each other's patternings, while these
Tiny, travelling fires gainsay them both,
Trusting to neither empty space nor seas
The burden of their weightless circlings. We,
Knowing no more of death than other men
Who make the last submission and return,
Savour the good wine of a summer's night
Fronting the islands and the harbour bar,
Uncounted in the sum of our unknowings
How sweet the fireflies’ span to those who live it,
Equal, in their arrivals and their goings,
With the order and the beauty of star on star.

Charles Tomlinson, “The Fireflies (from ‘The Return’)” from Selected Poems 1955-1997. Copyright © 1997 by Charles Tomlinson. Reprinted with the
permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Selected Poems: 1955-1997 (1997)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

travelscape ... country 3, part 4

Last stop ... Milan.

Alas... mostly I will see this:

But, hopefully mom and little sister will take advantage of their time in Milan to do more than shopping and see some sights...

And the European tour come to an end ... next stop for me: 20th college reunions ... not ready for the orange and black... but trying to steel myself for the weekend.

I should be back to regular, not pre-posting, by June 8th ... hope you have enjoyed my dreaming of the trip.

Friday, May 25, 2012

travelscape ... country 3, part 3

If you have been following our tour ... we started in Italy in Venice, went to Rome and today should land in Tuscany

... train to Florence, pick up car and drive to Sandicci (small village (our host calls it a hamlet) close to Firenze -- Florence for you monolingual English speakers)... Can you find it on this map?

Look closely ... it's there.

You can make the map bigger by clicking on it ...
This is a view of the "hamlet" from where we will stay.
I am looking forward to seeing these beautiful sights ... though not so much to the driving, just one week of driving, however, I think I can stand it.
I remember the gorgeous old towns and villages I visited last time by car...
...and sitting in the piazzas -- pretending I knew how to draw with my sketch book!
I am not clear at all on what the weather will be like ... but I wouldn't mind this view!

One more map for fun ... will report later on where we actually went, and the adventures in driving.  I think my little sister's style of driving will fit right in... but I am dreading parking on hills in a standard... keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Poetry Thursday - From the Road, Part 2

Still in Europe ... not sure where, not sure if I am checking in even, but here is a lovely sentiment for this May day.

Let The Beauty You Love
Be What You Do  

Monday, May 21, 2012

travelscape ... country 3, part 2

 Second stop in Italy ... Rome!
 We have not itinerary ... just a few days ... to take in the sights.

Maybe this fountain?  

Who knows what the view will be from our apartment near the Vatican ...

Friday, May 18, 2012

travelscape ... country 3


I feel as though there should be trumpets or bells or something ... just imagine it.

I am not that high tech.

This will stop three for my mom and I -- and all three of these are actually new cities for me. Technically Germany and Switzerland are new countries, too ... because I have only been in airports in Germany before.

In from Germany we will get to see a bunch of Germany and Switzerland and out to Venice, we will see completely other parts; see this map of the route we intend to take ... it will require several changes from train to bus to train ... every flag is a stop/change in transport service!

This is what I hope awaits us in Venice:

If you want to know exactly where we are...choose satellite and zoom in ... our b'n'b is right here!

I don't think we will gondola ride, but it's my mom's trip, so if that's what she wants, we'll do it.  She did make me go to the Moulin Rouge in Paris afterall...

I am vacationing and getting good daughter points all at the same time!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who's reading...

... the blog while I am away? This is live posting if you care...the pre-posting will continue, but I have been drafting pieces about the trip.  I will have to wrestle my mother for the camera to get pictures later but the words are safe in the draft vault.  Check in if you are reading so that I know I am not alone.  And when you see typos, keep in kind that me and apple are typing on the iPod. It gets that one right all the time.  Cheers, from Venezia. 

Poetry Thursday -- from the road

The minute I'm disappointed
I feel encouraged.
when I'm ruined
I'm healed.
When I'm quiet
and solid as the ground
Then I talk
the low tones of thunder
for everyone

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2

I am pre-posting these ... so this is just what I am imagining my mother and I are seeing as we awaken in Switzerland...

I will let you know what it was like when we return...

Monday, May 14, 2012

travelscape ... country 1

Pre-posting ... I am supposed to be writing those final papers... and by the time you read this, they will be done: good, bad or ugly.

We will only get one full day in Cologne, but we will get to see a lot of country in the train to and from ... I am looking forward to walking near the river, and contemplating going to the chocolate museum.

Also anticipating that I have taken my mother to brunch for Mother's Day ... do you think they celebrate that in Germany?? How strong is Hallmark's reach?

Friday, May 11, 2012


pre-posting ... here is where we will land today (for us) -- probably yesterday in the US... yeah, I am also already tired from the full day of travel.

May 11 -- Albuquerque to JFK
then another plane JFK to Frankfurt -- arrive May 12
jump on the train and head to Cologne... we might not see much of Frankfurt as there is a train station in the airport ... ah, well, I think I have already been to Frankfurt's airport on previous travel.

I am sure it will be lovely in the airport(s) and train station(s)...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not exactly Poetry Thursday

No time to look for a poem today, so instead, I am celebrating the end of poetry month with a little piece about Albuquerque's own poet laureate.

I have had the pleasure of hearing him deliver poetry three times now... they made a great choice... he will be a hard act to follow next year!

vivid dreams

Adrian Gomez / Asst. Arts Editor, Reel NM/Published 5/6/2012: 

Hyper creative. Dreamer. Passionate.
These words are what Hakim Bellamy uses to describe himself. "I'm an idea factory," he quips during a recent interview. "I have the visions, but it takes an entire group of people help me fulfill these visions. Other people have venture capitalists. I'm a dream capitalist."
Bellamy, a New Jersey native but an Albuquerque resident since 2005, was on April 14 named Albuquerque's poet laureate, the city's first. With the announcement the Duke City joins the ranks of Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Santa Fe as cities with poet laureates. There are also 42 states, New Mexico being one, that have state level poet laureates.
"It's a big deal and I take the honor very seriously," he says. "There's an opportunity for me to set the standard with this position. I have the honor for two years and I have to just get going."
With the addition of poet laureate, Bellamy has to balance a few other titles with it - community leader, visionary, writer and dad. "I feel like I'm always going, but that's a good feeling to have," he says. "There's always time for my poetry at 3 a.m. when the entire world is quiet."
Bellamy's first task at hand is bringing poetry into the public schools. "My goal is to make poetry matter to people and places it doesn't matter," he says. "We have to get children involved with poetry at a young age just so they experience it."
One of Bellamy's goals is to have poetry included in more city activities. "I want more people to be comfortable with consuming poetry," he says. "I want to get local businesses involved in putting poetry out there. Maybe go to your favorite eatery and see a poem posted at the front."
Bellamy also wants to instill that fact that everybody's life is interesting. "I talk with kids and they think that there is nothing to say about their life," he explains. "But each life is unique and interesting. That's what makes this world great. You can grow up in the same town or household, yet have a different view to life."
While Bellamy is proud of the honor of poet laureate, he admits there was a point when he wasn't going to apply. He was asked to be part of the committee that chooses the winner but declined. "There was a point when I felt because I wasn't a native New Mexican, I didn't deserve to apply," he says. "I talked to my friend Carlos Contreras about it and then I started getting calls from other poets encouraging me to apply."
Bellamy says the process was rigorous and detailed. "There were so many parts that I wanted to get it all done correctly," he says.
Don McIver, a member of the organizing committee for the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, says after the rigourous application process, there were six complete applications. The Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program celebrates poetry by offering a resident poet who makes meaningful connections, honors and serves our diverse community, elevates the importance of the art form, and shares poetry with Albuquerque residents.
"Hakim is a great choice for poet laureate," McIver says. "Not only is a he a good poet, a good performer, but he understands the public role a poet laureate must play in service to the larger poetry community and Albuquerque."
Bellamy is certainly no stranger to the poetry scene in Albuquerque, and it all started after he followed his then girlfriend to the Duke City. He is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion and holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico. He has been published in various anthologies in Albuquerque and is the co creator of the multimedia hip hop theater production "Urban Verbs: Hip Hop Conservatory & Theater."
"When I moved here, I wanted to immerse myself in everything," he says. "Seven years later, I'm still immersed in all of it and I'm still enjoying myself. I miss the ocean at times but now I've got mountains." Bellamy says he got interested in poetry at a young age and credits his parents with the influence. "They were reading Gil Scott Heron and listening to Sly and the Family Stone when I was growing up," he says. "But then as I was growing up, I started listening to more hip hop and rap and loved the words of A Tribe Called Quest and bands like those. They were rapping and giving me a glimpse into their life without the profanity. I was instantly hooked."
As Bellamy moves forward with his new position, he hopes to positively represent the city. "It's going to be a lot of work, and raising money for functions is the biggest challenge," he says. "The truth is that it takes a lot of people to help me balance everything that I do and I am grateful to have them in my life."
In addition to Bellamy taking on this new responsibility, he also will keep his day job as the strategic communications director for the Media Literacy Project at Albuquerque Academy. "The job helps keep the academic side of me intact," he says. "I get to delve into creating curriculum for future students, and that's an amazing feeling."
© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Grandma and the Lost Boys

This was my final for the architecture class... I managed to make a movie about a building ... go figure.

Monday, May 07, 2012

too busy to blog

I would like to say that I am finished ... but I am still in the draft form of the rest of the three projects I have to complete by Thursday ... one for Wednesday and two for Thursday ... but I also have to pack and wash clothes, actually wash clothes first then pack ... but you understand.

Here is a lovely piece you might enjoy, celebrating the 40th(!) anniversary of Marvin Gaye's song's what NPR's website says:
As part of a project commemorating Marvin Gaye's breakthrough protest album What's Going On, Youth Radio producer Brandon McFarland was asked to remix Gaye's raw tracks with lyrics and contributions from Oakland-area youths.
 At the link above, you can see the transcript, listen to the piece, listen to the original song and a clip of Youth Radio anniversary tribute... well worth the time investment.  And there's a link to the full coverage on Youth Radio. [oh and you can read the haters' comments ... seriously, they need to read or listen and then shut up ... sheesh]

Here's the song, it is a beautiful update with what is going on in 2012 ... particularly in Oakland...

I may not get to posting for the rest of the week ... but I have been "pre-posting" about the trip ... you will be able to see where we are ... keep in mind, these are not my photos as I posted them all before I left ... just to leave something to read.

I will be back live posting after June 7th ...

Friday, May 04, 2012

Speaking of education

I am about to complete one year teaching in Gallup ... and I have to say, I appreciate my students helping me to reclaim what I love about teaching ... their curious faces, even when they were grouchy with me for giving them lots of reading and writing to do, were the bright spot of every week.
From Gallup
Last night in one of my classes (that I'm taking not teaching), we were talking about about what we had learned (it is a class about anthropology and education -- my purported field).  I reflected that I had learned that we need to take a step back more often, to get a better sense of what is going on before we form opinions ... something, I guess, I have been trying to teach my students in Gallup all semester.
Malibu ... Yucca... beautiful
It all got me thinking about how grateful I am for the opportunity to get back in the classroom this year ... I might not have made it through the year without my students and the grounding that is teaching for me.

Why we do it (teaching, that is) in the words of the students and the teachers.  Lovely.

Why it is so important for students ... education, that is.

From Gallup
-------rescued from a post that has been in draft form for nearly a whole year...
In case you were wondering what happens in some districts, check out this article on the cheating scam uncovered in Atlanta Public Schools. And juxtapose that situation with this story about an alternative high school in Los Angeles.

Oh, and while this post has been sitting in the draft folder, the California governor signed a bill allowing undocumented college students "to access private" scholarship monies. Funny, I didn't know that anyone had to give anyone access to private money. In any case, it can only help.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Poetry Thursday ... dreaming

This is exactly what I need right now:
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.
Not really a dance party; just beach revelers in June gloom greeting the train.  Love those people!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

odd happenings...

About a month and a half ago, I heard strange sounds coming from the apartment next door.

And then I heard the woman who lives there crying.

I noticed a few days later that no sounds had come from that apartment for a while.

They didn't move out, but they didn't come back ... for a long time.  Sometimes she would show up with a family member and take out a few things ... a suitcase, a box... not furniture.  I never saw him.

At the end of the month, I expected they would move out.

But apparently they had the money to pay for another month when no one would live there. 
Several times, it seemed like they might move ... someone reported seeing furniture being carried out ... but the curtains were still up.

One night, morning, I guess... 2AM, I hear loud thumping up the steps and tromping around ... 2AM.  I wondered who was there... when I heard the door slam, I looked out my bedroom window.  He was sitting in his car, with the lights on, just sitting there... and he must have seen me looking out the window.

He came back in and slammed the door a few more times, and then honked as he finally drove off ... around 3AM ... apparently being an asshole is a 24 hour occupation for him.

And, still, they didn't move out.

I noticed on Saturday (28th of the month) that the curtains were down ... end of the month, maybe they will really move out... then Sunday, they were both there, in separate cars.  Carrying out a few things, but they left the bike chained to the railing.  Feels like the end of the story...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

More 20 year retrospective...

I keep thinking I won't post another collection of retrospectives on the riots in LA in 1992, and then I read another or hear another, and think, they are too good not to share.  And this is a moment that should be remembered.
Los Angeles Union Station, Summer 2010
When I finally listened to the story about the teacher, who was ten in 1992, who was trying to figure out how to "teach" the riots in his history class, I had a realization about the importance of memory, particularly in these cases.  Some have focused on the key players, and others on the bit players, and still others have tried to focus on the way Los Angeles has changed or not in the past 20 years.  The Los Angeles Times obviously has a different stake on this front -- this is their backyard -- some of their stories demonstrate the complex nature of this story.

And, of course, it has given many folks the opportunity to say what it felt like for them, in the mix.  This one from a Black journalist living in the affected area, this one from a future journalist at the Lakers game, and this who was assigned to watch the reactions of the LAPD.  
Los Angeles Union Station, Summer 2010

This is a great story ...
"Fujii had been handed what he calls "a crazy gift." He could remember only the edges of what had happened to him."
I would argue that here is another crazy gift ... that he could look at the situation in this way.

I am yearning for this kind of clarity and equanimity right at the moment, so I am especially taken with the statement... maybe, someday.
Leaving Los Angeles, Summer 2010