Thursday, March 30, 2017

Poetry Thursday


LĂ©onie Adams
When I stepped homeward to my hill,
   Dusk went before with quiet tread;
The bare laced branches of the trees
   Were as a mist about its head.
Upon its leaf-brown breast the rocks
   Like great grey sheep lay silentwise,
Between the birch trees’ gleaming arms,
   The faint stars trembled in the skies.
The white brook met me half-way up,
   And laughed as one that knew me well,
To whose more clear than crystal voice
   The frost had joined a crystal spell.
The skies lay like pale-watered deep,
   Dusk ran before me to its strand
And cloudily leaned forth to touch
   The moon’s slow wonder with her hand.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poetry Thursday

At the Fair

Edith Sitwell
                   I. Springing Jack
Green wooden leaves clap light away,
Severely practical, as they
Shelter the children candy-pale,
The chestnut-candles flicker, fail . . .
The showman’s face is cubed clear as
The shapes reflected in a glass
Of water—(glog, glut, a ghost’s speech
Fumbling for space from each to each).
The fusty showman fumbles, must
Fit in a particle of dust
The universe, for fear it gain
Its freedom from my cube of brain.
Yet dust bears seeds that grow to grace
Behind my crude-striped wooden face
As I, a puppet tinsel-pink
Leap on my springs, learn how to think—
Till like the trembling golden stalk
Of some long-petalled star, I walk
Through the dark heavens, and the dew
Falls on my eyes and sense thrills through.

Friday, March 17, 2017

St Patrick's Day...

On St. Patrick's Day, I remember my grandmother, pictured above with my older brother, because it was her birthday.

When I knew her, she would spend her birthday with us and then leave for Mexico to visit her sisters and brother.  She would stay there for six months and be back for the holidays. 

Not quite a snow bird, but something in that vein.

She died when I was only 5, so my memories of her are cloaked in the fog of a small child's mind.

She stayed with me a fair amount when she was in the US.  It is said we could not talk to each other as she didn't speak English and I didn't speak Spanish.  Actually, she chose not to speak English and I was still in the language acquisition phase, so there is no way to know what was going on in my brain.

But, when I started to speak Spanish, all those language acquisition memories were triggered.  Now, I believe that we probably communicated just fine.  She spoke, I understood and answered in whatever language seemed appropriate. 

Besides that early imprint of language skills, I inherited from her the finger.  It comes out unbidden whenever I need to slow someone's roll.  Not the middle finger, that would be vulgar.  The pointer finger that windshield wipes slowly or quickly depending on the need.

There may be other traits I inherited, I am just not aware.

What I know for sure is that the bond we had was real and ours alone.  After she was gone in the physical form, she would sometimes visit me.  I would wake in the middle of the night and see her seated at the foot of my bed, just watching.  Though we had a short amount of time, I carry our relationship with me wherever I go.

Happy birthday, grandma... hope you are celebrating with family in heaven.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poetry Thursday


Amy Lowell

I cut myself upon the thought of you
And yet I come back to it again and again,
A kind of fury makes me want to draw you out
From the dimness of the present
And set you sharply above me in a wheel of roses.
Then, going obviously to inhale their fragrance,
I touch the blade of you and cling upon it,
And only when the blood runs out across my fingers
Am I at all satisfied.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Poetry Thursday

What Is It You Feel I Asked Kurt

What is it you feel I asked Kurt when you listen to
Ravel’s String Quartet in F-major, his face was so lit up
and I wondered, “the music is unlike the world I live
or think in, it’s from somewhere else, unfamiliar and unknown,
not because it is relevant to the familiar and comfortable,
but because it brings me to that place that I didn’t/couldn’t
imagine existed. And sometimes that unfamiliar place is closer
to my world than I realize, and sometimes it’s endlessly distant,”
that’s what he wrote in an email when I asked him
to remind me what he’d said earlier, off the cuff, “I don’t
recall exactly what I said,” he began, a sentence written
in iambic pentameter, and then the rest, later he spoke of two
of his brothers who died as children, leukemia and fire,
his face, soft, I’m listening to Ravel now, its irrelevancy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

ugh, um, oh yeah?!

I am literally running on caffeine (and adrenaline) right now.  I write that by way of excusing myself for anything crazy I may write.

Or perhaps to warn you that beyond this line there is only crazy...

I have been up all night working on a document to send in as yet another test for a job.

Plusses --
I wasn't sure I really had it in me to do all nighters anymore, but I do think I pulled it off.

***Fingers crossed ***

I started reading an awesome book about compassion and love and where to start -- and it all makes sense, no resistence.

Minuses --
I could have been done a long time ago, but I let some of the drama in and it was not good.

Ok, so not so crazy, but I stopped drinking coffee, finished the project and ate something...
now I am going to nap for two hours and hope it helps.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Quote Tuesday

Trying to write a little bit each day, but the post for today is not quite ready. Late nights teaching does not lend itself to a lot of writing, yet.  Hoping to rectify soon.

For now, this was the tea bag wisdom gifted to me today by Good Earth tea:

Success is to be measured 
not so much by the position 
that one has reached in life 
as by the obstacles 
which he has overcome.
~Booker T. Washington

May we all be well and consider ourselves successful in all we do.

Monday, March 06, 2017


It's not new, many folks have been kvetching about adulting.

I guess I am no exception.

I hold it together.

I really do.

If you see me, you would never know the pressure I feel. I don't usually claim it in waking hours.

This really is an anomaly.

But, I am breaking inside.  I can't tell if it is into tiny pieces or just the corners breaking from the pressure.

What it feels like is an earthquake.  Fissures, cracks, movement, slippage.


I can barely get the words out, but there it is.

And, tomorrow is another day, and I will soldier on.

Maybe now that I have declared the difficulty, it will ease, just a little bit.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Poetry Thursday

Hospital Writing Workshop 

Rafael Campo, 1964

Arriving late, my clinic having run
past 6 again, I realize I don’t
have cancer, don’t have HIV, like them,
these students who are patients, who I lead
in writing exercises, reading poems.
For them, this isn’t academic, it’s
reality:  I ask that they describe
an object right in front of them, to make
it come alive, and one writes about death,
her death, as if by just imagining
the softness of its skin, its panting rush
into her lap, that she might tame it; one
observes instead the love he lost, he’s there,
beside him in his gown and wheelchair,
together finally again.  I take
a good, long breath; we’re quiet as newborns.
The little conference room grows warm, and right
before my eyes, I see that what I thought
unspeakable was more than this, was hope.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Street Art, Chinatown edition

Taking a friend on a walking tour of Oakland, we ended up in Chinatown. 
It was full of street art that was too good to be true... yet somewhat difficult to capture with the phone camera.
The dragons were really amazing.
But this was my favorite.