Monday, September 28, 2009

Here in Chiloquin the Shell Station gets the Oregonian newspaper, except on Sundays and Mondays. The mail people bring the paper, so it makes sense we can't get the paper Sundays, but the Monday missing paper is a mystery. The clerk behind the counter with the plastic wrapped muffins on it told me sometimes the Oregonian doesn't get here cuz the Oregonian people are late and the mail people can't wait.

September 23, 2009 Daily Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft

Scared to be paired, you stomp
the street in your ratty coat, owl
hoot out the back window, awl
in your hand, not ready to accede
to what you don't understand:
area of Mobius strip, weevil path.
You don't believe in evil, sky
brightening, door bolted, humanity
on the other side of the road. Is art
the only answer you have? Pascal
in velvet cloak, no camera snap,
but you're held rapt by any story.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunny and warm in Chiloquin, Oregon,
I'm once again at the back table at the library
checking email and listening to conversations
between the librarian and whoever comes in.
I arrived Saturday, in time to meet my landlord
at 10am. The new house is on Agency Lake.
ON AGENCY LAKE. Out my window are
cottonwoods and beyond them AGENCY LAKE.
This morning I took out one of the kayaks -
sadly the one branded "Emotion" is too large,
but I wore the radiation yellow life vest
and once I was afloat - butt in the boat,
then feet tucked in and no turning turtle,
I was level with abundant water bird life
and the whutter of wings as flocks lifted
to set down further from my whisper paddles.
I set off towards the Wood River Wetlands,
until recently somebody's farm reclaimed
from wetlands, water drained and a dyke
put in place which was dynamited to restore
the wetlands - "Only in Klamath County"
my informant told me. Ah but the result!
I paddled over algae green water, then
over water browned by peat, keeping my
eye on the broken peak that once continued
up as Mt. Mazama. On the water were
what looked like two rafts of white pelicans
so far and so immobile I began to doubt
and thought them first duck blinds and
later chalk graffiti, though they were
two rafts of white pelicans, dozens in
each, and three posed on an underwater
island closer to me, one of which fumbled
into flight and joined one of the rafts.
I didn't get close enough that they would
all take wing, deciding to leave them
to their fishing and visiting, while I
turned back to my house. I panicked
momentarily. How would I recognize
where I'd come from? I remembered
the large green house I'd walked past
yesterday, very close to shore. If I
got to that I'd know I'd gone too far.
It took me nearly an hour to reach
the pelicans, maybe twenty minutes
to get back to the cabin, where I
successfully disembarked without
falling into the lake, losing neither
kayak nor paddle.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scattered every which way
every room humped with mess in progress
brain hot with synapse fire
mired mainly in too much to do
no time to see it through (no will
most of the year to do) And how
are you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Is there a wonderful new feature on blogger that disallows you to copy and paste, even from your own blog, even when logged in? This will reduce my paranoid fantasy that other people are copying my blog poem drafts, recrafting them and making millions in the frenzied money making world of international poetry. Someone has written a book entitled FINANCIAL LIVES OF THE POETS. Jess Walter. Coming to the U Village Barnes & Noble on September 22. I'll be in Chiloquin, Oregon. But you could go. Will he speak about Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot? Period? Subtitle: The Music of Failure. An actual book. My current favorite title. Not about poets and finance. I was going to quote myself from early 2006 but I'll leave this.

Texas Crazy Ants aka Rasberry ants are real. Also Caribbean Crazy Ants. Their generic names: paratrechnia species near pubens and paratrechina pubens. See their blog.

Moisture Ants Are One Thing

But when Texas Crazy Ants amass
we flee, cow poke congressman or co-ed
grab skivvies and our horn rims
run for the hills "Not it!" "NOT IT!"
we choose our molten thoughts in lieu
of creativity. We'll go you know - atop
the onion domes of former Doodyville
nurse ants ferry larva and we're nada
how's that gotta carve your melon?
You're hell on wheels, ants smile
whether Lancaster and Ewing
you won't be doing what you're doing
when Texas Crazy Ants scramble
like the anarchists they are. Fazed?
oh I suppose. I'm scared
this drama is worse than opera
larvae nurseries in mailbox, vases,
so we retreat with diddly squat
trot off as these ants carom
harem scarem over every place
obliterate your face not even in a rage
I may exagerrate a tad
hordes eat hot dogs and your honey
and also honey bees. Oh, jeeze.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/10/09 Daily Crossword Puzzle Poetry Draft

Ballet pink I find to my dismay is passe
though who am I to know, my toes enclosed
in solid shoes and this a pedicure?
She diligently saws at dried out skin
as I doze, an oaf like hobbit Astin
until the flip flops and I shuffle off
a pretty city girl about to head to RFD
these shrimp boat OPI dyes affect
a happy change from grumpy to belief
I'm just the chick to change the clime
for kids whose crappy hands aren't dealt
for keeps for good and all and all the heft
their tragedies that tend to other ports
than mine and time declares a truce
is there a use in all of this? You bet
or sing me arias from Carmen.
You trip and scramble far as
anyone can go and still you have an ear
for injustice even when it's not sci fi.
But why (we're talking of Antietam)
do the rapists claim the staff of life?
Point at the chart say fish will spawn
again and all your bitching's moot.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

9/9/09 (!!!!) Daily Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft

If only life made sense like math
the satisfying grids and graphs
no fool's grin to make you ache
or take you, just one long hora
hour after hour, no Eva or Evita
yelling in your ear, a peer
appearing when predicted halts
and bows and hey it's Parker
or Joe you like or maybe Bob
if you want it snow, no Bozo
Mr. Green Jeans, Captain Kan-
garoo appearing by the Erie
but dearie this ain't true you
got that neurosthemia mold
those Irene blues bed all red
and you know who has landed
your nephew uncle lover son
have done what no man done
before so you're a whore Bebe
Jeeze they'd never if not teased
ah please court date soon in re
who asked you it's after nine
sine wave calculus bestow


Some days its yay hurray
others it's oh brother


Moving back into our house, this is no poem, it's real and I don't want to strip sheets and mattress pads, sort towels, vaccuum, make sure we're where we should be financially etc. I want to stare into the sky and look at my fingers and have the duties my granddaughter has - just figuring out how to use this amazing engine that runs me. Sigh.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Poem Draft from the Wenatchee World Daily Crossword Puzzle for this Tuesday's WW

Well, I'm finking out on writing this poem, can't stop thinking about other things, especially since the first two "words" across are "kwh" and "tsp" and the third is the flat and unmusical "chow". How now brown cow where's your chow? Chew your chow now, won't thou? Sheesh.

Last evening, moon waxing gibbous (god I love to write that word), over the lake flat as seran wrap stretched over a bowl of really great leftover potato salad, Jim said, "let's take a boat ride," and we got into our boat with UNDERWORLD by Don DeLillo. Duh. We've begun to read it as a read aloud. We've had several halts on the read aloud front lately. The 1951 Dodgers vs. Yankees? Mets? crap, I loved the scene, but baseball team names fall from my consciousness like factual details so often do for me. Every trip down lake is a revelation - I don't remember the coastline, the mountain peaks. I do remember the Seuss house and the house with the Hobie Cats out front, the property with the fussy gazebo and mobile home by the shore. What else do we need to be happy along the lake? I forget constellations and which direction the earth rotates. I have the eye of imagination but the eye of organization has miazmal glaucoma. I'm reading Ruth Gendler's NOTES ON THE NEED FOR BEAUTY, which has a lovely bit about eyes. She cites an essay in Bill Holm's book, THE MUSIC OF FAILURE, which I immediately looked up on Powell's (no show) and then, where it is available for $38. Um, the credit card went back into the duct tape wallet at that point. If anyone owns the book and wants to photocopy the essay "Horizontal Grandeur" I'll pay for the copying and postage! The piece I'm going to quote really hit me since I'm going back to the high plains of Chiloquin, Oregon for nine weeks on the 18th. Here's the passage I underlined from Ruth's NOTNFB:

In a brief, beautiful essay, "Horizontal Grandeur," Minnesota writer Bill Holm distinguishes between two ways of seeing, which he calls "the prairie eye" and "the woods eye." "The prairie eye looks for distance, clairty, and light; the woods eye for closeness, complexity, and darkness. The prairie eye looks for usefulness and plainness in art and architecture, the woods eye for the baroque and ornamental."

Holm describes how someone with a woods eye looks at twenty miles of prairie and sees nothing but grass. The one with a prairie eye "looks at a square foot and sees a universe; ten or twenty flowers and grasses, heights, heads, colors, shades, configurations, bearded, rough, smooth, simple, elegant. When a cloud passes over the sun, colors shift, like a child's kaleidoscope... Trust a prairie eye to find beauty and understate it truthfully, no matter how violent the apparent exaggeration. Thoreau, though a woodsman, said it right: 'I can never exaggerate enough.'"

On the next page, she writes : "Because by nature I readily identify with the eye of the imagination, I have been deeply moved by exercises that strengthen the eye of observation."

It is easy for me to depend on my eye of imagination and my quick facility, but these limit what I write and what I think about - wall off possibilities and make it easy for me to stumble downward into not seeing anything at all. I'm always having to haul myself up out of the awful well I've fallen into because I wasn't paying attention. Did you hear the "This American Life" segment on cruelty? I listened as a man began a story about he and a group of friends out playing, hearing a man weakly calling out, having heard them. He set up how wordlessly the lot of them, after an initial burst of rescue motions, chose not to help him or tell anyone. I couldn't stand listening. The tension was horrible; I could not hang with the story, couldn't bear the thought that man might have died for lack of rescue by those boys. As a little girl I could not watch "I Love Lucy" once the plot began in earnest. I jumped up and ran to my room as my parents sat and guffawed, smoking their headache causing cigarettes, my father in that green chair with the coppery brads making a border up the vertical fronts of the chair arms. Dreading something awful in the offing I retreat. I label myself emotional coward. I am cowed by emotions and events that have nothing to do with me. Worse when they HAVE something to do with me. My father is 84 years old. His doctor recently said, "You look like a man of 60 and you're robustly healthy, outside of the strokes." My father says, "I sometimes wonder what I will be when I grow up." Is it a family trait to put off till tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow since we look so much younger than others our age that we really might have that much more time, or maybe all the time in the world? Maybe we like Highlander are IMMORTAL, though I would hate to have to be on my guard all the time, have to sword fight my way to permanent immortality, the immortality even being conditional. So what you hung out with Mozart? Today I lop off your head and get stronger! I move toward The Gathering getting more warlike every encounter! RARRRR! Immortality does not convey maturity. And see how far I've wandered?

Looking at Jupiter through our bad telescope, we could see one of its moons. Jim said, "people used to call the planets 'The Wanderers.'"

After a meditative moment enjoying that phrase, I thought how I've lived all these years and have never particularly noticed planets. I haven't had to of course, my life doesn't depend on the night sky for navigation by land or sea or even within my imagination. My thoughts garble in the day's news, other people's needs, and I need a post-it note to remind me to look up on a clear night, to lie on the ground and stare into that vastness and marvel if not remember or even note what's up there in a naming/knowledge way.

Yesterday Jim harvested several of our tomatoes and many of our basil leaves. I'd remembered to buy fresh mozzerella at the Chelan Safeway, so we made caprese salad, mozzerella slab, basil leaf, tomato slice, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, eaten on our deck staring at the placid lake, the wild mountain the other side of it, feeling the air so perfectly the right temperature it felt soft and no temperature at all. And then I awoke to Jim shutting windows and the french door, rain slapping the trex deck, smell of newly wet cement, Thor rolling his bowling balls along the lanes above the bruised clouds.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September 2, 2009 Newsday Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft

Hey you in balaclava drinking java
thick as lava, wanker' to my banker's urge
one hand is flush with spades and clubs
the other out in orbit or Hanoi
you excavate my foundation
like crustaceon or yeast, no east
to orient your beast, or is it me?
What I say is less than what I see
seems to me wit separates us from nit
but I digress. You bet me odd or even
we both know we'll never be on par
you at the bar me Carrie Nation avid
do you believe in gravitas? At our age
we should rage but we're too small.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Seattle Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft
September 1, 2009

As Sly Stone said you don't have to be a star
baby but those were the days before eBay
when you knew a blackberry by the thorn
and porn was Playboy not plastic to ogle
blue lit online. Nobody's avatar sang alto
your identity equaled you tap tap no erase
you knew your place and everybody died


for the second day in a row our neighbors at the idyllic *SIGH* lake are having their septic tank pumped. This is very very very loud and my brain is ahum with the thrum of the motor sucking muck from underground two doors down. What an awful soul-snatching sound. Omnipresent as mosquito hum in the middle of the night, reverberating off the mountains on the opposite shore, pounding through my pores like guilt or fear of the dark. They don't admit defeat these neighbors and whatever is wrong with the plumbing - sludge coming up into the kitchen sink or a stink behind the house after a washload - they will wrestle it into submission through whatever noisy and neighborhood disturbing means money can put at their disposal. Disposal is a problem here where nothing untoward must fall into the lake, though make no mistake these folks put plenty they shouldn't into the lake. Their lawn in the desert uplands along Lake Chelan could be a putting green. Men don't only come to mow and loudly weed whack the perimeter, they pour onto it nitrogen and potassium soon to be to dear to add to crops and that other p chemical my mind is too full of hideous hum to come up with. It sounds like a plane coming in to land on a tether to stop it landing so that the jets perpetually fret just above the runway right next to our house.