Saturday, March 27, 2010

Off this morning to American Lake, past the signs, one above the other on the siding road that read
Gravelly Lake >

to watch my daughter's novice rowers row and watch her as coach, then watch my other daughter, her husband, their baby sally down the steep hill towards me this year on a dry day so that nobody fell. Last year I, like many others, fell on that steep hill, though I managed a rather spectacular downward slide cheering wildly for the team my coach daughter used to row for.

Everything I do now I told my husband last night comes out of what I learned mothering my kids. The writing was in me, but hadn't found a focus or reason. I always thought I knew a lot of stuff, but what turns out to be true is that I'm a better catalyst than informant. Information is not what we need, but what we have to juggle too much of. What we need is quiet, time, conversations with our beings being. It doesn't matter what tools I have if I only want to whack you with them. Working with the kids at Lummi is humbling. Working with kids anywhere is humbling. Life is humbling. Quinn, my 9 month old granddaughter, started pointing on Tuesday. She points at trees a lot. Her mama said that Quinn pointed at my daughter's face the whole time she was nursing yesterday afternoon. Q's index finger is about the length of my index finger to the first joint. But when it points we attend and wonder.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Daily Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft for March 22, 2010

What of the lifetime wasted chasing haloes?
I look to my father who defers
how many years to gnaw
yourself loose when every atom
screams your passive plight?
While some are born roarers
the mice among us dream of reprieve
and sunny meadows, tissue-curtains
abillow, light and the sharp inhale
of spring willows. Coffee at my elbow
kink in my spine, a baby on my lap
singing today, tiny fingers clamped
to my sleeve. All I need to believe.
Silences pile like decorator pillows.
Forget just for today my mother said
who believes herself almost dead.
She's lost six pounds over the last week
though my sister and I guiltily doubt
her rush to fear and panic. My father
ignores her, won't buy Turner Classics.
What an end to life, a flight not gather.
Daffodils go translucent and scraggly
in their vase, the fancy goldfish
circles its bowl and three Chesapeake
retrievers jog off leash beside me
along a breezy roadway on the rez.
I have nothing new to say as my
mother reaps a harvest of metasticized
masses in lungs and ribs, her left eye
almost permanently fallen closed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

500th Post.

Daily Crossword Puzzle Poetry Draft for 3/19/10

Farsi Agreements in Agra
our pens raised like masts
above the cowering orca
and me without my snee.
On the rez we are aware
of all the children for whom coos
are foreign as Farsi or Mr. Darcy.
I've much to say, please pass the salt
I'll apply it to my wound, tart
faced and laughed at as Uranus
dreaming grace like Liu
but silly as Dame Edna.
Shall we adjourn to the altar?
flock like cubs to den mother?
what other oddness, gee
you imagine stories, I see
roadblocks and an eagle.
It all comes down to study hall
and the principal plants of Idaho.
Where the heck have we been led
whether we've bought in or not.
While on the other line my mother pleas
for reprieve who used to lade lye
in my openness, but I've bought
it all, nobody's fault the upsurged
landmasses, strong winds against our aims.
How we subvert the bridegroom
at the It's Your Fault Dept.
Better my dears to yodel
into the sea, sea lion rising sweet
as any longed-for Eden.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daily Crossword Puzzle Poetry Attempt for Mar. 15 (IDES!)

If you thought life was all fruit baskets and leis
let me bring you up to speed
because of wars we have Oslo
because of Ford we have the axle
because of water vapor we have cirri.
Were we sailors we'd know spinnakers
squint into wind at sea.
Were we not Yoko we'd be Al Capp.
Were we Luke we'd need Alec
and were we into TV we'd love spinoffs
but I am me and I love you
the both of us ridiculous and passe.
Lynda Barry invented as if
as true as Wily C was felled by Acme.
If you have no moped you'll have loped
and I'll have landed slightly flat.
Don we now our spandex unis
let me not the pain omit
nor read obits of men and spinsters
(I loved Herman Munster.)
Once there was a vinyl Nirvana
all the jet set flocked to Rio
or watched it visioned by Elia.
Beware not Jabberwock but spin doctor
Alas we thrive believing in what aint
ignore them that is and need us.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Home. Home from Centrum and Blue Heron in Port Townsend. Home from driving south along the west side of Hood Canal to Oyster Bay Road in Olympia to read for a Fishtrap Fund/Friend Raiser on Friday night. Home from playing with Miz Q this morning while her birthday boy daddy and mommy slept. Jim drove over and we took Quinn with us to breakfast at the Salmon Bay Cafe, famous for its big, big breakfasts, and as of today famous with us for baby-friendly staff. We then drove to the Locks and walked around the gardens and into the fish ladder building where no steelhead were coming up the fish ladder, though the bubbles were very entertaining if you are, for example, exactly 9 months old. Shawna called - mommy needed baby home, so we took her. Reluctantly. Obediently. Then went to Cafe Fiore to read the Sunday paper all by our grown up selves. Sigh. It was about three weeks ago, give or take, when we took Shawna and her sister on Sunday jaunts, those starfish hands sticky with breakfast syrup clinging to our sticky-by-association clothes.

Tomorrow I teach at HIMS: smellorama by teacher request. I have to research smells of India, Greece and China so I'm coordinating with social studies. This is the type of teacher I love to be. Tangential. And trailing cardamom and lemon zest.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New York Times Crossword Puzzle Poetry Draft for 3/10/10

I wasn't old enough for liking Ike
or there to sandbag Tampa,
San Jacinto, Silverado, Jeb.
I met you betwixt ping and pong
We repaired to darker areas
You're the radius to my ulna
your norte marks my este
you'll always be my corner post
teardrop trailer coast to coast
you're my tugboat, my aviso,
other words you know I've uttered
though my honor's colorfast
I've been known to run.
Call me tease, a groat, a star
but sing me your hosanna
Don't be a meanie rub me genii
seranade me with your oboe
If you had one Id know your alias
we play Sibelious and Brubeck
what the heck I'd count Bartok
for you.


Two more teaching days with the fifth and eighth graders at Blue Heron School. The books are in process - kids and volunteers processing them. I am here at the cafe, the UnderTown, with my roibos tea and laptop, maybe later to the beach to add to my rock and photo collections, and of course reflection, though so far that's resulted in a worrisomely unsurprising Ghazal along the bay. That's my repeating phrase, "along the bay." Jezus Rebozo that's embarrasing. I've told myself it's meditative. Or sh*t. "Down By the Bay" on ukelele and elementary voice is what it conjures - those chaperone trips to Community School camp - Indianola, Seabeck, Sequim, Sealth, Camp Don Bosco - eight plus years as parent volunteer in charge of pbj, kp, cabin groups, tie dye, nature poetry, and skits. The s'more origin play starring the Chocolate Mothers and Stick Men - reenacted by acolytes for years.

Monday, March 08, 2010

I finished Anne Tyler's latest novel, NOAH'S COMPASS, last night. I love to read Anne Tyler's novels. Is she the Nora Roberts of the slightly more literary set? Fast reads, always. I fall right in, every time. I don't resist her narrative as I often do, forcing myself to read until I am really in the book, which could take half the book, or never happen. But back to this one - a tale of a not quite present human being. The night he moves into the downsized apartment he is whacked on the head and wakes in the hospital, obsessed by the memory of being whacked on the head not existing. It turns out the man doesn't much pay attention to anything, and exists in reaction. Good lord, he's a sorry specimen. A speciMAN, a space man. Leaving a trail of wreckage in his oblivious wake. He was a philosophy student. He likes the words of philosophers. He's a little baffled by life off the page, but not in an urgent way. His first wife killed herself, his second divorced him. He has three kids, as offhandedly as it is possible to have three kids. He is 61 years old and he learns little from his accident. Grows little. We learn a lot, he accepts his lot and sits in his rocker, just as he imagined an old man would, though his memories don't flow like movies since he deflects the faintest threat of emotion. I recognized my dad, and to some extent myself. One of the cover blurbs asserts that we all have a bit of Liam in us. Not Noah. Noah's compasss refers to the fact that Noah didn't have or need one. Oy.

Weekend in Port Townsend breathing space between teaching weeks. Saturday morning I waited and waited to find out if Shawna, Todd and Quinn were coming up. They came and we walked the bay beach. Quinn set a bare foot on the damp cool sand in the late afternoon sun. She reached down to scoop some into her hand, but was not successful in getting much into her mouth since her mama caught her. What better than to spend a day with a brand new person? Quinn is enthusiastic unto whooping laughter about physical jokes, like pounding her hand against a table top or madly pumping both arms up and down repeatedly while I mimic and we both howl hilariously and clap our hands. We stare up at birds in flight, at the moon, reach out for flower buds and flat rocks. She pulls everything to her mouth; I had to exchange the daffodil stem quickly for a stick. Narcissus are poisonous. Lordy. And so frilly the little cups, so soft the sepals.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I keep finding this guy Charles Henri Ford on the internet - he was doing in the late 40's to mid 60's what I do now in my 50's. Poetry collage. I love the photo of him wearing knitting needles on his head and looking very proud.

A Daily Crossword Poem Draft for 3/4/10

Sorry can't do it it begins with son. So, son
when shaving you should always point atra
towards face avoid any blade with straps
or was that stropes. Im not unholier
than thou but once upon a toe tap
I visited the volcanic caldera
Santorini - gorgeous through the eras
ere a fruit existed so ugli
as we know. We've conversed now scram
none so boorish as who sees
our errors. Throw them in irons
threaten them with burs
never offer them your micro-
phone or sauce a second rib.
Echo me this, then flee
all we've breathed is made up
dust from meteor craters
enter if you must but lose the ferret
I've seen you high so don't go all high tech
you're speaking past me Mr. Oates
and all our spawn in pods.
Oh all we done we won't undo
as Tom Hanks digs the burg
oops that was burbs so I have inked
another lie, make that a pair
remember flairs - so black but runs
the length of San Andreas Faults
along the bottom of your purse.
Sing hey sing nonny no adeste
don't play me for an Everyman
sing Tellemann your mother dowses
she knows what happened Leda.
New York Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Poem from crossword in my bag. Date? I don't know

I want to be alone and be with you together both
at once and in a fancy inn we'd know by the mint
so that's my elegant idea
and what have you to vaunt?
your company perpetually in countdown
you're on to them, their crisis almost Hessian
meanwhile tulips fall to rot until you stop it
my car's unsold and now its fender's dented
whatever else I write your worries are taboo
they're real, they're still, we're on a sill
if we jump off we're sure to find a sign
to have a life if not a fortune IRA
or a thousand acres we can pace off
wouldn't you rather we live like men
not chained on danky walls. Let's go
I don't care where it could be Serbia
to snaffle up the perfect peach, to reach
I don't know but not perfection like some neatnik
there's dirt outdoors let's dig in and plant
a dozen pumpkins, throw open the house
learn Portugese and bocce
purge the but until we're out of step.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Performing Without a Net

Medusa in rollers behind cigarette smoke
your life you thought was worse than grim
because of us, because of him
because your life gave way to whim
so much that I have never understood
a mobius strip to trip you round its fold
it doesn't matter who you might have been
see what we need is not so much attention
as dessert. A fruity drink, a baking pan
civilization requires the cookie sheet and flan
and decorated cakes. Make no mistake
without the pastry tube we wouldn't have a chance.
Bring me my tiara and a peacock feather
I have my skills and you predict the weather.
I'll let you wander through your blankly head
besides you'll enjoy nothing when you're dead.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Here's another cool thing about the William James Bookstore. I went there after school today to look for a recipe book I could rip pages out of for my 5th graders tomorrow, so they can circle verbs and use them in their recipes for animals. Outside the bookstore are two freebie boxes and in one there was a recipe book. Hurrah!

I'm sitting in the Commons building with the free unsecured wifi instead of the Centrum studios building with the secure wifi and icy ambiance. I like me a heated building. Heated arguments, no.

Soon I will wander back to my little cabin and make a passel of chili , actually a large pot, assuming I have a large pot, to have over the next few days. I saw a crock pot, but I'm not sure there's a top of stove big pot. I bought the chili makings at the co-op this afternoon, after writing at the Undertown Coffee Shop for a couple of hours. While there, with garlic in my cart, I saw the poet who lives here and is shadowing me. I mentioned that I wish I'd brought spices with me. She offered to give me some of the garlic she has at home, for which I thanked her, knowing I had a head of garlic in my cart. When the checker was tallying my groceries I slipped the head of garlic into my cloth bag early on so the poet wouldn't see it if she happened to walk by. This is completely in character for me. I'll probably also take the garlic if she offers it. And, truthfully, I'll probably use all mine and all hers since I use a lot of it. Is it that I need to lead a secret life?

I am finding this group of eighth graders slightly exhausting as they can never ever ever ever ever ever be quiet. Do they have inner lives? How can they have inner lives? They have a well developed hive mentality, a high degree of connectivity, a group personality, and they are very loud. Two classes in a row today instead of alternating with fifth graders and my ears were ringing ringing ringing. They did however write. They wrote. Huzzah!

Monday, March 01, 2010

It's chilly in this second floor studio with the wifi as the day wanes and the sky fades to a grayish marshmallow cream. I taught four classes, had lunch at the home of the poet who is shadowing me, walked from my cabin down to the beach where the tide was so high I couldn't walk around the point like I wanted to, grabbed my laptop the size of a large paperback and unlocked this space to check email before the day is over. Four hours back to back, 8th then 5th then 8th then 5th. By the last class, I felt like I was turning invisible less like the Star Trek crewmen and more like ghostly visitors. Interesting, that plural.

What much do I have to say for myself? My mother asked me to read a poem at her funeral on Sunday. I asked if she'd picked out the poem. She wants me to write a poem, then read it at her funeral. A poem from my perspective. We both pretended this wasn't a big deal, even as she held her side - the one where the tumor has knit itself through her rib - and was silent for a moment. I've had a difficult time with this woman all my life. How much is me? How much is her? I don't know. I panic asking myself anything like this question. I was past fifty when I realized that no amount of bargaining will keep me from dying. In my family, the tendency is to want to live forever, though why is a good question, as the tendency in my family is to hide away and give nothing, to dwindle away and yell about it. I am not fair. Life is not fair. My mother is dying. My father walks daily, does my mother's bidding, drives her to radiation, chemo, doctor appointments, and feels frustrated. Feeling frustrated is a dominant emotional tone in my family. Life is unfair. I may have mentioned this. We think we are owed more than other people. I don't know why. There are many people who feel this way, and they don't bother me, because I am not related to them. When my mother was tugging at 70 she called me all upset. "My parents are old!" she said. They were about 90, both of them alive. I had just been listening to my friend who was having to help her parents who were my mother's age (70) move into a retirement home. My mother was helping her parents move into a retirement home. My mother didn't quite get my point when I told her the story.