Sunday, December 31, 2006
One of the gifts I received this Christmas was a book: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. In it he speaks of a new kind of politics, "that will reflect our lives as they are actually lived. It won't be prepackaged," he writes, "it will have to be constructed from the best of our traditions and will have to account for the darker aspects of our past. We will need to understand just how we got to this place, this land of warring factions and tribal hatreds. And we'll need to remind ourselves, despite all our differences, just how much we share: common hopes, common dreams, a bond that will not break."
So. Saddam is history. We survived bad spinach and mad cows, Borat, and Brittany. We saw the resignation of Rummy. We saw the Democrats win in both the House and the Senate. This week, the last of 2006, we saw the 3,000th soldier die in Iraq. Obama writes: "I am not naive enough to believe that one episode in the wake of catastrophe can erase decades of mistrust. But it's a start."
Tonight, lets all do our various little happy dances for 2007, for the audacity to hope that 2007 will be better than 2006. I am full. Let me stay like this forever, lullabyed by family, by friends, by an unrolling of irrevocable love and intoxicant life. I hold it as carefully as mortal fingers will allow. Thanks.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
They kept on playing
I asked them to stop
but they kept on playing
the gig inside the black hole
of my eyeball
this eye here
Okay China White be warned
I say a full arm's length away
full of love and grief
before we're all blasted
away with your unholy vision
where the bone archangel Samhain
and his pig initiates
in a spray of blood
square across the jaw
crucify Christ again
on the wings of a U.S. bomber
(an imperfect cross
to the four corners of the earth
and climbing above the stillborn bodies
of seven unnamed Jewish babies
rotting in the sun)
but everyone dies
my son arm in arm
I say even the aborted suicide
he won't let himself be talked to
there ain't no fuckin freedom here
he shrieks insisting on
the final blessing of L'Artiste
finding himself alone in the fire
he keeps playing
keeps playing with the red stub
of his tail
and all the rats of hell
blink their garnet eyes while
he plays they sing
Saturday, December 23, 2006
FIRST, THERE WAS A BREAKING OF WATERS
Once wast Thou born of Mary's womb;
And now, newborn from out the Tomb,
O Christ, Thou bidd'st us rise with Thee
From death to immortality.
Rex Sempiterne Caelitum
First, there was a breaking of waters,
like every other birth,
and pain, before the first cry.
There was a star, perhaps a supernova
spilling fluorescent gases into the void,
perhaps a confluence of planets -- whatever...
whatever, His first words may have been Egyptian,
but the Jewish schoolboys, He among them,
circled at the Rabbi's feet, learned Torah,
learned sacrifice, and love, and loss.
He drew us in by blood, by suffering;
every one of us balancing in air, all newly-blossomed, and Reborn.
WISHING YOU WARMTH IN YOUR HEART, PEACE IN YOUR HOME, AND EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IN YOUR LIFE.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Nothing travels like light does--
no earthly stuff can be
so fine and fast.
millenniums past, and
nor Einstein yet
to reflect what light is--
(Said Einstein, "Give your friend a flashlight,
turn it on, watch him run and measure it,"
far down amoung so many other lights).
What were the questions asked
by shepherds (a mere instant ago
as fluid time is measured
at the velocity of light) in Judean fields,
figures shaken out of sleep by a stream of Joy
in particles and waves of white and gold and rose
starlight bending itself at last in air
above some dazzled sheep and goats,
illuminating rocks, and hoofprints among the brush, and ragged tents.
Now "clearsighted" as Cezanne,
who once told his friend Emile Bernard the secret
of truly seeing is "to get
to the very heart of what is before you," the shepherds
follow it to the crib where it illuminates
we get "to the very heart"
of what is before us, and we're "clearsighted" as Cezanne,
as those shepherds! Imagine:
the Baby's newborn cry resounds across the universe
lit with a hundred billions of fires,
bridging for us this immense gulf between
and everlasting dark.
Photo credit: NASA, ESA, and J.M. Apellaniz (IAA, Spain)
Monday, December 18, 2006
Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy...
This beautiful Christmas angel has graced the top of our tree every year since 1975, when our second-grade son brought her home from school. Note the lovely golden ringlets, the gold belt, the lace-and-roses hem of her skirt, her shining golden wings, and her jeweled crown! (Then, if you can, notice her blue lips and her vampire teeth. This is part of what makes her so special.) Only a second-grade boy....
...on earth peace, good will to men!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
South, at Tenochitlan is blue
As water, indigo or azure as chalchihuites
Thrown into the temple mortar,
Is the season of rain, and life,
And wet sky.
East is the red son of the flowery wars,
The moon-sister of Huitzilopochtli, slain
And dismembered on the hill of Coatepec,
And her thin, red-nailed hands.
North is black as the volcanic disks
Of his stone eyes, black as the abyss
Of the executioner's block.
The west is white as the sickness
Of her death, white as the bones
Of her children, fishbones,
The bones of frogs and the skulls
Of feathered serpents.
Their colors shine with an
The holiness of direction
Excavated two meters below
Street level at the corner of Guatemala
(This is an old one, from The Book of Fours)
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Did you see this in yesterday's newspaper? What is it? Turns out, after X-rays and much speculation, that this is a mechanical computer of "an accuracy thought to be impossible in 80 B.C." when the Greek ship it was on sank. It's about the size of a large book, and its "sophisticated technology" was thought not to exist for another 1,000 years. Its wheels and gears make it a portable orrery of the sky.
Friday, December 01, 2006
We woke up this week to a yard full of snow! And it's soooo c-o-l-d! Yesterday morning the temperature was 4 degrees! By afternoon it had warmed up to 25. Could be worse, I know. Our roads are clear, and it's really pretty. Last night the kids went sledding down at the hill, then came over to decorate our tree, and we had pizza for dinner. The boys sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" while they worked, something they both must have learned in their preschool classes. It was fun. Hope you are all getting into the holiday spirit!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
"Come with me, Love, and I will show you where
the deadly nightshade blooms, and bittersweet
grows wild and red, and bears such poison meat
as Adam ate. Come eat, Love, if you dare,
and say goodbye to life, my Love. Godspeed!
The spider spins a shroud of webs and roots
of grass and columbine, and tender shoots,
all brittle lace, finespun and filigreed!"
"The grave's a boggy place, my Love, and narrow
is the bed. The night is long and safe,
my Love, the earth is soft, and will not chafe.
I'll come and smile and thank you well tomorrow:
I'll come and bid adieu, but I'll not stay!
I've other fires to spark and tend today!"
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
For Dana: See, I told you so. This is a real snapshot, nothing retouched. I didn't see anything in the camera--it was not until the film was developed that the "ghost" showed up. But Noodles obviously sees something. Notice the potato-like nose thingy protruding in both photos!
WHAT IS THAT?
In the botton photo it looks sort of like a cartoon of Bill Clinton.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
"Writer's Block comes from too much head. Cut off your head. Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows...."
And for all my NaNoWriMo buddies: "It takes a heap of loafing to write a novel."
OK. I'll give it a whirl: LIES IN NOVEMBER
My stone has hands
It sleeps in the cradle
Of my hands,
Drinking my fire
My stone grows hair
In wonderful curls
Down its silky back
It loves the ice
That breaks me
More than it loves me
It sings of boots
Of blackbirds dying
Of the cracking of heaven
My stone knows black and white,
Was there at the hour
Of my birth
Monday, November 13, 2006
Story Telling was a regular event in American Indian (and other) cultures. The children would gather around and listen as the old folks sang songs and told stories as they had heard them when they were young. So it was that the tribal histories and folktales, religion and customs were passed on from one generation to the next. Grey Wolf Runs With Elk and Willow Woman say the stories were, and are, life itself. Figurines like this one I bought last summer in Nebraska, a woman (usually) surrounded by children were common as early as 400 AD.
I am The Storyteller in my tribe.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
You've probably already seen these fantastic photos, but just in case you haven't, look for the comet Swan toward the northwestern horizon in the early evening. They say you can see it without a telescope.
From NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope we get to see the shock wave from an exploded star in Cassiopeia!
(Comet Swan copyright and credit: Paolo Candy)
Friday, October 27, 2006
Meet Starfish and Bookworm. They are my two oldest grandchildren. My handsome Starfish is "five hurrahs" old. He says that his next birthday he will be "six hurrahs!" Starfish is a rough translation of his name, Japanese to English. He loves Superman, and this Halloweeen he will magically transform into the Man of Steel. He began kindergarten this fall, and he loves ham sandwitches--without the crust!
Bookworm, my most beautiful granddaughter, is ten-years-old, in the fifth grade, and she is a voracious reader! Books have become her favorite thing. The two of us used to have fabulous tea parties, and play imaginary games with mermaid dolls. Once we made our own puppet theater. Now she likes music CD'S and High School Musical. Isn't she growing into a lovely young lady? By the way, she also loves Blogging!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
No Passion Greater Than the Mind
No Passion Greater than the Mind
Devours the Body or the Soul --
And all I know of Base Desire
By Mind was Body told.
My Soul kept White as Ivory
B'ignoring where the Body's sent --
May drop a Tear and shed a Sigh
Before this Passion's spent.
* * * *
Mind Is A Tiger In A Cage
Mind is a Tiger in a Cage --
Soul is a Desert Flower
That withers for Little Space
And dies a Little Hour.
Mind is a Tiger in a Cage --
But Flesh is Recompense
When Soul so Curiously Fades
For Want of sustenance.
(Two a la Emily Dickinson, who also Lived in Her Head!)
picture credit: troelsmyrup
Sunday, October 22, 2006
(...an excerpt from my book, CHRYSALIS)
We have a cat. Remy found a skinny kitten shivering and soaked from the storm. He fixed her a bowl of warm milk, but she wouldn't drink. She is yellow and white -- not more than eight or ten weeks old.
I think the kitten is sick. I wrap her warmly in a small towel, but she continues to shiver. I try to feed her with an eyedropper. Not much luck. She is limp, and I can feel her heart racing under her skinny ribs. She opens her mouth to 'meow,' but rattles instead.
She is dying. Her heart still beats, rapid and feeble, and she lies quietly as I stroke her head.
Three days later the kitten is dead. Remy and Chris weep. We bury her in the back yard, wrapped in the little towel, onto which I have pinned a note:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
The boys are not comforted. I put my arms around them and we all three weep.
Vonnegut's Tralformadorians, seeing into the fourth dimension, perceive the universe in a different way. "All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralformadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It's just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.
"When a Tralformadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition at that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralformadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes!"
So it goes. I am three years old and they have taken me to say "goodbye" to my grandpa, who is sleeping is flowers, but he doesn't wake no matter what is said to him. Then I am six years old, having another encounter with vulture Death. I hold a brown leather dog collar. Sparky was a good dog, now he is dead, run over by a truck. The truck meant no harm. The driver was sorry, and he said so. I can't help wondering what it's like to feel yourself dying. And whether there really is an afterlife, or if all the hymns and prayers and baptisms are meaningless. I think of the earnest tears I shed over uncountable cats and dogs and birds that died somewhere back in my childhood.
"I am sorry the kitty died," I say, tucking the boys into bed.
"I am sorry, too," Remy whispers. "I prayed she would get better. I thought she might."
"It hurts her to be dead?" asks Chris.
"No, it doesn't hurt her," I say. (What the hell do I know about being dead?) "The poor kitty is better off."
"Oh," he says, gazing at me with his trusting light-colored eyes.
"I wish she was still alive," says Remy.
"I wish she was, too." I hug them all goodnight. In some matters of great importance there are no right words. So it goes.
Quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The internet offers (free) customized poems for every occasion, "a special way to send your love." There are poems for birthdays, weddings, divorces, illness, funerals, wakes, poems for jilted lovers, policemen, global warming. There is one called "Raping Me Was Fun for Him," and another called "You Did Not Merely Die, but You Were Murdered." Whatever. They will say it for you! Here's my favorite, an acrostic, no less:
Thank You For the Favor of Your Seed
Thank you for the favor of your seed,
Half my child, who will be mine alone,
A part of you dispassionately sown,
Nor have I of you any other need.
Kindness is your only motivation,
Yet in this act you're being more than kind,
Opening a window to the wind,
Unloosing to my heart half your creation.
(I thought sperm donors were supposed to be anonymous!? --unless you're Melissa Ethridge and David Crosby. Or some weird doctor...but those are material for other poems, I guess. Maybe: Your Kidney Ailment Made You Find Your Father. Not to make light of serious situations, murder, rape, etc. Just that maybe these are poems you might want to avoid....)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
A Letter To Cecil B. DeMille
from the Forties
who might've played
and George Raft,
pillars of ivory
now gone to dentures,
whose especially talented
agility of hips
and imaginative tongue
taught men a new language,
whose willing flesh
became a garbage dump
for every twobit producer
west of Bakersfield?
To look at me now
who'd ever guess
this chaste rhythm
of breath under breasts
that used to rise
like helium balloons
but sag tonight
like used condoms
once fired little crimson
cherry-sucker syllables of sugar?
I am become a history book
of refrigerated kisses
preserved on celluloid
between the pages.