Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Desert Lilies

Come, my beloved,
consider the lilies.
We are of little faith.
We talk too much.
Put your mouthful of words away
and come with me to watch
the lilies open ...

--Anne Sexton, "From the Garden"

But these are from stolen seeds, growing in my front yard. They mean business, but they will never tell where they came from, and they will never go back.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Burning the Orchards

I have been to the Mountain. And while all knowledge gained might not be of equal value, the things I learned this week are golden. Plus, it was fun! We are exhausted, from attending classes from 8:30 am until 9:30 pm for the last five days (which meant getting up at 6 and not getting home until 11, but it was worth it! Twenty-two thousand people attended 1,100 different classes offered at BYU's Education Week. The campus was beautiful, all the flowers were in bloom, the mountains were gorgeous, and the weather was nice. The teachers were fantastic and inspired, letting us hunt and peck around their brains and talents and souls in stuff like Music and the Arts, Films, Writing, Communication Skills, Dance (I don't dance. This is the main reason my husband married me. At least this is what he says), History, Government, Law, and Human Relations. (I took several excellent classes on Middle Eastern Perspectives, Islam, etc.--loved them all!) They had classes on Finance (Boring!) and Literature, and Psychology, and Religion (of course, this being BYU!). I had eight classes a day for five wonderful days! Can't wait for next year....

Anyway. Since I was away I thought I would share another poem for Poetry Thursday, one of mine (not that Walt Whitman's did not fill the bill--hmmmm. What, exactly does that mean:fill the bill?) So here's my POETRY THURSDAY, --Time--pt. 2


Mid-life I discover
the girl is gone-- the house
she lived in
inhabited by strangers.
Is this the crisis
I was led to expect
would unbury itself
from my mother's flesh
and spread like an infection
in an untended orchard?

My father took fruit
from wild trees, cut out the worms,
sugared the remains in honey.
The knobby red pieces drowned
in his sticky bowl like candy.

I used to think those wild pears
and apples bitter, the shriveled
orchard overgrown. This was a place
where men were kept
like yellow dogs in pens.
Like all things
it was transient. The black-haired
bastard boys who stood
at the wire fences,
the slant-eyed women who cried,
unable to embrace this insanity
are faceless and formless now
as the shadows of those skinny trees
they left behind.

The truth is
old orchards must be burnt
with all their worms, and
new trees planted. The strangers
who plant, mid-life,
luckily may find a girl in the ashes,
raise her. At least
she may have her share.
The sleeves of fire
may make her beautiful again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006



There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover,
and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's
foal and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there,and the
beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads, all became part of him.


The village on the highland seen from afar at sunset, the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white
or brown two miles off,
The schooner near by sleepily dropping down the tide, the little boat
slack-towed astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of colored clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint away solitary
by itself, the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh
and shore mud,
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now
goes, and will always go forth every day.

--Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Going Out of Town

Bub-bye! I will miss y'all....

Be back next Saturday!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Birdcage

Since my life has become an open book: just a few things our new baby might want to keep in mind. Such as, alternative ways of discipline. We keep our kids in kennels and birdcages all the time. Never hurt a bit. This seems to work well -- just lock 'em up!


Geez, I am really opening up to you people! NOW I'm showing you my DOGS. They are brother and sister. Their mother was a daschund and their dad was a poodle. So I guess that makes them either poohunds or daschles. Their names are Tinki and Lucky. I didn't name them that, but they were 3 years old when I got them last Christmas (a gift from my husband, from a shelter) and they already knew who they were. I would NEVER name a dog Tinki. But, O well.... Our previous dogs have had names such as Noodles, and Juda, and Zeus, and Papershooter, and Pennybank. Tinki doesn't seem to mind tho'. What's in a name? A rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. (That's not original, by the way!) :)

3 days old!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Chilean Poet-Style

Ask me where I have been
and I'll tell you: "Things keep
on happening."
I must talk of the rubble that
darkens the stones;
of the river's duration,
destroying itself;
I only know the things that the
birds have abandoned,
or the ocean behind me, or my
sorrowing sister.
Why the distinctions of place?
Why should day
follow day? Why must the
of nighttime collect in our
mouths? Why the dead?

If you question me: where have
you come from, I must talk
with things falling away,
artifacts tart to the taste,
great, cankering beasts, as often
as not,
and my own inconsolable

Those who cross over with us
are no keepsakes,
nor the yellowing pigeon who
sleeps in forgetfulness:
only the face with its tears,
the hands at our throats,
whatever the leafage dissevers:
the dark of an obsolete day,
a day that has tasted the grief
in our blood.

Here are violets, swallows--
all things that delight us, the
delicate tallies
that show in the lengthening
through which pleasure and
transciency pass.

Here let us halt, in the teeth of
a barrier:
useless to gnaw on the husks
that the silence assembles.
For I come without answers:
see: the dying are legion,
legion, the breakwaters
breached by the red of the sun,
the headpieces knocking the
ship's side,
the hands closing over their
and legion the things I would
give to oblivion.

"There's No Forgetting (Sonata)," Pablo Neruda
translated by Ben Belitt

Monday, August 14, 2006


We have an awesome new grandson! He was born at 5:59 am, 7 lbs 3 oz, 21 inches long! Everybody's very tired, but doing well! Welcome to the world!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Scribblings--Hale-Bopp

This photo of the Hale-Bopp comet passing in front of the Andromeda Galaxy was taken in March, 1997. We went out to the dark shore of the Great Salt Lake with our binoculars to view it, but it wasn't this good! There was a rock concert happening that night at Saltaire, and our dim view was accompanied by a loud thump of drums and guitars, and a raw smell of brine shrimp. This great picture offers another chance with a better view!

Click it!

Credit and Copyright: J.C. Casado

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Ok, you know what? I think every "good" Muslim in America, in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, in Europe ought to be outraged at the terrorists who bring nothing but shame and dishonor to their culture and their religion. Where are the MASSES of Muslims who are good citizens and good neighbors around the world? Why are they not scrambling to be first in line to say "These terrorist animals have nothing to do with me or my God, they DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME!" and be the most vigilant in watching their neighbors, their sons, their schools, their mosques? Where is their defiance, their courage to say to the world, "Let me be first in line to annihilate every terrorist who kills in my name!" There should be a great outcry of support from every Muslim who is a good neighbor and a good citizen of every country in the world, a vow to clear their name and to declare respect and brotherhood among all the nations of the Earth. The Islamic Lebanese who don't support terrorism must stand up and be responsible to rid Lebanon of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Shi'ites and the Sunnis must love their children more than they hate each other and unite to stamp out those who would destroy their country. The "good" Muslims should seek out and destroy every training camp for terrorists, while they shout for the whole world to hear, "Not in my name! You do not do this evil in my name! Osama Bin Laden is no hero in my house!" And be the first in line to bring him and all of his followers to justice. Where is Islam's OUTRAGE?

UPDATE: I hear that the tips leading to the arrest of 24 people thought to be responsible for the planned bombing of at least 10 USA bound jetliners came from the Islamic community in England as well as in Pakistan. Hurrah for them!

Wow. And that's about as aggravated and political as I will ever get on this blog. The news concerning the airports at Heathrow and the planned bombing of all those commercial airliners bound for the USA was incredible and heinous.



Your see-through faces have
run together like watercolor
on oatmeal pages
all my lovers buried alive

I never said goodbye
never knew how
I stored you up instead
in this cluttered attic

inside my head, in a
brown box rough with dust
and tied with barbed wire
for ribbons

one bound creature
of several shadowed hearts
and many limbs
all your vanished words

your brown eyes or blue eyes
all of you locked
like a bunch

of mad or hunchbacked uncles
hidden away
who grind their teeth
in my sleep


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Self=Portrait, Enclosed Spaces

My hands, Nikki Giovanni's poem.

(For Nina)

We are all imprisoned in the castle of our skins
and some of us have said so be it
if i am in jail my castle shall become
my rendezvous
my courtyard will bloom with hyacinths and jack-in-the-pulpits
my moat will not restrict me but will be filled
with dolphins sitting on lily pads and sea horses ridden by
goldfish will make love
to Black mollies and color my world Black Gold
the vines entwining my windows will grow butterflies
and yellow jackets will buzz me to sleep
the dwarfs imprisoned will not become my clowns
for me to scorn but my dolls for me to praise and fuss
with and give tea parties to
my gnomes will spin cloth of spider web silkness
my wounded chocolate soldiers will sit in evening coolness
or stand gloriously at attention during that midnight sun
for i would have no need of day patrol
if i am imprisoned in my skin let it be a dark world
with a deep bass walking a witch doctor to me for spiritual
let my world be defined by my skin and the skin of my
for we spirit to spirit will embrace
this world.

Friday, August 04, 2006

This is a Poem that Breathes

Of being alive, of luminous eyes
Of girls and boys, quick threads of blood,
Bodies of lovers moving
With a surfeit of fevers
Or holding their desperate aloneness
Like violets in a bowl.

This is a poem then
For wild beasts lying together,
For trees, for the laughter
Of my sons, for their gradually
Lengthening shadows flying
In new suits, new shoes,
For their quicksilver bodies and
Their breath like snow.

This is a poem of living
By leaps or dying by degrees.
Of rotting under the sun or lifting
Instead into a pulsation of light
Without quarrels borders checkpoints
Generals gunpowder causes flags
Or blood in the streets, a poem
Of morning devouring hunger and the end
Of the slaughter of innocents.

Only children dancing,
Lovers inexhaustibly fused,
Multitudes hallowed as doves.

from Thread by Thread

Thread by thread
knot by knot
like colonies of ants
we weave a bridge...

Rachel's is white
Yemina's purple
Amal's is green
Salima's rose-colored
thread by thread
we stitch together
torn hearts
bind the map of conciliation.

I pray for the life of Ami and Nitsi
you pray for Ilan, Soshi and Itsik
and she prays
for Jehan, Asheraf and Fahed
with the same tear.
Word and another word
prayer and another prayer
and our heart is one
we embroider in hope
with the sisterhood of workers
a map of love
to tear down the borders...

--Bracha Serri
Translated by Shlomit Yaacobi and Nava Mizrahhi

(U.S. General Peter Pace: "The Sunnis and the Shiites will have to love their children more than they hate each other." And that goes for Arab and Israeli and all the rest of us....) For an EXCELLENT take on this, please read Paris Parfait's guest Neil Kramer's wonderfully written piece: Counterpoint. Find Paris Parfait on my bloglinks to the right.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Pentecostals, 1948

Week after week
they climbed their six splintered
pentecostal stairs to dance
like wonderful trained
bears, climbing, falling,
singing, their hands that ordinarily
held books or washed babies
or sometimes counted out money
to pay the milkman,

clapping joy
as if they held tambourines,
laughing, their eyes lit
with some inner glory like a fire:

Oh holy, holy, they sang
and tossed their heads to a strong
upbeat rhythm. Oh brother, oh sister,
Oh holy, their housekeys jangling
in their pockets, their coins jingling
as the plate was passed.

What would I have dropped
that summer night--absolved--into their plate
as they danced, howling their songs
holy, and more holy, like a circus troupe,
but my ignorance, an offering of
my two dazed eyes,
my pious, stunned tongue,
my baseball,
my cap pistol and a red roll of caps,
a white Life Saver, and
four glass black marbles still warm
from my hand?

under the glass-black sky and looking in
at their window, it was awesome,
and I wished I knew the words.

Fill the air with poems

"Does the air we vanish into taste of us, then?"

Second Duino Elegy
--Rainer Maria Rilke


Fill the air with poems
so thick--
even bombs
can't fall through

--Peter Levitt

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"MAKO" ` In Memoriam

Best known only as "Mako," I knew him when we were both much younger. His name was Makoto Iwamatsu, but his friends all called him "Mako" even then. He died on July 21st of esophageal cancer.

Once upon a time we were both students at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts. He was always sweet and funny (his "Puck," in William Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" was classic!). He went on to make a ton of movies and TV shows. I think his last roles were as Sakamoto in "Memoirs of A Geisha" and as Uncle Iroh in "Avatar, The Last Airbender." In 1966, he won an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Sand Pebbles," with Steve McQueen. He co-founded and served as artistic director for the highly acclaimed East-West Theatre Company in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife, Shizuko, and their children and grandchildren.

"Good night sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

The Milky Way Over Utah

Because Earth is still a beautiful place to live. Save Earth: it's our only home. This picture taken at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA. Click it!

(Credit and Copyright: Wally Pacholka,


My mother said
they still looked beautiful
while they were picking them up
in pieces,
the children.

(Written and posted by Ashraf Osman, at
` see also his post: Ahmad)