Thursday, August 28, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
What I Should Have Done
I should have cut a hole in the ceiling
to let my prayers out, words
like smoke from incense pots,
unable to rise above that bloody altar.
Look: here is where you should have slept,
your ear only an inch above my heart.
See: this field of stars above the watchtower
that we might have counted, bye and bye.
Now the sky is full of dark matter,
and though I were rich as Herod,
the baby-killer of Bethlehem,
(who was richer than Caesar), I can
not get you back, even though
I would rub salt upon your infant body
and powder you with mustard seeds,
and wrap you up with swaddling bands
embroidered with your genealogies.
Here is the singing bird I'd give you,
the pony, here the toy soldiers,
their cannons in flames.
Here angels play, out of sight
lest they terrify us, though we lie
prostrate, trembling on the ground,
we eaters of entrails, we breaker of bones.
The first to bring an offering
and the first to be offered,
like a burning ram, I continue
to follow your lead
like Nahshon followed Moses, loving him
too much, walking out before him into the sea,
walking out until the water was
all the way up to his nose
before the sea finally parted.
(Another poem written for Rick Mobbs awesome artwork. I wanted to indent the italics a little, but it didn't work out that way. Oh, well. Thank you, Rick, and next time I am going to concentrate on writing something shorter!)
We spent last week on campus at BYU's (Brigham Young University) Education Week,(please click and scroll down) held every summer in August. About 23,000 people came this year, leaving the comfort zone of their homes across all 50 states and several foreign countries to get a little smarter about a lot of things. More than a thousand classes were offered. This year my husband and I decided to stay in the dorms rather than drive back and forth every night and every morning. Unfortunately, the couples housing was torn down for renovations, so we had to stay in different dorms. His roommie was a crazy man (I don't mean strange, but really crazy) who babbled all night and then snored like a jet engine. I had no room mate, so I could run around naked, fart and snore to my heart's content. The bed was as hard as a slab of granite, but there were lots of drawers to hold my levi's and socks, and a sink to wash up in. The bathroom and showers were only two doors down. I left every morning with the top half of me smelling of Calgon's sweet Hawaiian Ginger lotion and the bottom half smelling like Dr. Woo's Chinese liniment for my bad back. (Of course, my previous dorm experience, fifty years ago, I only smelled of Ivory Soap and baby powder...). Oh, think of the estrogen and perfume smell we left in that bathroom!
Probably 70% of the participants zipping down the walks between classes were either white-haired or bald, pushing canes, walkers, or in wheelchairs, the other 30% were middle-aged women who left their working husbands home, or teenagers with flourescent red or purple streaks in their hair, their hard bodies tan and muscular and beautiful. Evenings in the dorm were interesting. There was a community room with a TV where we watched the Olympics; around the edges of the room several women pushed together card tables and chairs and played loud and raucous card games, or Monopoly. Some of the other women were giving foot massages, painting one another's toenails and giggling like little girls. There was a piano at one end where, one evening, one little old lady accompanied four other little old ladies with creaky little old voices who sang "I Am A Child Of God." It was sweet, but a little annoying to those of us who were watching Shawn Johnson get her Gold Medal.
And I found out something I have previously suspected: I am definitely a people person. I do not like to be alone. If I had to live alone for longer than a week I would be as crazy as my husband's room mate. Alone in my room, I munched, looked over my notes, I read, and I wrote a little --well, a long--poem for Rick Mobbs Storybook.
(Oh, and I forgot to mention that our dorm was a MEN'S dorm. There was a sign on the door that said NO WOMEN ALLOWED PAST THIS POINT!--and there were URINALS in the bathroom! How often do I see those? I can't begin to tell you how HARD it is to pee standing up at one of those! I should have got a picture.)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Stellasue Lee, Editor Emeritus of Rattle, author of Crossing the Double Yellow Line,which, by the way, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize--and whose work is published in four other volumes of poetry as well as in numerous poetry journals--and whose name "means star and violet...", has written a wonderful review for my book, Pepek the Assassin.
She wrote to our mutual friend Bob, who sent her a copy: "Brilliant title. Beautifully put together, and talk about flow--this body of work holds together perfectly. The writing is strong, the voice so accessible that I feel as if I've lived next door to these people and know them in that special way that neighbors become family. It reads as a benediction on Pepek's soul. Thank you, Bob, for sharing this wonderful work with me. My husband and I have been reading it aloud each morning to one another. Both of us have been moved by this body of work."
Kindly, Ms. Lee also wrote a blurb and allowed me to put it on the back cover of the book. She is a terrific writer, whose poetry is said to "speak for and to all of us at a spiritual level..." and I just ordered a copy of Crossing the Double Yellow Line for myself.
Thank you so much, Stellasue Lee, for your kind words.
(And by the way, did I ever tell you that my book Chrysalis was up once for a Pulitzer Prize?--Didn't win, of course. That year John Updyke won for Rabbit Is Rich. It's a tough world out there.)
Monday, August 11, 2008
There has been a problem with my URL address things getting switched. www.myunclepepeksjournal.blogspot.com no longer exists. You will need to physically change the address to www.followingthelittlegod.blogspot.com
Just remove your old link. Does this make sense? However, I think if you bookmark it, it should work ok now. I hope. This should get you from there to here. I have been wondering why nobody was talking to me any more. I thought you were all mad at me.... Please don't hate me for looking like Sophia and Kate! :(
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph
Wendy, who is quiet about a lot of things, was not quiet about her own celebrity look-alikes, and she DARED us to try it, so, here you go. I was especially impressed that I look a lot like Manuel Noreiga (or I used to).
Actually, I look a lot more like Noreiga NOW than I did THEN!
Go ahead...I dare ya!
and even if you haven't asked
the ferocity I see in your eyes is really praise
the left eye overflowing with a compassion of tears
the right eye damned where the Father stands archived and
disguised the promise is that the hand that gives
takes away nor bird nor snake nor fish can stay it
nor ringed fingers nor hard stones nor veils
nor things visible or invisible nor words
nor the blackened silences of things half-formed
nor oaths nor obligations of a thousand years
of clouded windows and passing lovers or strangers
it is there in the etcetera of praise in ruined newsprint
lifted by the wind and blown and dissolved in a sea
of rain water and even if you haven't looked
it is there in both the promise and the praise
it is there in all of these and none of these
it is Alpha and Omega it is the Beginning and the End
thank you thank you thank you oh thank you
Painting: Rick Mobbs, praise