Parsecs and Megaparsecs

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Oh, Ashland, I love your spirit. I love a town that embraces art so unflinchingly.  We saw Family Album, written by Stew, and Heidi Rodewald, which was good, and thought-provoking, but a bit tangled up and unsure of itself. It felt like a show trying to be about everything: the interstices and intersections of art, money, capitalism, family, love, race, aging, and well, just life. It got so tangled by the end that this child-savant character had to basically tell the audience what to think, and that bugs me in a show. The performers were great, though. I don’t know, maybe it was the direction, but seemed that most thought-provoking moments of social criticism got lost in an overburdened and scattershot plot, or perhaps it was just that there were so many of them that they lost some weightiness. Overall, I enjoyed it and it made me think, so, time well-spent.

It did make me think about my own work. I publish it to hold myself accountable to doing it everyday, but recently I’ve been feeling like it is just something I have to get out of the way, instead of really thinking about how to get better. I’ve been dashing off these lumps of prosepoem because I’ve been short on time, but I haven’t really paused to reflect on them afterwards, or to think about form, or revise, or anything. Art takes time. Lesson number one from the poem year. We keep ourselves so busy, don’t we? But I’m not prepared to BoHo it and try to earn a living from art. I like my house. I want my kids to have clothes and health insurance. Ah, dilemma. I guess I just keep writing into the late hours and pretending that sleep doesn’t matter.

SO…I wrote the above hours ago. In the meantime we supervised teens making dinner, which they rocked out (so far, the girls are the leaders in the cooking competition between genders), and went to see A Wrinkle in Time, which was just plain fun. It was excellent. I loved the props, and the jokes, and they did this frame setup with all the different characters reading from the book at times, and it felt just exactly as it did when I read it when I was ten or eleven. Just awesome. Afterwards there was some good discussion amongst our students, who now feel like our grown children, about time and space and metaphysics, which I like to hear. At one point in the play Meg tells Calvin to “Go tesser yourself!”, which made me giggle. I’m pretty sure that’s not a line from the novel. I’m now doing the thing where I just type words because I don’t know what to poem. Maybe I’ll find a wrinkle in time and come back five minutes from now having gone on some grand adventure through space and time. Here’s hoping…

 Parsecs and Megaparsecs

Maybe, when we wrinkle, time, at topic and subject in art, won’t feel so historic and done, because it willno longer be called time, and we will no longer be its slaves. No longer moving only forward with trudging feet, begrudging feet, rebellious feet are freed from their march in our brains, so we know, we know it is possible to slide with ease and relief, through the tesseract and via starducts of our compulsions and desires, and we won’t think of falling back in time, or ahead, because all our minutes will be parsecs, and megaparses and

over and over in this untime, I will come to you, and you will find me in the great large everything.

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I just can’t do any  more. These workaction poems are going to need another look, one day. Another “Maybe” poem. Perhaps we should start a school of poetry for us, the supposers. The Supposition School. Maybe? Anyone? Anyhow. It’s late, and I have adolescents to keep up with tomorrow. Every time one of them tells me they are tired and then goes off to make a snack and loudly get the giggles, I want to tell them to “go tesser” themselves. Happy Tuesday!

All This World

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Wow.  Long day. 14 hours in a van full of teenagers is a lot of hours. We just got them off to bed, and now I have to quickpoem before crashing myself. They are such funny creatures, teens.  Don’t have a lot of poem in my tonight, but I will make up for it tomorrow after some theaterspiration.

 All This World

All this world’s a stage, to a van full of creatures evolving into what they will become, and their glance glance sldewise of the glass as they check to see their new skin, and each ill-timed joke, each awkward uncontrollable laugh, will reverberate like plucked strings, all up the spine, sharp jolts of an unspoke unease, and the certainty that everyone is laughing at and not with. They check their hair in the reflection, and pick out flaws so effortlessly, in themselves and in the strangers they see in the drive-thru, making up stories like little mean gods. All this world is their performance, each song they choose to sing along to in the car contributes to their pockets full of cool, or doesn’t, and the choice is agonizing. Who to become? And how? Oh, how they perform, these mutating bodies and minds, how they act and act and act until they learn to be, and isn’t precious to witness, like an emerging hatch on the river, when the insects poke and jab out of their casings, and flitter.

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Oh, I could go on with that, but it is so beyond bedtime. These rushed work/vacation poems are getting annoying. I just want to have long hours of this feeling. but, I did a lot of mothering of other people’s children today, and I miss my own, and so, there. Happy Monday, my poemfriends! Tomorrow, a theater festival poem :)

Stanlee of the PrairieLand

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My grandmother and grandfather and cousin and her girl are here visiting, on the one day we have before taking twelve stinky kids to Ashland for the Shakespeare festival. I’ve written a poem for Grandpa Jack, about the bison he sculpted by hand, but I haven’t yet written one for my Grandma Stan. She was named Stanlee, after an uncle who died a month or two before she was born into a family of fifteen kids. She was the sixteenth, and then her mom died in a gun accident when Grandma was two. The kids were split up and she was raised by her older sister, Irene. She is the hardest working woman I know, and the greatest role model in this green earth. She will outlast us all, I’m pretty sure. Here’s a poem for Grandma Stan:

The Chickadeedeedee

Your legs are strong enough, at eighty, to maintain a full garden of many blossoms, to fill the bird feeders with the correct seed, to climb steep hills and dig in dark earth. You worry about your eleven goldfish swimming in the outside tub, and about the health of your six children and sixteen grandchildren and umpteen great-grandchildren, who are all well-versed, because of you, in the language of the chickadee. It’s a big and lasting legacy you leave, Stanlee of the prairieland, grand mother of the big and truest faith, more heeding than most men of cloth, with more strength in your prayers than all the loose believers who fake their kneeling, I learned all my prayers from you, via your daughter, who taught me to ask help, just plain old help from the stars, and that is the prayer you taught me, through her. The faded pictures in the albums of you knee-deep in the strong waters, with a rod in your hand, this is how I learned about the strength of women. You had six children before I even thought of it, and I can only guess at the fear of it, I can only guess at the newness of fuzzbald babies and recipes and cars and, in our family, airplanes and tundra, oh, I can only guess at your bravery in face of the fear, and I can only guess at the mettle of your prayers, late-night and heartfelt, some naked, some grinding into the kneel, some robed and tearstreaked, but all belonging. When I will remember you, at the time I have to, I will remember sound the rusty swung bird in the spring and the “chickadee dee dee dee dee”.

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Oh, my grandma rocks. Happy Sunday, poemfriends. Call your grandmas, if you have the chance.

No Place Like Hope

Ahhh, home. It is good to be home. Also, like I said a week ago, I now hate flying. Like, hate, hate. I really feel like at at any minute all the people I care for in my entire world will likely come crashing to earth in a twisted ball of flame and steel and that is a shitty feeling that gets combined with hours of sitting in cramped quarters and waiting around in places where gum costs $5.68, and parking fees, and a two hour drive after the airport. In all, way less exciting and adventurous than when I was twenty or so. In fact, it is entirely terrifying, except for the part where I get to watch my girls giggle with hilarity when we hit turbulance. 

Anyhow, I am glad to be here. Not to be smug, or anything, but our home is way cooler than California. I can see the stars here! Why would you ever live anywhere where you couldn’t? I think that is is just insane. Also, HP and I took a walk down the street, and while we didn’t hear any different and interesting languages, we were all alone on the road and when we looked out at the lake there where no yachts there. Go figure. An ode to North Idaho? I’ve been resistant, because I’m such a Montanan that I hate to even believe that I live in Idaho, but I guess I can do it tonight, because there’s no place like home. 

No Place Like Hope

There’s no place like hope, no place like a night beneath the real sky, no place or poem to save a life, a life under these quiet stars a life where I get to hope for all time, no place like this yachtless marina, no place like this creekside backyard with the darkest skies and bats. Here’s the hope in hope I’m always nervous about my hope. Here we are in hope, the best of all places, the most blessed of all positions, here, I give you all my hope, and I live here, so that is a lot. I have all the hope, now, in you. I am stuck, grounded, just full on quicksanded in and suctioned down in the ground into to those nigh waves, in hope

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blah. 

No Place Like Hope

Ahhh, home. It is good to be home. Also, like I said a week ago, I now hate flying. Like, hate, hate. I really feel like at at any minute all the people I care for in my entire world will likely come crashing to earth in a twisted ball of flame and steel and that is a shitty feeling that gets combined with hours of sitting in cramped quarters and waiting around in places where gum costs $5.68, and parking fees, and a two hour drive after the airport. In all, way less exciting and adventurous than when I was twenty or so. In fact, it is entirely terrifying, except for the part where I get to watch my girls giggle with hilarity when we hit turbulance. 

Anyhow, I am glad to be here. Not to be smug, or anything, but our home is way cooler than California. I can see the stars here! Why would you ever live anywhere where you couldn’t? I think that is is just insane. Also, HP and I took a walk down the street, and while we didn’t hear any different and interesting languages, we were all alone on the road and when we looked out at the lake there where no yachts there. Go figure. An ode to North Idaho? I’ve been resistant, because I’m such a Montanan that I hate to even believe that I live in Idaho, but I guess I can do it tonight, because there’s no place like home. 

No Place Like Hope

There’s no place like hope, no place like a night beneath the real sky, no place or poem to save a life, a life under these quiet stars a life where I get to hope for all time, no place like this yachtless marina, no place like this creekside backyard with the darkest skies and bats. Here’s the hope in hope I’m always nervous about my hope. Here we are in hope, the best of all places, the most blessed of all positions, here, I give you all my hope, and I live here, so that is a lot. I have all the hope, now, in you. I am stuck, grounded, just full on quicksanded in and suctioned down in the ground into to those nigh waves, in hope

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blah. 

Ode to Cali

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Oh, California. I haven’t written an ode to you yet, but I am smitten. I’m totally won over. I’m over hating on your stupid money and freeways, because I know there you are so much more than that. We’ve had a genuinely amazing time here, and I’ve loved the people and boat watching, and the sun, and watching D1 on in the surf, and D2 in the sand (she’s not into the water). I’ve also really enjoyed spending time with my nieces and nephew, because we hardly ever see them, even though we live in the same state (it’s like 10 hours between our cities, because mountains).

On this, our last day of our California vacation, I feel all gushy and sweet on this state with the enormous GDP and huge waves, so I’m going to try to write an ode. the definition of an ode is twofold. Archaically it is a poem meant to be sung, and within these last few centuries it has come to mean a poem with an exalted or enthusiastic tone.

So, California, here I poem. That’s funny to me, because my roommate and I used to watch the OC together in grad school so that we could feel like irresponsible rich teens in unfamiliar land.

So here:

Ode to Cali

California, Las Sergas De Esplandian, California, love your limes and avocados and fruits year-round, love you freeways lined with bougainvillea and hyacinth, which is not actually a flower I know, and maybe it grows here and maybe it doesn’t, but is sure sounds like it should. California of the waves, California, aqui llegamos, I welcome your fancy cars and money, here amongst the waves if my daughters are welcome now, to jump in them, I welcome your avocados. Welcome, sun of Cali, yes, siempre te querre, and this great diversidad i love you, I love you with great and whole heart when my daughters drop into your waves, I love you for the place that grew up their greatest fathers, I love you for sharks, and for riptides, and for trying against violence, and for voting and for twlight, and for sunset and for buoys. Right now, and for now and almost never, I love, love, I tots love you and it is pretty much epic, I love this sand, just love the dilemma, oh won’t you let everyone into the land of lemons and year-round fruit, just let them in, you, you state of enormous gdp, don’t be a fool, Cali, I’ll call you that, even if you insist otherwise.  You got your fair share of terror, in the airports and riptides and stingrays, but so do we all, now, so do we all who just want to go fishin’ in the dark, remember when we swan naked in the bay? Remember when we thought about the name of this state and learned about people as we went? Don’t you think we’d walk the line into this land, here in the land of Cali?

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The Wave Beach

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I’ve been thinking about Drama tonight, mostly because I got to meet up with our former Drama teacher, the incomparable Elizabeth Malone tonight and remembered her truly amazing dedication, faith, and passion.  I love drama people. I think there is a special kinship between theater people and English people. We are the people of stories. It bonds us tight, and that never shakes.

So, a dramatic poem? Some dramatic things did occur today, including the waves at the beach that my Hp and his fam call “the Wave Beach”. I saw the lifeguards save three people who got pulled into the rocks on the jetty, and apparently, though not apparent to a mountain girl, this is a fairly regular happening. In fact, it happened to my father-in-law not too long ago, which resulted in his wife pulling his license out of his wallet and pointing out his age, and then enacting an embargo on boogie boarding. What was amazing about today, though, was the way D1 took in the waves that pulled her with such strength, and crashed over her head. Fearless. And terrifying. Is there Drama in that? I’m gonna try to poem it:

The Wave Beach

Mountain girls know little of the riptide, except when the snow slips, and then it is the same. When is the wave the same except when the slab crushes down the slide? The sand is the same slip, it melts beneath small feet, and the rocky shores we knew for sure crumble like crummy waves, ones that break too soon and pull too fast sideways, the riptide and the snowslide are one and the same, the same hard forces that gives Earth the power back that we sucked out and mined, gives Earth the wings to pull us small beings down, down, down to the deep. And here is the drama, left rolling up to shore, and crashing down the sound, it shrouds the words we would’ve said, here is the drama left off shore, all the voices sink us and we will drown, sunk to the fantasies and costumes, here are these claws, all ragged and stuff, here we are, all scuttling on the bottom sands,

and that makes sense,

here on the wave beach, where we stand and feel free and confined all at once, by the earth and all that we don’t understand and can”t control, take a hit against a wave and see what happens, doesn’t it smack you down like love and chance, doesn’t it feel like the tide wants to sweep you out and out and out, doesn’t  feel like pure avalanche and chance all twisted up in surf?

Isn’t just like first and only love?

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oh geez, another question poem. Oh well. A Thursday poem. happy day, poemfriends.

Oh god

Rant

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Here is a rant. It is the result of a conversation I overheard and could not stop from contributing to briefly, between my HP and his (our) brother-in-law:

No, A Rant:

Here is what I have to say to you, you deniers of art, what would you make of the world, then? Would you make a legion of automatons? Just groomed for destruction? What would your vision recommend but the suction of all bloodlines of the earth, could you just suggest the learning of monies and dry earth, what can you predict but the end? You who deny our handwork and weaving and art, in favor of, what, of what, you who excise beauty, what do you recommend for our souls, or do you now know of them, or have you none?  Here, go ahead and rob the poets. Go ahead and rob of us of the words to describe your blank spending. Here, though, I might say I’m sorry for your lack of sunrises, of your lack of vocabulary to describe your windows, I pity you in your shortsightedness, You want anyone to capture your pain? Sorry, so sorry, you voted us out, you voted against it in favor of cars. You voted against expression and I have no sympathy for your blindness. Seek no sympathy here. Here there are workers in art bound with me, I know them and we will not be muted by your silent willingness, no, no, we grow louder in our art, and in our peace, louder in our resistance, to your stupid money. What do you know of the monsters piping in the wild canyons, shame on you for not knowing this art, shame one you for your sad pennies, shame on you for this carnival of wealth, I hope you feel shame for your loaded guns of judgments and gathering and killing  pipeline eyes, against all this, what to we, the artists have, to but to watch and paint up in the line? What do we hope for, against your stupid money?

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A rant is always good. Happy Wednesday, poemfriends. This one gets me fired up. At least I prevented myself from ranting against my in-laws.

 

Pack Up Those Blue Jeans

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Here I am in the land of boats and money and palms. And I’ve written enough about how alien it makes me feel. A good friend emailed me today and reminded me that I write good poems when I write for someone specific, and I’m going to do that now. I have a person in mind who needs help. I’ve offered help, all kinds, but I don’t know know if it will work. What matters to me is that I offer, willingly and with great hope, because I believe in this one. And I know that I’ve posted this before, but I’m doing it again because this one just started reading the poems:

This one is a black sheep in a family of black sheep, and I want desperately to help, somehow. Tonight I poem for Hunter.

Pack up those Blue Jeans

Listen to this. Just listen to this now, you, you in the prison of a bad homes and starving  love, listen and you will hear all that you don’t like to hear. Hear everything now, my black sheep returned. Here is what you will hear: get free now of the place where you are and get you and your blue jeans to the mountains, say bye bye to the notion you have as you as the black sheep, say goodbye to your shame and strap on your blue jeans and boots, say bye bye to the angel that grips you by the ankles and goodbye to the morning that breaks your face into pieces.

The whole hope is this, that you listen now, to the rivers and rocks that call to you from the bedrock of your addictions and say goodbye to your sinking thoughts of you as black sheep and listen now to the hope. They say: surface now. Come up to the surface and breathe for a minute, just like a fish, purse your lips and get some air, just come up and get a sip of the air unsullied by anything but trees.

Whatever you try, you can’t scare me away from this help, nothing can scare me away from trying, and I know you are off the tracks but here’s the help. Here’s the help. You can take it if you want to fight the maelstrom and wrestle the dark, and leave off the shame, because we all need the help with the darknesses, just pack up your blue jeans, and wrestle back the dark till you get up to the mountains.

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It’s good to write poems for specific people. I don’t know if this is any good, but I think that it might do exactly one person some good, so here. Happy whatever day it is, poemies.

Sand Gods

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The ocean rocks.  There’s probably nothing more poemed about than that, and I’m sure that anything I have to say about it has already been said, but I’m going to try anyway. This Mountain girl is not that familiar with the force of the waves, and it was pretty awesome to watch my girls get all wavy wid’ it. D1 was fearless, and spent upwards of two hours crashing about in the surf. Awesome. At one point she went tumbling into a wave and told me that “the ocean is EPIC” I don’t know where she learned the term, but I know that she is right. D2 didn’t care much for the waves, but she played castle and got buried by her cousins and ended up with a butt full of sand.

Here’s an ocean poem:

Sand Gods

Sand makes gods of small children, who build cities, usually ancient and always impermanent, in it. Sand makes gods of small children and small children of grown men and tyrants of real life rulers who capture the shade and the water and what’s below and will not share.

Shame on them.

When the little sand gods put their toes in brave, and feel the universe pulling them out, feel the earth slip beneath their feet, the fear is half and half, half of falling, and half if their own yearning to get swept out to join the whales, the same as the fear of those who fear heights not because of the fall, but because they can’t wait to jump.

These are the small gods, who creep on sandy knees and who are willing to get buried while we, the creeping-on-toward-abyss-bound, fight it always after the play.  After the play there are flaunting insecurities that result in ridiculous costumes, and after that play comes the haunting.

Oh, these little sand gods. How they play now, how they giggle, these little spirits in the sand.

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Sappy. Whatever. It’s true. Happy Monday!

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