Saturday, March 31, 2007

Property Room

I thought I understood Cleveland pretty well, until I got to see the Cleveland Police Department's "Property Room." It's at the end of one of those eternally long beige hallways. Written on the window in Magic Marker are the hours it's open. After an echoing knock, a really nice man let us stand in the doorway while he disappeared behind stacks of blue bins.

Here's what we saw: guns, rifles, Glocks, a bazooka, a virgin Mary statue, bolt cutters, artillery, posters of Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant and Arnold Schwarzenegger, prosthetic legs hanging from the ceiling, an entire room full of guns.

Semi-automatics, big, heavy ledgers with hand-written entries of property received, property released, property "re-distributed." A statue of three dancing toads painted in Oaxacan folk art style, an oversized brick, small handguns. A shopping cart full of guns, their barrels facing skyward.

I'm there to recover my stolen stuff (a tiny percentage of it), including a computer whose hard-drive holds all my old writing and resume material. (Try constructing a resume from memory...)

Tony Bennett was singing out of a boombox.

My stuff, alas, could not be found. I have to return. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bird Watching

Thank you, Sarah, for the binoculars! If you had told me when I was 20 that a) I'd live past 30, and b) I'd start bird-watching, I would laugh and point at you. (By you, I mean all y'all.) Doors and windows open to catch the lake breeze. We're too far south for my father's favorite bird--the loon--but there was an armada of buffleheads moving west this morning. I liked it when he used to say "bufflehead." I liked when my mother would lean out our front door to catch the lake breeze on balmy nights, as if she were the prow of our little, leaky ship.

The guy who robbed my house received 3 years in prison. He's 23, and already done time. He has a child. I did not go to the sentencing last week. Stuff is stuff, right? But losing the heirloom objects that belonged to my parents and grandparents--that's a dull, ongoing ache. His girlfriend had the temerity to post a defense of him on a neighborhood blog. I wonder if she's wearing my jewelry?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Vernal + Verbal

The ice series, said a certain someone, is done. So it is, even though the ice persists a bit, even though we passed the Vernal Equinox during which I was in a roomful of writers I admire, even though it may have climbed to 60 degrees today.

But am I ice-obsessed? Yes. It is a luxury we'll wish for later, like Aunt Dora's string of pearls we can't seem to locate, or that last gallon of distilled water on Walgreen's shelf.

Read an article saying that the mind was made to wander. Don't know where I read it, but I know where my mind has wandered today:

creative writing pedagogy, two conversations in which the words "going on a payment plan" were mentioned, the phrase "hobbyists and lobbyists are of no use to us," water birds with dark heads and white chests, buying binoculars (can't afford), other blogs bright and cheery, teaching poetry from a place of ignorance (seems do-able), a conversation in which one writer says to another "I really, really need that money" with the other writer replying "I know. I don't have any control."

Other places: new liquor license at Cafe Marika, gas bill equalling more than I make in a month, where to pay gas bill, replying "I don't have any" to the question "how much do you spend on health insurance a month"?, conversing with an old boss, architecture, non-profit boards, need paper, when to see the new David Lynch movie, water, poetry portfolio, grants, how old my dogs are, the neighbor's cat spraying the boxwood hedge.

Order both refills, or one refill and pay gas bill?

Can't do without dog food + coffee + someday we'll sell everything we have for clean water. Creative writing Ph.D.s, Advair inhaler, Arts Collinwood, pussy willow in bloom, roquette arugula, my friend Pam, my friend Nancy, my friend Lara, my friend Greta, art, teaching creative writing, dream job=proofreading, my friend The Rainy Day Woman, my friend Jessica's amazing thesis, my friend Jessa's "The Poem No," try to go to AWP next year, how many of us know someone who ____________, invoices, payment due, endoscopy, watersheds, get a job, check number, routing number, social security number, tax ID number, actual budget, projected budget, my former friend tequila, expense budget, turn the heat off.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gone Ice

The ice is breaking up and moving on, like the white gypsy camp I saw once in Pottsdammerplatz in Berlin. Or like an ice diaspora. In the weird warmth of yesterday, the ice began talking. Cackling, gurgling, saying farewell to the piled ice onshore, not quite ready to leave yet.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Flung Ice

The lake grays today. Flings chunks of ice at the shore, where our Christmas trees are stored, dried, waiting for summer fires.

A friend has lost a father. A lot of us have, one way or another.

Go ahead. Pitch stuff into the water with all your might.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Breaking Ice

Birds now. The ice begins to floe. Ponds open up, get swallowed again. Shards of ice stand up like surfers when it's time. There is open water beyond, a busy place with birds and waves. An oasis with whitecaps.

If I could see like a hawk, would I be wild to break the glass?