Saturday, October 27, 2007

fire and water

Watching snippets of California fires all week, then looking out the window at fresh water to the horizon. Hearing from Jewell that Georgia is running out of water.

Water is the new oil.

Just living by water doesn't guarantee access to it, but it provides that illusion.

My sister's new house burned down yesterday. They hadn't moved in yet, but the former owner hadn't moved out. He is a former firefighter.

Strange days.

Monday, October 22, 2007

certain birthday

Celebrated with my girlfriends and others on Saturday night. Their special gifts made me cry.

Celebrated with my family yesterday over really good food. They created a photo album of long-lost photos, some I had never seen before, including one of my mother that she somehow didn't cut up. She looks furious. There are maybe three extant photos of her among tubs of photographs. More crying.

Celebrating again tonight with Jesus, Mary and Joseph. (Actually, Ben, Mary and Joe.)

I am lucky indeed to have such people in my life.

post pennant race

Well, back to Emily Dickinson and the war.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Mary tagged me for this reading thing on LibraryThing.

The Rules:

Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your "To Be Read" list.

(I can't underline, but there's only a couple I want to read, and I hope there's not a test.--AS)

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude*
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick*
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man*
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest*
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time*
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye*
On the Road*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit*
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baseball Hangover

I bailed on the game at about 3 hours, when Ortiz limped to first and was somehow safe. Boston took the lead at 6-5. I checked back after midnight, and it was 6-6 in the 10th. My heart can't take such stress. I only learned this morning that the Indians put 7 on the board in the 11th inning.

You can't say Boston's just a slug machine when they have Josh Beckett pitching. But what about Curt Schilling, who no longer throws true fastballs, but is considered a "finesse" pitcher?

Is that what they'll say about writers when we're older and have more control of our sentences? Can you imagine saying that about artists? "He's a finesse painter," or "She's a finesse writer now that she's of a 'certain age.'" Maybe.

I guess we were writing raw, explosive poems when we were younger, the way Fausto Carmona ends each pitch almost drilling into the dirt with surprise on his face.

Cleveland might be in the world series on the day I reach "a certain age." What a lovely gift! I'll get Sizemore on the phone and order up a grand slam.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October baseball and poems

Just from a language perspective, a fausto should beat a schilling any time, right?

Does anyone hate Manny Ramirez's smirk as much as I do?

Good news! DMQ Review and Barn Owl Review picked up some poems of mine. See links to their sites below and to the right.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Morning Comment

It's October. Everyone who is staying the winter is here. It's Sierra mountain weather--bright sky, cool breeze. The lake spreads out like a jeweled carpet. The marigolds are two feet high, the green zinnias twice that. I am on my front porch on an old metal glider. A week ago some old, dear, hilarious friends celebrated a landmark birthday together. October sailing; October baseball. Nothing better.


This week the alt-weekly Free Times gave me a nod as best poet. Very sweet. Many thanks. They even published the address of this blog, so I thought I should post some of my own poetry.

29 Palms

for Mary B. + Kate G.

prayer wheels, yes-wheels, joshua tree

a flood of ground glass
I tread day and night such roads

Marine cap in the sand, blood
on the door

dried iron = cozy

which way to LA? no I am
not wandering the desert for 40
or any years
my messengers continually cruise
away or bring their returns to me

sometimes you wade through dunes
getting to St. Monica

who sits on the pier with the other story


(the italic lines are from that old fart Whitman)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jeannine Hall Gailey

This Seattle-based poet visited University of Akron this week. Her book is called Becoming the Villainess. Check out her website.

Though I don't like narrative much, and prefer more "languagey" poems, this is one of my favorites of hers:

The Snow Queen

You tell yourself he only left you for her
because of the wicked shard of glass in his eye,
but the truth is, every man wants an ice princess.
The truth is, you're too easy to get used to--

your sloppy warmth, the heat from your skin
fresh from the garden--it's too much for him.
He'd rather marvel at her tedious snowflakes,
caress her frosted hair, basking in that cold gaze,

that veneer of symmetry. So you wander
around town like an idiot, forgetting
even your shoes. The boys there
are all still in awe of her. "Did you see

that thing she was driving?" they keep asking.
You set off to bring him back, not thinking
you are the last person he wants to see.
"He's trapped in that ice castle" you murmur,

"He needs to be rescued." Dogged, you follow
the tiny shards of glass, and their sparkle.
And when you finally find him, dark with cold
from her brutal kisses, he doesn't even

recognize you. You stop blaming the shard
in his eye; how can you rescue a man
whose heart, transfixed by skeletal crystal,
craves the bruising of frost?

Insane + Brilliant

Emily Dickinson has a perfect description of depression:

"But the Heart with the heaviest freight on --
Does'nt -- always -- move --"