Thursday, May 31, 2007

I'm a bit amazed that there was a time in my life when I used words and phrases like "nuclear socialism" and "ops mounting dialogue."

I proofread, again, the first serial poem ("If this isn't an interview I don't know what to say") in my manuscript and am happy with it. The diction/vocabulary in this series is laced with wonky DC think tank language and references to the research into missile defense systems and US-China relations: "At least headhunters understand pain. If it doesn't blow up, I'm not going to write about it." I remember writing poems from staff meeting and briefing notes. I'm also noticing that these poems have lots of line breaks. Crazy line breaks. I haven't been able to really write anything with line breaks in months. This manuscript reminds me that I can do it.

We bought Rum today to make dark and stormys. It's supposedly going to be hot here next week (that means maybe in the 80) and that's a perfect time to have rum and ginger beer over ice on the balcony. They're too sweet for me to have more than one, and it's worth it to get super good ginger beer with a nice bite.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Things that are true

I went to the farmers market today and bought many greens. The usual kale etc but then also other greens I don't know the names of. And I bought tamales for dinner--pork with green chili, made without lard. They are really good.

It is sunny.

Lester is fluffy.

I live in California.

I am working on another web page for someone.

I tutored today.

I am going to go for a run.

I will put on sunblock before I do that.

I bought milk at Albertsons.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Month of Maying is nearly over. Let's sing.

Last year in May Lester and I recorded a duet. I tried to record a new duet--but my computer refuses to acknowledge that it has any recording devices. It's too bad, because Lester has all sorts of new sounds, including a variety of excited and mournful whistles.
Oh, please, please no more poems by Rumi, Kahlil Gibran, and Danna Faulds at the beginning and end of yoga classes. Couldn't we just branch out a little? We could read Rumi's quatrains. We could read Hafiz. We could read from...the Yoga Sutras or the Mahabharata. Or Joanne Kyger. Or Hafiz. Or Gary Snyder. Or Rilke. Or a bazillion other things. I'm sick of cliched abstract poems about finding balance.

Monday, May 28, 2007

What else is everywhere like birds

A few days ago I decided that there are too many birds in poems.

I live with a bird.

There is yet another set of nesting finches in the roof of our balcony (the third set this spring).

There are little sparrows that peck at the window of my study.

Yesterday morning there was a blue jay hovering over my bicycle, more startled than territorial, fortunately.

Flocks of migrating pelicans fly over my head every time I go for a walk or run.

A someone I know is trying to leave the country. And, of course, many people are trying to come to this country.

I am not a vegetarian and San Diego is cold.

When you begin to notice birds, you notice that birds are everywhere. What else is everywhere?

wall-to-wall carpet

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My pride and my fear are playing smoochy face

It is memorial day weekend, so there are many children visiting their fathers and mothers separated from their mothers and fathers.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm almost done putting together a book manuscript

And I'd like to send it to people for feedback. I have a few folks in mind, but if anyone has the time and inclination and would like a copy, I'll gladly send it to you. I don't have any chapbooks to send now, so I can send manuscripts (although I will have something for Dusie shortly). I'm prone to being secretive about my work and also to noodling. I have been noodling too long.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When I go to the grocery store

The women and men who bag my groceries often wish to have confessional conversations about their eating habits. Today, a young woman was talking about sugar. "There's sugar in everything, you can't avoid it," she said. I smiled at her, already feeling like a total snothead for buying so many vegetables. "I drink coke every day. I was raised on it. I can't just stop drinking it." I was not raised on coke or soda. When I lived overseas, I'd drink Sprite sometimes if the water wasn't always good and I was too young to have alcohol. Or in southeast Asia I'd drink 100+, which was really good--a kind of carbonated Gatorade, but with less sugar and a lot more bland. It probably would be really good for me when I'm sick to my stomach. I felt like I should say something so I said, "Well, everyone will eat and drink the things that they like." She wasn't satisfied. It was a pretty lame comment. I could have said, "Soda is gross" or "have you tried diet soda" (I know little about how diet soda tastes) or "Soda is bad for you, stop drinking it and instead buy beets and fennel like me." I couldn't think of anything to say that wasn't scolding or moralistic, but that is what she seemed to want.

Usually Mark and I go grocery shopping together. Sometimes, however, I go pick up a few items at the local Albertsons. There, it's not the people bagging the groceries but the older folks in line with me that want to confess. Usually they are buying a lot of frozen dinners. Because they live alone. Once, the woman behind me was buying a lot of frozen lasagna for one, and I was buying things to make a turkey spinach lasagna. The woman said, "I can cook lasagna. I love lasagna. With turkey. And spinach." For a moment I got all movie sentimental and thought I should invite her to dinner. But the older women who speak to me are often hostile and crazy. She didn't seem hostile, just defensive.

I am going to prepare lunch

I'm having trouble writing things. I wish that blogger wouldn't mess with my spacing. But that is not why I'm having trouble.

I've been consciously eating more fruit and vegetables this week. Fruit and vegetables with every meal and at least two fruit/vegetable snacks during the day.

Increasingly I'm writing in complete sentences. I want line breaks, so when I type up my drafts, I insert line breaks.

I think writing in my notebook is too slow and contemplative. If I try to write while sitting on my balcony, I usually end up writing about bird song and stuff. I love birds, but there are too many references to birds in post-avant writing. One must be careful about the use of animals in poems. I'm a sucker for lyric + birds, but sentimentalism makes me cringe because I am often sentimental about animals and baby animals. It's just a step from loving the cute fluffy bird to loving the cute fat baby and then the angelic mother baking a cake. Feeling sentimental about something is very close to thinking that it isn't important, or supposedly can't really be important in the real world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today I went for a walk on the beach. I saw several flocks of pelicans, many California squirrels, and also a rabbit.

The blue trolley line that runs from down town San Diego to the border is in bad shape and needs to be repaired. But apparently we need more freeways instead of better public transportation.
The blue line "has an average weekday ridership of 58,400, more than the trolley system's two other lines combined."


Other people have clean fingernails. Why can't I?


I made designs for yoga t-shirts today. Tank tops, actually.


My left hamstring attachment kills. Sitting for long periods of time is really uncomfortable. Not in a sharp way, in a dull, annoying way.

found a hobo in my room

Whatever happened to "hyakugojyuuichi?"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weird and Obvious

Now it's two nights in a row I've dreamed about brothels and lakes. A friend from high school was arguing with me about "brothel benefits" and wanted me to join her brothel by a lake. The water in the lake looked a lot like the water in the rivers in the jungle mountains of Bhutan and the brothel was in a nunnery.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In San Diego, the difference between what is "real" and what is "fake" is complicated. They're nearly the same thing.

Mark, Lester & I feasted on Hout Bi Batata Wa Tamatem (Roast Cod with Potatoes & Tomatoes) this evening. Unlike the last time I attempted this dish, I used a cast iron pan, so the potatoes didn't stick, and I used mahi mahi. Yum! Lester enjoys fish, especially a meaty one like mahi mahi or salmon or tuna.

Mark's friend Jim (of Rock Town Hall) was in town for a conference, so we met him in San Diego this afternoon for Kansas City BBQ (yes, the Top Gun place--it's really very good) and then went to the Hotel Del Coronado to wander around and have a drink. The place reminds me of Miss Marple and the Shining and also a fake fantasy version of the old colonial hotels in southeast Asia--Raffles in Singapore, for example, which opened at about the same time as the Del (Raffles in 1887 and the Del in 1888)

I liked it. The next time I go, I'll make sure to wear my gold leather sandals, a tunic, and large sunglasses. It was all very mythological and ahistoric. Well, not quite ahistoric--Queen Anne revival architecture in California has to be concerned with history and tradition, sort of. It wants to evoke history as a feeling/aura and not a fact.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Getting Better

I had kind of a dinner last night--a cup of cold cooked rice and lentils-- and several glasses of Pernod super diluted with water. It soooooothes the stomach. And I had kind of a breakfast this morning, so I'm on the mend. I'm a seasoned traveler. Sometimes I don't get sick at all, and then sometimes I have major nausea. I have swooned and fainted on many trains.


I just spilled my tea all over my lap.


When I was in Oman, I told people I was visiting from Washington, DC. In Vancouver, I told people I was visiting from San Diego, CA. In DC it was kind of fun and ironic to look Californian (at least to someone from the East Coast). Here, my very blond hair and love of 70s style are no longer ironic. Maybe they were never ironic.

Friday, May 18, 2007

O bright, gem-like flame, where have you gone?!

We're back from Vancouver. I'm in the process of posting pictures and so on. We had a totally fabulous time. However, I got sick on the way to the airport (fortunately not before then) and remain sick. I am chewing on a piece of candied ginger. Cross your fingers for me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

T minus < 1 day / We're Reading at Kootenay!

I get final papers for my online class this evening. By 3 am. I am either going to stay up late or get up early and grade them. And then we are going to Vancouver. Mark is giving a reading on Friday and a talk on Sunday, and I'm giving a reading on Sunday. Ye Haw! Eee! Etc.

Friday, May 11, 2007 @ 8 pm

Spartacus Books
319 West Hastings

" If MARK WALLACE did the comedy circuit, all that big hair and those sweet drinks would riot in the streets. Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn't There is a series of one to six line stanzas all revamping the idea of the one-liner. But the joke is always frightening, a world where the 2x4s pounding the cat are hitting our heads and they hurt damn it, as they always make us stop and consider what we are. He is the existential joker: if Batman met the poet and it was for real."
--Juliana Spahr

RACHEL ZOLF writes of her most recent book, Human Resources: "Human Resources makes a vain attempt to answer Anne Carson's question around Paul Celan's poetry: "What is lost when words are wasted and where is the human store to which such goods are gathered in?" The subject of the book, a poet, wastes words writing "plain language" marketing and employee communications for pay, turning into a kind of writing (or rhetoric) machine in the process. As the two worlds of poetry and plain language collide, overlap and merge in the book, we enter a nonsense state of fractured subjectivity, experiencing the psychic cost of selling things with depleted words. Psychoanalytic, general-economic and transmission-theory rhetorics fed into the writing machine are spit out as bungled associations among money, shit, art production and communication. In the end, the new-look body without organs organizing the text is semi-recuperated through ethical confrontations with the multiple voices within and without her, while her book-machine frame crumbles before it can really form."

Sunday, May 13, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

Kootenay School of Writing
309 - 207 West Hastings

A talk by Wallace + a reading by Graham

"I have seen Graham's work compared to that of the late Kathy Acker, she's got something of Acker's sexual frankness, voracious intake, the sense that anything can come into the writing, but even if she isn't, you know, Kathy Acker she's got something that Acker never had. I can't really characterize it right now, but I'm a sucker for Graham's writing and this is the best example of it I can name." - Kevin Killian, on Graham's book Terminal Hunting

Monday, May 07, 2007

T minus 3 days

I am sore. My pincha mayurasana continues to improve, and I don't really even need the wall anymore. I like back bends and I like being upside down--both are the opposite of what I do all day, so pincha has become one of my favorite asanas. I've also been working drop backs to urdhva dhanurasana, although I still need the wall to come up.

May and June in San Diego are usually overcast and cold, but today it is 75. Unseasonably warm. There are dudes swimming in the little swimming pool. Lester and I are having a pity party. Poor us, we have to work. Well, only I have to work. I am grading and Lester is molting. His mood has improved, and he hasn't screeched once yet today. He took a shower, which always helps the pin feathers.

I don't think classification essays should be taught in composition classes. They just encourage students to make stereotypes and be overly-general.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Gold lame is OK. As long is it is not in suit form. Pant suit form. Skirt suit, maybe.

Friday, May 04, 2007

But we're going to Vancouver next week!

Tonic from the tap is terrible. I think the only gin & tonic with both proper gin and proper tonic I've ever had outside the comfort of my own home was at Fox & Hounds in Dupont Circle.

My ESL class finished the unit on corporal punishment and spanking. Now we've moved on to a unit about marriage. I don't make these units up myself. In general, the books I'm using (Northstar) are much better than most other intermediate ESL textbooks I've used, but in-class discussion doesn't work if everyone is too tired or bored to talk. I'm used to having several students who have enough energy to help stir the class so I don't have to carry it all on my own.

This particular class fears any questions where they have to talk about their own opinions. After a particularly painful discussion where I more or less had to extract thoughts out of everyone with yes/no questions, I looked at them and said, "Well, we can listen to the ticking of the clock together, or you can pretend that you're awake like I'm pretending that I'm awake." I miss having mostly adult students who are spending their own money to pay for classes.

It's been a particularly long week.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I don't give extra credit

If you were me, where would you send work? I won't ask why you would send it there (if you were me), but you can tell me that if you want, too.

Tricky of me asking this question of you when you haven't seen the poems and objects in question, perhaps.

Lester is grumpy and molting, but still very handsome and brave.

There are now sparrows nesting in our balcony roof, so I get to fuss and worry about hatchlings and fledglings all over again. And there are also some ravens nesting in the tree outside the window of my study. And then I saw three hawks being chased by jays this afternoon as I was teaching TOEFL. I only have two students, so I took them outside. I saw the hawks and pointed to them and got excited and they got excited and we stood on the picnic table for a while watching them. They'd never seen hawks before, let alone smaller birds attacking hawks.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

There is a house a few blocks a way that has a fake grass lawn. Not Astroturf, but lush, dark green, soft cushy fake grass. It is both inside the fence and then also on the little strip of earth between the sidewalk and the street. They have extended their wall to wall carpet outside.