Friday, July 27, 2007


Leaving tomorrow for LA this weekend to bid Mr. Stan Apps goodbye and to give a reading.


Sunday, July 29, 2007


Susanne Dyckman
K. Lorraine Graham
Dana Ward

247 S. Main Street, between 2nd and 3rd St, downtown Los Angeles
(enter in the alley in the back)

Doors open at 6:30 pm

Susanne Dyckman received her MFA in Writing in 2003 from the University of
San Francisco, where she is now one of the program¹s graduate thesis
advisors. After being named co-winner of the Five Fingers Review 2003
Poetry Award, she was invited to join the journal¹s editorial staff. She
has been a panel moderator at the 2005, 2006 and 2007 AWP conferences, and
in 2006 presented a Creative Writing Pedagogy paper at the RMMLA annual
conference in Tucson. For the past three years she has hosted the Evelyn
Avenue Reading Series, which features experimental poetry, prose, and, on
occasion, fine art.

K. Lorraine Graham is the author of three chapbooks, Terminal Humming (Slack
Buddha), See it Everywhere (Big Game Books), and Large Waves to Large
Obstacles, forthcoming from Outside Voices' Take Home Project. Dear [Blank]
I Believe in Other Worlds was originally a pamphlet from Phylum Press.
Narrowhouse Recordings recently released Moving Walkways, a limited-edition
chapdisk of her work. Lorraine has just completed the extended manuscript of
Terminal Humming.

Dana Ward is the author of New Couriers, The Wrong Tree, and other
chapbooks. He has new work available or forthcoming in The Recluse, string
of small machines, the DC Poetry Anthology and seconds. He lives in
Cincinnati, where he edits and publishes Cy Press.

The SMELL LAST SUNDAY READING SERIES is co-curated by Teresa Carmody (Les
Figues), Ara Shirinyan (Make Now Press), and Stan Apps (Insert Press)

Afinata and Zahar, again

I received an anonymous comment on a post from way back when about my trip to Romania. At the end of this post, I included a recipe for afinata, a very strong fruit liquor that has a taste of blueberries and plumbs. The recipe is in Romanian, and calls for a fruit called zahar. I've never managed to find out what a zahar is. It's been over a year since I searched around, so I did.

According to Romer!can, there is a plum-like fruit that grows in the trees in Bucharest and other cities like Braşov (where I've never been). According to the comment box on that post, the fruit is known by several names--zarzane, zarzăre, corcoduşe, zarzărele (which are maybe more like apricots), and zahar--depending on the region, and can be several colors--green, deep red, peach, apricot.

These fruits are used in a variety of home brews that sound similar to the afinata I drank, although they're variously referred to as tuica (good warm with a bit of nutmeg) or palinca. The fruits are also used in various soups, or ciorba.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

One of my students was held at the border for nearly 8 hours

--immigration said that when they ran his visa through the database, the database said his visa had been canceled because of poor attendance. I'm the one who made his attendance record, and it has been good.

Bureaucracy sucks. Data entry sucks!

They nearly sent him to Mexico City, but after many hours, they decided that he was telling the truth, and one customs official gave him documentation to enter into the US again and apply for a new student visa. They did that for him, but they wouldn't call our school to verify his attendance.

Also, I went swimming today, the water was warm.

Printed the covers for my Dusie chapbook, with the help of Mark. I'm sure mine will be the last one to go out.

I'm a bit tipsy, so I'm imagining getting lost somewhere and dying a violent death. Maybe Micronesia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rock Hyraxes are "exceedingly wise"

According to the BBC, hyraxes once roamed Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. About 50 million years ago, they were probably the dominant grazers of these areas, some of them were as large as hippos.

Hyraxes are genetically related to elephants. Again, from the BBC

Hyrax social structure is remarkably like that of elephants. Their close-knit colonies comprise several related females and their young. When young males reach maturity, the dominant male forces them out to seek kopjes new. Male conflict is surprisingly aggressive, especially in the mating season when the size of the males' internal testes (a feature shared with elephants) increases twenty-fold, presumably matched by increased testosterone levels.

According to a very poorly cited wikipedia article, early Phonecian navigators mistook the rabbits of the Iberian Peninsula for for hyraxes (Hebrew Shaphan); hence they named it I-Shapan-im, meaning "land of the hyraxes", which became the Latin word "Hispania," the root of España and the English name Spain.

The word "rabbit" was used instead of "hyrax" many times in some earlier English Bible translations. European translators of those times had no knowledge of the hyrax (Hebrew שָּׁפָןShaphan[1]), and therefore no name for them. There are references to hyraxes in the Old Testament [2] which seem to mistakenly identify hyraxes and rabbits as ruminating animals (i.e. animals that chew cud. This is possibly because they "appear to be so from working the jaws on the grasses they live on."[3]).


The shephanim are not mighty people, Yet they make their houses in the rocks (Proverbs 30:26 NAS)

Hyrax and shephanim are also known as conies. So, according to King James, which is usually more poetic:

"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces." (Proverbs 30:24:28 KJV)
Also, it's not kosher to eat a rock hyrax.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There is a rock hyrax at the San Diego zoo--we only saw one, but there were signs indicating that a whole rock hyrax colony might be there! Remember, those aren't big buck teeth, they're actually little tusks.

And also, there was a flying fox!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Because at first it looked like half a leg.

There was a woman in yoga today with an artificial leg. Rather, an artificial calf and foot. We were practicing next to each other and I just thought she was doing modifications for an injury (which, maybe she was, I don't know how she came to not have a calf and foot on one leg). I noticed her artificial limb while I was upside down in a standing split and fell over. It is probably a cliche to say that this woman next to me was inspiring and amazing, but she was.

I keep seeing advertisments (on billboards, while I am in the car) for Bodies...The Exhibition. Apparently, more than 250 real, plasticized human specimens are on display.

Real plasticized.

All of the human specimens are legally obtained from China. Several from Dalian. I spent a very nice weekend in Dalian once--my friend and I smoked a lot of hash and opium, and then my friend was mistaken for a prostitute at a club, so we left.

According to the San Diego Tribune, "Bodies bring on the Bucks."

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Lester sometimes seems to be in a state of constant molt ("state of constant" sounds ridiculous). Just like how when I have hives I seem to always have them, and now that I don't I never have.

I took one of those multiple intelligence tests as part of a lesson I designed for my ESOL class on Friday. My kinesthetic, linguistic, musical, and naturalistic intelligences were all high. Interpersonal intelligence was medium-high, intrapersonal and visual intelligences were medium, and my logical intelligence was low--roughly around 30%.

According to this test, the best careers for me are: writer, dancer, artist, musician, or teacher.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Dirt and Glue and Dirt

An image search for the words "dirt Tabubil" brings up 11 images, six of which are images I've posted to this blog that have no direct connection to either dirt or Tabubil. The image at right does not come up. But now it will.

I have a picture of me, my brother, and my friend James standing next to a truck like this, not far from the mine site.

The idea that there were/are huge trucks and vehicles like this in a town that can only be accessed via river and then dirt road is creepy. When I was a child, it was very exciting. "Daddy works here," etc.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Walking Dreams: Selected Early Tales

Mark Wallace has a new book out of short stories called Walking Dreams: Selected Early Tales. The stories are very good--creepy, insightful, strange--and I did the typesetting.

A man tries to piece together the events of the day he nearly died. Another believes that a friend has betrayed him, or is it that he has betrayed himself? A woman tries to escape the life she has known, but finds it following her. The eight stories of disorientation and metamorphosis in Mark Wallace's Walking Dreams all concern characters who feel trapped and want to change who they are. The unconventional shape of these tales distorts time, place, and character to create an eerie and threatening atmosphere. The result is a series of surprises- some serious, some comic-in which the boundary between the real and the imagined breaks down. In the tradition of what British writer Robert Aickman called "the strange story," Walking Dreams explores a world that is poetic, horrifying, and very much like our own.

"Mark Wallace writes like an avant-garde poet who knows how to tell a good story. Or like a fiction writer who knows how to fill his prose with cutting edge poetry. You finish Wallace's fiction with much more than you began with, the sense that your reading intelligence has been scrambled into a new kind of clarity, a new kind of pleasure that can only be fully sorted out over time." -- Stephen-Paul Martin

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I like grocery shopping.

Today, I remembered that I like frozen waffles, so I am going to get some frozen waffles.

And also, Mark and I are going over to his cousin's house to grill. She has a big grill, so I am going to grill something that I can't really grill on our small grill. What should I grill? Stone fruit, for sure. But that will be dessert.

And now, because I want to, and because okapis are awesome, I leave you with a picture of an okapi.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dinosaurs! Pee Wee's Big Adventure!

Mark and I are going to Hemet tomorrow to visit friends. It will be hot, and I am excited! We will not pass the dinosaurs, but I will better understand their existence.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Faster Pussycat

Riding the bus is close to drifting in a place where it's difficult to drift on foot. Many literal drifters are on the bus, or else they're fading into the landscape--hiding out in the grass by lagoons or sleeping in the same groves that the egrets nest in. The train, which used to be fast, now feels slow--the train whistle gives the day a rhythm that seems less frenetic than, say, the highway. But of course, the highway is often slow. In last Sunday's travel section in the San Diego tribune, there was an article about how riding the train to LA is faster than driving. This is true.

Mark and I watched Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! (1965)last night. Until I moved out here I'm not sure the scenes of drag racing in the desert and the horror of the train would have made any sense to me. The male characters are pretty violent, but they can't imagine that female desire for domination could be physically violent. Kirk, the older brother, is especially dense, even though his older brother, "The Vegetable," is the one who supposedly isn't right in the head. It's hard to feel triumphant about Kirk and Linda getting away together in the pickup truck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wallace Thinks Again!

Actually, Mark never stopped thinking, but he has started blogging.

Mark's first post over at Thinking Again wonders about the usefulness of genre, specifically relative to experimental fiction. This issue has been on my mind recently as I'm drafting a very very belated response to a discussion with Joseph Mosconi and Mark on media literacy and discipline in contemporary experimental poetry, among other things.

So, go have a look at Thinking Again, and tell Mark what you think. I, of course, already have.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The only major advantage to having an office job (other than the obvious advantage of having a regular salary) is access to printers and photocopiers. My Dusie chapbook is going slower than usual. I'm hoping to assemble it next week.

Dan and Mike left this morning. I wish everyone I liked lived down the road from each other and me, too.

I'm getting caught up on email. I have five jobs this week. Three big ones and three small ones.

I'm teaching in the afternoons for the next few weeks, which means I don't have to get out of bed early.

There are more people on the bus during the day than at 6:45 am. Or at least there were today.

Riding the bus in north county San Diego is a suburban California version of drifting. It's slow, you can't move fast, your route is not direct, you come in contact with a public you'd never otherwise see or touch. I passed one of my coworkers on my bike today. He lives a block away, and I passed him on my bike just as he was getting out of the car. It took us the same amount of time to travel the 6.5 miles.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

8 Random Facts Meme

Jessica tagged me. So. 8 Random things.

1. With the exception of Sand Beach in Acadia National Park in Maine--which seemed like a complete anomaly--I'd never been to the beach in the United States before I went with Mark and our friend Jerry to the beach in Delaware a few years after I graduated from college. I thought Mark was joking when he talked about Delaware beaches. Delaware beaches seemed impossible.

1a. I went to some California beaches as a child, but I don't remember them.

2. When I was six, my best friend and I were convinced we were from Mars. We had a secret language that we learned to speak. One night on a 4H camping trip I was speaking the secret language in my sleep and I kicked someone in the chin. My friend had to wake me up.

3. I have trouble sleeping when Mark is not here. When I must sleep alone, I sleep on the couch in the living room, with Lester, in full view of the door, escape routes planned.

4. When I watch TV, I usually watch it without the sound on. I watch captions and play my own music.

5. I pick up new languages quickly and am professionally good at a lot of things: public policy, teaching, graphic design, event planning, even, sigh, accounting, etc. This has made my life difficult because it gives me the illusion that I actually have options.

6. I've never been baptized. I was raised as a Baha'i, but I no longer practice.

7. My skin is hypersensitive. I can smell everything.

8. Eventually, I want to leave wherever I am.

Before I take a shower

I'm back from Yoga. Mark, Dan et Mike are off at Lou's Records or perhaps having fish tacos or food at Tip Top right now. It's been good to have friends around--low key hanging out and hyped-up rowdiness!

Jessica tagged me for the 8 random things meme, I'll post that later.

Next week I'll print the covers for my Dusie chapbook, assemble them, and mail them. I'd also like to scan all the doodles and reading reports that are, well, unscanned. I've no scanner here at home, so that's going to take some planning. Those drawings began as a way of recording/interacting with readings and performances in a way that was completely foreign to me. I can't draw. Rather, I can't make realist visual representations of actual things. Now I'm coming to think of them as a loose kind of criticism, or even short memoirs of the experience of being at the readings.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

For now, please enjoy this jackalope picture.

Dan and Mike are visiting, so we are taking some time off from regular blogging.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

On the bus

Elderly man recently discharged from the hospital--he couldn't remember which one--wearing a white, paper hospital-issued union suit.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

While I was waiting for a light to change yesterday,

an elderly pedestrian came up to me and said, "That is a beautiful helmet!"

"Thank you," I said. I patted my helmet and smiled and said "it protects my head."

"Well," she said, "it is very lovely."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Farwell to the Black Cat in the Green Grass

The Black Cat in the Green Grass (aka "Shaq") has moved! Rather, the woman he shared an apartment with has moved. I'm sad he's gone, but glad that the woman didn't simply leave him, as people sometimes do when they move. Shaq was very welcoming to Mark and I when we first arrived, and he radiated a peaceful, mystical quality as he sat in the green grass in the early morning or late afternoon. I have no pictures of the Black Cat in the Green Grass actually in the green grass. As I said, he had a kind of mystical quality--Mark and I would see him sitting in the green grass from our window, but by the time we'd go down to greet him, he'd have moved out of the grass and on to other things.

Unlike Stinky or Finley, the Black Cat in the Green Grass never threatened the nestlings and fledglings and never salivated through the window at Lester. He was clearly enjoying his middle-age comfort. Stinky clearly had the upper hand in the apartment complex while he was around (even though the Black Cat outweighed him by several pounds), but they never got into any altercations. Really, the Black Cat was mostly interested in sitting in the Green Grass and smelling flowers.

The Black Cat in the Green Grass is very different from the two most important cats of my childhood: Patches (at left in my grandmother's sink) and Benjamin (at right in our house in Sedgwick, Maine before it was restored).

Patches' mother, Delilah, was quite secretive--she gave birth to her litter in a box of Christmas decorations. By the time I discovered Patches and her brother and sister, all of them had their eyes open. Delilah was a fairly indifferent mother, and eventually her sister, Oatmeal, who had also just had a litter, took care of all the kittens. When Patches became old and senile, she would wake me up in the middle of the night (her voice was very loud) to show me the catnip mouse she had "killed." I'd praise her for it and then hide the mouse to prevent her from waking me up again.

Benjamin was a stray. My aunt wanted to name in Marmalade, but he clearly was Benjamin. Benjamin used to fight with Pumpkin, the tomcat next door, and the two of them gave each other terrible gashes in the face on a regular basis. Pumpkin was one of several cats our neighbor Hetty fostered for the animal shelter. Eventually Pumpkin and Benjamin established their territories, but it took several months.

Benjamin would run away for days at a time but always come back. He'd even follow me on my walks to the cemetery behind our house--he'd keep an eye on me for hours, meowing every so often so he'd know I was there.

Even though I didn't know the Black Cat in the Green Grass as well as I knew Patches and Benjamin, he remains an important figure in my friendships with cats, and Mark and I will miss him.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sylvia Plath at 19

"Being born a woman is my awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and solders, barroom regulars--to be part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording--is all spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstructed as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night."