More weather

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Weather

Friday, February 25, 2011


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jeanette Winterson

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

[Painting by Gustave Moreau depicting Saint George slaying the dragon
from Wikipedia.]

I'm teaching Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit again. It's hard to believe that Winterson wrote this when she was 23.

This is from the chapter called "Deuteronomy: The last book of the law":

People like to separate storytelling which is not fact from history which is fact. They do this so that they know what to believe and what not to believe. This is very curious. How is it that no one will believe that the whale swallowed Jonah, when every day Jonah is swallowing the whale? I can see them now, stuffing down the fishiest of fish tales, and why? Because it is history. Knowing what to believe has its advantages. It built an empire and kept people where they belonged, in the bright realm of the wallet . . . .


There is an order and a balance to be found in stories.

History is St George.

And when I look at a history book and think of the imaginative effort it has taken to squeeze this oozing world between two boards and typeset, I am astonished.

Happy V. Day, Everyone

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clif went out and secretly bought me a gift. Here's the gift, and here's Clif looking sneaky.

Saturday night downtown

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pages from a childhood scrapbook

Sunday, February 13, 2011

that I apparently put together sometime around 1979, and that I only have the vaguest recollection of.

Ready as a Lever

Friday, February 11, 2011

[for Todd Colby]

I’m building a sled from popsicle sticks

I’m wearing the jacket of the lamb, sliding

into a town near you to do the dance of glory, the Get-

Ready Man as my witness, for now, more than ever,

we all need a witness. In former times, we all of

us gathered in paddocks to witness the power

and the glory of the jive of the dance of perseverance

and rocking out. These days, it’s just me across town

watching you across town in videos online, rocking out.

I’m setting out to leave out of here on the “departure”

portion of my journey. Get ready, man. Stay tuned

in. I may need you as a witness. Pretty soon—

popsicle sticks everywhere.

Things I Wonder About

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

1. You'll catch more flies with honey. Sure. But who wants to catch flies?

2. Will my homemade therapies work? (A round of made-up 19th century breaths and small movements meant to teach my back its place, meant to encourage healthful vigor and elasticity.)

3. I don't want to be one, but I like the sound of the word. Weakling.

4. My mother's wish to become a diamond.

5. These sentences from the Morrison novel I'm teaching: "Those twelve years in Montour County, where she had been treated gently by a father and a brother, and where she herself was in a position to help farm animals under her care, had taught her a preferable kind of behavior. Preferable to that of the men who called her mermaid and the women who swept up her footprints or put mirrors on her door." Not everyone, apparently, learns "a preferable kind of behavior."

6. Some recent email subject lines: doppelganger; tick.; flying africans; This one?; You Should Come; Valentine Failure Massage.

7. Up here in my tower without curtains, I see all the weather. Even so, it sneaks up on me. The fact and idea of "overcast" taking hold of me like an uncanny event.

8. "A person can find a calm spot in hell/ between all the snow and spitting." Indeed.

9. Last night my dreams were on a whole continuum. On one end was a dream of washing dishes. I could wash dishes with amazing speed. On the other end was a dream of one of my oldest friends ("You Should Come") having died. I had to go down to the railroad station and turn in her coat, but at the last minute I refused. When I woke, I had just been wearing her coat, clutching it to me, and weeping weeping. No, you cannot have her coat! I am keeping the coat! (Ironically, she did once lend me a coat that I have yet to return. Also a bag and a key chain and a small table.)

10. Spring approaches. Or lurks. It feels more like lurking.

Hawk dawg

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I dreamed the moon was the hugest it had ever been, which helped explain our behavior. The real things, though, were the hawk on a near tree when we woke yesterday, and, last night, wind like wind from Close Encounters, shaking our front door five flights up. All these shifts in weather and bird, all this feeling of winter being rent-- by which I mean tearing, torn, but I guess there's that other kind of rent, too. (Did you ever read Howards End? "Rent to the ideal.") This is all a workshop I'm paying for. The rent is slush and chill and knowing we will die, which is also part of the workshop. The cost of the class is the subject of the class, a seminar called "Difficult and Wondrous: The Costs and Rewards of Walking on Through." Syllabus forthcoming.

Groundhog Day Ice Storm Occasional Poems

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Last night and today, I've been working on two poem drafts inspired by the ice storm. Luckily, I don't have to go back to campus until tomorrow, so I haven't been out in it. From my window, I just watched a guy and his small shoe-wearing dog try to skate-shuffle along. It seemed like slow going.

Here's one of the poems. The other is more lyrical and odd and uses words like "nimbus" and "consolation." It's called "Ice Blink." It isn't finished.

Ice Amounts Explainer

From this position of non-permanent privilege
I'm prepared to say: it's all shadow and act, all
crawling in and out of our personal own holes.
The Home for the Literal-Minded is where you'll end
up for clinging too hard. But then, we all end up at Home,
whether the guiding metaphor is lamb or lion, bionic
man or bird. Today I'm thinking: Groundhog. Thinking: Glissade.
Glissade sounds like a word I'd use in a poem about your hands
and the back of your neck and the way we skate around
on our mutual ice, sometimes doing some near-perfect silver
medal thing and sometimes taking the ice
metaphor in a horrible direction. Happy Groundhog Day.
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground