Wednesday, February 16, 2011
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.
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.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
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.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
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.