November dispatch #3

Monday, November 19, 2012

One day will I be described as an "unlikely impresario"? 

Will I curate a freak show of loose metaphors of my ever-shifting delight and discontent at the small contemporary art museum of a medium-small town?

From that time forward, will the residents of the town decide to live as their own metaphorical embodiments of discontent and/or delight, as in some contemporary novel along those lines?

I guess we'd have to free the animals from the zoo, and a quasi-orphan boy wearing a pirate's hat and a union suit would be seen riding a zebra down Main Street at dusk and dawn.

An eleven year-old girl would transform the elementary school into the headquarters of her psychic hotline business.

Meanwhile some of the adults of the town would go back to school, but they would do it in the form of unschooling, spending a lot of time reading up on alchemy and learning to oil paint.

Would I eventually be the old woman in a house on the hill, wearing a strand of large cloudy beads that tell your future if you peer into them long enough as I play with them over a candlelit conversation?  

Certainly I'd learn some esoteric gardening practices and cultivate a delighted bird-like scowl when a man in Napoleon britches came to play the violin on the third-floor turret balcony of my house every day from four to five.

It could happen.  

November dispatch #2

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My favorite part of the day may have been when the optometrist projected a very large E onto the wall and said, Don't pay attention to me and my light.  Just pay attention to the E.  Then she shone her light at each of my eyes while bouncing a little, then swaying a little.  I paid attention to the E, but while I did it, I thought about how the large projected E in a dark room and her bouncing and swaying in front of me might make a good moment in a movie.

Later, I was hoping that the man in line in front of me at the co-op was the actor Bob Balaban, but it was not.  So I pretended that the man in front of him was Philip Glass.  I watched an older woman drop a pre-made pizza crust on the floor and then pick it up again.  (I couldn't get to her to offer help from where I was in line, and, anyway, she seemed fine.)  Then I made my purchases-- four tangerines, Chem-Free Fair Trade decaf, pecans from the bulk section, chocolate-covered raisins from the bulk section, and some trail mix called Cranberry Jubilee, also from the bulk section.  Jubilee!  But not.    

I leave to sit at a table at the local library branch and write my dispatch.  Two middle school aged girls walk by my table.  One is drinking  something from a Dunkin' Donuts cup.  The other is saying, "You don't know how to act like a lady."  They both look straight ahead, trying to have dead eyes.  In front of me, a small boy checks out a large stack of picture books.  Then I'm thinking about Gandhi, a movie I saw when I was in elementary school and watched again on Netflix last night.  I think about how we can start out one place and end up in another, and how this might involve reading a large stack of books.  When Gandhi was a small boy, he had a very serious gaze.  This boy in front of me has flames on his sneakers and a green puffy down coat.  He wrinkles his nose a little to push his glasses up, maybe looking at me in his peripheral vision.  (Don't pay attention to me and my light.)  Then he zooms away on his emblazoned feet. 

November dispatch #1

Friday, November 09, 2012

Just wait: soon enough
You will be quiet too.

--Robert Hass, "After Goethe"

Often in a play, a scene will open on a stage lit in such way as to remind you of individual consciousness spreading out into a shared domestic space.  A lamp, a rug, a plant.  The indication of a hearth.  A comforting sight and one with a slight frisson of dread.  


I'm studying the felt-ish skirt and colorful tights of a woman on the subway (one a leafy-loden green, one a subdued poppy), when I'm back in a dim fourth grade classroom watching a film about the Lapps.  All that year I was lost, except that afternoon in the dark room among the Laplanders and reindeer.


My friend left her humanities professorship to become a nurse.  The work is demanding, and she is often exhausted, often sore.  She reports that one man in his 90s wanted to watch a cowboy movie, so she found one for him, but when it flooded in the movie, it flooded in his room, and he called and called that they needed to move everyone to higher ground.  Sitting on the floor next to the bed and finding ways to calm him were a respite from the procedures and charts.  Being a presence for the dying may be her favorite part.  


In the dream, theories of home and of structure are something I can learn.  The seminar is called "What Is a Domicile?"  I will absorb the history of the dwelling place and develop the ability to infuse place with ritual significance.  A structure in which to reside.  An atmosphere both fluid and contained, which grounds and fades the ghosts.  We all live there together.

November dispatches

Friday, November 09, 2012

I had an idea to post some small "dispatch"-- a description of a moment or a short poem-- several times a week in November.  The storm and some deadlines have thrown me slightly off course, but stay tuned.  Meanwhile, we are fine here in our part of Brooklyn.  Our power only went out once for a couple hours.  The biggest inconvenience for us was that the subways near us were down for about a week, but the most troubling part was watching the news and wondering how those in hard hit areas nearby were faring.  And continuing to wonder.

Here's the tree I can see out the window of my office at home.  The broken part has since been removed.

There have been other, happier events these past few weeks.  Obama was re-elected.  (Phew!)  My friend Amanda visited, and we went about doing cultural outings.  Clif and I visited Philadelphia, where we saw my friend Catherine and I met her baby, Gabey.

Me and Amanda.  Here we are on an outing to the High Line.

Another outing: Storm King Art Center

Me and Gabey, my "Poet Baby," at Rittenhouse Square.
There are other signs of good things to come, signs that things are on the right track.  Much encouragement and good cheer surround me, if I choose to see it.  Also, being six months pregnant is pretty bizarre and amazing.  I think there's actually a person growing in there.  So far, I know that he likes dancing and chocolate chip oatmeal muffins, and that he might be born in the Year of the Water Dragon.  Much else remains a mystery.

Here's some more good news:
  • My friend Todd has been posting some amazing poems lately on his blog.
  • As has my friend Annmarie
  • This poetry reading I'm hosting next week, along with J. Hope Stein and Jenny Zhang . . . come if you can.  It will blow your freaking mind.   
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