Friday, February 27, 2004

going through emotions

We went. On Presidents’ Day Monday. Didn’t rush over there. Ate lunch, then strolled over to Long’s and loaded up on valentines chocolates. At 50% off it was easy to fill a shopping bag. Remember, buy the holiday chocolate, even the day after the holiday it’s fresh. Fresher than the regular stuff that can be sold any old time. Nice that it had hearts on it, too.

Then we took BART to San Francisco. Rain was coming in mists and sprinkles. As we crossed Civic Center Plaza Kent and I could see umbrellas gathered around the City Hall steps. Kent had thought to bring a red gift bag so we filled it with chocolates from the shopping bag and I went to what looked like a short line of people waiting to marry (dressed nice, occasional bouquet) and walked along offering up chocolates. Two takers out of 20. Disappointed at the indifference to my generosity I joined Kent at the foot of the hall steps. There I found a more satisfying role: cheerer.

Those of us gathered outside the hall applauded and screamed whenever a newly wed couple emerged from the double doors. Usually they’d hold up their fresh marriage license, grin broad. Most of them came down the steps and passed me on the way to the curb. So I offered up chocolates. Probably half of them didn’t hear or see me or smiled and declined. But there were many who lit up. And when there were kids it was easy.

Kent was amused when the one nearest me would respond but in the noise and activity the other spouse didn’t catch on until he or she was tugged back. Just a Hershey’s kiss or two … “Made me feel bad we were breaking up the happy couple,” Kent said.

There were photographers snapping the historic newlyweds. One was taking photos right beside us so we ended up in the background in a couple photos, particularly this one (see the upper left, I’m the one in profile).

We stood there 2 1/2 hours. Until the last wedded couple was introduced by Mabel Teng, the city assessor.

That night Kent’s friend, Dave, called. “I just saw you on the news,” he said to me. “There you were and there was Kent behind you. Did you get married?” It was channel 2, ten o’clock news. A day or two later an acquaintance stopped me on the street to tell me he also had seen me on the news. Seems the news folks panned the crowd as the last newlyweds were announced. No, we haven’t seen ourselves in the reality of television.

Glad we went. It really felt good to see such happiness. And that’s what’s been buoying me, even when I get down about Bush’s backing the anti-marriage constitutional amendment and John Kerry doing the same (sort of) for the Massachusetts constitution. The happiness. I keep looking at the picture gallery at sfgate. Kisses. Babies. Joy. Can’t see the bad when there’s so much beauty.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

I can't keep up

I can't keep up with the sudden rush of gay marriage news. So you'll have to go to google news and 365gay and so forth. Not like anybody expected me to make my blog gay marriage news central, right?

I'm thinking about getting over to SF City Hall to watch the proceedings.

Sutra (the big fluffy one) is curled up on my lap. A mix CD is playing. I put it on to accompany the dishes. Right now some Japanese girls are chanting, "Heeyah heeyah heeyah ... Huh! Huh! Huh! Huh!"

Monday, February 09, 2004

governor makes mother cry

From an AP story about Massachusetts Gov. Romney's meeting with gay couples hoping to marry:

Some of the couples at the heart of the state’s landmark gay marriage case forced a meeting with Gov. Mitt Romney Friday [2/6], but in an emotionally charged discussion with the Republican governor, they failed to change his mind.

Romney, who backs a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a heterosexual institution, met privately for 20 minutes with six of the 14 plaintiffs [in the suit that led the state supreme court to say marriage must be opened to same sex couples], who later described the conversation for reporters.

One plaintiff, Julie Goodridge, cried as she recounted asking Romney what she was supposed to tell her 8-year-old daughter, who has been looking forward to a wedding between Goodridge and her partner, Hillary Goodridge. The governor responded that she should just keep telling her daughter the same thing she’s been telling her for the past eight years.

Mom to daughter: Remember I told you how the Governor wants to destroy our family, dear daughter? It's still true.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

skunked 2



The good news is: it was only one cat, the one with short hair, and he doesn't seem to be suffering

Of course, he's able to walk all over the furniture. With his stinky little feet.

So I didn't sleep much last night, right? And I got a headache and am all nauseous.

Better that it's Saturday, says Kent. And a sunny day.

Friday, February 06, 2004

HCR and P&P

I'm starting to gather poems for the next issue of Hogtown Creek Review. Some interesting pieces in the unsolicited work and poets I've asked have started to come through.

Poetry and Pizza, the reading series I help run in San Francisco, is endangered. Its home, the Escape from New York Pizza downtown, is up for sale. A pizza place like this depends for its life on the highrises around it being filled with officeworkers and that just isn't the case now. We're talking lunch joint, not dining experience. Whether there's a buyer for it is another thing. If this Escape from New York shuts its doors the poetry series may be able to move to another of the Escapes in the city. We'll see. The poetry calendar is filled through May. In the good news dept there's an article about tonight's reading in the Chronicle.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Flash got skunked. Dog! This is the second time.

Two nights ago.

But, yeah man, doesn't that smell linger. That smell.

How long did it hang around before? What was it? Three, four years ago? I don't remember the stink's endurance. It must've been days. But I think it wasn't winter. So we had the windows open constantly.

She's been bathed. I think she'll have to be bathed again. She's sitting in front of the heater, which is blowing warm air on her, spreading the stink around.

If you've only smelled skunk passing some roadkill at 35 mph you have no real idea of what skunk smells like. Full dose is not sweet. It's heavy. Like some dense thing has come in and sat on your head.

I guess it was worse the first time. The air didn't feel too thick to breathe this time. No, this time like waves of various thicknesses.

And you do get used to it. Or your smeller gets overwhelmed. Then when you come back to the house after being away. Then you know it hasn't really hasn't really gone away not really. Diminished. Less. Um. Less assaultive?

Hanging on. Following you around. Staying. Not going. But not bludgeoning. Not vile.

Didn't she learn the first time?

I mean.

We did.

We sleep with scented rags next to our heads. Kent likes patchouli or carnation. I prefer lavender.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

9th circuit

The How Appealing Blog has a Q&A with Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Some excerpts:

Unfortunately, the policy of "judicial restraint" ... has paradoxically resulted in an increasingly active judiciary, willing to strike down a litany of congressional laws and executive regulations that previously would have been considered unexceptional. The casualty of this movement has been the concern for social justice and individual rights that once served as the guiding principle of the judicial branch.

In certain types of cases we [in the 9th circuit] will try to divine what the [Supreme C]ourt will do in order to reach what we believe will be the appropriate decision. It is not, however, our job to anticipate when the current justices of the Supreme Court will cut back on individual rights and to rush to do the dirty deed for them. Many times when my court has been reversed, it is because we have properly applied existing law, but in reviewing our decision the Supreme Court has adopted a new and different interpretation than it had previously given a statute or constitutional provision -- a new reading that is far more restrictive of individual or group rights.

It is naive, if not disingenuous, to assume that liberal [judge]s are simply imposing a "personal preference," while those conservative judges who continually reach ... restrictive result[s] ... are simply "following the law." Different legal philosophies produce divergent legal consequences. We can debate which constitutional philosophy is the more appropriate one, but it is intellectually dishonest, and ultimately a disservice to the law, to accuse those who subscribe to a competing philosophy of being lawless or engaging in misconduct.

The few liberals, or perceived liberals, [President Clinton] was persuaded to nominate frequently saw their candidacies linger or die in the Judiciary Committee because the President refused to fight for their confirmations.

[In regard to President Bush's nominees:] So long as appointments are made on ideological grounds, and there is no room for the appointment of persons with different points of view, opposition based on ideology is perfectly appropriate, as is the use of all proper procedural means to make that opposition effective. Much of the purported outrage over the use of the filibuster to block nominees appears to me to be both hypocritical and cynical. It can best be explained as part of a purely partisan attempt to manipulate public opinion. The use of a filibuster is indisputably more democratic than the use of the one-Senator "holds" that were so often used, frequently in secret, to defeat nominees during the Clinton Administration. The Republican controlled Senate blocked 63 Clinton nominees between 1995 and 2000. Since 2001, the time at which the "filibuster crisis" allegedly began, the Senate has failed to confirm just 6 of the President's 168 nominees.

[Speaking about the death penalty:] In almost every case of which I am aware in which an individual has been executed, he had been a victim of serious and persistent sexual abuse as a child, usually at the hands of a close relative, and in addition possessed a severely limited mental capacity. An example is Rickey Ray Rector, who was missing half his brain at the time of his trial. Rector put aside his dinner on the evening of his execution so that he could enjoy it later. Earlier that afternoon he watched television and saw Governor William Jefferson Clinton, who had rushed back to Arkansas on the eve of the New Hampshire primary to be present in the state capital to avoid any hitches in the execution (and, some believe, to get his picture in the next day's national press as a tough on crime, law and order kind of a guy). On seeing Clinton's familiar face, Rector commented enthusiastically, "I like that man. I voted for him."

poem to reread

Worth rereading?

Monday, February 02, 2004


We pile. In this house we pile. Have a piece of paper? Add it to a pile. One of the three on the desk by the window? The foetal* pile under the monitor on this desk? One of the piles gradually encroaching on the dinner table's eating space? ... I have not begun to catalog the piles. Papers? Books? Don't look in the closets. What clothes make it into them tend to hang. But boxes and sundry heap toward the shirttails.

*yeh, the o amused me.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


Yesterday I raised suspicions of about a person claiming to be an American soldier serving in Iraq. He calls himself Arkhangel and he has his own blog.

I find "Arkhangel" a little creepy, as a name. And I think one ought to be suspicious of anonymous opiners. I was wary of atrios for that reason until, having visited atrios' Eschaton regularly for months and found a lot of value there, that suspicion has dissipated. Reading Arkhangel's blog is not particularly creepy. "We've pounded Iraq for the last twelve years," he says. "We've supported a beastly regime for the last thirty years. This is our chance to set things right."

Now, if Bush had said and meant that, I might have some respect for him. If US govt actually looked at the world through a prism of human rights and social justice when formulating foreign policy ... well ... things would be different is all. That Bush & co cobble together justifications for their actions from scraps of human dignity and gleaming lies ... well ...

Akhangel goes on to say "I am under no illusions that our current leadership will do the right thing."

He holds out hope that the occupation can be improved and Iraq become "a free country." May it be so.

As to anonymity, Arkhangel says, "[T]here's a long tradition of being apolitical in the Armed Forces, and my opinions (which I post here) are political. So I choose not to mix the two. Believe me, it's better that way. You don't want a political military." Only a fool would think we don't have a political military. Still, fool is fool is fool. Just look South to see highly politicized militaries.

Superbowl Sunday

The TV's on. It's Superbowl Sunday. Kent hears:

Greg Gumbel: "The New England Patriots. They epitomize the word 'team'."

Phil Simms: "That's right. And one guy comes to mind."