Sunday, November 28, 2004

It's the end

It's Sunday night, end of four days not working. Five days, actually. I had a migraine on Wednesday so that got me started with the sleeping. The headache lingered through Thursday though mostly as background noise. Some nausea, too. No fun! I still dream that I'm working my way to the far side of the migraine story; yoga shall free me! If I saw a causal relationship, food item to migraine, the sort that I associate with a yoga routine, I would carefully avoid that food. Maybe I would continue to eat said food if I thought the migraines it caused were the result of detox, stored poisons being released thus causing mayhem up to now corraled. That's sort of how I see yoga -- I'm stretching muscles in order to get them to release tension. When a muscle gets stretched, however, it often seems to react by tightening up again -- even tighter! After the migraines pass I do note improvements in posture and it does seem easier to release a day's tension. I've come so far! And the rest of my life to go.

Monday. Ugh. I don't hate Mondays any more than Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

comments on "Man-in-the-moon" version 2

I have the feeling I've written this poem before, the celestial visitor at tea. Only then the man was an angel. That poem got me praise from my writing teacher at jr college; he said he thought it could be the one that would get me notice -- maybe even into Poetry. I did send it to Poetry and it didn't get me in or itself. I haven't read it in years.

Like the first "Man" this version is toying with rhyme. I'd sort of like to formalize it but I'd sort of like the poem to say something, too.

"The Man-in-the-Moon" version two

Late One Moonless Night

The man, loose of the moon, his gray cheeks shining
like a cool lampshade, neither eye brighter
than a dry pearl, his forehead one long ramp to heaven,
dabbed with a blue napkin at the corners of his mouth.

“My dear boy,” he crooned, the words were stones
soft in a winter creek, and the time he took to blink
was a phase he was going through, night by night.
“I owe you, I think. A cup, I think.”

And, yes, the cup before him, white as dawn,
one star caught on its gold rim, let up no more curls
of steam from tea just tipped in, the man having
slid it all past ridged lips. Empty as a shadow,

every earth-dark drop had fallen out of it.
The man patted the napkin between his long hands
then lay it softly over the unstirred spoon.
A cloud tore free of the mountain and wiped the mist

from the Milky Way. The boy breathed
and saw his breath. He touched his cup to his mouth
and was burned. So he put the cup down.
And tipped the pot to refill the other’s.

“I couldn’t,” the man demurred. “I couldn’t take
the time from you you’d surely elsewise spend,
as all men should, deep in bed, stepping from dream
to dream over the valley brook. If I were to steal

this end of an hour from your proper nightly stroll,
I’d feel I’d snatched from a beggar a buttered roll.”
So saying the man ran a finger over the teacup grip,
then ran it under and a smooth sweep took the cup

to his parted lips and again its bottom rose,
one white eye, the blue signet of its maker in the center,
gazed upon the boy who shivered, who blew his white
breath on the dark surface too hot to sip.

The UN knew better

In the new issue of The Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies (download pdf at the CLAS site) the former Mexican Ambassador to the UN Security Council, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser calls Bush a liar (or, at least, says he "lied ... lied ... and lied," which is the same thing, right?). It's so refreshing to hear a spade called a spade ... rather than something that looks like it might possibly be used to penetrate the earth, among other performable activities, including some having nothing to do with the earth.

Says AAS, "Instead of listening to other views and exploring other options, the U.S. scorned advice about the evident risks of going to war, walked away from collective agreements, revoked multilateral diplomacy and ridiculed the institutional capabilities of the UN. ... Right from the outset and straight through the frenetic and more intrusive inspections which started in October 2002 -- after resolution 1441 was unanimously passed -- Hans Blix, the Chief Inspector, and Mohmed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said again and again that they had found no weapons and detected no programs to produce them. ... According to the imperial logic of U.S. diplomats, the absence of weapons was first and foremost unequivocal evidence that Saddam had them very well hidden. ... The Bush administration was at no time willing to contemplate the possibility that UN measures had led to the destruction of the weapons, and the UN trade and oil embargo had strangled the nuclear program. ... Resistant to reason and evidence and determined not to acknowledge any proof or opinion contrary to their instructions, U.S. diplomats refused to explore ways to peacefully complete what was clearly a good job of disarmament by the UN. ... In the last analysis, Bush went to the UN just as a stopover before moving on to his disastrous war in Iraq, his true and final destination. ... Bush and his administration lied to the world about the weapons of mass destruction, lied when they affirmed that the weapons existed beyond any doubt and lied when they declared that their only intention was to disarm Iraq and they would be satisfied to achieve only that."

Happy Thanksgiving

Kent and I were driving up to Davis to have Thanksgiving dinner with friends Margo & Paul and their kids and in-laws ... took us over an hour to drive 30 miles, with 40 still to go ... Kent was beginning to dread the drive home. A junction was coming up that would allow us to turn and scoot home. We did. As soon as we got in the door Kent called Margo and apologized. Now he's working on cooking a turkey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

comments on "The Man-in-the-Moon"

The poem was written in 1984, July. This was the year after I graduated high school. There's nothing interesting about the poem, except that it so happens I'm reading Andrew Chaikin's nonfiction account of the Apollo missions, A Man on the Moon. I put that book down a few minutes ago, having decided it was time I posted a new poem-to-revise on the blog. I walked over to the paper bag of journals I'd brought back from my mother's house several months ago. I fished out the one with the smiling hippo motif. I flipped open the book and there was "The Man-in-the-Moon". The first lines have a midly amusing voice and the piece starts out rhyming, which tends to make even serious verse snort-worthy. Then nothing. Despite the bravado of "I know the end of this story" I'm sure I hadn't a clue. I figure I said it because the piece was being written as though recounting an anecdote, you know, talking about something that had happened. Something fun, something droll.

I have no idea what to do to revise this as the only thing about it I find even vaguely appealing is the voice. But I have no confidence in that sort of voice now (if I ever did). Vacationing in the Bahamas? Yawn. I'm posting the poem as a challenge. And to honor the coincidence, the echo in my own life of the Apollo missions, which are amazing.

The Man-in-the-Moon

I had tea with the man-in-the-moon,
at least that’s whom he claimed to be,
and, although I really do not like tea
we got along splendidly,
or rather we got along well
until I started asking details about his home and his job and his family,
and reminded him about Apollo and Neal Armstrong and “one small step” and all that
and I asked him, “By the way
did you happen to run into any of those astronaut fellows
on your way to my house?”
So, of course, this put the entire conversation on edge
(if I’d known this would’ve happened I don’t suppose I would’ve advanced the subject,
especially as I know the end of this story).

The man-in-the-moon dabbed uselessly at the corner of his mouth with his linen napkin
in exactly the way I’ve seen many a nervous gentleman do in the past,
and, at length, he made this reply,
“My dear chap,” said he (and I didn’t think to ask him why he thought me such),
“You strike me as a very intelligent young man
of some manner and some wit
and I do owe you a debt of gratitude for a pleasant hour and a fragrant tea,
so I will tell you three things.
I am not telling you out of any malice on my part”
(here I record accurately, but now I have reason to suspect insincerity)
“but solely for your information.”

“One: At the time of the space missions I was vacationing in the Bahamas.
I watched the whole thing on the telly.
It was very entertaining.”

“Two: I have no other family than the moon and the stars
and the rabbit-in-the-moon
whom I generally avoid.
As to my occupation, why,
I do nothing more than I have to.”

“And three: I’ll be keeping an eye on you.”
He brightened. I didn’t.
“Thanks for the tea, old man,” he said
and with that he rose up into the sky and disappeared.

I must tell you I was more than
a little surprised by this behavior,
it being so uncharacteristic of a polite gentleman to leave with quite such abruptness.

Well, to this day I have felt somewhat nervous under the gaze of the full moon,
and every since my teaset vanished
(I must tell you the man-in-the-moon complimented me highly and frequently on that very teaset)
I lock up my valuables on those certain days of the month
when the old boy’s particularly bright.

Friday, November 12, 2004

unreasonably satisfying

I find the election results horrifying. Like a car wreck. That you wake up in and you feel around in the dark for your body parts. And it turns out they're all there. Some of them are wet. Hard to know what that is. Blood? Gasoline? One spark and you could be suddenly aflame. And I understand that hurts. If you survive it. But you've survived the car wreck, haven't you? So you look around for a way to extricate yourself from the twisted metal. Pulling yourself out alive becomes its own interesting problem. You think, I'm trapped but I can still move and feel around for an opening. Are you still cursing the driver? Full of dread for the impending crash? You're out on the highway, aren't you? Dark. Any car, truck, hurtling along at the usual 30 above the speed limit will cream your little wreck. Won't see you at all. Crash! That'll be it. Do you panic? What will that do for me! Panicking! You take a deep breath; it tries to find room in you to hold on, but it wooshes out again.

When I hear about people killed in Iraq now I say, That's what the American people wanted.

When it's an American soldier I say, Well! The American people voted for you to die! It's democracy in action! I gotta get with it.

America voted for lies and failure! Yay! Can't be surprised about it when we get what we want.

But we Americans love lies! (Different from the rest of the world?) Love to lie down in down comforters of lies. Don't give me that truth! Too prickery and it annoys me. I have what I been told and that's it. I have a right! A right! Right not to learn. What about the 3 Rs? WAR? Writing ... Arithmetic ... Reading ... Don't tell me bout that in school. Just tell me about the pretty bombs. The pretty surgery of boom. Whee! If God wanted me to listen he would've given me ears, instead of these lie reception devices. What about eyes? Did you get eyes? I haven't seen eyes for days.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Today is Mom's Birthday

On the Hawaii vacation I had a dream with Mom in it.

She was piloting a 747, flying the family to Brazil. She was maneuvering the plane through a steep valley (like the ones we flew over in a helicopter on the Big Island), the rest of us getting nervous about a big plane in such a narrow valley. Our nervousness was making Mom nervous so we tried to reassure her that, yes, we really did believe in her flying ability but if she saw a place to land we could use a rest. Just then we emerged from the narrow valley to one with a much broader floor. We spotted a divided highway and Mom agreed to land the plane on the highway, which she did quite smoothly. Being as a highway is not the place you're supposed to land a plane we shortly saw the flashing lights of emergency vehicles approaching.

Except for Mom getting a little flustered by criticism the dream had a good feeling. I'm really quite tickled by the idea of Mom flying a big passenger jet.