Thursday, June 30, 2005

dumb post

a post that's dumb as a post

a post with a nonspeaking role

a silent mailing

a bill one realizes it was a mistake to put on the wall

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

comments on "I miss you" version two

I'm suspicious of ending on "light" ... but I'll let it sit awhile and see what I think later.

I like this version. I wrote it a few days ago. Then we went out of town. Now I'm reading it again, am more distanced from the creation than usual, maybe have more perspective. But I can't think of much to say. The new title is from a translation of a nahuatl poem. I've been reading an anthology of World Poetry and there are lots of poems about death. The nahuatl poem, for instance. (Nahuatl is the language of the Aztec of Mexico.) So I was trying to pick up some pointers.

I'll have to come back to this.

If you missed the first version it's here.

"I miss you", version 2

Not Forever on Earth

for Helen Luster

The perfect shape to drop to the earth
and roll.

Bees in the honeysuckle,
telephone ringing through what you say softly,
the neighbor’s telephone calling somebody other than us.

The bumps of his vertebrae pass under my hand
as he crosses to leap and settle into
the lap you put together for him,
the place in the room he’ll stay.

In the cradle of your hands, fingers nearly
thin as their arms, you rest your glasses
from their focus.

“I don’t know if it’s a poem,” she said.
Or you said. You said.

What happens stays in the shadow it didn’t notice,
what was prevented
as well, as well as, as well as what deliberately
stood up,
meaning to catch light.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

mud baths

We were out of town for a couple days. Drove up to Calistoga for some relaxation. Paid well for it, too.

I wanted a mud bath. I loved mine! Felt pretty close to my fantasy about floating away, supported and semi-conscious. The black mud is warm and supportive. Unfortunately in the next tub over Kent was suffering, his body overheats and it makes him miserable. I'd love to do it again. Kent? I think never.

We had massages afterward.

There's also a big pool filled with water warm from the earth. A sign by the pool said it was 94 degrees. Boy, that was great, lying back on a floaty, closing my eyes and drifting about.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Just had a shower. When I rush through my weekday gotta-hurry-I'll-be-late-for-work showers I can't say I get much pleasure from them. So it sure was nice to stand there and let hot water sluice through my hair, feel it course down my back.

I'm a little surprised my body is feeling good this morning. I went to the gym yesterday right after work and did the weight machine routine. Last night I was feeling sore. Tuesday I did yoga class and, boy, sore and weary was I for days after that.

Exercise for me has been suffering. I've seen gradual improvements in my body's flexibility and strength and stamina. But more noticeable have been the aches and wearies. When others have heard me complain (waah!) there's the inevitable question: Why do it?

The way I see it I have two choices. Both involve suffering. I can suffer to decline, get stiffer, have more headaches, be less & less able to do things physically. That's the don't-exercise choice. Or I can suffer toward improvement, gradually over the counter pain meds have gotten better at tackling my headaches, I have a greater range of motion, more strength, my body looks more normal rather than hunched.

Suffering. Or suffering. Which would you chose?

Thursday, June 23, 2005


We had a scare this week. The mouse for the Mac stopped working. I was sure it was more, that the computer had crashed. We discovered it Sunday. If we were going to take the computer to the shop it wasn't going to be Sunday. After much fruitless fiddling and letting the computer rest I plugged in the optical mouse I'd bought for the PC (Kent was sure we didn't have any replacement mice in the house, nothing from the PC would be compatible!). The Mac rebooted and I ran a diagnostic and -- the mouse from the PC worked! Yay!

Last night we hooked up a new wireless port. We can't get it to bring up the internet.

Computer problems. Ugh.

Update: I'm updating this post from the new laptop and wireless connection. Kent figured it all out. What a smartie.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

family updates

Sis-in-law Sarah has a new column posted at tuppenceworth. It's from the memoir, I think. The memoir would be called Work in Progress? The column is about Sarah's childhood and, be forewarned, it's intense.

Bro David has posted new drawings for the forthcoming revival of Oz Squad.

My sweetiepoo is following the Bush admin's indecision over whether to issue a new I-9.

Monday, June 20, 2005

poets bloggin'

Via Ron Silliman I learn Pamela Lu is bloggin'.

Pam and I were taking poetry workshops at Cal at the same time. Which teachers did we share? Lyn Hejinian? Yeah. Think so. John Ash? Definitely.

When I went to Pam's reading as part of the UCB English Dept series last year she told me, "I read your blog!"

Like this one Pam's blog doesn't have comments enabled. Aren't we antisocial? I recently added an email link, but nobody's used it. (Should I say that? It makes me sound so unpopular!)

Commenting on the movie, Saving Face, Pam says, "[D]o I really 'need' to see appealing pop-media reflections of my identity to feel good about myself as a person? Not really, but it's sure helpful. I think I'd underestimated just how helpful and validating it could be. Half a week after seeing Alice Wu's movie, I'm still beaming and feeling good, better than usual. The experience has been totally surreal for me, in the best way possible."

I'm there.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

and then one day

After we got home from BB Kent lay down for a nap and I went for a wander. There's a 1-bedroom condo (1 unit in a 3 unit house) for sale up the street; there was an open house so I went in. They're asking $439,000 for it. It's small. I don't even know what to think about these prices anymore. Is this in real money?

I walked up to Euclid, the block nearest campus and stepped into a bookstore. They have two signs up, one says "Analog Books", one says "Signal Books". When, after a couple minutes, the girl behind the counter asked, "Can I help you find something specific or are you just in for a good browse?" I said, "Uh. B?" Then, "What's the name of the bookstore? Analog or Signal?" The man who'd owned the place as "Signal" (and not for long) sold the store when he got a job in "New York publishing." But he wanted to keep the rights to "Signal Books". You gotta have your rights.

I bought three issues of And Then One Day, the self-published comics diaries of Ryan Claytor. I rather like the genre of comics diary. They remind me more of poetry than prose. You can't really say much so there's more focus on the few things that are said. (And depicted, in this case.)

I read the comics while sipping a steamed milk (with vanilla syrup) and a choc chip cookie at the cafe across the street from the bookstore.

what's for dinner?

OK. Saw Batman Begins, the reboot of the Batman movie series. You know, I've never liked Batman. Not the grim dark knight Batman, anyway. I just can't take seriously a goon in a cape and pointy eared cowl. I can't. Two poet-bloggers posted positive notices about the movie. I hadn't been thinking I cared, but then it turned out poets like it! So I had to go.

Poets don't know shit.

It's not a bad movie. It's perfectly competent. Or adequately competent, I should say. But it sure didn't win me over to Batman love. The filmmakers pushed hard on the Bat-as-icon-of-fear gig but it was still a goon in a cape and pointy eared cowl. At least his girlfriend could kick ass. That I liked.

Now, what to fix for dinner?

Saturday, June 18, 2005


I updated the LoveSettlement poetry site.

One of the ezines that had posted some of my poems seems to have evaporated. Goodbye Wired Art for Wired Hearts. I liked your comics-esque design.

I added Tryst to the list of links.

One of the other ezines changed its archive linkage making the link I had useless so I had to fix that.

Exciting, huh?

Same featured poem on the main page, same pic of kittens on the Who Knows page.

Friday, June 17, 2005

collecting comics

Used to be if you started buying comic series The Ultra Supers on issue #10 and you wanted to read issue numbers 1 thru 9 you had to buy the original issues from a comic book store. In the last ten years the graphic novel has taken off. Old issues are reprinted several at a time in trade paperbacks. I think this is great.

On my walk home today I ran into Rory, the owner of Comic Relief, and we talked about all those comics I was buying back in the 70s and 80s. Yes, he said, it used to be the collectors and readers market was pretty much the same because everyone was competing for a finite batch of books. These days only the first edition collector crowd (a small crowd) is out for the original issues. People who just want to read the stories may not even have to buy them -- sometimes the library will own the paperback reprints -- not the sort of thing that happened in the 70s! Probably the only real way to get value out of the old comics (other than rereading them), Rory says, is by donating them and writing off the donation on taxes.

Rory says there is probably a handful of my comics he'd be able to resell. Probably the very ones I'm least willing to part with.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

I've been suffering a headache since I woke up this morning. Have been taking acetaminophen (tylenol) and ibuprofen (motrin) one pill at a time as needed and only in the last half hour has the pain lifted -- now feeling a bit lightheaded.

A cute young guy just asked about employment at the library and I surfed over to the employment section of the BPL website, showed him the job descriptions and the number to call at the city. Got a little gay vibe off him, which is a plus. Good time to be asking about jobs, actually. Now that we have some good news, budgetwise. I think they'll be hiring aides again soon, at least a couple. During the big scare nobody's been hired to fill the slots of the people who've left.

Across the street a vat of tar has been bubbling away for weeks. I hope they finish their roof work soon cuz damn that stink is nasty. Once in awhile, I'm told, it gets sucked into the library's ventilation system. Fortunately the offices are on a separate air system than the public areas so I haven't smelled the stuff while at my desk. (No, at my desk I get to smell the pizza or popcorn cooking in the breakroom upstairs.) When I go out on break I sort of hold my breath for a block.

Ah, I see now it's raining. What a fine June we're having.

Yes, we do have Sisterhood Is Powerful, a 1970 anthology of feminist writing. I walked a young woman to where it sits on the shelf. Beside it, Sisterhood Is Forever, the 2003 sequel.

The phone hasn't been ringing much. I do prefer helping people face to face, but then people who've come to the desk so far today have been easy & pleasant. And few.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

comments on "I miss you" version one

I cringe when I get to the end of the poem. And I don't like the juggling conceit -- memories like bean bags? No. No. And no.

Not that I don't forgive myself for trying out the idea. Sure. Try it, see if it works. Gotta get the poem going.

I don't think this one does Helen Luster justice. But poets are always writing memorial poems, especially to other poets. And here I was -- a poet! Shouldn't I be writing the memorial poem?

I post it here because I do like aspects of it. It does bring Helen back in gestures -- the cat that was only happy in her lap, the way she would cradle her glasses in her hands. And it's a challenge. Can I make of it something? something that ... I don't know ...

I miss you

for Helen Luster

As I juggle these bean bags
each is a poem, a verse I’ve heard you speak
each a firm, even-weighted recollection,
preserved in the perfect shape to juggle.

This is your porch, the honey suckle vines, the bees,
telephone ringing from next door punctuates every word you utter
incessant exclamation points,

this is your bony cat, his vertebrae poke like knuckles from his back,
he will only curl in your lap,
only settle on the quilt that wraps your legs

this is your glasses, crooked on your face
the connecting joint bent or missing
I don’t know which.
you slip them off your nose, cradle them in hands nearly as thin
as you discuss the poem you just read,
“I don’t know if it’s a poem,” you say.

this is Paul’s sun splattered veranda,
the trees that lurch and sway
leaves rustle in discussion of their own
as the potluck crowd mingles, balancing paper plates as they
manufacture conversation, or slip into old debates like worn sweatshirts
you hardly leave your chair, a shadow drapes across your face
from the wide brimmed hat.
Ambi Sextrous performs,
your quiet eyes observing as he sings

Every memory whirls through the air before me
as I think of you.
The bean bags tumble,
rolling unevenly on the floor.
I crouch to my kees and pick each up.
But I don’t resume the juggling.
I hold the pieces I have left
like eggs. I know inside
an embryo, a stirring grows.

-- 3/5/85, 3/7/85

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Many dishes to do. Will put on some music loud and slop some water.

I turned the compost pile earlier. I like compost. I prefer it to gardening. It's less work for one thing. And you like to see the bugs crawling all over it, that's what they're supposed to do. Weeds and bugs don't bother you if you're composting.

Friday, June 10, 2005

update on the library

The Berkeley Daily Planet has an article about the apparent resolution of the antagonism between the library employees/union and the administration/Director Jackie Griffin. I'm glad to hear there's less tension, there are no lay-offs, we get our little raises, and taxes go up. Gotta love taxes.

Can't we pay for library services with some of that Iraqi oil?

Director Griffin talks about RFID (radio frequency identification) making it possible for the library to be open more hours. She imagines almost all patrons being able to check out their books/DVDs/CDs themselves, freeing bodies from the circulation desk for more service-type work. I hope she's right. I don't work with the public (except the rare times I'm on Info Desk or subbing at Circ Desk when they have a meeting), but adding RFID tag attachment to the regular process in Tech Servs will change what I do, especially if I am the one who has to affix the things. We'll see.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

gym or not gym

Every day I wonder if I'll get to the gym after work. Some days I start out feeling good, but by the end of the work day my energy is gone and I'm tired and achy. In these cases I do not go to the gym. I've learned that if I work out when feeling poorly I will feel twice as tired the next day and even more sore & tired the day after. Best I go when I'm feeling spry. Other people tell me exercise energizes them. It doesn't work that way for me, sadly.

Today was one of those I-feel-good-don't-I-don't-I-no-I-better-not days. Too bad. So I came home and schlepped two more boxes of David's long-sloughed snakeskin to the shipping store. The North Berkeley farmers' market was still going so I picked up some carrots, peaches, cauliflower, squashes, a spicy tofu salad, and a bag of rolls.

I'm listening to some tracks from Offbeat, a Red Hot AIDS fundraiser CD. It's a comp of ambient and some spoken word.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

what's in front of me

the "ghost post" of may 31 was written by K

sutra is on my lap, he would very much like his chin scratched now

oops, he left

dog breathing loudly behind me, but she seems to be able to subside into a quieter rhythm

the mother's house chore seems to be presenting the possibility of ending, even the likelihood

I like that word "likelihood" ...

there are several pens under the monitor, it would be good if they all worked; there are papers, too. a postcard from Michael in Amsterdam, scratch paper with notes on buying a digital camera (didn't we do that already?), a five dollar bill with a stranger's mash note written on it, a note about some unnamed event on April 4 (the dust suggests it wasn't this past April 4)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Poetry & Pizza

Tonight is Poetry & Pizza in SF. Paul Geffner, the owner of Escape from New York Pizza, will be reading. I wonder how many poems he's written. In toto.

Just curious.

I've been reviewing my 20-year-old notebooks for DIR and I see I was filling a blank book a month! My pace has slowed considerably. I've gone through periods since where I challenge myself to write a poem a day. Though I've learned useful things from the experience but I don't think I'll do it again. The battery runs down. And when I allow space for recharging, the writing comes out way better.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Flash diagnosis

How's Flash? No organ problems, said vet. The panting and wheezing? Some sort of paralysis/constriction of the larynx. It seems to partially block the entrance to her lungs. Only when she gets excited? Or is it always there but when she's trying to pull in more than a resting breath she has trouble? Vet gave Kent antiobiotics (she has an elevated temp) and steroids and said to call back in a few days to let him know if there's been a change. At her size 12 years is the typical age for a dog. She's 13. Other than the panting she doesn't seem geriatric.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Kent took Flash to the vet today. She's gotta go back tomorrow for some tests. She's been wheezing, panting, and occasionally choking. But not all the time. Panting & wheezing when she gets excited. And it's not choking like she's gonna die or anything. Just like ... I don't know. Like she's trying to cough up postnasal drip. She seems fine right now, for instance. But I'm glad Kent's taking her to the vet.