Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Birthday, Kent!

Today is Kent's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Kent!

We spent last night on the coast, a place called Steep Ravine, in a rustic cabin a stone's throw from the surf.

photo credit: GI

It was raining and fogged in. But there was hardly any wind and the wood stove in the cabin warmed the place up nicely. We ate dinner and read by candlelight.

photo credit: KLM

Today dawned sunny, despite a morning mist the air warming quickly. We took this trail for a walk along the cliffs.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


photo credit: GI

This is a quilt my mother made. It is most extraordinarily ugly. I got it out of the cupboard as K & I need a temporary curtain to shut out the glare and I thought this quilt might be the right thing to tack up. But I started harshing on it so much Kent has been trying to think of ways to defend it. "Don't these shapes look like buttes?" And, "She really figured out how to join odd-shaped pieces!"

Really, there is nothing about it that works. The colors and patterns are at war. Even the materials don't fit together ... when the quilt came out of the wash some materials shrank and some didn't. The quilt never will stretch out flat again. And the backing is an unpleasant pink. I used it many times because Mom made it and because we just didn't have that many quilt options. It's been in the cupboard unused since I moved in with Kent. I think I will throw it away.

merrry xxxmas

or Happy Ancient Pagan Holiday Renamed for the Convenience of the Holy Roman Empire

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

comments on "House Overlook", version 5

It's been almost a month since I last did a version of "House Overlook". That title has always been a placeholder. The poem didn't really have a title. The first version was written in 1995. Not long before I'd written a series of poems that used houses in semi-personified fashion and I would title them "House of ...", as in "House of Rescue" and "House of Escape" and "House of Dimensions" and so on. "House Overlook" was a late edition to the series. It probably works better as a part of a series than as a stand-alone. But I like it well enough by itself.

With this version the poem now has a title, "All the Time Now". I like it as a phrase. As the title? I don't know. I'll let it sit there awhile and see how it settles in.

The changes from version 4 are mainly in the arrangement of lines. Stanzas 2 and 3 swapped places, for instance. I adjusted the perspective of the speaker slightly, emphasizing his being one who looks, a commonality with the house and a difference. The house overlooks. To overlook means to fail to notice and to supervise, to get a good view, to be prominent. The house is stationary, as a house is. The speaker moves about, even to moving to another country. Although in this other country, the houses aren't stationary? The speaker was not busy in the country of the overlooking house? That's implied by the last line. Was his lack of busy-ness somehow caused by the house's overlooking? Is "the house" another way of saying "I"?

House Overlook, version 5

All the Time Now

The house on top of the hill overlooked everything.
It overlooked my house and me and my dog as she squatted and peed,
and it overlooked the street where a few drops of rain fell.

The house overlooked the wind carrying dust.
The wind blew and I turned my head to watch it go.
The house overlooked trees and the birds in trees and the leaves
and the colors of the leaves.

The house overlooked what passed,
and what never came near.
There were mountains that stood on clouds.
The house overlooked them, too.

I moved to another country where the houses rise at first light like farmers
and seem to get a lot of work done.
I pull back the curtains to see the dark go.
I am busy all the time now.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

There's a large gap in the ceiling above the Info Desk. Whenever someone asks me about using the internet without having a library card I point up through this gap and say, "See that line of chairs around the railing? They lead to the 15 minute computers. You don't need a library card to use a 15 minute computer."

I don't know why but I always like pointing up at the hole in the ceiling.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I would support the Death Penalty if it killed State Senator R. Edward Houck of Virginia

From an article about a lesbian couple who decide they must quit Virginia, their home of 17 years, out of fear of the state's new Official Family Destruction law:

"State Sen. R. Edward Houck, a Democrat who has represented the Fredericksburg area for 21 years, says he felt conflicted about the votes he'd cast for the [Official Family Destruction] law and the [Official Family Destruction] constitutional amendment, but felt obliged to represent his 175,000 constituents. Most of them, he believes, support restrictions on ... marriage and [civil] rights. 'I can't always just vote my conscience and my convictions,' he says. Houck also insists that Barbara and Tibby [the lesbian couple he's helping chase from the state], whom he doesn't know, don't have to leave Fredericksburg, that the law refers not to wills and medical directives, but 'the rights and responsibilities of marriage.' But what are those? 'I can't answer that,' he says. 'I don't know all these things.'"

"I don't know these things," he repeated as he pushed the baby's face under the water and held it till it stopped struggling. He shrugged. "What do I look like? A lawyer?"

When Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down

Cheney's surprise visit to Iraq:

"U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out as if they were carrying imaginary guns."

Because, you know, if it hadn't been a surprise and the Iraqi government knew ahead of time, Cheney would fear for his life. That is, he'd fear for his life more than, it seems obvious, he already does.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

stem the rose

OK. We saw Brokeback Mountain. K & I walked down to the theatre and bought tickets then went over to a cafe to eat. I didn't know whether it would sell out as was happening in San Francisco opening weekend. On our way back rain was falling and the air was chill. So it was nice to be able to duck right into the building.

The theatre was showing Brokeback on three screens. If they hadn't been I suppose it would have been crowded. As it was I'd say the fill up in our theatre was above average for a matinee. Anyway. Was it good?

It was good. I liked it. I would see it again. I'm sure I will see it again, on DVD if not in the theatre. Beautiful landscapes. And the leads, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, are easy on the eyes. I was expecting more doom, the typical tragic queer story. Lots of angst and not much touching. Thankfully those expectations were disappointed. It's a secret love. And the sadness comes from its being hidden in the mountains, away from every day life, not allowing the lovers to live full lives. But at least they get to love each other. Gee, it seems so little to ask. And it's way too much, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

day off

Nice day.

Day off.


Nice to have a day off.

Nice day off.

Nice to have.

Have a day.

A day off.

Having the day.

The day off.

Nice to have.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Albany Bulb

photo credit: Jef Poskanzer

We walked around the Albany Bulb this afternoon. The tide was out so we got right down next to the mudflats, stepping from one barnacle-encrusted, seaweed-slippery concrete hunk to another.

There are sculptures and paintings in a few places around the bulb, which is an old construction materials landfill that extends into the SF bay. The sculptures pictured have spinning parts.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


On my morning break I scurry out of the library and get me a cup of coffee (short) and a plain (butter) croissant at Starbucks, eat and sip and scan whatever paper happens to be lying around. This morning the tall young fellow who has been working there a little while now looked right at me and said, "Good morning, Pat! What can we get for you today?"

"Did you call me 'Pat'?" I asked.

Flustered he said, "What's your name? What's your name?"

When I told him, he rolled it on his tongue, puzzled. "You should meet Pat," he said, turning to pour the coffee.

"We probably have a lot in common," I said.

As he handed me the cup he said, "How does it feel to have had a different name for the last six months?"

I shrugged. "This is only the second time I've heard you use a name with me." Usually he emphasizes SIR, as in "Can I get a drink started for you, SIR!"

Was it yesterday I first heard "Pat"? There were people in line and I wasn't really sure what he'd said so I just took my drink and smiled. But when he said it so clearly today ... "What's your name?" I asked.

He said, "Chris."

"Thanks, Chris," I said. (I've seen him holding hands with his Asian boyfriend. I like to see that sort of thing.)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is the new gay cowboy movie significant mostly for being a big budget Hollywood production in which the same sex lovers live happily ever after.

Just kidding.

Of course they are miserable, unable to embrace the happiness they've found together because society forbids it, keep away from each other, and die of broken hearts ... or backs ... unless that's the mountain. On the other hand if you like yearning and frustration I understand this is your film.

No, I haven't seen it. Yes, I would like to because the leads are hot and they do get a little snogging in. That the only gay love story acceptable to the money men of Hollywood still has to be a tragic one ... well ... that's tragic, too. But maybe it's one of those films just crying out for a fan reedit.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Let's say

a new antelope has been uploaded from the front side of the blue century, its glimmering prongs relit with garish tinsel and ice.

Let's say further that this antelope, rather than being one of the placid antelopes of Earthen Springs, that farm from which we have grown accustomed to seeing the to-be-uploaded antelopes led, kind-eyed and stepping with an elegant fragility, is instead but secretly an Antarctic antelope bred in harsh conditions outside an experimental facility.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

My supervisor asked me to take her Info Desk hour today. When last I was here rain was threatening. Rain has come through on its threat. Cool, breezy, but the rain's only been intermittent. Not too bad.

A caller just told me West branch isn't answering their phone. West is supposed to have been open for ten minutes already. I called West, too, and got their "we're closed" message. Wake up, guys!

Patron just said he was planning a road trip and he wanted to stay at some "haunted hotels." I didn't find any books with the words "haunted hotels" in the catalog description so I sent him up to the reference desk on the second floor. Sounds like the sort of information you might find in a magazine article.

Cassandra, one of the workers at North branch, just came in. She traveled to Brazil last year, knowing no Portuguese, spent six months there, and now chatters away at me. I catch a word here & there. I'd sure like to get one of my other-than-English languages up to real communicational fluency. But I'll probably die monolingual. Face down in a puddle on an empty street, late Sunday afternoon, surrounded by sparrows.