Saturday, July 29, 2006

15 page poem

I just finished typing a poem that took me three months to write back in spring of 03. Its genesis seemed to be war and marriage -- the invasion of Iraq and the opening of San Francisco City Hall to same-sex marriages, to be specific. I wrote the poem in a bound journal and this is the first time I've typed it.

The SF marriages, sadly, were nullified by the California Supreme Court and the assault on gay families continues. Last week the Washington Supreme Court decided marriage was a fundamental right, oops, except when it isn't. The judges in the majority seemed particularly taken with the idea that another oops, that of accidental pregnancy is best handled within the context of a married het couple. Which is fine as a proposition put out for argument but how the preventing of one person's marriage assists the children of another's escapes me completely. My first argument in favor of marriage has long been: it's for the sake of the children. A child deserves to have a legal connection to both her parents. A child being raised by a same sex couple is denied that. Her friend with mixed-sex parents has, it seems to me, extra special rights.

But of course, visiting vengeance upon children is a favorite old tactic of traditionalists.

And the Iraq debacle drags on, too. No good news there. At this rate my little 15 pager will be topical for decades.

Some lines:

Some families must be destroyed
in order to more safely ignore others.
This is especially helpful to the children.


The general scratches his sweaty balls
and sniffs his fingers. “Love,” he grumbles.
“Fucking love, goddamn joy, sickening grace and peace …
If we whack it hard enough it will explode
like a bomb. Which it was all the time. Peace!
… deserves all the blame for the explosion.”


A breath wanders the surface,
belonging to no one.
Lost? Not lost.
A fish mouth nibbles its dragging toes.


And what is this rising from the bush,
wide-eyed, a shock of white in its hair?
The bride.
For if a lady cannot marry a proper lady for love
she must marry a prickery shrub.
She’s picking burrs and leaf litter from her tongue
with fingers gone fumbly with bandages.

A lightning bolt jerks by overhead
in search of a sweepstakes winner.
It will settle for an honest man.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

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Monday, July 17, 2006

nice day in Berkeley

I didn't go anywhere today. I went to the store for a few things. Brought home deli items and zapped one of the chicken thighs Kent cooked up a couple days ago. That was lunch. Did a few chore-ish things. Trying to clean out old junk from the back yard so removed from the tool shed a plastic bucket filled with some long dried putty or paint or something. The first big item in this week's trash bin.

Did some reading. Started a long prose piece that I've been thinking about for the last month or so. I was typing while the sun beat down on me from the window, my face hid beneath the brim of a baseball cap.

I lugged an old computer monitor upstairs. It's not been in use and we could use the desk space. One of the items piled on it was my senior year high school yearbook. The other day the name of one of my classmates came to me and I googled him. Seems he's now running the Sonoma County Fair. With the book open in my lap the prospect of doing the whatever-happened-to with more of those old high schoolers seemed doable in a way that it just hadn't before. It's not like high school has much meaning to me. These were faces I was trapped with rather than chose to see. I don't feel nostalgia. But even if you've never gotten hooked on the 7up series you can probably agree there is something story-like about people's lives. And I was there to see some story (& I was at least peripherally involved) so, you know, curiosity sets in. What happened next?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

stolen cherries

When Kent came home today he went back to the cherry trees to pick the last few. Nothing remained. In order for anyone to have stolen the last cherries they would have had to use a ladder.

St Augustine felt most guilty about stealing pears from a neighbor’s trees. He obsesses over it in his Confessions. I’m not sure he did any of us any favors by converting to Catholicism to assuage his guilt over pears. Bad enough he stole the damn things.

And it doesn’t sound like much. A few cherries. You could buy more with five bucks at the supermarket a block away than our two trees together produce in one season. The supermarket cherries don’t taste as good. And we didn’t wait all year for them, watching the blossoms, then the small hard fruits swell and change color.

Money doesn’t grow on trees. As if what grew on trees were free.

Monday, July 10, 2006


We have two cherry trees in the back yard. Last year and, I think, the year before there were no cherries, or maybe a handful. When an ant colony sets up an aphid farm on one or both trees we seem to have no harvest. This year I decided I was going to attack any aphid husbandry I saw. But for whatever reason there wasn’t any. Last summer I cleared out the berry vines that swarmed around the trees; maybe that had something to do with it. The best crop we had up to now was stolen by workers with ladders who were cleaning (or painting) the apartment house next door.

When ladders appeared late last week I was afraid history would repeat. The apartment building was being repainted. But this time they left our cherries alone. And we were able to munch on ‘em ourselves. The whole harvest was a pound or so max. But sweeet and juicy. A few Kent thinks aren’t yet dark enough still await plucking. Maybe I should give them another looksee after I post this.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Glenn Ingersoll

I'm the Glenn Ingersoll you see when you google that name. Mostly.

There's another Glenn Ingersoll who's been tiptoeing into my search results. This other Glenn Ingersoll first came to my attention as having something to do with bluegrass -- was he a bluegrass musician? or, as the cryptic mention I read seemed to suggest, was "Glenn Ingersoll" the name of the band?

From that tiny mention this other GI's web presence has grown. He has an imdb page. Seems Glenn Ingersoll is a filmmaker who made a documentary about bluegrass music. And now he's joined up with two other filmmakers to start a production company called Hit Media.

I found a demo reel on their website. And it starts with a fellow in a leather jacket striding around a streetcorner saying, "Hi! I'm Glenn Ingersoll." Now, I've never heard anybody else say that so it's kind of a startler. He's not bad looking, which is a relief? A bit older. Canadian. OK. If I'm ever in New Brunswick I'll look him up.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

3 new poems

Siren, a new lit ezine edited by Sara Kearns, has posted its first issue.

There are three poems in it by me.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

old poetry friend

The phone rang shortly after Kent left for the gym. I was in the midst of writing an email to a poet inviting him to read for Poetry & Pizza. When the phone rang I have to say I was expecting one of those random sales calls where you answer the phone with a cheery Hello! then find yourself waiting a full second while the computer calling system connects you to someone who likely hasn’t yet even heard your voice. If I don’t get a responding voice in a normal human interval I hang up. More than once I’ve heard their hello just as the receiver subsides to the cradle. Yes, this means nobody calls me.

The person on the line turned out to be Jayne McPherson, a poet I knew in Sonoma County, a member of the Russian River Writers’ Guild. She said she was hunting up people she hadn’t heard from in a long time. I guess she got my number from Richard Speakes, a poet & mentor from Santa Rosa Junior College. I’ve asked Richard to read for P&P; last time he sent me an appreciative note but begged off because he just hasn’t been able to get around much. Jayne says he’s now recuperating from back surgery. Ouch. Hope it was a kind cut.

Being as she hasn’t been around it lately, Jayne wondered if I had any recommendations concerning the Bay Area poetry scene. Places to go, poets to read, magazines to pick up? I didn’t have much to offer. Poetry & Pizza? Otherwise it’s the rare reading I’ve hauled my carcass to. Far’s poets & magazines go there are so many and what you like depends a lot on your tastes. I told her I’d been reading a lot of poets’ blogs.

Nice to hear Jayne’s voice. Now let’s see, what other SoCo poets do I wonder about now & then? Ann Erickson. Marianne Ware. Elizabeth Herron. Don Emblen. I should Google ‘em.