Friday, June 27, 2008

comments on “cake the walk”, version three

No longer sticking to couplets. Trying out a cloud/crowd relation. The persons (“you” and “me”) in this version vaguer.

“cake the walk”, version three

forgive my hand
its cold

the stone bench waits for a cloud

and here the cloud straggles
from the splintery bleachers

the backstop’s eave
a game lost yesterday or last season

and goes to dampen the ducks
one is turning the wet pebble green of its head
in a circle and another circle and a whole new circle

the pond’s face sending these turns
off to the cattail reeds

in hedges gusts rat
these leaves leave a lonesome rest
for more company

ching ching ching
all the way up
link to link to link

the backstop ringing from the slap of the hand
you warmed for me

there is no rain falling but what the live oaks
clawed out of a cloud

one drop for you
three for me?

Monday, June 23, 2008

comments on “cake the walk”, version two

This is a rough cut. Nearly every thing seen in version one appears in version two. The inconsistent punctuation is dropped altogether. The poem is now in couplets.

“cake the walk”, version two

bits of leaves cake the walk
in darkening layers

take my trembling hand
forgive its cold

in hedges gusts rat
just before us leaves leave one rest for another

the stone bench waits for a cloud
which straggles down from splintery bleachers

a mallard soundlessly circles the pond
his mate in the reeds, head tucked deep in dun feathers

the gravel gnashes dankly under a shoe
my unheld hand rattles the fencing

it rings its links, faintly distracted
all the way up to the backstop’s eave

a squirrel is gone by the time I look up
apart, arms folded, we read to each other

the names of the team sponsors
some loyalty older and peeling

under the dripping knuckles of live oaks
at the top of the stairs

we embrace
and let each other go

Sunday, June 22, 2008

comments on “cake the walk” version one

Haven’t versioned a poem on LuvSet in months. Time? “cake the walk” was written in February 1985.

I don’t remember who my companion was. Maybe Becky, a friend who I was sort of dating. Could be the companion was imagined.

I like the poem’s atmosphere, the drawing of the scene. I like the standing apart followed by the embrace.

“cake the walk,” version one

Little bits of leaves
cake the walk
stroll with me hand-in-hand
my hand trembles
a cold wind
rattles the bones of the trees
gust rats in hedges
dead leaves scurry across our feet
across concrete

sit with me
on a stone bench
a cloud drops earthward
straggles through the park
envelopes the duck pond
one mallard circles soundlessly
in the reeds his mate sleeps
head tucked deep in dull feathers

We stroll across the baseball diamond
you kick a clump of grass
the gravel patches crunch wetly
tepid red
I brush my unheld hand against the fence
the metal rattles
ringing faintly to the tip of the backstop

You point to a squirrel
in the overhanging oak
it’s gone, scampered out of sight
when I look up
I wrap my coat tighter
we stand apart, arms folded
read the little league sponsors’ painted advertisements
to one another

At the top of the concrete stairs
we embrace

Monday, June 16, 2008

Smash the Egg

This is a delightful kinetic sculpture built by Joseph Herscher as "an entry in Cadbury's 'Unleash The Goo' competition, in which entrants must find the most creative way to break a creme egg."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Land and People and Chez Panisse

People stop by LoveSettlement from all around the world. Of the last hundred visitors (as of writing, 6/8/08) most are, of course, from the lower 48. But there’s a significant cluster in Europe. Britain mostly. One from Germany, one from Italy. Of the rest of the great world: Two Argentinians stopped by. One Malaysian, two Australians, and a New Zealander. It would be nice if they were all faithful LuvSet readers, but even if all they did was swing by and fail to find what brought them here it’s still kinda cool that somebody in Argentina or Malaysia could drive past the LuvSet cornershop for a glance at the lettering on the sign.

I would like to spend more time at blogs based outside the U.S. In my pile of reading I try to make sure I’ve got some literature in translation. But I don’t comfortably read any language other than English so that does limit things somewhat. I do get in my ruts and find myself in the same old places, almost all of them U.S.-based.

I originally came across Rami Zurayk’s Land and People blog because he writes in Beirut, Lebanon, which, as we know, can sometimes be hazardous. (Even more so than Oakland, I suppose.) I think there was some fighting going on at the time I captured the link, and the Zurayk family were sheltering from arms fire. Things seem to have quieted down.

Zurayk mainly writes about food politics. In today’s post he gives a tongue-in-cheek version of the argument that improvements for poor people are to blame for, well, the problems in the world: “Too many hard-working Chinese and Indians … think they should be able to eat pizza, meat and coffee and aspire to a reservation at Chez Panisse. They get blamed for raising global prices so much that poor Africans and Asians can't afford porridge and rice.”

I’ve seen that formula given for why we have global warming, extinctions, environmental degradation of all kinds … It’s the dangerous aspirations of Third World people.

The philosophy of Chez Panisse (hey, Chez Panisse is right around the corner from my house!) might be right up Rami Zurayk’s alley, actually. From the Chez Panisse website: “A good kitchen respects its sources, chooses ingredients that are sound, seasonal, local when possible, and appropriate to the event. … Chez Panisse gathers its material from known and trusted purveyors, known to be committed themselves to sound and sustainable practices … We seek farmers who know their seeds and soil, ranchers who care about the food their livestock eats, winemakers who know what their grapes have known, fish merchants who are concerned about the health of the seas.”

Rami Zurayk characterizes American food giving as, "Let them eat subsidized American corn shipped over in American ships." Sounds like the opposite of the Chez Panisse ideal.

Of course, Chez Panisse is darn expensive. But delicious. And, you know, if you’re going to lay out a wad on dinner at least you won’t be fucking up the planet.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

a blog about farming in Oakland

I don’t remember how I found my way to Your City Farmer, a blog about farming in Oakland ( I copied the url to the Word doc where I work on LuvSet posts. That was back in April. Since then the blogger has changed it. Just found that out when I put the old url into the browser and got whipped around to the new one.

Looks like the name has changed to Meaningful Pursuit. Hm. Better title? I don’t know. I think … no. But whatever.

Right now our backyard is at its farmingest, what with cherries ripening and lush tomato plants considering whether to turn their yellow flowers into tight green fruits.

The May 12th post starts out with a picture of weeds. Novella (yes, that’s the blogger’s name) says, “Weeding can be satisfying work. Passers-by say hello, chew the fat, ask me for a quarter. Because remember, I'm not living some rural lifestyle with baby goats and rabbits. I'm living some urban lifestyle with baby goats and rabbits. A reminder of my urban farm: gun fire. Two shots, very close. Somehow muffled. Now, it IS firework season, but I knew those were bullets.”

Police cars appear. She overhears one of the officers say a man was shot in the apartment across the street, not killed though.

She went back to weeding. Now & then a neighbor would stop and ask what happened. “I grew tired of telling the news,” Novella says.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

maybe I should

Maybe I should write something on my blog. I haven't written anything on my blog in two weeks. My blog must be hungry. Or lonely. Maybe I should do something about the needs of my blog. It needs freshening. Blog posts climb onto it and age and age.

Of the six March posts one should get an update -- the Supreme Court of California has ruled that marriage cannot be denied to same-sex couples without a compelling reason. And they looked around and didn't find one, et voila -- Marry, you gays! I've been thinking about various ways to talk about it, actually. From the fear of a November ballot initiative to reading through the text of the decision to speculating about how this changes society. All of that would require a lot of thought and writing, wouldn't it?

I could review our last two trips -- the one to Orlando & environs, the one to Baja & Copper Canyon. After all, one of the ways I researched those trips was reading the blogs of travellers. So I could offer up what I've learned for the use of others.

I could write about daily things, what's doing at work, the weather, what piles we've dusted and what piles we've sorted.

I have several posts in the works, you know. Links to this or that, videos I found fascinating. Come back and check those out.