Thursday, December 24, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
last night we cut paper snowflakes and hung them over the door. i wore my favorite blue dress. snow falling now. my voice is gone. today i will drink coffee and make christmas presents, watch the snow fall on the firs outside, my paper christmas tree on the wall untouched. i have a paper life, i cut myself, outside my real life moves like a robert frost poem. tomorrow i will wake early and walk to the bus station, speak to children with my gravelly voice. i never sound older than i do now, paper thin.
by Louise Glück
by James Wright
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
THE TURKEY SHOT OUT OF THE OVEN
by Jack Prelutsky
The turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air,
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom,
then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
it totally coated the floor,
there was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there'd never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance,
It smeared every saucer and bowl,
there wasn't a way I could stop it,
that turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.
Friday, October 30, 2009
by Robert Frost
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
the kids are eating breakfast burritos and talking with their mouth's full as i read "tikki tikki tembo" and "if you give a mouse a cookie." i don't think they are paying attention. then they point to an illustration and laugh gleefully. or say something charming, like "that mouse will never get enough, will he?" this is my favorite part of the day.
off to reading class. the reading teacher is sick sick and the substitute has no idea what to do with the six year olds that are still learning their letter sounds. she needs help. i teach the kids the letter "b" and we think of words that begin with buh. cole is using the dry erase pen as a microphone. ken is humming under his breath, raising his hand and squeaking for my attention. he is not sitting crisscross apple sauce. i use my teacher voice.
i have become the discipline enforcer, reprimand-er i never thought i would be. i have excepted the necessity. luckily kids are forgiving, i still get hugs at lunch. they respect me a little more.
my kids are good during tutoring. alli brings everything back to snakes, he is very good at "s." stephanie is quiet during reading, but very sharp and confident one on one. maddie is awake and making progress with picture cards. we practice valerie's j's, she keeps writing them backward. bradey laughs a lot. cole asks miss spitler if she has any michael jackson stickers. she says no. he says, "that's ok, he was a rapist." miss spitler says, "that's inappropriate." later we laugh and marvel at how much he picks up from the world, the good the bad, the true the false, the pop songs on the radio.
i eat cheese and peanut butter for lunch. the teachers talk about "dancing with the stars" and "biggest loser." i don't have t.v. this is the only time i wish i did.
after school homework club= kids that don't want to be there. i don't blame them, it's not really a "club?" there is no secret password and no junk food. i try to make it ok. i have the third graders and i draw them pictures of dragons which they color and put on the front of their binder. we make spelling flashcards and learn how to add big numbers. chris talks the entire time: "i'm a fan of computers." i must remind him to focus on reading. they must write sentences for their spelling words, for "don't" andy writes: "johnny don't like homework club."
after homework club i am exhausted. we walk the kids out to the bus and finally i can let them be themselves. they can talk about whatever they want, or run ahead, or skip. i would like to hang out with my kids and not have to tell them what to do, and not have to tell them to be quiet and focus and sit criss cross applesauce. i would like to be their friend.
the bus ride home is long and crowded, the valley is filled with dust this windy day. i listen to neko case, driving home I see those flooded fields/ how can people not know what beauty this is?
another day another dollar. i get home at 5, find jordan. he's cleaned the house, gardened, made creme brulee and gouda prosciutto bread. who does this? who does this for me? it is my turn to act like a child. i fall onto the bed and nap. Will I ever see you again? / Will there be no one above me to put my faith in? / I flooded my sleeves as I drove home again.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
must read: 'Changes in marine bird abundance in the Salish Sea: 1975 to 2007.' by the great John Bower of Fairhaven College.
my mother is arranging flowers in autumnal shades: chrysanthemums in yellows and golds. Asiatic lilies in reds and deep oranges. twenty years ago, when she was 7 months pregnant with my brother, she was hunched over the cavities of pumpkins in the stadium flower's warehouse, carving out their insides, one by one, to be stuffed with oasis and then filled with the same colored chrysanthemums. to this day, the smell of pumpkin guts makes her sick to her stomach. every year of my youth we carved pumpkins outside on the picnic table, our hands cold and numb, while mother watched from the yellow gold of the warm kitchen. my father cleaned up the pumpkin guts quietly and threw them in to the compost before my mother could catch wind of their scent.
how strong is smell! when i smell chrysanthemum stems i smell my mother after work. i used to bury my head in her hair and waist. when i became a florist, when i stood on my feet for hours, like she does, and arranged peonies and queen anne's lace, tulips, carnations, and chrysanthemums, i cut their stems and felt close to her, though we had never been farther apart. this is chrysanthemum season and pumpkin season and also the season of dusty roses and bright orange roses, and bright yellow and orange circus roses-- my favorite roses, the ones my mother used to bring home for me on birthdays and graduation, their faces full and happy, petals spilling open and rimmed with orange, saying "we are alive and beautiful but not for long."
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
me, all i want is to teach them to read.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
To Assist a Garter Snake in Shedding Her Skin
soak her in tepid water,
place her in damp moss for one-half hour.
humans shed skin cells too,
in tiny pieces.
before i met you, i collected skins
of garter snakes, the feathers of birds.
i kept them in a small wooden box
with the gold braid my mother cut
from the nape of my neck.
what does the garter snake lose
in shedding her skin? (pieces of herself)
i needed more than a mattress of moss.
one morning you showed me how to dance,
palm to palm in zig zags across the carpet.
i thought about bald eagles in courtship-
how they grab each other’s talons and tumble-
surely, they lose a feather or two.
hair is easy going: you cut your long curls,
i save a lock in a wooden box-
nobody really notices how humans shed skin
but last night, i lost my last skin cell
somewhere in a dark corner of the bar
while your fingers were in my hair,
i couldn’t save it.
after one-half hour,
the snake will shed her skin.
watch her relish her bare intimacy.
this weekend was nice. first the greek food festival on friday night, and then a hike to skyline divide on saturday (where i ran into russell! fellow wrc member, bus buddy, and old pal from scriptural lit). the weather was brilliant, my friends are equally brilliant, and the scenery was breath-stealing. the hike up was a bit of a struggle for me at first. whew! i am out of shape! but i got my stride down and made it all the way, tasting victory as the salt on my lips. highlights of the trip included two grouse sightings, many hawks, and a women hiking with a lama named sally, a dog, and three goats. one of the goats was a baby named beaumont and he wanted to follow our dog, luna, and the rest of us down the trail. the woman kept scolding poor, curious beaumont, saying, "beaumont, you have two options! stay or get eaten!" in a very stern and commanding voice. he stayed, though we wanted to take him with us.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
by E. E. Cummings
Monday, August 31, 2009
we spent the last week splitting our time between priest lake, the ranch, and spirit lake. the boswells spoiled us rotten with amazing food, a rented boat, drinks, dinner at the elkins lodge. mr. boswell and his twin brother told stories all day, of their crazy youth, of the natural history of the ranch and priest lake. we spent the days on the water with the fish, the chevrons of geese. we went out to the local bar, millies, and danced cheek to cheek to country music. oh the glory of it all! these are wild places that i need to go to, to relocate the heart, the lungs, the breath, when they are taken away.
Friday, August 21, 2009
by Denise Levertov
After I had cut off my hands
and grown new ones
something my former hands had longed for
came and asked to be rocked.
After my plucked out eyes
had withered, and new ones grown
something my former eyes had wept for
came asking to be pitied.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
my sister came up to bellingham last night and of course jordan and i took her to casa for a potato burrito which i am sure she enjoyed because who doesn't like deep fried potatoes? tell me who! jake and pat and max and sade and bess showed up and we moved to a bigger table. we are in love with each other so we had a delightful time drinking 2.50 micros and laughing and trying to figure out how to separate the check while tipsy. i am glad andrea came up and went out with us and put her planner and raspberry blackberry whatever thing away for a while to just laugh a lot. next, we all squished into a booth at caps and drank more 2.50 micros, because it was monday. we trudged up the hill pretty early, jake groaning the entire way, and slept like babies. i woke early, put on the coffee and one of kori's 50's dresses. i felt like meryl streep in bridges of madison county while chopping potatoes barefoot. jordan made us a hash brown scramble. (i assured andrea that we eat more than fried potatoes, truly we do). he is so good to me. so silent and gentle and good. last night andrea said there is only room for one lunatic in a relationship. i am the lunatic here. the scrambling, babbling, giggling, neurotic, who says everything that comes to mind as thoughts skid fast. jordan grounds me. jordan brings me back to earth with a glance. when he speaks, he speaks like john wayne in an old western, every word careful and sure, while the rest of us try to catch ourselves from falling with our words.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
yesterday we went to some hot springs on mt baker. the directions said "short hike to hot springs from parking lot" so we took the nearest trail. we walked and walked. we kept seeing footprints in the mud and thinking they were fresh, the beer cans abandoned on the side of the trail were a sure sign that the hot springs were just around the corner. eventually we ended up at a campsite where nobody knew what we were talking about. we turned around, thinking it could be worse. we could have no legs and be crawling back, it could be raining, we could have hepatitis. it was a nice walk nonetheless. i saw four frogs and the scenery was greener than green, a bed of moss and sweet fresh air. eventually we ran into a couple who explained that the hot springs were just to the left past the parking lot. they had mosquito bites all over their necks. the trail ended up being only like 300 meters. after our four mile detour the water felt very swell. warm. don't tell anybody but i love the smell of sulfur. there was a friendly guy from nashville in the hot spring and many cedar waxwings above in the trees. pat talked a lot. pat talks a lot. jake laughed a lot. jake laughs a lot.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
prior to that i hiked up to fragrance lake with the boys. not much with birds other than a few winter wrens, a lot of black capped chickadees, and some wilson's warblers. the birds have quieted themselves. i no longer hear the swainson's thrush in the back yard. the broods are all growing up into robust young birds, the juvenile towhee jordan and i have been watching on the feeder is getting his color, and we saw four young flickers in the grass the other day, looking large and self suffcient. i already feel the season folding in on itself and it makes me a bit lonely.
jordan and i made fajitas. grilled on the barbeque and then seasoned with cumin, cayenne, chili powder and tabasco. homemade tortillas. we love to eat.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
by Carol Frost
Monday, August 10, 2009
getting my hands on a copy of lorrie moore's new book before it is even on the market
jake showing up out of the green
matt damon in "all the pretty horses"
what the rain has done for my radishes
jordan's eyes within ten percent of the same prescription as mine (to his luck after losing his glasses on the river last week)
running into sade this morning, at the least expected place and time
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
by stanley kunitz
Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.
READ: The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
kori and i went to the salvation army today. steals: western themed purse, rose print high waisted skirt, pretty fabric, horse tea cup (turned planter), and a sparrow and dickcissle portrait.
and one gnome for dad (not featured)