These are my Brandywine tomato seeds. I’m so pleased that they’re doing so well. I’ve never started tomato seeds inside before, so I was a little worried. However, these little guys are growing like weeds. I hope I can keep them going long enough to get them in the ground later this summer.
It’s been a busy week. I celebrated my 29th birthday last Tuesday. RJ and I went to Meridian, which is a very posh restaurant on the corner of Meridian and Westfield. We had a really nice meal and a quiet celebration. I don’t really have anything inspiring to say in regards to my birthday. I think some people find them cause for introspection but nothing really comes to mind this year.
National Poetry Month kicked off April 1st. We had the great opportunity of welcoming Kay Ryan through a teleconference at school. I’ve read a little of Ryan’s poetry but it was nice to hear her thoughts about writing and poetry. She shared the poem “The Other Shoe” and the students seemed to enjoy the experience.
The Other Shoe
Oh if it were only the other
in space before
joining its mate.
if the undropped
with the undropped.
But nothing can
stop the mid-air
collision of the
unpaired above us
and weight. We
feel it accumulate.
Our yard is continuing to green. These past couple of day s the temperature has leveled out right around 70, so the buds are really bursting.
These next three pictures are just me having fun with my camera. I always thought it would be fun to be paid to take pictures all day. Maybe in my next life…
This week was spent mostly between work and home trying to get organized on both ends. Tomorrow is the first day of the spring semester and I expect it will be hectic, but the first week of classes is always a gradual ease into routine. This is also helped by the fact that we have a three day weekend right after the first week of school.
Winter hit Indy in full force this week. We had snow all week and while it wasn’t nearly the blast that the north east received, it coated out backyard with a couple of inches. Time to break out the boots.
This week I began a journey that I suspect most people begin after the holidays are over. I started back to the workouts and the cooking at home. All this week we ate at home including all weekend (except for the salads we had for dinner last night). Saturday morning I made breakfast wraps and butternut squash “hashbrowns.” It was pretty darn good.
I’m about 150 pages into Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and it is fascinating. It’s a lot denser than Animal, Vegetable, Miracle but talks about some of the same basic issues. I like the more in depth look that Pollan takes at the food industry and how it impacts Americans. If you care about what you eat and where it comes from, you should read this book.
Me and the folks who buy my food are like the Indians –we just want to opt out. That’s all the Indians wanted–to keep their teepees, to give their kids herbs instead of patent medicines and leeches. They didn’t care if there was Washington, D.C., or a Custer or a USDA ; just leave us alone. But the Western mind can’t bear the opt-out option. We’re going to have to refight the Battle of Little Bighorn to preserve the right to opt out, or your grandchildren and mine will have no choice but to eat amalgamated, irradiated, genetically prostituted, barcoded, adulterated, fecal spam for the centralized processing conglomerate.
This weekend was beautiful. The temperature was about 80 degrees and the sun was out in full force. We had a nice weekend with lots of social engagements with friends. I think the highlight was Saturday night when we had a true “call of the wild” moment in our friends backyard. We took Kweli over to run around in their fenced in backyard while we fired up the grill. About 9:30, I see Kwe bolt from one corner of the yard to other. I didn’t think much of it at first because he can’t really see anything and we all know he’s a touch neurotic. However, when my eyes caught up with what he had seen, I realized that it wasn’t a shadow or a tree branch. It was a oppossum. Kweli managed to grab it by the neck and drag it out to the middle of the yard before we could call him off. I figured the animal was dead. To be on the safe side, we took the dogs inside and watched the seemingly dead corpse from the dining room window. About 5 minutes later, it lifts its head, slowly as if coming out of a deep sleep, stood up, shook itself, and took off under the fence.
I’ve never see a opossum play dead. The few encounters I’ve had with them they’ve always been on the move, so I was impressed with this show of survival.
In Knowledge of Young Boys
i knew you before you had a mother,
when you were newtlike, swimming,
a horrible brain in water.
i knew you when your connections
belonged only to yourself,
when you had no history
to hook on to,
when you had no sustenance of metal
when you had no boat to travel
when you stayed in the same
place, treading the question;
i knew you when you were all
eyes and a cocktail,
blank as the sky of a mind,
a root, neither ground nor placental;
red with the cut nor astonished
by pain, one terrible eye
open in the center of your head
to night, turning, and the stars
blinked like a cat. we swam
in the last trickle of champagne
before we knew breastmilk—we
shared the night of the closet,
closing on our thumbprint,
we were smudged in a yellow book.
son, we were oak without
mouth, uncut, we were
brave before memory.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley
I read The Year of Magical Thinking last year and it broke my heart:
When it was announced in the winter of 2005 that “Magical Thinking” — the very model of an internal piece of emotional art — was going to be adapted for the stage, a lot of people thought that was a very bad idea, and Ms. Didion was one of them.
It is April 21 and we’re expecting light snow flurries today and temperatures in the 40s. Spring is a tease, especially here in Indiana. This weekend it was 70 and sunny, so who knows. I’m hoping in another week the nice weather will come to stay.
The Luxury of Hesitation (excerpt from The Proof from Motion)
burn in hell forever
set the glass
eyes vs sunlight
towards the unfamiliar and
against the discerning light
frightful indeed, the sound of
I would like to be
*Courtesy of the Academy of American Poetry for National Poetry Month.
The final two lines of this poem are why I decided to post it. Wonderful.
I slept in till about 10 this morning and it was awesome. These last few weeks have been really busy and I’m looking forward to this three day weekend. Ashley is visiting and arrived at 1:00 this afternoon from Pittsburgh. Talk about ready for a few days off. Anyway. Right now RJ and Ash are playing Rock Band and Kweli is asleep under the coffee table. All is right with the world.
Tonight all the leaves are paper spoons
in a broth of wind. Last week
they made a darker sky below the sky.
The houses have swallowed their colors,
and each car moves in the blind sack
of its sound like the slipping of water.
Flowing means falling very slowly—
the river passing under the tracks,
the tracks then buried beneath the road.
When a knocking came in the night,
I rose violently toward my reflection
hovering beneath this world. And then
the fluorescent kitchen in the window
like a page I was reading—a face
coming into focus behind it:
my neighbor locked out of his own party,
looking for a phone. I gave him
a beer and the lit pad of numbers
through which he disappeared; I found
I was alone with the voices that bloomed
as he opened the door. It’s time
to slip my body beneath the covers,
let it fall down the increments of shale,
let the wind consume every spoon.
My voice unhinging itself from light,
my voice landing in its cradle—.
How terrifying a payphone is
hanging at the end of its cord.
Which is not to be confused with sleep—
sleep gives the body back its mouth.
This poem welcomed me when I walked into my office this morning (I have a poem a day calendar):
A freak spring snowstorm makes us take old
toute along a creek that flushes, gushes, touches
off tremors of foaming water so cold
and bright we know we’ve come to a sources,
the beginning rush of water’s course
that later will slake the thirst of millions–
but now we are alone with it and know
its potential. Possibility plays before us.
It fizzes and spills through consciousness,
rolling its April of yeses through groves
it will melt by noon, forcing
a green through naked fields, through us.
The first line of this poem is eerily relevant, as this morning I awoke to snow flurries and the prediction that the temp would drop down to the low 30s this evening. I knew the mild weather, sunshine, and flowering trees were all a little too good to be true, but snow flurries in April? Get out of here winter. I’m over you.
A friend of mine already posted this link via Facebook, but for those who are not slaves to the social networks (I am one of those slaves) here it is again:
A few years ago, I started learning poetry by heart on a daily basis. I’ve now memorized about a hundred poems, some of them quite long — more than 2,000 lines in all, not including limericks and Bob Dylan lyrics. I recite them to myself while jogging along the Hudson River, quite loudly if no other joggers are within earshot. I do the same, but more quietly, while walking around Manhattan on errands — just another guy on an invisible cellphone.
I plan on sharing this article with my creative writing class Thursday night. They are required to memorize a poem for their poetry presentations.
I have not jumped on the write a poem a day bandwagon for National Poetry Month, but I have been thinking a lot lines of poetry lately or just images that pop into my head that could eventually turn into poems. Yesterday, while driving along a street lined with magnolias, I started thinking about trees shedding petals, silken petals, and how those petals take on a translucent quality, kind of like skin or paper. And how when we walk over these petals, we leave our footprints, much in the way people leave their mark of words on paper. I don’t if that will amount to anything, but it kept me occupied for about an hour.