Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Winged Mystery

As the wax was drying on my car waiting for a buff, and Willy Nelson was singing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" in the garage, I said hello to a large flying insect that has habitually shared my outdoor space this summer. I had been watching its large sausage-shaped winged body, perhaps the body of a cicada, burrow its way into the ground for several days. I first noticed this guy because he (for the sake of pronoun ease) was disturbing the soil on the lawn. When I bent down to investigate what I thought was an up and coming ant colony, I discovered a mysterious mini tunnel.

Throughout the afternoon, I watched my winged neighbor come and go and wondered what was happening deep underground. Feeling a bit protective of his life and work, I arranged the soil carefully around the outside of the sanctuary so that other humans wouldn't be alerted to his presence. If it is a cicada, I thanked him for spending time with me because I have only ever crunched their abandoned exoskeletons underfoot or noticed their eerie armor clinging to trees.

I do my infinitesimal part in suburbia to protect the daily comings and goings of my winged mystery because suburban peer pressure being what it is- no dandelions, moles, wasps, mice, possums, or thistles allowed- leaves no room for showing compassion toward other living creatures and plants.

When will we learn that the birds and the bees- and the flowers and the trees- are not our enemies?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Petals of Plastic

Twitter This
July 22, 2010

Although artificial flowers have so many advantages, we should consider that they are static in our decoration.

Ljtheraingirl No fragrance or charm, lack flexibility to sway in the breeze.

Message to FlowerHorizon from Ljtheraingirl:
Artificial flowers are dead hearts. Bees refuse to visit walls to intimacy and colors nature won't recognize.

Would you buy them for a lover?

Remind me again why they exist?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Struggling To Be Certain

I have been exploring the various ways intimacy has been defined in my day to day life. One expression of the concept happened in the year 2000 when I was working as an ESL teacher at a community college in Iowa. Supporting a debutante poet as she translated her words from Japanese to English brought us together in a delicate intellectual conference. As an assistant to the linguistic transformation, the poet trusted me with her filtered impressions of life as a Japanese exchange student in small town Iowa: kanji; katakana; hiragana; and the Latin alphabet (rĊmaji).

I Am Standing in a Foreign Land
Author: Madoka Tazuke

I was here but,
there was no sound.
There was only darkness.
The air was very heavy
like something pulling on my heart.
I listen to the sound of nothingness.

The air envelops me
in its quiet, heavy embrace.

I am struggling to be certain
of my existence.

I saw her and the feeling of anxiety
came over me.
I was uneasy because of the sudden confusion of
my identity.

The eyes were like a powerful wave
washing over me and carrying me to sea.
At that time, I thought
What is this wave?

Am I true?
Or, is she true?
Did I see her?
Or, did she see me?

And, I am standing in a foreign land.
Like she is standing there.

Hills Review: A Journal of Poetry, Spring 2000

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dragging My Toes

One reason I diddle and slowly cavort through my possessions under the disguise of cleaning house is because I am disturbing an unreliable dust- a dust which coats my recollections of the past. What I think I remember occurring shape shifts through the passage of time: truth? I am easily diverted by old class notes, letters, personal journals, and poems. Tonight, for example, I found an artist's proof of a poem I wrote in 2000 when my father was dying. I always liked this particular poem, and when I was reunited with the words after a separation of 10 years, the emotions swirling around my father's illness were all too real.


My poetry emerges
with coaxing.
Loose fingers elicit
flaky apple pie cinnamon
and heavy cream
sticking to slurpy tongues
teasing each syllable
with fat and saliva.
Each word an electric impulse
a twitch
that strains my body
during hours of foreplay
back and forth on the page.
Rearranging the parts.
Reconstructing the sensations.
Lulled by the release.

[Words and the rearranging of words into some sort of order were a comfort to me at this time. After my father died, I asked for his guidance as my muse.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Tension of Home

Mark Delap discusses the tensions that even the shortest trip from home can cause in the traveler in his Magma article, and the tension arises in me as I prepare for my next 10 months of life on another continent. I apologize to everyone for the use of various font types in the previous post on Elizabeth Bishop's poem. I was having trouble formatting the text and finally gave up on perfection.

I am fermenting as I combine the ingredients of a traveller who is on her way to a new continent in the capped bottle of my body and mind: May the lid not blow off.

Wish me luck fellow travelers.

Questions of Travel by Elizabeth Bishop

I was sorting through old correspondence today in my dusty cluttered bedroom when I found an envelope with my name addressing the modern day me in left leaning purple letters. On the back of the envelope were excerpts from Elizabeth Bishop's poem
Questions of Travel. I don't know who addressed the envelope, because it is now separated from the letter that was once inside, but I did enjoy reading these lines from the poem. Whoever wrote those words to me so long ago, thank you!

Think of the long trip home. 
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? 
Where should we be today? 
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play 
in this strangest of theatres? 
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life 
in our bodies, we are determined to rush 
to see the sun the other way around? 
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world? 
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework, 
inexplicable and impenetrable, 
at any view, 
instantly seen and always, always delightful? 
Oh, must we dream our dreams 
and have them, too? 
And have we room 
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm? 

 But surely it would have been a pity 
not to have seen the trees along this road, 
really exaggerated in their beauty, 
not to have seen them gesturing 
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink. 

A Question of Travel: Poetry of Dislocation
Comments by Mick Delap

"Another Bishop poem, Questions of Travel, was quoted by Tim Kindberg as he edited the previous ‘Foreign Lands’ edition of Magma. Bishop wrote Questions of Travel soon after taking up residence in Brazil and in the poem she explores the detail of the foreign country she is experiencing for the first time, writing with a stranger’s, a traveller’s eye. But in the process of defining her reactions to a new country, Bishop also found herself opening up fresh perspectives on an old one, on the home – or homes – she’d just left. It was only when she got to Brazil that Bishop found herself able to start writing effectively about her early childhood in Nova Scotia. In Questions of Travel Bishop records this paradoxical process, how travel may throw new light not just on Here, but also on There. But in doing so, it may upset any comfortable preconceptions or assumptions about what Home was or is."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Natural Laws of Good Luck Part II

These natural laws may come in part from a girl's mother.

"I'm not one of those girls who think small. I like to think high. My mother taught me that."

Janaina from Brazil- From a UN Radio series entitled The Next Generation: Voices of 15-Year-Old Girls

About Me

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What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.