zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
My week so far has included the rejection of eight poems (though one was a near-miss) and some aggravation (both of the near-to-firing-a-firm kind and the dammit-I-left-my-badge-on-the-piano variety), not to mention truly atrocious fantasy tennis results. But, I seem to be providing pleasure to assorted Kei Nishikori fans, there was plenty of butter and black pepper to mash into the neeps I boiled for supper, and I'm closing my evening with a glass of Beaujolais (slightly rough, but sanding down a bit of jag as I sip) and assorted phrases for pieces.

Also, Rattle published a poem on Sunday, both in text and audio form: "Look at that, you son of a bitch"

I also keep meaning to mention "Some Who Wander Become Lost," which the SFPA posted online a few months ago.

My calendars contain crossouts and calculations. So, for that matter, do the cards and scraps of paper containing what I might write or shape next. In the meantime, there are roses everywhere -- I saw some near a curb on Valentine's Day, just as I was about to cross White Station Road:

White Station Road, Memphis

The back of the card I picked up was blank. It has me wondering about roses not sent. It brings back memories of roses I have sent, and thrown, and pressed, and attempted to propagate (not yet successfully). Not every Emily Dickinson poem pairs up well with "Yellow Rose of Texas" ("So much of Heaven has gone from earth"? No), but it's not as if the ghosts of Amherst or Austin ever insisted on that. Perhaps the roses really want to grow. Perhaps the mallows will survive this morning's freezing fog. There is more than snow between the glass and the huge roses. There is more to work than work. Earlier this week, a colleague and I talked about trading plants later this year -- succulents for peppers. The dog knocked over one of my pots while I was away, and happily hoovered up asparagus stubs two nights ago. Cleaning. Digging. Dreaming.

A name for a new rose: Mozart.
That's what I'd call the first rose on the moon,
If I got there to grow it.

-- Robert Nye, "Travelling to My Second Marriage on the Day of the First Moonshot"
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
More often than not, it cheers me up when a Vaughan Williams setting is included among the opening hymns. This morning started with the Down Ampney tune, with verses by Bianco da Siena (died c. 1434), translated by Richard Frederick Littledale (1833-1890) with further alterations by the hymnal editors:

Come down, O Love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let its glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

And so the glory strong,
for which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;

for none can guess its grace,
till we become the place
wherein the holy Spirit makes a dwelling.

First UU Nashville sanctuary, September 2015

The Story for All Ages featured Moses arguing with God about returning to Egypt, and the pastor spoke at length about astronaut Edgar Mitchell during her sermon. Between those two points, the worship associate read Neruda's Keeping Quiet and the chamber choir sang Malcolm Daglish's setting of Wendell Berry's "To the Holy Spirit":

O Thou, far off and here, whole and broken,
Who in necessity and in bounty wait,
Whose truth is light and dark, mute though spoken,
By Thy wide grace show me Thy narrow gate.

Cheekwood, December 2015
zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)

heedless of
the hockey down the street
crocus shoots

The same yard, a week and a day earlier:


It was rather creepy hearing the branches creak and groan under the weight of so much snow.
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
at least for a while longer:

hollyhock seedling
zirconium: US and POW-MIA flags above Andrew Johnson National Cemetery (US/POW flags)
At church this morning, div school student Sara Green read some passages from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" speech, delivered in 1967. Two excerpts:

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement, and pray that our inner being may be sensitive to its guidance. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy...

This is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)

My parents' wedding album:

100 untimed books - haunting

100 untimed books - haunting

Lynda Hull's poetry:

100 untimed books - haunting

Oh phantoms.
Oh the many lives that have fountained through
my own. Soon, soon, I shall stop upon that platform

& you will meet me there, the world rosegray beyond
the scalloped tops of buildings & we shall seek
that thing which shines & doth so much torment us.

zirconium: signage pharmacy Eilat (pharmacy near Eilat)
Prompt 51: another country

The stamp album I kept as a kid:

childhood stamp album

These stamps came from pen pals, I think:

childhood stamp album

Unrelated: headline glimpsed on MSN/NYT a minute ago -- "Socialite Murder Inquiry Reveals Black Market in Hay"
zirconium: photo of cupcake from Sweet 16th, Nashville (crackacino cupcake)
100 untimed books prompt 50: no idea how I feel

Well, I have mixed feelings about Bobby Flay. I viscerally dislike the whole Throwdown caboodle.

That said, the man likes horses, he seems to support progressive candidates, and I like what I've read about him as a working chef and talent assessor.

For that matter, I have mixed feelings about the Great Chefs--Great Cities book. It was comped to me around 20 years ago, and I've used it more as a flower press than a cooking reference. Most of the recipes are fussier than I'll ever bother with even on a weekend. But I enjoy reading the chef bios, and sometimes looking them up on the net to see where they are now (Jody Adams in particular).

prompt 50 prompt 50

Prompt 52: biting
prompt 52
zirconium: mirliton = grinning squash from NOLA (mirliton)
That's what went into the version of wild rice and mushrooms (recipe by Shellie Holmes, adapted by Ligaya Mishan) I cooked tonight. I used half the mushrooms and butter specified and added onions.

For the tuna steaks, I used a Bobby Flay recipe as a starting point for the marinade/sauce, simplifying it to what I had in terms of ingredients and energy: about two cups of red wine, a tablespoon of ancho powder, salt, pepper, allspice, honey, and garlic. I also ladled some of the sauce over the steamed broccoli.

100 untimed books prompt 49: closer

prompt 49 - closer

On page 25, there is a list of common salamanders. There's a poem or three lurking within the names: Smallmouth. Tiger. Hellbenders. Mudpuppies. Dusky...
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
I was not the only Nashvillian who decided to haul their past weeks' worth of glass to the East collection center this morning:

East Recycling Center East Recycling Center

In my case, it was imperative that I make room in my car for a present waiting for me at Woodland Wine Merchant:

from Woodland Wine Merchant

#100untimedbooks prompt 48: shovels

prompt 48: shovels

"There is the question of individual mining, by which farmers can mine some minerals by truck and shovel..."
zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
Put mildly, 2015 was laden with its share of grief and aggro. It also contained a good deal of fun and wham boomery.

Two things that happened that made me happy: I finally tracked down Danny Spanos's "Hot Cherie," a raunchy song I'd heard on the radio as a teenager. Having heard both the name and title wrong back then, it's taken me this long to tunnel back to that earworm. (That metaphor doesn't quite work, does it. Story of 2016 so far...)

I also tracked down a copy of a portrait in the Boston Public Library that doesn't seem to be published anywhere else online: Irwin Hoffman's painting of his wife, Dorothea. I've had a crush on this painting since I first saw it over a decade ago in the library's reading room. The combination of elegance and strength is, as we say in fandom, one of my bulletproof kinks.

For the second day in a row, the urge to return to bed mid-morning is strong. There are, however, plays to read, plants to water and/or transplant, dishes to wash, vocabulary to memorize, brackets to dissect, and figures to tally. Onward!

the tomato loves the wineglass


Dec. 29th, 2015 07:26 pm
zirconium: Photo of cat snoozing on motorcycle on a sunny day in Jersualem's Old City. (cat on moto)
It wasn't part of the bestiary I was tracking down, but it was still fun to see this 17th-century camel and co. amid yesterday's runnings-around.

(I have a fondness for camels, as this snapshot from 2009 might indicate.)
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Recent reading has included Eleanor Self's You'll Never Get There If You Don't Go There, on working up the nerve to go to group yoga classes.

I can relate. While I have a reputation for being intrepid about many things, I have yet to make it to an English country dance class or a shape-note sing in this here town. It City-ness notwithstanding, Nashville remains small enough that I am likely to run into someone I know or someone who knows someone I know no matter what I am dabbling or dipping my toe into. That's daunting when you know you are on the beginner-pocked slope of the learning curve and that falling on your butt (aka borking figures or misreading intervals) is inevitable.

Then again, I've landed on my tail countless times in the studio (hello, awkward pose!) and forgotten about it within minutes. What would it be like to be as okay with all my other not-yet-theres -- to grin at the mirror and move on?

[Posted in response to a Reverb15 prompt at Kat McNally's: "I am wondering what would happen if I allowed a little more out-of-control-ness in my life. So I invite you to consider: where could you (like me) consider turning it up a few notches in the new year?"]
zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
It's like being greeted by the dog each night: after so many years, I'm still thrilled whenever one of the Christmas cacti in my house goes into bloom, and mildly astonished when it happens during the season. The current plants are descended from one of my mom's, making them at least seven years old.

Christmas cactus blooms

Past posts about Christmas cacti include:

Here in Nashville, we are on alert for tornadoes and the like. This is not so surprising given that I was digging dandelions out of my driveway earlier this month. On the upside, I didn't need a coat for the walk to lunch with my mom-in-law earlier today. That was pleasant.

I am stupid tired and the pile of work that must be got through before the end of the week remains deeper than my stocking. I have been enjoying some of the season nevertheless. Indulging in glittery ribbons, for one (my department head, who approves of or is at least amused by my sea-streaked hair, joked that he should have unwrapped the package I brought over my head, given the green sparkly dust poofing up as he unknotted the bow).

Fun with glittery ribbons

Listening to the carol the Bicat brothers wrote for the 1984 film version of A Christmas Carol, and to Roger Rees's narration of the ending. (Also, non-seasonally, listening to Rees in The West Wing's Dead Irish Writers sceneand a band during high school, and can at least sympathize a bit with the Messiah-unfamiliar friends who told me after one concert that the Amens had taken so damn long they'd started timing them). Watching a dude in a Pekka Rinne jersey and Santa hat studying Michelangelo sketches. On 6th Avenue, seeing a woman buss a friend on the cheek and wishing them merry before the two continued walking in opposite directions. The Lyft driver with colored lights attached to the headliner and a caddy full of peppermints and candy canes. The absence of Salvation Army bell ringers in front of my neighborhood grocery. The rose stamps working out exactly right. Sealing wax. Stickers. Celebrations/exchanges deferred as well as those anticipated. The brownie/caramel debacle and the succesful cupcakes. Friendships of long-enough standing = faith that things will shake out in the wash. Revisiting old drafts and outlines and drawing breath to revive them...

Ye everlasting doors...
zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
I am the featured poet at 7x20 this week. It also featured ten pieces by me during October and November:


Co-cola salad...
painting spells...
mother interred...
Persian calligraphy...
Code Name Taurus...

Autumn Sky Poetry published my poem "Turning, Turning, We Come Out" on December 3. The editor nominated "O Clouds Unfold" for a Pushcart Prize.

Much to write -- and acres to edit before I sleep. Onward!
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
[Inspired by a typo-line in Mary's entry: "I don't know, really, want to do with it." And by the fact that I can't find the sexy sufganiyot poem I thought I'd published 12-15 years ago but perhaps simply sent during an e-mail exchange with a friend that has since disappeared, what with friend and I both moving on to other accounts and machines. Oh, and yesterday would have been my mother's 72nd birthday. That might be on my mind as well.]

I don't know, really, what to want about them,
the doughnuts I was sure I'd brought along.
Did they fall off the roof of the car, my
forgetfulness feeding birds or strays
or sweeten the tires of a semi? How
the ghosts growl, the ones who couldn't
forgive the other lapses of attention:
the textbooks and sneakers and cups of coffee
inadvertently littering Lancaster,
Kimbark, Burns -- all those streets
and avs anointed by my distraction.
How wasteful. How pointless -- and
perhaps a rebuke? for I confess
my plan to give was flavored with
the hope of gaining points: pastries
paving the way for projects in need
of green lights, grease, goodwill -- you
know, the unwritten blessings
that separate the inn-mates
from those consigned to the barn. Yes,
a reprimand: see the servant candle
sharing the night with ones expressly
saved for the sameach, that light no others
because they were cast for the holiday.
So why do I long -- aye, pray -- that those donuts
met with the fate of loaves rather than lilies,
I who sit with my thermos of coffee
amid the waiting ledgers and lists?
I don't know what I'm ready to want
beyond the age-old cravings --
one more night, one more meal,
one more story, one more hug
that always and forever were an asking too much
and yet, oh wondrous world, were sometimes answered.

Night 4
zirconium: Photo of cat snoozing on motorcycle on a sunny day in Jersualem's Old City. (cat on moto)
As de Waal worked, his dog, Isla, sat in a corner, chewing on a torn-up plush pheasant. I asked how many dog hairs he thought had become embedded in his pots over the years. "Oh, just a wonderful number," he said.

"Thinking with His Hands," by Sam Anderson (NYT Magazine, November 29)
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

When Mr. Edelstein started the "Globe for All" initiative, he knew he’d have to raise about $250,000 per season for a theater with an annual budget of roughly $20 million. But he considers the nontraditional stagings "the most important work we do."

He recalled a performance last year at the Veterans Village of San Diego, a shelter for homeless veterans. "One of the guys came up to me after the show and said, 'I have P.T.S.D., and I can't concentrate on anything for more than 30 seconds. But I just watched 90 minutes of a Shakespeare play.'"

"That was," and here Mr. Edelstein caught his breath and his voice broke at the other end of the phone line, "a very special kind of thing. It's a reminder of how thin the margin is between our comfortable middle-class lives and a very, very different version of ourselves."

-- Dominic P. Patola, Theater Troupe Gives Those on the Margins a Front-Row Seat
zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
47 - satellites

The satellite feed for the karaoke glitches for a moment, and suddenly, Oya's on the video, dressed like a schnozzy Elvis gone Eastern and sexually ambiguous, shades to match. -- Tom Doyle, "The Floating Otherworld"

[list of prompts at http://upperrubberboot.tumblr.com/post/123904555213]


Nov. 27th, 2015 03:19 pm
zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
Black Friday dandelion

November dandelion
smirking at the myrtles--
I ponder pickling


zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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