zirconium: photo of squeezy Buddha on cell phone, next to a coffee mug (buddha and cocoa)
(FIGO Pasta, West Midtown Atlanta)

The mockingbirds
have been trilling all night

while myrtles groan
like neglected doors.

The moon shines above
the neighbor's roof

among the shreds
of party pink clouds

one more thing
not yet put away

among the snapshots
and sketches
and samples

forming my nest
of songs to be hatched

before the keyholes
kiss encroaching walls

before mortality
mandates a morning
of trowel and mortar --

old clay,
new seals.
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 graduated cylinder with black and blue feathers (measured 1)
Upper Rubber Boot prompt 18: spokesman

My copy of Jim Ottaviani's Suspended in Language is on loan to a friend, so you get this instead:

18 - spokesman

Sir Mark Oliphant, in Ann Mozley Moyal's Portraits in Science:

I was a member of a group that was led by Niels Bohr, after the test in Alamogordo, that was very much against the use of this new weapon on civilian cities. Niels Bohr, who was our spokesman -- which was a pity in some ways, because his English wasn't good and [laughs] his wife told me his Danish was almost as bad -- but he became our spokesman and was very very good and persistent in his approach.

  • Wikipedia's Pauli effect entry, which links to my sonnet about same

  • A Particular Truth--1941 - on Bohr and Heisenberg

  • At Teaching Resources, which obtained it via Moving Poems, which features Nic Sebastian's take as well: Othniel Smith's video remix of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost"
  • zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    from one side of the gate

    August Moon day 8 prompt:
    I sat outside and told my secrets to the moon. This was her reply: ....

    The sun was high in the sky when I rose
    and yet cannot melt
    tiaras into bullets
    or bullets into bedpans
    or bedpans into spades

    nor coax fresh fruit
    from smothered seeds.

    Who are you to despair
    at stones not turned
    and leaves no longer new

    when you stand but a step
    and a hinge-life away
    from a sky with different answers?

    from the other side of the gate


  • Both photos were taken earlier tonight.

  • I took a break between stanzas to walk some magazines around the corner. There is already the scent of burning leaves in the air.
  • zirconium: medical instruments @High Point Doll Museum (medical instruments (miniature))
    August Moon Day 7 prompt: I pull back the curtain and I see...

    Bercy, 2011

    ...a game between strangers
    who see each other often
    but not away
    from the courts
    or the parties

    just as I blink
    stumbling into someone
    out of their Sunday best
    as I exit a shower

    -- yes, a fig leaf
    would fool me.
    My garden is thick
    with saplings
    so green
    they would smother
    an angel's sword
    with all
    of their wayward

    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    August Moon prompt: There is something about twilight that makes me feel...

    also on the rogue rosebush

    ... like I've barely begun
    to study the roses

    and that I'll still feel
    I've barely begun
    my life

    twenty-four summers hence
    should I be
    so lucky

    to grow
    past my prime

    zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
    August Moon Day 4 prompt: So I had a conversation with my shadow...


    ... where she asked me what kind of net
    I would want to knot

    were time no object
    and money no limit

    men's spa/salon

    I said to her, I
    am both oil and water
    whip and trench
    slipper and shard
    caper and crutch

    Down the street

    I'll meet you at the corner
    where the wind
    has been whisking
    shreds of tealeaves
    past the lost screws
    of stray sunglasses.

    zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
    Cox Arboretum
    Cox Arboretum, Dayton, Ohio, August

    While the knives seek the pumpkins
    the fish glides along.

    aging zinnia zinnia
    Nashville, October

    Who will tell the zinnias
    it's long past Labor Day?

    A fun thing: last week, a verse I wrote was selected for Pilgrims' Stride, and today the verse to follow it was picked. The most fun part seeing the sixty-some directions people pursued...

    A frustrating thing: local businesses failing to return phone calls.

    Today's work will include: mixing ink and cutting paper.

    Today's cooking will include: Greek cinnamon chicken. Maybe. The recipe looked like just the thing when I was reading it in bed last night, but we have neither bay leaves nor dry white wine in the house, nor (uncharacteristically) onions (not counting the scant quarter-cup in my freezer). Hmmm.
    zirconium: Photo of cat snoozing on motorcycle on a sunny day in Jersualem's Old City. (cat on moto)
    a slip on the tongue...

    This morning's fortune

    slivers of memory:
    grapefruit soda
    and mellow Malbecs


    time to step back
    a step away away from the wreck
    there being so much
    to learn about breathing
    before the next dive
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    (1) Lunch (at Rice Paper) and ice cream (at Sebastian Joe's) with M'ris and Timprov. There were a number of "Yep, I'm in Scandosota" moments during this trip: among them was listening to the others discussing reindeer castration while I dug into my Nicollet Avenue Pothole sundae. :-)

    (2) There's an interview of me at the Moving Poems Forum.

    (3) A few weeks ago, LiAnn Yim posted praise for inkscrawl at her blog.
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    It's a wonderful world, y'all. A bloke in Cardiff, Othniel Smith, found Nic Sebastian's reading of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" at the Poetry Storehouse and was moved to make a videopoem of it:

    "Playing Duets with Heisenberg’s Ghost" by Peg Duthie from OTHNIEL SMITH on Vimeo.

    (Amplifying the pleasure: hearing about the video not only from Nic but from Rachel, whose d'var Torah on wrestling with angels has me thinking about how "face" and "facet" are only one letter apart; Sarah Sloat's poems at the Storehouse, which I will want to spend more time with later; and the cheap but nonetheless distinct thrill of seeing that if one Googles "Heisenberg's ghost" or "Heisenberg duets," the above video shows up first. [insert joke about Schrodingerian search results...])

    In other news, the BYM's biking bestie brought breakfast to our house yesterday and (in celebration) I showed her all the spent enoxaparin syringes I'd collected in the box another friend had sent chocolates in. (Long story short: the BYM underwent surgery twice last month, which [among other things] necessitated thirty-nine anticoagulant shots, which neither he nor I ever got used to administering; the process was just as awful on day 39 as it was on day 1, especially since he had no padding on him to begin with and has since lost 10-15 pounds.) I mentioned that I had a couple of art projects in mind; the BYM furrowed his brow and made a squinchy face at me, but the bestie's face lit up, and she said, "If you don't end up doing something with them, I will." Have I said lately how much my friends delight me? :-)
    zirconium: Photo of graduated cylinder with black and blue feathers (measured 1)
    Nic Sebastian has added a video of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" to The Poetry Storehouse.
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    Nic Sebastian has created a recording of Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost and uploaded it to The Poetry Storehouse. Squee!

    Christmas cactus bud

    The first buds on the Christmas cactus in our library room have appeared. The plant is from one of my mother's plants, which I split into three smaller plants this year. I haven't had much luck with small cuttings/breakings (I did get some to root this summer, but then rain or critters got the better of them), but the three big chunks from the mama plant (so to speak) seem to be doing fine.

    The first fall frost of the year will hit us any day now, so Saturday's chores included harvesting the last of the Kentucky Colonel mint:

    final harvest
    zirconium: corner of dormant tulip bed (corner)
    An invitation to remix: five poems at The Poetry Storehouse (which I heard about from Rachel Barenblat). Come and play!


    It's looking like the first fall frost may hit us this Sunday, so I will be devoting part of my Saturday to tucking kraft paper, dog hair (to continue deterring bunnies), and mulch around the hollyhocks. The yard provided an excellent therapy break this afternoon: things had gotten messy around the Kentucky Colonel mint. Detangling it perfumed my hands, and clearing away the weeds and stray leaves and weeds soothed my mind.

    And now I'm going to make shrimp korma, and then dive back into work.
    zirconium: illustration of boots for a fic I wrote (Hooch's boots)
    While shuffling some other papers into new boxes, I came across a folder from my time at Michigan. In addition to the usual assortment of notes and photocopies, it also yielded five diphenhydramine/hydrochloride capsules, a half-painted nail, and a 22-page draft of "Ugly Kings and Happy Endings: Orfeo, Pericles and Political Anxiety in English Romance" (my paper for English 731) with a bit of advice from my housemate Eric in the upper right-hand corner: "write the best paper you can in the time you have."

    7x20 featured two micro-pieces of mine this week:
  • Shakespeare festival

  • Athens
  • zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
    This morning, the funny little yellow fungi had faded into tiny orange shreds. The sky was showing signs of incoming rain, but I looked at the weather forecast (20% chance of precipitation) and decided to err on the side of over-saturation and watered the beds and the planters (the arugula and the radishes have already germinated!).

    Naturally, 3/4 through my hospital shift, the only thing the people in the halls were talking about was the rain pelting down -- in part because it wasn't coming down, but falling sideways. In both directions. After my shift, I treated myself to a cup of hot chocolate from the machine in the lounge and peeked through a magazine that was so stupid I could feel my brain cells shriveling like the folds of fungi. (I like mind candy as much as the next bubblehead, but you know how there's good candy, okay candy, and corn-syrup-mixed-with-sock-lint candy? Yeah.)

    The rain's eased up. The shoots of fungi have revived, upright again and back to bright yellow. Time to make lunch and find my groove...

    In news news, there are three new poems to see...
    Clinging (at Escape Into Life)
    Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water (at Inkscrawl)
    Making Rice Dance (also at Inkscrawl)
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    From Europe 2009 - set 3 - Prague

    Photographer in Prague, 2009

    Maybe people have to go in and out of shadows
    until they learn that floating, that immensity
    waiting to receive whatever arrives with trust.

    zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
    Having been decidedly out of the loop, I learned about Stephen M. Wilson's death on May 22 only yesterday, via Linda D. Addison's preface to the 2013 Dwarf Stars compilation. My first exchange with Stephen was back in 2007, his first year of co-editing the anthology.

    He was amused to hear that my microcosms honoraria were enough to cover a couple of beers. He published ten pieces by me, including this one:

    zirconium: French word for "light" (on wall of Cheekwood Mansion) (lumière)
    [a first draft -- sparked by Luisa A. Igloria's photo In the Turkish Coffeeshop]

    On the wall of a friend's garage,
    antique Post-its, laminated for posterity
    by layers of packing tape,
    detail how to keep the door happy,
    in a language we eventually
    deciphered as Turkish.
    We first told the translator
    Dikkat yilda 2 kaz,
    which yielded care
    of two geese per year,

    which sounded (sadly)
    a touch too fairy-tale,
    so then we tried Dikkat
    yilda 2 kez yapilacak
    which generated attention
    to be paid twice a year

    I'm kidding about the "sadly" -- my friend
    would find the tending of geraniums onerous,
    never mind the flappings of fowl. As would I,
    though I've tickled myself these past few days
    thinking, what if our mysterious Turkish mentor
    had indeed meant "geese"? Something as simple
    as "keep the door shut
    so the birds stay warm"
    or perhaps as wild
    as brushing the three finest belly feathers
    across the fringe of a welcome mat
    at least twice a year,
    the better to pay heed
    to what the doors and windows
    let in and keep out --

    visitors, vermin, gusts of air,
    slivers and slabs and slashes of light --
    everywhere I go, within these days of sorrow,
    I cannot help but catch my breath
    at how things fall upon and toward each other:
    At sunlight striking a page or paving stone.
    At how the text tattooed on Jelena's back
    literally met the life-line on my palm
    when I spotted her through a bend.
    At how the leaves
    on the café chandelier
    are casting a wind-knotted veil
    across the face of a queen
    Carla's drawing for a Tarot deck.
    I cannot tell you what the cards will say.
    I cannot promise that the door will last
    even if we lavish upon it the best
    in grease or geese that money can buy.
    Even when we care for things with all our heart
    sometimes they cannot help but fall apart and fall away.
    But though the winds and wolves blow down a hundred houses,
    what is there to do next but to keep paying attention?

    -- pld, 7/16/13
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    As I wait for "Voodoo Blue" to set, a few notes:

    Signal boosting, because she asked: JJ Hunter's How Are You in Haiku

    I have resumed my (somewhat-out-sequence) listening to various episodes of the Moby Dick Big Read, thanks to 7.5 hours on the road today. Melville is both ridiculous and hilarious. I am so glad that I was not his copyeditor.

    My friend Donna has a fine riff about the book over at Radish Reviews. In the meantime, here's one of the passages that cheered me along I-81 today:

    The skeleton dimensions [of a sperm whale] I shall now proceed to set down are copied verbatim from my right arm, where I had them tattooed; as in my wild wanderings at that period, there was no other secure way of preserving such valuable statistics. But as I was crowded for space, and wished the other parts of my body to remain a blank page for a poem I was then composing--at least, what untattooed parts might remain--I did not trouble myself with the odd inches; nor, indeed, should inches at all enter into a congenial admeasurement of the whale.

    Also? Praise be for the recording app on my phone. Listening to Moby Dick sparked some poem ideas (both original and found), as did just having to concentrate on the road (i.e., not having the luxury of scribbling out the simmerings in my head) for 441-odd miles.

    Also? I haven't managed to memorize Modah ani yet, but my thoughts drifted to it a lot during the drive. Sorrow is a sharpener, and so is simply being away from my usual groove. The clouds looked unnaturally picturesque -- there was a weirdly clean upper border to them, as if someone had drawn an exacto blade through part of the sky. There were yellow wildflowers (for whatever values of "wild" you want to ascribe to anything along the highway) near the Tennessee-Virginia border. My thoughts skittered from my parents' ashes to shape-note singing to wondering if I'll ever get to experience an Enfoirés concert in person to my personal boycott of ATP-only tennis tournaments, to sketches of poems I want to finish drafting by September. This wild and precious life. So much to ask about where things are going, including the beloved creatures that have ceased to be on this plane.


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

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