Jon Stewart Used the Word Draconian. Perfect. Embedding the video? Not so perfect.

“Mayor Bloomberg’s large soda ban would combine the draconian government overreach people love with the probable lack of results they expect.” ~ Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” (5-31-2012)

Glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I watched this, but gee, I wish that inserting a video from Comedy Central wasn’t so hard. And gee, I really wish that the videos that I inserted had appeared, but since they didn’t, all I can do is provide the link.

Crap.

Drink Different – Pick Your Poison – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 05/31/12 – Video Clip | Comedy Central.

“This morning I suddenly catch myself: I’m not there, I’m so lost in thought, I don’t know what’s going on around me. Can you think yourself to death?” ~ Anna Kamienska, from A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook

Radio City in the Rain by Randy Le’Moine Photography (FCC)

                   

“Above, clouds like dyed cotton wool hang low, so low I feel I can reach out and squeeze the moisture from them. The new rains will come down soon.” ~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from Purple Hibiscus

Wednesday afternoon. Rainy, cool, and humid.

Florence Night in the Rain by BlackburnPhoto (FCC)

We are feeling the effects of the tropical depression making its way off the coast. It’s been raining steadily since early this morning, which means the dogs go to the door, look outside, and turn around and walk away. The frequent opening and closing of the sliding door has finally taken its toll: the cracked glass on the bottom half fell out onto the steps sometime during the night, which may have been why part of my dream involved the sounds of shattering glass.

The good news is that the glass was taped, so it fell out as almost one piece. The bad news is that I now no longer have the bottom half to the sliding door. The good news is that the wood that Corey put up is still there. The bad news is that its a piece of plywood.

Yes, I can assure you that I am freaking more than a bit over being so exposed. I mean, what good does an alarm system do you if you have plywood for half of the door? Unfortunately, I can do nothing about this until Corey gets home. I haven’t the vaguest idea as to how to begin to fix this problem.

Speaking of fixing problems, I had another long encounter with our cell provider yesterday, which culminated in me telling them that I was taking my business elsewhere because I was so tired of being told something different each time I called. I was completely serious. You would not believe how fast I was transferred to someone who then had magical powers that allowed our account to receive a hefty credit and then just as magically made our monthly bill come down by a nice chunk.

I had heard that if you told a provider that you were seriously thinking of going elsewhere that things might happen, but I never believed it. I do now.

“How many years have slipped through our hands?
At least as many as the constellations we still can identify.
The quarter moon, like a light skiff,
floats out of the mist-remnants
Of last night’s hard rain.
It, too, will slip through our fingers
with no ripple, without us in it.” ~ Charles Wright, from “11”

The unrelenting rain means that the backyard will not be mowed again today. Eldest son has put of doing this part of his assigned chores for days, excuse after excuse, which means that the grass is starting to come up past Alfie’s haunches (he’s the shortest one). I am less than happy about this, but there is nothing to be done as it really is impossible to mow in the rain.

Amsterdam in the Rain by APM Alex (FCC)

But last night—granted, it was a very strange night of ups and downs and very disturbing dreams—last night before the rain I am positive that I heard someone riding down the street on a drive-on lawn mower. The sound went into the park and dissipated and then came back about half an hour later. I wonder if it was someone whose vehicle access has been curbed by a driving infraction? I’ve heard of people who travel by mower, and I’ve seen many people travel by motorized chair, but the sound of a ride-on is unmistakable, and it was one in the morning.

It would be funny if the field next door ended up with crop circles . . . just saying . . .

Anyway, I dreamed a whole host of strange things—that I was working in retail again and my office had glass walls, which bothered me, and then there were crime families involved somehow, and then a man who was following me who submerged himself in mud to hide(???), and I followed him on a bicycle, and then someone shot him, and I wondered how he could still be walking without a head, then there was a basketball game, and a younger woman who lived with us who accused me of starting arguments all of the time and who said that she wouldn’t pay rent because she did too much, and I told her that I wasn’t arguing, that I was just trying to tell Corey about the man, and my mother showed up unannounced and I went into my bedroom and raked everything off the dresser with my arm . . .

Yep . . . busy . . .

“Perhaps it’s true, my happiest moments are the anticipation
of other moments still to come.” ~ Susan Mitchell,  from “Bird: A Memoir”

Well Brett just helped me to clean up as much glass as possible from the falling half pane. He was quite persnickety, as if I had somehow designed this whole task to annoy him. Yes, it’s glass. Yes, big raindrops were falling on our head and down our backs. But no, the magic fairies had no plans to take care of this chore for us, so, what? This is my fault?

Geez.

Storm over Saskatoon by Just a Prairie Boy (FCC)

Of course, the 17 degree drop in temperatures and the barometric shift are wreaking havoc on my sinuses, which feel like someone has pushed pixie straws up my nose and stuck them there with super glue. Like that image?

I try.

I was hoping to bathe the dogs today so that I could put the cone that I bought on Alfie. I bought this dog medicine (recommended by César Milan, dog whisperer, love that guy) that’s supposed to help with hot spots, yeast, wounds, the black plague, no wait, not that one. Anyway, I decided that the price of the medicine was cheaper than a vet’s visit, so I bought that and a cone so that maybe, just maybe, I can get that sore on Alfie’s face to heal. Every time it looks better, he scratches it, and we have to start all over.

I’m hoping this wonder spray also works on Shakes’s hot spots and his ear, but no baths today, or maybe baths later. Who knows. What else is there to do on a rainy day?

“All of our actions take their hue from the complexion of the heart, as landscapes their variety from light.” ~ Francis Bacon

I have a question for you? What is it with people today who no longer feel a need to respond to RSVPs? As far as I know, only three people are coming to the shower. If I planned the menu based on this, I’d just go out and buy a half a dozen cupcakes and a two-liter of soda. I mean, what’s the point?

Taiwan in the Rain by Robert S. Donovan (FCC)

I have a really nice shower planned; I even looked up stupid games to play that were a little different from the ordinary games. I have the stuff for the gift bags. I’ve been picking up pastel serving dishes at Target and WalMart as I come across good buys. So will it be Lex, my mother, and me sitting there looking at each other?

I know that more people are coming, but that contact info on the invitation? It’s not just there so that I can remember my telephone number.

Yep. I’m, being bitchy, but hey, the pixie stick sinus thing, the wet dog smell, the bad dreams, the glass, and no RSVPS ten days before the shower are all combining to vex me mightily. Where are the manners, people? Common courtesy passé, perhaps? Admittedly, my mother was not a social butterfly who passed along those hoity-toity (aside: from the French, haut toit, trans. high roof, as in looking down on) social graces, but she did school me fairly well in the basics—thank you notes, get well cards, RSVPs . .

If she could do it, anyone can.

“I am alone here in my own mind.
There is no map
and there is no road.” ~ Anne Sexton, from “January 24th”

Eamonn got The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in his NetFlix, so I’m looking forward to watching that. Unfortunately, most of my regular shows have had their season endings, which means that the months ahead will be filled with lots of Real Housewives shows and their knockoffs.

Sydney in the Rain

I really want to see Snow White and the Huntsman, but I’ll wait for Corey to get home. I’ve never been a go to the movies by myself kind of person. I don’t think that I’ve ever done that. Corey said that when he was stationed in Michigan on the ice breaker, he used to go to the movies by himself and buy a large popcorn. I think, unfortunately, it’s one of those gender things—not many women feel comfortable sitting in a dark theater by themselves. I could be wrong, but I’m betting not.

When I was a kid, my mom took me to see all kinds of movies, and we always had a great time. First we went in London, and that was when they still had cigarette girls walking the aisles, and I could get one of those orange sodas. Then here there used to be this really nice theater less than three miles from her house. It was called The Garden Theater, and it was close enough that my friends and I would ride our bikes to see movies there. It was big, and they had first-run movies. Now it’s a really dingy thriftstore.

They don’t have theaters like that any more: freestanding, single, large auditoriums. They’re all cineplexes, and most of the time you can hear the movie next door. I miss the big old theaters. I miss drive-ins, too. That was one of the few things we did regularly as a family—Mom, Dad, me, maybe Cathy Weaver, and probably some friends of theirs. Those were good times.

Oh well, time passes, and everything changes, and not necessarily for the better.

More later. Peace.

It’s a Genesis/Phil Collins kind of day, “I Don’t Care Anymore”


                   

For Luck

You know for sure you are lucky.
Luck fills you like the shape of your breath.

Then one day as you are reading it leaves.
It lifts up like the shadow of wings,

With the clean ease of smoke on a cold day.
Your luck is gone. You watch it fly away

Over the tracks, beyond Providence Road
Until it is out of sight. Your luck is gone.

Still somehow you trust tenderness
And all its romance, the fine caress,

The salt on your hands wearing away what they touch.
That is not part of the story.

If I should die, you said in the prayer
You said each night. If I should die before I wake.

You woke and listened again to the bent apple tree,
To the wind work the sweet ache of its load,

To the wren and the air it shivered through.
Luck, like hope, is always hollow-boned. Always

There is an updraft to carry what it can.
What it cannot falls upon your head like a blessing.

~ Eric Pankey

“Insanity Laughs Under Pressure” ~ Freddy Mercury/David Bowie, from “Under Pressure”

I must admit that anytime I hear Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” I am reminded of that poser Vanilla Iced Tea, or whatever his name was, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, but that’s how my mind works.

Anyway, saw this last night, and got a major chuckle:

                  

Lyrics to “Under Pressure”:

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming let me out
Tomorrow gets me higher
Pressure on people – people on streets

Chippin’ around, kick my brains across the floor
These are the days, when it rains it pours
People on streets – people on streets

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming let me out
Tomorrow gets me higher, higher, higher…
Pressure on people – people on streets

Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don’t work
Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn
Why, why, why?

Love
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love..?

‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
and love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure
Pressure

“And don’t play the hero, there is no past or future.” ~ Jorie Graham, from “Spoken from the Hedgerows”

Soldier at the Vietnam Memorial (Wikimedia Commons)

                   

“Beg mercy, beg darkness for obscurity—
We do not comprehend the awe, it comprehends us—” ~ Dan Beachy-Quick, from “Heroisms, 4, 5″

Facing It

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn’t,
dammit: No tears.
I’m stone. I’m flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way–the stone lets me go.
I turn that way–I’m inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap’s white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman’s blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird’s
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet’s image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I’m a window.
He’s lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman’s trying to erase names:
No, she’s brushing a boy’s hair.

~ Yusef Komunyakaa

“I believed that I wanted to be a poet, but deep down I just wanted to be a poem.” ~ Jaime Gil de Bieda

Three-Hundred Degree Panorama of Ancient Theatre at Epidarus, Greece
(source: greeksky.gr)*

                   

“She turned her face seaward to gather in an impression of space and solitude, which the vast expanse of water, meeting and melting with the moonlit sky, conveyed to her excited fancy. As she swam she seemed to be reaching out for the unlimited in which to lose herself.” ~ Kate Chopin, from The Awakening

Sunday, early afternoon. Cloudy, low 80′s.

After I posted on Friday I went on a cleaning binge that didn’t stop until yesterday afternoon. I was feeling hyper and antsy, a bit like I was crawling out of my skin, so I did the floors, cleaned all of the air conditioner vents, bizarre stuff like that, and then yesterday I woke up at 10 and stayed up, making this week the first week in a very long time in which I got up early twice (for me) and stayed up.

Full Moon behind a Frankish Castle at Aliveri, Evia Island
(greeksky)

I know that the previous statement might seem more than a bit strange for people who keep regular hours, and I understand that, especially as a woman who used to get by on five hours of sleep a night, a woman who used to rise at 5 a.m. deliberately, but I am no longer that woman, unfortunately.

Anyway, the house is clean, the laundry is done (except for the bundle of dirty clothes that Eamonn came home and deposited this morning), and I’m still antsy, antsy and aching. So much nervous energy. My big chore for today is to clean off my desk and put away my sweaters, as I’m pretty sure that sweater season is gone.

“All my life I told myself I was light and could soar free of things. I was light and could outrun things. I could fly away and keep flying forever.” ~ Kenneth Oppel, from “Airborn”

Yesterday I read two books, another preposterous statement, but true, nonetheless. First I read one of the books that Brett bought me for M’s day, Jon Winokur’s Advice to Writers, which was a really good read, so glad that it was on my wish list. And then in the evening I read Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen, which I have a vague feeling I may have read before, but I’m not quite sure. It was also a good read, fast-paced and not completely predictable.

Full Moon Rises behind Temple of Poseidon at Sounio, Greece
(greeksky)

Advice to Writers is a compilation of quotes from writers on various aspects of writing—characterization, genre, structure—and writing in general. What I liked the most is that the writers from whom he culled the quotes were varied and not necessarily the ones who are familiar to a general audience, in other words, writers not authors—and there is a difference. Just consider the different between, say, Judith Krantz and Dominick Dunne. Even my mother’s has probably heard of Krantz but would be hard-pressed to identify Dunne.

I underlined and starred passages, and then I passed it along to Brett, who is turning into quite an awesome writer. Perhaps he’ll do what I’ve never done and actually do something with his writing (something other than dedicating himself to a blog, which, granted, is my choice).

“This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Full Moon Reflection on the Water, Greece
(greeksky)

The other day I did something incredibly stupid: I received a text saying that my name had been drawn for a $1,000 gift card to Best Buy. I enter a few contests here and there, mostly radio  contests or the rare contest associated with something like “The Borgias.” I didn’t remember entering a Best Buy contest, but I thought that perhaps Corey had, so I went to the website listed on the text . . .

. . . bad idea. It was a virus. Brett was incredulous. How could I do something like that?

How? perhaps I had hoped that it was a sign that the tide was turning, that our luck was changing. Perhaps it was a pipe dream. I should have known better. I’ve won two contests in my life, and one was for hockey tickets . . .

So anyway, live and learn. I mean, it wasn’t even a case of caveat emptor as I hadn’t bought anything. Lesson: Don’t respond to a text saying that you’ve won a contest you never entered. Wait. That could be a mantra for life, couldn’t it?

“I missed my stop
looking at heartbreak, the sky
almost criminal.” ~ Yusef Komunyakaa, from “NJ Transit”

I discovered Yusef Komunyakaa quite by accident: There used to be a bookstore in the shopping center down the road. It was one of those glorious book stores, filled with stacks and stacks of books. The reality is that it existed mostly because of the porn section, which was behind a swinging door, but I never care about that. If I was diligent, I could almost always leave there with a book of poetry or a journal of some kind, but it meant lots of bending down and sitting on the dusty floor, searching for treasures.

Thunderstorm During Elipse from Ikaria Island at Pezi, GR
(greeksky)

I found my first Anne Rule book there, The Stranger Beside Me, the book about Ted Bundy that made her famous. But I also found so many books by poets I didn’t know. I’d pull them down, create a stack on the floor, and then flip through the pages, reading samples from each. If I was intrigued, I’d purchase.

The books never cost more than $10, and most were only six or seven dollars, never the cover price. I realize now that my bargains were not necessarily boons for the writers, but I like to think that because of these discounted books, I bought more books later, balancing the scales of commerce.

Anyway, I discovered Komunyakaa there. I pulled down the book mostly because of his last name: What kind of name was that? It sounded poetic in itself. And I flipped through the pages of Dien Cai Dau (1988) and found his poem about The Wall in DC, the Viet Nam veterans’ memorial. The poem blew me away.

In 1994 Komunyakaa was awarded the Pulitzer for poetry, just one of his many awards. I would love to hear this man read; I’ve heard that he is incredible in person.

“And when a poet dies, deep in the night
a lone black bird wakes up in the thicket
and sings for all it’s worth.” ~ Miroslav Holub, from “Interferon” (trans. by Dana Habova and David Young)

Moon Behind Mount Olympus (Mitikas)
(greeksky)

The next book on my reading list is A Poet’s Notebook, another one that I learned of via tumblr. I continue to be amazed by the new things that I find on my tumblr dashboard: new poets, new poems, new artists. Truthfully, before I began my tumblr, I had never read any Polish poetry, and very little Russian poetry, something that I am embarrassed to admit.

The scope of world literature has broadened so much in the past few decades, and that’s really a good thing. When I was an undergraduate, the world literature to which we were exposed may have encompassed a narrow spectrum of Europe (Chekhov), perhaps some South Africa (Gordimer), a little South America (Marquez), but certainly not the wide scope of what is included in such courses today.

That makes me sad, in a way. I mean, I used to insist to the students in my literature classes that we were going to study more than the old dead white guy canon, and I tried to include writers and poets from every place and every race, but even then I was limited. The Internet has made so many more writers accessible, which is just one of the reasons why I am so against any kind of Internet censorship or limitation.

I know that I am buying more books by people I’ve only learned of via the Internet solely because of my exposure through venues such as other blogs and tumblr. I wouldn’t be interested in these people were it not for this information highway (which is a term that I find silly, actually). Anyway, the point is that while I understand that the Interwebs contain a lot of bad things, I believe that the good things far outweigh those negative aspects.

Like all of life, it is impossible to have access to the enlightening, the beautiful, the mystical without also allowing access to the ugly, the frightening and the despicable. But there’s that things called free will rearing its head again. The choice is ours.

More later. Peace.

Music by Wilco, “Black Moon”

*All images are taken from greeksky.gr., an absolutely incredible photography site.

                   

Omens

Her eyelids were painted blue.
When she closed her eyes the sea
rolled in like ten thousand fiery chariots,

leaving behind silence above & below
a thousand years old. He stood beneath
a high arched window, gazing out

at fishing boats beyond the dikes, their nets
unfurled, their offshore gestures
a dance of living in bluish entourage.

He was only the court’s chief jester.
What he said & did made them laugh,
but lately what he sometimes thought he knew

could cost him his polished tongue & royal wig.
He was the masked fool unmasking the emperor.
Forget the revelation. Forget the briny sea.

He had seen the ravishing empress naked
in a forbidden pose. Her blue eye shadow.
Aquamarine shells crusted with wormy mud.

Anyway, if he said half of what was foretold,
the great one would become a weeping boy
slumped beneath the Pillars of Hercules.

~ Yusef Komunyakaa