“EITHER PEACE OR HAPPINESS, LET IT ENFOLD YOU” ~ CHARLES BUKOWSKI, FROM “LET IT ENFOLD YOU”
(Thought I had scheduled this the other day, but found it in my drafts folder. Sorry.)
Friday afternoon, cloudy, 83 degrees.
Happy Birthday Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920-March 9, 1994). I thought that I’d post a video with the poet reading his own work, and then I found the second video, with a bit of conversation and very cool graphics, so I’m including that as well.
“And I am all the things I have ever loved: scuppernong wine, cool baptisms in silent water, dream books and number playing. I am the sound of my own voice singing . . . I am not complete here; there is much more, but there is no more time and no more space . . . and I have journeys to take, ships to name, and crews.” ~ Toni Morrison, from the jacket cover of The Black Book
Sunday afternoon, sunny, warmer, 86 degrees.
We recently lost an icon in the literary sphere: Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford February 18, 1931-August 5, 2019). Novelist, essayist, editor and professor emirutus at Princeton University, Morrison (88), was the only African American writer and one of the few women to have received the Nobel prize for literature (1993). Among her other awards were the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1988 and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon in 1977.
The Guardian‘s obituary offers a comprehensive look at her incredible oeuvre, and The Boston Herald ran an op ed by Joyce Ferriabough Bolling on August 11 that focuses more on Morrison’s incomparable literary abilities: “The quiet power of her prose was like a tsunami sweeping you to other dimensions — and sometimes you never saw it coming.”
Newsweek published an article that includes some of the renowned author’s best quotes. Here is a selection from her 1993 Nobel Prize lecture, powerful words that are incredibly significant still today:
The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek – it must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language – all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.
. . . Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon’s hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow. We know you can never do it properly – once and for all. Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul. You, old woman, blessed with blindness, can speak the language that tells us what only language can: how to see without pictures. Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.
“They say I’m a bitch. Or witch. I’ve claimed the same and never winced.” ~ Sandra Cisneros, from “Loose Woman”
Tuesday afternoon, cloudy, 81 degrees.
I awoke this morning to Sarah Bear (named for Corey’s primary school girlfriend) jumping on me; as usual, she was muddy and wet. In the mornings when they first go out, several of the dogs run through the pasture, which is heavy with morning dew. Sarah always seems to be the one who winds up getting the dirtiest, and her favorite thing to do once she comes back inside is to jump on me. So I greet most days smelling of wet dog. It’s very sexy.
There’s so much that I want to do around the house today. Who knows how much of it I will actually be able to accomplish. Just cleaning up after the goats can be a twenty-four-hour chore (I so look forward to the day when the goat boys go outside once Zeke is weaned). One day I won’t have to worry about the constant influx of dirt and mud on the hardwood floors. One day we’ll have crushed shells or gravel on the driveway, and the horses and goats won’t have the front yard as their personal spaces. One day.
Corey comes home tomorrow. I hope that he gets a fairly early start so that he doesn’t get home as late as he did last time. The later it gets, the more that it stresses me out. I can’t wait for him to see how full the apple trees have become. We’re unsure as to what kind each tree is; I just know that the horses and goats are enjoying the apples that I’m giving them as treats, but truly there are way more than we thought we’d get this year as the trees really need to be pruned and fertilized properly.
Also, I made some homemade syrup for the hummingbird feeder, and they are flocking to it. We have about six regulars, including two male ruby-throated hummers. Anyway, that’s today’s news.
Today’s Two for Tuesday features two works, a passage and a poem, by multi-hyphenate Sandra Cisneros. She has won numerous awards, including NEA fellowships in poetry and fiction, and a National Medal of the Arts from President Obama. I have several of her books on my wishlist. If you would like to learn more about this incredibly talented writer, go here.
More later. Peace.
from “A House of My Own”
As a Latina, I don’t want to inherit certain legacies. I don’t want to inherit mothers laying down their lives like a Sir Raleigh cloak and asking everyone to step all over them. I don’t want to inherit my mother’s fear of doing anything alone or her self-destructive anger. I don’t want to inherit my paternal grandmother’s petty jealousies and possessiveness I don’t want to inherit my maternal grandmother’s silence and passivity I don’t want to quedar bien, be nice, with the men around me at the expense of my own dreams and happiness I don’t want to be the mother of twelve children, seven, five, even one, but I do want to write stories for one child, five, seven, twelve, a million children.
I do want to inherit the witch in my women ancestors—the willfullness, the passion, ay, the passion where all good art comes from as women, the perseverance, the survivor skills, the courage, the strength of las mujeres bravas, peleoneras, necias, berrinchudas. I want to be bad if bad means I must go against society—el Papá, el Pápa, the boyfriend, lover, husband, girlfriends, comadres—and listen to my own heart, that incredible witch’s broom that will take me where I need to go.
I’m convinced if we’re to be artists of any worth we must lock ourselves in a room and work. There are no two ways around this one, no shortcut, no magic word to save the day. Take it as a given, you’ll cry, despair, think you’ll die, that you can’t possibly do it, that it’s a lonely task, you’ll lose faith in yourself, especially at night. But when you finish crying and despairing, you can wipe your eyes and . . . the work is still there waiting. So you better roll up your sleeves and get moving, girl! Nobody’s going to do the work for you. If you’re serving others other than your art, then it just takes longer. In the words of Tillie Olsen, “Evil is whatever distracts.”
Night Madness Poem
There’s a poem in my head
like too many cups of coffee.
A pea under twenty eiderdowns.
A sadness in my heart like stone.
A telephone. And always my
night madness that outs like bats
across this Texas sky.
I’m the crazy lady they warned you about.
The she of rumor talked about –
and worse, who talks.
It’s no secret.
I’m here. Under a circle of light.
The light always on, resisting a glass,
an easy cigar. The kind
who reels the twilight sky.
I’m witch woman high
on tobacco and holy water.
I’m a woman delighted with her disasters.
They give me something to do.
A profession of sorts.
Keeps me industrious
and of some serviceable use.
In dreams the origami of the brain
opens like a fist, a pomegranate,
an expensive geometry.
I haven’t a clue
why I’m rumpled tonight.
Choose your weapon.
Mine – the telephone, my tongue.
Both black as a gun.
I have the magic of words,
the power to charm and kill at will.
To kill myself or to aim haphazardly.
And kill you.
“Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.” ~ Charles Percy Snow
Wednesday afternoon, sunny, 80 degrees.
So yesterday while I was in the kitchen, one of the goat boys knocked my laptop onto the floor, and now I have a major problem. I cannot get the mouse to work, and the screen keeps going in an out. I have to physically move it incrementally until it comes back. This is more fun than I can possibly express.
I had to complete an online form for my long-term disability coverage, and without a mouse, I had to rely on the touch screen. If the screen isn’t working correctly, using the touch screen to select a microscopic dot becomes an exercise in futility at best, and akin to pulling out eyelashes at worst.
So the only good thing about today is that it’s lovely outside. I’m inside. Sitting here at the only computer that I have access to . . . while the goats practice jumping on things, like my coffee table. Their banishment to the outside cannot come soon enough for me. They’re wonderfully cute when they are a week old, cuddly and quiet, needing only food and love. Give them a few weeks and they are pure hellions who want to have sex with anything vertical, including my legs.
“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” ~ Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple
I’ve had the Mueller hearings playing in the background all day as I was unable to watch them on TV. I don’t know why I do this to myself; it only makes my blood pressure rise.
I’ve thought for over a week that I had my mammogram appointment today, but guess what . . . it was on Tuesday. Now I need to reschedule. Again. I really don’t know how I keep doing this. I guess it’s a good thing that I missed it because Corey and I both thought that we had appointments that were only an hour apart, and it takes a frigging hour to get anywhere from here. Turns out his appointment was rescheduled as well. So no appointments today. Hooray?
I know. I know. I wanted to move away from the city. That doesn’t mean that I like the distance from convenience. Whatever.
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” ~ J. K. Rowling, from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I do have good news, though: Napoleon is back home, and he and Sassy are getting along just fine. He got out of the trailer and immediately walked to the gate for the pasture and walked down to the pond. It was as if he was making sure everything was where it was supposed to be. We had no problems getting him to get in or out of the trailer, even though the guy who had taken him from Dallas’s house said that they had a horrible problem getting him into their trailer. I told Corey that it was because Napoleon didn’t know them; the same thing happened when Dallas tried to get him in the trailer—he really didn’t want any part of it.
Apparently, several people had their eyes on Napoleon, trying to make claims on him. He really is quite a beautiful stallion, so I can understand that people wanted him, but he’s mine, all mine. He came to me as soon as I walked towards him in the pasture. Unlike Sassy, he has no problem with being nuzzled. I missed him so much. Wherever Dallas is now, I hope he sees that I got my horse back despite his best efforts to keep him from me.
Look Dallas! I got my horse, in spite of you! Ha. Ha.
Yes. I’m vindictive. Sometimes. So sue me. But I wouldn’t suggest crossing me today as I’m full of piss and vinegar. It’s a combination of having a broken computer that is working but not working and listening to stupid people pose impossibly stupid questions.
I’m not even going to try to include images with this post as it would be near impossible to do without my trusty mouse. One of these days, my desk will be set up, and I will have more control over my life. Maybe once Corey gets back from Ohio. Who knows. Certainly not I.
“……………But mine is darker, slanted, nitrous blue at the root,
an acrostic of what is most free and far.” ~ Joanna Klink, from “Aubade”
Tuesday late morning, cloudy and humid, 80 degrees.
It’s interesting living in a house during the summer without an air conditioner. It would be impossible in Norfolk, where the summer humidity hovers between 90 and 100 percent. But it’s not bad here, except when doing something physical, like cleaning. Then it becomes impossible. Nevertheless, I like the fact that we’re not adding to global warming even though that’s not why we don’t have AC.
Unfortunately, I’m still not venturing outside much except to help Corey milk Penny the goat. We don’t have a milking stand, so I hold her and soothe her as he milks, and when I come back inside, I am covered in bites. Once we have a stand, the whole milking process should improve. It will be good when the pasture is finally divided and fenced so that I can reclaim the front yard from the animals. Truly, it looks as if a barnyard out there, and there is no escape from the no-seeums that plague my body with bites.
Today’s poems are by American poet Joanna Klink. Both are entitled “The Graves.” I have included links to the sites on which I found the poems. I love the following passage in which Klink talks about why she writes poes:
“In poems I am trying to find my bearings through a world that at times feels remote and inchoate and struck blank with noise. I would like to place myself in a field of deep attention, and out of that attention come to feel and regard with more acute understanding what is there. I write to be less hopelessly myself, to sense something more expansive than where I speak from.”
Wind for your sickness.
The moon for your sickness.
…….A river of night- …….trees. Mossy patches
where something recently slept.
A hand-drawn sketch of
fish for your sickness,
…….red and ghost- …….loamed. From your mother,
for your sickness, a late
flock of snow-geese
swept up in a gust.
…….From your father, a cave …….of violas in luminous …….pitch. For the panic
desolation. For scratchy bed-
sheets, the gathering of tumors,
a dispensation traveling in
…….far-nesses across the …….galaxy-quiet of what is
to come. Dark-sunned,
you are swimming in schools.
…….For the despairing quality of …….hospital fluorescence,
the secondhand alarm—
theft of time theft of
…….hope. The messages …….arrive like flowers.
For the common un-
contested light of dusk.
For tobacco moths
…….in clouds of wings at …….the door. For the dawn-
emotion, a calm-in-vastness
that descends upon
what is. Upon the storm-
…….tangle of branches, wing- …….veins and hand-veins …….shadow-shown on that pale
skin of sky. Too stone for
fear. Too brittle for
…….findings. From the powers that, …….born on the site of sorrow,
fall in strands of smoke
across your sickness,
for your sickness,
…….and carry and keep you. …….That would keep you here.
I have had to spend way too much time trying to fix my main drafts post in which I collect quotes and poems until I have an appropriate post in which to place them. For some reason, my WordPress switched to Block Editor, which I have no fricking idea how to use easily or effectively.
So once again I tried a forum fix to revert to old fashioned Classic Editor, but of course, it did not work, at least not exactly as explained. When I opened this main draft, all of the formatting between quotes and line breaks was gone, and if you know anything about poetry, including the proper line breaks is kind of important. I don’t even want to talk about how long fixing all of this actually took.
Yesterday, I gave up in the middle because with the script problem, moving things around was taking way too long I decided that today I would fix the damned thing no matter how much pain and anguish it caused me………..
So here I am. Finally.
I really, really hate how thing have been going in just about every compartment of my life. And my horse still isn’t home. Sucks to be me.
Music by Arctic Monkeys, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” (Tame Impala cover)—I know that it’s a rare repeat. Don’t care. Sue me.