Today's subject line comes from An Extraordinary Adventure Which Befell Vladimir Mayakovksy In A Summer Cottage
, which I recently learned
was the source poem for Frank O'Hara's A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island
. Here's a choice morsel from the Mayakovsky:
Give me tea, poet,
spread out, spread out the jam!
I baked bread tonight, which surprised me by rising higher than I'd expected...
... and provided both satisfaction and entertainment. It smelled good, made the BYM smile, and then there was this:
The BYM: *comes out of the shower, bows to the kitchen counter*
Me: *raises eyebrows to ask, You are genuflecting to the tortillas?
The BYM: It looks like an altar.
OK. There is something of the sun about it. ;)This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152748.html.
Today's subject line is from Destiny Hemphill's "dna is just anotha theory for reincarnation: me, sitting in a burning tree (c. 4063)," which is the featured poem at Poetry Daily
at the moment.
Bloody cough. Bloody heel and shoulder. Bloody paperwork. The BYM is fighting another cold, too. The list goes on. But I happened to catch Tank Ball
reciting a poem about an ex as broken Walmart merch. I found a geocache and treated myself to a latte, which felt very soothing. I bought more avocados and am eating one (wrapped in a flour tortilla, with leftover shallots and soy sauce) as I wind down with turmeric-galangal-honey "tea." I have two big bowls of dough rising, one for bao and one for bread. I received a poetry acceptance. I made inroads on the housework. I took a looooong nap. I heard from people I love. The roads to and from church weren't dangerous. My leggings fit over my laddered tights. And that list goes on as well.This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152528.html.
[Today's subject line is from Frank O'Hara's "Autobiographia Literaria." His Selected Poems
accompanied me to New Orleans.]
There is an avocado lost somewhere in my car, unless it never made it into the shopping bag to begin with. My lungs are still trying to turn themselves inside out, which has precluded attending birthday parties, dances, and the like. There are all sorts of goings-on going on, some which I've managed to tweet
I had an inkling that January was going to be un-fun health-wise on New Year's Day, when I needed a four-hour nap before I got myself and Louise to the lake. But we did get there:
Last month's audition
was successful, so I'll get to sing Monteverdi this July. Tomorrow's anthems include Rollo Dilworth's setting of some lines from Langston Hughes's "Freedom's Plow," and the discussion at Wednesday's rehearsal about the lyrics was intense. (And, you need chops to nail the harmonies, which makes me happy, even though I'll be sucking down honey before, after, and likely during the service to suppress the infernal coughing.) We also sight-read a new arrangement of "Drive the Cold Winter Away" commissioned for us. (If you had told ten-year-old me that she would get to sing in the very first performances of so many songs, she would have been beside herself with joy. Twenty-year-old me was frustrated about repeatedly failing to make the cut for elite ensembles. Middle-aged me recognizes that I hadn't and haven't put in the time to become the singer twenty-year-old me thought she was, and I'm largely OK with that: I do what I can with the time I feel I can spare. Which applies to nearly every other category of my life, for that matter.
Speaking of music, this video of Live from Here's Kansas City show
includes Gaby Moreno singing/rapping lead on "Dance or Die" and Chris Thile breaking down "I Say a Little Prayer." Good stuff.
I burned my left thumb cooking some sad carrots tonight, but ice has minimized the damage, and the carrots (and crispy tofu, and brown rice, and reheated stew) turned out OK. I attempted vegan benne wafers earlier this week; waferness was not achieved, so I will try another recipe and/or a hotter oven next time. Tomorrow, I will experiment with pork and cabbage bao. (My donations to the church auction included a Year of the Earth Pig dinner for four. It raised $180.)
Speaking of party prep, it's time for me to tackle the ironing and mending piles. In the meantime, here's a glimpse of an Edward Gorey panel someone affixed to the inside of a Little Free Library on Eastland:This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/152241.html.
- Music:Live from Here covering Janell Monae's "Dance or Die"
So, the show
that hoovered up many of my waking hours (as well as hefty chunks of my sleep cycle) this past summer is up, and it's splendid. And me and my frock received many compliments throughout the day, and I dealt capably, competently, and/or creatively with assorted wrinkles and monkey wrenches prairie-dogging me through this and that ...
.. and then came home, and
dealt with more mayhem, including the cooking of chicken livers, and then the BYM came home.
BYM [peering suspiciously at the stove]: Is that organ meat?
Me [after wincing during a hug, points to blister on collarbone]: Burned myself.
BYM: How did you manage that?
Me: Flying organ meat blood.
On a slightly less ridiculous note, here are two glimpses of the dancing at last month's Fandango
. I'm wearing a short white lace dress and long white leather gloves.A New LeafMarjorie's Sou'westerThis entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/151385.html.
Between the host's TV (on until 4 a.m. or thereabouts) and the neighbor's lawnmower (running at 8 a.m.), I didn't get as much sleep as I'd hoped, but there is coffee and almond cake right now (sparklepoints
to Past Me for packing the latter), and there will be craic and napping later. Plus my 5 a.m. rummaging through my luggage revealed that neither the jewelry case nor croakie I had planned to pack were actually with me, which is vexing but far from insurmountable, and now that I know they are not here, I am not frantically hunting through my things right now for the earrings I'd planned to wear this morning, and the 5 a.m. start I will have to make to get to Columbus (for whitewater rafting) will be a tad less fraught as well.
Last night's program included "Hambleton's Round-O," which is the absolute favorite dance of an otherwise stately gentleman I met two Playfords ago (he gushed
at length about it during the after-party); I didn't see him in the hall last night, but I was thinking of him fondly as I twirled with Luanne and gently tried to help newer dancers through it. The dance that's in my
head is Rosamond's Pond
(*), which took me more than few minutes to get the hang of, but oh my heart, the tune. And oh, the connection to be enjoyed with people who know how to take their time and "use the music to its fullest," as callers are wont to say.
(* Apparently named after a spot with quite a bit of history
...)This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/151082.html.
Back in February, I succumbed to a Southwest special offer and decided to fly to Atlanta for this year's Fandango
, and to take the extra days dictated by the sale rate to poke around and see some friends, which rarely happens if I'm carpooling or zipping in just for the dancing. There was some second-guessing in the months since, but I left the arrangements alone, and last night I knew I'd made the right call: I'd needed the whole day to get various things closer to a not-fretting-about stage, from moving a dozen pepper plants from vases into pots to shredding chicken into freezer bags.
The Lyft driver and I chatted about her toddler's love of drawing, which led to me urging her to visit Martin ArtQuest, the terrific, materials- and activity-stocked kids' space
at the museum where I work. We also chatted about theater -- she was a stage manager, I was a techie. At the airport, I treated myself to a 15-minute chair massage, after which the therapist couldn't help asking, "What are you doing to yourself!?" (Knots galore.) On the plane, I scored an exit row seat and dove into Laura Jacobs's CELESTIAL BODIES: LOOKING AT BALLET. My bookmarks so far include these sentences:
Once the shoe is put on, it awakens. The moist heat of the dancer's foot warms the layers of glue that stiffen the box and the shoe becomes one with the foot.
What I was not expecting, in this shift to vacation mode, was getting hit with childhood memories. As the plane left Nashville, the lights below reminded me of how excited I was during my first trip to Atlanta, on a business trip with my father. I was six or seven years old. We were on an upper floor of a tall hotel, and when I wasn't sneak-zooming ahead in my English textbook (*), I couldn't stop staring at all the beautiful lights of the city, and desperately wanting to keep that view with me.
Like then, like now, ordinary cameras don't capture the magic of so many lights
. It was an unexpected melange of emotions to deal with -- really enjoying being an adult (no one stopping me from reading as much as I want, with drink coupons paying for grapefruit vodka [meh] and sparkling wine) while at the same time having flashbacks back to when I was in pigtails -- and also to about 2002, which is when I made several trips to Atlanta to attend workshops and visit Rancho Lesbiano. Rereading old entries
about those trips (especially The Dinner Party) has reminded me not only that I used to blog way more regularly and in way more detail, but that I enjoy revisiting such details, and it's on me to make that possible. (Badsnake and I are meeting for dinner next week. The internet is a cesspool, and the internet is also freaking fabulous magic.)
Decatur also contains memories of the year the BYM lived here (attending motorcycle mechanic school) -- and also of walking along this same stretch of Ponce de Leon (where I've spent most of today) with Honorary Mama a few years ago, when I drove her here to visit her children. The cafe where I've taken refuge (less crowded and more air than the library) this past hour is an outpost of Nashville's Pinewood Social (which I didn't know had expanded), including the Crema counter. The illustrations on the wall facing me are of tree branches and of cross-sections of a trunk. They look a bit like prints of a scarred fingertip.
Speaking of the pleasures of adulthood, it is now happy hour. Time for me to head to the Iberian Pig. :)
* Strictly forbidden by the grade-school teacher in question, but I was SO BORED and there was so little to read, both at school and at home, so I gobbled up all the stories while on the trip, and then pretended they were new to me the rest of the year. I might be more than a little bitter about how me being "gifted" was a something for those teachers to tame rather than feed -- especially now that I realize that other girls had to accept and conform to that crap.This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/150933.html.
Today's subject line comes from Muriel Rukeyser's Effort at Speech Between Two People
, which I loved when I first read it at age 16 in John Frederick Nims's Western Wind
, and had a sudden urge to reread just before I went to bed.
This week, I am giving thanks for nipple covers. Sports bra --> zit --> yeowch. Also, they're handy on "where the hell are all my bras and socks" mornings, which have a way of corresponding with clusters of 13-hour days.
I am also giving thanks for the shower rod that indeed required no tools to install, for fun stamps
, for Dorothy Parton singing with Sia, for Garden & Gun
(that "Good Dog" column gets me every time), for seedless mandarins,
I am mystified by gas jugs showing up out of nowhere, how to fold Louise-du-Ha! Ha! properly, why my heel still hurts, where I last put my dance shorts, how I became someone hunting for shorts four hours before a flight -- and quick-pickling peppers three hours before same.
OK, that last one isn't a mystery: I come from peasant stock, and salvaging/preserving anything remotely harvestable is what we do.This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/150560.html.
I was drawn into Christian Wiman's "He Held Radical Light" excerpt
at Poetry Daily earlier today because I became curious about where he was going after calling a good chunk of another writer's body of work "flavorless as old oatmeal." But the part where I sat up straight was when my own dour mutterings about eventual nothingness ("Look, I'm not going to get wound up about not getting anywhere with x when humans are going to be extinct within a few hundred years...") suddenly showed up on my screen like a mirror:
Nothing survives, I suddenly realized. Dante, Virgil, even sweet Shakespeare, whose lines will last as long as there are eyes to read him, will one day find that there are no eyes to read him. As a species, we are a microscopic speck of existence, which, I have full faith, will one day thrive without us.
Still, abstract oblivion is a small shock as shocks go. When over lunch one day my friend and then poet laureate Donald Hall turned his Camel-blasted eighty-year-old Yeti decrepitude to me and said as casually as he bit into his burger, "I was thirty-eight when I realized not a word I wrote was going to last," I felt a galactic chill, as if my soul had chewed tinfoil. I was thirty-eight. It was the very inverse of a calling, an ex post facto feeling of innocence, death's echo. In a flash I knew it was true, for both of us (this is no doubt part of what he was telling me), and yet the shock was not in that fact but in the nearly fifty years of further writings Don had piled on top of that revelation. "Poetry abandoned me," he writes in his little masterrpiece Essays After Eighty, the compensatory prose of which is so spare and clear it seems inscribed on solitude itself. If there were any justice in the world, this book would be read by my great-great-great-granddaughter as she gets ready to die. But of course there is no justice in the world.
I submitted two new poems today. I filed a rejection for four others, and made notes about a handful more to craft by the end of the month if mind and fingers and electronics cooperate. And, like quite a few other locals, I could not resist whisking out my phone yesterday when I saw this from the parking lot at work:
My being in the parking lot at that point was a compromise -- because of bloody honking deadlines needing to be met, I stayed at the office past the point of getting to the dance lesson on time, but I did go to the lesson, which ended up being a fine time -- the group was practicing "St. Margaret's Hill" when I arrived, and there was enough room in the studio for me to walk through the figures on my own. The rep for the rest of the evening included "Miss De Jersey's Memorial" (the dance of the month), "Kelsterne Gardens" (as a 4-couple dance), "Key to the Cellar" and several others in Scottish sets, "The Introduction" (which I requested after we collectively struggled with right and left diagonals during "The Weevil"), "The Young Widow" (which I requested when given three dances to choose from because it was the one I hadn't done yet), and "Bonny Cuckoo." We talked about regional differences/practices, including "the Philadelphia rule," which is when you're not the caller of the dance, shut up
and don't "correct" the person who is
leading the dance if no one is about to get hurt. Very sensible people, those Philadelphians.
I am too tired at the moment to be sensible, so while I knew full well that I needed to sit tail in chair and fingers to laptop to get to bed earlier, I went ahead with baking a cake
(along with chicken that needed to be roasted sooner than later) and scrubbing this and that. Pacing will out. Anyhow, there are worse fates than snacking on chicken skins and listening to Monteverdi
while editing docs on Italian art...This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/150273.html.
[Today's subject line is from Mika's We Are Golden
Work out. Decide against buying fancy soap on sale. (Points to me.) Work. Swear at VPN fail. Clean. Correspond. Cook beef shanks with chicken and jasmine rice and assorted spices and frozen spinach. More cleaning. Extended chat with service provider over billing/cancellation issue. More correspondence...
Sleep for 11 hours. Fry pancakes. Clean. Card-writing. Log receipts. More birddogging of provider, this time on the phone. Recognize two of the musicians in Dark Carnival (guest band in "Says You" rerun) as members of Bare Necessities (renowned English country dance ensemble). Begin loading car to escape neighborhood before game traffic ties up outbound routes. Swear at drippy remnants of lunch leftovers I'd forgotten to take in. Clean up gross drippiness and line surfaces with tote bags. Load rest of things to shlep.
Head to suburb to pick up lantern (for winter paddling, after sundown). Stop at JVI Secret Gardens to pick up more soil (no one at the till, because a baby duck had shown up. This is not so usual for Dickerson Pike...). I also grin at the car I parked next to, which is plastered in humanitarian stickers (including the same Amnesty International decal I have on mine) ... and one of "Basic Snape
," which makes me laugh my ass off (and order copies for friends as soon as I get home).
Head to lake. Car-powered pump fails to work -- Kaylen at Nashville Paddle to the rescue. She's whom I went out specifically to see in any case, since today I am dressed for quality time in as well as on the water (unlike the kayak lesson I had with her earlier this month, which was sandwiched between work and rehearsal, with heavy rain less than a mile away):
The timing is perfect -- the other women in the group are more interested in photographing one another and chilling in the cove, which means Kaylen is free to demo the two self-rescue moves, and then to sympathize as I struggle through them. After smashing my chest against the edge of the kayak several times, I swear to get serious about building arm strength. But I do ungracefully manage to complete each one, and Kaylen and I then joke about how it's going to look when I next borrow a yak and try practicing them 30x (i.e., dealing with passers-by who don't realize I'm messing around on purpose, the better to deal with messy situations on real trips).
A family on the bank plays a bunch of Latin tunes, and I dance-bounce to them. Kids in a kayak shout, "Nice moves!"
I cannot resist hacking at some weeds, the better to harvest more peppers and take in one of the Julia Child roses:
Clean. Cook (flounder and corn with leftover rice and the first of the peppers). Clean. This has been a summer of finding weird stuff left in books and binders: Two TBI ID cards from a couple of decades ago. (Irony: I bought the book for a friend hospitalized for an illness exacerbated by government issues. Cue grim jokes about how government has a way of exacerbating things even at the best of times, which are most certainly not these.*) A phone message slip, possibly from before I was born. Four postcards pasted onto two sheets of notebook paper: Edinburgh Castle's Stone of Destiny, Minnesota Boundary Waters, Hotel Viktoria Hasliberg, and Brough of Birsay.
Ahead: Tea. Work. A rose I shall sniff from time to time. Sleep.
* Related story -- last year I had a biopsy done for some mysteriously inflamed tissue, and I reported to a friend the results: "In a nutshell: it's not cancer. They don't know what specifically caused it, but my body has a history of overreacting to irritants, and that is basically what's been going on." The friend promptly responded, "Since last november we're all reacting to one very large irritant, so it's no surprise."This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/150122.html.