30 Jan 2012, 4:20pm

In-Between Times

hello from the lost
Saying hello or goodbye?

Still thinking about the dumbing down that comes from the 5-paragraph essay, the guideline for orderliness and logic that can shut out some explorations and conclusions. It’s kind of like going thru a stack of resumes and throwing out those that didn’t use the requested font or margins. It makes the process of getting an end-product simpler but doesn’t make for better results.

What doesn’t fit a poem, a post, a photo, a conversation can be the important elements that get deflected out by format.

deep snow
It’s easy to get buried up to your lampshade in details of procedure that are meant to aid not bury and prevent.

Like a compliment or air-clearing you do, have but it’s never a good time and place as if that could be an excuse to prevent one from doing something worthwhile.

The default mode of anything is superficial, unless you choose to make it otherwise. Getting into the key nubs, the underlying crux, that takes hard work and insight and risk of failure.

snowy afternoon monks
Sometimes you have to throw off what’s done or sensible to see and see the monks in the snow.

There have been many heartening phrases over the last few days, one being Ruth Ann greeting the audience with “ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between”. A little concrete under the feet under the snow and the slip into between things without that being a threat.

Acknowledging ideas which aren’t a tidy purpose and category but is the majority seems a route to not feeling battered on all sides by automaton autopilot sloganeering of what is good and bad and other false dichotomies.

Quote: “In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.” ~ Thích Nhat Hanh

27 Jan 2012, 5:18pm
1 comment

Changes on the Homefront

It’s been a busy day week month term half year. I don’t post much, partly because of the demoralizing trait of WP to not autosave often enough, and I finish one and I press publish but it’s logged me out and I lose it. (There’s MarsEdit to avoid that but I have it and don’t use it. I could compose in a text program. I could copy to clipboard all before, but I forgot, again. It’s all in the wrist and rest.) We’re always starting again anyway. So to start again.

It’s been quite a week in the kitchen front. We got our countertop in. Our kitchen sink is is with a tap and plumbing! We have a washing machine with power that makes blinkies go and water hook up so it washes instead of just sitting there looking pretty. We have a stovetop. We have closet shelving in.

Most recently we got a new printer. I’ve been without one for a few months, and we’ve been without a stove for a a month, but unlike stubbing a baby toe, neither has show the indispensability so much as how basics can be worked around.

Plus it always causes a good laugh for he who knows how much time I spend on a computer, how I do readings off of screens, and then see me bring a poem to workshop that I’ve handwritten various copies of.

My office is set up. It was set up but now it’s rearranged and refined to be set up better. There’s more to do. For example, Some book sections only went in by topic not by alphabetical. A light bulb blew in the shelves. It’s surprising how much contentment a light bulb brings. Finally a light bulb replaced at the back door. Surely the satisfaction of an Emmy couldn’t be as big as this. Awards can be fixed, but burnt out lights being fixed is a whole higher level of success.

Speaking of satisfying,
Call Me Katie
Call Me Katie kicked of the first Versefest fundraiser almost a week ago.

Brigette DePape
Brigette DePape was one of the readers, having returned from COP where Canada’s top-down policy was insistent on pulling out of the common sense conservative aims of Kyoto. She has a sparkling energy. She told a story of blue corn in a poem that is memorable in the way you remember things that are good without remembering a blessed useful part of it.

Things what are good? A sweet friend passed this encouraging ad for Dr. Pepper. But more for unity and hope. That can sell far better than sex in this depressed age.

Quote: “The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to
act.” ~ Barbara Sher

Emblematic of?

Since I was a child I’ve dislike the idea of animal representations put to use for people, for example, elephants to hold up glass table tops seems cruel as an idea, even if they aren’t real elephants nor a real burden to a sentient being.

While I don’t mind fabric prints of a ducks on a cloth potholder, I don’t like silicon froggie potholder where the mouth holds the hot part of the pot. It seems not fun, but nasty.

Wonder how much resistance to animal image traces back to a Baptist congregation where one wasn’t to display images or representations as that could lead or be idolatry or distraction from god, or worse, like-minded with the lost Catholics? Or if things got really bad, cheerfulness and dancing like the Pentecostals. I jest, slightly. I never could reconcile while it was wrong upstairs but in the basement sunday school mandates we color images. It probably contributed to my running parallel systems in my head.

Slippers were a conundrum. I dislike the idea of leather. Leather seems more uncomfortable as a choice than petroleum pumped, chemically tweaked and spun and woven into fibres. What an odd world. With polyester fibre, the fibre may long outlast me. The plush slippers that were rhinos with an interior of red seemed gory tho. (I’m too sensitive for my own good sometimes.)

The symbolism of fun slippers, to walk in the idea of animal as foot servant. I was unsure but I can embrace it — the idea of being a pretend bird is better than to wear “neutral” slippers that were actual china-raised animals, dying then drying, and people dying them festive garish pastels, purples and pinks. It seems a disrespect to the dead to use the materiality of the body for decoration. Use, sure. Admiration, ok, but $7 disposable-marketed frivolity seems wrong in so many direction.

put your best bird forward
Put your best bird forward.

A linen that deteriorates seems more right. How many civilizations rose and fell without a trace because they left no footprints, making intricate craft, art, housing, all of materials that quickly sunk back into the earth? Ah, people.

I’m Human, a film by Liberty Middle School

What does it mean to be human? at Brainpickings:

[Joanna] Bourke uses the Möbius strip as the perfect metaphor for deconstructing the human vs. animal dilemma. Just as the one-sided surface of the strip has “no inside or outside; no beginning or end; no single point of entry or exit; no hierarchical ladder to clamber up or slide down,” so “the boundaries of the human and the animal turn out to be as entwined and indistinguishable as the inner and outer sides of a Möbius strip.”

I wonder if the blackout of Wikipedia had any effect on people moving off their reliance on the tool as the first-only go-to source for info. Should it be down permanently…but then I’m always happiest with Plan B, C-E.

Quote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary
depends upon his not understanding it.” ~ Upton Sinclair

17 Jan 2012, 12:20pm
General Photos Poem Drafts

Right as Rain, Sure as Snow

snow in our tree
If one can be right as rain, what would it be, to be snow? Sure and steady?

A poem draft from this morning:

down feathers without the coat

fallen for a mile and caught
feet from the ground by a noose
of tips of limbs. the implausibly thin
stacked snow is piled, looking
something like peace or like
at least, containment, almost
contentment but not quite.

it is what the squirrels will
knock off as they chase off
their frisky season, their
forty four days of gestation.
they’ve each only got two dozen
shots at this breeding thing.
better scatter the snow faster,
hop, hop, hop to higher branches
until the whole tree is knocked
as clean as a rain might do.

My newest post is up at Local Tourist Ottawa on the SLOWest Coffeehouse SLOWest (Sustainable Living Ottawa West) on music and community.

Quote: “Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be
silly at the right moment.” ~ Horace

Seeking the Sweetest Spots

snow again
Deep thick snow.

It is rather a pleasure to shovel. It’s good to balance book work with body work.

I’m trying to keep life balanced and be productive which shouldn’t be a paradox, right?

A friend extended the parable of spoons to consider the other half of the equation. If energy is spoons, and you have limited number, you can watch how you use your spoons, yes, but also, consider, what washes your spoons? What renews your energy? Rest, eating, sleep, laughter, good friends, finding the workflow to ride, pleasures of mind and body. Part of the equation is doing things you feel worthwhile.

Coming this week: Collected Works chapbook launch. Air Out/In Air: 21 Poets for the Guatamala Stove Project is the chapbook I edited, designed and published for proceeds to building stove in Guatemala. So far two families are now so equipped thanks to people buying poetry. This seems like good energy towards good energy.

This round will have readings by Amanda Earl, Mike Montreuil, Allison Armstrong, Luminita Suse, and rob mclennan. What a lovely position to be in to publish poets and poems that I admire. And to do so with groups I enjoy. In this case Collected Works, an indie bookstore which in the time of closures is growing, not shrinking.

A second reading in April will have different readers including Czandra from Quebec, Monty Reid and Shai Ben Shalom. In this case it will be with SLOWest (Sustainable Living, Ottawa West) who have monthly coffeehouses to bring the old salon feel and social justice, entertainment and community under one roof, at Bridgehead.

Coming on Tuesday, January the 24th is the official Ottawa launch of Thirsts at Tree. (Somehow in the mad shuffle of fall, we aren’t getting around to this until now.) I believe this is the day that Tree unveils the winner of the chapbook competition as well for new writers. Also on the 24th at the Tree workshops we’ll do an editing round where people bring in two unrelated poems and we pillage them for parts to mash up and make a third new salvage operation poem. Hopefully the parts will exceed the original two wholes.

Friday is the Ottawater launch and Saturday is the Ottawa Women’s poetry slam. Then things slow down for a while for special event. March 2 when I read at VERSeFest. The versefest site launched a couple days ago announcing the who, when and wheres.

Watching my energies but I should remember I don’t have to. My body will tap my shoulder. It has no compunction about doing so.

Quote: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” ~ Anatole France in The Red Lily, 1894 [via Mandy Hiscocks]

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