Plot Twists

I haven't seen Biffy since the Birkebiner and now she's pregnant.

Don't tell her I said so, but it's the third that pushed me off the brink.

I've given up trying to keep control.  And when I forget, scolding my son for not practicing, or getting angry at the girls for making a mess of my supplies, or griping at my husband for how he deals with the leftovers, they let me know, quick.

Over coffee, S. tells me that he's come to realize that we are nothing more than manipulations of the government, that the Sixties were just a big plot by the C.I.A to stir the society up.

Of course, I worry that if I don't make the kids clean their rooms and get away from the screens, and write thank you notes, and eat healthy food, that they will turn out to be terrible people.  I try not to be arrogant, but there it is again:  Assuming that what I want them to do is best for them.

I don't want other people telling me how to spend my time, so why should they be any different?

Like most everything, my need to control is motivated by fear:  I fear that if I let go, my kids will fail and I will be judged.  Worthy concerns.  But what would happen if I allowed my kids, myself, and everyone else, the freedom of rising above fear?  Why not learn to be motivated by love?

Funny how what is so sane sounds so kooky.

S. says he's pregnant and wants to give birth to a project with the students that will reflect all the complexities of classroom dynamics.  

He says that he can feel the beginnings of the death process.  

I suggest he make some concrete plans, like starting a blog.  

He's skeptical.  Still, I think it's a premier idea.    


Upon Coming Home From Ekphrasis Class

Monkey mind Monkey mind Monkey mind!
Listen to the toaster oven.

No eating
No reading
No gabbing
No watching
No reaching
No writing
No judging.

Who was the first to think of that, 5000 years ago?
A hunter who shot a surer arrow
when being attentive to his toaster oven?

Monkey mind Monkey mind Monkey mind!
Who wages war against their own kind?
Monkey mind Monkey mind Monkey mind!



Cat Boy, Part One

The boy couldn't explain why 
or what exactly it felt like.

He had no words for such things.  

But he knew it was true, 
he felt just like a siamese cat.  


Three Wife and Husband Stories

One woman freshly wed, brings a casserole to the dinner table.  "How is it?" she asks her husband.

"Not as good as my mother's," he says with a mouthful of food.  She raises an eyebrow at him, picks up the casserole and pitches it at the wall.

She smiles at her new husband and says, "Then don't eat it."

The husband never criticizes her cooking again.


Another newlywed goes to the shoe store and buys some wild looking heels she normally wouldn't even consider.  She puts them on when she gets home.  "What do you think?" she asks her husband.

"They're the ugliest shoes I've ever seen," he says.

She locks herself in the bathroom and cries.

The wife never buys another pair of wild looking shoes and the husband, without even looking, always says her shoes are beautiful.


A new wife makes her new husband his favorite meal, knish.  "How is it?" she asks.

"Not as good as my mother's," he says.  Every week, she makes knish for her husband, hoping to satisfy him.  And every week she asks, "How is it?"

And every week he answers, "Not as good as my mother's."

After years of this, the wife goes to her mother-in-law's house.  "Could you make me some knish?" she asks her mother-in-law.

The wife brings the knish home and puts them in her cooking pan.  That night she serves them to her husband.  "How is it?" she asks.

"Not as good as my mother's," he says.

"They are your mother's," she replies.

And never makes him knish again.


Selections from The Green Journal

April 1, 2014

It's been a topsy turvy day, awake at midnight on my birthday, out watching the new Wes Anderson movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a convoluted story of the kind I set out to write back in Guatemala when I became fascinated with an old white hotel ruin on the shores of Livingston. (Was the name really The Hotel Flamingo, or did I make that up, or am I remembering it wrong?)  If only I wouldn't have taken myself so seriously, maybe it would have worked out.

I was reading Jorge Amado's Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands and was under it's intoxicating spell, but once I finished and moved onto other writers, the voice I was using to write The Grand Flamingo Hotel faded and so did the story, since the stories I was writing weren't really stories, but explorations of voices, tendrils that sprouted from the books I read.

I've spent the last two days reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, losing myself in the story of how she found herself on the Pacific Crest Trail.  I am impressed with how unimpressed she is with herself.  One moment she says she is beautiful, the next, a gargoyle.  I am impressed with how she is able to control her mind, convincing herself that she is not afraid until she isn't.

Why does she never in 315 pages refer to the act of writing on the trail?  She repeatedly mentions the books she carries, tearing them apart and burning the sections she's read in order to lighten her load. Only twice does she mention the oversized journal she carries.  But never do we see her writing, unimpressed with that part of herself too.  She writes because she does, and that's all that needs to be said about that.


Profile #17V: Disease

Disease is one of those ageless men, his face the tan of an indiscernible race of hardy folk who build their own houses and do not laugh at fools.  No one knows where Disease comes from.  No one can predict when he will leave or where he will go.  Disease doesn't make friends easily, though there are those you meet who have gotten to know him so intimately, that when you mention his name, their faces reveal memories held deep in the bones.  Disease keeps his opinions to himself.  Most are frightened by his steady step and his indiscriminating way of viewing those he encounters.  He is unimpressed by wealth, and equally unimpressed by poverty.  Very rare is the fellow who regards Disease with the same equanimity that Disease regards him. Some who have never met Disease don't believe they ever will, others are convinced he is right around every corner.  Those who know him well, doubt he will ever leave.  He moves silently but makes certain he is never forgotten.


On Learning By Heart

Why do we say learn by heart,
And not learn by eye?

What was the first thing,
A human memorized?

Do not eat this root?

We all remember the time we collapsed
Because our hearts gave in

Broken and bruised after
Growing large with love.


Too Bad You Missed the Reading!

Too bad you missed the reading.
Maybe next time you won't stay home.
Bring some words scribbled on paper,
Or read a favorite poem off your phone.

No one here will tell you it's wrong.
Experimenting with words is loads of fun!
And finding others who think so too
Is as dandy as a popsicle.