Friday, June 30, 2006

Feeling for a while like driving and me should break up.. not necessary where I live, do it mostly out of laziness while enriching chenies, etc. but last night’s commute home was the cincher- after a one hour crawl down sheridan through rogers park there was that momentary liberation of first getting on lake shore drive, an open expanse in front of me, windows down on a beautiful afternoon that should be the start of my weekend but at the last minute isn’t/wasn't, music turned up, forgetting the car is red, and suddenly I’m being pulled over and written a ticket. The fact that I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket since I was 16 years old notwithstanding, the real cruelty of it is driving one more block after the ticket and ending up in another hour of gridlock. Phone suddenly lost, ice cream melting beside me on the seat- this sucked. Later, the desire, the need to just walk- walk many miles to atone for too long spent driving.. and past Summerdance which was acrowd with Romanian band and dancing circles within circles, then to the Gehry bandshell for a surprise wandering into a packed night of world music.. some African jam band that made many rapturous with hippie-dancing. About to leave, picking up a discarded program, discovered that we had earlier missed right there and for free Seu Jorge. Bugger. And I had thought all the Brasil shirts in the crowd were for good World Cup chi. Walked back after dark down Columbus which was staged for the start of the Taste (starts today), which in all my years as a Chicagoan I’ve never attended because impromptu gang fights and sweaty crowds eating slabs of ribs and comically large turkey legs has never been my thing, but this was magical- as magical as the clouds of bright blue and green dragonflies at the foot of the mountain I climbed last week- like being on a movie set, the artists still there painting last-minute bricks onto the faux pub booths. We walked through reading the menus for everything: sauerkraut pierogies, pav bhaji, vegetarian tamales, flan, beignets, stuffed pizza, baklava, mango rice pudding, pickle on a stick, rice and beans with kelewele (plantain sautéed in garlic sauce). Then past the solid block of semis dark and unpeopled, the reinforcements buzzing with refrigeration.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oh Barack, not you too. Is this really the strategy? "Oh yeah? Well I like Jesus more than you do."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

misc.. fill space!

day 2 back at the when-did-i-ever-find-any-time-for-poetry-in-my-day? job... funny though, the tech writing is pouring forth with boulder-limbered ease: "When you have finished adding all the features you want in your custom template, click Done."
saw word play last night- sweetly geeky.
daniel nester's in the 773. caught up at myopic and drinky afters where, appropriately, the jukebox turned queen.
tonight made this spinach-parmesan-couscous stuffed poblano thing.. 20 minutes prep time my foot.
just realized i have a virus- a minor one- but on a mac.. who knew? so all those editors i'm waiting to hear back from probably pitched my attached contagion straightaway.
i'll be reading in the first installment of a new reading series in hyde park curated by bill allegrezza. july 20. other details shortly.
zing! hello midnight. you don't know me, but i'm that 4 p.m. double espresso.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

quick poem for bean

ok, white cat headbutt
you are so in my way
so on my bladder
jumping like i never knew your love
let's go sister who teases
what money can buy/not talk
to me like that rumored ticket tuts relation
must cost the afterlife brought to you by
exelon oh bless
bless the tourists so they go back
and tell of all the nice sneezing they did
the nicest place i know to wear a seatbelt
now let me out
teasing sister

looks like it was a western tanager we saw on the rattlesnake gulch trail in eldorado canyon.

Friday, June 23, 2006

End of week and no completed writing project to show for it, but that's an arbitrary- and not very plausible at that- assumption. It's been a good 5 days of intake. There's a been an almost daily cycle of clarity and confoundment as regards my ongoing writing practice. Still in strategic mode. Strategically speaking, it's a pile of goo. At one point I thought/wrote: "Still in strategic mode. Ideas of place. History. The History Channel. Ecohistory. Echo."

Then I wrote-
perspective as the plane's
shadow in profile
its childish form (other childish forms?)
the same size as a house without a person or tree
for reference, only a continuity of surface, a gesso
of low growth the texture and color of a sweater
worn by a woman under the roof,
the simple shape- one story or two-
the plane below.

Then "Eureka" and some notion about deconstructivist architecture and empathy.

All I know is that I am not a bat. That I can walk up a mountain 700 feet. That I ate a raw oyster for the first time at the invitation of Laird and it was less than gross. That the graffiti says "cause I love you." That I saw a family of raccoons cross the street and disappear near the curb where I walked- gingerly- moments later. It may have been the same day McClure called us "mammal patriots" that a student was actually bitten on campus by a very forward squirrel and Joan said, "Your mind: you can be the proud owner of this formidable machine."


first impressions of denver-
flatter than I thought.. mountains hung in smog.. fewer trees than I thought.. people still drive really big cars here.. big scape.. The Bigscape.. so this is where all of our american values for bigness come from... woman on the plane that when I first asked her if I could sit next to her paused for a long while before saying yes, then revealed she didn't want anyone "large or weird" sitting next to her but she guessed I looked "like a normal enough lady.." so this is where all of our american values for My Space come from. (not the trademarked virtual My Space, but funny that. what is your list of fav bands in hectares?)


notes from ElizaRob's lecture--

ecology- a preoccupation with balances.

beauty is an offering, a form of hospitality. the response to irony should be the same as the response to beauty: yes and no.

beauty should dislodge the dislodger or iron wall of irony.

beauty is imperfect, transitory.. (full of?) processual truths, not fixed

quote via e.r. of i don't recall who-- "to perceive at all is to be vulnerable to one's perceptions."

"irony gives us only a __(can't read my handwriting here.. curlier than usual)___."

an ecology of associations.. to work with imbalances.

creating an ethical and aesthetic ecology

misread but claiming it as my idea: irony is beauty preoccupied with error.

beauty is in the eyes of the community-- many versions (word origins in turning), many beholders.


also day 1. boulder. i am looking for some sign of mork and mindy. the only evidence is that i am old enough to have watched too much television in the 70's. i am taught that this is a place i can walk in front of cars. i attempt this but end up running anyway. staving off an altitude headache. where are you from? sea level. this isn't heat that everyone's talking about. whenever i'm teaching i'm wishing i were a student so this is just right, but i can't unring that bell aching my student mojo. the peak of the bell tower is being hammered on the lawn outside the classroom's window.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Yesterday at opening panel on Poethics Joan R. talking about her process over years of merging "direct action with the luxury of poetry".. and talking about occupying two distinct communities simultaneously in DC during the Vietnam years, the experimento poetry for one that did not overtly engage in political subject matter and political action groups. Seeking artistic offshoots of the latter, she found "audience-manipulating theater and rhetorical forms doing exactly what the repressive, authoritarian regimes were doing that we opposed."

Later during the Q&A, another panelist said to her, "I admire your faith and your commitment to the work of poetry and its reach." JR: "It's not faith, it's optimism, which is constructive pessimism."


From the prompt
How do I know I m not a bat?

because I think "which?"
for an American pastime?
to write to it
to be thinking of the time
to be located by things beyond
my own senses
for guidance
trying to make a point of
reference out of devil's thumb
to be thinking of ominous creatures-
am i one?
to be counting. countable, able to
discern within a mass its scale and context
context like a rib shack just around the bend
text like, "for decorative use only"
which is something inedible- though perhaps
it moves- to write to it, moves again, and
moves located by things beyond the rib shack
to have seen it on television
to have immediately asked
for a landmark with a name
a way of making the senses more acute
the senses, a name, if it can
be remembered- written down
even- and the scale of it made
by context, to notice, "that is not my local brand
of y" - is it edible?
can i buy it?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Creative Satisfaction cont'd...


last two lines of a poem by Kodojin:
"In vain I have the feelings of 'wind and tree':
I'm ashamed that I've done no real writing!"


I'll be spending the rest of this week in Boulder.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

In Lincoln Park more pubs showing US vs. Italy than the Cubs game, which would be notable except that the Cubs pubs were at capacity whereas soccer fans enjoyed more elbow room. Ate at a yummy Algerian creperie and saw a Prairie Home Companion. Thinking of the agency of the fictional (Guy Noir) on the “real” and vice versa (Xtian Texan as NPR axeman).. all Altman for that matter.. why I like his work.. this one was slightly less cacophonous, less spooling and quixotic.. tighter editing for a larger release? (and a spare 90 minute-ish.) Holding the regional humor throughout instead of front-loading it would have pleased this regional crowd even moreso, (one zinger of a Midwest in-joke, GK sings an advert ditty for Jens Jensen fish sticks- in Norwegian, no less- though Jens Jensen is not a 21st century fishmonger, but a 19th century landscape architect whose innovative notions of allowing design to honor local wilderness, rambling creeks and prairie plants spread his name around the parks of the Midwest (Humboldt Park, for one)), but as it was people were applauding the screen, a dynamic I’ve never understood.. what exchange is to be had there? Is this how familial we’ve grown to the medium? Nevertheless, if the oughts go down in the books as the era of “truthiness,” this film will have an important place in that history.. though the WMD fiction was never this entertaining.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Catching up with L after her spell out of town and the Monday, the work day, beginning reluctantly for us both, going out for coffee, taking a slow walk back with coffee, sitting down finally outside The Building on the picturesquest of mornings.. talking about what other ways she could make money that would not so bother the painting life.. hold for despair, then a broken sound from the street, a truck hitting a bump with extraordinary thunder causes us both to look up.. the side of said vehicle reads large: “Creative Satisfaction.”

Sunday, June 11, 2006


My lapse in blogging is partly due to an uptick in bicycling. Chicago is currently considered the best city in the States for bicyclists, and this week is bike to work week.. um, that's a 15 mile lakefront trek for me.. perhaps, perhaps. I guess sometimes the States aren't a totally backward place.

Also this week, my niece tore up an anemic dance recital with her moonwalk and Thriller solo. Was ballast in my first ever sailboat race (thanks Bill). Reading first 5 pages of an armload of fiction from last week's book fair booty. Found out that Os Mutantes are headlining the Pitchfork Festival the day before my birthday. That's a show I'll stand in a crowded park on a 98 degree humid day for. Caught a butohy carnival at what will be Discrete's (hott) new venue in the fall.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yet to check out: Pandora, Ariel Pink (FF), new oculus by James Turrell.
Misread: floats like a gif.
Image is of a collage of the Wisconsin woods made of plastic bags by Ben Potter, from the show at Navta Schulz.
how shape
adheres to shape
along the lake
a woman walking her
head balancing a box
and two parrots next
to lake shore drive
are we sure
the mayor's wife is really in-
to birds
so much of the news
drinking out of fairy cups
that europe colludes in flight
only engine and air
even leave

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

“We call it Europe, but it’s really the imagination.” Tod Thilleman

Nighthawks salon alone or scissor- the first of their scissoring I know- over Fulton Market, a street, not a market exactly, except that still many aproned meat men hose floors between gallerist and gallery. Worked on my red at Promontory Point, high sun hours and Calvino no protection factor. Night’s bicycle in the sensorium. Lox at Eleven. Fiction spoils of the Printer’s Row book fair. What time is it there? (In Dutch) Believe me, someone tried to break in. Paranoid American, put your electronics in the dryer, no one will look for them there. Salon tip: effectively punctuate the end of a poem with “Fuck em!” or “Reagan was president then.”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I am thinking of a word problem. Today I was given three pink peonies and three Bollywood movies. The other day I was given a dictionary. Yesterday I was hit in the face with a flying pigeon. More accurately, grazed. The peonies remind me of a hulking bush of them alongside a house, petals dizzy with ants. Its wing was soft against my cheek until I thought of the germs. I was walking at a constant speed determining me south on the el platform; the pigeon was also constant and direct about its course. If anyone else’s math had worked, they didn’t say “your shoe’s untied” or “if I want to go to Wrigley field am I on the right platform?” Just before we had been talking of Shakti, and Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi scripts the way the signed point from a distance is. Determined, I thought, was more accurately the word for shaking all the ants out. I looked it up (probably good form) and found that every rigid motion of the plane owes itself to either rotation, translation, reflection or gliding aviary.