Friday, March 27, 2015

Woman's Work

- Julia Alvarez

Who says a woman's work isn't high art?
She'd challenge as she scrubbed the bathroom tiles.
Keep house as if the address were your heart.

We'd clean the whole upstairs before we'd start
downstairs, I'd sigh, hearing my friends outside.
Doing her woman's work was a hard art.

to practice when the summer sun would bar
the floor I swept till she was satisfied.
She kept me prisoner in her housebound heart.

She's shine the tines of forks, the wheels of carts,
cut lacy lattices for all her pies.
Her woman's work was nothing less than art.

And I, her masterpiece since I was smart,
was primed, praised, polished, scolded and advised
to keep a house much better than my heart.

I did not want to be her counterpart!
I struck out...but became my mother's child:
a woman working at home on her art,
housekeeping paper as if it were her heart. 

Who says a woman's work isn't high art?
She'd challenge as she scrubbed the bathroom tiles.
Keep house as if the address were your heart.

We'd clean the whole upstairs before we'd start
downstairs, I'd sigh, hearing my friends outside.
Doing her woman's work was a hard art.

to practice when the summer sun would bar
the floor I swept till she was satisfied.
She kept me prisoner in her housebound heart.

She's shine the tines of forks, the wheels of carts,
cut lacy lattices for all her pies.
Her woman's work was nothing less than art.

And I, her masterpiece since I was smart,
was primed, praised, polished, scolded and advised
to keep a house much better than my heart.

I did not want to be her counterpart!
I struck out...but became my mother's child:
a woman working at home on her art,
housekeeping paper as if it were her heart.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Can't Find the Identity of this Poem's Author, but My Petunia Believes that S/he Has an Exceptionally Intuitive Soul.

 







The Half-Breed

They call me a Boxer,
But I'm a Half-Breed.
Part Boxer of course,
and part people indeed.
Anyone who owns me knows it's true.
We're so close to being people,
we're like part of you.
"He's one of the family,"
you've heard people say.
"Don't know how we'll manage when he passes away."
But they'll get another Boxer,
a purebred at first.
Not the most well-behaved puppy,
but far from the worst.
Then the change will take place,
the same as before.
They'll end up with the same human
Half-Breed once more.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Featured Poet - Erika Meitner















Erika has published four books of poetry: Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore in 2003, Ideal Cities in 2010, Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls in 2011, and Copia in 2014.

She is a first-generation American born and raised in Queens, NY by her Israeli father and German mother. Along with attaining her BA and MFA, she studied with poet Rita Dove at the University of Virginia as a Henry Hoyns Fellow.
I’ve been exploring interstitial, overlooked, and marginalized spaces: malls, office buildings, suburban developments, superstores, construction sites, and interstates. I am also working with the idea of women’s bodies as geographical locations and sites of inscription via sex, childbirth, and other highly physical acts.
Her work has been included in the anthologies such as Best American Poetry, Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days, Best African American Essays, The Way We Work: Contemporary Writings from the American Workplace, and Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (2008).

She offers may of her works for reading on her own {website}. Click on her name at the top of this post to go to the site's home page. Here, have a couple of samples:


Big Box Encounter


My student sends letters to me with the lights turned low. 
They feature intricate vocabulary, like soporific and ennui
Like intervening and kinetic and tumult.  He strings words together
like he's following a difficult knitting pattern. He is both more
and less striking without a shirt on.  I know this from the time
I ran into him at Wal-Mart buying tiki torches and margarita mix
and, flustered, I studied the white floor tiles, the blue plastic
shopping cart handle, while he told me something that turned
to white noise and I tried not to look at his beautiful terrible chest,
the V-shaped wings of his chiseled hip-bones.  I write him back. 
I tell him there are two horses outside my window and countless weeds. 
I tell him that the train comes by every other hour and rattles the walls. 
But how to explain my obsession with destruction?  Not self-immolation
but more of a disintegration, slow, like Alka-Seltzer in water.  Like sugar in water. 
I dissolve.  He writes enthralling.  He writes epiphany and coffee machine
He is working in an office, which might as well be outer space. 
I am in the mountains. The last time I worked in an office, he was ten. 
I was a typewriter girl. I was a maternity-leave replacement for a fancy secretary. 
I helped sell ads at TV Guide.  I was fucking a guy who lived in a curtain-free studio
above a neon BAR sign on Ludlow Street, and all night we were bathed in pot smoke
and flickering electric pink light.  Here, the sun goes down in the flame
of an orange heat-wave moon.  The train thrums and rattles the distance,
and I think of his chest with the rounded tattoo in one corner and my youth,
the hollows of his hip-bones holding hard, big-box fluorescent light.
.

Double Sonnet Ending in New Testament

This poem is meant to have the make and model
of a vehicle in it, include a food I dislike, a musical
instrument. He gave up the cello. There were multiple
mandolins on his worktable. An item that is broken
beyond repair? My body. That’s easy. This & this
& this. A love note that falls into the wrong hands?
Every poem I have ever written. Please stop posting
your thumbs-up sonogram pictures. I don’t care
if you’re 43. If you’re an exception or a miracle or
whatever you are. A bird of prey. His son was learning
to be a falconer. Are these like vultures? I’m not sure.
An item of lost clothing—this doesn’t happen often
now that I’m married. Remember those bras
that went missing in apartments, knapsacks, cars?

Bless that time: fear of conception. Holy ruckery
& whiskey & some guy. I drive the highway
in my Honda Civic to the phlebotomist, try to arrive
early to avoid the trainee who always leaves
the bloodless needle halfway in my arm, then
calls for help to the other woman who looks like
a former heroin addict or the Mennonite; both can
deftly navigate my scarred veins. Falcons are
the fastest moving creatures on earth. Your baby
this week is the size of a poppy seed, a sweet pea,
a black olive. I hate olives. In the lab, they play
Spirit FM & don’t know anything about me. The DJ
croons, ‘I am the vine & you are the branches. Those
who remain in me, & I in them, will bear much fruit.


SOURCES: The Poetry Foundation, Poets.org, & Erica's own site.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Practical Mom

 - Amy Uyematsu
 
can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years—I’ll ask her if she stops
to admire the perfect leaves
of the Japanese maple
she waters in her backyard,
or tell her how I can gaze for hours
at a desert sky and know this
as divine. Nature, she says,
doesn’t hold her interest. Not nearly
as much as the greens, pinks, and grays
of a Diebenkorn abstract, or the antique
Tiffany lamp she finds in San Francisco.
She spends hours with her vegetables,
tasting the tomatoes she’s picked that morning
or checking to see which radishes are big enough to pull.
Lately everything she touches bears fruit,
from new-green string beans to winning
golf strokes, glamorous hats she designs and sews,
soaring stocks with their multiplying shares.
These are the things she can count in her hands,
the tangibles to feed and pass on to daughters
and grandchildren who can’t keep up with all
the risky numbers she depends on, the blood-sugar counts
and daily insulin injections, the monthly tests
of precancerous cells in her liver and lungs.
She’s a mathematical wonder with so many calculations
kept alive in her head, adding and subtracting
when everyone else is asleep.


from: Stone Bow Prayer. Copyright 2005.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Farmer's Market - Happy Spring!



Created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and now hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.



About three days ago we welcomed a new guest. An Adolescent Chicken showed up to scratch in the garden and sleep in the garage, which is open right now due to the work are doing on it.

We don't know where she came from or how long she'll stay, but she's doing a great job of cleaning up the grubs in the garden. She's also hard on any plant that isn't well established, but what can you do?

My husband is also keeping an eye out for eggs among his tools.




My California Poppies are beginning to bloom in earnest, even as most of California has already been awash in waves of orange for weeks.

My yard has never done things the same times as other people's yards. Some of my flowers bloom earlier than my neighbors', some later, and I've never known why.

But after more than twenty years, we're used to it.




 













Here are my late blooming Daffodils. The one on the left is a double and the one on the right, although the picture doesn't show it well, has a soft salmon color cup.


I transplanted my three Peonies three days ago. Unlike many other plants, they transplant well. They've more than doubled in size and this one is getting ready to bloom.


Of course, my yellow Floribunda is ramping up. (As is the white.) All the roses lost ground last year with the irrigation mishap, and I expect that they won't bloom as fully as usual this year, but they are recovering nicely.


This is a group of odds and ends that the grandkids gave me (from the supermarket). Although you can't see them yet, it includes my Easter Lilies (which are going to be very late this year) and some Daisies. 


The Orange Tree is loaded with blossoms. The whole yard smells wonderful! I hope we get an orange this year.


Poppies!


The Wild Iris
- Louise Gluck

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater. 


And last, but by no means least, a Dutch Iris.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hallelujah!




Lyrics:

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah