Friday, April 30, 2010

"Miracles are to come" ... Poetry Friday, Volume Four!

Okay so this might technically be Prose Friday this time around...there is too much good prose out there that is so incredible it could be considered poetry... so I'm changing things up a bit for our last Poetry Friday. For those of who have hung in there through each post, or shared poetry of your own, or just been all-around enthusiastic about my poems as I've posted them, I thank you. You're all awesome.

First up is some aphorisms from James Richardson. What are aphorisms, you ask? They are usually quick-witted statements or sentences that make an observation about philosophy, morality, or the meaning of life. These are collected from two of Richardson's books, the first being the aptly titled "Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays," and his more recent book with yet more aphorisms, entitled "Interglacial: New and Selected Poems and Aphorisms." I highly recommend both books; see for yourself why.

Selected aphorisms by James Richardson:


What you give to a thief is stolen.

Despairs says I cannot lift that weight. Happiness says, I do not have to.

Failure is freedom.

Of all the ways to avoid living, perfect discipline is the most admired.

Why would we write if we'd already heard what we wanted to hear?

Path: where nothing grows.

Do we return again and again to our losses to get back what we had or lose what remains?

Patience is not very different from courage. It just takes longer.

Easier to keep changing your life than to live it.

The saints and sinners say the same thing about life: Only for a moment.

The tyrant has first imagined he is a victim.

No matter how much I lend it, life owes me nothing.

Birds of prey don't sing.

What clings to good moments, or labors to repeat them? Not happiness, which is what lets you let them go.

Stand watch over your peace and you will be peaceless.

Singing is a way of remembering to breathe.

If the sky falls you get to see what's behind it.

The wounds you do not want to heal are you.

Impatience is not wanting to understand that you don't understand.

Time heals. By taking even more.

I could explain, but then you would understand my explanation, not what I said.

What exhausts imagination is fear of exhausting it. The gods detest hoarders, giving nothing to those who do not trust them to give.

I lie so I do not have to trust you to believe.

So many miracles that we only notice the ones that keep on not happening.

Anger has been ready to be angry.

What I hope for is more hope.

*******************************************************

Amazing, aren't they? Right then, next up is one of the most amazing speeches you will ever read. When William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950, most people were very curious to hear what he was going to say because he was well-known for hating having to give speeches. The ideas he spoke of in his acceptance speech astonished the entire world with their beauty and truth, and yes, optimism - things that were very badly needed in the 50's.

William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Speech
Stockholm, Sweden
December 10th, 1950


I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

(That, right there, THAT speech - that is why I write. I read it in high school and something flickered on in my heart and it has yet to burn out. To this day, this speech makes me cry every single time I read it. And not just because I'm hormonal, shut up. )

***************************************************

Finally, because I love this guy to death and I don't care that he's over-quoted and every other hipster has a tattoo of a line from one of his poems: e.e. cummings makes my heart soar. He truly does. And the only thing that came close to competing with the brilliance of his poems was his reluctant but still mind-blowing introductions to the books of his poems, which his publishers often insisted he write. So without further ado, here's his intro to one of his books:


Introduction by ee cummings from New Poems

The poems to come are for you and for me and are not for mostpeople-- it's no use trying to pretend that mostpeople and ourselves are alike. Mostpeople have less in common with ourselves than the squarerootofminusone. You and I are human beings; mostpeople are snobs. Take the matter of being born. What does being born mean to mostpeople? Catastrophe unmitigated. Socialrevolution. The cultured aristocrat yanked out of his hyperexclusively ultravoluptuous superpalazzo,and dumped into an incredibly vulgar detentioncamp swarming with every conceivable species of undesirable organism. Mostpeople fancy a guaranteed birthproof safetysuit of nondestructible selflessness. If mostpeople were to be born twice they'd improbably call it dying--

you and I are not snobs. We can never be born enough. We are human beings; for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery, the mystery of growing: which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves. You and I wear the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming. Life, for eternal us, is now and now is much too busy being a little more than everything to seem anything, catastrophic included.

Life, for mostpeople, simply isn't. Take the socalled standardofliving. What do mostpeople mean by "living"? They don't mean living. They mean the latest and closest plural approximation to singular prenatal passivity which science, in its finite but unbounded wisdom, has succeeded in selling their wives. If science could fail, a mountain's a mammal. Mostpeople's wives could spot a genuine delusion of embryonic omnipotence immediately and will accept no substitutes.

-luckily for us, a mountain is a mammal. The plusorminus movie to end moving, the strictly scientific parlourgame of real unreality, the tyranny conceived in misconception and dedicated to the proposition that every man is a woman and any woman is a king, hasn't a wheel to stand on. What their synthetic not to mention transparent majesty, mrsandmr collective foetus, would improbably call a ghost is walking. He isn't a undream of anaesthetized impersons, or a cosmic comfortstation, or a transcendentally sterilized lookiesoundiefeelietastiesmellie. He is a healthily

complex, a naturally homogenous, citizen of immorality. The now of his each pitying free imperfect gesture, his any birth of breathing, insults perfected inframortally millenniums of slavishness. He is a little more than everything ,he is democracy; he is alive: he is ourselves.

Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles: they are somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn, a human being; somebody who said to those near him, when his fingers would not hold a brush "tie it to my hand"--

nothing proving or sick or partial. Nothing false, nothing difficult or easy or small or colossal. Nothing ordinary or extraordinary, nothing emptied or filled, real or unreal; nothing feeble and known or clumsy and guessed. Everywhere tints childrening, innocent spontaneous, true. Nowhere possibly what flesh and impossibly such a garden, but actually flowers which breasts are among the very mouths of light. Nothing believed or doubted; brain over heart, surface: nowhere hating or to fear; shadow, mind without soul. Only how measureless cool flames of making; only each other building always distinct selves of mutual entirely opening; only alive. Never the murdered finalities of wherewhen and yesno, impotent nongames of wrongright and rightwrong; never to gain or pause, never the soft adventure of undoom, greedy anguishes and cringing ecstasies of inexistence; never to rest and never to have; only to grow.

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question

Have a fantastic weekend, guys...

Friday, April 23, 2010

"This Ship of Fools"...Poetry Friday, Volume Three!

Better late than never...you'll have to forgive the tardiness of this post and the absence of any other posts this past week, as my brain is completely fried and honestly, I really think it caught the midnight train going anywhere... and now you have that song in your head.... ;)

Missing: Tracy's brain, average in size, pinkish-grayish in color, probably somewhat skittish and covered in sparkles, stickers, and Popsicle sticks... tends to have a short attention span unless you put on any program from The Discovery Channel or the original Star Wars trilogy...if seen please mail back to Burbank, California and I'll reimburse you for the shipping charges....

Yeesh.

Anyways, here's your poems this week to celebrate National Poetry Month... I'll be back next week and blogging normally er as normal as I get, anyways...

For My Daughter in Reply to a Question

by David Ignatow

We're not going to die.
we'll find a way.
We'll breathe deeply
and eat carefully.
We'll think always on life.
There'll be no fading for you or for me.
We'll be the first
and we'll not laugh at ourselves ever
and your children will be my grandchildren.
Nothing will have changed
except by addition.
There'll never be another as you
and never another as I.
No one ever will confuse you
nor confuse me with another.
We will not be forgotten and passed over
and buried under the births and deaths to come.

***************************************************************

September Twelfth, 2001

by X.J. Kennedy

Two caught on film who hurtle
from the eighty-second floor,
choosing between a fireball
and to jump holding hands,

aren't us. I wake beside you,
stretch, scratch, taste the air,
the incredible joy of coffee
and the morning light.

Alive, we open eyelids
on our pitiful share of time,
we bubbles rising and bursting
in a boiling pot.

***********************************************

Yes

by Catherine Doty

It's about the blood
banging in the body,
and the brain
lolling in its bed
like a happy baby.
At your touch, the nerve,
that volatile spook tree,
vibrates. The lungs
take up their work
with a giddy vigor.
Tremors in the joints
and tympani,
dust storms
in the canister of sugar.
The coil of ribs
heats up, begins
to glow. Come
here.

************************************

Meteor

by Larissa Szporluk

I chose this. To be this
stone, grow nothing. I wanted this
absolute position in the heavens
more than anything, than you,
my two, too beautiful, my children.
A man I knew once
muttered in his terrors of the night,
no, no, no, instead of yelling.
It was this, this dismal low,
that made me leave him. I will leave them.
All the butterflies the lord above
can muster, all their roses.
I will leave whatever colors
struggle to be noticed. To leave,
to leave. That's the verb I am,
have always been, always will be,
heading, like a dewdrop, into steamy
confrontation, my train of neutral green
lasting half a second
before casting off its freight -- his arms
outside the sheet, how warm they were,
like Rome the year it burned,
Nero at the window, loving no one,
fusion crust. I fly because
my space is crossed
with fear and hair and tail and hate,
the bowels of a lioness,
iron in her roar.

*********************************

Fog

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

***********************************************

Sea of Faith

by John Brehm

Once while I was teaching "Dover Beach"
to a class of freshmen, a young woman
raised her hand and said, "I'm confused
about this 'Sea of Faith'. "Well," I said,
"let's talk about it. We probably need
to talk a bit about figurative language.
What confuses you about it?"
"I mean, is it a real sea?" she asked.
"You mean, is it a real body of water
that you could point to on a map
or visit on vacation?"
"Yes," she said. "Is it a real sea?"
Oh Christ, I thought, is this where we are?
Next year I'll be teaching them the alphabet
and how to sound words out.
I'll have to teach them geography, apparently,
before we can move on to poetry.
I'll have to teach them history too --
a few weeks in the Dark Ages might be instructive.
"Yes," I wanted to say, "it is.
It is a real sea. In fact it flows
right into the Sea of Ignorance
IN WHICH YOU ARE DROWNING.
Let me throw you a Rope of Salvation
before the Sharks of Desire gobble you up.
Let me hoist you back up onto this Ship of Fools
so that we may continue our search
for the Fountain of Youth. Here, take a drink
of this. It's fresh from the River of Forgetfulness."

But of course I didn't say any of that.
I tried to explain in such a way
as to protect her from humiliation,
tried to explain that poets
often speak of things that don't exist.
It was only much later that I wished
I could have answered differently,
only after I'd betrayed myself
and had been betrayed that I wished
it was true, wished there really was a Sea of Faith
that you could wade out into,
dive under its blue and magic waters,
hold your breath, swim like a fish
down to the bottom, and then emerge again
able to believe in everything, faithful
and unafraid to ask even the simplest of questions,
happy to have them simply answered.


And my two poet bloggers that I am highlighting this week: Wine and Words, over at Quiet Commotion, who writes with such an astonishing grace and tenacity that her poems sometimes grab me by the throat and don't let go for weeks. Take this one, for example, or this one; beautiful, hard to read, unflinchingly brave. Please go check her out.

Next up is Maggie May over at Flux Capacitor. I really, really wish I had a proper warning for what you are getting yourself into when you read the way Maggie May writes...about her day, her health, her children, her experiences...but I don't. Words do not do justice to how beautiful her writing is, how amazed I am every time I read her blog and how my heart soars or plummets along with hers as she blogs about her daily struggles. Just...visit. See for yourself. Dare to disagree.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Catch ya next week...brain tied to a freakin' leash if need be.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Miles to go before I sleep"... Poetry Friday, Volume Two!

Praying

by Mary Oliver


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

*******************************************************

Advice for a Stegosaurus

by Jessica Goodheart


Never mind the asteroid,
the hot throat of the volcano,
a sun that daily drops into a void.

Comb the drying riverbed for drink.
Strut your bird-hipped body.
Practice a lizard grin. Don't think.

Stretch out your tail. Walk, as you must,
in a slow deliberate gait.
Don't look back, Dinosaur. Dust is dust.

You'll leave your bones, your fossil feet
and armored eye-lids.
Put your chin to the wind. Eat what you eat.

*******************************************************

When Your Face Came Rising

by Yevgeny Vevtushenko


When your face came rising
above my crumpled life,
the only thing I understood at first
was how meager were all possessions.
But your face cast a peculiar glow
on forests, seas, and rivers,
initiating into the colors of the world
uninitiated me.
I'm so afraid, I'm so afraid,
the unexpected dawn might end,
ending the discoveries, tears, and raptures,
but I refuse to fight this fear.
This fear - I understand -
is love itself. I cherish this fear, not knowing how to cherish,
I, careless guardian of my love.
This fear has ringed me tightly.
These moments are so brief, I know,
and for me, the colors will disappear
when once your face has set...

************************************************

Earth

by John Hall Wheelock


"A planet doesn't explode of itself," said drily
The Martian Astronomer, gazing off into the air -
"That they were able to do it is proof that highly
Intelligent beings must have been living there."

*********************************************************

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

*************************************************

Curiosity

may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.

Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.

Only the curious have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.


As for my two blogger poets that I'm highlighting, I count myself as disgustingly lucky because I actually knew them in person long before any of us started our crazy blogs. I went to college with the incredible JMarls over at Snapshots, and let me tell you: all the rumors of her being the hot, quiet girl who blew everyone away with her acting talent are absolutely true. And to make things worse...ugh. She's an amazing creative writer and fantastic poet. (She actually labels her poetry under "Bad Poetry." Gross, I know, right?) So please...go check out her blog for yourself and prepare to be blown away.

The other gorgeous girl that I'm introducing to you has a wicked wit, a freakin' awesome tattoo, and a vocabulary that could make you cry. Introducing Mildly Sensational over at Sunlight in my Threshold, who doesn't blog nearly enough for my liking but when she does...wow. Just...wow. Her cute little throwaway poems, like this one or this one, are fantastic...and her creative short stories? Also kick ass. So not fair.

So that's all folks...enjoy the poetry, I hope each poem livens your spirits and your Friday just a bit, and please, go give some of these blogger poets who pour out their hearts a little love and some kind comments. They deserve it :)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

steampunk wedding pictures!

Sometimes, when two people really love each other, they decide to throw a huge party and make their vows to stay with each other for a really long time public. And sometimes, when those two people who love each other and are throwing that party are my friends, it means they are sci-fi and literary geeks who decide to make their wedding steampunk themed.

What is steampunk, you ask? Good question. Steampunk originated in the 1980's as a literary term for science fiction that took place in Victorian times - think HG Wells with his time machine in Victorian-Era England. So it's lots of corsets and bustles and full skirts and top hats mixed with combat boots, clock and watch gears, test tubes, mini-telescopes, pocket watches, keys, etc. Steampunk is all in the accessories. If you want to American-ize steampunk you go with aviator hats, goggles, bomber jackets, things like that. Some movies that have good examples of steampunk are: the latest Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr; the movies Wild Wild West, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and even the third Back to the Future movie.

Here's your ideal steampunk girl:

(I sort of have a crush on this girl. How much do you want to be her? Oh, and I got the image here)


So with that in mind, I present to you just a few of the many, many pictures I took at my friends Eric and Stacy's steampunk wedding of AWESOME.

Me and my friend Alli. Yes, she has a metal clamp for a hand. It was rad.


My friend Jeremy was the officiant and official Sky Captain. He's holding what I think is a modified hair-dryer; I'm holding a can opener. Most people were betting on me with the can opener still whupping his ass.


The beautiful bride and I :)


Me with the groom, Eric. Here's our normal faces...


And here's our Muppet faces. We were both Muppets in a former life.


Trying not to laugh hysterically (or get hit in the face) as Benni and I open our favors, traditional Christmas crackers from Victorian England that usually have a small gift inside.


My friend Jeff and his beautiful girlfriend Somer.


Some of the gang...from left to right, the maid of honor Monica, me, my dashing roommate Peter, his insanely hot girlfriend Kelice, and Alli.


Yes, this IS the wedding cake. I'll let you take a moment to absorb that fact. Every part of it was edible - and it was so freakin' incredible that not one but TWO separate film crews were swarmed around it - one for the restaurant itself (so it can show off the wedding on its website) and another film crew for the reality show Amazing Wedding Cakes.


The bride and groom have their cake and eat it too.



Benni rocks the aviator look and you guys get a full view of my outfit.


From left to right: Kelice, Mandy, her wonderful husband (and my martial arts instructor) Isaac, and me.

The bride and her two bridesmaids!


And for those of you who are into making outfits like this: I got my dress from Clockwork Couture, a steampunk clothing website; my black widow necklace is from past fall's jewelry collection from Anthropologie (the body of the spider is a canister that opens up to reveal solid perfume inside), I wore arm length, fingerless gloves from an Etsy shop that I don't remember and strung a necklace with a key on it around my waist as a belt. The calf-length combat boots I got from Delia's a few years back, and I stuck a brown and black feather I had in my hair.

Oh, and the purple drop earrings I got from Etsy too. I'm so bad at remembering names... they were in a goodie bag from a blogger get-together that this awesome chica hosted a few months back. She would probably know better than I!

Thanks for indulging me...blogging will be light this week as I'm prepping for some extra business before tax-day but don't forget to tune in on Friday for another dose of poetry to celebrate National Poetry Month! Yay!

Happy Tuesday, y'all! :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

"For we are the last of the loud"... Poetry Friday, Volume One!

No title

by Charles Bukowski

all theories
like clich├ęs
shot to hell,
all these small faces
looking up
beautiful and believing;
I wish to weep
but sorrow is
stupid.
I wish to believe
but belief is a
graveyard.
we have narrowed it down to
the butcherknife and the
mockingbird.
wish us
luck.

*********************************

"let it go -- the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise -- let it go it
was sworn to
go

let them go -- the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers -- you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go -- the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things -- let all go
dear
so comes love"

- e.e. cummings

***********************************

Blessing the boats

by Lucille Clifton


(at St. Mary's)
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that
*************************************

The Second Sermon on the Warpland

by Gwendolyn Brooks

For Walter Bradford

1.

This is the urgency: Live!
and have your blooming in the noise of the whirlwind.

2.

Salve salvage in the spin.
Endorse the splendor splashes;
stylize the flawed utility;
prop a malign or failing light–
but know the whirlwind is our commonwealth.
Not the easy man, who rides above them all,
not the jumbo brigand,
not the pet bird of poets, that sweetest sonnet,
shall straddle the whirlwind.
Nevertheless, live.

3.

All about are the cold places,
all about are the pushmen and jeopardy, theft–
all about are the stormers and scramblers but
what must our Season be, which starts from Fear?
Live and go out.
Define and
medicate the whirlwind.

4.

The time
cracks into furious flower. Lifts its face
all unashamed. And sways in wicked grace.
Whose half-black hands assemble oranges
is tom-tom hearted
(goes in bearing oranges and boom).
And there are bells for orphans–
and red and shriek and sheen.
A garbageman is dignified
as any diplomat.
Big Bessie’s feet hurt like nobody’s business,
but she stands–bigly–under the unruly scrutiny, stands
in the wild weed.

In the wild weed
she is a citizen,
and is a moment of highest quality; admirable.

It is lonesome, yes. For we are the last of the loud.
Nevertheless, live.

Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the
whirlwind.

**********************************

The Master

by Donald Hall

Where the poet stops, the poem
begins. The poem asks only
that the poet get out of the way.

The poem empties itself
in order to fill itself up.

The poem is nearest the poet
when the poet laments
that it has vanished forever.

When the poet disappears
the poem becomes visible.

What may the poem choose,
best for the poet?
It will choose that poet
not choose for himself.

****************************************

from "Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved"

by Gregory Orr

Weeping, weeping, weeping.
No wonder the oceans are full;
No wonder the seas are rising.

It's not the beloved's fault.
Dying is part of the story.
It's not your fault either:
Tears are also.

But
You can't read when you're
Crying. Sobbing, you won't
Hear the song that resurrects
The body of the beloved.

Why not rest awhile? If weeping
Is one of the world's tasks,
It doesn't lack adherents.
Someone will take your place,
Someone will weep for you.

******************************************

And my two blogger poets that I am highlighting today:

Marion, over at Dragonfly's Poetry and Prolixity, because she writes beautiful poems of her own, shares the gorgeous poems of others, and occasionally leaves me comments calling me an enlightened being. :) Can you tell she's one of my favorites?

Another poet I highly recommend you check out: Akka over at Drunk Love Heart writes all of her own poetry (this one is one of my favorites) and then illustrates it too. It's amazing... and totally inspiring.

Happy National Poetry Month, guys! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter!

I ending up taking a lot of pictures at Easter and thought I'd subject you guys to some of 'em :) Hope you enjoy!

Everyone gathers in the kitchen to dye eggs...


...including the menfolk. :)

My mom hard at work on her Easter egg


The two of us posing with a rainbow egg that I made!


My cousin Tom is not so sure of what color his egg is going to turn out...



...but his girlfriend Valerie ends up with a purple middle finger, which she lovingly shares with all of us ;)

Some of the eggs we made!


Me posing proudly with my two eggs...a rainbow egg and my Scottish Flag egg, which I used rubber-bands to make.

Three of my favorite boys waiting for their eggs to dry...from left to right, my oldest brother Scott, my cousin Tom, and my middle older brother Jeff.


Love 'em or hate 'em, you gotta have Peeps in your Easter baskets...


Benni thinks that if he gives me those puppy dog eyes I'm gonna give him more of the eggs I found during our Egg Hunt. He's dead wrong.


Everyone shows off how many eggs they all found... my brother Scott was the official egg-hider this year, and he hid some of the eggs in the cat-boxes. EWW. From left to right: my mom, my cousin Tom, my aunt Darlyne (yes, she and my mom are identical twins), my brother Scott gloating in the background, my brother Jeff, and Tom's awesome girlfriend Valerie.

Valerie attempts to show Tom how to juggle as we wait for dessert to be served.


Benni shows off that he knows how to juggle too.


Tom and Jeff are skeptical of Benni's mad juggling skillz.


But Benni proves that he is a fantastic juggler.


Er....sorta.


Maybe we should leave the juggling to Valerie, guys?


Oooh, look, dessert! Three kinds of dessert!!

And that's an Easter wrap!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures...I'm going to be trying out something different this month so look for a post each Friday celebrating the fact that April is National Poetry Month! Since you guys seemed to like my taste in poetry I'll be sharing a few of my favorite poems with you every Friday AND plugging a few of my many favorite poet bloggers too :)


See you tomorrow, poetry and all!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

desperate acts of magic

So I kind of stole this post title from the name of a low-budget film that's auditioning actors right now. I saw it in my email alerts that notify me which projects are "right" for me on a casting website and then saw that the girl they wanted to cast needs to be in her 40's (um, not me) and be able to juggle chainsaws on fire and other cool stuff like that. Also not me.

But I liked the phrase, and I opened up my blog today and couldn't think of anything to write about, as things are kind of quiet in my head today, so I figured a good title might help. How many of you guys do that? Do you ever think, if I could just have a really great title, or opening line, I could muscle through everything else? If things start out perfect, it'll do all the work itself from here on out...

Of course, life doesn't really work that way. Life is never hitting the top of a mountain and then putting it on cruise control as you sail down, windows lowered, music blasting as your hair whips around your face and you grin into the sunshine. Life is a steady, uphill climb with a sometimes crappy view, not to mention the fact that you spend about half of it studying various rocks and leaves and wondering if you haven't been in This.Exact.Place before. Many, many times before.

My life continues on with its challenges, just as it does in everyone else's. I'm very happy with my tattoo, although it's now in the itchy phase and that's driving me nuts; I'm going to be in a Steampunk-themed wedding on Saturday where I get to fulfill my lifelong dream of wearing combat boots with a dress to a wedding; and my Easter celebration with my family on Sunday was, in a word, perfect. It started off as a sort of wish-list that we all made of how we have always wanted the holiday to be: my middle older brother wanted to dye Easter eggs, my cousin wanted to have an Easter Egg hunt, I wanted to give everyone Easter baskets. So here we are, this pack of weird grown ups with messy childhoods, creating perfect memories when we are in our twenties and thirties and fifties. Life may be uphill but it doesn't mean that at any moment you can't branch off to the side and create something beautiful that you may have missed the first time around.

The problems I spoke of way back when I took a blogging break are still very present; it's just that my attitude toward them has shifted. I'm never going to have a life without problems; that's absurd and honestly, more than a little boring. So instead of whining about them I just adjusted and made room for them in my life and pushed a little more love their way. Because there isn't much that can be done to fix these kinds of problems, and lord knows I'm a fixer. I'm a first degree fixer that takes my hammer and nails to my own and everyone else's problems and hammers away until I'm exhausted and there is nothing left for me to do. And when I'm told that I can't fix it...that I can't fix someone's finances, or get someone a job, or bring someone's pet back...

or (::deep breath::) find a cure for someone's cancer...

Well. Anyways. Desperate acts of magic are in order, I suppose. And while I remain an optimist, while I believe in a universal intelligence that my particular belief system calls God, who is loving and good and kind... I'm long past thinking that the universe owes anybody anything. So the desperate acts of magic don't include me bargaining with any higher power or asking for favors. My acts of magic come from sitting down in the middle of the chaos and continuing to laugh and smile and breathe and eat cheeseburgers. It's our unbreakable, unflinching human spirit with the capacity to find joy in the smallest of things in life, even amidst the darkness, that is the real magic. And if I have a choice, which I do...

I'm gonna choose to do that one.

Someone who knows all too well what I'm going through gave me a poem last week by one of my favorite poets, Rumi. It's been folded up carefully and sitting in my back pocket for a week, giving me grace and strength when I had none left to give:

Rumi - Guest House

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all.
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


"Meet them at the door laughing" - this is what I am doing. Magic indeed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

inked!

Okay, so first of all, I forgot to show you one last picture from the past couple weeks that I feel sums up where I'm at in life perfectly: see my two bloody pinkie knuckles? Yeah, that may or may not be because my instructor had me boxing with focus mitts without my boxing wraps on and I punched them so hard I broke the skin and had a bloody mess on my hands for a few days.

Yeah...anyways... (hey, at least I punch with the correct fingers! Never punch with your thumb or pointer finger or you'll break your wrist.)



On to tattoo pictures!



beginning the needle work and tracing over the stenciled-on design


Pretending I'm in my happy place...Disneyland...


Surprised you can't see how white my hand is from gripping this chair to death.


Inking!


Smiling through the pain.


Little more than halfway there!


View from over the shoulder of Pat Fish, the tattoo artist. She was great - very professional.


Another view from over her shoulder.


Done! And I only bled a little, didn't squirm at all. :)


Checking out the finished tattoo in the mirror...


Photo of my tattoo reflected in the mirror. No, I didn't get it backwards!


Bandaged and sore. Thank god for saggy jeans.


Less than a week later...healing nicely!

So thanks for your patience, folks... I loved my tattoo experience and if people are ready to commit to permanent body art I highly recommend it. It wasn't as painful as I thought and I am thrilled with my design.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone...I'm off to finish off a batch of red velvet truffles for my accountant (he decided not to charge me for doing my tax return, thank the gods, so I'm thanking him with baked goods) and I'm finishing up planning a bachelorette party that I'm throwing tomorrow night with a bunch of other tattooed girls!

Oh, and no...I won't be taking pictures of the bachelorette party. What happens at girls' night...STAYS at girls' night. ;)

Happy Friday, y'all! And to all who celebrate it - a wonderful Easter as well!
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