In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks


Monday, July 23, 2012

Rhodes Nails It

Alan Rhodes is a writer for the Cascadia Weekly.  His article, "Channeling the American Literary Canon: Six Dead White Guys and Emily Dickinson Talk About Coal Trains" in this weeks issue, 7/18/12 #29, split my sides with laughter!

When he came to Ernest Hemingway it seems he was truly channeling old Hemmy.
Here's a peek:

In spring the coal trains came and
they were not good so Pablo and I
blew up the tracks.
then I went home and she was there
and we made love.

"Was it good for you?" she asked
"Yes," I said, "It was good and right
to blow up the tracks."
"I meant the sex," she said.
I did not tell her that blowing up the
tracks was better.

Loved it Alan!  Please check out Cascadia Weekly for more great articles!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Poetry: Coffee for One

Laboriously she enters
the coffee shop
hair up, make up on,
clothes clean, ready for war
Always orders coffee for one

Holding herself up
on a push chair
forearms flex with each step
as they carry the familiar load.

She hugs her history,
heavy with disappointment,
on each hip

Sits alone at a table for six
coffee served
shoulders back, chin up
awaits a conversation
that never arrives

Surrounded by activity
of writers, students,
business people, musicians
at tables hugging the walls
talking, sharing, sipping.

Others only donate
a quick glance to her cause

Like an infant bird
still in the nest
she waits for
a greeting to be
thrown into her mouth

Sorrow hangs over
her head like a sign
alerting others to keep distance,
like the bright colors nature paints
that which is poisonous

She looks disgusted to be sitting alone
What did she expect?

Woman with a Hat (Madame Matisse)
Private Collection
Henri Matisse, 1905

Monday, July 16, 2012

Song: Suzanne

Songs are poems.  Poems are songs. 
This one to me is sung best by Nina Simone.

Hylas and the Nymphs
John William Waterhouse, 1896

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Water Nymph by Margrete Heising, 1982

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind

copyright Leonard Cohen.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Poetry: Transform

Transformation of person to poet

One day something grabs you without touching

An idea lingers in your mind, like garlic on the tongue

A vision walks all over you placing footprints
on your being without leaving a bruise

Words become puzzles you have to solve

You write, you type, you scratch
an equation out hoping the math totals

You turn emotion into a story, a prose, a poem

Baptised in ink you are now a poet-
hungry for characters, yearning for stories
sick with discovery...

M.C. Escher "Transformation"

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fresh Air

Yesterday afternoon, desperate for some fresh air, I slipped on my shoes and traveled half a mile to Whatcom Creek.  Earlier that morning I put some olive oil in my hair for a home moisturizing treatment so I thought I'd find a good place to sit by the creek and sun my hair for a bit, let that oil heat up naturally.  Just needed fresh air and sun- that was what I thought I needed, but I needed more.

It's been six months since I was laid off from KVOS Television here in Bellingham.  I am a driven person but lately it feels like my wheels are spinning.  I continue to apply for jobs, keeping an ear to the ground for new opportunity.  I am networking and moving going... going... going.

Walking and thinking, thinking and walking.  As I think on new strategies for success I come around to the trail head.  WOW!  The bushes along side the path here have poofed out with summer leaves and new branches.  The new bark that was laid down in April is now hidden beneath all the growth. 

Nature stops me and says, take a second and just look.  Just breath.  I do just that, for a while anyways.

Farther down the trail a jogger zipps by that sparks more internal conversation this time about my summer fitness goals.  "Just need to loose 5lbs a week doing... bla...bla..."  about that time I cross the bridge.  The creeks water is surprisingly clear I can see the stones lined up on the bottom.  Sunshine hits the creek at the perfect angle casting shadows on the moving reeds that grow beneath the water line, giving away the creeks depth.
*deep breath*
How beautiful

Middle Falls, Whatcom Creek, Bellingham
I stop to poke my head through the rails to watch the creek move.  Just in the corner of my eye I see a small spider as it swings from my glasses like Tarzan.  Picking up it's leader line, I lay it across a metal beam for safe keeping.  Watching the diligent spider sets my mind on a tangent about how behind I am on my goal for purchasing a home.  "How the hell am I going to do that?"

thinking... thinking... thinking... 

Back to my walk.  I notice a small trail to the right, a branch into the woods off the main trail where two fallen trees have created a makeshift bridge to the other side.  I study their positions and find a person could sit nicely on one and dingle their toes in the cold water.  Before I know what I am down there doing just that.  Reliving good childhood memories I start to throw items within reach into the creek.  Sticks tossed in float on top and float away with a bumpy "whoosh" downstream.
 "There is a family on the sand bank around the bend a bit; 
I wonder if they will notice my little boats." I say to myself  

Then slowly... quietly... like a whisper it comes to me.  The Voice.  The voice I have traveled to hear.  The still small voice that my soul yearns to be enveloped in, mailed away and read by my Beloved.  It calls and holds.  It hugs and kisses my mind and thoughts.  Inspired to write I dip the last stick from my boat pile into the water like pen to ink and try to write my name on the bark-barren dry gray log.   With each stroke the sun grabs the letter, throws it into the air; birds rise up on the currents that circulate above my head.

My epiphany:  there is no black or white in nature.  Those are man made colors.  In paint black is the combination of all colors, white is the absence.  In television black is the absence of a signal and white too much signal, over saturation. 

There is no black or white in nature.  There is light, darkness and shade.  
There is color, dimension, and movement I can hang my toes in.

My interpretation:  we put ourselves on the treadmill.  I put myself on the treadmill forgetting to breath.  Exhausting myself, trying to justify my existence, when all I need to do is be.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Got Time?

2012 $4000 Baume and Mercier 
The other day while at a lunch with two friends, one of them asked me the time. She saw I was wearing a wrist watch and asked. Does this seem strange to you? Neither of my friends were wearing watches ,and both had their cell phones politely put away while we ate. The moment came and went and our conversation didn't even touch on her query. However, later that evening I thought about wristwatches. 

Back before the invention of clocks people would just meet up in the "early afternoon" or "after sunset" there was no 10 o'clock in the morning, nor was there the need to be at work on time because you worked most the day. Time was just a general concept. Today as your walk around your house you see a clock on every electrical appliance.

In 2010 NPR reported that despite meager sales previous years, wrist watches were making a comeback.
"The overall watch business and the watch industry have been experiencing an unusual growth this year ... it's explosive, and people who've been in the industry for 20, 30 years have never seen numbers like this, the watch has become the "it" accessory of the year."

 The article goes on to say the buyers of watches were teenagers and 20 somethings wearing them most likely as a fashion statement not for its obvious practical application.

Analog Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
Advanced Mobile Phone System 1980
Are cell phones the new watches?
In addition to telling time, watches helped girls, and the occasional car salesman, figure out who they were dealing with. Remember the advice girlfriends would give about how to tell if a man had money- simply look at his shoes and his watch. Possibly good advice up until about 1985. Later, mobile phones started to make their mark. Just having a phone that was not connected to a wall was high tech. Who cared if it was the size of your arm! A phone in your car was also a big statement, sparking the sale of FAKE car phone antennas.  Then in the early 00's hot phone designs could give you a clue about a persons wealth such as the flip phones or the Razor; the smaller and thinner the phone, the more expensive.  The bluetooth headset fad came and went, but its practical "hands-free" feature will keep it around for a while to aid all multi-taskers at large.
Rubber Band turns your iPod nano
into a colorful watch that is
animal friendly and recession friendly

Now it's 2012- what's a girl to do? Most phones look the same and most guys do not wear watches. Asking a guy "What kind of phone package ya got?" just doesn't work.  Perhaps it's time that techno-toys and other high cost accessories stop being used as social status indicators.  Can Americans move pass the superficial?
Regardless, the future of watches is bleak, much like, newspapers on paper, television over the air, radios and radio stations, keyboards with buttons and well... the snuggie. The snuggie does not save me any time, free up my hands or help me to enjoy a snack.  It's a blanket not a miracle made of  fleece.  If folks in the future wear bands around their wrist it will most likely be to hold something like their iPod Nano.

Back in March I moved into a new place.  I'm starting over from scratch and own very little.  While furniture shopping I saw an attractive wall clock.  For a second, possibly two, not sure... because I left my watch at home, I considered buying it.  I kept walking turning my attention elsewhere; I wasn't in a nostalgic mood.  Perhaps there was a sale on floor globes- the kind with sea monsters on them!  Now THAT would be cool in the den!