Monday, April 30, 2007

This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Going green - for real this time.

Remember this post about my electric mower fiasco?

Over the weekend, we went green for real and bought a 2007 Prius. I'll post pictures later, but so far I am loving this car. We're averaging about 50 miles a gallon so far, and more than that in the city.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Said To Poetry by Alice Walker

I said to Poetry:"I'm finished
with you."
Having to almost die
before some wierd light
comes creeping through
is no fun.
"No thank you, Creation,
no muse need apply.
Im out for good times--
at the very least,
some painless convention."Poetry laid back
and played dead
until this morning.
I wasn't sad or anything,
only restless.

Poetry said: "You remember
the desert, and how glad you were
that you have an eye
to see it with? You remember
that, if ever so slightly?"
I said: "I didn't hear that.
Besides, it's five o'clock in the a.m.
I'm not getting up
in the dark
to talk to you."

Poetry said: "But think about the time
you saw the moon
over that small canyon
that you liked so much better
than the grand one--and how suprised you were
that the moonlight was green
and you still had
one good eye
to see it with

Think of that!"

"I'll join the church!" I said,
huffily, turning my face to the wall.
"I'll learn how to pray again!"

"Let me ask you," said Poetry.
"When you pray, what do you think
you'll see?"

Poetry had me.

"There's no paper
in this room," I said.
"And that new pen I bought
makes a funny noise."

"Bullshit," said Poetry.
"Bullshit," said I.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Soundtrack - April

About once a month, I make a CD of random stuff to act as my soundtrack for the following weeks until I get bored with those songs, put the CD in the glove box, and (probably) never listen to it again. Here's what I threw together for April:

Glamorous - Fergie
Hang Me Up To Dry - Cold War Kids
The Letter - James Morrison
Common People - William Shatner
Nothing Left To Lose - Mat Kearney
I Want Candy - MC Chris
Rehab - Amy Winehouse
Sunday Morning - Maroon5
Le Disko - Shiny Toy Guns
Gin and Juice - Snoop Dogg
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Theme (remix) - Schooly D

Hey, I didn't say my list was pretty.

Your Poem by Christine Kloeck-Lim

maybe i am too conceited to understand your poem
maybe i need punctuation.
maybe i need capitalization in place of innovation
maybe it's just too damn strange for me:
your words all tied up in bizarre patterns
sexual innuendos pleading for release
you say it's because you are a woman
you insist on a slip under your skirt
i say stand up and fuck them
it's not the missing question marks and em dashes that make your poem weird
its the humility that gapes like a hole in its center where anyone could too easily fall in
prey to stereotype.

Read more from Christine Kloeck-Lim at her Web site, November Sky.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Paying it forward, Starbucks style.

I went to Starbucks on Main street today for a heavenly slice of low-fat banana dolce coffee cake (I highly recommend it, by the way). I went inside, I placed my order, and was about to pay when the man taking my order said that a "generous benefactor" had donated money to the store with the instruction that it be used to pay for orders until it was all spent. I didn't press my luck and order any more than my coffee cake. Everyone who came in while I was still there also got their orders for free.

Whatever the motives for something such as this, the outcome is that I left the store with a bit more faith in humanity than I had going in, and I have the desire to now do some nice things for other people.

I have no idea who the generous stranger is, but I'll thank them here anyway. Thank you, generous stranger, for my coffee cake. Your kindness really made my day.

Random thoughts.

Random thought #1: I have read at least three books at the bookstore. I feel somewhat guilty about this, because really, what's the difference between me reading a book at the bookstore and pirating music or software or movies? All are creative endeavors that took the time and energy of someone who expects just compensation for their work. Since I read the book at the store instead of purchasing it for later consumption, aren't I stealing the contents? It's not like I never buy books. I buy a great many books. It's just that I didn't buy the last two books I read. In my defense, they really should make bookstores less comfortable.

Random thought #2: 30 Rock is the best comedy on television right now. Here's a reason why.

Random thought #3: I almost know all of the words to the Ben Folds cover of Bitches Ain't Shit.

Random thought #4: I recently discovered that if I add whipped cream to my Starbucks latte, I also add at least 5 grams of fat. Therefore, no whipped cream = diet drink.

Random thought #5: Let's just say that when you have a cat who weighs 25 pounds, the whole "two trash bags a week limit" makes litter management more difficult than it should be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

To A Baby Born Without Limbs by Kingsley Amis

This is just to show you whose boss around here.
It’ll keep you on your toes, so to speak,
Make you put your best foot forward, so to speak,
And give you something to turn your hand to, so to speak.
You can face up to it like a man,
Or snivvle and blubber like a baby.
That’s up to you. Nothing to do with Me.
If you take it in the right spirit,
You can have a bloody marvelous life,
With the great rewards courage brings,
And the beauty of accepting your LOT.
And think how much good it’ll do your Mum and Dad,
And your Grans and Gramps and the rest of the shower,
To be stopped being complacent.
Make sure they baptise you, though,
In case some murdering bastard
Decides to put you away quick,
Which would send you straight to LIMB-O, ha ha ha.
But just a word in your ear, if you’ve got one.
Mind you DO take this in the right spirit,
And keep a civil tongue in your head about Me.
Because if you DON’T,
I’ve got plenty of other stuff up My sleeve,
Such as Leukemia and polio,
(Which incidentally your welcome to any time,
Whatever spirit you take this in.)
I’ve given you one love-pat, right?
You don’t want another.
So watch it, Jack.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

From Preface to “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men–go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families–re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that, too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Love Song: I and Thou by Alan Dugan

Nothing is plumb, level or square:
the studs are bowed, the joists
are shaky by nature, no piece fits
any other piece without a gap
or pinch, and bent nails
dance all over the surfacing
like maggots. By Christ
I am no carpenter. I built
the roof for myself, the walls
for myself, the floors
for myself, and got
hung up in it myself. I
danced with a purple thumb
at this house-warming, drunk
with my prime whiskey: rage.
Oh I spat rage's nails
into the frame-up of my work:
It held. It settled plumb.
level, solid, square and true
for that one great moment. Then
it screamed and went on through,
skewing as wrong the other way.
God damned it. This is hell,
but I planned it I sawed it
I nailed it and I
will live in it until it kills me.
I can nail my left palm
to the left-hand cross-piece but
I can't do everything myself.
I need a hand to nail the right,
a help, a love, a you, a wife.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Epitaph on a Tyrant by W. H. Auden

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

Friday, April 6, 2007

I Remembered by Sara Teasdale

I Remembered by Sara Teasdale

There never was a mood of mine,
Gay or heart-broken, luminous or dull,
But you could ease me of its fever
And give it back to me more beautiful.

In many another soul I broke the bread,
And drank the wine and played the happy guest,
But I was lonely, I remembered you;
The heart belongs to him who knew it best.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering...
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

At The Poetry Reading by John Brehm

I can't keep my eyes off the poet's
wife's legs—they're so much more
beautiful than anything he might
be saying, though I'm no longer
in a position really to judge,
having stopped listening some time ago.
He's from the Iowa Writers Workshop
and can therefore get along fine
without my attention. He started in
reading poems about his childhood—
barns, cornsnakes, gradeschool, flowers,
that sort of stuff—the loss of
innocence he keeps talking about
between poems, which I can relate to,
especially under these circumstances.
Now he's on to science, a poem
about hydrogen, I think, he's trying
to imagine himself turning into hydrogen.
Maybe he'll succeed. I'm imagining
myself sliding up his wife's fluid,
rhythmic, lusciously curved, black-
stockinged legs, imagining them arched
around my shoulders, wrapped around my back.
My God, why doesn't he write poems about her!
He will, no doubt, once she leaves him,
leaves him for another poet, perhaps,
the observant, uninnocent one, who knows
a poem when it sits down in a room with him.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Eating Together by Li-Young Lee

Eating Together by Li-Young Lee

In the steamer is the trout
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,
brothers, sister, my mother who will
taste the sweetest meat of the head,
holding it between her fingers
deftly, the way my father did
weeks ago. Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.