Moreover, thinking about one's mortality
What will happen is this:
your knees will creak after a long run
and your back might hurt.
(more) Maybe you have to write down things - phone numbers and dates -
that once you juggled
in your head, like
like a circus performer
and his flaming torches.
Sex takes longer.
But what the hell,
do you have something better to do?
Let it take forever.
There may be a few crossed out names
in your address book.
No, not your exes.
One of your yoga buddies shows up
after a few absences, a few pounds lighter
and talks about her chemotherapy.
The scar on your shoulder still itches
but you can't talk about it.
Thank you, Eastern European superstition.
Meanwhile your friends in the band
cancel their show
the lead guitarist had a stroke
he jokes about getting back into the swing
of things, maybe starting back
with a friendly audience. Your heart breaks
but the show must go on.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, there are grape arbors in the back yards. Even in winter, the vines are lovely, green and lush, making one sigh with the beauty of having this scene to look at every day. And the grapes that this arbor produces, juicy, dark, tempting.(more) We marveled at how easily the vines seemed to grow, clambering up the poles and stakes like lithe, green acrobats.
Unfortunately, none of the Palestinian families, who own these vines, will eat the fruit.
They're afraid that the Israeli settlers who live nearby poison the grapes, in an attempt to harass and intimidate these families. So the fruit are left to rot on the vines.
One of the men tells us, "When the settlers first came, I tried to be a good neighbor. I brought them fruit from my own trees. But they just threw rocks at me." As I listen I am overcome with sadness and I feel like I might start crying.
We're in the back yards for a reason. There are many streets in Hebron that are actually closed to Palestinians. In order to go to their homes, these citizens must take a round about route, climbing up steep hillsides, instead of the direct streets. So we're being taken up these steep hillsides, going the roundabout way, to experience what the locals experience. Some of the members of our group are elderly, some have a fear of heights, but the stronger among us step up to help the weaker. I imagine its like that for the Palestinians of Hebron also.
I am not making any of this up. You can go to Hebron and see this for yourself. Don't forget to admire the arbors if they haven't been cut down.
"I will not work anyplace that does not allow
sparklies," she said.
Damn right, I say. Life is short,
pass the glitter!
Let me sprinkle it in my office
and wear it my hair.
(more) Because you never know what's
going to happen next.
Bright colors please, no more black.
Make it beautiful, no matter what.
Myself, I have no artistic talent
I draw like a five year old, all stick
figures, flat houses, blue strip sky
and the requisite yellow ball -
the sun, of course. No matter,
I doodle just the same.
I open a box of crayons and its like being
third grade again, except now
I know how to share.
I go to museums like some people go to church.
As a matter of fact I go to museums
when some people go to church.
I hope not to offend anyone by praying
in the art gallery.
And I wear bright colors often.
My sense of humor was on crack
the day I glued the nickel to the dining room
table. In my baby faced innocence
I thought I could get away with it.
And I almost did, until my sister
walked in, inspecting my work like
(more) a sharp eyed realtor.
"That was dumb," she said
and her snap judgement hit me
and knocked me sidewise.
Then she walked out,
to watch tv or something
leaving me to scrape the glue
and the nickel off the table,
hiding the evidence of my rainy day
boredom, a silly practical joke.
I had no idea the road to the St. George Monastery was such a mess. It was muddy and rutted and the taxi lurched alarmingly. We were driving up Wadi Qelt out of Jericho. The road gave way from rural land with a few Bedouin-owned camels here and there(more) to a canyon, with a steep drop to my right that made me afraid to look out the window.
The day had started out gray and showery but the farther we drove up the wadi, the harder the rain fell.
"From Jerusalem, there is a better road, but Palestinians are not allowed to use it," explained Abu Omar, my tour guide/taxi driver. Sure enough, when we got to the top, I could see where the road from Jerusalem came in.
In the West Bank things might not be far apart physically but in other ways you might as well be on another planet.
Gale force winds were blowing, but Abu Omar had a sheet of plastic in the trunk, which we used to protect ourselves from the rain as best we could. At the crossroads we stopped so that I could take a photo of the monastery, nestled in the cliff across the canyon. Oddly enough, a family lived up here and one of the kids was staffing the family juice stand. I wondered how many people would be crazy enough to make this trek on a day like this.
If I had known how dangerous the road was, I would not have had him risk his taxi, his livelihood. One of the major lessons I learned on this trip is that Palestinians are brave and generous even in the face of horrible adversity, and I don't just mean muddy roads. (less)
Poetry should read early in the morning
so that if feels like you're dreaming it
a personal message to you from the
proverbial mysterious stranger
but not not just any stranger
this one paints fabulous worlds on page
(more) with a pen
later on today you will ask yourself,
"Did I dream that?"
And you go home to look for the book
with the images that made you cry
and you can't find it.
Seeing how I've been called a "throwback" I'm going to embrace my "throwback-ness" and admit that my all-time favorite album is Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. This album is full of poetry but it is also considered by many to be one of the most angry, bitter break-up(more) albums ever written.
However, not every song on the album is angry. "Shelter from the Storm" is pure romance. "Rosemary, Lily, and the Jack of Hearts" is a great story. If I were a filmmaker I would make a movie out of it. Taking a peak at Wikipedia it seems that much has already been written about this song so I'll leave it for now. But if you want my take on it, just buy me a beer and I'll be happy to ramble on about it sometime.
So here's another reason why I like this album: It reminds me of a particular time in my life, and it brings back good memories. It reminds me of driving through eastern Oregon, in the high desert, late one summer. A small group of us were taking part in a two-week field ornithology course, at Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge.
This area was incredibly remote. It was wildness to the nth degree except for the cattle. Apparently the cattle ranchers of eastern Oregon had a deal with the Bureau of Land Management that allowed them to graze on public land. So everytime you thought you couldn't get more off the beaten track there would be a gate and a sign asking you to close the gate after driving through, and the corrugated metal of a cattle guard in the road in case you forgot.
I know I have to bring this back to Bob Dylan somehow. I'll listen to a Bob Dylan cd later.
It is 1983. I'm 18 years old and standing on the black sand of a Pacific coast beach. Its not quite what I expected but the wildness of it has me charmed. Driftwood is strewn along the beach and piled up haphazardly like it was thrown off a mountain(more) by an angry god. The air smells like salt from an unknown sea.
My companion is a friend from college, just 21 and already getting a divorce. I don't even remember his name. We walk along in the late afternoon, gray clouds drifting and massing, while gulls screech. I want to say the gulls sound lonely but I'm the one that's lonely, not the birds.
My friend chatters happily. He's glad to get away from school for a few days. I try to listen but I'm stressed about a paper due on Monday. The wind is blowing hard and we bow into it, resisting. We find the head of a shark at our feet, and we poke at it like a couple of curious kids.
Soon we head back to the car and put up a tent, where we'll spend the night before the long drive back to Olympia. I'm hoping to see a sunset over the ocean, my first one. Finally I can see just the faintest point of orange light teasing its way through the clouds. That's it. I go to sleep to the sound of waves. (less)
This time of year it is possible to see eagles flying high above Lake Washington or roosting in the top of the cottonwoods by the lakeshore. I love watching them from the bus stop across the street. Here I am - doing a banal activity like waiting for a bus(more) - and across the street from me is a magnificent bald eagle. I just watch till the bus comes, enjoying the sight.
Its not unusal to see more than one. There are times when three or four may be flying over the lake, dipping and rising on the air currents. From my earthbound vantage it looks like they're having a wonderful time up there.
One would think a bird as large and powerful as an eagle would have nothing to be afraid of. But I've seen an eagle mobbed by crows. This usually happens when the eagle is by itself. A few crows will come and fly around, darting threateningly towards the eagle but not actually attacking it.
At this point one of two things might happen: the eagle gets tired of the unwanted attention and flies off, or the eagle ignores the crows, who get tired of their game and fly off, leaving the eagle alone.
Crows are interesting to observe also. At dusk huge mobs of crows fly towards the Park and Ride, where they roost at night. The sky is loud and thick with their raucous calling. It goes on for half an hour, till the last crow is settled in its tree.
Crows are tough, but eagles are true survivors. They came back from near extinction. Seeing an eagle gives me hope. I could watch them all day and be happy.
You've been waiting a long time.
Waiting for the lights to go down
waiting for the phone call that never comes
wating for backup
wating for the bus
waiting for feedback
(more) waiting for the news
waiting at the checkpoint
waiting for justice.
You get tired of waiting
your patience is frayed and you're just
barely holding on to sanity
with both hands, tight.
There's no more time to wait
the bus isn't coming this time,
you'll just have to walk.
Make the call, make a decision even
if you have to flip a coin, call heads
or tails, push past the armed guard
he's on your land, not
the other way around.
And one last thing: don't wait
for love to find you
love is closer than you think
like yellow crocuses just beneath the snow.
I don't remember this incident. I don't think
about it that much, how just another half inch
and the eye would be gone, and I know
there are worse things than losing an eye.
I've managed to collect a few more scars
since that time. There's the one at the corner
of my mouth, that smiles when I smile.
Glass shards of a mirror, I was an accident-prone
child. And there's the long thin scar
on my back from surgery:
you bet I remember that one. Scoliosis
and a month in the hospital.
Now there's the new one on my shoulder
that itches randomly, and I find myself
absently reaching a hand under my shirt
to scratch it and stopping sometimes
too late, my fellow bus riders have
already seen and pegged me for a wierdo.
My skin is a catalogue of old injuries, a history
of misadventure and genetic quirks.
My body is a survivor.
I am tough. Sometimes I feel like
I could walk through flames and not feel it
but why risk it.
What does this mean, "cruel shoes"? Does it mean literally shoes that are cruel to your feet, like the impossibly pointy toe stilletos I feel compelled to buy and cram my equally impossibly wide feet into? This causes me to walk around in pain all day cursing the silly(more) but sexy shoes. As luck would have it I'm just not that invested in this particular look so those shoes have been tossed. I'm creative, I can find other ways to feel sexy without foot torture.
But maybe I am missing the meaning here. Maybe it means walking a mile in someone else's shoes, as in putting yourself in that person's place, trying to experience the world from another's view point. And perhaps that person has had a rough life; walking in the shoes of a homeless person would mean walking in cruel shoes.
I don't have to look very far to find a good example. I think about my mother, who was schizophrenic and a child Holocaust survivor. Or my aunt, who died at age 36. Or a friend of mine who has to go to the emergency room every few weeks because of an intestinal thing no one can figure out. No, I do not have cruel shoes. Compared to my family and certain friends I've had it pretty easy and I appreciate it. I'm now in a position to help out and give back.
Sweet Potato was in love with Turnip. Turnip felt the same way about Sweet Potato. There was no reason why they shouldn't be together; thew were both root vegetables, after all. But they had their differences from time to time. Sweet Potato was impetuous and was quick to jump(more) to conclusions. He was happiest at Thanksgiving, when he was allowed to be one of the stars of the table.
Turnip, on the other hand, preferred to take things slow. She liked being outdoors and was fond of horses. She had a fresh, crunchy texture that made her popular with horses, also. Sweet Potato was often jealous of the time Turnip spent away from him, outdoors.
Their romance went along swimmingly for a time. But one day Parnsip entered the picture. Parnsip vied for Sweet Potato's attention. Turnip was afraid she couldn't compete. Parnsip was sweet and had a soft mushy texture, though her core could be a little stiff at times. Turnip shed bitter tears.
But their story has a happy ending because Sweet Potato needed Turnip's earthiness - he and Parsnip were too much alike. So Parsnip ran off with Carrot. They had a few things in common but they were actually quite different and that's why they got along so well. (less)