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Archive for May, 2008

Red, Black, Blue, Calder Sculpture, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Art Lives Here, Red, Black, Blue, Calder Sculpture, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      

Art Lives Here, Red, Black, Blue, Calder
Sculpture, Milwaukee Art Museum
,
Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.







art lives in the flesh
holds riddles, true colors show
Calder painted planes







-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, May 31st, 2008

-related to posts, spinner haiku, haiku (one-a-day)

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Letting Go, Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Letting Go, funeral pyre on Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




It’s one of those gray days in Minneapolis. A storm kicked up her heels last night, a gale force blowing through my dreams. Mr. StripeyPants is draped over a soft brown blanket next to me on the couch. I grabbed my small red greenroom eco notebook of haiku. There they were — the scratched syllables of a day on Lake Michigan.

I looked at the photographs from the writing retreat a few weekends ago. The funeral pyre popped out at me. After we arrived at the little cabins in Wisconsin, we learned that the matriarch of the family-owned business had passed away earlier in the week. She was in her 90’s.

The family gathered to pay their respects. And when we walked on the beach that morning, we passed a tall wooden spire, a testament to her memory. At lunch, an adolescent boy in a black suit paced the pine needles next to our cabin, crumpled paper in hand. He glanced down to the page, out over the blooming tulips, then, lips moving, back to the page.

After dinner, and a day of silence and writing, we looked out the picture window to see the funeral pyre burning. Moths to the flame, we could not help but step out to the porch. We talked quietly among ourselves, but mostly, we stood still and watched. Bearing witness.

It was humbling. In a few minutes, it started to rain. At the same time, a gust of wind burst through the skirts of the white pines and blew out to sea.

Then, complete stillness.

Later in the evening, we were chatting by the fire, and what sounded like gunshots echoed across the beach grass. Fireworks. That’s the way I want to go out. A gangly fire on the beach. Wind blowing my ashes out to sea. Rain to quench my thirst. Giant starbursts in a Full Moon sky.

That Saturday, I wrote these haiku. And to the matriarch — though I did not know you, I know The Grandmothers. And for a few days, I knew the place you called home. Rest in peace.




standing in the sun
waves crashing all around me
pale face, flushed and hot


puffy cirrus clouds
spread cream cheese over the land
gulls dive for crayfish


summer’s in the wind
the moon fell into the lake
jack-in-the-pulpit


waves gently roll back
in a giant concave bowl
anchor beach grasses


sun’s reflection glares
afraid of my own dark thoughts
dead fish rolls to shore


monkey mind is fierce
I don’t know what I’m doing
morning turns and breaks


funeral pyre burns
wind gusting across the lake
all eyes were watching


no understanding
of that kind of letting go
not for me to know 




On The Beach, Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.                         

  To The Wind, Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.   Phoenix, Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  

On The Beach, To The Wind, Phoenix, Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




-posted on red Ravine, Friday, May 30th, 2008

-related to posts: PRACTICE – Blossom Moon – 15min & haiku (one-a-day)

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By Teri Blair


Five months ago I started a poetry and meditation group in my home. And I’ll tell you straight up: if I can start a poetry group, anyone can start a poetry group.

I am not well read when it comes to poets. Before doing this, if called upon to name poets I would have only been able to tick off the most obvious choices: Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson. For most of my life I’ve felt intimidated by poetry. When I’d hear a poem read, I’d usually feel like I didn’t get it. I considered the door to poetry locked and bolted, entered by only a heady few.

But at the beginning of 2008, I began to get an itch to do something to make the world a better place. I know, I know, such a cliché. But I was tired of feeling depressed by the sort of people and events that grab headlines. I was frustrated, feeling like my country was being taken over by things I didn’t like or believe in. I was worried that people weren’t reading like they used to. I wanted to do something to steer the world in the direction I wanted it to go.

The idea for the group dawned on me one day, and I recognized it immediately as something I could pull off. I could invite people over to my house; we’d sit together for an hour, hear good poetry, and be still. And that’s pretty much what we do. It’s not a complicated event.

Each month I pick out a poet. To do this, I browse in a bookstore or library, or go to an online poetry site. I like choosing poets from around the country and from varied backgrounds, but for the first meeting of the group, I picked a Nebraskan poet, just so we could get used to hearing poetry from a Midwestern voice. Since then, we’ve been to Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, and Virginia.

I select poets whose words and voices are accessible. I live in a city with a sensational library system, so I get all the poet’s books with my public library card. I sit on my living room floor with books scattered around me, and slowly page through them. Certain poems jump out at me, and these are the ones I put a bookmark next to.

The people in my poetry group have the option of helping me read, so I email them poems I’ve selected. This gives them the chance to practice reading the poems out loud before we meet. I do a little research on the poets so I can share a bit about their lives and what brought them to writing. I keep this short. I don’t think anyone wants an endless historic lecture.

When we gather, I have candles lit. We get quiet, and I tell everyone what I’ve learned about the poet whose work we’ll hear. I don’t memorize this; I have it written on a piece of paper. I play a song to begin to slow us down, and then we listen to poetry. About one poem every five minutes with silence in-between. Sometimes I can find sound recordings at the library of the authors reading their own works. So at the end, we’ll listen to the writer reading a few of his or her own poems.

So far, our poets have all been living. So we sign a card thanking them and telling them the titles of the poems we heard. I find mailing addresses online and mail the card the next day. Then we drink tea, eat snacks (I ask for a volunteer to bring treats), and hang around. That’s it.



This is what I know so far:

  1. I feel a lot better adding something of decency and substance to the world.
  2. I am getting to know poets, and I am thrilled. If you say the name Maya Angelou to me, I’m tracking with you. If Rita Dove comes to town to read, I’ll be all over her work.
  3. Everyone who comes knows that for at least one hour every month they will get to be still in a busy world.
  4. After the Mary Oliver night, a 26-year-old from our group went and bought all her books. Three people purchased tickets to hear her speak when she came to Minneapolis last March. I’m pretty sure these things wouldn’t have happened if not for the exposure to her work.
  5. We got to participate in National Poem in Your Pocket Day in April. We wouldn’t have known about it had I not been searching poetry websites.
  6. Ted Kooser wrote to our group. I’m here to say I have a postcard from a two-time Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner hanging on my bulletin board. Not bad.
  7. The people who come range in age from 26-55. It feels healthy to be in a cross-age group.
  8. Hosting these evenings is part of my writing practice. It is a tangible way to move my life in the direction I want it to go.
  9. The people who come seem genuinely happy to participate. Someone told me this morning that it feeds her soul.
  10. On Gary Soto night, a young group member (a Spanish major) read her poem twice, first in Spanish and then in English. It was deeply touching to hear another language spoken; it brought tears to our eyes. I don’t know why it did, but it was good. Gary sent us a postcard, too. Part of it is written in Spanish. That Gary.
  11. After deciding that July would feature the poetry of Louise Erdrich, my friend and I saw her a few rows back on the same airplane when we were returning from a writing retreat. It was almost too much synchronicity to grasp. The sort of serendipity that makes your head feel dizzy and your stomach full of butterflies.
  12. When Robert Bly was named Minnesota’s first Poet Laureate, we swelled with pride. Poetry mattered to us.

 

All that. And all I had was desire and a library card.




All The Best From Nebraska, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

All The Best From Nebraska, postcard (back), March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




 Golden Rule, postcard of a painting by Ted Kooser, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 24  Golden Rule, postcard of a painting by Ted Kooser, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 24  Golden Rule, postcard of a painting by Ted Kooser, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 24  Golden Rule, postcard of a painting by Ted Kooser, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 24

Golden Rule, postcard (front), painting by Ted Kooser, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″, March 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Teri Blair is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis. She is currently writing a profile series on teachers who taught in one-room rural schools before, during, and after WW II. They appear monthly in Senior Perspective.



 

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What should we name the store?

Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this. How about …  “VALLEY SUPERMARKET”?

SUPERmarket?? It’s not a supermarket. Smith’s in Taos is a supermarket. Albertsons in Santa Fe is a supermarket.

No, no, no, wait a second. This is big, man, this is huge. Our store is gonna be the biggest one this town has seen. It’s a supermarket, man.

Dude, truth in advertising. We can’t call it something it’s not!

Oh, and what do you think it is…  a mini-mart??

Exactly! “Valley Mini-Mart.”

Give me a break! We’re gonna stock, what?, six brands of bread! Circle K doesn’t stock six brands of bread…7/11 probably carries two.

Well, I’m not gonna call it a supermarket. Just ain’t gonna happen.

Well, it ain’t no mini-mart, that’s for sure.

OK, wait, we can make this work. Come on, we’ve gotten this far, haven’t we? Surely we can come up with something that satisfies both of us.

Yeah, you’re right. We’ll figure it out. We always do. Come on, man, I’ll buy you a Coke at the Gas-A-Mat and we can think about it some more.




            
Super-ettes and other Oxymorons, grocery store sign in Española, NM, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


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Who, Me?, Sony the Pug on Friday, the day before she got sick. Photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



The Vet called about an hour ago to ask if we were missing a pecan.

It turns out that 12-month-old Sony had one lodged in her intestine, which the Vet (my new heroine) found when she went in and opened up our little pug’s stomach this afternoon. The pecan, it seems, blocked food and liquid from passing through her stomach, causing it to swell up like a balloon.

She’s not out of the woods yet, although my-heroine-the-Vet said that Sony was awake and alert right after the operation. Medical folk will be at the animal hospital around the clock tonight, and tomorrow evening they’ll try to feed her something. If all goes well, we’ll pick her up on Tuesday.

Whew. What a relief.

I was worried they’d cut her open and find nothing. At least now we know what caused Sony to get gradually sick over these past two weeks until she finally reached the point this morning of not being able to keep anything down. Poor baby. We decided to take her in when we noticed her stomach had expanded so much that her left leg was starting to stick out and she could hardly lie down.

We’ve tried to “Sony-proof” our house, with mixed results. Every now and then I catch her trying to swallow a rubber band or eat the stuffing out of a toy. About two or so weeks ago I caught her outside with a pecan in her mouth. I got it away from her, and if my memory serves me correctly, threw it way out of reach — or so I thought! Little did I know.

From here on out, we’re going to be way more vigilent when Sony is outside. This isn’t the first time she’s had to be rushed to the Vet because she ate something discovered while snorting around under the old trees. She’s just not an outdoor dog. Which is too bad, because she love-love-loves being outside with her big bros.

If you get a chance, please send her some positive vibes. And if all goes well, she’ll be safe and sound at home — indoors! — in two days.



                                       



***UPDATE*** — Sony is safely esconced at home, currently lying in her snuggly fleece bed. Her face is thin, her eyes alarmingly protruding. But she is good ol’ silly-sly-huggable-lovable-snuffaloffagus-nutty Sony.

Look what the vet sent home with us. After taking this shot, for posterity, I placed the menacing nut into the bottom of the trash bin. Good riddance!




-Related to posts A Girl With A Curl & Her Pug, In Spring, and Ten Things About Sony The Pug.

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Blossom Moon, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Blossom Moon, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



The May Blossom Moon rose quietly over Lake Michigan. Saturday night, she dodged high cirrus clouds and streaks of intermittent rain. Sunday she was more sure of herself, dressed in pale yellow with a silvery sheen on glacial tides. Does the Moon pull the tides across the Great Lakes? I think she does.

The Chippewa and Ojibway called May’s moon, Blossom Moon. The Eastern Cherokee, the Planting Moon. The Farmers’ Almanac blends into Flower Moon. In some climates, blossoms are slower to the surface than others. Spring arrives in southern New Mexico or east central Georgia much quicker than it does to parts of the Midwest or Minnesota.

There are moon references to shedding horses from the Sioux and the Northern Arapaho —   When the Ponies Shed Their Shaggy Hair. That reminds me of a horsehair carriage blanket I inherited from my Aunt Cassie. I had it hanging on the wall for a time in Missoula. The horsehair served as a lapwarmer.

I was surprised at how stiff and coarse the blanket was. How did they weave it together? With white-knuckled fingers, long needles, and bleeding fingertips? Two artists in the Casket Arts Building are working with horsehair in their art. One has incorporated it into an oil painting. The other, as hair sprouting from a clay-fired face.

Yesterday, I walked in our small gardens. The bleeding heart bells are in full white regalia. The day lily greens rose a foot over the weekend I was in Wisconsin. Four of the rosebushes we transplanted late last year show signs of life. We lost three of them. Not bad odds.

We lost the bush clover. The deer ate it last year when we transplanted it down by the lilac bush. So Liz dug it up and nursed it back to life in a planter on the deck. At the end of the season, we transplanted it again and put a wire cage around it from the Garden Lady across the street. We were sad when it didn’t make it. Why? Too little water or rain? Or was it the clay-like earth in the spot where we planted it.

The strawberries we moved to the sunny rock garden hill are wild and flowering. I couldn’t see the moon last night. I think we are into the New Moon phase now. Blossom Moon was full last Monday. Sunday night, we all walked down to the beach to take a closer look at her full moon skin. You could hear the lake tide lapping the shore. The remains of Maurine’s funeral pyre rested on the sand. There was a light wind.

I took a few shots without a tripod. I never know if they will come out. Handheld night shots are risky. But I wanted to capture the energy — the Full Blossom Moon sinking into the lake. She floats on top for a time, mesmerizing me, making me want to dive into the light. But the Mermaids know better. Never fall headfirst into the Siren’s call.


Moon Over Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  Moon Over Lake Michigan, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


posted on red Ravine, Sunday, May 25th, 2008

-related to posts: winter haiku trilogy, PRACTICE – Wolf Moon – 10min, PRACTICE – Snow Moon (Total Lunar Eclipse) — 20min, and PRACTICE – Wind Moon – 20min, PRACTICE — Pink Frog Moon — 15min

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Olive and other Weird Food, pen and ink on graph paper, doodle © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.








blood sausage scrambled
brains, head cheese, menudo, spam
olives ain’t so bad









-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – OLIVES

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