Thursday, April 27, 2006

Poetry Wednesday on Thursday

One Continuous Substance

A small boy and a slant of morning light
both exit the last dark trees of this forest, though
the boy is gone in an instant. Not

the light: it travels its famous 186,000 miles per second
to be this still gold bar
on the floor of the darkness. I suppose

that from the universe’s point of view
we do the same: a small boy and an old man
being one continuous substance.

We were making love when the phone rang
saying my father was dead, and the sun
kept touching you, there, and there, where I’d been.

by Albert Goldbarth

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Poetry Wednesday

Check out the archives on the Poetry Foundation's website.


The light has traveled unthinkable thousands of miles to be
condensed, recharged, and poured off the white white pages
of an open Bible the country parson holds in front of this couple
in a field, in July, in the sap and the flyswirl of July
in upper Wisconsin, where their vows buzz in a ring in the air
like the flies, and are as sweet as the sap, in these rich and ritual minutes.
Is it sentimental? Oops. And out of that Bible the light continues
to rush as if from a faucet. There will be a piecrust cooling
out of its own few x’ed-out cuts. And will it make us run
for the picklier taste of irony rolled around protectively on our tongues
like a grab of Greek olives? My students and I discuss this
slippery phenomenon. Does “context” matter? Does
“earned” count? If a balled-up fidget of snakes
in the underbrush dies in a freeze is it sentimental? No,
yes, maybe. What if a litter of cocker spaniels? What
if we called them “puppydogs” in the same poem in that same hard,
hammering winter? When my father was buried,
the gray snow in the cemetery was sheet tin. If I said
that? Yes, no, what does “tone” or “history” do
to the Hollywood hack violinists who patiently wait to play
the taut nerves of the closest human body until from that
lush cue alone, the eyes swell moistly, and the griefs
we warehouse daily take advantage of this thinning
of our systems, then the first sloppy gushes begin . . .
Is that “wrong”? Did I tell you the breaths
of the gravediggers puffed out like factorysmoke
as they bent and straightened, bent and straightened,
mechanically? Are wise old (toothless) Black blues singers
sentimental?—“gran’ma”? “country cookin’”? But
they have their validity, don't they, yes? their
sweat-in-the-creases, picking up the lighting
in a fine-lined mesh of what it means to have gone through time
alive a little bit on this planet. Hands shoot up . . . opinions . . .
questions . . . What if the sun wept? the moon? Why, in the face
of those open faces, are we so squeamish? Call out
the crippled girl and her only friend the up-for-sale foal,
and let her tootle her woeful pennywhistle musics.
What if some chichi streetwise junkass from the demimonde
gave forth with the story of orphans forced through howling storm
to the workhouse, letting it swing between the icy-blue
quotation marks of cynicism—then? What if
I wept? What if I simply put the page down,
rocked my head in my own folded elbows, forgot
the rest of it all, and wept? What if I stepped into
the light of that page, a burnished and uncompromising
light, and walked back up to his stone a final time,
just that, no drama, and it was so cold,
and the air was so brittle, metal buckled
out song like a bandsaw, and there, from inside me,
where they’d been lost in shame and sophistry
all these years now, every last one of my childhood’s
heartwormed puppydogs found its natural voice.

by Albert Goldbarth

Monday, April 24, 2006

Point of Rocks, Morton Co. Kansas

This is probably my favorite place on earth. Point of Rocks was a lookout for settlers on the Sante Fe Trail. You can still see the wagon ruts that follow the Cimarron River from the point. There were some poor farming practices in the 20's so when drought hit in the 30's the Dust Bowl also hit.

Morton County was one of the most devestated areas, but slowly the area recovered and was designated Cimarron National Grassland. Which is where yours truly has spent many a morning, day, and evening birding.

Glasswing Butterfly

  • Glasswing Butterfly
  • U.S. At Night

  • Google Earth At Night

  • Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Get Human!

    Can't get a person on your credit card's customer service line? Try Get Human

    "Our goal is to improve the quality of customer service and phone support in the US. This free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use."

    "The most popular part of the gethuman website is the gethuman database of secret phone numbers and codes to get to a human when calling a company for customer service. (See also our general tips.)"

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Poem o' the Day

    Where You Go When She Sleeps
    by T R Hummer

    What is it when a woman sleeps, her head bright
    In your lap, in your hands, her breath easy now as though it had never been
    Anything else, and you know she is dreaming, her eyelids
    Jerk, but she is not troubled, it is a dream
    That does not include you, but you are not troubled either,
    It is too good to hold her while she sleeps, her hair falling
    Richly on your hands, shining like metal, a color
    That when you think of it you cannot name, as though it has just
    Come into existence, dragging you into the world in the wake
    Of its creation, out of whatever vacuum you were in before,
    And you are like the boy you heard of once who fell
    Into a silo full of oats, the silo emptying from below, oats
    At the top swirling in a gold whirlpool, a bright eddy of grain, the boy
    You imagine, leaning over the edge to see it, the noon sun breaking
    Into the center of the circle he watches, hot on his back, burning
    And he forgets his father's warning, stands on the edge, looks down,
    The grain spinning, dizzy, and when he falls his arms go out, too thin
    For wings, and he hears his father's cry somewhere, but is gone
    Already, down in a gold sea, spun deep in the heart of the silo,
    And when they find him, he lies still, not seeing the world
    Through his body but through the deep rush of grain
    Where he has gone and can never come back, though they drag him
    Out, his father's tears bright on both their faces, the farmhands
    Standing by blank and amazed - you touch that unnamable
    Color in her hair and you are gone into what is not fear or joy
    But a whirling of sunlight and water and air full of shining dust
    That takes you, a dream that is not of you but will let you
    Into itself if you love enough, and will not, will never let you go.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Hardy Bird

    Hardy Bird

    for Felix Stefanile

    When I can hear my raucous sparrows sing,
    I shed some gravity, then brace to fly
    until their urgent chords start softening.

    We echo notes like these to justify
    dark hours with blank pages—time we spend
    in ways no predator can comprehend.
    Like sparrows pulling grubs from rotting oaks,
    we peck obsessively; and if we pry
    some morsels from the wood that satisfy
    demands for sustenance, we try to coax
    our throats to warble songs no soul has heard.

    We are indebted to the steadfast man
    who hears the sorrow of the striving bird
    and spreads whatever crumbs of bread he can.

    --A. M. Juster

    Into The Wild

    I'm using the book "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer in my Comp I class (like many others I'm coming to find). I read this book about Chris McCandless a.k.a Alexander Supertramp as I was nearing graduating from college. I think it was a big reason for me leaving grad school after one semester, along with other things. Many people believe he was stupid and died because of hubris. That is true, or at least partially so, but he also lived out his convinctions; how many of us can say that? This is the one picture of McCandless that is available to the public. He died in that bus.

    Two-Headed Turtle Found in China

    March 17, 2006—In biology, two heads are rarely better than one. But this unusual golden coin turtle, found in China, appears to be doing just fine. A businessman from the city of Qingdao says he bought the reptile at an animal market last year.

    According to press reports released Wednesday, the turtle's two heads cooperate well and can even eat at the same time. Its owner says the reptile eats more than one-headed turtles do and has grown over the past year.

    The creature most likely developed its unusual anatomy while still in the egg. Its embryo began to split in two—the process that gives rise to identical twins—but then failed to fully separate.

    While uncommon, abnormalities caused by incompletely split embryos occur in many animal species, including fish, snakes, rats, cows—even humans, where the phenomenon leads to what are known as Siamese, or conjoined, twins.

    Experts say survival rates for two-headed animals tend to be lower in the wild. But in captivity such animals can prosper. At the San Diego Zoo a two-headed corn snake named Thelma and Louise produced 15 normal offspring before it died.

    —Sean Markey