Thursday, November 30, 2006

Concrete changes

365 days. 576 posts. One enormous "thank you" for an experience that changed, and is still changing, me.

One year ago, I was double-dog-dared into setting up a blog. How could I refuse? Posted mostly from an archive of my highly unpublished poems, along with a desultory photo or two.

Because of your reflectivity, your attention and feedback, your support, I kept posting. I started drawing again. I began taking pictures deliberately, with the kind of attention I applied to drawing. I spent increasing time in the meditative practice of really looking at things.

Here are just a few of the things I've experienced:

Visual arts transcend language barriers; people in far-away places can smile and share their delight at creative efforts even in the absence of a common written or spoken language.

Brilliant poetry flickers all over the Internet, and those who write and share it, who pursue it with love and passion and a firm work ethic, inspire me every day.

There is work shared that may not move me -- but how moving that people are reaching out to share it.

People who I've never met, people whose "real" names are unknown to me, have been stalwart friends of my creative growth -- what stunning generosity of spirit that is!

So, thanks for coming by to see my blog.
I hope it fuels your own creative energy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Peak experiences story, <150 words

Out of the chute

—all the rosin in the world will do no good unless the wrap’s tight, sumbitch pinned my leg, rock rock rocking good he’s moved—


Something shines, sky or fence, piledriving but he’s
rolling now big gator rolls like to get me hung up
no way I’m going down in the well you sumbitch
spinner spin but I got hold of you, don’t you fade
sky now blur now spin tight into my hand pull
fight it fight dammit change direction change don’t
snap me back no DQ not this time almost got you

—glad to see arena dirt if I get all eight seconds, score could put me in some money but there’s easier ways to earn it’s something else that gets you in and out of that chute.

Friday, November 24, 2006

That last time in airports

Jet Lag

I’ve lost the heading and there are no more seats going home,
conversations abrading around me until the air—that thin ocean—
tethers to a deeper ache than mere homesickness, grows leaden
with every woven fraying strand, every place becoming nowhere.

Disoriented, my compass rose petals dropped among a bramble
of chrome armrests and regulatory voice-overs, the locus here, and
there, and somewhere else again, my center gone centrifugal down
to some other destination where contrails skywrite a cuneiform of
time-mist-vector that detains the setting sun, prolongs the moonrise.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


An unexpected surprise, those starburst sparkles. The lake made me think of Homer's metaphor, "wine-dark sea."

Silt / Shadow

Since all my friends in the US are probably stuffed from big meals and thankfulness, thought I'd serve up some extra helpings on my blog as well.

The primary thing

The primary thing is "gratitude" on this US Thanksgiving Day. And among those things I'm grateful for? Being able to share what I find with you.

Friday, November 17, 2006


The structure of landscape is infinitesimal,

Like the structure of music,

seamless, invisible.

From Body and Soul II, by Charles Wright

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Seduction story, <1000 words

The Machinist

The afternoon light bent around a corner, and, camera in hand, she followed. Someone’s radio was playing loud enough to stir up dust-devils. She wondered who else was listening to that radio in this faded downtown.

Down the alley she saw one window with the shade pulled back, a metal door open. Peering in, something cornflower blue caught her eye—an enameled machine casing. Lots of old machinery, polished, gleaming in the filtered light. From inside, almost behind her, a voice: “Hey, didn’t I see you here about a year, a year and a half ago?” A man with short sand-colored hair stepped around in front of her, wiping his hands on a shop towel.

“Uhm, no, I don’t believe I’ve ever been here.”

He frowned at her, said he was sure she’d been there before, asked her what she was doing with the camera. Wasn’t she a journalist?

“Oh no, I just wander around taking pictures of old rusty things, bits of machinery…just a hobby.” She noticed his hands, black grease-rimmed cuticles, bits of metal flake catching the light. “I guess that’s what made me stop—all your tools. What do you do with these machines, anyway?”

“I make things like this,” he said, cupping a small piece of shiny machined aluminum.

She bent closer to take a look, and while the aluminum clearly had significance for him, she couldn’t tell what it was or what it wasn’t. So she smiled. “I have friends who do metalwork and woodwork,” she said. Looking over his shoulder—“Is that a lathe? It looks old.”

“It is old. They don’t make equipment like this anymore. It’s a 1963 Clausing.” As he told the history of the lathe and how he came to own it, he led her a bit further into the shop.

Out of the daylight, her eyes took time to adjust. Tiny curlicues of shaved metal scattered on the dark wood floor looked like a night sky underfoot. The dim corners, the moon-glow of burnished metal under shop lights, the spangles of shavings made her feel as if she were in someone else’s déjà vu.

“And this,” he said, leading her to another machine, “I got this at an online auction a few months ago. With it, I can make things like this bushing.” He handed her a small perfect donut of tooled black plastic. “But it took me more than a month to get it working—the voltage was 440, and I had to reverse it, run it backwards through—well, do you know anything about electricity?” She shook her head.

“Let’s just say it was a real case of buyer beware, took a whole lot of effort to get it going, but that first job’s paid for more than half the cost. Excuse me, my music’s too loud—I’ll go turn it down.” She noticed he wasn’t much taller than she was, but he was solid, thick-set, as dense a presence as the iron and steel bar stock racked in the corner.

As he came back into the workshop something wary rippled through her. She said, “I know you must be busy…I hate to take up your time like this, I should head out while the light’s still good—”

“Now, let me show you just a few more things. You see that table over there?”

She turned. It was impossible not to see that table. It stretched across most of the back wall, looked as if it were rough-sawed from a whole forest, its steel plate surface covered with metal forms and blanks, each snaggled drawer fronting bent and cockeyed metal tubing for pulls. It was painted a dark emerald green.

“I bought it with all its tools still in the drawers. Files, bearing-poppers, reamers—thousands of dollars worth of tools, got them all and the table for $50.” He leaned over, worked a massive drawer open to pull out a long, beautifully machined piece of steel.

That feeling of leaving rose again, but her curiosity tamped it down.

“Here—look at this. You can’t find reamers like this anywhere anymore.”

Standing close, he placed the reamer in her hand. It was very heavy, pulled her arm down as if it had its own gravity. “It’s beautiful,” she said, and meant it. It was made well for a purpose, and she loved those sorts of things.

Running a finger lightly over the cutting edge of the reamer, a droplet of blood as red and shiny as a pomegranate seed blossomed. The metal was sharp enough that she felt no pain, but both noticed the cut.

“I am so sorry,” he said, and put her finger to his lips.


For Stewart Sternberg's writing challenge this week.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ipomoea indica

Slowly getting untangled...

The Massive Work Project has been wrapped and was successful (others looming, of course) and the Bad Tooth is now rendered harmless.

Missed y'all while I was gone, and will be visiting lots this weekend. And thanks so very much for the bouquet of comments -- what a lovely "get well and come back soon" they've been for me!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Due to circumstances
beyond my comprehension

Because of a Massive Work Project, a Tooth Gone Bad, and a few other bits of excitement, I'll return to posting next the meanwhile, a rose for all of you. You are my muses.

I will come by and visit your sites as I get time (and as the medicine relents.) Hope your next few days are full of interesting things and No Bad Teeth.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The dry line

And a bit more detail related to the title, for those who've not experienced the weather patterns in this part of the US.