Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yearbook (4.5)

Long unbelievable rain stains on the terracotta brushed over the brick wall outside the window here in Mona’s kitchen. Brownish elytra with tiny pocks. Blue butterflies. Old black road, American robin—it’s getting on genuine, lush, sooty spring duct tape tries to hold in place a moment, against the gravity we size up in every leaf, lento, as the scary van arrives.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Correspondence

Still Life with Ginger Jar, first version (1911-12, Piet Mondrian)

The Locust Tree in Flower (1932, William Carlos Williams)


the leaves


of wrist-thick

and old

stiff broken


loosely strung—

come May
white blossom


to spill

their sweets


and quickly


The Locust Tree in Flower (1935, William Carlos Williams)







Still Life with Ginger Jar, second version (1911-12, Piet Mondrian)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yearbook (4.4)

Mandrel—miner’s pick, rod around which material is cast, shaft to which revolving tool or lathe-work is fixed, phonograph spindle. Sootikins—“small animals which according to folklore are given birth to by Dutchwomen laboring over stoves.” Stuart Range—“the single largest mass of exposed granite in the US.” Canned food—more bass, more voice, less drum overheads would be nice; esp. less trebly cymbals. Outgroups—“used to ‘root’ a tree.” Orthodox thought—“thinking in colors.” Wholeheartedly purple.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What We Are Learning

I've been working with Colin Beattie and Alyse Emdur on "What We Are Learning," a monthly email magazine. A sample issue (the third and latest) appears below. If you'd like to receive future issues, send us an email at whatwearelearningATgmailDOTcom. If you'd like to contribute to the magazine, simply send us a sentence or two about what you learned or studied or experienced or thought about in April.

Ian cut deeply into the muscles of his own hand with a paring knife. Clea experienced pain: "It was so deep, so deep I literally thought I was going insane, this pain was so horrible." Something clicked, and Lizza discovered she has a twenty-five-year-old well of anger towards her mother. Lucy rubbed her poor chin after chopping some chilies. A doctor told Lisa the cause for her pounding heart and aching arms was that she might be excited about too many things. Izaak's mother told him imminent death is often indicated by a "certain strange, sweet foot-smell".

Daniel was watching his mailbox obsessively and cursing the NBA.
Ladybird was concerned that writing imaginary words might transform a writer into one of her own unlikable subjects. Mackenzie worried she has only a few true friends. Malina realized too many people are born. Cecilia may have caused offense when she chose the wrong seat at an academic conference. Learning that Philadelphia is actually south of New York City, Colin realized he has been wrong for years. Diego decided giant Mexican sandwiches aren't good for him. Jason considered the western literary canon to be a self-sustaining and self-referential system of allusions. Alastair contemplated the abyss between preformational Logos, wriggling in the ethers of the Good, and Nomos, the named idea. In Addis Ababa, Michael dreamed of Haile Selassie and honey. He began to wonder if there is a relationship between dictators and "things that have a certain sweetness, but require the blood of many".

Michaela heard about a preschool where there are no chairs at all but lots
of indoor swings. Phil learned that when he was born, an astrologer exclaimed "Oh no, this kid loves himself too much!" He considers these words to be the "big true curse-blessing" of his life. Gabriel listened to very strange-sounding intervals based from the thirteenth partial. Sam attempted to prolong his fever-induced delirium in order to distort ideas about the palimpsest of urban landscape. Mary was curious about "everyday architecture". Ramona had transformative multimedia dreams involving Parker Posey, Steve Martin, George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin. McCloud researched Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, who began making color photographs of Imperial Russia in 1905 using three black and white negatives exposed through colored filters. Lauren was intrigued by the way ice formations are affected by music while they freeze. Amber investigated Bull Run, the source of Portland's drinking water supply. While speaking with Mae West's former personal secretary, Reece learned that Palm Desert isn't quite as dry as it used to be.

Following Greek Easter tradition, Ashley made a wish and knocked boiled eggs together to see which would be the one to crack. Sara wore socks on the trampoline to build up bigger electric shocks. Liz was sewing circuits. Kenneth shopped for remote Alaskan real estate on eBay®. Adam woke at four in the morning every day, and he played the accordion nearly as often. Martha made salt-caramels and rose-petal ice cream. Peter became diligent about cleaning his cat's box and saving his digital files. Treisa's efforts to go ice-skating with busy friends were thwarted. She had a wonderful martini in the John Hancock Building instead. Christian tore down a room and rebuilt it from the frame up. Michael tried to break the hugeness of his hopes into smaller, more specific pieces. While tinkering, Ariana found trust working within the machinery of her profound mistrust for herself. Alyse was learning to trust her decisions without looking back. Chris felt alive by being so close to something he truly cares about. Leif read a letter his father wrote to him from prison aloud to friends, finding new admiration for his father and the fight against tyranny. Arianna practiced hula-hooping on her knees and doing splits. Gabe built up his back muscles. Anna searched for a place to plant cantaloupe. Ariel enjoyed the flavor of raindrops sipped from lilac blossoms.

is a free monthly email publication. We encourage
you to continue doing everything so beautifully.

Send us a note about your discoveries for our upcoming issue.
Our warmest invitation is extended to new contributors and
new subscribers. Occasionally, we will print letters, event
listings, and illustrations. Back issues are available upon request.

always welcome. Write to whatwearelearningATgmailDOTcom

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yearbook (4.3)

Shadbush so called back east because blooms when the shad are swimming, and called Saskatoon I don’t know why (from Cree misaskwatomin, Saskatoon berry), and called serviceberry midwest because blooms when the ground thaws and you can bury the winter dead. Hello my name is self adhesive name badge. (No one will begin, and the buried hatchet, in spite of whatever wistful looks to where it lies, is never dug up.) (Now an endless tunnel—does it go underwater? Do adjectives of size always feel wrong?) If you have a name taking off a lid under a snowglobe. I hope it will be sunny and have lakes.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yearbook (4.2)

Anaximines thought earth and the sun and moon were frisbees riding forever on infinite air. Alkmaeon “said that the soul is immortal and moves continuously like the sun.” Green mimosa leaves disagreed, so did a shoal of oyster clouds. “I think that you know Heraclitus’ remark that the king whose is the oracle at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals but indicates—attend to these wise words and suppose that the god here uses the priestess with regard to hearing in the same way as the sun uses the moon with regard to sight.” Sun, rain, sun, hail, cloudy, rain, sun, drizzle, clearing, sunny hail. I love his circulatory cosmos. Water, water, water, mark.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Yearbook (4.1)

We buried her yesterday under a ring of rocks and apple blossoms. All that Saturday, all that summer, the involved forms of human dwelling bristled through her page. It was the year the monkey took the place of the cowboy in our national iconography. Now a horrid horse of brass, clangingly ridden by a cowboy with a monkey’s face, corrals us into myth down alleys of krylon and greasy grass. It is the moon above the gas station.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Traffic is the puritanical landscape."
                                             —Lisa Robertson, Rousseau's Boat