Friday, December 30, 2011

What Inhabits the Sky- the first edition

What Inhabits the Sky

Birds, of course
            And kites
The ambitious leaves of tall trees.

Ideas masquerading as loose feathers
The inevitable wishes of young girls
The prayers of a multitude

Stray bullets
Arrows on a mission
Chimney smoke

Jet stream flashing
Neon darkness
My eyes, my eyes
Your finger point north

Go home. Go home.




Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lillie 's first Christmas

Her first Christmas with me. A year ago she may well have been lost. From the records I was given by the Pet Shelter, she was picked up in January in Valdosta.
She's very happy now!
video

Friday, August 19, 2011

How's Your Semester Going?



Oh, To Be a Teacher

You look at me and see an official nag
Someone whose job it is
To catch and lock away your every opinion
Evaluation
Your decisions
Your changes of heart and mind

You look at me and see an ear the size
Of a woman
But not a woman.
You see an outstretched hand
A demand
You see the mask of the crown.
You do not see me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Heat Waves and Reasons to Love the South Anyway

As hot as it gets, and of course, no one can complain this summer with any originality, there is something  always cooling about the magnolia in bloom. Even on a sunny street, the scent of this large and stately blossom drops the temperatures for the length of a inhalation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

oh, well

i refuse to apologize for not blogging. I'm sorry, I just can't.

What's interesting. The new (and curiously chubby) homeless guy who arrives at the Harris-Piedmont pocket park at dusk each evening when the light is just enough for him to unroll his bedding, sit cross legged and snug between his over-stuffed gym bags, pull out his journal and write.

I've been watching him at this for three weeks now. He's punctual and regular and doesn't show up just often enough to make me worry and often enough to make me want to wave hello.

He leaves each morning around 7:30.

Something about this one makes me feel as if i'm participating in a fictional event. I think it's his big butt.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sisyphean Labor


Sisyphean Labor

Those tasks we pick because they seem small
enough to hold in the palms of our hands
or even pocket are those that grow to full size
and must be hoisted shoulder high and carried.

Pick carefully and for love and old age.

Rather than a single rock, I discover
some days I maneuver several odd-shaped
stones bound together slip shod
and my day is a juggler’s holiday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ruining Work


Lately, I take whole pieces of paste paper apart and put them back together, so they are both different and the same. They are done to, violated, experienced. Then I rather sadistically try to restore the piece’s beauty with red thread sutures, reminiscent of bloody little bows. The piece has been restored and lives with the beauty of the surgical survivor, the heart torn, the face undone. But alive.

I tore apart a nice paste painting done on a cheap drawing paper…a kind of happy accident, a kind of weed.
But once reconstructed (with difficulty, cheap paper is non-responsive) the individual pieces needed texture, perhaps a media gloss, wax, a spray of some sort. Pretty little sutures were not enough. In fact, they caused more pain.

I love leaving clues behind, evidence of a former wholeness. I think the cheap paper piece still longs to be its original whole and not the two columns originally, carelessly envisioned by me. I moved into my idea too fast and with the kind of assumption that always yields a typo, a misspelling. Here, a misstep and a waste of a potentially nice book cover.     

Every piece of art must be breathed into being carefully and with complete presence. In this piece, because I never looked at its parts or what “deconstructing” it would mean, I destroyed. It’s sad…like bad plastic surgery.

Run it through the sewing machine?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sisyphus Hill


Pushing the rock up the hill is
not temporary,
Its everyday. Some artists
think of the rock as the
sun rising, arcing and setting.

We push it with our labor
those parts of life we push,
pull, carry, shoulder
day after day those bits
are contained in the rock.

Night time or bust.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lillie Day 10 - Crating Miss Lillie

Gosh, I'm busy! With very little time to call my own (by my standards, anyway; readers with children and husbands need not respond) the fact that I've got a stack of papers to grade is the only thing motivating me to post today. Or is it?

Why no. No pun intended, but today marks the first day Lillie spent in her crate without either peeing, pooping or both.

She did both the first day, so I placed the spare "wall" thus shrinking the crate to her size.
She just peed on the second day, so I washed out the towel and replaced it with another and left her less water.
She just peed on the third day, but took down the wall, so I replaced the wall, washed out the towel and replaced it with another.
Then I did a laundry.
She just peed on the fourth, fifth, six and seventh days.
On the eighth day I took the trainer's advice and removed the towel.
On the ninth day she peed and pooped. I flushed the poop and washed the plastic tray with the new spray bottle of urine stain and odor remover.
On the 10th day I took the advice of my chiropractor, who welcomes dogs to her office and her life, and added a T-shirt of my own. Not a clean one.
On the afternoon of the 10th day I arrived home to a dry crate and a dry dog.

Tomorrow we try this again for a longer stint. Good luck, Lillie.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lillie Day 3

Ha!
There's been some discussion in my family (remaining sister and her in-laws, thank you Facebook) about a middle name for Lillie. I'm not a sentimental dog owner and think the middle name idea is pretty silly. To humanize a dog, or any pet, or even a child, is to ask for trouble and disappointment. From what I can see and have heard from real dog owners (and read from new copy of The Dog Whisperer by Paul Owens) dogs are dogs and people are people.

Lillie Marlene. Lillie Pulitzer. Lillie Beth. Lillie Vidalia. Lillie Croquet. Lillie Pad. Lillie Belle. No no no. Lillie No?  Better not.

But then I wrote today's post title. Lillie Day. This has a reasoned beauty to it for a couple of reasons: I'm looking for a project blog, and as my days as a dog owner have just begun and I'll be learning something new on every one of those days, why not title the Lillie posts with their day?

Today, we walked for an hour, came home, she ate her new dog food with relish (I replaced the Red Bandana kibble with Wellness, which smells much better. Hope this will clear the air in here, so to speak.)

In The Dog Whisperer, Paul Owens says to work with the dog on each trick and behavior for a short time, about a minute or two. I've always wondered about this. It's very helpful. We're making good strides with "Sit" primarily because she already can sit, though she seems to do it on her own terms (classic terrier, I think). I'd like her to respond to "Down." when she jumps up on my leg and I'd like her to fetch the duck (her big toy) when I say "Fetch."  Lots of other things but those first.

I realize I have a lot to learn about play, so this morning I played "soccer" with her favorite chew, a disgusting but obvious pleasure dome of a cow hoof. She got into the chase but didn't catch on to the hide and seek part. Too complicated?
Listen, random and faithful reader, any advice, input, etc., about living with a scrappy little terrier is welcome.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Take a Leap

Unlike my last huge commitment, today's leap of faith was not an impulse. I've been playing with the idea, checking the sites and running the numbers for several months now. I've also collected input from friends, all pet owners, some of whom played serious games of Devil's Advocate. Last Saturday, I cajoled DP, a woman with more strings than a harp, to help me not adopt a dog at the Atlanta Pet Rescue. She, currently down to one dog, four (or is it five?) cats, two horses, patient husband, live-in elderly parents, three grown kids,  and 1.5 grandchildren, was to be curbed as well.

It was my intention to look the prospects over: small dogs who wouldn't get bored in a high-rise condo, could power walk up to five miles, spend at least six hours waiting for me to get home, and, oh, yes, provide blog fodder.

Fergie, Dixie and Laurel made the first cut. I liked Fergie's scrappy looks. She reminded me of a drummer I'd had a painful crush on about ten years ago. Dixie was sleek, mellow and seemed above the kennel fray, but she was, and is, a Jack Russell with possibly Cairn mix and would need a lot of exercise. Still, she could do five miles easily and was clearly a smart little thing. Laurel was a Yorkie mixed with something bigger and did not show to advantage. He needed a bit of filling up and some high-end grooming. Still, he seemed mellow as well, would love a small condo and behaved very well. But he felt bony, and I was pretty sure he'd never make two miles, much less five, or even the three I actually walk.

After chatting with the counselors, I eliminated Fergie. He's got serious attachment issues. After ten minutes with Dixie, I didn't like the fragility of Laurel. But I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to a terrier.
Oye. Go to lunch. The one thing I didn't want to do was act impulsively, so I was pretty glad I left the shelter empty-handed.

Only I went to bed thinking of Dixie. And woke up to a call from DP. "I miss her!"  So did I.
If she's meant to be my dog, she'll be at the rescue on Tuesday.

I could barely start the quiz I still have to write for tomorrow's "Big, Fat Quiz" at AID. I could barely read the websites for the prospective client who called yesterday. Yes! I'll take that job. I have another mouth to feed!

Here I sit with what must be the perfect dog for me. Dixie, or Lily, or Portia (not sure) has been home for an hour, has had some water, turned her nose up at the dry food (tuff titties, kid), chewed her cow rind, made friends with her new stuffed duck and is now lying comfortably at my feet.

Someone must miss her very much. This is a nice, well-trained, solid little dog. As DP said, she is my gift.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dangerous Book Episode 46


June 5  - Veronica’s funeral. Sunny and too warm to be standing in a cemetery

Peter and Lura very much the couple in matching black suits, guided carefully by the Mr. Stripland (“Thanks for Stopping By!”) and for a bit I felt as if I were at a big party or reception.  When I feel unable to cope socially, I hang out near the bar and talk to the bartenders. My options today were to link arms with Professor Sargent, who hugged the fringe and showed more interest in Snowe plot where am amazing row of peonies persisted.
                Kept my eyes peeled for Veronica’s “effective legislator” and was surprised to see instead quite a few familiar faces, political and academic.  The mayor.  The dean of our Arts and Sciences. Betty and Dr. Rumpel.  Ed (Eddie) Dowling, former state senator, according to Professor Sargent.  
            “Really?”
            “Don’t you vote?” Sargent hissed, motioning me to put away my notebook. “Who raised you?”
            “You do it,” I snapped, but slipped the list in my purse and sulked until my imagination drifted again to the body in the box and the ranks of friends and aquaintences surrounding it.
            Secrets reveal themselves by working to the surface without effort.  Like archaeological finds, some are dug up, other simply rise to the surface.  Edward Dowling’s been to jail.  Maybe.  Been in trouble.  Is not a success story.  Was he one of Veronica’s good ‘ol boys who acted first and repented later?  Is he still vulnerable?  Did he owe her?  Does he frighten?

            After an awkward march through the older (and shadier) part of Evergreen, we fetched up in Calvary’s over-crowded and clearly well-loved church hall. The assemblage regrouped and I found myself hovering near Betty.
            “The coffee’s weak and the iced tea is tepid,” she said. “Let’s hope someone’s spiked the lemonade.”
             “Can I get you a Diet Coke?”
            “Not unless you’ve got a bottle of rum in that bag.”

…to be continued

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sound of Whirring Tires




There are no cars in view but I do hear them occasionally whirring their slow way up Piedmont Ave. You never know how hilly Atlanta is until you try to walk a familiar street in August or drive it over ice. The intersection of Piedmont and Baker-Highland, just above, is almost pure snow still, because no one's had the nerve (thank God) to attempt the even steeper climb west toward Peachtree or the east slide.
Yet there are patches of ground and, for some, the need to move. The sight of a bundled man and his balanced bags of groceries (evidently Publix on Piedmont/North is open) sliding down against this feather weight of a runner heading up as if he knew where each slip was and could avoid it so surely did he advance moved me from mockery to poetry. Well, it moved me to the keyboard.

Here I sit, plenty of work to do, few cookies to eat, no butter in the freezer for more. I really didn't take this freeze warning as seriously as I should have, not if I wanted uninterrupted carbohydrates and fresh fruit, which, now that I can't have them, I really really do.  

Time to work! Finishing up a website project that has taken many hours longer than I thought it would and debating over changing my syllabus or waiting to see if we have classes tomorrow.