Posted tagged ‘ManicDDaily painting’

Draft Sonnet, Cold House – Choosing the Wrong Train

December 11, 2010

I’m typing up this post in a freezing (closed-for-winter) house which happens to have an Internet connection.

A sonnet!  A draft sonnet!   Because my teeth are chattering, fingers growing stiff, I am posting this before making final decisions about the poem, especially the last lines.  I’ve posted a few alternatives.  Any preferences let me know.  Any suggestions–absolutely let me know!

In a Hurry, Choosing the Wrong Train

I worry that, in my forgetting much,
the best route from here to there eludes
me.  I overthink, then blurrily rush
to a train I barely know that broods
upon the track while my regular line
goes whoosh (in my mind).  Beneath the slow chug
of this one’s start and stop, tremorous grind,
ears burn with trains not taken that speed snug
along their rails.  All for some two or three,
maybe four, saved blocks–my brain’s too tired
for the calculation.  The part of me
that invents tests it hopes to ace, that’s wired
for glee in a glide, tick-tocks by the door,
longs for time itself to open, offer more.

Some alternate last lines:

longing for time to open, offer more.

longing for time to spare her, feeling sore.

longing for time to spare it, feeling sore.

longing for time to open, time to spare.

Is “spare” close enough rhyme to door?

Virginia Thomas- Not Over The Hill?

October 19, 2010

I am torn between feelings of anger and pity for Virginia Thomas (wife of Clarence Thomas).

Mrs. Thomas apparently called Anita Hill’s office at 7:31 a.m. on the Saturday of Columbus Day Weekend to leave the following message:  “Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas.  I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometimes and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.  So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”

Ms. Thomas later portrayed this message as “extending an olive branch,” also saying that “the offer still stands.”

Let’s start with the anger/irritation piece.  (That’s usually more fun.)   I would tend to characterize a request that someone apologize and pray about all the bad things they supposedly did as more of a hickory switch than “an olive branch.”  Do olives grow on pricker bushes?  (Slight pun intended.)

Which begs the bigger question: why does Mrs. Thomas think Ms. Hill should apologize?   Ms. Hill was the one harassed.  Mr. Thomas got a celebrated job for life.

And why does Ms. Thomas want an explanation of what Ms. Hill did “with” her husband?

Ah–now pity/compassion springs into gear.    One can only think that the woman must live in continuing doubt, anger, delusion.

As further evidence of these extremely uncomfortable states–the recorded message.   Surely, Mrs. Thomas must have understood that it would likely become public, and too, that it would highlight the very incidents that seem to haunt her.

One would think that she might also have realized that the call would draw further attention to her political activities, as head of Liberty Central, a Tea Party-esque group, in receipt of hundreds of thousands in unidentified donations.  (Just in case you were wondering, the group, according to its chief operating officer and general counsel, has “internal reviews and protections to ensure that no donor causes a conflict of interest for either Ginni or her husband.”)

Oh good.  (One can only pray, and hope, that “conflict of interest” is not interpreted through the same lens as “olive branch.”)

PS – In fairness, I worry that the message as reported may not be accurate.  Maybe Mrs. Thomas actually said that she certainly prayed and hoped that Ms. Hill would meet her request and not that Ms. Hill should pray and hope.   This would change the tenor of the message; if I’m passing on misinformation, I genuinely do apologize.

Mid-October? What’s Happened? What’s Coming? National Novel Writing Month!

October 14, 2010


Blank Page


It is mid-October already.  Mid-October!

This means a variety of pleasant and not-so-pleasant things:

1.  That, since I can’t remember what in the world I was doing at the beginning of October, I must be getting… (I don’t want to use the o-word or the s-word or the A-word)…. forgetful.

2.  Leaves must have already changed in Upstate New York, or even fallen.  ( I seem to have some vague memory of red and yellow.  Is that where I was a couple of those lost days?)

3.  Your last chance for last year’s tax return is about to expire.  (Oops!)

4.  Didn’t the World Series use to be over by now?

5.  I’m not going to say anything about upcoming mid-term elections.  (I’d like this to be post to be cheerful.)

6.  Nanowrimo–National Novel Writing Month (the month of November) is just around the corner!

Nanowrimo was the conception of Chris Baty, a writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, who realized in a brainstorm that the one thing non-professional writers lack that professional writers have is a deadline.  He also postulated that the imposition of a deadline (a firm deadline, even if arbitrary) could be an important step to blocking writer’s block, i.e. getting the old fingers/pen/keyboard working.  Fast.

Nanowrimo gives would-be writers a very public start date and end date–November 1 to November 30–to write a novel of approximately 175 pages (50,000 words).

The goal (remember you only have a month!) is quantity.

I urge all of you to go to the Nanowrimo website––to learn more about this endeavor/torture.  All I can say is that if you can commit to it, it’s a lot of fun/torture.  There is something wonderful/torturous about writing madly with the virtual company of thousands of other crazed/tortured people, all of you racking your brains and up your word count.  (Yes, I too can sense a theme developing.)

I haven’t quite decided how to handle the blog this November.  There’s the temptation to post current Nanowrimo output, but I will resist that.  If you are writing a novel in a month, you need to be free to be ridiculous.    (There’s a limit to how much torture can be borne!)

More soon.

Rescuing Miners/Minors

October 13, 2010

Thank you Chile, and you Chilean (and Bolivian) miners for an inspiring story of stamina, hope, organization.  Thanks too for heartwarming imagery–you and your loved ones weren’t only sincere and brave, but wonderfully photogenic!

Now, trying to piggy-back on that wonderful Chilean glow (sorry!):

1. In the U.S., we are going through an election where (despite the collapse of much of the private sector about two years ago), many are touting the absolute superiority of private (for-profit) efforts to accomplish virtually any task.  It’s interesting to note, in this context, that it was the Chilean government that arranged the massive rescue effort of the miners, though the San Jose mine is privately owned.  Also worth mentioning is the fact that the mine-owning company, Empresa Minera San Esteban, had a poor safety record even before the current mine collapse, receiving 42 fines for safety violations between 2004 and 2010.   (Sound familiar?)

I’m not mentioning this because I’m against private enterprise!   I’m just not sure that, in a dire situation, I’d want my health and safety to rely primarily on the efforts of a large company which is closing watching its P and L.

2. As part of the speechifying after the rescue, Chilean President Piñera said that the most important celebration “is the one in our hearts, in our conscience.”  This was a situation in which people could feel both that something right had been done and that something had been done right.

Human beings seem to like to save other human beings; people crave heroism,  especially when it happens relatively quickly.

In contrast, the slow, trudging, mundane types of rescue seem often to sap the conscience, even as more commonplace victims fail to get the benefit of national adrenaline.  I’m thinking now of minors, as opposed to miners–kids whose families are stuck in a cycle of poverty; whose teachers labor in schools with few supplies and less support.

A massive and coordinated effort, one involving organization and stamina and courage, is sadly needed.  Unfortunately, an increasingly large number of Americans seem to have convinced themselves that you can’t rescue other people, even young ones, at least, not with their tax dollars.

There are legitimate questions as to how adequate funds for education are best spent, but the bigger question at the moment is one of adquacy,  a question of conscience.

I don’t mean to diminish the truly wonderful, and well-handled, rescue effort in Chile.  But, I do sometimes wonder whether the fact of it having been made is as extraordinary as has been presented.  When it was discovered in August that the miners were alive, but trapped, what was Chile to do?   Could the country really just stand by under those circumstances?  Try to forget that the minors were still there (until they died)?

Again, there is a lesson.  Those minors trapped in poverty and poor education in the U.S. are not going to disappear just because we don’t feel like dealing with them.  Even if we try to keep them out of our hearts, we will not be able to just put them out of mind.

Body of Apricots

July 26, 2010


Hard to adjust to a new day after the death of a friend.  The burden of sadness seems to sink into one’s joints (not to mention eyes, chest, forehead).

All day yesterday, I was poignantly conscious of the joy of a body.  What a delight it is when it works.  To simply move — to move simply– is an actual physical pleasure when all the parts are in order, more or less.  To stretch one’s legs, swing one’s arms, feel gravity beneath the feet.  To be touched by air, much less another person.

To eat!


Even less than ripe apricots!

So tart, almost like plums.  (Less than ripe plums.)  With that same inner coolness, but a soft blushed cheek.  Peel.  Skin.  Body.

On a More Cheerful Note – Dog in Rocking Chair

July 18, 2010


The Only One Engineered To Handle New York City Subway Platform

July 16, 2010

Prepared for Mid-July Subway Platform

Stay cool!  And hydrated!  (If you are thirsty, breathe deeply–there’s more than enough moisture in the air.)

Have a nice weekend.