Tuesday, May 27, 2008

wave hello

Is there a hyphen in goodbye (good-bye)?
I’m never sure

I want there to be-
It’s the greedy kind of wanting for a bridge, a “you
Can kiss me”, a rope
From the bow to the dock, a clasp
To hold back a wandering earring

You can fold me a paper boat - even though
I’m too tired to row
You can weave me a hollow
basket - that will hold water I will not swallow

You can pick me seven golden daffodils all
Shining in the sun - my arms
Will be two leaden limbs at my side

Birdhouses make me happy-
For a fledgling season anyway

You can machete me a watermelon and
Feed me the melancholy flesh-
After a few pink nibbles, I will
Spit out the black futurists,

Crawl into my waterproof basket, and float away
Under the bridge without a rope
After we kiss and I can’t find my earring

No - he says-
there’s no hyphen in goodbye

But couldn’t I insert one if it were a compound adjective before a noun?
Isn’t that the rule? If so, then-

Will you really agree to be my good-bye lover?
There would always be a bridge, a bowline, a birdhouse, and a fistful of daffodils-

If so, then–
It’s so good of you to come by.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

erissa the younger

Which one am I?

In three days, I will sit down at a table with four friends and play my first ever Dungeons and Dragons game. Something tells me this is just a teeny, tiny bit stupid. But another part of me says, "Why the hell not? It could be really fun!" I've done many things in the past year that I have never done before, like play the flute (more on that later). I've done many things I used to do, but haven't done in a long time, like read poetry in front of an audience (more on that later as well). It's been a marvelous year of newness and resurrection. My friend Noel coined the perfect term for me: "Mid-Life Isis".

On with our story. Erissa the Younger is a cleric of Eris, goddess of chaos. Here's part of her story:

I am a nomad, a love child born of a young, impetuous love affair. My parents never lived together. Because my mother was so young and the world was in such chaos, my father and his people, the elves, took me in to raise me. But they never understood my tempestuous, impulsive nature, and I couldn’t stand their serenity. So I went to live with my mother for a while. There, too, among humans, I was not welcome, but ridiculed. I couldn’t play their games or sing their songs. I hated them all. My mother could not protect me; indeed, she had no desire to.

And so I left. I wandered. I fought in battles, on all sides, with anyone who would accept me.…. not because I believed in any cause, but because it was something to do. And kinda fun. I saw people die. I died myself, but came back to join the living. I watched the stupidity of humans time and time again as they fought to destroy or defend things that were not worth destroying or defending. I perceived the futility in all actions. I knew that death was no end.

How I became a cleric of Eris shall remain a secret. Clerics of Eris have no monasteries, no organization, no dogma. I ordained myself. I answer only to my goddess and to myself.

I live to cause chaos, in the name of Eris, not necessarily to cause pain or suffering (although that can, of course, be the outcome of a prank), but to reveal some deeper truth or absurdity, and especially to bring enlightenment to the one being pranked. Mostly, though, I do it for my own entertainment!

My only motive is to make sure that others don’t take themselves too seriously. I work to reverse the Curse of Greyface.

If I had a car, it would have a bumper sticker that says, “Bumper Sticker”.

I despise most other beings, but I love the adventurous, the foolhardy, the insane, and the outcast.

I will kiss a man simply to make another man jealous. I will tell you to go left when I really think you should go right. I will contradict myself. I will never tell you where I have been. I will fight when I should run. I will lie if it will make you miserable. Or happy.

The only thing I have to watch out for is the reaction of Eris when I (as sometimes happens) take myself too seriously.

I am a culture jamming merry prankster who adheres to most of the tenets of Discordianism.

Uh, yeah, so there………

If you want to know more about gaming as social discourse, or to see the incredibly cool homemade map of where we'll be wandering, or to read about my traveling companions, go here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

upon waking

I awoke from one of those naps today, you know the kind, where you don't know where you are, who you are, or what time of day it is. The light is slanty and it could be morning or evening or afternoon. You come of out of a dream about people you love, only to realize, slowly, that they're not there with you. Disoriented, drugged, and heavy, you finally come to after a few minutes, and jump up because you suddenly remember who you are and that you have to pick the kids up from school at 2:30. You look at the clock. It's 2:20. You marvel at the fact that you have just slept for nearly two hours, and stumble out the door to your car.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

flea lice

Help end world hunger

Myanmar. China. Two good reasons to play this game. As if there weren't enough already.

I usually make it to about level 40-42, but I never play longer than about 600 grains of rice or so at a time. I like the fact that if you miss one, it will eventually come back to it so you get the chance to get it right. Tonight I learned that a proem is a preface. I like that it's the word "poem" but with an "r" in it. I'd like to write a proem for a poem.

Re: The title of this post-
Everytime I think about "Free Rice", I hear it with a Chinese accent, so it always comes into my head (no pun intended) as

"Flea Lice"

So play. Let me know what level you made it to. Tell us how many grains of rice you donated. And try not to think too much about whether or not it will all get to where it needs to go.

One last thing: it really is much more fun if you play it WITH someone!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

mother's day irony

From our bathroom window on the second floor, we see a maple tree. In the trunk of that tree, we see a hole. In that hole, for the past five years, a mating pair of flickers has returned to set up shop. We eagerly await their arrival every spring.

This spring, however, a family of squirrels has invaded the hole in the tree from which we have watched baby flickers fledge every year. We watched the brief bitter struggle for a home base, and the squirrels, out of sheer bullying, won. (They threw three baby birdies out of the nest!) Now a mother squirrel and HER five babies inhabit the space.

I suppose that's the way of the natural world.

It's just that, well, we like the flickers better. We miss the mother and father taking turns gathering for their babies, which in some subconscious way always leads one of us to a remark about the importance of having two parents, and how hard it would be to feed and clothe and keep our babies safe if there were only one of us. (NOT a plug for "traditional family values" here, just an observation about the fact that yes, child-rearing IS easier with two incomes and two influences. Simple as that.)

Most of all, though, we miss their song.

The squirrels dig up my sunflower seeds, chew the tender sprouts off of the ones that happen to make it, nibble apricot blossoms and baby 'cots from our 100+ year old tree, and destroy our lilacs. Sorry, for all their "cuteness" of bushy tails and chasing each other around tree trunks, they are destructive, obnoxious tree rats. Not to mention they carry lovely diseases like bubonic plague. And they're bullies! And possibly even spies!

And so it comes to this - there's one less squirrel on the Westside. John shot the mother today.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

today in other people from my past

Mark DH. He once whisked me out of Seattle in the middle of a panic attack. I once walked the Alaskan tundra with him. We once almost got married.

He makes these incredible pastel artworks filled with luscious dreaminess and visceral aliveness. He has been animating them lately. This one's my favorite. Proboscis Planet:

You can see more of his animated artworks on the baconwafer channel. I will see Mark in September, and we will need only to sit together and say a few words to be happy.

Kirsten LD. She once kissed me. I once visited her in England when she had three kids and I a one-year-old. We once hitchhiked to get to the Glastonbury Festival.

She just produced a BBC radio programme about Child Preachers in America. I saw her last March when she was passing through en route to Spokane while working on the show. We sat on the floor at DIA, curled up head-to-head and had one of those "we've-only-got-an-hour-so-let's-not-speak-of-things-that-don't-matter-and-I-love-you-soooo-much" talks.

I met Mark and Kirsten at the same time, second semester junior year. 1988. Pacific Lutheran University. A course titled Feminist Theology brought a ragtag group of us together that year, and it became a magical awakening time. The kind you can only have when you are young and open and shy and ready and full of longing and lust for life. Sometimes it's hard to believe that 20 years have passed since then. Twenty fucking years!

If it happened once, and you can imagine it, then it can happen again. (That's what Azar Nafisi told the crowd at Shove Chapel when I asked her what UPSILAMBA meant to her.)

I think Alzheimer's is about the scariest thing imaginable. I mean, really, who would we be without our memories? Without our sacred moments? Our daydreams?

There are catalysts in our lives. Sometimes a person and a place and a time come together in such a way that we are forever changed. And we are catapulted into other orbits or higher planes.

What does upsilamba mean to you?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

for kirsten

May Day
by Phillis Levin

I've decided to waste my life again,
Like I used to: get drunk on
The light in the leaves, find a wall
Against which something can happen,

Whatever may have happened
Long ago—let a bullet hole echoing
The will of an executioner, a crevice
In which a love note was hidden,

Be a cell where a struggling tendril
Utters a few spare syllables at dawn.
I've decided to waste my life
In a new way, to forget whoever

Touched a hair on my head, because
It doesn't matter what came to pass,
Only that it passed, because we repeat
Ourselves, we repeat ourselves.

I've decided to walk a long way
Out of the way, to allow something
Dreaded to waken for no good reason,
Let it go without saying,

Let it go as it will to the place
It will go without saying: a wall
Against which a body was pressed
For no good reason, other than this.