generosity

January 31, 2006

i mean, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

i’m just wondering if the dog food quality in new zealand is as poor as it is here. i sure hope not, or this offer is even worse than it seems.

excellent

January 30, 2006

a very nice opinion piece in the boston globe

are we in a state of war?

some snippets from the article:

There can be no question that Iraq is in a state of war….

But, regarding the Iraq conflict as it involves the United States, something essential is lacking that would make it a war — and that is an enemy.

at first, i thought this article was going to go into how the american mindset is not that of a nation in war–which is an important point, but this article exceeded my expectations.

it is directly addressing the fact that iraq was no threat to the US. the people there simply want the same things “americans”, or any people want. the right to a self-described freedom, the right to self determination. Freedom cannot be imposed on you by another nation–then it is inherently NOT freedom. Freedom is working on your own terms, living with and for and by your own agenda and not someone elses’.

Americans who bother to imagine the situation from the Iraqi point of view — a massive foreign invasion, launched on false pretenses; a brutal occupation, with control of local oil reserves surely part of the motivation; the heartbreaking deaths of brothers, cousins, children, parents — naturally understand that an ”insurgency” is the appropriate response.

the Iraqi people are not stupid, or naive. they understand why americans are occupying their nation–and no matter what motive you think this might be i don’t think anyone is brash enough to suggest we are there simply out of concern for the iraqi people. we don’t understand what life was like for them before the occupation, and we don’t understand what life is like for them now. most of us have never lived in a country under war, living in enemy occupied territory. but we do know that whatever they are suffering now they are suffering, at least in part, because we are there. every innocent civilian killed, tortured, or jailed is at our hands. and, unfortunately, there has been a lot of those things going on.

Bin Laden was a self-mythologized figure of no historic standing until George W. Bush designated him America’s equal by defining 9/11 as an act of war to be met with war, instead of a crime to be met with criminal justice. But this over-reaction, so satisfying at the time to the wounded American psyche, turned into the war for which the other party simply did not show up. Which is, of course, why we are blasting a substitute Iraq to smithereens.

emphasis mine. because this is the thing that has always bothered me most about the whole post-9/11 thing.

“The nearest friends can go
With anyone to death, comes so far short
They might as well not try to go at all.
No, from the time when one is sick to death,
One is alone, and he dies more alone.”

from “home burial”, by robert frost.

at church yesterday the pastor said something which really stood out to me, and that was that a sure sign that passion has leaked out of our relationship with God is to be in a state of: “full head, busy feet, and empty heart.”

this exactly describes how i feel. how i have felt, increasingly, over the last year. i have fallen out of touch with God and realized that He is not my first love, if He ever was. it has been disconcerting to realize that i have never given him any part of myself that was not conditional, that i didn’t want (and expect) back, in full at some later point.

and i don’t know how, or if, i can get to the point that i want to be. or, that i know i should be at. i just do not have the mental willpower to work on this. and i do not have the courage to ask for help to do this. i would rather spend my energies on things i can control, on things that are neat and orderly and easily established.

at work, doing experiments, reading papers, getting things done and having set starts and stops. on my house: baking, cooking, cleaning–where i can clearly outline accomplishment. where i can praise myself for a job well done. where i know it is MY work, and MY effort, and my mental and physical capacity that will work it out.

these last two weekends have been exhausting. times of good-byes but not hellos. of ending, but not knowing where or what to begin. i see life right now as a tiny trickle of water trying to make it through the swirling sand dune. i don’t mean that to be overly dramatic, because that is not the way i feel. i’m too tired for that.

part III

January 23, 2006

the final installment of susan stewart’s “Apple”

Fire will take in whatever it can
and heat will draw back
into earth. “here is the fruit,
your reward and penalty
at once,” said the god

to the waiting figures.
Unbearable, the world
that broke into time.
Unbearable, the just-born
certainty of distance.

You can roast late apples
in the ashes. You can run
them in slices on a stick.
You can turn the stem to
find the letter of your love

or chase them down with
your chin in a tub.
If you count the seeds to tell
the future, your heart will
sense more than your

tongue can say. A body
has a season, though
it may not know it
and damage will bloom
in a beauty’s seed.

If I could come back from the dead, I would–
I’d come back for an apple,
and just for one bite, one break,
and the cold sweet grain on the tongue.
There is so little difference between

an apple and a kiss, between desire
and the taste of desire.
Anyone who tells you other-
wise is a liar, as bad
as a snake in the quiet grass.

You can watch out for the snake and the lie.
But the grass, the green green wave
of it, there below the shadows of the black
and twisted boughs, will not be
what you thought it would be.

part II

January 16, 2006

you need a hillside, a small and steady wind,
a killing frost, and, later, honey-bees.
you need a shovel, and shears, and a ladder

and the balance to come back down again.
you will have fears of codling moths
and railroad worms, and aphids.

scale and maggots and beetles
will come to their undoing.
Forests will trap the air

and valleys will bend to gales–
cedars will bring on rust, so keep them
far in the distance. Paradise,

of course, was easy, but you and i live
in this world, and “the fruit of the tree
in the midst of the garden”

says nothing specific about apples;
the “apples of gold” in Proverbs
are probably oranges instead.

And so are the fruits
Milanion threw down:
an apple does not glitter.

If you’re interested in immortality
it’s best to plant a tree, and even
then you can’t be sure that form

will last under weather.
The tree can break apart in a storm
or be torqued into pieces over many

years from the weight of its ruddy labor.
The state won’t let you burn the wood
in the open air; the smoke is too dense

for breathing. but apple-wood
makes a lovely fire, with excellent
heat and aroma.

divided

January 9, 2006

into parts. i want to do longer poems. too long to spend writing up at once. this will be a three part series.

Apple

If i could come back from the dead, i would come back
for an apple, and just for the first bite, the first
break, and the cold sweet grain
against the roof of the mouth, as plain
and clear as water.

some apple names are almost forgotten
and the apples themselves are gone. The smokehouse,
winesap and York imperial, the striped
summer rambo and the winter banana, the little
Rome with its squat rotunda and the pound apple

that pulled the boughs to the ground.
The sheep’s nose with its three-pointed snout,
the blue Pearmian, speckled and sugared.
Grime’s golden, cortland, and stamen.
If an apple’s called “delicious,” it’s not.

Water has no substance
and soil has no shell,
sun is all process
and rain cannot rise.
The apple’s core carries

a birth and a poison.
stem and skin, and flesh,
and seed, the apple’s name,
no matter, is work
and the work of death.

If you wait for the apple, you wait
for one ripe moment. and should
you sleep, or should you dream, or
should you stare too hard in the daylight
or come into the dark to see

what can’t be seen, you will drop
from the edge, going over into
coarse, or rot, or damping off.
you will wake to yourself, regretful,
in a grove of papery leaves.

~susan stewart

no excuse

January 6, 2006

since i’m stuck at home today with a pulled leg today i really have no excuse for not updating my blog.

so, anyway, yeah, 2005 ended and a new year has begun. i think we all try to reflect at this time of year and i’m no different. well, usually. this year i haven’t done too much reflection because i’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed by several things. because of that, i haven’t wanted to think about them. we’ll see how that goes tho.

anyway, my christmas was crazy with being home for about three days. spent some time with the father and his wife (even tho i didn’t really want to); christmas with my mom’s side of the family at my aunt’s house with the million or so children who are now in my family; monday i met my mom’s new boyfriend. he seems nice enough. and then back to the city on tuesday.

but i did get to take a vacation last week so i could clean the house and catch up on some things, and sleep in. which actually made it harder to get up this week. hopefully i’ll be fully back into the swing of getting up at 530am next week.

so, speaking of my aunt, i just found out this week that she is getting married to her long time boyfriend. they’ve been together so long i don’t even remember how many years–at least 7, probably more. they’ve lived together for almost that whole time, they bought a house together a few years ago, and she’s been sporting a diamond for awhile–because, let’s face it, a diamond is forever. or so i hear.

anyway.

what i’m trying to figure out is when life all of a sudden became about boys. i feel like every conversation i have is about boys. i mean, yes, in once sense life has always been about boys–partriarchy, hegemony, masculinism. but we’re talking personal here. and since the personal is political i guess one could say they are the same thing. but they are really not. i’m babbling.

my mom–new boyfriend. she hasn’t dated in about 20 years so this is pretty significant, and she talks about him like a schoolgirl. everything is now about “tom”.

it wasn’t so long ago that my friends and i were all single. which is significant when you’re in your mid to late twenties. people start asking. all the time. now, one of my friends is “in love” with some boy she started dating about two months ago and calls constantly to “freak out” about if she’s doing things “correctly”. my other close friend has been vacillating between two boys and so we have to talk about what they’ve been saying to her and signals she’s been getting and giving.

and yeah, a boy for me too. so that christmas became all about questions about this: how did we meet; how long we’ve been dating; how i’m feeling; where do i see this going; what’s his sister’s uncle’s fourth cousins name?

where did this all come from?

my grandmother is now talking about how she needs to find a boyfriend?!

that’s when you know things have gone too far. when your 76 year old grandmother is asking for tips on how to find a man.

the poem

January 2, 2006

“into my own”

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew–
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

~robert frost