I’m Still Here–How Are You?

It’s cool and windy and too dry–classic New Mexico spring. Looks like the apricots have made it from blossom to fruit nub without freezing. Nice news although not that thrilling for our yard–our trees produce pretty mealy apricots, loved by earwigs.
Sometimes I look at my house and wish I could start fresh in something new and conventional–a white box. Yet usually I don’t. A festive new bedspread and a rag rug for the pantry help spruce things up. The cat is REALLY old. My friend Kathleen told the cat “you are really old, but this is a good house for an old cat.” She was remembering my gray tabby Cassandra who lived to be a creaky 19.
I’m not young myself.
I feel like I’m living from project to project, and that isn’t bad. The 1/4 mile of art opens April 10 (reception 4-6 pm) on SFCC campus. Isabel and I are working on our suminagashi project–Japanese marbling or spilled ink. The technology of getting text on it is the challenge. We’ll do a run of 10 for the campus poetry posts. Then in July I’m at Salem Arts in upstate New York–I’ll have 24 suminagashi pieces from Iz, then will add “a poem” an hour for 24 and post them on a laundry line or tree. A bit of performance anxiety here.
My friend Devon and I are going to Cape May and we’ll “dry run” some sand poems, using molds. I’m looking forward to collaborating with her, and getting it to look like something that isn’t a sandpiper track. In December, I’m on my own at the grand Betsy Hotel in Miami doing a five day poetry sand project.
I’m happy, worried, scared. I like being off the page.
Rich found me something truly cool–the opportunity to write in Thoreau’s house in Concord (where he was born) for two days. It was on the great site “Bidding for Good” and we won!
I’m worried about many things–ill or frail friends and family members. The Crimea. Global Warming. My bad right leg. My students make me happy, and even after 19 years I love the parking lot at community college–love walking in the door. Really love the “coffee cart” which is now a counter with Carol the coffee lady. I figured out how to add a shot of sugar free hazelnut syrup to pretty much anything. And, don’t laugh my local friends, I finally figured out that Rabbit Road is a much nicer and faster route to work! These things keep me going.
It is surprising, gratifying even, to have been blogging here for so long. Long enough to have fallen in and out of love with it numerous times.
What do you want to read? What shall I write about? What do you want to write? I bet I’d love to publish it.

Genghis Khan Bar and Grill Versus The Lincoln Diner

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In my travels I’ve been struck by eateries named for outlaws, heroes, and combos of the two. Robin Hood’s Tavern seems a natural (although don’t closely examine “steal from the rich” to give to the owner.) But Pancho Villa’s taqueria caught my interest…Pancho Villa is hero to some, bandit to others, and outlaw heroes make attractive signage. So what about Genghis Khan? Founder of the Mongol nation and great conqueror or pillager of civilization? Sort of like the Vikings. His name is on thousands of hot pot restaurants worldwide. And I won’t even google Viking Bar and Grill.
So how about despots, dictators, and villains? There is Godfather (outlaw hero) pizza but I doubt there is a pasta joint named for Mussolini. Or much named for Stalin. (Prove me wrong if you know!)
All this to say, The Lincoln Diner in Gettysburg seems a safe bet for eggs and pancakes.

Graveled and Quarried by Bonnie Schwartz

Graveled and Quarried

I.

Sugar rained into the yard. Dogs and children, mouths agape, gulped.

II.

Ancient ruins and ziggurats, configured in a trine, surround a field covered in fresh, short grass. Someone must mow it, the speaker thinks, but whom?

III.

Bones under sand and clay, excavated near the ruins. They show signs of disease, frailty, attacks. The speaker asks: To whom do these relics belong? The speaker demands: How old were the custodians of these bones when each of them succumbed?

IV.

In the jungle the mysteries are hidden. Plants and roots, too much rain, obscure answers that lie beneath. Hidden like family histories, too shameful to reveal.

V.

His teeth: yellowed and cracked, straight lines from top to bottom.

VI.

So many bones in the feet. Tiny, frail bones. Easily crushed.

VII.

Birds fly up from up soil, white flowers of bindweed. A nuisance plant, the yard man says. My daughter picks the white flowers, hands me a bunch, insists I put them in water.

VIII.

What is there to say about the sun? It is not the sun about which I wish to speak.

IX.

Seagulls, rats of the aviary, scavenge the beach for Cheetos. Broken shards, ancient ruins, cloudbursts. Voices of screaming children.

X.

We rode our bicycles there, rickety and rusted. Wondered about the blood staining the earth beneath our feet.

XI.

Sacre coeur. Marie de France. Do you want to play?

XII.

Invite me to your swimming pool, s’il vous plait.

XIII.

Fractured, these neighbors. Graveled and quarried. Kidnapped child wandering through fields.

XIV.

It was not political, the neighbors say. It was about the money.

XV.

A mother stands quietly in front of a large picture window framing a slice of desolate street. She is looking for parked cars containing strange men, sitting alone, waiting.

Bonnie Schwartz

What a publisher/editor wants to hear.

This says it all! Thank you, Kate. I know my readers will appreciate this.

Kate Gale: A Mind Never Dormant

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1. I write well.
2. I’m willing to edit my work.
3. I’d like to be a lifelong conversation with someone I can learn from.
4. I’m aware that I have a lot to learn.
5. I am committed to selling my book and being an advocate for this press in the world.
6. I like this press and I respect how hard you work.
7. I’m not just writing one book, this is my life.
8. I am willing to spend money to travel, to promote the book.
9. I’m willing to go anywhere and to be charming when I get there.
10. I feel grateful to have ideas and be able to write them and to be talking with you.

What we often get instead:

1. I’m cool? Don’t you think so?
2. I need to make money as a writer; you can make that happen for me.

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