Why Is The Baby Crying?

When my daughter Isabel was an infant, someone asked me that. I remember thinking, heck, if I knew I’d write a book called “Why Your Baby Is Crying” and retire on the money. Babies cry, scream, and howl. Unexplained crying is called colic–and I know parents who regard their lovely grown offspring with a certain horror left over from those months when the baby never slept and cried ALL THE TIME. In Bali, during evening crying, people say, “the baby is talking” and there is some truth–and solace–in that.
My 4 1/2 month old grand-daughter Grainne is interesting to watch. A premie, she seems to still be in a rush. She flips herself over, squirms, almost crawls. This took a lot of work, and hours and hours of kicking. She coos and vocalizes, looks in my eyes as if she adores me, looks at the pattern on my blouse and the ceiling fan like her new best friends, smiles, giggles…and then, for no discernible reason, starts yowling, goes rigid as a board, is 100% misery. Usually feeding her puts her right to sleep at this point until she wakes up and starts all over. But sometimes she yowls for quite a bit.
She is a really good baby by her parent’s estimation because she sleeps through the night, eats heartily, and is incredibly cute. But good or not, she is a baby. I try to enter her mind. What if I screamed every time I felt faintly burpy, frustrated, or confused? I play this little game with myself.
I’m hungry, sort of.
What I really want is a cafe au lait and a muffin from Counterculture.
But I have to drive down Baca Street, and it’s hot out.
I feel faintly conflicted.
BUT if I was a baby, I figure I’d be shrieking by now.
However, I have a car, cash, and volition. So I go to Counterculture instead. The muffin is excellent. I finish it, but could use a little more. If I was a baby, I’d start shrieking…Now I realize it was too much coffee for my reflux…But since I’m not a baby I just live with it.
Let’s be honest–sometimes I do yell, and curse. At those I love but temporarily hate, at health insurance providers who are lying to me, etc. etc.
But it is good it is infrequent because I’m not as cute as a baby.

Poem by Ursula Moeller

THE MOMENT AT HAND

This is a simple morning

spines of rain pour down

heavy sheets

reflect the the oceanʼs gray-blue.

Seagulls scream overhead
wingtips graze dark clouds
never faltering in their journey
their everlasting search for food.

Along the shore violet-green swallows

frayed wet wings

claws clamped on leafless willows

heads hunkered under soft feathers waiting, waiting.

Now the world, once speechless
slowly awakens

now exhales, now whispers,
releasing its uncertain breath.

In many unknown languages
voices hover sibilant

over the

simple morning.

Ursula Moeller

3 Questions for Lauren Camp

Miriam Sagan — 3 Questions interview with Lauren Camp

1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

I came to poetry from careers in magazine and technical writing and visual art, and from the hobbyist perspective of jazz. I fell in love with the poetic line, which is, in a way, a hint, a color, and a sound all mixed. I’m fascinated by its liquidity, how it can move through some, but not the entirety, of a thought. Its ability to be rich in meaning, and yet to shape-shift. That it urges (depending on the punctuation or lack of it) a journey to another part of the composition. The line is a length that can be manipulated: short, long, stressed, rushed, stretched, ended, pulled forward…Perhaps a fragment, and so then, a whimsy, even when dealing in hard views. The line: a truth. There are likely to be other sounds and truths below it, if the reader will just settle in. I delight in the fact that it doesn’t hold still. It’s a direction, a mapping—but maybe also a misdirection.

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

I’m an avid reviser. There’s a deep relaxation to that process for me, because it is all about letting go. Perhaps for a while there is no body as I reorder, cut, expand, or otherwise change course. When something good happens, something satisfying with the words and their sounds, I feel a tickle in my nerve endings. I read aloud as I revise, and the sound reverberates through me, sometimes with a friction I find pleasing, other times with tenderness —the sibilants running along, radiant stresses, the pummel of hard consonants.

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the effort (and alignment of planets) that it takes to get a poem to the right audience. I’m talking about the full cycle, not strictly the submission and acceptance, but the follow-up effort to make sure (or hope) people notice it. Self-promotion is a beast compared to the luminosity of poetry writing. Yet, there is much that I love in actually being a poet: the allowance to focus wherever I choose, the realization that (because of my temperament) I can be entirely sensitive to an image, find a story in a shift of light, or claim and study a certain feeling. How else might I get such a chance to just plain feel?

Here, and Here

Been here
a while, and I haven’t yet

read all
different ways the beginning—

Life is part thus,
and part commonplace:

the rippling light
riding the edge of the porch

and so what
if the ditch ends

in rust and abrupt
obsidian? We see it all, and take

pictures of elevation,
unable to find another view. We love

the detachment, the broken
lock

on the window.
To whom should we rejoice

about what
never happens?

(Poem from Turquoise Door, first published in Driftless Review)

“A Bold Act of Solidarity”

This is just the start of the article from The New York Times. But wanted to share this amazing story of what can truly be called a saintly act–the act of not abandoning those who are suffering.

Overlooked No More: Ralph Lazo, Who Voluntarily Lived in an Internment Camp
Jul. 3rd, 2019

About 115,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were incarcerated after Pearl Harbor, and Lazo, who was Mexican-American, joined them in a bold act of solidarity.

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

When Ralph Lazo saw his Japanese-American friends being forced from their homes and into internment camps during World War II, he did something unexpected: He went with them.

In the spring of 1942, Lazo, a 17-year-old high school student in Los Angeles, boarded a train and headed to the Manzanar Relocation Center, one of 10 internment camps authorized to house Japanese-Americans under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order in the wake of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor a few months earlier. The camps, tucked in barren regions of the United States, would incarcerate around 115,000 people living in the West from 1942 to 1946 — two-thirds of them United States citizens.

Unlike the other inmates, Lazo did not have to be there. A Mexican-American, he was the only known person to pretend to be Japanese so he could be willingly interned.

What compelled Lazo to give up his freedom for two and a half years — sleeping in tar-paper-covered barracks, using open latrines and showers and waiting on long lines for meals in mess halls, on grounds surrounded by barbed-wire fencing and watched by guards in towers? He wanted to be with his friends.

“My Japanese-American friends at high school were ordered to evacuate the West Coast, so I decided to go along with them,” Lazo told The Los Angeles Times in 1944.

By the time Lazo left Manzanar, his social consciousness had deepened and his outrage over the indignities suffered by Japanese-Americans had grown. It would define how he lived the rest of his life, as an activist who sought to improve education for underprivileged groups and push for reparations for Japanese-Americans who had been interned.

Hope To See You At Peters Projects

Gerald Peters Projects is pleased to invite you to a informal talk featuring several of the artists whose work is included in the current exhibition, Speaking to the Imagination: The Contemporary Artist’s Book. The event will be held on Saturday, July 20 from 2 – 4 PM, with special guest Helen Hiebert who will be joining us from Arizona. Refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.

Lowriders at the Sunport

There is a wonderful art show at Albuquerque’s airport–Curator Max Baptiste has installed “Lowriders and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico,” which is on display through November.

I sat for an hour–having dinner before meeting a flight–watching people respond to the show. Reactions seemed to range from “how cool” to “died and gone to heaven.”

The art collection at the Sunport is stupendous. It greets each arrival with so much of New Mexico. Over thirty five years, the collection has cheered and inspired me through all the dramas an airport brings.


Manuel Vega’s 1950 Mercury outside Custom Tattoo shop on Central Avenue, Albuquerque by Robert Eckert