Doughnut Haibun

Doughnut Haibun

it’s Bicycle month, and Bike To Work Day, and there are free snacks out on the Rail Trail. You work remotely, and don’t bike, but you like a festivity. Maybe you’ll score a second breakfast. But when you come home you are carrying a large shallow cardboard box that broadcasts its contents: doughnuts. A lot of doughnuts. Crullers, glazed, sugared, and doughnut holes. You’ve been giving them away on your return trip along the Acequia Trail. They were leftovers, and the organizers were glad to pass them on. You’re feeding the homeless guys chatting on the bench and the lady who sometimes lives in the tunnel, the by-pass under St. Francis. And there are plenty left over for me.

you say
the roses are blooming
all over town

These nice-looking doughnuts from a road trip a few years agi.

Why “The Great Replacement Theory” is not a Theory, and why that Matters by Alma Gottlieb

Knowing Alma Gottlieb is like having an in-house anthropologist on call. I always learn from her perspective. Here is the opening of her essay, with link to the whole.

The notion of a “theory” comes from science. As such, the term conveys all the legitimacy upon which the scientific method relies. It should not be tossed around casually like a frisbee in the park.

The so-called “Great Replacement Theory” we are now reading about in mainstream publications is not a theory. Therefore, it should not be called a theory. And it should not be graced with capital letters. Both these practices suggest unearned legitimacy. And, unearned legitimacy carries great risk.
We now know that repeatedly making false claims will train people to slowly accept those false claims. Recent research by a team of psychologists and cognitive scientists warns us that we humans tend to increase our belief in any claims—true or false, reasonable or unreasonable, likely or unlikely—the more often we hear or read about them. So, as we repeatedly encounter something being called a “theory,” we become more easily inclined to agree that it IS a theory. Once that happens, it moves into the realm of science. As such, we begin to attribute it truth status.

Sexaginta Occasion by Jules Nyquist

Sexaginta Occasion

Approaching sixty
is sexagesimal.
Ancient origins

of Sumarians and Babylonians
used scribes to divide 60,
a superior sexagesimal

composite number into a sexagesimal
second Sunday before lent, when troubadourians
prepare a 360 degree circle for spring, a 60th

year of reckoning sexagesimal equations.
Founder, Jules’ Poetry Playhouse, LLC
Writing Retreats and Classes, Books and Art

Atomic Paradise 2021 NM/AZ Book Award Winner

Sestina Playbook 2021 NM/AZ Book Award Winner

Zozobra Poems 2019 NM/AZ Book Award Winner

Homesick, then 2018 NM/AZ Book Award Winner

I’m walking around the house with my eyes closed by Miriam Sagan

I’m walking around the house with my eyes closed. Here is the reason.

I go for a standard eye exam, but not with my usual doc. Because of missing the annual exams during covid, I am now a “new” patient after 20 years. This just means I can’t get in to the usual doc. So I see a new one (Let’s call this person MD1).

MD1 announces I have age related degeneration. It sounds scary, and it might be, although I have no symptoms. The signs are brand new, MD1 tells me. Then departs the examination. It happens fast, and I am not invited to ask questions.

Although even I—-anxious and hypochondriacal—-realize it is unlikely I am about to go blind, I start practicing. This is not new. I spent much of my childhood with my eyes shut, just in case I lost my vision. I could easily dial the telephone without looking. I also practiced using my non-dominant hand, in case my right hand got cut off in an industrial accident (unlikely in suburban New Jersey after child labor laws, but still…)

As a result, I can stand on one leg for a good long time with my eyes closed. Impressive for a person my age. I can actually do many odd things, but I won’t go into them all now.

I wonder if I should learn braille—-which has always fascinated me. Granted, I’m signed up to learn Sanskrit, but I can change that. Would audio books be enough? I’m really worrying now.

Finally, I decide I need more information on my vision. I call my “real” doc—-let’s call this person MD2. MD2 says my eyes seem perfectly normal, and there is no change since 2018.

Of course this is confusing. One doc must be wrong. But I decide to believe MD2, who has helped me in the past. Plus, neither doc wants to see me for another year in any case.

I hang up the phone with my left hand, and take some barely legible notes with it as well. I’m not quite ready to give up training for…well, something.

Fascinating Project from Sofie Verraest

Selections from a long poetry cycle, written about waking up and going to sleep.

Waking up going to sleep

Waking up 9.03am
Big sound Vanessa.
Just killed 2 roaches is my guess.
Its not her habit.
But it will be.

Going to sleep 1.26am
Tomorrow dave.
We’ll throw it all away tomorrow.
Tonight the night is deep come into my arms.
Is that shit on ur tail.

Waking up 7.09am
The thing with construction sites is theyrr next door.

Going to sleep 10.32pm
Omg trees.
Dont think the new pills work.
Have u seen them.

Waking up 7.04am
Daughter says.
She doesn’t want to wait doesnt want to wait doesnt want to.
Do u know who also didnt want to wait.
The boy this boy oh but my mind swims.
The boy that died get mommy a glass of milk.
Mommy’s poisoned heat it up mommy’s cold.
The boy died of impatience.

Going to sleep 00.20am
I pray for a new van.
There are other things I could pray for.
But I pray for a new van.

Sofie Verraest writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, in English and Dutch. She lives in Brussels and teaches at Ghent University and the Royal Arts Academy KASK. She was offered writing fellowships and residencies from the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for Creative Writing (2018), Akademie Schloss Solitude (2020), and Pogon Zagreb (2021), among others.

Link to the full cycle:

Bubbe Report: In Danger

When my daughter Isabel, G.’s mother, was just G’s age (a bit over 3), she used to startle me by saying amazing things. At that time we were commuting to Crestone, Colorado. Thirty years ago in winter, the San Luis Valley felt even more remote than it does today. Vast snow-covered peaks of the southern Rockies loomed over our little Toyota Tercel as we drove.
“The mountains are jealous of us,” a voice said from the back car seat. I wondered why, but I knew it to be true. Because we could move around? Talk? I’d often felt the mountains’ distant but real disdain for human life. Now a child had noticed it.
Months before, Isabel’s best friend Reuben had charmed me by announcing “We have two cats. One is named Seren and one is named Dipity.” They did have cats, but not with those names.
Age 3-4, in my experience, is particularly interesting because a child can have good language skills yet still be in a world of magic. “It’s a little sad when they learn to read,” my mother once said. My mother probably cared about reading more than anything else in life, but I knew what she meant. A school-aged child shares our world. A younger child takes us into theirs.
So I’ve been waiting for G. to say something whimsical, but she is a very grounded person. In eight days, she attended two art openings. By the second–the Haiku Trail at Audubon–she was acting like a hostess. She dragged a folding chair the length of a hall to get Pop-Pop to sit down. She offered her mother cheese. She smiled at strangers and even giggled at their friendliness.
And then I got my window into her mind. I didn’t hear the following myself, but Isabel told me.
Background, G. knows Coyote as a trickster from stories and also as ranch denizens (who once tried to eat Tiny Dog).
Scene: Endangered Species merry-go-round at zoo.
She gets on the gray wolf. “I want to ride the coyote.”
Parent: “That is a wolf. Coyotes aren’t on this as they aren’t endangered.”
G: “Coyote is SO stupid. He is always in danger!”

Blue Edge Books

A new poetry press! Here is an interview with editor Kathleen Lee.

Miriam’s Well: I’ve been a small press lover and editor most of my life. Still, it can be challenging and sometimes annoying. At this point in life, what inspired you to start a poetry press?

I was thinking about a couple of things – the many good writers I know who have failed to find publishers for their work, and my possibly obscure area of experience reading and editing poetry. I thought that I could combine those two things. I regard Blue Edge Books as a kind of donation to poetry, and if the endeavor absorbs and entertains me, I’ll consider myself lucky. Maybe it’s only ‘at this point in life’ that I have the tolerance for running a small press. I didn’t know anything about how to run a small press before I began so it didn’t seem daunting. I like doing things at which I am a novice; being a beginner is kind of relaxing.

MW: 2. I know you as an inveterate and dedicated reader of both fiction and poetry. And a writer of both. What made you decide to focus solely on poetry for Blue Edge Books?

It’s a little embarrassing to give a very prosaic answer to this question: poems are short (not all poems, but still). Plus nobody expects to sell a lot of poetry books, so the stakes feel manageable.

3. What can you tell us about the first book you’ll be publishing in 2022?

On the Mercy Me Planet is Maya Janson’s second book. Her poems are warm and witty, balanced by an appreciation for the trouble and chaos of life. Her sentences wakes you up to the pleasures and possibilities of language and image. “Beware the urge to haul everything you own/ to the top of a mountain in order to hurl it,” she writes in “Pushing the Dead Chevy”. “In mythology the pomegranate/is said to signify the underworld. In real life,/ a simple granite headstone will do.” The poems are substantial and also fun to read, loose and a little mysterious.

4. And as you are the Editor–what kind of poetry do you like? And want to publish?

I think like everyone, I want to be surprised, impressed, entertained – by language, images, sensibility, insight, content. I like a little imperfection; I like gaps and mysterious corners where there’s space for the reader’s imagination. A sense of humor is always a good thing. Probably I have taste – certain kinds of poems that I like or dislike – but I can be won over to any kind of poem by pleasure and surprise.