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Monday, September 12, 2016

We're still so agrarian in place and time


The mornings are different now than they were just a few short weeks ago.  The sun is out, but it's only in the mid-50's as I drive in this morning.  The forecast is all sun globes for the week ahead, but nothing tops the mid-70's in that forecast.  The weather is nothing but comfortable now in this idyllic pseudo-season; nobody will be complaining about the weather this week.

Melissa says a significant portion of the lavender is still blooming and there are still a few hearty roses worth admiring and smelling.  I know the beans are still yielding, but they are slowing.  Tomatoes are pretty much done, the last tomatillo has been harvested and the plants are just about ready to pull for the season.  It is a ritual we tend to leave until fall is well settled so as not to violate the remnant of our summer.  Or, as Karina Borowicz says in her poem, September Tomatoes:
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit. 
I'm torn, like the season.  Part of me, if I am honest, is ready for the crisp sharp air of fall and the settling-in activities that come with it.  No doubt the shortening daylight registers with something primordially internal I've long-since lost conscious contact with.  Part of me, though, is very much not ready to see summer leaving, with its bright and bounty and its sensory excesses.
The morning paper lists how many minutes
the sunlight lasts--fact without a hint
of the three minutes lost since
yesterday. In late September, even
those who do not track the time,
as I do, can be startled by the rapid,
sure decline of days growing
hooded at both ends.
   - Summer's Last Tomatoes, by Jacquelyn Malone
Convocation today, the campus stirs in earnest as most of the employees return to kick off the new year. Though the college year technically starts with summer quarter, fall is the real beginning of the school year in most minds.  School starts--as it always has done--when the harvest is in, when the stars form certain predictable patterns, when the birds start to migrate.

We are, after all, still so agrarian in our collective sense of where we are in space and time.

Today's full playlist:
  • My Maudlin Career, Camera Obscura
  • Pieces of the Sun (Radio Version), Test Your Reflex
  • Donald Macgillavry (The Fight With The Blackfeet), Lewis & Clark Soundtrack
  • The Story, Brandi Carlile
  • On the Other Ocean, David Behrman

Friday, September 9, 2016

The sky reflected

Friday morning and all is blue skies.  The Popular Dude doesn't so much strut into the room today as bounce in full of energy and promise.  He holds the weekend in the palm of his hand, held just behind his back, with a wink in his eye.  Of course we're glad to see him again.

Top rolled back on the Fiat, cool morning breeze just across the top of my head, and Sigur Rós playing over the car's speakers, I toddle into campus.  The campus is slowly coming back to life in preparation for the start of fall quarter, just over a week away.  My calendar is mostly unstructured today, which is good.  The pace of email has also started to pick up and I need today to get caught up again.

But the bright blue skies on the drive in this morning are all I'm really thinking about yet.  They recall the trip we took to Vancouver this past extended weekend, and some of the photos I took and thoughts I recorded...


The Sky Reflected 
The pane reflects the color of sky so well
The window might not really be there at all.
The building, rising straight and tall at this seawall edge of the city,
Is only silver frames and sky-filled holes.
There is no wall. 
I am, for a moment, a bird slicing through air,
Destined to sail over, around, and between.
I cut the taut current of air, diving at a silver-framed sky-hole
Only to veer away from sky back to broad sky.
I am not fooled. 
But I am mesmerized by how well this tall
Stolidness muses the cloud-wheeling dancing
azure around it, descriptive in its distillation and yet quite
Poor in its clutched appropriation of the
Sky reflected. 
     - written September, 2016, Vancouver, B.C.

Today's full playlist (all songs by Sigur Rós):

  • Ísjaki
  • Hvalir Í Útrymingarhaettu
  • Bláprádur
  • Samskeyti (Live)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Within me a lunatic sings - song/poem fiction

Thursday is dark and very slightly raining.  For whatever reason this week has been impossible to keep straight.  Every day has been a multiplicity of weekdays.  Yesterday, for example, was constantly both Wednesday and Thursday, and today already feels like it must be both Thursday and Friday.

It happened again this morning, that the titles of the songs which randomly popped up on my phone during my short commute to the campus assembled themselves into something approaching poetry:
Another brick in the wall, then came the morning.
I'll do the driving while within me a lunatic sings*,
"Turn to stone, kangaroo court!"
*[Within me a lunatic sings is the English translation of the song title, Inní mér syngur vitleysingur.]
I didn't see that until I started to record this morning's soundtrack.  Hmmm... I'll bet with a little license I could create a short narrative:
Last night I dreamed claustrophobic Poe-esque storylines
All pounding heart and sealing walls
I know I squirmed against invisible bonds of sleep paralysis
As bricks slowly obscured my view
One brick, another brick, then another...

Another brick in the wallthen came the morning at last.
Who wastes their nights in such useless terror?
What else lies hidden in my mind, to creep out when all is at rest?
Inní mér syngur vitleysingur (within me a lunatic sings)
One song, another song, then another...

I leave for work, I think, under my own control
I'll do the driving, but what drives me?
As my own verdict silently and mindfully plays out I turn to stone.
The internal kangaroo court is laughing now
One laugh, another laugh, then another.

Within me a lunatic sings
That certainly wasn't how my night went, thankfully.  And this morning all I noticed was a string of really good tunes that kept me tapping the steering wheel all the way to campus.

Today's full playlist:
  • Another Brick In The Wall, Pink Floyd
  • Then Came The Morning, The Lone Bellow
  • I'll Do the Driving, Fountains Of Wayne
  • Inní mér syngur vitleysingur, Sigur Rós
  • Turn To Stone, Electric Light Orchestra
  • Kangaroo Court, Capital Cities