Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Snow Wimp

Snow this week! Lots of it, falling on Thursday. Dry and round little wind-blown flakelets, like styrofoam rather than the usual wet fat flakes we get around here. By morning on Friday we had about four inches. There had been snow on the streets when we went to bed, but there wasn't any there by the time we got up but there was ice, and I slipped on the road as I tried to brush the snow off my car, so I ended up by calling work to say I'd go in later when it warmed up a little. And then I fell asleep until 11:00, and since my day usually ends at 12:30, I decided it wasn't worth going in. So I didn't. I feel like a total wimp, but I've got plenty of leave time. I kept phoning in but never got anyone, only voicemail, so I thought they hadn't gone in, either. It turned out they had, though, which made me feel even more like a wimp. Ah well. And extra day off work! An unexpected three-day weekend! I spent the rest of the day in my study, plowing through the top layer of the accumulated piles of junk.

Snow! In March! In Seattle! All gone by about 4:00, though. All gone.

I hate nights like this where I really have nothing to say. It was a busy week with grant writing and paperwork and a meeting for Clarion West. I had a workshop this afternoon, and now all I feel like is reading and going to sleep. I think it's true that middle age really is boring. I've done most of the wild kid stuff that makes for good journal entries (despite my journal below being quite devoid of content about one of the wildest times of my life) and I'm not interested in it anymore. My values have changed. I adore a quiet life because it means I can get the real, important work done, like writing. It used to be that I fit the writing corners of the wild life. It had a different spark then--funny how so many of those poems never went anywhere.

Or not funny.

So now I'm making type to entertain myself, like listening to my own voice in an empty room. How philosophical! Rather like the kind of thing I wrote in my journal 20 years ago.

My head is full of lists of Things To Do that I must not forget. Full of tail ends of the novel I'm reading, and flashing head-on ends of the novel I'm writing. Or pretend to be writing, as words don't get added to the electronic files too often, though it's almost always in the back of my mind. I probably think of it about ten times a day. What else is in my mind? The stories I critiqued for the group this afternoon. My ideas about next year's instructor list for Clarion West. Wondering why Sophia has become touch-not-the-cat again. Wondering what Zach's blood test results will tell us about how his kidneys are functioning or not and if he really is having thyroid problems. (We tortured him with a vet check up yesterday; Sophia gets to go next week.) It is a little worrying having a 16-year-old cat. He acts as though he's in the best of health, but that's not true, alas.

Anyway, I think I'm going to go and pick up that novel (the one I'm reading) for a while before bed--Monday morning comes way too early.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Still obsessing with Rachel Smith's the clearing. Listening to the new Gabriel Yacoub (The Simple Things We Said) often, too. Right now Jim is playing our single versions of Björk's "Hidden Place".

I should also mention that we've had the same tape in Jim's car for about six months and never grow tired of listening to it--Splashdown's Blueshift, a wonderful album that the stupid corporate machine swallowed and never officially released, killing a wonderful young band.

Oh, go and download the great track, "Cold, Cold Water" from Mirah's upcoming album. There's something in it for everyone. http://kpunk.com/mirah/.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Believe it or not, I haven't finished anything this week. I'm working on Dan Simmons' Hyperion, though, and am really enjoying it.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Another grant-writing week, this time to the National Endowment for the Arts--my longest-shot application, but I figure as long as I'm eligible I might as well try for it.

This afternoon was my fiction workshop and we went through my story, the end story of its second branch, and it went over well, so maybe I'll just finish the damn thing off and get it out in the mail. Then I'll have something out there in the offing besides grant applications.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

November 1981

[In which I write poems rather than write about my life which at this time is speeding past me faster than light or sound. Sometime I wonder if I'll never ask my friend Brenda if I can see the letters I wrote to her weekly. I'm sure they're pretty erratic--I told Brenda everything about the messy details of my life at this time.]

1266. June, dancing [1]                            November 15, 1981

May Day, 1919
and June, you're dancing,
all veils, and flowers,
and your long, unbound hair.
Bare feet on the lawn
at Lake Forest.

I met a woman
who remembered you
even if you were dancing
for the war, she thought
you were scandalous.

How you must have been,
with your veils,
and your slim feel moving
on the damp grass,
the gothic towers behind
you still, watching you
spin, turn, shape your youth
into dream.

June, I dream
of you dancing,
calling me to join you
and June,
I always do.


1267. Poem to Explain the Journey                            November 20, 1981

[Here it is, the poem
to explain why when
I came to see you
it was the journey
I was after.] Days and
miles of sea fields and oceans.
Each mountain I could
touch on the way and
the new air seeping through
windows and doors. I could
taste it the way I taste
you. Even though I'm with you
I never arrive. You're another
point of departure, another
train with empty seats.
Love, even when you lay
beside me, it was the travel
that held me there. [2]

1268. My feminist poem                            November 25, 1981

I made myself,
for you,
snow: like indetectibly,
like a whore
only a whore
would know, or
a starving man.
Love, I lost my life
for you,
became what only
you would want.
I must admit there've been thaws,
and I'm
a little hardened
with ice and time
and men's warm
hands, but for you
I've been snow
and I haven't
changed, though
the sticks, my arms,
have fallen,and
the birds have
taken my small
my button black eyes. [3]

1269. Travel                            December 10, 1981

The door is open and I can hear
The voices from the other side. Come
they say home. As though home were something
you could reach, instead of something
that comes to you. Listen they say
and I hear the sound of evergreen
bending This is to entice you.


1. June was my grandmother, and I have a photograph of her as described. This drastically revised poem became My Grandmother's Photograph in Spells For Clear Vision. Wow, so this was the first poem I wrote for that book.

2. I haven't a clue what that was about. Another poem that never made it anywhere.

3. A break up poem. Need I say it never went anywhere? Well, it didn't.

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