Les Semaines


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


Visiting Capitol Hill

Accomplishments this week:
  • Hand News
    • began as a huge reddened scabby angry stiff and unmanageable lump
    • now normal sized but with weird little dents in it
    • all the scabs seem to have fallen off
    • the skin is a little weird looking from having been so swollen so recently
    • I'm not going to lose my hand
    • the infection hasn't reached my brain--I think
  • Flu
    • did I have the flu?
    • I had a fever that the doc said wasn't from the bites
    • I have a sore throat
    • I'm so grateful it didn't get worse
    • I kind of wonder if the sore throat isn't from these honking big antibiotics
    • Lord knows what the fever's from then
  • Capitol Hill
    • not the one in DC, the one right here in Seattle
    • this week I visited it way too often
    • not only is Clarion there, but so is my health cooperative
    • so is Seattle Central Community College
      • where I have the Clarion room to book
      • parking to arrange
      • credit to arrange (I hope)
    • so is the Kinko's with which Clarion West has a copying agreement
    • getting to Capitol Hill from home is annoying
      • because there's a big lake in the way
      • as well as the ship canal
      • so I try to make the most of each trip
  • Doctor Visits
    • Monday
    • Wednesday
    • Last Friday, but that was last week
    • Is there any healthy?
    • Can we be done with this yet?
  • Clarion West
    • got the students settled (I think)
    • got the student packets copied
    • got the student packets made up
    • took the student packets to the post office
    • dropped off the submission stories to the first instructor
    • packaged them up for the second
    • spent a lot of time on the phone and on email
    • wrote and mailed snail mail letters
      • updating the reading schedule
      • about the scholarships
      • passing on scholarship thanks
      • I can't remember what else but there seemed to be plenty of it
    • spent four hours in a Clarion West board meeting
  • Miscellaneous
    • Sophia is still terrified of da bird and will not be seeing it again.
    • People made weird comments about my hand all week
    • For a sick, tired girl I got a hell of a lot done
    • Aren't you proud of me?
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


It's kind of odd, but while I've been happy to listen to things, I really haven't been very proactive about playing much music recently. I put this down to my less-than-optimal health so far this year, and the fact that the boom box that used to sit by my computer died, and I just haven't been able to get so excited about playing discs on the computer. I'm going to have to do something about this. Anyway, I did get Terami Hirsch's stickfigures, the first of her pajama jams series--a fun series of home demos she's releasing to fans.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Finally finished reading Trollop's Barchester Towers, which has been lurking on my Handspring for months. While up until the end I didn't feel compelled to turn on my handheld to race through the novel, I was always happy to have it there while waiting in line ups and for buses. This is the story of the political and emotional events in a small cathedral town when the old bishop dies and is replaced by a man with a strong wife and an ambitious chaplain, both of whom wish to run the diocese. And the old bishop's son, passed over for the title, wants to keep them all in their place, most especially the odious chaplain. Enjoyable, but not compelling.

That's the same way I felt about Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing and Sunwing. These are two children's/young adult books doing a kind of Watership Down thing with bats. The first one begins with Shade, a curious and fiesty bat who defies an ancient edict that bats aren't allowed to see the sun, and thereby touches off a skirmish in the war between owls and bats. And on his way to his groups hibernation place, he gets caught in a storm and blown off course, with results that are complicated, and involve meeting a female bat of another species, and a huge, cruel vampyre bat. The main character's spunk is entertaining and the stories, while odd are internal consistent and full of information about bats, but it's hard to make a division between the fantasy and science in these tales of the wars between the animals and birds and bat religion and all.

I also read the brief art-novel, Nick Bantock's The Gryphon, which is a continuation of his bestselling Griffon and Sabine series. This was intriguing, but far too open-ended and brief.

last week's reading § next week's reading


This week I barely managed to write this journal.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

April 1983

1313. Begin with anything you know
April 10, 1983

Begin with anything you know:
there's the violent thought,
o names, and the cat's cry
at the door. Or the man you love
sighing across the room. Sleep is nothing.
What do you do with those lines
racing across your skin
the cross-hatching of years
defining your eyes? What do you say
at midnight or later, to the man
who asks your name? O all the tears
you've never cried, never will. The man
you loved and lost, the woman you loved
who broke herself. [1]

1314. April is the cruelest
April 11, 1983

Here's waiting for nothing
steps in the all behind me:
a man out the window, painting rails. The sun is out and warm>
Jim is upstairs, teaching. Is.
Dull noise and I write
the most pedantic lines
I can in some kind of unforgettable rhythm
which I'm learning
to break and bend.
No language, just these
everyday words marching
down the page, dreaming
of better things. [2]

1315. For something different
April 11, 1983

The light is wrong.
You mean it to be
broken, unforced through cedar and fir.
Perhaps weaker, more like the diluted
sun from the end of winter. Say the word
once again and the wind shifts clouds
for you. This is not enough.

Try again. Place yourself on
the river's edge. The season enough
for high water, the drift of silt
from the mountains to the rich
flooded deltas. Lose yourself
in the geography of rivers.

It is not enough. There is nothing
that can say why you're here, why
you choose this detail or that
to mean something beyond what
language carries. Say your name
means mountain, forest, river.

Say you live on the edge of knowing
why rain collects behind the roots
on the reddened soil. Your vision is nothing.
Your voice here is less. Nothing says
what you want it to say. Allow the
water to spill over, call it home. [3]

1316. In Missoula, waiting for spring
April 11, 1983

In winter you are the first thing
that freezes, in the space
between word and word, between
branch and twig where the leaves
hung themselves on autumn
in the first depth of the frost.
I We walk you by the river, where
ice forms halos around the stones.
You say south, you say leaving
like an old man dimly holding
to what one thing he knows.

I'd rather say Canada,
home, whose very name is the sound
of ice breaking or the rain's hiss
on the leaves. This death brings
the beauty, lands and falls
onto the water, still moving passes the ice.
We pad it all with words,
old sweaters to keep out chills,
watch the river, moving somewhere
we don't know, south where
the ice is suddenly not there, hidden
your hands open like new leaves. [4]

1317. April in the sun
April 11, 1983

When that Aprill tries to shower
the world with shadows, Neile
wanders, restless and heavy.
O Damn, nothing and nowhere
and no sound, no show. Ah, hiss.
So where do we go now?
What do we do? Transfixed by it all, held by the blackfern, waiting. Easier to break the mindfix by moving the eye. Emotion and language. Not to use, not to use. Don't be used to it. Let the formula settle itself out. Let the music, all the nonsense. On and on. Myth and music.
Let the unicorn out the cellophane, the muse out of her box, the dense flesh.
Ah, good night, good night, all the bad and boring. All that. Language is what language does.
What opens with the sky?
Rivers, broken islands, all the easy dreams.
Let it go, let it go, let the frozen river go.
Give what it demands and Jim waits to come in very soon, very soon, and eyes ache to close. What with? Sleep and dreams? Sounds you won't follow? Portents and spells? This is no portent. It won't carry anything to you where you wait, wasting your life. Who cares what person you speak to yourself in? She tires while he waits at the door. O yes enough of it all. Not enough to steal and make patchwork of it. O the magic, she needs the magic, you need the dream. I need the magic.


1. Nope, this never was anything.

2. Nor was this

3. I did use some of these lines and phrases in other poems.

4. This, tenderly revised, became "Settled in Montana for Winter" in Spells for Clear Vision.

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