what I'm thinking and doing

what I'm listening to

what I'm reading

what I'm writing

retrospective: old journal

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net §

Neile's main page

people have wandered through this week with me




















Les Semaines



Embroider Your Crustation

Man, I'm so hip and cool that I'm a googlewhack. Go search for the title of this entry on google, but make embroider past tense and cut the "your". Sorry that I'm not going to spoil my googlewhackiness by simply calling this entry by the two words that work as a googlewhack because if I did I'd ruin the whole thing. Even if both links with those words were to me, it wouldn't be the same.

Here for your delectation is a piece I wrote on bb. Seeing as how everyone there was already read it and you haven't. A description of me ownself in a paragraph [all were asked to do so]:

bb-survey:142/142> 67

--------------- survey #5812            (7 lines) ---------------

Date: Mon Nov 17 10:00:13 2003
From: sex & walking support group 

I am a poor word artiste toiling in the wilderness, living in fear of
being bored or boring, and gradually learning that contrary to all former
known certainties the wild challenging life actually gets in the way
artiste-ic toilment.  I am therefore happy growing increasingly fond of
the calm, settled life of just-over-the-hilldom.  Instead of domestic and
worklife chaos, I keep my life interesting by having too many commitments,
travelling too much, and wasting way too much time.

Wednesday we had all kinds of weather. Woke up to a world covered in slush. It had "snowed" overnight. Mostly it was raining. Sky dark gray for most of the morning. And then in the afternoon it cleared for a while and the sun was out for a bit. Then before I noticed it clouded up again--it was the sound of hail hitting the window that made me notice. All weathers.

My new contact lenses arrived on Tuesday. I was so happy to put in contacts that fit properly! I bless them and bless them. My prescription hadn't changed at all, but I had loaners that were the right prescription just not quite the right size. I rubbed my eye and one popped out while we were at a movie last Friday night, and they just felt funny. I kept noticing them. So now I'm back to the regular don't-notice-they're-there contacts. My eyesight isn't very bad, but I'm still so glad to live in the 21st century.

Another piece written for bb on Friday:


--------------- current*events #1427            (28 lines) ---------------

Date: Fri Nov 21 12:58:39 2003
From: I'll have some of whatever you're on, please 
Subject: one of the fucking bombs in Istanbul

was 3 blocks from my friend's apartment there.  She got back into town
yesterday, a few hours after it happened, and on the plane there met some
Italian reporters and showed them around and got to go with them onto the
site.  It was horrible.

Friends they've made on that street have had their businesses destroyed,
like the cool academic bookstore called Homer, and the local restaurant
they always get breakfast from and the place they get dinners.

I was in that bookstore and had a meal from that restaurant.

The street outside their apartment, all the trees nearby, the school
nearby, all covered with bits of glass.

They're right by the Italian embassy, too, and weren't allowed back to
their apartment for several hours because the police were setting up
blockades on the street to keep terrorists away from that embassy.  So now
they'll stop right by my friend's apartment.

You can see one of the synagogue's that was hit last week from their
living room window.  I have photographs out that window.

People there are in such shock.  Shopkeepers they know and just anonymous
people on the street with their faces dotted with healing cuts and

It's heartbreaking.
There is nothing more I can say this week.


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



Got a new strange and amazing cd by The Fiery Furnaces called Gallowsbird's Bark. Difficult to describe because it's uniquely itself. I got it for Jim but I really like it, too.


last week's listening § next week's listening



Kathryn Grant's The Black Jade Road and The Willow Garden are the final two volues in her The Land of Ten Thousand Willows trilogy (see my comments about the first, The Phoenix Bells in my November 9th entry). Here we follow Ty-Sun, Blessing, and their friends as they make their difficult way back to the Land of Ten Thousand Willows. These didn't work for me as well as the first, as they fell into too many clichés and too often we were told things rather than seeing them.


last week's reading § next week's reading



Got one poem sent out. Plan to do more of this. Soon.

I'm having a hellova time getting into the revisions again. Poetry and fiction. It's all friction. Must get past this to get back to work. The worst thing is that I am trying but my brain just isn't working right. I almost wonder if I should try to write something new instead, if that's what my mind what to do. But if I keep doing that I'll never finish anything.


last week's writing § next week's writing


Retrospective: old journal

March 1991

1620. March again
March 17, 1991

After our trip to London, after winter it seems. Flowers have started everywhere, and now it's sunny, lovely here today. Spring is a miracle.

1621 Collateral Damage
March 18, 1991

A month after the war and still
my husband has not come
home. As though there were
a home to come to. As though
I would know how to welcome
him if he came.
               My daughter's
          I cannot think of it,
must should go to the trucks market and hope
they bring there is food there for my songs
I would like a little water.       - - -
My daughter is only four
and I cannot find her.
There's a pile of stone crumbling
concrete from the wall
where we were hiding and
nothing under it but blood
and broken bones--that's
not a daughter. Maybe
if I rock to sleep she'll be
a daughter child in my arms again.
      - - -
Thank you for the water
I don't care if you boiled
it it not, it quenches
my thirst. A little more
please. Tell my neighbour
if her house is still there
to tell my husband where
I am. Tell her not to look
anymore for my daughter.
She was hiding from the noise
against the wall nearest the river.
She fell under the wall--not
the wall fell--no
the house shuddered
and hid her from the planes.
      - - -
Thank you for the water.
It tastes like water should, not
like what we get from the fiver
that we boil when we have
fuel to burn. Where are my
sons? They should wait here
with me. Where's my daughter?
Oh yes, I told you that. They
wanted my older son for the fighting
he looks older than his eleven years
nearly looks all of thirteen, the age
of the ones they were taking.
I'm glad they left him. He and
his brother are never parted
bring me treasures from the rubble
along the river, even metal torn
from a plane short down. They would
like to fight--who would not?
Who would not like to shoot
down these pirates from the sky?
To bury them under the fallen
stones of our city. Let their
mothers dig them out, stone
by stone themselves, find their
child's broken body there, lifting
the powering grey of not roof, not walls
and the bright stains underneath
finding their children stone by stone. [1]

1622. What it is we don't understand
March 24, 1991

Unleashing the demon is easier
than building it a stronger cage:
just as the beast gnaws at its thether
we loose the clasp & say run.
If it doesn't run we use a spear
to prod it--surprised when it turns
to shatter the spear in our hands,
to face us down. So the god we call
war takes power from our human
lives, so we feed it with ourselves
and if not us, some other folk
because with us it would die. [2]

1623. The Voice that is Calling Me
March 31, 1991

The thin edge of spring in the blunting darkness
green shoot in the mud, the sharp twist of rain

and wind sprung against my fact
retreating again, the warm hollow where

the wind doesn't go. [3]


1. The is the rough first version of the poem "There are Here There Are No Doors" that appeared first in an anthology of poems against the Gulf War, then in Blood Memory. I don't know quite why--because I'm talking so far from my own experience? because it seems a little overdramatic?--I've always been a little embarrassed by this poem.

2. Another war-inspired scrap. Bits of this have been stolen for other poems.

3. A scrap that went nowhere

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week