22 October, 2014  |   Comment

October’s Wriggly Bits

This October is squirmy.

I put my knee on it,
to hold it down,
to make it comply with
ME

But October will have none of that.

So far today, 39 silos. Dorothy calls them ice cream cones.

We visited my family in Wisconsin.
October wriggled out of my grip.

James and family

My mom and her husband sort though hundreds of boxes of collections. They are moving. Assisted-living-2-bedroom-apartment and they couldn’t be happier.

I wish the American Way gave more aging parents this love.

Girls and grandma

There are more boxes to sort than there are years. I hate these boxes.

I stomp and whine
I don’t want to be faced with all the evidence of my bad decisions.

No one does.
October escapes me again.

Principals award

Boxes of high school and college journals, reams of letters and artwork.
Heartbreak’s long game.

Cousin's room

It’s not a sadness,
it’s more of the resigned sigh
halfway done with my life.

Poetry award

We returned Napa’s harvest bustle. Winemakers and vineyard workers work all night long. Grape trucks turn in front of you on the highway, dropping sticky purple fruit onto your lucky, lucky car.

Grapes

The air smells like wine.
Hundreds of thousands of tons of grapes being squished within 10 miles of my house and it is in the air.
October found a secret way out.

29 September, 2014  |   2 Comments

Sensory Evaluation Week

Smell the Glove.

In a way that’s different than when I was a kid, culture relies on images more than other sensory inputs.

Through photos, through graphics, through interface, that’s how we tell stories. These images inform us through screens. More pervasive than television or newspapers, this juicy visual shorthand is how we communicate.

Look at my pizza

As the tools to capture and share images evolve, these pictures absorb more of my attention. I scan, I scan, I skip, and I get really good at a never-ending lifetime game of Hot or Not, at a quick visual evaluation.

But the rest of my sensory evaluation is getting flabby.

Sight, that sense is all right, but I’ve done a rotten job at cultivating my hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and that still-undefined sixth sense.

She helps with the beans

Maybe it’s because I have spent so much of my life online — there are no smells, no touch, no taste online — I halfheartedly listen to music, when I remember, but even that is a pretty narrow category (background noise, music from 20 years ago).

This week, I’m exploring our senses. From noses to guts, from fingertips to Tympanic cavities, I want to think harder about what I’m letting come in my face and how I think about it.

When I pay attention to something, it’s how I love it.
I want to love more.
I want to pay better attention.

Looking up. All of it.

In the meantime, I’d love to know this thing from you:
What’s your favorite sense? Why?

19 September, 2014  |   3 Comments

Check out my self-pity. It’s huge.

Been working out.
Base of my neck, working it hard.
Self-pity muscle.
Getting big.

getting ripped

Feel sorry for me.
Feels so right when my head hangs low.
Working the top of my spine, work it hard.

Gets so big it rolls up over my ears,
like a turtleneck,
Hearing only my own sad thoughts.

getting ripped

Work that muscle,
up over the back of my head.
A hood,
a muscle hood.

Narrows my sight.
Now, all I can see is one tiny spot that
shows me for certain
how much worse I have it
worse than anyone else.

getting ripped

Fully covered now.
I’m all self-pity.

It’s most unfair,
Most unfair.

getting ripped

27 August, 2014  |   3 Comments

Wine Wednesday: Earthquake Edition

Napa earthquake at my office.

This is the office I work in — it’s in someone’s home. Yes, I totally agree with you that it could be worse, but you could agree with me,  you would be pretty bummed if that happened in your home office.

When I moved to San Francisco, my Midwestern rootfolk asked me, “But what about the EARTHQUAKES?”

I thought the likelihood of one happening to me was low.

Plus, my Midwestern people deal regularly with floods, raging hail storms, thunderstorms, iced over highways, tornados and lightning. They had it worse than me, in my book.

But no tornado was as scary as what we went through last weekend.

We are fine and our friends are fine,
they lost lifelong collections,
they lost dishes,
also they are not fine.


When you a part of a community that,
as a group, faced its inevitable mortality,
that community’s minds are elsewhere.

We thought, “Well, that’s it.”
Everyone thought that,
if they woke up.
And a lot of people woke up.

I noticed it’s the same for people who are moving.
Their minds are with their stuff —
where the detergent is,
the spoons,
when they’ll find that belt that they love.

And when you add coming face to face with certain death to losing most of the stuff in your home, I’m quite astonished at the number of folks in the Napa valley just back at work.

Tough people, these farmers.
Damage to our wineries is minimal.
You should come visit them.


Thank goodness it's just stuff, right?

This is my boss’ house. They lost a lot of stuff.

So move!
(I hear you say.)

Why live on a fault line?
(I hear you ask.)

Anything that happens to you from here on out is your FAULT
LITERALLY.

We’re staying because this is the best community for us, in the whole world.

We are aware this is our fault.
Our fault.

But we’re willing to live with it.

We’re willing to thrive with it.

24 August, 2014  |   1 Comment

The Gods

djh-lego3

Where are the Gods?
screamed Dottie,
at 3:20 am,
when the beds rolled.

She meant Guards,
Being four,
it sounded like Gods.

Where are the Guards?
screamed Dottie,
at 3:20 am,
when the beds rolled.

I held her,
We were sleeping, I said.
I’m so sorry, we were sleeping.

Where are the Gods?
I whispered,
after they chopped his head off.
after they shot him, six times.
after my complicit neglect
buried us.

Where are the Guards?
I whispered.

I looked around.
I saw that they are us.

We were sleeping, I said.
I’m so sorry, we were sleeping.

We wake up now,
the burden of our care revealed,

We wake up now,
there is so much to be done.

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