treeheart

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

by E. E. Cummings

treeheart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

 

["treeheart" photo :: Andrea Janda]

Two One

February 1st.
55 degrees.
2 geese in perfect duo
fly
over the bridge together
back from winter.
A false Spring,
a lovely start.

A woman’s pair of beige dance shoes
hangs from the powerline
outside the theatre.
She always wanted to be
a tightrope walker.
We often throw ourselves higher,
sooner than we think we’re able to go.

Ostara, in her haste,
drops a white-washed paintbrush
on the robin blue eggshell sky
leaving a smatter of
pulled apart cotton cloud.

The birds still wait to be warmed
into rabbits.
To fly or to burrow?
Cannot take the sky
before I know how
to go to ground.

A strange circular rainbow appears
incomplete
behind a triangular treeline.
Not yet. Still, more rain.

I take a wrong turn into a dead end street
and the Ouroboros symbol appears
on a glassblowers garage studio door
at the end of the alley,
and it’s no longer the wrong way
it’s the right symbol,
confirmation,
reminder.

I turn around again
bite my own tail,
face the sun
waiting, turning from the dark
for two to agree
and become one.

Characterized as Vulnerable

Vulnerable

I sat waiting for my lunch to be ready. Closing my eyes, the sun warming me, honing in on nearby conversations.

“It was just awful!”

“Do you want to meet later?”

“We have to get back soon.”

“What are you hungry for?”

And then, “Think of a Chinese word you’d like to see written.”

Two young women, students conducting a written language experiment, held a small, dry-erase board and the woman in the steel-grey wool skirt looked sheepishly to the man-in-tow standing next to her, scanning his face for a word, for approval.

“Tomato,” she smiled and shrugged.

What an uninteresting word,” I thought to myself. Clearly, hunger and condiments dominated her thoughts to choose such an oddly simple thing.

The student began to draw the two characters, then handed the board to steel-grey skirt and asked her to draw it, to copy the lines in her own hand.

“Like this?” She fumbled through and the student asked to take a picture of steel-grey skirt holding up the sign, which she obliged after being assured it wouldn’t end up on the web or Facebook.

Steel-grey skirt and man-in-tow collected their lunches and wandered off back to their meetings and spreadsheets and before the students could walk away, I volunteered, “I have a word I’d like to see.”

“Great! What’s the word?”

“Vulnerable.”

“Oh—I’ll have to look that one up, it might be kind of difficult, the Chinese don’t really have an expression for that. Well, depending on the context I guess.”

“I suppose weakness is not a good emotional or political stance,” I mused.

She typed it into her phone where there must’ve been a pinyin and symbology translator of sorts and she mumbled, “Ah, hmm, that’s really pretty.”

She sketched out what looked like two number 5s, curved, bent and spooning, little animals with two quick hatchmarks in the coils and crooks, something warm in their bellies perhaps.  The second symbol, like a little house on stick legs, or a bird laying in a field of short reeds or soft, matted grass, or a boat on uneven waves jutting a mast with no sail attached.

She handed me the board and it was my turn to draw.

“Very good!” She encouraged. “You could do calligraphy.”

And I suddenly thought of my high school art class, how I attended my prom for free because I volunteered to hand write every student’s name in my graduating class and their respective date’s name on folded white cardstock for all the seating arrangements at the dinner tables. How I painstakingly wrote every letter with a copper pen tip, sinking the nib into a bottle of crow-black ink, scratching out letters and then with a glue gun, affixing a black bow-tied ribbon and burgundy rose in the corner of every one.

She took my picture holding up the board with “vulnerable” written twice and asked, “Why are you so interested in this word?”

I considered the tomato. Heart-shaped, red, plump, viscous inside, thin-skinned, vulnerable and thought perhaps, it wasn’t such a bad word after all and I said, “I think objects are fine, but I am more curious about concepts, especially emotional ones that are difficult to describe with one word. Like love or home or wonder.” I thought about how big ideas cannot, should not easily be boiled down, compartmentalized, or compressed into a single word or worse, an acronym. Americans are really fond of acronyms and especially mnemonics, trying to make big ideas memorable, and easier to digest, when really, what must be done is some digging, some spelunking, some serious unpacking followed by a gentle examination of all the parts.

I thought of other languages where speakers might have cultural differences and difficulties expressing emotion. For instance, one way of responding to the everyday greeting of “How are you?” in Russian is to say ” I am not unwell.” As if, already expressing in the negative was a way of conveying strength. Things could be worse. I’m not dead yet. My friend told a story where in high school, a Russian exchange student staying at his home was being chastised for taking her host family’s young  son out to play in his school clothes on a rainy day. His mother wasn’t at all happy that they had returned so filthy, caked in mud and muck, but the Russian girl sweetly explained to the mother, “he is not unwashable.”

What does it mean to be vulnerable? To be “accessible, assailable, defenseless, exposed, liable, naked, on the line, on the spot, out on a limb, ready, sensitive, sitting duck, sucker, susceptible, tender, thin-skinned, unguarded, unprotected, unsafe, weak, wide open, open to attack.” Why is there no strength in vulnerability when it takes all the courage in the world to allow yourself to let something, some ideas, someone in? To yield with grace to the often terrifying, ever-shifting locus of love, of home, and of wonder.

All three of these ideas have changed greatly for me in the last several years. Losing a beloved pet to cancer, losing a home by being priced out of the neighborhood, losing a job and a marriage; and all of these losses and changes at nearly the same time.  It was like witnessing all the love and home and wonder I nurtured suddenly evaporate out from under me. There was a serious unpacking. There was a gentle examination of all my parts. Especially the ones that went missing, where I identified myself.

I thought of many loves lost in my youth, how some of the most tender pieces of me were carried off by wild wolf boys and buried like edible treasure to devour later. How sometimes there were wounds I ignored and over and over I had to revisit the same old traps that closed upon them to extract myself very carefully so as to not lose more pieces still. Sure, I came out licking my wounds, scathed and dirty. But I emerged whole. 

Turns out, I am not unwahsable. I am not unwell. I am still hungry and I am getting reacquainted with wonder. I have redefined home. I still don’t fully understand the nature of love, but I am very much an eager student and believer of it in all of its necessary function and beautiful, new forms.

And I am still quite vulnerable.

come hell or high bathwater

Plumber's Crack

Plumber's Crack

Euugghh . . . plumbing. Whenever something leaks or makes noise or backs up, it conjures up the old SNL skit with Dan Aykroyd fixing the fridge for Mrs. Loopner (see the sight gag at 3:15 into the video). All I can think is, “great, this is going to be super expensive, the tech is never on time and they’re going to send some half-wit with his coinslot hanging out of his work pants tromping through my house and leaving a foul mess behind for me to clean up.”

A few days ago my bath sink and tub were both slow to drain and I thought the liquid / gel plumber bottle I dumped in had them fixed. I think I only made the drain rat living down there more hungry and angry. I woke up one morning to Amityville Horror–dark clots and water rising OUT of my bath tub drain that filled to about 4 inches then gurgled and swirled back down slowly. I think I heard something chuckle menacingly at me once. And I don’t know about you, but not having a working shower / tub / sink / dishwasher when it’s all installed and should be working is maddening. When I’m out in the wilderness, fine, but I don’t like camping in my own home. Joe & I had to shower at friend’s houses and our yoga studio for a few days.

Playmobil plumber

Don't worry ma'am everything is under control...hurr derp!

Turns out my neighbor had the same problem; it seems our drainage pipes are, uhh, intimately connected. We live in a house broke up into 4 independently owned condos built in 1913, i have an old, but nicely refinished claw foot tub, thus I fully expect plumbing nitemares. You should see our basement. The ceiling is a labyrinth of duct work straight out of Brazil and the pipes and plumbing are a recursive, confused tangle with no beginning or end. M.C. Escher would be proud. This is what my tech had in store for him.

When Craig called to say he had a job postponement & would be by shortly in the am instead of the afternoon when I expected him, I said, “Well, that’s fine but it will have to be jammie time, I’m just waking up for the day.” He remarked that he didn’t bring his jammies but he’ll still do the job. This made me laugh. We were off to a good start.

Let me just say Craig was kind, conscientious and efficient. While here he even took a call from an irate woman on the phone and handled it with utter grace and diplomacy. He bravely navigated the clusterfrak that is our way old school plumbing. He went between both my place & the neighbors to track down the blockage and make sure that our tubs weren’t backing up into each other and worked until both drains were clear and :: GASP! :: he even cleaned up after! My tub was free of devil spawn after-birth and my floor didn’t look like a military parade march came through. Double Rainbow All The Way! Win! Win!

plunger

you're my only friend . . .

Extra Bonus Points: Craig even diagnosed an unrelated plumbing problem I asked him about. I mentioned a loud banging sound from the pipes I get whenever I run the clothes washer. He said the “shhh-CHUNK” and rattling of the pipes that occurs is called water hammering and can be cheaply and easily remedied with something called a water hammer arrester (go figure).

I read that water hammering is “a pressure surge or wave resulting when a fluid in motion is forced to stop or change direction suddenly.” He pointed out where it does this at a tight bend just out of the hot water heater as well as just before our washer junction. Now that I know this minor annoyance can be fixed I’ll get on it, because what I don’t want is that pressure wave from the noise and vibration to cause the pipe to collapse. We have enough water problems around here.

I got a few of his business cards and the next time the plumbing gets possessed, I’ll ask the Property Manager to call Craig back!

in need of some fussing and some nursing

:::

I wanna fight for my own strength
cracking through the pavement
bones of harmony
and flesh learning to see

My skeleton of stone
my heart of burning bone
my rapturous tone
my aching for home

My dance upon my tomb
my butterfly wings i’ve sewn
my aching for home

:::

Burning Bone (feat. Kyrstyn Pixton)
from On the Horizon by LYNX

Armelle la coccinelle by Raphaël Goetter

Last nite i dreamed a child was born. An angry, powerful girl child meant for battle. A child somehow prophesied and meant to act as a weapon, a tool for humanity. I did not give birth to this child, i simply kept my distance and observed as all the wise men and women sought to coax her and train her. They staged miniature bouts between the child and those who thought themselves strong enough to get within striking distance. No one could and those who tried were thrown back from the child’s fiery, protective field, a red bubble, a halo of light that would build and erupt and push the intruder away as the child sounded with an ear-piercing cry.

I watched the warriors come and go and paced and thought and drew close to the child and gently removed the clutch of her handler from her tiny shoulder. I was well within range to destroy the child meant for service and greatness or murder and annihilation but i gathered the child instead to my barren breast which suddenly gave milk and comfort. I looked to the handler who nodded and closed his eyes and took the child with me for a walk through a field, which led us down a dirt road where i boarded a bus where a man sat beside me with open sea-green eyes and a gentle countenance. He put his arm about my shoulders and held us both and the child looked up at me and smiled.

No—it is not a longing for children. I am instead longing to soothe that angry, sad untempered part of me who has taken some damage lately and lashes out at all the wrong people, in all the wrong dimensions, and with wildly inordinate scales of heat.

I am listening to my dream language and i know what i must do. It involves some self-mothering. And some fussing and some nursing. To be sure.

Cry To Me

hey look! i'm a picasso!

hey look! i'm a picasso!

“Nothing could be sadder, than a glass of wine, all alone.” — Solomon Burke, Cry To Me

Beg to differ honey, but i’ll miss your music…

Solomon Burke, Cry To Me

moving on . . .

moving

yes. i know. it’s been since February . . .  but let me explain:
we’ve moved our home from Southwest to Northeast Portland
(from the South Burlingame to Irvington neighborhood).

i’d barely finished Winter term when Spring Semester was
already bursting through the ground (like those new black
and red tulips i left behind and the compost bin i had going.)
that would’ve come in handy for some fresh gardening.

and soon, i will be helping my boss to move our office . . .
Does the fun ever end?

i’ll tell you all the rest soon!

Wild Mercy

Spring by Andrey Vahrushew

The eyes of the future are looking
back at us and they are praying for us
to see beyond our own time. They
are kneeling with hands clasped that
we might act with restraint, that we
might leave room for the life that is
destined to come. To protect what is
wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the
pause between our own heartbeats,
the silent space that says we live only
by grace. Wilderness lives by this
same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.

Terry Tempest Williams

from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert (2001)

lies, damned lies, and the “S” word

the devil's sentences

::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: :::

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts—
for support rather than for illumination.”
Andrew Lang

“Equations are the devil’s sentences.” — Stephen Colbert

“Like other occult techniques of divination,
the statistical method has a private jargon
deliberately contrived to obscure
its methods from nonpractitioners.

Ashley-Perry Statistical Axioms quotes

::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: :::

hate stats

so many wasted erasers

i hate statistics. i hate it so much i’ve re-named it “sadistics.” i hate it so much i’d rather blog about it than DO it for class. i loathe it so hard my husband had a good laugh at me. He came around the corner to find me with damp washcloth and spray bottle in hand, circling a kitchen table splayed out with books and erasers and graphing calculator and he cracked up. He noted that i was purposefully avoiding doing the homework by cleaning the kitchen chairs. that’s right, i’d rather wash wooden legs with Murphy’s oil and scrub food & dinner fart-laden seat upholstery than sit in front of numbers and formulas that after awhile, just start to look like an invasion of picnic ants marching across a description of Greek whoredom.

joke circa 1982 from Todd Rungdren

humor circa 1983 Todd Rungdren song

My eyes begin to gloss over, i let my cheek slump into my hand. Propped up on my elbow, i allow my mouth to go slack and open into a balloon-shaped maw, all in an effort to allow more oxygen to get into the situation. Anything to tease the possible formula i’m supposed to use out of the useless and impertinent question being asked in the longest series of lamest story problems of all time. On any standardized test. Ever. i could be in the same state if i drank 3 fingers of bourbon. And i’d be having way more fun.

i’ve begun creatively insulting the theorists and their theorems. Chebyshev’s theorem? Nope. Chubbynut’s Nonsense (it’s not my fault his first name is “Pafnuty”). No joke.  It would take a Russian mad man with a crater on the moon named after him to make me do this crap. In order to get a BS Psychology. Emphasis on the BS.

i want to stab myself in the boxplot with an ogive. that, of course, being a joke that perhaps only someone subjected to statistics would be able to understand.

Which leads me to the only fun thing i learned so far . . .

Because i HAD to know the word origin for the ogive curve, turns out Wikipedia has this to say:

“In statistics, an ogive is a graph showing the curve of a cumulative distribution function (which, for the normal distribution, resembles one side of an Arabesque or ogival arch.”

An ogival or pointed arch is one of the defining characteristics of Gothic architecture.

Ogives are also used descriptively in ballistics or aerodynamics where an ogive is a pointed, curved surface mainly used to form the approximately streamlined nose of a bullet or other projectile as well as the complex ogives in missiles and aircraft.

Ogives are used in applied physical science, engineering, architecture, woodworking, geology, and yes – even statistics.

That concludes this episode of nerd notes . . . and now, you may have a better insight to my bad attempt at a stats joke, which is like, a monstrous exercise in futility. It does it all on its own. Writes itself, honey.

But what are the postitives? Will i be a better Poker player? i prefer Cranium. i get to act, solve puzzles and play with clay. Better able to understand and plot risk-analysis? i only do dangerous stuff to myself, not to others. (most of the time.) More equipped to look at those numerous, tiresome graphs, dots, squiggles, pointed notation marks and fluffy numbers and make perfect sense of psychological research. i. fucking. doubt it, son.

In fact, if it weren’t for Joe holding my hand through some of these problems and talking me through it (and away from mathematical ledges) i’m certain i wouldn’t be getting any of it at all.

Now let me make something clear . . . i don’t consider myself a dumb bunny. And to his credit, the teacher is excellent, clear, procedural, by the book and full of examples. Why my tiny squirrel brain can’t wrap my head around it all is well, probably mostly due to my obstinance. (SEE above paragraphs)

Then there’s the pretty graph making program called MiniTab (MinorStab) which i have to use in order to complete my Math Labs. I’ve decided i don’t want to trek out to school, find and pay for parking, hang out in a computer lab for an indefinite amount of time, be hungry, cranky and confused and have no means of escape, so i “rented” the program for 6 months for $30. Which is about all i’ll need to get through two semesters of it. And i can drink wine while i load data sets. Yeah. You got my number.

So—i’ll slog my way through it. I feel a low grade B fever coming on.


In the meantime here’s some fun stats from Graph Jam.com

prince graphuniversity-education

A Good Start

A Good StartMaria Taylor

You’re one with the burden of intuition.
You’re one with the freedom of a blank stare.
You’re one with the best friend you lost
You wish was still there.

You’re one with the dust on that old piano.
You’re one with the strings on your new guitar.
You’re one with the wind through the open window,
You are.

It was a faint line that brought you here
And a pulse that kept you in time.
It was the comfort of a tradition
Like the few that were not that kind.

And it’s a shame now, baby, you can’t
See yourself, and everything you’re running from.
And it’s the same world, honey, that has brought you down,
As the one that’s gonna pick you up,
And pick you up.

You’re one with the echos of conversation.
You’re one with the strangers you overheard.
You’re one with the lesson that was
The best one you learned.

It was a faint line that brought you here
And a pulse that kept you in time.
It was the comfort of a tradition
Like the few that were not that kind. (But you are.)

It’s a shame now, baby, you can’t
See yourself, and everything you’re running from.
And it’s the same world, honey, that has brought you down
As the one that’s gonna pick you up,
And pick you up.

It was a long, dark, sleepy morning walk.
You fell down, facing up.
It was a good start.
It was a good start.

It was a long, dark, sleepy morning walk.
You fell down, facing up.
It was a good start.
It was a good start.

And it’s a shame now, baby, you can’t
see yourself, and everything you’re running from.
And it’s the same world, honey, that has brought you down
As the one that’s gonna pick you up.

And it’s a shame now, baby, you can’t separate
Yourself from where you’ve stood.
And it’s the same world, honey, made you feel so bad
As the one that makes you feel so good,
Feel so good.