Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Poem for Wednesday and Pre-Halloween

Searching For Poe's Grave on Halloween, Baltimore, MD
By Jim Doss

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and the other begins?
     -- Edgar Allan Poe

Not here on Fayette Street
where the dull faces of commuters
stare back at us in their pilgrimage
to nowhere. Not on the sidewalk

where a dingy robin lies
like a broken doll, its missing eye
peering into the next world.
Not in the greasy smoke that braids

the air above Hardees with animal scents,
drifts into the blue haze of power plants.
Not in the used hypodermic needles
that gleam through a sewer grate,

or crushed cans of Colt 45 rusting by the curb.
Not in the red scrawl of graffiti on brick
row houses where home-boys lean
against the wall, peddle baggies of rock or weed

to walk-ups and drive-bys. Not in the purple
and black billboard advertising play by play
for the Ravens' games. "Perversity," Poe wrote,
"is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart."

In the end, he lay face-down in the gutter,
delirious with fever, poisoned by madness
and tainted alcohol, bribed to vote
under the names of dead men for shot after shot.

Now, his features carved in garish granite
come alive in stone. Sunlight reflects
off stained glass windows. Roots strain
to topple markers in their slow crawl through soil.

The path we've walked from his Amity Street
garret traces Poe's own footsteps
as he strolled with his pubescent cousin-wife
and her mother on their way to worship.

We read from Tales of Mystery and Imagination
into the sunset's orange glow, wait for his spirit
to rise through clay to accept our offerings--
this bottle of cognac, and a black rose.


I was out pretty much all day on Tuesday -- stopped in Target before lunch with Kay at Tara Thai (belatedly for her birthday, it's been that kind of month), then a bit of a walk around Washingtonian Lake followed by stops in Charming Charlie (liquidating Halloween jewelry), Pier 1 (liquidating summer merchandise), and Kohl's (six shirts for $17 on clearance rack, the most expensive one was under $6). Then Paul and I ran out to Giant before dinner to make sure we had all our Halloween stuff.

Cats now have heated throws on the couch, so I had lots of company watching this week's The Flash (not very believable family dynamics) and Black Lightning (fantastic as always, especially the family dynamics though also the social issues), followed by the Supergirl we missed (really enjoying this season though the politics are sometimes a bit too close to reality for my blood pressure to appreciate). In honor of Halloween, a collection of things seen shopping and around the neighborhood this fall:

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Poem for Tuesday and Homestead Farm

Where We Are
By William Stafford

Fog in the morning here
will make some of the world far away
and the near only a hint. But rain
will feel its blind progress along the valley,
tapping to convert one boulder at a time
into a glistening fact. Daylight will love what came.
Whatever fits will be welcome, whatever
steps back in the fog will disappear
and hardly exist. You hear the river
saying a prayer for all that’s gone.

Far over the valley there is an island
for everything left; and our own island
will drift there too, unless we hold on,
unless we tap like this: “Friend,
are you there? Will you touch when
you pass, like the rain?”


It was raining Monday morning, but stopped before noon and turned into a not-too-cold, somewhat windy day. I mostly did unexciting work things, though I got out for Giratina and Shinx raids and I finally, finally got my gold gym battle badge (I don't really like fighting or throwing people out of gyms). I ran into a neighbor with whom I had a long conversation, and I got 1/3 of a laundry done, and had cold cats plant themselves in my lap.

We caught up on Sunday night's Doctor Who, which I enjoyed a lot ("I call people 'Dude' now" is a very Eleven line though she said it the way I think Ten would have, and I loved seeing a Trump surrogate repeatedly put in his place by more competent women, though the weekly story didn't really feel like it got wrapped up). And I loved the Wicked special! Here are some of Homestead Farm's animals and fruit from our visit on Sunday:





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Monday, October 29, 2018

Poem for Monday, Riley's Lock, Homestead Farm, College Park

Pleasant Sounds
By John Clare

The rustling of leaves under the feet in woods and under
The crumpling of cat-ice and snow down wood-rides,
      narrow lanes and every street causeway;
Rustling through a wood or rather rushing, while the wind
      halloos in the oak-toop like thunder;
The rustle of birds' wings startled from their nests or flying
      unseen into the bushes;
The whizzing of larger birds overhead in a wood, such as
      crows, puddocks, buzzards;
The trample of robins and woodlarks on the brown leaves.
      and the patter of squirrels on the green moss;
The fall of an acorn on the ground, the pattering of nuts on
       the hazel branches as they fall from ripeness;
The flirt of the groundlark's wing from the stubbles –
       how sweet such pictures on dewy mornings, when the
dew flashes from its brown feathers.


We did a lot this cool Sunday since the rain held off until evening. After a quiet morning reading the paper (much easier than watching the news on TV this horrible weekend) while the Eagles played the Jaguars in London, we went to Riley's Lock to walk by the Potomac River. Unfortunately we forgot that meant seeing Trump National Golf Club across the water, so I didn't look hard for herons.

We stopped at Homestead Farm thinking we'd pick apples as well as pumpkins, but the apple trees were nearly bare, so instead we visited the animals before buying a pumpkin. Then we picked up my parents and went to College Park to pick up Adam and his girlfriend for dinner at Noodles & Co. and dessert at Cold Stone Creamery. He is flying to the west coast again tomorrow for another interview!

The Red Sox have won the World Series! Which I say with some relief, for, although I was rooting for them in honor of my in-laws who care a heck of a lot more than I do (Uncle Mickey and my cousins, longtime L.A. residents, are Dodgers fans), I am pleased to have the TV back to watch things other than sports every night of the week. And I can get to sleep at more reasonable hours. More pics soon:


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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Poem for Sunday and Great Falls Autumn

How To Play Night Baseball
By Jonathan Holden

A pasture is best, freshly
mown so that by the time a grounder's
plowed through all that chewed, spit-out
grass to reach you, the ball
will be bruised with green kisses. Start
in the evening. Come
with a bad sunburn and smelling of chlorine,
water still crackling in your ears.
Play until the ball is khaki-
a movable piece of the twilight-
the girls' bare arms in the bleachers are pale,
and heat lightning jumps in the west. Play
until you can only see pop-ups,
and routine grounders get lost in
the sweet grass for extra bases.


We just watched the Red Sox beat the Dodgers, but I can barely see straight because after I posted last night, I was up till 2:30 a.m. watching the previous World Series game...and it's a good thing I went to bed when I did, because the game went for another hour! 18 innings, so it was the equivalent of two normal games! And I woke up to news of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, so it was a stressful morning.

It rained until mid-afternoon, so we stayed in doing chores until then. We went to Great Falls, which was nearly deserted and beautiful with early fall color since the leaves are turning so late and there were lots of downed trees in the river from the rain. Plus we stopped at the co-op for crusty bread and cheese to have with our chick'n with herbes de Provence from the tea farm on the Countryside Artisans tour.


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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Poem for Saturday, A Star Is Born, Beach Shops

By Katy Santiff

For the souls that we've folded into these
broad, fat lands, laid out like my grandma's quilt;
for the living still wandering here below
these clouds that pillow up over us like
fluffing–billowing mat-stuff lining with
a wonder, a cotton question: tell us
what's patterned above, and who would know to
answer us, the some-numbered billions left
traipsing down here, so strangely encumbered,
accompanied, alone? We ask through the
sky's thin walls–hear the way some dark brilliance
calls -- but the only answer back to us
is the blowing of our coastal plains, the
pressure of our bay-hills' rolls, the feeling
of a thumb pressed to our minds as if God
made print-marks on the Sun: we lived here, once.


Rain moved in on Friday morning but I missed its start because I was at the movies with my neighbor Rose, seeing A Star Is Born, which has great performances and chemistry from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, very enjoyable music, and a strong first-hour screenplay that I didn't love in the second hour, since it crossed the line from moving to manipulative for me by not making Ally's manager a real human being and following the cliches of the previous incarnations a little too closely (this is a modern-era movie, so I'd expect slightly more modern attitudes about alcoholism and mental illness). Still, well worth seeing.

Since I was in the mall, I did a bit of shopping -- Sears is still not having a great going-out-of-business sale -- then came home to do all the things I put off while going to the movies so early. We had dinner with my parents (Thai food, yay), then we came home in time to see Blindspot (getting a clue, Kurt, yay), and now we are in extra innings with the Red Sox and Dodgers. Because I'm missing the Atlantic Ocean and Delmarva in this fall weather, here are some photos from shopping in Rehoboth Beach and Fenwick Island:

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Poem for Friday and Postal Museum Flowers

Tall Nettles
By Edward Thomas

Tall nettles cover up, as they have done
These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough
Long worn out, and the roller made of stone:
Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

This corner of the farmyard I like most:
As well as any bloom upon a flower
I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.


Thursday had gorgeous weather, and since it's supposed to rain Saturday and ruin our weekend plans to enjoy outdoor autumn gardens, I went to the park for over an hour after breakfast and laundry. It was lovely -- I ran into several friends and met some people at a Giratina raid -- then I came home for lunch and some work and reminding cats not to sleep on the vents all day.

I made Paul a desk calendar for 2019 while watching the not-very-exciting Miami-Houston game, which the Dolphins were losing by a lot when I switched over to Colbert, whom I am now cheating on with Fallon because he has Tiffany Haddish on. Some multi-seasonal color from the National Postal Museum's Beautiful Blooms: Flowering Plants on Stamps exhibit:









Thursday, October 25, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Lazy Cats

She sights a Bird - she chuckles -
By Emily Dickinson

She sights a Bird - she chuckles -
She flattens - then she crawls -
She runs without the look of feet -
Her eyes increase to Balls -

Her Jaws stir - twitching - hungry -
Her Teeth can hardly stand -
She leaps, but Robin leaped the first -
Ah, Pussy, of the Sand,

The Hopes so juicy ripening -
You almost bathed your Tongue -
When Bliss disclosed a hundred Toes -
And fled with every one -


Did a bunch of chores, took advantage of a couple of sales, then Paul came home early and we went to the viewing for the father of a friend of ours, who had been ill for a long time but was only in his early 60s, so it was a very sad event.

Then we came home, had a late dinner, and watched the World Series while taking advantage of Shutterfly's one-day sale on a bunch of photo gifts. Because it's all I have energy for at the moment, some photos of my cats enjoying the heat coming on:

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