Saturday, August 31, 2019

Poem for Saturday and Baltimore Harbor

Spoiled Child
By Pages Matam

English is your fourth language

the baby of the family

the one your mouth spoils

favorite by default

who may one day be sold off by its siblings

in hopes to never return

all of your other tongues have grown jealous

your country has over 200 dialects

that's over 200 ways

to say Love

to say family

to say I am a song

to say I belong to something

that does not want to kill me

& does not want to siphon the gold from my

blood or the stories from my bones


"English is one of five languages I hold fluently in reading and writing, and...I thought to myself, how can I reconcile the traditions and culture as a Cameroonian born and raised writer in the current wave of immigration and oppression of those who are not 'American'?" Matam told

Friday was my least eventful day of the week, mostly because I ended up spending too much of it fighting with computers -- first my desktop, which has an awesome replacement keyboard but decided that I wanted adaptive screen lighting no matter how many times I turned it off and kept dimming my screen, refusing to let me use the hardware buttons to brighten it again, then my old laptop, which has decided that it's own power cord is not a Dell power cord and keeps demanding that I get it one. (It will use my new Dell power cord, so it's definitely a cord issue, not a laptop issue.) It was pretty hot, at least, so I didn't mind spending a lot of the day indoors.

We had dinner with my parents, came home and watched some baseball and college football, then I put on A Simple Favor, which was quite enjoyable and not predictable -- every time I thought I knew where it was going, Anna Kendrick's character would say something like, "Are you trying to Diabolique me?", which is both funny and a pointed comment on expectations of women in film noir (this one starts out meeting one set of expectations, then does a big amazing flip, and while I wouldn't call it a feminist masterpiece, it doesn't offer good-and-evil judgement on women who make some very unconventional sexual choices). Around Baltimore's harbor earlier this month:

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Poem for Friday and Chuy's Nachos

Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant
By Tom Keene

On the wall behind the cash register
a mosaic of snapshots reveals happenings
in Carmelita’s family.

To the left, a doll-sized mannequin
wears camouflage gear,
a workman’s apron
and a scholar’s mortarboard.

On the right two pictures:
Our Lady of Guadalupe and
San Antonio Spurs with
their NBA trophy.

Under the take-out menu,
a hand written sign:
Support the troops.
Pray for peace.

Working folk
fill up on life
in beans and tortillas,
huevos rancheros,
conversation and laughter.


I spent most of Thursday with Denise, who arrived while I was setting up my new keyboard and snuggled Cinnamon until I was organized enough to go out. We went to Marshalls to look at their Halloween decorations and end-of-summer sale, then we stopped at Cava to pick up lunch and came back to my house, where we watched Vacation, 90% for Chris Hemsworth's fake penis and 10% for Debbie Do-Anything.

In the evening after an EX raid in the park, we met Paul, Denise's sister Dia, and Dia's friends Gina and Michael at Chuy's because I had told them about the nacho bar in the model car trunk and they all wanted to try it (plus, you know, margaritas). We had a lovely long dinner, then we went our separate ways and got home in time for half of the Baltimore-Washington game, which the Ravens thankfully won. A couple of pics:

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Poem for Thursday, Aladdin, Egyptian Queens

The Flower Song (Excerpt)
By Egyptian New Kingdom Poet
Translated by M.V. Fox

To hear your voice is pomegranate wine to me:
I draw life from hearing it.
Could I see you with every glance,
It would be better for me
Than to eat or to drink.


I had lunch with my neighbor Carole on Wednesday at a great Indian restaurant I'd never been to before, Chettinadu, and we talked about family and neighborhood stuff but mostly about travel, since she does so much of it and we've been away a few times this year. She runs an AirBnB, so had to get home for a new guest, and I went out to do some chores, plus an Azelf raid during the water event raid hour at the church around the corner.

I had a rental coupon, so we watched the live-action Aladdin, which I enjoyed apart from the awful Arab stereotypes from the original. Jasmine has a more substantive role and a better ending, and Will Smith is fine, though I miss Robin Williams (and Gilbert Gottfried as the parrot). We also saw a bit of the Nationals-Orioles game and nearly all of Serena Williams' exciting US Open second-round victory. From National Geographic's Queens of Egypt exhibit:









Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Homestead Harvest

The Farm
By Joyce Sutphen

My father’s farm is an apple blossomer.
He keeps his hills in dandelion carpet
and weaves a lane of lilacs between the rose
and the jack-in-the-pulpits.
His sleek cows ripple in the pastures.
The dog and purple iris
keep watch at the garden’s end.

His farm is rolling thunder,
a lightning bolt on the horizon.
His crops suck rain from the sky
and swallow the smoldering sun.
His fields are oceans of heat,
where waves of gold
beat the burning shore.

A red fox
pauses under the birch trees,
a shadow is in the river’s bend.
When the hawk circles the land,
my father’s grainfields whirl beneath it.
Owls gather together to sing in his woods,
and the deer run his golden meadow.

My father’s farm is an icicle,
a hillside of white powder.
He parts the snowy sea,
and smooths away the valleys.
He cultivates his rows of starlight
and drags the crescent moon
through dark unfurrowed fields.


Tuesday was warm and humid -- not terrible for August, but not nearly as nice as the previous several days -- and not very eventful. Paul worked from home since we had only one vehicle, we had lunch together, eventually we went to pick up the car and stopped at Home Depot for a nozzle for our kitchen sink.

We watched some of the Nationals-Orioles game, which the Os surprisingly led all game and won, plus we watched the first Brady Bunch episode of Chopped with Marcia, Peter, and Cindy, which was fun (Greg, Jan, and Bobby are on next week). Here are some of the animals and crops at Homestead Farm last weekend:


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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and Brookside Wildlife

By Peter Cole

   Homage to Morton Feldman
   "Before the oracle, with the flowers"
   —1 Kings 7:49


Here in the gloaming,
a wormwood haze — 
the "m" on its head,
a "w," amazed
at what the
drink itself does:

god bless you — th.


What really matters now is begonia,
he thought, distracted while reading — 
their amber anther and bone-white petals
missing from a jade pot
by the door — not a theory of metaphor.


In this corner, sweet alyssum.
And beside it fragrant jessamine.

Almost rhyming scents in the air — 
a syntax weaving their there, there.


Erodium holds
an eye in the pink
looping the white of
its tendering cup.


The blue moon opens all
      too quickly and floats
      its head-
                     y fragrance over
                               the path
                  before us:

And so we slit
its throat, like a florist.


These hearts-on-strings
     of the tenderest green
things that rise
from dirt,
then fall
                  toward the floor,
               the air
         like — 

on-strings of the tenderest
green things — 
     they rise from dirt
then fall toward
           the floor,
    hanging in
                the air like — 

hearts-on-strings of the
tenderest green things,
from dirt then falling
toward the floor,
      in the air like


Moss-rose, purslane, portulaca
           petals feeling
     for the sun's
light or is it
only warmth
or both

     (they need
to open)

an amethyst


lifts the sinking
spirit back
           up and nearly
into a buoyancy — 
      its papery
pink bracts
proving with
their tease
     of a rustle and glow
through the window — 

there is a breeze.


Epistle-like chicory
blue beyond
the bars of these
    beds suspended
                  in air,
(what doesn't dangle?)
elsewhere, gives
way to plugged in,
             purply thyme,
against a golden
(halo's) thistle.


What's a wandering
Jew to you
two, who often do
wonder about
that moving about?
Its purple stalk
torn-off and stuck
elsewhere in
the ground takes root
and soon shoots
forth a bluish
star with powder
on its pistil.
Such is the power
of that Jew,
wherever it goes
(unlike the rose),
to make itself new.


Monday was as beautiful a day as we had over the weekend. My college roommate Tracey, whom I saw last week when she was headed down to the Outer Banks, was coming through again heading back home, and we went out for bagels on her way north, which was lovely. Then I went out to the mall to look for some gifts, mostly unsuccessfully, and took a walk, which is a delight in this uncharacteristically cool August weather.

Paul and I had to drop the car off for routine stuff, so we did that after dinner, then watched the rest of the fifth season of Arrested Development, which did not give me the Gob/Tony love scene we all deserve but did give me Cobie Smulders, although most of the women are vilified unfairly compared to the men and no one in her world properly appreciates Maeby. Here's the creatures of the woods last weekend:









Monday, August 26, 2019

Poem for Monday, Homestead Farm, Riley's Lock

By Frances Galleymore

Trees at the end of the garden are golden,
amber, lemon among lime
but my mother’s pencil flits over paper

silvering outlines she can see
of a ghostly steeple, a roof and a path,
before she turns them into colour.

Applied with the flat of a squirrel-tail
brush, thin washes in dove, aqua,
citrine, but much of the white’s

lying empty before she squiggles
floating puzzle-pieces
over the earlier scatter of patches

while the jam jar’s water
turns from sky, through leaf to earth
and has to be changed to invisible.

The painting’s a dapple, it doesn’t make sense
till frostings burn, they illuminate
with umber and ochre, forest, petrol –

the gate hangs crooked to the church.
White stone crosses, laid with flowers.
Real trees, giving up their transient leaves.


The weather on Sunday was as beautiful as it was on Saturday. We went to Homestead Farm to pick apples, now that the honeycrisp are coming ripe, and stopped to see the alpacas, pigs, chickens, and goats (one of whom has a kid). Then we went to Riley's Lock and walked along the canal, where we saw frogs, turtles, ducks, and lots of butterflies. We tried not to look across the river since the Trump National Golf Course is there.

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We stopped at CVS and Giant on the way home for food and stuff for the week, I did an Alolan Marowak raid in the park before coming home for dinner. We watched this week's Succession, which I want to say was over-the-top except I know people who've actually had office retreats like fraternity hazing, then we watched some more fifth season Arrested Development, where all I want is for Gob and Tony to kiss and Maeby to rule the world.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Poem for Sunday and Brookside Summer

Self as Goat in Tree
By Mihaela Moscaliuc

Nine goats scamper up
the gnarly argan tree and graze it clean.
They ingest the wrinkled fruit whole,
though it’s the bitter pulp alone
that rouses their appetite for more.
Sated, they stare at the horizon
till branches wear thin and fall.
Farmers harvest goats’ droppings
to extract the pit rich in kernels of oil.
Haven’t you too wished yourself a goat
perched punch-drunk on a linden tree,
blasé about the gold you might shit,
how it might serve both hunger and greed.
Haven’t you goaded yourself
to balance just a bit longer,
chew on some fugitive scents,
forget what a ditch the earth is.


We had magnificent weather on Saturday! So after doing a bunch of cleanup stuff in the morning, we went to Brookside Gardens after lunch. The butterfly exhibit is still in the conservatory but we didn't go in because we saw so many outside in the flower garden, as well as lots of bees and hummingbird moths. There was a wedding in the visitor center and an engagement party in the rose garden, but we walked to the Japanese teahouse and saw many turtles.

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We stopped at Roots Market, where we got lots of veggie food while enjoying their snack samples and discovered that they now carry Paul's brother David's Pig Out chips. Then we went home to eat our Beyond Burgers and to watch the new season of Arrested Development now that Verizon has given us Netflix for the year -- so far I'm liking the fifth season better than the fourth, and the episode with Ron Howard's family and lookalike Isla Fisher is hilarious.