Wednesday (two blog posts in a row!) Musings

As the summer semester begins to wind down, I’ve decided to make a few resolutions. I will get back to blogging. I will also get back to exercising, which I’ve been doing fairly regularly but fell into a brief lapse last week. I’ve decided that since I quit the gym and started working out at home, I’m going to go back to sweating in the morning. It’s easier and let’s face it, I am not a late afternoon person. This is why I teach in the morning.

From “Dream”

There used to books of dream:
every dream had a symbolic meaning.
And the old Chinese believed
that dreams implied their reversal:
a dream of travel meant you’d stay at home,
a dream of death meant longer life.

Yes, yes! Surely my beloved in my dream
was saying she loved only me.

The coolness in your eyes, love, was really heat,
your wish to range was you renewal of allegiance;
those prying others were you and I ourselves,
beholding one another’s fealty, one another’s fire.

C.K. Williams

I love this piece published in Esquire because I often feel the same way about recommendations my students make to me about books:

I’ve never read a novel by Nicholas Sparks for the same reason I’ve never seen a movie starring Ashton Kutcher: because I’m stupid, yeah, but I’m not that stupid. But the problem with avoiding stupid books is that you end up avoiding the books that people actually read. This makes you feel out of touch. Like one of those elitist wimps whom fat guys on the radio are always making fun of.

This type of logic is what prompted me to delve into Stephanie Myer, Jodi Picoult and Mr. Sparks himself. I didn’t get more than fifty pages into any of their books and I won’t pick any of them up ever again. If not reading these authors is being out of touch, well, ignorance is bliss.

Tuesday (one week and counting…) Musings

Did I mention I’ve been a terrible failure at blogging this summer? The summer semester has kept me running at a steady clip and on top of that, we’ve decided to start looking for a house. We went out on our first “hunt” last weekend and despite the torrential downpours and a few broken lock boxes, the entire experience proved to be fascinating. I hope as we move into fall I’ll have regular updates.

No, I have not forgotten about poetry. Even though I have yet to sit down and draft several poems that are swirling around in my head, I am comforted by the fact that they’re there, if only in scribbled journal note form. As soon as the semester ends (next week) and I get through the grading (next week) I plan to get several poems on paper.

The rejection letters have begun to roll in. I received three over the past few weeks. Hand written note from one and form letter from the other two.

Here are a whole bunch of poems/quotes I’ve been accumulating over the past month.

She Walks in Beauty, Stanza I

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless slimes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Lord Byron

“Poetry didn’t find me, in the cradle or anywhere near it: I found it. I realized at some point–very late, it’s always seemed–that I needed it, that it served a function for me–or someday would–however unclear that function may have been first. I seemed to have started writing poetry before I read any.” ~ C.K. Williams


I prove theorem and the house expands:
the windows jerk free to hove near the ceiling,
the ceiling floats away with a sigh.

As the walls clear themselves of everything
but the transparency, the scent of carnations
leaves with them. I am out in the open

and above the windows have hinged butterflies,
sunlight glinting where they’ve intersected.
They are going to some point true and unproven.

Rita Dove

Sleeping in the Ceiling

It is so peaceful on the ceiling!
It is the Place de la Concorde.
The little crazy chandelier
is off, the fountain is in the dark.
Not a soul in the park.

Below, where the wallpaper is peeling, the Jardin de Plantes has locked its gates.
Those photographs are animals.
The mighty flowers and foliage rustle;
under the leaves the insects tunnel.

We must go under the wallpaper
to meet the insect-gladiator,
to battle with a net and trident,
and leave the fountain and the square.
But oh, that we could sleep up there…

Elizabeth Bishop

From “Silence”

There is the silence that comes between husband and wife.
There is the silence of those who have failed;
And the vast silence that covers
Broken nations and vanquished leaders.
There is the silence of Lincoln,
Thinking of the poverty of his youth.
And the silence of Napoleon
After Waterloo.
And the silence of Jeanne d’Arc
Saying amid the flames, “Blessed Jesus”–
Revealing in two words all sorrow, all hope.
And there is the silence of age,
Too full of wisdom for the tongue to utter it.
In words intelligible to those who have not lived
The great range of life.

Edgar Lee Masters

A Wedding Poem

Bright faces surround the woman in white,
the man in black, the sweetness of their attention
to each other a shine rising high toward the high ceiling.
The men watch the groom, and the women
the bride, as they speak their candle lit vows,
as if there were something in it for us personally.

Worn by the distances we the already-married
have traveled down the road on which these two
are setting out, we leave the dust of the journey
outside the door of this house where tonight no word
is casual, no posture undignified, and each
becomes again handsome in them, beautiful in them.

Thomas R. Smith

I just noticed while I was typing these out that many contain the word ceiling. Interesting.

Community colleges are deeply unsexy. This fact tends to make even the biggest advocates of these two-year schools — which educate nearly half of U.S. undergraduates — sound defensive, almost a tad whiny. “We don’t have the bands. We don’t have the football teams that everybody wants to boost,” says Stephen Kinslow, president of Texas’ Austin Community College (ACC). “Most people don’t understand community colleges very well at all.” And by “most people,” he means the graduates of fancy four-year schools who get elected and set budget priorities.

Monday (Kicking off 2009)

We spent all day yesterday unpacking and cleaning and finally, at around 6 pm, our apartment began to resemble a place where people live instead of where nomads occasionally visit.

I’ve been contemplating the new year and the idea of resolutions. I usually do them with my family but this year I am left to them on my own and late. I’m not going to post them on my blog, for fear of falling into a certain cliched pattern, but suffice to say that I feel recognizing and writing them down is a good place to start.

*I Hate

By C. K. Williams

*courtesy of Poetry

I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound,
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling,
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird;

not as remembrance, grief for so many gone,
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions,
petrified roots too deep to ever excise;

a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being,
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what,
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love;

not even war, fuck war, sighing for war,
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease;
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,

echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world,
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge,
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise,
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment,

din from which every emotion henceforth emerges,
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides:
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,