[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"There Have Come Soft Rains"
John Philip Johnson

In kindergarten during the Cold War,
mid-day late bells jolted us,
sending us single file into the hallway,
where we sat, pressing our heads
between our knees, waiting.

During one of the bomb drills,
Annette was standing.
My mother said I would talk on and on
about her, about how pretty she was.
I still remember her that day,
curly hair and pretty dress,
looking perturbed the way
little children do.
Why, Annette? There’s nothing
to be upset about—
The bombs won’t get us,
I’ve seen what’s to come—
it is the days, the steady
pounding of days, like gentle rain,
that will be our undoing.
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"What Is Faith, After All?"
Carol V. Davis

At ten, newly returned from living in England,
I sat in a rabbi’s study reading about a vicar’s daughter.
When he asked about the novel in my lap, I stammered,
mortified at being caught reading about another religion.
As if faith were so fragile I’d make the switch just like that.
A traitor revealed.

Thirty years later, leaving Russia, my elderly friend
made the sign of the cross over me, as I backed down
the dark staircase, tearful we’d never see each other again.
My religion irrelevant; her protection what mattered.
But didn’t my grandfather trek across Russia’s broad back

to flee Cossack sabers blessed by this sign and Orthodox priests
sprinkling holy water on soldiers itching for pogroms?

That same trip, a friend in Novgorod gave me an icon
for safe travels back to America. I tucked it in my suitcase,
unsure if it would protect or doom me.

This act of betrayal could pull down the belly of the plane.

Now on the computer a writer talks about his new-found faith.
My husband walks in; my cheeks burn with betrayal, the red
snaking down my neck, my body, as if by listening I am signing
on and that man in sandals and dusty robes will enter and snatch me forever.

2183: Not Yet | Jane Hirshfield

Mar. 31st, 2015 09:48 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"Not Yet"
Jane Hirshfield

Morning of buttered toast;
of coffee, sweetened, with milk.

Out the window,
snow-spruces step from their cobwebs.
Flurry of chickadees, feeding then gone.
A single cardinal stipples an empty branch—
one maple leaf lifted back.

I turn my blessings like photographs into the light;
over my shoulder the god of Not-Yet looks on:

Not-yet-dead, not-yet-lost, not-yet-taken.
Not-yet-shattered, not-yet-sectioned,
not-yet-strewn.


Ample litany, sparing nothing I hate or love,
not-yet-silenced, not-yet-fractured; not-yet-

Not-yet-not.

I move my ear a little closer to that humming figure,
I ask him only to stay.
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
Warning: This poem discusses suicide.

"For the Female Suicides"
Kim Bridgford

You thought it would be different from then on.
The others, every day, would think of you.
Yet loved ones felt betrayed, and they went on.

They didn’t weigh the heft of each flat stone,
Or feel the murky brilliance of the blue.
You thought it would be different from then on;

You thought they’d understand your deep impression.
You thought they needed proof to make it true.
Yet loved ones felt betrayed, and they went on.

What happened in the oven of depression
Was that you eked away: Assia too.
You thought it would be different from then on,

And so it was, as well, for your friend Anne:
Your taxi-driver, death, charged up your ego.
Yet loved ones felt betrayed, and they went on.

When you leave people, there is a realization:
They’re less important than your need to go.
You thought it would be different from then on.
Yet loved ones felt betrayed, and they went on.

2181: Desire | Michael Blumenthal

Mar. 31st, 2015 09:24 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"Desire"
Michael Blumenthal

Paris, May 2005

Let's just say I seem to be enjoying these three chicken drumsticks
far more than the young man doing sit-ups just across the lawn

beside his girlfriend here at the Jardin de Reuilly is enjoying himself:
after all, he's huffing and puffing, and I'm sitting here, devouring

my chicken, basking in the spring sun, but now he's rolling over,
it's push-ups he's doing, push-ups right on top of his girlfriend,

and the push-ups are getting slower and slower, just as my chicken
is disappearing, and, before long, the push-ups stop altogether, he's

merely lying there on top of her, and he seems, even from a distance,
much happier than when he was doing push-ups, then he suddenly

sits up, looks up at the heavens, and stares (with an expression
of pure longing) over at me. Oh, he seems to be saying,

I sure wish I had some chicken

2180: Dip | Holly Welker

Mar. 31st, 2015 09:20 pm
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
“Dip”
Holly Welker

Once I had a lover who annoyed me by
not liking me as much as I liked him, though
I admit I didn’t like him as much as I
liked certain other guys. He was tall and
aloof and laughed too hard at his own jokes,
which were never that funny anyway. He
was also the best dipper I’ve ever known,
sure of the strength of his own body and
appropriately daring with mine. You know
how at the end of a dance sometimes the guy
will spin the woman into his arms, then drop
her backwards as a final flourish, leaving her
suspended in mid-air till the music stops?
I love dancing but I also love that bedizened
sashay of closure at least as much as every
graceful movement that precedes it; I love
giving my hands to my partner of the moment,
kicking up one leg and surrendering to gravity,
falling quickly toward the earth because I’ve entrusted
my weight to someone I don’t quite trust,
someone who could drop me on my head
but never does. Once at an after-hours party at
the Dipping Guy’s house this other guy brought
a baseball glove he’d had since he was seven
and loved more than anything in the world.
Of course he lost it. Dipping Guy felt
responsible and made us all look for the glove,
offering an unspecified but highly desirable
reward, so someone traipsed to the guy’s car
and someone else checked behind the sofa.
No one found the glove. We all felt bad,
or would have, if we’d known or liked this guy
dumb enough to haul his beloved glove
along for a night of heavy drinking. When the beer
ran out and the night was nearly gone too,
Dipping Guy sent his guests home but wanting
to be a gentleman he walked onto the lawn to
bid us farewell and what should I find revealed
by the humid half light of a hungover
midsummer’s dawn but the poor guy’s
glove lying where any fool could see or trip
over it, right on the path to the house. “Look
what I found,” I said, and held up the glove
like it could actually catch something. I
gave it to the guy, who said, gratefully, wisely,
that he’d leave it home next time. “Can I have
a dip as my reward?” I asked Dipping Guy.
He stared at me a moment, then charged
toward me with fierce resolve. “I’ll dip you
to the seventh circle of hell,” he said, which
sounded threatening, not fun, but then it
was happening: my hands were grasped and
my left knee bent while my right knee straightened
and kicked up, up and my hips dropped to just
above the earth while my hair and my skirt trailed on
the sidewalk and I watched the sky above me blanch
with the inevitable light of morning. And then
he pulled gently on my hands and up I sprang,
my face flushed with blood and gravity,
the rest of me singing and ready to go home.
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"There Is Absolutely Nothing Lonelier"
Matthew Rohrer

There is absolutely nothing lonelier
than the little Mars rover
never shutting down, digging up
rocks, so far away from Bond street
in a light rain. I wonder
if he makes little beeps? If so
he is lonelier still. He fires a laser
into the dust. He coughs. A shiny
thing in the sand turns out to be his.
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"After Spending the Morning Baking Bread"
Jack Ridl

Our cat lies across the stove's front burners,
right leg hanging over the oven door. He
is looking into the pantry where his bowl
sits full on the counter. His smaller dish,
the one for his splash of cream, sits empty.
Say yes to wanting to be this cat. Say
yes to wanting to lie across the leftover
warmth, letting it rise into your soft belly,
spreading into every twitch of whisker, twist
of fur and cell, through the Mobius strip
of your bloodstream. You won't know
you will die. You won't know the mice
do not exist for you. If a lap is empty and
warm, you will land on it, feel an unsteady
hand along your back, fingers scratching
behind your ear. You will purr.
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
"What is the Grass?"
Lee Ann Brown

The child asks, bringing it to me in handfuls.
We stop at the Walt Whitman Service Area—
No sign of Him save some “Democratic Vistas”
& “Drum Taps” on a plaque near the Micky D’s

Let’s go find the grass
I say to my two-year-old beauty and
We pick one blade from the median
Then back we go in the forever car

Hours later, pulling into Richmond
She, half awake in my arms mumbles

Let’s go find the grass
[syndicated profile] exceptindreams_feed
“Valediction, on Arriving in a Distant Land”
Eric Paul Shaffer

I am not one to travel with no destination. No city or continent
charms me with the vague glee of flight. Nor would I go alone,
for every day, we wake warmth to warmth, your breath in my ear,

my hand on your thigh. Yesterday, the planet bowed before us,
and cool distance clarified a curve measurable in miles, in feet
pacing dutifully through the world. I’ve crossed deserts and seas,

rivers and peaks from which the waters flow, the sun westering
and a moon pierced by sky while morning melts into noon. All
space intensifies, blue, absolute, definite and dismal, magnified

by our finite human measures when we mark our roads with signs
and lines and lights that regulate. Even now, with old mountains
at my back and a thin river lost in a valley of dust, I am with you.

The rays from stars cascade through darkness limitless and lit
too little. Light is slow beside the speed with which my thoughts
turn to you. And no world is large enough to come between us.

...

Mar. 31st, 2015 10:10 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett
So like I am super fond of Strong Female Protagonist, a webcomic about a retired 20ish superhero and her ADVENTURES in LIFE. Today's strip has the alt text Go back even farther, teach trilobites how to dance!

...

which

is just the most perfect thing ever

BECAUSE

Starlings on the fat ball feeder

Mar. 31st, 2015 08:56 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature

[Click to embiggen.]

These are the first starlings we've seen in our garden this year and I was lucky enough to catch them on the fat ball feeder on a sunny (if very windy) morning.

daily gratitudes

Mar. 31st, 2015 10:14 am
watersword: Black and white image of Clint Barton shooting a crossbow as he falls off a building. (Avengers: Clint)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. twelve hours of sleep starting at nine-fifteen oh my god I feel human again
  2. having the self-confidence to call the office coffee vendor rep on how environmentally unsound his product is (not the coffee part, the packaging)
  3. paycheck day meaning I get to gloat over my financial planning skillz and the pretty pretty graph of my 403b
  4. lunch with my favorite person at work
  5. delicious tea in my mug

Other media

Mar. 31st, 2015 03:46 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Book: Secret Water

One of the later Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome. I remember enjoying S&A and swallowdale a lot, and having mixed feelings about a lot of the middle ones, but liking this one. I loved the feeling of setting forth to explore in a realistic but constrained sandbox.

Alas, unsurprisingly, the Racism Fairy has left some deposits in it since I last read it. Much about cannibal tribes as seen by explorer-obsessed children of the time :(

Ender's Game

A fairly faithful adaptation of the book. I was surprised how much of the original they managed to keep. The space battles didn't feel appropriately tactical -- more like just a mass of spaceships thrown at each other -- but the bits in the command centre and battle school did feel right.

And how different it is when you're looking from outside and see Ender as a child, rather than looking out through his head and knowing why and how he does the things he does. The times ender physically attacks someone are lot more gruesome when you see a child doing it, I'm a lot more shocked by that now :( :( :(

Arietty

Studio Ghibli did a very good adaptation of The Borrowers! It didn't completely grab me, but it was often beautiful and usually true to the book in spirit even when the details were changed.

It was also a very strange thought to see it in a partly contemporary setting. That we're very close to the point where someone upgrade their mobile and drop the old one with a broken screen behind a filing cabinet where a borrower might be able to inch it into a mousehole... And maybe, maybe not, at the point there's a usb charger small enough they could splice it into the mains under the floor. But if so, that changes the story completely, it's no longer them isolated apart from families in the same house, they could sit under the floor and IM other borrowers on the other side of the world!

If they can find a way of finding each other without tipping humans off :)

Non-cringing humour

Mar. 31st, 2015 03:42 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
My tolerance for embarrassment humour has fallen quite a lot. I'm not especially fond of it even in when it's done very well (eg. Fawlty Towers??) And I was questioning why Home (nee The True Meaning of Smeckday) worked for me when many films don't.

I think it might be that it felt compassionate to both sides. Early on in the film there's characterisation of Oh, who is constantly trying to make friends with the other aliens, who are constantly avoiding him. Which is the sort of thing that's usually just painful to watch, and was the point that came closed to cringe-worthy-ness (and may have exceeded it for some of my cinema companions).

But partly, it wasn't doubling down on how awful it was: it was sad, but it didn't get MORE and MORE humiliating. And partly, I empathised with Oh (who was genuinely trying to be nice to people) and also the people he knew (who were being forced into a social situation they didn't want).

That's just a guess, but I find it hard to explain what I want in humour (lots of it but not excruciating) and I keep introspecting about it...
surpassingly: (art: world of love)
[personal profile] surpassingly posting in [community profile] poetry
Chant for Summer Darkness in Northwest Climes
by Neile Graham


The taste of blue, as in bursting berries,
as in the air's weight on our tongues,
raspberry red as a summer's day turns.

West over water, the light once plum once
salmon turns aqua turns midnight blue
hazed with stars I make you name.

We can't stop talking because we don't
ever want to say goodnight good sleep
farewell goodbye God be wy you. This is

the life of brambles, of hedges, of continental
divides. How to speak of this: the value
of naught, of not, of the naughty knotty

thought of you. I want to read everything
about you, pages about your breath, so
invisible, so risible, the difference between

a green girl and a green man, vines spilling
from both our mouths. This is what I imagine.
You always here as the nights grow

long and cold, talking always talking,
our words like berries, plump, alive,
a falling abundance we can waste we can

taste we embrace. Until it's dawn and past dawn.
Until morning sun tattoos us until the world
is everything ripe and full and is ours.


--

This poem was published in Goblin Fruit, summer 2014 issue.

Dual nationality

Mar. 30th, 2015 08:19 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila

Two dual nationals and their Daddy. The sticker on Humuhumu's shirt is Neptune, from her Usborne "Space" sticker book. (This means that her version of the solar system as recorded in the book has only seven planets.)

+1 )

Last Friday we headed to the embassy in London to register Keiki's birth and apply for his other passport.

When we did this for Humuhumu, the bloke's trousers split as we were navigating the packed morning Tube. He got to swear his oath of truthfulness before the consular officer with his jumper artfully tied about his waist to keep his pants from peeping out playfully from beneath his trousers. We were therefore anticipating some manner of sartorial disaster to befall one of us during the adventure.

It didn't happen during the commute, which was unnecessarily exciting due to the cancellation of our first train. We hustled to get on a train going in the opposite direction so that we could travel instead via fast train. The fast train, by virtue of being fast, was also rammed, so we ended up getting on the next slow train, which stopped at the station we started in, only 15 minutes later. Humuhumu, who loves public transport, entertained morning commuters on the busy platform by gleefully greeting the arrival of every train with, "OH, TRAIIIN!", whilst her parents attempted to disappear into their hats.

Despite the delay we still arrived a comfortable margin before our appointment to go through the security checks and unintentionally play "spot the celebrity". (Last time it was Jay Rayner. This time it was Rita Ora. Her assistant interrupted our initial check-in to determine where to go for a VIP appointment.)

Once we were through into the citizen-only waiting room, Humuhumu gravitated towards the soft play area and promptly befriended a small boy. Or rather, attracted a small boy follower whom she scarcely noticed. (This is a theme at her nursery as well. She has a staunch attendant there who always fetches her coat and bag when we come to pick her up.) He toddled loyally after her, presenting her with blocks that she could integrate into her sculptures, which she then kicked over gleefully.

After paying the fees for the registration and passport, we settled down to wait until we were called before a consular officer. Keiki woke, realised he hadn't been fed for a while, and squawked. I arranged my cover and sat down to feed him. When he was finished, I removed the cover to find that the sartorial disaster had struck. These days I find I don't have much leakage from the opposite breast whilst feeding, and when I do, a breast pad is more than sufficient to soak it up and protect my clothing. But of course, not this time. My entire right side was soaked. There was no way to conceal it without putting my wool coat back on, which I did, even though it was tropical in the waiting room.

In the end, I swore my oath of truthfulness to the consular officer whilst sweating profusely and smelling faintly of stale milk. Classy.

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