Friday, May 30, 2014

Strange Days

Strange days. I have been purely a writer, as I was in days long ago when I was churning out my poems. I do not feel isolated, but rather like a man on a carousel, who knows the world will be there to greet him when he gets off. But some part of that is an illusion. The joy I feel now is the same joy that has flickered and gone out in the past. It feels ungrateful to mention it while it is still fully aflame. Probably I am isolated, and the time is so peopled with spirits of the imagination that it does not feel that way at all. I do not know what I was meant to do. I do not know if I have done it. On nights like this, it feels like I have.  Distant thunder.

May 30, 2014

The wicked stewartia is going to bloom while I am gone. It sports fifty buds and one full blown flower. Either it’s taunting me with the bounty I’ll miss, or it exerted itself to give me at least that one little sample before I depart. Transplanted a mallow, which has been dear to my heart since I found the Circus Maximus covered with it.

A came last night. Woke once in the night to think he was a cat, but he was better than a cat.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014

Perfect summer day, warm, hazy, difficult to move in, only a little less than perfect with regards to my level of achievement.

Have not touched alcohol in the last four days, wondering if the use had become more habitual than delightful, and I notice that the pleasant wind-down at the end of an evening is achieved just as well by tea or lemonade, and unless I make an issue out of it in my own thoughts, I don’t notice what I’m drinking, so long as I’m hydrating for the long night of dreams. I also notice that alcohol makes for stronger edges to sleep, abruptly falling into a nap, abruptly waking. I fall asleep just as easy tee-totaling, but the waking is a longer process, and the midday snoozes a little longer themselves. Perhaps I’d thought to make myself more interesting by struggling against overdoing the alcohol, but, alas, there is no struggle. I’ll save it for evenings getting acquainted in Vienna.

The thesis of my Yeats/Wilde play is turning out to be the question of what is martyrdom and what self-delight.

Watering my badly transplanted rose four times a day, willing it to survive.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014

Nearly all the fringey little hands of the Venus fly-traps are closed over food, and all that food seems to be daddy long-legs with their hairs of legs sticking out, sometimes still struggling. It’s very macabre, there on the front steps. Writing hard on Tavistock Square.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014

Bountiful Memorial Day, in which I did set aside time to contemplate the heroic dead. In addition, wrote hugely. Worked on the revision of Wyona. Began a play at the neighborhood cafĂ©, and worked productively at it until the crappy loud music came on. They must have forgotten for a while the imperative of distraction. The play is, at this point, a conversation between Yeats and Oscar Wilde, it having occurred to me the most people, including myself, would rather go to a play about something they have heard of or know a little about. We observe that Shakespeare wasn’t one for original ideas, and the reason was not that he couldn’t think of any, but that he knew what sells. Playwrights sometimes have the notion of an absolute theater parallel to absolute music, in which there is no reference to anything but the inner world of the work itself. We should not be too proud to think of theater at least in part as an interpretation of history.

Because we were told it was going to rain (it did not), I put down the pen for a while and transplanted some more things from 62, including a native swamp hibiscus, a red rose with a golden center, green dragons. I have not checked this morning to see who made it, but my guess is that only the rose is having trouble. When I drained the water gardens I set aside a big pot of waterlilies, thinking it was spent, but I found it full of rainwater and all the plants growing, so I brought it over and dropped it into Lawrence’s pond.  I was happy all the day until the evening, when I began thinking, for no particular reason, that a sinkhole was about to open under my property. Must have been something on TV.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Facebook post from former student and long time friend K, saying that he has lost his soul and the best times of his life were in my class. I respond with the offer to meet, wherever he is, but how to know of that’s the right thing? Maybe memory is better than comfort. He had two beautiful wives (sequentially) when I knew him, was a goodlooking and talented man. I admired his calm and kindness. Maybe the rest of the story will come. I sometimes wake in the morning and contemplate momentarily the reasons I have to be content with what I’ve done and who I’ve been, a theme quickly overborne by the rush of reasons not to be content. Contentment– beyond a moment–seems almost to be orphaning the unachieved.

Sunday entirely given over to sleep, church, writing, which I remember because I see it on the screen before me.

Turbulence where Jonathan is in Thailand.

Receiving communication from the Foundation about plays and productions we might support. Producers somewhere want to do Moises Kaufman’s Gross Indecency, which ran with my Lincoln and was judged by everyone who saw them both to be inferior–it is in fact not much of a play at all, but a transcription-- and it’s the one for which funds are being requested. There was not one aspect in which my play was not better, nor was I as Kaufman was skittering around with his nose in the air like a lordling. They’re not going to get the funds, which is some comfort. Envy is a sin, I know. In fairness, when I saw Gross Indecency in Dublin I think I liked it. Maybe the second time was too much, even though all the boys had their shirts off.

Cardinals in the tall pines.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25, 2014

Eventful Saturday. Much writing in the morning on different projects. I was on my way to the studio but decided to stop at the Tobacco Barn, where I bought the four chairs I was looking for– and found at Village Antiques for $2500.– for $235. Also bought three beautiful old mirrors with thick pained frames. Fat-ass tourists from New York had taken the loading zone parking (without, of course, loading) so the lady at the sales desk told me to park in the little space clearly marked “No Parking” right across from the door. I did so. No sooner was I there than an Asheville cop cruised by and shouted through his window at me.

Cop: You can’t park there. You can’t be there. How long are you going to be there?
Me: OK, I’m going. I’ll just load up and then–
Cop: Didn’t I tell you to move it now?
Me: The lady told me expressly to park here. The loading spaces are full–
Cop: We get complaints all the time. You can’t park there–
Me: I’m completely off the street–
Cop: You can’t be there. People are all the time complaining–
Me: OK. Give me five minutes–
Cop: no–
Me: –and I’ll be out of he way–
Cop: you gotta move right now--

Cop kept yelling at me and I kept saying “uh huh, uh huh, yes sir,” making trips back and forth between my cart and the truck until I was all loaded up. The cop’s last words were, “You’d better be gone when I went back.” I thought I might sit there for a while so I was NOT gone when he got back, but the sun was hot, and I drove off. It would be nice to have an encounter with the police that did not end in, at the least, eye-rolling.

Bad smell from the basement. I went down to find a dead mouse (not the source of all that) and then realized that either the cats have been using the cedar chips Stewart spread as a second toilet, or the mess from his dogs is just coming to ripeness. I thought it might be something worse.

Built Lawrence a fence on his south for shade.

Shoulder a little better this morning. You can feel the tendon (or whatever it is. Sinew?) Unsticking from the place where’s it’s hung up and moving across the bone back into place.

Thinking about a presentation a girl (she wants to be a boy, so I don’t really know how to introduce this) did in my Tolkien class. She decided to present on the Botany of Middle Earth, saying that it was appropriate because she was an environmental science major. In the presentation she identified the great crabapple tree on the quad as a cherry, and introduced a potted fig as a red maple tree. I decided to say nothing at the time, but it has boiled up since from time to time. What to say to a student who undermines her right to general truths by being wrong in specifics? Students in general hate to be held responsible for facts. “Isn’t it OK just to get the general drift of things? Why do I have to memorize everything?” The answers are: NO, and You Don’t Have to Memorize; you just have to remember. Actors memorize. It is not too much to ask the rest of us to remember.

Tumult of birds at the break of day.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24, 2014

Buttery morning. A terrific thunderstorm yesterday brought down trees and cleared the air to glass. Russell, Maria, Allyson and Sean Patrick comprised my first dinner party at the new digs. Ragout of lamb, cucumber salad, sherbet. Sean toddled around on my lawn on his stubby legs pointing at things and saying “wow!” He studied the evening heavens for a long time. Maybe he saw seeing angels.  I would think my backyard would be perfect for him, big, flat, fenced.

Sean reminded me that I have lost everything, fighting so hard for the Big Obsessions, which, too, are lost. I know someone would council me to put longing aside and be happy with what I have– which is, after all, considerable. But one dedicates oneself to an ideal early on, and to shrug it aside, whatever the provocation, would be to orphan every single feature of what made one who one is. What faithless soul would do such a thing? As I keep reminding God, one way to quell righteous desire it to allow it to be fulfilled.

May 23, 2014

Rumbling thunder in the distance. Excellent workout at the Y. Have just begun sending out The Lexington Tract and already I’m quarreling with one prospective agent about her punctiliousness regarding format. It is my fault for not being able to locate the right format, hers for thinking my resignation was “attitude.” The excellence of any agency is inversely related to the fussiness of its submission requirements. Hours later, did find the format she wanted, but then a new email saying that I should get a glass of wine and practice patience because there were LOTS of formatting issues we need to dealt with, and this before she commits to the project.  "If I accept your project you can expect this to happen on every LINE." My version of patience was NOT to write the email saying “Not in a hundred million years.” Been down that road before. Been down every road but “yes.”

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22, 2014

Alarmed by the water level in Lawrence’s water garden– it had sprung a leak. Of course, no one in the region had an exact replacement for the round black pool, so I bought a horse trough from Tractor Supply. I was afraid it would get hot, but the guy at Reems Creek said, “Why would reflective bright metal get hotter than absorptive black plastic? Googled it, and found dozens of pictures of water gardens and fish and turtles in galvanized metal, so we’re all right for the moment.

I had not expected to spend my morning n that way. I have a full-blown idea of the revision of The Falls of the Wyona, but the completeness of the idea reduces the urgency of actually doing it. I feel as one in Limbo, a chunk of stuff whirling around in a tornado, not sure where it is going to land, or in what shape.

Homeless men colonized the hidden end of the Sav-Mor parking lot. I can see them from my yard, as perhaps no one else can. They lie about in sleeping bags until late in the morning. I envy this a little. Yesterday morning they were shouting at each other, and the world, in a way that sounded aggressive, but was probably just drunk. There seems to be one big gray-bearded man, and a slighter dark one. They smashed a toilet and spread the fragments at the entrance to their little cover of macadam, maybe to halt visitors.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014

Cantaria sang for the old folks at Lake Junaluska last night. Magnificent vistas all around, and I think we did well enough, and were appreciated out of all bounds. Had sublime lemon cake for dessert–like eating lemon cloud.

The end of the night was dominated by dreams that A had died. It was those half-conscious dreams where you are able to question your waking life about the veracity of the dream, and I was baffled because the dreams were so precise, but yet I couldn’t verify them from the last memories I had of consciousness the night before. When I woke, I checked the Internet first thing. A is well.

The first listing under her name was her Rate-My-Professor page, so I went to that and read it, then read B’s (he is widely hated for the very reasons that I dislike him, though by far worse measure than any attitude I have). Then I did something I swore I would never do: I read my own Rate-My-Professor listing. Far less devastating than I feared–in fact, not devastating at all, not that everything was positive, but that the remarks were clearly so much more diagnostic of the student than of me that it was difficult to take either too much offense or too much credit. Some love me, some hate me, and it is usually according to their dedication to the class. I probably hated my haters right back, though the number of students I’ve actually hated in thirty years is, I think, three. Polar opposite perspectives from the same class: I’m cordial and helpful; I’m distant and unhelpful. I’m an easy grader; my grading is hard, arbitrary, unfair. Enough think I’m brilliant to satisfy me. One student thought my happy demeanor and interesting classes were a cover for some sinister malevolence she couldn’t quite identify. Two students remarked that I was lazy, and that is curious to me. Because I don’t use notes? Because I don’t use Powerpoint? You search for the deed or attitude which might have set a comment off. I will address a student concern–even if idiotic–if I can. One student said I was always late, which is materially untrue. Common attribution of motivations or convictions which have never crossed my mind. Several accuse me of disorganization, which often is said, but which I never understand, because in my own mind I’m brilliantly–if somewhat organically–organized. So, I shouldn’t have looked, but I did, and it is an incident rather than a bend in the road. I came off rather better than I had imagined, having assumed Rate-My-Professor was more purely a grousing ground for disaffected failures. One comment still lingers in my mind, the observation that I have favorites. I acknowledge this is true (I’m sorry that it shows) but I must say that the favorites always choose me, by participation, sunniness, interest, brilliance, and never the other way around.

A day, finally, with NOTHING pre-planned to do. The birds sing. The sky is pale cream yellow.

May 20, 2014

Meeting with K to catch me up in the Humanities workshop I missed by flat-out forgetting about it. I seldom flat-out forget about anything, and so acknowledge the degree to which my absence was protest and protection. During the discussion, I had a flash of hopefulness. One might say I “got” the revisions, or one might say I recognized a way to make them work in spite of my initial opposition. I think it’s all banners and fanfare and no castle, but, as in all things, one waits to see.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 19, 2014

Went to the Y, where the endorphin released by my weight set almost put me to sleep. Even Starbucks has not quite awakened me.

Planting of ferns and hellebore.

Maria diagnosed my racking cough as reaction to blood pressure medicine. The things that have REALLY bothered me have never been diagnosed, or helped much, by professional doctors. Always someone remarking, “I had that, that’s–“ Diet and exercise, it seems to me, address about 70% of my ills.

Cantaria is 17 years old, and I’ve been with t from the first. A little shocking. We are better than we were. Weak praise, but praise.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 18, 2014

Rain usually fills up the back of my pickup, and I have to drive around to empty it out. After the last deluge, the bed was dry, but the driver’s door had filled with water. You could hear the wave move when you moved the door. How that happened, never happening before, is a mystery to me. It drained eventually through the little side vents, but it could not possibly have gotten in that way unless the truck had been submerged.

All my transplants survived the night, stiff with moisture, eager to conquer their new world.

Grieg on Pandora.

Beethoven on Pandora

Shoulder ache different every day.

Luck, as ever, in the small things.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17, 2014

Godzilla yesterday afternoon. Unexpectedly and almost successfully mythological.

I realized that what was going to allow me to be happy today was gardening, so I did that. I planted a white rose and a pink rose. I set a great-fronded water plant into the water garden, and made tiny water gardens for two Venus fly traps I picked up at Reems Creek. I went to 62 and dug up lupine and peony and brought them over to live with me, now, forever. Made huge inroads on the weeds at 62. My great dusty pink heritage rose, which grew to consume the whole southeast corner of the yard, appears to be dead, as do my prickly pears. It was a rough winter.

Some degree of sick-to-my-stomach whenever I eat, whatever I eat. Not very dire, but I notice.

The electricity went out just as I was ordering food from the Chinese takeout. Food could not be cooked no refund made. She wrote my credit card number on a menu. I don’t really anticipate the refund.

Pastel sky, robin’s egg and fawn and white and pale gray.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

Thursday another day of heroic sleep. Don’t know why, exactly. The rigors of the semester finally allowing themselves to relax? Shoulder much better today, allaying the fear that it was something eternal and changeless. Laundry day exposes the fact that I have exactly one set of linen for each bed, now, after the move. Perhaps that’s enough, but it does eliminate the element of novelty.

Gleaned my DVDs, realizing that I might not play any of them again. Took the outtakes to a table at school for anyone to have.

Invited to the Cantaria board meeting last night to help crush a troublemaker. The troublemaker said nothing in response, so either it worked or he didn’t get he was the reason for it all.

Long and very coherent dream while the moonlight streamed in from the southeast. I had been called upon to help found an Order of Chivalry. I suppose I was a student, as there were low, long white buildings half way up the sides of green hills, which may have been a school. There was a very particular kind of art contest, in which the support was meant to be glass. I entered my painting on glass into the contest, and won. Turned out what was to happen was that a chosen hero was to burst from a dark tunnel through the glass and into the sunlight, and that would be symbolic of– something wonderful. It was unexplained in the dream, as it would be in life. In the event, I was chosen to crash through my own window– sacrificing my own imagination and labor. I did this (I feared that I would not be able to do it) and then my mentor (whom I did not recognize from the real world) explained to me his plans for the Order, based on holiness. Compassion, and art  He and I began gathering like minds. We acquired land for a sacred structure, and drew up plans for it (which are still vivid in my mind) but then wondered if we should make sacred spaces out of the sites that had already been important to us– the site where we had our first conversation, the site where I had burst through the painting of glass. That discussion was going on when I awoke. If I were Abram, I would be about to have a busy day.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014

Though I’d planned something else, yesterday became a day of heroic gardening. The most of it was to dig a new garden to accommodate the plants I want yet to bring from 62. I removed the tough turf altogether and replaced it with topsoil. One lingering result is the destruction of my right shoulder. There’s no moment when it doesn’t ache, no position in which it is comfortable, no motion that doesn’t jerk and stall with tangled fibers. I still put this down to “injury,” though the possibility that it is a permanent state of age has occurred to me. Sending out Lexington Tract with the most amazing dryness. Great rain upon all the corners and surfaces. Pink waterlilies bloom in Lawrence's pond.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014

Slower recovery than I expected. Groggy Tuesday, though I did get some marketing done. I could see from the street that my garden at 62 was ablaze. I went over to take some photos, and was seized with the most immediate and piercing grief. My lovely garden was both beautiful and neglected. Iris. . . peony. . . foxglove trying to shoulder up between the weeds. . .  Eyes filled with tears I ran across the street, got my tools, and did some serious gardening. It was too much too soon–I didn’t feel well afterwards– nor is the job finished– but the activity sheered the edge off really unexpected emotion.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014

Monday spent overwhelmingly in fever naps. My capacity for sleep amazes even me, for after sleeping all day, I slept all night, and arise a little–sleepy. I think this round with the Nuisance is won. No matter how ill I get, I must do for myself. Yes, that frightens me a little. Did get the car washed, which means the remnants of the last house–mostly sweet gum balls crushed on the floorboards and pine needles jammed in the door jams– are gone. No mirth at finishing Lexington Tract. History has ironed all enthusiasm out of that. Mowers came and mowed over lots of what we talked about not mowing over. Ready for some good adventure.

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

Indisposition wound its gradual way into me. Yesterday at church I was very uncomfortable, and outright had to leave during the Communion music. The proximate cause was the great fistful of doughy bread I was given at Communion, but it had been a long time coming already, and I made it to the rest room in time to vomit energetically. I wondered if I could be heard out front. I am a vocal vomiter. Got home and slept the sleep of exhaustion, not totally restored by Cantaria rehearsal, and in bed again before 10. Woke with what is clearly, now, phlebitis. I believe I caught it in time, but however rapid the recovery, this will be a day given over to lounging, hot soaking, sleeping, which is not what I had prepared for.

Finished the writing of the book on the morning of May 11. Will finish the first go-over revision today. I need a new title: Lexington Tract, Emerald Moonlight Prussian Blue lead the candidates right now. Publish This Fast, Motherfucker is my secret favorite.

Phone calls from everybody wanting me to give them money. I look at Caller ID and don’t answer, for the most part. If I were going to return good to the place which did me the most good, ever bountifully and surprisingly generous, it would be Syracuse, though I tell myself they have the big spending basketball fans and don’t need my bachelor's mite.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 11, 2014

Cardinal calling in the last dark. The morning already a clutch of little annoyances. Taking a deep breath, sipping cold mint tea, starting again.

Excellent, excellent mornings at the studio. It’s hard to talk about painting. I like it because it’s so unlike writing, which is easy to talk about. Folks came to my studio and called my work Dali-esque. I smiled. I didn’t remark on how ignorant that was. Tried to bring a big painting home, but the support had become the home of large scary spiders. I wanted the spiders to vacate, and I shook the frame and wiped it with a broom. I’d forgotten how delicate spiders are, even big scary ones.

Sang at Millie Morrow’s ordination. About half the throng were lesbians and their wives. That makes a difference in what is said and done, and how the usual things are done. Superb sermon about vocation. Reminded me of the fairly long time in my youth when I assumed I was going to be a preacher. I would have been a good one if preaching were the whole of it. Or if there had been a Call.

The garden I made at the studio blooms stunningly.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10, 2014

The transformer in front of 62 exploded last night. The cats and I heard it. I looked through the house for an intruder. When the trucks came, after midnight,  I wandered out to chat with the workers jacked up on the – jack, I guess– that lifts them up to the wires. I was sorry I interrupted them. They seemed happy, talking between themselves in the misty sweet night. I wanted to say something helpful or encouraging but nothing occurred.

Dan sent me a message of himself singing and playing music. Too small to see, but that’s what I guess.

Will likely finish the rewrite of Night, Sleep before the day is over.

Saw a huge shovel-headed skink at Phil Mechanic. Wanted to bring him home, but thought perhaps he would be happier where he was. I have to take thought for a mower now. Magnificent specimen.

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014

Days settling into the summer routine I find delicious. Much painting, much writing, afternoon punctuated by cocktails and a brief sleep, opening on an evening which is almost another day. My gardening is almost done for the summer, except for weeding and maintenance, and except for 62, which is a jungle. The Japanese ariseama looks to be taking over everything, which is fine, it being attractive and maintenance free. Two such volunteers came over with the peonies. I took them out of the peonies and gave them their own spaces to imperialize. I live in the stories I am writing and painting, and have not that much to say.  DJ and I saw the latest Spiderman, which I liked the best of the lot.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8, 2014

Dinner and chat with DG– a bachelor event while his wife is in New Orleans. He showed me his eclectic art collection. We ate at the Deerfield dining hall, which is lovely but which I find a little horrifying for all that it implies. Deerfield in the whole is calm and lovely, but also a little horrifying. It’s good to learn new things about new people.

Todd Williams ousted Ron Moore from the DA’s seat, a surprise to me, as I assumed Moore had some kind of ownership. I know people who admire Moore as a gentleman, but such a gentleman worked the law to destroy lives apparently for the mere joy of it. Being rid of him is not quite enough. I don’t give money to too many political campaigns, but Williams’ was one.

Woke late. The sky was already yellow.
May 7, 2014

Glad waking into a cool indigo night-before-morning.

Reading Crazy Horse magazine because of its beautiful cover. The poetry is awful; the fiction is excellent.

Almost too content for the moment to have anything to say.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014

The four-trunked chokecherry at my bedroom window is in bloom. The hollies are in bloom, white foam at the base of the leaves.

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014

Handel arias on Spotify.

Afternoon, my fan fixed at my head, a configuration with which will become familiar in this attic study through the approaching summer, and those after, God willing.  But it’s nice to be warm, whatever the proportions. Marco visited for a few minutes, and brought me a cactus in a planter like the nosecone of a rocket. A stinkbug appeared on the wall as we talked, and he marched it outside to prevent the fate I had prepared for it, a ride through the plumbing. Sunday was overful, and I made subtractions from the schedule. Pizza with my Tolkieners tonight ends my official duties for the semester. The purchase of the pizza was a surprisingly elaborate operation.

I had a long contemplation on Easter written out, but God chose to obliterate it with a quick power failure: my sign to go back and consider again.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4, 2014

The bitter anniversary.

Slept till it was light (pale, opaline) after a fantastic day. I went to the Toyota place to have my electronic key renewed (turns out I could have done it myself) and of necessity passed Jesse Israel’s on the way. Bought and planted a wisteria tree (the one I got for four times the price mailed to me being still a dead stick) and various rock garden and shade garden plants. Gave those to the ground, then went for a wonderful session at the studio. I was happy. A wonderful session at the studio is one of which one has very little memory afterwards, all systems running on automatic. Came home, drank wine in the sun of my backyard, sobered up and then went to the rug sale at Togar’s. I’m going to have to add another room before I buy any more Oriental carpets.

In the evening I did my reading for Wordfest. It was a triumph, I think, on every side. Saw people such as Jackie Shelton-Green whom I had not seen in, maybe, decades. Ethan came up from Charleston, not for me, exactly, but including me in his travel plans. He looks like a man now. The last time I saw him he looked like a boy. The work on all sides of me was excellent, and my work was excellent (I knew this as it came from my tongue) and for a while all ambitions and yearnings in that area were assuaged.

One thing I bought from Ebay came broken; another, a leather jacket, blasted me with complicated odors as I opened the box. It had belonged to a smoker, and the bass notes were cigarettes. Over this and to mask this he or she had applied perfume. The jacket spent the night on my porch airing out.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3, 2014

Realization that a number of women in the Wednesday class cheated on the exam. Someone kept a prompt from Tuesday and distributed it. It was folly to use the same prompt for both days, I suppose, but folly based on trust. It is wearisome. It was related in my mind to Russia’s fantastic mendacity concerning Crimea, to invade and blame the victim for aggression, to invent out of thin air and defy correction rather than face the reality of the deed. I thought it was just the Republicans, but the whole world is like that. Evidence is mocked at as a kind of absurdity. Truth is what you say with pure-hearted self-justification. Among the things I worried about for the End of Days, this never appeared until it was fully abroad in the world.

Nevertheless, one’s own life churns along. Excellent hours at the studio yesterday. The garden there looks well. I made it relatively labor-free as I never did at 62. I finished paintings I’m going to give to the new babies in the department.

I sat in my backyard in the sun. I think the edge of the soccer fields at Hiram with Heather was the last time I sat in the sun without the ocean nearby. It was blissful. Only the thought of sunburn and cancer made me move at all. The only place from which I am visible naked in my yard--should I be-- is from my old house. Maybe I'll keep it for the sake of modesty.

In the evening I went to Wordfest in the Lenoir-Rhymes rooms at the Chamber of Commerce. Excellent refreshments. Excellent gospel/blues singer. Excellent poet named Irania who did her song-like works in English and Spanish. Laura is a vibrant if overabundant introducer. The problem with striving for inclusiveness is that some of the things included are going to be bad. I am perpetually amazed at the capacity of my people for hearing the same old thing in the same old way. I read tonight. I was the only one who reads tonight who listened to the ones who read last night.

I have too many plans for today to achieve them all. That is well. It assures joyful receipt of the following day. Many, many birds singing in the tree tops. The trees between me and the supermarket are thronged with frogs

Friday, May 2, 2014


It is clear that some of my students cheated on my Humanities exam. I gave the same one to both classes, and someone took the exam Wednesday and gave it to friends who had the exam Thursday. It was a hard exam, and when 100's and 95's began to show up on the 2nd day only, my suspicions were aroused. It makes me sad, like finding your own child is a liar or a thief.  Nothing to be done, at least be me, now.

May 2, 2014

Furnace woke me into the surprising chill of the morning. Vertigo at first waking, holding onto the walls as I moved. The house is still a little strange, the perspectives into the yard by night yet a little unsettling. Went to bed very early last night, and there were deep thicknesses of dreams. In one I bought a sapphire for Aunt Marian. DJ and I saw Captain America: the Winter Soldier. Liked it , and thought its message– that some dark individuals and institutions use chaos, secrecy, misinformation in order to frighten us into compliance with their wills– one worth hearing. Tried the King James pub afterwards, liking that very much indeed. Blake was there, looking spectacular, surrounded by women, one of whom he left with. The cleaning lady and the yard boys all came yesterday; I feel very much looked after. The back yard at 62 is the forest floor thronged with fern and wood hyacinth and violet that I strove for all those years. I doubt I will ever recreate it here. Ireland in the spring. It’s hard to look at.

Students frantic at their exam yesterday, wanting comfort without responsibility. Among the things for which I have no patience. They resent having to remember things.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

May Day. Pointlessly ebullient. Catbirds come to my birdbaths.