National Poetry Month: Saint Francis and the Sow + I Feel Better - Poetry & Music Mash Up #5

I heard Galway Kinnell read this poem when I was in my early twenties. I remember feeling intoxicated, and that if felt like the top of my head had lifted off, in the same way really good champagne makes me feel. I turn to this poem when I'm feeling low or unlovable, and invariably, I feel better.
Saint Francis and the Sow + I Feel Better - Goyte
Saint Francis and the Sow
Galway Kinnel

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

National Poetry Month: Being Vona Groarke's Purism

Obviously, we can't be Vona Groarke today, or any day, unless we want to get all Being John Malekovich, so, let's be her poem.
Vona Groarke
The wind orchestrates
its theme of loneliness
and the rain
has too much glitter in it, yes.

They are like words, the wrong ones,
insisting I listen to sense.
But I too am obstinate.

I have white walls,
white curtained windows.
What need have I
of the night's jet-black,
outlandish ornament?

What I am after
is silence
in proportion
to desire,

the way music plumbs
its surfaces
as straight words do
the air between them.

I begin to learn
the simple thing

burning through
to an impulse at once lovely
and given to love

that will not be refused.

Song of the Day: Saphyrro - VAS

I heard this last night listening to KRCL, the local radio station. 

It matches the mood of the day. I hope it soothes whatever chafes.

May Day Wish List: Vintage & Handmade Gifts

May 1 is May Day, the first  day of summer, and the day the ancients marked as the first day of spring planting. It's a day worthy of much may pole dancing and raucous celebrations.
Daisy Chain Headband bloomdesignstudio

Simply White Cotton Dress ladyta

Sari Silk Wrap Bracelet marymercedes
May Pole Champions 1925 Photo Postcard Kamloops neipcegallery
May Pole  jenniferdavis

This Moment: 2:48 A.M. April 29, 2012

The minutes are passing quickly. I woke from a dream where I slipped between my former twenty-year-old self and my current self. Both selves were aware of the other and spoke of experiences and the memories of events in the same breath. The small dog is curled into a warm bundle next to me on the living room couch. I am embarrassed to admit Mick Jagger was the boyfriend from my dream. In reality he would be of grandparent age for my younger dream self and of parent age to my current self. I wonder what this aging rock star symbolizes in the realm of dreams. A train and its white noise is passes through town. The old dog comes to the threshold of the room, then reconsiders. She retreats back to her pillow. The mingled aromas of coffee, basmati rice and chicken korma linger. The house is silent save for the air pressing through vents. Another train, and I think its steady rumble sounds like reverb echoing against the mountains and passing over the heads slumbering below in the valley. The old dog is snoring in the other room. I hear her startle, then her nails on the hardwood. She enters the living room and positions herself near the couch. My eyes are growing heavy. The thought that the sky is blanketed with stars makes me feel less alone in the darkness.

National Poetry Month: Choke + Heaven Can Wait - Poetry & Music Mash Up #4

guy with head in house and clouds   runamuck

Choke + Heaven Can Wait - Charlotte Gainsbourg

Eileen Myles
Of all the ways of forgetting
not turning the pilot on is not
                             the worst

The house is intact
you are floating
in time
buckets of it streaming through
                  the windows

youth turned it up I think
or on & fell asleep

Remembering to do.
You are too intact
the dappled sunlight on the lawn
or pots of darkness
like salt instead of depths

Still once I turned it up
the popping commenced
like applause for the present
the site of my sway

Larry's new car is wide & safe
a woman's voice conducts
us left & right
she's crazy he laughs
again & again

my shrink said buy it now
about the car

I told him about my phenomenal streak
of winning & when the stakes 
rose I began to bid low & 
not at all
I could have won; you choked
he said.

Woof. To not choke
is I suppose to experience
to hold it in & go forth
though you need the heat

The sun had not done more
suddenly for a while

it's like we took off our skin
and said it is hot.
It's like we sold our skin
& said where did everyone go?

when the weather's too hot for comfort
& we can't have ice-cream cones
it ain't no sin
to take off your skin
& dance around in your bones

Watch and Listen Playlist: April 27-29

When I get stuck in behaviors or thoughts spinning on a hamster wheel, it helps me to think of the situation as a problem on reality show entitled, The Danna Show. Sounds a little strange, but it works to view the issue from the outside.

To be perfectly clear, I do not refer to myself in the third person, as in "we are displeased" as if I were a collective like the Queen of England.

We're all the stars of our own reality show. How about we kick back this weekend and watch the show. Enjoy!

Watch the Show - M. Ward
Everything is Everything - Lauryn Hill
The Bad in Each Other - Feist
More than This - Roxy Music
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
Satisfied - Tom Waits
It All Feels the Same - Tennis
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
Eyeoneye - Andrew Bird
Cannibal Love - White Sea

The Yellow Brick Road Song - Iyeoka
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
Brand New Day - Ryan Star

Hold On - Alabama Shakes
Let it Be - The Beatles

All Alright - Sigur Ros
Let The Good Times Roll - Dr. John

Artist of the Day: Be Here Now - Mary Burrow

Be Here Now Mary Burrow mbstudios
Artist Bio:mb art studios is dedicated to bringing beauty into peoples’ lives. each ceramic piece that I create is one-of-a-kind and hand built in my studio with earthenware or stoneware clay. my work is influenced by my love of simplicity and the beauty and power of the written word. my work is also greatly influenced by modern architecture. my grandfather's parents were from sweden and i seem to gravitate towards modern, scandinavian design. i love patterns, black and white, color, wood, textiles and imperfection.
Being present in the now seems so simple, but it is not.

Reno-based artist Mary Burrows clock is a perfect reminder that the only moment we have for certain is right now.

Song of the Day: Rise to the Sun - Alabama Shakes

It's morning on my side of the globe. It rained hard all night. The sun is up, the sky is partly blue, and the trees and flowers are vibrant.

It's a good day to be alive.

This Moment: 8:43 P.M. April 26, 2012

I am watching the rainstorm from inside my car. Otis Redding is singing about wasting time. The trees that line the drive look like a mob hidden in shadows, slapping the ground violently with their collective arms then raising them upwards in a kind of orchestrated dance of hysteria. Rain on the windshield creates a kaleidoscope of twirling colors. I turn off the car radio when the news hour arrives. I can hear no more of the man sentenced today, his war crimes, the references to another litany of horror from another time, and its criminals. Lightening scissors the sky. The trees are illuminated in the flash. I cannot help but think we are all hidden in the shadows.

Artist of the Day: Seven Train Coming - Gary Phillip Russo

Seven Train Coming  Gary Phillip Russo TaoSorrento
Artist Bio: I am a New York City photographer but I was born and raised across the river, not the East but the Hudson, in Jersey City, and played along railroad tracks as a kid. It was a industrial city in economic despair. It was for the most part not a pretty town. I spent my summers at the Jersey Shore in a house with out hot water or a telephone, it was a small house that my family shared with cousins; at any given time durning the summer months 10 to 20 kids could be found sleeping under its' roof. My childhood was a strange mixture of a grimy city and the beautiful waters of a coastal land. I tried to express these roots in my photography. A mixture of the urban and the rural; pictures of a city that at times is not so pretty, but where deep profound beauty can be felt and sometimes expressed visually, pictures of the patches of nature that exist within and on the fringes of that city, pictures where one can escape to for brief moments.

New York based Gary Phillip Russo's photographs feel like documentary photography. Every photograph on each of the eleven pages from his site tell an intriguing story.

National Poetry Month: Alone + I Found You - Poetry & Music Mash Up #3

trying to fit in sarah ogren

No one can make it in through this life alone.

Alone + I Found You - Alabama Shakes

Maya Angelou
Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

National Poetry Month: Poem in Your Pocket Day

Celebrate national Poem In Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 26, 2012!
The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores.

This is the poem that is in my pocket today:

Some Days
Billy Collins
Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

Song of the Day: Somebody That I Used to Know -Gotye

Somebody That I Used to Know 

I love this video.

It reminds me of friends I am no longer in contact with. This makes me a little sad. Some friendships end for a reason, others because of nonattention.  Life is impermanence. Change is the natural state of being. Friends come and go during a lifetime.

Even so, I think tonight I'll email or call  "somebody" I used to know. Perhaps they still want to know me.

I never believed the saying that you'll have one to three friends that you will stay close to in your life. Now I do.

What about you?

One Sentence: 5:06 P.M. April 25, 2012

Recipe for a delectable evening: Moroccan couscous with apricots, cinnamon green onions, cumin, honey, mint, topped with cucumber over a bed of spinach, followed by torta di noni with olive oil ice cream.

The Day in Cartoons: Arizona goes after planned parenthood - David Fitzsimmons

Arizona goes after planned parenthood David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

Oh, we get it.

You know the saying, "what's good for the goose is good for the gander"?

Think about it.

Interesting reading:

DailyMail: Strict new Arizona abortion laws decree pregnancy begins TWO WEEKS before conception
Phoenix NewTimes: AZ Unite Women to Hold Rally Against War on Women at State Capitol Saturday

Poem Therapy 10:31 A.M. April 25, 2012: The Map Room - Joshua Clover

The Map Room
Joshua Clover
We moved into a house with 6 rooms: the Bedroom,
the Map Room, the Vegas Room, Cities
in the Flood Plains, the West, & the Room Which Contains All
of Mexico.  We honeymooned in the Vegas Room where
lounge acts wasted our precious time.  Then there was the junta's
high command, sick dogs of the Map Room, heel-
prints everywhere, pushing model armies into the unfurnished
West.  At night: stories of their abandoned homes in the Cities
in the Flood Plains, how they had loved each other
mercilessly, in rusting cars, until the drive-in went under.
From the Bedroom we called the decorator & demanded
a figurehead... the one true diva to be had
in All of Mexico: Maria Felix [star of The Devourer, star
of The Lady General].  Nightly in Vegas, "It's Not Unusual"
or the Sex Pistols medley.  Nothing ever comes back
from the West, it's a one-way door, a one-shot deal,--
the one room we never slept in together.  My wife
wants to rename it The Ugly Truth.  I love my wife for her
wonderful, light, creamy, highly reflective skin;
if there's an illumination from the submerged Cities,
that's her.  She suspects me of certain acts involving Maria Felix,
the gambling debts mount...but when she sends the junta off to Bed
we rendezvous in the Map Room & sprawl across the New World
with our heads to the West. I sing her romantic melodies from the Room
Which Contains All of Mexico, tunes which keep arriving
like heaven, in waves of raw data, & though I wrote
none of the songs myself & can't pronounce them, these are my
    greatest hits
A few weeks back I heard a discussion on the radio about identity and personal mythology. Essentially, it comes down to this: we are the stories we tell.

National Poetry Month: View from a Temporary Window + Girl - Poetry & Music Mash Up #2

martha rich

Perception is reality. We see exactly what we want to see.

View from a Temporary Window + Girl - Beck
View from a Temporary Window
Joanie Mackowski

Follow the wrecking ball: in a month, it will smash
into this glass

like that housefly. A blueprint unfolds on a table
beside an orchid doubled-

over with white blooms, and out the window, just half a bridge
dives into the front page

of a newspaper the neighbor lifts from her balcony.
Partial to more, we're beckoned

outward, beyond the foundation: and a new picture
window will jut

over the cliff to frame all the Golden Gate's
red seismograph, which cuts

through the fog to the headlands. In a year, in wingback chairs
we'll sit in the air

high above those tiny people strolling
the crumbling sill

down on Bay Street, out there where the orchid's reflection
hovers with a flock of gulls.

Artist of the Day: Border Collie Brewery - Stephen Fowler

Border Collie Brewery  Stephen Fowler  geministudio
Artist Bio:I am a designer/illustrator. After spending 5 years in Chicago, I have found myself dividing my time between the windy city and my hometown of Perrysburg, Ohio. A graphic designer by trade, my current work explores my fascination with big graphic artwork, vintage/urban design, and advertising posters. Gemini Studio was founded in 1998 and began as a handmade greeting card company, Gemini Studio Art now encompasses a wide variety of media including graphic design, photography and illustration. Check out
I write about my old dog Ellie in my This Moment posts, a lot. She's a border collie, blue healer mix, and I think Fowler's illustration captures her exuberance and her endless optimism.

When my daughter was little, we used to go to the local pound on the weekends. That's where we found Ellie. I was looking for a small shi-shi dog, like a pug, shar pei, shih tzu. My daughter didn't care the size or breed, she just wanted a dog.

The second she saw Ellie and Ellie saw her, that was it. It was love. I wasn't so sure. Her right ear had a bite taken out of it. She jumped all over me, she seemed timid and enthusiastic and needy.  But, she was sweet-tempered. Then, the handler laid a heavy on us: Ellie was going to be put down the next day if she wasn't adopted. I knew it was a lie, but my daughter didn't. Of course we adopted her.
Her days of jumping five feet over fences and running at break neck speed beside my bike, are over. She's still my walking companion, although she needs a pain pill afterwards. She's still enthusiastic, and needy. In her old age, she has developed a temper, especially when the small dog pesters her. But her bark is much worse than her bite.

Song of the Day: Waiting for Something - Nada Surf

Waiting for Something

We're all waiting for something.

Waiting for a promotion, for things to get better, the light to turn green, for that special one to love us, for the weekend, for appreciation, for the sun to shine, for your friend to text you back, for the divorce to finally be final.

I am trying very hard to stop waiting, and learn to be present, to be in the now.

Do you have any idea how hard that is? Of course you do, because you're waiting for whatever you're waiting for.

I'm reading Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times and although I've heard  and read "now is the only moment" so many times, I'm finally getting that the past is over, done, the future is out there, but the only moment I really have is right now.

National Poetry Month: Half Mile Down + You Are the Ocean - Poetry & Music Mash Up - #1

When I drive I like to listen to news and music at the same time, a mash up of my own making. I had the idea today to pair poems and music for the remaining days of poetry month. Enjoy.

Half Mile Down  + You Are The Ocean - Phantogram
Half Mile Down
Michael Ryan
My sick heart and my sick soul
I'd gladly fasten in a bag
and drop into an ocean-hole
to float in darkness as a rag.

Would it learn to make its light?
Maybe in a million years.
A million years of constant night
in which it can't stop its fears

flaring their nightmare tentacles
and bioluminescent eyes
as cold and sharp as icicles
under moonless, starless skies:

medusae, spookfish, cephalopods,
jellies with no eyes or brains,
lethal and beautiful as gods,
locked in endless predation chains.

How seamless then the world would seem,
which life on earth never did,
the living water like a dream
crowded with prowling vampire squid

that want only to stay alive
among other monsters innocent
of all but the pure drive to survive
without self-judgment.

Poem Therapy 2:49 P.M. April 24, 2012: How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual - Pamela Spiro Wagner

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust. 

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.

You can now read poetry

Poetry is the first language.

If you think you don't like poetry, you haven't found a voice that speaks to you yet.

Listen to this while reading Spiro Wagner's poem.

Artist of the Day: My Singing Hasn't Killed Anyone - nodemo

My Singing Hasn't Killed Anyone  nodemo

Artist Bio:
No Demographic is an independent screen printing company. For more info visit
This expresses my mood today, exactly.

Song of the Day: Simply Falling - Iyeoka

Simply Falling

There are many ways to fall.

In this life we are all simply falling, in and out, every day.

This Moment: April 23,2012

The old dog is still panting, tongue lolling out, recovering from our walk. We went further than usual and I can see she will suffer for it. Her pain pill has yet to take effect. I do not want to admit she is too old, or that I need to leave her home tomorrow. A small anger bubbles up and I know its arrival keeps the tears locked behind a heavy door. My father's legs have betrayed him. His steps are unsteady. With every passing year, he is bending closer to the ground like a sapling in strong wind. Sometimes, I believe I can will him to his former self. I am grateful for my anger, and for the almost tears prickling my nose. The small dog is curled at my feet, eyeing my sushi rolls. A motorcycle foists it's rumble on the evening. The neighbor two houses over is mowing her lawn in the familiar criss-cross design that is patterned like woven cloth. My corkscrew willow is a muted chartreuse in the evening light. A photograph from earlier today showed two powerful men embracing and promising "never again" and I wonder how many times will I hear this promise in my lifetime. An ice chip, like a small dagger stabs my heart when I think of what is happening to the people huddled in their homes, half a world away. A small bird in the uppermost branches of the oak tree is voicing a clipped warning to birds in nearby trees. I am surprised to hear the off key tuning of a trumpet and swivel toward the street to catch a glimpse of who could possibly be practicing on the sidewalk. The trumpet and it's owner have vanished and I think perhaps I imagined it. A dark-haired man and woman, chase after their child speeding across the sidewalk on a hot wheel trike. Their laughter warms the air like an embrace.

Land of Deseret: U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levin

from Phillips Exeter Academy

The Poet Laureate is coming to the land of salt.
A reading and extended question and answer period with Philip Levine will be held on May 4, 2012 at 1 p.m. in the Whitmore Library, 2197 E. Fort Union Blvd.

A StoryPhilip Levine
Everyone loves a story. Let's begin with a house.
We can fill it with careful rooms and fill the rooms
with things—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers
closed to hide tiny beds where children once slept
or big drawers that yawn open to reveal
precisely folded garments washed half to death,
unsoiled, stale, and waiting to be worn out.
There must be a kitchen, and the kitchen
must have a stove, perhaps a big iron one
with a fat black pipe that vanishes into the ceiling
to reach the sky and exhale its smells and collusions.
This was the center of whatever family life
was here, this and the sink gone yellow
around the drain where the water, dirty or pure, 
ran off with no explanation, somehow like the point
of this, the story we promised and may yet deliver.
Make no mistake, a family was here. You see
the path worn into the linoleum where the wood,
gray and certainly pine, shows through.
Father stood there in the middle of his life
to call to the heavens he imagined above the roof
must surely be listening. When no one answered
you can see where his heel came down again
and again, even though he'd been taught
never to demand. Not that life was especially cruel;
they had well water they pumped at first,
a stove that gave heat, a mother who stood
at the sink at all hours and gazed longingly
to where the woods once held the voices
of small bears—themselves a family—and the songs
of birds long fled once the deep woods surrendered
one tree at a time after the workmen arrived
with jugs of hot coffee. The worn spot on the sill
is where Mother rested her head when no one saw,
those two stained ridges were handholds
she relied on; they never let her down.
Where is she now? You think you have a right
to know everything? The children tiny enough
to inhabit cupboards, large enough to have rooms
of their own and to abandon them, the father
with his right hand raised against the sky?
If those questions are too personal, then tell us,
where are the woods? They had to have been
because the continent was clothed in trees.
We all read that in school and knew it to be true.
Yet all we see are houses, rows and rows
of houses as far as sight, and where sight vanishes
into nothing, into the new world no one has seen,
there has to be more than dust, wind-borne particles
of burning earth, the earth we lost, and nothing else.

National Poetry Month 2012: 30 Days, 30 Poets

Vanessa Place is the featured guest tumbler for April 23
On April 1, the Academy of American Poets will kick off its 2nd annual celebration of "30 Days, 30 Poets" for National Poetry Month. This April, 30 dynamic poets will take over curation of the Academy's Tumblr.. Each featured poet will have 24 hours to post an array of ephemera—in the form of text, images, audio, and video—before passing the baton.

Follow the Academy of American Poets on Tumblr to keep up-to-date on the latest poetry posts:

April 2012 guest tumblers include:
4/1 Anselm Berrigan
4/2 Rachel Levitsky
4/3 Michael Dickman
4/4 Wayne
4/5 Bob Holman
4/6 Sandra Doller
4/7 Mathias Svalina
4/8 Brandon Downing
4/9 Zachary
4/10 Dara Wier
4/11 Prageeta Sharma
4/12 Thom Donovan
4/13 Aimee
4/14 Harmony Holiday
4/15 Hoa Nguyen
4/16 Eleni Sikelianos
4/17 Heather Christle
4/18 Ben Doller
4/19 Christian Bok
4/20 Ariana Reines
4/21 Emily Pettit
4/22 Samuel Amadon
4/23 Vanessa Place
4/24 Lisa Robertson
4/25 Robert Fitterman
4/26 Johannes Goransson
4/27 Julian T. Brolaski
4/28 Brandon Shimoda
4/29 Kate Durbin
4/30 Kenneth Goldsmith

Artist of the Day: Storm - Megan Horsburgh

Storm Megan Horsburgh meganzii

Artist Bio:
Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, now residing in Southern California. Photographer since 2007. Exhibited in espai[b] galeria d'art contemporani, Barcelona Spain, January 2008.
Southern California based photographer Megan Horsburgh's photograph Storm, brings to mind the kind of storm we harbor inside us, and two very different quotes:

We are only as healthy as the secrets we keep.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Song of the Day: Overdrawn - White Sea


I was introduced to the band White Sea last night watching HBO's Girls.

You couldn't pay me to be twenty-four again.

I completely agree. (In case you didn't catch the episode last night, that line is lifted directly).

I have no desire to go back to the who am I, is this really my life?, you seriously have to pay for lights and water?, do I buy shoes or pay the rent?, does he like me?, why isn't he calling?,  I am never gettting married, why am I not married?,  I am so going to be a barren spinster for real, where's the ice cream?, I wonder how many calories are in rocky road whipped cream sundae, I'll run up and down the stair ten times to work it off, do I look fat in these jeans?, state of chaos that is the twenties.

One Sentence: 9:52 P.M. April 21,2012

Today,I understand why the ancients worshipped the sun as a god.

This Moment: April 21, 2012

Two robins in the cedar pine, are locked in a territory battle, wings fluttering, their small bodies spiraling from branch to branch. Another bird is clucking a knock knock knock while another sounds a trill. I am on the side deck with the dogs. The small dog escaped earlier and ran to the neighbor's. I found him on the back lawn, excitedly sniffing the female air, his nose pressed through the cast iron dog run, with Buffy, a blond toy poodle watching his efforts with disinterest. A small chartreuse aphid is crawling up and down my phone. I am writing with only my index finger so I won't smash it by mistake. A red-orange plane flies overhead to the west. The sky is a piercing blue with a plane's backwash a white bisecting streak, separating north from south. We have moved to the back lawn for a better view if our small world of runners, bikers, and steady traffic. The small dog is yipping his complaints, straining against his tether. The old dog is settled under the willow, scratching her right ear with her back paw. She leans into the dappled light. A dove is crying its dirge from the cherry tree, then is silent. The hay field behind my home looks like a sheet cake frosted with bright green icing. A small plane buzzes and dips eastward. The Rockies are tipped with snow. The snow horse will soon reveal itself in the crevices as the snow melts. I have sat too long. The day and its needs, await.

National Poetry Month - The Poetry Project & Favorite Poem Project

Through The Poetry Project's live programming, workshops, publications, website and special events, The Poetry Project promotes, fosters and inspires the reading and writing of contemporary poetry by (a) presenting contemporary poetry to diverse audiences, (b) increasing public recognition, awareness and appreciation of poetry and other arts, (c) providing a community setting in which poets and artists can exchange ideas and information, and (d) encouraging the participation and development of new poets from a broad range of styles.

The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.

One of my favorite poems is The Journey  by Mary Oliver. Every time I read it I am reminded that this is my one and only life and it is my responsibility to live it to the very fullest.

What is your favorite poem?

The Day in Cartoons: Trayvon - Daryl Cagle,

Trayvon - Daryl Cagle,
"Okay, you got it."

Those were Trayvon Martin's last words. He was seventeen.

Interesting reading:
The Daily Beast - New Account: Zimmerman Told Cops Trayvon’s Last Words Were ‘Okay, You Got It’
---If I Had a Son, He’d Look Like George Zimmerman
---Trayvon Martin: Painted by Chaz Guest
The Guardian - George Zimmerman sorry for Trayvon Martin death as bail set at $150,000
Rio Arm Chair  Mariana Schechter

Artist Bio:Mariana Schechter's Ecologica is sustainablity and craftsmanship combined to create completely unique home furnishings. At Ecologica, a chair is not just a chair. Each piece of Ecologica is a patchwork of the past. Each creation, a collage.What may have been wrongfully dismissed as debris now lives on as well-designed functional furniture, created with integrity. Every article of Ecologica holds a past, and a future.

Malibu-based artist Mariana Schechter's repurposed furniture and home accessories are perfect for this Earth Day weekend.

Update 4/24: The Etsy Blog - Featured Seller: Ecologica Malibu
There has been a lot of interest and controversy about this artist/craftmen/business, so I have provided a link to the Editor's Note from the official etsy site.

Updating the Update 4/28: Etsy
Due to continued interest in this post, I have provided a link from the official etsy site.

Watch and Listen Playlist

I think this is going to be one of those weekends to tear it up. What "it" is that needs to be torn up, has yet to reveal itself.

What in your life needs for to tear it up?

Beck - Guess I'm Doing Fine

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Anna

Chris Whitley - Little Torch

Vetiver - Wonder Why

Neko Case - People Got A Lotta Nerve

Amy Ray - When You're Gone, You're Gone

Delta Spirit - Tear It Up

Song of the Day: Set Me Free - The Heavy

Set Me Free

Today feels like the day to take set ourselves free.

National Poetry Month 2012: National Poetry Map

USA Word Cloud VinylWallAccents

Choose a state to find local poets, poems, events, literary journals, writing programs, poetry organizations, and more on National Poetry Map

Philip Levine is the U.S. Poet Laureate.

Utah's Poet Laureate is Katharine Coles.

Who is the Poet Laureate of your state or country?

National Laureate
Robert Fitterman

Eagle and egret, woodcock and teal, all birds
gathering to affirm the last gasp of sunset.

Maybe I should stay in bed
all day long and read a book
or listen to the news on the radio
but truthfully, I am not meant for that.

Then, as we talked, my personage subdued,
And I became, as Petit jean, a ghost,

I can stand here all day and tell you how much
I honor, admire, how brave you are.

Dark grays and fainter
Grays of near fields and far hills
Motionless, his mind

Playing silently
Over and over with his
Worry beads of words.

On her dresser is one of those old glass bottles
of Jergen's Lotion with the black label, a little round
bottle of Mum deodorant, a white plastic tray
with Avon necklaces and earrings, pennies, paper clips,
and a large black coat button. I appear to be very
interested in these objects.

We learn from our animals, if we're smart.
They know how to wait. They know how to run
To catch up. Much of their life is spent at windows.

Loaded on beer and whiskey, we ride
to the dump in carloads
to turn our headlights across the wasted field,

I imagined him wading the shallows of a mountain stream—
the breeze still cold off the higher snow fields,
the fish smell of fresh water, the pitched hum of insects
waking to the sun.

Fact is, each breath becomes bone
becomes dust

Hill Thoughts,
Midnight Flight

The afternoons go by, one by one.
My old friend, who shone like a tropic sun
Amid the poets of our day, too soon
Grown wan and thin as the late May moon,

In river country flint nodules rest
among limestone sea bottoms, unexplained,
glassy among the porous tangles of shells

I see her in a photograph I found,
unsmiling in a drop-waist dress. No telling
how the roaring twenties roared through here.

i search but i can not find out
the streets of my ancestors

nor any relative to receive me

When I was a child and angels argued slamming doors,
I lolled, feet up the couch, head on the floor

Before I leave, almost without noticing,
before I cross the road and head toward
what I have intentionally postponed—

Behind the Ridge
The Seeking Spirit
Cry Life

Gray cloud like a sweater pulled over the heart of the moon.

Windmill. Stretch even the
Fingertips against sand-coated hills.
You can get there from here,

Treat your Mommy nice
and take her to Las Vegas—
she'll think you're swell.

New Hampshire
The city was brick and stone in the time
before glass and steel. In those days
the city was streets of women.

New York
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye.

North Carolina
The only clouds
forming are crow clouds,

the only shade, oaks
bound together in a tangle of oak

North Dakota
Most poets are rooted in the natural world,
spokespersons for the inarticulate in nature.

under her cool skin
the feet dipped in formaldehyde
to prevent sweating
a river runs.

And you pretty much gotta trust Her,
even if that means twiddling your thumbs
while she makes Her way through Her medley—

Rhode Island
The dark barge works the length of braziers
humped like monks awaiting sacrifice;

South Carolina
Seeds of hope are waiting
in the sacred soil beneath our feet
and in the light and in the shadows,
spinning below the hemlocks.

for eighty some odd years
He rose with the rising sun
And many mornings got up at dark
For so much work was to be done.

Her skirt clings to her the way fog clings to a flower.
Her legs are curled up, her sleeping face soft like a saint.
Driving for hours a man thinks about how things are measured,
about how coffee always tastes better in small towns.

Neither of us can guess if they'll hurry
dusk along, those clouds that have loitered
all afternoon over the rooftops. From our window...

When you come back to me
it will be crow time
and flycatcher time,
with rising spirals of gnats
between the apple trees.

When the last cloud leaves
nothing behind—no
history, no trace of error, no
basilica to shelter a man—

oblivious to the fact
that anyone might be watching,
that he might be teaching us all
how to live

West Virginia
Then, that recognition would
reward me for all I'd undergone,
my bravery of thought, my refusal
of dishonest love, and my goodwill

Although distance does not
matter, it's a long way
into the flat pine forest

the work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair

Note: Not every U.S. state has a designated poet laureate

Earth Day Wish List: Vintage and Handmade Gifts

Earth Day is this April 22. Celebrate the day however you wish: Picnic in the sunshine, go organic, plant a tree, an herb or vegetable container garden, pick up litter, pledge to conserve, recycle and reuse. Start today and keep Earth beautiful!

Organic Basil Italian Genovese Heirloom Herb Seeds

Keep Off the Grass funretro

Organic Herbal Floral Botanical Sea Salt Scrub seawillowherbs

Earth Day Green Living Tips Grace Hester Designs

Repurposed Burlap Coffee Bag Tanya Mariano Kearns

The Day in Cartoons: Frogs in hot water - Steve Greenberg, VCReporter

Frogs in hot water - Steve Greenberg, VCReporter

The latest news predicts that there is going to be a lot less snow and a lot more rain in my neck of the desert.

The reality is, that's exactly what is happening. And it's been happening the last few years.

Some say global warming is a figment of our imaginations.

I think it's getting really hot in this pot. rib bet rib bet

What's going on in your neck of the world?

Interesting reading:
NPR - Are We Warming The Planet? That Is The Key Question

New York Times - In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change

Huffington Post - Dalai Lama Talks Global Warming

Nature Geoscience - Slight mass gain of Karakoram glaciers in the early twenty-first century

The Daily Climate & The Salem News - Did climate change cause witch hysteria?

Song of the Day - Looking for a Sign - Beck

Looking for a Sign

it’s a habit I can’t break
looking out for a sign
how can I tell what’s right

These particular lyrics are speaking in insistent whispers this morning.

I really don't need one more sign. I know what is the right thing.

But, old habits are so hard to break.

National Poetry Month 2012 - Poems for Sale


Our poets are the oracles of the times.

Years ago a group of students at a May Day festival on the University of Utah's campus were selling poems for a few dollars each. I remember the young woman who wrote my poem had long blond wavy hair and was dressed like she had spent the summer hitch-hiking across Europe. She hand-printed her poem on unlined paper. The main image centered on the hare trapped on the moon, which is visible from Earth in a clear night sky. I know I still have the poem, probably tucked inside a book upstairs.

Very few poets make a living from their poetry. Poets usually teach at universities or have regular jobs that pay the bills. When I read NPR's article about this street poet, I thought how brave it is to believe your art will sustain you in all the practical matters of this life. I thought of the original street poet, Walt Whitman. And then I began to hope that this courageous soul, armed only with a typewriter and his words, has somehow recorded his work so they can be compiled into a book.

NPR - A Poem Store Open For Business, In The Open Air

4/19/12 Update: Christine PSS of Madison,Wisconsin opened a words for curds custom poetry and short story etsy shop yesterday. Check her out!

Poem Therapy 3:24 P.M. April 18, 2012: Secret Last Year (A Calendar Twelve-tone) [4. April, maybe] - Adriano Spatola

Secret Last Year (A Calendar Twelve-tone) [4. April, maybe]
Adriano Spatola
translated by Paul Vangelisti

The sun is made of many mysterious concepts
cowardly resentments with listless rotation
they say they don't say but they demand attention
something rotten a little enlarged or rosy
a slight lividness applied to our pettiness
with light brush strokes exhausted by the heat
I speak of the heat that spoils and enthuses
of this black and magic heat that doesn't survive
innocuously childish to the organism's purpose
softened by the veritable verities drawing near
in April which is the fourth month of the year

The truths of April:
Verity is not veracity.
Resentments are cowardly.
Secrets, like buried bones, will rise to the surface.
It is the cruelest month for reasons Eliot and his wasteland could not have known.

Artist of the Day: Spirit - Anne Johnstone

Spirit Anne Johnstone

Artist Bio:
Feelings override rationale in my life and in my art work. I often start making art not knowing what it will become. For me, the process of becoming is a huge part of artistic alchemy. It is the principle joy I take in immersing myself in whatever light and darkness channels through me into my art work.
I had a difficult time choosing just one piece of Johnstone's artwork. Each piece is a showcase of personal expression and reveals the spirit of the artist.

Be certain to check out Cottontail Bunny, Parched, King, and Pig Dog.

Song of the Day: Fly Over States - Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean

Fly Over States

The moment I heard this song, I loved it.

These United States are as diverse politically, culturally, ethnically, racially, and religiously, as they are geographically.

The amazing thing is, we are one country. We are one people.

Every single state I've ever visited, I've thought, I could live here.

When people ask me why I live in conservative, Mormon country, Utah, I ask them if they've been here, and if not, to come and see this state for themselves.

Utah is a study in contrasts. The greatest snow on earth and the desert. The salt flats and rich farm land. The Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell. The Mormon temple and the Cathedral of the Madeline.

Every state in the union is like this, in it's own way.

There are many states I've only seen from the air. I plan to change that.

My Garden - Ready to Plant

My soon to be spring garden is plowed and ready to plant once frost is no longer a threat.

Artist of the Day: Landscape in lines - Ben Kafton

Landscape in lines Ben Kafton

I've seen Utah artist Ben Kafton's work before, and I'm drawn to it's juxtaposition of complexity and simplicity.

You can see more of his work here.

Poem Therapy 11:22 A.M. April 17, 2012:

Robert Kelly

Science explains nothing
but holds all together as
many things as it can count

science is a basket
not a religion he said
a cat as big as a cat

the moon the size of the moon
science is the same as poetry
only it uses the wrong words.


Science can't explain everything. Neither can religion. But, perhaps poetry can.

This is fascinating reading:
The Guardian - The science of poetry, the poetry of science

What century is this? and what continent? This is infuriating, beyond the realm of logical fallacies, ludicrous, and frankly "mind bottling" to quote a ridiculous line from a silly movie. Worst of all, it's not a joke. Thank the gods of humor and reason for Jon Stewart's The Daily Show:
The Guardian - The Republicans who want ignorance to get equal time in schools

Song of the Day: Stormy Weather - Etta James

Etta James photo by Jeff Christensen,Associated Press file

Stormy Weather

Hail, snow, rain, rain, rain.

Etta's voice can make any storm sweet.

National Egg's Benedict Day - April 16, 2012

Gordon Ramsay's eggs Benedict


I had no idea that every day of the year is assigned it's own holiday. Well, at least they are over at Bizarre Holidays. I'm really sorry I missed Blame Somebody Else Day on April 13, but I am really looking forward to April 18, International Juggler's Day, and April 24, National Pigs in a Blanket Day.

Breakfast for dinner is always good.

Master Chef and expletive slinger extraordinaire Gordon Ramsey's recipeis featured on BBC's Good Food. or head over to The Pioneer Woman Cooks for her eggs benedict recipe.

Eggs Benedict
Ingredients:3 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 large free range eggs
2 toasting muffins
1 batch hot hollandaise sauce
4 slices Parma ham (or Serrano or Bayonne)

Directions:1.Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil (at least 2 litres) and add the vinegar. Break the eggs into 4 separate coffee cups or ramekins. Split the muffins, toast them and warm some plates.
2.Swirl the vinegared water briskly to form a vortex and slide in an egg. It will curl round and set to a neat round shape. Cook for 2-3 mins, then remove with a slotted spoon.
3.Repeat with the other eggs, one at a time, re-swirling the water as you slide in the eggs. Spread some sauce on each muffin, scrunch a slice of ham on top, then top with an egg. Spoon over the remaining hollandaise and serve at once.

Basic Hollandaise
500ml white wine vinegar
1 tbsp peppercorns
bunch tarragon
3 large free-range egg yolks
200ml melted and skimmed unsalted butter (see Secrets for success, below)
squeeze lemon juice

1.Boil the vinegar together with peppercorns and tarragon, reduce by half. Strain and reserve (see Secrets for success on storing, below).
2.Boil a large pan of water, then reduce to a simmer. Using a large balloon whisk, beat together the yolks and 2 tsp of the reduced wine vinegar in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan.
3.Beat vigorously until the mixture forms a foam, but make sure that it doesn't get too hot. To prevent the sauce from overheating, take it on and off the heat while you whisk, scraping around the sides with a plastic spatula. The aim is to achieve a golden, airy foam (called a sabayon), which forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted.
4.Whisk in a small ladle of the warmed butter, a little at a time, then return the bowl over a gentle heat to cook a little more. Remove from the heat again and whisk in another ladle of butter. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated and you have a texture as thick as mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste plus a little warm water from the pan if the mixture is too thick.

Melting the butter
Heat a 250g pack chopped butter in a shallow pan. As it foams, scoop off the froth and scum using a small ladle or large metal spoon. Don't use a slotted spoon or the scum will slip back into the butter. (Don't waste the froth - it can be used in potatoes or for dressing hot vegetables). You should have around 200ml of warmed butter for the sauce. You can melt the butter in a microwave, but keep it covered as it melts or it will spit. Leave to cool a little before adding to the eggs.

Olive oil hollandaise
Use 200ml of medium flavour olive oil (not extra virgin oil) instead of the butter, and heat until warm. Perfect with roasted vegetables and grilled fish.

Storing reduced wine vinegar
When vinegar has reduced, strain back into the bottle, cool and store as usual.

Salt breaks down the yolks if you add it too early, so season your sauce at the end.

Curdling tips
If the sauce mixture starts to 'split' or curdle, immediately scrape the mixture into a clean bowl and whisk in 1 tbsp ice-cold water, then continue whisking in the remaining butter just a ladleful at a time.

Song of the Day: Let's Buy Happiness - Fast Fast

Fast Fast

Let's Buy Happiness
If only it were that easy!

Land of Deseret: Islamic Art Exhibit at BYU

Detail from Calligraphic Scroll, one of the pieces that will be part of BYU's upcoming exhibition, "Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture."

Muslims and Mormons.

The two religions are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but BYU's Museum of Art is trying to change that with an exhibit featuring Islamic art from around the world.

"It was amazing how many times people found the same values found in the Mormon traditions and culture also in (Islamic culture)," said Sabiha Al Khemir, the project's director.


I'm going to see the exhibit this weekend and I promise that I'll give you a full report on the exhibit.

Interesting reading:
Promoting contemporary art at BYU

Major Islamic art exhibit opens at BYU’s Museum of Art

Belief and beauty: BYU exhibits Islamic art, including ‘99 Names of God’

Islamic art exhibit comes to BYU museum

The Day in Cartoons: Obama vs Romney 2012 Prom - Dave Granlund

Obama vs Romney 2012 prom Dave Granlund

Come on now, fellas, no need to fight. Let's meet at a nice restaurant and talk about important things, like the economy, employment opportunities, affordable and adequate health care, equal pay for equal work, that glass ceiling, working mothers, in the home and in the workforce, foreign and domestic policy, and we'll see how it goes.

Please remember, a sense of humor goes a long, long way. Let's have a little fun this year, shall we?

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I'm going with the candidate that gets it that I have my own mind, make my own money, and also gets that my womb is just none of his business.

And yes, I'm picking the candidate who is equal parts gravitas and fun.

Who are you going with?

Interesting reading:
ABC News - Concerns About Women Voters Extend Beyond Obama/Romney Battle For Both Parties

The Daily Beast - The Women's Vote and 2012

Washington Post - Ann Romney debate shows importance of female voters in 2012 election

NPR - How Can Romney Win? GOP Women Have Some Ideas

Huffington Post - 'Women For Obama' Campaign Initiative Launches For 2012

Chirpstory - First Lady Michelle Obama Reaches out to Women Voters

Poem Therapy 11:09 A.M. April 16, 2012: A Bedtime Story For Mr. Lamb - Arthur Nevis

A Bedtime Story For Mr. Lamb
Arthur Nevis

What story would you like to hear, Mr. Lamb?
Are you a real lamb?
Would you like to hear of Webbers?
Or Whales?

Here is the Story of Alice:

The Queen wants to have a baby,
That's why she's kissing her hand.
The Mad Habit is pouring specklish tea.

Finally, the Mad Habit and the Queen go to sleep,
But she's not looking at him.
He's just pouring the milk.

Goodnight, Mr. Lamb,
Have a nice dream.
Sleep like a lamb.

Don't rough scream
Scream smooth.

I would like to be asked, What story would you like to hear, Ms. Danna?

I would ask for a different story than what I have been telling myself.

I cannot shake my dream from early Sunday morning. It woke me at 2:27 in the morning.

Something about moth tea so valuable I am told that it costs five thousand American dollars. A flame-haired woman and a formally-dressed man stood nearby as I looked into the cauldron in which the tea was steeping and saw moths swimming.

Something about a rabbit hole of a homesteader's house with cook kitchen in front of it. Once inside, the house expanded to fit the dream. The house sat on what was once a sacred site, between two contemporary homes.

Something about a lioness with long fur ankle cuffs which I mistook for a cougar, yelling, "Do you see the cougar?" until it saw me and climbed after me in pursuit until it lost interest.

And then the dream disappeared when I looked at the clock and saw the time and realized over one-hundred years ago, a ship that could not sink had slipped below the glassy waters and more than a thousand waited in the cold water for death to find them.

Artist of the Day: Bird Lady - Jane Ryan

Bird Lady Jane Ryan OPISHOP &

Artist Bio:
I started my little company, 'OPI' making simple mechanical toys (for grown-ups) in an attempt to combine motherhood and work. Three kids on I am still making them. I use a lot of reclaimed wood, enjoying the obvious history of the material. Recently I have been using mostly oak which is weighty and lovely to work. All the pieces are one off, no two are the same. There have been recurrent themes over the years which reflect my seaside home, gardening, food.I hope that my work is infused with a genuine humour. I have always been more interested in decoration and form than clever mechanics and my toys have very simple mechanisms designed to charm rather than amaze. I work in a disused cowshed in a state of blissful chaos.Heaven in the summer and bleak in the winter, with my faithful hound snoring at my feet.
UK artist Jane Ryan's pieces remind of the automatons from the turn of the century. I love the whimsical nature of each, and that birds flutter, boats list, and little hearts pump in and out when you turn the handle.