Yesterday I went to watch Larry’s team (the Blue) play in the championship game for his over-65 league, the Creakers. They pulled it off in the bottom of the 9th, winning by one run. Because women were doing the photography, I got this shot of Larry making a key play at first base.
Women tend to keep pretty quiet about the pleasure of watching men’s butts in sports. But I remember being able to identify Gale Sayers about a decade after he quit pro football just seeing him bend over to hit a putt on TV. It was one of those TVs in a bar with the sound turned off, but it was unmistakably Gale. All the pictures I could find of him online were clearly taken by men. So I’m doubly grateful to the wives who took this shot of Larry.
Once in awhile a strong aversion to poetry comes over me, a sort of distaste for its pretentiousness. Like Marianne Moore, I, too, don’t like it. Yesterday was one of those days, and despite reading through a number of things, I couldn’t select one to send out, although it was Poetry Monday. But this morning I remembered this, by Marie Howe. Her book by the same title is definitely worth owning:
Corn is one of the few vegetables left with a true season–basically August. You might find a sweet ear or two earlier or later, but with corn, fresh-picked ripe ears are the real treat, and they’re available for about one month each year. I tried to grow corn last year, but learned that you need more sun and more space.
This year, I’ve been buying corn at the farmers’ market and adding it to almost everything. For example, a little fried onion, garlic, turmeric, corn and kale with an egg on top. I almost finished this before I remembered to snap a photo for you:
Continue reading “Corny”
In my desultory explorations for new poetry, I opened an anthology over breakfast and found this:
I Pick Up a Hitchhiker
After a few miles he tells me
that my car has no engine.
I pull over, and we both get out
and look under the hood.
We don’t say anything more about it
all the way to California.
Continue reading “Quelle surprise!”
Larry has been playing in an over-70 softball tournament in Manteca (think 100 degrees in the sun). His team beat all but one rogue over-65 team. And even though he’s tired after 6 games in the heat, he’s been reading me excerpts from Jim Murray’s autobiography. Larry grew up reading Jim Murray’s sports columns in the LA Times.
My favorite line so far is how he started his speech after winning the Pulitzer; “Well this is sure going to make it easier for whoever writes my obituary.”
Continue reading “The Sunday paper”
One of the good things to come from the fox depredation is that my neighbors have been stopping by and asking “What happened to the rooster?” They greet his loss with genuine sorrow. How many people live in a community that enjoys a noisy rooster? Last night, one of my talented neighbors gave me a gift she made for me–and while I don’t wish the foxes harm, it gave me a thrill.
In the meantime, although I haven’t seen the foxes inside my fence since my last bout of repairs, they continue to prowl just outside. I have the remaining babies in cages on my deck, 30 feet up.
I’ve ordered electric fencing to add to my existing fence. This won’t injure wildlife, but should make it unpleasant for them. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to have to give up chickens!
There are few poets who can write something as apparently simple as this and make it work, but Bill Merwin is one. As Larry said, when I read it to him–a poem like this really depends on the ending. This one carries the weight effortlessly.
I’ve posted a poem of Merwin’s before, and just found this one to add to the Radically Accessible Poetry collection:
What if I came down now out of these
solid dark clouds that build up against the mountain
day after day with no rain in them
and lived as one blade of grass
in a garden in the south when the clouds part in winter
from the beginning I would be older than all the animals
and to the last I would be simpler
frost would design me and dew would disappear on me
sun would shine through me
I would be green with white roots
feel worms touch my feet as a bounty
have no name and no fear
turn naturally to the light
know how to spend the day and night
climbing out of myself
all my life
As for the salon yesterday, I think it was an exceptionally fine afternoon that included memoir, a trumpet and piano duet, a sampling of Fleur de Caramel perfume, photos, art, and many poems, not to mention good food and great company.
One of the blogs I read, Garden for the House by Kevin Lee Jacobs, often has recipes I try. This one, for zucchini fritters, is timely. Anyone who plants even one squash plant in their garden soon has more squash than they can use. In my case, I have several volunteer plants that aren’t exactly zucchini, in addition to the one zucchini I planted.
They are bountiful. Yesterday I made my second batch of zucchini fritters. Kevin does a much more artistic job of walking you through recipes than I ever could, and I recommend his basic recipe. I made it with gluten-free flour, which seems to require a little more flour than standard, just a couple of tablespoons. I also halve the recipe, which is makes enough fritters as a side dish for four people.
This time I added kernels from an ear of corn, half a red onion diced, and a couple of cloves of garlic. I used a bit of extra flour, and the additions made the fritters so good we had them three meals in a row. Yay, squash, keep on overwhelming me!
“Luxury is who you’re with,” my friend Maureen said years ago, and one of the true luxuries in my life is to be part of a group of poets I respect who meet regularly to discuss our work. Two of the poets I met at the Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop in 2001, and we have been in various permutations of this group since then. About five years ago, we morphed into this current group of four. We manage to meet once a month despite the myriad events that conspire against it. By now we know each others’ work and are comfortable enough and know enough about our strengths and weaknesses that our criticism is both honest and valuable.
The four of us started hosting a Sunday Salon, dubbed Salon 77, on an irregular basis. Lisa, the letterpress printer among us, prints the invitation, and we each get ten. Poets, writers, musicians, artists, sculptors and appreciators all show up, eat, talk, and have a few minutes each to show their work. Here is a blurry shot of us from the first Salon in 2009.
The next Salon is this Sunday, and as most of you won’t be there, here’s a sample of our work from yesterday’s poetry group:
Continue reading “Four Poets”
Metaphors aren’t usually driven home with the force that I experienced on Friday. I had brought the hen and chicks to a new cage in the garden next to the house, and (I thought) secured the area with bird net. I left for an hour at about 9:30, and when I came home, all that was left was one peeping chick and this:
I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse about my role as farmer. I totally underestimated the fox, and the hen and chicks, who I’d just taken a little movie of earlier, died as a result. The one survivor went in with the chicks the girls had persuaded me to get, and now I’m glad they did. Continue reading “Outfoxed”
This morning, Larry read me a terrific column by David Brooks, The Credit Illusion, about who gets credit for personal achievements. Really, it was more of a philosophical essay on the stages of maturity–I don’t think Nietzsche could have done it any better.
Larry prefaced the reading by saying, “Those of us who read the news and watch TV know there has been a big brouhaha about Obama’s saying that individuals don’t deserve credit for their achievements as much as the government and the society that make them possible.” This was a little dig, as I don’t read or listen to news–I prefer mine filtered through Larry.
After breakfast, Larry let showed me the camera-ready copy of the art book he is publishing through hit & run press to accompany upcoming shows of Roberto Chavez’ work. You may remember we saw his exhibit at the Autry a few months ago. We’ve known Roberto for over 30 years, and it was a bit of a shock to look through the amazing selection of his work and recognize the extent of his talent. Mostly, when you know someone on a daily basis, you don’t really think of them as a genius. Yes, Roberto always has a pen or pencil in hand, creating amazing sketches. Yes, he has some marvelous work, and I’ve appreciated it through the years. But to see the book as a whole was staggering. His talent is so enormous. This witty, sometimes troublesome and frustrating person, with all his personal quirks is a major artist, whose book will be right in its proper place among the other masters on our art book shelf.
Camping was only one of several recent adventures–about two weeks worth. In my absence, the garden has been burgeoning. The labyrinth is hardly labyrinthine anymore, it’s so overgrown, and a sweet potato flower has curled into the driveway.
The back is full of vegetables. We’re eating the tomatoes as fast as they ripen, but there are plenty of other delights: carrots, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, onions, scallions, and lots of kale and spinach.
Is there anything more delicious than produce from your own garden?
Meanwhile, despite foxes, the chicken population has been growing, too. I had ordered four chicks by mail before my eggs hatched, as insurance for winter eggs. However, only one of the four survived. I tried to get the mother to take the extra chick after our eggs hatched, and it seemed at first that despite the difference in size (three weeks old compared to newly hatched) she would accept her. But after a few hours the next morning, she was treating her like a threat. The girls convinced me that Toasty (their name for the chick) was lonely and needed friends. Continue reading “While I was gone…”