A miscellany

tin manI realized that this is close to the five year anniversary of this blog. Despite typos, sloth, and various technical difficulties, I’ve managed to publish something at least once a week for this period. These last two weeks have been particularly busy, so I thought I’d include a few things from various categories, starting with a Monday poem one day late. Larry and I were talking about our friend Paul Tulley the other day–how strange it is that he’s been gone for almost 20 years. Larry mentioned that Paul once sent him an obituary for Jack Haley, who played the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, with a post-it attached that said: “RUST IN PEACE.”

Poem for Paul

Lately, crows have been invading poems,
those hoi polloi birds, irascible and unashamed.
An eye for the mystic ordinary, Paul
knew the difference between crow
and raven—Most poem crows are ravens,
he might tell you, pointing out their size,
their heavy bill, their solitary strut.

While others scanned for kestrel
or for heron, Paul wondered about gulls,
their range and variations, their coziness
with all things human and the limitless,
inhuman sea. An underrated bird,
he might say.

For years in one small bedroom
where the sea could just be heard,
Paul held ongoing court for grownup
children, his beery Buddha’s smile
traveling with them,
Moscow, Moose Jaw, Lhasa,
back with an unusual rock or plastic wind-up
toy for Paul to slowly take in hand,
consider, and comment on.
His comment the reward
for the journey.

He wrote his poems on scraps
dropped in a coffee can
or sent on a card to a friend,
no copy kept, or lost
in the drifts layered
around his bed.
One of the rare ones
who knew that the writing
was everything.
What happens after
doesn’t matter.

In other poetry news, I was on the red team at the Poetry World Series at Mill Valley Library. A truly fun event. Here I am with Peter Klein, Melissa Stein,Danusha Laméris, and Raina J. León:

Optimized-poetry world series

It’s a truly fun poetry event, with two teams competing using prompts from the audience in their poem. More on this event later.

HS.Poetry.SlamThe following week I judged the Redwood High School Poetry Slam, which was inspiring. The students all had memorized their complex, long, and intriguing poems. They were great!  It gave me hope for the future of poetry.

I also took the first step of fulfilling my New Year’s resolution to take some Asian cooking classes and went to Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland to learn to make a South Indian staple dish called Sambar.



Sambar2And finally, when in LA earlier this month, I went to a cool art show in the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis School of Design called “Performing the Grid. I went to see the work of Xylor Jane, an artist who bases much of her work on the Fibonacci Series. Here are a few samples.

stamp.numbersThis first one is made with the edges of postage stamps. You can see the detail–kind of amazing.

















These day of the week painting really shimmer when you step back from them:




















This one, Leap Year, is one of my very favorites.











I also liked the doorways by an artist called Heather Rowe whose work I’d never seen before. Heather.Rowe

In any case, I hope this gives you a taste of the swirl of culture I’ve been in, along with the first blueberries and raspberries from the garden, newly hatched baby chicks, and lots of planting and mulching.



2 thoughts on “A miscellany

  1. Wonderful.I love your Paul poem.His nephew Jim and wife Sylvia were here from Germany.I showed them the poem.I made a copy for them at their request.

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