Sunday, May 15, 2016

What strand of family life do you represent?


In 2009 Miriana Cook wrote about Barak and Michelle in the New Yorker,  and quotes our current  president speaking about his family and his wife's family. 

This is what he is reported to have said: 

BARACK OBAMA: All my life, I have been stitching together a family, through stories or memories or friends or ideas. Michelle has had a very different background—very stable, two-parent family, mother at home, brother and dog, living in the same house all their lives. We represent two strands of family life in this country—the strand that is very stable and solid, and then the strand that is breaking out of the constraints of traditional families, travelling, separated, mobile. I think there was that strand in me of imagining what it would be like to have a stable, solid, secure family life.

From this point Barak expresses in this quote, I am in the strand of family life that is breaking out of constraints. And, like Barack of 1996, I  spend a good amount of time imagining what it would be like to have a stable, solid, secure family life. All the wondering hasn't yet answered the question for me. I am still moving and searching, and still don't know what that would look like. Though, in the the ongoing search, I'm grateful for all the friends I've made and the fine network they make from coast to coast such that I am never too far from a familiar face. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Why look at animals?  by John Berger.
There is so much beyond the direct realm of medicine that I still want to direct my attention to. The language of animals when it is noon in the living room, for one. For now, just packing dishes though, one fragile ceramic shape, and then the next.
Wangechi Mutu featured in a recent New York Times Book Review uses stunning images and collage elements to comment on the personal and political.

Time, more time, is what I ask to let my mind roam in the language.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Off the map.

Off the map
How here?
What more?
Nothing expected.
                                 Beautiful land.
Heavy snow.
Lighted trees.
Nothing floats.
People few.

Bird sings.

Where to now?
What step next?

                              All gone.

Nothing hold.
Nothing lose. 

In Milwaukee with Lily Yeh and Keith Hayes of beintween.

Monday, January 20, 2014

At the tire shop with Joe

I didn't take many pictures this trip, but found a few good murals, like this colorful one in the Meterie.

I was working with a point and shoot and was in the shadow of my impending third year exam for residency and not sure whether I am meant to be taking pictures in New Orleans. I do love it, but not living here I don't feel rooted enough at times to take on a big photography project here. Either way, it was nice to sit with Joe at the tire shop and just talk with someone outside my usual sphere.

Driving up to the shop, I am always a little timid and uncertain.  I don't know who will be there or what they might be thinking. Once I start talking with Joe, I always feel at ease.  Today was the first warm day with temperature over 60,  which made it comfortable sitting out front with Joe. We talked about relationships, rabbit hunting, the economy, Vietnam, the need for trade schools, learning to weld, the Indians, the parades at Mardi Gras, people riding bicycles naked, men dressed as women, how he got the gash on his left hand in a knife fight, growing okra and  collard greens in side-yard  kitchen gardens, which everyone used to have, where to eat in NOLA,  his dogs, his father getting old and lonely, his sister-- everything but physics and k-space, which I needed a break from anyway.  He even showed me his 38 Darriger.

During the time we talked people walked by waving and shouting greetings. Some came up and asked for favors.  I watched him turn down one woman who asked for money to buy dog food, then turn around and give ten dollars to another woman who wanted to take her daughter to the Martin Luther King parade.  People are asking for his help all the time. "Friends and family will keep you poor," he said. Even so, he goes along more often than not, pulling out a bundle of cash wrapped in a rubber band. Bundles of cash like that  remind me of my grandfather. When Joe says "no" it feels a little tense, but once he's made up his mind, he sticks to it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Violators with be TOAD!!

I am not sure what it will mean for my future if I admit I had to read the above sign more than once, twice even, before it occurred to me something was a little amiss.  I'm in New Orleans right now, and maybe under the influence of one too many bags of VOODOO chips.  Of coarse, I thought, looking at the colorful sign, if you park in this driveway you will be:

It made perfect sense until the voodoo chips wore off, when I realized maybe they meant you will be:
I've made many such errors, often feeling more in tune with sound that formal spelling.  In New Orleans it may not be just a spelling mistake, especially if you poke fun at the local poetic and musical souls.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just This:

Two nights ago, just this: the radio turned up, the window rolled down, my hand out side the window in the wind.

And then more: I stopped for the red light and leaned over the steering wheel, waiting for green, and go, and the mad wind that rises from the road to lift my hand, a five fingered soul ever so slightly from its slump.

Iowa Poem #4 , Thanksgiving Day 2013

If you came to Iowa now, you would find
Prairie grasses talking, some to themselves
Tired from a summer of waving and shouting
To every passing car and plane, some in hushed
Tones under a feather blanket of earlier-than-expected snow.
Some would be pointing right up at the heavens,
The memory still fresh of being razor-sharp and green.
Blades now brown and edges worn smooth,
They rage to God against the dying of the light.

And to their neighbors, who they are sure cannot hear,
They brag, "If summer never ended, I could have made it,
Made it all the way....."
One holds the record for bending so as not to break.
He tells terrible tales of coming back from near dead,
Of being cut, mowed and trampled.  

One does not speak; the wind plays his body like a saw.
Can you hear the wobbly melody?
Heel and toe, heel and toe, heel and toe.

To  the wonder of  having learned to dance

Among a rustling symphony of shaking shoulders,
To having existed at all.

Sarah Averill, 
Novermber 28, 2013