Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Postcard Poem from Soham Patel

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Blow man, blow. Good Job!

Man blows good job (?)

Good blow job . . . man.

Monday, July 30, 2007

white peacock

white peacock
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
This image is for Cornshake.


I've been having trouble sleeping lately. The past few nights I've lain in bed, glanced at the clock, and saw it was 2:40ish. Why that particular time, I have no idea. After waking, I've had a hell of a time getting back to sleep. Maybe it's my brain telling me to start writing poems.


Speaking of poems and poetry, my summer class is finishing up this week. Great bunch of students . . . but I'll be glad to be done with teaching. I don't feel like I've had a sufficient summer. I finished up in mid-June, then went from teaching to the Kundiman retreat, and then as soon as I got back from the retreat, I was back in the classroom. So far this summer . . . one poem. Sandra's running a poem/draft a day marathon that I'm participating in for August. Hopefully it'll light a fire in my belly.

I'm cancelling HBO. It's the same crap over and over. We got it in May to finish up the Sopranos. Now that it's over, I don't want to get sucked into any more of their shows. Don't talk to me about how good Rome is getting. I don't want to hear about the stellar writing in Big Love or Entourage. I need to limit my media intake which is already quite high.

Spent all of Saturday chain-sawing. Now I can't bend my left pinky finger without having it lock into place. Bizarre. I'm getting old.

The lovely James Hoch will be reading at Village Books on Wednesday. Go see him!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Warm spell coming

Swimming Cat
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Now would be a good time to visit Silver Lake. The temperature's rising and at last we're getting the summer weather we had been waiting for. Last week was miserable. It rained for seven days straight. I'm looking forward to summer sun. The cat's optional.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
You think you want to cuddle, but really, that's just the Dark Side controlling your mind. . .

Monday, July 23, 2007

Oliver Simpson

Oliver Simpson
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Yet another Simpsonized version of me. You can tell I'm conducting office hours . . .


I'm tremendously bored.

I finished all my grading. I then dipped into some poetry collections but wasn't in the mood. I think it's the rainy weather we've been having.

I did, however, manage to squeeze in a poem. It's not a great poem, but it's something.

I've also been listening to the new Ryan Adams CD. He's, at times, infuriating. Wonderful hooks in the songs . . . at times great writing . . . other times, flatter than a 2D cartoon's ass.

Also listening to Feist's Open Season. Still sort of shaky on the album. It's a collab/remix album, so there's some really messed up stuff on the disc. I do like the Postal Service version of Mushaboom. Outside of that, I need to listen closely.

Here's hoping that some of this'll kick me into some kind of writing mood. I dunno, I'm feeling weird as we exit July.

I am, however, getting quite good at this.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Me as a Simpson.

Me as a Simpson.
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Hours of fun playing here.

Sekou Sundiata Dies at 58

Sekou Sundiata, a poet and performance artist whose work explored slavery, subjugation and the tension between personal and national identity, especially as they inform the black experience in America, died on Wednesday in Valhalla, N.Y. He was 58 and lived in Brooklyn.

The cause was heart failure, said his producer, Ann Rosenthal. At his death, Mr. Sundiata was a professor in the writing program of Eugene Lang College of New School University.

Mr. Sundiata’s art, which defied easy classification, ranged from poems performed in the style of an oral epic to musical, dance and dramatic works infused with jazz, blues, funk and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. In general, as he once said in a television interview, it entailed “the whole idea of text and noise, cadences and pauses.”

His work was performed widely throughout the United States and abroad, staged by distinguished organizations like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. Among Mr. Sundiata’s most recent works was “the 51st (dream) state,” an interlaced tapestry of poetry, music, dance and videotaped interviews that explores what it means to be an American in the wake of 9/11.

His other works include “Udu,” a staged oratorio about slavery in present-day Mauritania, with music by Craig Harris; “blessing the boats,” a one-man show, autobiographically inspired, about Mr. Sundiata’s experiences of heroin addiction, a debilitating car crash and a kidney transplant; and “The Circle Unbroken Is a Hard Bop,” a collaboration with Mr. Harris about black Americans coming of age in the 1960s.

Writing in The New York Times in 1993, D .J. R. Bruckner reviewed a production of “The Circle Unbroken” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe:

“This is a remarkably smooth work, its complex stories and ideas bound together by the vivid, memorable poetry of Mr. Sundiata. And in one tornadic scene, the poet lets the audience hear all at once the range of his vocabulary and voice: Mr. Sundiata becomes a young, crazed homeless man on the street, and in eight minutes pours out a torrent of grief, humor and shrewd insight that leaves one simply astonished.”

Mr. Sundiata was born Robert Franklin Feaster in Harlem on Aug. 22, 1948; he adopted the African name Sekou Sundiata in the late 1960s. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from City College of New York in 1972 and a master’s degree in creative writing from the City University of New York in 1979.

He is survived by his wife, Maurine Knighton, known as Kazi; a daughter, Myisha Gomez of Manhattan; a stepdaughter, Aida Riddle of Brooklyn; his mother, Virginia Myrtle Singleton Feaster of Kingstree, S.C.; two brothers, William Feaster of Belleville, N.J., and Ronald Feaster of Manhattan; and one grandchild.

Mr. Sundiata, who performed with the folk rock artist Ani DiFranco as part of her Rhythm and News tour in 2001, released several CDs of music and poetry, including “The Blue Oneness of Dreams” (Mouth Almighty/Mercury Records) and “longstoryshort” (Righteous Babe Records). His work was also featured on television, on the HBO series “Def Poetry” and the PBS series “The Language of Life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Negative Capability and Teaching

My students think they have all the answers. If they don't have the answers, they think they can look them up online and get those answers with 100% accuracy. Their poems have all the answers, too:

1. The couple gets together or they don't.
2. A young person dies and eventually the family moves on.
3. The man in the poem ultimately realizes that he is to blame for all his own misery .

Ah, the speed of our culture! How easy to get to a resolution . . . how readily available our answers, yes?

Well, today I won't be preaching from the pulpit in the Church of Closure. Today, Keats is my pal. . .

I've been reading poems written by my students and many of them veer towards the slamming door. Today we'll be working towards mystery-making. Let's be baffled, unsure, and uncertain today.


In other news, there is no other news. I'm humming . . . listening for the next poem to smack me up-side the head.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Postcard for Jen, image side

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
(from the book Magnum published by Phaidon Press.

Postcard for Jen, writing side

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Summer Teaching So Far

My assessment of summer teaching so far . . . it's tough, but in a different way. Spiritually . . . psychologically . . . I'm in a "me me" space, but I'm finding it hard to get into that space when I've got poems and lectures to read and prep. Usually at this time in the summer I'm reading books rather voraciously. I'm finding it harder to get into the rhythm of sustained reading. The one good thing about the quarter system, though, is that I still have two months of summer vacation ahead of me (we don't start the normal academic calendar year until late Sept.).

There's a misconception about summer sessions among students. Many perceive that the shortened quarter will be more lax. This, however, is extremely false. Think of it this way . . . you're compressing 11 weeks of education into 6 weeks. It's far from lax. I remember when I took summer classes as an undergrad. It nearly killed me.

Anyway, I'm already looking forward to my second vacation in August.


Needless to say, my writing has been slowed, though I've been engaged in a postcard poem project with other Kundiman folk. That's been pretty productive . . . it's a kind of writing. I've gotten some gems which I'll post later.


A colleague of mine in the English dept. has slipped a book into my mailbox. Is he trying to tell me something???


During the second weekend of August, Mere n' I will be here.


Jake's cut is closing up.


Last August I attempted a poem a day, similar to the Napowrimo event that took place all over blogland. I think I'll try it again this year. About six of the poems from that assignment have gotten published, so it was reasonably productive. Should be fun.


Lest I forget, Mere and I are on to the next project: landscaping. More to come.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


So, I saw the new Harry Potter film this afternoon. I'll not be a spoiler. I will say that I enjoyed myself immensly in the cool cool movie theater.

Ralph Fiennes scares me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Currently on repeat . . .

I know it's oldish, but it makes me happy during these warm summer days:

Postcards From Italy

Monday, July 09, 2007

For Cornshake

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Here's a shot of the finished bedroom. All told, it took us a week to renovate the bedroom. Tasks performed are listed below:

The paint color is called "Light Raffia" by Valspar/American Traditions.

1. Scraped off popcorn ceiling.
2. Cut and installed 4x8 sheets of drywall.
3. Cut out holes for outlet boxes.
4. Sealed drywall joints with joint compound and tape.
5. Sanded off joint compound excess.
6. Sprayed new wall with "splatter" texture.
7. Taped off door frames.
8. Painted (primer and 2 coats)

Lucky Postcard

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Some lucky Kundiman fellow is getting this postcard . . . it hurt to send it out. I wanted to keep it for myself.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Work continues

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We've scraped the popcorn off of the ceiling, so you can now see the seams in the drywall.

This photo was taken after I texture-sprayed the white wall with a splatter texture to match the other walls.

Jake is taking in the sights . . . from the only angle he can at the moment.

Lick-prevention collar

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Poor Jake. He was out for a tryst and either ran through a barbed wire fence or got into a fight with a dog, cutting his rear right leg.

So we've snapped this restraint collar around his neck. You can tell by his expression that he's thrilled to be receiving our care.

"It's like . . . you can hear the ocean!"

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
I learn a lot from The Dog Whisperer, so it's all true.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Painted Master's Bedroom

Painted Master's Bedroom
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
The wall to the right (the one with the panels) is now covered up by wallboard.

Master Bedroom

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Here's our master bedroom. I wasn't kidding 'bout the drywall installation. I woke up incredibly early, thinking I needed to finish my task ASAP.

Before, we had some nasty nasty wood panels.

I woke up at 6:30AM this morning

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
. . . and said, "I know . . . I think I'll drywall."

Jake sez

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
"Mister, watch where you point that thing."