Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And now you're cooking . . .

Blissfully productive day today. I think the first full day of sunshine in weeks helped my energy levels. I woke up at 6AM and then started on some household cleaning. The guys from Macy's came with a new dresser and I had moved furniture around the house to accommodate the new piece. Then I had to move all the furniture back. I did the laundry, washed the dishes, vacuumed (the furniture guys had very dirty shoes), took care of the dog (Jake's sick), and then settled in to some grading. I even had time to take Jake to the park and go to the gym for two hours.

Currently, I'm battling a new batch of student poems. They don't title their stuff and it bugs me for some reason.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The flowers on my desk are fake.

Yes. Fake. They're actually Meredith's flowers from our shared office in Utica. The fourth person this year walked by my office and admired my flowers. I always feel compelled to tell people they're not real. I just feel like I need to establish that contract between the viewer and the thing they're viewing. They're always shocked and inevitably, they wind up saying, "Well, they're beautiful anyway."

When I was twelve years old, the Malheur County Fair rolled through Ontario, right around early August. Naturally it was the thing to go see in a town with one bowling alley, a roller skating rink, a decaying mall, and one McDonalds franchise on the outskirts. Among all the midway games like the coin toss and the ring-on-the-bottle, was the freak tent. Really, no joking. The freak tent. Anyway, it was a quarter admission to get into the freak tent and for the day, the "Freak of the Week" was the snake girl. So my friends and I ponied up the quarters we would otherwise have spent on playing space invaders and entered the tent.

At the center of the tent was a raised, square platform. At each of the sides of the plantform were small wooden stairs. Solid wooden doors nailed together and on their sides rose up from the center of the platform, concealing the view of those who were in line, waiting to see the snake girl. The carnie in charge of the tent was quite aggressive about having only four people surrounding the stage. He smelled like a campfire and one of his boots had a hole at the ankle. He was losing his hair and part of what remained, he brushed over to the side in a slender, greasy comma.

When it was my turn to see the snake girl, I walked up the stairs and peered over the edge of the upright doors. At the center of the arena was sawdust. . . plenty of sawdust pilled up into a mound at the center. From the center of the mound, coiled the green body of a snake, maybe a boa constricter. However, from the center of that mound of sawdust, you could see the blinking eyes, hair, and forehead of a 20ish woman. The disturbing part of this was that her mouth was concealed by both the sawdust and the coil of the snake body. Even more disturbing was the knowledge that I had blown my quarter on a hoax.

So if you're walking by my office and you happen to see the flowers on my desk, before you begin to speak . . . let me tell you, they're fake.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Break From the Rain

Yesterday was sunny.

Here's the weather symbol I'm looking at for the rest of the week:

Friday, January 13, 2006

Alive and Well

For those of you who are concerned about my well-being, I'm alive. It's just very wet out here (it's been raining for 26 straight days), and I've been thinking a lot about my commute as well as a new quarter of classes.

If you're curious, I'm teaching another introduction to poetry class as well as an advanced seminar on poetry for undergrads. So I've been very busy on a MWF teaching schedule and when I'm home, I do a lot of school prep and a heck of a lot of vegetating and a lot of dog-running (sloshing?).

I've got some tenure-track paper work I need to be getting on shortly, and I've got some grant applications I'm preparing. Meanwhile I'm still sending poems out, so I've not entirely fallen off the face of the poetry planet.

I'm currently reading a book called Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies , by Jared Diamond, and it's absolutely fascinating.

For poetry and for the classes I'm teaching, I'm reading Leadbelly, by Tyehimba Jess, Here, Bullet, by Brian Turner, Lampblack & Ash by Simone Muench, Eat Quite Everything You See by Leslie Adrienne Miller, Voluntary Servitude by Mark Wunderlich, and Quipo by Arthur Sze.

So my plate is full. If you don't hear much from me, don't take it personally. I'm here and I'm still checking out your blogs and all that you do because I care. :D