April 15th, 2013


The Celebration of Poetry!

It is April, Poetry Month, and offerings abound.   Last night a friend and I attended a wondrously fun event at the Mill Valley Library: the "Poetry World Series".  Daniel Handler, aka, Lemony Snicket and his sister hosted.  He is very funny.  There are two teams, with three people each.  Two at a time come to the podium, and are given a theme, such as storm, fireworks, dreams, egg yolks, libraries etc, and must read a poem they've written that relates to the theme.  Surprisingly it works really well. The quality of poetry was amazing and stimulating.  Wow, we humans are impressive in how we think and recollect.

I bought one book, Works and Days, by Dean Rader, because I felt he was the poet I most resonated to, maybe because he began with Frog and Toad, a children's story I love, but today, I am with a poem by Julie Bruck about aluminum foil.   Where I live, we are very conscious about recycling and composting.  In my community of around 800 households, we pay collectively for garbage collection, sewers and our local parks.  Periodically we receive a notice of how well we are doing and what it costs to pick up and recycle our garbage.  The price of glass and plastics fluctuates.  Garden and kitchen waste is picked up and composted, and available for pick-up when it's ready once again to spread.

Julie Bruck's poem brought forth the preciousness of a piece of aluminum foil.  Think of its beauty, and uses, and perhaps part of its value is that unless it's absolutely necessary to so so, we do not use aluminum foil, and we try to re-cycle it if we do.

I hadn't realized until last night that our area and SF are in competition as to who is most environmentally correct.  Our school children are indoctrinated early.  I remember now learning from an Academy of Sciences exhibit that no matter how environmentally aware and conscious you are if you get on an airplane, your carbon footprint just shot out of sight, and so it is, and we each do our part.  Thanks to Julie, I will never look at aluminum foil in the same way again.  I feel like framing a piece and hanging it on my wall.

I am also with Dean's poem, "Einstein".  He quoted Borges to begin: "The universe (which others call the library)." I would love to give you the whole poem but will give the last stanza as a teaser.  Check out these poets, Julie Bruck, Melissa Stein, C.J. Evans, Keith Ekiss, Rebecca Foust, Dean Rader.  They are excellent poets and poetry changes our life.

The last stanza of the poem "Einstein" by Dean Rader:

Einstein thinks:
I know that what we are,

We have become, and what
We have become we turn

To shadow, and what the shadow
Touches, the present forgets.

Memory is the shadow of the present
Stretching backward

Forming the equation
To prove Borges was right:

God is a book.

The translator: me.
The language: desire.
Alan - pansy -

Medicine Cabinet

To counteract the news of the Boston Marathon and rapes of young women, I offer news from my medicine cabinet.  The termite-inspired remodel of our second bathroom begins today which means the removal of all items from the bathroom.  The floor will be torn out, and some of the walls.  We have three sections to our medicine cabinet, three separate mirrors, so I provide entertainment in the one over the toilet, figuring there might be people who like to "snoop".  I have multi-colored candles and candles of elves displayed inside, and fancy soaps, and two books stand up.  One is Matuso Basho's Narrow Road to the Interior, which seems appropriate, and the other is Cooper Eden's If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow, which again, to me, seems to fit.   His illustrations are wonderful.

On a day such as today, I offer these quotes by Cooper Edens:

"If you're at the end of your rope, untie the knot in your heart."

"If you find your socks don't match, stand in a flowerbed."

"If there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough."

"If the light goes out ... wear it around your neck and go dancing."

"If tomorrow morning the sky falls .... have clouds for breakfast."

May we each reach inside the medicine cabinet we all carry, and may we find there, in the center, ease, understanding, compassion, and peace.