I stole a book and I liked it.

Sing it to the tune of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”

 

Of COURSE I didn’t really STEAL it; well, I kinda did. While I was visiting Angel Boy 2.0, I found an intriguing book that belonged to my son and it sorta made its way into my carryon.

By CAConrad, Ecodeviance (Soma)tics for the Future Wildnerness is a book of poetry and essays that demands attention. This is not a quicky beach read.

There’s humor, pathos, despair; references to Reiki and crystals. There is love and death.This is a polar shift diversion from my usual reading fare of romance novels and vegan cookbooks. It’s like this…it’s as if you’re driving down the highway on your regular commute and all of a sudden you slam on the brakes, and while they’re squealing and smoking, you completely turn around and speed 100mph in the opposite direction.

Not only is that an apt description of me and this book; it’s a metaphor for my life right about now.

Conrad has become known for his “(Soma)tic” poetry — works that are part map of his process, part writing exercises, part final product, and that emphasize doing and living in a body. In an interview in the film, Conrad calls the (Soma)tics “ritualized structures where being anything but present was next to impossible.” [From http://www.notey.com/@hyperallergic_unofficial/external/8647290/the-ritualized-anger-of-a-queer-poet.html]

“What would you wear for camouflage if you were hiding in a gingerbread house?
I’m NOT hiding, I WANT the witch to eat me!”

From the Poetry Foundation website:

Poet CAConrad grew up in Pennsylvania, where he helped to support his single mother during his difficult youth. Influenced by Eileen Myles,Audre Lorde, Alice Notley, and Emily Dickinson, he writes poems in which stark images of sex, violence, and defiance build a bridge between fable and confession. In a 2010 interview with Luke Degnan for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBlog, Conrad discussed his approach to poetry, which focuses on process and on engaging the permeability of the border between self and other. “Ultimately, I want my (Soma)tic poetry and poetics to help us realize at least two things. That everything around us has a creative viability with the potential to spur new thinking and imaginative output and that the most necessary ingredient to bringing the sustainable, humane changes we need and want for our world requires creativity in all lives, every single day.” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/c-a-conrad

CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays. A Pew Fellow , he has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, and Ucross.

For his books and details on the documentary The Book of Conrad (Delinquent Films, 2016), visit http://CAConrad.blogspot.com

Two of my favorites:

PRETERNATURAL CONVERSATIONS

for Dana Ward

Every once in awhile I think something about a stranger on the sidewalk and they dart a glance at me and I get it—I GET IT—we are one! Allow seven consecutive days for this exercise. DAY ONE, think about a woman you know, think about experiences you have had with her. Think about conversations you have had, think about the things she wears, eats, her way of walking, her laugh. Think about every detail you can imagine. See if she calls you or emails you. Take notes about this attempt at psychic connection.

DAY TWO, do everything you did in DAY ONE, but for a man you know. DAY THREE, go out to the streets and follow someone walking a dog. Look closely at the dog, study the dog’s movements. Whistle in your head, bark in your head. Imagine throwing a stick, yelling “GOOD DOG! GOOD DOG! YOU ARE A VERY GOOD DOG!” Does the dog respond to this? If so, how? Take notes.

DAYS FOUR, FIVE, SIX, and SEVEN are for strangers. In cafes or restaurants, or followed briefly on the sidewalk. Try to connect with two women and two men, complete strangers out in the world. Study them in cafes, museums, going up escalators, or maybe standing in line at the bank. Aim your attention at the clothing they wear, or the way they chew food. Envision saying HELLO, and tugging their sleeve. TUG IT with your mind, punctuated with putting an imaginary hand on their shoulder and saying, “Don’t I know you?” Imagine clapping and shouting “HEY! HEY! HEY YOU!” Did they look at you WHILE you were walking behind them? Communicating beyond the auditory is our goal. What are their reactions? How do you feel about it? Take these seven days of notes and form your poem(s).

 

SEVEN

if i had been
there when they
invented the word
chair
things would
be different would sound better
look at this amazing
structure holding
our bodies in place
to write
to quarrel with ourselves and others
to eat and sing
to launch forth new ideas
to comfort the sphincter
chair is a ridiculous word
monosyllabic NONSENSE
i love chairs but remain
annoyed by their name
living in this post vocabulary
chosen without
imagination
chair chair chair CHAIR
nothing less than
seven syllables will do

CAConrad reads “Preternatural Conversations”

Haiku: Moon Owl

Every so often I need to dust off my mostly unused poetry brain cells (Creative Writing Minor) and I’m reminded of how much I loved writing haikus.

moonowlhaikuMoon Owl

Midnight sky, stars float
Inky black trees, silhouette
Owl hoots announce: moon

by me, Princess Rosebud
Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife
October 2015

Photo taken along California’s Central Coast

The Falling Leaves

In SoCal, we don’t really many trees that change color and lose their leaves, so that’s about one of the only things I miss about the east coast.

But we have year-round beach weather, so it’s not a huge disappointment!

Plus, I can look at this and not have to rake up the leaves, right?

e4591b0af6e3649db2d474d977873d66

The Falling Leaves

Today, as I rode by,
I saw the brown leaves dropping from their tree
In a still afternoon,
When no wind whirled them whistling to the sky,
But thickly, silently,
They fell, like snowflakes wiping out the noon;
And wandered slowly thence
For thinking of a gallant multitude
Which now all withering lay,
Slain by no wind of age or pestilence,
But in their beauty strewed
Like snowflakes falling on the Flemish clay.
Margaret Postgate-Cole (1893–1980)

[Lavender Haiku] #Poetry #Photo #Wordless Wednesday

garden lavender

Photo credit: Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Late afternoon sun
Perfuming a slight warm breeze
Lavender grows here

 By Princess Rosebud

HellFire…Haiku For You

 HellFire

Scorching smoldering
Hot dry smoky swirly winds
SoCal inferno

carlsbad fire Photos taken yesterday from our upstairs window.carlsbadfire2Poem and photos…
Copyright 2014 Princess Rosebud, Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

 

 

Obsession Confession: Paper Parasol Passion

umbrellapoem

I’ve always loved paper cocktail umbrellas.

Exotic and topical in vibrant pink and lime green and turquoise and orange, serving no real purpose other than adorning a beverage, but they make everything seem a little more glamorous, a little more special.

Edit: A huge thank you to Sunshine and Celadines sunshineandcelandines.wordpress.com for the use of the word tropical to describe these little twirly parasols; my brain failed me!

Umbrella Collage

When I was a little girl, my mom would always bring home the colorful little parasols whenever she and my dad went out in the evening.

They shaded Barbie from the summer sun or became part of a beach scene in my dollhouse.

I saved them all until the paper tore or the toothpicks broke.

I have fond memories of my first pretend cocktail, the delicious Shirley Temple, adorned with an alluring paper parasol and a maraschino cherry.

Twenty years ago, I was my own wedding coordinator.

I bought a package of five hundred paper cocktail umbrellas that’ll probably last forever.

You can be sure that if you visit Casa de Enchanted Seashells, your cocktail will be embellished with one!

Mermaids and a clown…

Some of my crazy scenes captured by a camera.

I confess that I spent way too much of the day arranging these umbrellas in all kinds of poses for a photo shoot.

WAY too much time but SO much fun.

Mermaid holding parasol

mermaidumbrella

Shy mermaid

Umbrellashy

Umbrelladisplay

Crazy hallucinogenic clown shaded by an umbrella
‘cos the sun hurts his eyes ‘cos his pupils are all dilated and stuff…
umbrellaclown

Lady with a parasolumbellalady

History of the cocktail umbrella:
The cocktail umbrella is believed to have arrived on the bar scene as early as 1932 courtesy of Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic‘s in San Francisco although it is, by Vic’s own admission, a presentation picked up from Don the Beachcomber (now closed). Upon introduction, umbrellas were considered very exotic as were most things from the Pacific Rim. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Boy Who Is My Heart. So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller

Update: This poem was recently published in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 34 #4 

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On a bitterly cold afternoon, my tugboat man and I embarked on our annual yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California while he trimmed the eucalyptus and mulberry trees.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
I saw bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles suffused it with a gleaming radiance through the brown. steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discover in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect child. 
I gently brushed away twenty-five years of encrusted soil and sand.steamroller2
sandboxI was engulfed in a wave of memory. I was there. I saw him–my four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  I saw him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.looking down from the hill
A sort of homage to…
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

POETRY: Ebb and Flow

serene-ocean-and-vast-horizon-under-cloudy-skyWith my tugboat man so far away somewhere in the vast, vast ocean, I’ve been reading a publication my son sent to the tugboat man as a birthday gift.

Lapham’s Quarterly / Volume VI / Number 3 / Summer 2013

Title: Sea Change
“Standing on shore, we struggle to understand its fury; Lewis Lapham explores the mystery and power of the sea.”

It’s a lovely publication; a compilation of sea stories, excerpts, and poems from Homer to Melville to Marquez to Conrad.

I discovered the beauty of this poem and yeah, I’m missing that big tugboat guy just a bit.

Ebb and Flow

 

Step into my boudoir…

Not really, but welcome to our living room.

I penned a haiku to celebrate my day of cleaning in preparation for Tugboat Man and Angel Boy later this week:

White shirts softly worn

Lemony-scented polish

Teak oak walnut shine

This is what I was doing on Sunday. ALL day.

I took every single item off every single shelf and cleaned each and every one of them.

That included all the pictures on the piano.

In case you’re wondering, not everything was acquired by me–a lot of what I have was given to me by my mom and by my tugboat man from his travels around the world.

And then I put everything back.

It was all very Zen and quiet and lovely.

Finally, I polished the furniture and vacuumed.

I like to work from the top down. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ll save the rug shampooing ’til the end of summer when it’s really hot.

shelf5 shelf6 shelf4 shelf3 shelf2 shelf shelf7 hawaiipic piano

Eco-poetics, Berkeley, Spring Rain by Robert Hass, and my Angel Boy

On March 2, 1981

Thirty-two years ago I was sixty pounds heavier than I am today. I lost a lot of that weight on March 23rd when I finally gave birth, but on March 2, I was nesting, adding final touches to the nursery. Back in those days, amniocentesis and tests to determine sex weren’t the norm and I had no scientific proof — but I knew absolutely for sure —  I was going to have a boy. I knew it from the very beginning.  I had no doubt.

This isn’t my Angel Boy’s birthday tribute; that’ll happen later.

I’m just so very proud of him and all he’s accomplished and it seems like a good day for a couple of poems. Not by me, though.

UC Berkeley hosted an Eco-Poetics Conference last week and my son was invited to participate.

He got his Ph.D. last year from Yale. His dissertation also was due in March — March is an important month — his diss focuses on Goethe, Stifter, and Benjamin.  It incorporates his love for nature and philosophy.

Eco-poetics

The term ecopoetics has become increasingly important to scholars and poets alike. It is certainly a critical moment for the field and practice.

The conference addressed these topics: What is ecopoetics? What representational strategies and sociopolitical commitments might characterize this practice? How might we periodize ecopoetics and situate its modes of cultural production?

My son was lucky enough to meet Robert Hass at the conference. Hass served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. He won the 2007 National Book Award and shared the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for the collection Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005.

Enjoy a couple poems by Robert Hass…

Spring Rain

Now the rain is falling, freshly, in the intervals between sunlight,a Pacific squall started no one knows where, drawn east as the drifts of
warm air make a channel;it moves its own way, like water or the mind,and spills this rain passing over. The Sierras will catch it as last snow
flurries before summer, observed only by the wakened marmots at ten
thousand feet,and we will come across it again as larkspur and penstemon sprouting
along a creek above Sonora Pass next August,

where the snowmelt will have trickled into Dead Man’s Creek and the
creek spilled into the Stanislaus and the Stanislaus into the San Joaquin
and the San Joaquin into the slow salt marshes of the bay.

That’s not the end of it: the gray jays of the mountains eat larkspur seeds,
which cannot propagate otherwise.

To simulate the process, you have to soak gathered seeds all night in the acids of coffee

and then score them gently with a very sharp knife before you plant them
in the garden.

You might use what was left of the coffee we drank in Lisa’s kitchen
visiting.

There were orange poppies on the table in a clear glass vase, stained
near the bottom to the color of sunrise;

the unstated theme was the blessedness of gathering and the blessing of
dispersal—

it made you glad for beauty like that, casual and intense, lasting as long
as the poppies last.

The Failure of Buffalo to Levitate 

Millard Fillmore died here.
His round body is weighted by marble angels
He lies among the great orators of the Iroquois.

Paint does not arrest the tradebook houses
In their elegant decay. They peel
Like lizards in the dying avenues of elm.

Gentle enough, night drifts
Above the yellow bursts of aspen in the park.
Something innocent and reptilian

Suffers here, cumbrously.
The souls of the wives of robber barons
Are imprisoned in the chandeliers.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org