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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Reading Suggestions

Looking for a summer reading suggestion? How about Dave Zobel's The Science of  TV's the Big Bang Theory: Explanations Even Penny Would Understand? Zobel explains the scientific principles featured in conversations on the #1 most popular scripted television show.

And if that isn't a reason to read it, how about this? There's a poem in it, and it's by me. How did that happen, you wonder? Well, I'm a Caltech alum. Really. I have a degree from there. Really. See page 91-2, where you can read the poem "In Praise of Imperfect Love" from The Insomniac's Weather Report. Really.

And if that book isn't entirely up your alley, how about Tracy Slater's The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self, and Home on the Far Side of the World. This one's about an academic from Boston who falls in love with a Japanese salaryman and ends up moving to Osaka to marry him. Not only is this book written by a charming narrator, but it also include information on coping with infertility in a foreign country.

Guess what? I'm in this one too. Really. Tracy is one of my closest friends in Japan. But that doesn't mean I'm recommending her book solely out of loyalty. If you don't believe me, believe Barnes & Noble who named The Good Shufu a Discover Great New Writers for Summer 2015 pick! Really.





Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Money

“I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money (not for purpose or passion)- has turned himself into a slave.” Joseph Campbell

************************************

“And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money, I don't even want to come in out of the rain.” Mary Oliver

************************************


Small Ode to My Ignorance                                          Steven Reese
To wake, at this age, and realize how
Little one knows of so many things—
Who wouldn't feel a bit like a beast,
Concerned with its corner of pasture
Or a master's voice, and little besides?

I speak of the quotidian, the necessary,
The near-to-hand—not the esoterica
Of valences or the mason wasp,
But bridges, say, or the sun, plumbing,
Gluten, flight, the bowels, acoustics,
Wind, muscle. Money. Anything
Brought to me through cables.

I bat a big eye at these things, I low
At them, then drop my head back
In the bucket and feed.

Love, what does it mean when you ask
About roads and directions, something
So plain as time, and how it is we've
Arrived here and are somehow for each
Other, and all I can do for reply is rub
My head against you like the cat?
I'd like to claim my ignorance
Is the very source and ground of all
Hungers, all wanting, that it begins
Any answer I would make you,

But I can say only that I wear it
Like a bell. Whenever I move, whatever
I do, it clatters its summons—at which
The whole stark world of my unknowing

Assembles, right there, beyond me.

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And so I can’t truly say: ‘These poems are about love or death or money and they try to do this or that or the other.’ They are about what they are about. Nor do I think it irresponsible to remark that they got written for two reasons: first to get them out of my head and second in the hope that they might give some people some pleasure. It is rather as though one removed with a pen-knife an abscessed tooth in the conviction that its roots might be shaped like Rodin’s Kiss or a Japanese netsuke or the soul of the prophet Job. Or anything else that a poem might be said to look like before it gets written.

George Barker

************************************

Something for the Low End                                   Betsy Wheeler
Dear Alto Section, you angel me.
Or, I turn in my wings & fall.
You are the afternoon afternoon
curled up in. You workboot
the dangling measures. You speak
in money & money goes south.
You backbone the tenors.
You give me stead.

          ii.
If you were naked, you'd be drawn
by a steady hand. If you cared a whit
about callback, you saunter back late.
You are the anti-worry my worries wallow in.
You nectar all the -ades, trump the glazes
in terms of shimmer. You tallish French harlot,
I have no knowledge for you.

          iii.
Your parlor is piles
of poison pillows.
Your shades are so Rodeo.
Roh-day-oh.
You are the philosophy
philosophy jacks off in.
Your blue teardrops pool
on my ledges.

          iv.
You'd forgive half of Chelsea.
You training-wheel the virgin evenings.
Your trailer's gone begging.
You look better in Cranberry.
You're so dark-washed.
You should take off your sweater.
Take your hands out of your pockets.
         
v.
Life doesn't have to be
this way. It could be
handsomer. It could make
the sound of crystal beads
jumping. It wants to be so
accordion on your birthday morning.
Never mind what was muted,
it's sort of mysterious. It's incredibly
transparent. It's above all public
blunders & subsequent embarrassment.
It's already home in bed by now,

poor thing.

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"This frenzied activity which has us all, rich and poor, weak and powerful,
in its grip - where is it leading us? There are two things in life which it seems to me all men want and very few ever get (because both of them belong to the domain of the spiritual) and they are health and freedom. The druggist, the doctor, the surgeon are all powerless to give health; money, power, security, authority do not give freedom. Education can never provide wisdom, nor churches religion, nor wealth happiness, nor security peace. What is the meaning of our activity then? To what end?"
Henry Miller