“Thaw” by Luisa A. Igloria

Surprise, surprise, it snowed! In the late afternoon. Self was supposed to go to a reading, but with the snow and all, she chickened out.

Self is rooming with Luisa A. Igloria again. (We were roommates also last year at AWP Seattle) Luisa is very good at attending panels, which is great, because self has been holed up in her hotel room just reading, and if not for Luisa’s recaps she would be in a great blizzard of Know-Nothing.

Self totally bombed about attending the Karen Russell reading this evening. Luisa loved it.

Here’s a poem from Night Willow (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing) one of two books Luisa had published in 2014 (The other is Ode to the Heart Smaller Than a Pencil Eraser)

Thaw

Warmer days. Light that fades later and later. Finally we can fling the
windows open. The clasps grate and rasp, like throats gargling salt
water first thing in the morning. Rooms crammed with more than
winter’s fat; eaves with bits of leaf and twig, blinds lined with ledgers
of dust. The drawers groan with socks and scarves, the pantry
shelves with unopened cans of beans. I want to scrub all the corners,
scour the tiles in the bathroom with bleach — even the stripes of
grout between each one. I want a pot of yellow strawflowers, a bowl
of blood-red tulips, nothing else but the mellow gleam of wood in
the middle of the room. I read about ascetics and what they chose
to renounce. Sometimes I think I want that. Sometimes I want to
be both the mountains emerging from their heavy robes of ice and
snow, and the streams they feed below, rushing and teeming with
color and new life. Sometimes I want to be the clear unflavored
envelope of agar, other times the small mouthful of sweet azuki bean
entombed like a heart in the center.

Luisa A. Igloria is the author of twelve books of poetry and numerous awards, including the 2014 May Swenson Poetry Prize and 2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize.

Blur 4: Self’s Head Is Still in Winter

It had been decades since self had ridden on Amtrak. But when she lived in New York City, and her sister was still taking her MBA in Wharton, she used to take trains all the time.

Last month, she visited one of her sister’s closest friends, Kathleen Burkhalter, who is now Mrs. David Bell and lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was officially spring, but the landscape was still snowy.

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

When self lived in New York, she started out sharing the basement of a house in Flushing, then moved to a sublet on 8th and First. She loved New York with a passion.

Returning last month, she saw her first heavy snowfall in decades. The snow coated the sidewalks, the streets, the trees in Central Park.

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Finally, Bjork’s Swan Dress.

Self managed to catch the Bjork retrospective at the NY Museum of Modern Art.

What.A.Fascinating.Exhibit.

Self took many pictures of the dress. But since this week’s Photo Challenge theme is BLUR, she picked one of the blurry ones:

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ephemera 5: Mendocino Good Times

It was an absolutely knock-your-socks-off (Where did that expression originate, self wonders) gorgeous day in Mendocino.

It’s very bucolic and peaceful here. Nary a sour mood in any of the people she’s encountered.

Self still sticking to the Photo Challenge Theme: EPHEMERAL.

Flowers are ephemeral:

Iberis Sempervirens

Iberis Sempervirens (These also grow in self’s backyard)

Fields are full of flowers:

DSCN9096

Nona Smith dropped by Gallery Bookshop last Sunday, when self was doing her Meet-and-Greet, and invited self over for dinner last night:

Sean Minor Pinot Noir to Go With Thai Noodles!

Sean Minor Pinot Noir to Go With Thai Noodles!

A good time was had by all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ephemera 3: The Trips Self Takes

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is EPHEMERAL

“So looking forward to seeing the fleeting moments you’ll capture.”

Here are a few from self’s trip to the East Coast, a few weeks ago. As dear blog readers can see from these pictures, when self is on the move, she can’t be bothered with such things as alignment.

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March 2015

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter, March 2015

The occasion for self’s trip east was the performance, by the Symphony New Hampshire, of Drew Hemenger’s The Marife Suite, which was based on a novella self wrote, Marife.

New Hampshire was cold and wet, the night of the performance, on March 14.

Drew's brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Drew’s brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Ephemera: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

In honor of the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge this week — EPHEMERA — self is posting more pictures of snow. Because snow is the embodiment of the ephemeral.

Central Park, New York City: Snow Day, March 2015

Central Park, New York City: Snow Day, March 2015

New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, March 2015

New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, March 2015

Park Avenue, New York City: Late March 2015

Park Avenue, New York City: Late March 2015

Fresh 4: Fresh Buns and Fresh Snow

Last week, self was in New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, and New Bedford, MA. Here are some pictures she took during the trip, that she thinks connect to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: FRESH.

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh 3: Landscapes with Snow

Being in the East Coast during a heavy snowfall is just . . . magical!

Some pictures of freshly fallen snow, to go with this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, FRESH:

Spring 2015 on the Northeast Coast

Spring 2015 on the Northeast Coast

Chilly scenes of Spring 2015

Chilly scenes of Spring 2015

Fresh Snow: Spring 2015

Fresh Snow: Spring 2015

Still reading Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. Since it’s over 800 pages long, and self’s only got as far as p. 148, she wonders if she’ll ever get to finish it. But anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from the page self is on:

I stopped in front of a kind of landscape, a Surrey landscape from John’s earlier period, that looked to me at once sad and sweet, profound and not at all grandiloquent, an English landscape as only the English can paint them. All at once I decided that seeing this one painting was enough . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It has been snowing all day in New York City.

Nevertheless, self finds that she is still more than up to the challenge of posting about this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:

FRESH

Share with us a photo that expresses something fresh.

Fresh strawberries on waffles: Nothing beats like.

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee:  Queenie's Road House, Elk, California

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee: Queenie’s Road House, Elk, California

Next: Christmas isn’t Christmas without a fresh-cut tree.

Fresh-Cut from Wegman's: December 2014

Fresh-Cut from Wegman’s: December 2014

Finally: Fresh means flowers! This picture was taken in the Huntington Botanical Gardens on Sept. 11, 2014:

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 2014

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 11, 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Hunger Games! Fan Fiction! Self’s New Chapter!

An excerpt from self’s magical realist, Haruki Murakami-inspired, multi-chapter Hunger Games fan fiction:

There’s a sharp knock on the door.

A voice he doesn’t recognize calls his name:  “Mr. Mellark! Mr. Mellark!”

Then, the door seems to open by itself. Peeta turns. There, standing in his apartment, are two ordinary men. They are somewhere between the ages of 50 and 60, and Peeta is sure they aren’t from the Capitol because of the clothes they’re wearing.

“Who are you?” he blurts out.

“We are your friends, Mr. Mellark,” they say in unison.

“No, I don’t know you,” Peeta says. “It’s a trick.”

“We’re here in answer to your call,” the taller of the two says. “Do you recall, about a month ago, speaking to Greasy Sae at The Hob?”

Peeta gapes.

“Mr. Mellark, did you or did you not go to Greasy Sae at The Hob? About a month ago. Think, Mr. Mellark, think.”

It’s a bone-chilling day in New York City. Self spent part of the day on Columbus Avenue. But now that she’s back in the apartment, which is warmer than anywhere in California, she refuses to leave again. Cancel everything! Dinner plans, meeting plans. She’s going to finish reading the latest installment from one of the writers she follows, Fanfiction Allergy. And also write a little bit.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wall 3: New York City

From the WordPress Daily Post site:

Walls are “where stories are read, voices are heard, ideas are shared.”

Below are a few pictures of walls from self’s peregrinations today, St. Patrick’s Day, in the great, ever-inspiring city of New York.

It was a blustery, chilly day. Self overheard this conversation, while sitting on the steps of the Metropolitan having a lunch of shish kebab and lemonade from one of the truck vendors on Fifth (And it was a pretty good shish kebab!)

Young Woman (wearing a dress, leggings, boots, and an absolutely radiant smile): “I just flashed everyone.”

Friend (seated behind self on the steps): “I know. It’s such a fucking windy day. Love the outfit, though.”

Chinese Courtyard, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Chinese Courtyard, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

St. Patrick's Day Parade Wall of Flags! Viewed from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Wall of Flags! Viewed from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum

Wall of People? We're all waiting for the parade!

Wall of People? We’re all waiting for the parade!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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