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Monday Already?

But it was a good weekend. Met some people I haven’t seen for some time, watched/heard 2 students present works-in-progress & discovered I haven’t completely lost my ability to appreciate new poetry.

For a while I thought I had… (reactions ranging from inert to adverse) but then I chanced upon 2 ‘new’ writers I really like. One is a young woman in her 20’s–alive & writing now so there is hope for us!–the other probably one of the best poets in the world but new to me thanks to my anglo-christian insularity!

First: Balli Jaswal, Other Kinds of Seeds

Last night we sneaked into the kitchen
to push lumps of sticky brown sugar into
our lips, pursed so no one would hear us laughing.

Your nose twitched and you followed the scents of
our pantry, stocked with bags of rice and tins filled with
powders that permanently stained the bands on my braces.

“Onions are weird,” you said, crossing your arms over your
chest. You’ve never seen them though, and how their outlines
are like temple domes. At restaurants, your parents make

sure the waiters know that they don’t want any and bring
breath mints along with them just in case. My family doesn’t
believe in pepper while yours may experiment with it from time to time.

My house smells like the food we eat, thick sauces that sizzle
in black cardamom seed residue. My taste buds have great faith
in the recipe book my mother keeps in her heart which says that

tomatoes are identical to plain yogurt,
though if you challenged me to tell you how, I’d shrug
and say that she was mistaken.

The other of course is the Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi. (The translation I have is Coleman Barks)

The Road Home

An ant hurries along a threshing floor
with its wheat grain, moving between huge stacks
of wheat, not knowing the abundance
all around. It thinks its one grain
is all there is to love.

So we choose a tiny seed to be devoted to.
This body, one path or one teacher.
Look wider and farther.

The essence of every human being can see,
and what that essence-eye takes in,
the being becomes. Saturn. Solomon!

The ocean pours through a jar,
and you might say it swims inside
the fish! This mystery gives peace to
your longing and makes the road home home.

Aphrodite singing ghazals. A sky with
gold streaks across. A stick

that finds water in stone. Jesus
sitting quietly near the animals.

Night so peaceful. This is enough
was always true. We just haven’t

seen it. The hoopoe already wears
a tufted crown. Each ant is given

its elegant belt at birth. This love
we feel pours through us like a giveaway

song. The source of now is here!
Told Des yesterday I would forward him evidence I’ve recovered from poetry-allergy, that’s why I typed these out… and I still like them.

Yesterday’s reading session at UCC was good. Realize I am very fortunate in the mentees/victims I was assigned, not just because they both presented new pieces that show technical/performance potential as well as their own touches/humour but because they are both still alive & enthusiastic about writing despite their own heavy work schedules & after all I’ve put them through–only learned yesterday that others have lost interest & dropped out of the program…

…& as I was ‘postmortem/debriefing/grilling’ them over dinner (after the session) with their respective friends I realized from the reactions of their friends my approach comes across as pretty–rigorous? Maybe even savage. Probably did to these poor guys initially too…

… but like I said, they’re still alive & still writing, so…

Now the challenge is to get them staged. But this is a much better battle to face than worrying about getting a script written… Sooner or later one of the groups will open a door & they’ll have 2, 3, 4 pieces ready…

Dogwalking today. Handsome didn’t want to go back into his cage after his walk. And I gave him an extra long session out too, with lots of time spent rolling & rolling & snuffling in the grass.

Because the cages are full he & Boy are going back into the non-viewing ‘quarantine’ area today. But because the golden retriever got adopted & is going home soon… soon… they should be out by the weekend…

It’s like he knew that & didn’t want to walk the last few steps in…

And some people came to deposit at least four if not more cats (some were huddled up, it was difficult to tell how many there were in a clump in a corner of a cage) as I left. They had one carrier & two wire cages. Sterilization? I wondered to Mui hopefully. Not likely so many at one shot. She said, practically.

ie they were either dumping family pets or were busybodies collecting perfectly healthy feral cats from somewhere because they think animals do better in cages.

Lucky for them they turned up in a taxi. If they had a car I might have accidentally scratched it on my way out!!!!!!

(any opinions I express do not represent the SPCA, do not get upset & write to them!)

Over the weekend I had a good primary series practice on Saturday, then did sun salutations & Yin Spine Sequence (about one hour) on Sunday. It takes about three months to work out a practice, so I think I’m finally on my way to settling in… one and a half months more to establish my home practice!


3 Responses

  1. I wish I could write poetry. It is a dream of mine, but I feel I don’t know how to begin.

    Yes, I think we can always learn, even when we’re the teacher. Reminds me of parenthood, in a way—where I always felt I learned more than I taught!

  2. It’s a good situation, because ‘pretend to meditate & you find yourself meditating’ works here too… I don’t believe anyone can ‘teach’ writing, but in driving/pushing/hounding these poor kiddies to read/respond/analyze response/mimic/analyze their attempts/read/read/read/listen/listen/listen I find myself reading more & ‘better’ too–

    so I should be thanking them, really!

  3. Thank you for sharing these poems.

    I am a poetry lover (and, of course, I always love Rumi). Sounds like you are an excellent mentor, too.

    Oh, poor animals. . . .

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