Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Blogger update that keeps on giving


Ah, the Blogger update that keeps on giving. My old posts with photos are rendered into blank boxes. Sections of text are randomly supersized, or there are inexplicable gaps and multiple carriage returns. Or the typography is an odd color. Makes me look like an idiot.

Wiki links are hardest hit. Cleaning it up is not an easy task. I'm tip-toeing through my 2014 posts, HTML and visual landmines! It's taken me hours to clean up the posts, about a quarter of them had HTML warnings, and I have 135 posts. Ironically it was in 2014 when I really began to run afoul of Blogger, with hanging posts, and disappearing posts. Dear Google, Using Blogger is a Painful Experience. 

I am painfully reminded of the original name of this blog which was Literrata and Cybernalia. Yes, the cybernalia coming home to roost. 2015 looks a bit better, but I'm bogged down at September (beginning from Dec. and working backwards).

Any posts I've revisited to correct typos, etc, seem to be updated. Minor miracle. Except for the extra random carriage returns....they seem to be breeding.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Adding old journal entries, part 2


I seem to work in spates, bringing my old journal entries and poems into the electronic age. I've had a stack of journals haunting me at the foot of the bed for months, now. So I've been revisiting old writing for the past week. (Besides Facebook, where I continue to mine bits from the recent past, is boring as feckall these days.)

Right now, I'm mostly revisiting work from the 1980s. There's more to choose from. The 1990s and early 2000s will be lean years, as it was about that time when I sloughed off writing in my journals. Well, I was writing, but it had more to do with going back to school, academics, rather than writing, or art.

I finally got around to adding my Azores and Lisbon journals from 2001 (high on my To Do list), and it proved to be a rich trove. Only thing is, I didn't particularly need more work from 2001. The years 2000, or 2003-06, were lean, yes. But it seems to work that way, they years where I don't need more work, I have lots of entries.

My goal still is 52 posts per year, and I have finally fleshed out the lean 1980s years, 1984 in particular, was spare, until I discovered there was a whole lot more to my Hawaii journals, as compared to first read, or rather first skim.

Once I gave myself permission to type up journal entries, mostly travelogues, and musings—I found many bits of embedded poems. My 1981 Port Townsend journal entries are much richer than I expected. (July, August ).  It's really strange delving back into the past like this. But it's also a unique opportunity to reclaim the past, sans the emotional minefields I seemed to inhabit at the time.

Also, with an eye to the past, I am looking at that old work with a new eye, envisioning what can be moved into prose. Besides, it serves as a timeline of sorts. How many of us, other than Samuel Pepys, can say with certainty what we were doing September, 1987? Apparently not much, as I have no entry!

But 1997, I can reconstruct the past. After I had read with Gene Ruggles, at the Cafe International, I was huckleberrying and then, cleaning berries. Lots of them. Which, by 2000, turned into a monloogue piece for my MA/MFA correlative. (Probably why I have no new work for 2000 is because I was revising so much old work.)

My last spate at rendering (wrestiling?) journals into an electronic format, was June of 2017. (See Adding old journal entries) I've made some progress. The years 1980, and 1982 may be hopeless as I've exhausted my writing journals. The Napa journals, which I have yet to delve into, promise to be squirrely as I often used them to revise existing work, so the dates are faux amis.

I also try to post original entries from journals beneath revised poems (when I find them—and I'm often surprised by the genesis) so there's a record. I was surprised to see how much I revised certain poems, or how I revisited a theme over and over (William T. Wiley, for example), trying to put it right.

And to think all this madness began when I opened a corrupt file, dated ca. 2000, then another, and another, back to the mid 1980s, and realized I needed to update my electronic work, and bring it into time present, before all was forever lost. I suppose, at one point, I will also need to make hard copy of all my files as well. Ugh! Until then, Blogger will have to do. I have close to 2500 entries published.

After all, if I don't curate my own work, who else will?


Monday, September 18, 2017

Storm Alphabet


Well, hurricanes Harvey and Irma certainly trounced us. So, I take it that Hurricane José fizzled out? Steve said no, José was last seen off the Carolinas and was headed for The Big Apple. Did someone call ICE? Will it reach The White House? What were the names of hurricanes K, and L? Someone said it was Katia, not Kyle X (no bellybutton). Maybe we should switch to Cyrillic. After all, the election was stolen. I was in the Dry Tortugas when Ivan struck. We've literally run out of storm grade categories. Let's face it, both Harvey and Irma were both way larger than Category 5. Tell me again how climate change is a myth. How did we get to tropical storm Maria so fast? It's only September. What about L? Do we even want to meet a girl like Maria under this context? Someone said Lee was a tropical depression. Sounds like an old boyfriend of mine. And now Nate's brewing in the Pacific. Storm Ophelia is yet to be born. How did we get around to naming storms anyway? How come we still name most tempests after women? Apparently “Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes.” But people think they can outride the storm if it's named after a woman. What happened to naming hurricanes after the saints? It's nearly October, and we're running out of hurricane names. Then what? Hurricanes Andrew, Ivan and Katrina's death kills were so high, their names have been retired forever. Add Harvey and Irma to that list. Since 2000, some 30 cataclysmic Category 5ish storm names have been retired. When a tropical cyclone reaches tropical storm intensity (40MPH winds), it's christened with a name. Irma's winds reached 185MPH. What happens when we get to the letter T? Call it Trump? Last time we hit storm T (Tanya) was in 1995. What's the last highest alphabet named storm? Did we ever get to storm Z? Did we invoke Zeus? We got up to Wilma in 2005, it was a watershed year, with Katrina, Rita, and all. That year five storm names were retired, a record. I just found out that the storm alphabet excludes the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z, because it's a challenge to come up with names: you can only have so many Quinns, Uriahs, and Xerxes. What happens if we run out of alphabet? Then what? Do we start over at the beginning, switch to the Greek alpha-and-omega-bet. Storm Chi and Hurricane Omicron sound smallish, and Storm Psi is rather onomatopoetically wettish. Like I said earlier, maybe we should switch to Cyrillic. Or maybe we should just invent catastrophic new letters for the new monster storms.



Saturday, September 16, 2017

AT EVA'S CABIN


At 6000 feet we are that much closer to the sun
I watch the vagaries of heat and wind
leave ripples on the pond
while words surfacing like hungry fish
feed upon the vagaries of air.

9/16/17
Olivas Ranch Road
Above the Alabama Hills

Friday, September 15, 2017

HIKING BACK IN TIME


I hiked a couple of hard miles 
up the first two long switchbacks 
past Carillon Creek, the north fork of Lone Pine Creek
into the deep gorge at the base of Mt. Whitney, 
well above the waterfall at Whitney Portal. 
I gained just enough altitude 
that with each step I hiked backwards in time 
back towards the very beginning of summer.

9/15/17
Mt. Whitney

SUNRISE, MT. WHITNEY

SUNRISE, MT. WHITNEY
     After John O'Donohue's poem, At the end of the day: a mirror of questions

The night dreamed of its own beginning.
My eyes lingered on the spires of mountains
I was blinded by the dawn light.
I was wounded and no one knew
I read the dark script of canyons.
The trees closest to me whispered old secrets.
I forgot about the old speech of the mountains.
I neglected that part of myself
that traversed the secret trail heads, into the past.
What did I begin today that might endure?
These small words, everyday conversations
are meaningless next to that of the ravens at dawn.
I keep forgetting that  kindness costs nothing
so I greet everyone with respect.
And when I smile my heart is lighter for it.
For I remember the dead today, and every day.

I remember my cousin who died too young in his sleep
Whom my family will honor at the Druid's Hall in Nicasio
With the cows looking on, while I, here,
gaze upon the face of beauty.
These mountains comb the indigo sky
Sometimes it's the only love I allow myself to receive.
The moment of self, a friend unexpectedly hugs me
on the back side of the Sierras
where the past and the present are one thing,
a deep imprint on the psyche.
The poets see me as I see myself,
a speck of dust in the vastness of what is.
I did not avoid that gift I was given-- only to ask:
Why was I given this day?

7/15/17
Lo Inyo High School
With Kathy Evans
Lone Pine, CA

video

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED


Last night I dreamed the moon spoke in tongues.
It talked of distant dreams, and far horizons.
It whispered of the past and it splashed
across the stone faces of the mountains.
It danced with the shadows of dark trees.
It sang with the lonely coyotes
who consider it their mother.
The moonlight was well pleased with itself
and the stars seemed brighter still,
if only for a moment, and then the mountains shifted.
They stood a little taller in the darkness.
The world turtle shifted in its sleep,
and the earth moved in its slumber.
There was no one there to translate.

9/15/17
Lo Inyo Elementary School
With Kathy EvansLone Pine, CA

(there was an earthquake)
 

The Scandinavians in the parking lot


The Scandinavians are having breakfast in the Lone Pine parking lot at dawn with their rented Harleys. I can almost understand what they're saying... I keep thinking that if I tilt my head a little more, it will become clearer.

Last night I listened to the Norwegians and Finns sing American folk songs badly. But they knew all the words. They've ridden rented Harleys from San Diego to Zion and are headed to SF fog.

They are mostly from Oslo. They're singing Happy Birthday to one of their friends in English. I will miss them.  Today is a birthday of sorts. They're off to San Francisco. Where will they park all those bikes?

My next door neighbor was from Finland, but didn't speak a word of English. He leaned on his bike in the parking lot and smiled. I tried to communicate, and realized that Finnish has few cognate words with English. I was hoping that via the dialectic continuum from English to Norwegian... nope. 

I was looking for loanwords. I didn't even know the word for poet in Finnish, so I said Kalevala. It was pretty surreal. He laughed, and said I no speak English, coughed over his cigarette, and smiled again. The universal language.

Dawn, Mt Whitney, from Lone Pine (photos)




The firebird of dawn only sang for a short moment and Mt Whitney was ablaze. I was not expecting to see the magenta shadow fading to purple. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would've thought the camera was fibbing. The smoke is a prism. The edge of the rainbow's spectrum revealed on the face of Mt. Whitney. 

I watched the shadow of the White Mountains draped on the Alabama Hills, the sun rose in a gap in the White Mountains which followed the contour of Whiitney's foothills. A cradle of light. 



When I first got up, the mountains were a drab dove grey. I was disappointed. But then, sometimes magic happened. Sometimes you just have to wait for it. Channeling Galen Rowell light this morning. it's a gift from the gods when you catch that moment.


Lone Pine Peak, a band of magenta above the shadows. 

A slightly better photo of Mt. Whitney a few minutes later. 

And then the color was gone. A lone raven in the sky.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

TIOGA PASS


It snowed at Tioga Pass, just a sprinkling.
The vagaries of weather, still in the high 80s,
back side of the Sierras. No respite from the heat.


When we drove over Tioga Pass,
the air was so thick with smoke from wildfires,
we could see godbeams piercing the clouds.


I watched the sun set on the crest of Mt. Whitney.
Magical. Dow Villa is loaded with movie memorabilia.
The light still shines on where Duke slept here.

9/14/17
Lone Pine

Thursday, September 7, 2017

WHAT ROUTE?


WHAT ROUTE?

So much depends
(no, I'm not there yet)
upon what route
to take to the Eva
to Lone Pine
What deep canyon
to traverse?
The wildfires
are raging
licking at the venerable
heels of giant sequoias
What pure poetry combusts
in the form of stardust?

Old poets debate
on the best route
to take: Highway 50
over Carson Pass,
or ascend 10,000 feet
to Tioga Pass
and risk a blizzard?
Mono Lake eyeing
our descent
to the backside
of the Sierras
that Range of Light
It's all smoke
and more smoke
no mirrors
involved.
Other than
hindsight.


Tioga means where it forks