Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020
Made a winter solstice meal (stew, roasted veggie salad, biscuits, and apple cider hot toddies with brandy) to share with BS and EM for good cheer. We'd planned to build a fire in the firepit, but it began to hail, so we lit some candles indoor instead.
LB and TB were having their own solstice celebration and I was supposed to head over after dinner, but I stayed home, had a long boozy chat with EM and then Zoom-ed into JL's book club meeting of Mexican Gothic. I hadn't read it, but no one was talking about the book anyway. We haven't met in so long and everyone's hair was SO long!
I'm inordinately excited about yoga, and hangouts, and the two minutes of extra daylight we'll get tomorrow.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
A quiet day with quiet tasks (rearranging the the snack drawer, watering all the plants, laundry). Then I finished Mrs. America with At and Nu after dinner. Wow/Ow: it was tough to watch all that second-wave momentum entropy like that...
Saturday, December 19, 2020
I want so much for us as I wake this morning
wordless--moving only heart, breath
surprised at how steadfast
for much goes missing all the time: plans or
a present or something that lies, dead
as a future kindness unsaid.
I lose my sense of self, my words; I have
become that one actor who played
that part in that one movie--
Do you remember? How much bigger could I
have been, how much bigger my role,
my words trawl empty
yet full of yearning; and errant words return
sad, humble. I need an army--an armor--
...I'm too numb to concede
our decline of tenderness, as every sign of
bitterness witnesses us forward,
begrudges us to a deadline.
Friday, December 18, 2020
After I turned in my portfolio, I felt so strongly that whatever the committee decided, I did deserve tenure. I have zero imposter syndrome, apparently. What I do have is survivors' guilt knowing there are so many equally--or more--deserving peers all over the world trying to make it in an unjust higher-ed system. Also moments of sadness knowing that it won't be what I dreamed since JG and KB, two of my besties on the third floor of SAC, resigned this year.
The "celebration/crybaby" present Big A had been promising for weeks turned out to be... a new laptop. Whomp, whomp. I tried to fake my way into being gracious and enthusiastic about it, but honestly--it feels like a "vacuum cleaner present." I had imagined a big ol' massage chair or a hot tub or something indulgent... Ha.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
My Nu is amazing and I'm so proud of what they can do when they set their mind to it.
Speaking of minds, I gave the kids fidget cubes and personal copies of If You're Freaking Out, Read This as a Pre-Christmas/Hanukkah present today. If ever there was a year to pay attention...
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
"The Long and Winding Road" makes me swell with emotion. I mean, "crying for the day" sounds just like me. LOL. There's no real reason I can fathom, and it doesn't remind me of any one person or place--just some general sense of beauty and nostalgia and malaise.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
I saw everyone at breakfast and dinner, but otherwise, at least one of us has been on right round the clock...
Scout and Huck who snooze all day seem to be the only ones with adequate sleep and solid sleep hygiene around here.
Monday, December 14, 2020
My children's love passes right through me
(like an arrow, like a bullet)
My parents' love steeps all through me
(like a tantrum, like a blush).
I fear death; there are deaths I fear more:
My deaf father sleeps deep
through knocking, my mother and sister
My tired children sleep past the blare
of smoke alarms, heavy
I wonder if I can shake them awake
like a pair of dead batteries.
But the world does its singing, then
my body curls like smoke
plummets, coaxes with folded hands
draws doors in heartache.
So let me tell you how I scan the dates
of people's lives, guessing--from
the headlines of their last year--if death
might have felt like a blessing.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
The tiny tree went up this weekend--powered 95% by At and Nu.
While I was writing that poem about Chelli's moving day yesterday, I was trying to make the verses look like the many roofs we've been under, but it actually looks like a tree too!
Also, as she said after she read that poem, I completed it "so fast!" High praise indeed!
Saturday, December 12, 2020
8000 miles away
my sister is moving
her furniture is being taken apart now
it will be put back together again, very soon.
She remembers how I arrived at her
house in Delhi the week before she did,
how I cut my hand open unpacking boxes, how
I made that a joke about my rakta dan--"blood sacrifice."
I don't remember this story. But
she giggles and so then I giggle and then
we tell each other how much we love each other.
When will we see each other again? (There aren't even plans.)
And I want to say: Take a break!
Need to ask: Are you tired? Is that heavy?
But I look at the telephone; I just... miss you.
There's more air than we can breathe between us.
Exile now feels like breaking--
like an earthquake--inside out, fragile
as though an eggshell holding hatchlings,
a coming to--on the other side of worldliness.
There are stones in my throat all day
so I stumble. I speak slowly as though in
a foreign language (all language feels foreign,
cannot say what I feel, clots like moonlight in my brain).
I just parrot from poems I read:
"Art thou weary? Art thou weary?" I dream you
give the movers the address, but Bangalore traffic sounds
harmonize it into my name, send it--back in a whisper to you.
Friday, December 11, 2020
We saw a license plate that said "DRKING," which the new 21-year-old misread as "drinking" and then wondered if the missing letter was because it mimicked how a tipsy person might slur their words. I pointed out that it was probably "Dr. King"--and we laughed about his misreading and over-reading.
And then At: Well, either way, that license plate is probably going to get them pulled over. Regular cops/ Racist cops. [makes weighing/shrug/balancing gesture.]
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Early morning run. Frost. Today. I will
love. Everyone. Like I'm long lost
like you're special. I'll stitch love to
even your lack of care, neglect,
share a request--like
tossing a small wish, easy as pennies
into some mall fountain--please,
can you wear a mask?
It lingers in our air--your answer is
irritable, the road rifts, rebels
at your insolent stride
I follow that script, know that road
I sift regret from the open
arils of the day
I still. The road calms, a dove coos
I know now it is "mourning"
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Whole Foods pizza night over here as I was supposed to be doing scholarship interviews at dinner time... Still waiting to hear faculty personnel deliberation results... still wrestling with Nu's schoolwork.... etc.
On the done side: I have finalized Christmas presents and have stopped compulsively adding to everyone's gift baskets. And I have stopped stalking MCM furniture on Facebook marketplace. I scored a pair of Mersman step tables for 60 last week, and that was probably my peak + we really don't need more stuff.
Also: We weren't going to do holiday cards, but now I have one prepped and ready to print.
Something is clearly going on, and it doesn't need a genius to see I'm filling up my time with distractions and side projects instead of writing.
Tuesday, December 08, 2020
Monday, December 07, 2020
Grades are in! Ahead of schedule! And they're decent--generous in a pandemic, but not inflated.
I prioritized weekly assignments rather than a grand final project; that resulted in really solid foundational applications and a high rate of completed assignments. Extensions were available on request, Canvas was configured to allow later submissions, and email submissions were enabled for people who didn't make it.
The research students graded themselves ("ungrading"), and that went really well. They need the practice for grad school and teaching assistantships anyway, and it gave us some good discussions on the rubrics and objectivity. Speaking of teaching assistants--best email today was from AS, who graduated last year, with the subject heading "office chocolate." I miss pre-pandemic office culture so much.
All that, yes. But my own school child seems to be slipping quite badly. Big A took down one side of our refrigerator collage to post Nu's sad report card as a goad. (I'm not a fan of this, but was vetoed.)
Sunday, December 06, 2020
I'm attracted to gravity, the weight of it
the way it settles into a palimpsest
Children best friends puppies homes
friends in-laws all them totems
Yet: new laughter moves me, old words
bend my mind--press guesses
We can enter spaces where time fades
earth freezes or poles thaw us
Saturday, December 05, 2020
So here's me putting myself to bed with my chocolate and hot tea before the sun goes down.
(I'd made dinner early. AND took some over to L&T. AND showed the kids how to serve themselves around 5. And then, I left everyone to their own DEVICES. Haha.)
(When I woke up later, I found they'd put the leftovers away and started the dishwasher. 💕💕)
Friday, December 04, 2020
Thursday, December 03, 2020
They were being so cute together while I made dinner--I asked to take a picture... and then they totally hammed it up. My kids are all irony and cheese (and honey).
(And yes, that's ANOTHER whole pumpkin pie L brought over because these guys loved the first one so much.)
James R. Kincaid, an English prof. at USC, has been writing in The Slate, and practically everywhere else, about how we are given to autom...
(Sorry to have been so solipsistic--although The Yunus Nobel and the Desai Booker provided the much-needed antidote to that : ) I have b...
Friends and old neighbors shutting it down in honor of John Crawford. _
Sunlight. arrogance sees, sleeps Now i understand: every thing you say. In the dark. heartbeat dee...
At had us pose for this pic up at Aunt R's place on Lake Huron so he could put it up in his dorm. "Don't tur...
Today is the birthday of the best sister in the whole world (mine:)! Happy, Happy Birthday, Chelli! [AA, my favorite aunt in the whole wor...
Yesterday at lunch with the awesome Pied Piper and an accomplished, pioneering writer whose anonymity we shall preserve, Piper turned to me...
She knows that the child and his friend --another child-- read her words. She hides small messages of hope and love ...