Friday, September 27, 2013

The Art of Overhearing

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the value of overhearing. On this week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire, Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson gained insight into a city he was unfamiliar with (Tampa) by listening in on a slick salesman delivering a pitch. 

And today, I was chatting with a librarian friend at the art school library. She was telling me about her ideas for upcoming quilting projects, and showing me beautiful images of fabric and masterfully-crafted quilts.

On the way out, a woman sitting behind the desk stopped me, and asked me if I was in the fashion design department (she’d overheard our conversation). I told her I wasn’t, but we spoke for a minute, and I learned she is a jewelry designer (she had a gorgeous silver pendant on that she’d made).

If we’re open to them, these chance moments can lead to such fascinating conversations and thoughts (even if, or maybe especially because they are brief). In grad school, I was once riding the bus (where the eavesdropping is glorious, friends) with two other students. We were talking about how much we loved Atonement, and my buddy Paul said, “Ah, the prose just sparkles!” A man sitting behind us asked us whether we were students or writers, and he told us he was so delighted to hear people speaking about literature in this way.

In my Introduction to Professional Writing class yesterday, we were discussing the value of Twitter--I absolutely believe that it is a place to have private conversations in public. The internet lets us people-watch and overhear in abundance, doesn’t it?

It makes me happy to think that technology might be increasing the ways for us to be receptive and attentive to the world around us (although it certainly doesn’t always feel like this--maybe we’re breaking even in terms of attention). In these small, wonderfully-meaningless moments of connection, for a few minutes it feels like we’re living in that provincial town in Beauty and the Beast (“Bonjour! Bonjour!”). The musical just under the surface peeks through, then recedes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Box Is the Toy

The Box Is the Toy

The river is moving
but the meadow is still.

That is what we think

which is why we forget about
how big of a box the planet is in
and how big of a box
with no sides
that box is in.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Magic Words

The Magic Words

What one thing are you hoping
someone will tell you

to get every event to canter off
into labeled shelves,

miniature gumball machines and
thimbles into the right

compartments of a gridded shadow
box. The desert won’t

be cured because it isn’t ailing.
The cacti won’t die,

in fact, three new cacti have sprung
up just now in your

footprints. You know what you
are waiting to hear,

trapped in you like the light within
a closed refrigerator.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A New Kind of Sangria

A New Kind of Sangria

The pink hibiscus petal floats to the surface
of the pitcher, then lifts from it, shaking
the wine from its edges, wet dog trying
to rid itself of the heavy fur. Petal floats,
seeks and finds stem on the counter, reattaches
itself, and in come the other petals, a whole
flower again, a swarm of petals, sliced fruit
flying toward you, darts waking to their own
will. There are consequences for trying to drink
the garden.

Friday, September 20, 2013

This Week, Feeling Inspired by...

  • This song, “Calling Cards,” by Neko Case (I have a memorized calling card number from 14 years ago that I occasionally use):    

  • Eric Valli’s photography. I am in awe of these gorgeous photos. They do tell stories, but by immersing viewers into one fragment/scene of a story. There is something to learn here, I think.
Photo by Eric Valli, from High Himalaya

Photo by Eric Valli, from Caravans
  • A bunch of readings that I’ll be doing throughout fall! It’s a good opportunity to read new work, and experiment with what pieces I group together. And it’s always fun to read one or two poems not by me!

And you, friends?