Poetry Road Trip!

I’m posting this list of Poetry Landmarks as a placeholder. Too bad only one of them is located in one of the nine remaining states to visit in my quest to sleep in all 50 states. Good on you, Massachusetts for having the most poetry landmarks of all the states!

Taken from the National Poetry Almanac, a project of the Academy of American Poets

1. Berkley Poetry Walk, Berkeley, CA
2. City Lights Book Shop, San Francisco, CA
3. Robinson Jeffers Tor House, Carmel, CA
4. Wallace Stevens’s hometown, Hartford, CT
5. Homes of Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, Wallace Stevens, Tennessee Williams, & Shel Silverstein, Key West, FL
6. Sidney Lanier Cottage, Macon, GA
7. Carl Sandberg Cottage, Galesburg, IL
8. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
9. Langston Hughes’s hometown, Lawrence, KS
10. Robert Penn Warren Birthplace Museum, Guthrie, KY
11. Emily Dickinson’s home, Amherst, MA
12. The Search for Anne Bradstreet, Essex County, MA
13. Grolier Poetry Bookshop, Cambridge, MA
14. George Edward Woodberry Poetry Room, Lamont Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
15. The Longfellow House, Cambridge, MA
16. McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA
17. Edna St. Vincent Millay’s home, Camden, ME
18. Theodore Roethke’s house, Saginaw, MI
19. Robert Hayden’s bus route, Ann Arbor, MI
20. Dixon Bar, Dixon, MT
21. The Frost Place, Franconia, NH
22. Walt Whitman House, Camden, NJ
23. William Carlos Williams’s hometown, Rutherford, NJ
24. George Moses Horton’s home, Chatham County, NC
25. American Poets’ Corner, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York, NY
26. Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY
27. White Horse Tavern, New York, NY
28. Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Dayton, OH
29. James Wright’s hometown, Martins Ferry, OH
30. The California Gulch Trail, La Grande, OR 31. Marianne Moore Collection, Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, PA


True Story

Prompted by an update from NCLR.org I called the White House comment line, (202) 456-1111, this afternoon to thank President Obama for using his “legitimate prosecutorial discretion” to prevent deportation of DREAM-eligible youth. The operator who took my call did her best to recap what I said, “you’re calling to say you are angry that illegal immigrants are taking our jobs”. I did my best, and was surprised how easy it actually was, to not shriek into the phone: HOW COULD YOU GET THAT OUT OF WHAT I SAID?
“I got it in reverse,” she continued, matching my calm.
Yes. How many others have and will.

I thanked her for listening to calls all day long and doing her best to hear what was being said before sharing my immigrant’s tale, offering my name, and ending the call.

There was a lot of noise in the background at the call center where she was but not enough to drown out the conspiracy in mine. Had someone gotten to her, paid her to translate what she heard – on what I assume is a recorded line, and mute the rest – what ever didn’t serve the Right Agenda?

Would someone who spoke two or more languages have made a similar “error” if they could even land an interview for a position with her level security clearance?

National Impatience?

A guest on the Diane Rheims show this morning said something that hit a nerve. He said the Trayvon Martin case exemplified America’s “national impatience” for a verdict before sufficient evidence has been gathered.

How many years has it been since slavery? Whose descendants got their 40 acres and a mule? I’m not settling for Obamacare either. Like Trayvon, I know you don’t qualify for healthcare if you’re dead. I want justice for ALL for as long as this republic shall live. We are separate by God’s grace, but shoul not be unequal before the law.

Anti-Abortion Activists Abort Free Speech on College Campus

A funny thing happened on the way to 21st century democracy. Rumor has it that one group’s civil rights were aggressively trampled by another. Today, in honor of Women’s History Month, an event was planned in the quad at the Charleston Campus of the College of Southern Nevada. Not coincidentally, perhaps even in a similar spirit of celebration, it so happens that an anti-abortion group had made plans to leaflet the community in the same area at the same time. Now, under typical conditions, both groups would have been able to peaceably assemble and occupy the same place at the same time. Had any of the resources of space, time and bodies in transit been considered scarce neither group would have selected that location and time for their event. What went wrong? What inspired those in the anti-abortion camp to attempt to drown out the voices of those in the women’s history camp? What motivated those in the women’s history camp to call security? How is it that those championing the right to life reject another’s right to live and exercise the rights afforded by the democracy that ‘protects’ us all?

Are You With Me?

They that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint.(Isaiah 40:31)

This scripture came to me as I lay on the floor, having fallen out of bed from exhaustion when the alarm rang. My legs simply had no immediate intention of obeying my mind. As I lay there, wondering how I had come to such a crossroads in life – a life that, for all intents and purposes from an outsider’s perspective at least – appeared to have been otherwise well-lived, I made a promise to get more rest and take seriously the doctor’s several warnings about the consequences of dehydration and insufficient rest.

Exhaustion had quite literally invited me to fall out of bed. Laying there, making the best of things as they appeared, shaking silently with laughter so as not to cry or wake my husband, I logged nine of the 30 minutes prescribed daily for realigning my spine and thought back to conversations held yesterday and across the years with women who, like me, were simply no good at putting the oxygen mask on ourselves before attempting to help fellow travelers.

What good would it do, after all, if we saved every life but our own? Perhaps that question misses the mark, but it gets me closer to the frontlines where we must become our own best defense. As the snooze alarm sounded, I got up and asked the Lord to carry me through the day. Instantly, I began to feel the energies of the spirit buoying me, very much like wind beneath my wings. We have a chance to craft a journey different from the one sketched so poignantly in Beaches. We can encourage one another as examples of self-caring in the big and little moments of our lives. Over time, and with God’s promises, we can restore the years the locusts have eaten.

As I took the next steps toward getting dressed and out the door, albeit late, an idea for an international online support group for women blossomed to the smallest detail. Part of the inspiration had come from the perfect storm that had been a team teaching presentation offered by Basic Writing students yesterday, Ending Racism, Being Proactive and Carrying Your Weather With You.

Of course, given the trajectories of our lives and distances between our dwellings, there would be no official synchronous meetings of the support group, only a shared and active commitment to better self-care, [to be defined individually on Stephen Covey’s collaborative goal-tending and achievement website] using confidentiality guidelines and liberation theories on community-building, cultivating allies and the Art of Listening set forth by the International Re-evaluation Counseling communities I’d been a member of until I moved out of the region a few years ago.

The battle lies within. Our weapons? Ourselves. If you’re tired of being tired, are you with me?

Puppy Trubs

Took puppy to the dog park this evening when communications broke down with hubby. We didn’t agree when it was time to leave so I sauntered to the car and retrieved the treats stashed in the armrest. He was waiting by the gate when I returned and sat when I said so.
We went over to Lowe’s for paint samples and light spackle and he stayed in the car with water and a handful of blue buffalo.
Hubby had no appetite when we returned so I cooked and enjoyed dinner myself, responded to email, took a shower while updating software and heard some whimpering at the door when I was drying off. I asked Gulliver what was wrong but am not up to speed on puppy lingo as yet. This was new behavior. I still did not catch on. And it IS a full moon.
When I came out and returned to check on the update, I got up for something – a birthday card – and when I returned to my seat I noticed the dark circle underneath. On closer inspection the liquid was still warm though relatively odorless.
Controlling my voice and surprisingly little anger, I rubbed his nose in it and said, No, Bad Dog, with not much enthusiasm. I simply felt defeated.
As far as I know it’s only the second time in eight months that such has occurred. I’d been singing such praises only four hours earlier in the dog park. Is this the type of thing that leads to home ownership?
One sage from the dog park related her efforts to housebreak her bundle of fur. Whenever he had an ‘accident’ she’d clean it up and place a small dish of his food next to it. Only she ran out of dishes. I tried the same thing. Gulliver simply went over to the small dish and began eating. I felt humiliated on his behalf. I don’t think the same strategy works for a dog that’s already housebroken. I don’t think he was sending me any message beyond, “I had to pee and you were in the shower. I barked. You shushed.” End of story. Despite my poor behavior he sleeps at my feet even now.