Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hell and Love

Hell and Love 
by Garret Keizer

Hell is always grander to pain
Than the bliss of a resurrected saint;
More fun to show the lecher's doom,
Tits and ass in the flickering gloom.

Yet love inspires more than hate,
A head caressed than on a plate,
And even should his colors wash,
I'd put Chagall in front of Bosch.

The Passion is a painter's dream,
With hell and love a single theme--
The human body stripped to show
A death both merciful and slow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Still life with fake avocados and clean laundry

Well, gang, I’m here. I’ve been here for a month, here in the Big D--Dallas, home of big cars, big hats, big hair. Through an odd turn of events (i.e. the friends I’m living with were evicted from their apartment a week before I arrived because--and I tell you the honest to gorsh truth--someone decided to tear the building down), I’m camping out in two top-story bedrooms in a huge house (complete with chandelier) in Plano. If you’re wondering why I’m sprawled out in two rooms, you’ve never seen the way I spread out. My things are everywhere. Someday I will become an adult and be able to, you know, keep house. Until then....

But that’s neither here nor there--the real here and now consists in me squatting hobo-style with friends in a show house. It’s basically been like Arrested Development. Picture this: the four of us (three adults plus 1.5 year-old) eating goulash and arugula at this Ikea table which is slightly too tall for comfort in a beige dining room. We’re eating off beige placemats and using the napkins which came off the table, show napkins which are neither soft nor absorbent, which sort of spread the gravy around your sneering mug rather than wipe it off.  There’s a plate of fake avocados in the middle of the table and we pass the casserole dish around them, trying to confiscate the avocados from Sophia who makes a periodic grab at them and chucks them at our heads. Meanwhile, a nice-looking Asian family have let themselves in the front door and are tip-toeing around checking the place out.We wave blandly, like people on an elevator. They ask where the water heater is and seem confused when we tell them that we have no idea. Is there a problem with the backyard flooding? We’ve never seen it happen, we answer with perfect candor.

Oh, well.

But we’re leaving Plano. We’ve found a nice little apartment a mile from our church which is about two miles North of downtown Dallas. It has lovely wood floors and a fireplace which appears to have been designed by someone who had never actually seen a wood fire. It’s a nice touch. Our neighbors below have obscured their front door with massive spider plants, so obviously they are cool people. It’s a five minute walk to one of the coolest little bistro groceries in Dallas, Eatzi’s, and the famous Turtle Creek Park is another little hop.

Employment’s been slow coming, but in the last week it appears that between being my Wonder Woman (i.e. mommy’s helper) jobs for a few mothers I know, a cleaning job, and part-time stints at two separate tutoring centers, I’ll actually be able to pay my bills. No cardboard box or bankruptcy for this English major.

So basically all’s right and weird in the world, as it ought to be, thank God. I have an amazing church, good friends, work I enjoy, and a sweet pad. What more could one possibly want from life? I don’t know about the rest of you, my fellow graduates, but the post-college months have been incredibly odd. Who knew that not measuring your life in semesters could be so disorienting? For the first time in my life, I could almost literally do anything I want to--and I find that what I really want to do is, well, go to evening prayer and teach kids how to conjugate Latin verbs. The pleasures of my life are that dry-mouh daze you get from pounding through a good novel (East of Eden for me currently), wrestling with Sophia on the floor, and chatting to Nicole about childhood over breakfast. I’ve discovered how satisfying folding three baskets of clean laundry for a friend can be and that I really will read copious amounts of literature without the threat of a reading quiz. To summarize: despite the fact that I somewhat sadistically miss 2am cigarettes outside the old student union at the Dale during the nose-hair freezing Michigan winter, God’s in his heaven and I’ve found a home.

Ten crooked fingers to count with

Not that it matters, but this is definitely one of my to 10 favorite poems ever.

This World, Not the Next 

by Lance Larsen

True, God dreamed our first parents out
of chaos of firmament and longing.
And true, he pled with them to return
to a delicious Forever of his making.
But it was this world, with its tides and machinery
of sweet decay, they learned to love.

He touched their hair, then covered their sleeping
mouths with His and declared breath
holy, but forced them to draw another
and another.  He commanded that they eat
not of that dazzling tree of awe and penumbra,
but knew its fruit would eat at them.

And when it did, and when they fell
into knowing, God folded the garden and hid it
deep inside the woman, but commanded
the man to tend it.  And in due season the man
Eved, and the woman Adamed back
and the song of radiance they keened was pure

darkness by morning.  And God blessed
their bounty to be infinite, but left them
ten crooked fingers to count with.
And buried His echo inside their bodies,
a delicious lapping that answered yes and yes
though neither could remember the question

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ecclesiastes was wrong about that

A Man in His Life
by Yehuda Amichai

A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose.  Ecclesiastes
was wrong about that.  

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.

And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur.  It tries and it misses
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and in its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches already pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Hippy Commune

You all know what you've been waiting for: pictures of the commune. Yes, these are SFW.

In back of the main house. Yes, that's an outdoor shower.

The outhouse is a happening place, man.

The outside of the outhouse, or "privy," as we like to call it.

Milling sorghum.

Pressed sorghum stalks next to the vineyard.

If I were a princess, I would send princes on quests for a butcher block like this for my castle. This is the holy grail of kitchenware.  

Road Trip Down to Dallas or Indiana Never Ends

Well, it's been a month in Dallas, and I'm finally posting some pictures from my road trip down from MI.

The Indian Sand Dunes by Gary, IN
I met a white-haired, snaggletooth man in a down jacket and a baseball cap here. His name is John. He quit his job, sold everything he owns except his Windstar, and is visiting every National Park in the country. I wished him the best of luck.

I don't remember what town this is in, but it was right after Utica, or right before Utica, where this crazed museum curator snatched me off the streets and held me captive for an hour explaining the glories of their little museum. All I remember is a wooden duck and a carriage Lincoln road in. This hefty homeschool mama came in and the two of them started monotone monologuing about Noah's flood and the fossil record under our feet. I edged out. 

The sunbursts accurately represent my mental state after 7 hours of Indiana. It's officially my least favorite state (sorry).

Don Quixote didn't show up, much to my chagrin.