Saturday, September 29, 2007

doff \DOF\, transitive verb:

1. To take off, as an article of clothing.
2. To tip or remove (one's hat).
3. To put aside; to rid oneself of.

(from today's dictionary word a day)


I think I need to do some doffing.
Off to work. It is my turn to cover Saturday clinic. I hope it is quiet. Oooops. I shouldn't have said that. Now we're gonna get slammed. It always works that way. ~grin~


Did you hear the NPR story this morning about Rudy Guliani answering his cell phone in the middle of a debate question. It was his wife. Just calling to say hi, as if she didn't know he was on national TV at that moment. Rudy taking the opportunity to say he loved her, and would call her back soon. Most people think it was a lame attempt at sincerity. Trying to show his softer side. I think it was extremely *pathetique*.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Poetry in Snohomish

I am reading at Wired and Unplugged, 717 1st St, Snohomish, tonight: Thursday, September 27th at 7:30. Open mic included. Here is the website, which includes pics and directions. Come on down! (or up, as the case may be).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For the Little Rock Nine

Hard to believe it's been 50 years . . .

Soul Make A Path Through Shouting

for Elizabeth Eckford
Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957

Thick at the schoolgate are the ones
Rage has twisted
Into minotaurs, harpies
Relentlessly swift;
So you must walk past the pincers,
The swaying horns,
Sister, sister,
Straight through the gusts
Of fear and fury,
Straight through:
Where are you going?

I’m just going to school.

Here we go to meet
The hydra-headed day,
Here we go to meet
The maelstrom —

Can my voice be an angel-on-the-spot,
An amen corner?
Can my voice take you there,
Gallant girl with a notebook,
Up, up from the shadows of gallows trees
To the other shore:
A globe bathed in light,
A chalkboard blooming with equations —

I have never seen the likes of you,
Pioneer in dark glasses:
You won’t show the mob your eyes,
But I know your gaze,
Steady-on-the-North-Star, burning —

With their jerry-rigged faith,
Their spear on the American flag,
How could they dare to believe
You’re someone sacred?:
Nigger, burr-headed girl,
Where are you going?

I’m just going to school.

-- by Cyrus Cassells

from Soul Make A Path Through Shouting by Cyrus Cassells, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 1994

Off the Grid

Had a wonderful time at Point No Point on Vancouver Island. A gorgeous little cabin on the ocean, with a hot tub and a fireplace. We were totally off the grid for three and a half days: no TV, no phone, no cell phone, no computer, no internet. It was wonderful and relaxing to be so disconnected. Our own little "Into the Wild."

I read most of the novel "The Echo Maker." It is pretty amazing. Also did a little writing. But mostly did a lot of nothing. Some pics:

our cabin, "Eagle"

B, K, D, & P
preening ourselves on the beach
On the way to Mystic Beach, the hugest tree-stair in the world
it must have been 100 feet long!
Dean in the cabin
View from the cabin

Friday, September 21, 2007


It hit home when I was picking pears yesterday morning. The light is different. The sky has a certain slate cast to it. The vine maples are turning crimson and bronze. Dean's purple asters are in full glorious bloom. The chrysanthemums are just beginning to bud. The squirrels are digging little holes in the garden for their cache of sunflower seeds. I used to hate the fall. But I've grown to love it. It feels right.


Worked on the new short story and several poem revisions yesterday.

Thn met with MJK at the Frye. I am being commissioned to write some poems in response to some art there. We'll see how it goes. I think it's gona be a lot of fun. More on that later.


Off for a long weekend with friends at Point No Point on Vancouver Island. It's cabin weather. Time for log fires and hot tubs and red wine and reading by the water.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Two Stories from Our Lovely Morning Paper

SLUT -- Streetcar's unfortunate acronym seems here to stay

There's a story going around South Lake Union, but a spokeswoman for Vulcan, Paul Allen's development company, says it's just an urban legend.

That aside, the story that the neighborhood's streetcar line now under construction was called the South Lake Union Trolley until the powers that be realized the unfortunate acronym -- SLUT -- seems here to stay.

full story here.


Things you can do to help the president
(from letters to the editor)

I saw President Bush's speech Thursday night. It's time for patriotic Americans to stand by their president. Now, you ask yourself, I'm just an average American; what can I possibly do? I've got four suggestions to help you get started.

1) If you have a teenager, advise him or her to join the Army or the Marines. For a fallback, the National Guard.

2) If you're a senior citizen, when you get that monthly Social Security check, write on the envelope "Return To Sender. Maybe this money will help win the war."

3) Since we're borrowing the money from China to pay for this war, please buy all Chinese products from now on. I myself am using an ancient Chinese lead-based deodorant.

4) Finally, write your senator to have them eliminate the presidential term limit. It appears that George W. Bush will need at least another eight years to fulfill his Messianic fantasy.

Aaron Litwak

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Took the ferry to Bainbridge Island with Kathleen F. this afternoon, to hear Holly Hughes and Stan Ruben read for the Jewelbox Poetry Series. Because of a power outage, the reading was moved to the Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse. It was cramped quarters, but really fun!

Holly read from her chapbook Boxing the Compass, which won the 2007 Floating Bridge Press chapbook award. It's a terrific chapbook, full of poems about navigation, the sea, knots, love relationships lost, and more.

Here is a sample:


— The curve assumed by a line that is flexible but not capable of being stretched and that hangs freely from two fixed points.

As in a line that hangs between a tug and its tow, its thrumming pull. The lines of the schooner that made him swoon. Spider web, its taut, rain-beaded strands. Empty hammock, nail pairing, canteloupe rind. As in narrative arc. She wants to be flexible, at least in theory. He never imagined himself a rigid person. As in spider web, unstringing. The bright arc of a rind as it sails out the galley window. The wake made by the schooner, leaving.


Stan read from Hidden Sequel, as well as many new poems. I wonder if he has a new book in the works? All in all a good time. And thank you to K for driving!


Saturday, September 15, 2007

C is for Crimson

Had a fun time at the reading. Thanks to everybody who came, braving the Mariners game traffic and finding parking in Pioneer Square on a Friday night. Jared and Rebecca were awesome. I loved his poem about "disappeared" students. Amazing. And Rebecca gave a sneak preview of "Cadaver Dogs," full of wolves, dogs, raccoons, and other creatures. I had fun readings some pieces I haven't read in public before: "The Judas Tree" (a *Gay Jesus* poem) and "Ganymede to Zeus" (Greek myth morphed into May-December relationship poem, see below).

We went out after to Crimson. A new club downtown, that took the place of Larry's, a club that got closed down after several late-night shootings. It had a cool sophisticated look — blood-red walls (hmmmm), long narrow tables, soft lighting — and very deep heavy aggressive chest thrumming rap/hip-hop music playing. I think it was their opening weekend, and because of the new laws they were careful checking everybody's ID. Even Dean got carded (the first time in about half a century that has happened!). Great drinks, but really hard to have a conversation in a place like this. I wonder how you would ever make contact if you were single and looking to meet someone there? Just a wink and a look? Bust a break-dance move? Gawd I dunno.



They say you're old enough
to be my father; that you hold me
here against my will.
But what could they know
of a shepherd boy's desires?
I'm more than happy to languish
forever in this temple, floating
among the marble and clouds, raptly
peeling grapes and sipping
from your mighty cup.
After all, you are a god, and I
your adored and adoring boy.
Remember the day you found
me? I was tending the spring flock.
Their lambing cries and the stench
rising from their damp fur
filled the morning air. Oh, Daddy,
I cried as your hot breath
grazed my neck and your eagle's
talons pierced my tender backside.
As the slumbering village disappeared
below, and I howled for sisters I'd never
see again, you whispered, Ganymede will be Zeus'
most perfect love.
You pulled me closer
under wing, your warm belly firm
against my back, and I knew
you would fly me to heaven.

from What's Written on the Body

Friday, September 14, 2007

At Elliott Bay Books Tonight

From the website:

Friday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tonight we feature what should be an engaging trio of poets, both established and emerging, creators of some of the better work coming out of this corner of the country. Physician and poet Peter Pereira, founding editor of Floating Bridge Press, will read from his newest collection, What's Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press). Joining him is Rebecca Loudon, here with two new books, Radish King (Ravenna Press) and Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home (No Tell Books). Also on tap here is Jared Leising, who teaches English at Cascadia Community College, volunteers for 826 Seattle, and has a chapbook out, The Widows and Orphans of Winesburg, Ohio (Pudding House Publications).


Our reading has a "star" in the PI listing this morning, meaning the books editor recommends it. Meaning, you need to go!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

At Open Books Tonight

Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 07:30 PM

Nance Van Winckel stakes out her turf when she writes of standing near a van “so old and so red and broken, / and me as a ruptured part thunked lose on the road.” In her new collection, No Starling ($12.95 paper; $27 hardcover Univ. of Washington), she is often a tangential character, a witness who, happily for us, witnesses with a strong, self-assured voice — “I may be a false prophet, but god bless me, at least / I have something to say.” By dint of her crafty imagination, Van Winckel’s work enters a wide array of situations — some wholly imagined, some personally experienced, and some historic — and presents them all with a lively fullness. We readers can’t help but enter and occupy them along with her. This, from her poem “Simon Weil at the Renault Factory (1935)” — “The coupe is a cave. / Shine its horn; buff its blast. // The cave wheels forth — God, / where is it going? Into more rat-a-tat- / tat. More hands, less us; more air / in airguns.” This fine collection is the latest addition to the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series from the University of Washington Press. It contains some truly dazzling poems, and we look forward to this chance to hear them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Had a strange experience my last night in PT. I was out at dinner alone, reading a book. There was a table near me of 6-8 coworkers from some kind of political organization. They were celebrating something, and being a little loud and obnoxious. The men in the group were obsessed with Larry Craig, and going on and on about the "Man Laws" he had broken, and telling silly jokes they had seen online (one of them referring to the Tony Orlando song "Knock Three Times" changed to "Tap Three Times"). Some of their comments were becoming a little homophobic; not quite crossing the line, but almost. I was ready to get up and tell them off if they did. Mostly I just tried to mind my own business, and ignored them.

Eventually they finished eating and left, and I finished not much later. As I was leaving the restaurant they were all gathered together on the sidewalk near the alley, it was beginning to get dark, but I could tell it was them. As I walked by I noticed one of them, a man about 45, lying on the ground (at first I thought it was a street person). Apparently he had passed out. I was going to help, but they seemed to have it under control.

As I was walking past he tried to get up, and did a face plant almost immediately. So I stepped in, said I was a doctor, asked them what had happened, did a quick assessment. He looked like he was just very drunk and dehydrated, and had had too much sun during the day. So I raised his legs in the air and held them for a while (this helps get the blood flow back to the heart and head). I asked his friends to get him some water from the restaurant. As the color came back to his face, he started to get a little ornery (he was the main joke instigator). He kept saying, "Are you really a doctor" "You're not really a doctor, are you?" And "Can I have my legs back now?" I suggested they take him to the ER up the street, for an eval, maybe some blood work and an EKG, maybe a head CT (he did not seem to have a head injury, but ya never know).

His friends thanked me profusely, but the guy seemed stuck on "Are you really a doctor?" I think he recognized me from the restaurant, where he and his friends had been going on and on about Larry Craig, and telling their mildly homophobic jokes. I felt like saying, Yes, you **#!&@(^#, I am a doctor. And a fag too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Returning home from PT today. It is just gorgeous out, and they say it might not rain for the rest of the week. I have a conference at UW Med School to attend. It is going to be hard to be indoors.

Didn't write a lick on the novel while I was here, but I did work on poems. And yesterday, out of the blue, and entire short story came. About a woman who thinks she is a very safe and courteous driver (but is really blind to how much the opposite is true), who is always looking to do "good deeds," and unintentionally causes an old woman to be hit by a car. A mixture of humor and pathos. I got a solid first draft written in the afternoon. What fun! Sometimes when you are looking the other way . . . the story/poem sneaks in the back, or smacks you head-on.

Reading with Rebecca and Jared on Friday. If you are in town, check it out! It should be a barrel of monkeys. From the website:

Friday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tonight we feature what should be an engaging trio of poets, both established and emerging, creators of some of the better work coming out of this corner of the country. Physician and poet Peter Pereira, founding editor of Floating Bridge Press, will read from his newest collection, What's Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press). Joining him is Rebecca Loudon, here with two new books, Radish King (Ravenna Press) and Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home (No Tell Books). Also on tap here is Jared Leising, who teaches English at Cascadia Community College, volunteers for 826 Seattle, and has a chapbook out, The Widows and Orphans of Winesburg, Ohio (Pudding House Publications).


Monday, September 10, 2007

Having a good time in Port Townsend. The Wooden Boat festival was happening this past weekend, so the town has been very busy: streets jammed with cars, restaurants full. The weather has been amazing: clear blue skies, high 70's to low 80's, shimmering water, a light refreshing breeze. And the sailboats out on the water are just gorgeous: many of them dating from the early 1900's. PT really is a sea-town.

K and G's place is lovely and quiet and surrounded by tall trees. They have created a gorgeous garden around the two buildings. Sleeping in the upstairs guest room is like being in a tree house. Unfortunately, I have not done much writing on the novel at all. Instead a few poem ideas are coming, and I've been working on some poem revisions. Mostly, I've been reading. But that's okay, reading is a form of writing.

One of the books I brought along with me is Charles Baxter's The Art of Subtext, from the Graywolf "The Art of Series." It's a pretty good read, and though he is writing about fiction, I think much of what he says applies to all forms of creative writing. How beyond the plot, the things that make a book stay with us, haunt us, are difficult to desribe: "the implied, the half-visible, the unspoken."

more later . . .

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Had fun at the Floating Bridge Press Great Art Party last night. We came home with this lovely glass bowl.


Heading out to Port Townsend for a few days now. Poetry group this afternoon at Kathryn's, then staying for a couple days to work on the novel. I hope I can get back into the flow.


Friday, September 07, 2007

From Poetry Daily:

Belle Letters Contest Winner
Editors' Note: We're pleased to present as a special feature this week a poem by Jeanette Marie Sayers, winner of the Belle Letters Contest, sponsored by the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

In addition to this online presentation, "L, O, V, E and the Other Twenty-Two" will be illuminated in a limited edition letterpress broadside.

Contestants were invited to submit poems in which letters are foregrounded as vital and imaginative elements of imagery and content.

Finalists for this year's prize were Dana Elkun ("Foreshadow from Buffalo"), Roy Jacobstein ("Disquisition on D: Ars Poetica and Homage"), Carolyn Moore ("Multiple-Choice Quiz on Abandoned F-Words"), and Morgan Grayce Willow ("The Algebra of Love").


See the winning poem here. It's really pretty terrific, and will make a great broadside (I want one!).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My glamorous job

Because of morning meetings, I saw patients for only a half-day (about 3 hours) this afternoon. Still, they crammed in almost a full-day's worth. Wheeee! Here is the breakdown:

72 yo AfAm woman, walk-in with asthma attack and hypoxemia (add-on to full schedule)
68 yo Cambodian woman with sinus infection
56 yo AfAm woman followup hospitalization for diabetic coma (add-on to full schedule)
55 yo AfAm woman with abdominal pain, body aches, positive PPD, wanting a disabled parking permit
3 yo Viet female with asthma attack
72 yo Cambodian woman with diabetes, HTN, hyperlipidemia, followup
50 yo Cambodian male with diabetes, HTN, hyperlipidemia (son of above patient)
47 yo Cauc female, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, HTN, hyperlipidemia, depression, low potassium, for followup
63 yo Af Am female, left below-the-knee amputation four days ago for diabetic gangrene, for followup
17 yo Cambodian male with bullet in leg, for excision (no kidding; he and his caseworker made a video of me removing it, for his "Senior Project")
48 yo Cauc male, walk-in with abscess in neck for I&D (add-on to full schedule)
82 yo Cambodian female, diabetes, HTN, needing cortisone injection for right shoulder bursitis
42 yo Cambodian male, diabetes, out of control, started insulin
55 yo Af Am woman with diabetes, HTN, hyperlipidemia, depression, bladder problems
6 yo Pac Is boy with dog bite to chin, infected, and allergic reaction to antibiotics given in ER over weekend, for eval (walk-in added to full schedule)


My favorite visit: removing the bullet from the teen's leg. Who knows, maybe his "Senior Project" video will be a hit on YouTube. Ya never know . . .


Home not too late for a dinner of tenderloin steaks and baby bok choy. Dessert of fresh farmer's market nectarines with sorbet (thank you Dean). Yummy!


PS: "My glamorous job" © the fine folks at Radisk King (of course)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A brief roundup . . .

RJ Gibson is going batty.

Pamela, Deborah, and Joannie (and others?) are memorizing.

T is not eating alligator on a stick.

Charlie did not like "Snake in the Fridge."

The New York Times exposes America's Toe-Tapping Menace.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Salt & Pepper

Home making tomato sauce today. Maybe seafood pasta with a yellow-orange sauce tonight?


I haven't shaved in three days. One of my friends asked at poetry group last night if I was growing a beard. I'm not. I just like to take a break from shaving now and then. Give the face a rest. And a long holiday weekend is the perfect time. But I'm surprised how much gray there is in my beard now. It's really noticeable. When did this happen? Don't get me wrong, I'm not freaked out. In fact, I think it looks kind of distinguished. (Dean says it looks *hot*).


From The Boston Globe, via Arts & Letters Daily:

"To determine what happens inside arts classes, we spent an academic year studying five visual-arts classrooms in two local Boston-area schools, videotaping and photographing classes, analyzing what we saw, and interviewing teachers and their students.

What we found in our analysis should worry parents and teachers facing cutbacks in school arts programs. While students in art classes learn techniques specific to art, such as how to draw, how to mix paint, or how to center a pot, they're also taught a remarkable array of mental habits not emphasized elsewhere in school.

Such skills include visual-spatial abilities, reflection, self-criticism, and the willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes. All are important to numerous careers, but are widely ignored by today's standardized tests."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Note to Larry Craig

How real gay men make contact.

PS: I hear they are changing Idaho's state motto to "The Lone Stall State."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Boys of Summer

Dean with the summer's first tomato harvest.
Nephew Brett eating a baseball.