I drank another glass of that tangy, sparkly, just a little sweet, juice,
which was defrosted, bottled, pressed from apples and aronia–September and October,
Couldn’t get enough, though my gut ached, unaccustomed to filling up
After going all day on nothing but coffee, tomato soup, and roasted almonds.
Barely time to pee between classes.
I sip again, then, hands to the keyboard, keyboard on my lap,
lap on bed, shoulders propped by pillows
against the headboard.
It snowed today, five inches or more in early November.
A wet, cold, day, windy like home, except without the smell of the bay
and red sandy loam tuning the snow pink in the ruts.
This morning two of my fingers turned dead white and tingled
even inside my wool gloves, and I shifted my weight
off surfaces irritated due to the failure of certain inner hammocks.
I don’t like you any more.
It’s not your fault–it could have been anyone,
present at the failure of certain other inner hammocks
like the one held up at one end (I tied it there)
Creamy, red and rich, and with no added sugar. The level of sugar in commercial tomato soup, even the gourmet stuff, makes it not taste good to me. Same with most Asian restaurant food, Halloween candy, and ice cream. Making my own stuff for many years, I got to like the taste underneath the sweetness, and only add a little or none added to most recipes.
A few months ago, I was informed that my blood sugar in on the low borderline of pre-diabetic. Though I’m pretty lean, I’m not too surprised, as I had gestational diabetes for one of my pregnancies, and my mother, uncle, and grandfather, all got Type II diabetes. Still, their diet was pretty heavy on the bread, pie, and apple juice, and low on vigorous exercise, so I hope to stave off any need for treatment for many years.
What I think I need to cut down on next is caffeine. I use two to three times a day. It’s my only drug of any kind (no prescriptions yet), so I’m fortunate, but I’d like to be less dependent, and have room for more healthy drinks like turmeric (which I need for inflammation) or mint tea. I or so. ‘m starting by delaying my first cup an hour or so. But for energy, I’ll have to figure out how to get more exercise, since the pool is packed in the morning, and I wrenched my bad arm last time I tried to swim laps; I want to run, but not too much on asphalt. I guess I can bring myself to drive to the trail now that I have an electric car–it always seemed not quite the thing to burn gas so I could get fit. The bike issue is not yet settled–I have one picked out–a tour bike in steel for carrying loads–but still nowhere to store it, and work is too far away to bike to. Which also seems wrong, to live a few blocks away from two schools and have to commute to another district for work.
This is all warmup, and I’m getting nearer what I think I need to write, But also, I’m falling asleep. To be continued.
I meant to look up just a few words for a poem about a geologist friend, but the language was so rich, I couldn’t resist.
We are absolutely dating, he said
As they glided across the abyssal plain.
In the aftershock if that, she
turned on her earphones to an acid rock channel
an aggregate album recommended by Amber.
It’s your angular unconformity I object to,
he continued, and your acting
as if all of us, your Achaean companions,
are just an archipelago about you.
It was a basic, bedrock complaint,
and she buckled a little, inside, like
some kind of breadcrust bomb.
She cast about, cleaved clean from her continental crust.
She was shaken to the core,
He could be so crude.
Don’t think I mean to degrade you, he continued
as he prepared to drill to her core.
It seemed an eon (it was erratic at her epicenter)
Then the erosion began.
The exfoliation of one layer, another,
she fractured, froze,
Her guts as if gastroliths ground them.
In the half-life it could have taken for her heart
to turn to hardpan, something creaked,
a hinge line opened to something inside
a hotspring, an isotope of her essence till now hidden
A kettle, steam kinking upward within,
Then, lava, a liquefaction of the lowland of her soul
Mantle, oozing massive, moving toward
a sudden metamorphosis
Mica, he wanted to mold her
but her orogenic beginnings were leading to a piercing point.
It was plutonic, yes, but now, what a
pneumatolytic, pyroclastic rift!
I got a good night’s sleep because I dosed my anxious rescue dog with a light sedative. I was woken up by a pre-dawn downpour that left slushy sleet coating the ground and vehicles, but I always find the sound of rain relaxing and so I slept another good half hour after that.
For breakfast I stirred up some eggs with broccoli (picked yesterday), and strong cheese, pressed some coffee for the portable mug and a jarful for later in the day, and piled my teacher bags and craft supplies into the chilly car. I unplugged the charger, pressed the On switch, and whirred out for my half hour commute.
This week I’m listening to another audiobook from the mysteries section of the library, involving a stabbing of an upper crust millionaire in his castle while all the greedy, strange backbiting relatives are visiting and wishing here was better cell phone coverage and internet. It passes the time, and is better written and read that the last one. That one had lines like: “She fell and her head struck the cement. She had hurt herself.” Plus the reader’s attempts to “do” the male voices turned them all into irritating dweebs, even the ones the reader is meant to like. The story was okay, though–I considered rewriting it to make it bearable and hiring a different reader, but decided to stick with my own work.
I got new glasses today. The last ones were sturdy brown plastic, but growing brittle, and with a substantial scratch where they saved my eye socket from worse injury when an iron patio chair unfolded suddenly into my face. I think I’ll make a Christmas tree ornament out of them in honor of that role, along with my old mouth guard, which has been protecting my molars from grinding wear at night. I’ve also been meaning to make a multi color wreath out of my children’s swimming competition ribbons. It’s also time I got the recipe for my neighbor’s fruit cake, the only one I’ve ever liked, even without sauce. Fruitcake is one of those things that tastes better as one ages in any case, and it’s been about ten years since I first had it, so I can hardly wait.
Something I worry about is, as I get older, into my mid-fifties and sixties, am I going to start smelling funny and not realize it, along with my house? The young people I teach would surely notice, with their more sensitive noses. It might be a good idea to start wearing scented lotions.
Nothing so strong as what that man in the grocery store the other day was wearing, though. I knew he was nearby, because the sharp, chemical odor of a certain cosmetic ingredient to which I am sensitive started wafting over me from behind while I was scanning the dairy case for coconut yogurt that my daughter had requested for a recipe. I considered telling him, as a stranger, where a colleague or friend might not. I don’t know, do men do that for one another? (“Dude, easy on the perfume next time!”) It was worse than walking down the detergent aisle.
My daughter never did make her recipe, wasn’t even home when I got there. When I tried to put all the ingredients away in the fridge, I found that the load my husband had just brought home from Costco (Lord preserve us from husbands who do the Costco runs!) was piled on top of the previous ingredients and leftovers so that an avalanche threatened. The table and counters were similarly overloaded. I put two items into my car for return the next day (he hadn’t realized we already had them), exhorted him to eat the store-bought broccoli quickly, s it was likely a few weeks old already, and we had a good crop in the garden. One of the ingredients I stashed in the car was tomato soup. I have been pleading with everyone to eat up the bounty that’s been flowing out of the greenhouse and planning to cook and can the extra.
Today in How to Not Starve, I taught a lesson on food waste. We got into a lively discussion during and after the videos showing how 40% of food produced in the U.S. never reaches any table, and much of what does later ends up in the trash. I hope some of the students will work with me to assess our waste at school and try to educate the community toward better habits. Still, one of the points of the video was that our food system depends on that waste to keep the money flowing, and the poor depend on diverted food that would otherwise be wasted (wrong size or shape, past best buy date, etc.) to feed them at low cost through food banks and soup kitchens.
I’ll make the tomato soup tomorrow, with the past due carrots, runt onions, and a little orange juice. It will be good with the romaine that’s sweetening up in the cool night garden.
The cell membrane is like my skin
which helps to keep my liquids in.
It has some pores, and so do I
Such as valves that open when I cry
and lips that take in food and drink
Much like channel proteins, I think.
When your loved one arrives home from work, you are full of the significance of the events of your day, but as they rise to the tip of your tongue to share, you realize they are…ordinary. So ordinary that to verbalize them seems ridiculous, even to a sympathetic, if tired and distracted, listener. There must be something–you search your mind for it, the event that was special, unusual, touching, surprising enough to bring out to the “How was your day?” It was a good, good day, but why, again?
No, you are not being sarcastic–not at all. Nor are you trying to glorify the ordinary, elevate basic labors to significance that, at least in a finite time frame, they do not have. But–was it only a daydream, or something from further back, before you woke, a dream? Something elusive and delightful wants to be told, but every drafted line that comes to your lips betrays only one thought each, and is that enough?
You completely cleaned the coffee drawer and lined it with beautiful solver contact paper, and it looks wonderful after months of dust and crumbs.
The chickadees in the cypress are out of the nest, perching on the smaller branches of the plum tree and vocalizing in chorus, looking unjustifiably confident.
You thought of a new idea for the parody magazine you have in the works, at least in your mind–an advertisement for lawyers specializing in prosecuting parents who allowed their children (now grown) to quit music lessons when they complained too much.
Your son, now fourteen, is playing in the big pile of topsoil like he used to when he was eight.
You heard the two young adult children discussing budgets and life goals.
The new berry bushes are in the ground and placed just right according to the permaculture plan, and you can visualize a small pond nearby where the lawn is always soggy anyway.
You joined an online local gardening group and have shared lots of tips already.
Of course they care, and would not mock or belittle you for mentioning such things, but still, the feeling is that these items of news really are special, yet only when left unsaid. Cherished in the heart, so to speak. So you keep trying to remember the thought of something larger than all that. But it doesn’t really matter, because of your secret delight.
Stop Fighting Fires
It releases the minerals, you know.
Let it burn, snap, roar, blast back out again the sunshine
that’s been trapped in there for the past forty, seventy,
two hundred years.
Who wants a cold, clammy forest
shading nothing but its own dry twigs
and dead brown needles,
sheltering nothing but cicadas
and a few hungry birds?
Let it burn to ash, and then
burst into wildflowers, grass, and tree seedlings
inviting small scampering things
leaping crickets, slithering snakes, bees,
and releasing a thousand smells.