Sunday, December 12, 2010

My first Sestina

  Sometimes I swear I can see your  bones
 stretching the skin on your hands
Too quick for my heart to follow
Squinting all of me, I watch you in the sunlight
The weight of this sinks me to the earth
nothing is more slippery than time
Just a blink ago in time
my skin sheltered these bones
 and introduced you to this earth
My finger gripped by your reflexed hand
I accompanied your acquaintance with the Sunlight
so many such inaugurations soon to follow
No harried schedule yet to follow
and a life full of time
You slept incubated in window sunlight
screaming fragility from your prefused  bones
 my cheek enough exploration for your hand
home encapsulating your earth
unsuspendable spinnings of the earth
seasons, solstices, innumerable tides then follow
relentless marching forward of the hands
of dictator merciless time
Hope teases me with wish bones
Grant me your frozen youth in the sunlight
Each morning arrives the sunlight
delivering invitations from the earth
promising sticks and stones and animal bones
luring mushrooming feet to follow
The pledge of a loftier view this time
Tomorrow offers you his  hand
My reaching repels your hand
Nourished by the sunlight
you grow away, not up with time 
My aching shakes the earth 
Soul stumbling, I struggle to follow
the swiftness of your bones

Time cracks open Mother Earth
sunlight bursting from her broken bones
In her outstretched hands I fall low

I was recently intrigued by an article I read about the use of Sestinas by Italian poets during the Renaissance.  I am sure that somewhere in my scholastic past, my brain brushed over the form. It certainly didn't make much of an impression and I'm sure I was never required to write one.  I would have remembered that particular torture.  My intrigue sparked a personal challenge.  I wanted to try it.  

The sestina is a difficult form in which, rather than simply rhyming, the actual line-ending words are repeated in successive stanzas in a designated rotating order. A sestina consists of six 6-line stanzas, concluding with a 3-line “envoi” which incorporates all the line-ending words, some hidden inside the lines. The prescribed pattern for using the 6 line-ending words is:
1st stanza 1 2 3 4 5 6
2nd stanza 6 1 5 2 4 3
3rd stanza 3 6 4 1 2 5
4th stanza 5 3 2 6 1 4
5th stanza 4 5 1 3 6 2
6th stanza 2 4 6 5 3 1
envoi 2--5 4--3 6--1

At first, I thought having structure would make the poem easier.   I was wrong.  It was hard.  How is it done without being repetitive, dull, or cliche?  At least I did it.  My inspiration came from a photo I took of Ansel on a recent hike, but the idea applies to all of my children and my recent identity crisis.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bumbershoot 2010

Corey and I had tickets to bumbershoot for months. If you haven't been to a bumbershoot, it is difficult to explain three days of jam packed music, arts, and let's face it, weirdness.   We have gone to several since we moved to the Pacific Northwest  and have always left more than satisfied.  It was here that Jeff Tweedy put his arm around Corey's shoulders, I discovered that combing my hair was an option,  and in 2002, was enlightened with a name for our 3rd child.  I was fully expecting another life-altering experience in 2010.  

The night before we were to leave, Corey had been overwhelmed with work and travels and the thought of being immersed in crowds and traffic sent him over the edge of irritation.  He was ready for a quiet weekend at home.  I had been overwhelmed with his work and his travels and was ready to be NOT home.  Since we already had the tickets and the hotel room, it seemed like a reasonable solution for me to have a weekend getaway.   It had been a long summer and I hadn't had much time to myself.  And I was fairly 100% positive that my family needed me to have some time to myself.  

  But then I thought about the music that I would be listening to alone.  I am fine with going to a movie by myself, prefer going on solo bike rides, and in general, love solitude.  Concerts, however, are an exception.  I want someone with me to rebound my excitement, to reverberate the experience.  

As I drove out of town, I almost jokingly sent  a mass e-mail  to my seven sisters with less than a spark of hope that any one of them would be able to come on almost no notice.   It took all of about 3 minutes before I got a positive response.    With epic amounts of coordination and juggling of schedules and childcare, within hours, three of my seven sisters began the 12 hour drive from Salt Lake to Seattle...all night long.   It was another Bumbershoot miracle.  

Meanwhile, I took advantage of my alone time.  I stopped at all the scenic outlooks that we tend to avoid when we have the kids.  I turned up the music and sang and talked to myself.

 Snoqualmie Falls is a 270 foot cascading waterfall located about 30 miles outside of Seattle   I am usually too busy keeping my children alive near cliffs such as these and therefore am unable to pause and read the historical details.  Today, I could stop and read.  Maybe it was the shock of time to myself, the overabundance of diet coke,  or the eager anticipation of having sister time, but I was emotionally struck by this photo taken in July of 1899.  To my concerned fellow tourists, I blamed my tears on the mist of the waterfall. I don't know the story behind this photo, but I love how the women who are on the edge of the cliff are being supported by the women behind.  I imagine it gave these women a bit more confidence to lean over and view the vast beauty before them, knowing that someone had their back.  I also imagine that these women took turns being the supporter and the supported.   
It has been a rough year for a few of my sisters.   And while they are on the edge of an abyss, some of us are behind, holding them firm just as they have been behind me when I have been the one on the edge. 
It is also those times when we are closest to the cliffs that we can recognize the most beauty, especially if we know that we are not alone.

I woke up to the knocks of my exhausted siblings at around dawn.  I let them sleep for a few hours, and then we were off.  We spent two days at Bumbershoot and one day just exploring Seattle.  We laughed a lot:  We heard great music:  We only got stopped by the cops once (for jaywalking);  We ate a million cliff bars and a little real food;  We pulled off a few good dares, such as attempting to enter the high-priced Bob Dylan concert with our Chucky Cheese I.D. cards;  We moshed in a sweaty mosh pit....for a minute.  It was life-changing.

69,000 Penny Arcade Exposition attendees were also crawling around the city, many of them dressed as their favorite arcade character.  We tried to enter the convention center, but were turned away on account of our lack of freakishness......or our lack of tickets.  I still haven't figured out why so many of them wore these cones on the top of their heads.

The Blarney Stone in Ireland is the only other tourist attraction that houses more germs than the gum wall in Seattle.  People have been adding their gum here since 1933.  It is an evolving work of art with the artists coming from all over the world and from all walks off life.  Is it strange that I think it quite beautiful?  Coming from a family of 12, we do not shy away from bacteria.  When I die, and people wonder what I contributed to the world, it can always be said, 'she added at least 3 pieces of gum to the gum wall.  It wouldn't be the same without her.'  At least I will have that.

Oh, how I love street performers, especially he who can hula hoop, strum the guitar behind his head, and play the harmonica at the same time.  

And nerdy boys who jam on washboards.

And barefooted strummers in colorful garb.  Love, love, love.

My sisters were convinced that someone was knocking from inside this trunk.   I was convinced they had been inhaling some second hand Ganja.  

I introduced my sisters to the culinary artist,  Thai Tom.  We were so close to his cooking that we had oil and/or his sweat flying in our faces.

Trampled by Turtles....bluegrass band from Duluth

This band was pure fun.  I had never heard of them before was quickly taken in by the energy.  The Dead-Head like fans were more fun to watch than the band itself.

Lay Low:  Her real name is Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir and she hails from Iceland.  A combination of folk, blues, and country, her music was sweet and honest.  We took a seat and Lay Low for Lay Low. 
Bob Schneider 
Julia developed a musician crush on Bob Schneider and I developed a "you are an interesting person" crush on his accordian player.
Jenny Lewis and Johnny.  I love her work with Rilo Kiley.  Then she got married to this guy Johnny and     I am not such a big fan of her post-nuptial melodies.

Laura Veirs.  I have enjoyed her music in the past, but for some reason it didn't do anything for me today.  

We were making fun of this guy with his fur vest and man purse until a few people came up and asked for his autograph.  Anyone know who this is? 

The Constellations.  You just can't look away and the tambourine girls were hypnotic.  If I had to  describe this band, I would say,  Hip Hop, Blues, 80's rock, and a little bit of what the hell all rolled into one.

#1 Favorite performance;  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  Some have said that he is a cult leader.  I must admit that if he was passing out Kool-Aid, I probably would have imbibed.  Of course, so many people were smooshing me that I would have certainly spilled the drink before I could get it to my mouth.  

#2 Favorite Performance;  The Thermals.  
I am becoming a believer in Sigmund Freuds crowd behavioral theory.  I  almost allowed my weight to be supported and passed around by complete strangers.   
My cousin was able to meet us for a few hours.  She lasted the longest in the Thermals Mosh Pit.  And for those of you who are wondering, she is only drunk on life.  

I walked into this exhibition and my throat started pulsating with emotion.  I despise waxing cheesy, but sometimes there is no way to adequately describe something without dripping in fromage(it sounds better in french).  I found this too be a frighteningly stunning piece of art that I would never put in my living room.  

Who wants to come next year?