Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It Stopped!

The snow has stopped for more than 12 hours. This is the first time in six days it has stopped that long. Please come back snow. Please.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tonight our low is 8 degrees. Last I checked it was 5 degrees out. It hasn't been in the double digits all day. I love it.

Arthur Fellig

He is one of the best photographers ever. Completely untrained and passionate, Fellig has been impersonated time after time by photographers and actors alike. Starting as a New York Times "squegee boy", Fellig soon rose to become one of the best journalistic photographers ever. He went by Weegee, the phoenetic of Ouija, because of his uncanny ability to get to crime scenes and fires before the proper authorities. The first journalist to have a police radio in his car in New York City, Weegee also had a portable darkroom in his trunk. Relentless and stark, his images mimic his personality. This weather always make me think of Weegee.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Last Night I Said

I want it to snow ten feet tonight!

But it didn't. It snowed heavily for an hour. Covering everything in a few inches. Then the wind, the palouse this region was named for, blowing the snow everywhere so fast I couldn't see anything but stars through the pauses, and house lights through the breaks.

The snow was late this year, by weeks, a month maybe. Nobody knows where it was - in Hawaii for a last hurrah, or in training in the Arctic, or simply waiting above the Rockies and the Cascades - but here, after Thanksgiving, it comes down thick and clean and white. All the ugly of the world swallowed up for the night and day after a big storm. I forget about Darfur. I could care less about Nepal. It's snowing. And hard.

This morning, the clouds retreated East, back to the Rockies, and the sunrise was orange over the snow. Blue sky and fresh snow were everywhere. There was not ten feet, there was not even three, but I have already forgotten everything.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Last night, in the cigar room with a Cusano 18, writing a poem,

the one posted on refrigerators, telephone
poles, spray painted on the side of cars,
tattooed to a tongue, literally,

and editing a poem,

But We Are Bankrupt By The Bland,

by poets who are so into poetry
they drive Nissan Stanzas, buy
only local, organic, overpriced products,
wear glasses that look like dashes
and leather-patched tweed blazers.

I drank an Oregon Chai tea which, by the way, went beautifully with the Cusano. When I came out it had snowed. Not much, just a quarter inch. But it was snowing hard enough to cover my tracks fifteen feet back. As soon as I closed my door at home it stopped. It covered everything. It was expected. It was late.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For The Little Bit Of Palouse In All Of Us

Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.

-Dave Barry

Happy Thanksgiving!

Radish King F---ing Rocks!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

He rolls the cigar beneath his nose, nostrils flaring in inhale. He does this all the time. It is always the same posture: elbows on knees, lean forward, hold the cigar with two hands, sniff and roll, then sit back and look at it. Only three responses to the sniff, all facial. One, hell, I’ll give it a try: raise one eyebrow and lower the other, cock the head to the side and push out the bottom lip. Two, I didn’t expect it to smell that good: similar to one, but both eyebrows are raised now. Three, Mon Dieu: roll both eyes into the head, raise both eyebrows, smile, and tilt the head back a little, then come forward and sniff again. He never wavers from these three. No cigar is a bad cigar. If he doesn’t like it, he must have had a bad day. If he doesn’t like it the second time, he tries it once more, just to pinpoint why. If, after trying it three times, he still does not like it, he never buys one again unless a trusted advisor says they like that specific cigar, then he always tries it again, within the week.

He has two cabinet humidors at home. One, glass paneled, holds all of his Mon Dieu cigars. The second has glass only for the door and holds all the cigars he is in the process of trying. He buys cigars three at a time, except those in his Mon Dieu humidor, which he buys by the box from his tobacconist in Denver. His favorite five are the Fuente Fuente Opus X, the Monte Cristo No. 2, the Trinidad TTT, the Por Larrañaga, and the Padrón Anniversary 1926. His other favorites are the Punch Double Corona, the Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real, and the Belinda Spanish Twist. No cigar is a bad cigar. If he doesn’t like it, he must have had a bad day.

He comes in here often. He usually wears a tie. One night a week he will ask the man behind the counter for something new. It usually takes three guesses to get something he hasn’t tried, more if it is busy. He buys only one. That night he makes a decision on the cigar, after just one. Only once a week does he do that. If he likes it, he will buy three. If he doesn’t he asks the one or two friends he trusts on cigars what they think – maybe he just had a bad day. Only rarely does he say he likes it, then gets up and walks out. He leaves and buys a box the next day. The last one he did that for was the Macanudo Duke of York. He usually brings his own cigars. He calls himself a cigar collector. No cigar is a bad cigar. If he doesn’t like it, he must have had a bad day.
I get nervous posting my own work - light headed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It Goes Again

The 2nd bi-weekly (or monthly) Moscow 24 Hours of Writing. I barely get one architecture assignment done since the last one, and it's on again.

Radish King.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How To Get Breathless

Go to a reading by Rebecca.

The power, surprise, humor, and beauty of her readings are unrivalled. She speaks with more conviction and confidence than I own. And oh God, the poems. The poems are back-alley bullies beating you up in broad daylight. When read out loud by the poet, holding desperately onto your chair is suggested; keep breathing too, it's important you last until the end, at which point you may fall over and stop breathing. Her work is full of fury and beauty. Her readings are truly astounding.

I made the trip to Seattle to see her a day after spending $100 on ten cigars. Actually got a spot in the Hugo parking lot around 6:30. Inside was a nervous poet passing out Radish King matches. She gave me a handful and I promised myself to only use them on the good ones. Then Radish King, the book. I'd seen an earlier form and was in love, also saw the cover once before, but feeling it, opening it up and blowing wind on my face by flipping the pages, scanning just a couple poems before the reading - I only get that excited over fresh pasta and a new racing season. She reads with power, precision, and poise I could never hope for. She named three places: Gold Bar, Ellensburg, and the Lewiston Grade. The next day I drove from Gold Bar, through Ellensburg, to the Lewiston Grade and felt her poems the entire way. They are parasitic and I love it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Architects Die Young, Or So I'm Told

--Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
--Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
--Tant'è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,
dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
--Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai,
tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai.


Tonight is Van Sant night instead of Poetry class. We are apparently watching My Own Private Idaho. I love that film. It will be a long, long night after that however. So much needs to get done.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

24 Hour Recap

The 24 Hours of Poetry was just what I needed to get excited about my own writing again. I created a character who, despite only two pages being written about him, has come alive to me already, like no other character has. I realized a couple hours into the write that a reason I have such a hard time with fiction is that I try to write about what I don't know - I need some constraints or else I write stuff that bores me. I think I overcame that in writting the character. I don't think I will ever fully get over trying to write about what I don't know, but I did temporarily and I loved the results. I also started a poem I had been thinking about for a long time and it immediately changed into a sequence of found poems in tribute to Estelo Padrón. I did not get enough editing done, nor did I get a start on the paper, but I am very happy with how the night progressed.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Welcome To The Pre-Game Show

That's right Dave, today is the big day: the Moscow, Idaho 24 Hours of Poetry.

Sure is Steve, and the air is abuzz with excitement as those involved get ready for their big night.

Don't you mean write Dave?

Ha Ha Ha, I guess I should say write. We've watched these authors in the preliminaries, from English 291 all the way up through 491, and their fiction classes, and I think this is shaping up to be a - an - a very exciting night Steve.

Yes indeed Dave. We've also seen them turn out some fairly, well, not good poetry this season, -


- and perhaps this write is just the right thing to get them back to their old selves.

You know, you are exactly right there Steve. Poems like "Alexander" and "Jeff Jordan" really need help, while some like "I Am Sick Of Poetry" -


- yeah, I know, that title - well, "I Am Sick Of Poetry" and "He Passes Away Under A Cloud" really show some promise but just are not quite there yet Steve.

Yes, definately Dave. We can expect to see those come out, but I also wonder if recent poems like "The Male Ophelia" and that piece about hands might get an early start on new drafts tonight.

I think so.

Well, me to, but what is really exciting here Dave, is the prospect of seeing some really great poems -


- well, like "To The Cult Of Architecture" - come out and really be polished up to just that final draft, you know, the one you send off in manuscripts.

I agree Steve, but do you think any of our Poets will ever finish a poem?

No, I think you're right there. I think this group of authors we will see tonight are addicted to experimentation and continual revision, but I think that, after tonight, a couple poems might have enough confidence to fly to a periodical.

I completely agree with you Steve. But what about some of the other contestants, I know CVT lost the flash drive that had everything he'd ever written on it earlier this week.

Yes, that was devastating. He really had some good pieces and ideas, but to lose everything like that - wow Dave. I don't even know what to say.

Well, let's not forget that we haven't heard from him in a while and he may have found it Steve.

That's right Dave.

But even if he didn't, this night will see the first drafts of new poems, stories, assignments, et cetera -

As well as a wonderful William Kittridge reading.

- yes, as well as Kittridge. But we are running out of time for the Pre-Game show. The write starts off at about 2:00 PM today, Pacific time, with the first poet getting home from class. The rest of the authors will join up until they all go, en masse, to the Kittridge reading at 7:30 PM in the Administration Building's Auditorium on the U of Idaho campus. Good luck to all involved with this long, long night.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Global Sex

"There's a misperception that there's a great deal of promiscuity in Africa, which is one of the potential reasons for HIV/AIDS spreading so rapidly," said Dr. Paul van Look, director of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization, who was unconnected to the study. "But that view is not supported by the evidence." Wellings says that implies that promiscuity may be less important than factors such as poverty and education...

Researchers also found that married people have the most sex, and that there has been a gradual shift to delay marriage, even in developing countries.

"A single woman is more able to negotiate safe sex in certain circumstances than a married woman," says van Look, who points out that married women in Africa and Asia are often threatened by unfaithful husbands who frequent prostitutes.

Because of the diversity of sexual habits worldwide, Wellings warns that no single approach to sexual health will work everywhere. "There are very different economic, religious and social rules governing sexual conduct across the world," Wellings said.

Who says raising awareness doesn't help?

Courtesy of The International Herald Tribune. Article here.

How Fast Can Ten Gallons Of Candy Go?

Approx. 45 min if you give it out at the mall when it is about twenty degrees outside.

Best Costumes I Saw:

1. A Small Child as Mario
2. A Student Smoking a Cigar, dressed as Castro or Che
3. A Pregnant Woman as a Pumpkin
4. Anything from Eclectica
5. Daniel as a Twinkie
6. A Dad as a Hot Dog
7. A Flapper