World As Teacher (Day 1 Post: Kneel in a public place)
I had once sat cross-legged on the sidewalk of a benchless bus stop and had peanut butter cheese crackers thrown at me, so of all the possible tasks, this was one i looked the lease forward to. But I was determined to get this task completed, so just before 7 PM, I knelt in the seiza position I had used in karate classes. It was dark out, but I made sure I was far enough on the sidewalk and under the street light so I wouldn’t scare the bejesus out of anyone who happened by. Of all of the people who biked or drove by, none noticed me. I think two walking people saw me, but they were on the other side of the street and didn’t say anything. I thought I felt a gaze out of one of the apartment building windows across the street. But that was about it as far as human interaction. I sat there and kept thinking about the fact that I was in seiza position. It seemed only natural to mediate. In the opening of every karate class we had a ritual that went like this: Seiza (kneeling position), Mokuso (Meditate), Shomenei Rei (bow to floor and show respect to the ancestors, to all who have come before, to each other, by saying thank you (domo arigato gozaimasu), then sensei ne rei, (bow to the sensei/teacher and say thank you). I sat there and listened to all of the sounds. There is a church across the street and I heard the most wonderful voice of an older black man singing with all of his heart. I knew who it was because I once saw him come out of the church still singing in that magnificent tenor. The leaves rustled around me. I could hear the cars on the main road. I thought about the shootings that happened on Saturday here in my neighborhood. I thought about the changing of seasons. I bowed, putting my hands on the ground, fingers pointed towards each other, lowered my head thank you, rose up put my hands back in the same spot, lowered my head, thank you.
Walk Around the Block and a Detour (Day 2 Post: Walk around the block as slowly as possible)
My friend Crys arrived via bus at point A of my block. We then walked 3/4ths of the way around the block, to point B, C, and D. From there, however, we detoured to the left and went up the street to the coffee shop. I was diligently working on my neighborhood mapping project when my young friends joined us. The eight year old drew a better house than I. So we spent a few hours there, let the girls draw with my colored pencil, talked spanish to a spanish teacher, got a ‘zine, drank jones sodas and ate cookies… After we left we completed the circuit back to point D and on to A. The most interesting thing we saw on the walk itself was an old gutted cash register outside a store in the garbage pile with fall leaves on and in it. If you count the detour as continuing the walk then it lasted very long and we had a great time with two fourth graders.
Breathe in red fur; Smile (Day 3 Post: Breath in; Smile)
When I put my face against my dog’s,
I smell dirt and grass and whatever he last rolled in.
When he kisses my lips, a coppery after-taste
remains as a reminder.
It is not so much that I like the pungent outdoor odor
or the sharp metallic taste
as that I love my dog
and those smells and that taste are associated with him,
so that some of the love for the being
is transferred onto the attributes.
Then, each smell, each taste, apart from the being,
is attached to a memory of a face pressed against mine—
It may hit me miles away.
A cool fall breeze reminding me of the scent
of my dog returning indoors from wrestling
with a pile of orange leaves.
This is what I felt when I drank Guinness after you—
in tasting what your mouth savored,
I tasted you.
When I drink Guinness,
it is because I want
to kiss you.
In your always present absence
it is my dog who kisses my face.
But just for a second, I imagine
there is a smell of spiced leather
and a taste
Putting the Billy On (Day 4 Post: Eat/Drink Something New)
I grew up in a town with one Chinese restaurant, and so when I grew up I tried any kind of food anywhere. Thus it was hard on short notice to think of somewhere to get something i hadn’t yet tried. I once went to a bubble tea restaurant and ordered the thing on the menu i had no idea what it was (taro cake) and it was delicious. After a day that went steadily downhill, including a $93 parking ticket, I thought perhaps something simple was in order. I went to our stock of teas and found one I’d never tried. A tetley drawstring tea, flavored summer berry, a nostalgic flavor in this cold weather!
Sculpture Rising (Day 5 Post): http://dependentcoarising.blogspot.com/2008/11/sculpture-rising.html
A Sweet Offering (Day 6 Post: Give something away)
Di una galleta a un profesor de español quien tiene una motocicleta.
I gave a cookie to a spanish teacher who has a motorcycle
Jam Session (Day 8 Post: Harmonize with someone)
Me on drums, fiance Rado on accordion, just a small sample from our jam session
take another look, (Day 9 Post: Take another look)
we have no way of knowing
if we see the same color
we have been conditioned
the sky is blue
the ocean is blue
so anything resembling these hues
is called blue
I don’t know if I ever really loved
you might see green
for my blue
11:00-11:59 PM (day 10: log an hour)
record of items encountered in allegheny commons park (Day 12 Post: List 10 things you encounter in a row, draw photograph or otherwise record them)
a litany of litter lines the grass by the sidewalk
i read somewhere at least we’re winning the war
on the environment
and i guess this is reflective of that
but the light catches on the discarded
campbells soup pull tab lid
three business cards of one sgt joshua d garma
us army recruiter reminds me of the wars
we aren’t winning (poverty, iraq)
the half page torn from an activity book
an alphabetic list of fairy tale terms
(cinderella to rip van winkle)
for the missing search
no prince is coming
the sun barely shines
but the trail of lottery receipts
is the american tenacity
for hope in spite of odds
Exquisite Corpse (Day 14: Make a drawing with someone)
I started the top of the drawing, folded over all but the very bottom of my portion and passed the paper on, the next person drew connected to that last piece of mine, then folded theirs over except for the very bottom and passed it on… took it to work with me so it’s by the beleza crew. 5 players this time.
Here’s WIKIPEDIA‘s definition:
Exquisite corpse (also known as “exquisite cadaver” or “rotating corpse”) is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled, the result being known as the exquisite corpse or cadavre exquis in French. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. “The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun”) or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.
the secret society of people who are up before dawn (Experience the Sunrise and Sunset)
today’s moon is crescent and waning
like the pillsbury doughboy on a diet.
the sun can’t rise without the moon
the sunrise was at 717 but the moon rose at 527
this is my dark side when i complain
about walking the dog in the cold dark
but it was 7 degrees in 1950 and what
am i really complaining about?
the day feels like the sun and moon
discs of an astrolabe switching places
to represent the passage of time
there is less and less light as we go on
until the shortest day of the year
which is when i will still
be walking to work at 5:30 am