Saturday, September 3, 2011

Noble Beast

photo by John Sandel

The noble beast, the pompetus of love, the elder statesman of his radius, has been suffering neighborhood walks for an entire month. A month! Walking on cement! With his delicate toes!

I remind him that some dogs don't get a daily walk, but he's spoiled. He remembers hikes in the mountains. When do we get to go back to the wild? he wants to know. When do we get to smell coyotes again? Not that he wants to meet them in person.

Boz doesn't know it yet, but today we get back on the trail. He has new flea meds, a special water bottle and desire enough to carry him far past where we're going, no matter how delicate his toes.

But you can't tell a dog these things until the last second or they'll follow you at your heels, gazing at you desperately until the moment the leash jangles and the car door opens. So I haven't told him yet. Right now, the fava bean of farts is snoring.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ubiquitous Utilities

At first I didn't see pipes like these.

Then I noticed one. It stuck out above ground. Someone had painted it a bright color.

Then I saw them everywhere. I mean, they are everywhere. All different colors and sizes and shapes.

I exagerrate. They're not everywhere. I don't have one at my house, for example. But I'm thinking of getting one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Theme Day: Perspective

Today's theme at City Daily Photo is "perspective." That can be a technique used in art and architecture to show distance or elevation. It can also be how you look at things. For instance, this could be a hole in a hedge, through which you view a field of small avocado trees being watered by a sprinkler. Or it could be a window into the past, to the days before Henry Huntington bought his land in San Marino and this was merely a farm.

City Daily Photo is now 1412 blogs strong, the most recent being Denpasar, Indonesia. To see how other blogs around the world have depicted the theme, click here to view thumbnails for today's participants.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Author: Linda Dove and "O Dear Deer,"

Linda Dove is that rare creature: a published poet. Besides her acclaimed books she has published poems in the L.A. Review, The Antigonish Review, Clackamas Literary Review and more, and has won several poetry awards. Please welcome today's guest author, Linda Dove.

I’ve encountered a few unexpected moments on the way to becoming a writer. After I published my first book of poems in 2009, I was surprised with the sense that I needed to take on a new voice, a new technique. Most folks would tell you to stick with what’s worked, or—more insistently—that you should keep to what you know, that you should write out of your authentic place. “Authentic” is a much-bandied-about word in writer circles, but I’m not sure anyone really knows what they mean by it. In any case, I felt like I wanted to try the sort of experimental writing that made my heart race when it was done well. I admired it because I didn’t understand it.   

So I did a lot of reading. For two years, I read everything I could get my hands on both in print and online—poetry collections, chapbooks, journals, anthologies, criticism, book reviews, theory. I followed poets on Twitter, 20 years my junior, who were starting innovative presses and e-zines. I not only read blogs, I read the comment sections of blogs, where the meatiest—some would say the nastiest—debates were happening. I once found myself sitting alone at a table in a decrepit Denver ballroom, which was sagging with Christmas lights though it was April, as I sipped red wine and waited for a packed house of Hot Young Poet Things—those who had never known a world without the internet—to present their work. If you perceive some anxiety about my age coming into play, you wouldn’t be wrong. I knew no one and was sporting the only gray hair in the room. At least I had an iphone to look busy with

In the midst of this re-education project, I got called for jury duty in downtown L.A. Surprise! I was launched into an alternate universe, full of odd-sounding legalisms and morgue photos and testimony about gang tattoos. My jury experience became the basis for my chapbook of experimental poems, O Dear Deer,, although I hadn’t planned on writing about the trial, which seemed too raw, too complex.  Wasn’t it wrong—sort of unholy—to experiment with so much grief? But I realized that, the more fragmented the lines, the more they spoke to human brokenness. I didn’t try to recount the events that led to the trial in my poems. Instead, I became fixated on deer, antlers, trees. Where clarity would have collapsed under the weight of its own detail, abstraction made room for what was truly authentic: the fact that nothing would ever be the same. 

My books are available at Amazon and, locally, at Webster’sFine Stationers. Please join me at two upcoming readings, where I’ll be introducing the poems from O Dear Deer, : 

Two Heads are Better Productions Presents the Kulture FaCtory’s Sundays at Ellouise, 55 Waverly Drive, Pasadena, Sunday, September 18th at 4:00 PM, $5 cover charge. This appearance is a “10 for 10” reading, which means you’ll get to hear 10 of us read for 10 minutes apiece—short but wide and sweet. It also happens to fall on my birthday! 

Webster’s FineStationers, 2450 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, Saturday, October 15th at 6:00 PM. This reading is happening in conjunction with one of Webster’s regular wine pairing events, "Latin Wines for a Passionate Evening," which will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, so that’s added incentive to come out and have some vino with your verses. They'll keep pouring wines through the poetry reading, and there'll be food, too!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Growing up in Illinois there were days when it was so cold you couldn't go outside, or if you did, you bundled up in extra socks and waterproof boots. You added layers under your hooded parka, a scarf around your face to protect your nose and eyes. Then came mittens--not gloves--because you needed your fingers to generate heat and keep each other warm.

In the southwest we have days when you shouldn't go outside, but they're at the opposite end of the thermometer. You don't bundle up for such weather but if you must be out for a while you do cover up: you need a brim on that hat, plus sunglasses to protect your vision, long sleeves and preferably long pants to preserve your skin, and sunscreen on the remaining exposed dermal inches.

Our temps came back into the 90s yesterday, down from over 100 degrees, and it felt like relief. It got so hot this time I could go outdoors without a sweater even at night. (Now that I love.) We'll be back to the high 80s by Wednesday--in other words, back to normal.

This camellia will survive. But it's a good argument for sunscreen.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zen Monday: #160

In Zen, one learns through experience rather than books or lectures. Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and tells us what you've learned, rather than me lecturing you about it.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good book. It's just that Monday is the day you write it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

LA, Gloaming

John and I are not the party animals we once were, but we've been going out in the evenings quite a bit lately. It's kind of a big deal because we don't ordinarily step out much out after dark.

(This is not dark, I know that, it hasn't been that long. It's not even dusk. It's the gloaming.)

See the orange glow on the horizon? That's anticipation.

How was your weekend? What's on the horizon for you this week?