Tuesday, February 24, 2015

oop odd


Sunday, February 22, 2015

What to do next...

I'm at the little black desk in our Doha bedroom and Angela is wheezing in her sleep behind me. The wind is blowing dust and such, the floors are all slippery with it, and I'm excessively itchy and scratchy and uncomfortable. A few hours ago, lotion made my arms feel better, and I smell fresher, but my face and eyes are irritated. I'm ready for bed.

I went into the kitchen to look for something to eat, and popped a few SweetTarts Hearts--leftover unwanted Valentine's day candy--for a bit of a sugar rush to keep me going for a little while longer.

It's late and I should be grading papers or writing recommendation letters or lesson plans, but I'm blogging. My shoulder hurts from holding my arm in a strange position in front of the computer, and my wrists feel tight from typing. I hold my head in the palm of my hand, elbow on the table, and think about what to do next...

Monday, January 05, 2015

There's no...

catching up.

More to follow...

Thursday, September 04, 2014

My Lullaby

Laptop a-lap, sitting unglamorously in my Gap pyjama bottoms and sweating on the chestnut-colored suede couch in our humid living room while Angela and Vito sleep, and well after the time I might otherwise logically retire so that I can wake up and be ready to face another day of composition instruction and collegial repartee, something impels me to put pen to pixel or whatever. Is that tonight's curry dinner still lingering? Will my lower back still feel tight tomorrow morning? Shouldn't I be reading one of those unread e-mails from the various personalities at my son's school?

Clearly uninspired, the minutes trickle forth to the tune of a plastic Ikea clock in the kitchen and an electrical serenade featuring the refrigerator and masking the subtle rumble of air-conditioning from somewhere deep in the apartment building. Periodically, a car hushes along the unnamed street outside the compound. Here in this dark room only brightened by the screen in front of me, some kind of e-moonbeam lights my way.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Catch Up

So Angela, Vito and I are back in Putignano, Italy at Angela’s mother’s house in the countryside, one of our usual summer destinations. We arrived on Thursday evening, and have not done much beside watch World Cup soccer since then. It has rained almost every day and really hasn’t been very summery whatsoever, so it has been difficult to get out, especially without a car of our own, but the down time has allowed me to read, reflect and rest a little. The cool weather, however, is a nice contrast to what we will return to in Doha in August. Two of Vito’s cousins are staying with us in the countryside, so he has been busy with them every day and hasn’t demanded much attention from his parents, which is a nice relief as the he and I have spent almost all of our time together over the past four weeks.

To start with, Vito and I left Doha, Qatar about one month ago and, after getting retrieved by my parents from the airport in San Francisco, California, have since fished with grandpa, camped in Big Basin State Park, spent a day on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, flown to Colorado to visit my brother and his family, watched a San Francisco Giants baseball game, and visited with family and friends. Our crowning achievement was a return trip to San Francisco to pick up Angela when she arrived on the 3rd of July. We stayed six more days with my parents in Roseville not really doing much of anything, and then left to continue with the next segment of another summer adventure.

We left our hotel near the airport at 3AM, returned our rental car, and checked-in for our 5:50AM flight. We flew from San Francisco to Newark, New Jersey and then, after three hours in the airport, caught our connecting flight to Rome, Italy. In Rome after not really sleeping much on the flights, we took a train from the airport to Termini Station, stored our luggage in the depository there, and walked to the coliseum, which is something that Angela had promised Vito we would do. By the time we arrived, the coliseum was swarming with hat vendors, Roman soldiers and tourists, so we didn’t have time to wait in the long line that was snaking around the ancient fortress, and then stopped for lunch before heading back to the station to take a train south to Bari. From Bari, we caught one final train to Putignano where Angela's sister met us. After about one week in the countryside, we left this morning for Pisa.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Oulipost Exit Interview

Jenni Baker, editor of the Found Poetry Review, asked participants to complete an exit interview for last month's oulipost challenge, which entailed composing a found poem each day of the month by imposing assigned constraints on material from my local newspaper. Now, a few days into my summer vacation, I find myself with enough time to formulate responses and, thus, offer closure to my own participation in the activities.

What happened during Oulipost that you didn’t expect? What are the best (or worst) moments for you?
I did not expect my wife to be so frustrated, but, often, it took all of the remaining time in a given day to complete activities, and that made for some conflict. Should I go to bed or read another post?

Strangely, as I was spending so much time on my blog—more time, in fact, than I had spent in the past seven years—I found myself looking back through my old blogposts. I could read an evolution in both my writing and personal life. I could relive and remember those events that I had blogged about so many years ago. I consider this a 'best' moment.

I am sorry that, in the midst of the challenge, I simply did not have time to read everything. As writing responses took nearly all of my free time in a given day, I had little time to read other responses. I intend to return to read the residue that escaped me on the first go around, but best laid plans and all that...

Looking for proper articles to use was obsessively tedious. I found that the constraints often broke the usable lexicon of a particular article too much. Lastly, it was impressive to see how other members of the group approached each task.

What does your street look like?
I live in a compound, as do most people in Doha. To cheat, I offer this picture in place of description.
Education City Community Housing, Lot 2, Zanon Circle, Doha, Qatar

Who is your spirit Oulipostian?
Because I posted at nearly the same time each day (along with others who were posting at or about the same time), I found myself returning to blogs by the same authors: Elizabeth Evans McNabb, Jody Rich, Massimo Soranzio, Douglas J. Luman, and Margo Roby, to name a few. I began to follow and interact with these individuals, however slight, with whom I was, previously, unfamiliar.

What are the top three poems you wrote during this project?
1. #24: "[So she'll soon.]"
2. #21: "rare vision"
3. #08: "Lewis Hamilton"
What questions do you have for your teaspoons? What questions do your teaspoons have for you?
Teaspoons are a noisy lot. They're full of questions and they tend to talk over one another, but I want to know if they are going to insist on oulipost collectable spoons. I don't use them for anything but honey when a sore throat kicks up. Do they need more attention?

What will you do next?
I have been working on a manuscript about Doha, and hope to bring that to completion, especially now that my teaching commitments have come to an end this semester. As my oulipost responses mashed up Gulf Times articles, I plan to review my responses for posts that I can integrate into the manuscript, but it seems like they took an alternate vein.

I would like to thank Jenni Baker for including me in the challenge. I am not sure how she found me out or why I was invited, but it was quite enjoyable, and I