Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Languaging the World

Since I work in a Jewish Religious School, I spend a lot of time with Hebrew speaking people. In fact, the Hebrew teachers are a mixture of UW students, old Israeli immigrants, and local professionals. All of them speak at least English and Hebrew, and many of them speak at least another language.

 

One of the teacher is a 19 year old UW student. She was born in Russia and Russian is her first language. But she also speaks perfect English, with no trace of an accent. And she also speaks Hebrew. And she can speak a small spattering of Spanish. At 19.

 

Last night, to celebrate the end of the semester, I went to a local pub. I sat sandwiched in the middle of 7 or so Hebrew teachers discussing Judaism, teaching at the Hebrew school, Jewish dating sites, Hebrew itself, occasionally speaking in Hebrew, at one point speaking in Spanish.

 

These were mostly conversations I was not a part of, though it was fascinating to listen to.

 

I was thinking about poetry. It’s another language. I speak this language. I used to speak Spanish, not very well, and I can still read with pretty solid comprehension and can usually understand someone speaking to me. I learned a little Greek and then I started muddling the Greek and the Spanish and now I don’t speak either and I can’t even remember the Greek alphabet. (Though I can still order a coffee or glass of wine, ask where the bathroom is, and tell someone that I am going for a walk by the sea. So… you know… the important thing. Or at least, these were the important things when I was there.) I have these languages in me now, a little bit, the trace of them. But Poetry I speak. I speak it well. I understand it. I can teach it like these Hebrew teachers are teaching all the little Jewish kids how to read the Torah.

 

Then I was thinking about something we talked about in grad school… Language is the medium through which we experience the world. I can’t remember who coined this idea… but it struck me, sitting at this table, that they are experiencing this world through this holy language (we’re talking Biblical Hebrew, here, not conversational Hebrew). Their experience of the world, then, is mediated by this language, and thus by their faith. What’s interesting about it is not how important their faith is to their lives, but how language makes that primary in their very use of it.

 

I don’t speak Hebrew. But I speak poetry. Poetry is the language through with my experience of the world is mediated. Does this make poetry my faith? How does this change the way I experience the world?

 

It’s not something I really ever thought about. Even as we discussed it in classes. But it certainly does. A friend once told me I was the most freakishly observant person he ever met. I watch people and the world. Lots of people do, maybe. But the smallest things. Is that my language, Poetry, mediating the world. A scrolling commentary, like the opening text of a movie on the screen, telling me what the world is like, each image, how I translate them into language.

 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Food That Tastes Better When You don't Make It Yourself

Being in grad school is this strangely insular experience. You show up not knowing anybody, weirdly nervous but also weirdly chosen. And then you spend the next 1-4 years with basically the same isolated group of people, talking about the same things, going to the same bars, having the same brunches and dinners and whether you actually like the people or not it doesn’t matter. There’s a closeness just by pure proximity and amount of time spent together.

 

When you graduate and leave, it’s strange not to have that anymore. You may have friends, but certainly not that close group of people you may or may not like but spend copious amounts of time together. And so you lose that “world.”

 

As a result, you get out in the world, land in whatever city you land in, and realize that all of your inside jokes fall flat. Other people don’t get “the knock,” say or the conversation about “first-name-last-name” people. You mention these things and people look baffled and ask and you explain and it still isn’t quite funny for them. It isn’t the same at all.

 

I miss “knocking” with friends. Occasionally I knock anyway, but it’s like this tiny part of my world that made life more fun has just dissipated.

 

Tonight, at work, I got into a conversation with one of my bosses. She was telling me about “food-that-tastes-better-when-you-don’t-make-it-yourself” and I said “hm”… not because I didn’t get it but because I was so pleased that this was something that exists. Like “first-name-last-name-people” which I then told her about. And she got it too.

 

 

So now I’m trying to think of food that tastes better when you don’t make it yourself.

 

Cheeseburger

French Fries

 

 

This is all I’ve come up with.

 

She listed:

 

Coffee

Oatmeal

Stirfry (I make a pretty slammin stirfry so I can’t get on board here)

 

 

 

Holidays are here and I, of course, am thinking a lot about food. For my work holiday party (a synagogue, mind you) I’m making little massaman curry sweet potato pies. I’ve decided to cook them in cupcake tins so everyone can get their own.

 

I’m also venturing to the sunterland to cook a big dinner for friends. Pumpkin bisque (cooked in the pumpkin), Roast Duck, Spinach Salad, and the pies d’ resistance: blackberry pie with walnut meringue and a whiskey butter crust.

 

I am so excited I can barely contain myself. Seriously.

 

Happy Eating!

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cheese, Limes, and Other Cooking Adventures

You may have noticed that the name of this blog is The Cheese Stringery. This is no accident. While I originally intended this blog to be a poetry focused blog (and still deals in poetry from time to time)… one of my first loves in life, especially in a gastronomic capacity, was cheese. In fact, my love is so great that, despite an dairy sensitivity, I can’t bring myself to give it up. Sure, occasionally I just focus on goat cheese thereby avoiding the lactose issue, but sometimes goat cheese just won’t satisfy. Probably because, as much as I love a good chevre or feta, and sometimes a goat cheddar will suffice, nothing really compares to a really good, really true cheddar. An aficionado of cheese, I tend to buy some every week. Sometimes I get in a rut and just buy chevre for a while or just buy feta, and occasionally I feel sassy and buy a few new cheeses in tasting size just to see what I have been missing.

 

Most recently, I was at my local market and there were a couple cheese tasting stations and one was for Coastal Cheddar (imported from ye old Britain). As you know, since I just told you, I love cheddar. But this Coastal Cheddar was like cheddar at its most refined, most pure, most perfect. While still maintaining hard cheese integrity, it is soft. White and a little creamy. And most importantly, sharp. This cheese is really sharp. Delightfully, beautifully sharp. Since having discovered this (rather pricey) cheddar, I have tried multiple similar looking but cheaper incarnations that never quite hold up.

 

So there you have it… the perfect cheese. Coastal Cheddar. $6 for a tiny tiny little piece. And totally worth it.

 

 

Seemingly unrelated… I have been sick. I don’t get sick very often and when I do it typically passes. This, however, took weeks to build. I felt tired and sometimes headachey, but had few other symptoms. Then there was frequent sneezing. Then there was a day of pure nausea. That passed and I felt better a day later. But a week later, yesterday, I woke with a sore throat that felt like someone had taken a razor to my throat and serrated the edges. I could feel it in my ears. And I was stuffy and felt sort of stoned and my eyes burned. A big old mess.

 

Always one to try the natural cures first, I made myself two hot toddies. This is a remedy I’ve used for many years and have typically found it to fix everything in one night. Jack Daniels. Honey. Lemon. Hot water. I made myself two. While sipping this delicious nectar my throat cooled. I drank lots of water. Spent the whole day on the couch working my way through the delightfully bad tv show Prison Break on Netflix Watch Instantly. (One of the most brilliant inventions for those who are stuck at home, sick in bed.)

 

But these things are not the point. The point is,  discovered something about lemons and limes that I am sure you have known for a long time and wonder why nobody had pointed out to me. That if you roll it on the counter with the palm of your hand, you release the juices.

 

Yeah. You knew that already, right? Well I didn’t. Deal with it. Life changer. And also… made a way, way better Hot Toddy. So that, for the briefest of moments, my throat felt better.

 

However, now I am out of whiskey and have lost my voice (but it doesn’t hurt right now!)… so I sound like Betty Boop (or so I was told).

 

 

Among other food news, I got a new selection of recipes. As you may or may not already know or have divined, I work in a synagogue. That means that I spend 40 hours a week surrounded by Jews, who I love, and their endless runway of food. Baked goods are always prevalent, but there is also a cooking class on Sundays that bring in more real food food. As such, I got a pile of Jewish recipes. I decided to try something simple, something not cooking, the Israeli salad. I did this mostly because, when having drinks with one of our oh-so-lovely Hebrew teachers, he raved and raved about the Israeli salad and how he missed the food in Israel.

 

I have never been to Israel, but after listening to him talk about it, I kind of miss the food in Israel too.

 

Either way, the salad is simple. Cucumber, scallions, red pepper, tomato, parsley diced over a bed of lettuce (your choice, I presume) with a lemon/olive oil/salt & pepper dressing. (Yet another opportunity to roll yr lemons!)

 

It’s simple, certainly. But refreshing and delicious. I think the magic would be increased during the summer, because it’s so refreshing. And I also thought, for me, cilantro or basil would probably be preferable to parsley. I also thought a bit of lime along with yr lemon would be a nice touch. And maybe some garbanzo beans for substance.

 

Ok… so I am a modifier. I modify all of my recipes. All the same, delish!

 

Happy eating!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Your Trouble is Ballooning

Something cool!

Your Trouble is Ballooning by Amber Nelson

38 pages
80 pages
6 x 7.5"
Split side with A. Minetta Gould
cover art by Kelly Packer
Official release date 01/11/2011
preorder in mid December

Advance praise from Stacy Doris, author of Knot:
Amber Nelson works in the tension between meaning and making.: a music of shifts and sleights. Intention is not imposed but what emerges, not the isolate personal "I" but the pulse of American culture and history. "In the correspondence of assassination/ In the simmer green floor that jettisons" –- please read!

About the book and its author:
Your Trouble is Ballooning is comprised of eight sections of dense and lovely mysteries. Nelson is the co-founder and editor for alice blue. She has recent work published in H_ngm_n, Coconut, and Columbia Poetry Review. Another chapbook, Diary of When Being With Friends Feels Like Watching TV, will be available from Slash Pine Press.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Truth Is...

…whenever I see people eating a frozen TV Dinner I get a little depressed.

 

…yet I occasionally crave one of those highly processed frozen burritos for reasons I just don’t understand. It’s a craving I pretty much never indulge. Mostly because I think it would depress me the same way that other people’s TV Dinners do.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Text Score, attempt two: PERCUSSION

Arrive with a stack of books and pages and scatter them on the table. Pick one off the table. Open it. Flip through the pages. Read a word aloud. Read a sentence. Read words as notes. Flip more pages. Read a paragraph. Now read the punctuation. Read the punctuation out loud. Whatever that means. Use your breath. Use whatever means necessary.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Text Score, attempt one: TALKING

Place a walkie talkie on the table next to you. Look at it. Do not look at anyone else's walkie talkie. Turn it on and consider what turning it on means. Turn it off when you are ready. Turn it on again, when you are ready. When you are ready, set it to a station that feels like the right station for you to communicate. Consider your fingers. Finger the walkie talkie button. Hold the walkie talkie until you feel compelled to speak. Speak. Words. Hum. Listen to others speaking. Consider the person who speaks to you. Answer their sound with a sound. Click your fingernails on the table. Answer their noise with a noise, or, sound to call a sound. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until you are finished. Leave the walkie talkie on. When you are ready, hold the button and listen to the white noise. Let go. Silence.

Really Cooking



(Pictured above: Roasted vegetables (yam, onion, mushroom, mixed fingerling potatoes) with carmelized fig)

It’s nice to know that I can recreate most meals that I experience in a restaurant. The carmelized fig, above, was inspired by a meal had at the Dahlia Lounge—one of local restauranteur Tom Douglas’s restaurants.

Living in Seattle has been so wonderful. Living in Ballard, blocks away from some fabulous bars, restaurants, a movie theater, Cupcake Royale, The Ballard Locks, and Golden Gardens (the beach, baby!)… Then just a bus away from pretty much anything else.

So, take this weekend, for example.

Thursday night, went to a friend’s house to watch All About My Mother on his projector.

I don’t work Fridays so I went to see this Merce Cunningham dance performance. It was phenomenal. They had a live John Cage music performance that they danced to. I rushed home to try to get some chores done (dishes, cooking, laundry). But didn’t. Got home later than expected and then met a friend for some jazz at this club only blocks from my place. Then we went on the prowl for French fries, which we acquired here. Their fries had green flecks like my favorite Boise establishment. What a treat!

Saturday I fit in the previously needed to do list. Went to the grocery store, made some individual pot pies using this awesome cookbook I have full of recipes from Seattle chefs. Then joined my friend Dana to see Eye Music, a local experimental band, in preparation for a poetry project we will be embarking upon.

Sunday, I went to work. While the morning had been rather rainy, the day turned out rather nicely so I rode along the wonderous Burke-Gilman trail to arrive safely at my homestead. I hadn’t had much opportunity to watch football this year, and the few bars that I had attempted hadn’t really satisfied. I decided to try a new one: The Viking, only blocks from my house. The atmosphere was right, and the prices, up until people started showing up. Clientele was something of a turnoff. When that place didn’t work out, I crossed the street to the Copper Gate and discovered a ship shaped bar, walls plastered with Pin Ups and vintage vibrators, and a Sunday night Burlesque show. Not to mention a stunning menu written partially in Swedish with some amazing looking dishes. I can’t wait to eat there.

Finally we have to thank Monday Night Football and Senior Andrew for letting me know that good bars with good prices and a not totally unsettling client base does exist. The Waterwheel Lounge. They have hand cut French fries. They have two different kinds of bbq sauce and one of the best Pulled Pork Sandwiches I have ever tasted. And they have happy hour until 7pm with $2 well drinks and $3 micro brews. They also have a Wednesday night trivia AND Karaoke on Fridays AND Saturdays. I don’t think they could have built a better bar for me. Yes. It’s love.

I hope you enjoyed this magical link festival. I know I enjoyed getting us here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Curried Mushroom, Broccolli, and Onion over mashed Root Veggies

I tend to be the kind of cook, often, who throws things in the pan, crock pot, bowl, what have you. I love cookbooks, don’t get me wrong. And I love trying new dishes. But I often think of the recipe as a launching point for future experiments. I suppose there is probably something in my DNA that tells me not to follow instructions or something. I look at the recipe, think about what they did, the flavor profile, what it would be like. And then I imagine it’s possible futures. Or I go to the famer’s market and decide what inspiration I get by the vegetables I see. Their particular gleam that week. How they shout at me. What sounds good. What am I craving?

My most recent dish was inspired by my trip to Pies and Pints, a local pub that serves savory pies and, well, pints. Duh. But also some pretty magnificent sweet potato fries. I was with a friend and we were both discussing how the sweet potato is simply underutilized in most cuisine. He explained to me how he used it to make a cream sauce alternative. (He can’t have dairy.) So when I was headed out to make my big dish for the week, I knew I wanted to use a sweet potato. But I was also craving something with a southeast asian flavor.

O how I love to blend comfort food with asian flavors!

So I bought some mushrooms, broccoli, and onion to put in a curry. I had planned to make a coconut red curry, but I was wrong about what I had in the kitchen back home. I had to invent on the fly. I didn’t write anything down. I have a general memory of sautéing garlic before tossing in the broccoli. Everything else came from my parent’s spice cabinet. Dry yellow curry, ginger. I used tamari. A dash of brown sugar. Tossed in some chopped red bell pepper at the end so that it would end a bit al dente (mushy red pepper just gets gross after a time).For the root vegetables (sweet pototo, Yukon gold, red potatoes, and some parsnip), I simply boiled and mashed them with real butter and some milk. When I tossed the sautted veggies over the root veggies all the curry juice melted into the mashed veggies spreading the flavor around. The flavor was nice, not spicy, but a nice curry flavor. If I didn’t again, I’d throw in some cayenne for kick. I just love mushroom and broccoli together because they both take in flavor so well, both still retaining a sort of earthy undertone.

I took the before picture, but forgot to take the after picture. Oh well…


It was part of the inspiration for the quiche I also made. Mushroom, onion, and swiss. Usually I use strong cheese in my quiche, feta or chevre or even cheddar. But I must say the swiss cheese is so nice next to the strong onion and mild mushroom flavors. Meant to take a photo, but forgot.

Here, also, are my friends visiting from Boise at the aforementioned Pies and Pints.

And here is the giant Guiness Cake that we shared.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Like, woah...

2010 Open Reading Winners & Finalists

We’re thrilled to announce that we have chosen Amber Nelson and Harold Abramowitz for publication in the upcoming year. Nelson’s Diary of When Being With Friends Feels Like Watching TV and Aramowitz’s A House on a Hill  will appear in late 2010 or early 2011 much to our delight.

We’d also like to congratulate our finalists whose work we read with great excitement and debate: 

  • The Hawk You See May Be Your Own by Temple Cone
  • A Practical Guide to Contemporary Economics by Joshua Ware
  • Late Sermons of the Ego by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
  • Grimm Realities by Ellen LaFleche
  • Midnight’s Marsupium by Michael Leong
  • Folding In by Renee Emerson
  • (aviary) by Genevieve Kaplan
  • A Portable Model of How Memory Works by Joseph Mains
  • Seven Pictures by Ben Berman
  • Heaven as Nothing but Distance by Joshua Robbins
  • Sham City by Evan Harrison
  • :Odyssey & Oracle:by Jenn McCreary

Thanks to everyone who submitted a manuscript for consideration. Without the range of wonderful work to choose from, there would be no press and no one to wow our socks off. The following titles are the finalist manuscripts. Unfortunately, we had to pass on many good manuscripts.   But please, as always, consider sending a new or revised manuscript during our next reading period in 2011.

Best,

Slash Pine Editors

 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eggplant

I keep trying. Mostly, I think, because I find them aesthetically pleasing. Their purple bulbous body, their plasticine skin. And I continue to order them in restaraunts—eggplant sandwiches, stuffed parmesean, etc. Most recently I bought some from the Puyallup farmer’s market. They were shiny and new, one had a nose growing from its side. Organic… except the farm was too small to carry such a label. Spray Free eggplants. I had decided I was going to make stuffed eggplants. So I bought some. I bought squash, and fresh fleshy juicy red seasonal tomatoes. I went home and scooped the innards of all my vegetables… sautéed garlic and onions. Included all of these vegetables and spices. The filling was masterful. I then filled my eggplants and covered them with olive oil and put them in the oven to bake. When they were cooked through, gave them a healthy dose of mozzarella to top ‘em off. Baked some more.

I tried. I really did. But the eggplant… just doesn’t taste good. Honestly, I don’t understand the appeal. And I feel guilty. I dumped the eggplant. Saved the insides as a healthy veggie marinara, and served them with whole wheat noodles sautéed in ever more garlic and olive oil.

I’ve decided to give it one more go. If you have an eggplant recipe that you think will blow my mind, please feel free to post it or email it or link it. Otherwise, I think I’m off the market for that big purple vegetable.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cradle to Cradle to Cradle

Right now I’m reading a book called Cradle to Cradle. The general premise is that right now, from an environmental and ecological perspective, our goals are only to be less bad and that’s no good. We aren’t considering natural design. With a focus on efficiency, we’re creating single-minded solutions for one time problems. Treating the symptoms rather than the cure. They claim our problems are not a problem of excesses, but a problem of design.

 

This book is sort of changing the way I think about environmentalism. A process, I suppose, that has been going on for the last couple of years, most especially in the last few months as I’ve been reading more and more about agricultural practices, ecology, food, the planet, etc. What I like about these guys (though I do still have some reservations) is that, unlike Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver (both who I enjoyed) they lack some sort of sentimental naivete. And unlike Pollan, they lack the sort of pragmatic pessimism. In this book lies a pure and complete awareness of the problems, down to what sorts of off gasses and toxins exist in our clothing, our books, the pages, and a genuine seeking and call to seek out a different way of considering the issue. Going all the way back. They make their book an example of their intention. Created on polymers designed to be recycled, so that when the book is recycled, it can actually be “upcycled” so as not to lose its structural integrity/quality, or to release more toxins into the air (and thus our lungs, etc). They give examples of all the ways things we do to be ‘less bad’ may actually be just as bad. Toxins that are released when recycling. The way “energy efficient” buildings are often hazardous to a person’s health, or downright depressing/stifling.

 

But a lot of this is stuff I already thought about. What’s changing, sort of, is that they are proponents of excess. Using an example of a cherry tree, who produces more blossoms than it needs to reproduce, but none of these blossoms are wasted. They feed their local ecology: birds, insects, the soil. So they say industrial design should be: rather than over produce by including unnecessary filler which turns to ‘waste’ (that goes away but not really away, instead to a toxic landfill, or seeping into the soil, or what have you), we design industry like the cherry tree… overflow that feeds the local environment rather than poisons.

 

When I summarize it, it doesn’t seem all that ground breaking really. It seems obvious. But it’s not.  My favorite example so far (I’m only half through), is the examples of roofing. Right now they absorb and reproduce and overheat within their community (black soaking in heat and then re-emitting it). But they aren’t particularly effective from a heating/cooling energy standpoint. Cradle to Cradle suggests using a soil/plant life roof. Like grasses. These would naturally help maintain a home temperature that was cooler during the summer, and warmer during the winter. They would also help with water run off and produce a natural ecology for wildlife (birds, squirrels, insects, etc). Plus… pretty! Of course, other countries do this sort of thing already, they tell us. This sort of design exists all over Europe (and probably Africa and South America and hell… even probably Canada.).

 

The problem comes when these guys present it as if people won’t have to give anything up. But people won’t see it this way. Here in America, people don’t want to give up anything—including what they “want.” And rarely do I see people consider their neighbors (human or non human) in these situations. Take, for example, my parents. They are getting to re-pave their driveway. Why? Because a weed broke through the pavement, cracking it about 20 feet in any given direction. Right in the middle of their driveway, a giant weed. I took a picture. It’s rather pretty—what nature can do. Remarkable to see it fight back.

 

But according to Cradle to Cradle that weed fighting through the concrete is just a sign of unintelligent design. And a lack of imagination on the part of the designers. And I am tending to agree.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

an international district

There was a time when I was considered an honorary asian. A lot of factors came together to allow this hallowed claim, but most of them are gone now. But whether I have such an elevated position, one thing remains true: I love the cuisine. Since I’ve been back I haven’t had sushi (a shame), but I have had curries, pho, and most recently I’ve discovered that the bus drops me off right next to Uwajimaya, the city block asian market, with about half an hour to spare before I take the train the rest of the way home. That much time, daily, in an asian store is one of the most simultaneously awesome and detrimental experiences of my young life. The problem isn’t so much the market as it is the food court. I mean, we’re talking about a tiny strip mall with an asian deli (including whole, cooked, duck), a Korean BBQ joint, a little Vietnamese place with really awesome Pho, a place exclusively for cream puffs, and a little bakery with these amazing chestnut cakes. I’m trying really, really hard not to eat these things every day, despite my ravenous end of the working day state. Instead, I peruse the shelves for fresh produce (delicious mangoes, rainier cherries, red and black plums). But one thing I have allowed myself, guilt free, is Kimchi. Oh god… kimchi. Who knew that sauerkraut, which I find almost completely intolerable, could be so delicious when prepared with in the Korean style. Good lord, talk about an understanding of eating. (I guess I feel the same way about horseradish and the Japanese version of horseradish: wasabi.) So this week I had Kimchi and rice. Oh lordy how I missed it.

Upcoming culinary goals in the international district: dim sum and hom bao. I don’t know when I’ll gobble them up, but I promise I will.

At some point I’ll include the requested photographic evidence of my culinary adventures. But not until my own computer is hooked up to the internet instead of using my parents or my office computer.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Certain Requests I'm Happy to Oblige

So in a recent email from a friend she suggested I start a food blog, and since I have no interest in adding yet another blog to my list of blogs to update, and this blog is handily named after one of my favorite food stuffs (cheese… oh god cheese…) I thought I might start writing dedicated food posts here.

 

It’s an interesting time in my life to be writing about food. I’ve moved out of my own place and am crashing at my parents house, leaving me in this weird limbo. There’s a fridge full of food I didn’t purchase, and most likely wouldn’t purchase, in the house. As well as cupboards full of canned soup, easy mac, pudding cups, canned peas and corn and beans. During a time when I’m trying to save money, reserve resources, it’s tempting to simply subsist off these things. There’s also the inherent problem that after a year or so of eating almost entirely whole meals I cooked myself, using whole ingredients, my stomach wasn’t liking the preservatives so much. Still… I get home around 7pm or so, after leaving at 630 am, with dinner on the stove and the weird gurgling sounds my stomach is making from hunger, and I tend to give in. These meals, though, also tend to be different for me. Unlike the largely vegetable based meals I’m used to, these are meals centered around a meat of some kind (last night, pork in some sort of packaged orange sauce) and then a carbohydrate. My mom makes a lot of bread (one thing I won’t complain about… fresh made bread).

 

Needless to say, I was getting a bit veggie deficient. Thankfully, the Puyallup farmer’s market is just incredible. The weather hasn’t been great so there hasn’t been a lot of options. But what has been available has tended towards spray free (non-organic certified, but still organic…) or certified organic. The quality of the veggies has also been superb. And the prices… man. They make Boise look like anal rape. My favorite? The $1 bag of mixed greens (and it isn’t a light bag, either), and the $4 free range organic eggs in that beautiful assortment of browns and greens. But there have been other delights: fresh rhubarb (I made a fresh strawberry rhubarb pie using strawberries from my mom’s garden and rhubarb from the market); Mexican zuchini; carrots in oranges, whites, purples; basil (Italian, thai, and purple), rosemary, thyme plants for my own herb garden; fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries; rainier cherries! (which we eat by the bagful at my house).

 

So, Saturday trips to the market have allowed me the supplies to cook the kinds of foods I enjoy. And, as in grad school, limited time has left me cooking a big batch of something on Saturday or Sunday, and eating it throughout the week. I’ve made a carrot top soup, letting me utilize both the carrots and their tops. I made fresh pizza—where I infused olive oil with fresh garlic for the sauce, then sliced tomatoes, mushroom, red pepper, spinach, onion, and an asiago/parmesean cheese blend. Most recently, however, I made veggie burritos where I sautéed fresh garlic, onions, red peppers, zuchinni, mushrooms, potatoes. Then cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and finally tossed in some quinoa & chili sauce. Then I made an apricot (fresh from the market) salsa using tomato, avocado, onion, fresh cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno. (Salt to taste!) Fill in a tortilla with some sharp cheddar and bake. Delish!

 

This weekend I’m hoping to make a pot pie. I have a good pie crust recipe and after a recent trip to Pies & Pints, a burning desire to recreate their own recipe. I think I tasted a lot of thyme and rosemary and black pepper. And they used what seemed like extra buttery mashed potatoes instead of a creamy soup base.

 

Of course, cooking and eating isn’t everything. I’ve managed to discover a couple fantastic cookbooks: Local Flavors (tipped off by Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle), and then this organic whole foods cookbook I found in a Value Village for $0.50. A total steal.

 

But most recently, on the book front, I finished a collection of Wendell Berry essays called Art of the Commonplace. In this, Berry discusses food from an agrarian point of view—and through this shows how eating, human health, animal health, and earth health are interconnected and completely reliant on each other to happen. A lot of it is sort of no duh—mono cultures are bad. Animals bred in captivity, knee deep in their own “waste,” thus suffering immune issues, which lead to our own immune issues, which also make of everything we use a product, and a byproduct. And also forces agriculture into a reliance on fossil fuels for disposal and transportation, and importing fertilizer (that they’re disposing of by the ton from their cows and chickens and pigs and goats, etc). When, animals ranging free in pasture will naturally fertilize the soil and so on. Berry, he pretty much got agriculture. But a bit pushy on the god stuff.  Still, I’m glad I read it.

 

Next, I’m bringing so many of my loves together with Eco Language Reader (I’m ignoring all the parenthesis because I can’t remember where they go and I’m too lazy to look them up). Edited by Brenda Ijima, this book supposedly discusses ecology, and language, proving once again that everything is connected. Ecology, language, food, you, me, etc. I’m totally stoked. Taking a break with Berrigan first though. About halfway through the Collected. Just finished the collaboration with Anne Waldman—stunning.

 

Happy eating!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

PoetLife

Some poets can't go a day without writing, and a week is monstrous. These poets tend to be monstrous themselves, when not writing.

I am not one of these writers.About twice a year I go weeks, perhaps even a month or two, without producing a single thing. Maybe even not writing. The thing is... I just get tapped, mentally drained, nothing left to give. I call it recuperation. Writing is mentally and emotionally exhaustive... at least for me. After the end of a period of mass production (because normally when I'm writing I write a lot), there's just not a lot left in me for much of anything. Like, really. Anything. Usually I sit around watching spectacularly bad tv, which I enjoy immensely. Usually I don't read. Usually when I finally have the energy to read again, it indicated writing was around the corner.

But then there was grad school... 2 years of wild productivity, reading, writing, everything. And then a thesis. 2.5 years passed and January rolled around and I could write no more. And I didn't write anything more. Except a quickie chapbook in March. A one off. And then NapoWrimo... which was really just an exercise in futility. Realistically, I say I havent' been writing since January. That's going on 7 months. Above and beyond my usual points of recuperation. And I was starting to feel bad, like I might never get it back.

But I've been reading, for pleasure, for a while now. And recently dipped my toes back in to reading poetry. And I wrote something today.Whether it's good or worth bothering with doesn't matter. It was the impulse to write and I took it. And it's possible it might stick this time. And it's possible it might not.


A sample:

                                     "The ache of corn starch.
Dreaming of clean lines—I enter the breach and
reconceive the whole
. The whole thing is burning down.
Everyone is burning down.

But your wilderness.

It keeps growing."

Monday, July 19, 2010

True Blood, True Love

Living with my parents like I’m in high school has a few advantages. They have a hot tub, which has been magical for my brand new bum knee. The fridge is always full (if not with the sorts of things I would normally fill it with) and I don’t have to fill it. But mostly, the best part, is HBO. I don’t actually use this all that often. In fact, I’m pretty much only using it Sunday nights for True Blood. I love this fucking show. It’s not particularly dealing with the “big issues,” or really anything that actually matters – the characters are by and large totally ridiculous. This is a show entirely about escapism, which makes sense for something based on a series of trade paperback romance novels. However, the best part of the show is exactly how ridiculous it is. Characters like Lafayette, who are loud and hilarious and brash, and like Eric’s little blonde bombshell lesbian minion. They are the joy of this show that the relationship between Sookie Stackhouse & Bill Compton is incapable of being. And this season, the absurdity goes pro with a whole new series of characters living just one state over. These Mississippi vamps are all kinds of glorious. The gay Vampire King and his Vampire Boy—with their human cruelty free blood courses—(“this one fed on nothing but oranges for weeks… notice the citrusy notes on the finish”…). But my favorite, my absolute favorite, is the psycho Franklin Mott who wants to turn Tara into his vampire bride. He’s totally co-dependent. Totally wacked out. And makes me laugh so hard I’d spit. He’s played by James Frain, the brit you’ll recognize and have no idea where from (because as I discovered when I looked him up on imdb… he hasn’t been in many big movies).

 

I do have one issue, for which I may be in the minority. The sex scenes. There’s so many, and they rarely do anything to advance character or plot (with the exception of Jason Stackhouse in season 1) and then when they do, they tend to be ridiculously unpleasant to watch (thinking specifically of the sex tape in season 1 and the most recent hate sex with a head twist in season 3).

 

I’m willing to put this aside, however, ‘cause season 3 is kicking major ass. Season 2 was a little dull, for me, compared to season 1. The maenad lady didn’t really do it for me. But season 3, so far, is way, way, way making up for it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Notes from the Coast, another installment

I have officially started my new job. Last Wednesday. That makes a week and a half in the new job and I must say the honeymoon period is in effect. I can't imagine that this will last. But so far, I just feel totally lucky. Like it's too good to be true. Every day, it seems, a new perk comes around.And really? An employer that actually believes that the employee's happiness is important?

There are downsides. Everyone is suffering there, even though they all smile and laugh. Breast cancer. Heart attack. Daughter with Hodgkins. Daughter with severe anxiety, hair pulling disorder, and immune deficiency. But they do sort of restore my faith in people. For them to continue to be so generous and kind, despite the different parts of their own lives that are falling apart. It's been a long time since I've seen that sort of kindness, selflessness, en masse. Certainly I've known individuals with the capacity, but... you know...

I'm also shopping for a place of my own, now. The plan stands that I hope to be living in Seattle proper (rather than with my parents) by September. Living with my parents makes me feel like a child. And the 4 hours of commuting a day is pretty exhausting. And I'm not spending enough time with my uber needy cat. And my social life isn't quite what I'd like it to be... though I am managing to do stuff, see people (... I actually went to see a jam band last night... I didn't know it was going to be a jam band... it was one of those friends of a friends of a friends were in the band things... just wow...) The commute does have the advantage of giving me time to read. I've even been reading some poems. John Beer's The Wasteland and Other Poems is absolutely gorgeous. And I think I shall write a review of Maged Zaher's Self Portrait of the Artist as an Engineer... also very, very good.

Today I went to the farmer's market. Mixed carrots. A mexican squash. Apricots. Eggs. Baby greens. I'm thinking veggie burritos with an apricot salsa. Now I'm sitting in a local coffee shop that does all local, homemade fair. I have coffee and berry cobbler. Life is pretty damn good.

Next I'm supposed to see my brother's new house today. He's supposed to give me an armoire. Oh life...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Homecoming: How to Wear Pretty Dresses

It's pretty incredible to know the exact moment of change. Up until Wednesday, I was still in Boise, even though I was living back in my parent's guest bedroom (what used to be my brother's room), and commuting back and forth to Seattle, working at the top of the Columbia Tower Club, with the most expansive view of the Seattle area from the top floor of the tallest building in the city, etc. But, as changes tend toward, I was still mostly sad. Still reminiscing. And with the tragedy after tragedy (getting hit by a truck, fraudulent charges on my bank account, wrestling with student loan lenders, my supposed to be full time job turning out to be spectacularly part time, and so on and so on and so on) that befell me from day 3 of my return on through most of my first month back, I was feeling very few of the blessings I expected upon my return. And rather helpless. It took time to see many of my friends, and I still haven't seen a lot of them. When I wasn't commuting, working, bathing, or eating, I was trapped in the second story of my parent's house because my cat couldn't come downstairs and she was struggling with the transition herself. I hadn't heard from almost any of my friends back in Boise. I curled up in the fetal position. I cried. I watched Buffy. Again.
 
On the plus side, the part-time hours I was working gave me an excuse, nay! required that I dress to the 9s every day. And trust me, you never saw someone look so good. Getting hit by a truck resulted in painkillers so I spent a lot of the first month just plain high. And I did get a lot of reading done. And finished the next alice blue art book.
 
But Wednesday, sigh, everything changed. Everything became real and good even though the changes were gradual and slow. I managed to find a new job about a week prior to this Wednesday, a really fantastic job. A better than my failed full time job job with amazing people doing something good for way better money. A boon! And I got to see many of my friends, my amazing friends who took care of me and reminded me of a big reason why I was coming back. And I also managed to take a few days for myself, even, to just relax and process and detense the muscles all over my body. But sitting on the bus on the way to my new job, not a first day, just a day to fill out paperwork, with the sun (finally) shining, passing by old and familiar neighborhoods and businesses, listening to the crazy people jabber and watch the cute college boys boarding and unboarding, with my ipod on low, I realized i was smiling. And that I finally felt like I was home. I went on to buy a new bike. To have lunch in a cafe in columbia city with a grapefruit mimosa. Things were falling into palce. And it was this day that I realized that I was finally home. The change happened. Internally. I was happy.
 
 
So now it should be all good things (or at least mostly, with a dealable amount of bad). I'm starting to look for a place so I can actually move to the city (no more long, long commute). And after I move to the city I'll start volunteering at Bike Works, and/or maybe a hospital. I've been reading essays by Wendell Berry. And I bought a new batch of plants: thai basil, thyme, italian basil, rosemary. I'm cooking. I made a carrot top soup with orange and white carrots. Asparagus with a lemon shallot sauce. Tomorrow I'm making pulled pork with a cilantro lime coleslaw, mixed greens with walnuts & balsamic, and a strawberry rhubarb pie. I'm looking at a chilled melon soup with thai basil and I had an accidental date. Less than a month back, and I'm dating. Take that Boise.
 
But still, people are missed. And the co-op, of all things, sorely missed.
 
But mostly, I'm just looking forward to my 4th of July trip to Portland. My new bike, and hopefully my leg being able enough to handle riding it, and hopefully lengthy bikerides quite soon. And my new job, which promises ridiculous amounts of vacation, and the ability to support myself, my press, my life, and let me just destress for a bit.
 
Pictures to follow. When I get my computer hooked up to the internet. Which just doesn't seem to be happening at all. Oh well. It's also kind of nice to not be chained to facebook, gchat, or checking my email every 5 minutes.
 
much love, mes cheris de nombreux!
 
 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the last of the mozart for now

Mass in D Minor Requiem -] Mouth Parts [:
 
Enter in March

vague heather burning heat
with a red seed.
Vogue physician heather clicks red with you.

Medical estimates redden you.
 
Until her heart in the room
sings pastoral.
Country song singing.

What is left. Leaves.


Leaves her heart, contralto.


And fire baritones
to inflame the throat
about longitude.


The pulse is the Bible.

We spin the dream, is to weave
on the ladder to heaven, saying "Please—
on the death dream, the grinder of weaving
learning colors and patterns of heaven in the "Please—
so the dream died, sander of textiles.
Color and style of learning the heaven of please.

And continued in their eyes
Such as voice,  
trolled silt.
Marsh Mama
controlled chords.

Oh, God
They said things.

Or here

Or here
 
 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

late, but the last NapoWrimo Poem: a Translation of the Clarinet Concerto I: Allegro

Concerto for clarinet than I am. by me.
Rapidly Close

You influence and drip irrigation
This sing sing
Repeat until very
This song
Repeat until
affect your veins and Irrigation


He saw in this quick tip
Twitter ink that whispers tendrils
Saw this Quick Tip
Twitter ink whispers
Quick advice see
Whisper not ink

Sewing happiness in the wind and the field
This hill the field so that the sweep
Heaven on the invasion invasion
Away like a happy
sewing and wind energy

This section of the mountain, so scanning
Invasion Invasion of Paradise
Away, as happy
Happy sewing and wind
Part of the mountain, so Scan
Invasion invasion of Eden
Besides joy

Fire

O sing! O Love!

O sing! About Love!
O song! Information for love!

How I am one of the elevators
How to remove night as well

Or a storm in the room with the world's water
Flooding from all the sordid
Clement weather

Or the room with the water crisis in the world
Flooding from all the dirty
Clement weather
Although the room with the water crisis in the world
Floods and all uncleanness

Time Fever
Swells
Fever
Volume

Heat
Band

Down to a low note
Below the lower note
Among lower

So slow
For a pause
Remember
So slowly

For particulate
Remember
Particles
Remember
You. It.

Such as the fingers in the ears
On the cheeks
Of passing
If your fingers to your ears
Cheek
Point

If your fingers in your ears
Cheeks
Point
Transportation

And take up arms and raising his eyes towards the top of each one is locked dripping a little corner of life in which each river inflation
And to take up arms, lifting her eyes in every corner of the small, locked drop of life, where the loss of the hand, eyes in every corner of a small imprisonment

To pay, for the treatment and payment, which quickly
Paying for treatment and payment, as soon

Sewing the world spinning to a new day
May the world into a new day
May the new day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem29

A translation of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

Even in the briefing slide
the trap door

slot of the abyss
 
The rate of decline
a sigh attempt

O sigh attempt

These weapons are your dancing

The arms dance - General
Arms
stroke width
 
The buzz in this bang
buzz the water


O light in the window  

Which means that singing


And then destroy all the Strikers
Skin on the wings to sing on the sidelines of each feed legs waging war against the story
The skin on wings of song to the coast of all the legs feed the story of the war against
 
story against

history against
trend
to the Wick
the light of the wick

Margin and war, and the skin the skin of the feet in the building for our bodies in the light our body with respect to the extension of emergency so that we only feel the lightning is moving  we do not flash the moment in the narrowest of winter as the call to unite


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poem28

...and possible 28, 29, 30. Was all productive this morning. (When I plan to go the gym, is this my brain's way of thwarting me? This compulsion to actually write poems for the first time in a while...) Let's see what happens tomorrow, eh?


The Marriage of Figaro—Overture

 

 

So bounding in the slippage

& the abyss trap door, tripping

makes the rise so so

makes the fall so so

O sigh, O try

 

this dance yr arms

my arms

swing wide

 

O joy

 

& bang this buzz into

 

O light in the window

 

is what it means to sing

then crash from each lash

lashing onto wings onto singing each fringe forages our legs waging war against the floors

 

against the floors

stepping forward

toward this light wick

 

bounding again, rising, rising

 

the fringe, the war, the floors lashing the feet the light to our bodies in such urgent sprawl that we feel only the moving feel only the lightning in the darkest winter like starnight inviting unites


Clarinet Concerto—I. Allegro

 

 

O sway in and drip

this lilting lilting

so too repeating and

 

felt into this quick tip

of ink trills that tendrils whispers

 

sew happiness in the wind & field

this fielding hill so sweep

the day sweep sky sweep

away like happy having

 

warm

 

O sing! O love!

 

how the morning lifts sun

if luck

 

or storm the world the room with water

flooding out each stinking

weather clement

 

time in fever—

swells

 

down into a low note

 

so slow

for pause

to remember

soft

 

like fingers in ears

on cheeks

the smear

of passing

 

and the lift of arms the lift of eyes the upwards momen of each single dripping bit of life that corners into each river swell

 

to push, to cure & push, in such a fast

 

sew the spinning world to a new day


Requiem in D Minor—Introitus: Requiem Aeternam

 

 

Enter opaque march in deep

 

burning—heats the heather

 

with seeding red.

 

 

Until her heart is in the room

singing pastoral.

 

 

What leaving feels. What leaving leaves

 

her heart sonorous—

 

 

A fire that baritones

a kindling of larynx.

 

 

And the pulse is biblical.

 

 

And we spin the dream, weave it

a ladder heavenward, saying "please—

 

 

And they keep their eyes

like their voices

in the chords.

 

O god—

they say.

 

O lord—

 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poem27

I have no energy for Poem 27. How is that in the beginning it was exciting and new and the poems were terrible but they happened and now neither is true.



Try this ride along the highway
in turn stasis ate the bank
and flow tings the pave I meant
to wide sail eat cherries sea,
each wary see these breezy
yesses. Say yes. Seance.
Save us.

The wheels will wile us
into heaven. Your will wilts
wildly in two havens.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Poem26

At Home

the city clicks
allegro

the pavement grit
in draining grates

in the rain
and winding

the buses call
out to the Sound

from the hills

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poem25

listen to
the quiet

trickle of
daylight

into night's
empty room

Poem24

Something in the water
like a flower
will devour

water

flower

~Lorine Niedecker




your hunger
is impeccable,

a tidy couplet:

leaf motes
eating the sky

Poem23

for Frankie

It's 10:25 am
so she bares her belly
to rising light.

Earlier she chased
false red light
& bound thread.

She needled
the various upholstery
thoughtlessly.

But she can be O
so calm
under slim beams of sun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poem22

These guts are rust-
ridden & ladeled
on the table
for display. Touch

the small intestine.
Then taste your fingers.

Broken & metalled

to steel against
the coming, the burning
the fallout.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poem21

the goose is loose in streets inching tide
quiet feathers proving sweet in cinching tide

one striated as a pale bell elide
a round sound deflates the inching tide

this day a dusk a stretch of song in wide
tucked in the chest a blood knot inching tide

do not sing don't sing do not sing inside
the sea's asleep lulled inching tide

Poem20

after ee cummings


eye care re: your artist knees
my art) iamb inert with outlets (a knee ware
eye go hugo, mightier; any twats sever stone
bio lonely meteor dyeing my doll wing)
high for-
nicate (for your army benefit, mice wheat) i want
narwhals (for butte in fully Ozarks my whirled, might rue)
antics sewer watt advert a new ooh nasa weighs men tan
dot heather ascent willow ways seeing as you

heresy deep set secrete no bodies’ knots
(heiress the rue tough the rue tanned thrum atop the bud
ant dusk eye tusk eye sophistry gall lead lie; wit chug rows
hire than the sole can hope or mind can hide)
and thistles the one dearth at ski peony these tar saps art

Monday, April 19, 2010

Poem19

Poem called everybody loves a narcissist
(from a line by Stephen Rodeffer)

Oh look at me! Aren't I glorious
for you to behold. My hair
as sweet as bouganvilla. Eyes
like stars in the crease of night.
Skin as soft as rose petals,
blushing just the same.

Love me. Don't you love me?
Please, love me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poem18

we heft our sails
their pearls
unfurl
like fingers from fists

remember how to breathe
in quiet

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Poem 17

let's ready the fragments
the grit & soot & filament

i took because i'm a taker
it was red & fibrous

you aren't a giver, not giving
your pulp in your palm

we string the stringy bits
like thread to make a sandwich

lick our gums, lick all the guns
each pistol, crumbling paper


poem16

from a line by niedecker// in the dandelion heat/ in the wood panelling/ under the silver rafters/ between the blades of grass/ on the smoking pavement// turn, turn a longing for / turn longing in/ longing into/ meaning prepositions

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poem 15

for Lisa Robertson

How does greatness happen?

Lis: Her
Lis: a circular enclosure with earthen wall.
Lis: Law.
Lisa: god is an oath, a vow

Rob: to steal from
Rob: juice from a fruit
obe: a village
robe: a long garment, to clothe, a room for apparel
ert: to incite, urge, encourage
son: a male child
son: a slow cuban dance
son: to conceive
sun: the brightest of the heavenly bodies
sun: to warm
sun: gives life
robertson: son of robert, bright and famous
robert: also robin, to steal from the rich, to give to the poor

Her
god is a vow
bright, she shes,
she clothes urgency,
she conceives our village, her
vow is our village,
her bright warm earth
her law.
Poor, she gives us
her heavenly body.



She asks:
What shall I do with my senses?

We answer.
We listen.