Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Long-Running Poem Series About the Summer of 2016 Inches Toward Autum

August 14, 2006
Bill’s momma was visiting from North Carolina

and over the weekend we took her to the farmers’ market
Brought home huge amounts of bounty
including the makings of a most artistic fruit bowl
nectarines grapes and oranges
and flower arrangement
mixed cosmos and pale pink dahlias
that sat on the dining table together
a late-summer painterly still life
The observant will notice that these are the first dahlias of the autumn
but they are by no means the last
we also got those ones that are so dark red they’re almost black
and the glowing luminous dark pink ones
to go in the vase in the hall
and then Bill brought me some purple ones
as a surprise at work this morning

Much of the rest of our farmer’s market haul
went into a great big late-summer vegetarian feast
that we all cooked in shifts that evening
I made a cranberry bean salad
with tomatoes and shallots and cilantro and lemon
Bill made little yukon gold potatoes
with skinny young blue lake green beans
And Mary Watson made her renowned fresh corn cakes
fried up in a cast iron pan with a
of crisco
which got all over the stove and the walls
a joyful almost giddy mess
that I joyfully almost giddily
scrubbed out of existence the next day

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chris Jackson

This article in the New York Times about Chris Jackson, the man who is--shamefully for the industry--one of the only black book editors in mainstream publishing, and who "is transmitting ideas from writers on the margins to the mainstream readers who need to hear them" is a great and fascinating read. The piece sums up some of what Jackson has done in his career so far thus: "To the extent that 21st-century literary audiences have been introduced to the realities and absurdities born of the phenomenon of race in America, Jackson has done a disproportionate amount of that introducing." Highly recommended reading. 

Photo by Shaniqwa Jarvis for the NYT.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Most of my pinboards are organized by color and I put a lot of fashion and some interior decor stuff and some art in there. But I have one, called "science" where I put amazing creatures I happen to find in my ramblings on the internet. These things astound and amaze me every time I look at them, and put me in mind of the awesomeness of nature. Of course the problem with Pinterest is that attribution can get tricky, but if you click through to the board and then onto each image you'll at least be able to follow the trail of where I found it.

Above, the helioceras heteromorph ammonite (creative rendering, long extinct)

Sea-urchins (photo by Andreas Karelias)

Argus Pheasant Feathers




Diane’s Bare-Hearted Glassfrog

Lachryphagy (butterflies drinking the tears of turtles)

Elysia Chlorotica (a sea slug that can process sunlight like a plant)

Tardigrade (creative rendering of the microscopic creature)

Monday, February 8, 2016


A very dear moment of Sunday morning Mabel/Daddy pajama snuggles on the sofa that warms my motherly and wifely heart.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Studio Visit with Tiffanie Turner

Yesterday I got to visit the studio of my pal, paper botanical artist extraordinaire Tiffanie Turner. I brought a picnic lunch and she showed me her work-in-progress and I very much enjoyed her company and the dreamy light in her studio. A magical space where big things are happening! Not only is Tiffanie in the middle of writing a book (full-disclosure: not for me nor the fine publisher for which I work) but she's also in the midst of preparations to go be the Artist in Residence at the de Young Museum in May. Damn! Girl is on fire. And the work is stunning as always. (You may recall the giant paper peony piece in Mabel's room which was a special Tiffanie Turner commission, and/or the astonishing dying flower from the Dead of Winter show (a show Ms. Turner also very ably curated--see what I mean about on fire? It's kind of perpetual with her) both previously featured here).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Long-Running Saga of Poems About the Summer of 2006 Continues to Continue

August 11, 2006
Today I decided

to make a list
of all the places I go
on my lunch hour
to run errands

Walgreens (I try not to even think about how much money I give to that chain)

various ATMs (I ought to go to Washington Mutual and save the fee
but it’s just far enough away to be inconvenient
and so I go to the Patelco credit union
or else the strange little Wells Fargo atm in the cubby next to the See’s candy store
and you can get stamps there too
I used to go to the one around the corner just a little way up the block
don’t know what it’s called
but then it was always out of cash on Fridays so I stopped going there
Once I went to the new bank on the corner of Market and Second
but it gave me fifty dollar bills which weird and caused me trouble
so I haven’t gone back there)

the bank (for when I need to deposit a check
as opposed to when I just go to whatever random ATM for cash on Fridays)

the post office (for stamps when one wants
more/better/different/cheaper stamps than the ones in the Wells Fargo atm
or when one gets the urge to eat the weird spicy crab soup at Briazz too)

Chatz (for coffee
Ground coffee by the pound I mean for making at home
Bill is still loyal to their beans after having worked there so long ago
and it is true that the coffee he makes in the morning
is pretty much my favorite coffee of all time
mild but not weak
I didn’t even know coffee could be both those things at once
until we started living together
apparently it has to do with the beans coming from South American countries)

Stacy’s Books (far too often)

the Fast-Pass booth down inside the Montgomery train station (where the people
are laboriously slow and consistently become deeply confused
by the same simple transaction I perform every month
buying two Fast Passes using
a thirty-five dollar commuter check and sixty bucks in cash
they inevitably claim they can’t give me my ten dollars back in change
because they cannot give change on commuter checks
and I inevitably patiently explain that the change is for the cash
and they say Oh! with shock and recognition
And then a month later we go through the whole song and dance again)

Patrick and Company Stationers (both locations
though not often
because at both the people are also painfully slow
almost to the point of hilarity
but not quite)

and very occasionally the mailbox on the corner of Market and Montgomery

image source is here

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Bento

I've become quite fascinated with the Instagram feed @bookbento "Books with a side of stuff." These images from their stream should quickly show you why. It's sort of a subset of the whole Things Organized Neatly phenomenon, which, I recently learned, itself comes out of the aphorism "always be knolling," one of Tom Sachs "10 bullets." If none of this is making any sense to you (it didn't at first to me until suddenly, bam, it did), read here and here and here.