Monday, March 29, 2010

I am reading "News of the World" by Philip Levine.

One of favorite from his book...

***
INNOCENCE

Smiling, my brother straddles a beer keg
outside a pub, 1944, a year
of buss bombs. He's in the Air Corps,
on a mission to London to refill
oxygen tanks for B-24s, the flying coffins
as they were dubbed by those who flew
them night after night. Fifty years later
a German writer on a walking trip
through East Anglia meets gardener
who recalls as a boy of twelve hearing
the planes taking off at dusk to level
the industrial cities of the Ruhr
and later when the Luftwaffe was all
but destroyed whatever they could reach.
"50,000 American lads died." The gardener
recalls waking near dawn, the planes
stuttering back in ones and twos.
How many Germans died we may
never know. "Must have been women,
children, and the very old what with
all the eligible men gone to war."
The German novelist writes it down
word for word in his mind and goes
on to an appointment with an English
writer born in Germany, a Jew
who got out in time. My brother
recalls a young woman who lived above
the pub, a blonde, snapping the picture
outside the pub with his own Argus
C3, and points out a horse and wagon
around the corner loaded with beer kegs
but with no driver. The pub is closed,
for it is not long after dawn and the city
is rising for work and war. We call the time
innocent for lack of a better word, we call
all the Germans the Nazis because it suits
the vengeance we exact. Some hours later
the two writers born in Germany sit
out in a summer garden and converse
in their adopted tongue and say nothing
about what they can't forget as children,
for these two remain children until they die.
My brother, blind now, tells me he us glad
to be alive, he calls every painful day
a gift he's not sure he earned but accepts
with joy. He lives in a Neutra house
with entire walls of glass and a view
of the Pacific, a house he bought
for a song twenty years ago in disrepair.
He accepts the fact that each year squadrons
of architectural students from Europe and Asia
drop in to view the place, and though
he cannot see he shows them around
graciously and lets them take
their photographs. When I tell him
of the 50,000 airmen the gardener told
the novelist about, he blind eyes
tear up, for above all my older brother
is a man of feeling, and his memory is precise--
like a diamond-- and he says, "Not that many."


Friday, March 26, 2010

Something White Project is successfully done. I decorated with my Grandmother's handmade tablecloth. Aaron made a frame for my art because it is too huge for any frames in stores.

Our Dining Room with a Kapok Tree

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I am reading Louise Gluck's book, "A Village Life."

***
Two favorite poems from her book.

BURNING LEAVES

Not far from the house and barn,
the farm worker's burning dead leaves.

They don't disappear voluntarily;
you have to prod them along
at the farm worker prods the leaf pile every year
until it releases a small of smoke into the air.

And then, for an hour or so, it's really animated,
blazing away like something alive.

When the smoke clears, the house is safe.
A woman's standing in the back,
folding dry clothes into a willow basket.

So it's finished for another year,
death making room for life,
as much as possible,
but burning the house would be too much room.

Sunset. Across the road,
the farm worker's sweeping the cold ashes.
Sometimes a few escape, harmlessly drifting around in the wind.

Then the air is still.
Where the fire was, there's only bare dirt in a circle of rocks.
Nothing between the earth and the dark.

***
FIRST SNOW

Like a child, the earth's going to sleep,
or so the story goes.

But I'm not tired, it says.
And the mother says, You may not be tired but I'm tired--

You can see it in her face, everyone can.
So the snow has to fall, sleep has to come.
Because the mother's sick to death of her life
and needs silence.

***

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am reading "Lucifer at the Starlite" by Kim Addonizio.

***
Two favorite poems from her book...

DREAM-PIG

It was following me so I killed it,
I felt kind of bad but it was following me

so I cut off the head with scissors,
the neck was thin and rubbery, easy to sever,

it wasn't a bad pig--more like a dog
that hasn't been trained,

it's not the dog's fault.
Maybe it was lost and needed my help

but I didn't like seeing it every time
I turned around. Are you with me on this one?

Don't waste a thought on that pig.
Never mind how it bled

without making a sound, black welling up
under the scissors. Did I say they were shears?

Never mind the shears.
This is all in my head, all right? Forget it.

It could have been a boy, four, maybe five
years old. It had that trusting look.

Though come to thing of it
there was something thievish

in the corners of the eyes.
They were pinking shears,

with say-toothed blades. I killed it
so it would stop. What did I have

that it could want? This was just a stupid dream
about a pig. Stupid dream. Stupid pig.

***
NEWS

Because no reporters came to my door
wanting to confirm my low opinion
of the Bush administration,

because not even the Jehovah's Witnesses,
who can usually be counted on
to arrive each Saturday

bearing informative articles on Satan's wiles
and the hour of judgment
can be counted on this afternoon,

I have no one to tell
that the load of laundry I managed
to carry to the washer

has been transferred successfully
to the dryer. I even was able
to make my self coffee and toss the cat's toy

onto her carpeted platform
before returning to my bed.
There were little victories

over sullen god--the one who hunkers down
and rocks back and forth, muttering
that there's no reason to go on

lifting the stone of today
only to watch it roll down into tomorrow.
And now I feel compelled to report

that when the clothes were dry and warm
I got up and folded them and put them away.
Then I finally dressed, late in the afternoon,

and looked out the window and saw
my neighbor, and old black man who lives alone
and sits on his porch most days

in a ratty kitchen chair. So I got my harmonica
and played a bit of Sonny Terry I'd been working on
and I don't know if he listened, if it lit

a match to the damp cigarette of his joy
I can't say, but maybe it did
in some small and unrecorded way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Something White Project Update
Almost Done!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I received Passages North: Winter/Spring 2010 by Northern Michigan University. I read the magazine while I was waiting for my new driver license at a license branch in Illinois. When I took a written test in Indiana six years ago, I failed eights times; however, I passed it on the first try today. My English reading skill has been really improved. I am really glad that I got a master degree in English.

Contributors are...


Jennifer Lynn Alessi, Paul Scot August, John Azrak, Priscilla Becker, Shelley Berg, Monica Berlin, B.J. Best, Mary Biddinger, Malachi Black, Hadley Boyd, Jamie Brunton, Claudia Burbank, Kim Chinquee, Katie Cortese, Jim Daniels, Jordan David, Katrina Denza, Owen Duffy, Mary Beth Ferda, Gary Fincke, Naoko Fujimoto, Christine Garren, Laura Gibson, Aaron Bilbeath, Mariela Griffor, Becky Hagenston, Michael Hemery, Bob Hicok, Daniel John, Jonathan Johnson, Charmi Karanen, Hailey Leithauser, Tim Lockridge, Sara Maclay, Pamela McClure, Jane Mead, Travis Mossotti, Mark Neely, Rondon Billings Noble, John Poch, Maia Rauschenberg, Nicholas Reading, James Schiffer, Austin Segrest, Hilary Selznick, Agnieszka Stachura, Jennifer K. Sweeney, Connie Voisine, Joseph P. Wood

***
Two favorite poems from the magazine...

SENEY
By Charmi Keranen

It's slow going

waiting for the rock
to become a fish

the log
to become a grebe

the eagle's nest hovers
naked and known

but who in their right mind
would leave

the SUV to fight the deer fliers

100,000 ticks per moose

*

We used a retractable razor blade
to scrape the inspection stickers

from each window carefully

safe for another year

yes, there was a forest fire

a virgin pine burn

then blue buckets of berries
all those following years

the town was skirted
like a woman

you're dying to surround

Hemingway said

The Big Two-Hearted

was more poetic

***
THE BLUNT EDGE OF WANTING
By Sarah Maclay

I had forgotten the cool air.
I had forgotten the roses
on my neighbor's curtain.

A few stars are out. A few dogs bark.
Across the street, lights cover the canopy

above the roof. The man in the second
story apartment sits down
to play the piano.

A few cars pass. A few
street lamps. Planes.

I had forgotten standing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am reading Zachary Schomburg's "Scary, No Scary." According to his blog, He will be in Chciago on Apr. 29, 2010, Thursday. Columbia Poetry Review Reading and Release Party. Chicago, IL.

***

Columbia Poetry Review no. 23 Release Party & Poetry Reading
Thursday, April 29, 5:30 p.m.
Ferguson Hall
600 South Michigan, 1st Floor

***
And one of my favorite poems from "Scary, No Scary."

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
ABOUT THE WORLD, PRETEND SON

When I cupped my hand a broken hummingbird fell into it.
Its eyes had been pecked out, its beak was missing, and I could
see its heart beating through its torn chest. The heart began
to fall out, so I put my finger there to hold its heart in. It felt
more like a vibration than a heartbeat, like a moth's wing. It
felt good on my finger. Then another broken hummingbird
fell, but into the pond. It made a few ripples and then floated
there on its side, left leg twitching, beak frozen open, stiff little
creature with one wing straight up. A little paper sail boat.
The clouds were not shaped like clouds. A tree was blooming
with broken hummingbirds instead of leaves. Instead of a sun,

a slow explosion. The hummingbird heart on my finger felt
bottomless. The day almost smelled like spring.

***
P.S. Will you come, Charmi? If I go to the reading, can I get his signature on your book?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Aaron and I were invited by Chelle and Jon's Wedding. It was a very wonderful party. Congratulations and happy birthday to Chelle!

Monday, March 15, 2010

在シカゴ日本国領事館Eメールマガジンより


1.詐欺メールに対する注意喚起

(1) 先般、シカゴ市郊外に在住する邦人の方から、「知人(以下Aさん)にな

りすました者から、旅先で強盗被害に遭い困っているので、緊急に2,700ドル

を送金して欲しい旨の詐欺メールを受領した。」との通報が寄せられました。

 なりすましメールを利用した類似の詐欺手口は、2月22日付外務省・海外安全

ホームページの広域情報(詐欺メールに対する注意喚起)や、2月18日付在シア

トル日本国総領事館のウェブサイト(なりすましメールを利用した借金名目詐欺に

関する注意喚起)でも報告されており、より一層の注意が必要です。



(2) Aさんを名乗るEメールは英文で記載されており、差出人として表示され

たEメールアドレスは、Aさんが普段から使用しているアドレスと全く同じもので

した。

 「家族でイギリスに観光旅行に来ているが、宿泊ホテル近くの公園で強盗被害に

遭い現金やクレジットカードなど全てを取られてしまった。残っているのは命とパ

スポートだけで、ホテル代も支払えないためホテルから出してもらえない。このま

までは帰りの飛行機にも間に合わなくなりそうだ。戻ったらすぐに返すので、ホテ

ル代として2,700ドルを立て替えてもらえないか。緊急に近くのウエスタン・

ユニオン銀行宛てに2,700ドルを送金して欲しい。」



(3) Aさんを名乗るEメールの内容は非常に切迫しており、心配した通報者の

方が安否を確認するメールを送信すると、さらに切迫した内容で早くお金を振り込

んで欲しいとのEメールが届いたため、通報者の方は本当にAさんからのEメール

だと信じ込んでしまい、慌てて現金を用意しました。しかし、いざウエスタン・ユ

ニオン銀行に送金しようと思った矢先、念のためAさんの携帯電話に架電したとこ

ろ、Aさん本人が応対し米国内にいることが確認されたため、EメールはAさんに

なりすました別人から送られていたものであることに気付き、被害を免れました。

通報者の方は、「いわゆる振り込め詐欺のような犯罪にまさか自分がだまされると

は思っていなかったが、送られてきたEメールの内容はAさん本人からだと信じ込

んでしまうほど真に迫るものであり、犯人側の巧みな手口に驚くとともに悔しさを

感じる。」と話されています。



(4) このようなEメールを悪用した詐欺の手口は、個人のメール・アカウント

を何らかの方法で不正に取得し使用しているものと考えられており、類似する手口

で被害に遭うことのないよう、知人から送金を依頼するEメールを受信した場合に

は、以下の点に注意してください。

●Eメールを送付してきた者の電話番号を知っている場合には、直接本人に電話連

絡し事情を確認する。

●Eメール以外で本人と連絡が取れない場合には、職場など回りの知人にも事情を

確認する。

●同じ内容のEメールが他の知人など不特定多数に送付されていないか確認する。

●Eメールの文章で使用されている言語や言葉使いが、知人のものとみて不自然で

はないか注意する。

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writing Carrier
Writing Hobby and Writing Habit

Since I have been looking for a job, I have had more time to read books and listen to Japanese radio shows than before. I am going to meet my fellow poets next week, so I should start at least one or two new poems for a workshop. I wrote down “A red kettle that my mother bought” in my notebook.

I am just killing my time to entertain myself. And my death metal guy told me that I am suffering from a total lack of stimulation (bored all of the time). I chase my cat and call his name hundreds of times a day.

After I read books of my current favorite Japanese author, Oe, Kenzaburo (大江 健三郎), I listened to a radio show hosted by Kume, Hiroshi (久米 宏). Kume was interviewing Oe to ask why young Japanese children cannot identify their desired role in society.

Oe explains how important it is for young peoples to have “habits of life.” He is a writer, so writing is his habit since he was a young student. Kume long enjoyed researching and conveying facts; therefore, he established his identity as a newscaster though his broadcasting habit.

In addition, Oe believes that when people have difficulties in their life, they will find a way to overcome obstacles using their experiences. Their own “habit of life” will direct them though the obstacles.


In the show, Kume analyzed some juvenile murderers’ motivations and concluded that the young murderers want judges to condemn to the death penalty. The murderers are bored just living and they have no path to acknowledge any “habits of life.” For some reason they are reluctant to commit suicide out of fear of pain; therefore, they randomly kill somebody else, and ask judge to use death penalty on them.

Oe is talking about “habit of life” in a positive way in the show. A murderous habit of course does not benefit society or result in sharing knowledge to better human culture.

Maybe some crazy people find happiness is random murder and in a way share their knowledge and experience of it to other would-be murderers (though this would be a moot point if they were asking for the death penalty at the onset); however, if they identify so strongly as murderers, they may have habits of life with a complete negative focus.

The main discussion in the show was that the young murderers do not identify with what they are actually doing. If they are murdering for the sake of progressing the act of murder, they would not ask for the death penalty right away. They would look for another way to kill another person and further develop that skill set for their own personal advancement.

Later in the show, Oe uses an example with a child looking at a tree. If the child thought that the tree is beautiful, he must understand why he thought that the tree is beautiful. The tree could be beautiful because of its green leaves, the array of shadows produces from the sun through the branches, or many other reasons.

When the child identifies this reason, either consciously or subconsciously they look for this quality in all other objects, forming a habit of selective observation. Those habits help him create a comfortable environment for his familiar surroundings (think lots of indoor trees or something). Oe thinks that young people could benefit from identifying their life habits and looking for a profession that is compatible with them.

And my death metal guy said, “If a person connects his habit of life and job, habit may not be the right word to describe it. Hobby may be the right word.” He was sure to remind me that the difference between a profession and a hobby was what one does for income.

Oe used “habit of life” in English in the show; however, I looked into a Longman’s English-English dictionary.

Hobby is an activity that you enjoy doing in your free time.

Habit is something that you do regularly often without thinking about it because you have done it so many times before.

The reason why I wanted to write about a “habit of life” was that my first grade teacher, Jyuudai, Yasuko (十代 やす子) gave me writing assignments every six days as part of a group project. Six students in the group exchanged a diary notebook every week for two years and Jyuudai chose some stories out of these and made a class newspaper every week.

At first, writing was my assignment. If I did not write, I was trouble. The assignment was every six days. If there was nothing to write about, the assignment didn’t finish, so my mother suggested I take brief notes every day. She gave me a notebook and I wrote something like, “I ate a fruit cake and it was delicious.”

By the time assignments came, I decided to write about the delicious cake. After a couple assignments, writing became better using common journalistic elements, like: when I ate a cake, why I had the cake, how many teeth I lost while eating the cake, who I conned money out of to afford the cake, how I got to the cake shop, the long and perilous journey to the cake shop, and what kinds of fruit found themselves in the cake.

I was six years-old; however, writing became a hobby much like playing the piano. I would say that writing is a “hobby” at this time because I enjoyed taking notes for assignments when I had free time, and found myself taking notes even when no assignments were due.

Six years old was a busy time for me: learning to socialize, studying, eating, thinking about eating, etc… My mother tried to take this habit of writing beyond the status of assignments and encouraged me to continue after the class was completed. If I was writing something decent and playing the piano, my mother never had to say, “Go to your room and study!”


Sometime between the age of six and 27, my writing hobby became a habit. I am no longer a college student or have deadlines for college newspapers. But I feel that I have to write and continue developing my communication skills for personal aspirations.

I unconsciously think about what I am going to write for my next poem. Now I understand the meaning of “habit of life;” however, my laptop shows, “A red French kettle that my mother bought.” It still takes time for this line to be called a poem. But this life habit of mine worked out well, at least I don’t find myself murdering people and eating all their cake.


久米宏のラジオなんですけど-大江健三郎

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"The black cat is playing a red ribbon"
--a birthday gift from my sister.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Writing Carrier
Wander the Screen Land

I just watched Alice in Wonderland about fifty minutes ago, and it was a very wonderisting journey with my death metal guy; well, I got reimbursement.

My favorite actress, Anne Hathaway, was as white as a granite chess piece, until a red dot appeared on her forehead. Somebody— I would like to name him/her as someone who loved pointing at objects not only on powerpoint screens but also at the white queen’s forehead.

Maybe the pointer obsesses over pointing at random objects and wanted to let me know the invisible cat was on the white queen’s forehead. I would like to thank you for dragging my attention all over the screen and away from Tim Barton’s artwork.


I left the theater and talked to workers about the situation—how my first fifteen minutes were wonderfully ruined by chasing down management to stop the pointer. I even missed Alice’s fall into the hole.

The workers were wonderfully helpful. They came to the dark theater with a flash light and warned the audience. When they left, the pointer started pointing again. Why did the pointer have to be such a hard worker on a Saturday night landscaping the wonderland? The pointer must have a hateful life.


And then I wondered why the pointer person paid $10 (or more than $10 with dates) to get in the theater to avoid Tim Burton’s visual art work and annoy dozens of patrons. I looked around the theater; some audience members plugged their cellular phones into outlets on the wall, so they could continue texting people the entire duration of the movie (or tweeting, perhaps).

The lights were as vivid as the white queen’s eyebrows. I feel terribly sorry Burton, but after I watched the movie, I only remembered a red dot on the queen’s forehead, Alice who secretly stuffed a mini-blue ribbon dress under her regular London clothes (I was expecting that she shows her naked body in the first act and she made her own ribbon clothes like the mad hatter did,) and beautiful shiny cellular phone lights in the darkness.

I was angry during the movie; perhaps its just my age—I tuned 27 yeas-old last week— but I did not come to the movie to see waiving lights reminiscent of a rock concert nor to look at a moving luminescent pimple on the white queen’s forehead. I came to see a movie directed by one of my favorite movie directors.

I talked to a manager after I watched the movie. She simply gave two tickets saying “I am sorry. It happens a lot.” I totally understand my dissatisfaction was not the movie or the theater’s fault, (though I was expecting something more spectacular in Burton’s magic). Perhaps, I may not quite understand Burton’s art decisions in adapting the famous piece because I was totally distracted by the red dot.

At the customer desk I found us to be the only two people who seemed to have a problem with any of this. The theater was packed and the 8:30pm 3D show was sold out. Was the audience satisfied with that movie experience?

The audience maybe forgot about the disturbances because Burton’s movie was fantastic enough for them; perhaps no one wants to stand out in a quiet crowd and complain to the single laser pointer, though I can guarantee other people were annoyed. I might be a small humble Japanese girl, but I would like to stand up in the theater, point to the laser pointer guy and shout, “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Something White Project Update
with my proud new phone.