Sunday, August 08, 2010


by Nephtali DeLeon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the decision shouldn't be

left to unicorns,

but that's simply how it is

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Am not sure why it took 25 years for me to notice.

I'm sorry, Proclaimers.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A few days ago, my mom asked if I've been writing.

I said no.

Then, "I guess I could write about being pregnant, but..."

And trailed off midsentence, which I do a lot of these days.

I've always felt secretly smug about my ability to summon extradimensional communicative powers when needed. But am finding that, with the cruel humor of a misunderstood, disrespected goddess, pregnancy amps my awareness of & confidence in this, while also sapping me of it.

That's why you don't hear the choir you really should, from my mouth.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

What would Lauren Hutton do?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

It is best to make up words in Scrabble (and, naturally, their definitions). I think so.

This morning:

zev: the number 10 in Hebrew

Selzfa: Zeus' wife's nickname

veawe: a polite address to a Spanish-speaking grandmother, when asking her to do something

Jtmuri: an ancient Central Asian tribe (the "j" is pronounced like a "y")

wewu: the name of a skin disease in Mayan (accent on the second syllable)

firny: the quality of a spot in a fossil where it is soft or goes to powder

Monday, November 17, 2008

That's hot

I was just watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show on DVD, and found out Meat Loaf and Elvis Presley were introduced to each other at a midnight theater showing of the movie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How to Make A Rainbow

Make some light shine through some water, like in a glass. Or watch it going from the sun into rain.

The light has to be coming from behind you (so, it's light, then you, then water). I am not sure why yet.

I guess, Carlos, because water "breaks" light "down" into the "colors" it is "made up of"...this is how you make a rainbow.

(I don't really understand the parts in quotation marks.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Were you along, on the camping trip to the Kern River last weekend? Everyone spoke Spanish but us. There was loud cold reggaeton from a parked truck by the low spigot by the trash, at 9 am where we did dishes furtively, to help out. Drinking from around then on. There was a fire south, near Lake Isabella, that'd started two weeks before, and was still only half "contained". Someone passed us the Native American 12 Steps


At night, after the astronomy slideshow, our main friend, a 6 year old named Angel, saw planets through the telescope in the flat, smoky dun, although he was alone in this. The men went out looking for wood and came back stoned.

Do you remember?

Well, if not, here are a couple sentences you missed.

I'm Pat, and I'm everything.

When I was in rehab there in Bakersfield.

Maggie, did you remember how to make a rainbow

IQ level has no correlation with the quality of one's poetry.

I was relieved to see proof of this, and thought you might be too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There Is Wind, There Are Matches

A thousand times I have sat in restaurant windows,
through mopping after mopping, letting the ammonia clear
my brain and the music from the kitchens
ruin my heart. I have sat there hiding
my feelings from my neighbors, blowing smoke
carefully into the ceiling, or after I gave
that up, smiling over my empty plate
like a tired wolf. Today I am sitting again
at the long marble table at Horn and Hardart's,
drinking my coffee and eating my burnt scrapple.
This is the last place left and everyone here
knows it; if the lights were turned down, if the
heat were turned off, if the banging of dishes stopped,
we would all go on, at least for a while, but then
we would drift off one by one toward Locust or Pine.
- I feel this place is like a birch forest
about to go; there is wind, there are matches, there is snow,
and it has been dark and dry for hundreds of years.
I look at the chandelier waving in the glass
and the sticky sugar and the wet spoon.
I take my handkerchief out for the sake of the seven
years we spent in Philadelphia and the
steps we sat on and the tiny patches of lawn.
I believe now more than I ever did before
in my first poems and more and more I feel
that nothing was wasted, that the freezing nights
were not a waste, that the long dull walks and
the boredom, and the secret pity, were
not a waste. I leave the paper sitting,
front page up, beside the cold coffee,
on top of the sugar, on top of the wet spoon,
on top of the grease. I was born for one thing,
and I can leave this place without bitterness
and start my walk down Broad Street past the churches
and the tiny parking lots and the thrift stores.
There was enough justice, and there was enough wisdom,
although it would take the rest of my life - the next
two hundred years - to understand and explain it;
and there was enough time and there was enough affection
even if I did tear my tongue
begging the world for one more empty room
and one more window with clean glass
to let the light in on my last frenzy.
- I do the crow walking clumsily over his meat,
I do the child sitting for his dessert,
I do the poet asleep at his table,
waiting for the sun to light up his forehead.
I suddenly remember every ruined life,
every betrayal, every desolation,
as I walk past Tasker toward the city of Baltimore,
banging my pencil on the iron fences,
whistling Bach and Muczynski through the closed blinds.

by Gerald Stern

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I haven't written in here in so long, and am sorry. I've been going through kind of a sea change for the past year, and just haven't wanted to put it into words.

I stumbled onto this link when Googling "mexican feminist child rearing," though, and it got me putting everything into words, all of a sudden.

So, I read it and posted the ranty comments you'll see if you go there and go to the bottom. She replied with what she replied.

(And yeah, they're ranty, maybe because it all came out at once, for the first time, and I was pissed off. A little self-righteous, too. Oh well.)

Anyway, that's the sea I'm in.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yesterday was a fairly good day for sentences. I was told,

"green is your flavor"


"the chances of being a pop star is one in a million."

I think the best one from today was from Alex (4), who told me I'm fat. I said, o.k.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My brother's both unmaterialistic and crackles of this world. Not an easy guy to buy a birthday present for. Circumstances beyond our control put us at odds with each other from the start, too. They evolved, but some years were lost in our friendship, during which I might've gotten to know him better.

Anyway, he always fascinates me, but is a little hard to decipher at times.

Now. I'm not a big sciencehead and can't say I check his website, Science Blog, daily. I did this morning, though, and realized two of my favorite things about him: his will to be optimistic for creaturekind (including humans); and his translation of that into physical reality.

Science Blog's a daily online magazine: science articles from journals, institutes and occasional newspapers, under subject headings like "Aerospace," "Geoscience," "Nanotech & Materials," and "Physics & Numbers." My brother chooses the articles, writes their headlines and posts texts beneath headlines. He also oversees advertising and reader-blogs. (It's a real-thing kind of a thing: by 5:44 p.m. PST today, 888 people had read one of today's front-page articles, 612 another.)

I was struck, today, by his generally positive editorial decisions, and how those seemingly small choices affected my mood. For example, headlines usually include an encouraging word (today's front page includes "readies," "boosts," "better" and "saves"). Headlines for "negative" stories, which could easily be tweaked for drama's sake (he's a clever guy), are moderately crafted (for example, today's "Energy Drinks Take Toll on Teeth" and "Tropics Are Next Emerging Disease Hotspot").

The positive headlines aren't misleading, either; articles generally imply faith in a...future. In no way is this part of the Armageddon machinery.

He's been quietly running this for years. For some reason only today did I notice his choices, though, and how they affected my outlook. I guess, also, what a volatile place the news in general has in my psyche.

On some level I believe everything I read, and from what I've heard, most people are built like that. How to deliver news seems to me like a pretty serious question, and "generally optimistically" seems to me the best answer. The possibility -- well, reality -- of a psychically safe place to get information about the state of us-and-our-environs (from a scientific angle, in this case) feeds my own faith in our future.

Thank you, brother! The more I know you, the better I like you!

P.S. A particularly fabulous story from today's front page.

In other news, go buy this today. You can probably get it at your nearest health food store (but you might want to call and ask them first so you don't waste a trip).

It is called Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet Sorbetto.

I don't care if it makes you feel like a yuppy. You probably are one, anyway.

This is your assignment for today, with a half-page response paper by Monday.

Dear MoveOn,

I want to thank you for two things: changing American politics in the direction I want it to be changed; and renewing my faith that there was still room
for it to change.

I've been on your side 100%, until today.

Today's email, the ad for an ad contest for Obama (MoveOn's way of endorsing him?), really bothers me.

It seems so un-MoveOn to endorse one candidate over another -- when there are only two -- without explaining why.

Or did you send an explanatory email earlier, and I didn't receive it? (If so, could you please resend it?)

If not, though...MoveOn's all about ethicality and clarity and upfrontness, right? All the facts so people can make informed decisions, right?

So, what's the deal?

I assume there are others like me: folks who don't know which Democratic candidate to choose, but are slightly suspicious of the media's neutrality/coldness toward Clinton, in the face of its extreme hype of Obama.

For us, MoveOn's endorsement-without-explanation seems disturbingly in step with that very message: go with Obama
because we want you to. Not, go with Obama for reasons x,y, and z.

Please explain the logic behind MoveOn's decision to endorse one candidate over the other without explaining why.

Thank you.

Maggie Sullivan
Costa Mesa, CA

Okay, I just had to say that. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My car was stolen a few weeks ago, and then found, the morning after I reported it to the police. I'd been telling myself this is Newport Beach, it's an '84 Camry, no one'll care enough to find it; getting it back, and so fast, was surprising. Kind of a relief, too, that it hadn't been misplaced; I was still very spacy from surgery a couple weeks before, and only about 80% sure where I'd parked it last.

But it was stolen, and was found, intact in its blanched crustiness on modest Bimini near Baker in Costa Mesa (the 2006 engine was somehow still there).

Either way would've been okay -- I miss the bus -- but the delivery-back of the car was touching for me. Not the car itself, so much, but parts like Officer Navarro, who picked me up from Enrique's and drove me to where it was, rather than my having to pay to get it out of the impound lot (he didn't think that was fair to victims).

He said now that the rain had stopped things would be warming up. He referred to me as "the victim" several times, which I enjoyed. He and I were about the same age, I could tell by how he talked about K-Earth (which was playing in his car). People younger and older than me may be okay being cops, but not people roughly the same age, we're not cut out for it. He said he used to listen to jazz and I decided before he could explain that he'd stopped because it kept him out of cop mood.

He was extremely thorough and polite in his dispatches to "Beth" on the other end (that was when most of the "victim" stuff came up), and then later with everyone else. When I saw him toward the end of the whole thing, patiently waiting in his car for word back from headquarters that I was clear to take my car home, he looked sort of small, and sort of old. And I suddenly felt like part of this place. For the first time, I think.

It was a random, liberal-looking grayhaired householder, Sue, on Bimini who thought to call the police about the car in front of her place. She and a stocky female detective were chatting beside it when Officer Navarro and I got there. I felt so grateful to Sue. She and the detective talked about the beautiful "forest" in front of Sue's place, and how Sue sometimes even naps out in her yard, the trees protect her so well. The detective warned her about people hiding in her bushes and Sue said she has a guard dog. This turned into a conversation about geese, the detective suggested she get geese because they take no nonsense from anyone. I suddenly felt like with a couple of costume changes, we could be in an illustration in a children's nursery rhyme book, like in Low German, from like the 1800s or something.

Sue eventually ducked out and I talked more with the detective lady. The glove compartment was open and receipts in little balls on the floor below it. Though she never said it, I began to understand that she'd carefully examined every single thing in my car. Like the affirmations sheet in the back seat about fertility and children; cheapshit movie magaines; Spanish flashcards; and the dust. She'd tried unsuccessfully to get fingerprints off the "contents of the bag" (a small brown paper bag holding a few cassettes). Toward the end she complimented the broom in my back window, calling it a "bezom," which I believe may have been Wiccan sign language.

Eventually word came that I was free to take the car. We all waved to each other as I drove out. As I left I wondered if -- while getting the crapster back was definitely a good and convenient thing for me -- it might have even been like 1% better for them. An entirely positive thing, I mean. As I thought about that possibility, I felt a lot of love for them.

The rest of the day was a rainbow. I spent way too much time and money at RiteAid (they sell these gorgeous Indian skirts and blouses now, which of course took forever to consider). It seemed like only women were working there that day, all easy and funny. Finally tore myself away and home...continued the post-fumigation (oh, we'd also just been fumigated) put-back...and then, got my first period since the surgery.

I was so proud. Not of myself, exactly, but of bodies. They try.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

San Diego graduated from high school.


I was thinking after eight years maybe they really were just sick of him and said oh just let him go.

My boyfriend said Grandma Spider helped him get his grades up, though. She was hired as the guidance counselor last year through a pilot project after 5 years in jail for having had a relationship with a student.

He's planning to work for awhile and just hang out

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My tree
Un-shepherds in their dotage,
driven to sudden refusal by the appearance of
election-year Valentines slid into my cell.
(But careful, the beverage you're about to enjoy
is on fire.
Like our hats are.
Which we remove & hold before
our chests when we bow our
smoking heads in greeting.)

(The group poem from our last open mic.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

flying embers

Coming back to work late Monday afternoon after a dentist appointment, I suddenly had to see how it would feel in Ladera Ranch. (I'd met the place a few months before and been compelled by the contrast between the harshness of its environment, and the paradisical hype.) I took Antonio Parkway, but once I was there was led north by the smoke.

Antonio ends at sort of a deadend, at Avenida de las Flores. At least 100 people who felt the same as me had gathered there to park, get out and look at the afternoon flames.

Everyone had their cellphones aimed at the fire. They were taking pictures of it. It occurred to me this might be something Everyone Has Done For Thousands Of Years. I wanted to, too, but had no camera or cellphone around.

For some reason the porn star vibe of today's cool people seemed especially pronounced there, and touchingly inadequate.

Friday, October 19, 2007

...the deeply mixed and fallible indeterminacy of motivation that has and always will characterize the fundamental state of human affairs...

That's a line in a poem by James Kelly, who read it at Our Little Open Mic today.

I thought it was kinda cool.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I learned something from this explanation of Beat couched in an explanation of "neo-Beat".

I've never been able to explain the whole Beat thing, myself. Maybe even to believe it was an actual something, with borders enough for an explanation.

I appreciate this guy's effort. But if there really is such a thing as beat, I think "neo" is premature. I'd wager a lot of folks are just, still, fucking beat.

Friday, October 05, 2007



Monday, September 03, 2007

We were lying on the couch outside today.

It's a trailer couch, also a pullout bed. I've slept on it a lot this summer, and bought a mosquito net for it a couple of weeks ago.

[Have you ever slept under one? I recommend them even if you have no mosquitos. If it's been too long since you were in a fairy tale, sleeping under a mosquito net will deliver you back.]

I had the couch pulled out last winter. Things were so sad here then. A worldwide desk, the Kenny Howes Memorial Desk in fact, went in its place. (When he heard it called that, he said you call something that when someone's dead. But then he went and died in my life, of his own will. So, maybe it's right.)

Anyway, I looked over my sun-bedraggled plants from the couch today, and felt bad.

Cause it's the garden of someone who isn't really here.

I want to change that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The hospital I work at emails me an inspirational message every morning.

I liked today's. They said it was from an old folk song.

Be kind to your parents, though they might not deserve it.
Remember that "parents" is a difficult stage of life.
They’re apt to be nervous, and over excited,
Confused by the daily storm and strife.
Remember, though it seems hard I know,
That parents were children long ago.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Excuse me, but I just have to ask.

What the hell is everybody doing in just one place?

Among other things, it doesn't make evolutionary sense (well, assuming "evolution" actually describes something).

Wouldn't we be much more successful survivors and/or reproducers if we could be in more than one place at once?

Get back to me on that why don't you.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hidden Water

A girl was in a wheelchair on her porch
And wasps were swarming in the cornice

She had just washed her hair
When she took it down she combed it

She could see
Just like I could

The one star under the rafter
Quivering like a knife in the creek

She was thin
And she made me think

Of music singing to itself
Like someone putting a dulcimer in a case

And walking off with a stranger
To lie down and drink in the dark

by Frank Stanford