Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coming Soon To A Major Restaurant Near You

Q. Did anyone know the sous-chef was living on top of the walk-in refrigerator?
A. Yeah, everybody in the restaurant -- when somebody is living on top of your refrigerator, have all their stuff packed up in bags on top of the refrigerator, you tend to notice that stuff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Contest

In my e-mail box today:

The MacGuffin’s 14th National

Poet Hunt Contest

Judged by Thomas Lynch

First Place Prize $500

*Two Honorable Mentions*

Contest Rules

1. Each entrant will receive one FREE issue of The MacGuffin that includes the 14th National Poet Hunt winners.

2. Staff members and their families are not eligible to participate.

3. An entry consists of five poems.

4. Poems must be typed on sheets of 8½ x 11” paper. Clean photocopies are acceptable. DO NOT place name and address on submissions. Entries can also be made electronically as an MS Word document on a 3½" disk or CD (PC format recommended).

5. Each entrant must include a 3 x 5 index card that includes poem titles and the contestant’s name, address, daytime telephone number, and email address.

6. There is a $15.00 entry fee. Please send check or money order payable to “Schoolcraft College.” Please do not send cash.

7. Poems must not be previously published, and must be the original work of the contestant. Poems may be under consideration elsewhere. The MacGuffin reserves the right to disqualify a work that is accepted elsewhere.

8. No entries will be returned.

9. Entrants wishing to receive a list of winners should send a stamped SASE.

10. Entries must be postmarked between April 1, 2009 and June 3, 2009.

Mail entries to:

    The MacGuffin/Poet Hunt Contest

    Schoolcraft College

    18600 Haggerty Road

    Livonia, MI 48152

    Winners will be announced in September 2009

    First Place and Honorable Mention poems will be published in a future issue of The MacGuffin.

    The MacGuffin reserves the right not to award any Honorable Mentions.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Part of The History of Indiana mural at Purdue.
I've been fooling around for a few days at PU while Gene worked as the safety inspector for the First Robotics regional competition. I imagined I would have long days to myself in the hotel room to write, but at noon on the first day I looked up and discovered I had company -- on the fourth floor. The windows were been recaulked. Good thing I wasn't wearing that French maid outfit I usually write in... Those guys stayed with me the whole, doggone time.
Back at home, the frogs are chorusing and the osprey have returned to Potato Creek. Recent PU grad and longtime friend Marie Hamstra is now naturalisting there. Woo-hoo! Jojo, Max and I stopped in at the Hamstra abode on the way home to check out the pond Calvin is building for Marie. Yes, folks, he's digging that baby in the shape of a heart. Awwwww.

Thursday, March 19, 2009



They’re burning the prairie.
The white-tailed deer on
The edge of the fen, silent,

While you pick your way
Through sedge, milkweed
Casks, a violence of spring

Welling out of the ground
(Otherwise known as sinking. )
Tecumseh, for the moment,

Is out of town, and who knows
About his brother and those hands --
No -- arms he is holding up

Like Moses and his people
At the Red Sea, the waters
Escaping, the armies sure

To rise up out of
The history of glaciers
Subterranean springs.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I derive an enormous amount of pleasure out of hanging things out to dry. I'm like an animal out there, listening, sniffing. The birds! The cars revving their engines at the race track on Sunday morning! The realization that one of my neighbors really needs to have their septic tank pumped, if that isn't happening at this very moment, although it smells like it is.

I'm hoping a few more things will be hung out to dry. AIG keeps surfacing here. No, Congress, President Obama, don't let them pay out their 100-some million in bonuses! You have a contract? Let them sue. Publish all the names of those people who are getting the bonuses. Come on, I'm trying to send two kids to college here and maybe fill my bird feeders.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Although I generally deny it, I do occasionally watch TV, especially if I've been goaded into it. So, I watched the Jon Stewart takedown of Jim Cramer, albeit the rerun on Friday night at 8:00. I've never seen Jim Cramer before, but I get it. TV has its moments.

If you're lucky, all your money is in books. Or maybe a nice piece of land out in the middle of nowhere that you'd really like to live on someday. You might stop thinking about the resale value of your house and paint your walls any color you damn well please. Maybe America is going to start thinking differently about the whole money thing, but I kind of doubt it.

Gene and Tom put up a new clothes lines for me yesterday. I've been without for a while. I was bringing the blankets in at dusk while my neighbors across the way were having an animated argument about being pressured into signing contracts in their side yard. Other neighbors' bill collectors are starting to call me. "I'm trying to reach a party at ...." Sorry, I can't help you.

T-Bills crossed my mind, so Google helped me find this 2004 article from Slate. Then today's article from Slate is here. And Daniel Gross thinks we should take his advice why? It still seems like this game that Stewart was talking about.

If you're reading this from far away, you should know that Elkhart is five minutes from my house. Elkhart with 18.3% unemployment. But I'm wondering about all the different realities we're living in. And that's all I have to say.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Naoko's poem "Greenhouse" has been accepted by Pebble Lake Review! Congrats!!

And Wednesday in the mail I received a signed copy of Black Book Press #44 with poems by Chad & Neil. Thanks, guys!

The week is shaping up very fine.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Seriously. I'm not kidding.

This Saturday, March 14th, 1:00 p.m., The Chicory Cafe.

The assignment: Write a letter using some historical figure as your persona. For an example, check out The Czar's Last Christmas Letter: A Barn in the Urals by Norman Dubie.

E-mails will be arriving shortly.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


The blog posts are coming few and far between, and not just for me. Maybe later we'll all look back at this and say, "Oh, remember when we all blogged?" I wonder if these posts will looks like hairdos from past decades. God. Then we'll all say, "At least back then Joe had hair." Or "Who the heck is Joe?"

Spring is bringing the traveling season back. Tom & I spent a couple of days hiking in southern Indiana during his spring break. Gene is packing his bags for a short trip to Chihuahua next week, just in time for the spring drug wars. (This is what comes from having a passport.) Jojo is hoping her schoolwork is caught up enough that she can go to St. Louis in April. I wake up in the middle of the night and remember she'll only be living at home for a few more months.

It's going to be a hectic few months, but I'll schedule a writers' workshop soon.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Just Saying

March 2007 advertisement on the back cover of National Geographic:

AIG - It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know we'll be there for future rocket scientists.

"When it comes to your money, nothing about the future is certain. But for over 85 years, people have secured their financial futures with the AIG companies. Whether planning for college, protecting your family or saving for retirement, our strength and experience mean we'll be there for you, for generations to come."

March 2009 Los Angeles Times headline:

Feds give AIG $30 billion more.

"The additional resources will help stabilize the company, and in doing so help to stabilize the financial system," the Treasury Department said in an early morning statement.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spring Rilke

Poetry came my way rather later in life, middle-age, and it seems like I'll never catch up on my reading. That's not an entirely bad thing. I will not have idle eyes.

I finally bought some Rilke, Duino Elegies. It looks like he probably is all that.

Here are some excerpts from "Fourth Elegy", without the proper formatting. Blogger just isn't helpful in that way at all:


But we
when we're fully intent
on one thing

can already feel
the pull of another.
Hatred is always close by.

Aren't lovers always
coming to sheer drop-offs
inside each other
they who promised themselves
open spaces, good hunting
and a homeland?


you who loved me
for my little beginning
of love for you

I always lost track of
because of the distance
in your face

even as I loved it
turned into outer space
where you no longer existed . . .


Who shows a child
as he really is?

Who sets him among the stars
and puts the measure of distance
in his hand?

Who makes the child's death
out of a gray beard
that gets hard
who leaves it there
in his round mouth
like the core
of a lovely apple?
Murderers aren't hard to comprehend
But this:
to contain death
the whole of death
even before life has begun
to contain it so gently
and not be angry--
this is indescribable.

(Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, Translated by David Young, W.W. Norton & Company, 1978)