Tuesday, June 29, 2010

and darkness moved across the face of the deep

Poems tonight, revised and sent out into

slush piles.

Perhaps I ought to invent a pedigreed persona whose name and attendant names I might append to my words. 'Peter Clarion, who has studied under Bly Hass McClure and Merwin, received his M.F.A. from both Yale, Iowa, and has lived, as the son of a diplomat, all around the world. He currently teaches at... and once totally made out with Adrienne Rich.' Clearly I am not confident either in the impartiality of my presumed readers nor the quality of my work. The year of rejections of my short stories submissions still stings, I guess, and I hate entering any situation helpless as to the outcome.

I will honor my pledge, though, I will send out my poems, Megan. Have you?

The yoghurt was not inadequate; my expectations were ill-considered. The thicker consistency found in store-bought yoghurt is either the result of thickening agents, like gluten, or by the 'Greek' method, which is simply hanging it in a bag and letting some of the whey drip out. The flavor is bright and fine. I am satisfied.

Today the feta will be ready to brine. Today the chevre will be ready to suspend.

My tools: a screw set into false wood paneling, supporting an inside-out pillowcase tied and hung with a bit of string left over from trying down our belongings in the back of the truck that carried us 'cross country and a glass bowl to catch what little whey is left after I used the majority of it in a pot of beans I have going in the crockpot.

Last night, in the poor and strange kitchen light, it all seemed so ramshackle, so essential that I felt like I was staring at a scene from before creation, at an eggshell, easily broken and forgotten in the emergence of what it dreamed into existence.

The camera did not like the light and exaggerated the shaking of my hands, nor did it know quite where to focus.

Monday, June 28, 2010

new grapes

I have to remind myself that these photographs are attempts to capture something, something like a reality, that I have yet to define. I am evading the photographic tendency to define, capture, however you like. This isn't about taking good photographs, an art I have no ambition towards, but about a kind of visual stutter in reaction to what language might too easily render smooth.

And I look on them as a kind of accident that allows these reflections.

I have yet to more than pass by the vineyard. I have not pruned, nor set wire, nor done any forthright thing for these ten acres of vines. I am circling the guilt I feel for its shortcomings and the hardships I have put my mother through. Circling also the ignorance I am left with in regards to how it should be run.

Though the vines live, and shall, for decades.

I do not know if I believe that.

Tomorrow I will find my shears and dismount the hill to our floodplain vineland and set my body to its stone.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

burn pile

Strange, to be obliged to speak. This record seeks its own and until then must borrow. I am often afflicted with a terrible heaviness in my head and limbs and it is so easy to find distraction.

The yoghurt was not wholly successful. These are the possible causes. 1) I heated the milk to roughly 120 degrees through carelessness and then allowed it to cool to the optimal temperature. 2) The coffee thermos I am using to hold the milk at temperature may be inefficient. 3) I may have used an inadequate amount of starter.

Of the three possibilities, I most strongly suspect the second.

The milk is quickly amounting to too much. I can, and will, make ice cream and add some of the mulberries I am harvesting for a vodka infusion, but I need to find the ingredients and materials for cheesemaking soon.

The north wind has come in, bringing what they say will be a week of cooler weather. The clouds are welcome, and on Sunday, of all days the most suited to this quiet weather, but the humidity has increased as has my torpor.

I watched a burn pile this morning for Mom and liked it out there among the flowers. I'm spending the day inside on paperwork but it feels like I have lost my way and it is only a little past noon.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Now that I have made the gesture of permanence, and gesture it is, I can, as the body holds the pose, holds still, riveted in aspiration to rootedness, allow my expression an ambivalence honest to it.

And in language mine: a bastard and regicidal English.

Sitting in a thermos on a patio table further insulated by the humid night following a hundred degree day is my first attempt at yoghurt from Zena's milk. She's an eager milker and has provided the first habit I have acquired, for milking her does not quite feel like an obligation, akin to showing up for work on time, and yet it is not quite voluntary either; if I do not milk her she will sicken. Perhaps the explanation is in the tangibility of the reward: in the shadeless white of her milk as it hides beneath its shift of froth.

Below is an attempt to capture the first full moon I have watched rise since I moved here for good (and ill; I mean many people inadvertent and advertent ill) with the small digital camera Mom recently purchased and which I almost automatically claimed.

I am comforted to perfection by reminder of Space, which the naked roundness of a full moon presents unavoidably, the illusion of all illusions shattered. It was not long before my attempt to capture the lunar event yielded a pinprick in the darkness.