Sporks

We use a spork to empty the catfood can into ourkittyboys’ bowls. We then mix the food with water–per vet instruction–to create a nice soup (for Del) and porridge (less water, for Finn). This method has helped Del lose weight (water fills him up; he eats less), and has improved Finn’s teeth—the water’s washed away the tarter build-up. Feeding the cats is 3x-a-day ritual.

Sporks bring me joy. The bowl catches the good gravy, the tines stir the food & water to make soup/porridge.

Facts are fun, too.

From Salon’s history of the Spork:

  • “Spork”—first appearance in a dictionary: 1909
  • First patent, issued 1970
  • The spork is uncategorizable, just ask Wall-E
  • “Both terrapin forks & ice cream spoons were sporks in all but name (they were known as “runcible spoons” after the Edward Lear poem“—a poem my grandmother would recite to my delight when I was a kid, and possibly why I like poetry now.
  • Sporks are “devoid of culture”, have “no particular mores and demands no etiquette”
  • Fast food restaurants & institutions love ’em: 2 plastic utensils for the price of one.
  • Prison sporks are orange & even more woefully weak, so they can’t be used as a weapon.
  • However. My favorite:
  • In 2008, a man was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, for attempting an armed robbery with a spork from a fried-chicken restaurant. The victim’s body was gashed with four “parallel scratches.”  Spork

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Reboot

After spending 6 weeks away from Dubai (visited England, Spain, Italy) & becoming reacquainted with a forgotten feeling called happiness, and after recently celebrating American Thanksgiving where it’s tradition to take stock (& stuffing) by listing what & who & why one is grateful, and after neglecting this blog for so long, but before the next holiday list marks me as bad for this neglect, and before the holiday list after that needs to be written in which I have to resolve to do or not do something in the New Year, and after seeing a preview to the new Jennifer Lawerence movie called Joy, and after feeding ourkittyboys lunch just now, I decided to reboot this blog with short posts & a picture: something—massive to molecular—in my life here in the desert wasteland that brings me pleasure, joy, happiness, any of those positive feelings.

It’s an old idea—for an example check out thxthxthx.com

I could start the Reboot with the idea of the Reboot, but I don’t know how to photograph that.

what do you miss?

At a meet-new-people event the other night, a guy said to me, So, you’re new in Dubai—how do you like it? It’s… fascinating. What do you miss? I miss seeing things that have history. I have a small collection of vintage typewriters at home, and I miss having them around, looking at things that are older than I am. Everything here is so new. Yeah, he says, but history—too much history—can get in the way sometimes. What do you mean? Well, he says, I’m German.

vintage_underwood

more poetry?

Only 2 (give or take, depending on your time zone) more days of National Poetry Month, so—yes—let’s get some last-minute celebrating in! Kristin Hatch’s new book, the meatgirl whatever, just came out—Winner of the National Poetry Series—congrats, khatch!!!! I placed my order with Amazon on April 17. It’ll take more than a month for it to clear customs and get to me—can’t wait!

Tell me, what’s your favorite book of poems or single poem of all time?

What is your relationship with poetry?

With all the moving and shifting and such, I’ve gotten a bit behind on my poetry writing & poetry news…I’m sure there are lots of announcements and lots of ways to celebrate, like doing the 30 in 30 project, which I say I’ll do every year and don’t—or, you could visit a poetry landmark in your area. This area is full of them (future post).

I still have to get out and get involved with the poetry & writing community here, been stuck in the apartment this last week waiting for maintenance technicians to come and fix the AC that needed repair, the water heater that burst, the toilet that broke… boring.

The Offending Adam

The first week we were here, when we were still living in the Legacy hotel, I received an acceptance letter from the online journal The Offending Adam (Thank you, Andrew & Ryan!) and was reminded I wrote/write poetry. My 3 poems—more World Book poems, all from the same guide word: Folklore—went live on their site Monday 28 April, if you want: check them out.

I really appreciate Ryan Winet’s intro—hitting all the highlights that drive me: exploration, duality, frustration at information. He focuses on my themes of desire and transgressions:

  • “the transgressions that desire brings”
  • “such searches are ultimately futile: to desire is to already invite calamity”
  • “Hardy’s tome—-itself derived from encyclopedia entries—-identifies the lines where such cataclysms have left layers of irradiated dust”
  • “Wherever we look, we find desire and transgression.”

That last line I keep misreading as “desire in transgression” or “desire as transgression.” Tomato tomahtoe.

Since I have the chance, in this blog, to make a minor correction, I will—though, I’m fine with his interpretation: the first poem is about Lilith, not Eve. Eve is the “one / whose name means beginning. Before her.” Before Eve, meaning, Lilith.

Also, “Fell for one on high, who in turn fell /  from the seventh to the fifth, to farther still—an arc. / An act of choice, of not knowing, this was the devil  / she went with. Meaning night, meaning demon” is a reference to the archangel Samael, not Satan (though, I believe there are some people who believe they are the same—mostly they are different). Samael and Lilith were married–after Lilith left Adam, her first husband “the most fertile of clay. / From this, two figures formed. … / Being of the same, he was no stranger. She preferred someone stronger— .” Samael. “As a good angel, Samael resides in the seventh heaven, although he is declared to be the chief angel of the fifth heaven.” –wiki.

“Wikipedia is heaven
When you don’t want to remember anymore”
–Nick Cave, We Real Cool

Which is of course a nod to Gwendolyn Brooks’ 1959 poem, We Real Cool

More Nods & Notes

If anyone’s interested in this sort of thing, you can find a nod or two to Neko Case’s song Hold On Hold On in this poem.

I listened to this song on repeat, making notes for this poem, while sitting on a hand-woven child-size chair in the low-ceiling loft of the renovated XVII century chapel we rented during our 5th anniversary-celebration vacation to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. More notes were written while spending time at the Larchmont Bungalow—that research led me to la llorona—she wanted to be in this poem, but will have to wait for her own; this one’s Lilith’s.  I’ve written 5 Folklore poems, so she may stand a chance, if I decide to write more. Folklore is a long entry in The World Book.

The second poem in this set, Folklore pg. 2652 Folklore, has references to the Museum of Jurassic Technology’s Tell the Bees exhibit.

The third is influenced by William Carlos Williams’ “essay” that starts In the American Grain.

Oh, WCW. Oh, America.

Desire. Transgression. A high dive. A fall.

Hold on, hold on….and then

men diving dubai mall The Waterfall scupture
sculpture of men diving against an immense waterfall at the Dubai Mall

 

 

to be or not to be?

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! How kind of you to be born on World Book day, which lands during National Poetry Month.

Ah, books. Printed or e? Paper or plastic? Pros and cons. But books. Are people still reading?

Here’s a passage from The Crack Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written March 1936:

“I saw that the novel, which at my maturity was the strongest and supplest medium for conveying thought and emotion from one human being to another, was becoming subordinated to a mechanical and communal art that, whether in the hands of Hollywood merchants or Russian idealists, was capable of reflecting only the tritest thought, the most obvious emotion. It was an art in which words were subordinate to images, where personality was worn down to the inevitable low gear of collaboration. As long past as 1930, I had a hunch that the talkies would make even the best selling novelist as archaic as silent pictures. People still read, if only Professor Canby’s book of the month—curious children nosed at the slime of Mr. Tiffany Thayer in the drugstore libraries—but there was a rankling indignity, that to me had become almost an obsession, in seeing the power of the written word subordinated to another power, a more glittering, a grosser power…”

Makes you just want to end it all, doesn’t it?

To be or not to be? WordPress’s editor is politely pointing out how this was written in the passive voice. True, indeed: that Hamlet was one indecisive and contemplative dude. That is, until he decides to take Arms against a Sea of troubles.

It may be hard to tell in this light, but the end for all is the end for all.

Back to the enterprises of great pitch and moment, those of you who know me will know how happy this makes me: World Book Day!

world book edit

Here’s a sample from my project inspired by the WB Encyclopedia–a touch of Chaucer, a bit of Eliot, a hint of Tom Waits.
Originally published under the title “Vol. B, Pg. 710—from The World Book” in Black Warrior Review.

 

Bed                                      pg. 710                       Bee

Every day in this month of April, it rains.
I can’t get the recipe right, does time
mixed with memory equal desire? How big
is your bed? Different sources say twelve,
some twenty-four, others sixty-eight people

could lie on the Great Bed of Ware.
The English beds in the 1500s were enormous
affairs. While the archbishop was at vespers
a splendid shrine was erected.
For reasons I understand, I have

a hard time saying no to you. Sleep
comes in under the shadow
of this bedstead—-a foundation
of coils, the resting place of savages
—-as in Explorers have found

bees kept by savage tribes in the jungle.
There were wild bees in the New World
when the white man came. Honey
cost 5pfs a quart in ancient Egypt.
What is the conversion rate now? For a bed,

(See: geology) a heap of straw, leaves
or animal skins striped black, white,
serves as well as curled horsehair or cotton—
the soft covering of snow in winter. Cold
air comes through the open window,

the whistle of a far-away train, sweet
liquid, called nectar, calling—-such liquor:
rain and vodka bathes every vein, every center.
What is the function of an atom? More things
should naturally phosphoresce like uranium,

formerly Becquerel’s element, as observed
during overcast days. Without sun,
let’s discover all there is; we’ll stay in bed
until the rain stops. When you say
my name, I say, Call today the Prologue.

how do you get around?

Dubai is a car city—more so than LA. Let me say that again: Dubai is a city more obsessed with cars than Los Angeles (future post: How many Dubais can fit in one LA? one SF?), & it is difficult to get around the city, freeways and sideways—just like in LA—without a car.

We do not have a car.

Unlike LA, there is the Metro. I mean, one that people use.

I haven’t traveled south/southwest much. (Once to purchase barstools as seen on Dubizzle. Post to write: How are you furnishing your apartment? Also traveled south on Sunday to attend Easter mass at the Catholic church in the south-eastern section called Jebel Ali. Future post: How did you spend Easter? Another future post: Who is Ibn Battuta and how come I had to discover him in a mall?) And I need to explore the Green Line. But, I can almost recite the 21 stations along the Red Line starting at Dubai Internet City (the one closest to us) to the last stop, north/northeast, Rashidiya.

The train to R-rrrush-a-deee-ya will arrive at the R-rrrush-a-deee-ya platform. When you hear that, you have less than 45 seconds to get up the stairs before: The train to R-rrrush-a-deee-ya will depart from the R-rrrush-a-deee-ya platform. This happens every 5 minutes. There are lots of trains. No matter the time, they are always crowded. The stations are not that far apart; the train stops frequently, giving the feeling of a quick trip. Even when I had to travel to Umm Ramool to visit ourkittyboys, the hour-long ride would go by fast.

At each stop, the bilingual announcement plays. I’ve heard it so frequently, I can almost say “The next station is…” and “Doors closing” in Arabic. Not useful, but it’s a start.

The stations are these ancient sci-fi buildings that remind me of gladiators’ shoulder armor used for battle with the aliens. Or, to be more Douglas Adams about it: a fallen flapjack on a dog’s upturned water dish.

Dubai Internet City Metro Station

metroshell4 metroshell3

There are habit trails that bridge one side of the Metro station with the other—over the freeway or street. Select the numbered exit with which side of the street you want to land on. A little research helps. Some stations, like the Dubai Mall station, are incredibly long. Once you step off the train, the journey through the station and to the mall itself is about half mile/800 meters. (Not an exaggeration.)

metrohabittrail

The station after ours is Sharaf DG. There was a group of 4 guys (Russian?) sitting near us when we were riding last weekend. The young Matthew Broderick look-alike was holding court as jester, nasally imitating the announcer, Sha-raaaaaaf DG! Sha-raaaaf! Sha-raaaaf! Sounds like: Shut uuuuuup! Shut uuuup! We laughed. It only encouraged an encore. We laughed some more. (I feel this may not translate in writing; you had to be there.)

There’s talk of turning Metro stations into art galleries. I’m excited about this. (more info)

There is free wi-fi on the Metro, but I still don’t have a working phone and can’t access it. Before I leave on an adventure, I plan my route using the wi-fi in our apartment, take screen grabs of the directions—like this:

directionstodkc

…and then reference my photos to get from point A to point B…either walking or taking a taxi.

Taxis are rather inexpensive and very plentiful: an easy option. But, I also like to walk. But, it’s also hot. Not very very very hot, just hot. It’s only April.

Still. There are times that I misjudge how hot it is and how much I’m carrying. I’m limited in my quest to furnish our flat by how much I can carry. It’s been a slow process. I often find myself in places between civilization where I’m not near a Metro station and where there are no taxis. These are usually construction zones where, in a year or so, will have mall or a highrise. I imagine this is what LA looked like a one point—before it became concrete and pavement.

These transition areas are not that large, maybe 1600 meters, but when I’m in pack-mule mode or when it’s hot, I feel like this:

Also, just like LA, nobody walks. Who would walk in this heat?

Pedestrians are sometimes an afterthought, as they are in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico—where the sidewalks are 2-3 brick-wide strips along busy streets. In Dubai, what might look like a sidewalk to a pedestrian is more often used as a shortcut for a minibike or a small car. Or, it’s being absorbed by the elements. As quickly as things are built here, the elements work to take it away.

Here’s a sidewalk in Al Karama. Similar sidewalks can be seen throughout Dubai.

Sand—1, Bricks—0.

IMG_5600

This is a city in a constant state of decay & construction / tearing down & rebuilding / old & new / poverty & wealth / traditions & new customs / death & rebirth / ugly & beautiful / heat & AC ….keep flipping the coin. I’ve been enjoying this dichotomy that I see daily, this vibration of change, this theme for this chapter. (Irony factors in here, too, of course)

A short list of examples:

  • we moved during Easter season
  • the first movie we saw here was Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • I’m reading F. Scott Fitzgerald The Crack Up
  • Transformers was playing on the TV at the restaurant while we were having dinner
  • spring
  • the new & final, also penultimate, season of Mad Men

Also, Happy Earth Day!

Soundtrack:

 

first night in the new apartment

We’re sleeping on the floor tonight. The mattresses here (in the 2 hotels we stayed at and all the ones I’ve seen in the stores) are so firm–slabs of slate firm–I feel we’ve been practicing for the floor and all will be fine.

No furniture of any kind yet. 2 blankets–one beneath us, one over us–2 pillows.

And 2 cats!

Unpacked the suitcases, so we have clothes–that need to be washed–and all the books I brought. But that’s it. It’s a bit echo-ey in here, being so empty. The kitty boys have investigated every inch of the place–didn’t take too long; it’s a one bedroom.

Finn also likes the twin imitation-Chrysler buildings. Also, if you don’t already know this: I love these 2 cats.

Alfredo’s on his way home from work (working late), and I’m so happy we’re all together.

finnatthebalcony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

delwideeyed

 

 

 

 

Soundtrack (natch):