Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Wallpaper: View from an Old Town Bench

OLD TOWN--We sat on the bench in the early evening just enjoying the cool air from a nearby thunderstorm. Everything was so alive. Everything.

The Sunday Poem: Josh Weiner...Found Letter

American Life in Poetry: Column 123

There is a type of poem, the Found Poem, that records an author's discovery of the beauty that occasionally occurs in the everyday discourse of others. Such a poem might be words scrawled on a wadded scrap of paper, or buried in the classified ads, or on a billboard by the road. The poet makes it his or her poem by holding it up for us to look at. Here the Washington, D.C., poet Joshua Weiner directs us to the poetry in a letter written not by him but to him.

Found Letter

What makes for a happier life, Josh, comes to this:
Gifts freely given, that you never earned;
Open affection with your wife and kids;
Clear pipes in winter, in summer screens that fit;
Few days in court, with little consequence;
A quiet mind, a strong body, short hours
In the office; close friends who speak the truth;
Good food, cooked simply; a memory that's rich
Enough to build the future with; a bed
In which to love, read, dream, and re-imagine love;
A warm, dry field for laying down in sleep,
And sleep to trim the long night coming;
Knowledge of who you are, the wish to be
None other; freedom to forget the time;
To know the soul exceeds where it's confined
Yet does not seek the terms of its release,
Like a child's kite catching at the wind
That flies because the hand holds tight the line.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2006 by Joshua Weiner. Reprinted from "From the Book of Giants," University of Chicago Press, 2006, by permission of the author. Introduction copyright © 2006 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bike Returns. Story Continues...Even though I am Stuck Here

NOB HILL--Even though my big bike trip has been either postponed or canceled (depending on the level of optimism one brings to the situation), it continues to be a story. My bike finally arrived from the bike shop in Astoria, Oregon. I took it down to Two-Wheel Drive for re-assembly. They are the ones who boxed it up for me in the first place.

When their ace bike-mechanic Jeff originally took it apart for shipment a month ago, he explained that there was a difference between disassembly for a bike tourer and disassembly for resale: a bike tourer wants his bike taken apart as little as possible...just enough for safe shipment and still fit in a box.

Well, my bike was totally in pieces when it arrived from Oregon. Even the trunk rack was off the bike.

Be that as it may, I'm glad to see the bike again. I'll pick it up today or tomorrow. My cast interferes with my driving the 4Runner (stick shift) and that is the vehicle with the bike rack. Also, I am taking care of my grandson Robby today and have no child seat for him. So maybe tomorrow.

On another note, the Albuquerque Journal was to do a piece on the transamerica ride, but when I got hurt I called them up and they canceled the story. Well, writer Glen Rosales called my up and said they had rewritten the story and were putting it in the "Go!" section. It appears in today's paper.

The online version of the story doesn't have the pictures that the print edition has. Thank God! I had no idea I was that ugly! No "star" qualities here. Other than my looks, the pictures were pretty nice. And the story placement, on the first page of the Go! section, is wonderful. Now maybe some more former students will get ahold of me.

Of course, the fact that I'm not actually doing anything doesn't lessen my interest in the piece whatsoever. It may matter to other readers.

Today, if I were riding, Missoula, Montana would be coming into view. The trip odometer would have reached somewhere around 1100 miles. Mike and I would be looking for an air-conditioned motel room to celebrate.