30 June, 2007


Walking home on Market Street I almost stepped on a pigeon that had moved on. Men were working right next to him on the windows of a closed storefront. There was nothing on the sidewalk to indicate what he died of--no evidence of violence, no weapons, no discarded coke can, no pile of tossed-out food. Everyone else kept walking. My heart jumped up to my throat and I started thinking about why dead pigeons are so altering for me. It just makes no sense, I thought. Every dead pigeon I see in the City has died before its time.

As I passed into another block, below a young ginkgo tree I saw a dead sparrow. It lay on its side in full profile and had been flattened, as if crushed; I saw it from above as if it had only two dimensions and was embedded in the concrete. It was a sparrow-mosaic. A branch with a leaf still on it lay just outside its beak. The mosaic was beautiful, green and brown and fawn and gray.

How do dead birds lie like this, on clean-swept, dingy sidewalks, in the City, people stepping over them? How do they die?

As if all tenderness had been wrung from the world for just that day.

29 June, 2007


The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

PG and the Aby-Tabbies

This tabby ghoulash pic was taken when Fiona was still alive and we had just adopted Botwyn and Diana. Or rather, I asked Fiona and she said yes; and then we posed the question to them. Botwyn was the first to agree. He had no quarrel and only wanted never to be left alone. Diana was alarmed and left immediately, escaping through an inch-wide gap between the screen door and the sliding glass at about three one morning while I slept just below. Two weeks later she returned and had dinner from a bowl of kibble on the terrace. A month later she walked in the back door.

We were all very happy together.

27 June, 2007

Agouti Women

I was walking up the BART escalator in the fast lane behind a tall, svelte, crinkly-haired woman in an ivory denim jacket. She paused and shifted to the right.
She had on tight hip-hugger jeans with embroidered back pockets. She had hips the size of quarters. I take that back. Her jeans were not tight, they were form-fitting. Long, long legs. Something about the way she was made us notice each other. The air vibrated and a message was transmitted. I thought I was mistaken so it did not change my trajectory. As I was passing her, she said, "I love your opals. They're so beautiful."
My hand had been resting on my knee which was suspended over the step above. My knee was swathed in a pair of un-form-fitting, stone chinos from Eddie Bauer and below them, my feet happily rattled around in a pair of scuffed Dansko clogs in that color they call 'cordovan.' Above my chinos was a dun-colored wrinkled cotton V-neck sweater. My socks which had lost their elastic but stayed above my heels anyway, matched the cotton camisole which straps were showing from underneath the dun-colored sweater which matched my shoes, all of which were in the dark ruby-wine, oxblood-red color family.
But she didn't know any of that.
On the last three fingers of my hand there were Navajo rings, and in those rings were opals. Also in those rings wre turquoise and onyx and lapis and garnet. All this wrapped around my fingers, running along my hand, which was laid on the surface of my thigh.
As we got off the escalator, our bodies kind of leaned into each other, as if they weren't done talking.
'How astounding,' I thought, sliding my BART ticket through the turnstile, 'that such a woman would find me kindred.'

24 June, 2007

Editorial Collaboration

Botwyn likes to sleep on top of my mouse. This, I can manage; I just quietly sneak the pad out from underneath his (although we never say this in his presence) ponderous belly, and move the mouse cord lower so I have sufficient range. His velvety, wet nose is usually about a quarter inch from the right-click button.

This evening however Finn discovered the little white arrow that follows the text prompt on the screen. Shades of laser light flashing before his eyes, I presume, he planted his skinny self between me and opus #1 of my master's thesis. Punctuation and narrative arc become even more opaque than they had been to begin with.

I wonder if a margin set skirting the shoulders and ears of the feline would be acceptable formatting to my advisor?

I can't possibly be the first to have asked this question. All part of the critical dialectic so essential between academic and acolyte.

Luckily, like me, Finn has the attention span of a gnat. He has just decided that my glass of lemonade is much more exciting.

23 June, 2007

Finn would like it if I left the house more often. It gives him time to collect his thought.