Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Sudden Sideways Blow, This Empty Day

I have skipped two poems. They didn't measure up to my instinct today. I have no idea what you would have thought.

Today I thought I was having a difficult day until I found out on the way home that someone had an accident miles down the road and shut down the highway BOTH ways. Then before they could clean up they (whoever they are) had to investigate the scene. It was a very bad accident. The trouble with the Portland Metro is that there are very few ways to get anywhere. My normal commute is between a half hour and one hour under normal conditions. I had to go another much less easy route and it took me over two hours to get home. I knew it was hopeless. So I just settled in and everything went fine.

My allergy condition has gone deep into my bronchials but since the virus is gone I have enough energy to do my stuff. I just suffer a very bad cough and have to wait patiently for that all to be gone.

Work is interesting as I untangle the way to replace the bottom of a baker's fine sugar bin that is rated for about 70,000 pounds of sugar when full, and then to put in new equipment to sift and meter the sugar flow beneath that bin, hitting the target of the existing pneumatic sugar pipe line that allows the use of three other bins, one bigger and two the same size. This puts me on what we call the scale floor, because we do meter and keep records by weight, tracking the weight changes of the bins using 4 load cells each bin, each cell rated at 10 tons each. The bins themselves do weigh a bit too, perhaps 5 tons each. The scale floor is a dusty place, a whole bunch of sugar and flour passing through gets loose. Each night I have sugar all over me, just getting the dimensions and understanding I need to do this planning design and drafting.

In this next poem I take on a role. It is more likely that you would turn around and slap me back. I make no claims to be a Zen master. I do understand the value of surprise. That happened to me, though the wielder of the stick was a very different event.

A Sudden Sideways Blow

How would I do it?
How would I give you the chance?
The sky should open.
The winter should splash
From the weighty impact truth
Offers the wild heart.

I will take my pole,
My slitted green bamboo staff,
Give you a sudden
Serious sharp whack
When you least expect my strike,
Just at the right time.

That's when you will disappear.

December 28, 2008 11:49 AM


This next poem is a true story. This was a wonderful day.

This Empty Day

This day is empty,
Not even my poem is
Here in this one day.

I am at rest, nothing done.
I lie so still my cat looks
For me without hope.

I watch the light slowly change,
The motes drifting down.

December 28, 2008 12:03 PM


  1. Enjoyed reading today's update :)

  2. "The winter should splash
    from the weighty impact truth offers the wild heart."

    I can imagine the quick strike, obliviating the other. Art of War-like.

    Your "This Empty Day" sounds like heaven! Sometimes I long for days filled with nothing to do. Since they're scarce, I think I value them more.

    Here's the mother in me: are you wearing a mask when you're on the floor? It might be a good idea.

  3. A sudden sideways blow is excellent, best I've seen here.

  4. Cath, Thanks for reading.

    Karen, I actually breathe better on 4th floor in the sugar dust than I do in the engineering department when the cooling cycle kicks in there.

    Jo, Wow. Thank you. Oddly I don't like that poem as much as most I write. The two I skipped I like less than this one. Here goes the taste thing. I don't know what you all like, and doubt I could channel or craft a poem that moves everyone. That is something to shoot for, the perfect poem, but perhaps not with any serious purpose. Carry the aim for perfection lightly.

  5. The second poem...that one I want :-)

    Now I see how it is done
    letting time tick in the
    quiet room. The windows
    open and the curtains
    move so slight
    spring breeze
    across my body
    the dog's head on my feet
    I won't move until she does
    and she doesn't.
    and neither of us
    care that nothing's done

  6. The mourning cat
    pads across the bed
    where you once lay,
    where your body
    has dug its indelible
    groove into the tired
    spongy mattress.

    She turns full circle,
    raising moth-clouds
    of dust, lowering
    nose into tail atop
    the patchwork quilt;
    just another sunlit nap.

  7. Yay! Poems. I really like this deal.

    Yes. Your dog knows best.

    Maybe it's just the morning cat? I didn't see anything to mourn about. Cats I know prefer me gone for most of their day. I learn things about them from my neighbors. They don't talk to me much. One even moved next door for much of the time until he was too old to live anymore at almost 23.

    But my last old geezer lives in the garage. She's a stinky old thing that drools. She leaves spots behind and tons of hair. She gets to come in only when I am paying attention and even then she leaves surprises for me on the rug under the computer area tables if I look away too long. I love her dearly but it is hard to do so close by. She's nearly 18 (in May).

  8. Oh, the mourning cat:-) this reminds me of a story my grandmother always told about when her own mother died and the family cat sat on her mother's chair and would not move for days. She was a mourning cat for sure...or maybe just happy to finally get the chair all to herself?

  9. Yes, Faith, it's hard to tell the difference. There are people cats, cats who tie to the people but I think most cats are place cats who "own" where they live and really hate doors because they think that's a terribly artificial division of territory. They own outside the door as well as inside.

  10. I need one of those days!

    Do you think the first one is anything like having a terrible urge to throw a tin of something at the back of someones head in the supermarket?

    I often have those :)

  11. Michelle, I don't know. I suspect it might work.

    One of the deals around here, if you are desperate to get sober and you are willing to go to any length but nothing you do seems to work, then hit a cop. He will take you to jail and until you figure out who has the pruno you will stay sober.

    So this kind of surprise can change lives :)

  12. so.... ummm... you're like always coated in sugar?

  13. GD, These days sugar, sometimes flour, and on really bad days, oil from the hot room at 130 degrees. And always I have the opportunity to get in machine oil and grease. But most of my day is spent, say at least 6 out of 8 usually, sitting in my cubicle staring at a computer, using it to write, design, draft, and occasionally sneak in a poem or three. Thanks for asking.

  14. That is the beauty of cats. They notice we are gone, then they curl up and take a nap. It's a lazy sort of mourning, I suppose. When we reappear, they come rushing out to nag us and rub around our ankles until we produce something lovely like a tin of fish.

  15. Nearly eight years ago the doctors hit me up the back of the head with a tin of "you will die soon"....that didn't work.

    My daughter finding me in the gutter did though, a few weeks later.

    Such a lovely time of my life that was :)



  16. By George, she's got it!

    And when the Master smacks you, that's how it is. It's that large.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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