Friday, May 14, 2021

Tune in to Quaranzine

 Check out new work "Biking Through a Pandemic" at Quaranzine (vever mind the subheading which states I cycled coast-to-coast. The UK doesn't realize 2,400 miles still is only half way across the United States. When Covid threw my life off-kilter and I lost my job(s) and all sense of routine I hit the road--"I knew my job: it was to pedal, to get somewhere. For 2,464 miles."




Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Tune in to Coffin Bell

 My daughter Grace Hertenstein-Garvey has new work out at Coffin Bell--it's grim tonight  . . .

The Heron and the Gravedigger


Grace Hertenstein is a 2013 graduate from the New School in New York City with a degree in music and writing. She has had nine short stories published, including one in Bright Bones: An Anthology of Contemporary Montana Writing and one on Goreyesque—an online literary publication dedicated to Edward Gorey-influenced work. Currently, she lives in Eugene, Oregon where she works as a florist and is at work on several projects both creative and community-based.

Monday, May 10, 2021

His New Thing

His New Thing
*Another Jack Post

Almost every day there is a *new thing. Now to be clear his attempts at movement are not a big deal or technically new in the sense of “no one has ever done this before.”

Basically he is trying to roll over.

But, and here’s the kicker, every day now there is something *new. For instance, last night when my daughter and son-in-law came over for dinner (nevertheless, Jack was on the menu) Dad said, This is his new thing. Jack was on his tummy and when Dad placed his hand on his little diaper butt, Jack would stiffen into like a pizza tray or an airplane attempting lift off, leaving only his belly on the blanket.

And this, Grace says is his *new thing: he stiffens every time she tries to put him in his car seat, making it ten times more difficult to maneuver his little 13-pound body into position. For now it’s cute and *new. After a week of this it gets old, and frustrating.

Yet, seen through this charmed and loving parental lens everything he does is glorious, genius, and NEW.

What a wonder it is having a new baby.




Thursday, May 6, 2021

A State of Mind (as I rode through 8 states)

I read a NY Times article about languishing, the forlorn stepchild of depression. If depression is the valley then languishing is the Slough of Despond (see Pilgrim’s Progress) both are no fun. According to the article “languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus.” It is described as the absence of well-being.

Last year around this time after 6 weeks of intense lockdown I was wading through that swamp. Aimless. Lost. Without hope.

It was then I decided I would take off on my bike and ride to the Pacific coast in Oregon. People say: You’re so brave! So athletic! Little do they realize: I was so desperate. For something, out there, beyond my reach. I wanted to snatch back the year I couldn’t have and regain a sense of control, a bit of well-being. I needed to feel like me.

More from the article:

So what can we do about it? A concept called “flow” may be an antidote to languishing. Flow is that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away. During the early days of the pandemic, the best predictor of well-being wasn’t optimism or mindfulness — it was flow. People who became more immersed in their projects managed to avoid languishing and maintained their prepandemic happiness.

As drastic as it sounds: I needed a challenge, something sharp to poke myself awake and prove to myself I was still alive, like the child who holds his finger above the flame of the candle. It hurt, but the realness of it all made me happy. And exhausted. I was able to throw off the Slough of Despond, the Blanket of Despair, the . . . you get it, extinguish the languish.

I can’t tell you what I thought about all those hours in the saddle as I turned the pedal over and over as I climbed uphill or into the wind; I was too busy being absorbed into a mental and esoteric flow, where I was displaced from my condition by another state of mind.




Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Jack’s Red Cheek


My baby has a red cheek
from where it rests
against the breast


His cheek is red
when he wakes up
from how he lays his head


Jack’s rosy cheek
is warm and dew-drop soft
as I nestle my cheek next to his


Baby’s one red cheek
melts my heart
bursting into tongues
                                         of joy



Friday, April 30, 2021

The Waterfalls of Oregon

 The Waterfalls of Oregon

 

Multnomah Falls

Alsea

Koosah

Bridal Veil

Fairy

Cascade

Salt Creek

waterfalls everywhere

from all the rain

snowmelt

over moss-soft stones

giant cedar logs

swift currents

tumbling

down

down

down

 

Then there is this:

waterfalls of spring

petals from the trees

white, red, fuchsia pink

scattered all around

shaken by the wind

in pools on the street

falling

falling

falling

 

Last night

riding my bike home

in the chain-oil rain

when suddenly a rainbow

a spray of pink

a waterfall of petals

a shower of color


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Anatomy of a Good/Bad Day

Anatomy of a Good/Bad Day

 

The outline begins with line A

Wake up, tea, stretch, a little music

--pull the bike out and begin to ride

--in the cold morning air, uphill

Arrive, line B

Begin watching my grandson

--who smiles, tries to roll over

--achieves, tummy to back

--we both look up at the ceiling

--hours pass

Lunch, line C

He gets a bottle, I heat up pizza

Line D repeats line B

--add walks, story time

--Dad comes home from hospital, showers

Dinner, line E

At my house!

--rush home, stir fry chicken

--add cashew crème and curry

--yum!

--someone says let’s go get a designer dounut

Line F

Walk downtown with baby in front carrier

--strangers smile at us, a family on an evening stroll

--purchase crazy-named donuts sprinkled with Cap’tain Crunch,Oreos

Etc, etc, etc!!

Later, line G

Ride bike to Washington Park for birthday/bike polo gathering

--talk and tell stories until the arc lamps extinguish themselves

--left in darkness kicking cans

--ride home on silent streets

Line H

A video on my phone of police in Chicago shooting a 13-year old

--hands up

--boy staring into bright lights

--scared eyes

--shot dead

 

*Schematic can be replayed in any order to get the same results