Wednesday, March 28, 2007

letter from G-D

My good friend Alan just moved into the urban jungle that is New York. On his blog today, he inquired of his readers: "if God wrote you a letter, what would it say?" He then proceeded to share his letter from God (that he wrote) and encouraged us to do likewise in the comments field. Below is my letter from God (G-D since this would be from the fire-on-the-mountain-but-only-Moses-is-able-to-convene-with-him-God. Please share your letter from God if you want in the comments section- Alan, could you repost yours there as well?

Dear Annelies,

I love you just the way you are, even or especially in the moments when life's drama seems to grow into a gargantuan beastie. You really try to seek Me in all you do, and I see it.

A few weeks ago, when you told me "yes" the kind of carte blanche "yes" required of the road of faith, I heard it.

You need to continue learning to trust Me- that your little hands can only accomplish so much and believe that I won't let you down. I have never left you yet, little one and I have given you the promise that I will "never leave nor forsake you."

Believe that this will make you stronger and then just hang on, for I am about to show you great and mighty things you do not know. But you have to believe and live the belief every day. I see you. I am with you. I hear you and love you. Now follow me.


Monday, March 26, 2007

how the mighty have fallen: part two

here's a thing i wrestle with understanding: my disposition is typically so full of joy and yet the words i pen lay their head in the dark crevices of life. it feels duplicitous, yet when i sit down to write, it's what comes out of my mouth. today, i described feeling like a little child hobbling along a war-ravaged sarajevo in my air splint, smiling and laughing as bombs go off on either side. thank God for the silence of this past weekend.

last wednesday, i received an email from the faculty of my school letting us know each and every one of them resigned. i laughed at the audacity of such a gesture, but thought that it was mere negotiation tactics 101, taking it to the next level. disgruntled as they were with the administration, i thought things could be amended. today, after a second letter, sent from a different faculty person, i am not so sure.

here's the thing i wrestle with tonight: God's handprint was so larger than life on this, how is it that it all might fall apart? i saw my future writing career being nurtured at this school, among this faculty and now it appears to be in shambles.

deep down, like deep magic, it still feels a bit of the farce, like somehow peace can come of all of this. anytime a war begins between two bodies of people with separate ideas and the passionate might to stand behind them, it can seem as though peace dwells far away in a land beyond reach. i'm breaking my rule again, about not posting poetry online on my blog because after work tonight. it will give me ease at sharing what came out of me as the culmination of the endless emails going back and forth between administration and students came to a head. if you pray, please pray for reconciliation. i still want to be a part of this school and study under these crazy, impassioned poets and the glimmer of hope abides within me. a glimmer, but a beacon nonetheless.

bursting at the soil

debris filters down from heaven, all dusty
snowflakes and ash, down onto the grimy
ground littered with war paraphernalia
painted in bold black letters, statements shouting
from an originally slender white sheet,
its quiet silenced with the noise of anger
words thick and portent.

we think, or try to remember before the carnage
of today, this road a week ago, all glistening
green boughs swinging down their joyous melody,
the cheery yellow faces of the daisies raised
toward the sun, drinking in its elixir, warmed into
spreading their slender white petals up and out,
an offering.

footsteps have tramped through the once
lush leaves of grass, flattening them with grief
and a tomorrow that looks as grim as the battle cry
resuming from the barracks, the artillery reloaded,
as roots still hidden look to push through and puncture
the saddened land anticipating the cool veil of rain’s

revenge, gentle as a whisper, more virulent than cancer,
displacing the soot and sorrow with its steady hand,
each drop pelting back a forceful response,
eating holes into the bold black letters, paper ripping,
weakening under the pressure of the earth’s gladness.

rough, really

so i am contemplating my weekend of silence and though i am loath to put up poems on here, this one is really rough, so i can't imagine anyone wanting to take and make a run for it with these words of mine... more on the weekend to come later. for now:

i, the ant

we have been here before,You and i
the scenery’s similarity recalls
a younger me walking down a road

much like this one, a smaller handprint
nudged into packed snow flanking the neighbor’s
yard, a signmarker, in case i miss the crumbs

left behind and can’t find my way back to where
i stand, now, the pine trees stand stately, proud
pointing up and out, never pointing back.

do You ever grow tired of this conversation,
of me nudging my way into the latest adventure
the oft-encountered mishap, hobbling along

expecting you to come find me, save me from
that darned faulty inner compass pacing
steps to the left and sometimes in the right

direction. i see Your imprint emblazoned on all i pass,
in this snowy haven, that warmth envelops me with its downy
shawl, crossing the threshold on a patch of Your yard,

i, the ant, walk on.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

embarking into a weekend of silence

i leave in about 10 minutes for a guided silent retreat near lake tahoe. the throes of silence leave me restless typically yearning for city sounds, for civilization. at the end of the day it's probably the sounds of "others" in proximity that is the comfort food of sound for me.

and so i will write in my journal, still my thoughts, hobble on the snow in my air splint and crocs, and extend prayer into the limbs manuevering me into the gargantuan Quiet (grateful for the 19 other warm bodies in close proximity whose breathing will be salve to this extroverted soul.) have a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

how the mighty have fallen: part one

and then some. on my way to the library monday night i walked, minding my own business, intent on the throes of sneaking a small cup of frozen yogurt into the hallowed hall, more because of the sheer illicit factor of will i get caught, i was caught except it happened outside.

while securing the yogurt in my purse, i didn't see a pothole: mistake numero uno. my traitorous ankle decided to forego living and like a soap opera diva fainted in midstep, twisting, bringing down the brunt of my weight to crash into the graveled sidewalk. i could see it happening but when my ankle decides to peter out, it's too late. i am learning to fall better though. as the ankle turned, i could see the next scene unfolding in my mind's eye and i muttered, "oh no." sprawled on the ground in a graceful position, i rose to find my black tights torn and a burning sensation above my kneecap where bright, glistening blood covered the mangled flesh. i hobbled into the library convinced this was a minor detour from the studying and analyses of james wright's poems for the evening. with a ten-year old band aid and after i washed the wound with water and soap in the toilette, i sat down at a desk, determined to feel the intensity of longing and affection for the river adige in verona. that is until, the burning sensation resumed anew and i looked down to find the bandage permeated by blood.

my friend michelle majored in public health in college, so she seemed a suitable choice to determine whether or not this needed to be stitched. she called over her next door neighbor annie, who works in some sort of eye surgery to assess the damage. we turned on all the lights and michelle squeezed a baby flashlight so annie could see the wound better. the prognosis, no stitches required but there were pieces of gravel embedded in the muck of blood and skin. she skillfully attacked with tweezers and i repeated the phrase of what seemed to be infinitely more painful than having tweezers poking at an open wound. the patient would live after all. :) michelle fed me a feast of edamame, tempura veggies and rice with a hot cup of iron goddess of mercy tea with ginseng. she is such a good hostess, mill valley's own florence nightingale. i drove home and gingerly approached each step up to my house as a grave decision.

in the e.r. the next day, a woman sitting two seats away with her back turned to me entertained herself by speaking in russian aloud which sounded like she was conducting a full on conversation with the occasional laugh and well-timed cackle. i have thought before and am reassured now that if i ever despair of writer's block all i need to do is sit in an e.r. waiting room for a spell and the spell will be broken. this did nothing to revoke my confirmation of this sentiment. other messiness brews, but another blog, another time. for now, you can call me "the hobble"

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

on learning new words

when i returned from my trips yesterday, i spotted a big yellow envelope resting against the stairwell slats, happily expectant. oh yes, the response packet from my first mfa assignment packet waited for me to rip it open. i smiled and sighed spoors of relief- maybe this all really will work out in the end. so, in essence it was better than expected and i have begun the revision process.

the art of revision: cutting, pasting, sampling the new, trashing it for the discarded, end words replaced, end words moved back to original position, suction of servitude to words placed upon the screen or sheaf, breathing life enough that it will stand on its own in another voice blanketing my own.

my assignment for this new packet is to work the word "whorl" into a poem organically. i thumbed through the oxford dictionary at the library tonight and uncovered the meaning of this word, used in a glimmering poem by li-young lee and its newness excited me into the audacity of writing a poem just to use it.

whorl- a fingerprint in which the central papillary ridges turn through at least one complete circle.

Monday, March 12, 2007

chicago- open your mouth

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to fly out to Chicago to work a food festival event. This will be brief and photos will be forthcoming. Needless to say I met some stellar chefs and enjoyed seeing their softer friendly sides. I served tea next to Takashi and enjoyed chatting with his wife Kathy. They will be opening their new restaurant in Chicago soon and he just left the Wynn in Las Vegas. Ming Tsai mingled and made jokes with attendees. David Burke is jovial and approachable. His Las Vegas restaurant opens next week. Paula Deen and her husband were focal points during the VIP section of the evening. Cat Cora sought me out until I mentioned being vegetarian and then she agreed that her pulled pork buns would not really work with my diet. Paul Kahan busily shook hands and plated amuse bouche sized morsels. I spoke with Giada de Laurentiis about candying fruit peels and iron chef. She is gracious and lovely, which is always nice to discover people who are friendly on-screen have the singularity of character in person as well. Art Smith is kind and I have enjoyed his cookbook "Back to the Table" for years. Tyler Florence played the role of auction announcer during an intense high monetary extravaganza (the most exciting thing being auctioned was a business class ticket to London, where then the recipient would have breakfast with Nigella Lawson at the Wolsely and dinner with Jamie Oliver at one of his restaurants. How cool is that?)

Even with all these fun chef sightings and mini-conversations, Gale Gand was the bright spot of my evening. Her husband Jim had been a kind face among throngs of people all night long and though I wasn't absolutely sure he was her husband, he mentioned his wife worked with pastries and loved tea. I sent him back with a cup of black tea/lavender/tilleul/verbena/mango/black currant tea. She came over later to gush about how much she liked the tea which led into further conversation. She has done much for pastries in Chicago and nationally is considered one of the movers and shakers. Our conversation addressed building gingerbread houses. I told her she has a great husband (he was one of these people who came over and asked questions, genuinely interested and not with any celebrity). She then proceeded to ask me if I was married (no) and to exhort me not to settle, that when I marry I need to find someone and hold out for someone like Jim. She married when she was 45 and it was this beautiful unexpected evolution in our conversation. All in all, it was a good evening of connections and sightings.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

anaheim- day two

today's organic pavilion in which we planned to participate started at 12:30. i had requested labor from the decorating company to help me carry products to the tent. after an hour of waiting for them to show up and three phone calls, the freight supervisor listened to me and within ten minutes, a smiling man driving a forklift showed up at my booth- christmas came early!

in the organic pavilion, i met the most delightful woman, ceo of an organic frozen food company (and a naturpathologist). her attitude and down-to-earth nature made her such a cool neighbor to work near. the breakout brand at this show is adina- they make "world beat beverages" which just sounds cool and they taste good too. when we finished bringing back all of the items from the organic pavilion, we heard drums outside and throngs of asian instrumentalists struck drums and played other instruments, while two men gave new definition to head banging. they swung their heads in circles and the ribbon attached to their hats made loops around the periphery of their bodies. a cool beginning to the evening.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

anaheim- day 1

southern california welcomes tourists with thoughts of sun, flip-flops and lots of fast food (anaheim seems to have a steakhouse and every chain imaginable). the guys at the organic valley booth nearby agreed to watch my booth so i could go check on labor. this guy kurt has a tattoo on his forearm of all the main players busts of "the godfather"! how cool is that?

i walked back to the hotel after finishing up. and as i walked i asked God to reveal to me how to pray for this place, which seems embroiled in disneyland but must have a semblance of residents, as evidenced by some young boys walking down the street. i am excited to share with you that i am going to france in may to support some friends there who are going to plant a church, by prayerwalking the city and singing/music. i will share more in the upcoming weeks about where we are going and the trip itself.

tonight after finishing up building our booth, i met up with sandra, a friend from college for dinner. this was the first meet and greet with her new boyfriend, so of course it was mandatory for some minor grilling. he gets brownie points for having good taste in women (sandra is quite the catch), a dry sense of humor and the ability to read hebrew. we ate dinner in long beach at a small eatery called "babette's feast" tomorrow we will be exhibiting at the fresh ideas organic marketplace- organic bevvies and food, good times.

Monday, March 05, 2007

the impending Quiet

in the pungent quiet, i can smell my thoughts, burning grass sifting to Heaven in thin plumes, incense. that childhood's innocence and clarity of the way it all would be provoked me with such certainty at nine or eleven. there's something sharpening about teenagers on fire when your own is a cinder smoking and you can't figure out whether the nine-to-five hours muddle the message or if it's indigestion but here i am looking in the dark for orion's sign- the certainty of spring. wings and roots, this age-old game toy with the time given and there is such uncertainty embedded in the inner voice, wishing in ways that i could just step back into the carefully-laid plan of being an m, that life could cease its complications. but instead i lie underneath a starless night staring up at the black expanse, void of moon's illumination. mirth lies with me, a cock-eyed grin on her face. He looks down upon us expectantly, waiting for me to say yes to the question that is my certain mystery.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

packet 1 going in the mail


tonight i am happy to have it printed out and ready though questioning in the 11th hour it's quality. yesterday it all looked good. tonight, it's shite. and tomorrow it will be in the mail on the way to my poetry mentor. almost there and glad for the break of this weekend before it all starts up again monday. cheers to you, reader.