how my garden grows

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The leeks I planted have gone to seed.

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This pleases me to no end because that’s when they’re most photogenic.

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That’s how my garden grows, and that’s also how writing goes. A thing gets planted . . . but it often produces a different yet related outcome . . . like somewhere along the way, the question I was asking changed because of the answer that appeared.

the write stuff

I write every day for a living, and as a hobby, I also write (and take photos).

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If I could do this any other way, I’m sure I would. But perhaps you can relate–knowing what you are here to do brings a kind of peace along with torment . . . the poison and the antidote . . . the creative imperative . . . the sleeping and waking. Elaine Pagels quoted it best here:

“If you bring forth that which is in you, what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is in you, what is in you will destroy you.”
– Elaine Pagels quoting from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

character study

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The grove of pecan trees had been planted generations earlier, long before Hodge was born in the shelling shed to Esperanza, who left him there when it was time to move on with the crew to pick the next farm. His mother gave him his first name, although he never used it. Also, the umber cast to his skin that set him apart in Missouri in 1927.

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From Grigg Hamblin, Hodge would inherit the land where the trees had been set out in orderly rows along the floodplain.

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From the trees, he got both a living and an identity. As if he’d been bred for it, and perhaps he was, Hodge was the special kind of being that is a pecan farmer. Atop sturdy, straight legs, he was mostly trunk supporting a thick V of shoulders, muscles knotting his arms down to long fingers. A head of nut-brown curls went uncut during the harvest season when he didn’t even bother to return to the house at night.

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Arizona Hodges Hamblin belonged only to the trees, and that’s how it went until he was almost 30.

© 10/18

what he said

the Impotence of Proofreading

Has this ever happened to you?

You work very horde on a paper for English clash

And then get a very glow raid (like a D or even a D=)

and all because you are the word1s liverwurst spoiler.

Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence.

This is a problem that affects manly, manly students.

I myself was such a bed spiller once upon a term

that my English teacher in my sophomoric year,

Mrs. Myth, said I would never get into a good colleague.

And that1s all I wanted, just to get into a good colleague.

Not just anal community colleague,

because I wouldn1t be happy at anal community colleague.

I needed a place that would offer me intellectual simulation,

I really need to be challenged, challenged dentally.

I know this makes me sound like a stereo,

but I really wanted to go to an ivory legal collegue.

So I needed to improvement

or gone would be my dream of going to Harvard, Jail, or Prison

(in Prison, New Jersey).

So I got myself a spell checker

and figured I was on Sleazy Street.

But there are several missed aches

that a spell chukker can1t can1t catch catch.

For instant, if you accidentally leave a word

your spell exchequer won1t put it in you.

And God for billing purposes only

you should have serial problems with Tori Spelling

your spell Chekhov might replace a word

with one you had absolutely no detention of using.

Because what do you want it to douch?

It only does what you tell it to douche.

You1re the one with your hand on the mouth going clit, clit, clit.

It just goes to show you how embargo

one careless clit of the mouth can be.

Which reminds me of this one time during my Junior Mint.

The teacher read my entire paper on A Sale of Two Titties

out loud to all of my assmates.

I1m not joking, I1m totally cereal.

It was the most humidifying experience of my life,

being laughed at pubically.

So do yourself a flavor and follow these two Pisces of advice:

One: There is no prostitute for careful editing.

And three: When it comes to proofreading,

the red penis your friend.

©2017 Taylor Mali

profound realizations

(Selfy-Portrait)

$26 for the happiest day of his life

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He knocked on my front door, needing money . . . the exact amount to the penny for a bus ticket to Chicago: $25.65

Did I have any odd jobs he could do?            (this got my respect)

Overcoming my default NO, I said I figured I had $5 for pulling weeds out of the cracks in my driveway.

It’ll help, he said. And he started yanking at the crabgrass.

After about five minutes, I couldn’t stand the white privilege roiling off me; I approached him with a better idea.

OK, I’ll cover the full price of your ticket if you write about the best day of your life.

He just stared at me, confused.

How do I do that, he asked.

So I handed him a can of Cherry Pepsi, something to sit on, a notepad and paper.

Just tell me what happened that made it happy, I said. Write what you remember.

I went back into my house. Every time I peeked through the curtain or around the door frame, the boy was writing intently.

After 20 minutes, I went to see how he was doing. I asked if he would read it to me and said he would, but it made him shy. Shyly, he read. Sensei-ish, I listened.

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I liked his theme and told him so. He said he wasn’t done yet, so I went back to my work. Maybe 15 minutes later, he was ready. Did I want him to read it out loud again? I said no, you don’t have to.

He returned the notepad and pen. I shook his hand and gave him an envelope with $26 cash in it.

Congratulations, I said, this is your first paid writing project. You are now a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Go to Chicago and keep writing even if no one is paying you. One day they will. You’ll be amazed by your life one day.

I’ve no idea why I felt authorized to say that, but that’s what I said. I think I just always wanted someone to say that to me when I didn’t know who I was.

Then he smiled awkwardly, trying to hide his broken front teeth. He thanked me and walked off.

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Later in the early evening, I was walking Nessy and saw a nearly full can of Cherry Pepsi sitting on the curb just up the next block from my place. It wasn’t thrown down, not even dented; somehow politely, it was just sitting there, punctuating the end of our exchange.

It charmed me.  It embarrassed me.  It was something I would have done at his age when I wasn’t brave enough to say no thank you . . . decades before I learned how to be the person  I myself needed when I was 17.

of the Moon

Nightbird at Blood Moon

Last night, Kit and I went to the Full Moon Drumming, which was particularly wonderful during this, the Blood Moon. There was a big turnout. Instruments of all kinds were spread out on the ground for any newbies (like us) to borrow—fully engaged participation is the unspoken expectation. Interspersed were various art supplies that had presumably been used to put up promotional posters about the event, at least that’s what we figured the markers, scissors, etc., were beside the tambourines and maracas. Yet there was a tin can, fly swatter, knitting needles, and a knife sharpener, so who could be sure?

I’m not a musician but I can keep a beat, at least I thought I could. Then the tattooed guys with pony tails started beating rhythms out of the congas, snares, steel pans and African drums that were powerful and primal. Everything I tried to sync to that skewed highchair-baby-with-spoon. As soon as the first session winded down, I switched to cow bell and spent the next session trying to keep Will Farrell/SNL images out of my mind.

Maybe the fourth or fifth “drum conversation” in, I was finally getting the hang of it. I had settled at last on the triangle because…well, I just didn’t think you could mess up on the triangle. It always sounds nice. After a while, Kit gave me a look that inferred otherwise.

“Play something different,” she hissed.
“This is the only song I know on the triangle,” I replied.
“No, I mean a different instrument…anything…like a skein of yarn.”

She looked around desperately then handed me a glitter-glue stick, but I just tuned her out.

4/2014

the writer’s prayer

In the morning when the light falls like water

Over the words

Bless me and hear my calling

Over the words

Open my throat and untie the hard not

Over the words

Save me when I am deep in the well enough

When I am drowning in the desert

When I am diving in the dumpster

When I am mothing too close to the fire

When I falter when I fall into the water

over the words

~ Liana © 8/15

sun-setting

Photo: K.Strejc Ginn

the Muse

climb

somedays She grips you like a lover, other

times She just grabs you like a scrap

of paper . . . writes something down

on your heart… this thought

is yours, it is for YOU…please

SEE IT… cuz if you are busy

not feeling your life, She uses

whatever . . . a fence . . . a flower

a friend . . . the fall

of a load-bearing wall
© Seaver, 2015