Monthly Archives: March 2010

swimming for life

I have been feeling so tired lately.  Got the scrip for a CPAP machine yesterday – the initial outlay for it, even with my insurance covering almost half of it, I can’t afford now and may not be able to for almost 4 more weeks.

In the meantime, I suppose I’ll rely on swimming – and maybe biking in the 70 degree weather expected this weekend –  to rejuvenate.  I was – am – exhausted today.  Gave myself 9 hours in bed to sleep last night, but remember seeing the time at 1:50 and then at 3:27 and stayed up for a bit watching an episode of Frasier.   And that is what I remember.  Then got up, padded around, checked things online for a bit, went back to bed, up til after 5:00.

Had set my alarms for 7:35 and 7:40 respectively.  Stayed in bed for maybe 10 minutes.   Got up, coffeed, checked stuff online – turns out one of my friends on vacation was up late where she was, hoping I’d be on.  We had some fun; I ended up quite late for work.  But was there before my boss.

Decided to go for a swim during lunch.

My gym is across the street from work, but still after everything done and showered can only squeeze swimming for 20 minutes, maybe a few more, in the hour for lunch.

But I didn’t feel like doing it after work; for one thing lap swim is only available 30 minutes after work is over so I have to wait one way or another.

I was worried I was too tired to swim properly, or that it would push me over the edge (seriously, I’m that tired), but I decided to challenge a 20 minute swim.

No expectations.  No lap count.  Just to enjoy myself and let my body decide in the moment.

It was very nice.  Almost perfect, in a way.  Some moments I just floated on my back, some laps I seriously paid attention to my stroke and streamline and pumped it out.

Now I feel at peace – the air warming this week, the sun beaming today and now goldening my living room though the parted drapes.  Waiting for a call from a sweet friend and just talk.

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…when you grow up

Because it was a birthday party, little Emily insisted in wearing a dress, and a tiara, although we were mostly weary grumpy adults getting together two days after my niece’s actual birthday.  A couple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy pestered from the tv in the living room.

Emily pirouetted and waved her arms, for a long while.  “She thinks she’s a ballerina.  All the time,” her mother informed us, but still somehow more bemused than tired of it.

“No!  Not a ballerina – I’m gonna be a cowgirl!”

What do cowgirls do?  Do you like cows?

“I like horses!”

So you’re going to be a cowgirl who rides horses, then?”

“Yes.”  Emily bobbed her head.

Then she stopped her ballet for a moment, she couldn’t hide a smug little grin.  She said, loud enough for everyone to hear, but with the veil of a conspiratorial whisper.

“But I really want to be a unicorn!”

poem 3/29/10

He wonders what
he has committed himself
to in this sisyphean task

Every day words
shouldered up the hill that
night and sleep flattens

While men with guns
pull off one shot and belly
away simple their task done

Top 5 in Classical

This winter, at the urging of an online friend who’s a classical music fan and patron of his local symphony, I got into classical music.

It has a huge broad sweep that rock music, and the techno that I like, cannot possibly come close to.

My 5 favorite classical music pieces, in a constant slow battle royal for most favored status. Favorite, not what I consider greatest. That would be Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which I would argue is the greatest singular artistic achievement ever.

“Appalachian Spring” – Aaron Copland
I’ve always been amazed by how anyone could create a musical ‘language’ that, within 5 notes, tells you without a doubt that this is music about American farmers and cowboys. Much less a gay Jewish guy from Brooklyn.

“Net Work” and “Quilt Music” – Beth Anderson
Two monolithic single movement piano pieces, shimmering like dense sheets of crystal. Emotion trapped by minimalist constraints, or emotion trying to keep itself constrained with minimalism. She’s on MySpace, apparently having settled into teaching piano in the New York City suburbs, sharing recipes online, but I haven’t connected with her yet.

“Piano Sonata 2 – ‘Concord'” – Charles Ives
Just discovered him this winter, but feel like I should have known him since I became aware of music in my teens. For one thing, by day he sold insurance, which is my career background. Passionate, a lot of times seeming unrestrained, threatening to spin out into ham handed thumping, and stuffed with quotes and references to classical masterpieces and the American patriotic songbook. Probably beyond understanding.

“Symphony 5, First Movement” – George Lloyd
Lloyd was an up-and-coming young composer in Britain in the 1930’s but when the war broke out he enlisted. One of only three survivors when his ship was sunk by one of its own torpedoes in the cold Arctic, the Navy band he conducted all drowned in the flooded compartment after he was pulled out.  He suffered from PTSD the rest of his life, eventually giving up composing for commercial gardening for three decades. He wrote his 4th and 5th Symphonies just after the war as an attempt to recuperate.  The 4th is dour and martial, a struggle of his feelings and experiences against his sense of duty. The 5th, though still with duty’s tension strung taut through it, bursts with bright energy, but a bittersweet underpinning that informs life as it is, the first movement begun and strung through with a filigreed winding theme.   Like a more British, less romantic, more twentieth century quiet cousin of Beethoven’s Symphony 9 triumph.

And funny thing, when my friend urged me to listen to Pittsburgh’s powerhouse classical station – the first time I streamed it, within an hour they said my name.

And once again, as I listened the next day.

Turns out one of their individual patrons – it happened to be during a pledge drive – has the same name as me, pronounced the same way I do.   I’ve never heard my name broadcast before.   A connection and an intensity there, that tells me something is flowing under the surface.  What, I don’t know yet.

poem for 3/27/10

What I mean is, I never wrote a poem for her when she was alive.

I never wrote
a poem for you
not really,
shamed by that now

But then again that is
what you would have
expected from me
if you ever thought about it

Always never quite there
my fumbling fingers
would be skidding away
from your soft willful body

I’d get close though
and you would sigh
that frictive air so cute
out your fleshy mouth

Then your chuckle
like a young hiccup
and for you
then, there
what I gave you
was, maybe, just about enough

“Sing Someone to Sleep” – a lullaby

In my year long determination to create a post every day in 2010, this week has been my nadir.  Haven’t felt up to writing; maybe cooling things a bit will get me back into the swing this weekend.

To keep my yearlong pact with myself tonight, a song I wrote several years ago.

I wrote a few complete rap/talk-singing songs when I was creating and posting tunes online in the first half of the decade – but this feels to me distinctly different from them, more solid (believe it or not).  I’m not sure how to describe the music, maybe somewhat like a slow but rolling waltz.

It is, in fact, incomplete as a full song – but it does almost completely carry the sweep of its intended narrative.  I stood up and sang it once as my contribution at a presumptive artists’ party.

It is interesting that the literary expectations of a song is so much different than – less than – a poem.


Sing Someone to Sleep – a lullaby


Wish I could sing someone to sleep
Wish I could sing someone to sleep
If you were lying here with me
I would sing you, dear, to sleep

You could rest your weary soul
In the shelter of my arms
As our world rolls into night
I’ll keep your free from harm

Your heartbeat tells me stories
Your breath whispers your fears
Come day I’ll celebrate your laughter
But I’ll keep secret all your tears

Can I sing you now to sleep
Can I sing you now to sleep
Now that you’re lying here with me
Let me sing you, dear, to sleep

poem 3/25/10 (bad poetry)

The multiplicity of days
Unfold like paper dolls
Splaying out from my open hands

Each one the same?
Well, yes
and, no

I could scribble
a little poem
one by one by one
like a draping dress
make each unique
from the same pen