Monday, July 31, 2006

tomato, blossoms, and another haiga

our first tomato! while it was still there. before we ate it. bye-bye tomato. nice to have, er, met you! :)

lots and lots of blue blossoms!

today's haiga for the 30/30 challenge (day 17) - click to enlarge:

song of the day: shivaree - cannibal king - short and, er, yummy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

skype, a photo-cinquain, and a pet

okay, i have finally downloaded skype, so i am ready to talk to whoever has it and feels like it. my username is moonie71.

i'm halfway through round 6 of a-poem-a-day (aka 30/30) over at ITWS. harder than any other round i have done. still not sure i am going to finish it. most of the poems are part of my greek letter series, though i also posted the tomato haiga and the photo-cinquain (phoquain? cinquoto?) you see below.

meet my new pet! :)

adopt your own virtual pet!

song of the day: madrugada feat ane brun - lift me - yep. one more time.

Friday, July 28, 2006

sun + tomato = haiga

song of the day: muse - sing for absolution

Thursday, July 27, 2006


been playing with photoshop again. as if i had nothing else to do. :)

song of the day: belle & sebastian - lazy line painter jane (i know i had it before. but that happens.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

horrible train ride, nice wedding, bloody heatwave

i know i've been quiet a while - last week nothing much was going on, and we were away from friday afternoon till sunday evening, we had a wedding to go to - sepp's cousin daniela and her long-term partner hannes got married in the little town where they all grew up.

when i stepped on the train (from hell) at 4.20 on friday afternoon, i turned around to sepp and said "i am getting off again. i am not stayin on this train." it felt like entering a rainforest somewhere along the equator, or a sauna! a woman was complaining about the temperature on the train, and train staff were treating her like a stupid child and basically told her that if she didn't like it, she could always get off. jeez.

anyway - it did not get better, it got worse: it was about 40C (104F) in there, and the train had a delay due to some problems with a door, so it was heating up nicely in the sunshine. six people in our compartment. and no windows in sight that you could actually open. the a/c did not work. but of course. there wasn't so much as a breath of fresh air! the train was overcrowded too, coming from budapest, going to munich.

it was terrible - you could see droplets of sweat forming at first, then starting to drip, until finally everybody was soaked. the guy opposite me could have won any wet t-shirt competition! but seriously - no fun. i wonder if anybody actually fainted on that train. what about elderly people, people with health problems? i found it difficult to breathe at times!

when we got off in linz, i said "hm, it's NICE out here, so ... cool!" - at 90+F ...

the connecting train we needed to catch was not running, only buses, but of course nobody said so until about 2 minutes before the bus departed ... ah well. we made it. and i was very, very happy about the shower at sepp's sister's house!

the wedding was on saturday - we did not go to the civil ceremony, but joined others for the church wedding in st agatha. it was quite nice, with lots of music, and bits and pieces read by friends and relatives. the reception afterwards took place at a restored farmhouse with a beautiful inner courtyard. sepp's sister anita and a friend called veronika needed help with a project - an album with all the guests' photos and signatures in an album - and so we took tons of pics, which was fun as long as we were able to stay out of the sun.

of course i did not know anybody except sepp's family, and there were a few cliques of people who seemed to have known one another forever, which was the down side, but i enjoyed the lovely food, the several litres of water, the delicious cakes, dancing a bit, singing a bit, and the gorgeous ambience of that place. late at night, sepp and i walked down a little path away from the house to go star-gazing. after about ten minutes i got what i was waiting for, a shooting star! i almost always see one when we are out there. :)

here are some pics:

daniela, hannes, and their daughter patrizia

i was quite happy that for once, and despite the heat, my hair looked alright pretty much throughout the event, i did not get things in my eyes every other minute, and my mascara did not run (i had not worn any in about, um, 15 years, except at my wedding). sepp looked dead gorgeous with his brand-new specs on. even if he does not believe it. (let's see what others say, shall we, sepp? *G*)

we got home around 2.30 am, and of course we slept in on sunday, though i did wake up when the cock crowed early in the morning! we had a lazy day, and took the 4.30 train back to vienna, where our parched plants were waiting for us.

morning glories, today

it's been so hot for too long now, but there is no end of the heatwave in sight. i hate it. it is getting muggy now, especially in vienna, which is so unpleasant. i am always tired, and get lots of headaches. people are becoming aggressive and impatient, and everyone's slightly brain-dead, too. i really have no idea how i manage to keep writing poetry.

i am on day 11 of 30/30, writing my greek letter series, but i have my doubts i can finish this round. we shall see. i hate giving up. *grrr*

anyway, here is the latest (until i submit it somewhere):

the secret meanings of greek letters: lambda (Λ, λ)

deep in the belly of eve, seed in the shape of a dragonfly
sleeps until one morning a crimson drop announces a flood.

thirty days pass; thirty times the warm hands of summer
smooth wrinkly flowers, pluck them at bedtime – shhh.

seaweed grows among the rocks where eve's bare feet
slip, urge her into mad waves where she'd be a mermaid:

fish could teach her how to wash away the faded red
of loss. she'd learn silence, the freedom of black depths.

every day the wet cheeks of apples remind her; every
day, the snake criss-crosses her path, triumphant, cruel.

there's a wind that lives for weather vanes, the crazy
swirl of technicolour meadows; it sings into hollow hearts.

eve listens; lilting voices pull until strings snap. sunset
draws a window on the far horizon, a drake takes flight.

stones do not grow softer over night, do not sprout
rivers or plants. eve kneels, sacrifices a fistful of time.

she gathers cotton for a bed. at new moon, she will join
the goddess, press her head against that empty womb.

song of the day: eleni mandell - he thinks he's in love

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

orange, andrea spittal, heat

how many feet? i'll tell you how many. on the other hand - no i won't. you can count them:

here's a fun little thing i found at sarah's blog - do join in if you like.

1) Your Rock Star name: Montag Buerger

(the name of first pet with your current street name)

! never had a pet; thought for a bit and remembered montag (that's monday) - a goat that used to beg for goodies during our stay in our little house in the mountains one year when i was a kid; since we first saw the goat on a monday, the name was easily decided on

2) Your Movie Star name: Elfriede Drageekeksi

(first name of your paternal grandfather/grandmother & your favorite candy)

3 Your Fly Girl/Guy name: m-gab

(first initial of your first name with the first 2 or 3e letters of your last name)

4) Your Detective name: Dolphin Orange

(favourite animal and favourite colour)

5) Your Soap Opera name: Andrea Spittal (or: Andrea Spittal-an-der-Drau)

(middle name and the city where you were born)

6) Your Star Wars name: Gab Sch Mon

(first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of your mom's maiden name, & first 3 letters of your pet's name)

! jeeeeez. gabschmon? how … er … sexy. not.

8) Your Porn Star name: Andrea Tiroler

(middle name, father's middle initial, and the street you grew up on)

! dad has no middle name. initial of his first name would be W.

9) Your Superhero name: The Orange Bim (or Tram, or Train, or U-Bahn …)

('The', your favourite colour, and the automobile you drive)

! i have no car. "bim" is an austrian term for tram – we are very fond of those things here.

10) Your Ghetto name: MiNiquaNone

(first 2 or 3 letters of your first name, -Shawn/Quan/Quita/Niqua, last name of whatever President or Prime Minister is on the currency you have in your pocket)

! no head on the austrian euro. and i checked, i have no foreign euro coins in my pocket just now
it's hot here, and getting hotter ... ugh. enough! enough already! who needs 35C (95F) in a place like vienna??

song of the day: REM - orange crush

Sunday, July 16, 2006

a link, two lives, three random things

a link for music fans - fabchannel, videos of concerts at paradiso and melkweg, amsterdam (eg arcade fire)

two lives, a beautiful flower and an insect that appears to be crawling towards a tunnel of light:

first random thing: we've got ants everywhere every day in the kitchen. they are driving me crazy.

second random thing: i am reading (among other things), the poet's companion, by kim addonizio and dorianne laux. only just finishing the first chapter though. have any of you read it? thoughts?

third random thing: my toenails are orange.

song of the day: mario lanza's terrific version of o sole mio

Saturday, July 15, 2006

summer, subs and specs

it's been hot here - and i am not happy about it. i am not a fan of heat, and especially not when it's muggy, in a city. i am glad i only teach from 8.30 to 12.30 because it is no fun in a room full of computers.

our plants are about as thirsty as i am, but they are doing fine. see for yourself!

i got an acceptance note from hiss magazine - four of my poems will appear in their sanity is a one trick pony issue. they considered me as a featured poet, but decided that - while the editors liked them - some of the poems i sent as an additional submission were too far from their theme (see i am not so weird after all), although one of those poems replaced an original choice. i'm thrilled to be part of hiss again!

i am sending out more subs, and have started a round of 30/30 though i doubt i will last long.

today we went out looking for glasses for my husband, but i thought that once i am there i might as well look for a pair for me, and i actually found some. and i had always believed that type of specs would never suit me (though i wished they did). i was wrong. i will post a pic in august when i actually have them.

song of the day, because i heard it earlier on and it is stuck in my head now: gypsy kings - bamboleo

Monday, July 10, 2006

arabesques review, hollyhock, and: which film?

okay, so i finally found out where on their website the arabesques review actually posted my two poems - by googling my name. not that they ever told me. not that i have received the copy of TAR i paid for three months ago. not that they paid attention to stanza breaks (there aren't any, not in the versions posted on their site). ah well. you live, you learn.

still - here is a link to Waiting for the Perseids and Word Scout, a poem dedicated to arlene ang.

here's a pic of the cutest pink hollyhock.

and now you tell me - which film does the following picture bring to mind? the first to guess correctly will be sent a raspberry. *giggle*

while you are here in blogland, take lauren finaldi gurus' quiz to find out about unresolved issues from your past life.

i am thinking i might do another quiz ... something poetry-related again ... but it is too hot to figure out what exactly!

books: i finished nick hornby's a long way down - very good. recommended. received more books from amazon today: the time traveler's wife, the kite runner, a couple of summer read girlie books for hot sunday afternoons, a poetry collection by stanley kunitz, kafka on the shore, and the poet's companion: a guide to the pleasures of writing poetry. should last me a few weeks. ;)

song of the day: tori amos - concertina

Saturday, July 08, 2006

bad moon rising?

just now, on our balcony: the moon, the moon, and the moon. *S*

second song of the day: belle & sebastian - waiting for the moon to rise

morning glory, snapdragons, tomatoes

morning glory

afternoon, a little faded glory

song of the day: the gorillaz - clint eastwood:

I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag
I'm useless,but not for long
The future is coming on

Thursday, July 06, 2006

contacts, grass widow, myspace

i finally got my new contacts today! i broke my right contact lens 12 days ago, and saw the optician this morning. a few hours and 387 euro later, i had my new pair. turned out that my eyesight has not got much worse over the last years, although it did feel like it had, at least over the last six months, but that was probably due to the state of my old contacts. i have an appointment for the 3rd to get new glasses too, which means i will have to start looking for a nice pair that i can actually wear outside the house without wanting to die of shame. i'll post a pic once (if) i find something nice that actually suits me. :)

i'm a grass widow for a few days, sepp is away near stuttgart in germany - on business, not for the world cup! or so he says. *G* he'll be back on saturday. meanwhile, i am looking after the plants on the balcony - the tomatoes are growing fast, the first snapdragons have arrived and are happily snapping, and the first morning glory will bloom tomorrow or on saturday. i ate another one of the delicious white radishes today, very yummy. plant pics on the weekend, when husband and camera have returned.

i am wondering whether any of you are using myspace at all? a friend of mine, annette hyder, was talking to me about the possibilities of myspace, and i think she is trying to convince me to use it more. i signed up months ago, but never really did anything with it. i am not sure i like the look & feel of it, and so far i was not interested enough to play with it and explore. now i have at least updated the profile and posted one blog entry, an older poem. hm. we shall see.

i am reading neil gaiman's short story collection smoke and mirrors, and nick hornby's a long way down, have just finished j m coetzee's disgrace. lucille clifton's blessing the boats is in my backpack, and i dip in now and then on the tram or train.

i bought two pairs of shoes today. and went to lush to treat myself to some peeling and shampoo (my favourite, in fact the only one i use these days!).

the shoes:

also, i wrote a couple of poems over the last few days, nothing too great, and it is hard work, like coaxing them out of their hiding place. but it's something.

if only it were as easy as ranting about dogs or talking about food i don't like (as i did on sarah's blog), i'd have written twenty poems today. :)

isn't my life exciting?

song of the day: fiona apple's shadowboxer

Monday, July 03, 2006

ros barber, tomatoes, and tennis

long overdue - a review of sorts of a poetry collection i bought several months ago.

once in a while i come across a poet whose work instantly makes an impression on me. it's not difficult, perhaps, to impress me with one poem, but that's not what i am talking about. what i am talking about is a body of work that stays with me, a collection whose lines and images worm their way into my mind, my subconscious, my memory – and stay. that was (and is) the case with ros barber's poetry.

i had only read a couple of her poems online before i ordered her poetry collection how things are on thursday. i think it was arlene ang who mentioned the book on her blog and brought it to my attention. thank goodness she did!

the book is filled with poems that provoke, that take the reader by surprise, that grab him / her and won't let go; but there is also humour – dark, perhaps, but i'd be the last to complain abut that. and above all, the poems are full of memorable images. ros barber tackles childhoods (and certainly not just the sunny side of them), illness, sports; she observes the seasons, cityscapes, and various kinds of relationships.

the second poem in the book, Lafayette Super Eight, consists of no less than eight parts. the familiar topic of looking back on one's childhood is handled exceptionally well, and with the help of perfectly chosen words:

"… and ourselves shrunk by the decades; / our unseen futures – now our histories – etched faintly over / our faces like ghosts hoaxed onto copper-plates."
the narrator's memory of that particular day ("In half a hour we will run inside for a pitcher of lemonade") is followed by the grown-up's sense of the passing of time ("In half an hour we will graduate, have our own children …").

images and memories of days caught on film are interwoven with things that have happened since then: "There were four of us then: count us, four. / Before we collapsed from points on a square / to a fractured triangle with a central vacuum,"

mother and father make appearances – she on celluloid, he behind the camera – foreshadowing a separation.

i adore this line "Roads so blindingly straight they could / fool you into imagining corners", as i do the wonderful metaphor of shifting tectonic plates beneath california used in part VII, ending thus:
"But under countless games / of Little League, under our lazy backs or bare feet / a thousand lost seasons were reaching critical mass."

more strong images in Fish where "the sea spat out its fish". the closing lines are admirable: "A boil of scales: the small applause / they made for themselves at their effort / of finally breathing the whole sky."

compared to other poems, there is a lot of breathing space in Pronoun – short lines arranged in couplets, and yet the poem is full of terrific images, and human emotion:
"A female voice on the answerphone // paired up your names like Jacks, / like silver cruets, // like evening gloves, / smoothing them out at the elbows."

another highlight - the atmosphere barber creates in Waiting for Scott, using winter, the christmas season as a backdrop for another childhood drama:
"Write a poem, they say, write a poem about snow. / Snow, I wrote, is God's eraser."
"His name is melting. I call and spill its milk / below the sky. […] So it was never land / and always water: listen. The thaw, talking."

then there's Fecundity, chock full of stunning images:
"life loosing itself […], / snuffling blind and soft-nosed through the roots"; "women gather together like nettle beds"; "the whole fat summer / threatening to drop, bloodless, to the ground."

the title of BN1 may be simple, but the poem certainly isn't - looking at a birth while outside that room, life goes on as usual. again, ros barber's words are unique:
"You are roared / through the last half foot; // sworn, slippery, // into your father's hands"; "your lungs crackle / open, you breathe // while the girl at the till / wears her boyfriend's / jealousy"; the ending is beautifully touching: "how we loved you / out of nothing."

in One Way of Falling, the poet looks at the changing of seasons – "September in the park" with stacked chairs swaying "like sextons over some undug plot", speakers that "wring out love songs", elms that "undress":
"Though once quite overwrought / for springs that gouged their trunks with him plus her, / as lichen scabs the lovers' sums to nought // they strip beyond the bounds of taste, to bone."
the rhyme is unobtrusive, subtle, never detracts from the content, never gets in the way.

the poem that haunts me most, in terms of content, is I Filled the Bath with Coty L'Aimant, a chilling story that benefits from the form, and the choice of half-sentences, spoken language, repetitions, a narrator interrupting herself, stammering, trying to come to terms with a tragedy, with guilt:
"I ran the hot water / first because it ran cold so quickly. // So quickly. Little William, sweet William. / 'Goodbye, Nanny Jill,' he said, and I corrected him."
the story is told in between observations that may be typical of people who have suffered extreme shock – in this case, repeatedly, details about a dress, though that, too, serves an additional purpose.

of course there are poems that speak to me more than others, but there isn't one that i dismissed, not one that i found instantly forgettable. i am visiting ros barber's blog regularly for updates on her work on the next collection. i can't wait.

now for something completely different:
here's a pic of the biggest tomato,

and one of the beautiful blossoms of a flower whose name i don't know.

the morning glory won't be long now, and i suspect the first snapdragon blossoms might be out tomorrow - i love that name, snapdragon. in german they are called löwenmäulchen, lion's mouth. oh and we ate the first carrot and the first white radish today - very yummy! :)

been watching wimbledon a little - my least favourite grand slam. i am just no big fan of lawn tennis. i wonder who can beat federer. he is stunning. i'm also curious to find out how far tamira paszek can go in the junior's event. time will tell.

just received an acceptance note from tattoo highway! that's nice. :)

no song but track of the day: john hegley reading his poem st george's day on the oxfam life lines cd

Saturday, July 01, 2006

lily, nigel, m.c.

my poem a man's guide to winning a woman's heart is now up at lily - i am thrilled to be part of it! wonderful issue, as usual.

as for writing, nothing much over the last week or so. perhaps something will come this weekend.

i was very pleased to discover that even before me and a few of my friends, someone had a thing about the name nigel: julian barnes. here's an excerpt from his novel talking it over (which i enjoyed reading, made me chuckle and smirk quite a few times):

Stuart's been bleating on about how I changed my name, hasn't he? He's obsessed by things like that, you know. He's got this really boring name – Stuart Hughes, I ask you, there's a career in soft furnishings for you, no qualifications needed except the perfect name, sir, and you've got it – and he's quite complacent about answering to it for the rest of his days. But Oliver used to be called Nigel. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Or rather, not. Or rather, Thanks, Mum. Anyway, you can't go through the whole of your life being called Nigel, can you? You can't even go through a whole book being called Nigel. Some names simply aren't appropriate after a while. Say you were called Robin, for instance. Well that's a perfectly good monicker up to the age of about nine, but pretty soon you'd have to do something about it, wouldn't you? Change your name by deed-poll to Samson, or Goliath, or something. And with some appellations, the contrary applies. Like Walter, for instance. You can't be Walter in a pram. You can't be Walter until you're about seventy-five in my view. So if they're going to christen you Walter they'd better put a couple of names in front of it, one for your psell in the pram plus another for the long haul up to becoming Walter. So they might call you Robin Bartholomew Walter, for example. Pretty duff, in my opinion, but doubtless it somewhere pleases.

So I swapped Nigel for Oliver, which was always my second name. Nigel Oliver Russell – there, i pronounce it without an encrimsoned cheek. I went up for my first term at York called Nigel and I came back as Oliver. What's so surprising? It's no stranger than joining the army and coming home on your first leave with a moustache. A mere rite of passage. But for some reason old Stuart can't get over it.

(Julian Barnes, Talking It Over)

i found out that the painter who should paint me is m c escher, because
Open and raw, you would let your true self show for your portrait. And even if your painting turned out a bit dark, it would be honest.
and who should paint your portrait?

the poem title generator is still operating. liz and sharon have written (more) PTG-triggered poems, carl and lauren are contemplating swapping their titles, which is not really acceptable - they must have missed the small print:
no swapping allowed unless you also swap your personalities, your income, your favourite t-shirt and the cereal you usually eat for breakfast.

oh and - i am addicted to google earth. looking up lots of places i have travelled. uluru looks amazing.

song of the day: stockholm syndrome by muse