Wednesday, February 25, 2009

fallen perilously behind on blog posts; research papers, rank plagiarism, and tons of other responsibilities, some unmet, just a-flyin' by. a stray-dog holiday came and went, very cold garbage out on the street in a bleak gray winter, people would be walking by these big piles, somber looks on their faces; they're getting by somehow i suppose, our family is so busy we hardly have time to notice, garbage or not, spring or not, occasional snow flurries. quotation marks, i think, are like grains of sand sometimes, impossible to keep track of, impossible even to put around the right words, let alone remember when you absolutely need them. it's how my students feel, i've concluded, looking into vacant, slightly deadened glazes from too much work, too much time at the mill, no fresh air. 's been a rough term for everyone.

i did, however, get invited to the dominican republic, though it turned out i had to apply even for that, and that hung over my head for a while, as the papers flew by and i had no time to do it, until finally, i got organized and zinged off what i needed to; that will happen in june, if it happens, and will provide a break from what has become an impossibly difficult schedule. denver, also, coming up, very quickly: end of march. lots of work to do, lots to prepare; among them an siuc reunion. but, it's just here where i have the most trouble: two full-time classes, lots of grading; other stuff piling up; and finally, students who really need my time to pull through. a colleague broke an ankle and everyone pitched in to teach her classes, but i couldn't; i taught at all her hours, and was totally overswamped. what to do? watch it fly by. i was too tired to even protest.

out in the real world, old viper stand-bys have become known as "zombie banks" - bank of america? citi? and the whole nation waiting to see exactly how someone will avoid their going under? and this kind of "zombie" credit- does this mean that, for example, if we owed money to a "zombie" that, then, caved in and failed to exist, would our debt become "zombie debt?" we could go back to a system of trading black walnuts for salt & soap, if a neighbor had a lye bucket out. i'd trade all my quotation marks...they've become useless to me; the vice president, all the high mucky-mucks have pretty much let go of them anyway. they're like "zombie" punctuation. except i like putting them around the word "zombie"...

the african music has been flying too, as we drive around this small stray-dog-holiday town, garbage on the curbs, the world still confused about if prez day is still there, or do we still stick to abe day, as is our illinois custom, or did we trade prez day for vet's day, and that's why siuc, which is still three quarters of this town, still has to go to work, even while all the kids are let out of school. george's day came & went too, as did the valentine, the gras, lent, whatever. so the upshot is, nobody knows whether to put their garbage out, and the stray dogs have an extra day to have at it, though they also are nowhere to be found, maybe they're doing the zulu ball, at some mardi gras parade, or chasing some loose salukis at basketball games which we appear to be losing a good number of. in any case, i'm hearing swahili, a congolese language, perhaps kikuyu, and yoruba, a west african language, among others, there's one from nigeria i have no idea about, maybe that's housa-fulani. but we've heard the songs millions of times already, the little guys won't let me do pure bluegrass, but somehow are actually learning these african languages, especially 'hakuna matata' and 'shee-shay-yea' - the buttah-fly, whose name reminds us of our own shee-sho, brother gone and missed. there's more; before it's over, we'll not only know the languages, and the difference between them, but also, the rhythms, and how to carry the song, as we try to find a parking place. the weather is still cold- no way to ride a bicycle, no time to even fill up the tires- but we've managed, so far, to keep bodies & souls together, to get out the door each morning.

back when i was growing up there was a band called 'the zombies,' and their song, 'time of the season' was played maybe five hundred times a day. some of these african children songs (batu batu) are being heard about that much too. a little voice in my head is saying, plant a garden, gather walnuts, but, there's no time, though i did start some little seedlings, i'll check them just now before i go to bed; it's turning midnight. my head is spinning; once again, the grading turned my eyes to soup, and i've got to give it up for a bit. walked down to the pool, at about noon, for a swim, that would have been about twelve hours ago, more or less on the dot, and got down there to find i had no suit at all; i'd taken it out when i was filling up shampoo. totally naked, had no choice but to go back to the office, unswum. batu batu. the cold gray day, american students in a kind of stupor, all over the place, heads in the phones, and workers spreading carpet glue all over the workplace, it's a wonder we're not all a bit light-headed. time for a little breeze, an open window, a westerly, or maybe a trade wind, wash some quotation marks to a distant shore, a sandy beach, a place where, maybe, it's not so cold and gray. just dreamin' - time to check the little seedlings, the baby basil, and go to bed. tomorrow's a new day, a chance for the sun to shine. garbage day, as it turns out, has come 'round again, and this time i'm sure of it. clear the deck, it's time for a new start.

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