Friday, April 16, 2010

as one who writes haiku, i can tell you that every syllable is valuable, every single letter has meaning and occupies an important spot. all my haiku is link haiku, which means that beneath these words is code, and that's all important too, although recently i found that the vast majority of my links to maps had somehow gone dead in the last four or five years. i'd take all these haiku, and link them to both a season and a map, but now come to find out that lots of digital map providers have up and moved on to greener pastures. one of these days i'll have fifty of my own, and good summer-fall-winter-spring-new year links as well, but in the meantime i'm left scrambling for maps to put as links under the haiku...and, in the process of moving down the alphabet, repairing each state one at a time, i'm down to illinois, a good place to stop temporarily. illinois has almost double the haiku of any other state, but a lot of this stuff has to be weeded, like any other garden, and i may really have a lot fewer than i feel like i've got at the moment, since i occasionally make bogus ones, or repeats.

a good hard rain showed up today, while i was in my office, totally exhausted, so i watered my plants, reasoning that they should get some too, and went back to trying to prepare classes when i'm about keeled over from exhaustion. what really wore me out was a gig played in front of an old-baptist-center crowd of fourth graders, a tough audience, but mostly very appreciative and polite as usual. i almost told them: when i was in fourth grade, some guy came and played the cello in my class, and my jaw dropped and i took up the cello on the spot, and i've always wanted to thank that anonymous guy, so this kind of performance is the closest i can get. we did a good job, but i said virtually nothing, let my partner do all the talking, and it was just as well. spring is blooming all over the place, which means, lots of color, lots of allergy, lots of partying in town, lots of things happening. i've been making movies, or slide shows really; have a couple planned, but they take my time, time i don't really have, and i want to finish a quilt, and a book i've been editing too.

so a friend at work said she was moving to statesboro georgia soon, and we all congratulated her and wished her well in her new life which will have lots less teaching, and more holding a baby which is expected soon. nobody there had heard of statesboro blues in any of its incarnations, which in my opinion put that town on the map; she said the one in georgia was the only statesboro in the country & i'm sure that's the one the allman brothers' song was about, but they didn't actually write the song, just maybe made it famous. well i guess i'd say, famous with me, anyway, who drives around town listening to the allman brothers' seven-minute drum solo and on some trips nothing else these days. i'd also like to say, finally posted a letter about iowa, over a hundred years old, which you've got to read; i've got no personal comment, except that it's real; i have no interest in proving that "iowa" meant "the sleepy ones" as it could have meant anything for all i know. i have taken a stand on "des moines" which in my opinion comes from the french "des moyennes" or the middle (middle river, the des moines being between the missouri and the mississippi), excuse my french, but french was mis-heard by the english for so many years that just about any mis-hearing is believable to me, and i myself know french so poorly that i almost certainly misspelled even that.

which is to say, finally, that these very weblogs have become almost all that's left of stability for me, my static web pages being shot, my colleagues not even knowing from statesboro, and the maps all vaporized right out from beneath the road haiku that sits upon them. thousands of years ago the mound people came up and down these rivers, standing on cliffs and watching for more people, but they disappeared without a trace, for whatever reason, and now we have a new country that sets up interstate highways, steel mills, toxic waste dumps and strip joints all around the original mound that was cahokia, city of the sun, largest city in the americas for thousands of years. i'd like to know what those mound people really were all about, but what do i know? i'll write about it in my haiku, but mostly from the perspective of the traveler: i show up, i see this incredible earthen structure, then, i move on down the road. what else can i do? i have only questions, even the maps, when you have them, don't say all that much. the shapes of the states are readily recognizable; they're like templates in our minds, and they bring images along with them, whatever memories we have of any particular state. but even the states themselves are illusions, borders drawn on an incredibly large continent, temporary, fleeting even; this difference between illinois and iowa, a cusp i've been on most of my life, is really a figment of my imagination. you think you're either east of the river or west of it, and it does matter, but the river moves, not only when it floods, but sometimes it just moves for no reason at all. there was a volcano the other day; that could shake things up, but most likely will just strand a few travelers here & there, and send some wild stuff up in the air for a while. down here, life is churning, changing, moving along, but i need the weekend; i've lost my orientation, and need to remember which way to go to get to the farmer's market, which just opened again, after a long winter. p.s. tomatoes are in; maybe i can grow a few, before it's all over. that will keep a spirit up on the hillside.

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