Back From The Land of Nod. . .

Well, it's been over TWO MONTHS since my last post, and I've so missed our visits! Work got really crazy there for a little while, plus my computer broke, then my phone, and then summer was here and suddenly so much was happening! I have received content suggestions from many of you and I am so ready to get back to posting! I know that there aren't a ton of you out there, but I want you all to know that I truly appreciate each and every moment that you spend here, and I am so glad to be back.I know that I don't share a ton of my personal moments with you all, but I'm going to start with a little tribute to life outside my blog... of course, a bit of lit.

After all, these are the moments, the treausures, the collection of people and blessings that give me the faith, courage and inspiration to keep going!

Photo of a Girl on a Beach
Carmen Giménez Smith, “Photo of a Girl on a Beach” from Odalisque in Pieces. Copyright © 2009 by Carmen Gimenez Smith

Once when I was harmless
and didn’t know any better,

a mirror to the front of me
and an ocean behind,

I lay wedged in the middle of daylight,
paper-doll thin, dreaming,

then I vanished. I gave the day a fingerprint,
then forgot.

I sat naked on a towel
on a hot June Monday.

The sun etched the inside of my eyelids,
while a boy dozed at my side.

The smell of all oceans was around us—
steamy salt, shell, and sweat,

but I reached for the distant one.
A tide rose while I slept,

and soon I was alone. Try being
a figure in memory. It’s hollow there.

For truth’s sake, I’ll say she was on a beach
and her eyes were closed.

She was bare in the sand, long,
and the hour took her bit by bit.

You Begin
Margaret Atwood
 You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only 
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.


David Dominguez
—For My Students

Breakfast, and I’m eating plain yogurt, figs from my garden, and honey.
I’m sitting in a lawn chair on the backyard patio—

life is good, and the sunlight warming my lap and the pages
of a book remind me of Tucson

and the subterranean apartment I rented alone and far from home.
There was a sofa in front of my one window

where at noon the sun burned briefly on the cushions as starlings
stirred in the trees with their admonishments.

Stepping back there now, I remember feeling hopeless after reading
Lorca’s “Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías.”

I recall how I put the book on the coffee table and closed my eyes
and saw blood glowing in my arteries.

In the leaves, the starlings went on with their disconnected chatter,
and I said to myself, “I’ll never write anything like

‘And the bull alone with a high heart! At five o’clock in the afternoon.’”
For three months, I didn’t write one word

but instead passed the days swimming in the public pool where,
from my half-closed eyes, I watched light ride

the splashing water or resting on the surface when I floated, face down,
sinking with fear: “What do I do now?” I asked.

Some nights, I filled my red truck with gas and drove west on the 19
until my headlights flooded the desert, and when

the city was less than pinpoints of glitter, and when all I could hear
was the whine of silence in my ears,

I parked alongside the highway, leaned against my pickup, and stared
at stars so sure of themselves as they shone

that I believed they couldn’t help but give me something that would
make me sit at my desk and write.

I felt directionless and wanted to walk out into the landscape,
but I feared snakes and scorpions

hiding in the buckhorn and staghorn as I recalled my father’s words,
“You’ll be lost forever on the far side of the moon”—

words that haunted me as I imagined slipping into lunar shadows
that no human telescope would spot

as I wandered lost and ripped with nostalgia for the nights I read
in used bookstores on Campbell—a time when

the future seemed so clear I smelled it in dirt that somebody
rinsed from the sidewalk as I walked home.

Then, one night while sipping black coffee along the side of the 19,
I remembered lying on the living room floor

as my father and I listened to Brahms’s “Lullaby,” which inspired me
to practice “Away in a Manger” on my trumpet:

“It’s a lullaby. Play it like that,” my father said as my sixth grade lips
struggled to phrase notes that would

please a child under the beating stars, and remembering this,
I looked up to the oblivious heavens

and tied words to images—Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cygnus, Pegasus—
and let them sing clearly through my mind.

From The Land of Nod #1


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