Friday, March 12, 2010

Dog Music

by Paul Zimmer

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.

My big dog sang with me so purely,

puckering her ruffled lips into an O,

beginning with small, swallowing sounds

like Coltrane musing, then rising to power

and resonance, gulping air to continue—

her passion and sense of flawless form—

singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.

We joined in many fine songs—"Stardust,"

"Naima," "The Trout," "My Rosary," "Perdido."

She was a great master and died young,

leaving me with unrelieved grief,

her talents known to only a few.

Now I have a small dog who does not sing,

but listens with discernment, requiring

skill and spirit in my falsetto voice.

I sing her name and words of love

andante, con brio, vivace, adagio.

Sometimes she is so moved she turns

to place a paw across her snout,

closes her eyes, sighing like a girl

I held and danced with years ago.

But I am a pretender to dog music.

The true strains rise only from

the rich, red chambers of a canine heart,

these melodies best when the moon is up,

listeners and singers together or

apart, beyond friendship and anger,

far from any human imposter—

ballads of long nights lifting

to starlight, songs of bones, turds,

conquests, hunts, smells, rankings,

things settled long before our birth.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Don't List

My "don't" list:

Don't check e mail more than twice a day
Don't surf the web when I'm supposed to be writing
Don't keep e mail and browser programs open while writing
Don't let anyone tell me I can't write
Don't let anyone tell me I can't get published
Don't check my school e mail at home
Don't let a day go by without writing something.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friendship is work

It's true-- it takes work to make a friendship go. But I'm seeing a disturbing trend among younger people-- just chuck your friends in the trash if it's not working the way you hoped it would. Plenty more where those ones came from. So it seems as if people get into a friendship, see what they can get out of it and then at the least little bump in the road, abandon ship, pretend they never knew the person, meet someone else and start the cycle again.

To me, a friendship takes work. If something doesn't seem right, talk about it. If someone offends you let them know. But don't just toss people aside the way you toss last year's iPod. We've become, sadly, a disposable society and it seems that's translating into relationships as well.

My big question is:

What are these people going to do when they run out of people to toss aside? How will they react when they're the ones getting tossed in the trash?

Time will tell.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Once Upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a girl in college who was so shy she used to eat her lunch on the stairwell rather than go to the SUB. She told her adviser she wanted to be "a janitor." She did however have 3 majors and parents who spoiled her by paying for her tuition (and her car and her insurance...)

At the same time, an older girl tried to be her friend, by encouraging her to write, to pursue her education and to come out of her shell.

Later, the younger girl fell in love with a guy who turned out to be a thief and a drug addict. Her older friend sent her gifts and offered her a place to stay if and when she ever needed it. She fielded many e mails from her young friend listening to her adventures with her criminal boyfriend and consoling her when things went south. She also helped her young friend out with editing articles she wrote for a newspaper, even to the extent of reading them 2 or three times and sometimes the night before they were due, setting her own work aside for this.

Later still, the young girl was trying to decide what to do with her life. Her older friend advised her to go to grad school and even wrote several very nice letters of recommendation for her (including one she faxed at the very last minute) and gave her the email of a former professor who wrote yet another letter of reference. When the young girl entered grad school, she had many housing adventures and her friend read her e mails, consoled and helped with comments on her papers and questions about her degree. She even consoled her when the younger girl whined about having to actually work 20 hours a week every week, even though the older girl had held down two jobs while attending grad school and paid for it all herself without parental help or support.

The young girl graduate from grad school, which she claimed to have attended because she liked the gowns the graduates wore and because she was bored. She finally found a guy who would support her in the manner to which she was accustomed. Having gotten all she could from her idler friend, she promptly proceeded to distort her words of advice, read things into her comments which weren't there and then pretend she never met her.

The older girl was hurt but picked herself up and went on to fame and fortune elsewhere, wiser now.

Moral of the story: never bend over for someone else or you'll get a kick in the butt.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

You can't tell I'm a fan of Ghost Hunters, can you?

Tonight on Ghost Hunters:  The newest member of TAPS comes face to face with something that goes bump in the night
moar funny pictures

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Busy new year

Okay, things are crazy already. On line classes, talking down the tree, setting goals for 2010, trying to write, and shoveling. Oh, yeah, did I mention we're supposed to get more snow? To the tune of 4-6 inches. Just what we need.

Despite all of that, I'm trying to keep the optimistic feeling going. It's tough when my colleagues are making things a pain already (and we're technically still on break). To cope, I've vowed to ignore my school e mail unless I really need to open an e mail for some pressing reason, until January 11 when we go back. But I know then all heck will break loose. I'm just gonna grab a life preserver and hang on. Summer can't come soon enough for me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thought for the evening

Never tell someone who had to struggle to pay for college that you went to school "because I was bored."