Sunday, October 4, 2015

a wild wild world

This is Ev at the park watching cars pass by. The slide was aright, nothing to be done with swings, crumpling leaves is cool, but the most extravagant and bright is this boys face when cars are passing by him. People think he is waving at them. He is not. He is letting his joy out through his hands because he digs their whips. "Put a glide in your stride, a dip in yo' hip and come on up to the mothership."
ezra wasn't as excited about the cars.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

friday night

so there is a new issue on the home-front. charly and dev have made a mutual set of friends. deven is one of the younger ones, so charly feels they are HER friends and he tags along. deven feels they are HIS friends and she hangs out with them every once in awhile when she is not with her other friend group. charly left friday without telling dev to hang out with the said friend group. he felt abandoned and sad, but would not do anything about it. eventually i asked if he wanted to try the best mashed potatoes in the world. he did. so we headed to Green Valley Ranch. dinner was whimsical, the district was full of acquaintances, and i made him plan a pretend date after dinner. he walked me through the casino to the pool area to overlook the city. we chatted 10 minutes about melting aluminum and what kind of crucible he needed to do that. we slid down stair rails, then headed to Goodwill to find him a steel crucible to use in his aluminum melting contraption he has built in the backyard. i adore this boy.
this boy is growing so fast.  It breaks my heart but he forces me to "gather a live tradition from the air."  He is so alive and I look forward to seeing how he continues to change these next years.

art group

look at this cute art group that went to see the Picasso exhibit at the Bellagio.
 These are the two Gertrude Stein word portraits of Picasso and Matisse.

I have mentioned these before.  So you know, learn to love repeating.  As human beings we must learn to love repeating.  After we all grabbed some gelato. Then I rushed home to crazy babies ripping my house apart. Really.  Emptying every cabinet and drawer they can reach, throwing all they can everywhere they can. Those two humans are a kick.

Monday, September 28, 2015

i beg to differ

i disagree that sunday is a day of rest. it is a day of planning, timing, preparing, hustling and herding. i have to lay out three little boy sets of clothes, make sure their naps are timed so they have time to eat before we leave, i have to make sure they are dressed in a specific order because one kid will get undressed as soon as i am not looking (everett). i have to make sure the older kids get up and are wearing appropriate clothing (no white socks with black pants dev.) it is probably one of the most hectic days of the week.
i also disagree with some of the lessons. do trials make us stronger? i have found that they have made me a bit weaker and hardened. what pain and suffering i have endured has not made me stronger; rather, it has made me more attached to my people, and enabled me to understand others and be able to serve others better. that given, sundays are not a day of learning or a day of rest. rather, they are simply a day with my kids.
 deac in his primary program. that kid sings every word to every song.
 these two walking to nursery together. one in boots and one with messy hair.
don't be fooled, they don't last longer then 10 minutes in there without crying like madmen
char went to a different ward for a mission farewell, 
her snap revealed her sitting with her ex boyfriend. obviously he still loves her.
 and dev was starving after the first hour
he convinced me to hit DQ. we made it back for third hour.
no one even knew we were gone.

Friday, September 25, 2015

"when I was a kid..."

When I speak of being a child or even a teenager, it seems so irrelevant to my kids.  The advent of smart phones, social media and technology in general has severely altered the way they exist and interact. They will not know the urgency or despair of not knowing something, or not being able to connect immediately. I had to hoof myself to a library to find things out. When I finally got dial up I spent hours on it making my own books of information I did not know about art, artists, places, history, and poetry. It was astounding.
Last week in the evening I got a phone call from Charly (16) who was trying to find a dress store.
Char: "mom, my data is out and i cannot look up where this place is, but the address is 9999 Sunset." (her data has had to be limited due to snapchat excess)
Me: "well, you have the address, why do you need to map it?"
Char: "mom, i don't have data and i need to know where this store is."
Me: "you have the address. unless you want Ezra (1) to become mall escalator travesty because I am at the mall with both babies, I cannot map the address for you."
Char: "ok, I will call someone else."
She knows how to find addresses without a phone guiding her, but it is easier to have it on an instant map. There was no internet when she was born! It is within her lifetime that this advent has taken place. I came across this picture of her on twitter.
She was visiting Texas A&M and the hurdles were out so she just jumped them and took this picture. One of her friends must have edited it to look like spider-man and now it is all over the place.  My knee jerk reaction is to loathe social media and publicity, however, for these kids it is simply the was life is.  Charly is becoming semi famous in the valley for her achievements.  She is getting approached by coaches, schools, modeling agencies, she was even offered to have a part in a independent movie ("Highway to Havasu"...we decided it was of questionable taste and she did not do it.) So being human, I try to be a part of this human-ness. It all amazes me at times. Then I am reminded of George Saunders saying that if we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

the middle child

This Deacon of mine.  He is the nicest person I know. One morning I was in a huff because Dev had informed me that morning that he had blown off a final exam and failed his summer school class. I had to get the babies fed, dressed and loaded into the car to get Deacon to basketball.  Deac sat in the backseat of the car and I heard his soft voice say, "I am excited for fall."  I asked why.  "I think the babies are really going to like fall.  The leaves are so fun to jump in, and this year they can do Halloween."  Melt me. He makes the perfect middle child. He deals patiently with his teenage siblings as well as his baby siblings.  He is still the perfect mix of big kid and little kid.  Here he was appeasing Ezra, who after 3 minutes in the car must be entertained.  I feel like I only have a few more years to direct him, for it seems at the age of 12 or 13 kids have pretty much decided who they want to be and how many boundaries they want to push.  Deacon is a treasure.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

the holy fool

ezra has been scolded one too many times for biting everett.  so, he has taken up pushing and hair pulling.  everett often will ignore ezra's antics. ev is the eternal darling of the reactionaries he calls his siblings. everett is unquestioning of his own station and perfectly untroubled by ezra's false sense of superiority or freedom. it is as if everett realizes that the king, the god, and the liberal are all false identities; no one is free. thus, why get upset.
but gum.  if you don't give him gum when he asks, then everett gets upset.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

killing me softly

i have found myself in an interesting position of old mom to young kids.  all my friends with teenagers have the free time to become body builders (true story. this is a real trend), but i have these two babies.  so, i have some young moms who have become my dear amigas. they do not know quite what to make of me, but they love me enough to indulge me my birthday wish of seeing lauryn hill. it was brilliant.  ms. hill is a talented woman. and she is still a year older then me with one more kid then me.  she wins.

Friday, September 18, 2015

i did not get a picture of it

but what a delightful joy. watching my four sons swim and play in the sand. dev doing his magic trick of making a cup appear out of the sand, making water blow out of his nose, and explaining how sunglasses can be like goggles.  deac flipping and laying on my lap. ev splashing like a madman and swimming proper at the age of two. ezra is such a bully but is afraid of so much...he was so proud of himself for getting his face wet. and me sitting in the shallow water as each boy in turn comes to sit with me for a moment before going back to play.  that is my home. not place, not city, not house. those children are home.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Moving On

Dad passed when I was three months pregnant with Everett. I was taking care of my dad at the time, and was struggling with morning sickness, three kids, the emotion of my dad's toxic family and his sickness. He used to talk about how life is non-impactful.  That at some point he would become a fleeting memory that people who loved him would randomly recall.  For sure for the next generation...they don't even know my dad.  However, even after three years, there is hardly a day that goes by that I don't feel a shock that he is gone. Everett arrived 6 months later with some pale blue Charles Everett Huff eyes. There is a connection I have with Everett that heals some bleeding wounds.  Thanks for that Ev. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Yesterday, amidst the babies play group and just  the baby chaos in general, I prepared a team dinner for Charly's soccer team.  18 athletic and hungry girls.  A fan guy came to fix the living room fan in the middle of me cooking (which would be fine except the baby boys do not take well to strange men in the house, which means they demand I hold both of them.) I loaded up the babies and ran to get Deven and Deacon from school and came home to finish the meal, dessert and set up the house to feed that many people.  Nevermind the fact that someone had cooked pizza that had spilled all over the oven, sprayed EZ Off, then left it.  So I heated the oven for their garlic bread and it was quickly a smelly smokey mess. I aired out the house in the 105 degree weather. It's cool. I got this. The girls arrived and were as cute and happy as could be. Sweet girls so chatty and singing and laughing.  I served, took pictures and cleaned up the whole situation after the last one got out of the pool and left. I cleaned with Ezra in my left arm.

When the older kids got home today from school I had a list of things they had to do before anything else.  The boys got right to it...she wandered into her room.  Eventually she emerged to grudgingly do the chores.  A couple hours later she left early for her soccer game.  15 minutes after she left she called, "mommy?" so lovey..."are you coming soon?"  i replied "yes, i will be there when the game starts."  "can you come now? i forgot my cleats."  Bwhahahahah, her first varsity game at a new high school and she forgot her cleats.  "yes, dear.  let me finish feeding the babies and get Deven to watch them and I will be right over."  Sometimes this is all very tiring.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Poems and People

 my beautiful mom walking deacon to school
my beautiful mom at my dad's law school graduation

Carolyn Forche, author of The Country Between Us in 1980, wrote poems about her experiences in El Salvador as a 28-year-old journalist caught in the middle of a civil war.  Though called "political" by some critics, the poems are in fact unbearably intimate and personal.  They do not capitalize on a terrible situation to make a poem; they use the beauty of language to find affirmation under even the most abhorrent conditions, an "archivist of the incomprehensible". She writes:  "There is nothing one man will not do to another."  Forche claims that all poetry is political, as it is inevitable a product of the time and place in which it was written.  She insists, though, that "political" poets are no "less poetic because they had a subject matter and were naively representational.  I say that rather than reading these poems as representational, we can read them as evidence of the wound -- as what happened to the language when these things happened to the poet and the poet's world."  This understanding of the political is in accord with Hannah Arendt's idea: "To be political, to live in a polis [means] that everything [is] decided through words and persuasion and not through force and violence.  In Greek to force people by violence, to command rather than persuade, were pre-political ways to deal with people characteristic of life outside the polis.  Poetry at once is affected by politics and effects its change, as Shelley has written:  "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

As I am myself a work in progress, I strive toward "legislator".  I seek to be in continuous motion out of the confinements of definition and form to a place where purposes are real and methods are issues of morality.  By dealing with personal and political issues of marriage, motherhood, career, religion, race, and the sociological bonds we experience through such relations I am attempting to live and write in motion, so others are moved to action by action.  By being faithful to the temporal, hence moving (as dictated by time) I am unbridled by a desire for autonomy.  Unlike the authority of the autonomous "I" descended from Wordsworth and that branch of British Romanticism, I move towards a freedom that enables me to understand Coleridge's "Dejection Ode," or the negative capability of Keats and what he meant when he said that the poet must be Nobody.

My sincerity is born out of keen emotion towards life, for anything less then life is not alive. Anything short of action is corruption.  In this movement towards life Craft is nothing; sincerity is everything.  It is possible that we can take the most horrifying experience and transform it.  Say it clearly and honestly and it becomes beautiful.

Coming from the influences of Keats who when I was 13 told me what the poet must be; Whitman has taught me what to give; Williams defined imagination and showed me the living lineage of Beauty as partial and convulsive in his essays and especially in Spring and All and Patterson.  Stein's courageous Composition as Explanation taught me a syntax dedicated to the processes of time in time with "continuous present"; Creeley showed me how reading and writing must not subordinate the present historical moment to the past and the idea of line and duration of perception; and Susan Howe illustrated how to be a redactor, someone who revises a book by simply reading.  I have come to oppose the urge towards false unities in artistic practice and in life in general.  Honesty and clarity are the qualities that connect other humans deeply to each others experiences, and one can only be honest when living.  My tribe may find my philosophies flawed, however, as long as I am involved in a perpetual becoming it compels them to act.  "Poetry itself, great poetry, never empowers a singular perspective."  Such methods of life and composition refuse to limit any part of what we call Being.

The souls of poems and persons do not rest in form or shape.  They go.  We follow.  We read to go where poetry has gone and to preserve the possibility of a delightful contact.  The generosity of these artistic practices broaden the available reality and so take definition from the living action of the soul. We must look, "for/ christ's sake, look/ out where yr going"--Robert Creeley (I Know a Man). Language is vehicular and transitive, and is good for conveyance, not for homestead.  It is good to be going, and some poems or people can show the way.  Life in itself is going, time is constantly going. In these two photos you can see the ageless youth of my mom has been altered by that thief time. Actually, she is not ageless.

I love poetry that moves, for it makes me more comfortable in this constantly moving existence. My Mom cannot be my homestead, rather she is my conveyance for peace. Peaceful Vana moving through time and space. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Temples. I like white.

April:  tender crystals of a temple

ruining your creases
with insistent fingers,
my initials in pieces
shimmering with particles
of fine china     historic women
donated to its construction;
devoted to losing life
for virtue's sake

water rushing
over my parching face
     not with filling intent
emptiness is encompassing all
by letting fleshy rain
settle in surfaces you see
     what's not available
to your sight is not
sacred, rather solitary.

So, that is a poem I wrote. And now I am going to talk about paint colors, because this blog has no purpose or direction.  Basically, what I write here is a love letter to my family.  Like an Ezra Pound style love letter: full of a little bit of everything, but not really anything.

My home is not that dijon mustard color that was so popular in the late 90's. Hallelujah.  I could not have lived another week in a house with grey poupon walls.  The walls of my house are a humble taupe color.  Not too offensive.  I have let them sit with me for a month now.  Then I came across this photo on Apartment Therapy.  It is the same color as my walls.  Let's do this project.

I have to pick projects that can be whipped out in a couple hours tops. Low commitment projects.  I taped my walls freehand and did a surprisingly accurate job.  Normally I hang stuff all crooked if I don't have a level.  I also swim crooked laps in pools. It is a flaw. Without using  a plumb-bottom I was cruising. I choose this really well researched paint.  Like I googled "best white paint" and decided that Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee was the way to go.  It was supposedly Divine.  Of course, Benjamin Moore is not sold at Lowe's.  It is sold at some little shop in the industrial section of town that only die hard painters go to.  I decided to live my life with quality and go get the paint. Man, it was a little pricey.  Not Farrow and Ball pricey, but you know.  I was giddy to have my expectations met. The first coat was going to be glorious and all that was needed and it was going to cast cool undertones that played magic with the light.  The paint was super thick and annoyingly non-covering.  You would have thought my humble taupe walls were black with the amount of coats I had to put on of BM. (Ha, BM.) At this point my little year of the dragon Everett was done with me being on the ladder.  He cried despite my assurances that I was fine.  He sensed my imminent danger.  He cries whenever I scream (which is often); he cries when I cannonball into the pool; he cries when Deven wrestles with me; he cries a lot, basically.  So, I obliged him and stopped my project which was turning out poorly and not near as cute as the photo.
Late that night after little humans were asleep I drug the bigger ladder out of the garage, for I had reached my potential with this smaller one.  When I was finished painting Deacon was helping me rip off the tape, since that is the best part.  We tried to pull it off in big long pieces.  "Deac, do you like the result."  "It is very you." "What do you mean by that?" "It is white. You like white. This chair is white, white lamp, white bedspread..." and he went on for 10 more minutes pointing out everything white that I owned. I have been fine with taupe walls for a month, but now that there is white next to them they look super taupey.  There is nothing like contrast to show you differences between two things: the difference between taupe and white. Like how in life you live with a whole lot of taupe but then you experience something or someone really amazingly white. Without accord, the taupe becomes less then it was; possibly intolerable.  I give this a few weeks before I paint the whole thing white.
Now, for the rest of my poem.

June: touching them
"He wept"
i would like to have talked
to Lazarus
who returned from that country
hello.  where have you been?
here all along
enter if you want
do you? Come.
Seize the door way
stuck in the light

The emporium is empty
it has been ripped off
so I let myself express violence
gain courage to go along (or alone).
Some of us fall; don't take it 
as a tragedy.
We are all living
in a trailer park
at the edge of something.
Learning courage
with no way to resolve-
only a coming together
in a moment
of rest:
I call this photo Taupe on White in a Moment of Rest

Monday, August 24, 2015

"ma ma"


this little baby. naughty angel demon. he has this evil villan/bleating lamb laugh. in the second video i had told him not to put the toys in his mouth. he laughs, put them in his mouth, then tries to pinch me. the third video i asked him to hand my my sunglasses.

Friday, August 21, 2015

so I think it's time for us to have a toast

My freshman year of high school was my best year of high school.  In large part because my brother was a senior at the same school.  We had not been in school together much; for reasons of their own my parents put my brother in private schools all growing up, and left me in the public system.  That's cool mom and dad.  It was the one year I remember ever hanging out with my brother socially. It was the one year we had mutual friends. It was the one and only year we it was me and him, him and me, against the world.

Well, my two oldest are starting high school together.  They have two years left to make these youthful memories.  Two years to go cliff jumping, strip cruising, sneaking into lake las vegas clowning, and what ever young shenanigans they can amass.  After that their relationship will change. Charly will move on to college seamlessly, for that is how she has grown up: seamlessly.  Deven will then be the oldest child at home and soon thereafter embark on his two years of service.  That changes a boy.

I raise my glass of sparkling water to the last two years of all of us under the same roof :  may it be tender, connective, and full of laughter tears! Cin cin!

(Speaking of two years of good friend just had her son return from France.  He was giving his report at church and full on fainted at the pulpit.  Hit his chin and was down for the count.  They had to call the ambulance to take him out on a stretcher. It was dramatic.)