Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quill #122 - Mortal (June, 2011)

I watch myself dying, toe by toe.
I wiggle and wiggle.
Every day it takes longer
To get feeling back.

I watch myself dying, nerve by nerve.
The tingles and pains,
Each week, move further.
At least I feel them.

I watch myself dying, wheeze by wheeze.
Pain by pain, step by step,
Minute by minute,
Chill by chill, bite by bite.

But, in the moments between,
When a squirrel peeks at me from
Behind a bole in its tree,
Or a child smiles at me shyly,

Friends laugh together,
The sun shines through clouds,
In these moments the world
Grants me joy, reprieve,

Happiness and the gifts
All humans are given.
Life is terminal.
For now, I'm still here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quill #121 - Spring Vocal Concert at UNL

I can't say I was disappointed. The performances excelled. But, this was a quiet pleasure, not the rousing joy of the holiday festivities. Chamber music is beautiful in small doses. An entire roster of spiritual bliss put my darling spouse to sleep, quite literally.

At one point, the stage was filled to brimming with singers, but the sound only reached half hall. There were two soloists who did nothing else but their solos. They were both very good and will probably have opera careers ahead of them. The male had excellent vocal control. He could fill the house with sound better than the entire chorus. I only heard, maybe, two notes which might have been more loud than controlled.

The female soloist looked like she didn't want to be there. She smiled when applauded, but sat stoic and bored the rest of the concert. The fellow at least had the grace to follow along with his music. She sat like a beautiful statue until it was her time to sing. And then, you knew why she'd been chosen. She could sing so softly that you weren't quite certain she was still singing, but perfectly.

Not a rousing performance. Not one where you walk out feeling buoyed by the spirit. But, an excellent piece of work, nonetheless. I would like to hear the volume that such a choir could produce. If the highs were higher and the lows lower, there might be more interest in a requiem.

We were proud of our daughter's participation in the entire concert and felt fortunate that she didn't faint from the heat, as she did a few concerts ago.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quill #120 - Please vote

My son has entered the Neil Gaiman contest to win a voice part in the full cast recording of "American Gods." He needs to be in the top 20 to win, and we need everyone's help. Please log on and vote every day until May 2nd.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quill #118 - Tradition (1980)

I remember those big family reunions at Grandma's house when everyone stayed overnight.
I would wake up to the familiar chatter of women's voices and the smell of bacon frying on the stove.
Still sleepy, I would go out to the kitchen where their love would surround and claim me.
I was one of the eldest children and it made me feel grown-up when they accepted me.

The men were almost always in the garage, tinkering, showing off, laughing and talking in those deep, resonant voices.
Sometimes they played football in the backyard, all the men and all the boys, except Grandpa and my dad.
Grandpa was too old, and Dad said he didn't care much for football, so the two of them would sit and talk and watch the game until the ladies called the men in to supper.

In the evenings they all played cards.
Sometimes I got to play, but usually the children played their own games, occasionally complaining about the unfairness of being children.
On special occasions, we would all go into the back room, and Grandma would play her ancient piano.
The keys weren't all quite tuned, but their odd tinkling sound only made the old songs seem even older.

Eventually we would trickle away, back to our own homes, just as the time trickled away much more quickly than anyone thought it would.
Grandma's house is gone now, but in my heart it is still there, comforting, and sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I can still hear her working.
And I know that when I dreamed I was there once again.

(These pictures are not the ones I wanted and may be replaced when I find the right ones.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quill #117 - Experiments (Feb 13, 2011)

Three sets of round eyes,
Forty sets of almond-shaped,
We sit in an unfamiliar restaurant
Surrounded by regulars, locals.

Two of the napkins held chopsticks.
We have one fork,
One spoon,
And an adventurous daughter who will try eating with sticks.

If not for the hair in my salad,
I would have returned.
But, I was lucky.


Korean chef rants
At haiku-writing patron -
"Am not Japanese!"

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quill #116 - True Love

Over the course of thirty years together, Peregrin and I have come across occasional female friends who, for whatever reason, don't care as much for me and think he's the bee's knees. Inevitably, we have a conversation initiated by them about how Peregrin and I met. This topic can come up in innocent discussions, too. But, with certain women, the underlying message is that Peregrin is too good for me, why is he with me, why does he stay with me, and other questions that might explain how this wonderful man became my husband and then actually stayed with me for a lifetime. These women see Peregrin as he is now, after ten, twenty or thirty years of hard work together; they see what a gem he is now, and they want one just like him - or him.

To these women, I say, "Tough!" Nobody gets to thirty without effort. And nobody stays together for thirty years without reason. We met when we were eighteen years old, married at nineteen. Do you honestly think either of us was much more than potential at that point? We got here together, supporting each other through thick and thin, crying together in hard times and celebrating the bad with the good. And, trust me, there were a lot of difficulties in that space of time that required both of us to grow and cope and learn to laugh. You can't take that away. You can't find it in someone else's life. You can't fake that kind of bond, borrow it, or steal it. There are reasons why he and I trust each other and it has a lot to do with what we've survived as a couple. I wasn't the me you know now, back then, and neither was he. If you want him, you'll have to wait till I'm gone and then work YOUR butt off to be worthy of him.

In each other's care, we discovered science fiction and our own fantasies, raised two and a half children, played games together, survived death and depression, kissed on stage, moved twenty times, suffered through illnesses and despair, learned each other's foibles, traveled alone to faraway lands and returned to inviting arms. We've been poor together and wealthy with love. To quote The Princess Bride:
"You can't harm me. [Peregrin] and I are joined by the bonds of true love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds. And you cannot break that, not with a thousand swords."