Dream: April 3, 2018

I’m draped in cedar

Woven cedar

And a hat

 

She leads me

Because I cannot go without her

 

It is for me to honor others,

For me to walk with grace

 

And, yet, still, I search for

Skins I need to shed

The robes that I can do without

Left somewhere

Carelessly

Not needed anymore

 

You are moving

Sometimes slowly

Awkwardly

But moving

 

 

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She Hears What She Wants to Hear

Olive or Twist

Oliver Twist

Freeze Dried Potatoes

Free Stride Potatoes

Her mind is an open range chicken

Off on its own

Scrambling in the dirt for worms or kitchen scraps

No leash, no fences

Wearing little lace-up trainers

Off it goes

A potato race without the gunny sack

One day, in Ensenada

She saw a carved and painted cane

Just like the one she bought in Juarez

Maybe 1953

She brandished it and wore a sombrero

And there she goes

Off and running

Hearing words she doesn’t understand

Or make sense of.

She hears what she wants to hear

And ignores the sense of it all.

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Humanities Washington Talk

Next scheduled talk is October 17, 2018 in Olympia

 

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Talk March 29 2 P.M. Mason County Historical Society Museum….

In Shelton. Humanities Washington presentation by LLyn De Danaan. Topic: What Does it Mean to be Human?

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Baja Journey–March 2018

Sue Kisses WhaleBaja Travels

 

March 2018

 

 

 

Malice Point

 

A shard of land

Aimed carefully

Ready to be flung

Or sprung

Or catapulted

 

Or thrust into a bay

Where bones of whaling vessels

Molder

Or vessels meant for war

Lie waiting for commands

 

 

 

Nothing Here is Natural

San Diego

 

Restored declivities

Controlled and managed

Two miles from the border

Where languages cross over

Neighborhoods

With wind

Like plastic bags and candy wrappers

 

 

 

Minimum Hourly Rage

I’ve earned it

 

 

After a day on the sea

His bones blinked a deep blue-green

Throughout the night

 

 

 

The Museum at San Ignacio Cathedral

 

A barrel vaulted ceiling

Of stone and masonry

A garage sale museum

Filled with unused

Perhaps usable things

Maybe someday

A wooden chair

A Harmonium

A Christmas wreath

A broken woodens cross

Bottles

A chandelier

Everything is useful… This pebble for instance. If I knew, I would be the Almighty who knew all. When you are born, and when you die… Who knows? I don’t know for what this pebble is useful but it must be useful. For if it is useless, everything is useless. So are the stars.” Il Matto in La Strada

 

 

 

 

Desert Museum

 

Rib bones of a mammoth

Skulls

Dusty bottles

Dry weeds

Skeleton of cactus

A rusty chassis of a tractor, or a car

Shells from somewhere,

Not here

Faded photographs of someone’s grandparents

Old postcards, perhaps prints of handcolored pictures

Giant ammonites

Collage

Pastiche

Postmodern sensibilities

No provenance

No discernable order

Uncatalogued

Sign the guest book

Make up your own stories

Have a coffee

 

 

Advice from Silko

 

“It is essential that the story be told, and that someone go on telling it.”

 

 

 

Migrating Words

 

I went traveling one March day

In search of migrating words

To watch them return to their lairs

And make new meaning.

 

Drab words gave birth to bright ones

Dark words wove brilliant coats for young ones

Words from far away or deep inside

Migrating words

 

Some words, like sand, carried impressions of

A heavy heart

Tread lightly on these words.

They contain thoughts and dreams

And everything that ever was or is

In every grain.

 

I stood on the bay

Waiting

And they came flying in:

Great swarms of them

Already diagrammed and ready to be used

 

Short words, long ones

Hovered together near the shore

Some with many syllables took to tree tops

Sometimes there are too many on one branch

And then it breaks

 

Some of smaller words nested on the dunes below

 

Some sought ponds or great lagoons of ambiguity

These liked the feel of mud between their letters

The damp beneath their verbs

Some sought brackish water

And from their formed stale metaphors

And salty rhymes.

Some knew how to herd

Unruly paragraphs

Some used guile and tricks

To lord it over nouns

 

Words with actual feathers

Eccentric words, so seldom used,

Made odd choices

Defied punctuations chasing after them

 

No one knows how they know

Just where to go or when

 

And when they leave,

Sometimes one gets left behind

Or crashes into rocks

And slips into the wrong story.

 

 

 

 

 

A Lifetime of Whales in One Day

 

…one of us exclaims.

We’ve been playing among them

Like children

Singing, whistling

Giggling, laughing

 

Importuning.

Assigning motives to their every move.

 

All for a touch, a lip, a kiss, a tongue

 

But there is a border there, too,

A line we cannot cross.

 

 

 

 

 

Painted Cave

 

 

Strong arms held out before us

Make a handhold

Rungs of flesh

To help us scale

The rock strewn incline

Loose pebbles on sand

Scatter like bbs beneath our

Feet

We scramble on and grasp each arm

But not its language

Nor it ours

 

But then, one by one, we reach the top

And crouch low to crawl into a cave

And look into the shadows

And behold

A hundred painted

Notices from

Messengers we’ll never know

Whose story is this?

A language even more impenetrable.

 

“Go ahead, turn around. See the shape of your foot prints in the sand.” Silko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, Stephanie, There is a Santa Claus

Yes, Stephanie, There is a Santa Claus

LLyn De Danaan
September 2017

Years ago, maybe two decades back, my parents, Doris and Bill Patterson, were interviewed for a study Stephanie Coontz was making on parenting in the post-war era. I don’t know if any of their remarks were used in her book and I’m not even sure which of her books this research was for but I think it was the one about the changing American family. One of her assistants scheduled several sit downs with Doris and Bill. They, reportedly, talked happily and at length about child rearing in the late 1940s and 1950s in Ohio. Copies of the tapes made were given to them. When they passed, I retained the tapes. I’ve never had the nerve to listen to what they said. What a gift, really. My memories of their “parenting” is obviously all from my point of view. My brother and I have never really compared notes. And because there are seven years between us (me the elder), our experiences were not identical. To hear what Doris and Bill thought they were doing and why and to what effect, would be, no doubt, revelatory. And how many of us have a chance to hear our parents talking about us and family to a total stranger? I haven’t listened. I doubt I ever will.

But at this past August’s annual family gathering, I found myself wondering what they would make of our “family.” We, in so many ways, mirror what is “normal” now…and how different from Beavercreek, Ohio and the Patterson household decades ago. Everything has changed. After all, we believed in Santa Claus and lined up early on Christmas morning to see what he had delivered and placed under our tree. Didn’t everyone? We were tucked into our Midwestern American, white culture, and naive. “Nuclear” was what you might have called our family. That was the term for the “basic social unit” of the time. It was, indeed, ready to explode.

So, the August gathering. Thirty or so attended. Sometimes there are more. These attendees were all in some way related through Llyn (me) or Judo (my only sibling) and/or through the ins and outs of loves and people who became family during our lives. Of this family (and that’s what it is called, insistently, with no “in-laws”, “step”, or other qualifiers attached) about a dozen are biological descendants of Doris and Bill. True to studies of what is “normal now,” two of us, women, have adopted with no marriage. At least two have been divorced but some ex-spouses or significant others are part of the family. Some are second spouses. One household has it all…a virtual village of love. And dogs. All included in all activities. That alone would cause Doris to flee to her tent, as if. And into the Doris and Bill ideas of how to be in the world all from their Irish/Welsh/Scots-Irish/English backgrounds have been added Colombian, Guatemalan, and Filipino sensibilities–and DNA.

Being only one generation removed from Doris and Bill and whatever they thought family was, it has taken me some time to “get it”, to give up the old categories, and to recognize why little Cadence, the newest member, born this spring, was gleefully passed from hand to hand, beloved and cherished by every single person at the gathering. After all, he doesn’t recognize or calculate how each hand is related to him or whether he shares genes with them. He only feels the heat of the love. Yes, Stephanie, there is a Santa Claus. My gift is my renewed sense of gratitude for all of this.

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Chicken Sandwiches at the Root Beer Stand in Marion

Chicken Sandwiches at the Root Beer Stand in Marion

For Cousin Cherri  June 2017

In summer heat,

and bored with euchre or parcheesi,

Someone would say,

usually my Nan,

“Let’s go to the root beer stand

for chicken sandwiches.”

Chopped and creamed and on a bun

With pickle.

Me, deep in back seat Plymouth cushions

Dressed in overalls,

Curls like poodle tails,

And Mother grinning at the wheel.

Through the night

We screamed with joy

For  want of icy mugs

That freeze-burned fingers.

I took bites the size of teardrops

To make that sandwich last forever.

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Genetics Lesson

Genetics Lesson

LLyn De Danaan June 2017

For Family

They pile on

To greet

Like puppies

Warm and smooth, some soothing brown  or honey tinged

They touch or brush

So hair or finger tips can meet

And each one’s face familiar as my lips and nose

And sweet embrace.

And not those hugs that dare not touch

With hips arched back

And leaning in from yards away.

NO.

Full bodied, fool proof hugs that linger

So that cells can jump from skin to skin.

“We are showered everyday with gifts.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer

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My Grandma

My grandma sat beside the stove and slope-rimmed scuttle

Enveloped in a wooden rocker and an Afghan shawl or throw.

Her hair was black as coal. And always was.

Her legs were saplings clothed in sagging, heavy

Stockings.

Opaque, and with a hint of orange.

And on her feet, a pair of leather lace up shoes.

Thick heeled and made for sturdy work.

A shoe as sensible as she.

Her housedress hosted tiny, faded violets;

It was a dress she might have made.

Or worn forever.

On every lintel was a

Withered palm or two

With dust and dancing doily webs ensconced.

And nearby, pale Jesus, limp upon a cross with crown of thorns

And frightening hearts of red with spikes and barbs

And shooting gamma rays like something science fiction.

It was all mystery

To my untrained soul.

She never weighed but 90 pounds,

I heard the grownups say.

As if that were achievement

And not result of orphan deprivation.

I caught her once late night

A nip of liquor in her hand

It’s for my heart she said. Medicinal.

I learned so few things from her

That was one

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June 2017: Forthcoming

Lots going on in my writing world. Have been submitting stuff. A story, a poem, an essay.

A poem appeared this spring in Tod Marshall’s anthology WA 129. Tod is Washington State poet laureate. I was pleased to be included.

I’ve got a piece that’s been accepted for a relatively new journal. My contribution revisits Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” in context of National Parks and mounting problems.

Major work is research and some draft writing on a collection of narratives that explore the life of the first Native American woman pilot in the United States. She was from Willapa Bay.

Other than that, little bits and pieces to newsletters of organizations with which I am affiliated.

 

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