Monday, June 30, 2014

mem card: "team of orphans": 30 june


The green mountains are always walking; a stone woman gives birth to a child at night.” Not a birthing stone, but a woman. Beneath a blue tarp, above a blanket, lies a round stone with face etched in. Above the blue tarp, red lava consumes condo towers. We circulate through the gallery, watched by a docent in a wheelchair. When she smiles, one bottom tooth shows. She asks about the volume of the music. The woman is not stone, but sidewalks are as hard. The cold corridors of Bal Mandir: her crib stood by the door. Two men arrested for forcing girls to wear bridal gowns, have sex, molest little boys. “The only team I'd coach is a team of orphans,” Mike Matheny wrote.

                                                      --30 June 2014

 "The green mountains": Dogen
Art by Imai Kalahele, from the Iolani Gallery, WCC, fb page. 
Images of Bal Mandir, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Friday, June 27, 2014

mem card: "a particular pronoun": 27 june

You should study this in detail. He testified that the homeless sleep perpendicular to the street, rather than parallel. The homeless are a particular pronoun. Leaving a restaurant I saw a fresh line of tents on the sidewalk; a couple my age walked toward me from theirs. I have my grandfather's Hamlet, who was taken off a Pittsburgh street by nuns. He was a great salesman, my mother said. A poet's son was killed at Leavenworth. To leaven is to make rise. The homeless must get off our sidewalks, leave our parks, keep their shit to themselves. In an interview, the poet said, I like all my children, even the squat and ugly ones.

                                                                  --27 June 2014

"You should study": Dogen
"I like all": Howard Nemerov
Photograph of Jeremy Nemerov (1968-2014), from an article by Bill McLellan 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Testimony in opposition to Bills 42, 43, 44

I shamelessly borrow from H. Doug Matsuoka's more eloquent post to frame my own contribution:

[This is my testimony to the Honolulu City Council which will hear Bills 42, 43, and 44 on Thursday, June 26, at 8:45 am, then immediately again by the Zoning Committee at 9 am. Bills 42 and 44 propose to make it illegal to sit or lie on the sidewalk (in Waikiki for Bill 42, extending to Downtown in Bill 44), and Bill 43 makes it illegal to urinate or defecate in public even if there are no restrooms available. These criminalize the acts of living, innocent behavior, of the homeless without addressing any remedy for them. The Council refuses to address the causes of homelessness on Oahu, where the median selling price of a used house is $682,000.

Links to the bills and other cited material are at the end. Doug]

Testimony in opposition to Bills 42, 43, 44

Aloha Chair Martin, Vice Chair Anderson, and Council Members,

I write to oppose the passage of Bills 42, 43, 44, which would criminalize sitting or sleeping on the sidewalks of Waikiki and perhaps also the rest of the island, as well as forbidding urination or defecation in places that often lack restroom facilities.

I live in Temple Valley, Ahuimanu, and work in Honolulu; I take frequent bike rides and ferry my kids to soccer and music on the weekends, so I see a lot of the island. We have regular visitors who stay in Waikiki or right near Kaimana Beach. Since the financial crash of 2007 the problem of homelessness has become more and more visible. I'm sure you're trying to address the problem, insofar as the problem is frames as one of seeing (and smelling) something unsightly. But the problem runs much deeper than my or anyone's line of sight. For every homeless person there is a lost job or a mental health problem or a drug problem. To put it even more succinctly: every person who lives on the street has a story. We owe it to them to respect their stories.

What the council would do, were it to approve these bills, is to privatize blame while socializing the notion that the rest of us should be able to spend our days unaware of others' suffering. It would legislate the notion that not having a place to live (in such an economy as ours!) is the fault of the person who does not have it. And it would endorse the idea that the rich, who will be moving into the fleets of fancy highrises in Kakaako—and who are moving into my area of the island, too—deserve better than to notice people who couldn't afford 1 square foot of their condo or house.

Let's stop obsessing on how bad homelessness LOOKS and pay more attention to the underlying issues. I know there are no easy fixes, especially since the economy is more global than local. But economy aside, affordable housing can be legislated, can it not? Compassion, I might add, is free.

Yours truly,

Susan M. Schultz
47-728 Hui Kelu Street #9
Kane`ohe, HI 96744
[more from Doug]

Bill 42 criminalizing sitting and lying down on Waikiki sidewalks:

Bill 43 criminalizing urinating and defecating downtown:

Bill 44 extending Bill 42 provisions to include downtown and increasing punishment to $1,000 and 30 days in jail:

Email testimony to Honolulu City Council (Use subject line to tell them you oppose Bills 42, 43, and 44):

Sign up to testify:

Honolulu Council Calendar with links to agendas:

mem card: "swallowed" : 25 june

The whole sky and whole earth are swallowed. I don't want to be swallowed, but I want my absence known. When he came to shake hands, we pulled back, put lines between us and his eyes. I'd feel swallowed; what stoppered me but a cork. Her family'd come from Cork. Looked in the phone book, saw her name multiply; every woman on the street wore her narrow face. Photos of mixed families do not include ours. Oh, she's the one with the haole parents, someone says. He's only afraid of white people, one girl tells another about her baby brother. I'm so glad I'm not, she adds, her audience the white girl who asked. She hesitated, but kissed my cheek. The crime is in the mouth, its particular wound to skin. I hear both of you in her.

                                                                      --25 June 2014

"The whole sky": Dogen

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

mem card: "ecstasy": 24 june

There is a world of sentient beings in fire. He approaches from the basketball courts, across the parking lot, calls out to us. What are your names, he asks, his right hand stuck out. Just the first, I won't remember the last. His shirt as open as his eyes. We shake his hand, offer up our names. I turn to see him kneeling in the parking lot behind me, forehead to the asphalt, singing about Jesus. Ecstasy, Glenn suggests, or meth. Bipolar, says Bryant. Assign them a name, his wide-open eyes. We see every day what we fail to notice: cloud, sky, red gas can. Title the poem so it can be hand-held, like a dog's rubber toy or a video cam. The dog eats dirt, pees on the deck. We forgive him because he's old.

                                                               --24 June 2014

"There is a world": Dogen

Sunday, June 22, 2014

mem card: "particular of water": 22 june

When water solidifies, it is harder than a diamond. The particular of water is less water. Particulate anecdote. There's a blue guitar on top of the homeless man's burrow. I saw it slung over his shoulder, thought it a fishing spear. Those who don't know they're being watched, or those who watch themselves as if removed from others' eyes. She puked in a Colorado Rockies' cap at the top of Mount Evans. My mother said the novel smelled bad. Served him water in a jelly glass, the kind I always hated. The rim denoted lid: eye in the tunnel half-open, hyphenated.

                                                                           --22 June 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

mem card: "thusness": 20 june

Water is only the true thusness of water. It's more than flowing, but flowing is more than itself. Why are all abstract paintings alike, he asks. My daughter needed to take the portrait of a stranger. When I download her photos, I see a college student seated at a bench, eyes at her level. Do not take pictures of the homeless. Better to witness their tents, their blankets, their coffee cups, their dogs. The Stranger is newly translated. How do you navigate “maman”? The same sun in French is not a son. The same sound is not sound, but the thusness of sound. Read this sonnet like a lawyer in love; the speaker makes an argument, after all. They used to rhyme, love and prove. Now we prove our love without sound's symmetries. Under that tree, or that one, I thee wed. You in your loaner ring, and I in mine.

                                                                     --20 June 2014

"Water is only": Dogen

Thursday, June 19, 2014

mem card: "zombie apocalypse": 20 june

The original face has no birth and death. My son refuses to enter the pool, turns his back on two young parents and a child splashing. That's not it, he says when I suggest. That's not it, not it. I will not guess, assume. He's my multiple choice generator, lacking empty circles. My mother stared at another woman in a restaurant. It was a moment of intimacy I wish I hadn't witnessed, he writes. To perceive is not to know. It's some kind of zombie apocalypse, this wanting to read minds, or at least faces, to lever into synapses, catch impulses before they stick. When asked what he'd do in case, my husband responded that he'd cook them. Our daughter's only possession when we met her was a thick brown pencil. She clutched it in her fist. We don't remember her early sounds; she started on us with words.

                                                                    --20 June 2014

 "The original face": Dogen: "My late master, old buddha, said:"

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

mem card: "at Civics": 18 june

When water melts, it is gentler than milk. Beneath a pink kid's bike by the road, I see the man's back. Shirt pulled over head to shade his neck, he faces the woods. Two hundred yards back, a black plastic door fronts his burrow. Brown ti leaves wrap around the rail above. Categories require instances. Instances require equipment: bike, tarp, pole. At Civics, girls practice footwork, each to her own ball; behind the restrooms a couple has set up camp. It's probably safe, I tell my son, close to the police station. We cannot let the homeless take over our city, the mayor says. It's a problem that requires a war, or a cure. The man at the park stares through chain link at the parking lot. His partner lies beneath her yellow blanket. I see her two feet, standing.

                                                                                  --18 June 2014

"When water": Dogen
Photograph: Civil Beat, 2 June

mem card: "no half-water": 17 June

There is no original water. There is no half-water or full, adopted or step-water. Why water sticks to rock. Why rock sits still, amid its burgeoning. She posts a photograph of her mother's hands, folded over her lap. A wheelchair. I know you're important to me, but I can't recall your name. How we gravitate to the predicate, its tragic forgetting. But the subject of the sentence is knowing. I know that, my daughter says. Her shoulder blades are butterfly wings; they fold. The side that folds loses. Put a coin in the slot; it becomes a verb. The predicate is all adrenaline.

                                                                        --17 June 2014

"no original": Dogen

Monday, June 16, 2014

mem card: "ritual, recognition?": 16 june

Rivers and oceans exist in water. Why he comes back to me now. Shown his photograph, my son says he looks like my father. Shown her photo, my mother said it was her mother's. The poet's mirror-self Cambodian. What does not resemble me still is. Moves across, as on a board. “Do you remember Fred?” I asked, and she nodded. Who knew what that nod intended--scaffold ritual, or recognition? His photo bent, as it was folded, closed like a leaf against the artificial light. Eye-lid louvered. Outside: two white golf carts, the sky's particulars. Breeze, lawn mower, birds. Video & audio at odds, overlap. The second baseman scored before his foot touched home.

                                                                              --16 June 2014

"Rivers & oceans": Dogen
The poet: Robert Schultz

Sunday, June 15, 2014

mem card: "the dammed river": 15 June

The path of water is not noticed by water, but is realized by water. The dammed river knows itself, unrealized. The first time I saw the Mekong, son in arms. She sits with her daughter on the plot where her husband wasn't buried, wondering how it would feel to him. Something about time in the poem, one woman noted; it's not there, except for “April or May.” Suspickit, my daughter said. At the cash register I turned to look at my son in the stroller. Saw instead my father, white-haired, his liquid eyes. His cleft re-sewn at 20. Mine stitched at one. We don't think to stitch the mountain's clefts; waterfalls do that when it rains.

                                      --Father's Day, 15 June 2014

"The path": Dogen
Frederick W. Schultz, 12/1/1913-11/4/1992

Saturday, June 14, 2014

mem card: "all if": 14 june

Do you want me to be a nice person? My son bargains; he's designing a house, while his friend finds food. The next phrase begins with if. Comma, then. At school, they're painting monsters on a desk, stick figure jedi. Has to do with being individual, like or unlike others. Monsters are easier to paint than people. One resembles a rabbit; a jedi hangs on a long strand of hair. I remember the day she started to grow hers, not the day it was cut. Memory's all if. Our deaf cat no longer jumps; his legs twitch when he naps. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea.

                                                    --14 June 2014

"land of mushrooms": Minecraft website

Friday, June 13, 2014

mem card: "desire & fact" : 13 june

It is the work of mountains. To cleave is to join & to rip apart. We live with sunrise & water, the mountain's teeth flashing when it rains. Remainders were the best part, for they suggested left-overs. Last breaths remind us to count, where accumulation lessens. As I poured water in the cup, a brown gecko leaped out, landed on the red fire extinguisher by the sink. He climbs the knife-holder, the pill bottles, drinks from our cups. The mountain erodes like anger, trees at odd angles, an unrazored chin. The space between desire & fact is too often violence. “Do you really want a bat on your wedding cake?” she asked. “It's a weapon.” No, I said, think of it as violin.

                                                                 --13 June 2014

"it is the work": Dogen, "Mountains & Waters Sutra"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

mem card: "Ku`i": 12 june

A small twig is the everywhere of old twigs. The former athlete lives in section 8. He's 36. He can't walk except with hands held to the wall, suffers lack of muscle memory, spasms. Can't hold his trumpet, or his kids. Drinks whiskey & pepto-bismol. Eidetic means “what we see,” John says. What is visible is marked. Think of what inhabits your losses now: count them like beads, call them out. A neurologist sighed. The man who walks Ku`i the tortoise on Lulani Dr. directs him with lettuce, flower petals. Ku`i means to stitch or to pound, to churn, to seam, to boom, to crush, to clash. To care is to manage, to assist living. To cut the sentence whole cloth. Use a straight edge & a knife, my husband says.

                                                          --12 June 2014

"a small twig": Dogen

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

mem card: "words will never": 11 june

A painting of a rice cake does not satisfy hunger. Nor a painting of the mountain the desire to see from its summit. The ocean view is a cheat, he says, you can see the telephoto effect. My son remembers his past by way of what he ate. In the mirror I saw his cheeks full, fists clenched. My memory of that meal does not satisfy his hunger, or mine. We remember best what we write in our own hand. How do blind people know where the bumps are? he asks. Words are mountains. We hike up Diamond Head, then eat malasadas. Increasingly, spikes are put on sidewalks, so the homeless cannot sleep there. But words will never hurt me.

                                                                 --June 11, 2014

"A painting": Dogen

Monday, June 9, 2014

mem card: "his voice a trellis": 9 june

When memory arises of memory arising. Because my memories scared me, I stayed home. It was a kind of “memory care,” that self-dementia, lacking care's burden. She wasn't speaking the language of idiocy, but of modernism. That was when I learned the meaning of “moderation,” stuck between two scholars arguing. It's the function of leaves to grow, not entomb, yet the dead seem to blossom there. One character born at adult height grew down, until his feet took their place in rusted molds. The mountains walk forward and back; in heavy rains waterfalls fall upward. In the Swiss woods, my father and I saw a young deer. Imagine that someone would take a gun and kill it, he said. I could just be with him, without speaking. He was so self-contained. His voice a trellis. His garden shoes, 7.5D, sat beside the laundry room door.

                                                                                --9 June 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

memory card: kuan yin: 7 june

The old plum tree is boundless. / A hard cold rubs the nostrils. Attend the breath; it is film, banyan, mosaic. Four empty squares grow in Kuan Yin's Waikiki mural. A construction worker in green shirt, white helmet, stands on a scaffold to pull her down, tile by blue tile. Make space for Saks, for Christian Dior. After the war ended, Hongly encountered Khmer Rouge soldiers, one of whom was sick. Asked to take the man to hospital, he drove a wooden cart miles down jungle roads. Fear in the man's eyes, knowing what he must have known. Nine of my family members died in that “hospital,” Hongly said, outside a blue building in Battambang. And then we ate lunch. You cannot see Kuan Yin for her shopping cart, her wall eyes. They're meeting in secret now, sending emails without her address. She called the ambulance when she found a man dying in the bushes. So many maggots, the ambulance driver wouldn't take him in. When asked, Nico Schultz, of Taubman Co., LLC, responded: “We recognize, respect and appreciate the protection and prosperity Buddha and the goddess Quan­­ying have bestowed on the property through their mural for the last 30 years." Toward the end of his life, my father grew more deaf. A maid in Waikiki brought cold water in a bucket for his burned feet. They assure us the old banyan tree will be protected.

                                                                              --7 June 2014

Old palm tree: Dogen 
Kathy J. Phillips has a beautiful book about Kuan Yin, here.
News article on the Kuan Yin mural coming down, here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

memory card: "quantum": 5 june


Is there not a sufficient quantum of distress and misfortune? The door opens to a room of fluttering post-its: lines of Proust, grocery lists, small maps of a house, inspirational blurts. My card would say: I am white; I am not here for you. If this disturbs you, please check my privilege at the door. “We're not the same race,” my son says to me. I am not bird to his bird, but bear, sheepdog, meerkat. Merchant of origins, time's your tarp, cover-up. Find faces in the leaves, death's graft in green. Pinned like butterflies on cork, my son's eyes look out at me. Last night he browsed headphones on amazon, read the 3-star reviews. I tell my student to use the past tense, personal pronoun. Love of origins breeds sentiment: not these leaves in resin, post-it notes. A fan sweeps back & forth; the Black guard thinks he knows me. Short white English professor, woman.

                                                                  --5 June 2014

Is there not? 1789 W. Belsham: OED.
Card based on Adrian Piper's work.
Faces in leaves by Binh Danh. 
I found the image on a page with poems by Robert Schultz. Synchronicities. Nominal, if not family, resemblances...
I was thinking of a particular exhibit at the Smithsonian last summer, but when I tried to find it on google, I got this. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

memory card: "washed out to sea": 3 june

Look then / Where the father of all things swims in a mist of atoms / Electrons and energies, quantums and relativities. The poet's ashes were set in concrete; my mother's in a plastic bag, box. What there is to describe is gray, particulate, post-blood quantum. Blood dissolves as dust. The “moron” or “fool” deserts his mountain camp at night. POW of the near-beyond, man in an attic drawing girls with penises, pansies. Who breaks our rules is broken like a thrush's song by civil defense. 33 states have laws against feeding the homeless. They are pigeons to us, crumbs. Think outside the box, when box is house, estate, contains nothing for sale. The man beneath the bridge beside the creek has tarp and bike, abode. Behind him is lo`i, mountain, before him road crew directing traffic. He's the scholar in a roll painting, or he is bulk refuse. We see him push his bike to the road, heading for He`eia. The little hills of the ahupua`a were formed from the hanged body of a woman grieving.

                                                                --3 June 2014

Italicized lines by D.H. Lawrence, from "Pansies"
He`eia Learning Center pdf

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Memory Card [nerves, nations]

Although mountains belong to the nation, mountains belong to people who love them. Mountains lean like mothers; at night they're what isn't lit, can't be felt save as assumption based on fact. If memory writes fact, we are tattooed skin, nerve, synapse. We know the mountain exists because our brain has been altered by it. Cajal's mountains and waterfalls, gravity's nerves shuttling in rock pools. To assume means to think you know, gain power from that knowing. We assume what memory offers, until it stutters, runner caught between first and second, wagering his vacillations against another runner's sprint. There's no clock in baseball, but it's still all time. The mountain has its rain delays, days we time the water's flowing stops to arrive at clarity. Shama thrushes & Miles Davis: sun and spotify. It's “nation” that sets boundaries, as a mountain does. What is the mountain's quantum of river blood, its signature on the rolls? Where is the place of my hand, index lanced, red dot bubbling?

                                                                    --1 June 2014

Images by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, whose Recollections of My Life comes highly recommended.
First line by Zen Master Dogen, from Moon in  Dewdrop