Gemini: A zodiacal constellation in the northern hemisphere between Taurus and Cancer on the ecliptic.
With my moon in Gemini I want at least two of everything.
With my sun in Virgo "There was too much for one person to do."
You can also find me at & on Twitter @trippweavepoet

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Coda (Poem) from B.W. Powe

A Prayer

May the ability to see many points of view keep us gentle.
May the ability to see a future keep us bold.
May the ability to recognize and reject hardhearted iniquities and needless cruelties keep us compassionate and hopeful.
May the ability to perceive patterns that are yet to be fully realized keep us clear in our hearts and minds.
May the ability to communicate and face facts, and yet to dream new dreams and to imagine fuller lives, give us the sweet strength we need.

B.W. Powe

I needed a prayer today to keep me on my path. My path is wavering with lots of change. I walk into the unknown.

"We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN."
— B.W. Powe (Towards a Canada of Light)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Treasure Hunt or Quicksand Quagmire

One of my Facebook friends wrote on her status report that she was told her job search was a 'treasure hunt.'

Yeah, right! A Buddhist chant I jokingly created years ago repeating: yeah, right, yeah, right, yeah right yeah right, yeah, right, right, right, yeah right......... a mantra to chant when you don't believe what someone is telling you. A joke. A dance with spiritualism and how serious or light it can be.

But, what is this search for work, it is deeper, it is a metamorphosis of self in a process of change. A meltdown, a butterfly inside a cocoon. For what is one truly searching for?

I'm looking for work. Which I've not shared on the internet until now. Why is that? Not wanting to expose myself. A fear that a torrent of jobs will overwhelm me? A denial of how bad it could get. It's going on a year. How long could it possibly go? I'm skilled. I'm smart. I smell good. I'm willing and able to work.

Laid off July 2009. I've been diligently looking during my process of thinking again, at age 57, what do I want to do with my life? What would be a satisfying career now? A poet who just came out of the second major career of my life. I started a lab technician after high school. Transitioned after finishing my Masters to spend the last 18 years as an HIV/AIDS Case Manager & Adherence Counselor in a Treatment Education Program. I know computers, I'm creative. I like running things. I take charge, counsel, resolve conflict. I deserve to get paid well.

I joined CenterPoint, a career center, which I paid to be a member of. They provide workshops, groups to help develops resumes, have interesting quarterly forums.
This all reminds me, I have to find the place on my taxes where I deduct for work search related expenses.

I've traveled close to 500 miles. Made two trips to Tumwater. That set of interviews didn't even reward me with a formal rejection letter. Ouch! It was a job I thought I was perfectly skilled and positioned for. An AIDS Case Management Consultant. But it was not in the fates for my future. And fate is an important player on this treasure hunt, this metamorphosis. Okay, I let that one go. It was not to be my destiny.

I've 'networked' and gone to talks about networking. But, I've not used the social networking sites Facebook or Twitter. A little on Linked in, but I only updated my site and explored recently because of a talk at CenterPoint on Networking. I may have missed opportunities, but I'm constantly learning.

I've scanned jobs on Craig's list. That's fun. Everyone looks for everything on Craig's list. I've been listed on a site for a movie extra. Did they call me? No. Even a one day shoot has not call me. I'm probably too old. Agism creeps up in the thick mud as something to consider.

Speaking of agism, I am getting older every day. I traveled 60 miles to Kent to take a multi-task test for a 911 operator. I failed the test. Found it impossible to keep up with multiple tracks speeding up throwing colors, series of numbers, and names through a box. The quicksand is gaining on my knees. But chin up because who wants to travel 60 miles round trip every day to go to work!

I have memories when I first moved to Seattle in 1989 I applied for King County 911. It was different then, I had a top score, and there was no multi-task test back then. Obviously, not my fate.

I've joined lists that send me job announcements daily: School of Social Work,, City of Bellevue, KCDOH. They all send regular notification of jobs. Plus, jobs come through my partner's sources. He spent three years on his treasure hunt in his own quagmire. Lots of time reading and downloading and organizing the many job opportunities on email, every step I take has to be tracked for unemployment. A step he didn't have. At least I have a cushion I remind myself. But cushions are not a solution in a quagmire.

I send out cover letters, resumes, fill out long applications online that take hours even with cut and paste. Some I never hear back from. They go puff into the vast universe and disappear like light. Not even a star in the distance. (Sorry to mix metaphors.)

This quagmire meltdown, is an emotional quicksand. I learned somewhere that one can pull out of quicksand using a long stick, long & lateral, in the sand in front of you, you pull up & push down on it for support. But in this treasure hunt there is no long stick. I feel the sticky web of disfunction pulling my lower limbs. One has to be strong in quicksand to not go under.

I love time. I'm a poet, time is more valuable than money. Time is the essence of life. Time to walk, write, think, read, indulge in memories, reverie, and random threads that pull into poems. Time to catch up. I've used the time between the hours I spend looking for work, getting other things done, which I've not had time to do in years. I've gone though my childhood slides, nearly 800 my father took and stored in a big box made for slides, and scanned them. I lugged them with me every time I've moved in my life. Time to reevaluate or think in circles the big question, what next? How will I support myself?

I've set up a website/blog and this Blogger blog. I've completed my manuscript. I'm reading more books! I've visited a few more friends than I had time for when working, but still not as many as I'd like. I've visited my former workplace. I miss the camaraderie, the daily banter & drama a workplace provides. Especially the one I worked in. It has been the career of my lifetime. I wax in the glory of what the work has meant to me.

So here I am in my metamorphosis each day wondering what it is I want to do next in a city where changing a career is difficult. I came close on one position, I was number one till a former employee applied late. Another, the interviewer said she really likes me, but they have others with more 'specific skills.'

On this 'treasure hunt' I wonder what I'm doing wrong that a smart, skilled, creative person like me doesn't have a job yet. Maybe I'm too picky. Too particular about where I apply. And that is the start of another round, what do I deserve? What do I truly, truly, really want to do next? The muddy questions pulling me down. Anther day I'll focus on the other questions or thoughts that pull me up.

More will follow. A stick will manifest. A fate will call. A treasure will be found. Yeah right, right, right, yeah right.

Divine rod to pull my way out of this quicksand.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Going Einstein on you with a pinch of Jobs

Some quotes for our quandaries:

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity. Albert Einstein

A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it. Albert Einstein

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. Albert Einstein

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination. Albert Einstein

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Albert Einstein

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein Out of My Later Years

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.
Albert Einstein

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Steve Jobs

Ruminating with the greats. A favorite quote of mine from Gary Lutz, "I'm a dying creature." Indeed, for me knowing I am dying helps me focus.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unresolved? Yes, Unresolved.

I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…. Don’t search for the answers…live the questions now. Perhaps, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Letters to a Young Poet”

Minute to minute in the midst of so much that is unanswerable, breathe one breath at a time. Indeed past problems have been answered through the daily tasks of living. One day at a time.

Like those at Guantanamo, those in prison, those being tortured, it's a minute to minute, breath to breath process to the next step whether death or freedom.

At times I get morose about such existential issues. We all grapple with unresolvedness.

A former friend and coworker who was very young was always in angst about his life, where he was in his career, how much he wanted to do, what he wanted to accomplish but hadn't yet. He went back to school for an MBA. He had a wife and 2 children. Then he got a fast spreading Lymphoma shortly after he'd finished his degree. His life was about to take off, but he died, at 33 years old.

A story my partner told me comes from another good friend, the moral in a nutshell is that we never know when our true middle age is. Everyone runs around saying they are having a mid-life crisis. But we never know. My friend's mid-life was 16.5. Dori died at 20 her mid-life was 10. I wrote a poem, Dori: Mid-Life, about it for her that I read at her memorial.

Life is a perpetual crisis of unresolved angst which we must breathe through day to day. One foot forward then the next. Stay in the body. Try to be at peace no matter your situation. A mantra to remember, it could always be worse. Rhymes with morose.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NEA Answers that Helped me through a Dark Night

So, remember all those questions I had about applying for the NEA grant a couple of posts ago?

I sent my list of questions to their help email:
Below are my q&a, the woman at NEA was very helpful and I went back and forth with her a few times. I submitted on Feb 5th and have received the confirmation #'s I have to go in and check, and I do hope I got it right. I understand that a chapbook counts for 16 pages and you need 20.

Questions & Answers:

1) On the application page it is stated NOT to put a title, then there is space to write the project and it says to do this in 2 to 3 sentences. I find it difficult to write in three sentences about my project. What is most important to focus on in writing this statement about the work I plan to do?

1. The project description is for NEA purposes only, and will not be weighed in the judging of your application. (The only thing the judging panel sees is your manuscript, the rest of the app is for Staff purposes.) You can say something like: “I will be working on my 3rd collection of poetry which focuses on Irish Heritage. I will use the fellowship money to help fund a research trip to Ireland.”

2) I see in places where a budget is required, but it is not in the How to Prepare and Submit an Application. 3) Where do I put in the amount of grant money I am requesting and any required budget? It is not clear.

2./3. Where do you see budget information? There is no budget for the Fellowship application, it’s possible you’re looking in the wrong place. All Fellowships are for 25k.

4) Questions about the summary publication list:

1) I have a chapbook and it is my first listing. I understand this will count for 16 pages and I only need to account for up to 20, but I have many publications, so is it to my advantage to put more of my publications than the 20?

2) What if I do not have a phone number for the journal? Many do not list phone numbers.

3) If I've been published in the same journal two times, in two separate issues, is it okay to combine these in the same box?

4) What if I only have the information that is on the journal, such as Fall 2006 or Spring 2008? I've tried to look up the journals by ISBN at the Chamber of Commerce but they are not showing up. Is it okay to have what is on the journal and not the exact month?

4.1 You only need to list the minimum. If you are unsure about the validity of some of the publishing companies however, you should include a few extra publications on the list. 25 should be sufficient.

4.2 Just provide the journal’s name, address, web url, etc.

4.3 Please list every poem separately.

4.4 “Spring”, “Fall” etc. is fine.

5) For online publications, do I have to put the website address, or the link to my poem? Some I can get the editors address and phone number, but some I cannot. How crucial is this?

4.5 Web poems should have the name, url of the journal, and specific url to the poem.

I hope this might be helpful to any of you applying.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Night of the Tiger & Robert Frost Interlude Visitations

Tonight in the heart of darkness where there is overwhelm for this gemini moon, I wonder how I will ever accomplish whatever it is I am here for.

A meditation on life. I want inspiration, a whistle while I work, a life that knows joy is created from inside. But do I have it? Sometimes. Other times I wilt like lettuce in the sun.

In French cooking lettuce is sauteed with grapes and severed as a vegetable, but of course. I made it once and it turned my sight.

Who has time to write blogs? There is cooking to do. Reading to read. Life to live. Poems, stories & essays to write.

A Interlude Visitation:
Gathering like people together to share their stories imbues a wordless strength, what Robert Frost called in another context, “A clarification of life—not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but a momentary stay against confusion.” Limbic regulation in a group can restore balance to its members—love is and will always be the best insurance against despair for which street drugs are the obvious antidote.

Perhaps a blog is a way to clarify. A place to gather. A place to fight back confusion. Can we have limbic regulation through a blog? We are certainly trying.

One of the problems with the internet, on the other hand, is only talking to people with the same views. Becoming more polarized.

What is this Libra balance act to see two sides? Confusion is one of the greatest sources of creativity. My limbic system is confused as to why I have two blogs and how will I ever have time for them.

I should be preparing for the Tiger of the Chinese New Year coming soon. Really. That is what I need to do.

And Again, A Interlude Visitation:
Frost wrote that a poem “Begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a love sickness. It is never a thought to begin with.”

Everything boils down to homesickness, but I'll go into that another night. Here we sit on the verge of another year, the Tiger will enter our life and we have much to learn.

Thank you Robert Frost, it is good to hear your voice. I wait for the Tiger.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The mystery of NEA applications

NEA; the renown NEA. Years ago, when I was studying my undergraduate in Creative Writing with Audre Lorde, I interviewed Fay Kicknosway. Audre recommended her to me because our work had some similarities: surrealist qualities. Fay told me she applied to the NEA 16 times before she was awarded. 16 times, and this award is every other year!

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs -- all this resinous, unretractable earth.
—Jane Hirshfield

So, here I am for my first time applying to the ominous NEA and I am in the dark. What do they want?
What do I want? The easy answer is money to write. But, what are the tricks to applying for a federal grant award?
I've not been successful with any of my grant applications yet. I have to say, yet.

They want publishing information. They want addresses and phone numbers. Some journals have no phone number listed. And with online journals there are hardly even addresses. How serious are they about phone numbers? Will they throw my appl into the recycling container?

So like many send to journals blind, I will send an application blindly to and most likely will receive a rejection at the end of this year. For writers rejections are frequent and common. We send out our work, we try to learn the journals and where our work might fit. We send and we send. We get used to rejections. Eventually we might have more work accepted. If we don't quit. I've taken time outs but have always come back. I've had lots of help.

Help: poetry groups.
Help: poetry friends on the same path to share accomplishments & learn from.
Help: a supportive partner.
Help: strong belief in one's own work.
Help: to celebrate each acceptance.
Help: to not take rejection personally.

How about you?

I collect quotes to help me stay inspired. I've included two today for you to enjoy.

There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, "How good or how bad am I?" That's where courage comes in. —Erma Bombeck