april 8/RUN

the flats and back
48 degrees
wind: 10 mph

Because of the ran yesterday, Scott and I did our long run today. It was wet and dark and so humid that we could see our breaths. First we talked about anxiety — Scott’s was about missing some notes at a rehearsal, mine was about waking up with it, feeling it in cramped feet. Then I described a New Yorker article I was reading before we left about forensic linguistics. My description included misplaced apostrophes, devil strips, and Sha Na Na. Wow. Scott spent the last mile of the run trying to remember the name of the guy who was always on 70s game shows, had curly yellow hair, and shot out confetti — Rip Taylor.

We greeted Dave the Daily Walker — Hi Dave! — and listened to some cool-sounding bird. Heard a seep that had turned into a little waterfall below the U. Smelled the sewer. Watched the river move so slowly that it didn’t look like it was moving. We walked part of the franklin hill then ran the rest.

According to my watch, the wind was 10 mph 18 mph gusts. I don’t remember feeling much wind, or hearing it in the trees, of seeing it move the leaves. In fact, the wind was so calm that the water looked still. Not smooth, but no waves, not even ripples. Am I forgetting?

Here’s a wonderful little poem about wind by A. R. Ammons that I found on a favorite site, Brief Poems:

Small Song/ A. R. Ammons

The reeds give way
to the wind

and give
the wind away

A note about the total eclipse: it didn’t really happen here in Minnesota — it was overcast and we weren’t in the path of the eclipse. Oh well. Here’s a pdf of Annie Dillard’s “Total Eclipse” which I must have read for a writing class but that I can’t find a copy of in my files.

april 4/RUN

4.25 miles
minnehaha falls and back
45 degrees
wind: 12 mph / 21 mph gusts

I thought it was supposed to be less windy today, but it didn’t feel like it. Heading north, I was running straight into the wind. Sometimes it felt fine, and sometimes it felt hard. Listened to birds, especially black capped chickadees but also the faint knocking of a woodpecker somewhere near a house being built. Admired some gnarled shadows from the oak trees I passed by in the park. Heard rushing water at the falls and the recorded ding of the light rail across the highway. Managed to step in almost every pothole without twisting or rolling anything. Remembered to look at the river and notice how it sparkled in the sun.

Listened to the birds and the wind and the water as I ran south. Listened to my new “It’s Windy” playlist, and a LOUD kid on the playground, as I ran north.


A lot pf wind outside today, and more inside, at my desk (and no, I don’t been gas). Started with a playlist:

It’s Windy

  1. Windy/ The Association
  2. Summer Breeze/ Seals & Crofts
  3. I Talk to the Wind/ King Crimson
  4. Dust in the Wind/ Kansas
  5. The Wind Cries Mary/ The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  6. Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow/ Frank Zappa
  7. Summer Wind/ Frank Sinatra
  8. Wind of Change/ Scorpions
  9. Blowin’ In the Wind/ Peter, Paul & Mary
  10. In the Air Tonight/ Phil Collins
  11. The Chain/ Fleetwood Mac
  12. Ride Like the Wind/ Christopher Cross
  13. Wind Beneath My Winds/ Better Midler
  14. Break Like the Wind/ Spinal Tap
  15. Listening Wind/ Talking Heads
  16. You’re Only Human (Second Wind)/ Billy Joel
  17. Wind Chimes/ The Beach Boys
  18. The Long and Winding Road/ The Beatles
  19. They Call the Wind Maria/ Paint Your Wagon
  20. The Zephyr Song/ Red Hot Chili Peppers
  21. Wind It Up/ Gwen Stefani
  22. Shining Star/ Gwen Stefani
  23. Shining Star/ Earth, Wind & Fire
  24. Runnin’/ Earth, Wind & Fire
  25. Classical Gas/ Mason Williams
  26. Bohemian Rhapsody/ Queen
  27. You Don’t Mess Around with Jim/ Jim Croce

Here are the songs that I listened to today as I ran:

Windy/ The Association
Summer Breeze/ Seals & Croft
I Talk to the Wind/ King Crimson
Wind of Change/ Scorpion
Blowin’ In the Wind/ Peter, Paul & Mary*

*I started with the Bob Dylan version but when he busted out the harmonica I had to switch to the version I remember when I was kid

Somewhere between Summer Breeze and Wind of Change I thought about what words I might associate with these songs: Windy – capricious; Summer Breeze – carefree; I Talk to the Wind – indifferent; Wind of Change – hope; Blowin’ In the Wind – possibility

Listening to Blowin’ In the Wind, I thought about all of the questions posed in it and was reminded of a line I recited earlier this morning from Rita Dove: Someone once said: There are no answers/just interesting questions. I thought about the idea of questions being spoken into the wind and how there are no certain answers to them but that doesn’t mean they’re just rhetorical. Oh — now I’m thinking about the unanswerable questions and the koan.

other things noticed: the word straight was used several times — In I Talk to the Wind: said the straight man to the late man and Wind of Change: The wind of change blows straight into the face of time. In Windy, the wind is tripping down the street. I wonder if the swirls or whirls in any of my songs?

first definitions of wind from the OED: Air in motion; a state of movement in the air; a current of air, of any degree of force perceptible to the senses, occurring naturally in the atmosphere, usually parallel to the surface of the ground.

  • with specific reference to direction from which it blows
  • in reference to navigation, as means of propulsion
  • to take, have, get, gain the wind of, to scent or detect by or as by the wind
  • As a thing devoid of sense or perception, or that is unaffected by what one does to it — talk to the wind, spit into the wind
  • a type of violence, a fury: swiftness, freedom or unrestrainable character, mutability or fickleness, lightness or emptiness — the furies? fates and furies?
  • air in general, as a substance or element
  • gas
  • air inhaled and exhaled by the lungs
  • air as used for blowing or sounding an instrument

So many directions in which to go!

Revisiting a poem from a past entry:

Project/ A. R. Ammons

My subject’s
still the wind still
difficult to
being invisible:
nevertheless should I
presume it not
I’d be compelled
to say
how the honeysuckle bushlimbs
wave themselves:
beyond presumption.

As I wrote about on this log before, wind is a great counter to the claim, what you see is what you get or seeing is believing.

wind thoughts

Early on in this log I was obsessed with the wind, particularly in terms of my run. How much wind was there outside? Would I have to run into it? I disliked running into the wind; it made it so much harder and I needed it to be as easy as it could be. At some point, I’m not sure when (maybe I’ll try to find it?), I stopped caring so much about how windy it was. It’s never really that windy in Minneapolis, not like St. Peter or Rochester. High winds freak me out.

I’d like to search back through my archive, but I have a problem: I mention the wind a lot, over 700 times. I often record the wind speed, or make a brief reference to it in the first lines of the entry like, it was windy today or so windy! Is this an impossible task, to read through and tag all of these entries? Perhaps. I think I might just start looking through entries and see what happens. . . . A few entries in and I’m already remembering some thoughts about and experiences of the wind:

  • shaking the leaves in the trees
  • sounding like sizzling bacon
  • unnoticed, forgotten at my back, but when I turn around I remember!
  • trying to rip my hat from my head — it’s only happened once!
  • making the tassel on my hat tap me on the shoulder, making me think of my mom
  • rushing past my ears, almost forgotten when I have my ears covered
  • making waves on the water, making the river sparkle
  • in the lake, making the waves so choppy — the past few summers it’s been windier
  • summer breeze — on a playlist

two more random wind thought that just popped into my head:

  1. FWA and his love of the Zelda video game, Wind-waker
  2. FWA telling me one day when he was 8 or 9: I hate the wind. When I grow up I want to invent a device that gets rid of the wind

Walking back to the house after my run, I thought about how fun it is to explore an image like wind and how helpful it is to give so much attention to it and to be open to so many possibilities. Future Sara will appreciate all of the wind options I’m giving here, I think.

dec 4/RUN

2 miles
ywca track

Back at the end of October, we rejoined the y so that I could swim in the winter and Scott could run and hot tub. With Scott’s busy schedule and my desire to run outside, today was the first day we finally went. The hot tub is closed indefinitely. We decided to cancel our membership and run outside — fine by me. I’ll miss swimming a little, but I’m feeling like 2024 is a serious running year.

I didn’t mind the track, it was fine — not crowded, warm — but it’s not the same as being outside above the gorge. I forgot my headphones so I listened to the sounds around me as I looped the elevated track: a guy lifting weights and muttering to himself, high schoolers playing basketball and dropping a few f-bombs, my own breathing. The people I passed: an older man walking with a cane, a young-ish woman walking then briefly running, an older woman walking, a guy in a red shirt reading a book on his phone as he walked.

added a few minutes later: I just remembered that I was running on the track, feeling my feet bounce on the springy track, I thought about how my feet connect to the ground. Then I thought about how I connect/am connected to a place also through breath — lungs inhaling, moving through air. Wind/air/breath are unseen and less noticed than feet striking the ground, but air is there and we possess/are possessed by it through our breaths.

This morning I woke to the wonderful news that 2 of my mood ring poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. This is a big deal and makes me very proud and pleased that my strange poems are meaningful to others. I’ve worked hard for 7 years, writing almost daily, trying to develop ways to express what it feels like to be losing my vision.

Today A.R. Ammon’s Tape for the Turn of the Year came and I’m excited to read it and be inspired by it. In anticipation, I checked out Ammons’ collected works. Here’s a poem I ‘d like to remember and put beside Mary Oliver’s ideas about writing and language in The Leaf and the Cloud:

Motion/ A. R. Ammons:

The word is
not the thing:
a construction of,
a tag for,
the thing: the
word in
no way
the thing, except
as sound
as in whirr,
the relation
between what this
as words
is and what is
is tenuous: we
agree upon
this as the net to
cast on what
is: the finger
point with: the
method of
defining, limiting:
are fingers, methods,
not what is or was:
but the music
in poems
is different,
points to nothing,
traps no
realities, takes
no game, but
by the motion of
its motion
what, moving, is—-
the wind
underleaf white against
the tree.

dec 1/RUN

3.6 miles
trestle turn around
27 degrees

What a wonderful way to start December! Love this cold air and the bright sun. And the shadows — mine was able to run below in the floodplain forest. Later, it went down on the Winchell Trail. I greeted Dave, the Daily Walker — Good morning Dave! What a beautiful morning! For the first mile I chanted in threes: girl girl girl/ ghost ghost ghost/ gorge gorge gorge.

I listened to the birds — I think I heard the clicking beak of a jay — and scattered voices on the way to the trestle. Tried out a few different playlists on the way back.

10 Things

  1. running above the floodplain forest: brown and open and bottomless, brown leaves blending in with brown trunks
  2. most of the steps down to the Winchell Trail are closed off with a chain, but not the old stone steps — why not?
  3. the stretch of river just north of longfellow flats was half frozen
  4. 2 people walking below on the winchell trail with a dog — a LOUD conversation. One of them was wearing a bright orange — or was it red? — jacket
  5. steady streams of cars at different spots on the river road
  6. a fast runner passed me with their arms down at their sides, swinging them low. Were they running like this the whole time, or did they just do it when they passed me?
  7. more darting squirrels
  8. there are certain stretches I don’t remember running through — like the part of the walking trail that separates from the bike path right before the trestle. Why can’t I picture it?
  9. after I finished the run, walking back on the grass between Edmund and the river road, heard the knocking of a woodpecker high up in a tree. I craned my neck and arched my back to see it, but no luck
  10. In number 1 I said the floodplain forest was empty, but I just remembered that there was a thin line of orange leafed trees on the southern edge of it

Just ordered A. R. Ammons’ Tape for the Turn of the Year. Reading it might be my December project — will see, when it arrives on Monday. I think it might be a good inspiration for my Haunts poem as I continue to work on it.

One more note: At the halfway point, before heading back, I hiked down on the Winchell Trail to the curved railing. I took a picture. I decided to only take one, but I wondered if I should have taken more. Yes, I should have. When I looked at the picture after the run, there was the shadow of my thumb in the corner. Oops.

april 28/RUN

2.5 miles
river road, south/north
49 degrees / light rain

Thought I’d be able to get a run in before the rain returned but I was wrong. I didn’t mind the rain; I was wearing a cap with a long enough brim to keep my face dry and I had tights and long sleeves covering my arms and legs. There were very few people out on the trail. No runners, only a few walkers.

Listened to my “running: summer 2014” (which is different from my “summer 2014” playlist — why? not sure) as I ran, so I missed out hearing the splashes and whooshes and soft raindrops hitting the grass.

I know I looked at the river at least once, but I can’t remember what it looked like, other than that it was still high. Saw lots of cars, many of them with their headlights on in the wet gloom. The asphalt felt slippery, slick with rain and mud and grit. The path was full of puddles and menacing cracks. At least once I stutter-stepped when I miscalculated my stride and almost stepped in a whole. Twisted or rolled-over ankle narrowly avoided!

A. R. Ammon’s garbage

Just tried to finish the last section of garbage. I’ll have to try again on some other day — or never? So difficult to keep my eyes on the page, my mind on his meandering words. Maybe instead of finishing the book, I’ll return to some things in it that I find particularly interesting, like (the following are all phrases or paraphrases from sections of garbage)

Energy and motion. The spindle of energy, motion as spirit, all forms translated into energy: value systems, physical systems, artistic systems, from the heavy (stone) to the light (wind) and back again. Loops, returns, the constant recycling of stone to wind to stone, waste into something new then returning to waste, using words to find a moment of the eternal, losing it again, the words becoming waste to break down and rebuild. Always motion, flow, decomposing, returning. Always behind it all, the relief of indifferent stars: twinkle, twinkle: just a wonder. And old people dying, bodies falling apart, individual existence ending. All of it happening, whether we believe in or not. All of us motion: a whirlwind becoming gross body, all navel and nipple and knee, then vaporized, refined, distilled into a place not meaning yet or never to mean.

A few days ago, while searching around for interesting journals for submitting my work, I came across a wonderful essay (is it an essay?) in a very cool journal: Notes on Energy in A Velvet Giant. I love all the different definitions of energy that the author plays with in the piece. I want to remember it, and think more about it in relation to garbage and Ammons and energy in its many understandings.

april 27/RUN

5.3 miles
franklin hill turn around
58! degrees

Overcast, but much warmer today. I wore shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt. Excellent. Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker, passed Daddy Long Legs. Noticed the river was all white foam and milk chocolate — or, did it look more like a latte? I’m breaking in a new pair of running shoes. My old ones (worn for 9 months, about 750 miles) died, that is, on both shoes, at the widest part of my foot where my bunions are, the shoe has ripped away from the rubber bottom. I remember feeling like something was flopping in my shoe when I was running 6 miles at the beginning of the week. At home, after the run, I checked. Yep. RIP black Saucony Rides. My new ones, which are also Rides, are white with bright blue laces, red tongues, and orange stripes. They look a bit dorky, but they were 1/2 the price of the other options, so I don’t care. With my vision, I can’t see color that well anyway.

peripheral vision

Straight on, the gorge looked gray, brown, green so dark it didn’t look green but dark gray or black. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see pops of bright green. Green at my feet: little sprouts shooting up. Green by my ear: new slick leaves unfurling. Green everywhere whispering hello.

Speaking of color, here’s a few I noticed: a runner in a bright blue pullover, another runner in a glowing bright yellow shirt.

River update: the river road in the flats is still closed, but the water seems a little lower, with more open road. How long will it be closed, I wonder?

Listened to woodpeckers and sizzling sand under my feet running north. Put on my “summer 2014” playlist running up franklin hill and heading south.

Yesterday, I memorized Sylvia Plath’s wonderful poem, Mushrooms. Why was it so difficult to memorize? I found a youtube clip of her reading it, which helped, especially with the lines, so many of us/so many of us. In her reading, she stresses the of. What a difference! Without her guidance, I would have stressed the so.

Ammons’ garbage

Returned to Ammons yesterday afternoon and this morning. Here are some passages from sections 17 and 18 that I’d like to remember:

from 17

poetry is itself like an installation at Marine

Shale: It reaches down into the dead pit
and cool oil of stale recognition and words and

brings up hauls of stringy gook which it arrays
with light and strings with shiny syllables and

gets the mind back into vital relationship with
communication channels: but, of course there

is some untransformed material, namely the poem
itself; the minute its transmutations end, it

becomes a relic sometimes only generations or
acts of countrywide generations can degrade:

a real stick in the fluencies: a leftover light
that hinders the light stream: poems themselves

processing, revitalizing so much dead material
become a dead-material concentrate time’s

longest actions sometimes can’t dissolve: not
to worry: the universe is expected to return

and the heat concentrate then will ashen wispy poetry
wispier: actually, the planet is going to
be fine, as soon as the people get off:

from 18

you can’t classify except by
breaking down: some people say some things are

sacred and others secular and some say everything
is sacred or everything is secular: but if

everything is sacred (or secular), then what is
that: words, which attach to edges, cannot

represent wholeness, so if all is all, the it
just is:


Returned from my run to discover that 2 mood ring poems I submitted earlier this week for a journal have been accepted! Also this week, a fun poem I wrote about the swan boats at the lake is coming out. What a wonderful dream to be a published poet, especially with poems that are so important to me. I’ve had 5 snellen chart poems published and now 4 mood rings. Hopefully, I can get some colorblind plates ones published soon too.

april 21/RUN

5.5 miles
franklin hill turn around
38 degrees
snow flurries

Strange weather. Overcast, then sun, then snow pellets — graupels. A few times, I saw the faintest trace of my shadow. Almost impossible to believe that a week ago it was 67 and I was running in shorts and a tank top.

Ran through the tunnel of trees and noticed several of the trees had bent branches. Still attached but split. I only noticed them because of how the split part was much lighter than the rest of the tree. As I ran by, I kept seeing flashes of light where a branch was bent. A strange sight. Must have been all the wind last week.

Looking down from high up on the gorge, I could see how full the river was. Water stretching far into the floodplains, moving fast downstream. Lots of white foam. I tried to think of what metal to compare the river to, but decided it was too dull to be metallic. It looked like chocolate milk (and not in a good way, if there is a good way to look like chocolate milk). At the bottom of the hill, the water wasn’t any higher than it had been on Monday.

There were 2 runners on the hill doing hill sprint repeats. Both running fast. Most vivid image: one runner (who might have been Olympian Carrie Tollefson?) sprinting up the hill, her greenish-gray gloves rhythmically moving back and forth as she pumped her arms.

Greeted Dave the Daily Walker at the beginning of the run — Good morning Dave! Passed Daddy Long Legs — in black with a bright orange jacket — at the top of the hill.

I can’t remember listening to anything on the way to Franklin, listened to “swim meet motivation” playlist on the way home.

Had some fleeting thoughts about my vision poems — now in 3 different forms: Snellen Charts, Amsler Grids with scotomas, and Ishihara colorblind plates — and how to put them altogether. Then I started to think more about forms and how it’s difficult for me to see/read some of my own poems, how certain forms are dissolving as words become more difficult to read. I wondered what it would like, sound like, feel like, to write even sparser poems, with even fewer words?

A. R. Ammons’ garbage

I’ve lost a little momentum with the final sections of garbage — too meandering? I’ll try to finish it, but not today. I have about 20 pages left. First, Ammons’ full name = Archie Randolph Ammons. Second, I decided to return to the poem that inspired me to read garbage in the first place: “Corsons Inlet.” I’m hoping that reading so much of garbage might give me more insight into “Corsons.” Reading it again, just now, I’m reminded of a line and a poem that I was reviewing this morning as I attempted to re-memorize it: Rita Dove’s “Voiceover” and the opening lines:

Impossible to hold a landscape in your head.
Try it: all you’ll get is pieces.

And here are some parts of Ammons poem that fit with Dove’s lines:

Overall is beyond me: is the sum of these events
I cannot draw, the ledger I cannot keep, the accounting
beyond the account:


but in the large view, no
lines or changeless shapes: the working in and out, together   
and against, of millions of events: this,
so that I make 
no form of


I will try
to fasten into order enlarging grasps of disorder, widening
scope, but enjoying the freedom that
Scope eludes my grasp, that there is no finality of vision,
that I have perceived nothing completely,
that tomorrow a new walk is a new walk.

april 17/RUN

4.25 miles
minnehaha falls and back
37 degrees / feels like 32
wind: 21 mph

It snowed most of the day yesterday, only a dusting. Today it’s windy and much colder than a week ago. That wind! My ears ache from it now, sitting at my desk, 20 minutes after finishing.

Difficult to pay attention to anything other than the wind. In the first mile, I started chanting, I am the wind and the wind is invisible. All the leaves tremble, but I am invisible. Then I thought about how I might not be able to see the wind, but I could sure feel it! At that point, I began to wander a little. I’ll try to remember: I can’t see wind, but I believe in it/not seeing is believing/what you see is not what you get/belief/last year’s monthly challenge — wysiwyg

Tried to notice things that moved or sparkled but got distracted. Instead I gave attention to the shadows and thought about contrast — distinct lines, sharp divisions, dark shadows / light pavement, ground, grass

Forgot to look at the river. I bet it was sparkling.

The falls were roaring. The park was crowded. Lots of kids at the playground. An adult playing “hot/cold” with someone. I could hear her calling out, hot! warm warm cold! cold!

Ran on some grit, listened to it sizzle.

Encountered some walkers and runners. I don’t remember seeing any bikers — was that because of all the wind, or did I just forget that I saw them?

For the last mile of the run, I was slowly creeping up on another runner. I tried to slow down so I could keep an even (and far) distance behind him, but I still kept creeping up. Finally, I crossed over to edmund so we were running parallel to each other, divided by the boulevard and the parkway. Within 30 seconds, I passed him.

Tracked the Boston Marathon this morning. Happy that Helen Obiri won and that Emma Bates ran so well. Bummed that Des Linden and Eluid Kipchoge didn’t have great days.

Listened to the rushing wind, yelling kids, sizzling sand, gushing water on the way to the falls. Listened to my swim meet motivation playlist on the way back north.

A. R. Ammonds’ garbage

Onto section 14 today.

the leavings…

thrown out to the chickens will be ground fine

in gizzards or taken underground by beetles and
ants: this will be transmuted into the filigree

of any feelers’ energy vaporizations: chunk and
smear, grease and glob will boil refined in

time’s and guts alembics

alembics = a distilling apparatus used in alchemy

I love the pairing of time and guts here.

on meaningless:

meaningless = a place not meaning yet OR never to mean, which is the emptiness and endlessness of space, the distances of stars OR what to make of so many meanings

it is
fashionable now to mean nothing, not to exist,

because meaning doesn’t hold, and we do not exist
forever; this is forever, we are now in it;

Not sure what to do with this section, except this: I don’t want to try and summarize it. Even as I didn’t grasp everything, I enjoyed reading it, like his references back to earlier parts of the poem, including his love of the baked potato. starch (in Arch) in the potato/meets with my chemistry to enliven by chemistry and the comfort he finds in being free of the complexes of big meaning. And I love his vivid descriptions of breaking down/decomposing. garbage is influencing my writing of my colorblind plate poems, but in slight, slant, off to the side ways.

a final colorblind plate (the 8th)

I have decided that I have one more plate poem to write. It will be about silver and the glitter effect and seeing color as movement and contrast and poetry. Inspired by something I heard on my new favorite show (Escape to the Chateau), I searched “luster” on the Poetry Foundation and found a wonderful poem by another one of my favorite poets, Eamon Grennan. (The line I heard was: Dorothy does glitter, I do luster. It was spoken by mom Angel and refers to her 5 year-old daughter Dorothy. I might have to find room for the differences between glitter and luster in my poem!)

Lark-Luster/ Eamon Grennan

Gravity-defying, the lark in the clear air of a June morning stays aloft on a hoist of song only, and only when song goes as breath gives out does the bird let itself down the blue chute of air in such an aftermath silence so profound you’d think it was a double-life creature: one life aloft in blue, all clarity, the other hidden in the green swaddle of any rocky field out here where, when summer happens, you’d almost see the long silver ribbons of song the bird braids as if binding lit air to earth that is all shadows, to keep us (as we walk our grounded passages down here) alive to what is over our heads—song and silence—and the lot of us leaning up: mind-defeated again, just harking to it.

Oh, that long silver ribbon of song that you can almost see! Love it.

april 15/RUN

3.8 miles
marshall loop
45 degrees

As expected, much cooler today. It is supposed to rain until late afternoon, so I’m happy I managed to run between raindrops. I think it started drizzling towards the end of the run, but it was hard to tell because I was overheated and sweating. Yesterday I wore a tank top and shorts, today the same shorts but with tights, a long sleeved shirt and my winter vest. Tomorrow it might snow. April in Minnesota.

Listened to “swim meet motivation” playlist so I didn’t give much attention to the world. I took my headphones out for a few seconds and heard lots of birds. What else?

10 Things I Noticed

  1. near St. Thomas, 2 runners in red jackets on the other side of Cretin, sprinting down the sidewalk
  2. the river: brown, dull, flat
  3. later, exiting the lake street bridge, I noticed an unusual number of cars turning off from the river road. An event somewhere?
  4. I think a house I always pass by on this loop has a new fence, or has it always been there and I just noticed it today?
  5. the sky was dark and gloomy
  6. most of the cars had their headlights on. I could see them through the bare trees on the other side of the ravine by shadow falls
  7. one car didn’t have their headlights on and I could barely see them
  8. 2 different lime scooters parked in awkward spots, one blocking part of the sidewalk on marshall, the other up against the railing on the lake street bridge
  9. no eagle perched on the dead tree on the east side of the lake street bridge
  10. mud + leafy muck + water collecting at the sidewalk curb entrances. a few times I stepped right in it

A. R. Ammons’ garbage

Section 13 took me a few read throughs to find a way in. In section 12, Ammons had railed against words, too many words! In section 13, he describes two types of men who use too many words: the blabbermouth and the loudmouth. Then he ends with this:

whirlwind, not human, I’m the whirlwind: the
creaking hills, not human, my silence cracks and

creaks: the flow of clouds not mine, my
motions trained clear by clouds: and the

streams’ yielding bending fathers my winding:
and the semicircles’ gusts before storms make

grassclumps draw in the sand—these are the
going closures that organize mind, allowing

and limiting, my mind’s ways: the rabbit’s
leaps and halts, listenings, are prosody of

a poem floating around the mind’s brush: I
mix my motions in with the mix of motions, all

motions cousins, conveyors, purveyors, surveyors,
rising from the land, eddying coils of wash,

bristling with fine-backed black clarity as with
brookripples over stone, spreading out, evaporating

or seeping in under, soaking, salt flats, the
turkey buzzard whirling, the wind whirling,

the giant “stills” of the sea and I, and sand,
whirling, stalling, breaking out, getting on,

coming round—cousins, not silent, either,
communicative, but not with human sound,

communicative motions making sounds, much mutual
glistening in a breezy grove of spring aspen speech

prosody: I know I know this word, having encountered dozens of times, but somehow I still forget what it means. I looked it up: the patterns of rhythm and sound used on poetry

This bit reminds me of Ammons’ earlier discussion in section 7 about non-human languages — whales, horses, birds. Here it’s the language of motions. I love this last line:

much mutual
glistening in a breezy grove of spring aspen speech

Spring aspen speech? So good. Reading this part about all the motion, I’m thinking of one of my introductions to Ammons and the initial inspiration for studying him this month: “Corsons Inlet.” Once I finish garbage I’ll have to read that poem again.

april 14/RUN

3.1 miles
2 trails
67 degrees

The last summer-warm day for a while. I wore black shorts and a light green tank top and was too warm. Was able to run the winchell trail today! Got a closer look at the river. At first, heading down to the southern entrance of the trail, the river was blue with a streak of silver sparkles. Later, heading north, it gleamed bronze.

Lots of trees hanging ominously over the trail. Would one fall on me? When will the parks people come through and remove them. I think I counted at least five.

At least one of the trees on the edge of the trail in the tunnel of trees was sprouting green leaves.

Surfaces run on: grass, dirt, cracked asphalt, crumbling asphalt, smooth asphalt, dry leaves, road, sidewalk, roots.

Heard: a conversation between 2 women I can’t remember now, kids yelling at the playground, a man on a bench talking on his phone, the sizzle of my feet striking grit, a bike shifting gears, the trickle of water out of the sewer pipe at 44th, the gush of water out of sewer pipe at 42nd

A. R. Ammons’ garbage

section 12, the beginning:

a waste of words, a flattened-down, smoothed-
over mesa of styrofoam verbiage; since words were

introduced here things have gone poorly for the
planet: it’s been between words and rivers,

section 12, the middle:

we must have the biggest machine,

fifty miles round, find the smallest particles,
and the ditchwork of the deepest degradation

reflects waters brighter than common ground:
poetry to no purpose! all this garbage! all

these words:

section 12, the end:

imagine, though we think

ourselves purposeless, we may be the thinnest
cross-section of an upcoming announcement, and

though we cannot imagine what the purpose might
be, even now it may be extruding itself, tiny

threads of weak energy fields, right through
us: first an earth in peace; then, hundreds of

years looking for other wars: strife and peace,
love and grief, departure and return: gliding

we’ll kick the l out of world and cuddle
up with the avenues and byways of the word:

Again, this reminds me of Mary Oliver’s conflicted feelings about words and being a poet in The Leaf and the Cloud, minus all the garbage. I like the effect of Ammons’ excessive words — his garbage, even as I find it a lot to read.

Discovered a new poet this morning: Fay Dillof. Here’s one of her wonderful poems:

Little Infinities/ Fay Dillof

Remember The Twilight Zone episode
in which a couple tries to escape town on a train
that loops them back to the same station?

Like that, there are tracks in my brain.

Halted on the highway,
my friend Amy says We’re not in traffic,
we are traffic.

I try not to look at the man in the park, doing pull-ups
on the limb of a tree. Sweaty,
bare-chested—he’s always there.

Not that it’s always the same guy.
Or the same poor tree.

My father’s cousin, when he still could speak,
asked How big is your now?
but I was already looking back on the moment

from some sad future.

The gratitude journal I keep by my bed is empty
because every night its the same:

In the final reveal, the couple is trapped
in an endless game
being played by a giant child.

Well, at least she never stopped
trying, my gravestone might read.

When I say soul,
I mean like a photobooth photo—
quick this, this, this, oh, this.

a breakthrough!?

Before my run, I was thinking about my colorblind plates and the hidden message I might put behind the dots. What about having each plate hide 1-2 words that, when put together, create a sentence/another poem? Here’s the poem:

Can you see me? I cannot see you.

I’d break it up this way. 7 plate poems, words hidden in each plate:

  1. Can
  2. you see
  3. me?
  4. I
  5. can
  6. not see
  7. you.

Or, should it be:

I cannot see you. Can you not see me?

  1. I
  2. can
  3. not see
  4. you.
  5. Can you
  6. not see
  7. me?

Not sure, but I think I like the second version better. I’ll keep playing with it, but I really like this idea! I think it finally does something with this form that is more than just a gimmick. I imagine the you here as ambiguous. It could mean the hidden numbers or the reader of the poem/taker of the test. I also like the idea of breaking up cannot see into can not see, where “not seeing” is something I can do, I was relieved to do, because it enabled me to finally understand that something was strange about my vision/eyes. It’s so exciting to have figured this out! I’ve been working on it, letting it simmer, since September.

addendum, 26 april 2023: After thinking about it more, I wasn’t satisfied with this hidden poem. I came up with a much better one (no spoilers)!