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March 2008
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May 2008

Posts from April 2008

I contact you in such a surprising manner


Frames wallpaper in the upstairs hallway / New Jersey / March 2007

My Advance Fee Fraud Poem

(celebrating the end of National Poetry Month with excerpts and compilations from the slew of Nigerian Advance fee fraud” emails that I get most every day)

Dearly friend,
Greetings and compliments of the season.
This message might meet you in utmost surprise.
I crave your indulgence as I contact you in such a surprising manner.
Your contact was given to me by a reliable friend.
Such opportunities only come ones way once in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by, for once I find myself in total control of my destiny.
If you give me positive signals, I will initiate this process towards a conclusion.
I will not fail to bring to your notice this transaction is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear.
This is the one truth I have learned.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.

[with apologies to my “dearly friends Abdel, Emmanuel, Rose, Sali, Yusuf, and Izemaige]

Firing up new roots


Centuries-old tree / New Jersey / March 2008

“Something solid connects me to you
Like kinship
A hidden stream
In season’s change

Our embrace is never past tense
It is the trunk of a centuries-old tree
From time to time giving up all of its leaves
To the hunger of earth
Firing up new roots
In decomposed matter”

~ an excerpt from Declaration of Silence by Colombian poet Ángela García

Out the window of my corner office


The corner office is nice this time of year when through the open window comes the fragrance of Lilacs (its genus name Syringa is derived from syrinx meaning a hollow tube or pipe) / New Jersey / April 2008

According to the Devonian Botanical Garden at the University of Alberta:
“It was from Instanbul that the Flemish scholar and traveller, Ogier Ghiselln, Count de Busbecq and Ambassador of Ferdinand I of Austria to the Court of Suleyman the Magnificent, brought back to Vienna gifts in 1563 from the Sultan's gardens. Among these gifts was Syringa vulgaris which he planted in his garden for the first time in Europe.”

Years ago, some species of Lilacs were hollowed out to make reed pipes and flutes.

The stark dignity of entrance


This spring has been one of the most beautiful that I can remember. Each flowering plant has opened by itself rather than them all bursting out at the same time. Flowering trees framed by the trees that haven't sprouted their leaves yet. Big pink cherry blossoms that stand out because of the starkness of the trees around them. / New Jersey / April 2008

“Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined —
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance — Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken”

~ New Jersey poet William Carlos William
(from the poem
Spring and All)

Center square


William Penn atop Philadelphia's City Hall / Philadelphia, PA / April 2008

Philadelphia's grand French Second Empire City Hall building (one of the five squares in William Penn's original plan for the city) has over 250 relief and freestanding sculptures. All were created by Alexander Milne Calder. “The most famous sculpture is that of William Penn. The statue of Penn stands thirty-seven feet tall, and weighs twenty-seven tons. He is the tallest sculpture on top of any building in the world. His five-foot long hand is pointing northeast towards Penn Treaty Park, where William Penn made a treaty of friendship with the Native Americans in 1682. The hand appears to be making a humble gesture of blessing and welcome.” (Virtual City Hall) See a scale image of the statue from 1892 here.

It makes me swoon


Thick, rich European Hot Chocolate eaten with a spoon at the Naked Chocolate Cafe / Philadelphia, PA / April 2008

“It is believed that the word chocolate derives from the Mexican language: choco, a sound or noise, and atl, water, because the Mexican people beat it in water to make it foam.”

~ Alexandre Dumas (1824-1895)

Is it true that European Hot Chocolate is made only of melted chocolate steamed with a little water?

The poetry of hands, 25


The hands of a long-time newspaper reader and writer on a long-ago edition of the paper: Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Morning May 12, 1946

The Philadelphia Inquirer is said to be the third oldest surviving daily newspaper in the United States. It was founded as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and the first issue promised that the paper would be devoted to the right of a minority to voice their opinion and “the maintenance of the rights and liberties of the people, equally against the abuses as the usurpation of power.” (Wikipedia)