to the closet, pick
my day’s character and shape,
role, do I want act?
to the closet, pick
my day’s character and shape,
role, do I want act?
And I’m typing, I wrote yesterday but I feel like I didn’t write anything, not a thing, not a word, not a character or observation or word. Yesterday. But I did, but I did! I keep saying to myself. Up with Jackie before having to get ready for work, wondering when I’m going to have time to grade these first papers. With this new tasting room chapter it’s difficult, more than difficult to get the papers marked, read, even a quick skim-through. Need coffee and you might think “Why hasn’t he poured himself a cup already?” I don’t know, but I’m tired, and with thoughts that things, matters and elements and dilemmas are accumulating, like they did last semester. But I won’t permit that, somehow, somehow I’ll stop the accumulation before it becomes tidal. I’ll grade 10 of the 1A submissions tonight, then 10 tomorrow, then 10 more Monday. My desired, or envisioned practice is the old ‘twenty today and twenty tomorrow’ perspective, but that’s quite tough to pull off– I just realized how much I love this, this knot, this entanglement over my passion and to-do with the students and what I assign them; I assign the prompt, and they write, they submit, they sit at their respective tables and compose, then press ‘print’, then submit. Which is far more noble and worth of readership than this blog. At least that’s what I’m singing to myself now.
Should be running today, this morning rather, when Alice wakes. Just want 5 miles logged, that’s all, and that’s all I have time for this morning. What assignments this next week, I think, about how to keep the sessions original, and electric. The only way for me to teach is, for lack of a better word (again, no coffee yet), theatrically. Not just in my presentation, but in the ideas themselves. To show the students that I am the consummate thinker, the “teacher” that lives and breathes the idea; he takes it home; he’s always writing; he knows what he wants and what he wants to do.
At one point in the day yesterday, earlier, right when I bought my mocha from the SBUX down the street, it rained, gently, but not enough to compromise anything, be they thoughts or motions or efforts. But there was a mood, one subtle but thematic. It made me think of Mom and Dad in Paris, and if it’s raining there, and how it rained voluminously when we were there in ’09. The small water ticks also had me wondering when the season will show actual change, shove us all into Spring. That would motivate new topics, new scribbles, and I don’t have time in this new tasting room to collect a written thought as I did at the last winery (the estate). So I have to plan more, which is mature but I don’t care much for executing. But I have to, I don’t want to feel what I did last night, or this morning as soon as I woke, like I wrote nothing, like I’m not a writer, like I’m just floating, and hovering above a blank page, imagining and dreaming, and wishing I were a “real” writer. I couldn’t let that be the case this morning. And again, I did write yesterday, and the real most sincere way with ink onto lines, and my Comp Book left with me, to be put back in the car (trunk) more full and more paginated with my day and story of the adjunct– And I know, the Massamen novel, when am I going to start it, officially, and when am I editing ‘Forced Avarice’? I know I know, I say to myself, followed with the old promise of “soon.” Famous last words. It’s always what I do aside from adjuncting that interferes. Even if I had a load of six classes I wouldn’t struggle this much to pin a few moments for projects. Why? ‘Cause I’d have the weekends, Saturday and Sunday consecutively just for my Self, and meditation, and the projects that will define my writing “career”.
The clock, I can’t stop looking at the time, why, I hate those numbers and how they control me and intercede with vivacity. Shame. But it’s normal, and certainly a universal address, and time for us as writers, as I shared with both classes (esp 1B), can be both foe and motivating force. Right now, it’s a bit of both.
Thinking I’ll wake early tomorrow, have no wine tonight and be in bed early, start March with an intense early morning interval, possibly around 7 miles, or 7.5, something around there, like I used to do with Bonnie a while back. Running makes me a more devoted writer and one with a path outside of teaching, and while running I can’t write which sometimes bothers me and others I feel’s a boon to my journals and to my story collectively. So I need to run more, significantly more, show everyone around me that I’m a ‘real’ runner, or a serious one anyway. That I’m focused on my races, I wait for them to arrive at my present day the same way a child waits for their birthday; their day, the whole day is theirs, it’s all about them. That’s how my race days will feel. And I’ll be sad when training’s over, as that means the race is here, and will soon be over. But then I’m excited again, childlike, as there’s another race a month, or a couple months away.
6:39, Alice still asleep. I look left, through the blinds, and the sun’s not yet in its noted rise but there’s just enough atmosphere color to call it “day”. Would love to run in this, this light and the metallic air with its cooled shadows and partial comfort (as you have to stay running to remain “comfortable” or not with shiver).
Coffee ready. Only allowing Self one cup and that’s it. Want my energy and momentum, all motions, to be natural and not forced. Tuesday: Meditation, talk about the concept in Hem’s work vs Kerouac’s.. find the meditation, and ask the students why we meditate (find definition and explore, experiment with connotation and denotation)…
My Body is an Alter
Ink drills into skin
Anchors sink into flesh
Needles pass stories
Carve into me
Christian eyes machetes
Bodies are temples
Jesus an eraser
Purity scrubs skin white
Honor your temple
you were mistaken
my body is no temple
my body is an alter
every line an offering
chiseled strokes plague skin
every curve an artist commandment
every wrinkle a part in the sea of color
I will sink rainbows into my skin
To cleanse away holy water
Poison masked as promise
turn flesh to testament of resistance
Needles to inscribe stories stolen
Peach pages waiting for calling
needles pass through palms
they sink into feet
colors transverse skin
Sacrifice to memory
Christian eyes set to crucify
Will find this alter covered
Blanketed in permanent protection
Sewn into skin altared
Sometimes I wonder what it felt like
Chemo coursing through your veins
Was it like hot lava flowing
Circulating destruction death
Did you force smiles for my comfort
While poison tunneled pillaged cells
Burn your body inside out
Did you burn yourself
To kill the invader
With an invader
To murder the murderer
They said it was appropriate technology
They cited statistics
They employed ethics
They beamed over a chemo room
Adorned with art
They masked the truth
Covered up a dirty little secret
The cure is worse than illness
Who is the killer now
The medical industry
Sometimes I wonder
Would you do it all over again
Let every glass of cold water become
A agent of death suffocation
Let every meal become
A menu of bile of vomit
Let every brief walk become
A crippling marathon
Let every last minute
Be fraught with pain
Sometimes I wonder
Will I do the same
My uterus has yet to meet
For lover I’ll kiss every morning
For faith I gave up the day you died
Will I burn myself for them
Was that fire for me
Amber Jean Coyne is a masters of Public Health student focusing on LGBTQ+ heath equity with a minor in Queer Studies. She received her Bachelors of Science in Molecular Cell Biology from Sonoma State University in 2012 graduating summa cum laude. Amber is a writer and theatre enthusiast performing in such plays as The Vagina Monologues and The Class Menagerie. She is previously published in Language, Violence & Resistance (2014) by The Alter Collective and Queer Studies at Oregon State University.
after Jackie came back, and I have more optimistic steppings in my fold, my character and sight. A minute ago, I thought about something Mom messaged me, stating I shouldn’t stress about things or matters not in my control. and this brings me again to the concept of meditation, the Zen practice, to the concept of Wellness introduced as it was the other day on campus. So this evening, I had planned to get all the photos off my phone, and I know that will take a while and I may not be able to attach an image to this post, but so what.. what matters it the writing anyway, right? I want people to see me as a writer and I am a writer and I act like a writer, even going to lengths of depriving myself something I want, like now: I’d very much like a beer but I’ confirmed in the share between spirit and sense that it wouldn’t be best for my system now, so I stop. And I’ll see how long I can carry this energy, the non-sipping notedness of it all, of me, this new me in my bout with this bug.
Alice and Jack at the park with Lorielle and Addison. I didn’t go as I had to write, and show Self that I could come up here to the bedroom office, if you could call it that, and cut through a composition. The ledger I wrote of earlier, right below my elbows.. I stress about the possibility of not following through with logging all my writings in it, I did, I still do, but why? Just do your best, Emerson would be proud, he is, this Poet and American “Scholar”. Need to gather Self tonight for a day of work tomorrow, indeed; all my books and notebooks and thoughts on Hemingway and Plath and Dickinson, and maybe a little Dostoyevsky, who knows. Or Tolstoy! I want to through in a ‘random’ on Tuesday, if I may. Jazz in the room and I do feel musical and free and not at all stressed. Could use a sparkling water and some new thoughts and new words, new concepts and ideas that would ‘wow’ people around me, that if someone or a group of someones heard me speak at a conference they couldn’t help by sigh, gasp, listen… Read an article, a short one, about someone being asked what they wanted their legacy to be. It made them cry. Me, I get vocal, then quiet. I want to be remembered as a writer, reader, thinker, that I always thought and I always had questions, not necessarily ones that needed answering, but ones for which I track solutions on my own. And for my morality, my moral set, my moral writings.. remember earlier in this project, I think during one of the Kenwood lot sessions, I wrote ‘Moral Philosophy FOREVER’. And the morals of a character greatly determine their character and their choices and how they’re read. Just put together a ‘for downstairs pile’.. and my realistic goal for the evening, post to teaching blog.. one hundred words, one image, that’s it! Not a drop of material more!
My boy enjoys his third birthday, he and Alice and I all getting a hearty nap, about two and half hours, maybe a couple strings more. And there you go.. we’re all re-energized and my son is three, a very vocal and playful and curious THREE. IS this a victory for time or me? Hard to tell at the moment, something I have to think about. I continue to type till I hear another car speed down Yulupa.. there it is .. then I listen to this tune, “Reconciliation” by Andrew Hill. Want to hear jazz live, at some point, hear the air fly through the trumpet or sax, and the percussionist doing what he does, wildly, just hitting the hats then snares, bass kicks between, then having the whole audience guessing, ‘now what’s he gonna do?’. Jazz and I have a relationship I’ve found, not just in the spontaneity of it, but in the impact of so little.. right now, piano and drums, not much bass.. but the rhythm and pacing of the song has me awake, attentive, and trying to mimic it with how I jump and slither through the keys.. now I would a beer. Or maybe wine. No…
And on this 93rd day, an unusual one to be sure, I sit to coffee in the nook, not in class but having to leave for campus in 27 minutes exactly, “Launch at 730” I tell myself. Coffee ready and I have to walk over there, behind me and by fridge to retrieve but I don’t want to rise and ruin my run. Only bringing Comp Book as I said yesterday, and I’ll note everything, everything, and all things learned and other ideas the professors point out. I know people will notice me writing, and I hope they do! I hope they see me as one who not only teaches but does! Quiet in the condo now, with only the fridge and its hum, the sounds of the keys being committed to my vision, image and role, and the table rocking so slightly I almost have to stop typing to hear it, but then it doesn’t move, then no sound, it’s playing with me, obviously.
Coffee in possession and I sit thinking about how awful or awesome the coffee there at the meeting will be. Could be splendid. Could be shit. I notice myself fall into typo after typo this morning typing, how did Kerouac do it on an Underwood? Can’t think about that now and it’s not my bloody fault I have a laptop. The times.. the technology.. I didn’t decide it! And I use it how I want! In fact my poetess friend, Amber (whose word I still have to post to bottledaux) only writes on laptop, so it’s instantaneous.. and my dear friend Lila, refuses nearly to transfer her scribblings to laptop, as it’s “too much of a pain” as she once told me, basically then, for her, bringing nothing to fruition, and that’s a shame. So I’m here in nook, typing, Comp Book right, little pages left.. ready for day, to write everything, everything.. see who shows, try to find Michael right away.. and I have a thought for the Massamen novel– you know what, maybe I should bring my bag but only have the journals in them– no, bring Comp, then Massamen journal atop.. done. And his story, Mass’, starts where I did on the 28th, Jan, being let go to start new, and finally be in the position to fight the Adjunct War. And maybe “war” is too barbed a term for some but to us, my character and I and anyone who’s ever been an adjunct, it’s too light, perhaps. Either way, we’re both at work. And I’m xeriscaping my thoughts and writings, my novel coming, and I need give Self a timeline like with this project.. just looked at clock after taking call from Alice wishing me a well morning.. 7:15, the clock catches me but I’m grumbling in commitment to reach the bottom of the page, and to think of anything I forgot to mention yesterday in entry– OH! The skirmish and bad blood catalyzed by one of the tasting rooms in the Kenwood shopping center. Even slighting my friend Jeff, he’s the one who disclosed the whole story to me, day before yesterday, and again to Dwight and I yesterday with some added specifics. War in the wine world, and how some people are so oblivious to courtesies common and just general neighborlyisms. And then it starts; the stares, the snubbing, the rumors, the shootouts if any, and just that feeling that no one cites or points out but you know something’s off. And that happens on highway 12! It’s hard to believe! A place where much of the world frequents in their pursuit of wine and wineries and vineyards, to take pictures and experience what we all, or many of us, take for granted and just shine on, there can be conflict, foul attitude, negativity to this degree.
Battery low. See what I mean? Bloody tech.. anyway, I should prep myself for leave, and I’m just taking the Comp Book I decided. One project at a time, one binding at a time. Slow, like I tell Jackie when he eats; “Jackie, remember, we eat slooooooooooooow…” Same principle with writing, just not too slow, otherwise the project never finishes.
5:41, Jackie up as he couldn’t open his eyes from whatever made them water so, associated with his bug and we’ve been up since. Jack woke us both, quite scared, and he caused me to fly up the stares as I slept down here from he waking at around 9-something first, demanding he sleep in our bed. So I was stationed down here, not sleeping much as I heard his whines and cries last night, Alice comforting him. Now we watch cartoons, play with toys, and count down till his 10:30 appt, Kaiser, which I don’t care for and neither does Alice with all their regiments and schedules and putrid protocols. The coffee machine cued, I’ll have one before my scheduled time to sleep, 7:15 or thereabouts. Jackie appears quite happy in his rummage through the cars, trucks, humming as he crosses the floor, higher octave, like he’s in charge. Don’t think he takes kindly to my typing, that I’m not devoting all attention to him, and I can’t blame him, not at all, what am I doing.. “Daddy, close it!” he growls. Okay.
Minutes later I say, “Jackie can Daddy do some work?” No, says. We negotiate for a while with me insisting I’ll get in trouble if I don’t work, whereupon in my white lie I feel a bit guilty, but relieved I can come back to the page and record the hour I’m in, a dad, caring for my little boy, making him feel more comfortable. LAter today I’ll leave for campus, and lock myself in the adjunct cell, writing and organizing the pieces in this laptop. Brewed my coffee and I took two wide sips, so I’m a bit electric at moment, just watching him hum and arrange vehicles and other pieces on the carpeted chest, he watches cartoons in short stops, then goes back to his own imagination which is a much better show.
In the kitchen I thought of the idea, again, having my own bar or café, writing about it along the way, and I’m not sure that’s something that’s for me. I mean look at me now, I can’t even be fully connected to my own son, with his little trot and charm, as I can’t stand to be away from the page for too long, I have to be writing, and owning a bar or coffee shop is more than a fulltime commitment, or marriage, or whatever. It’s just not for me. I’d rather have the luxury of writing about it, then leaving the café or bar when I’ve reached my target. Still dark outside, and Jack’s more mobile that I can be presently. And I just realized that the project ends, 11 days from now. Again, if my count has kept correct. But what should I do, count again? Go over the days of the calendar? Not now. I need to think about the next project.. the Massamen book, the first one, him fighting his adjunct war with more tools.. so what is his goal, what does he truly want? Not to be full-time, but to be lecturing independent, as a “scholar”, he guesses, or just a wandering teacher.. he’s not set on being a writer like me, but he does write, of course, just as a consequence of how he teaches and lectures, writing everything down. He starts with Emerson, where I start with Kerouac, and he pulls little bits and paragraphs from RWE’s essays and poems and expands in his own fashion– or not his own ‘fashion’, but in his own scope. After being released from the full-time job he had to have at the wine market, which he had to have for benefits (as adjuncts never get benefits, at least not at his institution), he has more time more life more of everything he needs to find his way to the traveling, to the other campuses, and that’s one of his prime aims: to be mobile in his teaching, not on the same campus, he’d be traveling like he did as an adjunct, but just more expansively and diversely.
My Emerson book’s upstairs, and Alice is asleep so I don’t want to intrude and possibly wake her… So I look online for excerpts from some of my favorite essays of his, ‘American Scholar’, ‘Nature’, ‘The Poet’.. oh, and ‘Self-Reliance’, of course (if you know me). All on individuality and peace and personhood, doing what you love! How can that not be admired or practiced. This is what my character will pride himself upon, and he’ll only teach what he firmly believes in his deepest heart of honest and TRUTHful hearts. May offer some such ideas on Tuesday, after the rough draft workshop session, both classes, and the professional development day or whatever, Thursday, I’ll spend in the library, perfecting this new embrace of Emerson and apply it to the upcoming texts.. ‘Bell Jar’ in 1B, ‘Feast’ in 1A– Jackie complains of no more room for his toys on the chest’s surface, I have to smile and laugh a little, as I realize this is a consequence of passion and ardentness in his vision and project down here at this early hour. He breaks to watch a little of the newest toon, some pirate show (Jake and the Neverland Pirates, I think it’s dubbed)… And I need more coffee. Only took those inaugural sips when I first it brewed.
One end of the chest’s surface, actually both, slope down slightly, so in that there are too many cars “parked” as Jackie insists, atop, the start to fall, he’s running out of spaces to park his toys, and becomes frustrated. I go over to help as much as I can but am not much an aide. He breaks again, as do I to come over here, put the red blanket over my legs again, and type. Think it’s raining outside.. is it? I hear what I think are drops on the other side of the sliding glass door and out front, other side of front, the drops slapping the pavement carelessly. 6:24, and the rain does come back. So what do I do differently? Maybe it’s just meant to be noted, not necessarily infused into the prose.
My mood this morning after an electric and fiery 1A meeting, elevated, as has been everyday since leaving the winery. Look how alive I am, DEVIL! I’m aloft and following my ideas and lectures.. and I’m more than a “perfectionist” as someone at the winery once called me as related to my teaching, more now than any set of students or loved ones has me viewed.. I’m stoic in my militancy, and I won’t budge, just as I didn’t the last 2.5+ years. Now, I’m simply gliding, but with intent, no friction. 10:07, and I’ll give myself till 11:05 to write, I’ll stay here, in the nook this morning not on the couch as I usually am, enjoy the jazz and my second cup of medium roast. Soon to be 3rd. I know I told Alice I’d cut back, but I can’t when I feel like this, when I’m writing with this speed, and when I have all this poetry about my Personhood and it reveals itself in the form of narrative, the marathon writing I always cite– my bloody genre! Wrote a poem yesterday, “Loot”, which I’ll hopefully remember to post to whoso magazine’s corner later, but do I want to go to the café, or come back home? Just noticed there’s no music playing, I turned it off to re-read the 1B post above.. am I thinking critically? No, just thinking, and living, finally. Happy. Why am I so awed? That’s what twoandahalf years of clockpunching’ll do to you…..
Decided agains the third cup as I want to thrive in natural innate energy and momentum and not depend on the black puddle in mug, tho I will get a mocha or something on the way down to PC.. probably a mocha, with the milky music of palate and nonaggressive nuance and nobility.. praise the CRAFT, this morrow! In a geared and dancing dose of gemütlich, and my Personhood shines at the end of this project, which is precisely what I wanted! Cold, suddenly.. heater on for a bit, then more thinking, maybe a walk in the living room area, around little Kerouac’s toys.. (10:14).. plenty of time in my toiling here at the table, this nook, my corner, when my lovely wife relaxes in eve to watch her shows, or read or research on the couch, I give her space, escaping to mine, here, in this wooden chair; harsh in feel but comforting in zone and placement, what it brings me in terms of notions and entertainments, postulation.
Restroom used and I think of something to pose the 1B-ers: “Tell me about your day so far…” This idea catapulting itself to my conception and analytic slate by remembering what I thought this morning, driving in the dark on Mendo (L from College), just how dark it was, how different the world was at that hour, and my character was not yet sped, had not yet found it momentum, and all from it being absent, the sun that is. At the beginning of the term I referred to the early hour, 6AM and before, as its own ‘hell’. But I morph now in appreciation of; that’s heaven; that’s Peaceful, peppered with Zen. And with the coffee paired, it’s Nirvana for me, for a writer and STUDENT like me. Some will die punching a clock, just existing, never finding Peace or Personhood. I’m not one. I’ve found it. Or rather, it was gifted to me last Wednesday, before 10AM! And it’s profusely gracing those around me– Mom, Alice, little Kerouac, Dad, my sister (whose birthday will be celebrated tomorrow and I can’t wait to share this vibrant virulency with her!). Some will die, punching a clock and thinking that’s it for them, not me. I’ve found IT, the same way Dean did thought he did. Some will resign themselves to a name tag and a roll and a trudge through assigned duties.. not me, not a Beat, not a character with a CRAFTED musicality and sovereignty to their steps. I now have primacy to my pulse. And some will read this and dismiss it, try to disregard it, but like Dad said, “If you’re consumed with what others think of you, how could you possibly be thinking for yourself?” Celebrating my fifth celestial straight day of ascendancy! Mental vivacity, describing my varietal as I see and feel and using Sal’s narration as proof that all you need do is ‘take off’! 10:26, and I have so much more morning to enjoy! No coffee, not till after a I leave, a mocha.. should write Dav and share this energy with him.. I do owe him a more official letter, not just an emailed letter to the last email he sent me. Have I found Zen in this sitting, in this nook, this goddamn chair, so straight and hardened and bullying in its firmness?
On page three already. Should take a break, save the rest for the café..and when I land there, it should be about.. I don’t know.. 1:50-ish, maybe(?). Either way, I’ll have HOURS to write and read and meditate. Normally, at that time, last semester on Tuesdays, I’d be acting, repeating, trudgery– death.. but now rebirth. And my gratitude outweighs and drowns any resentment. In fact, I have none! Dickinson said “Saying nothing… Sometimes says the most.” I agree, that’s why I write. And right now, I don’t have to talk, as I used to. I don’t have to “look busy”. I don’t have to recite THEIR script. I AM busy, busying living, busy writing, busy being FREE, truly alive, not simply existing and checking off items on some contrived list.. oh look at me live and flip through pages– again, the dismissive on perceived higher floors and limp ivory towers dreject me, but I can’t hear them, nor can I see them cuz my head’s buried in a page, I’m too busy writing and thinking, dancing to my own BEAT. Settled.. onward.. sails….. Yeah, dismiss the Artist, you clock-cuddler! I’m skipping back and forth in life, as I ought see.. and you pedal/peddle in place. Sad.
First day of a month, I have to plan, and I have
to organize and I have to know what I want, set
goals, that’s what we all, we adults, do.
And so, by 9AM I’ll have this done,
and by 11AM that one. Stray from the known
runs, just do something, it’s the first day, when you get a new year or
new period in this new year.
And February, the second month, so if you didn’t do it in 31
try doing it in 28. Or
is it 29, this year? I leap to the calendar and see if…
no. No leaping. Same thing. So I schedule what I can in these little blocks,
look I’m so grown up, and then I
highlight what’s really important, what really matters and is dire,
so now I have a schedule within the normal schedule.
‘Run– 12:30’. But I might go
get a coffee at that hour, that half,
so it’s not as official as I thought, I’m just mocking myself now by
even trying this, why did I buy this calendar or schedule or
planner whateveritscalled back
in December? Then I didn’t care, because the year was nearly
close and now I have a whole new set of squares to be concerned with–
a bother, maybe, but I have 27 more in this new month, new
year, when clear my mind, never, not with all this, and I still haven’t planned the
by noon I want to get a run in on the park path and then by
2 I need to get groceries and fill the car with gas and clean the closet and
do something else I’m forgetting, should
have written it down, used this thing, but I get
a restart, do over, slate blank, bare plate–
Look at this square, see 1; bold and large and confident,
intimidating, I’m being too candid, maybe, the swirling of days gets
to me, so maybe I should open this plannerthing, start at
the first, today, see what
I get done. So let me see what I’ve
won, not exactly a ton, afraid to be too bum,
even though I praise their simplicity, by puddles on Market,
my scuffles aren’t parted the day’s hour intrusive,
walk polluted in mood, no option other but wined rudder.
One minute left on the first day, one
so what to fix, all of it– I’m out of words and math, anything
scholarly, I just look at my calendar and don’t
know it, I’m unfamiliar to it and it to me, fees
collected and I’m broke, broken, brake fate again.