Saturday, September 29, 2007


this rough magic
I here abjure; ...I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

So as of today I am an ex-physicist. I went into the lab for the last time to hand in my dosimeter and my badge. (The sweet receptionist asked if I was quitting physics to become a model. Now, people with family resemblances or ulterior motives will go so far as to say that, in dim light and with selective camera angles, I'm passable, so this is a bit of a surprise. She herself is quite lovely and is always very carefully dressed and made-up, so I wonder if her suggestion reflects her own secret desire?) It feels good to finally be able to let go of this part of my life. I'm sad that people won't say "wow" when I tell them what I do--"nuclear astrophysicist" is a very cool job title--and I'm still feeling apprehensive about having people laugh when I tell them that I'm working at Starbucks--but this is what my life is like right now. This is what I'm doing for myself. I'm not doing work that makes me miserable. I'm asserting that I don't have to be extraordinary in order to have the right to exist. I'm just doing an ordinary job, living an ordinary life--and that will be enough.

I got a right
I got a right
I got a right, Lord, to the tree of life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The first day of autumn
returning from alms round
I set down my bowl by the temple
to go play with the children.
Last year: a foolish monk.
This year: no change.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

anniversary poems

So today is my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. (I've written about them and their anniversary elsewhere.) 40 years is a big deal. Unfortunately, there's no real way for me and my brother to make a fuss about them right now. Some kids get to send their parents on dream vacations for a big anniversary--but not us. They've been sending themselves on dream vacations for quite some time now, having followed through on their lifelong plan to retire early and travel. (You have to check out Mom's blog--the sidebar calendar alone makes me weary.) And I'm not rich enough to buy them diamond rings, and they're too far away for me to make them fresh chocolate chip cookies (those being the two gifts that Miss Manners says are never unwelcome). So all that's left to be done is to write an anniversary ode.

Unfortunately, when the Muse speaks to me, these are the kinds of things she says....

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are my dove
Or perhaps cockatoo.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You make me burn hotter
Than beef vindaloo.

Violets are blue
Roses are red
Life without you?
I'd rather be dead.

Roses are red
Daffodils yellow
One look at you
And I turn to jello.

The rose it is red
The leaf it is green
If you'd be my love
That sure would be keen.

Violets are blue
Except when they're indigo
Your rival may woo
But I will tell him to go.

Roses are red
Blue is the violet
I could fly high
With you for co-pilot.

Roses are red
Marigolds orange
I am a door
And you are a door-hinge.

Violets are blue
And so are hydrangea
I would be too
If you were a stranger.

Trees they are wooden
And so is a boomerang
You'll make me puddin'
And I will make you meringue.

Clouds may be grey
But their linings are silver
For you I would steal
--Well, maybe just pilfer.

Roses are red
Sunset is golden
My world is complete
When you I am holdin'.

So. Happy anniversary, my dear parents, wherever you are today.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's that time again

I'm going to be disappearing again for two months. I'm going here. So I'm not going to be posting here, because I'll be away, as opposed to the past few months when I just haven't been posting.