2 trails + extra*
*extra = instead of ending the run at the 38th street steps, I kept going past the oak savanna and the overlook, down through the tunnel of trees, over the double bridge, before crossing over to edmund at 32nd and running back home
Felt warmer than 42 degrees with the sun and too many layers — black running tights, black shorts, long-sleeved bright yellow shirt, bright orange pull-over. The thing I noticed most today were the shadows. Heavy shadows everywhere. The shadows of trees, some stretching across the path, others leaning down, just above me. The shadow of a flying bird, a waiting lamppost.
10 Other Things I Remember from my Run
- the loud knocking of a woodpecker
- someone complaining to someone else on the phone. I first heard them up ahead of me near the old stone steps, then as I passed them on the trail, then about 10 minutes later from across the river road as I ran on the grass near edmund
- the river, blue with less foam, not quite as high. I was planning to admire its sparkle near the south entrance to the winchell trail but I was distracted by 2 walkers just ahead of me on the trail
- lower on the winchell trail the gorge below me was all river, no shore in sight
- a trickle of water at the 44th st sewer, gushing at 42nd
- kids playing at the school playground, yelling, laughing. one adult chanting something
- the leaning trees I noticed a few weeks ago are still leaning, almost blocking the trail. A few times, I had to duck to avoid small branches
- music playing (not loud enough to describe it as blasting) out of a car’s radio — some sort of rock music that I didn’t recognize
- one section of the split rail fence — where? I can’t remember — is broken and needs to be repaired
- most walkers I encountered were overdressed in winter coats, hats, gloves
Having finished my series of colorblind plates and feeling unmotivated to read the final sections of Ammons’ garbage, I’m project-less. Not a problem, except the lack of focus makes my mind wander everywhere. Here are just some of the things I thought about before my run this morning:
a new-ish bio
Once or twice a year, I take some time to submit poems to different literary journals. Not sure about the exact math, but I’d say I have about a 5% acceptance rate, which I don’t think is that unusual. I got used to rejection as an academic. Still stings though. Maybe that’s why I don’t submit that often. I think I also haven’t submitted a lot because I don’t care that much about being published, especially as a way to achieve fancy poetry status. But, I’d like to share my poems with a wider audience and if I only post them on my blog they don’t get read by a lot of people and I can no longer submit them to journals (most of the journals I’m encountering consider posting a poem on your personal blog as it being published already). I’d also like to apply for a grant and do an exhibit/installation of my vision test poems and I think having some of them published might help me to get that grant. So, with all that in mind, I’m currently sending poems out to different journals. As part of the submission, you write a cover letter and include a 50-150 word bio. A few days ago, I started playing around with my bio — I included a few in a post log entry on here. This morning I was still thinking about the bio. I was hoping my run would help me find another sentence for this unfinished bio:
Sara Lynne Puotinen lives in south Minneapolis near the Mississippi River Gorge where she enjoys conducting experiments in writing while moving, moving while writing, and doing both while losing her central vision. Sometimes she composes chants while running up hills, or uses her breathing patterns as she swims across a local lake to shape her lines.
The run didn’t help. In fact, I forgot to even think about my bio. Oh well.
april 21, 2022
As part of my daily, “on this day” review, I was reading through past log entries early this morning. Last year’s was especially good (I almost wrote fire, but thought better of it — okay, I did actually write it, but then deleted it). So many things to put in my ongoing projects list!
While I ran, I wanted to try and think about fungi as hidden, always in motion/doing (a verb, not a noun), and below. Had flashes of thought about what’s beneath us, and how I’m often looking down through my peripheral, even as I look ahead with my central vision.
an experiment to try: While moving outside, give special attention to what’s beneath you, what you see, feel, hear at your feet. Make a list in your log entry.
variation: while trying don’t give attention to anything in particular. Just move. Then, in your log entry, try to remember 10 things you noticed below you.
I heard the creaking, squeaking branches and thought about old, rusty, long hidden/forgotten doors being opening — a trap door in the forest floor. I didn’t imagine past the open door or the idea that it led to the river basement (using basement here like ED in “I started Early — Took my Dog”). Still, I enjoyed thinking that I could access this door and something in my moving outside was opening a long shut door.
a question to consider: what doors await me in the gorge? where do they lead? how can I open them?
This morning, I was refreshing my memory of a Carl Sandburg poem I memorized a few years ago called “Doors.” If a door is open and you want it open, why shut it? If a door is shut and you want it shut, why open it?
Third: I love this poem — Mushrooms/ Sylvia Plath
An idea I have right now (25 april 2022, that is) for a poem involves playing off of these lines from Mary Oliver:
Listen, I don’t think we’re going to rise
in gauze and halos.
Maybe as grass, and slowly.
Maybe as the long leaved, beautiful grass
And this bit from Arthur Sze in an interview with David Naiman:
I began to think I love this idea that the mycelium is below the surface. It’s like the subconscious, then when the mushroom fruits pops up above ground, maybe that’s like this spontaneous outpouring of a poem or whatever.
Something like this?
Maybe like mushrooms, we rise
or not rise, flare
brief burst from below
then a return
to swim in the dirt…
I (sara in 2023) would like to do something with this fragment, maybe tie it together with some of my thoughts about Ammons and garbage?
Mary Oliver’s mention of grass reminded me of a poem I like by Victoria Chang, which led me to a log entry from Jan 11, 2022:
Left Open / Victoria Chang
We can’t see beyond
the crest of the wooden gate.
We are carriers
of grass yet to be grown. We
aren’t made of cells, but of fields.
I like this idea of being a carrier of grass yet to be grown. My first thought was of grass on graves — Whitman’s “uncut hair of graves” or Dickinson’s “The color of the grave is green”. Then I thought of Gwendolyn Brooks’ “To the Young Who Want to Die”:
Graves grow no green that you can use.
Remember, green’s your color. You are Spring.
Of course, all this grass talk also reminded me of this part of the cento I just created as one of my colorblind plate poems:
The world mostly g
one, I make it what I want: I
empty my mind. I stuff it with grass.
I’m green, I repeat. I grow in green, burst u
p in bonfires of green, whirl and hurl my green
over the rocks of this imaginary life.
This cento is made out of lines from poems I’ve gathered for this log:
The world mostly gone, I make it what I want (Psalm with Near Blindness/ Julia B. Levine)
I empty my mind. I stuff it with grass. I’m green, I repeat. (Becoming Moss/Ella Frears)
I grow in green (Paean to Place/ Lorine Niedecker)
burst up in bonfires of green (The Enkindled Spring/ D. H. Lawrence
whirl and hurl my green over the rocks (Oread)
this imaginary life (The Green Eye/ James Merrill)
addendum, 26 april 2023: Reading back through my entries about A. R. Ammons as I prepare to post my monthly challenge for April, I encountered these lines from Ammons’ pome “Grassy Sound.” How could I have already forgotten them?!
The wind came as grassy sound
and between its
spoke words said with grass
Happy Birthday Ted Kooser!
Discovered via twitter that today would have been Ted Kooser’s 84th birthday. What a wonderful poet! I’ve gathered 6 of his poems for this log:
- Grasshopper/ Ted Kooser
- The Early Bird/ Ted Kooser
- A Heron/ Ted Kooser
- In the Basement of the Goodwill Store/ Ted Kooser
- Carrie / Ted Kooser
- Turkey Vultures/ Ted Kooser