feb 29/RUN

5.15 miles
bottom of franklin and back
33 degrees

Some wind, lots of sun and shadows and spring feelings. Heard some black-capped chickadees, was dazzled by the sun shining off a parked car, saw some new graffiti on a sign at the bottom of the hill.

Often my legs felt heavy. But my calves were quiet.

Heard a woodpecker knocking on wood somewhere near the rowing club and thought: a door!

Anybody
home? The
woodpecker
knocks on
the tree like
it was
dinner’s door.

Recited ED’s “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” throughout the run and got most of the lines.

Had some great thoughts while I ran about ED’s funeral poem and how it fits with running and the feeling of moving past (beside) your Self to a space beyond thinking and seeing, where you’re feeling and hearing. Thought about the gradual process ED describes — her repeated use of and and then — for how we break through to a different world where Space — began to toll/As all the Heavens were a Bell/And being, but an Ear. I had many other thoughts, but I’d like to think through them and post tomorrow.

ED’s Daily Delight (feb 28)

the line: Superior — for doors — (from “I dwell in Possibility”)

In November and December, while I was working on the revision of my Haunts poem, I started writing a series of door poems, inspired by a Mary Oliver line from Upstream:

I did not think of language as the means to self-description. I thought of it as the door–a thousand opening doors!–past myself.

Upstream/ Mary Oliver

Looking for
ways out,
hoping for 
ways in,
finding doors
open
everywhere

Then I wrote a series of brief 3/2 poems describing the “doors” I’ve found by the gorge. I’d like to keep adding to them, using my 10 Things lists for inspiration.

Before I do that, I found this reference to doors while rereading a Feb 28, 2022 entry:

The sound of boots tamping snow are the hinges 
of many doors being opened. 
(from Statement of Teaching Philosophy/ Keith Leonard

I like the idea of doors opening or being opened. Opening/being opened suggests that something — language or poetry or the sound of boots triggering memories — is doing that opening. But I also like the idea of doors already open that you have to notice.

from December 2023 “10 Things” Lists:

dec 1: most of the steps down to the Winchell Trail are closed off with a chain, but not the old stone steps — why not?

Just one set
of stairs

without a
chain stretched

across the
top step.

Just one door
calling

out to you,
Come in!

dec 1: 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?

stretches of
the path

forgotten
moments

I enter
a space

outside of
myself.

dec 3: running by a house I walk by often, seeing the door looking different — a new color? orange? have they painted their house or is the light just weird for me today?

today the
color

of this door
has changed —

a new paint
job or

a trick of
the light?

dec 5: a path winding through the savanna revealed by settled snow

a path winds
through the

savanna
often

invisible
today

revealed by
new snow

dec 6: wet path, shimmering — is it just water, or is it super slick ice?

Here, two doors,
both

possible.
One’s safe

the other
more fun.

note: As I write these, I’m thinking that part of their point is to open up and to get into the habit of converting things noticed into my form. Many of them aren’t great, but they are good practice and could help to loosen me up. For the first time in a few years, ran to Lake Nokomis and back.

dec 15: kids laughing on a playground* (*as I listened to the kids, I thought about how this sound doesn’t really change. Over the years, it comes from different kids, but the sound is the same. Season after season, year after year.)

no matter
the year

recess sounds
the same

the difference
is you

and how you
hear it

dec 18: hot sun on my face, once or twice

hot sun on
my face

I pretend
spring’s door

has opened

dec 19: as I ran south, some white thing out of the corner of my eye kept calling out, notice me! So I did: it was an arch of the lake street bridge

Sometimes doors
don’t speak

and sometimes
they scream

Open me,
enter!

dec 22: halfway down the hill, I noticed some stairs on the other side of the road I’ve never noticed before. Were they leading to the franklin terrace dog park?

halfway down
the hill

surprise stairs
noticed

just today.
Where do

they lead? What
doors do

they open?

feb 27/RUN

4.5 miles
VA bridge and back
46 degrees
wind: 16 mph, 29 mph gusts

What a wonderful morning for a run! Okay, maybe the wind was a bit much, but the sun and the warm air and the clear paths made up for it. I felt good and strong and relaxed. A few times my right calf reminded me it was there — no pain, just a strange stretched feeling. I recited ED’s “I heard a Fly buzz — when I died –” several times, mostly in my head, but once, as I climbed out of minnehaha park, out loud! Should I be celebrating this? Do I want to be that person who doesn’t care if others hear her reciting poems as she runs? Yes, I do.

10 Things

  1. the hollow knocking of a woodpecker on dead wood, echoing across the gorge
  2. lots of black capped chickadees calling to each other
  3. oak tree shadows, sprawled everywhere
  4. the brown creek water lazily heading towards the limestone ledge
  5. rustling below me, on the winchell trail — someone walking over the leaves
  6. climbing up from the part of the path that dips below the road, seeing the shadow of trunk on the path that was so sharp and dark I thought it was a fallen tree
  7. sirens on Hiawatha, getting louder as they off the walls of the tunnel near 50th
  8. passing a runner — What a beautiful morning!Yes! Almost perfect!
  9. a biker in a bright yellow shirt, as bright as the one I was wearing
  10. the meandering curves of the sidewalks that wind through the part of minnehaha falls near John Stevens’ house

This morning, while drinking my coffee, I decided to write about the delightful noise of geese wings cutting through the air that I’d recalled hearing a few weeks ago on my back deck — I remembered it after reading a list of 10 things from a feb 27th from another year. I wrote a draft of a poem, then decided I’d like to start writing delight poems every morning. No pressure — just patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate — this isn’t a competition but a doorway into thanks and a silence in which another voice may speak (Praying/ Mary Oliver) — just the opportunity to sit with one of the delights I’ve encountered while running beside the gorge. A few minutes later, I had a further idea about including Emily Dickinson:

The practice, elements:

  • write a poem each day
  • the poem should be about some delight noticed on the run — either from that day or a past entry
  • any form running/breathing form: couplets of 3 syllables/2 syllables
  • uses, in some way, a favorite line from an Emily Dickinson poem

Here’s the poem I wrote this morning:

Too Silver for a Seam / Sara Lynne Puotinen

Even more than the sight of them
it is the sounds they make
that move me.

Usually it is the mournful calls
from within a tight formation
then the lone honk of the last in line,

but today the geese were low enough
to hear the sharp swish of their wings
cutting the air.

In their wake only the echo
of scissors and sharpening knives
and movement too silver for a seam.

The ED line is too silver for a seam and it comes from “A Bird came down the Walk”:

And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer Home—

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam—

I like it! It needs a little work, but it makes me happy and captures my delight in hearing this sound. Scott wondered about the scissors and sharpening knives — such violent imagery — so I explained — the scissors make me think of Scott’s mom and the old scissors I inherited from her that make a wonderfully sharp scissor-y sound when you use them — it also makes me think of my mom who was always using scissors for her fiber art. The sharpening knives make me think of Scott’s dad and the enthusiastic and dilligent way he would sharpen their knives with their knife sharpener. I think I might need to add a line or two that signals my affection for these sounds without making it too obvious.

During the last mile of the fun, I started reciting other ED poems, including:

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

Note: This seems like an edited version from Mabel Todd, with all its punctuation and no capitalizing of clovers or bees.

As I recited this small poem, I suddenly thought about how I was a bee, wearing my bright yellow shirt with my black running shorts and tights. I kept running, feeling ready to stop, looking ahead and wondering how close I was to being done. Suddenly I saw it: the bright yellow crosswalk sign with black figures at 38th street! I’m almost done when I reach that sign! I watched it getting closer and thought, it takes one bee or, it takes a bee?

update, six hours later: I’m back. Decided that I might want to add one more rule to this ED delight daily practice: I want to use my running/breathing form of 3 syllable/2 syllable couplets. I tightened up the poem I wrote earlier using that form. Here’s the new version:

Today the
geese flew

low enough
to hear

the quick swish
of wings

slicing through
the air. (I could leave air for the unintentional rhyme or switch to sky)

In their wake —
echoes

of scissors
cutting

knives being
sharpened

their blades too
silver

for a seam.

feb 24/RUN

1.25 miles
neighborhood
27 degrees

A short run to see how my calf was doing. I think it’s okay. No pain. My heel felt a little strange by the end, but that could be from the cold — I didn’t run long enough to warm it up. (a cautious) Hooray!

My favorite parts of today’s run: cresting the hill on edmund and seeing the river burning a bright silvery white in the distance; the comforting smell of a fire burning in someone’s fireplace; and the wind chimes echoing through the alley as I walked home.

before the run

While searching for calf stretches I came across this delightful fact: the calf is often referred to as the peripheral heart!

Throughout the calf muscles is a network of veins, arteries and nerves. The calf muscles and the deep veins have a network of valves and pumps. This system is called your “peripheral heart.” This is because, when you’re in an upright position, the calf muscles work against gravity to close the valves – contracting and driving blood from your legs towards your heart.

Sore Calves: A Full Guide

Very helpful. I remember reading about calf heart attacks and I wondered why they were called that. Now it makes sense! Also good to remember: the calf is made up of 2 muscles: gastrocnemius (bulging one) and soleus (flat, underneath).

Before heading out for my run, I tried out these stretches. I liked them:

after the run: fun with medical terms!

I haven’t done one of these for some time. I want to turn gastrocnemius and soleus into something else. Inspired by Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, I’ve pulled out my scrabble letters and I’m making new words or phrases.

  • gout ocular messiness
  • regulate moss cousins
  • smile across us tongue
  • oust uncola’s regimes! this has an extra s that I couldn’t fit, but it was too good not to mention

That’s all I have right now. I think I’ll keep working on it later today. It’s fun, but the tiles are harder to see than I thought.

feb 19/RUN

5 miles
john stevens’ house
34 degrees

So bright out by the gorge today. Sharp shadows. Clear path. Black-capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, construction workers, little kids all chattering. Before I saw the creek, I heard it gushing below me near the falls. Oh — and wild turkeys! A dozen of them pecking the snow just north of locks and dam no. 1.

My favorite part of the run was in minnehaha park near John Stevens’ house, where the serpentine sidewalk — completely cleared and dry — snaked through the grass covered in several inches of untouched snow. O, the sun and the shadows and the curves and the warmer air and the dry paths and the open lungs and humming legs!

an illusion

Glance one: running south on the stretch near 38th street, I noticed something dark and solid up ahead on the trail. A loose dog or wild animal? No.
Glance two: Still staring, the black thing turned into a dark, deep puddle on the road.
Glance three: How could I have mistook this puddle for an animal?
Glance four: Wait — it’s not a puddle, it’s someone’s disembodied legs in dark pants walking on the edge of the path.
Glance five: And their legs are attached to a torso in a light colored (gray? tan? pale blue?) jacket which blended into the sky.
Glance six: Getting closer, I can see a head, some shoes

This illusion is not unusual for me. Mostly, it doesn’t bother me because I am used to it and I have time to figure out what it is I’m seeing. Sometimes, when I don’t have time to look and think and guess, it’s scary and unsettling and dangerous.

Found an interview with Andrew Leland from Joeita Gupta and The Pulse this morning and wanted to remember this helpful definition of blindness:

The Pulse

What is blindness? Blindness isn’t merely an absence of sight. Blindness is a central identity for some, a neutral or marginal characteristic for others. Not all blind people are the same. There are blind vegetarians, athletes, academics, you name it. Some people have been blind from birth, others lose their vision as adults. Blindness can come on suddenly or gradually. Blindness is then more than a physical experience. It has its own culture, language, and politics. Blindness is not the same for any two blind people anymore than sight is experienced the same way by two sighted individuals.

note: This podcast has some other great episodes, including one about birding while blind, which I added to my May is for the Birds page.

How I See

I’m continuing to work on my alt-text/ekphrastic image project. Still trying to figure out the best way into the actual poems. Not quite writer’s block, but a grasping, grappling with, wrangling ideas. Anyway, maybe detouring will help a little. I’d like to gather lines from vision poems that describe how I see. I’ll begin with one of the most well-known blind poets, Jorge Luis Borges:

 In Praise of Darkness / Jorge Luis Borges

Old age (the name that others give it)
can be the time of our greatest bliss.
The animal has died or almost died.
The man and his spirit remain.
I live among vague, luminous shapes
that are not darkness yet.
Buenos Aires,
whose edges disintegrated
into the endless plain, has gone back to being the Recoleta, the Retiro,
the nondescript streets of the Once,
and the rickety old houses
we still call the South.
In my life there were always too many things.
Democritus of Abdera plucked out his eyes in order to think:
Time has been my Democritus.
This penumbra is slow and does not pain me;
it flows down a gentle slope,
resembling eternity.
My friends have no faces,
women are what they were so many years ago,
these corners could be other corners,
there are no letters on the pages of books.
All this should frighten me,
but it is a sweetness, a return.
Of the generations of texts on earth
I will have read only a few–
the ones that I keep reading in my memory,
reading and transforming.
From South, East, West, and North
the paths converge that have led me
to my secret center.
Those paths were echoes and footsteps,
women, men, death-throes, resurrections,
days and nights,
dreams and half-wakeful dreams,
every inmost moment of yesterday
and all the yesterdays of the world,
the Dane’s staunch sword and the Persian’s moon,
the acts of the dead,
shared love, and words,
Emerson and snow, so many things.
Now I can forget them. I reach my center,
my algebra and my key,
my mirror.
Soon I will know who I am.

penumbra: shroud, fringe, a shaded region surrounding the dark portion of a sunspot, in an eclipse the partially illuminated space between full shadow and light

Here are a few lines that I think describe how I see:

This penumbra is slow and does not pain me;
it flows down a gentle slope,
resembling eternity.
My friends have no faces,
women are what they were so many years ago,
these corners could be other corners

A slow, gentle deterioration. No dramatic or sudden shifts. / When I look at people directly, I usually can’t see their faces. / I either see a smudge or darkness or the face I remember from before, when I could see. / sharp edges or corners are difficult to see and streets once familiar are strange. Traveling to a new street corner, I struggle to read signs, to recognize where I am, everything there but not, everything the same forms: Building, Sign, Door

feb 18/RUN

5.8 miles
down the franklin and back
31 degrees

A little icy, a little windy, a little crowded. Difficult to run together in these conditions, so Scott and I split up. The sun was bright and I saw some wonderful shadows of trees — gnarled and sprawling across the sky. Heard some geese, smelled some bacon.

When we ran together, Scott and I talked about the half frozen river and how it looked like a gray slushy. What flavor is gray slushy, I wondered. Scott suggested, all the flavors then added, I bet that would taste good. I wondered if this “everything” slushy would include blueberry. No, Scott said, blue raspberry. I mentioned how there is no consensus on the origins of the rasp in raspberry, which I had come across while reading a past entry a few days ago.

How I See

As I continue to work on this project, I want to return to ekphrastic poems. In an article for Lithub — Back to School for Everyone: Ekphrastic Poetry with Victoria Chang — Chang offers some helpful thoughts about the form:

how poets engage with visual art:

  • write about the scene or subject being depicted in the artwork
  • write in the voice of the person or object represented
  • write about their personal experiences
  • fictionalizing a scene within the art
  • write about the work in the context of its socio-political history

In essence, ekphrastic poems are a way to interact with the world and a way to respond to the world. The process of writing ekphrastic poetry also brings into question aspects of viewing, the culture of viewing, and the gaze, always asking the questions of who is looking at what, when, and why?

3 thoughts about Ekphrasis

1: I’m as interested in how someone is looking as who, what, when, or why they are looking.

2: Maybe part of the ekphrasis angle is the idea that sometimes the world looks like a painting to me — pointillism or abstract expressionism or?

3: the contrast between how a photo captures/stills the image in a way that my eyes never can

A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it's all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.
8 nov 2023

original description: A view from the ford bridge, poorly framed. Not sure what color other people might see here, but to me it’s all gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees. I like how the sky and the river look almost the same color to me.

5 nouns/ 5 adjectives/ 5 verbs

nouns: river, water, shore, trees, sky, branches, a bend, surface
adjectives: winding, scraggly, soft, fuzzy, drab, dark, light, gray, wide, flat, contrast, wide
verb: stretching, reaching, standing, stilled, separated, cutting through,\

one sentence about the most important thing in image: The sky and the river are the same color; only the disruption of trees enables me to distinguish between them.

a second sentence about the second most important thing: Everything gray: light gray sky and river, broken up by chunks of dark gray trees.

a third sentence about the third most important thing: In this soft, wide open view, when everything is stilled, silent, nothing is happening.

The nothing that’s happening in this image is full of meaning. Here nothing = no things are doing anything/ nothing to see; nothing = a void, absence, unknowingness; nothing = a rest for my eyes, no movement, everything still, satisfied, stable.

The idea of no separation, no edges or divisions between forms, reminds me of a wonderful poem that I thought I’d posted already, but hadn’t. I think when I first encountered it a few years ago, it didn’t resonate for me. Now, I want to call out, yes!, with almost every line.

Monet Refuses the Operation/ Lisel Muller

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

feb 14/RUN

6.7 miles
franklin loop+*
37 degrees

*The + is because when I reached the lake street bridge, instead of taking the steps up to it, I kept running up the summit hill until I reached the top, then turned around.

When I started my run, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I wondered how a winter storm could move in by this afternoon. But, by the time I was done running, it was overcast. We could get up to 4 inches. Finally, I’ll get some snow. That’s what Dave, the Daily Walker said when I saw him on the trail. My response: I know!

10 Things

  1. woodpecker, 1: loud drumming
  2. woodpecker, 2: a downy woodpecker call, sounding like a loon to me
  3. the lake street bridge, its arch reflecting a smile in the river
  4. the light reflecting off of the stream in the ravine near shadow falls — a bright white
  5. shadows — mine, of lamps, trees, railings
  6. a sandbar in the river the trestle
  7. the sun illuminating all of the patched-up cracks on the path just under the lake street bridge on the east side
  8. paw prints in mud
  9. the river, pale blue with one shiny circle in the middle
  10. smells: fried and savory (from longfellow grill?), weed

I took several pictures, but I’ll save them for posting after I experiment with them.

more experiments with alt-text

A close-up image of tree bark that is rough and brownish gray (or grayish brown). There are streaks of greenish-yellow lichen on the bark. While taking this picture, with my face close to trunk, I could see the lichen, and if I put my face close to the screen I can still see it. But at a normal (1 foot) distance, it almost blends in, not looking yellow or green but light brown.
12 october 2023

initial description of image from 12 oct: A close-up image of tree bark that is rough and brownish gray (or grayish brown). There are streaks of greenish-yellow lichen on the bark. While taking this picture, with my face close to trunk, I could see the lichen, and if I put my face close to the screen I can still see it. But at a normal (1 foot) distance, it almost blends in, not looking yellow or green but light brown.

The trunk of a tree with rough bark. A few more trees and a road behind it.

12 oct 2023

5+ nouns / 5 adjectives / verbs of first image of the trunk:

nouns: tree, bark, cracks, depressions, ridges, textures
adjectives: dark, rough, light, weathered, gray, bumpy, old
verbs: hiding, aging, enduring, exposed, weathered, entangled

one sentence about the most important thing in image: Close up, with my face almost on the bark (or the screen), I can see the green lichen near the bottom of the image, but from a foot back, the bark is only brownish-gray or light with dark depressions or rough.

a second sentence about the second most important thing: The rough texture on this bark, made visible by the constrasts between light and dark, offers an interesting pattern.

a third sentence about the third most important thing: Just off center (by less than an inch?) there’s a light spot with a dark hole in its middle that is where the bark has worn off but that looks almost like a belly button, making it impossible for me to see anything else but it, and hear only belly-button in my head instead of tree or bark.

Oh, I’m enjoying this experiment! Each of my sentences speaks to a different thing about my vision. Sentence one is about how I rarely see color beyond gray or brown. The yellowish-green, which I imagine is very obvious to people with all of their cone cells, is invisible until I look very close or to the side, through my peripheral vision.

Sentence two is about how I have replaced ROYGBIV colors (like green or yellow) with contrast; the 2 primary colors for me are light and dark. They are how meaning is made for me.

Sentence three is about how when I’m focused on one thing, like the light spot near the center, (most) others things are invisible. I only see the spot and not the rest of the tree, or even that it is a tree. I’m sure this is true to some extent for other people with working cone cells, but it is more extreme for me. An example: when I’m running on the trail and my attention is focused on a biker approaching from a distance, the runner much closer to me is completely invisible. I don’t see them at all until we’re fairly close. It’s happened several times over my years of running with low vision. I’ve never run into anyone because I always see them with enough time to adjust. But it’s unsettling and doesn’t feel normal, or at least like how I used to see before so many of my cone cells died.

feb 12/RUN

3.1 miles
trestle turn around
35 degrees

Feels like spring. When I got back, I told Scott: In a normal winter, this would have been one of those days that makes you believe spring is coming. But it’s not a normal winter — no snow, only a short stretch of below freezing temps in January.

So many wonderful birds! As I listened to them chirp and tweet, I imagined the sounds as dots on a scatter plot — but what are the variables on this chart? I’ll have to think about that one. I don’t remember using scatter plots very often. All I can think of is the scatter plot on my kids’ yearly wellness checks for charting growth (variables: height and weight). The idea of scatter plot does sound intriguing as a form. I wonder what fun I could have with it?

An okay run. The conditions were wonderful, my left IT was not. It was sore — time for more fun with the IT band:

  • incandescent tripe
  • imbibing Taylors (apparently Taylor Swift impressively chugged a beer after KC won the super bowl yesterday)
  • implacable termites
  • impending trauma
  • instant triumph (in the last seconds of the first quarter of overtime, Kansas City scored a touchdown and won the game — and just like that, it was over)

As I ran, I thought about how my vision seems to be getting worse. There are some signs that I can’t see things as well, but it’s more that my eyes are straining more to read and I’m getting tired/having headaches from it. Time to put more energy to finding new, less wordy, ways to be. Part of me wishes I didn’t have to, but more of me is up for the challenge and curious about what interesting doors it might open.

I also thought about my ekphrasis project and where it might lead. I stopped and took a few pictures to use for my “how to see” project. Here’s one:

A white bike suspended from a brace on the underside of the railroad trestle.
A white bike suspended from a brace on the underside of the railroad trestle. I can barely see it in the photo, so my description comes more from my memory of when I was looking up at it to take the photo. I think it has flowers and vines wrapped around it. From a “normal” distance, I see some color — blue sky, red and yellow flowers — but they’re muted. When I put my nose right on the screen, the colors are much more vivid, but scattered. My eye is drawn to the lighter sky in the lower left hand corner, which makes everything else even more of a blur. I think I was able to “see” this bike because I know it’s there — I’ve studied it and looked up why it’s there. I even wrote a poem about it. I often rely on memory for seeing.

Looking, or trying to look, at this photo, I’m struck by how different of an experience it is than being below the bike on the trail. (How) is that true for everyone? How much do my vision issues shape these differences? I think it has something to do with the static nature of the image and the absence of other sensory data: no smells, no hearing the wind, no feeling of blue or bike or flower that I usually get when seeing beyond the narrow frame of a photo.

The poem I wrote about this ghost bike — that’s what these white bikes that are left on the trail to honor someone who died are called — as part of my larger Haunts project.

Ghost bike:
under the
trestle
for June
hit and killed
while fix
ing her bike
in a
parking lot.

Flowers:
next to
June’s ghost bike
plastic
placed in the
remains 
of a post
once part
of metal
railing
now only
open
cylinder 

Note: In the winter, someone hangs the bike up higher. Usually, for the rest of the year, it’s lower to the ground, with flowers placed nearby.

Found this poem the other day. I love the listing, then the pow at the end with the final line.

Medical History/ Nicole Sealey

I’ve been pregnant. I’ve had sex with a man
who’s had sex with men. I can’t sleep.
My mother has, my mother’s mother had,
asthma. My father had a stroke. My father’s
mother has high blood pressure.
Both grandfathers died from diabetes.
I drink. I don’t smoke. Xanax for flying.
Propranolol for anxiety. My eyes are bad.
I’m spooked by wind. Cousin Lilly died
from an aneurysm. Aunt Hilda, a heart attack.
Uncle Ken, wise as he was, was hit
by a car as if to disprove whatever theory
toward which I write. And, I understand,
the stars in the sky are already dead.

feb 11/RUN

5 miles
Veterans’ Home and back
32 degrees

Another weekend run with Scott. Usually we run on Saturdays, but yesterday we were in St. Peter, so we ran today instead. Colder, windier, sunny. Sharp shadows. My favorite shadow: running under the ford bridge, a big shadow crossed over my head. A bird? No, a bike up on the bridge.

We talked about ones and zeroes and the differences between null, zero, and false in coding. I mentioned how when it gets to the brain, seeing is about signals firing and not firing. Then we talked about a recent controversy with Margaret Livingstone’s research on animals, which led us to a discussion about scientific experiments as material practices, the ethical dilemma of using knowledge gained from unethical experiments, and then a mention of Newton’s experiments on himself — shoving something in his eye to learn about color. Some fun discussions!

I forgot to notice the falls or look down the river, I recall seeing someone in yellow running on the Winchell Trail. I smelled the smoke near the house that always smells like smoke. I heard a dog’s collar clanging behind us. Felt the cold wind almost taking my breath away.

before the run

Started rewatching Margaret Livingstone’s lecture about artists and vision. Also found her book, Vision and Art — the “read sample” is helpful here.

Near the beginning of the video, Livingstone emphasizes this idea: “Visual information processing is not image transmission.” She adds: you don’t transmit information up to your brain because there’s nobody up there to look. In her book, she elaborates on this idea, giving it a name: the homunculas fallacy — homunculas means “little man.” The fallacy: some little man is up in your brain “looking” at the image. I love this name and the idea of a little man; I’d like to put it in a poem!