nov 3/RUN

3.1 miles
2 trails
41 degrees

A little warmer today. Another beautiful run. What a view! Clear and through the trees to the river and the other side. I love November and its blues, grays, browns, and golds from a few trees still holding onto their leaves. I felt relaxed and strong — lungs and legs.

Listened to rustling leaves, striking feet, dripping ravines for the first 2 miles of the run. Put in Taylor Swift’s new version of 1989 for the last mile.

10 Things

  1. a single leaf floating through the air, then down to the ground — was it brown or gold or green?
  2. the steady dripping of water out of the sewer pipe
  3. the smell of something burnt — toast? coffee? — but from a house or the gorge and not longfellow grill
  4. a runner in a bright yellow shirt, running across the road, then through the grass below edmund, then onto the dirt trail in front of me
  5. the steps down to the winchell trail are closed, with a chain across the railings, but I went around on the dirt path
  6. the winchell trails was covered in yellow leaves
  7. the roar of a chainsaw from across the gorge
  8. kids’ voices from the playground at Minnehaha Academy
  9. a biker on the walking trail where it dips below the road and hangs above the floodplain forest
  10. a bright headlight from a bike, glowing in the grayish gloom

Found this wonderful little poem the other day:

Injury Room / Katie Ford

Through my
little window, I
see one day
the entire bird,
the next just
a leeward wing,
the next
only a painful
call, which, without
the body, makes
beautiful attachments
by even
attaching at

This poem reminds me of my own experiments in trying to determine how little information (especially visual data) I need in order to recognize or identify or be aware of the presence of some thing.

Poetry is not a Project

Two days ago, at the end of my entry, I posted about a pamphlet I was reading, Poetry is not a Project. I offered some notes from the first section, Habitus, and promised to do the rest in later entries. Here’s the rest. Instead of a lot of notes, I decided to condense it into a key passage from each section.

Poetry is Not a Project / Dorothy Lasky


Poems are living things that grow from the earth into the brain, rather than things that are planted within the earth by the brain.

This discussion of dirt/the ground reminds me of Mary Ruefle’s Observations on the Ground and April, 2022, when I spent the month studying dirt.

An Example

To write a poem is to be a maker. And to be a maker is to be down in the muck of making and not always to fly so high above the muck.

This passage reminded me of an essay I posted about in September and finally read yesterday: En Plein Air Poetics: Notes Towards Writing in the Anthropocene / Brian Teare

What is Really Not Intentions, but Life

The road through a poem is a series of lines, like a constellation, all interconnected. Poems take place in the realm of chance, where the self and the universal combine, where life exists.

On the same site, Ugly Duckling Press, where I found Lasky’s pamphlet, I also found this chapbook, Almost Perfect Forms, in which the author creates the constellations out of ands and ors found in Dreams and Stones by Magdalena Tulli.

How We Write and What We Write For

Because poets make language and make language beautiful. Because beautiful language makes a new and beautiful world. Because poets live and make a new world, which beautiful language itself creates.

oct 31/RUN

3 miles
treadmill, basement
35 degrees / feels like 28
windy / earlier, snow

It snowed last night. Maybe 2 inches. I decided to run in the basement instead of going outside in the cold and the wind. While I ran I listened to a You Are Good episode about the horror movie, The Changeling. I’m not familiar with the movie but it’s on the horror movie puzzle we’re working on right now, so I was curious. Now I think I want to see it.

Not much to remember about my run. Can I think of 10 things?

Almost 10 Things

  1. I forgot my headband and even though my hair was pulled back in a ponytail, stray hairs kept flying out and into my face. I think running on the treadmill must cause static
  2. the hairs feel like little spider webs and are annoying
  3. I thought sweat would help tame these hairs, but it didn’t. They kept harassing all through the run
  4. I briefly stepped off the treadmill mid-run to set up the podcast. The belt made a loud whirr that sounded like it might fly off at any minute
  5. sometimes, but not all the time, I forgot my feet were touching the ground and I felt like I was floating
  6. on the podcast they talked about how the main character, George C. Scott, was an old dad — he was in his 50s, but was an old 50s — Sarah Marshall called it a 70s 50s. She also compared him to her dad and said that they were both born smoking cigarettes, which aged them more rapidly
  7. why is that what I remember?
  8. my left hip was a little stiff
  9. treadmills are boring and I kept looking at my watch, hoping the time was going faster

I don’t like running on treadmills that often. We just rejoined the Y for the winter so maybe I won’t have to? If I do, I’d like to do some interesting experiments. Maybe more reciting poetry or listening to more podcasts or audio books?

It’s Halloween, and here’s a wonderful poem in celebration of it:

Ode to Halloween/ Joanne Durham

The Crayola crayon box on skinny legs
squeezes close to the patch-eyed pirate
on my doorstep, goodie bags outstretched

like ours were long ago—We knew
we were the lucky ones, living
in the apartments, where we scored more

M&Ms and Snickers bars in twenty minutes
than the kids in fancy houses did in an hour.
But it wasn’t the candy that enticed us,

most of mine forgotten on the kitchen shelf
for months after the initial gorging.
It was the whole town complicit

with superheroes and monsters, my sister
morphed into a frog in Mom’s t-shirt and
green socks, Mr. Carson dressed in fluorescent

skeleton bones we dashed past to reach
the fairy godmother at the front door,
our faces upturned and open—

We forgot if we were a kid who couldn’t spell,
a boy sprouting acne at nine. We just fastened
a lion’s fuzzy face over our own and roared.

Speaking of Halloween, we have had the same decorations for 6 or 7 years. Cheap Target skeleton lights, a styrofoam tombstone, and hands and a skull that light up and look they’re coming out of the earth. It’s not amazing, but I like decorating a little and it looks cool from down the street. For the past week, the lights haven’t been working and I couldn’t figure out why. Scott finally checked: someone cut the cord. Why? Such a bummer.

oct 30/RUN

5.4 miles
franklin loop
25 degrees / feels like 20

Yes! A great temperature for running. I love the cold air and not getting overheated. Wore black running tights, black running shorts, my 10 year-old base layer green shirt, an orange sweatshirt, black gloves, a hat and a buff. Such a great run. I feel satisfied and happy and energized. A great start to the winter running season!

10 Things

  1. chatty, chirping birds — sparrows? wrens? finches? chickadees?
  2. the Welcoming Oaks are almost bare. Where was I when the leaves fell? hello friends!
  3. a bright white circle of sunlit river burning through the growing gap between the trees
  4. everywhere more of a view to the other side
  5. empty blueish gray water — so calm and pleasing to my eyes
  6. passed Daddy Long Legs, dressed in black. His hi was so quiet it didn’t register until it was too late to call back a greeting
  7. Hi Dave! — greeting Dave, the Daily Walker in the final mile
  8. crossing the bridge, approaching 2 talkative runners from behind: excuse me. / Oh! [a runner jumps to the side looking freaked out] / Sorry I scared you!
  9. the smell of smoke down below on the east side of the river
  10. a roller skier! I couldn’t hear the clicking and clacking of his ski poles until I was right next to me

bats, bells, noisy road work, and late fall leaves

Found this poem from DH Lawrence the other day while looking for poems about bats. Wow, he didn’t like bats!

 Bat/ D.H. Lawrence

At evening, sitting on this terrace,
When the sun from the west, beyond Pisa, beyond the mountains of Carrara
Departs, and the world is taken by surprise …

When the tired flower of Florence is in gloom beneath the glowing
Brown hills surrounding …

When under the arches of the Ponte Vecchio
A green light enters against stream, flush from the west,
Against the current of obscure Arno …

Look up, and you see things flying
Between the day and the night;
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.

A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches
Where light pushes through;
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.
A dip to the water.

And you think:
“The swallows are flying so late!”


Dark air-life looping
Yet missing the pure loop …
A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight
And serrated wings against the sky,
Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light,
And falling back.

Never swallows!
The swallows are gone.

At a wavering instant the swallows gave way to bats
By the Ponte Vecchio …
Changing guard.

Bats, and an uneasy creeping in one’s scalp
As the bats swoop overhead!
Flying madly.

Black piper on an infinitesimal pipe.
Little lumps that fly in air and have voices indefinite, wildly vindictive;

Wings like bits of umbrella.


Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag, to sleep;
And disgustingly upside down.

Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags
And grinning in their sleep.

In China the bat is symbol for happiness.

Not for me!

Today, writing this bit before my run, I’m thinking about bats and echos and echolocation. Vibrations, reverberations, sounds that haunt by continuing to ring out. Bells. But, back to the echoes. In addition to bats, I’m thinking about a stanza from a favorite Halloween poem that I posted on this day in 2020:

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:
from Black Cat/ Rainer Maria Rilke

Speaking of haunting, relentless sounds: I am sitting at my desk in the front room and city workers are paving the hole they made in the street in July or August. So loud! Beep beep beep. Rrrruuummmbbbllleee. Scrape scrape, tamp tamp. Even the visual noise echoes — a flash flash flash of the lights on the truck as it dumps the gravel or tar or whatever they’re putting in the hole. Everything is vibrating — the street, my jaw, my chair, the windows. Difficult to think or to write while this is happening!

At the end of my run, having crossed the river road to walk in the grassy, leaf covered boulevard, I was distracted by the delightful noise of fallen leaves. Then I noticed a bare tree, its still green leaves scattered around it.

An image of the ground covered in leaves, most of them green. A strange sight in late fall when most of the fallen leaves are usually brown or orange or gold. When I took this picture, the ground seemed to glow from the green, but now, looking at the image, everything is muted and dull and boring. Is it my lack of functioning cone cells, my inability to take a decent picture, or something else?
green leaves on the ground / 30 oct 2023

oct 28/RACE

Halloween 10k
stone arch bridge
27 degrees

We did it! Scott and I ran together in our first race in 4 years. Much slower than I’ve ever run a 10k, but it doesn’t matter because we did it without stopping, especially on the final hill. And I felt good at the end and even smiled. Hooray! The only part I didn’t like was before the race. It was freezing. I was dressed in my usual winter attire — tights, a green shirt, orange sweatshirt, black vest, gloves, and a buff — but it wasn’t enough. I was so cold that I felt like I might throw up. I’m fine running outside when it’s very cold, but I have to be moving, which we weren’t for almost an hour.

10 Things

  1. the cobblestones at the beginning were a challenge — so uneven and broken
  2. David S. Pumpkins and his 2 ghosts were running the race
  3. also a guy portaging a canoe — an actual canoe! I wonder if he was running the 10k or the marathon
  4. other costumes: 2 m-n-ms — red, 2 oompa loompas, curious george and the man with the yellow hat
  5. a guy dressed up like the granny from Little Red Riding Hood
  6. running down a hill, I passed one of the leaders of the race running back up it. I thought I heard hime call out, only 5?! as he passed the 5 mile marker
  7. one runner approaching another one and calling out, I love your earrings! They make your outfit look extra special
  8. a guy in a banana costume struggling up the first hill, wheezing loudly and breathing heavily
  9. bump/bump bump bump/ bump bump buuuuummp (overheard: the opening to “eye of the tiger” at the top of the hill)
  10. speeding up on the stone arch bridge and (almost) sprinting across the line with Scott with a huge smile on my face — a great race!

adding this several hours later: I found this poem on HAD ( and I didn’t want to wait until the next time I run to post it, so here it is:

Friendly?/ Luke Strathmann

The fact they call Casper friendly
Means he probably isn’t
Probably a real piece of shit
The type of ghost
Who keeps business unfinished
Just to stick around
Longer than anyone wants
One time grandpa fell on a knife
And grandma said a ghost did it
And I bet it was fucking Casper
I don’t trust him for one fuck
And don’t care if he hears it, either
Haunt me, baby
One day I’ll be a ghost, too
And then we’ll see who’s friendly
We’ll beef until the sun explodes
Eats the earth and everything else
And that will be the end of all business
Unfinished or not

oct 25/RUN

3.3 miles
2 trails
51 degrees
humidity: 91%

Yesterday it rained all day. Today it was wet and gray and leaf-littered. For the first mile, I heard a squeak squeak each time I stepped on the wet leaves. Saw and good morninged a regular: Mr. Walker Sitter. Heard kids yelling at the school playground. Smelled the sewer gas. Avoided city workers and roofers and bikers almost over the white line. Admired the “edge of the world,” now open and looking even more edge-y. Worried about slipping on the wet leaves and falling down the steep slope. Dripped sweat in the humid air. Counted drops falling from the sewer pipe in the ravine. Wondered if the distance/pace was not working properly on my watch. Forgot about everything else.

The color of the day is YELLOW.

  1. tunnels of yellow leaves above me
  2. piles of yellowed leaves under me
  3. yellow cross walk signs glowing in the gloom
  4. a runner’s bright yellow running shirt
  5. (writing this entry): a neighbor’s yellow tree outside my window,
  6. yellow leaves on the hydrangea bush
  7. a stretch of yellow trees, just past their peak, beside me near Folwell
  8. a yellow entrance to the Winchell Trail

The yellow I see is mostly bright. Not gold, but with hints of orange and green.

Before I ran I memorized A Rhyme for Halloween. Then I recited lines from it as I moved. Never all at once, but every so often.

As I was searching for another poem to post I thought about how many poems I’ve already posted and why I keep posting more when I hardly have time to read the ones I’ve already posted. So today, I decided to revisit a poem that I posted on October 25th, 2020: Beginning/ JAMES WRIGHT. Beautiful. Reading it right now, I love the opening:

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.   
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.

I love the idea of the moon dropping feathers and the dark wheat listening. And now, as I read the third line, Be still. I’m thinking of it less as a command to not move (to be still), and more as an invitation or a plea to continue to exist (be, still). And then I’m connecting that idea to the last 2 lines of the poem:

The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

Perhaps my darkness involves an impossible wish, that my mom and Scott’s parents were still alive.

oct 23/RUN

3.65 miles
turkey hollow
52 degrees

It felt good and necessary to run this morning. Yesterday I spent a lot of time on the couch reading and watching (or, more like listening to) my son play Earthbound, an old video game that Scott used to play when he was kid. Also watched a few episodes of FWA’s new (to him, but around for years) favorite anime, One Piece. I wish I could see it better with my bad eyes, because I was enjoying it. Anyway, I spent so much time sitting that my resting heart rate was at 45. I needed some exercise this morning.

added a minute later: Reading back through this entry and thinking about my need to run, I feel compelled to add that haunting this run (and also making it necessary) are what I read over coffee early this morning: horrifying headlines about the atrocities being committed against Palestinians in Gaza and the failure of the US government in not only refusing to condemn them but condoning them in their uncritical support of the Israel government. Heartbreaking.

For most of the run, I was rerouted by obstacles: city workers trimming trees — turn right, here! — trucks sweeping the streets — now left — a parks’ vehicle clearing off leaves on the path — better stay in the grass! — a few more parks’ trucks patching the path — time to cross back over to the road! — a young kid with an adult — no narrow Winchell Trail for me today. A meandering run.

I could make a list of things I noticed — shrieking squirrels, squeaking leaves, wet and sloppy mud, yellow and red and orange leaves, beeping trucks — but the thing I’d like to remember most is the circle of bright, burning light through the gap in the trees as I ran down the small hill just past the double bridge: the sun reflecting off the rough surface of the river. Wow! No color, just pure shine, burning bright through the trees.


Before I went out for a run, I began to gather words about rust and planned to think about rust as I moved. Maybe it was the distraction of all of the detours or my sore legs or the joy of being outside, but I forgot. Here are the words I gathered:

1 – from Leaves/ Lloyd Schwartz

You’ll be driving along depressed when suddenly
a cloud will move and the sun will muscle through
and ignite the hills. It may not last. Probably
won’t last. But for a moment the whole world
comes to. Wakes up. Proves it lives. It lives—
red, yellow, orange, brown, russet, ocher, vermilion,
gold. Flame and rust. Flame and rust, the permutations
of burning.

2 — from 8 august 2023

Listening to the line in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”: 

Did you have to do this?
I was thinking that you could be trusted
Did you have to ruin what was shiny?
Now it’s all rusted

and thinking about shiny vs. rusted, and rust in the fall, then I noticed some rust on one of the big metal tubes all around the neighborhood that the city is using for their sewer work — Scott says these tubes get placed vertically in the ground and the workers stand in them as they do their work.

3 — from 18 april 2023

I’m very interested in rust as a color too. I last mentioned in on March 13, 2023 with Schuyler and ED’s “elemental Rust.” I’m thinking of it less as a color-as-noun (like brownish reddish orange), more as color-as-verb and in relation to erosion, decomposing, crumbling — this is where it connects with texture. Does this make any sense, even to me? Not sure, but it seems helpful to think of rust in relation to shiny. Are they in contrast to each other? Only if you imagine shiny and sparkling as new, which isn’t always the case.

4 — Crumbling is not an instant’s Act (1010)/ EMILY DICKINSON

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act
A fundamental pause
Dilapidation’s processes
Are organized Decays —

‘Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A Cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An Elemental Rust —

Ruin is formal — Devil’s work
Consecutive and slow —
Fail in an instant, no man did
Slipping — is Crashe’s law —

5 — from 11 march 2023

The sky
Colors itself rosily behind gray-black and the rain falls through
The basketball hoop on a garage, streaking its backboard with further
Trails of rust, a lovely color to set with periwinkle violet-blue.

A rosy sky behind gray-black clouds? Not pure reddish-pink or pinkish-red but the hint of it behind something darker. The rust — did I see rust anywhere on my run? I don’t think so.

6 — from 8 march 2023

Before heading out for my run, I had started revising my “How to Sink” poem. Thought I might get some inspiration by the gorge. Later, as I ran, I realized that I should wait to finish this poem when it’s spring, or at least warmer, when everything is dripping and oozing and flowing down to the river. I thought of this as the sharp flurried stabbed my face. Was thinking that I should do a “How to” poem related to water through the seasons. 

Summer = How to Float

Spring = How to Sink

Winter = How to Settle? — something about snow that’s packed, layer, staying (not melting), compacting — How to be compact? or, How to Shrink?

Fall = I need to think about this one some more. What does water do in the fall? Maybe something related to decomposing — leaves falling, drying up, becoming brittle? water leaving — freezing — frost? fog? or, How to Rust?

7 — from 20 january 2023

Noticed all of the rusty orange leaves still on the trees near the tunnel of trees. 

8 — from 13 november 2022

rusty brownish red stain on the lake st bridge

9 — from Perennials/ Maggie Smith

You can hear 
the sound of wind, which isn’t
wind at all, but leaves touching. 
Wind itself can’t speak. It needs another
to chime against, knock around.
Again & again the wind finds its tongue,
but its tongue lives outside
of its rusted mouth.

9 — from 22 october 2021

As I was running through minnehaha regional park, I thought about the things that have stayed the same, the things that have changed, and what seems to still be present as living and vital, and what only remains in decay, or in the faintest traces of what it had been. I was thinking about this as I ran by the playground, which was redone five or so years ago, but still has some old equipment, like the creaky, rusty swings. Something about that reminded me of a few lines from Poe’s “The Bells,” especially the bit about the rust.

Hear the tolling of the bells—
                 Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
        In the silence of the night,
        How we shiver with affright
  At the melancholy menace of their tone!
        For every sound that floats
        From the rust within their throats
                 Is a groan.

10 — from 28 october 2021

Reading through Poe’s “The Bells” again, I’m thinking about how the bells in this verse are not clock bells, tracking the precise, steady passing of time (which reminds me of the lines about the blind, dumb clocks and no time for the martyr). These bells toll, groan, moan, roll, throb, sob, knell. The sound of the bells floats from rusty throats, is muffled, melancholy. When it is mentioned that they keep time, it is not the time of life, but of death.

oct 19/RUN

4.1 miles
minnehaha falls and back
51 degrees / light rain

Ran to the falls. Everything yellow, red, orange. Wow! Encountered some walkers as I got closer to the falls, one or two runners. Chanted triple berries — strawberry/ raspberry/ blueberry. Also recited Mary Oliver’s “Can You Imagine.” I remember starting it, but I don’t think I finished it, and I can’t remember where I stopped. The Minneapolis park workers were out again, patching up cracks in the asphalt with stinky, steaming tar. The falls were gushing. As I ran by them, 3 teenage boys sprinted past me, on their way to the steps. The mother in me hoped they didn’t fall down the slippery stairs. I stopped at my favorite spot on the other side of the park, near where Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” is etched into the limestone wall, to admire the falls. Today, before starting to run again, I decided to take some video of my view:

The view from my favorite spot of Minnehaha Falls

notes about what I saw: As I was taking this video I saw a flash of movement below: it was one of the teenage boys running over the bridge that crosses the creek after it’s fallen. I tried to pan down to capture him on video, but I can’t see him. Can you? Also, to the left of this frame, there was a person with an easel set up, painting this view from a different angle. When I had approached the spot, I knew there was something/someone else there but I couldn’t tell what/who it was and I didn’t want to stare. It was only after I started walking away and saw the person through my peripheral vision that I figured out what was there.

The rain came in the last mile of my run, right after I finished filming myself running up the edge of the world. (Oops. I screwed up the camera by not starting it when I thought I did. I’ll have to try filming this view some other day). Good timing! I didn’t mind getting wet — I already was, from sweat.

I listened to water dripping, kids yelling from across the road, a dog yipping, the falls rushing, leaves squeaking on the way to the falls. I put in Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” on the way back, but took it out and listened to more water and wheels and my own breathing while running on the Winchell Trail.

We’re getting closer to the end of October and the cold is coming. Looking back through old entries, it had already snowed by this day in past years. Here’s a poem I found in the New Yorker that gets me in the mood for that cold — and it features the color blue!

Childhood/ David Baker

I miss the cold, but not the cold breaking,
not the small limbs sheared, nor the icepick cold
white wind working its whole way through you
no matter your coat and gloves, and no matter
the blue scarf someone tied and tucked tight.

The same cold blue all day in the sky. Frozen
blue through limbs of the two standing elms.
Brilliant each blue. Blue the color of new
snow like wafers on the fields. Come in cold then,
and the dark comes with you, kick off your boots

and someone is rubbing your feet so they
sting, then stop stinging. Now the bruised-apple-
red bottle at the foot of your bed, steaming,
and come morning woodsmoke in the kitchen.
I miss the cold then, so cold there is singing.

oct 10/RUN

5.1 miles
franklin loop
44 degrees

Ah, this fall weather! What a morning to be outside by the gorge. A little windier than I’d like, but wonderful. My legs felt a little stiff and sore, but I kept going and they got better. In the third mile, I started chanting triple berries. Just the same three again and again: strawberry blueberry raspberry strawberry blueberry raspberry. They helped me stay in a good rhythm.

10 Things

  1. rowers on the river! 6 or 8 in one shell
  2. the river was blue heading east, brown on the return trip west
  3. either wind or water through the trees, making a shimmering sound
  4. still so much green everywhere
  5. 2 different bikes blasting music that I couldn’t quite identify
  6. click clack click clack — a roller skier passing me as we neared the lake street bridge
  7. a minute later, a rollerblader approaching from the north, heading south
  8. flowers in the pipe sticking out of the trestle railing that’s been turned into a vase — a memorial for someone
  9. a man using a DIY walker/runner — bike wheels, yellow frame (I think I’m remembering that right?)
  10. the glitter effect: wind + sun + water = wow
My view facing south from the overlook on the Lake Street bridge. The Mississippi River with trees in the background and an apartment building in the upper right corner. This photo is in color -- blue water, green trees with hints of yellow and orange --but to me it looks black and white, or gray and brown.
My view facing south on the Lake Street bridge

No geese or fat tires or Daddy Long Legs. Also, no headphones. Listened to the wind, radios, conversations, my feet thudding on the ground.

I stopped at my favorite part of the tunnel of trees. Walking up the small hill, I noticed leaves gently falling from the trees, birds chirping, the light coming through the canopy. I decided to stop and take a short video:

at the end of my run, above the floodplain forest

Here’s how I see/hear this video: The view of a canopy of trees. Occasionally, a leaf stirs in the wind. All around this view, leaves were drifting down one at a time. If I put my face right up to the screen — nose touching — I can see that these trees are GREEN!, but with my face a foot away, the scene looks grayish brownish, with only the whisper of green. When recording this video, I mostly heard the birds and not the cars above me on the road. But watching the video I hear mostly the loud rushing of cars and some wind. The birds are very quiet.

The birds, both remembered from when I stood at the spot recording this video and heard in this clip, made me think of a wonderful bird poem I discovered yesterday:

For the Birds/ Zilka Joseph

Sudden dash of light in the corner
of my eye, a soundless flash in hazy swathe
of trees leaps stealthily from the small maple
to the crabapple that has taken this year’s
drought hard. My eyes bore into foliage. Is it
a mynah? Dad, you taught me well how to look
and listen. This is Michigan, and it’s probably
a grackle, but I think of the crow pheasant
(the coucal) I often watched in India, a wily
master of camouflage. I remember the first

time I ever saw one close up. I was seven
or maybe eight, sickly and bookish. While
sitting in the shade of a sprawling gulmohar
that dropped scarlet whorls of flowers
on me, it darted from under the hibiscus. So
graceful its arched tail, so fiery its beady eyes.
I was reading some Enid Blyton novel about
young girls in a boarding school in rainy
England who ate scones and crumpets, and had

fabulous adventures. It was a hot afternoon
as this avian beauty that normally threaded light
woodland and field slipped into my grandaunt
Lily’s garden. She was a famous doctor
at Tata Hospital when few women
stayed single and had careers. She drove
a grey Standard Herald, and her frantic beeping
of the horn sent her gardener’s sons rushing
to throw open the low iron gates when
she came home. Once, she gave me a nest
a weaver bird had abandoned. It adorned
my bedroom for years. She would tell me

about the trips she had taken when she was
young. All over Europe, and yes, to the Isle
of Capri—her favorite. All eyes, I would listen.
Then she would sing “‘Twas on the Isle of Capri …”
or play a Vera Lynn record. Did she have many
lovers? I wanted to wear expensive Dhaka
saris, high heels, smoke cigarettes (as I had seen
her do at dinner parties sometimes), travel—
be like her. Would I ever go anywhere? I who
failed in math and science, hated bullies, hated
school. My head sailed in the clouds. My brain,
they told me, was for the birds. My handwriting
a bird’s nest. My weak fingers would never grasp
a pen properly, my legs never walk normally again.
When would my flesh grow light, my bones
breathe only air so I could fly? When the bird

appeared from nothing, shapes shifted, my book
levitated. The bird floated, not walked. Did it
even have feet? I felt my weight lift. Floating
was as good as flying. It seemed not to see
me, as if it were a peaceful spirit passing
through. Strange girl, they said. A dreamer.
Did I imagine it then? Hearing a creak of leaf
and branch near my deck, the blur I saw earlier
turns to flesh and blood—a gawky crow
who arrows to the roof from the forsythia
and caws shrilly. Curious juvenile, her
glance is full of questions. Friend or
foe? Food or death? I throw my head
back, look up at her. She peers at me
over the edge. I slip indoors for bread, then
leave ripped bits on the railings. Where
is she? She’s hiding somewhere, watching me

watch her. They emerge and melt, these wily beings—
show a wingtip, glitter of eye, flick of tail. Leave me
a feather to dream on, a map to follow. My mother
and I fed them scraps everyday.They jostled each
other on the ledge, fought for crumbs, always
hung around our windows. Then disappeared
into neem, peepul, or the banyan tree as big
as a city. Did they wonder where we’d gone?
Had they heard us weep? Had they pecked at the
shuttered windows and silence? Wild fig seedlings
now grow from cracked brick. A sudden woosh

of wing beats. Listen! The air throbs. Three
trumpeters pass over me to land on the pond.
I wave. This is where I live. And there and
here and there. Crow, sparrow, finch, blue
jay, nuthatch, chickadee, cardinal, mallard,
cormorant, heron, geese, swan. They visit,
feed and fade. Return. They know their own.
I’m for the birds. I’m never alone.

I love how place — both India and Michigan — are so present in this poem. And I love the story she tells, about seeing a bird in India, being a misfit only for the birds, looking up to her grandaunt, and how she tells it. Also, I want to think some more about this line: All eyes, I would listen.

oct 7/RUN

5.5 miles
ford loop
43 degrees

Ran the ford loop with Scott. Finally, it’s cooler. Much easier to run. We talked about a problematic NYTimes article that Scott had read earlier that was so sloppily edited that they spelled Gov Walz’s name wrong (as Waltz, I think). We also talked about the rowers on the river and the Brooks’ mile on the marathon course.

Mostly the run was easy. My IT band was acting up by the end and I rolled my ankle on something in the grass in the last mile. .

Running over the lake street bridge I noticed a single shell on the water. Then more shells, some with only one rower, one with eight. Then buoys. A race! A few minutes later a woman overheard us wondering about it and told us it was a tournament. It was so quiet on the bridge that we were able to hear the oars slapping the water. They made such a delightfully awkward sound. Without sound, the rowers float effortlessly over the water. But when you can hear the oars you can feel the effort of their rowing. I like being able to hear them; they feel more real that way, more body, less machine.

10 Things

  1. dark blue water. near the edges it looked almost black
  2. the lamps lining the path on the st. paul side were on, the ones on the minneapolis side were not — the minneapolis have been stripped of wires and never repaired/replaced
  3. rowers’ voices drifting up from the river near Shadow Falls
  4. it started overcast, almost gray. by the time we were done, the sky was bright blue
  5. a chipmunk darted in front of me, narrowly missing my foot
  6. plenty of color on both sides of the river — yellow, red, orange
  7. the ford bridge stretched in front of us, looking longer than it usually does
  8. on both the lake street and ford bridges, a tiring wind blowing into us
  9. a motor boat near the shore. I wondered if its wake would cause problems for the rowers
  10. turkeys! 3 of them in someone’s yard on the st. paul side

Typed “oars” in the search box on Poetry Foundation and found this poem. I like the form and want to read the larger work — Emptied of all Ships — that it comes from:

…shift at oars/ Stcy Szymaszek





no one
the brains
I am now

an oar

joints ruptured
soak in
deep ink

Very cool. I might have to buy Emptied of All Ships.

oct 4/RUN

4.4 miles
longfellow gardens and back
64 degrees / 78% humidity

A little cooler, but still humid. More shorts and tank top. Decided to run past the falls to Longfellow Garden to check out the flowers. Oranges, reds, pinks, purples, yellows. Did the gray sky make the colors seem even more vibrant to me?

The falls were gushing, so was the creek. The sound of dripping water from the sewer mixed with the wind. Chainsaws echoed below me in the gorge as Minneapolis Parks workers removed dead branches and leaning trees.

Running on the part of the trail that dips below the road, between locks and dam no. 1 and the 44th street parking lot, I could smell the rotting leaves — the too sweet, stale smell of last night’s beer. Yuck! Did I smell anything else? Yes! The strong scent of burnt toast or burnt coffee beans or burnt something somewhere in the neighborhood. The soft, pleasing scent of the tall, fuzzy grass that Scott says smells like cilantro.

I listened to kids being dropped off for school as I ran south. At my favorite spot at the falls, I put in an old playlist. I took my headphones out again when I reached the Winchell Trail. Then I put them back in after I was done and walking home. I listened to a chapter about the benefits of being small in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Gathering Moss.

Since I’m prepping for a week about fall color for my class, I tried to notice color on my run.

10 Things I Noticed: Color

  1. there is still so much green. Everywhere, green. Not dark winter green, but light summer green
  2. a few slashes of red on the edge of the trail, the bright red hair of a walker
  3. orange cones, orange vests, orange signs, a past-its-prime orange tree, orange school bus, orange flowers sticking out above the other flowers
  4. hot pink petals, still intact
  5. flowers glowing such a light, almost white, purple that I imagined them to be ghost flowers
  6. yellow safety vests on a long line of bikers crossing at the roundabout, backing up traffic
  7. dry and dead brown leaves on the edge of the trail, covering the path
  8. the dark blueish gray of crumbling asphalt
  9. dark brown mud
  10. white foam from the raging falls

While walking around the garden, I took a few pictures:

Fall flowers at Longfellow Gardens. In person, these flowers seemed more vibrant and in reds, purples, pinks, oranges. Now looking at the photo, it is mostly various shades of green or gray or brown. If I put the screen right up to my nose or stare at the photo out of the corner of my eye, I can see some color, almost like the idea of color or a flash of color. Nothing steady or solid.
Longfellow Gardens, fall flowers in bright colors that I mostly cannot see

Pale purple flowers at Longfellow Gardens. In person, these flowers were so pale and so bright, almost white, that I imagined them to be ghost flowers.
ghost flowers at Longfellow Gardens

I love this description of what poetry is/could or should be:

Ars Poetica/ José Oliverez

Migration is derived from the word “migrate,” which is a verb defined by Merriam-Webster as “to move from one country, place, or locality to another.” Plot twist: migration never ends. My parents moved from Jalisco, México to Chicago in 1987. They were dislocated from México by capitalism, and they arrived in Chicago just in time to be dislocated by capitalism. Question: is migration possible if there is no “other” land to arrive in. My work: to imagine. My family started migrating in 1987 and they never stopped. I was born mid-migration. I’ve made my home in that motion. Let me try again: I tried to become American, but America is toxic. I tried to become Mexican, but México is toxic. My work: to do more than reproduce the toxic stories I inherited and learned. In other words: just because it is art doesn’t mean it is inherently nonviolent. My work: to write poems that make my people feel safe, seen, or otherwise loved. My work: to make my enemies feel afraid, angry, or otherwise ignored. My people: my people. My enemies: capitalism. Susan Sontag: “victims are interested in the representation of their own sufferings.” Remix: survivors are interested in the representation of their own survival. My work: survival. Question: Why poems? Answer:

the work of a poet: to imagine; to do more than reproduce toxic stories; to make your people feel safe, seen, loved; survival