Category Archives: poetry

bat sauce!

i didn’t eat any bat sauce. it’s just been an awful long time since i’ve written anything. mostly i don’t feel the need to anymore so i’m getting lazy; i mean it’s not necessary anymore to write about my experience to feel sane, at least write in this public bloggy way.

lots of things have happened this month; march was uneventful until the end weeks, mostly full of extremely fun teaching times & most adventuresome after-school lessons with the little kids, who are now “brave” to come over since my host mom is out of town (we’re closing in on five weeks—she’s been visiting her kids and grandkids in sumatra and Jakarta, host dad too).

mom and al came to indonesia for a week! it was a nerve-wracking blast of travelventure and whirlwindery, an exciting but exhausting romp through east and central java with stops in my training village, current site, and Jogjakarta, the cultural-arts metropolis of indonesia. i highly recommend forcing your parents to visit you at site if you are a pcv or basically anyone living in a foreign country for a length of time. they will drive you fairly insane but it’s so good—someone besides your fellows has got to understand what you’re experiencing. mom said that nobody—none of her friends, that is—will be able to really “get it” about indonesia, and i agree. we pcvs are all sort of worried about not having anyone but each other to relate to once we get back in the states; peace corps says one of the hardest things to deal with upon return is the fact that you’ve been away so long and it’s impossible to relate everything to everyone. but it’s great that my folks were here. having them meet people in my life here was really a treat. they probably met 500 people, including all my students… i bet they were as exhausted as i was; i slept for two days straight after they left. translating was fun but draining. i felt like i suddenly had two babies to take care of…very opinionated babies. but they were superstars, eating with their hands, trying everything put in front of them, buying lots of batik, renting real nice hotel rooms for us in Jogja, hanging out with my cool host cousins and eating lots of amazingly delicious duck for real cheap. thanks for coming to indonesia, my parents!

i had two hellish days of impatience and anxiety between the day my exhaustion finally wore off and the day of the newbies’ arrival; the impending hangings out with friends in surabaya (read: with ice cream) are always terrible in their propensity to make me want to hurt most everyone i see. we had a nice reunion and celebration of our one year anniversary of arriving in-country (actually it’s been almost 13 months now) and welcomed the new kids with a nice party with the staff in the office. the new group seems very cool and experienced; i can’t wait to see who’s placed near me (their swearing in is in June and a nearby city is supposedly getting four volunteers). good luck with training, pcid2/5!

the only downer over the past month or so has been diana’s really awful situation. unfortunately, she’s heading for surabaya tomorrow to do her medical check-out before heading back to the states. a big bummer.

*

apologies for the silence. i’ve written massive amounts of poetry over the past five months and it’s been consuming my writing time; blogging is definitely taking a back, way-back seat.

**

oh the tender things
slipping in beneath the clouds,
quiet with pretty eyes,
young skins and pretty crimes;
walking can be done
in the night and sunlight,
taller and with sinews,
breached and behind rested;
we were once children
of our own country,
placed and shuffled.
now we are made of lines,
fogs, any type of liquid.

**

accurate statements

accurate statements with your host, sam.

i am a celebrity and it is strange. kate and sal have a great baby whom i met for the first time on the skype machine. i have a great new haricut that makes me look like velma kelly mixed with george eliot. the beatles are a very enjoyable musical space. i think anne carson is a lot over the top. a letter that evelyn wrote me will be opened in three weeks and i remember so clearly standing in my kitchen when she gave it to me this time last year and thinking: i’ll never make it to feb 15, 2011. poetry isn’t poem or words at all. i look nice in lipstick and i don’t think wearing or not wearing lipstick makes one less or more of a woman. jane lynch is a woman of dreams. i’d really like eric swanson and i to exchange poems but i think he’s a very busy person. sarah kate is having her baby in less than a month. erika makes me real insane but i can’t help but love her; i think she feels the same about me (or i hope she does; it’s a nice feeling). vendors on the busses here sell crazy holographic nature and animal tableaux and i have been regretting not buying this amazing portrait of two cute kittens that i saw when i was coming home from surabaya last time. i can’t wait to be in heather’s arms in california, though i don’t know if she knows it will happen. !!!!! i prefer fried tempeh to fried chicken. we have a new chicken in the family that is the biggest spaz in indonesia. five a.m. now constitutes as “sleeping in.” my coffee from sumatra is finished and i am woebegone. i am getting sick of the four bras i brought to this country and wish i had brought more black pants. diana is real smart, so is lauren, and both are self-deprecating, like me sometimes. i am enjoying the beatles but wish i had the white album with me; the beatles remind me of the reservation and maggie (lindamood) in the best way, but isn’t it crazy how we did that stuff together and now we’re living basically opposite lives? my host dad is great and he has told me the following stories at least three times, and always in one sitting in the same order with the same inflection and progression of ideas: his older brother was old and very incompetent at almost everything but could still thread the eye of a needle to fix a hole in his shirt; his grandmother got to be so old that her toothless gums grew a new set of teeth; his grandfather never ate or drank anything hot, even coffee: he’d make coffee at night to drink in the morning, coffee in the morning to drink in the afternoon, and coffee in the afternoon to drink in the evening; his grandmother diligently spread rice on bamboo mats to fan for him (the grandfather) so it would cool down and he could eat; his grandfather once walked from here to solo to see the king in the palace, a two hour drive up and over mount lawu, and he did it without bringing any money because he knew people would just give him food. he gave me a new one today: he fasted throughout ibu mama’s pregnancies because it’s tradition—or at least used to be—for fathers-to-be to fast so that their babies will have success. we had so much rain today that water splashed through the holes in the bottom of the angkota and got my shoes wet; i had to take my shoes off and plod through inches of water to get home but i loved it. i’ve just seen a face, i can’t forget the time or place where we just met. i have big, big plans for my life and it will be great, though i’m not exactly sure what’s next. boy howdy, i miss al reed and shakin’ it up with ladies in town. i looked at some great pictures of my burlesque friend scarlett and got all loopy for home. school supplies are incredibly cheap and high-quality in this country: i think i’ll bring home a suitcase full of this one specific pen and write with them for the rest of my life. it’s bedtime; i’ve been writing for fifteen minutes and i’ve gotten this far since i started and i think it’s enough. please forgive me. i have been devoting a lot of brain space to other, more-important-at-this-juncture activities and cannot take the time to write something normal but i bet you’re enjoying yourself. i’ll leave you with a fairly accurate statement about what these more-important activities involve: glee, poetry, research, lesson planning, daydreaming, sending text messages, putting on lipstick, drinking coffee. xo. sam.

 

****

 

the accidental haiku of mr. maryono (my brain is old)

 

my brain is old

i’m remember

forgotten, forgotten

 

I am, you anxious one. Do you not hear me

I am, you anxious one. Do you not hear me
rush to claim you with each eager sense?
Now my feelings have found wings, and, circling,
whitely fly about your countenance.
Here my spirit in its dress of stillness
stands before you, — oh, do you not see?
In your glance does not my Maytime prayer
grow to ripeness as upon a tree?

Dreamer, it is I who am your dream.
But would you awake, I am your will,
and master of all splendor, and I grow
to a sphere, like stars poised high and still,
with time’s singular city stretched below.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“The Apology”

“The Apology”

Think me not unkind and rude,
That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
To fetch his word to men.

Tax not my sloth that I
Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
Writes a letter in my book.

Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
Goes home loaded with a thought.

There was never mystery,
But ’tis figured in the flowers,
Was never secret history,
But birds tell it in the bowers.

One harvest from thy field
Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield,
Which I gather in a song.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson