Thursday, March 25, 2010


While I was waiting for the bus today at my place of employment one of the folks who works with me approached the stop too.  While I am technically her boss in terms of the relationship that our mutual institution applies to us, I am generally uncomfortable with such designations as I find them old-fashioned and rather counterproductive to the goals and purpose of the work we are doing.  I truly believe in shared governance, you see, and while I have a role of leadership in said organization, I prefer to allow input and feedback from those who work in that organization and who do the work that takes place there.  Yes, of course, I have to make managerial decisions, but I feel that the people who do the work should share in the governance of the place.

She and I talked about her French class.  She commented that she found French a very difficult language to speak, and noted that was probably why the French drank so much coffee.  We both laughed at that.  This person has quite the sense of humor, not muddled by a disability that would surely knock me flat.

We chatted some more, this time about work matters, as the bus we were both taking approached.  I boarded first with the able-bodied, as she had to request the driver to lower the lift.  We lost track of each other at this point, as I moved to the back of the bus as is my usual wont, and she scrambled to a seat in front.

And I did feel badly about not sitting with her, but stayed in the back and thought.

She got off in a most unexpected place--by the river that bisects the Salt Lake valley, near a path that follows the river bank.  While there is a sidewalk by the roadside there and a somewhat steep incline to a wild-looking area where reeds and wild plants take over.  After leaving the bus, she moved up the hill, towards the wild area.  People in the bus were watching her, and I was struck with sudden emotion--not of pity or even compassion, but of pride of knowing such a powerful person who has faced so much struggle in her life, but strives and strives for more.

As the bus pulled away, I jotted the following on my notepad:

Against the cold wind
You climb against your body
The wind shakes the reeds

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Float Like a Butterfly

Float Like a Butterfly
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My travels took me to Louisville, Kentucky this week. Louisville is an unassuming city. Like most American cities it seems to strive for the gaudy and the fantastic, yet at the same time seems to want to maintain its simplicity, while trying to understand its past.

The mighty Ohio river borders the city to the North, and my hotel was smashed up against its banks. Despite an unfortunate decision made decades ago to place a major highway along the banks of the Ohio, the simple quietness of that river overwhelms any human presence.

I watched a coal barge saunter down river with nary a sound from my 16th floor hotel room. The passing traffic was no match for its silence as it carried tree branches the size of small houses across its muddy depths.

My room looked out on Louisville, toward the river and, most prominently, the Muhammad Ali center, with its pixilated boxers who noisily float like butterflies and sting like bees.

Ali was the boxer of my childhood: a noisy man trying to shout down the cacophony of oppression in the heart of an oppressive era.

The silence of the great river overcomes even Ali. The river rolls on, but the hope remains. Dead trees are carried downstream to the sea, eventually, where they will be interred.

While thinking of the now silenced Ali and the river of his homeland and my country, I wrote this on the hotel stationery:

Muhammad Ali
A solid, quiet man now
Silent Ohio

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kids these days

Kids these days
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My normal week-day walk usually takes me past a statue of Parley P. Pratt. The statue was erected in his honor to honor his contribution to local history (and place names), since he built the first more easily passable road into the the Salt Lake Valley through the Wasatch Mountains. His fame as a builder of roads is celebrated in the statue, rather than his scandal-tainted death in Arkansas (q.v.). To be fair, however, some see his death as martyrdom, and I would not wish to fan the flames of religious acrimony. Pratt was certainly a person of his times, and Mormonism was particularly controversial at that time. Of course no one deserves death for either their religious beliefs or for seemingly scandalous behavior with women in Arkansas. Whether Pratt deserves a statue, is certainly not up to debate for his proud descendants or for most people in Utah, it would seem. Statues certainly been erected for much much much worse human beings.

In spite of Parley's fame (or perhaps because of his infamy, which I doubt anyone really knows about) local teens often take it upon themselves to decorate him with a variety of items. At Christmas time he generally is donned with a Santa cap, and at Hallowe'en, a pumpkin is usually placed on his transit. Aside from these rather innocuous seasonal celebrations, however, I've witnessed poor old Parley festooned with a variety of items: a 40 of Michelob, or a Playboy Center fold hanging from his outstretched hand, for example. Invariably such risque paraphernalia is quickly cleared away by someone in the neighborhood who keeps and eye on Parley's virtue.

I hadn't ever seen, however, until the other morning on my daily walk to the bus stop, Parley sporting a hot pink thong bikini. Later when I was laughing again at the audacity of the kids who played dress-up with Parley, I jotted the following on my notepad:

Like God, kids these days
Are no respecters of person
Heroes included.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Catkins in Early Spring

Catkins in Early Spring
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My new house causes me to walk farther to reach the bus stop each morning. My walk, however, leads me past various interesting trees and plants. The other morning, I noticed that one of my gnarly favorites had set its catkins out. I stood, taking pictures of it, and nearly missed my bus.

As the city flew by, I wrote the following:

Cat paws on brown twigs,
Warm against early spring wind,
I forget my time

Monday, March 08, 2010


There is so much going on in this masterpiece of disaster that I have no idea where to begin, but as one witty YouTube commentator (a rare thing) put it: "This is a benind the scenes shot of Sarah Palin's brain."

I love the Internet.

Friday, March 05, 2010

These late games are going to be the end of me

Well worth losing sleep over, after a very dicey start by the Jazz.