Welcome to Green Gal's blog, where you'll find stories, recipes, gardening updates, and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems. This blog is written by a young woman entrepreneur who is also a beginning farmer-gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My friends live in words: A Clippings Journal Compilation Composition

6 November 2012

My friends live in words and some are ones I’ve met and some I’ve met when I’ve exposed their inner spines to light. Men and women friends, lovers and girlfriends. There are strangers here, whose words were striking and which I stole for my collection.

Pain endorphins angst; vegetate, 12 hours
scoundrel of scuffed-up wood, questioning in me the way to be
or not
permanence of language
on printed plasticky paper on rolls
in cell phone bodies, buzzing

I read you under a bleached sky
and wanted to write you, as you wrote to me
drunk and tasting sweetness
of being a breath in the night
without name
making errors
living within our own gardens
but sharing harvests to be enjoyed
You become a freckle on my right pinkie
and it’s okay, it’s part of our condition
as writers to embrace, take what is as is as can be
potential loveliness in uncertainty
recalling what was as a layer under our skin
and we have many layers
time gives us material
breathe in the fire, exhale el sol

I wrote this in class, during my Introduction to Creative Writing class this quarter. We had a few minutes to write something using the "clippings" journals we'd been compiling all quarter, a notebook or some kind of collection of words, phrases, photos, things from the world around us that we'd compiled together into a jumble as "fodder" for our writing, as my instructor was fond of saying. This has not been revised from its original penning in my notebook on November 6.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Serie del Sol: “Excursionismo de Mochila 101” (A Translation)

We were supposed to bring a "talent" into Spanish 5 class today para el final día de clase. A poem, un canción, a drawing, a skill. My Spanish professor and I hemos hablado sobre poetry y traducción on a few occasions, y por eso decidí que I would bring in some of my own poemas, translated into español.

We didn't end up sharing the talents, but we did sing La Bamba and eat cake that the professor brought para nosotros. Era delicioso.

But now I have some translated poetry of my own, and I would like to share it with someone. I suppose since you're reading this, that someone is you. I just have to say that the process of translating my own words into Spanish was illuminating. It taught me that I don't know what many words really mean in English. My assumptions about connotation and my understanding of certain nuances have been shattered and rebuilt for some words. I am learning how to say what I really mean in English while simultaneously learning new words in Spanish. Even if you don't speak Spanish, just read or speak the words to hear their sound.

Please note: This is not a polished translation; this is a 1-hour before class, get it done without too much mistranslation translation. I'm including both the English (you'll notice, if you read my blog, that these are revisions of the Sun Series poems I posted here), and in the coming weeks, I will revise these translations to insure that they speak truly to what it is I want to say. Though perhaps the mistranslations will actually illuminate subconsciously what I mean; who knows?

Aquí son tres poemas para tí y para todas las personas y vidas que viven por la luz del sol!

“por qué es la luz”

si yo pueda reflejar la emanación gozosa de la hermosura

calmante, media-memoria, que es

esta luz de oro sobre esta cresta del mundo

yo abriría yo misma y respiraría (inhala) su calidez

y desprendería  (exhala) de cada poro sus emanaciones 

serías las plantas intricaditas y las hierbas desperdigadas respirando la vida, estira—

del sol del cielo (inspira más completamente tu vida, vive completamente en la presencia) y

pregunta, si tenga que, pregunta por qué.

“why is light”

if i could capture the joyful emanation of soothing mid-memory loveliness that is

this light of gold on this crest of world i would

open myself and breathe (inhale) its warmth

and release (exhale) from every pore its emanations

you would be intricate plants and sprawling grasses breathing in life, stretch—

from sun from sky (breathe in more fully your life, live fully in presence) and

ask, if you must, ask why.
“el paisaje del sol”

el paisaje del sol todo que veo es sol

las respiraciones oros cubren las profundidades plantosas de tierra con resplandecencia como

el rubor de nuestras mejillas despues—qué, qué hace esto evoca en tu subconsciente—después del mediodía  

hacía calor, caliente,

sudor en el piel como

el fuego, la lluvia en la tierra como

el suelo está por fuego (!), y

ahora es temperaturado-calma todos cuerpos simplemente son (Tierra simplemente es) y mis párpados saben que está allí,

la luz del sol arrojando las sombras de pestaña, pelo

(y ciertamente será tiempo)

si, y ¿resplandé? y


en tierra como

tú y todo que eres resplanda

(has sepa todo esto ya, una vez o dos veces)

rayos somos rayos (levanta desprende levanta haz rodar),

y esa significa que piensas

lo significa pero yo siempre estoy donde estoy, y

puedes juntarme allí, aquí, el el paisaje del sol



Sunscape all i see is sun

gold breaths cover the plantacious depths of Earth with glowing like

the glow of our cheeks after—what, what does this evoke in your subconscious—afternoon

was heated, hot,

sweat on skin like

fire, rain on earth like

the ground’s on fire (!), and

now is calm-temperatured all bodies simply are (Earth simply is) and my eyelids know it’s there,

the sunlight casting shadows of eyelash, hair,

(and indeed there will be time)

yes, and do i glow and

              do i grow

on soil like

you and all you are glows

(have you known this all already, once or twice)

rays we are rays (raise release raise roll),

and that means what you think

it means but i am always where I am, and

you can join me there, here, in the sunscape


“el sol poniente"

todo es espectramente y el sol brilla la luz del sol los colores alinean para imitar el océano que refleja el color refleja el cielo siluetado montañas contrastan oscuras a luminosas tierra al aire o, ¿saben el arte que están, el paisaje que crean para nosotros por solamente podemos ver en el mundo lo que está allí para estar visto pero no visto si no estar buscado ¿estamos enseñado a ver precioso donde vimos la puesta del sol¿ las crestas de las montañas moradas azules el ambiente de un día iluminado por hojas anaranjadas arboles blancos o es esencial a siendo vivo a ver vida como arte ¿arte es vida, somos arte? (arte define vida define arte) siempre recuerda cada día termina con un sol poniente.   


“setting sun”

all is spectrumal and the sun shines sunshine the colors line up to imitate the ocean who reflects the color reflects the sky silhouetted mountains contrast dark to light earth to air oh, do they know the art they are the landscape they create for us for only we may see the art as one may see in the world that which is there to be seen but unseen if not sought are we taught to see lovely where we see sunset mountain ridges purple blue backdrop to a day lit by orange leaves white trees or is it essential to being alive to see life as art is life art are we art (art defines life  defines art) always remember each day closes with a setting sun.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Illuminating the East Shield

"Coyote! Coyote!” Guitar-string strumming with a borrowed pick, punctuated with foot stomping and an old man with a beard and the biggest grin bongo drumming his palms on the podium, which had been pushed to the side before the evening began. The student sways gently to the beat, watching from behind eyes as others lose themselves in the evening, their bodies pulsing with everything that is present in the room. Something holds the student back, a deeply trained disconnection between body and the pervasive consciousness of situation. The beat goes on, smiles form that will ache the cheek muscles as folks leave that night, infused with something remarkable like that most vividly diverse mushroom display contributed by other students, they are foragers of fungal fruits. Awe and respect for the mushrooms in the back of the room, physically and psychologically behind this strangers-neighbors-friends human connection, behind the music. Everyone calls out, reflecting not only the singer’s words but his light, even the student calls out “Coyote!” Yes, to begin with nature, as in our lives, the student reflects while trying to feel, this leads us back to where we are. Community, and yet—A woman rocks a rattle shaker in the spaces where bodies create dancing concave half-moons and before the student knows it a bird flies out of the lingering sound created by the shaking beads or seeds that reverberate to the ear and the bird, it says Come here, student. It flies into the student’s heart, bursting through shirt and flesh and ribs. Where are you, come here, I’m waiting but not for too long, so come on. The student follows.

Somewhere the sun is rising and birds sing. Let me tell you a story, please. It will just take a moment, the one that is your life. Perched on the student’s head, the bird relies to the birds in the trees and to the living world all around with trilling and seems to say Help me tell this story, it’s important that we tell this story. Disoriented, but feeling the warmth of sun and a crisp air that brings the student into their eyes, the student wonders not how the bird can speak, but why it knows that what the student needs is a story. The story of how to live has not been shared with the student yet. That story is seldom shared, the bird sings as it flies to a redwood branch. I have a story that will help you experience that story as your own subconscious narrator and guide, but I cannot tell you that story. It is a story you tell yourself, you paint the illustrations and the words you choose in writing it are yours alone. Instead, the bird chirped, and the sun was warm, and the student saw that it was the sun that told a story in this moment. Silence made space for light. The sun, it seemed to say, Rise each day, rise. Illuminate that which you can reach, but be patient. Warm that which you can illuminate, but warm slowly. Heat, it can wait, but always begin with the light.

The student saw that within them was a sun and it was only able to illuminate a fraction of the student’s right kidney. Stagnation clogged the exitways of light and paths of energy with barriers, all kinds of barriers. With a gentle shake in the right direction, nothing forced but nothing passive, and in front of the model of the most illuminating of all beings, the student opened up the distance the inner sun could reach. A spreading of light emanated within the student’s body, filling in crevices where before there was a darkness. A physical sigh of relief as collapsing cavities become supported by light. The sun, it has taught you inner happiness, the bird declared. It was hopping southeast, toward the day. Rise each morning like the eastern light. Illuminate within to the brightest degree before bursting forth.

The student followed the bird, trailing a faint light that burned brightest at its core. I still cannot dance with them, the student murmured through thought and sinking heart. Light slipped out the student’s fingertips, dribbling and oozing like something almost cleared out of a bottle. The sun as guide, does it release and lose what it shares? Bandage the wounds you carry so they may heal, but never forget to treat the roots of wounds, the vines that tangle from destruction and choke. Do not let your wounds ooze your light. Illumination unreplenished would darken our skies forever. The student opens eyes wide, and a still-damp-wood fire is on the verge of catching as the story begins to be written. Seven more moments. The student follows the bird toward the day. We follow the sun, follow the sun.


Inspired by an evening of story-telling with Jon Young on November 28, 2012 at Kresge College, UC Santa Cruz. Learn about the 8 Shields Institute here.

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