Awful Library Books

Thanks to my friend Michelle for sending me this great link to a blog run by two lovely public librarians in Michigan. Awful Library Books is a running collection of books that they find funny, questionable, amusing, etc. They want you to send in your own photos so take a trip to your public library and find a dusty, offensive treasure.

San Francisco International Poetry Festival

Palace of Fine Arts, photo courtesy Life Magazine
Palace of Fine Arts, photo courtesy Life Magazine

If you’re going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend and love poetry as much as I do (or are ready to fall in love with it for the first time), check out the International Poetry Festival. All of the events which range from street parties to readings to crawls are listed here.

I traveled to the festival two years ago and got to enjoy Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading at Cafe Trieste before heading over the the Palace of Fine Arts where I saw 10 or so poets from around the world read in their original languages (with translation projected in the back). There’s something so indescribly powerful about poets coming together in one space to celebrate the written and spoken word. Come tomorrow, you can find me once again at the Palace of Fine Arts, where an awesome line-up of poets, including Ferlinghetti, will be reading.

La calle se llenó de tomates

Today I return to this digital scrapbook of mine. There’s so much to say but sleep beckons, so tonight, I offer an image from this morning’s farmer’s market: a lovely heart-shaped tomato that caught my eye and reminded me of a poem by Pablo Neruda, master of the ode.

The street filled with tomatoes midday

Sidenote:  After I took this picture, I watched a tiny, craggy woman, circa 80-90 years old, dancing in a beautiful, helter skelter zigag to the tunes of the morning’s live musician. No one else was dancing. I caught up to her later and told her how much I enjoyed her moves. We walked together for a moment, sharing our wish that people be less inhibited, that people just get up and groove. “Thank you for making me smile,” I told her before we parted ways. She looked up at me, grinned, and blew me a kiss.

Tomatoes and plucky old ladies. There are so many reasons to fall in love with this crazy world every day.

Ode to Tomatoes-Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera,
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhausible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.