The Red Pepper’s Swan

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jupiter was very bright in the eastern sky at 6:30 p.m., as I walked to my car to head home from a day at the “brain factory.” Above an amphitheater of western clouds, their undersides still slightly lit, Venus glowed in response to its much higher and larger sibling. Intermittent rain started up around 9:30, and started spattering the ground again slightly after 10:00 p.m. The storm seems to hit the coast at odd angles: more two inches of rain swooped down on Santa Monica recently, in contrast to several miles south of LAX, where only a fraction of that amount fell. In any given recent period, in fact, it seems to have rained more in Imperial Beach, a notoriously dry beach town five miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, than in Long Beach.

I’ve been reading several books of poetry during the past ten days: Suzanne Lummis’s Open 24 Hours, Sean Thomas Dougherty’s All You Ask for Is Longing, Carol Ellis’s I Want a Job, and Michael Lane Bruner’s National Geographics. Specific comment will have to wait until I complete several other projects. My recent checklist includes finishing another draft of an article for Jay Ruby’s book project this past weekend as well as working on a syllabus for the summer arts program in Monterey Bay. An application for course release time was due at the Dean’s Office today, too, and Neeli Cherkovski’s foreward to Cross-Strokes needed another close editorial review yesterday.

I was slicing a red pepper the evening before to add to a pan with black beans and garlic. Inside, in one of the half-folded hallows, a swan of a tendril glided on its dream of a velvet shadow.