Wednesday, August 12, 2009
First post from PA
Well, I’m here. I moved in on Saturday with the help of my wonderful moving posse. They left on Sunday afternoon, and I started unpacking. Sunday and most of Monday were spent unpacking and organizing. I checked out the grocery store and the Goodwill Monday afternoon and went for my first run in this new neighborhood. At first it felt a bit like running in Dublin did, past the apartment complexes and the cul-de-sacs, but then I turned up Whitehall Road, and it suddenly felt like southern Ohio: I was running beside a black-topped road, with fields sloping down to my left, hills rising softly through the humid air, passing separate houses with gardens and fruit trees and falling-down barns. It was lovely and homey.
My roommate arrived on Tuesday. I must say it is odd to have a roommate again. I am old and set in my single ways, so having someone else in the apartment just seems strange. She is nice though, and seems really laidback, and I am sure we’ll get along fine.
I still have not done anything all that constructive, in terms of going to campus and getting my id or my books or anything, but that can wait I guess. I am desperately poor right now, and trying to hang in there. I did however, on the topic of constructiveness, write a poem on Monday while sitting on my balcony.
Pennsylvania Morning #1
Walking my dog this first morning
we follow a path behind the building
bordered by an overgrown tree line -
maples and elms, a dark-leafed shrubby thing
I can’t identify, and plenty of weeds.
I recognize many of these plants from Ohio,
Queen Anne’s Lace, tall purple thistles
that punctuate the verge with danger,
wild grape vines with pointed leaves
and dusty curling tendrils, and the yellow tongues
of touch-me-not that nevertheless invite
my touch. I remember the blossoms as orange
when my mother took me hiking
on the Cleveland Metropark trails
she’d known as a girl and taught me
how they work and why; I wonder if
these are a different species or if
my memory is wrong, but the striated
green pods are swollen just the same,
and when I close my finger and thumb
around the largest it bursts just like
I knew it would. The pod splits,
its sides curl open like streamers,
the inside is white, the seeds fly free.
Also, I am now participating in a collaborative blog called The MFA Chronicles; all the contributors are starting MFA programs this fall and we’ll be comparing notes and sharing our experiences with each other and with readers. If you’re interested in the MFA process, check it out. So far I have posted an introduction and a long post about how I chose the programs to which I applied and how I ended up at Penn State. Feel free to give them a read if you want, but I’ll probably cross-post a lot of things here, if I think they’d be of general interest.