The Blue Pitcher

that which may be filled and emptied

Month: July, 2008

Recent Keyword Activity

Rest assured if you google this:
It’s a proud day in these parts, folks.

In other news, Day 21 with a nonsmoker. Things seem to be going swimmingly. There was only one episode when he threatened to burn down the dollar store around the corner, but that, as they say, is par for the course.

Pregnancy Brain

Also called “placenta brain” or “baby brain drain” due perhaps to the fact that a pregnant woman’s blood-filled body causes her brain to become eight percent smaller when with child. (Who need brain when got blood?)

Hmm…and I wonder why it takes me an hour to decide if I should leave a semicolon (;!) in a sentence.

For a whole nother world of wonder, check out my plum-toed friend’s blog: HERE!
She’s planning to give birth in the ocean;
sort of makes that time you tried kite-surfing look easy, huh?

Top 10 Questions you Want your Mother to Answer "Of course not, sweetie" To…

10. Do I have to write a thank you note?
9. Is this ringworm?8. Do you ever wish things had turned out differently?
7. Is being a mother hard?
6. Is it bad to eat ice cream sandwiches for breakfast?
5. Does pregnancy make cellulite worse?4. Do you think I’m crazy?
3. If I don’t have a cupcake, will I die?
2. If I have too many cupcakes, will I die?
1. Does giving birth hurt?

Summer Reading

“Love wasn’t a thing you fell in, but rose to.
It was what stopped you from falling.”
–Darin Strauss

(Such a good book.
It makes you leave dinner parties, claiming “fatigue,”
so you can get back home to finish it.
Highly recommended.)


moon drifts in cloud
I have a mind
to borrow
a small ripe melon


A Little Snippet from the Essay I’m Writing


The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,

When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

Fear is something that settles, like a down pillow slept on night after night. When my husband called with the news of the bird, I double locked the door. I’m not sure now what I believed the bird could do to me, but some fear that, years ago settled deep inside me, was stirred, and I tasted feathers in my mouth, and my neck felt hot, and the hearts inside of me were not beating but pecking.

When I was a girl—five, maybe six—I found a seagull feather on the shore, and I carried it with me everywhere I went. It was my pen, my flower. It was my cigarette and lollipop. It was my bit of hope that sucking its juices would make me sprout my own wings.

A single disembodied feather. That winter, I lost it.

Three decades later, I am hunkered in the foyer, clutching wheat bread in my fist, terrified of what will happen if the door opens. My husband told me later that the bird was tiny, so small it could fit in my hand; two, he said, could fit in your hand. (That would be worth four in a bush.) What, he asked, did you possibly think it could do to you?

What I’m Doing Here

I’ve gotten three emails asking what I’m doing at Brown and one email asking if I’m really at Brown or just having some bizarre college flashback.

Here, I am going to school; Here, I am writing; Here, I am writing an essay about piling chickpeas too high on a plate and hotboxing cigarettes and what motherhood might mean and how I was thirty before I knew that apples have one hundred calories and how it never seemed there were any men in Mama Heaton’s house, an essay about the Cult of Domesticity and Roseanne Barr and being scared of the bird and how in high school Brooke Gregory could burp the alphabet, an essay about love and what it feels like to wear love or carry love or be in love or sit near the shore of love and throw your feet into love or tie your hair back with love, an essay about suddenly remembering who you didn’t want to be, remembering who you are, an essay that says nothing about staring out of windows though that is what I do all morning long; maybe I am writing more than one essay. Afternoons, I stir Benefiber into water in a little plastic cup with a spoon I carried all the way from Brooklyn; evenings, I go to lectures then put my legs up the wall and make up songs. Here, it is good. All good.

And that is what I’m doing.

Calling all Smokers and/or Ex-Smokers

So…I’m working on an essay, and Google has (finally!) failed me. I need the word for when you smoke a cigarette really, really, really fast. Shotgun? Bogart? Please advise. Perhaps this guy will inspire you (and if he can’t inspire you with the word, perhaps he’ll inspire you to die. I mean, ouch, my lungs hurt just thinking about him.):


I’m often unnerved by how I can make a home of almost anywhere. Today after four hours on the train and countless little boats in bays, after a package of smoked almonds and a bottle of cold orange juice, after reading the paper and reading some poems and rubbing my belly and stepping out onto the platform to feel the heat of the sun, I’ve found myself in another home. So quickly I make these places mine; surely, it’s from moving around so much as a child. A pillow, a shaking out of a comforter, a few books–suddenly, I’m home.

One of the magical things about pregnancy is that even here–in this dorm room at Brown University with little more than a scratchy towel that I’ll soon carry down to the communal bathroom–I feel so accompanied. Now we stare at the computer; now we brush our teeth; now we see our reflection in the window when we’re trying to see the trees whose leaves we hear rustling; now we lay in bed; now we read Li-Young Lee. Soon, we’ll sleep.


by Li-Young Lee

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down.
I teach her Chinese.
Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.
Naked: I’ve forgotten.
Ni, wo: you and me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
Fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat
but watched the other faces.

My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang, The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father sat up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons,
swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.
Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.,

Source: Rose (1986).

It’s a…

And inside that belly is a baby, and
Oh, the doctor kept saying,
what a beautiful spine!
Such a beautiful spine!

And then what looked like two perfectly symmetrical Tic Tacs:
Kidneys, the doctor said.

And look at those long legs, the doctor said.
She has such long legs.
Yes, it’s true.
(or as true as these things can ever be until the moment of actual truth)
It’s a girl!!!

Good thing I’m pumping her with enough sugar
that she’ll be the sweetest girl in the world!!!