GoGo on a Page

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Location: Midwest, United States

"Power lines, my travlin' partner on this ride. Dripping, pulling - up and down, in this sing song, their lullaby blends with the swaying train. I curl myself into this journey; folding myself up into this pocket of time. Old familiars greet me - that swing set in the back yard, the ruins of an old church covered in new birth and old - mixed with unremembered newness." Journal Entry, October 13, 2005~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~All words are copyrighted by GoGo on a Page/gogoroku.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

pulp nonfiction

Thinking of my day...my week as it’s almost done, I wonder what words I’m gonna share. Do I write about the two papers finished? The clutter that spins out of control all around me, as I move from notes to book, book to computer, then back to the notes again. Moving tricky fingers in the chaos to find exactly what I was looking for. It wasn’t until I was done did I realize I had created a spiral of organization unfolding around me. It made sense at the time, anyway.

Do I write about my favorite coffee cup keeping me company as I typed?

I heart U.

Do I write about the squirrel who greeted me when I went to the library?

Having gone out into the day after finishing the papers to print the damn things at the University library, I decided I could stop a minute – the day ever-so beautiful and requiring enjoyment. I sat near the banks of the river and found a friendly pair of squirrels checking me out. One came so close; he touched my finger, sniffing for something good. Docile from generations of students passing along a grain bar, p0p tart, or the casual cracker stuck in a bag, these buggers are all up in your business, when given a chance. I didn’t have a thing for the little one, having checked every crevice of my bag; I was sourly disappointed that I didn’t even have a bag of almonds. Not for the squirrel, at that point I realized I was hungry myself. I spent the rest of my
springtime sit in the sun watching the furry little thing dig up nuts and eat them in front of me. Imagine! Didn’t even share.

Or do I write about the bike trip? I promised this self a daily ride, no matter the deeds to be done. I hiked/biked because the river’s flooded in patches. I carry my bike up hills and over railroad tracks instead of riding the underbelly now flooded by water. Then came across a bridge decaying into rust, or should I say the residuals of a bridge, the road peeling up from cracks in the cement, only the infrastructure remains solid.

Solid Steel, weathered skin a rusted umber. Good ride.

Or perhaps I should write about going to the bookstore to check out a few titles? One clerk was checking to see if they had a particular book for me, while I overheard a conversation between two other clerks. Planning a bike trip across the US, they are looking at a road map. One of them decided to pop quiz the other guy on the State Capitals. I was engrossed.

“What’s that Capitol of Georgia?” I look at his counterpart as he slurs out letters “SSSsaaavvaa…no…Dddduuurrr…”

Durham, I was there recently, but not the capitol. I imagine this five year old kid I know who would probably pop it out.

“Atlanta!” The guy goes on to another State; he pauses to look for a really good one...a stumper State. The clerk waiting on me was watching the duo too. We just kind of stopped and listened engrossed in the whole affair. Then back to the book I was looking for and off I went.

Ah, moments.

Benign stories amongst the busy chatter, life is a layered experience. I do enjoy it.

Excuse me, I have a presentation to work on…


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Friday, March 23, 2007

Urban Palette: Sunset in the Neighborhood

These are photos I took yesterday evening while playing with my camera. After the NC trip, I hadn’t charged either of my batteries, so I only got in a few pics before the camera died. I wanted to spend the evening playing with the camera, getting more comfortable with it, and practicing how to take a shot. Alas, not this time.

Close up these are great shots. My block is the transient part of the neighborhood. The beginning of spring looks worn, decaying, and the alleyway, which these shots are from, looks like winter just washed all the urban clutter into view. Then something happens as spring takes hold. All those cracks and dingy walls fill up with plants and flowers. Even vines frame the graffiti.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Broken China & Speed Limits

Its that time again for me to break out the poetry. It's not like breaking out the fine china. It's more like breaking fine china. I never like my poetry until months later after rediscovering it. Then it becomes this stranger time made, remeniscent of some life together long gone, and I am left discovering the meaning in my own words. I need to desperately brush up on the rules of poetry. Don't get me wrong, I have every intention of breaking them. I figure I've forgotten enough that I may need to review, just so I know exactly what rule I am breaking at any given time. It's like speeding, I personally like to know exactly how much I am going over the speed limit when I am doing it.

Anyway, here are two poems from the past. The first is a stanza about a person I met this summer who drank way too much whiskey. The stanza says enough I suppose. The second one is something I wrote when Saddam Hussein was killed. It was actually written in a different format, but I have no clue how to make anything indent in this blog world. Blogville gets the original version. So there you go.

Saturated Spaghetti Western Take1
A fifth of whiskey riding shotgun in her hand,
She rides into view.
Like an outlaw giving up the good
Just to feel the good in being so bad,
She traded in appropriate other gyrls wear like dresses,
Never doubt’n this Jack knows what to do.

Noose. (written 01.01.07)
Noose. She said it was huge. Did the job instantly. Snap. He was dead. Emails poured through, 3000 dead. It was time to hold a vigil. Form a circle and meditate on another soldier dead, another brother, sister, son, mother, father, daughter affected. The key word here? Dead. That’s war. War is not a pleasant peace pipe, puffed and passed. War. As we finish our holidays, start a new year, go back to our jobs. We are at war, hidden behind insurgence and reconstruction. While we play our civil duty obedient and submissive, lapping up our long holiday weekends, peace written in the glowing star of David on the street corner WAR happens. This nation, we citizens are at war. It didn’t stop the day they tied the noose around his neck. Snap. Instantly. He was just another number of war. It didn’t stop Darfor. Didn’t stop global warming. Didn’t disabuse the pain. Snap. Instantly. And the war goes on.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Tiny Masters Of Today -

Interesting find for the day

Sunday Scribblings: Inspiration

I pause, asking myself the question “what inspires me?” Where is my inspiration day-to-day? Inspiration comes in so many forms – nature, a comment, a thought, a sleeve, a deed, a book, a scribbled drawing or word, and even from a simple scrap of wrapper floating toward some drain. What inspires me the most?

There have been days when thoughts feel dry and crusty, flaking off, the dandruff of uselessness and I call for inspiration to save me from a sense of meaninglessness. Though I am one to instantly turn to nature for her grand scale inspiration, I have found myself on more then one occasion lurking on some nature trail uninspired by the arch of the sun reaching then receding over forest and water, watching the shadows form new worlds every moment, highlighting something new, until I am still left in the dark feeling no sense of direction with my words.

…and yet, eventually inspiration always bursts onto the scene, usually hidden at the axis of serendipitous events colliding. The words gush out with confidence, assured they must live, have meaning, and are meant to simply be. I find those who strive to be there best, while honoring the frailty and flawed ness in humanity inspires me to push forward in life, living my day-to-day with meaning. I guess it’s in the complication of humanity that inspires me.

…and nature bursting from the crack of urban decay opens me to new avenues of seeing, the hope that lingers in a single flower growing where no one else could most definitely inspires me.

…and a kind word, insightful and caring hugging the soul can open this being to new perspectives on living. I am always inspired by this kind of love.

…and all these prompts inspire me to delve deep and think outside the box to create something new. Reading scores of other writers on these written pages, these creative strangers inspire me with the unique cadence that beats in each author’s words. On more then one occasion, I have been left humbled by your words. Thank you for inspiring me to try harder, do more, take risks, delve deep, and aspire.

Happy 1st Birthday Sunday Scribblings.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

spring has sprung

Spring came back with me from North Carolina. Residuals of winter still linger in gritty snow, packed into dismal gray piles allocated against walls and un-trodden fields while everywhere else is a flood of mud and puddles. I watch as all those urban icebergs melt into tiny rivers filling in cracks and forming puddles, only to break the barriers cascading towards the drains waiting to catch all this melting. The last few days have felt….refreshing…that’s a good word for it, though somehow that word makes me feel like a mouthwash commercial.

Having just finished Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel, a 50 cent bookstore find last week, I have begun to read The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto. It’s a short book to read between piles of articles and textbooks. Don’t worry, I am also surprised I can find time to read even more things then I am already am. There’s something about this period in my life where I can’t get enough books to read. I have this pillar of books holding up a plant because I have no clue where else to put them. I suppose my books will be sold off or given away during my summer garage sale before London, though I can barely stand the thought of it all.

Ah, but I’m traveling through my thoughts again. My point to what I was reading is, Masaru Emoto’s book has heightened my appreciation for water. Good thoughts for the whole process of spring I suppose. Well, that’s my life with a few things left out.

Here are some more photos from my trip. I took way too many, so I figure I’d let most of them live here.

Well off I go.

I want to ride my bike. I have a policy project coming due and need to prep for a panel I am on this week, plus my group I run. Spring has sprung and so has all those end of the semester projects.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Dream Journey

We headed down route 96 toward Ann Arbor around 9:30 am, turning south toward Ohio. We didn’t care if we started out late, the trip had just started and the week was just beginning. The instant we entered the car, it became a moving home with all the things we wanted to take with us. We were loaded on healthy snacks to eat and homemade black bean gazpacho soup to eat with hummus sandwiches for lunch and dinner. I brought way too many clothes, my journal and camera.

Conversations opened like the road as we talked about past relationships, previous road trips, and where we would like to travel in the future. Ohio is a boring State, sorry folks, but we spent most of our time just trying to get through the State toward the mountains awaiting us, trying to make up time we thought we had lost, trying not to stop too many times to pee. By West Virginia, darkness had crowded around us as we seesawed up and down the roads.

My friend got busted for speeding 40 miles from Virginia. We pulled over to the side of the road, she behaved with her utmost respect as the officer mirrored the same with mame this and mame that. There was a point when she stretched herself into the back seat to get her Driver’s license, opening a Michigan State Police bag with grandiose exercise then turned over to me, stretching over me to get her registration. I had watched quietly calm, noticing the minor details to add to the story later, like the cops name. He walks back to his car to check out her information and she says to me that she hoped that the State Police bag would help her get a reduction in the ticket. I smile and say, forget about the bag how about your ass hanging out the window when you were getting the registration. We laugh breaking up the tension, the kind of laugh that rumbles in the throat with a light levity and deep humor. I think very few people in the midst of a critical point can laugh like this. It takes wearing experience with lightness and interest in the vulnerability our stories unfolding. This is why I don’t travel with just anyone preferring to leave the critical traveler for someone else to experience.

The cop comes back with a ticket, the bag and ass had no effect but to reduce the speeding by 1 mph, so that my friend would not get a reckless driver ticket too. We move on, away from the po-poo and West Virginia. We talked about the ticket, about the experience, laughing and getting pissed all at the same time. Getting pissed and then laughing because there is not much to do now but promise we’d tell our friends in North Carolina the story, including the five-o’s name.

We are in constant contact with our friends in Durham having conversations about the weather, when we expected to get into town, when we stopped, and how the baby was doing. My friends in N.C. have a little one about to turn one-years-old. The same babe I mentioned I babysat when they still lived in Michigan. When we finally arrived, we were huddled under darkened night, but not too late. We quickly unload and prepare our futons in the living room. We check our email that later in the trip, when too much closeness and disruption of all our routines begin to wear on us becomes a point of frustration. My traveling friend and I are email whores, constantly wanting to check it again and again.

The week was beautiful. Sunny weather greeted us daily. Durham and Chapel Hill our gorgeous places. We piled our days full of things to see, coffee shops to visit, and email messages to check. The first night we went to a local music club in Chapel Hill for some live music, but the event turned into less then enjoyable. The opening bad started late because the main show hadn’t shown yet. This band, unnamed, only knew a few chords reminiscent of some basic chords that Pink Floyd used to play. All it did was spur a desire to get out my old Pink Floyd albums so I could appreciate what those chords could do. I left out a little early to check out a bookstore down the road I had seen while driving there. Upon my return, my friends were ready to bust out of there. One of our friends had an early day, so we had to leave before the actual event had even shown up, heading towards a local coffee shop for late night tea and desert.

My entire trip hung with this sense of duality. A part of me was in NC to visit friends while on a brief vacation between this semester’s to do lists. Another part of this self was trying to imagine what it would be like to be in London. Somehow I had transposed this travel into a check list of things to know when traveling. Thoughts permeated my head like how will I become familiar with my surroundings, what are the basic things I need to take with me, will I feel lonely without a counterpart to travel around with. I decided the one book I would carry with me is a collection of Rumi poems edited by Cole Barks. This fills me with such ecstatic excitement; I spend the rest of the week in and out of used bookstores trying to find an old copy hand worn and just right.

My final day there, we all separate out to do our own things. It’s time in the trip to explore the world in singular appreciation, taking on our world with a personal touch. I appreciate time by myself, with myself. I decide to head to Chapel Hill to explore the NC College and art galleries while taking gratuitous photos of everything. This is a dream thing for me to do. Just plop this self in some unknown place and explore it, while recording my own view of things in photo and words. I sketch the town in my journal while drinking coffee at a trendy coffee shop. I admit, I stopped there because this beautiful woman is sitting under an umbrella and I hoped to get a chance to speak with her. The conversation we have I leave unnoted here, for another memoir’d experience I suppose.

The next day, we leave in early afternoon, a little cocky by our “good time” down to N.C. the Monday before. On 52 West, we are awed by a huge mountain pinnacle that towers in the distance and decide to stop for an hour to explore it. We meet this woman there that graces us with her energy, prodding us to explore further and longer. She is someone we both wished we could get to know, sad that we never got her name before we left. Four hours later we finally leave North Carolina. It takes us until 5:30 am to get home. Purely exhausted by the tediously long drive, we fight back our weariness by repeating over and over again that we did not regret our side trips through North Carolina. We swore that everything we had seen warranted our dreary experience afterwards. We laugh a few more times, tell even more intimate stories about our lives, while chugging coffee and water. We stop 8 times to pee before my friend asks, “coffee is a diuretic isn’t it?”

Coming home felt like coming home to a lover waiting. It was so beautiful and I almost cried when I saw my throw blanket crinkled on the couch right where I left it. I realized then that I was beyond exhausted and it was time to sleep in my neglected bed dreaming of future journeys out there in this world.

all photos are copyrighted, copyright gogoroku 2007. email gogoroku@gmail.com for duplication permission.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

something happened on the way to Durham

A quiet peace hangs in the night air. Warmth permeates the body and for the first time since winter began, my body relaxes, muscles loosening around the shoulders, and I walk without that primordial instinct to brace against the cold. I am in North Carolina, Durham, with friends. The days have been sunny, the nights filled with the liquor residue of warmer days. I needed this.

Something happened on the way to Durham. I can’t deny that I expected this. Traveling has always been an impetus for self-awareness. Somehow movement turns my own pages and I find my chapters change while I am on the road. Now, let me back pedal and say that this awareness wasn’t some big epiphany or life altering insight. I still have homework due by Monday when I get back to school, still have my job to go back to, still have rent and bills to pay…still moving to London. Rather, I got to come to a place where I am riding comfortably in my life. It was as simple as in one moment I had the thought “This is my life” and it made me smile.

This thought keeps happening over and over again, and each time that feeling of comfort greets me. Even on my bad days when life feels like coffee spilled on the croutch while driving, my smile and self-assurance greets me. I am grateful for life as an experience. Driving down, I realized this isn't an insight that will go away or get lost in living...its a part of me and my journey.

This week I have explored the triangle, laughed with friends, walked nature trails, and found thrift stores. I have also confirmed the move to London, getting the next phase of documents to fill out and sign. As long as I can continue to raise the money I need to survive over there, I am on my way. Its kind of official…of course I don’t know if it will feel real until I am actually walking the streets of London. I am glad the next phase in my journey greeted me while in Durham.

Now, excuse me while I go back to my vacation.


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