Friday, April 29, 2011

Poetry Friday


Amy Lowell

Happiness, to some, elation;
Is, to others, mere stagnation.
Days of passive somnolence,
At its wildest, indolence.
Hours of empty quietness,
No delight, and no distress.
Happiness to me is wine,
Effervescent, superfine.
Full of tang and fiery pleasure,
Far too hot to leave me leisure
For a single thought beyond it.
Drunk! Forgetful! This the bond: it
Means to give one's soul to gain
Life's quintessence. Even pain
Pricks to livelier living, then
Wakes the nerves to laugh again,
Rapture's self is three parts sorrow.
Although we must die to-morrow,
Losing every thought but this;
Torn, triumphant, drowned in bliss.
Happiness: We rarely feel it.
I would buy it, beg it, steal it,
Pay in coins of dripping blood
For this one transcendent good.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Say yes to the bike

Some girls, they go get fitted for wedding dresses. I get fitted for bicycles. OK, well I just had my first fitting ever for a bike. And I think I am going to be really happy.
So this whole bike shopping experience has brought up a few issues for me. Thankfully, financial was not one of them because my parents were very generous and financed the bike as a birthday gift. [Thanks, Mom and Dad!]
I have been kind of looking for a new road bike for about a year, and it went far beyond what materials and components I wanted, and though the shop/bike mechanic I eventually chose had a brand I was very interested in, I chose him for other reasons.
Because every other shop I walked into took me right to their women's bikes. Many of which are called, in the catalogs, "femme." (more on that in a second)
Women's bikes are constructed in such a way as to account for the fact that women are generally shorter and have short torsos, narrow shoulders, and smaller hands. And do I appreciate that there is an effort (even if it is a marketing tool, i.e. tap into a new market, a la Nike and many other sportswear/gear companies) to recognize that bikes are designed based on men's bodies.
But, as I pointed out to every guy who took me over to the femme bikes, I don't have a typical woman's geometry. I have short legs and a long torso which makes the shorter top tube that women's bikes have not only useless for me, but detrimental. But it isn't that much of a difference--half an inch, maybe, they say. Well 1) if it isn't a big deal, why have a woman's bike with a shorter top tube, and 2) of course it's a big deal. Moving things just a few centimeters on a bike can make a huge difference, especially when you hit mile 75 of your century. You don't want back and neck pain with 25 miles to go.
So then I got, "well the handlebars are narrower."
Dude, look at me. My shoulders are not narrow. I am not petite (despite my short legs).
So basically every time I walked into a shop, I had to "come out" as a some kind of atypical woman because I have broad, muscled shoulders and arms. I had to point out how not like a woman I am so I could get the right bike. And while this said a lot about their abilities (or lack thereof) as bike experts, it created a certain amount of consternation for me around my body type--and my sexuality (because it's very hard for not think about the sport/physical culture and sexuality connection these days). I fall on the more feminine side of queer women/lesbian spectrum and I am attracted to people who fall more on the masculine end. But I have been read as not feminine enough by some of these people--while others see me as too feminine (for a lesbian). And even though I have never considered altering my workouts, it still feels kind of lousy some times.
I don't have any experience as a straight female athlete. But I have recently come to better understand the female apologetic (the behaviors in which female athletes display their femininity in order to "compensate" for their athleticism). I don't feel as if I compensate because I like skirts and cute shoes (and some sexy heels too), but I have spent a lot of time thinking about this ongoing belief in the incongruity between femininity and muscles (and I'm not talking about those soccer mom biceps). And I have a lot more sympathy and far less judgment of those young women who are trying to find the balance. I'm an adult, not in an intercollegiate sport, and I still feel pressure from my so-called community and from random bike salesmen.
Thankfully, I go for my second fitting later this week with Joe, an older, straight, white guy, who told me right away that, of course, I didn't need the femme bike. Because he knows that fit is the most important thing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Color me not surprised

Have I used this title before? Probably.
My little world was abuzz yesterday with the news that colleges manipulate their roster numbers to make it appear they are closer to gender equity than they really are.
The NYT published a report on the issue noting that "many" (not a great figure) colleges use a variety of techniques when reporting their EADA numbers in order to look like they are at (or closer to) proportionality than they really are.
The article gives several fairly egregious examples including the University of South Florida which has some very large rosters--specifically in the cross country and track and field teams. This is because USF added a football team not so very long ago and had to also add opportunities for women. Unfortunately it does not seem that these are real opportunities. Many of the members listed on the track team are not really on it. How this stuff has flown under the radar for so long is kind of amazing. When told about the 75-woman cross country team roster (four times the size of the average cross country team) a former OCR investigator said "Goodness gracious. That would certainly justify further examination." That was a somewhat mild response.
Erin Buzuvis over at the Title IX Blog wrote a thoughtful post about the article. And Dr. Nicole LaVoi at One Sport Voice tied this article into the one by Alice Dreger article I mentioned yesterday.
I will be very interested to see the fallout from this investigation. None of the schools who were revealed and chose to speak to the NYT had anything very coherent to say on the matter. Not sure, now that this information is out, if OCR will go investigate on their own. But remember, anyone can file an OCR complaint that would trigger an investigation; there is no issue of standing because it is not a lawsuit.
Just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Line of the day!

I always feel a little less crazy when Pat Griffin's throughts and writings echo my own.
And I get very excited when Dr. Griffin brings out a little bit of snark.
So she wins today's Line of the Day.
Her post is in reference to the new IOC policy on testing the hormone levels of female competitors. It seems to (but I haven't read the actual policies) be the same or similar to what the IAAF announced a few weeks ago, which I found a little suspect.
The IOC policy prevents other athletes from calling into question one (or more) of their competitors. But it does allow an athlete to seek her own answers!
Here's Dr. Griffin's take on that particular aspect of the policy:

I am trying to imagine a woman stopping by her nearest “specialized medical center” to ask, “Can you tell me if I am a woman or not? I can run so fast, I’ve begun to question.”

Alice Dreger, who previously wrote about the ordeal Caster Semenya went through, has a piece today in the NYT about the new rules and their inequitable application.

USA Hockey wins Worlds!

Congrats to the women on the USA Hockey Team. They are now the reigning World Champions with a 3-2 victory over Canada.
This article is from my hometown paper--the one I used to write for (briefly)--and focuses on local star Megan Duggan, a key player on the USNT who ended up fifth in scoring for the tournament. (She played at Wisconsin--we'll forgive her for that-- and helped the Badgers to another NCAA title last month. And she also won the Patty Kazmaier Award this year.)
I didn't follow the tournament (held in Zurich) this year, but I am pretty darn excited for next year's tourney, which will be held in my favorite northern neighbor state Vermont.
Maybe I'll do some live tweeting!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Poetry Friday


Amy Quan Berry

Now there is almost no sound and at night I am not afraid.
The next world will be made of paper and everything
will have the capacity to fly. Promise me it will be there
as it is here -— the raspberries climbing the trellis, the rivers
blue scripts. Because every story has two endings, I see your body
breaking down, I see you soaring in the light. Be taken with me.
Come pouring down unified.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The not-so-good commercial(s)

Dr. Pants told me about the new Acura commercial a few weeks ago and Sean from at sportsBabel sent me the link last week. Apparently, I need to blog about this one.
The commercial features Canadian skier Ashleigh McGivor.

Let's strip the athlete down and then put her in some fancy heels and a black dress.
I mean I get the Acura campaign; sporty sexy is hot. But sexy seems to be covering up sporty here. The car, like the athlete, cleans up well. But the car, unlike the athlete, can perform and be just as sporty in its new polished form.
And the tagline: Aggression in its most elegant form. Well, when you apply it to people who are not supposed to be as aggressive or have to apologize for and hide their aggression by putting on fancy clothes. Well...problematic.
And the same applies to the other version of the commercial featuring Calvin Johnson, an African-American football player. Hide the black man's aggression when you put the snazzy suit on him--and literally the suit is put on him. Neither Johnson nor McGivor dress themselves. They are being transformed into some more elegant and less obviously aggressive.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Surprised by good commercial

What do you get when you stay up late watching Cartoon Network as you try to unwind from a late-night class?
You get to see a Red Bull commercial featuring Ashley Fiolek, on her motor bike (i.e. in action--not posing) and signing!
Fiolek has garnered attention for being a woman in the historically male world of motocross and for being hearing impaired.
I am now impressed by both Fiolek and Red Bull (though I still won't drink the stuff).

Glad to have found this commercial because I will soon be blogging about a not-so-good one featuring a female athlete. Stay tuned!

A tale of two harassments

The news you most likely know: Kobe Bryant called a ref a f&^%ot last week. He got fined $100,000. (Which some thought was too much--including Bryant who is appealing the fine.) He offered the standard not-apology, and talked about how the word isn't really discriminatory because it isn't connected to homosexuals anymore. Yep, f*&^$t has nothing to do with gay people anymore. I guess bitch has nothing to do with women either. Geesh.
The (as far as I know) only openly gay man (now, not when he was a player) to ever play in the NBA, John Amaechi, wrote a piece in the NYT about the incident: "...he is telling boys, men and anyone watching that when you are frustrated, when you are as angry as can be, the best way to demean and denigrate a person, even one in a position of power, is to make it clear that you think he is not a real man, but something less."
And that, of course, is very connected to the stereotypes of gay men. As for the apology, Amaechi said: "I am amazed that people still think apologizing in such a way as to make it clear that it was the victims who misunderstood is acceptable. I had hoped that the sorry-if-you-are-oversensitive school of apology would by now have been thoroughly discredited." [Read the whole thing--it's very good.]
Dr. Pat Griffin has also commented on the incident in an open letter to Bryant in which she notes the curious timing of Bryant's actions. The day Bryant exploded was the day GLSEN was filming PSAs with the NBA about not using anti-gay slurs. The PSAs will air during the NBA playoffs this year.
So here's what you might not have heard (I found it because a friend posted it on Facebook--not because it hit mainstream media here in the US): A professional Brazilian volleyball player was taunted with the Brazilian version of the f-word during a game. This link contains the story and the video--which I haven't been able to bring myself to watch yet.
The targeted player, Michael, came out as gay after the game. And his teammates were immediately supportive. Great, right? It gets better. In a recent match, the team wore pink warm-up jerseys and the libero wore a rainbow jersey during the match.
And how did the fans respond? With a gigantic banner that read "Volei Futuro [the team name] Against Prejudice" (in Portuguese of course).
AND with pink thundersticks!
Everyone knows my thoughts on pink, but if there was ever an appropriate moment to re-take the color--this is it (noting too that other countries haven't constructed pink in the same ways we have in this country). There is no video (that I have seen) of this event, which is good because just viewing the pictures (the above link includes more of them) brings some tears to my eyes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetry Friday

I thought I was the only one who felt this way. This poem pretty much relates how I feel every night I get into bed.


Meredith Holmes

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side!
The labor of being fully human,
working my opposable thumb,
talking, and walking upright.
Now I have unclasped
unzipped, stepped out of.
Husked, soft, a be-er only,
I do nothing, but point
my bare feet into your
clean smoothness
feel your quiet strength
the whole length of my body.
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One week later: What's up in women's b-ball

Hey, the WNBA draft was on Monday.
In an uncharacteristic move, I turned on the television in the middle of the day, and it just it happened to be on ESPN anyway and there it was--the draft. Otherwise, I would have had no idea. I mean, I knew it was coming, but I don't pay all that much attention to the WNBA so it was not high on my list of thing to tune in to. But I am glad I did. I didn't know anything about Australian Liz Cambage (love the way her last name rolls off the tongue). I think she is, as I tweeted, going to be an interesting addition to the league. And when Brittney Griner goes pro in a couple of years--two 6'8 players!
But will we watch?
Shannon Owens writes about the troubling phenonmenon of collegiate stars fading into the shadows when they get to the WNBA--not because they are performing badly, but because the WNBA itself remains in the shadows of other professional sports. Owens's column focuses on Maya Moore, the number one draft pick on Monday but speaks to the fate of other #1s. Sure, we still talk about Diana Taurasi, but almost always in the context of her history with UConn (or her positive (false) drug test). But how much discussion is around her ongoing WNBA career?

So while intercollegiate basketball is losing its star--Maya Moore--a new one, according to some sources (ok just the Bleacher Report so here's your shaker of salt), is being born: Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame.
There was talk about then then first-year Diggins last season when Notre Dame made the tournament. But with its appearance in the championships, Diggins has been legitimized as one of the--if not the--next stars.
Personally, I'm not a Diggins fan; she has that Taurasi type attitude that I do not like. But it's nice to have a star who doesn't play for UConn.
One could say that Griner is a star as well. But she will never get the same attention in her remaining two years as Diggins will in hers. Why? Well Griner is a little too masculine for the mainstream. And Diggins is already being referred to as a beauty, a cutie, etc. She has gotten the attention of major music stars like Lil Wayne and Chris Brown (maybe not the attention she wants given Brown's past).
The Bleacher Report notes that Diggins is "already getting an Allison Stokke-like following around the World Wide Web." Um, not necessarily a good thing. Let's not forget that Stokke, the pole vaulter, was not all too keen on the overt sexualization of her that started when she was in HIGH SCHOOL.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not ready to thumbs up this

The Women's Sports Foundation posted this article from USA Today on its Facebook feed this morning. It has, as of this writing, one "like." It's about the International Association of Athletics Foundation (IAAF), the organization that governs track and field, and their decision to institute a policy about women with too much male hormone.
This announcement, made in South Korea where the next world championships will take place, is clearly a result of the Caster Semenya fiasco two year ago. Here are the new rules as explained in the article: Women with hyperandrogenism [overproduction of male homrones] will be eligible to compete in female competition if their androgen levels are below the men's range or, if within the male range, they have an androgen resistance which means they derive no competitive advantage.
Here's what I don't know too much about--the construction of these ranges. So I cannot comment on where these lines are drawn or even who is drawing them. I have been taught, however, to question the construction of normal--in both culture and science (because, of course, science is not separate from culture). Experts galore, I am sure, provided significant input into the rule change.
What initially gave me hope was the less invasive testing procedure. Now that there is a hormone range as part of the rules, testing would be easier. Take some blood. Get results. OK maybe blood would be taken more than once. And while the taking of fluids from athletes is indeed invasive, after reading what Semenya and others have been through in these comprehensive gender tests, it seems rather innocuous (putting aside for a moment that the reason behind testing was likely because someone(s) thinks an athlete is too masculine--which is not at all benign).
But it does not appear that these gender tests are over:
The IAAF said it has appointed a panel of international medical experts to review any hyperandrogenism cases. The panel will make recommendations on eligibility to the IAAF.
The process may include referring an athlete "for full examination and diagnosis with best medical practice" at one of six IAAF-approved specialist centers around the world.
Any female athlete who declines, fails or refuses to comply with the eligibility process will be ineligible to compete in women's events, the IAAF said.

New rules but old procedures? And compulsory ones at that. Suspect females are still going to be forced to undergo invasive exams at the hands of experts pre-approved by the IAAF. Doesn't seem like much has changed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The creepiness that is the Masters

Even I'm impressed by the luscious greens and landscaping at Augusta National. But it's almost too lush--and I don't even have HD. What is it hiding? What are they prettying up? Well it's all hiding a heck of a lot of chemicals, I would bet. And then there is the lovely history of discrimination against African Americans and the ongoing discrimination against women. Somewhat old news. The new news: a female reporter was not allowed into the locker room to do interviews. Haven't we dealt with this issue already--repeatedly? Apparently it was a mistake. Security thought women weren't allowed in and so they banned Sullivan. Luckily the reporter's male colleagues shared their transcripts of interviews they did with Rory McIllroy in the locker room. And in other unofficial creepiness...what was up with all the love for Tiger Woods? How quickly we all forget, eh?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good job, Women's Health!

Reporter and blogger Jayda Evans posted about a commercial Women's Health Magazine has produced in response to those top ten female athletes lists which feature horses. The commercial addresses a list from 2009 which I wrote about here. But note that it happened again in 2010 (only one horse this year.)

Friday, April 08, 2011

Poetry Friday


Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine

Thursday, April 07, 2011

What I've missed

How did the end of the week come so quickly? And how did all these things build up? It's not so much that I missed the following news/events, it's more that I haven't found a good moment to mention them.
On Tuesday night the Texas A&M Aggies beat Notre Dame in the championships of the Women's Final Four Tournament. Thankfully the score and the quality of play was indeed better than the men's game the night before. Or else I would still be blushing sheepishly and hanging my head.
Erin Whiteside at the Sports, Media, and Society blog (out of Penn State's Curley Center) notes the problematic way Twitter users were comparing the men's game (as it was ongoing and immediately afterwards) to the women's game. As in, even the women can do better than this kind of sentiments. I tried, in my own post about this issue, to note that the complaints about women's basketball never ever being able to be as interesting as men's basketball are false generalizations. I hope this came through.
Also, looks like Gary Blair is the new hip guy in women's basketball. Hope he sticks around for a bit. Nice to get a male perspective that does not come from Geno Auriemma.
In international sports news, the IOC has finally let women's ski jumping into the Olympics. It's anti-climatic but still anger-producing. The power struggle that emerged during this battle seemed to trump the equality issue. There was just no way the IOC was going to acquiesce to the demands of these athletes. They retained control the whole time and added the sport exactly when they wanted to. (Well maybe they didn't want to at all. But the addition certainly happened on their own schedule of meetings and talks and processes.)
Also added to the list of sports for Sochi 2014:
Ski halfpipe
Biathlon mixed relay
Team figure skating
Team luge
This is what Jacques Rogges said after the vote: “These are exciting, entertaining events that perfectly complement the existing events on the sports program, bring added appeal, and increase the number of women participating at the Games." Um, really? Increasing women's participation was a concern of yours? Because it hasn't seemed to be so the past few years. Also, it's not like the new events add that many women to the games. Ski halfpipe, mixed biathlon relay, team figure skating, and team luge are all open to men and women. And of course women's ski jumping with bring in previously banned female athletes. (Let's also note for the record that Nordic combined remains a men's only sport--the only one at the Winter Olympics.)
Of interest is Pat Griffin's latest blog about an ESPN Outside the Lines conversation about Kye Allums, the trans athlete who publicly came out this year, before starting his senior season on the Georgetown women's basketball team. Pat does a very thorough analysis of the segment and the issues and controversies it raised. Check it out!
Also in the women's sports blogosphere, Dr. Nicole LaVoi is expressing her concerns about the Lingerie Football League's decision to start a team in her city--Minneapolis--and especially the decision to usurp the name of a current women's rugby team in the area.
Phew. Shouldn't let these things build up. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

In memoriam: Jessica Nathanson

I learned this evening that Jessica Nathanson passed away yesterday. I "met" Jessica through this blog. Also a blogger (I was asked not to mention the blog which Jessica did somewhat anonymously), Jessica found me and I found her and we connected over the larger issues of blogging while feminist as well as our commitment to women's and gender studies, creative writing endeavors, and attempts to tame our curly hair. We met once, when Jessica came to Iowa City for a creative writing workshop. I don't know how Jessica found my blog, but when we met she told me that she was initially very curious about this very feminist male writing a blog about gender and sports--until she found "ken" was (and still is) a woman. She supported my endeavors in the area of gender and sport and physical culture. She nominated me to my first and only feminist blog carnival. Several years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it (some of her blog posts are about her experience of the disease) and was in remission. But it came back recently-- suddenly and stronger. My condolences to her family and to the feminist community, which will certainly feel her loss.

All's fair in feminism and basketball

(I'm not really sure exactly how that title is going to fit with the rest of the post, but I liked the way it sounded, so I am going with it.) So, in case you didn't know, men's intercollegiate basketball has its own tournament. It culminated last night in a final game between University of Connecticut and Butler University. Sure UConn has won the title three previous times, but this year they were only a #3 seed and Butler was a #8. The numerous upsets caused much disturbance in fans' brackets this year, so I can't imagine many people tuned in to watch this final game, which unfortunately aired at 9:30 on the east coast (which everyone knows is the bestest time zone!). And frankly, they didn't miss much. I think it's time we talk seriously about the inferiority of the men's game. Does the dunk and fancy schmancy above the rim play really compensate for lack of shooting skills so evident in last night's game? I mean, the score at the half was 22-19 (Butler). And the final score: 53-41 (UConn). Butler's field goal percentage: 19. UConn's: 34. Butler's three-point%: 27, which looks pretty good next to UConn's 9. As the great Mikhail Baryshnikov has said (repeated by Dakota Fanning's character in Uptown Girls): Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun. The lack of fundamentals in this game indeed resulted in no fun--for fans at least, and I would imagine the looks of consternation on the faces of the coaches indicated similar "this is no fun" feelings. Thank goodness the women are playing tonight! And on that note, USA Today's Christine Brennan wrote a column today on Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, calling him the greatest feminist at the Final Four. While I said yesterday that I am intrigued by Blair and supportive of his positive coaching style, I think we're getting a little carried away. I mean just because this white guy is gentler and saner than say that other white male coach who didn't make it to the championship game this doesn't make him a feminist. Yes, Blair is honest and forthright about the need for a sellout crowd for this tournament and growing fans and making people see the excitement in women's basketball. (I would also argue that his ability to make such statements, just as Auriemma has the ability to make "honest and forthright" statements, is part of his white male privilege. I think it's a lot harder for a female coach to chastise fans--unless you're Nancy Lieberman who isn't currently coaching--and not get called out for being bitchy or unappreciative of what you've got.) And I am glad that he says that women's and men's sports at A&M get equally supported, but that's just rhetoric until someone shows me how that actually works. Blair might get an award for being a nice guy and it's cool that he's all about reading and going to movies (he would probably be a big hit on with a profile like that) but that doesn't make him a feminist. And this is not to say that he isn't--it's just that Brennan's description of, again, the very affable Blair, doesn't really display any feminist credentials.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Not a word?

Good news, my local NPR affiliate did mention the women's tournament, specifically the semifinal games that were played last night in Indiana, this morning. But that's likely because I live near the Connecticut border and thus Husky fans are in the listening area. In other words, it's local news. But I was surprised that the little blip on the nationally syndicated Morning Edition about what is happening tonight (the men's final: UConn versus Butler) didn't lead into something about the two amazing games that happened last night. Le sigh. At least Christine Brennan tweeted, during the games, about the perpetuation of the Lady nickname, even though no Lady teams were present. I'm kind of stream of consciousing here but I'm almost done. I really have enjoyed getting to "know" Gary Blair, Texas A&M's head coach. What I have heard about and from him I like. The keeping calm technique during time outs. His demeanor during practices seems very calm and encouraging. He seems very supportive of his players on and off the court. Glad to see his team have success this season. Given that my bracket is shot, I think I will root for A&M in the finals. (Texas schools versus Christian school--it was tough!) Now to watch the game from my couch or head to a bar/pub and convince the clientele that women's basketball is worth watching?

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Listening to NPR this morning, I heard (more than once and right now as I type) an advertisement for ESPN. Specifically the ad is for ESPN's early round coverage of the Master's, which starts next week. Why is ESPN advertising on NPR? And, I suppose, given NPR's recent troubles, they can't really turn down ads even if they do promote an anti-woman event/institution (Augusta National).

Friday, April 01, 2011

Poetry Friday

In the midst of the spring snow storm....

Anita Skeen

winter plods on like a Russian novel, spring
hints, haiku

tight blouses unbutton, jackets unzip,
skin is not just skin

rich soil proliferates
in the heart, in the hand
that can never let go

rivers flow unseen, underground, unfettered

some dig down, some rise up
some survive

sleep is not dreamless:
how else the orange, the dogwood?
the phalanx of asparagus?

coddled in the pod,
all the seed needs:

darkness, more snug
than light

grit splits the rock,
raises a tiny fist, screams
the world into profusion
of petaled racket

to uncurl and unfurl
to unhusk from the crust

to inhale, exhale
turn toward what's bright