Archive | June, 2012

What we feel most has no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

19 Jun

The title is a direct quote from Jack Gilbert’s poem, The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart


Studying the German language, it is difficult not to think of the meanings lost in translation.

I recently read the article about the boy who scammed first the German police, and then the world with his story about living in a forest for nine years. It was discovered that he was just an average teenage boy from the Netherlands, running away from a broken home and troubled life.

Just an average teenage boy with a broken life.

When I was seventeen, my cousin Brent, who was also seventeen, killed himself on the front porch of his home.

Just an average teenage boy with a broken life?

Lives of other people enter our minds through sensory organs; whether we read or hear or see, part of their experience suddenly becomes our experience. And what do we do with it? Do we read and hear and see for entertainment? Do the stories move further than the eyes and ears? Do they linger in the mind or settle in the heart?

This young man was running away. One choice of many to make.

The article reports his story through the voice of the young man’s friend.

“His bucket was way too full. He just wanted to have a new bucket.”

I understand meanings lost when German is translated to English; as I want the meaning between language to be true, I strive in writing to narrow the gap, bring the meanings closer to a similar understanding.

What does this say for meanings of the heart? What is lost in translation between the eyes and ears and heart when we read the story of a troubled teenage boy, a suicide, a grieving parent? What are we losing by not dwelling, by not striving to bring the languages closer together?

Rilke writes that lament is not enough and Jack Gilbert that the words get it wrong.

In striving to understand can we come closer to knowing what it is to be human, and to help those dearest, and ourselves.



If You Don’t Care, You’re Not a Punk, You’re JUST LAZY

3 Jun

Please email Rick Snyder at this email to assert your support or concern for the issue of hydraulic fracturing:

My email read as follows:

Dear Governor Rick Synder,

I am a concerned citizen regarding fracking. I have signed petitions calling for the new deep fracking to be banned, as it is new technology, with unknown long-term effects. I recently received your response via

First you state that fracking has been occurring safely since the 1960s. This particular type of fracking is new technology, with new implications and issues. You stating that the past fracking has been safely practiced is arbitrary. Again, “our experience” with hydralic fracturing being safe is utterly useless in regard to this new technology.

I suppose what most upsets me about your email is that I feel you did not actually address the issues which are on the table. You state that the DEQ is committed to environmental quality; as DEQ is an acronym for “Department of Environmental Quality,” this is redundant and a bit insulting. As history has shown time and again, institutions need we the people to monitor their government and institutions to ensure actual quality, and this is what we are doing.

You say that the DEQ enforces strict regulations to ensure that no fluids contaminate freshwater sources; are these similar to the regulations that ensure that sulfide will not come into contact with freshwater sources during nickel/copper/sulfide mining? After you talk about how safe these regulations are, you then state that we have more regulations in place so that we can adequately deal with spills. There’s some of the truth – you, I, and the people of the great state of Michigan all know that this new hydraulic fracturing causes contamination to freshwater sources. Pennsylvania is one example of the impacts of this new technology:

You state that MSDS will be provided so that we can know what we are doing when it comes to cleaning up spills. These are wonderful protection measures after the fact. I don’t want to see after the fact, and neither do the people of Michigan. I want prevention.

Another issue I have with the MSDS is the fact that the information is not public; you say that the DEQ will “post this information on their site,” but if the chemical compounds are protected under federal law, what is the DEQ going to post?

If this new hydraulic fracturing is so safe, why is the government protecting the chemical identities of chemicals used by the drilling companies? This is absolutely outrageous. Please, Governor Snyder, ask yourself that question out loud. Why would the government hide information from the people? To keep us safe? If this is the answer, the logic is backwards.

Your job as governor is to hear the voice of the people; I know we are many voices, but I beg of you, hear mine, my brother, my sister, my neighbor. Please call for a hold on fracking until we understand how to harness this powerful technology.


Jaime VanEnkevort
Marquette, Michigan


Learn more about fracking at:

Tyga’s “Rack City,” Getting Old, and Making it to Germany

1 Jun

I made it to Germany. In one piece. With a baby.

For some reason, all I can think of are the German kids singing, “Ima Ima Huss-a-ler, Ima Ima Hussaler” on the train that got stopped for an hour en route to our destination (i.e. sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep).

One of my very first experiences during student teaching was having to figure out how to handle a girl singing Tyga’s “Rack City” during class.

Tyga. In the pseudo-flesh.

I was baffled. I had her put on headphones and keep it down. When I went home that afternoon, I googled what I thought was “Rock City” (HA.). I decided that I had to know what I was dealing with.

I was soon even more baffled. The first thought I had: he’s an angry young man. The second: that girl can really move. Then I heard the line, “Got your grandma on my dick” and was utterly confused – then I realized:

You’re getting old!

Kids are kids, wherever you go. Whether rural wanna be gangstas in the UP, rural wannabe gangstas in Southern Germany, or a smalltown white girl from Bark River rapping N.E.R.D’s “Lapdance” in her Pontiac on the way to basketball practice, every kid likes a catchy jam, no matter how dirty (or confusing to the old folk). Or maybe we all have a not-so-secret desire to try and offend, just for shock’s sake.

Alas. Rack City, live on!

Watch the explicit, adult content only video here: