Author Scott M B Gustafson

I Believe

Sunset in Ojai, California

Sunset in Ojai, California

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe
by Elizabeth Alexander

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”),
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?

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Rebuilding Hope

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Maison Orion puts a portion of its design fees towards microfinance loans to help people in developing countries achieve their dreams. Today I made another loan to a mother with a family in Palestine.

Borrower Profile from Kiva

Naseema is a mother of 7 children, one of whom is disabled. She has one room in her poorly built house. Naseema is asking for a loan to build a new room and repair the damaged parts in her house. She was hoping to create comfortable environment for her kids and make a space for her disabled child.

Winter in California


I often hear people who live in other parts of the country deride Southern California’s climatic monotony by saying we don’t seasons. I reply that we do have seasons, but we just got rid of all the shitty ones. I didn’t come up with that witty retort, but still enjoy using it. Two decades of living in the Great Lakes region was enough for me! When I lived in the Sonoran Desert city of Tucson, Arizona after college, I learned about and experienced the five distinct seasons that occur there. I don’t know the number for Southern California – it’s probably less than four and more than one. What matters to me is that is beautiful all year round. The colors of winter are a bit muted but never dormant, and the pink Bougainvillea were already getting a head start on Spring.

These photos were taken in the last few weeks in Ojai, the Los Padres National Forest, Culver City and the central Los Angeles neighborhood of Larchmont.













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