Monday, October 25, 2010

Flying Home After Election Day

First I saw a man who wore a baby on his belly like a bright bow,
a midget who carried a dragonfly on his shoulder up a long ramp,
and tourists who clustered before a plate glass window to price homes.  
On the flight back, an attendant collected  
alms  in a white garbage bag. I tossed mine in.
A loud discussion from window and middle seat people
about a bookclub and who elects what to read. 
Once I returned home, my cat tripped me  
until I filled her bowl. She believes in  one thing--
the straight meow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

6. A Sparrow in Search of Spring

Temujin, wolf-man with cat eyes
came to me in a goat-skin cape

to replace my companion of  months,
a shadow. Now my twin flies

like a sparrow in search of spring
away to a peak covered in grass,

or like a sturgeon that leaps
with the oar of its tail.

I twist free into a deer.
Night is studded with pearls

and wraps us in black velvet.
No one sees

or can dream what we do
in each other's den,

backs are etched raw
by root and stone.

Thunder from our sated voices
makes a stream-bed.

Who we are together
Is locked in our eyes. 

The child that is mine
is now his.  

Temujin has come back.
I remove straw from his beard.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Winners and SemiFinalists in the Cleantech World

What organization has raised 280 million dollars in the last five years for clean technology companies?  A few hints: It’s an organization with nary three paid full-time staff members. The group currently runs five regular business competitions covering 22 states in the U.S.  Oh, yes in another month they plan to award $200,000 to a national prize winner.

Give up? Cleantech Open is a five-year old organization that “finds, funds, and fosters entrepreneurs with big ideas,” according to Executive Director, Rex Northen who spoke at the October 8 California Regional Cleantech Open hosted by Chevron in San Ramon, California.  At the end of the day, six new companies each walked away with awards of $18,000.

Many fledging companies have been assigned mentors and are given business plan assistance. Cleantech wants to help commercialize clean technologies. Corporate sponsors also are part of the backbone with expertise and support from companies such as Autodesk, Chevron, Kauffman Foundation, Google, PG&E, Reed Smith. San Diego Gas and Electric, and Wells Fargo, and others.

Andrew Hargadon, Professor and Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Davis gave the keynote. Hargadon focused on assembling a network around an idea. Citing Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, neither of whom actually invented anything, Soderquist advised to “Find the path to deliver to as many people as you can as fast as you can. And if it takes several centuries that’s not scale—it’s change.”  

In the judging panels and during the “innovation exchange,” many venture capital firms were on hand, Both Nancy Floyd, Nth Power, and Nancy Pfund, DBL Investors, acknowledged that environmental companies are at the “tipping point.” Don Riley of Chevron Technology Ventures extended an open invitation for entrepreneurs “to contact me.”

I served as a scribe on the Energy Efficiency Judging Panel and heard about a slew of technologies, everything from a specialized pump and software algorithm to collect the natural gas spill-off from oil rigs, a new resin insulation for the high-speed transmission of electricity, and a social networking utility to allow people to track their carbon footprint.

Congratulations to the six regional California winners and semifinalists. Here’s how they stacked up:




Energy Efficiency

Enovative Kontrol Systems



Air, Water & Waste

Mango Materials

Green Building

Bellwether Materials

Smart Power


Intuitive Energy


Nascent Solar Technologies

The six finalists participate in the national judging on November 15th and 16th. National awards are held on November 17th at the 2010 National Awards and Expo, at Parkside Hall A, 271 South Market Street, San Jose.  

Lenore Weiss

Thursday, October 7, 2010

5. The Strongest Hand

Soldiers drink horse's blood,
fill moats with dead bodies,

pile catapults with excrement
near a thousand flickering fires.

Quivers of horn and wood
hug arrows for their intended.

Ashes of men rout a birch
with locust memories.

Now I pour ashes into my palm
and blow breath on them,

men who ride into a season of slaughter
and disappear beneath a saddle.

When I was a child,
my mother carried me on her hip.

I wore boots as soft as doeskin.
One day she found a mare

escort to a pool of water
between shoulders of earth.

The sky grew black.  I could see back
to the beginning

before I was a nub who held a horse's mane
and breathed its sweet sweat.

I sat and wondered why people kill each other 
and then scatter to the strongest hand.

Monday, October 4, 2010

4. A Wolfskin with a Silk Rope

My ears hear everything at night.
My eyes see everything during day.

I could not tell who entered my tent
through the evening smoke-hole and stood

with his legs, an arrow's width apart.
Then I saw a man.

Sky blue. Even his nose.
Maybe he was a cloud.

In his hand, several wolfskins tied
with a silk rope.

He said: From the water of your waters
will grow a nation. Four sons 

with the strength of a wolf pack
tied together.  

He placed a bundle in my lap.
When I awoke, it was my head's soft pillow.

Then I knew Temujin would come.
Who else could be the father of such men?

Part of me wanted daughters to braid my hair,
to brew tea

when news of the tangled grass
reached my ears.

Piles of dead trees like rotting bodies.
I am not prepared.

Friday, October 1, 2010

3. Wild Onion and Pear

Lying next to this man, Chilger,
through the smoke-hole of our tent,

I hear a grasshopper
burrow in the sheep dung.

He throws his hand over my chest
like a lasso pole to draw me in tight.

His breath travels up an elk-path
and comes back down, snorting.

All night, even without sleep,
I cannot rest.

I'm the one who holds his willow branch
until it topples,

and in the morning, the one who fills
a leather bucket with mare's milk

until it runs down his face
and drowns him in a white river.

I draw my lips over my teeth.
With my teeth

he wants to capture a smile.
He can bridle me. No one commands my heart.

Only the child that floats on its back
with fingers pressed against my belly.

I will dig in the ground,
feed him wild onion and pear.