4-23-12 flammable ping pong balls

A little plastic, collected in and near the school yard on the corner:

one-half SPORTCRAFT® ping pong ball MADE IN CHINA. For more than a century, ping pong balls have been made of celluloid, the earliest form of synthetic plastic, created not from petroleum but nitrated cotton. They will supposedly catch fire pretty easily, which was one of the drawbacks of celluloid for wide use.



Skittles FunSize® wrapper featuring a winking rabbit in pink pants and a yellow shirt wearing head phones and carrying an ipod-like music player

unidentified faded pink fragment

unidentified blue fragment

Caramel Apple Pops wrapper Green Apple Candy with Chewy Caramel!


AIRHEADS® wrapper. AIRHEADS is a trademark of Pefetti Van Melle Benelux, B.V.

salmon colored bit of netting









Amazing New Orleans

An oil tanker on the MS River, viewed from the levee south of the Lower Ninth Ward. The port of New Orleans is the busiest in North America by volume, and a major oil and gas hub.

I spent an unforgettable week in New Orleans that involved seeing the work Environmental Defense Fund is doing to restore coastal wetlands and cypress forests that once sheltered the city from storms. I met local colleagues, including Tracy Nelson and John Taylor from the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. This group is doing amazing work to bring food security to the neighborhood, which lacks a grocery store, and to rebuild the community, which was devastated by Katrina. And we saw some of the beautiful, eco-friendly homes Brad Pitt’s Make It Right organization has built.

At Bayou Bienvenue just north of the Lower Ninth Ward. This area of open water was once a cypress-tupelo swamp with the power to absorb the brunt of a storm surge. It should look like this, and hopefully someday it will again.

I also met the incredible New Orleans poets Megan Burns and Dave Brinks, who generously hosted me at their 17 Poets! reading series and took a video. Expat New Orleanians kept telling me during this trip that they had to leave the city and its seductive, narcotic pull to get anything done in their lives, but Megan and Dave disprove this — their Trembling Pillow Press has published nine books and just hosted its first book contest, judged by Bernadette Mayer. And they edit two literary journals and a monthly periodical between them, all while raising three children, writing their own books, and running a landmark bar in the French Quarter.

I did give in to the city’s pull on the last day, though, when I wandered the French Quarter drinking absinthe with CA Conrad, Maggie Zurawski and Jack the maltese, who stopped through on their Southern Poetry Tour. So many gifts in one week, even the fire ant attack in Louis Armstrong park couldn’t bring us down.


4-16-12 BIMBO Slices

Plastic catalog, in which I collect all the plastic I find in the half-mile between my home in Southeast Portland, Oregon, and the dog park at Mount Tabor.

Last plastic catalog before a two week traveling hiatus. This marks three months of collecting. When I get back I’m going to sort and categorize the collection.

BIMBO Rebanadas Frosted Toast

fake leaves

fake leaf of a different species, blown into my garden

unidentified wrapper

cigarette wrapper: hould be interpreted to mean safer. Nothing about this cigarette packaging should be interpreted to mean safer.

bit of pale green insulation from the foreclosure zone next door


4-13-12 World Class. Ultimate.

Plastic catalog, in which I collect all the plastic I find in the half-mile between my home in Southeast Portland, Oregon, and the dog park at Mount Tabor.

WORLD CLASS ULTIMATE Frisbee 175G, broken in two

SWISHER SWEETS wrapper SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Tobacco Use Increases The Risk Of Infertility, Stillbirth, And Low Birth Weight

crushed water bottle

old green outlet cap

Soothing Cooling Refreshing BURT’S BEES BEESWAX LIP BALM cartridge

purple hook thing

SUBWAY straw still in wrapper

water bottle cap

orange cap ring

SOLO coffee cup lid (this guy is obsessed with the design of the coffee lid)

unidentified white fragment lying in the vegetable garden just outside my door

4-9-12 namely, fruit seasoning

Plastic catalog, in which I collect all the plastic I find in the half-mile between my home in Southeast Portland, Oregon, and the dog park at Mount Tabor.

SLURPee cup with transparent purple lid and blue and pink striped straw spoon

2 LITER Sprite® bottle

unidentified green fragment

white tag, blank

annual combo plant tag

MUEHLENBECKIA Wire Vine plant tag Attractive Ground Cover! Unusual New Zealand native vine is semi deciduous. Tiny green leaves on thin wiry stems. Can be used for topiary. Trim or cut back as much as desired. Hardy to 10°F. Can twine 15-30 feet long. Placement: Good as ground cover, beach planting, and screen with support.

Can of Lorena pico sitos® Sazonador de Frutas Fruit Seasoning INGREDIENTES: azúcar, ácido chirico, sal yodada, chile en polvo, dioxido de silicio y colorante artificial rojo allura AC. INGREDIENTS: sugar, citric acid, salt, chili powder, silicon dioxide and artificial color (red 40). CONSERVE EL AMBIENTE. DEPOSITE EL ENVASE VACÍO EN LA BASURA. CONSÉRVESE EN UN LUGAR FRESCO Y SECO. Hecho en México/Made in Mexico. Elaborada para/Manufactured for: Hershey Mexico, S.A. de C.V. Carretera Guadalajara- El Castillo, km 8,05 C.P. 45681 El Salto, Jalisco R.F.C., HME-690225 Iz3

pink, loopy chain


4-6-12 Hard Candies Can Be Slippery

Plastic catalog, in which I collect all the plastic I find in the half-mile between my home in Southeast Portland, Oregon, and the dog park at Mount Tabor.

green Odwalla juice cap

Skittles wrapper

KitKat wrapper

Colgate single use tooth cleaner thingy (These are among the most disgusting objects I find. Its tapered tail and flat head reminds me of a nasty little black crawly thing I found in my bathroom yesterday that might have been a beetle larvae. Ewwww. Don’t put that in your mouth!)

pale green packing peanut

two cigarette wrappers: be interpreted to mean safer. Nothing about this cigarette, packaging, or color should be interpreted to mean safer.

plastic bottle seal

Creme Savers HARD CANDY Strawberry Creme. SAFETY WARNING: Hard Candies Can Be Slippery and Cause Choking

April 5th 7 p.m. Annie Bloom’s books

Maryrose Larkin &
Allison Cobb

read at

Annie Bloom’s Books

7834 SW Capitol Hwy
United States

April 5th 7 pm

Portland poet Maryrose Larkin is author of Book of Ocean (ie press), The Name of this Intersection is Frost (Shearsman Books), Darc (FLASH+CARD), and Marrowing (airfoil). Her next book, The Identification of Ghosts, is forthcoming from Chax Press. She is a member of the Spare Room Collective, as well as a co-editor of Flash+Card press.

Maryrose is interested in  moving through the procedural into the unknowable.

Allison Cobb is the author of Born2 (Chax Press, 2004) about her hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Green-Wood (Factory School, 2010) about a famous nineteenth-century cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Times called Green-Wood “a gorgeous, subtle, idiosyncratic gem.”

Cobb’s work combines history, nonfiction narrative and poetry to address issues of landscape, politics, and ecology. She was a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow and received a 2011 Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Oregon Arts Commission. She works for the Environmental Defense Fund. She lives in Portland, Oregon.