Saturday, March 31, 2007

V E G A S This, Baby

Most-missed Mister, giver of beautiful brocade shirt--such fuchsia and coral gardens. Such a blazing sky, so much sorry rain. It's late and the phone has been happy today. You are lighting up the Vegas strip, my sweet and I am glad to know you. Too much gets taken away. Thank you for the examhoorayrolextwinwristers and every present you brought me, which pales all to the comeback of you.

Armed with Such Singings


My arms are mostly cosmetic. If I say this
to a stranger, often he will wince,
he’ll look like he wants to hide
inside his eyes, be made to vanish
from that day. I shouldn’t say it,
shouldn’t laugh, should be tired twenty-one
years into the telling of what
is a poor joke, made of pain,
nerves snuffed like wicks. Back
then, I was a boy. No secret
that I fell through that
summer like a star. And here I am
anticipating spring, my ears
slave to birdsong after a long
winter. I look to the clouds
and think how once I prayed
my arms might serve me
again, roll toothpaste from the tube,
dump rice into boiling water,
swat dead the mosquito
drilling its derrick of a face
through my skin. That sum of symmetry,
left and right, one and one,it’s not a math I know
much of. Not anymore
though there are days I want
to lament the broken
glass or put my fist
through the cheap door
or throttle the blue sky’s long, silent
throat. There are nights
full of ache, full of
nothing nimble. No music
but smashed guitars
would suffice. How many clasps did I try
with my teeth and at this
fail until she put
her hands to my raw
work? Untrue to say I lost count
of what I never wanted
to keep. Untrue to say that when we loved
and for me she put
my hands to her hips
to hold her body there above mine
that I loved such need,
that I did not hate us both.

---Paul Guest (author of The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, Notes for My Body Double, Exit Interview and soon, One More Theory About Happiness. (His poetry is mine.)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Used Bookstore Love

The mailman sighs when you open the front door in a silk kimono. I sigh when you open any door. I swear this before our sharp-beaked lovebirds just now awakening in their golden cage, exchanging necklaces crafted from the legs of a spider.
Peter Johnson

Reader Give Me Some Pause
I mean I like it: like how when a beautiful man dates an ugly woman and it gives me pause, you know you think it, too, Reader. It's not the easy math like when a beautiful girl dates an ugly man. The slot machines make such a racket. Or Daddy Issues or Garden Variety Catastrophe. But when a beautiful man dates an ugly chick the brain see-saws a little. I like that hiccup in the think-factory. When the gears catch & click and slowly grind again.

Like when Bernadette wears that green eyeshadow that flashes in the stop light I can't decide whether it's turning me on or grossing me out. Bernadette talking & talking & me thinking lizardine belly or hot jade hooker eyes. The stereo full-blast on the tree touching street. Arouse the birds off their perches.
Today I heard Nothing whistling through the trees. Some fake volcanos ignite. Keep your flouncy nacreous clouds for doilies, Aphrodite. Yesterday's sky had a hard-on. Wax & wane. What I love cannot be effaced.
---Asher Paine, excerpts from Ninety-Six Bottlecaps on the Veranda

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There or at Sinai?

A million years ago, I found a poem called Love, a Dark, Untitled Comedy in, I think? Hayden's Ferry Review? No matter, the point is, I memorized it within a couple of days and accosted the author when she visited the BWR booth at AWP.
Today, as I am ready to donate old mags somewhere (the apartment brimmeth) I reach for Southern Poetry Review, open to a random page and stop:

after Andre Breton

the twilight is a red snapper
& in the tangerine grove
suns hang burning from the trees

because I am waiting for you

& if you come walk with me
no matter where
miracles will hurry to meet us

A chameleon will press his cool belly to my heart
turn first a sad tan
then a jade jealous green---

because he loves you too

I don't know why
but the earth is deeper than water
is a turtle finally shaking off its shell

I saw you evolve
from the salt sludge of the ocean
I was there

Wait, no, I wasn't

I was waiting here even then
& I was sad
the sky between leaves hard as a horseshoe crab

I shut my eyes--
I was where you see me

Where are you?

Jesse Lee Kercheval

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sweet Basil

The new little plants are coming up in the big winter pot. It's always so exciting to see that scattering of green on the bare soil. I had hoped they'd be up in time for Sir Emu's return.

We moved stones
to the edges of our field,

sleeping outdoors in summer.

The sky dense with stars,
the horizon dark

with other voices singing.

We lived together a long time,
sometimes weeping as we ate,

silent as we dug the garden.

I have known finding
and losing her,

both were terrible.

We shared black sand,
many fallen roses,

losing our portion of sleep.

David Greenslade

Monday, March 26, 2007

Luminous Everything

I just watched Everything is Illuminated and wonder why I don't hear more about it--I thought it strange and lovely. Now that I have my life back, it's funny that I am still reading and viewing the same stuff. Currently, and kind of uncharacteristically, in some ways, I am reading Suite Francaise by Irene Nemerovsky. "We dressed the children by torchlight" is an example of eerie-pretty-starkness. It's the kind of book I think I should read (what brussel sprouts were to us when we were little) but then resist for that very reason. But I was coerced into it by friends and am now really grateful. Not necessarily feeling the same way about the new Assia Weevil biography... We shall see.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Seeing Each other

Just Walking Around

What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is no name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around,

An object of curiosity to some,
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much and wander around,

Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to be kind of lonely
But at the same time off-putting.
Counterproductive, as you realize once again

That the longest way is the most efficient way,
The one that looped among islands, and
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
And now that the end is near

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there and mystery and food.
Come see it.
Come not for me but it.
But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.
John Ashbery

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Question for AWP Attendees

This is a long shot but my fiction group was curious about the magazine that accepts work from writing groups instead of individual writers. Anyone else pick up that little postcard and NOT lose it?

In other this-evening news as it's Spring Break here and I am soloing it not just on account of certain migrating birds but the others of my posse who are either away or in other ways away; I made dinner and because I am always envious of Anthony Robinson's meals, I'll call him out and say I made this fabulous tuna with a vegetarian casserole. It was not at all the feasts of the gourmet poet I see pictured on but it was kind of pretty. Really.

Words on Walls is up and if not yet running, then limping along prettily. Check out the incredible stuff there and watch as it expands before your very eyes over the next couple of weeks.

Seven Days W/O Emu Makes One Weak

With apologies to Taco Time Evanston, Wyoming circa summer 1979. At Pooh Corner more basil was planted and the old basil never died, so that when me & my emu pesto it up we hope never to know which batch was which--such loss issues have we, such nostalgias. Lots of things like that basil--celebration material and a few to grieve. One day soon, a plane corrects itself. One day soon, a blissed-out someone waits in terminal three.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hardly Skylarkin'

No Road
Since we agreed to let the road between us
Fall to disuse,
And bricked our gates up, planted trees to screen us,
And turned all time's eroding agents loose,
Silence, and space, and strangers - our neglect
Has not had much effect.
Leaves drift unswept, perhaps; grass creeps unmown;
No other change.
So clear it stands, so little overgrown,
Walking that way tonight would not seem strange,
And still would be allowed. A little longer,
And time would be the stronger,
Drafting a world where no such road will run
From you to me;
To watch that world come up like a cold sun,
Rewarding others, is my liberty.
Not to prevent it is my will's fulfillment.
Willing it, my ailment.
-- Philip Larkin

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pretending it's Early Morning

at twilight, I head out to a neighborhood that looks like the inside of a body with all that wild pink light and a moon that looks clipped straight off a hand made of light. I felt like I was made of light--post Yeats, post so much talk of elegies and witness and survival. I pretended it was dawn, the day turned around to meet a day, say in....Thailand where a Sir-tain someone was off to a world all fishly dark and seaweed. My neighborhood is stunning with old houses that wear that dusk (dawn) so well. Big, old wealthy houses with a huge, huge bouquet left out by the trash, still cellophaned-up, a big glass vase and two ribbons keeping it all mummified. The flowers--roses and nasturtium and so many more--were not dead, hadn't even been brought in or adored yet. So they came home with me and I pretended they were sent for the end of exams but by some anonymous rich person who didn't know me and so didn't hurt my feelings by not knowing that I don't like flowers sent to me, I resent the expense. I prefer my own random, goofy arrangements or rescuing lost flowers from outside floral shops (they throw out the shabby roses about once a week here at my neighborhood florist...) I prefer the memory of one old boyfriend calling in a flower order from New York to Salt Lake and the florist calling me to say I had a few dollars to spend on a "Friday bouquet."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Licking Every Square Inch of Lorca's Face


Just your hot heart,

nothing more.

My Paradise, a field,

no nightingales,

no strings,

a river, discrete,

and a little fountain.

Without the spurs,

of the wind, in the branches,

without the star,

that wants to be leaf.

An enormous light

that will be

the glow

of the Other,

in a field of broken gazes.

A still calm

where our kisses,

sonorous circles

of echoes,

will open, far-off.

And your hot heart,

nothing more.

Three Cheers & Sun as Frisbee

Finished the long project of exams--I feel as free as that sun I frisbee backwards to Thailand for a boy under that embroidered sky. The first to congratulate me indeed.

Sweet Chicky took me out for a wonderful dinner at (our joint) Red Pepper(perfectly basil-infused and enough red chilis to make it spicy).
I also made off with a gorgeous coppery bird pendant, some sparkley water and Mosquito--POETRY I don't HAVE to read but can't wait to devour.

I am off to this huge cemetery to gather notes for a new poem. Today is so sunny and I am homemade oatmealed and all kinds of blissed-out. Soon I read in Florida. Soon I visit New York. Even sooner--but not soon enough--me and Sir Emu will be celebrating! I am so in need of some celebrating. The House on Pooh Corner's all echoey and the key to the door does not start the usual party... Come home already.

Off to the graveyard, with stationary and confetti.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

One Night from Bangkok

Some voices are whole worlds. That's all.

Today at Sippy Cups abrim with that neighborhood-cafe-on a-so-appreciated-gift of-a-glittery-sunned-day-feeling. Everyone was out. The lime iced tea a kind of nectar--otherworldly good.

A general sense of well-being and a bed with clean sheets. See you in the dreams, Pretty Roamer.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Petty Theft with a Me in the Rigging OR Stealing as an Act of Love

This is just to say (Matt Hart) that I have stolen two of the poems from the online sampling of your issue, two of which you were probably most proud, Forgive me, (Matt Hart) they were delicious, so sweet, so cold.

Kind readers, should I suggest that besides these samples, (for I could have pillaged the night away) such names as Cindy King, Matthew Zapruder, Rebecca Louden, Kevin Oberlin, Richard Siken! and yes, I am serious: Amanda Nadelberg appear astride that gorgeous Forklift, wouldn't you just hit click and subscribe?

Goodbye, Radio Girl
for Kate Hall

Your pink sweater— how it fits. Your questions—
their wings, and their whys. All of this is remarkable
but what we remember most is the way
your eyes went there and there. Your questions
and the bees acting like ladies on lunch.
Lucky bees and your questions are numerous.
Here is an answer held to my chest.
How about all this sunshine— it makes your sweater
seem all candyish and lamby.
Eyes up here, Radio Girl.
The most memorable part was the sheer number of all of you
out there and your fluttering hands.
How many of us there are.
Next question.
Her sunglasses are a reflection of your faces
in the crowd, her highlights, yes.
Come here a moment and mind the steps up.
It's like a moving picture but everybody's smoking and nobody's eating.
Laughter, sure, but mostly in the lower registers.
Mammalian. How'd those bees find us again,
I'm sorry what did you say? The answer to that is sometimes
but I wish it was never or always when they open the snack coffin.
I've forgotten my name but I know my place.
Your earlobes, Radio Girl, they seem important.
Or is it your mouth. Your pink sweater. The way you fit here in floral.
There's a story here and I'm feeling ready to tell it.
This is the way of the tribes. Before we were here
we were elsewhere and where we are going is next,
so, Goodbye, Radio Girl! Goodbye to your holdings, our voices,
the bees and how they swarmed was the answer.

Betsy Wheeler (of course)
Forklift, Ohio (always!)

July, July
Let us hope we are succeeded
in this world by the beauty
that preceded us.
Yes, I'm staring.
Do you remember me?
I was the one looking up the tracks
for the train, or even
just the headlight of a train,
anything that might offer
another foggy promise of arrival.
From every direction, the city
filled the neighborhood
with its surgical hum.
And then evening began to unload
its freight of infinite darkness,
or whatever spell
you were under that allowed me
to first stand there and watch
you remove your clothes.
I love you so much it's dangerous.
I don't regret a thing.
There are rewards
for which there will be no accounting.
The princess blows gently
across the surface of her apricot tea.
The storm reaches the unsuspecting coast.
Finally breaking free, the pier
is swallowed into the foam.
What boiling point?
Some collisions require no cause.
I fell into the river and, lucky for me,
now you're my wife.

Dobby Gibson from Forklift, Ohio

What Wanda Wants...

Fun Gift Unit
a poem for Wanda

Something there is that is hopeful here
that moment that my friend describes as “the sure thing”
when someone’s eyes are aglitter with “tonight.”

That’s fun gift unit or the bright, buoyant whimsy
of beach balls against an infinite summer.
If the fun gift unit be a city, it be a city for lollygagging

for mayhem and merriment. The fun gift unit
is a place all shining with yeses. The brooders
pass through and the fun gift uniters find themselves

here, where the weather is a bubblemachine set to always,
and the rainfall is emitted from green and orange plastic
squirtguns. At the Fun Gift Unit Café, they serve nonstop

hot chocolate with mandatory whipped cream. Even a maraschino
cherry stopping in at the Fun Gift Unit Saloon
feels needed again where someone is always ordering a Shirley Temple.

Even anagrammed, there’s a fungi fun tit or a fig tuft I nun
I nun, you nun we all nun a fig tuft?
And who doesn’t benefit, Wanda?

Even my hopeful friend of the last stanza chimes in
Can I watch? Watch away, Friend, the fun gift unit
keeps giving and giving. Add guns and gin, tiff and guff and the fun

fun gift unit is rolling like a dunebuggy to the next sandbar of eternal frolicking.
It’s hard to frolic in a poem but not so on the fun gift unit where frolic
is the default. What’s hard to construct are phrases like fun gift unit

of our discontent
, or it was the best of fun gift units the worst
of fun gift units.
While ask not what your fun gift unit can do for you,
ask what you can do for your fun gift unit
sounds somehow right.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Long Live Diagram

for their generous, savvy review. I always admire the reviews at Diagram and was thrilled when I found out that someone at Diagram was looking over my book in order to write one. Even so, I'm blown away by the subtelties that I only dreamed some reader would catch and Gunnar Benediktsson did. Speaking of: I looked him up this morning to find that, (like Jason Bredle, another great Diagram reviewer/poet) Mr. Benediktsson writes a careful, sonically-booming poem himself. Thank you, Gunnar, Ander, Diagram, what a nice thing to add to a Tuesday.


Sunday, March 11, 2007


First your father's yahrzeit candle, synagogue and then off to the airport. We are both grieving a little by now, though the origins are a generation off. It's colder already and undeserving D.C. hears the particular footfall that, recorded on my cell-phone as you call me from the wrong side of Virginia or is it Hampshire? makes your walk visible to me, clear back in Ohio. No one has your walk, Bird.

The airport, the airport, that bandit-handed place. Coffee and tea and thee and me and security--that double-edged term. So many lines. The carry-on baggage. The bottled water gone dangerous. An attempt to run it back to me and then The Man, the Long-Armed, No-Jokes Airport Man, says no way and with that, the water is forfeited and dear Bird, you are in flight and I am watching you even as the escalator lifts me up and the shuttle takes you off, and I am sad-some and suddenly thirsty.

We Feel You, Julianna

Admittedly, dear Kathrine spotted this first, but as a way,way,way back Baggott fan, (I drove to Birmingham, AL to sit in a too-tiny audience and marvel at how gracious, how incredibly together, besides talented, besides funny, besides gorgeous, Ms. B really is) I have to post it, too.

Because no one has earned her literary keep better and if she's saying it's hard to do, (earning a living as a writer, while not collapsing from the endeavor to juggle it and you know, life) it's tougher than even all that. I don't know of a work ethic like Julianna Baggott's and I certainly don't possess one. I work in starts and stops and have more manuscripts ready to go than I ever have out in the mail.

Speaking of: for the rumor mill that has erroneously spun out the word that I have a book forthcoming from Red Hen Press--please note: you're wrong. I love the press and they were very encouraging about the story that won their recent contest and subsequentally optimistic about what the manuscript overall might look like. While I would be pleased and honored, it would be news indeed for Red Hen to hear that they're "running" my book. Next time, unless the book has an Amazon page, I won't breathe a word.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ghost of Fashion Haunting Bookstores Soon!

I mean Lesley Jenike. I mean Word Press. A book I cannot wait to hold.

Congratulations, Fair Lesley! This is news to no one who has read you but it still makes my day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cincinnati Welcomes Veace

I'm off to Kent this afternoon for the world's fastest roadtrip...back tomorrow night...sigh. Then me and Veace are meeting up some time this weekend and hitting Habbie's because that's what we do.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Something About What Happens When We Talk

Cold sun here, so Tuesday. Last night of teaching the Madness & Lit. class and I'll miss it. Speaking of all-time belovely students: Kent people, write in and tell me if you can meet up at some coffee place in Kent later this week for anthology assembly or just writing-chats.

Lucinda, Lucinda, unsuffer me.

(And Tony Ro. Your comment dumped itself before I could publish it. (Technical problem at blogspot. W/B and tell me what you said.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sir Prize, I know that's what you are

but what am I besides happy to be home. The big party of yesterday went off without a hitch. I'm reading Stephen Dobyns and drinking decaf. and listening to Arrow Sparrow--hot new find of a musical treat.

Soon, will be live and already is in a partial about-to-be-added-onto way. Thursday finds me in Akron and with luck, April in Kenyon and Kent. I like luck. I like it very much.

Speaking of luck or lucky error or Anthony Robinson, where were you? And Matthew Guenette? Gold star for Michael Morse for coming by (or being tracked-down) and saying hello. And Aaron Smith, finally I got to meet the dear, talented Aaron. I saw too, Simone Muench (read her poems, buy her books!) and Kristy Odelius whose poems I've long admired. Brian Ingram, my old Bama friend. Of course, Ander and John Pursley who is scooping up the literary prizes that Ander hasn't already. Best of all, I hung out with Kathrine Wright and Scarlett Rooney, both of Florida, wordsonwalls and beautiful words. It was so nice to see you all.

Plus, Jackie Osherow: poet and kickboxer extraordinaire who made me want to grow up to be just like her.

Then home again, to party in the honor of the birth of Sir Caleb the Great and Lovely.

I bought Blind Date w/ Cavafy by Steve Fellner and chapbooks by both this year's Wick Chapbook winners. I meant to buy a bunch of books from Switchback and Dancing Girl Press. I recommend Fever Pitch by Christy Bowen and the Cindy King's chapbook. Also, as an old Scott Cairn's fan, it was cool to run into him and find out that he's hanging out at the same monastery that my dad visits (Mt. Athos) and that he's written a book about it. The Amazon wishes are growing long.