Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

Wishing you all great things in the up-ahead and the only burning regrets you carry should be those that you write down with me (wherever you are) and set on fire at midnight and then give them not another thought. Every best wish to you friends, family and worth-it pains-in-the-proverbial.

The Sunset District
Meet me in the Sunset District, out by the shoreline,
a place named for the time of day that dies. Meet me there

where the gulls are streaked with gasoline, where hubcaps
wash ashore like giant sad sequins. These days,

from this strip of beach, I keep watching pairs of lovers
collect stones, then walk hand-in-hand

into the ocean. Have you heard? They say the city
is dying. Windblown newspapers scatter headlines,

"This Is It," they say, "What's Done
Is Done" & out here by the sea, a man in rags

tries to speak to God on a rotary phone. But meet me
by the dismantled skyscraper that used to keep all keys to the city,

that housed this borough's evening sun. From here
we might see vanishing points on the horizon

where troops & artillery wince & glitter like stolen jewelry.
Someday maybe we'll move to the country

of some distant country, but meanwhile, I'll bide my time
watching the tides, folding yesterday's paper into fleets of airplanes,

naming each one Enola. Come evening, streetlamps
flicker, streetcars rear to a halt, while the man in rags

still listens for a dial tone. "Hello?" he says, "hello?"
So take your leave & meet me, if you can, the day after

the day of oblivion, here where fog & lovers continue
to roll in with the crude tide. Here where a body in rags, clutching a phone,

is buried, by then, in black sand. We'll watch
spilt oil rainbow the bay & glint aluminum.

We'll breathe the new air incensed
with aftermath & uranium.

Copyright © 2008 Sarah V. Schweig

Monday, December 29, 2008

Copycatting Veace

You are so far away now, so small, that today is already long ago,
and our story in other people's hands. A man crossing a channel
is reading the galleys, passing each page to his wife. All night
they sit close, as if on a single bench for warmth.
Oh, little bench, you will burn.

Jill Osier

Because I want to "keep" this poem and not forget I read it and that I loved it and why. All that belongs to the near end of this weird, wild year. Goodbye Cincinnati, for real. Whatever next Ohio holds for me is elsewhere (& let us hope, wise--with apologies to Kristi and with my glass raised, abrim with Italian liqueur, orange as a Sicilian sunrise.)

The head and the tummy are on the mend but I'm still feeling dizzy from whatever small bug found home in me these last few days. A small nap, a pond-penny-wish in dreams and with luck, another walk when I rise.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Caravella Orangecello

An orange unlike any other and a reminder why I attempted Italian so often. Saturday was a true Saturday--the way Saturdays were when she was five--a word that could contain whole amusement parks, the wintery-kind, their summer memories waiting like pennies on the ice for the melt into possible wishes. The whole day a piggy bank. Saturdays had that ephemeral vastness--something more vast in the word than the day could ever really contain. But yesterday was bright orange and a half-dozen lightbulbed bouquets, a frozen fire, good olives and what it felt like to be Saturdayed.

Everyone should begin with parting gifts. The goodbyeing out of the way and maybe even the most fractured of us could plan the reverse getaway.
Psalm of Snow
T. Barnstone
I had forgotten how to say yes. That's the trick of heartbreak.
It makes you forget yes. The voices in my head were not kind,
so you took me to the woods to empty out.
My old shoulder was wired with pain, and there was a needle
in my hip, but we lay on a wide flat rock in the snow
as the intoxicated sun licked our faces with breathing light

like a yellow dog, simple in its joy, licking our chins and lips and necks
and a long wind came from over the mountaintop
and cooled our left sides, and the Sacramento River
wept through us like time, and spoke its liquid foolish syllables,
senseless, sensual, almost sentient, and I lay with my head
nested between your breasts and listened.

Time to climb, you said, and I felt snow-wing angelic as we snowshoed
above Castle Lake, leaving traces behind like snow rabbits
with webbed feet, silver squirrels, prints on the glass of the world,
a little evidence for angels to investigate after that death magic
resolves us to nothing again. I heard omens in the wind, psalms
in the bent warm sunlight that makes the snow mountains weep.

Something was coming, something foreign as joy, a clue
to how to live once you're done with sorrow, a way of being
in being like a long breath exhaled, leaving a trace on the air
before it resolves again to air, the frozen lake, ice fishers waiting
for something great to rise, the mountaintop lifting
its white head in trance and saying its one good word: snow.

Reading the Readable

She reads books because they're generous in their tellings. The people inside them unfold like artichokes if only her fingers pull the thin edge back to the core of the thing. She reads people like books written in a language she might almost guess at by the looks of things--like Spanish where water, altitude, colors, are all words that she can make out if she tries--but the sentences hang like home-made mobiles with out of balance pieces and she can't figure out what to weigh more heavily or where to lighten it to make the thing hang even. Worse, she can't say she likes the steady symmetry much or values it over the unique collection of things that make up a mobile--that skeleton hand from some Halloween, that paper umbrella, that doll shoe, that plastic yellow rose that smells of dust, old plastic and childhood.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Softest Day

Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. But not terrible, just still. On the drive home, a silvery sky ahead and behind her: a gold that was all fire, as if behind that sky, heaven was burning down. She was thinking about someone and that thinking made her feel the way the word glossary keeps a mystery inside it, plus something that feels like desire and pastries to the tongue.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pop-up Lighthouse Book

from my sister, Christina and my brother, Joey. This is what arrived in the mail today from the (plus vanilla plum lotion, gel and lipgloss from Greece that smell like nothing I've ever smelled before--insanely good and a very writerly, funny t-shirt) all thoughtful, all dear but the book in honor of my father's gift to me of the lighthouse in Crete held this odd echo from a not-yet-published poem in the dissertation and one that my sister had never heard (and did I say her middle name is Elaina besides?) Yes, oddness after oddness and my good fortune to have such family.

Tonight, Mary's gleaming and Elaina's heart shimmers back.
Even her pain is nostalgic: a smell from a far-away room.
She wants one place to keep everything: a pop-up book
of her cities, her lighthouse, her loves,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Gratitudes

for slender hands, the beautiful shape of solitude
and the center of a catseye, for movie theaters,
for the only blooming thing on a fall-dead tree--so
purple against the dry, for the paint advertisement
that makes him happy, a falling pail of antifreeze and ripe lemons
draping down the brick, three chartreuse cars forever parked
and sacrificed for it,for mood-ring eyes, for raccoons with the moonlight
ever-icing their coats, for the true religion
of icicles, of twilight, for things I didn't know I loved
how many, how much.
Things I Didn't Know I Loved

it's 1962 March 28th
I'm sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don't like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn't know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn't worked the earth love it
I've never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love

and here I've loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can't wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you'll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow
I know this has troubled people before
and will trouble those after me
I know all this has been said a thousand times before
and will be said after me

I didn't know I loved the sky
cloudy or clear
the blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodino
in prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into Turkish
I hear voices
not from the blue vault but from the yard
the guards are beating someone again
I didn't know I loved trees
bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino
they come upon me in winter noble and modest
beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish
"the poplars of Izmir
losing their leaves. . .
they call me The Knife. . .
lover like a young tree. . .
I blow stately mansions sky-high"
in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen handkerchief
to a pine bough for luck

I never knew I loved roads
even the asphalt kind
Vera's behind the wheel we're driving from Moscow to the Crimea
formerly "Goktepé ili" in Turkish
the two of us inside a closed box
the world flows past on both sides distant and mute
I was never so close to anyone in my life
bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and Geredé
when I was eighteen
apart from my life I didn't have anything in the wagon they could take
and at eighteen our lives are what we value least
I've written this somewhere before
wading through a dark muddy street I'm going to the shadow play
Ramazan night
a paper lantern leading the way
maybe nothing like this ever happened
maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy
going to the shadow play
Ramazan night in Istanbul holding his grandfather's hand
his grandfather has on a fez and is wearing the fur coat
with a sable collar over his robe
and there's a lantern in the servant's hand
and I can't contain myself for joy
flowers come to mind for some reason
poppies cactuses jonquils
in the jonquil garden in Kadikoy Istanbul I kissed Marika
fresh almonds on her breath
I was seventeen
my heart on a swing touched the sky
I didn't know I loved flowers
friends sent me three red carnations in prison

I just remembered the stars
I love them too
whether I'm floored watching them from below
or whether I'm flying at their side

I have some questions for the cosmonauts
were the stars much bigger
did they look like huge jewels on black velvet
or apricots on orange
did you feel proud to get closer to the stars
I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine now don't
be upset comrades but nonfigurative shall we say or abstract
well some of them looked just like such paintings which is to
say they were terribly figurative and concrete
my heart was in my mouth looking at them
they are our endless desire to grasp things
seeing them I could even think of death and not feel at all sad
I never knew I loved the cosmos

snow flashes in front of my eyes
both heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind
I didn't know I liked snow

I never knew I loved the sun
even when setting cherry-red as now
in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors
but you aren't about to paint it that way
I didn't know I loved the sea
except the Sea of Azov
or how much

I didn't know I loved clouds
whether I'm under or up above them
whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts

moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois
strikes me
I like it

I didn't know I liked rain
whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my
heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop
and takes off for uncharted countries I didn't know I loved
rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting
by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
is it because I lit my sixth cigarette
one alone could kill me
is it because I'm half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow
her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue

the train plunges on through the pitch-black night
I never knew I liked the night pitch-black
sparks fly from the engine
I didn't know I loved sparks
I didn't know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty
to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return

19 April 1962
by Nazim Hikmet (Translated by Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Only Avant Garde Left is Wisdom

If Jim Cummins didn't already write amazing poems then I would tell him to be a poet because he says things like this the way that you or I might order a sandwich.

Another happy day. Good coffee and company. The bright edges of days in winter. Listening to new music and about to embark on that Wide Sargasso Sea. This is living.

Music Swims Back to Me
Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.

Anne Sexton
No one has taken anything away

No one has taken anything away--
there is even a sweetness for me in being apart.
I kiss you now across the many
hundreds of miles that separate us.

I know: our gifts are unequal, which is
why my voice is--quiet, for the first time.
What can my untutored verse
matter to you, a young Derzhavin?

For your terrible flight I give you blessing.
Fly, then, young eagle! You
have stared into the sun without blinking.
Can my young gaze be too heavy for you?

No one has ever stared more
tenderly or more fixedly after you . . .
I kiss you--across hundreds of
separating years.

12 February 1916

By Marina Tsvetayeva
Translated by Elaine Feinstein

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

--Robert Browning
The Tulip Thief, Mi Amor
At first it was an ember; its glow I nursed
like a welt after the open wound you left
in the row. Anger, yes, but what is anger
if not passion? Sparks, if not chemistry?
A lab of mulch, calyx, and bitterroot. Your
neat snips—kitchen shears?—selective: not
the first in the row, yet the second and today
the third. My pretty girls, my charming
darlings. Oh, the hours I conjured their hue
of red—for cheerful and its stain of glamour.
Tulip, native of Asia, sister of Geisha—
petals demure, dainty and closed
each evening. I've contemplated a linger
in the eaves with a shotgun. A friend suggests
a garden hose. And like a misunderstood lover,
I harbored plans—one with a black alder
and epoxy—discarded for mercy. Your ache
for beauty much like my own dogma. I know
the gasp of a red petal on the asphyxiated
heart—how it jumps! Perhaps, your wife
has packed and paid for a ticket to the gas
station where the attendant grows iris—
so violet—clearly, a man who knows
how to tend. You saw my tulips and thought
to dazzle her back with scarlet; it's the true nature
of violet, pure. I like to think my tulips save
your marriage—you're off to Niagara Falls
for a wet second honeymoon and surprise
baby. This, I understand. Sometimes we need
reckless acts to see each other again.

Copyright © 2008 Suzanne Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coffeehoused and Heading Back Shortly

What nice days. So much reading, writing.
Things are nice right now. It's cold. The economy dismal. Money never stretches far enough but I am happy. I am not without wishes. But I am proud of the life I have made for myself and my soup (no small challenge with all of the substitutions I had to make) was amazing! It was spicy, sour and delicious (if I do say so myself).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is God Finished Now?

Overheard from child exiting the Greek Orthodox church on High Street. His little voice shouted it out and his mother looked flustered. I laughed and wished for the zillionth time to be so lucky as to be embarassed just like that. He had big dark eyes and this dark little cap of hair. Sigh... His last sweet years, these.

And the faculty meeting highlight involved a repeated student quote regarding Moby Dick. "I'm glad the whale won." Why slog through all that Melville when all you need to know is summed up in five words. I wish the whales all always won. Also, the seals and the polar bears and the various so-ons of which there are too many.

It's too cold here tonight.

Friday, December 12, 2008

One More Thing Before I Close Out Today

Student quote of the day: "Figs are nothing more than wasp abortion clinics."
I love my students.
The cupcake party is becoming an art form. Next time, there will be many colors of icing, sprills and a roomful of artists decorating their cupcakes individually. My digital camera will be figured-out by then (Thank You, Daddy!) and I will post pictures. For now, we lingered, we stayed over an hour after class (a few of us) we were loathe to leave. I was given two gorgeous pieces of pottery (and don't think student-art here, think professionals polishing-up, think real art). I am the lucky teacher to know these people. They are in-there and they are alive.

There is no bad time for frosting and tenderness, thinks A.

Thai Soup Re-Imagined

Tonight is all about hot food against the cold weather. One favorite co-diner used to eat this "garbage meal" that mixed up lots of crazy things and was so tasty and so much my kind of food that I couldn't believe another human was into that kind of meal. (I have been ridiculed by many friends and exes for my strange bedfellows of foods on the plate.) So tonight's dinner payed homage to the garbage-meal of old as I made broccoli & scrambled eggs with salsa, some gimme lean sausage, and Chinese broccoli stir fried with soy sauce and chives. But tomorrow bears the weighty responsibility of using the indulgence of veggies purchased at the Asian market far away (so figure in a few bucks for the eight miles out).
Sour and Spicy Prawn* Soup Recipe
(Tom Yam Kung)
6 large spiny-clawed prawns (Obviously out for the vegetarians, but there are great tofu options, and wood mushrooms reconstituted give a great chewy-ness.)
1 lemon grass steam, cut into short lengths
2-3 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
5-6 crushed hot chilies
3 tbsp lime juice
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (veggie version)
Additionally, I've splurged (Asian mart, again) on some spicy Thai basil and have had this soup with a heavy dose of that, so will likely include it, as well.
3 cups soup stock (vegetable broth with more lime juice and a dash of some hot sauce and perhaps the chives purchased from the Asian market) Veggie broth takes some doctoring to get that kind of buttery/nutty taste of the more meaty broths. But it's workable.

Talk me out of water chestnuts. As with jicama, I go through phases where I believe that everything is improved by them. This recipe is buckling from my changes. But have faith, I make a killer West African Peanut Stew which is not only vegetarianized but low-fat (fat free would have been a crime to that one).
*Note to the purists. I am taking away and substituting much here, I recognize but for Veace and those of us trying to get some of our favorites to work again within dietary limitations, it's worth a shot. I'll let you know as I zero in on the flavor I'm craving (minus little souls swimming in the broth)how it all works.

One is Silver and the Other's Gold

Any news Berman needs noting. The cupcakes are gone. Winter ensues.

Bettie, You're a Bedtime Story

Goodbye to uber curvy brunette. Heaven just got a whole sexier.

I toast you with my cup of chocolate velvet coffee and soon, up to my eyeballs in icing, (for today, recall, we cupcake!) I will think of decadence and how you are its patron saint. I am listening to my birthday mix from some Alabama students that I am lucky enough to number as friends even now. And in honor of my vintage goddess Lila, they had given me The Night and in honor of everything, Polyester Bride. So I sing along and send the tunes skyward.

To Bettie Page, we toast and serenade and dedicate today, The Day of the Cupcake (and Cheesecake Girls.) All manner lusciousness. (And not a little strange...fireplace dance? Dance may be a little...generous.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tomorrow We Cupcake!

My students get a little cupcake party with their last workshop. I will miss them so much. They were a great way to spend an afternoon.

Weirdly, as I posted the last entry, I-tunes flipped to where Iggy Pop sung out loud and clear as I typed the word city over and over: "I don't care about your city." Noted.

I loved you when you lost your raincoat, I'll love you when you lose your fear

If not the most romantic words than certainly in the running.
Once in Seattle a man named Ron (something I will track down for it's important) was playing music on the street and I stopped to listen. It was, of course, drizzling as Seattle must and it was a day I had been on my own as my travel partner was part of a conference. My days were long and wonderfully-so full of museums and such Rons as this who told me that he was playing "Laura" just for me and said something nice about my face and of course, there's the dollar/busker/compliment thing but we talked a long time after, mostly I listened about his life, his music. He was much older than I then, in his sixties, I think and his voice was rich and just rough enough to make it warm and full of life. I was young then and traveling with my first real boyfriend--a man who is still a good friend, whom I have seen now through both wedding and funeral of a wife so much more his own than I ever was. Every few days we talk and he talks about what it means to know someone that well, to open up to someone knowing that they will leave and it will hurt insanely. I keep thinking about how that world-wise girl I was knew nothing about people-stuff but running into new places, she was all about that.
Anyway, the point is about how I felt so grown-up then with my big fat notebook in tow and with all the notes I took on the street, in museums, and later in Boston (same boyfriend, different conference) overlooking the Charles and I knew then that I was finding out who my character would be and where the story would be set and I thought then I knew so much about love and what it was and regret, I thought I had met it yet, and I hadn't. But I did know I loved cities. That for the heavy, too loyal ways I am with lovers, with cities I am their fickle harlot. I love them for the way they yield and all the ways they don't; for their warmth and their stormy, snippy weathers, for their ease and their utter inconveniences, their gracious welcomes and their surly indifference. I love one one week for this reason and next week, I'm all about another. There are constants, of course, New York, New Orleans, my own Salt Lake, but on any given day, my other favorite city is the one I'm currently falling in love with.

I've obviously had the city in mind for days and then today on the radio, I sat in the darkening parking lot of Volunteers of America Thrift Shop just to catch the end of this.

Women in Cities in Winter

Again with the long walk, clicking down High and onto Broad and over to 4th and so on. And all the pretty ladies bundled up with the delicate heels peeking out from long coats and swaddled, stuffed-animal bodies. And the drabness--nothing that isn't grey or beige unless it insists: those reds, yellows, oranges, a few twinkly Christmas lights, downtown strung in electric sparkle, a big red velvet bow but largely sidewalk-colors, cement and pavement and a sky sucked dry of any blueness.
It exhilerates A who imagines a man in love with a woman who has left him and that man goes to her hometown and walks miles of it, covers every street on its grid by foot and begins again, only to know her city and somehow figure out just what it was that made her his for a minute and then so gone. A entertains herself with melodrama, that man eating soup in the window wants to leave his dying brother's side and hop on a train with nothing but a duffel bag full of books and black licorice crow candies. He wants to park in the dining car, drink bourbon or maybe scotch and test the pillowy dark of the licorice against his teeth.

I just mean that it feels like winter break here and I love it. SO much solitude, my days spent writing or in the study researching or reading. I make tea, do laundry, plan the next soup and bread I will make. I take long walks to work and to my little new meeting and I wear sweaters warm and red like the red dreams of being on its best most saturated day. What is wistful seems understood by the starkness of the landscape and what deep kisses might blow one's ears out or blow the better part of a year away seem part of some other season. Right now is so precisely itself that I am nearly in a state of bliss. Even yesterday's meeting was fun, my elfish L-Bo full of spritely sparks and tons of amazing writing (you Go, L-Bo!) and the faculty at my school is quirky and strange and fun. (How weird is that?) And the walk home was so cold but again, as if to crystallize things and it did and it does. I know why I'm here and that's a rare, welcome feeling.

P.S. In unrelated news (save that EKW blurbed Ms. Jengles) when this happened I had been keeping my distance a bit and didn't get to but always meant to cheer.

What Tin House said about Revolutionary Poet is right, watch this star rise and rise. His poems are not only beautiful, they also truly matter. Unlike many of Wilson's contemporaries, his poems are larger than "the speaker's" sense of himself or his very important angst or whimsy. He's razor-shop but full of heart.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A feelings first sort of day

since feeling is first e.e. cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

Monday, December 08, 2008

"For months it was like that. For months of beginning, touch, distances and what could be done to close them. For months, A listened for voices and tried to sift through for something to promise her that she wasn't like that, wasn't parallel parking on the wrong street. So much commitment she was willing to make, so much she wasn't.

Meanwhile, maps consoled her: New Hampshire, Africa, the thin peninsulas that felt like manageable horizons. What season would her mother call this: Noodle-clouds, certain flurries, the highway smothered or smothering. What skin knew and what it couldn't convey."
I want to say something important that isn't about love. Or maybe is but the love for words or music or an image, a minute, a scene, the light through my hot pink sheers in my study when I will write a whole novel, a play and complete my essays.

From The Season:
"And when he comes into view (he'll be a long time walking in winter, against snow like something from a Russian poem, he'll say 'There you are.' Then, 'I want to be your common-law natural disaster. Something perpetual, inevitable and so intimate it could peel you like a fruit or carry you into the next county.' Then he'll turn it all Bogart-like with a line that ends with Kid like 'read me, Kid?' and I'll know it's him."

"Who talks like that, A?"

"He does, or I'm pretty sure he should."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Morning, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Boruch

and one decadent omelette that I wish I could share with you (you know who you are).
Lightly-grilled avocado, eggs, chives, some laughing cow cheese, hot green salsa from North Market, whole wheat tortilla, and some gimme lean sausage--both vegetarian and low-fat (there is a heaven!) Good coffee (the one) and tons of steamed milk. My good dishes (because we only live once). Facing the patio with snow that has made all my lawn furniture look like giant marshmallows and that ah-winter feeling.

In a recent review of Marianne Boruch, Michael Robbins says that she "inhabits that space between the beauty of inflections and the beauty of innuendos."

I wish I'd said that, and you can be sure I will now. Good writers borrow etc...

Boruch herself says: "Because beauty's not generous, isn't anything but its passage." Which I take to mean that I should have the loveliest omelettes while I may. Gather ye rosebuds and farmer's market salsa and so on.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Can't Stop Synecdocheizing

Because all of these things are true and more:

"Synecdoche,New York is a self-indulgent mope. It’s also a work of genius." --Robert Butler

"Dense, dazzling and emotionally devastating, "Synecdoche, New York" is certainly the most ambitious film of the year, if not the decade. A surreal exploration of art, love and death, it has the Fellini-esque feel of some lost European cinematic masterpiece that reaches far past the normal boundaries of drama and into the very essence of existence.
Since the very essence of existence doesn't quite have the popular appeal of a superhero in a colorful costume, this is not a movie for everyone. But for true cinephiles, this film is not to be missed." --Tom Long

"You'll walk out of Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" feeling like a drunk bodybuilder just went bumper bowling with your brain." --Mike Ward

Little tiny paintings that look like smudges until you take a magnifying lens to them and they became intricate almost Arbus-like treatments of the body, aging and the truth that appearance reveals with or without our permission. Or take the house perpetually on fire and not as a dream and with the awareness of the characters as they take into account some of the inconvenience of such a home but buying it, living in it, loving in it and even stoking its fires when need be. During the walk-through of the home for sale, the fires are a concern but as the film progresses they become one condition of the home that in every other way is perfection to the character who buys it and keeps it and again, even tends it fire. It isn't that the idea of housefire becomes so surreal as to lack the implications and dangers of housefires in a realist treatment, is that the film suggests that this "dealbreaker" of perpetual housefire is not a dealbreaker when this is the house one chooses, chooses to live in and accept and indeed foster its firey terms. Since Kaufman cares so about the ties that bind us sometimes to the point of scarring, it doesn't seem that he is so far from that Eternal Sunshine critique about what deserves to disrupt and even half-destroy us because it is our house and it matters enough that we live in it. No house is our house if not this house--even if this house is on fire. If Kaufman comes near to beating the same lesson-drum here, what a crucial, so-me instrument.
Then too, are the tonal shifts from the absurd to the sadly comic, our thousand funny sorrows and the deepest miseries, loyalties and devotion. This stunner of a film is flawed (as it must be) but too is so immense and ambitious that I feel its flaws are entirely necessary and moreover, accounted-for. Besides there is more genius in this film's pinky finger, left hand than there is in any other dozen films randomly appearing at the cineplex. It is not often that I can say that I wanted to live and die all at the same time during one scene alone. Without spoiling: a little girl talking her to daddy about little bits of pizza. For that one scene, I would pay the admission to this film every day for a month--and I am not a wealthy one. But I am richer now.

Do you desire me? Am I among the jellyfish of your griefs?
I comb my sorrows singing; any doomed sailor can hear
The rising and falling bell and begin to wish
For home. There is no choice among the voices
Of love. Even a carp sings.
Ruth Stone

The day had been expensive in every way. Now Vinny's song on the radio and the chorus sets A to biting her lip until she tastes the tartness of having gone too far and there her former lover on the radio sings over and over the bastardized line from her last sticky note to him and she decides then to buy the plane ticket while
if I had a second chance I'd live inside your pants repeats and repeats like a Greek chorus wailing out the sad summary of her whole stupid life.
Postscript to Snowy Saturday: Synecdoche, NY. Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche, NY.Synecdoche,NY.Synecdoche.

Snowed-In Columbus

a phrase that will appear in the last flashes of my life. But not this Columbus, this snow, this in.

Oh my love
Oh it was a funny little thing
It was a funny funny little thing
Bridges & Balloons (Decemberists or Joanna Newsom--you cannot go wrong)

Was I in your dreams I'd like to know
Did I touch your hand and did it feel like snow?

--Jeff Tweedy

for the old-timey holiday windows at Mary Catherines,
for blown glass, for snow angels,

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Take Ten: The Butterfly Collector

Thanks to Sam R. for this one. I'll let my ten You're Its! self-select...
I still want L-Bo and Veace and I to make mixes called The Saddest, The Sexiest, The Happiest, and the Angriest Songs for one another.

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the game as well as the person you got the note from.
If someone says “is this okay” you say:
Back to Me Jonatha Brooke
What would best describe your personality
Forgiveness Patty Griffin
What do you like in a guy/girl?
Early Morning Rain (Indeed!) Paul Weller
What is your life’s purpose?
Back in the Circus Jonatha Brooke
What is your motto?
Got Me She & Him
What do your friends think of you?
Beeswing Richard Thompson
What do you think about very often?
Green River M. Ward
What is 2+2?
Cold Moments Paul Weller
What do you think about your best friends?
Cassiopoeia Joanna Newsom
What do you think of the person you like?
If You Fall Steve Earle
When it Don’t Come Easy Patty Griffin
Time Will Do the Talking Patty Griffin
Bird on the Wire Leonard Cohen
This Side of the Blue Joanna Newson
I’m Sticking with You Velvet Underground
I Say a Little Prayer for You Natalie Cole
The Rain Came Down Steve Earle and the Dukes
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? She & Him
I’ll be Yr Bird Leonard Cohen
All of Me Louis Armstrong (What up with this? Meat Grinder? Cement Mixer? Yikes?)
Bridges and Balloons Joanna Newsom
I Will Follow You Into the Dark Death Cab for Cutie (Oh yeah, hilarious)
I Want Your Hands on Me Sinead O’ Connor(this really does,for loopy reasons)
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie Joanna Newsom (as I suspected, damn, can I get a do-over or borrow your i-tunes?)
To Be Alone with You Sufjan Stevens
Circus John Denver (sigh…looking everywhere, going nowhere…)
Oranges and Rosewater Paul Weller
God Only Knows The Beach Boys
The Butterfly Collector The Jam

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Mr. Riley came to Lago de Luz to grieve.
That is the beginning. But there you have the notion of a sad man, and I won't tell you a sad story. This is a tale of love's charms and lovers' follies, of a girl who dreams of houses and a man who travels alone.
Start instead at the end. Start with a circus. We will find our way there again."
Sandra Scofield, A Chance to See Egypt

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Nice Day This

Lunch at the Indian Oven with my very nice landlord and then a new tea with a new friend. The tea: Cinnamon Mint Chai (not so minty and not strongly spicy at all) but creamy and warm and next time it's the cherry blossom one I meant to try tonight:a green tea with some rose essence to it, too. Or one of my old cardamon standbys because really, when is cardamon ever not a good idea? Exactly.

I'm reading Jane Eyre and the promised-insomnia of a whole pot of black tea has me wondering when it became 1:32 a.m.

If not you then Lorca to bring in Wednesday with me:

Gacela of Unforseen Love

No one understood the perfume
of the dark magnolia of your womb.
Nobody knew that you tormented
a hummingbird of love between your teeth.

A thousand Persian little horses fell asleep
in the plaza with moon of your forehead,
while through four nights I embraced
your waist, enemy of the snow.

Between plaster and jasmins, your glance
was a pale branch of seeds.
I sought in my heart to give you
the ivory letters that say "siempre",

"siempre", "siempre" : garden of my agony,
your body elusive always,
that blood of your veins in my mouth,
your mouth already lightless for my death.

Federico García Lorca

Missing the West

Came in to the dreariest sky I've ever seen. Was whisked from the airport to my car and wondered if Columbus and I would ever have any attachment to one another as I put the cold key into the cold lock and entered an apartment quite nearly a walk-in.

But today my landlord took me to lunch at Indian Oven and it was gracious and the weather a little more mild and all the beauty reminded me that I do love here and that the lilies at Goodale will bloom again and whatever reflorescence doesn't follow was never floral anyway.

Today needs a dollop of Young:

Dean Young
Beloved Escapee
Out of longing, you rowed into the horizon,
dented it in fact. Cringe. The brain shrinks
at such responses the gulls give the sea,
the sea gives itself, a discourse we
are always on the outside of, even drowning.

Oh, you said known world, not gnome world.
That makes all the difference or I wish it would
but I suspect it’s just a matter of magnification,
whether the mite be giant monster
or the great calamity of an orange-ade spill.

In the meantime as it always is
except in childhood when it’s too early
or always too late, in the meantime
I remain ornament to the miniature
golf course, subterfuged with rain.

The tricky part is how life dissolves
to tics relieved every now and then
by seizures, anemones of light spiking
from your head, a voice from the clouds
plenty loud yet you the only one to notice,

unrepentant truant that you are, sprung,
at large. Take me with you next time,
okay? I promise not to tattle.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks, Laura D. for this Merwin Reminder

W. S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Stray Gratitudes

for his profile for the bones of his hands for those best cowboys eyes
for patina for running at night in winter
the white of your breath the lightest thing

for seahorses for early morning rain for last winter in love

fireflies February the fifth thing we promised jukeboxes colored lights
for wigs

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For Space Heaters and the Quiet of Mornings

the days before holidays. When I lived in Alabama I always loved how my little neighborhood cleared out during holiday breaks. There was a stillness to things and something open that made me feel like the town belonged a little to me.

All my new music arrived yesterday so it's space-heater, soup-making, coffee-bread (oh yes, it will be mine) all newly-soundtracked around here.

I love ridiculously-fancy dinners on a random Tuesday night. (I mean, in case anyone asks.) And I love that I get see Headquarters, My Daddy, Tootsie, Teenee-Bug and company very soon. And Lady Kathrine and Karima Curly-Haired Girl. To Columbus I leave the wistful blown-kiss.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm going home soon and all my family will be there plus Karima (after all of these years--ten, more? since last we saw one another) and Kathrine newly-back-home to hold its place and our first year with Joey as official bro (and so-welcome)and peaceful days with my Antonia and time to grieve together for P & C. This has been a year for being reminded of lots of things like how certain I was that I could not get the degree without some boy or other's help (so there!) or the certainty that things promised forever might really be so when most needed or cherished, or that I like things wildflower-beautiful, inadvertantly-so, not studied or re-tailored but real and good because they simply are--like cats. Some of the most enormous things that will ever happen to me happened this year--sort of quietly but huge. I feel lucky for the things in my world just now and hopeful about the rest and sad for some of the losses but sad the way you have to be to learn how to hold what you hold dearly.

Sorry gang for all the philosophy but it's been a time of big losses and gains. (And I'm not even factoring in football Columbus, sorry.)

And last night I dreamt about a wedding gown white as marshmallow fluff--that chemical white that spits back blue and in the dream I was stunned at the way the gown made me look so...blaringly-bride. I can't remember if it was for a wedding, if the groom I had in mind is the usual boy I mourn not marrying in dreams or if the gown was an artifact in itself because I kept remembering (in the dream) the creamy, old, heavy with cold glass beads and light chiffony-silk of the bodice all so vanilla-bean or nearly-custard in the vintage or eggshellish distincitively off-whiteness that I had purchased (in real life too) in a thrift store in Colorado and I was wondering why anyone should have two wedding gowns but again, I don't know what or who or if I was marrying anyone or anything. I remember feeling pleased at the girl in the mirror and that, rare thing, felt nice.

And because of that bride marrying even maybe amazement and because Cynthia lived just this way, I post a poem that will make one dear bear's teeth hurt but that I have to post because it will mean something to the people like Cynthia who wasn't a poetry-snob or a music-snob but just liked things that underlined really living each day which is why she married the amazement she did and why they loved the way we can only hope to get to love.

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement,
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

-Mary Oliver

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saddest Saturday Morning News

Four times around the fire
Seven steps I took
With you by my side

Nine trips to the houses of healing
Sixty miles from our temporary home
Fighting, yes, but mostly letting go
(Figuring out that the journey
Is about today, and today alone)
Discovering in my idleness
Your love, a revelation
And that nothing is done
If not intended

Cynthia Saeli Kudva
May 20, 1965-November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Three Roses

were brought to me yesterday. A pink, a yellow, a pale orange--all in a lovely purplish vase and hanging out now on my mantle just beneath the sand painting of a girl foolishly hungover on song or something like that. Anyway, the flowers were brought to me by my Wednesday morning poetry crew ages 6-13. They are some of the smartest, most self-possessed, well-mannered but wildly imaginative people that I know. I gave them all image notebooks with Rilke quotes from "Letters to a Young Poet". Because they are that amazing and they will record their images, because they don't fail themselves in their goals the way adults do. This week's lesson: be more like A, A, G, M & Q. (The names are awesome, too.)

We are having a reading in December. With invitations, chapbooks and broadsides and some of that pineapple cardamon bread I sent home with them yesterday. With chairs gathered (can I find enough?!?!) in the Zelda room.

Because we are this week (we six young poets) working on some poems that we have labeled The Gratitudes, and I am working on mine on my early graduation gift that has two nicknames, one of which is The Gizmo and is the world's greatest clutch purse of a keyboard (the envy of all) and serves to remind me what I am grateful for and what I am grateful for regardless. Certain things you thank for happening at all much less to you. In honor of all types of gratitude and every type of Gratitudes I post this for you:

POEM 655 (circa 1862)

Without this— there is nought—
All other Riches be
As is the Twitter of a Bird—
Heard opposite the Sea—

I could not care— to gain
A lesser than the Whole—
For did not this include themself—
As Seams— include the Ball?

I wished a way might be
My Heart to subdivide—
'Twould magnify— the Gratitude—
And not reduce— the Gold
Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dancing on the Ceiling

First, Obama, then the degree and now: The Southern Review just accepted the title poem to my next book: The Rub. It's a poem that matters to me immensely and which I have worked and re-worked for years and never sent out much as I wanted it to be really good and to go somewhere really good. I could not be more pleased. If snow falls from the sky tonight I will think it confetti!

For All the Boys Who've Sung Dead Flowers

I want to change my name to Little-Susie. Legally.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why So Sad Buttercup?

Does the weather undo you the winds and unwindings? What left
its residue on the porcelain? What charged singings
make veils in the cold? When cold windows
don't let winter and sharp. When too many songs undo.
Back in the city of a left, right, left
heart, back in the March of another year. Back to words
and what hammock they afternoon hang us through.
Somewhere between the hanging and the nap. Somewhere
between relax and retire. Between adopting another's
belief and the sweet surrogate lovers
that breed nothing but the next day and the way
to meet it. Back to work-a-day
and next week and the exfoliation of skin cells
sufficient to amnesia. Better to crawl out of our hides
a little at a time than to skin ourselves
alive just to forget, just to forget a touch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

All My Well-Wishers

Thanks you, thank you.

There's only one shout-out that would have made today complete. Just one but mighty.

Thank You

How many of the persons this addresses will ever see it is hard to say. But I woke up early, a little sappy at this day's significance and how and who helped make it possible.

Thank you my friends, my little Clifton village, my family and my teachers. An era ends but not my gratitude.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just Have to Underline Our Coolness

still the best thing about my world lately.

Gray Skies, Salt Roses, the Great Unblooming Everywhere November

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Pablo Neruda, from One Hundred Love Sonnets

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


for Honeya
After the stroke all she could say
was Venezuela, pointing to the pitcher
with its bright blue rim, her one word
command. And when she drank the clear
water in and gave the glass back,
it was Venezuela again, gratitude,
maybe, or the word now simply
a sigh, like the sky in the window,
the pillows a cloudy definition
propped beneath her head. Pink roses
dying on the bedside table, each fallen
petal a scrap in the shape of a country
she'd never been to, had never once
expressed interest in, and now
it was everywhere, in the peach
she lifted, dripping, to her lips,
the white tissue in the box, her brooding
children when they came to visit,
baptized with their new name
after each kiss. And at night
she whispered it, dark narcotic
in her husbands ear as he bent
to listen, her hands fumbling
at her buttons, her breasts,
holding them up to the light
like a gift. Venezuela, she said.

Dorianne Laux

Columbus in the Early Hours

and me all lugging laptop and bundled up like it's the dead middle of winter.

Still, it was nice--not the flat-tire that created the walk-opportunity but the walk. Not the weight of this laptop but the cool air and hot coffee, the homemade bread with peanut butter that I had for breakfast before I left. And now here, the familiar office with my cool plexiglass desk and my nice people and soon a roomful of students. Feels very November.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Calling Tryfon Tolides


Come to the point where, fi nally, you are lost,
wayside-sitting, wind-gazing, train-whistle-listening,

if you want to converse with the invisible presence,
continual, sustained, indwelling, be lost,

be abandoned, so that the heart, the mind, as big
as God, come to the place where you are lost,

so that all your days and the shuttering of each day’s
light and the blue magnetic incomprehensible

jumping and motionless blue of twilight and the fi ne
blackening after, around the incomprehensible

waiting and breathing of trees with their delight-inducing
cloud-depths and freedom-shapes and darting birds,

happen in pure glory, in ineffable joy of consciousness,
so that your senses overfi ll to beautiful muteness,

so that mere being becomes the form of your praise.

Tryfon Tolides

This poetry is spare, direct, empty only in the Stevensian sense of acknowleging the nothing that isn't as well as the nothing that is. I say this to strike back at some criticism I read about the big prize, the blurbs, etc. Come on, Bitter Poets. From Pricilla Becker to Tryfon Tolides and so on, quit saying that deserving poetry didn't deserve the prize based on who was judging, or what nepotism may or may not be at play. Attack the judges if you feel you have to bite someone.
I sent my book around for ages before winning a contest judged in the highly ethical and careful Wick competition and by a judge that I had never met. If anyone might look back over all the entry fees, postage, photocopy fees and general effort and concern, I would be high on that list. But there are so many ways to win fairly or unfairly and so many times that I disagreed with why something "should or should not" have won. It gets crazy-subjective and comes down to the aesthetic of reader and writer. As for the true cases of judges choosing their own, critique that not the poet whose poems, whether they're your kind of thing or not, matter. It's low to go after someone's work and make it seem incompetent because you think a judge knew the poet.

But back to Tolides whose poems are sound and true. Their music is so honest and as Tolides said in an interview regarding his village: The place was full of spirit and tsakna and manitaria and foties and provata and tsoknidhes and kalives and moures and tiria and psychically rich people and the cemetery was alive at night, the presence of the living people always had the effect of making the dead more living, too, they were always in the air and in the houses with us and the animals.

That kind of care in seeing and saving is not ordinary and there is nothing empty about paying attention that way. Check him out. Get ready for a living and dying landscape and breathy cemeteries. And don't say I said these because he's my homeboy. I rarely endorse Greeks. But this one has read my favorites: Seferis, Elytis and Ritsos and even my beloved Tomaz Salamun. He mentions those Greek boys more than he does Cavafy (whom I think is over-rated compared to Elytis, Seferis and Ristos). Take that.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

birthday w.s. merwin

Something continues and I don't know what to call it
though the language is full of suggestions
in the way of language
but they are all anonymous
and it's almost your birthday music next to my bones

these nights we hear the horses running in the rain
it stops and the moon comes out and we are still here
the leaks in the roof go on dripping after the rain has passed
smell of ginger flowers slips through the dark house
down near the sea the slow heart of the beacon flashes

the long way to you is still tied to me but it brought me to you
I keep wanting to give you what is already yours
it is the morning of the mornings together
breath of summer oh my found one
the sleep in the same current and each waking to you

when I open my eyes you are what I wanted to see.

While We Still Have Hands

I think it will be winter when he comes.
From the unbearable whiteness of the road
a dot will emerge, so black that eyes will blur,
and it will be approaching for a long, long time,
making his absence commensurate with his coming,
and for a long, long time it will remain a dot.
A speck of dust? A burning in the eye? And snow,
there will be nothing else but snow,
and for a long, long while there will be nothing,
and he will pull away the snowy curtain,
he will acquire size and three dimensions,
he will keep coming closer, closer . . .
This is the limit, he cannot get closer. But he keeps approaching,
now too vast to measure . . .


If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.


Let us touch each other
while we still have hands,
palms, forearms, elbows . . .
Let us love each other for misery,
torture each other, torment,
disfigure, maim,
to remember better,
to part with less pain.

We are rich: we have nothing to lose.
We are old: we have nowhere to rush.
We shall fluff the pillows of the past,
poke the embers of the days to come,
talk about what means the most,
as the indolent daylight fades.
We shall lay to rest our undying dead:
I shall bury you, you will bury me.

(Vera Pavlova
translated, from the Russian, by Steven Seymour)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Handsome This Day

Sitwell's and Lisa's infectious enthusiasm and 'Rackin' Diaquiris.
My student who dreamed that we watched the election as a class and that when Barack's victory was announced we all cheered and cried together.
My mom's crazy happiness and renewed sense of belief in some sort of justice.
That I live in Ohio now, after years of living in Alabama and Utah where casting my vote was like taking vitamins: something I would see more effects perhaps from not doing than I would likely ever know in the doing.
That so much is so right about this moment and the fall trees driving through Ohio seems more Fall-gorgeous than ever and Lucinda William's new c.d. was worth the splurge for songs like Honeybee with its perfect sexiness and If Wishes Were Horses for the so-shared sentiments and the idea that I too would have a ranch. But today I'd be one pony shy--the one called That-Our-President-Could-Be....

At the heart of it all and thriving...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Last Poem

Dear, there's not much more I can do:
the rugs are beaten clean,
my passport's in the mail.

I can follow you with a paper towel
to wipe your traces off each door-knob and spoon.

I've kept your books for you,
and I keep my patience still
in the whirl of a fish tank.

All the plants have died, but
I consider them disposable.

Once this plan was a pas de deux
but my dear, I've come down with stomach flu
and a motorcycle rumble.

I've fixed many things here with crazy glue,
but my red cup dropped in the basin.

Soapy knives and forks swim the way sharks do.
A lemon peel floats by, there's water in my shoes.
I've developed a twitch from the ringing phone.

My dear, I checked the catalogue
and it seems the vine along our redwood siding

—why, it's called "The Wandering Jew"!—

ripped the handles off the doors
(I replaced them with bells).

If I want to go outside for a new point of view
I'll have to chew my way through this neat wood frame
but I don't mind teeth marks, do you?

Copyright © 2008 Camasin Middour

Monday, November 03, 2008

> > > > > W E L C O M E B O U L D E R B O O K S T O R E! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

What have we here? What haven't?
A whole bookstore around you and yet, this is what you read... I knew I was brilliant!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why I love my job

because a student passed this poem along to me. Because two of my students (one of whom also passed this poem along) went to see Eleanor Wilner and I didn't even dangle the extra-credit biscuit out for enticement.

All my things made it off before or super-well-before their deadline. I celebrated with a tofu wrap and an afternoon soda with a pretty boy. Well, and maybe a little trinket or two, if you must get technical about it. And a filmy vintage shirt all spinny with ballerinas: peach, lemon, babiest-blue. A shirt of delicousness. Celebrated I have. And so should you.

Wishing you all the sundaeist Sunday and poetry:
A Boy's Guide To Arson
Pinch of Chinese gunpowder.
Strike-on-box match. So cheap
Even strangers might ask you
For a smudged sketch of hell.

A little poison now and then
Makes for agreeable dreams.
It's how the spirit becomes a camel,
The camel a lion, the lion a child.

String the bow of regret.
Shoot the arrow of longing.
Learn to speak falsely;
The more you learn the less

You'll crave joy. To whom
Do we owe these convulsions,
These raptures of transport? Sick people
Have always been among us.

Preachers of the afterworld preach
Death. You could spend all night
Pulling off their fright wigs, it ends
The same way. Touching the firewall

With fingers of pyromaniacal intent?
Now that's something to consider.
Stars are ashamed of their ebb, and nothing beats
The ravenous tang of gasoline.

--Jarret Keene

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The B&B bar burns down and you eat flames
in your windshield, wend your way to work through
man-high drifts fat with buried drunks. Your un-
successful neighbor tries suicide with
a shotgun, glowers through half a face en
route to the emergency room where he
will wait a half hour of groan and inter-
com for his uncle to arrive.

Incised flesh is one answer to a wait
as handheld beam is one solution to
a gone-sour date and long home plod, no kiss.
The metal bone that's in your shin sings ray-
ray-radio: bad Top Forty songs from
1985 when you rode the yell-
filled yellow bullet bus to school, and your
hands were made of fists.

Knowing lack of understanding early
grief, your third grade teacher left for cancer
and did not return. Knowing only slow
song repair for old love and construction
of the most elaborate paper snow-
flakes. The skill of sieve and lace and never
getting over anything is what you
learned that year. Knowing remembrance

and remonstrance, Christian tracts found at St.
Vincent de Paul and used for your papier-
mâché reconstructions of remembered
breasts. Knowing prosthetic, mathematic,
that your arm is apparatus, made of
diagram, some luck, and force. Requiring
maintenance instead of sustenance, so
it says in the witty printed manual.

Your uncle trades his antique guns in for
time and what we hope is good talk with his
wife between here and Chicago to pre-
vent that end. Riots on TV tonight
and the broadcast close to a drawn and drawn-
out war. What comes through the telephone line
is garble, fury, full of sound and wine
that is algebra to you.

Ander Monson

Ander Monson, Eleanor Wilner

A good week in Columbus for good writers and good friends. Apricot Ale with Ander was consumed alliteratively, of course. Ander was one of those rare people that Alabama found for me.

Today it's Eleanor for Poets Against the War and some drinks afterwards.

Then back to my office for a night's worth of work and fellowship preparation.

I usually love Halloween but this year is drearier and I'm not sure why.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

He Could Be Intolerable, Impossible But Adorable to Walk With on a Morning Like This

"What she loved was this here now, in front of her."

Salmon and pearls and friends don't let friends miss Ms. Woolf on NPR. Thank you. Thank you, Thoughtful You.

The textbook, the new class, and the dissertation all thank you, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ask Me
William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

My People, My People

If you follow this blog and if you have a soul (with one exception these two things are a given) you would love these daisies. If you do not, you have not seen them. If you care for my mental health and well-being (again the uninvited, un-friend, un-souled this obviously excludes you, though it begs the question why you don't find a different form of entertainment--pushing daisies, maybe?) you will watch this show, vote in the correct, good and only reasonable way, and check in with me Mid-November as me, my persimmon bread, my creamy sweet-potato soup, my slippies and soft jammies and cozy world of colors, good music, gorgeous words and amazing friends are happily watching Our Show under good leadership and feeling the security of swaddled babies and bassinets.

Thank you and happy Monday.
Why We Are Truly a Nation
Because we rage inside
the old boundaries,
like a young girl leaving the Church,
scared of her parents.

Because we all dream of saving
the shaggy, dung-caked buffalo,
shielding the herd with our bodies.

Because grief unites us,
like the locked antlers of moose
who die on their knees in pairs.

William Matthews, “Why We Are Truly a Nation” from Selected Poems and Translations, 1969-1991.

William Matthews would want you to get out and vote and not leave us in the Republican locked-antler hold for another four years, on our knees and dying of grief. (Our late and esteemed poet was born in a battleground state that begins with an O--coincidence? I think not.) Come on Kiddie-Cats, make my day.

Off the Wall

Words on Walls is going to be going through some big transformations. We had a major technical issue and are now re-configuring our idea of the whole enterprise. Please accept our apologies for any work we accepted, email we held too, too long, etc.

Kathrine and I are moving in some very new directions and we want that concept to be a part of them but we also grow tired of editing in that way and that format. More soon on all of this.

Tonight I make creamy sweet potato soup and persimmon bread. Today I make good on all the deadlines and commitments that this time of year brings.

Chinese Box
All night I climb in dream rubble,
wind cracking sleep
like a sheet left out on the line.
But this morning is the world again.
East light heats wooden floors,
my long hair winds comb's teeth,
my husband's blue shirt drapes a chair.

They say if you live long enough,
you, too, will live alone, your love
like a Chinese box. Inside the roar
of longing, a great November storm.
Inside the storm, a small, new music.
Inside the music, a wild, red fox.

Copyright © 2008 Carmen Germain

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Loveliest Day & Night

A long, long hike. A picnic at the top. Another starlit bike ride. I will sleep the sleep of whiskified babies tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Big Clear Skies Bright Balloon Blue

A gorgeous day here filled with all manner beauty. The last debate behind us and for now, I feel careful in my hOpe but hOpeful nonetheless.

What lovely days these. Why did I wait so long to make them happen. More vacations, more music, on my shoestring budget just after the dissertation is complete. I am at the stage where it's coming together and I feel excited about it like you do in new love. New love vs. old love has been on my mind a lot lately. To this, I raise a poem:

I see you in daylight, an impossible moon,
and in my night a sun, unreachable.
So I refuse to love you.

In my mirror I see you, the silhouette of a tattered sadness
that my eyes hold captive.
And on my scattered papers I see you,
the traces of tears I have yet to shed.
And I refuse to love you.

I see you as a prohibited dream
that combs my innocent hair into sinful braids,
and when I awaken,
your luminous kisses
drip on my pillow
one star after another
to put out my shyness.
And I refuse to love you.

Because I love you
I refuse to love you.

Because my thirst for you is fire,
and because my heart does not deserve
the fate of a crazed moth.

Because I love,
and because you love me,
let your pride refuse my ashes.

Copyright © 2008 Joumana Haddad

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dreaming of my Sun Bicycle

in liquid blue, and of the Rocky Mountains that I soon see and then see again in November. Here-things, lost-things, last-things and being airported back again. It's a good week up ahead.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Watching for Kristy Bowen's Latest Book and the Reason Why:

Tongueless, I was paper white, present tense.
Heavy wth vertigo and a violet nightdress.
--from "ornithophobia"

These poems are like a fabulous dessert, rich like that, but their intricacy is balanced and clean, too. I am waiting and waiting on this book. On another horizon but with major brilliance and beauty too: Alan May's latest: (anything-but-) Dead Letters. I watched these poems from a distant hillside the way you do fireworks and I am still dazzled and afterburning... Sparkled tassles and pom-poms of light.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Strange Bird Landing in Columbus

tonight and maybe, just maybe some much-desired Italian food or that Vietnamese joint I keep meaning to try and waiting for a certain local species of creature to accompany me. I am happy to eat solo and to go to movies and concerts,etc. by myself but some kinds of places require some kinds of company and my favorite weird friends are good for those kinds of adventures.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yiasou Lefteri

My uncle in Crete,the one whose name means freedom just died. I was remembering how he was what I recall of childhood in Greece, his trikiklo: this mechanized man-size tricycle and his appetite--a large man in every way with a large, large laugh. Saying it that way makes me think that it wasn't just my slick, sharp-featured, bad-boy Uncle Louis (of course) to inform my own "appetites" but also this uncle (and his son, Anastasi--one of my first five-year-old-girl-crushes) to make a large spirit, uncensored and unforgettable be something irrestistable to me.

Yiasou Theo Lefteri. Filia.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

If I Could Take One Moment Into My Hands, Mister

it would be another Springsteen show, another Columbus, another me, another you.

Today was its own day with its own rights. It was a good day to be around like-minded people remembering what it was like to be around like-minded people. My world is spinning all new and I'm just trying not to get dizzy.

Blow away the dreams that tear you apart. Blow away the dreams that break your heart.
Hayden Carruth
How many guys are sitting at their kitchen tables
right now, one-thirty in the morning, this same
time, eating a piece of pie? - that's what I
wondered. A big piece of pie, because I'd just
finished reading Ray's last book. Not good pie,
not like my mother or my wife could've
made, but an ordinary pie I'd just bought, being
alone, at the Tops Market two hours ago. And how
many had water in their eyes? Because of Ray's
book and especially those last poems written
after he knew: the one about the doctor telling
him, the one where he and Tess go down to
Reno to get married before it happens and shoot
some craps on the dark baize tables, the one
called "After-Glow" about the little light in the
sky after the sun sets. I can just hear him,
if he were still here and this were somebody
else's book, saying, "Jesus," saying, "This
is the saddest son of a bitch of a book I've
read in a long time," saying, "A real long time."
And the thing is, he knew we'd be saying this
about his book, he could just hear us saying it,
and in some part of him he was glad! He
really was. What crazies we writers are
our heads full of language like buckets of minnows
standing in the moonlight on a dock. Ray
was a good writer, a wonderful writer, and his
poems are good, most of them and they made me
cry, there at my kitchen table with my head down,
me, a sixty-seven-year-old galoot, an old fool
because all old men are fools, they have to be,
shoveling big jagged chunks of that ordinary pie
into my mouth, and the water falling from my eyes
onto the pie, the plate, my hand, little speckles
shining in the light, brightening the colors, and I
ate that goddamn pie, and it tasted good to me.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Daffodil Man

at North Market gave me free bulbs. I bought all manner lovely peppers and fresh tomatoes.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sunday Afternoon to be all kinds of music to my ears

The Boss: Accoustic and endorsing my favorite senator.

For now, I should motivate myself to away and then gym or run. Perhaps an herbivore wrap for incentive? mmmmmm....Clintonville deli are you calling my name?

I vOted tOday!

Felt a little breathless when I saw the ballOt.

Here's tO hOpe--I'll drink tO that and sO shOuld yOu!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Life White-Water Raft Rounds the River

Some interesting life-stuff up ahead. More as the waters name themselves. A new old collection of poems seems to have come together and I can't wait to send it on its little way with a kiss on the seal, crossed fingers and plans to celebrate with my favorite poet.
It's chilly--almost and the crickets and planes are competing for the evening's tone. One more phonecall before bed and then dreams, dreams

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A quote from Season of White Flies:

"Anastasia had to concede that maybe she never knew anyone as well as she imagined, but what she knew the individual components that comprised him was enough to celebrate that he happened at all, much less to her.

What summer brought to light was not so much endings as over whether by pole vault or final curtain, the word was too crucial to be two-tiny syllables and fewer than a handful of letters."

More Shouts Down into the Canyon

But with days so quiet, one must feel one has companions and so whoever you are, it's Saturday and the first of my little 24 hour rituals in three years that I am doing solo. I feel like I am returning to a portion of myself that I haven't visited in over a decade and it's not bad this return as I have lots of things I know now and some new stuff to bring but the days and the lust over a bicycle that I am trying to work on the side to earn (oh the lusciousness of it, the periwinkle electricity of its hot little frame, the vision of me on brick streets from here to German Village and beyond...) all of it, a return to a self-certainty, no drama and this growing meditation about love--what it is, what it isn't and the care and feeding of such a rare, wild, glittery thing when it lights on your windowsill. I have learned much about that and with luck, I think it will be good, applied knowledge.

I have to write now. I have to right-now. More as The Rub and Teatime in Heaven with the Crazy Ladies round to completion and are sent off to judges and to committees. Then a new deadline...sigh... Much, much to do. W/Ri/gh/t/e now.

J.Crew, sushi, & my shrink on speed dial

Fueled my anthem, "She's a rich girl,"

With a light sorrow,

Today. Tiny fists pummel the cherubs

That cruise this ashen noon. This is

Par for the course.

Plus everything that kills you softly

Melting into heavy, wavy traffic.

It is misting on the mountains

Greener than lobster eggs in my heart.

Naturally, it is snowing in the cafeteria

Where you live & I am just this

Tear-stuffed piñata for your love

& every session every thing you say

Has me sleeping in clouds of fire

Like the sun.

Jeni Olin

Friday, September 26, 2008

Truly? Madly? Deeply? Sexist or Feminist?

I think lots of you watch Mad Men out there and as I was thrilled to see it receive Emmy after Emmy because I think that it's savvy not only about the sexism where women are victims of ignorance and sensitivity but also all the subtle forms of power and power dynamics of the late 50s early 60. I think that those have morphed into other versions and that the show shows awareness of that to me, at every single turn. There was a real driving force in the sexism that came from women and men within the Madison Ave. advertising world and the women, men and families connecting into it and that force is employed variously, uncomfortably and surprisingly from episode to episode. Don Draper, for example, is slowly grappling with the difference between the smooth, debonair above-it-all figure he thinks he is and is starting to realize that he is seedier, more darkly-violent and weak than he ever imagined himself to be. I see that as deep indictment of the "heroes" that world. But because intelligent people don't necessarily agree with this reading of the show, I am wondering what all of you think about it.
Do you think its characters are self-aware and interesting in their gender relations both socially and personally? Do you think that the series is reveling in some way in the sexism it displays?

Ghost in This House

Alison Krauss is one of the million sparkley things that someone sewed on my soul. Sewing involves needles and thread and some serious pricking and yet... sparkles like a night sky filled all up with the pearls that a child told me (just this week) better represent stars than any old diamond. My friend: he was not any old diamond, he was exquisite. Here's to that, to the first breath of cold that just last year brought a lovely though brief weather on.

Cold rain through the driver's side window but light. Ms. Krauss from the dash and a sense of sore muscles and weary well-being. Ah Autumn, I love thee.

Early Morning Sojourn

down the street, to the park, i-pod accompanying and that early light that lacks pink and orange and holds lots of blue and yellow. The autumn air was perfection and I came home and crashed for a half an hour but woke up feeling pretty happy and energized. I hope the day keeps on this way and that Obama debates McCain into oblivion. Oh November, I await thee with a little dread and acres of hope

Happy Friday My Little World.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Coloradoing Soon

and can't wait. Also visitors throughout October and November. This means the third floor (the Zelda room!) will have to be all set up. I love the Zelda room. Once my expensive repair for my turntable happens, I think I might just move it up to floor three where I am more likely to listen to it. Floor two's music climbs down the stairs so clearly and curvily that I don't know that the first floor will need it anymore anyway.

Thanks to the good bird for a little link about Sen. McCain.

I want to capture a poem here for today. And who better than M.G.? It's been too long:
Sestina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera has a blue
tongue. That scream you hear when you drop her in
boiling water is actually just steam
escaping her shell. She invented the word
agnostic in 1869 because she was tired
of being called an atheist

by Baudelaire and Mallarmé.
To wit: she is the only platinum singer who, at room
temperature, acts as a liquid. The odds of her being injured
by a crowbar are somewhere around 13%, yet in
coal mines that percentage rises to a whopping 75. The word
Aguilera actually means dreams

with one eye open, while the word itself tastes like cream,
which tastes like beetles, which tastes
like apples, which tastes like worms,
which tastes like sleep deprived. You
cannot fold Christina Aguilera in half more than 7 times, yet in
Iceland it is against the law to keep her as a fire

arm. Ditto Siberia and in a Boeing 747. When her wires
kink and cannot be straightened by a team
of skeptics, this is called dog leg, which she sings beautifully of in
a number of her hit songs, including Dirty, I Got Trouble,
Slow Down Baby, What a Girl Wants, The Way You
Talk To Me, as well as in her cover version of Word

To Your Mother by Sir Vanillus Ice.
Aguilera is the longest single syllable word
in English, and the only one that rotates on its side
and counterclockwise. As the youngest
Pope ever, (11 years old), she instituted one slot machine
per every eight citizens in Vegas.
Contrary to popular rumor, she keeps her heart in

her head like a shrimp or a pregnant goldfish. In
the Animal Crackers cookie zoo she appears
as 15 different animal shapes, including a herd
of red blood cells, lighting bolts, and the Nobel Peace Prize.
It was said she trapped the wind like a tired
man. The HOPE radio station in Sweden continually beams
her lyrics into space. A bylaw in Utah

bans her from unionizing or having sex with a man in
a moving ambulance. Or so it would seem on her
coat of arms, which reads: In the beginning was the word...
give me your tired, your poor, your huddled Aguileras yearning to be free.

Copyright © 2008 Matthew Guenette All rights reserved
from Sudden Anthem
Dream Horse Press

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here, After All, This Weekend

The debate is most of what I think about besides this other internal debate about what the finite should mean and what should matter most and how in very many ways, this is not the world I ordered.

Take the blonde with the SUV at the gas station fighting with the older man about how rich she was and therefore better and these quotes, right out of the blonde's mouth:

"I know I make more money than you and I'm only nineteen.
I belong to a country club.
I am a Republican. Someone is going to shoot Obama...."

Lovely. And my hatred was like a kind of creature that welled up of its own accord and threatened to wander the streets with mouth afroth. Then I pulled away from the station as the man had driven away in a more-than-modest vehicle and the blonde was still pumping gas into the red behemoth and leaning up against the pump weeping...

Hey Mr. Arnstein!

Last night after the storm cloud of the last couple of days had been endorphined to the door, I was walking back from the market, all i-poded and pretty happy when "Don't Rain on My Parade" made its round. I thought of my lifelong obsession with Funny Girl--a movie that sort of belongs to my family (along with Fiddler on the Roof and Dr. Z). I think we ought to break into song--at reading q & a, at faculty meetings, tomorrow over lunch. I think we should campaign for Obama in pillbox hats with swelling music and large hand gestures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Read with L-Bo Today

Thanks to Josh the audience contained about four people.
Today feels grayish not like a soft old sweater but like a hurtful weather. I think I have to go see Lucinda Williams and listen to her sing it all out--like a stinger.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Sunday Afternoon Awfuls

were coming for me at home. I love editing my work and the work of the lovely and talented Eliot W. too, but some sadness was stalking me. It's all German Village and some Michelle Shocked playing overhead. The brick streets make me happy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How Welcome You Are, How Richly Missed You

Have Been....

Someone from your past might pop back into your life today without you realizing it until you're face to face -- but there's no reason not to welcome them with open arms! Be friendly and show them that you don't hold any grudges or expectations (even if you do). No matter how things were left between the two of you, the future is a blank canvas, ready for you two to create whatever picture you want upon it. Think the best of them, and they will think the best of you.


I'll take a little superstition with my minor miracles, thank you. Plus heaps of gratitude. It's been too long, Old Friend. I can't wait to see you again.

Friday Night Lights

up--neonly with the memory of neon. Tonight I buy one new c.d. (first paycheck!) and I'm not sure if it should be Feist or Allison K. In the background "let me touch you for awhile" is talking me into the latter.
Lots of visitors coming in very soon. The apartment will have to ready itself for all of that. I am glad to be home this weekend and able to deal with home's demands.
Dinner plans later where I believe that my favorite wrap will be part of the plan. Tomorrow means groceries and dissertating all weekend. I love that kind of plan--having to push everything to the side to write and arrange. It's what I'm good for and what I trust.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poof! I unhappen you!

or should I say un-know? What would the old glam world of Jazz Age literati look like if someone undedicated a poem to someone? What about using an image without permission. The lawyer I spoke to said pulp and damages. Consider the saga of Writing Your Heart Out at the Moon Winx and the ensuing heartache for the author. The difference: Geoff Schmidt doesn't deserve heartache. The struck planet of disappointment and lack of integrity does. Here's to taking the high road every time while trolls wait under the bridge. Here's to the million stories of hatred and disgust of the women stupid enough to wish themselves into your line of vision, Blind One.

I've always been of the Before Sunset sappy-hearted way of living where ex-boys having been good friends then remained cherished beyond that. I have often dated boys who deserved no less. Not always and therefore when a rat enters the field outside the palace, it is always tempting to twirl infirmly before the rodent and wonder what the next dance should be named. I name it If-this-were-Eternal-Sunshine-I'd-Erase-My-Brain-to-a-Spotless-Shine-from-You. As it is, my heart's been wiped clean for ages and until someone points out how tacky, how perfidious and I see the evidence of it, I don't give you a moment's thought. Save for two stops: 1. A phonecall to the lawyer 2. An erased review and the erasure of any intention to read or promote any future literature.

P.S. It's on, Sister.

Ferrily I Say to You

I want to keep this poem. I want to give it away. Both these things are true. I want to devote one entire NY trip to Staten Island kisses, to ferrying back and forth and writing on the little keyboard given to me by a boy I once knew and liked mightily.

For now, I give you (and keep for myself too,) Ms. Millay.
We were very tired, we were very merry
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hilltop underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and the pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Like a Cheesy Tourist I Have to Add

I've been to NY many times by now and the ferry too, a few. But I tell myself (as I was reading Ms. Millay's bio. during the whole trip) that I would never dully walk by those blue letters and not notice their perfect neon strips of dusk alphabetting the sky. And I know I would never numb to the bit of Millay verse about going back and forth all night across the ferry that NY knows is something a ferry needs painted on the station. I feel certain that Staten Island and I miss the same things.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here's a Song: it's in my head

I am madly in love with Martha Wainwright and it's not just because she can strap-on the Edith Piaf and drive it home, it's that voice, that humungo-ness of spirit and presence--she is so very, very alive.

The show: oh how I hate to do this to you, My Pretties, but it was on Pier 17 (NYC will you marry me?) so tents--kind of Parisianly dim and lights on water and then Martha and yes, did Rufus jump on board for a duet and was there (in honor of my crazy ladies) a song called Blanc (some word for blouse, dress and coats that I will likely botch and say something like white blows or something dreadfully deaux entendre--anyway, White Coat/Dress--so it is the memory of her white dress days and the white coats coming for her and then this laughter--warm, Anne Sexton, Edna St. Vinny warmth, prismed laughter--so rich and spooky-crazy--that's how MW ends this song: acackle. I thought I would attack her but alas, her bassist husband (yum) was there, also so many family members. My life would have been tinier without this night. Me and Veace hung over the whole city of New York like something heroic. Watch for us on the bright horizon--we have plans, we have schemes.

I was out until 3:30 am and caught my airport taxi at 6:00 am. The power is back at Chez K and the world is fall-pretty.

I am currently trying to track down this French song (folk ballad did she say?) that translates When Will You Return? Any hints: Chicky? would be most welcome.
I am revising my life now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where Only One Thing's Missing: Farewell Lovely Reginald

Blue by Reginald Shepherd
See my colors fall apart? Green
to yellow with just one shade gone,
the changing tints of your sun-struck eyes,
if there were sun. Today the prism held to mine’s

a prison, locking in the light. In one of those mirrors
the colors are true. In one of these pictures the pigment’s
my own. The sound there is aquarelle and indigo,
and dripping distant water, the day’s habitual failure

to be anything substantial. Today a blank like color
by numbers, filled in with fog that frames the lake
in transient tones. That’s the color I mean, some mist
painting the shore pastel and pointillist

rain, painting the shadow between window and light. Today
each hue dissolves in humid air, transparency
I try to grasp and then let go, clear overflow
of waves on gravel. The mist with its single-dipped brush

smears itself across the canvas of the pines.
The pines, knowing no better, run together on a morning
palette. Today the scene’s dismantled, that can’t be
dismissed. I once was blind, but now

I see my landscape attenuate itself, drowned lake
of evergreens. On a morning like this with new crayons
I drew a man, that red valentine
in the side. The picture of two hands scrawling the outline

where only one thing’s missing; the crayons scattering
from childish fingers. Color me or leave me vacant

Sheepshead Bay, Thai Food, Veace,

the smell of fish off the waterfront, a part of NY that doesn't remind me of anyone and hasn't been occupied by anyone and doesn't hold memories of cell phone calls with someone on the line whom I carried with me into each memory. This is all new and fresh and the sky a blue so royal that it seemed rather unreal. Tomorrow we Brooklyn Bridge our way into the city. I want to walk a million miles--into something and away from so much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Countdown: Little Sparrow Flying from Martha's Mouth

That's right. I may be a little fish, Little Ones, but I am a little fish with my first post-grad. student paycheck for full-time Assistant Professor labor.

I love my students and if I get to Chinatown on Monday, little presents will be scored. (My favorite candystore and its golden plastic good luck cats, its reddish pink fish, its fruits that might be plums or peaches or apples, all with bellies of chocolate at their cores.)

I get to see Veace and just be where one's breathing is always all coloratura. The right kind of chaos, texture and days, and it's my favorite season besides!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

L-Bo Has it Covered, but I might also add:

Hit your own turf. This goes along with the idea that we vote by narcissism and familiarity ie: when I can see the me or the reasonable version of what I think is me in you, I'm with you. When I'm with you, I'm with you at the polls. Hit your neighborhood first and hardest. I'm so and so, I live on Starr and I'm wondering if you're registered to vote.

This election is crucial and it's being fought hard. I learned about identity while being critiqued rather harshly by a Republican recently and what I learned is how attached people can be to status as them and how fiercely and unkindly they will fight to maintain all that that status represents for them. I also learned enough compassion to not let the attacks turn to hatred but to see--for the zillionth time--how fear fuels the most terrifying, and unfriendliest of fires. "If I am my house, car, status and those things keep my sense of self, accomplishment, family safe and secure, I will fight you and anything that threatens that with all that I have. The issues get lost and my own biases go to the forefront." I can kind of "get" that even if I feel that writing and my friends with all of their ways of being that have nothing to do with class but more to do about what they make and do and what they love, are what make me feel like me and sort of bad-ass, besides. From that, then I can only imagine how frightening it would be if I were my fancy neighborhood and all that that represents. (I am not reducing all Republicans to this observation, just the one that spoke to me--but I am using this realization to help me positively re-frame the conversations and maybe make a difference somewhere along the line as we move too-swiftly towards November.)