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.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I Caught the Bouquet

for the first time ever. What does "next to marry" mean? Like in the world? From that party? Is there a shelf life to "next?"

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bless the Beasts and the Ashleys

There have always been a million reasons to read Ashley Capps and here are a million and one.
And this.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Of the Freitag Triangle

"Oh, I thought it was the food pyramid."

But they're not stupid--they could name all of its parts. They're just fun and spontaneous and opinionated and I really like them these painters of the dead.

They're artsy and practical--my favorite combo.

And the styrofoam columns comment, too

Sorry L-Bo and Filo

:-( I offer you Feta Theologos in apology...

Lukewarm broth--the day

Technical difficulties this day. Seeing L-Bo will be good. My life is surreally isolated lately. It's strange. Friends always in flux, busy or ill when I'm moving. Moving or the act of really changing kicks my emotional ass and so it's ironic. I have set plans to see some favorite persons soon and that always feels good. Money--there's some on the horizon--not quite into view yet but out there, I'm told. And WD has asked me to judge a next round--much less work, more cash. There seems to be no downside.

So it's Thursday, that's that. I'll pull myself from this little funk with some nice L-Bo time and maybe a cat-nap before my dinner plans. Insomnia thy name is scribe...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I'm Sorry I'm Always Late: I Work in a Zombie Warehouse

Gesturing to paint-splattered clothing...

Teacher: Did you say in a zombie warehouse?

Student: Yes. I paint the dead.

And if that can't be an excused tardy, I'm not really sure what is. Some days, I seriously love what I do. If this doesn't work into my new poem about a city, I think it will have to be its own teacher poem. The new book doesn't have one yet and though I tire of them, what can I do when my students work in zombie warehouses. On other days, I sometimes feel like I do, too.

Today has been pretty good. Long phone-call with my injured Georgie. Dinner plans tomorrow night. An attempt to live here and claim here and forget how the town hums with an old energy that used to send me all magnetized to the Broad Street exit.

Now it's Neil Avenue and as Steve Earle (b/c you haven't heard that name yet this day, have you?) says: "let's magentize this mo-fo." Let's magnetize every f-ing mo-fo, indeed.

Kali Mera Mora Mou: A Poem and a Place Should Be One

The province of the poem is the world.
When the sun rises, it rises in the poem
and when it sets darkness comes down
and the poem is dark .

It's strange how seductive the poem. I am trying to work on prose these days and everything I've ever learned comes back to the poem and the way those of us taken by it young and the throat, have to write so, so, so much prose just to get at its freaky little contours, the way it turns its corners, and its side-streets--they are the dangerous, magical places within it. It's as close to my awe for music as anything gets this--strangeness of rooms and staircases that is the poem.

This morning I walked to the bank--a mile and something from my place and it was all city, morning commuters and it was bustling and fragrant (onions grilling for some omelette, the vanillaness of waffles and the other smells human and bus and heavy), there were bikes and beautiful bicyclists spokes all spitting silver and so on, and there was a woman in the bus-stop cubicle on a cell phone "size don't matter" pause, laughter "oh, just something I pick up somewhere--but I don't believe it..." and the man at the bank that always makes me feel pretty even if I'm bedraggled from the walk (so muggy, so hot) and there's the line for coffee and the stand-up-and-say-good-morning coffee at the place next to Mojo. I loved the way that there were suits and little wonderful dresses and the click-click of high heels on the sidewalk (I thought of you, here) and a man sitting at the bus-stop alongside all of this polish, looking liberal arts professorial--long, grey ponytail, s & p beard, and reading a book while sitting on the sidewalk amongst all of these standing corporate or retail others. The small pigeon crouched by a building where someone had been leaving black sunflower seeds. All this was Columbus, Wednesday morning eight to nine a.m.

My meme: pick a town unglamorous (Brooklyn don't count, you mean thing) and write about it thoroughly. It can be a shorter poem (Degrees of Gray in Phillipsburg) or long like Paterson.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

You Can Have Your Poem Tomorrow

For twelve full hours, I hate the guts of everything. Good night.

Blogs, Blogging, the Self and the Other

This thing was a gift me upon the publication of my book. My friend, Chicky set it up and I meant to use it as a way of sharing beautiful words--poems and prose and lyrics that moved me and beautiful days: qualities of light, sounds, the texture of a Tuesday in March, that sort of thing.

With such a crucial election, I decided to take my hot-headed passions to the street and fight for my candidate. In doing so, one set of friends jokingly referred to me as a Socialist and others not-so-jokingly as anti-woman. Either way, it's my fault. The most persuasive people do their lives with grace and conviction.

Obama doesn't need me here, he needs me door to door. Here is easy and preaches to the ten people that may or may not even read these posts, most of whom are already sympatico with me on some level or other or why bother?

I like my life and I like my words when I'm using them otherwise. Blogs can be all opinions and narcissism and I fear that I have erred terribly on both fronts.

Later today I'll find you a shiny poem, Dear Readers. As for November, like the old Burger King ads: have it your way.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Tangled Up

in so blue.

Almost set my apt. on fire. Counting pennies until Sept. 15. Not ready for this week.

The candied asparagus and brown rice are not even lifting my Eeyoreish droopiness.
Maybe tomorrow will be better.