Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009--Hey, thanks!

another hour gone. And a minute minute set deep in a green dip, a swoop where the swoon meant to be. You bend your knees, your twin-beliefs, and every plié feels like prayer.
from the Gratitudes Collective of Cindy K. and me.

Since a day can include all of these things: a call from Christina where Evan (perfect-being!) gurgles and coos out his new collections of sounds-miraculous, as if nothing ever made such musics before; my dear Antonia can sound like she hasn't sounded in years--laughter back in her throat and warmth and this is the year she became again, a dearest friend; a coffee in the afternoon with a friend years and years my junior but bright and so wise, long phonecalls with a new near-sibling friend where we talk no small-talk and the matters of the world, for a time, are what matters, chamomile tea waiting warm for me, also vitamins and a sandwich made of a taffy and children's vitamins because that's how well, JWS knows me; my Lady K's voice on the line--back in our ring of mountains, keeping our hometown in place for me; me and CK batting poems back and forth for weeks(this one, too) --odd jewels sung-out in two-part(y) wacky harmonies;a giddy-maker calling in from a town with an Irish name to tell me a thing about hitmen, the Virgin Islands and the year about to flip over with two in its shiny canoe I thank you. If 2010 just gave me Tonia's joy and Evan, it would have been plenty, but it was a year full of gifts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Neil Halstead!

Just pearly smiles and Mona Lisa wiles
For your coterie of stars
Your barrel of charlatans

Plus such courage:

Try to get the colours right
And I’ll paint you face she said
Cos life is on the outside babe
And you got to try and get it right

Buy a ten-dollar camera
take a picture of everyone
Cos people change
Yeah they change
Changing everyday

And I don’t want to be the one that you don’t recognise
I don’t want to be the one that’s left behind

Got a broken car yeah got a selfish heart
Running down the road
With a jukebox in my head
Funny how I got to here
I don’t remember how
I just want to live somewhere where the air is sweet and clear

And I don’t want to be the one that you don’t recognise
I don’t want to be the one that’s left behind

Sitting on my own girl
I’ve had time to grow a beard for you
Hiding out in cars
I’ve been tryna find a way back home to you
These California stars girl
They’ve been hanging out for you
Cos I know that you’ll love the man
Whose follicles are growing just for you

Could you find a job for someone
Who don’t know the first thing

I could sit on the fence
Learn self-defense
I could watch some telly
And get real smelly
Oh I don’t know
I could fight a battle
Yeah shake my rattle
I could sleep I s’pose
Get bellicose
Oh I don’t know
I could dream of rainbows
Melting ice flows
I could squeeze a melon
Commit a felon
Oh I don’t know
I could meditate
I could mediate
I could pilorise
I could plagiarize
Oh I don’t know
I could get in training
To be amazing
I could tie myself up
I could set myself free

Sitting on my own girl
I’ve had time to grow a beard for you
Hiding out in cars
I’ve been tryna find a way back home to you
These California stars girl
They’ve been hanging out for you
Cos I know that you’ll love the man
Whose follicles are growing just for you

I like what Lorca does to my brain!

He might be one of the few men of which I can declare that.
But seriously, I like Lorca and while I am not alone nor original, I forget how good he is for the way I want to think. It's not just the good old surrealism thing, it's the intimacy of voice, the way say, Ashbery can be rolling along in a world that is so interior and brilliant that we can sometimes only enjoy the delight in the firings of synapse as they speak back and forth inside the skull of genius all through the night, like two little boys and their morse code of flashlight, long after they were told to turn-in. Then, with Ashbery, there is this moment of intimacy, a come-here, listen-in quality where the tone and the strange objects braid and their nothing shy of celestial music as meandering and obfuscation,and the physics of the odd meet the dodo or winter fires and upon being called into the inner circle of a brain with two kids in its neighborhood beating out a message in blinking lights across the night, we are,for a moment, utterly privy and that moment is epic. The rest of the time, the lights, their rhythm and pattern, still provide pleasure and make the night a singing, luminous thing.

But I began with Lorca & I rambled about Ashbery because it is that moment of tone, voice, intimacy that wiggles into the midst of all that funky stuff--the trees and bugs and green beauties of Lorca and makes it like something out of Avatar but without the cheesy didactics and no need for the 3d glasses. Lorca knows, Ashbery knows, their poems were all that 3d long before technology could catch up, which it won't, which it can't.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Craving Lorca's Missing Body

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.

Thanks Cindy for the shared-obsession. Some bodies missing are a bigger deal than others.
To you Fedrico, I award this day after a mute holiday and a weary season.

Me and CK are writing up a storm, sometimes two at a time. Just. Because. We. Can.
So there, Intagliettes, that's a little pre-taste of 2010!
"Too often Nostalgia was my credit card of choice and I had run it too many times beyond the limit. Every place I'd ever been imbued with the memories, the precise emotions and the person to share it all with me. I'm told that readers take the world in just that way, through details, the impressions left in a scene, the light bathing the surfaces, so that no place sat unstoried. Sam had left the silhouette of his long form in shadows that cast sometimes for miles. I thought this as I made my way through the rows of books at the main library, that there were labynths of memories, the book I reached for contained its own narrative, the life it held between the cloth-bound book to its left--avocado with formal gilded script and the book to its right, a rumpled dark paperback, the story in each house it lodged in for a few weeks and the story of its return, reshelving and each hand that reached for it here, leafed through it and as I just did, set it back into its niche, though the instructions on the end of the shelf suggested it stay out for the formal reshelving of the library staff. I wanted to live here where the stories tangled around themselves and if one could only see them as tangible silks or threads, they might make a Persian rug or intricate tapestry of memories."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

They are seldom racing cyclists
and are largely innocent

of the working of the petrol engine.
They are, however, comfortable in taxis.

They are abroad in the small hours
and will seek out the caustic blue liqueur

that you purchased in Majorca
for comedy reasons, and will rise late.

There are whole streets
where their work is not known.

a father in the army

and the distance to the next farm
made them solitary.

Their pets
were given elaborate funerals.

No one understands them.
They are inordinately proud of this

for they have shunned
the brotherhood

of the post room
and the hair salon.

They write a word
and then another word.

It is usually wrong.
Their crossings out are legion.

They sit in trains
and pass through cotton towns at nightfall,

conscious of the shape of cranes
on the violet sky

and how the poured creamer
pleats and billows in their coffee,

and how both of these things
whisper, softly, "Death."

Mark Haddon

Time to List the Gratitudes, Time to Burn Regrets

It's fitting that a post that will list things for which I am grateful should begin with Evan, my shiny new nephew. Before the list, there's this: due to Evan and the confusion about the holidays, where we would go, when we'd visit, and so on, I ended up here, in Columbus, not near Florida where the esteemed little man is and not in Utah which is and will always be: home. So I woke this morning feeling a little bit lost, pathetic as it sounds, lonely and untethered by all that is not stitching me down to any one place right. I love this job, my students overwhelm me with delight, joy, and yes, thanks, and the friends I have--however not here they may be--are wonderful people, but it's Christmastime and I feel a little wistful, cold and reflective. So in light and in honor:

The Gratitudes of 2009
1. Evan George McKinnon: diapered-miracle who sometimes moonlights as a giraffe.
2. Gingerbread coffee, care of Nicole (thank you!)
3. Perenially but better-daily: my family. This is the year that my two sisters became my closest friends.
4. My garden tomatoes (thank you Bear for digging my garden!)
5. The Bear, the Bird, the Boys-Lost I Peppermint Patty through my days alongside. It's a wonderful Neverland to fly.
6. Women wise and gorgeous that somehow find and friend me. Lesley, Liz, Kathrine, Karima, CindyKing! Elizabeth, (the)Kate, Krista, Karin, Michelle, Steph, Antonia, Christina, Mary, Susan, and both Holly and her husband Peter whose love and help way back in 2003 are still assisting me.
7. Space heaters.
8. The spill of students/friends who are too vast to keep naming but who cannot neglect to include Sean and the odd-loveliness of Scott's worldview and words.
9. Antony & the Johnsons (thank you Lesley!) The Avett Brothers, Ed Sharpe, more Nick Cave and the new M. Ward. All what 2009 gave me musically.
10. Rumpled book boys with eyes like the woodsy heart of forests in afternoon or the cool thing that the word limelight does to my brain.
11. Zelda-rooms, good books, good book-lenders.
12. New stories: Palindrome, Happiness Falls, NY, countless poems. The words that salve and save me when my curioser-self partakes of worlds too slick and fast for my own good. And yet...
13. Prabhakar's healing. The merciful life and death of Cynthia. The year it's been and all she taught us.
14. Drusilla--always, always Drusilla and how much comfort she gives my BFF.
15. Thai Spicy Basil; grown in a windowbox, made into my first Thai Seafood Soup. So spicy, so worth-it.
16. Likewise Gladys, Bronte, Schrodinger.
17. Morning smoothies-today's was mocha with ginger and pure vanilla extract.
18. Cherry-Oat Bars from Bakery Gingham. One a week and only if I earned it, but I work hard to earn it.
19. John Cage Festivals. The knowing that I had my people and they had those hearts and brains and I got to be near all of it. I don't know that I love Cage but I loved the work we did. I raise my 2009 goblet to Michelle! to Kate!
20. Coraline in 3d. Up (my God!) The movies that make me sorry that heaven and hell might be theatre-free.
21. Cineplex-kisses.
22. Understanding Radiohead's Creep in a more profound way than ever before.
23. Basi Italia and their zucchini appetizers.
24. The Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and their conical, skirt of lights.
25. Pumpkin Spice Coffee at Get-go. You can taste the nutmeg. (Noticing a trend in what I'm grateful for?)
26. Metro Fitness' badass, grungy, down-to-business facility. How many times I have I burned away the regrets of mid-year in your familiar walls? The black and white photographs of bodybuilders of old that line the stairs down to the locker room. And on a day when I felt less than wonderful: that tall, pretty-eyed Honda Boy who made me laugh.
27. Rilke's quote about loving the questions and maybe living into the answers. This was my year for understanding it completely. The year I saw through with months of J and the way that nothing I did or was would make or break the outcome. The friendship and respect eeked out of all of that confusion. But miraculously, this is the year I would get to know the rest of someone's story who so-impacted my way of seeing things last year. What I longed for, I long for no more. But what I have: my own "pitbull-guardian-angel" Sicilian-fierce and brotherly-protective has made the last December's first meeting into an answer that shines light on all of the new questions, fears and things best left unthought and unfrettered with musings. Living. Living. Living. More adventures. More poppies and picnics. Music boxes and nectarines
28. Lakeside Amusement Park and the Wild Chipmunk ride that nearly changed the shape of American Poetry.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No no to Adventures

That's my New Year's promise to me, no more denying adventures when they're offered. I'm planning to take off here in a few days and think I am going to find a way to budget in a fun New Year's Eve. I have had the kinds of years brought in quietly and with someone close to me and those have been fine. This year I think I will actually ring the thing in in my fabulous new dress (found on sale and fitting as if it were made for me). Good news is already rolling in: top ten ranking for a story in a field of over four hundred entries, advanced on to final judge where publication and prize money would be nice should I score them. Have been really active lately and writing and writing, besides. And I've been happy. Despite some things, as a result of others.

Some oracles deal in miracles
others shape fictions with tongues

silver as blades. Miss November
promises cold, miss november

still, also October and the bare
branches that spell December.

About you: so much said so long
I mean this every way imaginable.

On the Saturday sidewalk, someone stood
watching the backing-away as if for the last time.

It's fully winter now, by anyone's
gauge. Frost feathers, snowflakes doily down

until the snow that blankets one home
leaves a deep, knowing chill inside another.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The play that made me want a snakeskin jacket

"I went up to the bar where you were standing and touched your jacket and said, "What stuff is this made of?" and when you said it was snakeskin, I said, "I wish you'd told me before I touched it." And you said something not nice. You said, "Maybe that will learn you to hold back your hands." I was drunk by that time, which was after midnight. Do you remember what I said to you? I said, "What on earth can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you, with both your fingers, until your fingers are broken?" I'd never said that before, or even consciously thought it, but afterwards it seemed like the truest thing that my lips had ever spoken, what on earth can you do but catch at whatever comes near you with both your hands until your fingers are broken ... You gave me a quick, sober look. I think you nodded slightly, and then you picked up your guitar and began to sing."
--Carol Cutrere, Orpheus Descending

My whole life is built in some relationship to that quote: the times I wanted something so hard I nearly broke it or my fingers in the grip to the times I walked away shaking my head at how much people squander so easily. How many real connections in one life? How many cities sing through our bones when we visit them? New Orleans does that for me. A certain rightness to its color and fracture, like a city refracted through a grimy prism. Like something inadvertantly European, a delicacy that leaves a strange aftertaste. To live a life fully enthralled means both bliss and battle. Tennessee Williams loved the melodramatic character, the dizzy poetry of the inebriated and insane. But he knew to grant the Carol Cutrere's the wisdom that showed the grandeur of what they once believed and how that left them longing at the train stations inside themselves, waiting for the shiniest locomotive to tear through and take them somewhere that made of their lives furious bouquets of fever and firework. Who could live with such empty ticketbooths inside them when the expectations exceeded anything any world, much less this, could provide? Yet, Tennessee knew to give a nod, if not a bent tiara for that desire. Those Carol Cutreres, those drifters in snakeskin jackets, had been better for the daring the bold, the dangerous, even if only to break their own fingers grasping at it all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Taking the Long Way

Or longing, or the sting or the difference between out and our is one keystroke.
Driving north for a long time today. Leaving Columbus in the rearview for a while. Some good music, some podcast and some stretches of highway--my old mind-righting techniques. The skies are white and the cold that is doesn't promise a promise to be worth-it warmer tonight. But things are sweetening and for that, I drive and bring lunch to a sick friend and remember how good it all felt and feels and will feel again. I mean winter, words, this pretty little life that I love too much and for all the best reasons.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reminded of this Guy

On Facebook this morning, someone posted The Blower's Daughter, my second favorite song on this cd.

I've been writing pretty steadily, off to a spinning class this afternoon and very nice company later. Life is odd, odd, odd, but most days I like it.
I think this is the year I learn Italian and make the trip there. It's been a lifelong dream and there's no time to squander dreams, it seems to me. I need to drive somewhere soon, too, to make the 2009 goal of some place in the U.S. where I haven't been. It must be a modest thing: Pittsburgh, Sandusky, somewhere that I will wish were White Sands or the Keys. I plan to knock both of those out this coming year.

I mean to say: Life does what it does, and sometimes, it astonishes.
I mean: She's back, a little road-worn but back.

This morning's offering from Season of White Flies:

"The gaslight district was a myriad of characters: young couples with their hopeful, correct politics and all-cotton, all-wool clothing, the old woman who fed the birds, stooped over and as old as time and who reminded me of the woman on Mary Poppins who sang the Tuppence song and who could trigger the most intricate form of melancholy in me. Some mornings the coffeeshop contained a complete cast of weekday morning regulars. It was an Edith’s that Aram never saw and on its best most village-like days, I wished it for him.
The music: Celtic, some Broadway, told me who was working before I walked fully through the door. When Lena wasn’t there, the two waitresses played Sinead O’ Connor and the music set the tone and the number 17 stopped all along the front windows with the alto-voiced woman announcing Number Seventeen Mount Airy before seven beeps that threatened the doors were about to close and I wished that life had such alarms: the tea kettle’s shrill whistle, the bus’s little song meant to indicate departure, instead of the unspeakable way that we are meant to predict what’s about to boil over or vanish on us.

What it wasn’t was a wishbone or a crucifix, a babytooth, a scrap of ribbon, a lock of hair or a locket as a keeping place. What it wasn’t was a lucky coin or a treasure map marking the crucial X for the fortune worth chasing and the fortune left behind to do so,
What it wasn’t, couldn’t hope to be, was inconsequential, especially now with the miles it walked with me, literally in the same shoes and the way lost, it was dearer to me than ever.
Because my grandmother used to say that a Papoutsakis woman will walk one thousand miles for someone she loves, two thousand for someone she hates. Because what a Papoutsakis woman can hate with such vehemence must surely be someone who wronged the someone she loves. That’s a lot of mileage to cover for stasis and stasis has been the dance-step of choice too often, where I have been led some times and gone so far as to choreograph others."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Sometimes it felt like watching an aquarium and the contained, mute politics that take place there. I learned their language growing up but what I could hear was somehow inferior to their clear, vivid orderly environment. In some reversal of things, I and the other hearing people were snowglobed away in our own little city and it was removed by a dome of glass from the nation of two who were my parents.
Their hands were as audible to me as speech when I walked in the door and my mother would smile and sign
"Hi Anastasia, how was school?"
or my father would call me into the kitchen to "help me with peeling the shrimp for dinner."
It wasn't the literal quiet, it was that I knew that they would have preferred a deaf child, knew from the conversations within their circle of deaf friends that they were in better-standing for having married one another, rather than a hearing person. I stood outside, no matter how blood-close or fluent I became.
"Kali mera, Baba," I'd mouth and sign good morning.
"Kali mera, Anastasia." he'd reply, mixing up the batter for Sunday pancakes. I moved to the fruit bowl, the fridge and begin to slice the banana into creamy, spider-hearted discs, sprinkle a handful of pecans into one batch--my husband's favorite--and dark chocolate chips for my mother. In that way we worked, our hands too busy with the task of cooking for speech and the choreography of morning, family and close playing itself out silently." from Season...

Attending a class called Mass Destruction

Coming home to list gratitudes again and if there are any regrets to burn, I'll get the index card on that started, too. For now, off to see the bodywizard.

Writing on the novel. Soon more on the children's book. Check out this sweet inspiration.

I always post a million times a day during winter break. It makes me feel like I'm attending a writers' retreat of sorts. Thanks again for the writing feedback.

I'm filling my week up and finding ways to be happy. Writing is crucial, plus the great salmon thing I'm making for dinner.

Loving these lines:

Nora Jones to John Ashbery. The world blazes on.

You ruined me now, though I liked it
Now I'm ruined, Your chocolate eyes like buttons in piles.


"Whose touch at nightfall must now be
To keep their promise? Misery
Starches the host's one bed, his hand
Falls like an axe on her curls:
"Come in, come in! Better that the winter
Blaze unseen, than we two sleep apart!"
J. Ashbery

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"The box of letters fell from the top shelf of the closet where I'd placed it after the move when Sam's death was so new that whole days would be lost reading the letters again. Sam could make me laugh, stop the thought-locomotive that tore through me and make me calm inside, make it easy just to rest, to smile. The top letter was the one from our early meeting. The envelope looked ragged, a little smudged but so white the light reverberated off of it. Sam's handwriting on the front knocked the wind out of my lungs but as my fingers birdbeaked down into the envelope and brought out the white notebook page, I felt my face widen into a grin. Sam wrote like a lighthearted boy. His words spare but lively. Lady A, Saw you just yesterday, already I can't stop thinking about things you said He delighted in being that very boy and it came through each line and his words stung now less than they pleased me. To have known such a boy. Imagine. I keep thinking of us there, checking out that white sand, feeling like we're on the moon. Of course, the photographs--his favorites, part of the treasure he brought along were the bike, his knee touching the track round a curve in a dip so deep I thought it was a crash photographed moments before it occured. Something felt like watching my parents argue, the signing of their rage so emphatic but the air that whooshed by their fingers almost a silent film of what their voices would do were they to engage them. The speed caught in that photo was no measure. Sam's faraway face said as much when he spoke of it and what could I do but beam back? I've never been to the moon, A, but I think I'm starting to know how it might feel. From Season of White Flies
When can we call this week a day already? Trying to chin-up my way through it but truly, I am so tired of the suck-fest it has been with its Sunday headstart.

Today I was denied a grant by the Ohio Arts Council, wasted half my day there so no spinning class and watched my dear Les make round after round only too, to be stupidly rejected. Here in the house in my wintercoat, it's too cold, and dark too soon. Kissing is a gateway drug.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Drinking warm milk, hot bathing,

and being good to myself. From pilates to school, where for once, grades were turned in early and my writing has been the one good, constant thing to hang onto. The night is softening, and sleep newly-challenged but possible. Soon, I'll turn in, read myself to sleep and hope for kind dreams. Finally have the Tenderness poem memorized and for tonight I offer this:


L Candela

The eggs burn softly
in the earth, and when glow worms
hatch out, ravenous,

each one comes with a tiny
bright square of light like

the view-hole to a
furnace notched in its belly.
Can you feel their heat?

Their hunger for the tender
moonstruck flesh of slugs and snails?

2. Lambert
Sometimes at night, fire
flies are startled by lightning,
the tympani-drum flutter

of thunder rumbling the storm
home, and they all flash at once

in surprise—a quick
blinking open of sleepy
green nocturnal eyes,

a phosphorescent murmur:
Go back to sleep. It's just rain

3. Lumen
How vulnerable
we would all be if longing
shone through our bodies,

if our skins were translucent
lanterns flushed with yellow flame

leaping in the strange
and unpredictable winds
of our desire, like

the neon Morse code fireflies
use to brazenly flick the night.

4. Luciferin
You are a dusky
angel drawn to the gleaming
beam of my porch light,

a brief embered orange blaze
from your cigarette, sizzle

of sparks splattering
the asphalt of my sidewalk.
Your touch like sooty

moth wings, and I glow, suffused
with your heat, your scent, your light.

Copyright © 2009 Lee Ann Roripaugh All rights reserved
from On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year

Monday Musings

"...I’m a fan of the tangible, the slow-cooked oatmeal,
the dying pigeon crouched by the base of the tree,
the velour of baby hair against the hand. Pomegranates:

the ruby tears dressed in their transparent rain-jackets.
And why can’t moments be labeled as they happen?

So no miracle’s ever lost, like that day when the taxi
collects us from the movies and we skittle home in the rain
make dinner, believe, love and then call it, (how-could-we?) a day."

Time to watch Amelie again, put on my vintage man dress shoes and walk around thinking about it for hours afterwards. Every day more Zelda-room time. There's no better place on earth to lie down, read and dream things into revision.

The Moon's Laying Low in the Sky Forcing Everything Metal to Shine

"Listening to Sam's music in the old house, I moved his things into one corner of the room. It spilled out like some tragic volcano of memory and there, puked up from the place where two walls met was most of how my husband defined himself. The bike, twisted thing, was taken away by his friend, whether it was repairable or not, I didn't want to know, because knowing meant betraying Sam by not fixing it. I picked up the stray pick on the nightstand, and strummed one of the four guitars that stood like back-up singers to the terrible song my life had become at 12:28 in the middle of the day where a murky sun hung from the sky's gallows and my life, that life, ended for good. How many times in dating Sam, had I asked to hear the stories of racing, just to see his face go lit-up, go faraway to some place where he felt singular, felt about himself, the way I felt about him over breakfast or as he stood, at the door of the closet as he sheepishly undressed for the night and stood there, a kind of stunning architecture of length and lean, and no matter how many years it got to be, I was never accustomed to how arresting he was to me. I loved the pride his face took in the telling, and how many times then had he told me that most people die riding on the streets, not on the track and how often did I wish my husband would outgrow that bike, the one took him to the store and back again, the one, on sunny days as we lay in bed, I could see him already riding as his eye wandered window-wise, measuring the light, the bends in the highway and how tiny that thrill would be comparatively."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Taking the Sun out of Sunday

Cold, cold gray day, but lots getting done. A run to the gym, then cold again. Break starts tomorrow and what doesn't break us and so on.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Can you cry so beautifully you make my troubles rhyme?

Billie, you're a miracle and God knows I need one.

Such a Golden Saturday and I am Indoors

but have to be. The bedroom is coming along. The clothes screening, necessary. The Rickie Lee Jones and Leonard Cohen just shared with me, a lovely soundtrack.

Later, the gym with my i-pod and the raunchiest set of songs imaginable but deeply motivating. What that says about me probably shouldn't be known.

To more work, to an apartment ready to be winterized and lived in for a whole month of break.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Stolen from the Elegant Lesley

Carol B. and not the Carol B. from my childhood. My father abhored her, my mother enjoyed her show and so she was often on and I remember the ear-tug most of all when I think of her, just as I recall Conan's opening jump on all those old late-nights when there was too much alone, and not enough laughter.

Send in the Clowns is a song that I rehearsed a million and fifty times to audition for madrigals. On the day of auditions, I stayed home and suffered the rich suffering of one who just parted with any chance of having something she wanted terribly. I am half-mocking myself, except the desire for music (the piano I restored in my parent's garage, the lessons I asked to take and lamed out on in both piano and guitar, and the six years of vocal training...sigh, it was a Big Crush I had with music) continued. I ended up in accapella instead, me and a room full of talented Mormons, with a teacher who was himself a member of the Tabernacle Choir and I went on to be on literary staff and how could that be a bad thing. Still, this song, its backstory, the premise and the ways that we have to hold back, take risks and crumple sometimes, very intriguing to me just now. Thanks lovely Les-lou!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Road
Philip Larkin

Since we agreed to let the road between us
Fall to disuse,
And bricked our gates up, planted trees to screen us,
And turned all time's eroding agents loose,
Silence, and space, and strangers - our neglect
Has not had much effect.

Leaves drift unswept, perhaps; grass creeps unmown;
No other change.
So clear it stands, so little overgrown,
Walking that way tonight would not seem strange,
And still would be allowed. A little longer,
And time will be the stronger,

Drafting a world where no such road will run
From you to me;
To watch that world come up like a cold sun,
Rewarding others, is my liberty.
Not to prevent it is my will's fulfillment.
Willing it, my ailment.

Commiting this one to memory

Where does this tenderness come from?
These are not the – first curls I
have stroked slowly – and lips I
have known are – darker than yours
as stars rise often and go out again
(where does this tenderness come from?)
so many eyes have risen and died out
in front of these eyes of mine.

and yet no such song have
I heard in the darkness of night before,
(where does this tenderness come from?):
here, on the ribs of the singer.
Where does this tenderness come from?
And what shall I do with it, young
sly singer, just passing by?
Your lashes are – longer than anyone's.

Marina Tsvetaeva
From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Li-Young Lee

Happiness in a video--Icelandic, actually, lyrics below

So cold today--indoors & out. But I'm happy. Strangely lit up inside. So many
things I'm understanding anew.

Spinning round and round
holding hands
the whole world a blur
but you are standing

completely drenched
no rubber boots
running inside us
want to erupt from a shell

The wind
an outdoor smell of your hair
I breathe as hard as I can
with my nose

Jump into puddles
with no boots on
completely drenched
with no boots on

And I get a nosebleed
but I always stand up

Sigur Ros

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

True Love
by Nate Klug

Off rows of windshields
in the Amtrak lot
rain in sudden
clumps like jacks. Parked cars
with people in them
awaiting people they imagine
hurtling through suburbs
of silver woods
awaiting them. True
love needs interference,
a certain blizzard distance,
for the words to worm through.
Remember Iowa?
August storms that would self-spark
as if our fights could trip
the finest wire beneath the sidewalk.
And the sunlight, harder after.
If you practice an art, be proud of it and make it proud of you. It may break your heart, but it will fill your heart before it breaks it; it will make you a person in your own right.

—Maxwell Anderson

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I simply cannot see where there is to get to

It would take more than a thunderbolt, it would take more than a lightning bolt, more than a storm that keeps coming and won't finally arrive. It would take more than her close reading of the unfolding climate. I too, would like to believe in tenderness but there is nothing in the mailbox, nothing on the front step, the sun, muffled in the winter sky, is only bald and oblivious.

Certain days roll out like gift wrap and it's easy to race through the city streets in cold and the way to disappearing. I am unaware of what I might have done to prevent the inevitable tear, I read in a book that Aram found on the bus and brought home. "One of your kind of books," he said and for the first time, I can't tell him what has me so faraway this dumb afternoon. I walked a long time earlier, thought of my parent's silence, their quiet, gesturing world, how far outside it I had always been. Had it been any wonder that it was Sam's love for speed that both drew and terrified was a metaphor: the bike he nearly tipped each time he rounded a curve, the look, that to keep him alive, had to keep itself far, far ahead, never to where it was about to be, but to the place far ahead from where he was now. Of course, I was furious when he died, on the road with a quart of skim milk and a dozen eggs scattered up against the sidewalk, and Sam too, a terrible humpty dumpty of the mundane streets that held none of the thrill for him. But they landed him in a forever-elsewhere, which loving Sam felt most like the place he wanted to be. Like his best moments, another place where I couldn't be. There was such a sweetness to him afterwards, like after love or a long, lean afternoon in the woods, walking in silence, so that the crack of twig and dried leaf that formed the grid under our feet seemed to disrupt the entire forest. Sam's thoughts though, I swore I could hear them as the another lesser-crackeling and even as I could see his ring catching light where his arm swung down, I felt I could see him eyeing the furthest-most point of the trail, gauging how long it would take us to arrive at points we would never reach, and the gold band toying with sunlight seemed to twinkle out a code:

I am not your own, I am not your own.

I wondered at the desultory silvering water, the park overcast with expectations she armored herself against. The clouds do not undulate in sympathy but as foreshadowing.

from Season of White Flies
A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston

Until tonight they were separate specialties,
different stories, the best of their own worst.
Riding my warm cabin home, I remember Betsy's
laughter; she laughed as you did, Rose, at the first
story. Someday, I promised her, I'll be someone
going somewhere and we plotted it in the humdrum
school for proper girls. The next April the plane
bucked me like a horse, my elevators turned
and fear blew down my throat, that last profane
gauge of a stomach coming up. And then returned
to land, as unlovely as any seasick sailor,
sincerely eighteen; my first story, my funny failure.
Maybe Rose, there is always another story,
better unsaid, grim or flat or predatory.
Half a mile down the lights of the in-between cities
turn up their eyes at me. And I remember Betsy's
story, the April night of the civilian air crash
and her sudden name misspelled in the evening paper,
the interior of shock and the paper gone in the trash
ten years now. She used the return ticket I gave her.
This was the rude kill of her; two planes cracking
in mid-air over Washington, like blind birds.
And the picking up afterwards, the morticians tracking
bodies in the Potomac and piecing them like boards
to make a leg or a face. There is only her miniature
photograph left, too long now for fear to remember.
Special tonight because I made her into a story
that I grew to know and savor.
A reason to worry,
Rose, when you fix an old death like that,
and outliving the impact, to find you've pretended.
We bank over Boston. I am safe. I put on my hat.
I am almost someone going home. The story has ended.
Anne Sexton

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday Morning

Some gold light out there, I mean to head out with my pail. Made my morning smoothie, some good coffee--strong and fragrant, and am about to be gym-bound.

My head is filled with a chorus of maybes and a never that I keep where nevers can't cut. I did not go to the Holiday Hop last night and I am a little sorry. I wanted to stay in, be warm, think about the kind of eyes that contain sunsets in every single way and the kind that look like good green light from the space in the woods that leads into a tree, the kind that will follow you into such forests and will make a little home with you there. I am thinking of Sicily, how lovely, how fierce and how I've never been there and how I don't know that I'll ever get there. Not really.

Yesterday was the kind of restless you get to be when a Friday night casts a particular kind of creepy glow into Saturday that starts the day neon and then makes it a little more like the jagged edges of the glass tubes to contain all that chemical light. But not only that. There was a whole held night, its breath or mine, who can say? In place or in memory, no matter. By a thread or over fire. Out, off, on, or in. So many ways to hold a thing or hold it back. It's what oceans and fires can best outsmart, but the heart is its own element.

But then too, an afternoon of good conversation and beautiful books and talk of words and old-fashioned candystands and malted milk tablets that came in glass bottles like pills.

This morning came in with the voice that wears the bear-shirt. All of the days gone-by and the days-ahead come down to the stuff of slumber parties and staying up all night to imagine what living forever could be.

And don't you like the dress I bought you?
in the lady store in town

Friday, December 04, 2009

How not to love Frank O'Hara

yet you will always live in a jealous society of accident
you will never know how beautiful you are or how beautiful
the other is, you will continue to refuse to die for yourself
you will continue to sing on trying to cheer everyone up
and they will know as they listen with excessive pleasure that you're dead
and they will not mind that they have let you entertain
at the expense of the only thing you want in the world/you are amusing
as a game is amusing when someone is forced to lose in a game I must

I was reminded today of this poem, so much of it that I love but these lines, I should have them tattooed on the back of my eyelids.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

When you kneel in madness your knees are glass.

I used to be suspicious of people overinterested in information, specifically trivia about others. When someone told me that someone had been inquiring about me or mine, I was puzzled at their lack of hobbies or pointedly, a life. I don't mean "how is so & so?" but the endless interest in the relationships b/w people, their secrets, the way they raise their children, their lives and the lives of those who surround them. Filter the world from your view out, not the views you think others carry about you in. It was revolutionary to me, the idea that I should trust my view, move quickly and live without fussing over every detail and misperception, acceptance or rejection of me by others. I learned to be really happy and really self-sufficient in that happiness. I am making my way again. Twenty-one days. My SOPT plan back in place and some little messages from me and to me to keep me going. Tonight's is the reminder that I have a very strong sense of self, incredible will and determination and a wealth of things to do that will make for a better year. I have been working on a new piece of writing and I am taking serious stock, cutting the negative and planning various minor adventures. Tomorrow is day one.
1. Load I-pod with new goodies 2. Send links and lists for gifts 3. Make the new calender, allow for phone and cleaning time each day. 3. Make menus & grocery list. (Buy Ginger coffee!) 4. Pay c.c., lights, heat, phone. 5. Call dentist 6. Pang.
7. Other doc.

"Turns out there's no such thing as safe sex with a werewolf"

Sometimes bad television produces some true words of wisdom. This jewel from Cursed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Take My Waking Slow

Beginning with Roethke only to say it's a Siken kind of day. I want more applesauce. Less nonsense. More silly string and squirtguns, less third-degree angst. Ever have one of those days that finds you waking (after a year of inquiry and bewilderment) to recall a phonecall of seventy-four minutes that clarified what will soon be an entire year? Back to the S.O.P.T., back to discipline and fewer phonecalls, more books, more writing. The time I have wasted has almost always concerned the same, pointless topics. No more. No more.

"...I arrived in the city and you met me at the station,
smiling in a way
that made me frightened. Down the alley, around the arcade,
up the stairs of the building
to the little room with the broken faucets, your drawings, all your things,
I looked out the window and said
This doesn't look that much different from home,
because it didn't,
but then I noticed the black sky and all those lights.
We walked through the house to the elevated train.
All these buildings, all that glass and the shiny beautiful
mechanical wind.
We were inside the train car when I started to cry. You were crying too,
smiling and crying in a way that made me
even more hysterical. You said I could have anything I wanted, but I
just couldn't say it out loud.
Actually, you said Love, for you,
is larger than the usual romantic love. It's like a religion. It's
terrifying. No one
will ever want to sleep with you.
Okay, if you're so great, you do it—
here's the pencil, make it work . . .
If the window is on your right, you are in your own bed. If the window
is over your heart, and it is painted shut, then we are breathing
river water.
Build me a city and call it Jerusalem. Build me another and call it
We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not
what we sought, so do it over, give me another version,
a different room, another hallway, the kitchen painted over
and over,
another bowl of soup.
The entire history of human desire takes about seventy minutes to tell.
Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of time.
Forget the dragon,
leave the gun on the table, this has nothing to do with happiness.
Let's jump ahead to the moment of epiphany,
in gold light, as the camera pans to where
the action is,
lakeside and backlit, and it all falls into frame, close enough to see
the blue rings of my eyes as I say
something ugly.
I never liked that ending either. More love streaming out the wrong way,
and I don't want to be the kind that says the wrong way.
But it doesn't work, these erasures, this constant refolding of the pleats.
There were some nice parts, sure,
all lemondrop and mellonball, laughing in silk pajamas
and the grains of sugar
on the toast, love love or whatever, take a number. I'm sorry
it's such a lousy story.
Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently
we have had our difficulties and there are many things
I want to ask you.
I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again,
years later, in the chlorinated pool.
I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have
these luxuries.
I have told you where I'm coming from, so put it together.
We clutch our bellies and roll on the floor . . .
When I say this, it should mean laughter,
not poison.
I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes.
Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you.
Quit milling around the yard and come inside."
"Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out" by Richard Siken.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

M. Ward, Grape Leaves, Pine Candles

and by the end of the night, sixty dolmathes made and distributed.

Happy Thanksgiving-akis.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Announcing Stupid Day All Day Long, (no doubt)

So far this morning, I had to improvise with the coffee maker as I am out of filters and had to cut a napkin into shape. Upon doing so, I neglected to see that I had taken the filter basket out and gone ahead and loaded everything: ground coffee, napkin, etc. into the maker minus the filter basket =coffee + grounds, everywhere. The next round found me doing the same thing, and not putting the pot into place. The way my coffee maker is designed forgave that, so that as soon as I stuck the pot into place, the coffee funneled nicely-down. Not so with the blender, the blender has never been a generous appliance. My beloved smoothie ended up leaking and running all over the blender, the counter, (the planet) and just now, on a trip downstairs to get more of the idiot's blend of hard-won java, I slipped down the final stairs and fell. Of course I have pilates today and of course, I am already the most graceless thing in that room. Plus, so many chances to injure myself--why the walk to the gym alone provides so many automotive options of mangling and there are, my two lovely feet: proven agility-machines and ballerina-like in their grace.

Ah, Dear Reader(s) all two of you, if you don't hear from me again, know that it's natural selection at work and mourn not a bit.

I leave you with grace and beauty to enhance your Monday:
Point of View
While his memories pace back and forth like expectant
Fathers, he tries on the loneliness like a loose-fitting shirt.
Somewhere in the room there is the ticking of a palmetto bug.
It reminds him of the planes on the way to Kosovo,
The fading crackle of wireless ground-to-air talk.
He'd like to take an eraser to that life, leaving
Just a few ghosted lines separating one nothing
From another nothing. Outside his window there is a
Darkness except for one balcony where a woman is sitting.
The smoke from her cigarette disappears into the stories
Reflected in the windows above her. She is probably reading
One of those romance novels where the characters speak
In the extinct language of a love she once knew.
Okay, let's drop the fiction. You know who you are.
Despite searching for yourself under stone, in trash bins,
Behind boarded doors of houses about to collapse.
The old loves pile up like skeleton sculptures in a Capuchin
monastery. What do they know about how we come back?
The things you want to say are as light as helium.
Now it's 12:14 A.M. In this world, two parallels meet,
The circle never closes. Maybe you have cried out
In your sleep. It's so hot the leaves are burning off
The trees. By Fall we'll be able to see right through
The forest into the future. By then you'll know this is
about me. The palmetto bug is just keeping time.
What's at stake here is how we define ourselves.
You are me when you are not you. I am you
When I am not me. The branch above us wonders if
It is time to fall. Our lives line the post office
And supermarket walls like runaway children.
Sometimes we just want to appear in our own mirrors.
I've double-locked the doors. It's so hot the blackout
Won't end for a few more days. In Lebanon
The light spreads out like shards of a mortar
Round. One family trying to escape is hit by
A random bomb. This is really about us, isn't it?
Are bombs random? These lines? Who was it
That I began with? As a kind of defense? There's a barge
Stuck where the river changed course. Day and night
Take turns trying to escape our field of vision.
Hope spreads its tentacles but we know better.
When I started, this was supposed to be about love.
But look, we can't even control what we think about
The moon, the train's distant whistle which is sad
Or promising, the existence of centaurs, peacekeepers,
Runaways, skeletons. I can't stick to one subject
For more than a line. In no time at all I will find
A real self. I don't know how many bugs have come in
Through this open window, a kind of lung these lives
Pass in and out of. You, me, him, I understand, I do,
Your hesitation. The branch, too, is about to fall. You,
It, have no idea how much of me this love has become.

Copyright © 2009 Richard Jackson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Six Months Ago Yesterday

I met J who loves Jonathan Edwards. Exactly to the day that we met, Mr. Edwards was scheduled to perform in Kent on that very night. How not to go? So we did.

The opening band was one of which I had never heard: Brewer & Shipley but was taken with from the song Indian Summer.
They wrote the song One Toke Over the Line and talked about how it was performed on the Lawrence Welk show. It's readily available on youtube and hilarious.

And Jonathan Edwards did perform Sometimes but there was so much else to admire, too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Loving Me Some Nick Cave

As so with that, I thought I'd take a final walk
The tide of public opinion had started to abate
The neighbours, bless them, had turned out to be all talk
I could see their frightened faces
peering at me through the gate

I was looking for an end to this, for some kind of closure
Time moved so rapidly, I had no hope of keeping track of it
I thought of my friends who had died of exposure
And I remembered other ones who had died from the lack of it

And in my best shoes I started falling forward down the street
I stopped at a church and jostled through the crowd
And love followed just behind me, panting at my feet
As the steeple tore the stomach from a lonely little cloud

Inside I sat, seeking the presence of a God
I searched through the pictures in a leather-bound book
I found a woolly lamb dozing in an issue of blood
And a gilled Jesus shivering on a fisherman's hook

It seems so long
Since you've been gone away
And I
Just got to say
That it grows darker with the day

Back on the street I saw a great big smiling sun
It was a Good day and an Evil day and all was bright and new
And it seemed to me that most destruction was being done
By those who could not choose between the two

Amateurs, dilettantes, hacks, cowboys, clones
The streets groan with little Caesars, Napoleons and cunts
With their building blocks and their tiny plastic phones
Counting on their fingers, with crumbs down their fronts

I passed by your garden, saw you with your flowers
The Magnolias, Camellias and Azaleas so sweet
And I stood there invisible in the panicking crowds
You looked so beautiful in the rising heat
I smell smoke, see little fires bursting on the lawns
People carry on regardless, listening to their hands
Great cracks appear in the pavement, the earth yawns
Bored and disgusted, to do us down

It seems so long
Since you've been gone
And I
Just got to say
That it grows darker with the day

These streets are frozen now. I come and go
Full of a longing for something I do not know
My father sits slumped in the deepening snow
As I search, in and out, above, about, below

It seems so long
Since you went away
And I
Just got to say
That it grows darker with the day

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Take Me Back Josephine to that Cold & Dark December

I am missing someone but I don't know who...

I love that song and the way that it reminds me of winter's onset, last year's stark and striking season, everything I found out about how beautiful the spare and silent could be. That feeling reminds me of my friend L-Bo's dream of an in-home theatre--and the way that I picture it: all heavy red-drapes, velvet, of course, the old, weighty kind, dense with dust and memory. I am thinking of fold-down seats, brocade or velvet themselves, and on the screen, at least one silent film, one black & white and any color will have the clarity of Cary Grant's bright eyes or Lana Turner's china face or Ava Gardner's intensity and India ink of hair and gloss. Plus that hushy-light, that near halo that comes off the shadows. That feeling, both cozy and melancholy, good and bad and intricate, intimate, lacing through the bones and pressing.

Last December the parting gifts began: the Caravella Orangecello, the spiral lightbulbs, all that light and what it lit up in me.

I love the word Sicily. Annie wrote on the margins of her letter to Sam. She still wrote them, bound them in green ribbon and put them in the top drawer where he used to keep his socks.


Martini Sicilian Style
1 ½ ounce vodka
½ ounce Caravella Orangecello
Shake with ice, strain & pour into martini glass. Garnish with orange peel.


Orangecello Cosmopolitan
¾ ounce vodka.
¼ ounce cranberry juice.
¼ ounce Caravella Orangecello
Pour into martini glass & garnish with an orange peel.


Caravella Orangecello Caribbean
Pour 1 ounce Caravella Orangecello in a tall glass over ice.
Fill with tropical fruit punch.


Caravella Bride's Bellini
2 peaches, cut into thin slices (may substitute plums or apricots)
1 cup peach schnapps
1 cup Caravella Orangecello
2 bottles champagne or sparking wine
Place one peach slice in each champagne or wine glass Pour peach schnapps and Orangecello over the peach, filling the glass halfway. Top with chilled champagne. Serve immediately

Serves 12

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Morning Feeling

A subdued sky. Today will be another nice long walk, some buying of groceries, working on the book. Thinking of the bike again, how to budget for it,and when to get it. My trip north makes me want for more of that landscape. I'm investigating trails and how far one might ride and how far one might get.

Sad Dictionary

Llamas dot the hills. White rugs on a green rug.
You never had an iPod, so you can’t imagine how

much better it is now. We have been to the Moon
and made him our doormat. Painkiller of the night,

he still shines, though we have blackened his eye
by punching it closed. Perhaps his forehead shines.

Spain is better, too: yellow flowers, useless flowers,
a destination vacation. Pessoa might have been the

alarm clock of the mountain slope with his contingent
of sheep, lazily shepherding his multiple selves into

crooked pens, but you are my sad dictionary, César.
I raise my hoof to you. Crippled though it is, I am.

for César Vallejo
Richard Siken

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Student One: Who is Katharine Hepburn?
Gasps, sighs, etc.
Student Two:"I heard someone ask 'who's Jimmy Stewart' the other day and my soul died."

"She had a completely new outlook on bears now."

Teacher: A forty-eight year old who plays Halo, Diablo..."
Student: What are you supposed to do when you're forty-eight?
Teacher: Just go wait in the cemetery to die.
Student One: (wistfully) Everywhere I've lived there's been a grumpy old person.
Student Two: (passionately) They're everywhere!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Bells

Today the circus poster
is scabbing off the concrete wall
and the children have forgotten
if they knew at all.
Father, do you remember?
Only the sound remains,
the distant thump of the good elephants,
the voice of the ancient lions
and how the bells
trembled for the flying man.
I, laughing,
lifted to your high shoulder
or small at the rough legs of strangers,
was not afraid.
You held my hand
and were instant to explain
the three rings of danger.

Oh see the naughty clown
and the wild parade
while love love
love grew rings around me.
this was the sound where it began;
our breath pounding up to see
the flying man breast out
across the boarded sky
and climb the air.
I remember the color of music
and how forever
all the trembling bells of you
were mine.
Anne Sexton
by Matthew Dickman

When grief comes to you as a purple gorilla
you must count yourself lucky.
You must offer her what’s left
of your dinner, the book you were trying to finish
you must put aside,
and make her a place to sit at the foot of your bed,
her eyes moving from the clock
to the television and back again.
I am not afraid. She has been here before
and now I can recognize her gait
as she approaches the house.
Some nights, when I know she’s coming,
I unlock the door, lie down on my back,
and count her steps
from the street to the porch.

Tonight she brings a pencil and a ream of paper,
tells me to write down
everyone I have ever known,
and we separate them between the living and the dead
so she can pick each name at random.
I play her favorite Willie Nelson album
because she misses Texas
but I don’t ask why.
She hums a little,
the way my brother does when he gardens.
We sit for an hour
while she tells me how unreasonable I’ve been,
crying in the checkout line,
refusing to eat, refusing to shower,
all the smoking and all the drinking.
Eventually she puts one of her heavy
purple arms around me, leans
her head against mine,
and all of a sudden things are feeling romantic.
So I tell her,
things are feeling romantic.
She pulls another name, this time
from the dead,
and turns to me in that way that parents do
so you feel embarrassed or ashamed of something.
Romantic? she says,
reading the name out loud, slowly,
so I am aware of each syllable, each vowel
wrapping around the bones like new muscle,
the sound of that person’s body
and how reckless it is,
how careless that his name is in one pile and not the other.

In spite of the fact that real people can understand her, I like Mary Oliver but I like what Dickman's done here in response, too.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Newly Novelized

Woke too early and have been trying to really wake up since. Last night was pretty wonderful--gorgeous weather, the gallery hop crowd (I'd forgotten it was gallery hop again, already), some red hot apple cider sorbet from Jeni's some red hot apple sighs overall.

Early evening began with my lovelies from Botticelli and a pre-dinner meeting at Betty's. Now to meet our visiting artist/scholar. If I leave early I get to Cuppa Joe's as a perk-up and appetizer. Yummiest lattes there.

For now, I am writing a little longer on the novel. Two new things found their way into Anastasia's history and they are both very-needed and momentum-inducing. To deaf parents and motorcycle races. To crashes and a childhood so silent it was like particles on a Dickensonian snowflake.

To red hot sorbet, red velvet chairs and an uncharacteristically warm November night.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Poems Forthcoming

in Copper Nickel, Quarterly West and Boston Review. Some nice motivators.
Now if only I were writing more...

Still, soon I begin Sneakily & Samira Save the Day--a long dreamed-of project--with a student who is going to render that silver cloud of a cat and his Syrian-American friend in watercolor and colored pencil. Anyway, I can't wait to see how it turns out and to finally complete that eight year old project.

Columbus is odd--so much alone time here and yet, too some of the most wonderful people I have ever met.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Looking Forward to the Weekend

First Lisa Lampanelli, then my Botticelli gang, another Italian dinner (noticing a theme?) and then the Scottish visiting artist dinner at Lindy's on Sunday with lovely L-Bo and Charlene.

Right now, I am loving The Avett Brothers am sad to be missing DanAuerbach, who is here tonight live and not expensive but too expensive for me, sigh...

But later this month, I'm off to Jonathan Edwards. So there is that.

"I am a breathing time machine, I'll take you all for a ride."
--Avett Bros

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Chilly Day, Grey of Sky & So November

If the spinal column were a chest of drawers, what would be contained?

Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks and the party to begin when someone walks through a door.

This morning's smoothie--cherry, vanilla, with almond extract and megadoses of cinnamon.

Visiting artist from Scotland. A Blake scholar. A printmaker. A diner at Lindy's with me and L-Bo and the lovely Charlene, on Sunday night.

Chocolate velvet coffee.

Beginning that children's book at long, long last. Samira and Sneakily Save the Day. Very carpe diem. Very deathy and life-celebratory at once. (Poets never stray far from those, do they?) Age range: the 7-10s. Any suggestions are very welcome. A wonderful honors student and I are embarking on this new venture with little experience but major enthusiasm.

And back to the gym. That scrabby, shabby, hardcore place where last winter was warmed a little, each time I was proud of myself for making it there and achieving something new--however modest.

It's Autumn and time for some colors to fly.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


nights ahead and how I dread the utility bills in my apartment and am annoyed that I didn't find a way to move this summer when it would have been easier.

I feel the old quiet returning. Last year and the months that I holed-up with my books and my own writing. Not a bad thing. I became so motivated and I knew, absolutely knew what I was trying to find and make of my "one wild and precious life."

This past weekend found me quickly costuming for one party and having misunderstood the date on the second, a bunch of free time rolled out like a carpet. I got a few little things done, worked towards the nice yesterday and woke early today to plan out the rest of the semester and adjust wandering syllabai to match. I am thinking of last New Year's, how much things shifted in my view of them in a really short time. It was after all of the paring-away, the weed-whacking and the re-structuring of the life-garden. The gardener's patience I learned ages ago.

I am saying that I need to get back into various kinds of training. Step up the self-discipline again. When I read all of the things I have been reading lately, it kicks off inside me a good envy.
I am Reading James Schuyler’s Hymn to Life
Aloud one page a night, to my own one, my mister,
my grumpy bastard. Nine pages, nine days
and though poetry is not his thing he acquiesces.
The groaning starts immediately at strangulated hernia
and persists until tonsils on a chest of drawers
and he squawks, enough! Thank God for thunderclouds, big
lusty lions that scuttle the coercive heat, all growl
no rain. A canoe bangs over my mister’s weir,
fiberglass scrapes and paints a boulder lurid & green,
bird sounds. The Kettle River purls

as I roll Hymn to Life into a baton to swat
at wasps swarming a big fat roast meat dinner.
Our guests didn’t show and we’re alone,
summery and deathlike; July is not
usually this ideal.

Deirdre Dore

Monday, November 02, 2009

Emu Chapbook Teaser (You Like What You See, Dears? Dancing Girl Press...)

Emu Responds to a Question about the Unruly Beloved’s Latest Fling
You like what you see, Dear? This poor-man’s ostrich
of envy? No business of mine, but
you should know your bones are little cities
and when you let her sleep against you, she
crushes so many innocent civilians.

I thought we’d reached the tender basement
of your psyche. Then we dropped
like hope-free parachutists.

Her ankles are uncivilized. I found a stray feather
on the soap and regardless of what you’ve read, studies show
sexual jealousy turns a bird’s innards
into macramé dreamcatchers

I just wanted to sip light from the strange
quiet that gathers when you’re tired
at the top of your face.

How exactly do you live with it anyway?
The first time I saw your chest I meant to inquire
how you pack it up in those beautiful shirts
and carry it off. I mean:
Are you the reverse-stork of gorgeousness?

Finally, I do think she looks like your type:
like an elongated nighttime without weather.
Like it’s the end-of-the-world shopping bonanza
and your triceps are on special.
Like I could finally afford your eyes.
The Streets of My Heart
for Jeff
What a display. The light chromed off the ornate lamps and signs,
brass bumpers of the Cadillac Sevilles,
spatulas sterling-gripped and forks gold-tined
that swung from every balcony's smoking grill.
Girls half-undressed came masquerading, frills
on sale to the debonair boys. Parading lines
of pigeons, curbside, puffed like helium-filled
balloons no one saw deflating. The shine
must fade, the city still, to gleam, to escapade anew.
The streets of my heart while sun-licked, well-trafficked, amazed,
hosted a previous traveler or two. But none until you
paused to point out beauty I missed: loves taxiing away;
the saxist on Oak, case open for coins, blue kiss at high noon;
jay-filled sapling in a slip of leaves, some stenciled to the walk by rain.

--Rhett Iseman Trull
The Clock of the Long Now

No wonder Einstein was mad for light.
This morning a maple, far back from the road,

glows as though each leaf were lit within,
so golden I think it must taste like pears.

Thirty years ago the world's oldest living thing,
a bristlecone pine, was cut down. The tree began

growing in the high Sierras before Egyptians
hauled stone into pyramids. In its place

we're building a clock that will tick twice a day
for ten thousand years. Even as our violent planet

wobbles on its axis, the clock will track each slow wind
of the Milky Way. Consider a girl, maybe with eyes

like yours, four hundred generations from now,
shading her brow to look at the sun. What can we create

for her that will last as long as that? Everything
is available to your mind. To make a believable tree

you'll need true-to-life textures, tiny hairs on the surface
of a leaf, and realistic branches, which sprout

new branches, which sprout even more.
Whatever is imagined, there will be something else.

Copyright © 2009 Marion Boyer All rights reserved

Sunday, November 01, 2009

High Street Hijinks

A walk-through the chaos of costume and street party and then home again, to quiet and watching a video. I like Halloween, it is a nice specatator sport. So many fun costumes. I think the One Night Stand was a favorite, or The Gypsy Booth with a folded-up fortune-teller.

Today was spent with Mary, who drove in from Cincy to go thrifting. We dined at The Spaghetti Warehouse, which, is in fact, the remains of The Olde Spaghetti Factory from my Salt Lake days and an old Chicky and Intagliod haunt for celebrations when both, Ms. Chick and I were feeling festive. Sometimes we chased it with Jungle Jims--well only once, but it was fun, memorable.

I think that tomorrow brings a looked-forward-to afternoon and with luck, more beautiful Autumn weather.

Love is When a Boat is Built From All the Eyelashes in the Ocean When the bats
from the mouth of
the cave
hold on tight
at my waist.

If I fall
into the ocean
bury what washes up
beneath the mattress
of my first bed.

When our eyelashes fall out
it does not mean we are about to die
it means we are about to be saved.

We should look
directly into the sun.

We should
expect a boat.

Copyright © 2009 Zachary Schomburg All rights reserved

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gratitude Gazelles & Giraffes in the Shape of Babies & Baby-Aunts

A day yesterday, good workshop, strange cakes and a nice story about a gazelle clock. Thank you world for your various kindnesses.

Dinner at my favorite Mexican joint--half-cafe/half-pinatas-strung-from-the-ceiling-grocery. Today is a long walk, some writing, more friend-time and the paying of November's too-many bills on November's too-little funds. I splurged a little: new, wonderful lamp, and a pencil skirt with giraffe print.

Even Monday's faculty meeting is nearly instantly-redeemed by a very-looked-forward-to lunch at a quiet Japanese place near Dublin. (That sounds so international.)

Confession of the Oak Tree

I would shed my leaves in an instant,
If I could shake their delicate skeletons

off my frame, those brittle reminders
of last season's small failures.

I want to be bare and unencumbered.
Strip me naked; my rough bark

no longer shames me the way it used to.
Leave smooth skin to the saplings,

tender and thin, yet to survive
the droughts and floods I have weathered.

Sheath me in gnarled knobs and dimples,
a woody armor thick enough

to protect the sap I used to spill
at the peck of every careless bird.

Copyright © 2009 Alice Pettway All rights reserved
from Barbed Wire and Bedclothes

Friday, October 30, 2009

Some of These Flowers Put Off Light

No mummy cake for us

but I did find a green alien cat cake with bloodshot plastic eyeballs. A good workshop was had by all and as you well-know by now: there is no bad time for frosting or tenderness.

"It could be just me though,

because I'm not a big fan of suicide."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Enough, enough and in plenty
There will be three books at my obsequies
Which I take, my not unworthy gift, to Persephone.

You will follow the bare scarified breast
Nor will you be weary of calling my name, nor too

To place the last kiss on my lips
When the Syrian onyx is broken

--Ezra Pound, of course

I can't help but love the Cantos, even if parts of their maker trouble me. Such music. "Not deeds, but hopes" I heard them described but I think they are poetry with a capital P. Yummy musics.
Gathering my Personal Affections

into my best samsonite, or into the board room
for the required haircut. Misheard or mistaken,

my personal affections look back at me benignly
like a boy reaching for the wrong wrist at the store

looking up with a face that started to say Mommy.
My personal affections roam harmless or hungry,

harried or pointed, sarcastic and sad. They run
in packs some nights, more like bison than cattle,

like large frightened waterbirds on legs jointed
as flowers, I watch for as much as out for them.

(In honor of my students and their wonderfully-strange brains. I see a mummy cake in your future or some eyeball cupcakes.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"I'm sorry I was late

I chopped half my finger off."

"My aunt's name is Delilah, she has plastic surgery."

Student quotes for October 28.

Rainy Days & Mad Greeks

and lovely Italians.

Woke up early to get ready all that oregano of a day and plans changed, so I thought (as L wrote to charge that I have not been keep her updated) I would write a little, post some poems in honor of such grayness. (It's that one sky--you know the one--dirty-sheet in color and not at all inviting.)

Made soup last night and the cumin-smell is still hanging around in the kitchen.
The cumin smell reminds me of Salt Lake and long lunches at the Indian buffet. And the cold--that weekend in the cabin,the pride I felt in serving soup in bread bowls. Funny.

Loving the new protein mix, today's special smoothie was lemon creme. A little dash of lemon extract and lots of pure vanilla, some flax oil. And my favorite coffee. The day begins all lemon creme and chocolate velvet and low on the promised-oregano, so I'll clean my apartment, run some dishes and laundry and at long last, drop off the recycling.

For now, an offering:

Why I Can't Cook for Your Self-Centered Architect Cousin

Because to me a dinner table's like a bed--
without love, it's all appetite and stains. Let's buy
take-out for your cousin, or order pizza--his toppings--

but I can't lift a spatula to serve him what I am.
Instead, invite our favorite misfits over: I'll feed
shaggy Otis, who after filet mignon, raised his plate

and sipped merlot sauce with such pleasure
my ego pardoned his manners. Or I'll call Mimi,
the chubby librarian, who paused over tiramisu--

"I haven't felt so satisfied since..." then cried
into its curls of chocolate. Or Randolph might stop by,
who once, celebrating his break-up with the vegetarian,

so packed the purse seine of his wiry body with shrimp
he unbuttoned his jeans and spent the evening
couched, "waiting for the swelling to go down."

Or maybe I'll cook for us. I'll crush the pine nuts
unhinged from the cones prickly shingles.
I'll whittle the parmesan, and if I grate a knuckle

it's just more of me in my cooking. I'll disrobe
garlic cloves of rosy sheaths, thresh the basil
till moist and liberate the oil. Then I'll dance

that green joy through the fettucine, a tumbling,
leggy dishy we'll imitate, after dessert.
If my embrace detects the five pounds you win

each year, you will merely seem a generous
portion. And if you bring my hand to your lips
and smell the garlic that lingers, that scents

the sweat you lick from the hollows of my clavicles,
you're tasting the reason that I can't cook
for your cousin--my saucy, my strongly seasoned love.

--Beth Ann Fennelly

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy One Month Birthday You Bad, Little Man!

My nephew, the dignified Baby Evan George McKinnon is one whole month old today.

It's your world, E and everything so shiningly-possible.

Thank you for being. Your Auntie-S

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Favorite Student Quote of the Week

"Can I take off early? I left a pot of minestrone cooking."

And we were in-class writing and he had the assignment and is laser-bright and beyond and so off he went and today brought me minestrone just when mechanics and panics (various, various--and can you tell I've been teaching Love Song again?) had had their way with me this Thurs Day and it was barely halfway through.

To good minestrone and meridians. To mechanics on Parsons Avenue who are attempting to save me from this rude wake-up call. Huzzah!
How to Like It

These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Let's go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Let's tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Let's pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Let's dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasn't been used since last winter.
The dog says, Let's go down to the diner and sniff
people's legs. Let's stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the man's mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Let's go to sleep. Let's lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then he'll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk he'll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Let's just go back inside.
Let's not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing? The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Let's go make a sandwich.
Let's make the tallest sandwich anyone's ever seen.
And that's what they do and that's where the man's
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept—
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.
Stephen Dobyns

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"And here I am transporting you to the outskirts of my life--an unwanted animal.
And there, I am holding us over the fire--treat or captive. And once,
you wandered indoors, the palace grounds your playground, the button that made
the gates open and close warmed to your touch and the passersby looked up
at the windows glowing with glowing and kept walking. And now, I place you
there, in the scene with the extras, and I draw a bath, a small boy and girl stick-figured and holding a withered-balloon, a conclusion, the blinds, and (is it your) shadow there
where I thought I would never place it, flickering a little, but from this distance, it's terribly hard to say."
A. Montreal, from After Alls
The Second Slaughter
Achilles slays the man who slayed his friend, pierces the corpse
behind the heels and drags it
behind his chariot like the cans that trail
a bride and groom. Then he lays out
a banquet for his men, oxen and goats
and pigs and sheep; the soldiers eat
until a greasy moonbeam lights their beards.

The first slaughter is for victory, but the second slaughter is for grief—
in the morning more animals must be killed
for burning with the body of the friend. But Achilles finds
no consolation in the hiss and crackle of their fat;
not even heaving four stallions on the pyre
can lift the ballast of his sorrow.

And here I turn my back on the epic hero—the one who slits
the throats of his friend’s dogs,
killing what the loved one loved
to reverse the polarity of grief. Let him repent
by vanishing from my concern
after he throws the dogs onto the fire.
The singed fur makes the air too difficult to breathe.

When the oil wells of Persia burned I did not weep
until I heard about the birds, the long-legged ones especially
which I imagined to be scarlet, with crests like egrets
and tails like peacocks, covered in tar
weighting the feathers they dragged through black shallows
at the rim of the marsh. But once

I told this to a man who said I was inhuman, for giving animals
my first lament. So now I guard
my inhumanity like the jackal
who appears behind the army base at dusk,
come there for scraps with his head lowered
in a posture that looks like appeasement,
though it is not.

Lucia Perillo

Friday, October 16, 2009

Contemplating a Drive Away

that highway feeling, the clearing of the cobwebs.

I have been thinking about seasons with people, seasoning with someone the first time (cardamom, ginger, paprika, aside) and how the first winter is something special that always rewrites winter anew, and fall, favorite season, only made more lovely by the shared color of leaves.

Of leaves: there is this. It's been a long time since I had more than a season with a someone. My first Columbus friend was a late-February find and by summer, gone. This past summer had me waiting to winter-away with someone and now it's cold. And I am thinking of the seasons in Alabama, how smoothly they glided one into the next and how hard so many things were, but the constant months of Riverside Drive, the knowledge that winter would come and no one would go, seems to me now a kind of crazy paradise of riches.

So it's the characters, frozen in place and waiting that I have been turning back to these days. Naomi: laughing when one story opens and laughing still, I have been unable to find her a way out. Elsa, based on a dream-name of a child someone and I never had, and a woman, no younger than eighty-something, but luminous--I mean it--whom I saw in a wonderful, funky movie theatre in Atlanta and who began The Things that Rain Touches in me so many years ago. I have returned to it, armed with a friend's story of her own great-aunt and a way to finish. And these new stories: some stardust in their dust motes, I can feel it. And the novel, the essays: all my life's work and all backburnered while the world and its flimsy characters runs my months through a wringer and for what? Not enough. I am feeling that conviction again to silence the phone and winter-in with the only people I am certain will hold to their words.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Feeling of home, feeling of home.
Caramel should not be pushed to a point of bitterness.
This mind half shell of Jordan almond,
half idea of a spiritual home.
Living in attics for a decade, I looked
down through snow at passersby.
Fingerling potatoes dying in a drawer,
I saw crumbled border trees throw
yellow money at the sky: each metropolis
never trying to catch anyone as he fell.
I really believed better everything's exposed
conglomerate rock, that makeshift showroom tub
barely big enough to stand but not turn around in.
We could pearl gray snow flung like the dead.
I could soap bar silver without wasting a drop.
Used to be, the historical hysterically renovated
Boston Commons, pink dough heads lining the prow
of a tree ornament, Faneuil hall
pronounced Daniel full of humid women,
the affluenza professors: was the light wrong?
My bad, bad faith in rivers poured rain
a useless windshield. But now to lay eyes on
straw-colored and beer-colored brick
thread-like gradations of ochre color,
a milk grey everything finished, even a small chip of lilac
sky sliding across each eye. It might be the cold.
I heard of a painter who decided she would do without color--
paint animals without color. Or fruits. Used to be, I'd
understand that decision to waste not even a tube of red
and now I can't take it; I can't take the thought
of the actress who'd said
she planned to starve herself to nothing
then rebuild with solid muscle. Each fever
wants to self-swaddle with precision.
This isn't about a lacquered boutique but a for-once
rise-up feeling nothing is missing, the mind
a candy dish with a ridge across the bowl. The feeling
nothing is missing the mind. Eating red delicious
apples one after another that had once tasted bitter.
The car driving uselessly a route the shape of a square.
Pale blue arrows on the Tom-Tom a reason for going
going off-route. Holding up traffic five hours to throw an ascetic
off a bridge. Trundling between knot and go. Suddenly,
in the right place. I gaze at the absurd alikeness of two
shining pints of water: one bubbled, one still.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Back from Tampa

& baby Evan: much-missed already. It's odd how someone so small can take such hold.

I am cleaning the proverbial porch, as well as the literal one. It's a good season for me: fall.

There are things one can't hold onto and it's good to have a season that reminds.
It's late, I'm wistful or it's early and I'm certain, either way...

I keep falling like the rain, you've got your umbrella in my way.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pumpkin-Lit & Firepit, Come on Baby, Light our Fire

My nephew was born this week on a crisp Sunday afternoon in Ohio, (though otherwise in Tampa where his appearance was made).

Evan George arrived at 2:15 p.m. Seven pounds. Seven ounces and adorable, even his cry is melodic (for now).

My sister went into labor while we our newly-carved jack-o-lanterns were being admired from the street below their second story vantage. One grins lopsidedly, charmingly, art-decoly, knowingly and the other: a bit skewampus, half-pirate-eyed and crooked, indesive-nosed, beamed down on second avenue. (Guess which I did!) Of course.

Thirty hours later, while L-Bo and I dined at North*, a southern star came into its own.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fare thee well,

Athenian-Boy. Fireworks in rain, firepit fires that lingered in our hair until we washed them away, laughter, a nation of two--almost, an arc of held-hands overhead so from the sky, we must have looked wreathed in us. We were nearly wreathed in us.

It's Autumn, and so much I am happy about. My yard has exploded in periwinkle yamulkes of morning glory. I have my world in order and something amazing, I just know it, is on its way.


It's a dismal day. Too many things to think and the rain, the rain, the rain it's been pouring for days and there's no light to make golden the autumn I look forward to all year long.

But this boy
his mournful NickDrakeian-melancholic voice, the cheesy videos, are what the doctor ordered.

There is something so unapologetically over-the-top that I think too, Antony and the Johnsons and that moves the rain into a moving kind of weather instead of just endless gray drizzle, an anemia of sky and such lethargy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yellow Cake Frosting

We are muscle flowers in the shape of marzipan.

We are a trick.

We paint comet after comet onto the faces of cakes,

wipe the nebulae off of our fingers, give them names,

call it assemblage. Call it cross-indexing.

It is too early for fondant.


Whitewash makes me hungry. Astronomy does too.

Wherever we are it is soggy. Wherever I am there are mouthfuls.

Last night I dreamed I made you soup in a steel kitchen.

I sat on your floor and glowed.

Gale Thompson

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Driving and driving and listening to poetry

podcasts,the one red barn fifteen miles out, the rest stops I nearly have memorized, stationed in one city and visting the other, now reversed so where I live and where I travel to mean just the opposite. Acceleration, exhileration when some impulsive evening, late winter, found me driving north and fast-fast. We are shuffled like cards but we're fine.

Destinations, VI.

Even after I died, I could not close my eyes
as the tiny empires

pile up their bodies. Four quarters for a dollar, the playground leaves

make small tornadoes of possibility, and at the waterfront
the poor are music as they wash
their pants. Their song and the wind, their song and the wind.

At the waterfront, the slovenly boat comes in and on its side
scrawled in stenciled block letters
is the name of our understanding—seven black-faced laughing gulls call out
the ship’s name in staccato, and it’s true

the water is cast-iron deep and the groan it makes
sounds like what it is: children.

Even after I died I could not close my eyes, not even after I died.

The weather makes crude maps of our emotions, the currents of the sea,
but only for so long. Sometimes, wind moves
so quickly across the bay it’s as if it’s holding it down.
Copyright © 2009 Nick Courtright All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Favorite Recent Student Excuse

"I'm sorry I was late, I was having trouble with my toga."

I gush about this place and I should stop. It's silly how much I like it, how proud I get over even our ribbon-cutting because we had students do the honors.

Tonight, exhaustion, major but after my raisin tarts arrived and made a happy night for their recipient: a major, serious foodie with that indie-musician/Aussie pro-chef ala Hell's Kitchen nonplussed, unimpressable manner, to be asked For A Recipe...well, I am feeling like a rockstar.

Desert Poem ONE

The loneliest road defeats its ranking. Who knows it who

hallelujahs thick air. Thicket of

green air, red air

mountains won’t movie you, little
man. That’s love,

that’s old steel, what
towers, flat land & each

able engineer we’ve known to bits— Josiah, two
trinkets, still

reel, what

crosses Texas in a low-slung solar car or

vexes next— here’s that
piece of us,

our eggy hunk. Josiah,

we hate or think we should hate

all of Amarillo.

---Stacy Kidd

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Heart Under Your Heart
Who gives his heart away too easily must have a heart
under his heart.
—James Richardson

The heart under your heart
is not the one you share
so readily so full of pleasantry
& tenderness

it is a single blackberry
at the heart of a bramble
or else some larger fruit
heavy the size of a fist

it is full of things
you have never shared with me
broken engagements bruises
& baking dishes

the scars on top of scars
of sixteen thousand pinpricks
the melody you want so much to carry
& always fear black fear

or so I imagine you have never shown me
& how could I expect you to
I also have a heart beneath my heart
perhaps you have seen or guessed

it is a beach at night
where the waves lap & the wind hisses
over a bank of thin
translucent orange & yellow jingle shells

on the far side of the harbor
the lighthouse beacon
shivers across the black water
& someone stands there waiting

Craig Arnold

Friday, September 04, 2009

In the early morning dreams we are not the man but the walking stick, steadying the gait, dug into the hard ground. A pond where we fish and fish unable to reel in again our life. Our boomerangs fly south v-patterned and one of us stopped waiting--but which? August gone autumn, so when, already, do leaves fall away? We meant instead: The Stay-Tree, the Believe-Again Grove. We cycle out into the night, watch the sky for a flock of returns, fish a lake where the forgive-fins shimmer in the late summer moonglow. No body flipping into the sidewalk, the betraying bicycle, sadistic sprinklers, we have hit the ground but only one of us is running.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Evening at Home

The eye that closes at dusk
winks a dark conspiracy. You reach

through the hanging between us. The russet
mums beside the front stoop gather

the fading light tenderly, like a worn wallet
molded to fit a hip, a granddaughter's

portrait in cellophane. Like creeping shadows,
yellow maple leaves descend the steps.

Look how the stem and lobes drift
and curl inward, curl like fingers closing

in a grasp. How do we know the season
enhances us? We touch lips, essences.

The rusty mums lose their color in
the purple pulse of evening. Clemmie,

we are the flowers' stained petals blooming
toward a frost we cannot predict, cannot stay.

Copyright © 2009 Arthur Madson All rights reserved