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