Saturday, December 31, 2011

How better to go out than in gratitude

2011 was hard on my household. My lovely-lovely was diagnosed with renal failure and his father passed away--all in a few months. I had my first set of scary medical test results and then months later, an okay. Still, things took their toll. But the house is warm with life and love and I am here, waiting on the edge of my seat for 2012. No matter what those Mayans think.

Because 2011 has been rough on us all, but as Rilke says: Love the questions. Live the questions.
To 2012! Love and best wishes,

Six Kinds of Gratitude

I'm someone's small boat,
far out at sea,
sailing from what has so long sustained me
toward what I don't know.

My joy is the sound
of the water purling around me,
but is it my hull
or the great ocean moving?

Are those flies I hear, or a trick of the wind,
faintly human voices,
or a whistle of breath
in the nose of my sleeping dog?

Without me there is no confusion.
Buddhas see no difference between
themselves and others; Angels,
between the living and the dead.

At last I've discovered
the secret of life:
If you don't leave
you can't come back.

Deep in the Earth there are pockets of light
that did not come from Heaven,
and yet they are the light of Heaven
deep inside the Earth.

This bird is the birdness of a bird.

—Dan Gerber, A Primer on Parallel Lives

And of course, Rainer. Always Rainer.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions”

R.M. Rilke is the man!

A Tinselly Farewell to December

Holy Ghost
by Brian Brodeur


My mother spreads tinsel snow over the kitchen sills,
sets the cedar manger in its place, arranging

the hollow plastic magi next to a cradle
displaying the baby Jesus missing an arm.

The little enameled figure of Mary kneeling
embraces something only she can see. Pinned to the banister,

our crocheted stockings sag. All afternoon
she listens to laundry click in the pantry dryer,

packing layers of chocolate cake and home-made cream
into Tupperware for the Heath-Bar trifle we love.

Light moves across the counter, almost touching her hand,
shattering over an open drawer of knives.

From "Snapshots 1," Other Latitudes (University of Akron Press, 2008).
Used with the author’s permission.
"I should tell them
there’s a music for the lost, a song
that cannot be stifled, celebrating those who are.
It sounds like jangling, scraping,
a hacksaw through metal. But still
it’s a song, and its dissonance is lovely.
It belies the second-hand clothing
and the stubbly beards and the stumbling.
Through the jeers, the noise of machinery, the silence,
an anthem makes itself heard."

from The Refugee Camp by John Drury

Whose work I have long-loved. The latest continues to astound. Rarely have I met someone who has such a sense of the arts and their play and his own play with all of that knowledge in his work. But here's the really rare part: he writes it all as a poet would not as someone wooden who knows a lot. (You know the poems I mean, they sound smart but dead.) Drury is a scholar's poet and a poet's scholar. There is someone real inside all of that wisdom who still manages to say it all with warmth and sometimes, whimsy. I took any course that I could from him at the University of Cincinnati and left the classroom bowled-over by how much we learned and how much fun we had learning it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lady Alice is Her Name

The mac book. I love it. Cindy-Lou taught me how to grab images and so I have. My desktop is sea of colorful minutia. It thrills to me to look at it all: paper lanterns, New Orleans, my lighthouse, a periwinkle crayon on an old piece of fabric of flocked dark red roses, a vintage taffeta and lace heart-shaped candybox, an amphora with a silhouette on it, oil slicks, spider lilies, Sophia Loren, three icicles, a gloved hand holding three tulips, a ship in a lightbulb, sno cones, tiny, tiny sofas and one photograph snatched from a friend's wall, of pomegranates hanging in front of a stone cherub built into an arc of a crumbling red brick wall. The photograph is shot perfectly from a kind of side angle and so fills the viewer with a kind of inexplicable longing. It is just enough and yet it creates a hunger. I am going to use it when I teach the ekphrasis class to talk about that effect--how writing should do that--ache you a little, make you want more and yet, feel strangely satisfying in that unquenched need. Very sensual. Like pomegranates.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tiny Furniture & Au Lait Lotion & a Blow-Out

Watching the first, wearing the latter (I love the way it smells) and counting my blessings that M wasn't hurt during the third. Far left lane and a total blow-out and it was night. Just finished writing a poem that does not love the halogen light but that very light helped save the day.

Not a wholly productive day but not terrible. Favorite lines so far: "I once saw him sitting on a crate of onions reading Osterling." Then, later:
"Poems are basically like dreams, something everyone likes to tell other people about but no one likes to hear if it's not their own. Which is why poetry is a failure of an intellectual community."
"It's not too poemy, which I like."

This film is making me miss my dangly earrings days. Tomorrow I will wear dangly earrings.

by Ales Steger translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry January 2009
The whole time he tells you what to do.
His voice is chocolate candy filled with hysteria.
He is a loving blackmailer. An owl blind in one eye.
It is enough that he sees half the world to command the other half.
He gladly inspects himself in the mirror, but goes crazy if you praise him
Before another. He is not your property. He is not your adornment.
Only when you dance and when you make love with him, he coos.
Then cages open. Then he is the white message bearer of the gods.
Gradually you detach him more often, hide him in a box, misplace him.
But his bite at the lobe still whispers to you.
As if Eros holds you with invisible filigree pliers
And solders words of guilt and the silence of betrayal into your ear.
A copy of a stone from Sisyphus’s mountain is set inside it.
You roll hope uphill. And you roll downhill drunk, despondent and alone.

Poem Disguised as What I Should be Reading Right Now

Which is how to plan my courses (two of which are very new and exciting, but lots of new and exciting work and prep. too). And how to paint my wall called Toasted Marshmallow or French Vanilla, I forget which paint swatch I chose and how to prep the wall that will be Malted and do you notice a little bakery lust in my selection of off-whites? For the record, the accent wall is Mourning Dove, so let it not be said that I am focused on the lyrical, the melancholy, the simple carbs. Oh, wait...

I am wishing I were more here, less facebook. Here feels like the right ruminations about writing. There feels like self-billboardizing. I don't like it, and yet, I look. It's a clever way to pretend to friend and unfriend and it lacks the sense of consequence and courage, (like reality television). In fact, like reality t.v., it actually numbs one from feeling the sense of consequence. Thoughtlessness abounds and rarely does one stop to contemplate the actual emotional ramifications of things said and done. Here, I assume it's me alone plus maybe just a few of those wandering googlebot things that move eyeless (I first wrote "love eyeless" hmmm....) and gathering but never really gathering. (The instructional designer boyfriend assures me that such things watch the blog, too.) So here is like a way to type out what I think I am thinking and thus, cleanse the palate or rough draft out the next thing I need to say on the more official pages of my life. About those.
So New Years' resolutions are silly. They don't last. But a habit takes twenty-one days to form, so my reading tells me, so why not these twenty-one. Like starting today. I want to work on things in a more balanced fashion. My schedule allows whole days where I can paint and another day where I can sort clothes, if a deadline is coming up, I write like a fiend to finish something. Good writers, writers with good habits, work a set of hours a day at a writing project, then a set schedule for class planning, housework, etc. I read an interview with Donald Hall once and he said he advanced each of the many, many, many writing and journalism assignments a little bit with time meted out so that he might make his various deadlines. They are various and many and he always does. Plus he's said to be a damn fine teacher, as well. Even after Jane died, Hall continued to write and send his work out (I worked on a literary magazine at the time and we received a strange elegy that was later picked up by, I think, TriQuarterly.) Anyway, proof, that not even grief, much less that flitty, meandering mind of one Intagliosa, could keep a good writer from getting his good writing accomplished. With that, I leave you to a wonderful poem that was sent along to me by a kind woman who found the audio of my "Lucy" poem some years back and had always wanted the text. I was sent her note and when I responded, telling her how happy it made me that my poem stayed with her the way certain other poems had stayed with me, (yes Taije Silverman I am talking to you, also Eliot Khalil Wilson, Ilya Kaminsky, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Richard Siken, Laura Kasischke, Simone Muench, and too many others to list)... she wrote me with this lovely title which I read, envied and shared.

Now to that new day I promised myself.

Matthew Olzmann


Here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage
might work: Because you wear pink but write poems
about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell
at your keys when you lose them, and laugh,
loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol,
gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials
from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming.
You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents
of what you packed were written inside the boxes.
Because you think swans are overrated.
Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me
to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence.
Because you underline everything you read, and circle
the things you think are important, and put stars next
to the things you think I should think are important,
and write notes in the margins about all the people
you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there.
Because you make that pork recipe you found
in the Frida Khalo Cookbook. Because when you read
that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing
except the part where Rilke says love means to deny the self
and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights
are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed
over the windows, you still believe someone outside
can see you. And one day five summers ago,
when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge
was so empty—not even leftovers or condiments—
there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew,
which you paid for with your last damn dime
because you once overheard me say that I liked it.

–from Rattle #31, Summer 2009

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Touche Today

Because I couldn't stop the dead/they ambled up to me.

Or so it's been. A long year. A long, long year. But some of it still scarlet shawls, collected animal bones carved cryptically to read a thing about vintage quilts made into tipis and what it means to teach, to be taught, to have words amass loss into something meaningful.

The other day I pulled up a poem to show a student a certain tone and the lines and within it the line about the people who loved the speaker being sad since the speaker died struck me anew as a mean thing and it reminded me of a coffee meeting a few weeks back with someone who didn't like any of his wives or women or me and how I left reeling from it and thinking that literature should bring about the best of us. So today saunters in, a little stooped as a Thursday can be and with it, an elegy by a student who wrote of the universe's overcoat and another student urging him to search that coat for spare change and change and then this title little sonnet about sugar and our sweetness galloping away with us, consumed by our consumption, done in by our need for the lovely and honeyed and I am saved enough by that. But then the mail and that cranberry crimson shawl made for me by one of my first university students ever. A girl wicked-sharp, a teacher among students even then, and now, all degreed-up, married, a grown-up but still armed with the whimsy and knitting needles both unmetaphored, restored to a world where a thing can be spun into something both necessary and playful and warming a needful day into play.

I could say more about a snapshot of Glen Campbell or a poem called a canzone shared with me by a favorite poet or about lite eggnog and spiced rum or smoke kittens or tadpoles so tiny when they burst into froglets that we call them the preemy and they burst out like a dark star against the turquoise gravel. Or a sister named of all things Antonia, who is indeed My Antonia and my best friend and my light star in a world of dark gravel. Or that I live in a house now with a someone who loves me despite myself, sometimes in spite of myself but makes a night like this pitch-black from the city's distance, a little warmer, a lot brighter.

In light of that, here's a poet whose work I await in book form:

Conversion Blues

– for Rachel

tell us about evening and about the bright
star tell us about the huge dark wall
where it is pinned so if no one is looking
the sky is really burning and tell me it is my eyes
that douse it all to soot, black branches
with one root in carbon and budding eternity.

explain that once a month a family of owls covers
the tree, winks at us, refuses to explain their singing.
when snow is thinly falling we see you there,
the slowest star, and I hear you thinking
of a story, that mute wetness spread across the field is you
clearing your throat, all stories being born

from silence. what story: the snowflakes
cut from the sun are large as cars in the darkness
and grow small and doily when licked
by January stars. what story: barefoot,
running in the wake of the plow,
cold black clods and white sun blessing your steps,
no Jesus yet to dream you into majesty, earth

being enough, no steeple secrets, no divine moons
to pin back your hair, no soap for your tongue, no lye,
no alabaster mothers to sew in a new tongue
and holy toast, cracked as headstones, for you to chew.
are you ready to climb to the top of the stairs?
to tell me about the star nation, the unnamed,
what some grandfather of the clean, glowing
cafes and dive bars of the moon

call morning, a newborn's grouchy hunger?
the dew its mouth and tongue sing for?
think of me in the low thorns, hunched like an umbrella,
my small ribs breaking toward the clouds like love.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Long, long time

since I came here and said hello to myself or whatever it is that I am trying to sing into or out of in the specifics of this forum. It's one thirty in the morning, I am not home and I will be on a plane soon to be home. I am feeling that at sea feeling of not being where one lives and not feeling very at home in the transitional homes we make when we travel. So I went into my books, Lisa Olstein lately, and I found what home I always do in her kind of words. Tonight I am struck with how certain seasons effort in quietly and others crash in and no season really leaves us without impact. There will be another new baby in my life in April and what other chairs will be pulled after the music stops, there is no way of knowing. But I try, like another quietly-efforting poet, to dwell in possibility and when I can focus in, I also dwell in prose. Tonight, I think I should dwell in waiting sheets and the too-little slumber that precedes too long a day. But with luck and some portion of a blessing, I will sleep in my own bed tomorrow night, which as darkness sometimes keeps me from recalling, is really tonight.

Dear One Absent This Long WhileBy Lisa Olstein

It has been so wet stones glaze in moss;
everything blooms coldly.

I expect you. I thought one night it was you
at the base of the drive, you at the foot of the stairs,

you in a shiver of light, but each time
leaves in wind revealed themselves,

the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak.
We expect you, cat and I, bluebirds and I, the stove.

In May we dreamed of wreaths burning on bonfires
over which young men and women leapt.

June efforts quietly.
I’ve planted vegetables along each garden wall

so even if spring continues to disappoint
we can say at least the lettuce loved the rain.

I have new gloves and a new hoe.
I practice eulogies. He was a hawk

with white feathered legs. She had the quiet ribs
of a salamander crossing the old pony post road.

Yours is the name the leaves chatter
at the edge of the unrabbited woods.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Home from home again and it was a gorgeous trip. M and me bushwacked a trail through the trail-less and inching along tree trunk, through pine and juniper, we thorn cross-hatched our flesh and bled our way to the clearing where an ice-cold stream stood between us and a better trail. We took off our shoes and crossed, our feet a screaming declaration of ALIVE, as they thawed and the feeling was sheer elation. We took our empty water bottles and filled them with the purest clarity and drank. It was heaven. Back in our wonderland of a country-house, the fireflies are like a lite-brite board. I have never seen so many and the feeling is like the old opening of Disney movies--all that Tinkerbell wand-debris and firework. It's been hard to get back here, to the blog that kept company at my loneliest. Now there are foxes,chipmunks,squirrels, goldfinches, bluejays, frogs, rabbits, groundhogs, deer, skunks and two cats in the window to keep me company and busy. But I miss writing here and sharing the latest lovelies.

One Heart
Li-Young Lee

Look at the birds. Even flying
is born

out of nothing. The first sky
is inside you, open

at either end of day.
The work of wings

was always freedom, fastening
one heart to every falling thing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Dear Someone
Deborah Landau

my emptiness has a lake in it deep and watery
with several temperaments milk cola beer

at night the selves are made of water
all the openings flooded streaming with rain

my emptiness has an aqueduct in it
selves rushing through channels

dissolving washing away in streaks

my emptiness has a fish in it
a piece of seaweed liferaft a rocky strait

all night the selves are breaking themselves
again and again on the sandbar

you can’t get out from the drowning
nightwatery the blacksparkling pools

my emptiness has a nowhere reef an island
at night the immersion comes deep-running and sudden

the selves
it washes us under and sudden

More and more it's deliciousness I want but all the time there's less and less of it.

All Else Fails


Days, weeks, months,
why not use them for something?
I'm heading for a head on.
I'm revving up my so-called self.
I know my life is meaning
less. Strutting around
for awhile until poof.


Everything gets more and more absurd.
The office and deskchair, the skin on the neck
eye cream, love, the handholding and bungled
attempts, watching the clock all night 2 am, 4,
then daylight, sitting in my dress again
with cup and plate.
To work to work then back again
to bed, another night.


I read Pessoa and he confirms
my worst suspicions.
I read the entertaining novels
and they make me happy.
I sleep beside the river.
The river often sleeps when I'm awake.
Sky, water, I have not had enough of you.
Better be shoving off again and into the night.


More and more it's deliciousness I want
but all the time there's less and less of it.
What the hell do you think you are doing?
You should find something definite to subscribe to
so as not to keep drifting tossed aimless through the world like this.
At the party Stanley said for now factor in
gratitude, narrow the zone and see your life
which is what we call it as if it were a real thing.
I wear my street clothes. I accept the parameters.
Don't shout drink some wine at night
work is what is offered and sometimes love.
Another time there was ecstasy,
though many things went laughably wrong.


Those who don't feel are happy, says Pessoa.
Those who don't think.
The night has advanced. We figure in it so slightly.
Down the ice chute we go.
Say goodbye to your eyes in real time.
Get ready, get set. Say goodbye
to your synovial fluid. Your knees
will wear out in no time
won't hoist you nowhere.


And now our luck has changed.
There are a lot of hells in this room
but I put on my girlface
and we go to a café we have dinner
we creep into the night and hide
such a slight place we find
we can duck into it and not worry
it isn't yesterday or tomorrow
it is only for a time.
We plan to meet again later but.


He keeps me waiting
and I start hysteria a little bit.
I start hysteria against everyone's advice.
I go into the street to drink air.
I've never been so thirsty in my life.
Another mouth, some fresh minted lips.
See, I can feel blue on half a bottle of jewels.
Sleep then wake then this then that day
and another night back on the bed
lying in an eros dumb and slackjawed.
The sound of hustling advances and retreats
as if someone were shuffling money
or unbuttoning a blouse.
Can you put that taffeta away now, please?
Please put it away.


As soon as he sits down I can tell I want to.
How long can I sit here not doing the thing
I want to do. All the youngish men all the etceteras
of desire etcetera.
There's a little hole in my boot.
Could you put your finger in it.
There is power in breathing.
There is power in a silent beat
before answering a question, in a leaning in.
But puts down her foot
every time (monogamy) you mustn't be
strident cheri stop that.
Across the table his mind right there
behind his talking face.


We are in a dirty place now when we get together.
We made a nasty city and have to walk in it.
Before we were wider wilder avenues but we made it too cramped and ugly.
Nowhere to go to tea. Only gin here, damn it this cramped and narrow
space and no god at any gate and no goodness.


Now our bed is not ample not fair. Now
we don't have a bed
only this corner blackred and backlit.
Something of me is a blind point, something of him too.
There's a little edge of pain here and we walk along it.
Don't cry don't kiss me either and also don't stop.
That's the way he looks when he wants to watch.
Why don't you go swoon yourself again into some fantastic
mood music. I am a small cup with a twist and you are liquid. A drink.
Another drink.


I'd rather watch you doing it than do it myself,
I'd rather hear about it, I want to be told,
I'd rather read about it, I'd rather just sit here.
Hold the mask over my face
while you do it to me.
I'll put on some music.
Now see how we grow aglow
so young and beautiful
all our capillaries lit up.

Deborah Landau is the author of Orchidelirium, which won the Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and The Last Usable Hour (forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press). Her poems have appeared recently in The Paris Review, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, The Best American Erotic Poems, and elsewhere. She directs the creative writing program at NYU.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear diary, I'm afraid I'm gravely ill. It is perhaps times like these that one reflects on things past. An article of clothing from when I was young. A green jacket. I walk with my father. A game we once played. Pretend we're faeries. I'm a girl faerie. My name is Laura Lee. And you're a boy faerie. Your name is Tita Lee. Pretend, when we're faeries we fight each other, and I say "Stop hitting me I'll die!" And you hit me again and I say, "Now I have to die." And then you say, "But I'll miss you." And I say, "But I have to. And you'll have to wait a million years to see me again. And I'll be put in a box, and all I'll need is a tiny glass of water and lots of tiny pieces of pizza and the box will have wings like an airplane." And you'll ask, "Where will it take you?" "Home." I say.

Olive from Synechdoche, NY
"Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but it doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is I feel so angry, and the truth is I feel so fucking sad, and the truth is I've felt so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long I've been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own. Well, fuck everybody. Amen." Minister from Synechdoche, NY

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lullaby for the Last Night on Earth

When at last we whisper, so long, so lonesome,

and watch our house on the horizon

go down like a gasping zeppelin of bricks,

we’ll turn, holding hands,

and walk the train tracks to the sea . . .

So sing me that song where a mountain falls

in love with an octopus, and one thousand fireflies

ricochet around their heads,

and I’ll dream we’re dancing in the kitchen one last time,

swaying, the window a waystation

of flaming leaves, the dogs shimmying

about our legs,

dragging their golden capes of rain . . .

O my critter, my thistle, gal-o-my-dreams,

lift your voice like an oar into the darkness,

for all the sad birds are falling down—

Nothing in this night is ours.

Brian Barker

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The First of Friday

Fifteen minutes into Friday and I felt the need to update. In truth, I can't sleep for worrying a little over two someones dear to me, with some serious medical challenges.
I don't know really what to say here, but I rose from bed, needing the company of some imaginary company, the screen, these words anting across the white mock paper before me. I have thought today about centipedes or millipedes and called them the false eyelashes of evil, but perhaps they're not. The fluffy ones are said to keep other insects at bay. I have thought today about three ghost airports, cream of tartar, and mostly about a woman made of fire flung from a convertible and her next words all shattered and scattered on April's cruel highway. I've been thinking that there isn't enough poetry in this month of poetry for me.

An Old Man Performs Alchemy
on His Doorstep at Christmastime

Cream of Tartar, commonly used to lift meringue and
angel food cake, is actually made from crystallized fine wine.

After they stopped singing for him,
the carolers became transparent in the dark,
and he stepped into their emptiness to say
he lost his wife last week, please
sing again. Their voices filled with gold.
Last week, his fedora nodded hello to me
on the sidewalk, and the fragile breath
of kindness that passed between us
made something sweet of a morning
that had frightened me for no earthly reason.
Surely, you know this by another name:
the mysteries we intake, exhale, could be
sitting on our shelves, left on the bus seat
beside us. Don't wash your hands.
You fingered them at the supermarket,
gave them to the cashier; intoxicated tonight,
she'll sing in the streets. Think of the old man.
Who knew he kept the secret of levitation,
transference, and lightness filling a winter night?
—an effortless, crystalline powder
that could almost seem transfigured from loss.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Times New Viking - No Room to Live from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Weeping Cherry abloom, seven bright yellow forsythias, white daffodils, some yellow, the vinca and creeping myrtle, Spring and Spring and Spring. And a wee bit of Fall:

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Another boring post about my happiness

But forgive me, this kind of boredom suits me. A Pandora station built around Hallelujah, that played yes, Regina Spektor, whom I love like I love Anne Sexton and I love that I am that which can love that. (Have had to fight the merit of both, believe it or not.)

Spent the day getting the sunroom ready for long summer evenings with the fireplace, the swimming pool and the hot tub M is getting all set up for lots of steamy nights under stars. It's sheer bliss. Everything is asparkle and I waited so long for it that I am silly with gratitude. I am lighting one candle for the good eyes of my dear friend and one for the ability to remember how lucky I am when stupid things like sleeplessness or my dumb terrors make me forget. Sunset is to my right and Wonderful World just passed through my radio station and I am thinking of New York and the trip back home and how much there is to fly to and how much to return to. To anyone reading, I wish us all the softest blanket of summer skies.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Apriling into May

then June and Evan's baptism. The parents adored M--how otherwise? It was a wonderful visit and seeing Kate's work at the gallery made it moreso.

I am in a poetic state of mind in so many ways and I am thinking too, about how well it all works out. I mean the course of things and the way I used to every-so-often post something to the effects of a gratitude for the people in my life, those that stayed and those who've left, each giving me a major gift is doing so. I have a treasure chest of friends and family, rarely is the moment that I don't see them and think how stupidly-fortunate I am for what I do, who I love and what I attract to me. I am terribly grateful for my good taste and the suspect taste of those around me. :-) And I am proud of my peeps. One of my favorite poets ever, really I could get more superlative but I will spare her, is a serious finalist for a serious dream press for a collection of her poems. Should she win, I am flying north fast and we are celebrating! But she was won already, it is a tough contest and she is in the final round with her first book and who knows whic books by which famous writers are with hers. Only that it doesn't matter. She has won and I have won by getting to read her poems all these years and to say: celebrate this, celebrate now, celebrate everything! To Veace, I raise the first glass of our upcoming bubbly-fest!

There is much to be bubbly about these days. Things just took a serious right turn and I am feeling very good about the choices of the last few years.

At the Mall

It’s a long time now since the cedar tree
That you and Martha Spicer inscribed
With your twined initials was reduced to shingles
For a house later torn down to make way
For the Northtown Mall, the very mall
You walk now on rainy mornings.
In a few more weeks of the exercise program
Prescribed by your doctor, you should feel the strength
Lost with your triple-bypass finally returning.
Then you’ll confront the years still left you
With the zeal they merit, or the fortitude.
Be sure you’re in line when the mall doors open,
Before the aisles fill with serious shoppers
Intent on finding items more sturdy
Than their bodies are proving to be.
Could Martha Spicer be among them?
What you felt for each other back then
Didn’t survive the separation of college,
Though now it seems careless of you
Not to have kept in touch. Maybe you’ve passed her
Unrecognized as she’s looked for gifts
To make her grandchildren curious
About the world they live in, a book, say,
Devoted to local trees. On the cover
A cedar stands resplendent, the very kind
She carved her initials in long ago
With a boy whose name may be resting now
On the tip of her tongue. Try to imagine her
Hoping he hasn’t wasted his time on wishes
That proved impractical, like her hill house
Bought for its vista that proved in winter
Inaccessible to a snowplow. If he made that mistake,
Let him move back to town as she did
And focus like her on keeping her windows open
So a fragrance blown from afar can enter easily.
“Come in, come in,” that’s what you’ll want to say;
“I’ve waited for you all day, and here you are.”

Carl Dennis

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fireside at Dusk

A lovely day with the folks, a little campfire in the yard and a day spent making cioppino and a new vegetable bed dug by mine own Daddy! We have this beautiful tricycle planter and my parents were so excited by our new place and all of the work we've done on it since the first of the year (and my amazing new furniture) that they are thinking of their own Ohio dwelling nearby. (They want to be some kind of Florida snowbird but where their northerly flights will go is still being negotiated.) Tonight the same Daddy and I had late-night Greek tea for the pre-sickies of M and himself. (Peppercorns, cloves, my swanky new cinnamon and sticks and more things plus the Cretan honey that tastes like something the best kind of wild.

Last night we ventured down to High Street for Gallery Hop and the amazing Kate's show at Roy G. Biv. The pre-springy skies are loaded with stars and shininess abounds. I am annoyingly elated.

Horses Running Fast

We married in an open field a wide
And open field a field of wild and run- / ning
horses wide a field of horses run- / ning through
we married in an open wide
Running and full of horses open
field / And in we married in and in we mar- / ried in in
one direction they the hors- / es they
disguised the wind as horses in the wind/The horses running
fast in one / Direction
as the horses running through / The horses as the horses run- / ning through
and each of us as me and you / As horses running fast
In one direction and
no animal outruns its past

Shane McCrae

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yardwork and Peaceful, Ease

Soon to plant the bleeding heart: a throwback to my childhood and Evanston, Wyoming where it was the one constant flower to bloom each year. We lived on the industrial side of town, owned a motel, bar, liquor store and cafe. Our front yard was a big old wagon that sat under a crab apple tree. Needless to say, there was not much gardening in our lives, but there was the Bear River running through a kind of back yard that had too, the remnants of an old drive-in and the ticketbox that I made into my playhouse and there was in front of our "lobby" home, a crab apple and in our side year: the bleeding heart. I loved it for its crazy shape and of course, its name. Of course my first home had to have one too and so it will, very soon. I also found some white Peruvian daffodils--very spidery and curly in their petals. I can't wait to see them in bloom.

Tonight we refinish the bathtub, hang our gorgeous new shower curtain (hummingbirds, Queen Anne's Lace, dandelions!) and tomorrow we paint it in that tin-dreamy shade of jade and mint that I found in this new line of paints.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chocolate Almond-Chrysanthemum Cake

with mocha filling and chocolate-almond filling and deep Hershey's cocoa. A tray full of pansies: saffron and purple, peach and deep plum, bright sunny yellow and icy lilac, the yellow finches, the bluebirds, the colors as seen through some embroidered sheers and a big plan for a big celebration. Things are excellent and soon the parents arrive! I cannot wait.

Now off to buy white violets and back to Spring Break--but not before I pass out some pretty.

The Listening of Plants

On the buffet where she kept her celadon dishes,
Mother placed a vase of pussy willows
hurried out of their branches.

The buds were cat toes walking up a mottled branch,
miniature koalas hanging on their eucalyptus
in a scattered line.

I snapped one off the twig and rolled the bud
on the flats of my thumb and finger,
its smoky gray coat how I imagined koala fur might feel.

I rubbed the willow bud along the bone of my jaw
wanting to know how a plant can wear animal skin.
It was too small, like touching nothing.

I splayed my hand along its curves,
felt the hairs rise in the divot of my palm,
I would have needed a sweater of willow to be satisfied.

Instead I slipped it into my ear. How did I know
a pussy willow was the right shape for the foyer of my ear,
long hall leading to the eardrum and the bones behind?

The bud rested there and I listened,
wanting to hear what it had to say
which was quiet, which was the muted listening of plants.

When I asked Mother to extract a pussy willow
from my ear, I couldn't explain its presence
how I listened and heard its secret.

Copyright © 2011 Laura Shovan All rights reserved
from Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone
CityLit Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Such a Morning

with coffee and peanut butter toast and 800 mg. of ibuprophen, what a breakfast.
So much going on, so, so much. Soon my parents visit (huzzah to the skies!) M & I are scrambling to balance some serious plans, including travel and well, other, and prepping the guest room, the sun room and deck,hanging curtains (you just wait!) with painting (there is a disturbing firework chrysanthemum of velvet red on the bathroom wall where I wanted to get a sense of the color and then just stopped.) I have now the most wonderful kitchen bench--beyond my wishes for it--gorgeous wood, a carving at the back and a storage bench underneath! All those wonderful aprons and kitchen extra sillinesses will have a home. I attempted to re-embargo my book (Teatime) with UC and found that I have little time to publish it and only one additional year of embargo available. This means editing poems and the book as a whole. I meant to attend Colerain for that, but the one and only Stevarino will be in town that very same weekend. Worth it.

And April awaits with all of its poetic responsibility. Chicky and I are writing food poems and I am trying to set students up to do the balloon launch and guerella poetry events all month. I would like the campus abloom with verse, if not all of Columbus. Anyway, lots of travel and well, interesting events up ahead. I am busy, a little freaked-out but generally so happy.

Found the site to register by hot pink bus found back in the days of Victorian Village. It is very much my kind of project and I feel happy again to have found that little playing card sized block of fucshia and bus-yellow wood.

I have excised a lot of overvigilance from my life and this finding of this hidden-thing and the artful and civic connections it brings, remind me that some sorts of watching-closely are still good.

Instructions for Vigilant Girls

Be the sleeping sister who sees no one.
Stay stuck in. Later, hand over

a list of suspects: the handyman,
the bachelor neighbor, the uncle

who was never really your uncle.
When there are conversations,

take notes in your secret diary:
She said she saw him look at things.

Wear the key in your hair. No one
will search there. Speak on behalf

of the soon-to-be-missing, but if they play
in the woods near your home, do not

trail them to an encounter with the man
in the conversion van who gently insists

you hunt for his puppy and means you
no harm through his pleated pockets filled

with stars and balloons, real pieces
of the moon. Resist. Try not to lick anything.

Bring your gum eraser and be invisible
as a grackle to the well-trained watcher

who follows your movements
but never reports them until

you are found veiled in a strip mall basement,
throat unfurling with threats and questions.

Erika Meitner

Monday, March 14, 2011

by Jorie Graham

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water's downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers) a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
motion that forces change--
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Blah Skies

I've no real right to feel weary, the day has been gorgeous but I do. Someone rather close to me was attacked yesterday and is struggling and I feel a sense of her pain and violation and I feel helpless.

M and I have been very cabin-fever-grouchy and that hasn't helped the painting or hanging of drapes or feeling good about all that is so good around us.

So I bring you loveliness in the shape of Nickole Brown and her poem that I just re-read and newly-adored:

" How to Become a Dyke, Step Three, Birds"

A book of birds. A story in birds. Each breath
a bird, each dream slipped from your ear
to your pillow out the window a song:
cardinals laughing at you—birdie birdie birdie—
on a lonely Valentines, then robins swarming
the last bits of red another February day,
so many of them on the holly tree the branches
tick with their picking and you stop
the car. But you are so cold, you have to get to the store,
and in the florescent buzz of the freezer aisle, you swear
you hear a flock of larks is called an exaltation,
but think no, that’s too pretty, that can’t be
right. Buy your frozen pizza and peas and try to
remember warmer days:
the surf shop with the parrot, big and green with a beak
full of fingers, your hair a dread of salt and seaweed
so you would run home to your grandmother’s
to wash the sand from your scalp. In the shower,
on the sill of the window made to crank tightly closed
to hurricanes, that porcelain bluebird—
all those years, she swore she’d die and come back
red-breasted, blue-winged, and singing,
but when the time came, it was only morphine
talking: white beasts stalking the hospital room,
with wings long as a Cadillac and tail feathers flowing like new
curtains, she said, and faces, they’ve got faces bright and sharp as a fox.
There is nothing you can do. The reincarnation you used to believe in
is a drag queen named Phoenix on Saturday nights at the bar
where a girl leans in to you with both thumbs cowboy hooked
to the pockets of her jeans, nothing more.
When she asks for your number, you make for the door.
There is nothing you can do and so you travel
to Brooklyn where birds sing louder, competing
against sirens and cabs and ice cream trucks.
Try to find a woman there who makes you forget
the woman before who took you to a red barn
to see a pony, the barn swallows
knifing the air between rafters. You will leave her,
you always leave, your heart a young hummingbird
who has learned that hummingbirds do not land
when they suckle the flower—only fledglings
claw the red plastic feeder. Say, I just can’t,
say it, then leave, say it,
then make your way to the headstone
of your grandmother. Her ashes are not
there, but her name is, and because you still believe
in some words, it is enough. You are there to seek
permission. Cool your face against the granite and ask
is what I have become okay?
After, feed the cemetery swans dandelion greens
and think their beauty is not unlike the hissing
swan of Lake Bled, the tidal swan of Galway,
all water the same drowning, no matter how far you go.
When you have the courage, take another woman
to your bed but wake on the porch
to a cathedral of sunrise singing, the boards splintered
hard to your back. Walk with her
to the park where a yellow bird follows alongside
in a sine cosine rollercoaster of flight.
Argue with her—it’s not possible, a canary
in Kentucky, but think why not?
What’s lovely in this world is no more impossible than what’s not—
when you were married to a man, three sparrows trapped themselves
in that porch light and cooked against the glass; later that first summer
as a wife, a mother jay—again, say it—trapped
in the garden pond, your face reflected in that fishshit water
dashed bright with blue feathers and golden coy.
You never did grow old enough with him
for the pink plastic flamingos to decorate the front yard,
never did see that hokey sign—Lordie, Lordie,
look who’s forty!—and it makes you cry like a peacock and shred
your flesh in strips to the black tower beaks—Take it, dear raven. Take it,
clacking black crow. When there is no meat left, throw
strands of hair and bits of cheap bread to a fast-food sparrow,
eat for years on the bland sorrow of grease and plastic and frustrated men
until you travel to a lilac-eyed cockatoo
that beats her head against your collarbone
to rush up a serving of hot fruit and seed, a vomit offering
meant for another with a beak to guzzle it
back down. You say, I’m sorry, but I think your bird
is sick, but the woman who owns her
simply cleans off your shirt, puts her pet softly back
in the cage. Nah, honey, that’s her way of saying
she loves you, she says. Can’t you tell love from sickness?
Go further north—there you’ll find a five-note song from one side
of the mountain, calling lonely for days before another finally answers.
You’ll never see that bird and never learn its name,
but it does not matter. When you hear it, a woman
will be waiting. Pack your things and come back home

Monday, February 28, 2011

Siberian Real Lives

If not for having played one video game all the way through and finding that game to be nothing shy of sheer art, I could now issue a blanket statement regarding video games and how I believe they put people's lives in a deep freeze, but not one that preserves them fresh and whole, but one that makes for conditions unlivable for flesh and blood.

Upon first moving to Ohio, I dated someone briefly who was addicted to that other world--Any. Other. World. He was in despair about his life and acheivements but couldn't stand to be in his life--the one outside the computer--long enough to make any changes. The relationship would not have been a holding one for so many reasons, but to watch how he submerged himself in anywhere else, was painful to see and it was honestly beyond me: a huge fan of day-to-dayness: the varying skies, anticipating breakfast, good music, perfume, watching the neon streak of a bluebird as it crossed the dead winter yard.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Torrentially or "what spills blood spills spirit" indeed

A great weekend birthdaying my BFF and enjoying a beautiful dinner in Kentucky. Tonight it's all indoors and thunderstorms and tomorrow, alas, a faculty meeting.

The second collection is nowhere near ready to go out tomorrow so I wish I had been better about setting aside some editing time. I have been teaching the WWI crowd in Poetry of Witness & Survival and from that, I bring you this excellent bit on Wilfred Owen:

Friday, February 25, 2011

“Every good love story has another love hiding within it.”


Waiting for the snowplow to drive by so that I can get my nephew's recorded book in the mail. I miss him terribly these days. I am long overdue for a visit.

In other news: I put buttermilk in my coffee this morning. Distraction, you evil cohort. I am about to finish filling out my faculty enrichment grant and with luck, I will have contest entry fees and postage enough for the season.

I am still high on the Arctic Zero. Coffee is their best flavor, though Vanilla Maple with kosher salt or luscious Trader Joe's raisin medley and rum extract makes for a fine faux Haagen Das Rum Raisin.

I am driving us all crazy with the color swatches. The living room is not going to be apricot and the kitchen moves from a color called soft drizzle to a creamy honeydew mix. I never thought I could drive myself crazy with the range between Fresque and Pure Periwinkle or that now, evil Martha Stewart has a color called tin that is the softest buff aluminum you ever saw. See? Madness! Here is a taste of Rainwater: Martha Stewart rainwater

Here is a cool vintage kitchen in many of the colors that I have to work with in mine. And here is room in a shade of blue that I adore and that M just cannot like. These are our challenges: color and food incompatabilities. There are worse things.

But I got a great new set of photos from a student at my school and upon posting one at facebook, I feel like I am right to think that it would make a great author photo. Too bad the new books aren't making the rounds or getting much love when they do. I forgot how much patience the process requires. Still, it must be done. I think of Julianna Baggott's output, she with her academic job, her successful marriage, her nom de plumes, her four kids, her so-much life squeezed into this one lifetime, and I am ashamed.

Speaking of: I cannot wait to get my hands on Bridget Asher's Provence Cure for the Broken-Hearted. The one quote from it has been really resonant lately with the new life, home and the way that I am so happy about my big old Bear's life too and that his daughter and his girls all are more love and happiness in my life, too. And M: well, some days M just stands for miracle or madness and most days it is both.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Information Paradox, Event Horizons

and the smear of the self on the lip of a black hole. Or universes like sneeches in a Seuss book but instead of stars on their bellies, there would be universes with black holes and some that have not. Just watched a special on Stephen Hawking and felt like my own brain is the size of one particle of finely-ground glitter comparatively. My old friend and momentary roommate used to try and explain Hawking's theories to me and the beauty and elegance of some equations. Those talks captured my imagination and I would rush out to write poems that made some pretty facile connection between science/math and some emotional or aesthetic calculus. In retro., the ideas were naive, but I enjoyed how my mind went all teakettle-whistle when I thought I found common ground between the theoretical, intricate space of ideas I understood barely and could prove less and the playground of invention that writing could be for me. It was fun to think that way and I was like a little kid tugging at my friend's sleeve and asking about this concept or that, string theory, Schrodenger's cat.
Anyway, after that spring day--wasn't it just two days ago? tonight finds my world all whitewashed and my commute an ice capade of cars. It feels unreal enough for me to release the thought-tangle of ruminating about S.H. and the nostalgia of recalling how I used to work everything that caught my ear or eye into my writing. For now, this too-often-insomniac is going to wish for the pull of the black hole of slumber.

Shovel of Rain

Another rain-drenched day, soaked through to its bones with drizzle. Outside a tipped shovelful of rainwater. Inside, a strawberry-shaped timer goes off and four brown hard-boiled eggs, crisp in their starched-jackets are rinsed cold, then placed in the Hall refrigerator box that I got in a set of three perwinklewhiteperwinkle from my Mom for this past Christmas.

This morning's coffee is not chocolate velvet, nor even chocolate silk.

The rain comes down in such a way is to make cursive signature scrawls on the puddles outside.

Pink Lady apples taste like watermelon.

I am loathe to leave a bed which contains the sound of rain, two cats, and the cozy good sheets the color of late-dusk.

The twilight chimes paint will be too purplish for the sunroom and maybe just right for the bathroom. The sunroom, in good Southern tradition, should be a Carolina blue. The bird on the bedroom deck was not a male or female nuthatch but my first Carolina wren.

I saw my first cardinal in Carolina. I first drove to Alabama with a boy from Carolina. Then I met a boy from Virginia who I nearly married.

I will not forget the winter cemetery nor the four deer running on the last of the iced-reservoir.

Not watermelon exactly, but inexactly, like the flavor manufactured at the flavor factory off I-75 in Cincinnati, just before the St.Bernard/Mitchell Avenue exit.

The St.Bernard soap factory is the most gorgeous thing.

My best friend lives off that exit and our favorite gone-place was called Chili Company but we always referred to it as Chili Time.

I have always loved the look of the Bicycle Playing Cards Water Tower.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

As if Spring

Spent the day out in the yard yesterday, raking through all of the promising places of myrtle and what might be planned-vegetation of some sort. The work felt good and imagining what I might plant where, even better. My daddy says that he will be out to help build the grape arbor and start the forever-process of growing the vines to fill it in. Today is all sleet and cold rain again, but that little moment of respite, that little porthole into Spring was a great reminder.

M's parents' anniversary is this week: FIFTY-NINE YEARS! They have such a kindly and strong bond and it is inspiring to see. I sent M-solo to celebrate as I don't like to do overnights at their house until I am officially fianceed-up and in honor of their celebration, I made a double-tiered anniversary cake. The initial plan was to use genuine Italian meringue icing but, I started late and as I was also using fondant and planning to stack the two layers of red velvet cake with a layer of chocolate-cherry filling and then bake a smaller cake and stack it on top of those, and elaborately decorate the entire thing. In light of that, I thought that an icing that I have never made and that had a danger of failing, might be less wise than an icing I know well that would leave me time for any unforeseen mishaps or extras. I must say that the final result: white fluffy, whipped icing with white fondant stripping around the bottom and a white heart and white roses for decoration (which, despite my sorely-lacking art skills, looked to any-eye, like roses and hearts)did my girly-girl heart good. If we have not spoken of my strange attraction to domesticity, one that kicked in after I got my degree, than post after post about food and decorating and entertaining should clue you in. What you don't see is how I stare at the china cabinet where I have now, a complete set of the very china I chose to be my wedding pattern when I was only fifteen. (But as there was no wedding then and has not yet been, I caved and registry-be-hung, bought my own.) Inside that same cabinet, is the better part of another set by Vernon, the dreamiest twilight and lilacy-smoky-mauve, plus a dash of ivory and butter and mint. In fact, the set looks like a very gourmet box of buttermints.

Friday began the good weekend with two former students driving all the way out to my pretty little home and taking photographs of me for one of their senior thesis shows. They brought the most delicious Greek food along and I made my feta theologos and cut up some gourmet peppers and tomatoes and we dined. The photographs were sent to me this morning, and for those of you who have seen how unphotogenic I can be, you will understand my shock when I say that the pics were wonderful and that it hurt their beauty for me not one bit, that the background of the one the student chose for her exhibit shows my kitchen table (have I waxed rhapsodic on it yet?) and yes, the china cabinet with its shelves of white on white roses, blue in their shadings and the aforementioned buttermint-ware.

The weekend has been a subtle bag of goodies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Off my running-mix, I bring you the beloved (and also poetically-charged) Mr. Berman & bright co.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Unspeakable Sweetness

of some days. Spent the day hearing love stories. Worked at school with K and D at a Poetry on Demand booth. We asked for a name, some pet names, inside joke, a symbol, a color, a memory, a pet, a shared-thing or whatever we could be told to write a poem from one person who loved another. We had a husband/father/grandfather/great grandfather buy a poem for each of his four ladies and a cool faculty member tell of meeting his dancer wife when he was fifty, she: six months along and he fell in helpless, life-changing love. Now they have two kids and a life full of color and motion and he seems happy every time I see him. She is "the dream of my life" he said, "the mother of my children" and D and me, romantics from way back, we just beamed and began cutting out hearts (she) and writing the zillionth custom poem of the day (me). One lovely young woman who ordered a poem up last year for the same beloved who, having lived overseas much of this year, is finally coming home. She had sent him her grandmother's china teacups from the set that he wanted to drink from and know that it would be reunited with the set in the home they would soon share. It cheers a girl to think of all that love and the fun of writing a poem for lovers new and old and children (two little girls named Mila and Nina, the daughter of a new interesting friend). Nonetheless, this girl is as wiped-out as her own beloved who is still himself, ailing from the a cold. The reservations for the much-anticipated Cinco de Mayo (camerones diablo!) will have to be cancelled but there is something dear about a night indoors, bundled up and needing nothing by way of love.

Selections from Borrowed Love Poems


What can I do, if a red meteor wakes the earth
and the color of robbery is in the air

Now that I dream of you so much
my lips are like clouds

drifting above the shadow of one who is asleep
Now that the moon is enthralled with a wall

What can I do, if one of us is lying on the earth
and the other is lost in the sky


To some, the winter sky is a blue peach
teeming with worms

and the clouds are growing thick
with sour milk

What can I do, now that the fat black sea
is seething

now that I have refused to return
my borrowed dust to the butterflies

their wings full of yellow flour


What can I do, I never believed happiness
could be premeditated

What can I do, having argued with the obedient world
that language will infiltrate its walls

What can I do, now that I have sent you
a necklace of dead dried bees

and now that I want to
be like the necklace

and turn flowers into red candles
pouring from the sun


What can I do, now that I have spent my life
studying the physics of good-bye

every velocity and particle in all the waves
undulating through the relapse of a moment's fission

now that I must surrender this violin
to the sea's foaming black tongue

now that January is almost here
and I have started celebrating a completely different life

John Yau
(reprinted from Boston Review)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Leviathan & Lonely

Sunshine on today's snow and a walk is in the works for I need to work on my wintered-up leviathan proportions and my cabin fever. I keep looking at Pratt & Lambert's Velvet Red for the downstair's bathroom and the intense Va Va Voom for the laundry room. For lunch, I had the final half of my Arctic Zero Vanilla Maple and with a shake of kosher salt, disgruntled reviewers be damned, it makes a fine ice cream substitute.

I can almost taste Spring on the way, or maybe I want it so (hot tub! swimming pool! rooftop reading! firepit dinners! and a Disney cast of birds, deer, flora and fauna here now and thawed into view.) Plus, I miss summer-arms and little vintage dresses with the boots I never put away but sometimes choose sandals over. And music festivals--a new thing I do and can't get enough of.

Josh Ritter will be at Southgate this week and I am working on talking M into. (M is the reason for today's song post as he began to tell me about a dream he had last night and immediately the song below began playing in my head.) M began singing John Prine's song but for me, Josh Ritter's song will always follow "I had a dream last night..." But because I do love JP so, too and saw him not long ago in concert, I will post two of my Prine favorites.

Hit post too soon and wanted to mention how here at 37 degrees, we are actually thinking that a walk in this warm weather would be nice. The plan for tonight is to watch The Graduate, which, embarassing confession: I have never before seen. There are others. Such as: for Thanksgiving this year, my good friend C, wanted to come to the house as it had the look of a house that was a big gathering place "like in The Big Chill". Confession: I have never seen The Big Chill. Or had not until M decided to remedy that.

There are more, despite the fact that I worked in a video store and hung out all night with my then-roomate and watched dark, psychological drama after d. p. d. or foreign films (which were not necessarily not dpds). Somehow I missed huge swaths of classics so that the other night when TCM played An American in Paris, I was riveted. I must walk out into this afternoon before it further darkens. Adieu.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Keeping One's Sense of Humor

Up at six this morning, prepping for class and opting out of my first lit. class as the Minute Clinic nurse wanted me to stay home for two days and rest this virus away. Since my job is not exactly strenuous, I decided I could not, in good conscience, miss two days of school or life. But my first lit. class requires some lecturing and the pattern has been to go in, do that, and then head to fiction workshop where I think by then I have fully awakened the cough. Anyway, and onward, I went to workshop and found that an entire group had NOT prepared their stories for today and that of those being workshopped, as one student put it after class, it seemed as if one story was written the morning of class: no proofreading whatsoever.

She wondered how one could bear to teach on days when it seemed that the teacher was the only one to care about writing in the room. Most days, it is easy to love what i do, to really adore the way these people I am fortunate enough to have in my classroom think. But some days are harder.

I try then to maintain my sense of humor.
my engine is the only noise I herd
causes me to say: I like this, it brings to mind horsepower, though I think you mean "heard."

Or when I get excuses so incredibly elaborate as to make Tolstoy and every Spanish soap opera writer break into open weeping no greater tragedy have ever they encountered. My all-time favorite, the one that I ask that any student choosing to "author a fiction" to tell me about his/her absence must outdo goes something like this: "I am sorry I missed class, my roomate's father died over the weekend and I was up all night preparing the funeral feast.
Teacher: The funeral feast?
Student: (earnestly and without breaking stride)Yes, and then I was so tired that I partook of the feast and forgot that I had used pepper in preparing it and that I am allergic to pepper...

Dude, you had me at partook!
I love it, because it would have been enough to console a grieving friend but just in case, one must apply the more is more rule and go on to add ingredients such as sleep deprivation and allergies, all under the larger awning of self-sacrifice, martyrdom and compassion. Who would fail compassion? Only a monster. The best part about it is that I quoted my dear student and years later he returned to my classes and we had a great laugh about it. I never felt resentful about the story, because I have such a love for them overall that their well-meaning but sometimes lame moments remind me that they are even then, creative and indescribably innocent in their larceny. Most days.

But there are those double-u tee eff days when I wonder what must make someone not bother to do a story for fiction workshop? Under what hopeful star slept they the night before they showed up to face a tired, sick women who drove forty-plus miles to be denied the stories for the next class workshop. And I wish then for that old wonderful Thomas Wayman poem:

Did I Miss Anything?

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything, I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
but it was one place

And you weren’t here

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Singing the Praises

of Minute Clinic, of all things,and CVS Pharmacy for having such a thing.
I am all medded-up and bedded-down and ready to call this night a night.

Because I love anything begun with an accordion and if any instrument is a kind of lung, I believe it's a likely candidate, I will offer both music and verse to shut down this Tuesday prettily.


Don't be ashamed that your parents
Didn't happen to meet at an art exhibit
Or at a protest against a foreign policy
Based on fear of negotiation,
But in an aisle of a discount drugstore,
Near the antihistamine section,
Seeking relief from the common cold.
You ought to be proud that even there,
Amid coughs and sneezes,
They were able to peer beneath
The veil of pointless happenstance.
Here is someone, each thought,
Able to laugh at the indignities
That flesh is heir to. Here
Is a person one might care about.
Not love at first sight, but the will
To be ready to endorse the feeling
Should it arise. Had they waited
For settings more promising,
You wouldn't be here,
Wishing things were different.
Why not delight at how young they were
When they made the most of their chances,
How young still, a little later,
When they bought a double plot
At the cemetery. Look at you,
Twice as old now as they were
When they made arrangements,
And still you're thinking of moving on,
Of finding a town with a climate
Friendlier to your many talents.
Don't be ashamed of the homely thought
That whatever you might do elsewhere,
In the time remaining, you might do here
If you can resolve, at last, to pay attention.

"Drugstore" by Carl Dennis, from Callings. © Penguin Poets, 2010

"There are ghosts out in the rain tonight..."

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Ys and What-nots of Bacteria

or "why my trip to the gym to shake the cough out of me was not the notion of geniuses."

So back in the early days of me and M (early 2010) I got my annual flu-thing (and no, I do not believe in flu shots in any case) and because I imagine myself a sturdy specimen and believe that sheer stubborness can evict any illness or must, I decided after days of coughing, congestion and bedrest, that I would accept the lovely M's invitation for a winter hike. Of course, the friends of Intaglio came unglued and protested. But they did not yet know M and I did not let him know how sick I was or how unhappy were my associates. The hike was gorgeous, a true winter wonderland of a day and we ended up in downtown Yellow Springs in small bookstores and coffee shops and I knew I had found a good idea and was instantly on the mend. I spent time out in the freezing cold and came back feeling as if recovery was finally reaching me.
I was "well" in a day.

This gothic, grotesque, illness requires too much thoughts about that hideous word: phlegm and the colors of such a thing. Polite people say such crude things to me as "mucinex" and I am transported to cartoon boogers on seventies La-Z Boys and I am thinking about fedoras on snot-men and I am tired of all of this repulsive goo-speak. But when the wise Gretchen M. wrote me and said that I would not ever be better without medical attention, I did some research and it turns out that if you are coughing up a little Christmas, you might have a bacterial infection, you might be a walking pneumonia in hot black boots, after all. And just because you have promised yourself a Valentines' red lipstick if you go to the gym at least three times before Saturday, you will not be spared lung damage from your refusal to go to a doctor.

Turns out, sheer will won't chase this ghoul away. Only antibiotics and unless one of my two readers know of a street-dealer in penicylin, I am destined to deal with the medical community, with great disappointment and soon.

I have found this wonderful new treat called Arctic Zero, a lowfat, low calorie icy dessert that comes in flavors like Vanilla Maple and Pumpkin Pie. It is a Whole Foods product, which means I sell a kidney to buy some but I am liking it enough to consider that fair enough.

Brown Lung
Sometimes I’d spend the whole night coughing up
what I’d been breathing in all day at work.
I’d sleep in a chair or take a good stiff drink,
anything to get a few hours rest.

The doctor called it asthma and suggested
I find a different line of work as if
a man who had no land or education
could find himself another way to live.

For that advice I paid a half-day’s wage.
Who said advice is cheap? It got so bad
each time I got a break at work I’d find
the closest window, try to catch a breath.

My foreman was a decent man who knew
I would not last much longer on that job.
He got me transferred out of the card room,
let me load the boxcars in the yard.

But even though I slept more I’d still wake
gasping for air at least one time a night,
and when I dreamed I dreamed of bumper crops
of Carolina cotton in my chest.
© 1998 Ron Rash. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


to be curled up on this couch, on this night, computer in lap, zima tomatoes in fridge and despite the cough that I thought I had conquered but which lingers and troubles all day and for a portion of the night. So far I have a pulled muscle in my upper back from trying to avoid the headache the comes from coughing and the burning lungs. But I have a plan to go to the gym tomorrow and to force myself to do a real run and see if I can shake this gross gathering of ickyness that has invaded the isthmus of lung reflected. And while I did watch the game, and have developed a late season fandom/fondness for Aaron Rodgers and so am happy for Green Bay's win and for Mr. R's MVP award, I can't claim enough attachment to football (now basketball...) to give this post its gratitude.

Lots of things are responsible, the first is a simple appreciation for my friends and for Spoon of NY who sent a ridiculously-generous housewarming gift and somewhere up ahead, I get to buy pails of vibrant paint and zero-in on what I think will be an apricot living room, a twilight chimes bathroom, a leaf green bedroom, and a kitchen that varies depending on how much we hate the cabinets on any given-week. But really I am thankful for friends that still care for me after so many years and so many different types of lives. Spoon in New York, Bear in Denver, my dear Liz, Kathrine and Karima regathered in my hometown. Between them, the better part of my life resides.

I am really loving Shawnee Hills, too and I logged on tonight determined to do a review of a place we just found and love, so bear with me as here goes:
Cinco de Mayo Mexican Grill is my new favorite find in Powell. It is run by this very cool family and Manny, the owner, makes a wonder of a margarita called appropriatly Manny's Margarita. It has a real high kick to it and doesn't forsake a fresh tart and salty flavor. And then the shrimp diablo dish was amazing. The best shrimp dish I have ever eaten, spicy but tangy and the shrimp were large and fresh.
The decor is comprised of these colorful, carved wooden chairs with intricate scenes that made the whole room look vibrant and happy. The staff was fun and friendly and the place was filled with regulars. I have told M that it is the only place I want to go out and eat around here although I have a real fondness for Iacono's and Shanghai Lily--all places that I would never have frequented if I had stayed in my old neighborhood. Spring means we get to investigate Delaware, Ohio, which is just a little up the road from where we are now. Adventures up ahead, good, interesting food in our little town, a hope that most of the worst storms are mostly behind us, all good things for this early February.

Marshmallow Creme Coffee & Black Gladiolas

Sunday morning and M is making my favorite Sunday breakfast: Soldiers, a dish I'd never heard of before M and one that will make me always think of soft-boiled eggs and sticks of toast as his dish alone. I use Frank's hot sauce with them and it is a breakfast that generally makes me happy.

My marshmallow creme coffee tastes neither like marshmallow nor creme, but it is acceptable, if only. The window to my right (a sliding glass door that leads out to a rooftop deck area,) makes for each season practically a part of my bedroom so I wake to what felt all winter-wonderland to me in December and by now, is going a little winter-weary. But Gladys is here and adores watching the birds that I have left food for, even the starlings are still a treat for her, while I feel a bit remorseful that they have found us and in their large numbers devour every kind of food I put out for the various customers of "Cafe Zozo."

A jay just absconded with a heel of Italian bread much larger than his head and I am content, if baffled as to how to get back to the kind of routine I had in Victorian Village with long walks to school and the gym and that supergirl feeling I had of being fit and strong. And writing, more writing has to happen. This morning's paper had an article with a woman who died and whose family could not afford a funeral. People banded together and someone made her a beautiful coffin of aged poplar and blue lining. People raised money for the expenses and while I still feel a bit stung and saddened at the Ted William's fiasco, I needed good news even if it came wrapped (like one of the mysteriously-dead rainbow trout and sunfish of Salon, Ohio) in the newsprint of abject poverty, of people so poor they cannot afford to retrieve their own dead, it illustrated good will and the days seem so lacking in it.
In other news, I am planning a trip out here for my mom soon and I need to get to Florida and see that wonderchild-nephew of mine. For some strange reason, I am loving sending random Valentine's treats out. For The Bear and his lady J, I am sending Trader Joe's dark chocolate almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar plus a beautiful cumin/caramel/toffee scarf with gold elephants embroidered on it. (Straight from Bangkok and from my bird-boy.) The Bear still feels pretty beat-up by Alex's death and while midnight-dark-chocolate almonds are no cure, they are certainly a Sartwellian-endorsed grief response.
For Penny Rose and Maya I found these necklaces made up of pennies and coral hearts. For the lovely Ms. Lyla Wren, I have sent a red tutu and heart leggings of a valentine's outfit and for Juniper, there are journals and gel pens. I love that all of these children are a part of my world if not my own than good for the borrowing as if anything isn't.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thursday, Chickadee, Warm Room, Nuthatch, Home Safe, Robin, Trees Spun of Glass

I am baking chicken for dinner and the house is filled with the golden smell of it. Outside the trees are strangled in glimmering glass and when the sun hits the branches there is a crystalline cursive to their cries for help. They've written to the sky and the sun lights a reply but the air is still freezing and the bath of hopeful glow is deceiving.

All the words to and from Tuscaloosa are slowing-down. I have taken the story to those who didn't know and heard enough to know that what I know is what most know. Alex was a riddle in certain ways and to love and respect him meant you let him, in some respect, remain that way. You didn't ask his age and you didn't probe about his health. There was a solitude to him and he could fill a room with friends and company and keep that solitude intact.

I am home for the week, for the weekend and planning a strategy for knocking out my story and trying to feel completely well again. To my right, sliding glass doors lead to a roof with the leftover whiteout of snow and on that winter's page, there is the sanskrit of bird feet as they visit and revisit the flat of peanuts, raisins, melamakorona that I have left for them. In one day they have made short work of the offering and thinking of them in the bitter cold, I am glad for what fat I can swaddle them in. For myself, I miss my summer arms, the tone of them and the way I was consistent in my attempts to keep strong and driven. M is so great about me, so accepting and so celebratory that it is easy to lie down and rest in all that regard. But I feel noodly, all wrong for the opening of the pool in May and dreaded swimwear it implies.

In the time that I've been writing this post, the cool breeze has danced feathers of ice over the melting roof-snow and what was liquid just moments ago is plumes of ice-panes and a reminder how deep runs this cold.

Ice Storm
For the hemlocks and broad-leafed evergreens
a beautiful and precarious state of being…
Here in the suburbs of New Haven
nature, unrestrained, lops the weaker limbs
of shrubs and trees with a sense of aesthetics
that is practical and sinister…

I am a guest in this house.
On the bedside table Good Housekeeping, and
A Nietzsche Reader… The others are still asleep.
The most painful longing comes over me.
A longing not of the body…

It could be for beauty—
I mean what Keats was panting after,
for which I love and honor him;
it could be for the promises of God;
or for oblivion, nada; or some condition even more
extreme, which I intuit, but can't quite name.

Jane Kenyon

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Alexander Sartwell

I hate death's guts, I really do.

There is no elegy elegant enough to address the death of Alex. Some of the happiest days of my life were spent around his table, listening to his stories of old muntGUMree and the stories and dishes of Evalina. There is a gone-South that I would never know any other way and I felt honored to be in his sunny kitchen, watching light play through the cobalt vases propped in the window. I felt lucky to be invited early, help prepare the food, to laugh with him and to drive to Birmingham, to flea markets and thrift shops and with Alex in tow, for treasures to feel more treasurey. The Bear loved him dearly and he, The Bear and I felt kind of safe and caverned up in a cave of quilts when I was with them both.

Alex could tell a mean tale, write a brilliant passage and cook such food as to make you "slap your baby brother" when you took that first sensuous bite. I heard the south in all of its conflicted dialects, understood race and class from the inside. Alex made me feel less like one touring Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana, as one who got it and was in certain ways, dumb yankee no more. His backyard was alive with the gorgeous collection of plants that only a professional can whip up and when we left, hearts in hands, it was the French tarragon that dear Bear dug up and planted for Alex that made the leaving behind of such a glorious plant a bit more bearable.

There is no way to say goodbye to what knowing Alex gave me, or how he made me feel transported through time to where good manners, lovely clothes and books and recipes and stories reined supreme. To have one more day in that dining room, the crazy-good chickens that were melting off their bones and swaddled in flavor, the good china, the bright silver, the candlelight and the peals and peals of laughter. With him goes a whole era, a continent or two of knowledge, a gift of gab and memory and a, for lack of a better word, bonding-force. Alex made his table and the selected guests a work of art. He built friendships like cities that interconnected and expanded both the history and resource of both. Some people are spokes, others are hubs and Alex was a super-hub for a wheel so large, that time and space are both along for the ride. I felt, and still feel, as if I knew the living-Evalina for the way she was brought back to life through Alex's telling. She, the Sayres, my beloved Zelda, Tallulah Bankhead, whole swaths of neighborhood where I had never walked and ghosts long-dead before I ever arrived, were vivid, breathing-again and before you when Alex invoked them. I hope some of us can do the same for him. I was so lucky to have known him.

You were truly one of a kind and you cannot know just how you will be missed, Dear Friend.

Monday, January 31, 2011

by Elaine Terranova

What with foresight and dancing,
gypsies would seem to pass easily
between worlds. The hummingbird too—

only a moth with a beak—
Have I ever heard it hum?

Yet it's everywhere welcome,
coaxed by red flowers, even sugar water,
for we are devious, in our desires.

And the dead, we embody them
for our own purposes. I can't talk
to a shadow, to an abstraction.

A sun worshiper, my brother,
always raising his face to it.
One touch and the body roar quieted.

Now, though I walk the length
of the park, he is not there.
He is nowhere under the sun.

I want the dead but I am with
the living. The tulips raise up their hands.
The lunch crowd swallows me.

Waiting for the Ice Storm

and the aftermath of that, and my drive in to work tomorrow should be an Olympic event. Ever since the one terrible tornado and black ice incident in Alabama of all places, I live in fear of freezing rain, sleet, and automobiles. Odd that this Utah girl should be a chicken after her Alabama winter and not all of the years of blinding blizzards and snowfalls so heavy that they routinely brought down the trees that wore the enormous white parkas of them. Beautiful enshroudings, if deadly.

So I am homed-away and happy to be less sickly than the virus that made me feel all Victorian with its fevers and the coughing-up of blood. I meant to fan my hair out against the pillows and go out in a way of wretched rose petals.

I opted out of the AWP conference this year and today's weather forecast is the only thing to console me about not attending. The conference is one of those things like family that one loves and hates at various times, but that in the end, one feels more at home connected to than not. Tonight finds me listening to World Cafe and my beloved Old 97s on the radio and getting to anticipate seeing them in Cincy AND here in April. Also, Woody Pines maybe this Friday and I am hoping to talk M into the Josh Ritter show.

I am wishing I had finished my Cold, Cold... story in time for the deadline I imposed for it. I did get comments back from Kathrine for my novel pages and her comments were good and sound and make me want to get in and write. If I can get all of my classes planned out thoroughly and this little lit mag up and running, then I can justify such selfish indulgences as some writing and re-writing.

I have been assembling a kind of loose elegiac collection, very lyric and white-spaced. I think I am going to call it Pink Lady Apple, for now and see how it fits over time.

I post a bit of winter tonight to coordinate with the freezing rain that begins soon.
Deer, December

One of thirty nights I can't sleep
I awaken to motion in the last dark
out the window, tight against the hillside.
I put on my glasses to stop
the glass in the old house from wavering.

Three of them, maybe twenty feet away,
they nuzzle new snow,
leaves and twigs not yet frozen hard,
a poor diet, winter just begun.
Foraging, chewing, staring lines into space.
Their necks bolt upright only to the slight
shift in what I imagine is wind,
to things I can't hear, couldn't,
were I with them outside and not still
warm on the edge of the bed

Then a cardinal is winter
red against the even gray of 6 a.m.
—cloudy, this time of year. I'll stay watching
until I'm late for another morning meeting,
my alarm clock not gone off—that must be it.
I can't know how little I'll be missed.

Richard Terrill

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Yesterday was a bouquet of a day, the kind that seems incongruous in its individual blossoms but gathered up, makes for a pleasing visual harmony.

Strangely, I went to my first VFW ever. There was something cozy-cavernous to it and it was lovely to be there with an older vet who was so proud to be showing a place new to me and dear to him. On the way out, a really young man helped M's mother to the car and his innocence and sense of respect meant a lot to her and reminded me of some of my students and their true sense of decency. It was a lovely way to end the Dayton portion of the day.

The night could not have been any different from the day. A dive bar out in Gahanna called Mug and Jug and a cover band that played everything from Counting Crows to ACDC. It was as you might imagine such a thing, but it was also fun in a way. Back home M played cd after cd for me and we danced in the kitchen and stayed up until three. Needless to say Sunday morning was a sleep-in and by afternoon I felt the full weight of a week spent sick followed by a day so long and so rich.

Tonight I am trying to write but the words seem difficult and I am here to try and warm-up somehow or give up and turn in.

Friday, January 28, 2011

One Dark Ballet

Date night tonight and after a quick stop at Crate and Barrel (for what is date night without the domestic, capitalist foray into overpriced home goods?) we went out to our favorite new New Year's Eve find of a movie theatre to see a movie (my pick). Because I have a lifelong fascination with the ballet and the bizarre lives of ballerinas, I chose, of course, Black Swan.

Portman's performance was spot-on, if relentlessly earnest, but the movie overall lacked control over its tone, with inadvertant humor and high melodrama. It might be that the years have bred an impatience in me for art and the sufferers of art or it might be that I was just put-off by the countless bloody nail scenes, but I felt like this was the type of movie I have kind of outgrown.

In any case, after a long week of what felt like walking pneumonia, I had to get out. And I do have a new cube-shaped plum colored mimic end table, all in preparation for my mommy's visit.

Where have I been remiss? Well, considering the sick week, I am still text-ahead. I have been staying away from my telephone and spending time reconnecting with writer-friends and writing goals. I am deep into a new story that is dark and exciting and I have been thinking as my novel's narrator and imagining more of her story into place well enough to have written the ending a few days ago (though only the first fifty pages and the ending are really in place, there's a whole lot of middle to write yet.) But my priorities are falling back into place, at long last and hurrah!

For Keith's birthday, I usually wax nostalgic over some undergraduate memory, usually a driving-related one. I recalled finding a slide of a meteor or some starry-thing on a gas pump late at night during one of our crazy drives and there was something mysterious and hopeful about that find. Something promising and wherever Keith is I hope that window of starlight was foreshadowing.

Tonight me and mine are awake way too late. He: trying to unravel the Botticelli website for me and me, posting I-know-not-what to I-know-less-who and it's the middle of the middle of those nights that remind me of driving closer and closer to dawn or memories so sleep-deprived that I can't exactly recall if I saw a play called Sea Marks in some venue I can only remember by impression and I am happy for the life I have.

If I Ever Mistake You For a Poem
No body was ever composed
from words, not the hipsway

of verse, the iambic beat of a heart.
Yet inside you, a sestina

of arteries, the villanelle of villi,
sonnets between your shoulder blades.

If I were more obsessive I'd follow
the alliteration of age spots across

your arms. But I have exchanged
my microscope for a stethoscope

as I want to listen inside you, past
your repetition, your free verse of skin.

How easy it is to fall for your internal
organs. Your arrhythmia is charming

hidden in the ballad of body,
your gurgling stanzas, your lyric sigh.

Kelli Russell Agodon