Thursday, December 31, 2009

The First of the 2010 Suggested - Liliana Ursu

The books for the 2010 Suggested are starting to arrive and since I have no self control, or sense of order, I have already read one, Angel Riding a Beast by Liliana Ursu. Many thanks to Liza for recommending her! The suggested list is working out well.

I'm not much for explicating a poet's work. I'd rather just present it. However, I will say this: I greatly enjoyed the personalness of Ursu's work in the midst of a larger world view. Apricots, icons, the cosmos, and her own presence seem to be in balance. Nothing overwhelms; everything participates in the picture of the whole. Ursu writes as a poet in exile, and thus her self-ness cannot take control.

And so here is a poem from the book that I greatly enjoyed.

Playing with the Mirror

by Liliana Ursu

I play with the mirror.
I do not set ships on fire, nor your hair,
fluttering free on another continent.
In my small mirror I try to capture
not my face, red after love,
nor the sad eyes of the icon
in my deserted house in Bucharest.

Here, in America,
my mirror reflects only a stranger.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall
who's the fairest of them all?

"The Moon above Agapia monastery"
the mirror replies . . .

One day someone will hold this same mirror
close to my mouth
to see if I'm alive.
From my last breath
the Carapathian mountains will come,
and the sea at Sulina;
my poems of gold will come
and my poems of clay,
and my young mother
giving birth to me
into blinding July light
into the medieval walls of Sibiu,
and I, giving birth to my own son, roses
buried under the snow.

My greedy lips will touch the mirror
as if in a last, earthly kiss,
an exercise of sadness, tragic and comic
in the innocence of the moment of my death.
I will taste apricots on my lips
which only dew from my mother's garden will cool.
I will feel on my lips
the words of my grandmother:
"Do not pick all of the fruit.
Leave some for winter's birds."

A Breugelian landscape rests quietly in my lap
like a spoiled cat,
while the mirror performs its duty,
and the TV set blares on and on
and I hear strange voices
announce from Venus:
"We have managed to make bread."

Someone in the cosmos
holds up a huge mirror
to see if we are alive.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Open-Faced

What wonderful variety

Knife-and-fork good-traveler
Day-old dainty hollowed out
Shallow half island divan

Fill with any Danish blue
Barbecue mosaic plus deviled
French checkerboard build

Every other row dog-ear
Slices lavish ooze tuck under
Crumbled heap peach nest

Each split pitcher crisp
Celery hearts hot with bottled
Cold with thin sweet spears

Saturday, December 26, 2009

First Check for Wholesomeness

The old American tradition of satisfaction
True prepackaged fresh quick-frozen
Meat penny speedy measuring spoons
Sanitary stick to it along the entire
Length of the carcass See Instant Meat
Old wives' tales then cool kettle
In any case bright red firm a yellowish
Cast as eleventh and twelfth ribs
Delmonico a large muscle closed
Backbone can be removed follow
Directions cover holds steam you
Will have time caution a timetable
Can only be approximate insert carefully
Keep warm while making Velvety
Thick as heavy Cream in spite of all
Your care strain HOTEL STYLE
A wedge bone use tongs as manufacturer
Directs a special hardwood plank you'll
Find it remove usually sold as one cut
Diagonally across the grain have meat man
Score skewers or string depending upon
Your schedule two to four days to marinade

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Living Arrangements

Q. When you and Peter first got divorced, where did you reside?
A. At his attorney's office.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The 2010 Suggested

Perusing my poetry list below, it occurs to me I am developing a gender bias in my reading. There are too many men on the list! For 2010, I'd like to read more women poets. What is particularly concerning is that I haven't found any contemporary women that I care for that have big, fat collected volumes.

So, I'm taking suggestions. I'd like someone comparable to Eudora Welty or Flannery O'Connor, but on the poetry side. Not Sylvia Plath, please. Not Sharon Olds. Not Mary Oliver. I like nature poets, but Mary Oliver is not subtle. I've read almost all of Louise Gluck. I'm open to translations. Help!

In other news, it's December 14th and my house looks not one bit like Christmas. Jocelyn has forbidden any decorating until the moment she comes home, Saturday, December 19th. I'm suspended in time until she walks through the door.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Recurrence

Last night I dreamed one of my favorite recurring dreams. The recurring part of it fascinates me. This is what the website Dream Moods says about recurring dreams:

Most dreams contain messages that serve to teach you something about yourself. However, soon after you wake up to go about your daily routine, you tend to quickly forget what you dream about. The message in recurring dreams may be so important and/or powerful that it refuses to go away. The frequent repetition of such dreams forces you to pay attention and confront the dream. It is desperately trying to tell you something. Such dreams are often nightmarish or frightening in their content, which also helps you to take notice and pay attention to them.
Recurring dreams are quite common and are often triggered by a certain life situation or a problem that keeps coming back again and again. These dreams may recur daily, once a week, or once a month. Whatever the frequency, there is little variation in the dream content itself. Such dreams may be highlighting a personal weakness, fear, or your inability to cope with something in your life - past or present.
The repetitive patterns in your dream reveal some of the most valuable information about yourself. It may point to a conflict, situation or matter in your waking life that remains unresolved or unsettled. Some urgent underlying message in your unconscious is demanding to be understood.

My dream isn't nightmarish, though! It's fun. So fun that often I know I'm dreaming and delay getting up so I can keep playing around in the dream. The details vary, but it always involves a large house. So here it is:

Gene and I own a large house on a creek. It's more like a hotel in size, but house-like in character. It has three floors and a balcony overlooking the creek. We have just moved in. All our friends are there and we are having a party. I keep finding more and more rooms. The creek is flooded and I am anxious to see what the property looks like when the water is down. In last night's version there was an historical building across from our house, a high school. We had no other neighbors. The front of the house faced the town, the back faced the creek.

There are more details, but when I wake up all the versions of this dream blend together. I don't know what message the dream is sending, but I sure enjoy encountering it! Maybe it's saying buy a bed and breakfast. I just don't know!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The 2009 Best Poetry List - Plus 1

According to Goodreads, which has a much better memory than I do, I've read 50 books this year, most of them poetry. It seems like I should have read more than that, but there it is. I haven't. Most of them were old, a couple of them new. I'm content to let others do the hard work of new poetry sifting, for two reasons: time and money. Call me a slacker. Here are the poetry books I gave five stars to this year, in reverse chronological reading order:

Because I didn't stop reading when I first wrote this, I have 21 Best of's and a screwed up numbering system. But that's okay. I really enjoyed Liliana Ursu's Angel Riding a Beast.

0. Angel Riding a Beast - Liliana Ursu

1. How to Be Perfect - Ron Padgett
2. Rhode Island Notebook - Gabriel Gudding
3. Wheeling Motel - Franz Wright
4. Scary, No Scary - Zachary Schomburg
5. The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan - Ted Berrigan
6. Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry - Alan Dugan
7. Leaf Weather - Shira Dentz
8. Love is a Dog From Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 - Charles Bukowski
9. Alphabet - Inger Christensen
10. The Mercy Seat: Collected and New Poems 1967-2001 - Norman Dubie
11. The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke - Rainer Maria Rilke
12. House of Poured Out Waters - Jane Mead
13. Selected Poems - Mark Strand
14. Without A Philosophy - Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
15. Wild Iris - Louise Gluck
16. Duino Elegies - Rainer Maria Rilke
17. The Branch Will No Break - James Wright
18. In The Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990 - Frank Bidart
19. The Catfish - Franz Wright
20. Address - Franz Wright

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Santa-izing

So, if you're still Christmas shopping, if you actually engage in such, there's a website you might check out: Woot. One item per day, at a low, low price. Have at it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Midstep

I have a fascination with abandoned footwear.
So many possibilities.
This shoe was small, child sized.
I found it walking in the Baugo Creek woods.
There was only one.
The child must have been in midstep when he dematerialized.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Ungathering

I remember my favorite part of Thanksgivings past, walking out of the family gathering into the crisp, almost-winter air, shutting the door, the silence outside, emptying my body of the invasion of vibrating sounds.

Individualism is slowly filling my rooms. Or quietness. I'm not sure. My dream Thanksgiving is a fine meal with a small group of people, A hike in a National Park. A book of poetry. A glass of wine in front of a fireplace. A rocking chair.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Arrivals

The Keranens three drove to Chicago Saturday night to pick up Jocelyn from O'Hare. Her first solo flight went swimmingly. It's been three long months and suddenly she's standing with her suitcase under the arrivals sign, looking completely competent, ready to greet life, ready to ARRIVE.

Granted, there is no standing still. Gene turned 50 yesterday. We feted him on Sunday. A party guest from his before life was amazed that he prepared part of the meal. You cook more than grilled cheese now? Other old friends posted pics of his before life on Facebook. Hilarious party pics, but not the man I know. DDL mentioned once the idea of reinventing yourself again and again, but I think whether or not you consciously decide to reinvent yourself, you are reinvented. I suppose the conscious part of the equation implies you have some input into the process. I mean, surely one does get to make a few choices here and there. But then after you make a choice you're in the thick of it and there's no telling how you're going to come out on the other end. Perhaps you'll be a fabulous beef brisket chef.

I have arrived somewhere, too, but I'm not sure where. I believe I'm still looking for my luggage, wondering where to stand.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

American Bio

Emperor

painter, missionary, poet

prince, theologian, trader and explorer

queen, inventor, marshal, mathematician, painter, artist

composer, writer, governor, general, neurologist, anarchist, neurologist, social worker, physicist, commander, politician, philosopher,author, psychologist, actor, sound engineer, politician, director, laureate, sculptor, Queen, actor, pioneer, player, secretary, diplomat, historian, singer, painter, biochemist, Bishop, player, cricketer, actor, conductor, actor, musician and composer, actor, player, decathlete, player, actress, senator, player, skier, poet, comedian, singer, author, player, director, politician, actress, coach, actor, architect, producer, player, songwriter, player, director, Governor, musician, scriptwriter, politician, politician, musician, politician, Minister, owner, actor, actor, coach, player, criminal, player, daughter, reader, actress, footballer, presenter, actor, entertainer, cricketer, diver, singer, drummer, personality, player, composer, musician, actress, actress, singer, guitarist, actress, coach, player, actor, guitarist, actor, player, singer, singer, player, footballer, skater, actress, humorist, Rapper, actress, actor, footballer, swimmer, player, stuntwoman, player, actress, footballer, wrestler, musician, wrestler, singer, player, cricketer, player, player, player, player, player, actor, novelist, actress, singer, actress, actor, actress.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hay Day

Gene & I took off this morning for the bi-weekly hay run.
Not this hay, although it is lovely.
We buy the stuff that is a little handier size.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jojo's Roses

Baby, it's not just cold, it's 25 degrees outside!
There's a fabulous frost across Michiana.
I'm thinking about buying firewood.
Nine more days until we pick up Jojo from Chicago.
Gotta buy wood!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Synaxis of the Archangel Larry and Other Bodiless Minds

It isn't going to happen

Descartes had his dreams
----------------and meditations

I have in me an idea of God

But it's fading

I will tell you

We were in the business
--------of rehabilitating dolls

Their site of origin
---------------long past bombed

Culls for the future

For whatever reason

--------------I painted the heads

Fashioned wire doll bodies

Spun cotton around wire
---------------into the loosest skins

When we spoke their bodies stiffened

Someone breathed logos

It wasn't god

Friday, November 06, 2009

Granite Railway

At night we heard the chirping
-----------of the diesel frogs

A common crossing
-----------beneath the trestle

Vagabonds

A boy stretched out like Jesus

-----------He already knew

Monuments

The future engraving granite
----------into each of his ribs

Our hearts were really pumping

Cathoom, cathoom

I watched a train churn slowly above us

Graffitied and loud

The engineer's arm waving

His face out of view

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leon Gambetta Flees Paris in a Balloon

5.

Flight 5970

On the very lips of your intended

---------An aspirational cabal

Pink neon floating vacancy

The rope you are holding has torn
---------the flesh from your palms

4.

Under mysterious circumstances
----------you have taken a room

Near The Inn at Grinder's Stand
---------------(now a wheat field)

A woman is moaning

3.

A woman is always moaning

2.

You have drifted

Beyond The Alleghenies
They're closing

------------The aboriginal lands

Sorry settlers!

This is the last call

1.

You fear fire and bodies of water

The weather is dry

A horse has lost itself in the forest

Leif Erickson has landed in L'Anse aux Meadows

Raking & Words

Well, I did find the rake and used it just long enough to realize family intervention was needed. My sister-in-law, amazing woman, sent my brother, my nephew, and their lawn tractor. The lawn looked amazing for almost four hours, then it started to rain and all those leaves that were still clinging to the trees came down. I guess the family will be back again soon.

On the good side, rain is fabulous for writing. Last night my dreams came in words, pages and pages of words. I'm curious if other writers have this phenomena in their dreams. My words were like a novel. George Bush was being punched in the face. I mean, the dream was just like reading a novel. Turning the pages. The words streaming out of my thoughts. I guess you had to be there.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One Perspective

Q. All right. Have you tried anything other than well drilling people, any other types of work or business?
A. Yeah, I tried electrician. I didn't like it, though. It scared the death out of me.

Lively

For days now I have had grand plans to post wildly eloquent verse and prose all over this blog, but for life! Whew! Concerts, weddings, workings.... So, not a long post, just a note to say I'm alive and lively, but not so much writerly. Soon.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Field Trip

I read clusterflock religiously, a couple of times a day, and this morning I found that one of the contributors, Elizabeth Perry, has an art exhibit at St. Mary's. The details are here. If anyone is up for a field trip, I'm game.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Woo-Hoo II!!

And Naoko has had "JUNE INK" accepted by Cider Press Review. Congrats!

Woo-Hoo!

I've had two poems, "Late Cretaceous" and "The Great American Interchange," accepted by Ouroboros Review. Many thanks to the friends who helped me fine tune these pieces.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homesteading

I guess it's time to put the storm windows in again.
And maybe trim back the plants.
Gene is putting a new roof on the garage.

This is something called Endura.
Supposed to last a lifetime.
Whose lifetime, I want to know?

I tried to get up on the roof and examine the workmanship, but sometime in the last few years I've developed a fear. I couldn't bring myself to step off the ladder unto the roof. I helped put the roof on the house some 12 years ago, but now I can't do it. I think Gene might be secretly relieved.




Saturday, September 26, 2009

Art Beat Poets & Writers

Kelcey Parker, David Dodd Lee, Clayton Michaels

Clayton Michaels

David Dodd Lee


Kelcey Parker

David Dodd Lee, Nancy Botkin, Clayton Michaels


The Art Beat Poster Woman
Naoko Fujimoto Kasza


This is the way we're going to do things, see?


Ken Smith


Nancy Botkin



David Dodd Lee




Clayton Michaels



Kelcey Parker


R. Sanford



Talia Reed

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Weird Woman in the Parking Lot

And where do you write?
I spent Wednesday riding around with Gene, waiting in the car while he did his factory (see above) visits. I brought three books -- which I didn't touch, but couldn't leave the house without -- and the big erasure I'm working on. There is something to be said for the structure of the car. No laptop. No dogs/cats/goats... I received one cell phone call from Tom, reminding me to buy Bela Fleck/Edgar Meyer tickets. Kid calls are always okay. And I erased two pages of text to net two more pages of poetry.
The downfall of the trip was here, however. Truly the site of the finest truffles known to woman. I bought a box of truffles for the California chick and two truffles for Gene and me. My truffle promptly dislodged the temporary cap that is covering the tooth I cracked sampling chocolate chip cookie dough. No, I don't have a problem.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Art Beat

September 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Downtown South Bend, IN

IUSB Faculty and Alumni writers (David Dodd Lee, Nancy Botkin, Talia Reed, Kelcey Parker and Clayton Michaels) will sell books and chapbooks at ArtBeat this Saturday, 9/26 in downtown South Bend. They will give short readings between 11:30-12:00 at the Key Bank Plaza, and their booth will be nearby. Look for the Literary Arts Collective.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Rag

Our town.

Potato Creek Trail No. 4 (again)

Potato Creek Bike Trail.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Plugging Away

Terri asked for it -- and she got it. Check out her blog.

This isn't an endorsement, by the way. I haven't had time to check out the book she's promoting. This is more of a, hey, this is what Terri is thinking about. Read away.

The Evil System

The anguish! I have lost my naked follower on Twitter. I thought it was me and my one tweet that drove her away, but no. It seems her account has been suspended. I am sad. It's not every day I have a naked woman following me around. It was certainly a sign of my impending goddess-hood, but for the system! The evil system is keeping my adoring public from following me. I'm enraged. I plan to marshal my goddess powers and protect my followers' rights to forever follow me naked. That is all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear Followers

At some date uncertain in the past, say, a year or so ago, a fellow writer (Hi Mark!) sent me a Twitter invite. Hmm, I said. I am old. I need to engage in activities that will prove my hipness. I should sign up and do the Tweet. So I signed up. And completely forgot about it. And never investigated the ins and outs of Tweeting. I never followed anyone. I never issued the smallest of Tweets. I've heard rumors of my younger friends tweeting, but I have not felt the desire to Tweet or Inter-Tweet with anyone in my soul. Until now.

Just this very week, Twitter has informed me I have two followers. Two people just waiting to hear what I have to say. To hang on my every bird call. Me, Charmi, on Twitter! And I've never laid eyes on them before in my life. Strangers! They just somehow were drawn to me. Smart girls.

Well, I guess, truth be told, I have laid eyes on them now, because they came with pictures. The first is a young woman from St. Louis who is apparently relaxing in a bikini in her pool. Ah, summer weather, I said. That looks fun. Of course a fun girl like that would be interested in what I have to Tweet. I am the queen of fun and full of Twitter! The second woman is also the fun loving type, because in her picture she has no clothes on at all. Ah, summer. Saucy girls. Of course they need me.

And so now, I am motivated. These women are apparently poetic in form and desirous of my greatest poetic thoughts to inspire their every move. I will Tweet my poetry to them and they will be amazed! I think I will begin with that book-long epic I am currently erasing. I just didn't realize Twittering could be such fun.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

Shroom Zoom Zoom

I said good-bye to Mary & Tom this morning.
They're all finally off to school.
I think this might be it!
Quiet.
Shhhh.
So let us all celebrate with a fungus.
You know the moment everyone left
I headed for the woods...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lassen


Another pair of abandoned shoes for my photo collection.
Observed at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Downtown

My good friend Joan (center) is leaving back for Cypress on Friday.
I think we have time for one more Potato Creek hike.
I'm getting a little tired of the poetry of leaving!
Marie (far left) is talking on the phone to Jojo.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fall Air

The house is shaking itself out and I'm starting to find long silent stretches to write in. Last week I found two entire days! This week promises three or four! So I've started a project, a book length erasure that you can see the very beginnings of below. Blogger doesn't cooperate with the formatting issues, so I probably won't be posting more. But rest assurred I'm happy and busy.

In other news:

Once school started Jojo overcame her homesickness and is apparently having the time of her life at Humboldt. She's only calling now for things like money or computer problems...

Tom is back and forth between here and Kalamazoo. He's played enough gigs he had to buy a couple of new suits. As ZZ Top says, "Women go crazy bout a sharp dressed man."

Gene is a traveling fiend, earning all those reward points. He's going to wear his suitcase out.

I hope you're busy and happy, too, in these pockets of fall air.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Late Cretaceous II

1.

Say the hummingbird's a home wrecker

Spider-cropped or furious

How else to account for

The missing orbs

The white fields of porches

Heather filling the salvage yard

2.

My landlord is dying

The man in love with the idea
Of being loved

Is building an igloo

Sewing morning glory into the seams

Such timing!

3.

The City of God segues into
The half life of urban decay

100,000 years out from the homeland

We're still dreaming

Of a mother tongue or a passport

Something personal

To lush against our skin

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Squirmish

I dreamed last night that I was pregnant with twins, due in two months, but that I had forgotten all about it because I was consumed with getting Jojo off to college. I just woke up one morning wondering why I was so fat! While I was looking at my belly, I saw the babies moving and I suddenly remembered. Oh, shit. I forgot about that! Gene was mad at me because I had no clue where the OB office had moved to and those babies were squirming.

No fears, friends, my fat at this point is all my own and my baby equipment is gone, gone, gone. But I guess it is time to look around and see what has escaped my attention lately. Probably wouldn't hurt to lose the mama fat I've been carrying around for 18 plus years. Also, I need to figure out how to turn on my writing switch again. And I'm going to clean. That's as far as I've gotten, but I'm sure other squirming babies that I've been overlooking will appear. I hope they're friendly little critters and not biters.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lassen Volcanic National Park

We found some great hiking trails yesterday and wore ourselves out so thoroughly that we're heading straight to Eureka today. My back needs a day of rest!
The weather was beautiful, too. At 9000 feet the temperature drops to a merciful 60-something degrees. Back in the valley, however, it shoots back up to 100.
Good news, the rest of the trip will be in the 60s, oceanside!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Late Cretaceous

(A section, at least)

2.

My landlord is dying

The man in love with the idea
of being loved

Is building an igloo

Sewing morning glory into the seams

Such timing!

It's a problem

The City of God segues into
the half-life of urban decay

100,000 years out from the homeland

We're still dreaming

Of a mother tongue or a passport

Something personal

To touch against our skin

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Daughters Departing

by Rutger Kopland

They had to go, of course, I'd seen it
in their faces slowly changing from those
of children into those of friends,
from those of then into those of now.

And felt and smelt when they kissed me,
their skin, their hair, no longer intended
for me, not as before,
when we still had time.

In our house a world had grown of desire,
joy, pain and sorrow, in their rooms,
where they collected what they would
be taking with them, their memories.

Now they're gone I look out of their windows and see
exactly the same scene, exactly the same
world of twenty years ago,
when I came here to live.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

Everywhere I look, the publications are streaming in! Wonderful news! Today Sarah has a poem at Juked and a poem at Camroc Press Review. Congrats!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Almost

The blog has been somewhat quiet lately, but my body has a charming way of expressing what I refuse to put into words, written or otherwise. So, I'm rereading Brautigan and my back is killing me, as in, I can't bend over killing me. This probably means it's time to take Jojo to California. Almost at least. Brautigan was really an afterthought. A mood setter.

Come September, Gene & I will have both kids in college, near and far. I think I probably talked more about Tom's impending Kalamazoo move than Jojo's California move. Maybe not. However, California is further a way than, say, Kalamazoo. I won't be able to run over to California on a Sunday afternoon and take Jojo out to lunch whenever I want to.

I think it's the waiting that's bothering me. Jojo's bags are packed. We're all ready. Every last item on our checklist has been checked. Now we're just saying good-bye.

Woo-Hoo!

Talia has a poem up at Moria and a poem up at Melusine! Great stuff!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random

I've been reading Mark Strand's The Weather of Words and enjoying it immensely, which is to say, you might like it, too. Perhaps. I'm not going to presume. However, here's a small sample from the essay, Introduction to the Best American Poetry 1991.

"Hearing poems read, like reading them, is different from other encounters with language. Nothing else we read prepares us for poetry...

"We are better prepared for reading fiction because most of what it tells us is already known. In a poem, most of what is said is neither known or unknown. The world of things or the world of experience that may have given rise to the poem usually dissolves into the background. It is as if the poem were replacing that world as a way of establishing its own primacy, oddly asserting itself over the world."

Anyway, you might like to check it out. I'm mulling over the ideas of known and unknown, replacing the world, primacy...

I bought it used from Amazon and was amused to find that when it arrived it had a little Post-It note stuck to the cover that said "Random."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

Nancy Botkin has a chapbook, In Waves, coming out from March Street Press sometime this fall! Wonderful!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Could Be

Q. Sir, do you know what mental anguish is?
A. Is it like a temple or something like that?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Late Cretaceous

Say the hummingbird's a homewrecker

Spider-cropped and furious

How else to account for

The missing orbs

The white fields of porches

Heather filling the salvage yard

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Great American Interchange

The woman in the leopard print dress
Wants you to believe

It's all natural

The American lion much larger
13,000 years ago

(and living)

Long legs parting

The American Serengeti

Great gods of evolution!

(and silicone)

I believe--

In extinction

In the futility of calling God
Good in the particular

(or of calling)

In the wireless clicking of the centipede

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bicycle Day

April 19, 20-

The neighbors are having at it
And you see in their moment

Your moment

Swallowed and skittered
Could have made scene

Dark matter is thought to make up
Twenty-three percent of the universe

No one sees it

Fixation falls on the brilliant
Noctilucent clouds

Later you wrote

God's leveling the playing field

Tunguska minus
Eighty million trees

My Hidden Track - I Gave Her My Heart, She Gave Me A Pen

Is this cool or what?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Restoration Projects

Q. What is your job title there?
A. They call it restorative. It has to do with patients who are being rehabilitated back after having strokes or some type of injury to the neck or the arms.
Q. Is there anything else that you do there besides assisting with the --
A. Sometimes I take them out and smoke them, because of the attitudes they have, you have to keep a log of that also.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice (Woo-Hoo!)

At last. We celebrated Jojo's graduation/summer solstice last night and had a grand time with many, many friends. Even the weather cooperated. I only stayed awake until 12:30 or so, so I'm not sure if there was much running around naked and rolling in the hay. Best not to know. We had so much fun I think we'll do this again next year on summer solstice, minus the graduation cake and plus more friends! You're invited.

Turning the page to summer proper, a new The Dirty Napkin is out, where Sarah and I each have a poem. I've been enjoying Sarah's poetry for quite some time now, so mosey on over there and check us out! Sarah is wonderfully intuitive with Emergency Substitutions.

As for me, I've got to down some more coffee and clean up this mess.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

Naoko has a poem up at Pebble Lake Review, where you can also find four poems by Franz Wright. Talk about keeping good company. Jeez, Naoko!! Congrats!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Closing in on Summer

A few more days and the two-month long house emptying will come to a pause. It's not finished by a long shot, but I'm satisfied that we can party on Midsummer's Eve with the serenity of having really taken spring cleaning seriously. My god, I can walk through the garage!! Let the cooking begin!

On a side note, Clusterflock led me to photographer Claire Martin's site. Enjoy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Side Jobs

Q. Is there anything that you told me before that you know to be incorrect?

A. I was in a rock band, I got my girlfriend pregnant and I quit when, in fact, she was already -- actually she was cheating on her husband with me. That's what happened there.

Q. Is there any other part of your testimony that you feel needs to be corrected?

A. I mean, I've had a myriad of different jobs that weren't woodworking-related, you know, throughout that, you know, that musical band period when I wasn't working as a musician. There was one time where I was a worm farmer, which is one job you don't want -- worse job than a worm farmer, that's a worm rustler, because you have to stoop and they were on the other side. It's a long story.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Gathering

Lots of life is gathering with literally no time to write. I'm resigned to wait, knowing come fall the house will be empty, the gardens won't need me, and I'll have more time than I know what to do with.

In the meantime:

My grandmother is wrapping up her final couple of days on earth. Years ago when she lived with us, she surreptiously snuck in dozens of flowers into my flower beds. She always was one to finagle her way. She's mostly comatose now, but Jojo visited and played some uke tunes for her last night. Safe passage, Gram.

We finished the firepit for Jojo's grad party last weekend and gave it a test run. I think it's pretty good to go. The grass surrounding it probably won't be growing too well by then, though.

I'm working on a 3000-page double homicide -- good stuff -- along with a ton of other work. I guess the trip to CA will be plenty paid for.

I dreamed of two owls last night, a brown one and a black one, both sitting on the road.

A black squirrel came to our birdfeeder yesterday and a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Unusual day. I've never seen the black squirrel in our neighborhood before. It was a young one with a glossy coat and tinges of red in its tail.

And that's the news.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Water Maser - Revision

A florid psychosis is gathering steam

Love is a vanity

The House on the Rock

(With her terra cotta windpipes)

Clanging

He's flushed the gutters

She's feeding the bees

So much for walking

The soles of his feet

The light breaking loam

More luminous now

Than 10,000 suns

SAE

I'm in the throes of seasonal-affected exhilaration. Oh, May! Touch me and pollen will fall from my hands. Impatients, snapdragons - potted. The woman at the greenhouse didn't know what nasturtiums were! What???!!! The snap peas are climbing the old ladder I gave them. The hops are trying to invade the garage. More poppies. The oriole cussed me out for walking on the back porch.

And Jojo's walking boot comes off June 19th, the day before her grad party. Very convenient, I think.

All this aside, I will get back to revising those poems. Think rain. In the meantime, go visit Naoko's blog. She is posting some great essays on her master's thesis.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mid May

Happy, happy! I looked out my window this morning and whoa! The poppies are blooming. The pic isn't that great, but I caught a few of them with their jammies still on. May always fills me with joy. The snowball bush also turned its snowballs pure white during the night. For a few weeks I'm going to be in flower heaven. The peonies will be out soon. Sorry, folks. I can't help myself. I am revising the poems. Slowly. Mostly I'm playing in my yard. I was so happy yesterday I even started cleaning the garage. If only May could last a few more months.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Woo-Hoo!!

I've had a couple three poems accepted. The Dirty Napkin has accepted my poem "A New Mythology" for publication in its seventh issue, due out June 21. And, by the way, they are still accepting submissions until May 15th for that issue. It's a very nice publication and nothing would please me more than to appear there with a friend. So send away! You have until Friday.

Speaking of appearing with friends, I'll be joining Naoko in Passages North with my poems "The Teeth of My Existence Are Buried in the Wall" and "Seney."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tide Pool

(I'm going to still try for those 30 poem starts I wanted in April, even if it takes me until the end of May, or June...)

They said you would be there

(And you were)

Whale eye clocking

The coastal demise

Where your saltwater
Mouth will be buried

Next to no one

The coral waving

Ashes to acid

The seagulls craning
Their necks side to side

Friday, May 08, 2009

Woo-Hoo!!

Doc No. 3 and X-ray No. 4 says no surgery for Jojo for now. Come back and see me again in a week. Wear das boot. When your father calls you Captain Ahab, strike him with your crutches. Yay!

Otherwise, it is quiet on the barrow downs.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Jojo Update

So far, she has a boot to stabilize her leg. The fibula fracture is not bad at all; however...

She also tore the major ligament that stabilizes her ankle, which is what caused the fibula to break in the first place. Next stop: foot specialist on Friday, followed most probably by surgery next week and screws to hold her together.

As an added bonus, I took her shopping. She now has a great selection of skirts, since pants are out for quite awhile. What do men do when this happens?

Woo-Hoo!

Naoko has had three poems accepted by Passages North! Congrats!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Castaway

Last week was long. To finish it off, on Friday night Jojo did a flying side kick in martial arts, landed wrong and broke her leg. She said she heard a snapping sound. We're waiting this morning to see the orthopedist. The urgent care place doesn't fix broken legs.

Thankfully we had some nice breaks (hah). We saw John Kennedy later on Friday night performing at The Hearth and Kennedy's Kitchen Saturday night performing at Kate O'Connor's in New Carlisle. And we caught up with the Moyas, too. Awesome.

Sunday was too gorgeous not to be outside. I let the goats come in the backyard and do some goating, which generally consists of eating everything in sight. My job was to stand guard on the back porch with the hose and protect the hops plants and the flowers. Everyone went to bed tired and happy.

I'm hoping to get back into the poetry mode this week. I was really disappointed I didn't complete the month, sort of a mini failure, I guess. "Bad poet, bad." My stamina is poor. Ah, well. Onward. I'll borrow Jojo's crutches and begin to row.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Woo-Hoos!!

Jennifer has great news: The arrival of Owen River Little! Wow!!!! You rock, woman!



And on Monday, I received my contributor copy of the JMWW Anthology Volume 3.




With works by Jessica Anya Blau, CM Burroughs, Jimmy Chen, Jon Morgan Davies, William R. Duell, Charmi Keranen, Julia LaSalle, Sean Lovelace, Lisa Markowitz, Susan O'Doherty, Pete Pazmino, Lynn L. Shattuck, Paul Silverman, Charles Talkoff, Bryan S. Wang, Martin Willitts, Jr., and Joseph Young.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Catching Up

There's a purposeful walking

To the outskirts!

And thereafter

His simple insistence on sleeping

(Completely unadorned.)


I started this poem on Saturday, but I got distracted by the weather and gardening and birds and whatnot. I was going to finish it today, but incredibly sad news arrived this a.m. My Aunt Kathy took her life last night. I'll simply say that she was one of the kindest women I've ever known and I'm heartbroken.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 24

The dead aren't coming back to save us

But who's waiting?

My father, I've noticed, was
Much taller when he was alive

Lately, I've been walking
Back and forth across the lawn

It's shrinking

I'm leaving it to the vines

And the house for the chipmunks

The dead aren't coming back to save us

But still they come

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Water Maser

A florid psychosis
Gathering steam

The House on the Rock
And her terra cotta windpipes

Singing

He flushed the gutters
And grilled burgers

The soles of his feet

(Of an evening)

Black as loam

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 22

It's a brisk business
This skinning

The bark from live trees

A plastic card falls
From your wallet

The birth right of refusal

The soup you've squandered
Beneath moldering sleeves

These aren't your arms

But pass the ketchup

Indeed

The smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 20, A little late...

Matthew 13:44-45

In this telling it was a woman
who had wandered out into
a field and uncovered an
invaluable treasure. It might
have been sapphires. It might
have been pearls. Apparently
words were exchanged. Some
treasures have voices. Nothing
is known of the dialogue, but
years later the woman was still
unraveling her garments, looking
for pocket change.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 19

(I'm struggling here, becoming more and more fragmented, making less and less sense, etc. But I want to trudge on and hopefully have something at least to start to work with. I'm starting to look at this endeavor less as poetry and more as idea generation.)

It's pure centipede
Enough feet for dragging

She wants a home

I understand they're quiet
The Predator Drones

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 18

(Trying to get back in the swing of things. Needs more wine.)

We've undressed

The pleasantries a
Substrate of thin

Spider vine pitches
Coming low and

Outside

Family

I've been lost in family for a couple of days. I might get back to writing today; I might not.

I've had a good visit with my brother Andy. He's heading back for California today. It's been three years since we've seen each other. His aphasia is still holding him hostage, plus, he can't hold enough disparate ideas in his head to play a game of Sudoku. (This knowledge hit me hard. He was a computer programmer.) He doesn't always hear all the syllables of the words we say and he continues to confuse his pronouns. Our conversations are interesting. However, ten years into this ordeal of having a stroke, he has comes to terms with his life. Physically he looks great. I suppose I might need to catch up and come to terms also.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Zilch

I guess I have nada today. My brothers came to visit this evening and I'm still working. I'll try and catch up tomorrow.

Limited Resources

PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: I'm going to explain this to you. Before this accident, before you got injured, what were you able to do, other than work, that you now don't do anymore or can't do because of your injuries? That's her question.
THE WITNESS: Boom boom. I don't do that no more. Sex, what else?
PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: We got that.
THE WITNESS: Sex and work, that's all I did. I cooked and cleaned once in a while.
PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: Did you have any hobbies?
THE WITNESS: I had kids.

Q. Have you been able to have sex?
A. It doesn't get up no more. I tried to do it with that juice, that Cialis.
Q. Were you having any problems with that before this accident?
A. No, I just had a baby.
Q. And that would have been three years before this accident?
A. Yes, it was working fine.

Texas Again

Q. And what do you do for the pain when it -- when it comes?
A. Apply heat and take some -- not aspirin, but pain -- over-the-counter killers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Untitled 15

(I love The BBC science articles.)

Against this galaxy a woman
Measuring earthshine

A mirror-like reflection
Bouncing back

From the poet's hand

Light dims and
Reddens as it passes

Over dry land

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Across This Reality A Dark Penciled Line

(Andy, my California brother, is visiting this week, along with my niece and nephew. He wants to know why Indiana is so cold. Another beginning of something, I guess.)

The August we failed
To notice Watergate

And dug a trough large
Enough to swallow Father

I encountered Darwin and
The Wallace Divide

Monday, April 13, 2009

Untitled 13

(So, I like what I have, but I'm falling quickly back into my old ways. I can't bear to add the wrong thing and ruin it. Man, am I going to have a lot of work to do come May.)

It's just a shadow

This gestalt that falls
Across the face of the moon

The Nest

For scale.
Hands by Charmi & Chris.

For detail.

Marie gave us the rundown on hummingbird nests. They're made out of spider webs and then dotted with lichen to make a disguise. I tried to poem it, but it needs work.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Untitled 12

(We were salamander skunked today, but someone brought a hummingbird nest in to the Nature Center.)

Say the hummingbird's
A home wrecker

How else to account
For the missing orbs

She'll carry it off from the porches

A touch of lichen on
The windows and it feels

Just like yours

Unmiring

My kids are mired in tradition -- and candy. The Easter baskets absolutely must arrive. (They have.) Tom thought we ought to do an Easter egg hunt, also, but finally we have something new. A salamander hunt. Our naturalist friend at Potato Creek, Marie, needs salamanders. So, this evening we're Easter picnicking and salamander hunting at PC. If you need something to do later....

Otherwise, have a wonderful Easter and try to send me some poetry writing vibes. I seem to be fading off into a springtime nap or something.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Untitled 11

(Although I'm running short on excuses, today I'll blame low biorhythms. It sounds good.)

I have become assorted

A blue jar in the window
Harboring sharps and fines

And a feather

Friday, April 10, 2009

Orbital Debris

(More fragments. Jeez. On a side note, I saw a couple of teenagers with a walleye they pulled out of Baugo Creek yesterday. I knew the walleyes were in the river, but it's the first one I've seen from the creek. Those eyes are just amazing.)

I suppose it's statistical
The incidence of sapphires

Dripping dark in your well

I'm counting backwards
Past twenty-three empires

And the decolonization
Of the inner realm

Woo-Hoo!!

Clayton has had a poem accepted by Makeout Creek! Congrats!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Opening Remarks

(Rats. Another non-inspired day. This is definitely one way to make the month seem long. I'm going to need to become passionate enough about something to write about it one of these times...)

It's a casualty of the mind
to think death before sunshine

(I said sunshine)

The Amish horses, for instance
aren't dead in their fields

They're dreaming

I could have been a Budweiser

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I Should Have Taken A Nap

(Tired today. But still I few lines to start something with when I begin revising in May.)

The ice is free flowing

There's no need to
Save the packaging

The ports of your departure
Have been submerged

A Brief Word From Our Sponsor

It's just the animals and me this week. Gene and Jojo have traveled to D.C. for Jojo's last high school spring break. I'm trying to keep the dogs off the couch. No go.
And I took a short trip up to Kalamazoo last night to see Tom play.
This sculpure is outside the new art building.
I like the colors.




Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Day 7

My landlord is dying

The City of God segues into
The half-life of urban decay

(100,000 years out from the homeland)

She knows you can't be trusted
With the myna birds, but keep singing

The coyotes, I heard,
Were the first to be tamed

Monday, April 06, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

Naoko has had two poems accepted at Rune! Congrats!!

Untitled Day 6

The blue ash cat
Licking the blade

Of grass has captured
A hummingbird cumulus

Our windows are cracked

It's late September

Frame for me then
A peach pollen moon

We're still rising

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Untitled

(Tom's 21st Birthday, the merest beginnings of a poem that has nothing to do with him, poor fellow. I could have at least written him a birthday poem! Or not.)

Pry from me
An open-handed moment

Tire iron and fist
Full of nails for mending

Those spinnaker hearts
Caught sailing

Into the branches
Of wintering trees

(I'm feeling better about this process. I like the idea of writing crap, but then moving on the next day to more crap, instead of spending months thinking about one thing. If I can make it through the month I'll have a tidy pile to sift through, with maybe some things to keep.)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Horse Gentian

(The music stopped long enough to find a few lines.)

Beginning brilliant

Cirrus minus and swish of tail

We are distantly related

I didn't want to stare

Into your unbranchedness

Your fine covering pubescence

Others, certainly, have tried
And failed

Save the pieces

Bluff and bleed

Nought

Shit, I got nothing -- but Jojo playing the piano all day, everything from Jesus Christ Superstar to The Corpse Bride -- and a cat meowing and clawing at my door. I feel violent.

Friday, April 03, 2009

One-Tenth of the Way Through

(Another partial poem. Isn't this fun? No, it isn't. It's plain old work. I hope by the end of the month I'll feel differently.)

The woman in the leopard
Print dress wants you to believe

It's all natural

The American lion much larger
13,000 years ago

(And living)

Long legs capable of chasing
Down its prey

I believe in extinction

And the futility of calling
God good

In the particular

Or of calling

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dark Matter

(So, there are going to be a lot of partial poems here. I never liked pressure...)

Grandfather cut timber at Fort Stewart
And kept a knife in his pocket, scoring
Oranges into sections before carefully
Peeling away their skin.

There's a salivary gland called the parotid
That runs diretly below the ear. I envision
Communication. Pavlov's ears

Beginning to twitch whenever dogs
Were near.

Still An April Fool

Most of the time, when I look at my poetry, it looks like something someone wrote with a fat kindergarten crayon, while everyone else is writing with fine point pens. I've tried adjusting the font, but it doesn't seem to help. If only switching writing instruments would solve all my poetic problems!

Mark has posted a couple of poems.

And if you'd like a writing prompt, you can check out the Poetic Asides link I stole from Sarah.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

National Poetry Writing Month

A little motivation never hurt. Louise is participating in National Poetry Writing Month. Her opening volley is pretty good. Maybe you'd like to give it a go? I'll throw something out from the dark closet of rough, rough drafts, too.

Untitled

Maybe the caterpillars
Will pay for the dying.

Grandmother is waiting
For the women with Scotch

Tape to escort her home,
Turn the compost, doctor

The rugs. I'm waiting
For the genius who stole the

Big Boy to come calling.
I'll say there was a painted

Circle on the roadway,
That I observed a puddle

Of blood and a tennis shoe,
But no nine-foot tall

Bare-footed statue, no
Miracle white Clorox-

Dispensing love.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coming Soon To A Major Restaurant Near You

Q. Did anyone know the sous-chef was living on top of the walk-in refrigerator?
A. Yeah, everybody in the restaurant -- when somebody is living on top of your refrigerator, have all their stuff packed up in bags on top of the refrigerator, you tend to notice that stuff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Contest

In my e-mail box today:


The MacGuffin’s 14th National

Poet Hunt Contest

Judged by Thomas Lynch

First Place Prize $500

*Two Honorable Mentions*

Contest Rules

1. Each entrant will receive one FREE issue of The MacGuffin that includes the 14th National Poet Hunt winners.

2. Staff members and their families are not eligible to participate.

3. An entry consists of five poems.

4. Poems must be typed on sheets of 8½ x 11” paper. Clean photocopies are acceptable. DO NOT place name and address on submissions. Entries can also be made electronically as an MS Word document on a 3½" disk or CD (PC format recommended).

5. Each entrant must include a 3 x 5 index card that includes poem titles and the contestant’s name, address, daytime telephone number, and email address.

6. There is a $15.00 entry fee. Please send check or money order payable to “Schoolcraft College.” Please do not send cash.

7. Poems must not be previously published, and must be the original work of the contestant. Poems may be under consideration elsewhere. The MacGuffin reserves the right to disqualify a work that is accepted elsewhere.

8. No entries will be returned.

9. Entrants wishing to receive a list of winners should send a stamped SASE.

10. Entries must be postmarked between April 1, 2009 and June 3, 2009.

Mail entries to:

    The MacGuffin/Poet Hunt Contest

    Schoolcraft College

    18600 Haggerty Road

    Livonia, MI 48152

    Winners will be announced in September 2009

    First Place and Honorable Mention poems will be published in a future issue of The MacGuffin.

    The MacGuffin reserves the right not to award any Honorable Mentions.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Abundance

Part of The History of Indiana mural at Purdue.
I've been fooling around for a few days at PU while Gene worked as the safety inspector for the First Robotics regional competition. I imagined I would have long days to myself in the hotel room to write, but at noon on the first day I looked up and discovered I had company -- on the fourth floor. The windows were been recaulked. Good thing I wasn't wearing that French maid outfit I usually write in... Those guys stayed with me the whole, doggone time.
Back at home, the frogs are chorusing and the osprey have returned to Potato Creek. Recent PU grad and longtime friend Marie Hamstra is now naturalisting there. Woo-hoo! Jojo, Max and I stopped in at the Hamstra abode on the way home to check out the pond Calvin is building for Marie. Yes, folks, he's digging that baby in the shape of a heart. Awwwww.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prophetstown

(Revising...)

They’re burning the prairie.
The white-tailed deer on
The edge of the fen, silent,

While you pick your way
Through sedge, milkweed
Casks, a violence of spring

Welling out of the ground
(Otherwise known as sinking. )
Tecumseh, for the moment,

Is out of town, and who knows
About his brother and those hands --
No -- arms he is holding up

Like Moses and his people
At the Red Sea, the waters
Escaping, the armies sure

To rise up out of
The history of glaciers
Subterranean springs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lines

I derive an enormous amount of pleasure out of hanging things out to dry. I'm like an animal out there, listening, sniffing. The birds! The cars revving their engines at the race track on Sunday morning! The realization that one of my neighbors really needs to have their septic tank pumped, if that isn't happening at this very moment, although it smells like it is.

I'm hoping a few more things will be hung out to dry. AIG keeps surfacing here. No, Congress, President Obama, don't let them pay out their 100-some million in bonuses! You have a contract? Let them sue. Publish all the names of those people who are getting the bonuses. Come on, I'm trying to send two kids to college here and maybe fill my bird feeders.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stashing

Although I generally deny it, I do occasionally watch TV, especially if I've been goaded into it. So, I watched the Jon Stewart takedown of Jim Cramer, albeit the rerun on Friday night at 8:00. I've never seen Jim Cramer before, but I get it. TV has its moments.

If you're lucky, all your money is in books. Or maybe a nice piece of land out in the middle of nowhere that you'd really like to live on someday. You might stop thinking about the resale value of your house and paint your walls any color you damn well please. Maybe America is going to start thinking differently about the whole money thing, but I kind of doubt it.

Gene and Tom put up a new clothes lines for me yesterday. I've been without for a while. I was bringing the blankets in at dusk while my neighbors across the way were having an animated argument about being pressured into signing contracts in their side yard. Other neighbors' bill collectors are starting to call me. "I'm trying to reach a party at ...." Sorry, I can't help you.

T-Bills crossed my mind, so Google helped me find this 2004 article from Slate. Then today's article from Slate is here. And Daniel Gross thinks we should take his advice why? It still seems like this game that Stewart was talking about.

If you're reading this from far away, you should know that Elkhart is five minutes from my house. Elkhart with 18.3% unemployment. But I'm wondering about all the different realities we're living in. And that's all I have to say.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Woo-Hoo!

Naoko's poem "Greenhouse" has been accepted by Pebble Lake Review! Congrats!!

And Wednesday in the mail I received a signed copy of Black Book Press #44 with poems by Chad & Neil. Thanks, guys!

The week is shaping up very fine.

Monday, March 09, 2009

FGWC

Seriously. I'm not kidding.

This Saturday, March 14th, 1:00 p.m., The Chicory Cafe.

The assignment: Write a letter using some historical figure as your persona. For an example, check out The Czar's Last Christmas Letter: A Barn in the Urals by Norman Dubie.

E-mails will be arriving shortly.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Meandering

The blog posts are coming few and far between, and not just for me. Maybe later we'll all look back at this and say, "Oh, remember when we all blogged?" I wonder if these posts will looks like hairdos from past decades. God. Then we'll all say, "At least back then Joe had hair." Or "Who the heck is Joe?"

Spring is bringing the traveling season back. Tom & I spent a couple of days hiking in southern Indiana during his spring break. Gene is packing his bags for a short trip to Chihuahua next week, just in time for the spring drug wars. (This is what comes from having a passport.) Jojo is hoping her schoolwork is caught up enough that she can go to St. Louis in April. I wake up in the middle of the night and remember she'll only be living at home for a few more months.

It's going to be a hectic few months, but I'll schedule a writers' workshop soon.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Just Saying

March 2007 advertisement on the back cover of National Geographic:

AIG - It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know we'll be there for future rocket scientists.

"When it comes to your money, nothing about the future is certain. But for over 85 years, people have secured their financial futures with the AIG companies. Whether planning for college, protecting your family or saving for retirement, our strength and experience mean we'll be there for you, for generations to come."

March 2009 Los Angeles Times headline:

Feds give AIG $30 billion more.

"The additional resources will help stabilize the company, and in doing so help to stabilize the financial system," the Treasury Department said in an early morning statement.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spring Rilke

Poetry came my way rather later in life, middle-age, and it seems like I'll never catch up on my reading. That's not an entirely bad thing. I will not have idle eyes.

I finally bought some Rilke, Duino Elegies. It looks like he probably is all that.

Here are some excerpts from "Fourth Elegy", without the proper formatting. Blogger just isn't helpful in that way at all:

*

But we
when we're fully intent
on one thing

can already feel
the pull of another.
Hatred is always close by.

Aren't lovers always
coming to sheer drop-offs
inside each other
they who promised themselves
open spaces, good hunting
and a homeland?

*

you who loved me
for my little beginning
of love for you

I always lost track of
because of the distance
in your face

even as I loved it
turned into outer space
where you no longer existed . . .

*

Who shows a child
as he really is?

Who sets him among the stars
and puts the measure of distance
in his hand?

Who makes the child's death
out of a gray beard
that gets hard
who leaves it there
in his round mouth
like the core
of a lovely apple?
Murderers aren't hard to comprehend
But this:
to contain death
the whole of death
even before life has begun
to contain it so gently
and not be angry--
this is indescribable.

(Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, Translated by David Young, W.W. Norton & Company, 1978)