Friday, September 29, 2006

i'm sad about my country

Dear little fucking mirage of a civilization
What is the fucking story with gun control
What the devil is y’all up to
Why does every deranged fuckup have a gun or a father who has one
What is with your children
Your airport security
Your screw-up police department
What is with those NRA dicks and their scum-money
I want to warn you
I’m visiting your fucked up chimera in two weeks
And I’m gonna buy a rifle down at Kmart
If there is still a Kmart
And blow a fucking hole in all of yas
If anything happens to my children

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Got a submission ready this morning then suffered a last-minute crisis. I put it all in the envelope with the nagging feeling that one of the titles is wrong. Because I like the poem I told myself the title was secondary. But the more I thought about the title, the dumber it seemed. I was at least partly psyching myself out. But rather than suffer a two-day struggle session over it and sit on the sub, I’m leaving the poem out.

I knew I would get crazy when I started flipping through titles of poems looking for a jolt. (Now “jolt” is good, can I wriggle that in?). The search helped not at all, except in showing how may unremarkable titles are out there. Here's a chunk of what I turned up:

Acquisition * Race * Luck * A Man in Pearls * Consumed * The Overcoat * Desire * August Day * White Flannel Trousers * Sonnet * Obsession * The Deathmask of El Gaucho * Amputees * Glad All Over * Romancing the Bay Mare * Solitude * Voyage * Sandals * President of the Flat Earth Society Dies * Infinity

OK, which of those would you read first? Certainly those that are a little different are more enticing, but I’m sure most of us have resorted to generics once in a while. Of course, once you read the poem the title may be weirdly perfect. But I didn’t read these poems.

In other news, I got a rejection from Rosebud yesterday, one year and seven months after I submitted. Oh, with ink.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Been there, done that

Finished 30:30 at ITWS, & hope to get a poem or two out of it. The good thing is you get your arm twisted to write. So you can rant or just flex your sonic tenderloins. You can also be forced to write something you've been meaning to write. And no one says you suck.
On the downside, since part of the point is to buck everybody up, you're not allowed to discourage. So when someone says to me, "yer fabulous," it could just mean "Thanks for not making me read anything like what you wrote yesterday." And "Wow, I loved the end," could just mean "Sarah, I thank God this came to an end!"

30. Subway Station (Morning’s heft hangs lurid)
29. Stone (Red leaves smatter cobblestone)
28. Read my Lips (The crick in my neck comes from caring.)
27. For Crying Out Loud (oh the crumpled wing of it all)
26. Tinder Box (Burnt Sienna: the fence along my mother’s yard, spanning the lawn like a long silence)
25. Biergarten (My homesickness outlasts hades’ blazes)
24. Summer Staples (Back where I come from)
23. Wine Reviews (A round young wine that can’t concentrate)
22. Notice in the Window(Dear students)
21. The Deal (I’m taking back my scream.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Coverlettering my Butt

When I send a cover letter with a submission, I keep to the point and avoid being funny, fawning, arrogant, etc. I don’t know who’s going to be on the other end. My cover letters run pretty much: 1) this is a submission; 2) my poems are X-Y-Z; 3) I’ve been published in A,B & C (sometimes I omit this); and 4) thanks for your time.

If the guidelines ask for something like a bio, I include that. If they accept simultaneous subs but want to know right off, I tell them.

That’s about it. I have, on occasion, mentioned something I enjoyed about the journal, whether a particular poem, or layout, or column or whatever. But I feel inhibited saying “I loved your last issue,” or “You’re one of my favorite publications.” Isn’t that brown-nosing? I mean, even if it is one of my sincere cross-my-heart-hope-to-die favorites?

So I was reading juked today for the first time after Arlene mentioned she’d have a poem there. The guidelines go:

Warning: If it's obvious you're just mailing out something you wrote to every single publication without actually knowing who the hell you're writing to, i.e., you don't know what we put up, nor do you care, you simply want someone, anyone, to publish that precious story you wrote in a stroke of alcohol-induced genius about rotting zombies hijacking convertibles for joyrides, we'll know, we'll cackle gleefully and forward your e-mail address on to our resident juju doctor, who'll know best what to do with it. We will, and we love to cackle.”

I really liked juked. The latest poems there are by Lisa Zaran and Jack Conway, two poets I like. I certainly can imagine submitting, but I’m just curious if there are other poets out there who mention in cover letters why they’re submitting to a particular place, in general. Obviously at juked, you need to say something, um, about why you love them so much. smile.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Alter egos

Hi there. I’m the unsupervised suitcase at the airport.

Hello. I’m the fungal beard growing on your yoghurt.

Hi folks. My name is Marty
& I’m gonna be your waiter tonight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

new joe

Dear boss!

Thanks for this machine with its twenty-seven buttons! Scarlet Johansson can keep her curvy figure – I adore this machine’s tall rectangularity. And the sound effect! Frruuurrrr, frrruuuurrrr! Dear boss! I know how you worry about money. In an office full of mechanical and technological apparatus, it is striking that the one thing on your desk is a calculator. So besides you, I would like to thank that calculator for being a friend to this machine. Can I say generous? Can I say munificent? Beneficent? Magnanimous? Can I say the Koran backwards? I wish!

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's a boy

Our new au pair, Maxim, arrived Friday from Russia. The kids are in heaven. We were always a little wary of having a young man, but after years of au-pair girls, I guess it’s time to admit that one moody female in the house is enough.

Let’s see… we’ve had Muriel from France, Sabine from Germany, Tatjana from Estonia, Xenia from Russia, Monica from Bulgaria, Darina from Russia and Maryna from the Ukraine. A couple of them were wonderful. But one was a drinker and heroin dabbler, one was a thief and another sat in the dark in the living room listening to Billie Holiday sing Gloomy Sunday and Strange Fruit.

Darina recommended Maxim. Since we liked her so much we figured he must be okay. We didn’t know then that he’s her boyfriend. But no matter -- the kids adore him. Miles keeps talking about his muscles and Luisa is batting her 10-year old eyelashes all around the house. On Sunday I came downstairs for breakfast with Miles to find Maxim’s shoes. Miles said, “Check out how big those are! Man, look at those shoes!” And he picks one of them up like a new baby. They’ve played hide and seek, they’ve play Monopoly, they’ve played Memory. Then Maxim fixed my bicycle and helped Carlo make dinner. Yup, it’s a real Wow World over at my house.

In poem news, the print journal River Oak Review accepted “Some Things I Didn’t Tell You about Tuesday.” I also got rejections from Frigg and Boxcar - I really like both of those so I plan to submit again. I’ve got such a bunch of poems in my file. I’m having a hard time coming up with appropriate places to submit them. Or I’m having trouble finding the time to come up with them, and go through with it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Short Reprise for Mary Todd who Went Insane, but for Very Good Reasons

I talked all day long. It was quite exhausting. The mouth and lungs tire; the furrows in the brow tire; and also the mind gets tired of putting sentences together. And of acrobating between languages. I talked about the economy. I talked about how-to. I talked about writing news for what seemed like hours. I talked staff illnesses and vacations. I talked about getting around writing problems and dealing with editors. I talked tabloids and magazines. I arranged schedules and weekends with colleagues. I talked about who should do what. I talked to reporters, translators, editors, managers, the sandwich lady, the dog, the kids, the husband, and Maxim, our new au pair. I talked to Idun, Ulrike and the coordinator at Luisa’s music school. I gave directions to Wiessenauplatz. I wished three people a nice weekend and thanked the cashier. I talked to the barefoot girl who wanted to pet Stella. I said she could and that Stella liked girls, and also playing with other dogs and that she wanted to go home now to get her dinner, goodbye.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

20 Down

Doing the poem-a-day forum at Inside the Writer's Studio. As of today, 20 done. But I can't find poem #5 so I may have counted wrong. Seems kind of impossible. Below is the rundown. Somehow horses keep showing up in my poems. Horses and I have very little to do with each other -they go about their business and I tend to mine- so I don't know where that's coming from. I do often think watching Stella run that she resembles a horse. But she resembles a seal even more. Oh it must be lovely to be a seal, as long as the people leave you to your business.

20. What I Read in the Paper (Everything about sand storms…)
19. To Long Division (I always knew you’d come back…)
18. Boredom (Cramps)
17. Unwilling to Wake (miniature hour…)
16. Neigh (The toothbrush lodges a horse…)
15. House Tour (Basement….)
14. At Thatcher’s House (This morning I remembered the trip…)
13. You are What You Think You Are (I think I’m the crook of an eyebrow…)
12. The Old Me (I wore fangs and drove a semi.)
11. Mood Libido (love me with your teeth)
10. Among my Failures (If I could have roused the horses…)
9. Some ofs from cummings (posted below)
8. Europa (Johannes, your green apples make me bitter.)
7. Charity (A half hour’s worth of dust…)
6. Evening with Labrador (I walk with browndog, anchored to her hipsway.)
5. ? I think I must have counted wrong.
4. Gallop (Every night the horse…)
3. Do Tell (Last night my thoughts puckered like peas…)
2. From Train 21 (mind the gap mind the rush)
1. Love Song to Tram #16 (Little tram, swinging out…)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself." Satie

Do you remember his laugh?

Indeed I do. And I can see him as clearly as if he was standing before us. He had stepped straight out of a Toulouse-Lautrec picture – as though alighting from a train. He cam from Arcueil, which he’d turned into a little town with only one inhabitant – himself. I can remember, too, the time when he staggered a meeting, chiefly of painters, by announcing that he had discovered twenty-seven entirely new colors. The audience was perplexed, and for a long time he kept them guessing, till finally someone asked him point-blank how he’d done such an extraordinary thing – for, after all, to discover twenty-seven new colors that had no relation to the old ones was nothing less than earth-shaking.
“Like this . . . ,” he (Satie) explained to the old bearded painter. “By suddenly and remorselessly obliterating the colors of the spectrum with an india-rubber.”

Beucler, Ravel and Fargue remembering Satie, from Satie Remembered by Robert Ortledge. photo from satie homepage.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

of equal worth/lessness, or something about these places makes me wanna roll over & die

1€ store

plastic soapdish
roll of wrapping paper
magic markers
round glass ashtray
mini-stapler with staples
Baruda suntan lotion
star-shaped nightlight
pack of 6 disposable razors
pack of 3 pastel-tone post-it notes
scrub brush
loofah mitten
toothbrush with mini-toothpaste
ramen noodles
kids’ stockings
pack of 6 scented candles
matchbox car
100(?) paper clips
decorative ceramic ladybug
plastic clothespins

Thursday, September 07, 2006

something is really gyrating on my nerves

sometimes I think I’m lucky to have an Italian husband. I can overlook all his English errors, considering it’s his third language. German is second, and he speaks a pretty mean French, too. I must brag.

anyway, I’ve been out of America so long I’m sure I’m making gaffes left and right. But you should check out the bloopers at the site for “egg corns”, mistaken reinventions of known words and expressions.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

6 Things You Didn't Know About Me

ok, michi! you asked for it.

1. I love the smell of gasoline.
2. My mother is the heroine of all my imaginary movies.
3. I once starred in a Chinese TV commercial.
4. When I was in grad school, my house burned down. And I was glad. But I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
5. That was me who drove Susan Ryan's mother's car over the lawn and totaled it against the tree in 10th grade, not Susan.
6. In the 3rd grade, a bird shit on my head, & I've never forgiven that goddamned bird.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

to everything, churn

In poem news, Kaleidowhirl has accepted “In the Voice of a Minor Saint” for its October issue. And Wicked Alice took “The Annotated Alice” for its upcoming anniversary issue of Alice in Wonderland related poems. I’ll be in good company since I see Michi and Arlene are in, too.

Elsewhere, I got a very, um, straightforward rejection from Megaera:
“We are not using your poetry for this issue of Megaera. Also I wanted to inform you the September Issue of Megaera will be the last one. Megaera will no longer accept submissions. It will remain online and the print version including back issues are available at”

Friday, September 01, 2006

Questions about the Shirt

Do I look nice in this shirt?
How much will it cost me?
Does it have to be dry cleaned?
Was this shirt made in Cambodia?
Does this shirt come with crutches?
Will it demand too much of me?
Does this shirt enjoy opera?
How about “Der Rosenkavalier?”
What is this shirt’s political history?
Is it a friend of all fishes?
Can this shirt see danger coming?
Is it familiar with Franz Wright’s poetry?
Which pants do I have that go with this shirt?
Do I get that free extra button?

Happy Birthday Stella

This girl turns 1 today.
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