Wednesday, December 31, 2008

do not mix

Eauvain Beaujolais
A round young wine that can’t concentrate. Elastic body with an acrobatic, almost chewable bosom. The finish evokes mink, kerosene and low satire. Toothsome and juked up with pepper, this Beaujolais is two-thirds woodsmoke, one-third brioche. Can easily be paired with Chopin or Satie, but does not mix well with Dutch conductors.

Domaine Gravure Medoc
This is a witty sometimes hilarious wine with an afternote of two cherry trees planted too close together. Very Mademoiselle Magazine. It holds the strong nuance of cigars with side notes of suntan oil and figs. It is like the neighbor down the street with the gravelly voice and smoky good looks. You don’t see him every day but when you do then oooh baby.

Maison Vigniot Sancerre
Thin but delicious like rain. This straw-yellow white smells of clean laundry hung to dry on a Paris balcony. Think walking barefoot among geese. Think tangerine, bouquet of peat moss, nuance of re-reading Chekhov.

Chateau Somnambulé Sauternes
There is no fluff stuck to this knife. This wine is the Brigitte Bardot of Sauternes, perfumed with marine minerals, nickels and anise. It has an intelligent bloom, bedroom eyes and an oceanic finish. Goes well with cheese, carpentry and extended drought. Guaranteed to improve your French pronunciation.

Callous-Saumille Bordeaux
Big bells are ringing in this. Here is a full-blooded wine, promiscuous and rich in after-rush. Its come-hither bouquet evokes chestnuts and late September. Its nose is true brunette, authentic and nutsy. The cinnamon finish is long, like all the next day long.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

alone in the evening with a moleskin

The NYTimes ran an article yesterday about why you should feel guilty about buying used books on the internet. It’s the death of bookstores, some say, and deprives authors of their income.

I’m finding it hard to get on the moral high horse here. I’m afraid in these days when a new paperback can top $20, I travel the pre-read road. I appreciate the implications. But while I don’t go scavenging the woods for food, I do like frugality.

And recycling. I also buy used cars, bikes and clothing and don’t feel terrible about the engineers and fashion designers who aren’t cashing in. Re-selling means the original purchaser is recouping some of his outlay, part of which paid the retailer.

Of course writers should be rewarded for their work, just like teachers, nurses and home healthcare aides, but they also need to be realistic. And, as a poet who writes with little hope of publishing industry profit, I know most serious writers are in it for more than money. Many actually hope to enrich their readers. And we all do a lot of worthwhile reading for the price of an internet connection already.

I feel sorrier for the bookstores. Maybe booksellers should, like used car dealers, buy up all the used books for a pittance and re-sell them for more. Or maybe, like the mayor of beleagured Philadelphia, we should just close some libraries. You can read books for free there whether you paid your taxes or not!

My mother and sister visited for Christmas and the first thing I did was unload books on them (mom: Katherine Graham’s Personal History, Ben Bradlee’s A Good Life, Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shouting, Richard Slotkin’s Abe and the Civil War novel The Killer Angels; sister: Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha). This gave me great pleasure. I would have given them more but I was trying to find things they’d like, and I didn’t mind parting with. Also my sister gave me a book for Christmas that she’d just finished – Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. I was delighted, and unconscionably guiltless.

There isn’t much difference between giving books away and buying them for a dollar on the internet, or for $5 at a used bookstore for that matter, except that internet transactions, I presume from the NYT article, are taking place on a way larger scale. I believe it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

ride my llama

I sent Carlo out to the video store for It's a Wonderful Life,
and he came back with The Dark Knight.
This required some serious reorientation.
In any case, I was strangely delighted.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

wind-up jaywalker

Merry Christmas kids!
Merry Christmas Frau Weyrauch!
Merry Christmas CNN!
Merry Christmas Hans Arp cookie cutters!
Merry Christmas Bernie Madoff!
Merry Christmas Cuveé Mythique!
Merry Christmas Mom & Lisa!
Merry Christmas GM and Ford and Chrysler!
Merry Christmas Rosebud apron!
Merry Christmas Shops close at 2 o’clock!
Merry Christmas European cities!
Merry Christmas Ingeborg!
Merry Christmas Midnight mass!
Merry Christmas Lego Star Wars!
Merry Christmas President-elect Obama!
Merry Christmas Holiday eviction moratorium!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

red-eyed bluebird

I'm so tired today, and have little to say except that I had duck for lunch with spätzle. Still, I did want to mention that the new Dirty Napkin is up, and includes my poem "Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat." This poem takes place in a little town in Germany, as my lunch did.

I also have a poem called "Commodities" at Gulf Stream. This poem takes place in my office.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

swoon as chaperone

This is premature since I'm currently reading some books I'll likely finish before the end of the year. Nevertheless, here are the books I read this past year, excluding e-books and art books without much text. It seems like a lot (to me) but some are poetry chapbooks that I read in an afternoon.

The 17 books that are bold and asterisked are those that I found especially worth the time. I threw in one-word reviews at no extra cost. But many others on the list are also very good. For instance, why did I leave out "Mothers of Invention" and "The Slaves of Solitude?" Sometimes I just have to stop asterisking.

It would be easier to talk about those I wouldn't recommend, such as "Moravagine," which would earn the bottom spot. A shame, and a surprise, since I love Blaise Cendrars' poetry. Love. Top of the list would be "Stoner," which reads like soul food.

I probably reviewed half of these at GoodReads, if you go there.

1. Schindler’s List – – Thomas Keneally (Jan)* -- heartening
2. The Color of Blood – Brian Moore (Jan)
3. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink (Jan)
4. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro (Jan)* -- worrying
5. Novels in Three Lines – Felix Feneon
6. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (Jan)* -- uncanny
7. From the Hidden Storehouse – Benjamin Peret (Feb)* -- wild
8. Rule of the Bone – Russell Banks (Feb)
9. Last Orders – Graham Swift (Feb)
10. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion (Feb)* -- devastating
11. Elegy on Toy Piano – Dean Young
12. Eclipse – John Banville (march)
13. A Dangerous Friend – Ward Just (march)
14. Post Meridian – Mary Ruefle (march)
15. This Republic Of Suffering – Drew Gilpin Faust (mar)* -- fascinating
16. Talk Poetry – Mairead Byrne (apr)* -- refreshing
17. The Floating Island - Pablo Medina (apr)
18. Poet’s Choice – Edward Hirsch (apr)
19. The Kiss – Kathryn Harrison (apr)
20. The Way Birds Become – Joseph Bradshaw (may)* -- delightful
21. Language for a New Century: Poetry From the Middle East, Asia & Beyond (may)
22. Stoner – John Williams (May)* -- perfect
23. Epitaph of a Small Winner – Machado de Assis (June)
24. The Lost – Daniel Mendelsohn (July)* -- soulful
25. The Gathering – Anne Enright (July)
26. The Nature of Things – Francis Ponge (July)* --pointed
27. Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegman (July)
28. The Best Short Stories of 2002 (july)
29. Instructions from the Narwhal – Allison Titus (summer)
30. Divisadero – Michael Ondaatje (july)* -- different
31. The Room Where I Was Born – Brian Teare
32. Perfumes – Luca Turin & Maria Sanchez
33. Remarkable Trees – Thomas Parkenham (aug)
34. Moravagine – Blaise Cendrars (aug)
35. The Thirteenth Month – Inge Pederson (aug)
36. I Feel Bad About my Neck – Nora Ephron
37. Recovering the Body – Nicole Cartwright Denison
38. Orange Girl – Simone Muench
39. The Animal Husband – Christine Hamm
40. See Also Electric Light – Jen Tynes
41. The Traffic in Women – Kristina Marie Darling
42. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls (aug)* -- endearing
43. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Jean-Dominique Bauby (Aug)
44. Mothers of Invention – Drew Gilpin Faust (Sept)
45. But What – Judith Herzberg (Sept)
46. The Catastrophist – Ronan Bennett (Sept)
47. The Alphabet in the Park – Adele Prado (Sept)
48. Denmark, Kangaroo, Orange – Kevin Griffith (Sept)
49. The Great Enigma – Tomas Transtromer (Oct)
50. The Slaves of Solitude – Patrick Hamilton (Oct)
51. Decoy – Elaine Equi (Oct)
52. The Door in the Mountain – Jean Valentine
53. Samuel Coleridge Is Indignant – Lydia Davis (oct)
54. German Twentieth Century Poetry – ed. Michael Hoffman (oct)* --smorgasborgish
55. The Road – Cormac McCarthy (Oct)* -- essential
56. Photography Past/Forward: Aperture at 50 (Oct)
57. Ooga-Booga – Friedrich Siegel (Oct)* -- truthful
58. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami (Nov)* -- wildflowery
59. In the Kingdom of My Familiar – Julie Platt (Nov)
60. Astonishing Splashes of Color – Claire Morrall (Nov)
61. Books v. Cigarettes – George Orwell (Dec)
62. The Art Lover – Carole Maso (Dec)
63. The Pilgrim Hawk - Glenway Wescott (Dec)
64. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga (Dec)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

what my boss was doodling at the meeting

He was doodling a nine-paned window with knights' shields in some.
He doodled a long river and added an extra line to help its twisting.
I lost my train of thought. He doodled something like burst chestnuts
or sleigh bells. Three of these. Then there was that deskpiece used
long ago to measure time; in German it's a Sanduhr, but
I couldn't remember the English, which couldn't be Sandclock,
and I'd really lost the thread of the meeting by the time
I remembered the English word and thought through why
it wasn't as good.

Monday, December 15, 2008


if the train doesn't bury you
the escalator will bury you
if the escalator doesn't bury you
the tramplers will bury you
if the tramplers don't bury you
the snow will bury you
the snow will bury you
lucky you, finally
to be buried at all

Thursday, December 11, 2008

often I've wondered

Stand Alone Synchronicity Equipment
Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment
Society of Advocates for Sociopathic English
Solemn Association of Scientific Esoterics
South African Seasickness Exchange
Semi Automatic Sidearm Enthusiasts
School for Anguished Suitcase Elastic
Suicide Awareness and Solace Engineering
Self Abusive Sumptuous Egoism
Seismatic Adaption Syndrome Expert
Subatomic Syntactic Error

Saturday, December 06, 2008

3x fast

I did pretty much nothing today. I swore I wouldn't spend more than 20 mins in the video store picking out a film but of course I was there forever. I made a model Titanic with Miles, and then a very complicated WWI airplane. I bought olives, huge capers and feta cheese, and a book for Luisa. And I hurried home to record "Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat" for The Dirty Napkin, which will be in their next issue. I had a date to call their editor at 5 pm, and didn't want to be late. It was morning where he was.

I have a poem up at Qarrtsiluni called "Tin," my second in this issue - Journaling the Apocalypse. I read that one, too. Just push the button. Or read it to yourself.
I'd prefer that.

I'm reading everything these days.

Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, a painter I spoke about a few posts ago, has sent me the full image of her piece "Wendy and Pato Go Boating."

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I'm supposed to write a bio for my chapbook and it's driving me bananas. I guarantee it will be about two sentences long, with hours of suffering stuffed in. Isn't it hard to be at least slightly interesting without being "cute?" As someone who has no MFA, no big poetry awards and no idyllic resendencies on the CV, I always find it hard to fill out the form.

I did pick some cover art, a process less painful. There's a wonderful collage artist named Emmanuel Polanco, who's allowed me to use one of his Tarot Card images. His site is here. Go browse around. Under the "Tarot of marseille" link, my image is that of the faceless gentlemen with four arms.

Elsewhere, this morning I got word from Unsplendid telling me the editors have nominated my "Canaan Ghazal" for a Pushcart. I'm thrilled, and not least because the nomination is from a journal of formal poetry and that's not my usual style. The ghazal form has great charm, though. My thanks to Unsplendid.

word of the year

assoholic: this is a person who can't stop being an asshole.
who is addicted to being an asshole.
who needs help, but nobody wants to help.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

couldn't have said it better

If the player or enemy were shot the surrounding will have explosive wave. The occurred enemy will attack on the player. 10-score for one-shot of the enemy, which may be killed after three shot. For the killing flashing will display. The bat and spider can’t be killed. No bullet launching. But they may hit to make the player die. After the bullets being used up the ground will have nursing supply for the players to pick up. The party with bullets can’t get this nursing.
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