Thursday, July 29, 2010


Soon we leave for the Italian lakeside town of Tignale for vacation. I've been practicing my Italian curse words and most importantly deciding which books to take along. After all, it's pretty easy to pick out seven pairs of underwear, but which seven (?) books to bring is a decision that should be guided in part by deep consideration and in part by instinct.
Things are looking good, though, because I've finally gotten to work on my New Year's resolution, which was to read David Copperfield. For months I've been looking at it on the shelf and groaning nooooo. But, now at page 81 (of about 900) I have to admit it is a wonderful book, sad in its melodramatic dickensian way and also very funny. Of course it is not a difficult book, just huge. But my fear that is would be a musty old eye-roller was wrong. I love orphans and plump, sentimental maids whose buttons pop when they hug you. I feel just like this guy in The Twilight Zone.
Since it's the size of three books, it should keep me fed for a while. But I'll also take some short stories, and a couple back-up novels, including Cloud Atlas. Also Sebastian Junger's War, and Dorothea Lasky's Awe. This much is sure.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


(I’m spending a lot of time in parentheses these days.)
(It’s nice in here, and sheltered. Fendered.)
(Kind of noncommittal.)
(Like everything is just an aside.)
(What? This?! Not really that important.)
(Surely there are more important things.)
(Don’t mind me.) (Someone just dropped me here poolside.)
(This isn’t even a speech bubble. Just a (thought) bubble.)
(Don’t pay it much attention.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

letting the sun settle everything

While I was dragging through a 13-hour day at work on Friday, a frazzled dandelion was blooming through the sidewalk crack ... errr, no, don't think so.

While I was pounding through a 13-hour day at work, they were crafting a glass menagerie where once there was just a resinous thought of death ... uh, also no.

While I was slaving out a 13-hour workday yesterday, a beard was being smoked from its follicular cave into the open like so much play-doh ... hmmm, getting warmer?

While I was at work yesterday, wearing my horse blinders and conducting the keyboard orchestra, little did I know that crows were crushing the House of Usher.

Swedish meatballs were seizing the House of Pancakes.

1-Adam-12: an enormous sneeze was threatening to blow up the White House.

And some of my poems became scrollable under grey skirts at Escape into Life.

Welcome you read.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

the glasses one wears in dreams

I have a tiny ode to a major classic up a quarrtsiluni today.
Please to enjoy!

That reminds me - before my right hand started hurting, and it still does a bit although it's better and I'm trying not to burden it too much or my right eye, either, which sometimes starts twitching in sympathy - I began a meme that qarrtsiluni editor Dave Bonta tagged me on. I'm supposed to tag 8 people, but I'm pretty chicken, although I will tag Ron Hardy if he's game because he knows and I know that he's way way better at this than me. Before I bail completely, here's what I'd done:

Is half a stone still a whole stone?
As much as I don’t like to go into it, it would be politically incorrect to keep half a stone from being considered a whole stone. Is a man who comes home from war without his arms and legs half a man? Is Eric the half a bee no longer an entity? Don’t listen to the ads – in many cases, size does not matter.

Do grains of sand get tired of being recycled into mountains?
Sand has to do its bit just like the rest of us and unlike the rest of us does so without whining. Most sand is made into glass, bottles and the goblet that made Harry Potter possible. The sand that skips that and gets to make the mountains is called sandecstatic.

If you crossed a bat with a mushroom, would you get an umbrella?
No, you’d get a Flederpilzmaus, at least in German.

Do the glasses one wears in a dream require a prescription?
According to Freud, the glasses one wears in a dream are custom made, individually shrinkwrapped and a byproduct of the day’s residues and displacement. Say one day you see a pancake being flipped in a restaurant window and that pancake later shows up in your dream as a beige car flipping off a cliff, killing someone you didn’t even know you didn’t like. Glasses symbolize our inability to perceive things as they are. The dream is the glasses, prescribed special for you.

What songs do they sing in a school without windows?
A school without windows may have Dutch doors, which are just as good and extemely practical. Thus it is meet and right and our bounden duty to sing The Double Dutch Bus in school. Fee fi fo fum. Well I’ll be darned here it comes.

Do the daisies love us or not?
The oil is still spewing. The daisies hate our guts.

Is there any reason to believe that we’ll have working mouthparts in the next life?
In my next life I would be happy to have even non-working mouthparts. I’m not a big fan of either talking or eating, both of which everyone tends to overdo. And talking is not as important as writing anyway.

What kind of cartilage connects us to the stars?
There are some stars you don’t want to have a connection with at all. There are whole neighborhoods of Beverly Hills that make me want to take that secret dog pill that turns you into a mutt well away from the homo saps. But because of fossils and chimps, DNA, and the sad, fragile smile of Sissy Spacek, we are linked to the stars, by far more than cartilage.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

my daughter returns from camp

There was a mouse in our room! And the beds were dirty. We ate breakfast too early, and then two hours later we had lunch and that was too early. And then we had to wait six hours for dinner! We were so hungry! And there was a pissoir in our room! And it stunk in there because there was some problem with the drainage.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


i must be quiet now. i've broken up with my wrists.
hope to patch things up. soon.

Friday, July 09, 2010

i'll just get off up a ways

I was thinking this morning, when was the last time I had a Bloody Mary? I was probably in my twenties. I think it was at my friend Amy's (first) wedding, where I wore pale pink and stood under the chuppah with her. When I see a picture of a Bloody Mary, I think, wow, those are delicious. But in fact they are not delicious, and wine is my swami. Actually I don't care about Bloody Marys and don't want to see pictures of them. I want to move to Copenhagen and live under a canopy made of intricately cut paper, open on all four sides to symbolize, as Abraham and Sarah's tent did, boundless hospitality.

Song of the day: Coyote

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I read. I spread joy.

I don’t know anymore what “frequently” means but I frequently review books over at Good Reads. I usually don’t post the reviews here because why should I. But I bought a chapbook recently on a whim and because I liked it so much, I thought why not. It’s Frank Montesonti’s A Civic Pageant.

To be honest when the chapbook arrived I feared I was about to add it to the buyer’s remorse blob I’ve been working on in my garage. The title struck me suddenly as pompous, and the cover design gave me a “huh?” moment (a rudimentary dinosaur in a tie and hat smoking a cigarette. Maybe it’s a joint. I don’t get the cover.). But the poems are great – sad and funny, heavy in a sneaky, casual way. More than once I was brought to tears. This may have been hormones.

When I got to the poem “Faking It” I realized I’d read the poem years ago in an issue of Barrow Street and had even written the poet to say how much I liked it. (Other than that I swear I am not related to Frank Montesonti, nor have I ever met him, nor is he in any position I'm aware of that would make my own poetry better or more marketable even.) Many of the poems in this chapbook were even better than “Faking It,” which begins –

“My girlfriend has multiple orgasms. I’m not sure who is giving her these orgasms, but she’ll come home with a grocery sack and drop them on the table –

they look like tiny doorknobs made of bronze.”

Some of the poems have line breaks and stanzas but many of them appear on the page more like prose poems. “Faking It,” for example, starts off “shaped like prose” but then becomes poem. None of this bothered me. All the poems were inviting. The only poem “formats” that bother me are those where the poet throws two words on one page, two more words on the next page and instructs readers to slacken their jaws and say “wow.” I fail at this. But Mr. Montesonti doesn’t use that tricky format.

Among my favorites was “Redundancy of Light,” which starts seemingly seriously and turns funny –

“Outside this hotel room
rain falls as pure as its definition.
Call the French, tell them

there should be a word
for shadows of raindrops
on a hotel window.”

Many of the poems, and there are only 17 in the chapbook, refer to film or particular films. One starts with George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and another one of my favorites is “Quitclaim of the Wizard of Oz,” even though it has been dawning on me for years that I really don’t like “The Wizard of Oz.” I've never admitted this in public, or to myself, until now. There’s another called “Film Noir” and another with the long long title “Gratuitous Voice-Over at the End of a Film Reflecting on the Tribulations of the Plot and Coming Finally to an Epiphany.”

This is one of the best –if not the best- poetry collection I’ve read this year. It’s one of those in which everything in me says “yes, that’s right.”

Here’s a link to a poem (the George Bailey one) at 42Opus and a second one also from the book published at Diagram.

I thought Frank Montesonti was my secret discovery but I looked him up on Facebook and would you believe there’s a group called “Frank Montesonti is a Poetic God?” There is, and I joined it.

Monday, July 05, 2010


The voice of reason dropped by.
I wasn’t glad to see him.

Friday, July 02, 2010

the night of the shirts

So, as you probably know, W.S. Merwin is the new poet laureate. I’m not surprised. He’s won everything else but the Nobel Prize (which he should also win, as soon as possible). Making him poet laureate seems kind of superfluous. The first thing that came to my mind was that scene in "The Shining," where Jack Nicholson is told he’s always been the caretaker. In my mind, W.S. Merwin, too, has always been the caretaker. I'm a big Merwin admirer. He is a very serious man and a beautiful poet. (Jack Nicholson, on the other hand....)

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