Monday, February 28, 2011

and they all lived together in a little crooked house

Pretty beautiful photograph, no? Taken by my talented brother Thatcher. The singer/band pictured – Joan as Police Woman - plays at Frankfurt’s Mousonturm tonight, and I’ve got tickets for me and my daughter, who thinks Indie is everything, and my friend Ingeborg. I usually wouldn’t do this on a school/work night, but my brother has been urgently concerned about how uncool I am. Just home all the time in my uncool clothes, thinking my uncool thoughts, feeling my uncool feelings, keeping them all at low temperatures slightly above freezing.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the france less traveled

Pays à Lot
Trés Cher
Bois Sauvage
La Flopp
Lac de Funds
Chateau Morose
Pointe Strangl
Giesz Louise
Moustache Blanche
Le Spazz

Friday, February 25, 2011

my warehouse eyes

After watching I’m Not There last week, I remembered my mother gave me Bob Dylan’s autobiography Chronicles for Christmas, and I pulled it out from the book bank under the bed. I’m a big fan of Bob Dylan’s music, but I’ve never been so interested in him personally. It always seemed to me a clear cut case of ‘better not to know.’ I did read a biography of Dylan about 10 years ago – No Direction Home – which I liked, but in general, even with poets and writers and artists I love, my interest in their personal lives goes only so far. Do they call their mom on Sunday, what’s their favourite color, do they practice good hygiene…? I hate when questions like that start creeping in to the experience of their work. This can sometimes be enriching, I know, but just as often not. When my husband brought I’m Not There from the video store thinking I’d be thrilled, my first inclination was to make myself scarce.

While I think Dylan is a song-writing genius, he also always seemed like a chauvinist and an egoist. On the latter, after watching I’m Not There, I have to ask who can blame him. You get the feeling he’s being hounded relentlessly by people with wrongly-placed expectations, so Dylan says a lot of stuff off the cuff just to get them out of his face. All I can say is Go, Bob. This is something that doesn’t come over as clearly in print.

I’m enjoying Chronicles. I like it also because Dylan doesn’t intend to reveal his ‘innermost self.’ He talks about himself but also about the times and music and where he was. He does throw all kinds of anecdotes to you – he couldn’t finish The Sound and the Fury, he thinks Balzac is hilarious. He is also funny. I really enjoyed his take on the early sixties, which couldn’t help but seem contemporary.

“The dominant myth of the day seemed to be that anybody could do anything, even go to the moon. You could do whatever you wanted – in the ads and in the articles, ignore your limitations, defy them. If you were an indecisive person, you could become a leader and wear lederhosen. If you were a housewife, you could become a glamour girl with rhinestone sunglasses. Are you slow witted? No worries – you can be an intellectual genius. If you’re old, you can be young. Anything was possible. It was almost like a war against the self.” (p. 90)

Monday, February 21, 2011

better relatives

The only thing worse than movies about soccer is actual soccer.
The only thing worse than affixing the adjective 'shadowy' to the noun 'recesses' is affixing the adjective 'dark.'
The only thing worse than a cheap wine is an expensive wine that tastes like shit.
The only thing worse than a sledding accident is a deliberate sledding suicide attempt that leaves you mangled and unable to go to the potty alone but nevertheless alive.

(I actually loved Ethan Frome.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

in honor of all things unspeakable

I have a poem up at Frostwriting.

... actually another one is up now: Sworn to Observance.

This little house is a bank I found on our street last night. I walked by it, but then went back, thinking I could use it in a shadow box, if I ever get around to making another one. It says "Sparkasse" on the facade, or "savings bank," and it has one of those old-timey German water troths out front at the right and a strange swaddled mummified thing there in the middle that I am thinking to pluck away. Once I figure out what it once was. I know the lighting is bad. Use your imagination.

i have not forgotten

Amid the horrid rigamarole I am every day asked to keep track of, America, I have not forgotten you. I don’t get out of bed without the prairies and parking lots, without the wide loads and amber tucked into my collar, the totemic towers stiff in my shirt sleeves making my elbows unbreakable. America, when the cloth that was torn from my chest sets in with its enormous phantom ache like a skin graft taking place somewhere along Highway 58, I think of you, your broken blinker ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the celebration is the collapse

You know what it's like to shoulder a difficult project, or hold out through a period of killer stress. The strobe lights! Worry! The nails across the chalkboard! All the times you thought you'd keel over and couldn't do it anymore but you kept doing it. Then when it was over you should have sprung up and celebrated. But instead you collapsed, almost as if you'd been defeated.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I haven’t had a front porch since I was a kid, though I’ve had balconies, stoops, fire escapes and back terraces. Speaking from memory, then, better than on the front porch was under it – vines, potato bugs and damp, the shade, refuge, eavesdropping. And while the porch may have been a good perch for watching whatever was happening around the neighborhood, under the porch spared you all that.

Stoops, on the other hand, are a place to be seen. It's no accident that they are like chairs. They prove important, imperious, immovable.

As for balconies, they’re best for beating rugs. Or throwing the contents of the chamber pot overboard. Or reciting Edward Lear poems. If your kids get lice, put the bedlinens out there for a couple weeks. If the balcony is off a room rarely used, you can hide there effectively. If it’s not lightninging. Germans are crazy for balconies. As for me, glad owner of a back terrace, I’d rather have a bigger bedroom.

Oddly enough, fire escapes make a great place to smoke.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

land's end

Velvet plum - Coriander - Bright lemon - Spice brown– Teaberry - Loganberry - Pale mint - Honey gold – Chive - Cappuccino heather - Beet root - Aubergine - Wine grape

Sky Stuff
Pale sky - Light blue sky - Blue twilight - Sunset gold - Bold sun - Vista blue - Purple sky

Waters & Seas
Dew green - Emerald cove - Lake blue - Coral blush - Coral melon - Coral orange - Cancun coral – Ice pink - Blue marine heather - Pearl pink - Sea washed green - Sea washed red - Sail white - Blue aqua heather

Willow green - Forest moss – Ivy – Vintage brick - Flint - - Bright leaf - Foliage green - Dark spruce –Light stone– Amethyst - Blue turquoise - Light emerald - Terracotta - Dark charcoal - Pewter heather

Old Softies
Grey heather - Chambray blue - Mink heather

Yer Blues

Deepest cobalt - Blue illusion - Brilliant blue - True navy - Majestic navy - English blue

Monday, February 07, 2011

yea though i walk through the vale of tears

Nothing makes my inner English teacher writhe like Yahoo! sports news. There's always some horrible affront going down. I don't read sports news much anyway, and a lot of "sports news" is actually celebrity news, i.e. "Mr. ABC helps fan fix flat tire," or "Burger flipper fired for giving Jock Hero a free coke." Today there was a sports story on the Yahoo! home page, a heart-rending article about an injured footballer giving a speech to his teammates and "breaking down into tears." (It wasn't much of a speech as far as I understood. He'd said about two words when the faucet started flowing. Awwww!)

Anyway I would like to publicly register my chagrin about the prepositional overkill of "breaking down into tears." You can either "break into tears" or "break down in tears." You don't have to go overboard and "break down into tears," which reads like some kind of transformative, molecular miracle.

"We were in the chemistry lab when the nitrous dioxide broke down into nitrous oxide."
"I was eating lunch when salivary amylase broke the starches down into sugars."
"He was watching Lassie when the Incredible Hulk broke down into tears and scattered about the living room."

It's just not necessary.

I would also like to express my preference for being "on the verge of tears" over "being on the point of tears." You may also be "brought/moved to tears" or "to the verge of tears." I suppose "point" is not wrong, but it is not very sharp either.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Feb 1: Up: 7.56 Down: 17.18 Light: 9.21
Feb 5: Up: 7.50 Down: 17.25 Light: 9.38
Feb 9: Up: 7.44 Down: 17.32 Light: 9.48
Feb 13: Up: 7.37 Down: 17.39 Light: 10.02
Feb 17: Up: 7.30 Down: 17.46 Light: 10.16
Feb 21: Up: 7.22 Down: 17.53 Light: 10.30
Feb 25: Up: 7.14 Down: 18.00 Light: 10.45
Feb 28: Up: 7.08 Down: 18.05 Light: 10.56

Thursday, February 03, 2011

a purse lacking vinyl lining

I have two poems in the new Soundzine, an ezine that includes recordings. My poems are “Notes on Succulence” and “On Waking I Think of Winter.” (The latter was previously published in Avatar Review.) Soundzine has in-house readers, which is a good thing because I don’t have recording capabilities (yet).

“Notes on Succulence” is about how everything is on its way to rot and horror and how hopeless everything is and we’re all going to die and “On Waking” is about the same thing. (INSERT SMILEY FACE)

Also in the issue are Kathleen Kirk, Toni Clark and Judy Swann, whose poems I recommend. Sherry O’Keefe just began serving as poetry editor at Soundzine, and submissions are open for the next issue on the theme of LUCK.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

will it go round in circles

The February issue of Snakeskin is up - an issue on the theme of food edited by Jessy Randall. I have a counting poem in it called "Sushi Circle."

If you like sushi, you've probably been to a sushi restaurant with plates that go around on a band waiting to be plucked. I always enjoy watching the strange, colorful creatures go by, and occasionally eating them.
Related Posts with Thumbnails