Thursday, September 29, 2011

the moon gazed on my midnight labours

I read an article yesterday saying astronomy has confirmed that Mary Shelly saw a bright gibbous moon on the night she began “Frankenstein.” In her original introduction to the book she said the moon was shining through her window deep in the night when she began her classic, but many considered the claim author hype.

Tracing back, however, an astronomer determined the window in the villa where the young lady stayed above Lake Geneva was pouring moonlight into her room between 2 and 3 am on June 16, 1816, the night she and other guests were challenged to write a ghost story.

I enjoyed this article because I was immediately up close with her in that bedroom, with the moonlight and the bedsheets and the good idea. It’s marvelous how science can inspire intimacy.

song of the day: There's a light over at the Frankenstein place

Monday, September 26, 2011

all you need

Again I woke up at 4.30 and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was thinking about work and other sundries, and waiting for my husband to snore. He didn’t, but I was waiting for it. Yes, even his not snoring was keeping me awake. I was also thinking about Kathleen’s prompt to write a short poem with a long title. I had started one last week, and it kept growing longer, so there in bed, without the poem in front of me, I cut it down. At 5.30 I got out of bed to write it down. It is tentatively titled: “Lines written in a Japanese noodle shop watching a bldg be demolished.” I abbreviated building to keep it from being too long.

In less than 2 weeks we fly to the states for the annual tour. I’ve been thinking of the books I want to buy, but also thinking how I don’t want to lug them back. Last time I paid an overweight fee. So I took a look at Better World Books, where I’ve ordered before, indirectly via Amazon. Turns out they don’t charge for international shipping. This seems impossible. I am waiting for the email that says “free international shipping applies only to residents of pre-colonial Rhodesia.” Still, I ordered four books:
The Journal of Helene Berr
I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On by Samuel Beckett
Citrus County by John Brandon
Faithful Ruslan by Georgi Vladimov

I found the LOVE sticker above today walking to the post office to send a copy of my chapbook to Emmanuel Polanco, the artist who provided me with the collage for the cover. It’s now on its way to Paris.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Satellite Plunges To Earth

A satellite has plunged to earth, but in Germany we are not concerned because the Pope is here. That’s right, Benedikt is touring the Vaterland. He spoke before Parliament the other day and got only positive press. Even the godless Greens are reportedly smitten with him. But not my daughter, who is in permanent protest mode. Good for her, though she could tone it down sometimes.

My chapbook has also plunged to earth, to the German earth, having finally arrived in the post yesterday. I am happy. I thought I might have made the wrong choices, but I am relieved. If anyone is interested in reviewing it, send me an email and I’ll send you a copy. While “supplies” last, of course.

After the teaser, Kathleen Kirk’s review is up at Prick of the Spindle. I also have four poems in the issue: The Russians Go With Everything, which is about big Russian books; Clue, which is about figuring out whodunit and why: Iron, a home totem poem; and Turning the Clocks Forward, about having to change the goddamned time to accommodate the seasons.

Bitte schön!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

il fait un peu lourd et vos cheveux sont longs

The very kind Kathleen Kirk has posted a short review of my chapbook Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair over at Escape into Life. She looks at the shorter poems, on which she based some exercises for her students, including write a very short poem with a very long title. I'm flattered. She tells me the piece is actually a "pre-review" from a review that will appear in Prick of the Spindle.

I'd actually like to write more short poems with long titles, being a fan of both. I wouldn't recommend, however, giving your book a very long title, as it can be kind of a pain in the ass having to type it out in full every time it comes up, providing opportunity for error.

Excuse me wihle I rig this long wig to my heir
Exclude me while I slam this ringworm from my ear
Excuse my wrought-iron swimring that longs for the pier
Excusez-moi pour mes longs cheveux en votre potage

endless fun...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tinder Box

Timberwolf: Drizzle like fur on the car windows. My daughter coloring in the backseat, her monochrome of humming.

Tangerine: October leaves spilling down a hill.

Burnt Sienna: The fence along my mother’s lawn, spanning the yard like a long silence. From far off, the posts and rails look awkward and dilapidated, but closer, you see they accommodate each other.

Scarlet: Superstition, an old obstacle. Rose petals caught in sidewalk cracks.

Sea green: A twinge like the menthol of my mother’s Salems. Surplus paint in the motel halls.

Indigo: The years I vanished. Fatigue. A collapse of trust.

Butterscotch: Bored despair, drinking after bedtime.

Mahogony: The sheen of a law office table. My daughter’s braids, disappearing behind her back.

Orange: A nightlight. Penguin spines that lined the shelves along a hallway.

Copper: Flames left just terrace stones, tarnished knobs from an armoire, the lock on the bedroom chest, where the fire started.

Cornflower: I hope the words will come, like water comes.

Lemon yellow: Unripeness, disharmony. The guest who smiles too much.

Plum: A dark horse on our hill at dusk.

Ash: A litter of twigs, reading in a whisper, condolences.

Carnation pink: My daughter’s favorite crayon. It appears in all her drawings. Perfection, happiness. Just a stub now, there’ll never be enough of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

lent et grave

No doubt fall is coming. Not too slow either. Even though it’s hot today (sticky).
How nice the park is with no people in it.

Just the birds.

The birds are tired of being in poems. They want out. They want left alone.
The lark (beauty). The cuckoo (bad breath). The woodpecker (who keeps its mouth shut).

The grass gives an inch. The wind unzips the trees.
The trees are tired of being in poems.
(They are composing something of their own.)

I laugh when someone says the future is uncertain.
The future, my friends, is always uncertain.
Mein Gott! It is our last hope.

I kill a bug. For real.
My dog cannot play dead; she can only play dying.

How nice the park is without people in it!
For years I suffered a mysterious respiratory affliction that was cured by listening to Erik Satie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sans serif

Like many people, I got my first look at the 9/11 memorial today - on the internet, of course. What I especially like about it is the sans serif typeface, which is simple and on the heavy side, but with good balance. I find it impressive. I've googled up and down but can't find the name of it. I did find a lot of other information, including how the names are arranged using algorhythmics - by relationship, and/or location. That was a great idea.

Look at this kid doing an etching of the engraving of his father's name. The first thing I thought of when I saw it was how I used to do those etchings on old gravestones. And then it struck me that that memorial is his father's gravestone.

I'm looking forward to visiting the memorial in October. If anyone figures out the typeface before then, tip me off.

Friday, September 09, 2011

dancing bananas

The dime that broke the bank.
The inch that took a mile.
The brain that paid no mind.
The shirt that hurt.
The conniption that fit.
The night that took all day.
The kiss to end all kisses.
The scam waxed phlegmatic.
I began smelling strongly of onions
when my fingernails burst into flame.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Nothing left to do

Gates Criticizes NATO
Mikhail Gorbachev Criticizes Vladmir Putin
Alberta Premier Criticizes Oil Spill Cleanup
Texas Senator Criticizes Man for Testifying in Spanish
Harry Potter Expert Criticizes Vatican Newspaper’s Glowing Review
Christian Left Criticizes Religious Right; Holds Counter-Event
Bachmann Criticizes Black Farmer Settlement
House GOP Criticizes White House Visitor Logs
Angelou Criticizes Inscription at MLK Memorial
Bellevue College Criticizes Math Question
UK Prime Minister Criticizes Newspaper Pay Walls
Indonesia Criticizes Saudi Beheading of Maid
Colin Powell Criticizes Cheney for Memoir Claims
Irish Minister Criticizes NYC St. Pat’s Parade
Berlin Mayor Criticizes Nostalgia for Berlin Wall
Gingrich Criticizes Departed Staffers
Man Rescued from Drain Criticizes Police
Jim Carrey Criticizes Tiger Woods’ Wife
Boehner Criticizes Biden for Praising China’s One-Child Policy
Gaga Criticizes Critics
BBC report Criticizes BBC

Song of the day: The Begat

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Man from Sound Effects

To make the sound of pity, he rakes his hair
with a pine branch; he freezes
ice cubes.

To evoke spite, he smashes two patches of corduroy together
in a wood
far away
without a soul in sight.

To simulate folly, he rustles a boa of tape yanked
from a cassette around his shoulders; he gives up

So what about silence, he asks, waggling a rubber hammer.

For fear, he mounts two live flies onto a photo of the ocean.

He is writing a manual in which nearness
wields a long pair of scissors.

To bring to mind love, he smiles
till it hurts; he can’t stop

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Pain is inevitable and hard to describe

It was like a tightening that threatened to burst.
It was like an awful crushing.
It was a severe, piercing tingle.
Aching. Searing. Cramping.
Like my arm had been ripped open and an alto started singing.
I've never been stabbed in the neck, but it was as if that happened.
Clowns blew hot air on it.
Acid crackled in my capillairies.
A vice put the squeeze on my right eye.
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