Tuesday, October 31, 2006

yummy halloween treats

check out the recipe


Bob Dylan’s Biograph liner notes mention a costume party where everyone came dressed as a character from a Dylan song. I think that would be fun, though it might be hard to get enough willing fans together in one place. Anyway, I’m sure some of the folks at that party came dressed as these personages. If you like Dylan at all, you can probably name a couple the songs these appear in.

Jezebel the Nun
The Ghost of Belle Starr
The Jack of Hearts
Quinn the Eskimo
The Soviet Ambassador
The Mystery Tramp
Absolutely Sweet Marie
The One-Eyed Undertaker
Botticelli’s Niece
The Gray Flannel Dwarf
The Queen of Spades
Napoleon in Rags
Dr. Filth
Maggie’s Pa
The Motorcycle Black Madonna
The Two-Wheeled Gypsy Queen
Mr. Jones

Thursday, October 26, 2006


tollbooths & a red rug & reading Joseph Cornell's diaries
baked squash & ottoman & reading Joseph Cornell's diaries
the Hudson & fireplace & reading Joseph Cornell's diaries

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


and blood-orange autumn

Friday, October 20, 2006


it's the insects who teach us
and to soldier on.
insects show us to work in teams,
to blend in and evade,
to feed on smoulder, rot,
or whatever's available.
it's the insects who teach us
sex is worth dying for,
and to hibernate through scarcity.

my heartbreak's back

having a wonderful time. wish you were here. for more than a week i've been looking for the words to undo the spell of these trees. Also the sky strikes me as much bigger here. I think every American must be a naturalist. even in the city, october trees are burning from the inside out, rippling with fabulous coins into gutters. I am numb with the wading out, the digging in. I have tried to write down the chattering brown angels that bite the roadsides. to no avail. forgive me for not addressing this postcard to anyone. there is no poem to work on but there are bookshops and black voices, there is rain while i'm sleeping and then there are puddles.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


i won't review because i should be packing, not that i am.
the birds are looking at me funny today.
so maybe i should take back what i said yesterday
and mention that i love birds
as well as many bird poems.

one bird
more bird
many bird

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Here is the poem: August

Read it, then come back...

I am generally not drawn in to poems that start with birds and backyards. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, and I was giving this poem a chance despite regretting the bird feeder but this didn’t become one of them. There are a couple strong moments, like the “sear of August has crusted..” and the geometry simile. It’s certainly not a bad poem; it’s sad and meditative, but it doesn’t click for me in any remarkable way. It’s steady when I want electric. It goes on when I think the point is made. There’s nothing wrong with coming full circle in a poem, it can work great, but in this case it strikes me as predictable.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Review day #3

There’s a new Caffeine Destiny out so I moseyed over to find something to review today. I decided on Shane McCrae’s poems since I’ve never read him before – no baggage, no associations, etc.

Here are the two Shane McCrae poems. Read them, then come back.

Neighborhood Watch

I thought this was a good poem, not stellar but enjoyable. I like the parallel between the compost heap and the “whatever is inside me” – all that organic matter breaking down like a relationship. The idea of slowly painting a picture of a compost heap is a smart one since you know the longer you paint the more the subject will change, in this case blacken and rot. The guitar case was a surpise and maybe a misstep, but I can only assume it’s some kind of personal totem concerning the “you” of this poem. I felt the “Yes,” near the end presumed too much and the ending would have gone over better without it.

Songbirds Do Something Overhead

This was a much better poem, a really good poem. Lots of motion there helped by the use of space, punctuation, off-syntax. Don’t let anyone tell you the word “something” is bad for a poem. I love the something in this poem, and I liked it especially in the title because I wanted to know what the something was. The “yes” interjection in this one comes off more naturally, and the poem settles well, without a deafening “ta-da!” or a crippling whimper.

a letter from lament

Dearest Amy,

All night, insomnia stuck
like old socks in my gullet.

The fresh air this autumn
makes the rest of life seem putrid;
air, insulting and superfluous!

It is a shame about my horselessness.

Amy, I hope you are well.
I address you from the station platform.

The train is late
and I must pee
with a particular urgency.


Monday, October 09, 2006

the money in my mouth

ok, this may be the last "mini-POrc" review, and I'm only on day 2. My frustration is I can't link to the poem at Verse Daily. All I can link to is VD's main page, but the poem I'm reviewing is from Oct. 8, ie yesterday. Ok, I'm gonna count on you smarties to figure it out: go to Verse Daily, click on "Archives" at the bottom of the page and read my Mark Yakich's poem "Aerialist" from Oct. 8. Got that? Do that and then read my review.

... OK?

ya done?

Here's my review:
I love this poem. I googled the poet up.
Then I went right to Amazon and bought his book.
That's it!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

freedom and restraint

Julie over at Carter's Little Pill asks poet-readers to spend a week doing short reviews of poems, in the spirit of her "Weirdness Evaluation Engine." So, listen, I have to fly to America on Friday so I may skip a day or two, but I'll try to get seven down along the way.

Chosen at random: The poem about freedom and restraint

This is the kind of poem that leaves me cold. What does it want to bring me? Attitude? Does it reveal something to me? Is it edifying, is it stirring, is it funny? I am left wondering if it is supposed to be funny – using the word “cause” for “because” for example makes me think the poet is making fun or something/one. Is it intended as a jab at Hallmarkian banality? I think I need an MFA to get this poem. If there is someone out there who gets this poem, please speak up. I mean it sincerely. Perhaps it is just not my thing.

It's interesting because Julie asks if in reviewing you worry about hurting feelings. I do, but what is the point of reading and thinking if you aren't honest? I've written a number of poems that I personally liked but knew wouldn't go over well with readers, or would make little sense. Partipating on poetry boards I can guess in advance when the poem will get 12 crits/responses and when it will get (hopefully) two. But that doesn't stop me from writing what I want to write, and it shouldn't stop anyone, including the poet whose poem I don't like.

the older gentlemen at Café Wacker

One ate a mound of gelatinous cake.
Another did the crossword, his voice cigarilloed
like a suffocating trombone.
One sold roses to no one.
They had creases in their trousers and good jackets.
Two at the next table talked about Bremen, leeks
and an herb similar to chives, but which is not chives.
They disagreed about who should pay
for the cake and cappucino,
and it seemed civilization might squeak
into the afternoon
without ripping.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gentle Reader,

Dear probably-otherwise-nice Man who lectured me about people who don’t clean up after their dogs while I was walking my dog in a very clean fashion,

Dear Murderer who had a difficult childhood about which I am sorry,

Dear upright German pedestrian Lady who reminded me of the rules of the road while I was riding my bike slowly on a dirt path in the middle of nowhere without another bike in sight,

Dear Decent Writer who is otherwise somewhat of an egoistic foot-in-the-mouth kind of fuckup,

Dear I-bet-the-west-is-wrong-about-you Iranian President, sir,

Dear probably-nice-looking-dark-skinned lady who for some reason has made the mistake of bleaching her hair blonde,

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

e-poetry books

I'm looking for information on poetry e-books, ie where can I find some good ones (free)? I think Lily offers these, but I've seen them other places and unfortunately forgotten where. THanks.

-->here are the slow trains' e-chapbooks
2River chapbooks!

the weird smell

This morning there was a faint smell, a bit funky, but also inorganic. Is that me? I wondered. I hoped to God not. I plucked the fabric of my sleeve and brought it close to my nose. The shirt had stuck a little to the iron this morning – had some unmentionable melted? It didn’t seem so, but while not on my shirt the smell remained close by. It was on my hands! I went to the office bathroom to check if was emanating from all my skin. Unless you’re elastic man, you know it’s hard to get your nose up against all your skin. Feet to mid-thigh you can probably manage, and arms of course, but I bet you can’t smell your own hip or bellybutton. The rest of what I could get to seemed scentless. I washed my hands and the smell was gone. Later, at my desk, it seemed to come back. And I remembered all the bullshit I had yet to rend from myself.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Submitted five poems to juked yesterday evening and they got right back to me with a "yes" for

On Receiving a Rejection Note One Year and Seven Months After Submitting

which begins:

This morning I woke thinking
of the old, giant tortoise....

and is based on a true story. TWO true stories.

oh shoot

Join the blacklist.
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