Friday, January 30, 2009


Walking and chewing gum at the same time
Chewing gum and chewing tobacco at the same time

Peeing and brushing your teeth at the same time
Living and dead and the same time

Watching tv & reading & pushing reply all at the same time
Driving and crying at the same time (aka criving a la LKD)

Appearing calm and freaking out at the same time
Breathing and sneezing at the same time

Lighting fires & fighting fires at the same time (psychotic fireman syndrome)
Menstruating and eating chocolate at the same time

Sleeping and feasting at the same time (Ambien)
and despite what some people think using coupons

to buy things you don’t need is not spending
& saving at the same time

just like buying something because it’s on sale leans too far into the outbox
to be anything but instant & counterfeit gratification &
a bad idea

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the week of dying Johns

Nearly 20 years ago I went to teach in China. I took little with me. I didn’t write poetry then, but I wrote some of my favorite poems out into a notebook so I could have them along. I also took four or five books and three or four cassette tapes. The school I taught at had a passable English library, but the musical pickings soon became slim. I had a friend who lived in a dormitory whose previous resident had left behind an unmarked cassette tape of someone singing exactly 5 ½ wonderful songs. I treasured this tape. For years I was never able to find out who the singer was. Someone told me it was a Canadian who self-recorded, so I set out in the wrong direction. It wasn’t until eight years or so ago, through the wonder of the internet, that I was able to find out who it was by typing lyrics in to Google. It was John Martyn. He died today. Great songwriter. Piece of my heart. You should hear him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fourth Floor, Dawn

Hey, I’m in Court Green #6. It's like I got a little pie wedge from the stimulus package.
But seriously, my poem Scullery is in the epistolary section.
It addresses the filth found around the house.
For the contributor notes we were asked to describe our dream penpal.
I did that.
I am thinking about subscribing to Court Green.
It is all poetry.
On p. 103, one of my favorite Ginsberg poems is reprinted.
Thank you, God.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

in an octopus's garden

The next Boxcar Poetry Journal print anthology will include my poem Hive, which is nice news, and to jazz up the bio I’m supposed to write a sentence about the strangest place I’ve ever been. This is a toughie. Strange like it looked strange? Like the people were strange? Like the atmosphere was weird? If anyone could offer an example of a strange place they’ve been I’d appreciate it. I’m thinking the train to Chengdu from Beijing was a pretty strange place, with all the families eating chicken heads in the bunks and aisles. There were some weird joints I visited in Guatemala, too, but I wonder if the strange may be no farther than my own front door.

My poem Hive is actually already in an anthology called Crazed by the Sun, a collection of ecstatic poetry. I have yet to see my contributor’s copy so I can’t give you a steer here but it sure sounds interesting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

the week that was

Ate 2 steaks, mandarins, a bagel, grilled cheese, 4-5 Pop Tarts. And some other stuff.

Got a haircut.

My poem I Will Now Eat a Loaf of Bread went up at Juked.

Ate at Marra’s.

Talked to my dad. He’s fine.

Bought 12 used books for $101.

Watched the inauguration! I liked the benediction best.

Caught the William Eggleston show at the Whitney with my expert. That's an Eggleston photo above.

Made three new Facebook friends – Scott, Luisa and Carl – all known entities, and one among my intimates.

Got my chapbooks!

Met a little dog named Parker.

Tried the new Chanel 5.

Saw the Gee’s Bend quilt exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with my mother and sister.

Had cleats put on my boots.

Lent The Life and Times of Michael K to my seatmate on the plane over, which he speed-read before landing.

On the last day, I got a headache.

I wrote nothing of consequence. But I wrote.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

my gorgeous orphanage

Whenever I'm loose in the used bookstore it's like I've become a glamorous actress. You know what I mean - I have ample cash and plenty of room back at the mansion so why not go on an adoption tour, acquiring orphans of many hues and backgrounds. I don't know what comes over me. My lips get all fat. I'm probably pregnant. I saunter over to the register and slap a fortune down on the counter. I even have my own fancy plastic bag.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

soft rock

So I was reading the wedding announcements this morning and it appears to be some kind of American mating ritual to touch heads in the announcement photos. All the couples are there putting their heads together; either she's tilting hers into his or vice versa. Boink! The symmetrical tilt is especially cheesy.

Wasn't it the Coneheads who found pleasure in rubbing their noggins together?

Friday, January 16, 2009

fun yet to be had

Eastern Canada is frozen. I know. I just flew over it.
There's a lot of ice up there no one has cracked
with their boot heels yet. Wham!
Too bad the cabin crew won't let you out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

she drink the zombie from the coco shell

My chapbook is out. Thanks Tilt! You can order one here.
22 poems for $8. That's 36 cents a poem!

Between the covers you may find:
a javelin (p. 8), an Esso station (p. 2), musical chairs (p. 11),
pilaf (p. 5), "your name on a grain of rice" (p. 15),
more rice (p. 19), valentines (p. 21), a biblical allusion (p. 17),
the Andes (p. 12), day-old wine and a hydrogen bomb (p. 6),
a metaphor (p. 22), a puppet village (p. 10), a statue
of Lautreamount (p. 16), Jesus (p. 13), assonance (p. 18).

I should have stayed home from work today.
I'm delighted.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

all manner of things shall be well

On Thursday I’m off to my mother’s for a week. For an ex-pat this means being “close” to the inauguration, even though I’ll be states away. Somerset County, NJ is near enough for me, closer than Old Europe anyway. I was sorry not to have gone over for election night. Really sorry. Even some Germans seemed sorry. The next day my neighbor told me it was hard not to break into tears during Obama's Hyde Park speech. (Actually it was impossible.)

Six books are waiting for me on my mother’s desk:
Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writing of Daniil Kharms
Country Music: Selected Early Poems by Charles Wright
All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well by Tod Wodicka
Like You’d Understand Anyway by Jim Shepard
Do Not Awaken Them with Hammers by Lidiya Dimkovska
Wallace Stevens: Words Chosen out of Desire by Helen Vendler

Monday, January 05, 2009

bedeviled eggs

There are abridged books.
There are movies “edited for television.”
There are abridged operas, called Suites, I believe.
I’m sure some ballets are cut short, resulting in abridged dance.
It’s not fair that they don’t abridge paintings.
Whenever the canvas gets too big, there’s too much going on,
or you’re confronted with a painting you can’t get your head around.
It takes so damned long to get through the museum to begin with.
They ought to abridge paintings.

Friday, January 02, 2009

there was a sound like a moccasin dropping

Happy new year, folks. It'll be a long time before a year sees double zeros again, so enjoy 2009.

I've got three poems up this week at Swink: My Money is on Fire, Opportunity and Shady.
The latter two will be in my chapbook, likely to land this month.
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