Monday, April 30, 2007

I've Moved ...

I have moved my Blog over to WordPress.

Here is the address:

Check it out ...

No offense Blogger ...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

first my rubber chickens and now my rex galore and my cop who smells like a carnival ...

Here is another reflection on Monica Drake's Clown Girl:

Like Sniffles, I too have a Rex Galore and one resembling Jerrod (the showman and the real man) ... I don't know that they smell like summer or pancakes smothered in ladeled syrup, but they may.

But I guess only time will tell ... it tells on everything.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Reading Approaches ...

So for any (if any) Milwaukeans reading this, I will be reading from Small Murders at Broad Vocabulary this Friday, April 27th at 6:30!

This is a fantastic store ... please check them out!

Hope to see you there ... perchance.

Monday, April 23, 2007

That's Baloneytown ...

So Monica Drake's debut, Clown Girl is truly amazing. Baloneytown is the hometown of Nita (aka: Sniffles the Clown). It is not anytown America ... it is really an unreal world ... surreal in almost every way except its constant presence of reality-seeped pain, strife, and struggle.

This book took me weeks to read ... a rare occurence for me. It took me this long not because I was not enjoying myself but because I found myself identifying with Sniffles more than I think I have ever identified with another character. I did not find myself identifying with her religious icon balloon forming, her rubber nose ... actually until now I was afraid of clowns. Though I still do not want to meet a clown in a dark alley or in my dark dreams anytime soon ... but I do feel I have lost a rubber chicken, at least metaphorically.

Sniffles' displaced and hopeless feelings, loss, and complete confusion within her world, as well as her bouts of sadness was what sometimes made this a tough read for me. This book was chock full of great truth and an ugly-beauty that is rare and priceless in contemporary fiction. Drake's writing style and quirky, even sometimes other-worldly observations always kept me extremely excited, entertained, and constantly moved.

It is also a book I will value because of its existence in my life when so many changes were happening -- discoveries and finally maybe finding that rubber chicken I (and all of us) so desire to find.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Waiting for My Last Course in Turbulence ... But Aren't We All?

When I handed Dean Young my healthy stack of his poetry collections waiting anxiously for his signature ink marks, he asked me simply: Why the hell are you buying all of my books? Are you crazy? My answer was a shrug and a giggly smirk ... but I wanted to tell him (as cheesy as this may sound) that he had the ability to lessen my turbulence ... that his genius of language and quirky observations were often exactly precisely what it was I needed to calm or keep at bay the flames of my mind and soul.

But I didn't say this. Like I said I only responded with a shrug and a giggly smirk which coincidentally didn't convey diddly to this word-and-image-smith ... but I guess my feelings on this and many many other things are superfluous and often should remain in silence ... and in my head. I fear I have been sharing too much of myself lately ... there are indeed thoughts that should remain cubbied inside of my frontal lobe ... and not everyone needs to know my fears or my deep desires. These things should be saved for my poetry ... not that I have been able to write in weeks.

Then some guy said I looked like the Mona Lisa ... and that was strange enough to at least begin a poem ... but I am stiffled -- ironically by words. I think all he saw through his seeming drugged haze was the knowing shape of my violent smirk.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


While I do not entirely believe in writer's block because one can always write, I am feeling that long sadness again ... that feeling of complete voids all through me. When this happens it feels like a long road in front of me ... with nothing else ... just a road. But miles and miles away I see a speck of red light like neon, my destination. But I feel too tired for the voyage, too apathetic for it. I just want it to be there again ... so I miss it like a lost lover, a lost kitten. I long for the nights that blend together, when the moonglow and the deeply heated sun blend like stretched taffy ... when I go go go because I have so much to say and so much to be. When I am grand ... or at least believe that.

But now it is that road, that lonely road. Maybe I can hitchhike ... risk everything.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

april is the cruellest month ...

Or is it? I wonder this in my current state of finally beginning to feel balanced. I do not know how long it will last or if it will last ... but I truly hope it does. Balance ... but buying my plane ticket for my Portland (OR) trip has brought me the gift of something to look forward to ...

But it is cruel to partner Poetry Month with both paying taxes and Alcohol Awareness Month. Maybe T.S. Eliot was privvy to the information of when Poetry Month would happen when he wrote these beautiful lines in The Waste Land.

from The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.

Eliot's line breaks always fascinate me ... they are so intuitive, effortless. He has a balance -- image and emotion balanced delicately like nature, like a dancer in a get-up walking the tightrope above our clamboring heads ...

I hope everyone's April is proving to be uncruel and perhaps beautiful in the way of words and emotion, balance.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Unbearable White Outside

Dean Young and Tony Hoagland also addressed suffering and art ... but only because it was a question from an audience member. Even if suffering creates some or all of one's art, it is still nothing one tends to ponder as an artist. At least my experience has been pondering the fact that I created something that may be worthwhile ... whether or not it was conceived out of suffering.

Actually, my art is typically conceived out of an elation ... suffering is like lard in a vein ... it blocks, threatens to destroy.

Dean Young and Tony Hoagland basically said that though suffering exists it is not necessarily a fodder for art. A way to art and creation. Hoagland mentioned that moment ... that wonderful and inexplicable moment when a poem walks up to you, the poet ... and then creation happens. That feeling to me is better than anything else but it may be close to being in love ... that desire for something and the constant threat of it not being there anymore.

But I am taking my "best wishes in April snow" as far as they will go. Herman Hesse wrote: Love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else. My aversion is mostly my fear ... suffering is an unpredictable emotion. It is easy for a well-adjusted and wise Herman Hesse to say this ... but who is really strong enough not to flee? Not me, definitely in this April snow.

Best wishes ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hopefully I Will Be Back to Earth Soon ...

I have nothing to say really today. I feel again like I am somewhere else. But I have read many books the last couple of days so I have a lot to say about them when I again feel like talking ... or writing. Anyway, since someone did post a comment (thank you!) I decided to do a plug of my so far very basic website:

But worry not, I have teenagers on the job ... the site will be filled with wonderful -- and very techie -- things no doubt very soon!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Here's the Lowdown for You, Aaron ...

While awaiting anxiously and likely creepily watching Tony Hoagland and Dean Young before the reading at the Chicago Public Library, I decided to make it kind of like you were sharing the experience with me, Aaron ... so I did a little freewrite of my thoughts and feelings in the moments leading up to THE READING.

Here Tis:

Tony Hoagland's wearing a bright-colored, button-down shirt -- swimming pool blue -- and a vest, brown, maybe corduroy. He's looks cute, wise, and sweet but shorter than I ever would have thought he was.

Dean Young's sporting a vest, too. Like a suit vest with the satin along the back ... and jeans ... he looks a little like a displaced cowboy. Maybe a banker who lost his pants and shoes but still had to show up in something at the banquet. Something ... I like it.

It's quite wonderful, Aaron ... I look around me now and everyone's reading poetry. This makes the world soften to me. At least right now. I will enjoy completely this coming hour or so.

Dean Young looks exactly as he does in his author photos. And so does Tony Hoagland, just shorter. I wish you were here. But I know each of us have glorious days coming, many of them, and we will likely enjoy some of them at least in the same time zone.

And I wonder why this girl sat down right next to me when there were lots of empty seats ... so now I battle for the elbow room I need to write this and now have that need to do that hide-with-hand thing ... hiding what you've written while you write so no one can read it.

Li Young Lee is also here. I saw him read in Kalamazoo at The Little Theater. I think I told you about it -- how sensual I felt after hearing his long and lux poem about furniture and erotic visions. He was beautiful that night and even the smirks from a clique of former colleagues could not stiffle me, or ruin me that night. It was like some post-coital moment ... unwieldy and wondrous. And I wrote so much that night ... a curdled and commingled love and fear and passion in the upper right corner of my heart and the lower left of my spleen. I know this reading will be at least that but maybe more.

Your time right now is 4:00 while mine is 6:00. Real time.

So many (I mean a good 30 out of a total of 60-70 people) women have super-curly, untamed hair ... why is that, Aaron? So many "literary" women now have super-curly hair ... it is a strange and tiny trend.

Later I will write about the fascinating things they both had to say about the craft of poetry and the writing life in general ... but here is a little taste.

Hoagland said people come to poetry for different reasons, and the main two reasons are to seek a truth and deep meaning while the others come to it for a love of language and a desire to have fun with it. He said, and I agree, that the Truth-seeker readers (me) need to do more of what the Language-lover readers do (you?) and vice versa. Tonight I plan on some big fun with Dean Young's Embryoyo!

Aaron, Be loved and Be an infidel ... well, if you want to.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Happy National Poetry Month to everyone ...

I will be going to the Chicago Public Library tomorrow to see Tony Hoagland and Dean Young read from their truly witty and genius poetry. I think the only thing that would trump seeing them and then meeting them would be John Berryman giving me a cross-dimension reading of The Dream Songs in my kitchen.

This is just what the doc ordered ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Milwaukee had a beauty all its own ...

This was not my first trip to Milwaukee ... but my third. The first time was in 2003 for the Women and Creativity Conference at Marquette and the second time was to see Sonic Youth in a big dark lounge (it was so hot only the poetic luring of SY would have kept me around). And the third time was this recent trip ... to go again to the Women and Creativity conference.

The tavern that became my friend and I's hang out for the week, Von Triere, was truly wonderful. But the conference? I kept thinking ... So what's the point? What's the point of men and women possessing the common goal of scholarship and enrichment in the women's studies field if no one pushes the envelope all the while taking themselves as seriously as a heart attack?

Writers and academics like to hear themselves talk ... of course. This is not a surprise since writers and academics seem to be lonelier people and often seem to always be working on something. And after thinking about something, researching it, and writing about it, one has a desire to share it. I have written another paper about the role of wife in Robert Lowell's Life Studies since the Bellmer one. Of course I want to share it with an audience ... conferences are a great place for that.

This same conference in 2003 was interesting and enriching, the talks causing a discussion, even some fury at times. That is a GOOD THING! This year's was dry, seemingly pointless, and full to the hilt with women seeming not to be having that much-desired scholarly dialogue, but feeling instead the sickening and insatiable need to one-up each other. It was very disillusioning ... and my reading from Small Murders was simply ... weird. As I was reading ... deadpan faces that appeared to give a shit were followed by I really liked your poems at the "reception." What? Could've fooled me! I sold one book (better than zero) ... to a Reverend. That merely added to the ever increasing strangenesses of the conference.

But Milwaukee was truly wonderful and to be there with my best friend Anna made it even better. I am on a mission in finding 312 beer in Kalamazoo. We shall see.

As far as what I am reading ... the usual of course (Berryman, Lowell). But for fiction I am reading Clown Girl by Monica Drake. I will no doubt finish it in the next day or so and have to discuss it here. FYI to Palahniuk fans ... he does the Introduction to the book. He writes that Drake was a part of his 1991 Portland writers group that took place in someone's kitchen. Monica should be very proud of his very admiring words regarding her writing. I am almost halfway through and I am not at all disappointed. Go Monica! For nonfiction I am reading The Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison.

I am spent with this day ... ta da! (that's a Monica Drake homage!)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday, Hans Bellmer ... Milwaukee Nears ...

So I am feverishly getting together my final musings on Hans Bellmer for the Women & Creativity Conference in Milwaukee. The trip draws near ... I leave Wednesday and excitement has begun to build. Looks like there are some fascinating papers being presented this year ... I am very much looking forward to the Mrs. Dalloway panel and also about the "Women and the Act of Writing Panel" with a paper about Joyce Carol Oates' You Must Remember This. That book simply transfixed me and will always hold a special place in my heart since it was the first book I read the first night I was 5 hours away from home for the first time in a dormitory at Ohio University. The striking thing was that I read it only because it was Joyce Carol Oates (I didn't know what it was about) and it ended up being a novel of about a family in the 1950s and I was missing mine.

I am also anxiously awaiting the discussion of sexual politics in The Wife of Bath. I will no doubt have a lot to write about after this conference ... I hope to learn a lot from other scholars and meet some exciting people. And Anna ... can't wait to hang out with you again ...

It was Hans Bellmer's birthday last Tuesday, March 13th. I have often had a party for him ... making a cake with doll parts strategically placed all through it. No party this year, though I did toast him and read his love letters (the ones he wrote) aloud. But this is the "big gift" ... perhaps giving him an audience at the conference ... more of one. I am very curious how this paper of mine will be received to a roomful of feminists and women's studies scholars. This just wasn't a worry when I presented my paper on New York School poet, Barbara Guest in 2003.

So here's to nerdy fun in Milwaukee!

This image included here is from Therese Lichtenstein's beautiful book about Bellmer. Citation information follows.

Lichtenstein, Therese. Behind Closed Doors: The Art of Hans Bellmer. University of California Press, 2001.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"and there is a glowing orb emanating from your little heart"

I am simply loving Berryman's collection, The Dispossessed. I cannot stop reading it ... after reading and rereading The Dream Songs for so many years, it is nice to find that "new." I am sure I had read this collection at some point in my hours of reading Berryman, but it seems so new and absolutely beautiful. I am constantly transfixed. He frees me. "The Spinning Heart" and "The Ball Poem" are joyous musings on love and loss and the often jaggedly difficult unavoidables of the human spirit and condition.

And I also feel real again. I had a good visit with myself last night while listening to Lucinda Williams' new record, West. The lyrics as well as the music is truly superb. And I feel again a freedom in being happy. Someone makes me so happy so often and constantly now: the day before yesterday, yesterday, and today and every moment. And I am not talking about Berryman ... but a real, living breathing person who may be in possession of Berryman's very soul. I said to him: and there is a glowing orb emanating from your little heart. A knowing smirk endearingly followed.

But I digress. And I am finding it tough these last couple of days to wipe the knowing smirk off of my face ...

And for all of those knowing smirks everywhere, here's a little J.B.:

The Traveller
by John Berryman (from The Dispossessed)

They pointed me out on the highway, and they said
"That man has a curious way of holding his head."

They pointed me out on the beach; they said "That man
will never become as we are, try as he can."

They pointed me out at the station, and the guard
looked at me twice, thrice, thoughtfully & hard.

I took the same train that the others took,
to the same place. Were it not for that look
and those words, we were all of us the same.
I studied merely maps. I tried to name
the effects of motion on the travellers,
I watched the couple I could see, the curse
and blessings of that couple, their destination,
the deception practised on them at the station,
their courage. When the train stopped and they knew
the end of their journey, I descended too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And Now Back Again ...

So my second manuscript is now back to square one. After some helpful perspectives from friends reading The Luck of Anhedonia, I have realized that maybe I was rushing this collection. I do think it will be done within the year, but there are so many other things with my writing life I have to focus on like, yesterday: Press Kit, website, and most importantly -- Readings! Lots of readings in lots of places. I am from Youngstown, Ohio and it is close to both Pittsburgh and Cleveland ... so I am hoping to set up quite a bit in those cities throughout the summer and fall.

I will be reading at Broad Vocabulary on Friday, April 27th at 6:30. This is a indie bookstore in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Please check out their site at: and please come to the reading if you're available and in the Milwaukee area. The last reading I had, in January in Kalamazoo, was pretty boo-hoo ... but great because almost all of my very best friends were in attendance. If they hadn't been there ... it would have been a big big boo-hoo. But I am going to make sure this one is a success. I am also wanting Small Murders to be a success. And if that professor from Binghamton University who is teaching Small Murders is reading this ... please let me know. I would love to discuss anything about the book or answer any questions you might have.

But a week from tomorrow is the Marquette University conference, Women & Creativity and I am so looking forward to it. I am burning to know how my Hans Bellmer paper will go over ... we shall see.

I am not mourning the return to my manuscript ... I am actually looking forward to putting her away till April ... in a dark little drawer. And when I see her again in April ... it will hopefully be with different eyes.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Beauty that Hands Create

Late last night I was too tired to read much of anything but needed the comfort of a book. I forget where I got this book ... it may have been a garage sale and I had forgotten about it till last night. The book is called, Free-Hand Lettering: A Treatise on Plain Lettering from the Practical Standpoint for Use in Engineering Schools and Colleges by Victor T. Wilson, M.E. This book is a first edition from 1903 with a print run of a thousand and it is in very good condition.

The beauty of hand-lettering has always been something I love to look at and appreciate, to imagine the hands creating them carefully and lovingly. I am also enjoying Wilson's pragmatic and precarious writing style ... this book will be lovely to search with ... erasures ... the poems that I know are hidden within this gorgeous book.

There is something so very inspiring about this book. The alphabet has taken on another meaning and beauty to me ... the skeletons of language, the atoms and neurons of it. The constant potential for truth. Image.

In "A Point of Age" from Berryman's collection, The Dispossessed, there's this: "Images are the mind's life, and they change."

We should all try our hand at lettering ... marrying language to image, image to language ... creating the amorphous images for the lives of our minds.

Go ahead and try it ... nothing ever bites hard enough to keep us from trying.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

After Reading Henry's Fate ... and Seeing Tragic Barriers

The introduction to the edition of John Berryman's Henry's Fate I have right now is quite interesting in its biographical discussion of Berryman's tireless writing and academic life. He wrote poems all the time, an almost complete biographical study of Shakespeare ... and Christ. And I do not care how it sounds or how I come off ... but I think many thinking people, people obsessed with thinking and gaining knowledge and wisdom often cannot allow much else in. This was indeed the case with Berryman and I fear it could be the case with me. There is a pseudo me ... the one everyone sees and interacts with ... I think the real me is the one I keep well hidden for fear of isolation, alienation, basically not feeling I can just be a part of normal modern life. But I also cannot help the studying, the writing poems daily, doing erasures, writing essays. But I guess what's crazy for one person is absolutely necessary for another.

Someone mentioned my "tragic barriers" ... evidently I am always painting pictures even though that is oddly the time I feel I am the most real ... not pseudo. And then someone else mentioned that my new collection of poems is a story with both tragedy and hope ... that it is clear the characters in the poems were evolving to a greater truth. And then someone else said this was a more mature and more entertaining collection than the "quirky darkness" of Small Murders. I like that is has been something different to the three who have read the book. I like also that right now my exhaustion is so acute that my eyes are red, dark circles under them ... and all this somehow has some uber-awake feeling ... I feel at once drugged and unable to function as I feel oddly enlightened and peaceful.

Sometimes I think even a bit ahead ... an hour ahead, several minutes ... and want to get away as fast as I can. And when I think maybe months ahead I wonder what will be different. Will anything be different? Will I be different? The world? My daily circumstance and geographical location? And with all of this invariably comes a sense of dread. I guess I am cynical. But I know I am not distrusting. And whatever happens will no matter what. There is so much insignificance when we constantly in one way another convince ourselves of so much significance. There are only a few important pillars in life to me ... I have only possessed one ... and still do. I can only ever hope to see this sooner rather than later ... like, before it seems too late and I can't get over it.

And then maybe everyone is right about me. Maybe I multiply like larvae. Maybe that's my fate ...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Almost forgot about the importance of the liver ...

In Shakespeare, the liver referred to the seat of emotions. The spleen was often the seat of passions. I guess I have been having trouble recently with the liver and the spleen ... so I am trying to gain a control out of its inherent chaos ...

Sunday, March 4, 2007

When Personas Take Over ...

There is something to be said for your "persona" in your work to take over a bit. In your day to day life, soul, heart, and so forth. In that, one begins to lose oneself. Fernando Pessoa, the author of a book I had mentioned here a while ago -- The Book of Disquiet -- is an extreme but significant example of personas taking over (since he had several), a loss of self, and an alienation that one does not desire but may happen as a default. It is hard for me to explain my emotions, but they are real. And I know also that in feeling and living with these emotions, I cannot forget the importance of Truth, Beauty, and most of all my Self. Since the book is finished now, I feel I can begin to move away and back from my personas in the book who have been making a little mischief in my life the last few weeks in particular. Gain perspective, an objectivity. Perspective and objectivity are only the best of things for writers anyway ... nothing will get better in the writing without it and the same goes with life and its little searches.

Things will become wonderful in the truth we find and seek ...

I need to get over my constant fear -- the constant dichotomy -- of feeling misunderstood while never really wanting to be understood completely. The allure of mystery has gotten me into trouble before ... I need to listen to the objectivity offered by those I genuinely care about, the ones who can bring me an order out of chaos if I am willing to listen.

Friday, March 2, 2007

My Second Collection Tis Done ... but I will still obsess about it

I keep reordering the poems searching tirelessly for the "heart" of the narrative. The story of this Anhedonia and myself ... and John Berryman ... and Robert Lowell ... even the children's author, Dare Wright ... and the Women of Ward 81 (gorgeously immortalized in a book by Mary Ellen Mark and Karen Folger Jacobs). These are the characters in this story I hope has great luck in finding a home with a small press. I mentioned contests and those are good (always check any contest out on before entering. This site lists the Presses / Contests / Judges who have been unethical), but I am also going to shop it around the old-fashioned way in a large envelope to small, independent presses, as well as University Presses.

And some good Small Murders news is that my Milwaukee trip is fast approaching. I am so excited about staying in an old (hopefully haunted) hotel downtown and of course about the Marquette University's Women & Creativity Conference. I am presenting my paper, "Shock, Awe, and Everything in Between: The Dolls of Hans Bellmer" and giving a reading from Small Murders at the conference. It is also looking good that I will also maybe be reading at an indie bookshop in Milwaukee called Broad Vocabulary. When the date is set for this, I will post it just in case I have any Milwaukee-area readers reading this.

Last night, a great breeze came into my living room window. The small postcard photo I have of who I think of as Anhedonia fell to the floor after dancing about in the wind of the room. It was quite telling, endearing. I was talking last night to someone about poetry and ideas and I am simply convinced that poetry and most art comes out of the mundane, the simple, the things you would never notice if you were not noticing. Big things like love, death, hate, rage do not inspire art -- if anything, they are merely symptoms. Aaron, I would be very very curious about your take on this issue ... pray tell. But I digress ... there was every reason why I wouldn't have noticed a breeze capturing a piece of paper ... but I did. It was beautiful. I took a great photo of its fall and landing and as soon as I find the USB cord for my camera, I will post it. It was beautiful ... it was nothing really ... simple ... it was The Luck of Anhedonia.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yearning: Truth: Beauty

So often I wondered what she was trying to give me, trying to tell me. As I said earlier, I was not listening to her, this persona of my recent poems. I have been so very prolific in the last several days ... writing poems with a frequency that makes me desire so many connections with people and the world than ever before.

And there is still a coast we draw nearer and nearer to everyday. We will get there and it won't be very long until we do.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Next Topic May Be Control ...

Maybe controlling language is the most powerful of things in the human world ... and it should therefore be respected like the chants of mages. But still I do this ...
and very frequently ...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Song of My Renewal

So the beautiful song, "Cosmic Dancer" by T-Rex is the song of my renewal. The manuscript is so close to being ready for the Wednesday postmark ... I will continue to revise it for the March contests, but there must always be a first step.

I am just very delighted that I have begun the steps ... I hope so much for my poems. For this little beating being whose voice I captured. I had been resisting, but I am very glad I didn't. My empathies are so deep with her ... she will be the guide I sometimes reluctantly listen intently to ... but I will. I have to.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Truth is Beauty, My Beauty is Truth

After some time with my depression again, after my seeming fall into the proverbial pits of realization, I am cured in the mission I am now a part of -- the mission of Truth and Beauty. I accept this and all things completely. I shall devour the world lovingly and pass onto it my findings. It may terrify, but mostly it will comfort. The arterial pockets of the world will be filled with this Truth and Beauty.

Now that I have allowed delusion to die in me, the very notion I thought was my ticket to happiness, I immediately see the freedom and newness of all of it. I have a mission and I am important to that mission. I accept it like the moon accepts its cycles. It is all a cycle. We are all a cycle.

I had lost my way. I had begun to lose poetry. And in that I had begun to lose Truth and Beauty. And I think I did lose it all for a few moments ... but it came back to me as soon as I let go of delusion. As soon as I wrote all night ... in scribbled words I found the answers and found the ground I am meant to tread again. I deserve the torque now not because I am a great poet, but because I am a poet who will seek all the necessary everythings in the world.

My visions of airports, of hearing in this vision my out-of-breath running, I know that mission has begun now. It is all so massive. I am terrified but comforted.

And I have the wisdom of you ... and you know who you are ... on that coast I need to make it to, that West, that North: No matter what you think, there is always more to love.

This is the first clue to all of it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Clues are Here Now ...

The clues I have been waiting for have come to me. All of a sudden. 5 a.m. will always have a great significance for me for the rest of my days. The time, the code, the clues cascading into my heart and mind. I am a new person now. In many ways, wishes were granted. I will accept that grace of granted wishes. I will go with it, with the rightness of what's inside of me now. I will go with it no matter what anyone else thinks.

Even though it has never felt like it until now, this is my life.

There is a lot for me to do.

Regret will never again have her way with me.

There is a lot of beauty I will discover.

I will pass it on to the diabolical world when I find it.

I hope in the end I am a panacea for something.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

One of My Muses ...

I simply wanted to share the beautiful narrative in this photo by Mary Ellen Mark since there can never be enough real beauty in the world.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Little White Shadow ...

So I cut yet another 5 poems from Manuscript 2. That's the not-so-good news. The great news (exciting for me at this stage of the Manuscript) is that the reason this had to happen again is because it has really taken on a life, a personality, a persona, a heart and emotion. In this realization I now know it is close to completion.

The persona of Anhedonia has infiltrated the life of my book in ways I never thought would happen. When I first came across this word, I was drawn to the sound of it ... and then I enjoyed the metaphorical fodder I found in its meaning. But now Anhedonia has become the little creature delivering the poems, giving them texture, meaning, life, and heart. I picture her as the wax mannequin entitled, Yearning by Detroit artist, Barbara Abel. She deserves great attention so please Google her. I have contacted Barbara, telling her excitedly about my admiration of her artwork and plan on sending her my Press Kit when it is finally completed. I am hoping for some sort of collaboration if this entices her: anything from her doing some artwork to accompany my poems, to taking photos of myself for publishing purposes, or a collaborative art show / reading thing. Nothing has been discussed on the collaboration yet, but it would be great to work with such a fascinating artist ... and so close to my current home ...

Oh yes, Anhedonia. I think I had mentioned erasures before. Poet Mary Ruefle's Little White Shadow is an example of one. A great, fantastic one. Well, my little white shadow, my erasures, may be the very thing coming to my Manuscript's rescue. This morning I was reading through my erasures and though they are taken from medical texts, they have a pronounced personality ... my erasures even possess this persona of Anhedonia. And I was reading my high school poetry today ... wow. It is horrible and horribly obvious I was obsessed with Henry James and Spencer's The Faerie Queen when I was writing them! Not that it is good writing ... it's not. Gave me a good laugh, though. I mention James and Spencer because that is a definite symptom I notice in young poets ... writing what they know. If you're reading Shakespeare as a young poet, your voice (that you haven't found yet) will have a degree of that language and tone. Not as good by a very very long shot, but that archaic tone. Same with young poets reading Ginsberg ... lots of swearing in those.

But I digress, again. These old and horrible poems have a couple of great lines and images I now feel I can slice right out of that old poem and make new ... poetry surgery ... a transplant of sorts. We'll see. But going back to old writing (no matter how old and the older the better because you no longer have any emotion for it and no matter how bad) is very good for a writer of any genre. Do this, trust me. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

Still reading Pessoa, but in small morsels ... large bites make my sadness magnify and my mind obsessively roam.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Such a Thing as Too Much Pessoa ... at least in one night ...

Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet is both exactly what I needed and exactly what I didn't need. Unlike Berryman and Lowell and some other authors I have been reading, Pessoa is rawer than raw. By this I mean he is unapologetically cynical, diabolical, self-absorbed yet deprecating and much more. This can wear on a person like me who is not feeling my healthiest emotionally lately. Four hours of Pessoa was simply too much for me. I was warned, but did not heed that very important warning. A dab will do you of Pessoa ... in one night. Like a good scotch, Pessoa seems at first merely calming, comforting, and oddly sweet ... but the next thing you know, you're drunk and haven't the foggiest idea where you are. All you know is the place where you find yourself is a walled-in dichotomy ... a place you want to run from and a place you never want to leave.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

No Kitty! And No More Anteater ...

It is truly amazing what a meeting with an idol of yours can do ... I feel much better post-Christopher Moore. My idols are usually poets or dead obscure artists or poets ... it's nice to have a living idol, a fiction writer even! I am so picky about my fiction since it seems a great investment to me. But as I have said before ... I love Christopher Moore. It's smart and fun, a pretty good rarity in "popular fiction." Another "popular" fiction writer I truly feel is truly great would be Jasper Fforde. There are others, but these are my current passionate fiction pursuits.

The Christopher Moore reading was amazing. And he didn't read at all, attesting he was not a good reader and talked smartly and hilariously off the cuff ... and off of sticky index card notes. I did not know sticky index cards existed, but I am going to have to get some. Did you know the really old anteater at the Tahoma Zoo passed away? Neither did I ... till Mr. Moore told us so.

I got some photos, blushed A LOT and giggled A LOT, a problem I have when meeting writers I admire ... and I really wish I didn't. I feel it gives me a "stupid" vibe or something. When I was taking a photo he said, "BFF!" so cool. I almost fainted. No, I didn't ... but I was like: "BFF ... Cool!" I am such a geek! But I did give him a signed copy of my book ... he said he'd have something to read on the plane. I hope he likes it and tell me so!

The other good news about that magical evening at the Borders in Ann Arbor was that my poetry book, Small Murders, was in the poetry section. I was not expecting that and so was pleasantly surprised.

Often, I think serious readers are lonely. It is sometimes difficult to hang out with someone and be reading a book (though I have tried this and I have realized it's rude), hence the typical "loneness" of readers. I think that is why it is so great and so amazing to meet an author and like-minded readers. There were a few in line who seemed cool, but I was too shy (and nervous waiting to meet Christopher) to say anything to them.

Now I have begun reading Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. It is truly beautiful and poetic and I will save that discussion for later ... at least after Volume One, Swann's Way. And also Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet. I ran into a friend in the bookstore yesterday and he totally turned me on to this fascinating writer. Thanks, Little Paul! More on Pessoa (and Little Paul and I's bizarre chain of coincidences in the period of 30 minutes in Barnes and Noble) later as well. And of course, I always have to have a nonfiction book and a poetry book going as well, and those are The Lobotomist by Jack El-Hai, about Dr. Walter Freeman; and The Dream Songs by John Berryman (again, yes), respectively.

But just a taste of Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet:

Writing #154

Who am I to myself? Just one of my sensations. My heart drains out helplessly, like a broken bucket. Think? Feel? How everything wearies when it's defined!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Dream Song

The house, the tide, the monster chasing me. It is all so constant. I spoke last night with someone I miss so terribly. But what can be done about such things? We both just need to live. We both just need to be brave.

I don't feel brave. I feel instead very unbrave and vulnerable. I inadvertently, unwantingly await my feet to kiss some emotional mindfield and that will be it. There is not much more I can do for myself. I need some kind of help. And I am always in a state of unrequited.

I watch a crane. The machine, not the animal. This crane is missing its object. And on that large hook I imagine my little heart dangling from it. The crane moves about looking for the space where it belongs. There is nothing. There is nowhere. There is no hole deep enough for my heart. There is no perceivable end in sight to this sadness. It is constant. It is the only lover I will likely ever know. And I simply have to accept it like one accepts any disability. So I keep a dream song, my dream song, so close to me since nothing else and no one is or can be close to me. John Berryman, you save me again today and will save me again tonight.

Dream Song #109, by John Berryman

She mentioned 'worthless' & he took it in,
degraded Henry, at the ebb of love --
O at the end of love --
in undershorts, with visitors, whereof
we can say their childlessness is ending. Love
finally took over,

after their two adopted: she has a month to go
and Henry has (perhaps) many months to go
until another Spring
wakens another Henry, with far to go;
far to go, pal.
My pussy-willow ceased. The tiger-lily dreamed.

All we dream, uncertain, in Syracuse & here
& there: dread we our loves, whereas the National Geographic
is on its way somewhere.
We're not. We're on our way to the little fair
and the cops & the flicks & the single flick
who'll solve our intolerable problem.

And I look tirelessly for my little fair, that little place for my little and insignificant heart ... as my pussy-willow truly ceases and my tiger-lily truly dreams.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Seemingly Undetectable Barbed Wire of Bridesmaid Dresses ... and Coffins

Interesting day. And really for no other reason than my being stuck in a bridesmaid dress for 10 minutes. The girl who was helping me was sweet and cool, very much not like your typical stuck up bridal shop employee who has somehow convinced herself that you will steal a giant, 15 pound bridal gown if she doesn't keep an eye on you. So this cool bridal shop employee was asking me if I was okay ... I said yes. I mean I didn't want to get in trouble for the stuck zipper! But I finally managed to get out of it ... after a Jedi-esque force came to me and I had to make the zipper descend down its tiny, toothy track with my mind ...

And I kept mistakenly picking out maternity dresses! But they were far cuter and classic than the non-maternity dresses. To accomodate a pregnant orb they were empire waist of course ... and flowy. They looked so ... Shakespearean. Or at least Elizabethan. Very cool. I had a moment that I felt like Lady MacBeth and I swear if I was sure no one was around I so would have belted out the "Unsex me here" soliloquy.

And I liked the long marternity dress best ... and the girl said she thought it "looked cool even though I am not preggers" (paraphrasing but "preggers" is a direct quotation) ... I believed her. She was sincere. It was nice and refreshing. This was also the dress that I was stuck in and I thought since this dress and I had already had a moment ... a tough moment we got through together basically unscathed is a good sign. And the chick at the shop had a great point. I said to her ... do you think it is some weird sign or omen or something I am gravitating toward maternity dresses? She said no, walking away with a flow of chiffon following her saying over her shoulder: "I'd worry if you were picking out coffins."

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

If YOU SUCKing is Wrong, Then I Don't Wanna Be Right ...

After finishing Christopher Moore's You Suck: A Love Story last night, I felt the way I often feel when finishing a majorly fun and weirdly wonderful voyage through a book ... sad. Sad it was over ... or is it?

I shan't give away anything about the book in case you haven't read it, but it is truly great and its ending could morph thus: into yet another sequel, making this bloodsucking fiend / love story thing into an epic trilogy; or it will be left as is, leaving us wondering, considering ... yet knowing somehow what is in store for the characters we have become so invested in.

I have never been a fan of vampire fiction, but Christopher Moore makes it real, and makes fun of that gothic over-the-topness vampire fiction so often possesses with the truly delightful and creepy teen characters of Abby Normal and her buddy Jared.

Fun stuff. Do read it. But my humble suggestion is this: start at the beginning with his first book, Practical Demonkeeping, then maybe read Bloodsucking Fiends, then BSF sequel, You Suck.

I am so excited about seeing him at the Borders Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the 15th! Happy Valentine's Day to me!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Outside Looks Like My Inside ...

Here is a poem I want to share ... so good for a day like today when the outside looks like my inside.

"Home is So Sad"
by Philip Larkin

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

One More Thing ... Exciting!

Well, April is almost here ... and you know what that means: National Poetry Month! This year's poster is amazing ... this one may actually give the poster of Emily Dickinson's dress a run for its money ... though I love that as well! I have some plans up my sleeves to celebrate Poetry Month this year ... cocktail party would be great fun ... but I am really looking forward to celebrating it with you, Aaron my poetry man! We shall recite at the top of our lungs from the streets of Portland ... and some other fun stuff.

Kudos to where NPM was born ... and great designers give poetry a look with great posters every year ... I hope it's cool with you, The Academy of American Poets, that I am showing off your wonderful poster and site!

So Much to Talk About, My Captive Audience ...

Hello to the select few who read this blog ... lots to say ... today is a good day. The melancholy I was experiencing Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday seems to be leaving me alone today. I think I freak out that Melancholy Beast with my purpose today ... the manuscript. But first, I read a good bit of Christopher Moore's You Suck: A Love Story. This book is on par with A Dirty Job -- superb! And I was squealing with delight and surprise when I was reading today ... but I won't ruin it and tell you why. If you're a fan of his spectacular fiction and have read his repertoire, you will know why squealing was so very appropriate.

Last night, my reading plans took on another form. I was seriously planning on reading some Joseph Conrad. I was going to read his gorgeous novella, The Return for the third time, but alas, something else came out to me. Literally. And if you love Conrad (and especially this novella), run, don't walk to see the French film adaptation of it called Gabrielle ... a beauty you won't believe. But this date I had with Conrad was interrupted (I think by a supernatural force ... read on and you'll see) ...

Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet flew off my bookshelf -- no B.S. Seriously. And I did feel I needed the only-what-Rilke-could-ever-deliver guidance. So he forced his sweet ass upon me. Thanks, Mr. Rilke ... kiss kiss (see picture below, Mr. Rilke). And then it just got weirder, and even more supernatural ... when I turned to the following page and the following passage at random (listen up, young poets, this guy knows his stuff!):

What goes on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love; you must somehow keep working at it and not lose too much time and too much courage in clarifying your attitude toward people. Who tells you that you have one anyway (46-7)?

And then (also opened at random):

I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing. For this reason, the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more, -- is already in our blood (64).

I have been talking a lot recently about this rediscovery, this thing I felt was coming, something without a name or identity. That big something ... coming at me like this book came at me. Here is what I am thinking that rediscovery is ... and I like to imagine this newness as being a circa-1950 glass doe knick knack painted carefully in tans, browns, her little hooves and nose an onyx-black ... but I digress. But I do need to ask the Shaman what my animal is ...

I think what often invades me is not sadness; sadness is merely a symptom. I think what invades is a plug of sorts, plugging a part of myself that yearns to be freed ... and then other parts of me compensate this temporary loss of freedom in another part of me. That would explain why often depression, sadness, whatever label one would want to give it shows me the world in a different way. Another, usually lessened or "turned off" part of my self is turned on ... and there it is ... usually something totally mundane that suddenly possesses the deepest of all beauty, meaning and often brings me to tears ... makes me want to pray with Unitarian meditations ... the melding of the entire world in a moment.

About two months ago, I had such an experience ... in the Walgreen's parking lot no less (how much more mundane can you get?). An old woman sitting in a Buick with a Doberman in the back seat brought me to tears ... and then a little girl at the back of a school bus staring at me while I was in my car behind the bus at a red light ... tears again. And then within 30 minutes of being home: 2 poems. That plug in my soul began to remove itself ... sadness led to realization, then renewal, then rediscovery.

So this rediscovery I have been blabbering about? Anhedonia. I do not have anhedonia, but I have her ... persona ... in my poems. I strongly believe it was no mistake I happened upon this word, got hung up upon it ... and it is no mistake it had to basically hose down my soul for me to understand her. She been there, in my poems and thoughts for a long time now, but I have only now just made her acquaintance. And I can only hope she is as pleased with me as I am with her ...

But I couldn't have found this without a little push ... so thanks Rainer ... may I call you Rainer?

Bibliographical Info:

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1962 reprint.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hearts of Darkness ...

I have made the grave mistake of watching The Sopranos. It is a good show, yes ... but I don't think I can deal with that much darkness emanating from the human soul ... now I remember why I don't have a television and never had cable ... never HBO. I think I will stick to Columbo when I feel the need for a television show ... But in books and art I openly welcome the dark underbelly ... but the moving reality of television heightens one's experience, the unlimited accessibility makes it scary ... an unleashing upon the entire world. Hmmm ... just something I am pondering today ... still grasping for that rediscovery and what IT is ...

I think tonight I will stick to reading some Joseph Conrad ... wink wink ...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Title Saga Thus Comes to an End ...

Well ... thanks to Aaron (you wonderful rogue ... and I say "rogue" in the most complementary way possible and because of last night) ... my second manuscript has a title ... and now that I have it, only my nearest and dearest shall know it. I highly doubt it would happen, but it would deeply suck if someone took it from here ... no offense to anyone either: I can be rather paranoid and neurotic about certain things.

This title possesses all of the elements I was desiring: texture, a poetic tone, and metaphorical implications. And, as a bonus, it rolls nicely off the tongue, like an oyster.

I have been on the cusp of so much ... some sort of rediscovery of something ... this title is a big neurotic concern of mine out of the way ... thank you Aaron so very much. I owe you something ... maybe I will be able to replace that lost copy of The Donkey Gospel. Or maybe find that online harlot and ask for it back ... I would be nice. I feel now I can really focus totally on the manuscript, those last tiny touches ... so here's a virtual kiss just for you!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Not renewal, but rediscovery ...

You, Aaron, will likely find this entry the most significant in our common obsession with the poetry of Tony Hoagland. I had taken this unintended haitus from Hoagland (and the other "Three Muskateers" as well) when I was in the biting depths of Robert Lowell and John Berryman. I plucked it off of my shelf after thinking about you and I on that thrift store spree before you moved to Seattle -- the tight Kurt Cobain t-shirt and all. But I digress ... Hoagland. Wow-Wee! What a ride this guy takes us on. And I am still so sorry, Aaron that that online trollop took your copy!

The poem, "The Confessional Mode" is one of my favorites in the collection. And it got me thinking about mouths and words and laughter ... I wrote a poem ... Thanks, Tony! So I had this amazing post-writing feeling ... an almost post-coital goodness and joy. And then down down down I went from that "high" and in bed by 10P.

There are a lot of odd experiences I think all writers go through, but this pleasure-seeped post-poem cloud is the best of all of them. I think also that is why it doesn't happen often ... it is this special connection not to the cosmos really, but to something bigger than anything around you in those moments. Maybe more like a connection to the knick knack to your right on an endtable ... you are in that world ... it is empty, beautiful and blue. I think it is odd though, thinking back to when I was writing most of the poems in Small Murders, this pleasure was miniscule at best. I never felt any joy ... I think because the poems' genesis was hopelessness mostly. A loss, a constant loss, and after writing a poem it felt more like a death than a new life joy. But I have grown a lot since then, learned a lot since then, especially about the process not only of writing but also of my life. Change is real and inevitable in poems and in life ... not necessarily so bad. Though sometimes, change can be so jarring it hardly feels not so bad ... often it truly sucks. Right now, I am somewhere in the middle of it being good and it sucking. So thank the skies for erasures, speaking of change ...

It seems that a lot of writers, especially the less gregarious poets, are often in this constant (or seemingly constant) bubble for lack of a better word. Like being an omnicient narrator but not because although you observe, you are clueless as to the story you observe. This is when erasures are life savers for me. This is a tip to all of those reading this who write and experience what I just described (if anyone is actually reading this ...). Poet Mary Ruefle who I have had the great honor of meeting and hanging out with a few times has a book called, Little White Shadow. This is an erasure. She got the book I think at a thrift store or used book store and basically (in my opinion) saved it from oblivion by giving it a new life ... as an erasure. This is a process of crossing out words and phrases of a preexisting text to create something new. Mary's became one poem ... the book became a poem ...

This is therapeutic and enjoyable ... it is also sometimes a good way to get yourself writing something original. Lately, I have been xeroxing random pages of medical textbooks and doing erasures. My erasure on dwarfism is quite something ... you will be astounded by the power of words and their innate nature of being recycled. For me, I thought getting a poem out of a dry medical textbook would be a challenge and a learning experience about the power of words. Next, I want to take on something really really dry like economics ... then fun stuff like pulp.

Wow ... I really do need a vacation ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Halfway Through the Jungian House ...

So with all of my thinking about a sense of renewal, especially with manuscript 2, I find it odd I happened upon a large padded envelope of my undergrad poetry. It is a good 5 inches thick, threatening to tear at the sides. This caused me to wonder about my poetry journals from like 3 years ago when a lot of personal strife began for me. It is an interesting exercise to go back to the "old stuff," those old emotions and circumstances. I think every writer should enter this somewhat frightening room of the past -- looking at those "old things," rifling through them like bras and panties in a poke shop. I think I could pretty much guarantee at least one pleasant surprise in that old stuff ... a gem ... an oddly fresh outlook on something, something you had been pondering years prior but forgot about. I think a writer should go back at least 2 years ... anything "newer" than that would not pack the same punch, have the same eerie rediscovered aura going.

After going to bed feeling basically alone and slightly depressed and lost in the murky world of wanting renewal and thinking of things in the past more than I should ... I had a dream about that house again. There is a house that often invades my dreams. It is a big, gray, and rather dilapitated house on a beach ... sometimes it seems like the lake, sometimes like the ocean. And a faceless man is always in it (I have my suspicions who it is based on a small amount of "clues") ... and then there is usually another "tangible" person with me in the dream. Often, there is some prehistoric-looking monster chasing me through the sand, the water, up the spiralling stairs of the house. But last night it was just me and this monster, and this house, and me screaming something about remembering the goodbyes.

So am I saying goodbye to something again? Something indiscernable I must rid myself of to move on ... to grow ... to be renewed and happy? The tangible alterations of renewal like cutting half the poems from my manuscript, finding old work to poke through ... in this am I saying goodbye to the sad disappearance of my years-ago dreams? I am always in that house, in one way or another, and I just have to make it through the whole house to make this all whole. If I am remembering correctly Jung believed the image of a house to signify the mind -- the conscious and collective unconscious. Being the Jungian (not Freudian) that I am ... I see the logic and also the reality of this meaning. This recurring house of my nightmare is the recurring dilemma I am feeling often in my mind ... the life in my mind. My brain as the breathing apparatus that tries to keep me moving ... yet keep me from something, a final conclusion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Second Manuscript Cometh Along ...

Last night I went a little coo-coo and took half of the poems from my manuscript. It is more cohesive without these poems ... I think I feel renewed after having my friends here with me. It is weird how life seems so big, lonely, and confusing until one is surrounded by that unconditional respect and love of friends.

My big project tonight is to add my handwritten poems from my journals to the manuscript. Then the sprawl shall begin ... my living room floor looking alive and breathing again with the strewn paper crawling upon it. Then, final revisions to the poems. Does anyone remember the anecdote about William Carlos Williams and revising? I seem to recall him laying out the poems and placing a pane of glass over them to facilitate careful reading before the beautiful, crossed-out violence of revision. I don't have a pane of glass, so I am thinking I tying my hands behind my back and reading them ... or maybe just hiding my pens.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Title Saga Continues ...

So I am still seriously entertaining Lucky You, but there are others I am considering as well. The good news for me is that I have till the end of February, not January as I had originally thought, to find a title and put this baby to bed ... at least for the time being. Here are the others: All Yours; My Caveat; and If, Not. I do not feel at all married to these but I feel I am getting close to something with these.

There are others I am toying with that would be lovingly plucked from a poem or poem title in the second manuscript ... that is the genesis of the title of Small Murders.

I still welcome ideas ... Aaron, you're on a poetry roll, experiencing a veritable creative surge ... be a love and lend a hand ...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

my life as a poet who reads resumes ...

So after taking my best friend to the airport after a 10-day stay with me, I am alone again. Well, relatively. I have the new Christopher Moore novel, You Suck: A Love Story and I basically plan on reading it in one sitting, tonight. Reading and writing is so fun and necessary for my sanity, but I think I sometimes underrate the importance of people. It is easy to detach and difficult to connect sometimes.

Aaron, thanks for the poems ... I will send you some very very soon. But I can't wait to deliver them in person when I finally make it out to Portland. I know you keep saying it's no big deal, Aaron, and know I know the poem is good no matter what ... but your writing a poem about me gave me a much-needed ego boost ...

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I was feeling the love at my reading on Thursday night ... not because the room was full to the brim ... only 8 people were there ... but because the people in that room were so dear to me; I was so feeling the love. I also think I am improving each time I read which is good. Each time, I am less nervous and feel I have more of a command over my poems and performance. I did sell 5 copies of Small Murders which was quite nice considering there were only 8 people. The book is available online via Amazon and Barnes and Noble, also via the New Issues Press site, There are also two poems from the book on the New Issues site.

In a recent issue of Poets and Writers magazine, there was a great article with many great tips on plugging your work, preparing for interviews, and performing. When reading, especially a longer poem, my mouth begins to tire ... not really cottonmouth, but a weird tired jaw feeling. This article advised face muscle exercises before a performance ... opening your mouth really wide and holding it, a kind of stretching your mouth. I did this while I was getting ready and it did seem to help. Just thought I would pass that tip on ...

Even though the room was not filled with tons of people drolling for poetry, it was filled with such great moments for me. My friend's little brother made me a gourmet grilled cheese before the reading since I wanted something on the lighter side to eat beforehand. Two dear friends were in town from out of state and the night possessed a sort of magical quality with my nearest and dearest there. I was also presented with a torque from my friend's dad after I finished reading. He said it was a Celtic tradition to give torques to poets who had earned respect. That was something I was not expecting, something wonderful and gorgeous, and seeping with emotion for me.

I have to begin to think of more venues where I can read. It sounds like I may read at Fire again as well. I will be starting the "conference circuit" in late February.

And I am still looking for a title for the second collection ... any ideas? Something simple but possessing texture and a possibility for metaphorical meaning. I am liking Maybe.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

So much depends on so much ...

My Thursday reading draws near ... and I notice a lot is changing in my life -- personal and professional -- just in the last few days. Things have gotten a little skewed, weird, I feel out of place ... this makes me feel I am close to answering something. Close to realizing something I have been wanting to realize. I can feel it nipping at my ankles with tender care.

I have dear friends coming in to town tomorrow and I am so looking forward to feeling that great closeness one feels when surrounded by those who care for you and you for them ... when they're like family, an unconditional something there ... burning deep ... it is so helpful for me. I wish Aaron was coming as well ... miss you! I don't mean to be greedy ... I am so grateful to have my friends coming at all ... so grateful! So fortunate. So excited.

I just discovered poet Frederick Seidel and by accident ... fascinatingly true and grim accounts on our emotional muck, his in particular. It is funny and endearing to me that someone like Seidel who is very private and rarely does interviews or photographs would have the extremity that he does in his poetry. I love dichotomies ... maybe that is part of what nips at my heels so tenderly.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

I Need a "Networking" Budget!

So after my interview with the local newspaper, I needed a pint ... even though my funds are indeed limited till the glorious morn (payday). I re-met a Spanish guitarist ... I say re-met because we had indeed met before and lost one another's contact info. We desire a collaboration ... Spanish guitar and poetry ... what could be more potentially wonderful?

I also met another person who is going to come to my reading next Thursday ... and she liked my book, Small Murders. Made a sell ... a contact ... a moment ... a collaboration all over a pint. Nice! I need to have a "networking" budget!

For anyone out there in Kalamazoo, I might as well plug the upcoming reading: Thursday, January 11th at 9:00P (doors will open at 8:30) at Fire at 1249 Portage Street in Kalamazoo. $3 bargain cover charge and books for sale after reading. Fun for all ... I kinda promise.

P.S. Sorry, Carl for spelling your name wrong ... I hate when people do that to me. But your name is rather complicated! I am making excuses ... but still, LUCKY YOU! Cheers.