Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rolling Right Along

Things are rolling with the chapbook. It feels good and a bit scary. I ordered custom cut paper yesterday. Tonight I'm hoping to finish the cover do the final mock-up before I take the little monkey to the printer. I have a reading next Wednesday October 8 at the Ugly Mug. I'm very excited! Also, I have decided to have a chapbook release party! I have it scheduled for October 24 at The Ink Spot. I am doing this for real this time. And more love to Beau who has solidified his status as best guy friend of the year with his phenomenal editing skills and especially for putting up with my cranky psycho-ness.

Sultanas de MerkaĆ­llo
Ojos de Brujo

Monday, September 29, 2008

joy cometh, allegedly

The new chapbook is almost finished, though it has nearly killed me on more than one occasion. I've been drunk on poems and their memories. That with being sick has made for a rough weekend. I broke down more than once. Yesterday I sat in pajamas most of the day watching football (love how the Chargers dominated the Raiders in the fourth; thank you Mr. Tomlinson) and working on the chapbook. I am going to be very proud of it when it is complete. It is now formatted and laid out. Now all I have to do is work on the cover. The little skin that contains the big skin.

It is raining outside. Thunder is hinting in the distance, guttural in a quiet, insisting way. It hasn't rained here in months. The drops are fat insects of water exploding on the plants and concrete. I love that scent of first rain: loamy, almost metallic. If the morning after weeping had a scent, it would be this. The excess nectar from my hummingbird feeder has been washed away, the damned spots are out.

A couple of years ago I was very into neuro-linguistic programming. I've fallen away from the study of it and the practice I had going. Recently I have noticed that the language I use to define myself defines me. I have to work on my own personal emotional syntax, if that makes any sense. Lately I haven't been using the healthiest language in my mind. It all comes back to this psychological detritus I've been hauling around. The buried have come back swaggering into my life with the organizing of my poetry.

On my mind: grain silos, a year ago today, trazodone, Cuba, the oil on the roads, personal mythology, getting my brain back--the good and the ungood.


Friday, September 26, 2008

a little bit sick

So Tired of Being Alone
Al Green

I am sick, a cold is up in my nose and driving me batty. I get cranky when I am sick and now is so exception. But out of the crankiness comes clarity. I have been a long time without being taken care of and that usually unimportant fact comes to the forefront when I'm sneezy and head-snotted. A long, long, long time ago, I had someone who took care of me. But I was young and thought it was normal. I moved on into the wild world of worthlessnes only to realize I should have appreciated it more. Again, this will or not make it into my writing. There is so much more to write about. But I'm sick and want to be snuggled, fed soup and allowed my misery in pleasant, patient company. Or at least I wish I had my cat back.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

take with you my wounds

Cafe Tacuba

This song reminds me of an impending hurricane over the caribbean years ago while I was living in Mexico. I was warned away from the storm but went to the beach anyway to see what chaos in nature felt like firsthand. I was wearing a long skirt. It was a sail on my body, pulling me north as the wind filled me and everything around me. This song was in my head.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I'm a sleepy girl. Two weekends away from home and much work in-between. Lack of down time gives me the blues.

Next Lifetime
Erykah Badu

Vitality, welcome! please. . . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Every Angel is Terrifying

Last night I had one of those fantastic moments that cannot be planned or expected, the completely unexpected, mind-blowing and needed.

Last night we had dinner and watched the Charger game at a sports bar, it is what my baby sister wanted to do for her birthday. Afterwards we came back to the casino and everyone wanted to gamble. I like keeping my money and only gamble on things that have meaning so I fled the floor to wander the swanky shops and people watch. I heard there was a rare books store and I found it. As soon as I walked in I felt at home. It was quiet, rare in Vegas. Pretty leather and gilt books were displayed in glass cases. An assistant asked me if I was looking for anything in particular and I told him I was looking to forget that I was in Vegas. And poetry would be nice too.

The first book he took me to was a green leather bound very rare first edition of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Over $100,000. But it was nice to look at. The employee took me then into the back room where I held a beautiful red leather edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browings Sonnets. I was glancing through the poems when the assistant pulled out a box and slipped another book into my hands. There was no title on the book or spine but when I opened it tears came to my eyes. It was a first edition of Rilke's Duino Elegies, my favorite poetry collection ever. It was untranslated but I didn't need a translator, I began reciting the poems by heart, like a big dork. Beautiful moment. I am a geek. I would have bought it but I didn't have $18,500.

I'm a little off this morning from a dream I had right before I woke up. In it I confronted an ex-boyfriend about his lies and infidelity; I also confronted the other woman he was seeing the last six months of our relationship. I was violently angry in my dream, screaming and weeping, serving my wounded heart for everyone to see. Maybe I should get violently angry and weep; maybe I should have been more confrontational. But I let it happen to me. It has stuck like a burr. I look forward to the far away day when I can trust again, trust myself as well as others. But like everything else this will feed my writing.

I've arranged the poems for the chapbook. I think I'm going to like it a lot.

Janne Mertanen plays Erik Satie's Gnosienne n.3

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not So Vegas

Homeward Bound
Simon & Garfunkel

I'm in Las Vegas for my sister's 21st birthday. I'm with my mother, grandmother and both of my sisters. It is nice to be with family but Las Vegas is always some sort of odd bubble in my chest. It is interesting but the excess and vulgarity hurt me. From the hotel room I can see passed the glitz and artificial splendor of the city to the desert. It is red and orange in the morning light, deep v-shaped shadows spilling down the sides of the mountains.

I prefer that type of beauty to the beauty that has been created here by man. Yes, it is spectacular and at times stunning but it is not real. People walk around dressed up in hyper-reality fantasy, drinks in hand and money burning. Much is profane here. I know there is another side to the city that I don't see and maybe I am harsh to judge. But I have never really felt comfortable here. A little of that crazy artificiality threatens to slip into me and I have to fight it to stay clean. Everything here has been brought here, the plants are not native and nor are the people.

I was dreaming of my poetry last night, and of Adrien Brody. Not a bad combination at all! In my dreams I was creating large red flowers out of paper but they were poems too. It is stirring in me. Something is touching me the right way, reminders of what I used to think was natural. Something I thought I lost forever. Something about it brings some sadness too. As much as I love how I have evolved, I know something has been lost in the evolution. Trust, mostly. In my instincts and intuition. Getting that back will be a process. It is like a broken teacup I glued back together. It holds but not quite the same and the chances of shattering are tenfold.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Julieta Venegas

as we sit among the ruins, history is at one glorious and we are the ardor of the earth // shifting into finely divided matter: sand, salt granules, reflected nebula

from loving and loving my enemy
lizz huerta

Friday, September 19, 2008

mediocrity in the morning

I fear mediocrity. I fear that it will steal into my life dressed up as something compelling and I will be too distracted to notice. I want an extraordinary existence but often fear that the extraordinary will drop me on my head as it has done before.

I have the blues this morning; I'm out of journals. I'm very particular about the type of journal I write in, as I am particular about the type of pen I use to write. If I don't get the junk out of my head it wells up inside me like a cow that hasn't been milked and my emotional teats start to ache. I begin to bellow. This is morning of bellowing.

I'm a little stir-crazy. Last night I rearranged my furniture and ate my way through half a box of popsicles among other less healthy things.

Summer has faded, it was a tepid summer; I insist this next season be better. The air smells like the beginning of autumn. The water in the air is crisper and has the first strains of sleep in it. The mornings are grayer and overcast and I've begun to hole away as I do in transition.

You Said Something
PJ Harvey

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Last night I went over a bunch of my poems with Beau, who has volunteered to help with the chapbook. So much love to Beau for being the bestest friend and neighbor the last five months. It was great to go over the poems and to see my growth, how I have evolved as a writer. Now to put that to use.

Wrangling with the title and with the cover. I initially wanted to have an artist do the cover for me but after brainstorming, another cover concept has come to mind. I have the title, pretty much but may tweak it a bit. Now I just have to do the work. Dang.

Also, I am a damn good cook. I really am. I eat my meals and desserts and amaze myself daily.

Stevie Wonder

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

my spine says whoa, wow, how about that?

I have a new love. Chiropractique. What an experience. Love love love to Dr. Beau and his staff. Thanks to the other Beau for recommending Dr. Beau. I've gone twice so far and my back feels incredible. Much better than it has in a very long time. I feel taller and oddly enough, more creative. As if all that tension in my spine was cramping my style.

Last night I slept backwards in my bed, with my head where my feet normally are, so that I could see the full moon arc across the sky outside the window at the head of my bed. I recommend sleeping upside down. Something in the psyche twists and can't really figure out what is going on; my dreams were particularly vibrant.

Thank You
Led Zeppelin

I finished a Charles DeLint book last night, The Blue Girl. I always get lost in CDL books, always. I am always transported to another world. Echoes of that world sometimes follow me to this one. What a gift to be able to write like that. I met CDL last year and he was incredibly charming. I hope our paths cross again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

sing to me Ray, say it is true! I want to believe!

Ray Lamontagne is coming to San Diego. The show is sold out.

Shelter & Hold You In My Arms
Ray Lamontagne

I heart Utah

I never thought I would say that but I heart Utah. Moreover, I heart the incredible people I met and the community I got to be a part if for a quick minute.

First of all, much much love to Mestizo Coffeehouse, the coolest spot in town. Mestizo is run by a couple of loving and brilliantly creative people, artist Ruby Chacon and her partner, Terry. I haven't met such cool people in a very long time. The benefit for South Valley Sanctuary was held at Mestizo. I wish a Mestizo existed here in San Diego. I felt like I was at home.

I read a couple of poems at the benefit. I was a bit nervous since the work I read was pretty old but it was well received. My poem Anthem is always a hit. I wrote it so long ago that I don't even really know if it is relevant but I suppose it is a testament to who I was at that point in my life and what I was looking for.

I met Danna Layton Sides, editor of Salt Flats Annual, an annual literary magazine. What an amazing woman! She and I had a couple of great conversations. I wished I lived close to her so I could pop in to her house with a bottle of wine and wild women conversations.

Speaking of wild women. I LOVE Heather and Nuvia. I am so damn blessed to have these dynamic, creative and insane women in my life. I was so happy to be able to spend time with both of them. Maybe we got a little wild but nothing out of control, Scandalizz did not make an appearance. I lucked out with those two. Also love love love to the other beautiful women I met this weekend: Christina who works with The Pickle Company and her genius daughter Lily; Andrea who was having adult night and had me in stitches at the benefit; and the lovely and fascinating barista Sarah.

I need to go back to Utah.

This song goes out to Nuvia and Heather. I love you guys:

Let's Wait Awhile
Janet Jackson

Friday, September 12, 2008


I'm off to Utah for a few days. Time with La Creep and Baby Desmundis.

I woke up with this song in my head. Especially the line Superstar in your own private movie, I wanted just a minor part. . .

Blue Flower
Mazzy Star

I did an odd thing yesterday evening, I pulled out journals of mine from earlier this year and I read them. Very strange indeed. I have to find my Cuba journal, I think that one will be particularly interesting. I sat on my balcony and read while hummingbirds dive-bombed each other for a go at my nectar feeder. I am painfully honest in journals and I cringed many times while rereading them. I realize I walked around much of the year wearing my pain as a kind of secret body armor to keep from letting myself be vulnerable.

My vulnerability is back. Working on this essay about growing up Jehovah's Witness has been a mindfuck. All sorts of things I thought I had let go of have come gushing back into my life. I've had to examine so many things that I don't think I ever really examined before and it is not easy. But at the end of the day, I really like who I am. Had to go through all of that madness to get here. But often I want to swoop back in time and find that sad little girl I was, hold her and tell her it won't always suck so terribly bad.

I read this fantastic article last night, lined from Arts and Letters Daily. What Makes People Vote Republican by Jonathon Haidt. I dug it very, very much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

bad neck! good women, ahoy!

I went for acupuncture last night and one of my vertebrae is seriously out of wack. :( I slept with a heating pad on my neck an am going to the chiropractor this morning. This is not the year of my body, all it's little breakdowns and damages.

I love this song. I love this version. I wish Elliott Smith wasn't dead. Also, that the John Lennon wasn't dead.

Jealous Guy
Elliott Smith

I'm going to Utah tomorrow for some time with La Creep. Nuvia will be joining us and it will be a weekend filled with some of my favorite women on the planet. It is so nice to have close girlfriends, I would trust these two with my life. Years ago, many years ago, the three of us were in NYC together. We were young and wild and full of fire. Now La Creep has a baby, Nuvia is a married woman, and my wildness has mostly been deflated. Maybe there will be a revival. But I doubt it. Those all-night-nights of mojitos, shaking it and dangerous strangers are over. Now we're more of the glass of wine and chuckle crowd. At least the laughter never dies. Every year, I am becoming more and more of the last single, childless women I know. But with each year my pile of writing grows, my journals fill, my adventures about. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some song, particles

Tout Le Monde
Carla Bruni

This song reminds me of a time when I was imploding in joy. If the universe is infinite outwards, outer space and all; what is it inward? How many layers deep do we go? Microcosms of what layered? I go in more than I go out.

Today a particle smashing machine began smashing particles in Switzerland. I think some things remain better as questions than they do as answers.

I swore this morning in the half-lidded microcosm between where I live in my dreams and this world, I felt a shudder in my God particle, a minuscule earthquake.

I know what they smashed in the atom-smasher. Romance.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

An open letter of parting

Goodbye Vodka. This time it's really over.

It was never really meant to be, was it? From the beginning, we knew. But we tried, didn't we? I've been ignoring you the last couple of years, mostly because of the hostel incident in Madrid with that kid from Liverpool. You and I have had one of those chaotic relationships of coming together in riotous joy and rapture then the violent and often messy morning after. So today I say goodbye forever. I suppose we'll meet again, mostly when you're dressed up as a bloody mary. But even then I'll have to make sure I don't let you have your way with me. It hurts too much. This goodbye is difficult but nearly not as heart-wrenching as my break-up with whiskey was ten months ago.

After a night with you I can't stand looking at myself in the mirror, I feel used and unclean. You destroy my dreams and invite strange things into my life. I just can't handle you. I love your family and will continue to see them, mostly soju and other rice wines. . It will hurt me to see you with other woman but, this too I will bear. I hope you don't do to them what have done to me.

I hope that we can hold on to the memories and know that we learned something together. Even great loves will pass out of our lives. I will always cherish what we had together. But I just can't see you anymore. I don't think we can be friends. Please understand.

love always,

Last Goodbye
Jeff Buckley

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh no, what should I do?

It is HAWT out.

I'm sitting here with a stack of poems trying to see how they relate to each other and how to arrange them in an order that will best make sense for my new chapbook. I have a title, even though when I ran it by his darlingness Scott Bunnycake, (btw, nice "blog", only a cute picture; I suppose that is enough), he told me the title sounded pretentious. Whatever Bunnycake.

I know. I'll distract myself by blogging. Again.

I have a tornado inside of me, creativity spinning and ripping up all sorts of preconceived ideas of what I wanted this next collection of poems to be. I have a reading next month at the Ugly Mug in OC and I have to get my caca together.

I've had a new poem in me for a week now, I have it between my teeth and I'm shaking it around. Trying not to kill it, just get it to lay the way I want it to. Come on, pretty poem, be nice to me, I'll be nice to you. . .

The inimitable Mr. Beau says I've been on edge for a few days, tense and sensitive. I've been in a cooking frenzy and even made zylitol cookies for the sugar-sensitive one. But I've also thrown some attitude. Attitude=cookies. Not a bad deal.

Here is where I got the line for the title of this blog:

Baby's In Black
The Beatles

It almost feels like earthquake weather, though maybe the earthquake is inside of me.

Yesterday I was working for new customers and they were my age. In a multi-million dollar house. It was odd. They were well-dressed and nice. Their swimming pool was huge, their view stunning. A cute baby in designer duds and expensive pram. They had four fireplaces. But they were hanging lame, mass-produced art on their walls and I pitied them. I may be broke but everything in my rented apartment tells a story about where or who I've been. I shouldn't judge, but I do. I'm human. They asked the usual: boyfriend? No (with a shudder.) Want kids? No (blankly.) What else do I do when I'm not painting their brand-new hand-wrought iron to make it look artistically antique but not worn? I'm living, damn it. And I'm damn good at it.

Maybe I'm a jerk. But just this week.

warm the oven

Typing with a wrist brace is lame.

A few weeks back when Isaac Hayes passed, I was listening to an old interview of his on NPR. In the interview Hayes says you can't bake bread in a cold oven, or something to the effect. He was speaking to the act of creating a context for the music to rev up, to pull the listener in before the actual lyrics came in. I think. But the phrase stuck with me, you can't put bread in a cold oven. I think of my writing and how I have to write every day to keep the oven warm. I have plenty of things I want to write about but when I am out of my writing practice I can't express myself. I have almost filled up one whole journal in two weeks. But still, the oven isn't as warm as it needs to be.

I'm reading The Art of the Personal Essay. Helps me a lot with my writing. I'm attempting to be true to my voice. Develop it more. But I have so many voices. I have my snarky email voice that is funny and sarcastic, biting and a little bit mean. I have my poet voice which has more longing in it, abstractions and devastating language. Which one to use? Decisions. Decisions.

I have been in super klutz mode lately. I spill everything. I run into things. I fall. I wonder what is distracting me?

Baby I
Amy Millan

Friday, September 5, 2008


I sprained my left wrist somehow. Funny how much we use our wrists without thinking of it until one starts to ache or let it's vulnerability be known.

Quedate Luna
Devendra Banhart

Thursday, September 4, 2008

near to me

I have been listening to a great book called Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You. Digging it very much. I am culling great lines form the writing for my own use. Little phrases that can be twisted prettily into my poetry and non-poetry. I especially like the phrase the residue of suggested actions. That one is making into the poem I've been sleeping with for days now.

Last night I went to see Lily Koppel, author of The Red Leather Diary speak. What a story and a half! The author essentially went dumpster diving outside her NY apartment and found a collection of steamer trunks from the early 20th century. In one of the trunks she found a red leather diary that chronicled the adolescence of a young woman named Florence in the 1930s. The story spins off beautifully from there. Lily Koppel was eloquent; a brilliant speaker with a compelling voice that made me super excited to read her words. The story of actually tracking down Florence and finding what became of her is fascinating. Good stuff.

Last Favor
The Finches

I love being a writer, even when I think I hate it. I love language. I love words. I love stringing these 26 symbols together in intricate patterns that sing out what my heart swinging to, or sinking to, as has often been the case. I love the blank page and the feel of the pen in my hand. Nothing else compares. Even if I had no hope of ever publishing or sharing my work I would write because I love it so damn much.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I am in the wilderness

Not really. But it is the first line of my favorite Sade song. I am in the wilderness, you are in the music in the man's car next to me."

Lover's Rock

I'm working on a poem I like. I'm playing a little bit with the language, as I like to do. I have an idea about using a refrain and changing the syntax to alternate the meaning of the same three words in the same arrangement. We'll see. I may start posting fragments of poems or even entire poems.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

revelations, not from the scary book

I heard some sad but not surprising news last night about an old friend. Grieving a bit over it, but it is what it is and I had a feeling the friendship had evolved into ugliness. Though I didn't realize to what extent this person was trying to hurt me while being good to me to my face. I at least have the knowledge that I was always on the up and up.

It has been a good year for moving on and figuring out what my priorities are. It has been a good year for selective solitude and contemplation. It has been good, even when it wasn't. I can say that now. I can say a whole lot more than that but it wouldn't be very graceful.

I ran into old friends last night that had passed from my life because of circumstances that had nothing to do with me. Old friends are a good reminder of all sorts of things. Yay!

I had plans to go to my hangout with the phenomenal Miss Bassemah but the Vagabond was closed. I sent a message to the incomparable Mr. Beau that "the Vag is closed" and he wrote me back "not in Alaska." My friends are brilliant human beings.

Things are good. I have a new chaise that is new favorite place to sit and write. I can see the hummingbirds feeding while I write and that is just so damn lovely.


I love love love Andrea Echeverri, the lead singer of this band. She puts my heart in my hips.