Friday, July 30, 2010

the public self

Last night I went to the Whistlestop alone for V.A.M.P. I realized I know a hell of a lot of people. And a lot of people know me. People I don't know know me. The cool part is that a couple of strangers came up and asked if I was reading or to tell me they like my work. I also fielded a few questions about my private life, which was really weird. But interesting. I though about it for a long time when I got home. Much of what I write about is private, but I choose what I put out there. My poems are often very personal but I know how to blur enough of what I'm saying so that I don't feel like I'm airing my laundry or exposing anything I don't want to expose. And poetry allows a certain amount of creative license, I lie in my poems and no one will ever know, or care. I take liberties. And I love it. But in real life, not so much. As I left the bar a friend rode by on his bicycle and was appalled I was walking home alone so he walked me home. It was very sweet. I know a lot of great people.

I'm leaving for Squaw Valley in a week. I hope the sun in shining there. Today I am going through the hell that is bathing suit shopping. I have a high school reunion pool party this weekend, the Thespian Society kids. If 17 years ago you would have told us, all dressed in black and velvet, that we'd be reuniting at a pool party in the suburbs, we would have scoffed, tossed our capes and skulked off to write poems about stupid adults. Interestingly enough, a lot of us are still very involved in creative pursuits. We consecrated ourselves early to the art. I see it paying off.

I'm trying to write a poem to hold this line: hair never touched that was grown to be touched.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I woke up last night and my bed was shaking. I swore there was an earthquake. I waited it out and realized it was a really long earthquake. I got out of bed and realized I was shaking, not the earth. I was shaking hard. I wasn't frightened, it was very strange. My body just decided to shake. I sat down and made myself concentrate on my breathing until the shaking stopped. I woke up this morning and the clocks in my apartment were reset. Maybe my massage last night did something to my body but I can't explain the clocks. Very odd indeed.

I've been reading and rereading the Erica Jong poem The Evidence. I especially love part 4:

Evidence of love?
I imagine our two heads
sliced open like grapefruits,
pressed each half to half
& mingling acid juice
in search of sweet.

I imagine all my dreams
sliding out into your open skull--
as if I were the poet,
you the reader.

I dig the grapefruit image. I am collecting images to steal from myself.

I'm struggling with a short story. I can't find the ending. I started it in Mexico in May and I've lost the motivation to finish it. Gah.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm reading!

I may even share some new work. I'm excited, I haven't had a reading since the end of April. If you're in the area, come check it out! I don't know too many folks in North County but would love to see some familiar faces.

Friday, July 23, 2010

a streak of cruelty

After I blogged yesterday I talked with a friend who is also an ex. We were discussing writing and other things. I made a comment about a passive aggressive action and he said said "Like a couple of the poems you gave me?" Ouch. I had to admit, I was cruel. At the time I chalked it up to sharing my work with someone whose opinion I valued, but really, I was being an ass. I was hurt and angry over the way things had been going and wrote a couple of poems masking my anger. And though I told the truth in the poems, they were ugly truths and things that just weren't very nice. Weirdly, they're a couple of my favorite poems. Enough time has passed where my friend and I had a good laugh over the poems. But, I hope I'm adult enough not to do that again. I say that because the villanelle I was working on the other day also has elements of cruelty, and I am strangely fascinated by it. I would be devastated if someone handed me a poem that was written to get under my skin and hurt me. Not hurt like a knife, but a tiny wound that smarts and stings doesn't let you function.

Mermaid Parade

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return

Yeah, I quoted the Bible. It happens and if/when it happens I will most likely quote a book attributed to Soloman. Recently I was discussing language and form with a poet friend of mine and what influences our work. I was surprised when he said the bible has become an inspiration. I get it. I don't read the book for content but for language. And I'll steal images and ideas like crazy because crazy is what the bible is full of.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down and worked on a villanelle. It wasn't as difficult as I thought, but the villanelle didn't really turn out so well. (ha ha.) But for a first draft I'm pretty proud of myself. Writing in iambic pentameter is not too challenging but continuing the flow of content with the refrain is. The poem turned out to be a cruel piece of writing, I doubt it will ever see the light of day, but I enjoyed writing it. I'll attempt another later. I was reading Gerald Stern yesterday before I attempted the villanelle, his ear for music is clearly a lifetime of love and devotion. Here is the beautiful first stanza from the poem She Was a Dove:

Red are her eyes, for she was a dove once,

and green was her neck and blue and gray her throat,

croon was her cry and noisy flutter her wing once

going for water, or reaching up for another note.

I had a nightmare last night wherein many of my fears were confirmed. I was devastated and angry beyond belief. But I retaliated, I beat up an enemy with the limp body of a tiger. Then I went to Negril. I haven't had a nightmare in a while and this one was about emotional fears that aren't entirely irrational due to things that have happened in my life before. I need to redress the ways I approach things.

I appreciate all the silence in my life these days, the selected company.

By Your Side
Beachwood Sparks

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

see oh me

I have been in another strange place. I feel a little like I'm hovering over my body, not really living in it or experiencing anything. The weather has turned again, clouds, gray. My favorite season has cheated me out of the joy that comes with the sunshine and heat. I've been reading and staying quiet. I started a poem or two but just haven't had the energy to write. I haven't even been reading poetry. I sleep well, which is rare for me, but I welcome the peace that comes in the morning. I suppose there is an existential crisis hovering at the periphery. I don't know what to do next or what the next step is. I don't mind, but perhaps I should.

I'm going to Squaw Valley in a couple of weeks for the writing conference. I'm not even really looking forward to that. I don't have anything against meeting people but I've done the conference/workshop thing so many times. I always enjoy the actual work, the writing and critiques and I usually meet very cool people I can connect with. But there is a summer-camp superficiality to a lot of the friendships. A few creative people thrown together to a week in close quarters, with the same interests. Quickly intimate friendships are forged, late-night discussions, confessions, et al. Phone numbers and emails are exchanged with the best intentions of continued communication. And once home the friendships dissolve as quickly as they were made. I know this is an over-generalization, and I met couple of my best friends at a conference. But in general, temporary emotional investment is something I'm tired of. I want relationships that last, transform, grow.

Comic-Con starts tonight. I'll go, but only one day, and for part of one day. I remember going for the first time 16 years ago. My boyfriend at the time had a comic book company. We sat at a folding table in the indie press section, with other writers/artists sitting at folding tables. We were in the corner of the convention center and almost no one wandered to where were were. We sat around, chatting, drawing, playing dumb games. When someone would come to the table we would alienate them with out excitement. I don't remember anyone actually buying any comics from us. Now the Con is huge, too huge. It is barely tolerable. I go because I end up buying a few cool things, like my Yoda slippers or Chewbacca flash drive. I see folks I see only at the Con. I observe people. Then I get exhausted and leave.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yesterday a Facebook post made me write. Thank you Scott Hernandez for writing about duende and Lorna Dee Cernvantes on my wall. I needed the duende reminder. Last night I made myself write for the first time in weeks, reading Parra, Cernuda, Neruda, trying to tap into the duende and I got it. I went to the page with nothing, no ideas of what I wanted or anything. Who said the line about how writing is easy? All you do is sit and open a vein? I started a poem that wasn't very good but it got to one line man, one freaking line that as soon as I wrote it I started bawling and couldn't stop for an hour. Then I went to bed and bawled some more. Fucking duende. I abandoned the poem but was happy that as crappy as the poem may be I have one line that, even if it isn't good for anyone else, is good for me. I'd forgotten to go to my writing with that in my heart, I've been concerned with the words. The vein opened.


Monday, July 12, 2010

curve balls abound

Poetry is heavy on my mind, no just the writing kind, the living kind. I'm dealing with a strange inner turmoil this morning, nothing that can be resolved, nothing that can be fixed.

I've posted this song before, but I had a really good drunk listen to it yesterday so here it is again:

Be Your Husband
Jeff Buckley

Friday, July 9, 2010

that would be so nice

I'm tired. I have a feeling my body is gearing up to force me to rest. Trying to beat it to the punch.

Sing it, Bebel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

salty morning

This song was in my dreams last night. I reminds me of a warehouse party I went to years ago; I remember dancing all night with a good friend and coming home at dawn happy as a pig in shit.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

just an easy answer

Nothing special going on in my head, at least nothing I care to share. I listened to this song several times today. I used to love this song when my heart was sore from being broken. Cheesy, but it spoke to me.

I have spider bites all over my waist and hip. The spiders in my apartment are, to quote a Sandra Cisneros poem, the color of a fingernail.

I Always Knew
Tilly and the Wall