Friday, December 30, 2005
Ok, well not exactly, but my very talented friend, the amazing John Kenney agreed to be my photographer for my picture on the back of the book. So we shimmied down to Adam's Morgan to have a photo shoot--which consisted of me bringing a few shirts in a bag and taking pictures wherever we were inspired. We began in Idle Time books and then decided that we liked natural light better. After about an hour and a hundred pictures later, we went back and viewed all the digital prints (welcome to the world of technology) and ended up with these four as our favorites. And now, it's time for a vote, so lovely fivefeet readers, chime in. Which pic is the best for the back of the book?
Thursday, December 29, 2005
One of our signature drinks (2nd from right) was on the back page of yesterday's Washington Post---the Cherry Sparkler (formerly the Cherry Popper until censorship went into effect). Either way, you should come to the Rouge for some sparkle pop action tonight or on New Year's Eve. There will be a DJ and fun Rouge party favors! Do let me know so I can make you feel like a VIP if you're coming on New Year's. And here's the link to the story to entice you:
My fabulous manager Mike Hill is even quoted on page 3!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Lately I've been thinking about shame and letting other people's opinions color how you feel about yourself. Most often we do this in relationships and many women often put the relationship before themselves. When you have to bend too much, it just isn't worth it. Then there are times when you should bend. It's all about balance, as I was reading in the latest issue of Latina at the dentist's office. The editor wrote about the importance of this for someone living in two cultures--how to deal with when American and Hispanic values clash and how to feel good about the choices you make. I think many of us often find our values and beliefs and various identities clashing. (A good topic for fiction, yes, even on break, I think of how every moment is a teaching one).
Caroline called and had lunch at Arucola--love being ladies who lunch. She shares my passion for passion. And my passion for the Mustard Seed (confirming a previous post about white chocolate, but then does that make her an oreo?). I think about the places in which we find comfort and find excitement in the ordinary. There are some people that grow with you. Caroline's one of them. I know she's going to be there through all this book business with me (in fact, working on some art for the cover) and tomorrow rocker/photographer/bartender JK is going to shoot some pics that may wind up on the back. Good thing I got all those new clothes from J's Hanukkah gift certificate and yeah me for organizing so I can find everything in a snap. And big Kool-aide grin b/c J knows what I like---he asked me to go to the open mic at Busboy's and Poet's tonight.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
While sipping on my vodka, I asked them to explain: You're white outside but black inside. Ok, hmmm, I suppose that means I'm a good dancer and I also seem to have the body of a black woman--curvy (if we're going on generalities). I asked one girl where she got her pants and I said I had seen some like it at Urban Outfitters and tried them but they didn't look right. She smirked and told me I need to come to one of her stores---they would know my curves better. Now I have always thought Black women and Jewish women had a lot in common, but fashion was not yet something I've explored.
Back in grad school, the Cave Canem readings were my favorite---because the poetry seemed like it mattered more---more narrative and rhythmic, less concerned with what makes poetry and more concerned with the self, empowering the individual while weaving a community. I remember Lucille Clifton and Sonia Sanchez staying for 2 hours afterwards to sign books and meet everyone who wanted to come up to the stage and shake their hands. I remember Sonia hugging me the way she hugged the other women and called us all sister.
I remember feeling a part of something even though it wasn't normally a community I would think would instantly feel right. Perhaps they saw something in me that was a bit dark and sweet. Though I suspect when you are genuine and real with people and let them see inside your skin, we all will be able to see a piece of ourselves in another.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Today I'm thinking about how fast things happen. Just last night I found out one of my co-workers who now works at another property got married. She had been dating her boyfriend for not even a year (I'm only making a point about speed, no judgement here), someone else I know was in love and then broke up with her lover (the relationship lasted perhaps a month or so), and I am in the midst of something chugging along quite smoothly. Whatever happened to that little engine who could? I think I can is now, I think I can, but it has to be today. Are we really carpe diem-ing all over the place?
Technology lets us do things a mile a minute. Just secured one of my blurbers over email in like a matter of 30 minutes. What ever happened to things being worth the wait? Today I'm googling more images, though my fabulous artist friend is going to be doing some sketches for the cover. Here's us last night and more cover inspirations...I can't say that I have found what I'm looking for. Though this time, I'm content to wait.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Baltimore is a lot funkier than DC. Yesterday I went to hear Piotr Gwiazda read at The Minas Gallery. I am so excited that he is going to be the lead editor for my book (his book, Gagarin Street, won the 2004 WWPH first book award). He's my first poetry crush in a while. I think what makes a poetry crush is honestly someone's work. When you just want to read more and more of their poems. So far my crush list is:
1. Jane Kenyon
2. Linda Pastan
3. William Stafford
4. Maj Ragain
5. Maggie Anderson
6. Honi Jeffers
Anyway, after a cozy reading in a gallery that has art and vintage clothes we had a beer at one of the most fun and divey bars--Frazier's and then dinner at the Golden West---kitch kitch! The menus are old records. A place that kind of reminds me of the Zephyr back in Kent before it turned bar.
Today I did my grades, wrestled with the dryer, and googled images for my book cover. This latter thing took a while as I still am not sure how I want my cover to look. I'm going to post a few here and please do vote or something. Keep in mind, the book is about memory, the Holocaust, and the poems are spaced out like steam...
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
And then last night at the Mothertongue reading. Natalie is the BEST mc ever to rock a mic. She really comes alive and connects, creating a space in which everyone feels her gratitude and comfort. A place where you can say something funny, serious, indecent and be respected and embraced for it. I feel very fortunate to have met her and Sandra (two of DC's hottest younger poets). All too often we judge and often unfairly and harshly. Though yes, constructive criticism is like sun and water, I much prefer singing to the seeds to let them rise. I think of this as I am in the middle of reading my students' final portfolios, which they have attached pictures, colors, printed on maps, and handmade books, and feel lucky to see what came about in a semester. That they, like me, all have a first book, and this is the one that matters most.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
1. found out my first book of poems will be coming out in fall 2006 from washington writer's publishing house...guess where i was when i got the phone call...the powder room of the black cat!
2. sat next to mark kurlansky at the big alimentum launch in nyc. everyone has a crush on ramona. spent 15 minutes in line for the bathroom.
3. didn't pee on the train on the way up but surprisingly the penn station bathrooms are quite clean. went on the way home.
4. lost my cell phone charger but acquired 4 magnolia cupcakes.
5. am using book deal to justify things like eating big macs at 3 am and the like.
6. will be grading portfolios and bartending and will write something decent soon. apply said book deal excuse here.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I'm talking about our Red Hot Relief AIDS benefit at the Bar last week...and look who's on page 6. Well not exactly but there are two of me. I'm pasting them here but feel free to check out the whole gallery---plenty of hot Miss Universe and Miss DC all glammed up.
On Tap Magazine has also posted additional event photos online:
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
After class I spent office hours just chatting about life and this and that with a few of my students. I have a bag full of their portfolios to open, but I'm letting the moment linger. Today they all went around and shared their books. There are poems with pictures and colors and well lions and tigers and bears oh my---no, really, the kinds of things that they will have years from now. Who knows what it will mean then. Actually, I have been devouring Memoirs of a Geisha and finally finished reading it on J--'s duvet. I mention that here because he likes seeing his name in lights so to speak. I also left him another little surpise at home but I won't elaborate anymore on that. Please excuse me dear readers for excluding you in the previous two sentences. Normally I hate when people use inside jokes as much as I hate the end of novels. I did not feel that way after finishing MOG. Here's a snippet: "Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper." J--do take care to get the encrypted message in the quote. Everyone else can enjoy it for the sheer pleasure of the language.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Jillian gave me new tea and a strainer to brew it in---so now I don't have to tea bag it all the time. Also good honey--ie not the one that comes in a bear. Though I got to see everyone, it wasn't enough. Perhaps that is why the snow matters to me so much. It makes me think of walking around Kent and laughing and sloshing between classes, parties, and whatnot---or gathering in the lounge and listening to Erin play piano and we all had our mugs and sometimes roasted marshmellows in the fireplace. I think of my students who don't have this on their city campus, but then again, I think of all they have that I never did. I suppose you can't have it all. I'm trying to bring them the poetry of Kent--notecards and community poems and brownies.
The mail today brought the first and new issue of Alimentum! Click on the right to see more and the email brought news of being published in Wicked Alice and an email from deep cleveland---things are slowly rolling for the anthology, kind of like the snowflakes as they slip from heaven and melt on our faces. May you find one on your tongue and think of me.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Friday, November 25, 2005
"The Most Intriguing (and sensual) Male Poets of 2006 Calendar." All profits will be donated to CFIDS research. Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a multi-symptom immune deficiency related to the rheumatoid family. As very little research has been funded for this degenerative illness, not much progress has been made to alleviate the syndrome or its symptoms. You may find more information regarding the calendar at this website:http://www.poeticinspire.com/poetcalendar2006.html
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Nous allons: http://www.laubergechezfrancois.com/
Au revoir. Arrete moi a la Rouge ce soir!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Though I wrote a very prosey one in the bar, here's the blog version.
Last night I invented two things. The raspberry martini (though I'm sure done before) and the Orange martini. I like the word Cointreau. I also made a midori martini and these were for the fellas lined up at the bar. They wanted me to concoct drinks for them. Not in that witch way but in that magic potion genie kind of way. There's something to be said for being a bartender. However, like any chef, I won't prostitue my recipes here. You'll have to come in and ask nicely. It's strange these guessing games that people like to play. What drink will I like? Make me something not on the menu. So I aim to please. I think there is some truth in our drinks. That you can tell what kind of a drink someone will want before they even say a word to you. Perhaps there is some key to who we are in what we like. Lately, I've become more girly in my liquor tastes---moving from bourbon on the rocks to pink and orange martinis. Perhaps it is the glass I like, the way it feels in my hand, the sugary lake of alcohol saying dive in. No rocks to snag yourself on.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Bar Rouge: Best Conversation Bar
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Reb, looks like our senses of poetics are quite similar. (for Reb's check out cacklingjackal.blogspot.com) Though we already knew that.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Or how in life we try to make a connection between certain things in our lives or make symbols of other things. How we are constantly trying to either see the meaning that already exists or make meaning out of things that don't make sense unless we construct a narrative. In a way, I think fiction is somewhat like a treasure hunt. How one thing unfolds into another. The patternless pattern. That which becomes apparent and that which is beautiful mystery. He brought flowers today at lunch. The surprise of flowers and a lawyer in the middle of the afternoon. The way their stems twist around each other, their pink, orange, red, and yellow heads jumping out from the vase. I too, unable to contain myself.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Annie sent me a magnet with a Wallace Stevens quote: It's not everyday that the world arranges itself into a poem. Today I was lucky.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
And the converse, many ceasing to publish. This is the end of an era in Cleveland as art crimes is getting ready to close up shop: so here's the call for submissions: http://www.agentofchaos.com/ac21call.html
Art Crimes is one of the places that first published my writing--Ohio has my heart--it was where I began writing and I think one of my student's said it best in her process paper: I didn't realize how much Minnesota means to me, that is until I moved to DC. I think it's funny how travel always ends up leading us home.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
With Carly Sachs
Wednesday, November 9, 6:00 pm
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW (Corner of 16th and Q, Dupont metro)
What would Abraham do while waiting in line to buy groceries? Or what if Sarah was stuck in a traffic jam? Take a fresh approach to writing in this poetry workshop, using the characters, themes and language of traditional Jewish texts to generate your own original work. Weaving together their individual poems, workshop participants will create a collaborative piece to share at “SLAM! Spoken Words from the Fringe” on Saturday night (see below). Use this opportunity to get your creative juices flowing—and to see your own words as part of a larger shared text. Carly Sachs is a writer and creative writing teacher at George Washington University.
SLAM! Spoken Words from the Fringe
With Matthue Roth and Ruby K
Saturday, November 12, 7:00 pm
Teaism, 400 8th Street NW (Gallery Place/Chinatown metro)
FREE (food and drink not included)
Performance poet and novelist Matthue Roth offers his hilarious and sometimes shocking views on Jewish life, relationships and the world. Jewish organizer and award-winning slam poet Ruby K opens the evening. Step up to the microphone to share your own poetry or just enjoy the food, drinks and atmosphere at Teaism, DC’s happening teahouse and restaurant. Please contact Andrew Ratner at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in reading during the open mic.
For full schedule and ticket information for the Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, see www.dcjcc.org/arts/literature.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002. PS3553 .I86 N49 2002.
Do we miss a thing we love less
if, in going away from us, it grows beautiful?
It rainedall weekend, and the leaves
this morning are going
from brown and tan to crimson.
The splendor flaming from
these trees compensates us,
nearly, for what autumn takes
leaf by leaf, the lined white face
of a father growing noble
the angrier, more confused
he goes, rain like angry bees,
his empty eyes, a cold wind
coming on like dementia.
("A Brief History of Fathers")
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Isn't it funny how we can feel large and small at the same time? Today walking back from class, I was behind two 7th grade boys and listening to their conversation, I was amazed at how they talked about adult things--I picked up on gambling and poker, but how young they sounded...and that they were taller than me. Then, again, there's not much shorter than me. And before class, I spent the morning talking about William Carlos Williams and NYC pizza--how he identitifies as a poet even though he was a doctor and how DC's pizza is lame. And how for me, poetry and pizza resonate in a strange way---perhaps b/c I did my MFA in the city and I was always running around between work, class, and readings, that I ate a lot of pizza at the same time I was writing a lot of poetry...and how this really doesn't have anything to do with me standing next to a tractor...in class we talked about free verse and fugue--the means in which we can move from one event to another, how repetition works to create resonance and depth and how tangentally we can make connections of a sequence of items that may or may not have like qualities--when we look at our lives through examination of details and images, and as human beings we want to make some sense of it---from the large things to the small. Hence, me and the tractor or is it, the tractor and I?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Yes, the Rouge gals do go country! We even found some red pumpkins for the Rouge--seriously, I didn't know that they existed. It's always wonderful to find something you didn't know existed. Though we weren't the only ones making asses out of ourselves...see?
Jumbo's Pumpkin patch came complete with pumpkins, pigs, and donkey's oh my! I think the words hee haw also need to be in a poem. And on that note, last night one of my cousin's friends told me about this thing called urbandictionary.com and i am almost thinking of giving my students the assignment to write a poem with at least three words they found on there...or perhaps a fun exercise for my readers to try :)
Katelyn and I were going way past double nickel,
wanted to get to Jumbo's mad fast,
their pumpkins are B-bobbin shizle biscuit
and the ass there is bootylicious. Hee Haw!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
But I can't figure out how to flip my idea around...this picture was taken at Jillian and Clinton's place (what a great lanp)...but it prompted me to meditate a bit on ideas. I'm a firm believer in ideas and in bringing ideas into fruition. Take my mother for example---she's finally taking her MBA business plan into consideration--homemade applesauce and other assorted sundries. And moving it from plan/paper to reality. Perhaps everyone in Youngstown will get to taste what she has to offer. Then there is Michael who is living his dream of creating his own business, and Jillian who just bought a new loom, I wonder what ideas she will sew, what kind of a life she will weave for herself---and me, bartending and GW. Though I'm idealizing these ideas here, I know that we all face so many challenges that come along with these big dreams. It's not an easy road, but a rewarding one. Someone once told me to find what you love and then figure out how to make a living from that. It's a simple recipe, but more complicated to actually execute. It makes me think again of the words of Maj Ragain, of planting roots and making your whole life the cultivation of those seeds. Today I bought lilies--a stalk of buds and already they have started to open--all week, I will watch them unfold and flower. That is before cutting them and putting them in my head (see? I have all kinds of things growing up there).
Monday, October 10, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Ok, that's not exactly the truth. I prefer to think of it as a culinary experience. It is not often that you do not order the rabbit and then end up with the rabbit. Ramona is still seething at me. I am still pretending it was chicken. Here's the truth. Jean came to town and we were doing it up on the town at Poste (my new favorite DC restaurant). We also had a reason to celebrate...one of my poems was accepted in McSweeney's (the sestina issue). That happened after I had made the reservation, but no matter and no rain was going to stop us. Here is what we looked like at the end of the night---see no drunk bunny's here, though I did have a few cocktails. Pumpkin and pear martinis oh my! And I'm awake before 10 am on a Saturday. So we sit in our booth drinking our fabulous cocktails and then all of a sudden food we didn't order starts coming out so we can try things. It's amazing---the women at the other table were jealous. We were as good as rockstars, no...better! I was feeling pretty good about all of this until the rabbit came. What I pickle...I couldn't say oh no, I don't eat rabbit and insult the chef. So, I ordered another martini and presto chango, I was sedated enough to pick up my fork and tell myself...mmm, chicken. There are many little white lies (kind of like little cute white rabbits) we tell ourselves to get through life. I started thinking about why I needed that one...why are there certain things foreign to us that we have to trick ourselves into thinking they're ok? Perhaps its a trust issue---but we had put ourselves in good hands---Jason our server said we were family---one big Kimpton family :). As sweet as my concord grape cheesecake.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
And in these matters, I need some help---if anyone knows of any poems that deal with Biblical texts, please pass them on to me as I'm looking for some examples for this workshop.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
I have a glass tea pot at home. One that I bought when Brady's closed in Kent and have never used. It just didn't seem right to drink regular tea from it. Last week it was irises. This week it is orange blossoms that make tea. I think of simplicity--of how much it means to really talk with someone and to be amazed by another.
I received my first copy of The Sun magazine in the mail and have already read the entire thing. None of that, flip flip, only read this, flip flip, look at the pictures stuff. It's quite an exquisite publication--it reminded me of Kent, the place that taught me that writing comes from the heart--poetry, fiction, non-fiction. No matter, whether the ocean or the flower, a true story is unfolding. And in light of the metaphors flying around like butterflies (DC is full of them now...I see at least one a day), I'll let you lead yourself towards the sun. No easy links this time.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
In class, my students have been championing the poems they call simple, the poems that speak of human condition, of love and haircuts. They call each other's poems winners when they like them a lot. They all have nicknames and identities emerging: the dark one, the one who always comments on titles, the one who writes beach poems, the one who writes poems that make us blush. They love the vivid images and sensory details. Today we debated over the use of the word "undies" in a poem. Was it too cute? Was it just right? I thought the poem was about red, but it was really about pink, but in Hebrew. Now you're turning varod. I giggled too. There is something so humbling in listening to them chatter and discuss. I don't think poetry has ever been so much fun for me.
The other day a friend of mine said he was grateful. I had not been sure of what he meant until today, sitting in the chuch, with the simple arches and high ceiling with a bass player and a poet and thinking back to all of the laughter in class this morning--for all of this, I am grateful.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Here is part of it:
We were at Metro Center when I realized something was wrong.
“Do you have the meat?” I asked him.
“No,” he said, “do you?”
“Stop fooling around,” I said. He said he wasn’t.
I pictured a bag of meat riding around by itself on the metro. The whole thing seemed ridiculous.
“Do you think someone will find it?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “What would you do if you found a bag of meat on the train?”
“Leave it,” I said.
David let his fingertips brush against my back as we stood on the escalator.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Someone very close to me recently passed. I have been pretty quiet about it because I honestly don't know what to say. Especially in light of all the events of late: Katrina, Rita, the protests here in DC, ther personal struggles people are revealing to me. I've never been the political person, but I recently met someone who is, someone who is doing amazing work, volunteering his time to change the lives of others, and perhaps even the bureacracies that work for humanity, especially in times of disasters. Everyone loves a catalyst. I think of the way the irises open, the way they almost burst. Is it or is it not, metaphor?
Friday, September 23, 2005
My laundry is also spinning right now and while I just finished eating the chocolate mint bread pudding, mom goes and send me a new recipe. The cycles circling...
SUGAR-CRUSTED CHOCOLATE CHIP AND CHERRY BREAD PUDDINGS
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
3 slices white sandwich bread (about 5 1/4x4 1/4 inches each)
1 cup half and half
2 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 tablespoon kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 2 tablespoons butter over bread slices. Cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Whisk half and half, eggs, vanilla, and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Add bread cubes, chocolate chips, and dried cherries; toss to coat. Divide mixture among six 2/3-cup custard cups. Dot tops with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle puddings with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until tops are browned, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk cream, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and kirsch in medium bowl just until slightly thickened. Serve puddings warm with kirsch cream.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I had met Natalie from mothertongue a few readings ago and tonight's readings proceeds benefitted the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, so there were numerous reasons to go. There are days when we need to be reminded why we do the things we do. Tonight was one of those readings---more raw, words clawing, breath jagged and brazen tongues tying the political to the sexual to the individual collective. I remember going to Open Mic nights at Brady's Cafe in Kent, Ohio to really hear. To see the beauty of what it means to be open, tasted, heard, and alive. I was taken back to those moments of passion when I heard my own voice speaking from inside that place that we name heart, or mind, or soul, those elusive words that I tell my students need to be more specific. Last night I recall asking Robert Pinsky how he translates Biblical text to poetry, hoping to find out more about the art in which we do---b/c I am at a loss to describe the process, of how painting becomes poem in my own work, the nuts and bolts of feeling, perceiving, thinking, describing---but he echoed what I felt tonight--it is like walking or riding a bike. You just move. Tonight the bones shook.
The other day I ended up taking a cab to work and ended with listening to my cabbie do some spoken word and sing some Toni Braxton---and you thought DC was a sleepy little town. Turns out, there's more writers out there. And perhaps she was my inspiration as after class I went to the National Gallery to do some of my own writing. And here's the title teaser of what I wrote that day: Georgia O'Keefe's Vagina. This time I won't write and tell. You'll have to buy me dinner first!
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Saturday, September 17, 2005
And sometimes it is the contrast in looks that is appealing. One of my students handed in an amazing poem about that---takes me back to the days when I was a bit brazen myself and wrote a line that goes something like:
I want to be like those girls
who can wear a robe like a slinky
black cocktail dress
and suck a dick
like a parched beggar.
And hence that poem was forever dubbed the suck a dick poem by my friends. I often wondered if that line was too extreme and what people would think about me when I read it (the poem was not about any sexual experiece, but the whole idea of what connotates sexy and sultry).
I think my student did it better than I did--here are a few lines:
He says he loves the contrast
of his dark skin
To my milky white
But I think that what he really means
Is that he wants me from behind
The poem to me is about crossing lines, not just racial and sexual but that of limits and expectations. About taking risks--in thinking it and writing it and I'm honored to receive such a poem. It means there is trust. And poetically and in life, that is something so fragile and sacred. Trust happens after risks do. So here's my advice to you: eat some salad and then go out and do something brazen. Hit one out of the park for me!
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The king wielded his power unjustly
his amythyst septer (spelling?)
the sheen of cabernet against crystal
after we had drunk it all
She pinned an orchid behind her ear
not the memory of it
the way it grew in those trees (anyone know the name of them---I saw them in Florida)
to be tucked in & woven around
It was twilight
she was melting
She remembered that he grew violets under flourescent lights in the cellar
It was the 1970's. She wore pants
That night she made eggplant, no aubergine
but she was here now and was having a difficult time slicing it
She thought of lilacs, the way they return year after year,
the scent she could not erase from her memory
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I think I need to take a lesson from them---just to be in the sheer moment of language and discovery. I came back from teaching and did the laundry and Moses (the desk clerk in my building) said to me how much I love towork---which I think is ironic considering that I teach for an hour and 15 minutes 4 times a week and work at the bar 2-3 nights a week. It gives me so much time not to work. He struck a chord. I always am working on something. Be it teaching, chores, sending out poems, writing them, the reading series, this blog---there is always something with me. I have always had the need to be busy. But today I slowed down. After laundry I put on my pajamas and took a nap. I had needed to stop and just be.
Monday, September 12, 2005
The black butterflies of night
Clipped for sleep to nightshade and widowgrief,
Or in shaking luminous flight
On paired and silver wings, are rare,
And rarely seen by human sight.
Yet, they are there, surfacing
Out of range of neons and streetlights,
And the dark offshores of air
To man and moth-maddening glare of things.
Tonight, As crisis after crisis
Cracks our skies like lightning,
I think of death,
Of different ways of dying,
And of Egypt and the myth
That once held black butterflies
Sacred to Isis.
They lived forever in flight
In her private groves, compelled like
Never to touch leaf nor stone,
Never to rest, except upon her nakedness
When she turned to love.
And here is death to be envied;
To be crushed to a personal breast
And whatever bird, beast, lover
Fell to her lips.
We are something else. . .
Myth and love will miss us
When the night is suddenly turned on,
Turned blank white,
And the black butterflies
Appear against that vellum sky
As far, flitting, burnt-out stars.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Not that I really think that Chipotle is a new landscape...but I find it very surprising that I have not written the Chipotle poem...that's my assignment for the week---perhaps I'll give my students the assignment as extra credit. I mean, Joe Wenderoth wrote a whole book, Letters to Wendy's so it's definitely a literary thing to do.
The other day we named our fall drinks at the Rouge. What a way to combine my English major and bartending right? Reb and Chris stopped in for some Mange a Trois action that night too before the reading at Printmakers. I was wearing the skirt that someone a while back told me to be careful in---something like you better wear that skirt before it wears you. I think Ramona will wear it too, when she meets her burrito beau! Ole senorita!
Friday, September 09, 2005
Today I'm going to enjoy a whole day of process---no teaching, no bar. Just me, the gym, the record store, cleaning the apartment, the laundry, the post office (I'm sending some poems toward the Heartland) and 33 new poems by 33 amazing younger poets.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Today in class we talked briefly about the magic of language, that childhood sense of wonder and fascination with magic, with the imagination. We also talked about the simplicity of language, of William Carlos Williams, and the edge of Gwendolyn Brooks. Frannie Lindsay and DanaRoeser were the living embodiment of this dialogue translated to live poetry reading.
This was also my first time at Chapter's bookstore, a wonderful independent bookstore---served as the perfect backdrop for the reading. And the former poor starving writing was glad that they served wine, sparkling water, and some light fare afterwards to entice people to stay and muse awhile. And the latter young professor in me poured herself a glass of sparkling lemonade and lingered.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Thursday after my second first class (I'm teaching 2 sections of Intro) I metroed (is that the right verb tense) home but stopped at my favorite new neighborhood deli/cafe because they have oreo cookies and we're not talking Nabisco, we're talking chocolate cookie with marscapone filling (kind of like and ice cream sandwich, but icing, not ice cream). I spent all my lunch eyeing the cookies in the bakery case (and the guy behind the case---I think he's someone Ramona would go for). He packed the cookie nicely for me so I could enjoy on the airplane. I'm not sure if mom's oriental chicken salad or swing dancing later than night beats it out so for Thursday, I have a three way flower :)
Friday my flower would definitely have to be going to the spa with my mom. We went to Casal's in Howland and had the most amazing pedicures with aromatherapy. I also had a facial and got to kick back and read fashion mags while sipping fruity water. All you do is put frozen fruit in water and bam, swanky drink---though not as swanky as the drinks on Sunday (Doris's favorite day to drink). I think the whole day was a flower.
Saturday was the big day, fair day!!! Mom, Jean and Patty (her mom) and I trashed it up big for the Canfield fair...going always makes you think that it's still the 80's, big hair and beer bellies!!! The first fair fries were pretty disappointing but we found better. The fried pickles were the weed. I should have opted for the fried cheesecake instead. The flower was visiting the vegetable barn with mom--much good material for Ramona.
Sunday I had brunch with the girls (and a few brought their boys). And there's a Coldstone there, a potential flower, I knew that it was a flower because there were so many bees around. Annie made me sign her Kent Stater Alumni mag--there's a nice blurb about GW and BAP, but they have me as graduating in '02, not '01...well, Kent read, Kent write, Kent do math...or so the saying goes.
Then on to dinner at my dad's for Grandma's 82nd birthday. Here are 2 drinks to celebrate. Orange Martini made with vodka and orangello and Van Gogh has espresso vodka which is great chilled. Bottom's up and tonight's flowers were served up, no rocks.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
And any of you want to come in the Dark Room with us, please email me some poems and tell me why you like it in the Dark: email@example.com. We'll be there in January, last Monday of every month.
Tomorrow I'm heading home to spend some time with friends, family, and the Canfield Fair. Fried anything on a stick, though I prefer the french fries and lemon shakes. Call me old fashioned. Yes, I'm that kind of a girl. My cousin is the one who's all about the corn dogs.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I'm wondering how to work it into a poem in an original way. Jane Kenyon has a great poem called Man Eating (see above). The poem is so good, I decided to put it up twice...no, blogger has just been deciding to duplicate all pictures I upload. Ah well, when I was a teacher, they told me that I should always repeat the really important things.
Still sore from yesterday's Body Combat workout at the gym, but I went anyway this morning after breakfast. I've taken to making my own yogurt as the grocery's flavors are lacking. I but plain and add blueberries, chocolate chips, and granola. Enjoying my last day of not having any real agenda---classes start tomorrow at GW! Tonight is the big faculty potluck dinner and department meeting. I'll be sporting a new silk top that I bought at a thrift store in Takoma Park for a steal and my famous chocolate raspberry brownies.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Can we have our cake and eat it too? The old adage tells us we can't, but in a media, technology centered gimme society in which patience is shoved out the window and emails travel a mile a minute, how do we find the way to slow down and not always want the bigger, better piece? When do we decide to step off the fast track and not feel guilty for doing so? When will enough be enough?
In terms of relationships it seems that we always want our cake and to eat it to and then when we get to eat it, we don't want it anymore. The other day a few of us got into a heated discussion of why people cheat in relationships. This customer said it was natural that people cheat---they can't eat the same cake day in and day out---hence, your favorite becomes tiresome if you repeat it all the time. My mom once decided to eat only desserts in college until she got so sick of them she stopped eating them. There is a time when enough becomes too much.
I find myself questioning what it is that I want. It seems that I'm always drawn to the same flavor, though I do pride myself on having and eclectic pallet. Yesterday I had a scoop of bittersweet at this fabulous ice cream shop in Takoma Park and that's what seems appropriate now, the irony of bittersweetness. I always take my cake a la mode!
Saturday, August 27, 2005
These are women who are living life to the fullest---like the lines from my favorite movie Dead Poet's Society (Carpe Diem and gather ye rosebuds while ye may). Today I gathered some orchids after pilates and submitted my Mango Salmon recipe to a contest and then it's off to the Rouge again. Hoping to work on some poems, but have been getting sucked in to watch my Sex and the City DVDs lately...
So, in terms of good, fashion, and making the world a better place, this event sounds like it's in the bag:
Funky Diva Purse Auction
Cleveland Rape Crisis Center
Tower Press Building
1900 Superior Avenue
Local artist and gallery owner Hector Vega and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC) are launching a unique fund raiser called the Funky Diva Purse Auction to be held Saturday, November 12, 2005 at the Tower Press Building, 1900 Superior Avenue. Fifty select artists are creating a work of art out of a stylish template handbag that has been created especially for this event. These custom, wearable works of art will be stuffed with a variety of priceless goodies including jewelry, spa, restaurant, shopping and experience gift certificates for your favorite pampered diva. The funky, one-of-a-kind purses will be on view and then auctioned off on November 12. This will be a juried show judged by a panel local community leaders, artists, celebrities and fashionistas. Prizes will be awarded to artists who create the best bags in different categories including Girl Power, Most Cleveland, and Bling Bling. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
No one ever made it to third base at the Rouge tonight...sigh. It was slow and walking out, lifting the velvet rope (those of you who have been can probably see me doing this), and holding my bag and Aqua Panna (the $4 water, can we say snoooooty!), I watered my own flowers in my head---and a bunch of cuties were watching. Reminds me of that time in college roller blading down the hill on Summit and grass staining my entire body in front of a bunch of frat guys---and they think I'm graceful at the bar the way I don't spill anyone else's drinks.
So, my cousin posted a recipe on her blog. I think it sounds like bloody mary meets gazpacho but cheers cuz'! Perhaps we'll try it at the Rouge--hey it's red isn't it?
Here's the how to:
Chilled Tomato-Beer Soup
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
Note: Green garlic is available at farmers markets. You may substitute blanched, chopped regular garlic.
Ingredients:4 cups peeled, seeded and diced very ripe tomatoes (about 10 medium)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, trimmed and chopped
2 tsps. chopped green garlic
1 (12-ounce) bottle very cold Pilsener or lager
1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsps. chopped chives
1. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions and garlic in a blender and process until smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.
3. Just before serving, stir in the beer. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives and serve at once. (source from L.A. Times)
Have been working on my Jedi skills. I can now will people to do what I want. So, I was at Wrap Works and no one was in there and this family with way too many kids sits at the table next to me while I am reading and the kids are like all over the place and I'm thinking why the hell are they so close to me. So they get settled, drinks, wraps and all. Then they get up and move to a table outside. I willed them to disappear and they did. I also willed 20% and it happened on almost every check. I really don't know how it works, but Shannon and I were on tonight. It's kind of like wishing, like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz saying there's no place like home, or like Samantha from Bewitched twitching her nose. The good old fashion mind over matter or if you will it, it is no dream. So next time you want something, just close your eyes, and say a little prayer or do a little dance and most importantly, just desire it to be so and you'll surprise yourself (hey, I'm blogging at midnight, give me some credit---it really works (said in my made for tv infomercial voice) and I'm getting away with too many parenthesis right now).
Also on the radar, the reading series is a go and so I'll be co-curating with the fabulous Reb Livingston, DC's sexiest poetry reading in the winter. More on that to come.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
As I'm getting ready for the semester, I'm trying to find all of the resources available and since I've added an independent study of a poet of a student's choosing, I'm trying to find as many places to point them in the direction of "discovering" the voice of another writer, someone who they will connect with. And I'm starting to reflect and remember all of those writers who built a bridge for me, who encouraged me to walk this far, to not look down, to remember where I had been and to lead me to new worlds.
In other places with no borders, last night I learned that to have a bender with someone was Aussie for getting drunk and this morning I woke up and went into my bathroom only to find that one of my ceiling spiders (that's where they normally like to stay when the come over b/c they know I'm scared to death of brooming them down and having them fall on my bed) decided to cross some borders and sit right on my dental floss...perhaps thinking he could be creative and add that to his web. I was slightly bent! and had no qualms about letting him know that he crossed the line.
And for my now deceased house guest spider, an elegy penned by Rock Star poet Rod Smith:
These are spiders. They are happy spiders. They fill the bugles of the nutbrained beaming throughscape most happy to collate.
Other spiders live in the soft languish of the original underpants.
Come, live with the spiders, come, join them, in the long hibernation dream of the original underpants, Mr. Jones.
Some of the spiders are not called anything because they are happy.
This is my new style. How do you like it?
It has caused me great personal anguish.
This is only a section from the spider poems. For the full frontal, click below:
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
Today I spent the day working on my own writing (hence the absence from the blog) and took one of those sweet afternoon naps.
Friday, August 19, 2005
I think poetry is something that we can use to speak to and understand one another. I'll give an example here. Karen Kovacik's new book Metropolis Burning has just been published by the Poetry Center at Cleveland State University. Below you will find one of her poems (I may have messed up some of the line breaks due to the copy/paste function). Break bread with her...
With electricity cut by NATO bombs, she waits in candlelight for her customers. —New York Times photo caption, May 24, 1999
Her shoulders ache.
In ten minutes they will wander in from the cellars,
wanting breakfast for the children,
a sandwich loaf, something crusty that would stand up to soup.
The line will curl through the dark shop.
They will point, choose, and their purchases she will tally by hand.
Later, there’ll be a rock concert, a rally.
By then, if she’s lucky, she’ll be asleep under feathers,
dreaming of the tiny horns named for cuckolds
and whether they will lose their curl in the ovens,
for the young ones, deprived of Ninja Turtles,
are hungry for these pointy buns.
This is my body, this is yours
The sour mother rising in the bowl
will bring forth fingers, horns, and plaits
O armpit of pumpernickel,
groin of corn give it to us black and blonde
Sink into the beds of our bellies and grow us new bones
Offer it with salt to welcome a weary traveller
Sign each braid with a cross before baking
He who steps on a crumb will make the souls in limbo weep
Drop a slice on the floor—kiss it before eating
Salute the bride with a loaf, and she will be happy in bed
Blessed are the Slovenes, for they are the cake-makers
Blessed are the Croats, for they excel at fish
Blessed the Dalmatians, for their black wine gave birth to philosophy
Blessed the Montenegrins, for their honey pastries console bitter coffee
Blessed, too, the Bosnians for the subtlety of their tongues—
who else would season veal with lemon and hibiscus?
Blessed the Serbs, for their bean soup makes foreign clerics sweat
Blessed the Herzegovinians, for their silver wine strengthens friendships
Blessed the Macedonians, for their puddings of pumpkin sweeten a heavy feast
Blessed the Albanians for their love of cinnamon
And blessed are the olive trees and vineyards, goats and sheep,
for they serve both parable and table
Blessed are the mint and dill, for they are the peacemakers
And blessed the yeast and sponge, the sour-gray loaves, for they have inherited the earth
Karen Kovacik was born in East Chicago, Indiana, in 1959. She currently teaches creative writing and literature in the Department of English at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis. Her book, Beyond the Velvet Curtain, winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, appeared from Kent State University Press in fall 1999. Her translations of contemporary Polish poetry have appeared in , and Graham House Review.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
No, actually, I never quite made it as a folk singer, though it has always been one of my dreams. But speaking of bacon, check this out:
No, Ramona will not be making any of these receipes in her kitchen (right now she's grilling portobellas and red peppers) but for my non-kosher friends, bring it!
Though I have a confession. Over the summer I went to a diner in PA and ordered blueberry pancakes and wanted something to go with them, so I broke down. I ordered the side of country bacon...we're not talking any of that grocery store nonsense---it was a serious hunk of pork, probably one of the best things I have ever eaten. I don't know why that meal tasted so good. Perhaps because it was something forbidden, perhaps because I was breaking away from what I normally would do. It felt good, rebellious, perhaps even a bit scandalous. Sometimes you just have to break the mold, step outside the comfort zone.
It's Thursday, another dynamite one at the Rouge. You know you want the free tots.