Saturday, November 26, 2005


Yesterday morning Jonathan took me to Costco. I had never been before--well, Sam's Club back in Ohio which I suppose is the same. I brought my pen and pad---Ramona had to take some notes. I have to say she was quite appalled. I mean how could she like it. It's all about greed, disguised as saving money. I mean really, who needs to buy like 6 brownie mixes in one box (actually me). Raspberry chocolate brownies abounded! I felt more selective actually, always questioning how much am I really going to use. I suppose that's a good question to ask ourselves--how much do we really want or need something. It would have been so easy just to keep grabbing. Yes, to gallons of pepto bismol, yes, to an army of trojans, yes, to a school of salmon, yes to 96 rolls of toilet paper. The coolest thing was the fruit and vegetable room. It was like a restaurant refrigerator---considerably colder and like 2 pound bags of spinach! Though I'm not sure Ramona would buy in bulk. At the end of the trip I ended up with the brownie mixes, 1 pound of frozen blueberries, sundried tomato and basil ravioli, the softest socks ever and of course the tp! I'm sure there are some greater philosophical questions at hand---is bigger better? What does this say about American values? Or are people just coming for the free samples? And is a sample going to make you want to buy a large quantity of marinated mushrooms? Dear shoppers, you will have to grapple with these issues by yourselves, though I know Victoria Redel has a poem about buying in bulk---there's a line, oh the deals Jerry, oh the deals...I think she looks on the store quite favorably, but I myself will have to give Costco no stars or chili peppers (I however, do have a chili pepper---check out

Friday, November 25, 2005

Chippendale Poets


"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:

Thursday, November 24, 2005


So yesterday I finally got around to doing my laundry and I'm waiting for the clothes to come out of the dryer and all of the sudden I hear sirens outside and then they stay there and then there's all this noise outside in the foyer so I look and there are all these firemen and then they're running down to the laundry room and I'm thinking, no my favorite jeans are in there. But it was a false alarm. Because it was so cold, the dryer was making so much smoke outside the building that someone else saw it and called 911. So I folded and everything was fine. Like my mom always tells me, things will work out, don't get so worked up. But I think it's in an artist's mind to get worked up. Life is full of things that charge us (for Suzanne, the little protons and electrons bouncing all around in my brain). The way I see into a painting, a moment, another person. Poetry has always been personal, has always been a means of connecting to others. Last Tuesday in class one of my students asked if she could host a poetry reading for only our class at her apartment/building/dorm. She was so excited and everyone else starting feeling that buzz too, that of language and community. There's a certain power, a certain electric of language. The way I am jolted when I'm reading their fiction. Laughing aloud in coffee houses, impressed with their wit and charm and especially the way they perceive structure. How original they are and how advanced. How they are experimenting with voice and language. Doing things I would not have dared or even had an inkling about. How one student wants to write a story in which the main character is a writer and you don't know if he's writing his own death, how you don't know what's real and what's fiction. How different they all are, all their dreams and styles, everything spinning and falling together. How I am waiting to fold, but not wanting any of this to end. I think back again to Maj, what he would say is that this cycle does not stop. Poetry never dries. Yes, the jeans will be warm and yes, you will feel the heat on your body, but no, even when they cool, you will have the memory of that warmth, the vertigo of the daily, no it's not just doing laundry.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sex Deprived Tina: Hot Sestina Porn Word on Word Action!

One of my students is in love with the idea of being the tortured artist. I remember when I had a similar fantasy in college. I wanted to be one of those "feminist" writers that could not find a place for herself. So she had to either experiment with sex or drown, or often do both. Senior year I wanted to be Anais Nin. I'm reading her diary now (still) though now I no longer envy her journey of sex and sensibilities. Perhaps I'm more solvent in many ways and want a path less daring. I know this will surprise many of you---especially my college friends who always admired my zeal for adventure and self-discovery. I remember then I had wanted no man, but rather several b/c there was no way I thought I was going to find somebody who could fulfill everything that I wanted filled. Not that it is a feminist notion that a man will fill you---I remember the poems my mother had on the fridge advising against that: don't wait for anyone to give you flowers, plant your own and live on today's ground b/c tomorrow's is too unstable...the premise being that you have to take care of yourself. I'm feeling a bit like Ani Difranco when she said love distracted her. Not that I'm distracted: I wrote a new poem today (seems like Monday has become my significant writing day) and not that I'm in love per se or verbatim, but well, you know how these things go. Let's just say, I'm very focused. Seeing that I'm becoming more romantic and involved with one person, now I have to leave some of the discovery up to the characters in my poems. Let me introduce you to another alter-ego, Tina:

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mark Your Calendars Folks!!!

Yes, by drinking cocktails you can help cure AIDS!!!! This is a huge event at the Bar and yes, the press will be there so put on your party best!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Le Mystery Revealed

Ce soir yesterday, dans la voiture de Jonathan, nous alle au Virgina pour le diner a Mr. Francois. Je suis manager a grande lamb avec les vegetables avec les wine avec les etc.... Quelle food. Je pends que Jonathan is tres fantastique mais mon francais, not so much.

Nous allons:

Au revoir. Arrete moi a la Rouge ce soir!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bar Log-The First One

Our new manager introduced the concept of a bar log. Notes to pass on. We're supposed to say things like, Stella was the most popular beer. Sorry, I left you no limes. Bar was busy. Perhaps we should hire a bar back. Someone threw up in both bathrooms. I wonder if it was the same person. Need to order more Bailey's.

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

It's a Popularity Contest

So vote me in for president. I promise to serve you drinks with innuendos! And tell all your friends to vote for me, and their friends too!

Bar Rouge: Best Conversation Bar

Friday, November 11, 2005

If Carrie was a bit more philosophical

On Wednesday night I taught a writing workshop at the JCC. There's a line from one of the poems that I taught that has been playing through my head lately: Maj has taught us to name things so I will address you properly. And now as I'm grading my students' work, one of the things that keeps popping up in their personal essays is how through writing, they are coming to know who they are, but simultaneously how hard it is to name those things that matter. And it calls some of the things in this blog and the way I handle things. Too be personal but distant. To mention enough but not to overwrite. It seems (though contrary to many of my friends) I do hold back--we all build walls or have ways we protect ourselves. But why should we protect ourselves--from what is it that is out there that we are actually safe from. Tonight in yoga I tried to open my body. Looking around the room, I realized that most everyone else was more flexible. As my legs were over my head, I made a vow to try to go to yoga more and to try to name those things which I am afraid of naming. For I have somehow adopted the rationale that if you name something, then you will have a certain expectation of it, or that it will change from that which you call it. Or that the language will not be enough and once named, something is quantified and hence the expectations and the measurements. And now I'm late for dinner with Jonathan. What's a girl to do?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yoo-Hoo fellas, check my poetics!

(though one in particular comes to mind).This is what my skirt will look like on the floor. Remember that pick-up line? That's a nice (insert name of clothing). It would look great on my floor. Tonight we're doing Burlesque at the I'm dressing the part. Sometimes I really feel like Dr. J and Mr. there won't be much on my hide...the poetry chitty chat will come tomorrow.

Reb, looks like our senses of poetics are quite similar. (for Reb's check out Though we already knew that.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Said Lean!

Last night I attended the Moira Egan and Jeffrey Levine reading at Chapters bookstore. This is one of my favorite venues in the city. Perhaps because it reminds me of Mac's Backs in Coventry (that's Cleveland for those of you non-buckeyes). I think what I like is that this series makes one feel at home--it's a bit more intimate than Politics and Prose and the readers are less avant garde (unless you count Moira's glasses, which would make this series the a woman with fabulous glasses). Moira read some of her crown sonnets (where the last line of one begins the next) and it really made me want to try the form. I also loved her sonnet about her friend who collects heart shaped stones. Definitely will be reading her new book, Cleave. After Moira came Jeffrey and though he didn't read as many sex poems except the one where there's some fuck fuck fuck a man chorus (want to see that one on the page) he was equally captivating, especially with his dog and Adam and Eve poems. After the reading over drinks he was relentless about seeing some of my work which he proceeded to hack up. He told me I was always using location as a way to enter my poems and that I should really think about cutting first lines and the word the. Perhaps this is why Stevens ends a poem with the the, but seriously even though I thought it quite forward of him---circumsizing poems right away, it made me really think about where I can pare down narrative and let language work her magic. When I say that Jeffrey Levine is a butcher, I mean it in the way that you can liken a butcher to a sculptor and though Ramona will be asking me to step outside later, no one could convince me that a filet mignon is anything less than art. It's time I ordered my poems more lean.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Connect Four

I used to love that game as a kid, the way you had to plan out your moves so that you could connect four before someone else. I am trying to explain that to my students, how in fiction as the author you have to be able to connect four. You have to set things in motion. Like in ZZ Packer's short story "Brownies," the bathroom has to be dirty so Daphne will bend to pick things up and how once that happens, Laurel will be able to make a connection between Daphne and the Mennonites who paint her porch. And then she will come to the heart of the memory of her father, the way the world can show its ugliness. How only now can she understand the complexity of racism.

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

No Bees Today!

The light was beautiful today. The way it fell through the trees on a morning walk, the way the leaves twirled in their meandering descents. I felt like I was in a movie. I tried to catch them and he laughed as they eluded my outstretched arms. He snagged one and I said, baby you crushed it. He said he liked my klutziness--how it's that my mind is preoccupied with other thoughts and my body doesn't always catch up. Poetry isn't always coordinated. That's how it was on Saturday at the reading at Clayton and Company books. Sometimes the poetry is someone else's world, one that twirls and stumbles and escapes you. Sometimes you catch it, but mostly I think the beauty is in watching the leaves come down--the magic in the way they turn and let go. Sometimes I think we should be more like those leaves and welcome the season to fall. Perhaps autumn should be the season for lovers...

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

The End of an Era

One thing about the poetry scene is that it is always changing. With technology the way that it is, there are new literary magazines coming out every day.

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:

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.