memorial for a brilliant woman

Monday, November 28, 2005

Smeared with mango butter, I am a human bagel. Pondering slam and the nature of same.

Small turnout tonight- 5 (count 'em) 5 competing- or was it six? More at the open mike after- I had some old stuff, my weird little poem- (a rewrite)

Too much to say

Wall-hugging fear can bring me down,
not heights, ladders, chain link fences,
or other form of restraint: an inner vacuum
pressure-sealed finger-gripped reality
spits me out of the void onto the bare stage.

Sometimes I see myself slap-stopped
on my knees suppliant to a grain of sand
unable to give in to the radiant glory
distracted past reason by previous life blunders
"You Are What You Think You Are" my mantra, sure.

The chart spikes here: check for numb wrist,
palpable manifestations, anxiety attacking.
I have given you my heart, no take backs.
An admonition: you might have said 'thank you',
even bad news is news, even weather is news.

You can name the clouds like stars, your children
will not believe in what you do, it has always been so;
as unlikely as the poets' Martian rose, renewal
falls in snow flakes on uplifted hands, beautiful,
here and gone before you know you are cold.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


This from CAConrad

There are thousands of Americans everyday who are looking for a safe place to invest their money. Poets are the best source for removing negative charge from your wealth, and raising the collective conscience of the planet. You can change your life FOREVER by sponsoring a poet today! CAConrad is one such American poet serious about making poetry a lifelong quest, ready and willing to refine your money! If you are interested in sponsoring this poet, call (215)563-3075, or write to You won't believe the difference a poet will make!

I offer myself as another possibility to help you make the world a better place-
call 804-523-5572 and ask for 'shann' or write me at

I will make you a better person, change you for the better, for good!
"Hieroglyphica" - Wallace Stevens

People that live in the biggest houses
Often have the worst breaths.

Even if I had nothing else to do
I could look at flowers.

The humming-bird is the national bird
Of the humming-bird.

X understands Aristotle
Instinctively, not otherwise.

Let wise men piece the world together with wisdom
Or poets with holy magic.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Find Beauty here


And if you can't shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.

Try not to degrade it by dragging it along,
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social events and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on.

C. Cavafy, 1913
Translation by E. Keeley and P. Sherrard

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving-

Thanksgiving of 1967, my parents, five kids, and two cats left Houston for Tucson in a Pink Cadillac pulling a U-Haul trailer in search of....

I don't know- fortune, adventure, freedom? They lived the dream/nightmare of it for about twenty years, then died in Las Vegas- a little less than twenty years ago (a year or so apart).

I made my way out of their mess in 1968 when I started college at the University of Arizona on what I was told was Linda Ronstadt's scholarship- Dr. Bloom told me that. He's long dead also.

I don't know what happened to the cats. The kids (besides me)live in various states of fucked-up in Nevada, California, and Alaska, I think, we don't have much to say to each other anymore. The U-Haul got pushed over a canyon in northern Arizona after they realized the late fees would be astronomical. That's what I was told.

Here in Richmond, Virginia all that seems very far away and fantastic. I don't make much of holidays. We'll have turkey. My kids have a very thin legacy. Be kind, do no harm, share what you have. A nod to tradition.

At three a.m. I feel very alone, I wonder how much time I have, I wonder why it matters. I live in some fear the Pentecostal heaven they taught me about might be true: where when you die, you get reunited with all your relatives.

I have a 22 pound turkey in the trunk of my car, frozen solid. The store where I bought my pre-cooked meal (Cajun Fried turkey and fixens) was selling them for 17 cents a pound if you spent forty dollars. I'm trying to give it away. All the agencies were closed by the time I got home from the store. I'll call around again tomorrow, there is surely someone who can use it.

Probably my brother could, or my sister- but they're too far away.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I didn't have to go to work today. I allowed myself sleep- I didn't answer the phone or do anything particularly useful. Except sleep.

I am constantly reminded how much of my time I give away- sometimes by my children, who have learned that questionable talent from me. My son spent time with a friend and didn’t complete a paper. Now he's scrambling and couldn't work (extra) today. I gave away 30 (estimate) of the past 72 hours. I mean, over and above jobs, the time I spent on helping/promoting other people. I don't regret any of those hours, but I didn't do any writing, didn't do many maintenance tasks needed to keep a house in order (notice I don't say 'clean'), and I didn't allow myself any time until today.

Fine, good karma, mitzvahs- all that, if you don't have a paper due.

When I was little my grandmother told me for every good deed you did, you got something else in your mansion in heaven. I used to believe that.

I don't anymore, and maybe that's a sad thing

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I have to go to Costco to buy beer


Slash Coleman's one man show is tonight at art6- go to FlashPaperPoetry to check on details- please come-

more later....

I am out of poems right now

Here's an old poem (unedited- a CBE is a 'chinese brush expriment' in poetry -

'off the cuff, so to speak- this is from 1999 or 2000-

Film Festival (CBE)

Interpreting Bette Davis
in southern hoops accent
on the halfshell we never had
oysters will kill y’all mamma said
maybe she was afraid
we might have sex too soon
babies too soon maybe we would’ve
Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
it’s alright now we’re the genteel
poor in pocket rich in madness
wrapped in jonquils from the yard
stolen sweethearts taste the best
Bell Book and Candle-abra ready
it’s not a spell but it fits
go ahead and charm my pants off
I’ll be wearing yours forever
by the time I work my southern wiles.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

stupid people

swirl my skirts with farts,
stinky consonants, vaudeville
fat men doing spit takes-

at least those guys were funny,
bringing out rolling chuckles
from shopgirls and tailors,

whole audiences held up
in matinee splendor, shoddy
pleasure, shooters and spuds.

No one caught meetings,
over-thought; it was “sink or swim,
bud, you better make ‘em laugh”

Pudding gives proof, blood speaks
simple: life is pain until you die-
enjoy the dancing bear before he eats you.
The Ides of November- it's unseasonably warm in Richmond, and all the nuts in my life are laying on the ground ready to be picked up and shelled.

I belong to an art gallery- 2 (not counting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, of course) that are 'artist-run.' That's different than the VMFA or a university or corporate-run institution. In an artist-run gallery, we (the artists) do everything- staffing, sweeping, scrubbing the toilet, and taking out trash. EVERYTHING.

I joined because it keeps me in touch with like-minded people, gives me something to volunteer for that brings art to the public, gives me a forum for my poetry and a place to promote the poetry/performace work of others.

I'm not completely sure about why others joined. Conflicts are raging right now.Turf wars are abounding and I'm sick of it. For the first time today, I am ready to quit and put my energies toward something more positive.

But then the terrorists win, right??

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Now here's an example of the English language at its best- on the ad tease for MSNBC's news show tonight, she said:

"Tonight- We'll tell parents how to protect their children from the nation's top experts-"

YES! A show I want to watch!
"She died, free but in poverty." from a link at Poetry Hut

They'll probably say that about me. The poverty part, anyway.

uh- yo,yo,yo- drop my drawers- I was avoiding housework when I slipped over to Ron Sillimans's blog and saw-umm- me- it's a great blog- read it, go ahead- everyday. I do.

I can't believe I just linked to myself-
I'm missing the Soul Cafe reading at the library because I'll be at the gallery tonight for Hotel X (8pm, c'mon) and all day tomorrow at the Holocaust museum and have to do stuff sometime-

I did, however, write 1500 words and a poem today- yeah!

Friday, November 11, 2005

I am so tired of hearing the same news in the same 24 hours from all over (including my husband reading me stuff from the Drudge Report that I saw already on CNN or whatever)-
then...the story does one of two things- 1) continues until I am stuffed as violet Violet with the details of it or 2) it drops off the face of the earth forever.

I'd like stick the lady bankrobber's phone up her ass. NBC just showed a clip of Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker to fluff out the story. I saw the baby carriage stuck on a train seven times since 4:45. (The TV is in the same room as the computer and other family members are watching it- even now)

As soon as the hubby leaves for his LARP, I am turning the thing OFF and listening to today's MobyLives broadcast. yeah.

and THIS was a story we didn't know??

oh yeah- and I don't give a fuck where Matt Lauer is- or what Nicole Richie had to say to Katie Couric's 'tough' questions.
The link for the Mobylives audio feed is not working on my home computer- wah!
I have to fix that today- I have to write today- I have to order my turkey from Ukrop's today- I have to clean up my bedroom today so the desk on the front porch can come inside before it rains Monday.

It's just like the desk I had as a teen in my bedroom in La Porte. It matches my dresser (the picture is close but mine is nicer, I think) which is the only piece of furniture I have from my childhood. I have a lamp made from a tin my mother had (my ex-husband made it into a lamp), and another tin. A baby dress, my baby book, photos- that's all. Everything else in this house I have bought, made, or (rarely) been given.

Someone brought the desk to the church for the rummage sale and I had to have it. The vicar gave it to me and the husband of the alto in my choir delivered it yesterday.

It's colonial (yuck) and completely useless- it's tall (6ft?) narrow, with three shelves, a small drawer and a flip-top opening, sometimes called a secretary. I never used it as a desk and never will here either. I'm not sure where I'll put it or why I needed to have it.

Here's another link to the Times-Dispatch article on the thing the students are doing at the Holocaust Museum. I'm just the piano player.

Have a lovely Veteran's Day, we're all veterans of something - maybe our childhood spent in a covert war. Read this from Kurt Vonnegut-

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I can't seem to sleep, can't seem to write- I woke at 4am something and browsed the channels (I sleep with the TV on almost mute) to find a very disturbing little clunk of cinema history.

Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966) is a very odd movie, not fabulous, but fascinating- I thought the ending was a rebirth (what with the long journey down a hallway while Rock Hudson screamed and had to be eventually gagged (the sound was almost like an infant) but I've just been reading reviews and commentary and no one else mentions that- of well. Maybe that's too Twilight Zone-

I used to have such a crush on Hudson- he was paired often with Doris Day (my idol- she was so blonde, so pretty, so good-hearted) and so handsome- who knew? I think I spent my life looking for that type of man- yummy, dark, and reticent, non-sexually sexual. You want names? Buy the book (I'm slowly writing it) but I've always been suspect of people that were too physical too fast and then puzzled when the follow-through missed something. Come close/don't get too close- heck, I even hate 'passing the peace' in church. I definately have intimacy issues.

Been reading my autographed copy of Profoundly Erotic- Sexy Movies that Changed History by Joe Bob Briggs (don't let the Texas-two-name fool you, this is a serious book) so my outlook may be a little corrupted. Of course, he doesn't mention my personal fave- the glove removal scene in The Age of Innocence. That scene gets me randy every time- though I suspect part of that is because it is an unfulfilled promise- whatthehell is wrong with me?

A man walks down the street, he says,
‘why am I soft in the middle, now?
Why am I soft in the middle and the rest of my life is so hard?
I need a photo opportunity, I want a shot at redemption,
don’t want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
Paul Simon

Here's to angels in the architecture-

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm serious, people- go now and listen to MobyLives

Then go to your favorite independent bookstore and BUY something. Even if it's only to make you look smart (you have to listen to get that ref!)

Fountain Bookstore
Book People
Carytown Books (now off Bellevue) walk up to Stir Crazy and get a wrap
Chop Suey
Cafe Gutenberg and eat some of the great food!

I've got to go to rehearsal- all these except Book People are linked over at FlashPaperPoetry-

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A woman poet in Afghanistan was beaten to death by her husband. I could not find any of her poems translated.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Yeah!Yeah yeah! It's back and it's OUTLOUD

not so easy to sneak to at work, but I don't care.

MobyLives on the radio.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Here's Josh Jackson in front of the Kinetic Imaging DVD he created for the THINKsmall and WRITEsmall exhibit at art6 and Artspace

This was one of the submissions, but was not a winner or honorable mention. I did, however try to get as many of the entries as I could onto the wall.

The response was wonderful! Two-hundred or so people paid $25-$30 to attend the opening reception Thursday night and another 1800 came on First Friday.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The scariest faces I've ever seen (and yes, I'm counting the current administration).

I've never been into fashion anyway, but these children- and they ARE children- are...I'm speechless- reminds me of that ballet dancer who starved herself to death -

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I am so busry right now with the THINKsmall reception tonight, First Friday tomorrow night, the high school show for the Holocaust Museum, and this TERRIBLE cold I got from Costco (clerk at the pharmacy counter sneezing, coughing, handling all my stuff) - anyway-

Here's a wonderful poem by Brian Barker- it's not just because I'm from Houston, either.

Why have I not heard of this guy??

Last night I had my first rehearsal for the comedy improv- it was FUN!!! I think I can do this- though I don't know how it will fit into my schedule- if I didn't have to work, I could do all these wonderful things!

Anybody out there want to give me a wheelbarrow full of money?