memorial for a brilliant woman

Saturday, December 31, 2005

I'm heading out to the gallery for the New Year's Eve bash (I'm working the bar- we should make a nice piece of change to help with operating expenses tonight).

For all my friends out there:

Have a Great New Year!!!

Keep writing, keep the peace, hug those you care about, and much love and happiness!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Here's the big announcement-

Last night I received a phone call from editor WR Mayo from POESIA- A Literary Quarterly of Poetry and Poetry Reviews informing me I have been awarded First Prize in the Third Annual Oliver W. Browning Poetry Competition. My poem will appear in
the January issue and online and I will receive $500.00.

After years of writing, revising, rewriting, rethinking, submitting, waiting, WAITING, it is wonderful to be validated, even better to get a cash award.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I'm making my husband a Green bean Casserole for dinner- the kind with French Fried Onion Rings!

Okay, so I added ham bits and grated romano cheese- he still thinks it's great! I feel a little mmm- Brini Maxwell, or maybe like my mother (or mother-in-law- who actually served us a casserole with Tater Tots on top last time we were there.

I'm going out with the Poetry Society Contest Committee for lasagna-just the five of us and wine- yeah!
(Title In process- it was stored as Two Questions)

No wind, no mist,
no covering to shut out day,
dark ‘nobody knows
nor shall know’
I am
a camera, shun the critical eye

have tried tobebigger:
piss, pot, pie, purchased
not nearly enough times
it might be thought redundant
to say not nearly too few.

Grow, grow up, state your mind, you
commit yourself, commensurate
in all ways much as can be,
little one- Oh! Forgive the slip,
everyone knows you can't be serious.

(the quote is from Don't Kill Yourself by Carlos Drummond de Andrade
translated from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Bishop

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Am I ready for the new year? Yes- I am amazed it's 2006. As a kid, I tried to imagine the 2000's and I never could, like the hand in Mau'Dib's vision that kept him from seeing his own fate.

And now I am ready for 'Christmas', whatever that means. I made sweet/hot walnuts for folks (like my choir members) but I never gathered enough tins, so I'm using little bags.

The presents are wrapped, except for my hubby's- I got him Season One of Deadwood. He's gone for a motorcycle ride- it's 55 and sunny here after a month of really COLD.

I guess I'll go get dressed, I have to leave for church in 20 minutes, pageant and service at 4pm, lessons and carols, service at 10. I'll get home about one or so.

I don't know- what's it all about, Alfie? I have my usual holiday doldrums, no friends, no fun, no belief- the food is pretty good, though.

Have a blessed whatever you celebrate- maybe some of the good times will rub off on me and the misanthropes out there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I saw Santa Tuesday night- he was getting out of a Neon on Dumbarton Rd. His coat was undone and he looked disheveled. Since he supposedly lives at the North Pole, I think he may have been visiting his lover (white trash Wanda, no doubt).

I never thought he'd drive an American car- a Volvo, maybe- nevernever a Hummer- too gauche!

Who knew?

The boys were fabulous at their cabaret! And we had a full house, and I did just fine with the accompaniment- except I had to dress up and put on make-up because the keyboard was onstage! It was okay- my daughter drew me eyebrows and plucked my chin hair. (and I got a cut of the house, which was nice).

I am the only person on the third floor of my building. I left the stall door open when I went to the bathroom. How brave!

Please, no one else ask me if I'm ready for Christmas. You don't really care, I don't really care, and hell no, I'm not. I haven't mailed anything, no tree, the house is a mess. So that's the whole of it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Seasonal disorder- that's what I'm in the middle of right now- I'm not sure it's a real medical condition for me- but externally everything is crazy and internally disorder is my status quo.

I just spent two hours on the phone with my aunts- one 79, the other 96- because I hadn't called them in way too long, not to mention 't'is the season'. I've put in a roast (Alton Brown Pot Roast recipe), lost, then found two blown glass seagulls I'd bought that need to be mailed, didn't go into work (and apparently it's been crazy), and have rehearsal at 6:00 with two young men who are doing a showcase 'cabaret' at the ComedyImprov Theater on Wednesday and I'm playing piano. '

I must learn to say- fine, I'll play- I need $25 an hour. Of course, only one of them could afford that- and he'd have to get it from his parents, so it doesn't really matter (I do it because I want to) but I need to learn to do that.

I terribly undervalue myself.

I did buy a basket for my friend Dave at Bootsie's Chocolate Obsession (Parc Place at Short Pump across from Dillard's)- I seem to be awful at gifting people- I hope he likes it- Go to Bootsie's - her daughter is my daughter's friends- she gives SAMPLES!

Now I'm going to Stir Crazy to get lunch with my daughter-

poetry?? what poetry????

Friday, December 16, 2005

Well, here's my dream house (sort of)- and here's what it says about me-

Based on the drawing and the 10 answers they gave this is a summary of their personality:
Your house tells the world that you ought to be a leader. You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You are shy and reserved. If you've drawn a cross on each of windows, you always want to live alone. You are very tidy person. There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. Your life is always full of changes.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You have a strong personality and you like to command, influence and control people.

You are not a romantic person by nature. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You are self-confident and happy with your life.

It was fun- sort of-

Thursday, December 15, 2005

okay- it's psycho-bitch day.

It started with the weather- ice and sleet early this morning. The college is closed, my husband stayed home from work, and though her school is open- the daughter refused to get up (and daddy dear encouraged her by not caring) and is still asleep at noon- BUT she has to go in at 2:00 for Vocal Music Theater and then there is a fashion show tonight (which I probably should attend)

Now, you might say- oh, how cute! Family time!

No, my back hurts (bad sleep), I have to get her up and drive her (he won't), and guess who says "What's for lunch?" when I finally make my way to the other side of pain?

I dunno. Maybe I should kill them and go to jail. I could write poetry, get published, have celebrity backing, go on Oprah when I get out. I wouldn't have trouble being somebody's bitch- I am now!

more later (I hope) and just so you know- I really do love my family!

No killing today! (I need to wash my hair- I don't want a hideous jailhouse picture)

amd BTW, TS-
1866, Amer.Eng. (popularized c.1870 by a Christy Minstrel song), perhaps a reduplication of hunkey "all right, satisfactory" (1861), from hunk "in a safe position" (1847) New York City slang, from Du. honk "goal, home," from M.Du. honc "place of refuge, hiding place." A theory from 1876, however, traces it to Honcho dori, said to be a street in Yokohama, Japan, where sailors went for diversions of the sort sailors enjoy.


hey- go here and listen... (scroll down)

Monday, December 12, 2005

A mail box bonanza!! Paul Guest's book, 32 Poems, and the new issue of Rattle!

Life is GOOD!!!

well, of course, except for missing Richard Pryor and Robert Sheckley.

Life is short, people, quit fucking around with things that steal your soul.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Here's some "best-of" lists I can get into- from the Montserrat Review
I am having the most ridiculous hassle with the fax machine at work, and by default, the ABC board from whom I'm trying to get a license for a lecture at the gallery tonight (where there will probably be only a handful of people drinking one glass of wine, if that). It is my impressions they change personnel like my daughter changes her hair color- so I always seem to be talking to a different agent and explaining the whole 'artist-run gallery' concept and why we need licenses (uh, cause it's the law?).

Makes me crazy- the good news is, they are always really nice and easy to work with (it helps that we all have state jobs therefore a mutual enemy) and because of weather and late openings- I am the only one here in my office and can listen to Mobylives while I pretend to work!

here- sing-a-long (at the end of the Mobylives feed)

Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life
are ringing through my open ears
exciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which
shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva

The big showcase for the Center for the Arts high School is tonight-did I mention 2 of my daughters pieces have been chosen for the national competition? Her holocaust work and her wearable art (skirt out of receipts, top out of shopping bags, matching purse) Yeah daughter!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another radically rewritten poem: the original March 26, 2000

here's the new:

At the Museum, Molly

reads poems long and thin
as her loblolly legs
rise from the hardwood floor.

With a mouth full of feathers,
she hums Dulce Domum,
the air tastes like fresh pears.

I would embrace her there
while the sun slides into the wall,
touch behind her ear, treasure her

until a draught takes the words
off the pages onto our skin.
Then we can feast on syllables

in front of a new acquisition;
the statue of a faceless woman,
Jaipur marble perfectly carved.

Here's the original:

The lady

reads poems as long and thin
as her loblolly legs
rising up from the hardwood floor

torso catalog casual perched
over peg-leg jeans and black pumps.

Her mouth is full of feathers
teasing phrases outside in to torture
tropes into bound-wrist cliches'

her mask transparent as a tutu

she is naked at Bendel's
a major credit card
bulges her back pocket.

The 'what were you doing?' thing....


I was doing some things I should’nta been but am glad I did. I was happily teaching at a private school with my best friend and life seemed charmed. I was choir director at a big new church and lots of poetry going on and a great jazz combo, the Brautigan Quintet. I had really just started writing seriously again after a long hiatus. I was having a great time-
I was contemplating how much certain aspects of my main teaching (job) sucked and how much I wanted out. I was in a smaller church but with much nicer people. I was publishing a lot and getting more and more into poetry performance. I had a trio called Villanelle. I was drifting emotionally. I was fifty years old.
I was getting more involved at the art gallery, taking over the responsibility for the bar on First Friday exhibits. I was planning my one woman show for March 2005. I had a lot going and was trying to get poems together for a collection. I was busy.
I was sleeping most of the day away after a lovely snowstorm that paralyzed the city and gave me a great rest. I did laundry, made fabulous minestrone with leftover turkey, watched the news as everything gradually shut down. It was wonderful.
Here's something that's a big pain-

I'm trying to be nice to my kid in college. He lives on campus, it's exam time, he called hungry, I said "Let me order you a couple of pizzas for you and your girlfriend."

Cool, right? No, he has to show the credit card to the delivery guy. So, instead of going home and fixing MY supper I have to go sit in front of his apartment and wait with him for the delivery guy. And in case you didn't catch the news, we just had snow and ice today and it's freezing and there will be big chunks of ice n'shit along the curb.

Try to do something nice, hah!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

You know what I'd really like for a gift? Some time with a really excellent piano, just to play for awhile, alone, no pressure-

I am so weary of keyboards and crappy instruments- I mean, I don't mind (particularly when I'm being paid) but there is nothing like the joy I experience playing a wonderful, in tune, instrument.

Sometimes listening to NPR, I get all weepy thinking about it. I really miss playing for pleasure. Playing what I want. Riffing on a tune, all that.

Gimme a big old Steinway grand, all wood, made fifty years ago and well-maintained. Yeah!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Here's my poetry book wish list- now keep in mind, these are books you could probably get on a bookstore shelf in a big city and a few are really expensive so I'd never buy them for myself (Gone are the good old days when B&N and Border's 'paid' me for hosting the open mike poetry groups in merchandise- I filled out my library, then the high school library where I worked when corporate generosity was in season- OTOH Border's used to give each of us in the jazz combo $100 gift certificates for playing there- sigh!)

On to the list:

Poetry Books I’d like to get as gifts:

Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan
Sara Miles, editor

A Hunger
Lucie Brock-Broido

Midwest Eclogue
David Baker

Directions to the Beach of the Dead
Richard Blanco

Present Company
W.S. Merwin

Poems of Catullus
Gaius Valerius Catullus, Peter Green

Poetry Antholgies I’d like to get as gifts then give away to a high school library

Sweeping Beauty: Contemporary Women Poets Do Housework
Pamela Green, editor

Surrealist Love Poems
Mary Ann Caws, editor

Talkin' to Myself: Blues Lyrics, 1921-1942
Michael Taft

Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics
Deborah Brown, editor

100 Great Poems of the Twentieth Century
selected by Mark Strand

as I say- it's a little tame- OTOH, I just received the new Wicked Alice 2005 annual & Kristy Bowen's chapbook Errata in the mail (i'm also waiting for Paul Guest's book!) so I have something to read right now- if anyone wants to gift me any of the above, I'll happily send you my snail mail address.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Now here's something fun-

A new column in Blackbird by Ron Smith- it's called Red Guitar

Enjoy- I did.
Wahh! I unwisely decided to change colors and lost all my links- I don't have time to restore right now- later this afternoon- sorry-

I been going through some old work to rethink what I meant to say (or perhaps I can't remember what I meant but can only rewash the poem and try a new thought)

anyway- because the old one was really self-indulgent and terrible, I will put the new one first- then the old one.

Equilibrists redux (with regards to John Crowe Ransom)

Safely distant, held aloft
by unbreakable laws, bent,
bound as sure as stone remains
he is not hers, nor her, his.

Yet they endure apart, still
water wears them down, and he,
struck blind in moon-made shadow
tips his heart, then eats his hat.

Dance, lovers, move into day,
take what can never be held
in a hand with no life line
aside: it may be too late.

She invokes invisible,
cries inside her empty car,
there is no wedge between them,
her breath retires, then forgets.

To take air in again, love
perilous and beautiful,
the body will align itself,
eyes close, tongue recite, repair.


now- it may not seem very close, in fact, not at all- but here is the original
(from 1997)

Under the Influence

Like Eponine I would die
in your arms make you say
you had loved me
lie with me in final misunderstanding
safely pretending
there was a kind of substance

I cannot think for your breath
lingering in the wake of you
I would sooner die for some cause
than try to piece fortune
into weak accomplishment
without you

It has been long enough
I should be beyond your influence
out of your circle still searching
there is no place left to look
revelation came from you

I am your satellite
always close never touching
held here reflecting wonder
the laws are unbending
bound as surely as stone is eternal
I am here and will not be moved
from this path I did not choose
anymore than the moon chose this planet.