memorial for a brilliant woman

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

It's raining like a..... whatever- here this morning and the drive from home to the parking garage was a nightmare, but I'm firmly planted on the roof between a white Cadillac and an old Buick.

I updated FlashPaperPoetry last night- I'm sure there are things I missed, let me know, please?

It always amazes me how much goes on right here in Richmond and how little crossover happens- and such low attendance! (I'm no saint, I missed the SLAM last night and I really wanted to go- but I had been out all day Saturday and Sunday- I went to swim and went to sleep)...

only to be awakened at 3 am something by terrible thunderstorms, the kind that rumble on, even far away. There's something energizing about a great storm.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saturday night is...

I had a great little reading in Poquoson today- nice place, nice people, sold a couple of books, a CD- 77 miles down the interstate, 76 back- I passed the place getting there, had to come back-

I am in the middle of finding out what FLARF means- I feel like I was passed by (again) like blogs-

the coasts and big cities get information so late, by the time we hicks catch on the big guys are terribly bored and not too keen on giving us a little piece of fun-

well, I say, Flarf you! I shall share this useless information with locals and we will play until the next 'so last week' comes along.

Ya know, it's almost February- I'd love to go to the reading in DC Monday night but I don't see how- I can't drive alone, we have rehearsal, it's the Slam here in Richmond, and so on, and so on, and so on.......

Monday, January 23, 2006

all that whining- I should be slapped

Tony, who was the work study student in the office where I work, did not get work study funds this semester- she had a back problem last fall and had to withdraw for medical reasons. She was able to get financial aid for this semester and a Stafford loan, but no work study.

She helps me with the bar at the art gallery- I make sure she gets plenty of money. Her one vice is cigarettes. She's in her forties and picking up the pieces of her life, trying to get a degree in social work-

Her power was cut off after Christmas, her water. She has gas and can heat the first floor of a house in the worst part of Richmond with her oven- the landlord lets her live there because otherwise the place would be abandoned and would probably become a crack house.

It's winter, fortunately mild right now. But how the fuck does she do it?

In the dark, in the cold, every day? All those agencies that give help love families, men, but single women? Not much.

I give her money, what I can- buy her ham, food at Costco, I want to do more, she's a good person and this is America, isn't it?
I have been reading, though not as much as I'd like to, and have done no writing whatsoever.

It's 1:00 am and my knee hurts- I don't know why- and I only want to go to bed. The rehearsal schedule needs to be planned, the reading for kids on Wednesday, the sysiphistic pile of laundry haunts me (it never goes away nor shrinks) and I have poems in my head that skitter behind my eyes when I do finally lay down my head, and I listen intently for any sound on the porch that might indicate the neighborhood freak is getting it on (on my storm door).

Mostly I want to stay home and not go to work. Part of me has stuff to do- but there is this fear I am returning to the almost house-bound state I was in about 15 years ago- At that time, I had only a few places I could go- the school, the church (and I worked at both those places), one particular grocery store, and that was about it. If I was accompanied by someone else, I might, might, be able to go someplace new.

I had some anxiety attacks that I kept secret- though I thought I was dying- an hardly anyone knew what I was going through.

Writing helped get me out of that- and counseling, and a few really good friends, one of whom had his own meltdown before I met him- he was a rock. And an angel- in the movie sense.

I really do want to quit my job, though- it doesn't pay enough for the time and energy it takes- I'm kind of waiting for the next thing to present itself- I want to go to the summer workshop at WVU in fiction instead of poetry this summer, so I need to work on some ideas.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

reading lots of poetry-

Burnside Review

Laurel Synder’s Daphne and Jim, A choose-your-own adventure biography in verse

and couple of journals I picked up at B&N

I have an school reading Wednesday at Watkins Elem School in New Kent on Wednesday.
They got a grant so I'm getting paid!

And a reading at Iris' Art Studio, 402 Wythe Creek Road, Poquoson, Virginia 757-868-4205 January 28, 2006 3 to 5 p.m. (Here's a link to Poquoson)

ah, the life of a locally semi-famous poet!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Well, here's an update for you- I was sitting at the computer and heard something on the front porch. We frequently have small animals, cats, birds out there, particularly on blowy, rainy nights like tonight.

I got up and turned on the light, pulled back the blinds to see some guy masturbating against the storm door- I freaked, yelled for my husband (already in bed- it was about 12:30 am) and the guy took off running down the street.

He went out to look around while I called the cops- they came pretty quickly, even though I called it in as a non-emergency.

I am so angry. Angry at myself for not getting a better description (he did have a hood pulled down over his face) and for this creep for making me feel unsafe in my house. I went to the sexual predator site and there are SIX known men within a three block radius, two looked like reasonable possibilities, though I thought the guy was younger- he moved pretty fast when he took off.

I come home late with some frequency. My daughter is 17 - since the murders on Southside across the river I'd have to say most Richmonders have taken precautions, checked their vulnerability.

But this is the first time I've worried about it since I lived in the city. The first time I've felt afraid.

no poetry tonight

no sleep, either.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Anyone out there in bloggworld know the singer Christine Lavin?

We're trying to reach her to get permission to include her song "Sensitive New Age Guys" in a review show called "A-My Name is Alice." It's at the Henrico High School Center for the Arts and the shows are Feb 22, 23, and 24th. I'm musical director and my daughter is one of the five girls in the show (though she wouldn't be singing it). The show has apparently been done with that song included though it was not in the original score, but if we get permission, we can use it.

I love her song "Kind of Love You Never Recover From" - gets me everytime.

I know it's a crazy thing to ask but I've known weirder connections to be made (the inquiries we've made have not generated any response).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Finally got to the Poetry Jam at Cafe Gutenberg, revitalized and renewed through the leadership of T.S. Prunier.

It was most excellent, a covey of poets and a dash of audience, good wine and excellent food (says me) and a real need to get to my webpage and update the calendar.

Alas, I came home and started reading "The Bedside Companion to the No Tell Motel" which arrived in the mail today and read until I was too tired to make sense of it. It is delightful! Funny poems, sweet poems, heart-breakers, and horny-mama verse.

get one- you won't be sorry!

You know what I enjoyed about tonight's poetry? So much variety, acceptance, joy in words. I always feel obscure and deep (as in shit) in the face of 'slammish' but not tonight. My stuff is counched and careful compared to bare-souling, pretty on the page but not first-read (or first-hear) experience. I envy the spoken souls for their heart sleeves.

But nobody cared, everybody listened. Why can't most MFA's be more like that and less in their fucking heads???

oooo- bias showing, ask me after Thursday when I go to the Virginia Museum for Art After Hours and less transparent pages.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My poem that won the Poesia contest and the $500? It wasn't Cistern-
it was Clear Lake- I misunderstood over the phone. Not to mention I
rechecked my submission list and I must have recorded it wrong.

Here's the winner: (I got the check today, and the official press
release- copies of the quarterly to come)

Clear Lake

Even when the surface reflects
perfection in hyaline brilliance
I navigate the gumbo soil beneath,
culling mistakes from misgivings,
scraping my belly on obligations,
payments in arrears, little lies
constrained by night vision.

Even if the stars were aligned
at my back to make me holy,
erase every intricate implication,
dereliction, bad substitution,
expedient intervention,
shame would hold my face
to the mirror for atonement.

Even if the God of my childhood
made this limpid prayer ardent,
granting me what I will not bear
willingly now, overcome by fear
I have been abandoned again,
the sting of reproach would stay
its weary stripes across my back.

For Richmond locals-
Art After Hours starts next Thursday at the
Virginia Museum-poets this year are: Susan Hankla (1-12), Leigh
Hadaway (1-19), Elizabeth Seydel Morgan (1-26), Remica Bingham (2-2),
Derek Kannemeyer (2-9), d.l. hopkins (2-16), and Brian Henry (who
doesn't return email BTW, the new Creative writing prof at UR and
gosh, I'll miss his reading because I'll be directing music for "A is for
Alice" more info to come 2-23) Check FlashPaperPoetry for more info
soon! or go here

It looks like they are getting a few more folks from around here to read- maybe next year they'll pick ME.

small aside- the Second Place winner for the contest Kirby Estes "Nothing of What You Say", Honorable mention Len Krisak. with "Bird From Afar"- some pretty classy company!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ah, a new year! I am revising today, and cleaning the house a bit, and making chicken salad.

Maybe sorting laundry. The trouble with housework is, no matter how often you do it, it's never done.

Same things with poetry. I was going through chapbooks last night (the little ones I sell at readings) and fixing errors, then revisiting whole poems and juggling passages.

A few poems (very few) I let stand. Not so much I think them perfect, but I can't see anything at this moment that would improve the whole.

My mother used to cut my bangs when I was a kid. She'd trim, look, trim a little more, comb, trim a little more, and eventually I'd have a quarter-inch line of hair across my forehead. It was not a good look for me. What she didn't think about is with my eye being so much smaller on the left side of my face, there was no way a straight-line bang situation was going to look right. She needed to look at ME, not try to make my face look like someone else's. It took me years to learn that, and a very talented stylist.

My poems are the same. I have to fix them according to what they are trying to say, not what might suit someone else.

Of course, I'm revising because I have nothing new to say right now. Even in this new year.