Friday, May 30, 2008

What Poems Should Do

In response to S's latest poem....

What Poems Should Do

Make me cry, make my
eyes burn and pool with salt
as the tide of words
goes in and out.

Make me laugh, delight me
with a new image, a new
word, or an old old thing
made somehow new again.

Make me blush, blood
rushing to my cheeks
and other, lower places,
words that tease and touch.

Make me write, above all
make me think, set my mind
in motion. Make me respond
to your words with my own.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


and oil
really do mix

only if
shaken hard enough

break apart
then combine anew.

and I
are like that

we exist
together we explode.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Would Be

My poem "I Would Be" is up on Mind Sprocket now. Yay! It's actually not a poem I'm incredibly happy with; it was very new when I submitted it, and I kind of did it on a whim, but there you have it.

In other news, someone please comment on my blog! It's lonely! ;)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spring Storm

Sitting here watching the leaves flip themselves in the wind. That's all that's behind this. The story just appeared as I started writing.

Spring Storm

When the rustling leaves
Show their pale underbellies
I was told that means the rain
Is coming. They toss and turn

Like me in your bed, anxious
Without knowing why. The curtains
Drape your window, the city light
Seeping in no matter how late

We go to bed. I wish you would leave
Them open, enjoy the view,
Let the spring air freshen the room,
Caress our bodies as we lie

Side by side. You sleep
Soundly, soundlessly, politely
Curled away from my thrashing
Limbs. I want to touch you,

Press my breasts to your back,
Mold my body to yours in sleep,
But I am afraid to wake you.
Thunder rumbles outside, loud

Enough to penetrate the brick and glass
We’re protected by. I turn toward
The window, my back to yours,
Aware of your warmth but not

Close enough to disturb you. I wait
For the next sound, a rattle of rain
Striking the glass, then a flash, a crash,
And as it all falls down around us

I close my eyes and finally relax.


I walked the darkest streets I could find, long after midnight, with tears in my eyes that just wouldn’t fall. I wanted some threat, some outside fear, to force me to be strong; but there was nothing. I walked until my legs were chilled under my skirt, until I couldn’t tell if maybe the tears weren’t real anymore, just eyes watering because of the wind.

Just a random meme

This meme involves revealing how many literary “classics” you have read. Some of these I've read parts of but not the entire work. I bolded them anyway. The ones in bold are the ones I have read:

Achebe, Chinua ­ Things Fall Apart (excerpts)
Agee, James ­ A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane ­ Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James ­ Go Tell It on the Mountain (excerpts)
Beckett, Samuel ­ Waiting for Godot

Bellow, Saul ­ The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte ­ Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily ­ Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert ­ The Stranger
Cather, Willa ­ Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey ­ The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton ­ The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate ­ The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph ­ Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore ­ The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen ­ The Red Badge of Courage
Dante ­ Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel ­ Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel ­ Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles ­ A Tale of Two Cities

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor ­ Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick ­ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (only excerpts)
Dreiser, Theodore ­ An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre ­ The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George ­ The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph ­ Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo ­ Selected Essays (excerpts)

Faulkner, William ­ As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William ­ The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry ­ Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott ­ The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave ­ Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox ­ The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von ­ Faust
Golding, William ­ Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas ­ Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel ­ The Scarlet Letter

Heller, Joseph ­ Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest ­ A Farewell to Arms
Homer ­ The Iliad
Homer ­ The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor ­ The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale ­ Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous ­ Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik ­ A Doll’s House
James, Henry ­ The Portrait of a Lady

James, Henry ­ The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James ­ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz ­ The Metamorphosis

Kingston, Maxine Hong ­ The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper ­ To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair ­ Babbitt
London, Jack ­ The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas ­ The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García ­ One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman ­ Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman ­ Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur ­ The Crucible
Morrison, Toni ­ Beloved
O’Connor, Flannery ­ A Good Man is Hard to Find

O’Neill, Eugene ­ Long Day’s Journey into Night
Orwell, George ­ Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris ­ Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia ­ The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan ­ Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel ­ Swann’s Way
Pynchon, Thomas ­ The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria ­ All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond ­ Cyrano de Bergerac

Roth, Henry ­ Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. ­ The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William ­ Hamlet
Shakespeare, William ­ Macbeth
Shakespeare, William ­ A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare, William ­ Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard ­ Pygmalion

Shelley, Mary ­ Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon ­ Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander ­ One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles ­ Antigone
Sophocles ­ Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John ­ The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis ­ Treasure Island

Stowe, Harriet Beecher ­ Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Swift, Jonathan ­ Gulliver’s Travels
Thackeray, William ­ Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David ­ Walden
Tolstoy, Leo ­ War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan ­ Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark ­ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire ­ Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. ­ Slaughterhouse­ Five
Walker, Alice ­ The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith ­ The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora ­ Collected Stories (some)
Whitman, Walt ­ Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar ­ The Picture of Dorian Gray

Williams, Tennessee ­ The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia ­ To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard ­ Native Son

Thursday, May 22, 2008


"Every true poem is a spark,
and aspires to the condition of the original fire
Arising out of the emptiness."

Charles Wright, "Body and Soul II"

I love me some Charles Wright. Always have. The full poem is here if you want to read it. Kind of goes along with the novel I'm reading now, or maybe I just see the connection because I've got both things in my head.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Art of Making Possible

The title comes from this article I just read. I'm not sure of the my exact thoughts about the article, and though the poem started out in that context, it doesn't really end up there, or not only there.

The Art of Making Possible

But what if
It’s not? What if
We will choose
Rhetoric over reality
Again? What if
Gravity always wins
Eventually, brings
Us back to earth?

Why keep trying
To fly? Are you
Still trying to win?

We have forced
Metal and circuitry
To do our bidding,
To carry us through
The sky and out
Into space. We can
Pretend to fly.

It’s the journey,
Isn’t it, not the arrival?
Our lives shine en route
To death, and there is
No reason to hide them
Under bushels, even
If the enemy has spies.

Let us take our lesson
From the stars. Shine
As brightly as is in us
To shine, patiently,
Constantly, through the days
When no one sees
And the nights when we
Are worshipped, shine
Until we’ve given
Our heat and our mass
To the universe and we
Quietly, uncomplainingly,
Burn ourselves out.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Long Street

Last week I drove downtown three nights in a row in the rain, and every night I sat at the intersection of Neil Ave and Long Street, waiting to turn left, and looked at the skyline through the rain. I was also reading Dangerous Angels last week, which is set in LA and very, very visual and California and magical. It's a book I love and re-read just for nostalgia's sake, and because I wanted something sweet and romantic and dark and light and magic and beautiful. But anyway, I got the idea in my head that the neon of the skyline reminded me of sunset in California, so that's where the poem came from. I don't know where it's going, but I realize I almost have a persona who's from California and is a visitor or a transplant here in Ohio. She's definitely not the same persona as the "I" who narrates my poems about childhood, which is interesting. Or maybe not interesting.

Long Street

The rhythmic swish-splash of wipers
On my rain-drenched windshield,
A damp flannel softness to the skyline
Above my head and to the left - I am sitting
At the longest red light in Columbus.

The shy shades from rainy grey
To the indigo of twilight, pink and red
And orange neons echo softly in the mist.
It looks like sunset in L.A., this brightness
That is artificial here. The light turns

Finally green. I turn left, head
East, turning my back again
On California. Somehow I will
Learn to love the rain.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Untitled, after watching Frida

This is what it says in the post title: a tipsy, untitled poem I wrote a few weeks ago after I'd watched Frida.

Like a mouth with no tongue
Two houses with no bridge between
Eyes looking out on nothing

The crying one
White dress stained red
With the failures
Of a revolution
Of a marriage

She painted the internal
Her sometime husband
Painted the world outside

Whose reality carries through?

His plump figures
Carrying flowers
And the weight of the world
Her self-portraits
Carrying pain
Two hearts tied
To one body

And she is so beautiful
And this wine is like sawdust
And blood on my tongue
A taste I can inhabit
Not just swallow

I would taste you, the sweat and the salt and the scars

So brilliant, the red and the blue
The courtyard of her
Father’s house, and that fat
Bastard, so bright and so
Charming, and I hate him
For her. But I guess
He loved her in his way.

I love you in my way.
I want the thick wine taste
As I kiss you, the weight
Of it all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Publishing Update

I will have a poem in Mind Sprocket soon. I got the acceptance via email over the weekend. Yay! I also have some haiku on Silenced Press right now. Just wanted to share.

Friday, May 9, 2008


A poem for the my dear friends' new baby.


Born when the lilacs bloomed,
when that beautiful filly ran her heart
and her ankles out. Roses fell
like rain in Kentucky that Sunday,
a state above a baby boy was born.

May he have his mother's fire, his father's
beauty, the strength of their love. May flowers
bloom beneath his feet as walks to school
that first day. May he always feel safe enough
to take risks. The only wishes

I can offer: the magic of childhood,
the smell of springtime, the rhythm
of the lake like his mother's heart for nine months.
A charmed life. Dark hair and blue eyes. All
their love. All their hearts and the bones to bear them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Poem Without Verbs

A somewhat edited version of the poem I wrote Monday night.

A poem without verbs

For everyone who thinks my poems are too much like stories
Or maybe that’s just me

Wine in a smudged glass as dark as the scab on my knee
When I…
A crash (the noun) the concrete of driveway
The house where I…
The house, the big brick house
Crumbled (adjective in this case), vines on the east side,
The sun side, four o’clocks and snapdragons
And the wild chamomile and mint
That smell of apples and fresh breath.

Wine sweet and sour and dusty in my throat
Sweeter than sweet on your breath when I…
You, the sweetest thing, at fifteen
Body a perfect arc in the air. Chlorine in my nose
Heavy on my skin, and yours. My body heavier
Now, your beauty still slim and radiant
Eternal mystery, how even then, like to like,
That first kiss, stolen in the locker room,
Recognition, impulsiveness, youth.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Adios para la verano y gracias por todos las poemas

Ah, Larry's Poetry Forum.... I will miss it this summer, but I think we'll try to keep doing some sort of poetry thing on Mondays because it's such a great way to start the week. Maybe $3 appletinis at Havana instead of $1.50 glasses of wine. Definitely poems and cheap drinks. Definitely.

I read "Disc" last night, slightly revised, and "How to Conquer Writer's Block". Got good feedback from various people. It was nice to read there one more time, and I am so grateful that someone introduced me to the reading series this winter.

I didn't really write anything during the reading, but I had another glass of wine at home (once I finally succeeded in removing the very stubborn cork from the bottle) and worked on my "Poem With No Verbs". I sometimes feel like my poems are too literal and story-like, so I set myself the challenge of writing something with no verbs at all, just pure description and image. I like some of what I came up with. Will post it later.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Per my previous post, I walked up to the park with Lucky and worked on this poem. There was an event at the shelter house so tons of people around, so Lucky wouldn't settle down. He eventually hopped up on top of the picnic table where I was writing and proceeded to walk all over my notebook and my bag and knock over my water bottle several times. I finished a quick draft and then we walked around for awhile. Lovely sunny day, though not as warm as it was in April. That's okay though; it will get warmer from here.

So, first draft of a poem I've been mulling over since driving back from Louisville and seeing a farmer discing a field.


Not the smooth rounded
Discus, ancient measure of prowess,
Death blow of the most beautiful
Boy – was it an accident or the result
Of wind’s jealous gust?

I mean the giant metal corkscrew
Disc joined to disc
Pulled by a rusted green
Tractor over 14.2 acres
Of tough barely arable land.

Blades rose from the dense earth
Cutting path overlapping path,
Tide-like rise and fall, spiral
Of our galaxy, over and over,
Behind the bare sunburned back
Of my father and the sweet
Dirty cloud of John Deere exhaust.

At rest, in the twilight, the disc
Lay like a skeleton, clay clinging
To each blade, bloody in the last bright
Rays. In the morning it will be dry,
Ready to flake away like the soul
Leaving the desiccated body
Of an old man in his faded
White farmhouse. In a few months
The earth, her blood spilled each spring,
Mixed with our human sweat like the god’s
Tears, and rain, and that jealous unrepentant
Wind, will yield corn, will yield if
We are lucky, beauty enough and profit
Enough to get us through the winter.

Just a quote

from Margaret Atwood's poem "Spelling"

"A word after a word
after a word is power."

It's a great poem. You can read the whole thing here.

I'm feeling rather pastoral today....will probably go to the park soon and sit in the sun and write some nature poetry. I'm listening to A Prairie Home Companion on the radio, and someone is singing "The Garden Song" which my mother used to have on a record. It's a bittersweet sort of thing, hearing songs she used to play on those old records. I loved my mother with no reservations back then.