Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prose (there may be a poem in here towards the end)

You sit across from me, your dark brows drawn down, eyes gazing at the screen of your laptop, as I do the same. Or I try. I try to work. Write, revise, repeat. But I keep sneaking glances at you, your hair falling behind you, the wrinkles in your forehead that only exist when you’re concentrating, the way your eyelids hide your gaze like a layer of snow hides the grass outside.

As beautiful as you are like this, thoughtful and intense, and god(dess) knows I’ve always liked intelligent women, as beautiful as you are while you write or think, I want you to close the computer screen and turn your eyes to me. I don’t want to see your solitary eyes, or your public laughing eyes. I want to see your fairy eyes, the way they glow in the dark of my room at night, a tourmaline green around the large pupils, then warmest bronze, and edges the dark brown of wet earth, just as alive. Your eyes are a forest I could lose myself in, a dangerous place, full of magic, bearing the essence of the rainbow, the whole rainbow transmuted in you to a pale green, a subtle red in your lips, and so much white, the white of your skin beneath my dark fingernails, the way you light the air above me, white, the presence of all colors at once.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

grad school update

i paid my first application fee last night! $56 to wisconsin. yes, that's really $56. when i looked at my nerdy little spreadsheet, i thought it was a typo, but no; i finished filling out the online app last night and got to the end and it really is a $56 application fee. weird. now i only have $395 left.

i'm going to do one per week, more or less, to spread it out. i looked at a calendar and i've got enough time to do it that way and get everything in on time; i think only two or three are due in december, then a bunch on january 15th, and then one or two not till february. i also filled out the online app for west virginia but haven't submitted/paid it yet. might try to get the others filled out soon too, just to have one less step later on. the wisconsin online app was long and involved, but wv was very simple; no clue yet what the others will be like.

waiting to get letters back from my recommenders so i can actually send the physical stuff out. right now, after working on my statement again last night, i feel like i'm about as ready as i'm gonna get and i want to just get it over with and out of my hands and out there to the universe and let things happen as they are meant to.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A poem about last night (fictionalized, of course)

First Date

I took you to the Taj Mahal.
It was November in Ohio,
dark by dinner time, damp
biting cold as we walked
from the car. The air inside
was warm and fragrant. I caught
your smell as you removed
your coat, wanted to breathe in
against your neck beneath
the unruly cloud of long dark hair.

We drank sweet spiced tea softened
with milk, shared pakora and naan,
channa saag and aloo gobhi
and tender aromatic rice. It was all new
to you, the spices and textures, my hand
on your knee as we sipped tea
and talked after the meal. I caught
your reflection in the gilt-edged mirror
across the room, pale face framed
by dark silk curtains, gold bells.

I wanted to take you everywhere
in that moment, place your beauty
securely in my world. I wanted
to hide you inside, away from cold
and judgment. We ordered kheer,
thin rice pudding with pistachios
and cardamom. The waiter, a dark
beautiful boy with wavy hair to his collar,
brought our dessert, one bowl, two heavy
spoons touching, nestled comfortably
on a creamy white, gold-stamped saucer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

an old larry's assignment i finally did


We walk through the park alone at night. We run marathons, waste countless hours on the trail, risk blistered feet and aching knees and sunburn and windburn and numbing cold. We stay up late to read or write even when we have to work in the morning. We stay up late to make love. We fail to pay our bills on time but always find money for at least one drink.

We are the dreamers, the wanderers, the lovers and pacifists and poets and artists. We are crazy cat ladies, street corner singers, solitary and full of love. We’ll take any excuse to wear glitter. We like parades and parties and dancing in the rain.

You call us freaks with your Bibles raised in the air, call us failures from the tinted windows of your SUVs. You call us fools, but we know better. Our wisdom is this: that happiness is a virtue and the real fools are those who fail to live life fully.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Assignment from last Monday

I did my assignment this week, Miss Stacey! Aren't you proud of me?

The haunted pinball machine at Larry's went off while the featured reader was reading last week, so S. gave us the assignment of writing on the dangers of poetry in a bar. I took a very literal approach, but couldn't think of anything better.

Hauntings, Stalkings, and Stained Pages (or The Dangers of Reading Poetry in a Bar)

There are of course the obvious
risks of drunkenness - slurred
words, bungled lines, cheap wine
spilled on only drafts of poems
that seem brilliant in the dimness.
And there are surprises like the dirty glass
light fixture crashing to the ground
with no one touching it, the door
opening to let in a roar of traffic
and non-poetic voices just at the moment
when your voice has dropped
to add drama or emotion
to the climax of a poem. And you risk
wandering attention in the audience,
scribbled notes, whispered conversations,
the clink of glasses, the rattle of ice,
or you risk too much attention,
the fans who will corner you
after the reading, not let you leave,
tell you how much they love
your poems, ask you to read theirs –
they always rhyme or contain the word
“fuck” or both. Oh, but the benefits
far outweigh the dangers – poetry
is not meant for the classroom, so neat
and fluorescently lit with desks in rows
and windows that won’t open. It is meant
for the messiness of the world, the perfect
buzz while reading, the ability to laugh
at the interruptions, talk to the ghost
who knocked the light down, ask him
if that was his version of applause.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

on the blessings i don't believe in

on the blessings i don't believe in

i stopped believing long ago
that we are punished
or rewarded
by a willful old man in the sky

i will take my chances
with karma or luck
do good works for their own sake
accept failure as the result
of my failings

how to explain now
just how blessed i feel
by a week's worth of sun,
a vote that finally went right
the sweetest lips
against my own

the universe is smiling
on me brilliantly
and steadily
with the warmest
november this state
has ever seen

what have i done to earn
all of this? and what
must i do to keep it?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One of the paradoxes of existence

(This is not poetry, and doesn't even directly relate to poetry, but I wanted to post it here anyway....)

I am thinking right now of how happy I am, how lucky I feel to be where and who I am right now. It was the most amazing weekend here. The weather was perfect, sunny and so warm for this time of year. Halloween was Friday, and the event in the Short North was as fabulous as I'd hoped; I had a fantastic time with some of my best friends, a special new friend, and the community at large. Saturday was a very nice Gallery Hop. Today, Sunday, we walked downtown to the Obama rally. We stopped for coffee, ran into friends everywhere, the sun was out, the crowds were thrilling and thrilled, and it was just so exciting and inspiring to be there! Four of us grabbed some food afterward, then I came back here and talked with S for awhile.

I just keep thinking how happy I am. How perfect this weekend was. How I feel so lucky to be here and now and involved and present in this city, this community, my group of friends, etc. The thought of not being here in a year makes me want to cry. The thought of losing the community here, of losing the family I've created with my friends, breaks my heart.

And yet.... And yet I still look forward to applying to graduate school. I hope to get in. I hope to be living somewhere else in a year, surrounded by new faces and new poems and new inspiration.

I am living fully present in my life right now, enjoying every moment, trying to pin down the nuances of beauty in the everyday as well as the high points and holidays, so happy and so aware of the impermanence of everything, present now and happy, yet hoping to be elsewhere soon, aware of what I'll lose but gambling that what I gain will be worth it, knowing that what I've learned here will come with me.