Monday, December 15, 2008

3 down, 6 to go

after about 40 minutes standing in line at the post office and another several dollars in postage (which is peanuts compared to to $50-$60 application fees and the ungodly sum I paid to take the GRE), i now have three of my nine MFA applications officially sent off and out of my hands. if there are any poetry-friendly gods hovering around wisconsin, minnesota, and michigan - put in a good words for me, okay?

what else? i typed up the first draft of the collaborative poem sam and i are working on. it's interesting... here's the beginning:

When I was young I used to sit and write my name over and over.
More often I would trace the names of enemies and their histories.
Their names always seemed much more interesting, more beautiful, than mine
and with twenty-six letters I came to forgive them, their fallacies
that my letters were dull, lacking in exotica, that this reflects
how simple the act of writing is, yet the repercussions linger.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Collaboration is fun

But first, an update: I submitted the other two December apps online last night, will print off all my stuff today, and then pick up the last letter Monday. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the wonderful person who is saving my sanity!!!!! I will drop those three packets in the mail Monday, and then think about the next batch after the New Year.

And, here is the very first draft of a collaborative poem Stacey and I wrote over the past, oh, month, or so... We got sidetracked and distracted and busy a few times in the middle of the process, but we finally found the ending yesterday. Look for her to post it on the PoCo site, and on her lovely blog as well.

Velvet Elvis

Rest deep in the field of matte black
plush and dense as Mississippi night
no screams will jolt you from this
reverie, no girls will faint at your feet
except me, clawing to get behind
the wide gilt frame centered on the wall
to run my fingers thru your hair, to recline
against your muscular thighs, to climb
up your twisting legs, to scale your hips.

Rest here and wait for me. I will come
to grasp your shoulders, to cling to your name,
taste the sugar and the smoke of your mouth
but when I try to press my lips against yours,
I feel nothing but dust clinging to the painted fibers
and the rough places where a painter's brush
paused, the paint pooling on your bottom lip.
You are all man, rough, hard, surrounded by a sea
soft and impenetrable, velvet waves fading
into a bright white glow at the edges of your face.
I brush one finger along the angle of your jaw,
slowly slide it down the short softness that lies
flat, the revealed triangle of your chest. I step back
I see the gold surrounding him, the end of a plush life framed
forever, a bright spot on the dark paneled wall.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Desperation (re: grad school apps) of my recommenders is MIA..... I sent her an email last week, the day after everything was supposed to be back to me. No response. Sent her another one today. I have a postmark deadline of Monday for my first application, and am really freaking out. It's not even an app I'd feel at all okay about scratching off the list either; in fact, it's probably my top choice right now. I don't know what to do. I'm desperate enough to ask someone else to write me a letter, but I don't know who I'd feel okay about springing it on at this late date. Ugh! Lady, you're stressing me out!

And this may be insane, but I am thinking of scrapping my SOP and re-writing it. Everyone else's seems to be so much more INTERESTING than mine. Actually what I think I'll do is set aside an evening (either tonight or tomorrow) with lots of coffee, and just sit down and write a new statement, then compare the two the next day when I am no longer under the influence of a late night caffeine buzz.

But I'm seriously freaking out about the recommendation letters..... Seriously.

Monday, December 8, 2008

American Sentences: Two Girls in Love, a Cold Ohio Night

I watched Romeo and Juliet (the 1990's version by Baz Luhrman, which I just love - I really think it's a brilliant re-envisioning of the story) this weekend, so that's in this poem, as is the religious issue my mother is having with the fact that I have a girlfriend. And the collaborative poem I was working on Friday is being written in American Sentences, so I am thinking in terms of 17 syllables at a time.

American Sentences: Two Girls in Love, a Cold Ohio Night

The sky is the color of the slate roof of the house where I grew up.
Snow threatens to return and cover all the tracks we have made so far.

How far we've walked, you and I, fingers numb from cold but still holding hands.
We will outpace the storm, find or create shelter long before limbs fail.

We've both read "To Build a Fire" and we know the temptation to lie down.
Let the snow be our bed and we will never rise, we two Juliets.

This is a modern tragedy: lovers blessed by the stars, crossed by God.
It is up to us to triumph, clear a nest, build a tent, and a fire.

Your cheeks bold pink, your eyes misted from the wind, never more beautiful.
We traverse a wilderness of snow, warm inside, love like a beacon.

Follow love. Do not stop moving forward. The stars will outlast us all.

re: the previous poem about maps

one of the things that was bouncing around in my head when i wrote that is a set of lines from a richard hugo poem. i don't remember the title of the poem, or where i read it. it's not in any book i own. the lines, as far as i remember them, and this is probably not exactly right, are as follows:

not every river flows south
whatever maps might claim.
if you were mapped the color would be wrong:
no brown adequate for harm,
no white white enough for pain.

i'm sure that's slightly off, but if anyone knows what poem it's from, i would love to know. thanks!

The Composition of the Air I Breathe

There is no substitute for oxygen
but the warmth of your breath
makes me almost wish to suffocate
on carbon dioxide and kisses.

I don't mean to die, but to push
my lungs to their limit, to fall
into you until I am gasping
and terrified and alive.

Suicide doesn't interest me.
Living is the true challenge,
to keep running, breath after
freezing breath, icy December air

clouding in front of me, eyes
tearing, watching my feet
so snow does not get the better
of my balance. I struggle to hold

myself upright in my mother's eyes.
She prays for me every night
as I lie in your arms and she fears
we're on our way to hell. Of love

she knows nothing, claims words
from the original Hebrew or Greek
condemn me. If you wish
to understand me, you must understand

her as well. She is resigned to sorrow,
a dutiful wife, a grieving mother,
blaming herself, praying for my soul
and for His forgiveness for sins

no one has committed. I love her.
I love you. I place my heart like my feet
carefully on a slippery path, sunlight
glints off ice, off your beauty, off the tears

that come unbidden when you hold me.
It always comes down to this:
I can not change who I am,
I can not change where I came from.

Friday, December 5, 2008

An American Sentence (ETA: make that three)

If god was a cat, I would worship gladly by napping in the sun.

There’s so little sun in winter; streetlights through my window must suffice.

Inspiration for these two came from the poetry collaborative. It's posted there as well. Go leave your own, if the muse strikes.

And this one may be the first line of a collaborative poem Sam and I will write:

When I was young I used to sit and write my name over and over

Info about, and many many examples of, American Sentences can be found here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Visual Aid

Here in the dark language fails.
Your hand traces rivers on the map
of my back. They all flow south.

You look at me without speaking
but I need to fill this space, make manifest
the destiny I feel lying naked in your arms.

Language fails. I can not explain
what you will find as your explore me.
I want to warn you, to tell you

I am riddled with danger, mountains
of snow, and valleys of hurt, miles and miles
of solitude. But you are young and brave

and your fingers are so gentle on my skin.
I will guide you. Together maybe
we’ll reach the far shore. Language fails

but the maps do not lie. You draw
me closer. I press my words to your mouth
and let the warm waters rise.