Saturday, January 31, 2009

last post for january

first, let me reiterate that january can go to hell. i am so not happy with this month. anyway, just a little haiku to end things.....

I wake shivering
but not from cold. Sweat is dried
on my lonely skin.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January (can go to hell)

So, I’ve heard through the MFA grapevine that Alabama has already accepted some people. My stomach plummeted when I first read that, because I applied there and would really really like to get in (right now, for the weather, if for no other reason – I’m only half joking!) But then I got to thinking, they’re probably calling their top choices; if those people don’t choose to go there, then they’ll probably notify their second choices. I’ve not heard of acceptances yet at very many schools, and none of the others to which I applied, so I don’t feel too panicked yet. Or I’m trying not to at least. Ugh! I’m also finding this weather completely miserable. See below crappy poem…..


I eat too little, drink too much,
my body tensely shakes
unable to wrap itself
warmly enough around another,
tightly enough in blankets.

There are always gaps,
between her flesh and mine,
holes in the blanket let in
the cold air at night.

This hunger is not punishment.
My stomach is full of tears
and cold, contracted air. If I could eat,
I would. She tasted of mint
last time I saw her, cold but sweet.
These tastes linger, dilute themselves
as the ice melts in my glass.

My teeth clink against each other,
I curl in on myself, holding my own heat.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The waiting game begins

Today, after work, I mailed the very last piece of the very last grad school application. Throughout this process, I've spent $140 to take the GRE, $451 on application fees, roughly $20 in postage, almost $10 in printing (I did most of it for free at work), plus a package of manilla envelopes, some whiteout, a package of paperclips, and a ridiculous amount of time and energy. But now it is all out of my hands; my fate is out there in the hands of the universe and its infinite wisdom. I believe that it will give me the options I need to make a good decision.

And, because I haven't posted any poems recently, here is a very new first draft I scribbled out last night during the Open Mic. ETA: after reading this again a few times, I think it's really awful, and am deleting most of it. I'll leave the beginning and end, as a reminder to myself what it was about.

Hold On As Long As You Can (tentative title)

Ten years ago if my wishes had been granted
there would have been three: her,
California, grad school. I dreamed
last night that they’d all come true.

(removed stanzas)

... She was dying.
We both knew it. I walked outside

in the dream. It was snowing. Is this
still California, or have I gone back
in time to Ohio? I didn’t cry.
I’d gotten all I ever wanted and held
her all these years.

I wake and reach for her, who’s never been
in this apartment or this bed. Years have slipped
over me since the last time I thought of the life
we could have had. Tears fall suddenly as I grasp
the human truth. Even if I’d gotten everything
I wished for, I would still have lost her someday.

It's from a dream I had a week or so ago, which was truly creepy and sad and strange.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Go check it out

Our collaborative poem is up! I haven't listened to the audio because I always hate the way my voice sounds on recordings, but feel free. Just don't tell me how dumb I sound ;)

Many thanks to Dave for recording for us!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Difference

Since Nathan mentioned the poem prompt I gave on his blog, I figured I'd go ahead and post what I wrote that night as well. The prompt was to write on either the difference between the purchase and the gift, or just on the idea of purchases or gifts. A nice wide-open prompt, but one which had a very specific point of origin for me.

Awhile back, in the summer of 2007 I think, I read a book of essays by Scott Russell Sanders called Hunting for Hope. It's a great book, about family relationships, and our relationship to the natural world, and ways of finding hope in a world that's so messed up. He writes at one point about the difference between the purchase and the gift, with the idea that nature is a gift to us: it is something we can not buy, can not write, can not choose, can not control. We must be passive and just listen. (okay, cutting this short cuz S. just walked in, and we need to work on the collaborative piece.) Go check out the book!

The Difference

Open windows in summer are a gift,
the breeze that comes unbidden,
uneven, on its own terms.
You must wait for it, not command

an on/off switch, set a comfortable
seventy degrees, low speed or high.
There is no purchase, no control,
no ceiling fan, no central air.

All weather is a gift, cold
or hot, dry or wet, kind
or cruel. Your smallness
is a gift, humbled in the wind.

You purchase the roof that shelters,
the umbrella, the fur-lined gloves.
I walk bare-headed in the rain, I wait
for sunshine, for calm, for love.

Oh, precious, precious, silver and gold

I am obsessed with Jeff Buckley's CD "Grace" right now. That's a line from the first track. I heard "Hallelujah" in the car back around Christmas time, and remembered how much I loved it, then requested the CD from the library, and have listening to it almost daily since it came in. Obsessed. Absolutely. And, uhm, making out in the kitchen with this in the background....very, very nice!

Speaking of kitchens, this is so not poetry-related, but I made the most amazing feta dip tonight. Really. I've made feta dip three or four times so far, and it's always different; I made up the recipe the first time, and I'm not really one to measure everything, so it's more of a "flexipe" than a recipe. I looked for some "real" recipes online tonight, and got the idea of adding some cream cheese to the mixture, and, wow, the results might actually qualify as poetic. Here is the basic formula I used, taken from my own brain, and a couple of different places online:
1 6 oz. block of feta cheese, crumbled
1 8 oz. package of lowfat cream cheese, softened
a good 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, minced
an equal amount of fresh cilantro, minced
a slightly smaller amount of kalamata olives, minced
about a Tablespoon of minced garlic
Combine all those ingredients with an electric mixture, then add maybe 1/2 cup of fat free plain yogurt, just to get the right texture. It is truly fantastic!

And, in actual poetry news: I got a super nice email from the editors of Qarrtsiluni today about the collaborative poem S and I submitted. They suggested a change to one line at the end, and asked us to record it. Changing the line should be no problem, but recording might be, as I have no microphone. Hmmm. Apparently there are ways to do it via phone. We'll see.

And, I also got a super nice email from the folks at Penn State today saying that they've got all of my application materials and thanking me for getting everything in on time (odd? I didn't know that was an option) and saying that they'll start the reading process next week, and will notify their first round by the end of February, which is a full month earlier than I had been led to believe anyone did notifications. So that was excellent.

So, with that poetry stuff buzzing around my brain I opted to skip going to the gym and just came home, walked the dog through 3 degree weather on permafrost-like sidewalks, then sat down at the computer and fired off one of my two remaining applications. I am so close to having them all out of my hands. It's terrifying but liberating at the same time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just a snippet of something

A White Wall

Chip away the clean white paint.
Color hides beneath, the building
sedimentary. Read its history
in layers of dust, green paint,
dust, yellow paint, and then brick
and mortar, wood frame and plaster.

Monday, January 12, 2009

On Finding Love at Thirty

I had too much coffee tonight, so when I came home, I ate a bunch of chocolate (leftover Christmas candy) and tried to write a poem, or actual a couple at the same time. This comes the closest to finished of anything. It’s a pantoum. Every time I have ever tried to write one, it gets away from me, and I’ve never been able to get it back to the beginning/end. I’m not sure how successful this is, since it’s late, and I’m tired, but at least I did work the first couple lines back in and got to an end. So, it’s something.

On Finding Love at Thirty

Each snowflake is distinct
and toothed, cold, clear,
against the glass. We drink
red wine, glasses kissed near

and toothed, cold, clear
in your hands, my thoughts sink
like red wine in a glass kissed near
to nothing. It is impossible to think

in your hands, my thoughts sink
past the words, silence is dear
but nothing is impossible. To think
only a year ago I feared

these words, held silence so dear
I relished the cold, stood on the brink
only a year ago. I feared
the melt of ice, drops of ink

fallen and cold. I stood on the brink,
pen poised to write a future clear,
melting ice like drops of ink,
blue on white, cold as tears,

my pen poised to write. A future clear
appeared to me, the way you think,
blue, white, cold as tears
but sweeter than anything

that’s appeared to me. The way you think
amazes me, that you can love clear
through me, sweeter than anything,
braver, my sugared armor melts near

a heat that amazes me. You love clear,
the only one, a sea in which to sink.
I am no longer brave, sugared armor melted near
my skin, your skin, the difference indistinct,

we are one. A sea in which to sink,
crystals of sugar, snowflakes plus tears,
my skin, your skin, sweet, salt, indistinct,
but there is nothing left to fear

in crystal of sugar, in snowflakes or tears.
We melt together. We sit up and drink
because there is nothing left to fear.
We pour more wine, quiet now. I think

we were meant together. Sit up. Drink
with me. I love you, this thing I feared.
Pour more wine. Quiet now. I think
I love you. You are sugar-like tears

to me. I love you. This thing I feared
against the glass. We drink,
we love. Like sugar, like tears,
each snowflake is distinct.

And an update....

I have been absolutely SWAMPED for the past month. Between working mad hours, all the holiday stuff, and getting four more grad school applications out, I have neglected my blog shamefully.

I made a small attempt to remedy that today but posting that little debris poem. Will post more soon.

Finished the collaborative poem with Sam tonight. At MoJoe. In front of the fireplace. Yay for fireplaces and girlfriends who write poems. We were discussing how we miss Larry's. Columbus is getting too f***ing clean these days; all the anarchy is becoming memory, all the holes in the wall are being patched, leaving a smooth white surface I just want to scribble on.....

Send good thoughts after my applications at Alabama, Penn State, West Virginia, and Colorado State, if you would.

Poem on :)


Debris, Ohio State University, January 2009

A half-eaten bagel and a pair
of black furry earmuffs curl
together on a bench outside
Denney Hall, like animals
trying to keep warm by sharing
the small heat of their bodies.

The sidewalk glows thinly,
slick and dangerous. A receipt
from the bookstore is frozen
against the curb, over a hundred
dollars for one book. Free
newspapers scuttle across
my path. Even they are rushed,
hurrying for shelter, missing
so much of this experience.

Edit 3/17/09 - This poem is now published at Breathing Poetry. The site includes many wonderful poems from talented people all over the country and the world.