Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I know you are all very disappointed in me, and probably don't even look at this space anymore, except casually, out of habit, and then only for a few seconds. But I've been BUSY -- hip-deep in papers for grad school. Now I am only knee deep. Here's a poem.

The Aggressive Squirrels of Roosevelt Island

we wear special lenses to see what lurks underneath the oak leaves

we have pulled our hair back tightly with leather bands -- they can nest anywhere

we are here to capture the reason

we have tweezers, chloroform
glass jars the size of a head
a gold pen for notation
a green one for classification

we watch our ankles

we keep our bags closed at all times

we do not sit underneath the inviting trees to rest

we use hip waders or heavy rubber boots and socks infused
with a tincture of iodine

we do not touch peanut butter for at least a week before entering the island

at dusk, we try to remember Sheila, who was
dragged down a hole

we plunge forward, keeping our purpose always foremost in our minds

when in doubt, we jump into the river

we remember, as we sink, that the tails only look soft
and if they pause to lift an offering from our palm
the gentle brush of their tiny nails only lasts for a moment

we convince ourselves that moment is not sweet

without hesitation they will gnaw us anew
fill our skull with walnuts
toss our toe bones back and forth with their teeth

their infants are the size of our thumbs and not quite as soft
as our down comforter on the other island, the one we’re starting to forget

we have left behind our candy, our lavender deoderant
and the ones too weak too run

according to our guide books, one bite does not cause much scarring

we are not much afraid
we have practiced by running short distances very fast

Saturday, December 16, 2006

if you would like to know about the movie


I did
come in late
but it seemed like I missed the ending
instead of the beginning

there was no clear hero
but there was a man fixing his car
he was by the side of the road
in a desert-like place (New Mexico)

when I went to get popcorn
he ended up by the beach on a bicycle
the love interest was a either a dog
or a girl they both had the same
color hair and wore a dark necklace

sometimes she would walk across
the screen and the man wouldn’t
look up but she might have
been the angry girl sitting in the front row

I’m pretty sure the dog was a lab
we saw many shots of him sleeping
in the back seat of the car
since it was so hot his tongue hung out

once he appeared to be barking at the waves
but no sound came out of his
mouth

the man fixing his car wore heavy gloves
and had a smudge of grease along
one cheek

sometimes he would look up
at the sun and wipe his wet bangs
from his forehead with the back of his wrist

when this happened a guitar would play

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Still Life With Dark Cloud

I am so sad. There is a big mound of sad right here in the middle of the room, on top of my pile of collapsing cardboard furniture. It's a big heaping smelly bunch of sad. Every five minutes it whirls around a bit, shifts colors, and gets bigger. Soon there won't be any room for me in this room of sad. Every time the sad gets bigger, it gets heavier. The floor is starting to creak. It's an old, worn out plastic floor, not meant for more than two people to stand on at the same time. This sad is bigger than the both of us. When the floor breaks, it will take me down with it, into the sad. Some people say the sad is dark and black, but it's really grey with flashes of pink and green. When it puffs itself up, you can see many things inside. The things look like they're fun -- there's laughing and poking and painting of cheeks with butterflies -- but they're really quite, quite sad. As it emanates the odor of spilled perfume and old wet towels, the sad pulls me in. It has a magnetic force, it leaves dusty black tracks, it makes me sneeze. It's an armless ventriloquist and a rusty cotton-candy machine. It's popcorn dropped in the grass and stepped on. It's a pair leather ballet shoes soaking in a tub of scummed up rainwater. It's paralyzed lips with the will to kiss. It's teeth falling out when you bite into chocolate cake. It's tripping in front of a bus and getting only half run over. It's the dream of being in your underwear in front of your modern history class and waking up to realize that your class was over years ago and you missed the final. You failed, you never went back. You never bothered until it was too late.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Trying to work on some film related poems:

Ode to Mia
For Mia Kirshner

your long dark hair
with waves glinting
like broken glass embedded in a knee

you always play the crazy ones

you are short childlike
you bought coffee once standing in line
ahead of me
your skin was bad you didn’t look around much
perhaps you noticed I was staring

this was before the crow

when you are a lesbian you are mean

often you wear corsets eye shadow
and are sacrificed

your eyes change color but they always
remind me of a wolf or something
swimming very fast underwater

your neck is so long ethereal
yellow seems made for
knives or hands

sometimes you fall in love
with a bird

sometimes you beg sometimes you
refuse to beg

we want to toss you towards the sky
catch you as your hair flares out
a dark exclamation

you wear a schoolgirl’s uniform
you strip it off men try to
touch places they shouldn’t
women try to part your thighs

sometimes you draw on your
breasts with magic marker

sometimes you are the victim
and they don’t find you
until much too late
--------------

Comments are appreciated, y'all.
Swirly!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

awk! I feel so awful when I'm too busy to write. So I made some time. Right here: time!

Trouble with Meat

bella spends two hours at the dinner table

chewing, chewing
…….--- it won’t go down

…….-- a beige paste
she can’t swallow …….-- she can
…… feel tendons …… strings …… rubber cement
…….-- inside it

when her mother looks at her own empty plate
and sighs

…….----- bella takes thumb and forefinger
pull out the mass ……- soft as flesh ……. pink and brown
…….-- it might have tentacles
…….------- the texture like cardboard and sand paper

her mother won’t
……. leave her chair…….-- till bella's through

she doesn’t…….-- understand
…….-- i can’t

her own meatloaf …….-- limp asparagus
limpid pool of butter …….-- finished
as fast as she could shovel
her eyes on bella …….-- bright …….-- foreign
like some strange plant

bella hears her friends outside
Lisa and Gordie discussing a new style of four square
…….----- then the red ball bounces……. with that hollow

…….-------appetizing ping

Friday, November 24, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Leap

thumb-smudged face descending in the water her eyes are closed dark hair unfurls to the surface bone buttons close her calico dress dots of white flowers on navy her eyes are closed she sees redwing blackbirds shifting in branches stabs of red at each shoulder the female a brown spot against the black is perhaps only sunlight sifting strong through the maple leaves her eyes are closed her skin bluer bluer she slips deeper into the river her petticoats ripple tiny bubbles like pearls slow rising pearls the current pulls her forward down her eyes are closed her palms open as she spins slowly the laces to her black boots flare out last summer she spun in the wheat first slowly then faster faster palms up to catch the sun arms wide like a tree flung up against the horizon she remembers falling too dizzy to catch herself her eyes closed
Spamland#2

I can't stop watching this.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I have some poems coming soon. IN the meanwhile, I got this from BoingBoing:

Zadie Smith on the practice of reading
From an interview with novelist Zadie Smith on KCRW's Bookworm program:

But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, "I should sit here and I should be entertained." And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday Nights

I hold his throat in my hand
and I feel it vibrating. We sit this way for long moments as I
drink rum and watch Jeopardy. Sometimes he falls asleep.

Sometimes I hold so still my cigarette
burns down to my knuckles.

I have the scars to prove it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I went to this little bodega I never visit. AND THERE HE WAS! THE PERFECT PUN!

Ladies and gentlemen: the copycat



Thank you! I'm here all week. Try the veal.
REMINDER

I'm having a reading/networking event tomorrow at 8PM. It's in lovely Long Island City, nestled securely in the arms (or rhetorical devices) of the Women's Studio
Center, a beautiful art center that welcomes all genders. ALL. There will be chips and
salsa and perhaps some coffee. If pressed, I will bring mint chocolate cookies. And
it's all amazingly free.

I'm reading my new book, The Transparent Dinner (for more about it, go here:
www.christinehamm.org), and enouraging all the talented people in the room to network.
You might meet your next publisher, best friend, or bitter literary rival!

Here's the directions. (Personally, I take the 7 to Courthouse Square and walk two
blocks.)
Women's Studio Center Inc.
21-25 44 Avenue
Long Island City -- There's a big green awning sticking out over the street with some
regal looking flower pots flanking it. The awning declares Diego!, as he is our
supporter.

The Various Nearby Subway Stops:

G to Court Square (From Brooklyn)

7 to 45th Road/Courthouse Square

N to Queensborough Plaza

R to Queens Plaza

F to 21st Street/Queensbridge


For directions on the Womens Studio Website go here:
http://www.womenstudiocenter.org/id17.html

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New poem from the Hansel and Gretel series
…….
How the Witch Got Started


the snow outside
……. had blocked the doors
they had already burnt ……. the curtains for fuel
the light outside was pitiless

chandelier crystals hung
……. from pink threads
……. at the widow

the only things left in the cupboard were
…….salt and baking soda

I love you so I’ll eat you up,

……. someone said to the mother when she was
…--…. little & the stranger stuck her nose
into the girl’s neck and laughed

she came out of my body
the mother still remembers her first sight of her daughter
……. yanked out with a gasp that felt like
a fist in the belly
……--. gleaming, red as a candied apple,
…….-- bloody as a ……. steak

she cried
……. with the children when they had to eat
the kittens ……. the soup lasted a week

Annabeth tried to hide some bones in a shoebox
in the coat closet, ring of dried violets, black scarf

we can have the memorial later, her mother told her,
right now we have to eat

the days were shorter and shorter
……. they had eaten the candles
some of the children had diarrhea for days

she would save her daughter’s hair,
……--------. she told herself
she would keep it in a locket for next time

in the end there was
……. very little difference
……. between sleeping
…---…. and waking

the children were too
…….---tired to move……. they wet the bed

she began to pray ……. they would
……---. not wake up

even though they didn’t speak
…….--- their eyes ……. blank suffering ……. made
…….--- her leave the room

afterwards
……. her mother found a spot next to
……. Wendy’s bed where
……. Wendy had started to
……----. eat the wall

……. she did not ask the children to do this
only she ate them ……. afterwards she knew
…….---- her daughter was safe
……----. she would never
…------…. be alone

……. she wanted to
remember their names
……. carved them into the
……-----. frame around her
……. mirror

how could anyone say she hadn’t done
……---------. her best?

if she were gone ……. who would take care
…-------…. of her babies?

in the spring
……. she was left
…….------ with only two

they ran from her
……. and disappeared into the forest
as soon as the snow melted

she never ……. saw them again
……---. she misses those ones the most

……. she knew they would
…----…. tell tales

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Whee! I did the reading at Ear Inn and it was so fantastic! I felt a little outclassed by the other poets, especially Juliet Patterson. She writes the kind of stuff where every word counts and nothing is "talky" or prosey. I hope in five years I can write as well as her. All her language and images were fresh! So I got her book Truant Lover. You must buy, as well.

And I got to meet Kate Greenstreet! Whose blog I've been reading for a while, although I've never linked to it until now. There you go, right at the bottom in the place of honor next to Todd Colby. I did manage to finagle her a bit, so she might interview me for her series on first books. Jenn Tynes was in her series!

I got some pics of my reading outfit. I love the fake hair, and yet it is so very fake and looks rather raggedy at times. I guess people managed to look beyond it -- or just stared at until their eyeballs were numb.

I sold six books. Amazing! Amazing. And almost accidentally stole some back. They were just sitting on a table! so I thought someone had just been looking at them and put them back in my bag. This unwise move resulted in me being chased down the street after I left the bar. "Excuse me, but did you steal the books you just sold me?" Uh. Well. That would be yes.

If you couldn't make it today, there's next Friday night! In Long Island City. At the Women's Studio Center. Details to come.
Based on a true story. REally. And not about cannibals, either.

Genesis

born dead from a dead mother
I crawled out from the still pulsing purple
womb and screamed before anyone could
touch me

I had words then
a few choice curses for God, but the doctor
pretended not to hear and the nurses all
turned their backs, their hands over
their ears

I crawled on the sticky concrete floor
between skittering legs while they worked
on my mother, tried to start her up again
with jumper cables cinched to her small machine

I, forgotten violet ghost, rose up and visited
my grandfather, the one who was
dead, he nursed me on his sagging breasts with
their white fur stink of cigars and pigs,
he held my tiny little ghost hand, caressed the
knuckles with his thumb like grandfathers do,

kissed me here above my left ear, a place
that still stings in winter like lemon juice
in the eye, and sent me back to the sour bed
of my mother, she was patched with
electrical tape & red thumbtacks

and when the nurse
lifted my mother’s hand and set it on my
powdered pink back as if she were setting
the table for an unwelcome guest,
I almost felt
my mother’s
heart beat, almost felt her breath
cross my forehead




and a bird collage
or perhaps, bird college, where birds learn to sing and bang into windows

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just a draft thing. More poems related to cannibals.

Gretel Speaks

if there’s anything that misery
has taught me it’s to ignore the singing
needlewoman in the streets, follow
your starving brother in his too big
lederhosen through the forest of forks,
knives and mice

and look for the white cat, the white
pigeon, the white duck, even though
some animals are only sunlight on the roof,
or a lie to fool your stepmother,

because one of them will take you
across a river too wide and deep
for your spindly breaking ankles
away from the cries of the burning
woman you left in the stove
one of them will take you home

Monday, October 30, 2006

a poetry reading

I'm reading from my new book, The Transparent Dinner, at 3:00 at the Ear Inn this Saturday.

326 Spring Street (west of Greenwich Street)
New York City
FREE

Subway: C/E to Spring Street; 1/9 to Canal Street; N/R to Prince Street

November 4

Readers: Christine Hamm, Thomas March, Juliet Patterson

Here's a sample of one of my poems:

Animal Husbandry

The dog tells me that's he leaving me, that he no longer likes sticking his nose in my crotch. This last week he has been slipping his leash after I fall asleep and sucking cock in the backroom at Woody's. He tells me about the glory holes in the bathroom of the New York Public Library. I tell him he's lying, that dogs aren't allowed in the library. I'm having trouble breathing. I sit down on the edge of the bed. I shout, what, so women aren't good enough for you anymore! I remind him of our first date, how he tied me up and we cried all night. Never before had I been threatened with such tenderness, such sincerity. You can't fake that! I scream. I am sobbing. I am not a woman if my dog doesn't want me. I'm a question mark in a skirt.

The dog has his sad puppy-dog eyes on. I've seen him practice this look in the mirror. He asks me not to hate him. He rolls his eyes and whines.

I know that he's already picturing himself out on a walk, leaving me here alone in a room full of condoms and chew toys, some man's hand on his leash. I wonder if it's my scent that he finds so vile. He rests his chin on his crossed paws. It's not that you're fat, he tells me. There's a gland near the base of the skull that regulates it-- this desire, this thing, for bones.



For more about me or the book, go to www.christinehamm.org

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Disco Time

the glitter in my hair is infinite
stocking feet on blue shag carpet
the Hustle has many complicated steps
I’m wearing a rainbow in three different places
Cindy demonstrates sloppy fellatio on a hotdog
I laugh so hard my cheeks hurt
we’ve found her parents pot and porn
my jeans are so tight it hurts to sit
Led Zeppelin is kinda cool
but the Bee Gees are gnarly
we’ve locked her little brother out of the den
she’s wearing thirteen plastic bracelets
the color matches my eye shadow
and the unicorn on my notebook waves his horn to the music

Led Zeppelin is kinda cool
the unicorn on my notebook waves his horn to the music
the color matches my eye shadow
we’ve found her parents pot and porn
we’ve locked her little brother out of the den
the Hustle has many complicated steps
stocking feet on blue shag carpet
Cindy demonstrates sloppy fellatio on a hotdog
she’s wearing thirteen plastic bracelets
I laugh so hard my cheeks hurt
my jeans are so tight it hurts to sit
but the Bee Gees are gnarly
I’m wearing a rainbow in three different places
and the glitter in my hair is infinite

Friday, October 27, 2006

Some Mothers

……. they move slowly on
…. the grass, shifting their feet
and pausing

their heads are bent
busy on the ground
……. they are full already
but still they eat
they are sleek and their
bodies glimmer

…. . …. if you try to come
close they will raise
their heads all at once ……. and stare

……. their faces will move
quickly then and they
will talk to each other
in low, worried voices

their expressions are
……. difficult to read
their eyes and mouths
……. . . . . . dark and still and shifting

…. . . .…. and then you step again
……. and they lift
a vast sudden wave
complaining loudly
……. without ceasing
and throw themselves into the sky
Hey I'm a little famous.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Poem. hurrah.

Two Friends


Can I hold your hand without breaking your wrist?
Can you comb my hair without pulling it out?
Can I kiss your cheek without taking a bite?
Can we talk without you spitting in my mouth?
Could you hold still for a minute?
Did I say you could borrow my shoes?
Didn’t I tell you that he would be trouble?
Could you let me finish my sentence?

Do you have to wear that shirt?
Do we both have targets painted on our hearts?
Did you just say what I thought you said?
Can we have a conversation without you calling the police?
Do you have to be so clingy?
Can you stop slamming your door in my face?
Can you try sleeping by yourself for once?
Did we have the same dream again?

Do you trust yourself alone in a room full of cake?
Do you need me to be there?
Can you stop yelling so I can hear myself think?
Could you put those scissors down when we’re discussing your mother?
Do you think you can get a driver’s license on your own?

How long until we get there?
Do you need some money?
Are you ever going to stop humming that song?
Do you have to do that this minute?
Could you just forget you ever had my phone number, please?

Can you ever forgive me?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Things I never thought I'd be saying to a college class:
"No, I think paper really does cover rock."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hey there.

I started working on some poems as a sort of framing device for my next book (I know: Next book? Jesus Christ Almighty haven’t I heard enough about this one; but I have to keep moving! Or like a shark I will sink to the bottom and drown). The manuscript is tentatively titled Lessons in Cannibalism. I had to get away from the adjective noun construction I always use for titles. So here’s a new poemeee. (Shrieks and runs away.)

Your Next Assignment

After reading “The Life of a Vegetarian Cannibal”, please answer the following questions in your notebook.

1) Samantha states that her vegetarian lifestyle is compatible with her cannibalism. Are you convinced by her argument?

2) In the story within the article about Cecilia and her black dog, the author uses several symbols. What does the symbol of the Queen Anne’s Lace on the kitchen counter represent? Can Cecilia’s work at the community soup kitchen be seen as symbolic?

3) Compare the two graphs representing common nutritional deficiencies of cannibals and vegetarians. What vitamin supplements do both cannibals and vegetarians need?

4) After reading about Cynthia’s trouble with Mr. Evans, what do you think she could have done differently? Where would you hide the body?

Monday, October 16, 2006

I had my interview today with a Queens Newspaper (with a circulation of 100,000!) Eek.
Let's hope it went a leeetle better than the last one.

Some new photos.



Saturday, October 14, 2006

Selecting Tulips for Slaughter

when resting, the petals must not be entirely motionless
the heavier tulip
ddddddddmay dress higher,
i.e. produce a carcass of heavy
weight dddddddd but a tulip who sports
thick skin, pelt or a heavy cover of hair

all over the body yields
a lower dressing weightdddddddd as non-carcass

components (such as breasts) of the tulip body increase

the possibility of dressed meat
ddddfffffffdddddecreases

the mark of a healthy tulip
dddddddda quick,
smart appearance underlying keen reflexes
ddddddddas such tulips move, they do so steadily with ease
tulips who are not fat or bulky

are suspecteddddddddd a butcher
ddddddddshould acquaint himself

with the key criteria of tulip selection
ddddddddbefore fingering the bulbs.
when resting, the petals must not be entirely motionless
So my book is now up on Amazon.

I will give a free copy of my book (and free shipping!) to the first six people who write a review for the book on Amazon.

The way it works is: you email me requesting to review it, I send you the pdf file, you read it and post the review, and I send you the book!

I already met this lovely lady, Peggy, who agreed to post review for me.

Wadda' ya say?
I have read Navigate. I am still recovering. It is under my skin, spinning. And I think it's in my dreams, because last night I thought I was sunburned and barefooted and crazy on a large, dark beach. I might have been tearing up strips of paper from an old book, and there might have been fire.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sung to the tune of "My Humps":

My book, my book, my lovely boooky-book. Check it out!"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Whoever googled "angry teenage poetry" and ended up here --I have one word for you:


Whatever.
Selected Excerpts from Student Comments About My Poetry Course

The professor’s comments are difficult to read, and, I suspect, in another language.

The professor scrunches up her nose when I write about daisies. As she does this I can see her top row of teeth which are both brittle and sharp.

The professor refuses to recognize that I have levels. Levels within levels.

The professor laughs loudly and frequently at nothing. Her laughter is like plates breaking on the floor of an infrequently used garage.

The professor stares at me like she knows where I live.

The professor suggested that if I wanted to be a poet I should take up truck driving and/or prostitution.

The professor is silent and lays her head on her desk for long moments in class.

The professor asked me to eat my pen.

The professor asks us to use our imaginations, when she knows I am disabled and don’t have one.

The professor often dresses from head to toe in a single, loathsome color.

Sometimes the professor repeats one word over and over for nearly the entire class. I am unsure if this is a form of stutter or experimental poetry. Once when the word was
“brackish” several students left the room and never came back.

The professor encourages students to jump out the window.

The professor has made me cry on several occasions when she was not even in the room.

I signed up for intro chem.

The professor offers us pieces of chocolate which are possibly poisoned.

I have never met the professor.

The professor sometimes claims to hear an alarm bell and rushes the class from the building, then disappears in the shrubbery.

I suspect the professor’s intentions are impure.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I went to the best reading yesterday at KGB -- some astoundingly brave work also some that was raw some that was funny some that was deadly and did I mention James Frey showed up but I missed all the hullaballo though I did notice there were an awful lot of pictures being taking with this one guy and why does everyone want their picture taken with their arms around him?


Jolene Siana reads from Ogre (click for a bigger picture)



Tony O’Neill reads a completely made-up story about death (click for a bigger picture)


N. Frank Daniels reads from Future Proof (click for a bigger picture)


The reading was by the riot lit collective -- a group of the most gritty, truthful, painful, spectacular and scary writers ever, including two members I’m very proud to actually know --
Jolene Siana and
Tony O’Neill.

I’ve already bought their books -- you should too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

THE BOOK

IS HERE

ESTA AQUI


ETC.

(I'm feeling a little faint)

(Probably a few more days before it shows up on Amazon.)

(It's unbelievable and beautiful. It has my picture on it!)

(There are poems inside. By me.)

(And Kristy is getting a copy. Right away.)

(And so is Cheryl.)

(And Anne. )

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Despite what she thought, it IS true that the whole damn class was out back practicing the one-handed frisbee toss.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Book! The Book! The Book!

It's now available for pre-order here.

Should ship to you in 14 days. (God Willing. Praise Allah. If the Buddha with his great smiling fat cheeks wills it so.)

Friday, September 29, 2006

I did something fun this time when I was writing a poem: I saved all the cut-out parts (and even some of the parts I kept)and made them into another poem. So now I have two poems, front and back. Tell me which you like better.

Frontside:

Saved

Miriam’s father
grunts and shuts off the lights behind her
we must save, we must save lights out at ten

(thermostat at 62)
the oil bill’s been through the roof

up in the attic squirrels
ooze through the roof-hole
set up a formal dinner
with Miriam’s miniature tea set
buried in a hat box since she was ten
when she held her red braids
between her teeth
& ran into the street
(Mrs. Webster swerved and hit the orange tree)

after the late, late lawnmower has finished gnashing
Miriam listens to KROC under the sheets
until all the twittering bedsprings
rest their squeak

she whips downstairs
flings switches skyward

above the stove: the garage: the coat closet: the basement stairs: the crawlspace (tang of ant poison):under the sink: the refrigerator: the porch: the five in the livingroom--including both
sides of the brown velvet couch
& the spot above the fireplace that shines

& while she wastes that electricity
she whistles a song
only the well-heeled squirrels
(can hear)


Backside:

The Garage Door Opener’s Perfume

(on her battery-powered radio)
waits (thermostat at 62) (old spice)
(made by the oil bill) (after midnight)
in short sleeves and baseball caps

(not even chipped)
(Mrs. Webster swerved and hit the orange tree)
(gas and dirt, smoke) on their fortified front doors
the squirrels unpack the tiny china
(before)
spread it in rows on a kerchief
(with their teeth)
(in the corner)
(bedroom, bathroom, kitchen) (tongues)

until the late, late have finished gnashing
(into the Osgood’s front porch)
down the street & all the fathers
have said the same words about the weather turning the keys

the late, late lawnmower has
and
(next door) (the same words about the weather)
in all the rooms (has finished)
the carpets and heavy, heavy drapes settle
(with a sigh) lawnmowers
(with a sigh)
(into weightless dreams)
(random) the ends of
bright as an electric charge
(spoiled fat) (blasting through a wire): (musty cardboard): (wet dog):
(rotten pine): (ant poison):
(bleach): (old spaghetti): (wet grass and exhaust): (potpourri)
(pine sol and ash)
(on the portrait of the woman (crouching at a stream))
Old Chanel
(that light)
(can hear (that light)

Monday, September 25, 2006

The reading at 440 was so great! Not only was the other reader (Erika) fantastic, but Brendan Lorber and Tracey McTeague stopped by and heard me read. Luckily I didn't realize they were in the audience until I finished reading. Cause I would have been so nervous I would have wet myself, otherwise.

And Tracey was so impressed by my poetry that she asked me to read at her series, Battle Hill, in March. I feel so affirmed by this. I think I'll be happy for a whole week.

Also, I finally set up a page for the book. Which should be arriving as my doorstop (I mean at my door step )by the second week in Oct. Which is pronounced "OCKED".

Friday, September 22, 2006

Millions of These Particles Fall Onto the Earth Everyday

It was one of those days that made me worry
I had fallen down that elevator shaft into

someone else’s dream. All morning I thought
of it, queasy, stirring my coffee with a pencil,

sharing my bathroom stall with a Lipizzaner,
who I think blushed as much as I. The angora

rabbit in the cubicle next to mine sprayed her
plastic roses with a violet-scented air freshener

until I sneezed my chair into the conference room.
The woodchucks paused with vague hostility,

then continued their power-point presentation.
I finally realized I had forgotten to wear pants

and there was turtle clamped around my crotch.
Closing time was early, around 3, because of

the holiday the following Monday or because
there was a fire in a boat somewhere off the

coast of our mother. I gave up trying to get off
my turtle with a fork and decided to ride a mule

home, rather than the subway,
though it was

a bit more
expensive.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm reading. I'm doing a reading. My lips will be moving as my eyes peruse certain infamous passages in certain nearly banned books in a previously undisclosed location.

JOIN US FOR A READING AT PARK SLOPE’S 440 GALLERY!

(AND PLEASE ALSO SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM!)

WHEN: Sunday, September 24th from 4:30-6:00 pm

WHERE: 440 Gallery, 440 Sixth Avenue (at Ninth Street ; take the F to 7th Ave. )

CONTACT: Brooke Shaffner at brshaffner@hotmail.com

Admission Free

WHO:

CHRISTINE HAMM

Christine Hamm is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Drew University, where she was awarded a Caspersen Scholarship for Academic Promise. Her poetry has been published in The Adirondack Review, Pebble Lake Review, Horseless Press, Lodestar Quarterly, BlueFifth Review, Poetry Midwest , MiPoesias, Rattle, Snow Monkey and Exquisite Corpse,blah, blah, blah... (this is getting a bit much). In 2004, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been anthologized in Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader and The Murdering of Our Years: Artists and Activists on Making Ends Meet, both by Soft Skull Press. Her full-length book of poems, TheTransparent Dinner, is due out from Mayapple Press in September '06. (Err, uh, October.)


ERICA FABRI

Erica Fabri is a poet and educator. She is the author of High Heel Magazine, a chapbook of poetry. Her work has appeared in MiPoesias, Good Foot Magazine, and Got Poetry? AnOffline Anthology. She currently teaches creative writing at The School of Visual Arts, Baruch College and Lehman.

September’s featured artist, Todd Erickson, will give a brief talk on his work:
http://www.440gallery.com/artist_terickson.htm

_____________________

ALSO:

My book, The Transparent Dinner, is arriving quite soon, and just now is being gently
massaged at the printers. If you would like a postcard in reference to said book, and also perhaps a little bit of a little poem, please send your address to the email
following: inktastesbitter@yahoo.com. Also, I'm going to give free copies of my book tosix deserving peeps who are willing to do a little review work for me. Contact me at inktastesbitter@yahoo.com for details.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm so excited! I just got interviewed by a real reporter for my University's newspaper, The Acorn. I got asked all sorts of questions about my writing and was majorly inarticulate. Well, I think I got my point across. I kept getting asked, why did you pick The Transparent Dinner as a title? and all I could say was, cause it's like my poems are about a dinner? That's transparent? Transparent like glass. Um, it's a metaphor you can see through. It's a meal made of glass. It's... it's... it's about meals whose motivations you can see through, like a person whose motivations are transparent?

Oh. God.


Anyway, I have the photoshoot tomorrow. Let's hope that goes a little better.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oh, and...

The indescrible Mr. Colby has a blog. Good. Now I don't have to be stalking him all over the internets.
I've got a poem and some pictures. I have been so very, very busy. I've had time to write, but not to type up the poems.

So finally here's a longish prose poem. It might be able to be cut some places. Your suggestions are welcome.



My Husband Changes the Subject

My husband demands I scratch his back again, hard this time, with my fingernails, like I mean it.

But I’m bored already, trying to avoid the scab where the saddle rubbed him raw, watching our large pink cat at the window, stuck in an impossible yoga pose, cleaning himself. My husband calls the pink cat vulgar, we have the most vulgar cats! he shouts. I keep scratching half-heartedly and my husband tosses his forelock out of his eyes, asks me who’s the best person in the room, no, not just the room, the whole apartment building! I answer that I am, of course, and he exclaims, no, it’s me! And then he asks who is the craziest person in the room and I poke him with my nose, breath in that deep scratchy scent of hay and dung, and say, the pink cat, and if not him, perhaps the little quick black one.

My husband shouts, No! It’s you! You are the most, the most, the most craziest of them all! and I poke him a little harder, this time with my elbow, and I say, No! It’s you! and he says, No, you! and this goes on for about ten minutes, my hand and arm getting tired from all the scratching

My husband changes the subject suddenly: Who has the biggest ass? But I mean, the biggest, biggest ass? So big you can’t fit out the door? So big it eclipses the sun? It has its own zip code?

And I pause, rest my check against the white spot along his ribs, the part I say looks like Bush, but he claims is the county map of Santa Clara, and I say, hmmm. Me?

Yes, he says, It’s so big! Big and splendid!

He then jumps up and stomps his right hoof, once, twice, lifting it way high up, and yells, Everybody dance!

He shakes his enormous haunches in a spastic rhythm, left, right, front, the cats hiss and flee -- he looks like he might never stop.



And here's some pics from the art fair today. In Queens.





Saturday, September 09, 2006

My poetry book (the transparent dinner) is thisthisthis close to being finished, and I'm supposed to round up five places to send it for reviews. Anyone have any ideas?

Also, any suggestions for places to read in NYC? I already have Ear Inn, I need a couple more.

Moreover and furthermore, if anyone would like a postcard bearing the likeness of the
cover of my book, with a bit of a poem not found anywhere on the web (or in any book)
printed on the backside, please send your name and address to inktastesbitter@yahoo.com.

Thank you all so kindly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Old Teacher’s Story

a room full of fluttering children:
I feel their eyes piercing the loose fabric of my back
as I misspell at the black board

when they titter they don’t cover their mouths
and their teeth are sharp

they wear the colors of a violent sky
if they wear anything at all

I tell them to repeat after me
as they hold my death in their brand-new palms
and they stroke its back gently and smile

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My book, The Salt Daughter, got reviewed in Altar Magazine. It's kinda a strange review. See for yourself. (You'll have to scroll down.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

From an Appendix of Lesser-Known Saints

Lucinda became a saint because she knew God wanted her
to claw out her own eyes and gorge on grass until she

fainted rather than marry a protestant man, who,
by the way, smelled of worms and never brushed his teeth.

Her miracles after she lost her sight were minor:
a levitation, bells ringing all at once on a Monday morning,

giving her patient father a migraine, and the healing of
goldfish in several pails. She ate the fine sharp grass

until she was too heavy to walk and when the roots were
nibbled into the ground, she asked her brothers to roll

her in a wheelbarrow to the next pasture. As she grew
bigger she flattened and spread out, like pale lava oozing

to form a new island. The townspeople took to wearing
handkerchiefs over their noses when they passed her end

of the field, the effulgence from her bowels was so foul
and rich. The horses crowded against the far fence,

crows gasped in the trees and the indigo swallows that
appeared in the south every spring fell dead in soft

speckled rain about her thighs. Eventually, as Lucinda
had long hoped, the grass diet killed her. She

ascended directly to heaven; her massive calves and
cheeks now light as spun sugar candy.

Her father still sees her in his dreams. She rides a cow,
modestly sitting sideways. She’s slim again but her eyes

are green this time and she says nothing, just smiles
like she’s happy, but a little bored.
-----

Any place I need to cut the "fat"?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Here's a new poem. Surprised? Have at it -- is it boring, blah, etc.?

My Mother Draws a Horse

after the fifth time I beg and maybe
promise to clean my room

she sits at the table with the dusty lace cloth
in the mirrored yellow room used
for strangers and holidays

if I am lucky she will make it a pinto
splashes of white and black
like dark continents fixed
on a moving milky sea

the horse has her ears bent forward
concentrating on what’s just ahead
off the page

it’s always the same horse
the same size of a handprint
nostrils a little too large as if
she’s breathing hard

it’s always the same horse
and she’s always running

when my mother’s done
she bites her pinky the same way,
it’s ugly
I don’t know what I’m doing


and I smooth her hair behind her ear
so short I stand while she sits
and I whisper, it’s pretty, it’s so pretty

Friday, August 25, 2006

I made so many more.

But I'll only show you my favorite two:






The rest are at the store. C'mon! It doesn't cost anything to just look! (unless you believe time is money, and then, well, I guess it's about a nickle)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I took Kristy's lead, and I now have a shop. Take a look and tell me what you think. The descriptions are a little lurid and over the top, but... that's me.

Here it is:


Dead Carnations.

I'm selling all the photos framed; does that seem like a good idea? It does add a lot to the shipping.
I've been busy, with my not-writing poetry. Lots of collaging and photo-ing and stuff.

Here's the evidence:











Sunday, August 20, 2006

New poem!

Sorry, work drama has kept me from you.

I was lucky to go to park today and it relieved my spirit.
Pics later. Comments now! I think I should trim this one.

What We Think About the Missing Girl


if her hair had a voice it would sing
low and wordless yet musical

when no one appears to be listening
we refer to her hair
using words like “pelt” and “feral”
and “river”

sometimes when we are talking about the governments
of foreign lands and rebels and the need for change,
supplies and fresh fruit we are actually talking about her hair

and sometimes when we dream about a sweet pale liquid
and wake up in the dark, our lips cracked,
our eyes wet, we are dreaming about her hair

when our president on TV moves his right hand
forcefully and talks in bold, sweeping generalizations,
he is thinking about her hair

before our old men die, when they are staring upwards
and the room dims, their last vision is of her hair
falling slowly towards them, a gold curtain

Monday, August 14, 2006

The party was wonderful and fun and stress-free and I think everyone had a good time! except for the girl I made cry, but I have to keep in practice.

So I was feeling inspired and made ten million collages today and futzed with a few photos.

Have a look:












What do you think?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Grass Eater

chewing what she pulled from

the lawn insects shickandshickandshick, pause
in the sticky weeds she licked the end of her braid

the milking shed made her faint smelling bleach and
cheese and vomit from the wet concrete the suck

suck suck of the machines metal, rubber fingers
on the cows’ tits don’t worry, they can’t feel it

heavy breath, grunt of the animals her older cousins
pinched her neck she cried stop and rubbed the bruise

drifted through the fallow field to the faucets at the
screened-in porch, knelt and put her mouth

on the iron bitter spigot with its hot water

welts rose on her calves, thighs
from some tiny thing, biting and persistent

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Prisoner’s Handbook

The special book you keep under the bed,
the one your father doesn’t know about,
the one with the shattered green binding,
faded gilt star, smell of horse hair burning,
the one you might hear breathing at night,
when the business of the house has fallen
to a low hum.

This book describes positions, of course,
and incantations, it has recipes to make
fancy, bitter cookies, directions on d├ęcor;
how to brighten a room until it blinds your
mother, until she is left with nothing but
old images on the back of her eyeballs.

Behind the second chapter diagrams shrink
or grow depending on the angle, they are
simple, direct, red and black, they show
a daughter where the shovel with the sharpened,
ancient edge hangs on the back fence,
and how to use it.

The last, final page looks blank but
is embossed, and when
held sideways to your flashlight
lists a hundred different ways
to say goodbye.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I finally wrote a poem! AMAZing!! This was just a warm-up for my Smut reading tomorrow.

Very Soft Porn

As their lips met, she began
to feel a quivering and a tingling
in her hands.

She bent down on her knees
before him, loosened his belt
and grabbed his hands.

He thrust a fist into her red hair
and bent her back over the bed;
in a trice, he had his finger
in her hands.

She slowly kissed her way down
Alice’s belly and after an agonizing
pause, licked her hands.

Bruce gasped, I’ve never done this
before,
as the man behind him snickered
and slowly rubbed his hands
to ready himself.

Tricia’s jaw dropped after she opened
the couple’s bedroom door. I’m sorry,
she finally managed, I thought this
was my room.
There were, what?
twelve men and women on the bed?
so many hands…
She tried to look away but couldn’t.

____________________

I'm on peeps, finally. Click 25peeps.com and back and forth and help spread the people love, as much as you see fit.

Friday, August 04, 2006

From way too short notice, Inc.:

I’m doing a reading Monday night at SMUT!

I’ll be reading poems so hot they were cut from my book!
And stuff from my chapbook, The Animal Husband!
Come and see why my poetry was accused of getting your teenage daughter pregnant!

(Also, the bar is air-conditioned)

So here’s the details:
8PM, Monday, August 7
Galapagos Bar

Take the L train to Brooklyn, get off at the first stop, Bedford Ave.
Galapagos is a few blocks away.

70 North 6th Street
between Kent and Wythe
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
718 782-5188


In other self-promotion news, Rutgers and Binghamton University have already agreed to stock my book and host a reading or signing. It’s amazing! Like it’s a real book!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hypothetically, if one were to use a photo for the back of a book, which photo below would one best use?

Vote for your favorite photo. Just comment with the number.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

vispo the easy way

This is not actually a cut and paste, but a powerpoint document turned into a jpg.

It's called Three Sisters Park, and if you click on the picture you can go to the larger version.



I was having a hard time coming up with a poem for my poetry group tonight, and then I looked at a map I had doodled on, and came up with this idea.

Not as dark as my usual stuff.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Feeling Better. I'm no longer hacking pieces of my broken aqua lung.

And I haven't been writing, but I made three mixed media pieces I'm pretty proud of.
Yeah, I'm getting alot of mileage out of my swallow stencil. And I got some really cool bird images from Aleah, who thanked me for blurbing her new poetry book, Badlands. You should really check it out; it's splendid!

Here's the collage/painting things:






Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sorry for the long absence -- I've been very ill and am still somewhat pale, weak and fading, like a tragic Southern heroine.

Here's something to chew on for a bit:

Letter #6

Dear Inmate,

I apologize about the mess,
the state I left the cell in,
with the bacon drippings everywhere,
the still-living dragonflies stapled
to the ceiling and the fabric doll chairs
tumbled over from the toilet to the floor.

It's hard out here, too, dear inmate,
difficult to keep things straight
without the constant parallel bars,
the 90 degree angles of concrete and windows.

Living in a swamp has it perks, to be sure,
my skin has never been so soft and fully moistened,
and the misquitos have managed to bite my crowsfeet
(instant botox!) until they have plumped
like a nine-year-old girl's. An escape always
has its moment of clarity, the inevitable depressive
slump after the thrill of success: I have crested
the hill of barbed wire and old laundry!
I have lived underground in a make-believe coffin!

Anyone who has once worn stripes and an ankle
bracelet of lead will tell you the same: seeing
the full sky bores after a while, rubbing yourself
in fields of grass can only pleasure but for so long.

I miss the tastes of steel, the blood
under my fingernails, the bruises on my ribcage
from the guards, the pudding
(so like the mud under my feet!)every other wednesday.
I miss my little window and seeing the sun
for only ten minutes a day. What use is all this earth,
all this space?

Sometimes I like to imagine I can hear
the bloodhounds bay across the lake.
I pretend they are still looking, but
I know I'm low on the list of priorities
and that the alligator farm is still far from up
and running, despite all the inmates' work and losses.
The left hand is not so useful, and thumbs
are overrated, as I kept telling you.

I must go. It is time again, to sit cross-legged
underwater and fish with my teeth.

Wish you were here.

Sincerely,

yrs.,etc
______________

Comments for the little sick girl?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My poem below, March 25th, 1911, just got accepted by Blue Fifth Review. That's crazy! All the poets I admire, including Rebecca and Daphne Gottlieb, have been published by them, and I've been rejected by them more times than I care to count.

I'm insanely pleased.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Comments are very welcome.

In a Small Country

stars fall into our thatched roof
the fire burns for years
my family too stunned to move

we watch the stars burn us
one by one
and one by one we burn away

my brother’s sneakers catch fire
then his tube socks

he cries out
curls into a ball
on the living room carpet

she doesn’t want to draw attention
my mother’s flowered robe
bursts into bright ribbons
the plastic buttons melt into her chest
she silently disintegrates to ash

the dictator and the rebel
only two of us left
we start to waltz
our own private dance
known only in this small country

we trip through the remains of the kitchen
where pots and cups still smolder

over shards of window panes
my father is humming and twirling
as the ceiling caves in on him

soon there is only me
my eyelashes singed
my soles blistered

this pen, too, burns

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

March 25, 1911

“One girl held back after all the rest and clung
to the window casing until the flames from the
window below crept up to her and set her clothing
on fire. Then she jumped far over the net...”
-- eyewitness report, Triangle Shirtwaist Fire



she had worn swallow wings
pinned to her hair,
a whole dark sparrow poised
and fixed on the crown of her hat

she had paid a months wages
for the silk blouse the exact
color of bluebirds hanging
above her broken mattress

when she slept through the chattering
of her three roommates, she ran
and ran and ran in the fields
of her father’s farm, waving her arms,
but she never got more then ten feet
off the ground, sometimes her bare feet
brushing the tops of the apple trees

now is her chance
poised at the open window
her long skirt smoking at the hem

the fire moaning and tearing behind her
the screams have almost stopped

the firemen with their too short hoses
15 feet below on useless ladders

some girls hold hands
as they step out
into the air

but this one, as in a dream,
closes her eyes and
takes to the sky alone

Monday, July 10, 2006

I was trying to play with repetition -- a sort of condensed pantoum.

Conception

whiteflies: small, winged,
strobes around her for a while
how vividly the moonlight then

the rustling of leaves, the accompanying insects
small deer, white-tailed, sailed from tree to tree
the frogs and insects sang together
a drip accompanied the soft distant music
how vividly, to his surprise, soft insects

tanagers sang from the dense green foliage
she trilled the feeblest notes
her crops vivid, soft and green

grass a brilliant color and insects
they sang it for the whole school
in the dense vivid jungle

to their surprise, she and he recalled
no insects singing
in the bushes and in the shrubs
vividly dense
-----

Inspired, just a bit from the results, here --
http://www.leevilehto.net/google/google.asp

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hey, I'm going to be on the Goodnight Show again in a couple weeks. Or maybe one week. I'm so flattered I got asked again. It's for the one about the husband a couple poems down.

Random picture because I'm feeling good:



Also, hungry like the wolf. (couldn't help it, just couldn't)

Also, I'm on 25 peeps. Click for pleasure.

Mine, not yours.
Letter #11

Dear Inmate,

I have your daughter here
with me in your old cell.
I can see where she gets her nose.

She is so light her tap shoes
barely leave scuff marks on
the walls. She practices
her dance for me, sliding and shuffling
as if her feet were being pecked by tiny
sparrows. I see those unkempt birds
in her eyes, in the way she flaps
her elbows. Our skirts happen
to match -- white ruffles with red
embroidery, men following men
with hammers, all along the hem.

When she stands close in the crook
of my arm, as she is now, I can
hardly tell where one frill ends
and another begins to fray.

Your daughter's tall for her age,
but still as thin as a cloud
stretched translucent. This spot,
here, where her jaw meets her neck,
where I can see her milky pulse
fluttering, is where I hold
the point of my pistol.

Awaiting your immediate return, yrs., etc.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Unhappiness

"I am so unhappy." "I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed."

I am so unhappy today. I am so unhappy.

I am so unhappy. And I blame myself for not trying hard enough.

I cry when I get home.

I am so unhappy with my relationship of 20 years, I really don’t love her anymore.

I am so unhappy that I drink alcohol and cheat on him.

If god loves me, why I am so unhappy?

I am so unhappy with Cingular.

The blacksmith looked at the stone carver and he shouted, "I am so unhappy . . . I don't want to be the sun anymore. ...

I am so unhappy in my home.

I am so unhappy when I should be grateful to have survived this long

I am so unhappy here, I thought about leaving the area altogether, but decided to look around first. I need two bedrooms.

I am so unhappy with myself, the way I look, and for letting myself get so lost.

I am so unhappy, as to know that what I am fond of are Trifles, and that what I neglect is of the greatest Importance.

I am so unhappy with the way that I am treated that I would leave if I could.

I am so unhappy. What more do you want?

I am so unhappy. I am not happy. I am so not happy.

I am so unhappy, and all that should have made me otherwise is so laid waste, that if I had been bereft of sense to this hour.

“She at least has done you no wrong, and I am so unhappy, so unhappy!” cried Madame Lavretsky, and she melted into tears.

A new form of expression for what was so unpalatable to him, 'this concealment, into which I am so unhappy as to have led Miss Spenlow.’

I am SO unhappy with the way I look. I'll give you a tour starting from the top and working down.

I am so unhappy. It is too late to become a ballet dancer.

‘‘I am so unhappy at leaving madre. What will she do without me?’’ Manuelita said, as the carriage drove from the door.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The 7th Year

my husband doesn’t want me
to leave this morning

he clings to my elbow, kisses my cheek

he didn’t let me sleep all last night
talking to me in my dreams
twitching and kicking the mattress

I dreamt I went vampire killing
again in the stacks of the school library
my husband always over my shoulder
muttering directions

sometimes we roll together in the grass
sometimes my hands at his throat
sometimes my lips at his ear

is this the dance our parents whispered of?

confetti in our hair
the band tired and playing low,
my red dress creased?

and still in this
side to
side
back&forth
I smell his breath
and it’s sweet
always sweet
like marigolds
still bloom
inside him

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I have a feeling this one needs some work. Comments?

Letter #5

Dear Inmate,

Since you’ve been away, the machinery
and recipes have broken down. Your pick-up
got down on all fours and dug under the porch.
It lies there now, panting and whining,
rubbing its tail pipe against our cornerstone
and farting gasoline.

The eggs, too, misbehave,
throwing themselves at the back of my
head. The pudding mix clings to the
chandelier, the coffee drips into my
purse every chance it gets, oh inmate,
without you, electricity reverses itself
and the rooms darken every time
I thumb the switch.

But perhaps it’s my singing,
(a long wail, the neighbors say)
a perfect C, high and arching, while I
arm wrestle the vacuum cleaner,
water the can opener, throw
fistfuls of sugar at the willfully
jammed bathroom door.
Perhaps it is me, inmate, who has
turned inside out, crouched
in my silk dress in the tub,
burying the knives and forks
in the garden, singing until
all the windows crack into spider webs,
collapse, break out like a dam bursting,
like a prisoner stepping just past
the guards.

Sincerely awaiting yr. happy return,
etc.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I made a dirty picture!

Okay, it's more like I made a dirty picture STRANGE, since it was already a dirty picture -- porn circa 1870. I just combined it with a telling phrase and food images from the 50's. I'm thinking of doing a series like this and turning them into a color chapbook on Lulu.

This one here's real small so it doesn't offend you if you're not feeling porny. If you want to see the large version, click on the pic.

their hoses

My throat is still killing me and I feel my fever returning. Oh, great!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Home Economics

my gypsy mother clove scented
and stuffed with lemon she tied
us with scarves to the calf when
we moved from gulf to gulf
the sound of rain hitting the leaves
larva plinking from the sky
the nebula, staring, disapproves
a fairy in the name of a plant or animal
the easy find torches to make their fancy
and thus our hoses were too short
the potatoes froze that summer
our hands chapped with super glue
our minds pianos out of tune
in this procedure, the proper noun
for place is falling

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ode to My Boyfriend’s Wife

she holds my hand when we are
introduced at a neighbor’s party
her palm is light and dry as sandpaper
I cannot tell if she can feel my trembling
her eyes catch the candlelight, glow orange

I see her at the Quik-Stop parking lot
she is small next to the station wagon
she steps as if weightless
transferring bags of apples to the backseat
as if she is about to take flight
I wave but she doesn’t remember me

I taste her mouth on him, smell where her
small lotioned hands have tied his tie
ironed the crease into his pants
he doesn’t speak of her
I go through his wallet and find
photos of their wedding
she was a swan and he a black dog

when she visits my dreams
she is winged carrying a sword
as she floats above me I seize her
hair to bring her face to mine
she cuts me in half
and then sews the halves shut
with her teeth

I lay there and hope she will at least
touch me with her bare feet
she flies up a mountain and crouches
in a tree next to a gate of pearl
her eyes yellow and quiet

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Turns out I ended up "on the cutting room floor" so I was NOT included in the blogsday reading on NPR. Oh well. Thank God I didn't tell everyone to listen. Oh wait, I did...

It was interesting program anyway, although it opened with a horrible, soppy sentimental bit about God smiling at kites.

Not that I'm bitter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blogsday on NPR asked if they could use my June 6th post as part of their reading/performance this Thursday. I was a little embarrassed (why couldn't I have written a nice poem that day?)but I agreed.

YOu can nominate another blogger who had a good post on the 6th by commenting on the Blogsday site (link above). Spread it around!

I already nominated Radishking and BitchPhd. I was going to nominate more, but I think I've already bothered them enough, what with my pleading that they pretend I posted a poem on that day instead of inspid preening about my reading.

Ah, well.

(Hi, Chelsea)

Monday, June 12, 2006

THE SWORD SWALLOWER’S MEAL


this private summer the bacteria move the liquid
OF THE TONGUE in practical mouths

machines for making the natural homes of chicken and bread decay
or refrigerating – a mixture of cold pork and Melissa

every St. Petersburg or Vacaville burns cream and other comestibles
the smoke a dissipating soup we will rub it on this utensil
handle, her skin, in order to make the inside of food

we must either make the flame disappear

inside your throat or you need to decay a little ice
with a hearty fork supplied with kerosene

the pipes inside have a small box or room, cool and
even, to make small fresh meat, to keep it illuminating
A WARM PLACE

to salt this you need to evaporate very
rapidly in the rising streams

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Elegy for the Living Patriarchs


she said, he’s angry at you, and he’s building machinery

.
he said, there is no twin

.
She did not say, I have stolen the key to your locked door
.

he said, there is no twin, your dream was only an empty
pond surrounded by dirt
.

she said, I’d like to see what’s beyond that door
.

he did not say, in a nameless country he can do no harm,
all the pictures of him are underwater
.

she said, my twin is taller, one side of his head is flat,
he has ugly hands and he says his name is Michael
.

he said, go to sleep now
.


a cup of pennies from 1955
the sound of a dog trapped in a fence
her half-chewed crayons
a bundle of rusted keys that ring like a bell
buttons from shirts his belly outgrew
a gold locket with the initial “C” scratched off
various muted colors trapped in a jar
the sound of dog trapped

Friday, June 09, 2006

I just got a teaching job at Rutgers! Impossible happiness and joy!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here's some pics from last night at the atomic reading. Okay, technically, before the atomic reading:



I'm like, totally 80's! And I don't think I'm ever wearing a corset again.

I will, though, wear a dog collar forever:



Atomic was great but a little intense. I managed not to mumble or rush, and I felt more relaxed than usual, so that was a personal goal! Also sold some Animal Husbands, several!

And here's some new visual poems -- these seem to be getting more visual and less coherent as the class progresses, but they're still fun:






More explorations of naming in my family.

Monday, June 05, 2006

untitled

my brother had no name the first two weeks of his life
my mother and father raged up and down the staircases
onto the porch and lawn shouting names at each other
my brother the tiny plastic bracelet on his wrist baby Hamm
listless and cold in his crib up in the attic I stuffed toys in
through the bars to keep him company until all I could see
was his tiny fish mouth moving the tiny plastic bracelet
on his wrist I’ve been told names attach our souls to our
bodies when I think of my brother now I remember those
first two nameless weeks he hovered upstairs from me and
I think that’s when the trouble started

___________________

The reading was fun and fantastic and the other readers were, wow, and ooh, and eek that's quite intense and makes my skin crawl (a little) and then I realized there's a reason women don't wear corsets anymore and started having trouble breathing and had to ... depart. Quickly.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

a reminder and lament


I'm so excited about my reading tonight! I've actually tried to print out every poem I've ever written, and pick the best -- but there are about 270, so it might take a little longer than I planned.

I'm bummed because I'm so bloated from the fertility meds, I probably can't wear my new corset -- I got a corset! It was great buying it too, from a little goth boy who kept wanting to help me "adjust my boobs" but was sweet when I said I can adjust my own, but thanks for the help.

It's lovely and black and it gives me great posture and a perfect figure. Waa. I wanted to wear it with my shiny purple skirt with the petticoats and fishnets, etc.

Perhaps I'll dress down this time.

Jean! I could wear jeans!

Here's the deets again:

I'm reading with fiction writers --Tony O'Neill (author, Digging the Vein)
and Michelle Wildgen (Tin House, You're Not You)

The reading is on June 4th and starts at 7PM. Sharp! Like a knife!

Here's the address:

At the Lucky 13 Saloon
273 13th (5th Avenue)
Park Slope, Brooklyn
(F train to 7th Ave,
walk down 7th Ave to 13th street,
then walk down towards 5th Ave)
718-499-7553
NO COVER

And the link to the reading series is here: http://www.cherylb.com/atomic

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For those of you who want a fun Sunday:

I'm doing a reading! As part of Cheryl B.'s reading series, the Atomic Cafe, at Lucky 13 in Park Slope. It's easy to get to, and quite worth the trip -- i.e.; free!

I'll be reading from my new chapbook, The Animal Husband, which explores some of the least practical aspects of bestiality. (Wow, Microsoft Word doesn't even recognize that as a word.) The poems have been called, variously, funny, dark, and most of all, confusing.

I'm reading with fiction writers --Tony O'Neill (author, Digging the Vein)
and Michelle Wildgen (Tin House, You're Not You)

The reading is on June 4th and starts at 7PM. Sharp! Like a knife!

Here's the address:

At the Lucky 13 Saloon
273 13th (5th Avenue)
Park Slope, Brooklyn
(F train to 7th Ave,
walk down 7th Ave to 13th street,
then walk down towards 5th Ave)
718-499-7553
NO COVER

And the link to the reading series is here: http://www.cherylb.com/atomic

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New POEM. IT'S EX'PER'MENTAL. okay

Carnival in Your Mouth

the toilets on Crescent Street
like blonde rain
give up the pillow

vomit and bleach bargain with God

the refrigerator light ties around your neck
a sparrow, a fish beeps like a chick
glistening with oil

James Dean slices his steak
distracted by peanut sauce and
a starling beating against his face
telling us his loves us with a tennis ball
on the sofa

dripping, the world enters him
a carburetor and giraffe

begin to suck my husband
in the kitchen cheese

ignore the tub
ignore the phone’s ring

open the dryer to check
your window, wrapped in a pink blanket,
hold it over rocks, it disappears

spaghetti every where
children are crawling
architecture kills the squash of rubber bands,
the tomatoes of a swan

Christmas licks us clean
our toes dumb in a silk purse

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sorry I've been MIA lately; illness has got me down. But I'm a little better.

Here's a poem I came up with after melding three sources together for my visual poetry class (see pic below). Text from the library after I did a search on feminism and naming -- I got a crazy article about female apostles, plus my skewed and surreal impressions of the library, and text and a page from a handbook on how to be a good secretary, circa 1941.

So this is what I came up with. I think it has some good spots, but it probably needs to be cut alot. Let me know what you think!

Highlight Your Individuality

Finally, the criterion of cohesiveness supports
PERSONALITY TALK NO. 3

1. Apostles must exhibit charisma

Stemming from 1969, we were dazzled.
"Visit a garment", the revolving doors whisper
by the thousands and then only when
accompanied by three masked men,
provided we each wear one hundred
thicknesses of material.

Our tiny heels on the marble floors full of diamonds,
a pattern placed on top of all we wish --
our fingerprints and sputum inside their books,
dresses cut out in one operation.

These books arrive ten days after we fill out
the forms, strapped to the back of red dresses.
Identical wooden cupboards descend and ascend
because they have neglected someone.

Heaven is painted on the ceiling here
but those books are placed on the table before us.
It is possible for a person to have a wooden spatula
to turn the pages and beat us. The descriptive phrases
hit us until our fingertips are raw,
until names are beaten out of our dreams.

Everyone wanting to help is allowed to
retire and have tea with the other ladies.
"Evasive", "gullible", "timid", are noticeable
characteristics of "Sugar."

What can you do to make individuality?
Observe the characteristics of persons whom you indicate.
Women fulfilled all criteria of apostleship.
List all these and add others.
Seem desirable, if you have anyone.

Click on image to see the big one.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another visual poem. The typed text is taken from a passage from the Golden Bough about the power of names. I then blacked it out to give it another meaning.



Click on the image to go to the bigger version.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Help Wanted

We’d all kill for a little light.
We crowd around the one office window,
quarrelling over who will lick it clean this time.
Someone on the second floor stashed
their vitamin D in OUR refrigerator.
Who else sees the skull in the sky
above the hotdog cart on east 14th Street?

What I need is the Complete Idiot’s guide
to the Eyes in the Back of My Head.
Do you think you can remember this for tomorrow?
The tension in the women‘s potty is as thick
as the cat-choking mist of hairspray.
You could cut it with a plastic fork
like all the old farewell cakes.

I lost the post-it telling me where I am.
As for the previous assistants, sometimes I visit
their graves, sometimes their graves visit me.
It’s hard to see the screen with all these ghosts;
when’s the exterminator coming?
It said bad file/corrupted, but I hadn’t even
touched it yet. I wouldn’t eat that,
if I were you.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hey, I started a new shop at Cafe Press. It's got a lot of funky ethnic t-shirts and mousepads and stuff. Basically, I made things that I'm going to buy for myself.

Check it out, dudes.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

A new poem, finally. Well I've been sick... and stuff.

I Borrowed a Dream to Tell You This

I gave birth in a library
smell of dried worms in the stacks
in between Harding and Pierce
old webs to wipe up the afterbirth
ribbons of pink and black

my baby scuttled away before I could Christen him
before I could put him to my breast
and make him human

now I will crawl after him forever
a poor thing of words and bones
smelling of burnt hair
bleating like a little goat
like a tiny angry baby goat
skating on the ice and falling
and falling again against
your hot white shins

-------------

Thanks to my friend Kerry for the goat.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Couldn't be more silly:

gif animation
Using my lovely vintage grammar book, I came up with a couple new poems. Here's the first --

Popular Baby Names

distinguish it from hoping, a very different word

goddess deference occurrence usually
literally baggage redden permitting
deferred slipped planned nutting
preference beginning beginner gripping
preferring stopped swimming compelling

Holy+day make holiday, and plenty+ful makes plentiful;
but joy+ful makes joyful

___________________

Also, go see BRICK -- it is the best film ever! Esp. if you like the Maltese Falcon, etc.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I have finished my visual poem and I am quite excited. Here is the small version.



Yes, there was a great deal of sewing and gluing. I'm feeling crafty!

If you would like to be able to read the text (large version) go here and click: all sizes.

I'm still enjoying that minty fresh feeling of working in a new medium.
BRILLIANT!