Friday, November 30, 2007

4 Days

Saturday: 1:32 PM The NY train is late. On the platform, I shiver and sip my cooling Chai Latte. I balance my cup on the railing and stick my hands in my pockets. My back hurts from the cold.

Sunday: 9:15 AM My alarm goes off --I have to get up to go have brunch. The room smells vaguely of smoke. Next to the bed I find a small burned hole where my husband dropped his lit cigarette on the carpet.

Sunday: 10:10AM When I go to leave, I find the front door propped open. I see my husband’s keys dangling from the lock out in the hallway. I try to close the door behind me, but the hinges are broken.

Sunday: 1:30PM My fried potatoes taste like heaven -- all garlic and crip edges. I want to eat more but I can’t. Next to me, two sisters argue about whether or not Sharon Olds gives good critiques.

Monday: 12:15 PM I poke at my Teraki Bowl ™ at Au Bon Pain. The meat is really greasey but the rice is okay. The salad tastes like nail polish remover. My boss makes another joke about trees and asks me what’s wrong with my food.

Monday: 10:30 PM I lay propped up on my bed in the youth hostel, trying to read contemporary feminist criticism. My room smells strongly of bleach and I feel sleepy. I take another bite out of my sugar cookie, licking at the apricot jam at the center.

Tuesday: 12:45 PM New Jersey is squalid in the rain. From the train window I can see into everyone’s backyards. They’re all full of broken plastic -- collapsed fences, torn tarps, half-buried Big Wheels. I yawn and my lips hurt.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sorry I have neglected you for so long, but finally, I have written some poems. Not my usual style, and heavily influenced by Hal Sirowitz.

The Fireman Left His Business Card

I don't understand
why you're leaving me,
he said as I pulled down
the charred curtains and
stuffed them into a garbage bag.

Mice with singed
tails stampeded across
the backs of cats underneath
the burning dining room table.

I love you, he said,
and things are
going so well.


The Big House

I always planned
to have a big house,
he said. A big house
and a big black car. No,
two big cars. And you
were always in that house,
waiting for me.


The Dance of the Pink Elephant

Tell me about the bucket,
I ask him, as he stares
at the bucket.

It's a battered, ugly
bucket, stained and smelling
of pus.

He kicks the bucket
into the corner and it tangles
around his ankle, making
a terrible racket. I don't know
what you're talking about, he says,
his hands busy, I don't see
any bucket.


Maybe they should all be part of one poem? What do you think?

Friday, November 16, 2007


needle, red spool of thread, plastic
thimble spilling over, syringe (needle
popped off), bees in the bottom of
a glass globe, wings twitching, antennae
to the left, middle, right, white acrylic
paint in a half-folded tube, a folding
table stained with nacho cheese, the tail
of a cat, rapidly vanishing, handprints on
the thighs of jeans, brown wool sweater,
moth-eaten, stretched across cardboard,
a liquid iron supplement, sticky spoon,
a piece of black plastic, a hole in the
middle, the shape of a startled fawn

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy, Happy

I just found out I got accepted to the Palm Beach Poetry Festival's advanced writing workshop with Kim Addonizio.

I have worshiped that woman for sooo long from afar. I'm jumping out of my pants, I'm so happy. And yet: It's quite expensive -- I did manage to get a hotel room under 70 dollars a night, when most of the suggested housing was upwards of 200 a night. But still. No more buying books, or clothes.... or food or toilet paper.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. But still. Kim Addonizio!! I get 5 days of workshops with her. I'll probably find a way to snip a little piece of her hair to keep in a shrine, as if she were a saint. Or a finger bone might do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm now finally teaching my poetry class at Rutgers. I luuuv teaching poetry. I could do it all day and all night, for free.

However, I'm now supposed to come up with my own catch phrase (or soundbite) about poetry for the school advertisements. It will go under my insanely grinning headshot. Here are some preliminary tries (please add your own in the comments):

Poetry: better than suicide.

Poetry is the axe, frozen seas, etc.

Poetry: drowning, not waving.

If architecture is frozen music, then poetry is melting architecture.

Poetry: it doesn't have to rhyme!

Self-expression: good for high blood pressure.

Sylvia Plath was dead wrong: poetry doesn't have to hurt!

'Till your fingers bleed.

Poetry is not (just) for sissies.

We can't all be Shakespeare, but damn if we can't spend a lot of money trying.

Poetry is never having to say you're sorry.

If wishes were poems, then beggars would write.

Friday, November 09, 2007


1. Bees. Blown up, black and white etchings of bees, poorly Xeroxed. Small bright photos of bumblebees on on pink rhododendrons. Segments. The furry torso. The legs bent back like the less than sign, burdened with fur. The antennae seem lonely, somehow.

2. Sunburn. The lake. A woman with short brown curly hair ( I can’t see her face) lifts up her bikini strap. On her shoulder, her skin is brick red and then in the space under the strap, half-shadowed, white. The furiously green trees in the background have extra crisp edges -- there’s no distance blur. I can hear splashing and the sound of a beach ball being whacked. Somebody’s laughing; somebody’s speaking quietly.

3. Shallow river. Unnaturally blue, flowing down a hillside into mud. It’s raining lightly and ruining the carnival. I have stolen something and hid it under a bench. The organizer comes to find me and I try to look innocent. I deserve this thing, this small thing that fits in my two hands. No one else needs it as much as me. I wish the performance was over already.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I just got a prose poem published in deathmetal poetry, and accepted in In Posse. Go, prose poems!

There is never enough gas.

I stopped driving after my sister’s death. She died slowly, in three separate car accidents. Accidents happen, the priest told us at her funeral. My mother fell to the ground again, weeping. My father watched her slowly, grinding his toothpick with his enormous incisors. We all agreed to put the car to sleep, but could not agree on a date. My brother wanted Christmas, because of the enormous tacky symbolism and the commercialism. My mother fell to the ground again, weeping, so we turned up the radio. A song about sister Christian was playing, but the guitar blocked out most of the words. The batteries leaked over our hands and our skin turned magenta in splotches. We decided to live underground so my mother could stop falling. The car moved in with us while we decided its fate. I liked to curl up on the engine to keep warm, surrounded by kittens and the souls of car salesmen.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Saturdays

Samantha is concerned about the butter.

Jonathan is burying his dead dog.

Alice is hemming his pants.

Marie is practicing her putt in the backyard.

Luther is constructing another boat out of pre-made parts.

Jan is hoping no one notices the mark on her chin where she fell after her 4th vodka.

Becky is watching herself in the mirror as she pierces her ear for the third time with a thumbtack.

Jeff is comfortably crosslegged on his roof, watching the light subside and swatting at bees.

Darlene is learning how to short out the coffee-maker using just her tongue and a butter knife.

Ben is watching cloud formations for a sign.

David is lighting a series of small firecrackers under the neighbor’s house.

Isabel is mixing white nail polish in with her coffee as she sits on the front stoop.

Michelle is contemplating her father’s cancer as she picks through the marred tomatoes in her ice box.

Ellen is parked in her driveway, counting her children on her fingers, and then counting again.


Does this seem boring and/or arbitrary? It's my own little leaves of grass.

Friday, November 02, 2007

People are Starting to Get Arrested

how you follow me
that purpled oil slick shining

I don’t bother to close the door
I squat inside, my head near the handle

the botanist is curious
rattles the doorknob for hours

I let those girls lick our noses clean
I make a cradle of my hands
and steal her hotdog

her small hand presses on my wrist,
has feathers for hair, slight webbing

I can’t stop myself from putting
my tongue on the small of her name

as I watch the records burn,
our lips bruised with grape soda,
she slips the latch down

maybe I’m full of 12th graders
making and selling paper flowers

this is the letter I thought you had read