Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hey you! You, poet!

Lissen up: if you were to be interviewed about your poetry, what questions would you want to be asked?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Taking a Trip
(Merida, Mexico, 1992)

mid-day is impossible the sun a white-white straitjacket
beating a message too loud to endure we suck at pepsi’s
in the shade of umbrellaed tiendas when we try to take
the bottles with us the shopkeeper chases us down the street

it rains every day at 4 we try not to see what floats past
us Mexican pottery tastes like copper and dust feels
like a broken tooth on your tongue

the damp smell of honeysuckle the air hot and close an
enormous hand around us my armpits leak into the
waistband of my cargo shorts my t-shirt sags against
the back of my thighs

we stumble up two monuments a day sometimes they
are steep and I’m afraid I stay on the grass and take
pictures of the skulls carved into walls

monarch butterflies follow us every where like gnats
we swat at them I make you wear a hat I worry
about your skin the photosynthesis every day you
sleep a little longer sometimes you smile and I
ask what’s funny

the buses are so hot no seats and we stand sometimes
for hours we can’t pronounce the names of the ruins

translucent bluebirds flit between trees they climb
close to your head before they are devoured by fire
ants when you run you scream like a girl

no one understands us at night we have only
the ceiling fan you shudder away from my touch
I count your pills in the bathroom while you’re
sleeping hoping you have enough there is no
map for this kind of travel

Saturday, March 26, 2005

My Grandmother accuses Me
of Sleeping with My Father

and I am trapped
in the car with her

not going very fast
the roads are curvy

in this neighborhood
the live oaks whip by

tenderly outside
although I can't hear

I know the woods are
filled with a hiss

the oak worms eating
at the leaves

until there is nothing

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Here's a poem from my book, Discount Heaven, which is for sale at Lulu, and which you should buy quickly, as I'm soon going to make another edition, which will cost more. That's right --- going out of business sale, fire sale, lost our lease, etc.


My husband wakes me in the middle
of the night, asking me about cheeses.
Smell this, he says.
The doorway outlines him
in light from the kitchen.
Is this your cheese? Has it gone bad?

What? I answer, What?
The next day my husband throws away
all the forks, cursing.

He knows I'll buy them again,
but one bit him on the thumb.

The following night, a cat
watches my face as I drift off
to sleep. When my eyes close
he bites my nose, not gentle,
not hard. His cat breath is
sweet with friskies. My husband
snores and ignores him.

The forks will take care of him
in the morning.


This poem was even turned down by the Kenyon Review just yesterday!
Which makes me feel so special.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

It's up! I'm the featured poet at Lodestar Quarterly! Complete with silly photo! And Slut is there, yes, you can read it now, finally.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I am passing the sticky!

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, because she knew a lot about burning.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Not on a written character, because I need visuals – but when I was young, Keanu Reeves and…Madonna. Shudder.

The last book you bought is:
Blab: the comics anthology

The last book you read:
The Secret Life of Bees. Just awful. Stay away. I can’t even begin to list all the things wrong with this book. Yet I finished it.

What are you currently reading?
Are You Experienced? poetry anthology edited by Pamela Gemin
The Collected Poems of Mark Strand
Pick up at Noon Street – early short stories by Raymond Chandler
Michelle Tea’s Rent Girl
Final Girl – Daphne Gottlieb
Granta – shrinks
I read a lot of books at the same time.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
Collected works of Shakespeare, because they would take forever to finish.
Sylvia Plath, collected poems.
Gertrude Stein, 3 Lives.
Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems.
and a blank book for writing.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
JaneCrow -- a fantastic interesting chica/poet who is a loyal reader of my blog.
Mickey Z -- an extremely learned counter-culture hero, and also a gifted poet.
Jason Stuart – a great poet and funny guy, sent me poetry postcards despite my flakiness in returning the favor.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Writing a Poem

The implements must be
readied beside you: a knife,
a fish hook, a small drill,
a carved fetish the size
of your hand.

The setting is also key:
sit in the middle of a bonfire,
or in the hold of a large boat
as it slowly sinks into the ocean.

You must clear your mind. No
moonlight, no goats, no sweet
salads, no lips filling the horizon,
no soft white hands, no fragrant
necks, your mind a flat

line as when a machine registers
the end with a single continuous tone.

Now reach over and grab her hair,
wind it round your thumb and pinky;
never let go.


I've been working on a manuscript to send out -- I finally twisted a publisher's arm enough that she agreed to look at it -- called The Salt Daughter. I've gathered all my poems together that focus on family themes and ambivalence and I'm so happy the way they've working out! I've got them so they almost read like a novel. All the poems speak to each other; i.e.; by the time you get to the last poem you understand the word "Pie" differently, because of how it was used in previous poems. I hope she likes it! She just agreed to look at it because I'm doing book covers for free for her. The title relates to all the food in the poems and also, Lot's wife. And tears! tears too.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Warning: may cause your eyes to bleed.


He tells me I'm pretty
and to hold still.
He tells me to wait awhile,
I’ll get used to it.
He tells me this is not rape.

He asks me if I feel anything.
He doesn’t wear gloves and asks
the nurse to leave.

He doesn’t wear a condom
and says he’s probably sterile.

He takes me home after the operation.
He tucks me into bed while I’m still
bleeding. Then he starts on my breasts.

He asks me if I want him to leave.
He tells me he doesn’t care if I want
him to leave.

He asks me if I’m okay and strokes
my hair. He won’t climb off me and
I can’t breath.

He asks if my mother’s home.
He asks if I will suck him off.
He tells me I owe him, he
drove me home when I got sick
at school.

He says he’ll fuck my mother too,
and laughs.

I ask him to wear pants when he comes
into my room. Sometimes he likes to touch
himself. I turn away from him when he
does it, and tell myself to sleep.

He tells me I look nice in that sweater.
He tells me his balls ache. He tells me
this in a low voice, when the office door
is closed.

I think something might be wrong, but I
can’t put my finger on it. I’m too
embarrassed to scream.

I pat him on the shoulder
when he sits crying on the broken couch.
He doesn’t make much noise.

I invite him home.
I tell him, if you say so.
I tell him it’s alright.

He tells me he’ll never do it again.
I say, no, that’s okay, no really.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


you are out of plumb
crooked painted over and over
white always white a thick crust
of flaking frosting on your surface
balance rectangles a box within a box

you were once a tree several trees
you were once a forest

and you were the wind and the silence
and the light that comes silent and sudden
on the leaves and you had birds
that didn’t know what it meant not
to sing inside you

and I was like you once and it might
have stayed that singing
inside me if only you had a lock

oh mother you were the door
and you let him
walk through

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ode to a Sudden Mouse

he trembles above me on a shelf
a small dark moon with silver teeth

I am eating vegetable soup alone
spoon to mouth, spoon to bowl

the murmuring cats circle my ankles
the mouse watches me as if I am dancing

a handful of blood and intent
he is the small thing that never lets us
forget what we have done

the guilt of unwashed dishes,
the corner drawer stuffed with apples
never touched, the anger we feed then
ignore in a closet for months

that time last winter in the cab when I
looked at you
and said what cannot be unsaid


Oh and not to leave you in suspense he just got eaten

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Career suicide, or smart move? You decide. I used the Kenyon Review online submission form in October and still haven't gotten a response. The submission guidelines say that a response can take UP TO 4 months. So I wrote a snippy note to the editor, and got the response that they have not even read the work yet. They said they'll get back to me.

At this point, the magic is gone, I just want my rejection so I can submit elsewhere. Like the Paris Review, right, that's the ticket. Snort.