Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I wrote this in a workshop at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and my classmates seemed to like it, but I'm uncertain. It's very different from my usual style.

Elegy Ending in the Seat of Toy Car

Your mother calls me last,
blaming me, blaming the way I
said nothing during our potato
dinners at their tiny house
of black knick-knacks, and I
say nothing again on the phone,
hang up with nothing in my throat,
nothing in the room.

You used to make songs out of nothing,
your hands next to your mouth,
spinning against walls in bars,
shouting with the music,
your hair a shock of green neon,
your pierced ear glittering
with a line of skulls.

You used to store ninjas on our headboard,
Godzillas in the refrigerator,
tiny motorcycles in the knife drawer.

You used to buy me pink:
bracelets and plastic rings, skirts
and cheap bandanas because you knew
I hated it and then you used to
have a reason to laugh.

That Christmas I gave you a remote control
Porsche the size of a shoe, it spun out
again and again against the bedroom wall
and in the kitchen you stamped on it
(or was that me).

I found the seat last week,
under the pile of books we were always
going to illustrate together, as small as
a bent thumb, blue plastic, empty
but with little marks where you had been.

I added some pictures from the festival in my photo album on myspace. Check it out! Sharon Olds!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'll be at the Mayapple Press table in the AWP fair on Saturday from 2-3:30. I'll be reading at random intervals and possibly trying to juggle. Please stop and say hello! Hello Christine! And we will have fun chatting together about books and publishing and sundry and whatnot.

Table 419.

And let me know if you'll be at a booth and I will definitely stop by!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

this was inspired by Kim's lecture on syntax


so cold outside the Appleby's
and you are laughing again,
the hood of your sweatshirt
pulled up like a yellow cowl,
your new bangs shimmering in your eyelashes,
so warm your breath of vodka and sausage,
so hot and soft your tongue
on the corner of my jaw,
as hot as new cake on a plate,
the pink frosting
melting slick as molten glass
and running down the sides
I am writing from Palm Beach Florida. I am the Palm Beach Poetry Festival! I'm taking a class with Kim Addonizio. Kim Addonizio! I jumped around and screamed when I heard I got accepted, and then I was so intimidated that I couldn't even look at her the first day of class, but now she just seems like a regular human, not an immortal. I actually spoke to her and stood not two feet away! She is extremely nice and not at all arrogant. Plus has pretty tattoos.

The class has been going great. I'm learning alot about rhythm and syntax, things which, as you might have noticed, are not really emphasized in my work. So I think the class will be very useful.

People in Florida are very friendly and no one walks. So when I walk around the neighborhood and take pictures (which I like to do to get a sense of a place when I'm visiting somewhere new) everyone want to talk to me, and/or give me rides to where I'm going. Also, I walked into a shop and asked if there was anywhere nearby with a public bathroom, and they let me use the employee one! I feel like I'm a different planet from NYC. Also, lush green humid tropical and bizarre birds and lizards. Water and sand seeping everywhere. It's fantastic! It's like I'm in an Elizabeth Bishop poem.

All my classmates are nice and knowledgeable, but I get the sense that I'm a little more published than most of them. I already have the reputation of being the group's Sylvia Plath! I wonder how that happened.

I've been coming up with a lot of drafts, but nothing that feels remotely finished yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Things She Asked on Our First Date

She asked me if I had any social diseases, since she was writing a poem about STD's. She asked me if I ever hit a girl and if so, did she press charges. She asked me where I hit her. She asked me to show her on my own body. She asked me if my mother had a job, and what kind of job was technical producer, anyway. She asked me the names of my brothers and sisters. She asked me what I planned to name my firstborn. She asked me why I didn't quit my job. She asked me if I couldn't see things from my boss's point of view. She asked me if I was happy with such a small apartment. She asked me if my cat always acted this way. She asked me if the bed always squeaked like that, like a chicken with its foot caught in a tin can. She asked me if I was crying or laughing. She asked me if she fell asleep and then woke up again, would I still be stroking her hair.
Not All Poets Are Bad People

But most are. Come see the evidence.

I'll be reading with my class at this event at The Poetry Project Friday night:

Fall Workshop Reading
Friday, 10:00 pm

Students from Patricia Spears Jones', Todd Colby's and Rachel Levitsky's fall poetry workshops will share their work.

I was in Todd's class. I had some very talented classmates, and they didn't hate my work too much.

The 6 to Astor Place is probably the quickest way to get to the poetry project.
It's on East 10th Between 3rd Ave and 2nd (closest to 2nd). It's in the back of the big old white church.

The Poetry Project
at St. Marks Church
131 E. 10th St.
New York NY 10003

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

For Micheal

you are out on a day pass
from the hospital, the green
plastic band still around your wrist
I take you to an island to show you
how to break into abandoned buildings

we climb through the river,
around the bundles of razor wire
the medication makes you slow, makes
your tongue dart left and left

I make you take your shirt off
so I can photograph you against
the ruined rooms, the windows
warped as a broken mouth
later you show me a red hole
in your beautiful yellow hair
where the razor wire had cut to the bone
I read yesterday (Sunday) at the Poetry in Baltimore series. It was great! Lovely crowd -- it really made up for the hostile reception I got at the last reading. I sold three books! Amaaaazing!

Here's some photos taken during the reading (it was in a really pretty gallery) by the amazing Brenda Dargan.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

1:30 AM The Subway

I am sandwiched between a man and a woman who are making out. They speak a language to each other that I don’t recognize -- Isreali or Russian. They are young and their faces are perfect: shining, white, hairless. Their eyes match: they are the same light brown, the same sleepy, smiling shape. The woman’s long yellow curls brush my lap as she leans over me. The man pulls the hair back away from from her neck and whispers something. Her ear is inches from my lips. It is so clean and empty, but still it glows with soft grey light. I think she can feel my breath. As I hear their kisses -- wet snaps, the clink of teeth meeting, breath catching and letting go loudly, slowly -- I know, finally, that we are over.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

the secret room

bare, low-ceilinged
scents of old hounds and tired cedar
it holds only two people at a time

we lie on the wide, warped floor boards
tracing their map-like stains, their protruding, heavy-
headed nails, round as tiny mushrooms

we hold hands and compare freckles,
how they change with the shadows and time,
we taste each other’s palms to see we are true,
we count the rising hairs on the backs of our necks,
lifting up our loose shirt collars as if they were spider webs

and when we like, and when we have the strength,
we lift each other up, one after the other,
making a step of our fingers knotted together,
so we can peek out the one window
and see the only light of this world
as it plays across the long grass of the yellow hills,
across the tree who burns but does not give way

Monday, January 07, 2008

Safe Word

He was telling her about his toys. He listed things made out of metal and animal hide, things that used electricity and sparked occasionally, things that clicked and linked together. She said she was frightened and he said he would go slow, so slow that she would forget to stop him once it hurt. She said it was already hurting and she wanted him to stop. He said he stopped yesterday, that she forgot she was on a boat talking to him on the phone, and that he was still in New Jersey. She said that if he was in New Jersey, why was she still wearing a blindfold. He told her she couldn’t see because it was night, and that it was okay to go to sleep now, just close her eyes and let go.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Collage

With actual stitches. No birds were hurt in the making of this art.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hello, poor neglected blogreaders. I will have some poems for you soon.
In the meantime, I would like to introduce you to one of my very talented and lovely students, Larry Lawrence. He is new to the blogosphere, so I hope you mosey over and welcome him.