Monday, February 25, 2008

The Death Card

while I was waiting for you
I let a stranger in,
he rang the buzzer at the same
time I expected you, but he was

shorter, squatter, and he
wore a blue uniform with a baseball cap --
I couldn't get a good look at his eyes,
he took all my trash away

though I begged him not to,
clung to his elbow with
all my weight, promised
obscenities into the side
of his throat, wept torch
songs into his ears

he didn't speak except
to be courteous,
called me "ma'am",
said "thank you"
but not "please"
and when he was done

my kitchen had regained its shape
there were shelves and faucets and chairs,
cups and measuring spoons and glasses
with daisies painted at the rims

the stinking bags
of rubbish that had piled above
my head, had blocked the window
and soiled the blue lace curtains

vanished like a magician's half-dollar
all wet and brown stains scrubbed away
the scent of rotten cabbage and spoiled
meat replaced with faint chemical pine

the room was so uncomplicated
so full of white clear space
I was clean, empty, desolate,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Whore Store

the latex nurse's dress
buttoned all the way
hangs above the cash register,
whips in the breeze
from the open door

red plastic platforms
line the walls, one on top of the other,
goldfish stapled to the toe,
or a clear plastic heel, or sparkles
like Dorthy's on the next and the next
to last and the last, steel spikes

mounting the instep
of the heels in the glass case,
black collars in the case
with silver rings, with red rings,
and whips with large dark tassels,
with pink rubber flowers

in the middle of the floor, tropical-
colored spandex falls from hangers,
dresses held together with gold rings
at the belly-button, at the hip,
at the crotch, red shimmy skirts
with slits up the sides, up the front

purple long-sleeved shirts
with the back cut out
in the shape of a key hole, in the shape
of a goldfish bowl, in the shape of
a not-quite-heart, like a heart
sewn poorly, crooked,
like two fists tight together


Yes, I used the word heart non-ironically in a poem. Sue me! Do it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I wrote this quickly, while waiting to have a biopsy in a Doctor's office. I wrote in an absolutely gorgeous handmade book, that was polished and bound just for me. It is shiny black leather, with my name and the image of phoenix stamped onto it. The man who gave it to me spent a long time making it, and afterwards, I hurt him quite badly.

I'm hard to live with sometimes.

You and Your Animal Teeth

You think I am so
fascinated by what
you are saying, but
I am just watching
your animal teeth,
the ragged, raw row,
stained and cracked,
your lips a reddish loveseat
not quite covering
the cannibal skeleton underneath.

I found a great new blog, via Ms. Radish, Eel Slipper. It is not related to all my cousins in California, who have the last name of Eels. Also, it has nothing to do with the above poem.

Monday, February 18, 2008

reading too many books about teaching poetry

A Few Basic Guidelines for Writing Poetry

if there isn't at least one purple flower in your poem, the reader will get nauseous

if you write your poetry in the bathtub, you might end up with better metaphors

if you haven't rewritten your poem at least 12 times, it's a pile of shit

if a poem doesn't mention the word "cock", it will never get published

if your poetry doesn't have end-rhymes, you're deficient in your education

if a poem isn't about you, it's not important

if you don't recite your poetry wearing something sparkly and/or low-cut, don't bother

if your poetry is about a self-evident truth, you must have been born before 1920

if your poem has bigger breasts than you, hide it in a shoe box in the supply closet at work

if your poetry has too many commas, or if it makes liberal use of exclamation points, you might be dead

if your poem ends up in the shape of a Christmas tree, you must be missing your mother

if you poetry mentions turkey or sliced ham, you should try eating a bigger lunch

if your poem mentions Barbie dolls or their feet, you might need professional help

if your poetry doesn't end with the word "red" or an image of the robot apocalypse, it's unreadable

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My computer died an unexpected and sudden death, so the updates will be few and far between for a while.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Dances of Vice festival was a two-day affair of neo-victorian excess and all its twisted incarnations. Rasputina was the final act on the final night, and although I was too far away to get good shots of the band, I got some fairly hysterical pics of the audience.

--this one's my favorite

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ode to Mr. Swinger, the Non-Lingerer

feet like the Pieta
run through a word chipper

slightly larger than I can
fit my lips around,
skinny assed

is in favor of guns,
but not me owning one

hair tinged red in the candle-light,
under the flashlight,
comes out in fistfuls under the covers

blind-folded and bound,
mouth a large goldfish
in a muddy tank

hard to pull apart
hard to whip, slippery

an electrical hazard,
teeth chipped on the bones
of my shoulder

skin marked pink with scratches,
like someone was falling down a wall,

sometimes sings songs about dirt
and making me bleed

winter green breath
with notes of gardenias and pot

will grab my tits in front
of the hospital and laugh

won’t sleep next to me
because of what I might do
to his wallet

tongue that unfurls
like the red
flag of pleasuretown (trademarked in Thailand)

spring-loaded cock,
chin like an old witch’s,
moles like marks of sin (or too much sun)

secretly hates
me, secretly loves my
hair, and maybe, the way I smile
with my eyes closed

Monday, February 04, 2008

Women: A Collection of Days

Tuesday, 11:30am: The woman with yellowish hair the texture of dog fur pushes the wand inside me from side to side. She whispers “wow”and pauses for a moment. Do you see that? she says, pointing to the glinting dark screen in front of her.

Thursday, 7:15pm: The woman having pasta is telling me about plastic surgery, how it doesn’t really hurt, how they could remove the scars along my chin with just a chemical peel. It’s an outpatient procedure, she says to me.

Friday, 1:35pm: The woman sitting with her legs folded across from me asks me why I can’t wait for sex, why I have to have it right now. I notice the plant behind her desk is beginning to lose color along the lips of the leaves.

Saturday, 11pm: The woman on my cell phone says no one will ever love her because she’s too fat. It’s starting to rain as I reach my front door and I can see my breath. The woman says, you know? and I nod, forgetting she can’t see me.

Sunday, 10am: The woman inside the escalator tells me to have a nice day. She repeats this a few times. Gatorade sloshes inside my throat, but won’t go down.
She ended up being much less of a zombie -- I fixed it a little in photoshop, so we have the polka-dot and the non-dot versions.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I just got back from AWP!! It was so great -- I just wish I had had more time to meet with everyone and shmooze before my obligatory sitting by my press's table and pimping my book and after that everyone seemed to be leaving and the fair was just about over. I should have gone on Friday, but I was just too busy grading and painting and writing. I had a fantabulous dress (see below) -- the only problem was that it kept unzipping itself, in a very secret and quiet way. It was so great to talk to all the editors that have rejected me from all their journals! Thrilling! and I felt just a little mean when I told them that I actually HAD submitted, thank you very much, and had been smacked down. But they were all very nice and sold and/or gave me books at a substantial discount or free! Coffee House rules! And Manic D! They are both my best new friends for life. I got a new Brenda Coultas and Jeffery Daniels. Overall, about 25 books and journals and I think I threw my back out carrying them. I found so many places I want to submit to. And so many nice people. Who knew writers could be nice? It seems really strange and counter-intuitive, doesn't it?

Me on the outside:

Me on the inside (zombie cowgirl):

And I found a special journal just for NJ poets -- so I'm going to be forcing my students to submit to them. I mean, submit their work. Ahem.
Come Into My Red Bungalow

Your umbrella is broken, your mouth permeable,
the hair on your forearm rises in rebellion;
you glide by on your bicycle,
a plastic bag strapped to your head.

You might be jealous of my black quarter horse,
you might want to hide his bridle, but if
you go next door, they’re selling panties
with purple hearts and purple “x”s for only 99 cents

and sex is the only real distraction from
the weather. I want to take you to my secret room
where the VCR is stuck on midnight, red midnight;
I want to landscape the highway for you:
gray grass that gives like goose down,
silver, dog-sized rhodendrons who illuminate
our naked feet, our busy wrists, the knots we tie

with our hair and tongues. I have done
things under the table in your name,
or while whispering your name, but no one
will tell me which hospital you’re in and I

I have a small gift to hand you, pocket-sized, heavily
engraved, found in the gutter next to my truck
last Wednesday. The silver god around my neck

grows in my dreams until he reaches my chin;
in the rain, in my small backyard where he is tied,
my black horse shivers.

I have an absolutely fabulous floor-length vintage silk gown I'm wearing to AwP. I'll post a picture. It makes me feel like one of those heavy-eyed Bond women from the Sean Connery Bond era.