Thursday, March 29, 2007

Escapism, Poppycock, & Other Stuff

It's been a long time since I've written something and been really excited about it. I mean I've written things I've liked, and there are projects that I've been working on for a while that I was very excited about and still like very much but the excitement has worn off, and then, of course, all the crap I write on the blog here that I never put much effort into (it's all warm up).

This is different. This is something I think could really turn into something.

I think starting new projects is my answer when I get stuck in an old project. I have one series and one long poem that are as yet unfinished. Now I'm starting a new series. Classic escapism. Classic avoidance. (This is why I watch so many movies...more on that later...)**

The long poem entered a couple of months ago . Hellenica. It came fast. Not solid. Needs editing.

But I hit a wall a couple of weeks ago.

Not just a wall about Hellenica, but a wall blocking language in general.

Poems were slow and at best okay. Even writing throwaway poems, here, were difficult. I wrote many that were so bad I simply didn't post them. My brain had walls built all around it. My brain was on a rocketship in outerspace refusing to return to me.

I decided to start refocusing on reading. Seek the advice of others. I think I can actually blame this entirely on case sensitive (which was supposed to help me with hellenica!).

Enter a new series. Tentatively titled Horoscope. I'm four poems in in three days. I was never this excited by Hellenica. And Horoscope seems sustainable.


In the poetry free interim (and, let's face it, all the time just because I love them) I've been watching a lot of movies and reading a lot of blogs. Recently the two worlds collided. I just rented Children of Men (something I had wanted to see in the theater but was prevented). (Note my love of the parenthetical reference). I thought, wow, this is a lot more violent than I expected. And also, wow, this is a lot darker than I expected. And, wow, I just saw Julianne Moore get her head shot off, watched it jerk back, watched the blood splatter. But it was good. I liked the premise a lot, thought the performances were good (particularly Michael Caine. Clive Owen, however much I think he's a doll, always seems to play his characters the same: stoic with a touch of sarcasm, a little grumpy and a little cool) and overall felt involved in the movie. However, blogland seems in a bit of an uproar about it's brilliance and I think that's just a tad overshot. Overall I think the Departed was, in fact, a far better film even if the plot wasn't as blasting a social moral. In Children of Men, at the end, there's a lovely scene where a vicious battle stops b/c they see Kee walking with a crying baby. Everything gets very silent. It was an important scene. I admired this scene, but I was also very irritated by it. I didn't believe it. I also felt like I had been hit over the head with a heavy frying pan with the words "meaning" branded on it. It was a pretty thought, but also naive and heavy-handed.

I still say Pan's Labrynth is the best movie I've seen in about four years. I still need to see Babel and Blood Diamond to make a truly informed decision. And if you can think of anything else I truly must see, feel free to recommend. I am an escapist in need of more escape routes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

case sensitive

When I still lived in Oly I went to this hippy-dippy bookstore ran by some people I sort of "knew" for a poetry reading, which was probably the worst poetry reading I have ever attended, where the reader blathered on and on about this "salt-lick" her fellow reader had given her and then continued to take breaks from reading her horrendously bad, cliched poetry to lick said "salt-lick" and then pass said "salt-lick" to her fellow reader who took his turn licking said "salt-lick."

All of this to say I'm reading Kate Greenstreet's case sensitive which is a very beautiful book and has an entire section about salt. You can see a picture of a salt shaker on her blog at this very moment.

However, having recently seen Kate read and now reading the book really impresses upon me how much the reading of a work can change it. The book is still lovely but I keep wanting to read it in Kate's very distinctive voice. Her voice is gravelly, like Janis Joplin, but quiet, quieter. And when she readers her poem she reads them casually, like telling you about her trip to the grocery store, but insistent in a way that makes you know you'll miss something if you tune out for a second. She was, without any sense of melodrama, completely captivating. If I could model my reading style off of anybody it would be Kate Greenstreet. I keep trying to superimpose her voice onto the text while I'm reading but I can't. I get distracted. It keeps floating away.

In other news, see Leonard's facial double Here

Monday, March 26, 2007


I am reading Iowa, by Travis Nichols. It is better than I remembered from when I heard him read. Much better. But that may be because it seems largely to be about breaking up and I am in the middle of breaking up. Breaking up sucks and is sucking everything out of my head and heart and I want to fall over and never get back up sometimes.

Other people break up and they seem to make it but I don't know how they make it.

Travis Nichols has a way of misdirection in his poems that I think helped him make it and helped his chapbook make it instead of falling into the trap of so many poems of being words saved in a chip on a computer and forgotten.

I think Travis Nichols is a swell guy. He should publish a book-book. I remember that his voice shook a little when he was reading and I liked that too b/c it made me believe it meant something to him and that seems good to me as well.

I'd like to talk more about Travis Nichols and breaking up, but I have to go to work now.

Work is another thing that sucks and sucks everything out of me.

I hope everybody else has a very nice day.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More of this interminable song.

I've been thinking about stupid things
like hole punches and the pros
and cons of leather furniture.

It's a little easier than some things.
Goodbyes, for instance, that take place slowly.

We were sitting on a leather sofa on a hot day.
Our legs sweating and sticking and it hurt to peel
our skin away. It felt like
peeling our skin away.

It felt like saying goodbye

We should have thought of bandaids or
eyebrow tweezing.

These things are easier faster.

They also leave red marks that last
only a little while.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lunch with a Married Man from Work

When I try to protest
he pays anyway
then puts his hand on my arm

His hands are hard.

I tell him
I eat noodles all the time

with my boyfriend.

He smiles a lot
and tells me 'anything
for you.'

I say, you probably say that
to all the girls.

I ask him about his children.
I ask him his wife's name.
I say I eat noodles all the time

with my boyfriend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On the bus this morning...

...the woman next to me decided it was okay to begin clipping her fingernails. Which I suppose is better than her toe nails. But still...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Challenge: A Second Attempt, a new story

The arsonists who walked into the library and proceeded to rip the pages out of the books on the shelves in the library, crumpling them into little balls and throwing them into a pile, and then pulled small red matchbooks out of their little arsonist pockets with small wooden matches with little red heads, like little boy pimples, and scraped the little red heads and they popped into little red flames which they threw on the crumpled papers and then lit more matches on desktops and in girls' hair and went giggling out of the burning building to watch.

They held hands, like regular people, and waited for the dust to settle.

The Challenge: A First Attempt, a rip off of a former story

How people of great power and great responsibility unclench their fists when they are forced to face the fact that they failed thereby resulting in the death and destruction of a people, a city, and the disappointment they’ll see in every person’s eyes for the rest of their lives whether in their own city or when they travel to another. Not to mention the lingering guilt plugging up their throat, tightening their chest, so that it feels like they can’t breathe and wish they would die and don’t know what to do to stop hurting, though there is no pain, the feeling useless though they remain stronger than most, having failed and knowing they have to continue.

They held hands, like regular people, and waited for the dust to settle.

The Lark by Matthew Zapruder

is a beautiful poem. A poem I want and do not want to take home with me and put it under my pillow to console me in sleep. It seems to be about and not be about being and not being with somebody. In the end it is very sad, and also not very sad at all.

I have had The Pajamaist sitting on my bookcase for a long time, since I saw him read. And I had picked it up from time to time, but today I started to read it. And I like it a lot so far. One of those books I could imagine myself reading and re-reading for a month or so. See how it ends (sorry to spoil the surprise but it's a bean of a last line!):

"O caring and not caring outside me quiet

pass me the green hat
with the feather in it

O feather falling in love with the world"

The Girl and The Sidewalk

she wore long spikey heels
and i watched
her ankles wobble a little

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Labels for this post include scooters, vacation, and fall

What does one think about when one wants not to think about their problems? For me, it's popular movies. Last night I rented a sad movie. That movie was Running with Scissors, a movie based the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs. I had been told it was a terrible movie but I did not read the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs so who am I to say whether it was a faithful rendition or not? What I can say is that it made me NOT think about my problems and that was good. And that I think Annette Benning is one of the most fabulous and underrated actresses, particularaly for her ability to play crazy. I did however find Joseph Feinnes as schizophrenic homosexual redneck slightly underwhelming. The scene stealer was a woman I recognized but could not tell you why. She played Agnes. She ate kibble. She reminded me of Allison Janney in American Beauty. Understated performance of "Wife" to" Crazy/Domineering/Powerful Patriarch". Actually, in a lot of ways this movie reminded me of a really, really inferior American Beauty.

Come to think of it, I did not like this movie at all.

I did however like Half-Nelson. I like that it made me sympathize with a base-head, narcissistic teacher with nearly no redeeming qualities aside from an unusual, yet effective, manner of teaching history in a way that seems much more meaningful than any history class I ever took. I like that Ryan Gosling, though he is not always in great movies, seems to choose roles that will challenge him in different ways and takes these roles on completely so that he seems very different from one movie to the next. Most actors don't do this. Most actors seem the same from one movie to the next, with different names, in different situations. There is one scene where Ryan Gosling's ex-girlfriend, who is an ex-base head, and he seems nervous and uncomfortable and spends most of their conversation creeping into a doorway and talking to her with his head poking out. She talked to half of a head. It was endearing. And sad. But this movie also made me uncomfortable. This movie made me want to punch this guy in the face. The little girl in this movie was also good. She was good in a quiet way. She acted with her eyes a lot, and an even voice. She didn't ever seem to move much, even though she was often on a bicycle or basketball court, and I liked that too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

String Haiku

pollution dries clouds
snowflakes unlikely to fall
brings catastrophe

spectacular ice
water without geography
city glaciers melt

change is worse than thought
rain evaporates to end

Friday, March 9, 2007

some more haiku

now wet/dry robots
mimicking salamanders
prove evolution

in species demise
find reef's carbon reservoirs
reap natural beauty

bury greenhouses
under geo-umbrellas
meet rock surfaces

I just decided it was time

I ventured out into the blogosphere on my own.