Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SHELFIE- My Vote for Word of the Year - 2013

Okay, I hate the word "selfie".  It's narcissistic and dumb.  BUT, if you add a single little "h" into that word, it becomes sublime.  Shelfie - taking pictures of all your books and sharing said pictures.  I tried to take pics of ALL of my books, but it wasn't possible.  Some are in plastic containers (from that time we had serious hurricane warnings and I had to save the books!!!), some are in closets...my daughters have "borrowed" (i.e. stolen) some of them...you get the picture. 

The books in those cloth bags are from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN.  Ann Patchett, one of my favorite authors, owns that store and when you join her first editions club you get a SIGNED first edition of the authors of her choice ever so often.  Unfortunately, she and I have waaaaaay different tastes in books, so I only belonged to the club for one year.  The books you see in plastic bags are first editions, my babies.   'Specially the hardcover, first edition diaries of Anais Nin.  Those were a MFer to collect on my budget.  I'm a certified cheapskate.  I got most of them from Ebay from people who obviously didn't know the books were first editions in great shape.  I digress.  Let me upload the few shelfies I took today.  I swear I'm gonna dust all these books before this year is out.  I better get going.  Happy New Year!!!   My one resolution is to READ MORE BOOKS in 2014.  (You can click on the photos to make them larger if you want to read the titles.) 

P. S. Don't judge me because I have 3 copies of "Skinny Legs and All" by Tom Robbins.  Reading his books changed my life.  (Thank you, BFF, Angie Mallette Comer, wherever-the-hell you are, for sending me that first copy of "Jitterbug Perfume" over ten years ago.  I MISS YOU!!!  Where are you???? Call me if you're still alive.  I have the same number!)

These are books about books on the bottom.  Really!!!!   HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!!!

E. E. Cummings and Lorca, how I love you both!!!!

See what I mean about the plastic?  Yeah, baby, that's "Rabbit Run" by John Updike.  Don't slobber on the screen.  Oh, the story that goes along with that book!!!  I could sit here and tell stories all day about each and every book.  I need to do that for my grand-ones.  Okay, hubby went into a junk store to buy a hat.  He sees this book in a pile.  The lady had it marked $15 (in pencil, thank God).  He bargained her down to $5 and she took it.  He gave it to me like handing me a diamond.   He had NO IDEA that he had purchased for me a pristine first edition of "Rabbit, Run" by John Updike.  God love him.  I know, I do. 

I'm still reading "S." by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst.  It's two stories in one huge book.  I wonder if they knew that John Updike wrote a book titled, "S." back in 1988?  It's one of the most mind-blowing book I've ever read.  The main character is a woman and I could have sworn that book was written by a woman.  It was like he crawled into a woman's body and took over her brain to write this book.  My #1 favorite book by Updike.

I ran out of shelves.  I swear, I have no idea where these milk crates came from!

This is ONE of my To-Be-Read piles.  I got the "Game of Thrones" books for Christmas.  That's going to be a month-long marathon of non-stop reading for January.  I hope it snows.  Fat chance of that.  So much for housework and cooking.  Some things are just waaaay more important once you get my age.  So many book, so very little time, right?

This is Penny Lane and Polly Jean.  (Blythe dolls). P. J. is wearing a curly wig.  Tee-hee.  I hope I never, ever, ever grow up.  Ever.

Okay, I stole several of these books from my husband:  "Radix" by A. A. Attanasio and "Everville" by Clive Barker.  He hasn't missed them yet.

This is my Tom Robbins row.  He's all over the house.  I have many copies of his books.  He's THE master of the metaphor, the king of irony and humor.  I worship him in a bookish sort of way.  He'd be happy to know (I hope) that I have him near John Updike, another of my favorite authors.

My favorite Mark Twain:  "Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc".  A masterpiece.

I met Rick Bragg at a book festival years ago and made a damned fool of myself, slobbering all over him like a groupie.  But I think he liked it.  He autographed every book of his I brought with me.  You were supposed to buy your books there, but he could tell my books were old and battered.  He winked at me.  If my daughter hadn't been with me, I might have, well, you know.  Use your imagination.  (Licked his face like a dog).  Ha! Ha! Ha!

The book, "The Dreaming:  A Novel of Australia" by Barbara Wood was so magical, it literally became a part of me.  I read it when it first came out in the early 90's (or as my granddaughter says, "Oh mah gawd, you mean back in the nineteen hundreds????")  She's a comedian.  Anyway, the book is with me still and I can call up scenes from it like a movie.  Fabulous book.

Oops, more Blythes.  My girls like to hang out with the books, so I cleared them off a shelf.  They're above the books about writing.  I read them, then don't write.  It's a curse.

My James Lee Burke, Joanne Harris and Isabelle Allende shelf.  I'm running out of room.  I need a bigger house.

I love Graham Joyce's books, especially "Smoking Poppy", "Indigo" and "Dark Sister".  He's a wizard with words.  I found those old Rumer Godden books at a library sale for free.  My favorite price!!

That boxed Ursula Le Guin book is another great find:  "Always Coming Home".  This box set edition of the book came with an audiocassette entitled Music and Poetry of the Kesh, featuring 10 musical pieces and 3 poetry performances by Todd Barton. The book contains 100 original illustrations by Margaret Chodos.  I think I paid a dollar for that one, including the cassette and the box.  Tee-hee.  :-)  :-)  :-)

The orange/white books are all Angela Carter's.  I found these at a used bookstore in Nashville, TN.  Oh, how excited I got when I saw this pile of her books!  I only owned one at the time and had just discovered her writing.  I happily paid $1 each for these books and didn't even try to bargain them down.  My daughter gripes when I visit her in Nashville and the first thing I want to do is hit the used book stores.  Cheap fun!  I only take two sets of clothes so I can fit more books in my luggage.   (And my 3 grandkids are just like me...I passed on the book gene).

A poetry row, mostly.  It used to be in alphabetical order, but then life crept in....

Ha!  There's that Barbara Kingsolver book I've been hunting for!!!  On the bottom shelf.  I love Tao books.  My fav is "The Tao of Elvis".    Happy Reading in 2014. 

 "I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things."  ~George Robert Gissing

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Sparrow by Billy Collins

Well, this particular cat never caught anything but a bowl of Science Diet.  Catfish, lying on a plastic bag from my favorite clothing store (freepeople.com) doing research for me on a new cat toy from Amazon.  He has a plastic fetish (goes crazy over any kind of plastic...loves to lie on it and crawl into bags...).  He gave this toy five paws up because it held his attention for over five minutes.  Tee-hee...  He's a whopping 25 pounds.  I have 6 cats and he's the only fat, lazy one.  Go figure.  
Enjoy this awesome poem.  I heard it on public radio this morning.   xo

Christmas Sparrow

by Billy Collins

The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—

wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.

Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.

On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.

But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.

For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.


From Mr. Collins' wonderful newest book, "Aimless Love".

Support poets.  Buy poetry!!!!

Friday, November 29, 2013


"I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I've been knocking from the inside!" ~Rumi

"At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine. Breathe into me. Close the language-door and open the love-window. The moon won't use the door, only the window." ~Rumi


"I believe cats to be spirits come to earth.  A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through."  ~Jules Verne (Gir and Debbie, hiding in the roses).

"I don't create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me."  ~Edith Södergran
We had an amazing Thanksgiving with Mama and all of my sisters and brother and their families.  I think we had over 30 people, some we hadn't seen in many years.  I'm grateful for my crazybeautiful family.  I had so many hugs, I got hug-drunk.  I hope your Thanksgiving was as fun as mine.  Today, I'm grateful for the warm sunshine and you.
"Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all."  ~William Faulkner

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Against Devotion by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Photo from my bottle of "Queen of Hearts" Chardonnay.  Review:  "Our Queen of Hearts Chardonnay offers up fresh and zesty ripe fruit flavors like Golden Delicious apple, Bartlett pear, honey and flowers." 

Against Devotion
By Olena Kalytiak Davis

It’s just the same old raving
condolence.  The same old wild sympathy
pulled up to prove you’re not
without a heart.  The fevered understanding
offered from the barstool, from this side
of the confessional’s grate.  The ardent
I’m-so-sorry, the willing I-hear-you,
as the gentle Samaritan you are

inconspicuously leans away from the crazed
whisper:  My life’s so fucked up.
It’s just someone else’s violent
dying.  It’s just your childhood friends stuck
in an oversized world.  The crippled
talking.  The exhausting
confiding.  The not really
caring.  It’s the simple fact that
what’s most touching
is the angle at which some old roof leans
against the sky.  The shockingly thin
trees, the stunning mosaic
of light.  The way the stars keep
arranging themselves
into constellations.  The way the moon’s
always somewhere
in the sky.  What’s most heartbreaking
is this rib piercing this lung.  That I’m
as breathless as this
over nothing.  Wanting everything
bending, layered and resilient:  the parquetry,
the click of heels like the stove
setting itself on fire:  My friends,
it’s our hearts, we should be
walking around grabbing our hearts,
for what could be more burdened,
more efflorescent?  Tell me, what’s
as unfolding, as spiked and as shooted
as this, our dissilient heart.
From:  “And Her Soul Out of Nothing” by Olena Kalytiak Davis

parquetry - Inlay of wood, often of different colors, that is worked into a geometric pattern or mosaic and is used especially for floors.
efflorescent - Abloom: bursting into flower.  A gradual process of unfolding or developing.

dissilient - bursting open with force, as do some ripe seed vessels.

One simply cannot have too much Olena Kalytiak Davis.  She's one of my favorite contemporary poets of all time.  I went hunting in my poetry books (no small feat) for this book and couldn't find it.  I know I have two hard copies, but they was nowhere to be found, (I tend to carry it around with me) so I had to use my Kindle copy (tee-hee) to post this.  I know, I'm an addict.
I just returned from the library where I had a heated discussion with the librarian (fruitless---I know it's the 'higher ups' who decide which books to purchase) because there were like five books of poetry, mostly ancient, in the poetry section which used to have three full shelves of poetry.  I had a horrendous vision of a future without poetry...  So I keep buying it and hoarding it. 
I saw a news piece last week about a bookless library (an oxymoron, right?) in San Antonio, Texas.  It was a vile, cold, contemptible, scary-looking place with only row upon row of computers.  I shudder thinking about it.
For those of you in the U.S., have a Happy Thanksgiving.  I know I have much to be grateful for every moment of every day, poetry, books, friends and all. 
Ah! on Thanksgiving day....
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
 and the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
~John Greenleaf Whittier

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Late October by Dorianne Laux

Last Morning Glory, Late October, 2012

Late October
By Dorianne Laux

Midnight.  The cats under the open window,
their guttural, territorial yowls.

Crouched in the neighbor's driveway with a broom,
I jab at them with the bristle end,

chasing their raised tails as they scramble
from bush to bush, intent on killing each other.

I shout and kick until they finally
give it up; one shimmies beneath the fence,

the other under a car.  I stand in my underwear
in the trembling quiet, remembering my dream.

Something had been stolen from me, valueless
and irreplaceable.  Grease and grass blades

were stuck to the bottoms of my feet.
I was shaking and sweating.  I had wanted

to kill them.  The moon was a white dinner plate
broken exactly in half.  I saw myself as I was:

forty-one years old, standing on a slab
of cold concrete, a broom handle slipping

from my hands, my breasts bare, my hair
on end, afraid of what I might do next.

From:  "What We Carry", page 11


I am this woman, have been this woman, will probably always be this woman.  Even my children think me a crazy cat lady (one of them is the same, but she also has dogs, chickens, a mule, pigs, geese, etc.).  We have 6 rescued cats, 3 boys and 3 girls:  Gir, Garfield, Catfish and Sophie, Little Debbie and Tigger).  They go outside in the daytime to climb trees, run, kill mice & snakes and play...and we bring them in every night because we live by the woods which are full of predators. 

So right before dark, every night, I begin calling them in.  It begins with "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty..." in a nice, normal tone of voice.  Then I wait a few minutes.  No cats come---ever.  I get a little louder:  "Here KITTY, KITTY, KITTY with my hands cupped to my mouth!"  then I wait about 15 minutes.  A couple of the cats come in, always girls.  I imagine the other cats sitting together, licking their paws, grooming and saying, "Hells, bells, let's make her crazy and ignore her---again.")

My husband then says, (every night), "Marion, why do you have to be so loud...you know they'll eventually come to the door."  I do my famous eye-roll, then go back outside to call louder.  It's now a matter of principle.  This time I use the names of whichever cat is missing (always Garfield-the-hunter, sometimes crazy-Gir).  I'm sure our neighbors are thinking, oh, shit, there she goes with her batshit crazy cat-calling.  I really don't care what the neighbors think...that's why we have a tall wooden fence around the yard:  privacy.  (Ha!!)  Finally, after about an hour of calling, chasing them around the yard, throwing sticks under my truck, at times climbing a ladder to get one off the roof (always crazy-Gir), I get them all in the house.  They find the softest spots and crash out for about an hour, then wake up and party until dawn and it starts all over... 

That's a long story to say: that's why I adore this poem.  I see myself in it, but clothed (most of the time). 


"I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult.  It's not.  Mine had me trained in two days."  ~Bill Dana


"A cat pours his body on the floor like water."  ~William Lyon Phelps


My favorite cat book.  I cry my eyes out every time I read it, thinking about Ramone, my 20 year old Siamese who died a few years back.  It's awesome, as is the author, Cynthia Rylant.  Her book, "The Van Gogh CafĂ©" is magical & amazing.  Sometimes children's books are the best.
Crazy-Gir walking on the roof yesterday.  He got himself down somehow.
Catfish - who never passes a soft blanket.  He's 21 pounds of kitty-love.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tyler Knott Gregson, the Typewriter Poet



Saturday, November 2, 2013

Interiors by Stephen Dunn

Shadowscapes Tarot - The Queen of Swords (Artist:  Stephanie Pui-Man Law)
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
"With her blade the Queen of Swords slices through lies and deceptions to the heart of truth. She is honesty and inner knowledge, sending forth her winged seekers into the world. They are an extension of her being and her soul.   The blinding white is the color of purity, honesty, clarity, uncompromised balance; but also of distance, and sometimes death, for sometimes to get to truth one must cast off the old to discard pretense and guile.  The Queen of Swords is an intelligent woman, loyal, witty, and humorous in her forthright way. She is valued for her accurate perceptions of the world around her, and her experiences.  In the language of flowers, purple dragon lilies are symbols of inner strength, and white chrysanthemums of truth." ~from Shadowscapes.com
Shadowscapes Tarot - The Hanged Man (Artist:  Stephanie Pui-Man Law)
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
"Letting go and surrendering to experience and emotional release. Accepting what is, and giving up control, reversing your view of the world and seeing things in a new light. Suspending action. Sacrifice." ~from Shadowscapes.com
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

By Stephen Dunn

In New Orleans, a Bed and Breakfast in a seamy part of
town.  Dentist’s chair the seat of honor in the living room.
Dark, the drapes closed, a lamp’s three-way bulb clicked just
once.  I’m inside someone’s version of inside.  All the guests
looking like they belong.  Muffled hilarity coming from one
of the other rooms.  Paintings everywhere, on the walls, the
floor.  Painted by the proprietress who, on the side, reads the
Tarot.  In her long black gown she doesn’t mind telling me
things look rather dismal.  Something about the Queen of
Swords and the Hanged Man.  I wake early the next morning
for a flight.  5 A.M.  She’s sitting in the dentist’s chair, reading a
book about the end of the century.  Says a man like me needs
a proper breakfast.  Wants to know everything I dreamed.
This, I tell her, I think I dreamed this.
From:  “Good Poems, American Places” selected by Garrison Keillor, page 125

Shotgun House, New Orleans
Heartbreak & betrayal.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From Childhood's Hour by Edgar Allan Poe

Photo from Pinterest.
From Childhood's Hour
Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood's hour I have not been
 as others were; I have not seen
 as others saw; I could not bring
 my passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
 my sorrow; I could not awaken
 my heart to joy at the same tone;
 and all I loved, I loved alone.
Then—in my childhood, in the dawn
 of a most stormy life—was drawn
 from every depth of good and ill
 the mystery which binds me still:
 from the torrent or the fountain,
 from the red cliff or the mountain,
 from the sun that round me rolled
 in its autumn tint of gold,
 from the lightning in the sky
 as it passed me flying by,
 from the thunder and the storm,
 and the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
 of a demon in my view.
I thought this a perfect Halloween poem from one of my favorite poets.
One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

 ~Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Moonburn by Marge Piercy

Full Moon, 2011
(The Full Moon is Friday, October 18)

by Marge Piercy
I stayed under the moon too long.
I am silvered with lust.

Dreams flick like minnows through my eyes.
My voice is trees tossing in the wind.

I loose myself like a flock of blackbirds
storming into your face.

My lightest touch leaves blue prints,
bruises on your mind.

Desire sandpapers your skin
so thin I read the veins and arteries

maps of routes I will travel
till I lodge in your spine.

The night is our fur.
We curl inside it licking.


A blazing yellow tree on my block taken 11-11-11.
Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. ~Hal Borland

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why, Indeed?

Found at Pinterest.com


Even Autumn has vivid colors.  Pink wildflowers in my lawn.


October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band....
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky....

 ~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Three little wild black kittens in my backyard, posing.  They're very mischievous.
By Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


Oh, what a fabulous book!  It had just the right amount of suspense, mystery and horror and the plot was riveting.  I love it when I read a book that makes me want to turn every single page as fast as I can, then, in the end, I don't want it to be over....ever.  This was such a story for me.  It was way better than "The Shining" but to be fair, Mr. King had over 30 years experience under this belt when he wrote this one.  King mentions the above Poe poem several times in the story.  Here's one passage:
"What you call double dreaming is well known to psychiatrists, and of particular interest to Jungians, who call it false awakening.  The first dream is usually a lucid dream, meaning the dreamer knows he is dreaming---"
"Yes!" Dan cried.  "But the second one---"
"The dreamer believes he is awake," Kemmer said.  "Jung made much of this, even ascribing precognitive powers to these dreams...but of course we know better, don't we Dan?"
"Of course," Dan had agreed.
"The poet Edgar Allan Poe described the false awakening phenomenon long before Carl Jung was born.  He wrote, 'All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.' ....
~Stephen King, "Doctor Sleep", page 77
I've had too many of these dreams to count...they're sometimes disturbing and sometimes enlightening, but always fascinating, mainly because I often remember them in detail.  Most dreams I have, I forget a few moments after I wake up. 
It's hot and muggy here in the swamp.  We didn't get any rain from tropical storm Karen, but we're supposed to get a cold front through tomorrow night.  I can't wait to drag out my booties (short boots) and scarves.  I've had enough 90-something degree days to last me until next year.  I've been busy reading (of course) and doing some Fall cleaning.  Our stove (oven) died a few months ago and we're shopping around for a new stove.  Gotta have an oven for holiday baking.
Happy October, everyone. 
"That old September feeling... of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air.... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer." ~Wallace Stegner

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gliding Over All - Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass - Breaking Bad

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

271. Gliding Over All

GLIDING o’er all, through all, 
Through Nature, Time, and Space, 
As a ship on the waters advancing, 
The voyage of the soul—not life alone, 
Death, many deaths I’ll sing.

A fond, sad farewell to "Breaking Bad". 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Necessity for Irony by Eavan Boland

Painting by Toulouse Lautrec.


The Necessity for Irony
By Eavan Boland

On Sundays,
when the rain held off,
after lunch or later,
I would go with my twelve year old
daughter into town,
and put down the time
at junk sales, antique fairs.

There I would
lean over tables,
absorbed by
lace, wooden frames,
glass. My daughter stood
at the other end of the room,
her flame-colored hair
obvious whenever—
which was not often—

I turned around.
I turned around.
She was gone.
Grown. No longer ready
to come with me, whenever
a dry Sunday
held out its promises
of small histories. Endings.

When I was young
I studied styles: their use
and origin. Which age
was known for which
ornament: and was always drawn
to a lyric speech, a civil tone.
But never thought
I would have the need,
as I do now, for a darker one:

Spirit of irony,
my caustic author
of the past, of memory,—

and of its pain, which returns
hurts, stings—reproach me now,
remind me
that I was in those rooms,
with my child,
with my back turned to her,
searching—oh irony!—
for beautiful things.

"The Necessity for Irony" by Eavan Boland, from The Lost Land.
I highly recommend Ms. Boland's anthology, "New Collected Poems" which is where I read this perfect poem just last week.  Her poetry is spectacular.  Ironically, I heard it read on the "Writer's Almanac" segment on NPR this morning, too, so I assumed it wanted to be here.  Synchronicity for a rainy morning. 
I awoke after dreaming that I had died and my body was being cremated (as I so wish) and letters, words, sentences, stories were wafting up into the sky (instead of smoke) from my body.  It was a spectacular dream, with no fear or sadness.  Every book, poem, word that I had read was floating into the sky and my spirit with them.  :-)  I love that dream supremely.  It made me very happy.  xo
"Let life be as beautiful as summer flowers
And death as beautiful as autumn leaves."
~Rabindranath Tagore
I love you all,
Books I'm reading this week:
"Offshore" by Penelope Fitzgerald
"The Shining" by Stephen King (a re-read before starting the sequel, "Doctor Sleep").
"New Collected Poems" by  Eavan Boland
"The Weight of Small Things" by Sherri Wood Emmons

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Delicious Autumn - Welcome!

Woke up to our first cool, stoned, humidless morning.  It's magically, deliciously delightful.  The heat of summer 2013 put me in a coma-like, zombie-state.  Time to awake now and begin again.  xo


At Burt Lake
By Tom Andrews

To disappear into the right words
and to be their meanings. . .

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens. . .

 Now night falls, its hair
caught in the lake's eye.

 Such clarity of things. Already
I've said too much. . .


language must happen to you
the way this black pane of water,
chipped and blistered with stars,
happens to me.

From:  "The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle" by Tom Andrews, page 13.  (Winner of  'The Iowa Poetry Prize')


Mistaking Opiates for the Clear Light
By Suzanne Paola

There's always been this confusion with white things---
hospitals, cold, moonlight.
They seemed to embody the will
paralyzed into peaceful acceptance.
Blank paper consecrate
to the end of words:  I love that,
secretly, more than this.
Quaaludes in my palm, rowers, eucharistic form.
Clear bag of heroin.
Stuff, we called it.  Too foundational to define.


In a clear bowl, a pear & a pomegranate wizen
into color.  Almost
alive, skins rucking
in on themselves.  Cheeks
sunk, russet
& carmine, seeming
almost to care about this...
Each a countenance
too private for a face, collapsing
in the hard gravity of color.

I was their opposite, pale girl, not living
or dying.  They were
what I feared.


I trust in the bardo wisdom:  how the gods,
with their soft white light, draw us in, convince us
their stuporous world is all there is.

I've seen them, slumping
forward, burning themselves with cigarettes.

How grand they were for a while:  their leathers, their etched
            bodies, a stalled
writhing eagle on each arm.
And their nectars, their secret foods, that gave
an easy kind of sensate order.

Though a god's world finally
suffers itself away from him, braille of the tracks
of a thousand needles, transgressions of red
under the skin---

From:  "Bardo" by Suzanne Paola, pages 6, 7 (Winner of "The Brittingham Prize in Poetry")


Bardo (from Wikipedia):  "Used loosely, the term "bardo" refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskillful actions.

For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth."