Friday, May 30, 2008

Handsome Mess

I wrote this today running. It's for now, but it happens to fall into a series of poems about invasive plants that I've been doing on and off.


You learn to do it young--
Pinch the end a bit, draw the stem out
With your teeth barely pressing, gently, gingerly
Tongue out the honey, and let the flower fall.

It smells stronger before a storm--
Pervasive, run as fast as you will;
It calls you to stop and taste, but you say no.
Leave its vines to thrash in the high winds.

It could strangle everything in the garden
You've made. You make the right choice.
Afternoon finds you kneeling,
Sweating, pulling at the invading vines,

Wild with frustration. You stumble back,
Stomping, hissing: "I'll never be rid of you!"
Maddened, but the sweetness persists,
Clinging to your skin, stuck in the back of your throat.

You're the type that doesn't even like
To kill a weed, now, aren't you? Yet here you stand,
With this handsome mess at your feet,
Choking. Torn.

PS: composed while running, but actually written with the keyboard of my phone. I'm thinking this forces shorter line lengths and am wondering about exploring this a little more...

Image: Cover of a blank book from Anathema Books.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On the Road and Off the Road

One maybe two trail half-marathons in the fall. Could the training please begin? The trails around DC are nothing but mush. Trees sliding down ravines (and me doing likewise, nearly), trails washed out, stretches of swamp. I actually got lost on the Hazen trail recently, which is never more than about a half mile from a major DC street. I ended up on the wrong side of the creek and was attempting to cross back to the trail via two fallen trees. I got halfway across the ravine walking on the lower tree and holding onto the upper, but then the trees crossed and I couldn't decide whether to duck under the upper tree or try to straddle the lower the rest of the way, and my overpriced sunglasses designed expressly not to slip off my face were slipping off my face, and a nice man strolling by on the right trail was giving me one of those curious I-wonder-if-I-should-help-but-I'll-mind-my-own-business looks.

If you like this poetry, she'll be reading at Artomatic Thursday, May 30, 7:30 p.m.

I just found out I was a finalist in a poetry contest. I missed the email notification back in March because I was sick and probably confused it with a Nigerian banking scam. But it's really real. It's a super-lefty-political-change-the-world-poetry contest, so there, complete with anti-war march (here's what it looks like when poets protest), and when is someone going to give E. Ethelbert Miller a MacArthur or sainthood or something, people. This entry's too long already so maybe I'll post the poem itself later.

My daughter stayed with her cousins a couple nights while I was off standing too close to the fire. We resumed her chapter book tonight on Chapter 9. Her words: "We would have been on chapter 11 by now, but I forgot to take it on the road."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The L Word and the B Word

Finally catching up on my Tivo'ed L Words. As usual: Writing, abominable; plotting, absurd; fashions and set design, fantastic; sex scenes, whoa baby call the doctor; music, how do they do it??? Issac Hayes' amazing Stax version of "Walk on By" at the finale, sounding for all the world like the new Portishead. And "Do the Strand"?!? Beautiful. Ladies, I take it all back.

Been meaning to write about some of my favorite blogs. I tried to get one of them blogrolls, but it's too complicated. I'll eventually add one. Promises, promises. Or was that "Walk on By"?

***While I was lying around whining and going to doctor's appointments all last month, she was writing poems. Good ones. Check it out. She also writes about rock and roll.

***Jill Matrix, I remember dancing with you to Curtis Mayfield at that party where you kissed a boy. Don't try to deny. Find out something about life, media, construction and cats here in her blog. I'd say something about the real L word, but that would just be too clumsy.

***Like that photo you're looking at? It's by my mad burner buddy who once got on a bicycle in New Jersey, rode it all the way to Burning Man, stopped to do his thing, then got back on and rode it to San Francisco, the promised land. Want to buy one like it? Want one in that style but starring you? Go here. Oh, and the blog traces a case of Obamamania that turns to rational second thoughts, tho supportive. Obamambivalence? We'll miss you and the bad songs of the '70s this weekend, dearie.

***Copper Stewart, whom I encountered through Reclaiming witchcraft, has a mind of depth and breadth that is positively scary and eternally amazing. Walt Whitman to ancient Egyptian sacred geometry to forest ecology to politics. His livejournal has lots of fun branches, creeks and ripples; Paganmonist has longer, more structured articles, poems, more.

Photo: Copyright Mark Still, and if you reproduce it without permission, Isaac Hayes AND Shaft will kick your ass. Is that clear enough?

Three Days

I'm off soon for my three days in the weirderness. This is a mashup of believe it or not, Jane's Addiction and Carly Simon. Both have songs called "Three Days."

Three days was the morning.
My focus three days old.
My head, it landed
To the sounds of cricket bows.
And lord, I feel lonesome
For the you I might have known.

We saw shadows of the morning light
The shadows of the evening sun
Till the shadows and the light were one.
And if the gods will please be kind
I'll be with you soon, soon again.

Bits of puzzle
Fitting each other
Never wonder.
Night is shelter
For nudity's shiver;
The way you turned
My head around,
The way you turned
My head around.

All of us with wings
All of us with wings
All of us with wings

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I've been babysitting for three days straight. They are really cute and fun, but it will be so nice tomorrow to be around people who don't collapse when their juice pop isn't the color they want and don't have to be told not to pick their noses.

Today we stopped by the local elementary school rummage sale and while they played on the playground, I got the following literature, for $1 totes:

Dealing, or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues, by Michael Douglas (a pseudonym for Michael Crichton and Douglas Crichton; Beautiful Losers, by Leonard Cohen; The Happy Hooker, by Xaviera Hollander; and Wiseguy, by Nicholas Pileggi. What are these parents reading nowadays!

Been up late baking cookies. Don't worry, I washed my hands. A lot.

I missed the Preakness but check this out (thanks BA!). Go to photo #5 to see the Running of the Urinals.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Who's Your Coyote, Baby?

Nathaniel Mayweather took me to see the Patti Smith movie recently. Smith herself performed live afterward, accompanied by her son, Jackson, on guitar, singing a song she'd written for her daughter. OK, so a large part of the movie was her visiting cemeteries and remembering the dead, most notably photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, her bestest friend. Thank the goddess for Patti Smith. Her kids seem, blessedly, fine. Sweet. Talented. Doin good. Yet they were exposed to an influence, in the person of her best friend, so pernicious that the good people of Washington DC could not even allow his photographs to be displayed in a museum behind closed doors.

When your kids know they are loved and secure, they are richer for having artists around them. I'm going to keep on saying that until I don't feel guilty about being a human as well as a mother anymore. Check you in the year 2525.

Now my favorite scene in the movie was Smith getting a "guitar lesson" from Sam Shepard. Good god, boyfriend's 64 and he's still smokin hot. She pulled up her pants leg and then turned his wrist to the camera to display the matching tattoos they'd gotten so many years ago. She was still a little giggly. He still looked at her like she was a little piece of dark chocolate. They're so alive.

Speaking of chocolate, I am gulping my way through the book my husband got me, Girls Like Us, about Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King. Ummmmmm, good reading. My goodness, was that James Taylor a nasty piece of work, from the sound of it. I try to ignore the base urge to pore over the gossip, like: "This song's about this guy, this one's about this situation," but there's one that's too rich to resist:

Mitchell's "Coyote," you know, "He drags me out on the dance floor and we're dancing close and slow...he's got a woman at home, he's got another woman down the hall; he seems to want me anyway...He picks up my scent on his fingers while he's watching the waitress's legs"?

Who was it about? SAM SHEPARD!!!!

"No regrets, Coyote!" Now that's what I'm talking about.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am an Animal, Trapped in Your Hot Car

I told myself no more big arena shows. I swore I'd never go to Nissan. So what was I doing circling the bowl with a thousand others trying to get into the Radiohead concert at Nissan Sunday night? Radiohead Nissan clusterfuck. Radiohead Nissan clusterfuck. Put that into google and it comes up 547 times. 548, now.

It was so against my better judgment, but my husband got tickets, and last time we saw them, in 2003, it was such a great we sat in the rain for five hours and never got in. The cops were turning people away at the gates because the show was almost over.

So. It's homegrown for me, from now on! Artomatic, parties full of homegrown music and chicks with flaming hula hoops, bottle of wine with a friend, a night in bed. I love professional musicians and dancers but you guys, your friends with the suits are just shits, buddies, I can't stand them, and they're always hanging around. I know you tried to get rid of them by giving your CDs away, but they're still there, hustling me, conning me, buzzkilling everyone. I'm all about the Home Entertainment Network now.

It's not the band's fault it rained so much! No, but it's their fault they played at the environmentally hostile Nissan Pavilion--especially after declaring that they intended to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible in this tour. They haven't got a leg to stand on, and that footprint, after holding down thousands of cars idling for hours and contributing to acres of soil erosion, is shot to shit, boys. What have you got to say for yourselves?

Hey, the tickets said rain or shine! But Nissan and the county and state's civil engineering skills obviously aren't functioning rain or shine (in the area's venial rush to cash in on the development boom. As we sat in traffic, we wondered how many of the huge homes around us might be foreclosures now).

Well at least you weren't in Oklahoma or Myanmar! Gotta admit you got me on that one.

And, um, I don't want my money back. I just don't want Nissan to have it. Give it to the tornado survivors, y'all.

PS: The car I was in (with three others) was actually very comfortable. Poetic license.

PPS: And I might have to give up small club shows, too. Drive-by Truckers at 930 gave a great show Friday night, but someone grabbed my ass. Which was both annoying and confusing. I mean, there's just nothing much there to grab. What's the point?