Monday, May 31, 2010

Sparks and Flares

Not to get all Stevie Nicks on you, but a NYT review of the new Robert Hass selected poems throws in the "Randall Jarrell[’s] definition of a poet as someone 'who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times.'"

Despite predictions, no lightning struck this weekend; no poetry struck me either, not even a filthy limerick. But I might have opened up a whole new level of reality, which is nothing to sneeze at, especially when your nose is poised over the corner of a credit card on a breezy summer's day. Not that I'd know anything about that.

ATTENTION X-MEN and comics in general fans, a special announcement of a new publication: I once wrote a comic with this guy, about a pharmaceutical factory/prison colony on Mars. Good times. This is what he's up to now--creating a new series of The Futurians.

So, to give thanks this weekend on what appeared to me to be not only the best but the biggest PDF ever, in so many ways, not in any order: the giant popping and unfolding wavy fan thing by Quentin; Sparkle Pony memento mori; Idea Dome for letting us worship the mind and use the LED hoops; Ludo O'Dillo's Pub and Celtic Cinema for providing a bench out front for me to lie down on in an "anemic" crise (some young women passing by asked my friends watching over me: "Is she real?" and crept forward to investigate; I mumbled something about a performance art piece evoking my Irish heritage, but no one ever hears me); the woman in the white bikini under the black light; Dan Van for the birthday cake; the black snake I almost stepped on while out running Saturday morning; the DC Burner Choir for giving me a chance to play; Elvis for the water; and all the people who grow things and understand the ley of the land.

Photo: Luna moth, pre-flame, University of Maryland.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Like to Drink It with a Little Salt and Lime

Got a shit ton of pay work tonight but my husband wouldn't let me use the laptop unless I wrote something for myself first. He is not my patron, nor does he patronize.

For My Patron

I could create cathedrals
From my breath, my fingers spires,
Ribs a nave before the altar heart.
My patron trusts stone.

I would use clay, scrabble
And mound the firm earth,
Shape it under a layer
Of slip, supple as flesh.
My patron has no faith
In this substance; he specifies
Block stacked on block.

I tried to respond to some of the interesting comments folks have been leaving, but blogger did some weird error thing with the comments recently. Perhaps it will calm down. I do really like to hear the comments. I also need to write about 20 different things, but the bell just rang--back to the pay work!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

When Doing It Wrong Is Right

Writing poetry is such a weirdass thing to do. And reading it to other people even more so. I'm always like WTF? Then I go to something like the Cliff Lynn/Rocky Jones production last night [would give a link but it's pretty much wholly facebooked] and I get it. It's everything ELSE other than creative pursuits (and playing and hanging out and food and love and, OK, healing too) that is a weirdass waste of time. Why do we do anything else?

I think it has something to do with coming to poetry pretty late in the game. I wrote a couple poems in college, but was known as a fiction writer/journalist. Then in 1995, I was home from work for a week taking painkillers and it reminded me of some feelings and I wrote a poem. Then there was a day in July or August, 2006 I think, and I was running on the C&O towpath and a poem came into my mind. It gave me something to think about while running, because I don't wear an iPod. Then that just kept happening. My poems are old-fashioned and I'm probably doing it wrong.

I'm so creepy and dull about poetry, I have no training or academic background, don't know what I'm talking about, as worth listening to as a right-winger saying "I know what I like!" I'm also slavishly, sometimes ickily devoted and promotional to people who run readings and do presses and such, because it can be so fucking hard and I want to just be a Big Fan and say how wonderful they are.

Having said all that, sometimes I'm on target in spite of myself, and I bought a book by Le Hinton last night, and if you don't do it too, you're doing it wrong.

They also let me read a poem in time for me to get back to DC and get the fishnets on in time for the fundraiser. And to dance to some DJs who were also doing it wrong in the best way possible.

Here's the poem, which happened because I was at the beauty shop yesterday and saw a sign that said "your hair can save the earth." They're filling oil booms with hair. And I was reading this at the same time; Oniony but sharp enough to have fooled several major news outlets, and therefore me, until I could get to where I could check it out.

Beauty Shop

Is it a myth that hair and nails
Grow on in the grave? These vain snips,
Dyed buttercup and crimson, may
The multitudinous seas incarnadine.
The engineers are looking for
A way to stop the bleeding. Been there.
Their defenses booms and concrete,
Like fighting fire with counter burns.
The seas, like us, contain multitudes,
We suck up the oil,
The fish suck up the oil,
The soil sucks up the oil,
And so it is that I suck
Up a blot of old Dick Cheney.
When I die, I'd prefer to be burned.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ant Essence

The Singing Acupuncturist gave me a great gift last night, a whole bottle of Ant Essence. Chinese herb blend--real ants in it.

She asked me to think about what I desire, and I could barely muster up a puff of laughter. I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think: "You? Desire? Ludicrous." But that last word is too melodramatic. Let's substitute "inappropriate." Bureaucratic language is what's required to dry me up entirely. Cough and the dust scatters.

I lie awake in bed feeling every joint and tendon adjust in tiny increments to each position I try, like I'm in a 3 a.m. yoga class. This will mean I'll be falling asleep over my computer at work tomorrow. Pay work is like some horrible abusive relative who's had a stroke and now I have to take care of and feed and change if I want a place to live. The minute I have a thought of my own she's up there screaming like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford combined.

The 3 a.m. parade begins: I have said and done and even worn all the wrong things, I have not done anything I'm supposed to do, there is such a pile of things I must do that even if it were not absurd to have desires I would never be allowed to pursue them, I have nothing to give and no one wants it anyway, no one has anything to give me and I wouldn't be able to accept it anyway. "You're supposed to be counting your blessings and thinking about how lucky you are," hisses Joan Crawford, hanger in hand.

The Singing Acupuncturist calls this "self-lacerating." This is Saturn conjunct Sun, with a particularly tricky Mercury retrograde for icing. As usual, my daughter is the one exception. We have been laughing for days over a comic called Johnny Boo that she got at free comic book day. It's a comic about being bored.

I'm able to think of one desire I might be allowed and might fulfill: To go into the woods. Though I might encounter a Beltway's volume of WASP Labrador-walkers and Latino commuters and half the Sidwell Friends cross-country team, every trail in the woods feels mysterious and alluring to me. I am eating ants and stepping on ants and hoping to conjure up ant power.

Photo: The air conditioning went out in our apartment and the guys are here fixing it and here I am with a big old picture of Adam Ant in shiny party pants up on my screen. That freon will make you see some funny things.