Thursday, January 28, 2010

NAMASTE

I've met some perfectly lovely yoginis in my lifetime, and they've all served as wonderful muses, either for inner peace or bad poetry. In this case, it was the latter. I had a nasty run-in with my namaste today.


NAMASTE


the divine light

within me

acknowledged

the divine light

within you

then she started

throwing stuff


...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thanks to those of you who've been posting comments or sending them directly to my email inbox. I appreciate them, and I keep track of them for revisions.

Tonight, I fixed a cup of Market Spice tea, sprawled on my office floor with a beat up paperback copy of Sappho's poems, and, for some reason, started thinking about eyebrows and their origins.

(Note: I just finished deleting a rather long-winded excuse for how I can relate Sappho to eyebrows in seven easy thoughts. It was rubbish. Suffice it to say I just wasn't paying attention to my reading when I wrote this poem.)


EYEBROWS


In my dream I’m lying
on an operating table
and God is standing over me,
thinking, stroking the beard
behind his surgical mask.
Ladies? he says, I’m having trouble
with the eyebrows.
And three winged women
hover behind him,
thinking, fists on their hips.
One says, I liked the pine boughs.
Another says, no,
they were a little too festive.
The third asks, what’s wrong
with the fishing lures?
God turns and rummages through
a silver bin beside me,
pulls out two baby barn owls
the color of pepper shakers.
They squirm gently in his hands
but seem too sleepy to protest.
Ah ha! God says.
He tilts his head, pops a kink
in his neck and leans down
over my forehead.
The women nudge each other
and nod their heads
as if to point at everything,
God, his bin, the owls, and me.


...

Friday, January 8, 2010

A MORE EXCITING LIFE

Let's take a vote. How many people think I need to speed up time to two weeks from now so I can start working already? How many people want to be taken off this mailing list? How many of you wish I'd take up knitting again?


A MORE EXCITING LIFE


Once upon a time there was a man
who was very tired of selling plants
from the flower shop he inherited
and one night as he fed the koi fish
in the display pond he wished for
a more exciting life. The next day,
he woke up falling out of bed,
tumbling upward until his feet
were firmly planted in a storm cloud
about two hundred feet above the shop
and his tiny apartment window.
He saw customers begin to line up
at the door shortly after nine o’clock.
He thought they might look up and see
him standing upside down in the sky
and maybe fetch a fire engine
but they just looked at their watches
and each other, then started shrugging
and walking back to their cars and bicycles.
The man in the sky called and called
to them but no one heard. He waved
his arms and swung from the cloud
like a strange, man-shaped chandelier.
He missed his apartment and worried
about the pansies, which would need
to be covered later on when it rained.
He could feel the storm cloud leaking
through his socks into his flannel pants.
He figured he could cry because no one
was in the sky to see him so he wept.
His face was snotty like a little boy’s
and he wailed and took back his wish
a hundred times. He cried until
he was exhausted and had nothing
to do but hang there and watch the koi fish,
which were very small orange dots
from his perspective and all they did
was swim in lazy figure eights, wondering
where their breakfast had got to.


...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another poem, after reading some wonderfully funny ("bad") poetry. I need to go to bed. I also need to stop flipping through my book of Magritte paintings because some of the stuff I'm writing makes absolutely no sense at all.

Hey, another thing, how do you indent on here? None of my poems show their exact shape because I'm not sure how to indent lines.


KIND OF LIKE THAT TIME WE WENT TO A HOCKEY GAME IN
NOTHERN EUROPE AND NO ONE STOOD UP OR CHEERED BUT
EVERYONE CLAPPED POLITELY NO MATTER WHO SCORED

and I
looked
at you
and said
a little
too loudly
whose
side are
we on
anyway?


...

TWO MEN WATCH A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN WALK BY

A poem for this evening. I'm sitting in my living room, sipping cinnamon tea (it's below zero outside) (yes, I plugged the car in), and I have absolutely nothing to do. Actually, no, I have plenty to do, I'm just choosing to be bored instead. I could alphabetize my library, organize some composition readings, mop my floors, fold the heap of laundry in the basket... So I sink into the couch even further, crack open my copy of B Is For Bad Poetry and try to beg some ideas out of it. For one reason or another, all I can picture is the drugstore that used to stand on Vista Drive when I was growing up in Ferndale, Washington. I started thinking about crazy old men and nice old men. I thought about whether women should be real or fake.

Anyone want cocoa?


TWO MEN WATCH A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN WALK BY


and they’re not so pretty themselves,
slumped against the drugstore window.
The younger one holds a lady’s purse,
lumpy white leather with gold buckles.
The older man (maybe they’re brothers,
the way they lean toward each other
when they speak) (or cousins,
they drink from separate soda cans)
the older one says, under his breath,
that woman there is about as authentic as
those rosary bracelets my first wife used to buy,
the kind that cost a fortune even though
they always had an odd number of beads.
It’s supposed to be ten, right,
the younger asks, louder than the older man,
ten Hail Marys at a time, right?
Yeah, but my point is that lady over there
is up to her eyeballs in fake body parts.
God bless her, the younger one says,
tucking the purse tighter beneath his armpit.
This thing is god-awful heavy, he adds,
but the older man says stop whining,
and they finish their sodas in peace.


...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

NEW LOCATION....AGAIN

Whew, I'm officially almost kind of settled in Colorado Springs now, fresh from a long, drawn-out move from Columbus, Georgia. Don't get me wrong, I was more than happy to take a detour through New Orleans to hang out with Lish and some of her fantastic fam. (Even though there was no time for writing and pancakes, this time. Oh well.) However, breaking down in Dalhart, Texas, was no fun at all. In fact, the $800 we paid to have Tom's VW towed to Colorado wasn't exactly super either.

That being said, we're here, we're in our new house, and we're exploring the neighborhood. Would you like to see some pictures? Tom and I recently took a couple of short hikes at Garden of the Gods, which was gorgeous. Flynn loved it, but any dog off her leash would.



Here are two shots of the trails we rambled. Nice, huh? Still a dusting of snow on the ground, and it's usually around freezing, but for the most part it's gorgeous and sunny here. I think my mom would love it. Anyone else want to visit? The Hotel Murray Angstadt is open for business!

I'm hoping to get a writing group together soon, and I'm still scoping out places to advertise. If I can't find anything (or anyone) I might just go back to craigslist and see what happens. There is a public library just a mile away or so... I bet I could find people with a flyer there...

Currently, I'm waiting for the semester to start at Pike's Peak Community College. I have a training session this Friday to help get instructors accustomed to putting the majority of their learning materials, handouts, syllabi (read: everything) online. I was a little nervous at first, simply because I'm a big supporter of face-to-face teaching with only the occasional use of technology, usually just to stay in touch and update students on current events. My nerves are calmer now; I've realized that this might be a blessing in disguise, which I can turn into a learning experience. More and more schools are cutting back by eliminating as much paper cost as possible, so I should probably adapt sooner than later. (Now I'll focus all my worry on whether or not the students will be as cooperative as I prefer.) I'm currently in the market for a good flat-bed scanner so I can keep using my personal library as a supplement to classroom texts... anyone know of a good place to find one? Tom's already struck out at WalMart (not my first choice), Sears, and Target. Maybe amazon?

I'm also prepping an application to University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. I'm really excited to see how many creative writing courses they have there, and I'd love to be around that, even if I'm teaching introductory writing courses instead. We'll see what happens.

I'm also reading a couple new books right now, a few of which I really want you to know about. First, James Tate's most recent book of poems called The Ghost Soldiers. It's pretty much awesome. I fall in love with his imagination over and over. Read it! (Even you guys who say you "don't do poetry". You'll love it.)

The second book I've gotten into is 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker. It's a relatively quick read (or maybe only I think so because I tore through it on my Kindle while sitting in the DMV waiting area... for three hours...) and it's uplifting without being cheesy. I know, some of us writers are jaded and avoid the sentimental like the plague, and I'm not saying this is sentimental, but it's, well, feel-good. It's inspiring. In fact, I've even visited the website that Walker constructs mid-book, http://www.29gifts.org/. I'm seriously considering taking part in their movement, but I think I need to get a few of my marbles settled first. Maybe in a day or two. Anyway, my point is, read the book. (Speaking of books, I'm also on goodreads now. Look me up!)

I guess I'll end this post with a poem, even though my writing has been sluggish these past few days. I've only started writing once a day again, let's see, since Saturday? Before that, I don't think I wrote anything for two and a half weeks while we were on the road.

This poem is called "The New Woman." I like to think about having my whole person transplanted and reconstructed sometimes. Then I thought, if I got a Perfect Job instead of just a Boob Job or Nose Job, all the other women in the world would be jealous. No one likes a smartass. But what would a perfect woman be? Damn near too bright to look at, I think.

Enjoy!


THE NEW WOMAN

It is tough
I think
for women
to smile
at me when
they see
I’ve had
my head
made into
a golden ball
and my body
has been
reconstructed
into a doorway
of light.
I probably
remind them
of those long
nights when
they were kids
sent to
their rooms
while their
parents
wasted the night
staying up
to watch
the weather.


...