Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Copies of my first chapbook (titled Me & Coyote) have arrived, and I'm now able to sell some directly! Please send me a personal email with your address if you'd like an order form; I'll get that out to you as soon as possible, hopefully receive your payment, then ship a book out to you lickety-split. Or, if you must, you can order it directly from LHP right here. I've got to admit, the books are beautiful. Christine Holbert, editor at Lost Horse Press, made sure they looked stunning.
I wish I had a better picture of the book to post, but my camera is on the fritz and all I have is the shot I took to send to Tom when they first arrived in the mail. (I was giddy.) P.S. Tom says they look awesome.
Anyway, I've got more news: the Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series is officially operational, and we've got our premier event scheduled for Friday, April 16th, at 7:30pm. We're still holding the festivities at the Inner Space yoga studio downtown, located at 322 N. Tejon.
The first half of the evening will be set aside for open mic (sign up at the door, limit ten), then we will have our featured reader--Deidre Schoolcraft--give us a sneak peek at her novel and/or shorter works. Deidre is a creative writing instructor at the college with me, and I'm really looking forward to hearing her read. If you'd like to follow the progress of this series (read: follow it! Now!), click on the link above, or log onto the site at http://www.cswritersreading.blogspot.com/.
Thanks for staying tuned for all this, guys! I appreciate it. (On Friday, Tom will have been in Kuwait for one month. Am I overscheduling myself yet? Did I mention I'm advertising for violin students as well? Anyone interested?)
Monday, March 15, 2010
We were only able to travel a short way up the peak on account of the snow we've only seen hints of in the city over the past few days. I didn't mind. (The photo above was taken at about halfway down.) The cloud cover seemed to swoop down so quickly, and it was quite an experience to stand directly beneath it when the train let us out for a quick walk. Strange to feel moisture in the air again, even if it was freezing. I felt like I was half on the ground, half in outer space. You lose your breath easily, but your mind clears. My advice? Hold still while you're thinking. Also? The Port-o-Bowls at the pitstop aren't half as bad as they could be.
We stopped to look at the 2200 year old tree that I can't believe we haven't plowed down yet (pictured). Beauty of this sort doesn't always last long, it seems. We also saw the tree that probably wouldn't have inspired a poem if not for our all-knowing, slightly strange guide. (Fortunately, my friend and I both brought our notebooks. Writers are handy like that.) I thought I'd give the nature poem a chance; after all, I did just spend the past week helping my students dig into Mary Oliver's poems. My writing voice is still not quite as peaceful as Ms Oliver's, but I consider this a nature poem all the same.
TAKING THE COG RAILROAD UP PIKE’S PEAK IN MARCH
Mel, our guide, points out glacial reservoirs, asks us
if we know how much dynamite it takes to break up
a five-foot-square block of ice. No one knows
and Mel doesn’t tell us; he carries on, says the seventeen mile
stretch of gravel road snaking alongside the tracks
is called Ron’s Driveway because it belongs to Ron,
the man who maintains the water pipes running to town.
We catch a glimpse of Ron’s small white house
yellowed by rain and cold sunlight and snow-blower exhaust.
There are rows of small cedar birdhouses hanging beneath
the windows on hooks that must be anchored behind the panes.
Ron isn’t home, but I picture him looking something like
the Brawny paper towel man until Mel tells us
Ron is only twenty-four and single, in case we’re interested.
We rock past his house, the dangling empty birdhouses,
and the crunchy road named for a lonely mountain boy
darts off suddenly into the trees like a crow and leaves
a sleepy stream in its wake. Mel directs our attention toward
a splintered stump about ten yards away from the track. That tree
was once a stout Ponderosa Pine, Mel says, with a trunk
like a cinnamon stick and arms full of glossy green needles.
It was struck by lightning about five years ago
and Mel wishes he could have shown it to us whole.
Although, he recalls, scratching his round belly,
for the entire morning after that particular storm the woods
smelled like warm butterscotch. To this day, he’s never seen
so many foxes out hunting in broad daylight.
He wishes he could have shown us that too,
ragged red foxes following the scent of dessert
around and around before going back to their empty holes.
Thank you to those who have sent me comments via email. I appreciate them.
P.S. I'll keep you posted if the Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series ever gets off the ground. Still having trouble coordinating the venue, but hopefully this idea isn't dead yet.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
WOMAN WITH MANNERS
That’s what I like to see
a woman with manners
who leaves her car unlocked
in the grocery store parking lot
after stuffing her trunk full
of toilet paper lettuce brie bleach
leaving it under the careful watch
of four teenagers planted
like moldy beanpoles
outside the Family Dollar
this woman shoves her cart
back through the Safeway sliding doors
taking tiny strides because
she’s not paying another twenty
dollars for Mrs. Lee
to stitch up the side seam
not after that time she saw Mrs. Lee
shove one glowing white arm
up the front of her husband’s blue polo
with her husband still inside it
even though Mrs. Lee said she was
just trying to feel the rip
this woman plugs her empty cart
back into the bumpered lanes inside
without even glancing back
at her tinted windows at Family Dollar
and when she lets go the cart handle
there’s a lady shaped like a teapot
stopped behind her saying
I couldn’t help but notice you’ve got
enormous ankles just like mine
where did you get your boots
and the woman with manners
says she bought them online
and the lady like a teapot whistles and says
dang I never buy anything from the internet
then walks away leaving our heroine
standing in front of the cart tracks
like the head of a great silver centipede
wiping her hands with a sanitizing napkin
scraping quickly the underside
of each white fingernail.