Monday, June 30, 2008

Good God...

What the hell happened to the month of June?

I'm behind on gardening--well I'm behind on lots of things--I still have about a dozen things in their pots from the nursery waiting to be sunk in the ground. It's pathetic. I swear to god I'm planting them all tomorrow morning.

What's been planted is thriving. The shade/semi-shade bed close to the house is filling in nicely. The dogwood is sending out new leaves (that was touch and go during the heat wave. I was sure I'd lose it.) My favorite find of the year is some sort of Hyssop, "Acapulco"--little bunches of tiny trumpet shaped blooms, a sort of cantaloupe color that changes to pink as the flowers spend. Really lovely. The hummingbirds love it.

Finally got around to reading J. Allyn Rosser's Foiled Again. It makes me want to keep writing sonnets.

Plane tickets bought for LA. Now if I can just get that prescription for Xanax I've always wanted.

Sunday, June 29, 2008



Last Tuesday, Brian and I met my friend Bryan for dinner and drinks. Throughout the evening random men waved at me. I don't know if they thought I was someone else or what. The most startling was the first. We'd just left the Tap Room and a man was walking through a parking lot/alley area with his two little girls in sundresses. Apropos of nothing he just looked up and waved.

I'm finally sitting down to revise all the stuff I wrote at the beginning of the year. All at the same time that new poems are starting.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Briefs from Monday

The tribute reading Monday, overall, was a great time. We had a crowd of about 75-80 people, a good receptive audience. Irene didn't feel up to attending, so we had to shuffle the program and reading order over dinner--several of us picked up an additional poem or short piece that we thought should be read, deciding on each person taking about 7-8 minutes of time. That was a really fascinating moment for me--no egos flared up, no one seemed anxious to take more time or angled for one of her show-stopper pieces. We just tossed out poems we individually loved, worked out an order and went with it.

Eight of us read from Irene's work and spoke briefly about her. Eight very different readings and emphases on why she matters to us and why her work does and should as well. It was sort of a rush for me because I got to read alongside friends and people whose work I admire but that I'd never heard read. During dinner I joked that it was like a covers album--and I was half-way nervous that I'd end up delivering the poetry equivalent of karaoke. As Monday afternoon went on I was a little nervous just for the fact that Brian was there and he'd never seen me read in public before. I got over that pretty quickly when it struck me I was reading someone else's work and that I should try, as much as possible, to make it sound like her or approximate the ways the work resounds in my head as I read it and not try to make them into "me" poems.

I chose two poems from Vivid Companion, "Ironweed," and "Full Moon: Sitting Up Late at My Father's Bedside." I had a sense (wrongly) that poems from her third book, Six O'Clock Mine Report, would be more prevalent than work from the other books. Actually, once we were done, her first book The Girl With the Stone in Her Lap and Vivid Companion were the most represented--shows what I know. Had I known, I might have picked a couple from Six O'Clock to read. The poems that were read from Six O'Clock are among the best (or maybe I'm biased because they are particular favorites of mine) and I'm glad that they were presented. Likewise, the prose pieces from Girl were a surprising choice--but I can see why they resonate.

If I were to complain about anything, it'd be the actual space itself. It's an interesting auditorium, but the very architecture of the space coupled with the sound system made it muddy and echoey for those of us on-stage to listen. I ended up reading along with several of the poems from Vivid and found myself fighting to make sense of what they were saying in places. It didn't seem to be an issue for the audience--or else Brian didn't tell me.

Other than all that, the only other moment that stands out fell after the reading. Brian and I ran outside for a quick smoke and to call a friend to see about having a drink later that evening. On the way back in I was stopped by a woman in a red t-shirt and khaki shorts who asked "How did you get picked to do this?"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Seen from a Mall--for Aaron

Despite Brian's nightmarish experience flying into Charleston, the little vacay was lovely. It's sort of a drag readjusting to work and home. It was a short trip but we managed to work in lots of shopping. The find of the day was something we didn't buy, though Brian was tempted, just for this label:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off

That's how I feel this morning. Too too much to do today. But it's going to be worth it. Brian's flight gets in about 11 tonight and then we have a couple of work free days to shop and roam around Charleston.

Thank god for lists.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Don't Forget to Hug Your Catfish

Ok, so June is Gay Pride Month. Most of us roaming around this corner of the interwebs know that. But did you know, June is also:
  • Aquarium Month
  • National Accordian Awareness Month
  • National Adopt A Cat Month
  • Turkey Lovers Month
Today is the Solstice, but that doesn't mean all the good days are over for June yet.
  • June 21--National Hollerin' Contest Day
  • June 22--National Chocolate Eclair Day
  • June 23--Take Your Dog to Work Day
  • June 25--Log Cabin Day (insert republican joke here.)
  • June 25--National Catfish Day
  • June 26--Beautician's Day
  • June 26--Forgiveness Day (coincidence? I think not.)
  • June 28--Insurance Awareness Day
  • June 29--Waffle Iron Day
  • June 30--Meteor Day

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Poem for the Day

Below is the poem I'll be reading for the tribute Monday. It's from Irene's last book Vivid Companion. An interview with her from earlier this spring can be found here. The poem "Fame" can be found here. Another poem, "Atavistic", was featured on NPR's the Writer's Almanac in April 2005.

Full Moon: Sitting Up Late at My Father’s Bedside

What can I say. The moon looms in the nighttime sky
with brilliance, as it does. But we are going to touch it,

and then it will go away. The animals on earth
are breathing, but someone takes their hearts

and puts them into broken human bodies.
What can I say to those people? You took the heart

of a chimp: you found you could do it,
and you did? Secrets come out of the heart,

and nowhere else. We don’t know how.
What can I say when my father is dying,

with his new eyes and his new heart.
His mind is like a flapping line of laundry,

clothing full of wind. How can I speak
about the babble of his speech? His saying

does not go from here to there, it’s only here.
Out of the dog came five pups, slick wet packets,

each different. They grew at different rates.
Some slept, two leapt around all day.

What can I say about their secret selves,
their paws, their separate ways of walking?

What can be said about their natures, and
their flawed and perfect lives? I gave

them away. They have a new trajectory and
I’m still here. I think about them every day.

My father’s manner is the same as it was
when he was sane. Senility’s a secret, too.

It isn’t vague to him. I see intensity in all
he misconstrues, —I think he misconstrues.

The night is brilliant, and the moon’s too close.
It calls him out: to where, I cannot say.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Is Just a Tribute

I'm becoming more and more excited about next Monday night and the tribute for Irene. I was nervous and feeling stupid about what I wanted to say and read, so I did a very un-me thing and I called her...basically to get a read on her reaction. We ended up talking over an hour about a little of everything: her neighbors, her new poems, my new poems, my need for a haircut, our anticpation for Monday.

A write up on Irene and for the event is here. I love the poem they reproduce in the article. It was on my shortlist of pieces to read. I opted for another poem from the same book. I'll try to transcribe the one I'm reading and get it online in the next few days.

A general website for the Festivall Charleston is here.

The hosting site's website is here. Frankly that's the most interesting link to me. It's a mix of Federalism and Egyptiana. If the auditorium is ANYTHING like the website I just might have to become a squatter. As soon as I flipped through the website I told Brian that this is one ocassion I must have the digicam for. Truly. It's exceptional.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

California Here I Come and Other News's been almost a month since I blogged. I intended to post before this. I'm going to try to be a little better now that things have slowed down.

But, I've got a few tidbits of good news.

I was picked for one of the 8 poetry spots at this year's Lambda Literary Foundation Retreat in August with DA Powell.

I finished up and mailed out my contributor's agreement for my essay to appear in Michael Montlack's Diva Complex.

I'll be on deck as a speaker/reader at a tribute to Irene McKinney, WV Poet Laureate, next Monday night.

I almost forgot one: Brian's flying in Sunday night and we'll be spending a few days in Charleston.