Tuesday, November 29, 2005

from archer avenue


The tail light put the dark
in her mouth, this rubied gleam.

Black lake beneath her nightgown
littered with sparklers and roman

candles. At home, the stockyard filth
in her mother's kitchen sullies

the mended bedspreads.The bleached
bones of peaches. She breathes

a little sometimes. Swallows a silver
locket lifted from the thrift store.

Not the real girl with the dress
rehearsal and the geometry of sixes.

But the one gone musty in the throat.
Gone deep in the milk white.

Monday, November 28, 2005

dancing girl press
holiday special

5 books/ $15


The Resurrection of Trotsky / Adrianne Marcus
Anatomically Correct / KR Copeland
Under the Shuttle, Awake / Taylor Graham
The Violin Teacher / Carol V. Davis
what it meant / Marissa Spalding
Rockford was complete and utter chaos...not exactly restful, but not terribly unenjoyable. Two family get togethers, some shopping, endless bickering, you know the drill. Last night, I put up my new Christmas tree, taller than the old one by a foot and a half, which always seemed dwarfed by the higher ceilings. Reminds me of that first Christmas when I had just moved into my apartment--exactly five years ago this weekend--and had nothing in the living room but a couple of chairs and a tree for the first two months. Which also means it's been exactly five years ago today that I started working here. Weird. It certainly doesn't seem that long ago.

I have an essay and a book review to get revised and turned in, but then it's just working on the Archer Road thing, which I've been neglecting the past couple of weeks. And then the semester will be over, blissfully before Christmas this year unlike before. That means no nasty papers hanging over my head, no projects.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I've been doing a little gussying up on the dgp site. About a dozen color changes later, I think I have something I can live with for now. Also instituted a 5 chaps for $15 special, steamlined the catalog, and put up the image for the next release.
When I get back after the holiday, its on to weeding through wicked alice subs and getting the winter issue up.

Tomorrow I shall be heading out to Rockford as per usual for double thanksgiving duty--my mom's side of the family Thursday, my dad's on Saturday. Enough Turkey to make you puke. I've been getting notalgic lately for waking up and watching the Macy's parade with the house all yummy smelling. (This actually is still possible providing I could haul my tired ass out of bed that early, which hasn't happened the last few years.) And call me crazy, but I sort of like black Friday window shopping expeditions. It's sort of the first time I allow myself to really think about Christmas--despite the crap in the stores since October. I have been known to buy decoration-type stuff--ornaments, lights, wreaths--on such trips, but then what fun is buying actual presents if you don't wait until the last frenzied possible minute? When I was younger, my dad used to take me and little sis shopping for our mom at SEARS on Christmas Eve sometimes. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My odd addiction to hgtv has finally bore some fruit. I had recently purchased a lamp to replace the way too bright torchier behind the couch. The design was nice, an arched floor lamp that ends in a rounded plastic shade..but the white light, even with a low watt bulb was too bright and the light too cold. I even tried the 60 watt pinkish hued ones to no avail. In a sudden brainstorm I basically decoupaged this parchmenty-oriental handmade tissue paper I have on hand for collage projects and the result was lovely. I just covered the external plastic, so hopefuly, it won't catch on fire. Now I have a nice warm glow and, except for the missing bottom, it almost resembles the moon. Lighting crisis averted.

Friday, November 18, 2005

from archer avenue

St. Andrews Day

Once the house has emptied
of its birds, the water holds
the shape of her. Buckets,

bathtubs. A landscape of rusted
locks and falling brooms.
She counts fourteen fence posts

and finds a knothole big enough
for her wrist. Melts the Sunday
candles in her mother’s best

kettle and still nothing.
Last night Ava and Anna
must have hidden the red scarf

beneath the breakfront.
The husband game,and each
of them a ribbon, a rosary.

Nothing under her plate but its shadow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

too many great poets in chicago

and two of my favorites with new books I'm fixin'
to procure:

get it here

get it here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

First snow. Fuck.

Today I decided to refrain from exposing my classmates to my sniffling and sneezing and stayed home. I felt a little guilty, but I finally got around to folding and putting the laundry away I did nearly a week ago which had taken up permanent residence as a pile on the chair. Took my new assembly required bookshelves out of the box breifly, but then realized I needed far more tools than I actually had. Like an appropriately sized screwdriver and ideally someone gullible enough to put them together for me. So I shoved them back against the wall. I'm still waiting for the larger ones that were backordered and should be here in the next few days.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The further along with the archer avenue project I get, the more excited about it I am. When you're writing about something like this, it's almost as if your contributing to the myth in some way. Since the backbone of any urban legend is so flimsy anyway, what you make in a way becomes part of it. Sort of like every sighting account, every news article, every book. A couple weeks ago I finished reading the only novel-like treatment of the subject ,Resurrection Mary by Kenan Heise, which was so dreadful and shmaltzy it was almost funny. (As are the song lyrics) And yet it became part of the machine of the story in my head and I've pulled a couple things from it. Since it's not historical fact, or "real" in the traditional sense, I can play with the whole thing any way I like and somehow that becomes part of my version of the myth. Now that I've finished at least a draft of the other projects I have due for the rest of semester, I can finally give this project my full attention (or at least my full poetry writing attention).

Am feeling a little passive agressive in the workshop department with my selections for the next class--three poems that are probably the most fragmented pieces I have, the ones that depend least on an understandable narrative. I'm tired of being asked what the poems mean. Poems don't mean. They just are. (I saw a quote somewhere about this recently--can't remember where.) My typical response, when asked is just to mumble something about a story I wanted to tell--but that's not it. Maybe just a vibe I wanted to convey through a story. Or, hell, I dunno know. I like futzing around with words these days and seeing what shows up. At one time I would start with a definite idea and shape the poem around that, but so many poems in and you run out ideas it seems. So maybe you're writing the same poem over an over again, trying to get it right. I like letting whatever I put together lead me where I'm going. This might be the influence of all the visual collages I've been doing over the past couple of years. It works on a similar principle when I really think about it.

I'm feeling much better today, having fortified myself with oddly tasty herbal cough drops and peppermint tea. Let's hope this cold is gone as quickly as it appeared.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A very lovely review of the wicked alice print annual at newpages.com courtesy of JHG.
Yesterday, I called in "sick" to get some stuff done around the apartment and this morning I wake up with a cold...what are the odds? We do however seem to be having an odd spell of warmer weather, or at least it feels like it. Of course, I'm confined to the library for the day. Have spent the morning doing final layout stuff for this years last dgp chap. I really need to start reading through the last batch of submissions for next year. I hope to have my decision made on the final two 2006 chapbooks before Christmas.

Speaking of which, by now it seems every window display is now decked out for holidays. The other night, I saw a man carrying a giant elf in front of Watertower Place nearly skewer another man walking by with it's pointy hat. And despite my vow never to eat candy again after Halloween, the campus bookstore now has those yummy mint KitKats. I had two today for lunch...
and in today's installment of heinous government spending:

Who needs health care when you can still watch Jerry Springer.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wow. What a week.

Today I got and speedily signed the contract, and have withdrawn the book from everywhere else… Had to refrain from gushing in my e-mail to the editors—saying rather professionally how glad I was they chose my book and so on, though what I really wanted was to tell them about how this was all so unbelievably AWESOME for so many reasons. That I sometimes felt somehow that this thing may never get published no matter how much I wanted it.That I feel like this unbelievable weight almost has been lifted. That I feel so terribly lucky that I apparently submitted to the right place at the right time. And incredibly fortunate that it’s only taken a couple years from that first incarnation of the book to it’s acceptance, and not like 10 or more which I feared. And that the press just seems so damned cool—their books, their website, even their name…okay I AM gushing now…

Seriously though, it has somewhat restored my faith in po-biz. The fact that this all happened so old-fashioned—practically over the transom (well, I did query them first) to a press that caught my eye because they were publishing someone else’s book I’d heard about. I liked their website and thought they might be of a similar taste in poetry. Sometimes I get the feeling that book publishing in particular—po-biz in general—depends so exclusively on who you know, that it’s all sort of incestuous unless your lucky enough (and/or spectacular enough to really stand out) in a contest, which is such a craps shoot anyway. This is the way it’s supposed to be somehow, how when growing up I thought it would be. I’m not quite so bitter these days…

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yeah, so I was slightly late to work today because I was on the phone with the publisher who wants to publish my book !!!! This afternoon I've had to keep my mouth closed to keep the uncontrolled squealing from slipping out….Apparently the fever almanac has found a home…...and a very cool one at that…..

Monday, November 07, 2005

from Archer Avenue

the way it’s told

He meets her in a bar or along the road. It’s raining. Snowing. He has a blue coat. A yearning. A father with the silence and all. A friend of a friend. It happened. He didn’t see her come in. Asked for a dance. Asked for directions. It’s always like this. The distance and the tiny purse. The jazz and the dizzy light. Earlier, the gin fizz. The giggle. He tells a lie. His mother is dead. Or his wife won’t listen. She places a hand on his wrist. Against his cheek. The road is always slick. The snow comes early or it doesn’t. He drives with one hand on the wheel. One hand on the mirror. On her thigh or her throat. She’s distracted. Lives nearby or close enough. When he kisses her. When he leaves her at the gate. When they approach the cemetery, she disappears. She cries. She sets the car on fire. Sets off on her own. Walks right through the gate. It was late and he doesn’t remember. It was dark and her dress was stained. Things like this happen all the time. Her mother is a thin woman with a Polish face. Her mother is dark-eyed and heavy. When he knocks on the door. When he hesitates at the gate. When returns the sweater left in the backseat. He’s shown a lock of yellow hair. A photo. A girl in a white gown, an orchid corsage. She’s smiling or she isn’t. Been gone for years. Just a month. It happened in December. It happened in June. She liked dancing, or smoking, or cussing. She was a flirt. Or fast. Or too shy for her own good. It happened here, or somewhere else downtown. Outside the cemetery or in the parking lot dark. There was a fight and a swerve and the wind knocked out of her. There was a wreck. A tree or a truck. Carelessness. Her name was Anna. Her name was Maria. Her friends called her Mary. No one remembers. She was buried in an unmarked grave. In her ball gown. Or something lavender, tea length. It was all over the papers. I read it myself. Her parents moved away and never spoke of it. Her date swore he went looking for her. Swore he was never on that road. Swore he never saw it coming.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

One day in the Chicago Poems class we were talking about how location defines us--that in New York apparently the first question people as is "what do you do?" or in New Orleans they ask "Where have you eaten lately?" But in Chicago, it always seems to be "Where do you live?"--what neighborhood, and oddly this is so true in my experience, both in person and in the virtual world. It's usually followed by "what stop?" So this made me laugh (and then of course, join)...
Have spent the last couple of days in organization mode. While the kitchen cupboards and my bedroom closet are fairly organized and uncluttered, the linen closet/built-in armoire thing in the hallway was a mess, as was the cabinet where I keep cleaning supplies, mops, cat litter, etc. Managed to knock those off, and finally cleared out the bottom drawer of the armoire of junk--saved gift bags, my old phone, picture frames-- and was finally able to fit all my t-shirts and such into those, which will result in alot less clothes lying around the bedroom. Plus my files are organized and the bookshelves in order, and I can actually see the table surface in dining room/study. This afternoon, however, I must tackle the entryway closet, which is basically stuffed floor to ceiling with empty boxes and packaging that never made it down to the dumpster and various decorating odds and ends I should have thrown away instead of hoarding them.

In one last attempt to save my bookshelves in the living room, I threw a coat of white paint on them, hoping to cover up the shoddy job I did three years ago, but they're still stucturally unsound, tippy and bowing shelves, none too sturdy. I finally succumbed to ordering new ones. Since I couldn't find any that were narrow enough that two could fit where I have them now, I wound up getting three skinny ones that when placed together, equal the same number of inches.
Also two matching 3-shelf ones for the other room. They won't exactly give me more any more space really, which is beginning to be a problem, but I won't have to worry about being crushed by them.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I think the main issue I'm having with my workshop class this semester is not my classmates, who oddly seem much better poets than the majority of folks I've had in workshop formerly, and also more helpful somehow, but the instructor who seems to have a hard time grasping anything strange or even slightly innovative or experimental, surreal, etc. Any risk I attempt to take with language/image seems to escape her completely. I have the feeling that were I writing the same safe, staid, and polite poems I was penning three years ago, they'd be going over well. I've always had the feeling, and perhaps this is why I stayed in the program, that it was opening up my horizons on what was possible in poetry. Broadening my defininitions, or sometimes, changing them altogether. Even David Trinidad, whose comments made me bristle first semester regarding shaking up my poetic "formula" was, in the end, absolutely right. And with the other poets I've worked with: Arielle Greenberg, Karen Volkman, and especially Stephanie Strickland, and maybe even Clayton Eshelman (a little), I've been doing this. I think my work has exploded in all sorts of directions and possibilities. Now I feel like this semester is like the box closing instead of opening up, and while it probably isn't going to change anything about what I'm doing, it's still annoying and not really what I want to deal with at the moment. And it just makes my issues with workshop even more apparent. Thank fucking god this is my last semester. All I'll have left is some lit classes, the thesis, and an elective...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

new poem

in Stirring.
Today I saw my first Christmas tree inside the Pottery Barn on Michigan Avenue, and realized how terribly metally unprepared I am for winter. I haven't slept very well the last three nights, but I'm now languishing in my four day hiatus from work--a cancelled trip has left me with extra days off and gloriously nothing to do (though I did vow to do some closet cleaning and reorganizing.)My oral history/interview turned out very well with Pamela Miller, so I got that off my hands today, and a start on my critical paper-not as I planned on the Harris book-- but on Coultas' Handmade Museum, ie her weaving of the personal with the documentation, something I'm struggling with in regard to Archer Avenue.

In the past couple of days, I and little sis have managed to hook up my sexy new laser printer, which with it's hefty size and large capacity, will save me a little money and function as the dgp official printer...no more dealing with the walking-dead at kinkos.(except for the color covers) It was a tidy sum to shell out, but it'll pay for itself hopefully after a few runs. And the quality appears just as good as what I've done at print shops. And now I can spend more on paper.. (Whee!!)

Yesterday, I created an art page on my website, which collects a few of the collages I actually have scanned. More to come.