Friday, October 15, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | the working girl's grimoire



spell for the wicked 

Blessed be the exes. Sex damp and wasted. Fastened into feathers and plump with whiskey. The sticky bar back with his twisted fingers. Double fisted archivists and mad chauffers. Real estate brokers and floaters. The grifter with his busted spine, a line of stitches sewn up the back of him and stuffed with rags we set fire to one by one over the city.  Everything was burning sometimes, the building a block over that turned the sky black as a headache.  You were so sick and so lovely when the ashes found you, settling over your dark coat. Floating over the river.  The construction worker had no furniture, so you fucked on the floor. Harbored windswept spaces in all your cavities. The vending machine owner who bent you over the couch in his highrise. The city lit up outside like a circuit board. 

read it here..

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Monday, October 11, 2021

Saturday, October 09, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | archer avenue

The Willowbrook Ballroom is sadly no more and it's been forever since she's made an appearance out on Archer, but my little series of Resurrection Mary poems from way back in 2005 is still a lot of ghosty fun...

notes & things | 10/9/2021

Last night, I slept with the window open and the fan on, instead choosing to burrow deeper under my comforter rather than get up to turn it off.  The weather in general seems not sure if it wants to be warm or cool, and we've had a string of mild, but weirdly humid days. It seems warm for this far into October, but the trees have in most cases taken on a tinge of yellow at the very least (even the tenacious one outside my window) and already some are losing their leaves.  In a week, we'll be mid-month, and Octobers are always a little crazy for me. This week brings hanging a physical exhibit, building another online one for faculty work, and presenting a session on zines and DEI at the end of it.  Though for the past two years, I am always grateful I am not at the same time trying to move the studio as I was in 2019, or that my mother was not slowly dying (as it was in 2017) so I'm good. By November and the holidays things seem to settle down at least in the library exhibits/event arena.

In press and art news, things are getting underway in layouts of 2020 holdovers and the final releases for this year.  I''ve also made it through the first round of reading submissions, so am giving what I haven't passed on and may accept another round of reading. I'm hoping to finish by the end of the month so I can spend November entirely on orders and releases, since there is usually a slight holiday uptick--not so much in books, but other shop things. My experiment in outsourcing the printing on some of the cover printing  is going well. I haven't yet transitioned completely, but will get there, at least on new releases. It has saved me much printer angst, especially on the more color-intensive ones. (ir huge swathes of dark colors and black that like to streak and get lines on my printer.)  The quality on them is equal to my Lexmark I used to have in the studio, though that was the most ridiculously expensive toner to keep up.  The price differential is minimal (about a $1 more) and the quality is really nice. I also have some new shop offerings I have supplies for and am finally getting to in the next couple of weeks. 

After winding up the spell poems (and you will be seeing those sooner than you think in zine form *spoiler*) I actually did something last week I had not done in over 20 years, which was finish a piece of fiction--horror fiction at that.  It still needs some work, but it isn't half bad.  I also started another story. This week was filled with early and late starts, so my daily writing schedule went to shit, but I'm going to work a bit on them in the mornings in the time I usually devote to poems and we'll see what happens. I still feel like i am ill-suited for the genre as I ever was, but maybe it's not terminal. The sort of world-building that one gets to do in fiction is very pleasurable for me, so it's something. Also, what month is more appropriate for writing ghost stories than October?

On a visual front, I did finish the final version of my black-velvet pieces (they are really faux velvet, created with vintage images on paper and some very tricky flocking). I'll be exhibiting them in the Bad Art exhibit debuting at the end of the week. I also want to make some Halloween collages for patreon again, as well as finish up some shorter poem/film things on the burner. My latest addiction is making spooky instagram reels, for both my instagram and the Library's, which lately feels like a form of self-care I badly need, so definitely watch for more of those--some artful and some just pure silliness.   

Friday, October 08, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | plump

My little zine retelling of the Hansel & Gretel Story can be read here.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | alternative facts


"After all, /  everything's a catastrophe when you're knee deep in machinery. 

Everything monstrous when you're a monster. / America like a spider in its mechanical web / while the markets grew fat and fell. "

If anyone has heard me read via zoom or spotted anything I've published in journals in the last year or so , my pride and joy has been this little series of poems based on tabloid headlines of yore, which seemed to be the perfect subject matter in an era an fake news and other nonsense. Since they are filled with monsters (both real and metaphorical) this month seemed the perfect time to pull them together into an e-zine as a #31daysofhalloween offering to the poetry gods. 

You can read it here. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | ghost landscapes

One of my first efforts in using watercolors was a set of postcards that eventually became the prompt for a series of poems about a train station in the middle of a town in the middle of nowhere and the strange landlocked pull of it. Initially available only in print, and later included in my longer book, SALVAGE, you can read the text alongside the images in this digital version.

the things we leave behind

Last week, for the first day of #31daysofhalloween offerings, I finally unveiled the culmination of something that was 10 years in the making--something that had various components and a few different conceptualizations of what the finished form would be.  Initially it was just the collages (2012).  Then the larger installation that included them as a part of a library exhibit. (2015).  The text components were initially planned as a sheaf of letters and other ephemera tucked into a box (not unlike the Cornell project.) 

I spent the summer of 2017 writing those parts and doing research on things like taxidermy and hungarian legends and by fall, had a badly beaten spiral notebook full of text portions--letters and journal entries--full of research notes. Then my mother spent the entire autumn in hospitals and rehab centers and then was gone, and try as I may, though 2018 was a productive year for writing and art to keep my mind occupied, I did not return to the project. Every time I started transcriing what was in the notebook, I grew frustrated that it wasn't what I wanted.  I returned to it during the first weeks of quarantine, again to distract myself from other things, but it wasn't working out. Finally, I decided to ditch most of what was in the notebook and distill it down to the bare minimum I needed to tell a story.  

A story of two sisters haunted by a house full of dead animals and cruel men.  By ghosts and their own unborn children.  I liked the sparer version much better, and realized that maybe the orange notebook had been instrumental in the process and not just a bulk of wasted time and effort to get to where I wanted to be. Though I had envisioned it on a grander scale and a much more intricate project, it was already quite large if you counted the visual components--the collages, the installation. What felt like a failure to get it where I wanted it to be began to feel more like this was what it was intended to be all along.

It is also strange in that the collages are steeped in my own maternal family history.  Exactly a decade ago, I returned home for a weekend to get an alumni award from my undergrad school and my aunt, before I left, dragged out a box of cabinet cards & photos she had been sent from relatives Nebraska. She only knew who a few of the faces were (including a picture of my grandmother as a child (above).   I had seen other prints of this photo in the albums my mother inherited from my grandmother herself. One of the first feelings of dread when it comes to mortality I remember as a child was navigating a huge stack of photos on my grandmother's coffee table after her death--photos of family, but also friends, trips, places and people we weren't familiar with.  I was only 8, but it made me uncomfortable. 

What happens to someone's life --not the body or the soul but the million pieces one leaves in the world.   Where does it go?  Who does it belong to?  The saddest and most interesting things at thrift stores are the caches of random photos and ephemera, no doubt rescued from someone's house.  These cabinet cards felt like that.  My aunt told me there were mine and to do with them what I would, but I could not bring myself to wreck them, so carefully scanned each one and tucked the originals away.  A few weeks ago I came across them straightening my studio area at home and was tempted to toss them again.  I did not. But then I wondered why not? Some day, when I am dead, because I have no children, someone will find them and throw them away. 

Stuff makes me anxious..even more personal stuff.  While the thought of someone one day packing up clothes and books for donation is less frightening, I think of my photo albums. My journals. Yearbooks from middle school and junior high. Several scrapbooks--writing related, theatre related. My folders full of poem drafts. Where does this go/  Who owns it when i am gone??  Who even wants it? Will those same victorian photos of people somehow distantly related to me wind up in the hand of another artist like me. A collector of odd random things. 

Which of course, brings us back to the project.  The letters (fictional) from one sister to another across time and distance. Somewhere I have a few odd letters from high school penpals.  Some notes from friends in the years before e-mail.  Letters sent from family when I was living in North Carolina and badly wanted mail. There were some love letters I once kept-- from an ex who spent time incarcerated for the better part of a year and wrote often. (though I briefly and unwisely  revived this entanglement a couple years later, the letters I tossed in 2013.)  As e-mails and text became the prime ways to communicate, the paper trail has dwindled. Thankfully, no one will read my letters when they are gone.  As a writer who wonders how much of famous authors writings they actually would shiver to see published now, this is a big relief.  

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | halloween postcard

This winter, in my year of self-publishing endeavors, I will be releasing another homeless full-length project, ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MONSTER. This little spooky collage is the tentative cover option for the book I'm just beginning to plot design-wise. (and one of my favorites from some I made for my Patreon subscribers  last Halloween.)  I plan on making some more this month in a similar vein, so watch the set unfold here


talking about strawberries all of the time


"Sex, the siren turned dowager who donned her hat and maidly umbrella and set sail for further shores. No one knows where she drowned, there amid the pans caked with sauce and the lonely olive floating a spoon."


I am super stoked to have 5 brand spanking new pieces up at:

Monday, October 04, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | errata

Way back in 2005, I wrote and published a series of poems based around victorian literary conventions that definitely had a gothic feel (and some were specifically about gothicism and gothic literature itself.)  One of the pieces that was included in the chap, but did not make it into my second full-length collection IN THE BIRD MUSEUM, which included most of that project as a section, was this little poem in three voices. ( I was helping the editor with the typesetting it was proving too complicated for my InDesign skills so I cut it out)  It's a nice little poem though (esp. if you read it in three voices at the same time overlapping. 

You c an read a pdf of the original, uncut chap here.

#31daysofhalloween | the summer house


"We went on for this like years til the child looked like any child.  Like any other life.  Play dates and fruit punch.  In the dark, we could pretend she was one of us, until she'd sigh or cough. A hundred drones escaping from between her lips."

Friday, October 01, 2021

#31daysofhalloween | unusual creatures

unusual creatures is a three part project / installation / zine created over the last decade devoted to the spooky history of two sisters.  The work was created with and inspired by victorian era cabinet cards inherited on my mother's side of the family. 

unusual creatures zine

unusual creatures portraits

creepy curiosities installation