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Archive for February, 2007

A Poem for C.E.

An Open Poem To My Mother’s Mother

Elizabeth, I took your name for every Sunday we sat
in the front pew, your mouth blistered with cancer.
Father John halting before the altar blessed you
with an imaginary cross, fingers like invisible markers
as if he were a surgeon instead, mapping the way for
incision and removal. All the people behind us
in the cathedral waiting-room hushed peace be with you,
and I knew they meant it. You and I, beneath the stained
glass spotlight every Sunday. I wonder now how all
the attention must have bothered you. You, with your
animal lips and stapled chin. No matter though— Jesus
was closer than anyone else. His palms pardoned
from the cross smoothed your sin, and you loved
his body because it required no teeth for consumption,
because you knew there were no doctors or Gods
who could make you pretty again.

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Poetry News

Some updates on submissions:

Tarpaulin Sky: Rejection
Fence: Rejection (waited almost a year for a response)
Rattle: Rejection (yet again!)

Blue Fifth Review: Acceptance of “A Poet’s Tools”
Mannequin Envy: Inclusion in their first print anthology, my poem “Confessional”

The Hat: Waiting for a response
NOO Journal: Waiting for a response
Sea Stories: Waiting for a response
MiPO: Sent my manuscript “Inside Bone There’s Always Marrow”: Waiting for a response

Did you guys know that one of my favorite people on Earth finally got a blog with his fiesty wife? That’s right, Jason and Brandy have entered Blogdom. Visit them, heckle them, but do not under any circumstances, stroke J’s ego. In all seriousness, they write some really funny shite.

Oh yeah – I got married! February 9th. =)

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We’re reading The Birth of Tragedy in the four-week Three Candles class. I’ve always found Nietzsche interesting so the reading has been enjoyable. However, I’ve never taken any philosophy classes and I’ve never read any Greek mythology so I struggle a lot with references. I know, I must be the only poet who hasn’t read Greek mythology – this only further proves that I’m a fake. And I also can’t help feeling as though what I’m taking away from reading this book is not what was intended by its author. I’m not even certain I’m understanding the ideas he’s put forth. What I do get from the book are feelings. The feeling that words are eating themselves – I feel as though the minute Nietzsche throws an idea at you, the following paragraph turns on those words and eats them – literally. I can picture a huge fang-filled mouth chopping down on previous ideas. Or the little alligator sewn firmly to that collared shit unstitching itself, wobbling over and feasting on a tasty meal. It makes me wonder if this is how Nietzsche felt on his death-bed – his body (mind) emaciating from the inside-out. Of course, Nietzsche dying and the feelings I get from his work have no relation to each other yet somehow I’ve made the comparison.

I told John of my reference problem so he went to the library and got me two books on Greek Mythology:

The Illustrated Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology by Michael Stapleton and
Greek God, Human Lives by Mary Lefkowitz

Both have been helpful.

I think, in general, I have a hard time understanding “myth” (religion).

Speaking of libraries, we went to UVA’s medical library today so that I could get a book on Complex PTSD – they are hard to find at the non-specific libraries. I got, what I think is going to be, a great book by Matthew Friedman, THE MAN when it comes to PTSD. I told John he is like the Steven Hawking of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (John is currently obsessed with theoretical physics) and he condescendingly laughed and said “you mean minus the wheelchair”. Oh, how I love his humor.

I wrote my second poem for the class today- I would post it except it sucks.

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Week One

Here is my poem for our first assignment:

A Poet’s Tools

He told me of her as if he were leaving
church early, eager to pull his throat
back out. She was fair-skinned, full gowned,

braided hair. I once dreamt
of her long legs wrapped around his
like a wriggly octopus as I stood

incapable – as always – when it comes
to faith. Their union must have been
so religious. Tongues as communion

and in the end
someone, probably him, the martyr. How
cliché
I think, which is my only salvation-

a poet whose alphabet has so few letters,
including the x, all stroked out and cross-eyed,
telling me we need each other.

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Nine Gates

Class has begun! Nine Gates by Jane Hirshfield has been interesting thus far. I was immersed in her essay on Poetry and the Mind of Concentration, which is extremely detailed and tangible. All of her examples and explanations can be seen, touched, or heard. The other essay we are reading is Poetry and the Mind of Indirection, which for me, isn’t as fun. I find it interesting however it becomes too metaphysical in certain places for me. I haven’t finished the second essay yet so I won’t jump to too many harsh conclusions. I’ve very much enjoyed so far all of Jane’s choice poems as examples. I can tell that she likes Yeats and he was someone I read as a little girl who sparked my interest in poetry.

I’ve already chosen a sculpture to use for our class exercise. My grandfather worked for The Norton Gallery of Art in West Palm Beach for twelve years, so I spent a lot of time there. They own a Duane Hanson piece and frequently showcase his work. I always found his pieces creepy and I think I will have a good time exploring his work more.

It will be interesting to read everyone’s poem on Thursday. I”m a little nervous about it, I don’t do well with dead-lines (unless, for some strange reason, I’m being handed a paycheck.)

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