Truer Words … never been spoken


So the only 2 people who came to my Broad Vocabulary reading were two men I asked in off of the street. But they were attentive and I think genuinely interested in my work. Things could have been worse as they always can be … but things could have been far better. By Saturday night when I got home after one small catatrophe after another (my car breaking down being the last thing to happen) I was truly a bulb of mush … but I was also feeling I would absolutely without a doubt turn my disillusionment into reflection and figure out my steps for success, however mild it may be.

I continue to work on my second collection of poetry and my chapbook. I anxiously await my trip to Portland … hoping I can again smell sea air and feel the calm of coastal moments. This will be poetry. I will be poetry. So much will be created with the intent of eternity’s grace.

Published in: on April 30, 2007 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

first my rubber chickens and now my rex galore and my cop who smells like a carnival …

Here is another reflection on Monica Drake’s Clown Girl:

Like Sniffles, I too have a Rex Galore and one resembling Jerrod (the showman and the real man) … I don’t know that they smell like summer or pancakes smothered in ladeled syrup, but they may.

But I guess only time will tell … it tells on everything.

Published in: on April 25, 2007 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Reading Approaches …

So for any (if any) Milwaukeans reading this, I will be reading from Small Murders at Broad Vocabulary this Friday, April 27th at 6:30!

This is a fantastic store … please check them out!

Hope to see you there … perchance.

Published in: on April 24, 2007 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

That’s Baloneytown …

So Monica Drake’s debut, Clown Girl is truly amazing. Baloneytown is the hometown of Nita (aka: Sniffles the Clown). It is not anytown America … it is really an unreal world … surreal in almost every way except its constant presence of reality-seeped pain, strife, and struggle.

This book took me weeks to read … a rare occurence for me. It took me this long not because I was not enjoying myself but because I found myself identifying with Sniffles more than I think I have ever identified with another character. I did not find myself identifying with her religious icon balloon forming, her rubber nose … actually until now I was afraid of clowns. Though I still do not want to meet a clown in a dark alley or in my dark dreams anytime soon … but I do feel I have lost a rubber chicken, at least metaphorically.

Sniffles’ displaced and hopeless feelings, loss, and complete confusion within her world, as well as her bouts of sadness was what sometimes made this a tough read for me. This book was chock full of great truth and an ugly-beauty that is rare and priceless in contemporary fiction. Drake’s writing style and quirky, even sometimes other-worldly observations always kept me extremely excited, entertained, and constantly moved.

It is also a book I will value because of its existence in my life when so many changes were happening — discoveries and finally maybe finding that rubber chicken I (and all of us) so desire to find.

Published in: on April 23, 2007 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Waiting for My Last Course in Turbulence … But Aren’t We All?

When I handed Dean Young my healthy stack of his poetry collections waiting anxiously for his signature ink marks, he asked me simply: Why the hell are you buying all of my books? Are you crazy? My answer was a shrug and a giggly smirk … but I wanted to tell him (as cheesy as this may sound) that he had the ability to lessen my turbulence … that his genius of language and quirky observations were often exactly precisely what it was I needed to calm or keep at bay the flames of my mind and soul.

But I didn’t say this. Like I said I only responded with a shrug and a giggly smirk which coincidentally didn’t convey diddly to this word-and-image-smith … but I guess my feelings on this and many many other things are superfluous and often should remain in silence … and in my head. I fear I have been sharing too much of myself lately … there are indeed thoughts that should remain cubbied inside of my frontal lobe … and not everyone needs to know my fears or my deep desires. These things should be saved for my poetry … not that I have been able to write in weeks.

Then some guy said I looked like the Mona Lisa … and that was strange enough to at least begin a poem … but I am stiffled — ironically by words. I think all he saw through his seeming drugged haze was the knowing shape of my violent smirk.

Published in: on April 22, 2007 at 6:34 pm  Leave a Comment  


While I do not entirely believe in writer’s block because one can always write, I am feeling that long sadness again … that feeling of complete voids all through me. When this happens it feels like a long road in front of me … with nothing else … just a road. But miles and miles away I see a speck of red light like neon, my destination. But I feel too tired for the voyage, too apathetic for it. I just want it to be there again … so I miss it like a lost lover, a lost kitten. I long for the nights that blend together, when the moonglow and the deeply heated sun blend like stretched taffy … when I go go go because I have so much to say and so much to be. When I am grand … or at least believe that.

But now it is that road, that lonely road. Maybe I can hitchhike … risk everything.

Published in: on April 18, 2007 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

april is the cruellest month …

Or is it? I wonder this in my current state of finally beginning to feel balanced. I do not know how long it will last or if it will last … but I truly hope it does. Balance … but buying my plane ticket for my Portland (OR) trip has brought me the gift of something to look forward to …

But it is cruel to partner Poetry Month with both paying taxes and Alcohol Awareness Month. Maybe T.S. Eliot was privvy to the information of when Poetry Month would happen when he wrote these beautiful lines in The Waste Land.

from The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.

Eliot’s line breaks always fascinate me … they are so intuitive, effortless. He has a balance — image and emotion balanced delicately like nature, like a dancer in a get-up walking the tightrope above our clamboring heads …

I hope everyone’s April is proving to be uncruel and perhaps beautiful in the way of words and emotion, balance.

Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Unbearable White Outside

Dean Young and Tony Hoagland also addressed suffering and art … but only because it was a question from an audience member. Even if suffering creates some or all of one’s art, it is still nothing one tends to ponder as an artist. At least my experience has been pondering the fact that I created something that may be worthwhile … whether or not it was conceived out of suffering.

Actually, my art is typically conceived out of an elation … suffering is like lard in a vein … it blocks, threatens to destroy.

Dean Young and Tony Hoagland basically said that though suffering exists it is not necessarily a fodder for art. A way to art and creation. Hoagland mentioned that moment … that wonderful and inexplicable moment when a poem walks up to you, the poet … and then creation happens. That feeling to me is better than anything else but it may be close to being in love … that desire for something and the constant threat of it not being there anymore.

But I am taking my “best wishes in April snow” as far as they will go. Herman Hesse wrote: Love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else. My aversion is mostly my fear … suffering is an unpredictable emotion. It is easy for a well-adjusted and wise Herman Hesse to say this … but who is really strong enough not to flee? Not me, definitely in this April snow.

Best wishes …

Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 4:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hopefully I Will Be Back to Earth Soon …

I have nothing to say really today. I feel again like I am somewhere else. But I have read many books the last couple of days so I have a lot to say about them when I again feel like talking … or writing. Anyway, since someone did post a comment (thank you!) I decided to do a plug of my so far very basic website:

But worry not, I have teenagers on the job … the site will be filled with wonderful — and very techie — things no doubt very soon!

Published in: on April 11, 2007 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Here’s the Lowdown for You, Aaron …

While awaiting anxiously and likely creepily watching Tony Hoagland and Dean Young before the reading at the Chicago Public Library, I decided to make it kind of like you were sharing the experience with me, Aaron … so I did a little freewrite of my thoughts and feelings in the moments leading up to THE READING.

Here Tis:

Tony Hoagland’s wearing a bright-colored, button-down shirt — swimming pool blue — and a vest, brown, maybe corduroy. He’s looks cute, wise, and sweet but shorter than I ever would have thought he was.

Dean Young’s sporting a vest, too. Like a suit vest with the satin along the back … and jeans … he looks a little like a displaced cowboy. Maybe a banker who lost his pants and shoes but still had to show up in something at the banquet. Something … I like it.

It’s quite wonderful, Aaron … I look around me now and everyone’s reading poetry. This makes the world soften to me. At least right now. I will enjoy completely this coming hour or so.

Dean Young looks exactly as he does in his author photos. And so does Tony Hoagland, just shorter. I wish you were here. But I know each of us have glorious days coming, many of them, and we will likely enjoy some of them at least in the same time zone.

And I wonder why this girl sat down right next to me when there were lots of empty seats … so now I battle for the elbow room I need to write this and now have that need to do that hide-with-hand thing … hiding what you’ve written while you write so no one can read it.

Li Young Lee is also here. I saw him read in Kalamazoo at The Little Theater. I think I told you about it — how sensual I felt after hearing his long and lux poem about furniture and erotic visions. He was beautiful that night and even the smirks from a clique of former colleagues could not stiffle me, or ruin me that night. It was like some post-coital moment … unwieldy and wondrous. And I wrote so much that night … a curdled and commingled love and fear and passion in the upper right corner of my heart and the lower left of my spleen. I know this reading will be at least that but maybe more.

Your time right now is 4:00 while mine is 6:00. Real time.

So many (I mean a good 30 out of a total of 60-70 people) women have super-curly, untamed hair … why is that, Aaron? So many “literary” women now have super-curly hair … it is a strange and tiny trend.

Later I will write about the fascinating things they both had to say about the craft of poetry and the writing life in general … but here is a little taste.

Hoagland said people come to poetry for different reasons, and the main two reasons are to seek a truth and deep meaning while the others come to it for a love of language and a desire to have fun with it. He said, and I agree, that the Truth-seeker readers (me) need to do more of what the Language-lover readers do (you?) and vice versa. Tonight I plan on some big fun with Dean Young’s Embryoyo!

Aaron, Be loved and Be an infidel … well, if you want to.

Published in: on April 5, 2007 at 9:34 pm  Comments (6)