Art Hop Reading in Kalamazoo at KIA Friday!



This Friday, August 3rd anytime from 5:00-8:00 The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will be hosting a special Art Hop event of poetry, music, and more! I will be one poet among other great feature poets reading poems inspired by the amazing artwork of Lorna Simpson. We are to read 2 poems … and I am still grappling with them but sometimes I simply need great pressure to perform.  I hope this event is very well attended … so please come if you are in Kalamazoo! An Open Mic is at 6:15 and the feature poets read beginning at 7:00. Come and support the Arts and local artists. And there may be wine …


Published in: on July 30, 2007 at 1:21 pm  Comments (2)  

My Other Blog

I began another blog to exclusively discuss books and issues facing Libraries and Librarians. Check it out …

Published in: on July 24, 2007 at 12:27 am  Leave a Comment  

A Top Hat Full of Emotions Manufactured Only for Me


My dear Fernando Pessoa wrote: We manufacture realities. We use the raw materials we always used but the form lent it by art effectively prevents it from remianing the same. A table made out of pinewood is a pine tree but it is also a table. We sit down at the table not the pinetree …

Lately I have felt immensely connected to Pessoa and his so-true-it-hurts musings on life and one’s place (or mis-place) in it. I wrote a poem on the 4th of July that is titled (after one of his true observances in his The Book of Disquiet): “Everything was sleeping as if the universe were asleep.” I feel this sentiment deeply and see it constantly before me. Everything not only was sleeping, it still is … and this is I think what makes getting through my bad 5 days out of 7 worse. I know I have to try to forget about it, ignore it for my own sense of self and a direction toward a consistent contentment and stability but I cannot. Emotions are very difficult for me to let go of … no matter what the cost to myself, no matter how badly I want them to go away.

Today I was not completely honest to my new doctor telling him I only think of someone who was in my life (however minimally) only once and a while. Indeed I think of him often, too often especially considering the emotions it brings. I think I think of him so often because I want to understand what everything was, is, and how did I / do I factor into anything in the last 3 often emotionally mangled years of my life. Philosophizing of any kind is double-edged … what can make you feel well can also potentially make you feel badly. This is especially true of self-reflection and in talking with the doc about my regrets, fears, and feelings of inadequacy I realized all of the above are indeed contained within myself. All of these emotions and outlooks constantly cowering and crumpled together at the boot of my brain.

The questions that arise in self-reflection is why I believe Pessoa had multiple selves. I can see how this is comforting in the sometimes autobiographical and confessional but sometimes a created persons in my own poems. Many of the speakers in my poems are the mouthpieces of my deepest desires and heartbreaks, frustrations and violent visions … but it is sometimes (not always) safer with “someone else,” the persona you create. My persona is the table at which I sit; the proverbial table is part of me but it is something else (someone else) in its art. And so I am seeing The Book of Disquiet as a bible of sorts … now reading 10 passages a night before I go to bed.

The persona of Pessoa’s I am currently identifying with is Soares … a file clerk who leads a lonely and unexciting existence in Lisbon, Portugal. His reflections are a result of his emotional turmoil and expressive intellectual joys and nonjoys. What do I fear? Much and everything it seems … especially the brainchildren of emotions. Especially the ways I feel I have not only failed myself but others … and a great fear of failing as a poet and therefore as the person I feel I truly am as I sometimes reluctantly roam the earth with grudges in my pockets that both hold me down and motivate movement toward something.

And on the subject of fear … Triskaidekaphobia is a strong fear of the number 13 and Friday the 13th. I have always liked and enjoyed the number 13 myself since it has an alluring history. And I no longer believe in luck … but instead in existential choice more than plain chance. Sir Soares … speak to me when everything seems to be sleeping and we’ll evaluate existence. Sir Soares … cheers to our constant emotions manufactured like metal levers and placed in the hollow cup of our minds. Happy 13 …

Today is the big day …


Published in: on July 13, 2007 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Driver Notes



I think I have said this before … poems are everywhere. I went home to Ohio this weekend for a wedding and much-needed family time I hadn’t realized I needed. And through the odd moments I had with my psychology and emotions this weekend I still found poems. Before I left for Ohio, it was the 4th of July. I sat in my dark living room and wrote poems and did erasures of my old poems from undergrad by only the light of 6 tealights. I guess this is my version of Pablo Neruda writing poems naked. Obviously both nudity and darkness help art along in their inherent vulnerability. I knew I didn’t want anything to do with the fireworks downtown (though I was unfortunately able to hear them well) since I have a fairly recent aversion to fireworks … one of those emotional hiccups that won’t go away even after holding your breath and believing you’re over “it” whatever “it” is …

I am not certain if my family knowing I am communicating with my dead aunt Shirley is a step in the right direction or in the wrong one. I guess only time will tell. And this, like poems, are always more powerful in the dark. But darkness and nakedness aside … poems are even in the stall of a rest area bathroom off the Ohio Turnpike. A small piece of paper labelled “Driver Notes” was in the stall waiting for someone to save. The biblical passages written all over it and the “Hi! Jesus loves you!” didn’t really change my perceptions but the experience did … it did save me in a certain respect … that poem on the horizon of my viscera.

The above photo is one an uncle gave me this weekend. He said he came across it and thought I would want it. It is interesting how much you forget until you remember … like my aunt’s puppy, Mindy and that coat.

And I think I was happier as a blonde (now a natural brunette) … and maybe also with my asymmetrical bangs cut by the paint-stained and loving hands of my aunt Shirley.


Published in: on July 11, 2007 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

A BB Gun & A Ballet


So after my first foray into the world of shooting a BB gun, I went to the ballet. For the first time in weeks I feel I had a truly full and satisfying weekend. Most every weekend till this one … lots of sleeping and reclusive impulses. So first, the BB Gun …

I think it is intensely bizarre that I was just pondering my father’s love of his Red Rider and now here I am … the daughter who swore she’d never touch a gun of any kind is actually a regular Annie Oakley shooting empty beer cans with a frightening vengeance. But I think I did have a lot of residual rage left over from various things … maybe this helped … this and my “art therapy.” But I will use my BB Gun talents for good exclusively … I shall never shoot the eyes from a beloved doll.

Then I went to the ballet on Sunday. It pays (literally) to know someone who lives in the basement of a ballet studio. My friend, Jim the Sicilian flamenco guitarist (yes, that’s what I always call him) lives in the basement of the Kalamazoo Ballet who put on this wonderful production called Jane. This is the first Ballet company that ever adapted the Charlotte Bronte novel, Jane Eyre into a ballet. I was truly honored to see one of my favorite books of all time translated into dance … ballet even … and done so artfully. I loved the crucifixion imagery when Jane encounters Reverend St. John Rivers in the stormy woods after Rochester had broken her fragile heart. And both Jane’s strength and fragility were portrayed in this production … not an easy task I am guessing for the very talented 15 year old ballerina who played Jane.

And now off to Ohio I go in a couple of days … I am certain I will have lots to ponder and write about after this little holiday in my hometown that never really feels like home. But neither does Kalamazoo. Portland did though … if it still wants me. And I very much hope it does.

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment