“I am feeling … very Grey Gardens today.”


This statement just came out of my mind, sitting here trying to make sense of why and what I am feeling. Feeling Grey Gardens is feeling complexity to an unnatural degree, an emotion amalgam that is really inexplicable, at least in everyday words strewn into everyday sentences. It is the shaky place between losing it and writing a poem — feeling very Grey Gardens.

And in feeling this, I feel for it.

I am madly disgusted that Hollywood has to break into the house of the once and often forgotten yet again. There will never ever never be another Grey Gardens film. And there certainly will never be another Big and Little Edie.

But how arrogant I am acting saying this, having a blog at all? Somewhere, I am also riding this boat to nowhere gloating words outward and rolling them all over my body; I am a public display that makes someone else sick no doubt.

I must learn to deal with there being this sudden greed to finally see art that has been there for so many midnights, ignored like a madwoman in the attic?

Oh, opinions. Opinions in the world’s face like this. I feel something sinister now. In this. I need to take it or leave it. To take me or leave me.


We should all choose a day to eat ice cream with knives.

I choose tomorrow’s Friday evening after a swim.

Grey Gardens, to me, is pure poetry.  I only wish I could be even a pinch so poetic.

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm  Comments (4)  

“just don’t say anything.”


Sometimes life can feel as busy as a clock. And dreams are no different: fast, busy, ticking like little bombs under our sternums, delighting in the last gasps of us on the track of our over-nights. I received the above postcard this week from poet, Mary Ruefle, not only a genius poet but sweetly enough¬† a friend. We have begun to write back and forth as people never write anymore — collaged and aged postcards, typewriters, pens and paper.

Years ago, when Mary was in Kalamazoo while teaching at Western, she attended one of my esoteric cocktail parties and the topic that evening — past life readings. Mary sipped red wine from my demitasse cups and was told she had been an 18th century English poet. Our excitement led us to believe John Keats was among us. And it was revealed to me I had died in childbirth hundreds of times (as the mother and the child) as well as my time as a Salem, Massachusetts witch-burner. But I digress.

This postcard was a gut-shot … “Usually the radiant is a small area.” Mary is the master of the erasure … just pick up her erasure, A Little White Shadow. See the excerpt below:


And for some reason, all of this has similar emotions to my dream last night. I recall only bits with no narrative structure.

Bits I remember:

Large 1970s Cadillac, brown; me driving aforementioned Caddy naked; watching an older gentlemen (very Frederick Seidel-ish) cleaning bloody rags in a white sink, then having to clean the sink while glancing back at me longingly and saying: “Just don’t say anything.”

I have a vague recollection of being lost in a place I had never been and I think this is the residue from Don and I discussing our Jamaica trip with our friend, Nan who was married there in December. I have great apprehensions about this beautiful man in my life wanting to literally show me the world.

Beautiful apprehensions … the radiant in a small area.

Published in: on February 20, 2009 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Coming Together to Honor Herb Scott


The afternoon I found out Herb passed away, I walked to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts to sit with his favorite painting there … Sleeping Woman. A group of little ones lined the sidewalk as I walked into the museum, just finishing a field trip no doubt, their wiggling little bodies smiling like suns. The day felt strange — heavy and light at the same precise moment. And sitting there on the floor for the 2 or so hours in front of that painting, I was disturbed by my not crying, but smiling … but Herb was always the harbinger of smiling in me, in my happiness as a person and as a poet; he understood better than anyone being a poet was the main part of my complete capacity as Carrie the person.

In the KIA that day, sitting before that sleeping woman in blues, I wrote a poem called, “Going to See Her 3 Days After”. When I found out about Herb’s passing, it had been 3 days after his passing … that number 3 coming into my life again like my black cocktail olive from my old martini glass. Those days when I drank martinis while reading manuscripts for Herb and New Issues.

Those days. I think of burgers and beer at Corner Bar and Full City Cafe cakes while I looked at his original Calder’s in he and Shirley’s beautiful home on Inkster. Those days. Still here with me. Still and always to be with me.

Small Murders came to be a reality in print because of Herb and his sincere belief in me. It was with his sincerity, I began to send out my poems, receive publications, and truly embrace the poet inside of me. The poet who had been careful and often cowering inside of me, waiting to come out but being afraid to, afraid of a failure that Herb zapped away with the magic of his words, his amazing editor’s soul, and immeasurable talent as a teacher and poet.

And now, years later, he brings me back to my friends from Western. To us toasting him together in our common love, memory, and neverending pieces of our soul he still daily touches.

Cheers, Herb … I will love you always and ever.

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

process …


This poem is one I have returned to many times, first beginning in the fall of 2008 when I began to write it for an Art Hop reading at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The poem was inspired by an aerial photograph of a row of lakeside houses in the Michigan artists’ exhibit, Perspectives on Place. Ultimately, this was not the artwork that moved me enough to use it in the KIA Art Hop reading, but it became one of those … (I am trying to find a perfect way to describe this and will; it will thus be reported) one of those … for now I will call apparition poems … that little guy you see in the corner of your eye and when you look with your head it is gone as if its existence was a tease.

But here it sits, in me, in my purse, notebook, file folder … it keeps moving about … and it is still my little enigma. Likely one of the poems that has been most an enigma — its silhouette of language teasing like a movie soundtrack in the middle of the night.

To me, it almost reads like a soundtrack … since it is an audible narrative of my emotions in the fall … good ones reflecting on bad ones / present reflecting on past.

And maybe it is WHAT it is … perhaps it is the lily-backed fodder of that little story waiting in my head, rattling and rolling like a cheap travel game: plastic mingling with the sudden heart attack of a delicate ball trying to find its place, its divot, its gutter.

My reading at the Woodland Pattern Book Center was great. I was worried about my confidence being gone since it has been so long since I have read to an audience, and this is perhaps the largest audience for whom I have ever performed. I ended up reading 3 poems from Ward Eighty-One after promising myself I would finish another poem that grasps at me like a baby for a breast. Well, two poems — one following me all over Milwaukee while we ate steaks and drank obscure German beer; one coming the morning we were to leave to come back home … you in the morning. Here is the latter, a definite illustration of process — groggy and blushing morning poetry.


There will always be something delightfully destructive in my bones when I look at you in the morning, especially lying on that much white. More poetry will come in this, from this, and therein lies Process … lies life no matter what anymore.

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 12:27 am  Leave a Comment