i’m giving a little talk today
at the eli and edythe broad art museum
as part “expanded writing: a postscript symposium”.

it’s a minor talk,
reflecting on my time
as a writer in residence there.

whenever i give a talk,
whether i’m in the middle of writing it
or working on my delivery (practice makes perfect!)

i turn to poetry for courage and inspiration,
to calm the feeling that i just may
vomit at any moment.

today, i’ll post two of my faves.
because, if poetry is good for me,
it’s likely you could use some more in your diet.

i doubt i’ll ever be as good as these women
and certainly, today’s talk pales in comparison.
here’s hoping their obvious fearlessness is catching.

fingers crossed.

for veronica

July 15, 2014

i don’t know how many of you have a soul mate,
someone who enters your life so naturally
that you can’t imagine that
they’d not been there
all along.

for me,
that person is veronica.
and we’ve been friends for a decade this summer.

as she revisits the place where our friendship began,
separated, i struggle to find the words that
do my feelings justice.

so i figured i’d steal someone else’s.

initially, i turned
to a book of poetry
a textbook from the study abroad where we met.
i thought i’d write here some of my favorites:

“the goat paths” by james stephens
since it calls to mind
the ireland i see
when i close
my eyes.

“a last confession” by w.b. yeats
on which i wrote a paper
talking about the homosexual imagery,
the first my professor had read in his career.

the essential “a disused shed in co. wexford” by derek mahon
but while important, i only ever really liked
the title and the second stanza.

“bread” by brendan kennelly
but that last line
is just way too erotic.

but while nostalgic
none were right
for this
occasion.

ironically,
(or perhaps not)
i turned to the work of adrienne rich.
in honor of our friendship, past and present,
i give you sonnets i and iii from twenty-one love poems.

I
Whenever in this city, screens flicker
with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,
victimized hirelings bending to the lash,
we also have to walk . . . if simply as we walk
through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties
of our own neighborhoods.
We need to grasp our lives inseparable
from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,
and the red begonia perilously flashing
from a tenement sill six stories high,
or the long-legged young girls playing ball
in the junior highschool playground.
No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.

III
Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
did I lean from my window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move towards me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we’d live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.

here’s to the next ten.
soul twins

i can hear the morning birds already.

not dead

July 11, 2014

i find it difficult to know where to begin, exactly.
or perhaps, more accurately, how to begin again.
in lieu of any real effort or explanation
i’ll simply write a post as if
i haven’t been largely absent from the blogosphere.

this past wednesday,
on the invitation of a peripheral friend
of a dude was i was dating earlier this year
(note the ever-present past tense)
i went to a knitting group.

i know i know.
you require evidence.

ici. IMG_2563

i found myself uncommonly shy
which, for anyone who really knows me
is in general keeping with my character.
the lukewarm reception of a member of my high school class
that i hadn’t seen since graduation didn’t really make for the most auspicious of starts. though i take comfort in the fact that,
of the two of us,
i’ve aged better.
markedly.
(i wonder if she still plays the french horn)

anyway,
i won’t go into details of the evening
as they are largely what one would expect of a knitting group:
a group of giddy women, happy to escape their quotidian, conventional lives with a perhaps higher degree of nerdery than one sees in the general population.

i’m not really sure this group is for me.
the number of new mothers and percentage of group members currently at various stages of gestation means the focus of conversation is largely…limited we’ll say.*

there’s also much drinking and
as i’m a rather fastidious knitter,
i don’t really care to drink when i knit
as it affects one’s gauge.

but even if this group is not for me.
knitting is.

and i miss it.

i don’t see how my life
in its current formation
can accommodate this particular hobby,
at least with any kind of regularity.
and please, no one even mention
my poor disused matchless.

but somehow
i think i must.

my goal in life
is to create a life
of which i can be proud.
i’m not sure i’m doing that
if i’m daily denying myself
one of my life’s few joys.

*sigh*

at least i get good coffee on a regular basis.

anyway,
i’m not sure if anyone’s left out there
(and if you are, do leave a comment; it encourages!)
but if you miss me at all
much of my online life
has moved to instagram.
there’s a lot of coffee art and dyke graffiti,
but if you want to stalk my life,
take a look

until next time, bitches.

*the only credit i’ll demand is for ignoring the woman who explained that she circumcised her son, not for religious or health reasons (spurious enough though those are) but because “everyone else in her family is”. setting aside the fact that she’s apparently seen the genitalia of all her male relatives, the fact that she was willing to mutilate her son for the sake of aesthetic conformity created in me such a violent sense of disgust and repulsion that there is no word i know of in the english language powerful enough to describe it. i later fixed her knitting which, i think, points to my general superiority, if not as a human being, at least in manners.

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