Monday, November 30, 2009


there are few things that geninely shock me. but this did. is this how you want me to find out? how i'm supposed to gather that what i believed is true? bad form. that's all i've got to say. piss poor form.

i've wasted too much time on this.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

more questions

there is some relief in it, finishing. having jumped through all the hoops set before me. i floundered this semester, didn't perform to my own expectations and that is a hard load for me to carry. i want to surpass my own expectations. but they are high.

even at work, i don't compliment much, until it is earned. i don't bullshit and tell people their work is the bomb when it simply isn't. i can't start now making bullshit my rule, because it never will be.

i pose a question to my prof this last time around, which i believe is the source of some of my confusion. what is expected of the writing in this short semester window? of the sixty poems i produce, that they be original and current, or that they be the strongest i've got. because, what i create in the crunch of a semester cannot all be publishable. never is that my goal, i think it beyond the reach of many writers. so i went with, an accurate, honest window into my writing, which is the more vulnerable place for me.

i think what these professors forget from time to time is that we are actually artists. that this is more than just a craft class. that the emotional core of our work resides in us, not on the page. shut me down and it's tough to regain that momentum. my work in semester was compared to my pre-semester residency packet which was culled from at least two years work. the best of two years will always be better than sixty under the gun in semester poems. the comparison is unfair. as much as i hate that word. professors should know this.

if there is some tempering of souls that needs to take place, if we are supposed to toughen up to withstand this process, then i say that is bullshit too. what is needed is trust. violate it and it is hardwon a second time.

i went straight to a book i'd been checking and rechecking all semester in hopes of reading, but finally gave up a couple weeks ago and returned. it was nice today to sit with it and delve in. definately what i need to be reading right now.

i am intrigued by certain things, this being one of them.

now to the endings i must write. the words will come. they have begun.

and the tip leaf tree's scar from where the limb was removed has weathered and toughened. proud flesh. and i wish it were that time again when the memory lived. i wish that more than you know. but for me, now, the key, i think is letting the memory go. that is not accomplished by denial, but rather, acknowledgement. today felt like the beginning of that.

i must go back to the old places and leave your memory there.

done. done. done. done. done!

just put the last period on my critical paper. what a load off.

now i'll let it set for a couple days and read it again. usually i just lauch them out the door, off my plate, but i'm trying not to be hasty. (again, the zebra line comes to mind).

i can't help it that i think academia is a load of crap. i don't think we are the sum total of our works alone. the works are an expression, merely that. it's hard to say what i'm getting at. but i think so many writers out there think they are what they write. i don't buy that.

reviews, good or bad, don't make a writer.

passing an mfa program, does not an artist make.

i don't know how to say it other than, there are a lot of artists out there without one scrap of training or technique.

the critics can pick them apart, but it brings me back to my basic question, the premise of my life, what is the function of art? is it a soul expression, an attribute of who we are, an expression of our being? or is it merely a skill we develop and hone?

there is something to be said for working at the craft. there is something to be said for using ten dollar words appropriately. but the world does not revolve around expert critique.

neither does it thrive on inspiration alone.

i don't know the answer. it is yes and no. this and that. the middle road, which is where i always find myself.

here, at the end of my first semester i am no closer to my answers. no nearer my goal. but i am nearer the prize. or, the prized credential, as it were.

just yesterday i was invited to study under a great poet whom i love, to obtain my ph.d. why would i do that? do i want to do that?

what purpose would it serve?

i do not know. but it is an interesting question. and for one who seems to both love and hate academia, it is one i will have to consider.

peace out kids.

one more to go

so, the last thing left on my rather sizeable plate is a critical paper. i started it. strange how i write, i just pour it out. like a glass of water. rarely do i go back and change anything. very rarely, i think that's what freaks people out most about my process. so i partially fill this glass, then walk away. when i return, i will pour some more, then more, then the glass will be full and off my plate. but i need an infusion of beauty now.

i just wrote five poems, and while i can't say if they will live or die (that has never been my decision to make) i can only wait and see. which while garner respect, which will command the breath of life, which will live and be strong enough to take to a reading.

maybe what i just wrote is strong. i never know. before the last student reading i still wasn't certain they were strong poems that i was going to read. that is, until i read them and the place went mad. this is my experience at readings. the place responds to my work. i don't know that i have anything of that ilk, but i will try to bring something this semester, most likely in a different vein, because i don't write only smutty poetry, some of it is actually decent.

once i punt this paper off my plate, i need to get a manuscript together for our three hour a day poetry workshops. where we critique each other's work and explore the subtleties of misinterpretation and inane suggestion. where i grow disagreeable and facetious. that is my hydean aspect. i guess. though, maybe i am always disagreeable and facetious. who knows.

one more end to write, that epic tale i have yet to conclude.

but i'm growing tired of the unrequited. and won't carry the burden, yes, that is what it has become to me, much longer. i will leave it off for the good that is coming my way.

i'm tired now. only enough strength to carry the viable. the rest will have to make its own way. or languish on the roadside.

these are my crossroads. this is my course. i will finish this paper and pass this semester. and try, with all my might, to rest while my girl is away.

but mostly, i just want to play.


Friday, November 27, 2009

my day off

it will be nice when my days off don't involve work. but that is not the case yet. i made it clear to the kids that i'm exhausted and anyone who can pitch in, needs to. some did, that pleases me because it meant that i got a nap and was able to do some work while i was there instead of just leaning up against a counter and trying to stay upright.

it's bitterly cold tonight. gonna snow cold. which i don't mind so much, i just want traveling weather on jan 10, that's when i get my girl from newark (but i'll be driving down from boston).

my deadline looms, and at least i've another window of time after tomorrow, if push comes to shove. but i never force myself to write. i write what i can, when i can. poetry is not made on demand. at least, mine is not.

though it is nice when a friend commissions a piece, as my best friend did before her belly dance troupe danced at samhain. that piece came out okay, i knew it would go over well outloud. and it did. my prof banged it out on her desk and mentioned a ghost meter, iambic tetrameter, and so she wanted it revised.

i banged it out today, literally, in iambic tetrameter. if it will hold up, i do not know. my best friend loves it more now, it doesn't have the weak spots, and it might actually be better. who knows.

poetry is utterly subjective, as i've always said.

so i wait for her to come online and hold me with words. this is how people tend to me, and i'm grateful. so tired, my parts are all over the place. i'm doing more now than ever, but it's all forward movement. these means produce desired ends. and that pleases me.

so lean i will, and am grateful for those who lean into me. though i have little to offer. only time for one friend. and my girl. beside that no one exists to me. (well, there is one school friend) but beyond that, no one.

perhaps tonight i will write the ends of the stories that need to be set to rest. anchored to today, so they will not haunt me tomorrow.

i'm ready for the good. it is coming, i can feel it in my bones.

the diner

yesterday night we agreed, my girl and i, to eat at the diner. it was perfect for us. she got what she wanted, i got what i wanted--not cooking.

today, i'm supposed to be off, but it's black friday and the guy scheduled can't work, so i am supposed to be covering for him. at least i said i would. but that makes three weeks straight of one day off, and thirteen days straight leading up to the three week run. i'm just tired.

so, my boss and i agree, my days off have to be my days off. end of story. the thing about that is, i need the money, and if they will authorize overtime, so much the better. when i am pulled in from far for some bullshit shift, an hour or so, that's no good. but i figure it is paying my dues in some strange way.

but i need to say no over forty. the thing is, i've not gone far over forty in all this madness. that's the surprising bit.

i had the teacher gifts hanging over my head, and this morning sat down with my kid and organized them all. anything, any small thing, any miniscule thing that to a normal person would just be another easy thing, to me is nearly overwhelming. so, we sorted through it all and got them bagged and packed up for her to give to her teachers. transporting and delivering is still an issue, but one that will work itself out. at least i don't have to deal with that until december sometime. but i can push it out of my mind now. that's the thing.

there is so much going on in there, that i get lost in it sometime. and when i'm standing there contemplating life while perfectly foaming a venti dry cappucino, and the customer yells at me for not acknowledging them. i am irritated by that. people say i need a thicker skin, but i say, don't yell at baristas. period.

i'm tired of it. the thing about it is, i was making the drink the way he asked for it, he just felt compelled to stand there telling me how to make a drink i make perfectly anyway. so, after yelling at me he goes into the bathroom and yells at me again when coming out.

you just had to acknowledge me.

i was making your drink.

you see, i'm short, can't see over the machine. so to hear people, sometimes i have to lean toward them. and if the machine is going, forget it. plus, he was a lowtalker. doesn't help. i hate lowtalkers at work. they frustrate me because the acoustics of our store are so bad, i can be standing two feet from you and can't hear, but can hear crystal clear from the back of the store. must be some funnel the raised ceiling is making. i don't really understand it.

and if that cappucino was bullshit, and flat, that would be one thing. but i make a damn fine cappucino. creamy foam. the way it should be done. these drinks don't just fall from the sky.

and yesterday, my co-worker gave me a noogie because i left a part of the espresso machine in a pitcher. my bad. i was in the process of closing the bar, and it is standard to soak these things. well, she asked me what i was doing, and i had to just laugh because i was nearly delirious at that point.

so she walked over, put me in a headlock (she is much, much taller than me, so it was not too difficult for her to grab my head quickly), and gave me a noogie.

i laughed.

it hurt though. i hadn't been given a proper noogie since i was a kid. she was raised with many older siblings. i guess she was making a point. and, i got it.

oddly enough, besides the wanton unprofessionalism of doling out the noogie, it made me feel like i'm accessible. you know. only family does that shit. we did that kind of thing all the time in my family. i don't even remember how old i was when i got my last noogie. mind you, i would have clocked someone else attempting that maneuver, but from her, it was hilarious.

i proceeded to demonstrate the limpy, but one must have the height advantage, which i sadly lack. so. i let it go with a simple visual.

yesterday was wild. saw new moon. loved it.

and had an omlette for thanksgiving. with homefries and toast cut on the bias.

i love my toast cut on the bias, because the rectangles don't taste as good. my daughter looked at my plate and said,
ooh, the bias.


why don't you ask for it?

i feel pretentious.

no one, not i, especially, want to be a difficult customer any longer. i probably still am. but, i do what i can to not be a complete pain in the ass.

so when i get my toast cut on the bias, i am thrilled. it is one of the small fortuitious graces i am grateful for.

weird. i know. my daughter reminds me constantly.

we are fond of the salami on hand sandwich. i told her when she goes to her dad's and pulls that, he'll be mortified.

she laughed.

oh, it will be so strange when she's gone. so very strange to be alone again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


coming up to my last deadline this semester, i never thought it would end, but i'm grateful it is upon us. i'm tired. i'm out of words. yet i've got this last great push before delivery. i will pass. that i'm sure of. just have to make this last deadline. five poems, two revisions, and a long critical paper to write. it's all so much bullshit, and i've come to the conclusion that a master's is mastering the saying of what people want to hear (in proper formatting). that's all.

i hope to not be so stubborn next year. :)

i know, good luck with that. a zebra cannot change her stripes.

so i will be who i am, and struggle through this program and all the cognitive dissonance that drags me back to the ring for another round. i have so many artistic issues with this work, this study, i have to put those aside. i essentially realized this semester that if i'm going to make it through this program, i have to stop thinking. isn't that sad? i have to divorce my conscious mind from the process and just let my process take over. i can do this work. the doing is not the problem, it's the bullshit of it all. the, mine is bigger than yours, mentality.

so, so, tired of it. and i've just begun.

i have a friend who has slogged through the mud of my doubt, dragging me through with her outright love for the program we are both in. i needed that ballast against my disdain, because i would have quit if i had not had it.

residency then will be a great party for me. ten days to enjoy. and struggle. but at least it is ripe with fun.

i drowned my phone, by accident of course, and now have a new one. i barely knew the ring of my last phone, and now, this strange ring. so i get a call tonight and i look at my kid and wonder why she's not answering her phone. she looks at me and picks up my phone.
it's yours mom.


so if you call and i, a. don't answer, or b. hang right up on you, it is because i am technologically delayed. i need my paralyzer ring tone again. i have had it for so many years now, i don't even recognize anything but that as a phone call.

and my little girl grows in strength and beauty. and that is all i can ask for. all a mother wants or needs (well, mostly).

Saturday, November 21, 2009


i'm not sure if it's the amount of madness at my work, the general discontent and ease of contagion, or if it is my exhaustion that made today one of the toughest of late. like i'm trying to hold two boats together that are pulling apart in opposite directions and the current isn't helping. there just isn't much i can do.

maybe swim. hadn't thought of that.

used to be a slow day at my work was huge. now the slow days have picked up and we're doing more business with the same number of people (hear, two). it's tough. but it's good. i'd rather be busy than standing around. time flies when you're just trying to keep your head above water.

something wet going on here. hmm.

today, i knew the order would be there when i arrived, but one case in particular was crushed, this case housed the caramel sauce and it was pouring out of the box and pooling on the floor. all i managed to do today with the order was caramel control. the rest of it is sitting there for me to get to tomorrow.

i left and the girl closing tonight just smiled. i told her,
i'm opening, don't worry about it. i don't care.

that's my new phrase, i don't care.

we can't work together without compassion. i understand she is saddled with the new guy, and is essentially tied to the bar. and that if i couldn't get the order put away, i who can get an order put away before 7:30am. if i can't do it, she shouldn't have to worry about it.

if she feels ambitious she can, but we're so busy, there is no way it can get done on most any day it seems.

and i'm just being realistic. trying to work less, because i'm tired. exhausted actually, and i still work twice as hard as everyone else, even when i'm slowing myself down.

just wish the customers would give me a break. that would be nice.

some of them do.

and sometimes, it all works out.

i'm just tired is all.

like a bit of butter scraped across too much bread.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

losing my way

as usual. sometimes the bloody pen is more than i can handle. and today, it cut deep. i sit here, with these new strangers, and wonder who they are. clearly they are mine, they are truth. but sometimes, i just don't want to see it. sure, when it's all zen, it's great. but there is still a lot of angst in me. that won't go away.

and then there are the unfinished stories i have yet to conclude. the answers i know but won't commit to in writing. the way i heard her speak and thought of you and finally said,

that's all there, waiting to be written. and i just don't know that i'm up to it now. i want to curl up in a ball and sleep. that tells me, i'm not ready yet to confront that story. to write that ending.

but it's over, it's been over for so long. you were never here. i never had you. why do i struggle to release that which i've never possessed?

same old story. so tired of it.

but last night in pilates, i was curled up in a ball and heard my heart say,
it's time. time for the good to come.

and i just sighed in relief. i knew it was right. that i'm ready.

the absent men, the nongivers are the ones i'm not accepting now.

yes, i do have loose ends to tie up, but soon, they will be bound.

and i will be free.

i am free now.

free at last.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the small of her back

belly dance was fun last night, wasn't my favorite class of all time, but we did a lot of different things. which, in my opinion, more isn't always better, i like the real intense blow your thighs out isolations, but we did that with arms. my arms need it, maybe that's why i didn't like it so much.

i keep trying to focus on what i'm going to do in december at these things, and last night, i'm standing directlyl behind my instructor who has as close to a perfect body as they come. it's something to stare at someone's ass for about an hour. particularly when it's a sculpted ass. the small of her back caught my attention and i'm simply going to have to write about it.

pilates. my god. i made it through another session, but i'm struggling. clearly. though last night wasn't all out pain like the previous session. i think it's when i miss a week, my body revolts. i realized, i need to start doing it at home. stop making excuses, just do it. because i'm not going to the gym or swimming yet, just haven't made it over to the pool to sign up.

i have one last paper to hand in this semester and i'm glad it's over. glad i made it. next semester starts new year's day with a residency. i'm just going to try to enjoy it.

gotta run, work. what else is new. the past two days i was off, and still went in to work. something about supporting yourself and a kid is very motivating, but now i don't have a day off until next thursday. long time. i'm going to have to pace myself, take my own advice.

it is well.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

these magic moments

so, i made it through the marathon that was halloween weekend for me. it was such a rush and hurry situation that i tried to enjoy it but found myself mostly getting through it.

my girl's commitments to her favorite horse, the riding competition, and the demands that put on my time were legion. but she ribboned, twice. one blue, one red.
she wanted two blue, but understood what happened the second time. the judge called for a two point trot. not sure they had practiced this much and her horse tends to get a little quick. she came up pretty close to the horse behind and while she slowed, it was evident that she was not completely in control. equitation is all about control. she got second. i was proud of her though because she was competing in the older girl section of these trials, whereas she had competed before in the younger section. she has matured so much. and i got one last competition out of those riding clothes. amen!

next show, i'll probably have to buy her all new, but that is fine by me. we cannot pursue our passions in the buff.

so i had today off to recover, fortunately, from pilates, which has been kicking my ass. i've been sneaking out of there early the last three times i went because i was just so tired. but that doesn't help me strengthen, so i suffered through last night, though i was miserable. such a lump of gelatinous flesh, pilates is all about abdominal strength, i have realized, i have none. this is why i must do it.

i hope to progress, but i have to actually do the class, even though i keep struggling through, i have to stay and force myself to do it.

so today, when i woke up, my entire body felt like a headache. i think it was just sore from being exercised.

and my instructor has just returned from paris where she ate her weight in chocolates and cheese, and she has a nice little roll of fat on her perfect body, and it was nice to see, that's all.

i go away to residency and come back with love handles, she goes to paris, and, well, it happens.

belly dance was fun last night. at one point she had the whole class watching me and when i realized, i stopped dancing and stared back at them.

keep going,
she said, then came behind me and put her hands on my hips so she could see what i was doing. and she was breaking it down for the class as i danced with my eyes closed.

it was a pretty cool moment. i have strong technique, most of which i've learned from her. but i do improvise, and dance the way my body moves. i don't do everything as she does, because i am not her.

but the lebanese hip circle is really beautiful, and it's moments like those that i am certain december will be a riot. i'm just going to have fun with it.

come to think of it, i better start choreographing that. i have the outfit completely put together, the music chosen, now the serious dance club starts!

peace kids. hope you're well.