Thursday, June 30, 2005

my little boats Posted by Hello
Both my girls are home now they have been separated for four days. This is how they love each other: they compare their bodies; height, weight. Olivia shows Bella a new scar and it goes on like this for twenty minutes—what has wounded them while they were apart. Isabel says, I ate a hot dog for breakfast and no one stopped me. I sat in the front seat of the car and I did not die.

Sometimes I feel bad that I have never loved any adult the way I love my children. I know their smells. I can feel them enter a room without turning around. I sometimes feel frightened that when they are old enough to take an account they will say, “she has never loved anyone like us” and I will be blamed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I will get there... Posted by Hello
I can feel my need to work on the manuscript again. I can feel it the way one watches wind across an open field, the knowledge that lightening is coming. I don’t ever want to stop writing. I don’t ever want to forget myself again, stop putting words on paper but I am sure it will happen. The world spins like that.

All the grants are done. They are out of my hands. I begin the next round. Did you ever meet someone and know that everyone who'd ever loved prepared you for this one moment? My writing feels like that right now. All these little parts of Teresa are adding up, why I took grant writing, why I was a painter, why I was the only girl on top of a hill.

Even the loves are starting to have their own language. Addition is a beautiful thing, it never subtracts, only adds to itself. Each step counts. Today I can feel it moving across the field. I will get there. I will get to you.

water remembers Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Okay I am sooo addicted to this I am almost tempted to do a reading. There are some girls who use to play with dolls, I played with tape recorders. Lord help you all and btw, I am taking requests. Oh I want to read Sexton’s I Have Been Her Kind, very badly but it is such a let down if you have heard the master.
this is an audio post - click to play

today I crave to be more land then water  Posted by Hello
ignis fatuus

My little genius, my little light
Birds Are Skimming The Window

I tell them this is not a good life choice
even though the birds are sidestepping, glazing their right wing
over the rhododendrons, their left on the glass.

My daughter and I are putting together the skeleton of a sparrow,
carefully we are trying to construct the impossible flight.

Olivia says she wants to die first
please don’t go before me.
We are selfish in this act of loving.
We are selfish in laying down bones.

I want to tell her I am older it is my right.
I will open the window.

The baby is sleeping and my sister’s son died blue.
In the morning paper there are photographs
of children without hands.

I do not wonder
how they eat or bathe
but simply how their mother explains
what is lost will never return

because my daughter wouldn't accept
she would say everything will come back.

Monday, June 27, 2005

neon sign IT2M / Subway of MadridAOne Letter / TT\"e\"lopes_rS

bang, bang

Once Billy Collins told a group of us that if we ever caught him looking at his own poem in a book to shoot him. He said once he published it he was done with it. Well I think I am the exact opposite, if you ever find me taking for granted that someone actually published me in a journal then please get out the gun.

Tonight in the middle of a thunderstorm I drove to Barnes and Noble and bought the new issues of Pleiades and Bitter Oleander, mainly because I have had several emails about the poem and for some reason have not received my copies. I needed to see it for myself, and for some other reason that I am not quite sure of, had to tell the clerk who was ringing me up that I was on page 32.

I would also probably start telling strangers at the periodical section if the person I was with didn’t start whining about how my “free copy” would be there in a few weeks and wanted to leave. No matter, I understand myself and I work perfectly.

Tonight I went for a run in a thunderstorm, tonight I touched my name and for a moment it was all okay.
So yesterday we went down to Loring Park and looked at all the Sculptures outside which btw, as you can see in the below photo, was worth the effort. I wish I had a photo of my daughter running through the big vagina which of course she did. It did not happen quite that way the first time when it actually involved my body. Oh the limitations of art.

I just can’t wait for her “What I Did This Summer” stories b/c you have to know that running through a big vagina is going to leave an imprint on her mind. Then again, what I think will never does and those small things always tend to haunt like her brief 15 min in sunday school.

Anyway this photo is the top runner for my book cover. Hell I’d buy it.

because suzanne missed it the first time
Oh the wonders of art  Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 26, 2005

You know as a woman you are spending too much time on the computer when you actually starting timing your monthly cycles by blog posts. Yes I know too much information but I actually had a great sensitivity this morning to not being on someone’s blog roll which is so lame I can’t even begin to delve into it. I need to call my friends back. I need to answer emails. I need to actually walk around this great city.

For father’s day I sent my dad a copy of the Massachusetts Review and Mid American Review with my poems in it, well they have not been printed yet but I am having them sent to my father when they are. I had to call and say to my mother, please don’t throw this away if you open the box, please look for my name.

My father is a good man. He will carry me around for days. He will show his fishing buddies at the bar, he will drive me around on the tractor when he is laying down seed. He will tell my grandfather who has yes, 6 books of poetry I know you think this modern stuff is crap but here she is. My father will not say crap. But he will make me known, my father will say my name and no matter what the poem says, even it paints him in not the best light which to be honest some have done, he will be proud of me. He will carry me everywhere.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

for laurel Posted by Hello

I want to tell you the rabbit
was real all along
he simply needed to undo the zipper.
The hunter came
said how do you like your supper
but the rabbit didn’t stew
or stir, the rabbit
with his doll eyes and boy love
the rabbit sang
with a low cry like tiny knobs
while the hunter turned the dial.
The skin horse burned,
the radio blazed, nothing
touched the boy
and the song
went on.

daughter Posted by Hello
I keep getting up with the doves. My oldest daughter is going on a trip today this is her first summer when she goes away for days. Last night she came to my bed and told me the world is spinning too fast. I remember this. I remember the exact moment childhood left when I felt it slip from the room.

Sometimes you have to parent the exact opposite of what you feel. I pack her packs and tell her I remember, one of the reasons I work with children I say, is because you can return and I do mention it is bitter. I tell her she is strong that we have both grown up together. And I let her go.

There are days when loving someone is the exact the opposite of how you feel. Yes, my daughter before the world opens it spins crazy like a top.

Friday, June 24, 2005

We Shall Name The Baby Blue

Dead blue baby we shall call you sweet
and the cord shall be your string.

This is how my sister buries her son
in a casket no bigger then a tool box.
Here are the things we won’t forgive:

everything is dust and shall return.

I tell my daughter
there are eggs inside her no bigger then a pin.
Numerous like stars, they cannot be named
there is no pleasure.

The baby is blue, the midwife brings my sister a sweater.
He is a print in my hand and I share him with paper.

Everything is dust
nothing is returned
and when the boy turns in my sister's belly
we name him.

My daughter believes there are enough words—
this one could be cup, she says another bowl.

We could go on like this forever.
The Moon Card
You are the Moon card. Entering the Moon we enter
the intuitive and psychic realms. This is the
stuff dreams are made on. And like dreams the
imagery we find here may inspire us or torment
us. Understanding the moon requires looking
within. Our own bodily rhythms are echoed in
this luminary that circles the earth every
month and reflects the sun in its progress.
Listening to those rhythms may produce visions
and lead you towards insight. The Moon is a
force that has legends attached to it. It
carries with it both romance and insanity.
Moonlight reveals itself as an illusion and it
is only those willing to work with the force of
dreams that are able to withstand this
reflective light. Image from: Stevee Postman.

Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

piper parade Posted by Hello


Well my friends its Friday and do I need to go work and teach people how to make beautiful art or not so beautiful art as the case may be? No the answer is no—there will be no brushes used in this house for the next three weeks unless it is for entertainment purposes.

Yesterday I received an email from someone I did not know saying how much he enjoyed my recent poem in Pleiades which would be great if I had actually received my own copy. As politically incorrect as this sounds, I feel like a blind girl going out of the house naked. Damn it, why can’t I read the poem? I mean yes, I wrote it but that was like three years ago and now I am naked and blind and writing nothing.

Also in the box, a letter from the director of Palm Beach workshop (could I possibly milk this workshop any further?) asking me to send a copy of my poem “Hide” which I read at the reading because someone from Sydney Australia wants to read it at their poetry festival and they don’t seem to be able to find a book by Teresa Ballard. I am going to have to get Teresa Ballard has no book T-shirts.

Anyway I have decided to make a copy of all these letters and send them to Louise with my next Yale submission and tell her it is all her damn fault. If she would just pick me next year we would all be satisfied and she would break her lifetime streak of never picking a woman. Not that I am bitter.

So the question for the day is how far have you ridden a poem because I think I might have to go out and shoot this one after it gets back from Australia? And is there one poem in your work that people keep coming back to?

These are the things I want to know, while I finish my pile of The New Yorker which has grown by bed.

I enter willingly
for here the walls are clear
inlets of land
off the coast calling
to sandpipers
digging their beaks
in the sand.

Tides are strange bed fellows.

Curve of the crescent becomes your hip
then your breast.

This is how water moves when there is no glass
no way to contain the body.

The body returns to sand.
I am free
to build my nest
in the places forgotten.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

after 53 hours of art class the first thing to go are the hands;)

I tried to explain to someone what my hands look like after tie-dying with 18 girls today in Girls in Power (yes I WAS wearing gloves) but it wasn’t possible to pin down the hue and different variations of blue. True fact: two of my students don’t know my real last name, all their lives they have called me “Teresa Color” which stays true to the only character I ever wanted to be in the Wizard of Oz. A horse of course.  Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

Russian poets

This is the end of my fifty hour weeks and then I have three weeks off where I am supposed to do nothing but the book and the girls. I plan to hire a small marching band to swing by here on Friday.

This is my summer of Russian Poets. I am reading the modern history of Russian Poetry which of course, isn’t all that modern. The thing is, when you read these kinds of things at the beach and someone comes up to you and wants to know what class you are taking and you say no, I am doing this for fun---they look at you really weird.

Reading Merwin this morning he said “If you are going to be a writer there comes a point where you’ve apprenticed yourself hard to a number of ppl you feel close to. Then you stop that b/c you are not trying to adopt a voice and after that you can learn from writers without being deafened by them.”

I love it when I believe that the loudest voice in the room of my mind is my own, as if anyone can know that for certain.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

door Posted by Hello
Tonight I am tracing the contour of your body on the page, long line of your neck, moon of your hip. I’m telling you I love you from a thousand miles away, remembering my last man on paper. We were in some think tank outside of London. I was twenty and he was twice my age, studying the theories of Nietiche and I drew him every day, the slow slump of his shoulders. Somehow I believed in capturing the soul and charcoal held the origin of pleasure.

He took me through the forest and there was door without a room and I did not walk around but opened the latch and set myself inside. He told me he wanted to love me but he could not. It was simple, as simple as stopping the music in mid song, walking away, deciding not to play.

I drew the faces of children on the train, they passed before me as trees and then what I loved became objects, solid as stone. But today I found you there. Your face became a line and then a nose and then a smile. It was the laying down of everything I hold, of saying to the door here I am and walking through.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

alien Posted by Hello


One of the conversations I have had with my mentor recently, after of course the five pages on syntax was the weakness of modern poetry. In truth, she has these conversations mostly with herself and I sit there in fear thinking she’s going to tie my name into it some how.

We forget to write how we talk. The ticker tape in our head which really is a beautiful poem does not always come out on the page. We transform it into what we believe a poem should look like and I do know that most harmful thing in any art form is preconceived notions.

I am thinking of this b/c I do not see the prose poems at all in my work. I don’t know how to do what Emily did and pull them out of posts and there is a part of me that is a little angry that they are not coming out in “poem form” my poem form and yet I have a distinct feeling they need to stay as there are.

When I take my students out to paint I tell them to forget everything they know, this is not really a tree, I say but some creature who has landed here and now is beginning to grow. You are the first person to paint a tree, describe what it really is.

I tell my students, if we approach things as alien we can finally see their beauty.

Friday, June 17, 2005

beam Posted by Hello
The oil barrel was cut in half, tied to the rafters of the boat house which more like a barn high above the water where the ships would come, surrender themselves. It was here we would swing, walk tip toe across the beam, drop and trust two ropes attached to the wall.

I don’t remember what I was afraid of when I was young. I remember I never felt I would fall, water was safer then land. Both my parents had lost a sibling. My father was holding his sister’s hand when she ran across the street and my mother's older brother was dragged 14 feet by a drunk driver.

I was raised on those stories of loss. I was raised by the simple principle that anything could happen, if you moved your feet, one step of misdirection could cost you everything. I learned to lie well, to hold onto to my daring, to slip across the barn floor at night, to hang myself from beams.

When I was eight the car barely missed me, I was riding down the hill making the corner fast, on to the main street. I had my hands in the air, used my hips to lean over the edge and I made the turn, bounced slowly off the fender into the ditch.

There is an art to being still, to making your body stiff, to hoping he will not see you, face down in the grass. There is art to saying no, I do not live here or here. My house is somewhere over the hill and there is no one home to claim me.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ten Different Things You Didn’t Know

1. I was a missionary in Haiti.
2. I was a drug dealer (in 7th grade.) I wore a black pleather jacket
and dark kohl under my eyes. I sold mostly pot mixed w/ oregano.
3. I used to know how to talk to whipporwills.
4. I said do me a favorite instead of do me a favor when I was little.
5. I swam with seals, whales, sharks and yes dolphins
6. I am a butcher’s daughter and know all my sides of beef.
7. I read when I was three.
8. I hate meatloaf.
9. I can touch my nose with my tongue.
10. I collect rocks and put them in my pocket.

my home Posted by Hello

Seal Island

I spent my 11th summer on island of the coast of Nova Scotia. A great grandfather had discovered this place centuries before, he set up one of the first light houses in North America. I was born into a family with names written on boats. I was born into a New England family with history.

My 11th summer we had no water or electricity. The children wandered the island, mostly in packs like small dogs. These were fisherman children, boys and girls who’d leave you in a well yet save you from drowning. I loved my first boy there, rode on the back of his motorcycle with hands outstretched like wings. I believed my father could see me all the way from Maine. I believed my father had that much power.

Now it is a bird island. There are no fishermen or children and I believe my family put it in a state trust so it could never be owned, never belong to anyone. It is the last place I felt completely free. The kind of free that makes you dive into the rocks and come up smiling. How much distance do we need to travel to find our eleven year old selves? How many boats do we need to board?

Find the:

four elephants
the wing span
the feather
the bird
the tomato
stone henge
church window
and find me if you can
 Posted by Hello

dove Posted by Hello
I don’t know how long I can handle Barbie pink on my blog.

My confused owl is really a morning dove or at least I think she is. I found a nest of morning doves yesterday while having my coffee. We have history. In Mr. Dawson 8th grade class two would sit by my desk in a small cage while the teacher taught us the art of standing still. He’d put a pie plate the floor full of bird seed, show us how to sit like a statue and then someone would open the dove’s door and a bird would fly to him.

Mr. Dawson had photographs of himself covered in chickadees, sparrows. He claimed it was the art of trusting, of being in the same space over and over, of being more object than man and his students went off like disciples, their pie plates in hand, their pockets full of sunflowers. I seem to be, the only who noticed that the birds never sang, not one note. So I sat the three of us, near a cage in the absolute horror of it.

There is an art to being held, an art to belonging. I have met very few people who know how to do well. One who can be loved, fed and still produce song an another who can feed, and walk away.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

now picture her in Posted by Hello
Yesterday in my art class we mummified Barbies!!! I had so much fun. Today we made our own chariots and rode around the rose garden by the lake. Tomorrow I get to play King Arthur or the horse, the kids will probably make me be the horse. If anyone ever finds out how much fun I have at work they might stop paying me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

treezaa Posted by Hello

I want to climb trees tonight

We had a three hundred year old pine across the street when I was growing up. Three trunks in one tree: the father, the son and the holy ghost. This is what I called them and then I crawled inside their belly to have my tea. I buried my secrets and built small graves for birds. Here is how you love, without reason, something incapable of loving you back. It is beautiful that way.

My first year away from home the power company came and cut the pine down, I was at college and everything was changing. I remember walking up to the door, turning around and seeing so much emptiness and light. I threw up all over my mother’s rhododendrons.

Someone asked me today, how long ago it was I cried for love? Tonight I want to know how to climb trees, how to begin again. I think the birds know all the answers.

fawn Posted by Hello
I am up before the owl. This week will be another crazy week. I am teaching Greek Legends which I love but have no curriculum for and then I have a mosaic class with wonderful things like 20 hammers.

I finished the biggest grant of the bunch yesterday, so much for thinking this wouldn’t be a lot of work. Who knew they’d ask a poet for a five page budget? It is funny how everything leads into another. I use to think submissions were difficult and then I began the manuscript and well, it became as easy as pie. Now I am back to thinking all I want now, is to send off my book and not be asked to add or multiply.

It would be so nice to have one romantic ideal left about being a writer. The porch swing is gone, the cabin in the words, the endless coffee and discussion of Dickenson’s use of metaphor and it is replaced with well, I suppose reality. Reality sucks.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

happy birthday my dear sister... Posted by Hello

grant woes

I want all the great literary minds of our time to get together and decide one thing---staples or paper clips?????

medusa Posted by Hello