Sunday, October 30, 2005

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The Critical Voice Is A Red Wire

Forget. Forgo all necessary information.
Please stop walking into walls.
Reflection is a virtue.
Emotionally the space allotted was too large.
Back of the throat holds an apple, a box.
Glass is a mirror without lead.
Compassion is blue.
Do not put the red wire in a glass.
Voices are on the other side of doors are hinges.
Batter, batter, swing.
Rain never enters in a closed window.
Repeat the directions. Strike one.
She does not dream of Alice.
The girl calls everyone John.
Follow the signs. Strike two.
The only direction is away.
Narcissistic is a lovely word.
She does not date well. Alice
Red wires belong in boxes.
Windows require less space.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

my boots arent made for walking

 These are my boots. The car is not mine. It is almost 10 o’clock and the boots and I are going dancing. I am Annie Oakley. I have boots, a skirt and a gun. What more could a girl want?

Yes, there is that….

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All the people I’ve ever loved were gathered in a dream; swam below like fish only to grow wings.
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This photo is from our favorite Chinese restaurant, my kids go there mainly b/c there’s a circle in the middle of the table that lets us spin the food to each other. This is almost like dinner theatre to my children. I go there because of a mirror which reflects onto the street and when you look, it feels like we are all in a bowl, which of course we are.

Tis the season of the first book manuscripts: Yale, Breadloaf. Tis the season of me pulling my hair out over “a” and “the”, finding type O’s after reading the bloody thing four hundred times. Tis the season of the mad, the crazy.

Grief is an odd friend…it pushes me to work more on the book b/c I don’t want to think. I can loose myself in my work like nothing else. Yet of course, now being older I know grief waits for me like an old man with a ticket in his pocket, patient for the bus to simply pull over.

We are all in a bowl. The world is funny like that.

I promise I will be out of my fish fixation soon

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Friday, October 28, 2005

The fish photos below are titled “things to do in a Chinese restaurant when you are really, really bored.” Plus I am trying to teach the girls how to use a camera. Olivia has an excellent eye—this and her circus skills will serve her well.

I am off to teach a ten hour day. My father called at 6 am to tell me the Mexican government is shipping every American out today. They are boarding them on buses and flying them out. We don’t know where. My brother had a ticket to leave today but now it is not valid. The saga continues.

This means when I travel with the girls this winter to South America my parents are going to be neurotic and my poor brother is not leaving home for a long time. If of course he gets there…any day now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

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I’m drawn to any animal that lives longer than man: koi, turtles, parrots, whales, octopus..ect. There’s something about having to will your fish to someone after you keel over that seems right. And oddly, it seems safer to love. The average dog lasts about 8 years then has to buried in the back yard.

Tonight I am thinking about “safe love” and I am sure it has something to do with longevity. And fish. When the person I love no longer remembers my name, there will be this beautiful silver line swimming somewhere.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

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Things I realized today:

somehow, someone attached my mother’s hands to my wrists

driving in a red car, very fast is fun

if you turn up the music loud enough, you can hear it in your heart

I may die

I may die before I write all the books I want to write

I may die before I write ANY of the books I want to write

I cannot make myself want it less

The critical voice I’m paying a therapist to evict is drinking tea in my living room

My hands may look like my mother’s but they not

There’re three ways to tie a shoe, one involves only the thumb

Theory of relativity does not equal numbers

Rewiring the brain: connect the blue wire to the red

I do not want you less

The critical voice is a red wire.

More is something only music understands

Narcissistic is a lovely word but she does not date well

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

sad news

I just found out that my friend, poet Richard Zola has died.

He collasped at work a few weeks ago
and found out he had advanced pancreatic cancer.

I will miss you and your voice…

i write because i have a tribal mentality and no campfire…richard zola
I need your top three books printed in 2005

Poets and Writers have their emerging writers, most of them I had not read and now I want to know what you think. Who are your favorite first collection for the year?

Honeymoon from Hell

Now I can start breathing again…my brother called yesterday and he and Beth are safe. Thank God. However he is trapped down there because United Air is saying all the tickets dated during the hurricane are invalid. He was supposed to fly out Sunday. My dad bought him new tickets yesterday (not on United Air…and I am not repeating here what my father said they can do with their tickets;) The only problem is there’s no way to contact him and tell him he has tickets. Supposedly there is a lot of looting, gang activity in his area and my father wants to get him home RIGHT NOW. Hopefully he will call today.

He is safe and thank you all for the support and emails. I still however feel incredibly sad for all the people in that area and I feel angry about the way media portrayed the hurricane; if it wasn’t happening on American soil it wasn’t important. I heard more about Florida before the hurricane even hit then Mexico. It never seems we are one people.

Monday, October 24, 2005

early hours of sky Posted by Picasa
Already the dead are beginning to say to us their names. You say wind, I say tree. The pit of the peach has no flesh. Yes, stone. Eighth grade science found two fruit flies in a jar produce five by days end. Mating in clear glass, there’s no sound. You say cold, I say prison. There’s only one way to open a lid, the opposite of time. Travel the road of a clock, everything will tighten, nothing escapes. Say a name; together two hands form a bowl. Whisper your word here and my thumb will be a handle to your mouth. You say drink, I say now. The opposite of time is patience. The hand is not meant to be a cup; an instrument of language it’s merely a tool for saying hello, goodbye.
On my wish list this morning, besides of course the obvious “ An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Poets. Because well, I’m that kind of girl ;) One of the best things about being a poet besides the dark clothing is seeing other people who work hard and are recognized for this.

Huge Congratulations to Mr. G.C. Waldrep: G.C. Waldrep of Iowa City, Iowa, won the seventh annual Campbell Corner Poetry Prize for “The Batteries.” And if you haven’t read his book Gold Beater’s Skin go buy it.

I am trying to keep my mind off not hearing from my brother by concentrating on Yale. My goal for the next month is to spend at least two hours a day on my writing (by the way this does not include blogging which somehow I included in the past.) So far it’s going well. I tend to let myself go in waves which, I suppose is okay for writing new work but not so much for putting a book together. Besides as Laux says, if you open the door a poem might come in.

I suck at discipline. I eat good food. I would never run unless something was chasing me. My goals are simple. Wake up. Write. Edit. Do an occasional dish. Oh and of course read…

Sunday, October 23, 2005

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It has been a long few days. I have not told the girls that their uncle is missing b/c I am hoping he will not be missing some time soon. I have spent way too much time on message boards trying to gain any information I can. Hopefully they are fine and will be out when the airports open on Tuesday.

What do you do when you are trying not to think? Well I spent three hours on the book yesterday b/c writing it is the only thing that grounds me. Sometimes it is incredibly selfish this writing thing. And today I took the girls out to get their costumes: Olivia is going as a convicted felon (stripes and all) and Bella of course is a good witch…as if Bella could be anything else.

Last week at this time I was watching my baby brother get married and now, I have no idea where he is. I miss him.
Anyone having any information about the Iberostar Lindo Rivera Maya from the evacuation list please email me. I have not been able to find my brother’s hotel on any of the list.

I am beyond slightly crazy…

Friday, October 21, 2005


My brother and his new wife are in the heart of the hurricane right now in Mexico on their honeymoon. Please send good energy. We have lost contact with them.

tractor Posted by Picasa

New Edits from the New Book....


I understand the breadth of fossils
being defined by loss. Oxidation of one leaf
to stone. You say it will not be the same with us.

But death is all around
and the worm does not go hungry.
Dressed in his androgynous skin
does he know my need for you?

Somewhere in these sheets we open and fall with memory.
The sky cries with your scent and I wonder
have I swallowed you whole
in an attempt to breathe, set myself free?

Have I multiplied inside my bones, need;
simple need to hold the flesh of you, contours of skin
on flannel sheets, watch a rose open, close.

Sugar water covers a multitude of sins,
leads black ants to their deaths, lures spiders
from their webs.

And if your flowers are dying, if color
has begun to fade, stir in the sweet sickness
watch new life begin.

In the early hours of sky
I become wind, move past curtains; fly the distance
to your bed.

If you turn and find nothing
except the smell of green,
bring your fingers to lips, drink in
my sweet rain.

Happy, Happy Birthday Lee Ann....may your day be full of sushi and cheesecake. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dream Presses

It’s possible I am dying (from the flu) and because I believe strongly in the Egyptian theory I can indeed take it with me I am packing all my books in the cardboard box I plan to bury myself in.

I spent the day pawning my children off on their friends, buying more drugs and contemplating the reasons why not to close my eyes while driving down the highway. I also talked to a couple of small presses and was way too excited that my dream press remembered my name. Yes Teresa Ballard we know your work. And even though I was calling as an editor and not a writer, it made me damn happy.

Remember the game Dream Date where you could spin the large circle and have Ken take you to the prom or if you exhibited art skills you could turn Ken into a cross dresser named Katie? Anyway my idea for the day is to make a writers version called Dream Presses which I am selling for $19.95 at AWP.

Thus you can spin the big circle and have Copper Canyon pick up your book or if you’re a bad spinner a company called “Split Pea” will print your poems on tea bag covers. There’s no jail but you do have to pay $200 to get out of a job at KMART. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


larba ochilor tai, iarba amara,
Flutura vant pest ea, pleopa de ceara.

Apa cohilor tai, apa iertata.

The grass of your eyes, bitter grass
Wind, billow above it, eyelid of tallow.

The water of your eyes, forgiven water.

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Listen: I’m saying the sound of your name, curve of your letter. It’s time to stop believing in voices. This is the country of the constant. Darling you did not answer, my hands are waving underwater. My hand is holding my other hand, they are friends. In the night my fingers speak in shadows. In Greek your name means cold. Tonight it means a door which will not open. Salt drains the blood from the body but what of want? Please shut the door. I am tired of that sound. My voice is empty. Your first word, bird; mine, chair. Did you always love the window? Everything goes away. I am a girl with four legs. Still. Soon. And. Yet.

when asked by today how many photos one could take of birds, I said "a hell of a lot." Posted by Picasa

Poets & Writers Debut Poets

1. Like Wind Loves A Window by Andrea Baker
2. The Singers I Prefer by Christian Barker
3. Living Room by Geoff Bouvier
4. Cipher/Civilian by Leslie Bumstead
5. Circle by Victoria Chang
6. Resin by Geri Doran
7. King Vulture by K.E. Duffin
8. The Maverick Room by Thomas Sayers Ellis
9. Honey and Junk by Dana Goodyear
10. Weather Eye Open by Sarah Gridley
11. Leadbelly by Tyehimba Jess
12. Phx by Corrinne Lee
13. Pity the Drowned Horses by Sheryl Luna
14. Whethering by Rusty Morrison
15. Somwhere Else by Matthew Shenoda
16. Practice Restraint by Laura Sims
17. Slag by Mark Sullivan
18. Enter Invisible by Catherine Wing

The article was very interesting, each poet was asked how long the book took to put together, how many years to publish, how many places submitted, their influences, real jobs, advice and what they were currently working on.

Main theme: forget about writing and write, which is easier to say when Poets & Writers has just picked you as a debut poet. Kind of like a skinny girl telling you, she eats everything. But I would say the average time an author submitted his or her manuscript was over 50 and highest being over a hundred, which means of course I'm a lazy ass.

Cool things: there was stay at home mother on this list, people without MFA’s and a park ranger from Maine.

I am beginning the slow decent
down the smooth stairs to the open field.

Birds swelling their bodies in the cold
believing tomorrow sun,
tomorrow the night will end.

I am beginning slow. You've forgotten.
Decent is the opposite of memory.
I'm filling my belly with air, preparing for winter.

The woman said
there's an extra chamber to the heart
like a door you must open.

Here's the shinny key, the pink quartz.
Do not believe in stones. Do not believe in stairs.

I am beginning to look
for windows, the place I must crawl.
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I want to go back to the sea... Posted by Picasa
This has been a prime example of WHY NOT to play with your template when running a high fever. Thank you for playing what the fuck is up with your blog.

I figured out today I am a pretty easy lay in a drug store. In fact I would have gone home with anyone who offered to make me soup and wrap me up in a blanket. Oddly, wearing red sweat pants with a maroon thermal shirt, nose running, cheeks flush, hair wild does not get me a lot of offers.

When asked by the pharmacist if I needed any help, I told him to throw anything in my cart that could possibly dislocate my head from my neck. I then proceed to spend twenty dollars on things that are neither chocolate nor sushi which does not seem fair.

I also figured out where all my old tapes of Air Supply and Cat Stevens have gone---they play them at eight am at Walgreens over the loud speaker. So picture this: Teresa Ballard in the above attire singing I’m all out of love and I am so lost without you and then wiping her nose on her sleeve, thinking where the fluck is the Kleenex?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

my new painting for October Posted by Picasa

Paul Celan

A nothing
we were, are, shall
remain, flowering:
the nothing-, the
no one's rose.

Postcard: these are both my brothers right before the wedding and I am in my usual please don�t make me shower attire. The good thing about having 6 foot 3 and up brothers is: they pick you up when they hug you, they always make you look smaller in photographs, and no one ever gives you shit when you walk down the street.
The bad thing is you have to tag team with your sister and attack them one at a time if you want to get even or give them really original gifts for Christmas like rattle snake eggs;)
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Maine Posted by Picasa
I am sick (again.) It seems I might be allergic to Minnesota or airplanes or all the stresses that await me when I open my door. In some ways it is good to be home and in other ways I opened my door this morning and wanted to go for a walk in the woods, have my brother’s black lab puppy lick my face, hear the girls outside with their cousins on the trampoline higher, higher.

Though it was good to have coffee this morning and open my Poets and Writers. A huge congratulations to Victoria Chang for being named one of the 18 poets which made their mark in 2005; I think they missed a couple: Illya Kaminsky, G.C. Waldrep and I think Catherine Barnett’s first book was wonderful.

I was amazed I read only four of the books mentioned. It fact I'm quite pissed about it, if someone is going to make a debut I’d like to be in the room. I am throwing out this idea b/c reading is a hell of a lot more fun then doing ten days of laundry today. Oh and my favorite comment about my writing from my ever opinionated relatives.

Aunt: I really hated your poem “The Butcher’s Daughter”
Me: (thinking WTF)…Really?
Aunt: You can almost see the little girl holding the bucket and being horrified.
Me: Well I think that was the point of the poem.
Aunt: Oh, well I think you should get another point.

Monday, October 17, 2005

my walk this morning... Posted by Picasa
If I lived on a different coast I would have been a different kind of a writer; maybe the same ocean, coastline changing but I am a Maine girl down deep in my core. These were my thoughts this morning when I woke at 7am to walk the coast, to say goodbye to my ocean. I thought: I crave this loneliness because I was born into a lonely world.

It all made sense, those dimensions of Teresa which seldom make sense. I was taught to follow the long thin roads of crabs in the sand, to look for air bubbles of clams. I am lonely because I choose it, because it was my first milk.

The trip was filled with so many things: my baby brother getting married, a room full of relatives I hadn’t seen in over twenty years, lobsters, the girls in my old tree house, the forest of my childhood, fossil hunting, free sushi and a whole day yesterday with nothing but beach…not family, not friends just the beach and my girls.

I will post more when I can. I took many photos for you…

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rain, Rain Go Away

I have been in Maine since Saturday and it has poured and poured. I missed you all and right now I am sitting in the hotel lobby across from the Atlantic, watching the waves and listening to the hotel gossip. The security guard is obviously a good lay;) I am flying in Rebecca's plane tomorrow and I cant wait to be in my own bed and at my computer. I just want to bottle the view. I have photo's and postcards for you all but I am not at a place to post them. Be home soon my darlings....

Sunday, October 09, 2005

be back soon... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I leave for Maine in less than 24 hours and I woke up this morning with a fever of 104, feeling like shit and the inability to swallow. Also the elves who are suppose to show up and get me ready for this trip went on a bender. They are unavailable. My girls hate flying, genetics. So I need to be healed right now (she stands at the mirror and begins hitting herself hard on the head.)

I am trying to concentrate on the endless supply of ocean over the next few weeks, of crawling over rocks to get to the lighthouse, of walking through the woods. Of all the photos I will post if someone I am related to actually decides to join the modern era and get a cable connection. Don’t hold your breath.

I will miss you. Now it’s time to crawl around the house and pack.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It is offical Maggie Taylor is going to do all of my book covers when I become famous. I'm not quite sure who is going to play me in the movie but I have the book covers down;) Posted by Picasa
Everything in the world is happening in Minneapolis the week I am in New England but luckily I am not going to miss Nick Flynn reading tomorrow. Yes, I am going to teach a ten hour day and then meet my buddy Nick at the Loft. I will be tired, I may have paint on my jeans but I will be happy. I know it’s going to be wonderful.

One of the things I love most about Fall is tea. We sit out in the backyard by the fire and drink tea or if it is raining like today I make a huge pot and we talk in the kitchen. If you were my child you would know that I have a magic tea chest and you would also know when you needed magic you could ask me for the chest and then we would drink whatever you picked out together.

If you are in Minneapolis go see Elizabeth Alexander read from her new book at the Walker or do this amazing collage workshop at the 38th street gallery. If you go to the gallery you can stop by my house and feed my cats;) they will be lonely. Also there is a huge book sale on Saturday. Fate is not only keeping me from Art but now books. Those crooked gods but yes I will have my ocean and my girls.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Okay has anyone read Anne Carson’s Decreation and did you like it?

I just realized I am going to Maine in four days and I have done absolutely nothing to get ready, that and my brother’s command I should NOT wear black (my love mourning clothes) to the wedding has left me breathless.

I really need to clone myself. I need a blogging self, a mother self, a writer self. Hell throw in a Maine self who can go visit my family and not need therapy.

I worked on submissions today. I am excited to see Grace Paley guest editing Alaska Quarterly. She had some brilliant poems in the last issue. She wrote fiction most of her life but has spent the last five year or so exclusively on poetry. I wonder what my waves will be. I have find fiction strangely freeing after working so long on a manuscript of poetry. It is kind of like being let loose in a candy store.

Tell me what you are reading. I need new books....

Monday, October 03, 2005

The girl dreams without hands, her mouth still intact, round with words. Her wrists are forgetful. There ought to be a sign, something in the mind, red and octagon. A noise perhaps, a clear bell but not a hum, please not the constant steady hum. I’d rather have my hands than ears, my eyes than toes. There ought to be a list. Choose what you can live without. Blue. Today blue but what of tomorrow? What of green, what of shadow. Red and octagon. When to stop loving, to say this is enough—I have no hands, how I am to walk? I gave my toes for the color green, my eyes are aching.

Blood and seawater have identical levels of calcium, potassium.

I am the ocean, you do not see.

Here is the list: 206 bones exist in the body; half are in the hands and feet; one for reaching, one for running away. There is no way to leave you. Quiet now, the girl is dreaming. It is silly really to want more, to think that you will wake a handless girl. What will she do, roll over and touch your face?

Which Rock Chick Are You?

Best Bumper Sticker Of The Day

The Only Bush I Trust Is Mine....

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Personal flaw: did you ever notice that the people who spend a lot of time talking about writing aren’t actually writing?

I am in love with Carole Maso thanks to Charlie Jensen who mentioned her a few months back. I went out and ordered most of her books. She’s brilliant. She’s bitter. Isabel was looking at her author photo and said she has angry lips. I need angry lips.

What she’s done is invent her own tongue: language has an enormous capacity to lie, to make false shapes, to be glib, to make common widgets, three parts this, two parts that. Despite all efforts to tame it, manage it, control it, outsmart it, language resists our best efforts; language is still a bunch of sturdy, glittering charms in the astonished hand.

Sixth grade recess has its own language:

-if you like someone steal their shoe then run
-one piece of chocolate cake makes you are a slave for a day
-a half a piece makes you a slave for just recess
-no one in there right mind gives a way a whole piece of chocolate cake
-there is a game site on the internet which asks questions about Dorothy Parker
and if you have a mom who is a poet and actually knows who Dorothy Parker is, you can charge your friends
-your mom will make you give back the money
-spinning really fast in a circle is fun
-if you love the person YOU THROW THE SHOE

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Imagine there are places lower than the sea.
Today in Tokyo two men photographed a giant squid.
In white coats, smiling, holding an 18 foot tentacle
We have found her, we have carved our name.
Imagine there are places lower.
The body does not come to shore,
Row the boat home Michael, row the boat ashore.
My cousin is found in a shallow grave, two miles from the bar.
She did not check her glass. She did not know his name.
The body does not come.
Water’s way of remembering is so unlike ours.
Imagine my uncle looking for his daughter’s hands.
Here’s a clavicle. Bow. Stern.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I tell my students: turn your paintings on their head, lay them on their sides, come in to the room and pretend they are a stranger…now tell me what you think? Posted by Picasa
I have been writing wonderful blog entries in my head, lucky or unlucky for you my head does not seem to be attached to my typing fingers.

The first book is dead. The first book with which I spent three years on and countless hours with Carolyn Forche’ has died. I figure it’s a lot like my first marriage. It taught me a great deal, it’s the foundation on what most else is built and it’s a little cracked. I have taken the best parts, my months on syntax and I have moved on.

I am on continuous journey with language. I love this language like I love nothing. If I believe humans have a soul, my soul would be word. I tried to make it be color. I tried to make it be love but it has always come back to language.

I am toying with the idea of applying for a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, of leaving the girls for a month and just writing. If you don’t have kids, you have no idea how like jumping out of a building this feels. At Olivia’s conference when asked what she thought my goals were for her, she said “my mom just wants me to be happy and not grow up and be a serial killer” which sums it up really.

In the beginning I made organic baby food for this kid and taught her how to swim laps before the age of three. I stayed with a man I did not love for ten years thinking her psyche would be forever damage if I did not. I’ve grown up a lot and so has she. But all I really want for the girls, is to know themselves and like themselves--even the serial killer is optional;)