Sunday, September 30, 2007


I’ve been blogging in my head a lot lately, which means unless someone builds a skylight it’s very hard to know what I’m thinking.

I use to consider myself lucky to cross the Mississippi River every morning. I liked to pretend (and I do this a lot) that I am a wise holy woman in her red jetta making a treck across the water three times before the sun sets.

I believed it made me blest. I believed I was above all people, most lucky.

Until the bridge fell--and now every morning it is an interesting journey into my psyche.

Will my stomach tighten if I'm in stop dead traffic on the Tenth Avenue Bridge while hearing the jack hammer to my left?

Can I avoid looking at the rubble?

Will I picture the body bags in my mind’s eye?

And sometimes I am just angry. I am angry that this is the only way to get to school and I don’t understand the crowds of people who come every morning to look at the wreck of 35w.

I counted three people with easels last week PAINTING. I want to roll down my window and yell what the fluck are you seeing or simply walk around with a video camera recording the reasons of why they have come, why they have made this journey so I can understand or relate to their journey.

I want to stop every car in front of me and ask them if their stomach also tightens, if they breathe in deeply when they have crossed to the other side.

I am a poet. I understand we are in a constant journey to death. I've never avoided it and sometimes I've even embraced it. I think I understood this frail line even before I understood parts of my own language.

I’ve known everything could change in an instant. It is not this fragility which frightens me but I’m bothered by the constant alienation from the human race—this visual reminder that I’m never or I do ever want to be, that person in the crowd. I can’t fit there and I’m not sure why.

I will be reminded three times today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tonight Ani Difranco and why it is good to be a poet living in Minneapolis

I sat three feet from Ani Difranco while she gave her first poetry reading EVER!!!

It was amazing.

More when my head is not full of buzzing

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In the World of Art

Yesterday I needed to interview 7 people (one right after another) for an early childhood teaching position. Interviewing people is like going to the dentist—it is not fun but every so often it needs to be done.

Person number one: A really cool woman, who just moved from Seattle. We spent more time talking about Rebecca’s motel exhibit and why Seattle’s art scene might be edgier than Minneapolis than actually talking ABOUT THE JOB.

Person number two: came and introduced herself and....

me: Tell me about your history with teaching art?

her: The most important thing you need to know about me is that I BELIEVE IN JESUS!

me: Ummmmm well okay, can you tell me a little about your teaching?

her: I brought photos.... (I resisted asking her if they were of her and Jesus)

She then produced 200 photos of her and the same Three children, she was always in the center. They were doing a variety of art projects: draw your own creation story, trace your foot and color it in, this my friend an autumn leaf and so on.

her: (Because I’ve gone ABSOLUTELY numb at this point) What is the benefits package?

me: We have none. (trying to make it easy on both of us.)

her: What does it pay?

me: (I said the lowest number I could think three dollars an hour or something)

her: Well....oh..... I think I am going to have to go out in the hall and talk to Jesus about this because I'm not sure if I can take the job.

me: You haven’t actually been offered the job yet so you might want to wait.

3-6 were a series of blond women, for some reason the teaching profession attracts blond women with long hair in droves and they blurred together in my mind, forming a creature with seven eyes.

number seven called a half hour before his interview.

him: Hi, this is Rob. I have an interview in a half hour and I need to know if you are GLBT friendly.

me: Yes, it is on our mission statement on our web page but yes we are.

him: Are you sure?

me: Well, I’m queer how FRIENDLY do you need me to be????

and that my friends was a day in the art world in Minnesota.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I keep checking my own blog to see if I’ve posted anything new. I don’t know what form of mental illness that is but I have it.

Tomorrow painters will come to change the color of the house. People keep telling me I will feel good once it is done but I keep thinking E, the girls and I could travel the whole world TWICE with what I’m paying painters.

And I know I have the skill but something about being three stories off the ground, hanging from the tower makes E’s face turn all red, when I suggest that I paint it by myself.

Our house is huge. It is on steroids and it was this teal blue color before I was married, before babies, before I believe I ever doubted myself. Now it is peeling blue, the magenta looks pink and I’m not quite sure I can see it any other color inside my head.

But I want to.....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Things I would NOT allow if I was the editor of The Best American Poetry

dead people
fuck as a noun
real famous poets who could write ANYTHING, even on toilet paper and have it published
titles that are longer than the poem
any poem with the word Sappho in it
Greek heroes
Trojan Wars
Dionysus poems
All God poems with total denial of god as the ending line
Poems about a poem
in the style of or after so and so who is a far better poet than the poet writing the poem
poems about why it is hard to be a writer
literary theory in the actual poem
poems for a cat, even a dead cat
poems that are trying to be political by using the words bush and war in a couplet
Guantanamo Bay as a location poem
poems which begin with the word ZOOKS!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I have been cooking all day. I’ve made two chocolate cakes, one with coffee and Mexican coco and the other with dark, dark chocolate. I made Ratatouille with eggplant from the garden. I picked three others and left them on the counter b/c they are more beautiful than flowers and then I made butternut squash leek soup for lunch with sourdough bread.

E is fat and happy. The girls are fat and happy. And I am going to crawl into my bed and read.

Today when I was walking with Isabel I thought how wonderful the beginnings of seasons are, how you feel like you can do anything. Learn a new habit, bake a chocolate cake.

I’ve grown too old for Spring, now all I believe in is Fall.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Posted by Picasa
I read this new poem by Sinan Antoon in World Literature Today and thought it was brilliant. Actually I said out loud in the bookstore—I’d give my left boob to write this...

A Letter

I address them
The dead Iraqis
Where do we stand now?
Give or take a few hundred thousand?

Had you been birds,
Your disappearance might have caused some outrage
you could have flown en masse
over the metropolis,
clouded its skies for a few hours
in protest.
Meteorologists and bird-watchers
surely would have noticed
Had you been trees,
you would have made a beautiful forest
whose destruction would have been deemed a crime
against the planet.
Had you been words,
you would have formed a precious book
or manuscript whose loss
would be mourned across the world
But you are none of these
And you had to pass quietly and uneventfully
No one will campaign for you
No one cares to represent you
No absentee ballots have been issued or sent
You will have to wait decades
for a monument,
or a tiny museum.
If you are lucky
in provoking retroactive guilt
your names will be inscribed on a wall somewhere
But until then, you may welcome more to your midst
and form a vast silent chorus
of ghosts,
condemning the spectators and the actors
Exeunt Omens!
There was interview once with the woman (I don’t remember who) and she was talking about her husband who was a famous chef and she said, there are times when it seems easier to move out than to clean our kitchen.

I feel exactly like that today. I made a list of all I need to do today while E is at a writing workshop and I decided just to leave---go to the farmers market, eat fresh cheese with tomatoes on the porch and read while the house, literally falls down around us. (there’s a pile of old siding on front lawn the size of my car and the house smell more like the cats than the people who live inside the house.)

But I won’t see it and I wont care.

It would BE easier to move!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 07, 2007

Madeline L'Engle

“Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith—faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.” Madeline L’Engle

She was the first person who told me I could write or maybe she wasn’t the first, maybe she was the only writer I had ever met and at seventeen she looked me straight in the eye, and said you will be a writer.

And I believed. Simply and foolishly that I could always DO THAT—it would never be something I had to work on. It was like speaking French, another tongue and it was always a trade I could fall back on.

I was right and I was wrong and so was she, now she has died which I knew she would soon b/c I had gotten an email saying she had Alzheimer. I knew that she would never sell her movie rights to Disney unless someone was making those decisions for her.

I had lunch with her two weeks after her husband died. I will never forget the way her voice tilted when she talked about how she missed him, how he was not there to call, to say she had made it to Maine safely. I blame her and my grandparents, my parents never had it, the need for that love, one which is everything, ties into your DNA and becomes part of your very existence.

I have hungered for it my whole life.

Somewhere in the sunroom I have a journal with a piece of paper taped to the cover---you are writer. Madeline wrote it down for me b/c she thought I might forget. I also have my writing from that day, how it felt meeting her and how I thought her voice should sound like mine. I need to dig it out. I think I might need to remember my young arrogant self.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 03, 2007

These Are The Last Blue Days

These are the last blue days of summer
and I want more.

Saturday we went to the used bookstore.
We have wonderful dates.

Below are the books I bought for a dollar. I am not sure where to begin.

Misgivings by C.K Williams

Surfacing and Life Before Man by Atwood

Things They Carried by Tim O'brien (already read it but it was a buck)

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

Don't Tell Anyone by Fredrick Busch

At the Own Woman Saloon by Tess Gallagher
Posted by Picasa