Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Today I'm feeling fertilized by an egg -- if you imagine those, as we started to: ova and sperm -- then you wonder how many remain in us; each ovary, its own little purse, still presses one of her minks out to the vastness, through space, to the fluted arms of the fallopian tube to the uterus to the placenta to the cervix to the OB tampon. The blood stops there; the basket fills with roses. How many months, how many years until the last egg makes her solo promenade? Since menarche at 14, 360 ova have left my body, without a sigh or complaint, without rejection. Each she leaves her culture, her club, her coterie, and enters heaven, a near-hit virgin, loved yet never "barren."

Monday, February 19, 2007

C.S. Giscombe at MiPOesias

from the Evie Shockley Issue:


Indianapolis, Indiana

To me, intention’s a fact, a register equal to any other value. Intention’s the device in nature. It repeats the range. I like that it’s noisy or can be; I like that it’s a measure. The median is full of images. Argument’s there to discern, to straighten you out. To me, meaning’s like parallel streets. Meaning stands in. Nothing’s more sexual than laziness. I’d be equivocal, I’d pass.

Miniatures in shadow box

Joy Revisited

Where is it? Rejecting little wren cloying her way south, flying in an army, a drove, following her instincts to the meadows of seasonal shift, the divide, flipping past innuendoes of land, river, lake, boisson, ledge, hope in her h'rippy little song, heard in the north, in the tree outside a house, seeds for her tenure.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Age, men, and friends

In "The Cool Report" I wrote that my boyfriend works to prevent drug addiction among high school students. In fact, that is my ex-boyfriend, a relationship I finished some eight years ago. I had an intense but not long relationship with a poetry publisher -- and still think of it for its warmth. That was 2001. There are men friends who call and write and friendly thoughts toward men I used to know who do not write or call. Last year several men I knew turned 50. I tried to celebrate a little -- like an aunt or younger sister -- by sending cards. I thought of ideal gifts I could send them. I thought of them all year. I have women friends who have never met one another -- one is a college friend, one a friend from graduate school, one from early childhood, and another a mentor friend, my senior in age and experience. Since 2003, I went on a few internet dates. These we arranged purposely and cautiously. Many men seek out younger women, because they can -- because they're handsome and established. As a former teacher not hired when I was 31, not yet married, and without children, "a loser" as one woman put it when I was happy despite it all at 37 -- men are possible to meet but hard to keep. If they are divorced with children, they have their responsibilities and want their freedom. Since I enjoy wholesome life with a man and friends most, I go most toward that.

I sometimes look like a wife in my pinchy glasses, but I have the physical memory of sex; my body acted bravely while each he replenished and considered me. I desire a better life than the one I have been leading: or happiness.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wish for the left hand

The woman thought she had no duty except to serve his pierre with her mundo and genie, and when not joined, her duty was to shine in his eyes, to fawn, to accentuate her value as a precious object to look upon because her duty to write her work mattered less -- out of a rival survivalist necessity -- or because she knew that to shine her eyes upon him could buy her quiet time to write down her work, her work that showed vehemence: hardly a soul could pin him for creating the vehemence that found a streamule to her pen if she wrote on paper or a fanjet to her keyboard, typing very quickly and exactly and satisfyingly in print, not cursive, printing very quickly using eight fingers and two thumbs, the left thumb idle but prepared to do something and yet doing absolutely nothing except yielding to the hand during the typing procedure, the left thumb guidant or conversant with the other thumb, with the balance in the wrist, with the rest -- woe it is the duty of the right thumb to type the space, leaving no duty for the left thumb except to be there. If she were to lose a manual digit, it is the left thumb that could go with ease and not injure her typing, her vehemence, not distress her for writing purposes -- she could do without distress were she to be missing her left thumb. Her shining eyes would seem piteous without her thumb, but he would sometimes forget it, her missing thing, her finger, an exaggeration of their other worries, cut off on a windshield wiper, or the horrors and the honors.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


When love is too great it becomes futile: it can no longer be put to use and not even the person loved has the capacity for so much love. I became as bemused as any child when I realized that even in love we must be sensible and show restraint. Our emotional life, alas, is extremely bourgeois. -- Clarice Lispector, Jornal do Brasil, November 9, 1968

Friday, February 09, 2007

Three returned poems

Key of James


Receive with meekness the implanted word,
which is able to save your soles.
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren,
for you know that we who teach shall be judged
with greater strictness.
Who is wise and understanding among you?
... the harvest of righteousness is sewn
in privacy by those who make privacy.
You ask and do not connive because you ask.
Let your eyes be eyes and your nose be nose.


Though I have much to write to you,
I would rather not use paper and ink,
but I hope to come to see you and talk with you
face to face, so that our joy
may be complete.

The children of your elect sister greet you.

One Vowel Trafficking

Seule, meilleuse, bath woman meet ton meilleur bardman -- in narrow New York, as you had hoped he would speak of you: as you seemed stepping off the plane in your rosy red roberies. Together dismember a droop-breasted stick fig. in a naked game of hang-chat. He wins again; you guess it: A seven-letter word that deals in one vowel trafficking.

(One Vowel Trafficking)

Seule, meilleuse bath woman, meet ton meilleur bardman -- in narrow New York -- as you had hoped he’d male-street in you: the you just off the plane in rosy red roberies. Together dismember a droop-breasted stick fig. in a naked game of hang-chat. He wins again; you guess it: A seven-letter word that deals in one vowel trafficking.

Many how are seid one kay do fall swing mar bite shun kin ache tinder cone/

Many how you people are one
do fall at night --
swing, mar, bite, shun your own
ache as family --

Nuruddin Farah

Nuruddin Farah's reading last night at the Loft was totally impressive, and this is coming from a long-time veteran of hearing readings. Fiction readings in particular are difficult because the author is usually reading from the middle of a novel, and the audience is likely to go bored and restless, much as they claim to like literature. Farah was not in the least boring: there were sex and domestic violence and poverty and child raising and women stronger than men and other themes, covering 1981 to 2007, two dates of the novels from which he read. After, he took questions from the beautiful people who filled the theater, one third of whom were Somali. Only Somalis asked questions. He faulted the Somali men for not taking opportunities (in the west) and for talking politics too often and long over coffee and praised the women for being strong but not for wearing their head covers, which he said was a Saudi interpretation of Islam, and not native to Somali culture. Some of the men and women got restless when he said all this; others were just glad they had the chance to hear someone like him read from his work. I don't know Somali history very well, at all, but they mentioned many wars: one they had forgotten was in 1987. Personally, I like seeing the Somali men discuss politics at the Starbucks near my doctor's office -- for us, it's a sign of male bonding (which we promote here) and of counterculture since so many people refuse to discuss politics no matter what -- they are bringing it in like an ethic. But, as the author insisted, much work needs to be done for people new to a country; they must establish themselves. I did not know that the women did not use to wear head scarves in their native country but donned them here. One woman argued in favor of the head scarves saying that they had endured many hardships, and the scarves serve as protection and a sign of their devotion to the Koran. The author lives in S. Africa and seemed to be a wonderful, peace-loving and gentle man. He is an international. Overall, it was a great reading experience for me.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Basal distance

if it didn t have periods and commas it d be a poem about apostrophes and question marks about scenery do you have scenery a winter ride to the lebanese psychiatrist the reason to go to the psychiatrist is so men and women won t have to but tell them about it later so they can benefit from it i said my anxiety on tuesdays is revolting it used to be workshop day i used to like LIKE workshop day but ten years without workshop comma tuesdays eat me what is causing your reaction he asked war i said he said are you like the rest of us and you disagree with war yes i said i disagree with war and he said only one man agrees with war but he won t go to the war then he told me try meditation and i said it s not enough you must have a teacher for meditation on tuesdays an elevator is going up and down inside my body s frame not quote unquote mental an elevator is going up and down inside my body s frame not italics mental italics basal dash basal than mental double dash basal distress better than quote unquote mental illness in reject that label we experience it for them or driving in a winter glass to the doctor at eight early tend the gist you are seeking and save them red tape paperwork and general satisfaction of given treatment call it basal distance or basal distress not mental illness i heard the african american woman psychologist say her wards are mentally sick are white sick ones her black patients hurts typical i said raising my hand basal distance question mark might it be long before mental illness basal distance fills it next question mark

Monday, February 05, 2007

On feminism

One of Ms Magazine’s founding daughters was at Houston. She gave the impression of being embarrassed to have a mother who had so harmed the earth as to create Ms. Magazine, an impression of ambivalence instead of pride. I was a young feminist at the beginning then gave up thinking about it for a long time. I wanted to write short fiction, and I wanted my characters to remind readers of real and colorful and interesting people, not to be mouthpieces for a viewpoint. Now I go back to it -- when human rights are abridged, characters can go along inside it.

Ironically, since I don't get along with women as well as I used to, going to feminism again is like creating old friendships with people I've never met. Women act brusquely. I'm not mistaken about it; I just don't know what is causing it because I am open to them, for example, at church. Our transsexual is the prima donna there, and she is a "jealous female." I try to stay as open as possible to every type of person, but I doubt being the male-most-revered-female IS feminist. She thinks "like a woman" so she, like the rest of us, copies other women. Her boobs are bigger than mine (of course). What does she really know about being average?

True, I knew famous writers, but I am reluctant to put that on the table, since writers are actually like turtles and they hide. They want to be known past their deaths -- they are introverts who demand public attention.

I've gotten two great pieces of writing advice in the past two weeks, both from women I met or knew well, and it directs me in what I am doing -- so it is amazing. The two pieces of advice were (are): 1.) always ask why you are telling the reader something and 2.) cut unnecessary words.

Cutting unnecessary words is more a reminder than new advice, and it's intensely difficult to realize at times what unnecessary IS -- if you cut too much, you realize writing is unnecessary -- and some repetition is needed for music, rhythm, and kindness. Exact word counts are good for discipline.

Last year -- more than a year ago now -- the geo. prof. wanted someone to clean his huge house and to work the farm and for me to give up my ambition to return to basic college teaching. We sparred a little over it, our time together was brief, and he probably kept searching for someone and had a good or a lonely year. He was so busy in his life, he was too busy really to get lonely, but even busy people get lonely deep-down. I rebelled against what he was looking for since my mother was emphasizing housecleaning far too much, and the least humane people in the suburbs I had met did that -- thought everything revolved around perfectionist cleaning.

I believe cleaning is a normal action to take, and it's needed; a clean place cheers people up. It got maligned, and world fights ensue over it. Cleaning is gentle. I began to think about cleaning more -- I don't want to be one of the perfectionists.

Cruelty in perfectionists is related to feminism, because those women are women's antagonists and dislike women -- that type only likes her own son for what power it gives her. The son may be any type, but to her he has value and daughters do not, and also that type of woman competes with other mothers. They want to press you into stupid service for them because they gave birth to a son, and you didn't. They don't recognize your education.