Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Brief Guide to Romanticism

A Brief Guide to Romanticism

I have traveled very far to tell you this

I have walked to the center of the trees
sopping with the ambient voices of insects
and plants and stones

I have done what I have had to do to find you
and you need to know

that falling in love with a place will wound you

You can’t stay anywhere for very long

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Terrible Song

A Terrible Song

Your love is as hot as an oven
Oh how this lyric makes me wince
and from it we know that surely the singer
has never been in love And yet
while carting the recycling to the curb
I see the stars and think that this night
is like a planetarium The door opening
is like the air except when it is shut and
then it is like a wall of ice The heat is hot
like a hot thing and the oven is capable
of reinventing the protoplasmic goo
you feed to it Why isn’t his love as hot
as a microwave I want to tell the girl
who sings this song that sometimes
you’re the oven and others the pie
We are all just simple creatures who want
to look at what has no precedent and
feel at home

Monday, December 29, 2014

Study of Winter

Study of Winter

The tree will hold its own splintered limbs
against the whole limbs

This is the tree crossing its fingers

The tree breaks its promise but continues to assure us
We will always be here like this
The ground
Your people
This park

What I know is
that in winter the tree becomes the flower

Pencil-drawn clusters of twigs clinging to darker branches
so that light can come into them

Friday, December 26, 2014

On Repair and Revision

For the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to teach writing at an art school. One particular joy (among many) is that my classes are comprised of artists and designers; I love to hear from both camps (which overlap, certainly). This past semester, we spoke quite a bit about "design thinking"--that mix of thinking creatively and critically.

We always discuss art and design manifestos, and I just came across "The Fixer's Manifesto" (offered by Sugru, a company which makes a "moudable glue"--very cool!). The manifesto applauds the ability to mend make an object last longer. I love the declaration that "A fixed thing is a beautiful thing."

Part of The Fixer's Manifesto (by Sugru)

I'm not at all handy. I find a way to destroy almost every box I open, and sequential assembly does not come naturally to me. When I was younger, I was notoriously awful at the "spatial relations" and "mechanical reasoning" sections of aptitude tests--my brain just isn't inclined to put stuff together.

However, I absolutely value good design and objects that are meaningful and long-lasting. And even the smallest of repairs or tweaks can change the way we interact with things--a sweater becomes the sweater with the buttons that you lovingly replaced; tarnish can be rubbed from silver.

Adapting this rule as an artist is slightly trickier. I don't think that every poem I draft deserves to be "fixed," although many require a new button or a little superglue. A poem is not a "product," exactly; it doesn't solve a specific problem or need. However, a poem is a thing--a thing that the maker or user (reader?) might not need or use in the same way over time.

Is obsolescence an issue when it comes to art? (There's an art gallery in L.A.that I love called Obsolete). I lean toward saying that it is...but I don't know that we're burdened with the same ethical concerns that designers are in this regard.

What do you think about all this, friends?







Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Material

The Material

Enjoyers of objects who have buried
your faces in shower curtains or coat sleeves
who have caressed skylines of bottles or
alphabet blocks or cold utensils

You need not repent

These things live mostly in the dreamworld
of disuse

Maybe they are slightly holy

Friday, December 19, 2014

Reading Recommendations?

I have learned to treasure book recommendations. Not just someone's mild tweet or positive rating--but when someone tells me, "You absolutely must read THIS."

Over the holidays, I love to catch up on my reading for pleasure (even typing this makes me feel rather giddy). So, lovely readers and friends...what have you read that you feel compelled to praise or share? Please and thanks.


A few of the books I read and LOVED LOVED LOVED this year: Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Good Squad; Leslie Jamison's The Empathy Exams, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, and Lesle Lewis's A Boot's a Boot.



Spotted in San Francisco, near City Lights Bookstore!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fellow Feeling

Fellow Feeling

Lit up pub in the dark big world
we are all we have left now
which is why I can feel my glass leaning
its wet shoulder into the shoulder
of your glass This is a place of pressing
up against one another Together let us
shred the labels from every bottle
Call it fellow feeling Call it taking turns
behind the bar The heel of my boot
is tingling so I take it into my hand
Everyone knows this song so come on
sing it This is the house of glowing
votives You cannot see the floor
because there is no floor For each
friend another bar stool orbiting
an arm’s length away Less even

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Whatever Hops Into Your Hand Will Hop Out

Whatever Hops Into Your Hand Will Hop Out

You can fancy yourself a friend to the animals
as I do and still trust me they will never
tell you in a human language what they have said
to one another

For this they are not stupid I am certain that we are

The superpower I long for is to sit with an animal
and ask her questions

and listen to the truest secrets of our world

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowlit

Snowlit

To walk back toward winter
you will have to pass
the pink-veined magnolia petals

You will destroy the tulips and pansies
as you walk on them for there is nowhere
else to walk

The living branches will fall around you
You will take your axe to the sleigh bed
and the piano for firewood

You will gather in a box whatever you would save
from a fire
and it will still burn

You will walk into the cold
and when you find winter you will know it
by its light

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sinkhole

Sinkhole

The sky and the water are equal,
equal, this is what this bridge
insists. The ground is affixed to
what is beneath it, dreams of trees
and bones, deep mineral thoughts
seeping into a place. And all else
is pastry, split sidewalk, water.

Maybe I’ll come back to this one
square of grass, or maybe when
I come back it’s cement, or maybe
my body never trusts it again
or maybe it stops trusting itself
and turns sinkhole, brings
the street with it, calling out
fire in the hole, where is the fire
that can make the darkness bigger.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Changing Light



I found a poem along the railing of this pier in San Francisco! It's "The Changing Light," by Ferlinghetti.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pier

Pier

Honk if your hands have been here
on the railing where mine are now

I plant some thoughts on this pier
for some future person to discover

When I lived near the water
my words were of the water
slippery and in love with the less-tightly
composed land that it could carry away
in fingerfuls

I explain this to the water
The water nods and responds in fog

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Unremembered Times

The Unremembered Times

If a thing happens
and no record of it remains
in our inner hall of records

we should not say it has been forgotten

There will always be a giving back
of what has brought joy or softened joy
or dopey contentment
or pain
though the duller sensations will wriggle free first

The car-bound afternoon and park passed three thousand times
An unremarkable bagel
The darkened rooms where you left yourself in sleep

Yellow light in red-headed trees and a free hour
A bridge to show you a new corner of a place
that became beloved

This is not a sloughing off
What dissolves is gone
but only from visibility

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ben Grosser’s Computers Watching Movies

This week, I learned about Ben Grosser’s fascinating “Computers Watching Movies” project. Grosser has computers look at several movies, and has developed software that produces a sketch to approximate how the computer is seeing what it is seeing.

Here’s an excerpt from his statement about this project:

“Computers Watching Movies shows what a computational system sees when it watches the same films that we do. The work illustrates this vision as a series of temporal sketches, where the sketching process is presented in synchronized time with the audio from the original clip. Viewers are provoked to ask how computer vision differs from their own human vision, and what that difference reveals about our culturally-developed ways of looking.”
This idea of computer vision is very thought-provoking to me. When artificial intelligence considers art, what does it perceive?

Here’s a computer watching a scene from American Beauty. Watch the rest of the videos here.

             

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hungry for Purposeful Quiet

Hungry for Purposeful Quiet

I stop to consider the empty spot
in my flowerbed where the tomato plant
had been

Growing there now is something invisible
pushing itself against the space
to be seen

Monday, December 1, 2014

This Is Not an Elegy

This Is Not an Elegy

To the darkness gathered across the lake
that comes for us so quickly
here is what we can say:

Welcome

to the place where every birthday candle
and cake will become

chewed crumbs and light
that lives next as smoke

And the darkness will say back

We know all about the birthday cake
We know all about fire gone to sleep
Always we have been here where love
began and will return



Friday, November 28, 2014

The Gift of Books!



There is no time I can remember in which I didn’t love books. Even as objects before I could read them. I’d look at the books in the built-in shelves in my living room growing up....I loved the fabric covers printed with embossed words and images, the glossy, full-page illustrations, the tattered covers and jackets.

The books of my childhood have also been embossed into my being. Oddkins, David and the Phoenix, Gwinna, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, The Chronicles of Narnia...I liked magic and a little bit of darkness or mystery. As I got a little older, I loved Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story...I distinctly remember reading it in the bathtub, over and over.

Of course, I adored the movie before that book--like so many others, the bookstore in the movie took my breath away. More than anything, I wanted to explore it with Bastian. I just knew there were treasures in there!

Whenever I find bookstores now, I absolutely want them to be like THAT shop....the stacks on the floor, the dusty volumes, the leather and cloth and gold. When I lived in Vancouver, my favorite bookstore was MacLeod’s Books downtown, because it reminded me of the shop in The Neverending Story.

Recently, upon rewatching The Neverending Story (a frequent occurrence for me!), I had a strange feeling while seeing Bastian run from his bullies. The lampposts, the cobblestone street, the particular arrangement of buildings---this looked oddly familiar.

Through the door of the bookstore, I caught sight of the sign: Gastown. Gastown, a part of downtown Vancouver, where I’d walked so many times. Could this be? MacLeod’s reminded me of the bookstore in The Neverending Story because it WAS the same bookstore!

This makes me feel nostalgic and triumphant, all at once. And it feels distinctly magical.

This holiday season, like so many others, I’ll be giving many books as gifts. It’s inevitable. I’m sure you will be, too.

This week, I’ve been reminded of the power of stories, books, libraries, and art. What we create can outlive us, can teach us, can be an honest reflection and aspiration for us.

Let us all be open to the power of stories, which expand the self, and teach us to hear and love someone else.

What books will you be giving as gifts this year?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mascot

Mascot

From the wet leaves I coaxed a large being
mound-shaped, not breathing but quite alive

Inside of this creature, dirt and the beginnings
of mud

He coughed leaves all over me
as I reached into him

I disassembled him with gusto
and put his pieces into a tall paper leaf bag
bearing pictures of red and oranges leaves

The empty patio stayed shadowed with dampness
A few stones remained

The night came earlier than ever


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What the Books Know

What the Books Know

The processed trees remember that they were once trees
When their pages are touched they remember

It was another time altogether
There was sun and water
and a sense of gathering the self up to climb

The books are trees
that have crawled inside
since they can never go back to the woods

In looking for the light
they find you

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pulp

Pulp

The paper wants to become a frog
so I fold it into a frog
and that’s it

Into a drawer
or a pocket

A thing finishes itself
I hurry it into ending is what this means

The toast yields to me and to heat
and when I rescue it from the toaster oven
I erase its visible body

No wonder we feel powerful
in our kitchens and systems

We are so surprised by the cold
and mildly surprised by the snow

Still we do not stand corrected

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bookmarks List/Bedside Table

Currently reading/enjoying:

  • This amazing, amazing essay by artist/writer Tessa Hulls, called "On Silence." I adore everything she makes with her brain/heart/hands. Look how beautiful: "Technically, white is the combination of all other colors. As a painter, I understood this intellectually: in Antarctica, I learned to see it. For the first time in my life, I experienced whiteness in true isolation and saw its capacity to unhinge any understanding of boundary or scale."
  • Sophia Kartsonis's The Rub.
  • Bob Eckstein's lovely illustrations and stories, "The Endangered Bookstores of New York."
  • This interesting article about an art gallery in the Netherlands that features a Mood App, which allows visitors to explore art that has been categorized by emotion (Thanks to my pal, Clive, for sharing this!). Really interesting idea...
Happy weekend, friends! If you've been reading anything fantastic, please share.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Upstate

Upstate

In the gabled house of hair-grown-long
go all folks to live when they have slipped
from sight but not from the disobedient
imagination

Window sheers here and light that drifts out
instead of in This is a several-towns-over place
and when you come closer it scoots to the
next available town

To find some peace you imagine it being gone
but a scientist tells you how wrong you are
She says Picture it existing Beloved inhabitants
rinsing jars and perfecting the arrangements
of books

She says Now know they will remain here
just out reach but quite well They do what
you do but many miles away The freeway
between here and there is a roaring river
Every once in a while just wave

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Graffiti

Graffiti

Fast shadows on the road of the crazy birds above
The shadows have been summoned by life
and in a way they are also alive Their movement
is inspired by three dimensional birds

This train that passes before me
maybe the cargo it holds has been painted
onto its flank Parade float letters making a name
into a cartoon It could peel itself from metal
and wade into that pond

Monday, November 17, 2014

Maybe There Is Nowhere New to Walk

Maybe There Is Nowhere New to Walk

As soon as you think it you know this is incorrect
It is just that we almost always have the same hunger
that sends us wandering

the same craving for colors that we eat in seeing the land

We designate as landmarks places within places and objects
Upon thinking of them the heart stirs

There are paths I still dream of

Naturally we return to place-beings for more
Moon-marked bridge pilings what did you want to tell me
Rocks easing yourselves beneath or above water how very
accepting of all this you are

Evergreens in all your weight you stand in steadiness

I hope someone else now comes to look at you

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Through the Ground Glass" and Creative Method

I love, love, love hearing artists talk about their work. Why do they make what they make, and in what way, and WHY in this way....my curiosity is endless.

Here's a beautiful short video called "Through the Ground Glass," by Taylor Hawkins and Nick Bolton. The video features photographer Joseph Allen Freeman, who works in large format (and makes insanely gorgeous images). I found this video via Booooooom, which continues to be one of the richest sources for online inspiration for me (Jeff Hamada, you freaking rock).

I love what Freeman says about tension, and about the blank/sleepy feeling that can accompany creative work. 

Enjoy! And if you have any inspiring videos, please send them my way...I'm always on the prowl.








Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lyric

Lyric 

And in a book
I still yearn for a singular voice

The voice floats away from the mess
as smoke does
or fire, even, when you try to locate the feet
of fire and find that it slightly levitates

And I say to the voice in you who may be broken
you are intact

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tips for Measuring the World

Tips for Measuring the World


Start somewhere.

Bring your foot close to you then far away.

If the self feels scattered you are doing it right.

Check your pockets seven times and on the eighth time

you will find your ring.

I already looked there but discovery is a creature

who likes to play.

Disappear a penny by sliding it down a parking meter’s throat.

Collect Bats of the World postage stamps.

Save the baby bat for the letter you have the most trouble with.

In all of the objects in one city choose a stone you love the most.

Cast your love onto it when you go on walks.

Train your wistfulness muscle.

Maybe it can just be easy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Zoo Run

Zoo Run

Slow and steady does not frequently win races
but there are plenty of advantages One is steadiness
by which we mean of mind or mood Also running
fast prevents all this from being seen in this way
To better watch the water find a rock To better
see the sky and all these leaving birds plant yourself
in the middle of the street only when no cars
are approaching These birds make no sense
to me A handful of tossed poppyseeds going
and then circling back to that tree and then going
again Have you seen the stragglers each fairly
alone Maybe this is their role I mean I have
finished dead last in a race The Zoo Run when
I was young They had to go looking for me
Often the clearest directions unfold for me
like a fan Each pleat viable and worth exploring
The straggler bird is unconcerned with winning
and wants to see that yellow tree or this
odd human staring up at her

Monday, November 10, 2014

Brim

Brim

After death you get a dog
to greet you
He looks like your dog in life
even if your dog is still alive

You will realize that no other being
is a symbol
Instead love has been
the metaphor all along

There is you the self
and the not-self
which is somehow also you
so that everything you look at

earns specificity and
saturation
the green green water
the pale sky A changed world

full to the brim After this place
a new way
to regard or experience Follow your
dog Roll in the dew wet grass

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Little Reading

On Wednesday night, I read at Darren Demaree's book release (his book, Temporary Champions, looks amazing! I've been reading it, but can't wait to sink my teeth into it). Sophia Kartsonis and Nathan Moore also read--I always enjoy their work.

It's so fun when writers celebrate alongside other writers, isn't it? I feel very fortunate to have such a warm, supportive community of writers in Columbus (and online, of course!).

I thought I'd share some footage from the reading. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chauffeur

Chauffeur

How do I make that which is not yet real
We do it every day In the trunk of my car
there are dried leaves fallen weeks ago
I chauffeur them around the city and deposit
them accidentally in a grocery store parking lot
thirty minutes away Here’s where they end up
for now Here’s where we part ways Whatever
fate we administer suppose we allow it entrance
into the self Maybe I can love that which
has sent me sailing from my branch

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Red Balloons

Red Balloons

Oh my little beetle-winged truth
What will happen to you

in this day grown dark You will
be alive somewhere

we hope In the park a family in
their finery Unrumpled

corduroy and marled sweaters
Big bunch of red balloons

in the little girl’s hand I hope that
no one will photograph them

as they tumble toward evening
together Maybe they are

just on a balloon walk through
the leaves without snow

Every which way there are moments
that will be forgotten

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Album

Album

Here I am with a watering can.
That’s me and my dog.
That’s me and my dad’s dog.
That’s just the tree in December.
Here’s you.
That shirt was your mother’s.

Here’s us standing in a roadside ditch
that you claimed was beautiful
and you were right, I can see now.

This…it’s a group of geese.
That’s a crow.

I tried to photograph the starlings
but I couldn’t find what made them perfect.
Same with the sky.

This is before you were born.
This is the sky outside the hospital when you were born.

This is your portrait
while the photographer read aloud to you
a list of phone numbers that you used to dial.

This is my black rotary phone.
That’s my hand wrapped in the cord.

This is a cloud while you are inside crying.
These are the rocks in our garden
come from all over just to live in our dirt.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crickets

Crickets

The cricket talks
and because we can hear it
this is a metaphor for quietness

The cricket is trying to tell you
how cold it is
to be a cricket

The songs I prefer are full of echo
because loud in the song

is what the singer has not disclosed

Here in the song
the old well he has fallen down
and is singing from

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bookmarks List/Bedside Table

Currently reading and enjoying:


And you, friends?

Happy weekend to you!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Grounds

The Grounds

Is it Cinderella glass
coffin or Sleeping Beauty glass coffin
or Snow White glass coffin If we could
box her up we would but only to protect
her body from its further failure
There is the falling apart in secret
we will all do A rejoining
There are children dressed as royalty
because it is the end of October
and the skeletons in the trees swing
their limbs exuberantly and freely
This park should come with a warning for what
it wants to dig up Warning Playground
of Mortality ahead Too late You have always
been here walking the grounds It is ok
Both of us are in here All of us are

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Longer Leash

Longer Leash

Here is an ink blob on a Bingo card
Let’s call it Beloved
Let’s replicate it all over
and hope that in one of these marks
some devotion will be reciprocated

The novelist tells a room of people
how Charlie Brown
is a cartoon about guilt

This makes me think that inside every cartoon
another cartoon crouches

The cartoon inside of Garfield
is about hunger and unequal love

I rearrange the furniture
but always end up with the same couch
I think of it with irritation
but it calls itself my masterpiece

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stitches

Stitches

In swooning a tree will tell you
where the light is strongest

A house will tell you
about being a box of material with a hole in its heart
but of course you already know about this

If you see something that terrifies you
you can hold a hand over your face and watch from behind
your fingers

With your own hand you protect yourself from seeing
what wants to wriggle and slice into your brain

A nightmare dares you to escape with your hair beneath its boot

Monday, October 27, 2014

Arm’s Length

Arm’s Length

The great stories of heartbreak and desire
are best performed by comedians

Their longing sounds half a step
lower and thus

closer to some source of darkness
Oh how much lovelier the heart strings

fallen out of tune
In retightening them you hear

the ropes of their voices thrown out
over the hollows

This deep night
just before the day flips over on itself

is of great beauty
but were I to get out there in it

I would only begin to ruin it
It isn’t even a little sad

Friday, October 24, 2014

Radio Conversations and Field Trips

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting with poet buddies Wendy McVicker and Becca J.R. Lachman! (Becca's book, Other Acreage, will be coming out from Gold Wake Press in spring!) They kindly invited me to have a chat on a radio program that they host, Conversations from Studio B. We spent 30 minutes chatting about poems and creativity--it absolutely flew by.

If you'd like to listen in on our chat, it's available here.

It was a refreshing day that I spent with Wendy and Becca--afterward, I visited with Becca's awesome poetry students, and we discussed process, line breaks, and publishing.

Poetry and art field trips are some of my favorite outings. What field trips have you taken lately?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mytheme

Mytheme

In a distant galaxy, an asteroid is born.
The asteroid is flung and flies.
The asteroid gains consciousness.
The asteroid thinks it is a large planet.
On this planet, a tree appears.
The tree has always existed.
The tree springs up fully formed in one instant.
The tree is growing upside down.
Its branches are roots.
All branches of trees are roots eating light.
It’s a sprig of broccoli.
A child wants to eat a tree.
A divine person wants to eat a tree.
A boy in suspenders shrugs out of them.
A boy in a coat removes a coat and places it on a fence.
There is a hungry person.
The tree shakes its head to see leaves fall.
The tree cries because all of its leaves drop from it.
The more tears, the more leaves.
The tree has accepted that at any moment it could disappear.
The tree is trying to accept this.
An asteroid admires Earth.
An asteroid sees a tree and falls in love.
An asteroid pursues a tree.
A human opens a window in a house.
A human closes her eyes to hunt a thought.
The noise is so loud it replaces all other sounds.
There is no sound.
The light engulfs one planet.
The light eats the sound.
There is a flash of light and then the normal day resumes.
A woman puts her arm in the sunlight.
The bagged leaves huddle around their tree.
The bagged leaves look down the road.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reading a Map Is a Form of Dreaming

Reading a Map Is a Form of Dreaming

Where can I find a quieter mind
When I hunt it is always in the real darkness

Someone told me to invent a place and then listen to it

What I heard were leaves

In the dark like this a house looks like a mountain
The dog is its own shadow

Friday, October 17, 2014

Collaboration with Rebecca Chaperon and Giveaway


This week on Huffington Post, I was so delighted to share about a collaboration with Vancouver-based artist Rebecca Chaperon. In her new show, Eccentric Gardens, she has paired a few of my poems with her paintings! I am crazy about Rebecca’s art, and just love the way her brain works in general. If you’re in Vancouver, the show will run from October 24-November 15 at Initial Gallery.

In her artist statement, she describes her pieces as “imagined physical spaces brimming with creative energy.” The concept of a garden is a rich one for her--she links this to “her childhood garden in England - a place of her creative origin, where she learned to create, imagine, and play.”

Rebecca has printed up some lovely postcards featuring her images and my poems. To celebrate her exhibit, I wanted to give some of these away! I’ll send out five sets of these postcards (each set contains three postcards with her paintings on one side, and my poems on the other).

To enter, answer this question: What is your place of creative origin? What places have helped you learned to be creative and playful?
You can either comment below, like/comment on this post on Facebook, or reply via Twitter (I’ll reply to the winners to get mailing information). You can enter until Sunday at noon--at that point, I’ll randomly select winners and report back!






Thursday, October 16, 2014

Life Is Good and Blood

Life Is Good and Blood

For you can be angry at the dog who has muddied you
by jumping to say hello

or you can incorporate mud
into your costume for the day

A bumper sticker told me that Life is Blood
And then as I watched its letters reassembled into the word Good

Life is good and blood
is responsible, I suppose

Valuable messages will arm wrestle you all day
for free

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Circle What We Do Remember

Circle What We Do Remember

We circle what we do remember
in pencil and then in a tearing away
of the paper under the pencil’s pointy
tooth

And then in the hand that stops moving
but wants to soothe itself through orbiting

Over and over the bird of the mind
swoops down onto the same patch
of water

Once there was a fish there
and never again

I am sorry that this will never be enough

Monday, October 13, 2014

Creature of the Dark

Creature of the Dark

Creature of the dark
it is not that you create the darkness

Nothing creates the darkness
except the light which won’t interrupt it

They are fond of each other
and you can find the shade nestled up

against what is bright Anyway
creature of the dark you are so important

All between your horns
are shadows You know where your

home is You will never
chase me even when I stare and stare

Friday, October 10, 2014

In Praise of Mail

I adore mail. I love finding cards, writing them, sending them, receiving them...it's really amazing to me that I can put a piece of paper in a box in Columbus, Ohio, and then it magically goes far away and finds its designated human.

I'm lucky to have friends and family who feel the same way. Just this week, I got this card from dear friends (and even better, their adorable little daughter had drawn in it!):



Also, my very talented mom makes beautiful cards (and knits beautiful hats--she is so creative!). Here is just one of my recent favorites from her shop:






  Happy weekend, friends!






Thursday, October 9, 2014

Scent Photography

Scent Photography

Smudge of pumpkin touched by fire
in the air and what I want is
to be inside of this minute again
but in the future
I take a photograph of this smell
which means I breathe it into me
while seeing what surrounds us
Like that birdbath behind the fence
and the orange leaves I bring
down the street just by walking
Whatever will be held has decided
to rest before changing
Pumpkin coach you will carry us all

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Unwind

Unwind

Time you are not good or cruel
You are not there in isolation ever
You are not a body or a being
I make you into a monster
for a morning
and then remember you are weather

Friend, the future just wants
to live and then be set free
rushing past us to resolution

To be a real boy
by spending itself until it is gone

The universe wants to unwind
and we are in the way
but only a little

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sky Effects

Sky Effects

To make as a sky is made
and remade and exists only
because the gravity-ridden beings gaze into it

Web spun of what is not there

and moisture pieces and light
and eyeball and brain
and distance
and desire to look up

Oh offerer of meaning
for those crawling low
which we call walking

every day we work to create you

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sitting Still

Sitting Still

Yesterday I complimented myself on my ability to sit still
in a room full of runners

A somewhat decent joke

but I do want to carry the stillness
It can feel like becoming a lake

or like holding a very full tray of full glasses
while maneuvering through the boxes
in a just-moved-into house

Photographers have said that a good time
to take a picture is when you are almost finished exhaling

A heavy sigh even
can coax the light into the cracks of the land

Friday, October 3, 2014

If You Answered Mostly True--Video

Today, I thought I'd share a video of me reading a poem. The video was made by a great local arts show called "Broad & High" which promotes arts and culture news from around Columbus.

Back in spring, I read at the Poetry Out Loud finals for Ohio. This event was incredibly inspiring--high schoolers competed by reciting poems that they'd memorized. These were the finals, so there were some really phenomenal readers there. It made me so happy and heartened to see these awesome teens so passionate about poems.

The poem is called "If You Answered Mostly True," and it's one of my favorites to read aloud. It's odd, and repetitive, and instantly helps me to feel connected with the audience. You can read full text of the poem here, at Hobart.

This week, I am feeling especially grateful for arts communities, other artists, and people who care about art (and poetry--that means you! Thank you!).



         

Thursday, October 2, 2014

We’re Not Angry, We’re Disappointed

We’re Not Angry, We’re Disappointed

Treeteachers we have not learned enough from you
Treeteachers you told us to read the light
and to speak with shadow

We have fashioned in your image a traffic light
because we thought that in how you blushed and aged in fall
you were giving us an assignment

but clearly we can see how we have displeased you
As you shake your head
your yellow words fall

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lunar Mare

Lunar Mare

Why does the drain want the water
Why does the sand want, for a moment, the pressure of a foot
carrying a body across its back

In the core of every gathering up of what is desired
there is a hole

Music over and over wants to tell us this
The most plaintive instruments keep trying to explain it
in voices full of significant hollows

See, there will be no solving of absence
but if you blow across it listen to that
melodious tone

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Custodian

Custodian
 
Before the first sketches, where was the statehouse
Before this stone was culled from the quarry
Before the custodian who now wields a floor scrubber
to protect our pretend idea that each day that the building is new

The statehouse uses its secrets to dream
It learned this from the prisoners who first grew it from stone
and scribbled on the early walls

The statehouse is all lit up from the inside in the dark morning
Like love it clutches within itself the human caresses which
gave it a body

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quiet Company

Quiet Company

An ocean plus the sand scraped from the pit of its soul
plus the large spider crawling from the leaves
of the tomato plant plus every glass you shattered
come clanging back to haunt you plus the full feeling
of you in the city’s belly looking up at the gleaming
building parts alone plus the full train plus the empty train.

All of this in a bag hauled Santa-style dragging in the snow
then tied to the collar of a dog with a song for a name
and keen ears ready to run.


Friday, September 26, 2014