Thursday, June 30, 2005

Stranger Words — a Weekend with the OED?

Only in Seattle: The weekly news rag The Stranger held a contest to see who could come up with the most words that could be a noun, a verb, and an adjective, without any change in spelling. The winner, Dan Landes, came up with 314 words; second place finisher Karyna McGlynn found 243, 50 of which weren't on Landes' list. For those who care, here is "triple threat" noun-verb-adjective list:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Politcal Frequencies

Ron (the Sublibrarian) has performed a freakin' fascinating word frequency list on George Bush's recent Iraq War speech. Check it out here, and see just how insidious this administration's "Us vs. Them" paradigm is.

Touch Me

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

- Stanley Kunitz
who turns 100 this July

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Morning After

Thanks all: it was a fun night out with old friends, drinking and dining. Among the gifts: a shot glass from Utah (hehehe), a green shirt, a miniature Edwardian solarium, and a copy of the new Stanley Kunitz poetry/garden memoir The Wild Braid. In thanks, I recited a Frank O'Hara poem by heart. And now it's back to work . . . ah, Monday.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Officially Middle-aged

Well, today is the big "46." I guess I am now offically middle-aged. It's been a quiet day so far: while Dean was at work, I puttered in the yard, helped typeset some of the next issue of Pontoon with Ted, then watched some of the gay Pride Parade on Broadway. Tonight we are going out to dinner with several friends at Bistro 1200, one of my favorite restaurants. Yum yum! I can hardly wait!


I got the link to the Concordance program from Steven. Amazon still hasn't posted it for Saying the World (I sent them the forms almost two months ago). So I was happy to be able to do this myself. Here is what I got (after eliminating all the common articles and conjunctions and prepositions, unless they seemed unusual.) It'll be interesting to try this on my next book (which is still in the works).

What do I find interesting? The top words in Saying the World are: first, life, father, mother; which I guess makes sense in a book that has a lot of family and medical stuff in it. The top three colors: blue, white, red (my, how patriotic). The top three body parts: face, eyes, hand & hair (tie). Most frequent time of day: morning. Why does "car" appear so often! jeez. I thought there would be more "blood" and "baby."

Saying the World
Unique words = 3144 Total words = 9541
rank word freq
43 First 25
52 life 19
60 say 17
68 father 14
69 mother 14
70 open 14
72 room 14
77 face 13
78 light 13
79 long 13
80 remember 13
81 time 13
82 up 13
84 years 13
86 blue 12
87 Car 12
88 eyes 12
89 morning 12
90 perhaps 12
91 red 12
93 white 12
94 door 11
95 dead 11
98 hand 11
99 hair 11
100 last 11
101 Next 11
105 three 11
106 way 11
107 wonder 11
108 Yet 11
109 amid 10
110 blood 10
111 baby 10

Saturday, June 25, 2005

These "Conundrums" are really fascinating (and a bit disturbing). I'd love to find a way to make a poem from them. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

When Is a Hen on the Fence Like a Penny?

Saw these antique cigarette cards on Aimee Nez's blog. Check 'em out here. They're very cool.

When is a Hen on the Fence Like a Penny? Posted by Hello

I Wanted to be The Fool . . .

. . . but I like the idea of "milking pleasure."

The Sun Card
You are the Sun card. The light of the Sun reveals
all. The Sun is joyful and bright, without fear
or reservation. The childish nature of the Sun
allows you to play and feel free. Exploration
can truly take place in the light of day when
nothing is hidden. The Sun's rays fill you with
energy so that you may live life to its
fullest, milking pleasure out of each day. Such
joy and energy can bring wealth and physical
pleasure. To shine in the light of day is to
have confidence, to soak up its rays is to feel
the freedom of a child. Image from: Stevee

Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Let's Try It On the Dog

These are the dog days of summer
and like a dog in a manger I am living a dog's
portion of a dog's life in this dog-eat-dog
town, dogging it in a doggery, a salty
dog in my hand, drinking the hair
of the dog that bit me.

Dog-tired, dog-faced, the dog ends
of my dog days in a dogged heap;
dog-cheap in my dog collared shirt,
my dog Latin would make a damn dog laugh,
or at least a blue dog blush.

Dressed like a dog's dinner, walking
like a dog in shoes while you top dogs
put on the dog, my dog feelings tell me
the smell of the dog is upon me —
I've been given the dog to hold.

An easy thing to find a stick
to beat a dog. But dog on it! This dog's
body is hanging on till the last dog is hung.
And I'll walk the black dog on
till you blow your dogs off.

These are the dog days of summer.
Sirius, the dog star, rises over
this dog's breakfast as if to ask:
Whose dog is dead? Next time,
let's let sleeping dog's lie.


Monday, June 20, 2005

What Verse Form Are You?

I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mysterious Skin

Dean and I went to see Mysterious Skin last night. It was directed by Gregg Araki and won the Golden Space Needle Award at the recent Seattle International Film Festival. What a lovely disturbing film this is! Joseph Gorden-Levitt (of Third Rock From the Sun fame) stars as a young man who was abused as an eight-year old by his Little League coach, and grows up to become a male hustler. His parallel character, who was also abused by the same coach, but suppresses it, becomes an asexual nerd, obsessed about dreams of being abducted by aliens. The final scene is a tour de force, where the two of them meet again, as 19 year-olds, and come to terms with their shared past. Some scenes of the movie are violent and difficult, but it is always graced with a sublime and honest sense of the absurd, and is definitely worth seeing.

for Father's Day

Angel to Love, Man to World: My Father’s Great Books

He swore he would read them all — 54 hefty volumes, plus
a yearly update, each with its own gold-embossed author.
They’re better than encyclopedias, he would say. It’s like
having all the world’s geniuses at your fingertips
He was going to follow the Ten-Year Plan, begin with
Hamlet, for instance, or St. Augustine’s Confessions, before
diving into The Decline and Fall — finally get the good
liberal education he never had. Sunday afternoons
he’d pick one color-coded volume: pale yellow for Literature,
dark green for Science, red or blue for History or Philosophy,
and promptly fall asleep in his recliner, the dog-eared first page
folded upon his chest. During the week, my brothers
and I would pile Descartes, Spinoza, Cervantes, Darwin,
to bank the tracks of our electric racecars; my sisters
would practice balancing Herodotus, Thucydides, or Galen
upon head-banded heads, see how solemnly they could posture
around the house, return the prized volumes to their case
before father came home to check for any mischief. Before long
he had collected glossy paperbacks to learn himself
Contracts & Finance, Home Remodeling, Do-It-Yourself
. His Great Books moved to a spot in the hall,
holding up a vase of plastic geraniums. The pair of Indexes,
with their intriguing titles: Angel to Love,
Man to World
, stacked with the only update my father
ever bought: 1961 — as if time and history had stopped
with Kennedy’s Election, Seventeen New Nations in Africa,
Mass Culture, and The Youth Explosion.


Friday, June 17, 2005

The Old Woman and the Physician

One of the more unusual Aesop's Fables, but one of my favorites:

AN OLD WOMAN having lost the use of her eyes, called in a
Physician to heal them, and made this bargain with him in the
presence of witnesses: that if he should cure her blindness, he
should receive from her a sum of money; but if her infirmity
remained, she should give him nothing. This agreement being
made, the Physician, time after time, applied his salve to her
eyes, and on every visit took something away, stealing all her
property little by little. And when he had got all she had, he
healed her and demanded the promised payment. The Old Woman,
when she recovered her sight and saw none of her goods in her
house, would give him nothing. The Physician insisted on his
claim, and, as she still refused, summoned her before the Judge.
The Old Woman, standing up in the Court, argued: "This man here
speaks the truth in what he says; for I did promise to give him a
sum of money if I should recover my sight: but if I continued
blind, I was to give him nothing. Now he declares that I am
healed. I on the contrary affirm that I am still blind; for when
I lost the use of my eyes, I saw in my house various chattels and
valuable goods: but now, though he swears I am cured of my
blindness, I am not able to see a single thing in it."

Dominant? Me?

Or is it "dominate me . . . ?"

You have a dominant kiss- you take charge and make
sure your partner can feel it! Done artfully,
it can be very satisfactory if he/she is into
you playing the dominant role MEORW!

What kind of kiss are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, June 16, 2005

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Dean and I are going to see queer novelist D. Travers Scott, a local writer and friend of ours, read from his new novel, One of These Things is Not Like the Other, tonight at 7pm at Bailey-Coy Books on Capitol Hill. He is on the bill to read with Chilean-Canadian writer Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco.

Here is an excerpt from a review in the Miami Weekly News:

"No one should ever accuse Seattle-based writer D. Travers Scott of playing it safe. His latest novel, “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other” (Suspect Thoughts Press, paperback, $16.95), is one seriously fucked-up piece of storytelling. (Please note, that’s said with admiration.) I defy anyone to find the familiar in his tale of quadruplet brothers – all named Jake Barnes.

The identical brothers were raised in isolation by their father (also Jake Barnes), and operate under the family mythology that their mother died when they were born. Their individuality was muzzled until they collectively made a break from their dad and settled into vastly different lives.

When dear ol’ dad commits suicide, he leaves behind the message that one of them is an outsider born to a different woman; and the four boys began unraveling every shred of information about their lives to solve the puzzle. Scott shifts the perspective among the brothers, focusing on each of their differences as he drags them toward a collision with the truth.

Brutal, twisted and sometimes completely frustrating, “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other” is a meditation on identity that requires a healthy suspension of disbelief. While its parts might be greater than the sum, it’s rare to come across a writer this fearless and original."


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ten Things

This meme has been making the rounds. "Ten things you probably don't know about me:"

I can't swim.
I can't whistle.
I can't dance.
I was the badminton champion of my high school PE class.
I waited tables to put myself through college.
I also recorded textbooks for the blind.
I had two older brothers and two older sisters, two younger brothers and two younger sisters: a true middle child.
I used to write fiction and have published a few short stories.
I prefer Chekov over WCW.
I'd love to write a play.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This is Just to Say N+7

Using the N+7 Assistant and the "Alice" wordlist.

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the questions
that were in
the insult

and which you
were probably
saving for

Forgive me
they were difficult
so tart and
so conclusive.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Periodic Table of the Ailments

The Periodic Table of the Ailments

Hypochondrium, with a toxic weight of 1 and an emotional negativity of +1, is the lightest and least charged of all the ailments. It is believed to be the essential building block from which all the other ailments are created.

Following a row from left to right, emotional negativity increases: for example, from Borin', to Nitpickin', to Arguin'. Descending a column from top to bottom, toxic weight increases: for instance, as we move from Ouchygen to Suffer, or from Antimony to Seizium.

In the middle of the table is a large group of very similar ailments: the Heavy Mentals. These ailments are malleable yet durable, due to their Sea of Charged Emotions, and include the commonly seen Irony, Tension, and Stressium; also Halffullium, Rue & Ruthium, Hysterium, and Migrainium; as well as the more unusual Platitudinum, Valetudinum, and Tungstuckincheekium.

The Nobel Asses are so called because these ailments are so full of themselves they have become inert: Heelium, Begone, Agony, Crypticsighsium, Leavemealoneium, and Rageon.

Finally, the more recently discovered Rare Death Ailments consume a large part of the Periodic Table, as well as a large part of the National Health Budget. These include: Sneezium, Wheezium, Cough and Coldium; Wartium, Rashium, Painium, and Curemeum, as well as many other insidious and persistent - and sometimes explosive! - ailments.

Armed with the knowledge and study of The Periodic Table of the Ailments, physicians are now able to predict the appearance of new ailments, even before they have manifested. One such ailment, Internetaddictium, with a toxic weight of 125 and an emotional negativity of -4, has recently been proposed. Due to its probable extreme instability, research is already underway for isolation and preventive treatment Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Toccata & Fugue

I am reviewing the final galleys for Toccata & Fugue, by Timothy Kelly, winner of the 2005 Floating Bridge Press Poetry Chapbook Award. It's a lovely collection of poems. Tim is a Physical Therapist in Olympia, WA, and his intimate familiarity with the human body, its traumas and healings, is so evident in these top-notch poems.

Here is the opening poem in the chapbook:


Wherever they are, tripping
and twitching on their morphine drips,
or laid out lax in a dayroom, I squeeze
their feet, sing out their names, fetch them,
Orpheus-like, back to the too-brilliant brim
of the world. There is,

of course, bewilderment. There are lines
and belts and their legs lifted twiglike
and swept out of bed. There are their knees
blocked by my knees, the calibrated
leaning back, and the length of them
levered up to some brief, provisional

perpendicular. Let me see your eyes
I say then, and most, hummingbird-hearted,
do. And we rock a minute
on the linoleum while they reacquaint
themselves with the sheared apart and
strangely wired-back-together world

they’ve been, for the last while,
out of. It’s not fixed yet, they say;
put me back to bed. And I say it is fixed,
really. Let’s try some steps.

Timothy Kelly will read from his newly released chapbook on Tuesday, June 28th, 2005, at 7pm, Richard Hugo House, 1634 -11th Avenue, in Seattle, along with the finalists Nancy Pagh, Bethany Reid, and Annette Spaulding-Convy. A reception and book-signing follows. Admission is free.

from According to the Joy

the making of a perfect mayonnaise is the Sunday job for Papa

to avoid anti-climax remember

the smooth, rich-looking glisten of hand beaten

don’t try if a thunderstorm is in progress, as it simply will not bind

outdoor enthusiasts do best when they stick to simple methods

separate the leaves and wash thoroughly

try some of the wild as well as the cultivated

place firm ripe bananas between halves

wet ones should be patted between towels

lie down until skilled help comes and keep quiet and warm

if someone is with you, let her remove any loose clothing . . . but do not let her touch


Friday, June 10, 2005

The Red Poppy

The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.

� Louise Gluck
from The Wild Iris

Posted by Hello

What Does Your Birthdate Mean?

Your Birthdate: The 26th

Your birth on the 26th day of the month (8 energy) modifies your life by increasing your capability to function and succeed in the business world.

In this environment you have the skills to work very well with others thanks to the 2 and 6 energies combining in this date.

There is a marked increase in organizational, managerial, and administrative abilities.

You are efficient and handle money very well.

You're ambitious and energetic, while generally remaining cooperative and adaptable.

You are conscientious and not afraid of responsibility.

Generally sociable and diplomatic, you tend to use persuasion rather than force.

You have a wonderful combination of being good at both the broad strokes and the fine detail; good at starting and continuing. This birthday is practical and realistic, often seeking material satisfaction.

Now that you know, there is plenty of time left for shopping . . . hehehe

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Artist: Destiny's Child
Album: Survivor
Title: Survivor

. . .

Thought I couldn't breath without ya,
I'm inhalin'
You thought I couldn't see without ya,
perfect vision
You thought I couldn't last without ya,
but I'm lastin'
You thought that I would die without ya,
but I'm livin'
Thought that I would fail without ya,
but I'm on top
Thought that it would be over by now,
but it won't stop
Thought that I would self destruct,
but I'm still here
Even in my years to come,
I'm still gonna be here

. . .

for full lyric click here.

Which Famous Modern American Poet Are You?

You are Wallace Stevens
You are Wallace Stevens. You love everything,
especially the sound of things. Too bad you
are so obscure that at times even you don't
understand what the hell you have written.

Which Famous Modern American Poet Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Taken With

I am so taken with John Marshall's new chapook, Taken With, a fine letterpress chapbook produced by Seattle's own Paul Hunter and Wood Works Press. Taken With is an amazing 26 part poem sequence, recounting the author's mother's stroke, time in a neighborhood nursing home, where he had many interesting visits with her, and her eventual passing. The poems are poignant and funny, and it was a delight to hear John read them in sequence in their entirety at Elliott Bay the other night.

Here is an exerpt from section 14:

. . .

I was set to leave.
Where are you going Mother asked.
I'm going home.

Take me with you she said
and laughed a kind of wreck.
The woman to the left

said take me too
then the six or seven of them all
took the sentence on

like hail taking on a garbage can.
Take me with you haw haw haw.
Take me with you laugh laugh laugh.

Like a headache made of starlings.
I can't I said I have a wife and dog.
A dog haw haw haw.

A wife laugh laugh laugh.
Take me with you take me with you.
Haw haw laugh laugh laugh.

I zippered my coat closed
with a ferocity that shut them up.
Unbalanced silence in the room. Mom

knocked it over saying
you should go.
Saying I've been where you're going.

Anyway go walk your dog.

. . . from Taken With, by J. W. Marshall, section 14

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Blogging poem drafts

I was talking with a poetry friend the other day about blogging, and the posting of poem drafts. It has always been my assumption (perhaps naive) that posting a poem draft on my blog does not by any means constitute publication. That I am still free to send the poem (when it is finished) out to print journals, or online journals. I read through the fine print of Blogger and Blogspot the other day, and it states that I hold the copyright to anything I post on the blog.

Do others have opinions on this? Does posting a poem on a blog make it "published?" (I think, of course not!). I suppose if there were any question, I could just delete any poem drafts from my blog, and they would be gone, and any links to them would become dead links, but I like having them in the archives. What do you who post poem drafts think about this issue?

(PS: it so so funny that the spellcheck suggestion for "blogging" is "flogging.")

Monday, June 06, 2005

Stephen Crane - In the desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

This is such an interesting, arresting little poem. Joyce Carol Oates, of course, used a fragment of it for a title of one of her books. It's very dreamlike and enigmatic. Most readers see it as a metaphor for the self-destructiveness or self-centeredness of depression or addiction. In fact, I wonder if this poem is where the expresssion "Eat your heart out" arises from?
When I read it to my partner, who is a psychotherapist (and a very good one!), he saw it as a metaphor for the process of therapy, where you sit with your pain, your bitterness, and try to understand it in a deep way ("eat of it"), as a way to know yourself, to heal.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Lovely Wedding/Late Fragment

Dean and I had a great time at the wedding. Lynn and Sam are a gorgeous couple: and they are both such caring and good-hearted and loving people. What a party! Cocktails and dinner and dancing into the late night. Woo-hoo! I was especially touched that Lynn's parents took the time to seek Dean and I out and thank us for being part of Lynn's life. That was so sweet.

One of the best parts of the wedding was the reading of Raymond Carver's "Late Fragment" by a friend of Sam and Lynn's. I just love this little poem, and that they included this and other poems in the ceremony:

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

June is for Wedding Bells

My friends Lynn and Sam are getting married today! I am so happy for them, and really looking forward to going to the ceremony and the reception after. It's an evening wedding, which is so much funner, I think. I was searching (in my books at home, and on-line) for a good epithalamion to post , and couldn't find one. Anybody have a suggestion?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Three Readings Three Nights

There are three readings in three nights I want to go to next week in Seattle:

John Marshall, reading from his new chapbook Taken With, Monday, June 6th, 7:30pm, at Elliott Bay Books.
Sam Hamill, reading from his new and selected, Almost Paradise, Tuesday, June 7th, 7:30pm, at Elliott Bay Books.
Richard Rapport, the Seattle neurosurgeon, reading from his new book, Nerve Endings: The Discovery of the Synapse, Wednesday, June 7th, 7:30pm, at Town Hall ($5 admission).

Why is everything always at 7:30? (rather than just 7 or 8?).
Wouldn't "The Discovery of the Synapse" make a great poem title?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

How Normal Are You

You Are 65% Normal

(Really Normal)

Otherwise known as the normal amount of normal

You're like most people most of the time

But you've got those quirks that make you endearing

You're unique, yes... but not frighteningly so!