Sunday, October 30, 2005
A cockroach can live nine days without its head.
If God didn’t intend us to eat bacon,
why did he make it taste so good?
A honeybee makes less than one half teaspoon of honey in its life.
A tooth placed in a glass of Coke will dissolve overnight.
If nicotine is a stimulant, why does it calm people?
Peanuts are an ingredient of dynamite.
We use only ten percent of our brains.
Do you weigh more or less after you fart?
Goldfish kept in a bowl go blind.
Early retirees die sooner.
Coke is also an effective spermicide.
What happens with the other 75 percent?
You can walk barefoot across a bed of coals because the ash is cool.
Dogs have cleaner mouths than humans,
even though they lick their own butts.
A penny dropped off the Empire State Building
can cut a hole through a man without killing him.
You can walk barefoot across a bed of coals because of the steam
created by the sweat on the bottoms of your feet.
Will clogs ever come back in style?
Is it identity theft if the person is dead?
He gave me a reovirus for a souvenir.
Like a big black crow hunched over something in the road.
Human hair is indestructible to everything but fire.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Even the quitch loves, sashaying
belly-blade to blade-belly
when wind is low. Most days,
we fail to notice
that elusive, Rastafarian
canoodle. The poems
therefore darting away, sunken,
through the halls.
Our words becoming escapes,
not spoor. Why can't
our selves intersect
with the exterior?
Because something is sclerotic,
in the Burundi
Salvador trees. Where dewdrops
are slaver. Listen up:
The Egyptians jettisoned
a mummy's cerebrum, knowing
the heart should do
I get the last four lines. They make the poem work for me. But everything before it? Can somebody explain it to me?
Bernadette Mayer's Scarlet Tanager, published by New Directions, is a little more straightforward. With blurbs from Jackson Mac Low (who must have channeled it) and Michael Palmer, and a cover of image of a red bird atop a CT scan of Mayer's head, you know going in to expect "experimental poetry." She does translations of her own poems into French, and then transliterates (or mis-translates) them back into English, with comic effect. She does a form of N + 7 with the instructions for how to use a condom (very funny), she has a list poem of all the "appellations" for penis, and a scrabble poem made from all the words used in one game. There are collaborations with artists and political rants against George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. There is even a paradelle (didn't she get the memo that this form was a hoax? ~grin~). True, none of this is particularly edgy or "new" in the least. But I like the voice in these poems. And I think I understand them, for the most part. Here's an example:
Pull out slowly right after youth
come, while pen name is still hard
Hold conductor in placket on pen name
to avoid spilling semi-final
Turn and move completely away
before you let go of conductor
Dispose of used conductor
properly, not in the token
And no more sextet without a new conductor
If conductor breaks and semi-final spills or leaks don't panic
But quickly wash semi-final away with sobriety and water-color
(with Philip Good)
Friday, October 28, 2005
First Madonna, and now Carson Kressley has a children's book out. I just love his campy humor on Queer Eye. And the story he has written sounds useful and instructive for children (hell, for everybody): Trumpet is a horse shunned by his friends when he "comes out" as a unicorn. But he returns to save the day for them all, by use of his unicorn horn, and they all learn to regret their prejudice. (And live gaily ever after). Illustrated by Jared Lee.
Could you imagine having Carson read you to sleep at night? Whee!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
A Small Psalm
Sorrow be gone, be a goner, be forsooth un-sooth, make like a
suit and beat it, vamoose from the heavy heavy, be out from
under the night's crawlspace, call not for another stone, more
weight more weight, be extinguished, extinguish, the dark,
that which is deep and hollow, that which presses from all
sides, that which squeezes your heart into an artichoke-heart
jar and forbids it breathe, that which is measured by an
unbalanced scale, banish the broken, the unfixable, the
shattered, the cried-over, the cursed, the cursers, the curses—
curse them, the stone from the stone fruit, let it be fruit, the
pit from the pitted, the pock from the pocked, the rot from the
rotten, tarry not at the door, jam not the door's jamb, don't
look back, throw nothing over your shoulder, not a word, not
a word's edge, vowel, consonant, but run out, run out like the
end of a cold wind, end of season, and in me be replaced
with a breath of light, a jack-o'-lantern, a flood lamp or fuse
box, a simple match or I would even take a turn signal, traffic
light, if it would beat beat and flash flood like the moon at
high tide, let it, let it, let it flare like the firefly, let it spark and
flash, kindle and smoke, let it twilight and sunlight, and
sunlight and moonlight, and when it is done with its lighting
let it fly, will'-o-the-wisp, to heaven.
Nice work, Catherine! The word play goes straight to my heart. And congrats also to other members of the two Seattle writing groups I participate in, who have books recent and/or forthcoming. You rock:
Kathleen Flenniken, Famous, winner of the 2005 Prairie Schooner book award
Rebecca Loudon, Tarantella and now Radish King, forthcoming from Ravenna Press
Ron Starr, a chapbook, forthcoming from Ravenna Press
Jeannine Hall Gailey (new member) Female Comic Book Superheroes (chapbook) and Becoming the Villainess, forthcoming from Steel Toe Press.
Susan Rich, The Cartographer's Tongue and now Cures Include Travel, forthcoming from White Pine Press
Lillias Bever (new member), Bellini In Istanbul, winner of the 2004 Tupelo Press book award
Jeff Crandall, The Grief Pool, Firestorm Press
Ted McMahon, The Uses of Imperfection, Cat 'n' Dog Press
Linda Greenmun, Wheel of Days, Floating Bridge Press
Gary Winans, Across the Smooth Lens of the Lake, Pudding House
Monday, October 24, 2005
Dean and I saw Capote last night. Philip Seymour Hoffman does an incredible impersonation of him, even down to the annoying twangy nasal voice. Capote comes off as a very driven, and brilliant, writer; but also wickedly deceitful: he lies to just about everybody. He drinks too much and his relationship with childhood friend Nelle Harper Lee becomes strained (her book "To Kill a Mockingbird" is published, and made into a movie, and he blows her off at the premier party). His long term partner, Jack Dunphy, plays virtually no role in the movie (or the life, it seems). I was left wondering if Capote really felt for these convicted murders he was writing about (it is really just one of them that he falls for), or was it just a story he told himself. Is it enough to be a brilliant writer? Or do you have to have some personal integrity, too? Was he an untreated bipolar, who self-medicated with booze and drugs? Or just a flaming queen who burned out?
Samedi, Septembre 24, 2005
Les douze jours de l'automne
Le douzième jour de l'automne mon amour vrai m'a donné:
Douze grains de maïs
Onze romas putréfiés
Dix pieds de tuyau
Une courgette de neuf-pouce
Huit pots vides de tourbe
Sept starlings poussants des cris perçants
Six écureuils vifs
Cinq charnières rouillées
Quatre piles des morts part
Trois pommes wormy
Deux roses mortes
Et une poire qui a été tombée de l'arbre.
signalé par Peter @ 12:48 P.m.
Chez septembre 24, 2005 1:41 P.m. , Rebecca Loudon ont indiqué...
* snork *
zuchhini de 9 pouces!
Je le crois.
Chez septembre 24, 2005 8:31 P.m. , BloggingPoet a indiqué...
J'ai pensé que je sauterais dedans vous ai fait vous connaître suis sur la liste et à Poetsarus.com. J'espère qu'il vous apporte un bon nombre de trafic.
Chez septembre 24, 2005 11:29 P.m. , petit pâté a indiqué...
Chez septembre 25, 2005 2:03 AM , l'écriture d'Esther fonctionne dit...
Vous êtes une fente vers le haut, Peter! J'aime combien d'amusement vous avez: -)
Signalez un commentaire
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
"We owe this word to a very public literary spat between the poets
Alexander Pope and Ambrose Philips at the start of the eighteenth
century. Pope hated Philips because political opponents such as
Joseph Addison praised the latter's rustic verses above his own.
It has to be said, from today's perspective, that Pope had a point.
Philips is now virtually unknown and rarely read, and even his best
known lines, from a poem called A Winter-Piece, describing the
rigours of the Danish winter, which was printed in The Tatler in
1709 ("There solid billows of enormous size, / Alps of green ice,
in wild disorder rise"), are merely competent. What his critics
hated most was a series of dreadful sentimental and sycophantic
poems, written in little short lines, that eulogised the children
of friends. The most-quoted example is the opening of one with the
title of Miss Charlotte Pulteney, in Her Mother's Arms: "Timely
blossom, infant fair, / Fondling of a happy pair, / Every morn and
every night / Their solicitous delight". I can't bear to reproduce
any more; even the Victorians never surpassed it for ickiness.
In 1725, a friend of Pope's named Henry Carey wrote a scabrous
lampoon about these poems in which he invented a mocking nickname,
"Namby-Pamby", based on Philips's given name, and used it in the
title, Namby-Pamby: Or, A Panegyric on the New Versification. An
extract will give you the tone: "Namby-Pamby, pilly-piss, / Rhimy-
pim'd on Missy Miss / Tartaretta Tartaree / From the navel to the
knee; / That her father's gracy grace / Might give him a placy
place." Pope liked the name and included it in the 1733 edition of
The Dunciad, his denunciation of popular authors of the day.
It's odd to think it was largely because of the poetic diatribes
against Philips by Carey and Pope that Philips is remembered today.
But the most significant result was that "namby-pamby" permanently
entered the language."
Friday, October 21, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
My sister's "mother's instinct" kicked in, and instead of going home she took her child to the ER, where they found her blood sugar was over 500!, and that her bicarb was <5 (really bad). My niece is doing fine now, with fluids and IV insulin, but there is a long road to hoe ahead, with insulin injections, and fingerstick checking, and diet changes. Their family will never be the same.
Thank God the diabetes was found in time (those of you who know me know a sister of mine died from mis-diagnosed juvenile diabetes in the late 1960's; and I had hoped medicine had advanced some in the last 40 years). Any positive thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.
I think I'll be checking urines and blood sugars on all my "sick kids" in clinic, even more often than I already do now. It's so easy to do. And juvenile diabetes is a really bad diagnosis to miss.
Here are the "answers," according to An Almanac of Words at Play, Willard Espy (Potter, 1975). (Steven S. No need for red cheeks — I got all of these wrong, too.)
1. Pride goeth before destruction. (Proverbs 16:18)
2. To paint the lily. (Shakespeare, King John; the full line is "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily")
3. A little learning is a dangerous thing. (Pope, Essay on Criticism)
4. Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no fibs. (Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer)
5. The love of money is the root of all evil. (I Timothy 6:10)
6. I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. (Nathan Hale)
7. Imitation is the sincerest of flattery. (Colton, The Lacon)
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
1. Pride goeth before _____________.
2. To ___________ the lily.
3. A little _________ is a dangerous thing.
4. Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no __________.
5. _________ is the root of all evil.
6. I only regret that I have but __________ for my country.
7. Imitation is the sincerest ________ flattery.
And NO googling (not that it will help you; in fact, it might mislead you as these are all widely mistaken and misquoted).
Saturday, October 15, 2005
I remember when I was a child I had a pair of canaries in a cage in my bedroom. I had the idea that I would raise and sell canaries. I asked one of my sisters if she remembered them. She remembered that they were parakeets, not canaries. I asked another sister. She said didn't remember any canaries but she remembered how mean I was to her. My youngest sister doesn't remember having birds but thinks that we had a pet rabbit. I don't remember that. My brother thinks we had a pet crow that talked. I don't remember a crow but I remember we had a myna bird for a while that said "How ya doin'?" but he belonged to someone else. My mother says she would never have allowed birds in the house. I remember how the female canary ignored the male but chirped plaintively to a mockingbird that sang outside my window all summer long.
You're Gangsta Bitch Barbie. You're tough and you
like it rough, and of course you like to pop a
cap in any wiggers ass.
If You Were A Barbie, Which Messed Up Version Would You Be?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thursday, October 13, 2005
— About suffering they were never wrong . . .
Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts”
But we understood its place.
Someone is opening a window,
passionately waiting the miraculous.
Birth always must want to happen.
A pond, the dread corner, untidy
dogs, the torturer’s innocent tree.
Everything turns away: disaster, failure.
The delicate boy goes to sail.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I didn't look at what he captured until today: and some of it is pretty interesting. I may even have the makings of a long poem about Marcus Whitman, the Whitman Massacre, the Eastern Washington landscape, the new economy of wineries and wind farms, etc., all blended together. Looking at what's there, it's a little like when you get up in the morning and read the things you wrote as you were falling asleep the night before. Dreamy, incoherent, occasionally full of crap, occasionally full of light.
Here are a few of the lines:
You believed you were called to do the Lord’s work, heal the sick, teach the heathen, till the arth.
You with your mercuries and iodines, your mustard salves and unguents. Your plow and scythe.
It’s amazing what faith and a little water can do.
That furrow in the ground that was the Oregon Trail now a four lane highway.
A long haul truck with a load of apples lugs up the hill.
Carrying fruit from one desert to another.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Prayer for a Doctor
May sadness tighten your belt, cause your body
To swell, your head
Leak serotonin, and nobody, no-
Body to listen. May your wait in yellow
Rooms be long
And terrifying, may you stand and run
Hands over tools left out to be used
On you. May you be bullied.
May appointments be impossible.
May you miss work to sit
And sit and worry and nobody
Care, nobody care. May your body
Be stripped and seen, stripped clean,
Shaved, made dirty
With touch, erased from the sum
Back to parts. May your body be taken
Apart. May your body be taken. May you tremble,
Be told to relax,
Calm down. May the light turn black,
And the air turn thin
As silk, may your coat be stained,
May your coat be stained.
— Aaron Smith
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Piety Flats, L'Ecole No. 41
Waterbrook Sauvignon Blanc (we bought a case of it)
Favorite wine name:
At Vintage Cellars Bistro: potato leak soup; field greens with cabernet vinaigrette; linguini with truffle oil, basil and garlic; pork and ham panini.
Whitman College Campus. I want to go back in time and go to college here.
Best Book Store:
Whitman College Campus (they even had copies of Saying the World, Cartographer's Tongue, and The Day Underneath the Day in stock).
Favorite TV show to watch in our room at night:
"Thirty Great Things About Being Gay" (VH1). We laughed our asses off.
Favorite book to read at night:
Blue on Blue Ground, Aaron Smith's new book. (Yet another queer winning a book award. You go girl!)
Friday, October 07, 2005
Dean survived the day without more hiccups (thank goodness). Here's a pair of hiccup poems, that I wrote a few years ago, when I was trying to be funny about medicine and causes & cures. They read out loud much better than on the page.
The Cause of Hiccups
Fizzy mixer, foamy beer,
jalepeno salsa, oyster pate —
even swallowing ice is suspected
of causing the diaphragm’s trampoline
to get a hitch in its giddyup,
making you suddenly suck air.
But that’s not all — as your glottis
slams shut, causing the characteristic hic
followed by ugh — consider
skull fracture, epilepsy, diabetes,
heart attack; don’t forget TB,
bowel obstruction, meningitis, colitis.
And the oddest one — a hair
tickling the eardrum!
Though we don’t know jack,
we’ve plenty of theories.
Our best guess: an annoyance
to the vagus nerve, its wandering course
all over the body the reason
so many things lead to hiccups.
Sunlight, darkness, any sudden change
in the wind. Excitement, stress,
an overfull bladder. They’ve even been said
to be viral in origin, contagious
as yawning. With so many causes,
no wonder there’s no sure cure.
Yet all the studies have shown,
regardless of their origin,
once you’ve hiccupped seven
they won’t quit until
you’ve hiccupped 63.
The Cure for Hiccups
Slowly lick a spoonful of creamy
peanut butter. Sniff pepper
until you sneeze. Inhale five quick breaths
through a wadded wet dishrag.
Light a match and blow it out.
Pinch the back of your shoulder
until it hurts.
And if that doesn’t work, count
all the bald men you know.
Grab your tongue and pull it forward.
Bend over backwards and stroke your throat.
Immerse your face into a bucket of ice water.
Press thumbs against both eyeballs
as long as you can stand it . . .
Or laugh out loud.
Ask someone to kiss you,
or to startle you,
or to sock you in the stomach.
If liquor’s handy, gargle.
Drink a salt-rimmed glass with your nose pinched,
with someone plugging your ears.
Drink from the wrong side
standing upside down,
or from a snifter with a steak knife
balanced against your right cheek.
If all else fails: take your clothes off
and run naked on the stairs.
Call a friend long distance
and hang up before she answers.
Bend over and brush your hair forward.
Touch a kitten on the nose.
Eat yogurt with a fork.
The number of cures
is inversely proportional
to the likelihood they’ll work.
Maybe you should just stand and wait.
Read this poem in one breath.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Anybody have any sure-fire cures for hiccups? (I have a poem about this, but it was totally useless).
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
We had dinner tonight at Gasperetti's in Yakima. Fantastic small town restaurant! The cocktails were smooth, the calamari with green aioli was superb, the caesar salad was yummy, and my veal chop was to die for. Dean's prawn linguini was good, not the best, but you can't have it all. Gorgeous artwork on the walls. And a very relaxing evening.
Ahh . . . looking forward to a relaxing few days off.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Every once in a while
we need a
that will strip language,
make it hold for
a minute: just the
vessel with the
wine in it —
refusal to multiply,
and the single
I love how this poem is so simple on the surface, yet if you begin to burrow into it a whole world of ideas opens: language, meaning, hermeneutics, religion, a return to prime origins. I love it.