Sunday, December 30, 2007

What Did You Do the Last Weekend of the Year?


A friend of mine got married! Another friend had a baby. Hard to top that.

Saturday afternoon, Dean and I cleaned out some of the basement storage and took three or four boxes of "stuff" to Goodwill. Then we went to Sears and bought more stuff (hehehe): new bathroom rugs, jeans, and who knows what else. The we went to Costco: the place was mobbed!

Then I found this very cool program for backing up your entire blog, comments and pics included, to your own hard drive. It's called HTTrack Website Copier. It's free and highly recommend it. http://www.httrack.com/ I wanted to be able to save the whole three years worth of blogfiles. Who knows, maybe I'll make it into a little book.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday night. We had hummus and pita, cocktails, mussels, salad, seafood risotto, bread, and Marionberry pie with "rich-lite" vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. The we played this crazy old Italian card game called Briscola (I think it means Trump). What a great time we all had!

Today we fixed breakfast of bacon and eggs and hashbrowns and toast. Then we fixed the birdfeeder. Then we took a walk from Pioneer Square up the the Seattle Art Museum. Saw the Japan show and the Gaylen Hansen show. His art is fascinating: cartoonish, yes sophisticated. I think he is said to have taught Gary Larsen how to draw cows.

Then we walked back down to Pioneer Square and had lunch at Cafe Umbria. Then we went to Elliott Bay Books and I bought a new novel, The Night Train to Lisbon, that I had just read a review about in the Seattle Times. I read the first few chapters all huddled up on the living room sofa under a throw. I think it's going to be a good read.

Tonight we are going to a neighborhood dessert party. I think we are taking a Panatone and a bottle of wine.

I'm putting some final revisions on a couple of poems. At least I hope they are final.

I can't believe it's almost New Years. But with it coming on a Tuesday, and working both days on either side, it doesn't seem like much of a holiday this year. We'll probably go to the neighborhood burn in the afternoon, and have a quiet evening at home. And be in bed after the ball is dropped in New York (meaning 9pm here).

It makes me think of that old song "What Are You Doing New Years Eve?" Not the Barbara version, but the Ella version (my favorite).

*

Saturday, December 29, 2007

An ode to the meat eaters (myself included)

I've been reading Norman Dubie's new book and enjoying it a lot. Here is a poem, that was featured on today's Poetry Daily.

The Last Gold Raptors of Soma
for Joel & Laura

This winter equinox is different from any other—
it's not the lizard men
playing ping-pong through the trees, the lighter-than-air
balls red with sunset; their sleeves
dressed with the feathers of dead Medici falcons.

A cow looks nervously at its eye
reflected in the ice
that the farmer breaks, releasing
the rope in the tree
and its black anvil weight falling. . .

The cow now looks at its eye
reflected in water,
thinking this is its cruel nativity—
the farmer looking at its lame hind leg
thinking of his red-haired brother-in-law,
the local butcher.

The sensitive cow, Mirtle, now charges the winter pond.
She drowns. The poor cow's tail
still flagging the spaceships just
behind the reddening hill.

So, the sun's down, the ship's lights
are like obvious fat jewels. And
if we want to have commerce
with the lizard men in their blue suits,
then we must eat more of these slouching animals
and faster too.

*

Norman Dubie
from The Insomniac Liar of Topo
Copper Canyon Press

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto, ah Bhutto . . .


I can only hope that, God willing, peace and justice will come to Pakistan.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How About a Shave?

Dean and I had a lovely Christmas Eve with family. One of my sisters hosted at her house, and there were about 30 of us. Great fun!

And then Xmas day it snowed! Very rare in Seattle. It didn't last, but it was beautiful to watch the big flakes coming down.

Christmas Day afternoon we went to see Sweeney Todd. What a sad, funny, gory, sweet movie! It has everything, a love story, great songs, humor, and blood. Helena Bonham Carter is off-the-hook funny in her role as Ms. Lovett, the meat pie maker. And Johnny Depp is perfectly cast as the vengeful mad barber. A must see!

A patient gave me a box of Red King Crab legs. Dean and I steamed some of them last night: they were amazingly sweet and succulent. Though it was kind of creepy stuffing these huge spider-like legs into the pot and covering them with a lid. Esp after Sweeney Todd. We mixed some of the meat with tomato sauce and tagliatelle pasta for dinner. Yum.

Hope your holidays have been grand.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Anagrammer, Scrabbling

Looks like somebody in the audience had a camera phone? From last Friday's Copper Canyon Press Open House reading.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

From this week's American Life in Poetry:


In the House of the Voice of Maria Callas

In the house of the voice of Maria Callas
We hear the baby's cries, and the after-supper
Rattle of silverware, and three clocks ticking
To different tunes, and ripe plums
Sleeping in their chipped bowl, and traffic sounds
Dissecting the avenues outside. We hear, like water
Pouring over time itself, the pure distillate arias
Of the numerous pampered queens who have reigned,
And the working girls who have suffered
The envious knives, and the breathless brides
With their horned helmets who have fallen in love
And gone crazy or fallen in love and died
On the grand stage at their appointed moments--
Who will sing of them now? Maria Callas is dead,
Although the full lips and the slanting eyes
And flared nostrils of her voice resurrect
Dramas we are able to imagine in this parlor
On evenings like this one, adding some color,
Adding some order. Of whom it was said:
She could imagine almost anything and give voice to it.

*

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2001 by Steve Orlen. Reprinted from "The Elephant's Child: New & Selected Poems 1978-2005," by Steve Orlen, published by Ausable Press, 2006, by permission of the author. First published in The Gettysburg Review. Introduction copyright (c) 2007 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Well, Gawl-lee!

Does anybody else notice the resemblance between Huckabee


and Gomer Pile (aka Jim Nabors?)


Can I get a Gawl-leee!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Concerning The Lottery

Dean told me about hearing this on The Writer's Almanac the other day. This short story has always haunted me. I did not know this background information, though. Wow.

"It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Shirley Jackson, (books by this author) born in San Francisco (1919), who married a Jewish man against her parents' wishes and went to live in a small town in Vermont where she developed a reputation for eccentricity. The local townspeople talked about her behind her back, calling her a Communist, a witch, an atheist, and a Jew. She felt as though everyone was watching her and judging her, and she began to dread leaving the house. And then one day she sat down and wrote a short story about a town where one resident is chosen by lottery each year to be stoned to death. She finished the story in two hours and sent it off to The New Yorker magazine, where it was published as "The Lottery" in 1948. The story generated more reader response than any other story in The New Yorker's history. Hundreds of readers wrote to the magazine, demanding to know what the story meant, or asking to cancel their subscriptions because they were so disturbed." (from the Writer's Almanac website)

*

Had a wonderful time at the Copper Canyon Press Open House last night. Dean and I drove up after work. The place was packed. Wonderful drinks and snacks. 20% off all books! A chance to touch in with the staff of CCP, old friends, and locals. Then, at the end of the evening, Matthew Zapruder and I gave a brief reading. The audience was great: knowledgeable and responsive and high energy. I think I gave one of my better readings. Enjoyed meeting Matthew again, and hearing him read. He and Dean had a great conversation about therapy. I meet a woman whose past husband was named Pereira, and we connected over the whole Portuguese diaspora thing. Small world.

*

I worked Saturday clinic today. And I am on call 24/7 for the rest of this week. I hope it is quiet. Fingers crossed.

*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mini-Roundup

Jim Bertolino has an interview here.

Kathleen Flenniken has an essay about Frank O'Hara here.

Rebecca Loudon continues to amaze us here.

C Dale's caption contest has some special guests here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

One Laptop Per Child

Give One, Get One. Extended until December 31st! Check it out here.




Turn Ho Ho Ho! into XO XO XO!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Catching up with Poetry Daily. I really enjoyed this one:

Patroclus Putting on the Armour of Achilles


How clumsy he is putting on the armour of another,
His friend's, perhaps remembering how they used to arm each other,
Fitting the metal tunics to one another's breast
And setting on each other's head the helmet's bristling crest.
Now for himself illicitly he foolishly performs
Secret ceremonial with that other's arms,
Borrowed, I say stolen, for they are not his own,
On the afternoon of battle, late, trembling, and alone.

Night terminal to fighting falls on the playing field
As to his arm he fastens the giant daedal shield.
A while the game continues, a little while the host
Lost on the obscure littoral, scattered and almost
Invisible, pursue the endless war with words
Jarring in the darkening air impassable to swords.

But when he steps forth from the tent where Achilles broods
Patroclus finds no foe at hand, surrounded by no gods.
Only the chill of evening strikes him to the bone
Like an arrow piercing where the armour fails to join,
And weakens his knees under the highly polished greaves.
Evening gentle elsewhere is loud on the shore, it grieves
It would seem for the deaths of heroes, their disobedient graves.


Daryl Hine

Recollected Poems, 1951-2004
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Back home, safe and dry.

We had a wonderful time in Cancun. We stayed at The Royal. The hotel was very plush, with champagne & cake and a rose-petal strewn bed & jacuzzi tub waiting for us in our room on arrival. It was one of those "all-inclusive" resorts, where all your meals, drinks, beach stuff, etc., is in the room fee. So you don't have to carry a wallet, just ask for a drink anytime and they bring it to you, or you sit down in one of the restaurants or cafes and order whatever you want. Great food, good service, and no bills! Tipping was optional, but we figured the staff deserved it, they really treated us well. Many of them looked Mayan, with dark hair, prominent forehead and nose. Beautiful people.

The pool was just the right temperature, and was surrounded by these lovely canopied "beds" with white curtains for shade and privacy, where you could sit, read, nap, take a dip in the pool, come back, read, sip a margarita, nap, read, etc. I loved it. My favorite part of the vacation.

It seemed there were a LOT of newlyweds and honeymooners there, as well as older couples. But only a few other gay couples, that we could see. Still we seemed to fit right in. The only weird thing was when a man, who was sitting with his wife at the next table at one of the outdoor restaurants, winced and turned away when we asked our waiter if he would take our picture, seemingly unable to bear that there was a gay couple nearby (. . . or was it that he couldn't bear the kitschiness of anybody asking for a picture? Who knows?)

We rented a car and drove to Tulum one of the days. Mexican freeways are a *trip.* The hotel warns you the police are on the lookout to ticket (and take bribes from) tourist drivers, so we were careful to drive the limit. But it kept changing! We'd be cruising at 100km, and suddenly the sign would say 60km, then 40km, then 80km, then 40km, then 100km, for seemingly no reason at all! Local drivers were weaving in and out of the lanes, speeding past us. And then there would be a speed table in the middle of the road, with no warning, and if you weren't careful you'd go over it too fast and bottom out the car. Sheesh.

But Tulum was amazing. High up on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean. Ancient stone temples and lookouts and hidden cenotes (underground cisterns of freshwater, eroded out of the limestone). Apparently it was a powerful trading post at one time. Now there are miles and miles of luxury condo developments in each direction along the coast from it, and it is mostly a tourist curiosity.

Our last night we had dinner at a little restaurant overlooking the water. A brothy soup of salmon and mussels and shrimps. A salad tied with cucumber strips into a little bouquet of lettuces. The sky full of stars. Waves crashing slowly on the shore. The lights of Cancun hotels in the distance. Mars rising in the northeast sky (or was it Venus?).

I'd definitely come back, but to stay for a longer time so we could explore more of the Yucatan, especially Chichen Itza and some of the bio-reserves.

*

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Spared from the Floods (so far)

Dean and I escaped Seattle just in time! Our flight was delayed about an hour Monday morning due to rain at the airport; we were afraid we would have to switch planes, or worse yet, miss our vacation. But we finally made it out and are now in lovely Cancun for the week. Looks like Seattle and most of Western WA is in the midst of a hundred year flood. Sorry folks back home! Really, I hope you all are safe. We will have an extra margarita just for you. (and you, and you, and you . . . ). I promise. XO

Saturday, December 01, 2007


OMG: it's snowing right now!

Movies, poems, rain


I went to see the new Coen brothers movie, No Country for Old Men, last night with my friend Craig. What an amazing movie. Javier Bardem is terrifying and menacing. Josh Brolin is a total hunk and a good actor and I wanna marry him (sorry Dean!). Tommy Lee Jones plays his usual lovable cowboy-cop self, with some silly three-part name like Ed Tom Bell. Woody Harrelson has a bit part that perhaps could have been made more.

Craig, who had read the novel years ago, said the movie was very faithful to it. The story takes a little while to get going, but once it does, it is riveting. There is a fair amount of violence if you are squeamish. But it does not revel in it. It's more about the collision of fate and chance, and the choices we make in a world that has spun out of control, where "You can't stop what's coming." I say this movie is a must-see. And it makes me want to read the novel, just to savor the wonderful dialogue.

Went out for drinks after at Il Fornaio. Closed the place down. What fun.

*

In other news, I had eight poems accepted the other day by Seattle's Gay City anthology. It's going to be a magazine of visual art, photography, poems, stories, that a local non-profit group is doing, aimed at promoting gay self esteem and reducing HIV transmission:

Gay City Health Project is a multicultural gay men's health organization and the premiere provider of HIV and STD testing in King County. Our mission is to promote gay and bisexual men's health and prevent HIV transmission by building community, fostering communication and nurturing self-esteem.

When they asked for poems I thought maybe they would take one or two. But I guess this is Seattle, so when it rains it pours! I am curious to see how they might link the poems to artwork, and to their mission statement.

*

Speaking of rain, we are due for a "Pineapple Express" today. Wind, rain, more wind, more rain, perhaps flooding, perhaps power outages. I just hope it's over by the time Dean and I get ready to fly out Monday.

*

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Want to Go See This


Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art, is a traveling exhibition organized by the China Institute under the guidance of Wu Hung, professor of Chinese art at the University of Chicago. Featuring 31 works by 23 artists, this exhibition examines the impact and notion of the book (shu in Chinese) in the artists’ upbringing and in their art.

In contrast to traditional artwork, contemporary Chinese artwork is inspired by the book—and, by extension, knowledge— in an almost perverse way, because many book-related artworks parody the purpose and power of the book. Some artists create unintelligible books with blurred characters, or books devoid of a logical sequence or narrative, thereby nullifying the authority of the text. They create meanings without words and words without meaning. In addition to distorting the content of the book, they critically examine and reinterpret its format. Nevertheless, these works should not be understood simply as defying the authority of the book. In many ways, they echo other forms of contemporary art in the ways they challenge conventional wisdom and perceptions. (from the website)

*

Also looking forward to this: The first four books in the new VQR Poetry Series!

Field Folly Snow (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Cecily Parks (Author)

Hardscrabble (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Kevin Mcfadden (Paperback - April 1, 2008)

Boy (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Patrick Phillips (Paperback - Mar 1, 2008)

The History of Anonymity: Poems (The Vqr Poetry Series) by Jennifer Chang (Paperback - April 15, 2008)

All available now for pre-order on Amazon!

(Thanks to AB for the heads-up)

*

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yay Helio! I think the best dancer/entertainer won.

*

I had a great time reading at Highline yesterday. A fairly large number of students showed up (I think there may have been some "extra credit" involved? *wink*). But they really seemed to get into the reading. I called it my "poetry-prose sandwich." I read a few poems, then a short story, then a few more poems. The short story seemed so long! It was only 6 pages, but compared to reading poems, it seemed endless, a marathon. But the few people I talked to said it was good, didn't seem overly long at all.

*

Looking forward to a week off next week. We're gonna get away to someplace sunny. Like this:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Go Helio!


Dean and I watched the Dancing with the Stars final last night. What a show. Thank god we will have Project Runway to watch once this one is over. (How else get through the long winter nights?).

Here is my take:

Helio (the racecar driver): was hot hot hot! Vrooom! I am getting a major crush going on that fella. My money is on him to win it all. (And then come out as the first openly gay NASCAR driver).

Mel (the Spice Girl): she danced well, but what was going on with her boobs? Did she get them inflated with extra silicon this week? Honestly, she seemed more stacked than usual. It was unnatural.

Marie (the Osmond): what in the hell was she thinking!? Her "Dollmaker" routine was just awful. Crazy bad. Whatever-Happened-to-Baby-Jane scary. I think she must have warmed up for the final by going off her meds for a week. She is just looney-tunes. If she makes it to the final I will puke. Or turn Mormon, I can't decide which.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mika: Love this



and this


He has it all: the looks, the voice, the range, the smart lyrics, the international appeal. He'll go far.

Is *this* for real?

THE CHALLENGE (from Best Am Po):
When deciphered, the anagram below represents the title of a book of poems by a past guest editor of "The Best American Poetry." Solve the puzzle, then write a two-stanza acrostic poem in which the first letters of the lines spell out the name of that poet.

HIT THE LUMP OF RICH SEAL
[note: I solved this part pretty easily; let me know if you want a hint.]

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS CONTEST.

HOW TO ENTER:
Your poem must be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. Send it as a Word attachment to an e-mail to bestampo@gmail.com. Write "Poetry Contest" in the subject line and the title of your poem along with your name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number in the body of the e-mail. The title of your poem should be in the body of the e-mail and on the attachment with your poem . Do not put your name or other identifying information on the attachment. Any submission that reveals the poet's identity on the attachment will be disqualified. The deadline for entry is midnight, eastern standard time, December 31, 2007.

PRIZES:
The winning poet's name will be announced on the Best American Poetry website homepage and the winning poem will be posted on the site. The winner of the contest will receive a cloth bound copy of The Best American Poetry 2007, autographed by the guest and series editors and several contributors, as well as other books.

The winner will also receive a broadside of the winning poem, designed by artist Jeremy Thompson.

RULES:
Any U.S. resident age eighteen or over can enter, except employees of Scribner, the Best American Poetry website manager and designer, the contest Judge (s), and faculty of The New School Writing Program, previous contest winners, or any member of their immediate family. Entries that are lost, late, misdirected, garbled, or incompletely received, for any reason, including by reason of hardware, software, browser, or network failure, malfunction, congestion, or incompatibility at the website or elsewhere, will not be eligible. The contest sponsor in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of the website, or otherwise in violation of the rules. It further reserves the right to cancel, terminate, or modify the contest not capable of completion as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure, or technical failures of any sort.

The winner will be notified by e_mail or telephone. If the winner cannot be reached or does not respond within three (3) days, an alternate winner may be selected, at the sole discretion of the Judge(s).

Subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and where prohibited.

The Prize is not transferable. There will be no substitutions of the prizes except by the Sponsor and at the Sponsor's discretion.

All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Haiku Blogging

I thought this was an interesting article:

What is Haiku Blogging?
Think about the haiku — the Japanese form of poetry of three lines and 14 (sic) syllables. It’s an extremely limited form of poetry, and yet it can be among the most powerful. That’s because the haiku poet is forced to choose only the most essential words to the concept or image he’s trying to convey. Only those words that will do the most for his purpose. The essential words.

So let’s apply that concept to blogging: limit what you do, to force yourself to make choices, and to choose only the essential. Set limits for everything you do.


*
Here's a haiku blog post:


Bird feeder swinging --
those god-damn squirrels, Dean!
BB gun targets.

*

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The reading at Benaroya Hall was fun. Thanks to everybody who came out. Susan and I each did a short set of poems, (some recurring themes: students/patients, third world health/holocausts, lovers, word play, dead fathers) and then signed books for a little while in the lobby.

Though I was glad to be invited by Artist Trust and Seattle Arts & Lectures, I'm not sure Benaroya is the best venue for a "pre-event" poetry reading like this. It is WAY too large. It seats 2500, and we had an audience of about 50 (who were all sitting in the first 5-10 rows). And so it felt a little like reading inside an empty tin can. Everything I said seemed to reverberate off the walls, and it made it very hard to read poems. Friends in the audience said the same thing, it was like an echo chamber.

Still, it's a fabulous setting. And if they could get the sound right, it might be OK for small poetry readings like this (don't they have a recital hall that is a little smaller?). There are very few poets who can draw a crowd of 2500 these days.

The after-party at Hotel W was tres chic. So, all in all a good time.

*

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hummingbirds, Babies, and KG


Dean and I put out a new hummingbird feeder yesterday. It's amazing how quickly those little dynamos found it. You'd think it was a pitcher full of cosmopolitans. (Hmmm . . . looks like that, doesn't it?)

*

We saw L & S and their new baby Anika yesterday. Mucho congrats to the new parents. She is so cute!



*

Kathy Griffin was a hoot! It is fantastic she sold out three shows in Seattle. We were way up in the mid mezzanine level, and we could hear all her bits just fine, but I missed being able to see her facial expressions, and body movements. Especially when she was imitating Orpah, and Paula, and Britney. Hahahaha.

*

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reading at Benaroya Hall


If you are in town, come on down! (And don't miss the Happy Hour at Hotel W following the reading.) Here is the scoop:

Seattle Arts & Lectures & Artist Trust are pleased to co-present readings by some of the state's most accomplished poets, essayists and novelists, who will share their work prior to Seattle Arts & Lectures Literary Lecture Series events in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium of Benaroya Hall. Readings are free of charge to all ticket holders. Non-ticket holders may attend these readings with a suggested $5 donation.

Monday, November 19, 2007 5:30 PM - Physician-poet Peter Pereira interweaves the worlds of the body, medicine, word play, and domestic gay life. A founding editor of Floating Bridge Press, his books include The Lost Twin, Saying the World, and What's Written on the Body. Susan Rich is a poet, traveler, and activist. Author of two books of poetry, including the recent volume Cures Include Travel, she has also worked as a staff person for Amnesty International, an electoral supervisor in Bosnia, and a human rights trainer in Gaza.

Happy Hour at the W: Adding to your evening's luster, the W is offering Seattle Arts & Lectures/Artist Trust attendees a relaxing interlude between pre-lecture readings and the lectures themselves. Join friends, pull up a chair near the fireplace, imbibe a specialty cocktail, and sample an appealing array of appetizers. The W is steps away from Benaroya Hall, located on the corner of 4th and University. This no-host Happy Hour will take place in the ground floor Living Room lobby of the hotel from 6:15 to 7:15pm. Identify yourself as a Seattle Arts & Lectures/Artist Trust patron and enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dean and I have a date with *this* fabulous redhead on Sunday. I can hardly wait!












*

Had a great time with Ian and David at the World Dance series at Meany last night. An interesting group from France, doing a mix of hip-hop and modern, with projected video and taped music. My favorite parts were when they moved in this freaky slow motion, or when they did "popping" (it looks like there is a strobe-light going, but there's not, it is just the dancer breaking their movement into almost saccade-like bits).

We discovered I & D have been reading Offerings, the exact same coffee table book as Dean & I, of gorgeous photos from Tibet, paired with Buddhist sayings, one for each day of the year. Talk about twins.

Also heard about a fascinating Virtual World called "Second Life." But I dunno, my first life (plus this *virtual world*) is complicated enough.

*



*

Friday, November 16, 2007


Dean and I watched the Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas last night. I thought Hillary Clinton did very well. I also liked Barak Obama. Edwards was a little disappointing. A surprise for me: I think Biden would make a good president.

Did anyone else notice the little love-fest going on between Biden and Clinton? I am predicting it now: Clinton-Biden as an eventual ticket.

*

I worked for a couple hours yesterday on a poem in the shape of a washing-machine agitator. I think I have lost my mind.

*

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Season Four!

Last night, I should have been attending this reading at Open Books:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 07:30 PM
MATTHEA HARVEY

(from the website)
Modern Life ($14 Graywolf), Matthea Harvey’s third collection, lives up to its title with a vengeance. This is “modern life” at the intersection of mythology and genetic engineering. Her writing is surprising: wild, lovely, and lyrically descriptive (“I marveled at the maple syrup moon –- / it had a luster unlike any linoleum”), yet grounded in the confusing nightmare of an on-going apocalypse. Harvey’s poems and prose poems are neither simple nor sweet, and, oh, they get under the skin. In the sections “The Future of Terror” and “Terror of the Future,” the poetry takes place in the decrepit aftermath of some off-stage conflict. The speaker in those poems survives in a surreal landscape, a survival certainly requiring wit – “I even invented / a motto for myself: Never Say Mayday / When There’s Still Marzipan.” Sadness, fear, pitch-dark humor, and the drive to soldier on through grim and tedious mayhem come to life in this startlingly singular collection.

Instead I was watching this:


(twice!)

I am sure there is a circle in hell waiting for the likes of me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I *Heart* Helio

Did he drop her, or was it part of the dance? Either way I loved it.

You decide:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For Veterans Day

A poem by Marvin Bell first published in 1965 in Poetry, and a poem by Brian Turner (who was born in 1967), from his 2005 Here Bullet:

Things We Dreamt We Died For
by Marvin Bell

Flags of all sorts.
The literary life.
Each time we dreamt we’d done
the gentlemanly thing,
covering our causes
in closets full of bones
to remove ourselves forever
from dearest possibilities,
the old weapons re-injured us,
the old armies conscripted us,
and we gave in to getting even,
a little less like us
if a lot less like others.
Many, thus, gained fame
in the way of great plunderers,
retiring to the university
to cultivate grand plunder-gardens
in the service of literature,
the young and no more wars.
Their continuing tributes
make them our greatest saviors,
whose many fortunes are followed
by the many who have not one.

*

THE BAGHDAD ZOO
Is the world safer? No. It's not safer in Iraq.
--Hans Blix

An Iraqi northern brown bear mauled a man
on a streetcorner, dragging him down an alley
as shocked onlookers cried for it to stop.
There were tanks rolling their heavy tracks
past the museum and up to the Ministry of Oil.
One gunner watched a lion chase down a horse.
Eaten down to their skeletons, the giraffes
looked prehistoric, unreal, their necks
too fragile, too graceful for the 21st Century.
Dalmatian pelicans and marbled teals
flew over, frightened by the rotorwash
of blackhawk helicopters touching down.
One baboon even escaped from the city limits.
It was found wandering in the desert, confused
by the wind and the sand of the barchan dunes.

--Brian Turner

*

This story is so bizarre. Watch out for those "foxy knoxy" creative writing honors students from UW. Especially if you are in Italy.

Sitting in a prison cell with an English-Italian dictionary by her side, Amanda Knox writes down her latest version of what happened on the night her flatmate, Meredith Kercher, was murdered.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Had a fun time reading in Tacoma. Susan and I met up with Allen at the Mandolin restaurant beforehand. We had an engaged and attentive audience (except for the girls text-messaging in the back ~grin~). Gorgeous Mexican artwork in the gallery, including an amazing painting by Alfredo Arreguin. And a special appearance by RB in the audience (so good to see you!).

I read a few new pieces that went over OK, I think. I also read some poems from What's Written on the Body that I don't usually read, including "Crossing the Pear." (Susan and I were on a dead father theme for part of the evening. But there was also a good amount of humor and levity.) I love trying out a few new poems at the beginning of the reading. After reading them to an audience, I can sometimes tell if they are "done," or if and where they still need some tinkering (or major surgery).

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Ron Slate has a review of the Primary Care anthology up on his website, and talks about a poem of mine that is in that anthology. (yes, I was self-googling, I confess).

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I have today off before returning to clinic Saturday. Perhaps I'll get some writing done? One can only hope.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Back from Orlando, jet-lagged, but happy to be home. I crashed after dinner last night and slept the sleep of the dead. I now feel almost alive today.

Lots of errands to do. And I am reading tonight in Tacoma, with Susan Rich. If you are in the area, come on down. I'll be reading some new stuff, as well as from the new book (which is not so new anymore).

Here's the info:
Gallery reading series: THU Listen to excerpts from "Cures Include Travel" by Susan Rich and "What's Written on the Body" by Peter Pereira. 7 p.m., Tacoma Community College (Tacoma Campus), 6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma; (253-566-5382 or http://events.tacomacc.edu).

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If somebody says "Have a Magical Day!" one more time, I think I will scream.

'nuf said.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This conference is humongous.
Lots of hype about the new release versions of the EMR program, that look terrific, almost to good too be true. We'll see when the actual update arrives how it functions in the real world, in clinic, with live patients.

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One thing I thought I would never need to know as a doctor: tables and relational databases. Oh my. It's just endless.

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Still sunny and warm. There was an evening social after the sessions yesterday, out on "the beach" (a stretch of white sand near the pond in the center of the complex). Hundreds of people in "conference casual" suits and loafers or skirts and high heels trying to navigate the sand, while excessively loud hip hop and disco played. Huge lines for the free drinks. It was all a bit much. And then, a fireworks display with the logo of the company appearing in lights. Egad.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Orlando, Coyotes

Orlando is sunny and warm and gorgeous. This hotel is a bit of a disappointment though. No wifi except in the lobby and pool areas. Essentially one restaurant (the concierge tells me: No one really eats here"). Buses come every 20 minutes and take people to "Downtown Disney" which is a pretty awful "family friendly" place, jam-packed with tourists, and a lot of chain-type restuarants. A group of us went to Portobello, and had a decent meal, and great company. But DisneyWorld is really just not my cup of tea.

The electronic medical records company that is putting on this conference is in ultra-hype mode. I am hoping to get through the hype and figure out how to use this program's reporting tool. We'll see . . .

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A strange email from a neighbor today, about being woken up in the middle of the night last night, by some strange noises in their backyard. What they thought was a dog turned out to be *three* coyotes, who were dining on their neighbor's cat. The coyotes were not at all scared by their flashlight or shouts, and kept feasting. So they called the police, who came with their squad car and lights, and chased the coyotes away.

Amazing. Coyotes. In the middle of the city. Though we do have some large open space areas nearby, it is really not very *wild* here.

But now Dean and I have a good reason to go tell some "other" neighbors to keep their cats (who are always shitting in our garden beds) indoors -- so they don't get "coyoted."

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I brought some notebooks along, so I could maybe work on poems while I was here. I dunno. I am not in a poetry state of mind. These kind of conferences are kind of mind and soul-numbing.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat? Yet Another GOP Sex Scandal!


It seems like you can't swing a cat without hitting another Republican closet-case!
Read all the sordid details here.

A Republican state legislator from southwest Washington had sex with a man he met at an erotic video store and then told police he had been targeted in an extortion attempt, according to police documents released Tuesday.

The police report added that Curtis told officers he only wanted his wallet back "and wanted to keep the incident as low key as possible." He did not want to pursue charges against Castagna, the report said.

But as the investigation continued, police said Curtis admitted to having sex with Castagna in Curtis' hotel room.

According to the report, Curtis said he initially gave Castagna $100 as gas money, and said he did not consider that paying for sex.

Police interviewed several witnesses at the Hollywood Erotic Boutique, and according to the report, Curtis walked into a bathroom at the store and a few minutes later left the bathroom wearing long red women's stockings and a black sequined lingerie top. A witness told police that at another time in the store, he saw a man with a cane performing a sexual act on Curtis.

In 2005 and 2006, Curtis voted against a bill that granted civil rights protections to gays and lesbians.

In 2007, Curtis voted against a bill that created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.


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He didn't "pay for sex," it was just "gas money." Good grief.

Looks like the Instant Karma Fairy has been extra busy this year. ~grin~

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This is pretty incredible to read about. Who is in charge? Why is this being allowed to happen? These thugs should not be above the law! Immunity Deals Offered to Blackwater Guards.

The Bush administration just gets worse and worse. It is one disaster and lie/cover-up after another. When will it end?

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I bought this book to read after reading about it over at Critical Mass.

William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity. The book that gave close reading a good name. I can never open it without thinking that it was begun by an undergraduate at Cambridge who let one of his weekly essays run a little long.
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jupiter Rising - Electropop

I am totally hooked on this song. It's just great for driving. You must drop what you are doing NOW, and go listen to it on YouTube.

Jezebel: Harlot Queen?


“I read Jezebel in a single enthralled sitting. In her wonderfully spirited retelling of the Books of Kings, Lesley Hazleton makes Jezebel our contemporary, and turns the ninth century B.C. into a prophetic mirror of our twenty-first-century religiopolitical wars. In a feat of nonfiction magical realism, she brilliantly collapses the worlds of now and then into one realm, where Jezebel and Elijah effortlessly rub shoulders with Ehud Olmert and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. The book is endlessly informative (and Hazleton’s knowledge of Hebrew serves her well here); it is also great fun.”
—Jonathan Raban

"Her demand that we use Jezebel's vivid story as a means to understand 'the dangers of political zealotry and the terrible hypocrisy of those who kill in the name of God' is passionately presented and perfectly timed."
Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, Seattle Times

This looks like a fascinating and timely read. Lesley Hazelton is an amazing writer.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's All ABout We

nosism (NO-siz-em) noun

The use of 'we' in referring to oneself.

[From Latin nos (we).]

As it's often used by editors, it's also known as the "editorial we".
It's also called "the royal we" owing to its frequent use by royalty.
Mark Twain once said, "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people
with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we'."
(from today's Word a Day. Archive here).

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Dean and I use the "royal we" all the time at home, when we are being silly. But we use it to replace "you" rather than "I." For instance, "How would we like our eggs this morning?" and "Did we just fart?"

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


Went to hear Oliver de la Paz and Aimee Nezhukumatatahil read at Open Books tonight. They had a great turnout. And both gave good readings. (Recorded by our own Elizabeth Austen, for possible play on or local NPR affiliate at a future date.) Oliver's new book Furious Lullaby has lovely lush long lines, many aubades, and a series of epistolary poems. Aimee's At the Drive-In Volcano has a lot of fun and quirky word play, and a deep frivolity, which I admire. Looking forward to diving in to both books more deeply.

Mighty Tieton!


There is a wonderful poetry workshop/retreat/book arts program happening in Tieton, WA the first week of November. Including presentations by Susan Rich, Kathleen Flenniken, Paul Nelson, and others. It looks like a gorgeous setting, in a small town near Yakima and the Snake River. Spaces are still available! Check it out here. It's a fascinating website, with history of the region, photos, tours, etc.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When Doctors Become Patients

A fascinating interview over at Critical Mass. From Robert Klitzman's new book, When Doctors Become Patients.

"I always thought I was Ms. Compassionate and listened. Well, I had no idea what these patients went through. My eyes were completely opened."

The Specialist

A patient was waiting nervously in the examination room of a famous specialist.
"So who did you see before coming to me?" asked the specialist.
The patient answered, "My local Family Doc."
"Your Family Doctor?" scoffed the specialist. "What a waste of time! Tell me, what sort of useless advice did he give you?"
"He told me to come and see you."

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Monday, October 22, 2007

What Makes You Real?


Dean and I saw Lars and the Real Girl at the Harvard Exit last night. We were expecting a light-hearted comedy, but got something much more complicated. Though parts were laugh-out-loud funny, most of the movie was a fairly intense psychological drama and tear-jerker. Fargo meets Pinocchio meets Velveteen Rabbit, if you will.
Lars has suffered a great loss, his mother dying during his birth. Now, at age 27, his sister-in-law is about to have her first baby, and it triggers a kind of delusion, where he purchases a life-size mail order doll named Bianca, to be his girl-friend ("She's from Brazil. I met her on the internet"). What follows is a fascinating story of how his small community (a town somewhere in the frozen Northern Midwest) goes along with his delusion (which is usually the wrong thing to do, from a psychological perspective; as it only feeds the delusion and makes the condition worse) with amazingly healing results for all, and a lot of warm and fuzzy along the way (all those sweaters! all those mittens! all those wipsy snowflakes!).
Along the way Bianca is elected to the school board. And Lars learns to bowl. All in all, it's a good movie. Ryan Gosling is a disheveled marvel as Lars. Patricia Clarkson is wonderful as the family doctor.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What I've Been Reading This Week

It just happens to be five books — actually three books and two magazines, but who's counting? (see Paisley Rekdals's hilarious essay about her five-book-a-week poetry diet, and Jeannine's well-measured rant about reading it).

1. The Georgia Review: Including a great review essay by the inimitable Judith Kitchen, about the collected poems volumes of Goldbarth, Philips, Wrigley, McClanahan, Beasley, Zimmer and Engles. A new play by David Wagoner. And this terrific poem from Kevin Prufer (well-placed next to some disturbing photos from the Iraq war):

The Twentieth Century

Kiss its cheek, then smooth its sad, gray hair.
Bring it secret cigarettes. How could they hurt
it anymore? A smoke to staunch the fear
is mercy in the end. The doctors purse

their lips or look away. They occupy their hands
with clipboards. Leave them to their notes. Smile. It's what
the dying want. Not tears, you fool. Nor bland-
eyes sentiment. Truth, neither. Offer it

a light. Tell that joke about Jews, the queer,
the drunken nigger. There you go. It smiles
at that, and so should you. Nothing quells our fears
like comedy, nothing sublimates out ills --

and if it finds no comfort from your visit,
put a pillow to its mouth, and, so, be done with it.

--Kevin Prufer, Georgia Review, Fall 2007

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2. Notes for My Body Double, Paul Guest: Great book, Paul. I love your long wandering meditative stanzas. Congrats!

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3. Nervous System, William Stobb: I've just started this. Love "October with Zoloft Trial Packet." What a hoot.

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4. Time and Materials, Robert Hass: One of my favorite poets. A lot of good stuff here. I am currently taken with the Horace imitations.

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5. Prairie Schooner, Fall 2007: A lot of good poems here. And a review of Robin Becker's Domain of Perfect Affection, written by Ron Slate.

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What *five books* are you reading?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lego Land


I baby-sat my 23 mos old nephew yesterday afternoon. Thank god for giant legos and "The Good Night Show" on cable TV. Our house is not exactly child-safe. Not at all. So I stacked chairs against the floor-to-ceiling bookcases, put a coffee table in front of the computer desk, spread a large blanket on the floor in the TV room downstairs, dumped his bag of legos on to the floor, tossed in a couple large pillows (is *that* why they are called throw pillows?), and clicked on the TV. Little boy B. was able to occupy himself for about an hour off and on. Then the wandering and climbing commenced. (My sister had warned me: "He's a climber, so you really have to watch him."). After the third time B. tried to climb a chair onto the bookcases, I decided to put one chair out in the middle of the floor, amid the legos. He gleefully climbed up & off & under & over & around & around this old wooden chair for about an hour, while I watched "The Good Night Show." It was like he was in a zone. A chair climbing zone. He even fell off the chair a couple times, but it did not even faze him. After about an hour, when the chair got boring, we climbed the basement stairs and stood at the back screen door and watched the windstorm. He jiggled the door latch over and over trying to open the door (it was locked). Then he pooped his diaper and his mom came home just in time to change it (thank you, Jesus!). He is such a sweet and adorable kid. But I have no idea how a "real" parent can do this day in and day out.

Maz Jobrani - Persians and Arabs

From Elham, my lovely Purrrrr-sian friend and colleague. This is really funny.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A lovely poem by Kathleen Flenniken on American Life in Poetry today.

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Windstorms and rain are forecast for today in Seattle. Batten down the hatches. Huddle in the cellar. Ready the ark.

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Check out the flap over Bill Maher saying: "Show me a man wearing an American flag pin on his lapel, and I'll show you an asshole."

Of course, the Republicans are the party of Mark Foley and the Rev. Ted Haggard and Larry Craig and countless other closeted homosexuals, so their fixation on jewelry is understandable, but still ... the flag is just a symbol. You're getting pissy about a brooch, you drama queens, one that was probably made in China. It's probably leaking poison lead on you right now.

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I am having a lot of fun working on poems for the Frye commission. One of them having to do with "High Heeled Shoes."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

POETRY READING (I can't go to this tonight, because Dean and I have dinner plans with friends in the neighborhood. But if you are free, check it out! Waywiser Press is publishing some really fun poetry lately).

Joseph Harrison and Eric McHenry
(introduced by Cody Walker)

Tuesday, Oct. 16 7 p.m. Richard Hugo House
(1634 11th Ave. in Capitol Hill)

Joseph Harrison’s first book, Someone Else’s Name, was published by Waywiser Press in England and Zoo Press in the United States, and was a finalist for the 2005 Poet’s Prize. Harrison is the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His poems have appeared in such publications as the Yale Review, the Antioch Review,the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review and Best American Poetry.

“The poems in this first book are so witty and formally adept, so technically accomplished, that they almost seem to come from another era.” — Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post

Eric McHenry’s first book, Potscrubber Lullabies (Waywiser Press), received the 2007 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. McHenry also writes about poetry for Slate and the New York Times Book Review.

Potscrubber Lullabies is a most exceptional first book. It demonstrates this young poet's extraordinary command of form: it rhymes relentlessly, slyly, and above all, artfully.” — Robert Wrigley

Tuesday Potpourri

About to leave for the gym. Dean and I try to go together about once a week. It's hard for us to workout together because of our schedules, but also because our idea of a workout is somewhat different. Dean is more slow and methodical and can spend an hour or more at the gym, hardly breaking a sweat. I prefer a short but more intense workout, such as running (rather than walking) on the treadmill, and then going through all the weights in fairly rapid succession, 30 minutes is enough. The thing we agree on is we like to watch either the travel channel or the cooking channel while we are on the treadmill. And that it is best to go out for an espresso and a treat (pain au chocolate, or apricot scone, for instance) after the gym.

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Project Runway starts November 14th, and not a moment too soon! Here's an interesting story about a Seattle contestant (possible spoiler).

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I liked this poem on Slate.

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It's time to plant bulbs. It's a little weird to be thinking of Spring right now. But still.

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I've been reading a book of Flash Fiction. My oh my some of these stories are amazing. Have you heard of this Flash Fiction contest? 500 words max. Beer included.

RIVER STYX Schlafly Beer Micro-Fiction Contest.

A prize of $1,500, 2 cases of Schlafly beer, and publication in River Styx is given annually for the best micro-fiction story. The editors of River Styx will judge. Deadline: December 31 postmark. Limit: 500 words max per story, up to 3 stories per entry. Entry fee: $20 (includes a 1-year subscription). Editor: Richard Newman. River Styx, 3547 Olive St., Ste. 107, St. Louis, MO 63117. Phone: (314) 533-4541. For complete guidelines, see www.riverstyx.org.

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Check out these gorgeous chapbooks by Payseur & Schmidt. The women who run this press apparently have an office in West Seattle. Only blocks from High Point clinic. Why have I never heard of them until now!?

Monday, October 15, 2007

From the I *Heart* Mondays File


Looks like the early bird gets the . . . crabapple?

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Picture borrowed from Loren Webster's In a Dark Time

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You Gotta See this Show!


Tania is a hoot and a holler, and a really swell person.

My One Night Stand With Breast Cancer
October 11 - November 11, 2007
In The Bullitt Theatre, at ACT
Running Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes


From the website:
Writer and humorist Tania Katan was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 21. While other people her age were concerned with cramming for college finals or deciding which bar to saunter into for their first legal drink, Tania was dealing with the impact of playing host to a life-threatening disease - receiving chemotherapy, radiation and even a mastectomy... and wondering if any of it was working. It did. Then at age 30 Tania was diagnosed with breast cancer again, and off came her second breast.

Some people, confronted with such a situation would be consumed by despair and eventually succumb to their own vulnerabilities. But that's not what Tania is about.

This world premier stage adaptation of her award-winning memoir, "My One Night Stand with Cancer," regales her rollercoaster experience through lenses of spirited humor and unblinking humanity. Somewhere between confronting mortality, finding her dream girl and running a 10K in under an hour with practically no racing experience, Tania finds herself. Using comedy - both personally and professionally - to mask the fear and pain of her illness, Tania brilliantly weaves the many threads of her story with honesty and insight into a performance that will have any audience in tears and hysterics all at the same time. She reminds each of us wholeheartedly that the essence of real love and laughter are truly the important things in life.

This production is presented by Ethereal Mutt — Limited.

Visit myonenightstandwithcancer.com

A New Wing

Received this from Papaduck, and just had to pass it on:

When a panel of doctors was asked to vote on adding a new wing to their hospital, the Allergists voted to scratch it and the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the administration had a lot of nerve, and the Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted; the Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body", while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, Grow up!"

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, the Radiologists could see right through it, and the Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists left the decision up to some asshole in administration.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited


Dean and I saw The Darjeeling Limited last night. I had just finished a week of on-call, and Dean was about to start a weekend of work, so it was a nice break to go to the movies after dinner.

The scenes in India are gorgeous, stunning, beautiful. Worth the price of admission alone. The train itself is a revelation (think Orient Express, but more basic, more colorful, more quirky, more surreal). The movie is a road-story about three American brothers (played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman) who are united on a "spiritual quest" to visit their long-estranged mother (Angelica Houston), who is now a Christian nun in Nepal(?). The plot is actually pretty lame and non-sensical, and the movie doesn't know whether it is honoring Indian spiritual traditions, spiritual quests in general, or just mocking them ironically (or both) for the sake of cheap laughs. Still, the climactic scene, which occurs along a river as three Indian boys are trying to cross with their load of provisions, is riveting and devastating and transforming. This scene, and what immediately follows, is the true heart of the movie, what in the end really mattered, and it is where the writer-director(s) should have focused.
An nice excerpt from a Richard Hugo AWP address over at Nothing to Say & Saying It.


Why are we writing? A silly question, granted. We write because we can’t stop, or as Bill Stafford says, for the same reason we talk. But there’s an even more serious answer, and it is one that has evolved in our time. We write to validate our lives, our relations with the world and with each other. Literature will have to take care of itself.

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And over at Reginald Sheperd's blog, Why I Write, revised.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Did you hear Naomi Wolf's interview on NPR yesterday, for her book The End of America? It was chilling. Dean and I went out to Elliott Bay and bought the book (which oddly enough was shelved in an out-of-the-way "Activism" section in the back of the store, bottom row). Her thesis is that many of the things that fascist totalitarian regimes do to take control of their people (see Mussolini's Italy, Hitler and the Nazi's Germany, Russia under Stalin), are actually happening now, in America. Right under our noses. And it may be too late before we wake up and really start to protest the erosion of our civil liberties. She researched a lot of original historical documents, and comes up with Ten Steps.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy (9/11 and "the terrorists")

2. Create a gulag (Git-mo and the secret prisons)

3. Develop a thug caste (Blackwater and other private security forces)

4. Set up an internal surveillance system (they are watching you right now)

5. Harass citizens' groups (Democratic voters in Florida harassed at polls by groups of khaki-and-white-shirt wearing republican campaign workers)

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release (see the story of Maher Arar, the innocent Canadian who was held for three years)

7. Target key individuals (uh-huh)

8. Control the press (check)

9. Dissent equals treason (check)

10. Suspend the rule of law (this is coming with the next election. Bush will say that because of the new war with Iran we can't have elections for a while. Wolf doesn't say as much, but I think it is not out of the realm of what Bush and hos cronies are capable of doing.)


It's a fascinating read. All the stuff that is happening with Blackwater right now, she predicted in step three. They are the "Thug Caste" of paramilitary officers, answerable to no one, who will soon be operating in America. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Read her book. And take action, now.

We now return you till your regular programming. This post will probably get me put on some kind of list (if I'm not already on one).

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Putting the Garden to Rest

The vegetable beds covered with straw.

Dean and I drove out to Woodinville last Saturday, for our yearly straw bale purchase. The gardens beds look so cozy & tucked-in and ready for winter now. It's time to get out the winter duvet for the bedroom as well. It all makes me feel like I want to hibernate for a few months. Wake me up in March or April?

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Putting the Garden To Rest

Today you clipped long, thin verticals
from the espaliered pear and apple, laid them straight
in three bundles tied with twine.

I dug the vegetable beds under,
turning the heavy soil until it fell black
and loose from the spading fork.

I love this emptiness.
Bare branches making a net for the wind.
The garden tucked under a cover of straw.

We pull dry logs from the woodpile,
carry them in to the stove.
A finch lights on the fencepost,

then disappears into the white sky.


--from Saying the World

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Upper Left Hand Corner

The National Poetry Series is pleased to announce...

The Winners of the 2007 Open Competition:

Joe Bonomo of DeKalb, Illinois, InstallationsChosen by Naomi Shihab Nye, to be published by Penguin Books

Oni Buchanan of Brighton, Massachusetts, SpringChosen by Mark Doty, to be published by University of Illinois Press

Sabra Loomis of New York, New York, House Held Together by WindsChosen by James Tate, to be published by HarperCollins Publishers

Donna Stonecipher of Seattle, Washington, The Cosmopolitan
Chosen by John Yau, to be published by Coffee House Press

Rodrigo Toscano of Brooklyn, New York, Collapsible Poetics Theater
Chosen by Marjorie Welish, to be published by Fence Books

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An in other recent news: Brian Culhane received the Emily Dickinson First Book Award, recognizing an American poet over the age of 50 who has yet to publish a first book of poetry. In addition to publication of his winning manuscript, Culhane received a prize of $10,000. Culhane, 53, was born in 1954 in New York City and earned a BA from the City University of New York and an MFA from Columbia University. He received a PhD from the University of Washington, studying epic literature and the history of criticism. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and children, and teaches film and English at the Lakeside School. Through the Washington Commission for the Humanities, he has lectured on Frost and Thoreau throughout Washington state. His poetry has been published in such journals as The New Criterion, The Hudson Review, The New Republic, and The Paris Review.


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I'm glad to see two more Seattle poets getting recognition. There is a hotbed of poetry going on in the upper left hand corner of the country!

PS: Actually, looking outside at the weather this morning, it's a cold damp loamy fertile bed of poetry. Nothing hot about it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I am enjoying the new issue of Seattle Review, which has a new look, and a new editor, Andrew Feld. He has updated the image of the journal, with a wider, oversize format, and a hipper design (though the shifting font sizes and spacing were a little distracting to this reader). And he writes a good opening essay about his philosppy as editor. He makes no apologies for Seattle Review being an "academic" journal, meaning "we embrace ideas and welcome the widest possible range of voices and aesthetics. The academy is, after all, that singular place in the world where ideas are taken seriously." Sounds good.

The current issue has some wonderful poems by Richard Howard, Susan Parr, Rick Barot, James Hoch, and more. Check it out!

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Also reading the latest issue of Poetry Northwest. Sharon Bryan has an amazing poem, "Bass Bass" about language, confusion, creation. It's a hoot. Here's an excerpt:

" . . .

the words make a little
sizzle in my brain,

which twin is it, does it
rhyme with ace or ass,

my tongue trips over
itself when I come to

either one, am I at
the opera, jazz club,

bait shop, is something
keeping time or sifting it . . ."

pg 12-13


enjoy!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Trifecta

From the when-it-rains-it-pours file:
Looks like I will have a poem, "Heart Scan," in next week's JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). And tomorrow Garrison Keillor is set to read my poem "Reconsidering the Seven" on The Writer's Almanac. (Scroll down to October 7th and you can listen to it on the archive). I am especially tickled with the Writer's Almanac date, because it is the 50th anniversary of Ginsberg reading "Howl." Along with the ALP appearance, I feel like I have won some kind of lottery. Hmmm. Maybe I should be buying tickets this week?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Had a fun time reading in Ballard last night with Susan Rich and Jourdan Keith. It's a lovely new building, with a garden of grasses on the roof. The reading room is oval shaped with a high ceiling and amazing acoustics. You can read without a mic and be heard quite clearly. I loved Susan's poem "The Men You Don't Get to Sleep With" and Jourdan's long poem/story about black seeds ("beautiful strange fruit with black seeds inside"). Thanks to everybody who came.

Susan and I had dinner at Thaiku beforehand. What a great name for a Thai restaurant for poets. ~grin~

Here is a pic of the little Buddha from my ALP poem.