Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm making beef stew.

My students went to a country club in Temecula last night. Where? I said. Temecula, they said. Oh, I said. Tem-e-cu-la. I've driven through there. Then I laughed in a way that made them look at me strangely.

They wanted to know if I know how to "country dance." I kind of do. I can sort of square dance, but I'm better at contra-dancing, which I did in Maine fairly frequently in high school, while wearing 80s-style hippie floral dresses, even though it was the 90s. I will not go to bars and go surfing with them, and I will not teach them to square dance. I'm certainly not driving out to Temecula with them. But I want them to tell me their stories.

Today we researched film noir. My Vietnamese student gave a pretty awesome presentation on German Expressionist influences on film noir, and he hadn't even seen any film noirs. I miss my DC students, but my students here have their moments.

I sent a manuscript to Futurepoem today, but not Fence.

Bought tickets, courtesy of my father, to Dallas. I'll be there from Christmas Eve until January 3rd. Quite a while. But it's my last chance to see everyone before they head off to Adelaide. Of course I want Mark and I to visit them in Australia, but I can't count on it. I've been researching places to get fried chicken and BBQ and chili con carne. I'd like to make gingerbread houses with my sisters, but since I don't arrive until the afternoon on Christmas Eve, I'm not really sure that will work.

It rained today. A lot. It was a San Diego storm. It rained from 4 am until now, although it's only drizzling now. The roads here weren't built to drain. In the mountains I'm sure there will be floods and landslides, especially in the places that were burned.

I like some Stevie Nicks songs from the 80s, but I'm not into the 80s hippie look--hers or anyones--since I was a victim of it myself. Oh, those velvet bourrets!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Sunshine Blond Girl of Death

The conversation over at Nicholas Manning's blog is interesting. Lately all I've been doing in my notebook is recording things. I was going to type up an example of how I am just recording things, except now that I've looked, I'm not sure what I'm recording: "I don't want to tell you how I made it. Throw up. Am you solvent? You know, SOLVENT. Like that." Recently there are a lot of recorded vocabulary explanations that the ESL teacher in the next room gives his students. I listen to him when I'm giving my students exams. It feels like a cheap shot to use the explanations, though. I'd be a very different sort of person if I were a man in my mid-30s.

My students want me to come surfing with them and take them to bars. I said no. Obviously. They are men in their 20s so no one will speak to them when they go out. I'm really a jerk when it comes to giving advice about how to meet people.

I'm reminded of a Janet Song from, I don't know, maybe five years ago (back when I was still taking, ahem, hip hop dance classes on a regular basis), called "Someone to call my lover." Here's the chorus:

Maybe we'll meet at a bar
He'll drive a funky car
Maybe we'll meet at a club
And fall so deeply in love
He'll tell me I'm the one
And we'll have so much fun
I'll be the girl of his dreams

These lyrics irk me in so many ways. I guess people do meet at clubs and bars and fall in love. I wonder where people in North County meet each other. At school, work, at bars, on the beach, in malls. "Maybe." Yeah, good luck with that. See, I told you, I'm a jerk about it.

I pained my nails then messed them up. Really, what is the point? I ride a bike every day. I type all day. I use my teeth and nails to open things--my parents might have told me not to use my teeth, but only half-heartedly.

I am debating about whether or not to send manuscripts to Fence and Futurepoem Books. Deadlines are tomorrow. I don't really think that either one of them will publish my work. Of course they won't if I don't send it. I don't want to not send work just to justify my own alienation.

I will send work to Futurepoem, which has no contest or reading fee. I actually don't have a real problem with reading and contest fees, but I don't have extra money now and didn't plan well, and Fence is even less likely to publish me more than Futurepoem.

I should write more love poems, or love poems that don't become gruesome, although I'm not sure I could. After my first reading in New York someone said to me, "you're a little sicko, aren't you?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I need to clean my bathroom

As a child, I made endless diagrams of horse barns and bathrooms. As I've probably said before, I never fantasized about my future wedding, but I did imagine building the perfect horse barn and one day having a very large bathtub in a clean, sunlit atrium with lots of plants.

I wish I still had some of these old diagrams--sometimes the bathtubs were basically swimming pools. Blame it on my early experiences in the blue baths in Rotorua, New Zealand. Apparently the buildings surrounding the baths are also amazing, but I remember nothing about Rotorua except the water.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It is OK. Wait here.

Of course, in the movies, it is never ok, and waiting here is always a bad idea. More about that later.

I'm having a nice Thanksgiving weekend, here. It's my third in SoCal.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Agressive Optimism in North County

I put my bike on the bus today to get it fixed. I need to take a basic bike mechanics course so I can do these simple repairs myself. Or I need to get a book and a few tools, at least.

A man got on the bus a few stops after me, put his bike on the rack, and entered the bus singing in a dangerously high-spirited manner. I was only on the bus for about ten minutes, but he managed to yell "EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY" or "EVERY DAY IS A FUCKING HOLIDAY" three or four times (in between the singing) at everyone who got on or off the bus after him. As I got off the bus I said, "calm down, man, today isn't a holiday."

The manager at Alan's bike shop fixed my bike in less than five minutes, and I was home fifteen minutes after that. A nice day for a ride.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I have never actually interacted with fresh cranberries before. They are like tart little apples.

I am making cranberry sauce (with oranges and figs and citron) to take to Mark's cousin's in Hemet tomorrow. I'm hardly a family girl, but I'm looking forward to the family gathering quite a bit.

Also I made a dip with acorn squash and roasted garlic, onions and nutmeg and crème fraîche. Also a dip with sun dried tomatoes and cannellini beans etc. I was thinking about making a crazy layered cake that involves bananas, but it wouldn't travel well and the bananas aren't ripe.

One day I will host a potluck Thanksgiving. You know, when I have my large house/art gallery/performance space/studio in Armenia/Bulgaria/Bucharest/Budapest/Istambul/Spain/Portugal/Mozambique/Cairo/ with enough space for 20 people to come stay for extended periods of time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I think I am going to bake a cake today

I had a very brief but concentrated feeling of nostalgia today for Sunday afternoon readings at DCAC. Especially when it is the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the readers are Kevin Davies and Rod Smith. I guess the feeling wasn't brief, since I had it right before brunch, and that happened four hours ago.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lesson Nine

From yet another series. It's easier to see if you look at the larger file on flickr.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Typing up some old poems

This is of the same era as Terminal Humming but a different manuscript:

What I want most is to not want,
but not as a virgin martyr
challenging pagan rulers with my
astounding wit and logic. Not
wanting to want is still desire:
desiring death. Write me into
the cannon. What I want most is to be
shot out of a cannon, and then
have someone take documentary pictures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fun with Pulp Fiction

The layout lacks imagination, but the images and the text are absurd.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reasons to have children

Today I enjoyed my bike ride home from teaching. There were about 30 white pelicans on the lagoon and many ducks of various sorts.

I am teaching a Public Speaking class for non-native speakers of English. I have to teach persuasive speeches, so that's what we were working on today. Students came up with potential topics, etc. One group chose "children" as a topic, with the argument that "everyone must have children." However, when it came to coming up with reasons why, they were stumped. Eventually they said "we must stop the declining birth rate" and "children take care of you when you are old."

One of my yoga teachers has been having us do hanumanasana a lot. I'm not even close to being able to do a split, but I'm much closer than I was. I like inverted hanumanasana at the wall.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Susana Gardner at the Continental Review

Susana Gardner is the most recent poet featured up at the Continental Review, a video forum for contemporary poetry and poetics curated/edited by Nicholas Manning. Other poets featured include Ali Alizadeh, Jean-Michel Espitallier (G-d how I want a copy of that video of "Les amis des mes amis sont mes amis...." but for now I'm quite happy with what Nicholas has put up), Reb Livingston, Cole Swenson, and many others.

The recording of Susana is great--it sounds like she read from some work that I knew as The Lapses and also To Stand to Sea. The bookstore environment and Susana's reading style work well with these poems, and I admit that listening to this I got just a little nostalgic about Susana's old apartment on 7th street in DC, and those parties, and her dogs.

It was a good party

Charred Camp Pendleton from the train

People dance and are blurry

I am content after the party and late-night tacos in Pasadena

Grab shot outside of LA from the train the next morning

Friday, November 09, 2007

We're going to LA tomorrow for a party

to celebrate Joseph and Rita's recent marriage. I'm excited, it will be a fun party, with many people I know and don't know from a variety of contexts.

I made hamburgers this evening. My interest in red meat always corresponds with chemical shifts in my body. Oh well. Lester had some burger too--it was probably only the second time he'd ever had beef, and he liked it.

I've decided that I don't like riding the bus in the middle of the day. Perhaps it's bad luck, but thus far, the mid-day bus drivers have either been crazy or mean. I'm mentioning this to remind myself to blog about it later. I'm used to encountering crazy passengers, but yesterday the bus driver was crazy, too. A new development.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kristy Bowen's Brief History of Girl as Match

I've been both enjoying all the chapbooks that came my way through the Summer 2007 Dusie Kollectiv project--a good percentage of them are by people I've never heard of. That's not saying much, perhaps. It's taken me a while to recover from moving to North County San Diego. But now that I'm done staring at the beach with a perplexed expression, thinking, "what is this doing three blocks from where I live and what do I do with it?" I've been trying to pay closer attention to the poetry worlds "out there." Or, at the very least, to all the cool stuff I get in the mail.

I love participating in the Dusie Kollectiv, but much of the time I feel like I don't really understand what that means. I can't quite describe the social or aesthetic parameters at work. My generally happy bewilderment with Dusie is, I think, indicative of my bewilderment with all the various poetry communities I am and am not a part of. When I left the East coast for this strange corner of the West coast, my connection to the poetry world flattened and spread out in all directions. I have, in part, the internet and my relative geographic isolation to thank for that.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about Kristy Bowen's Summer 2007 Dusie Kollectiv chapbook, Brief History of Girl as Match. I really like this book. The poems have an awareness of gender that doesn't make assumptions, and often they link personal experience to form. They're often funny but not trite. The first stanza from "language theory" is indicative of much of what I like about this chapbook:
You say nice and I hear knives.
We take precautions:
A taxi, a pregnancy test.
I am mistaken for a shovel.
A calla lily in my ruined dress.
A brunette. A barn fire.
Kristy Bowen edits an online poetry zine called Wicked Alice, as well as Dancing Girl Press, whose catalog is full of chapbooks all by women I've never heard of, which is fabulous--I'm looking forward to reading them.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I have not clearly articulated the logical connections between ideas.

Reading and thinking about this post on Silliman's Blog about the body in writing, procedural work, Langpo and Oulipo.

Why always leap from body to erotic. Not all bodies are amatory always.

When I think of bodies in language poetry, I don't usually think of them erotically. Maybe I just don't find langpo sexy. (I guess that begs the question of what kind of poetry I do find erotic).

I could go back to grad school and write a whole dissertation about erotic bodies in Language Poetry. I'd rather UCSD actually start an MFA program, though. Then I could get an MFA and pretend that would help me get better adjunct work.

As you may have noticed, this post is not an essay.

I'm not prepared to back up this statement, but the eroticism almost seems like a sense of duty--and here I'm mostly thinking of Silliman's Under Albany--so that hardly represents all of Langpo, I know.

I do need to get a hold of Carla Harryman and Lyn Hejinian's collaboration, The Wide Road.

More Recently Read and Enjoyed

Truancy, by Sarah Anne Cox with drawings by Paris Cox Farr (Dusie Kollective 2007) for moments like this:
something must be done
we shall have a meeting
we shall share concerns
we shall beat it over the head
until it reads
throws a ball
makes a friend
Aaron Kunin's Secret Architecture: Notebooks, 2001 (Braincase Press 2006) for moments like this:
I want to hurt you; it hurts me that you're not hurt.
--It hurts me that you're hurt; I didn't intend that.
It hurts me that you didn't intend to hurt me.

Julia Drescher's Dreamscape or-- (Big Game Books 2006) for poems like "And She Listens and Said--":


99 Concerns, shared by Deborah Stratman and Jen Hofer and self published, I believe, in June 2006.

Feral Thing (Big Game Books 2006), by Michelle Detorie

Anne Boyer's Good Apocalypse (Effing Press 2006), by Anne Boyer

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Poems I read and liked

I am going through the piles, reading as I go. Here's what I liked today:

Alana Madison, Basho's mild tourettes (Dusie Kollective 2007)
Nicole Mauro, The Contortions (Dusie Kollective 2007)
Poems by Marci Nelligan and Jeannine Hall Gailey in Foursquare Vol. 2 No 1 June 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Survey Says

My Ideal Pet is a Bird

You're both very smart, very expressive, and very temperamental.
You're as likely to bite your bird as it is to bite you.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am not really sick anymore.

I am not 100% but I'm close to 80%. Good. Now I can go to Kasey's reading this afternoon at Cal State San Marcos, and we can still have people over for dinner tomorrow.

I am going to connect with my Texas roots (from my Dad's side of the family) and make Chili con Carne. Correctly. With the right kinds of chilis, and no beans, as is traditional. I do use some tomatoes though--which is kind of a violation of tradition, but they make the chili taste better.