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Archive for December, 2012

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I think you can spell grueling with one l or 2. When I try with 2, my spell check gives me a red warning line.

I found out that the deadline for a chapbook competition to which I want to submit is NOT January 31, but January 4. How did I miss this? What was I thinking?

I am in the happy state of scrambling together my manuscript RIGHT NOW (except for this blog post).

Because I submitted a full-length manuscript back in July, I am in pretty good shape and this is only a 28-page chapbook.

This is not really grueling, but what is grueling are the voices in my head, the NO NO NOs and the YOU CAN’Ts and the THESE POEMS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGHs and the YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOINGs.

Lie down, meditate, run, jump, hike, bathe, cook, clean, shovel, say om shanti as many times as it takes to kick the voices out and clear the mind and proceed. Do laundry, cook and clean some more. Make lists, clear desk.

I’m accepting any votes of confidence and encouragement from you, my pets. YOU. I need you.

One thing that is encouraging, all on my own: in looking over the manuscript from July (rejected, yes), I see, as with previous rejected manuscripts/poems, how many poems can be removed completely; I find words and lines that can be edited out. Looking broadly through my files, I also see that I have more new poems than I realized. I see that my writing is getting stronger, if not particularly varied in tone or subject, and I know that my ability to edit out pittances is better. I am earning a keener eye and ear.

This is the end of Year Two of my blog which I love knowing. I remember how scary it seemed at first, how exciting, how I felt on the edge of offense or scandal with each swear word or talk of sex or nudity. I read old posts and I know I have matured and gotten more comfortable. I know I am a better writer and that I can continue to improve.

I do believe this is my 400th post. I like the tidiness of it: last day of the year, 400 posts.

Good Riddance 2012!!!

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Here’s a likeness of the little baby that was inserted by an MD into my nether regions 2 weeks ago. I hope it is as nicely centered in my uterus as the one below is centered here on my blog.

I finally found an OB/GYN who I like, amazingly in the same practice as the asshole who did a vaginal ultrasound in January and failed to tell me that I have a fibroid tumor embedded in my uterine lining which was causing me to lose copious amounts of blood for 5 months.

I have now been off of my oral progesterone for 13 days. Not a day has gone by in the last 3-and-a-half months in which I didn’t bleed, but it is GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME.

I have woken up 2 mornings in a row with color in my face (sort of).

I have gone on 3 hikes this week (including that crazy big hill on Rattlesnake Knob—vigorous!) in which I did not find myself gasping for breath.

The Mirena IUD is made by Bayer, the same company that manufactures my cat’s flea medication and your favorite brand-name aspirin.

When I visit my family in Germany, traveling from the airport or train station, we always go by the Bayer plant in Leverkusen, on the Rhine River.

I feel so global. Where was my IUD manufactured and does it have traces of flea poison alongside the miniscule amounts of progesterone that it administers to my uterus at regular intervals?

I tried to look for the IUD strings last week, but I could not find them. At which point I was already having intense pain on my R ovary and bleeding heavily. In my panic, I called “Dr. L w.” I was sure my IUD had migrated and was already perforating my abdominal wall and was about to emerge from my nostrils, but “Dr. L w” assured me that we will look for the strings together on my upcoming 7-week follow-up appointment.

Looking up my cookie with an OB/GYN to find the strings of my Bayer-engineered IUD?

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here is the poem now

Breath of Snow

each flake is
a message

dreams numbered and ordered
until they fall into chaos

if the facts wouldn’t melt away
and I could hold proof
of the year that passed
in my waiting hand

the biding of time
the unbidden rhythms
that rise and fall like breath

I am trying to make
a rhythm like the snow
sixes
or sixes split into 2s and 3s

I can’t

because I have fallen outside the laws of
science and nature

I fall
and fail
and seek
a crystal from another galaxy
where the numbers shift into different forms
and I find the one
that was made for me

where I belong
unfallen

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My Ohio friends say snow snow snow, but I don’t think it will come our way. I’ve been telling you this for a while now. I can believe in the Solstice and the return of the light, but I can’t believe in snow.

I looked up a recent post and an image had disappeared from it. Was it my own photo or a photo from the web? I don’t know, but I’ll add something back.

I started watching Downton Abbey and I like it a lot. I am in love with all of the good characters; and though I see my humanity in each, I hate all the bad ones.

When I was growing up and we spent Christmas in Canada with our very best family friends, we did celebrate Boxing Day. No one in the US had heard of Boxing Day yet.

We would walk and walk on their 50 acres, we would drink and eat and play games and laze about the house. This was my Christmas for many years after the age of 7.

I am going to submit some more poems starting this week including at least one manuscript. I’ve been on hiatus but the rejections still trickle in. The one online poetry journal that accepted a poem seems to be out-of-commission, but I can’t know for sure until I hear something further. It’s been a couple of months since my submission was accepted and now, POOF!, even their website lies fallow….

After this post, I will post a poem in a separate post. Until then (in a few minutes!), please enjoy this musical interlude:

This is from Saturday night’s concert in Montague.

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Christmas can be a mixed bag for a girl like me, a half-Jew brought up by a couple of atheists. So much history can be boiled down into my feelings and experiences of this season of holidays.

The first time I celebrated a real Christmas was when I was 4 years old in Germany. I think they still put live candles on the trees, but I can’t be sure. What I remember most clearly are oranges, nuts and a nutcracker, and a whole fish in aspic. You hear me tell of it here and there, in a poem or so.

There is no snow and I am convinced it will never snow again in New England. I think Paul will have to mow the lawn in January and I think the cat will never be rid of fleas because it will never freeze deeply enough ever again.

What we do know is that the light is coming back. That’s what we know and we know it and know it and know it. And it doesn’t mean we all have to be happy, so don’t fall into that trap of manufactured bullshit. You are allowed to mope and be sad and angry and have a crappy time. You are, you really are. And if you are lucky, you will get to spend that time of yourself with the people you love. That’s all. Food and family and a bit of warmth and light. If not family, the friends who stand in as family. If you are having a hard time generating your own light, steal it from someone else and don’t feel bad about it. They are giving it away because they have enough.

We went to hear Tim and Peter and Zoe on Saturday night at The Montague Book Mill. I can’t say that Christmas songs are my favorite thing in the world, but it’s a magical space and I was glad to be there.

I’ll just post some song now, not even one that the little trio played last night.

I was driving my kid to her dance group yesterday morning and I heard this song on the radio. First I thought, oh no, a country song with all the Christmas clichés. But did I find myself crying by the end? Oh, yes, oh yes I did.

I’d take this honesty and heartfelt emotion over your Bing Crosby Baby-Jesus-With-The-Blue-Eyes any day. Any day.

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The Who’s album Tommy was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll experiences of my young life.

Growing up in Detroit, we all listened to CKLW, sure, but that was Motown and all the pop hits of the day. I doubt there was much hardcore British Invasion. I specifically remember the song Winchester Cathedral and thinking it was cool, very cool. I would stand on my bed and play my tiny suitcase like a guitar and sing that song. At least I think that really happened.

I remember being a young girl when I first saw the album Tommy and paging through its mind-blowing, well, pages. When I was about 4 years old, an English woman, named Linda, who must have been in her 20s, came to live with our family. We sort of sponsored her, as she was a nursing student at the same school in Detroit where my mother was also studying to become an LPN. Linda had a cache of albums, 2 of which I can still picture in my mind. The album I am sure about is Tommy, but I couldn’t tell you without some research what the other one was. It must have been 1969 or 1970.

Say what you will, but no one writes rock lyrics like this any more (as if anyone ever really did; by which I mean, very few bands were able. The Beatles come to mind for pure poetry though….)

waking up on Christmas morning, hours before the winter sun’s ignited

it’s sort of beautiful, you know?

Fast Forward: 2011. Daltry is 67 years old in this video, which is amazing in and of itself. He’s accompanied by Pete Townshends’s [much younger] brother Simon who does a DAMN FINE job on this song. He looks and sounds so much like Pete.

What a bod on that Simon. Where has he been all my life? Oh, right, I’m almost as old as he.

I get a little weak in my knees (and I’m sitting down) when I watch him, which I seem compelled to do over and over and over…..

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Happy 79th Birthday to my mom!

As her memory goes, I wonder what I am responsible for. Am I the holder and keeper of her memories and secrets? When can I tell them? What does my brother know? What does she remember? Is what I know true?

I do wish my mother happiness, but it seems an elusive wish. She says she has always been lucky, lucky to have come to the United States and to have found the life she did. But her childhood tells a story, not of luck, but of trauma. I wonder how this fits into her definition of luck; but I will never ask her.

I titled this selfish because I am not using my post today only for a birthday wish for my mother. I don’t really think I’m selfish, because it’s my blog and I want to use it just for that—for myself. But I do feel guilty a tiny bit. I think being a mother, a daughter, a wife, means I always have a tiny lingering guilt. I am sure not all women are like this. I wish I could shake it, but apparently I am not yet evolved to that point. Perhaps this could be my Christmas wish for myself or my New Year’s resolution.

I have snippets of writing lately, nothing coming out whole cloth like I used to have. I know, honestly, most of that needed heavy editing anyway.

What do I wish for? Better poems, more poems, dream poems, publishable poems, poems that will make you swoon, will make you weep, make you laugh, make you buy my books (what books, twinkly? oh, right), fruit poems, frozen bud poems, bloody blue poems, pink poems, feather poems, leaf-and-snow poems, mom poems, wife poems, marriage poems, sex poems, fuck poems, love poems, fucking poems, magical poems, clear poems, anatomical parts poems, important poems, a-political poems, no-more-guns poems, deep poems, no-murky-bits poems. Enough! This kind of thinking is so anti-Alexander Technique that I can hardly continue to allow myself its luxurious indulgence.

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Here are 2 recent poem snippets:

(SNIPPET ONE)

When Shall I Be Delivered

I begged for more from the world

It started inside
a pinprick
where I was once attached

You have not delivered me

With each bout
of bleeding
my density increases
alongside my insatiable hunger

My marrow
pumping erythrocytes
for every drop
that falls

Not much
they always say
a few tablespoons

If men bled
they would find
a more poetic measure
than cups and spoons
(a woman’s place is in the kitchen)

But I know the feeling
of the soldier
draining into the muddy earth
the sand with its greed
taking more than its share
pints and quarts and gallons for drenching

I am ready for the firing squad
or operating theater

I am ready for my uterus
to be yanked out by
its mooring ligaments

No scars
only
a virginal torso
left

I didn’t need you any more
anyway

But thanks
for the ride

(SNIPPET 2)

December 17

My mother is a husk
a Christmas walnut
cracked open

The meat of her
gone

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