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Archive for the ‘Poems, my own’ Category

1. I did read a bunch of my poems last Friday night. It was fine.

What do you want to know? I love reading out loud. I love reading in front of an audience. I love to talk. I love to be on stage. Is any of this a surprise?

2. I did see The Master last Saturday night.

What did I think? I loved it. I loved it while I watched it. I loved Freddie Quell. I love the name of the character Freddie Quell. I love the pun Fred Equal. I feared him. He seemed real to me. He seemed like people I’ve known. He seemed like ignorant, violent, scary men I met about a hundred years ago in Ohio and beyond when I was still drinking.

I thought the script was brilliant. I thought the lighting and visual compositions were brilliant. I thought the acting was brilliant. I sucked it all in, I drank it all up (like Daniel Plainview I drink your milkshake?). I liked the tension. I liked being manipulated. I liked that it was disturbing and hard to watch.

I liked the questioning of any human following anything or anyone who thinks they know more than anyone else. I liked that it explored, through character alone, certain ideas about ego and need and projecting outside of oneself what one can’t own or see in oneself. Denial. How some egos need constant feeding regardless of whether the food is bullshit or not. To constantly externalize and point a finger at someone who seems worse off than we are keeps us feeling superior, keeps us from owning our own shit (usually fear and anger). Scapegoating.

I thought it was pretty damning of modern psychology while at the same time coming out of a time when we all assume its merits. People were prepared to see something damning about cults or Scientology or L Ron Hubbard, but since I went into the movie not expecting that at all and since I am fairly ignorant of L Ron, I made a freer association with it being about relationships between therapists and “patients.”

Did Joaquin Phoenix go too far in his portrayal? Would it have been more effective, less distracting had he not? Just a question. I waver on the answer because in many ways he seemed completely believable. His physicality, the intersection, a la FM Alexander, between the way a disturbed body is inseparable from a disturbed mind was right up my alley.

Yes, Amy Adams’ character was almost more scary than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s or Phoenix’. I was ready to doubt her but she was very, very good. Creepy, controlling. Wow.

I love that almost all the scenes were interior scenes (not unlike most of There Will Be Blood) and that outdoor scenes were usually under porches or overhangs of some kind. SO FUCKING AWESOME! The vast outdoor scenes were in either of 2 places: the beach (wet sand) or the desert (dry sand). What does it mean? I have no idea. I liked the cramped feeling of the interiors, I liked the huge, windowed room that Dodd is in at the end of the movie. Why is the Fisherman’s Memorial on his desk at the end? This appeared to be a reproduction of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ guy. The sea, the beach, the sand, the ocean. Ships. What does it all mean to Quell? The sand woman.

It was odd, it was difficult, it was imperfect, but hell am I glad someone is out there trying, stabbing, attempting to give us something real and intense and troubling.

I felt so sorry for Quell by the end, he was so ground down. Tragic. The song that Dodd sings to Quell near the end of the movie was heartbreaking. The scenes where characters sing in the movie are some of the most stark and touching.

The final sex scene was also very touching to me. Beautiful, tense. I felt like Quell was finally redeemed a tiny tiny bit. Until the last shot of the movie. Then, not sure. More ambiguity.

I could say more and more and more. And c’mon. Real naked women’s bodies. Is someone taking notes? THANK YOU, PT Anderson. Thank you. Any movie needing to show a naked woman should use this as a guide. Quit fucking us up for chrissakes and show real bodies.

3. I have so far submitted to 17 different journals in 17 days. I have not hit a roadblock. I have hit a reality block. What am I learning in my 30 days/30 submissions? I don’t have enough really good (excellent) poems to submit to the journals that I want to submit to. So I’ve changed my plan a bit. I will still be submitting to 3 more journals/presses; 2 of these submissions will be chapbook-length manuscripts. Then? I’ll wait for rejections (presumably) or acceptances (hope). And now I need to write and edit more. Editing some of the poem images/starts that I have. Go back and hone. Finally admit that some things will NEVER be poems. Plan B, which was originally Plan A: start a writing workshop by the end of January. I’ve got 4 other writers lined up. Would like to add a few more, but time will tell. I’ve known I need this from the start of this blog. The need is not gone. There is a gap in my writing and it is support and feedback from other writers.

4. I am still bleeding, but have almost stopped as I am on progesterone now. The yunnan baiyao didn’t work so I have to go straight pharmaceutical for a while. I will see an OB/GYN this week. I am anemic as fuck (okay, not as fuck, but close). I am trying to ride my bike and hike, but I am breathless and gasping for air; more than that, my energy is subdued. I am tired when I move my body. No yoga, but maybe next week.

Apparently, I am one of those women with rebellious hormones. I don’t know why, but it seems I always have been. I am ready to stop. I am ready to never bleed again. I wasn’t before, I love my bleeding and my period and my hormones, but I can’t do this much longer. I can’t bleed out like this any more. Please. Does this make any of you uncomfortable, this talk of female blood? Get along little dogies, get along.

SO, here’s a crazy thing. I just read 20 minutes of poems and made a video in my iPhoto.

You get a private, twinkly reading. Good luck. You will need it more than I did!

P.S. I tried to make the video private on youtube. I am not sure what that means. I think you can still watch it here, but maybe can’t click through. And now that I see it here on my blog, I look sort of freaky and small. I’m haunted. I told you that the other day.

X O, twinkly

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I’ll be reading some of my poetry alongside Suzanne Haugh, Hilary Gardiner, and Rachel Adams tomorrow night at 8 pm at Rao’s Coffee in Amherst. There will be an open mic after the featured readers.

Hope to see you there!

kiss, kiss, twinkly

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A new piece, very very rough

A Mother’s Gifts

I’d say it was stark

the way the student drove
on the wrong side of the road
side-swiping my mother’s Toyota

She pats its dashboard
like a schoolboy’s head
there, there; good car, good car

We listen daily to the story
of her first driver’s test

new to America,
fresh from her Nazi father

bribing the proctor
with a twenty
while her hands shook

She’s slipping
and
I’m slow to wake to it

When I finally see,
I want 50 bucks
to bribe my way out

I want my one call
from my cell
not to a lawyer
but to God

to shake his shoulders
and ask why
he left her alone with me

The car still needs to be fixed
the college student stays ignorant and votes for Romney

I live the hell unimagined
the one dream in which
my mother
does not know
who holds her in the death bed

I have to wake in an hour
and send my daughters to school,
my Flower Girls,
and me in the middle

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I’m sure a formal save-the-date invitation would look something like this:

I will be reading some of my poetry on Friday, September 28, 2012, 8 pm at Rao’s Coffee, Amherst.

This will be my first reading at Rao’s and first time as a scheduled (as opposed to open mic) poet. I believe we are each allotted 10-15 minutes of reading time and I will be in good company alongside a few other Valley poets. I hope to find out who is on the roster soon so I can share that information with you asap.

I look forward to your presence even though something tells me I’ve got the whole save-the-date thing wrong—like I was supposed to announce it earlier and send each of you a tin of tiny mints. For now, you get this, right here on my blog, today.

I hope to see you there (triple exclamation points), Katherine

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It pains me to say it. It could be un-PC. It could alienate me from some in the local poetry community. I might look bad. The doorkeepers who are published could shun me from their presses. Really, who reads my blog anyway? I am fairly sure this won’t reach the eyes of the poets involved in a recent reading I attended at The Elevens. But you never know. Maybe part of me hopes it does. Maybe some of the people who’ve been running things around here need to hear from some of the young upstarts (writing poetry since I was a child, am I an upstart?).

For a few months, I have been trying to learn more about my writing as well as the local poetry scene by attending local readings, ones in which others read their work as well as some open mics. Some of the formats include both—featured poets and an open mic.

I went to one last-Sunday-of-the-month Esselon reading in May, the first time I had read my work out loud since I was in my 20s.

Let’s start there, my 20s. My younger self. My scared self. My virgin reading voice. My childless womb. My full blood and tits and ass. My eyes. My hair. My voice that cracked. My hands that shook as I held the pages. Me, pre-Alexander Technique training, pre-marriage, pre-motherhood, pre-peri-menopause, pre-sobriety, pre-I lead a helluva lot of Shape Note songs on Tuesday nights in Northampton. Pre-me coming into my full power. Yes. Me, easy to give a push to and I’d fall over.

Sunday afternoon/evening, August 26, was the monthly last-Sunday Esselon reading, except that this reading was moved from Esselon to The Elevens. Confused yet? Okay, not such a big deal, a change of venue to a better space and time is probably just what the doctor ordered.

Let’s go back again to me in my 20s. Kent, Ohio. Brady’s Cafe. JB’s Down. Outdoors, walking around, a poem per outdoor spot. Fred Fuller Park. The Cuyahoga River. Coventry. Drinking. Cleveland Heights. Poets who are now dead. Obnoxious poets who drank too much. Bars bars bars. Men Men Men. A few women. Some lesbians. Me, shaking scared unsure. Bad poets. Good poets. All poets influenced by The Beats, no doubt about it. My boyfriends. My mentors. My friends. My dying father. My dead father. Intimidating men. Children running around. A child I loved and my best friend, her mother. All of that informs me today and all of it informs what I know to be right about poetry readings. These were my people.

But not really. Just part of me belonged. Still, I understood what worked and I got what I know to be right about poetry readings.

RULE NUMBER ONE: If you are one of the readers, do your damnedest to stay and hear everyone read. IF YOU ARE A FEATURED READER, this goes double, maybe even triple. Maybe even to infinity. If you can’t stay, let the people around you know. Be kind. Be courteous. Be respectful. This is not about you. This is about Poetry and every person striving to share their voice after they just sat and listened to yours.

RULE NUMBER TWO: If you announce, online (or anywhere, really) the amount of time the reading will last and how long each open mic poet gets to read, don’t change it when the poets show up. In good faith, they have put their trust in you. In good faith, they expect you, their leader and the organizer, to hold them. When you say 5-7 pm reading, 5 minute-limit for the open mic, stick to it. Do not change the time to a 3-minute, 2-poem limit because you want to be at another reading and you assume all attendees will want to be there, too. Don’t presume to read your own work if you’ve already cut everyone’s time short. You invited us. Keep the table set until everybody has gotten their portion and be sure you stay to clear the table. Kiss some ass because we just kissed yours.

Oh, also, if a reading is in a bar and you are ordering a drink? Make sure that you aren’t cutting in front of your confreres who’ve been waiting in line longer than you. Capiche? This is really the definition of Bad Form and it’s extra bad form if it is your reading series. The host or hostess drinks last.

RULE NUMBER THREE: Know each poet’s name who you are introducing. Use BOTH first and last names so the listeners can catch who the hell they are listening to. If this is your reading series and it’s time for the open mic and every featured reader was not only introduced by first and last name but also their introduction included a short bio which mentioned their published works and publishing houses as well as the fact that they have books for sale, don’t screw this part up. Naming is what poets do. Show some understanding of this.

Needless to say, I shant be attending the last Sunday Elevens readings any more.

I do like the once-a-month Tuesday Straw Dog Writers Guild readings that are held at the Elevens, at least the 2 I’ve attended.

I have been to one last-Friday-of-the-month reading at Rao’s in Amherst and I will be attending it again this coming Friday. (Spoiler Alert: I will be a featured reader (SAVE THE DATE!) in September).

I just found another poetry series which happens every Friday night, 5:30-7:30, at The Thirsty Mind in South Hadley. Can’t wait to check that out.

Of course, there’s the every Tuesday night reading series at Hinge in Northampton, but as this is my yoga and Sacred Harp singing night, it’s unlikely I will make it often. Still, I hope to clear some Tuesday evening in the near future to check it out.

This sort of leaves Mondays and Wednesdays and Thursdays and Saturdays and about a hundred other venues in the Valley for me to fill with a reading of my own devising. Just like it’s high time I start my own writing workshop. You know how it is, you who flounder to be heard and seen and to define yourself both inside and against the tide.

You remember my bike n bitch tenet that there are no bad rides? Well, guess what? There are bad poetry readings.

Since the post is void of photos and is dry and boring and I know already too long, here I am. Giving the finger. Kiss my ass muthafuckacocksucka. Oh yeah.

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You have no idea how I’ve puttered around on this blog today, writing and rewriting meaningless posts about my busted rib, my pain, our travels, kinesio tape, my fuschia hair color, the ER at Emerson Hospital. The soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom, the rainy Gogol show in VT last Thursday night, the wonders of the Alexander Technique when applied to physical pain, the movie Hannah and Her Sisters which I saw last night at the Amherst Cinema and on and on. You can hardly believe I’m real, right?

I am becoming squeamish about using the word fuck. I know it’s hard to believe. I think I heard Eugene Hutz use the word unjustifiably one too many times. I should not like to overuse the word. Can one fuck too much? No. Can one say fuck too much? Yes. I was going to title this blog post a fucking strange [poem] or something like that. Now I link almost everything onto Facebook and I am ever-more prudish about my language. But I would not overuse the word fuck, would I? I can be trusted. I will earn my use of the word; I will be fuck-worthy, I will not be fucking abusive.

This piece is odd and not so good and I wonder why I am bothering to post it. Fuck it, I guess you get the odd with the good, the good with the bad, the even with the off.

The Aquarium of Menopause

I am a membrane
I am a drum
the pink jellyfish
behind thick glass
the first thing you see at the aquarium

I am turned inside out
and overripe
asexual, a hermaphrodite
no need to spawn
in warm currents

I am pale froth
where my feet touched down
I will be sucked into a funnel
reversing course

Still, I miss the skin
that smoothed in my mouth,
your tautness at my lips

I am not this body
I am not this mind
resolutely bloodless

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If I told you every reason why Paul and Violet being delayed sucks, it would sound suspiciously like whining. So I won’t. I will only fantasize about whining. and ranting. and having my man back. @#$%*!!!

Couplet

I think of couplets
as I lie alone

in bed this morning
still empty of you

I cannot make rhyme
nor reason of your

flight’s delay in China
so try for rhythm

but that fails, too

the last day of many
I lie alone in bed

thinking of coupling
finally with you

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