wednesday poem

May 28, 2009


She says she cannot draw,
her fingers sticky with paint
and attempt.
‘All I want is a angel.’
Little girl hair matted sweaty
to her ever serious brow.

Not one for contradiction,
I do not tell her the
angel is apparent
already—sitting at her table—
blue smears and dabs of yellow
on the bright white page.

Together we draw them,
three triangles and the one
circle above it all.
‘I see her,’ she beams, ‘the angel is here.’
Light pouring from us both
as I, too, discover her.


a new poem

May 21, 2009

i am trying to write everyday. here’s the effort from this morning:

“A Dream for Seamus”

Last night,
I fell asleep
while reading you.

In the dark
I walked
through briar

and brickyard,
long hair
down my back

in a thick
red plait,
my fingers

with the juice
of blackberries.

at the well,
I did not see

my face
but yours:

a metaphor
where your mouth
should be.

Were it not
for the fact
of morning,

I would still
be there,
looking down.



1.  he watches biographies on stalin 

2.  he thinks watching those biographies is a form of learning

3.  he thinks learning is fun

4.  he makes up techno-funk songs for our dog

5.  he changes the lyrics to songs to match whatever is happening at the time

6.  if i say something even remotely related to a song lyric, he will complete the line

7.  he buys me apricots and then mini-bags them by appropriate serving size so i can have healthy snacks

8.  he likes my poetry, and since he is a smarty, that means something

9.  he never lets me get down on myself about anything i perceive as negative

10. he has no time for people who are toxic, and he has taught me to feel the same

11. the way he plays with our dog makes me smile

12. he treats my parents with complete respect and genuinely likes them

13. he totally gets my relationships with my close male friends

14. he makes me laugh all the time

15. he is hot to trot

Oh, Charles Highway, your name made me want to love you, but alas, ’twas not to be. The protagonist of this novel, and I hesitate to call him that because he is one of the most antagonistic characters I’ve ever encountered, is a young man on the brink of turning 20 whose sense of self far outweighs his actual worth.

In creating ‘the Rachel Papers’ Charles documents his wooing, winning, and walking all over of one Rachel Seth-Smith. A girl whose visual gifts outweigh her intellectual ones, thoguh there isn’t much attention paid to the latter since Charles cares only for hte former, and only in a clinical way. His detachment as he chronicles her orgasms, his sexual techniques, and their relationship is both nauseating and over-written. However, having never been a 19 year old boy (thankfully) perhaps this self-love is requisite to survival.

Amis has not created a single likable female character and perhaps that is to further emphasize Charles’ own perspective: for a young man so interested in sex, he isn’t all that interested in women. Because of his doormat mother? His domestically abused sister? Has he never met a woman with enough brass to tell him, unequivocally, what a total sod he is?

That being said, the asides about literature are hilarious in how deadly serious Charles takes himself. He rattles of literary theory after theory, astonishing only himself with the breadth (but certainly not depth) of his knowledge since there seems to be no one else who gets his references, nor would they want to.rachel papers

want to buy this book?


May 8, 2009

i have been very lucky in my life to be mentored by some pretty incredible people. and it occurred to me that the people i have and still do look to for advice and inspiration and for a shared sense of…awe, i guess…almost exclusively those mentors have been male.

i have had it with j for so long that it feels familial. my brother and i have always had a connection and recently we’ve been revisiting it in a big and beautiful way, and i can’t wait to begin the project we hope to embark on together.

but there have also been other men, and no, i’m not referring to anything untoward or sexual, just a complete and total (and i hope) mutual respect that lends itself to new discovery and revelation and awareness. one introduced me to my favorite author, and i will be forever in his debt. another befriended me and gave me a place to feel at home in the midst of students four years younger and light years away in interest and experience.

and recently i’m testing the waters with another. a man whose talent and perspective makes me laugh, and pause, and whose respect i attempt to earn each day by being the best teacher, and most engaged person i can be.

and i am so very lucky to be married to a man who knows that, in these relationships, i become a more complete and content version of the woman he loves. he is, certainly, the biggest piece of the puzzle that is my heart, and i am eternally thankful for and grateful to him.

thank you, gentlemen, for aiding and abetting me all these years.

book reviews

May 7, 2009

i’ve decided to start writing reviews of the books i read.  here’s the first.  (i’m also posting these on amazon)

Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer (4/5 *s)trance

While the romp through Paris that is the center of the novel is, indeed, compelling, the central character Luke is difficult to identify with in that he totally lacks compassion. His viewing of his lover, Nicole, is obsessive and borderline clinical. Luke is in Paris ostensibly to write a book about the kind of life he ends up finding: a meandering existence filled with good conversation, ambitious and exploratory sex, and a fair smattering of alcohol and drug abuse. In other words, a riotously good, if not ambitious, time.

Luke develops a relationship with a coworker, Alex, who at times narrates the story and who, nearly always, idealizes and idolizes Luke for the qualities that he later finds to be his friends downfall. When Alex is not our narrator, the POV shifts to third person omniscient which actually suits the story better. It is far easier to watch the story unfold without the over the top narrative tone of Alex’s recapping and rationalizing Luke’s behavior. And frankly, there is no need for those sweeping moments of exposition because Dyer has done his job creating a lush world of characters with powerful inner lives as well as intriguing experiences. His fault, here, is in not allowing the characters to breathe and move freely but instead he ties them up a little too neatly.

The book is good, though. It was easy to read and made me want to read faster and more deeply to grasp the points I know the author is making even in the smallest details. And there is an image of a woman in a park holding a sign that breaks my heart utterly and completely…an image that, in its total and complete simplicity, sums up entirely what it means to be alone. And that is worth 4 stars.

Dyer himself is a Brit who doesn’t always write novels,a nd perhaps his penchant for cultural criticism (with works like the jazz examination But Beautiful and The Ongoing Moment which illuminates the truth about photography)is waht gets in the way of Paris Trance being a truly complete novel.  Instead it comes across as both an indictment and a celebration of the lifestyle the Luke so haphazardly ploughs through. 

to buy this book, go here:

always looking up: michael j. fox
life mask: emma donoghue (i’m actually reading this now)
he was my chief: the memoir of hitler’s secretary: christa schroeder
tree of smoke: dennis johnson
nobody move: dennis johnson
it’s only rock and roll: an anthology of rock and roll short stories: ed. janice eidus, john kastan
knockemstiff: donald ray pollock
the red squad: e.m. broner
love in the time of ipod: arthur phillips

and everyone should check out it is former vanity fair chief tina brown’s site, and it rules. it’s sort of like the hotter, older sister of the huffington post.