|Sunday, July 6th, 2003|
again, all apologies for the wait, ladies and gentleman.
when i received seascapexo's submission. i remember thinking, "isn't it cheating to submit a ten-part poem to a community with a three poem limit?" i was cranky. there is something fierce just under the surface of his words, something that scratches underneath your skin as you read. i would be surprised if these peices were written in his home; they have a flavor of restlessness, of movement in them. they are influenced by an emotion in the air, a boiling in the mind. these are deeper than words on a page. i am deeply moved.
( cut for added mystery ...Collapse )
|Tuesday, June 24th, 2003|
dweezie's style is damned near impossible to describe, and therefore extremely difficult to compliment. i'll do my best to explain why i decided to accept her, but ultimately i think her work speaks for itself.
now, when you have a job like mine, you have to read a lot of bad poetry. a nauseating amount of it. you also have to read poems that are technically perfect, but lack any brains, heart and/or testicles. dweezie sent me one piece initially, and when i read it, i knew her work wasn't going to be like any i had read that day. i asked her to send me more to tip the scale, and was awestricken by what i received.
these pieces defy any explanation that i can muster. the word "texture" comes to mind. her work is rich and full, inflated and textured. three dimensional. and anyone who can write a long poem that doesn't ramble off into nothing impresses me.
I haven't been alive in hours.
My half-washed hair drips over the sink, so
Staring into the stained white porcelain, I
Swirl the inverted ponytail, and scented water
Pushes suds down a wide, rusty drain
Too old to handle soap.
Inside the biggest stall I strip bare
Leaving my socks on because this is a
Public restroom, afterall.
I remember I forgot
The paper towels, so I tiptoe out to the
Sinks and scurry back. I am listening for
Noise and almost enjoying the thought
Of slipping back into the stall just as
Some Unsuspecting Janitor (sanitation engineer?)
Walks in and wonders why I'm performing my
Morning toiletries in a campus office building.
I wrap my dirty shirt around my head.
Run a brush through and think of someone asleep.
Forget my only jewelry; run back to get it.
Walking outside, I think this is one of
Those Mornings when I wish I did cigarettes.
I could sit outside watching the sun
And the mist rise, smoke billowing from the
Tip of the hell between my fingers.
But, instead I think I will just get a coffee,
Drink it on a bench and feel like
My Daddy's Daughter.
The buffet is open. The ceiling leaks.
A man named George is climbing a ladder
With a flashlight, but the ceiling tile he pulls
Sends a stream of water rushing into an
Inadequate trashcan below. I am the
First customer of the morning. Empty.
I get a plate and some sausage. Eggs.
Bacon I probably won't eat. Potatoes.
And I hope that sweet cook woman is going
To bring out some fruit. Two men walk
In. They nod. Neither of them offer
To join me and they sit on opposite
Sides of the room from each
And I wince because everyone
Is isolated. Man number one has our
Little Creation stuffed under his
Arm. Coffee and plates he places and then
He skips right over my cover. Looks at each
Page for about maybe a second or so
Each. I laugh because his plate
Full of eggs rests on the fruits of
My labor. Rather because he
Doesn't know it. The cook talks
And looks like Scarlett's Mammy.
(She isn't supposed to exist.)
Right down to the
"OH, Lordy." And, the "I's
Goin' back to the kitchen."
Only now the white boy reading
His math book calls her "Ma'am."
Ma'ammy waddles out with a big
Bowl and says, "Ehnee bahdee wont
Sum fraish froot? I'ma jes a li'l layt
Gittin' et cuht." I chew my sausage
And think: Timing is everything
I leave a Tip, even though I don't have to.
Walk back outside and the sky is
Not That Color Grey.
I slip to the sleeping figure
From before, but he eludes me.
The phone went dead.
I haven't been alive in hours.
She used to watch you sideways.
With arrows in tow, her heart would climb
Peparing to get a clear shot at her eyes,
Longing for your returned look.
And when it never came of chance,
From the perched heart's drawn bow
Leapt a stinging lance.
Foolish girl: He doesn't see you.
(That will teach a wistful set of eyes to glance!)
In losing the beauty of sight she faded
From the novelty of your advances.
And out of frayed forms fell,
Like leaves, hypnotic dances.
Her head was left a brim of scarring blue.
So, long weavings and wayward days later,
Your heart taunted a line to make the wound.
Foolish boy: She doesn't see you.
(The latest dart has pierced full through!)
Of all the toilsome tasks assigned,
The final renovation, beckoned by fire,
Was to pluck a million spearheads
From some soul's bleeding windows...
But she collapsed against the dust
Where that warrior churns red time.
All the while, a widow of your trust,
Dodging that beating archer's rhyme.
Foolish love: They both are blind!
|Monday, June 23rd, 2003|
now we enter the world of imagery and metaphor. i'm attracted to the surrealism of these submissions. surrealism isn't easily pulled off. it usually falls off into the realm of the absurd and it's very easy to fall into trite and overused imagery. i love to see people who keep surrealistic metaphor in writing alive. welcome, marcelina ...
I will say it out loud
Because no one else can hear
The edgy words in the fountain
Of my frothy mouth.
I�ll admit that I leaped;
Moving targets never scared
The Mata-Hari of my sweaty
And spunk-filled dreams.
Mine, the greedy diabetic,
Who chokes on a gobstopper,
That�ll kill, either way.
You�ll roll in my mouth. Taste is gone.
I�ll spit you out, shrinking sugar dream,
Because you�ll bore me and cloy me.
Making me sick, upsetting the belly
Of a capricious child.
When there�s no sweet tooth,
And I rather taste the bile.
Can smell the burning caramel
Sticking to my lustful dish.
Or lodged in my throat
Laughing at the single handed blow
Delivered by an insatiable appetite.
No air and it all ends now.
I have a lamp that lights the ideas
And bottled sparkling water to
Drown all hopes and daydreams.
Switched off at the mains and thirsty.
I have nothing. Not even a shadow
left behind, lingering, in the scene
Of a crime committed long before
You appeared with latex morals.
Naked and exposed, truthful from head
To the elastic marks left by cheap socks
On ankles that scream �run!�. Walking
Backwards into the trap. Mirage, only.
I�ll have to steal the gift-wrapped words
And burn the ribbons. To learn the
Sleigh of hand and deliver the goods
Promptly, as agreed with rep. Sold.
i apologize for those of you who get introduced by me, i'm not as good at this as our dear moderator. here goes:
the simplicity of the pieces i received from this applicant struck me. at first i was skeptical, as simplicity usually yields immature work. i was quickly impressed by a vivid emotional response. this is the type of work we are looking for. not necessarily the style, as emotions can be elicited through any number of styles, but an awareness of how you can extract this response from a reader efficiently. writing is sharing your subconcious with the page, and a good writer will cause a reaction in his or her readers.
doingtheunstuck uses the bare minimum of imagery and forces a reaction through a minimal exchange. i adore this type of prose. it reminds me of body language, communication through the manipulation of the receiver's thoughts.
"well, we're all failures inside, son
we're all failing at this and that
and that and this and that"
and he said that because of this
we were his God
and now i understand
that there is nothing to understand
i remember the day
the bird flew through
and the night came fast
and the day went by
i saw the wings spread wide
i felt the wind through my hair
i recall the feeling
as the bird flew over
the feather fell from the wing
and crushed everything
and faster than the sun
the bird fell down
i saw the wings give in
i felt the ground shake softly
i recall the sound
as the bird met earth
the feeling has left
but i still recall
the day the bird
flew right by
i want to topple new york
to nothing but beautiful rubble
broken street signs
pointing to the sky and ground
telling me how to get to the landmarks
i forgot about new york the next day
after imagining the beauty
and found myself contemplating cyanide
and thinking that if i could just poison
enough people that they'd make an ocean
that maybe i could save myself
and the oceans
i think arsenic is beautiful
because it represents everything
that i want to exist in this world
and it and hollow needles
are glorious beyond belief
and teenage skin and broken bottles
we will succeed
|Friday, June 6th, 2003|
i'm sorry, darlings, we are falling behind. your adoring maintainers are going through a spurt in activity "out there" and will be writing your introductions with as much speed as we can muster. we apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you.
Written poetry is an unnatural language. It lacks that literary medium that prose, or even verbal conversation allows. The anatomy of a poem is always relative to the person reading it, without a personal interpretation by the poet. I’m not interested in interpretation. I couldn’t care less whether or not you define what you’ve written, I’d rather apply it personally. That’s what paper affords me. When I’m reading your novel, or your poem, I don’t want to see your photograph or read your interviews, I don’t want to hear what experience led to this and that, and who or what’s behind some aspect of its development. Save it for the book signing. My ego as a reader is so inflated that the concept of an author is lost somewhere between the epigraph and the next page. That’s just the ill-defined nature of literature, as far as I’m concerned. And there’s something entirely unlike this. A form of poetry that serves form and function, despite itself, under the same premise as conversation.
It’s live. She gives you tone, she gives you stage presence, she might even give you sweat. She doesn’t have readers, she’s got spectators. I know you know what I’m talking about. As her introduction, I’d upload a recording if I had one, though I don’t. I take her written words as an opportunity to imagine her performance. And you can do the same. It’s a reoccuring daydream for me, lately. Her name is Brenda, kerowin.
balance the equation
bleeding a duration
check the scale
paint the skin
hold my grin
and gratify you
the mathematics of two
i am sitting in a room
bedside to you
waiting to be let in
wrung from a towel
sweat from a man’s brow
waiting to be fed
in a cave
smoothing my nightgown
over the soft, frail, and weak
parts of my body
bloodied behind the eyes
i am green
diving into grey
never stopping along the way
my waist curves
for the length of your fingers
a face to lie in
be carried by you
in your fist
made manifest for you
to fade and fill in
the folds of your soul
and sigh my reply
you go deeply in
my thin legs and
outwardly singing your praise
questing sanity of mine
valuing the winnings of
time or war
women have wrought
yellow skin in the
slivers of night sky
my willowy body
that slows you down
man’s hand to slap
read me to sleep
snow white and
remind me i’m needy
over and over again
mend and tend my wound
that is woman
rend and bend me
under the heat of
thriving or surviving
to the fault lines
my figure and flaws
on the skin
of my firm body:
|Monday, June 2nd, 2003|
This is our second introduction, or "Ego Stroke" as I like to call it. I'm welcoming Timothy, timiathan into the community. And I'll be posting the short story included in his submission.
After reading his story, I'm thinking MTV pocket book. He reads like Stephen Chbosky, or Louisa Luna, simple and efficient. He's capable of keeping a comfortable consistency, and I thought that his story developed well through the narrator, his observations afforded our warmth.
The Small Shit
I sit on the porch step like an indian with my legs up under
me. Mr. Chenowich is telling us about wheat pennies and buffalo nickels,
and the one with three legs they made a movie about cuz it was so
expensive. He's always telling about the three legged buffalo. If you ask
me, it don't make much sense why some crippled buffalo would be worth
more-and before you say anything, I know it ain't really crippled, it's
just a picture on the nickel they made a mistake with when they made it.
But still, if it's worth so much why not just scratch a leg off of all of
them and be rich? And like taking something away could make it worth more.
I don't believe Mr. Chenowich, but he always pays good money, so we sit
and listen about the nickels and pennies. Any money is good money, and
after work we can ride up to the 7-eleven and buy baseball cards and
Lemonheads and Big League Chew. Dad calls that stuff the small shit. Ah,
life ain't no good without the small shit, boys, he says, opening a beer
with NASCAR on the TV. And he's right most of the time. For him the small
shit is a beer and the remote control. For us it's baseball cards, and I
guess for Mr. Chenowich it's them stories about nickels.
Jimy looks over at me from the tire swing with big eyes like
he's dreaming. He's also sweating like a big fat pig. Most of the time
people with eyes like that are sweating like pigs. Balls of sweat drip off
him everywhere like bursts rain out the trees when he moves. Some of the
times he makes me real sick just being around him, like the movies about
beetles in science class. But we're best friends, so I think maybe I could
be just jealous.
Mr. Chenowich calls this a coke break even though he never has
any coke. He'll say, want a coke? and he'll hand you a Dr. Pepper or a
Sunkist Orange. He calls everything a coke no matter what flavor, like
he's senile, but he's not he's just older than death, Dad says. He can't
die cuz he's older than death itself, and when it comes ringing the
doorbell he just beats it away with a cane. He can't walk without it-the
cane that is. It's one of them extra-sturdy four-legged canes with round
rubber feet and a steel shaft. He's got his hand on it sitting in a
folding chair talking about his coins still but moved on to silver
Liberty dollars, he says, Ain't she pretty? Holding it up.
She's kinda manly, I say, but I don't have to look cuz I've
seen it so much. The date on it is 1919 and Mr. Chenowich is about to say
that's his birthday.
Jimy though, he leans forward so he can see it again better.
It shines in the sun like his sweat, which is watering the lawn. He says,
Yeah and she's got a torch and a crown with knives. She could kick
Shredder's you know what.
He's goading me, I can tell, but whatever. I say, Could not,
and leave it there for now.
She's as tall as a building, he says, She'd just step on him,
squish him like a bug.
Jimy, I say, That's the statue of liberty you're thinking of,
this girl's an inch and ain't got no legs.
He blushes and pushes off for another swing on the tire. I'm
good at arguing. If you're stubborn enough people learn to just give up. I
take a victory sip of my Dr. Pepper, and then one more for the last gulp.
I put the can on the sidewalk and stomp it loud into a maroon and silver
hockey puck. Sometimes I can really be a bully.
Back to the hole, boys, Mr. Chenowich says with an evil laugh.
But he's not really evil, though, he's just an old old man who thinks it's
funny to laugh like that.
The work is hard. We're digging out the rose bushes in front of
his picture window. They were dying brown and dry but they still had deep
roots and scratched even where there weren't any thorns. Mr. Chenowich
said they looked like his old hag's pussy, and I know he was talking about
his wife's cat, but they both been dead so long no one ever saw them that
I know of, so I can't tell if he's right. I do know that if I thought
about it, the piles of dirt we're making next to the bushes looks like Ma
at the cemetery. So I try not to think about it. Or her at all. She never
liked us helping Mr. Chenowich with his yard work. She wouldn't approve
and she'd be frowning out the patio window across the street like it's
selling drugs and not good hard labor. Good hard labor put hair on your
chest, Dad'd say, and she'd have to let us go out, but always watching
with that frown, wringing her hands like dishwashing air.
Last summer we dug to make his sidewalk longer right up to the
garden and weeded and painted his porch. I still ain't got no chest hair,
but Jimy's starting some white fuzz over his lip like a peach.
We dig and the sun bakes us through our lotion. The whole time
Mr. Chenowich watches and tells us how to do it better, sipping his Dr.
Pepper coke through a straw. Lean into it, he says, You gotta dig out that
side by the house more, Use two hands.
We have to chop at some of the roots with a pickax and I feel
Ma cringing across the street with every swing. Whack. Whack. And after
awhile I'm flinching with her. Or maybe for her the way I used to when I
heard things crash around the kitchen. Jimy's got the thick leather gloves
and pulls at the last bush while I hack away at the roots like a killer in
a horror movie. I think I'm wincing my eyes shut so I don't see the
And then with a snap the ground gives up and Jimy falls on his
back. A thorn must have scraped his cheek, cuz he's bleeding, but he just
laughs and tastes it with a finger.
I yell, War paint, and he drags some down his nose.
Time to round up some injuns, I say like John Wayne, and start
chasing him around the yard. I tackle him and try to hog-tie him without
no rope but he squirms away. And we roll around in the dirt for awhile
before Mr. Chenowich calls us into the house for our money.
When we get inside I ask for another coke so I won't wanna buy
one at the 7-eleven. I'm thirsty as hell, and they don't have no water
there cuz it all evaporates faster than you can spit.
Don't sit down, he says, You boys are filthy. He goes to the
kitchen to get one and Jimy is staring at Mr. Chenowich's coin collection
like it's a naked girl. I'd swear he was drooling but it might have just
been sweat dripping down his lip, the fat pig. The collection is in a
bunch of cases on a bookshelf, each coin all soft and shining against
purple velvet. I can tell by his eyes he wants to pick up a buffalo nickel
and try to scrape away one of its legs. He always wants to. I tell him no,
his sweaty pig fingers'll smudge up the glass, but I don't wanna say it
too loud and he pretends not to hear.
Just as he's lifting the case, Mr. Chenowich walks back in and
yells something, You little bastard, maybe, and Jimy flinches. The case
falls to the floor and everything is glass and coin and noise. Mr.
Chenowich moves across the room faster than I thought an old man could,
ready to use his cane like a club. Jimy howls.
I don't know why, but I dive behind a couch like a little kid
and all I can think over and over is, I wish Ma had taught me how to pray
good before she died. But Dad says we don't believe in it no more
|Sunday, June 1st, 2003|
he parted me like the sea
with those handpainted words
scrawled across my skin
he listed me longer
he held my breath for me
he held me above something vast
he colored my eyes with his
curled fingertips and smiled
at the luxury of aptitude
he parted me like the sea
when he lacquered my curves
in his lightless baths
his shutter fixed me
and i am fit for his frame
|Saturday, May 31st, 2003|
Assuming this community was formed as some subversive plot to get lunaleise to write more, and share more of her writing with me, its impossible to determine its success until some later date.
Assuming this community and its success is based on the participation of qualified writers, well, we can't determine that just yet either. Point being, the success of this community is relative to its members. I definitely have ulterior motives, as I'm sure the majority of us will. And you're welcome to that.
I've been a friend of Anna's for quite a while now, and she's introduced me to some of the more interior facets of my personality. Being acquainted with the strangers within myself was quite an experience, and since then, my internal dialogue has been that among familier faces. That's invaluable to me. As is my relationship with her, though I find myself seeking her approval on some downtime playing field during almost every decision I make. Her presence is the sort that speaks louder than words. And certainly louder than art. Which brings me to Anna's poetry. I'm sharing three of her recent poems as her introduction, and the introduction of this Community. I went through what poems she's posted over the last year or so, and these are the ones that stand out, in my opinion.
I've always thought that at times, what we gravitate towards reflects our own attainments. Anna's poetry is infectious, and ever since the first bit of exposure, I've had a little more sex in my step. Nearly every imaginative, personal, and fictional scene I've created since knowing her, I know has been affected by her. I can't say that about any other writer, dead or alive.
vaseline sundays swimming in stride
she's like high tide washing
guilt with a heat that bathes
the streets in sweat and anxiety
her force drives quietly past a barrier
between sex and sound
it's speedy and liquid and you describe it
inadequately, she threatens your susceptability
she questions your motives and the light
from her votives is making you
more and more aware of your many flaws
it's hard like fighting truth
like fiction he loves me
loves me not loves me
in the end it's odd petals
and his breath still haunts
me like history
he's like summer like
home to a heart
with no soul i twist
but he never forgets
why i burn my fingers
on the flame we're
but the feathers on his wings
are brighter and tighter
and his lovesong is
syrup and i'm always
fighting the need
to pull his lip between my
teeth and force the
that i am the cage
that holds him while he sleeps
lifting skirts and patent shoes
patently proves no one's pure
virgins wear black underthings
and i wear size 6 underoos
we're all grown up
we can't turn around
we can't take it back
we should run
how fun to be one
with those city boys
to be won by those gritty boys
breaking our toys
giving everything up
this decade of cognizant memory
it's killing me
stop haunting my jukebox
just fucking materialize and
take my naps and gifts and
keep them for once in your life