Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God Damsel

(Click to enlarge)

Cover Design by Mary Behm-Steinberg

Coming in January 2010

we're all villains

Yesterday Gideon told me that I was the super-evil professor of crazy-talk.

He keeps bringing up all the items that he believes his soon-to-be born cousin will steal; for instance, a small cardboard box he painted for Chris and the garbage in his preschool's dumpster. He also believes his cousin will be able to lift up the dumpster and throw it high into the sky.

It's been suggested that he's jealous and perhaps on an unconscious level he is, considering he's envisioning her as a thief with super-human strength.

The making of an arch nemesis?
C. Dale is pondering shutting down his blog.

I hope that he doesn't (for my own selfish reasons), but obviously it's his decision to make. Nobody should blog because they feel like it's expected. I sort of understand the feeling, earlier this year I was looking at Cackling Jackal, considering how it evolved and wondering if I wanted to keep doing it. I decided I wanted to do something different and made the "clean break" choice with this blog. Separating out (mostly) all the No Tell related items to the No Tells blog and Twitter makes this blog feel like less of a responsibility. I get more out of it than I was getting from Cackling Jackal. Back then I felt like I had to post on a daily basis. Here, I don't. If I don't blog for a week, there's no post for a week. I don't apologize for being busy with this or that. I am busy with this or that, but I don't need to state it. Just like I don't need to state that yesterday the cat barfed on my carpet and I have yet to steam clean it. I'm looking at the stain now. It's orange and pretty gross. I should really take care of that, yet I don't feel need to explain why I haven't yet taken care of it.

Use your imagination.

I believe more people read this blog via Facebook than by visiting the blog itself. I certainly receive more comments regarding these posts on FB. In fact, I'm pretty sure a lot of the FB readers don't even realize these posts come from a blog (it's all automated, I post here and within a few hours FB reposts it). I used to say that FB is for people who want an internet presence, but aren't interesting enough to blog. I still kind of believe that. I no longer think FB is JUST for uninteresting people.

I can count at least 10 interesting people on FB.

Judging by subscriptions on Google Reader, Bloglines and other RSS readers, it seems like a lot of people are reading these posts "elsewhere" as well.

This all changes the blogging atmosphere from what it was a few years ago. Fewer comments are left here. Statcounters are pretty useless. There's a lot less of those dull, promotional-heavy, publication-listing type blogs. That's a big plus in my book. FB and Twitter are much better for that.

Of course now I'm dealing with the steady deluge of writers inviting me to become and join their fan pages.

Sorry. I'm already Jeff Goldblum's fan.

What I'm having a really tough time with is the "death of email" part. I DO NOT want to conduct my "business" on FB. Friendly chatter is fine, but I can't believe people try to send "official" business to me that way. I also don't get how people ignore emails (with things like galleys!), but will quickly respond to my last ditch effort to contact them via FB.

I am not handing over the reigns of my communication to a company that hasn't the slightest clue how I use their service or my basic needs. Every redesign is an exercise in the architecture of suck.

I'm told the young people don't even use email anymore.

Well how are they handling organization and archival?!?

Young people are ruining everything, as usual.

Glad to finally be old and no longer part of the problem.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

poop is never funny

James Allen Hall and I are the guest judges for the Caption Contest Throwdown Round 5.

As always, I'm working hard making friends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Poetry Foundation's Washington, DC Poetry Tour

Over two years ago the Poetry Foundation invited me to participate in their walking poetry tour. Other poets who participated include: A.B. Spellman, Jane Shore, Naomi Ayala, Reuben Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Myra Sklarew, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sarah Browning, Terrence Winch and Linda Pastan. It's narrated by Elizabeth Alexander with photographs by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

I'm not sure what exactly happened and changed in two years time, but the concept that was communicated to me was that one would physically walk around the city and listen to the various readings (on headphones?). Either I totally misunderstood or they tweaked the idea because the tour is available online. I like that it's online.

I read a poem the Poetry Foundation chose from Your Ten Favorite Words and talk briefly about No Tell Motel.

To hear it, click on start and then click RESTON.

Oh wait, Reston isn't on this map. Yes, that's right. I was told I'd be the Dupont Circle poet because that's where we held Lolita & Gilda's Burlesque Poetry Hour. That's my poetic connection to the neighborhood.

But I'm not there. To my surprise I was assigned Adams Morgan. Now, I have to be honest, the only times I've ended up in Adam's Morgan in the past decade were when I made a wrong turn. This perplexed me. I felt like I didn't belong in the tour at all and became concerned I'd be outed as a suburban fraud. There's at least 10 poets living in Adams Morgan, why am I there?

Then I remembered, I DO have a literary connection to Adams Morgan.

Adams Morgan has a lot of bars and clubs that I would occasionally patronize in my early 20's. One night after becoming bored (I find loud bars both difficult and dull, find more excitement in peaceful places where I can think, connect and easily converse), some friends and I decided to try an all-night palm reader who lived above one of the bars. It was after midnight, all of her young children were up watching TV. Immediately I felt uncomfortable.

See, back then I wasn't the blogging mommy poet you know today. In fact, I considered children to be annoying and preferred not to be in their company. Well, I still think they're annoying, but I made peace and grown to appreciate being asked the same question over and over and over and . . . also, I was rather judgmental. I believed things like if a child wasn't potty-trained (oops, first typed "poetry-trained", same thing) by age 2 it was because the parents were incompetent and lazy. I wasn't evolved, enlightened and experienced, like I am now.

BTW, childfree people who go around judging parents, there's these things called karma and comeuppance.

Tread carefully.

As I waited my turn, I sat in the living room watching TV with the kids. A little boy, about Gideon's age now, came up to me and whispered "I promise not to spit in your ear" and before I could raise my hand to cover my ear, he spit in my ear.

When it was finally my turn, I was livid pissed at the palm reader. Who knows what kind of dark, menacing energy I sent towards her and her son. What kind of mother raises a child who would spit in my ear? Really.

I don't know, what kind of mother raises a 4 year old who thieves evening gloves and protractors from his classroom? Or goes around asking people "Do you want to smell my bum?"

Judge at your own risk!

Anyhow, aside from telling me I'd live into my 80's, she told me that I was clearly a writer and whatever I was doing at that time wasn't going to last for long. My purpose in this life is to write.

That was important because at that point I was about to give up my weirdo poet fantasies and settle into my new life as a cubicle monkey. Her reading made me question my decision to walk away from poetry and my time spent in her apartment kept me off the baby-building track for close to a decade.

And that all happened in Adams Morgan.

I am legitimate.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Gideon: If you say that word again, I'm throwing you in jail.

Me: What word?

Gideon: "Son, stop doing that."

Gideon woke up with a belly ache last night.

Maybe because he drank 8 vanilla milks yesterday.

He's drinking another one right now.

Moderation is today's topic.

That and how people make boogies.

This week Gideon is an otter.

Last week he was a beaver.

For those of you playing at home.

Whatever you do, don't call him a monkey.

He will freak on your ass.

No Tells is all freaking poetry book lists-- during November and December.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Countdown to Rebeccamas

This evening I read How the Grinch Stole Christmas to Gideon. This was his first time hearing it so I got to relive all the disbelief and shock that some asshole would actually try to steal Christmas. Earlier this week we collected pine cones to make Rebeccamas ornaments and we finally got around to putting the potpourri into little mesh bags. As far as I'm concerned, it still smells like rose farts, but Gideon and Chris disagree. 2 against 1, so it makes it into the gift baskets. I take pride in our home being a democratic crappy-craft gulag. On Saturday we saw the 3-D Christmas Carol (we all liked it) and I bought tickets to see The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center. It's nice to have someone around who can hold his end of a conversation about Rebeccamas. You know, in a way that's not weird.

Oh, I purchased pink tree lights to honor the impending arrival of my niece. I bought those in October.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Poem Channeling

Click to enlarge (and click again if necessary)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tonight's Card

Slay a Dragon: Long ago, map makers sketched dragons on maps as a sign to sailors that they would be entering unknown territory at their own risk. Some sailors took this sign literally and were afraid to venture on. Others saw the dragons as a sign of opportunity, a door to virgin territory. Similarly, each of us has a mental map of the world complete with dragons. Where does fear hold you back? What dragons can you slay?

* * *

"You are a fear prisoner. Yes, you are a product of fear."
--Patrick Swayze's character, Jim Cunninham, in Donnie Darko

I recorded two dreams with dragons. In July 2009 I dreamed I was overlooking Kim Jong Il's swimming pool. It had large waves, dragon fire and was open to the public.

In October 2008 I dreamed that to escape home invaders I entered a passageway beneath a house. I became aware that this was a descent into my unconsciousness. Blocking my way was a ferocious lady dragon. Luckily there was a guy with me holding a brain floating in a bowl of water. Once I fed the dragon the brain, she became gentle and friendly. But she wouldn't let me pass. Not until we talked about some of my old poems. I didn't want to have any of it. I just wanted to move past and on to the unconscious stuff I was interested in. Then I woke up (in the dream) in a dorm room at AWP.

Ugh, I refuse to confront something so my punishment is AWP. In dorm room, no less. Guess that was the lady dragon's way of saying "very well, more suffering and school for you!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tonight's Card

Pause for a Bit: Poet Doug King on the value of incubating: "Learn to pause . . . or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you." Allow the Muse to whisper in your ear. What problems are you working on that benefit from a pause?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tonight's Card

Ask a Fool: That's what Renaissance kings did to break out the groupthink environment their "yes-men" advisors created. It was the fool's job to parody any proposal under discussion to make it appear in a fresh light. He might extol the trivial, trifle the exalted, or reverse the common perception of a situation. Example: "If a man is sitting backwards on a horse, why do we assume that is is the man who is backwards and not the horse?" Result: he dislodged people's assumptions. What would the fool say about your idea?
Gideon's favorite movie is Ghostbusters. We watched it back in the spring and he still talks about it.

His favorite song is "Ghostbusters," the Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr.

We spent a lot of time talking about Ghostbusters this week. Probably an unnatural amount of time. Gideon's been staying at home, recovering from h1n1. Don't worry, he's been a brave little piggie and mostly recuperated. Although Sunday night and all day Monday were another story considering his 103 fever. Ever since his appendectomy I become kind of a wreck whenever he gets sick. But he's much better now.

Obviously I haven't spent much time pondering dreams and creativity and whatnot. I hope to get back to that tonight.

Bustin makes me feel good!