Saturday, December 31, 2011

guess the dream poet - part 5

Guess which poets listed (or possibly omitted) in the below dream anthology belongs in the blanks.

* * *

__Poet 1__ is in the bathroom. I'm hiding and giggling with __Poet 2__. We see a pile of baby bottle nipples underneath __Poet 1's__ bed. I tell __Poet 2__ that __Poet 1__ is sort of obsessed with feeding babies since he and his wife adopted one. __Poet 2__ says that he nastily went after her step-mother. The stepmother was an outspoken proponent of breastfeeding. I tell __Poet 2__ that's probably because __Poet 1's__ wife had such a difficult time breastfeeding, he probably saw her stepmother as a threat. But now I'm wondering, where is their adopted baby? Do they even have that baby anymore?

* * *

I'm talking about _______ with some women. They're telling me how he's not sexy anymore. I'm a little surprised. I remember his sexy calves from just last year.

* * *

_______ is making some kind of poetry video. He and his father chase a small airplane that's driving down a street. They jump on the back wheels and hold on. Then they're inside the plane. As the plane cruises up and down the road, he and his barrel-chested father take turns hanging out the window topless, just like if they were cruising in a car. Some women find this sexy.

* * *

In a math class. I can't figure out how to do a simple equation. I keep getting one of the parts wrong. This is something I used to be able to do but I've forgotten how and can't seem to learn it again. The teacher is making me learn again. I'm frustrated. At one point _______ is here. He/she seems really disappointed or in disbelief that I can't do this. I wonder if I have some kind of brain damage. It almost would seem like a relief -- to have a legitimate reason for why I'm struggling.

* * *

_______ is my mother. She's just returned from being in prison for 2 years. I'm a teenager and there's a lot of friction between us. We're living in a giant, beautiful mansion. I tell her I'm going to the bathroom. I go inside and a minute later she comes in, because it's the door into her bedroom. I yell at her that I told her I'd be in there. Every time I try to sit on the toilet, I notice another door that's open, and go close it. Some of the time I can even keep the doors closed. _______ yells at me that I've been in the bathroom a long time. I scream that I just want a few minutes on the toilet with some privacy, is that so much to ask for?

_______ wants me to go to my therapy appointment. I want to go, but I'm not ready and I argue with her on the balcony outside of my bedroom. I challenge _______ to a fight. I say "come on, let's go, prison rules!" not only showing that I'm not afraid of her, but I could give her the prison rule advantage and still kick her ass.

* * *

guess the dream poet - part 4

Guess which poets listed (or possibly omitted) in the below dream anthology belongs in the blanks.

* * *

__Poet 1__ is at the Tortilla Factory waiting for __Poet 2__, __Poet 1__ has really long eyelashes that spell out the message: DEATH.

* * *

I'm with __Poet 1__ and __Poet 2__ . We're smoking pot in a field. I'm smoking it from a big long pipe, relighting it. I'm smoking it for a really long time. __Poet 2's__ dad tells me to cut it out and get to work. To get to the fields I have to climb a wall. It's tricky.

* * *

I'm sitting in Poets and Busboys waiting for __Poet 1__ to arrive for a one-on-one meeting. I have a Poets and Busboys pencil that he/she gave me, still unsharpened. I remember that he/she introduced me to this place before he/she had his falling out with it. __Poet 2__ and __Poet 3__ join me at my table. They're talking about an amazing, brilliant woman who seems to be able to do everything. She was a poet, a stripper who was so alluring and sexy, men pursued her, a Playboy model and now a conductor. She's done everything except have children, which they thought she wouldn't do because she was too smart for men.

__Poet 2__ and __Poet 3__ get up and excuse themselves. I get sleepy and slump over at the table waiting for them to return. __Poet 2__ brings me a cup of coffee. I see that they joined this amazing woman, who looks middle aged and a little heavy with red hair, at her table. I wonder why they left my table, instead of having her join ours.

* * *

My work is rejected at a magazine. Since I know the editor, I ask him why. Another editor, _______ , responds saying nobody else demands a reason. I'm angry. I wasn't demanding anything, I just asked. I think about my response to him/her. I decide that I'll never ask why again.

I'm sitting in a car and a man walks by and tells me that he doesn't consider me an important part of American poetry these days. I don't write. I don't publish. I'm inconsequential now. I tell him that I don't care what he thinks. I've moved on to something bigger and more important. A police officer comes up and handcuffs the man. I ask if he's being arrested and the officier says yes. I ask if I can taser the man. The officer chuckles. I ask if I can stick my finger in the man's butt. The officer chuckles again. Another man walks up and says he wants to rape the man in handcuffs. That crosses the boundary of a good joke. The officer takes the man in handcuffs away.

* * *

_______ publishes a book. It was supposed to be an anthology, a second in a series. But hardly anyone sent to it. So instead he/she wrote a number of small paragraphs, one per page, about his/her process of finding submissions and how I helped him/her. I buy a copy of the book, not knowing, and am a little touched to discover I made this difference--although my helping him/her publicize the call for work seemed to only bring two submissions. The word "rebtard" is used in the book. Maybe it was something I said.

* * *

_______ and I are playing an imaginative game. He/she is wearing a mask at first. We're telling some kind of story. I come across something online where a slobbish guy puts a mullet on his baby and calls it "Baby Bieber." For $1 you can get your picture taken with the baby. I'm very critical of how this man is exploiting his child, but relieved to see it's only for $1.

* * *

I'm talking about _______ with somebody-- about how he/she went overboard with his/her public grief. How I felt bad for him/her, but it was too much so I unfriended him/her on FB.

* * *

guess the dream poet - part 3

Guess which poets listed (or possibly omitted) in the below dream anthology belongs in the blanks.

* * *

_______ and I walk around my kitchen. We're talking about using sensation, both pleasure and pain, to control animals. I say that I've seen zookeepers be nice to animals. _______ says all the zookeepers he/she's seen have been nice. I know that not all of them are nice, some can be very cruel. I tell him/her about the camels outside my house being controlled with a knife. We walk to a concert and see the camels. We go up to them and join their circle by sitting down. The camels recognize us. The performance starts.

* * *

I'm on a mission with _______ and other poets. We're running across an outdoor, dusty space, trying to get somewhere. We have to set off a series of events so some necessary explosions can go off. Were trying to blow up some basilisks. Some of us die doing this.

* * *

I'm a Project Runway contestant. Betsy Johnson is the judge. During the competition she doesn't like any of my ideas. _______ tells me that she's heard a very negative story about who I was in 9th grade. Back then I was a bad and unsafe school bus driver. In 10th grade it was decided that I was completely unworthy of the honor and wasn't invited back. I try to address this issue with Betsy. I point out that in 9th grade I was only 14 years old and not old enough to drive a school bus. Then I remember some advice that the person who'll likely win this challenge is the one who's low key and doesn't get on Betsy's radar. I'm clearly on Betsy's radar. This is not good. I start tearing up pieces of my dress before the judging even starts. They're going to hold this against me. A woman tells me that they're making plans to cut me. I can't really argue with this. I know it's my time to go.

* * *

I'm in _______ 's gender studies class. I'm supposed to write 2 papers about Blue _____.

* * *

I'm meeting with _______. _______ has accepted my unwritten book, Oranges and Oranges, for publication at his/her press. We're having a conference call with the cover designer. I suggest that we do a Sci-Fi inspired covered, one that takes the original style of sci-fi books, but twists it around and makes something new from it. The designer doesn't want to hear any of it. She isn't even considering what I'm saying. She says, "oh, you want some beefcake on the cover" -- and I say "no, I want a woman on the cover!" But I'm at a loss and can't say much about the book because I haven't written it yet.

* * *

guess the dream poet - part 2

Guess which poets listed (or possibly omitted) in the below dream anthology belongs in the blanks.

* * *

Something about forgetting or not recognizing _______ .

* * *

I'm in a yoga class with _______ . The class is getting full and I want to get out before it starts, but _______ slows us down and now we're stuck in this crowded class. We're spinning hula hoops on our arms. I try my best not to hit the person next to me. Now there are zombies everywhere and almost everyone is dead. There's somebody here who can control the zombies. For some reason I feel safe, like I won't be turned into a zombie like everyone else. The man sends me into another room. A zombie follows and attacks me. I'm waiting for the man to come in and stop this. He doesn't. Nobody saves me.

* * *

I'm at a home inspection. _______ is the seller. He/she seems very skittish and it seems like I intimidate him/her. I'm suspicious. He/she moves funny. I grab him/her and accuse him/her of having a gun. I find one under his/her shirt and grab it. I call for help while holding the gun to _______ 's head.

* * *

_______ helped me interpret a Tarot spread. I do another on my own. I lay out the cards and realize that somehow I did it wrong--there should be 3 cards but there is 4 piles of cards (several cards deep). I decide that both center cards will be the present. One of the cards is the Adorable Puppy.

* * *

I read an announcement that _______ died. I'm surprised.

* * *

I see _______ walking around a bookfair, holding a big stack of books, including 6 copies of the Bedside Guide that he/she seems to have swiped from my unmanned table. I pretend to corner him/her, like I'm going to tackle him/her, but I'm just playing around. _______ freaks out, drops all the books and runs into a drainage pipe, like Gadhafi. I tell him/her it's OK, he can have the books I was just playing around. _______ says that he/she is not teaching now and that he/she is unemployed. He/she said he/she wanted one of the books for his mother. I tell _______ that he/she should start his/her own MFA program -- one that wasn't affiliated with anything. Something totally independent and unique.

guess the dream poet - part 1

Guess which poets listed (or possibly omitted) in the below dream anthology belongs in the blanks.

* * *

Chris and his friend find a restaurant to take me to for my birthday celebration. I remind them that I invited _______ to join us. Chris and his friend would rather this poet wouldn't join us because he/she has drab shoes.

* * *

I'm with _______ and a bunch of other poets. We're headed to "Lulu's Pizza." Newt Gingrich, wearing a funny hat, is going with us.

* * *

__Poet 1__ hands me a poem written on a sock. He/she asks me if I know of__Poet 2's__ affair with another writer's wife. I say "just a little" but I'm not sure if I know anything about this. The affair is known as Black _______. __Poet 3__ interrupts our conversation and says that we shouldn't be discussing the illegitimate autistic children of poets. I thank __Poet 1__ for the poem.

* * *

I'm watching a music video with _______. _______ is in the video. I'm wondering why she didn't tell me about the video. Then I wonder if she did, but I just forgot. I'm jealous because _______ is becoming successful and I am not. We rewind the video and watch again. It takes forever to rewind. _______ is bent over to bring attention to her breasts. She believes this is her "good angle." The video is all about her body and how she wants to be thinner. It seems really shallow and I'm disappointed. I remind myself that I'm a much more thoughtful poet.

The Dream Poet Anthology 2011

Below are the names of every poet who made an appearance or was mentioned in my dreams during 2011. Some of these poets I know well, others are acquaintances and some are complete strangers. If you find your name is on this list and you do not know me, it means that I know of you via your work or reputation and my psyche has attached some type of meaning or symbolism on you to represent something.

2011 Contributors:

Kim Addonizio, Rosa Alcalá, Kelli Russell Agodon, Sherman Alexie, Wendy Babiak, Julianna Baggott, Clay Banes, Jennifer Bartlett, Jan Beatty, Sandra Beasley, Tara Betts, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Matt Bell, Aaron Belz, April Bernard, Simeon Berry, Mary Biddinger, Sven Birketts, Elizabeth Bishop, Julie Bloemeke, Anne Boyer, Ana Bozicevic, Blake Butler, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Kelly Cockeram, Shanna Compton, Eduardo Corral, Bruce Covey, e.e. cummings, Brent Cunningham, Jordan Davis, Neil de la Flor, Michelle Detorie, Adam Deutsch, Joseph Donahue, Bob Dylan, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Cherryl Floyd-Miller, Daisy Fried, Gabriel Fried, Elisa Gabbert, Bernadette Geyer, Lea Graham, Arielle Greenberg, Tod Goldberg, Nada Gordon, Noah Gordon, Paul Guest, Shafer Hall, Josh Hanson, Ron Hogan, Joan Houlihan, Dave Housley, Honoree Jeffers, Henry Israeli, Charlie Jensen, Tayari Jones, Steven Karl, Mary Karr, Kirsten Kaschock, Erica Kaufman, Alan King, Amy King, Craig Kirchner, Rauan Klassnik, Ivy Kleinbart, Jennifer L. Knox, Jenn Koiter, David Lehman, Patricia Lockwood, J. Michael Martinez, Joe Massey, Steven Allen May, David McDonald, Erika Meitner, Didi Menendez, Gina Myers, E. Ethelbert Miller, Kasey Mohammad, Dan Nester, Maud Newton, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Hoa Nguyen, Mel Nichols, Alice Notley, Ed Ochester, January O'neil, Danielle Pafunda, Shin Yu Pai, G.M. Palmer, Karl Parker, Richard Peabody, Jessica Piazza, Scott Pierce, PF Potvin, Nate Pritts, Liam Rector, Barbara Jane Reyes, Anthony Robinson, Joseph Ross, Jeff Rudy, Carly Sachs, Metta Sama, Michael Schiavo, Steven Schoeder, Zachary Schomburg, Ravi Shankar, Laura Sheahen, Kim Gek Lin Short, Paul Siegell, Ron Silliman, Sandra Simonds, Nicole Steinberg, Gary Sullivan, Tree Swensen, Bronwen Tate, James Tate, Brent Terry, Maureen Thorson, Qiana Towns, Natasha Trethewey, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Laura Van Prooyen, Matt Walker, Allyssa Wolf, C. Dale Young, Kevin Young, Mike Young, Matthew Zapruder

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm a writer, but not a poet. Why am I included on a poet list?
A: Simmer down and accept the compliment.

Q: Does my appearing on this list mean that you are obsessed with or stalking me?
A: Possibly.

Q: Will you tell me the details of the dream I appeared in?
A: No, absolutely not. Assume the dream was totally demented and would disturb you a great deal.

Q: I'm a poet and I'm psychically awesome, why aren't I included in this anthology?
A: There are three possible reasons you are not included:

1. You didn't appear in my dreams in 2011. Resolve in 2012 to be more ambitious psychically.
2. You did appear in my dreams, but I don't remember. I forget many dreams. Your omission is a simple case of editorial oversight. You were screwed, unintentionally.
3. You did appear in my dreams, but I am loathe to publicly admit such a thing. This applies to a small percentage of poets appearing in my dreams. Your omission is a simple case of editorial bias. You were screwed, intentionally.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

my "sabbatical" (of sorts), or I'm such a chick

From now until at least the end of 2012 I'll be on a sabbatical (of sorts). This means I won't be reading or considering manuscripts, writing reviews or blurbs, participating in panels, attending conferences and bookfairs, organizing readings or literary events (other than the one reading at my home that I've already committed to doing) or other things of that nature that I have not already agreed to do. I have to draw this line for a while -- even though it means not being able to personally support other poets as much as I'd like and to the extent that they may deserve.

These past couple years I've had a challenging time focusing on my own work and meeting the commitments I already obligated myself to doing. I flaked out on too many things lately because I just couldn't manage to get it all done or keep it all straight. While I may not receive the number of requests a better known writer receives, I receive several a week on average. Some weeks, like this one, I receive more than one a day. Some requests are minor, some are not so minor. Sometimes the person asking believes it to be a much less consuming request than I perceive it to be.

For instance, people asking for a blurb or review with less than a month turnaround are sort of exasperating. This happens a lot so I put this out there as a public service announcement: You really should give 3 months (closer to 6 months, if you're asking a "big name"). It will not just take me a "couple hours" to do (I don't work that fast) and I (like most people) don't have gobs of spare hours in any week. Those kinds of rush requests are asking me to drop another commitment or sacrifice my own writing time. Even if I'm really excited about your upcoming book, you're making it difficult for me to help you out. In some cases, I have dropped something or given up my own writing time, but that's not going to be the case going forward.

This is not directed at any specific person. One of my reasons for posting this is so I can refer people to this "announcement" to show that I'm really not blowing them off. Or at least not them specifically. I'm blowing off the world and I'm a total chick worrying that people will be mad at me for saying no to them.

I am still supporting all the No Tell Books titles -- so if you need a review copy, need to be put in contact with one of the authors, etc., I'm here for that.

And of course I'm still here as a human being. I'm not retreating into a cave. I'll still be responding to emails. I'll still be blogging. I'll still be on FB and Goodreads. I still want to hear from friends and kind people who just want to say hello.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

calls and closings

We're closing on our townhouse next week and we can finally go back to being single home owners. I won't get into the details, but there were quite a few bumps. Any fantasy I ever had of owning a getaway home in the mountains has been dashed. I am a one-home woman.

I'm putting out the last call for poets (and any writer, really) to appear in the 2011 Reb Livingston Poet Dream Anthology. Last year I put out this call and several people inquired about sending poems. This isn't a poem anthology, it's a poet anthology. The way you get in is that you have to appear in one of my dreams *and* I have to remember the dream when I wake. If you're feeling dream shy, you can send a dream message or have one of your buddies appear and reference you in a dream. It all counts.

If you do make it into my dream anthology, accept the honor with grace and don't hassle me about your specific details. Every year I say this and every year people hassle me. The truth is, I have demented dreams and you really don't want to know. It's all fun and games until I divulge that when I found your rotting corpse my emotional response was relief and happiness. While I understand that your corpse stands for a shitty attitude I associate with you and also share myself, you're going to be creeped out and possibly paranoid about your impending doom. What if I really am 40% psychic like I claim? You don't want to find out.

In and around our new home we come across a lot animals and critters that we didn't in the old house. Hawks, owls, frogs (er, Chris keeps correcting me, it's TOADS) and last night, in our home, a salamander! As I told Chris, this is a clear sign that we need to evolve in our lives.

Friday, October 21, 2011

onward and kabassi

In case you missed the online hoopla, today was No Tell Motel's last day of publication. We closed out our 7+ years with a week of Jill Alexander Essbaum. I greatly appreciate the lovely comments from folks about the magazine's run. It means a great deal for the work to be acknowledged. Last week J.P. Dancing Bear interviewed me on WKUP where I discuseed closing No Tell Motel as well as my own poems. You can listen to the podcast here.

I envisioned this being a relaxing and joyous time for myself, but I've hardly had much time to revel. I am completely consumed by non-poetry events (for one, we're in the middle of selling our townhouse which has not gone as smoothly as we hoped, as well as getting ourselves properly set up in our new home, and on and on). I'm grateful that I have one less time-consuming responsibility because otherwise I might crack. I dream a lot about our houses (both the new one and the one we're selling), playing strange versions of Monopoly -- like today I dreamed that I landed on the space that took me to the DSW (designer shoe warehouse) website but am too overwhelmed to make a purchase. And there are references to Medusa and basilisks. It's true, just glancing over (or pondering) some things makes me feel like I'm going to instantly drop dead. I can't tell if these dreams are about real estate or are metaphors for writing or lord knows what else. Some days pretty much anything makes me want to fall over and die.

Speaking of death, in a non-metaphorical way, we recently had to put our 17 year old cat, Darla, to sleep. It was sudden and sort of unexpected, even though, yeah, she was really old. I dream a lot of Darla and also the (dream) dog that I promised G we'll get when he's older and more responsible. In the dream the large dog jumps right through the driver's side window and onto my lap. I instantly like the dog and want to keep it, but I'm worried that I can't handle the responsibility right now. He's here, but I don't feel ready. I take him back to my house to think about it. The house is a mess, there's a party going on, other dogs are running around, there's a pile of kabassi in the sink and all I'm wearing in a swimsuit. I keep asking Chris if we should turn the dog over to the police or if we should keep it. He's noncommittal. It's up to me. Gaaahh!

As I access my (waking) situation, there's not much more I can cut-out/pare down. I spent the last year letting go of what I no longer needed or wanted. Maybe this is as calm as it gets. Maybe it's time I make room for that (dream) dog.

Sorry, G, the (waking) doggie still has to wait a couple years until you're old enough to shovel poop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1% Poem

This poem has a coherent message, this poem works all night long, this poems shaves its armpits, me so spondee esta blingaWHAT? Now this poem has your attention. Only the little people use linebreaks. This poem deserves the whole page and shouldn't have to share with freeloaders like you. This poem lets you eat bukkake. This poem has an amazing bukkake collection that costs more than you make in ten years because you're pathetic and weak. Where would you be without this poem? Living in a mud hut bartering with toejams, that's where. Toe cheese, it's what's for dinner without this poem. This poem is a trickle down cream of steam, here's your taste, lick this poem's ankle drippings. There, now get off welfare and cream yourself for once. Unlike you, this poem lives in reality. This poem doesn't have time to sit around hooting on bongos crapping out its ass while living in a lollipop garden. This poem bathes, ok? This poem would rather die than assist your cancer-ridden sphincter. This poem doesn't have time for a sphincter because it's busy running its Subway francise and has six children it liked better when they were fetuses. You can't keep up with this poem, oh no you can't. This poem has a work ethic. And God on its side. This poem is better than you. This poem has a tiger cream sandwich to sell you for the low price of $4.99. This poem thinks you're fat. This poem suggests you make a few more trips to the salad bar and lipo your flabby sphincter. Don't worry, this poem doesn't want to lay its hands on your uterus cause you real ugly! This poem is all business. This poem doesn't need elitist verbs because that's Ivy league socialism. You need this poem. You need to do something with your life and stop hating on this poem. Stop making poem warfare. Go back to the kitchen and deepfry this poem a corndog. This poem just trademarked "corndog." Corndogs would not exist without this poem. Suck this poem's sourdough while you're at it. This poem has had just enough of your complaining. Don't be jealous of this poem for smelling better than you. If you weren't spending your nights in the kitchen deep frying corndogs, maybe someone would want to fuck you. If God didn't want this poem to be in charge, he wouldn't have printed it on a white page. God made this poem in his image and doesn't know where the hell you came from. Jesus loves this poem more than he loves you. Jesus hates it when you're shrill. You make Jesus sick. Jesus wants you to pull yourself up from your bootstraps and remember that you're in America, not Norway. Jesus wishes you were more like this poem. When this poem created God and Jesus, they wept with gratitude, unlike you. This poem wonders why you can't be more like God and Jesus. You cry like a hyena getting a bikini wax while being smacked in the face with a big fluffy bukkake. This poem keeps saying "bukkake" because it distracts you from your sad life. This poem is looking at the poem in the mirror and doesn't see what is your problem. You need to remember this poem is sensitive and has feelings and what you're saying is really hurtful. Your needs are a threat to this poem's standard of living. This poem is gonna count to three and if you don't disperse it's gonna use the security force to bukkake spray your ridiculous corneas into corndogs. Bukkake! You're welcome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

readings now and future

This week I'm offering a free tarot reading or dream interpretation to anyone who buys 2 or more No Tell Books titles. Details here. It'll probably be the last time I run this offer for the press for quite a while. In the past I've done it once a year.

In the future I intend to branch out and offer tarot readings and dream interpretations for a fee. This wil be my own pursuit, unrelated to the press. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long, but have been too chicken shit.

Chicken shit no longer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We went a new restaurant tonight. The service was good, the food was fine, yet for what possibly may be the first time in my life, I asked to see the manager. Why? Because when I asked the waiter not to bring the dessert tray to the table, he apologized but said he was required to so for every table. He brought the tray out, set spoons on the table (also required, he explained) and described all twelve desserts (required). All while G became more and more agitated because we told him we weren't getting dessert and there was dessert, three inches in front on his face, mocking him.

I understand dessert trays are a successful dessert-selling tactic. But I was also was under the impression that this restaurant was one of those healthy lifestyle establishments, touting its fresh, seasonal vegetables, no frying and asserting that nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories. It was why we decided to try it out. So why push the sugar, restaurant of moderate eating?

I explained to the manager that I could never come back because of their dessert tray policy. It's just too unpleasant a way to end dinner with a 6 year old. He explained that their policy is not to bring a tray to anyone who refuses. I wondered if perhaps I didn't object strenuously enough. I said to the waiter, "I rather you didn't." Maybe that was too soft? Chris said "no means no" and that should have been enough. I agree. The waiter knew we didn't want it, but felt like his job was on the line if he didn't. I didn't want to stress out the waiter, so instead I enraged G.

The problem wasn't with the waiter, but with the restaurant's policy.

After I shared my complaint to the manager, he reached into his jacket and I thought he was pulling out one of those free appetizer cards or something like that. No. He gave me his business card and told me to ask for him the next time we came. For what purpose? Hey remember me? I'm that bitchy buzzkill mom who complained about the dessert trays. Good to see you too!

As we left I turned to Chris and said, "Damn, this sure ain't Applebees."

We don't get to Applebees very often, but once, years ago, we were at one when a waiter accidentally spilled part of a meal on a customer. She was furious. The manager came over and gave her all kinds of free food cards, but nothing calmed her. She screamed, I DIDN'T COME ALL THE WAY FROM JERSEY TO GET AU JUS DOWN MY BUTT CRACK!

I don't know what she came all the way from New Jersey to Virginia for, but I definitely believed her when she said it wasn't for au jus in her butt crack. That incident was at least ten years ago, and still to this day every time Chris and I drive by an Applebees one of us affirms that we didn't drive all the way from Reston to get au jus down our butt cracks.

I think those days are past.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Your Ear Presents Lea Graham and Reb Livingston

DC Arts Center
2438 18th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia

Please join the In Your Ear Reading Series for a reading by Lea Graham and Reb Livingston at 3PM on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

Lea Graham’s first book, Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You is just out from No Tell Books. She is also the author of the chapbook, Calendar Girls (above ground press, 2006). Her poems, collaborations, reviews and articles have been published in journals and anthologies such as American Letters & Commentary, The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor, Notre Dame Review and The Capilano Review. Her translations are forthcoming in The Alteration of Silence: Recent Chilean Poetry through the University of New Orleans Press. She is Assistant Professor of English at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and a native of Northwest Arkansas.

Reb Livingston is the author of God Damsel (No Tell Books, 2010) and Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut Books, 2007). She's the co-editor of The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel anthology series, the publisher of No Tell Books and the editor of the soon-to-be-closed-for-business No Tell Motel. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son.

Admission is $5.00.

Monday, September 12, 2011

tonight's unpacking tally

We are one step closer to completely unpacking and organizing our home. We're getting very close. Despite working for months at our old home on weeding out what we no longer needed or wanted, we still brought some of unnecessary psychic baggage to the new home.

Here's tonight's tally:

* various plaques and goofy trophy-like awards from Chris' past jobs--many refer to Chris as "The Head" which I'm supposed to believe is a recognition of his intelligence
* my high school graduation honor tassles
* audio recordings of my college talk radio show, "Enlightenments," taped on VCR tapes
* cassette tape of my interview with Troy Slaten from Parker Lewis Can't Lose
* 2 pairs of shoes
* moldy, drunken college pictures
* my bingo chips and dabbers
* CMU student handbook (1990)

* 5 pairs of shoes
* various corporate coffee mugs
* framed flower collages from Pier One
* 1 Pirates bobble head

Give to Gideon
* the other Pirates bobble head
* a sand dollar that reads "I love you" and plays the Star Spangled (A gift from me to Chris that I purchased at the Gay Dolphin (Myrtle Beach) sometime in the 90's)

* a bound collection of every FLASH News (tech support newsletter) I ever wrote when I worked in AOL's documentation department
* a three page instructional essay on how to use DEBUG to fix a comm port shift that I used as my writing sample to get that awesome documentation job
* 6 month performance review of my documentation job (I was reliable, focused, good at managing my time, worked well with others, willing to take on additional responsibilities, but needed to work on my proofreading and technical writing skills)

Headed to the shredder
* Bedside Guide contributor agreement contracts

Dumped into a plastic bin to be put into our crawlspace and likely not opened for another 20 years
* White House agenda and folder from 1993 from the only time they ever bothered inviting me
* a photo of me hugging Steve the bodyguard from the Jerry Springer Show fame
* CMU freshman pic book (1990)
* a Student Union issue that includes an incredibly inane quote from me regarding my reaction to River Phoenix's death (apparently my sister and I were both "really bummed out" which was amplified because somebody we knew was stabbed on a school bus a couple days before--I must already be senile because I now can't recall anyone stabbed on a school bus)
* my "Bass Master" hat given to me by my father after a particularly successful father/daughter fishing trip in the 80's

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It occurred to me that I feel extremely alienated from the "writing community" at-large and I'm not so sure if this a newer development or something I've felt for a long time. There's always been this lingering sense of certain people only being interested in what I can do for them, or others taking advantage and not appreciating (or respecting) what I do or something like that. In reality that is probably a minority. Most writers have been rather gracious and generous, but that minority sometimes sticks in my heart. It's always had more power than it should. I've spent a long time trying to figure out the ways how I fuel that power. This BlazeVox business is maddening. In many ways it has nothing to do with me. I never published with them, I don't know the editor personally--yet some of the comments just bring up all kinds of painful feelings, especially when they're directed at poetry publishers in general. So I am still part of the community, else I wouldn't care, right? Or is this pain coming from being the outsider? Most probably wouldn't consider me an outsider. Eh, who doesn't feel like an outsider, right?

I think it's more than all that, much more, but I can't really place my finger on what all that is. Many of my close friends are writers and I'm not alienated from them personally. I can think of several writers who I feel alienated from for a variety of reasons and I keep going back and forth wondering if that plays anything into it. Maybe it does. Maybe it's that heart damage from the minority that isn't healing properly. A year ago (or maybe it was two?, whenever it was when I started this new blog) I was doing daily energy/healing meditations, letting stuff go--I lost a bit of weight in the process, like I was storing up my anger in my ass and hips. I think I'm going to go back to doing that. I think the ass and heart share the same chakra. Yeah, I read that somewhere. My pilates trainer noticed I lost a bunch of weight and asked what I was doing. I told her about the energy exercises and she looked at me like I said I lost it by slaughtering hobos or something totally insane. It made me feel really uncomfortable and I started noticing that I was always really uncomfortable in the loud, cold, hard pilates studio. The constant mindless chitchat, the regular pressure to push oneself even if it didn't feel right. I didn't belong there, but I went because I got "results." A couple weeks later I quit (even though I still had 3 or 4 paid lessons) and returned to yoga. Yoga was so different than I remembered. What used to seem difficult wasn't so much. I probably had pilates to thank for that.

Yesterday I dreamed that I found a doorway in Chris' office into an apartment. There was another door that I hoped connected my own office to the apartment. I had forgotten that our new house had an apartment and I was so excited to realize I had all this additional space. My new house was truly huge and limitless. The previous owner's furniture and other items were still there, so I was deciding what to keep and what to pitch. Then two writers came into our home, one I know in waking life and the second was someone I knew in the dream, but couldn't remember his name. They brought cherry beer (something I'd recently considered buying in a grocery store in a dream the week before). Then tens of young, 20-something writers came into the house. It was like one of those flash mobs, but it was more like a flash party. I said I wasn't uninviting them because I never invited them in the first place, but they could only stay for 30 minutes because I had plans for the evening. At first I was OK with the unscheduled party but then I noticed that the writers were scrawling all over my walls. I yelled that I just paid thousands of dollars on painting. I screamed for them all to leave, threatened them with bodily harm, threw a vase and a lit candle and tried to call the police (I accidentally called the fire department instead). Finally everyone left and my new dream neighbors came into my house to make sure I was OK. They assumed the flash mob members were strangers. I explained that they were writers and I knew 10-15 of them but none of them were invited. My dream neighbors told me not to worry, that they were my community now.

I'm not sure how to interpret this dream. Was it showing that I'm rejecting "new writing" or an actual writing community? But if so, how is it OK to scrawl all over my walls? They were disrespecting me and my home. In waking life I would totally freak if people did that to my home. How am I supposed to work with that? Who are these new dream neighbors? They certainly weren't writers. What is this community embracing me now? Why were these young writers such despicable, disrespectful thugs? Why does interacting with writers have to be so overwhelming?

Monday, September 5, 2011

If you miss my old "cackling jackal" days, here's a post in that spirit about publishing over at No Tells.

School starts for Gideon tomorrow. 1st grade. I'm preparing a very serious happy dance. It's been an intense, wacky summer and I'm ready to go back to breathing.

I have plans and intentions about what I'm going to do with my time and they involve writing and doing a lot of stuff for myself.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

People keep asking about how are things at the new house. Aside from a refrigerator arriving and being too large (despite our measuring beforehand), things are going well at the new home. Right now most of our attention is being focused on the old house, getting ready to put it on the market in a little over a week. That's been a little stressful and more costly than I anticipated, so there's the whole running out of money issue that makes me want to barf a little. People keep asking if it's on the market yet and I have to control my spazzy reaction. Do you know how much work goes into getting a house ready to sell in Northern Virginia? Do you know what people around here expect? Do you know what goes into creating CURB APPEAL? Do ya, do ya?. We're even getting a stager to furnish and decorate the first level. Personally I like to see a house empty and use my IMAGINATION, but apparently nobody else has imagination and it's imperative that we show them where they can put their effing sofa. Supposedly staged houses sell much faster and closer to the asking price than non-staged homes and statistics don't lie.

Last night I was feeling especially high strung, so I decided to open up the B&N package that arrived earlier and relax reading. I ordered some art and energy healing books and was excited to get them. But I didn't get them. Instead B&N sent me 5 copies of the latest issue of US Magazine. Jennifer Aniston is trying for a baby, see:

I was upset. Chris said, Oh no, now you don't have any books to read!

That was a swipe at my ten million books in the house.

Sometimes I get my heart set on something and overlook the world of other options. Maybe there was a message in the box. I'm no Jill Essbaum, but I'm trying to better pay attention to signs and messages. All last night I kept asking myself:

What is Jennifer Aniston trying to tell me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

first dreams in new house

Chris, Gideon and I looked around a store to get items to help organize our house. It seems like a home store, but I bought a purse here recently. I spoke to the saleswoman. One of us commented about the Banana Republic was back in it's original spot in the mall. I had forgotten that it moved to the other (less used) end. I said that end of the mall felt like a totally different mall. The saleswoman agreed.

* * *

We moved out of our house mid-morning and into our new house. The old owners of our new house moved right next door. The man was older, shirtless with a big fat belly. I didn't like the former owners living so close to us. Our old home seemed to be nearby too. The new owners moved in. I wasn't sure for who, but for one (or more) of us these homes were a transitional space until we moved again.

* * *

I sat in a Poets and Busboys waiting for my former poetry teacher to arrive for a one-on-one meeting. I held the Poets and Busboys pencil that he gave me, still unsharpened. I remembered that he introduced me to this place before he had his falling out with it.

(Poet 1) and (Poet 2) joined me at my table. Maybe they were meeting with my former teacher too. The two poets talked about an amazing, brilliant woman who seemed to be able to do everything. She was a poet, the most alluring and sexy stripper who men relentlessly pursued, a Playboy model who drove men wild when they saw her nude photographs and now she was a conductor. She did everything except have children, which they said was because she was too smart for men. She was to be joining them soon.

Poet 1 and Poet 2 excused themselves from my table. I got sleepy and slumped over at the table as I waited for them to return. Poet 1 brought me a cup of coffee. I saw that she and Poet 2 joined this amazing woman at another table. This amazing woman had red hair, was middle aged and a little heavy. She didn't necessarily look the part, but I knew this was her. I felt left out that Poet 1 and Poet 2 left my table for her's.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I made an announcement over at No Tells about the future of No Tell Motel. It's a time of new directions. I'm excited and hopeful about entering this new phase.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

new digs

We are now the owners of a fabulous new (to us) home!

We're having some painting and kitchen work done before we move in, but this will be our residence as of July 19th. If you need the new address, backchannel.

We'll be putting our current home on the market (probably August). If you're looking for a townhouse that is both rich in poetry blog history and located in Reston, let me know. We'll offer you a very special price, just mention this blog with your inquiry.

Monday, July 4, 2011

today's poetry dream

I was in Gideon's preschool class. I planned to work on my manuscript thesis that was due soon so I could graduate. An annoying woman came in to teach the class, so I left with my packet full of poems and notebook. I opened my slim packet. It felt like there were 30-40 poems, but instead there were smaller envelops with word games and far fewer poems than I expected. All the poems needed drastic rewrites. For the thesis, I planned to show my work (first draft, final draft) and considered writing about the changes. I had a tremendous amount of work to do in a short period of time.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

today's direct poetry dream

My poems were rejected at a magazine. Since I knew the editor, I asked him why. Another editor I knew, responded saying nobody else ever demanded a reason. I was angry at this response. I wasn't demanding anything, I just asked.

I considered my response to him. I decided that I'd never ask why? again.

As I sat in a car, a man walked by and told me that he didn't consider me an important part of American poetry these days because I don't write, I don't publish and I don't blog. I'm inconsequential now.

I told him that I didn't care what he thinks and that I moved on to something bigger and more important.

A police officer came up and handcuffed the rude man.

I asked the officier if he was arresting the rude man and the officier said yes.

I asked if I could tase the rude man.

The officer chuckled.

I asked if I could stick my finger in the rude man's butt.

The officer chuckled again.

Another man walked up and said he wanted to rape the rude man.

That crossed the boundary of a good joke.

The officer didn't think that was funny and took the rude man away.

Friday, June 3, 2011

never be a prisoner to your poems

I try so hard not to talk pobiz here. Usually that's pretty easy, but every once in a while I slip up and here I go dancing on that banana peel. I'm in the mode because I've been up all night working on the lecture I'm going to give next week at UC Riverside. When I was a kid, low-residency MFA programs meant staying in dumpy dorms, eating cafeteria food and hoping nobody walked into the bathroom while you were having a moment after ingesting the cuisine. But now there are low-res programs that are held at spa resorts. If that's not what God intended, I don't know what is.

Anyhoo, anyone who followed my old blog knows I'm not a fan of book contests. I think it's a crummy way to publish books. I think there are a lot of better options. I also understand why so many presses hold contests--because not enough poets buy enough poetry books. So some presses changed their business models to sell hope instead. Hope sells a lot better. As far as I'm concerned, it's a vicious cycle that too many people participate in. Poets should buy more books, review more books, in general do more to support poems by other poets in addition to their own. Clearly the money exists, if poets have the means to afford all of these entry fees, they have the means to buy books. I've written about this extensively and it's a subject I'm pretty tired of these days. Just so you know, some of my best friends have won book contests and you and I can still be friends, even if you do participate in contests. I kind of view it the same as smoking: it's a dirty, disgusting habit that will eventually kill you, but as long as you don't do it around my kid, whatevs. Free country.

Yesterday I came to this article expecting to nod my head and be all, right on, glad more people are writing about this topic. I'm not sure why I assumed that, I've read enough articles by this writer to know I generally don't agree with his assertions or logic. But we can't disagree on everything, can we?

Well, I don't know, maybe we can disagree on everything. For instance, this is flat out false:

Poetry contests are about the only remaining way to publish a first poetry book.

Not true! Every year hundreds of first collections are published outside of the contest system--in a variety of ways. I don't have hard statistics, just the books on my own shelves, but it seems to me that more first books are published sans contests than by them. Certainly a sizable percentage. If you don't know of these books, my friend, you are not reading enough. You can start with my Goodreads shelf for some suggestions. There are certainly some contest winners included, but they are by no means the majority--even in the category of first books. This list is just my personal library, not even a complete list at that. Expand your reading.

Yes, the contest system is sucky. But we are NOT prisoners to it. Not if we don't want to be.

Nobody is killing poetry.

Poetry cannot be killed.

Poetry is the cockroach of literature.

Monday, May 30, 2011

recently inherited baubles

Here's a few pieces that Gideon rescued from the Goodwill box -- including my original pre-engagement ring from high school.

more downsizing efforts

Above is the jewelry that I'm donating to Goodwill today.

Gideon says that when I die he will open a jewelry museum of me.

There's always something to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

moving on up

Looks like we're moving into a new home. We don't have a closing date yet, but sometime this summer. My paring down in multiple aspects of my life this past year appears to be my process to prepare for this momentous change. It is a big deal for me and for Chris and Gideon as well. Chris and I lived in our townhouse for over 15 years -- the longest either of us have ever lived in one place. This is the only home Gideon has ever known. It feels like both yesterday and a lifetime. These past few years we've discussed moving and the conversation usually turned to staying put and being frugal, not being house poor, which are all very smart ideas. Living in this smaller, less expensive house is the main reason I've been able to publish 14 titles (and one more later this summer) at No Tell Books, among other things. But now being frugal feels more like complacency. If not now, when? Every time I get a book in the mail, I stress a little -- where am I going to put it? In the past 6 months we've done 4 massive Goodwill donations, given a great deal to friends and family, organized closets and the basement and thrown out countless useless things being held onto for lord knows why, and still mind-assaulting clutter. Why did I save a box full of alumni magazines? Or all my undergraduate papers and reading handouts? Our basement reeked of the 90's.

So we have a contract on a really lovely 42 year-old (positively ancient in this neck of the woods) split level home a little over 4 miles away. It has a wooded yard for Gideon. It has a garage so Chris won't be parking his bicycles in our dining room. Chris' office won't be the storage room. There's a walk-in closet so large that I am positive Chris and I will never argue again. It's on a very quiet street. I recently came to realize how much I hate noise and busyness. I think because I grew up in a loud, screamy, frantic house, I learned to act like it was normal and OK, but it isn't OK with me. I never got used to it, I just learned to act like it didn't bother me. A few months back when I was in NYC I became really conscious how much I hated being there, just for a couple days. I remarked to my friend how agitated I felt and he said he had the opposite experience. He felt energized every time he spent time there. I can't imagine feeling anything other than exhaustion. It's not anything specific to NYC, just amplified because of its size. I feel the same way when I go into any busy part of DC or any other city for that matter. And while my current street isn't exactly noisy, it is often busy. There's always soccer and baseballs games across the street and tennis matches a few feet over. A community path is just a few feet behind our house. To work, I either have to disconnect from my environment or be scattered and distracted. I think this is why I work better at night. Less going on around me. I hope this will be less of an issue in our new home. Of all the many thing I love about this new home, I think the seclusion is what attracts me the most. When we talk about fantasies, mine tend revolve around a quasi-hermit lifestyle, except I still shave my legs and brush my teeth and I don't live in a cave or a shed, but in a lovely cabin deep in a forest.

This life I created for myself when I began blogging almost 8 years ago, then starting No Tell Motel and No Tell Books, and participating in both online and flesh (in-flesh ?, fleshy ?) communities offers a lot of benefits. I certainly get a lot out of it--many wonderful friends for one. It's made my life more connected than I ever thought, or considered, in both good and bad ways. Last night I was on Facebook, looking at my 10 million "friends" and was like, HTF did I let happen? My policy has always been, friend people I both like and know and accept friend requests from poets, because, hey, it's nice being part of the many communities. Also, I don't always remember every single person (or their names) I meet at readings and conferences, so it's good to err on the side of caution. But the truth is that my idea of community now overwhelms me. For a long time I'd been filtering out hundreds of people in the feed, so I can get updates from people I'm interested in hearing from. Every time I figure out a system to manage all the updates, announcements and Jesus, those fucking event invites, there's a redesign or a new "feature" and all of my organizing is out-the-window. Chris laughs at my frustration. But he's not on FB and if he was, he'd be smart enough not to accept friend requests from 10 million poets. So last night I unfriended over 300 people and organizations. Nothing personal. It was like cleaning out another closet. Then I dreamed all night of culling my FB list. I woke this morning in a mild panic that perhaps my slash and burn created some unintended enemies. Then I told myself, I get unfriended by people for no obvious reason all the time. That's life on FB and we all need to get over it.

But if you're someone who reads this blog, and if I did unfriend you and if that hurt your feelings or made you feel bad, I am sorry. Last night wasn't about you, it was all about me. I'm getting ready to move and it's making me unsettled.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

some recent celebrity dreams

Steve Martin is starting a new career as an ice cream man. He's deciding between two kinds of cones and asks me what I think. His wife prefers the regular sugar cone. He prefers the strange cone, it's flatter with some kind of shape (hexagon?) on it and lightly dusted with cinnamon. I prefer the strange cone too. It tastes better. There's a mother who agrees with Steve Martin's wife because she isn't sure her child would like, or even know what to do with, the strange cone. These women seem ridiculously conservative. Steve Martin is going to be an ice cream man. Steve Martin should be unique and have his own ice cream style.

* * *

I'm supposed to give at talk at a poetry panel. In this talk I quote poems from 5 poets, e.e.cumming, a latino (dream) poet and others. I have copies of my talk (same one I gave two year ago) in hard copy, but not enough for the entire audience. I misplaced my laptop and am looking all over the hotel for it, so I can print out more copies of my handouts. While I'm looking, a creepy, leering Charlie Sheen keeps trying to get my attention. I avoid him as best I can. I go up a set of stairs that lead to the women's gym/spa. It's for women only, so Charlie Sheen can't follow me.

* * *

Ryan Phillippe is a vulgar high school jock and making vulgar, high school jock jokes to a popular girl who went to my high school. He starts talking to Gideon and I'm terrified Gideon might say the wrong thing and incur the wrath of Ryan Phillippe. I'm on edge. But Ryan Phillippe cuts Gideon a break and moves on.

* * *

I go into President Obama's closet and bathroom. There's a nice armoire and a very nice bath. Then I go into Michelle Obama's closet and bath. It's not as nice as the president's, but it still pretty nice.

* * *

Roger Ebert is a woman with smooth legs. Roger Ebert is both man and woman. Or maybe he can go back and forth. Some people have difficulty accepting this. Roger Ebert is serving giant, pinata-looking snacks, made out of something like popcorn. Robert Ebert sprays cheese on these pinata-looking snacks for texture. Chris would rather have his snack without the spraycheese. We might have paid for two, but we only get one pinata-looking snack covered in spraycheese.

* * *

Something about Bill Cosby. Something about Bill Cosby being a grumpy, but wise, old man.

* * *

I interview Howard Stern. He's not taking this interview seriously. Or maybe the questions I ask are too in-depth. We go down into a basement level. He becomes a little round creature and begins to answer my questions, but he's hard to hear. I ask him about how he both loves women and doesn't, how he seems to both respect and humiliate them. There's a sexy woman standing in front of a storefront. The sexy woman has Howard Stern's attention.

* * *

I go up to my office to find Emilio Estavez's memoir called______. I had it for a while and it's supposed to be pretty good. I look for it on the shelf and find it hidden behind something else. The flap says Emilio Estavez writes about how he ended up on a jet plane with Gaddafi.

* * *

Vanilla Ice is accused of raping 18 people after a sporting event. He denies the charges and seems genuinely shocked he's being accused. His lawyer informs him that there have been hundreds of accusations and over 60 were made with veracity (tenacity ?). Things do not look good for Vanilla Ice.

* * *

Paris Hilton is meeting her family outside a coffee shop. They all have very blonde hair. A dark-haired, possibly balding, average-looking man (not a Hilton) is sitting with their group. He stands up and they all seem surprised that he's there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

napowrimo #1


I don't think I'll be doing this after all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

in this dimension

Working down my list of things to do before Gideon and I leave for Prague at the end of this week to meet up with Chris. Very excited to get to go back and share the experience with Gideon. Someday we'll have to take an international trip where Chris isn't working the entire time.

Taxes, done. Gah. I always fret the IRS will audit and deem No Tell Books a "hobby" based on its earnings compared to its expenses. But I have all the receipts and documentation, so I shouldn't worry. I suppose part of myself truly doesn't feel legitimate.

If you're in the DC area, you should consider attending the Mary Karr and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library tomorrow (Monday) at 7:30pm. I'll be giving brief introductions for both poets and leading the Q&A afterward. This month I had two dreams where I was on my way to the reading, but didn't get around to writing the intros.

In this dimension, the intros are written.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

dream database management

Because dreams are serious content and you need to manage that shit.

The problem with handwritten dream recording is searchability. If you record dreams with any regularity, finding a handwritten dream from a couple years earlier can be challenging if you aren't sure of the approximate date. Finding patterns and recurring themes is also difficult and time consuming when having to go through stacks of notebooks.

I keep track of all of my dreams in blogger. That's right, the same thing I use to keep this blog.


1. Record more details -- I can type way faster than I can write. The faster I can record a dream, the more likely I'll retain details.
2. Search engine -- like most people, I forget many of my dream pretty quickly. Like last week I dreamed of planes flying in a horizontal formation. I quickly checked and found out I dreamed of that before.
3. Tags -- One dream can have countless symbols and themes. Tags are helpful for tracking. For instance, once I clicked on my "face" tag -- and in each "face" dream over the course of several months I was able to see a step-by-step transformation. (Seaching-->Decay-->New) I wouldn't have picked up on this if I didn't have the ability to easily group dreams by content.

But wait, you don't want your archenemy to get a Google alert informing him of your dream where you give him a tug job in a vat of pudding, do you? You sure don't!

You want the benefits of the content management database, but not the publishing part. You can share your choice, edited dreams on your regular blog, or FB, over dinner or wherever. For your dream database, you want a safe place where you aren't inhibited from recording your absolute groddy gnarliness.

That's easy enough. You make it so you're the only one who can view your dream database by doing the following:

Basic settings: Select NO for "Add your blog to our listings?" and "Let search engines find your blog?" and "Show Email Post links?"

Site Feed: Select NONE for "Allow Blog Feeds"

Permissions: Select "Only blog authors"

Then log out of blogger and make sure you can't access your dream database before you log back in and start recording.

Some people claim patterns and themes don't appear in their dreams, but they're wrong. They're just not keeping track. People claim lots of things about what their dreams don't do, but they don't have the dream data to back up their dismissals--because they don't keep any data.

And they think their uninformed, unsubstantiated denials somehow make them rational, reasonable people. Because dreams are meaningless and worthless. They know this to be true by the testament of ignorance.

Can't argue with that.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Grace Cavalieri interviews Amy King, Kim Roberts & me at Poets & Artists, Issue #24 (April 2011)

In addition to the No Tell Twitter feed, I now have a personal Twitter account. Separation of press and person.

If you're in DC, on Monday, March 21, 2011, 7:30pm, at the Folger Theatre, I'll be introducing Mary Karr and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and later moderating a discussion after their readings.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

one day, two plane crashes

At a diner near an airport with a poet and Gideon. It was nighttime. Loud noises came from the sky. I looked out the window and saw a horizontal formation of commercial airplanes, flying very low to the ground and close together. Seemed very dangerous and I wondered if they were running out of gas. Maybe they were trying to land one at a time. A few minutes later the same formation passed overhead again. One plane fell and landed on its belly in a nearby parking lot. It seemed OK at first, then burst into flames. I called 911 and spoke to a dispatcher. I asked if they'd heard about the crash yet. Calmly he said yes, then asked about a problem I had last week with the back of my computer. I must have called 911 for help with that too. I said my problem was fixed and asked again if he was sure they knew about the plane crash. Then I heard the sirens.

* * *

Gideon and I went into an elderly care home to deliver a priority mail package. Inside were three poetry books. The recipient was my mother who apparently now lived there. At first, nobody was in the office and I was unsure where to leave the package. Then a man who worked there pointed to a shelf that said the "Burnside Review." There was a discussion with my aunt and another employee about bookshelves, different styles, painting them dark colors. They didn't like the current bookshelves, they thought they looked upside down. I think they wanted something more traditional. I told them where I got my shelves but recommended that they pay less at get them at Target. Although the bookshelves I had were a lot like the ones they were trying to replace.

Another employee gave Gideon a certificate to commemorate the death of an old woman. He said it was important to keep track of this and to also note his height. Gideon was 4'2 or 50".

My grandfather was there now. We talked about Donnie Darko. I wondered if he would like the movie soundtrack, I thought he might. He asked if I thought he'd like the movie. I told him that he would, but he wouldn't admit to liking it and would stick out his tongue and give it a big thumbs down, like he always did. Secretly he would enjoy it. I explained the movie was about physics and time travel in a pseudo-science way and that he'd have to suspend his disbelief.

Now I was in the movie. It was the middle of the day and I stood in a field. Gretchen Ross stood here too, her face and hair were covered in frost and ice that began to melt, like she had just woken from a cold sleep. Plane and helicopter parts fell from the sky. People ran everywhere for cover. For a moment I stood under a tree, then realized it wouldn't protect me. Part of a helicopter fell, inside was the body of a man and a dog--then another dog that somehow survived jumped out. Two smaller planes with grabby hooks caught two pieces of the falling debris and dropped them safely.

I looked down the dirt road, wondered if the plane engine crashed though Donnie Darko's bedroom yet, killing him and setting time right.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

hiding in the maze of wretched celebrity

I chased a man who took something from and hurt me. Maybe he killed somebody I loved. He ran into a classroom with two doors. Another man, one who helped me, stood by one door and I the other. We ran into the classroom and caught the man who hurt me. He gently smiled and I felt some sympathy. Killing him wouldn't bring back what I lost. But still, I pulled out my laser gun and shot him right in his temple. Without waiting around to see what happened next, I ran out.

I ran down and through a series of hallways, deeper and deeper. I knew that the further back I went, the less chance for me to be found. I saw the double closet doors, two layers of them. I would be safe behind them. I went through and the first person I saw was Jay Leno. He said, boy oh man, he was gonna like living back here. How gross, I thought as I ran past him.

I kept running until I found a young, red-headed girl. Maybe she was who I lost? This was a tearful reunion. Here we could be together and I could raise her. I was so happy and we had a room here to live. I wrapped my laser gun into a blanket, tied it with a red cord and put it up on a high shelf.

There was another woman bathing a baby and a toddler in a sink. I'd seen them before on the outside. They weren't her daughters, but she wanted to raise them and here she could. This all seemed so nice.

I walked through a busy Target store, trying to figure out how much time had passed. When was now? I looked at the items on the shelves. Lamps and wooden phones. I thought about what I could buy for the little red-headed girl. I worried that someone might recognize me. Had enough time passed? Maybe being there wasn't safe.

I walked through the back, through an employee door and kept going back, back to where I first ran. There was a fancy conference room with wooden phones in front of each chair. Fancy bathrooms with black toilets, glass walls and no privacy. I kept going back and found the red-headed girl. Now a teenager, she was in a room with hair salon sinks and a naked Courtney Love. I didn't like seeing her with Courtney Love. They were both getting their hair done and talked about hair products and cosmetics. The red-headed girl tried to talk Courtney out of some kind of lip gloss. I realized that it was a long time since I made any effort on my appearance so I took two cosmetic samples. I tried talking to the red-headed girl and realized things changed. She was older, didn't belong here anymore and resented me for it. She'd try to leave sometime soon and I worried that I didn't prepare her for the real world. Would my attempt to protect her, in the end, fail her?

I went into another room and spoke to the hairdresser, an older woman. I decided that maybe it was time to get my hair done too. Maybe I hadn't had my hair done since I got here. Yet my hair seemed to have not changed or grown. Time really goes fast here, I said. The hairdresser didn't agree. She didn't live here in this protected maze. She comes and goes. On her schedule talks and other events were marked.

She couldn't do my hair until the following week, but had time to give a consultation. She asked what kind of person I was. I said wacky. She pointed out that now that I'm older, I might not be able to get away with hair like the red-headed teenager because of my roots. I said that I liked my red hair and its worked well for me. I pointed out the three shades of red currently in my hair. I told her my hair used to be purple. See, I'm wacky! I was afraid she'd make me a mousy brunette.

A man with a cheesy mustache came in for his appointment. I got up and left.

I walked around the huge maze of this place while eating a bag of sour cream and onion chips. How much had I explored, I wondered? I went into a huge, fancy cafeteria full of fancy people. It was a large room full of tables in the center and on each side there were large ships full of restaurants. I walked around, still eating my chips, and looked in the windows, at all the different types of chic and fancy people eating, noticed how the table were set, some with candelabras. I expected to see ________ (fancy, wretched celebrity poet), but didn't. I was very conscious of how I looked, with my old hair, potato chips and wondered what this sour cream and onion was doing to my breath

The boats started to rock. Everyone looked nervous. I stepped back, not sure what would happen next. I felt like I needed to put some distance between me and the rocking ships. Then there was a huge explosion on the other side of the room. Chaos. Everyone got up and ran. I shoved a handful of chips into my mouth and dropped the bag. I followed the exit signs, found an exit door, placed my hand on it to make sure it wasn't hot. It wasn't. I went through and ran down the stairs. Others ran too. Where would this take us? Where would it let out?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

writing process snapshot

Woke around 5am this morning from a wretched grossmare that is too weird and foul to share in any detail. It started with me in my darkened bedroom making the conscious decision to write about people and specific experiences. The middle of the dream involved [bizarre sex stuff deleted] and it ended with a man poet, sort of in a daze, possibly unknowingly or drunkenly, peeing in my bed. Chris (my logical/methodical/go-to/caretaking animus figure) picked him up and carried him away while I stripped off the sheets and hoped it didn't get on the blankets. As I took care of the bed, two women stood nearby, laughing.

Urine belongs to the second chakra, the Svadishana, to the kidneys, or reins, to the bladder, the pressure of instinctual urges and our awareness of them (Jung, 1087). It denotes the urgency of emotional and creative self-expression, the feeling-toned "yielding to or allowing the flow of what needs to come through one" (Whitmont, Perera, 243). But embedded in our modern idiom, we find urine also representing affect that is hot, intense, personal and sometimes not ideally contained. We speak of a "pissing contest," a display of aggressive power; of being "pissed off," suggesting resent or fury; of "pissing and moaning" as angry complaint; and "pissing in the well," a spoiling of a creative source through envy or rage. Countless dreams document needs, inhibitions, complexities and frustrations around urination--and the significance (and relief) of letting go of one's golden stream.

. . .

Bedroom also evokes for some the experience of the feminine womb as both regression and revivification. In the rhythms of sleep and walking or in sexual surrender, there is a ritual continuity of symbolic death and rebirth. Healing or admonishing voices from the "spirit world" are activated in the lunar darkness. The bedroom can be said to be a liminal space where one's defenses and persona yield to the vulnerable humanity of the naked self. The nocturnal journey of consciousness into the "underworld" of psychic depths echoes the cyclical movement of the sun, its light extinguished in its setting, only to be renewed at dawn. Just so, in the morning one rises from the horizontal space of sleep and dream, dresses and makes the bed, closes up the night in the bedroom and enters the vertical world of day.

--The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images by Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (Taschen)

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Gideon turns 6 on Wednesday. For some time now, the plan was to go to the Build-a-Bear-Workshop after school on his birthday. He's wanted to go there and make a stuffed animal forever. Luckily we were at the mall yesterday and I thought I'd stop into the workshop to ask if we needed to schedule an appointment. As it turns out, they're closing on Monday and reopening at a new spot in MARCH. If we would have showed up on Wednesday to a closed Build-a-Bear-Workshop, I would have likely pulled a Clark Griswold at Wally World.

So here's the latest addition to Gideon's stuffed animal hoard. Meet Fluffy:

Monday, February 7, 2011

my awp experience (hindsight)

My AWP experience was, for the first time, rather pleasant. I didn't attend any panels (aside from the one that I was a panelist for). That was because I was tied to the No Tell/Bloof table for most of the days. But that was OK. Sure, they put us in the crappiest room at the bookfair that most people never made it into, BUT we had the best spot in our ghetto and despite all that, book and lottery sales were rather good. Thank you book buyers!

I did make time to have my Tarot reading done by Hoa Nguyen at the Fact-Simile table. The reading showed a break through in my writer's block (sweet sweet Empress). I wasn't so sure, but today I dreamed that Charlie Jensen (the director of MY writer center) was in my powder room having trouble with the soap dispenser. I went in, cleared the pump and then that soap FLOWED!

I only went to one reading (Coconut/Horse Less Press/Switchback). It was a really good reading -- for what I could hear of it. There were a bunch of jackasses in the back who were talking really loudly. At one point Chris turned around and bellowed SHUT IT! and they were all like "who the fuck does he think he is?" and "fuck him!" and I thought, Dear Lord, please let my husband beat some poet ass into the ground, that would be so very very completely hot.

But the good Lord rations bliss and clearly I received all he was willing to give for one night.

On Saturday I taught Gideon how to network at AWP. He brought along his own business cards and together we worked that bitch of a bookfair. He fumbled a little, but overall was pretty good at it. I just don't want him to grow up to be some newbie fool hassling editors about rejecting his work or whatever.

My favorite part was probably Jill Essbaum teaching him how to say "Do you know who my mommy is? . . . Reb Livingston!" while shaking his fist.

In a few short years, I suspect Gideon will become the AWP King. Maybe then he'll go back and finish the job with those rude, loud poets from the reading--in the name of his mama.

Sunday morning I must have been retaining poets or something because I couldn't fit my rings or my shoes on. I have never been that bloated, not even when I was pregnant. It was disconcerting, but don't you worry, I got my magic rings and ruby slippers on this morning with no problem.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

my awp experience divination

You read it here first:

The card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Seven of Music (Fancies): "To Me This World is all One continued Vision of Fancy or Imagination". Inspired by a range of opportunities and ideas. Expressive challenges involving dreams and daydreams, or altered states of consciousness. Challenges of immediate versus long-term gratification. In the creative process: Let your visions and dreams lead the way into deeper realms of your imagination, and be prepared to express them. Rehearse and explore wild ideas in your mind before acting on them.

* * *

Divine your awp experience

* * *

Now that seems pleasant enough. If you see me ranting to myself in a restroom mirror, do not think me m4d, I am rehearsing and exploring my wild ideas before acting on them.

awp finite finito

Lindsey Lewis Smithson interviews me in the Winter issue of The Coachella Review.

There's also two poems from God Damsel.

* * *

Yes, I'll be at AWP this week. Here's where you can find me:

Table D7 at the bookfair. No Tell Books will be sharing with Bloof Books.

My official "author signing" time is Friday, 10am - Noon, but I'll be there a lot. The full No Tell author signing schedule is here.

Bloof, Cooper Dillon and No Tell will be holding the LOTTERY. Winner receives our entire catalogs.

I'll be participating in the following panel:

Friday, 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM
Executive Room
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

Writing the Beltway: Four Washington, DC Publishers Navigate the Capital. (Matthew Kirkpatrick, Reb Livingston, Richard Peabody, Caitlin Hill, Dave Housley) Editors from Barrelhouse magazine, No Tell Books, Gargoyle magazine, and Poet Lore magazine read from their journals and discuss their experiences working to produce and promote literary art within the politics-obsessed sphere of Washington, DC.

* * *

And that is it. As I mentioned last week, I passed on participating in readings and offsite events. I'm not even sure how many I'll attend as an audience member. If I make it to two, that'll be a clear measure of my Capricorn ambition. There were some really nice offers, oh but my heart, fleeing. To keep track of everything going on offsite, I select "maybe" on the FB invites so each day I'll have a handy list. Or that was the idea. It sort of worked last year, but this year, it seems that I have the option of attending 10-20 events each night. Now I can't look at my upcoming event list because when I do I start to hyperventilate. And the invitations are still coming, even today. I wonder how many people I made hyperventilate by linking to the above No Tell going ons. If I have, I apologize.

This going to be my last AWP for a while. It's simply too much. About a month after AWP people start working on their panel proposals for the next one so I get about 5-10 invitations to participate on panels about "online" and "blogging" and "social media." I am so very tired of those subjects. Then summer comes and you have to reserve your hotel room if you want to stay at the conference hotel. And of course they want a deposit. Then AWP sends out it's barrage of messages encouraging/frightening you to register, order a table, buy a pricey ticket to the big dance. Then people start making plans for all the offsite stuff which means more and more emails with proposals, questions and schedules.

I feel forced to think about AWP all year long. There's never a break. It's constantly there. Looming.

That doesn't even touch on all the personal garbage that comes along with it. Having to see the people you'd rather not, the over-saturation of other people's drama, anger, insecurity, jealousy seeping into your own sphere, being unsure of people's motives, being approached by folks who are pissed because you didn't take their work, or invite them to participate in something, or are still offended by something you said last year, or wrote on a blog and lord knows what else.

Not going next year is a really easy decision. Chicago. Again. Expensive. Cold. Unpleasant associations. Blah. No thank you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

. . .

I'm hardly blogging here. I am blogging, sort of, on a private, password protected blog that you'll never see. I'm the only reader. Suppose that makes me some sort of hermit blogbitch. Probably.

I fear that this does not bode well for my upcoming AWP experience. It's all valid, right? No Tell will be sharing a table with Bloof Books at the Book Fair. Come by and visit. There will be non-stop author signings. We'll also be doing an awesome raffle with Cooper Dillon -- the winner will receive ALL of our titles and additional swag. On Saturday Gideon and Chris will be around, helping push the product. Mama needs a new pair of book ends, if you know what I mean, yes, I think you do. On Friday afternoon I'll be doing a panel with the Barrelhouse guys about DC lit mags. And that's it. That's plenty. Actually, it feels like way too much, but I'm committed and you all know how responsible I am. I'm not doing any off-site readings or events. I opted out.

Sadly, I don't know a whole lot about DC itself and haven't been any help to people asking for recommendations on where to hold their own events. I'm sorry for that. I have no idea where the conference hotel is in relation to anything else. I'll GPS it Weds night on my way there. I live and spend all my time in the safety of my suburb, snorting bath salts and walking the strip malls while reading DC-based lit mags. That's how I roll.

In other news, we watched the first two Lord of the Rings movies this weekend with Gideon. At the Battle of Helms Deep, when the elven archers arrived to help, my eyes welled up. I fucking love those elves.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Ok, Mrs. Mommy."

'Very Good, Mr. Gideon Morrow."

"Please call me Mist Gideon Morrow--because I'm not married yet."

"Miss is usually used for women."

"I didn't say miss, I said mist."

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Before I went to bed last night I "picked" one card to contemplate for 2011 as I drifted into sleep. I have lots of physical decks of cards -- but I like this site because it has a William Blake deck (I don't own it, it's rare and pricey).

I picked Reversal:

Urizen, the Zoa of Mind, limited by pride and error, radically regenerates himself with this handstand. The soul chooses here to reverse and reinvent itself, rather than be controlled by nature. By contrast with the traditional Hanged Man, Urizen is poised in dynamic balance instead of passive suspension. This is a creative expression and synthesis of Urizen's dualism. The soul is in creative control, even though buffeted by the winds of change and personal challenge. Archetypal psychologist James Hillman has defined the soul's ability to create abnormality, suffering, and illness as pathologizing. Although frightening, it is through affliction that we can reach the gods. This card represents new vision through stress, coming to understand that "every natural effect has a spiritual cause."

Deliberately looking at the situation in a new way or from a different perspective. Brainstorming in a search for solutions. Turning things upside down, and being unconventional. Creative retreat into yourself. Acceptance of losses or reversals. Withstanding a difficult or uncomfortable position.

I didn't dream of poets.

I was at a beautiful house that was newly renovated. Dark painted walls with starbursts or swirls. A family that didn't appreciate what they had were living there, but the house was for sale and I wanted it. It was my dream home, but it seemed like it would cost way more than I could afford. The home was two buildings with a courtyard that I instantly loved. An old man who lived in the home was swimming in a wave pool. Then he was either washed or pulled away. He died. I tried to figure out how I could own this house. There were rooms that I could rent out to boarders although I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that. Maybe I could write more? Or write something that people would want to read and pay for.

I stood in front of a house surrounded by woods. I talked to a woman about my car. I told her it was running well, but it was time for an oil change and 10k check up. She gave me something that I thought was for my car, but she explained it would be for Gideon when he's old enough to have a car of his own. Then I saw my friend with his young daughter. He looked different, like he was in disguise. There were other people and families of differing backgrounds, some snapping pictures. I wondered what my new neighbors would think of all these different people living in the same house. My friend and I discussed all the amusement park rides around us. I said the old-fashioned style reminded me of Kennywood. I told my friend that there was a time when Kennywood was the biggest amusement park in the country and the Thunderbolt was the highest roller coaster. I looked up and saw that they changed the cars on the Thunderbolt. It now looked like an Amtrak train--completely enclosed. The ride didn't even look fun anymore. Too safe.