Monday, December 31, 2012

guess the dream poet -- part 5 (2012)

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

* * *

I walk into a classroom. __(Poet 1)__is the teacher. While I was away, s/he gave a very detailed pop quiz that asks all kinds questions about poets and poetry. I don't know why s/he expects everyone to know this, then I figure there was required reading that I didn't do. I sit down next to __(Poet 2)__ who lets me copy his/her answers. The text has many questions and is complicated. There are fill in the blank questions and columns of questions. It's confusing where to put the answers. I'm copying answers from __(Poet 2)__ at random, throughout the test, with little rhyme or reason. There seems to be an unending number of questions. Somebody comes by and checks to see how we're doing. I flip __(Poet 2)__'s test over so they can't tell I'm copying it. They tell me that I need to hurry up. Then they come back and take __(Poet 2)__'s test. There's still a lot of questions I need to answer.

* * *

__(Poet 1)__ and __(Poet 2)__ have space in their van for me to go to the Yancy concert with them. I ask if they have an extra ticket and they say they have plenty. I'm not really familiar with Yancy, I remember __(Poet 3)__ posting a Yancy video on Facebook that was so-so. I tell them I need a few minutes. I go inside a childhood home and pee for a very long time while considering changing my sneakers to my boots because it'll look better.

* * *

I'm in NYC with __(Poet 1)__. We're in a fancy hotel lobby but we have to cross the street to a cheap hotel because __(Poet 1)__ doesn't want to pay more than $50 a night. We walk past __(Poet 2)__ and __(Poet 3)__ lying down on the ground, doing some kind of ironic performance thing to get attention for their reading this evening. I'm not going to go to their reading. I'll sooner go to a random stranger's reading.

* * *

I'm in my long abandoned elementary school. Everything inside has been painted white. _____ is here teaching a class. I know s/he's supposed to be dead, but s/he's come back from the dead to teach. There's a concern (perhaps it's just mine) that perhaps his/her time is past and s/he shouldn't be coming back. But then again, now there's still an opportunity to study with _____.

* * *

I'm crossing the street to find an office to work on the 2012 Dream Poet Anthology. I think about how __(Poet 1)__ probably feels replaced by __(Poet 2)__. That's because __(Poet 1)__ has been replaced by __(Poet 2)__.

guess the dream poet -- part 4 (2012)

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

* * *

I get a call from _____ asking for help regarding the confluence software. I say that I'm not a teacher and have never used it, but s/he can come by and I'll try to help. I go to to try to figure it out.

* * *

I'm following _____ around. S/he's next to some kind of machinery. I tell him/her that I used to be really intimidated by him/her when s/he ran this machinery. Now I seem to be the one who's a bit intimidating or maybe s/he didn't think I was intimidated before. I put my face close to his/hers, like we're close. Someone sees this through a window. Things have really changed between us.

* * *

I walk into a crowded auditorium with __(Poet 1)__. We look for empty seats together. We find two seats together and there seems to be a third I can hold for __(Poet 2)__. It's empty so I try to take it but Jack Nicholson says he's using it. He says he needs two because his wife is pregnant. I don't think he needs two and try to take it. I argue with him. __(Poet 3)__ and __(Poet 4)__ in the rows behind think I'm being a bitch for arguing for this chair. Or the way I argue. It just seems unfair. If I stand up for myself, I'm asking for it. Poets in the back rows are throwing wads of paper at me. __(Poet 5)__ comes up to __(Poet 2)__ and says that Walton Goggins (a boy in one of my dream high school classes) is saying some really means things about me. He really can't stand me. I like him and this hurts my feelings. I want him to like me. I get up and walk around the auditorium, in front of the rows of other kids who don't like me. I try to keep my composure.

* * *

A woman briefly dated _____. She brings _____ to a building under construction because he has to pee on something. Then she's going to jump off a building to sacrifice herself for some greater cause. _____ is watching, but he's not real concerned that she's going to kill herself. He's sitting, doing something with his arms, like he's pretending to drive. As the woman stands on the edge she realizes that something is about to explode. She runs off, I assume to protect _____ and others. The explosion happens within seconds. I assume she dies. _____ is OK. I ask _____ what was the woman's name. He can't remember, they only dated for a few days.

* * *

_____ trims his/her eyebrows. I do exactly what s/he does, but it’s way too short and there’s a bald spot in my eyebrows. There’s a discussion about whether or not eyebrows should be trimmed at all.

guess the dream poet -- part 3 (2012)

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

* * *

I'm watching a political debate. _____ is the new candidate and s/he's debating John McCain, Mitt Romney and other old establishment, conservative candidates. S/he's calling them out on cruelty and other terrible things (like war). McCain goes after _____, mentions something about the 60's and then points out that _____ wasn't even alive during the 60's. _____ acknowledges this, then s/he pauses and it seems like s/he's stumped or thrown off, there's silence, but then _____ responds. The people in the audience likes what s/he has to say.

* * *

I go into a Safeway and walk around the bakery, but don't see what I want so I go to another grocery store. I seem to be planning for dinner (buying vegetables) and dessert (looking for a cake or something). I get 4 doughnut holes to try to them out, 2 chocolate and 2 caramel. I'm eating them. _____ seems ticked that I'm not sharing. But I plan to share the big dessert, whenever I get it.

* * *

I'm upset with _____, how s/he criticizes something that s/he takes part in, like watching the OctoMom on TV.

* * *

We stop at a sorbet/ice cream store. As I try to walk in __(Poet 1)__ is standing in front of me, blocking the way. S/he's still complaining about how s/he was wronged at dinner. I try to pass a few times. Finally I say excuse me really loud and walk past him/her. __(Poet 2)__ is behind the counter, offering to scoop ice cream..

* * *

I give a toast at a wedding. It's funny and people laugh. The next toast is given by _____. S/he goes on a bit too long, gushes a bit too much and acts like a weirdo poet. In a poetry setting this might be OK, but here it's too much and people are uncomfortable, weirded out by it. I'm in a weird position because I can't align myself too much with _____, but I can't discount how creeped out everyone else is by what s/he's saying. My sister is grimacing.

guess the dream poet - part 2 (2012)

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

* * *

I'm at some place -- a store? a place for a reading? _____ is here. Or s/he's not. I'm either embracing him/her or his/her memory. His/her mother died and s/he died not long after. His/her father was sick for a long time and it seemed like he'd be the first to go, but now he's the last. He's alone.

* * *

I'm walking in the Reston Town Center and see ____ walking down the sidewalk. I say hello. _____ doesn't recognize me at first. I say "Rebecca Livingston," "Reb Livingston." I say it really fast, but s/he understands. ____ says that s/he will be on Chopped. In this dream, Chopped assigns 1 of 4 hairstylists to work on _____'s hair. Maybe it'll be the hairstylist who is most drawn to his/her hair. S/he's a little nervous.

____ says s/he's headed towards the Poetry Foundation and asks if they have an office here in the Town Center. I tell him/her yes, I know, I've been there but I don't get invited too often. I make them nervous because I speak directly and what's on my mind. I have issues with the Poetry Foundation.

* * *

I'm at a fancy hotel for a work conference. I sit on a small sofa. A young man sits next to me. We both rest each other's heads against one another. He looks to me and says he wants a baby. A symphony begins. _____ is sitting in front of me. All of a sudden s/he is painted with shimmering paint all over his/her shirtless body. _____ begins playing the violin with the orchestra. Everyone claps. I tell someone that _____ is amazing. S/he's a poet, violinist and an oncologist.

* * *

I'm telling _____ about the hummus and veggie sandwich at Cosi. S/he seems interested.

* * *

guess the dream poet - part 1 (2012)

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

* * *

A lecture is about to start. ______ comes up and says something snotty, inferring that I've been cruel to him related to matters of the heart. I snap. I yell about how I never did anything to imply that I was ever romantically interested and that he made it all up in his head. I yell that I'm married. ______ isn't the first guy to complain about this and I've had about enough.

* * *

I'm sitting at a dinner table with other people. This is our last meal before the Hunger Games. Somebody points out the Neverending Porch. I never noticed it before so I walk to it. At first it seems like a normal porch. I walk to one side and nothing is strange about it. I look to the other side and it seems different from when I first glanced over. The ground is soft and wet like we're on the edge of a pond. When you touch the air, it's bouncy, like water, like a portal. On the other side I see the pond. ______ runs right through the portal. We watch him splash around in the water. There's a large water snake that ______ seems to be taunting. I yell for him to save his energy for tomorrow's Hunger Games.

* * *

__(Poet 1)__ drops me off at a psychiatric hospital. I go in for medication. __(Poet 2)__ arrives too. I go through a drawer to help __(Poet 2)__ find some clothing that will fit him/her.

I go to a bakery stand. My usual cinnamon doughnuts aren't available. After looking at my options, I decide to get a dozen chocolate doughnuts. Not something I'd usually get now, although its something I would have in the past. __(Poet 3)__ tries to talk me out of it and points me towards a cinnamon scone. But I've made my decision, I want the dozen chocolate doughnuts. __(Poet 3)__ is very persistent. I get annoyed. I tell the manager that it's a good thing I've taken my medication today.

* * *

______ is here with her/his young daughter. ______ is spraying her with rubbing alcohol and perfume to make it smell like the daughter has been drinking. ______ thinks this will be a funny joke. Then ______ sprays the daughter's mouth with the alcohol and perfume so her breath smells like it. The perfume is oily and runs down her chin. This crosses the line.

The Dream Poet Anthology 2012

Below are the names of poets who made appearances or were mentioned in my dreams during 2012. 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.

Or maybe it means something else completely. Who can say with any certainty what a dream means? Maybe it means you've been selected for a psychic quest of great importance? Maybe it means I'm watching you through a pair of binoculars at this very moment? Who knows. Just don't ask me for details of the dream. Seriously, don't.

2012 Contributors:

Scott Abel, Deborah Ager, Sandra Beasley, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Matt Bell, Zachary Benavidez, April Bernard, Tara Betts, Lucy Biederman, Julie Bloemeke, Anne Boyer, Ana Božičević, Somner Browning, Julianne Buchsbaum, Jenna Cardinale, Kelly Cockerham, Shanna Compton, Eduardo Corral, Gerald Costanzo, Bruce Covey, Karen Craigo, Phil Crippen, Catherine Daly, Peter Davis, the “youngest” Dickman brother who is still a teenager, Sharon Dilworth, Oliver de la Paz, Kate Durbin, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Steve Fellner, Ryan Flaherty, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elisa Gabbert, Neil Gaiman, Susana Gardner, Roxane Gay, Bernadette Geyer, Tod Goldberg, Rigoberto González, Nada Gordon, Noah Eli Gordon, Rae Gouirand, Lea Graham, Paul Guest, Charlie Jensen, Saeed Jones, Tayari Jones, Wendi Kaufman, Matt Kirkpatrick, Amy King, Rauan Klassnik, Jennifer L. Knox, Shafer Hall, Joseph Harrington, Kaplan Harris, Matthew Hittinger, Ton van 't Hof, Dave Housley, Amy King, Stieg Larsson, John Edward Lawson, David Lehman, Amy Lemmon, Emily Lloyd, Tao Lin, Helen Losse, Rebecca Loudon, Tony Mancus, Joe Massey, Cate Marvin, David McDonald, Erika Meitner, Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz, Ben Mirov, Anita Naegeli, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Hoa Nguyen, Daniel Padilla, Danielle Pafunda, G.M. Palmer, Karl Parker, Richard Peabody, Scott Pierce, Bill Piestch, Robert Pinsky, PF Potvin, Liam Rector, Rob Roberge, Tony Robinson, Steve Roggenbuck, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Ken Rumble, Carly Sachs, Metta Sama, Standard Schaefer, Michael Schiavo, Zachary Schomburg, Laura Sheahen, Frank Sherlock, Evie Shockley, Kim Gek Lin Short, Ricco Siasco, Martha Silano, Sandra Simonds, Tupac Shakur, Dale Smith, Frank Stafford, Nicole Steinberg, Brent Terry, Tony Tost, Catherynne Valente, Rich Villar, Chris Vitiello, James Wagner, Fritz Ward, Roxanne Halpine Ward, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Jim Woessner, Allyssa Wolf, C. Dale Young, Dean Young

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: Can I submit my work for next year's anthology?
A: This anthology only accepts psychic submissions. Submit to my unconscious and perhaps you will be allowed in.

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 2012. Resolve in 2013 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.

Dream Poet Anthology Mad Libs:

guess the dream poet - part 1 (2012)

guess the dream poet - part 2 (2012)

guess the dream poet -- part 3 (2012)

guess the dream poet -- part 4 (2012)

guess the dream poet -- part 5 (2012)

Past anthologies:

The Dream Poet Anthology 2011

The Dream Poet Anthology 2010

The Dream Poet Anthology 2009

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanks and all

Yesterday morning in yoga the ongoing conversation was who's making what for Thanksgiving and the whole concept of gratitude. I was the only person in the room not hosting a dinner. At the time all that came to my mind was that I was grateful that I wasn't the person responsible for Thanksgiving. I didn't share everyone else's enthusiasm for the holiday and whoah, those ladies were really excited about their stuffings and pumpkin flans. I don't dislike the holiday, I like food, love turkey and pumpkin pie. It's just it's a lot of work, before, during and after for what feels like just a massive meal. I get excited for Christmas Eve, it's evening, there's music and decorations and drinks and hors d'oeuvres and a big ass tray of cookies and presents and the Santa tracker. That's a party! So I host that. I figured that what I'm grateful for is that there are others who want to do the things I'm mostly ambivalent for and I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to do what I feel passionate about. Not everybody wants to cram a 12-foot tree into a room with a 10-foot ceiling. I get that. Different strokes! Your holiday preferences are valid too.

I felt pretty good coming to that conclusion but that didn't prepare me for how I was going to feel later that evening. A few weeks ago Didi Menéndez wrote to say that she was putting together a "Best of MiPOesias" and was going to use my poem "That's Not Butter" and asked if I had new work to send. I sent a new poem with audio. She sent a galley. I figured it would be out by the end of the year and didn't think much more about it.

What I wasn't expecting was this long, well-considered and in-depth review of my work: The Oracle and Reb Livingston by Jack Anders. To say that it made my day would be an understatement. Sometimes it feels like such an incredible feat just to get someone to read your poems, let alone make the effort to compellingly write about them.

I'm also grateful for the interview Julie Bloemeke did with me back in October regarding the Bibliomancy Oracle at the Best American Poetry blog.

While this year has been a pretty good one for me in many ways, I've struggled redefining my work and my role as a writer. I'm not calling myself an editor or publisher these days because I'm not doing those things now. Maybe again in the future, but not now.

Mostly this struggle has been getting over my numerous fears and self-criticisms that I build to such heights of dipshittery, sometimes my world comes to a complete halt and I can't manage to restart. I'd been beating myself up all year that I wasn't productive enough, that I was squandering my time. I wasn't used to having the time to spend on my own work. Maybe I felt more guilty instead of grateful for the opportunity. Maybe I thought I'd dash out a 300 page novel in 6 months and when that didn't happen I felt like a loser. I had it in my head that I maybe wrote 40-50 pages. In late September, I decided to print out everything I wrote in 2012. It was a 184 pages. That's not going to break any records and I'm certainly not going use all of it, but looking at that stack of papers made me realize that what I'd been telling myself wasn't true. I was working, which doesn't mean that I shouldn't work more or smarter, but clearly the mental shit I put myself through is totally stoopid and unnecessary. I don't do myself any favors when I'm this way.

It's almost December and my novel-esque book (not sure what to call it yet) is nowhere near finished. If you're interested in perusing some first drafts I've done along the way, I post some of them here. I have a 79 page draft that I'm hoping will reach 100 pages by the end of 2012. I certainly need another year, if not longer, to finish it. But I'm getting there and yes, it's really strange and there's always the very real possibility calling it a novel won't make many people interested and maybe it'll receive the dreaded cricket review. I can't worry about that now.

On this matter the Bibliomancy Oracle says:

Oblivion scattereth her poppy, and besides
it’s time to go inside now,
feed the aggressive pets, forgive our trespasses
for trespassing against us.


from “Not Beyond All Conjecture” by “John Ashbery”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

new shoes

A happy summer and hopefully a more productive autumn (for me) now that G is back in school -- 2nd grade!

Grown a** man. That's all I got to say. Or all I can say. Now that he's a GAM, I need to be respectful of his wishes and privacy. The days of bodily function updates are long past and hence I'm in the wishy washy position of lacking a standpoint. Ok, that's an illogical leap, but there is a shifting standpoint going on and what once was is no more, in many ways. I keep having dreams that I'm walking outside barefoot, my feet cut and infected or I'm trying to avoid stepping on a cobra, but I'm pulled down and freak out as the snake goes up my back under my shirt.

I have a number of drafts, poetry and some fiction, but little ready to put out there at the moment because much of it is waiting for something: a new standpoint since my old one slipped away. So I keep working and try not to worry. Eventually I'll get my ruby slippers.

While I don't have a great deal of "finished" work, I do have some, including a new poem in issue 13 of Eleven Eleven along with work by Azra Abbas, Sarah Bartlett, Aleksandr Blok, Michael Boughn, Eduardo Chirinos, Saehee Cho, John Colburn, Victor Coleman, Daniel Curzon, Sophia Dahlin, Molly Each, Joanna Fuhrman, Amy Glynn Greacen, Judy Halebsky, Matt Hart, Gretchen E. Henderson, Ashaki M. Jackson, Lindsey Lee Johnson, D Sprung Kurilecz, Travis Kurowski, Sean Labrador y Manzano, ali lanzetta, Rebecca Loudon, Saadat Hasan Manto, Kyla Marshell, Clay Matthews, Myron Michael, Kishwar Naheed, Mónica Nepote, Linda Norton, Naomi Buck Palagi, Diana Park, Mira Pasikov, Tami Cox Rasel, Eugenia Rico, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Judy Roitman, Sarah Rosenthal, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Benjamín Alire Sáenz, Floyd Salas, Metta Sáma, Mary Ann Samyn, Sommer Schafer, Gregory Sherl, Kedarnath Singh, Dayana Stetco, Esther Tellermann, Ryôichi Wago, Valerie Wallace, Udayan Vajpai, Al Young and Zarina Zabrisky, plus interviews with Kay Burns and Chitra Ganesh.

Also, although it's from some time ago and a previous standpoint (snort!), my first collection, Your Ten Favorite Words, published by Coconut Books in 2007 is now available at SPD along with the rest of the Coconut catalog. Take a walk down memory lane and buy it, why don't you.

I looked back on my handful of posts over the summer and they were all about the Bibliomancy Oracle. Well, I did a lot of work and am really proud of it. So far there's 850 prophecies taken from literature, mostly poems. My goal is 1200 prophecies by the end of 2012. What is the perfect number of prophecies? I think it's one of those you'll know it when you see it type things.

How do I get my ruby slippers?:

Little fish, you would never, would you, simply

give up and fall back to the water, limply?


from “Exercises” by Bill Coyle

Well then, I shall not go limply back into that water.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

tarot/bibliomancy combo reading

Occasionally I supplement one type of divination with an additional one. It can help break open a narrow reading/interpretation, sometimes broadening perception or sometimes confirming the exisiting. I did this with a recent Tarot reading. I used the "World" spread from Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings, my favorite book on the subject. My question was in regard to my current writing project. It's like I'm trying to drive cross-country in a constantly stalling lawnmower.

For each Tarot card I selected, I used the Bibliomancy Oracle for a corresponding response. Below is what I got (with brief interpretations of the cards):

Card #1 (High Priestess position) – What’s the inner truth?: Empress (passion, embracing life with all its messiness & horror)

Corresponding Oracle #1:

There is nothing that controls our thoughts
more than what we think we see,
which we label “we.”

from “If a Garden of Numbers” by Cole Swensen

Card #2 (Star position) - What hope does it promise?: The Chariot (success, movement, persona)

Corresponding Oracle #2:

When will the sky quit falling?
(That’s our motto.)

from “Pathetic Pathetic Fallacy” by Patty Seyburn

Card #3 (Moon position) – What journey must I make?: 7 cups reversed (act on fantasies)

Corresponding Oracle #3:

My religion makes no sense
and does not help me
therefore I pursue it.

from ”My Religion” by Anne Carson

Card #4 (Awakening) – What great thing awakens?: 8 of Cups reversed (the lack of connection between head & heart)

Corresponding Oracle #4:

Ask a good question:
You’ll have success immediately.

from “How can we know the journey from the path?” by Kathleen Ossip

Card #5 (Gift of Rivers) – What is the gift: Ace of Pentacles reversed (problems around security, new phase in life)

Corresponding Oracle #5:

A little piece please. Cane again to the presupposed and ready eucalyptus tree, count out sherry and ripe plates and little corners of a kind of ham. This is use.

from “Tender Buttons [Apple]” by Gertrude Stein

Yeah, nothing like Gertrude Stein for clarity. With Ace of Pentacles reversed and this Getrude Stein quote, I interpret the "gift" as my moving out of my "safe" zone that I've been inhabiting for the past couple of years. I've been restricting myself, sticking to what I know. Perhaps it's time to count out the sherry, ripe plates and ham -- finding use in letting go of comfort. The gift is taking risks. I admit I have not been embracing messiness and horror, I've been kind of avoiding it.

One of the things I like about Bibliomancy in general is that it can give an answer with another question because sometimes we're not asking a "good" one and need to focus our direction elsewhere. Often it seems that I focus my attention in a tunnel vision sort of way under the guise of will and determination. I keep expecting it all to eventually "make sense." I decided I'm going to let myself get lost, the more lost the better, for how ever long it takes. To hell with the blueprints and map. I'll make that up when I'm done.

Monday, July 2, 2012

dream interpretation via the bibliomancy oracle

One way I've been using the Bibliomancy Oracle is to offer another avenue for dream interpretation. I'm finding the results to be pretty fascinating and an excellent method to discover unseen possibilities.

Dream Example: Chris bought a new car. The dealer convinced him to buy two black jaguars (as in the cats) to go along with his (non-jaguar) car. I'm unhappy that Chris did this -- what are we going to do with wild animals? We can't control them, I insisted. As I drove the car down our old street, three black jaguars headed for us.  I tried to avoid them, but they kept coming. I drove away and saw in the rearview mirror that they were in pursuit. I sped up and took highways that I wasn't familiar with that brought us to a high school sports ceremony dinner. It's not the dinner we were planning on attending, but it would do. I looked at my watch and it showed that two of the jaguars were 0 miles away, they were very close. The third jaguar was several miles away. My watch also told me how many tears the jaguars shed.

What is the first black jaguar?

Arms can move a head, that’s the trouble;
feet argue constantly with other feet
and treat the ground poorly.

from “Conspiratory Love Poem Addressing All Imaginable Possibilities” by Shafer Hall

What is the second black jaguar?

This is a night of evenly spaced-
out escalators. This is a night of werewolves.

from “This is a Night of Evenly Spaced-Out Escalators” by Zachary Schomburg

What is the third black jaguar (the one farther behind)?

what is love without arrows?


from “The Young Astronomer In His Ecstasy” by Miguel Murphy

What do the jaguars want?

It must be so lonely. Selling shoes
for eternity, never learning any new jokes.

from “Of All The Dead People I Know” by Karyna McGlynn

What are the jaguars’ tears about?

remember the mystery/light when you were

new you can learn the body

again you can get wasted

like a language the desert is also a distance

from “Map of the Things You Forgot” by Cindy St. John

What will happen if/when the jaguars catch me?

one-twelfth of our lives is wasted
standing in a line.

from “They say” by Laura Kasischke

What is this high school celebratory dinner about?

Use your imagination. Close your eyes
and make a wish. Say the magic words.

from “Late Invocation for Magic” by Jim Daniels

Hmm, ok, I better go make that wish now.

Last night I asked the oracle for today's mantra:

Shut your eyes to what a worm he is, concentrate on his caress—but know

Every half-truth is bound to call up its suppressed synoptic double.

from “I Too Have Been to Candyland” by Anthony Madrid

Well, ok then, shutting my eyes as I type.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

cats with crowns

The big news is that on Saturday, July 7 I'll be hosting a reading by Bruce Covey, Kim Gek Lin Short and Lee Ann Roripaugh at my home. If you're in or close to NoVa that night and would like to attend, backchannel for details. It will be a regal affair. Poetry royalty, some might say.

Lost? Looking for guidance? Need an unbiased source to turn to? Want to stumble across some new poems? At this writing, The Bibliomancy Oracle has over 600 possible answers. New answers are added every week. This has probably been one of my favorite creative projects in a long time. I'll be actively working on it all summer.

Something else I'm enjoying is Pinterest. It's like being the editor of your very own glossy magazine--without having to deal with writers, proofreaders, designers, photographers, artists, advertisers, investors, pr -- and you can put together pretty much anything.  The best part is that you can follow people by subjects, so if you really like a person's book recommendations and art links, you can follow those, without being bogged down by their obsessive food porn (or whatever you'd rather not clog your feed).

Speaking of categories, the way people categorize things is rather interesting. For instance, if you go to the art category and see what some people categorize as art . . . well, to each her own . . . I'll be over here judging quietly to myself.

I'm becoming aware of certain words and phrases that bug or creep me out. For instance, "yum" or "yummy" -- I try not to follow anyone's categories with those words, whether or not they're about food or not (often, they aren't about food). Same goes for "delicious" -- ESPECIALLY when it's not about food. When someone refers to a human being as delicious--call me old-fashioned, but all I can think of is cannibalism. I'm about to unfollow someone's non-food category called "Visual Treats" because "treats" evokes a similar response, even if it's a picture of a designer handbag. I'm borderline on categories with the words "inspire" or "inspiration" as well as phrases like "idea sparkers." That's less creep factor and more dork alert.

I think I dislike cutesy unless it's truly bizarre or over-the-top goofy. I don't see enough of that. "Life Affirming Kitchen Spigots." I'd follow that.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

bibliomancy oracle update

Getting lots of positive feedback about the Bibliomancy Oracle. I'm still adding to it everyday and will be for the immediate future. It's been my impetus to discover some new (to me, at least) poetry magazines and read a lot more poems. When selecting texts, I try to include a variety of shades, different types of responses for the many types of questions that might be asked. While I try not to include anything that is obviously disturbing or ominous, there's no "you will perish tomorrow in a fiery automobile accident" response, the Oracle certainly can offer responses that people won't want to hear. Of course, the same response may be welcomed by one questioner to her answer while it may be taken less enthusiastically as the answer to another's question. The oracle is worthless if it's all sunshine and pixie sticks and one person's sunshine and pixie sticks is another's sunburn and smelling salts.

Also, a lot has to do with how the questioner interprets the answer. When you're looking for one thing, you might overlook what's being presented. Often times the answer someone is hoping to receive isn't really what would benefit her. Just because you want that job, or that particular lover, or whatever, doesn't mean it would bring the happiness you'd expect it. So a "it's not gonna happen" response doesn't necessarily mean doom and gloom.

I intend for the Oracle to be useful --whether it's used for perspective, guidance or creative prompts. Bibliomancy has a rich history and began during the early days of printed books. I love this anecdote mentioned in the bibliomancy Wikipedia entry:

English poet Robert Browning used this method to ask about the fate of his enchantment to Elizabeth Barret (later known as Elizabeth Barret Browning). He was at first disappointed to choose the book "Cerutti’s Italian Grammar", but on randomly opening it his eyes fell on the following sentence: ‘if we love in the other world as we do in this, I shall love thee to eternity' (which was a translation exercise).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Bibliomancy Oracle

Are you familiar with bibliomancy? Bibliomancy is the use of books in divination. The concept is that literature contains “truths” and speak to matters of great importance. Anyone who knows me knows I love to divine all sorts of shit.

In the beginning of the year, the OTHER Rebecca was giving bibliomancy readings on FB the old-fashioned way, using physical books from her library. Mine was:

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

Everyday I ask myself that question. I intend on spending the rest of the year contemplating it.

There are a number of online oracles that I like and use to varying degrees, but I can't say that I LOVE any of them. But I love the idea of online oracles and I love books -- so one of the ways I've been spending my sabbatical is creating the kind of online oracle I'd like to use.

Here it is is: The Bibliomancy Oracle

It will answer all of your questions using the powers of literature and synchronicity. It is never wrong. Ever.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

can I suffer and tweet at the same time?

A recent horoscope suggested that I don't squander my awesomeness on old hurts. I didn't take its advice today and squandered a bit of my awesomeness. For the greater good, I told myself, but probably not when it's wasted on deaf ears. After the squandering, I dreamed that I saw myself lying on the floor of a jail cell. I thought, I need to tweet that shit, but paused. If I'm tweeting about my incarceration, is it really that serious and worthy of comment? Can I really be suffering and oppressed, if I'm tweeting? I considered tweeting in C's voice as if he was announcing my jail news, but that seemed dishonest. I don't think I figured out what to do regarding my very compelling tweet announcement. (End of scene)

Another recent dream involved my trying out for something like American Idol except Roger Ebert was the judge. I waited all day in a line with a woman I sang next to in middle school chorus. I didn't know why I was trying out, I believed my voice not to be special, possibly not any good at all. I figured I was there so I might as well go through the motions. I did my do ra me warmup and popped in a few Tic Tacs to address my gnarly morning breath. The woman and I were the last people to be given a chance to tryout. Ebert was very friendly and chatty. We talked about how we remember Tupac in a certain way because he died so young, he remains still in time, but Snoop Dogg on the other hand . . . I was like "yeah, Snoop does guest appearances on a bunch of my son's Nickelodeon programs. Twenty years ago white American was terrified of that guy and now he's considered so tame, he entertains children. How times change!" We had a good chuckle then a bunch of dudes came and started taking the stage apart. Ebert said we better hurry up and sing while we still have our chance. I realized I didn't have a song, but the other woman did and she started singing "What a Wonderful World." Ebert motioned for me not to just stand there like a dope but to join in, so I did. Then one of the guys who's taking everything apart starts singing the song, really loud, drowning us out, which is kind of obnoxious because this is supposed to be our tryout and then ANOTHER guy joins the song and they change it to a song about how lesbians shouldn't have children. Shocked and bewildered Ebert, the woman and I stand there with WTF? expressions. (End of scene)

I do walk around with a semi-permanent WTF expression or at least the WTF feeling most of the time. Maybe it's because I'm almost 40 and becoming disconnected (happily, I think) from the "new/up-and-coming/young" as much as I feel disconnected by the generation before me with what I consider to be their warmed-over, no longer relevant debates they occasionally still rehash. Then there's my own generation, don't even get me started. While I still try to follow conversations the literary types are having, I'm becoming more and more puzzled. Like a confused senior citizen who no longer understands how to operate her modern television. How did this become that? sort of thing. What do they think I need that for? Who on Earth would ever use that? And most importantly, How did "What a Wonderful World" get co-opted by a bunch of entitled jackasses and become "Lesbians Shouldn't Have Children"?

Am I in this strange transitional space where I'm neither young nor old? Should I listen to my elder Ebert and speak/sing up? Should I even engage the jackasses? Would that change anything? Can I speak without engaging the diseased elements? If I stay quiet, does that mean they get to rewrite the song into their own illness and rule the world with it?

Just some questions I'm pondering these days.

p.s. Apologies to any olds or youngs I may have offended in this post. Please forgive me. I'm new to middle age.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I love you, I forgive you

The first quarter of my year long nothing-but-my-own-writing sabbatical is almost through and I'm thinking yeah, maybe this needs to be a 2-5 year sabbatical. I haven't written as much as I hoped and dreamed, but I'm writing and happy with the direction. I'm allowing myself to remain open too all sorts of direction, no matter how dopey or unsettling. Create first, discern later is the new motto. Since God Damsel, I became too critical and kept stalling myself before I even started. The negative voices were in major overdrive and sometimes I couldn't write more than a sentence before dropping a piece entirely. Now I reply to those voices with simply I love you or I forgive you and keep plowing on.

Yes, that's right, I'm regularly loving/forgiving her, them, er, me. Whoever it is I'm responding to.

I'm not sure if these voices have quieted because they feel acknowledged and accepted or if they just find my responses excruciating and no longer wish to communicate, but hey, whatever works. My demons are my new bffs.

So far I've only sent out a handful of submissions, just to a few places that invited me. Testing the waters so to speak. The work is bizarre, demented, fill-in-the-blank. Yesterday somebody on FB was going off on poets who don't use proper capitalization in their poems and that brought in a bunch of comments like "guess those cool avant garde kids were too busy skipping English class." That hurt my feelings. First of all, eschewing standard capitalization in a poem doesn't make one avant garde. I'm not exactly sure what does, but I'm pretty sure it's a bit more than that. Second, I was a good student and I didn't skip English class and I wasn't especially popular in high school either and I don't go around calling myself avant garde because I use my own set of grammar rules for my poems, so project your high school insecurities somewhere else. We're grown ass poets, so let's live and let live.

Speaking of going back into time, recently an editor from a new magazine that hadn't yet published its first issue invited me to send work. Now magazines with no past issues put out by editors unfamiliar to me can be tricky because it's difficult to surmise what the final product will be or what it is that they're looking for. After "That's Not Butter" appeared in BAP years back, I got a lot of invites to submit from newish magazine editors who, as it turns out, were only familiar with that one poem. When I'd respond with my latest and greatest, they'd often be like uuuhhhhh . . ., you know, like they responded to my profile on a dating site that only had a picture of me from 10 years/400 pounds ago and I showed up to our date as the Stay Puft Marshmallow in drag. That's OK. An invitation to send work is just that, an invitation to send work, nobody is promising anyone publication. In more cases, I do better sending work unsolicited because I take the time to discover and get to know receptive venues.

Despite these past experiences, I still work under the assumption that an editor who personally invites me to send work, is to some degree familiar with my work. This particular editor's inquiry did demonstrate that he was familiar with some of my more recent work so I sent some for consideration. I heard back not too long later saying that he and his co-editor wanted to take one of the poems but had some editorial suggestions. I opened the file to find that they basically workshopped my poem like I turned it in for an undergrad intro CW class. They standardized all the capitalization (of course) and cut out entire sections dealing with an icky penis monster (yes, I believe my poem passed my test and earned its penis) and the only other monster with references to sex.

Now, I'm not a magazine editor anymore, but back in my day, I wouldn't have accepted a poem that I felt needed such extensive editing. I would have passed. I didn't have to think very long before I wrote back and thanked him for his consideration but I was not interested in making the edits. I went on to write that if they didn't want the poem as it is, I'd rather pull it. I got it, the poem didn't fit their editorial aesthetic. It happens. In my case, it happens a lot.

I received 2 guilt-trippy responses from the editor. He told me how disappointed he was. He said the edits were to start a conversation with me about the poem. That's all fine and good, but by the edits they suggested it was clear that they wanted to change my poem into something very different and I didn't want that. I would have been receptive to editorial suggestions that approached the poem for what it was trying to accomplish, but not suggestions to give it some socially-acceptable makeover colonic. I didn't know what else to say except my vision for my poems comes before publication.

If changing my poems meant $$$ for my mortgage, I'd be more willing to sell out. But as it stands . . .

I'm probably going to distort something Rebecca Loudon commented on Kevin Andre Elliott's blog years ago, but I can't find it now. It was something like, you get to a point as a writer when you know who you are and what it is that you're trying to do -- it's a point where influences that don't really belong no longer carry the anxiety they used to before you knew.

Ok, she said it a lot smarter and better than that, so Rebecca if you remember what it is that you said 12 billion years ago when people used to keep poetry blogs, please note it in the comment field.

Whatever it was exactly that she said, the idea made a deep impression and I feel like I've been slogging to that point over these past few years. Yes, deep down I want everyone to think I'm brilliant and love my work, but it has to be my work, not someone else's idea of what it should be.

That's right, I love you and I forgive you and Damn girl, you smell gooooood.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Craig Santos Perez sees the best minds of his generation destroyed by Facebook and he's quite right. Many of us have become incredibly boring. When I say many, I include myself. I am now very boring. I felt it coming on a couple years ago. I tried to fight it. Boringness won.

You know what? I'm sort of happier. I sleep better. It's been over two years since I've dreamed of being served a bloodied flacid penis in my spaghetti. I don't mean to brag, but generally, my dream-time penises have been waaaay less creepy. I suppose I can't blame all my dreamtime pecker woes on blogging and worry about pobiz. It's probably only around 90%. The other 10% is dealing with fiction writers.

It's certainly not all roses at FB. At this date, I recorded 47 FB dreams and they aren't roses and moonlight. Most of them involve looking like an asshole on FB. Often me looking like an asshole. FB brings a level of high school anxiety. Why did the editor of an anthology where my work appeared not accept my friend request? Did so and so really mean to unfriend me? Was it personal or a general culling? Am I annoying? Why did three family members unfriended me? Why won't my cousin accept my friend request? Are they all talking about me? Are they jealous because I'm so very cute? Am I better off without them?

Answer to all questions: Yes. Even the "why" questions. Especially the why questions. Why? Because YES.

It can kind of drive you nuts, if you let it. So I do these mental exercises where I try to drive away the petty anxiety and leave room for the real problems I should be shitting myself over. Like that squirrel tail I found yesterday while cleaning leaves and brush in the front yard. Where's the rest of the squirrel?


Anyhow. I saw the link to Craig's post on FB. I "liked" it, but I didn't "share" it because that was too much of a commitment. I might tweet it. But I need to think more on it. If I do tweet it, should I tweet it using the official No Tell Books or my personal account? I am on sabbatical and I don't want to give people the wrong idea that I'm willing to be engaged on pobiz matters. These are subtle, tricky waters to navigate and it's so very easy to unintentionally give mixed signals.

I shall not encourage pobiz.

FUN FACT: The two most common search phrases that bring people to this blog: "metal mouth james bond" and "andre the giant daughter"

I didn't know Andre the Giant had a daughter.

My boring blog doesn't mean I don't ever have interesting ideas. I think I still have a few.

For instance, after reading Elisa Gabbert's December perfume column at Open Letters Monthly, I'd been meaning to respond. In fact, not a week goes by where I don't think about giving Elisa a piece of my mind and publicly accuse her of smoking potpourried crack for writing "It manages to smell both grown-up and girlish, such that you can imagine a mother and daughter happily sharing a bottle." about Diane von Furstenberg's Diane. I had a response that was something like, "after smelling DVF's Diane I longed for the days when G was in diapers because a baby's ass is the only appropriate recipient of that powdery stench." Then I'd make some cheap dig on Elisa's MFA because, why not?


That's interesting, right?


Baby's asses and MFAs are classic blog gold.

But is it really worth it to start a blog blood feud over DVF's latest shitty scent? A few years ago I would have said YES! Now I'm feeling very ~~~~meh.

Is anyone, aside from Elisa, interested in hearing about my most recent perfume acquisitions? (Note to Elisa: sorry for all the name dropping, but you're one of the few still interesting and relevant poetry bloggers in existence, I gotta milk our association for all it's worth. It's because you're not on FB. It's your superhero power. It's why I'm targeting you.)

Caudalie Fleur de Vigne: I love this! I bought it last week in Paris and it was way cheaper over there. But the scent doesn't last. How can I make it last? Should I mix in some olive oil?
Betsy Johnson Too Too: Supposedly this one of those young lady perfumes that I'm too old for.
Privet Bloom Eau de Parfum: This is a spring/summer scent. My winter scent is Benefit So Hooked On Carmella. I'm a bit turned off by the Hamptons marketing.
Vera Wang: Why do they market this scent for brides? I get that Vera Wang is known for wedding dresses, but you're only a bride for a day (or several). Wouldn't marketing it as "the scent to get a husband" or "keep a husband" make better business sense?
A bunch of the Toccas: I got two gift collections for Christmas. My favorite is Cleopatra. When I want to smell like a pleasant old lady (about twice a month), I go for Florence.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Jasminora: This makes me feel fancy.

There's more, but those are the highlights.

Am I completely irrelevant?


As for G, now that he's a grown ass man of 7, I have to be more respectful of his privacy. Last summer he laid down some ground rules. I am never to use his full first name anywhere online (blog, FB, Twitter, etc.) without his permission. But I am allowed to refer to him as G whenever I want without having to ask permission. Pictures are OK too. I think because G understands how incredibly good looking he is and that's something that should be shared with all the world.

So I leave you with two pictures from last week. We were in Paris. G's old man and my ball/chain, C, was in Europe for two weeks on work, so we decided to meet up with C during G's spring break.

A rose is a G***** is a G*****.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

portrait by Didi Menendez

Didi always creates such lovely portraits. I love this one. I look so pensive and DEEP. I can't help but to look at it and think Ooohh, what is she thinking? Whatever it is, I bet it's fascinating!

Here's the portrait from start to finish.

I have some poems in an upcoming MiPOeisas Magazine. I really am writing on my sabbatical. I think I'm gonna stay on sabbatical for the rest of my life. It's awesome. I bought a sewing machine and some how-to-sew books. As of yet, I have not figured out how to operate my sewing machine. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this cause it blows my whole deep and fascinating cover. But I will learn how to operate my sewing machine, even if it means signing up for all day sewing classes. Then everybody will be all like, Oh my gawd, she made that dress? Put her on Project Runway!

Just as soon as I figure out how to get the thread on my bobbin.

Monday, February 27, 2012

is this really my first post for 2012?

Why yes it is! As I recently tweeted, the year didn't officially start until I dreamed of Rauan Klassnik and that only happened a few days ago. Whenever I dream of Rauan I know I'm in a very special dark place that is guaranteed to lead to somewhere psychically horrific. I can't wait. In this dream Rauan dropped me off at a psychiatric hospital so I could pick up my meds. There were a lot of poets in this hospital. Gasp. I know. One poet tried to discourage me from buying a dozen chocolate doughnuts, but not only did I buy them, I reported her to her manager. That's right, don't stand between me and my psychic doughnuts. The sweetest part was that Rauan was still there waiting to pick me up when I finished with my doughnut business at the hospital. Good thing too, because I left my purse with all my money in his car. So now you're wondering, if Rauan had my purse, how did I buy those doughnuts? Beats me. Obamacare?

This year's sabbatical is going well so far. I've written more these past two months than I did in the past two years. I don't mean to gloat, but the relief I feel right now knowing that I'm not going to AWP in a couple days--it's like I burned every ill-fitting bra I ever owned.

I'm a lady poet, hear me wheeeeeeeeeeee.

I'm recording dreams with poets almost every day. That is, when I'm not dreaming of the Hunger Games.


Here's a poem in Map Literary that I managed to write during my 2 year dry spell. It's a rarity and due to scarcity it will likely become very valuable, so you should probably read it. Wheeeeeeee.