Punk Poetry/Music/Food/Fashion/Travels with Maria

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Friday, December 31, 2010

Best/Worst List

Best Food:
The Edge Restaurant, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia-the Tri-Ceviche was to die for.
Flagstaff, Boulder, Co. Great service, great wine, yummy food. I had the pan-seared halibut.
Paris/Moskau, Berlin, Germany
Le Central, San Francisco-real French Country cuisine
Mix, The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV
Biggest Poseur Place to eat:
Manresa, Los Gatos, Ca. Gave new meaning to fish stew, no stew was harmed in the making.
Best Outfit:
Tracy Reese dress with my old combat boots for the Ping-Pong release party at the Beat Museum, second only to the Anna Sui dress with the super high Stevie Nicks Jeffrey Campbell boots worn at the Happy Ending Lounge for east coast release of Ping-Pong.
Best Concert:
Arcade Fire at the Henry Miller Library
Best Opera:
The Magic Flute at the Berlin State Opera House, (Staatsoper Unter den Linden) 
Best Castle:
Hohenzollern in the Schwäbische Alp
Best Potato Pancake:
Munich, Germany at the Christmas Market, the people were Russian who sold them to me. Man, that was good eats.
Best Laugh:
Camping with my son River in Big Sur when we were starving and he tried to pretend he was part of our neighbor's family to get food. You had to be there.
Best Shoes:
Still the Green Metallic Dior's, second are my Moschino Booties.
Scariest Moment:
Aside from family concerns which are none of your beeswax, it had to be walking into our bathroom in St. Lucia to a giant brown tarantula.
Best Hotel:
1. Rasa Sarang in Batu Ferinnghi
2. Suite at the Palms in Vegas-the view from the glass corner room was great from the tub.
3. Suite at the Hotel Rivington-city scape with two bridges.
4. Tikaye Village in St. Lucia, not only were we perched right on the cliff edge of the bay, but we had a hammock and two rocking chairs with little stools to rest our feet on.
Best Pool after International Flight:
Hotel Adlon in Berlin, Germany, underground and all white marble. They gave us little snacks and Bloody Mary's-yumm.
Best Massage:
Rasa Ria in Borneo, Malaysia, they start you off with a scented bath with flowers floating on top.
Best Poetry collections I read this year:
Collected works of Cesar Vallejo.
Dark Things, NovicaTadic
Mr. Cogito, Zbigniew Herbert
Saints and Cannibals, Christine Hamm
Ruin, Cynthia Cruz
Quarantine, Brian Henry
Best Poem:
The First Line is the Deepest, Kim Addonizio
Best Books:
The Millenium Trilogy, Steig Larson
Stones into Schools, Greg Mortensen
Love in Infant Monkeys, Lydia Millet
Best Magazines:
Homestead Review
Best Wine:
A French burgundy we drank with Neil and Michele in Boulder at the Flagstaff, now that was some good wine and good food. Really, every time we get together with those folks good wine is had.
Best Reporter:
Jeremy Scahill (and foxiest)
Best News Coverage:
Democracy Now
Best Humanitarian
Dr. Denis Mukwege at Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Brandi Walker
Amy Davis Kruize
Best Library:
Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, Ca.
Best Fashion Reporting/blogging:
Krystal Simpson at What is Reality Anyway?
Best Blog Exposure of a horrendous act of hubris:
We Who Are About to Die, regarding the Paris Review's decision to not published those poets who had already been accepted by the previous editor. Ego much? The sun has set on the PR as far as I'm concerned anyway. After George died, so did the beating pulse of the magazine.
Best Husband:
Best Son:
My boy
Best Sister:
and my sistas: Suzanne, Jamie, Amy, Melanie, Krystal, Christine and Brandi-san.

Worst Taxi Service,
San Jose International Airport in California. Can you say misogynist?
Worst Food:
Chinese Buffet on the corner of Water and Market in Santa Cruz, vomitoidnal.
Worst Outfit:
I didn't wear it I can promise you that. I wasn't really into that meat thing Gaga wore, but I like her.
Most Condescending:
Mainstream publishing houses and their old boy networks
Talks the loudest and makes the least sense:
Glen Beck
Worst Oil Spill:
BP-they should be boycotted.
Worst news coverage:
Fox of course, it is for those who like their news reporting to be baseless, senseless and full of as many logical fallacies as one can think of.
Worst Shoes:
Crocs in every color, if you're not gardening, don't wear them--they are an affront to every foot in the world. Well, babies look cute in them, but hey, they look cute in most things.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chronicles on Violence

The following series of poems is for publication in an anthology of 18 word poems. Each of the eighteen poets is submitting 18 poems. My poems are a series based on gender-based violence--a cheerful topic I know, but one which needs much, much more discussion. Here is a sample. Mark Cobley of Red Ceilings Press in the UK was kind enough to ask me to submit, check him out: The Red Ceilings

Afghanistan and Iraq, with Apologies I

Floor of stones
where children sleep
to escape the heat.

Drone overhead
drops splinter bombs
shards of sovereignty

Afghanistan and Iraq, with Apologies II

Call it freedom.
Small fingers point
a scoped stick at me.

spell my name
in spent shells

Afghanistan and Iraq, with Apologies III

Spent shells

A foot here
A hand there.

Scream Maria.

I say
No more

Afghanistan and Iraq, with Apologies IV

No more

no more
jack-boot theocracy

no more

no more
medals of honor

I salute nothing

Taliban Fighters

Her skin flowers
when battery acid
blossoms her face.

No school today.

Teacher’s tears
blur the kalashnikov

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Local Poets, Local Inspiration!

The Santa Cruz Weekly chose my poem, Sparkle in this week's Local Poets, Local Inspiration section, check out the link below. Here's the poem:


At the edge--
            spotted stones
                        and roiling kelp.
The day facets me in its diamond.
            Wind-chimes are silent,
Buddha’s stone head bows.

A gap in the fence could tell--
                                       mouth opens,
               closes on a dahlia,
on a rosebush stripped to thorns.

A beheaded sunflower stem
holds a hummingbird’s silhouette.
Bees comb and primp the blonde sky.

            Waves fall down--
spotted stones
and roiling kelp.
        Shadows slink and slip
with the earth’s music.
                    With a mouth full of stones, I sing.

Local Poets, Local Inspiration

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chronicles on Violence

The following series of poems is for publication in an anthology of 18 word poems. Each of the eighteen poets is submitting 18 poems. My poems are a series based on gender-based violence--a cheerful topic I know, but one which needs much, much more discussion. Here is a sample. Mark Cobley of Red Ceilings Press in the UK was kind enough to ask me to submit, check him out: The Red Ceilings

Chronicles on Violence I

Grandpa’s daddy raped his mother.
Here’s an X for him.

No peonies.
                                           El nopal.      
                                                         Whiskers burn.

Never speaks.

Chronicles on Violence II

Never speaks again,
tongues a torture of words.

He sutures her lips
with black thread
a silver needle

Chronicles on Violence III

Uses a silver needle
to cross-stitch his name.

Cross beams
cannot support

what he plants
with his fist.

Chronicles on Violence IV

With his fist
Vato loco

tightens a red bandana
around your throat.

A tattoo of
your name bleeds.

Chronicles on Violence V

she unties
the goat of the past.

A rat’s skeleton
crunches underfoot.
His dark shadow
rustles black.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ping-Pong Magazine at the Beat Museum tonight! November 12th

WEST COAST PING-PONG Release party!!!! in conjunction with Parthenon West

The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California is hosting the West Coast Release party for Ping•Pong, a international journal of the arts and literature at the Beat Museum. 

The Ping•Pong West Coast Launch Party will take place at the Beat Museum on Friday, November 12th, with featured reader Kim Addonizio. There will also be readings by the editors: Christine Hamm, Jessica Breheny, James Maughn and Maria Garcia Teutsch, as well as contributors, Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts and Judy Halebsky. Readings will begin at 7:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Ping•Pong’s release party is in conjunction with Parthenon West magazine. Parthenon West’s readers include the fabulous Erica Lewis and outstanding Russell Dillon.

Come by and have a glass of wine with us and marvel at the wonder of the Beat Museum,
and swing your hips to the music of DJs Krystal Simpson and Aaron Gonzalez. Paintings on exhibit by Paris-based artist Jean-Noel Chazelle. 


Book information:

A Literary Journal of the Henry Miller Library
ISSN #1083-0944
Paperback, 161 pages, $12.00


Contact Information:

Christine Hamm, Poetry Editor

Maria Garcia Teutsch, Editor-in-Chief
831-755.6943 (office)

Magnus Toren 667-2574 (Executive Director, Henry Miller Library)
Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920

Reader Bios:

Kim Addonizio is the author of five collections of poetry including Tell Me, a 2000 National Book Award Finalist. Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award, and other honors. She has published two instructional books: Ordinary Genius, A Guide for the Poet Within; and The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (with Dorianne Laux). She has a word/music CD with Susan Browne, “Swearing, Smoking, Drinking & Kissing,” available from CDBaby.

Russell Dillon was born in New York during the mid 70s and hasn't been able to get over it. However, in an effort to put the past behind him, he's attended a number of schools in various places, learned things at each one of them, and received degrees from Emerson College and the Bennington Writing Seminars. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alligator Juniper, Big Bell, Forklift, Ohio, and Tight, among others. He currently lives in San Francisco, where he does almost everything life asks of him.

Erica Lewis is a full-time fine arts publicist in San Francisco. She received her MFA from Mills College and received the 2008 Mary Merritt Henry Writing Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in P-Queue, Ur Vox, alice blue, Work, The Walrus, and Outside Voices 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets

Christine Hamm, one of the Ping Pong poetry editors, is a PhD candidate in English Literature and an MFA candidate in poetry. She won the MiPoesias First Annual Chapbook Competition with her manuscript, Children Having Trouble with Meat.  She teaches English at CUNY, and has performed all over the country. She has two books, The Transparent Dinner and Saints & Cannibals, and her third book is forthcoming from Blazevox.  Christine was a runner-up to the Poet Laureate of Queens. 

Maria Garcia Teutsch is Editor in Chief of Ping-Pong magazine. She also serves as president of the board of directors of the Henry Miller library in Big Sur, Ca. She is widely published, and has three poetry chapbooks, Surrender Dorothy, Fractured Fortunes and there are no cars on this highway.

Jessica Breheny is the author of a chapbook of short
stories, Some Mythology. (Naissance Press, 2010) She
teaches writing at San Jose City College and serves as the
fiction editor of Ping Pong : The Literary Arts Journal of
the Henry Miller Library. Her work has appeared in elimae,
580 Split, Fugue, LIT, Other Voices, and Santa Monica
Review and is forthcoming from Avery. She is the author of
a collection of short stories and a young adult novel.

JAMES MAUGHN lives in Santa Cruz, CA, where he a poetry
co-editor for the literary arts journal Ping Pong,
published by the Henry Miller Memorial Library. He also
coordinates A New Cadence Poetry Series out of the Felix
Kulpa Gallery in Santa Cruz.  His first book, Kata, was
 published by BlazeVOX Books in 2009. Work has appeared in
Otoliths, Lungfull, Parthenon West Review, TinFish, Big
Bell, Sentence, Moria, Poetry Salzburg Review, Dusie,
MiPoesias, and Horse Less Review.  He is a member of the
Black Radish Collective, and his second book, Arakaki
Permutations, will be published by Black Radish Books in
2010.  Another book, These Peripheries, will be published
by Ahadada Press.

Judy Halebsky the author of Sky = Empty, the 2009 winner of
the New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by Marvin Bell.  She is
a contributing editor and translator for the bilingual
poetry journal Eki Mae. Residencies at the MacDowell Colony
and the Millay Colony have supported her work. Originally
from Halifax, Nova Scotia, she spent five years in Japan
studying art and literature on fellowships from the
Japanese Ministry of Education. She teaches writing and
world literature at Dominican University of California and
is artist-in-residence at Theatre of Yugen.

- Show quoted text -

Monday, October 25, 2010

Group Presentation Questions from Fire and Ink

Chicano Perspective Group Presentation
Click the above link to find your questions for each group presentation. These are student generated questions. I think you did a great job!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Circumnavigator


When we showed our scars
you  always won.
My brother never killed himself.

Never dressed up like a mosquito,
and jumped from a car
to prove he could fly.

My father never cheated
on my mother--
and she is no saint.

We never found a pile
of nude photos, neighborhood women,
your best friend’s sister.

My father never hid his Playboys--
still keeps them in the trashcan
next to the toilet.

I never kept a vortex of icons.
Never had to escape my Catholic youth,
or feel guilty about sex.

Your self-portrait still
hangs over my bar. Tornado face--
eyes whip feet, 
penis in the foreground.

Now, a thousand years later,
a picture of you--
fragile as a mosquito’s wing--

holding out skinny arms.
Your face a storm
I circumnavigate.

Photography by Stewart Ferebee

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday Poem

Check out this cool website out of New Zealand that just posted my "After Tomato Picking" poem. Just across this other pond.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Night Noise and Rabbit Twitch

Night Noise and Rabbit Twitch

He comes at 3 am.
Bamboo rattles, clicks, no cricket sound.
Wears a suit of night noise and rabbit twitch--
his foot falls are a flute full of roaches.

strings her
between trees.

Shadows of wings trace
books on the nightstand,
no knife glint,
no gun to start a fire.

She coils against spiders
who’ve stopped their spinning--
who suck beetle fat and watch.

Night of terror
don’t you know a song cannot prevent
the wasp’s repeated sting?

The door frames nothing
but the strangle-knot
you pull
into a snare.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When the Wind Ceases

Ophelia knows what it feels like, but you don't do you?
Fathers die when love blooms--
intensity like the insanity
of a bird of paradise all orange crowned and pointing.

She escapes to her herb garden
the only place isolation is allowed away from
the Panopticon                                the male gaze.

Her engagement apparent as she holds pruning shears in one hand,
rosemary for remembrance in the other. Snips and tends pansy faces,
listens and hears his voice                          {or is it from her chorus of voices?}
        "is that you?" she asks,
and hears him in drops of rain on a thousand leaves.

Ophelia stands in headwaters                      her hips buoy left and right
as though being bumped by exiting train passengers.
Rubber gaiters slick and seal-like, trout swim beneath
her reflected face                                 a dark shape above.
Prisms slick on silver skin swimming in thought-streams                      disappear
before the brain registers the image, an imprint here: 

not reality
this seeing and not seeing. 

Many wonders are beyond our philosophy.
Fish beyond reach.

Rapids bubble gray tracers               shadows of bears
stare at her back; she can feel them watching her,
       "he cannot save me,"
       she thinks in the gloam.

The water lifts her and she floats 
and says:
                                          "he still loves me,"
to no one at all;
except the cedars
who give many their ear
but no one their voice.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Interview by Jean Vengua

Jean Vengua interviewed me for her blog: Local Nomad. It took me about a month to complete, check it out: here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sketched by Sunlight

Rustle of black crinoline brushes the tangy scent of tea.
White cranes fly across her breasts. 
She breathes the day.

Tulips, daffodils, and calla lilies there.

She exhales her pale self amid blossoms.
The new leaves on the trees  
are a sieve of jade light.
Her body chiaroscuroed.

The day’s speckled show cannot stop her
pitching filament into black.

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

After Tomato Picking

After Tomato Picking

In fourth grade
I picked tomatoes
to make money.

The night before, we packed
our lunches with anticipation
and American cheese sandwiches.

We left at dawn with the sun
slithering across the desert,
twisting the horizon into slivers of gold.

The drive out to the farmland
was filled with yawns and coffee.
I leaned against my brother and dozed.

On our way we passed farm workers,
their painted signs blurring by.
I catch one word, strike.

My brother yells, Viva la Raza
but don't yet know what it means.
He raises his chin and smiles.

In the field the smell
of disturbed earth and sweat mingles
with the sound of giggles

from my sister’s friends.
I stand in between rows,
a bucket full of green tomatoes

too heavy to lift, my brother
carrying it to men sitting
in precious shade.

We left as soon as the thermometer
moved above 100.
The others stayed.


I worked to buy a new
outfit for my Barbie,
and dreamed of making

enough for her pink corvette.
After three days with the
pubescent hairs of the vines,

I developed a rash
and had to  ponder
my three-day career

under the lace
of my canopy bed.
I never went back. 

I think of those others
honed by a desire
to feed the hunger

that could never
be sated earning
five cents a bucket.

I couldn’t even lift that nickel.

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Four Iggy Pops

The fourth time I saw Iggy Pop was at the Ritz. I flew up to New York City with my boyfriend Tom, an artist who painted large abstracts and always smelled a bit of turpentine and linseed oil. Two of our other friends were with us, Mimi, a make up artist and dancer, and Dicky, a chubby heroin addict who was clean at the moment. The plan was to stay with one of Tom’s rich ex-girlfriends who attended FIT and whose parents had a nice place in Brooklyn Heights.
My only reference for Brooklyn Heights came from the knowledge that Walt Whitman began Leaves of Grass there and worked for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. As a burgeoning poet, this was enough to make me feel I could go there and write and write. Not only would I see Iggy, I’d be able to walk the same streets as that other anarchist poet, Walt. And I wasn’t at all concerned about staying with my boyfriend’s ex. At nineteen, I wasn’t the jealous type, I was more of the “we can stay for free who gives a fuck who lives there” type.
Tom, Mimi and Dicky were all twenty-six, and we lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tom and I had dated for a year and though he was a consummate flirt, he had yet to cheat on me. He was everything I thought an artist should be, he was the Henry Miller to my June, the Sartre to my de Beauvoir. He maitre’d at a posh restaurant and then stayed up all night painting. He’d come in the bedroom while I slept, rip the blankets off me and in the morning there’d often be a picture of me leaning against his dresser, large and thick and wet.
Tom’s ex, Michelle, came and picked us up at the Port Authority. Her intentions were obvious from the start. He tried to stealthily flirt back once we got to her place. I figured I’d let him have his game and Mimi and I split and went shopping at Fiorucci’s and Trash and Vaudeville. Seeing Iggy Pop mattered to me—I had to have the perfect outfit if I was going to meet Iggy.
When we returned to Michelle’s place, Mimi and I locked ourselves in the bathroom and began our transformation. I bought a white mini skirt with black polka dots and a matching top—both made of paper. At Trash and Vaudeville I purchased a pair of red leather roach killers with six shiny silver buckles wrapped around my ankles. Mimi did my make-up and I have to admit to feeling pretty foxy. Mimi wore a gold lame wedding dress and spiked her hair. She looked frightening and beautiful. Tom knocked on the door and fed us margaritas.
When we emerged Tom was sitting on the couch with Michelle and her friend. They were both wearing variations of Kelly green and pink Izod shirts and pants, with Etienne Aigner loafers and matching bags.
Mimi and I detoured into the kitchen. “Did you see that fucking alligator?” I said to Mimi and we laughed until we almost peed ourselves. Tom had wrapped himself in Hefty bags and duct tape over an Elvis Costello suit and then spray painted the whole ensemble. He decided to be the grafitti one sees when flying past a building on a subway. Dicky sat on a love seat looking forlorn and hawkish. The wish on his face plain to me: that Michele or her preppy friend would throw him a bone, but girls like that never went for Dicky. I went and sat on his lap and he tried to bite me on the breast.
“Fuck off Dicky” I said as I pushed him away. “Let’s get out of here.”
We left and took the D train into Manhattan and soon arrived at the Ritz. Mimi and I left Tom, Dicky and the two preppies downstairs before anyone could identify us as knowing them and proceeded to find the backstage area. A strung out blonde approached us and asked if we had a pin, she said Iggy needed one to hold his vest together.
I handed over my Gang of Four button and said, “here, but you’ve got to let us come backstage.”
And like that we were back there. Mimi sat down on a table and said she was spinning. I walked around and saw Iggy emerge onstage and soon all I could see was his thighs in a garter belt gyrating and falling down and popping back up as if on a string and the crowd moved like a great beast come round and round and I danced with him for two hours until my outfit disintegrated like a paper towel around my black garter, red bra. He sang, “I Wanna be Your Dog” and I did. After the show, I remembered Mimi. I found her stretched out on a banquet table in a state of seeming catatonia. I left her there and went back out for the encore.
He was so beautiful out there dancing, all sinew and insanity. I could see why that waitress at CBGB’s did him onstage: watching him was like sex. He came offstage and walked right past me, his eyes unfocused, sweat dripping from every orifice of his body.
I never met Iggy, though we were invited to party with him afterwards. I got Mimi up from the table were she’d stayed the entire show, looking like the bride of Frankenstein on Quaaludes. She sobered up, but couldn’t forgive herself for missing Iggy’s show.
We found Tom outside standing next to Michelle and her friend. He was pissed we’d ditched him for the whole show, but I didn’t care because I’d sacrificed going to party with Iggy to find him and then when I did he had his arm around his ex.
“Where’s Dicky?”
“I think he’s on the shit. He met a girl and last time I saw him he said he’d see me in the morning,” said Tom.

“Let’s get outta here,” I said.
When we got back to Michelle’s we started mixing up margaritas again. I carried my margarita into the bathroom and took a hot bath and read passages from Leaves of Grass and then passed out. 
Tom came to bed soon thereafter, and tried to fuck me, but I wouldn’t have sex with him. Sometime around three in the morning the creak of a chair woke me. I got up and saw Tom trying to sneak into Michelle’s room. I probably should have let him go on in, but I didn’t, instead I said,“Tom!”
He froze, turned around.
“What’re you doing?”
“I’m going to the bathroom” he said and released the doorknob to Michelle’s room.
“Isn’t it the room to your left?” I asked and we exchanged knowing glances.
He gave me a Cheshire grin and came back to our room. I knew he would have cheated on me that night, but he didn’t. And I had Iggy all to myself, could have partied with him, maybe even have gotten his eyes to focus on me for a minute. I didn’t want any more from him that what he was willing to give. Tom’s potential infidelity didn’t mean much to me at that point and so, well, when he climbed into bed, I fucked him.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Expressio Unius est Exclusio Alterius

Expressio Unius est Exclusio Alterius
(The expression of the one is the exclusion of the other)

It’s too late,
you’re already reading this poem,
and it’s too late to say
it’s not a poem,
because I just said it was.

You can hate it or
by extension, me,
but you are reading my poem,
here, right now.
You say, these black characters,
are words, and I say,
it’s a poem.
You begin to believe me,
You begin,
to believe.

Originally Published in Otoliths

Photo Credit River Tabor 

Monday, March 8, 2010


Smooth hands are suspect.
I love the roughness of your touch,
the way your hands snag my silk blouses.
Sandpaper man, your calluses un-seam me.

I have tortilla-making hands, but don’t make them.
My fingernails have chipped blue polish
from Saturday night, are cut short for typing,
are tattooed with the ink of poems.
My hands touch moonlight on your cheek while you sleep.  

Originally published by The Sierra Nevada Poetry Review

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Girls and Horses

Girls and Horses

My father’s stone agenda
did not include horses for girls,

or playing pool, or going shirtless
at the age of four, even though

my brothers could. I somehow knew
writing could get me that horse.

A redwood fence contained my world,
so in my backyard I wrote a letter.

Dug a hole with my mother’s
silver serving spoon,

bent to the chore in a crinkled cotton dress,
with my knees in dirt and sun on my neck.

I couldn’t spell,
but felt certain my hieroglyphs

would be deciphered.
Words folded into white paper.

I thought, "when people are buried
they shoot right up to God like bottle-rockets,"

so I planted my letter, shaped a mound,
and placed a handful of dandelions on top.

Photo Credit, Stewart Ferebee

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Paradise of Fools

Jon puts the peels from his tangerine in my pocket. That day he’d just come from delivering a colt.  We met each other by a dried-out riverbed and walked it until we found water. Three months pregnant, I felt safe from his charms.

We stare at a lone water lily, and he put his arms around me from behind like he did when we were eighteen and stood at the end of Huntington Pier. I lean into him and feel the same stupid lust. I think, “I should be impervious.” I am thirty and pregnant.

I cannot look him in the eye. I talk about why I’m in California, the Milton conference, the paper about Eve and the serpent. How the serpent licked Eve’s shadow and how she fell for his flattery. How Adam’s uxoriousness deserved punishment from the god’s or god as the case may be.

I am married, I am pregnant, but I am not happy. I know this, but what I lack in marital bliss is compensated by blind loyalty to an ideal. Jon moves boulders that have been dormant for years.  Stuff happens. I fall, but I do not leave my husband for another 5 years. And I end all contact with Jon, even though I’m pretty sure I loved him for a long time.
That day, hours after he left, I reach in my pocket and find the peels like slivers of light shed from a too-bright star.

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee, "Girl with Horse"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boom, boom, boom, satelite of love . . .

She hands him a tiny poem on a small card. He looks at her and says, “You really are a poet, do your parents know this?” He’s a physicist, the small kind of physics, like angstrom small, not astro big.
He tells her ether is an invention of poets. She says if you think it’s real then it’s real. He laughs, says he’s too rational for her. Brings her flowers tied with a purple ribbon. She resists for a while but then succumbs. They create a tiny universe too small to be seen without a microscope. They float out on a dust mote where  galaxies swirl within galaxies.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Past is a Whore

The past is a whore insisting you notice her red silk dress.
The past is boring, it’s over now, why come here begging with your empty cup?
The past splashes soot on day dreams, invades with a baby’s lip wet
with milk suckling in sleep. 
The past is leather shoes with golden buckles, one lost in a cotton field, the other
muddied and hidden under my bed.
The past is my mother finding it and not saying a word.
The past is her silence, her leopard skin jumpsuit, her pale hands carrying Valentine’s cupcakes.
The past is a mirror, a pretend lake where we make pretend wishes and believe they’ll come true.
The past is an angry man come to tear my ginger house down, once all the sweet things have been sucked away.
The past is your sister’s curly hair in summer sunlight, her body an arc, diving.
The past is the ripple from the splash you dip your toe in.
The past is not water, the past is not stone, the past is a dirt clod
thrown in a game of war with your brother, your sister.
The past is her brown eyes smiling at you with a headless doll in her hands.
The past is a dog in heat that’s run away, you no longer chase it anymore, though you still throw it a bone now and then.

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee, "Hamburg"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not Some Wet Ophelia

Not Some Wet Ophelia

You cannot turn her into some wet Ophelia,
even if her gown drips pansies and the purple flowers of Diana.

She is not a Sappho fragment to be translated by some man
who thinks he knows her. Who thinks she only has one breast.

Who doesn’t care what Wittig thinks
or thought or wrote about language.

Pygmy chimpanzees are not patriarchal. They would tell
you that if you only listened, but you are too

busy, camellias bloom and die
before you even notice.

Her wedding gown is not a shroud made of dragonfly wings.
Her ring is not a sign of ownership—o.k.  who are we fooling here?

Maybe it is, but she is not owned like a McDonald’s.
You cannot franchise her, coat her in sugar for the masses to swallow.

She wears combat boots and pearls--
and if she commits suicide, it’s not about you, it’s for herself.

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee, "Citroen"

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Soldier

El Soldado (The Soldier)

A mother’s womb contracts
the day her son goes off to fight,
remembers a crown of twigs in his hair,
chubby fingers pointing a branch at her,
“Bang-bang, Mama, you’re dead.”

She tries to tell him, “War is a breakdown of reason.”
But he’s a citizen of a world that kills
women bent at rivers, children curled in blankets.
The weight of metal warming in his hand
makes him feel he’s a man.

Originally published in the Monterey Poetry Review

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee, "Clasp Variation"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Taste of Metal

Your water-dream paints white-stripes on stones.
Uncertainty growls in the throat 
of a dog asleep on the shore.  
The slick-eels 
with rows of teeth are a memory.  

Sharp arrowheads bite your feet,
and the water turns red. 
You awake to the tin taste of metal
on your tongue. 

You skip stones and cut 
the water’s surface
like it means something, 
like it will bring you back from the edge. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Everything you ever heard is true.
Waves of raven hair ripple down her spine,

nipples point to the sky like absurd
compasses. You will go to her,

feel the crack of bones against rock.
Her beauty blinds you like a blade,

abalone in the sun, the light
off every one of her scales,
a star of your circumscription.

Published in the Anthology of Monterey Bay Poets

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainy Day Woman Poem--The Piñata

The Piñata

Cold rain turned my shirt
into paper mache.

I tried to hold it away
from the mound of each breast.

Your warm palms traced their shape,
and you told me I was beautiful.

All wet and streaming,
I believed you.

Originally Published in Two Review

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ping-Pong Magazine on KUSP Poetry Show

Tonight I will be on the KUSP poetry show at 9:00 pm. Will talk about Ping-Pong magazine's unique aesthetic. Joining me tonight is poetry editor, James Maughn and host Dennis Morton.
Podcasts of past shows are available.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Muse and Twilight

I never heard of the Twilight books until my son brought one home and told me it was about vampires. I promptly forgot about it. Then the students in my creative writing class repeatedly named it as their favorite book/series. During winter break 2008. The first book sucked me in as that genre can do, but I was a bit sickened over the simpering heroine.
But the truth is, gothic heroines are always a bit simpering, I suppose by their very nature they must be, how else could Victorian writers get it on without being "taken" as it were. I mean, gothic novels were like Victorian soft-porn, and female novelist were still trying to shrug off the "scribbler" appellation attached to them by that giant ass Samuel Jackson--I think it was him.
Since then I have read all the books voraciously, if a bit embarrassed, (especially when I bought the hard-cover of the last title).
I noticed that she thanked the band Muse, and Radiohead, which, if you've read my previous posts, are my Gods.
I picked up the latest issue of Muse cuz I liked the song "Uprising." There are at least 4 songs that seem a bit original. The rest owe a huge debt to Todd Rundgren's "Hermit of Mink Hollow," and, to anyone with ears, "Queen." I think that Muse has the potential of becoming a great band, once they grow into their own.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Henry Miller Slept Here

Henry Miller Slept Here

I know some famous writers
whose egos are equal to or greater than
their talent.
And some of these people
come to read for my students,
but some won’t unless they get paid
huge bundles of cash,
which makes them whores doesn’t it?

Not that there’s anything wrong with being
a whore. I think it should be legalized,
like in Berlin, where the whores have little
huts provided for them by the city,
where they can do “whatever” and still
get health insurance. They also get to wear
super-high Stevie Nicks white patent leather
platform boots too. John Updike
says he writes reviews for the New Yorker
for the health insurance, and I believe him,
because I’ve written some reviews about books
I really liked, and wanted to poke my eyes out
afterwards with a really hot piece of rebar.

So back to the whore writers.
There’s nothing wrong with making money;
we all love capitalism don’t we?
But 15,000 dollars, come on, and then
they’ll cancel on you. And I don’t blame
them if they’re feeling bad and all,
but they kind of suck, and we nurse
their egos with big paychecks.

So, since all us writers teach, (and we do),
can’t we just pay for their food and flights? A room.
I have a big house. Writers sleep on my sofa,
they sleep on my bed, they steep like teabags
in my Jacuzzi, but some don’t, and I guess that’s
O.K., but Henry Miller would’ve fucked on my couch,
and if I fed him, he’d have come talked to my students
gratis, because that’s the way he was,
and he had a big ego, though if the rumors are true,
a smallish cock, (crazy though it may have been).

Originally published in Otoliths

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How The Mind Works

How the Mind Works

1) The quantity of nerve cells in the brain is in direct relation to need.

The sea nettle jellyfish spends

little on the purchase of nerve cells for his brain.

He is bell shaped and bold beauty

lace of tentacles


to passive prey.

2) To hunt active prey you need more nerve cells.

Consider the flatworm,

following sunlight, humidity,

the warmth of leaves.

His brain weighs data

which trigger the oozing of juice

onto a hapless earthworm,

who is dissolved and consumed.

3) Social animals have larger brains.

Two weeks before death

a honeybee is set free

from currying combs, setting wax.

Now a forager

he fluffs food from purple coneflowers

reads the sundial

times the flower

for nectar signals

and takes note

in a flower diary.

Returns at the precise moment

the petals open for penetration.

4) Survival depends on our ability to learn.

My last boyfriend painted large canvasses.

He’d come to bed smelling

of linseed oil

and turpentine.

Once he’d aroused me,

he’d return to his paints.

In the henna of daybreak

I’d consider my naked form,

full moon breasts, burnt sienna hair

thick with the wet oil of color.

One day

I noticed the hair in a painting

was red, yellow, cerulean,

the eyes chartreuse, with teacup breasts,

not like mine.

5) To kill a scorpion you crack its husk. Once you figure this out, you’ve mastered the technique for life.

(Originally Published in the Cafe Review)