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

  • * Punk Poetry * Music * Food * Travel * Fashion *Novels *Poets I Love, Ones I Don't *Poetry Workshops * Gender Issues

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)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Congo

My friend Brandi Walker has been working for Dr. Mukwege at Panzi Hospital for the past two years. The atrocities she has reported to me are horrific. Women forced to watch as their children are killed, gang rapes with all kinds of objects forced into women's vaginas and etc. Whatever horror you can imagine has be perpetrated on these wonderful women. And Dr. Mukwege (who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize) does his best to stitch these women up and repair their lives. Brandi also helped in this endeavor. We need to ask more questions and get involved. Here is an article to get you acquainted with some of the issues by Brandi Walker and published in the Homestead Review.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Music/Poetry/Fashion/Food/Travel--These are a few of my favorite things

Welcome to my blog.
You are invited in unless your are a pedophile or a racist, then you can piss off and go away.

So, this is a space to write about my favorite things as listed above, but my most favorite thing is writing.

Music--Radiohead--why they rule
Radiohead's music is like a strong drug. It overwhelms the senses. Once when I had the flu really bad I took this codeine cough medicine and hallucinated to Radiohead. There were Aztec images and ferris wheels and cats who were rugs but meowed when you stepped on them.
more on them later . . .

Poetry--The art of . . .
I edit two magazines, The Homestead Review, currently in its 10th year of publication,
Ping-Pong magazine, published by the Henry Miller library in Big Sur, California.

I also teach poetry, not that one can teach poetry, but we have a good time and lots of poetry is generally generated.

I also write poems and get them published on a regular basis, unless I don't send any out, which often happens though I've determined to be better at that this year. I often feel my life is too busy and there's lots of truth to that.

Here's a recent poem, it's like, you have to defend yourself for wearing high heels if you live in Santa Cruz, California, I guess this is my reaction.

I Love High Heels because They Make my Ass Look Good

I love high heels because they make my ass look good.

I know you think it’s a kind of foot binding and I can’t

really be a feminist if I rock the 5 inch stilettos, that I need

long gray hair and no make-up and Birkenstocks and a hemp-

seed vest. But, I have a pair of platform sandals that are all silver glitter.

In the swirl of the asphalt night, stars fall from my feet.

Fashion--baubles, bangles, beads, and shoes, yes lord, shoes
so in my profile picture I'm wearing a Hugo Boss dress and shoes by Steve something--not Madden, that I got in Rome. I love clothes, shoes, jewelry, and the whole gestalt of femininity. Not that I subscribe to anyone else's notions of it per se, just my own. I mean, my mom took me to kindergarten in a leopard skin jumpsuit, not a tacky huchie mama jumpsuit (though admittedly they have their place) but a classy, "I have a hot body and have no desire at all to look like all the other moms who are not wearing leopard jumpsuits. My mom was and is smokin' hot, though she's toned it down since becoming a grandmother. Here's a picture of her when she was seventeen.

Food-Hello, my name is Maria and I'm a foodaholic
I love to cook and eat good food. More on this obsession.

Travel--I just returned from Germany last week where I visited Munich, Neustadt, and Berlin. In 2009 I traveled to France:Provence, Paris, Mexico: Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula. I visited NYC twice, once with a sidetrip to Montauk to visit my friend Stew-bob and where my physicist husband was the featured speaker at the FEE conference sponsored by the Brookings institute. I also spent 10 days in Berlin this summer. My travels are legion.