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, November 27, 2015

New Poem up: www.marialoveswords.com

The Judge's Girl

photo credit: Stewart Ferebee Photography

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jesse Goodman Presents: Pink Martini! Poet David Meltzer to open December 8th, Monterey, California

For more info go here: marialoveswords

Jesse Goodman has been producing benefit concerts for the Henry Miller Memorial Library since he brought Patti Smith there in 2004. The past few years he has been bringing poets in as the opening acts of these shows, which as you can imagine, pleases us here in the Republik of poets to no end. This year he is bringing in legendary San Francisco poet, David Meltzer to open for Pink Martini in this year's benefit on December 8th at the Golden State Theatre in Monterey, California. Get your tickets baby, they're going fast . . . So, to honor Jesse's mad genius we are featuring his story as well as poems by David Meltzer and his wife, the poet Julie Rogers. Scroll down for his story, but first: the poets. Enjoy.

Art's desire to get it all said
to all who thought him dead
in the joint & beside the point
Art's struggle to sing it all
through jazz warfare & tell
everything he knew in brass
speed rap stir crazy utopia
of muscle chops push it in your face
rough unrelenting grace
fierce Art pitbull clamps down
pulls edges out in time to break through
scream knotty beauty
toe to toe w/ any joe
who thinks they know better
Art tattoos blue needles into moonlight skin
junk light makes mirror perfect
Art's smoke aches out of wounds
L.A. Art burritos & bebop
black guacamole serge zoots
Central Avenue cat copping
Art at Club Alabam
in Lee Young's band
all the chicks & the hatcheck chick
have big eyes for Art's horn
DAVID MELTZER began his literary career during the Beat heyday and is considered a prominent figure in the San Francisco/Beat Renaissance. He came to prominence as the youngest poet to have his work included in the anthology, The New American Poetry 1945 – 1960, edited by Donald Allen. He is the author of many volumes of poetry including Arrows: Selected Poetry 1957 – 1992, No Eyes: Lester Young, Beat Thing, and David’s Copy. He has also published fiction and essays, and has edited numerous anthologies and collections of interviews such as Reading Jazz, Writing Jazz, and San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets. His most recent book of poetry, When I Was A Poet, is 60 in the Pocket Poet’s Series published by City Lights. In 2012 David was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. This year, City Lights reissued a special edition of his poetry guide, ‘Two-Way Mirror – A Poetry Notebook’, with a new introduction and an updated addendum. In April, with his wife, poet Julie Rogers, and saxophonist Zan Stewart, released the CD, ‘Two Tone Poetry & Jazz’. Diane di Prima, former SF Poet Laureate says of him, “David Meltzer is a hidden adept, one of the secret treasures on our planet. Great poet, musician, comic; mystic unsurpassed, performer with few peers.” David Meltzer is also known for his inspiring and witty teaching style, and has taught in San Francisco and elsewhere for four decades.

Witness          for Rodney King
Beaten under by the clubs of his protectors
he’s down for the count
on asphalt not meant to hold his blood
and he can’t get away
his scars are monuments to ignorance
his tears are dark water
left running in the city
filling toilets, filling swimming pools
flooding gutters with our trash and the homeless
his screams are the sirens of Los Angeles
forcing the traffic back: heart attacks
suicide attempts, maybe a kid on crack
taking a fast ride
through overgrowth that won’t stop
his family grieving, wanting revenge
while the TV shows a cremation of dreams
smoldering rage rising like smoke
from neighborhoods burning at dawn.
Witness the bashing of Mr. King
on an instant replay
while a jury argues his pain.
Someone said he fought back.
I saw a man struggle to stand on his own.
Julie Rogers(1)
Julie Rogers entered the Bay Area poetry scene during the 1970’s. Her poems were first included in a San Francisco anthology in 1980, and she later published five chapbooks. She has read her work on public radio and television and at many venues in California and Oregon, and more recently in New York City. Decades of involvement in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism have influenced her writings, and in 2007, Vimala published her Buddhist hospice manual, Instructions for the Transitional State, with which she has begun a non-profit educational program. Her poetry has been featured in various journals and anthologies such as Beatitude – Golden Anniversary 1959 – 2009, Poetry Flash, Sparring with Beatnik Poets, Big Scream, The Cafe Review, World of Change, and others. In 2012, Wild Ocean Press published her first selected collection of poetry spanning thirty years of work, House Of The Unexpected. Omerta Publications released her newest chapbook, Street Warp, in 2013. She recently released the CD, 'Two-Tone Poetry & Jazz', recorded with her husband, poet David Meltzer, and saxophonist Zan Stewart. Currently, she teaches creative writing privately, and performs solo and with her husband. Poet Michael McClure has said of her work, “Few poems are written as close to the heart -- no extra words, just soul meanings…”
me, jesse, and eleni sikelianos at the Cibo Matto benefit show 2014 at HMML
Jesse Goodman's Story:
This story begins on Independence Day, at the turn of the Millennium, having just moved to San Francisco a day or two before the 4th. My very first mission having moved to the West Coast was to head South on Highway 1 to Big Sur. I had longed to go to this most special of places, that in my mind I knew would be pure magic. I'm not even sure when Big Sur entered my consciousnesses, but if it was good enough for 'The Beats' I was certain I'd find something special there.
I had been camping, hiking, and exploring both the little nooks and the grandeur of the area when the 4th of July came round. I had heard that Baba Oluntuji was performing at the Esalen Institute. Given how I was vibe'ing with the flow of Big Sur, I headed to Esalen, fully believing that despite being sold out, I'd find my way in.
Just as quickly as I arrived at Esalen, I was rejected (as to be expected). I hopped in my car and headed North back to the campground. I was feeling badly about not having had the chance to see the Nigerian drumming legend. Then in an instant, as I passed the Henry Miller Library (HML), I suddenly and without thought parked my car next to The Library's gates. There was a palpable feeling that something exciting was about to happen. It was here that I found the cultural beating heart of Big Sur.
The Library was in preparation mode, with a troupe of artists from Prague along with their organizer extraordinaire, Maya Cain. A tall charismatic Swede, Magnus Toren (Executive Director of HML), who somehow appeared as if he had been birthed from The Library's grounds, was everywhere. It was clear this was no ordinary spot. In this place of overwhelming beauty with its lofty trees and vast ocean, The Library is the intersection of Big Sur's spiritual grandeur and human creativity.
July 4th, 2000 began my relationship with HML & Big Sur. Fast forward several trips and I am spending the evening in Magnus & Mary-Lou's cozy cabin on Partington Ridge (Miller's Ridge) along with my partner, Max. We are drinking wine under the stars, and the talk moves to "how cool it would be" if Patti Smith could perform a benefit for HML. I said, not knowing how I'd accomplish this, "YES YES YES" !! I said "Yes" because in Big Sur anything is truly possible.
Patti did perform, on August 22nd, 2004, in what became the 1st Annual Henry Miller Library Benefit. Against all odds, she agreed to perform for the little Library off Highway 1. What an honor!
Not more than a moment had passed after Patti's encore when Magnus turned to me and asked with a cheeky grin, "So, who are ya bringing next year"? The thought that this might be the first of an annual benefit hadn't even crossed my mind, but with those words uttered, a new challenge emerged.
Who could I invite to the same place that inspired Henry Miller, gave birth to HML, and has attracted adventurers & artists for as long as there has been a Big Sur?
Eleven years have passed since Patti's performance. I think back to having never seen Baba Oluntuji and the moment another path was forged. Over the years audiences have enjoyed intimate performances by Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Marianne Faitfull, Rufus Wainwright as well as other artists who have been a part of HML's annual benefit.
As long as Big Sur exists, as long as HML exists, artists and audiences alike will come to inspire & be inspired. The magic will continue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ping-Pong Free Press

Announcing Ping-Pong Free Press Details TBA soon . . . . . .

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Speech Is Not Free! 60th Anniversary of Howl, poetry workshops, and more . . .

Speech is Not Free! 60th Anniversary Celebration of Howl, Ping-Pong Free Press Extravaganza!

Featuring Anne Waldman and Ambrose Bye in performance
pc: Jaroslav Kratochvil
Group Reading of Howl, screening of the Telling Pictures film, Howl.
Poetry Reading of The Revolution Will Have its Sky, Maria Garcia Teutsch
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Mike Scutari 667-2764

Speech is Not Free
Howl 60th Anniversary, choral reading and Film; music by Anne Waldman and Ambrose Bye; a benefit for Ping-Pong Free Press/release party for the 2015 journal.
On Friday October 16 the Henry Miller Memorial Library will present their second annual Speech is Not Free Event with apoetry reading from the Library’s literary journal Ping-Pong; a group reading of Howl; a performance featuring Anne Waldman and Ambrose Bye followed by a showing of the Telling Pictures film, Howl.
On Saturday the Library will host performance and poetry workshops: 10-11:45, Riot Writing: poems to start a revolution generative workshop with Ping-Pong EIC, Maria Garcia Teutsch; 12-12:30 brown bag lunch. 12:30-2:30-Performance and Poetry workshop with Anne Waldman and Ambrose Bye; 2:30-4: Free Speech Presentation and exhibit: informal chat with library executive director Magnus Torén.
On Saturday Evening there will be performances by Grammy award winning artist Ian Brennan, and Bob Forrest of Thelonius Monster.
Allen Ginsberg typing Howl
Saturday 10/17/15 Workshops:
10:00-11:45 am: Riot Writing—Poems to start a Revolution: Poetry of Protest is Poetry of Witness generative workshop with Maria Garcia Teutsch
Poetry is written for any number of reasons, most often having to do with witnessing: the poet sees something so beautiful they want share it with the world, or perhaps the poet sees an injustice they want to give voice to—poetry of social consciousness. Working primarily with poetry of the latter ilk, we will examine Chicano/a poetry, Feminist poetry, Palestinian Poetry, Jewish poetry, Russian poetry, Syrian poetry etc… and then generate and share our own poems of protest.
12:30-2:30:The Poem-in-Performance: A Workshop with Anne Waldman & Ambrose Bye
Working with our melopoeia, — the innate music of our writing — we will let our poetry guide us into various performance strategies and modes of composition. We will be working with our voice, our timing, possible instrumentation, collaboration and the like. We will consider methods of sprechstimme (speak-singing), monologue, vocal duets, curses, spells, lullabies, blues, poem-as-libretto, and also consider how to shape the work on the page with its orality in mind. We will begin with some “experiments of attention” and work toward individual pieces we will then record on a CD. Participants may also bring a piece of their choice to class to work on, as well as instruments they can play. Musicianship is welcome! Discussion will include some performance theory.

7:00PM–Saturday evening performances by Grammy Award winning artist Ian Brennan and Bob Forrest (Thelonius Monster).

About the artists:
Anne Waldman The author of more than 40 collections of poetry and poetics, Anne Waldman is an active member of the Outrider experimental poetry movement, and has been connected to the Beat movement and the second generation of the New York School. Her publications include Fast Speaking Woman (1975), Marriage: A Sentence (2000), and the multi-volume Iovis project (1992, 1993, 1997).
Her work as a cultural activist and her practice of Tibetan Buddhism are deeply connected to her poetry. Waldman is, in her words, “drawn to the magical efficacies of language as a political act.” Her commitment to poetry extends beyond her own work to her support of alternative poetry communities. Waldman has collaborated extensively with visual artists, musicians, and dancers, and she regularly performs internationally. Her performance of her work is engaging and physical, often including chant or song, and has been widely recorded on film and video. www.annewaldman.org

Ambrose Bye, musician/producer grew up in the environment of The Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, graduated from The University of California, Santa Cruz and was trained as an audio engineer at the music/production program at Pyramind in San Francisco. Working primarily with poets, he has produced four albums with Anne Waldman, “In the Room of Never Grieve”, “The Eye of the Falcon”, “Matching Half”, and “The Milk of Universal Kindness”. He also produced “Comes Through in the Call Hold” featuring Waldman, Thurston Moore, and Clark Coolidge. Recently he produced, “Harry’s House” a compilation from recordings done at Naropa University and is working on Volume Two. www.fastspeakingmusic.bandcamp.com

Maria Garcia Teutsch is an award-winning poet, editor and educator. Her most recent collection, The Revolution Will Have its Sky, received the Minerva Rising Chapbook award, Judge: Heather McHugh. She serves as editor-in-chief of The Homestead Review, Ping-Pong Magazine and Ping-Pong Free Press. She has been teaching poetry and creative writing classes at Hartnell College for the past 16 years where she received the Gleason Award for teaching excellence. Ilya Kaminsky says of Maria’s poetics: “The voices in her poems are direct and yet there is a certain mystery to this directness, this clarity of address. Clarity, the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish taught us, is the first mystery. She understands this too. Her poems can be devotional, or political or sexy, but there is always this sense of direct address, of clarity that isn’t all that simple, that contains a kind of tenderness, a kind of playfulness that is clear and mysterious at the same time.” www.marialoveswords.com

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Revolution Will Have its Sky, Now Available!

Judge's Citation, Heather McHugh

The Revolution Will Have Its Sky
by Maria Garcia Teutsch
The revolution will have its sky—where else might its banner wave, aloft,
esteemed--and still be widely legible? In order for us to discern what otherwise the
sight alone can’t catch, impulses appropriate letters, airs take shape, the wind turns
signs to tatters, tatters to signs. The author of these poems keeps an eye not on a
single great celestial value, but on the human disposition to scrips, emblems, notes,
names, lists: The scores we keep.

The tricks that contribute to this work's verbal motif are many, but not superficial.
Brothel trick, funeral trick, mirror trick, catafalque trick: they arise as the recourse
of an active alertness, in the face of masks, to the presence of representations.
In heraldry, an engraver's trick enlists letters or numbers (written or carved) to
represent colors (under whose airier sways may armies march). But this poet's
alerted attention is to another sort of detachment.

The senses of the word “trick” flicker between means and meaning, exploit and
exploiter, ruse and wit; between adroitness and waylaying; between wile and skill,
where working skeptics must be wary even of awareness: "Mirrors in tatters
become a veil." And where exactly are those "Stripes in gold fringes"? In words? In
garbs? The grand banners and regal ribbons of a Reine Soleil ? (Or the sun’s own
sine qua non , taken, in a coup d’oeil , for a single eyeblink?) Even love hurts; and
looking (or seeming) is its chief instrument.

This poetry isn't out to convert, but to advert. It doesn't pledge allegiance or invest
in transcendent causes, but rather observes some kinds of signs – signs of war, wars
of sex, hexes of communication It won't hallow a transparency; it won’t turn away
from an execution.

In the skeptic's etymology, to look and to reflect are kin. I watch, says the skeptic.
And the watch pulled from the Madame/ Queen’s breast “[s]teals a whirl of second
hands.” The ticker—with its little diamond—keeps count of time’s bit-bedevilled
billionfold: more and more representations of the claim to be one. Emblems of
Monarch, Freemason and Pope alike inscribe a dialectic: two arms serving the same
brain. (Hence the insignias of their respective realms: the unicorn's complement of
lion; the double-headed eagle; two keys crossed.)

The heart of the matter, the matter with consciousness, is the momentary: the
ticker cannot construct enough momentousness out of the countlessness or bits of
particulars. "…The eternal song/can prolong the funeral trick/ but for a moment…”
Whether in love or in politics, a con is attended by its pro.

This work's occasions are implicated in its materials: with trompes l'oeil , jacks and
johns, sleights of hand, this poetry registers some serious claims and obligations:
"After he sells her to the rebels/for 100 women…/…she becomes…/An anti-image
singing/to an image in a field of blue." (An engraver's trick is an anti-image too.)
Constitutions are (constitutively) vulnerable to prostitutions, restitutions,

In a final draft, the colors may come down to a blast of taps: "If you fasten a
collection/of decorations to a uniform/you can give last orders/ to last men." In
black and white, Old Glory has been tagged. Seeing illusions attached to
engagements, uses to ubiquities, profanities to idealism, privates to a general, The
Revolution Will Have Its Sky reminds us enlistees (whether in grays or blues,
whether in wishes or words, whether in war or love) how down-and-dirty signing
up can be.

Heather McHugh
February 14, 2015
Seattle WA

To purchase a copy of this collection please go here: Minerva Rising

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Profiles in Poetics at womens quarterly conversation with yours truly

Thank you to womens quarterly conversation for asking me really intelligent and interesting questions. Full text of the interview can be found on their website here: 

You are sitting beneath the shade of a coral curtain. The curtain was created by ‘we’ hand-strung ornaments, balanced from sandy trees in the Far East. In the Western hemisphere of the world ‘I’ stretch out my legs on a plush Ikea perch, making sure to check if ‘I’ have enough. Carbon dioxide cartridges for my home made sparkling mineral beverage, for example. Take a step away from the romanticization of these images and ask yourself the following. Does patriarchal structure and commodification depend on its cultural configuration? How does self and subjugation interplay in the conversation? Does identity depend on its soil? We converse today with Maria Garcia Teutsch: a writer whose journey in this interview begins as a young girl planter of wishes. 

Teutsch now, self-ascribed as “southern-protestant-pacifist-radical-chicana-feminist-super-pussy-take-no-crap-offa-nobody-no-how-type-of-writer,” is a well-traveled poet, mother, wife, teacher, community builder devoted to “helping artists get their stuff out there.” We speak to her about America’s open markets and how language is “shaped into the image of its maker”. The message is not always easy for readers to digest because of the origin of the earth. She admits, “part of the beauty of poetry is that I can break language down and let it do the work.” Here we glimpse how revolution occurs every day, pronounces and obscures the inscriptions of our cultural framework, and how we learn to respect the nuances of that glass of water. 

Teutsch’s most recent work, the focus of this profile, The Revolution Will have its Sky, is the recent winner of the 2014 Minerva Rising chapbook competition. The collection contemplates existential notions of the self. She tells us, “we little beings do all we can to change the world, and the effort is worth it, but don’t confuse good work with importance.” The focus of this book is about “women as subject, object, and ruler.” Here we “invert the social order and in the end, the madame becomes queen. Queen of what? The social order is still patriarchal, the war machine still goes on, but the revolution, well, that may have just begun.” Let us applaud and take part. In the revolution. 
--Jillian Mukavetz, EIC, womens quarterly conversation

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Revolution Will Have its Sky, Minerva Rising Contest Winning Entry!

I would like to thank Heather McHugh and the editors at Minerva Rising journal for selecting my collection of poems, The Revolution Will Have its Sky, which will be published this year:

Thoughts on The Revolution Will Have Its Sky by Heather McHugh

The personal is political, and politics are everywhere: the courtroom, the throne room, the confessional (real or fake), the brothel, the gallows, and the street corners. Here in The Revolution Will Have Its Sky, Maria Garcia Teutsch presents a manifesto for an ageless cause. By turning her poetic tricks, she conflates image and casts aspersions--we see shadow and reflection, we see queen as whore and judge as prophet as well as thief.

As Heather McHugh asked, in her Judge’s Citation for this year’s winner, The revolution will have its sky--where else might its banner wave, aloft, esteemed--and still be widely legible? Teutsch sets this poetic stage against the clear backdrop of sky, complete with cast of characters--Madame, General, Executioner, Pimp. There is a bishop, but is he fake? There is a judge, but is he fair? “the judge wants/ screaming”, and in the naked truth that the poet lays bare, isn’t that what we all want? To punish others, to absolve ourselves of sins? We want to confess, to be given permission to keep sinning, to make our whores criminals and queens so that they pay the price for our transgressions and also lead us into the next Tiananmen, the next Tahrir.

In the titular poem, “The Revolution Will Have Its Sky” we hear the “eternal song” advancing like a battle march. “If you fasten a collection/ of decorations to a uniform/ you can give last orders to last men. The eternal song/ can prolong the funeral trick/ but for a moment.”
The sexual, political, religious and historical, revolutionary every one, are layered here in bull-horned overtones and covert whispers. Weaving them together, somewhat violently in places, deftly and provocatively throughout, and flying its banner high, this chapbook raises a small yet mighty fist, crying “War, rebellion,/ showers of shrapnel,/ nothing stops them/ coming.”

Tricks of the oldest profession on earth are not tricks played while lying down, they are the tricks of the poet, who in this case is the Executionee. When she “empties her pockets, / words fall --/ iambs,/ quatrains/ couplets./ Nothing to save her.” Let this poetry, this poet be saved, let the language of her tricks and her tactics be more than a Revolution of One. Let them be an eternal song.

--Emily Shearer, poetry editor, Minerva Rising Journal

Monday, March 2, 2015

For Women's history month we have the twin goddesses of my existence: Alice Notley is this month's featured poet on Poet Republik and Anne Waldman's poem is featured in last month's love offering. It is a rare joy to be able to interact with such amazing poets.

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Is Not a Love Poem--A Rose is a Weed in a Cornfield

This Valentine's offering from marialoveswords-This is Not A Love Poem IV-- is for all those love-poets who still believe in love, in all of its many-faceted forms. We here celebrate love in its sticky thorniness, believing as we do that gender is a thing with feathers. Poetry may not save the world, but it could just save your relationship. I disagree with Shakespeare--kind of--he says music is the fruit of love, but I say it’s poetry. So dig in--let the nectar drip from your lips, run down your neck, let the music of these words play on . . .

“The Offering”
There were moments you slew me,
With a grindstone of curses
I’ll cut off your head to bring the rain
This god with his liver dangling beneath the ribs like a bell
I will ring it till it peals, peals, peals
Plastic trinkets in an offering box
A skull with spine attached
A shaman greeted you and beat
you lightly with branches
It was a blessing, a welcome to this city
Milagros pinned to a shrine
Calcium grins grim
Face to face with volcanic stone
I’ll never forget, my enemy or my lover’s shape
Cradling a head in my hands, memorizing the bony plates
Below the cobblestones
Temples built over temples
Riding the lake under the bed of the city
I’ll cut off your head to bring the rain
Wear your hair and face to the temple
And light the braziers, the belly
A stone bowl carved to hold a beating heart
Brenda Coultas
I cannot
Be away from him.

My Argonaut,
My wild flock

Of bright red

Feeding me
His sweet and golden fruit.
Cynthia Cruz
The Apologist
Orange lilies are not an apology. Maybe crimson columbines, if you picked them naked,
were caught by a ranger in your all-together, and given a ticket, yeah, then maybe it’s an apology.

If you offered your herbarium of pilfered wildflowers you’d pressed and labeled: “Flowers of the North Fork of the American River, of which I am most proud,” with taxonomic rank penciled in next to each entry: class, subclass, order and species, then maybe it’s an apology.

A recognition somehow of effort, not a florist phone call delivering flowers unseen.

Orange lilies are not an apology. And don’t even think about roses--don’t--no matter the color. A rose is just a weed in the cornfield of this argument.
Maria Garcia Teutsch
Orange Lilies
Let’s take off our clothes and fool around.
We can roll all over
like dogs off-leash at Lighthouse Beach. Let’s rummage
through each other’s body
like a Fourth of July blowout sale, pawing through the orgy
of tweed and twill, silk and sequins swirling up in flurries.
The Buddha says don’t argue until it’s necessary.
Let’s shuck oysters,
wash them down with dirty martinis,
the table littered with pearly shell. We can fill
the bathtub and pretend we’re looking out
at sunset over Tomales Bay. Your breasts
are lanterns flickering on the water.
Your hips are still California’s golden hills.
This morning I opened an e-mail from Texas
that said I’m going to hell and you don’t really love me,
but if I repent, though my sins be scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow.
Darling, it’s good to know we have options
but for now let’s get triplet Chihuahuas,
carry them around in patent-leather purses.
Drag your guitar out from under the bed
and sing “Rose of My Heart” again.
I’ll hunt in the garage for my zills and coin-covered bra
and do the three-quarter shimmy down the skinny hall.
Let’s not think about our children, miles away,
doing things we’d rather not know.
Haven’t we carved enough statues?
You remember the meadow I rented for you.
You wanted it sunny and edged with trees.
I paid the old woman a hundred dollars
so I could lay you down under the sky’s blue marquee.
The longer we’re together, the less I can tell you.
But hasn’t it been a long day?
The President of Infinite Sadness is sorry
she ever ran for office. She imagined
she’d be like those brawny angels
who lower you into the tubs of warm mud at Calistoga.
But monkeys are gorging on peanut butter
so science can prove fat makes you fat,
and the workers who grow roses in Ecuador
are poisoned so we can say it with flowers.
Tomorrow we’ll write letters. We’ll try harder
We’ll turn down the thermostat and bicycle to work
and you’ll swish plastic bags in a sink of soapy water
where they float like the jellyfish they’re mistaken for.
But tonight let’s bring Bessie back for an encore.
Don’t you want a little sugar
in your beautiful bowl?
Let’s make some rain, let’s invent skin,
give me your glorious, gorgeous, generous thighs.
The ghost of my mother’s in the basement doing laundry,
offering the damp clothes that extra little shake.
Wouldn’t she be happy
to hear us nickering and neighing?
Wouldn’t she be happy to know
death is feeding elsewhere tonight?
I’ll dust your eyelids with cinnamon
and braid those old feathers into your hair.
Morning will find us asleep on the roof,
our faces blank as the new day, just the mockingbird
in the neighbor’s tattered palm
whistling a tune that sounds a little like a Persian raga,
that twangy sitar, raising the sun.
Ellen Bass
On Love, On Representing It
We are so alive!
Planes and stars hang among stars
which I saw from the roof of the ineffable.
I distilled almost to vapor.
Meanwhile, the violation
of social distance defines
the panic element
of sex, the marvelous panic, the hoarder’s
closeness of gorging the flesh, but none of this
is love, only a coarse moon, orbiting but cold,
producer of tides and fickle odes,
but itself an emblem of the impassive
and worse, unable to sustain life.
Your purple earrings
sit on the edge of an earthly sink and I inhale
your age of sage and pine, I inhale
a particularity that could eat
everything for a thousand years
like a collapsing star, some angel
of nervous light, our shape
in a mirror, a forest, a garden.
But nothing will stand in, nothing will complete,
not even the coast road we took,
the views stunning, then a rockslide
halfway closed the way and what else to do
but pose with the ocean
behind us in its currents
and distant liners and the moon a vivid coin.
Jesse Nathan
The Kiss
(for DC)
Tonight, the kiss I’ve dreamed of,
the kiss of a lifetime, is here.
And now we hug and kiss
and kiss and love–
exploding the moment,
as if we were an extravagant bouquet
of burgeoning buds and stamens.
Like creatures dashing through the forest,
we tumble into each other’s arms,
our mouths and leafy boughs entwined.
Some strange and wondrous magnet
is drawing us together
like orbiting stars, carrying us
beyond the dust of ourselves.
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Divine Kiss
They Forget to Tell You
Here is the part of the story all the cards and first date performers forget to tell you:
The End.
Of which there is always at least one. You know this.
What you may not know, is that today a lone sailor took a tiny boat out on choppy waves
while I sat on a rock a few miles away recording how today was another day of mourning for the way someone would jerry-rig a buoy to look for rays
and the way another might forget sunscreen on the back of her neck and turn a painful red
and for how he sang while he packed, licked spoons on their backsides, lost socks in drawers, or took pictures of her in a certain light, and lost the film
or for how she would lose her voice, and root around in the bottom of her bag for her keys
and for how he lost so badly at cards, he cheated to avoid losing
for how he had always wanted to sail but lost the will-- who doesn't fear the open water, the unknown conditions?
The lone boat with its lone driver waited for a ferryfull of people to pass and didn't wave, but held still in the open water
and kept holding-- not moving, not changing, but holding--
then turned in the direction of the harbor, starting the motor which I could not yet hear
as the water kissed the hull,
and the hull kissed solitude
and this was a love song.
Jamie Zeigler Laurens
solomons love song done
Katie Cloutte
The milkman greets the hairdresser. The hairdresser greets the window washer. The window washer greets the street sweep­er. The street sweeper greets the priest, who greets the mayor, who greets the housewife, who sends her children on their way to school this Tuesday morning. The children greet the puppies that follow them, then scowl and send the puppies crying home. The puppies lie down and greet their own crotches, then greet the cats. The cats greet the milkman. The milkman greets the tourists, who point at a sculpture. The sculpture greets the jew­elry maker. The jewelry maker greets the chef. The chef greets the butcher. The butcher greets the baker with fresh lard for baking a limone-semolina cake. The baker greets the winemaker with a slice of sugary grape cake. The wine maker greets the wind that pollinated the grapevines where the grape cake grapes grow. The wind greets the gardener, who greets the pigeons, who greets bluebirds, who tweet to the doctor. The doctor greets the poets. The poets greet other poets. These poets greet a curvy dressmaker. The dressmaker greets the fine lady who had been waiting every day at the café for five days for her dress to be repaired and re­turned. The fine lady greets her and the café manager, who greets his miniature infant twins, who greet the angels they brought with them. Each one greets this crisp sunny day.
Shelley Marlow
What If
Orson Welles never existed? Or Vienna?
I’ve never seen The Third Man but what if
I had? Would I have faked my death
or made sure of hers? What if
there were phones that took selfies
ten years ago, when I shook my head
and told myself I’d met a crazy one, a woman
as likely to eat me as love me, who left me
staring at myself in window panes
as dusk slicked the world with darkness
and there I was staring back, lost or
in love: I couldn’t decide which. But
a picture: if I’d studied myself in a phone
tucked like a mirror in my hand, I’m sure
I’d have seen the truth. And what if
there is a single truth? I’ve been to Vienna.
It’s as if there was never a war. Until you look
past the cobwebs in attics, shuffle through
pictures and old letters, all the other secrets
hidden away in trunks and unmarked boxes,
or look into the eyes of the last lingerers,
who worry a little more than the rest of us
about what awaits them in the afterlife.
I feel like Sylvia Plath. And so what?
But what if I’d never returned her calls?
What if I’d looked into her eyes the first
time I heard her lie and called it
what it was: her truth. What if
I’d thrown her clothes into the street
that morning I read what she’d done in
a trail of texts on her phone, as she slept
with my son on a bean bag chair
in the next room. What if I’d walked
next door and borrowed a gun.
What if I’d written down her lies
like a list of wishes sung blue into the cold
space of cupped hands, her hands
as she walked home from another lover’s
crumbling tenement, walked home to me
still asleep in the predawn wheeze of our son’s
humidifier, asleep certain that my wife
had come home hours earlier, was drunk
and motionless a foot away, her hair
tangled in her own hands as if she’d
tried to climb free of a nightmare
and found herself in bed with me.
I remember her once offering me a lank
length of hair and lifting her chin
as if to say, Here, wrap it around
my neck. As if to say, Please.
What if.
James Harms

Monday, February 9, 2015

This Is Not a Love Poem-Blue Valentines

Welcome to Valentine's Month and This is Not a Love Poem-Blue Valentines. Not brought to you by the flower industry, the card industry, but instead brought to you by this love cat. I have been writing anti-love poems for about 15 years now and also assigning this task to my students. It is a liberating experience. We never have Hallmark cards that read, "here's my heart, you can smash it to smithereens if you so chose," though this is sometimes the end result of our love experience. So no matter where you weigh in on the love question, one thing is true, without love of some sort, life is all white bread and mayonnaise. This year the object of my affection is the creek that runs through my back yard. What's yours? Below I have assembled some various takes on the love equation by some extraordinary writers. Dive in babies. These poets are the mathematicians of love: Anne Waldman, Carol Frost, Kim Addonizio, Alan Jude Moore, Francesco Levato, J. Hope Stein, Dan Linehan, Adeena Karasick, Joanna Fuhrman, Michael Odom, Jillian Mukavetz, and Dena Rash Guzman.

She’s got my heart and I’ve got hers
It was fair we fell in love
I hold hers precious and mine she would miss
There never was anything like this
My heart in her keeps us one
Her heart in me guides thoughts and feelings
She loves my heart for once it was hers
I loved hers because it lived in me
I once wounded her it was misunderstanding
And then my heart hurt for her heart
For as from me on her her hurt did sit
So I felt still in me her heart hurt
It both of us hurt simultaneously
And then we saw how we’re stuck
With each others' hearts now.
                                    after Sir Philip Sydney
Anne Waldman

Any white heron trespassing in the fallen tide
any dawn will wait for least brine shiver, silver fish and silver
fish coming into its realm, helpless in their swimming
as heron in devouring; and you, beloved, god filling
you with yourself, helpless in trespass.
I see heron will not move its crooked leg or moves so little its magnificence
is, as it is, in being live and, as it will, in swallowing;
water or wine glass, some promise, is ever bound
to be broken by your wing span; o heron, flying off all at once,
like stars splashing. By the time the sky
swallows the true stars, day & death will have trespassed.
Carol Frost
Love in a cold climate Meet the penguin with a heart-shaped breast

Candy Heart Valentine
In the story of the three famous words, things turn out badly :
one word is washed overboard, another ends trapped under a machine
drinking and dialing, the third is still apologizing to some rocks.
I’ve forgotten how to swim, and the sharks are circling. Love
is hopeless in exactly zero of the Hollywood movies I’ve watched, alone
in bed or sitting in the overbuttered dark in a chair that rocks slightly,
someone’s hand on my thigh, my hand on someone’s stirring
private parts. You were someone to me once, but now I’ve razored
through most of the frames. I only occasionally hear the clatter
and dying fall before the projector stops. Love according to the Greeks
came in four flavors, eros being the most likely to turn to old gum
in your mouth and so end up smashed on a sidewalk by the boots
and perilous heels of happier passersby, flattened under the swivel
of stroller wheels. You know what I miss? I miss lying next to you
like a lifeboat snug against an ocean liner. Love isn’t love,
according to Shakespeare, if it’s confused about whether it’s a star
or a distant reflective planet, if it’s a winestain that succumbs
to a little seltzer water. You know what else I miss: you strumming
your electric lyre, plectrum flashing in bar light. I still see
a pink cloud where the spill was. Love is deeper than nothing.
You, love, you. I’m writing our story in small block letters. Love
mixed in a machine, cut and stamped into dough. You know. You know.
Kim Addonizio

The Futurist
Somewhere                             there is your love
Lying in wait like an escalator
The apple trees shaped like a crucifix
There is no-one here to say otherwise
Trams meet in the centre of town
Like metal tongues sliding against each other
Or beached whales whose bones remember
Looking for some way off the land
In the zoo they predict the breeding patterns
Of an almost extinct African species
In telescopic towers we extend our reach
Scrape at planets with our gods and debris
Somewhere our love in the future waits
Like dogs in the wild
                                       slim and patient
Alan Jude Moore

Oscillations (vi)
We speak of attraction or repulsion,
possess a power of motion which would realize itself
                                      if all hindrances were removed.

We have had pulls and tensions,
and might have had the force of heat
but we are two utterly distinct things.

I have tried to steer clear of confusion,
fixing the mind on things rather than on names,
but names are essential.

It is actual then, and we agree to call it that.
Francesco Levato

For the necklace with a tiny silver pony she misplaces on the floor of my factory—For I rescue the necklace from the floor of my factory and wait for her to disrobe and change into her street clothes. For when she sees me looking through the curtains that don’t quite close. For I give her the necklace and ask if there’s a story behind the pony. She whispers - zebra not pony and merry-go-rounds me like a ghost. Her hair, golden. For I levitate with my high plane of thought and summon her to keep returning to me. For touch is the only true correspondence of tiny men and I begin to sculpt her:

One I drum on her head.

Two I place my hand on her abdominals to possess her of her meridians.

Three I sandwich my weight to her bend & she can feel my monster.

Four She keeps saying zebra and keeps coming back.

Five I notice the chisels in her body.

Six I invite her to balance on one leg by clasping her foot to my inner thigh and she can feel my monster.

Seven We do seated poses to add suppleness to her knees, groin and ankles.

Eight We do reaching poses that make her blouse slide, exposing elements of her stomach. At first she struggles with one hand reaching. I have the factory hold these positions for a full minute. For she is swimming in golden hair.

Nine Sometimes she keeps on her necklace and in inverted positions, the zebra dangles to her lips. Sometimes she lets it slip inside her mouth.

Ten For it is the new moon—The disciples in the factory are wood-working with their eyes closed.

For night is a dark open mouth & I have the mind to make a cocktail of her. I stand over her body, (for the fragrance of her swollen body in corpse pose) the room is dark, her eyes are closed—She must have summoned me with levitation. For sometimes you think about going right up to a rim of a volcano and having a glass of scotch. I bring her left pinky inside my mouth—She does not change the pistol or compass of her electric breath. This girl does not make a single movement or noise in darkness surrounded by disciples with their eyes closed. We stay just like this for 4 minutes.
J. Hope Stein

She told me about her silver ring.
Her mother had said
silver has healing powers.
I showed her my silver earring.
I feel like a pirate now.
She has a telescope back in Chile.
This is her last cruise.
She knows magic tricks.
We watched the comet,
                           sharing a pair of binoculars.
Dan Linehan

From Salomé: Woman of Valor
Through all that is verboten burdened blurred
let me --
in the rife frivolity of shadowed runes fused
in nightshade rills riffs
taste you --
writhing with s’lipse signs sobs secrets
obscured through
the trace of your skin tongue
taste you ---
across the length of this enclosure
For, fraught with illegality
each day, a scarred cirque
of hazy gaming
gambits ambits orbits
a quirky surplus of excess-flecked flourishes
Each day
a strung cluster
of awkward urgencies
And each day
I reach towards you
through all that is forbidden and unthinkable
dripping with blood text breath histories stirred with
strung pleasure
Adeena Karasick

And Then We Started Again
I need you as a red panda conquers Minnetonka,
filling all the empty ponds with aqua vodka
because he is a god from another planet trapped
here when his intergalactic bicycle broke down.
I need you like an elbow, like I need my elbow
to be able to pick up a phone and call you from
New Jersey Transit and ask you the time. Always
I need you, even when the rubber palms pick up
their saxophones to play love and anti-love bebop
or to toss the schoolteachers and their stuffed
walkie-talkie jewelry out of the classroom and
into the revolving plaza where it is snowing
miniature white kitty-cats and gooey marshmallow
frogmen. Despite everything or because of everything,
I need you most when I don’t need you at all,
when all the windows are locked shut and I put
my fuzzy earmuffs and flannel armor on, and
then suddenly find you smiling and lying right
next to me in our bed with all the covers drawn.
Joanna Fuhrman

Venus Stoops, Conquered
(to the woman who offered her beauty in marriage to any man making more than 500k annual and received only a lecture on finance in response)
Your stuck-shocked arch gaze, your unbreathing (unpored)
Waxed skin, bald hatchling’s body with a blonde sculpture on top -
Are you sapiens anymore? Or angel-
Paint on a parvenu chimp? By grace and expert hand,
Among women now, Goddess, your hard symmetry and luster
Should make men, and wealth, love you. Intense brow work alone
Should earn powerlifting with the muscles that work
Male jaws (They win gold). Beauty’s neglect in our time
Is no flaw in you, Precious, purchasable as art.
But looks do not appreciate. They trend down.
And your face-depreciation won’t write off.
And what beauty can blame business for failing to love
When throughout history it’s been beauty’s love
To hang on business.
Michael Odom

This Can’t Be a Love Poem Because I Am a Poet
Fox Mulder was too sensitive
To tell Scully the truth. It’s out there
on Netflix. He should have stopped her
from wearing those boxy jackets
and too-long skirts. Scully,
he could have said. Scully,
they do you no favors.

He cared more for greys.

Nancy Botwin was too insensitive
to really go for Andy. You might think
she was sensitive and holding back
because Andy was her brother-in-law
but we are talking MILFweed
and suburban baronesses
and spankings in limousines Nancy.

She cared more for selling weed.

In/sensitive? I’m neither one of those.
I’m numb. I’m dumb. I ask questions like
how did you like the book, or
would you like to talk about this tomorrow, or
I just turn on the TV and write a story
based on a show I saw another time I turned it on.

I care more about metaphor, Fukushima, and sorrow.
 Dena Rash Guzman

act 200

scene :                                    glenn pets kittens watching the snow fall from the beach

cowboy to glenn:                    why is your bed made, wingless weather of a blue dress
we play flowers on a branch, pulled leather petals placed against my lips I don't need to understand all you have sad

glenn :                                     dear magnetic peach
the air under the sidewalk
walks backwards
knees like wild animals
Jillian Mukavetz

 Tom Waits: Blue Valentine

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ode to the Creek

Love Poems come in many forms: mine is to the creek running in my back yard. For more love poems check out This is Not a Love Poem III--Blue Valentines here

Ode to the Creek

To the burnished waters
snaking facets
of silver minnows
in my back yard.
Meek cousin
to the royal
humble tendril.
You toss
onto the shore
like bread
the poor,
I string
into a path.

O creek!
you cannot
what the full
moon pulls:
alms of stars
from your
of ferns,
and the two
purple fountain
into a bower
for their chicks.

You sometimes feign
like a sleeping
eye opens
to the peck
of walnuts,
to the pelt
of their concentric
on your surface,
like patterns
on a taffeta
each layer
you hike
up reveals
from the sycamore
two doors
A red twig
cozies up
to the redwood
which umbrellas
the wild willows.
Why does it always
come back
to the sorrow
of willows?

You sometimes rage
when the neap
tide fattens
the ocean’s
and crowds
you back
the mountain’s
You fight
and froth
the storm,
small trees,
broken bottles,
and cedar shingles,
the ocean’s
mad gob.
You swell the
of the shoreline
into two
threaten me
with a divide
too wide
to cross.
Make me think
I may never
this foaming

O creek,
the morning sun’s
into a tinkling
The wood ducks
and the shore
makes a bridge
of a fallen tree.
Your grand symphony
now a penny whistle
of rapids receding.
You blush
and offer
a perfectly round
a wedge of polished
and a broken
tea cup,
on the riffle of
the currents’ edge.
I take these
and place each
on an altar
of mud,
and twigs,
in an
to appease
a sometimes