One

…of the gifts I gave myself this year: Frances Itani. (Another was a 1948 slim Penguin T. S. Eliot Selected Poems complete with a clipped out blurb about his death from a Saskatchewan paper in 1965 (and a hand-written note on the top of that giving the date)).

Happy New Year. Thanks for reading.

What

…an ordeal–to google the words “language and the body”–and not even for reasons one might think! (All in the name of poetry). Oh, what a fine mess to sift through; do people really believe in the art of body language in finding their soul-mate? What, or who, in all honesty, is a soul-mate? What does that mean? (Even when I found something that seemed intelligently put together, the essay dealt with people by calling them “man”). What happens if I give the wrong signals?

Much simpler when I decided to focus on a writer, the first on my list was D.H. Lawrence. I haven’t figured out who the next should be.

The Manuscript I’m not Editing

Or, how to get my head into the space necessary for editing is more the point. I’ve spent the morning circling the editing truck like a vulture around road-kill. I’m not waiting for anything in particular to move me–although inspiration of a heroic magnitude would be nice. I’m pondering, or so I think, a rethinking of my poetry head-space–100 pages is a lot to rethink, not that all 100 pages have to rethought, but in a way, yes, they do; the impact of one change may alter greatly a number of things (structurally anyway, but I haven’t even reached that point!). So now, I’m reading about Stanley Kunitz’s “A Living Poem”, then an essay by Mary Kinzie. This paragraph by Kinzie struck me as a way to get back into the editing mode:

Stevens thought that things, which were once human, had lost their former power to conceal themselves. But if we imagine things as having once been persons, wouldn’t they retain at least the shape of their once symbolic hulls, however little they could now hide within them? Isn’t the material world fundamentally a kind of vulnerable or inept concealment? A fly apparently buzzing in place within the web, but in a shell the spider has siphoned the strength out of, moved now only by the wind… the reflection of a stone granary in the mere… freckled leopard apricots…. Grace that has been frozen – a bicycle frame like an antelope; a submerged jar; a shoe made of willow. At the edge of a hot field, a cow shed and chicken coop; beyond these, in a forest of hard blue, the “pierced iron shadow of the cedars” (Marianne Moore). Close around them, against the male sun and the cool female forest, the stretch of ground somebody has mowed despite the desolation of these frames with their sagging silvery boards. The coop. The shed. Who abandoned them and yet comes back to mow? Don’t ask realistic questions. Patience, soon you too will sleep.

I’m going back to clip an exposed manuscript, its human-like lawn a frozen hair-do (probably already a brush-cut), but its poems still green and growing.

Because

I’m broke, I no longer feel
like an empowered shopper.
Because somewhere out there lurks–probably
more like lounges–a rockstar with an affection
for the term “paradox”.
Because choice shouldn’t be hard. Because
comparison’s are meaningless.
Because people I know read too much.
Because somewhere out there gleans a man
reading the rainbow or a runcible spoon, or a woman
reading this blog. Because life is.
Because we are. Because anything is everything
by believing it is something.

Happy Holidays–until next week…
because we choose it so.

The empowered shopper

…was in the book store rearranging my own and some friend’s books so that their covers were facing out, and, while doing that, I was oggling french flaps–or at least that’s what I think they’re called. (According to the latest rumours, this is a must for any book). Oh, and here is another quiz.

I’m a bad

…listener. I know this. I understand this. I’ve tried to change this. It’s not that I don’t hear what people are saying. I do, but most of the time I’m processing conversations fast. I process them, file them, and then later, when I’m alone, I replay conversations, often questioning things I might’ve made comments on or understood better if I could’ve responded differently. (This is, afterall, an after-the-fact sort of world; I live for post-communication (and, for the record, I replay everything in my head, no matter what it is)). What kind of a listener does this make me? I think I’ve tried to overcompensate lately, but instead of being a better listener I’ve become a condescending listener. So, even though I’ve tried simply to listen and not make hasty comments, this doesn’t necessarily make me a better listener. What is it then that makes a good listener?