Saturday, May 31, 2003
THE ENCHANTING LOLA OF NAPA VALLEY
posted by EILEEN |
Today, Napa Valley celebrated Behrens & Hitchcock's 10th anniversary. Yay to this wonderful winery! Naturally, I was there onsite celebrating by lunching on their barbecued sausages and ribs, with a couple of chocolate-dipped fat strawberries thrown in for good measure (oh don't ask me what I'm measuring! I'da only look down towards my belt and see a perky curve that, despite said perkiness, I'da much rather would flatten itself into a more civilized reticence).
So David and Betty, some New Yorker friends, offered a pleasant surprise by dropping by, and we tasted the following at B&H's spread atop a mountain overlooking fabulous views:
2000 Claret (too jammy for me, but David aptly points out its tannin -- based on experience with other B&H wines, it's probably premature to dismis this as it's possible the combination of jamminess and tannin very well could mellow it into a more pleasurable wine with more time)
2000 Ink Grade
2000 King of the Gypsies (bought a case -- that's how good it is)
2001 Barrel tasting of the Chien Lunatique
2001 Barrel tasting of the Cuvee Lola (preferred it over the 1999 Cuvee Lola, which we also tasted).
1996 Cuvee Lola (perhaps the best tasted among the Cuvee Lolas, with a wonderful mature combination of fruit and tannin
2000 Kennefick Ranch Cuvee (fruity but a bit less complex than the others)
2000 Los Amigos Merlot (grabbed another case; a good value wine)
But, but, but....the absolute highlight for me of this lunch was meeting the "Lola" of "Lola Cuvee." Lola is a very poised eight-year-old with blonde hair, a charmingly freckled nose and grey eyes. I first noticed her when she was diligently dipping strawberries into chocolate sauce for everyone's sweet tooth. Then she approached our group when she offered Tom a chair -- how sweetly observant of her, and responsible! So I struck up a conversation by first asking her name, which is when I realized she is Lola!!!! Well I immediately asked her to tell us more about herself! And the highlights!
--Lola has six chickens. They like to sit on her shoulders and watch TV. She observes that when a chicken walks up your arm, it hurts unless you are wearing long sleeves.
--One of the chickens lays eggs colored a "bluish-green" color. She pointed to a visitor's jacket: "like that." I would characterize the visitor's jacket to be colored teal.
--Lola was two years old when her parents (the Behrens of the B&H) decided to name one of their wines after her. Tom asked if she had siblings with wines also named after her. She said No...or, that is, she has a brother but he doesn't do much work around the vineyard, preferring his skateboard (this observation was offered with what I sensed was just a bit of disaproval by sweet Lola).
--Lola doesn't like bees, based on how she noticed, then jerked away, at a yellowjacket who suddenly appeared.
--I told Lola that I had just served a magnum of the 2000 Lola Cuvee to a dinner involving 12 people (see May 24 post) and she tilted her head a little and did a little eeksy-peeksy shy preen. Preeeeeen.
Ah. Lola! I drink to you and your sweetness of which you are, at this age, so enchantingly and movingly unaware!
FOOTNOTE POEMS: "THERE, WHERE THE PAGES WOULD END"
--for Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Footnote to The Virgin's Knot (#100)
But they begin only through lightning
against constancy of sky
posted by EILEEN |
The above is one of my "Footnote Poems" -- a series written partly by creating false footnotes to reading text that, for whatever reason, moves me in a positive way. In the case of the above poem, I was moved by a section in the novel The Virgin's Knot by Holly Payne; the affecting passages include:
A small patch of poppies surrounded his wife's grave. He crouched before it and pushed back the flowers to run his hand along the prayers etched in stone. She was believed to have gone to heaven for dying in childbirth. They called her the logusa, postpartum woman. She had sacrificed her life for another, and her sins, if any, were forever pardoned....
There was no place for his wife in the mosque, and so he came here, where he could feel her still in the quiet mist, to be with her and seek guidance. He set the camel bag on the ground and sat cross-legged in the wet grass, facing the grave. First he took the bread from his vest pocket and tossed it into the graveyard. Then he pulled the dress pattern and pen from the bag and waited for lightning to begin the prayer he had come to write for Nurdane. He dragged his pen across the page, hoping his wife would help him find the words to tell Nurdane the truth about her hands. He could see it in her eyes, begging him to tell her what she was too scared to know....
But the reader need not know the original text-inspiration in order to appreciate the Footnote Poem. My hope was that it would be the reader who would fill in the narrative gaps, thereby being fully involved in the poem's life, rather than have the underlying text-inspiration/reference be the one to determine the ultimate fate of the Footnote Poem.
Here's another example of a passage from Payne's novel, and the Footnote Poem it moved me to write:
The polio had struck Nurdane in a storm like this. She was five and had followed a group of women to pick wild herbs on the mountain. Sage and thyme. Bitter tastes to him now. She had wandered too far and had gotten lost, her cries muffled by hte thunder. His search lasted hours. He had found her lying on the ground motionless, face planted in a patch of poppies like a stone that had tumbled from the hill in the storm. She lay barely breathing, hands clinging to a clump of petals, now crushed between her fingers. He told her to get up, but she only moved her eyes, straining them toward the crags of the mountains. He shook her shoulders, yanked her legs from the ground. Told her to get up and walk. She staggered forward, tripped on the ends of her dress, tearing them, then slumped onto the wet earth. She lifted her head slowly and gave him an apologetic stare. She could move only her upper body and walked her fingers through the flowers into her father's hands. Her tiny fingers were like bits of broken clay,...
From the above passage, I wrote
Footnote to The Virgin's Knot (#101)
As such, his lovers would come to associate the hollows of his palms with the fragrance of wildness -- like memories one would forget if one could.
Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, editor and publisher of xPress(ed) and xStream, recently accepted for publication my collection of Footnote Poems entitled There, Where The Pages Would End. The above two poems are not part of this manuscript though Payne's novel was among those inspiring its contents. This collection's poems were inspired by four texts: Payne's The Virgin's Knot, Barry Schwabsky's Opera, Barbara Guest's Forces of the Imagination, Paroles by Jacques Preverts (read in Harriet Zinnes' translation) and Sheila Dhar's Here's Someone I'd Like You to Meet. Jukka's fullsome response to my poems (thank you, Jukka -- you are my absolute favorite water-drinker!) occured without him having to know the referenced texts.
There, Where The Pages Would End will be published this Fall 2003 by xPress(ed). Do check out their publications of wonderfully innovative texts; Jukka really deserves props for all his labors of love -- I adore Finland because of you, Jukka! Here are some other poets Jukka's supported with e-publications (listed in small caps, as I lifted the info directly from the site -- "authors: titles"):
gregory vincent st. thomasino: Go
jesse glass: closed casket
catharine daly: file 'em
nick carbo: rising from your book
nico vassilakis: talk is parting of a problem
andrew lundwall: wouldn't be here if it wasn't
chris sawyer: periodix
david dowker: MACHINE LANGUAGE
halvard Johnson: rapsodie espagnole
hugh tribbey: JUVJULA DETOURS
eileen r. tabios : enheduanna in the 21st century
jesse glass: e song; momentum; and puppet psalms
ric carfagna: L@XL
joel chace: drawer
dan Raphael: among my eyes
mIEKAL aND: advancience snakespeared
peter ganick: each acre
lewis lacook: drowning in the age of mid-air
sheila e. Murphy: ample safe and missing roads
paolo Javier: i sculpt poems
kari edwards, Chris Martin and Sherman Souther: obLiqUE paRt(itON): collaborations
andrew topel: puzzles
michael basinski and wendy collin sorin: PIE PIECES
What also fascinated me (I also write poems in order to have me fascinate myself) about creating the Footnote Poem series was knowing that I was writing a poem that relates to the notion of the impossible: the footnote which exists without that which it presumably footnotes (or something like that).
A thing that is not really the thing that it is supposed to be. And, I believe, this notion also relates to ekphrasis -- art inspired by another form of art. In a future post, I'll discuss Sharon Dolin's new poetry book Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), which is comprised of poems inspired by paintings.
Friday, May 30, 2003
Some Poetry Recommendations
posted by EILEEN |
Sip. I had to blog one more time because notwithstanding the brilliance of my prior post, I forgot to abide by this blog's stated mission: a wine recommendation du jour -- usually what's in my glass. So, since I needed to post to say that I'ma currently drinking -- and recommending -- the 2001 Edna Valley (Paragon Vineyard) chardonnay, let me also say something I've been meaning to say for a while:
Props to Eeksypeeksy! I've been admiring for a while and it's time for me to say: You write some goooooooooooood stuff, Malcolm-peep: like the one about my buddy: the "loon with a flute of wine"! Peeps: check him out for poems like this and others:
I notice now she--the loon with a flute of wine and another one coming--watches me back. I'm afraid. She looks at me and smiles. Next year I'll live with her and tell you, if she lets me, how the pigeon is king of secrets, the sparrow of sorrows, the cat of the realm of claw. Next year, if she ordains it, I will show you the dance of the falling stars.
Well, heck....while I'ma recommending poems, please do check out the elephant and line drawing poems at MHP Blogs! by Stephen Paul Miller and Harriet Zinnes, respectively. This site represents -- at last (but not final) count -- eleven poets, Peeps, so it's a sure thing for stroking the eyes! (I could do a disclaimer that I'ma part of said eleven poets but, this is is a blog! Mah Blog! What's a conflict of interest here? Sip. Hmmm...yah: what is a conflict of interest on blog?)
JIM-PEEP, AT MY AGE, A SURPRISE LIKE THIS COULD GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK....AND SPEAKING OF MEN, THANKS TIMOTHY FOR LUIS
posted by EILEEN |
Omigod. What am I doing here? I didn't even know you knew I existed. Fanning myself:
It’s Top 10 time—here’s the Jim Behrle Poetics Crush List:
10. Todd Colby (27)
9. Eileen Tabios (15)
8. Tanya Foster (9)
7. Jeni Olin (12)
6. Chris Murray (6)
5. Laurable (4)
4. Andrea Brady (5)
3 Emma Barnes (3)
2. Aimee Nezhukumatathil (1)
1. Katy Lederer (2)
So, do I, like, hold the Guinness Book of World Record's...record for being the oldest crush to ever grace your list?
You know, for the longest time, Jim published this weekly crush list that (inexplicably) never cited my name. And I've never forgotten how David once said something like -- I bet Jim doesn't put you on his list cause he knows I'd beat him up. (Sweetie David is so gallant, isn't he?!) Well, David -- please don't beat Jim up. An older woman like me doesn't have much source for excitement beyond.....like when I call up my own blog and read the list of my w(h)ines.
So, Jim. Blink. I mean, wink. How old are you?
Speaking of younger men, Timothy (cough) gives me an excuse to praise an .... older man (cough). While conducting research, Timothy apparently discovered this poem by Luis Cabalquinto in the Winter 1981-92 issue of Bridge:
A poem got on this bus at the last stop
Now it sits across from you
It looks you in the eye, asks about your job
Your spouse, your children, what you’ve done with your life
The thought -- actually, I indeed should say, the *meaning* (since Luis would be the first to call his poems "narrative") -- underlying this poem relates to why I helped publish Luis's first U.S. poetry collection, Bridgeable Shores (Galatea Speaks, my erstwhile imprint at Kaya, 2001). Here's an excerpt (the conclusion) from my Introduction to Luis's poems:
Finally, in both a conclusion and beginning -- that invisible point where a line might join itself to form a circle -- Luis Cabalquinto asks himself -- and us -- in his poem "Passenger":
A poem got on this bus at the last stop
Now it sits across from you
It looks you in the eye, asks about your job
Your spouse, your children, what you’ve done with your life
Luis Cabalquinto's answer -- the fullness of his life -- lies partly within this book, such as in the ending poem "Bliss" where he replies:
Hands for the pillow
Gazing at the August moon
I've no enemies.
But this book only provides part of his answer. Luis's total reply would have to encompass his life of being a devoted husband and father, a loyal friend, a hard worker, an open-minded traveler, and a compassionate citizen of and in the world. This allows him to say in the book's opening poem "Depths of Fields":
Beauty unreserved holds down a country's suffering.
Disclosed in this high-pitched hour: a long-held
secret displaced by ambition and need, a country
boy's pained enchantment with his hometown lands
that remains intact in a lifetime of wanderings.
As I look again, embraced by depths of an old
loneliness, I'm permanently returned to this world,
to the meanings it has saved for me. If I die now,
in the grasp of childhood fields, I'll miss nothing.
Poems, however, are also about their readers as well as their authors. Luis Cabalqiunto's poems reveal a way of achieving grace through the daily living of seemingly mundane realities, thereby allowing him to anticipate feeling no regrets when death approaches. For you, Dear Reader, when the poem asks "what you've done with your life," how will you come to reply?
Thursday, May 29, 2003
THE SYNCHRONICITY OF GRACE
posted by EILEEN |
Just 2 posts ago I was talking about my high school reunion. And, in the process, I inserted a reference to Barry Schwabsky's forthcoming and first book of poems: Opera: Poems 1981-2002. In that earlier post, I wrote as I addressed my friends from high school:
... I was working on finishing the proofs of the next book I'll publish: Opera by Barry Schwabsky -- which I think you all will enjoy and, in fact, would be a great book to read particularly if you'd not previously paid much attention to poetry. Barry is one of the wisest poets I know, and his book reflects a variety of poetic approaches -- he is someone who is well aware of Poetry's traditions and histories, but doesn't abide by any or requires that readers approach his poems with anything but an open heart. Which is to say, this is ALSO a great first book to read by first-time poetry readers without your intelligence (as regards poetic accessibility) being insulted. And, for my normal readership which includes many stellar poet-peeps -- needless to say, Yours Truly wouldn't publish anyone but those poets whose poems are just so so so ... song-y ... that they transcend any category you all might concoct....
So so so ...song-y? Obviously, critical rigor wasn't my concern -- for some reason, I just felt this inexplicable urge to mention Barry and his poems in a seemingly random juxtaposition since the post's primary topic (my high school reunion) had nothing to do with him. Then, shortly after posting that blog entry, I received an e-mail from John Yau. As regards Barry's book, John wrote:
Imagine poems written by Sir Walter Raleigh after he has read Wittgenstein and Lorine Neidecker, listened to bands whose names weren't in the air but whose one song was on the airwaves, and learned more about contemporary art than anyone thought possible, and you might get a sense of the compactness of these poems, an airy abstract density unlike anyone else's. In the compressed music of these poems Barry Schwabsky registers the distance imagination travels: "And past the evening's scattered amplitudes/enormous night stretched across power lines." His diction is infused with subtle tonalities, lightning shifts, and an attentiveness to words as facts and sounds, as vibrant things. Had Raleigh not disappeared while sailing up the Orinoco in his rented canoe, he would have sighed when he read, "In the kind of light/that buries you, grow older now."
Synchronicity. I have as conflicted a response to "blurbs" as many other writers. But in this situation, I also feel that John's motivation comes from a moment of grace -- he wanted to be there for Barry, "there" being the public realm (via a book). At age 19, Barry saw his first publication in Poetry, but he's been mostly private about his poems for the past decade. When, over the past few months, I'd occasionally mention Barry's forthcoming book to other poets, most would reply that they'd been unaware that this leading art critic "is a poet, too." So I feel that John's gesture transcends the making of a marketing-based blurb. It's about welcoming a poet into warmth, in from the cold.
Synchronicity. When I witness a connection made because of grace -- because we choose to respect and cherish each other -- I am glad to be Alive. For this *poetic intervention* this evening, I feel blessed to feel the reality of Poetry As Life.
P.S. SOUTH BAY ROCKS!
posted by EILEEN |
A Somewhat True Interview With/By Sandra
Sandra: you went to gardena????? my mom taught math there!!!!
Eileen: YOUR MOM TAUGHT MATH THERE?????? HOW VERY VERY KEWL!!!!
Eileen: BUT CAN i mention this on my blog? C[mon -- what was your mom's name???
Sandra: yeah sure...well, I don't want you to mention my mom's name bc she probobly doesn't want to be on the net etc...
Eileen: (nodding at computer screen) makes sense to me!
Sandra: i didn't know you were from LA. shit! I'm from El Segundo...South Bay....
Eileen: South Bay! Gads -- that brings back memories....
Eileen: Well, like -- and this is on my mind just cause I've been talking about driving recently. Like, today, I'm a real wussy driver -- can't parallel park and all that. But growing up in LA -- well of course you got your driver's license in the first year of it being legal: age 16!
Sandra: go on!
Eileen: So I was driving at age 16. And because I needed a car, I inherited the same car my big brothers inherited from my DAd -- a '68 red camaro! But by the time my brothers gave it to they, they'd had it all souped-up and stuff!
Sandra: go on!
Eileen: So, like, I was this very serious, studious kid who looked...serious and studious. And, like, I used to get all these James Dean type-a bad boys from the high school follow my car into the parking lot as I'd park the car. Imagine their surprise when I open the car door and they see me.
Sandra: go on!
Eileen: Yah. But to have that car, be 16, and a culture of freeways -- dang how 20 years of living in NYC totally leeched off any driving skill I'da ever had.
Sandra: Well, all I have to say is: Gardena is fuckin' rocks just like every other place in LA!
Eileen and Sandra simultaneous: Here's one for our homies!
Granted, Sandra does these interviews better. But after all, I'm the one who deliberately left a journalism career. (And if you didn't know of my former journalism career, here's the only reference I can find on the net: check out Footnote 6 on this article about Columbia's core curriculum.)
I ALSO BELONG TO THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS or 25th YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, GARDENA HIGH SCHOOL or POETICS WHEN MERCURY IS IN RETROGRADE
posted by EILEEN |
--This post is dedicated to Michelle and Rhett as said dedication is a cheap price to pay for ensuring they cook for me again!
So it was Memorial Day weekend, and several friends from high school chose to celebrate in Napa Valley. Which means a crowd descended on my quivering body -- quivering at the thought of me celebrating a 25th year anniversary of anything, even if it's of my high school graduation. You can imagine how .... surreal -- though wonderful -- it was for me to see a crowd, most of whom I hadn't seen in about two decades. Moreoever, it brought back memories of how technically -- though not officially since we never filed the documents for the Guinness Book -- I came to hold this World Record:
For the most people who can fill and balance a wheelchair tilted at a 45-degree angle on its back wheels.
I can feel waves of incredulity coming from six million screens but, sip (diet coke), it's true peeps.
I once spent a summer between junior high (or was it high school) years hanging out with Karl Maeda, Phillip Matsumoto, Meredith Caliman, Martin Gates, Ricky Izumi, Me and "Twinkie" (the latter being a one-time recipient of a crush by Phillip). We found an unused wheelchair and spent that entire summer trying to master being atop that tilted wheelchair for a meaningful period of time: one seated, one on that person's lap (GUESS WHO?), one person by each side of chair, two in front and two behind the back with the second person hanging onto the waist of first person. We'd then tilt and freeze for as long as we could. My wheelchair-related record-holders, except for Phillip, were in my house for the only 25th high school reunion that will be held by Gardena High School alumni.
Also present was Meredith's husband Dan Sanchez, Ricky's wife Joyce, Martin's wife Leslie, Brian and Kathy (Ota) Horii, and Steven Wilson and his wife Dorene, Troy Fa-Kaji (once just Kaji) and his wife Margie Fa-Kaji, Marc Steiner (though he technically was Class of '77) and his wife Crystal, and Dwayne Horii and his wife Lena. Then there were the 11 children ranging in age from 2 to 14 (yeah: I failed the test of remembering the kiddies' names: sue me).
Now, why is this of any interest to my blog peeps? First reason: because you're all fascinated with anything relating to me. Second reason: because nearly all of my vagabond elementary, junior high and high school buddies became "foodies" for whatever reason! And they all descended into my kitchen to COOK FOR ME COOK FOR ME COOK FOR ME.....
Here's what they made for totally appreciative me:
assortments of crackers and cheese
deviled eggs (2 types of filling)
eggplant and walnut dip
grilled red and yellow peppers
barbecued leg of lamb, Mediterranean style
Five-spice Tri-Tip beef
spinach salad with bacon, eggs, lemons and homemade sauce
somen (Japanese noodle) salad
before dessert of home made (at my kitchen) chocolate souffle, fresh fruit salad, 20 different types of ice creams, and berry and peach pies...
....all of which were drank with wines brought by Dwayne:
1999 Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma chardonnay
2000 Spelletich Cellars Bodang (sp) Red (Napa Valley)
1988 Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir Los Carneros
2001 Spelletich Cellars zinfandel
The spam sushi was meant primarily for the kids but I believe I ate most of them; the mothers tolerated my filching fingers as they understood I no longer live in a Japanese-American community (like Gardena) where such fare is not atypical (gleefully, I had proclaimed: "Hey, I've read of spam sushi in magazines, but never had this before!" Compassionately, they pushed the platter toward me. Sip: compassion is such a good thing).
The cooking and dining affair -- otherwise known as "The Big Chill" (with Dan playing corpse by sleeping off the beer: Michelob, I believe) -- followed on a smaller dinner at CIA's Greystone restaurant (speaking of synchronicity -- a recent topic on the Poetics Listserve due to that word play CIA which stands for both Central Intelligence Agency and, in Napa, Culinary Institute of the Arts) to which Tom brought a magnum of the 1998 Reverie Special Reserve Cabernet: yummy; visit this vineyard for their redwood grove (& tell Norm Hi!) -- stand within the circle of trees and feel the ancients bless you bless you bless you....
By the way, I've been having leftovers all week from the Gardena gang's visit. Gardena! You rock! Since you'll be reading this, I can assure you that your culinary efforts are much appreciated....wait....oooops.
Oooops: you all will be reading my blog for the first time? How to explain "WinePoetics" to someone reading this blog for the first time -- (and her six million peep regular readership sighs: there she goes again) -- how to explain:
"the fallen angels; the narcissistic long-haired and long-lashed persona who can't cook, drive or remember birthdays; the "peeps"; the six million peeps!; the eroticized drivel; the tales from a book in the future entitled Adventures of a Wife; the post-avante poetry guard....." etcetera, etcetera [ref. 5/27/03 post]
I mean, I'm not sure how much you Gardena peeps pay attention to poetry. Well, so okay: Here's my blog. To the right are my links. "Love's Last Gasps" presents newbie-poems on the theme of dying Love; appropos of its theme, many of the poems appearing there are not likely to achieve immortality. There also are links to some of my past projects, from books to performance acts.
Meritage Press is my publishing outfit; while you all were visiting me, I was working on finishing the proofs of the next book I'll publish: Opera by Barry Schwabsky -- which I think you all will enjoy and, in fact, would be a great book to read particularly if you'd not previously paid much attention to poetry. Barry is one of the wisest poets I know, and his book reflects a variety of poetic approaches -- he is someone who is well aware of Poetry's traditions and histories, but doesn't abide by any or requires that readers approach his poems with anything but an open heart. Which is to say, this is ALSO a great first book to read by first-time poetry readers without your intelligence (as regards poetic accessibility) being insulted. And, for my normal readership which includes many stellar poet-peeps -- needless to say, Yours Truly wouldn't publish anyone but those poets whose poems are just so so so ... song-y ... that they transcend any category you all might concoct....
Sip. To continue my introduction of my blog: Beneath the links to my projects is a list of mostly poetry blogs by others. Many if not most of these poets are loosely called "post avante" (don't ask me what that means; some even claim I'm post-avante and I have no clue what they're talking about as I'm a Filipino writing in English....yah; that's a topic worthy of a paper -- a forthcoming issue of MELUS will be printing one, but if someone offers me real cash, I'll write an even better one...!)
Also, what the other poets (on my links) say about their work or their activities or their predilections or their drinking habits or lack thereof -- as well as their manners of speaking/writing -- may or may not be relevant to you as you read their poems....but I do hope some of you become curious enough to check out their work. Many have poems online on the internet....if you like some, then, yes, do buy their books. One should always support the culture of one's times, right?
Last but not least, you may be moved to read through my older blog posts, my "archives." You may want to be a bit cautious about assuming anything about me based on what I say here on this blog, sweetie-pies. Ultimately, this is a blog about something that may be non-existent: poetics. It's a blog about paradox (just like that multi-tentacled creature called Poetry): notwithstanding how much talk there is about it, how many jobs it generates, how many relationships it forms, how many emotions are engendered -- there may be no such thing as poetics. Which means it would be logical that the persona on this blog be a mis-match with its author! (By the way, I say "may" because I don't really know for sure -- and, doo-be-doo-be-doo: I am skeptical of anyone claiming they *know* Poetry).
But if it is true that poetics is non-existent (you Gardena peeps still awake?), then perhaps the attempts to turn nothing into something is also a way to make time stop. To defer Death. Even occasionally to Exult! For me, hopefully to Love those things to which, and people for whom, I may not otherwise even offer the teeniest dribble of attention. Thus, for me, the process of (articulating a) poetics is also a way to know of what I'm capable. For me, articulating poetics (even the failed attempts) share this with the process of writing poems: it sometimes offers me a glimpse of who I am .... including why I so prefer to Hide.
Hah! Do I hear some of you thinking, Good thing we only see you every 25 years? Well, what can I say? Such is the nature of poetics! Especially when -- thanks David for the explanation -- Mercury is in retrograde.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
WHEN MS. WINEPOETICS TRIES TO BEHAVE
posted by EILEEN |
(AKA, READ ME WITH THE HAIR ON THE BACK OF YOUR NECK)
So. Since May 25, 2003 when I officially rescinded the over 2,000 pages worth of poetics I'd written on this blog, I thought maybe I'd try something new. Sip. I thought I'd try to behave.
CRASH! Six million peeps reading her fall off of their computer chairs as they unappetizingly display various degrees of chortles, snorts or all-out BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! The long-lashed one reared by lions ignores them to continue typing:
So, today, I dutifully was trying to behave....but what happens?!!!!! I do my daily stroll through blogland -- glass of wine in one hand and my hips twitching in a quite fetching manner as I do said stroll -- only to stumble across a heathen's post:
This mercury retrograde is really getting out of hand. Eileen writes:
"my David 'I Adore Younger Men' Hess; -- ALL THESE FICTIONS (except for David, of course)"...
I adore younger men? Is it really that obvious?
Oooooooops. So I immediately write David (spilling from my glass as I do so!):
OH DEAR: I'M SORRRRRRREEEEE. I meant that I -- me fallen angel -- adore younger men.....I didn't realize I worded it so that it's like YOU being the one adoring younger men....
but you know I love you more than any younger man out there, right!?
To which said David cooly and kewl-y replies:
yes i had a feeling that's what you meant, that you were referring to yourself but then thought maybe my comments on androgyny and my love for Jane's Addiction suggested something like MAN-BOY LOVE?
I replied with diplomatic (and incapacitated) silence. For, what I didn't tell my David whom I adore is:
One: I have no clue what Mercury Retrogade is -- is it edible?
Two: Uh, MAN-BOY LOVE? Does that mean I have competition?
Dangit Dawg. Why do I have the feeling I'ma gonna wake up tomorrow and be sorry I posted this?!!! I had a rough day peeps. I'ma well into a bottle of the 1999 Gunlach Bundschu Sonoma chardonnay.
But, incidentally, here's another reason why I adore David. In a quite brilliant post he observes about Frank O'Hara:
My choice for O'Hara as a more social poet than Andrews (who has made it his project to engage 'the social,' which he considers primarily governed by discourses and linguistic operations) has less to do with O'Hara's amiability and charm and more to do with his ability to navigate various social realms and communities, to be in scenes but not of them (so there is some distance), and bring them into his poetry. Of course, charisma and sociability help one do these things. But I wonder if Tim would argue that Andrews succeeds in inviting and including the reader in his poetry and if not, then whom? Which poets achieve this inclusion?
So I am defining 'the social' not as abstract content but living form -- exemplified by O'Hara's famed mobility: textual, cultural, psychical -- whereas Andrews sees words abstractly as concrete building blocks, the material of 'the social field'. For Andrews language is 'the social'. For O'Hara everything can be social, i.e. poetry.
I've long admired Frank O'Hara -- and even more so since I was unable to find a dozen Bay Area poet peeps to volunteer to show their nekkid backsides for a play I wrote for Small Press Traffic earlier this year. Larry Rivers' portrait of Frank, full-frontally nekkid, is something I quite appreciate for many reasons. I would write 20 pages expositoring and exposing why but I'ma sobriety-challenged as I write this. Too bad as it'd be quite a brilliant essay. Meanwhile, dear David, here's a wiggling wingtip.
Drunken Boxing Postscripts:
1) To Jack: Om right back at you, Sweetie.
2) To Gary: Say, but but but didn't Sei write from behind a fan? (A topic close to my heart, peeps, since I write my blog from behind a fan, too, or did you all think that notwithstanding that this blog is appropriately about me, me, me it's really me, me, me that you're reading....? So to speak....)
3) To Michelle: All very nice reading about your trip but the point is where's my pasalubong (didja find a sword?) and when you gonna come back to cook for me, me, me?
4) To Gabe: If the two of you are ever in the same bar, tea shop or cafe, I hope you sit down at a table together so I can buy you both a round.
5) To Jean: Girlfriend!!!!! You is writing mucho powerful poems, Sweetie! (Or, comadre, is that mucha powerful poems?) You go! with poems like these (the indents may not come through here, in which case, just go to her blog for accurate formatting and more wunnderful poems):
what is vulnerable
the damaged flow
crush time for the nerves
freak time for a rack
and the bones talking smack
or luscious desuetude
necklace of emoticons strung on your screen
smiley big grin frownie ironic lascivious puzzled pissed
can i con you
with this line do you think this : )
is me can i write to your body instead
of your mind; will it hear me with your
skin, read me with the hair
on the back of your neck
6) To ALL OF YOUSE: I'ma gonna reprint here a very important e-mail that arrived as I was concluding this post so I take it as a symbol for me to further spread the word:
Summi Kaipa and Noah Eli Gordon read this Sunday in Boston
Sunday / June 1st / 5pm
30 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617 354-5201 or 1-800-899-2202
Summi Kaipa received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. Her first chapbook, The Epics, was published by Leroy Press in December 1999. Critical and creative works have appeared in In These Times, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Rain Taxi, St. Mark's Poetry Project Newsletter, Chain, Rhizome, Kenning, Combo and Fourteen Hills Review. This year, Kaipa (with Eileen Tabios) was awarded the 2002 Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, administered by New Langton Arts, for the project, Intercept: To Thwart, Cradle, Exchange, a project promoting Asian American literary arts. As part of the project, Kaipa invited Tabios to guest edit an issue of Interlope (#8), themed around Filipina/o American writers. Kaipa lives in San Francisco, where she works for the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, serves on the board of Rova:Arts (the nonprofit umbrella of the Rova Saxophone Quartet), and is a co-curator of the Alliance of Emerging Creative Artists (www.thisisaeca.org).
Noah Eli Gordon is one of the editors for Baffling Combustions. His first book, The Frequencies, is forthcoming from Tougher Disguises Press. Recent poems are forthcoming from Hambone, Volt, Syllogism and others. His reviews and criticism appear in or are forthcoming from Sentence, The Poker, Raintaxi, Boston Review, Slope, Jacket, Word for Word, and others. He is the publisher of a new chapbook series through Braincase press, featuring silk-screened covers by the artist Michael Labenz. Look for chapbooks from Nick Moudry, Sara Veglahn and Juliana Leslie late this summer. Noah lives in Northampton, MA.
POETRY!!! THAT CREATURE IS ALIVE!!!!!
with prettily sharpened teeth!
Oh, wait: it's just the w(h)ine....
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
AFTER "CINDY'S BACKSTREET KITCHEN"
posted by EILEEN |
As expected, Rena and Penny brought over a fabulous bottle for dinner: the 1987 Caymus (Napa Valley) cabernet. Yummy with papaya and avocado salad, rabbit tostadas and grilled salmon. To accompany dessert of an upside down pineapple cake, Rena and I had the 1992 Muscatel de Setubel, Alambre, J.M. de Fonseca. I found it interesting; Penny had a sip and found it like medicine. I take it, however, she enjoyed her 10-year-old port from Quinta do Pardo, Ferreira.
[As I write this, I can't help but think of wonderful poet Sandra Simonds who had written to say reading my blog tends to make her hungry. Hi Sandra -- I miss your poems and interviews!]
So, as soon as I finish this post, I'm supposed to e-mail Rena with the site addy of this blog. Which is to say, how should I introduce WinePoetics to someone who may just read this blog now for the first time? How can I explain the fallen angels; the narcissistic long-haired and long-lashed persona who can't cook, drive or remember birthdays; the "peeps"; the six million peeps!; the eroticized drivel; the tales from a book in the future entitled Adventures of a Wife; the post-avante poetry guard (coz this impish one *Filipinized* Langpo?); my David "I Adore Younger Men" Hess; -- ALL THESE FICTIONS (except for David, of course) MASQUERADING AS MY POETICS!!!!
Oh, fuhgeddabout it! Rena, read this post and the penultimate one. Read anything else written beforehand and you'll only get a headache. So don't say I didn't cheerfully warn you! I am Ms. WinePoetics! The source of many many hangover-like head pains!*
Cheers and thanks for the grub!
*I should dutifully add that many fine wines are fine partly because they do not engender headaches (typically due to sulfites in wine). The referenced headache here would be from the "Poetics" -- not "Wine" -- aspect of WinePoetics. Kapisch?
DRIVING PRACTICE AND AUDACIOUS IMAGINATIONS
posted by EILEEN |
I just finished reading poet Jennifer Clement's biography, Widow Basquiat, about Jean-Michel and his lover and muse, Suzanne. There's a character, Rammelzee, about which Clement wrote:
"Rammellzee invented a new language called 'Iconoclast Panzerism'. He says that he was put on Earth to smash the written word apart. He explains that all the letters of the English language come from social change, patriarchal societies, economics and history. He calls himself 'Gangster Prankster'. He explains that his name 'Ramm Ell Zee' means 'ramming the elevation of the way we read from left to right like a Z'. He believes that the written letter in the Western alphabet is a reflection of a culture and philosophy that does not suit him..."
I used to feel this way about English. I'm allowed: I am also a Filipino English-language poet.
But I now love English. I am also Ms. Winepoetics!
Anyway, dinner tonight will be with Rena Rosenwasser; perhaps she'll bring a bottle from her wine cellar (a cellar that does meet my very exacting standards). I have eaten and drinken finely with Rena many times, but some of you will know her as also one of the co-founders of Kelsey Street Press. But how do I know of Rena's cellar, some of you are no doubt wondering. No doubt....Well! I shall answer!
When I moved from New York to the Bay Area, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge wanted me to meet the Kelsey Street Press peeps. Why not? And then, having lived in New York for nearly 20 years and not driving during that period, I had to re-learn and practice how to drive a car! (I still can't parallel park very well -- mishaps from that being fodder for another day's story). But for nearly three years, I volunteered at Kelsey Street Press because it's based in Berkeley, CA and its location gave me a reason to drive a car once a week from San Francisco to Berkeley! From such random causal relationships has Kelsey Street Press's authors benefited from having my wise presence behind the scene for various administrative duties -- all because, as someone who works at home, I needed a reason to learn how to drive.
That's how I also met such wonderful Kelsey authors, including Barbara Guest -- about whom Rena today asked me to spread the word (I guess she heard my blog is read by six million peeps). So, here's spreading the word:
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in conjunction with Kelsey St. Press, presents
AUDACIOUS IMAGINATION: A TRIBUTE TO BARBARA GUEST
Sunday, June 29
Reception to Follow
Berkeley Art Museum
2625 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA
Poets and visual artists celebrate the work of poet Barbara Guest on the occasion of the publication of her two latest books:
Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing, and
Durer in the Window
These two collections of essays on art and poetics illuminate Guest's use of painting from ancient Japanese Genji scrolls to Picasso, Delacroix to Frankenthaler--as inspiration and example for her own work. She has written, "the physical extravagance of paint, of enormous canvases can cause a nurturing envy in the poet that prods his greatest possession, the imagination, into an expansion of its borders." Guest's career spans five decades, from her association with the New York School in the 1950s to the present, and twenty-four books of poetry; in 1999 she was awarded the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Poetry Society of America.
Poet Ann Lauterbach will introduce the event followed by a number of presenters, each one reading a favorite Guest poem selected from her entire oeuvre. Participants include the following poets and artists:
Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing (Kelsey St. Press) is a collection of Guest's essays on poetics spanning three decades. John Ashbery has written that these essays "are among the most inspiring works of their kind." Durer in the Window (Roof Books) is a compilation of Guest's art reviews and essays from the 1950s to the present accompanied by full-color reproductions of the relevant artworks.
I'LL START OUT INNOCENTLY....THEN IF YOU SCROLL DOWN, HERE'S MORE SEX STUFF
posted by EILEEN |
Thanks to Gary Sullivan for input on my poems (and poetic approach to) the Philippines' first woman general Gabriela Silang -- and specifically a poem on her/me feeding goldfish by a fountain. Your attention and feedback made me look at that poem with fresh eyes, wonder if it ain't so bad after all....and now it's in the Times New Roman anthology referenced below.
Incidentally, the odd (funny) thing is that the press release sent out by editor Todd Swift had a typo (which I've corrected) in the first paragraph where the word "public" had been spelled as "pubic".....:
NTHPOSITION'S TIMES NEW ROMAN ANTHOLOGY NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
Nthposition.com -- the London-based online magazine which was active in promoting peaceful poetic protest during the anti-war campaign -- has now released a ground-breaking e-book anthology of poems against 21st century empire. The anthology -- which it is hoped will be shared with poets and readers world-wide -- is meant to continue to keep the issues raised by US/UK/UN occupation of Iraq in the public eye.
Mainstream media attention has drifted since the heady days of protest in January and March, now nearly as much a mirage as the non-existent WOMD used as a pretext for the illegal war on Iraq. By focusing on poems which relate to themes of empire, colonization and anti-globalization, TIMES NEW ROMAN provides a rallying cry to those not just opposed to "war" but unchecked superpower expansion - and proposes a new role for poets, when being against war is no longer enough in itself.
The collection can be found at http://www.nthposition.com/timesnew.html in a form suitable for reading onscreen. It also features powerful never-before-seen photos from the 1968 protests in Paris in stark counterpoint. A chapbook version -- which can be easily printed, copied and made into books for personal use or public readings -- will be online end-of-week. Everyone is encourage to copy and host these books on their own sites. We would like to better our record, which saw Nthposition's 100 Poets Against The War downloaded over 150,000 times, and inspired readings and demonstrations from Tokyo to Toronto, Seattle to Oxford, Moscow to New York.
The poets in the collection are from Australia, Canada, Iraq, Ireland, India, the UK and the United States, among other places. They offer a spectrum of compelling voices, from emerging to well-known, from traditional to avant-garde, and have all kindly donated their work to this project. They are:
Adam Dressler, Audrey Ogilvie, Barbara Jane Reyes, Brentley Frazer, Catherine Kidd, Cathy Barber, Charles Bernstein, Todd Colby, Clive Matson, Daphne Gottlieb, Eleni Zisimatos Auerbach, Eileen Tabios, Eva Salzman, Fadel K Jabr, Fred Johnston, Geraldine Mills, Gloria Frym, H Masud Taj, Hal Sirowitz, Hêlen Thomas, Jason Dennie, Jeet Thayil, Katerina Fretwell, John W Sexton, Ken Waldman, Kevin Higgins, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Vincent Tinguely, Lucy English, Luisa Igloria, Ryk McIntyre, Michael Brown, Graywyvern, Moez Surani, Bob Holman, Paradise aka Richard Moore, Patrick Chapman, Penn Kemp, Philip Hyams, Ranjit Hoskoté, Richard Peabody, Rip Bulkeley, Robert Davidson, Ruth Fainlight, Thad Rutkowski, rYAN kAMSTRA, Sampurna Chattarji, Allen Cohen, Sharlie West, June Shenfield, Sherry Chandler, Sina Queyras, Sue Littleton, Susan Millar Dumars, Thom World Poet, Tom Phillips, Tony Brown, Tony Lewis-Jones, Vicki Hudspith, Winona Baker, Martin Galvin, Charlotte Muse
Times New Roman: Poets Oppose 21st Century Empire
So, speaking of "pubic" instead of (or, not just) "public.... I'm still unpacking things from my move from NY to the Bay Area. This morning, I'm unpacking some books....well, let me back up. You see (sip: morning coffee), for the past 3 years I'd been building this home in Napa Valley. Construction (this phase) ended about 6 weeks ago and I've been unpacking things since then. And, this morning, I'm unpacking some books to put on some shelves. Actually, I'd taken these books out perhaps a year ago from storage, but I couldn't shelve them until now. Why, you six million peeps ask? Sip.
Because they're books that I'd used for some research many years ago on sexual dominant/submissive psychology and I couldn't shelve them until AFTER construction ended because my construction workers are either Mormon or Born-Again-Christian [deep breath]....which is good for anti-filching concerns but not necessarily if I ask them to reconfigure bookshelves that would require them to take down books....and then have them see the titles .... and walk off the dang job, the house still unfinished with toilets, windows, et al missing.
Sip. Can you imagine the hubby coming to me with an irritated red face querying, "Why did our workers walk off without completing the house?" Sip. His "dream house," by the way, peeps.
And moi innocently turning my lovely non-tomato-like complexion towards Tom to reply, Uh -- maybe they didn't like the cover to in the box called pleasure, a short story collection by Kim Addonizio?
And said hubby riposting, Eh? To which I'd point at Kim's cover of a pair of ankles in black high heels strapped together, I believe....
Sip. Actually, I had good intentions but I never actually read half the books I acquired for research. Perhaps it was after laughing convulsively over too many "scenes" (pun intended for you cognoscenti in this area). Sip.
But, to answer a question from one of you peeps, here are some of the books I'd used for research on that topic long ago. As you can tell, I am not an "academic."
Oh, but wait -- and six million peeps sigh. Before I continue, some of you have heard this story before, but let me repeat for my relatively new readership. Sip. The reason, of course, that I got interested in dominance/submission has nothing to do with sex but with psychology (hmmm....or was it the other way around? Anyway). It all began when I read this article in the NYTimes about some club in Japan where it's basically a large room. The club was patronized by very powerful men -- politicians, chief executives at major companies, et al. And what the men would do would go to the club, strip themselves naked, and put on over-sized diapers. Then they'd climb into these oversized baby prams that would be pushed by women clad in stereotyped nanny costumes (I guess that'd be like white aprons over black skirts....I assume mini skirts, though). And that's all that would happen in this club: women pushing prams of old men pretending to be babies. Apparently, it did a humongous amount of business. Sip.
So after I burst out laughing, I then collected myself (so to speak) and in a more cool frame of mind, started wondering what that was all about. And, thus, got engaged in this "research" project....as for the Japanese club, its practice offered a source of much relaxation (eroticized) for men who had to face much pressure in their daily lives. Fascinating, eh, the manifestations of .... quirks? Anyway, I then thought to research how "non-vanilla" sex got to be .... non-vanilla, and acquired these books, some of which I did read....and others I thought I'd toss about on various nooks and crannies for the hubby to stumble across, shake his head, and mutter to himself (something I suspect he has muttered much during the years), "Who is this woman I married?" (Well, if he responds another way, do you think I'd tell you? Li Bloom -- you know I'm really writing this *yet another hubby tale* for you, right? Mebbe I should concoct an essay collection: My Adventures As A Wife):
The Master's Manual: A Handbook of Erotic Dominance by Jack Rinella
The Real Thing by William Carney (cover: black whip)
Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance & Submission by Gloria G. Brame, William D. Brame and Jon Jacobs (cover: legs in high-heeled leather boots)
The Correct Sadist by Terence Sellers
Bound to be Free: The SM Experience by Charles Moser and JJ Madeson
Masochism: A Jungian View by Lyn Cowan
Adultery by Louise DeSalvo
The Best American Erotica (1997) ed. by Susie Bright [well, I guess I did this research project in about 1997]
The Marketplace: the slave, the trainer by Laura Antoniou writing as "Sara Adamson" [huh. I digress to ask: if the book mentions both names, what's the point of the pseudonym, I ask you]
Topping From Below by Laura Reese [I love that phrase coz it's....Taoist]
Ties That Bind: The SM/Leather/Fetish/Erotic Style Issues, Commentaries and Advice by Guy Baldwin
Black Feathers by Cecilia Tan
The Mammoth Book of New Erotica ed. by Maxim Jakubowski
SM Visions: The Best of Circlet Press ed. by Cecilia Tan
An Adultery by Alexander Theroux
The Ecstatic Moment: The Best of Libido ed. by Marianna Beck and Jack Hafferkamp
Against Sadomasochism; A Radical Feminist Analysis ed. by Robin Ruth Linden, Darlene R. Pagano, Diana E.H. Russell and Susan Leigh Star
an awful coffeetable picture book on Kama Sutra published by BarnesandNoble
DEEP DOWN: The New Sensual Writing By Women ed. by Laura Chester
The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection by Judith Butler
Woman Native Other by Trinh T. Min-ha
In the Name of Love: Women, Masochism, and the Gothic by Michelle A. Masse
Now, I don't recall that these 4 titles were part of the "research" but they found their way onto the same hidden box (box hidden from the religious construction workers, that is):
Topping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
"Life is painful, nasty and short...in my case it has only been painful and nasty" -- Djuna Barnes: An Informal Memoir by Hank O'Neal
Damage by Josephine Hart
The Sexual Life of Catherine M. by Catherine Millet [ouch on those splinters in buttocks, Catherine honey!]
I won't go through these books now, just shelve them (this is a post about shelving books, right?). But if I recall, there were quite a few theories within these texts that I didn't just snicker over but found questionable. And I didn't read them all (I couldn't bear to read them all.) So, please peeps: don't assume I am recommending all of the books above .... but here's a poetics statement: I believe a poet should read ... everything.
Meanwhile, Sandy is trying to teach me -- by e-mail -- how to pronounce the word "perspicacity." And during said e-mail conversation, he mentions a quote (perhaps by P.G. Wodehouse but this morning we're both too senile to recall) that seems fitting for this post:
"I trust that time doth not wither, nor custom stale my infinite variety."
Count on it, peeps. My variety is infinite. Preen.*
*such a frisson to use that word again which I haven't used in, it seems, a while. I really must preen more over myself....
Monday, May 26, 2003
posted by EILEEN |
A new blog! Please welcome "MHP Blogs!" -- the group-authored blog from Marsh Hawk Press (or MHP) -- to poetry blogland.
It's hot off the cyber-press so various details may change, but here's the blog description for now:
A blog by members of Marsh Hawk Press, a poetry collective and press: Jane Augustine, Patricia Carlin, Sharon Dolin, Ed Foster, Thomas Fink, Burt Kimmelman, Sandy McIntosh, Eileen Tabios, Madeline Tiger, and Harriet Zinnes. Marsh Hawk Press's books present forms and sensibilities that have assimilated modern and post-modern traditions but expand from these without political or aesthetic bias, outside of "schools" yet with affinities to the visual arts.
Here's a sample post after the first day of blogging:
Is This a Blurb From The Times Literary Supplement?
Mike Heller recently alerted us to the following:
This just in from Times Literary Supplement (May 2, 2003):
"Meaningless poetry blurbs, an occasional series. Serious Pink is a new collection by Sharon Dolin, published by Marsh Hawk Press of New York. The poems themselves, which were inspired by abstract paintings, are possibly enchanting, but most readers will not progress beyond the recommendation by Tomaz Salamun: 'Dolin's passion offers us a coast where she blows up our souls with longing. Everything that happens is a gift. The place, the wind, the colours. Welcome happy avid eyes.'" (-- J.C., NB column)
Sharon cheerfully replies: "I think there is something hugely funny about my book being singled out in this way, and having Tomaz's blurb, which is a little surrealist poem-in-prose dissed like this in the intellectual paper of record in England..... I, of course, want to use "possibly enchanting" as a future blurb on a book."
Sip. Oh! She should toast the new blog! So she raises a glass goldened by liquid -- tonight, the 1999 Kistler Dutton Ranch chardonnay. Cheers!
Sunday, May 25, 2003
SUNDAY IS FOR RELIGION
posted by EILEEN |
The more that I practice Poetry (yes, Poetry is a Practice for me), the less I understand it. It's time for me to step back a bit...
and admit that I need to take back everything I've ever said on this blog as regards Poetry (all 2,000+ pages since January, can you believe the length of my bladder, uh, blather!), even the "truth"...
SHE BECOMES A SNAKE AND SWALLOWS HER TAIL
The only statements I stand by are the recommendations I've ever made as regards wine since....
THIS IS WINEPOETICS!
I recently tasted and recommend:
1998 Reverie Special Reserve Cabernet
2000 Chase Zinfandel (not a very well known wine, but the pedigree is logically fine, if only because Joel Chase is from the Hayne Family who owns some of the best vineyards in the area)
This weekend, I also visited Quintessa Vineyard, a relatively new operations. I tasted their 1995 and 1998 Bordeaux-style cabernet blends. The 1998 was smooth, refined and much better than the 1995, which bodes well for the future of this vineyard. I'm glad, in part because I absolutely adore their vineyard buildings. I confess that I dropped by primarily because, for the past two years, I'd driven by and admired their winery which was designed by Walker Warner Architects of San Francisco. If you're in the area -- and even if you aren't planning to taste their wines (tastings are by appointments only), drive by the hillside along Silverado Trail near Rutherford in Napa Valley. Their winery is also luscious on the eyes.
Saturday, May 24, 2003
posted by EILEEN |
One of you actually bothered to write to express amazement at my prior post (wassamatter: you don't think I can be dignified?!) -- you gotta remember, though, that my husband rarely reads my blog where I clearly do not practice a poetics of dignity. But anyway, I also now understand why Tom was trying to speak reality yesterday by speaking (wishfully) that I have "much dignity." Because, last night, I had to play "corporate spouse" (yawn) and join him at a dinner for another client (a very major client, as it turns out). Actually, I shouldn't say I yawned since the peeps ended up being quite nice. How do I define "nice"? They wanted copies of my poetry book. Sip. Diet Coke. And then! One of the legal peeps requested a poetry reading after dinner. I had to be "dignified" and couldn't say what I wanted to say: NOOOOOO!!! (I can just imagine these bright legal minds raising a finger to note, Uh, Eileen -- but you were contradicting yourself within that same paragraph.....and then I'd have to give a poetics lecture on "Poetry = Paradox" and probably cause Tom to lose the client!) Fortunately, we all drank so much he forgot about his request. Anyway, here's a cutnpaste of last night's dinner menu, accompanied by wines which were all fabulous:
House Smoked Duck Breast with Citrus Marmalade
Olive Tapanade on Crostini
Salmon Tar Tar on Gaufrette
Shaved Asparagus Salad with Grand Old Man & Sherry Vinaigrette
Forni Brown Greens with Local Goat Cheese & Candied Walnuts
Quinoa Salad with Mint, Cucuber & Roasted Red Onions
Entrees [possibly, I was supposed to choose but I had both]:
Pan Roasted Halibut with Ragout of Fava Beans, Sweet 100 Tomatoes & Wild Mushrooms
Rib Roast with Wilted Greens & Cabernet Reduction Jus
Cherry Clafouti with Vanilla Bean Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
1997 Peter Michael "Cuvee Indigene" chardonnay
1999 Kistler Dutton Ranch chardonnay
1995 Seavey Cabernet
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Cuvee Lola
R.L. Buller & Son Premium Fire Muscat Victoria
Friday, May 23, 2003
posted by EILEEN |
Just now, the hubby looks at me and sez, "You know. You're aging with much dignity."
Yeah: I thought that'd be good for a laugh.
Have a good weekend, peeps.
Thursday, May 22, 2003
SOMETHING RARE: ME TALKING ABOUT MYSELF (AS LOVE GASPS)
posted by EILEEN |
I versi del poeta innamorato non contano. [The verses of a poet in love do not count."]
Perhaps just as the poems of a poet in love doesn't matter, neither should the poems of a poet diluting wine with tears....
--Ms. WinePoetics to the poet who introduced her to Flaiano's comment
Sip. Well, since I haven't done much of this, let me do this: let me talk about myself talking about myself talking about myself...okay? Six million peeps look at their computer screens in astonishment, the majority shaking their heads like swaggy-haired dogs trying to clear hairballs from their ears ("She says she doesn't talk much about herself -- did I hear that right?!")
Sip. So, on talking about myself -- here's a tale that actually started out rather innocently, and then became something else: something much less innocent. Story of my life, ya know ... like that poem unfolding wherever it wishes to go, the poet just clutching on to that tiger's tail....
Sip. Oh, don't let me be remiss and not tell you what I'm drinking and you're not drinking. Tonight is a night for leftover wines: the white is the 1999 Kistler (Dutton Vineyards) chardonnay and the red is the 1998 Turley Howell Mountain Zinfandel (Pringle Family Vineyard). Sip. Now gather 'round peeps and listen to me Irish. So, just for whimbrel's sake, I thought I'd do a poem blog. Love's Last Gasps -- see link. (A "whimbrel," 14th century reference, is a largely brownish chiefly migratory birds (especially genus Numenius) having long legs and a long slender down-curved bill and related to the sandpipers and snipes -- was I the only one who didn't know that?)
Rather than just blog new poems, I thought I'd do poems revolving around a theme. From the ether, I plucked out the theme of Love dying -- in part because it's a theme that's spawned so many bad poems from the past (not that I like judging poems as "good" versus "bad" but please allow me the curatorial convenience of using "bad" as an adjective....and if such don't have your permission, stop reading me and go away. Okay?). So, here I am tonight realizing -- after only nine poems on that blog -- that I, indeed, am in danger of creating my own personal version -- and pallid approximation -- of "Mainstream Poetry Site." Sip. But this issue of mainstreaming my poetry is not now why I'm talking about me talking about me talking about me.
I wanted to talk about my misgiving on writing my "Thoughts" that accompany some of the poems. With this gasping Love blog, I did anticipate that most of those poems would be newly written, so I had thought I'd also add occasional commentary on their first drafts. But now, dither dither....
So innocently did I begin. A sigh with sip. It didn't take too long -- just the seventh poem -- for me to realize I'ma caught in ye olde poetry controversy of the commentary possibly getting in the way of the experience I desire for those reading my poems (first draft or not). That is, I prefer to encourage as unmediated an experience as possible between a reader/listener and the poem (probably something I first learned when, in walking around art galleries, I'd have to be continually distracted and irritated by dealers accompanying me with their commentary on what I am supposedly looking at -- believe me, peeps: art dealers are among the most banal, pretentious, and just plain dumbass sources for "aesthetic" observations). More recently, I've yet to recover from one experience I had when I visited a school to offer a lecture about my poems; my book (Reproductions et al -- see link, then go buy it from SPD) had been an assigned text. Much of the feedback I later received were positive (but of course!), but one pipsqueak -- uh, I mean, peep -- also said, "I loved your poems which I read prior to your visit; your lecture, however, have spoiled their experience for me." Hah! So much for poetics!
Anyway, as regards my poem blog, it's one thing to *comment* -- as I did with the fist poem -- that the narrative references were borrowed (okay, stolen) from another text. It's another thing to offer the kind of comments I did with the seventh poem entitled (working title) "How Can Love Die Without An Anger Poem". Well in order to discuss this point -- thus enabling me to continue talking about me talking about me -- I first must share that poem and my commentary on it:
How Can Love Die Without An Anger Poem
A kid roasts on spit
You know its meat
will suffocate swallows
make belly heave
But you stoke flames with more faggots
as fire leaps
Fingers twitch, anticipating
the sear from melting fat
on quivering hands
raising scorched meat
Repelled mouth refuses flinch
You foretell ... a feeling
your flesh will be the one falling off the bone
Where is your mouth to scream?
THOUGHTS [commentary]: A better title is needed, but this working title explains why I wrote this. I'm developing this blog through poems, but along a narrative of envisioning the aftermath of a romance -- where there are ebbs and flows in the aftermath of emotions, and I'd noticed I hadn't yet written an angry poem....obviously, I should write one since anger is sure to rise in this aftermath. Other thoughts:
1) I relied on short "i" and long "e" sounds because the shapes they cause your lips to form is similar to what is formed when one grits one's teeth
2) The referenced "kid" in first line reflects both young goat and a child, their shared significance being a metaphor (in my mind) for a relationship that will not continue developing
3) The referenced "spit" in first line relates to both the barbecue as well as the saliva -- bile -- of an embittered lover(s)
4) The referenced "swallows" refers to how we may *swallow* our words (perhaps hesitant to speak from anger lest we later regret what we say), but also swallows as small (fragile) birds. Love is often so "small" (in a negative context). And Love is often also fragile...
5) "Faggots" means wood but I also chose it for its context as an insult; still, I'm unsure about its reference to homosexuals, which applicability for this poem I'm still considering (and so may end up replacing that word)
6) The lines "Forego spices" and "Repelled mouth refuses flinch" relate to same concept I noted in the poem "As Days Blur" -- that when lovers argue over betrayal, the one betrayed often demands "specifics", a confrontation with knowledge.
7) The ending two stanzas relate to how (i) there is no satisfaction necessarily found in lashing out in anger; and (ii) as we mull over the end of a relationship, we may turn inward, *eating one's self up*
8) I'm not sure the last line is necessary; I suspect I am keeping it in, for now, because I don't think the penultimate stanza ends strongly enough....
9) As I write out above thoughts, I keep wondering if such commentary is useful. I did intend to do a poem blog with both poems and commentary but I'm realizing I'm not totally comfortable with offering commentary side by side with a poem (that notion of letting the poem speak for itself)....though, I'll keep this commentary in for now....I may refuse to be as open about my own thoughts in future poems. It's not that I wish to be not open; it's just that I think the poem transcends autobiography (including intention)....Still mulling over this issue, its various implications...
So, now I'm dithering. Dither, dither. Do I delete the "THOUGHTS" section altogether or not? Some of my commentary are rather obvious. But, more importantly, I was dithering over whether the comments were horrific distractions. Fortunately, I heard from some of mah peeps. Dude-prof Tom Fink says he actually likes the commentary as it has "courage and pizzazz." Well, okay: far be it for me to not emulate brave pizza.
Sip. Actually, the commentary is brave, isn't it? At least, based on the workshop comments Tom aptly provided for a still half-baked poem. (Yeah, right, like I wanted to hear less-than-adulatory comments from you....but, okay, will swallow my spit! Sip.)
Seriously (yeah, right), Tom did provided some very helpful "workshop" comments on the poem which, when I've drunk more, I shall be sure to peruse carefully. Meanwhile, thanks professor-dude (for one, I think your comment on the ending works!).
I also heard from another professor -- someone I'm glad to hear from as she's not a creative writing or poetry teacher. Which is to say, I also like knowing how my poems affect readers who are not in the "poetry world." Leny Strobel offered a response that partly reminds me of the peep-squeak who said hearing my "poetics" ruined the previously positive experience of reading my poems on their own:
"Reading the poem before the 'thoughts', I was seared by the strong images which didn't necessarily come across as anger to me. I lingered along the lines trying to fathom what and who is talking to me or how I can make the words talk to me, bring out something from the sleeping depths and rouse me to a similar passion. And so it was in this 'state' that the 'thoughts' interrupted me. It momentarily stopped my reverie and shifted my thinking into considering what the writer of the poem had intended the poem to be or do. So then I started dialoguing with the thoughts instead of the poem itself. On the other hand, it helps for someone like me to see the poetics and how poets re-consider first drafts. I think if I were to use the poem/thoughts format for a class, I'd probably hold-off in presenting the thoughts until the reader has fully allowed herself to be consumed by the poem alone. Just my 'first thoughts'."
Hmmmmm..... Ya know, it's interesting, too, for me to watch my own reactions now as I talk about me talking about me talking about me. (And I'ma sure it's equally interesting to you peeps.) Which is: I need to really let go let go let go. Just do the damn poem blog....and trust the readers on how they may or may not inhale/exhale my "THOUGHTS," in the same way that poets can't really control how their poems can be read.
Why do I make my life so much more complicated?!
Sip. Actually, glug.
Now, not quite on this matter but still on my dying love blog, poet and novelist Bino Realuyo also wrote. I think I'll let him have the last word; Ms. WinePoetics is, after all, quite Venusian. So Bino sez:
just read ur blogapoems. hmmm... beautiful structure. and the substance--why last gasps? why dying love? love should never die. i hope love grows back, in another form at least. or love finds away to regrow, and multiply. ur supposed to be so in love. love goddess.
Thanks Bino. I think the Love Goddess should go google a love poem for my Mainstream....cough, Love's Last Gasps site.
Pause. Sips with pause.
I just giggled, uh, googled. Here's an edited googlism poem. I dedicate it to peeps out there who mayhaps are experiencing romantically-related angst and, thus, in the middle of feeling empathy with what Mexican artist Fabian Ugalde painted on his work now hanging in my dining room: "Love is just a biochemical reaction."
unrequited is a bladed word
unrequited is owned and operated
unrequited is so much more pretty than unwanted
unrequited is the moving story of a love that wasn't meant to be
unrequited is a crushing yoke; but if you see love as a game...
unrequited is the worst state to be aware of
unrequited is a damp match at the worst possible time
unrequited is something that crops up in your songs
unrequited is all i see
unrequited is star
unrequited is a different story
unrequited is a tune that reminds me of time spent in geneva
unrequited is a two part invention for piano
unrequited is an acute tension that worked baudelaire to the bone
unrequited is a bladed word
unrequited is underscored with both rumbling bass baritones and lilting vocals
unrequited is quelled
unrequited is so meltingly done
unrequited is my longing for a name i dare not say
unrequited is far more important then what is
unrequited is up to the gentle reader
unrequited is the saddest love of all
unrequited is not annulled simply by graciousness
unrequited is always worth cherishing
unrequited is not love
[UPDATE: Shortly after she finishes writing this post, she receives Merriam-Webster's e-mailed word of the day:
cockalorum \kah-kuh-LOR-um\ noun
1: a boastful and self-important person
*2 : boastful talk
It causes her to look up towards the poker-playing angels. She frowns as she asks, "Are y'all making fun of me?" The fallen angels declump their lashes to look down at her, but otherwise don't bother to reply.]
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
SOME COOKIES ARE GREAT, SOME COOKIES SHOULD CRUMBLE
posted by EILEEN |
Ode to Newman-O’s
You might, m’lady
tweak my nose.
You could, m’lord
step on my toes.
But Heaven help
those poor bozos,
who try to filch
So there I was quite enjoying Newman’s Own Organics’ version of the Oreo cookie -- it's a delightful and superb improvement on the original! It uses Organic Palm Oil which, as the back “cover” notes:
--is not hydrogenated
--contains no trans-fatty acids
--is lower in saturated fat than butter and no cholesterol
--is widely used in Europe as an alternative to partially hydrogenated oils
--is extracted from the palm’s fruit not the palm’s kernel
--can be grown organically in tropical regions.
Now, I don’t know what all of that means as I don’t pay attention to fat, calories et al since -- as I’ve lovingly told the hubby Tom: “I’m married; what do I care what I look like?” But, yadda and whatever, Newman-O’s is way better: it’s as good as the original but it doesn’t come off as greasy, or I guess “fatty” would be the better word. So I’ma sitting here popping these Newman-O’s (at least eight in a row) and what totally decimates my cheer?!! [And do picture me seeeeething as I write this over the loss of my said cheer!]
This e-mail about last night’s state dinner at the White House. Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post coverage in an article by Beth Buchanan and Peter Carlson entitled “Dinner With Two Tough Cookies”:
President Bush and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo used last night's state dinner at the White House to talk tough about fighting terrorism.
The visit, Bush said in his toast, affirms "our strong friendship, our common commitment to fighting terror, and our shared determination to promote freedom."
The tiny Arroyo, who stands 4 feet 11 inches tall, drank to that and offered a toast of her own, calling for "an ever-widening partnership of the good to complete the greater task of the coalition of the willing."
Bush praised Arroyo as "a fierce fighter of terrorism in your own country. You've earned the respect of the American people for your resolve. And after September the 11th, you were one of the first leaders to contact me and express your strong support for the war against terror. And you have not wavered."
"Friends stand by each other," she responded. "In times of crisis, friends do not ask why. They ask how."
The event, large on politics and small on glitz, was only the third state dinner hosted by Bush, who generally prefers more informal meals with visiting heads of state.
"This is the president's way of saying thank you to . . . the Philippines for their stalwart efforts in fighting the war on terror, for being such a good and reliable ally to the United States," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer recently told reporters.
The Philippine government supported the invasion of Iraq, although the Pacific island nation was not willing to actually fight in the war. It is engaged in its own battle with Muslim guerrillas, who have staged numerous bombings and kidnappings in recent years.
In February the Pentagon announced that it intended to send 1,700 Marines and Special Forces troops to fight with the Philippine army against the guerrillas. But those plans were put on hold when Filipino opponents claimed that the plan violated constitutional limitations on the use of foreign troops. Now the mission is being called a training exercise.
"It's not a combat experience, it's a training experience," said Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as he walked into the state dinner last night.
The total guest list to this dinner is posted over at The Wily Filipino site. This dinner, peeps, reflects a failure in politics, policies et al by this lame duck president of the Philippines, as well as her presidential predecessors. And dear GMA, I hope you don't believe what Pres. Bush is saying about how you've just "earned the respect of the American people for your resolve." Honey, most Americans do not know you or care to know who you are; when you visit the Bay Area where you maintain an expensive home (?), I still will get better treatment than you will at any of the Bay Area's fine restaurants, kapisch?! (relatedly, check out the Washington Post's description of our shared birthland as an "island nation" -- YO WASHINGTON POST!!! The Philippines is a nation of over 7,100 islands -- with actual number depending on whether it's low tide or high tide, okay?!)
Dangit, I'ma so ready to drink now!
Then, synchronistically following the report on this dinner comes another e-mail with a first-hand report from someone attending a “peace process” in Mindanao now endangered by the Arroyo/Bush war rhetoric. The report -- note the bold-faced reference, pleaze -- states:
I attended a Mindanao wide peace conference held in Cagayan de Oro City on May 13 and 14. The conference was organized by INPEACE-Mindanao. INPEACE MINDANAO is a broad-based, inter-faith, ecumenical and multisectoral peace movement that facilitates Mindanao-wide peace initiatives through peace forums, dialogues and conferences, prayer rallies, and other grassroots action.
The reason for launching the conference is the escalating violent situation in Mindanao, which among others include series of bombing, military operations and counter strikes by the MILF, the continuing Balikatan exercises. On top of this the peace talks with all rebel groups are nearly stalled and Bush clearly supports the war rhetoric of Arroyo.
The conference objectives were:
1) To provide a venue for Mindanao leaders to exchange views/opinions, analysis on the current situation and urgent peace issues in Mindanao;
2) To draw out common Mindanao peace action-responses, resolutions and sustaining activities;
3) To issue and to popularize a Mindanao Leaders Manifesto for Peace that embodies the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Mindanao
178 persons from all over Mindanao, including a relatively big number of Moro people, attended the conference. The reports on the peace or un-peace situation and the discussions of the actions to be taken were very substantial. Understandably the Moro people were very vocal and explained their struggle in the historical context of centuries of oppression and exploitation.
The conference came up with about resolutions for immediate action among which one of the most important is a thorough study on the background and perpetrators of the series of bombings in Mindanao and the background of the latest series of military operations against the Moro people. A unity statement was approved at the end of the conference. This statement is hereby attached.
Foreign groups will be invited in the fact finding on the bombings and military operations against the Moro people. It would be good to discuss how PIF can participate in this.
Manila-based politicians have not adequately addressed Mindanao's development needs -- it's a long story, even as it regurgitates the themes of an old story: how poverty foments a breeding ground for terrorists. How about going after terrorists with bread (or rice) instead of guns! Duh....
So, speaking of food, one of you peeps wanted my response to the menu at last night’s state dinner which was reported as:
The menu combined American and Filipino food. "It was like a marriage of the two countries," said assistant White House chef and native Filipino Cris Comerford. The menu began with Maine scallops, Maryland crabs and gazpacho, washed down with Pride Mountain Viognier 2001. The next course was Bellewether Farm lamb, achiote polenta and fresh fava beans, washed down with DuMOL pinot noir "Finn" 2000. A salad course featured avocado, tomato and goat's cheese terrine with Calamansi dressing. Dessert was a mango coconut lei and baked pineapple with sesame crumb, chased with Schramsberg Cremant 1999.
You all may recall that I just visited Pride Mountain this past weekend (see 5/18/03 post). I replied to that peep:
Yes, I know 2 of the 3 wines mentioned. I actually just sampled the Pride Viognier -- arguably the best Viognier I've ever tasted (I loved it though I'm not usually a fan of this grape). I'm sure the Schramsberg was fabulous. All in all, the wines were much too good to be served for this purpose. I can't believe tax dollars were used for this ridiculousness -- a dinner to celebrate the shortsighted (pun intended) "I Will Crush You" approach to addressing the needs of one's constituency.*
I resent the fine wines drank as if these politician peeps deserve a reward. Which is to say: I REALLY REALLY REALLY RESENT THAT MY -- OUR -- TAX DOLLARS WERE USED TO FINANCE THIS DINNER FOR A POLITICIAN WHO PUNTED ON ASKING THE QUESTION: “WHY?”
* My original response was first posted on Pagbabalikloob, a listserve for addressing issues related to decolonialism. Decolonialism scholar Leny Strobel replied: "Hi, Eileen -- A cultural studies scholar can have a lot of fun with this write-up -- from the wine to the entourage to the diminutive references, etc. You've just written the first paragraph:-)." Thanks Leny, you are a lovely Peep. We also both know how we Pin@ys often lapse to humor because of ... despair.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
PAINTING A POEM WITH A THICKENED BRUSH
posted by EILEEN |
Nick Carbo wants me to play around with coloring words and phrases in Love's Last Gasps. And I'ma like -- Nico! I can't even figure out how to downsize the text in my poem blog, which is why I'm putting below a prose poem that could easily belong over there as it, too, relates to the theme of "Love dying."
Sip. Tonight, the dregs of the 1999 Rosenblum Chardonnay (Lone Oak Vineyards). Unbelievable but after six days in the fridge, it's still good, Peeps.
Anyway, I was telling another poet today that writing happy poems depresses me and writing depressing poems make me happy. I actually mentioned that thought when I read from a series entitled "Crucial Bliss" at City Lights; I'd had the thought that Bliss is crucial and so I should write happy poems. Well, I did write some happy poems but that cause-and-effect got broken soon enough (that series lasted all of eight poems, I think). Did I tell you the hubby often calls me "morose"? Six million peeps are shocked at the revelation, to which response she raises her eyebrow to note the obvious: Surely you realize that I'm quite often cheerful on this blog because I'M DRINKING?!!!?
Sniff. Sip. Anyway, here's a poem. Yadda. If you want to see more minimalistic poems than my prose poems which I write densely in an attempt to write as one paints lush abstract expressionist paintings, go to where Love is gasping as it dies. You also could visit ShampooPoetry whose latest issue features a brief poem that I collaborated on with David "I Miss The Younger Man" Hess. On one level, the prose poem below was actually a study for David's and my poem (it was a version that I began with, before giving David another draft that he then distilled further into what's on Shampoo) -- so, the process could be viewed as how one might paint a canvas replete with images and colors, only to whitewash it down onto an almost all-white canvas. Yadda again! I love painting/writing metaphors!
Anyway, the italicized phrases below are supposed to be indented but, you got it, I can't figure out the html once I'ma past the 2nd glass (okay, I can't figure it out either when I'm sober: so your point is? Just work with me here, peeps. Work with me.):
THE LIVING CANVAS
Sometimes the sunshine lies unbroken against sky so blue a girl would choose it as the color for a bridesmaid's gown. Sometimes the sunshine lies. What does it signify for the sky to convince as color? For instance: blue? Does light discriminate like a girl choosing among the rainbow's complexion for a dress to commemorate a formality? Sometimes a color is chosen for a certain consolation. Or, perhaps compensation. I think of other motivations, e.g. to escape, to heal.
Am I listening to no one talking?
Sometimes the vultures are civil enough to hide and one forgets what one wishes to recede from memory--as when I never listened to your silence so that the halo I placed over you would retain the perfection of a circle. Am I choosing to believe a vulture can change character--even become "civil"--to mollify myself over the role you insist I play if I am to retain your attention? This attempt fails and, once more, I am bereft: is not character an underlying grid, rather than the flux that may or may not surface around its slats--through its formations of the cross?
What is the sound of active mouths hidden among shadows ringing a campfire?
Have I become like a painting-sculpture by Alison de la Cruz? After painting a canvas a lapis lazuli blue, Alison broke its frames so that the painting will never magnetize a wall. It can only huddle on the floor--is this what I have become from recognizing you find utter Beauty in Subjection? Then Abjection? In this manner do I speculate--a snake gnawing its tail--for I have discerned through a difficult pilgrimage that what is glorious must contain elements of astonishment. Much like a curve ending in a broken tip whose dangle draws a void. I say: the perfect circle exists only in mathematical realms--perhaps this is my fashion of agreeing that Beauty becomes visible through flaws which compel the viewer to imagine their reparations. I suspect I may yet reconcile with the poses in which I allowed you to mold my flesh. After all, I barely bled.
Is someone listening to me?
I experienced purity like this seamless atmosphere of light only once before--it was the night you mustered pity and whispered, "Goodbye"--a night unbroken by stars to camouflage vultures swallowing. I imagine the concept of purity--and am unable to prevent myself from questioning whether imagination is a synonym for enlightenment. Sometimes? What I speculate with an utmost fortitude--thereby transforming reverie into physical experience?--is that pity as a revelation scars the observer in a manner that moves a sun to hide behind a cloud, a mountain, a skyscraper, a raised palm. Eyes close, but to a faltering dimness where each layer shed reveals another method for fattening vultures.
Once more, am I attempting redemption
through the failed strategy of conversation?
Thus, have I learned to treasure the limbs of leafless trees rising to mar the sky's canvas of seamless blue light--oh, that statement is a lie! A momentary rebellion before I lapse back to acknowledging: you and I have chosen different ways: winter is rarely the season for transcendence and, once more, the "sky" is mere theory until the assignment of the color blue casts flesh upon its illusion. Have we not heard the "sky" referred to as "ceiling," "brow," "plate" and "canvas"? Still--oh still! --when the weak muster their attempts, do not eyes dampen, whether in admiration or grief?
Do you share my obsession with redemption?
In the etchings of dark lines fracturing space I see the battles drawn by hope, by desire--though sometimes illusions, these are contingencies which should never be chastened: does not winter bring rains to succor growth? With a sigh, I note that characterizing a line as "dark" may be another delusion. Perhaps fractures are the true manifestations of pretty colors (like blue)--do not fractures compel the compassionate to offer their hands? What redeems without lucidity becoming a goat with a slit throat on an altar to a nonexistent god? Perhaps compassion? Perhaps compassion, the necessary predicate to all art, possesses the power to delete the words "chasten" and "chastened" from our shared vocabularies.
Do not stars obviate the dark? With utmost but fragile fortitude, I assert: stars attain radiance from their capacity for forgiveness. I posit (?): compassion illuminates. Reader, have you entered my field? Are you walking among my tall, restless grass; disturbing tiny creatures with the scuff of your boots; inhaling sugarcane; shivering slightly from the onset of night air? Are you overcome by solstice? Have you sacrificed the circle's perfection to become an ellipsis on a picture plane because the bulge of a curve evokes "something about to happen"? Then place your ear meticulously against my whisper: Bow. Bend. Pick something up from the ground.
FOR WHIMBREL'S SAKE, A NEW BLOG: "LOVE'S LAST GASPS"
posted by EILEEN |
She sits there grumbling to herself while chewing her right wingtip. Grumble, grumble. Then AOL announces "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!"
Well, cheer me up, she spits at the screen as she clicks on her new mail. Oh! It's Jack! Who writes:
Meantime for whimbrels' sake, I've found a really inexpensive French sparkling that carries the 'brut' appelation: Opera blanc de blancs (there's an aigu over the e in Opera). It's not ghosty, but it can't stand (or swallow) on its own for long, so sip and then guzzle with cheeses, olives, capers. It's under $10. Follow it up with a Loire rose or a drier than sweet Riesling. And rattle those sabers!
Uh, okay, she thinks (and I'll be danged, Jack, if I know how to type an aigu in blogger). Rattle those sabers. Hmmmm....well, what will cheer me up? she thinks. Oh! I know! Write a poem instead of a blog post! Duh. But, what's a cheerful topic? Oh! I know! Dying love! And she begins to melodramatically swoon off her computer chair but an irritated angel yanks her back up by her uncut hair.
So, okay, Peeps. For whimbrel's sake (what the heck is a whimbrel, Jack), I've started a blog dedicated only to poems. But (in a vain attempt) to discipline myself, I shall limit that blog to poems on the theme of Love dying....
Here's the site: http://loveslastgasps.blogspot.com/
Here's said site's description: Poems inspired by Love dying. Dedicated to You-Know-Who-You-Are (or, This is a Poet's Revenge and Redemption). (Typically first drafts, so commentary -- including my own doubts on the results -- may accompany some poems.)
Now, we all know that dying love has inspired some of the greatest-ly egregious poems out there. I shall try, in fact, to do the opposite of egregious. But, ya know, Love dying is so....egregious.
So fall in love with me (oh, peeps, I know y'all already are)....and now let's have fun with dying love. Another means for oppositional poetics, eh?