Tuesday, December 29, 2009

give me a bowl of serial love

What a ridiculous week-end. Saturday I went to a birthday party and was attacked by an alien sphinx cat; it left me bloodied and undressed me in front of a room full of people. Then Sunday I drove to Connecticut with my buddy, to attend an engagement party. Then we drove back to NYC and went to a cocktail party on the Upper East Side but I was so drained at that point I barely could stay for one drink before I crawled back into my little bear cave. Still, such fun! I wish I had the energy to do this every week-end, but sadly my poems have taken over my life and I really can only be social in intermittent bursts.

Gingerbread man latte, they look even happier than we looked eating them!

I got some really lovely gifts this year -- a framed printing of one of my favorite poems, a heart locket from my father, some amazing cupcake tools from my sis, hysterical comedy mix dvds (genius idea). I put a lot of thought into buying gifts this year but when it came time to wrapping them things weren't as well planned. I got to the drug store late and all they had left was clear easter egg paper and 'congratulations on your wedding' wrapping. So that's what people got.

I went to a cafe today to do some writing and got into a state of mind where I just could not focus normally. I ended up writing a poem on my coffee cup:

On the way home I passed a juice bar and went in for a shot of wheatgrass. It's supposed to detoxify you and etc. but it made me feel funny, like I wanted to dance and sleep at the same time.

Also, I was sniffing around Barnes and Nobles for something to read on this cold night, and found Nick Flynn's newest book 'The Ticking is the Bomb'. I almost fainted with happiness, I didn't think it was coming out until mid-january!

The look on my face is pure luxury, and sad because I know I will devour this book in no time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmastime and Self-Indulgence

So my darling came to visit:

and we had such Christmassy fun! We went to see the Nutcracker, and Lincoln Center was flooded with adorable kids pirouetting across the floors and dusty older people attempting to do the same. Afterwards we went for cocktails at the Waldorf Astoria. Darling had the Millionaires Martini, and I had the Jaded Grasshopper because I like to hop? Either way, I can cross off new cocktails from my 101 in 1,001 list! And I love rubbing fancy elbows, I have 14k splinters!

I spent the early majority of the day re-alphabetizing the poems in my thesis and calculating how many poems I produced per month this semester. I spent the mid majority of the day nervously crying over my thesis and yelling at it because of all the work that needs to be done until it is a real live book. I spent the late majority of the day baking a gingerbread house and drowning my sorrows in the assembly line of jelly beans and snow caps:

Those are gummi frogs surrounding the house, because I didn't want it to be inhabited by boring old gingerbread men. It was occupied by the frogs and I don't really think that's strange at all.

Earlier this month I threw my Christmas dinner party. I basically just baked some lasagnas, sliced some cheese and made a fabulous Croquembouche (care of Martha Stewart). I adored having my lovelies altogether, we had such fun and no one was robbed or sexually violated this time.

She looks like she wants to decapitate me but really she adores me and I adore her!

The number one thing on my Christmas wish list that I didn't actually put on any of the wishlists people asked me to make.

10 Things in my Bedroom Right Now

1. jar of pumpkin pie spice
2. snow globe
3. leopard print pillow
4. empty champagne flute
5. rock from the great wall of china in a ziploc bag
6. typewriter with half a poem in its mouth
7. fake pearl earrings
8, real diamond earrings
9. stack of overdue (stolen?) library books
10. christmas gifts that need to be wrapped
11. my thesis (which has snowspots from when a homeless man burst into the cafe and fluttered the pages all over the storm floor. [I will never alphabetize in public again] )

I keep listening to the audio of this poem on repeat. Seriously, each time I listen to this I think "What's the point of my writing poetry, he just said it all." But then I get selfish and want to go to a dictionary and scoop up every word and keep it for myself. Sometimes I really hate the fact that I have to share this language with everyone. I wish I could just have a secret language that no one speaks, but when they read my poems they would instantly fall into tears and sadness and think of my words as fresh jam and use their limbs as toast and spread my poems all over themselves until they were so sticky and sweet and ridiculous that no one would touch them, and they would be lonely forever but they would be happy. Those are the kinds of poems I want to write.

I've been thinking a lot about if being a "poet" is a choice. I've been crazy about poetry since I was a kid-- I sent out neatly typed poems to some magazines when I was 11 years old, cover letter included, I even notified them that my poems were "simultaneous submissions". But I never considered it a possibility of an actual career until I was 20. Now, 4 (to 5) years later, I am in a place where I consider my future only as poetess. There is no other option. It's almost as though I contracted some horrid disease. I feel like I don't really have a choice in the matter; if I weren't to write poetry, and if poetry weren't my primary focus and my "identity" for the rest of my life, I'd be heartbroken and at a standstill. If it were taken away from me I think I would just freeze in my tracks and look around confused. This annoys me to a large degree -- I've always relished in the freedom of having any career or future at my disposal, I always thought I could be capable of anything and I could do whatever I liked, but now I have a future set in stone. Are there people out there for which poetry is a luxury? Something that could be snipped away to maintain a budget. Something that could be pushed aside to pursue a more lucrative field? I feel like I've contracted some horrible disease, that milks my blood, dries out my brain tissue, exhausts my resources and claims ownership on the rest of my alive years. I love poetry so much, but lately realizing that it is not just a hobby, not just a career, not just a passion but an identity for me. This has made me nervous.

On a different note, my fabulous sister has adopted one of my poems and is turning it into a complicated, amazing creature. (It will be the base of a 15 min performance and interpreted by dance, music and video). She is doing it in Australia, because she thinks the kangaroos are more receptive to art, and also because she will be there for a good while.

So, my first Christmas on the Upper East Side was interesting. I spent it snuggled up with Oliver, as I was puppy sitting. In the morning we went and played in the snow, everyone decked out in designer snowboots, I watched as all the little kids marched down the street with their department store sleds in hand, and I delighted in sneaking onto my balcony and throwing snowballs at unsuspecting passerbys. Also, I drove down to see the gorgeous homes in Dyker Heights, all decked out in elaborate Christmas decorations. It was pretty impressive, but then, I am easily impressed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Procrastination, Psychics, Poetry

I Thought I Was Finished Rewriting My Poem Until I Found Out It's Illegal to Cremate More Than One Person at a Time in the U.S., also: Why Revising a Poem Gives Me a Headache:

1. I write a poem about death/a funeral: I have to research the history behind all burial/death processes.

2. I use the color gray. I spend the better half of the day deciding if I want to spell the word "gray" or "grey". "Grey" seems fancier/more European but "gray" looks more comforting and homelier. Then I decide that "grey/gray" doesn't even belong in the poem.

3. One of the metaphors I want to use belongs to a topic that I don't know much about, so I must wait a week for a book explaining the topic to be delivered after I order it online.

4. Someone once told me to never use an exclamation point in a poem unless I was actually having an orgasm as I wrote it.

5. I sometimes hate a poem after I have changed its font.

6. The period near the end of the poem makes it seem as though the poem is sexual.

7. I have a word such as "peach" in my poem, and "peach" means several things to me that it doesn't mean to anyone else. [I associate it with Princess Peach from Super Mario Brothers, or the time I went peach picking in Long Island, or how I feel nauseated at the smell of a peach pit.]

8. I could never use the word "raven" without conjuring Edgar Allan Poe, as I could never use the word "bees" without conjuring Sylvia Plath, and could never use a red dress without conjuring Kim Addonizio. People who read poetry who will read my poem will have read these authors, and those author's poems will inevitably be serving as the backdrop to mine.

9. I'm convinced that gerunds sound like a disease.

10. I am not sure if the time it takes me to complete a breath corresponds to the average time it takes a human to take one breath, so I have to research it online. Because, of course, if the average reader took a breath before the wrong word it would be a disaster, and I would never survive, etc.

11. Some people pronounce words differently than I do (aka people who have accents, which is anyone who was brought up in a different environment than I was or a different town etc.)

12. The current syntax's personality is more hostile than accepting.

13. Someone once told me to never use the word "tiny" in a poem, but I ran out of synonyms for "small".

14. Sometimes a parenthesis feels like too much love, when I want to be cold and heartless.

Anyway and otherwise: Thanksgiving. I had to bake a sweet potato pie. There was a pumpkin shortage. I've always wanted to be a Southern Belle.

Last week I went for a walk in my neighborhood and found myself outside of a psychic's place, so of course I went in. I'd never been and it's on my list of things. She told me many interesting things; that I had a man in my life who had feelings for me yet didn't express them, and that I was a very lucky person, and that I would have a happy marriage and would not struggle to get by financially. My best friend had her tarot card reading right after mine and was told she was very negative and had a sleep-disturbing dream life and that she'd been cursed by a spanish woman a few years ago. After thinking about things and comparing notes with my best friend I realized something; that the psychic most likely said as many negative things to me as she had to my best friend, and as many positive things to me as to my best friend, yet I remembered all the positive, uplifting things and my best friend remembered the negative. I really do believe in the idea that the entire world exists in your own head, and most things can have a positive or negative slant based on the eyes you're looking through, and this experience reinforces it a bit.

Things I've Done in the Past Few Days Whilst Procrastinating Writing Poetry:

1. Washed the dishes
2. Organized the shoes in the hallway according to size, style and color
3. Hung Christmas lights
4. Called the Customer Service of a website because I thought they were falsely advertising something
5. Watched the entire first season of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl"
6. Printed out and alphabetized everything I've ever written
7. Deleted anyone from my phonebook if I could not think of 3 good things about them
8. Cleaned out my air filter
9. Organized my make-up drawer
10. Sat in my tub for 20 minutes and thought about all the things I'm grateful for (due to Thanksgiving), followed by 20 minutes in the tub thinking about all the things that piss me off
11. Checked the energy level of all my batteries