Dear Bostonians:

I’ll be taking the Chinatown bus to Boston on Saturday to give a reading Sunday (April 3) in the Demolicious series.

Feb. 6 & the first Sunday of every month
At the Green Street Grill
280 Green Street Central Square, Cambridge
Open mic sign-up: 2:15 p.m.
Performance begins 2:30 p.m.
$5 suggested donation is appreciated to compensate our feature artists.
For more information, contact Demolicious at or 617-661-3515.

Robert Creeley died?

How can that be possible?

I just wrote yesterday to Allen Bramhall (in a comment on his post about his father’s death) that he’d helped me remember how death is both “utterly normal and utterly unimaginable.”

Here, then, one of the most beautiful poems I can think of:

If You                                                                               

If you were going to get a pet

what kind of animal would you get.

A soft bodied dog, a hen–

feathers and fur to begin it again.

When the sun goes down and it gets dark

I saw an animal in a park.

Bring it home, to give it to you.

I have seen animals break in two.

You were hoping for something soft

and loyal and clean and wondrously careful–

a form of otherwise vicious habit

can have long ears and be called a rabbit.

Dead. Died. Will die. want.

Morning, midnight. I asked you

if you were going to get a pet

what kind of animal would you get.


Sometimes I can really feel my eyeballs jiggle in their sockets.
Most of what I do is close-up (threading needles. blogging).
My ex-quasi-stepfather, an optometrist and iridologist, used to scold me for that.
Well, I’m largely an indoor animal.
I don’t have a lot of opportunities to put down my spear and gaze across the savannah.

I really don’t agree that poetry is a debt we pay to the world.
I don’t feel that “debt” is an apt metaphor for my relationship to the world or to poetry.
And I don’t agree that poetry is designed (necessarily) to slow us down.
Like any drug, or consciousness-changer, it can have any number of effects, some slowing and some quickening, some stretching sideways and some corkscrewing into.
I don’t agree that its useful to make any kind of generalization about what kind of poetry is worth reading.
If you go to poetry to slow you down it only means that you desire a particular kind of sensory transformation

which in my mind is no more or less valuable than any other kind of transformation.
It just so happens that I very like poetry that I feel I can tumble into and that tumbles me faster faster faster.
And that is not the only effect of poetry I like.

Just now though, entering into poetic activity feels like the neurotic worrying of a chronic verbal tic. I almost feel I’m holding up a vampire cross against it. Just not in the mood to enter into that expectancy of certain rhythms and stay porous to semantic sways… And then there’s all the baggage, its heavy locks and pretentious logos… and to what use?

The burrowing will stop soon, I guess. Thick patches of purple crocuses today = sure formula for that sharp lachyrmal release of attenuated anxiety.

Finished the purple linen gored skirt with the taupe embroidered organza (organza!) godets. Now hard at work at the fitted dress of forget-me-not birds.

It’s silly wanting everything to change, because naturally it does anyway. But when life is quiet I sometimes worry that there is a shock around the corner.


I missed the elephants the other night, although I stood at 34th and 6th Ave. until 12:45. Oh well. I did want to see the elephants on 34th st.

The animal rights protesters, 3 of them — all under five feet tall, with little munchkin voices.

I watched a big fish being killed today at SEA DRAGON — the local fish shop run by a Chinese guy for the benefit of the Bangladeshi community. Actually I didn’t watch, I averted my eyes. While buying my own slab of dead fish.

I went in there once and asked for a pound of sea dragon. The owner looked shocked before it occurred to him to laugh.

Last weekend with G. in Queens I tried PAAN for the first time. That was life-changing. I don’t have the language to describe the ingredients, so here’s a list of their names instead, from the website I linked to just now:

The common ingredients used in all the varieties of Paan:
Laxmi Chura
Gulab Chutni
Green Gold Chutney
Kashmiri Sugandh
Mukh Bilas
Dilbahar Chutney
Preeti Chain

OK let me try. It’s like if you took mincemeat and mixed it with cardamom and coconut, drizzled it with fragrant syrups, and wrapped it in a very leafy-tasting leaf. The teeth go down with a juicy crunch into the differently crunchy syrupy filling. I want to try paan again very soon.

Finished the unit on weird science. Now writing on dating in the modern world.

(salad dressing — any light oil + seasoned rice vinegar + toasted sesame oil (little bit) + soy sauce + maybe a little bit of white pepper. you will not be disappointed.)

Rodney, Alli, Gary

I’m getting yr guyses’ comments, but they’re not showing up in my comments boxes. I emailed squawkbox but they haven’t got back to me yet.

My account with them expires next week. I think I’m going to stop having comments, although when I’m not being harassed, the comments feature is one of my favorite things about having a blog.

Struggling! to make the necktie skirt. (It’s now pinned onto Waheeda, my new dress form — I won’t call her a dummy — my lovely headless armless legless double who makes my apartment look like what di Chirico’s would have looked like had he lived in a cluttered apartment in Brooklyn.)

It’s coming out strange, I’m having to adjust it constantly, cutting it narrower and shorter. The bias sway makes it all funny. Will it work out? I don’t know.

Thinking as I’m handling the ties about how I’m feminizing them, about all the men who wore them while they sold cars, stepped into the urinal (were the ties, I wonder for a fleeting moment, makeshift hankies?), made passes at women, sat in the bar with their friends drinking beer, argued the finer points of poetics, and all of the other things men do. Some of these ties are so outrageous that I believe their wearers must have fancied themselves real swingers. The little bits of testosterone will rub off the ties onto my legs, and now the ghosty manliness will become part of me —

I can’t decide if metaphorically neckties are nooses or if they are little outlets for men to express their colorful inner lives and latent love of fabric. Perhaps they are both.

Musing on other metaphors.

Like on the similarity of fabric (especially cotton) to human beings. That is, we can be washed although eventually we show wear. We tend to soften as we age. Like cotton, we breathe, and we need water to keep us from becoming brittle. We are fairly flexible, and fairly protective of those we are made to shelter. We are mundane.

Also trying to think of the similarity of sewing to sex. I can only come up with a couple of comparisons besides the obvious “joining” I mentioned before — how the little bits of thread scattered everywhere after working on a garment are like spent sexual fluids. And of how determinedly the needle penetrates the textiles…

Spending my time sewing instead of writing, or dancing instead of writing, is changing my relationship to what I think of as myself. I’m interested in this change.

A kind of insomnia — I told my doctor it was “attention surplus disorder” around this new hobby and also probably arising from my otherwise happily adjusted thyroid.

That depression, you see, with which I struggled for so long, is gone. Absolutely, cleanly and swiftly, gone. Huh! Interesting!