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I have a “contusion” on my right ring toe, which means that for two weeks I cannot dance or do yoga, according to the toe doctor at the clinic I went to yesterday.
In the lobby I was almost beaten up by a Latina twice my size in pink flipflops because I and the other patients in that hellish ghetto waiting room were trying to watch Erin Brockovich on the TV monitor there and she started playing Lady Gaga really loudly on her iPod and I said to her, “it’s a little loud.”
She was hateful, but I tried to stay compassionate by reminding myself that she probably had to be tough to survive, probably had been raped by a series of stepdads, probably had no job or a shit one, etc.  I hate this country.  I was trying to explain to two of my Chinese students why this country is so hateful.  They haven’t been here for very long and they think NYC is paradise.  I told them the story of the obnoxious woman in the waiting room and said no one in China would act like that, no one in Japan would act like that.
Anyway after the encounter the staff moved me into another part of the clinic, a hallway in the inner sanctum that was even more like hell.  Everyone looked so ill and desperate.  One older sort of drugged-out looking black guy was talking to someone on his cellphone, saying, “Almost done with all this medical crap.  They keep putting white people in line ahead of me. You know I don’t like that and they want to get me out of here as soon as they can. I just need to get my medication.”
Some parents wheeled out their emaciated teenage son in a chair.  He looked as if he had some kind of mental disorder as well.  The doctor was a very beautiful dark-skinned woman with long hair in an only slightly frizzy ponytail.  I admired her.
Anyway after being forbidden by the doctor to dance or do yoga for two weeks I was in a foul mood…and was sulking all the way home, but then a woman walked past me with her arm in a sling and her ankle bandaged up and I reminded myself how very much worse it could be.
I have a lot on my mind, I have too many responsibilities, it’s hard to make poetry right now. For one thing I’m teaching in the mornings and so I can’t just sit down at work and spill out poetry as I can when I teach in the afternoons.   After teaching I sometimes get a little zombified. I don’t know, I feel confused, I’m in a bit of a limbo space right now.  I thought I had some idea, some picture, of how my “future” would unfold, hazy though it was, when I was married.  Then suddenly the big seismic thing and now… what? I know this is an opportunity for all sorts of things to happen, it’s just hard to be clearheaded still, I’m still, a year in, trying to put pieces back together. I’m told it really takes two years for the feelings to settle, and for the imagination and memory to stop going to such horrible and alarming places.
I loved this poem I got on one of Buck Downs’ poem/postcards (The linebreaks are a little different in the original.):

         thanks in reverse
               internal stakeholders
               rage’s tart strain
           fantasizes the experience
my secret currency
lifeless as a pound
of mercury dimes
my condition is a pleasure
good way to get run over

What a good poem this is! 
And I still have conversations with them, those people, the infidels, in my head.  Sometimes I try to tell them how they misunderstood me, sometimes I wish them ill, although I know I shouldn’t. 
My mother in law just read this blog, I noticed in my stats.  She was so unjust to me.  Her narrative was so totally wrong, completely skewed, wrong wrong wrong.  I was thinking I wanted to make a list of all the terribly wrong unfair tactless horrible things people said to me in the wake of the mess.  But then, you know, they would be there even more reified and objectionable, just staring me in the face.
Lately I’ve been thinking, you know?, people should just be sterilized at birth.
Now I have to go get the laundry.

speaking of women in the 17th century

Today, a poem by Margaret Cavendish, with nods to AB

[I Language want, to dresse my Fancies in,]
I Language want, to dresse my Fancies in, 
The Haire’s uncurl’d, the Garments loose, and thin; 
Had they but Silver Lace to make them gay, 
Would be more courted then in poore array
Or had they Art, might make a better show
But they are plaine, yet cleanly doe they goe. 
The world in Bravery doth take delight, 
And glistering Shews doe more attract the sight
And every one doth honour a rich Hood, 
As if the outside made the inside good. 
And every one doth bow, and give the place, 
Not for the Mans sake, but the Silver Lace
Let me intreat in my poore Booke’s behalfe, 
That all may not adore the Golden Calf. 
Consider, pray, Gold hath no life therein, 
And Life in Nature is the richest thing. 
So Fancy is the Soul in Poetrie
And if not good, a Poem ill must be. 
Be just, let Fancy have the upper place, 
And then my Verses may perchance finde grace. 
If flattering Language all the Passions rule, 
Then Sense, I feare, will be a meere dull Foole.

myopic hindsight

I’m reading Lawrence Lessig’s  Free Culture on my iPhone (I enjoy reading on my iPhone, do you?). He makes the interesting comparison of the pre-WayBack-machine internet to the newspapers in Orwell’s 1984, which are constantly edited to conform with the government-sanctioned version of the present.

I love this early sci-fi image: “Thousands of workers constantly reedited the past, meaning there was no way ever to know whether the story you were reading today was the story that was printed on the date published on the paper.” I imagine the workers all as women dressed in the same drab grey uniforms and grey headscarves and no facial expressions.

There are ways around the WayBack machine, actually, which any savvy girl can figure out without too much trouble. Suppression of history is still totally possible.

But with older technologies, like, say, paper, there are other, more primitive ways of altering the public record.

A couple of years ago I went to visit my mother-in-law, who seemed very happy to show me a number of family albums.  There was something strange about them. In many photos a person had been cut out. She had excised all of the pictures of my husband’s first wife, and when I asked her why, she said that she hadn’t wanted to offend me or hurt my feelings.

I found this quite bizarre.  It wasn’t as if I hadn’t known that my husband had been married once before he married me. I don’t understand the sort of family culture of denial/secrecy that would drive anyone to bowdlerize a photo album.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a Jewess? I like my history all up front, unretouched, and in plain view.  Else: condemned to repeat, and repeat, and repeat….


First day of fall.  The trees are gathering their energy in order to wither more magnificently. I suppose that’s how I feel about my lifestage as well.  I’m drinking a “grain beverage” – new addiction –  I like to change my addictions occasionally.  My obsession always at this juncture of the year is boots.  It isn’t that I don’t have boots or that I need them.  Suddenly though they become totally engrossing, the place where my attention goes as if to nudity.  I will spend hours looking for the grail of boots.  There have been many boot fails. I have sent back many boots.  Honestly it is more fun to look for boots online than boyfriends, although it is easier to find the latter. A perfect pair of boots changes everything – all the items that will magnetically attract into outfits around the central sculptural fact of the boots.
I got these which make me look like I have cankles a bit but I like their exaggerated pirate feeling, since I think I am, when I am at my best, sort of an exaggerated pirate:

These are on their way to me.  They are orthopedic.  I’m not sure if you can tell but they have a design of embossed roses:

There are on their way to me as well.  If they are comfortable they will be whatever the boot equivalent of “crowning glory” is.  Just look at them! That color!

My semester is very busy and started especially busily so I am not into the swing of journalism by which I mean recording what happens in my life and consciousness. I miss this terribly. Doing it right now is a little difficult, a bit like walking in a marsh.  But I am trying to do it. I got Studying Hunger Journals yesterday and you know there has always been something about Bernadette’s onrush that I have identified with and she makes me want also to enter a stream, the “life of the writing” if that doesn’t sound too clichély insufferable. If we follow that metaphor, what then would be a big shiny silver fish? Autumn food in Japan is desirable; I would like to eat some sort of broiled fish for breakfast this morning but it isn’t feasible. Also what’s it called, go-moku gohan or something with all the ingredients, dried tofu, gingko nuts, carrots, etc.; I would like to eat that.  I’m in a phase of eating brown rice with just some flavoring for two of my three meals a day.  Olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some spaghetti sauce. I don’t know why exactly I have started doing this. It’s not like I’m following a “diet” although I do want to slim myself.  It just seemed appealing. 
Thyroid all over the place as usual: it was too high for quite a while, and I was amped up and fried, and then I improvised the dosage for about a week and it was too low I’m sure since all I wanted to do was sleep and I could barely get through the days. Now I’m on the right dose again and we will see.  Will I feel as if I have energy to accomplish the long list of projects that is always somewhere underneath my forehead? The energy vacillates so much that I begin things and then don’t continue them.  I wrote on facebook that I felt a rant coming on against the fetishization of appropriation-as-strategy.  I didn’t make the rant materialize, but I did begin a verse of “advice to young poets” that I also at least for now have abandoned, but here’s what I wrote:
You don’t need to have
anything to say: you only need
the desire to say it. That desire
will inhere in your selections
and your combinations. It’s only
those two things, finally: word
following word following word.
There is no innate value
to any approach or technique.
Beware those who preach
a gospel: they are marketing.
Beware appeals to authority:
they also are a part of marketing.
Respect only those whose value is
unequivocally clear to you: do not
adopt the values of others. You need
not like what you respect or value.
Your “tradition” should be at least
slightly different from the traditions
of others. Obsession is good. Follow
your obsessions. Don’t worry about
being “healthy.” Poetry is not about
being “healthy” although on some
miraculous occasions it might actually
heal. It won’t heal The State. Don’t think
it will heal The State.
And that’s where I stopped.  I suppose I should continue. If I were to continue, I would probably say that poetry can make people think about The State and there might be some change as a result, but it is indirect at the very best.  I also think a line soon after this might be, “The desire to eat Moroccan olives naked.”  I should put a “while” in there but I enjoy the ambiguity.
I think I would like to refer young poets to Stan Apps’ Handbook of Poetic Language.
Do you ever have a day when you are not at least on some level disappointed and confused? If so, I think I envy you. The Big Disappointments do tend to loom over everything and I think so ruefully about how I bought her a cat or about how I meant to care for him in his dotage and also the world is a big disaster, nothing like the 60s at all, just a big chaotic & agonistic open sore. That is why I suppose I am given to obsess over boots. How to be stylishly grounded? Protected? Tough as well as comfortable? That, my darlings, is the question.