Sunday, January 23, 2011
by Joanna Penn Cooper and Todd Colby
I love how all your friends are shy. You befriend them in order
to put them at ease, make them nervous, and put them
at ease again. I'll light a candle and think of a place I've been
to with you. And then I'll stop because the wind will be howling
and the cold snap will be unbearable, mostly, without you.
Like this red down coat my mother had in the '70s.
It made her look like the Michelin Man, even with her
long hair and bird bones, and I ripped the pocket
grabbing onto her in parking lots, waist high
and desperate. That coat is gone. I drew a skull and crossbones
across the back of it with a giant Sharpie and hung it above the garage,
and then it just blew away the very first day it was up there.
The view from here is Christmas lights and gravel, and maybe
a whiff of cinnamon and cigarettes. I don't want to go home.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
2. This is the view out the window of my home office. The dirt on the window is not my fault-- it's between two panes of glass-- but it makes for an interesting photo.
3. Today I will finish preparing for tomorrow, which is my first day of spring semester teaching. I will be talking about "Coming of Age Narratives" and "American Literature, 1890-1929." There are so many things those categories could mean. I will narrow it down and narrow down until each topic fits within three pieces of papers; six novels; and a series of 75 minute discussions.
4. An opera singer moved in next door. He is doing scales right now. Maybe I should do some kind of vocalizing every morning. Or maybe some kind of ritualized movement. I could be like Allen Ginsberg in his kitchen doing tai chi.
5. I would like to take this class. I've been mulling over ideas for a poetry workshop I'd like to teach in which students put themselves in trances. I recently found out that Eleni Sikelianos hypnotized her poetry students herself! You are allowed to do such things in Colorado.
6. The night before last, I dreamed that I was on vacation with my little brother and a friend of his from junior high named William. Somehow, I was concerned that William had not brought the right clothing. When I woke up, it was strange to realize that I was no longer on vacation with the two of them and that they are no longer the age I dreamed them to be (which was maybe 16 years old). However, I quickly accepted it and was no longer in that reality by the time I finished brushing my teeth.
7. Next year at this time, I will likely be somewhere else (in a new apartment, if not a new city). This is due to neighbors who stomp and to the academic job market, which is also inconsiderate. (The opera singer doesn't bother me.) I am trying to figure out where I've lived the longest. It may be Lawrence, Kansas, where I lived for about seven years in my late teens and early twenties, with one year away. Can that be right?
Friday, January 14, 2011
I’ve cleaned off a space on my desk big enough to riff
on you twenty times. By which I mean I’m on the bus
back from Boston, thinking of your eyes and mouth and hands.
This poem, you may have noticed, has an I and a you. This poem
is the daughter we don’t have. She’s a curly-headed implicated
implicator. She’s American. She’ll be oddly happy up through
the age of ten, then suffer seven years of anger. Blame her mother;
blame her father. Emerge from flame knowing the different
music. American. This is our new year of learning urgency
and a kind of loose-headed, courageous heart. Some people think you
shouldn’t use “courageous” in a poem. But consider this:
Near the end of Ingrid Bergman’s life, she and her friend
Liv Ullman went to the movies. Fifteen minutes in, Ingrid leans
over and says, “I don’t have time for this,” then gets up and leaves.
This is all just to say, there’s a wild low singing under all these naps,
and from now on I’m telling the truth. From now on, I’m telling
some version of the truth.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Shutter Island [better than I thought it would be]
Alice in Wonderland [eh]
Audrey Rose [1970s supernatural thriller with a very creepy Anthony Hopkins]
Moon [Sam Rockwell. Sam Rockwell. Sam Rockwell.]
Stephen Fry in America [BBC series. I love the way he talks.]
Patti Smith: Dream of Life [I liked watching her paint and seeing her talk to her parents.]
Monty Python: Almost the Truth [delightful documentary watched with my delightful friend in Boston]
I also just watched American Masters: Jeff Bridges. I see some Starman in my future. Maybe American Heart. The Fisher King? [And: How much do I love The Last Picture Show? A lot.]