Another collaboration with my brother (Malfeez #2)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Suze Orman Prose Poem

Watching Suze Orman before bed seemed like a recipe for whatever, but I did it anyway.  I was not bringing home $25K per month, like the guy who called in to ask permission to send his four year-old daughter to private grammar school for $36K/year.  (APPROVED.)  In bed I put in my earplugs and took sleepy breaths.  The radiators were off, even though it was still winter outside, even though it was late March.  I thought of horse breaths on a chill day.  Have I ever seen horse breaths on a chill day in real life?  If I had gone to a private grammar school, would I still be here thinking of horse breaths on a chill day?  Oh, Suze.  

[image by Alex Lenhoff; text by JPC.]

Tom Waits

Friday, March 25, 2011

Collaboration with my brother (Malfeez #1)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

After the Botanical Garden

My brother and I sit at McDonald's eating soft serve and French fries.  He says, "Let's each say something positive," and for a moment we just sit and stare.  Stumped.  Then we realize we are eating ice cream in the middle of a weekday afternoon.  That we are together.  That we exist on the Earth at the same time.

[image by Alex Lenhoff; text by JPC.]

Joanna's Exercise Manual: Lesson One

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You may be just the tiniest bit agoraphobic on certain days, but if you've been sitting for several hours staring at your CV and your unpublished book manuscript, I recommend that you take a shower.  You may then want to sit on the edge of the bed and stare into space for a few minutes before putting on some comfortable corduroys and the running shoes you bought for walking because, you know, "Maybe I'll take up running."  (Probably not.)  When you're ready to leave the house, impulsively pick up five poems and read them out loud in what you're thinking of as your "new reading voice."  When you finally leave the house, realize that it's almost dinner time and decide to go to a restaurant for a salad and a $5 glass of wine when you realize it's happy hour and glasses of wine are only $5.  Whether you want to or not, eavesdrop on the couple opposite you who seem to be on a first date.  Their conversation will be painful to overhear.  He will be doing all the talking, trying to very clearly indicate to her that he finds her attractive.  She will be sitting very still, wearing her coat, and trying to decide how she feels about it all.  Can this possibly end well?  Pay your check, get up, and walk to the park.  Walk briskly around for 30 minutes, pumping your arms a little.  It may be two days after the vernal equinox, with deceptive sunshine, so that when you've gone once around the path, you are a little sweaty under your coat, but your gloveless hands will be red and freezing.  Listen to the sound of aluminum bats hitting baseballs.  Accidentally do a weird little hop without breaking your stride when someone's half-boxer, half-pit bull seems to lunge at you a little.  When you come around to the baseball diamond a second time, it will be getting just the slightest bit dark and the field will be suddenly, uncannily empty.  Everyone will have packed up and left just that quickly. 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

1. My former MFA classmate Joe Gouveia interviewed me for his radio show, "The Poets' Corner," on Provincetown radio station WOMR. The podcasts of the interview (two fifteen-minute halves) can be found here.

2. I will be participating in a faculty reading at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus on Thurs. 3/24 at 7 PM. The event is free and open to the public, and I'll be reading with some exciting poets, including Elisabeth Frost, Sarah Gambito, and Willie Perdomo. It takes place here: Fordham University-Lincoln Center, 113 W. 60th St. (corner of Columbus/Ninth Ave.), 12th Floor Lounge.

3. Recent poems appear in Lyre Lyre and are forthcoming in the journal Muse.

4. My book review on James Schuyler's Other Flowers will appear in the June issue of Pleiades. Here's Schuyler reading.

5. I'll be presenting a paper on Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely at the MELUS conference in April. The conference is in Boca Raton this year! I am considering presenting in golf pants and white shoes.

Four more

Friday, March 18, 2011

Part of My Trip

Friday, March 18, 2011

My grandmother is telling me there are coyotes all over town and I'm looking at those gourd things she has hanging by the kitchen window. "What are those gourd things, anyway?" "Gourds." She almost doesn't want to go into the backyard anymore. "The chance of encountering a wild animal is great!" There are more deer and raccoons than before. Bobcats. Anything could come out of those woods. There used to be kids and dogs to scare things away. She picks up the yellow-brown glass chicken on the window sill. "Remember this?" "Yes." "Mamaw gave this to me, on the last Christmas she was alive, I think." She's telling me about Mamaw's taste-- she was always picking out glass doodads for the house. "Mamaw had wonderful taste. She was always put together. Wore white gloves and a fox fur to go uptown." We look at the glass chicken and think of Mamaw alive.

Visit home

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lyre Lyre

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three poems of mine have been included in this new online journal. Thanks, Lyres!


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"We use that word movement. I am moved. And yet we know we're standing right there." --Richard Tuttle, from Art21

I've Already Been Pretty Cultural This Year, So Far

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Participating in the New Year's Day Marathon at the Poetry Project. I performed/read with Clif's trio, Secret Orchestra. Here's an article that gives us a special mention as one of the "musical highlights." (!)

2. Visiting my friend Wendy in Boston. We sat around watching a Monty Python documentary and playing Angry Birds. One day we went to Cambridge and ate at the Indian buffet I like. She also gave me a cup of powdered green tea that I was skeptical of, but highly enjoyed. (We are sometimes more "cultural" than this, but we were in the mood for a low-key New Year visit.)

3. Finally going to the Moth storytelling event. The one I went to was hosted by Mike Birbiglia, and storytellers included Christian McBride, Rachel Dratch, Walter Mosley, Todd Bush, and Tina McElroy Ansa. (This one was at Cooper Union, where Sojourner Truth and Lincoln and Frederick Douglass spoke, as well as the striking shirtwaist factory workers, shortly before the Triangle Factory fire, as I just learned on PBS.)

4. The Met, again. The Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand exhibit is still up.

5. Watching Clif play at a benefit for "class war prisoners." Leonard Peltier and etc. A man who spoke there predicted that the revolution in Egypt was about to occur.

6. Going to get my hair cut and studying the old Creem magazine covers in the bathroom of Mudhoney on Sullivan. Joan Jett, David Johansen, Mick Jagger. Lots of shag hairdos.

7. Seeing my former student, Devin Alberda, dance for the New York City Ballet. We saw four short works. "Glass Pieces" (set to music by Philip Glass) and "Plainspoken" (which was choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, Natalie Portman's baby daddy) were my favorites.

8. Visiting Beacon: Dia, huge contemporary art museum in Beacon, New York. My favorites were, I think, the enormous metal sculptures you can walk into by Richard Serra, the paintings by Agnes Martin, and the interactive exhibit by Franz Erhard Walther that Clif and I "activated." (We chose one of the pieces called "Koerpergewichte (Body Weights)" and then stood in the middle of a large carpet and unfolded a large loop of cloth, which we then put around our waists. We stood there balancing and looking at each other while people watched us. Then we folded it back up.)

9. Looking out the window at all the Weather.

10. Going to the launch reading for my friend Ross Gay's second book of poems, Bringing the Shovel Down. The book includes kundimans, love poems to the nation: "Love, you got me standing at attention. Clutching my heart. Polishing guns." [RG quote and photo courtesy of Jessica Cullen, my new pal I went to the reading with.]
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