25 November 2012

total soup day

My kneecaps are sore, that's probably a first. Two days in a row of surfing is not something my body is used to anymore!

Yesterday on my way back from Yoga Soup, a low-key but, um, rigorous Saturday morning class, I got a good look at the waves

and couldn't not get my surf stuff together & head right back down to the beach. It was small but still glassy and offshore and the water was warm, relatively. Since I was on a super responsive gun and the waves were small and I'm out of practice and my popups are weak, I wasn't really getting any waves and ended up just playing in the soup, riding whitewash.

Getting out of the water I was thinking about how I'd already had two kinds of soup in one day, and how in any case I wouldn't be eating any soup, it was too damn hot. Then my stepdad made broccoli soup for dinner.

17 November 2012

what's the difference between motion and movement?

Is it still 2012?

That's cool I need more time anyway.

I'm listening to the rain.

I'm enjoying it.

Like I never thought I would after coming back from Denmark.

I was so sick of precipitation.

Sick from precipitation.

But now.

In a drought.

Needing it.

Most of my energy is going towards thesis but this happened. Volume 2 issue 3 I think.

12 November 2012

this is a very particular kind of dance

I think that if I didn't have to have ambition the next thing I would want to do would be to move to Scandinavia and learn to make ceramics; I'd cast the hands of my friends and sculpt my own ideal bowl. So as to have something to sink my spoons into. And mugs, I would make mugs too; I could never have enough.

In the second year of my MFA people have begun to ask me if I have begun looking for teaching jobs. When I tell them I am not going to teach they ask why I'm in the MFA at all.

It's not so much a geographical thing, wanting to head north; it's more that I want to do something practical. Actually poetry is totally practical but it's the thing of wanting to make concrete things.

Even with a Ph.D it's difficult to get a job teaching at the university level, which is why the professors recommend against the doctorate unless that's the only thing you want in your life, at least for the next seven years. An MFA almost doesn't compete; even adjunct jobs are scarce and the security in adjuncting is tenuous at best.

I'm tired of always being thinking of the next thing, that's all.

22 August 2012

endless / waveless

It only took six weeks for my leg hair to grow out. And even though I've been back in California for over a week now I still haven't shaved; I like feeling that I am an animal. Studying poetry has made me more sensitive on every level. I hear more in music now and when I am touching objects they touch me back. Since reading Baudrillard I have been thinking every time I drive about my personal identification with my car, which is so much like a bear; am I like a bear; if I were an animal, would I want to be a bear? I've always perceived myself more like a dolphin.

This year has been really splendid; I've gotten to travel a lot. Utah, and California's coastal spine, and Helsinki and Sweden and Copenhagen and Paris. Next time I go to Finland I will go to the country and spend every morning in the sauna and afternoon in the forest but I loved Helsinki; I loved the flea markets and the berries and the fish. At the Hietaniemi flea market I found an Olivetti Valentine for 25 euro (!!!!) but didn't buy it because I didn't want to carry it around all day. I had two picnics in abrupt downpours. I learned how to say excuse me and I said it to everybody because I felt bad that I couldn't say anything else.

It was storming like crazy in Sweden, too; when I got to Gothenburg lightning was striking and the mall flooded. A couple days later there was even a tornado. But the days at the beach were perfect and beautiful, the dream Swedish summer, nights that stay light and don't get cold. I swam more in the ocean in four weeks in the North than all year in California. Man får passa på. I didn't see any jellyfish this year.

I got the sunniest week of the year in Copenhagen and I swam there too, at Islands Brygge in the harbor. It was cold, like jumping in the ocean in Santa Cruz in April. I got the other sunniest week of the year in Paris, which I didn't even actually want to go to. I mean of course I wanted to go to Paris, I have been wanting to go there forever, and way more after reading Stein and Rimbaud and Bachelard, but by the time it was time to go, I was not wanting to be in a city, I had just been in three cities, and really Copenhagen was great this time, because I don't live there anymore, and I just get to do all the fun things and leave, but I was wanting to go slow; I like moving, but I like moving slowly. But yes above all else I like being in motion, so on the flight to Paris I just thought of the trajectory I was drawing, and then I was there, and there was this language I know nothing of and cheap wine by the glass and a park or a square on every other corner and cheese to die for, and all movement and flux, and everywhere something astonishing to look at.

18 August 2012

high summer

I'm sitting and waiting for the bus at Fredrik Bajers plads. It seems like a dozen 6As have passed in the opposite direction. All the babes are wearing overalls. I'm thinking about LA. I'm salty from swimming in the harbor, and tanner. I'm thinking about how to be in a city. Always check for toilet paper. Don't be afraid to go in. It's a damn good idea to ask for a glass of water. Carry snacks. Try to remember only one thing at a time. That woman pedaling by is wearing the same t-shirt she was when she offered us her joint på staden yesterday; I don't know her name.

15 June 2012

a day in the life

Wake up looking for the sun it's foggy. Step outside squirm on wet under feet still in the emerald party of the dream replete with oak paneling. Grey a fine complement. Where are the frogs?

Pee. Breakfast. The last of the Gemini's birthday cake. Eaten - with a mug of warm milk with a splash of coffee. Habit is not having any - at the desk while writing that is revising that is cutting and pasting post-pastiche. Trade leggings for clean ones, pull on tanktop, sweatshirt, vest; load backpack. Don't forget the dishes. Or vitamins.

Roll out Schwinn. Cruise down driveway and down the road into town. Pedal fastest downhill into the wind. Stop for what seems like forever where the road meets the highway. Smile at motorists, signal left turn. Uphill but now with a tailwind.

Kanye killin it. Road work okay a detour. Three-quarters of the way through the album arrive at yin yoga. A block, blanket and a bolster; lemon verbena. Strangers in a small town. Radiating from the heart.

Backtrack. Taco Temple you don't have to bring beer in from Spencer's anymore. Fish as rich as ever and cilantro just so stark. Holy. Into the headwind. Uphill again. Toward viridescent eaves, shitting swallows, a tumbling dog on shower tiles and a visitor from the eternal present.

Oranges are Valencia. Fantasies more about San Remo than Spain. Forgot the washer. Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading. Pink is not the moon it's the clouds. Agave guard. What's in a recipe? Approaching quilt a dream embedded in a text or vice versa.

In the two and a half years elapsed since I last did this in the autumn of 2009 details have changed but the rhythm remains.

28 May 2012

performance / etiquette

I've spent some time wishing poetry readings were more like shows I mean music shows I mean concerts. Wishing for more energy, less inhibition. More "edgy" content & less political correctness. More fluid boundaries between self and other: people leaning - as we do into music - into one another.

But most of the recent readings I've been to have transcended all that stuff. Lara Durback had us on the floor with all our belongings scattered at BAM. Tom Comitta's sound poems made us all forget our names if not our manners; there was a lot of squealing, snorting at his tongue-twisters. Sara Larsen, too, with her textual collection of used condoms.

Tonight at the show I was absolutely loving I found myself wishing that people would hold their applause until the end of the set, reading-style. So we could hear all the in-between.

18 April 2012

playing catch-up

If you're an artist, and you're self-employed, are all artists your colleagues?

I stopped really updating this blog for a while (though I've been all over Tumblr and Twitter) because, in the midst of my grad school/working on three manuscripts/being a poet/I don't believe in fixed identities bubble, maintaining a blog based tenuously on a personal brand has seemed unappealing, if not downright revolting.

Only nostalgia, really, has kept me from deleting the whole thing. I mean personal history is different from a personal brand, isn't it? It's in the details and the more regrettable moments that can't help but surface. If you have a look at my pictures from the Basque country you'll see what I mean.

But, you know, I'm shaking things up; the other day I rode the bus for the first time since I was mugged, and even if I don't overhaul this blog completely I might as well keep it current (if not contemporary).


Back to art.

What a small, small world it is.

A couple weeks ago my friend Nick - who I know from Santa Cruz, but also lived in Oakland for a time overlapping with mine, and is now in DC - called me around Morning Edition time looking for the name of "the guy who types poems at Ferry Plaza."

Zach happens to be one of the first friends I made in Oakland, and I met him because I was typing poems on the street, and he was like, Hey, that's MY job. And I was like, How?

Well he's been at it a lot longer than I have (going on six years), and he's definitely a lot more prolific than I am, or than any of the other typewriter poets I know. One time we had a conference because there were four of us in the same room and we wanted to make a place for us exist on the internet. But we were in a bar and the male-to-female ratio was heavily skewed; maybe it's true that girls get paid better but we have to deal with more, too.

I once traded a poem for a kiss (on the cheek!) and a plastic cup of wine.

So then school got real, and I started needing more time, a lot more time, to write things that require editing, and I haven't really been typing poems, at least not in public on a Brother Charger, since the fall.

And although I am "a poet" (so many hesitations around that word) I really haven't been thinking about it being National Poetry Month, in the same way that what woman really thinks about it being National Women's Month and there being the whole argument about Black History Month because really every day should be Black History Day, and in some minds it is, and in my mind, every day is Poetry Day.

So you'll understand that it took me a second to gather why Nick wanted to know Zach's name and my glee when some days later the NPR story happened.

The only part I'm confused about is how Zach and Nick don't know each other. Yet.

Which makes me think about the gaps between "media people" and "artists" and how "poet" falls into the category of "artist" and how in the past I was a "media person" and how some of my friends are still and some of my friends are "artists", among them "poets" and the more general "writers" but also "printers" "photographers" and "musicians" and all I can figure is that we're all in this together, somehow, tugging each others' fingers and toes along and occasionally doing some necessary poking and prodding and tickling so we can all pay rent.

And now I am going to go back to researching subordinate clauses so I can continue writing about Korean and Danish and what are ostensibly "small" literatures.

11 April 2012

shake it out

because it is this point in the semester
because sitting still is exhausting
because i'd rather be meditating
becuase it is already april
because we're all under the weather
because i have been dancing
because i could listen to pavement for days
because the sequence is also history
because the syllables are too many
because somebody believed the wrong side won
because we're not in new york
because one thinks one means exactly what one says
because form is never more than an extension of content
because possibility is geography
because ezra pound was born in idaho
because that's my whole life spent feeling out of place
because the southwest is waiting
because this blog is mostly no longer relevant to me
because a monster poem is growing
because sometimes rhythm is broken
because words are not enough
because this is a kind of tree

25 February 2012

city of dreams

It's been a killer season for concerts. Both Johnathan Richman and the Tom Tom Club have long been on my list and I have now happily crossed them off. I missed seeing Tom Tom Club when they came through the Bay last year, so I was determined to see them this year at Mezzanine in the City even though by the time we got there I was utterly exhausted from Waters, the last BART train home to the East Bay from the City, etc. the night before. But when Tina, Chris and all them came on stage my energy was high as if I'd just consumed the vodka & Red Bull of the middle-aged party animal to my left. Whatever.

I really hope to be this hot when I'm fifty.

But really what was amazing was that for the encore, these guys brought out Jerry Harrison, original Modern Lovers member and Talking Heads guitarist.

And then they played Psycho Killer. Which I never, ever thought I would hear live. It's not my favorite Talking Heads song, but, you know. It was enough for me to grab my friend in shock and proceed to jump up and down for three minutes straight.

And then yesterday - god this post is turning out to be all about San Francisco, it's like I live there or something; don't worry, I still live in Oakland; I hella love Oakland; the culture-to-society ratio is just a lot higher in SF, that's all - I had some time to kill in downtown San Francisco, so what did I do? Check out Neiman Marcus, of course. The store's intimidated me for ten-plus years but the lure of the rotunda's glowing lightbulbs, Valentino silk and Chanel leather were too strong to walk by without satisfying my curiousity. I was pleasantly surprised by how 'nice' the salespeople were; nobody even glared at me for fingering all the Yves Saint Laurent blouses and knocking one off the hanger. Oops. I walked in thinking, where's the sale section; I'm positive this store doesn't have a sale rack. But I can tell you: on the fourth floor, there are at least two sale racks. Not that everything isn't still at least two hundred dollars. And I couldn't quite make sense of the fact that the fanciest ball gowns cost only four times as much as a humble cardigan. But still.

So uh. The world is totally full of pleasant surprises. And I'm having a hard time believing that anything is impossible.

03 February 2012

mudthroat poets' society chapbook 1

Nothing better than putting a first book out - except putting out a second! This time, as the first in a series of Mudthroat Poets Society chapbooks.

Unpacking this box and unwrapping this paper was such a joyful moment.

So beautiful! As things hand-letterpressed (and -bound) at the Cowell Press are. Also, I really love how my Southpaw Press circle-inside-square linocut turned out on the title page.

The culmination of an autumn of sporadic yet constant notetaking and subsequent transciption and a quick working winter in the Cowell Press has culminated in this marvelous collaborative concrete experiment between Julia Warner, printer extraordinaire, and myself.

in light of infinite plausibility and improbable juxtaposition has made its way out into the world in an edition of 50 printed on (clean) scrap paper. For although our ideas may be infinite, our resources aren't.

More - better quality - photos here on Julia's site.

27 January 2012

maybe a subscription to the paris review would make me feel better about things

I have trouble understanding why people give stupid presents.

I am slow to realize when someone mistreats me, it is always so surprising: evil is somehow unreal.

I would rather be bored alone than with someone else.

I do not say “A is better than B” but “I prefer A to B.”

Sometimes I realize that what I’m in the middle of saying is boring, so I just stop talking.  

I find fresh air more intoxicating than drugs.

I can sleep with my arms around someone who doesn’t move.

I prefer desire to pleasure.

Often, I wish it were tomorrow.

A burn on my tongue has a taste.

I have stepped on a rake and had the handle hit me in the face.

Even if it is an odd sort of present, I thank my father and mother for having given me life.

Or I should just read a shit ton of Édouard Levé.

20 January 2012

now you're speaking my language

if you're a meat eater
you should probably be eating

want to go out
to eat?


i love to cook
but some nights
i just can't

it has nothing
to do
with being

i'm not crazy
but i might be

what have you
been doing
to take care
of yourself?

going around hoping
those moments are not
the ones when i am on


these are
not mushrooms
they are snails

that is not a watch

this is not a practice this is
a picture

i can never remember
if it's the more or less

the more complicated one

a wish

i don't want to leave
i can't imagine keeping

to look
is a complicated
way of

05 January 2012

question of the year

 how do



experimental poems that appeal

to people

outside of the avant-garde poetry community?

no, seriously.


03 January 2012

kitsch / classic


Cayucos (from the Chumash word for 'kayak' or 'canoe'):
land that time forgot

I've been to the beach every day this year.