18 April 2009

New friends are like honey in my tea

Lately, I've been considering the fun of collaboration. My new friend Emily is a painter who has similar obsessions with folk and fairy tales and the like; and right now she's mulling over a few poems of mine to illustrate. I can't wait to see what she imagines visually from my words. Not to mention how flattered I am that she even wanted to use my poems as inspiration. I've often said that one of the reasons I was drawn to poetry as far back as I can remember is that I have no talent for visual art. Poetry allows me to express these often very visual ideas that I have, but with words rather than line and color and texture. I'm excited to see the reverse of this, to see what someone else sees when they read my poetry, to see what I could not draw or paint on my own.

While I'm waiting on that project, I decided I'd try it the other way around: write a poem based on one of Emily's paintings. Ironically enough, I had actually started a poem a few months ago that corresponds perfectly with Emily's painting "Tomato Birth" (I think, anyway). So, I took that forgotten fragment back out and worked on it a bit more.


"I'd like to mention my rag time."
-Sandra Cisneros, 'Down There'

Bone marrow,
the earthen red
of an old wheel barrow,
an empty flower pot.

Then the blood
like tomato soup
from the mad-sad spleen,
pulpy and hot.

Well, it's still just a fragment, though a bit more substantial now. I've hit a block with it again, and I think it might be that I don't really want to work on that one right now. But I have had some fun with it. The title is the term for the biological process of making blood. I found it a fun word to play around with and it worked so perfectly with the images from which I was drawing. Inside haematopoeisis is "mato" (as in "tomato") and "poeisis" (as in "poesy"). The inscripted line just below the title is from Sandra Cisneros' poem
"Down There" which is a wonderful exploration into the imagery of menstruation. Lovely and gory and unfeminine.

08 April 2009

Adventures in bibliophilia

Bookmaking is another activity of mine. Put that together with the writing, reading, letterpress printing, and library-work and I'm a very well-rounded bibliophile. A recent project of mine was making reversible poetry journals. By reversible I mean that the cover art allows for either end to be the front. It could even end up being a two-headed notebook; it's just full of possibilities, as most blank pages are. This "cover art" though is actually segments from "At the Fishhouses" by Elizabeth Bishop (one of my favorites).

04 April 2009

Maybe I should introduce myself

Everything in the apartment is just a bit crooked. The false tile lines in the kitchen linoleum slant into the bottom borders of the cabinets and the sink. The slight diagonal of the light switch in the spare room is exaggerated by the decorative switch plate. And I don't think the ceiling and floor run exactly parallel either. But it's all somehow fitting.

My cat is a found cat. My friends discovered her outside of their dorm and gave her tuna fish and named her Kione (meaning "the one who came from nowhere"). But eventually we had to take this refugee off-campus and my place became her sanctuary. That's been nearly a year and a half ago. Now she's a luxurious housecat, although in some ways she seems to be part dog. She always greets me at the door, she wags her tail when she is in full purr-mode, and she drinks out of the toilet. She's perfect.

We also happen to have a dog lodging with us for the moment. She is (or was) my brother's dog, whom he named Karma, ironically enough. When circumstances found her fatherless, I scooped her up (she was much smaller at that point) and brought her to Goose Hill for what I thought would be a temporary stay. She is a beautiful hybrid: half pitbull, half rottweiler. And so unbelievably sweet underneath all of that equally unbelievable puppy-energy. She is now just short of one year old and has been with Kione and I for four and a half months. The only reason that she is not in my blog description is that I don't know how permanent a resident she will be here. But I have a feeling that she is mine now for good. Kione's not too happy about that, having been forced to camp out on top of the refrigerator for the past season and a half, but she's a survivor. And Karma is confined to the kennel when I am at work or asleep.

As for myself, I've wanted to write poetry since I was eight years old. And right now, life is pretty good.

02 April 2009

In the name of poetry

Not only is April National Poetry Month, it is also the month of my birthday. So exciting. Seriously. I also like to boast every now and then that I share my birthday (April 23rd) with Shakespeare. Granted, I'm sure LOTS of other people have this same birthday, but it makes me feel special sometimes. Oddly enough though, for someone as poetry-obsessed as I am, I don't actually have a favorite poem. I know, weird. Someday I will sit down and think about it and maybe then I'll decide. Or maybe not.