Saturday, December 29, 2007


First poem since October

This year, there was nothing made. You can't even find
your precipice. Enter me with purpose. (no matter) I imagine my uterus
shedding like leaves from an autumn tree. Apples falling.
Such small members of disaster. Shrapnel. Discharge.
Stigma and skin. Somehow ash. Somewhere exchange.

This year I fought for crumbs.
I still do. So much of the unwanted
descends. Blood. Bananas. The birds nest, now empty.
Storms to keep you there. Pure ravaging guile.
Somewhere between August and November,

I remember losing my breath. Falling cold took its toll.
Sometimes it finds its way back. Crystalline and returning.
What to do with the warmer flow, the earth's red lava
erupting from each crevice? Let it mix with water.
It will find its way. I am not so sure.

This year fell hard on my thighs, my torso, my carrying muscles.
I expected it in my hips. I think of her, how it all backed up,
how it dried like a transplant that never took root. Not like a clipping.
Like a dragging. How she still can't look at the faces of mothers
as she strolls. How divided it makes us, this desire to make.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Euphoria of lost

Well, I'm done with my dissertation defense. . .I actually have been for three weeks, today. . .but I've not really been able to get it "together" since. Being done with something that I've been working on for such a long time brings the expected feelings of relief and pride. Admittedly, it's the biggest accomplishment of my life, academically & career wise. It is the thing, in fact, that I have been motivated to achieve since I was a teenager. Here I am, nearly two decades later, doing it.

But it's not all sunshine and roses. This leaves a gap in my life that has, for the last few weeks, been filled with a sense of confusion and disorientation. What does one DO after the Ph.D? What's next? To say that this is something I should have thought about before is both true and impossible. As a mother of a toddler, part-time teacher, wife, poet, and managing everything that comes along with those titles, it's safe to say that actually finishing the Ph.D. was a feat in itself. Actually bracing for and preparing for the next step surely would have resulted in full melt-down. Now, however, the question has descended, like a villain from a fairy tale, resolved to steal whatever thunder and momentum such an accomplishment has given me.

I feel extremely lost, but not in a scared, trapped sort of way. It's more of an inquisitive, probing process of lost. There is a job or two I might apply for here in Denver at the school where I'm already teaching. There's a part-time thing here and there that I'm shoring up for. And life might just look like this for a few years until I find my niche, publish my book (please!) and build my resume. But otherwise, what am I supposed to do with myself? My highly-educated, motivated self? What is there to fill the hole?

One of the things that has been agitating me for quite some time is that a Ph.D. doesn't REALLY get you anywhere. Right now, my part-time teaching job requires only a Masters, which I had six years ago. The poetry teaching jobs that I dream about require at least a first book if not multiple books. What then does a Ph.D. give you? An in-depth knowledge of which to talk about at cocktail parties? Overqualifications for nearly any other job but teaching at the college level, which you're still, somehow, underqualified to do even though most of us have been doing it since day one of our Master's degree? I don't mean to sound ungrateful-- I truly do feel that the Ph.D. experience taught me SO much about professionalization, how to speak about my poems and make them reflect my ideas, how to speak about other's poems and relate them to complex theories that I would have NEVER been exposed to in, say, an MFA. Nonetheless, here I am. Armed with the highest possible degree known to poetry, and not a single thing to do with it. Truth be told, I'm not even teaching poetry at Metro- I'm teaching composition (which I like, don't get me wrong. . .but my qualifications are obviously stronger in other areas).

I suspect I'm not the only poet in academia to ever run into this dilemma. I'm reminded of a friend who I met while working on my MA at CU, Boulder. He had his Ph.D. and was teaching at CU part-time as an adjunct. He was and is a brilliant poet, but when I would speak to him in those days, he was extremely frustrated by the exact thing I'm speaking of. He had yet to have his first book published at that point, which meant no "currency" on the job market. Now, three books later, he's the head of a fairly prestigious Creative Writing Department. Does this evidence suggest that on top of ten years of graduate school, MORE dues need to be paid before getting the "break"? I also think about the fact that this friend was a single male, not a married mother. Surely, this gives me a huge handicap.

And I haven't written a poem since the defense. Bizarre.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

another frantic update

The good news is. . .I managed to get tickets to the World Series! I'm excited- it took a lot of online time, multitasking (grading papers while reviewing my dissertation while the computers tried to get me tickets) and persistence, but I managed to get in. . .somehow. . .and buy tickets. It wasn't easy to get tickets- there was a huge mess up on Monday when tickets were supposed to be sold, and only 500 of the 60,000 tickets were sold. They tried again on Tuesday and I'll tell you. . .there were still issues. Once I was lucky enough to get in to buy tickets, it tried to kick me out like three times. I kept back-paging back "into" the ticket buying system, and eventually managed to get a single pair of tickets in the nosebleed section (I'm not complaining. . .but at one point I had seats right behind home plate in my basket. . .and then got kicked out because of a glitch!). It should be a good time. I'm not the biggest Rockies fan ever, but I'm a huge baseball fan, so I'm really excited.

We're going to the Saturday night game, then I'm on a plane the next morning headed to Chicago for the big dissertation defense. I'm really excited, actually, to have a discussion about my dissertation/collection and see what my committee thinks about it. I'm tying up the loose ends right now with paperwork, # of copies, etc. . .all the stuff that could screw me up at the last minute. I'm going out on Sunday, defending on Monday, and turning in the final copy on Tuesday. . .if all goes well. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

& ruminate

Sequestered fibers and silhouette. Darned. Piles of bills and dollars. If this is a fabric, that is a pylon, there is a supporting beam. Feigning surprise, I realize that I never wrote about the city. Removed a year makes me twice as distant. Do we write about our lovers when we are content? Always somewhere to walk, even flowers now. He was amazed that the lake looked like an ocean. Can water strangle? Follow me to the plains? When I reach out, everything goes limp.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

another word for bleed

It might be a page.
Suffocated or torn.
Black boxes indicating stop.

I gather my own white garments against my chest
and picture butterflies falling from the rafters.
Drawn there, speckled.

Catastrophe. What of the orchestra?
Their attempt to blur light
with each vibration,

tongue to reed,
bow to string?
Not forgiven.

But I am careful to say who I am
because I fall too quickly out of mind.
Could I be slipping now.

It's hard to say no.
To bleed,
to come to light.

Said of blood.
Said of moving out,
plentiful flow,
a shape never taken shape.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

For Tabitha

Tabitha Dial, a fellow blogger and poet, has asked me some intriguing questions and requested that I post the answers on my blog. Here we go.

How do blogs and social networking sites like MySpace and EveryDayMatters inspire you?

I'm not a big myspace fan- I think it's a place more suitable for 14 year olds looking to hook up with sex offenders. . .I prefer facebook myself, and it seems that several poets with whom I align myself aesthetically dig it as well. It's allowed me and other poets to create communities and more firmly establish groups of poets who have similar poetic ambitions. I'm a firm believer in community as an essential part of a poet's professional development. I have to say, though, that I had most of the "connections" that I have now on facebook before I registered on facebook. . .but it's still good, clean fun. Well, mostly clean.

How does this technology educate you?

I'd have to say that the social networking stuff doesn't educate me much at all. Blogs, on the other hand, are a definite source of education. I like to poke around, read Ron Silliman's daily sermon, visit my friend Mary Biddenger's blog, see what Scott Glassman's up to, and see where that may take me for the day. I do that probably once a week, if my schedule allows. I learn a lot there, especially because those blogs usually take me to other places, which take me to other places, and I never know where I may end up.

How do you use these technologies -- for networking, publicity, honing your craft, broadcasting news, etc.?

I use my own blog mostly for posting my poetry. Barely anyone really reads it, but that's OK. There's something about putting it out into the world, making it public, adding it as one grain of sand to the infinite dunes of cyberspace. There's a vulnerability to it that is enticing to me, and most of the work I post there is actually created in the blog space itself- it's NOT a polished work at all. It's as rough and unfinished as it gets. But it's THERE, committed to existing, committed to speaking whatever it has to say to whomever might happen upon it.

Do you feel the Internet is a helpful media for artists and poets?

I guess I would say that I don't think the internet can be characterized as a "media" unto itself. When I see, for example, what an artist like Geof Huth does with the his space on the internet compared to what I do with mine, it's really not the same thing. . .though there are obviously some connections there. The internet is full of dozens of different forms of media, and I would say that the internet both helps and hinders serious artists who attempt to use the internet to promote their work. At the risk of sounding like some kind of artistic elitist, the internet doesn't discriminate between hack artists/poets/musicians and people who have actually committed some genuine thought to their artistic endeavors. All artists are treated equally, allotted as much of cyberspace as they feel the need to fill. The cup, perhaps, is overflowing.

Have you made new contacts with like-minded people through the Internet? How has this changed your identity as a creative person?

I made one very special friend through my blog that has resulted in many wonderful projects and publications. Scott Glassman found me one day a few years ago and we hit it off immediately. It was a wonderful collaboration and pushed my poetry to an experimental place it probably wouldn't have otherwise gone. My work with Scott was, in fact, the point of origin for my newest and yet-unpublished collection of poetry. The prose poems that make up the majority of the collection came from an experiment with him, and I just kept writing them.

It also allowed met to reconnect with a teacher I had as an MA student, Lorna Dee Cervantes. She's an amazing poet whose sheer energy acts as an inspirational force.

How would you define your blog -- as an archive, a letter to the world or something else?

My blog is, at present moment, a mess. I have not, in the last year, given it as much time and attention as needed. It's definitely intended to be a commentary on poetry through both prose and my own poetry, but it's been lacking as of late. This is, in itself, a commentary on my blog, though-- that I feel some sense of obligation to it, that I take it very seriously, and that I am very concerned about it's present state. I definitely see it as a reflection of myself, and as my recent slip into the bowels of corporate america had sucked my slate clean of any real inspiration (a cliche, I know, but extremely true), my blog and lack of postings reflected this. When I moved to Colorado and found myself completely poetically and geographically displaced, i was confused both about who I had become and about what to post to my blog. While some people would use their blog to air their frustrations with these situations, I have retreated and hung back, as they say. In this sense, my blog is, to me, a sacred space of clarity.

Do you think poets or visual artists make more use of these media? Why and how?

I don't really feel informed enough about the visual world of the internet to answer this. . .sorry.

Who are some bloggers that you think exemplify the potential of blogs?

I will answer this quite bluntly- I am jealous of many blogs that give the time and attention to the world of contemporary poetry that I wish I could give. Ron Silliman's blog is quite esteemed and reputable because he does a good job at being Ron via blog. Lorna Dee Cervantes has a great blog which also conveys Lorna very well-- her commitment to certain causes, her passion and verve for life and poetry, her overall positive energy that she channels into real change. K Silem Mohammed has some amazing things to say about poetry and the world.

More to come . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

& if I can find my pen

The summary was a new type of writing. They splintered as they swam, swollen like a humidity-injected plank of cedar. I began to word so hard it came out as a word, which was unexpected and trite. Bearing down, they peeled the pieces, the pages, the awkward dust from the book, which may as well have been a dictionary. He does not know how to use the phonebook and is lost in its heft. None of them look at the camera. None of them put their names at the top of their papers. None of them list their satisfactions, their new ability to define.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

& what weighs

Could have been goblet, sulfur stink, the antelope's porous antlers. Bifurcation. In the new chill of morning, she noted how the roots of that flower were lifting themselves from the ground and sprouting new shoots, blooms. As it also grows deeper. But the geranium's second bloom is now shriveled and scab-like. A different interaction with the season. Your name, like an emblem, across the spice garden. We are saving the system, lifting our roots. With this, we will grow lighter and crawl.

Aside from the garden, I notice her weight distributing in the middle. Pooling around her wrists and hips. Inside the book, someone else's dedication, dripping with intention. The "y" as big as my pinkie. "L, to the one I'm loving. Yours. C." It is a gift, it is a death. The man on the phone knew my grandfather, and was sorry for his passing. Then he sold me a newspaper, which will come only on Sundays.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fall and 31 are close at hand

Well, I'm not quite back into the swing of daily blogging, but the first few weeks of the semester have hit me harder than I expected. My new job as a part-time faculty at Metro State
is going very well, but even though I've only taken on two classes, I'm swamped. Tying up loose ends from the old job, working on the dissertation, being a mom, finishing my chap for the Dusie project (yes, it WAS supposed to be done in June. . .) I feel like I've been hit by a train. I'm not the spry twenty-something I used to be, and alas, 31 is literally right around the corner. For god's sake. Make it stop.

I'm loving being back in the classroom again, and although it's been a sink-or-swim reentry into academia, I think I'm swimming strong at this point. After reading Mary's lament about having 17 uncirculating poems, I'm astonished at the fact that I must have at least 30 that I've never even printed out, no matter sent off for someone else to read. I guess it's about time to do this. I feel extremely out of practice, having not really submitted anything in nearly a year. And my printer is out of ink. Hmm. That's not a good enough excuse, is it?

The good news is that the dissertation is nearly done and is awaiting one more final approval from my main faculty advisers and I'm pretty much good to defend sometime in October. Yes, that's next month. Probably early next month, too. Um. . .did I mention that my printer is out of ink? Yikes. What did I get myself into.

And in the interest of not being completely self centered, September also marks another big birthday-- my little Eliot, pictured here with me. He'll be three, if you can believe it. I can't.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

& dust & ashes

Following the fossils. Trace their bony limb. This one, a plant, perfectly straight and fern-like. Have you tempted this fate? Asked yourself why you are so afraid of being trapped without air? Why should we hope for the miners, buried for 10 days, so many miles under? I would rather be crushed. Mortar and pestle. My body become a rock, petrified, hardening more with every touch. Like the miners: the closer they are to being rescued, the further they fall from the opening.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Winds of Change

I thought it was about time for a post, seeing as I haven't posted in two months! Work, family, and making a house into a home have all been extremely taxing and time consuming lately, and I'm glad to announce that I'll soon be giving up my current corporate-type job for a more suiting job, teaching composition at a local college called Metro State College of Denver. There will be one week of overlap- last week fo work, first week of teaching, but I'm sure I can handle a week. This new situation will open my time up for more writing, reading, preparing for my dissertation defense this semester, and, well, hopefully much more blogging. How I've missed the blogging.

I'm working on my syllabus right now and am realizing how difficult it is going from one school of through/ pedagogical approach to another. . .I'm trying to figure out how to NOT create an entirely new syllabus and writing assignments, but at UIC it was all context-based writing, and at Metro it's more about the research and process. Really, they are two completely different approaches. The books are different, the assignments are different, and, of course, the campuses and schools are 1000 miles away from each other, both literally and figuratively. I'd be amazed if anyone still reads my blog, but if you do, I welcome any suggestions on this topic. I'm a little stuck as of now!

I'm also wrapping up production of my second (well, actually. . .third, since I did two last year!) dusie kollektiv e/chap for this year's project. I'm WAY late, but not dead last yet. I'll be using a lot of the poems in conjunction with my friend, Felicia's, photographs, for the projects. It's pretty awesome. I'll let you know when they're completed-- we'll certainly have plenty extra for distributing.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

& repair

For Brian

In your absence, there are tendrils. Leafy curls that reach for you. They have always been there, looking more like spiders than trees; feeling more like bristles than flowers. So inconspicuous. Delicate chains, hidden buds. A chaotic wisp brought us here, where there is no mythology. The bird’s new nest above the porch, an uncontrollable pile of junk mail. Your ability to forgive, erase. Shriveled, my hair and scalp in the tree. Chasing us out and away. Epiphyte. I cover you. I will chase. Longer then. And repair. And spread. I am here to grow with you.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

& persona

Murmur. Strands of hair woven in tulle. Her pear tree, nascent and removed. It is a cage, we argue, this swallowing center most illuminated by nests. What song? The woman you heard me saying me saying. What tine? Initial clap of the bell. You descend on me, still falling, still hovering. Perched. Who sings? Don’t answer so quickly. Standing among my others. Which one of me is being lost? On occasion, I call myself “her” because she is a multiple of three. Capture me moving, you can see the trinity. Beginning to shudder.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

& lens

Your coming here, pure accident. Dodging. The barometer was wrong; it promised grey and wet. Heavy skies. Instead, it is black and on me. Some sun in my ear. I feel it in the back of my eyes: the confusion to focus. How close? How much to get closer? How many slowly rolled before you said “Come here. You’re getting too wet.”

Maybe you’ll always see a window. I can't stop myself from looking, and looking again. And maybe again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

& fingers

There’s something about the lacing. Touch and twine. The mixture of slice and rub. Muddled spark, all downhill. As if we are rolling, we follow the lines. Closeness, more of a blur than miles away. He is here, in this moment, overlapping each segment of digression. How many do you have? How many more can you touch me with? Hundreds? Thousands? Snakes in the rocks? Your thumbs again, holding every thing in place.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

& subtle

Split me into three. Braid. You’ve wound me too hard. Up the hill, the sidewalk crumbles. I can’t follow you there. Collapse. Like a glaring light on my cornea. My always-red eyes look for you. It’s time to shred this colorful blossom. You say, “We must use our thumbs.” The veins in your hands that only I want. I will take this and go. A trail of scalp & petals. Snow in Spring. You have already gone, speed and sweat, up the hill behind me.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

& sun

How to say the simplest thing. Clearly. What might happen in the shade of forest. Nude. Or night. What if you did touch me, exaggerating my sadness. Dark side of foliage. You cannot look at my face, the place it will take you. The rain coming down on our mountainous drive. Or distant. I want you to be there, waiting, but not knowing why. Or what you are wearing. With you, the most dangerous ride. A backdrop dies to be created. (maybe stairs, their angular slope, their ability to hold us and bring us up. . .down.) I can’t give you any hope. We are both steeping in that water, and despite its sting, we swim and swim.

& rope

& rope

Hands elevate. Angle from below, the silent fall. What was hanging. You whisper around me. In a circle the voices drop. Swear to me, this is your battle, this is your tire swing. I crave the swing of the pendulum, the way it used to bring me to you. A climate that frays and tugs on the end. Sweet daffodil, I have tied you and tied you again.


Well, Colorado seems to have sucked the blog-desire right out of me. It could also have something to do with the full-time job and the monstrous house to take care of. I do have high hopes of getting back into writing here, though as well as checking up on other bolg-buddies better. I've been a bad cyberfriend.

The new job has it's ups and downs, and I suppose it's not so new anymore, as I've been there almost 4 months. It's safe to say that I like the people more than I like the actual work, but it's challenging and I'm learning a lot of useful things. So it goes. I miss teaching a ridiculous amount, and have floated my resume around a little, just to see if there's any hope of ever teaching again. It's definitely a missing piece of the puzzle right now.

I'm officially one step closer to the PhD completion- I defended my Prospectus (critical paper proposing the theoretical framework for your dissertation) and since the dissertation is mostly done, this is fab. If all goes well, I should defend the dissertation next semester and be a doctor by Christmas. Yes, what a gift that will be. And what a party.

I'm definitely still writing, even with the chaos of family, work, running, etc. Right now, I'm collaborating (surprised?) with a friend of mine who is a photographer, and some really amazing things are coming about. (Check out her photo blog here: I'll post a few of the poems that have come about so far, but since I plan on using this for the dusie chapbook project, I don't want to give too much away. Got to save some for the paying customers, as they say.

New work coming out in ACM soon. And finally. It's going to be a whopper of a mag- well worth the wait and the $$. Haven't submitted much lately, but hope to change that at some point.

Hope to also get back to blogging about things that interest me and more involved in some sort of discourse about Contemporary poetry. I miss this outlet, whether or not anyone actually reads it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Still kicking

I thought I'd let anyone who might still be tuning in that I'm still alive. I've taken a full time job working for a company who creates and suppoerts educational products, and I'm doing a lot of writing for them. It's surely paying the bills, and I'm enjoying it a lot. Not much time for writing, as you can probably tell. I'm still working on the PhD, if I can squeeze a minute here and there to work on it. The prospectus is still kicking my butt, and I'm not done with it yet. The actual dissertation is pretty much done.

Looks like I'm lucky enough to be part of teh dusie kolektiv again, which is super wonderful. I'm in need of a project like this to spark my creative fuse. I'm also looking forward to making new friends in the network- it proved to be a wonderful tool last year. I have no idea what I'm doing yet. Hopefully working with a photographer friend of mine (Felicia) to create something cool.

I've been really bad about submitting anything. I have an upcoming pub in ACM, but that's from almost a year and a half ago. Something in Sugar Mule as well, not sure about those details. I need to send some stuff out. Is anyone else really been affected by this bizarre season of disfunction? What a strange winter.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


for W.S.
the stations we march from are only guides. shallow markings. you are concerned about how and where we flow. from where the destination comes. how we can share and still move. away. out. osmosis of terrifying particles. I cannot breach your walls, your skin. I cannot calm your lenient slide, your best guess. I'll give you one if you take it. but where. do we go from there?