Saturday, August 30, 2003

Today I helped a neighbor carry a bunch of sixty pound cement bags into his backyard. My back is singing ever so slightly in that way that makes me think about fifteen years into my future.
I read a lot. I had dinner with Mom and she made a Thai dish with peanut and coconut sauce. She did this because my father is out hunting this weekend and she wanted me to eat with her. We also went on a walk around the neighborhood together.
Nissa called after dinner. She's doing well and she's happy to hear that I seem to be doing better than the last time we spoke. She's moving logs to keep hills from eroding and cleaning holy spaces. She's up before the sun doing yoga. She's getting caught in hail storms.
I miss her already, but there's also a joy because she's doing something really great. I didn't think I'd actually feel this good about it. I thought I'd pretend and encourage her while I nursed my wound of her being gone. But I'm honestly happy for the experience she's having. We shared a lot of joy on the phone.
I went and saw Phish and Chas tonight too.
I imagine the weekend will unfold much like today.
I was shanghaied last night by a phone call from New York. Rob talked for like two hours about my poems because I think he'd had a little of the red wine. I try and be relaxed about these things. But it was way past my bedtime and I felt it this morning.
I spent most of the day doing book work on the computer. I got a few new books for inventory at the end of the day, which I inputted before the sun went down. I also did some more editing work on a poem that's been particularly pesky. I think it might be a good centerpiece for the forthcoming chapbook once I whip it into shape. Today I put it into blank verse and I'm going to let it ferment for a day or two. See how I like it then. I'm getting better at that part of it. Like painting, part of the art is to know when you're finished and then stop screwing with it.
My folks took me out for dinner at Old World. My dad's all excited over how near we are to Oktoberfest.
I got home, full of heavy German food, and walked for about an hour. That's about all. Now I forsee three whole days of avoiding freeways in my tea leaves.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

It's late and I really don't have time to post much tonight.
I went to Best Magic today, which is the magic shop I go to. That's always fun. It's kind of the same joy feeling I get in a toy store except that what they sell is more applicable to my life. But it's kind of like the post office in so much that if you go in before noon, you're the only one in there. After noon, it's crowded.
Nissa called tonight at the best possible time. She's doing well. She's living in a tent and seeing deer and magpies. This morning she meditated. Tomorrow she starts work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Oh, and let's do one of these.

Reading: Say Goodnight, Grace Notes by Jack McCarthy (just finished Coraline by Neil Gaiman rereading today too)
Watching: alternating Swimming to Cambodia with An Evening with Kevin Smith, which is getting me rabid over writing another theater piece.
Listening to: Barbershop: Live Recordings of the World's Top Quartets 1990-1996
Heck of a day. Rob and I spoke in the morning. We discussed more editing points on the poems I'm tightening for the chapbook. I spent the first part of the day going through old boxes of letters and ticket stubs, trying (and failing because "I need this stuff") to consoladate and thereby use less space. I learned a little something about who I was and who I've become from going through that. First of all, it confirmed my suspicion that I'm an optimist who was raised by pessimists. Or an optimist trapped inside a pessimistic overcoat.
I also learned that there've been a lot of people who have really liked my company along the road. There's been a lot of love. There's also been a lot of parting of ways. Deaths and disappearances.
Tonight came the heavy news after my walk. My brother's wife's c-section happens on the worst possible day. It's her birthday, September the 18th. It also happens to be the day I'm seeing The Dead in Irvine. And that Monday is my poetry feature. So that weekend will go like this:
Thursday night: The Dead.
Late Thursday-early Friday: a long train ride to Chico.
Weekend: Possibly waiting for my first nephew to die if he hasn't gone already and attending a funeral for a child that only lived for a few minutes.
Early Monday: ride back down to OC with my folks.
Monday night: experience what will probably be one of the strangest poetry readings I've ever given.

So, I went to see Charles, Phish and Sean after that. It was exactly what I needed. We wrote a renga, which I'll post at the end here. We also watched Strong Bad. Had a lot of laughs.
A renga is a Japanese form where there are alternating stanzas of three and two. They're usually written by many poets who take turns on the stanzas and loosly relate their stanza to the last one. Ours went like this:

Red 26 Pork Skidoo

Firefly night from childhood
School-free chasing words
Unwilling to let our beach dream fade

or shift thru baby-Fat Fingers
onto dirty toenails

Foot ends sink into moist earth
under weight of human suspended above
and cools blood behind leather skin

drip drip drip
leaky faucet fills sink

Drifting under waves
Curling around the soft body like fingers
Making a fist and pulling down

the suckers tear at the Flesh
leaving hickies from God

Flesh puckers in Universe vacuum
purple tones mix interior exterior
pressing pain of juice thru pores.

round sound mater ticks
minds melt seconds away

Snow drift opening cavern
To crawl in as returning babies
At last forever enclosed blood-warm

Held for a beat in vaginal warmth
Tacky juice pulls and matts hairs

For scareing the average perception
From bodies grown warm
that have no time for deception

lick flick groans swarm
life quickens with intense attention

Where natives play taste games
Rolled in blankets tightly as tobacco
Ready for sparks

The tight paper over two bodies licked over
Sealed together for warmth.

Fight pepper under lewd yonis
by licking & sealing
warm, prepaid stamps

Each letter shot like an independant arrow
Furthur in and deep as a spring underground

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

So, we can add to the ever growing list of greatest living poets Jack McCarthy. The reading at the Liquid Den on Monday nights is probably the most consistant in quality poets of any reading I've ever seen. G Murray Thomas and Jack McCarthy gave a GOD reading tonight.
Today was a much better day for me. When major life changes happen to me, I tend to ignore them, then get angry, then kind of an empty existential feeling takes over for a few days, then I accept the change and move on. I skipped the existential angst since Nissa's left. So, I'm doing alright.
I had about a hundred and forty dollars worth of books ship today. One of them was the Harry Potter book I found in the middle of the street. One was a Kurt Vonnegut first edition of "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" which sold for fifty dollars. I didn't ride my bike to the post office simply because I couldn't. I had no way of hauling all of those books. So I took a long walk this evening instead.
Then there was the reading as mentioned above. My list of greatest living poets are a lot of people who are currently obscure at best. Robert Pinsky is not on my list. Or at least he's not on my best living poets list. It makes one consider how much genius has slipped through the cracks, like the last people who saw Mars this close to Earth. Personally, I'm comforted by this thought, rather than repelled by the fleeting. It's like a play. If you miss it, the amazing moment that the room shared will never be duplicated.
If only I could translate this lack of a need for permanence in art to my everyday life. I could bottle it and be a millionare!

Sunday, August 24, 2003

So, my mourning over Nissa leaving seem to have manifested in the form of anger. Not like Berzerker anger. Like an east coast kind of seething that's lasted all weekend. A lot of people who've seen me probably haven't realized this because I keep a good poker face.
On top of that, I went and saw "American Splendor" today, which illustrates a man seething very well. And run, don't walk, to your nearest art house cinema. I would be thunderstruck if a better film comes out this summer. I ain't seen "Whalerider" yet, but "Splendor" is the best film I've seen since "Bowling for Columbine." Long time readers will know what a rave review that is.
Plus, it was the best sitting in a movie theater experience I've had since "Columbine." I don't go to movie theaters anymore because people are so hideous to be around anymore. There's this new mindset that comes from the anonymity of the freeway and the internet. It causes people to act without accountability with perfect passive aggression as though they're allowed to be as rude as they want and nobody's going to stop them or even acknowledge their behavior. I seem to be one of the few that sees the danger in this.
But here I am ranting again. Here's this rage bubbling again. I look forward to the acceptance stage of getting over this transition. There's the family crap piling up as well.

You know, I got into self employment to avoid an overly stressful life. There's also the realization that there are people who have it much worse than I do. Somehow that makes me feel even worse.

Okay. Enough of the ranting and venting. Let's get on to some good news. First of all, I've got a poetry feature at the Liquid Den on September 22nd. I'm going to go nuts all over the stage with my poetry.
So that gives me my deadline for the chapbook I'm working on. I went to the major chain bookstore in Orange today to work on the editing points that Rob and I discussed the other day. I got to talk with Suzanne a little too. She's having a benefit for RAINN on September 6th. I'll try and post more info on that as it comes in.
And I didn't buy "Mallrats" yet. I will. I got a little extra money because this was an awesome month for book sales, so naturally I need to spend the excess money to return to my comfort zone of extreme poverty.