Friday, December 31, 2010

Last post of 2010

I should have a plan for this last post of the year. Maybe a resolution or two. Okay: Write poems, get more exercise. That's enough. Maybe a summation of the year: a good one, from a personal perspective. Each of us got a book out. Stayed well. Traveled. Plans for the new year: each of us has another book to get out. John is excited about his class. Hopes for the new year: a job? a solution to our money problems? Dog to stay with us a little bit longer.

I don't know where this blog fits in with the new year. I met a few who read it, this year. But I'm not sure it's contributing much to the universe or even this small planet.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Magpie Beauty

This morning we packed up all the Xmas candy and put it in the kitchen cabinets. That doesn't mean I haven't visited those cabinets today, but at least one is less likely to grab handfuls.

This poem was in Poetry Daily, the poem from last year.  I love the "magpie beauty" and the first stanza, especially. Gonna use that for a title. I'm going to try, anyway. Here's the poem, by Frank Bidart:

For an Unwritten Opera

Once you had a secret love: seeing
even his photo, a window is flung open
high in the airless edifice that is you.

Though everything looks as if it is continuing
just as before, it is not, it is continuing
in a new way (sweet lingo O'Hara and Ashbery

teach). That's not how you naturally speak:
you tell yourself, first, that he is not the air
you need; second, that you loathe air.

As a boy you despised the world for replacing
God with another addiction, love.
Despised yourself. Was there no third thing?

But every blue moon the skeptical, the adamantly
disabused find themselves, like you,
returned to life by a secret: like him, in you.

Now you understand Janácek at
seventy, in love with a much younger
married woman, chastely writing her.

As in Mozart song remains no matter how
ordinary, how flawed the personae. For us poor
mortals: private accommodations. Magpie beauty.

Frank Bidart 
The Threepenny Review 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Latest Adventure

I suddenly (as in a few days ago) woke up to the concept of entering my book — and asking my publisher to enter my book in various contests for best poetry books of 2010. It's not that I really think I stand a chance (and I missed a lot of the biggies anyway), but why not try? You gotta be in it to win it, as my mother-in-law says, though she is probably talking about the lottery.

Most of the contests I hadn't already missed had end-of-year or even end-of-January deadlines, so here I was entering information in an online form for one of them, not really pressed. And then I got stuck when they wanted my publisher's phone number, which I'd never used. So I emailed him, John and I had dinner, and we settled into our respective laptops in the living room. Not having that much else to do, I looked through old email and found my publisher's phone number, and entered it in the form and hit Send. At which point, I got a reply that the form went through and I should now see to it that six copies of my book were sent by a midnight December 17 postmark. This was at around 8:30 in the evening on December 17! I uttered a few choice words and thought that was that. But then I got an idea. Lo, Google told me that there was a San Francisco post office near the airport open until midnight.

It was pouring rain. I don't drive at night, definitely don't drive at night in the rain (unless someone's life depends on it) and I'd had a glass and a half of 2-buck Chuck to boot. But thanks to John and our GPS, we made it. Hurray and then some! Not that it matters in the least, as I said, but small victories count for something in this dice-loaded-against-you world.

Yes, and I'm happy to celebrate the repeal of DADT from this "liberal bastion," though it seems to me that the right to fight in a war is a strange right indeed. On the personal side, yay for unemployment benefits extension, though I applied for a wonderful job the other day, and would like very much to be working again in 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hollow days

Okay, despite my cute and totally gloomy title here, things could be worse. We're hoping the extension of unemployment benefits doesn't get lost in the arguments about what should or should not be under the rich folks' Christmas trees. And a few job possibilities exist for me, of which the less said, the better.

Some bank business to take care of today. Other than that, I hope we'll spend some quality, if damp, time with the pooch. She's been so pathetic each time we've left her lately. Last night, she wasn't hoarsely barking when we got back, as she was Saturday, just looking reproachful and putting her head up for a scritch. Greta is on her way to 16 now, and pretty blind, we think, and sad, and she can't get up without us. We walk her with the old red wagon, and when she stops and is totally outta gas, we plunk her in the wagon and give her a roll around the block. She still looks beautiful, her fur still lovely.

It's been a very good year for acceptances for me — for individual poems — though one is never satisfied and I'd love to bring the grand total up to 25 before the year's end. As for Hue and Cry, it's out there, but I need to continue to work on it, make it better.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Oh, I'll take them. The fact that Congress has not voted to re-up Unemployment Benefits and we will probably be forced to sell our house is uppermost in my mind — things we counted on happening just haven't.

In the meantime, I'm working on revamping our second "bedroom," our office, to fit John's workstation and printers, so he won't have to work in the cold basement. See, I still hope for miracles.

And other crumbs: an acceptance of three more poems, bringing my unbelievable total for 2010 to 24! And a nomination for the Pushcart from Smartish Pace. You know, I'll take these small pieces of hope. An old friend was shot dead the other day. How is such a thing possible? But we're still alive.

N. helped us network the printers so that they can stay downstairs (one is large and the other is huge). We're still working things out so that we can continue here, continue working. Do we have our heads in the sand? Possibly.