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:: Saturday, March 23, 2002 ::

Hot dog poems. Are there any other kind?

Gone for a week boys. Hold down the fort.
:: Josh 3/23/2002 06:44:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 ::
Shit! Another damn poem about Hot Dogs.
:: Sean 3/20/2002 08:16:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Saturday, March 16, 2002 ::
In the interest of the regular rotation, here's the latest (carousel, pastoral, each glish, and church italicized). Needs cutting? More than likely. Thanks guys.


The All-Night Confessional Poem, or, Dear Reader, I Lied

I slept with Anne Sexton, my spell-checker wailing
like a cop car. I stuck the "Praise Me" sign
on your back. For Lent, I bollixed up my homeostasis.
For you, I blethered numinous through reeds
beneath a soft-core moon, me vaselined
for the channel swim (thank you) and quoting
pill-bugs to the underbrush,
clipping transponders onto the thorny-
finger-bone root-ends, ear-tagging fire-worms
in mid-flight. I footnoted beetle-trails with penmanship
only a mother could love. I came to, the yard
carrousel-pastoral, your foot sticking through
the moth-knit head-board, your little sister
reaching for the high-lighter like a samurai.
I puked mint julep on the badminton court.
Your sister recognized a theme. She whispered
just off camera like a silent film director,
feeding you the expressions
guaranteed to make me flinch. It was a long,
busy day, the moon, this time, popping
like a button from an acid-washed
expanse of sky, and I’m not tall enough
for the big rides, so I'm renting out
the mulch-pile, blurp-blurping
like a weed-eater in the shallow end, my marginalia
bleeding–slug-haired and slant-wise
by night-light, glish glish glish–
down the well-thumbed textbook of your ribs.
I’m unfamiliar with the term lending library.
This lunch ain’t big enough for the both of us.
Church, I meant to say. There comes a time in every religious broad-cast
when the camera cuts to the audience.
Try to look blissful. Get me behind thee,
reader, I touched every tater-tot in the bag,
I smeared a little jelly on Genesis. Otherwise,
we’re cleared for take-off, and though
I told the preacher my intentions toward you
were completely semiotic, I’m all
romantic over here, ie, I’d like to have a cardboard cut-out of your body
in the giant mouse suit–minus
the head–so I could stand behind you, get my picture taken, put it on the book-
jacket. You made the amusement park
taste like peaches. I’ll never be able
to trust you with the roller coaster now.
:: Josh 3/16/2002 03:10:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, March 14, 2002 ::

This was good clean fun. I can't believe it was me who wrote that last line in that poem. Yikes. By the way, Paul, if you don't use "A Lifetime of Pajamas" for a title I will.
:: Josh 3/14/2002 08:39:00 PM [+] ::
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Yeah, Paul, it was no big deal, and man the rush when I looked up at the clock last night. I was at work in the Writing Center and had just had a cancellation, so it worked perfectly; I locked myself in a room with a mac and set to work. I was reading to myself madly and tapping the ol' desk with my fingers for the count. Really fun, and yes, this is very good for us. I don't see the harm in one a week or so. And Jesus, boys, from the looks of these poems we need to get on more dates!
:: Sean 3/14/2002 08:31:00 AM [+] ::
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You boys is the shit. Now, about the heads up. I just went ahead and did the thing with the assumption that if you guys didn't have time to say yay or nay or didn't find out about the assignment until it was too late you wouldn't do it (along with the added assumption that it was no big deal, this being an exercise, if one, two, all, or none of us did it). In any case, I like doing these things, and I'm glad we're back on the case. As Josh said earlier, this is a big help for me, the blog in general, and spontaneous poems like this are kind of liberating, like sleeping in the buff after a lifetime of pajamas. And now I must steal from your lines.
:: Paul 3/14/2002 05:47:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 ::
Paul, it seems I chose the same first line and to end my poem with a question also, and also to seek Jesus' help, though I didn't get any. That's so like Jesus. When do I say how much I like you fellows' poems anyway? (Sorry, Sean, your poem sneaked in there and I didn't see it)

For Medusa

Will you stay and hold me for a bit?
or, if you have to leave, will you tie me to a chair,
wipe the tell-tale venom from my chin?
It’s just that twine reminds me of your lovely lizard

skin, and I can’t be alone tonight
in your father’s house, not-tied-down to the furniture–
the chair your grandma slept in on her
second wedding night?–again. Oh, you know a few knots

I don’t, the bastard-hitch, the chthonic-
double-upside slip, and the loathsome and mobius
overhand delight. Is it this kind–
your kind–of expertise that will keep me up all night,

wondering why I don’t want to go
to sleep, where ropes are straw and you are stone and always
home, your living hair the fabled knot
that coils the wayward moon to the bedframe while I dream?
:: Josh 3/13/2002 06:06:00 PM [+] ::
...
Mark the Memory Down

I can't get this diesel off my hands
and the autumnal smell of smoke ghosting the leaf pile
quilts me in memory of a girl
in a dress with sunlight shining through. Long afternoons

spent cracking pecans in the shadow
of that fall. She loved me, I'm sure of that. And stillness
and smoke sooth me into believing
love exists still in this county which talk of the past

infests. I stare at black and white snow
on my set between cars and see possibility
in the shifting shapes of the hissing
tube. Cars bullet past my station, smash the dull hissing

and explode down the highway. I see
them. Teens with warm beers and sweethearts turning to giggle
in their necks. Listen to my voice boys:
slow son. Mark the memory down. Slow son. Slowly go.


ps how about a heads up next time? I found out about this at 5:15. Actually little time probably helps. Nice assignment, Paul. I'd love to do one of these a week and not spend too much time workshopping them, but just say, "dang, you boys is the shit!" or something to that effect.
:: Sean 3/13/2002 06:00:00 PM [+] ::
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Stanzas for the Doppleganger (Jesus, help, please ((that’s not part of the title)))

Will you stay and hold me for a bit,
never again point your clogs and fingers to the door?
Let your socks linger in the branches.
Roll over here with sand and sparrow down in your hair.

First tell me it was you all this time,
leaning on me now and again, shoulder and shadow,
breath and breasts, your navel still pretty,
grotto of tongue and descending, downy trail of hair.

When you fall asleep in the middle
of a story, I will carry you from chair to bed,
lie with you and read it to the end,
mark your place, leave your book and glasses on the dresser.

It’s true you’ve been gone all our lives, loves,
been distracted, like me, by other footsteps coming
down the hall, taste of breath distinct as
fingerprints. Will you stay longer than I ever have?

:: Paul 3/13/2002 05:13:00 PM [+] ::
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Sorry, that third possible opening line should read "I can't get this diesel off my hands." Of course I would miss a word when the sentence it's in must be nine syllables. Doh!
:: Paul 3/13/2002 07:56:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 ::
Paul: I'm on it. Six o'clock tomorrow, yeah?

And also I didn't want you all to think I was really (really) uptight about doing both exercise and rotation. I just didn't want to throw my poem in the middle of all this other stuff and load everybody down until I heard how the rest were feeling--I mean to say it felt a bit presumptuous to be slapping down my poem and my exercise at the same time--and all of this we're doing has been no end of help to me as far as kicking my ass in gear, etc. So no, me, I'm always ready to throw down.
:: Josh 3/12/2002 10:03:00 PM [+] ::
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SYLLABICS!
Write four, four line stanzas with alternating nine and thirteen syllable lines, beginning with nine. Begin the poem with one of these lines (sans parenthetical phrases):

And now, folks, here's your moment of Zen.

Sexism is rampant in nature (from The Onion).

I can't this diesel off my hands.

Will you stay and hold me for a bit?

Sorry, no bonus points for making all the lines work, but you will think you're pretty cool, and so will we. And by the way, if we want to just do the regular thing this week, for whatever reasons (Josh's turn, right?), say the word.
:: Paul 3/12/2002 05:27:00 PM [+] ::
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Yeah, sorry. I guess that sounded a little like we should do both. Basically I was just throwing out ideas, taking initiative, trying to motivate my own lazy ass. I'll go ahead and post the non-rondel exercise tonight if that's ok with you guys, Sean and Rob (which it seems). Kekko desu ka?
But we do need to decide, I guess, if we're going to do more of these exercises, whether periodically or for a little bit exclusively. I'm all for doin em, and we could just throw them in (since they are after all, JUST EXERCISES) along the way. Jesus, this sounds too much like a workshop, doesn't it? We need beer and barbecue.
:: Paul 3/12/2002 08:38:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Monday, March 11, 2002 ::

Ein minuten bitte. Or however that goes. We're doing BOTH regular rotation and the exercises? Are you motherfuckers going to pay me, or what? But seriously, since yes I am next on the regular rotation, I'll be happy to go ahead and go, and then also do the exercise as well, but after I go and you guys start your regular rotations, I'm going to start complaining.

Paul: Yes, post that exercise. I'll be ready by 6pm. I'm already brushing up a couple of my pre-fab rondels.

I'll wait a little on posting the regular poem, until all votes are in.


:: Josh 3/11/2002 11:03:00 PM [+] ::
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Sonnet exercise, regular or -ir rotation, it all sounds excellent. The sonnet exercise sounds good, but the logistics, yes, fuck. Unless somebody esle wants to, I can come up with the assignment (which may or may not be a sonnet--good, no?) and post it by Tuesday at 6:00 pm so we can all have our little themes ready by Wed. same time. Whatcha think?
:: Paul 3/11/2002 04:32:00 PM [+] ::
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I'm up for the sonnet exercise if everyone else is. Who's up on the regular rotation anyway? Josh?
:: Rob 3/11/2002 01:49:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Friday, March 08, 2002 ::
On second thought, re: Nolan: or are his press people just now hoping to spin it so that it sounds like this is what Nolan wanted all along?
:: Josh 3/08/2002 06:02:00 PM [+] ::
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Sean, and this has nothing to do with poetry of course, but don't you think Nolan wanted to be fired, to get out of the contract or whatever? Like, he was asking for it, specifically? Like, Nolan thinks his shit through? Either way, of course, tough to lose him.

As for the poetry writing exercise, yeah, hell yeah. My first thought, though, is this: I can be anywhere anytime, writing poems, driving the hoop, asking where's the love, etc, but some of you people with things to do may not be able to get the exercise assignment on time, turn the poem in on time, etc. Therein lies the problem. So, do we say, then, that you do the exercise if you can, and if you can't, then you just chime in whenever you want to, and we don't wait around to hear from you? Fuck. Logistics.

I like the idea, though, of loosening up the, whatever, the quality stuff. We could do one of those translations things that I always have my students do, but never have done myself. Oh we could do so many things.
:: Josh 3/08/2002 01:18:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, March 07, 2002 ::
You mean what does "Nolan" mean? He was the coach of the Razorback Bball team and was fired for being sassy. I liked him; thus, I'm sad. Tell me what you all would think about an exercise--say, write a sonnet or something in 24 hours; then we could all see the results. I wouldn't want to do it if it wasn't fun, but I was thinking about those song-writing competitions where Hank Williams or someone would write a song in 20 minutes. I thought it might be a nice break from putting quality stuff (I should say that the song I'm thinking of was that Jambalaya song which is um . . . good http://www.guitaretab.com/gtab/t/20923) out there and would allow us some fun. We could let one of us come up with the assignment to be posted by noon on Friday and have to post our poem by noon on Saturday, or better yet, I think, 2:00 on Friday. Just pick a time when we're all there at the keyboards. Less time the better. Also, have you all heard anything about our president waving at Stevie Wonder during the White House gala? He got no response and slowly lowered his arm. A friend said he'd seen it in the Washington Post, and I thought it would brighten your days. Oh, I just published a couple of Ronsard poems at thedrunkenboat.com. They'll be out in the spring issue. My first translations to hit the presses! Any other pub news? or is that tacky?
:: Sean 3/07/2002 07:53:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 ::
Don't worry about it, Sean. Teach your ass off, get over Nolan, and explain to me what that means when you get back.
:: Paul 3/05/2002 08:55:00 AM [+] ::
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Sorry, sorry, sorry. It's 5:21 in the AM, and I'm on my way to Bayou Meto to teach kids how to be poor and fairly high-strung. I'm very sorry that I didn't get to comment yet. I tried a couple of these once, and boy . . . I've been too upset about Nolan to write you guys, but I think I'll be better when I get back. Talk to you later. Just kidding about Nolan.
:: Sean 3/05/2002 05:22:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Monday, March 04, 2002 ::
Paul, thanks for the thanks. By the by, did they eject Coach Chapman, or what?
:: Josh 3/04/2002 06:02:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Sunday, March 03, 2002 ::
Wow. If I were a girl, my panties would be very loose right now. I had reservasations about that poem, mostly because of the reasons we've all mentioned about villanelling. But I do appreciate the remarks. Luckily, I was worried about at least some of the things you guys brought up, so it's nice to have a little confirmation. I agree (like this matters), Josh: the title bothers me, too. In some ways I felt like Jim Whitehead's version of Keats writing "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (sorry Josh, guess this won't be as direct an objective correlative for you): "Beauty is truth, truth beauty........all ye need to know. (Keats brushes pen and paper away.) Now give me another beer." "But John, what does it mean?" "Fuck if I know."

In any case, thanks again guys. Look forward to the next poem.

:: Paul 3/03/2002 09:00:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Friday, March 01, 2002 ::
Yeah, hell, well I tried to write one of these once, and I couldn't get past the second stanza, and ever since, when I refer to that poem, which is rarely, I refer to it as the Haunted Villanelle, as in I bet you can't spend twenty-four hours in it. So well done getting it done, and well done poem in its entirety, Paul. What I'm finding troublesome here, is that it may be even harder for me to critique a villanelle than for me write one. Best lines, all the ones that Rob mentioned (hateful to hear that said, I know) with this one addition, which is the line I love the best and one that since I've read the poem, most sticks in my head: "I shouldn't have to say you shouldn't weep." Incredible compression and emotion there, and for me (though Rob may have something on the tone of "weep," though I didn't think of it until he mentioned it, but I think that maybe the trouble tone-wise begins and ends with heap, and heap makes some trouble for the following eeps, such as the aforementioned weep, which I don't mind, also aforementioned) but for me, along with the opening line and all its permutations (now I'm plagiarizing) that's the finest moment in a poem of fine moments, dextrous enjambment and some groovy metamorphoses (take that, "permutation"!) on the return lines. Do I dare, after saying all of this, offer criticism? I don't know that I do. Every time I think of suggesting something, it ends up breaking up the form or the tone, so I'll be pussy and say: about the title: I think the He/She and Told Him forces me to ask questions about voice, and who's who, and she told him what now, which the poem doesn't particularly answer. And the poem doesn't need to answer them at all, really, it's just that the title sets up a couple of expectations, a couple of specific things, and villanelles kind of aren't built to contain that brand of specific. Usually villanelles to work have to be carefully broad, rhetorical, general, bordering on vague (I learn by going where it is that I must go) and the title makes me want to know who's who, what they said, what's the deal with them, specifically, which is tough to pull off in a villanelle I think (again, your villanelle works, it's the title I'm talking about). So add that to Rob's thoughts on the title, and one more thing about this poem, and then I'll shut up and congratulate you: strange, to me, that you've written what amounts to a narrative villanelle (there are clear narrative elements throughout, a storyline) instead of the typically lyric-concentrated one (lyric elements of course throughout as well, but you know what I mean). I can't think of another narrative villanelle, though I'm sure there are some. So, again, not only have you given us a fine example of a tough form, but also a strange breed of said tough form, and that's double-trouble. So nicely done. I'm waiting patiently on the pantoum and the double sestina.
:: Josh 3/01/2002 06:59:00 PM [+] ::
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