Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pleasure And Danger

Today I decided to read Harryette Mullen's _Trimmings_ while walking from downtown to the Mannequin Museum that is home. I wanted to see what would happen to the words if I was moving and yes, they moved with me. Unfortunately there is some sort of ban on reading-while-walking in B'ham, Washington. Several SUVs tried very hard to hit me (on the words "sashay," "kitchen," and "sequin") and a police car passed me and honked, looking very annoyed as I crossed the crosswalk slowly. Literacy. Gets. In. The. Way.

Best line I've read all day -- no, in weeks -- really. All you need is one line, if you can write like this:

"Semi-automatic ruffle on a semi-formal gown."

That's Harryette Mullen, riffing off Gertrude Stein.

Get out of your cars, people. Put your feet on the ground.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Witnessing you at this very moment

The new Hayden's Ferry Review is out and about, happy to be held in your hot hand. It's Fall/Winter 2006-07, "Works of Witness." I was especially moved by a concise punch of a poem, "One Explanation," by Chris Forhan, and by "Selections from 'Safe,'" by Charles Jensen, which takes on Matthew Shepard and manages somehow to rescue the subject from the realm of Overdone. I've got a piece in here, too, inspired by that funny little intersection in West Seattle down in the Junction, where it's "walk all ways with walk."


Walk All Ways With Walk


You sell everything you own. Force the five fingers of your only hand into your palm, fist the stone you skipped as a girl. You were a boy then. The secret of skipping was never wanting a ring. Water was home, if only inside you. The places it took you required departures, skirt after skirt, dirt under the wheels of your truck. Stuck in a ditch past Spokane you left that, too, shirt on your back sweet as the last girl’s head thrown back, bed of your truck, sky as water, blue above both of you, her legs always opening, light changing green to Walk All Ways With Walk. You wade past the logjam into the sea. Anna, Susanna, Matilda, Marie. What comes next? No one knows -- not the red-winged blackbird, not the preacher. You enter a solitude you will never escape. A million televisions blame someone else as your beautiful country erupts into Empire. You cover your ankles and your waist with water. Aretha, Sabrina, Tamika, Louise.

Eileen Myles

was amazing at Bailey/Coy. Weird minimalist Q&A after the reading, though, and I didn't get to ask when
the new prose work is coming out. My favorite poems: the "Dear Andrea" series, sculpted out
of her ex-girlfriend's obsessive phone conversations with *her* ex-girlfriend. They perfectly capture the feeling of talking to someone who isn't listening, whose attention is fragmented elsewhere, and whose affection is directed at a long thin line.

Friday, March 23, 2007

We are all accountable

I'm working on a review of Sarah Schulman's new novel, _The Child_, as well as an interview
with the author for Lambda Book Report. The book is fascinating -- focused on the emotional and physical violence that results from familial homophobia. Equally fascinating to me, however, is a second plot strand, exploring how difficult it is for lesbian artists to find venues (mainstream or marginal) for their work. This is something Sarah has commented on for years, and something I've experienced over and over again. If it's got a lesbian in it, it's not literature. Therefore, if you write about lesbians, you aren't writing literature. You're writing -- cereal box copy? Genre fiction? Softcore porn?

The protagonist must always be named Joshua.

Preferably Joshua Joshua.

And so this is the name of my imaginary band: The Joshua Joshuas.

I play tambourine.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"I wanted to go home, where I had never been."

Eileen Myles will be reading at Bailey/Coy Books in Seattle on Friday, March 23 at 7pm.

NaPoWriMo

write a poem a day for the month of april
grocery lists count if the contents are colorful

Sunday, March 18, 2007

songs we are currently dancing to

"I'd rather fuck who I want than kill who I am told to."

Peaches, "Impeach My Bush"

In the "feminism was a stupid idea anyway" dept.

Valerie Plame = glam spy

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why I Heart Matthea Harvey

Here's a poem by Matthea Harvey from The Canary #5 2006:


Estamos En Vivo, No Hay Alternativo


Down here in the land of slammed doors,
the factory puffs its own set of clouds

into the sky. Fake larks fly through
them, lifelike. Let's not go into contractions

of can't and won't or how behind the line of trees,
the forest is gone. Dip that tiny brush into

your paintbox and mix up something nice
and muddy for me. We've got a lock

on the moon so now it goes where we want it--
mostly proms, sometimes lobbies.

This is my favorite sign: "Live girls, live action!"
and in smaller but still flashing lights:

"girl on girl, girl on _____." Among the permutations,
there's no "girl on hands and knees begging for her life."

No one we know wants it that badly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Recent work in Bat City Review

Have you seen Bat City Review, the gorgeous new journal out of The University of Texas at Austin? Look for the tattoo and talons on the cover of issue 2, 2006, where I have three new poems. Here's a sample:


The Belltown Angel

In place of solitude I see the sky. Across the city someone holds dinner for a dozen high above his head. Traffic becomes maps of traffic becomes voices on the radio talking about traffic. Someone holds loaves of bread to her chest and kicks open a wooden door with her boot.

Everything we’ve lost has been returned to us for this day only.
Everything is on sale and the air quality has never been better.

Hostages shiver in the shadow of my burnt-out buildings. Lovers and night dreamers leave icons at my feet, so many candles to drowsy Maria and African Jesus. I sign an animal pact to the lost souls who kneel to me. I sing a lullaby to the glittery drunks and bedraggled drag queens who parade beneath my fiberglass wings. The sky splits into heartstars that guide strippers home, spindly shoes draped over their shoulders, thighs smelling of shaving cream and dollar bills. I spread my wings over the forge where the black dog sleeps, over the corner where a man reads Lorca to his homeless lover.

Bellingham Events: VU Gallery and Village Books

If you're in or around Bellingham, WA, stop by Western Washington University's VU Gallery
on April 19th at 6pm for a poetry reading (me) and art exhibit (the talented Jessica Lowber). Jessica's work showcases images of women, queering the body in extraordinary ways.

I will also be giving a workshop at Village Books in Fairhaven from 6-8pm on March 28.
All proceeds go to charity, and you can learn about creating believable characters in fiction.

Do stop by!