Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Inside joke

I am not well.
I have three sentences to parse, a chapter to read, and Parmenides.
I care about the wrong classes and put the emphasis on the wrong days.
The school district is sending me "You're a shitty parent" letters for truancy.
This is not a joke.
I am suffering emotionally, mentally dislodged, barely pulling off kind of level-headed around my peers.
I found Empedocles today and begged for a hug. For once he came through.
I'm needing solitude. Everyone expects me to talk with them.
I cannot hold up the world.
I've got to hold tight till Friday. L— needs me well for her birthday.

Free Will (or at least semi-compatiblism) in Blank Verse

When God and all his holy angels wash
their hair on Fridays (lather, rinse, repeat)
who calls the bottle into question? Still,
we have our eggs however we would like,
equivocating deviled sorts, until
Descartes picks up a predetermined sheet,
and crease by crease his folded crane becomes
an origami box—like causal hearts
that fuel the bags we carry round for worms.
Who validates our private closet door
debates when intuition tells us blue
is best one Tuesday, lavender the next?
Today, you picked the bottle up again
and lathered twice. Then chose to dress the part
of fool who's pigeon-toed, polite and mute,
the clueless sort who skips the final page
of every novel ever read because
they all end up instruction books for life.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On the eve of a year of celibacy

Both my teens are bemoaning their hormones. Vocally. To me. I'm just that kind of mom, and I just have that kind of relationship with my kids. My eldest craves fondling. My second born craves someone to fondle. Before you get your own panties in a bind over their openness about such things, please understand that what these kids are feeling is normalized human biological drive. Unless there is something terribly, terribly wrong with you, these drives affect you as well. I'm sorry I couldn't be there to listen when you needed the same kind of mother in your teens. There's only so much of me to go round.

So I stood over the two of them, as they writhed in agony on the couch in the full throes of their wantonness, and I responded as sympathetically to their pathetic states as I could.

"Tomorrow, I will observe the anniversary of a full year of celibacy. If I can go without, so can you."

The three of us sucked it up for the rest of the night.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Four statements on technique

I'm working on blank verse about free will.
The juxtaposition is potent.
I'm also juxtaposing adoration and the ethics of professionalism.
This is not a clever twist.

Motifs in Water and Longing

I sing the song of wading through
the places where the missing is smooth,
where barefoot goes against the grain
of peachflesh sand, and toes trace lonesome
grooves  like the dark trench at the center
of a lover’s neck. I sing the song or hum
some minimalist rendering of arterial motifs,
the chant of tone deaf dog sharks, a stumbling
archipelago of freight barges and vacant
thoughts, one mound of debris disappearing
after another until you hear the lowest key
on the horizon—carrying  away
all the rotten clippings, the lemon pulse
of transatlantic ebb and flow, the starfruit
fish and oyster birds confusing the taste
of citrus and gin. I sing the first glimpse of empty
shores, the maiden rungs of all our ladders
sinking into the evening sea, the final castaway
tune of bottled effects, the d.c. al fine.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cuts in love and faith

M— relapsed.

This house is all cuts and scrapes. L—, M— and I have been reading He's Just Not That Into You, because frankly I don't feel I'm one to give advice on boys and relationships. All three of us are learning. Me, what I've done wrong. M—, that her present boyfriend isn't emotionally healthy, nor does he treat her the way she deserves. L—, not to settle, ever.

E— laughs at us, but he says his trouble with girls is much the same—females are a mystery. B— doesn't want me to bring up girls around him at all, but he is fascinated by the human body of the opposite sex. 

My blank verse this go round is on determinism; specifically on God's technique for washing his hair: lather, rinse, repeat. This semester's work is not turning out anything like I'd planned. 

This is not a crisis of faith. But it would take brainwashing to slip back into my old paradigm.

Truth is so much broader than words on a page, motion in a dance, daily ritual and pedestaled skin bags. Moths chew through philosophy as well as scripture. Worms take apart my flesh and that of saint just the same. Getting at the heart of God is a sacred, bloody incision.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Plus review Greek verbs. Plus read Heidegger on the Presocratics. Plus fix that lyrical poem that sucks. Plus come up with something passable in blank verse. Plus edit student poems for workshopping. Plus read up on semi-compatiblism because Mr. PNU offered it as a possible solution to my determinism crisis. Then he said maybe when he's not crazy busy we can discuss it all over lunch, which might have created another kind of crisis if I weren't crazy busy as well. And to think, I'd just like to know that there are real agent options when it comes to daily wardrobe selection. (Yes, I'm trivializing my own dilemma. See, I have a sense of humor once in a while.)

Finish by Monday. That is all.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pickles and psych wards

It's coming up—one year since the behavioral psych ward—and my psyche is not behaving well enough to say I'm clear of the marker. Between panic attacks and crying spells that my mother used manipulative tactics to re-enter my life and I wasn't ready, and also the fact that I'm not losing my young bro gracefully, there's nothing hot about it. I am a mess.

I wrote my mother an email and apologized for hurting her, but expressed my need for distance again. I found my Bro in the library and failed at either holding him or being held by him. Next, I wrote a terrible, terrible poem. I'm such a sop that the words came out sogged in brine. I am a thirty-nine-year-old heartbroken sourpuss who needs Clausen or Vlassic bottle and labeling. I went to a philosophy colloquium on heterodoxy in LDS doctrine. I went to ethics and found relief in Mr. PNU's fifth day debunking cultural relativism. 

Emotions. Funny how they can define things. Mood disorders. Broken hearts. The truth in dogma. The similarities between last year and this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You think you can outlast this desert

You cannot fuck a camel 
without a sturdy ladder,
or access to a nearby Home Depot 
and a Gyges ring finger discount.

The stars on your cul de sac 
are lemon-scented, same as the stars
that dress and undress the honey 
flavored locust trees on my cul de sac.

I think I twitch in my sleep. Somewhere 
in my dreams I want to roll myself
in your bluest t-shirt and lie there,
reading the washing instructions.

Our ethics proffer us saguaro 
in a long desert, or perhaps they quench
those of us most wanton for pricking.
Friday is not a complete sentence, 

though it tastes like strawberries 
and comes round just as cool.
Camels can go even longer 
than a week, ladder or no.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The fabric for a lyric

I am in love with a dying man,
who lives every day of his life
wishing the grave he has dug
in my heart would fill itself,
like wishing for a pinch of missing 
cells, or a glimpse of rainbows 
that come after the rain at nightfall.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Miracles like Sarcoma in the Clouds

Jesus wrote his name in that MRI
like the signatures we’ve seen
in Maria Rubio’s flouta,
a tourist’s naan in India,
and the waterstained plaster
in a Pittsburgh studio apartment

Or was it the tag of Mary, his mother,
stamped inside your body,
like the roadside virgins in knotty trees,
or pressed in random crust of grilled cheese?

You hold up that stigmatic intersect
of black and white, a resonant parsing of bone
and the space you create for concourses of angels.
There, you see?
And I can.

Through the clay I can make out
bacon grease in a frat boy’s frying pan,
the rumpled woolen stocking of an old English maid,
another twenty years of suffering faith,
and I’m drawing imitations in the sand
all of them cancer-free: the devout nimbus,
contrite stratus, all remitted by the blind 

horizons connected by the thalo, godless sky.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Neo-Greek poet, week one

Week one of Spring Semester 2014 is down. I am knee deep in Greek. I will probably have 16 hours of Greek homework a week to stay current with the course. Same time, it's a luxurious knee deep. I'm having a spiritual experience with this language, if such a thing is possible. 

I'm up to my elbows in Ethics. I've already graded 52 assignments tonight alone, and I'm chilling my jets about the one kid I've already caught trying to cheat. I'm putting off dealing with him until I consult Mr. PNU about tact in such matters. Let's just say, if you are assigned a five page passage from a book by Plato that your TA studied intently the semester before, it is best to read those five pages and eek out a weak comment rather than summarizing what Wikipedia had to say about the entire book. And please, PLEASE, don't try to tell me that Plato mentioned Shakespeare even if the former did discuss poetry and its place in society at length. Just don't.

Every time I sit down, it's in a puddle of poetry. I keep having to change my pants. My advanced poetry professor is both intimidating and sexy, in that order. There, I've said it. Now I have to focus on getting my best work on paper while I'm in his care. I keep tripping over whatever hand is holding the pencil. My tongue is a jumprope. 

And then there are my ancient Greek philosophers, again, in depth. I'm almost ready to add Philosophy as a second major. It's nuts, though. I get that a lot of people think I'm crazy. Nuts? That's when I start to believe them.

This is going to be a tough few months. But I'm nerding out with glee.

My grandpa, who told me he worried about his "educated kids"... Maybe he was a smidgen justified. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

This is my dining set. My girlie pal J— made it for me from salvaged, repurposed antiques. L— helped me select the artwork. The doily is from the Mad Hatter manic era, circa Jan '06. This is the feel good part of my day. The rest was strange and uncomfortable and confusing.

I'm going to like working for Mr. PNU. It was kind of bizarre being back in his class again, listening to the same lecture, slightly altered, a year later. But at the same time, it was completely right. This is where I was when my marriage went from collapse to implosion, only about to go seriously nuts from sustained domestic violence and a nasty mixed episode. So when Mr. PNU addresses the psychological ethics of suicide, the last twelve months all came slamming home. I made it. I am myself again. I am free from abuse and repression and I am learning and thinking freely without fear. I am also completely single.

The strange and uncomfortable part is that I'm mid getting over this bro-breakup. Seeing him, the bro, is the nail in the heart all over again. Seeing him a few feet behind Mr PNU in the hallway is the weirdest sort of emotional wave.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Final Cradlesong for Heraclitus

When you are an old man, and you are—
you will hear the song of my grandfather as a boy,
and his father’s words, scarcely whispered, will kick
up the Arkansas wind. And they both are gone.

When you are an old man, and you are—
you will hear rustling waves bow and bend
like answers to a mother’s prayer as she
rocks your child in time with golden tides.

When you are an old man, and you are—
you will remember the weight of our arms
offering each other the safest distance from everything,
when we forgot to seek refuge from flame.

When you are an old man, and you are—
you will move forward with the season
and I will sally back in a passionate harvest,
sheave after burning sheave, consuming chaff and all.

When you are an old man, and you are—
you will watch the wind stir memory of waves.
Fathers and mothers, a thousand lovers all
come and gone by the fistful in your wake.

When you are an old man, and you are—
you will ask her for one last cradlesong before
parting, the way my palms open now, releasing
these kernels to the flux of Arkansas’ fiery breeze.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Writing about today isn't going to help.

I started out the new year by ending a friendship with someone I care for deeply. In fact I love him and I know he loves me. But he won't date me because even though we have incredible chemistry I am too old for him and I already have four children. Read: I am used goods.

I'm not going to go off on this tangent. It's pointless. Because I'm not angry; I am wounded. And right now, I just want to be as grown up about the whole thing as possible. But yeah, I told him I couldn't maintain the friendship. It's easier for me to put the whole thing under cold water and forgive his emotional immaturity than it will be to let the situation continue to do damage and find I come out the other end bitter and resentful.

This is how you love and let go. The ladies at the women's shelter would be so proud of my ability to create boundaries. I think I'll go to group tomorrow night.

I bought a car.

The end.