Saturday, March 21, 2015


This week I went to the Beinecke library at Yale to read from the Susan Howe archive. It was the last day of winter. I ordered 4 boxes – notebooks mostly and drafts. To see a mind at work. To read her musings and worries and plannings. How this fits with what I’m doing. I will never have an archive. From the Greek arkheia for public records. I went with an idea for a book about the brain and its family and how the brain hurts and worries and sees and doesn't see and repeats and patterns and frays. I read 13 small notebooks. I took notes and some photos of individual pages. Her handwriting is small. She filled the books with quotations and lovely small drafts of poems -- at least I think they are drafts. "The deep truth is imageless," -- a quote from Shelley contained in the first notebook. 


I worked at a library table in the reading room. I could hear her voice as I read and turned the small pages, even though I've only heard her speak on a recording. But there's something about handwriting that's akin to sound. Perhaps the physicality of the pencil marks on the page. She used pencil and pen. Along with quotations, the books included what I came to think of as her "container" poems -- because they're small and intense and hold much energy. And then some personal entries about the usual -- work, health, money, family. The room was quiet except for the clicking of keyboards. Later I thought of when a blog friend Rebecca Loudon visited the home of outsider artist Henry Darger in Chicago and how she sensed his presence/ghost. Susan Howe is still alive. And more so as I read and took notes and thought. I'll go back next week. What am I looking for? A mentor. A process. Words. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday, October 24, 2014

Been around the world

I've been to some amazing places cities villages temples
homes never imagined I'd be welcomed to some though
I don't speak the language I learned thank you.
Cam On/Aw koon/xie-xie syeh-syeh. Again and again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy birthday

Some favorites from where I'm at these days where women on bikes and motor bikes in rice fields villages the city selling fruit carrying flowers singing the names of their children their lovers under their breath whisper to carry on another year and another as they do hum shout   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fire in the Lake comes from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, and it is the image of revolution. This image, like all of the others in the Book of Changes, is almost as old as China itself; for Vietnamese it forms the mental picture of change within the society.”
—Excerpt from Fire in the Lake, Frances FitzGerald

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

full again

It's a bit too blurry the supermoon photo but you get the idea.
In other news I've assembled/perhaps finished at least for now
the MS. Work on it still to be done. Order. Sequence. Tweaks.
And of course the work of getting it actually published. Still.
The completion is something for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So this

I'm re-reading in that I'm returning to past places and here's
one in the outback of Montana.  Oh and then this happened
meaning a poem published, which is newsworthy.

You Take the Diaphragm Out and the Body Opens Like a Book

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Summer Solstice

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.