Napudot

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
Heat sharpens its blades,
pushes up its sleeves and goes

to work on every kind of body
that's used up its last 

stores of water. What it does,
it does mindlessly; and so

we tolerate the annual
descent into hell that others call

summer, by dreaming of a thin 
trickle cooling our wrists, our napes.
 

Vantage point

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to the office, where all the morning busy. Then to Westminster Hall, and there met Sir W. Pen, who labours to have his answer to his impeachment, and sent down from the Lords’ House, read by the House of Commons; but they are so busy on other matters, that he cannot, and thereby will, as he believes, by design, be prevented from going to sea this year. Here met my cozen Thomas Pepys of Deptford, and took some turns with him; who is mightily troubled for this Act now passed against Conventicles, and in few words, and sober, do lament the condition we are in, by a negligent Prince and a mad Parliament. Thence I by coach to the Temple, and there set him down, and then to Sir G. Carteret’s to dine, but he not being at home, I back again to the New Exchange a little, and thence back again to Hercules Pillars, and there dined all alone, and then to the King’s playhouse, and there saw “The Surprizall;” and a disorder in the pit by its raining in, from the cupola at top, it being a very foul day, and cold, so as there are few I believe go to the Park to-day, if any. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there I understand how the Houses of Commons and Lords are like to disagree very much, about the business of the East India Company and one Skinner; to the latter of which the Lords have awarded 5000l. from the former, for some wrong done him heretofore; and the former appealing to the Commons, the Lords vote their petition a libell; and so there is like to follow very hot work. Thence by water, not being able to get a coach, nor boat but a sculler, and that with company, it being so foul a day, to the Old Swan, and so home, and there spent the evening, making Balty read to me, and so to supper and to bed.

where to answer the sea
but in the rain

like the skin of the Lord
or some foul old swan

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 1 May 1668

Stormy

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and at the office all the morning. At noon Sir J. Minnes and I to the Dolphin Tavern, there to meet our neighbours, all of the Parish, this being Procession-day, to dine. And did; and much very good discourse; they being, most of them, very able merchants as any in the City: Sir Andrew Rickard, Mr. Vandeputt, Sir John Fredericke, Harrington, and others. They talked with Mr. Mills about the meaning of this day, and the good uses of it; and how heretofore, and yet in several places, they do whip a boy at each place they stop at in their procession.
Thence I to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw “The Tempest,” which still pleases me mightily, and thence to the New Exchange, and then home, and in the way stopped to talk with Mr. Brisband, who gives me an account of the rough usage Sir G. Carteret and his Counsel had the other day, before the Commissioners of Accounts, and what I do believe we shall all of us have, in a greater degree than any he hath had yet with them, before their three years are out, which are not yet begun, nor God knows when they will, this being like to be no session of Parliament, when they now rise. So home, and there took up Mrs. Turner and carried her to Mile End and drank, and so back talking, and so home and to bed, I being mighty cold, this being a mighty cold day, and I had left off my waistcoat three or four days. This evening, coming home in the dusk, I saw and spoke to our Nell, Pain’s daughter, and had I not been very cold I should have taken her to Tower hill para together et toker her.
Thus ends this month; my wife in the country, myself full of pleasure and expence; and some trouble for my friends, my Lord Sandwich, by the Parliament, and more for my eyes, which are daily worse and worse, that I dare not write or read almost any thing. The Parliament going in a few days to rise; myself so long without accounting now, for seven or eight months, I think, or more, that I know not what condition almost I am in, as to getting or spending for all that time, which troubles me, but I will soon do it. The kingdom in an ill state through poverty; a fleete going out, and no money to maintain it, or set it out; seamen yet unpaid, and mutinous when pressed to go out again; our Office able to do little, nobody trusting us, nor we desiring any to trust us, and yet have not money for any thing, but only what particularly belongs to this fleete going out, and that but lamely too. The Parliament several months upon an Act for 300,000l., but cannot or will not agree upon it, but do keep it back, in spite of the King’s desires to hasten it, till they can obtain what they have a mind, in revenge upon some men for the late ill managements; and he is forced to submit to what they please, knowing that, without it, he shall have no money, and they as well, that, if they give the money, the King will suffer them to do little more; and then the business of religion do disquiet every body, the Parliament being vehement against the Nonconformists, while the King seems to be willing to countenance them. So we are all poor, and in pieces — God help us! while the peace is like to go on between Spain and France; and then the French may be apprehended able to attack us. So God help us!

noon tempest
like a cold country
full of eyes

and we forced to submit
to that disquiet
are all in pieces

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 30 April 1668

Blueprint

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
[Baguio City]



Among the roses in the park,
          Daniel's bust on a small pedestal:

in afternoon light, there's no
         mistaking such a face for any  

of "the natives"—the ones who cut
         the grass and sweep up litter

left by tourists around the man-
         made lake.  I thought first we would take

only Manila; then Luzon; then other 
         islands, perhaps, alsosaid William 
 
McKinley, pacing back and forth
         in the White House at midnight. 

And so the architecture of this next
         colonial state was born. On a map,

though we might no longer be that 
         place carved out for others' occupancy, 

every road snakes into the hills, bent
        on delivering the old missions. 

  

Good morning

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to my office, where all the morning busy. At noon dined at home, and my clerks with me, and thence I to White Hall, and there do hear how Sir W. Pen hath delivered in his answer; and the Lords have sent it down to the Commons, but they have not yet read it, nor taken notice of it, so as, I believe, they will by design defer it till they rise, that so he, by lying under an impeachment, may be prevented in his going to sea, which will vex him, and trouble the Duke of York. Did little business with the Duke of York, and then Lord Brouncker and I to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw “Love in a Tubb;” and, after the play done, I stepped up to Harris’s dressing-room, where I never was, and there I observe much company come to him, and the Witts, to talk, after the play is done, and to assign meetings. Mine was to talk about going down to see “The Resolution,” and so away, and thence to Westminster Hall, and there met with Mr. G. Montagu, and walked and talked; who tells me that the best fence against the Parliament’s present fury is delay, and recommended it to me, in my friends’ business and my own, if I have any; and is that, that Sir W. Coventry do take, and will secure himself; that the King will deliver up all to the Parliament; and being petitioned the other day by Mr. Brouncker to protect him, with teares in his eyes, the King did say he could not, and bid him shift for himself, at least till the House is up. Thence I away to White Hall, and there took coach home with a stranger I let into the coach, to club with me for it, he going into London, I set him down at the lower end of Cheapside, and I home, and to Sir W. Pen’s, and there sat, and by and by, it being now about nine o’clock at night, I heard Mercer’s voice, and my boy Tom’s singing in the garden, which pleased me mightily, I longing to see the girl, having not seen her since my wife went; and so into the garden to her and sang, and then home to supper, and mightily pleased with her company, in talking and singing, and so parted, and to bed.

morning and I believe I may be
going to sea in a tub

going to see
a king be a king

or at least
singing in the garden
longing to see my wife

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 29 April 1668

A Tunnel has Openings on Both Ends

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
According to recent assessments from the eager 
to travel again, have drinks with friends, shed

the year's wardrobe of almost sackcloth 
and ashes—we've come through to the other

side. But what is the other side if not a reverse-
engineered vision of this one; a looking glass 

in which (we pray) each full-blown tragedy of
the past year shrinks back to what it wasn't 

before the unfathomable struck? What is any
opening ahead if not a wound struck by light, 

an animal flashing bands of color under the glassy 
skin of water? I want to believe the tunnel 

through which we travel doesn't go on 
forever; that nothing waits at the other end 

except the future's beautiful mouth, not one 
sharpening its bite or waiting to tear us to pieces.  

Getting religion

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up betimes, and to Sir W. Coventry’s by water, but lost my labour, so through the Park to White Hall, and thence to my Lord Crew’s to advise again with him about my Lord Sandwich, and so to the office, where till noon, and then I by coach to Westminster Hall, and there do understand that the business of religion, and the Act against Conventicles, have so taken them up all this morning, and do still, that my Lord Sandwich’s business is not like to come on to-day, which I am heartily glad of. This law against Conventicles is very severe; but Creed, whom I met here, do tell me that, it being moved that Papists’ meetings might be included, the House was divided upon it, and it was carried in the negative; which will give great disgust to the people, I doubt. Thence with Creed to Hercules Pillars by the Temple again, and there dined he and I all alone, and thence to the King’s house, and there did see “Love in a Maze,” wherein very good mirth of Lacy, the clown, and Wintersell, the country-knight, his master. Thence to the New Exchange to pay a debt of my wife’s there, and so home, and there to the office and walk in the garden in the dark to ease my eyes, and so home to supper and to bed.

I lost the Lord
to understand

that the business of religion
is still like a heart
moved by love

in a maze where
a clown and knight
exchange eyes

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 28 April 1668

Heart

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
A group of physical therapy interns 
          likes to exchange anecdotes of weird
science while I work my clamshell reps
          and hip flexions in the common room.
Today, it's all about 3D printing— how
          scientists have managed to reprogram
a patient's cells and engineer an entire
         heart replete with cells, blood vessels, 
ventricles and chambers. For now, the organ
          is no bigger than the heart of a rabbit 
and can only contract. They haven't 
          figured out yet how to make
the bio-inked muscles pump in that crucial
          rhythm so the thing behaves exactly
like a heart— For instance, in the evenings,
          now that it's warmer, we've seen
a rabbit and her baby come out from under
          the back deck to nibble on the clover.
The tremor under the twitch of fur is visible
          though they seem to have grown  
used to our presence and don't startle  
          as quick as they used to.  I feel my non-
printed 3D heart beat faster from my exertions, 
          and slow down as I finish. No doubt 
the goal is to someday have a science 
         that can replace a patient's failing 
internal organs without having to wait 
         for a medical chopper rushing to deliver 
a cooler packed with a lung or a liver or a heart  
         harvested from a matching donor who's just 
expired in an accident on the highway.  A miracle,
         they exclaimed, after the first human
to human heart transplant took place in South
        Africa, 1967.  A miracle, they say again, 
as the machine delivers the squishy, slightly 
        rubbery prototype— though it will take 
time to perfect this technology. I wonder how
        it will react to fire, threat, danger;  to
the glimpse of a long-missed one approaching
        after years of separation;  to the bearable
silence that makes an opening in the dappled
       leaves, some evening after sorrow.      

Poetry Blog Digest 2021, Week 20

Poetry Blogging Network

A personal selection of posts from the Poetry Blogging Network and beyond. Although I tend to quote my favorite bits, please do click through and read the whole posts. This week found me in an odd mood, a bit disoriented by the sudden onset of summer here, and so in compiling this edition I found myself drawn to the odd sentence, the strange story, the unexpected efflorescence of the unsayable.


So this is all to say that in the absence of Things to Look Forward To just landing in my lap, I’m trying to create Things to Look Forward To all on my own, and when I write Things to Look Forward To, I mostly mean Things That Will Distract Me from Thinking About the Things I Don’t Want to Think About Anymore.

And if you’re a writer and reading this, you’ll know that’s a laughable goal, because if I write anything I’ll probably be Writing About Something I Think is Completely Unrelated to Things I Don’t Want to Think About Anymore But is Actually a Loose Metaphor or Allegory for Things I Don’t Want to Think About Anymore.

Sarah Kain Gutowski, Once More Into the Fray: I Revive the Blog and Once Again Accost the Internet with Nonsense I Can’t Just Keep in My Damn Fool Head

Good morning from the West where we are but blood under the earth’s talons

Rebecca Loudon, Pig and farm report

Cold enough still to sharpen the lungs to hitch and hurry, to be glad of the fullsuit even with lats and shoulders complaining of restriction; above, that cloudscape reflected, below, that cloudscape reflected; her skin in the palms of my hands patting her wave-greeting, a braille of lake-language, of where ya been babe, hi!, and a pouring of bliss immersed in her copper taste, her silky texture, the smell of her unique among all the lakes, as every beloved is unique; freshening wind enough to make real push at times, coasting in still sky others, fast, slow, hit by arctic blasts of springs from below, sun baking neoprene from above; breathing into cold joy; cruising slowly, going strong, coasting again to better listen to the dialogue, the poetry, the lovesong being sung by us both; power returning to my body and brought home to home ground, so many hundreds upon hundreds of miles in this water; alive–

JJS, Open!

I’m really pleased to be writing about Mike Farren’s Smithereens for all sorts of reasons that will become clear as we go along. But I have to say that the first one was its title, which is, I think, only the second use of the word in a poem since Tony Harrison’s Bookends in the 70s. The poet and his father are sitting in a morose silence, either side of the gas fire, sitting out the night of the day Harrison’s mother dropped dead. It’s one of many poems that explores the business of articulacy, of education, the way they separate families that should be close, make them inarticulate and awkward in each other’s company. Like Dylan says we never did too much talking anyway, but as he didn’t say, it’s not all right. Not at all.

A night you need my company to pass
and she not here to tell us we’re alike!
.
Your life’s all shattered into smithereens
.
Back in our silences and sullen looks
for all the Scotch we drink, what’s still between’s
not the thirty or so years, but books, books, books
.
It’s not just the title ‘Smithereens’ that resonates but the obduracy.. the stupidity, if you like.. of the men and their silence. As Harrison says in the poem, his mother’s not there to break it.

John Foggin, Catching up: Mike Farren’s “Smithereens”

The word flower thrives in every language, says Kate Farrell, and Julia Fiedorczuk tells her poem, “bloom, bear fruit / come to life.” Galway Kinnell reminds us that “everything flowers, / from within, of self-blessing; / though sometimes it is necessary / to reteach a thing its loveliness.”

Shawna Lemay, 10 Poems about Flowers

Like the protagonist of Jorge Luis Borges’s story “The Circular Ruins,” who seeks to dream into existence a man “with minute integrity,” Goodby dreams these poems onto the page only to reveal that we are all part of the dream, reader and poet alike.  As he writes in “The Ars” (the title poem), at first “he cannot imagine yet / ripped space”; finally, however, “his dream inscrutably feeds / on itself wrings pain bodies dry.”  The body “dry,” the table-soccer player of The Ars’s cover photo (taken by the author himself), a simulacrum, the seam of the mold visible from the crown of the head on down.  As the concluding poem, “Llu” (meaning “power” in Welsh), reminds, “To happen is finished and about to.”  That is, it is “finished” by fashioning hands, or in the case of the figure in the photo, not so finished; indeed, these poems are always about to be, but never quite, and in this manner, are.

Mike Begnal, John Goodby’s The Ars

listen to the illusive will o’ the wisp lisp
of voices beyond choices
extra-cranial in their introspection
the prolapse of a mind in depth defined
and all thought proscribed by thought

Jim Young, noise

Again last night I thought about something I wanted to explore this morning on the page. Well: screen. And I thought to make a note on my phone, but then figured it was so obvious that I would remember.

Obviously, I did not remember. I bet it was profound, though. And would have lead to a book auction for the small creature taking form from my navel-gazing and ethical brooding. There went that opportunity.

Instead, I sit here on a flat Thursday thinking my glasses really need cleaning. Glancing over at Leonard and feeling guilty again because he is more overweight than I am. Then wondering if he wants some peanut butter. Because I do.

Ren Powell, RL and The News

As many evenings as possible, I get out my work bag full of scraps of text from the librarian’s packet, and I begin to search for poems.

Christine Swint, Erasure Poems and the Pandemic

Even in my dreams
coyote sings.

Tom Montag, EVEN

Things that shouldn’t exist
in the same world: the scent
of lilacs in bloom and the stench
of the “skunk water” I read about
on Facebook this morning.

I sit on my mirpesset, surrounded
by green: trees in leaf, willows
trailing graceful fringes, pots
of oregano, rosemary, mint.
So tranquil I could forget

global pandemic still rages,
India’s cremation sites burning
around the clock. I could forget
bombs, rockets, mortar shells,
bereaved parents and orphaned children.

Rachel Barenblat, Bereaved

in love’s one tear

filling the whole flesh

hear me

Grant Hackett [no title]

I could imagine reversing this looking back. The new moon in all its newness with a long tail, the tail of all its memories and associations reaching behind it into the future. My future now. I live forwards but remember backwards. O ) ) ) ) ) )) A crenelating ripple through time, a wrinkling of the brain.

Gary Barwin, On Garage Doors: Do I feel like I am 16 now that I am 57?

I’m trying to avoid getting too carried away with what/how the poet is saying things as I found myself having to “have a word with myself” a couple of weeks ago in relation to a review that’s due out soon as part of a new thing. I can’t talk about the “new thing” yet, but it is exciting to be in “on the ground floor”. However, in writing a review I was really pleased with myself for seeing that the poet in question had changed a word in a poem when moving it from their pamphlet to their full collection.

The change was subtle, one letter, but it was a shift that made me wax lyrical about the poet’s intentions for a few sentences, exploring the reasons behind the change and what it might be saying about a poet’s voice becoming stronger with experience, etc. However, that was quickly deflated when the editor for “new thing” said (and I hope they don’t mind me quoting) that it was more the “proofreaders that preferred the more modern version (carcass) so I don’t think we can read anything much into that“.

A potent reminder that sometimes a change is just a change is just a change.

Mat Riches, The Flattened Calf and a (anti-)Matador

It’s late May, which means the garden is changing. My own roses aren’t blooming (dang deer ate the tops of every rose, even the ones in “deer proof” cages) but the peonies are about to go, the pink clematis, rhododendrons, and azaleas are blooming, and the birds are singing loudly every morning. I find myself sitting outside on the deck more and more each day, especially the cloudy days, and the birds are getting more comfortable with me.

Jeannine Hall Gailey, A Week of Reintegration – Family Visits, Haircuts, and Roses – and Rejections

Clearly
the world is always changing, not even mildly

inclined to take your sensibility into account.
Before you know it, it’s high summer again

and the trees are filled with the high humming
of cicadas. They’ve awakened from a long

pause, an interlude. Should their bodies become
spore-infested so parts fall away, they won’t even

notice.

Luisa A. Igloria, Extravagance

I don’t know if this was inspired by Planet Zoo or not, but I had a terrifying nightmare a few days ago in which I was being eaten alive by a giant cobra. He had his jaws solidly around my leg and was making rapid progress on swallowing his meal whole. One of my hospital volunteers was attempting to rescue me and he kept telling me to be very, very still. I listened closely to his instructions, all of the time convinced I was going to die and devastated because I didn’t want to shed my mortal coil in the jaws of a giant cobra. In the end I was saved, but I woke up in a cold sweat and awash in adrenaline. I made the mistake of Googling “eaten by snake dream symbolic meaning of” and none of it’s good. I find it very unfair that a cobra was aggressively trying to eat me. I have always been very snake-positive and have stood up for snakes in the midst of wide-spread cultural fear and loathing of them. And this how they thank me. Sheesh.

Kristen McHenry, Grid-Blindness, Slow Creativity, When Cobras Attack

you chased the hare
a golden zigzag
covering the roots
and hollows
as if born amongst
bracken and moss
we waited
locked in time
i whistled and called
and you came
spinning in from
the wrong direction
hope intact
joy undiminished

Dick Jones, Dog Sutras §47

The odd thing is, mostly we did not talk about cancer. I told her my particular story, of course: the unusual way I presented; my misdiagnosis of relapse; my prolonged treatment ‘just to make sure.’ But that wasn’t what we talked about. We talked about my family, about language, about what she called ‘spiralling’, that sudden swirl of thoughts, like a gust of wind round the corner of a building, that can knock you off your feet from nowhere. Mostly we talked about that. And about relapse prevention. Not cancer relapse (there is no safety net there), but spiral-relapse.

Which, years later, is what I am still learning now. Or re-learning, with some new words and ideas thrown in. It’s good. I like learning languages, the names for things. I’m not good at them, but I have always liked the process. This is a chair. I sit in the chair. This is the door. I come through the door. I am happy to sit in the chair. I sit in the chair and we talk. We talk.

Anthony Wilson, On Being Chipper

It’s been strange to be on campus in the mornings and not be taking temperatures of everyone who arrives.  I had gotten used to it as a way to greet people.  I know that I can still greet them, of course.  I also laugh at myself, because I remember a weeping moment in the late summer of 2020 when I said, “I’m just so tired of taking temperatures.”

And now, it’s strange to retire that equipment.

On Thursday our internet went out, and I called the new IT people who asked me to go to the server room to tell them if I saw any lights blinking that shouldn’t be blinking.  When I told them that no one on this campus was ever allowed to have the code, I could tell they were just dumbfounded.  Within a few hours, the campus had internet restored, and I had the code to the server room (those 2 events are not causally related).  I made this Facebook post: “Because we have a new IT director, I have been given the code to the server room, a code which previously, no one but the few IT folks were allowed to have (much to the fire inspector’s puzzlement). I have used the code to go into the server room. I expected to find a great treasure. I found old equipment, including an ancient fax machine.”

Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Retired Equipment

For some time, I mistook intuition for a door-to-door salesperson peddling snake-oil pleasures rather than recognizing those moments of elusive clarity as an otherworldly awareness far keener than rationality.

Still, there are times when logic learns to muzzle itself, and perception is allowed to freely surf the electromagnetic spectrum of consciousness,

follow psychological and physiological footprints until discovering that mysterious inner creature roaming around like Bigfoot

singing the well-tuned song of self.

Rich Ferguson, Gut Feelings and Bigfoot

This lurching is exhausting. But at the same time, we are also recording sensitive changes to our emotional body. Major concepts that are supposed to have held us are weak. Our relations in every encounter, human and nonhuman, create worlds. What is true in the morning might be overwritten by what is true in the evening. Come to it gently.

Jill Pearlman, Shock of the (Post-Covid) New

You know how I’m a bit of a sucker for interesting poetry formats? Well, I’ve often wondered what The A3 Review was all about – a paean to the London to Portsmouth road, perhaps? Or a massive mag that won’t go through your letterbox? I bought a copy of issue #13 to find it’s neither of those. As the website says, it’s ‘a magazine that behaves like a map’ – it comes folded into A6 size, but opens out to reveal its contents.

In it I found poems by a number of international writers who I wasn’t familiar with, plus a pocket-sized Q & A with Roger Robinson (top tip: ‘read & write more, publish less’) and some quirky graphics. It was really interesting to see the poems spread out, so you get a visual sense of how they sit together as well as how they ‘talk’ to each other.

Robin Houghton, On poetry magazines: The A3 Review

As a reader, I’m especially keen on poets who show a knack for trapping and then heightening the natural ebbs and flows of language. Of course, many don’t even want to. However, their forced and artificial turns of phrase tend to leave me cold despite their popularity with certain editors and judges. I seek an apparent simplicity in a poem, accompanied by an almost imperceptible tightening of its cadences and layering of its potential ramifications. This is difficult to achieve and notoriously undervalued, but it moves me far more than linguistic fireworks that don’t earn their corn. 

In the above context, I was especially drawn to Ruth Beddow’s two poems on Wild Court last week (you can read them yourself via this link). Their connection to experience is clear, while their capacity to reach way beyond mere anecdote is also startling. In other words, I thoroughly recommend them and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more work from this excellent poet whose name is new to me. Yet another example of the role of a fine editorial eye at a poetry journal: spotting talent and bringing it to readers…

Matthew Stewart, The natural flow of language, Ruth Beddow’s poems on Wild Court

The poems of Late Human explore, in unusual twists of perspective and thinking, the questions between the unanswerable, and around certain questions that have long been answered. “Having sopped up the mess,” [Jean] Day writes, to end the eighth section of the ten-part sequence “WHERE THE BOYS ARE,” “Or stopped a door with a thud from closing / So the Children of Corn may sow their seed / absolutely certain / That the longer a person remains unsexed / The older he or she will live // To apostrophize [.]” These poems are quite remarkable for not only what they achive, but what they achieve so quietly, and with such ease. Day’s poems play off sound, meaning and rhythm, offering sequences of thoughts pulled apart and strewn together in a delightful and almost deadpan linearity that makes sense even as one knows it possibly shouldn’t.

rob mclennan, Jean Day, Late Human

Raymond Carver’s story continues. The poet gets a ladder, climbs up to the first floor. Then, finds himself face to face with his own room, with his desk:

This is not like downstairs, I thought.
This is something else.

Why? I think it’s because this is where he normally writes: that inner life – room – he’s built for himself. (He repeats ‘desk’ a number of times: showing this is the pivotal spot.)

There is an intensity to this strange, and touching perspective, as well as something overwhelming: ‘I don’t even think I can talk about it.’ 

I’m reminded of the Winnicottian idea of finding room inside yourself, somewhere robust you can work and play.

Charlotte Gann, ROOM IN MY HOUSE

I’ve been reading Diane Seuss’s Frank: Sonnets, which has got me thinking about cracker sandwiches. She mentions them a couple of times in the poems. I have never had a cracker sandwich, but the idea really sent me into a deep recollection of peanut butter crackers. Saltines, of course. The way the peanut butter eases up through the holes like little brown worms.

I’m pretty sure it was my sister who showed me you could put jelly on there too. Jelly! The purple not easing but full-on squooching up through the holes. Plooping out the sides if you weren’t careful.

It was best to stuff the whole thing in the mouth at once. The dry cracker on the tongue, its salt, how it melted quickly on the tongue to merge with the peanut butter but for the edges that caught on the teeth, still brittle and crunchy to the bite down. The jelly, grape, sweet, soft, cool on the roof of the mouth.

Marilyn McCabe, Blue dress blue dress; or, Writing the Lived Experience

On the project front, this week I hope to finish the website edits I started last week and get a finalized draft for dark country.  I also need to create my Patreon postcards for May, and I’m obsessed with watercolors and trees, so that’s what I’m thinking. I’m getting the last batch of dgp 2020 titles production ready, so look for a whole batch of them to drop soon as I get their pages up. A couple 2021 titles have also been hitting the site. It’s also the end of May, which means next week, we’ll be opening for submissions for next year, and this seems wholly impossible.  I think I blinked and entire year went by, but also it dragged heavy, especially through November and beyond. I am still getting used to not being afraid as much moving about in the world, and it opens up so many doors in my mind that have been shut for so long.  

Kristy Bowen, notes & things | 5/23/2021

Tree branches flailing in the wind.
Crows claiming territory.
The river when it’s in a hurry.
The sky thundering about a coming storm.
The earth when she shakes.
Leather shoes dancing over a hardwood floor.
The automobile horn under an angry hand.
The chattering squirrel.
The orca lowing in the deep.
Things and beings speak.
Ssh.
Listen.

James Lee Jobe, Crows, leather shoes, inner strength.

Desperate times

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and Captain Deane come to see me, and he and I toward Westminster together, and I set him down at White Hall, while I to Westminster Hall, and up to the Lords’ House, and there saw Sir W. Pen go into the House of Lords, where his impeachment was read to him, and he used mighty civilly, the Duke of York being there; and two days hence, at his desire, he is to bring in his answer, and a day then to be appointed for his being heard with Counsel. Thence down into the Hall, and with Creed and Godolphin walked; and do hear that to-morrow is appointed, upon a motion on Friday last, to discourse the business of my Lord Sandwich, moved by Sir R. Howard, that he should be sent for, home; and I fear it will be ordered. Certain news come, I hear, this day, that the Spanish Plenipotentiary in Flanders will not agree to the peace and terms we and the Dutch have made for him and the King of France; and by this means the face of things may be altered, and we forced to join with the French against Spain, which will be an odd thing. At noon with Creed to my Lord Crew’s, and there dined; and here was a very fine-skinned lady dined, the daughter of my Lord Roberts, and also a fine lady, Mr. John Parkhurst his wife, that was but a boy the other day. And after dinner there comes in my Lady Roberts herself, and with her Mr. Roberts’s daughter, that was Mrs. Boddevill, the great beauty, and a fine lady indeed, the first time I saw her. My Lord Crew, and Sir Thomas, and I, and Creed, all the afternoon debating of my Lord Sandwich’s business, against to-morrow, and thence I to the King’s playhouse, and there saw most of “The Cardinall,” a good play, and thence to several places to pay my debts, and then home, and there took a coach and to Mile End to take a little ayre, and thence home to Sir W. Pen’s, where I supped, and sat all the evening; and being lighted homeward by Mrs. Markham, I blew out the candle and kissed her, and so home to bed.

apt to see peach
for peace

and the face altered
skinned with evil beauty

I play the card and take
a little air home
to the candle

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 27 April 1668