Tuesday, September 14, 2010
For six months I dealt Baccarat in a casino.
For six months I played Brahms in a mall.
For six months I arranged museum dioramas;
my hands were too small for the Paleolithic
and when they reassigned me to lichens, I quit.
I type ninety-one words per minute, all of them
Help. Yes, I speak Dewey Decimal.
I speak Russian, Latin, a smattering of Tlingit.
I can balance seven dinner plates on my arm.
All I want to do is sit on a veranda while
a hard rain falls around me. I'll file your 1099s.
I'll make love to strangers of your choice.
I'll do whatever you want, as long as I can do it
on that veranda. If it calls you, it's your calling,
right? Once I asked a broker what he loved
about his job, and he said Making a killing.
Once I asked a serial killer what made him
get up in the morning, and he said The people.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.
You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.
Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Not for all the flies in Vermont
Not for all the tears in the basement
Not for a million trips to Mars
Not if you paid me in diamonds
Not if you paid me in pearls
Not if you gave me your pinky ring
Not if you gave me your curls
Not for all the fire in hell
Not for all the blue in the sky
Not for an empire of my own
Not even for peace of mind
No, never, I'll never stop loving you
Not till my heart beats its last
And even then in my words and my songs
I will love you all over again
Friday, June 18, 2010
and cannot find the words
so you jeer at yourself
you call yourself a coward
you wake at 2 a.m. thinking failure,
fool, unable to sleep, unable to sleep
buzzing away on your mattress with two pillows
and a quilt, they call them comforters,
which implies that comfort can be bought
and paid for, to help with the fear, the failure
your two walnut chests of drawers snicker, the bookshelves mourn
the art on the walls pities you, the man himself beside you
asleep smelling like mushrooms and moss is a comfort
but never enough, never, the ceiling fixture lightless
velvet drapes hiding the window
traffic noise like a vicious animal
on the loose somewhere out there—
you brag to friends you won't mind death only dying
what a liar you are—
all the other fears, of rejection, of physical pain,
of losing your mind, of losing your eyes,
they are all part of this!
Pawprints of this! Hair snarls in your comb
this glowing clock the single light in the room
Saturday, June 5, 2010
faintly ironical smile
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I am posting a walking tour I wrote of the East and West Villages serially on my other blog, Nebraskan Thoughts. I highly recommend you check it out. Here's a taste!
We start our tour on Hudson Street, deep in the West Village at the White Horse Tavern, at the corner of 11th Street. This bar was a favorite spot for many members of the literary community during the early 1950s. It is particularly famous for being one of Dylan Thomas’s favorite haunts and the story is that he drank himself to death here, however, although he drank at the Tavern often, he did not drink himself to death and died of unrelated causes.
Later on, this bar became an important spot for writers like Norman Mailer and Hunter S. Thompson. Musicians such as Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison also began to spend time in this establishment in the 1960s. It is also worth noting that Bob Dylan, originally Robert Zimmerman, supposedly took his name from Dylan Thomas.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Reading "At Least You Have Pride," by Jennifer Paddock was an eerie experience for me. She speaks of so many feelings and experiences that I have felt in the last four years. It has me thinking even harder about my life in New York City and how it has shaped who I am.
And the thought that plagues my mind even more than any else is, "Who am I?"
Saturday, May 8, 2010
1: strong longing for or impulse toward wandering
2: the feeling that keeps me up at night, that makes my fingers and toes itch, wanting to go, just to go, not concerned with where or when or how long it might take or what troubles could be encountered, just wanting to move one foot in front of the other until I am in a different place and a different time surrounded by strangers who seem more familiar to me than the people I have known my entire life, familiar strangers, the familiar sense of outsiderness, of not belonging, of being different, just want to go, go, go...
Monday, May 3, 2010
there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic
Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly
we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.
(So,when kiss Spring comes
we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don't make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to
Saturday, May 1, 2010
The morning sky is clouding up
and what is that tree,
dressed up in white? The fruit
tree, French pear. Sulphur-
yellow bees stud the forsythia
canes leaning down into the transfer
across the park. And trees in
skimpy flower bud suggest
the uses of paint thinner, so
fine the net they cast upon
the wind. Cross-pollination
is the order of the fragrant day.
That was yesterday: today is May,
not April and the magnolias
open their goblets up and
an unseen precipitation
fills them. A gray day in May.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The children race now here by the ivied fence,
gather squealing now there by the lily border.
The evening calms the quickened air, immense
and warm; its veil is pierced with fire. The order
of space discloses as pair by pair porch lights
carve shadows. Cool phosphors flare when dark
permits yearning to signal where, with spark
and pause and spark, the fireflies are, the sites
they spiral when they aspire, with carefree ardor
busy, to embrace a star that draws them thence.
Like children we stand and stare, watching the field
that twinkles where gold wisps fare to the end
of dusk, as the sudden sphere, ivory shield
aloft, of moon stands clear of the world's far bend.
I miss being a child and running through the backyard catching fireflies. I wish that all I had to worry about right now was if i poked enough holes in the lid of the firefly jar.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Everyone loves a story. Let's begin with a house.
We can fill it with careful rooms and fill the rooms
with things—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers
closed to hide tiny beds where children once slept
or big drawers that yawn open to reveal
precisely folded garments washed half to death,
unsoiled, stale, and waiting to be worn out.
There must be a kitchen, and the kitchen
must have a stove, perhaps a big iron one
with a fat black pipe that vanishes into the ceiling
to reach the sky and exhale its smells and collusions.
This was the center of whatever family life
was here, this and the sink gone yellow
around the drain where the water, dirty or pure,
ran off with no explanation, somehow like the point
of this, the story we promised and may yet deliver.
Make no mistake, a family was here. You see
the path worn into the linoleum where the wood,
gray and certainly pine, shows through.
Father stood there in the middle of his life
to call to the heavens he imagined above the roof
must surely be listening. When no one answered
you can see where his heel came down again
and again, even though he'd been taught
never to demand. Not that life was especially cruel;
they had well water they pumped at first,
a stove that gave heat, a mother who stood
at the sink at all hours and gazed longingly
to where the woods once held the voices
of small bears—themselves a family—and the songs
of birds long fled once the deep woods surrendered
one tree at a time after the workmen arrived
with jugs of hot coffee. The worn spot on the sill
is where Mother rested her head when no one saw,
those two stained ridges were handholds
she relied on; they never let her down.
Where is she now? You think you have a right
to know everything? The children tiny enough
to inhabit cupboards, large enough to have rooms
of their own and to abandon them, the father
with his right hand raised against the sky?
If those questions are too personal, then tell us,
where are the woods? They had to have been
because the continent was clothed in trees.
We all read that in school and knew it to be true.
Yet all we see are houses, rows and rows
of houses as far as sight, and where sight vanishes
into nothing, into the new world no one has seen,
there has to be more than dust, wind-borne particles
of burning earth, the earth we lost, and nothing else.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
While I was home, I started noticing a confidence building in myself. Something that didn't have anything to do with my accomplishments or successes. It was just a confidence in me, as an individual.
I don't know where I will be a year from today. I don't know what I will be doing six months from now. I don't even know what mid-May, only two months away, will bring for me. But I am comfortable with that ambiguity in a way I've never been before.
I was sitting at a table in the bar my mom owns with several of her regular customers drinking cheap beer and discussing whatever came to mind. Conversation turned to me and what I am planning to do with my life just as it usually does when I am home.
I confidently looked them in the eyes and said that I really wasn't sure.
"Do you have any ideas?" they asked.
"Well, yes. I have some ideas, but I just don't know what I will do," I responded.
The middle aged members of our small community just looked at me like I was silly. They weren't really sure what to say or do, so they nodded their heads and changed the topic. (Then again, almost everything I do leaves them with a bit of a puzzled look.)
I, on the other hand, have never felt more confident about an answer. I'm not scared. Not scared of the future at least, or of the unpredictable.
I am slightly surprised by my confidence.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
By Lawrence Raab
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.
I miss the stars of wild Nebraska summer nights.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It got me to thinking about Nebraskan literature a bit too. Nebraska literature was a required part of my high school's English curriculum and we read a book called Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt. While Neihardt was a Nebraska native, Black Elk, a Sioux medicine man whose stories the book depicts, was not. It was a wonderful book, but as that was the only required reading for Nebraska literature, I don't feel like I learned much about the relationship between Nebraska and literature.
I read Willa Cather's My Antonia (another Nebraska native) last year and felt that her descriptions of Nebraska were extremely fascinating. Of course, she had to move to New York City before she could write about her home state.
Maybe there just isn't much of a relationship between Nebraska and literature, at least nothing like the relationship between New York and literature. Check out the blog that my teachers have for the class.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It was sort of surreal to go back to some of the first posts, which I posted right as I was leaving for four months in Paris. How different things were then!
It's fun looking back on posts from Paris and the evolution I encountered in myself while I was there. And then there are all of the changes I have been through since Paris with the last two years of college. It almost doesn't seem like I am the same person who started this blog at the beginning of 2008.
And now, I'm coming up on another big change in my life with college graduation only a few months away. I hope that two years from now, I will still have this blog going, and I will be able to look back on myself and my writing and relish in the changes that I have been through just as I am today.
I hope I feel as good about the changes in two years as I feel about them today.
My own voice, orotund sweeping and final.
Come my children,
Come my boys and girls, my women, household and intimates,
Now the performer launches his nerve, he has pass'd his prelude on
the reeds within.
Easily written loose-finger'd chords--I feel the thrum of your
climax and close.
My head slues round on my neck,
Music rolls, but not from the organ,
Folks are around me, but they are no household of mine.
Ever the hard unsunk ground,
Ever the eaters and drinkers, ever the upward and downward sun, ever
the air and the ceaseless tides,
Ever myself and my neighbors, refreshing, wicked, real,
Ever the old inexplicable query, ever that thorn'd thumb, that
breath of itches and thirsts,
Ever the vexer's hoot! hoot! till we find where the sly one hides
and bring him forth,
Ever love, ever the sobbing liquid of life,
Ever the bandage under the chin, ever the trestles of death.
Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,
To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning,
Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going,
Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payment
A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually claiming.
This is the city and I am one of the citizens,
Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets,
The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories,
stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate.
The little plentiful manikins skipping around in collars and tail'd coats
I am aware who they are, (they are positively not worms or fleas,)
I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest
is deathless with me,
What I do and say the same waits for them,
Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them.
I know perfectly well my own egotism,
Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less,
And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.
Not words of routine this song of mine,
But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring;
This printed and bound book--but the printer and the
The well-taken photographs--but your wife or friend close and solid
in your arms?
The black ship mail'd with iron, her mighty guns in her turrets--but
the pluck of the captain and engineers?
In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture--but the host and
hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there--yet here or next door, or across the way?
The saints and sages in history--but you yourself?
Sermons, creeds, theology--but the fathomless human brain,
And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?
-Walt Whitman, Song Of Myself
I used to claim that I hated Walt Whitman and his poetry. Now that I'm reading it for class, I wonder...Did I ever read any of his poetry? I must not have, because I am really enjoying his style, the rawness of his subjects, and the earthy, natural way he approaches them. Thank God I was forced to read this for class. Otherwise, I might have gone on thinking I didn't like Whitman for who knows how long.