San Francisco Note 11
“Poetry is never Compromise.”
Where was she when she wrote this?
I wear a borrowed sweater and drink
borrowed wine. I write at a borrowed
desk with a borrowed pen. The paper
is my own. But I even borrowed these
words. Will she want them back? “Be
very concentrate,” said my Russian
violin teacher. Be very concentrate.
I will borrow her as well and lend
it all to you. I was here when I
wrote this. Where were you?
the fear is my fear
is that I’m living wrong
the wrong friends or no
friends staying in
when I should be out
prowling for the satori
of San Francisco or Minneapolis
or Charlottesville ordering
in when I should be
living someone else’s
life or mine as seen
from some judgmental
fool’s point of view
but I am not a wrong
cloud or a mistaken leaf
I am not a flawed fiction
coaxed from someone’s discarded
notebook so I go on and
form my letters as I choose
and drink this borrowed wine
no one is friendless who
stays free in strange cities
and poetry is always free
A long time ago, for several years, I maintained a poetry blog under a pseudonym. As I’ve said elsewhere, I chose to blog pseudonymously partly because I’m an introvert, but mostly because I originally intended the whole blogging thing to be a lark: a pseudonym allowed me take it exactly as seriously as it deserved — namely, not at all.
The blog was a workbook for random scraps from my notebooks, experiments in cut-up techniques, and so forth. I’ve long since taken the blog down, but some curious and not entirely terrible pieces appeared there, and I’ve decided to republish them here. I’m taking the opportunity to lightly edit some of them, but mostly they’re unretouched.
Four are already up, and I will continue to post them every few days until I’ve run out, which at that rate will probably happen late next summer.
They are all tagged with “poem,” and some also are tagged as “cutup” or “hay(na)ku,” a form I find deeply appealing, and which was invented by Eileen Tabios in 2003. (More on the history of the hay(na)ku here.)
We are walking
through the frost.
The sunshine (always
“abundant” even in
shadow) melts the
marrow. I am
I am I
am. Weaken the
verb and you’ll
unravel the core.
the theatre was
a lonely vigil
at the beach
with other friends
(evasive epiphanies echo)
Henry Thoreau, Walden:
Sunday is the fit conclusion of an ill-spent week, and not the fresh and brave beginning of a new one—
who tells these
me feel almost
persona has a
Not equal to. Not greater than.
Arguing for the equivalency of violence
and capitalism won’t save you.
The little hook at the bottom
of the letter Y as you write quickly.
Less than, equal to. An
inarticulate explanation. A mathematical
scream. Stand by as the shallows
encroach the gully I dug.
70: Kraft Lined
71: Autumn Trilogy Elm
The Bookmark Project
At my microblog, (fleeting), I posted a daily picture of a bookmark from forty-three different bookstores, between 10 July and yesterday. Sixteen of the bookstores are closed and twenty-seven are still around. A better ratio than I was expecting; I thought it would be closer to half. But too many are gone without having been replaced, and we are poorer and more vulnerable for it.
You can find them under the bookmark category, and here are links to each bookstore’s entry:
- July: Odegard’s, St Mark’s, Green Apple, Cannon Beach, Booksmith, Rag & Bone #1, 192 Books, Book Court, Hungry Mind #1, Powell’s #1, Housing Works, Coliseum, Gotham Book Mart, Westsider, The Strand, Hungry Mind #2, Powell’s #2, Common Good Books, People’s Cooperative Bookstore, Biography, Book Book, Bound to be Read.
- August: Hungry Mind #3, Powell’s #3, Amazon Bookstore, Magers & Quinn, Border’s #1, Prairie Lights, Wallace Books, Black Oak, Powell’s #4, Hungry Mind #4, Collected Works, Labyrinth & Book Culture, Border’s #2, Waterstone’s, Powell’s #5, Hungry Mind #5, Book House in Dinkytown, Paperback Exchange, Moon Palace, Against the Current, BookSmart, Hungry Mind #6, Powell’s #6, Border’s #3, Hungry Mind #7, Powell’s #8, Three Lives, The Book Store, Half Price Books, Hungry Mind #8, Sixth Chamber #1.
- September: Antique Books, Books Inc, Ruminator, Amazon.com, Red Balloon, Powell’s #9, Pickwick Discount Books, Birchbark, Rag & Bone #2, Sixth Chamber #2.
36/ Week of 31 August
I’m suspending the “Finished” project for the rest of the year, for largely the same reasons I stopped this time last year: I tend to focus on rereads in the fall and winter.
There are several longer books I’m slowly working my way through, and I tend to move between them according to my mood each day. And my mood in the darker months is such that I will need my reading habits to serve my therapeutic, self-medicating needs rather than some goal of finishing books and then reporting out about it.
I’ll continue to keep my own log of finished books and will post a recap of 2020 sometime close to New Years.