2020-10-18 06:56

San Francisco Note 11

(August 2002)


“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
making reservations

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

2020-10-17 08:02

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.)

poem meta
2020-10-16 04:57

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.


2020-10-14 06:09

man slept
immortality aged
the eternal

the theatre was

a lonely vigil
at the beach
with other friends

even critics
(evasive epiphanies echo)


cutup poem
2020-10-13 07:41

Henry Thoreau, Walden:

Sunday is the fit conclusion of an ill-spent week, and not the fresh and brave beginning of a new one—

2020-10-12 04:06

who tells these
stories to

me feel almost
like myself

persona has a
sense of


cutup haynaku poem
2020-10-11 07:24

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.


2020-09-18 14:09

Last, next.

70: Kraft Lined
71: Autumn Trilogy Elm

Lined, Elm

FN succession
2020-09-11 08:40

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.

I Read Banned Books

You can find them under the bookmark category, and here are links to each bookstore’s entry:

2020-09-01 09:03

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.

meta finished