Friday, 27 June 2008

. . . or can I get you another sloe gin. . . fizzzzz?

So I'm one month in and already behind. I have three rough mental sketches for stories to be completed this month. But I do not have three rough drafts.
Still, in about three minutes I'm heading out with Shane and Becca to write poetry in some secluded corner of town much like Shane and I have been doing whenever we can for the last ten years of our life.

In lieu of progress, I'll post some of the things I write with Shane because those almost always rule.

my previously hinted at 'thusiasm for 12 Angry Months hasn't ebbed, btw. Now I just need some girl to break my heart so I can really "feel" it. Er, or something.

Friday, 20 June 2008

This would be a great Slam Piece---

if it didn't require a solid knowledge of both 1) the bible and 2) the smashing pumpkins. still, it was fun to write.
you can thank Ryan Johnson for the inspiration; the prompt he gave me was "if My Body Goes, to Hell With My Soul." And this is what I came up with.

enough with the cape already

billy corgan likes to think he knows,
but he doesn’t get jokes.
guitar-stance heroics pave over going bald early;
the severe pain of the electric razor,
figuring out how to throw your guts as far
as you can once you’re no longer pretty.
perhaps this is why he invokes Job;
another who had his flocks taken from
him by an act of God
or public favor.

poet types under thirty adjectivize.
words like “beautiful” or “dirty”
or “heartbroken” or “tragic”--

It’s a pre-emptive mustering of guts, saving it up
for when words alone will have to get us laid.

Then there's Job (in the desert or wherever)
his friends visiting him, even though he had
festering sores and all that. these were the types
who bought "Machina" at full price.

at some point, you just have to point
the finger and say "look; the shaved head was fine,
the eyeliner we could deal with, but enough with the
fucking cape already."
probably sounded something like Bildad the Shuhite's lectures
on sin and retribution, how Job had definitely Done
Something to Deserve It.

The lessons I take from both (besides
Don't Get the Devil's Attention)
run something like: "go ahead and whine.
but do it in style."

"beautiful, dirty, heartbroken, tragic."

Or could look at Job and reminisce on the model of endurance and
grace in the face of ridiculous suffering; I think I could have

taken the loss of my kids and my flocks but once the
blisters broke out I would have had a hard time with it;
my most depressing days are the ones on which I feel ugly.
in his shoes,

I probably would have listened to my wife
when she said “curse God and die,” because if my body’s
already gone I’ve lost my better half and my guess is
that she was under thirty
and a poet.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Genus, Species and Flavor--

(a poem with pieces missing)

I sit in the park when it is too hot for walking.
Watch the girls pass in their sundresses. Still.
I’ve always prided myself on not being one of those guys
who sits in parks.

Hard pressed to note the differences between
Jackals and Hyenas; thinking hard I remember that
Jackals are part of the dog family, distant cousins
of something you might keep in your house and Hyenas
have the menacing laugh.

Either would scavenge my corpse.

Bulbous, round and pink,
she eats her hot dog as if
giving head.
She even licks the mustard off
with the tip of her tongue, a
girlish giggle and hand over
her mouth, as if to say "little ole me?”

Still, she puts a lot of teeth into it.

I don’t know the difference between Mammoths and
Mastodons. Genus and species?
Which would fell easier
under pre-dawn man’s spears?
which would feed
a family and for how long?
Did they use mammoth meat for romantic dinners
or did they have smaller animals for that?

Depending how much you believe Al Gore,
the ice caps are melting pretty damn fast.
Depending how much you believe Robert Frost,
this could be the perfect apocalyptic compromise.

I personally can’t wait for the thaw.
I want to see whose bones were trapped
in there, all that time.

3.141 . . .
Late winter
in my darkened room
I photo collage.
Some times I forget how pretty you were,


this is one I'm still working on. this is version 1.5. it might seem like the pieces are in random order (a la the numbers) but it's actually quite on purpose. I almost cut the last stanza entirely, but decided it worked strong as an ending.
Drastic changes or improvements will be posted once I'm a little happier with them.

Had a meeting with Stevie today. Basically she told me to keep writing and send her stuff when I had it. Approved my idea (which I stole from Sarah) for a loosely-linked series of shorts. Progress still needs to be made in a serious way if I'm to meet June goals for short story writing.

Friday, 6 June 2008

pieces of energy/direction (revised poem)

here's the piece I wrote on monday, in final-first draft form. I did two revisions, the first while listening to Burning Brides (not the rewarding experience it used to be) and then while listening to The Smiths. Hmmm. I lost some of the cool lines from the first version and the meaning is changed a bit, but I think as a whole this is a better version.

6/6/08 Pieces of Energy
some days I wake up with the pounding
in the back of my head saying “hey. hey. hey.
aren’t you glad you get to do this over again?”
and I think about the writers who’ve famously let their

writer clichés clasp to their ankles and drag them
over the edges of bridges or deep into tunnels,
stark, silent twilights where the weight of all that
heartbreak and expectation crushed their fingers.

knocked out their teeth; they suck their vices through
straws now. I think about this, rollover, face-into-
pillow and demand more sleep. Dream about re-directing
that ankle-dragging energy, upbraiding clichés with action,

maybe winning an award. I practice acceptance speeches
in my sleep, softly chewing the edge of my pillow until
I’m jolted awake by the mid-morning fire alarm.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

progress report #1.

I am 1,250 words into the first story of my collection. Tenatively titled "seagulls," so far it's about a guy who loses his hat and can't find one to replace it.
It may or may not have him being stalked by birds, losing his girlfriend and/or comitting acts of violence. I am realising that in order for this to be an effective collection, not every story can have acts of violence or slightly surreal nature-interfering-with-man stuff.

I'll revise and post the new version of the poem tommorrow.

Monday, 2 June 2008

For lack of a better title

Today marks the beginning of Summer '08 Writing Project. In the interest of spurring myself onward I've set myself a few personal goals. Then, in the midst of reflection (some people call it self-berating) I realised how often I lapse on personal goals of all shapes and sizes. So.
I'm making this writing project (semi) open to public scrutiny. It's my goal, over the summer to do the following:
Weekly: one new poem, having undergone at least one revision session. I may take notes or chicken scratchings I've previously done and develop them or I may come up with something new.
I'll be posting the new poems weekly when they've been completed, each Friday or Saturday, along with how many revisions it took, what music I was listening to (if any) what authors I'd been just reading or purposefully aping and any personal notes on the piece.
Occasionally I'll post pieces in various states of completion.

Monthly: Three short stories a month in June, July and August. September I'll use to edit, sort out and lengthen the pieces I want to use for my dissertation. I'll probably not post the short stories here, though I may post synopses, clips or writing notes.

The purpose of this is to formally structure my writing time and to ensure that I'm actually producing content throughout the summer. Part of it's also to keep me in writing poetry-- I like poetry, even if I'm (officially) better at other things.

This blog will still host more typical blog or picture entries, but for the summer it will be largely devoted to "_____kickass title here_____" project. Some of the pieces I'm most happy about I'll post in my poetry myspace blog or maybe even my livejournal.

here's today's poem, unedited so far. On friday you'll see a finished version.

Pieces, directing energy( 6/1/08. poem project #1. music: pickwick.)

the papers, in their cluttered mass
clasp to my ankle and keep me dragging my feet
sometimes I have to walk long enough
away to drink or drag it on out
wake up happy to be
waking up. the pounding voice in
the back of my head saying
“this is the rest of your life right now.”
but it’s hard to re-direct the energy.
to put the pieces in files; instinct
and cliché say writers don’t have to do
that, can keep going on nothing but
heartache and a universal contempt
for formality and normality, embracing
the ankle shackles that famously drag people
off the edges of bridges or into stark, silent
twilights, while people wonder where the
brilliance went, or if it’s all just the way that writers fool us.
So. I’m trying to put things in their place without turning into
an accountant. to take the days and keep them from turning
to waste. upbraid clichés with action.
Let my fingers become a funnel for my mind
avoid high places and sharp objects.