Barely noon-thirty but it’s been a day. I woke at 5:00 a.m. and drove out to cold, vast, sweeping forest of valleys and ridges. The snow was all thought-provoking. The whisper glow. Moon off the snow is actually blue. I went up, down. I hiked squeaky boots. On the way out I saw a man standing near my car parked alongside the road. He looked like a weathered birdhouse with a snake inside all full of eggs. His eyes had a circus.
He said, “You better not park round here they been throwing glass bottles!”
I looked around. No glass. Just snow. A few shrubs and my car. Overhead a Canada (not Canadian, a common mistake) goose honked.
He said, “Some dude stole my tree stand out the back of my truck two days ago, I know who it is. Drives a maroon van! He and his wife. If I catch that dude I’m going strip off his clothes and throw him off in these woods naked, I will.”
“Well,” I said. I tried a half smile. The air felt like it was trying to cackle or maybe shrug. I got into my car and drove off and in the rear window watched the man just standing there, side of the road, snow. His head was sort of clicking away.
(mommy, when do we eat junior mints and nachos?!)
Home I shucked off layers of clothes, drank a stupendous coffee, got into my boxers, and ran a brutal 9 mile fartlek on the treadmill. Oh god. I mean brutal. I feel all floaty right now. My knees are red. Taste of metal in my mouth. Lungs like wonderful Mylar. My insides feel hollow and happy. If I had a beer I’d down it, I might, but I don’t have a beer.
I don’t know what to do. I have work-work to do, but why ruin my glow? I am going to review an anthology of poetry, I will. OK, this is a large anthology. Wait. In a minute I will read and review the first 14 poems of flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics. I said in a minute.
metazen has a Christmas book for charity. I shit you not. They asked if I would write a Christmas thing. I stood and sat down. I said I don’t know, Christmas? I stood, fidgeted, sat down and wrote a Christmas list (well, the first 100) to give to Santa. Here is a sample so you will go buy the book (actually buy it for the other authors, who are glow) and help orphans. 28-38 on my want list:
28. Something to carry in my mouth.
29. Nick, are you lonely up there?
30. Nick, you owe me 14 pink Zippo lighters, as you well know.
31. A device for breaking memory.
32. What kind of name is Gary? I want a spray canister that removes names. Gary as
33. I will keep the hotel room above my studio apartment and I will go out the window here,
climb up to the roof, and use my swipe card to enter my hotel room. I’ll be needing cable, but
would prefer no internet service. Oh, and a bathtub. I want a bathtub.
34. Teeth contact.
35. Reindeer loin.
36. Shelia, you know Sheila. Fuck, you know everybody. Bring me her gall bladder in a glass
banana. Sort of modern sculpture I can set out and ignore.
37. I pledge the possible Chlamydia to the jet lag….
38. My own contractors. Make the walls bend. Make four taps, I want four silver taps installed
above my toilet, the little toady toilet in my little toady cave in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with
the medi-vac helicopter thumping overhead my hangover-skull, wires of transmission—You,
in the helicopter, oh fucked one, fucked broken stranger, I am sorry to ignore you now (as you
will ignore me later in my time of need)—just four silver flowing taps: codeine cough syrup,
coffee, Pepto Bismol, white wine.
Rose Metal Press is having a fund drive. Please give. Seriously. Years ago I stumbled into this whole indie/alt community lit thing and it was refreshing as a snowfall of golden ballet shoes. Different than other aspects of the lit/book/author world. Why? Because we look out for each other. It is actually a community. I notice. All of these authors/publishers/amazing artists of all sort–they always shout and wink and glow about others first. It’s what pleased me about this little world, when I first explored lit-blogs, publishers, authors online. They had balance. It wasn’t just, “Read my book!” It was a little “read my book” and a whale of “Holy shit, read her book! And check out this reading! This interview. And look how this publisher just made a book out of a fishing tackle box. ” It was a medication to me, a good one. To give back. It is the oil of the movement, the windmill, the energy, the horse and wagon, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, the metal of the rose, I feel.
By Lindsay Hunter
“Each tiny, diamond story—precise, comic, poised at the edge of surreal—contains one brutal life force tearing itself off the page. You can hold Daddy’s in your hands and feel it breathing.” —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation
Glow Luke Hawley at Hobart:
I have a flash/prose poem about babysitters and a postcard about living on a houseboat at wigleaf. (If you are reading this months from now, go to wigleaf archives.)
Look under L, you slaw-cheeks.
Ok, here we go: flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics. The first 14 poems.
1: “Aftermath” by Brian Adeloye is a cut-to-the-bone poem, so I’ll let you just read the thing and brain your own sandwich:
2: Justin Alvarez made me look up the word, alsacienne. It a term referring to a cooking style, origin “Alsace,” a province of northeastern France. Usually it means braised meat, some sausage, big-ass taters. A heavy meal. I could see someone eating in the alsacienne style and then belching before walking out to the woodpile and sprawling on the woodpile in the warming sun, wood sort of poking your back, legs all angled falling out, and maybe a few ants tickling your legs and next thing you know you’re asleep.
3: I don’t know why Joseph Atkins needs a period in the title of the poem, “Rain or Shine.” Could be something, or nothing. He does it here, too, at Shampoo. “Rain or Shine.” takes a stab at bored and medicated we. A good fork-ful stab, shiny sharpened tines of words:
Choking was the sound of progress.
Choking was the sign of progress.
What pleased me was the spin into another, apparently found over the internet, another soul drifting on the flotsam of split pills and television. He took this and made it that. This may be why they put Atkins name in big-ass letters on the back of this anthology.
4,5,6: Three prose poems appear. All by Mr. Atkins. He seems already a “presence” in this anthology. The prose poems are printed sideways on two pages. Atkins as interested in form. As interesting. I preferred the first one, “Plastic Vines Sparking in the Sunlight.” (though I sort of hate the title. It sounds like a Roadiohead song title)
I like things clean but I don’t like to clean.
I enjoy traffic jams for the homogenized goals of the mobile citizen & the unidirectional lack of insight they reveal.
7: Another Joseph Atkins poem, another period: “Photo Op.”
Odd poem here. A series of linguistic phrases, similar in structure and state, similar in diction, but then attributed to various personalities, DFW to Obama to Bernie Mac. It is a tri-level juxtaposition, with more depth than a photo op, and possibly one thesis: The systematization of celebrity culture transparent in its intent to transport the underlying assumptions of capitalistic society, AKA: they are puppets, but insidious puppets, and even worse, we love them and have no idea why.
8: James Benton made me go and look up amaryllis. It is a lily. It’s nickname is “the naked lady.” Hey now.
10: Diego Baez doesn’t waste words. Tight as a thoroughbred, no fat. The title is a bit obvious, so off-putting, but I love how he takes me out with an image, a horse grazing in the bowl of our skulls, a diorama of our days.
11: Baez glows in the line, but continues a pattern of “Thanks for making it clear to me” titles. I wish I was his close friend and he would say, “Would you read my poems?” I would say, “No, I’m fucking busy, but maybe in the summer.” Then he would be patient, and I would read them in the summer. And I would say, “Damn, these are poems. I don’t have much to say, except thank you for writing these, and please, please, please change your titles.”
12: Finally, we have a female poet! That opening was front-loaded with male poets.
13: Amy Bleu has an excellent name. She sings. And writes a poem named “Akimbo.”
I don’t like what you stand for
But I like the way you stand there
Every space you inhabit
Confident enough to conquer
Who extends a tender arm
Tentative as a tendril
In the vain hope
14: Wow, to the “Fistulated Cow.” Glow words, Katie Cappello. (Here is a review of her book)
Aside: A fistulated cow is a cow with an intentional hole in it for scientific research. In 1822, a Canadian suffered a wound that refused to heal, but the man otherwise was in fine health. His doctor discovered that the digestive process could be observed directly through the hole. The discovery spread, and for over 150 years, fistulation has been used to observe digestive processes in living animals, with the first recorded scientific use on animals dating to 1833.
What is the cow thinking? I’m glad that’s asked? And isn’t love the wet undigested grass yanked from the cow’s first, second, third, or fourth stomach?
15. BONUS POEM! BONUS POEM!
Everybody slap their grandmother! BONUS POEM!
Anna Clarke brings it with “How I never Wanted to Have Coffee with You.”
I’m reading, I suppose, and I notice
Capturing the coffee shop idyll, hardly reading at all, watching, thinking, we as book, sometimes faking, watching…Look, an elderly couple. Talking about silence, the weather, nothing, nothing
nothing but baked goods between them
Love fades. And is ordinary? As a leaf or a chip of paint. Or cold coffee. And the speaker is that couple. And we are that couple. And it is terrifying. And we must thank Anna Clarke for showing us so.