Friday, February 17, 2006

Sick Day

I can't say I was entirely disgusted when man child #1 threw up all over the place just as I was putting on my makeup. Because now he's home from school and so am I. We're in the couch watching Harry Potter--with a four year old this takes only an hour, because I have to skip through a lot of it. I've got Jane Hirschfield's new book in my lap, and my left and over his little feverish heart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I am wondering if other writers out there are superstitious like I am. For example, I finished my NEA application a week ago, but I have been driving around with it in the car (I often drive my poems around, for some reason) so that I could mail it today, since I mailed it on Valentine's Day last time. First of all, who remembers when they mail things? Not normal people--only poets I bet. Or maybe just me. It's not like Valentine's Day is super special to me--it's not my brithday, and it certainly didn't bring me luck in the last round of fellowship applications.

I am also superstitious about certain numbers, like my birthday number: 309. That was the number on my Granny's room in her old folks high rise. I always expect something good to happen when 309 is involved. (Twice I got news about winning chapbook awards on 3/09.) If I played the lottery I bet you could guess my numbers.

My other writing rituals are too mundane and boring to get into.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Stepchild South

Look. I know that there are people starving somewhere, and I know that the rest of the country has moved on. But I think everyone should know that Katrina is still with us. Just yesterday around the family dinner table we were near weeping as we talked about those early days of separation, of not knowing, of desperate calls for help coming into the radio stations and no one being able to help. I feel very bitter about this, and can't help but wonder if something similar happened in a different area--somewhere other than the south--if the reaction would have been immediate and adequate.

My brother moved out yesterday, and I'm feeling very sad because we have gotten so close over the last months. Eve sadder than him leaving is the fact that he can just about load up everything he owns and fit it into his Saturn Ion. He has no idea when he can start to rebuild. His neighborhodd doesn't even have electricity. One of the saddest things in this whole experience is that my son, now four, thought that Jay drowned--we did not realize he knew so much of what was happening, and he assumed that everyone in the city was dead. Even still we'll see cousins and he gets so happy that he almost starts to cry--I thought you were dead, he will say.

Thing that is making me want to throw up number ten thousand--today is eviction day for the thousands of evacuees who have been living in hotels. I'm sure most people regard the hotel dwellers and lazy hangers on, but I can assure you that long-term hotel life is no picnic. You can't ever go barefoot, and your life feels public, and there is nothing to do. And these people have no trailers to go to since of course FEMA has managed to accumulate thousands and deliver hundreds.

Friday, February 03, 2006


I usually don't talk about being stressed over book manuscripts, contest manuscripts, submissions and the like, because then I would have to update and confess to losing this that or the other or gettng rejected from this that or the other. But I have to talk about how stressed I am about this year's NEA application. I know how to do it (don't need the directions anymore) but all of a sudden I feel freaked out by the thought of this invisible, unknown audience charged with picking poems out of a tower of paper. I mean, what do I send to make myself stand out? Didn't someone write a while back about how this os what makes poets all start to sound alike because they begin to fear taking risks in their work? I wonder.