Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Son # Middle

Today is my middle child's birthday. Happy Birthday, Jeremy Thomas.

Silly to mention it here - he'll never see it because none of the kids even know I have a blog. But - Happy Birthday, anyhow. I'll call him tonight since he doesn't like me to bother him at work. He's an ambitious sort....I worry about him. They are all ambitious....I don't know where they got it, it's certainly not maternally inherited. It's probably from all those years of eating macaroni and cheese and the infamous "dirt sandwiches" of their childhood. The "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again" syndrome.

I wonder how many people who write poetry have families who KNOW they write poetry? For the longest time I never mentioned it to anyone. Now, well, now I just don't care anymore....I trashed my entire Midwestern reputation when I picked up, packed up, quit my long term job and moved 'cross country without even stopping to give 2 weeks notice first. Actually, it's worse than that...I came for a visit and I simply never went back.

Poetry writing is a bit of a "ewww" occupation or hobby in my neck of the woods. It's not something you can taste or smell or feel and therefore, it's suspect. The guys on the Fire Department would have laughed me right off the engine had they known. Besides which, I was a realistic hardened little biatch and everyone knows that realistic hardened little biatchs don't waste time with the ethereal. It would have embarrassed them and I would have been embarrassed myself.

It's good here with Dan. He knows I write because he taught me how....he encourages it, he fosters it and he supports me while I attempt to do it. It's nice to be able to discuss meter and form and rhyme (oh my!) at the dinner couch. Of course, now I can't discuss blood and guts and internal organs over a plate of spaghetti, but oh well...win some, lose some.

So, how 'bout it? How many of you get support at home or at the job for your writing? Poetry gets disssed in the "real world" I think. If you say you're writing a novel, people are both impressed and interested....if you say you're writing "poetry", however, do their eyes glaze over and they pointedly change the subject - or do they still appear genuinely interested?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Under Construction

Temporarily closed for repairs

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I'm Not Big On Music Video - but...................

Sorry, Mary Kate and Paris.......but this is really an interesting video....on several different levels.

(Caution: not at all for the vomit-shy)


How Creative Are You? Time Yourself - Find the Head

... Less than 3 seconds: your right part of the brain (creative thinking) is developed above average people do....
4 second to 1 minute: your right part of the brain (creative thinking) is at average level of development....
1 minute to 4 minute: your right part of the brain (creative thinking) is below average level of development.

Thanks to http://oblacak.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 27, 2006

Stop Alito ...or how you can make a difference

Thanks to Scoplaw for posting this:


right here: http://scoplaw.blogs.com/

Sign it if you will....or don't - it's just nice to still have a choice in something.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Closed for Temporary Repairs

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It's 2PM, Do You Know Where Your Lipstick Is?

Renee, Kate, Pamela, Tori, Gene...sans make-up.

Robin's Challenge

Should you decide to accept this mission:


"Who are three of your favorite GREAT living poets?
DEFINE THIS GREATNESS. Cite three examples and tell us some specific aspect of the Cited Ones’ technique or craft that support their nomination to the pantheon. This’ll be fun!!! "

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Name Those Poets

A recent question from Nolapoet:

Not baiting. Asking sincerely. Who are your favorite three poets? Or, as I prefer it, who are three of your favorite poets (which allows for many more additions later)?
Here are three of mine:
Marilyn Hacker
Sam Gwynn
Marilyn Nelson


I'm just going to open this one up to the general public here.
Truth be told, all of my favorite poets are dead.
Except for Dan, of course.

It's an interesting enough question, tho. I wonder how many people have "favorite" poets? Are they living ones, or long deceased? I have favorite poems, but not poets. There are poets I like alot, some of them still alive, but for the most part, I become enamored with certain select poems and not the poets who've written them. There's not one poet, much less three of them, whom I consistently fall in love with or read religiously.

I'm not being evasive here, I'm simply trying to be honest. Most of my poetry knowledge is in the past. The present simply doesn't interest me all that much. Of the three names mentioned here, Sam Gwynn is the only one I am familiar with.

I'd like to hear what others think, tho. I'm learning to be more open to suggestion and I'll check out any names which are unfamiliar to me....who knows - maybe I'll even find one I can love.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Barking in Iambic Pentameter

Is it just me or is the "poetry world" made up of mostly, ummmmm, largely egotistical people? I've been workshopping for about 4 years now on a fairly well established board. (Which shall remain nameless for now, but if you really wanted to figure it out, it wouldn't be too hard.) Over the years I've been both delighted and irritated - I've laughed, I've cried, I've gotten angry, I've gotten annoyed. I've also gotten some darn good advice, but lately I'm beginning to realize that I never take it anyhow. Add that to the fact that while the delight-factor has decreased and the irritation-quotion has risen dramatically and it's enough to convince me that it's virtually worthless for me to continue. I'll never be meek enough to fit in and I'll never learn to keep my mouth shut in the face of ignorant behaviour. I call it like I see it and I see it through an outsider's eyes.

Steve Schroeder http://www.steveschroeder.info/news.html recently acknowledged that he was no longer going to be workshopping his poetry in on-line workshops. He based his decision on general discontent coupled with a rash of plagiarism. I'm about to base my own decision on something much more subtle and hard to define - disgust.

This morning someone wrote requesting a thread dedicated to upcoming readings. Which all sounds fine and well, if you ask me. However (and there is always a "however, isn't there?) they also "assumed" that "many might want to post every open mic reading, but that would pose a space problem." Also well and good, altho I don't know that there are that many "open readings" anywhere that don't feature at least a few scheduled poets. I'm also not sure that any "poet" worth his or her salt would be advertising that they were possibly reading at an open mic, but I could be wrong there.....benefit of the doubt to the originator of the thread.

It's the "answer" to the posed problem which has me at the breaking point. The "answer" is this: "Maybe it could be limited to those __________ with new books/chapbooks out or of unquestionable established import." Arghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! Who decides who's important? And why? Are only poets with a book or chapbook any good? Are only "established" poets worth reading or listening to? How "established" does one have to be before they are beyond question? And where in the hell do you go to get established in the first place? It's not like boxing where you get a notch on your belt each time you knock someone out.

I've learned lately, from the workshop where I "grew up" and from years on AOL and from blogging that there are ponds.....and ponds and ponds and ponds. There's even a few lakes, but mostly there are ponds. Small areas of poetry where everyone knows everyone else and either likes or dislikes that person's poetry. There's some pond-jumping, but for the most part people seem to stay loosely within their own comfort zone. (This is not to say that people don't publish poems or books in all sorts of venues and areas...they do....but regardless of how far they reach and how well they swim they are still mostly read and enjoyed by a certain group of people who have gotten to know them and respect them) Even those few poets who get critical acclaim and who get a large amount of publishing and attention still seem to gravitate back towards their selected peers....perhaps out of comfort, perhaps out of loyalty, perhaps just because they like themmost - as poets, as peers, and as people.

My point is - everyone starts some place. To deny a non-book writer or an "unestablished" writer the right to post a reading date is not only silly - it's cruel and it's designed for no other reason than to keep the poetry world clannish and closed. If everyone did that, how would anyone new ever become part of the elite "established"? I don't know the author of this thread personally, but I would really like to ask him/her where on earth he/she gave their first reading and how many people showed up. If you can't invite your own workshop buddies, who CAN you invite?

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there....and the dogs are all barking at one another - in iambic pentameter, no less.

Dan's Dream - Un-materialized

Well, the weekend's over....and seeing as how the woman above did not materialize (Sorry, Dan) I am about to don MY work clothes, which consists of an old ratty robe and a head band, and start the Monday morning clean-up. Not that I'm complaining, mind you....it sure beats the hell out of putting on scrubs and wrapping a stethoscope around my neck and taking off for a 12 hour shift in the ER. I'm loving the "unliberated" life.

The weekend was good.....we sniped, we slept, we ate cheese curls and we halfheartedly watched football. All of "our" teams are out of it.....New England, Chicago, Indianapolis, Washington - they all managed to lose.....I've decided to root for Pittsburgh, tho....Dan and I spent a considerable amount of time there for a few years....it was the "half-way" point between Indiana where I lived and Washington DC where he lived. Every two months or so, instead of flying, we would each drive up (down?) to Pitts and meet at a delightful Comfort Inn with a hot tub IN the room and we'd hole up there for a weekend.

I did get a phone call this weekend.......one of those 3AM calls that makes a parent's heart skip about a thousand beats. I was sound asleep when the cell phone rang, scaring me half to death. The only people with the cell number are the kids....and 3AM just CAN'T be good. Turned out it was, tho. Middle son is back from Oregon and spending a week in Indiana. He and oldest son (Chicago) and youngest son (Indiana) and all their assorted wives, fiancees and girlfriends met up and went to Bourbon Street. According to oldest son, they were just sitting around talking about "old times" and my name just happened to come up. So they decided to call me and say hello. (1 out of three children called the next day to apologize and to assure me that all the females in the group had unsuccessfully tried to veto the call) It was wonderful hearing from them all. Not that I don't hear from them individually, but collectively....well, it was great. I wish I could have been there, but somehow, I think they had more fun this time without me. Middle son's wedding is in May, so I'll see them all in Oregon soon enough. I can't wait. Part of being a parent is wanting your kids to grow up strong, healthy, independent and happy......part of being a parent is being a whole lot selfish and feeling just a little bit sad when they do because it means you are no longer a necessary part of their life.

They think about me when they are drunk on their butts at 3 in the morning, tho.....can't beat that for Irish-son devotion. I guilted them right, apparently. :)

Friday, January 20, 2006




SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. is rebuffing the Bush administration's demand for a peek at what millions of people have been looking up on the Internet's leading search engine — a request that underscores the potential for online databases to become tools for government surveillance.....................
The government wants a list all requests entered into Google's search engine during an unspecified single week — a breakdown that could conceivably span tens of millions of queries. In addition, it seeks 1 million randomly selected Web addresses from various Google databases.....................
Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news), which runs the Internet's second-most used search engine behind Google, confirmed Thursday that it had complied with a similar government subpoena........................
Every other search engine served similar subpoenas by the Bush administration has complied so far, according to court documents. The cooperating search engines weren't identified.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo stressed that it didn't reveal any personal information. "We are rigorous defenders of our users' privacy," Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako said Thursday. "In our opinion, this is not a privacy issue."
Microsoft Corp. MSN, the No. 3 search engine, declined to say whether it even received a similar subpoena. "MSN works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to assist them when requested," the company said in a statement........................

Dixon is hoping Google's battle with the government reminds people to be careful how they interact with search engines.
"When you are looking at that blank search box, you should remember that what you fill can come back to haunt you unless you take precautions," she said..............

Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Interesting "stuff".......I'd recommend reading the entire article. I didn't want to cut and paste the whole thing here due to length.

If nothing else, it kinda helps make up my mind as to whether I want to put that "Impeach Bush" banner up......

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More Strange Bedfellows

Apparently, the two have been living together since October.


Ahhh, Sweet Submissions

I finally got down to work today and spent the morning reformatting and sending out a few things. I go through stages and most of those stages are lazy.

I did manage to get some things off today, tho. At this point, I figure if I can't write, I may as well submit what has already been written.

I've sent 5 poems each from Dan and myself to "Fourteen" ( http://www.fourteenmagazine.com/index.htm) in jolly ole England. I've never been published anywhere but in the United States, so that would be fun. I also like that they accept previously published material. Might as well get the most out of a poem. It's not like I write alot of them.

I also went a bit overboard and send the required six ( oh, too funny....Freud and I typo-ed "sex" - but I caught it in time) poems and bio to "Joaquin Miller's Cabin Poetry Series" in Silver Spring, Maryland. It's a reading series held in Rock Creek Park which has been been given every June and July for the last 31 years. I've never read aloud...I've never even attended a reading, so I am already wondering what on earth possessed me to send them anything. I sent for Dan, also, and as much as I hope I DON'T make the cut, I hope he does. He's got terrific presence and a wonderful, wonderful deep and powerfully commanding voice. It's the kind of voice that's made for reading out loud. My secret vice and my most favorite thing in the world is when he takes pity on my poor physically sick or mentally distressed self and reads to me. I don't even care what he reads...he could be reading Betty Crocker for all I care....it's his voice alone that does me in.

We'll see what happens. If nothing else, at least I accomplished that much today.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Vomiting Jonah

Vomiting Jonah

(from an engraving by Breughel)

Come Children, hear the ocean sigh
as seaweed turns to grass -
The rivers all run blood tonight
the water's made of glass.

Come see the soaring snakes and snails,
winged fish in desperate flight -
A silent pair of ragged claws
goes scuttling out of sight.

Come meet the mermaids, pale as sand,
who groom their tails with care,
while hermit-crabs and sea-urchins
are dangling from their hair.

Come greet the sailors home from sea,
the hunters, brave and few.
Tonight they'll dine on carrion -
We'll not know who is who.

Come watch the islands disappear
at the turning of the tide.
The world ends in flame or flood -
unless the prophets lied.

Come Children, view the earth's retreat.
Observe the ocean's swell.
The belly of the whale has burst -
Greet Jonah - back from hell.

Ekphrastic Poetry

Recently Rob MacKenzie posted an Ekphrastic Italian Sonnet that he'd written for a contest. (http://robmack.blogspot.com/)
Got me thinking about the one and only time I attempted such a thing. I've got no eye for art, so it's not something I would or could do very often. In fact, I think the one time I did it was one time enough for me.
I have to admit, it was fun, tho. Made me think and thinking is almost never bad. If you're thinking, you can't be getting into trouble.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

For Dan....who holds the keys

She Flies

Although her cage was lined with feathers, bright
and soft, she mourned, as only caged birds mourn
when all their bedding comes from feathers torn
in fear - when all their fears are fears of flight,
when all their predators walk at night -
and when, safe locked inside life's cage, and worn
thin by life's long rage, they nest alone in fright.

Through tarnished bars of ornate lace, day-light
is dawning, full of grace, and someone knows
why this bird sings (though only one can hear
her voice) So desperately the trained bird tries,
each word a strangled, sweetened cry that flows
from choice that's clearly chained, but not by fear,
(for fear's untamed) - and safely reined, she flies.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Yahoo and AOL are carrying it....blaring it, actually. CNN and Google News are not - at least not yet, anyhow.

I'm talking about the "one-eyed kitten" whose pictures are being spread all over the web. I won't link to them....if anyone wants them, they can go hunt them down on their own. Personally, I've been half-pissed and half-tearful ever since I saw one....and believe me, one picture and one viewing was one too many. I am disgusted with the picture-taker, I am disgusted with the news outlets which published the pictures and most of all, I am disgusted with myself for following the link that led me to it. I should have known better.

I don't understand how (or why) people can take pictures of such things. I realize, in the grand scheme called life, that there are lots worse "things" than a deformed kitten - what I don't understand, what I'll never understand, is the sick fascination that people harbor for such occurrences. Is it to reassure themselves that they are somehow blessed by nothing more than the absence of such tragedy in their own lives or is it something more sinister that makes them take a perverse pleasure in the misfortune and disfigurement of others?

And why - WHY in God's name, did the owner of the kitten (which she aptly, if cruelly, named "Cyclops") not only save this unfortunate kitten from a natural and immediate death at the hands/claws/teeth of its mother (which I am assuming would have happened. Most animals will not allow a deformed offspring to live. They will either kill it outright at birth or simply ignore it and allow it starve to death) but keep it alive throughout the night and well into the next day by feeding it with an eye-dropper, all the while taking pictures of it....which she then sent to various newsites scattered across the internet? Is there nothing left that humanity won't exploit?

Of course, eventually the infant kitten died....it had no nose, it had one eye.....outward deformities are often accompanied by inner anomalies which are simply not compatible with life. But even then - even then - the kitten was not put to rest. It was not buried, burnt, or even flushed.....No, that wasn't good enough....we aren't done yet. This kitten doesn't get tucked lovingly into a shoebox, covered with a dishcloth and planted under the apple tree in the back yard.....not this kitten....THIS kitten gets slid into the kitchen freezer and kept for posterity....just in case someone important wants to do research on it....or take more pictures.

I should be happy, I suppose, that unlike the owner of the still-alive two-headed albino snake, this dead-kitten owner did have the decency to report she would not sell the corpse on E-Bay.

Or so she's saying.

Headline of the Day

German Cannibal Finds Film About Him Distasteful
By Scott Roxborough
COLOGNE, Germany (Jan. 10) - A German cannibal is taking legal action to stop the release of the horror film "Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story," which he claims is based on his life.
Keri Russell ("Felicity") stars as a graduate student researching imprisoned cannibal Simon Grobeck (Thomas Kretschmann). Russell is drawn into Grobeck's world and becomes obsessed with the Internet cannibal community. "Butterfly" is scheduled for a March 9 release in Germany.
But not if Armin Meiwes, who was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for eating a man he met over the Internet, has his way. In a statement Monday, Meiwes's lawyer, Harald Ermel, said the film is a "slavish re-enactment" of the real-life events and his client did not give permission to producer Atlantic Streamline to fictionalize his story.
"I feel used," said Meiwes, who filmed the killing and confessed to the crime but denied it was murder since his victim volunteered to be eaten.
Berlin-based distributor Senator Film said it had no plans to pull "Butterfly," which was directed by Martin Weisz.
Meiwes goes before court again Thursday in the second stage of his trial. He faces life imprisonment. His lawyer said Meiwes wanted to prevent "Butterfly" from depicting a "false and stigmatized" version of cannibalism that could adversely affect the trial's outcome.
Meiwes also is suing German rock band Rammstein, claiming its song "Mein Teil" (My Piece) refers to his case.
Meiwes has given Hamburg production company Stampfwerk the rights to his story. Stampfwerk is producing a 90-minute documentary on Meiwes and his trial.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Old Stupid Poem

How Laughter was Created

The apple wasn't her worst sin
The snake did not cause Eve to grin.
The devil didn't make her gasp
The Lord Himself couldn't make her laugh.

Perhaps it wasn't God's intent
for Eve to notice Man erect.
Perhaps He meant for her to be
enthused --- but with more charity.

But when He showed her Adam's master,
Eve's reaction was disaster.
Her first response to Adam's rise
made living hell of Paradise.

Monday, January 09, 2006

In Case He Doesn't Win It........

"The 58-year-old DeLay, an exterminator before his election to Congress in 1984, said he intends to seek re-election next fall. "I plan to run a very vigorous campaign and I plan to win it," he told reporters in Texas." (http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060106165509990007)

Our new (and hideously-Washingtoningly overpriced) two-story - just bought in July, 2005 - luxury high-rise condo apparently came complete with roaches.....and not the kind you smoke, either.

Maybe Delay would be interested in a side-job. It's honest work...and we'd pay well.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

....And Besides, That Wench is Dead

When I first saw this:

 Impeach PAC

posted here: http://www.ronsilliman.blogspot.com/ I was a bit appalled....as much as I hate Bush's politics, as much as I feel he is both personally and politically responsible for sending my son's friends off to a war basd on outright deceit and tricky rhetoric, as much as I feel he is both personally and politically connected to the current Abramoff and Delay debacles, as much as I feel he has repeatedly and deliberately lied to us, used us, mocked us, trampled our rights in the process of abusing his own privileges, and as much as he's run roughshod over our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it still seemed like such a big step - and such a serious one.

But now, a scant 12 hours later, I'm trying to decide if I want to add it as a permanent fixture on the blog.

It seems like such a big step, yanno? And it completes my metamorphosis from Naive Midwestern Featherhead to Opinionated Washingtonian Bitch.

Back in good ole '99 I was positive that Clinton should be impeached...not for soiling the dress of a virtual child (altho that played a part in my belief) but for the unforgivable (in my book) sin of lying. I thought Hillary was a moron (I'm still not sure she isn't) for forgiving him and I was sure that one lie, just ONE lie, was more than enough reason to throw someone out of office. I was of the mind-set which said, "If you'll lie to your wife, you'll lie to your country." I've since changed that particular view, although personally, were he MY husband, I'd still be cracking him upside the head with a frying pan.

So now I am unsure why I've not jumped on the "Impeach Bush" bandwagon long before this particular moment. Maybe I'm smarter now....maybe I realize all things are not black and white. Maybe I'm more politically savvy and more accepting of liars and thieves now that I'm actually living here in the nation's capitol. Maybe I'm jaded - maybe after weathering countless Bush-induced scandals I've grown accustomed to bullshit happening. Maybe I'm just too burnt-out to care as much as I did back in 1999. Maybe - given the current climate of unfettered wire-tapping and quasi-legal "secret investigations" - maybe I'm even a little bit afraid to speak up.

Me, the chicklet who routinely stood on burning rooftops - the one who was almost always first to volunteer to climb into the back seat of an overturned automobile in a rainstorm while live-wires sparked beneath the hood - the absolute bitch who lost her temper and walked up to a cackling crying crack-head and took a gun out of his hand because she didn't "have time to play around with this bullshit all night" - the 105 pound girl who never backed down and who seldom lost when involved in hand-wrestling 250 pound alcoholics in the back of her ambulance - that same insane woman is now, suddenly, after all these years, afraid.

And that's the real commentary, isn't it?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

ARE YOU READY...........


I did it this year....finally!!! After 4 season of bringing up the rear, my team (The Philadelphia Kegels) made the play-offs in my main fantasy football league. My other team, The Hoosier Bysshe's, won first place in another league. This is MY year!!!!

My team for this week consists of:
QB: D. Garred (Jac)
WR: Jimmy Smith (Jac)
RB: (opps...dont have one)
TE: B. Watson (NE)
W/R Plexico Buress (NYG)
T. Perry (Cin)
C. Henry (Cin)
K: (opps again)
D: M. Peterson (Jac)
D: O. Omenyiora (NYG)
D: L. Foote (Pitts)
DB: T. Polamalu (Pitts)
DL: S. Quarles (TB)

My opponent's team is this:

QB: Jake Delhomme (Car)
RB: T. Barber (NYG)
W/R A. Toomer (NYG)
D: C. Gamble (Car)
D: I. Tayor (Pitts)

Now that team has a LOT of "opps - couldn't fill that position" positions.
I think I'll win this week....but it's a two part play-off and they have a fair number of Seattle players for next week. I, however, have Seattle's kicker, a Colt's running back and my "secret" weapon......Payton Manning.

It's a strange season....We live in Washington DC (Go Redskins), my oldest son lives in Chicago (Bears country) my middle one lives in Seattle (Seahawk territory) my youngest son is in Indiana (Colt Land) and Dan is a die-hard, wear-the-jersey-all-season New England fanatic.

I'm remaining neutral.

I'll be happy if "my" team wins.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Getting all political/medical and self-rightous


"Sharon's physicians defended their decision to transport the prime minister by road from his ranch in the Negev desert region of southern Israel to Jerusalem after he complained of chest pain on Wednesday evening. He was examined by his personal physician, Shlomo Segev, who accompanied Sharon to Jerusalem, about an hour away, although there are hospitals closer to Sharon's Sycamore Ranch."

As a former medical-type person, I realize it is not my place to question a physician's judgment....I don't have their education and I don't have their familiarity with the patient. However, after a decade and a half of working in emergency rooms and on ambulances, I also realize that physicians occasionally make bad calls - and that sometimes it IS ok to firmly, but gently, point out the possibility that they're calling this one badly.

If you're a municipal ambulance (as opposed to a private service ambulance) it's also "ok" to refuse to follow a personal-physician order if you feel the order will place your patient at further risk. Granted, it's a pain in the ass - and you damn well better be sure you know what you're doing and that you have the courage of your convictions and some obscure law and some really shitty patient vitals to back you up, but you CAN do it....you can refuse to transport to any place but the closest medical facility.... in fact, in some areas it's not just a choice, it's a standing order.

I wonder, had it been me driving that ambulance, what I would have done.

I'm glad I never worked with the rich and the famous. I liked my job, I liked my patients, I liked the doctors I worked with and I liked the town I worked in. I liked that only once - when faced with a very similar situation - that my town and my hospital backed me up. I like that the old man lived to eat another Thanksgiving dinner with his family. I didn't like that my driver got punched in the face while trying to explain the "closest facility" rule to grandson-doctor though. I don't think he liked it too much, either.

Private physicians know medicine inside out and upside-down - they know their patients, they know their hospitals and their surgeries and they know all about drugs and treatments and laws and insurance and malpractice and hearts and bones and lungs and skin and chemistries and diseases and assorted illnesses and body-malfunctions. Ambulance people know a very little about all those things...but the one thing they do know is what constitutes an emergency situation.

In my humble opinion, a 77 year old man complaining of chest pain - one who is overweight, has suffered a recent stroke, is scheduled for heart surgery on the very next day to repair a heart defect and is on blood thinners - in my opinion -THAT'S an emergency situation....one you don't want in the back of your ambulance for anywhere near an hour if you can get him to a medical facility much sooner.

That's what helicopters are for.


My children are not poets.
They are the words themselves.
The carpenters whose graceful hands
explain the nail to wood
and translate wood to warmth.

Things my children have in common with one another:

1. The color of their eyes

2. The size of their feet

3. The unlimited capacity of their hearts

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sour Grapes - Whine of Wrath

I wonder if there is a place where people (re: poets) don't squabble senselessly?


Le Quartier de Trouillefou :: View Forum - Pope-Pourri 2006

It's funny, but not in a ha-ha kind of way. In the past 4 years or so, I've gone from AOL chat rooms and "boards" to on-line workshops to publishing the occasional odd poem and flash of brilliance to blog reading and writing and I'm suddenly, after all this time, struck by how similar they are to one another and how much they all have in common with recess down at the local grammar school. Trying to sort the bullies from the braggers and the whiners from the winners and the real poets from the wanna-be poets is like trying to separate wheat from chaff and I'm no farmer but I tell ya, I'm pretty sure that no matter how hard I try, I am going to end up with nothing but little bits of owie-stuff stuck beneath my fingernails for my efforts.

Let's face it....someone's prized grape is always going to get plucked from the vine and turned into someone else's whine. A rant is a rant is a rant...and it doesn't make any more sense when it's pounded home with a sledge hammer. I'm pretty sure some of these people think they're damn clever...and maybe they are....but "clever" doesn't always amuse and it almost never makes real sense. It mostly sounds like, well, sour grapes. In a small world, and make no mistake, poetry IS a small world, is it any wonder that some editors know some writers and that some editors ARE writers and that somehow, somewhere, sooner or later, some editor is going to publish some OTHER editor who just happens to be a writer, too? To paraphrase Jack Nickelson in that puking-witch movie I can't remember the name of: "Women.....a mistake, or did God make 'em that way?" Substitute "pissy poet" for "woman" and you've got the idea.

I'm new to this. Is there some way to tell when "networking" and/or "workshopping" turns into Abramoff-type lobbying? And if so, how do I avoid it? I suppose I could erase this blog, quit workshopping, change my name, delete my email account, dye my beautiful blonde hair mousy brown and submit poetry under an alias just on the off-chance that someone will recognize my name and remember me from Verse Daily or somewhere "good" and then, and only then, will I be a "real" poet who made it solely on merit. I thought "merit" was how we got known in the first place....what happens after that, who knows us, who we know, and how well we get known....that all happens AFTER the original ass-busting nail-biting merit-making takes place. None of us can help who knows us or who doesn't know us. We're either known or we aren't. I always thought getting "known" was a good thing...and now people are trying to make it sound like a bad thing, instead. Our reputation, as it were, is what we've already done.....our future is what we are still expected to do. Besides which - (and I need to mention it 'less you think I'm stupid) I know for a fact that the quickest way to lose a "good reputation" is to screw up by getting lazy. We are, each of us, only as good as the last poem we've written. People aren't going to publish my poetry, people aren't going to judge my poetry based on some poem of mine that they've already read....they are going to base it on the poem they are currently reading. I know that, you know that, and believe me, editors know that.

It alarms me. If I've linked to Steve Schroeder's blog, or to C. Dale Young or Steve Mueske, if I've workshopped at Eratosphere or the Gazebo or on AOL, if I happen to have lunch with an old friend who's started an e-zine long after she became a friend, does this automatically mean that my published poetry is no good anymore? That people will think that the only possible way I can get published by those editors is because I've taken the liberty of linking their names to mine in some common and often-used and abused manner on The Internet? Does this mean that, <> no one will ever take me SERIOUSLY again???

Personally, I don't think so. I either write well or I don't. No editor in his or her right mind is going to take a shitty poem and publish it just to return an alleged favor or to curry one. If anything, I would think they would be MORE picky-choosey about taking a poem from a friend or coworker/blogger/writer/poster/workshopper.....if only to avoid the very rants and whines I am reading now. I know I'd certainly be more careful in what I sent to someone I knew as opposed to someone I don't know...after all, whatever reputation I have is one I've worked damn hard for....I'm not about to screw that up by offering shit to someone....whether I know then or not....and if I know them, and they know me, then they'll be acquainted with my work and they'll KNOW if I've sent them sub-par poetry...and they will, justifiably, hate me for it.

Oy.....I give up. Just look for the mousy brown-haired girl with the numerous misspellings and the penchant for heavy rhyme and call me Gidget if and when you find me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What's "Success"?

I'm trying to decide just what constitutes successful. Whatever it is, I've yet to feel it. I've promised myself that this year will be the year that I start submitting to the "better" magazines and journals, altho to be honest, I don't know what or who the "better" journals are.
Dan and I were talking last night, and I said I would feel better about myself if I could say I was published in Poetry or in The New Yorker or The Atlantic....and yet, if I'm totally honest with myself (and everyone else) I really don't even LIKE the poems they publish. They're usually way over my head or way under it, depending on how egotistical or how stupid I am feeling on any given day. I like the magazines and e-zines that have accepted my work, they're not pretentious and they're full of hard work and honest emotion. My own personal rule it to not submit a poem to any editor or magazine that I don't respect and enjoy. It's worked well for me so far. I don't feel like a whore and I'm sincerely flattered when someone I respect chooses to publish my work. If I break down and submit to Poetry or The New Yorker or The Atlantic, I'll be breaking my own rule simply to say "Look who published me." It would be validation, I suppose, but of what?

I'm pretty happy where I'm at, I think. I've got some things "out there" and I was thrilled when Verse Daily picked up one of my rare loosely-metered-but-still-free-verse poems. I write poems infrequently and I'll probably never assemble enough of them to make any kind of respectable chapbook. I'm seldom satisfied with anything I write and I tend to rewrite them incessantly until either they fall apart or I do.

There are people who post a poem weekly on the workshop where I post occasionally...and I envy them. I'd like to have the kind of discipline that says "you will write one poem a week" and stick to it. As it is, I'm lucky if I write a poem once ever few months.....and if I actually LIKE whatever it is I've written, I'm pretty content for the whole damn year.

Last year was a good one.

Maybe this year will work out ok, too.