Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fourth of July

July 4th is coming - Independence Day.
Most people, I think, have a particular image that this date brings up... what's yours?

Is it the flag, the red white and blue? Patriotism and historical symbolism of freedom? Probably fitting for this time in American history, what with our liberation (or has it been classified as an occupation yet?) of Iraq and all. Or maybe it's fireworks in the night sky - all the explosions of color that make the crowd go ooh and ahhh en mass. maybe it's something more homey and intimate, maybe sparklers and fireflies, little dirty feet and roasted marshmallows.

The fourth of July has whole different connotations for me, though it relates to those other things as well. As a child there were always crowds at the house, sweltering in summer heat, while my mother kept busy in the kitchen. The meal always differed, hot dogs, hamburgers, sometimes barbecued chicken - and on rare occasion, steaks. There was always, without fail, Cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans and macaroni salad. But for me, it is a day of
three things:

charcoal smoke,
the smell of sulfur,
and cake.

You see, on the July fourth I'll be 33, and there will be flags and freedom, light shows, large and small - fireflies will flit and sparklers will earn their name. Marshmallows will brown, melt, and flame, and my house will be filled with 5 filthy pairs of little over-tired feet.

But for me it is the day to wake up a year older, one day wiser. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, ketchup spilled on the porch, smiling faces, residual sparkler drawings at the hand of child artists,
and too much cake.



There is bliss in the arc of a whale's tail
and the way the rain only strikes me
every seventh drop.

And if you're careful, you'll find it
in the curve between the morning glory
and the tip of a hummingbird's tongue.

But we don't dive in the ocean
or run unfettered through the storm,
and our nectar falls, not from
wordless feathered flights,

but from the empty bend of my arms.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Moment

The Moment

Above a two a.m. patio
the moon hung low
and treetops brushed her skirt hem
like a lap cat.

Shadows played between garden blooms
and worries seeped through my seams.
Unraveled, they slipped away -
silent ribbons braided
in the mockingbird's song.

Lilies glowed, backlit by moonlight
and for the moment, so did I.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Catbird Stills

The Catbird Stills

I pull at crab grass
through the shimmer of tears
and curse the rain.

Resentful of the fertility of cow shit
and seduction's sloppy song
in overfull gutters, I tug.

Clover bleeds between my fingers,
bow their heads to pray penance
in the crush of my palms,

and in the light of a gibbous moon
the cry of the catbird stills
to the wordless frustration of a poet.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Chapbook Sales

So the publisher's contract works like this, I send the poems, they make a chapbook, at no cost to me. As a matter of fact, I received 10 free copies. OK actually she sent me 9 and kept one to use as a demonstration piece for a grant she was applying for, but anyway, I get published + 9 books, at no charge. My only obligation was to reorder once.

Now, if folks order online, I get 40% of the sales, but I've said all along that I was a lousy sales person, and have proven it, by selling a whopping 15 books so far. Fifteen books in a month. That's just sad. The fun part is, I used my percentage of the sales of those 15 to re-order, so that I know my end of the contract is fulfilled.

Therefore, I will, as of the middle of July, have 58 copies of a book I don't know how to sell.
I have plans for 2 of them, and I have one more guaranteed sale.

so what to do with the other 56? Haha Christmas presents anyone!?

So here's the deal, if anyone wants a copy of the chapbook, I'll sell it to you friom the pile I'm about to have for $5 plus Shipping and handling, which comes to a little over $6. Just drop me an email and we'll work it all out.

The Tarheel Tavern is up!

The Tarheel Tavern bloggers Carnival is up at Mandie's place, and what a great job she did! She set it up as a little photo album, rather than the text based links you normally see - very creative. Have a look and be Captivated by Mandie

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Back Porch Musings

I sat on the porch the other morning, somewhere around 2am, and the moon hung low, brushing the tree tops like a lap cat against my ankles, and I thought, "This is the moment." In that singular moment, the world, and I within it, was at peace. The worries that reside in my pocket slipped through the seams and seeped out with the call of a mockingbird somewhere in the distance, and traveled silent, into the universe. The light and shadows played between the blossoms in the garden and the cicadas brought the woods to life with their song, and I couldn't, for one tiny moment, find anything to complain about. I just sat, admiring the way the moonlight through the petals of the lilies made them seem to glow, and how the breeze made me feel like a lily.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Ever read The Trenchcoat Chronicles?
You should. He must spend hours on end finding the stuff he posts. Take today's post for instance about how underpaid teachers are, it's called "Underpaid my Ass"

All I can say is, my husband works 12 month a year, out of doors, whether it's 20 degrees or 100 degrees, whether it's sunny and gorgeous or raining like hell - and he doesn't make that kind of money.

Anyway, I love Trench's blog. Go, now, read. Be amused, horrified, entertained, or politically piqued. Just do it. And no, I'm not endorsed by Nike.

Verdant Reflection

Verdant Reflection Posted by Hello

The promise of rain builds,
swells in my head but
refuses to validate the pain

I'm tired, and care nothing
for the gentle swell of new buds
or tenderness of lilies.

The grass has taken over -
ragweed and clover too,
crowded and green
where they shouldn't be.

What a verdant reflection.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Union County Writer's Club!

I didn't even know Union County HAD a writer's club. Definitely a place to join and network with! Yay! Of course the monthly meeting is in a couple of hours, so I'll be waiting until next month to attend a meeting, but I did call the president. very interested in getting to know exactly what this club does, as far as community involvement :)

Perhaps I don't live in as much of a vacuum as I'd imagined...

Union County Poetry?

I am in the preliminary planning stages of starting a project in Union County to bring poetry to the local community. Since I've gotten this chapbook published, I've relized how completely devoid of such things my county is. In order to successfully market it, one must go to readings, where (hopefully) the audience members would be interested in purchasing said chap. There are zero readings in Union County, and only 3 per month in Mecklenburg county. I realized that I'd have to travel to readings in the Greensboro area in order to do this. In all honesty, such travel doesn't fit into any feasible schedule for me.

And so, with my chapbook sales now basically an internet based effort, I've decided to endeavor to make this easier for future writers by engaging my community in poetry, creating monthly readings in places like the local library. I'd also love to incorporate, somehow, high school students, possibly creating a monthly publication, or even sponsoring chapbooks or anthologies that included their work. Another idea I had was to create a yearly anthology for the stories (in poetry) of the women in the local battered women's shelter.

My publisher and her corporation would like to co-sponsor me in my efforts, and even pointed me in the direction of some grants that I could apply for in order to help make this happen.

To be honest, at the moment, I'm completely excited by the prospect of the possibilities, and overwhelmed by the amount of planning and such that this will require. So, as I said, I'm in the preliminary stages, basically doing some research for the grant applications, and finding all the right information about who to contact in order to make this work. I think the highschool aspect will have to be added in later, and I'll begin by advertising for a poetry workshop reading/sharing type of event, most likely using myself and Poetic Acceptance (ugh) as the initial selling point to interest people.

Now, we'll see if this goes anywhere...

Full Moon

There's a full moon tonight. There's why I've been so damned productive and in such high spirits. Full moons play havoc with my emotions. It was beautiful, did you see it? It looked HUGE! It's an illusion you know, due to the season and the trajectory and the horizon or some astrological/scientific explanation. I don't know exactly, I was reading about it the other night though. When it comes down to it, it's just beautiful, and that's all I really care about.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Drama Queens

As if drama queens aren't bad enough, I've found something even worse: a drama queen who dramatically professes her hatred of drama, while making dramatic "oh woe is me" comments. People amuse me.

So, my reaction to this person is this:

There is great satisfaction in knowing I have been the more honest and bigger person by keeping to my word of NOT mentioning you or the situation. Enjoy the infantile satisfaction you think you've found in your drama. People do see you for what you are.

Karma is a grand grand thing.

Memes - and more on Technorati beta-gone-live

OK, memes. They're apparently one of the latest fads, much like email forwards, without the promises for good luck, wealth or free M&M's. They bother me - forwards I mean, I NEVER forward them. OK, once I can think of in the last 2 years, and only because it DIDN'T promise anything. It was a tribute to mothers, and I liked the sentiment. Now these meme things...

They bug me too, and I'm refusing all meme taggage, period. But, what bothers me more is the fact that people think it's pronounced me-me. It isn't, it's pronounced meem. So enough dumbass jokes like "someone tagged me me with a meme." You're just making your idiocy publicly known. This morning's big project is to educate the masses (yeah, all 50 or so of you that see this page in a day.)

n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

n. [coined by analogy with `gene', by Richard
Dawkins] An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the
connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much
as viruses do.

ok, on to other stuff, like further commentary on this new Technorati beta-gone-live thing.

I feel bad. I bitched about Technorati yesterday, and I haven't changed my opinion about the lack of those other 5 links, I do feel bad for not mentioning things like how much I love the Technorati service, what an awesome search engine it is, how it gives results on stuff you'll never find in a google search, etc... And I should probably mention that my little Technorati banner magically returned to normal, which I could kiss them for :)

See, in the middle of the night, I got like 6 hits on my blog from folks at Technorati, reading that post.After realizing that they were here, actually doing research (via Technorati search of course) on how people felt about the newly released live version. In other words, thesse guys aren't just listening to the comments that people are emailing to them, they're out actively searching out our opinions. Dedicated people, when's the last time you know of that someone from Google or Yahoo or any other damn site came to you or your site to find out how you felt about their services?

So now, I feel I must go find a feedback link, and tell them that I don't actually think they suck, I'm just having adjustment issues lol.

Morning Glory (a 2am poetry disaster)

Morning Glory

Three knuckles deep in loam
and still digging, I don't know
what it is I search for.

I'm certain I won't find it here
and the gardenia's stopped blooming.
Yellow litters the ground
like last year's Christmas lights
limp and withered at her feet.

And yet, the morning glory climbs
ivory in sunrise light.

An Article and a link

In my blog surfing tonight, I found this article, and found it very interesting, and widely applicable. In it she discusses her philosophy on poets finding their subject. . .

on writing
Saturday, October 9, 2004 at 03:43PM
Posted by sadi ranson-polizzotti

As a poet, i've been thinking a lot about poetry lately and suffering with it as well. Poetry was always a thing i could count on. My words would be there when i needed them and they would never sway from me or turn away. Yet lately, words do not come so easily and i find myself in a rut of sorts, having to find. . .

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pissed at Technorati

So Technorati released it's 'beta' version to give us a test drive/sneak peek a little while back. I wasn't sure I was going to like it, but attributed that to the whole "fear of change" phenomena - and continued to use the nice familiar version for all of my Technorati searches.

Yestrday, as I scrolled down my blog to check on comments, I realized that my technorati tag was vastly changed, and now includes my picture. I reacted to that with a resounding "Oh no!" I clicked it to find that the beta version had become the new format, and the old much-loved format was a thing of the past.

OK, I can deal with the new tag, the silly tiny little picture, but has anyone else noticed that the searches now take an AGE to load? Or that they don't include as much information? Or that the green they chose is blinding? Or that I'm really just very upset about this!? (Absolutely NO hormone/mood swing jokes will be tolerated here - this is serious business!)

It seems, according to my preliminary research, that the search results are more limited than before. One thing I like to keep up with is how many people link to my blog. Official count, per the good version of Technorati, was 24 links from 23 places. The new version shows 24/23 at the top, but only shows 19 that I can actually click and visit. That means that somewhere there are 5 links that fell out of sight somewhere. Yeah yeah, I know I'm still linked there, but now I can't get to them, and that pisses me off.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Coming out of the Closet

Well, I told my mother today that we're expecting yet another baby. Felt good to stop having to hold my breath, but of course I got the "oh you poor poor stupid girl" headshake for the rest of the day. Saying it out loud has accomplished a few things - it made my stomach suddenly expand, seriously, I suddenly LOOK 4 months pregnant. And, it's made it all seem OK. I've spent 4 months obsessing. Now it seems more manageable. Not to say it's the ideal situation, but we can do this. We've done it before right?


I'm going to have to get Terra totally potty trained and out of her crib though, and get some bunk beds. I hate freakin' bunk beds, for the record.

I'm due something like December 15th. Names should be interesting. All my other kids were born in Spring and Summer. YAY at the idea of being pregnant all summer. :|

More John Sweet on the web

More John Sweet on the web because I'm a recent addict

Dublin Quarterly

Thunder Sandwich #17

Pig Iron Malt

Moria Poetry

Lyn Lifshin on the Web
@her Website

Beauty without Flowers

Ships of clay sinking - 20 new poems by john sweet
found at Saucyvox

And well worth the time spent reading. His work is simply beautiful, in a totally non-floral way.

His name and work should be far more well-known than it is. I only just discovered him myself a few months ago by meeting him on a poetry forum and getting to know his work just a bit before learning he was as well published as he is.

My next mission is to concentrate on getting a few of his books/chapbooks.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Tarheel Tavern is Up!

The Tarheel Tavern is Up!

And it's at Mister Sugar's air conditioned pen. Have a look, click some links, discover a few NC bloggers!

population fluctuation

So as the human population is set to rise, and the whole rodent guts in the kitchen incident foretold - I have managed to find homes for 2 of my cats, and only have one more kitten to find a home for. The big black male from outside is more of a wandering tom who keeps his guts outside and shows little interest in coming in, so he's welcome to stay a while longer. All that's left is the adorable little black and grey female kitten - I'm sure I'll have no trouble finding a place for her.

And the pups are only a week away from being old enough to move out as well - 6 of them will be given away, along with their mother, and we'll keep the one male - I call him dirt, but officially, I think his name will be Claymore. Derived from his coloration (like he's rolled in red clay dust) and his father's name, which is Biltmore.

Isn't a claymore some sort of mine, like BOOM! an explosive? I hope that isn't an omen or anything, maybe I'll rethink that name)

So my next immediate obstacle will be finding the mama dog a home. If she were male, I'd have no worries about accomplishing said feat. She's sweet as she can be, very well tempered with kids, great as a watch dog (especially if you're ever attack by squirrel-type invaders) And she's cute, in a Heinz 57 muttly sort of way. Unfortunately, she's female, and highly prolific (sounds vaguely familiar, hmmm) which makes people not so eager to take her.

So, if you'd like to pre-order a puppy, drop a reply on here and I'll fed-ex one to you.
Yeah, just kidding, sheesh!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Summer Cold

With seeds sown in March
and tendrils growing inward
this summer cold has taken hold
and begins to emerge.

It has settled roots
within my belly, writhing --
it reaches for the sun
a burgeoning bud.

Christmas will be the time of blossom,
the dropping of seed, a bloom of need

until then, I will
dry the teary eyes of this summer cold.


As a kid, all I wanted was to fit in. Of course the nature of that beast is to go against itself. I tried to hard and accomplished nothing. I fit in with plenty of groups growing up though:the girls who hit puberty and never got boobs, the group of teenage girls who didn't know how to apply make-up, the stick figure girls, the bucktooth kids, the poor kids, the smart kids, the teacher's pets.

Eventually you reach adulthood and give up the effort - do your own thing.

My thing was basically, get married, have kids, continue to pratice the art of invisability, have more kids. Then I rediscovered poetry, where at first, again, I didn't fit in. That's changed, in some circles, been further emphasized in others. The problem with poets is that basically, they're all misfits - very few of us really fit into mainstream society. Oh some of us still try, some pretend, but most eventually find enough pleasure and satisfaction in words to give up on belonging.

I've quoted my friend Christine before, and I'm about to do it again:
"Sometimes, I just don't fit places"

That's where I fit, I belong in the not belonging. We all have a place in life, and that's mine. I don't mind so much really, I like me. A select group of people I love dearly likes me, and every once in a while I stumble across someone who joins that group of people I love that love me back.

The weird part is that I still find myself in situations that further remove me from "normal" The places where other people "put" me are places like "white trash." And to be honest, I fit there pretty well - no education, bad teeth, no money, too many kids. I have 5 kids, should be 6 - and be damned if I'm not gonna make it one more. Yeah... I'm 15 weeks along and overwhelmed and terrified and honestly just depressed as hell about it. I spent the first 8 weeks hoping it was some sort of terminal illness, which sounded better at the time than those 2 lines on an EPT test looked.

So there it is. I said it out loud, which makes it seem realer, more solid - something I might eventually wrap my head around enough to accept and deal with. I'm pregnant.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I don't know too


of the fight-or-flight reflex choices,
when the fight's gone out of you,
all you can hope for
is escape.

And what happens when
what you want to run away from
is inescapable?

I don't know.

I don't know

Ah Christ.

Sometimes there's too much inside - too much to fit, so you try to open the valve and it bottlenecks trying to get out, and then, well, it gets stuck, no transfer, no osmosis, no equalization of pressure.
You know, sympathy is one thing. One thing that's altogether more bearable than empathy.

The Finch (aka:2am over Coffee)

There's a finch in the shadow of the mountain.

She says there are no words tonight.
My chest aches with the knowing that
she's irreparably right. There is only bent silence
and snow-painted footprints that begin to fade
in the light of guilt and too-damn-cheery
blossoms of a meaningless garden.

And there are tears, but I don't know whose they are.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Stepping on the Dead

There are certain things you don't want to deal with, regardless of time of day, you know? Stepping on the dead bits the cat(s) brought me yesterday was one of those things, another was that when I went to feed and water the dog and check on her puppies, I nearly steped on the fly encrusted headless mound of stench that was once an opossum. I guess she must have thought it was gonna get the pups and killed it, but good lord the smell, and I'm telling you, if I'd have stepped on it, I'd STILL be scrubbing my feet ok? Nasty.

We were reinvaded by ants after dinner too, little bastards.

This morning though, so far so good!
The puppies are, as puppies tend to be, adorable. The father is the neighbor's beast - some sort of boxer with 2 different colored eyes, (and a fascination with my garbage can) one blue and one brown. Our dog Sissy is part lab, part dalmation and part pit (I think) she's a mutt really, but those are the characteristics you can pick out. So we have 7 pups, one is a dalmation look-a-like, only she has bright blue husky dog eyes. She's beautiful. If I could afford a sex change for her, I'd keep her. Then we have 5 that are various combinations of black with white markings, a couple have different colored eyes, all cute, one female in particular. And one little guy is black and brown with 2 brown eyes, sounds plain, but the way he's marked is too cute. My Southern visitors will know what I mean when I say he looks like he's dusted with red clay dust. The brown hair is mixed in with the black, a bit like highlights, but from a distance he looks the color of good old NC dirt.

Yes, down here, the dirt is orange. The only place it isn't is in places that it's been cultivated and stuff. I remember coming back down here from New York and wondering at the color of the dirt where the road was cut into the sides of hills. Hell, in New York, the dirt is the same color as day old snow, black (lol sorry New Yorkers)

Anyway, there's that boring entry, hopefully I'll have something more/better to say later :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Other Voices International Poetry Project

Several weeks ago, through a conversation with Ron Hudson, I was invited to submit to a poetry site called Other Voices, which is an international poetry project. Roger Humes runs it, and includes a majority of work from poets from outside of the United States. At the time of the conversation, I went to the Other Voices site and had a good read - I really enjoyed everything I read there, and thought it was an impressive collection of quality poetry, but hesitated to contact Roger because the site plainly said inclusion was by invitation only. I waited a few weeks and submitted 3 poems.

Within a week from that day, I was reassured (my submission was a bit apologetic lol) accepted, asked for more poetry and a bio, and added to the site. If only all editors/publishers worked that fast, or were as personable as Roger!

So if you're interested in taking a peek, you can click here and have a peek at the issue I'm included in!

Cliche Me

If you must define me, you can
do so in timeless (dated) cliches:
white trash, buck-toothed redneck
waitress, knobby-kneed, barefoot
with a passel of kids like stair-steps.

Highschool drop-out,
married too young to the toothless
4x4 driver who was not
the sharpest tool in the shed.

He wore me like a wife beater -
too tight and dirty.

But these are not my words
borrowed and stolen.

Mine are kudzu vines,
wrapped too tight
around a column of bones.

The Plagues: 1 and 2

My cats are so out of here.And don't even try to tell me how the damn thing was just an offering of love, ok!? The day I wake up, and stumble bleary eyed to the coffee pot and step on some sort of dead innard is the day they go. Gone. Finito, outta here. Ciao! I don't even know which sort of innard it was, but the guts of small animals do not, under any circumstances, belong in my kitchen, and particularly not under my foot, all grey and striated and squishy and cold.

So, I have one male siamese kitten (not full blooded, long haired very sweet) 8 weeks old, one black and grey female, 8 weeks old - one orange male (1yr), one black female (2yrs) if anyone wants one!

And then there were the ants. Nothing like your counter top becoming a writhing black mass of biting wonder. Yes, I couldn't be lucky enough to be invaded by sugar ants. No, I was blessed with thousands of fire ants, attacking my sink area.

I should move. Where are there NOT fire ants? Up north, right? How about California, there aren't fire ants in Cali are there?

Nothin' could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morrrrrrrnin'.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tarheel Tavern

The Tar Heel Tavern for June 12th is up at A Sort of Notebook.

There are photographs and 'fishing' tales and poetry, political/moral issues, and musings on fatherhood.
Stop in, have a drink, and listen to their stories!

5 Minute Freewrite

The gutters overflowed the dam of spent seed pods
and last years leaves - spilled in torrents
from streaming eaves,

and I offer you silence in the aftermath
because I am left with nothing more.

Friday, June 10, 2005

a link

I'll post more later why this story is important to me.

OK, it's later so here I go. Read the story at the above link, then come back to this - or it loses a major element of something.

When my daughter Alexis was 36 hours old, we learned that she had a congenital heart defect. She was what used to be called 'a blue baby' meaning that her heart was unable, due to some defect, to circulate oxygen throughout her body. They're called (or used to be) 'blue babies' because the lack of oxygen causes their fingers, toes and lips to be blue tinged.

She was transferred to another hospital with a neonatal intensive care nursery, and a children's hospital. One of the best children's hospitals in our area. Over the next few days we were given best case, and worst case, scenarios, we were told to wait for test results and for the team of doctors to asess her case. After 2 days, we were told she was a worst case scenario. She had 3 separate defects. The 2 most serious being Pulmonary Atresia and Tetralogy of fallot plus venticular Septal Defects (VSD). Each of those is linked for those of you who want to really understand the details, but in short, basically no part of her heart was working correctly. She was born with a chest full of hamburger meat, which during gestation her body had tried to overcome by creating other vessels from her aorta, and keeping her ductus open after birth as well. She was amazingly healthy for a child who was so sick. The worst ailment she showed outwardly during her 12 days was the horrible diaper rash caused by her body's inability to circulate leukocytes to the area to combat the irritation caused by the diaper and its contents.

Now, when she was 5 days old, we were told she'd need major open heart surgery, and a pulmonary transplant - they were going to give her a whole new pulmonary artery, close off the extra vessels, and close one of the septal defects. They told me she would of course be in danger from any number of complications, but with her relative good health her chances were good. (80 - 90% was what they told me) but it's a damn hard thing to face, knowing that they'll be inducing a coma that may last weeks, cracking open her breast bone, adding and subtracting parts of her heart, and all the while she'll be on a circulatory machine - she'll be dead, a machine will circulate her blood and hopefully avoid brain damage, but, no guarantees.

I had to think to myself at the time, how much she'd be enduring, what her risks were what her chances were, all the possible complications - and her long term prognosis, like the repeated heart surgeries just like this that she'd have to undergo throughout her life. Meanwhile, she was pink and smiley and happy and growing... which is unusual for a child in her condition.

So I asked them, what if we decide not to have the surgery, what are her chances then, what would happen?

I was told that there would be a court order, forcing us to consent, or she'd be taken from us, and the surgery would proceed. We had no choice. I knew I may be looking at the idea that I might only have her a few days at all, she was facing death, either way. So knowing she may only live a few days, I was left to lose her to the courts, lose her to death, or both. If she was going to have the surgery anyway, I may as well consent, and still have the right to see her while she was hospitalized, and assuming she survived, I could take her home.

I signed the papers.

On her 12th day she went to the OR. She spent 10 hours there, laid open like a side of beef, being butchered.

She went in happy and outwardly healthy, doing amazingly well. She came out purple and bloated and comatose. Five hours later she died. It had all been pointless, she suffered, and I couldn't stop it because Department of Social Services said so.

I'll live the rest of my life not knowing how much more time I might have had with her if the government hadn't stolen my right to have it.



I sit inside, safe from the rain,
a spectator contemplating a specter.

Outside, cup-palmed and graceful,
the calla lily rises through thunder,
stands head-high, as payment
to this storm.

This is my yearly pilgrimage,
this garden my Mecca.

Breath fogs the glass slide-door,
fades my view, and the reflection
I look through.

It's just as well, I don't like her eyes.

Like the sacrificial blossom, proud
in the face of the storm that wastes her,
I want to be
strong and beautiful,

I want to be thought brave.

Sunshine arrives and I kneel,
dandelion rope-tied,
painted ceremoniously umber and green,
and plunge myself in.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Waking to good news

I've been so mentally scrambled lately that I forgot to share my latest good news. My poem "The Nile" was accepted for publication in TMP Irregular #35. That's 2 poems accepted by Mr. Gurney, 2 months straight. He's a cool guy too, no bullshit. Guarantees turn around from submission to acceptance or rejection in 3 weeks or less. People like Lyn Lifshin and John Sweet are published by TMP, so I'm pretty proud to be included with the likes of them - even if it is an online publication. If it's good enough for Lyn Lifshin, it's damn sure good enough for me!

Wednesday, June 8, 2005


So a lot of you have heard about the ezboard crash. I am a member of a few EZBoard communities, and yes my stuff was wiped off of them the same as anyone else's. But I keep things backed up, you know? I learned that lesson the hard way, several times. (I'm hard headed, what can I say?) So I have everything saved on my hard drive, on discs, on various websites.

It's been 9 days since the hack, and I'm still hearing people whine about the things that they lost. I have no sympathy, shoulda backed that shit up. Period.

So anyway, the whining drives me crazy, the slow page loads drive my computer bananas, and I've been busy with other stuff, like gardening and chapbook sales. So tonight I get word that one of the boards I belong to seems to be getting restored, so I go check it out. I then realize that at least for tonight, I'm apathetic and disinterested, and tell one of the members there exactly that. He says," The boards coming back? Wtf do you care, you're published! Screw the internet!"

I just had to laugh, like I'm above my old buddies suddenly because I have a chapbook. Wee I have a book of my own poetry - and 10 people have bought it. I may now rest on my laurels and begin to forget the little people. In the big picture, Poetic Acceptance is so much nothing! Maybe I'll start being an arrogant ass and see how far it gets me. Worked for Bukowski, right?

In other areas of life tonight, Vickie has deemed herself my personal assistant and public relations person. She's worth money. I've got my press release/promotional blurb from her, and she's made me a spread sheet for everything I'd ever need to track, contacts, a calendar, one for income from sales, one for what I'm calling Notes-toself, and one for keeping track of where I submit, when, and what issue of the publication they go in - assuming they're accepted.

I'd probably have gone crazy eventually without being able to organize this stuff. I'm not so organized, and I've never made a spreadsheet, so she may be what keeps me outta the loony-poets bin.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005



I stroke your crumbled bones,
sun baked and weather-worn
in a desert graveyard.

I fondle the ivory relics of your name,
beat them into the earth
with the drums of my feet.

You don't answer.

Have you forgotten, in sewn-eyed darkness,
or do you still whisper,
as I do, in elephant songs?



There is a storm of rags
...............hovered above
fifty-five gallons of fire.

Bare-fingered, he hangs on
......................the wind for survival.

She is round-belly proud,
and I cry for the child
................she'll never know.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Union County links

Free cycle is my newest web find. It's a site that has separate yahoo groups for each state, and each county, where you can list things you have that you'd like to 'recycle' - meaning give it away rather than throw it away. Have an extra bicycle your son outgrew or an old living room suit to get rid of? List it on their site, and someone locally who needs/wants it can contact you, stop by and take it off your hands.

Also, if you need something, and don't have the money to buy it? Check out your local Freecycle, and your neighbor might have one for free!

Love this idea! Wish I'd have found it before. I'm thinking I have a kitten and some puppies that need homes :D

I also think this will be an excellent way for me to find things that I can pass through to the battered women's shelter. Turning Point of Union County accepts all sorts of donations. They have become my favorite charity, I've donated a lot, things from baby furniture to kid's clothes to a Thanksgiving Dinner to Christmas toys for the kids. Wonderful people there. You should consider having them become your favorite charity too - it's all tax deductible at the end of the year, and these women and children need as much help as they can get to get their feet back under them.


This is a letter I wrote, nearly two years ago now, to my daughter who should be 4 in August, but won't be.

Dear Alexis~

I still miss you so much. I wonder why you don't come to see me so often anymore. I miss the nights I'd feel your weight on my chest and we'd talk. I suppose you think I don't need you to comfort me
so badly anymore. We each know the other is ok, though, I'm less
sure than you are.

I felt you when you came to meet your little sister the other night, and for that I thank you. I was holding her the same way I held you the day you died. You were a few days older then than she is now,
but it was like holding you all over again. She looks so much like you - she could be your twin.

Both so painfully beautiful.
I hope you know that she was never meant to be your replacement. When the Doctor laid her on my stomach, my first words were, "Oh my God she looks just like Alexis" and I cried - unashamed, unaware of anyone else in the room.
When your Daddy couldn't cut the cord, I volunteered, just like I did with you. I was afraid - afraid that cutting her cord would mean letting her go, like I did with you.

I never meant to let you go baby. I never wanted to, but I did.
You'd have gone away anyway, wouldn't you?
I don't know why you did, but I know you had to.

The Willow weeps tonight little one, despite the knowledge that you wander contentedly upon your lilac breeze. Maybe Daddy and I will come feed the ducks with you tomorrow, and maybe soon, you'll come to see Terra again.

I love you baby girl,

Know your roll! (learning mine)

I had to write an essay for my publisher. The question to be answered was "What made you start writing?"

Now I'll be honest, I procrastinated with it. I'm not so very motivated to write essays - I don't think I'm very good at them either. But I wrote it, finally, and sent it to her via email yesterday. I guess I'd have given myself a B- on the results. It was nothing to make your jaw drop or to make you read it more than once, but it did answer the question, grammar and spelling were correct, it was ok as far as technicalities go. I just wasn't impressed - but it did get me to thinking about why I write, which is a whole other subject than what made me start writing.

As I wrote the essay, it followed a timeline from what made me start writing as a young girl (catharticism) to what keeps me writing, and the reason my writing has improved since the days of Q-tip clouds and storm-swept souls. And I began, after I finished, to realize that my writing exists at all because of the internet. I had long since put down the pen, forgotten about poetry and my love of writing. It was one of those things that I gave up for adulthood, until I discovered the massive online poetry community. I owe a lot to the people I've met online. There have been so many to teach me - first the crude points such as the importance of grammar (tense shifts were a big obstacle for me a few years ago) to the use of poetic devices, such as symbolism and metaphor.

So I wound the essay up with a statement on how the reason I kept writing was because I have received so much encouragement and support from online poets. The crazy thing is, all of a sudden I find myself trying to join the world of offline poetry, and realizing that it's a whole different world. One I may have to spend a few years learning from and assimilating into. One that may just teach me how much jackshit I don't know.

Poetry. It's an education.

I've gone and done it

I started toying with the idea of a donations button lately. I mean, this process of marketing my chapbook isn't going to be free, and I'm not selling them by the truckload just yet, so the capital I need to order more copies, in order to have them to sell is non-existant. In other words, I'm having supply and demand issues.

I also had pride issues, I am not generally one to ask for things from anyone. I do not receive well. I'm more of a giver, if you know what I mean. so I toyed with it, and I tossed the idea. That is until I saw that a friend of mine was also thinking of doing it.

Well for some reason that changed how I looked at it, and I can't explain why, but it did. I still had to kind of convince myself to do it, but do it I did.

Now for those of you thinking, as I usually do when I see one of these buttons on a blog, "Um, blogs are free..."
I'm not asking for support of the blog, unless you'd like to type while I dictate... what I'm doing is allowing for the opportunity for someone else to help me fund the marketing costs of my chapbook. I can promise you that every penny I receive will go to selling, advertising, traveling expenses for meetups or out of town readings where I might go to sell the book. I won't bankroll the family vacation, steak dinners, or new hair-dos with any donations I get.

Of course, I have some doubts that I'll actually get any donations, which is perfectly ok too, because right now, I'm feeling a little funny about the whole idea!

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Short Preview

This is another of the poems in my chapbook - just a short.

Puddle Jumping

I'm puddle jumping
in this film of your emotion.

Raise your eyes
I want to see
the gasoline rainbows
spread around my feet.

Discovering the Tavern

The Tarheel Tavern is a NC Blog carnival. This, in my inexperienced bloggerdom, was a new term for me, this carnival. I have noticed it being hosted here and there, but didn't really understand what it was or how it worked. Basically, every once in a while I'd stumble across a post that included links to a lot of other blogs, but it never really sank in you know?

Tonight, someone mentioned to me that I should participate, so I went to see excatly what it's all about. It looks like a lot of fun for sure, and a great way to check out the nc blogs that get involved. I'm looking forward to the announcement of this weeks rule/theme so I can make my entry.

I love my blog, I love the idea of them in general, but when you realize that there are whole blogosystems within the blogosphere that allow you to make more personal connections with people you'd normally never know existed, it's just a really cool experience. It offers you the opportunity to make new friends, find out about local meetups, shware information and help each other out. I'm loving finding out that NC bloggers have a whole "neighborhood" atmosphere.

So Tarheel Tavern here I come!

Saturday, June 4, 2005


For all that one negative comment can take out of you, one man and a few emails can put back double! Billy the Blogging Poet is my hero of the day. (No I won't have one daily, sorry) I emailed 2 local poets, both listed on NCBlogs last night, asking for advice on where to find poetry related venues and places to sell my chapbook. One returned with some advice and his honest opinion. The other, Billy, answered me with lists of ideas and venues, blogs, sites and people to contact. If Greensboro were within arms reach, I'd hug his neck.

As of this morning I was feeling none too hopeful about my chances of finding a way of marketing my chap. Then I got his first email, and it was like someone threw the switch to 'on' for me. And what amazes me most is that he didn't offer for some personal gain, he didn't stand to gain a thing from helping me out - he did it out of good old fashioned southern hospitality.


I asked a local poet for some help as far as finding readings and open mics.
What a wake up call. He pointed some out to me - after telling me that basically, I'm an amateur, I'd never sell a single book, though I might get some good advice from a kindly poet who wanted to offer me some.
He said "There is a much higher level of writing already in place around here." As if A.) I totally suck and B.) I'm trying to take over the Charlotte poetry scene. I just want to participate.

OK. The truth is, he's right. I am a beginner. I'm completely clueless to the local scene. I have no idea what's "popular" around here. I'm trying to accept his opinion for what it is, an objective opinion of my work, which I don't get often. And a bit of inside advice from someone who is experienced in my local scene - a decent gauge of what the overall crowd reaction may be. And I'm also trying to remind myself that his opinion is only 1 opinion, and that poetry is subjective, so I'm sure there will be some who DO enjoy my poetry.

And (yes people I'm trying to justify my existence) he's a he, and the poetry in this chap is seriously more effective for the female reader. I wonder if the local poets and poetry fans are more male or female? Most likely female, right? I mean... Right?

I am so stressed out about this damn chapbook! It's supposed to be an accomplishment, something that should make me feel better about myself, but damn it, that email exchange sure took the wind right out of me.

And all I know to do is go to a reading, listen, check out the crowd and gauge their reaction firsthand. Maybe get on stage and humiliate myself, but if I don't I'll never know right? I don't want to live with this great big huge regret, based on the opinion of one person, do I?

Christ I hope he isn't at my first open mic reading.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Oh My God

So, how often is a person solicited for a chap manuscript? Never, right? Yeah. So first, I get solicited, and published and such. Granted, it isn't like random house, but considering how few times I've been published in print, the solicitation was enough to be HUGE to me.

So you figure, it's done, it's out... now it's my job to sell it, the publisher's job is done, yes? Oh no no no!

She calls me tonight talking about a contract for a series. Of course, this is contingent upon sales of Poetic Acceptance, but we're looking at the possibility of another 4 chapbooks in the next 3 years. I am the only poet she's thus far been willing to make this offer to, and of course there are a few loose guidelines as to subject and theme, but nothing that far off from what I do anyway.

So now I'm so thrilled and excited and breathless and... petrified! This means in order for me to make this happen, readings are going to have to happen. No more thinking or whining or griping or procrastinating, I have to go do this. I have to SELL this bad boy.

I have been holding in this ridiculously female scream for about an hour now, and I don't know whether it's a scream of joy or one of terror, but it's coming, building like Doppler's train! It wouldn't be so frightening if I had ANY experience with reading. I've never even attended one! And there isn't, therefore, anyone local enough to hold my hand through this process. I mean, it's me all me here people.

And I KNOW that this is a huge turning point in my life, in what is potentially a writing career. And I don't want to detour off into no where land based on fear. But fear, especially for me,right this second, is a major, palpable entity, and it's sitting on my chest.

So, I've decided that I'm just going to have to stop listening to myself, and start believing what other people tell me about myself. I'll approach this like every other peopblem in my life, E-style. I'll just do it. Swallow that little bit of bile in the back of my throat, and go. There's one thing you learn when you're a closet scaredy cat. To survive, you just smile and go. I can do this. Super D says so, and well, I have no choice unless I want to look back on this day and kick myself in the ass.

The next event I can find locally is:
June 7, Tuesday, 7:30pm. Poetry Reading & Sharing at Barnes & Noble in the Arboretum (Charlotte, NC) M. Scott Douglass will read from and sign copies of his new poetry books, STEEL WOMB Revisited (Main Street Rag, 2005) and Dip Says Hi (Rank Stranger Press, 2005) followed by a poetry sharing and group critique. Details: Brooke Shope, 704-341-9481.

So, looks like I better order some more chaps and frikken go. And find some more readings and events, and some more... and write, I have 4 chapbooks to write in the next 3 years!



Your Birthdate: July 4

Being born on the 4th day of the month should help make you a better manager and organizer.

You may be more responsible and self-disciplined than you realize.

Sincere and honest, you are a serious and hard working individual.

Your feelings are likely to seem somewhat repressed at times.

The number 4 has something of an inhibiting effect on your ability to show and express affections, as feeling are very closely regulated and controlled.

You are apt to be much more practical, rational, and conscious of details.

There is a good deal of rigidity and stubbornness associated with the number 4.

A Poem from My Chapbook

This is one of the central pieces in my chapbook - it's a series written on the process of grief, or at least, on parts of the process of grief. There are actually (in some manual somewhere) 8 steps and/or stages - but I wasn't writing a manual. Hope you enjoy:

A study in Grief

Feathers of Sorrow

Now there is nothing
and it's too much,
everything, and not nearly enough
at the same time, and the words
come out wrong because there are
no words at all.

It's lacking, and it's more
than you can carry -
a thousand pounds of feathers,
strapped and dragging behind you.

It's too damned much
this weight of nothing.


The Grace of Anger

Soon there will be anger.

Lend her a name,
one of your own choosing -
make it beautiful, delicious;
her aftertaste will linger
long on your tongue.

Hold her tightly, relish
her flavor - savor her
without shame.

She will be
your lover and enemy,
your confidante
and foe. You will
hate her and need her,
in equal measure, but

make space for her
in your midnight silence,
for soon there will be anger;
and you will learn
to cherish her name.


Poetic Acceptance

Then flew the butterfly from the fog
with wings, lightly dusted
to leave faith-prints on the breeze.

She has shaken free of snow-dustings
to settle gently on the blooms
of the daffodils. She has climbed
prematurely from her cocoon
into a world unknown

with the belief that she,
in youthful glee
will flourish on the wind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Pocket full of Poesy

Pocket full of Poesy has released its premier issue today. Pocket Full of Poesy is a web based poetry zine founded by Sheweevil, and it's first issue includes some really fine poetry. I happen to be included in it, because its newness made competition light, but I'm hoping more and more people will start submitting for a spot in there!

Go ahead, hop on over and take a peek, it's well worth it. And submit something, help Fiona make a successful venture into the poetry ezine market!

Child Support

So, if you've been with me from the beginning of this blog (a whopping 4 months lol) then you know a few things about me, one of which is that I have an ex husband. He was not a nice man. Oh, that's unfair. He was nice enough before we got married, but we got married too soon. Hell, I was 16. Anyw3ay- the marriage wasn't a pleasant place to be, not a great memory in my life. That sucks, not for the years I gave him - they were my doing, my choice, my loss. It's sad for the boys though, who haven't seen their father once in 13 years. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that he hasn't been interested in being involved in their lives. I wouldn't want that kind of man to have anything to do with raising my children, and though his absence has obviously had an effect on their lives, it has been preferable to having his presence influence them.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I wish he had been a different kind of person. One who wasn't so fucked up inside, one I didn't have to protect myself and my children from. One who would have stayed close enough to his children to feel like contributing to their financial support at least.

Thirteen years is a long time, he remembers them, no doubt, as 2 little boys, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 and after all this time, I'm sure that's vague - easily pushed to the back of one's mind. The thing is, he's court ordered to pay support. Get this, a whopping $238 a month. I know people who get twice that for one kid, and he won't pay that.
That's less than $30 a week per kid.

So he and his wife and at least one child that I know of live in Tennessee, changing jobs as often as necessary to evade the wage garnishing. And through the miracle of red-tape and interstate legalities, has managed to do it for years. He owes over $14,000 in arrears, and hasn't paid a cent yet this year. By law, I'm supposed to get his tax refunds, and can't get them either, because one year he claimed the boys and got a few grand back in earned income credit, but got caught by the IRS and all of his refunds now go to pay back the government. So, between whatever IRS loopholes he's going through by filing married filing jointly with his wife, and the gov't taking his part of the refund, we still get nothing. North Carolina's court system can't do much about it because he lives in Tn, and Tn apparently isn't doing anything either.

So I looked him up online. I have for years (for some damn reason) remembered his SS# and now I know his address and telephone number. The question is, what the hell do I do with it? My evil female mind has been through plenty of ideas. First, to harrass him. Call him day and night - write letters to him and his family. Yeah, ok, a little psycho/Jerry Springer right? OK we won't do that. How about I post this info all over the internet - hope someone steals his pathetic identity and screws him over really good. OK, I know him well enough to know it isn't like he has a lot of credit or anything, even an identity thief couldn't do much with his credit.

I can't afford a private lawyer or the trips to Tn, which would be necessary, since the state of NC turned over the case to Tn, it's now in Tn jurisdiction. I've called those places, like or whatever, and they take like 1/4 of the settlement, plus a cut of any money I get from him between now and then.

So, just like the last 13 years, my kids go without, and I'm at a loss.
Any ideas?