the serious taxonomist
March 23, 2014

(A poem presented without comment on my long blogging silence because really I have no excuse. Not even writer’s block. I know, I’m terrible. I’m sorry. Please don’t hate this thing I wrote. It has been a long winter.)

When you imagine, as you do,
Vladimir Nabokov at his microscope,
poring over the genitalia of butterflies,
you wonder what makes writing good.
You suspect it involves will,
observation, and time,
not mere skill, but dedication
to crossing out phrases that don’t belong,
replacing them with ones that do.
Perhaps it is also a question
of plot, character, truthiness,
but what has that to do
with the bleary-eyed lepidopterist,
purblind from the strain of study?
He knows only how to preserve
the color of the spoken word
and the symmetry of two blue wings.

 

all things happening at once
September 19, 2012

Updates:

1. I had a couple poems published in an online journal! Check out Bare Hands Issue 11.

2. I just spent 5 days in the mountains of California with a bunch of queer girls and felt all the feelings and drank and kissed people whose names I don’t necessarily remember and screamed “SNATCH” in public areas and got no sleep and wondered the entire time why the whole world can’t be queer. You can read more about that here and here. I also met some amazing writers: Ashley (my cabin buddy), Gaby and Katrina (my cabin counselors), and many other members of the Autostraddle team who are all insanely talented and intimidating. You should read their work. If you don’t enjoy it, you should reassess your life.

3. I have finished several more books since I last did a reading list update: Sharon Olds’ “The Gold Cell”, Nabokov’s Transparent Things and Lolita, and Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Nabokov is quickly becoming my favorite author. He writes insanity in a way that makes it familiar, so much so that you finish his books and think back and are shocked at your own lack of disgust. And his prose, independent of the plot content, is stunning in and of itself. I am working on a post about Transparent Things, and it will hopefully be up soon.

4. I turned 22 on Tuesday. This was accompanied by neither fanfare nor alcohol. It rained incessantly, and I got a fever from a flu shot. Outside of my friends and family, the universe took no notice of the passage of my life. This is neither surprising nor tragic, a simple daunting fact that I attempt to ameliorate by caffeine and sugar and change.

5. I am moving to France tomorrow. This is terrifying and exciting and wonderful. I will be teaching teenagers about my native language while hoping that they don’t discover that I am scared of their fluency in French slang.

6. I wrote a poem, because after everything is said and done, there is nothing else I can do:

a scar caressed

Falling asleep with
a new body is a test
of trusting and breath.

Your metal on my
metal, spoons in our dark drawer,
nestled and silenced –

I learn how not to
love. I learn how to be held,
how to say hello.

We have lips that we
teach to kiss, to speak, to close.
My bruised knees know how

to live. Do you know
their language? Show them how to
bend, your hands trembling.

In the quiet of
crowded rooms, tell me you will
touch and go, smiling.

 

odds and ends and bits of summer
July 16, 2012

My excuse for not posting a poem in ages is that I have been reading, now that I have graduated and have time to do things like read just for the heck of it.  Here are some things to put on your reading list (in no particular order):

Ariel, Sylvia Plath
Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov
Full of Lust and Good Usage, Stephen Dunn
An Other, e.e. cummings (edited by Richard Kostelanetz)
Selected Poems, Wallace Stevens

Good stuff. And you know, I actually do write my own poems occasionally. I swear. This is one I wrote in Arkansas while visiting my sister:

 

One hundred degrees in the shade

 

There are too many cars
for this to be a settling place,
too much bare dirt
and cracked ground, too much
exhaust, matching the exhaustion.
I’m tired and
I don’t know why.

There, open up the doors
with the perfect panes of glass –
the notion is comforting,
the swing of it, the
silent, perfect hinges,
and outside, the smell of
chlorine in the sterile fountain,
unnaturally clean, lovely.

I watch bees flit, flower
to flower, in darkened, half-
lit gardens, under star-
light, waxing-moonlight,
porch light. I crush mosquitoes,
blood smearing on my warm limbs.
There is the rubbing screech
of cicadas, the collection
of their hollow tree-clinging
carcasses on my kitchen counter,
the white tiles all lemony under
their exoskeletons, homely and
shimmering; legs clawed, scraped,
broken, still grasping at dirt and bark;
the gleaming eyes, sightless and
beautiful for it.

The streetlights are orange and
unreal and I am an alien
on the sidewalk.
All the storefront windows see it
and reflect it back at me.
I’m blowing kisses to the mannequins,
but they are too tired to
return my careful, hopeless affection.