Monday, December 14, 2009


Everything for you

she says, making

separate dinners 

from no recipe 

for each child

two vegetarians

steak for daddy

the baby won’t eat peas

Everything for you

she says, sweeping

floors she wishes away

in secret, guiding crumbs

from dinners the 

children have eaten

all through the house

Everything for you

she says, with every 

move of her hand,

sweep of a strand

of hair from the face

of a crying child

Everything for you 

because my life is

half over, and yours

is just beginning. 


I sit at the 

table reading

lift my feet

as she whisks 

the broom

under them

when everyone

goes to bed, 

I will put down

my book and

do all of 

the dishes 

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Yard Interval

This is a new approach to the topic of home (my overall thesis topic) 

The Yard Interval


Big men came with

hammers and trucks

and pulled the garage 

down. I watched from

the upstairs window 

as they tugged at the slanting

foundation-- the rotted 

white boards and roof shingles

fell. I was too young to be sad, 

to miss the old structure-- just a slab of

concrete now where we could 

roller skate until they build the

new one. Then they tore down 

the picket fence that ran behind

the old garage. I watched

them work, the first jackhammer

I’d seen, in the late afternoon sun

blazing orange behind their shoulders.

When they pour the new foundation, 

we get to put our hand prints in 

the wet concrete with the date

and Daddy took parts of the old

wooden fence and built a play

house for us. We will make mud

pies for dinner and dry them on

the playhouse roof until they’re hard.

Bricks for building memories. 


In autumn the leaves fall

yellow and orange and brown 

and gather on the small front lawn.

Daddy wants to rake them to the

curb before it rains and they get 

all soggy and kill big spots

of grass, or the snow starts 

and they’re frozen over. But

first they are ours.

We sweep the leaves into the thin

straight outlines of a blueprint:

solid lines for walls, gaps where

there are doors, circles for chairs, 

rectangles for beds and couches, 

and at the very edge of the yard

where the sidewalk looms to the 

street, a half-moon balcony. 

A leaf house of our own design

it will last until the wind picks

up at night. And next year we

will reconstruct it. Exactly the 

same way. 


The patio furniture resides

in the screened-in back porch

its legs are thin, but heavy and

the protective ends have fallen

off so when we move the chairs

around they scratch the floor, a

map of where they’ve been. 

The cement walkway makes a

perfect driveway for our bikes and

we parallel park there between 

important errands-- (the neighbor’s 

yard is the grocery store, the garage

serves as both bank and brake-shop)

Mama put our play kitchen out for

us and every day we live several

days there, sleeping and waking 

driving and parking, shopping and

cooking, breaking and fixing,

a microcosm. We decide when

the sun goes down. 

Monday, November 2, 2009


I passed a dump truck today
a big blue one that looked strikingly like yours. 
A flagger stopped me in the road 
for an unimportant or imaginary
construction project, and I had
to sit at the feet of the enormous
truck. Watch the men in boots and
jeans and white shirts and remember
that you have been gone for eleven 
years this day. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


If Einstein was right, 

then there is no long straight

string of time

and everything is cyclical

boundaries in flux, beginnings

and ends mutable, or nonexistent

and who’s to say that as I lean

over the sink its particles don’t

expand to accept a few of mine 

and we don’t become intertwined 

for a moment or few or

that the paste doesn't serve as some

emulsifier between enamel and bristle,

combining tooth and brush

and eliminating plaque in between

and how, then, can I know what

is over? or what has just begun? 

if the events before ever ended

or if we have always wanted each other

brushed our teeth side-by-side

slept together every night 

wished for the same things

but won’t ever end up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"You want to smoke a cigarette with me?"
We sat in the car, two people
who hadn't spoke in months.
"What are you doing next year?"
"How is the house?"
"When does the album come out?"
We sat in the car, two people
who had known each other for years
and hurt each other enough to be strangers again.

"you take these shears here and cut the 
rose bushes down to the base"
"daddy, there are still buds on these"
"yea but you've got to cut them down 
before the snow comes, so they can grow back."

The leaves weren't even done changing,
and had barely started falling, when
the forecast said snow on saturday 
and the wind chill supported its claim.

The snow would come and kill all 
the potential of the rosebuds
if I didn't kill them first. 
And I had to trust that they would grow back again.

Things will get much worse before they get better. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn

I loved that apartment
with its tiny kitchen, your
bike resting along the wall under the clock
like it was waiting for the seasons to change

the ice-slick front steps and
the back door that we always hoped
was open. The two small rooms were
just enough and the bathroom was
my favorite yellow. 

We'd stay up late and listen
to the foreign neighbors, dancing
or fighting, and we'd wake late 
too. Make the short walk to
the corner because you didn't 
have a coffee pot and tea never 
did the trick for me. 

It was cold then. Colder than 
I remember it ever being. The 
walk was not so bad though, 
because the pocket of your pea coat
had a silky lining and I was always
allowed to put my mitten there.

But that was winter love. A cold
and factual kind. And it went away before
spring. It felt right. The same way that
fall creeps up. Leaves turn and fall a 
few at a time. Branches grow out of
them and don't throw fits or beg them
to stay. 

The kind of change that lets you look
back fondly. And say:
that was right, in its season.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Child, I am writing to apologize,
though you cannot yet read,
for every moment I have been rough with you.

Seventeen years your senior,
I know too well the moments that
life will be rough with you. Without apology.

Child, I am writing to apologize,
though you may never remember,
for every time I have been impatient with you.

For the preschool rush, the hastiness
on with the shoes and out the door
for snatching you up and snapping you
into your booster seat, your little feet
swung from their spot before you could
examine the cicada in the driveway that scared you.

No doubt the largest insect you had ever seen,
it glistened holographic on the asphalt in the near-noon sun.

When I hurried you into the car and drove away,
dismissing your curiosity with a sharp lie:
"its just a big bug"
I failed to explain that fantastic root dweller
who emerges only once every seventeen years
to molt its skin and begin its adult life.

May you always have time and forgiveness.
May you be surrounded by people more willing
and worthy than me, to explain the trivial and fantastic-
ready to revel with you in the smallest wonders. 
May you blossom, emerging from this home
brilliant and beautiful to rise high above this asphalt,
and may you not wait 17 years to see another cicada.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The prairie underscores the bright blue
of the 10 a.m. sky and a train slices
the whole scene diagonally:

running beside the long straight
black of route 66

carrying the cogs to some massive
machine that makes another part
of the world run

but not this part

if every train stopped and every
telephone pole fell and all the
wires tangled in sparks on the
ground, nothing would change here.

These red rocks
thick clay
scrub bushes
lean hawks
don't mind.

Laws of Nature

Two men hang glide near the dam
they swing on the wind
blown dandelion seeds
then drop
all red and yellow parachutes
and crumple on the ground.

Two girls drive through the desert
top down
all Joshua trees and sand
heads turning all directions
the dead parts dropping off.

The west canyon rises high
and hard into the clouds--
the only objects casting fat shadows
in the noon sun.

The dam restrains the gushes,
human laws for wild things.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Notes from the desert

Since I haven't written in so long, I thought I'd post a little preview of what I am working on. Some Notes from my cross country road trip. Love from Albuquerque.


Driving the long straight stretch towards Barstow
heading the same way Hunter did
in a smaller convertible, decades later
wondering what my reaction will be to the city of sin
and whether or not the great American dream has changed.

Smog so thick it swallows the tops of the mountains
and taller billboards in the the distance
follows us up 15 N and hasn't burned off by 10:30.

Hit Hesperia and see a few wind turbines,
sad attempts to prevent the destruction
of the atmosphere, but considering the fog,
seems like too little too late.

Alison takes us on a mad, GPS guided search
for a Starbucks, which dot the landscape like cacti,
and we fly through the drive-thru with two
ventiskinnyicedcaramellattes with extra shots,
almost faster than Alison, with severe ADD and
years of practice, can order them.

"we'll be in Barstow in an hour."

Costco, Walmart, In'n'out, and Del Taco
line the route out, begging drivers to stock up
before they hit the strange stretch of barren desert
the last un-commercialized space in the nation --
coming from Disneyland, where a platoon of
cartoon characters has made a police state of Anaheim,
the desert is a welcome sight for me.

We pass a 2009 revisit of the Camaro
and discuss the streamlined recreations
of Mustangs and Chevelles. Alison likes them.
I think that good things always come back,
sleeker, updated-- never quite as good as before.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


My sunglasses,
the big ones
I always have on

the ones he said
he hated once
because they hid
my eyes

another said
they were retro
or something
like that

and you, well
you bought them for me, but
I've been wearing them
so long I'm not sure
you notice them anymore...

they have a pinkish
yellow tint, that
makes everything
more beautiful.

Intensify the
effects of transient
light on stable earth
the greens of plant
the blue on white of sky

They make those contrasts
more deliberate, and
gentler too, somehow.

On this deck, now
admiring the backyard
I realize I am not
wearing them, for once

and that the technicolor
I see is all 9 a.m. sunlight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Worst Fear

Remember the summer
I swam to the end of the dock?

Worked my way up, life jacket-less,
despite my crippling fear of water.

Went out every day with
someone to watch from the pier.

Swam a few more feet each time
until I reached open water-

a place where I could no longer
touch bottom, and the dock ended
so no one dry could grab me
if I slipped under.

I waded there a moment or two
in suspended animation
a fantastic combination of
buoyancy and bravery.
Do you remember?

But this is not that summer
and the moxy I worked up
is gone I discover as I jump
in from the end of the dock

skipping all the shallow parts
near shore, the slow start that
gave me courage before

and here I am screaming,
flailing, struggling hard
no reachable sand beneath me

and in their panic
drowning people often
pull rescuers down with them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

5 O'clock (another revision of Bravery)

I wonder how you feel
around 5 O'clock
when you come home from work

if we take the joy out from you
and drag it across the kitchen floor

Send you retreating into the old
rocker, battered, to sit for the rest of the night
in front of the three-channeled television.

Like the strange failure of waves from
the broadcasting networks to the
flimsy antennae of the tv,

your signals are never strong enough
to decipher. A little fuzzier as the
night goes on, until they are entirely

You switch off and lock yourself
away behind a bedroom door.

And one thought reruns in my head,
a consistent 5 o'clock syndication:

One day you will drop dead, and I won't know a
Goddamn thing about you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

lazy girl

it seems I have hit a bad case of writer's block
for now I am just home, hanging with my baby sister
drinking coffee with my mama
and reading a whole bunch:

"A Long Fatal Love Chase" -Louisa May Alcott
"Mexico City Blues, 242 Choruses"- Jack Kerouac
"You Come Too- collected children's poems"- Robert Frost
"Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction"- Wallace Stevens

the words will come back, they always do.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

"its all happening..."

Big accomplishments that deserve my kudos:

Sphere: this year's edition is absolutely excellent.
It is rumored that English Professor Mark Halliday asked for 30 copies of this year's edition so that he could nix Emil Dickinson from his syllabus and require his students to write a paper on a piece of their choice from Sphere no. 53
Look out legends, Sphere is creepin in. 

Trailerpark: Some of my very dearest friends were involved in the production of a feature length film based on the novel by Russell Banks, entitled Trailerpark. I went to the premier this evening and I am so impressed by the story adaptation and the quality of this student film. 
Check out the trailer for Trailerpark cut by my good friend Jon Machles at:

Artists Collective: This new-ish student group attempts to gather together Athens artists for collaboration. The group boasts writers, visual artists, film makers, actors and musicians. I was invited to read some of my work at their end of the year gala this past Wednesday. I am excited to be a part of their growing organization and look forward to collaborating with their president Ray Monge next year on some major Sphere promotional work. 

So much art to wrap up an amazing year.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sometimes on Sundays
uncle Tom would show up
smelling like alcohol
and giving away 20 dollar bills
to all the kids.

Mama would make him
dinner and a cup of coffee
before Daddy collected back
all the money and drove him
to the bus stop, saying
"go on back to your family, Tom."

And every night Daddy would 
light a cigar and watch the 
CBS news or Lawrence Welk 
in his rocking chair,
laughing a little.

And every morning he would read
the paper in his undershirt and 
suspenders and drive his dump 
truck down the street and
employ black men even 
when it was taboo --  

Throw bread crumbs off the 
porch, saying "The birds gotta 
eat too, Mama." and how do
men who wear their work boots 
every day shrivel up and die? 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


you have to have two
pieces, because I want two
pieces-- but not three. 

Monday, May 18, 2009


Cars line up 
and chase 
each other 
down the 
street, like
dogs, once 
the light 
changes. I
sit on a 
bench, knees
swelling, watching.
Wishing someone
was strong
enough to
carry me
for a while,
but, knowing
no one is, 
I stand

Thursday, May 7, 2009


In this room
everyone is captivated
by flannel clad guitarists

and their feet glow gold
under the single overhead light

and I am red-wine nostalgic
wishing I could wink at you
across the room; that your

brown eyes, white teeth, 
black, black hair would
suddenly appear on the 
floral couch.

We could shoot knowing
glances back and forth 
everyone else milling around
with their gold feet 
totally oblivious to 

love ricocheting off
the moulding, wooden 
and crowned. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


i keep strange things,
meaningless to others:

a small red wax leaf
made with pushing 
thumbs at granny's 
dining room table

an unsharpened 
Washington Bullets
pencil with a fat pink eraser

a Spanish Garnacha 
bottle, drained long
ago and now corked 
with a drippy red candle

pictures and postcards
and phrases I liked 
post-its covered in 
passwords and user IDs

doodles I've clipped from
boring-class notebooks 
and taped into others 

words and words
and words and a 

strange oppressive 
guilt for everything I've
never said to your face
and the growing pile 
of things I want to. 


How could I have known
that I was a tumultuous storm
spot on a hot red planet?

The biggest planet
with more rings and
bracelets than all the others.
I guess, somehow, I knew.

But what you mistake
for sheer swirling power
is a more complex tempest

a fiery combination of confusion
and guilt propelled by a refusal
to fail and alot of resiliency.

But mostly I think that hot
red spot you saw was
just an intense heart,
with plenty of room for you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Five O'clock (a revision of Bravery)

I wonder how you feel
around 5 O'clock
when you come home from work

if we take the joy out from you
and drag it across the kitchen floor

Send you retreating into the old
rocker, battered, to sit for the rest of the night
in front of the three-channeled television.

Like the strange failure of those waves from
the broadcasting networks to the
flimsy antennae of the tv,

I can never get a signal from you that is
strong enough to decipher.

And one thought reruns in my head,
a consistent 5 o'clock syndication:
One day you will drop dead, and I won't know a
Goddamn thing about you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Notes on recent life

My previous thesis plans have changed. Unfortunately Jill Rosser is unable to direct my thesis work next year and new plans must be made as my penultimate portfolio is due in a matter of weeks. However, good ideas seem to flow in times of stress and uncertainty. Thankfully. 
My thesis work will now be directed, roughly, towards my very favorite of subjects (and practices): Food. 
An amazing professor of plant biology here at OU has preliminarily agreed to direct my thesis work. A project with the working title of "Words on Food." 
I am interested in what American's eat, where it comes from, how it's grown, why its not sustainable, and what America can learn from other countries about eating and growing
It could involve touring farms, grocery stores, slaughter houses, traveling to sustainable alternative agriculture sights, maybe even growing my own garden! 
It's a big topic and a big project as of now, but it is very exciting. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


          It is March
          or another one of those depressingly damp months
          and I am home, which is rare.
I wince as my prematurely arthritic knees
make horrifying noises --
the clicks and pops and elastic-y
sounds that I imagine
you might hear if a beast
were tearing your shoulder out of its socket --
nothing out of the ordinary.

          My father watches
          from his post in front of the television --
one which has never had cable programming
and with the switch to digital broadcasting
will soon have nothing to offer at all.
But he has managed to find some scrambled
channel with an afternoon rerun of Little House
on the Prairie, or another equally depressing show.

          I say
          "This weather is bothering my arthritis"
and he responds, matter-of-factly
that if I kept my weight down
maybe I would take some of the stress off my joints.
Sound advice for a girl of twenty struggling with the
mortifying measurements of 5 foot 4 and 125 pounds.
Obesity to be sure.

          I crouch 
          down, wincing again
to complete the task of tying my running 
shoes. I begin to wonder where the limb-eating
beast is, and why he is taking so long to come
to this house. And before I take off 
down the street I say
"enjoy your show daddy." 


Last night I had the distinct pleasure of hearing David Sedaris read at Memorial Auditorium.
What a wonderfully funny man.
After the show I waited in line and got my ticket and two books signed.
If you don't know him yet, you should. No excuses.
Sedaris on NPR
Sedaris publicity page: including his recommended reading list

Sunday, April 5, 2009


A lovely girl (Miss Laura Rossi) just informed me about the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Which is, of course, in Boulder Colorado. Allen Ginsberg founded this school at Naropa in 1974 in collaboration with Anne Waldman. Naropa boasts a contemplative education and their campus is 100% wind powered. Even more incentive for me to head out west post graduation. 
Teach for America offers opportunities in Denver (assuming I am accepted).
I plan to attend the Jack Kerouac- 50 Years On The Road festival at Naropa in the summer so I can check out the campus!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deja Vu

I could never say out loud
what happened to my insides
when I heard that you had neatly
packed up the car with her neatly 
packed bags and drove through Mexican-town
in Detroit and past border control
with both of your birth certificates
across that blue steel bridge and out 
of the country. 
Knowing the conversion rates better
this time and holding her hand in 
the car when you drove and
assuredly stopping for gas, 
that you no doubt paid for.
Buying coffee and maybe even donuts 
and this time you had a map 
so you knew which exit to take
and that the city signs start miles 
before the actual city and
you parked in the same lot 
on Spadina right behind the same 
hostel and probably walked to
the basement cafe for Lavazza 
in the morning -- stopped at the
gas station for a pack of Peter
Jackson's with a bleeding brain
on the wrapper and I'm sure 
my brain looked something like
that when I heard --
A pulpy bloody mess. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Word Riot- At Long Last

The poems I submitted in November have finally been posted in the March issue of WordRiot's poetry section.  

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Postmodern Music- prose for a change

(this essay is my final for my Lit Theory Class, but knowing most of my readers, I though you would find it interesting. Enjoy- AMI)

Postmodernism: The Musical
“The concept of postmodernism is not widely accepted or even understood today” (201). Fredric Jameson opened his article Postmodernism and Consumer Society with this statement in 1983. In many ways this statement still rings true in 2009. Unfamiliarity with the elements and criteria of postmodernism fosters this misunderstanding and lack of acceptance. However, if one looks to the contemporary music industry, they would be able to identify several areas in which music has become postmodern by Jameson’s standards. Though music is an exceptionally broad topic, there are instances in which artists or performers exemplify certain areas of Jameson’s postmodern criteria. Modern music is almost entirely pastiche, according to Jameson’s definition. In several ways, modern musicians create, intentionally or unintentionally, music that adheres to Jameson’s postmodern ideals of rebellion, rejection, nostalgia, and pastiche.
Through its use of covers and sampling, the modern music industry has made the pastiche an intricate part of its structure. The ultimate form of the pastiche in modern music is the existence of the cover song. A cover is when one group takes the song of an older group and redoes it, with little or no changes to the lyrics or sound. The cover is an example of Jameson’s pastiche: “Pastiche is, like parody, the imitation of a peculiar or unique style, […] but it is a neutral practice of such mimicry, without parody’s ulterior motive, without the satirical impulse, without laughter” (204).
Pastiche can be further extended to the practice of sampling and the existence of the mashup. Sampling involves taking pieces of existing songs- melody lines, guitar riffs, or lyrics (etc.) and using them in entirely new songs. Similarly, the mashup takes existing songs and layers them over one another to create an entirely new song. The mashup sometimes utilizes the practice of sampling to make a new song that is, in effect, a patchwork quilt of other songs sewn together.
Girl Talk (stage name of Pittsburgh DJ Gregg Gillis) has become famous for creating entire albums of mashups. In the fourteen tracks of his most recent album “Feed The Animals,” there is not one single original piece of music created by Gillis himself. The songs are composed entirely of pieces of existing songs. The first track of the album alone, entitled “Play Your Part,” contains parts from 25 songs from varied artists from Roy Orbison to Jay-Z to Sinead O’Connor. Musically, Girl Talk accomplishes what Jameson details as the achievements of postmodern authors: “They no longer ‘quote’ such ‘texts’ as a Joyce might have done, or a Mahler; they incorporate them, to the point where the line between high art and commercial forms seems increasingly difficult to draw” (202). Postmodern music, like literature, assimilates and includes other forms. Girl Talk blurs the line between old and new music and fuses them into an entirely new piece of simultaneously original and completely borrowed music.
Many groups reflect the “nostalgic mode” that Jameson describes in his article. The best definition that he gives is that the nostalgic mode is a “retrospective styling” (206). There are thousands of artists working in revivals of old modes and there are some genres which have been resurrected in their entirety. The Motown sound is one that comes to mind. Raphael Saadiq takes the Motown style and completely recreates its sounds and themes in his music. In concert, Saadiq goes so far as to costume himself in the fashions of Motown greats like the Temptations: tight fitting and brightly colored suits with stovepipe pant legs and shiny patent leather boots. The choreography of his back-up dancers is nearly identical to that of groups like The Supremes. His music and performance fit the nostalgic modes that Jameson describes in film movements. In this way, Saadiq satisfies what Jameson calls our “desire to return to that older period and to live its strange old aesthetic artifacts through once again” (206).
Similarly, the psychedelic folk style pulls a sound from the past and alters or updates it slightly. Artists like Devendra Banhart and The OhSees take the original folk sounds- found in bands like The Carpenters and further back with artists like Woodie Guthrie and even further back to the roots of American folk music- and create new sounds within those older models. This form fits Jameson’s extended definition of nostalgia, the same way that Star Wars fits his definition of nostalgic film in the article. Though the psychedelic folk movement does not recreate folk music exactly as it originally stood, it recreates the feel of the folk movement: “[…] it does not reinvent a picture of the past in its lived totality; rather, by reinventing the feel and shape of characteristic art objects of an older period […], it seeks to reawaken a sense of the past associated with those objects” (206).
Much contemporary music can be considered postmodern in the ways that it usurps and perverts elements of traditional or existing music. Electronica emerges as an interesting figurehead for the usurping of traditional sound. Many electronic artists use drum pads and sound boards to electronically recreate true instrumental sounds. However, the use of electronic instruments has done more than mimic existing sounds; it has created entirely new sounds. Incorporation of purely electronic sounds started as early as the Beach Boys and their revolutionary use of the Theremin on the “Pet Sounds” album. This has continued throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries with instruments and tools like synthesizers, drum pads, sound boards, and loop stations. Distortion pedals take existing sounds and bend them into new, sometimes un-reproducible sounds. The spontaneity of live performances and the original one-time nature of genres like noise and scream music add to their postmodern lack of composition. These pieces are entirely original and frequently exist as isolated musical incidents.
In some cases the postmodern can be defined as that which blurs the lines between music and spoken word. It is that which makes you question your standing definition of music. What is normal music? Many would say: the original modes of melody and chords, based on a universal system of notes that function on a recognizable set of scales. Many artists reject these original modes, or refuse to use them as the only mode in which they can create sound.
Artists like Prefuse 73 (born when mainstream rap producer Scott Herren locked himself in a studio alone for two weeks) combine elements of spoken word and electronica to create new forms of music. Two tracks from his album “One Word Extinguisher” come to mind. “Southerners (Interlude)” combines generic voice tracks from an old grammar lesson on American dialects with modern rapping to create an entirely original mashup. In another track, entitled “Esta,” Herren chops and screws several of the messages left on his answering machine (presumably the people who could not get a hold of him while he was locked in the studio cutting the album). These two tracks are representative of an entire cross-section of music in which the spoken word plays an interesting part in blurring the existing definition of music. To further their qualifications as postmodern, these are words borrowed from other sources, taken and manipulated by Herren, not created by him.
The inclusion of cross-cultural sounds and themes becomes another important part of postmodern music. Artists like Beirut (a project of musician Zach Condon) usurp the sounds of other cultures. The album “The Flying Club Cup” is inspired greatly by French music, film and culture. While the latest album “March of the Zapotec,” is inspired greatly by the mariachi sounds of Mexican music, incorporating also the modes of electronica.
Further incorporations of the cross cultural can be found with bilingual and international artists. Yael Naïm, an Israeli singer-songwriter, sings in English (which is certainly not her native language). Similarly, Nelly Furtado included Portuguese songs on her October 2000, mainly-English album entitled “Whoa, Nelly!” In their ability to blend cultural languages and stylings, these artists transcend the traditional boundaries of nationalism and break into the postmodern. Compilation albums like “B Music Cross Continental Record Raid Road Trip” (compiled by electronic musician Andy Votel) juxtaposes tracks from all over the world. Dusty Groove America praises the album with the tagline: “18 Mind-Blowing Vintage Vinyl Discoveries from Around the Psychedelic Globe.” In this way, Votel compiles music that is not his own, combines different cultural influences, and resurrects the old mode of the psychedelic to create something entirely postmodern.
Though Jameson does not really address music in his article, choosing instead to focus on the subjects of literature, film, and architecture, his principals and observations apply seamlessly to modern music. In so many ways, modern musical artists make use of the nostalgic and the pastiche. Through the blurring of spoken word and song, the mimicry of traditional sounds, the recreation of old performances, and the invention of entirely new electronic sounds, many musicians can be classified as postmodern. Whether Raphael Saadiq recreates the Motown phenomenon in its sounds, colors, and movements, or Girl Talk makes a Frankenstein’s-monster-style song using only pieces of other old songs, they fit the postmodern criteria that Fredric Jameson outlines in his 1983 article Postmodernism and Consumer Society. In many ways they leave us wondering, what else can be done? And what will the next revolution in sound possibly be like?

Monday, February 23, 2009

In this photo

I am too young
and too tired
to notice
the lace curtains hanging
on the windows behind us.
The ones we would wash every year
and hang on the line, leaving
the tub full of dingy water.

I am too young
and too hungry
to notice
the cross of St. Brigid on the door
where it still hangs
and the rocking chair in the corner
where it still sits.

I am too young
and too happy
to know
that one day I would nurse you
administer breathing treatments
and feeding tubes
spend hot summer nights at your bedside.

I want to wake
the infant in
this photo
and tell her to remember
the man holding her,
just as he is there,
in flannel and suspenders
thick glasses and white hair.

Monday, February 16, 2009

AWP Chicago 2009

I have just returned from a long weekend in my favorite city.
AWP conference went really well, there were some amazing authors there and I attended some interesting panels. 
One was on the Poetry Everywhere program that attempts to unite poetry and film.
Some of the animations are done really well, most of them I actually disliked. 
However, it is wonderful to hear authors read their poems aloud.
Check it out ---> Poetry Everywhere: PBS

The highlight of the conference was the reading in honor of Gwendolyn Brooks on Friday evening. Major Jackson and Lucille Clifton spoke about Brooks as a poet and a woman and read some of her poems aloud. Really inspiring. 
It was also great to be in my favorite city and meet up with old friends. Wonderful to see Konrad and Michelle and Luke.

Missing the Windy City already. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Inaugural Poem

The last time
I believed
like this
I was a small girl
celebrating African American History Month
in a February classroom.
When the two or three black
students at the miniature Catholic
school were
singled out.

We were an inaccurate scale
model of the real world.
A microcosm of
privileged kids
and strictly
monitored hem lengths.

I understood
that dream
from the famous speech
by a black man.
And it was mine
as well.
And the last time I believed
like this
I was a small girl.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Better words than mine

"I learned how to live, how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch.  And I will never, never again run away from life, or from love, either."  (Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina, 1954)

Monday, January 12, 2009


I remember stopping, tipsy,
scraping together our last Canadian currency
at the hot dog vendor
when we both ate meat
and it was easy not to think about origins or consequences.

Buying socks in Little Italy,
to fix the hot blister on my heel
from the vintage Frye boots I wore
when we walked across that metropolis.

I remember spending $120 on whiskey at the show
and buying beers for the minors behind us
in exchange for whistling lessons.

I remember wanting you so badly
there, in the dark
and you snoring loudly
when my desire failed to disturb you.

And how small my universe was then
at the intersection of King and Spadina
in that flash-frozen city.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Long drive on the Michigan plains
Tea and music and a new hand in mine
Passing the car cemetery --
hundreds of rusty skeletons
visible among the barren
January trees
dusted with snow. 

I drank Darjeeling
so you could have your choice.
You picked 
the moon
the stars 
the sun.
brewed and poured out
Held to our lips
Greedy somehow. 

Winslow Homer

It is so sad and grey,
the way you can't tell 
the sea from the sky
on a Prout's Neck evening.
And one moment the white you see is
a soft cloud and the next
it's an explosive wave.
And its so hard looking at art with you.
And we just can't agree
on the meaning of a painting
because you try to crack the code
and I know that the whole point
is the sharp first moment that you
feel the twinge --
That dagger to the spleen
sting in the tearducts.
The kind of feeling that 
makes you run to the docent
and ask for a pen. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

back in action

after a long winter hiatus (a very productive hiatus, i might add)
i am back to Business.

Exciting news:
*new poetry workshop twice a week which should help me generate lots of material for Business and for my looming thesis project
* AWP creative writer's conference in Chicago Feb 11-14, the head of the creative writing department invited me and offered me a free registration
* exciting visiting authors for the winter: Margot Singer and Olena Kalytiak Davis
The graduate students are always invited to send their work to visiting authors ahead of time and then have a conference with the writer once they are on campus. This time Kevin (my boss in literary events) has offered me the opportunity to send some of my work. So I will have a conference with Olena Kalytiak Davis when she visits in February.

Enough prose.