National Poetry Month and Working Titles

I have been writing through National Poetry Month and editing some fragments that have been crouching behind shinier, more complete poems for a long time. So, I got a one-off print of over 700 pages of my writing because

I need to line edit / I can't 
stare at the computer screen any
more / my printer just couldn't 
handle it. The bulk of this work 

is new manuscripts written during the pandemic. It is a very shiny and heavy chaos-volume.

NaPoWriMo

This is an accountability post for the bad poems I’ve written for National Poetry Writing Month, so far. They’ve been terrible, and mean. But I saw meaner words exchanged today, and had better writing rejected in large swathes while I slept, so… fuck it? I guess?

how long did specialists not-know
oil crawled under our canal
to flood the maws of baby birds—garden hoses grass roots tree
roots granite arteries track as vapor—we gasp—a new
notice: ‘drilling monitoring wells’ under our vehicles

Schrodinger’s Poet Does Whitman

One of my writing brothers asks me to look at his manuscript.
One of my writing brothers ghosts me for seven months and I stop calling.
One of my writing brothers sits across from me in a coffeeshop while I dismantle myself audibly.
One of my writing brothers climbs out of the woodworks.
One of my writing brothers reads me an explicit poem about his ex-girlfriend.
One of my writing brothers calls me in the night and tells me he almost drowned.
One of my writing brothers takes me under his wing.
One of my writing brothers shows me the ropes.
One of my writing brothers has ropes.

*

One of my writing brothers asks me to look at his manuscript.
One of my writing brothers has a wife who is too vanilla.
One of my writing brothers tells me that I should not make science personal.
One of my writing brothers tells me that persona poems are too vanilla.
One of my writing brothers turns in a poem by a woman I know in a workshop I was waitlisted for.
One of my writing brothers gets defensive when I say Wordsworth stole all his work from Dotty.
One of my writing brothers has notes.
One of my writing brothers is drunk enough to make a pass at a married woman.
One of my writing brothers makes a pass at me.
One of my writing brothers passes on me, though I never asked.
One of my writing brothers passes.

*

One of my writing brothers asks me to look at his manuscript.
One of my writing brothers confides that he maybe saw someone die at a party once.
One of my writing brothers ghosts me for seven months and I am beside myself when he reappears.
One of my writing brothers screams sea chanteys at the roof of a beer house.
One of my writing brothers steals the alignment from one of my poems without understanding it.
One of my writing brothers fights a tree in the street.
One of my writing brothers stares up at the moon, intoxicated.

*

One of my writing brothers asks me to look at his manuscript.
One of my writing brothers asks if I have read Hemingway.
One of my writing brothers asks if I have read Bukowski.
One of my writing brothers tells me he is in love with a sun.
One of my writing brothers tells me he is in love with the woman who tags along to the party.
One of my writing brothers clarifies that he is not actually in love.
One of my writing brothers is not actually.

*

One of my writing brothers asks me to look at his manuscript.
One of my writing brothers writes a book about me.
One of my writing brothers says I should move the first stanza to the last stanza.
One of my writing brothers harasses half the women on twitter.
One of my writing brothers shares a video of the ocean.
One of my writing brothers shares the ocean.
One of my writing brothers grows visibly excited as he talks about suicidal women.
One of my writing brothers researches the seasons by stalking them over several years.
One of my writing brothers cannot stop staring into the waves, and dives to his neck.

*

One of my writing brothers grows visibly excited as he talks about suicidal women.
One of my writing brothers ghosts me for seven months, then sends a text message to ask where to buy my book.
One of my writing brothers is both the panorama, and the virus.
One of my writing brothers poisons me.
One of my writing brothers is me poisoned.
One of my writing brothers is both me and not me.
One of my writing, brothers.

*

One of my writing brothers asks me
to look
at his manuscript
and I feel like a joke.
One of my writing brothers walks

through the underworld in one of his poems.
One of my writing brothers is in a radiated box.
One of my writing brothers holds a mutual vial.

It is only a matter of time.
Inanna hisses
get out of my damn underworld.

One of my writing brothers walks around

down here.
It is a mutual layer
one of my writing brothers assures.

We run with open arms.
We never have to look down.

One of my writing brothers is the most astounding writer.

What good could I do? Illuminate
with some misread sense of order?
Some false sense of self?

There are no animals here. No wings.
No fruit.

One of my writing brothers says it is getting hotter every day.
I correct one of my writing brothers when he tells me, hell is other people.

I don’t know what this was, but I sure as hell know what it was not

Following the site measurements
after being functionally unemployed
for over a year, in isolation, I use
half of my first paycheck on a dress
that I courted for months—the rest
lowers credit cards—following
the site measurements, I find
that I am a 5X.

I browse news articles (sir algorithm
knows me. He KNOWS me.)
Knows I want to get out.
Airlines are offering new snacks
to stay afloat, tips on
how to dress for your new
isolation form, fair

corndogs from home, drive-thru fair
outside of the home, this summer
these ten tricks, fair date, which
pubs have opened their doors
for the diet that makes you
-r swimsuit fall off is the
reduction of your dreams, less
body, hair, skin, eyes, even
less body than
that, models

of exercises you can jump
rope yourself to less, a home sells
for a million over asking and I am
tens of thousands in the hole, easter
celebration, pop-out, how positive
my mother texts, I am today, when

I tell her I might re-pot a lemon
cypress, knowing what a cypress
stands for, not cupcakes, pastel
in the home, pastel on the walls, pastel
in the mouth, in the dress that falls
off the body during international travel

some isolation forms are buying homes
in international places, wearing
clothes that fall off the body
in international places, outdoors

some dine in soft light, move
solid in campers, camp near a fire
light, spin tales near their articulated
wish for more pastel, less self
to tell around

bon
-fires, clamping hard, a little camp
in your makeup routine, new
hikes, the new hiking boots that will
fall off your calves
as if you didn’t ever even have calves

or hype bourbon until it’s your new
man, April
tastes like less self, to drink
every calorie, to even
taste thinner—
when he finally gets there.

Miss Havisham Moonlights on the Next Episode of Marriage or Mortgage?

The water is out again
and I am

on my knees I beg you—
you snap back—

I snap, too. I have started
snapping faster. I have entered

the conversation of where
will we be

at any given moment. I am almost
thirty-eight and all of my hair

is self-hacked.
I am so fat now, patches
of stark colorless fur over
-take my skull and my gentle
wedding hat is sitting in a box
in a garage

somewhere, the delicate wedding
dress adorned with strange snakes
and giraffes

is filling with mold—wadded
into a ball—it’s too late
to invite anyone I would have.
At the very least

we could still
get the hell out of here before
we’re both dead.

WRITE SOMETHING

how lonely it would seem
when the way turned the light

out. looks
sing day. flowers
were a pain

to get delivered—that weird concession
from place—several tiny flying bugs

are taking over. or maybe
a lemon cypress. a bunny made
out of burlap

twigs. how
I was writing some.
and now tired of trying to fit. this

where

I am sequestered. this is where
art.

making life or beauty. or this wasn’t anything.

Cupcake Returns Me to the Cosmos

During the pandemic I have gained
mass. Extreme mass. I have lost
density in my bones and replaced
muscle tissue with adipose. I am
rolling into the densest object in
your far-cast skies. The far-off
dream of heat-death. I am forging
my body into a malleable magnet
that will pull my light from my
corporeal heft, I hope. I hope to
evaporate into a pulse of dust
every day. To fine-tune myself into
blink and lust. When I go, I will
go so fast that everything will be
illuminated for a fracture of a second
the only remainder, a depression.

GREEN (A Found Poem)

ALL
We are monitoring, well, to the end.

Starting, WELL, DRILLING.
Begin, begin.
DRILLING WILL CONTINUE.
DAY. DAY.
These wells will monitor the ground water and the gas line
that runs along the canal.
Section. Rive. Be slow.
time stopped.
BE MOST AFFECTED.

AND ALL THE FREE AT THE TURN OF BUILDING
WILL BE SIGNIFICANT NOISE.

Everything on the page is bad, everything hand-written is bad. Everything sitting up in my head is bad.

I told him the other day that it feels like there’s holes up in my head. Like everything is wildly trying to connect around these sudden holes. And it’s all whirring so fast because the connections can’t figure out what’s missing. They don’t know there’s holes up there, only that there used to be pathways, and those pathways dropped out.

I ama morning bird.

Rrrrrawk.

Interviews, Reviews & Readings

Noreen Ocampo wrote this review of my Animal Crossing poem (appeared on The Daily Drunk.) It provides a lot of insight into the heart of the game.

The Gull and the Bell Tower has been named Black Bough Poetry’s Book of the Month for January 2021. Read Matthew M.C. Smith’s generous review here.

Peep this out-of-this-world review of The Gull and the Bell Tower by Damien Donnelly of the gorgeous Eat the Storms book and podcast.

Scott Thomas Outlar’s Songs of Selah podcast on January 11, 2021. The reading included the brilliant women behind Femme Salvé Books, and their forthcoming projects, which are sizzling creations. You can listen to the podcast segment here.

Learn more about my cat AND my book in this interview with the kind folks at the Operation Awesome Blog. Includes a writing exercise, and several book recommendations.

Christopher Margolin reviewed The Gull and the Bell Tower on The Poetry Question.

The 2020 pandemic issue of Fevers of the Mind, with David O’Nan includes a feature and interview about The Gull and the Bell Tower

Book of the Month!

The Gull and the Bell Tower has been named Black Bough Poetry’s Book of the Month for January 2021. Read Matthew M.C. Smith’s generous review here. Spoiler, he compares one of my poems to H.D. (I about fell over!)

If you still haven’t picked up a copy of The Gull and the Bell Tower, you can do so on the Femme Salvé Books website, here.

I gave some exciting background on the book, and read a few poems on Scott Thomas Outlar’s Songs of Selah podcast on January 11, 2021. The reading included the brilliant women behind Femme Salvé Books, and their forthcoming projects, which are sizzling creations. You can listen to the podcast segment here.

Additionally, I answered questions about the book and my writing influences in a feature in the amazing 2020 pandemic issue of Fevers of the Mind, with David O’Nan. I have a bundle of new poems in the issue that are all unedited construction pieces intended to convey the panic of pandemic life. Read / preview this packed issue below.

The Book! Interviews, Reviews, & Features

Here are some updates and tidbits regarding forthcoming interviews, podcast appearances, readings, and general love for the writing community.

Check out this brilliant trailer Femme Salvé Books created for my book, The Gull and the Bell Tower, which Christopher Margolin reviewed on The Poetry Question.

Order my book here!

If you would like to hear me read a few of these poems on Episode 13 of Damien Donnelly’s Eat the Storms Podcast, you can catch it via Spotify, here. Other poets in the segment include Donnelly, Merril D. Smith, Serge Neptune and Annick Yerem.

I also recently did another Poetry Question list of five must-read books, this time highlighting working poets with small presses. Give these wonderful words some love, if you can! Check out my recommendations.

What’s coming up?

I have several interviews, reviews, and features scheduled, which I will share as they appear, including one with Rob McLennan, an interview with Operation Awesome, @OpAwesome6, a feature with the wonderful David L O’Nan of Fevers of the Mind, and several new pieces of poetry. I may have some recordings on the way, as well.