The bells are ringing…

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.I love Gene Kelly. I have absolutely everything he’s ever done on VHS, even the really obscure stuff, some where he doesn’t dance, is only the host/narrator, like the video of a production of “Swan Lake”. Did you know he was in an animated musical version of “Jack and the Beanstalk”? Not great, but if it’s got Gene Kelly in it, it can’t be all bad. I miss movie musicals. “Happy Feet” made me very happy.

This has nothing to do with anything — the poem below reminded me of this song (“For Me & My Gal”), so it’s been in my head ever since.

Musicals make me happy. And, in a graceless segue that is perfectly indicative of my 3 years of tap dance lessons in my 20’s, writing makes me happy — and I’ve actually been able to write this week — I’m 18 lines in to a new poem!

I’ve never been especially prolific, so when I do write, usually I’ve been mulling lines and images in my head for some time, so my rough drafts are not all that rough and don’t require heavy revision. So far that seems to be the case with the new one. Which is ideal. I have plenty of time to think, even if sleep-deprivation makes my thinking muddy, but not so much time to write.

So, even though it’s cold & snizzly out, it’s a good day.

Having an infant in the house means we’re running on Baby Standard Time. Sure, patterns, perhaps semblances of a schedule, emerge, but it’s all provisional, subject to change at any moment. That’s why only now am I posting a Valentine’s poem. That’s my excuse, anyway. From Stefanie Marlis’ collection, rife (Sarabande, 1998):


What if we saw our hearts as if for the first time–
one sitting like a Buddha,
another, shuffling like a man without a home.
Compassion means the heart’s desire, bright or bitter, counts twice–
like a king in checkers. Like a lover’s words
when he touches certain scars;
all these years later the wound’s doubly fierce, doubly
healed, and the morning is a rosy glove
pulled onto your whole body.
You hear the bells from the seminary,
and for as long as they ring, your heart is without a wish.

–Stefanie Marlis


Stefanie Marlis.

I adore Stefanie Marlis‘ poems! I’m so happy I chose her book, rife, as my free book from Sarabande. She writes poems I wish I’d written, understated, lyrical, devastating. I suppose if you’ve read this blog with any consistency you’ll know that these are qualities I particularly admire in poems. In any case, I’ve ordered 2 later books, published by Apogee Press, cloudlife and fine, can’t wait for more.

From rife:


Who hasn’t mistaken the tip of a black shoe
for a mouse? A tissue for a rain-soaked rose — a rose
for a toad? And who hasn’t gestured to a stranger
as if to an old friend?
How easy, then, for the world itself to be mistaken.
To grow a tumor instead of a walnut. To take the flesh
of a good man for sugar, for sand, and blow it away.
A small boy stands in the yard on the most beautiful day
of the year, throwing sand up in the air, yelling
I want something to rain down, and his mother saying,
to the son of the good man, We’ll turn on the hose.

Mail, Glorious Mail!

Funny how a crisis robs you of time.  Now it’s Saturday, and I’ve not written another poem, and I am far far behind.  My personal goal is 15 poems for the month, so I have time.  I shan’t give up!

I have to leave for work shortly, but O the Glory of the Mail!  There is nothing that quite rivals the feeling of a bursting mailbox, a mailbox sans bills, a Mailbox of Poetry!  This week has been kind to my mailbox, in particular today.  It has to be a personal record, the amount of great stuff I’ve received:

  1. The Feb. 2008 issue of FOURSQUARE,
  2. bird-book, by Jessica Smith,
  3. May 2008 issue of Poetry,
  4. Free copy of The Sphere of Birds, by Ciaran Berry (from my wonderful sales rep),
  5. Rife, by Stefanie Marlis, my free book from Sarabande,
  6. and lastly, my contributor’s copy of the spring 2008 issue of Iodine Poetry Journal.

All Hail to the Household Gods of Mail!