Monday, January 31, 2011

BorderSenses is taking submissions

BorderSenses Literary Magazine seeks to provide a venue for emerging and established writers/ artists of the US Southwest, Mexico, and all of the Americas to share their words and images.

BorderSenses is accepting submissions for its17th issue, which will be published in June 2011.

Submission Guidelines

Deadline: March 15, 2011.

 We are interested in poetry, fiction and nonfiction, in both Spanish and English.
Translations are accepted provided rights and permissions have been granted by the original author.
We are also looking for art.

 We consider only previously unpublished work.

 Contributors selected for publication will receive a complimentary copy.

Please follow these guidelines when submitting material:

• BorderSenses only accepts web-based submissions.

• 1) Go to 2) Login, if you have already registered, or register, if this is your first time submitting to BorderSenses. 3) Provide the required information. 4) Submit your work.

• We accept a maximum of two pieces per person.

 Prose should be no longer than 2500 words.
 Poetry should be no longer than 65 lines.

 Art must be submitted as a .jpg or .gif file:
- File size should not exceed 500k
- Resolution should be around 150 dpi and 4 inches by 5 inches in size.
- Artwork can have the artist's signature inside the work.

For more information go to:

For questions please email us at:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

green day - american idiot HD

Feeling good! Revised much of the manuscript this morning! After the bruising of my ego, I'm finding commentary by reviewers VERY helpful. I think I should be able to send it back to a press soon! Wow, it's a matter of just getting started. I love it! I love revising! Who would have thought!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


"Discontented with everyone and discontented with myself, I would gladly redeem myself and elate myself a little in the silence and solitude of night. Souls of those I have loved, souls of those I have sung, strengthen me, rid me of lies and the corrupting vapors of the world: and you, O Lord God, grant me the grace to produce a few good verses, which shall prove to myself that I am not the lowest of all men, that I am not inferior to those whom I despise."-- Baudelaire--"At one o' clock in the Morning"

Jack Johnson - Buddha

I'm almost moved into my new place, but it will be a while before I am moved all the way in and settled. I'd say sometime in February I'll be fully moved. It's been nice to take my time moving for a change. I've moved 6 times in the last three years.

It's a beautiful day here in Colorado, nice and cool but sunny.

I journal daily and have been drawing a lot. I checked out the following books from the library today: DANCING IN ODESSA by Ilya Kaminsky and THE DEMON AND THE ANGEL by Edward Hirsch.

"Art is born from struggle and touches an anonymous center. Art is inexplicable and has a dream-power that radiates from the night mind. It unleashes something ancient, dark, and mysterious into the world. It conducts a fresh light."-- Hirsch

Very excited about the Ilya Kaminsky book too.

Early on Hirsch gets into Lorca's duende and Emerson's view that art is the path of the creator to his work, and a most lovely passage I can't find anymore about finding that above and within are one and the same. How unbelievably lovely he put a very old thought.

"The duende (or the demon) and the angel are vital spirits of creative imagination. They are anamalous figures. They come only when something enormous is at risk, when the self is imperiled and pushes against its limits, when death is possible. They embody an irrational splendor."-- Hirsch

I think for some time I've had a lot at risk and now, only now are things settling down to a point where I can write. Tonight I will revise according to a second reviewer's suggestions. It's amazing how much moving can cut into things. In any case, I also checked out a number of books on figure drawing and the drawing of heads and one book on perspective. We'll see if they help. My drawings just are a bit stiff and this is bothersome, but I am a beginner. I'd love to paint but I just can't afford that. I can on the other hand afford sketch pads and pencils. I'd like to expand to charcoal and conte crayon too, but it will be a while. Maybe not.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jack Johnson - Breakdown

I am at the Jefferson County Public Library. It's also called the Columbine library, near the Columbine memorial. So much violence in our society, so much of it under the table and quietly ruining lives.

I received a book of poetry by Patti Smith for Christmas titled
Auguries of Innocence. I hope to start reading it this evening, but I of course first had to blog ;) I will write about it later.

I'm not going to have much money soon and it's likely I will whine about that, but just remind me that I am not having to slave away as an adjunct anymore. Whew. What a relief. I am free. No more bondage to institutions of higher ed, which are, frankly abusive to adjunct faculty for the most part in terms of no health care, no job security and so forth.

I don't recommend earning a doctorate in literature, especially contemporary literature. Similarly, I recommend not earning an M.F.A. which is largely a waste of money and time. My experience is living proof that an education in creative writing poetry is largely questionable. This is not to say that life's over; it's just that doors have closed re: teaching and I think that I owe it to the world to send out a little red flag re: creative writing programs and their numerous ads. More on that later.

I recommend fellowships and week long seminars in writing such as the Napa Valley Writer's Conference, Squaw Valley, Breadloaf [I hear it's good even though I can't get in!] Join a local writer's group, take a class at the local community college or a summer writing program like the one at Naropa, but I think it's a good idea if you are poor and honest for the most part to avoid M.F.A. programs. Okay, maybe not, but to enter a program without any real career agenda since they are purely about writing. Write a lot and read more. I think I learned most of what I know about poetry from reading a lot of poetry, sort of by osmosis if you will. Poetry profs are often fart heads who lack compassion for others. Granted if you find one that cares, you are very, very lucky.

I will revise the 7Seven manuscript after I finish moving, which is proving to be quite trying--the moving not the revising. I have no idea how I ended up with so much crap! I've been tossing stuff and hope to toss a lot more tomorrow. Then I can probably go through stuff and get rid of even more stuff. Tons of journals, notebooks, paper, pens etc. You can tell that I'm a person who finds writing important. I also found several sketch pads which are somewhat amusing, but what they all show is that I have indeed been striving for self-improvement, growth and creativity.

Today, I learned I've been too hard on myself. I need to try to be more compassionate towards myself. I could go into past trauma and stuff, but the point is that I am too hard on myself, and I'm going to try to be good to myself in this space. No more self-deprecation here!!!!! Yes. And for those who think trauma or hurt is silly; to each his own. Maybe some day I will write about it all; maybe that would help me clear the air, get healed and move on. So in any case, try to be good to yourself.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Marvin Gaye "What's Going On / What's Happening Brother"

Listening to Marvin Gaye and cleaning up the room. Life is good.

I realize I've been wanting to be friends and allies with people who aren't my "friend" or my "ally". Recognizing that I deserve better. Recognizing that it's their loss not mine! Recognizing that I can write and be happy with new allies and new "friends"-- people who really truly are my friend and vise versa. People who forgive my past, my illness and are there for me today. I will be there for them too.

Feeling freed up as I revised 5 poems from the 7Seven manuscript. I feel like now I'm on the way towards sending it out soon. I have notes from three reviewers that recommend publication, but I need to make revisions, so I'm not sure where it will end up at press wise, but I feel like I'm getting back into the groove, listening to Marvin Gaye and lightening up overall. I'm leaning towards the reviewers as now I see their critical comments were on the money, but I am considering sending it out to a few contests, but I know that's like throwing a needle into a haystack...

So, what's going on?

I'm feeling more free and better than I have in years. I love writing! Still looking at Sherwin Bitsui's FLOOD SONG and learning a few helpful things. Still reading Julia Cameron's FINDING WATER: THE ART OF PRESERVERANCE. Still feeling like I'm growing and learning.

Will be moving into an apartment soon. I got the go ahead recently and will get keys as soon as I do some paperwork on Monday I believe. Yay! I have a great roomate full of wisdom and heart. Lalalalalalalalalala lala!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let's see if I can post on the right blog this time;)

I am at a coffee shop getting ready to revise my 7Seven manuscript. I have got to buckle down and do this, even one line. Geez.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mozart's Requiem (Part 1)

I've been stuck in 2008. I need to be able to forgive myself to move on.

I'm reading Sherwin Bitsui's FLOOD SONG and learning.

I have a ways to go, but Bitsui's language has been a joy to read.This book is strange and fluid, filled with oddly tantalizing juxtapositions. Mostly I am taking in the strong verbs which wrap themselves in layers. I made a list of some of them: splintered, wails, paint, twists, scalpel ed, carved, lick, shiver, clasp and fasten, slices, sniffed, coiling, uncoil, strung, fruit (as a verb), and so forth. After a while I want some symmetry or narrative, but I keep coming back to the poems and it is quite fulfilling. The organic mingles with the mechanical, and nature evolves and dissolves and raptures in new and unexpected ways. I like these poems.

Here's a very brief excerpt:

"Dove's eyes black as nightfall
Shiver on the foam coast of an arctic dream
where whale ribs clasp and fasten you to the language of shifting ice."


The whales remind me of a blowhole in one of Emmy Perez's poems, poems which I should have spent more time than I did with. I have a whale poem in my next collection, tentatively titled 7 Seven. The number of perfection biblical my aunt tells me. Seven sins, Seven charities. But it is about the losses and recoveries we breathe.

I was at a loss in 2008. I snapped. I frightened friends and good people. I was an angry sack, a mouth of bones, a reckless driver towards the dark, but today I had a bit of a breakthrough after what seems to truly be 3 years. I am stuck. I have been restless. And I seek renewal through language again in some strange way. It's a new path, the next step is a step out of the old and into the new light.

My aunt showed me a sketch of a hand, outstretched emerging from shadow to light. So simple, so elegant, And yes her religion has her seeing the light as God, but for me it is that Yin Yang that S spoke about so freely. Her laughter was lavender and sunlight and her language lanyap. I miss her terribly still.

I'm thinking today that there's nothing wrong with all the cicadas I have pulled out of poems for fear that the word was too unpopular.

In any case, breakthroughs are a relief yet painful and I recognize that I'm not quite fitting in online. The episode in 2008 was bad and I have to forgive myself for this, and let go of lost relationships, broken friendships, lost jobs and falling.

I have to write again.


Today I drew a nose and an eye and geometrical figures shaded and winding lines, coiling and uncoiling---very still pencil lines, and some shading around the nose. So, with encouragement I think I will draw some more. But the fact is admire Bitsui's book and encourage you to read it if you haven't done so already. Similarly, Emmy Perez's SOLSTICE is a gift I missed in some ways, a gift of language play and stars in bellies. The blowhole disturbed me, knocked me out of some comfortable expectation of softness, peace. It is still with me.

In any case, I must forgive myself and get out of 2008 since it's 2011.

Maybe you can help. I long to speak with people about poetry again. Send me an email. I have time to read and respond more carefully than I once did. I can send you my cell phone number and we can chat. I've already hit someone up with the idea of talking. So maybe my online time is coming to an end? I don't know. We'll have to see. Fact of the matter is that ignorance prevails and stygma stings. I understood today that I do have an illness which apparently gets worse with age. I ask my community, that loves to call itself a community for help in getting me healthy. I'd like to thank Carmen Seda for hanging in there the last 3 years when I've clearly not been well and CG. Blessings to those that give. Please also consider reading AN UNQUIET MIND.Peace

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

anna nalick - wreck of the day (acoustic)

Can't sleep. It's 3: 47 a.m.. Thinking about how I have only revised one poem since I haven't been working, and how I need to be more disciplined. I have worries that I can't write anymore. I also seem to wake up at 4 a.m. a lot.

Well, I have no excuses anymore. I mean for the writing. I wanted to apply for Dobie Paisano, but I can't spend the $30.00, likewise for the $50.00 Macondo fee. We'll see. I doubt I will be able to apply but you never know I may gamble, but it's a big gamble, no? I need to use the money to join a gym or rec center. I'm like Oprah, only worse.

Well, I might as well try to revise a poem while I'm awake.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Jack Johnson - All At Once

"It is all too easy to think of art as something we aspire to, an ideal by which to measure our efforts and find them falling woefully short. Well, that is one way to think of art, and God knows we have bludgeoned ourselves with it pretty thoroughly. Our concepts of "great art" and "great artists" are often less something we aspire to than something we use to denigrate our own effort. We might want to try thinking about art a little differently. 'Art' is less about what we could be and more about what we are than we normally acknowledge. When we are fixated on getting better, we miss what it is we already are-- and this is dangerous because we-- as we are-- are the origin of our art. 'We' are what makes our art original. If we are always striving to be something more and something different, we dilute the power of what it is we actually are. Doing that, we dilute our art."-- Julia Cameron from THE ARTIST'S WAY EVERY DAY: A YEAR OF CREATIVE LIVING.

I'm at Starbucks because I couldn't focus at the house with the t.v. running 24-7. I am going to stop saying "should". It's not very easy. I am going to start moving my things out slowly to the apartment. I got the news today. I'm looking forward to it, but I will miss where I've been as I've received a lot of gifts, helpfulness and kindness, but it's time to move on. I'm ready.

I want to start walking and may walk around the lake today. I'm staying in Denver and will be moving to Lakewood. I will miss Starbucks and the coffee shop in old Town Arvada, but I can go to the library with a thermos of coffee and get just as much out of it, probably more.

I blather, but seriously will try to write some today. I think the quote above is very helpful in our product oriented society. It so often comes down to people asking each other what it is they "do". I will be able to answer, "I write poems," now. I may volunteer, but I'm moving on to a new phase of my life, and it feels pretty good today, but I still have a little cash today. I think time will be good for me and less stress will also be good.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Anna Nalick - Breathe (2AM)

Time to begin revising the manuscript. No excuses!

C says there's no such thing as justice. I suspect she's right? Maybe there's karma, but sometimes I agree with Faulkner--"A man is the sum of his misfortunes."

Today I have two letters to write. Yes, I still write letters.

All is well. Listening to Anna Nalick's WRECK OF THE DAY which I got for Christmas.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Jack Johnson - You And Your Heart

This is my first day not working. I took my mother to the airport this morning and am now getting some final bills I need to take care of. So, soon I'll be dead broke and unemployed. It feels okay. I will try to write a bit this week and hope to god that something happens. The blank page has stared at me hard for some time. I will try to get busy once I move into an apartment; the moving part will be a pain in the butt, and that too is only yet another temporary move. Not sure where I'll end up but am starting to accept that I have a disability now. It's a long story, but I have to get back on track to getting well so I can work and do something of substance to help other people live.

Years ago I wrote on this blog about people having too narrow a sense of aesthetics and how the marginalization and favoritism of particular sensibilities is unfair. Now it's the new thing despite folks having lambasted Billy Collins etc.

In a recent essay, I lambaste mediocrity in the name of diversity and/or mere politics masquerading as art. There's a difference in my mind and there is a sense of flat mediocre language, dull images and so forth that deaden art and turn it into mere political platform. This is not to say art can't be political, but yes, it should be "good". There's a lot of things that make a poem good to my mind. But contemporary American poetry is a farce in a lot of ways. There's not much to be done about it but grow and read and write. I think there's more involved in that solitary act than I had previously thought. Yes, we want community, but artists are artists, not politicians nor activists. They can be both but they are not mutually exclusive and the expectation that one be a politician following a particular narrow brand of belief expectations is simply lame. Be free. Believe what you believe.