Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back in Denver. Tonight I will watch "Big Bang Theory" then walk and hopefully write afterwards. My days are once again moving slowly, so I will work on the editing comments I am waiting to receive in the mail this time. Lots of good stuff happening.

I am a bit nervous as my Social Security Hearing is coming up on June 20th. This time I have the date right. Very worried as a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert will be there from the big government. In any case, all I can do is hope for the best. My attorney will appeal if I'm denied. Let go of the worry I say. Peace at last has found me.

I am going to try to play around with words tonight, no agenda beyond letting the subconscious out to play. I love to play. After this I will work on revising, which is a form of play in itself.

Denver, Colorado is beautiful. I am thankful to live here! The fox is running the street at night, the squirrels are out too, the wood pecker and robins are catching worms in the freshly cut grass. I confess, I am enamored by the natural world. I like a good story still too.

I've been reading AMERICAN HYBRID and thinking heavily about form, substance, abstraction and fragmentation. My work, according to a mentor is full of fragments. Sometimes I grow weary of this division in American Poetry, which this anthology says doesn't exist, but it does when you send work out to a press and they, one reader, complains that they are tired of Chicano/a lit doing the same old thing, working the same narratives etc It grows tiring. This person at that particular press clearly didn't read my manuscript very carefully. I suspect a self-appointed avant-garde calling everybody not in their circle "mainstream." This is not to say I don't admire some of the work immensely, but it is indeed a  matter of "labeling." And labels are dangerous; they cause divisions. The create disharmony. They make people feel insulted. And nobody can make me feel insulted unless I let them. So I advocate for the work I am doing. I feel it is worthy. I am worthy. I must if only here, in the margins, speak.

In the end, I find this "New" American poetry a bit pompous at times, its advocates assume too much about "others" as well. They feel often ostracized and separated, but they too have chosen to call a certain brand of work, which is heavily in academia, as superior. It is in some ways highly intellectual which is a good thing, and many lines are simply stunning and fascinating to read, yet when I read an essay in the BOSTON REVIEW by Marjorie Perloff which lumps minorities into one pot, I feel a bit disillusioned. Her idea of this pot is that is loosely narrative with no attention to linguistic play, no attention to what's new in terms of science, anthropology, politics and so forth.  I want to stand up for the work of Latino/as and its immense diversity.

I also criticize this division in Latino/a poetry, where self-appointed avant-garde people continuously complain about other Chicano/as. There's a place for all of our work, and grouping those who "say" they are a particular label is also dangerous. I want to believe history will define what is "new" and history will separate the wheat from the chaff. Perhaps I am reading Perloff incorrectly, but I think she is sadly misinformed and hyper judgmental about the work Latino/as in particular are doing. I also think this is true of some Latinos out there. Fact is we are ALL for the most part engaged in the Post-Modern, and to simply dismiss people in large numbers isn't cool. I think many divisions that exist are also related to working-class poetries and poetries that are indeed separated by economic and geographical marginalization.

The Post-Modern moves beyond fragmentation and labeling. It is bigger than that. If anything we are all Post-Modern in our sensibilities, our true marginalization in American Poetries. There are simply too many people writing to create such divisions. And yes, I read the introduction to AMERICAN HYBRID, but the atmosphere and divisions among various readers seems pretty clear-cut to me. To assume anyone with any narrative line to a story is incapable of being experimental seems problematic. To say blanket statements like narrative is dead, experience is irrelevant, metaphor is problematic all seem too easy. Eliot said something about respecting the canon and tilting it slightly ajar. I think this is an interesting statement. Must one throw out the baby with the bathwater?

Well, my past trauma, which was severe leads me to question myself, my opinions far too much, even be hesitant to state them. My second collection addresses a lot of this. The personal or descriptive need not be non-experimental, a collection of poems need not be "either/or".  Black and white thinking is dangerous. And yes, I think there is this division in American Poetry largely from the Perloff essay and the comments on my manuscript from a reader and comments I've read. I guess I'm saying that I believe my work is also Post-Modern despite comments that it isn't.

In any case, I just wrote this and my thoughts are always subject to change. I always place this buffer as I am one individual, and yes, the idea of a single individual is being dissected and done away with, but when one experiences severe trauma, one is less likely to state that the individual is not important. Suffering is universal? In any case, I need not dwell on my feelings of marginalization. This is possibly the crux of these thoughts and feelings. In any case, back to reading AMERICAN HYBRID. Then I will watch BIG BANG THEORY, walk and write.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"Sometimes you just have to let everything fall apart." -- Pema Chodron.

I have been reading Pema Chodron's WHEN THINGS FALL APART and clearly understand the struggle she discusses toward the end of the book. We rush off in the same old direction, up to the same old tricks or we are stuck in the same behaviors. She says to meditate on whatever provokes resentment, to lean into the sharp points. And yes, the habitual patterns we have become ingrained and it's so difficult to do something different, but I'm going to try letting go, try accepting and being compassionate with myself. She also says that we need to stop clinging to the concepts of good and evil. This is very good stuff. Yet it does seem there's injustice and trauma and difficulties which lead one to believe in either evil or abuse of power etc. Over and over this past year I have heard we create our own reality and what we perceive is our own projection. But trauma, devastating trauma does its work in creating our patterns and habits and fears. In any case, it's good to read this book, but reality tells me it will be some time before I can truly implement her advice. I am often too caught up in story lines, and I am often not friends with my emotions and thoughts. The main thing she focuses on is for us to lighten up and relax. This is such good advice for a poet!!! Very good advice, indeed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting ready to leave to Dallas/Ft. Worth this evening. Will miss El Paso, Texas. I had tied El Paso inexplicably to my grandmother, so now that she has passed the city holds wonderful memories for me. My writing in many ways has moved past El Paso, though I do have some poems in the second collection about the dusty desert city, the hot asphalt and the gritty winds.


Heard back from the editor of 3: A Taos Press and it was a little discouraging as the new poems I sent need to be cut out as she said they were lecturish which horrifies me, but they were in a sense tied to Buddhism, and I know how such allusions to religious belief can be a real turn-off in a manuscript, so I'll likely scratch those poems out of the picture, but I will save them and send them out to magazines to see if this isn't one person's reaction to them.  Maybe some day I can use them in another collection. Maybe I will come to agree with her. We'll see.

Overall, I'm growing weary of the editing process and sincerely hope as she said we'll do this only "one more time." I really don't want to prolong this editing process too much, so I am sincerely hoping it is almost there. I have to be patient I suppose. Another editor will look at it and provide some feedback soon. Hopefully the process is almost over.


Will try to attend some readings in Denver when I get back including cannon mine, which has new organizers and possibly I'll attend some readings at universities around town. We'll see. I've never been one to schmooze as I am shy in real person ;) But the fact is I need to search out community and find new connections that value art as an end in itself.

I dislike pushy people who clamor for readings for the most part as I find they are usually not very interesting poets in that their focus is on pushing their work or peddling it rather than making it good, and yes, I believe there is good and bad. One needs to market, but one really needs to have their ducks in a row first. I find poets who were invited to read someplace, without pestering event coordinators, are usually more interesting poets than avid careerists. I am having to learn to trust that time will separate the wheat from the chaff.

It is quite difficult to trust this amid some b.s. in the poetry communities, even the Latino poetry community re: anthologies, publicity etc. Yet, my own insecurities emerge and I begin to doubt my abilities, then later, I am enamored with myself, then back to feeling like I can't write. I think this is a normal pendulum swing for those of us trying to write well. I guess we all try to write well, but over all I think some books are rushed into print, so I should patiently edit this thing after all. Feeling left out is something that I've struggled with regarding some things, but overall Canto Mundo helps me feel uplifted and encouraged and luckily it is coming around the corner.

But yes, there are cliques, and one must move past them into a mode of joyous creativity and solemn editing!


One is not supposed to judge, one is to observe without judgment and here I am judging. Time is the best teacher I suppose, but at the moment, I feel one must speak out against injustices when necessary, and there are indeed some fairly severe injustices when it comes to some stuff mentioned, but in the end, we find ourselves freed from cliques and exclusions when we find contentedness in the day to day activities and tasks we have. One must simply stay busy creating.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Yikes, I am all caught up in fear! Fear of invisibility! Fear of inferiority! Fear of being left out of the clique! I am letting go, now.

Will visit family this week. Fear and judgement are so ingrained it takes a long, long time to recover and heal from them. It's okay too.

Much to learn. Letting go of these fears bit by little bit. It's okay that I got mad. I am just noticing it. I am really trying to learn to be more compassionate to myself. This lack of compassion is rooted in PTSD and patterns of harsh thinking when it comes to oneself.

I have to learn to be more compassionate to myself before I can be compassionate toward others, and common sense tells me that doing good work, immersing oneself in the letting go of my and mine, that the work will free itself and become part of something larger than oneself.

I am disappointed in a great deal of masks worn in a community, but all I can do is work on pulling mine off.

I have to let go of harsh judgement toward myself and I have to simply try to wish well people whose behavior makes no sense to me. I'm sure it makes sense to them.

So, I am caught up in my own fear about insignificance, lack of respect and so forth. It's okay some take a different path, and maybe there is some karmic justice. I can only move on into this time. And I'm here in El Paso, ready to breathe.

I guess we can only live here and now, and yes, amidst the clutter, I am feeling some strange freedom. Freedom to speak as I will. Freedom to write as I will. Not the "will" or the "willing" or "willfulness" but rather the freedom to just speak out. And it's okay that it seems others are unjust, but it's my own desire for justice, for praise that makes it difficult. I have to let go of all that and just write.

So be it that things seem unfair and that I judged it to be unfair. I can only hope towards some karma, and I have to hang on to the now in face of my fears.

Still love the Dylan song though ;)

Feeling pretty good here in the heat. Will read some more today and possibly write a draft or a line or not. Feeling free as usual when I am in El Paso, Texas. Will fly to Denver on the 27th.

Still reading AMERICAN HYBRID and liking some poems much more than others. For instance, I love Mary Jo Bang and John Ashbery though I have to use a dictionary sometimes to read Ashbery, but it's not overdone, just interesting enough to keep one reading and looking up words!

I was in a workshop once with Mary Jo Bang and she didn't react to my poems as though they were old hat at all; in fact she was quite encouraging, and I don't think they are paid to be so, so I think and suspect time will take care of cliques and patterns of exclusion and petty sidelining. I sure hope so. But for now, I have to learn how to stay in this very moment, no matter how much it is cramped with clutter. There's a beauty to clutter. I recently read Einstein's Three Rules of Work 1) out of clutter find simplicity 2) from discord find harmony and 3) In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

People love power and bend a knee to it as if in prayer, but power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts. To handle power responsibly is a task that is difficult, and if abused, I think in time there will be some karma handed out eventually. Those who have kissed the ass of power in order to get something, say publicity will have the stink of that to live with or not. Mostly they are blind to the smell on their own breath.

S used to say, "if you can see something, you can bet others see it too." And they do. I mean those that should see it are often blind to it, but others outside the cliquish community of favor-trading see it, they see it when they pick up a book and decide to read it or set it aside because it is dull and shallow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm in El Paso, Texas til May 24th, then I'll head to Dallas/Ft. Worth for a few days.

Waiting to hear back from editors so I can do final revisions, what I hope will be final revisions anyways.

My grandmother passed away on the 8th, and my nephew is getting married on the 26th. Life moves on with its ups and downs.

I feel good about second book/manuscript these days after having disliked it for years as it was in progress. There are more poems about recovery from trauma in the book now, so it feels better, healthier.

Major traumas can hide themselves from one's consciousness and cause havoc in day to day functioning. Major trauma can disrupt one's ability to communicate, to connect, to forge relationships etc. It's a miracle I made it as far as I did with the amnesia, the wounds and the disconnect in my own psyche.

All I know is to make some music out of the recoveries, the daily victories in self-esteem and confidence no matter how small the steps, they are significant and healing.

I look forward to the pleasure of writing these days and the sun here is gorgeous. I am home.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I love this song! I added four more poems to the manuscript and will hear back soon how they go over with my fantastic editors. I am feeling thankful and gracious to them!

Reading POEMS by Frederick Seidel and a few things out of AMERICAN HYBRID.

So lucky to have this time to read and write! I didn't expect to add so many new poems-- seven altogether-- to the manuscript. Hope to write some new ones  now. Sit alone in the silence and wait.

Will head to Tattered Cover on Sat. to hopefully get a copy of the article about Eduardo. Better late than never.