Friday, June 29, 2012

I received a "fully favorable" decision from the judge regarding my social security claim. Thank god. I was not doing very well waiting, so thank god the decision came fast. I'm going to rest now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Worried incessantly about the hearing, how the judge will rule. Ugh. Can't stand it. I am terribly on edge. In any case, Frederick Seidel's poetry sure helps me get out of that worry! He's saucy. Right now, he's my favorite poet. He's independently wealthy and lives in New York. So I rest my case about the privilege of writing poetry. In any case, I most like THE COSMOS POEMS. I would love to type one up and post it here, but I can't. His poems blow me away. Stunning. Absolutely stunning work.

In any case, my sister was able to fix the manuscript pagination and formatting. Thank God! I will try to revise a poem called "Radiance" that is the second poem toward the end now tonight. I had totally given up on the editing process and further revisions, but my sister came to the rescue. I am terrible with WORD. In any case, it's 100 degrees in Denver, and I'm roasting.

I have played out the entire hearing in my head over and over and am terrified that I said something totally stupid which will negate my case. My attorney is real good and wrote a letter to the judge after the fact arguing with a vocational expert who said I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. Ugh. I just hope the judge takes the evidence from my doctor more seriously than the government paid vocational specialist or anything stupid I may have said. Basically I am VERY nervous around such authority figures, and I ramble. And ramble I did. Ugh. I will be devastated if I lose my claim.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I have no idea how the hearing went, but I have a plan, and the book is a go. Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Here's a photo of my grandparents in 1960. My grandfather died when I was two. My aunt says I share some of the features of my grandmother. I miss her.

My social security hearing is tomorrow.

All is well. Everything "is" okay.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Finished edits tonight! I did manage to mess up page numbers after removing a section break, but overall I'm excited for it to be published with 3: A Taos Press in 2013.

I hope to do some serious reading in the upcoming week.

Denver is beautiful in the summer! Squirrels, rabbits, foxes and it's nowhere near as hot as Texas!

Overall, I feel good about my manuscript. I certainly hope people will buy and read it. I will promote it a lot, but not too much in that it's overdone and that's all one does is promote themselves. It's about the book. So don't be surprised to get an email from me when it comes into print (or 200), just kidding.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Remember listening to this song when I lived in Denton, Texas during the 90's. What skill for writing Dylan has. I think this is one of my favorite Dylan songs, though I won't post it on facebook due to my family's zealous religiosity. Is that a word? Apparently so. Hopefully they won't read this ;)

In any case, I want to clarify my earlier thoughts. Poetry is a necessity I think, or more so, utilizing the imagination is a necessity for all people. Even or possibly especially for the poor. Again, there's this view that poetry is not a luxury, yet the reality is time to write poems seems a real luxury. Yet, I have more time now that I'm poor again since I am not teaching as an adjunct, which in the end, overwhelmed me to say the least. So in some ways I am now very imaginatively rich. My greatest (flaw), my greatest (weakness) has become what will hopefully transpire into a strength. I need to get off my butt and engage in some reading and writing. I am still trying to edit and polish.

Saying the writing of poetry is a luxury seems true to me still. This is not to say that it is valueless or that poor people don't write. It's merely a product of our society not valuing the art or more so, finding it valueless in terms of cash. It's not a commodity that can be traded on the stock market. It is purely imaginative creativity, so seemingly necessary these days, but lacking economic profit for the most part.

I recognize that so many poor people on social security disability write poems. I am surrounded by a class of people who have a strong interest in writing poems, putting out paper broadsides, reading at open mics. This scene for poetry is interesting, purely in the joy that it seems to impart to its participants. Yet, I recognize that my scene, a subsidized housing scene, is quite different than that of someone in a tenure-track position. 

I think however, being educated in poetry, is often a different animal. How we are educated in the "craft" also seems significant. One can read a lot on their own too and become educated. I went to "school" for a long, long time. I struggled always with the limitations that come with being "taught" how to write. Even now I suffer from what I was "taught" in that it was often limited by professors' narrow aesthetic views. This was/is true especially when one earns a doctorate in poetry. Yet, if I wouldn't have been educated in the historic trajectories of the art, I would be somewhat blind to what it means to write poetry. Part of receiving an education in some ways is moving past such preferences. Yet, education and time effect the writing of poetry, and it therefore seems a luxury or more so a privilege. Yet I was led to read a certain "brand" of poetry. I read a great deal of modernist (imagistic) poetry and that no doubt has influenced me immensely. We learn as we go. It is most definitely a lifetime process.


This leads me to speak to the marginalization of writers of color which was recently discussed online. These statistics in my opinion ignore the heavy burden of being a female writer of color. I find often, in the pages of various magazines of late, more and more Latino men being published, yet the women still trail behind and struggle for the same kind of attention.

I don't think this is my imagination. Latina women struggle especially to have their work land in "major" or significant journals. So my next collection primarily deals with loss and recovery. It deals particularly with sexual abuse, the silencing of women, and I realize in some ways, this silencing is still an obsession I have when writing. In any case, I've gone on far too long on this blog, where what I gather, very few people actually read. So, with that I will try to focus now on editing my upcoming "book." :0 Then hopefully I can read and write more seriously and take advantage of the luxury of time. I am very blessed. But because I am a woman from Mexican ancestry along the U.S. Mexico near Ciudad Juarez (which many writers now a days seem to appropriate) I must write of this apparent marginalization that such women experience. There are few of us. 

I am often told by white men that I am not Mexican-American. I have never had a Latino/a tell me that strange thing. It is because we share a bond in this marginalization. This is why I must write about luxury when editors of major magazines feel they are being progressive and inclusive. They are not. The writing of poetry is simply a luxury and a gift which the universe sends the lucky and those born into some kind of privilege, especially when it comes to being published in traditionally well-esteemed journals. One can be poor gifted with time. A poor person though often is granted this luxury when they are gifted with some kind of safety net which provides time, but not money. Money matters. It most definitely is a luxury which often leads to extra time. I wrote my first collection in the margins. I wrote it in El Paso, Texas, land of appropriations. I had little time and it was a real struggle. Many poets are poor and they struggle. Many are disabled and minorities on these margins or borders if you will. Crossing such borders is a difficult path. Now I live in Colorado, and hopefully will be able to cross some of these barricaded, fenced borders. This is why I kind of resent it when someone unintentionally implies that I have it easy because I believe in the luxury and privilege time provides some and not others. But the fact is, marginalized women need to write and publish with those magazines and presses that seek to publish people from all cultures. This would not include places that claim there is no such thing as luxury in these matters.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tonight I am editing my free verse poems, admiring those who write in forms. I have, hopefully, one more set of comments to go through before I am finished with SEVEN.

My grandmother passed away May 8th and I went to Texas for the funeral. This poem makes me reflect on death, to go peacefully raging seems apt. My adoptive step-father died very, very afraid. Well deserved I say. We create our own heaven or hell. Trauma blinds one to their own behaviors and fears I think. We press forward growing and learning to have compassion for ourselves. It's a difficult journey. I am mourning the many years I lived in a fog, forgetting trauma, repressing trauma, and having it come out in all the wrong ways, unknown to my self, but probably clearly seen by others. We do indeed fight our demons. And what is the purpose if any of trauma? We mourn the loss of innocence, the wounded ego fighting to learn its way to acceptance and self-compassion.

My family is radically religious, so wounded in their own traumas, it seems religion soothes their souls, which is a good thing, yet it can be an overzealous means of covering up trauma, ignoring it, seeing the world in black and white, good and evil. Yet, evil exists. Not sure how I feel about Pema Chodron's philosophy that we do away with good and evil tonight. It does seem good to move away from black and white thinking and judgment, yet the problem of evil exists. Perhaps evil is born of such wounds, and it is our choice to become a perpetrator or not. Yet, when I was living in Lethe, forgetting what had happened to me, I was so not my self, so separated from loving myself, it was difficult to love others. We fight our past, yet must move on past it. It is good to mourn though the things we've lost. Maybe then we can feel strong, find the strengths and values and creativity that our wounds helped create. I am writing these things for myself?

I am lucky that when my adoptive step-father died, I remembered. I remembered with glaring clarity, unsure where the images were coming from initially. Perhaps I need to write some prose about it as the poetry took a lot out of me.

In any case, I am still editing SEVEN and a little burned out with it as I've tinkered with it for so many years. I very much admire people who can churn out books, but apparently that wasn't my destiny for these collections.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Fear of no water later. I have to let go of all that some day. I just hope people read my second collection when it comes into print. I hope it is good. I believe it to be pretty solid at the moment.

In any case, back to editing. It is making the manuscript better, yet I am wanting to abandon the thing after this next round. This is what I am hoping for as I've been working on the poems in it since at least 2003. Most of the poems began in 2005--seven years ago. So overall, not consistently, I've worked on it for 8 or 9 years I realized. It was difficult to write as some of it is about trauma and recovery (PTSD), so I didn't write consistently at all during that time period, but I did have it in my mind often during those years. Not to mention I was in the middle of PTSD and illness in 2008, and it was very messy.

I recognize that part of what happened in 2008 was in itself being re-traumatized, since I had forgotten the violence.

My recovery from PTSD is going slowly. I still struggle with various issues surrounding it, but overall I am improving. I think overall, it's affected my ability to trust, my ability to not feel marginalized and  I am very suspicious of cliques and authority.