Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jack johnson - Enemy

I'm getting ready to go for a walk with my mom. The sun is rising in the east and the mountains here are cool and low. Hawks fly over the neighborhood.

I woke up thinking about people I had previously thought of as my enemies, and though I still believe self-interest is the prevading force behind much of the action they send forth into the universe, I realized at some point there's not a lot I can do about it. If they are going to bask in publicity but not have their work be up to par, I have to have faith in the art itself. And maybe their art is good and kind for the universe. I don't know. But again, there's nothing that can be done beyond writing my own poems with care, and in the end it takes longer and is often more lonely and painful than basking in what one guy called "glory". Yeah. I didn't understand what he meant when he said all poets want glory, but I guess we foolishly do? We must fight that desire! I miss writing for the sheer pleasure of it and not worrying about such things. I want to continue writing for the sake of creating and get to that place of trance and transition and transformation.

I am plagued by insecurity and in watching their boldness on sites like Poetry foundation and Poetry Society of America yet I have to have faith in the work itself, not in the sole force of social networking and "friendship". I was jealous and then Poetry Foundation featured a poem of mine too. I am learning that maybe through time people find and appreciate my work despite unyeilding efforts of others to promote their "friends". Fact of the matter is we all like our friends' work?

I did not go to Iowa, Columbia or Brown and am slowly learning to appreciate that fact. It makes the work I've done mine and the universe's; it makes one humble to a degree, really humble; there is no debt to an institution. I think a certain degree of anonymity is good for a poet/artist/writer. I need to embrace the anonymity and understand that websites like Poetry Society of America and institutions like Brown, Columbia, Notre Dame or Yale or Harvard are not the end all of poetry nor the beginning of it. They simply exist like economic classes and such separations fade with time.

I want my writing to bring a little bit of pleasure to others. I once wanted to write for the people of El Paso. I don't know where I'm going, but I do know and suspect with time all of these things work themselves out. We live the small details and walk in the sunrise knowing the only thing we can be certain of is change. I wanted to write for the border, to share some sense of the border and its music.

Someone said he wouldn't buy my book because of my honesty here on the blog. But the fact is truth outweighs falseness in the end? The universe is largely unjust? Some feel everything happens for a reason. I don't know. I just know I have to get back to writing if I am to survive psychologically, physically and emotionally. Not survive, but thrive.

In the end, all we have as artists is the work which we do and the work which we enjoy. I suspect all the networking in the world can't help a flat poem, and I don't know if I can write anymore, but I will try soon. I can't let the clamour of po-biz and falsely clanging cymbals about community and "friendship" continue to distract me. If the work is mediocre, that's all that will prevail despite having interviews and so forth at Poetry Society of America, despite having connections like Iowa or Brown. I'll hang in there and hopefully go back into the act of writing for the sake of writing. I need to. Otherwise, all is in vain. I know I didn't go to a top notch writing program, but I suspect I could have. I'm glad I went to UTEP because I was immersed in El Paso's wonderful culture for three years. I belonged there I think. El Paso will always be close to my heart and part of my early work, but I am moving on now to some new things.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jack Johnson - Buddha

I'm trying to decide if I can afford to spend the $50.00 application fee for Macondo, much less if I can even afford to go since I'm supposed to go to Canto Mundo. Well, that's neither here nor there, I'll have to see when it is and if I even get accepted.

Today, I will spend time with my mother who is going to return to Denver with me for a 3 day visit. As I grow older, I appreciate her company more and more.

Someone said I should write more critically here, in essay format, and I may soon do so later. I am writing/revising one essay which I think will be published in the near future in a print magazine, so perhaps it's time to write more critically and praise books that I think should be praised here, so often they are less praised online than truly bad books that are wildly heralded in the name of "community". I'm still trying to wrap my head around the why's of that, but it is the case that online reviews are often praise for truly terrible books. And I ask myself, is it merely a case of taste, or are they really bad, and I tend to conclude nope, they really are bad, in terms of flat language, uninteresting content, lack of flair or spark or anything beyond a quiet sincerity.

My last review for the El Paso Times never was published, and I need to contact them to see what's up with it. I heard the editor had health problems, so I need to get on the ball and remind him about that review of a novel I enjoyed.

Things will prove more difficult though as I will not have internet service at home in terms of writing more critically here, but in the end, I hope to have more time to spend revising 7, which may get a new title down the line, and which I am now considering sending out to contests. Oh joy. I'm just not sure it's ready. But I am thinking pretty seriously of sending requested revised copies out en masse to presses and contests. I want it to be good and I want it to be published by a reputable press that will give me an actual contract rather than verbal interest in it. But the contest route if murky if best, in that people do seem to pick people they know, or at least knew.

Blah, I'm blathering. I miss Emmy. I think I really do miss Emmy. In any case, I am in El Paso and the sun is coming up quite miraculously. I am going to take a walk at the Andres High School track and remember when I actually could run around it.

Later, I will visit my 98 year old abuelita! Yes, she is still fiesty and vocal! Yes, she eats mole and sopa every single day, the diet of champions.

I had menudo with my mom yesterday at the Good Luck Cafe at Alameda and it was awesome.
Lots going on in terms of whether I'll stay in Denver after my health issues are cleared up. I probably will. I don't know. I do love El Paso and will hopefully have health benefits in the end. There are about three different places I may end up, and I'll have to simply heal up, rest up and see where life takes me, where the current takes me. I know I am utterly exhausted from swimming against it in terms of trying to teach in an academic environment. If I'm meant to teach, things will have to change drastically as I will no longer be an overworked, stressed-out, underpaid adjunct.

I am blessed to be getting some help for a change in my life and thank my family and the professionals who have provided so much for me. I am truly blessed this coming year and will not be working. So, the Macondo thing is really up in the air as my finances will be limited, and that too will limit where I can send the manuscript.

Oh well, at least I will have time to write again. I hope and pray I do, and prayer in and of itself could cause me to write another overly long post.

I don't quite know what I believe anymore in terms of this universe. On the drive to El Paso, Texas from Denver I saw the open sky and clouds and sun as some sign of divinity, but it is the eventual decay, the cyclical nature of it that leads me to feel life is life and death is simply the end of life. But S always said, the energy has to go somewhere. I'm just not so sure it manifests itself as "us" or "ourselves". I don't know. I really would like to believe in divinity, a god, or something.

I received a ton of Jesus stuff from my family and felt kind of bad. I wear a Mary icon necklace and have tiny Buddhas in my room, but the fact of the matter is that I float in a sea of uncertainty. Maybe that's a good thing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

I'm in a hotel wide awake drinking Mountain Dew! Oh well.
# Avoid Conflicts of Interest

1. Personal Investments
2. Outside Employment and Inventions
3. Outside Board Memberships
4. Business Opportunities
5. Friends and Relatives; Co-Worker Relationships**************
6. Gifts, Entertainment and Payments
7. Reporting

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jack Johnson - Living in the Moment (Live Kokua 2008)

I wanted to post this again! Grades are in! I'm sitting at the Columbine library-- Jefferson county library watching gulls fly above the half-frozen lake, and it's simply a gorgeous day.

Friday, December 17, 2010


"In recovering from our creative blocks, it is necessary to go gently and slowly. What we are after here is the healing of old wounds-- not the creation of new ones. No high jumping, please! Mistakes are necessary! ...Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to 'be' an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one. Progress, not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves." p 380 THE ARTIST'S WAY EVERY DAY: A YEAR OF CREATIVE LIVING.

I just have one set of tests and reading journals to read before I am finished with the semester. Luckily, grades aren't due until Thursday. I will grade them this weekend and head to El Paso, Texas, my home town on Monday Dec. 20th. We got our first real snow, a fairly light one still, this morning.

I like this idea of art as a process, creativity as something one can enjoy. I think we can let po-biz take over and forget the wonder of writing. It is after all, in the doing, the making, not in the results in which we learn how to live.

I am working on changing negative thought patterns now and am looking forward to having time off from teaching.

Very excited to be going home for Christmas! It feels like a holiday this time around.

Soon, after the grades are posted, I plan to work on revising my manuscript. I also plan to walk in order to meditate and reflect on things.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jack Johnson - Living in the Moment (Live Kokua 2008)

Ugh huh. That's what I'm talking about.

I have finished posting grades for three classes. Two more to go!!! Wooo Hooo!! I just have to give a final tomorrow morning and then grade the rest.

I'm reading SIXTY POEMS by Charles Simic and enjoying it. Some of the poems are dark and quirky.

I'm at the Jefferson county public library trying to decide which books I'll re-check out and suspect I'll keep the SIXTY POEMS. It's the best book of poems I've read lately. Oh my, soon it's time to write. Writing and I have parted ways some time back, but I feel secure that my time has come.

I am moving in the middle of January to an apt. with a roommate, so I'm feeling a bit free. I will get rid of most of the stuff in my storage unit somehow. I'm realizing we collect to much junk and much of it is unnecessary. I'm lightening my load, freeing up my time, whispering to the fates; I know it's time to write. Oh, the end of the semester is at hand, and a marathon it was. Here, for the record, I am never going to teach 5 classes on three campuses again. I hope to teach someday in the future or become a peer-counselor or do something with my time that can truly help others in this world. But for now, I rest and recover. And I do mean I will rest and recover for at least one year, possibly two.

Ugh, someone said they didn't like Rilke! WTF! Oh well. To each her own.

I'm off to the house to relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

I think in the future I will have limited internet access. Some will rejoice! Oh well. I'll be spending some time at the public library and taking the bus to and fro with a bus pass I will somehow figure out how to pay for with a very limited budget, but rest I will!

Frightened and excited!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If I Had Eyes--Jack Johnson *HQ with lyrics

Let's try this again.
I will not teach for sometime. I am taking care, healing, and resting.

Jack Johnson - If I Had Eyes

One class down. Four to go plus revising an essay on chicana poetry.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Books I'm Reading

I checked out the following books the other day from the Jefferson County Public Library. Ben Lerner's Angle of Yaw and The Lichtenberg Figures, Invisible Bride by Tony Tost, Julia Spahr's this connection of everyone with lungs, and The Last Clear Narrative by Rachel Zucker. So far, I seem to like Angle of Yaw the best at the moment, but I find all of them interesting in that they write so very differently than I do, but I find the poems compelling. I must in some ways be conditioned to my small place in the universe, the border, the Rockies. I don't know, but I like these strange poems in their very different places and spaces, more so Lerner and Tost. Of course I am probably missing something with the Rachel Zucker. The anti-narrative tirade of the times grows old. I want to tell a story sometimes.

In any case, I hope to write a story of some sort when school is out for the semester. I wonder if I can write narratively anymore, but since I am stuck in so many ways, I thought maybe I'd try something different, but I did recently complete an essay that needs to be edited which of course I am worried about in that I say some unpopular things, but they are things I believe in at the moment. I think there is a risk to vulnerability and honesty and uncovering one's mask(s). I think those are the things that last, our humanity towards one another--

I'm going to type a short excerpt of a poem from Lerner's Angle of Yaw which I keep typing as Angle of Law.

"A PERSON IS PHOBIC, that is, mentally imbalanced, when his/
fears fail to cancel out his other fears. The healthy, too, are terrified of/
heights, but equally terrified of depths, as terrified of dark as light..."

I'd like to type the whole thing, but since it's not my poem, I thought it best to type just a bit of it, so you, you(?) [me, myself and I] can reflect on it. In any case, I like the poem quite a bit. There are others which interest me, and I can't wait to sit and fully enjoy them in a couple of weeks.

I have a ton of papers to grade this weekend, but it's almost over. I'm on that final stretch, which does seem like the end of some marathon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cat Stevens(Yusuf Islam) Never Wanted to Be a Star

Reading Sherman Alexie's "Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at Woodstock.

I really like the stories such as this one out of his book THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FIST FIGHT IN HEAVEN. Reading Alexie makes we want to try writing fiction again, or at the least literary non-fiction. Blah, I'm all talk; it's time to begin writing.

The semester is over in two weeks. I'll be broke but freed up like there's no tomorrow.

I think I like the way Alexie's work makes these almost magical connections or associations. For example, "I figured she was the kind of woman who could make buffalo walk on up to her and give up their lives. She wouldn't have needed to hunt. Every time we went walking, birds would follow us around. Hell, tumbleweeds would follow us around."

Also this quote is something that I liked, "We didn't talk much. One, because my father didn't talk much when he was sober, and two because Indians don't need to talk to communicate."

These are both from "Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play, 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at Woodstock. What a title! It makes me want to write some really long titles as well; maybe some poems titled stuff like, "My Uncle Mike who once drank a bottle of tequila and ate the worm in El Paso, Texas."

I think people are jealous or envious of Alexie, seriously. Sorry, but the man wrote a good book, and his poems are good too. A long while back I read FANCY DANCING and thought it was wonderful. Ah, yeah, nasty ole narrative. I think too people dislike Billy Collins because he is so very popular, but THE ART OF DROWNING is a good book. That's not to say that I don't like John Ashbery!

Envy. Oh how we all fall prey to it. I hope to be freer about that. I think I should try to play video games a bit too as I've missed out on that aspect of life.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Jack Johnson - Upside Down (Sessions@AOL)

I wonder if this video will work. Oh well, in any case Thanksgiving was wonderful at the house. I have to grade a number of student papers today before heading out to Commerce City to hang out with a friend.

Poetry and I are quite the strangers these days. I hope to start writing in Jan. when I move into an apt. with a roommate. I won't have a desk, but will try to utilize the kitchen table. It's already furnished, so it should be more comfortable than most places I've lived. I did get one poem published in Women's Study Quarterly, but I need to try to publish again since I haven't in a very long time.

My mother is coming up to Denver after Christmas and I'm quite excited, as she has never visited. I have an aunt here, whom I rarely see, that we will visit.

I think I may try to do some volunteer work when I'm not working, but I'm not sure what kind as I will be reliant on the bus. I will no longer have the car as I will no longer be able to afford it. Maybe I can do something worthwhile at the center.

I am going to rest and heal and hopefully be more pleasant to deal with in the future. :)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for where I am staying and the help I am receiving. It's been a long haul trying to learn to accept I have an illness, an illness that proves embarrassing and cost me one good friendship.

Oh well.

I wish I could be more philosophical in my posts, but I can't really postulate and premise about philosophical things. These posts are more for my sanity, I think.

I may post a list of what I'm thankful for later.


Jack Johnson - Upside Down (Sessions@AOL)

I wonder if this video will work. Oh well, in any case Thanksgiving was wonderful at the house. I have to grade a number of student papers today before heading out to Commerce City to hang out with a friend.

Poetry and I are quite the strangers these days. I hope to start writing in Jan. when I move into an apt. with a roommate. I won't have a desk, but will try to utilize the kitchen table. It's already furnished, so it should be more comfortable than most places I've lived. I did get one poem published in Women's Study Quarterly, but I need to try to publish again since I haven't in a very long time.

My mother is coming up to Denver after Christmas and I'm quite excited, as she has never visited. I have an aunt here, whom I rarely see, that we will visit.

I think I may try to do some volunteer work when I'm not working, but I'm not sure what kind as I will be reliant on the bus. I will no longer have the car as I will no longer be able to afford it. Maybe I can do something worthwhile at the center.

I am going to rest and heal and hopefully be more pleasant to deal with in the future. :)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for where I am staying and the help I am receiving. It's been a long haul trying to learn to accept I have an illness, an illness that proves embarrassing and cost me one good friendship.

Oh well.

I wish I could be more philosophical in my posts, but I can't really postulate and premise about philosophical things. These posts are more for my sanity, I think.

I may post a list of what I'm thankful for later.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Julia Cameron and creativity

"The flow off creativity is a constant. We are the ones who are fickle or fearful. I have learned that my creative condition and my spiritual condition are one in the same. Making art is an act of faith, a movement toward expansion. When I am stymied in my work, I am stymied in my spiritual condition. When I am self-conscious as an artist, I am spiritually constricted. I need to pray to lose my self-centered fears. I need to ask for selflessness, to be a conduit, a channel for ideas to move through...It is time to let Something or Somebody write through me. How the ego hates this humbling proposition! And yet, great art is born of great humility."


I have had difficulty believing in a god, moreso, difficulty being spiritual, having faith, seeing beyond what is visible and tangible. Yet, Cameron's books inspire me. I bought the following books yesterday:




all by Julia Cameron, and I also bought Nietzsche's THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA.

Probably should hold on to money now as I will literally have none for 6 months to about 2 years, but I find the books helpful and they will give me something to do with my time that will hopefully inspire me to write. I also want to paint, but I can't really afford paint. My mom may give me some of her oils/acrylics. I can at least sketch and hopefully sketch poems. But there's something to the quote above about spirituality or as one person called it: mysticism.

I am thinking about S today again and recognizing the toll grief can have on us. Grief is the path to renewal? In any case, I have grieved a long time. It's time to move on and stop holding others into being subconscious representations of S. She was a good woman, a blessed friend, and she's gone now. I need to say goodbye? But I carry her image still.

S most definitely thought creativity was tied to divinity, not that we are makers and creators, but that IT works through us. P was/is an atheist. I think I let the atheism lead me to think belief in the divine silly, too hopeful. And just like the movie THE INVENTION OF LYING, I tend to see god and the divine as a big lie, made to comfort us in the vast emptiness in which we exist briefly like the grass. But S's belief in the universe as the universe seems to work for me. But the fact of the matter is perhaps the lack of spirituality leads one to a place of apathy or disinterest in the movements of that universal dance of energy S believed in so adamantly.

It is the reality of weakness, of injustice and inequality that make it difficult to believe that there is some divine justice, some strange mechanism or flow at work that resolves these apparent conflicts. It seems focusing on injustice and weakness and power can lead us to be stymied in our writing, and death, god, that makes us stop and recognize our own fragility, our own doom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yusuf Islam Maybe There's a World Live Echo 2007

Okay, somehow I got decent evals. This is weird. Someone says it's because I'm doing okay and I usually want to be outstanding. Outstanding is not possible when one teaches five classes on three different campuses and experiences utter disorganization and memory problems. In any case, maybe there's hope for the future, but I will not be teaching in the spring or fall and possibly again. I will be doing little other than writing and reading. I hope and pray I don't neglect doing so! Poverty is the route to poetry? I think so. I think the act and experience of writing poems is something at odds with our culture of consumption and greed and need. I don't know. Maybe poetry will continue to elude me; maybe I won't write again, but I suspect I will. I think the poverty aspect of things will truly suck, but I will have my days to ponder, to create, to sculpt and hopefully, most importantly to heal.

Revising 7 is going to be a monstrous task, but luckily someone has edited the thing for comma issues and other such errors. I feel quite good despite having a horrendous week of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, not being in the right place at the right time and have let supervisors know I won't be able to take classes I've been assigned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Failures, difficulties and renewal

My post yesterday was a bit much I suppose. I was not doing too well. In any case, I have to go teach in a bit, 1-1 conferences. Really ready for the break. Really, really ready for the break.

I will not be working starting around Dec. 9th. I hope that I will utilize all the time I will have towards writing/revising 7, which needs to be revised before it can get an actual contract to publish, but I plan on revising it in December.

I am concerned I will get bored not working, but my disorganization of late has caused me severe difficulties teaching and 7-11 was also difficult for me. In any case, I hope to be writing again soon. I have kept up journaling, but I haven't written any creative pieces for a long while.

We are reading Sherman Alexie next which is always a good thing, I think. But my ability to focus for long periods of time is shot. I have to break everything up into steps and have, according to some, slowed down quite a bit. I am feeling like a failure in some ways, but teaching classes as an adjunct is most definitely not the end-all of things. I will take time off and hopefully find my writing picking up again. The semester has been a real wash. I have utterly failed at teaching, but need to say it's okay to take care of myself, to put my health first.

This society is weird. You aren't supposed to admit to shortcomings, failures, difficulties. But I do. I can't stand being someone I'm not, but writing has been nothing but a lot of hot air from my desk. Okay, I don't have a desk, but I do have a lap top. But I have been a lot of talk and no action.

I will be moving into an apartment with a roommate in January, and although I'm looking forward to it I'm a bit nervous as I have a ton of crap in storage, most of which I need to get rid of.

I am not much of a blogger. I mean I blog, but it is I suppose mostly to let off steam and focus a bit. Sorry, I am not very funny nor have much of an audience anymore, so I blog for myself, my sanity.

In some ways I feel like a failure, as I did not teach today and got sorta busted for it. I am simply tired and have been needing this rest and am very, very lucky that I can take it. 2008 is when I needed a break, to slow down and I didn't and the price I paid for not taking a break was/is indeed high.

I will grade a couple of papers then head to the CC to have conferences. Last night students didn't show, but it was snowing.

They say failure is the way to success. I sure as hell hope so.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poet Charles Simic reads from Selected Poems 1963-2003

Denise Levertov: six poems

There's a beauty in sadness? I am thinking of Cynthia Ozick's "The Shawl" were horrible Holocaust imagery is juxtaposed by images of light and springtime. I think most literature that appeals to me brings together such polarities. And they say that no literature is "great" anymore? Chicano/a literature is merely anything written by a Chicano, or someone who identifies as Chicano or moreso Latino? Do we trust our tastes, our cognitive beliefs about what is great art? Or is it, as the C says, like pornography; you know it when you read it?

With all the talk about conceptual art and all of the anti-narrative slant that is so extremely popular now, I feel a disconnect a splitting if you will betweeen the work I like and what one is expected to like. For example, I like Billy Collins. He has a doctorate, I believe in Romantic Literature, and I do not believe for a second that he is always lighthearted and uninterested in our mortality. He seems to be a rallying point for the disgruntled. Thank god we are not all alike. I think if anything his focus is more on living and dying than joking around. People also dislike Tony Hoagland for some of the same reasons. Some readers find his work unnervingly sexist, but I like some of his work too. I don't believe that one's work must be inherently political to be moving to readers. I think there is a place for lightheartedness and humor. I so wish I could find it in my own work, or my lack of work, for I haven't written in years. I mean, I wrote at Yaddo, but it was fleeting and I haven't had the time or inclination to revise.

Does this make me a "bad" poet, one who is uneducated in the proper manner towards experimentation and linguistic play? I don't believe I am uninterested in language or lyricism, but it seems that one must be swept away in the "now" to appear credible as a poet? I remember interviewing with Notre Dame and the hostility directed towards me because I wrote at times narratively and it was assumed I didn't know what was going on in the "now". Is that a word? narratively?

Recently I finished writing an essay about Diana Garcia and if you will, Chicano/a literature. Is there a place for greatness among Chicano literature or is anyone who writes anything considered an artist writing for la causa?

I am not down with it. I am suspect of any writing that comes flowing out being viewed as literature. I am concerned that most, in my current estimation, do not differentiate literature or art from mere propaganda and politics. There is a difference in my opinion, and I add the little "in my opinion" to cushion my growing isolation, my growing desparateness from other Latino/a writers and poets.

Maybe it is simply a reaction to the fact I will not be teaching. I am taking a real hiatus from teaching and I do not know how long it will last. It may be forever. I will be applying for social security and find the Latino "community" quite non-communal. This is not necessarily true on the whole as I do feel I have particular "allies," but they tend to be fiction writers.

I find the work of poet as a solitary thing. I mean one can participate in writing groups, collectives and discussions, but the work of a poet is still to me like the work of a long distance runner, solitary. I find the pooling together of resources potentially helpful, but the reality is that there are some of us who do not fit into the group? Perhaps it is our own feeling of being disconnected to it more than anything real.

The idea of being part of a team does appeal to me, but the fact of the matter is that Latino/a poetry or poetries (and I remember a non-poets eye roll at that term) does not seem some unified front where everyone is treated well or even acknowledged. The bias for instance that I see at one time drove me crazy, but now, I sense that there's not a lot I can do about it other than to try to keep on writing.

Today people slammed Denise Levertov for appropriating the Vietnameese experience of war and conflict. I am often taken aback at the disinterest people have in lyricism and what is beautiful. Is beauty dead? Archaic? Why then to I still find light contrasted with darkness so necessary, so urgently calling out to me?

I should spend more time on what I write here and write more critically, more specifically of particular poets and what they have written I suppose, but over all the sense of jaded-ness I feel towards what we call American Poetry is probably simply my sense of outsider-ness among my own kind? I am the silence I wrote about in Pity the Drowned Horses, a book that most definitely fell through the cracks into oblivion. I do have someone interested in publishing my second collection, which I feel strangely ambivalent towards. I feel outside of it in a strange way, yet others do like it, but the reaction seems mixed, uneven.

For I have never been all Mexican or all American. I haven't even felt accepted by most Latino/a poets. I find them fair-weather at best; behind me when things are going well for me, yet they are utterly disinterested in one's traummas, difficulties, financial or emotional, for this is after all a business. This is one thing that I hope to separate myself from others.

I may not be a teacher, nor a politician, nor a mover and shaker, but I think and hope that I am to some degree a poet. It took me years before I could call myself a poet, much less a writer, and throughout grad school I was told I was not Latina. I didn't I suppose fit into some mold. My identity as Latina is something I chose? Was it thrust upon me while running the streets of Lubbock and being told to "go back to Mexico." I don't know.

I feel this concept that there is no greatness or relevance any longer to be somewhat disconcerting. Someone once responded on this blog that they just wanted to read about other culutures sometimes and did not care if was "good" literature.
I also was challenged once to define "good".

So possibly I will revise my essay outlining what is good and what can be viewed a "bad" or mediocre. Overall, I feel a disparity between publicity given to some "friends" over publicity given to those we are not feeling particularly close to, and it is this very disparity that used to upset me so.

But now, I am simply wondering if I will ever write again. I think I will soon. The difficulty of teaching has come down on me hard this semester. I can not under any circumstances continue to be an "adjunct" instructor. It has simply taken its toll. I will take a hiatus and try to write some poetry and some criticism.

So I have blathered on the blog. But over all, I am disappointed in what is called the "community" as I have gone through some rough times, with no member, no "activist" out there giving a damn. I have learned therefore that business is simply business and there is little truly "communal" about it.

The heirerachy's exist and there is still marginalization and there is even further marginalization among the marginalized themselves.

I have put up with some humiliating comments and posts from people who have felt it was their place to scold me and get me to shut up. The silence demanded is no different that the silence that was demanded of me, in terms of being political, when I was a grad student.

But the world has little to no interest in us poets. Maybe being political is the way to go? I find political talkers often to be the first to be disinterested in other's true traumas or difficulties. They hold their positions of power and invite one another to readings all the while disowning the poor among us. These are simply realities that can not and do not shadow the joy of writing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cat Stevens - Hard Headed Woman (live)

At the Jefferson County Public library grading papers, or should I say, taking a break from grading papers. It will be odd next semester to have no papers to grade, but hopefully I will actually begin to write again. I read and am re-reading poems by Janice Mirikitani, a Japanese-American poet. Her work is interestingly bold, sad and moving. I think we like to forget about Japanese internment camps in WW2. Similarly, I find younger people more and more feeling like race, culture and difference are no longer problems, yet one young man did mention SB 1070 which I was calling SB 1022. Maybe it is due to a generation gap; I'm not sure anymore but people seem to want to avoid the issue at all costs or at least minimize it, say they are colorblind or imply that. In any case, Janice Mirikitani's work is interesting to me because it obviously has been so marginalized.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Jack Johnson - Go On

I still have some trouble getting into Ginsberg's "HOWL". Is it because it was frowned upon as self-indulgent when I was getting indoctrinated in grad school into what poetry is good and what poetry is bad poetry? I really do find him a bit self-indulgent I think, but I like "America" and the poem "I Am Waiting" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

"...I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder."

-- Ferlinghetti

I used to be in awe of wonder, the clouds, movement of them, the sunlight beating gently against my face. I think there will soon be time for wonder again.

I can't have poems without it.

Who was it that said a poet had 15 years? I don't think so. But yes, something of that innocence and wonder goes. Well, next year will be a year of seeking beauty.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

AMERICAN MASTERS | Neil Young Helpless | PBS

I'm still on blogger, but will try to share some videos via facebook. Facebook seems a bit overwhelming and I need to answer Martin's email and will, soon. I need a writing group here in Denver.

I'm going to work on writing more critically here soon. Writing both critically and creatively is the goal. I need about four more weeks to gather steam.

The Band - Forever Young

I should be grading papers, but find it almost impossible today. I will begin anew tomorrow. It's the end of the line in any case, 4 more weeks. I simply can't focus on it.

Allen Ginsberg

The beats-- intellectual hipsters. Counter-culture. And yes, Kaddish seems the better poem.
Maybe I'm partial because I too am close to my mother, and borne out of poverty and the desert dust, I sense the separateness of socio-economic classes among marginalized groups like Latinos. The fact is, we simply have difficulty understanding that which we have not experienced. Who can imagine?

Allen Ginsberg Reading Howl (Part 1)

Well, it has been pointed out to me that I write well critically, and that I should do that kind of writing on the blog, rather than the kind of personal narrative that I do. In any case, I'll wait to see if editors like it as much as non-editors. Perhaps it's time I write some more reviews for the El Paso Times or more essays like the one I just finished (rough draft).

I was encouraged to dislike Ginsberg in grad school, but I like the people getting kicked out of the academies. For some reason, that makes me feel better as I too have been cast out!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Jim Croce - Which Way Are You Goin'

Paul Martinez Pompa is blogging at the Poetry Foundation!
How does it feel to be free of illusion?

Invisible Man replies: painful and empty

In the preface to SHADOW AND ACT Ralph Ellison says of his struggle to become a writer:

"I found the greatest difficulty for a negro writer was the problem of revealing what he truly felt, rather than serving up what Negroes were supposed to feel, and were encouraged to feel. And linked to this was the difficulty based on our long habit of deception and evasion, of depicting what really happened within our areas of American life, and putting with honesty and without bowing to ideological expediencies the attitudes and values which give Negro American life its sense of wholeness and which renders it bearable and human and, when measured by our own terms, desirable."

In his essay, "The World and the Jug" he says,

"...when the work of negro writers has been rejected they have all too often protected their egos by blaming racial discrimination, while turning away from the obvious fact that good art-- and Negro musicians are present to demonstrate this--- commands attention to itself...And they forget that publishers will publish almost anything which is written with even a minimum of competency."

"Ellison is, in other words, more concerned with the way a man confronts his individual doom than with the derivation of that doom; not pathos, but power, in its deepest inner sense, is what concerns him."---- John Crowe Ransom


I first read Ralph Ellison as a freshman at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas in 1984. I was stunned by his work and am still am today. It is brutal in its depiction of how African-Americans were brutalized in the south.


I won't be teaching in the spring. My life will take a drastic turn towards a steep finanical fall, but it is the best thing for me at this time. I am frightened but feel more free, a bit more healthy and ready to move on to another phase in my life. It is definitely not what I had anticipated for myself, but things have come to a cross roads, and I must take care of my health and try to write again, so I stay healthy.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cat Stevens - Hard Headed Woman

I am surrounded by piles of paper, exams, roll sheets, codes and passwords, a puddied and boned skull,--- empty-eyed and I'm thinking I'll relax a bit before a 4:45 pm appointment. Lots of talk on listservs rooted in theory and some other things. More and more, I'm finding I reside in a different space. Maybe it's a matter of time, a matter of opportunity, a matter of interest or lack thereof, but it seems to me, there's concrete daily issues that interupt such ponderings on my part.

I love this song. I love "all" of the lyrics, all the way through.--- "I've known a lot of fancy dancers..."

Poetry is still not happening, although I did write a single line which I like and hope I haven't heard somewhere else.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

James Taylor - Fire and Rain (Beacon Theatre)

I'm at the public library grading papers. I have 13 left. :(

Missing El Paso, Texas today. But I'll be in the Denver area for a while longer. I think I'll head home for a visit during fall break. Need to go to Wal-mart to exchange a pair of snow boots, which I'll need soon. Yes, I submit to evil low prices.

I have to type up a paper guidelines handout tomorrow morning, as I have no working printer at the time.

I am in a good healing place right now and think I will spend the next year or so recuperating, starting Mid-December. Looking forward, with a bit of trepidation, to 2011. It will be a slowing down period for me, and I recognize that this is a true blessing.

I look forward to utilizing the new found time towards my poetry, which has obviously suffered due to circumstances and illness.

Circumstances change. People heal.

I did get a poem accepted by the Women's Quarterly Studies journal which had solicited some work. It's the first time in a very long time my work has appeared/or will appear in a print journal. It feels pretty good.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cat Stevens - Oh Very Young (live)

I'm going to go do some shopping today. Very thankful it's Friday! Thank God. I had a week from hell, really. I talk a lot here about writing poems, but the fact of the matter is that I never actually do it. There will likely be some major changes in my life beginning in December. I hope that the changes will help me write again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I will go get a strong cup of coffee in a minute. I am under a lot of pressure to revise a manuscript suddenly, but I'm very, very excited about it at the same time. Lots of work ahead of me in terms of toning up and polishing and tightening a number of poems.

Realizing that I also need to write an essay and teach five courses all simultaneously. It's a bit hectic in that I drive so much lately, but I feel reinvigorated in some ways. Some days I still get stuck in the rut of being disappointed and angry at someone, but then I regroup and find myself having lots of wonderful things happen simultaneously, but unfortunately I can't post the news here yet. I do recognize that I need to gain confidence in my work, my teaching and my presence. The essay will be a bit tricky in that I'm not certain what I want to say and need to go check out Diana Garcia's WHEN LIVING WAS A LABOR CAMP in order to get started on it; that and Lorna Dee Cervantes' EMPLUMADA will be integral to the essay I plan on writing.

Well, I'm off for a caffeine fix, a pretty necessary one as I spilled lots of my coffee all over my shirt this morning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Five mistakes everyone should make. I have most definitely managed do do all of these things successful people supposedly do. Am I more "successful" than I think I am? I hope so.

Insecurity has plagued me of late, and I sense it's time to start writing again, but I have 100 plus papers to grade this weekend :( I am feeling a bit more secure today, sensing everything will be okay despite the pressure of teaching so many courses.


Today I'm at the Auraria campus library getting ready to find some academic articles on Pound and Eliot. I've asked students to write a response to one of the poets we've read: Pound, Eliot, Stevens and Williams. The response can be a poem or an essay or even a free write. I really am interested in hearing their reactions to this varied group of poets.


"And so,/like this flower/I persist---/for what there may be in it./I am not,/I know,/ in the galaxy of poets/a rose/ who who among the rest,/ will deny me/ my place."

--- William Carlos Williams from "The Pink Locust" HEATH ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. Vol. D. Wadsworth. 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cat Stevens - Where Do The Children Play (live)

Relieved to have moved past Eliot and Pound and on to William Carlos Williams. So I will reflect tonight between classes I'm teaching on his slogan, "no ideas but in things." I can tell he ended up feeling that Pound and Eliot were too attached to European cultures and religion. Apparently he is associated with not only Pound in friendship but with several Black Mountain poets.

I found Eliot's "The Wasteland" interesting if not weighty, but agree that all of the allusions make it mostly undecipherable to a contemporary audience [according to a friend]. It is refreshing to read Williams, and I can't help wonder if my preference for Williams is rooted in my socio-economic status. Who has time to linger with Pound or Eliot? Is this just laziness on my part? I don't think so. We choose what we do with out time carefully, since our time is so limited and fleeting we choose what brings us pleasure, and William's "The Red Wheelbarrow" has always seemed so academic and pretentious, yet today I feel differently. I love that he embraces American idiom. I like that Williams was concerned with diversity and representing the poor and lower to middle economic classes.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reading Wallace Steven's "Anecdote of the Jar," "Sunday Morning," and "The Snow Man" with more appreciation than I have in the past.

At a coffee shop in Old Town Arvada. Wondering if and when I will start writing again. I don't have internet access where I'm staying, and I am teaching a lot of classes. My printer is broken too, so maybe working some place like a coffee shop on a few poems at a time and sending them out via online submissions is the way to go. I don't do well with the noise in coffee shops lately. I suppose I will go to the library from now on since it is more quiet.

A friend last night went on a wonderful rant about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes and demanded to know why she had to endlessly study Eliot and Pound in school. Her arguments were compelling and passionate. Basically, she can't understand why Pound and Eliot are excessively studied. Whereas Plath was labeled as a nut by the Hughes'--- that's what a friend was saying. In grad school, conservative program grad school, the men I studied with defended Hughes and saw him as a victim of feminists everywhere.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm reading "The Wasteland" in a rather noisy Starbucks. Yes, corporate coffee sucks. I usually go to a coffee shop in Arvada, but I didn't want to drive out there since all I mostly do during the week is drive.

I am trying to decipher the poem, or at least understand it beyond its shifting voices, shifting speakers and apocalyptic tone at times. Lots of sexuality too. Suffering people become "hooded hoards swarming" and unreal cities are destroyed and rebuilt. Women are once again depicted as neurotic, pathetic and aging disgustingly. I'm wondering now how I was ever a literature major. But I do think more wannabe poets should read a wide breadth of literature beyond contemporary voices of color. There, I said it. I say this while being uncomfortable with "The Wasteland". The disintegration of the culture that Eliot saw is so similar to what people sense today about our culture. It is slowly deteriorating and we look back to the classics for a sense of strength and security? No, mostly people ignore the classics and focus on those many marginalized voices outside the canon. I think this is dangerous. Yet, I think those voices should be read as well.

So I'm reflecting on themes I've read exist in the poem and find it interesting yet overwhelming, much the same way I come to and leave Pound. Exhausted. I have to read it more slowly somewhere where it is quiet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm trying to prepare for a 1:00 comp class and am in a rush as usual. I am literally driving all over the Denver metroplex to get to classes. I'm enjoying classes immensely if not the actual driving to and fro.

Today we discussed Pound and a bit of Eliot in the lit class. I have very, very bright students.

This afternoon I'll have students do some group work over an essay they have read and possibly have a discussion about whether or not torture is acceptable punishment in response to terrorism.

Next semester I may only teach two classes. I need to not be carried away into teaching so many classes. It was hard to say no to a lit class, but in the end I hope like a fool to teach a creative writing workshop again some day. I am adhering to someone else's syllabus which makes it a bit difficult, but I am learning a great deal and enjoying the students.


Pound. I have given his poems more thought recently than I ever have before and despite not liking him as an undergraduate, I find him interesting, but the heavy allusions and references make him a difficult read.

I'm going to lunch with a friend now.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I've been thinking about politics overriding artistic merit and thinking that tastes is simply individualistic, yet I am constantly pulled into believing there is good art and bad art, not low and high, but good and bad. Are my ideas about what is good simply a result of my education? No, I often disagreed with professors. Poetry is a complex thing, and history reveals the oppression of various voices, yet I am writing an essay for ABR re: when politics overtakes craft, sort of a case study on contemporary Latino/a poetry or more specifically Mexican-American poetry. I'm asked to report on what is "good" in Chicana/Mexican-American Poetry. And what is poetry or Chicana poetry? Books published by Chicanas, online ranting, what's anthologized?

In any case, I will write this essay because I promised to write it. I'm grappling with it now, but yes, I believe there is "good" work and bad work and I can't get around that I think this despite believing in inclusion. I just wish "good" work was noted.

And then again maybe my idea of what is good is off, but I think some poems are simply bland, simply political, simply journalistic reporting rooted most often in political rage.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I picked up an American Lit course which I'm excited about, but I'm a little overwhelmed as I also have 4 comp courses, but it should turn out okay. In any case, I'm very busy right now and am not sure I'll have much time to blog and as they say blogging is dead. I don't think it's really dead. I also have had a number of good things occur which I'll report here in due time. I will attempt to be more literary and more snobbish ;)

In any case, maybe I'll ponder what I'm reading and discuss it here. I'm taking the class over for someone who needs administrative course release, so I'm very excited to be teaching lit. again. I'll be using THE HEATH ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. SIXTH EDITION. VOLUMES C, D AND E.

Once again I get to struggle with Auraria campus parking. :( Oh well, I'm happy to deal with it as I am thrilled to be on that campus again for a time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On invisibility, publishing and gender

On invisibility, publishing and gender.

I'm at the Jefferson county public library where I hope to grade some papers and read.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

cat stevens Wild World

Picked up a class at Red Rocks Community College. Feeling better. Very excited about teaching though I'll have 3 separate preps. Feeling free!!!! Free at last

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mad World - Gary Jules

I have to continue working at 7-11 for a time. I need to try to find another part-time job, but it's not easy with teaching two courses beginning on Monday. I'm soooooo relieved to be teaching again. In the meantime, the facade is on; the masks are worn. The children are playing. The children are fighting.

I have to continue working at 7-11 for a time, an unknown amount of time. We are but fixtures and furnishings. Wind in the blowing mad. I have to continue working at 7-11 and writing poems about Brazilian bold, Regular, decaf, listing and listing of products: male enhancement pills, condoms, energy drinks: amp, rock star, Monster, chew: kodiak, copenhagen pouches, straight, blunt wraps: blue juju, melon burst, zig-zag rolling paper.

I'm a nerd or a dork or avoiding reality. Reality: watching the clock, watching the ever slow clock. The products are on the shelf, in the cooler, the beer is locked. The beer cabinet is locked. The bathroom is trashed again and again.

Graffiti is painted over and over, a lock is purchased. Nobody locks the bathroom, the key hangs on a plunger.

You will remember most the silence of your friends, not the enemies' laughter.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Jeffersons Season 1 Opening

Fast car -Tracy Chapman

I'm wondering if there is such a thing as social mobility anymore or if it is just a myth. I'm wondering if I will ever rise out of the social injustice of adjunct mode or not, but I've come to accept that my education provides me the ability to do more than simply work at 7-11, so maybe in some ways getting an education is worthwhile, but the economy is simply brutal now. This I know to be true. I may have to stay at 7-11 through September, and it is likely to be the case even if I start teaching since adjuncts get paid once a month.

I'd like to write seriously on what's happening re: adjuncts and more importantly the lack of diversity at academic institutions who claim to be concerned about diversity. A diversity of experience for them includes minorities from Ivy league schools. This seems strange, so maybe I do belong at a community college or some high school somewhere helping kids. It's difficult to dream sometimes when we feel boxed in by reality, and yes dear folks there's a reality that many people live. We'll have to see what the future holds, but my whole academic life, throughout graduate school I was told I would have it easy because I was female and "hispanic." Not!!!!!! All the white men I went to school with got tenure track jobs. So it seems mainly female hispanics from non-Ivy league schools are not being hired. I would like to name names and tell their stories.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Beethoven "Pastoral" Symphony - 5th Movement

I may have to work for someone on my day off, but that's okay because I may have classes at Community College of Denver's Auraria campus (which I love!) I very much miss teaching on this urban campus, so I have my fingers crossed. So this may be the end of my 7-11 gig; I'll know more for certain next week.

I didn't want to teach more than two but it's on the downtown campus which I miss a lot. I love the students there!!! Yay!!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Flower

Thinking about invisibility and silence and marginalization yet again and wondering if it all doesn't stem from a bad childhood. Yes, the issue of race and or culture is paramount, yet my feelings of invisibility and irrelevance are deeply rooted to an abusive step-parent and feelings of abandonment I think. I can't help but wonder if some outrage we experience is simply our own pain talking.

That said, po-biz seems inherently an avoidance of actual poetry. But my feelings about po-biz may be tied to that early abandonment I experienced in not knowing my real biological father. Therefore, anytime I'm left out or feel left out, it is rooted to past pain rather than current reality. The past pain of more favored siblings etc. is similar to the pain one feels in being seemingly left out of po-bizzz circles.
There's something seriously amiss some days re: poetry world business. I guess it is all about self-promotion rather than poetry? We'll have to wait and see? The whole point is that I need to write.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Fray - Happiness

Can't sleep. Have to be at work at 6 a.m.. :(

My housing option is still a go, but it may take a week or two before I can move. This is a relief. I am waiting on some funding.

Have a number of poems ready to send out? It's difficult to know if anything's ready to go anymore. One upon a time poems clicked shut for me. I just knew they were ready. Now, these poems seem ready, but I grow concerned the language isn't fancy enough, complex enough for poet/critics. Yet, I have to go with what I've written. Someone said to wait a few months before I send them out, but I've already waited several years. Then again, I'm hypercritical when it comes to my own work. It's simply very different than it once was.

Once someone said that I had a firm grasp of the language, but didn't seem confident in that-- and I think and hope he was right.

I am looking forward to teaching! I will teach 2 sections of comp. I need to teach again. I began one syllabus yesterday. It feels good. I will take a training course in utilizing the online stuff at school and hope to have syllabi and a number of assignment sheets etc. up before classes start on the 23rd. Very relieved to be teaching. I've asked for reduced hours at 7-11 because I just can't take it anymore. I would rather turn my phone off for a month or two than dredge out 35 hours a week. Cutting expenses seems better than being unhappy. I just can't do repetitive work like that and since the shifts are 8 hours long, it seems it will never end. Next week I will have three six hour shifts, and I'm very, very relieved even though it's kind of crazy. I simply can't be miserable there and can and will cut my expenses somehow. I so like it to a degree in terms of meeting people, but it seems representative of a global economy gone crazy. All the unhealthy products and big brother corporation/franchise owner watching over you with a baseball bat in hand. I have a lot of material though, but find it isn't necessarily working out in poems, but maybe it will later. It seems the stuff of fiction/surreal/unreal, but it is actually non-fiction.

I very much hope that some poems are picked up this fall. I called a press yesterday and am feeling more confident in sending my manuscript out and also that a third one is well in progress, slowly. I'm amazed at how often I have wasted time, as if time were something one could waste. No! It's time to get busy. If I suck now, that will bear itself out, but I need to have more confidence. Too many bad poets have excessive levels of confidence, so I think it may be a good thing that I don't. Sometimes I do, but it's been a long time. I've been struggling since 2008 when I had a serious episode in my life.

I need to read someone's manuscript so I can write a blurb. That in itself should give me some confidence. Very happy for her. Well deserved publication.

I have a lot of nervous manic energy, so hopefully that will translate into being alert and productive at work. Very tired of the job but am concerned about teaching more than two classes right now. Especially since they are two different classes. I need to ease back into things I think even though I'm getting pressure to pick up more classes from friends who mean well, yet don't get my situation at all.

I would love to teach a poetry workshop some day and had pretty much given up on that prospect for many, many reasons, but I think the time has come for me to focus on publishing again and possibly just focus on teaching these two courses well. I'm not sure how 7-11 will come into play since every bone in my body wants to quit, but we can't always do what we want. The fact is that I need the income now and it's usually not as bad as I dread it will be.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

On Silence

Less than a pin drop, more than an emptiness.
The crowd lingers in opposition to beauty.
There’s a theatre of walruses reciting poems.
I heard the echo of sadness a million times vanish.
Nobody wants to hear the truth?
Less than a pin drop, more than emptiness.
The crowd is full of longing and need,
the cheerleaders are older with more assertions
than ever and the boy god recites his prayers blandly.
I heard the echo of a shadow on the silent periphery of madness.
There were no children, only the scaffolding of quiet lies.
I am getting ready to submit to a number of magazines. I have a number of poems I am insecure about, but I understand my insecurity about them, among other things is a problem that needs work. We are all, after all, a work in progress.

I have a ton of poems, mostly short lyrical poems, and I also have a number of lyrical/narrative pieces which I hope to place. It's been many years since I've sent my work out unsolicited, so here it goes. I'm bracing myself for the rejection as these poems are different than the type of poems I was writing before, but I feel I will get an acceptance or two in the end. Possibly they are somewhat surreal now? No, not really. They are all quite plain spoken, but there is something to small words and poems too. My work is not as organic as it once was, in that it isn't necessarily working holistically in its appeal. Maybe it is more fragmented than before. Yes, I think so. Lots of insecurity after Po-biz kicked my ass, but I'm back writing again a little at a time, and I think it's best to enjoy that process of creativity. I'm at Cannon Mine to mark the occasion of getting my stuff ready by labeling envelopes to at least 20 journals for now.

A number of the poems deal with healing and mental health and there's at least one journal out there that calls for such poems, so I will send there. Very excited to be on the ball about this this fall finally.

Friday, July 30, 2010

7-11 is surely going to be the death of me. I truly hate it. My housing option fell through today. I'm depressed. Nothing is working out lately. I am having a very hard time getting to work today. Surely I can focus on the positive things: the stories that come out of it, the working class people I am surrounded by. Anything at all that I can hang on to that has a positive tone to it. I'm trying. I'm tired. I want to write soon to see if it can help. Instead I go to work. Ugh.

On a brighter note I've been asked to write my second blurb which is cool. This writer was a finalist for the main street rag contest recently. More later on that possibly.

Alas, now I go off to serve the public, to vend quarters and drop twenties and make that Brazilian bold, that 100 percent Colombian and wipe down that slurpee machine and mop those sticky floors.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sassy Gay Friend: Eve

I think these videos are funny. I am getting ready to move on Sunday. I don't live in a van down by the river; I live in a motel down on Colfax, but it's just a temporary thing until a place opens up for me.

Someone I admire recently asked for my opinion about Contemporary American Poetry, so I'm going to reflect on that a bit before I answer. My initial reaction was of course crepe paper black hanger negative in that it's a mess and unfair, but the reality is that it is alive and vibrant and very diverse. I do think sometimes marketing comes into play a bit too much like over at the Poetry Foundation, but I suppose that's what bureaucracies have to rely on, marketing, hustlers etc. I wish the presentation of poetry was less lopsided, and should I get into why I believe this is the case or not? I don't know. It seems the self-appointed avant garde is the new cool thing, but there's lots of good poetry out there that can't be classified in a narrow definition of that slant of poetics. And that doesn't make everything else confessional old hat etc. or elite "school of quietude," but I can sit around and blame the injustices of the po-biz world and not write or I can get busy and try to write again. My confidence has taken some major hits the last few years, but I am trying to get myself back together again and get back into writing more positively, where the process itself is enough. After all, that's all we really have in the end, the journey, the recovery, the healing poetry offers. I've decided the best path is to start writing again and be ambitious in the face of what seems overwhelming socioeconomic dynamics that leave my work in a limited place, but audience or perceived audience isn't everything. The pleasure we get from the process has to be our main endeavor.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cher-Half Breed, Gypsy's Tramps & Thieves and Dark Lady

I'm in the midst of moving now. Thinking about writing more once I get everything in storage. Oh joy in this heat. I'd like to send my work to some journals. Excited and scared about the prospect of actually getting my work circulating after all these years. So, the song above "half-breed" is significant as I was called exactly that not too terribly long ago. The term unnerved me. Perhaps it is something I should embrace.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Poets of the American West ed. by Lowell Jaeger

I have a poem in New Poets of the American West edited by Lowell Jaeger. Very excited to be included among such wonderful poets!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


This is how things begin in the garage and end out on the street cruising and it seems we get to a point in life that there's not turning around. Not even veiled. My step-father wanted to keep things documented, wanted each old acquired vehicle sold back to its past use.

I lost the dread of oil slicked waters and exhaust. He was bitter about every cut car, chopped he'd say with disgust and judgment. Every oddly souped up vehicle was for him a loss of history, nerdy loss of history's past, but the flamed painted doors, the Satanic Chicana chick with her tail, the flames telling us there was more to what's shown and more hidden. Every tatoo a pink devil woman, Malinche biding time.

I always liked the new art, the painted engine hoods, la virgen, the whore, the risque bizness of creating something new. But it was the antiques strict in the guidelines of restoration where sorrow came like a shadow forever on the surface of the floating moon.

My old man was dead in the past, in the resurrection of walls and porous arachnid traps, but I sense something new in the old cruising. Freedom. Hydraulics. Hemp and happiness.

Reasonable men leave me dead in leaves, in the color of leaves. Oh showy body, slick with the last great age of petroleum.

We reap what we sow. We sow what we reap. Karma, Karma, Karma, the bad birds cawed in the thick layers of smoke. Gyre. Gyre. We hear the old echo, but these birds are ravenously throaty and they bobble and squack trying to drown the sound of engines.

It was the last testament to our strange love mask, something of loving and another of need or was it green; how a storyteller says it sideways, face turned profile shadow
and uncertainty walked its brave prayers, and it was time to cut the whole angle and sing.

Her voice tremor and tenuously stretching itself nowhere. His certain criticisms left the cars unfinished too long. Rumble seats unfilled, chokes unchocked, and the world was this strange geometry and the Puerto Negra was finally more than a song. It opened like the gates of hell, flames and fire and heat in the desert. Some searched for water, others ran beside the cut shells of newer cars, glowing.

My old man was dead in the past, in the resurrection of so many walls and porous arachnid traps, for I believed in transference, in contageons and criteria, but I lost the sense of waking or dreaming, I do not know, but the world was filled and filled and we were so very thirsty.

It was la Puerta Negra, the black crape paper hanger at the party, it was the way the remodeled engines tickled and tocked, how the women dressed in old finery and the play acting began and began.

What is there to facade and need? We were not connecting with words too private to declilne. We trade what's dead for what's living.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This song makes me like Luivette's poem for Ricky Martin even better. So many talented and wonderful poets at Canto Mundo. You can check out the videos of fellows reading at Eduardo's blog lorcaloca or Francisco's blog Letras Latinas.

I accidentally posted this on Robert Vasquez's blog. Speaking of him, does anyone have a phone number where he can be reached currently? If so, please email me.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Denver Tourism : Denver Butterfly Pavilion: Overview

I'm getting ready to drive to Albuquerque for Canto Mundo. Hopefully I'll get there and have some time to rest before the first gathering.

Happy July!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Monday, July 05, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ben Saenz and the border

Ben Saenz was interviewed on PBS's Newshour. Here's a video of it.

W.S. Merwin named Poet Laureate.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paul Revere & The Raiders - Indian Reservation

Zager And Evans - In The Year 2525

Looks like I'm stuck working at 7-11 till something better comes along, so my fantasy about going to El Paso has just fallen through. I like this weird song. I will go to EP for one night after Canto Mundo is over in Albuquerque. Concerned about having enough for the hotel at Canto Mundo and the gas too, but things usually turn out fine in the end. I'll be there one way or another.

I need to try to write again to maintain my sanity. Running the register is quite difficult for me still. I do okay, but I still mess up. I prefer the cleaning, so I don't have to deal with impatient customers. Over all things are okay. I'm moody with the prospect of working there, but it's probably good for me. It definitely gets me out of my head and into interacting with people and out of that abstract cushioned academic world (and yes, academia has no clue what working class means-- We forget the reality of it as we teach). Working at 7-11 is absolutely different than teaching . Period. Trust me. Try it yourself if you'd rather disagree with me. Seriously, get that minimum wage job and tell me how it's all the same. Go for it! I'll trade!! I'm just thankful I can teach 2 classes this fall.

Writing is a necessity. I need to look back at the various characters I meet at work and how people relate to one another and function.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Animals - It's My Life

Headed to El Paso for an entire month soon. Not sure if I'm coming back to Denver or not. Basically I want to go home but my health care options as an uninsured person are better in Colorado. How I'll survive in CO is anyone's guess.

I stopped writing cold a few days ago. I hope to write something today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cat Stevens - "the WInd"

Just wrote a rough draft of a poem to this and of course will post it briefly. I have no self control, no shame. Please don't lift lines accidentally. I feel like naming the person to jostle their attention. I'm in a good mood even though I didn't get fired ;). I am having some difficulties though as the poem/draft indicates. Very interested in writing again though which feels good. So much we have to be ashamed of as human beings with the recent gulf spill, yet there's something beautiful and amazing in the faces of customers that I see every day, yet my attitude goes negative often. I dread going in some days. I was very slow at the register too. It's a long story, but I'm doing better. I do hope to get a teaching job and see myself returning to Texas in a year or two for some reason, but we never know where the path or journey takes us. I have P to consider too and hope he will want to move. We'll see what happens. I just hope it doesn't include 7-11 for a lifetime.

Here's the draft:

Friday, June 18, 2010

I was supposed to work a double shift today and got confused! I hope I'm not fired!

The Wind Cat Stevens

Tempted to post a poem/draft this morning, but I've decided my interest are best served by sending my work to journals and presses in the future. I am feeling good about what I'm writing, though often more self critical than I should be. Sent a bit of work out and am very much looking forward to sending out more poems to journals in Aug./Sept. Getting ready to attend Canto Mundo which is refreshing since I want to meet Demetria Martinez. I have needed a workshop for some time and hope that Canto Mundo will offer inspiration.

Hope to hear something back soon from a press and will be working on a third manuscript this year. Not really sure publishing a lot is the key to writing well, and I've decided it's okay that I'm not churning work out these past few years. Things needed time to gel. Lots of the poems I'm writing are not narrative and quite fragmented yet lyrical. Eager to revise yet a bit overwhelmed with the sheer volume of poems I must revise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yusuf (Cat Stevens) - Peace Train - Nobel Concert 2006

I obviously love this song. I like how Yusef Islam states that the eradication of poverty definitely is the way to peace.

I was in a cranky mood earlier. I slept a few hours and all is well.

Time to write.


Okay, maybe I'm still in a little bit of a bad mood about the subject I was writing about, but there's not a lot I can do about it other than try to write the best I possibly can without self-effacement.

In Praise of Tough Criticism

In Praise of Tough Criticism

I am still surprised that one terrible book of poetry, and I'm sorry, it's just a horrible book received at least 12 glowing online reviews. I'm not sure how that happens, but it certainly does. Nobody and I mean nobody will even hint that the book is horrific. Yet, in the current poetry world, it seems the status quo to praise with faint praise. Of course, my book, received a review in Latino Poetry Review ie not a very positive review. I honestly do not understand glowing reviews of one book in particular, but I'm thinking maybe I am missing something, but everyone I show the book to says it's terrible and I do mean terrible, not merely mediocre but just plain bad.

It comes down to belief in a person's ability to help or hurt one's "career" and people do have writing careers. I have no apparent trade ability and the other person does. Five years after the fact I just don't understand people. I do however think some people have underestimated me as a poet. Yet lately my work seems a bit odd, possibly at times too full of private imagery and things I need to revise out of it.

But lord, people still are accepting this poet/administrator as a poet and I just don't get it. I mean the emperor has absolutely no clothes! And what's worse is the emperor thinks he's got a nice outfit.

Someone from Chicago assured me that in time these things work themselves out and the cream rises to the top. I don't think that's the case in contemporary American Poetry. I hope that this is true, that such attention is fleeting (for the bad work). But then again, maybe the absence of criticism from this terrible and I do mean terrible book speaks volumes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cat Stevens - Can This Be Love (Demo)

Feeling free. I've written two short poems this morning. It's a lovely blue cloudless morning. I'm excited to be writing. I go to work at 2 pm to the chaos of shift change, cleaning, impatient customers and more impatient employees, managers etc. But I feel so free!

I mean, after I get off, or before I go in to work ;)

More music! More creativity! More good day!!


In any case, hoping today at work goes smoothly.


More tunes! More writing!

Yusuf Islam - "Peace Train" (Classic and blues)

One short poem already this morning. I have to go in to work at 2 pm and hope to write some more this morning. Feeling good about what's coming. Feeling free.

No more worrying about people's judgments, especially when they live with mom. Right?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Animals - We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place (1965) slideshow

Oh yeah, this one is the one to write to this morning!

"We've gotta get out of this place."

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

"In this dirty old part of the city, where the sun refuses to shine, people tell me there ain't no use in trying."

But I will try!

Eric Burdon & War - Spirit, Copenhagen 1971

Feel like listening all morning to Eric Burdon. Feel like writing a 7-11 poem to this stuff! Still in love with Cat/Yusef's stuff too. Thinking 'bout the job and how I've fallen from grace. People get fired a lot or quit a lot. High turnover. We'll see how long I last. It's more funny than it sounds. She fired someone for talking to a lot of guys and said, "this is no whore house." haha I'm serious.

Well, have a terrific day, ese.