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.