Friday, June 20, 2008

walking around all day in my one piece swimsuit

it could be worse. it could be a bikini. think of it. cold, blue limbs. tickly long, wet grass around my ankles. itchy. the grey skies opening up and drenching my already cold body. it could be worse. a hungry empty stomach. instead it would be more fun dressing for the occasion. think long dr who scarves wrapped around long necks. warm jackets buttoned right-all-the-way up, boots fending off cold feet, long socks -stripey of course, and a cute little hat, jauntily placed, of course. welcome winter. we've missed you.

c h a l k talk


walking to work: frank o'hara

It's going to be the sunny side

from now

on. Get out, all of you.

This is my traffic over the night

and how

should I range my pride

each oceanic morning like a cutter

if I

confuse the dark world is round

round who

in my eyes at morning saves

nothing from nobody? I'm becoming

the street.

Who are you in love with?


Straight against the light I cross.


being stung by a bee on the lexington avenue local: john hollander

Ouch! etcetera

Aside, and then likewise the

Conclusion that I

Had indeed not been

Stabbed in the left shoulder with

A knitting needle

By some demented

Wretch whose misery I'd be


Too angry to spare

Any real sympathy for

(Though I knew too well

Life had undone so

Many) sitting in the jammed

Car heading uptown

Through the acutely

Nonrural subway tunnel:

Said conclusion drawn

From a subsequent

Nonmechanical humming

In my ear accompanied

By an actual glimpse

Of the creature who would not

Live long buzzing off,

As it were and as

A matter of fact as well—

What some idiot

Of the literal

Might mean by rus in urbe...

All of those aside,

It was only weeks

After that I realized

That the very (most

Nonliteral) point

Of the sting was that the thought

Buzzed through my mind some

Days later that I

Was as one who, once stung by

A gold-banded

Bee in a fable,

Might have thereupon acquired

As a gift—not from

Apollo himself,

But from one of his nine girls—

A peculiar kind

Of wisdom: but of

Which sort, and from which of them—

Which of the Muses—

Let alone what tied

That bunch to that misplaced bee

(Poor lost bee! I had

No anger for her

As I might have had for the

Knitting-needle nut)

And what deep cosmic

Questions had hung on this I

Could not imagine.

But although with no

Gift nor Muses nor indeed

An available

Apollo, I would

Come to conclude that even

The subsequent brief

Sting of the sudden

Awareness of them and their

Moot irrelevance

Was as much of a

Gift from those nine sisters as

Is ever given.

if you wish we'd stop making a splash, tell us. if you would like to come frolick in the waves with us, winter or summer, tell us that too.


sticky jam on cold toast. it tastes too good, of course it's with tea too. on tv there's a cardboard elephant dancing on a wire. it's rickety in its frame, but i remember it well from my own childhood. dear diary, i should be writing more, but instead i'm reading fashion magazines and daydreaming about my next pair of shoes, my new summer dress, the cake i'd like to bake. the new pillowcase i thrifted. i'm doing anything but what i'm supposed to be doing... and then there's the swimsuit. stripes or polka dots this season?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

stealing from the back catalog: everybody's busy

so – everybody’s busy. everybody’s got a lover (boris, mitzi, derek); or a husband or a wife. everybody’s got themselves into some form of strife (parking tickets, no petrol, no money). everybody’s got a job (mummy, disco dancer, dj), everybody’s got a hobby (macrame, stamps, ant farms), everybody’s joining some political lobby (less work – more pay!). so the excuse of ‘I’m too busy’ doesn’t really stand, because everybody for that one can raise their skinny little hand. if everybody is so busy – then how do friendships ever get made. if everybody’s so busy – everything must surely just get waylaid. i made an oasis in my day to bring you an oasis in your busy-ness.
say no to being too busy.
c h a l k talk
amanda’s painting: les murray
in the painting, i'm seated in a shield,
coming home in it up a shadowy river.
it is a small metal boat lined in eggshell
and my hands grip the gunwale rims. i'm
a composite bow, tensioning the whole boat,
steering it with my gaze. no oars, no engine,
no sails. i'm propelling the little craft with speech.
the faded rings around the loose bulk shirt
are of five lines each, a musical lineation
and the shirt is apple-red, soaking in salt birth-sheen
more liquid than the river. my cap is a teal mask
pushed back so far that i can pretend it is headgear.
in the middle of the river are cobweb cassowary trees
of the south pacific, and on the far shore rise
dark hills of the temperate zone. to these, at this
moment in the painting's growth, my course is slant
but my eye is on them. to relax, to speak european.
teeth sensitive to the sand: matsuo basho
teeth sensitive to the sand
in salad greens--
i'm getting old.
this is a photograph of me: margaret atwood
it was taken some time ago.
at first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper; then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house. in the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills. (the photograph was taken
the day after i drowned. i am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface. it is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small i am:the effect of water
on light is a distortion but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)
if you’re too busy to read this, tell us. if you love to pause a while for the cool air of a poetic oasis, tell us that too.
i’m skeeeping town, moving to mexico so i can say all day long – heeeey gringo, why you look so sad?
morning time and we skip around in the leaves, crunch, kerunch, crunch. the bottoms of our jeans get wet with dew, my little man wears the radiant smile that beams as a sun, run out feed the ducks, run out into the sunshine, pick flowers, eat breakfast in the morning cool, wonder just how long this winter will take before it melts in the heat.