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    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    I love you Ajivit

    The other night I saw Born into Brothels, the documentary that won the Academy Award. Basically, the entire movie is about this photographer who lives in the Red Light District in Calcutta and teaches the children of the brothels how to take pictures. The effects on the kids lives and her life is amazing. These kids were so wonderfully articulate and sensitive and talented that you wanted desperately for them to get out of the brothels. The movie wasn't successful because it displayed something you don't see everyday. It was successful because these kids were given a chance to do something that they would never had done otherwise. It was honest and didn't try to hide anything or disguise things. Things were laid out plainly.

    I also really enjoy movies about kids when they're done well. The other one that immediately comes to mind is Spellbound which also cast the children as themselves and how they existed outside the eye of their parents, but also how they were effected by the pressure most clearly placed on them by parental expectations. Interestingly enough both documentaries were distributed by Think Film Company which seems to distribute a wide variety of films.

    The 2 kids that were really very endearing by the end were Puja-the spunky girl and Ajivit-the boy that truly had an eye for art. I just hope that as they become adults they don't lose any of that spunk and talent.

    Enough sappy comments, just go see the movie.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    Paper Flowers

    Recently, I discovered a new playwright named Egon Woolf, who is Chilean and appears to have only one of his plays translated into English. The play Paper Flowers is amazing. See for yourself:

    "Love is a truce between periods of exhaustion. Love is broken teeth in a hungry mouth."

    I've been thinking lately about my lack of seeking out non-English pieces of literature to read. What am I missing out on? Probably tons and tons.

    Note to self, read more translated material.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Nature Tromp - iii Hill

    iii. Hill

    let’s begin in flight
    both male drone and breeding female—go
    carried from every ant hill placed on the limbs of grass
    wings spread out in a colony escape
    not just your little ant hill, one outside your window
    but all little ant hills

    a lift up as wind catches wings
    she pounces, cat claws attached to screen
    she has no demure meow

    the drones drop off, sex caught mid-flight
    a fall to death
    breeders are left to build anew
    a quick chew to release her wings
    and she’s laying it all out
    first brood chamber, you’re all minors,
    obey and wait it out

    New worker:
    here is your abrupt temporal caste
    lasting days 2-4 at a time:
    1 care for your queen & siblings
    2 dig dig there is always nest work
    3 forage for food and defend your home

    the tapping of rain
    beating and mashing down
    your hill a swirling mudpie

    minor media major (soldier)
    the inescapable physicality of it all

    when a pack of you climbs up my piping
    I wonder who is who
    if soldiers are so forthcoming?
    never slipping or sliding down the porcelain smooth
    but popping out antennaes through piped in holes

    when I turn on the spigot full force
    you crumple and curl
    I watch as you
    let out attack and propaganda pheremones
    confuse or a t t a c k,
    c o n f u s e and attack

    mandible jaw working up and down
    that trail behind you warm
    you’ll be swarming soon
    but there’s no food here
    just cold tile floors

    my attempts at destruction are futile, god save the queen

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    Nature Tromp ii - Shell (absent)

    ii. Shell (absent)

    mucus train, wet—quickly
    evaporating in the warm sun
    top of the fence post—wait it out slug
    reach for a leaf, take a dive down
    your shell not quite absent
    tucked up under your saddle-shaped mantle
    little platelette, a fall can break you
    after all you have no visceral mass
    stacked up organs atop a foot

    garden vines are thick and wirey
    tomato red grow up and around your cages
    flower out on top of, not through, the metal squares
    carefully spaced apart, planted early
    now you brush and sway against a breeze, touching

    foot—thin and watery pull ahead, pedal and push-
    thick and sticky yet
    travel up, follow shadows, accordion movements

    your tentacles are going
    sensory-lower and shorter-smell and taste
    optic-upper and longer you can see—
    look for leaves, taste dead decaying produce
    your radula is tongue tied and heavy,
    quick tiny tooth like denticles are ensured
    choke and strangle tight
    shredded cacophony of leaves in your wake

    to think just moments ago
    hanging from a slime cord
    you mated in mid-air
    bluish swelling genitalia all pushed out
    your mate wrapped tightly around
    both simultaneouly male and female
    taking and giving sperm
    your fertilization pocket isn’t far from your food
    drop out your 1,000+ batch of eggs
    all laid out in a continuous string.
    as you dip and dive past salt streams,
    buried beer cans to drown you
    eating and eating a fertile laid out plot

    a scoop and you’re mine, palm centered
    a push of mucus and you’ve marked me
    curl and writhe under the current
    salt can penetrate your delicate muscles
    when poured directly on

    little slug you were set to
    die, the air is changing-
    it’s going cold and moistureless here

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    Lots-o-Readings

    Velvet Revolution
    Student Showcase And Open Mic
    with John Cleary (fictionoso and poetico)
    and Elizabeth Gjelten (celebrated monologuista teatrista!)
    hosted by Malia Jackson Nobel Prize Winning Nuclear Poet


    Tuesday, May 10 at 5:00 PM
    in The Poetry Center Humanities Building, Room 512, SFSU Campus

    ********

    Robin Romm Chapbook Release Party
    for The Tilt a collection of short stories
    Winner of the 2004 Michael Rubin Chapbook Award from Fourteen Hills/San Francisco State University.

    Tuesday, May 10th at 7:30
    at Great Overland Book Company
    345 Judah Street @ 9th Ave, San Francisco
    (415) 644-0126

    ********

    Ecstatic Monkey presents:
    Toni Mirosevich Book Release Party
    Queer Street
    Reading with Malia Jackson & Lori Williams

    Thursday, May 12 @ 7:30pm
    StartSOMA Gallery
    672 S. Van Ness between 17th and 18th

    Toni Mirosevich is the author of The Rooms We Make Our Own (Firebrand Books), co-author of Trio: Toni Mirosevich, Charlotte Muse, Edward Smallfield (Specter Press), and of the newly released Queer Street (Custom Words), runner up for the 2004 Custom Words Poetry Prize. Afourth collection of poetry, My Oblique Strategies, won the 2005 Frank O'Hara Chapbook Award (Pratt Institute, Brooklyn) and will be published by Thorngate Road Press in September, 2005. Other literary awards include the Astraea Emerging Lesbian Writer in Fiction Award,the Americas Review Poetry Prize, and for 2004-2005 fellowships with the MacDowell Colony, Willard R. Espy Foundation and Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Best American Travel Writing, The Progressive, and is forthcoming in Puerto Del Sol, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and in the anthologies AutoBioDiversity (Heyday Books) and The Impossible Will Take A Little While (Basic Books). She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University.

    ********

    Fourteen Hills Journal celebrates its NEW ISSUE at
    the Elbo Room
    Tuesday, May 17, 2005 @ 6:30pm
    647 Valencia Street (btwn 17th & 18th)

    WITH POETRY AND FICTION READINGS BY contributors Aurora Brackett, AnneClifford, Susanna Kittredge, Laura Moore, Robin Romm and Margaret Ronda.


    Anne Clifford's short stories have appeared in Hayden's Ferry Reviewand Get Off My Wagon, and have been performed by a Los Angeles theatercompany. In 2004, she won an AWP first prize for fiction and receivedher MFA from the University of San Francisco. She lives in Albany,where she works as a grant writer fornon-profit organizations.

    Aurora Brackett is working on her MFA in Creative Writing at SFSU. Shelives in Oakland. "Cold War" won the 2004 Wilner Award.

    Laura Moore's poetry, fiction, essays and photography have appeared inCoracle, Spectrum, Midnight Zoo, Danse Macabre, Limestone, 14850Magazine, The Ithaca Times, Kalliope and 14 Hills. Though she lives,works, and schools in San Francisco you can most often find her at theWinchester Mystery House. She has a season pass.

    New England native Susanna Kittredge is currently pursuing her MFA inCreative Writing at San Francisco State University. She enjoyscooking, crochet, and watching the ocean from a distance. Her poemshave appeared or are forthcoming in the journals Diner, Sahara,Transfer, and Shampoo, and in the upcoming Faux Press anthology, _BayArea Poetics_.

    Margaret Ronda received an MFA in poetry from Indiana University. Herpoems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Faultline, Seattle Review,Prairie Schooner, and other journals. She is currently pursuing a PhDin English at UC Berkeley.

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    The Hansel & Gretel Forest Series

    With the last posting of the Hansel & Gretel series I feel relief. I'm glad I've finally committed this idea to paper. This is my first draft pass of the series and I still have plenty of work to do on it: cleaning it up, tightening it, and making sure the narrative line doesn't get lost in all of the description.

    I think I've hit upon something that I think will make an intersting chapbook or book idea - placing fairy tales in the bay area with modern concerns. Next series: Little Red Riding Hood meet Mission Dolores. I think I'll have her check out various churches and religions rather than going to see her grandmother.

    I'm in spring mode, lots of finishing of projects going on and more new ideas than I can possibly handle.

    The Hansel & Gretel Forest 10-The End

    10
    the whole thing is sucked down
    turned inward and under
    a flip flop around
    the ground is green kissed. dewy. grackle free
    an absence of past
    a return to the car, an exit out, a long drive home

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    The Hansel & Gretel Forest 9

    9
    The tap of his finger
    against the squawking of the birds
    produces a beat
    rat a tat
    rat a tat tat tat
    pim-pom,
    pim rat a pom tat tat
    an S.O.S. with substance
    Gretel only notices because the roof has flown off
    something about refusing to
    relinquish its chocolate core
    the insides of the house are swirling
    the triangle shaped room
    comes out whole
    air born, perched atop the bramble bush
    amidst glass jars, red cloaks, a liquor cabinet

    the beldame is last—
    speared through vertically with a poker
    landed in the fire pit
    a click and the spit is turning
    gas engulfed
    licking her legs lovingly

    Hansel is all punctured through
    a punched out boy
    Gretel knows it won’t last
    the beldame will pour through
    seal him up when she takes a last breath

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    The Hansel & Gretel Forest 8

    8
    The ground has shifted into puddles
    with thorny middles, little O’s everywhere
    broken with thin walkways
    the grackles are bathing inbetween
    jutting necks around thorns, little squawker
    Gretel sits on thick heavy roots
    and waits
    for a crack, a breaking open, a something soon

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    The Hansel & Gretel Forest 7

    7
    meanwhile,
    Hansel has pushed Gretel
    she is on the outside-the edge
    of his mind, this story, this tall tale
    a Flit-in and out, a sometimes blink

    the beldame has
    slid inside, soaking up the
    edges, thick heavy sponge.
    she feasts/flirts—leaving
    bone shells—she goes for marrow
    a seeker of sorts, maybe

    cocooned in a triangle shaped room
    Hansel is strapped
    he taps lightly with a finger against the
    wall, holding out for—
    anything besides a beldame
    her eyes craving insides
    the ends of his toes sucked clean
    on the pristine floor, the deep inner core
    pointy hollow room
    spic and span clean

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    Mutability

    This poem is a central component to my thesis and I'm thinking that I will rewrite the poem several times to indeed include the various aspects of seeing this image. Giving and taking a little more or a little less with each version. Then I will scatter it throughout the entire manuscript.

    The Mutability of the Eye

    i. Playbill

    Sitting in the middle of the auditorium
    my eyes fall at stage level
    defying the architectures stacked appeal—
    a perfect seat throughout the house


    i. 1st Possibility

    a shoe, table leg, corner of book, [see stage right]

    not high heeled shoe, 3 legged table,
    mahogany streaked wood-appears odd-
    fourth leg fake, chopped prop—very faux

    chunk of hair—my own—falters, flops
    tickling my eyelash.
    Momentary—brown out.


    ii. 2nd Possibility [see stage left]

    on a table stands a vase
    oblong in shape a bluish
    tint glows from within, it radiates
    along its pear shaped middle,

    lighting box has caught a corner
    twinkle
    blue light shards everywhere



    iii. 3rd Possibility [see stage center]

    stage, then curtain
    stage light sweeping horizontally
    shoes, then legs
    swollen calf muscles
    pleated hem of 1950’s skirt
    standing next to bobby socked
    girl of eight years
    who should be
    made up to appear poignant—they are
    pointed replicas of self,
    painted on face, contrary expression of—


    iv. 4th Possibility [see stage]

    Bobby socks legs are dancing
    in the blue lights

    Pleated skirt is perched
    atop a settee flaking red paint

    The table is dearly missing its fourth leg and
    mahogany isn’t any sort of wood at all, at least not here.
    Here it is streaked paint.


    v. Possibility Over-
    Curtain Cued

    It’s all red velvet now—

    embraced shoulders and a slight lift
    it all seeps underneath
    reflecting back up, shiny wooden floors absorb
    dark movements

    a swish back, low bows, clasped hands
    red velvet swinging into place

    again and again
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