Blog Archives

Where in the world am I?

Hi Folks–

Yes, yes, I know I never quite ended the Open Letter to Marc Maron, but I just couldn’t figure out an appropriate way to say good-bye… so let’s just stick an ellipsis on that puppy for now with a heartfelt To Be Continued….

The blog will continue to be on hiatus through the end of April because I’m participating in the Found Poetry Review’s #PoMoSco challenge, which basically is poets from around the world trying to earn badges by doing things like creating erasure poems using an online redaction tool or channeling our inner Tristan Tzaras and choosing words out of a paper bag randomly to create a poem and using something called a haiku discombobulator! If you want to follow my progress, you can find my work here. (Also check out some of the other poets; they’re making some ah-ma-zing work!) I don’t think I’ll be able to earn all 30 badges but I hope to get darned close!

Finally, I haven’t yet added it to the publication page, but I had a lovely start to National Poetry Month with a poem published in Open Letters Monthly. Check that out here.

Sooo, how are you all celebrating National Poetry Month (and Jazz Appreciation Month)? Inquiring minds want to know…

See ya soon,

P.

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From the Archives: The Painter’s Small Wife

It’s hard to believe that this poem is more than a decade old. I wrote it during my fellowship time at the Fine Arts Work Center. I’d always enjoyed going to museums but this was the first time I’d ever lived among visual artists, visited their studios, engaged with art work outside of a museum or gallery space. It was the beginning of my long conversation with visual work, although I didn’t know then that I’d get to the point where I’d hear poems speaking to me the minute I walked into a museum show. But that’s another post for another time….

As I re-read the poem now, I realize that it captures some of my discomfort in my late 20s/early 30s at being an “artist,” of having a way of looking that was different than most of my friends. It’s taken me a long time to appreciate the way my brain works, and to know that there are people who appreciate my brain precisely because of my way of looking.

Oh, I should mention that as I remember Ellen’s painting, it was a gorgeous close-up of a tree trunk in a forest of trees.

“The Painter’s Small Wife”

(after an untitled painting by Ellen Altfest)

Yes, I said, I’m really looking,
not looking, wanting

nothing to remain
of the moment, nothing

to shred into something.
I wondered how

you saw it like that,
close-up of plates—

blue, white, yellow, pink—
that were the bark.

I saw that it was muddy.
And maybe there were three trees.

Your brushes, relentless,
drowned out everything.

Here, I wanted to say,
here I am,

blocking your light.
You painted the shadows,

admitting nothing.
I’m not sure if I hated you

then, or after.
Everything to me

simply brown or green.

Sometimes in April it rains poems

Tulips

For April—National Poetry Month—I’m trying my darnedest to write a poem each day. I don’t plan to post them here; the poor darlings will be too newborn to be out in the world any time soon. I did, however, want to share the draft I wrote today as it was a direct result of the “ecstasy of looking” I wrote about here. (And it’s also part of the Love Poems series I’ve been working on since last November. At least, I think it is…)

Poem Left in His Pocket on a Page Torn from a Book

I admit you still feel strange to me
in the most ordinary of ways:

how, for example, you look at me
as if I were enough or

how when I put the white tulips you sent
on the kitchen window sill and wait

for the sturdy light of morning
each yellow heart glows

and still, I do not weep.

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