August 24th, 2003


ahoy, mateys.

I dreamed this morning that I was lying in bed with Brian Kinney after sex and tracing my finger up and down his chest while we discussed whether or not he needed waxing. Manscaping! So apparently my subconscious is quite willing to make a facile connection of shows with the word "queer" in the title. And I have no problem with that.

Yesteday I was weirdly social. I met wiseacress, who is 5'9" of unbelievable red-headed cuteness, and we had coffee and lunch and talked about writing, fiction, poetry, literary manifestos, Bill Murray, Canada, shirtless women, British high tea, and other things I forget.

After that I went to a local fan bash for the first time in months--a few people mentioned my newest tattoo, which I got in November, and I really can't accept that it had been that long. I feel fairly sure that I've been to one or two bashes since then, and was perhaps wearing long sleeves. But still. I had clearly been gone for a time, and it was great to catch up with people offline--sherrold (who I actually do see more often), merryish, movies_michelle, feochadn, gwyn_r, wickedwords, and other friends who have resisted the lure of the LJ.

I feel a bit socially refreshed today. And in need of doughnuts--pancakes, waffles, bacon?--and more sleep, not necessarily in that order.

I spent some time just now looking for a poetry rec. I have plenty to choose from, but some seem to exist only in print and not online (and I am too lazy to type them out), while others thwart me entirely. I've gone through several books searching for an elusive pantoum villanelle by, I think, Richard Howard--one of the repeating lines being something like, "The deaf boy claps when the others clap." But it's nowhere to be found and google is a bitch. Actually, it surprises me today--I googled for "Berkeley Eclogue," which is a brilliant poem by Robert Hass, and got only 3 non-redundant mentions. What does it mean? I guess you'd have to whittle down the numbers: say that the poem was read by 10,000 people. Of those, it resonated deeply for maybe, god knows, 300? Most of them poets. And of these poets, maybe 200 are online regularly, making web pages and writing in blogs, etc, and of all these people, no one has ever bothered to mention it in a review.

If you call all things memes--writers, poems, books, movies--it seems like the robustness of a thing, its survival factor, can be measured well by the Internet, by how well it's represented. But maybe I shouldn't worry--the net is young and it's a very transient current, after all. Not many people are looking ahead to its function as a long-term archive. Maybe the poems not found here are safe in libraries and in classrooms and will survive and propagate in some form, in print anthologies, etc etc.

Still. The net is vastly underutilized, given what it is and what it could be. It's so fucking hit-or-miss, and it's mostly miss. You should not have to know, by name, what you're looking for in order to find it, you know? You should be able to say, "I want to find a selection of great poems, representative of our best contemporary efforts," and then make your way too them without having to wade through thickets of irrelevant distractions, prose and porn sites.

Somehow while writing this I seem to have ripped through half a bag of Milanos. For breakfast. I think I will go now.

poem of the day

Ha. I found it. Except it wasn't a pantoum, it was a villanelle, and it wasn't Richard Howard, but Richard Hugo, and the boy wasn't deaf, he was dim.

My mind is an ever-decaying blur.

Pasted here because people should not present poems in white on a purple page.
The Freaks at Spurgin Road Field

The dim boy claps because the others clap.
The polite word, handicapped, is muttered in the stands.
Isn't it wrong, the way the mind moves back.

One whole day I sit, contrite, dirt, L.A.
Union Station, '46, sweating through last night.
The dim boy claps because the others clap.

Score, 5 to 3. Pitcher fading badly in the heat.
Isn't it wrong to be or not be spastic?
Isn't it wrong, the way the mind moves back.

I'm laughing at a neighbor girl beaten to scream
by a savage father and I'm ashamed to look.
The dim boy claps because the others clap.

The score is always close, the rally always short.
I've left more wreckage than a quake.
Isn't it wrong, the way the mind moves back.

The afflicted never cheer in unison.
Isn't it wrong, the way the mind moves back
to stammering pastures where the picnic should have worked.
The dim boy claps because the others clap.

-- Richard Hugo