Thursday, December 5, 2013

“Statute 192, section B of the Wild Imaginations Act”

Hi S.

My apologies for not being in touch---got back on the wagon: found myself banging  way too much ink. I know. Strange for me to say such a thing but it came to a point, that certain day-after shudder, at which I was becoming TOO frank and too Virginia Woolf on speed sans the good writing and whatnot.

In terms of you, though---One of those things (such a cop-out phrase)---. I think to write/forget to write/think/forget, ad infinitum. Pretty much that is my brainrightnow (remember that 80s commercial? The one starring the baffled dad? Think accidental-fro and creepy mustache. Remember now? He asks his scrawny pimple-y kid (straightup-bad-acting-concerned-voice), Who taughtcha howda do this stuff?! Kid blurts his retort, (bad-acting-passion/scorn-voice), From you dad! I learned it by watching you! Makes me want to look it up on you tube. I think that was the justsaynoto____it was meant to be drugs, that last word. Instead all we kids heard was: YOU! Yeah, YOU: go head! do-drugs-and-blame-your-dad-later. This of course preceeded by two decades the penultimate See dad, look what Ive become?! Now tell me you love me even though youve never said it not once in ALL my 18 years p.s. I havent seen you in 17 of them. Then a slouchy slurmumble:  "Yessss fuckit whateva Ill go to Excavate All Daddy/Mommy Issues Ranch in Fucking Maliboo-hoo-hoowhens the plane leave? Can I shoot up one more time? Wheres the fucking bathroom you traitor-dickheads?" But you must NEVER agree to go until a) Youve hurled your venti Starbucks  at your mom. (b Youve fled the room while screeching Fuck ALLYOUMOTHERFUCKERS! This while being chased down 8 flights of stairs by your sweating cousin and limping grandma. (I am of course talking about Intervention). 

ANYfuckingway. Back to did I ever get to?-Simon and Garfunkels haunting lullaby. Presently it looplooploopssay that out loud. Did you giggle?It soundtracks all of my parts. The  Sound of Silence”…  You know it, Im sure.

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence..."

One might assume depression  (understandably but arguably) is synonymous with darkness & must then be the entity addressed. I do not interpolate so. I say Darkness is not the necessary inversion of light. But it is not liminal either. In other words, just like any word, it is just a word. Maybe this is an odd thing for a writer to "declare," but my visceral/sentient experience (umbilical-ed as it is to my empirical experience) has taught me different.  Darkness, for me, in the immediate, is, well, OK. It is a place to rest and lay down my fear, all that restless grief. Darkness is the sound of silence, and I think also the sound of god. and god is the improbability of one moment leaning into a next moment. If I am leaning into solemn canyons (time) and crossing weird bridges (experience)shouldnt I be thankful for what has been given rather than what has been taken?
Anyhow, that is where I am. 3 months of many many days feeling my body both prison and prisoner. But much grace is culled from both silence and pain. Body in fact not the hangman OR the condemned. Rather the body is my old friend; I've come to talk with it again. Of course I ain't feeling like Buddha everygoddamnday. You know me better than that, dog. Dont worry: Im not gonna start handing out pamphlets. Some days(ze)sometimes all that zenny stuff is fallible. smoke and mirrors. your basic mindfuck. But it isn't today at least as I write this. Funny thing too. Im listening to Sharron Van Etten. You mightve thought S&G but naw. . ---pain, moment, grace, all that stuff---it leaves me feeling like a stripped down, funny-looking miracle. quick delight like finding a lucky penny and then making up a story about the pocket it fell out of. dream up the sage antique playa (most excellent euphemism:  translates to 'old man.' Picked it up from Holder, a character on my show The Killing A Norman Rockwell meets The Notebook. The old man, he owned a penny candy store and loved his wife. Only a few days ago he planted his lucky penny for someone to find. It was his way: all his life, those kids passing through, picking out Mary Janes and wax lipshe lived to make people smile. Surely he died within a week of his bride. Her name was Sarah Beth. Theyd been married for 50 plus years; he couldnt live without her, literally. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: Broken heart syndrome is real. did you know that? Frank Moore was his name. Frank placed the first penny he made on the pavement for someone to find. His way of saying This is your day. Pick it up, kid."

And to answer your yes or no question. Have I EVER just answered a question, yes no or otherwise? Everything just gets me thinking! Heres the Condition my Condition is in: I am-sorry!-SO tired of talking about it. Oh and re your kind visits--- I do not mean to hijack your Tuesdays or yer 1 o'clocks. Im here. Just tell me what you can/cant do. I will be---excepting buses or rabid dogs--in touch.

Much love to you and G and RT ex oh ex oh smiley face heart icon. love you to teeny tiny shredded chopped up pieces. ---ACF

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Notes on Old-Lady-Alicia and The New Age of Burglary: excerpt from a letter apologizing for a belated birthday card

My Dear Darling,

 Are you suggesting that my handwriting is illegible? I know...I mean my my pen pal, Melissa, has learned to read my chicken scratch. And so can YOU. Even WITH all the cross-outs and refer-back-to's/arrows/ yada. Sometimes the ole' pen can't keep up with me brain. I'm like that super fast kid on the soccer field who clearly has what it takes but can never remember which way to run the ball. 

Oh. Also meant to tell you (yes I am obsessing about the bday card but that goes for all my letters in general. They're bad as goddamn drunk dials except whatever-I-said's on paper, sitting in Dear Whoever's mail pile. Ink proof instead 100 proof--ha!-)...

I wanted to say also, in conclusion, that my darling husband with whom I have co-habitated for 15 (!!!) years and who I've known for 20...HE received a belated card (and I mean by like close to 2 weeks). Thing is is that I'd purchased this cool Astrologically-related card quite some time before Nov. 4 but in my amnesia I forgot (redundancy fetish,yes) about it entirely until the day came...and then I couldn't find the goddamn thing to save me life! When I DID finally find it I was in a really bad way physically and incapable of writing to him with necessary honesty and in with love letter feeling. So. Plus rides are scarce these days (which has begun to suck big donkey dick). I haven't seriously left the house except to bring T walking--or riding his bike--to school. Then Hoarders or Intervention and letters and laundry and cream of wheat. I think I might smell. Later-day I hang out on the playground and watch my boy---favorite time of day-- then home again. 5 days now since I blew this joint and hit up Walmart. Right---WALMART (see, also with the loss of access-to-wheels comes a surprisingly pleasant give-a-shit sluffing: I'll go anywhere). And if I don't hitch a ride earlyish in the day I fade. Man, I should just thrown in the towel and start knitting (yes I know plenty of cool people my age knit but YOU know I am not plenty-of-cool-people-my-age). I'll subscribe to large-print Readers Digest and AARP mags and grumble about the atrocious price of canned peas. I'll dust a lot and leave out stale-candy bowls. Also I'll despise the young couple next door because they have gaudy plastic lawn furniture. Better not get me started on that Ciley Myrus twit. Shameful, absolutely shameful! People Magazine used to be such a respectable publication. And have you seen these little girls who leave their houses? They might be dressed but their bums sure as hell don't know it! (WHERE ARE THEIR MOTHERS!?) Gracious me. The world is going to hell in a hand basket! It's enough to drive one to drink! And then I'll unhook a perfectly good stitch because I'm so flustered. But my mood will shift quickly. I'll put down my knitting and pop a stale peppermint. I'll look up at you, smiling shiny as a thief who makes bank breaking into pre-fab houses. Houses mortgaged by total morons. You know, the "two mutual friends" people who announce on Facebook that they're "OFFFF 2 HAWAII 4 A MONTH SUCKAS! lol!" Their profile pictures unfailingly include obese cats named CandyPie or Kitty-Lou. Maybe a couple of pale, scowling 'tweens tagged as Tyler and Mackailah (the latter spelled 'uniquely' as to suggest, however depressingly unlikely, the possibility of 'Mackailah' herself turning out to be anything but that dull, mumbley-girl slouched in the back row. You know, the girl who's had to correct the pronunciation and/or spelling of her name since she was 6. And the second she turns 18, poor Mackailah will change her very-unique-name to Miley). Anyway. These same "two mutual friends" arrive home a month later (as promised), all John-Bohener-tan, and are stunned to find their houses emptied of any and all electronics---along with the Maytag set, his faux leather 'good jacket,' her knock-off Channel bag, and both kids' new LL Bean winter coats. And, just to punish these fools for being so fucking DUMB? Gone--- every last bag of Cool Ranch Doritos

But enough about our kick-ass neo-criminal. I, old lady Alicia, will look up with those big shiny-watery eyes and ask you, in my best tremble-sweet voice (after a final mention of having been driven to drink)...I'll implore you to be-a-dear and fetch me the 'good' scotch from the towel closet (no, not the bottle behind the rubbish basket!). It's kept there, of course, so the grandkids won't get into any mischief. Once I'm settled in (coffee mug filled to the brim) I'll press the television 'clicker' to catch up on my program, General Hospital. Yesterday was Wednesday: I was at bingo chain-smoking with Louise...I might be old as fuck but I know how to use that DVR thingy…”

 -Your Darling Dear

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On the Third Anniversary of My Language Sister’s Death

I've narrowed many wild life tunnels without Kobi, my very first language sister, for three long/short years now. We shared a boiling language. We reveled in poems, in books and music and silence. Her writing smoldered; her poems are embedded in my body. Still, most days, I think of her. Precious when I feel the rush of the ink-blood we shared. I yearn for her midnight notes, her brutal dry humor, her raw compassion. I wish more than anything for a letter or a book in the mail; her excitable, crooked handwriting. No pen in the world could keep up with her speeding thought-train. Still I feel a halting shock when I see her picture: she is gone. Gone her biting, knowing smile.

Read a Lorca poem in Kobi's memory. Listen to a Joni Mitchell or Cat Power song. Laugh when you get caught in construction. Write letters when everything goes quiet in the cobalt hours of night. Give yourself with all the might and force you own. It was exactly this kind of blueskied, sun-buttered day when she died.

Mail Payment To
for KL, always

God only knows how many people leave sticky notes for their dead, 
Pens pressed against slump-shouldered memories. 
We crawl into the safety of our sister's slit wrists. 
We soak in that nest of nerves. I scream 

Down the freeway in my criminal lingerie. The horizon 
Lowers its damp standards and I am still how many breaths away 
From your last? I live in blown fog. I trace your face with matches and Hold your poems, their rivet written in the ash of my ire. 

Since then unbrushed teeth and sad mascara, the smudge of sunlight 
Across my unawake, hair looped and stabbed by some sharp debt: 
A paintbrush, a pencil---Sweetheart, expose your wild words. 
Come now, I am a member of the meat packers union, a milkmaid 

Leaking sweet down the street. 
Last night you came in and scattered 
A fistful of teeth: they stood like little tombstones at my dreaming feet. 
Who leaves sticky notes for their dead to read later?

You forgot your wine-stained books, you 
Forgot your blooming daughter. I still wait 
For the mail, your frantic news. 
I still say your name and bury you.

First published in The Café Review, fall 2010.


August 1, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wednesday’s Child


The sea is undulous. Hazard outweighs the bouquet
of bright islands you see ----everything turns
cold and watery. Arch of dawn, its bruised throat---and under the wind’s screech
a Siren’s restive song. Her hair in your mouth.  Boat pushing south.

Once was Wednesday  I was born
in my parents’ unmarried bed: March in me, and its outrageous moods.
The month of fish and detritus, of snow-drift and holy bodies sloughing
scabs and steeples, trusting the other to taste his grace, drink her pearlblue,

make fastidious work of the birth---Eve’s cast-off pain, Adam’s glistening
tongue. A blood-sting and dankstink. Wednesday’s mute
message (the apple, Eden’s crooked tree). Born to the blind freeze of squall, my father’s
eyes wide.

                That ancient look
 incendiary book and bond
                of tit the pinkslit-mouth
 the dewy breath
                Ides’ baby rooting
                her blind look.


What sets us all sail: the north wind’s shell-hymn,
Wednesday’s seasick ballerinas and damp gravesides. Brimstone song:
God shoots to kill.  (Still the tumbling prayer, the smoking choir, lilies and blizzards.)

Paddle like hell but sweetheart---he never misses.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Naked Poems

Naked Poems
I will be giving a reading at The USM bookstore in Portland, Maine at 7pm on April 9. Honorably, I will be reading alongside former poet laureate of Maine Betsy Sholl. Also reading will be distinguished Maine poets Shana Young and Dawn Potter. Please join us for an evening of riveting, diverse voices. Refreshments will be served. Please see the MWPA website for more information, under "Events."

Monday, February 11, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death, and on Living

Today is all stiffening, glistening plow-made labyrinths and chapping whiteout gusts. Can you feel it, the feather weight of my heart? Its hot beat travels against frigid winds. One hears the shrieks of delighted children; one is stalked by a draft at the typewriter, in the incense-fogged kitchen. Our old house creaks and sighs, leans heavily on its ancient foundation. Me? I am scalding black tea swirling honey, I am piles of poems and a black patchouli-scented wrap. I am cotton summer dresses and July daydreams. 

Sylvia Plath? She would be in her 80th year. One can only pay homage in poems and ink, and by Living. Here is one poem that I internalized long long ago. I dedicate it to Kobi, whom I achingly miss: she was also intimate with this severely tender piece. Your words, KL (because words _are_ insular little selves), still buzz and rummage in my ear.

Morning Song 

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

Sylvia Plath