23 Apr 2013

Happy 23rd of April.

Written by sally @ 1:33 pm — Section: sally

1. Overheard:

Person 1: What’s the sexual orientation of unicorns?
Person 2: I think they’re all virgins.

2. Today at a meeting someone apologized to me for their weird behavior three years ago. Then an older fellow said I was wacky. Dream day!

3. Today is also Spike’s 5th birthday! Longtime readers, can you believe that mess? It seems like only yesterday that I was talking about my cervix too much around here.

4. I’m reading The Dinner. I hear it’s going to get crazeballs but it hasn’t kicked in yet. Other things I’ve read lately: Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman (AWESOME STORIES — I loved this collection), The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (sort of cheesy, yet rewarding), Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link (creepy/weird/awesome stories), Mothers and Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh.

5. If you need some adorable Frenchness to enliven your world, may I recommend the movie Romantics Anonymous? The recurring song throughout the whole thing is “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music (in French, of course!). Also there is chocolate.

18 Apr 2013

Heritage Quest.

Written by sally @ 10:05 am — Section: sally

In general, when I receive catalogs in the mail, I put them directly into the recycling pile. One reason is that the J.Crew catalog that arrives does not have clearance stuff that is also an additional 30% off in it, and that is the only way I buy things at J.Crew. (Sidenote: I did buy this perfect striped boatneck there a few years ago NOT on sale, and it was $30 or so, and I felt incredibly guilty for this extravagance, and then a few months into its life with me IT GOT A HOLE IN IT, so I will never do that again.) Same goes for Anthropologie — gorgeous catalogs, gorgeous stuff…that I will never buy.

However, I do love the Walter Drake catalog, filled with awesome things like unsupportive bras, bunion fixers, poorly personalized ceramic baby shoes, and containers that are specific to every fruit and vegetable. Did you not know that these exist? Well, I feel sorry for you keeping your half of an onion in a BAGGIE, you fool!

Anyway, I was looking at it this morning and saw a cap thingie you wear over your giant old lady hairdo at night and it reminded me that my grandmother used to wear a special silky kerchief thingie to keep her giant hair intact. She also had a special silky pillow that just went under her neck so as not to disturb the giant hair.

However, one time when she was visiting us she forgot her silky kerchief thing, and instead resorted to wearing her silky panties on her head.

This was also the trip where I found a postcard she was sending to a friend that said she had met a very handsome riverboat captain who had been taking her on dates to eat fried shrimp.

This is my heritage.

Tinkering with Irony.

Written by sally @ 7:05 am — Section: Uncategorized


This year they are exactly the size
of the pencil stub my grandfather kept
to mark off the days since rain,

and precisely the color of dust, of the roads
leading back across the dying fields
into the ’30s. Walking the cracked lane

past the empty barn, the empty silo,
you hear them tinkering with irony,
slapping the grass like drops of rain.

— Ted Kooser

17 Apr 2013

Descend, You Are Pursued.

Written by sally @ 7:01 am — Section: Uncategorized

Hell is Graduated

When I was employed at Cooperative Fashions, in spite of the dark, ugly old maid, I tried to steal some garters. I was pursued down the superb staircases, not for the theft, but for my laziness at work and for my hatred of the innocent finery. Descend, you are pursued. The staircases are less beautiful in the offices than in the part open to the public. The staircases are less beautiful in the “service” quarters than in the offices. The staircases are still less beautiful in the cellar! But what can I say of the marsh where I arrived? What can I say of the laughter? Of the animals that brushed by me, and of the whisperings of the unseen creatures? Water gave place to fire, to fear, to unconsciousness; when I came to myself I was in the hands of silent and nameless surgeons.

— Max Jacob, translated by Elizabeth Bishop

16 Apr 2013


Written by sally @ 8:58 am — Section: Uncategorized

(excerpt from) Mayakovsky

Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

— Frank O’Hara

12 Apr 2013

None that Men Would Know.

Written by sally @ 7:55 am — Section: Uncategorized

Self Portrait as a Meadow

There is a chair
the heart of which
is wooden
split five ways
and grass pressed flat
where we kissed
where others later kissed
on the same mattress
and solemn nothing
happening under a canopy—

Have you forgotten me?

I will go down wonderfully
as was told in proverbs
though for a long time I thought
I should not go.

Here are things that have
no Latin names
or none
that men would know.

–Linda Norton

11 Apr 2013

Like Commas and Semicolons.

Written by sally @ 7:53 am — Section: sally

I Love You More Than All the Windows in New York City

The day turned into the city
and the city turned into the mind
and the moving trucks trumbled along
like loud worries speaking over
the bicycle’s idea
which wove between
the more armored vehicles of expression
and over planks left by the construction workers
on a holiday morning when no work was being done
because no matter the day, we tend towards
remaking parts of it — what we said
or did, or how we looked —
and the buildings were like faces
lining the banks of a parade
obstructing and highlighting each other
defining height and width for each other
offsetting grace and function
like Audrey Hepburn from
Jesse Owens, and the hearty pigeons collaborate
with wrought iron fences
and become recurring choruses of memory
reassembling around benches
we sat in once, while seagulls wheel
like immigrating thoughts, and never-leaving
chickadees hop bared hedges and low trees
like commas and semicolons, landing
where needed, separating
subjects from adjectives, stringing along
the long ideas, showing how the cage
has no door, and the lights changed
so the tide of sound ebbed and returned
like our own breath
and when I knew everything
was going to look the same as the mind
I stopped at a lively corner
where the signs themselves were like
perpendicular dialects in conversation and
I put both my feet on the ground
took the bag from the basket
so pleased it had not been crushed
by the mightiness of all else
that goes on and gave you the sentence inside.

–Jessica Greenbaum

10 Apr 2013

My New Favorite Poem.

Written by sally @ 7:50 am — Section: Uncategorized

This poem is killing me. Killing me.

A Lover

If I could catch the green lantern of the firefly
I could see to write you a letter.

–Amy Lowell

(This poem was published in 1917. My GOD.)

9 Apr 2013


Written by sally @ 7:33 am — Section: Uncategorized

Detail of the Woods

I looked at all the trees and didn’t know what to do.

A box made out of leaves.
What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else.
I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.

From the landscape: a sense of scale.
From the dead: a sense of scale.

I turned my back on the story. A sense of superiority.
Everything casts a shadow.

Your body told me in a dream it’s never been afraid of anything.

–Richard Siken

8 Apr 2013

Sumptuous Ol’ Bat.

Written by sally @ 7:23 am — Section: Uncategorized

I searched for another Emily Dickinson poem and found that I had, in fact, posted it before, but today I’m just going to link to it so you can a) read it, and b) read the comments where gclark says he hates Emily Dickinson. In fact, he refers to her as an “ol’ bat.”

5 Apr 2013

Tell It Slant.

Written by sally @ 6:21 am — Section: Uncategorized

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

I might’ve posted this one before — why don’t one of you smart alecks search for it and tell me all about it? — but tonight it seemed apt. Old Aint Emily isn’t suggesting that we slant the truth so much that it’s a lie. I think she’s saying that some of us do better with hearing a sweeter version, or maybe the gist before we hear all the gory details. As a fellow introvert, I suspect she’s also saying that not only is it better to HEAR things in this manner, it is also better to TELL things in this manner. Tell a little, see the reaction, tell a little more.

Thanks, Old Aint Emily!

Update: I haven’t posted this before.

4 Apr 2013

“Too late.”

Written by sally @ 8:45 pm — Section: Uncategorized


The entire household suffered.
My wife, myself, the two children, and the dog
whose puppies were born dead.
Our affairs, such as they were, withered.
My wife was dropped by her lover,
the one-armed teacher of music who was
her only contact with the outside world
and the things of the mind.
My own girlfriend said she couldn’t stand it
anymore, and went back to her husband.
The water was shut off.
All that summer the house baked.
The peach trees were blasted.
Our little flower bed lay trampled.
The brakes went out in the car, and the battery
failed. The neighbors quit speaking
to us and closed the doors in our faces.
Checks flew back at us from merchants —
and then mail stopped being delivered
altogether. Only the sheriff got through
from time to time — with one or the other
of our children in the back seat,
pleading to be taken anywhere but here.
And then mice entered the house in droves.
Followed by a bull snake. My wife
found it sunning itself in the living room
next to the dead TV. How she dealt with it
is another matter. Chopped its head off
right there on the floor.
And then chopped it in two when it continued
to writhe. We saw we couldn’t hold out
any longer. We were beaten.
We wanted to get down on our knees
and say forgive us our sins, forgive us
our lives. But it was too late.
Too late. No one around would listen.
We had to watch as the house was pulled down,
the ground plowed up, and then
we were dispersed in four directions.

— Raymond Carver, Where Water Comes Together with Other Water

Leave it to Raymond Carver to stop your pity party RIGHT in its MOTHERFUCKING TRACKS. I was all ready to tell you all about the various things that have been happening lately, a big old pile of stuff of things breaking and going wrong — hail damage, rotten sewer lines, raw sewage in the yard, bee stings, disappointments en masse — buuuuuuut I’m feeling pretty positive about the world at the moment after reading this poem. Is that a weird reaction? To be all “whoopededoo!” after “But it was too late. / Too late” ? I think it proves that despite my best efforts, I am an optimist. I mean, as gross as the raw sewage was, it wasn’t mice. My stepfather felt sorry for me and cleaned the bathtub with bleach, after all. (Later, it came up in the yard. There was a field of toilet paper that I ended up raking up into a pile and shoveling into a garbage bag … as a school bus drove by.) (But I would take being a “toilet farmer,” as gorjus called it, over bad brakes/no water/bad checks/sad everyone/broken everything/”Too late.”)

2 Apr 2013

Having a Coke with Frank O’Hara. (Happy National Poetry Month!)

Written by sally @ 4:44 pm — Section: Uncategorized

I forgot it was National Poetry Month! That should tell you what kind of a life I’ve been having lately. Don’t worry, I’ll pester you with poems this month, but for now, watch this from my good friend Frank O’Hara:

Having a Coke with You

Edited a few days later to add: while I love Frank O’Hara, you know what I don’t love? Listening to poets read their poems. I just can’t stand that poetry cadence. And when a poet is reading aloud, you know what I’m thinking? “You think you’re such a GENIUS with your WORDS, don’t you?” When I read a poem to myself I think, “God, this person is a genius.” It makes a difference.