Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the Eye of the Horse.

I was asked by my editor at the press to guest-blog this week and offer some background commentary on my poem, "Eye, Appaloosa," which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can find the post here.

I also want to apologize to folks whose blogs I often comment on, as I'm not having the opportunity to do so of late. I've been on jury duty for almost two weeks now, and the trial will be lengthy, and I'm having a hard time squeezing in my usual pursuits--although I do try and read on my iphone everything everyone's posting during our breaks at the courthouse. I just don't have time to punch out witty and trenchant responses on the little keypad before we're lining up again. I am reading and enjoying, though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Once and Future Projects.

I have a short interview up today at the L.A. Review: click here to read it. (I have a poem in their current issue.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paths Crossed.

I am, in most things, a rank-and-file skeptic. A confirmed cynic. I am certainly not a particular adherent to any philosophies of fate. Except to those that I am. I do, in fact, think that on occasion, or on most occasions even, that we cross paths with those folks whom we are supposed to for one reason or another. For me, it goes something like this.

In typical Ashberyesqueness, that's not an easy poem. Here's what I have made of it, the far paler rendition:

Poem Coming On

Ashbery’s sense of it—the stranger, always moving

toward you across the next rise, all the people

you haven’t yet met, don’t yet know,

but who are coming on. The sense of someone

out there, moving in a life, now washing the dishes,

now pruning the roses, now talking on the phone.

They cry and make love and laugh out loud

without you. Bury their mother. Stop for coffee

at the corner and glance at the morning

headlines. Show up at the family barbecue.

When you do know them—when the point

of meeting finally does arrive—your life

and theirs no longer remember difference.

Perspective shifts. You see the two lives

as a painter sees the hay bales sitting in the fields:

black boxes against green. No dimensions.

I do think people--and situations, events--are constantly in an unpredictable line aimed at yours. To flinch from the meeting is perhaps to miss a destiny. (That said by someone who resists the idea of destiny at every turn.)

Yesterday, I was sworn in on a criminal jury in downtown L.A. It's at least a month-long trial. It's going to be intense and discomfiting and nothing I can speak of in any detail until it's over. Yet I do feel (in yet a diffuse way) that this experience was put in my way for a reason. Can't explain that. I certainly don't feel like the case needs me in any way. More like I need it.

I'll let you know. Eventually.

And though I'm not there as a writer first, in any stretch of the imagination, the first poem will undoubtedly be titled, "Voir Dire."