Monday, August 29, 2011

Beauty is a Verb

For the past year, I have been working on a project that I haven't been entirely forthcoming on. The internet turns my mind to mush, so I haven't been blogging for about two years. I weaned myself off facebook, and, now, although I technically exist there - I made a password that I don't have written down or memorized - and my email (from facebook) goes to an account that no longer exists.

Well, what have I been doing for two years - other that raising children and animals, talking on the phone, yoga, and reading Duncan? I just returned from 'the best summer ever' in Portland, Oregon. After that I got prepared for a hurricane. Now, I have an exciting backyard full of sand!

But, primarily, I've been doing THIS. Beauty is a Verb is the new anthology of poets with physical disabilities that Sheila Black, Michael Northen & I spent the latter portion of the last year compiling. As I write this, the anthology (published by Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso) is at the printer. While not comprehensive, the idea behind the anthology is a complex one dealing with disability from many angles. Poets included are Norma Cole, Jim Ferris, Rusty Morrison, Bernadette Mayer, Petra Kuppers, Denise Leto, Larry Eigner, and many others. Shortly, I'll be posting the Preface from the collection which explains (more or less) what we had in mind. We have readings coming up in Albuquerque, Los Cruces, Berkley, New York, and Philidelphia. We will also be representing at next year's AWP.

I've been doing a couple of other things too - I quit teaching (for good). I have a collection forthcoming from Chax in October! And I've been making drawing books of an addition of one which tell the story of a life. Right now, I working on Andrea's book & Jeff's book.

Meanwhile I have poems in Sam Lohmann's Peaches and Bats, James Yeary's ever name changing newsletter, and Michael Northen's Wordgathering.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yea! The storm passed over us, in Greenpoint, with relative success. Our apartment was not flooded and no problems with the window.

This morning Jim & I ran into Ron & Jay on the wharf. Jay had pictures that the East River did actually rise very high into the parking lot by the warehouses. I heard that the Rockaways are a mess and downtown Manhattan flooded, but we don't have tv, so I not entirely certain.

What interests me is how fearful I can get & how we prepared for something that didn't actually happen (at least not much on Freeman Street) and how to calm down from that. We were supposed to stay in all day & already the storm is gone and people are out - the neighborhood is no more quiet than any other Sunday. I assume, however, that the subway is still not working and the streets are quiet without the regular bus noise. It reminds me of Christmas Day a lot; only the Chinese restuarant is open! The birds are still somewhat absent; their regular chattering can not be heard & there are nearly no cars.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The past few hours have been action packed. S. agreed to take Jim to buy the sandbags if I would save her parking spot because she wanted one not under a tree. Right after she left, my neighbor R (who has three cars that don't run) comes running out to take the space. I had to tell him 'no' and he was so mad at me! He ended up getting a space right next to me but he was still mad. So, I'm standing there like an idiot in the middle of the street, eating pretzels, waiting for them to return. Meanwhile, who pulls up but the DEP truck. I called the city (311) to see if they would come out - o miracles of miracles they arrived. I leap up to this poor guy screaming O my gosh! Are you here for me!!! As luck will have it, the said problematic drain is on our private condo property - so they could not do anything. They did check the drainage in the street though & gave lots of good advice.

Here's the low down, they are convince that the East River - which is technically part of the ocean and salt water- will rise to capacity. Once this happens, the rain drainage has nowhere to go. We are a mere 3 blocks from the river. Anyway you put it, it sounds like rain in our apartment.
During the hurricane I'll be doing a number of activities which are slightly, although not entirely out of the norm. These include: talking on the telephone, drinking, watching Sons on Anarchy, yelling at Jeff, meditation, & cleeaning. I probably won't be working on the anthology or the Guggenheim grant. If the eletricticity goes out, I'll resort to resding and eating.

Over at TBD they are already flooded- and it has barely rained. I stopped in there to see if they had sand bags & they didn't but threy were having a free BBQ and the boys gave me a large pickle. I asked them how late they are going to stay open and they said until it gets 'real bad.' I'm not on Facebook anymore so I have limited knowledge of what the other Brooklynites are doing. I know the T's are probably making cocktials and it's about time to give my neighbors a call. We are also waiting for the hardware3 store to call with the illusive sand bags. I'm worried about going to bed tonight because I think I may wake up to a floodeed house. 

Part of the problem is that I can't figure out in my mind what is an over-reaction and what is logical. A says, "putting sandbags in front of the doors - logical. Riding around the neighborhood to find them in parks to steal- nuts!"

Sand Bags

I was out riding in the rain trying to 'find' sandbags. I thought the city might have a bunch by the ferry dock. No luck. Meanwhile, S. and Jim found some at a hardware store and they are going to go get them at 4 o'clock & I'm going to have to stand outside in S.'s parking space which is not under a tree. Our next door neighbors left this morning and one other family has left in the condos. West street is a ghost town (that's one block away). & I heard the people in the lofts on Green all left too; like us, they are at street level. A. is happy because she was able to emergency foster a cat and she is filling baggies of water to put in the freezer. I am having a hard time calming down, I am just acting like if I run around frantically I'll be
"doing something." I wish Valum were in my emergency supplies.

I'm starting to have a little of a breakdown. I feel like such a wimp!

I am almost certain that our apartment is going to get flooded. I have Jim out combing the neighborhood for sandbags. The thing is that we are on the ground floor and the drainage system is very bad.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Poet in a Rainstorm

An impending natural disaster really gets me to thinking what objects are most important to me,  Nothing has happened yet; but due to location of our apartment, it is quite possible we will be flooded, if only slightly. Today, my friend mentioned photographs and I realized, at this point what an alien concept that is to me. I have so many few old photos laying around at this point. But, as I cleaned throughout the day, things started to make an appearance. Certainly, my most precious photograph is of me sitting next to the baby Emma (my sister who died) in the 'special' park in Visalia; then there is the one of William Everson in the '70s in his bear-skin phase; the one of Peter and Bill: and the one that my ex-lover John took of my son Jeffrey & I in Washington Square park. There are objects that certainly can't get hurt - my rocks, Dion's copper Empire State Building statue... then one's mind turns to the Sisyphus rock of every writer - the books. How does one begin categorize these objects. I've only been able to divide in my mind between 'replacable' and not 'replacable.' The irreplaceable might be the signed Tarn books, the Eigner books, the art books, the first edition of Ariel, the guide to the Maximus poems, all the Duncan's. The there is the uber-not replaceable - the signed Larry Eigner, the first edition of U of Ca Maximus, and, most, the first edition of Visions of Gerard by Jack Kerouac. If I had to take something with me - it would be that, the Basquiat catalog, my Susan Bee painting, and my vinyl copy of the soundtrack to 1984. Mildly random choices. Sort of; not really.

What scares me the most is the possibility of evacuation. Just exactly, with a husband and child, two cats and two pugs (one of whom is senile and barely house trained) am I supposed to go??? Note here: I asked my husband if we could emergency foster an animal and the answer was a resounding NO!

On the street today, both Jim & I felt the same thing. Brooklynites going about their business, but with a certain aura of confusion. Kind of like what do we do? It's hard to take it seriously because we have been through so many false alarms with so many snow storms (the mayor actually stopped having snow days for a few years because he called a school snow day on a day it actually ended up not snowing). It's hard not to take seriously though too. So we fill bottles of water, buy snacks and dogs food and wait. First they tell us put tape on the windows, then they tell us that's a waste of time. They were out of flashlights, so we've resorted to religious candles, all the while watching Sons of Anarchy and dreaming of Lodi weather.