Posts Tagged ‘nonce’

You Are The Embodiment Of The Poet

October 30, 2015

My heart burst reading that line.

I was in the upstairs bathroom at work wrangling monkeys, brushing teeth.


Les dents/

Brosse les tres souvents/

Tous les jours/

Tous les jours/

Tous les jours/

A les belle est dentes.


Your teeth/

Brush them every day/

Every day/

Every day/

Every day/


The pretty teeth.

(sung to row, row, row your boat)


“Spit,” I said, running the water.

I had to put down my phone, I could not finish reading the sweet e-mail I had received from my patron, my eyes kept tearing up reading it and I had to manage the two boys.

I’m just going to call him that, he’s my patron.

Anyone who sends me a check for $1,000 for some poems is my patron.


I had sent him an effusive e-mail thanking him for the check and how I was honored and seen and just over the moon.

That moon.

Did you see her tonight?

Sometimes in the waning I feel there is more power, more poesie, more haunting and longing.

The wandering back into the self, the darkening lunar landscape, the eery rise in the night sky and the glow as it rose over the trees in Golden Gate Park, the nipping wind chill on my neck and my arms, reminder to up the sweatshirt ante here soon.

The Indian summer is passing and the autumn cold is coming.

But that luscious moon.


Over the moon.

He sent me back another sweet missive and the above quote amongst them.

To be the embodiment of the poet, that means so much.

The validation has been powerful.

It’s hard to acknowledge and yet, I know I absolutely have to, its false modesty to not acknowledge it and the sorrow for all the time I didn’t let myself create, the doubt, the fear, the negotiating my own way through the world, poetic voice or no poetic voice, being an artist, yet denying myself entrée into the club.



I don’t belong here.


That table couldn’t possibly be for me.


I know you say I have a reservation to be here, but there’s been a mistake.

The maitre d leads me to the table and seats me despite my own fuss.

“When I heard you reciting them,” my person said to me in front of the Church St. Cafe as we sat and drank tea and caught up, “I thought to myself, oh these are lovely, who’s are they?”

He continued, looking at me with his sparkling blue eyes, that matched exactly the corn flower blue cashmere sweater wrapped over his shoulders, “I didn’t know you wrote them, it took me a minute to catch on!”

We talked about the story behind the poems and I told him how I got there to the creative process and how I did a nonce and what that was like and it was me running away at the mouth.

“Girl, I knew you could write, but I had no idea about this part of you,” he said and smiled, with his eyes and mouth and heart, and squeezed my hands.

“You are an artist and you are curious and you let yourself go there and you have experiences, this other artist saw that in you and you connected and you let yourself do that,” he smiled more.

My heart squeezed itself in my chest and tears rose in my eyes.

“I feel like I may have cheated myself a little though,” I told him.

“How so?” He asked, curious himself.

“Well, I cashed the check and immediately, like within minutes I had transferred the entire thing into my savings account, there was no celebration, there was just a straight transfer, I feel like I should be celebrating and doing something with it, although I am doing something with it, I’m going to get a Vespa, a new one, which is what I wanted to do all along before I got bamboozled last year with the knock off I bought.”

“Girl, you are celebrating, you are telling me the story of the poems,” he looked at me, “it’s good that you put that money right into your savings.”

He’s right.

I don’t have to go out and spend the money frivolously to prove some sort of point.

In fact.

I transferred the entire $1,000 and another $150 of my own into savings.

I really want to get a scooter.

And I really want a Vespa.


Just a little closer to my new ride then I was the day before yesterday.

The acknowledgement, the accolades, the poems themselves, the being a poet, letting myself be seen, that is the celebration.


All the love from my friends who have always seen this side of me and applauded it when I did not or was not able to.

Sitting here.

Doing my blog.

Being happy.

Knowing that I made another artist happy with my work.

That is celebration.

I revel in that.

I also revel in the almost weekend of it all and my staid Halloween plans.

Which include going to 7th and Irving to get right with God, meet my person at Tart to Tart, maybe get the nails done, then lunch with a friend, and afterward, borrowing said friends couch to sit and read all day long on and maybe, just maybe, let myself take a nap.


Those are my mad, crazy Halloween plans.

That and sitting down tomorrow to write-up another sonnet.

I have an idea I want to submit to the Bastille and I need to get it out to them ASAP, the deadline is the 31st.


I have decided that the compensation for the sonnet series being what it is I am not, cannot with any integrity, submit it for further publication or award.

I have been amply compensated.

That being said.

I am still submitting to the Nemerov Award.

I am going to send in a sonnet that was supposed to be part of the sequence, but I messed up the rhyme scheme and the principle was out-of-order, so I tossed it.

I tried to re-work it but, it just didn’t fit.

I let it go and wrote a fresh one that fit the schematic I had set up.

But I really liked the sonnet.


This means, I have an extra sonnet with all the flavor of the sequence, that I did not submit to my collaborator and patron.


I will rework it and tighten it up and send that off instead.

I love that I have ideas falling out of my head.

I still have lots of work to do for school.

Another paper to write for Human Development.

More reading to do.

Etc, etc, ad infinitum.

But I will find the balance with the poetry.

And move forward into the generous flow of language that is out there just waiting for me to cast my net upon it’s worded sea of stars and images.

I’ll push out my boat into that ether and gather wide the nets into my arms aching and full.

Heavy with the heavenly catch that lies awaiting me.

All the things.

All the love.

All the pretty.




October 26, 2015

Don’t put your light under a bushel!

I wanted to grab the woman across from me and give her a hug.

I did later.


In that moment.

I nodded my head, I used a small furthering word, I repeated back what she said.

I used her words.

I heard her.

I really heard her.

I used feeling words and listened.


It was amazing.

“You’re doing it kid!”

I was so excited and present and there.

The classroom fell away, I didn’t hear what was happening with the other dyads that were spread around the room, I didn’t notice anything but the woman across from me, the feelings registering on her face, the words she was saying, the situation she was describing.

The vulnerability.

I could swoon with the honor of bearing witness.

I had my first taped, as in recorded, role-playing session where I was a therapist and my client was herself, ie, not a made up character taken from one of our texts, which is what we have been doing until today.

I will have to transcribe it and I am eager to hear it and loath to as well.

Hearing my own voice recorded is not my favorite thing in the world, although I like my voice, I like reading out loud, I like reciting my poems, I like reading stories to the boys at work.

Speaking of reading.

The artist I collaborated with from Burning Man got back to me and he is very happy with the sonnets.

I reiterate.

I am very happy with the sonnets.

In fact, I think I may rework them a tiny bit and submit them to the Howard Nemerov Sonnet award.

The Formalist is accepting applications to the award until November 15th.

I am going to submit the entire ten as a sequence.

Only one sonnet will win the award, but as a poet I can submit up to twelve sonnets.

I have never submitted more than one that I can think of, at a time.

I have submitted I believe four times.

There were times when I thought, I will just keep submitting until they give me the damn award.




I want the award, but I think, just as much, I want them to be published.

Even one of them.

They just do make me happy.

Of course, technically, I have published them, here on my blog.

Quick” is the title of the blog.

Anyway, I digress a touch.

Where I was going with this is that the collaborator wants me to meet with him and read him the works.

I am excited to do that, to read them, just as much as to have them printed off.

There is something really visceral about reading them to someone.

They become more than the words on the page.


I want you to see the words on the page too, they are some clever words, and some tidy word play and some great rhymes, but really, I want to perform them for you, read them for you, have my heart in my mouth and my soul bare before you, so that you receive the full song of the sonnets.

The epic.


Ten sonnets in a row, is not necessarily an epic, but all linked together by the words of another poem, using formal verse, my, my, my, Carmen, I think you made up another nonce.

I’ll take it, thank you very much.

I love poetry.

Not that you can tell.


And I love the sound of my own voice and I am not humble at all.

But I have some modicum, every, once in a while, of humility.

That humbles me, that leveling of my ego, the evening out of my pride, that being teachable.

I am teachable.

I am learning.

I feel like I am an ever emerging young adult in the world, open eyes, dancing over the sewer grates of the down town rough and tumble asphalt, innocent, perhaps not, but open, fresh, awakened, alive, a light, a lit, in love with my life.

“You are my light.”

And you mine.

I smile and sink into my heart space and feel surrounded and held and the words float out like holograms.

She used the word again!

Luminous, luminosity.

The depth of seeing that she has for herself that she is not even aware of having, and how she does not want to hide her light and yet feels compelled to dim it down.

Shine brighter love!

Be brighter.

Be your own light.

Be the beacon, the unsheathed light of love.

Let is shine.

Shine darling.

Light up the sky.

I kept my mouth shut.

I let her do the work, which in of itself is a lot of work, a lot of knowing to just listen, to sit back, or forward a little, leaning into the words and cadences of her phrases, seeing how her body would get small, then big, then open and the emotions chasing themselves fleet foot and dancing over the planes of her face, the rich brown eyes deep and doe like, soft with tears.

I’m learning!

I wanted to shout.

I wanted to dance in my chair.

I don’t know that I was exactly articulating that in my head, it was just a nice buzz of knowing of connecting, of being in the moment and being there for that person and knowing, in my heart, deep and true that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, my gratitude.

It knows no bounds.

It leaps about the room.

It rolls across my bed and giggles.

It kisses my neck and drops me dizzy and divine, my hair fanned out behind me.




Lit up.




Liminal, dancing there, on the threshold.

Lined in love.

Lightened like feathers, swan down, cushions of softness and swathed in light.

All the light.

I wanted to reach across the way, to touch the back of her hand with mine, so I reached with my heart.

I believe it was felt.

I looked with my eyes.

I did not touch with my hands.

Sometimes when I look at you, I am touching you with my hands.

Stroking the soft crown of your head, tracing the bones of your face, holding it dear, sweet, delirious in its humanity in between my cool fingertips, scrolling down the tender nape of your neck, holding you, darling, close to me.

Sometimes I see you so bright and lit and full of love.

It astounds me and I fall aghast with love, adorned with love.

A glow.

And I know.

I know.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Spot lit by love.


June 9, 2012

A nonce form is generally created by a poet for a specific poem but which may, over time, and with repeated usage by subsequent poets, become a “received form.” 

Thanks Google.

I give you the loose definition as an opening into the blog tonight.


Because I will be performing this nonce that I wrote, many, many years ago, this next Friday at Club 222 in the Tenderloin with Sunshine Jones.

The poem is called “Cry Baby”  and no it was not inspired by John Waters.

I wrote it during the fall semester of my senior year at UW Madison.  I was taking a creative writing course with Professor Ron Wallace.

The first time  I ever heard Professor Wallace he was doing a lecture on Frankenstein. I was not in the class, I was in the class after his lecture.  I was sitting out in the hallway at Bascom on one of the wood benches and I could hear these delectable snatches of lecture.

Yes, I am an English Literature nerd, I warmly embrace my literary nerdom.

I closed what ever I was trying to read for my next class and crept to the door way.

I peered in and there was Wallace at the front of the lecture hall, up on stage, behind the podium, behind a mask.

He was wearing a mask and he was the monster in Frankenstein.  I was utterly mesmerized.  One of the best lectures I had ever heard and it was not even for a class I was enrolled in.

When he finished with the lecture the entire hall erupted in applause, I as well.  I vowed I would take his class.

Then I promptly forgot.

Fast forward a few years later and I stumbled into his creative writing course.  It was a small group of people, maybe twelve of us, maybe fourteen.  The course was on formal verse.  I found my voice.

My literary voice, my poetic voice.

I who had eschewed all forms of poetry, except free verse, was enscorcelled, enraptured, in love with formal poetry.  Partially, I can realize now, because I was so good at it.

Give me a word, any word, well except the ones that don’t rhyme, like orange or purple, I know that there are more, but I conveniently forget them, and I will find a word to go with it.

It may not be a perfect rhyme, it may be a slant rhyme, but I can do it.  Well.  Sonically.  Poetically.  I mean anyone can write a poem about cats and rats and bats that last and last, but tend to go fast when lashed to the mast, despite it being a blast.

But I found I was capable of really finding unique poems and words and creating new imagery that I had not found myself able to do before delving into formal verse.

I believe that partially was that I rose to the challenge.  I did not want to write a poem that had an easy rhyme.  I wanted something unique, something astounding to work with.  I got to write sonnets, both Petruchan and Shakespearean, I prefer the Shakespearean.  I learned more about sestinas, I learned how to write a crown of sonnets–now that was challenging and I still can’t quite believe I pulled that one-off.

A crown of sonnets is a sonnet sequence of seven poems.  The first sonnets last line has to be the second sonnets first line and so on down to the seventh sonnet which must end with the last line of the first sonnet, thereby creating a perfect circle of ryhmes, ie a crown.  The sonnets were also in the Shakespearean form–fourteen lines with four stanzas and a two line couplet in this rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg–which have the couplet twist at the end so that the entirety of the poem is actually vastly different than the intent of the first twelve lines.

Uh yeah.

I did one. It was challenging.  I have no idea where that crown went off to.  I vaguely remember that it was about a lost girl child in some fantasy realm of broken down hallways and torn wallpaper.  It was like the girl child version of Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are.

I will have to dig around and see if I can locate it.

Or maybe, it’s time to pick up the self-thrown gauntlet and write another.

I also learned that I am horrid at writing limericks.  Nothing I hate more than writing a limerick, for whatever reason, they just allude me.

And then there is the nonce.

It was toward the end of the semester, right before we got to the limerick, which was to be fun and light and was definitely, by far the worst poem I wrote that semester, Professor Wallace gave us the nonce assignment.

I remember it very well, the entire class freaked the hell out-create our own style of poetry?!

I don’t remember what my reaction was, but I found myself writing Cry Baby a couple of nights later.  I don’t know where the imagery came from, I know I was inspired by a line from a Soul Coughing song, “spoon to the lighter, to the lighter to the sun, devil lapsed out in a pool of fun”.

I suspected that the song was about heroin and I went from there.

I ended up writing what I was afraid, irrationally so, was the best piece of work that I was ever going to write.  I had this idea that the word well was going to be dry after this one.  I was probably sowing the seeds of fear of success even then.

How funny.

I ended up falling in love with my little poem and performed it along with a few other pieces at Jenna’s Open Mic and I got into the final round of a slam at Cafe Montmartre and I performed it at my going away party at the Angelic, after a few beers and some shots of Patron.

And then I stumbled upon it when I was doing the While You Were Sleeping poem preparation for the Elbow Room show with Sunshine at the Dub Mission Night.

I did it there with Souxsie and Sunshine loved it.  He actually wants me to perform it again with While You Were Sleeping and he said, “let’s record it.”

Oh holy shit.


I’m going to grab a coffee with him Monday afternoon, Cafe Du Soleil, mmmmhhmmmm, a little slice of Paris cafe culture in the lower Haight, and discuss.

Here’s the poem:

Cry Baby

She’s a love junkie, whimpering after his cheekbones.

Craving sugar spun sonnets and nonce quatrains,

Stockpiling sestinas and internal rhyme schemes.

She falls on the floor, nodded out little hypoglycemic.

She’s a love junkie, wallowing in canker sore bliss,

Poking her tongue in and out the pitted mouth of desire.

Needling along, chain smoking a noodling song, she hovers,

Above her sprawled out form, out of body will-o-wisp.

She’s a love junkie, seared in margarita salt and half-rotted limes.

Taunting the boy fresh from re-hab with alcoholic musings

On the metaphysical.  Scattershot, spoon-fed, lined in blood,

Nursing on cantilvered moons frosted purple blue.

She’s a love junkie, roller-skating around the rink of abandon,

Wearing knee-high argyle socks and pink glitter lip bomb.

Wicked wracked she cackles back, hush baby, cry baby,

Suck it up baby.  Red vinyl skirt fucked, shrink wrapped in oh.

My professor loved it.  Danny Kalahatchi (god, I think that’s how his name was spelled) thought it was brilliant.

The girl who wrote about kittens and snowflakes and dew drops (I kid not) pointed out that I mis-spelled lip balm.

I will never forget Danny piping up, “BOMB”  it’s a slant rhyme and it means her mouth was the bomb, like dope, like oh my god, blown away by her kiss.  DUH, you dumb twat”.

The last part of the sentence was under his breath, I loved him for it and whenever he came into the bar I would toss him free pints.  I actually even booked his band, now that I’m thinking of it–Nefesh?  Which drew hordes of under age girls to mope about  after the pretty front man, he was Emo before any one knew what the fuck Emo was.

So, I’ll get to perform one from the vault.

I am looking forward to it.

I get to perform again, I am blown away by this.  I never suspect that I would be in some San Francisco night club over a decade later with a musical legend performing something I wrote.


I am constantly astounded by my life and the things I get to do.

Pretty fucking balm.

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