Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, September 21, 2003
A(rg)h! It's raining again! Normally the Valley is a pretty dry place. But lately we've had Houston weather: lots of torrential rain. Public schools closed last Friday, and our college closed after noon (which gave me a day off because I teach a college class at a local high school and then only have office hours on campus). I got last Friday off too because of the rain (hey, we don't get snow days here). Despite the free time and the lovely weather, I can't say I got much poetry work done this weekend. (I did spend over 6 hours Saturday on a 40+ page screenplay, but that doesn't make me happy. I'm not sure why.)

I cannot get into the correct state for writing a poem. That and the reluctance to begin for fear of failure. I am not interested in producing a mere exercise today--I want something of substance, something that will ring in my ears for weeks to come. So I am writing under a deadline, I suppose. I want something new to send out. I know that September is one of the best times of the year to send stuff, but I seem to be letting it slip by. I have other kinds of pressures on me, too. Self imposed ones. I just turned away two Jehovah's Witnesses. (Strange how, although a bad speller, I did not have to struggle to spell out an unfamiliar word: Jehovah. Comes easily--too easily?)

I will not be sending my manuscript (can barely spell that) out this year, so I won't have a chance of being validated in that way. I will have to content myself with magazine/journal acceptances (if they come). However, now all the pressure funnels down to this: I have to make very good choices; I have to send stuff out; in some cases, I have to write the poems first; finally, I have to allow that kind of noise into my house. For the first time in years--four years since I finished my degree--my manuscript won't be circulated. It's time to put it to rest (after spending over $480 in reading fees). I won't allow it to come out again until it is something--fabulous? --worthy? I don't know. I guess I would settle for spectacular.

This is good news, I think, not just because I don't have the money to spend on reading fees, but also (more importantly) because I really shouldn't send something that I don't want to be published as it. And I am feeling more and more that way about it.

meanwhile, I must make the absolute best use of my time. I can't waste it on trifling exercises. But can anything be written under these desperate conditions?

There is a certain advantage to writing in an extreme state of naivete. Far from factual or accurate, the work is already in a state of creation or art or dream.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Meanwhile, My Archives Keep Accumulating Dates with No Content in Them


(Real Gardens with Imaginary Words)

All my friends think I have multiple personalities. I alternate between inviting them over to my house for wild parties (for example, celebrating today on the agenda: Mexican Dia de la Independencia--Grito!) and telling them firmly and quite rudely that I cannot possibly see them at all today because I am grading. Well, I am making some headway and should be done with this round of essays by tomorrow afternoon. My students and I are still in that hunnymoon stage, or at least thatÂ?s how I see it. I am sure to write poems this weekend, a whole crop of them. Fabulous, feral poems. Or maybe not that because haven't wee seen quite enough of them lately? Like what I am supposed to be doing right now: grading. Feeling the love and the weight of it. Plus some imported beers. Not to give the wrong impression or to inspire envy, one of the seven deadly sins.

IÂ?m not sure which sin I most emulate, but it better not occur when I am grading, when I feel truly used and wholly sacrificial and benevolent, simultaneously.

I really am going to write some poems this weekend. And catch up on TonightÂ?s the Night and the Tornado Alley Series. No fudge.

Well, maybe just a little.

Have you read Donna Tartt's The Secret History yet? You should. She's on a cover of a recent Poets & Writers, and she looks, well, tartly. Such puns cannot be dodged despite the most valiant efforts. Who has witnessed a valiant effort nowadays? Do they still exist or only in the realm of cliche?

You can do it: Grito!

Saturday, September 06, 2003
Here's the email I just sent to my mom, sister, and brother. Boofer's my dog, Lars. Just to irritate them, mostly:


I thought I would share this evidence of the Wisdom of Boofer:

He was sitting in the kitchen, begging, as usual, when he happened to look over at the window and saw a gecko climbing across the screen. The window is over the sink. The gecko is pink on the window. Only Boofer could appreciate the Zen of the Gecko, and he sat, transfixed, no longer begging for the earthly reward of food, only existing, in that moment, as the Gecko exists, simply to be and to be unaware of being seen and appreciated.

So Boofer saw the Gecko and whined softly.

Many things are lost on many people, but Boofer is one on whom nothing is missed.


Ps. Louie, I haven't called you back yet! Drew and Jana visited us this weekend and kept us very busy! Plus I had a foreign film on Friday and an English department party on Saturday. Also, I wrote a 20 page screenplay for my class. So, you see, I have been quite indisposed. But I'll call you back! And yes, we do have a digital camera, but it might be in Reynosa. I'll check.

(end of email)
At least I'm posting more frequently now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Pure Luck

After my brief stint under a rock, I finally wandered into Heriberto’s Yepez’s Mexperimental.

I think my timing is impeccable. I got to read two excellent entries: one about the Madonna/Britney/Cristina kiss (so glad somebody wrote about that!), which I didn’t get to see but can imagine vividly, and one about something that is weighing very heavily on my mind right now: location.

I too am debating where to move, except my choices aren’t so cosmopolitan (and therefore conventional) as Chiapas and San Francisco. I might move to Austin, but then again, I might move to Houston. I can’t decide. So I’m just going to stay put (the Zen solution?). Anyway, this seems uncanny to me.

I am so glad that I can finally read blogs again and have stopped looking merely for references to myself.

I need more advice. My Aquafina bottle says:

They call this “PURE LUCK.” Okay.

And then some. I can see the headlines now: “Madonna has Uterus Removed to be Immortalized Forever in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

But then again, you should just read these two recent entries (8-29 & 30). I think the sample below can stand on its own and is delightful:

In theory-world if I ask a girl if she wants to fuck with me, she says she needs to think about it.

And so we both think about sex and that’s it.

Get it? That’s it. Marvelous!

In Celebration of My Uterus

If one more woman comes up to me and says that she had her uterus out this summer and was so glad to get rid of it, I might have to scream. Barring medical emergencies (which, I’m sure, precipitated the majority of these decisions), why are so many doctors so willing (or so easily able) to talk women into disposing of their so-called seat of femininity? Would men who were told they needed to get rid of a similarly sex-affirming body part—say, for examples, their balls—be so overjoyed to get rid of them?

Of course, uteruses and balls are not homologous—ovaries and balls are homologous—and women usually aren’t happy to get rid of their ovaries because that drives them into premature menopause, with the hormone fluctuations, mineral deficiencies, and all that. But women (based on my completely non-scientific and insufficient data) seem more than happy to fork over their uteruses. Why? They still have hormone fluctuations (not as bad as pregnancy and menopause, but hey—they’re still women), but they don’t have cramping (there’s nothing left to cramp), and they don’t have periods. Periods. Are they that bad?

Are uteruses becoming the appendix of the 21st century? Are they really that expendable—even obsolete?

Of course, not if you want to have children—and bear them in your womb. That’s part of the reason I am so appalled by these women’s reactions to major surgery. I think to myself, “You’re glad to be rid of it? But that’s where little Joey used to live!” My mother still has her uterus, but I wonder what it would feel like if she didn’t. Would it be similar to that feeling of your parents selling the house you grew up in while you were away at college?

I know I’m romanticizing this idea of the seat of femininity, blah, blah, blah, but it does give me cause to wonder. I have known a few men who were close to losing one ball or two, and the only reason I know this is because I was close to them. It’s not the sort of information they usually broadcast. Or maybe I only heard it in the form of gossip--respectfully hushed tones, “That man just lost one ball. Like Lance Armstrong. Poor guy!” And we are all thinking to ourselves, “And yet he is still a man! Amazing!” Of course we are better off without these ridiculous, sentimental stereotypes of what it means to be a real man or a real women—and real women sometimes don’t have uteruses.

But the next time I hear a woman say she has tossed out her uterus (which should be any day now), instead of the jubilant tone (perhaps suggesting “I’m halfway to perfection—almost as good as a man now!”), I’d like to hear something more along the lines of, “I had my uterus removed this summer. I was kind of sad to see it go. But the doctor said it had to come out. I actually feel much better now, and I’m getting used to the idea of it not being there.” After all, it generally is unnoticeable, tucked deep inside us, and only draws attention to itself about 12 times a year—not like those balls, which demand to be scratched at least once a day (I’ve heard).

Perhaps I would feel better about this if I knew that hysterectomies were always performed due to medical necessity—not, for example, like they were in Victorian times (and a new name for the procedure would also be a good move). A number of my students, single mothers trying to put themselves through school, have told me that they can’t handle any more kids, and they are going to request that the doctor give them a hysterectomy. One of them said, “I can’t understand why my insurance won’t pay for it!” I try to explain to them that it’s not an elective procedure, but maybe I am wrong about that. Maybe one day it will be. I can see how some women would feel empowered by the status of being unable to bear children. After all, it would make them more like men. But I think Cosmo and its disciples need to realize that empowering women is not about enabling them to be more like men. It’s about enabling them to be themselves—accepting them—hormones, cramps, and all.

(By the way, this title is ripped off from an Anne Sexton poem.)

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