Archive for January 2012

Writer’s Block (Sock) Sonnet

January 31, 2012
Blank Page and Sock

Writer’s Block (Viewed from Page and Foot)

A blank page is not like a plain white sock.
It won’t warm cold feet in the night
and fits poorly into your shoe. You can’t tuck
your pants into its margins to fight
Lyme’s Disease–no, no,  it won’t allow ease
of any kind–won’t cushion the impact
of the concrete;  won’t offer you release
from a sweaty stance–so much less tact
has the blank page  than the ribbed cotton sock
(though also white and sometimes subtly lined)
that it will talk at you (snarkily), mock, 
allow no wiggle room, quite shush and bind
you, reciprocally capping all sound.
You resist?  Then it will stare you down.


The above is a re-draft of an old poem, posted for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link night.  (And, yes, to followers of this blog–I seem to have an obsession with socks.) 

I went with this particular poem because I am desperately trying to rewrite and revise a fantasy novel right now.  (The idea that I will finish the revision is its own form of fantasy!)  In the meantime, if you are at all interested in silly novels written by Manicddaily, check out NOSE DIVE, a cheap, light, fun, escapist read.

Noveling – Can’t Pull It Out Of A Hat At the End of the Day

January 30, 2012


I’ve been trying, trying, trying, to revise a novel over the last several days.  The problems have been (i) that the novel needs major restructuring – i.e. cuts;  (ii) that the novel needs major restructuring – i.e. flashbacks; and (iii) that the novel needs major restructuring – i.e. a different author.

Even several nights up till 2 a.m. have not done the trick.

I have made progress–i.e. I’ve cut a few whole pages and lots and lots of dangling modifiers.

But my hope that I can get a reasonable version done before the end of this week–a deadline for a contest submission–is definitely waning.

The whole thing brings up the extremely unpleasant understanding that I really can’t pull everything out of the hat at the end of the day.  The impossible is, sometimes, in fact, impossible. i.e. ugh.

Question of the hour:  is it still worth trying?

Answer of the hour:  probably not tonight.



(P.S. In the meantime, I have a short, quick, funny novel out called NOSE DIVE.  It’s only 99 cents on Kindle–a bit more in paperback.  Check it out!)

“Nursing Mother Commutes” (Oddly based on Kandinsky).

January 29, 2012


Yesterday, I had the fun and honor of hosting dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt, challenging people to write about undercurrents–the layers of a moment or experience.   I was not very pleased by my own poem, which I had cut hugely before posting.  I tend to think that almost all poems are a bit too long; but I worried all day that I had eviscerated it.  (Ugh.)

But the great thing about blogging is that you learn to just move on to the next thing.  So, here’s a new poem for MagPie Tales, hosted by Tess Kincaid.  The poem is based upon the Kandinsky overhead (Red Spot II).

Nursing Mother’s Trip Home

She runs, takes stairs aslant by twos,
tethered purse banging at purposeful
hip, diagonals by the commuter who
doesn’t have a nursing baby at home, weaves
around this woman with the slow high heels, that backpack
that blocks her dash, this stack
of newspapers–anything that would collapse
the pace pounding her brain; pushes
onto her next train, squeezing her newly reduced
body between limbs, suppressing inner
relief sob, pulling slash
of coat from pinch of train doors; leans for the
long part of the ride–the passage beneath
the river–against
the conductor’s silver
booth, trying now
to control her chest–the harsh
breath of hurry, the milk whose heated
seep already pushes
her nipples,
stopping only in her 1-2-3
to pray for no stoppage, no moment of
slowdown between shores when she will feel crushed
by crinkle and murk, the image of tons
of river overhead–even as she knows –she does
not need to tell herself, she knows it
so absolutely–that nothing, not even a burst
of flood through train’s fluorescence—-will keep
her from getting home.

It is only the delay that crazes
her–the time it takes from
this grey metal door to
her infant at her breast–for
she knows, yes,
in every mote of
her being she knows,
that it is only
a matter of time.



(P.S. I am also linking this to Imperfect Prose.  Have a great week. K.)

Undercurrents and Paper Towels (“Divorce a Possibility in Brooklyn, NYC”)

January 28, 2012


I was honored to be asked to host the “Poetics” prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today.  (Thanks to Sheila Moore, Claudia Schoenfeld, and Brian Miller.)

My prompt has to do with “undercurrents” in poetry.  The examination of the layers of a moment or experience is frankly something most poets do unprompted.  Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing what the wonderful poets at dVerse will do today, and urge you  to check out the prompt and the poets as well.   (And, of course, to write your own poem!)

Here’s mine:

Divorce a Possibility in Brooklyn, NYC

She wipes the counters for weeks
with an increasingly moldy
sponge.  Paper goods
have always been his job, the
so for a while w
hen she shops,
she just 
forgets, grocery store a blur
anyway, baby tied to her chest
like an amulet
against the leering heights
of canned corn, the precarious stacks
of tomato, all those old Italian ladies
in black coats (no matter the season),
the traffic
of criss-crossed carts. 

Till at last, gridlocked in
an aisle she’d intended to sidestep,
she’s faced
by the cellophane muscles
of a man who promises
to pick up everything.  She starts
to reach out to him–his
brand, his wrapper–but feels
suddenly certain
that if she even
touches those paper towels, it will be the end
of the life she has planned.  

She looks down
into her cart; its dull
metal grid reminds her now
of a cage, a poor
cage made of wire and gap,
perfect for some animal
that’s neither strong
nor clever.  

 PS – I’m sorry–overly scattered today–and have greatly edited this poem, changing back and forward again and again since first posting, adding and taking out a first verse (now out!)  Not sure that I made it better but not changing it anymore for now!
For a much much much lighter read, but also about NYC, check out my new comic novel, NOSE DIVE, on Amazon and Kindle.  (A lot of fun for just 99 cents!)

(Sorry – Last Post Inadvertent!) Is That Mean Enough? (Flash 55)

January 27, 2012

Looking Kind Of Small

Is that mean enough?

Don’t know; are they clapping yet?

Ethics…. grrr… tax rate…. grrr….. food stamps… grrr… outrage… grrr…despicable…. grrr…how
dare you grrr?…Iran…grrr…Latinos…grrr…marriage…grrr…leadership…grrr…
bad…grrr…bad…um…(grrrr) bad, bad, bad.

And what I really hate is all my opponent’s negative campaigning…


(Here’s my flash friday 55.  Tell it to the grrr G-Man!)

(P.S. apologies to subscribers for earlier post now deleted–sent out pre-content!)

“Going Home” With a French Ballade

January 26, 2012


The wonderful dVerse Poets Pub has a “form for all” challenge today to write a French Ballade .  The pompt, hosted by Gay Reiser Cannon, gives clear instructions but, frankly, I found it a pretty difficult form.  For me, the hardest part was the syllabic line (8 syllables), since I tend to write in a modified pentameter (which allows for a bit of play in the number of syllables.)

At any rate, here’s mine.  (It’s still kind of a draft–suggestions welcome!)

Going Home (Last Hospital Stay)

Though angled with no special care,
the tape stains spoke of intention,
as if, by cantilever, there
had been some trick of physics done,
some framework lifted, battle won,
a scaffolding’s dismounted trace–
of orange (glue)–and, too, a notion
of failing beams across a face.

But skin was sore now it was bare
of bands of tube that had just run
from nostril curve to curl of ear
to squeeze and ease the oxygen,
to silently let go let come
what let the lungs slow down their race,
and countenance reflect a sun
of failing beams across a face.

They rushed us home through open air–
each stretcher bearer was a son–
and cold it was, so cold out there–
and you, my dad, my only one–
I put my coat, my hat, upon
you too, though they looked out of place,
their blues too sprightly, too much fun,
with failing beams across your face.

You worried whether I was warm
and offered back, with age-old grace,
all to be had that day near done,
its failing beams across your face.



(P.S. – have edited since I first posted.  A process this!)

Diabolically busy week continues….

January 25, 2012



“Girl’s Beast Heart” (“Ophelia, Ophelia Syndrome”)

January 24, 2012


I am diabolically busy this week, so am combining my response to two wonderful online prompts: Magpie Tales, hosted by Tess Kincaid, and dVerse Poets Pub open link night.    (The above is my rendering of Tess’s photographic prompt, its mood slightly offered and the “rice” more or less gone)   I urge you to check out both sites.

And here’s the poem, with a cautionary note that the language is more “adult” than typically posted here, i.e. stop right now if you don’t like that sort of thing.

Ophelia, Ophelia Syndrome

Girl’s beast heart, age ten, swims sky,
arms swinging wings, she springs
till body turns spy—
Where does complete go?
Drips from woman’s breast, ass, thigh.
She loves pining, the yearn,
craves the kiss, lick, fuck,
finds contempt, klutz lust, mucks
about in briny shyness.
Making boy-man God-king
slits wings.  Rubs a zipper
into her skin to mend it,
hoards opalescence.

Further notes–the poem was inspired from a discussion, popular a few years back, about many girls’ loss of confidence at a certain age.   It was actually written as part of a “magnetic poetry” exercise (for a party), in which only words on a specific list could be used.  For those interested in the mechanics of prompts and the wayward mind, the other poem I wrote from that same list deals with peeing in the ocean.  (Both poems are in Going on Somewhere, available on Amazon.)


(I am also postinf this for Jingle poetry picnic on

A Novel(ing) Day – the wonders (?!?) of computers and drafts

January 23, 2012

Yesterday was a day of working extremely hard to meet a noveling deadline.  (A contest.)

It is very difficult to meet a noveling deadline in a single day.

In my case, the attempt was made because I happen to have a few old manuscripts squirreled away.   They include very rough drafts as well fairly polished drafts–a couple are of novels that I once took very seriously, but for some reason or another–i.e. rejection letters–set aside.

Unfortunately, even the once-polished novels have gotten fairly rough over time, as after enough rejections, I would inevitably begin re-writing them and would not always get to a new re-polishing.

I’ve known about the deadline for a while, but could not decide which manuscript I could bear to focus on until 6 a.m. yesterday.  (Revisiting an old manuscript can be a bit like meeting up with an X–quite painful until you settle down and just have sex.)  (Note to husband–this is a joke.)

One of the wonders of a computer is that you can save a zillion drafts, some of which improve your work, some of which may just be little experiments, fits of pique.

Oops!  Did I call this a wonder of the computer?

How about I wonder how this draft is different from that one?  I wonder what happened to that draft in which I did such and such.  Most of all, I wonder why I never stuck to a system for all this stuff. 

Still, I finally got down to brass tacks, and managed, through the course of many hours, to totally fry my eyes. And, yet, not finish the revisions.  (I’m less than half way through.)

I console myself with the fact that I would not likely win the contest anyway.  And then I think, maybe the last half is, you know, fine as is.  (Ha!)

(P.S. – in the meantime, please please please check out my last book, fully polished:  NOSE DIVE, a very silly escapist novel available on Kindle for just 99 cents, and in paperback for only ten times more. It really is quite fun, and now has a very kind review from Victoria C. Slotto.)

Gabrielle Giffords Steps Down – I salute her

January 22, 2012

There is a tendency in this country to exalt the bravery of those who happened, very unfortunately, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  For example, while there were in fact many heroes who died on 9/11, it always seems to me a bit strange to label anyone who happened to be in the towers that day a hero.  I say that not meaning to diminish the suffering of people who died then, or in other tragic circumstances, or  to diminish the loss of their families, or even to comment on their personal bravery.  It’s just that the term has gotten to be used rather automatically in tragic circumstances, perhaps because tragedy–great losses–tend to bring out a hyperbolic lexicon; we want always to enoble a terrible loss.

Giffords, however, seems deserving of this label–because she was so trusting, because she was (and seemingly is) so service oriented, because she lost so much and has worked so hard in her recovery, regaining so much, because of an ongoing attitude of faith and appreciation and because of incredibly inspiring things like this video.  It’s pretty amazing.  I wish her well in her continuing recovery.  May there be no more such terrible incidents in this country’s future.