April 30, 2013
Don’t plague the butterfly
blessing the lemon bush
it’s like pushing a ballerina off balance
or stealing a bushel-full of tangelos
working to be ripe.
As intent as breath
cancer takes us
from the ones we love.
Truth waits for us to discover
Justice has her eyes covered.
Chaos harbors the scales.
Hectares of ash move out with the waves.
Heart travels through Chaos,
from life to peace,
freedom from fight
On the day you die a roadrunner steaks across the road. We rent a canoe and laugh too hard as we remember how to row. We set out for some place to say a prayer and a sandy shoal to rest and picnic. I think of Giovanni and Nicholo in matching life jackets and bucket hats on the empty bench between us. We discover a halcyon cove where the birds loll on marooned branches. I place my hands over my chest stare up into the sky and weep. Jane recites her poem
Please take this shy Spanish girl
whom they say you resemble
and ride with her, here are the field poppies
damaged by night, here your blue slumber, your horse.
Take this prayer, which you must surrender
in order to understand, as in moments when you are reduced
to the truth. When you are ready,
the beasts will be there. Let silence go through your heart,
the mild horse your blue one
already stirring toward morning, where it will be white.
While she recites I think of you in your final hours. I hear Chris Cornell singing “all night thing.” A lone heron watches us row back to the dock.
I pledge to see you, dear one. I will repeat you, your brilliance, the mode of your brow. Countless gestures impart understanding. Like a child fighting sleep we move towards closure. I will shrink into a bawl then open as you flower through time, loving, ardent, with the capacity of your spirit to give.
Denise Marie Franco b. December 18th 1967 d. March 13th 2013. In Denise’s words,
“On this Thanksgiving 2012, I give thanks for the wonderful life I have lived and the wonderful life I continue to live. I am blessed to have two wonderful children, and a wonderful man who light my world and fill my life with love on a daily basis. I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family, and amazing supportive friends. Friends I consider like family! Friends I’ve known most my life (you know who you are) , and ones I’ve met in recent years, all who add substance and peace and love to my world.
Thank You… because I feel very fortunate!”
The slideshow is composed of photographs taken by Denise. “Blue Nude” is from Jane Miller’s Many Junipers, Heartbeats. The image above is of a poem I wrote several years ago. Brian Watson found it among Denise’s papers and read it at her memorial celebration in Malibu California at the Nicholas Canyon Chumash Village.
from JAKE LEVINE’S Collage Of All 348 Of My Failed Loves Combined Into One Meditation Loosely Located In Gate’s Pass Concerning A Sunset And Its Vague Relationship To My Relationships But Also Dreams And An Angel For Mayakovsky’s Immortal Soul
October 6, 2012
BTW I’ll be taking requests- So, if there is some writing from here or published else where you would like to hear a recording of let me know by commenting on the piece you would like to hear or commenting here or if you are a contributor who would like to send me a breif recording of your contribution (3min or less) email me a voice file!
September 11, 2012
HI, I’ll be presenting for Trickhouse Live at Casa Libre W/ Deanne Stillman Tuesday, September 18 7-9 p.m. $5 Suggested Donation
Trick House Live is an integrative arts series that brings together people working with words, images, sounds, videos, and a variety of performances. The series serves as a venue for visiting artists to interact with local artists and for the borders between genres and mediums to be permeable. Trickhouse Live is a physical world extension of the online cross-genre arts journal, Trickhouse.org which is based in Tucson.
Deanne Stillman is the award-winning author of Mustang, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2008, and the cult classic Twentynine Palms, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001 which Hunter Thompson called “A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer.” Her latest book, Desert Reckoning, is based on her acclaimed Rolling Stone article, “The Great Mojave Manhunt.” She is a member of the core faculty at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program and currently divides her time between Tucson, AZ and Los Angeles, CA.
I make poems and visual art. You can view a portfolio of my visual art at valyntinagrenier.com. I hosts Back Room Live, and blog at Harriet Homemaker and Life Long Press. The photo was taken by Richard Siken at LIVE @ LIV, thanks Richard!
December 25, 2010
With rain, asphalt’s scent punches hard. Out there, isolated, one crawls toward earthen clutch, swaying high grass too sharp for language. When I say “one” fold in to me. When you read “is” I mean “to leap.” Wind, implacable metaphor, insists against all, love, so we must keep close. O where may the untouchable rest? What place hope in this palace of the real? We’ve grown so swift even thrice-great Hermes cannot slip our velocity. Light peels image from thing, demands pixels from trees.
Our old magic is condensed to avarice,
bondage and longing, to a slavish gaze.
September 25, 2010
Years ago, Stephen Malkmus sang: “Can you treat it like an oil well / When it’s underground, out of sight?” I think of these lines now in relation to the writers I have the pleasure to present here. The texts by these two poets and two fiction writers operate explicitly within underground or experimental aesthetics, attuned to their place within a rich tradition of countercultural expression.
I have chosen these writers because their work inspires me. But I also like the idea of having their texts share the same digital space. I’m hoping the juxtaposition of poetry and fiction will be as enjoyable to the reader as it is for me. I am also very conscious of creating a possibility for interaction between American and Venezuelan experimental writers.
The two poets have provided sequences of texts that can be read as single works, with each poem being the equivalent of a chapter or episode. I have translated the two short stories included here from the Spanish originals. In the short stories, the reader will find imagery and situations that can only be fully appreciated through the lens of poetry.
Carlos Ávila’s short story “The Antichrist” is a rewritten (radically edited) version of a text included in his first book. The young narrator manages to keep his wits during an extreme situation, thanks partly to an invocation of the anarchic spirit of the Sex Pistols. Ávila’s direct, plain prose sustains beautifully evoked images that startle us.
Micah Ballard’s sequence “Let Us Wake Rifles” opens with an invocation of poetic ancestry, so as to lead us through a gallery of visions imbued with elegance and charm. Ballard’s language is a classical slang, as though the phantoms he conjures were at ease and thinking out loud. (“I learned to mix the languages / & do it in code”)
Dayana Fraile’s short story masterfully narrates an encounter between two generations late one evening at a bus stop in Caracas. Her prose is attuned to the minor details that can bring people together, how friendship can spring from misunderstanding. The story is also a fascinating glimpse at the way subcultures evolve as their participants age. The reader will note a vulnerability that her characters might not be ready to acknowledge until they meet.
Sunnylyn Thibodeaux offers a sequence called “As Water Sounds,” which comments on our contemporary landscape of permanent crises. But the poet doesn’t merely lament or critique this unfortunate situation. Rather, she assumes an approach to language that reveals a complete faith in the magic of poetry (that is, song) to heal and reconstruct. “The Silent Spaces of Utopia Parkway,” indeed.
Guillermo Parra (Cambridge, MA, 1970) lives in Durham, NC, where he writes the blog Venepoetics. He has published two books of poetry, Caracas Notebook (Cy Gist Press, 2006) and Phantasmal Repeats (Petrichord Books, 2009). His poems, essays and translations have appeared in 6×6, Fascicle and Papel Literario, among others. He is currently translating the complete works of Venezuelan poet José Antonio Ramos Sucre (1890-1930).
June 27, 2010
from faster, faster
When he became an American citizen a black man from Chad renamed himself “Samuel” after Samuel Smith. Now he’s avoiding eating sugar to lose weight. Overheard: considering all the places money goes we should put rock stars on our bills, not Presidents. Put Mick Jagger on the $20. But we want to think of money as clean and so we do. Read the rest of this entry »
June 27, 2010
CONVERSATIONS WITH GUSTAF SOBIN
To Gustaf Sobin, I wonder what initially drove you to live the way you lived, in a small, isolated house atop a hillside, with a single church, the only sign of civilization, about one kilometer away. I suppose you had your books, your small cabanon two hundred meters from your front door, your wife and family, too. Read the rest of this entry »
June 27, 2010
At the Palace of Fruits on a summer evening, I wear red socks in my white sandals, my father carries a watermelon under his arm, my mother holds up boxes of sparklers, gold, red, blue, for my little sister and me to see. Read the rest of this entry »
May 30, 2010
Before I wrote the story about him, before I wrote a real story which I would show not just friends and family but also professors and editors, I went to his work and asked him, point blank, what made him love her better than he loved me. Read the rest of this entry »
April 25, 2010
So Long As You Had Fun
Of course I’d seen the advertisements, everyone has. Usually they don’t come on until after midnight when all the family programs have ended. Shaky and poorly lit documentary-style footage of girls— Read the rest of this entry »
March 29, 2010
MY LIFE AS A DAVID BROMIGE FICTION
In the late 70s, David & I would often run into each other at San Francisco poetry parties where alcohol was consumed, pot was smoked & someone would always set a typewriter up with a blank piece of paper in hopes of fostering collaboration, usually long & rambling exercises in gibberish.
One night, David & I huddled by the typewriter in a more minimal mood, typing the following two collabs:
Most tightrope walkers don’t die
WHO WOULDN’T BE DEPRESSED?
There you are in the 12th century,
& there’s 8 more centuries to go,
September 26, 2009
A Love That Thrives
Soon after we met, a number of summers ago, the late Marlon Evans told me what he really wanted to do. Write a story, write a script, and make a movie about Ira Hayes. In fact, the true story of Ira Hayes. Ira and the Akmiel O’otham community. “Not that drunk Indian story, not that Tony Curtis b.s. movie Hollywood shit,” Marlon said. Read the rest of this entry »
September 26, 2009
Marlon was my best friend for many years. Among the qualities I appreciated during those years were his honesty and generosity. He would talk, then grow silent and think, then talk some more—as if an invisible string were slowly drawing the truth out of him. Read the rest of this entry »
August 30, 2009
a set of notes* before “Schizophrene.” Never coming. Not wanting something in return. Tepid. Immigrant, immigrant, why are you so scared to get in trouble? Calling me up. Spitting down the phone like that. Then hangin’ up.
1. An immigrant flares at the periphery of a long time comin’s vision.
July 25, 2009
The light withdrawn to the fence base. A shadow the shape of your yellow chair. There is no chair but you reach both ways in your yellow shirt and pretend to swim the backstroke. Read the rest of this entry »
July 25, 2009
If my jaw were loose I would speak in third person. I would be an actress. Read the rest of this entry »
July 25, 2009
I sat out and watched the weather systems pass, ordinarily there were four or five of these like accelerated photography each day. It was an island about four miles off the coast of Maine; and I’d gone there to write in a big house with rotted ceilings and newspaper lampshades. The house was situated in the apex of a cove Read the rest of this entry »
June 27, 2009
My father died younger than any of us expected, contributing to my belief that we were made of something too soft. Read the rest of this entry »
May 29, 2009
from Anything to Declare?
How streets came to be.
They found a path and called it the Way, and in past times called it the One Way, but now we know it as the Broad Way. But before it was Broad, someone had the idea that the Way, like el Barrio, must have family out there and it was only right to have family united.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 25, 2009
The Disorientation of Sweet Violence
You punch me in the face and grey flowers bloom, not elsewhere, just as soon
Read the rest of this entry »
April 25, 2009
“A run down of the things I did in the first 48 hours back.
-drank a Moonlight Death & Taxes Black Beer as soon as I got off BART (actually 2).”
March 28, 2009
how moths and lamps really work
there might actually be something beyond the light that is attractive. ‘all I need’ does not suggest this outright but something in there takes you in that direction, wondering how much the dark disturbs or if there’s a possibility of something afterward once you get out of it. I think I understand what you mean now. it’s not necessarily about being literal, when anything in your mind can easily be imagined or understood, like the last hour or so of Jaws.
if only I could stay here indefinitely,
and maybe you could be here too
February 23, 2009
At the Economic Stimulus Time
Motherfuckers using Economic Stimulus checks to go to the restaurant. And then I saw you there making payment. Barely sleeping again. The old gas station said 1.34 and 9/10. We were wondering where we are.
January 31, 2009
I see my face in yours—
How Spanish comes from Latin
In Spanish, the plural defaults to masculine unless all female. Of six children, there is one boy. Son los hijos del Senor? Majority doesn’t rule. Gender does. One’s greatest achievement is to be born male. The next best thing, if so unfortunate, is to be beautiful.
January 31, 2009
from DARK AGE
Sophie’s writing about Siggo eating a plum. He’s still in that fifth century so maybe just some apples from an arbor but hear her out.
The plum is sweetly fragrant. Flavors swell and burst until he lives against his tongue. Now she can get his sentence out. I ought to tell you where you’re from he tells the pit he throws into the wind.
Where you’re going.
Siggo thinks in the orchard.