2.28.2005

Dreamboat of the Week

This week we salute our favorite sexual predator, Clive Owen: Oscar Loser, Winner of our Fiery Passions.

2.26.2005

Red

Stripped down, it's really just a film about the color red.

2.25.2005

Dossier (Favorite Films): Almodovar's All About My Mother

All About My Mother was the first Almodóvar film I saw, and truly no other director since Hitchcock can a name so succinctly be used as an adjective. There is something distinctly Almodóvar in each film that he makes—a trait both unique to each film and consistent across his oeuvre.

From a technical standpoint, All About My Mother features Almodóvar's typical tricks: bold usage of color, infatuation with interiors and architecture, concern with women's issues & experience, and the most bizarre pastiche of homage. This is a film about women's faces. About the artifice of living as a women—in Spain, yes, but ultimately how cruelly honest it is about the Western world in general.

Cecilia Roth plays the ultimate mother, tending to nearly every character in the film at one point or another. The film begins conventionally: the mother-and-son living idyllically in a fatherless state of suspension (Jesus?) and only becomes more complicated. Her pietà unloops as the film progresses, as she swaps Madrid for Barcelona—and Barcelona, such a city made for filmmaking with its melting buildings and mosaic plazas. This film's mosiac is a tiling of women.

It questions motherhood—what are the gains, the costs of entry. When a husband dies, a wife becomes a widow, but what does a mother become when her child dies? Criminally, we have no word for this.

And the origins of artifice—make-up, the falsity of the theatre, invented pasts and torn photographs, lipsuction & breast augmentation. You think already this must be three films. But this braid is too perfect.

Almodóvar is a striking filmmaker, and like a good storyteller, he grabs you by the lapels, yanks you to him, and then shoves you back into your chair. Everything unravels. Everything falls apart. And beautifully, and for all the right reasons.

Validation

Imagine my surprise last night when I opened a large envelope in the mail to find the most recent issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review--with one of my poems in it!

I never received an acceptance. "Truth Be Told (Either By Me or Someone Else Who Inevitably Speaks Up)" was selected for the issue.

I was pretty happy about it, partially because I've been on my deathbed (or an approximation of it) this week with a nasty, nasty cold.

2.22.2005

Gay Group Alleges Heterosexuals Responsible for Overpopulation

LOS ANGELES--More babies are born now each second than any other time in history, leading to life-threatening and life-ruining results, and a new report by a California-based gay activist group is pointing a stern finger at the heterosexual community.

Finish Up Creating Kids, a grassroots community action group founded by Sharon Murphy in 1997, released a report today that reprimands what they call "irresponsible breeding acts" by the majority of the world's heterosexuals. "It's just sick," Murphy derided in a recent interview. "These heterosexuals are growing up, getting married--and then, since they can't recruit people into their lifestyle, they create them."

Murphy contends that a vast number of heterosexuals are part of a conspiracy she called the "Straight Agenda." Their number one priority is world domination and the complete eradication of fabulous culture.

"Ever since straight men learned to pluck their eyebrows, our whole subculture has gone to pot," an anonymous FUCK staffer told reporters. "They're a very seductive group of people--once one of them does something, the rest follow, and they're raising their kids with the same values."

Among the hardships the earth faces under the oppressive rule of heterosexuals, Murphy states in the report, are widespread homelessness, world hunger and famine, and teen pregnancy.

"You don't see very many pregnant 13-year-old lesbians," Murphy noted. "Gays and lesbians are less likely to engage in unsafe sex leading to conception. It's that simple."

The report comes at a time when many heterosexuals around the world are becoming more informed about the quality of life of their bretheren in other countries and continents.

Murphy is confident she knows where the troubles begin. "Marriage has proved itself to be a breeding ground--literally--for children," she alleges sternly. "Sometimes it seems like the only reason people even get married is to squeeze out a few pups." Murphy also notes that marriage tends to legitimize children who are born out of wedlock. "It's almost like it makes it okay."

The report weighs in at a whopping 320 pages, complete with an appendix that uses anatomical renderings to indicate how heterosexuals manage to create life inside their bodies.

"FUCK will no longer stand and be a party to the depletion of our natural resources," read a recent public service announcment released by the group. "Now is the time to keep zippers at full mast."

"This sickness must end," Murphy pleaded to reporters this afternoon. "Arguments that heterosexuality is genetic are preposterous--this is obviously the result of conditioning by the sickest members of our society."

When asked what percentage of procreation closeted homosexuals account for, Murphy declined to comment.

For more information on FUCK or to read the report in full, contact your local FUCK chapter or visit http://www.FUCKforLIFE.com

Dreamboat of the Week

We've added a new feature here at Therapist with a Dream Inside:

Dreamboat of the Week.

Each Monday, a new Dreamboat will be discreetly chosen to be the current Dreamboat of the Week.

It's a brief reign, but no one needs that kind of responsibility permanently.

MiPO Print

Thanks to Didi for including my poem, "Clive Owen," in the next issue of MiPO Print, along with a clip-and-save photo of yours truly.

2.21.2005

Belle of the Blog

Thanks to everyone for making me feel like the belle of the blog last week. Between my fab visit at the No Tell to everyone's support of my support of poetic risk, I felt like a Valentine.

And also, I think those two concurrent events raised my blog's weekly number of average visits by 20. In a single week. I'm pretty stoked about that.

2.20.2005

Multiple Art

My weekend has been full of delicious art.

On Friday I went to the opening night of Stray Cat Theater's production of Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart." The play dovetailed a lot of things I've been thinking about and working on for the past several months; it documents Kramer's experience (barely fictionalized) in founding the Gay Men's Health Crisis community action group in New York City back when there were only 30 known cases of AIDS.

It's a powerful piece and an important reminder for all of us to be angry. Things didn't need to be this way. And despite Kramer's hubris and minor scripting missteps, the play succeeds. What most impressed me that the mostly-hetero cast completely snowed me into believing they were queer. This was disappointing because I had, to some extent, looked forward to seeing some straight man-on-man kissing (that's totally hot). Instead, I got something richer.

Almodóvar's new film finally opened in Phoenix. Bad Education is precisely the revelation it needed to be. If All About My Mother was a twisted homage to both All About Eve and A Streetcar Named Desire, Bad Education is an homage that transcends its source texts.

There is no way to adequately discuss this film without spoiling the experience of seeing it. Gael García Bernal is phenomenal. The narrative uncoils like a long, slender thread. And the filming is, as always, beautiful.

Tonight, I'll be watching the newly-released director's cut of Donnie Darko. I'm sure this film will appear one week in my dossier of favorite films.

2.19.2005

Time Travel Double Feature

iTunes Shuffle

My random shuffle in order of their appearance:

"Now Get Busy," Beastie Boys
"Slave to Love," Elan Atias
"Left of Center," Suzanne Vega
"Bright Lights," Matchbox 20
"Gloria," U2
"Apollo 9," Adam Ant
"Baby I Love You," Jennifer Lopez
"Vicious World," Rufus Wainwright
"Time After Time," Cyndi Lauper
"Predictable," Good Charlotte

2.16.2005

Risk and the Rebellion of Poetry (American-style)

Lately when people ask me if like X poet or Y poet I find myself often responding, "Well, X (or Y) is okay, but s/he doesn't take any risks with their poetry." The sense of risk-taking has become crucial to me in my appreciation of writing.

But in nailing down what I like about poetry, I keep coming back to the question of, "What is risk?"

To me, risk encapsulates a form of experimentation. I don't like the term "experimental" poetry because I think it degrades that process & experience, relegating it to an unfair margin of success. To experiment, I think, is to go forward blindly, to make what are potentially calculated risks, safe risks, or to be completely unaware of the risk taken.

That's not what this is about.

I'll try some examples.

One of the riskiest books I read in the past year was Patrick Donnelly's The Charge. I'll be honest: parts of that book are awful. I don't know why some of the poems don't succeed necessarily, although I suspect it has something to do with oversentimentalizing the subject matter. That said, parts of the book are fucking brilliant. Donnelly is an honest risk taker, and each poem toes the line between sentimental drivel and transcendance. He's learning to walk that line, to live on it. He's a risk taker because sometimes it works and sometimes it fails. If he'd never taken these risks, we'd never reach those transcendant moments with him--and those moments are worth any and all missteps in the book.

Another risky book that comes to mind is Maureen Seaton's Little Ice Age. From a form perspective, the book is all over the map. Several of the poems are linked via title/subject matter into smaller groupings/smaller narrative threads. And the mishmash of paraphernalia in the book is awesome--high-order math, meteorology, classical music, lesbianism, urbanism, Iowa, marriage and divorce, theft, ressurrection, systems of belief...she's everywhere. It is almost unclear why this is a collection: but ultimately, everything connects. Seaton really toes the line of making faulty relationshps between disparate things. Her language, at times, risks comprehension and image. It risks the personal. Seaton is obviously invested in her poems in a way that does not require the poems to be about her, even when they are. And this personal investment is ultimately the riskiest element of the book. She is there when she is not there.

My last risky example is D. A. Powell's Tea. Tea changed my life in a way no other book ever did or has since. Everything in the book seems to be a risk. The investment level is palpably high, the language itself is a risk, and the collection, as a whole, both skirts and embraces the sentimental without degrading into melodrama (except where melodrama functions as a tool of camp or irony). Each element in the collection comes together so neatly that the entirety of the poems exist in a suspended state of risk--like a precarious game of Jenga, the movement or removal of a single element would cause collapses.

Risk is an energizer. Risk puts a value on poetry because it requires something of value to be put at stake or in a state of danger.

Poetry that exists outside of risk is nearly a form of vanity--

But the equalizing factor of risk is that anyone can take it. Risk isn't reserved for the culture of power, although they do rarely employ it (because, really, what is at stake for those in power except losing it?).

I would like to see more poets of risk in the world, and furthermore, I would like to be one, although I'm certainly unsure if I'm there or not. I think I have moments of risk, and I can generally feel when these moments occur because my first instinct is to back off whatever I'm doing.

If anxiety be the music of poetry, risk on.

2.15.2005

State of the States

Borrowed from Laura:

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C.

2.14.2005

For Valentine's Day

[dogs and boys can treat you like trash. and dogs do love trash]


dogs and boys can treat you like trash.   and dogs do love trash
to nuzzle their muzzles.    they slather with tongues that smell like their nuts


but the boys are fickle when they lick you.  they stick you with twigs
and roll you over like roaches.    then off with another:  those sluts


with their asses so tight you couldn't get them to budge for a turd
so unlike the dogs:  who will turn in a circle showing & showing their butts


a dog on a leash:  a friend in the world.  he'll crawl into bed on all fours
and curl up at your toes.    he'll give you his nose.    he'll slobber on cuts


a dog is not fragile; he's fixed.    but a boy:  cannot give you his love
he closes his eyes to your kisses.    he hisses.    a boy is a putz


with a sponge for a brain.   and a mop for a heart:  he'll soak up your love
if you let him and leave you as dry as a cork.     he'll punch out your guts


when a boy goes away:  to another boy's arms.    what else can you do
but lie down with the dogs.   with the hounds with the curs.    with the mutts

—D. A. Powell

Google-google Doo

I've been searched a lot lately. Here is a list of the best terms leading to this blog:

dream studies & freud
inside August
Naomi Wolfe gives birth to a baby
queer poets
you fit into me
meaning, surprises
lesbian dream poem
feminine fauxhawk
*gay for pay cocksucker
gwen stefani fauxhawk
against sameness

* indicates winner of this round of search terms

We'll all notice with varying degrees of relief the sudden absence of the word "vagina" from this list, and I'm awfully thrilled that "gay for pay cocksucker" is a yellow brick road ending at Therapist with a Dream Inside.

Nerd-Fabulousness

Eduardo was right: Daniel is nerd-fabulous hotness.

You Know How To Whistle, Don't You?

Come up and see me sometime

at the No Tell Motel.

I'll be turning on more than just lights.

2.13.2005

Bookish

I added a third section to my new ms. It's a set of earlier poems that I think, inherently, communicate with the poems I'd already collected into the volume. This gives me three sections (*snore*) but it does bring my page count up to 70, which is, I think, the middle ground for most contests.

The unofficial section titles are

Little Burning Edens
The Heart, Like a Window
Sad Divas

I'm not a fan of section titles, but I do think of them as having titles in my own head.

I've created 21 journal submission packets over the weekend. They're sitting in a stack on my desk with "Post Office" written all over their desperate little faces.

Keep your fingers crossed.

2.11.2005

Edson

"And whether this is true or not, certainly I was going to be a writer, because that is what I have become."
       —Russell Edson

Double Your Pleasure

Tonight I attended the E. L. Doctorow reading, the capstone event to his two-week residency at ASU. I wasn't familiar with is work, so I didn't know what to expect. He read a short story from his most recent collection, Sweet Land Stories. I don't remember the title, but it was about a girl named Jolene. And it was fabulous. I mean, it was probably the best piece of fiction I've ever heard read aloud.

It broke a lot of narrative rules without sacrificing any of the story's heart or relevance, and it maintained this strange rhythm and cadence throughout—a sort of crude, comfortable folksiness.

Afterward, I had the (doubled) pleasure of enjoying a post-reading dinner with Mr. Doctorow and some guests. He is such an interesting person—he doesn't take shit, really, and I admire that about him. He also provided some great relationship advice on how to make marriage work: "Disagree on everything for as long as you possibly can."

I'm going to add his book City of God to my reading list and get it in the queue. It sounds like something right up my alley (like Unbearable Lightness of Being, perhaps? Has anyone read this Doctorow book?)

It was a cool way to close out my Thursday.

And yesterday I phoned C. D. Wright. I feel as cool as the guy who knows all the famous people but is himself of very little consequence.

2.09.2005

Lost Cities

Last night as I walked back from yoga, night had just started--it was dark, the streetlamps were on, and the slow movement of evening traffic stopped and started at intersections. There was a cool breeze from the side of town where all our ethnic restaurants are, filling the air with its myriad smells, and it suddenly made me think of

San Francisco

and the nights I've experienced there when the breeze is just like that--not warm, not cold, and the sound of the city is so insulated in itself. It's one of those cities I don't forget, whose feel is familiar to me whenever I visit. In fact, now that I think of it, I've been there more than any other city in the country.

I love it. And I miss it. And if it wasn't so damned expensive, maybe I'd live there.

2.07.2005

Dossier (Favorite Films): Soderbergh's Out of Sight



Steven Soderbergh is on my list of favorite directors. His movies—wildly dissimilar in tone and subject matter—are clearly related by the way he uses the camera, edits scenes together, and plays with narrative.

Out of Sight is easily Jennifer Lopez's best role, back when artistic cred was more important to her than being real and counting her rocks. Lopez plays Karen Sisco, a Federal Marshall who unwittingly intervenes in an escape attempt by career bankrobber Jack Foley (George Clooney). Sisco pursues Foley as he makes his way to "the last big job" in Detroit.

The first knockout in this film is the tete-a-tete between Sisco and Foley in the trunk of his escape car. Foley, having just made his way through a tunnel from the state prison to the parking lot, covered in dirt and sewage, grabs Sisco, dumps her in her trunk, and hops in. The brake lights light the scene as Foley engages in casual talk; Sisco, at first, puts him off. The subject seamlessly moves to films and Foley, in relating himself to Clyde Barrow, touches on Network. The moment is the first time Sisco cracks a smile. The tension—sexual and emotional—is palpable.

The hallmarks of Soderbergh are his surprising use of standard Hollywood techniques. Hand-held camerawork, usually reserved for scenes involving disorientation & chaos (such as fight or chase scenes) here punctuate the erotic conversation between Lopez & Clooney as they meet for a drink, playing each other in an innocent game of what-if-we-were-other-people.

This is the best sex scene ever committed to film.

Soderbergh jolts the narrative with a series of jump cuts back and forth between the scene in the bar and a scene, later, in Karen's hotel room. Foley's hand gently touches Sisco's. Soderbergh doesn't "blow it" by showing them having sex; instead, the scene is about foreplay, disarming in its tenderness as this proverbial cat and his/her mouse (because these roles are unclear) disarm each other.

Other Soderbergh trademarks are here as well. A master of lighting, Soderbergh clearly delineates this film much the way he does in Erin Brockovich and Traffic: each location takes on a distinctive hue: the California of Lompoc Federal Penitentiary is overwhelmed by natural sunlight, washing these scenes out; pinks and pastels dominate the lush greenery of Miami; and wintery Detroit is drab in shades of blue and black. Soderbergh used this to genius effect in Traffic, and more obviously, because he needed those distinctions to aid the audience in following the disparate threads of narrative.

The best filmic effect used here is the freeze frame—and it's surprising because the freeze frame in another filmmaker's hand is tacky. But Soderbergh uses it to help us recognize characters at different points in time, as well as to punctuate the rhythm of the scenes. Soderberhg is a master editor, and this is never more clear than the way he is able to shuffle a film's narrative without alienating the viewer: Out of Sight exists in two points in time, spanning an overall length of about two and a half years. The two points (arbitrarily noted as "now" and "then") build on each other as the "then" moments invade the "now," building on the information we have of the characters and events.

In the end, Out of Sight—while hot—doesn't lull us into a false sense of the world. We are who we are. What we bring to each other isn't as relevant as who we are when we arrive.

2.06.2005

Manuscripting

I think I have a new manuscript about 78% percent complete. Maybe a little more.

Right now it's two sections which I probably won't title, although the second section is a very long poem called "The Heart, Like a Window." It owes a huge debt to Eduardo and his blog, whose work inspired the initial writing of it. Also, a debt to Melissa Pritchard and Glimmer Train.

I knew I was engaged in this process—I do tend to write linked poems, and usually after a break from writing I will hunker down and dash off a lot of poem over several months. I can see now, after putting these poems next to each other, where my holes are, what poems need to be written, and I've been writing them over the past two weeks.

I think this is called Little Burning Edens.

Therapist with a Dream Inside is going into a drawer to hibernate. I don't believe in it anymore; those poems are just so stilted. I love their effusiveness, but...I need time to let them marinate before I can work with it again. It needs radical overhaul.

The happy part of today is that I feel like I can start submitting these new poems, which I've held off on doing.

We Are Scissor Sisters (And So Are You)



I received in the mail a few days ago the DVD We Are Scissor Sisters and So Are You, a collection of materials by the band Scissor Sisters, including live concert footage, their complete videos to date, and a documentary charting the origin of the band.

Scissor Sisters, like most "trash" artists, should not be dismissed as brainless kitschsters. The documentary segment, called "Return to Oz," provides the band a creation myth on par with the greatest collaborative stories: each member of the band entered the fold individually until there were five, and each of them share the common experience of feeling outside or on the margin.

They are a truly spectacular, intelligent, and crazy-creative group of people. Their music (if you've never heard it) is all over the map sonically, but whatever guise it wears, it deconstructs notions of pop music genre. Although it would be easy to fall into simple this-equals-that kitsch, Scissor Sisters's songwriting skills really are impressive, even as Jake Shears prances all over the stage in nearly no clothing—a seemingly at-odds recipe for destruction that ultimately transcends the conventional.

I find myself in Scissor Sisters. Their music and their unapologetically queer persona make sense to me, and, even as my friends James & Aaron and I watched the DVD together, we agreed that there was something we connected to about them that isn't present in most other musical artists—a recognition.

I want a Scissor Sisters t-shirt.

2.04.2005

Little Ice Age



I read this whole book today and loved it. I started it on the bus today; then, during lunch, I peeked back. When I got home I gave in and just drove straight through the rest of it. She's amazing. She does things...she's amazing.

It's a smart book that combines high-order math, geography, religion, and lesbianism. I'm hot for it. I'm totally hot for all those things.

Strand

But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Googling



Yesterday was the Grand Opening of the Piper Writers House at ASU.

I heard readings and talks by Alberto Ríos, Amy Tan, Don Lee, George Witte, Norman Dubie, Jeannine Savard, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, and Ron Carlson. They were all good; Amy Tan and Don Lee were the highlights of the day for me. I ran into Don in the morning walking through the house and introduced myself—he was very kind and gracious. Amy completely worked the crowd. My parents drove down to hear her reading; late that night they called me to say thanks so much for telling them about it, that they'd enjoyed it so much, and to let them know when there would be other events they could come to. They were not convinced the Amy Tan event was free—which it was. It was that good.

Beckian read "Blackfish Blues," which is a freaking amazing poem.




More search terms on a path that ends at Therapist with a Dream Inside:

adolescence & metrosexuality
vaginas
goodbye, iowa
literary failures
vaginas sample
heroclitus
rhymes with whipping
Popita Fresh
poetry about fathers
Dubie surprises 2005

I just want it noted for the record that the vagina searches came from google.uk. Apparently, they're on the lookout over there.

2.02.2005

And

Maybe preciousness is my thing after all.

Yoga and the Burden of Peace

I've practiced yoga off and on for nearly two years now. I haven't been in a class situation since my original yoga experience, so when I got my new job, I resolved to go back to classes because I missed the collective experience of yoga.

It has been difficult. Every yoga class challenges me physically and emotionally. Bending over to touch the floor with my fingertips at the start of class is painful, but it's nothing compared to the moment when I lift my feet up off the floor in another pose and stand there on my hands.

I breathe steadily during yoga, and while I'm practicing and wishing we were already resting in corpse pose, I listen to my breath and try to keep it deep, steady, and calm.

Yoga doesn't necessarily inform or affect my writing, but it does make me feel a greater connectedness to my body. One of the questions over at Here Comes Everybody concerns how writing and the body are related. I don't know what it is. There's a comfort in the body I never knew before yoga.

2.01.2005

Visual Text

Last night was the opening of the Visual Text project, a collaborative effort that paired a writer and a visual artist. Each pair approached the idea of "connection" in a way that mixed their arts. Each piece had to be 8" x 8" or had to fold into 8" x 8" dimensions.

Poets, playwrights, and fiction writers worked with photographers, painters, printmakers, and letterpress artists. The results were beautiful and interesting and wonderful.

My partner and I made a series of three pieces, which aren't titled but which we affectionately refer to by their subject matter: "the Chair," "the Teapot," and "the Curtain." Each one is a dollhouse miniature (or other miniature) of the object, and the poem that goes with it represents the fantasy those objects have for themselves. We thought we were pretty brilliant about this. :)

Several writers read beautiful works at the opening--some from their project, others from unrelated pieces. I read "the Chair" and two other recent poems, "Garden" and "Lapsarian." It's amazing to me how much reading can inject life into a piece that maybe you're not so excited about anymore.

The Visual Text show runs through Friday at the Harry Wood Gallery in the Art Building at ASU.