Last night there was raclette and Kirsch and HILARIOUS dinner, my favorite kind, and this morning I woke up with one swollen tonsil, which I am treating with about a hundred glasses of emergen-c and a trip to Ten Thousand Waves tonight.
Dana and I went to Clafoutti’s for breakfast and talked about my manuscript, which she RADICALLY re-sequenced, putting all the older, narrative and emotional poems up front and burying all the weirdo experimental new stuff in the back. Her conviction: older poems are more formed, more appealing. I was shocked! Shocked, I tell you!
She also advocated for some radical revisioning of my Dear Sister poem, which I have done and (though it pains me to excise “make it sleek and winnowing at your fly-garnished hook”) it looks different. Leaner. Maybe better?
You don’t have to pay your credit card. Just try to get out of the bathtub.
Try to think of the sour mid-mouth grit
from an afternoon shower that has slicked desert dust,
a contained system in the sky, a gray beast
that lurks between territories of sun and soil.
You needn’t challenge anyone’s reign.
You can, you know, see for hundreds of miles.
Wherever you live, work in the interstitial spaces.
It is not flying but the marriage of self and air.
She does not work in grief not black grief curtain descending grief God’s silent disappointment grief
but the moment of unfurling.
A navel mouth singing heart songs in the shower’s clatter. There.
You see? Not grief at all.
Because you will be afraid of death, go to bed with your jealousy.
Lay full length against it and tongue it open,
quicken its breath, summon its night cries with your teeth and fingers.
Hone your technique, stage seductions for your poems,
find lovers around whom you’ll wind language.
There is nothing greater.
Analysts will tell you not to read in bed,
not to do anything but sleep, so as to sleep sound.
They recommend sterilization, the slow well-meaning
mauve of maturity. But ask them: where do you fuck?
What bathroom mirror affirmation ever became a poem?