Tuesday, November 29, 2005

end of semester reading

how do i get myself roped into these things? so i have to read at the end of the semester MFA reading on monday, and i can't read any of the old stuff i read last year. i want to read few things from prague, but they haven't been revised, most of them haven't even been workshopped. any feedback on this one? the middle stanza might not really fit... but i like it too much to cut it, and the poem would be missing something without it. and this was an assignment, so i was required to use my full name. but i don't like the sound of "budris" at the end. but i like the line, so there has to be something there... i don't know. thoughts?

Remembering Prague

If I die in Prague no one
will remember my name. Letters
will slip between cracked
cobblestones—a consonant here, a
vowel there. No street will take
my name, no statue, monument.
No one will rest small stones
upon my grave or set up
stands to sell memorabilia.

Last night, young Czechs
rolled joints on the beergarden
tables. Bits of grass caught
the wind, went hang-gliding. Rolled
down the hill. Took wrong
turns. Got lost beneath city
spires, fingers slim and squirming
pointing to heaven. Came
to rest among streetlamps and stone.

Today, when I die in Prague,
Charles Bridge will still be heaving,
cement seams bursting with tourists.
They will congregate to watch death
ring his golden bell, Astronomical
Clock chiming. They will not
notice my absence, but the river
Vltava will whisper Katie,
the rain will echo Budris.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Foer Interview

Here is an old Jonathan Safran Foer interview back from when he was 26, a little while after he had published "Everything is Illuminated." The most illuminating part of the interview is talking about how his bestselling novel barely got published.

JSF: That's one of those cases when an ellipsis is infinitely valuable. You know, I didn't write my book in a week.

RB: That was being claimed?

JSF: Yeah. I didn't come out of nowhere. That's one of those beautiful and romantic myths, which is, in fact, really ugly in the way that it's not true. I wasn't some naive person that wrote a book and the next thing he knew it was on the bestseller list. I was rejected by numerous agents and rejected by numerous publishers, and it's so important for people to know that because…

RB: You have to suffer to sing the blues.

JSF: No, it's not that I am saying that I deserve where I am. I am saying that a lot of young writers conflate commercial failure with artistic failure. And they think, "If I had written a novel like that than I would be successful." Well, it’s just not true. I was a half a degree from never publishing my book. I just got a great ride. I got really lucky. I kind of hit the lottery. But it could have been another way and it was another way for a while.

Read the full interview here:
http://www.identitytheory.com/interviews/birnbaum108.html

Friday, November 18, 2005

I want it to stay half full

When I get that Call

It is usually when I am alone
in the kitchen
a bottle of wine, a homemade
meal of something
from an Italian cookbook
mom gave me, hoping I'd catch
an Italian girl. Instead
I am alone with a risotto
and a bottle of wine, and that
is when they call. She says,
"won't you come out" because
the time to live is now. But
when I do go out, I feel more
alone that when I am alone,
just me and that bottle of wine.
Kierkiegaard and I know
one another better, as well
as Asimov, Woody Allen, and
even Jack Welch. Now, I think,
I must reach out, so when John
calls cause there is someone
to meet up with, I might set
that glass down, leave the book
spread eagled on the kitchen
counter, and we'll enjoy
the night, meet friends
of friends of friends, and I'll
even return late, alone; or
we'll return late, together
sending the book to the floor
so the counter can make room
for the two of us. Yet days from now
I will ignore the urge to wash
the two glasses, one stained
with lipstick, that stand
next to the recorked bottle
we left half empty, that I can't
seem to drain, because
I want it to stay
half full.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

untitled.

She prefers angles—
sitting at the chair in dim
pub corners where brick meets
mortar. She prefers

drinking beer from small
tumblers when sitting in such
corners, but from cans otherwise.
And then there’s the angles

of her kitchen, too white—
she hangs postcards
where ceiling meets wall
meets wall, writes poetry

on the backs first, adheres
them with sticky tack and
admires the rightness of it all:
the ninety degree paper

edges, the dry wall angles, the
addresses unused and facing
back, unreadable.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's that time of the year again

That's right, I'm back to wake all your lazy asses up again, and try and charge you up to go out and vote. Yeah, next Tuesday is going to be super...or should I say it's Super Tuesday next week, so go vote. I know I know, it's "only" local elections, but the argument could be made that the people who are elected next week will have a more visible impact on your lives in the upcoming years than the people elected in 2006. That doesn't mean you shouldn't vote next year...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the day next Tuesday...here's to nice weather, clear roads, and easy to read ballots...one can always hope. Just so you know...Chris Coleman is going to beat the shit out of Randy Kelly in St. Paul, MN (Kelly made the mistake of stumping for President Bush in the last campaign...which is political suicide here in the ultra liberal Twin Cities), and the race in my Minneapolis is much closer, between a long time family friend, Peter McGlaughlin, and incumbent RT Rybak. It looks like Rybak will win. Anyway, that's the update here...so now you should go figure out what things look like in your neck of the woods. Then go vote on Tuesday...then go out and buy yourself a drink, cause you just participated in the democratic process. What a wonderful thing.