Every time I go out tarted up, and by all accounts looking lovely, I come home very lonely. However, I seem to get a lot more attention from men when I am in line at the market in my jeans with my hair pulled back. I feel much more coquettish and happy with myself when I am dolled up, but, considering the results, it seems that I should lay off the blue shadow and the whorish lips. Should I sacrifice my aesthetics to get results? Or should I follow my instincts and wait for the proper man to follow my scent?
Five weeks ago I met a wonderful guy. We fell for each other, hard (ouchie!). When we were together we snogged, sang, laughed, drank primitivo, looked at medieval tapestries, listened to Leonard Cohen. When we were apart we talked, emailed, text messaged, posted to each other's Facebook Walls, commented on each other's blogs, sent notes by carrier pigeon, practiced telepathy. It was bliss, but it took up all our time. Now both of us have a lot of work to catch up on, and we haven't exchanged more than a few lines in days. He seems fine, but I am starting to resemble Sylvia Plath's less stable sister.
1. Do you think I need to adjust my medication?
2. Can anything be done with these lines from my poem draft, working title "Wrestling the Angel"?
O creature of light, creature of darkness,
your grasp slips. I fall,
down, down, down,
down, headfirst, bumfirst,
legs asplay, arms tucked.
Bloody, bloody, bloody hell,
Every time I show someone my sequence of six hundred spelunking sonnets, the response is to say they're songs of sex. But how could they be, when I haven't gotten any for months? (Years, really. I'm very good in bed, or would be, but women seem not to respond to my pick-up lines, or anyway not to respond in quite the way I'd like. I've got my trailer all decked-out to make it cozy for cuddling, if you know what I mean, so I'm ready if I could just get a babe to come home with me, but it may not help that I'm overdue for a little dental work.)
Maybe you could help me with this concluding couplet from one of the sonnets?
No mere nick in the earth is that warm grave
In the wooded hill, but a very cave.
I am in love with a thoughtless, self-centered poet who regularly drives me into constant despair. On the upside this anguish has fueled 149 books and still writing. Should I continue this suffering and write another 149 books or shall I entertain a new line of work? One that doesn't involve thoughtless, self-centered poets and massive sad creation?
Apeish sunflower, holy thorn
snapdragoning up my canvas
my blue agates, my orchid moss all nigh long.
Nothing grieved, horn toned
spiking lotus, this decree varnished.
Bienvenue aux etats-unis ou liberation rules, mein liebchen. So generous of you to offer line edits. Here's one that's been bugging me. It comes at the end of the eighth stanza of a nine-stanza poem, and it arrives as a rhetorical climax: "We must love one another or die." It sounds good, I know, but it's untrue -- we're going to die no matter what -- and I have this old-fashioned notion that poetry and truth should go together like wahrheit und dichtung or conjugal love and Alberto Moravia. What should I do? Junk the stanza? Junk the poem? Can you think of a way to save the line? Like maybe changing "or" to "and"? For your muse-inspired vice and advice I thank you in advance of the guard. Ton ami PS How about "the conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder"? That's another line I'm not quite satisfied with. I rejected the idea of modulating from verse to prose dialogue at this point with a hunky gang boss saying, "I don't want my brother coming out of that bathroom with only his dick in his hand."
Dear “DL” (if them's your REAL initials, Bub). I might handle this in a couple of ways. Now, I am assuming you aren’t concerned with meter here, yes? If that's the case then you could extend the line by not even very much and that would take care of your issues of truthiness:
We must love one another else die of it.
We must love one another or die from it.
(Or some variation of the above)
Because: it doesn't negate other ways of dying, nor does it technically suggest that dying is an avoidable event.
Now, if you ARE watching your meter here, you could sneak a wee ‘we’ in there, oui?, and then- VOILA!- you got yourself an alexandrine line:
We must love one another else we die of it.
(Hmmm, though if I were the owner of this line, I might change ‘else’ to ‘lest’ because that further clouds the mystery-- will we die of the loving or of the not loving?)
Also, your own suggestion of ‘and’ ain’t half bad.
How do you get over someone who left you when you really, really think he was the most perfectly suited person to you that you'll find?
Also, here is a line of poetry I’d like you to edit.
"Another wonder of the world, smaller than you imagined. Larger, too – like women can be large and small in anger."
Vivica Caliente De L’Amour (not the poet’s real name)
There is no such thing as getting “over.” There’s getting along. There’s getting down on it (Kool & the Gang are still together, did you know that?). And there is, of course, getting off. But over? No, my sister. If this break up were, say, a hedge maze, then your fear that this boy might have been the most and only perfect match for you would be the axe-wielding Jack Nicholson bearing down, down, down on the Shelley Duval of your self-confidence. What you need to do is get THROUGH the maze, Miss Mousie. You must be a chin-up trooper and, like Valerie Bertinelli, take it one day at a time. Go out. With friends and on dates, both. And do your work. Write your poems. A stereotype it may be, but it’s this kind of shit that poetry’s all about. And trust me: He wasn’t the man for you.
Besides, the only perfectly-suited man I know is Mr. Cave, and here is a picture of him in one of those dapper suits.
As for your lines:
“Wonder of the world” I worry is too cliché, even with the way you undercut that cliché by extending the metaphor. Also, I’m concerned about the large women. Unless you want your reader to think of the ladies as fat and then have that assumption repealed at the end of the line, “in anger” comes too late in the clause. Is there something else that this wonder can be besides large or small? Can the women be wonderful and terrible in anger and the initial “wonder” be revised to something else? In any case, I like very much this metaphor, however you decide to play it out.
I am saddened to announce that I am no longer able to serve as Foreign Correspondent for the illustrious and estimable Best American Poetry Blog. Nein, nein. For, these days, I am no longer over-seas, but stateside. I am not anymore far-off but quite, very quite near-by. I have sloughed my alien shell for native skin. Ich bin kein Berliner. Alas, my broke-ass heart and her two cats done took a fly-fly in a big ole metal-bird back across that little drink of water that separates Europe from America and that self-same heart, singed though it’s been, shattered though it is, and shut-the-fuck-upped as it ever will be, now grocery shops for one and sleeps alone in a bed made for two. (It is, however, an outstanding bed, I should note, purchased from Craigs List and be-linened with divine plum purple satin sheets). I am — bluntly stated — no longer a diamond in the duodenum. Which is to say: an exquisite foreign body lodged in an orifice in which it don’t belong. Adieu, Confederatio Helvetica. A-mother-effin’-dieu.
But worry thou not. From the burned up bones of the position of Correspondent rises a fresh Phoenix, a right rickety witch, a me-of-the-BAP-blog version 2.0. I shall be (for the next week anyway) your Coeur Despondent… your very own Miz Lonesome Heart, here at your simple service, where I shall avail myself and my self’s (occasionally veiled) usefulness to you, my friends, all and only for you.
Give me your tired, your poor, your befuddled messes— I shall give you the answer you seek (though, Achtung, it may be one you do not wish to know). Tell me your tale of woe, my Pet — I’ll soothe you with the balm of mine own empathies. Offer up your worst on the altar of my advice. I’m here for you, Boo. And I really mean it.
In addition, I’m offering line-edits of single stanzas of poems.
So send your questions and lines of poetry to my email address: jilly (at) essbaum (dot) com. No problem too big, no stanza too buggered. You will, of course, remain anonymous.
In addition to the above nonsense, you may be subject to seven days of blathering on topics including but not limited to: details concerning the American half of my following-Nick-Cave-on-tour tour (my favorite topic), further extrapolations on the merits and mysteries of Old Time Radio (my other favorite topic), and why you should be reading my friends' books (my other, other favorite topic).
Jill Alexander Essbaum (once described as “a cross between
Dorothy Parker and a lap dance”) is fast becoming known for her brilliantly
sexy poems best represented in Harlot, her 2007 collection from No Tell Books, the cover of which depicts a nude woman embracing a phallus nearly twice her
height. What I also love about her poems,
however, is the intelligence behind them (“heady” as Molly Arden cheekily
describes), her attention both to the traditions and possibilities of form that
bring poetry’s notions of “traditional” and “experimental” into a head-on
collision. In addition, I hereby
nominate Jill (well, along with, in a different way, Heidi Lynn Staples) as contemporary
poetry’s best punster, a skill evidenced within “Triptych,” which originally
appeared in CoconutEight. (My nomination is another opportunity for you
to agree or disagree with me, O Reader, by posting your own choices!) & on top of all, there’s the theme, to
quote H. L. Hix, of “religion as sex and sex as religion” swimming through her
work. Twice I’ve had the opportunity to
hear Jill read, which is also a treat — she has memorized all of her poems (while
I can’t even seem to remember my own first lines!!). So my advice to you, Charming Reader, is to
invite Jill to read in your own hometown! Or at least buy all of her books, which also include Heaven (Winner of the Bakeless Prize,
2000), Oh Forbidden (2005), Necropolis (2008), and an appearance in
2008’s The Best American Erotic Poems. Her website is here.
-- Bruce Covey
I let go my dress in his temple, devoutly. I brought to him butters in lordly dishes. He spread my legs like rumor, word-of-mouthly.
Tears have a talent for falling. That is their calling.
I have folded my edges. I've serged and I have pinked. I have finished my seams.