Archive for August, 2009

Mall Wars:

JM: Oh! We go shopping in Cheyenne yesterday! I so tired, I have to pass out and go to bed!

AH: Did you have a good time?

JM: Well . . . I tell you something. I found nice suit when shopping. Such nice pink suit. But have so-call shawl collar, so I don’t know. Guess how much cost?

AH: I don’t know.

JM: No. You guess it.

AH: A lot?

JM: Guess!

AH: A trillion dollars.

JM: Don’t be stupid! It cost over $169 dollars. Can you imagine? Who going to pay that much! People such stupid! Guess how much cut to?

AH: I don’t know.

JM: No! You guess!

AH: Um. $19.99?

JM: Oh! You cheater! How you know that? You just make lucky guess. So I thought I going to show your father. See what he think. Price so good. You can’t beat it! So I hide suit behind all different racks. Way, way back. But I notice woman watching me! So I go to find your father. So I have to looking, looking. And you know your father. He never where suppose to be. Guess what happen next?

AH: That woman bought the suit?

JM: Yes! She watch me to figure out where I hid, and then I come back and she was already at cash register. Now I want to kick myself.

AH: I’m sorry.

JM: So I give good advice to you. You want to buy suit or something, don’t let out of your sight. Or somebody else going to snitch it! Is so-call doggy dog world!

Comfort Inn:

JM: I want you make reservation for us right away before everyone else snitch all good rooms!

AH: Okay. You like the Comfort Inn best, right?

JM: Comfort Inn best one! Although Super 8 have icebox! So when I see icebox in room, I thought goody goody! We can keep all kind of food in there! But we like Comfort Inn. Promise you make reservation now

AH: Okay.

JM: I want it on ground floor. Because your father get cranky have to carry all box and suitcase up stairs. Can you tell them I want it ground floor?

AH: Sure.

JM: And we like be close to front desk. We want that room again. That’s room they put us in before. We like that room. Tell them!

AH: Um, okay. I’ll see what I can do about that.

JM: And we want room with window where we can see out to parking lot. That way we can watch car. And make sure nobody snitch it! And we can watch out window and see what you doing. When you come to hotel we can watch behind curtains and see you! And then we see you go to car afterward!

AH: Really?

JM: Yeah, we can all spy and see exactly what kind funny business you up to! Last time you talking on phone to boy when suppose to take me to grocery store! I see it from window! So then I go outside and make cut throat signal to you and you have to hang up!

AH: Great.

JM: And remember your friend? Penni? We see her drop wine! In parking lot! And it broke on concrete! Just fall out of hands and wachhh! We watch from window, so we know all about it! I think she must go to room and cry because drop such expensive bottle of wine. I think, poor so! I tell her I see her drop wine in parking lot at conference the next day and she make such funny face I know how upset she must be.

AH: Or maybe she felt uncomfortable because you were, I don’t know, spying on her?

JM: Hello! What you talking about! You don’t know anything. Promise me you make reservation now, though! Already almost September and conference already end of October. All room going to get snitch if you don’t hurry. I feel so anxious.

AH: I promise.

JM: Don’t forget!

AH: I won’t.

JM: You always forget!

AH: And yet you always have a room. Funny, that.

JM: Don’t be tonkachi head. I have to remind you over and over again. [Sighing.] Now I have to worry about packing car. We better practice to make sure all fit.

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Lady Murasaki wrote in The Tale of Genji that thirty-seven is “a dangerous year” for women. Evoking the styles of Murasaki and other women writers of the Heian-period Japanese court, Lee Ann Roripaugh presents a collection of confessional poems charting the course of that perilous year. Roripaugh, in both an homage to and a dialogue with women writers of the past, explores the trials of women facing the treacherous waters of time while losing none of the grace and decadence of femininity. Often calling upon the passing of the seasons and revelations of nature, these lyrically elegant poems chronicle the dangers and delights of a range of issues facing contemporary women—from bisexuality and biracial culture and identity, to restless nights and lingering memories of the past. The pleasures of the senses collide with parallels of time and the natural world; tangible solitude lies down beside wistful memories of relationships gone by. What is ultimately revealed is both heartbreaking and illuminating. At once provocative, humorous, and bittersweet, On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year is a pillow book for the twenty-first century, providing a candid and whimsical look into the often tumultuous universe of the modern woman.

“The poems in Lee Ann Roripaugh’s intimate pillow book shimmer and glitter, blurring the line between text and image. . . . Moths, spiders, cats, clouds, gumballs, ladybugs and lovers are woven into a vibrant pattern that juxtaposes the delicious with the illicit, the still life with the quick silverfish, the imperious antennae of ants with the furred curve of a peach. . . . Desire, along with its many disguises and tricks, is the hard, fierce center of this gorgeous canticle to earthly love.” —Maura Stanton, author of Immortal Sofa

“Lee Ann Roripaugh’s poems create a true book of seeing. Her poems show us the way toward redemption as they fill these pages with a life of discovery and meaning.” —Ray Gonzalez, author of Consideration of the Guitar: New and Selected Poems

On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year is an especially telling title for Lee Ann Roripaugh’s masterful third collection; the poems again and again return to those transformative moments when acute lyric description gives way to a similarly acute self-appraisal; and where the poet’s argument with the world gives way—momentarily, but always convincingly—to sensual astonishment.” —David Wojahn, author of Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982–2004

“Lee Ann Roripaugh’s On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year is a gorgeous, vibrant, and playful collection, filled with keen insights on everything from insect life to human chagrin to the measures of heartbreak. These poems delight and devastate with their incredible range of detail, their intensity, and their compassion.” —Bich Minh Nguyen, author of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner

(Forthcoming Southern Illinois University Press, October 2009.)

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Row 1: ch 33, dc in 4th chain from hook and in each chain across (31), chain 3 and turn.

Cells dividing into hives multiplying into frequencies honeycombing into an intricate fretwork of networks and signals and towers until there’s no more here or there, only a sizzling grid of electric honey and the dizzying hum and drone of bees, bees, bees.

Phone buzzing under the pillow. Quiet golden murmur in the morning.

Row 2: dc in second dc from hook and across (ch 3 counts as first dc), chain 3 and turn.

Runner passes the baton in a relay race.
Dove-tail joint.
Knit 2, Purl 3.
Shifting limited omniscience.
Tongue and groove.

Row 3: repeat row 2.


Row 4: sc in second dc from hook and next 3 dc, ch 6, skip 6 stiches, and dc in remaining stitches across, ch 3 and turn.

I dreamed I grew feathery moth antennae. Flew blind at night. Overheard it all. Felt everything. It was excruciating. Or do I mean it was exquisite?

Slip stitch.

I am HTML-ing together a web to trap myself.

I am making a bright net to catch me when I fall.

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an irrational, inconsolable loneliness scoops one out with the brisk silver efficiency of a melon-baller until one’s nothing more than a thin, flimsy rind.

Maybe the rain will help?

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Kaydids and cicadas busying the night horizon. Dizzy filigree, gritty sandpaper. Hovercrafting sphinx moths a burred hummingbirdish buzz, plundering the long corollas of flowers. Perseids welder’s-torch the sky.


I woke this morning to painters, having scaled my second-floor balcony on their ladders, pounding at my balcony door. I stumbled out of bed, wild-haired, and befuddledly nattered with the sliding-bolt lock for a minute or two, as if attempting to safecrack a bank vault . Sorry to wake you, the Head Pounder in Charge said, not particularly apologetically, once I’d managed to open the door. He looked at me in dubious askancement. In fact, he seemed — I hate to say it — downright judgey. Was it the fact that I was still sound asleep — clearly with full intent of sleeping on in a delicious infinity — at 8:30 a.m.? Or was it the sartorial debacle of my Go Yotes shirt paired with the Santa Claws pajama bottoms featuring lobsters in sleighs wearing santa hats?


Today the first Monarch of the season outside the coffee shop a harried bright scrap of orange cartwheeling into yet another flung-down year. Noontime downtown swells with cars, open-mouthed moving vans line the sidestreets. Ink peppers my day-calendar and my in-box ripens. I am unwilling. I am filled with unfulfilled intentions. I am aswill with incorrigibilities.

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How to crack open this brand new blog space? After such an extended blog hiatus, and a decampment to a new blog platform, it seems as if there is simultaneously much too much, and nearly not enough, to say? Plus, how to redefine/reclaim/recoordinate the blog space in the midst of all my (seemingly) incessant FaceBooking, FaceBook Status Updating, and Tweeting? We are all such virtual warblers, lately!

But for today I’ll keep it simple, and stick to some basic news items:

First of all, and it seems impossible that I’ve neglected to mention this on my blog yet, because it’s over-the-moonish news — d’oh! — but my third book! Is coming out this fall! On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year was selected as an Editor’s Choice selection in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, and will be published by the wonderful folks at Southern Illinois University Press, who did such a lovely job with my second book! The pub date is currently set for October 1, and the book is now available for preorder at Amazon, et al. You can also check out the listing in the Southern Illinois University Press Fall/Winter 2009 Catalogue (see page 9).

Also? Here I am as Featured Poet #27, at the marvelous online journal, Anti-.

Also? In April, my short story Prodigies appeared in the (also marvelous!) online journal, Stone’s Throw Magazine.

Also? All the windows to my apartment have been Saran-wrapped shut with some sort of cling-wrappish sheeting while a phalanx of painters hack and scrape and paint. Occasionally, they peel back one of the windows and peer inside at me while on their ladders. I’m not sure, in the sealed-in duskiness of my light-deprived apartment, if I should start entering in 4, 8, 15, 16, 43, 42 EXE every 108 minutes into my laptop or not?

Also? One of the painters? Every so often sporadically bursts into song — loudly, tunelessly. Here’s what he sings: My car’s got nothing to prove. (Then hollering) Earl! Yeah, my car’s got nothing to prove.

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