Tuesday, July 28, 2009

keyword #3:"a city at night"

steel beams sigh at
sun lost, a slow
abandonment to sole,
single strolling night-watch
men, remaining world alight or
soundly snug; a couple screams from
abstract, accusations lost from
windows that once cried joy,
splendor, now a dismal hum against
the dreams that drown them out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Keyword #2: "despair" (as conjured in Martyn by Nabokov, in two parts)

"despair; 2.1"

these facets sprawl
labyrinthine, corners cut
deep below the surface
of highrise expectations.

surfaces jagged, engraved with
freedom of choice:
layers abundant
measured in metric scaling
of toxicity.
facades chipped, fading
falling fast to wasteland arms
that grasp the only, the
singular stance of reprieve--
none of the above.


"despair; 2.2"

a hand to beseech amongst
debris of emaciated intent
lopped off at the wrist
digits flexing toward a final
repose, to clenched
hand-in-fist. why
does it always end like this?
amputated extremities with
chain still attached
key down your throat, lost
left less a limb but
an X on the wall
signaling all I ever wanted
a maligned statistic.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Keyword #1: resistance (in shades of etymology...and pretention, it seems)

ramparts loom
above the dusk, quiet, assuming
the isolation sewn
from strands of a self
in retreat

carousing steep stages
unrepentant of this
object, if I'd
only relented
an age ago

if I'd
abjure, if only
vertigo's mournful hues--
panes of sky broken
beneath the rising weight
of regret.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Daily Keywords with Martyn Conterio and Danielle Booth: A Joint Poetry Venture

My dear friend Martyn, who lives in London, finally shared a stanza from one of his poems with me. It happened to be about the first time we met face-to-face, as we'd previously known each other through a Myspace literature forum of awesomeness called The Fiction Files, and he flew to Venice to meet me and experience the Biennale. It was a lovely time; we got on great, wandered about, chased hordes of Japanese tourists in a bizarre attempt to make a short film via digital camera video about the resurrection of dead philosophers descending upon the sinking city,


Martyn's a writer; I'm a writer. He writes poetry; I write poetry, though not as often as I'd like to force upon myself. Martyn never lets me read anything, even though he's been published. I'd like to write much more frequently and keep in closer touch with my friend, and suddenly--in an IM conversation with him, he properly pissed and me on a 4-day run of avoiding sleep almost entirely--I thought of something.

A joint poetry writing project wherein we send one another daily keywords or concepts, picked using whichever method we choose, with or without specific stipulations as to context, usage, etc--a launching pad to drive the both of us into the daily practice of poetry composition. I am sure the results will produce a lot of useless swill, but the focus, the repetition, and the discipline will help the both of us to hone our poetic senses and that both of us are producing will drive each of us to fulfill the commitment.

I've been assigned my first keyword, no stipulations: resistance

Results to follow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pointless inner self-criticism leads to completely anti-climactic not-so-much-a-resolution

It's not so difficult a task--to scour a stack of CDs for pre-licensed mini-edits or stingers in order to buffer/add flair to the intro & outro of my project's very first audio "cast." The generosity of the teams and individuals with which I work is astounding, and when I asked for some music to cushion Gary Barth's excellent rendition of the script I wrote, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, I was greeted this morning by 23 CD cases, many of which are double-disc editions of songs, edits, stingers, and loops from varying musical genres: Urban Drama, Funky Soul, Garage/Pop/Punk/Rock, etc.

Yet I struggle, every genre with potential casting an entirely different, apperceptive ear towards the tone and thus the trend of the project itself. Currently I lean toward a 60s groove funk reminiscent of B-line spy flicks a la What's Up, Tiger Lily?, but there are also some great guitar riffs and elegant beats that conjure contrasting aural experiences.

And here I am, expressing an abhorrent, perfunctory display of anxiety over what should be and truly IS a fun and exciting process leading to an eventual decision. Now I've made that decision, and I'm entirely happy with my choices, and perhaps it was the breath of a deadline breathing down my neck and the perfectionist in me unwilling to sacrifice the finer details for the rush of corporate exactitude, along with emails from "risk assessment" because the ergonomic situation at my desk (of which there is none) has been leading to increasing quantities of pain in my shoulder that forced me to leave work early on Friday...and all the further technical corporate jargon that befuddles me when all I want is an ergonomic keyboard and a sliding, under-the-desk stand for it (which I'm forbidden to purchase and bring in myself).

Maybe...maybe I'm just smothering in layers of stress I've yet to resolve individually...but that could pertain to most things in my life. I suppose.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Things My Typewriter Taught Me"

Sitting at my typewriter, the force of my fingers banging away the loud click-click-clack of the keys, thoughts form in tiers of heavy, rounded letterforms, errors are common and, in this age, even quaint. Backspace on a 1929 Remington portable lets me type over the wrong letter until I bleed an illegible mess on the page. There is no automatic return, so the page twists up and to the left every time I start a new line. No exclamation point, the apostrophe hidden in the powerful effort of shift8, and the ribbon turned upside down in response to my sudden demands after years of nonuse.

The tips of my fingers prance discordantly, striking ‘9’ instead of ‘o’, ‘4’ and not ‘r’ or ‘e’ or ‘t’, and so accustomed am I to the automatic response of “delete, correct, continue” that I plow through half a page before I realize the gibberish I’ve been concocting. I lean over the carriage to glimpse the wreckage and ponder its results.

Where have all the errors gone?

We live in a world without mistakes, shiny and new with plastic coating and car wax to hide the dull unsheen of time. The soft whisper of my fingers on computer keys, squared and silent, lets me drift back over a misplaced letter or spelling error. We airbrush pimples, fat, redeye and other unwelcomes from our photographs, painting time with perfection so our lies become transparent.

But the world is not without mistakes, so where then do we err?

We’ve come to treat every interaction of our lives with the same disposable correction as the devices that communicate, transport, wash, fluff, dry, dice, slice, and shred. Working on a typewriter you’re forced with the unretractable forward thrust of intention and consequence. White Out may rescue a letter or two, but forget a single word and the entire page must be rewritten. Surely, this is seen as a good thing—a time-saver, salving our patience with convenience and editability.

I’m afraid there’s more to it than that.

Typewriters were built in an age like most other things were built—to last. If it breaks, you fix a knob or replace a spring and it’s good as new. If the computer malfunctions inside your new flatscreen TV, you have to buy a new one. Not a new part for the internal computer, but an entirely new television. What happened to the time when you fixed things that were broken? Where we had an inkling of consequence because errors were so common, such an inevitability due to a misplaced pinky finger striking ‘9’ instead of ‘o’.

If it can’t be fixed today, we throw it out. So where do we err? Everywhere else. Without the mundane to trip up and force us toward caution, we only have the rest of the world to destroy with our distorted view of simplicity and self-entitled amenities. Filmmakers and photographers don’t have to work to get the perfect shot because of digital’s infinite opportunity. Anyone with two fingers and brain enough to use the ‘delete’ key can write a novel these days.

We’ve lost the rite of passage, the threshold guardian that protects integrity because doing something and doing it right is supposed to be a pain in the ass. It’s supposed to be time-consuming and dangerous, with a consequence every time you hit that ‘9’. It may be more democratic with an access free-for-all (and how else would an illiterate cokehead make it to the White House?), but it’s just not as good.

In fact, it downright sucks.

So I’ll stick to my typewriters, bungling along with an appreciation for manual dexterity, until arthritis cripples me or I succumb to the cancer of convenience.

"some kind of love story"

my favorite verb and I are sitting together
on a bench in the park
(this doesn't mean, however,
that my favorite verb is 'to sit')
we speak, hold hands,
it runs its infinitives through my hair
and I sigh, knowing all too well
this can't last
familiar as I am with
action's whimsical nature -- one second
in the present and, before you know it,
we're speaking in past participles
when all I ever wanted from it was the
future perfect.
but I'll enjoy the moment.
my verb and I in this discreet act of
exhibitionist wordplay, then its
final consonant drips off my tongue
and leaves me a mere pronoun,
singular and
searching for my adjectives.

"problem solving"

like figuring out which way to turn
on a business trip you've traveled ten times before,
but you still can't get there without a map or, better,
the tracking device on your dashboard driving you
into the river that says it's a bridge but
you drive into the river anyway because, damn it,
it says "continue forward" and
"turn left" gurgling through the water
gushing in the vents of your climate control
to cause a moonroof eclipse.

you might have survived if
you'd rolled down your window, if
you'd remembered there was actually air out there
and that a plummeting ravine
was not a bridge after all.

"I’m Not a Knight Who Says..."

I don't get topiaries
all those circular and rec-
TANGular masses, like steps
or stairs or shaved pregnant bushes.
How are these awkward masses
ever attractive?

Once, I suppose, at a French Chateau,
there were some shrubs shorn
like mossy bolts of lightning,
but with curves formed to fit the earth --
those, I suppose -- those were OK.

But my neighbor and his giant
graying green ball and the nice folks
across the street with their admittedly
greener green ball and smaller green
balls gaining on it --
what the hell are they thinking?

And what of the shrubs themselves?
Do they beam with pride, heralding the
grinless grimace of a reindeer or tyrant-
osaurus? Or do they shudder at
their fate, somewhere deep inside
dying to shrivel up, to lose a limb,
to become the first amorphic, leprotic rebel
on the block to scream, "I'M UGLY AS HELL.
but in tones so subtle as to be raked up,
lost in the depths of a mower bag
(for lawns are as pointless as topiaries),
only to be heard
by the blind.


Skin slits like continental drifts
from one limb to another
as she falls, once, and next
wakes in a night terror
of her dark stained
oxide ocean.

I roll her arm with gauze,
thick like a mummy
all the way to her wrist.
(She's been giving her organs away early,
so the scavengers can't have at her
at the end -- I got a kidney and
part of a lung. She's saving her heart
for last. Who'll that go to?)

I cover the new land of
Minnilako with ointment and
layers of padding like a football player.
I hope the sediment will settle
this time.
I hope the oceans will stay
off the shore.
I hope she'll keep that heart
a while longer.
I keep her kidney and half lung next to mine
so they won't go bad
just in case, you know,
she ever wants them back.

something about time

17 minutes to go
it took 15 to spell my name. funny,
i always thought i had one of
the simple ones, but it ends up
always mangled, sometimes
diane, sometimes shang, someone
once wrote esmerelda, i think,
and i think i laughed too
or i would have laughed had someone once
written esmerelda instead of danielle.
pessoa possesses me today it seems.
small speaker crossed out mutes handlebarred
jarring images of rigs and young men
cabled to their deaths i can't hear don't watch.
14 minutes left.
there's a train passing someplace and
an ambulance passing and i
know it's an ambulance and not a firetruck
because of one fine demonstration one day by
one fine young boy who said
"fire trucks go WHEERRWHEEERWHEER and
very subtle difference you see, says the train.
ah yes, whaars the ambulance in reply, how you
recognize my finer attributes. 12 minutes.
then 10. 2 passed in silence. birds chirping. fingers
in respite and a sip of water to calm the waiting
in me. 9 minutes, roars the airplane from 12,000 feet,
traytables still in upright and locked positions.
i have to go i have to wash the octopus dander i have cats
i have to clean my totem my friend and i only have 7
minutes to do it in oh shit. but i really only need 3.

something about angst

watching the bare half hours of the
in between shows
waiting like i'm heading to the gallows or
something else at least
sort of monumental
but i'm really not really
just counting down hours counting
down time minutes between
half hours of shows
until I can leave to go
not to be hanged not to be
nailed to anything, no
just to claim my pain like
a dirty gringo washed up at the embassy
"i lost my passport but you can see you can hear,
i am an American see!"
do i even have these invisible credentials?
have i forged proof enough?
fingerpainted skulls, gee...
complaints and talking points, i see you watch
the news, young lady.
55 minutes. meaning, 25 minutes left
in this show then the topheavy 30
of the next and then
i can go and then i can
drag on the road miles and miles
and then i can say, look here, mr. degrees-on-wall,

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Plea for Pleasantries

Most likely in line with those that know me well and perhaps in contrast to those that don't, I'm an exceedingly friendly, polite, and unassuming individual, especially to strangers. I truly believe that, by default, every human being should be treated with kindness and respect, and I almost always smile and/or say hello when passing someone on the street, in the supermarket, waiting in lines, be they a businessman or an elder couple or a parking attendant.

This behavior is met with varied reactions, from being ignored to disdainful glares and sometimes the occasional nod of recognition. Once in a great while, even, the other person will say "hello" in return.

Unfortunately, over the years I've had to curtail this instinct of mine due to some unwanted--and sometimes dangerous--attention. Because most of the rest of the world ignores the average everyman on the street, my acknowledgment is sometimes misread as romantic or sexual interest, and I've had to evade numerous advances, pick-ups, even stalking.

This pisses me off.

I don't like ignoring someone who says hello to me, but I like even less my greeting being returned by an invite to **** someone's **** in their **** ***. Ignore this request and I'm called a **** or a **** *** ******. I've had to stop frequenting particular stores or parking garages because my friendliness is returned by incessant and frightening doggedness--it's amazing how much information someone can attain by knowing your license plate number or full name, and the possibility that you can be followed home is more than a mere concern.

So please, people--just be nice. Be nice so everyone can be nice without fear of reprisal. I'm tired of making up stories about my Champion UFC boyfriend and Sheriff of a father. I'm tired of assuming the posture of unaffected bitch so I can maintain a sense of safety when buying a gallon of milk or parking downtown. Everyone DOES deserve respect; a nod and a smile can go a long way in this world.

Monday, January 19, 2009

how to discern my own thoughts and feelings from those pouring in from outside. where am I in all of this? what has my ME become? I don't even know what the fuck "me" or "self" mean. identity, yeah--ok. sense of self, the ubiquitous "I" click-clacking around, all thought, prelude to action, absent from REaction, buried in blurred hazes my "I" calls "pain," pain those outside seem to think I've allowed to usurp my me, but I know I KNOW MY ME KNOWS INSIDE I FEEL this pain this interference this l'intrus isn't some fantastical concoction.

it makes me angry, in a way, in a lot of ways, in every way ANGRY can influence my sentiment towards those I love most dearly--ANGRY I AM ANGRY AT THEM. I thought--I expected it from my mom--but it makes me sad now and ANGRY now to admit I'm angry at my dad for his honesty. not angry that he was honest, but angry that--in his own way--he's dismissed and belittled what I'm going through in his own way, which is full of common sense and comes from a place that is nothing but love and care for me, but that I have allowed "this" to take too great a place in my life, that if I just work hard and not think about it anymore it'll just vanish--he really believes that. and I tried to tell him, but dad--it didn't come from stress, it didn't happen because I was upset or depressed--I've been that way for YEARS--it started because of a physical illness, a virus, an invasion, and progressed slowly until it occupied all my me all the time, and that's different. IT'S DIFFERENT, DAMMIT. and I guess I'm saddest that, although he has been so supportive and so THERE for me, still he doesn't understand.

I guess it feels like everything else that's ever been "wrong" with me--my weight, my loserness, my emotional outbursts, my depression, inappropriate remarks, now THIS...THIS THISNESS out of nowhere--it's my fault. MY FAULT. if I just forget about it it'll forget about me; that's what he believes. and this makes me SO ANGRY and SO SAD to be angry at him.

I guess...it just shows again again and again how impossible it is to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced complete and unrelenting chronic pain what it's like, where it comes from. I thought that visit with my doctors might have delivered some revelation. I don't know--I don't know what to do about it. I feel like I can do nothing about it. he thinks I need to grow up--I can't rely on people to take care of me anymore; I'm a grown woman and I have to deal with things on my own. I understand this reasoning, but I'm not asking for my family to hold my hand and do my work and carry me through life--I'm asking for an attempt to GRASP what I'm dealing with, and neither of my parents seem to want to do that. they have their own conclusions, their own conceptions, and it seems there's nothing I can NOR SHOULD do about it.

BUT I DON'T WANT TO DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. why do I want SO MUCH for them to just try to understand? maybe Steve will talk to my dad for me for a little bit. maybe he can explain this isn't just some wacked mental fixation but a very real physical problem that results in my being in pain at every minute of every day and CAN YOU EVEN GRASP THAT, DAD? CAN YOU? I know you don't want to--I know you don't want to even imagine that your daughter is living like this, but SHE IS. I AM. please, please please please, dad, please...just try, for me. just try.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My dad said I let this take up too much a part of my life. That if I just refocus my attention will go elsewhere and the pain will disappear. I understand where he's coming from, but I still don't think he understands what dealing with this is like. Today, pure debilitation. Surrounding, enclosing, suffocating pain. No concentration, type and retype, fight the keys, fight the couch, fight the remote, fight the day. All these talks suddenly make me feel like maybe I AM making too big a deal out of this--but then I wonder how one can make such a big deal out of being in pain all day every day every moment no stop unrelenting . . . I don't know of an "overreaction" to living like this. If I had to -- I don't even remember.

How could I hope to explain it to anyone if those supposedly closest to me can't even grasp what I'm feeling? Maybe that's my problem--trying to make people understand. Maybe I need to just suck it in, internalize, keep it to myself. I don't know. I don't know what any "supposed to"s are supposed to be in this situation.

So I'll do my best to just complain to myself, here, alone, in the anonymous binary abyss.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So shocked. So hurt.
I was told that my mother doesn't believe my pain is as bad as I make it out to be. As in, she thinks I'm exaggerating, blowing it out of proportion . . . making it up?
While I am shocked, I'm not terribly surprised It explains some behavior.
But it's my mother.
My fucking MOTHER.
My own mom doesn't believe me.
And she's seen me at my worst, my lowest points, my deepest pain.

I guess this is why she's refused to help me in the past.
Why she redirects all her "care" towards me into other areas that are full of emotional violence and disregard for my well-being. I guess this is one of the reasons I've been avoiding her.
And it hurts to avoid her
I have no idea . . . I've been agonizing over what I might have done in the past, how I could have led her to this conclusion. Out of all the years I've been dealing with this--all the disbelief, the utter dismissal by doctors and coworkers and bosses and friends--to discover, to KNOW my own mom doesn't really believe me . . .

I'm gutted. Something irreparable has been severed. That tenuous tissue, invisible to the gaze of science and all its apparatuses, that binds whatever connection there may be between heart and soul.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

despite bottled relief, relief has been slow in coming. I won't name the quantity I've taken in an attempt to curb the pain I've had today, but it's been a lot. A LOT. And still . . . STILL . . . the stalker that never sleeps.

And I need to get to sleep. I have to get up in 7 hours, which would normally in someone's normal world wouldn't be such a big deal, but for me--either no sleep or MUCH sleep--who knows what it'll be tonight. I'm not tired. I spent too much time with Madame Bovary, over 5 hours, and then suddenly it was almost midnight and I hadn't packed and I have to leave early in the morning and wake up earlier than that to call my electrician and get ready for my trip to Rutherford. AND shit god damn I need to get directions. I wish Minnie would let me drive my car so I could just use my GPS. And so I could smoke. And listen to my music. And use less gas. But oh well. WE COULD, but she just...she thinks her wheelchair is only properly suited for her vehicle. And I forgot to cancel our dinner reservations. Maybe we'll keep them. Whatever.

BUT THIS . . . PAIN . . . OF MINE . . . ceaseless, relentless, overwhelming, constant, closer than my shadow, suffocating every thought in my head, pulling my strings to and fro, this master puppeteer coils its strings noose-like to drag me uselessly behind through this ghost I call life, mammoth phantom-me, the ultimate undesirable, as its been made so plain in so many ways from so many sources.


The validity of my existence expired years ago.
Like a fucking pizza-place coupon you find stuffed in the creases of your couch with loose change.
What's the culmination of my legacy to be?
Lists of complaints: read on . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Waiting for the relief that comes in a handful of small circular pink pills. New year. New deductibles. Scrips ate more than half my last paycheck. Dreams like labyrinths. Pain like my shadow, always by my side, most faithful of companions; a stalker, relentless. Controls my every move, mood, action, desire. O, puppeteer, your strings coil noose-like and drag me uselessly behind you. But you're all I have left. Where, what would I be without you?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All my directions are cut off.
I'm stuck where I am.
No place, there's no where to go. No escape.
No fast getaway.
Tomorrow feels so far away.
My head feels like an anvil, dragging me by the ears.
All the while, upside down.
Inner-pulsing, like a swelling from the core of my brain, pressing out, out, out against my skull, eyes, ears, temples, like that first one when I was so desperately ill in the ER, my mom begging rushing interns for a damp cloth, for anything to put on my forehead, waiting 9 hours for a doctor, and morphine...so useless.

But not as strong, now. Obviously, or I'd crawl to an ER, feel my way across the cold, course cracks of pavement, eyes useless, directionless, waiting, hoping, praying...relief...relief...

Now, the junior version. Baby-monster. Spawn of spawn. Decidedly uncomfortable, decidedly present, decidedly...decided.

in no particular order

I think I must agree with Monsieur Daudet sr. and acquiesce to the dominant force of what I am feeling, acknowledge and agree that there is no language for pain, just maybe some reminisces, Brent Arnold and the Spheres bending a saw in my direction, flurries of adjectives criss-crossing my eyelids closed on the day from my newest nausea or--or god damn some MUSIC IS NOT MEANT FOR PAIN--don't whisper sweet nothing bullshits at me from afar, Mr. Nowhere Nothing Man, some star ensconced in earthly mansions--THAT DOESN'T MAKE YOU LUCIFER.

and yet still that strange power that illusion of WHAT COUNTS I read Alphonse he cannot feel his legs he is wracked with 40 years of disease but he is at Victor Hugo's funeral and he writes, "At Victor Hugo's funeral..." like I would say "At the grocery store..." and it's all mixed up in me, in this topsy-turvy wildly worshipping world. But I would rather go to Victor Hugo's funeral than a Hollywood soiree. Even though that means I'd be dead already.

Just straws to grasp it, since there's so little else...
I don't have a bottle to grasp for today.
I will.

That bottle those bottles they're the only solace I have. They take it away for just for such a moment and suddenly I can smile I can do LIFE I can hug someone and let go. Today I am couch-confined, swooning across the confines employed by the circumference of my skull. I find Continental good for this think-spell. I still think the world would have been a more interesting place had Ian Curtis not killed himself, a legacy of more JD rather than birthing NO. But I can't say I blame him. I can't say I don't know what that helplessness feels like. As Jeff Tweedy yells at me, "Why would you want to live in this world?" Good fucking question.

So much in busywork approaching me.

I will lend an aspect of inspiration from Daudet; fragment myself in notes.

Pain has no narrative structure.
No throughline.
No payoff, no underlying meaning.
It just persists.
The only tension, I guess--the only question that remains to be seen: who will last the longer?