A Refresher

I’m frustrated, and I haven’t blogged in like a century (I know because my mother has been updating me on how many days it’s been.  It’s like she has a hidden calender in her underwear drawer of the days that I’ve blogged.  But, that folks is what it is like to live with your parents again after being away at college and living free and easy for a while.  You also return to making your bed…just sayin’).

I’m at work (teen center) and just got a call straight from India (or I’m guessing … there was a clear accent) saying that they want to give us a discounted phone bill. But then he’s asking me all this personal information about myself.  Mind you, this person has called multiple days in a row when I’ve been here and talks so fast I can’t understand what I’m saying “yes” or “no” too.  Another reason why we should keep our business in our own damn country and stop placing call centers in foreign extravaganzas where people learned English from a textbook and an audio file (Not that I frown upon this because I went for five years trying to learn French that way and my “oui” still sounds like a backwoods barefoot goddess is speaking).

Now, I’m not racist, or sexist, or fascist, or anything that would bring hate or offense to other people, but aren’t we in a freakin’ recession here?  Does the neighborhood dollar.fifty not have Recession Tuesday’s where the movie and all the food is just a measly dollar so that people can at least afford to bring themselves to a good cartoon or romcom?  Aren’t our own communities hurting because people who have worked their asses off for thirty years are suddenly out of work and eating chicken legs, in wife beaters, on love seats, in their living rooms all day?  I’m just saying, can’t we…for more money…give our own folks a job where they can call to annoy businesses about their monthly phone bill?  Apparently not.

This isn’t even about my own family hurting.  My father is joyfully retired so he can tend to his new children; the tomatoes, and my mother is the most talented cake decorator on the planet, to the point that she should really just have her own TLC show.  My brother is a non-profit lawyer – giving back, tree hugger, against global warming (obviously, who wants the polar bears to die…) and his wife is a jewelry store attendant.  I work at the teen center (duh), a literary magazine (that is totally surviving the recession, and a group of people who no longer find reading entertainment because they’re too busy updating the three-hundred people they know about what they ate for breakfast).  So, no one in my family, right now is actually struggling like I’ve watched happen to friends’ families.  But this is about saving our own people.   This is about President Obama having a twitter hall meeting because social media is taking over the world and yet in our own small  city in North Carolina (que, “It’s a small world music), we can’t even get AT&T to hire Americans to call businesses and talk like Speedy Gonzalez.

Anyway…onto other subjects this morning (during this lengthy, headache-ridden blog post)…Yesterday, I finished the book, “Flies” by Michael Dickman.  If Matthew Dickman is like the Marilyn Monroe of poetry, then Michael Dickman is his higher-achieving, Emily Dickinson equivalent.  He’s rarely in the spot-light (I was lucky enough to go to a reading with both of them) and he isn’t flimflammingly famous (nor does he supposedly make-out with Alan Ginsberg).  His book, “Flies” is pretty much a book written to his older brother after his older brother commits suicide.  The story goes that Michael Dickman kept having these weird, fly, dreams and so he decided to write them down (That was one of the worst stories I’ve ever told on this blog.   Here is a revised version:  Michael Dickman lays restless in his bed sweating.  He has furrowed his brow, yelled out, reached out and sat up to talk to the girl he is currently sleeping with during the night.  She has slept through it all.  He is imagining the small, kaleidoscope eyes flies landing on his father’s fingers and licking their stick legs clean of the finger grease.  He has seen his dead brother in more than one of these dreams, also covered in flies, always eating at the dinner table, often holding his hand.  The flies are living.  He is alone now, awake, the alarm is ringing and the shower will not be hot).  Better?

The entire book is completely written about flies, wings and pine trees (if I had to sum it up in three words).

While listening to Michael Dickman read I was really obsessed with a few of his lines that I couldn’t write down fast enough: “All the nerves in your hand being stepped on at once is very calming/like being a pine tree” (False Start) and “Our bodies don’t illuminate the room no matter how hard we work” (Barnett Newman: Black Fire).  While he has impeccable line spacing (sometimes I’m not even sure how he himself figured it out, especially how he determined if certain lines should repeat), his writing left something to be desired.  Some play of the language, maybe?  I mean, I’m expecting this work that makes me want to shoot out of a whale hole, because this young dude won the Whitman award for this book and Copper Canyon published it.  But, mostly I was lost in his dreams with him, watching flies toast during their tea ceremonies and stick to the prints of his father’s fingers.   His metaphors were kind of boring (I can’t lie on my own blog) and his lines were almost empty.  Even the curse words didn’t have a strong resonance like they should.  If you’re going to swear in a poem, it better be a damn good reason and it better sound like a FUCKIN’ swear word.  I think in this situation, Michael Dickman knew his fly dreams, but no one else did.  I couldn’t burst that poetic bubble to try to understand his grieving process and how flies were cooking dinner for his entire family and plopping mash potato’s on his mother’s fine china.

So, can I recommend this book?  If you want to know how it works to use no punctuation in your poetry, then yes.  If you want to know how it is to have choppy line breaks, then yes.  If you want metaphors that you want to write down and save the paper later in the pad of your bra, then no.  For that, you choose his brother.  Or “Cache” by Josh Booton which can be found here: http://www.raleighreview.org/

If you want a 5-star review of his book from someone who obviously loved it, you can find that on amazon.com from Grady Harp here.

Otherwise, I have so much else to tell everyone.  Like, about my beach trip from July 4th and the movie Transformers (where they try every single way possible to make the female actress have even bigger lips than Steven Tyler) and just about the next few steps in my life.  You may have noticed that I have changed my blog name.  This is so it doesn’t come up when you google me.  If you want to get a big girl job, you have to put your big girl panties on and change the name of the blog where you mention dick antlers and always peeing with the door open.  Those are just the cold, hard facts, people.

I promise, here and now, to go back to my two-a-week blogs.  I miss this; I just had an Atlanta wedding, and then a holiday, two jobs, a nephew, swim exercise with my faj, and teaching classes.  So, I’m a bit overwhelmed, overtired, and running on pure yogurt over here.

One thought on “A Refresher

  1. bea mannes says:

    Well, it was about time! We readers demand a little respect! Who told you to be so busy anyhow?
    But anyway, I look forward to your regular 2-a-week blogs. As for the review of the “Flies”, not sure how I feel about it. If I read it, will I start having dreams about flies? I think I rather not go there.

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