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Poetry Arrived In Search Of Me
Y fue a esa edad...Llego la poesia a buscarme. -Pablo Neruda

Operation Memory

Friday, November 18, 2005
April 19

We have too much exhibitionism
and not enough voyeurism
in poetry we have plenty of bass
and not enough treble, more amber
beer than the frat boys can drink but
less red wine than meets the lip
in this beaker of the best Bordeaux,
too much thesis, too little antithesis
and way too much New York Times
in poetry we've had too much isolationism
and too few foreign entanglements
we need more Baudelaire on the quai
d'Anjou more olive trees and umbrella pines
fewer leafless branches on the rue Auguste Comte
too much sociology not enough Garcia Lorca
more colons and dashes fewer commas
less love based on narrow self-interest
more lust based on a feast of kisses
too many novels too few poems
too many poets not enough poetry

-David Lehman

Be a voyeur. This is one of the best things I have seen in a very, very long time. Well, other than the plans for Scrooge McDuck's vault/my future residence, but that's really a discussion for another time.
11:36 PM :: 1 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink


Seeing for a Moment

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The Secret

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.

I who don't know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can't find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
for

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

-Denise Levertov

Mmmmm. Yummy sounds. A good writer knows when to quit, and there's not much more I can add to this tonight.

I'm off to discover the secret of life all over again.
10:22 PM :: 0 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink


The Warning

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Conspiracy

You send me your poems,
I'll send you mine.

Things tend to awaken
even through random communication

Let us suddenly
proclaim spring. And jeer

at the others,
all the others.

I will send a picture too
if you will send me one of you.

-Robert Creeley

The internet is fun. I use it to keep in touch daily with old friends who live far, far away, to research everything under the moon, and recently, though a series of strange circumstances, have made a great friend or two. In real life, I am somewhat intimidating to those who don't know me well, (as evidenced by a friend's finace's declaration, "You don't scare me anymore, you know,") and that can be magnified when left unattended at a computer.

Let's look at a couple IM conversations:

(as I look at an online wedding photo album):
Kasey Version2K4 :ps, I kinda want to make out with the bridesmaid with bangs.
Recently Married Guy (RMG)* :the one with the black hair?
Kasey Version2K4 : dude, yeah.
RMG : hahahaa
RMG : that's my sister.
Kasey Version2K4 : whoops.

or:
Kasey Version2K4 :are you buying a house?
Kasey Version2K4 : how are you so grown up?
Friend of a Friend of a Friend that I've Never Even Met (FFFINEM) :condo
FFFINEM : that's all i can afford where i want to move
Kasey Version2K4 : man alive.
Kasey Version2K4 : that's scary.
FFFINEM :a bit....but i'm tired of waiting
Kasey Version2K4 :good for you.
Kasey Version2K4 : so when I quit my job because I've decided that I'm over working, I'll have somewhere to go.
Kasey Version2K4 : thanks!
Kasey Version2K4 : you are a good man.
FFFINEM: perfect...i'll make sure to find a two bedroom
Kasey Version2K4 : wait
Kasey Version2K4 : are we planning on having kids right away?
Kasey Version2K4 : because I kind of wanted a little "us" time first
FFFINEM : holy creepy

But I think my greatest accomplishment was an email that I recently sent to to an aquantance that I haven't seen or spoken to in five or six years. He found me on friendster, and sent a short hello and mentioned that my profile was amusing. Here was my reply:

"Ah, Mr. Guy I Barely Knew Six Years Ago (GIBKSYA), you flatter me. And such high praise from one of the funniest kids I've ever met? Everytime Mac would mention that he was on the phone with you or emailing you, I would shriek, 'TELL HIM I LOVE HIM!!!!' I'm pretty sure he didn't though, because Mac isn't as fond of scaring people as I am.

Even since I heard that you were in the DC area, I've been pressuring Bryan to set you up on a man date with someone I've dubbed 'My Boyfriend Another-Guy-I-Barely-Know,' or MBAGIBK, because of his abilty to make me laugh harder than just about anyone I've ever met. I have visions of the two of you romping through poppy fields, holding hands as your girlfriends look on, shaking their heads and wondering where they lost you two. Seriously. It would be love at first joke, I know it. You would feed him peeled grapes (or maybe he'd feed you, I haven't decided who's the giver and who's the taker yet) that he would promptly spit out as a result of one of your quips.

Yes, GIBKSYA, this is what I spend my days plotting. It might be time for a life. As for what else I do when not plotting your homoeroctic liason with some stranger, I'm just managing/serving at a little italian place near my apartment in rainy Portland. Actually the highlight of my day today has been popping a blister I got on my last 14 hour shift...now THAT'S entertainment.

Hope your life is more exciting than mine
-Kasey"

Oh man. I'm still chuckling about that one. Oddly enough, I have not heard back from him. Pussy.

I enjoy screening potential friends by frightening them within an inch of their life. It may seem like an unwise technique, but it has served me well in the past. My first words to gijyun were "YOU STUPID BITCH," and I now have access to basically all of her personal accounts and she mine. So if, through a few random encounters, you find me to be a psychotic nutcase, it probably just means I like you a whole bunch. Of course, sometimes this leads to a hot lesbian trying to trick you into coming to her place so she can "explore" with you, but hey, nothing's foolproof.

*names have been changed to protect the terrified.
10:38 PM :: 1 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink


My Father's Hats

Friday, November 11, 2005
Tock

You play this game slowly before falling asleep.
Each tries to make the softest, barely audible sound,
And it is about all that you could never say.

Next to a person you love, face up to face,
Start audibly at first, the sound’s made with your tongue.
You play this game slowly before falling asleep.

The room is swallowed in darkness, but what lies beneath?
Quietly above, the vault of stars moves round,
And it is about all that you could never say.

You held her, said you loved her, but she walked away;
Outside stones lie buried deep beneath snow.
You play this game slowly before falling asleep.

Whatever does not occur is yours, forever, to keep.
The stars are no one’s mirror. Say window, say home,
And it is about all that you could never say.

Listen long enough and what was color becomes sound.
Against the enormous dark, her small face remains blonde.
You play this game slowly before falling asleep,
And it is about all that you could never say.

-Mark Irwin

It's a strange fact of life that most conversations consist of talk of the weather and other trivialities. We will spend hours discussing exactly what went on in last night's game, but somehow the most important things, the stuff that really counts, can never find a voice. We are all so terrified of gambling and getting hurt or hurting someone else, even as we recognize that the only things that really matter are the risky propositions. I, who am pretty brave in most of my life, am particularly guilty of this. For someone so loud and boisterous, I break easily and have learned to bubble wrap my speech and emotion so that others can play nicely with it. I also tend to be as gentle with others as I'd like them to be with me, and this leads to even less being said.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my parents. During one of the worst weekends of my life (such a bad story for so many reasons), I informed my mother that my father was probably cheating on her. It turned out that, yeah, he was. I was pretty angry with him for a very long time. He was the person I trusted the most in my life, the person who'd taught me everything I know about how to be kind and love someone, and I couldn't handle the fact that he had betrayed our entire family. I was distant. I was pissed. And I was so very mean. I had never been any of these things with my dad before.

They're still together, so things worked out. Except for the fact that they really didn't. I love my mother to death, but she has never made that an easy task. When I told my brother what had happened, he paused for a second and then commented, "Well, I mean, you kind of can't blame him." That sentiment was echoed by more than a couple of people during the whole process, rightfully so. I know now how selfish I was. How all I could think of was how he had done this to her, to us. I never once thought about what extreme needs would make him violate his overdeveloped sense of morals. I knew he'd been so unhappy for so long, and yet that didn't once dent my self-righteous outrage.

Now I wish I could talk to him. I would tell him that I want to do it all over. For every long distance call to see how she was doing, I would make one to him. For every assurance that her family loved her, that we were here for her, I would make one to him, too. I want us to get drunk so I finally have the courage to say: You don't love her. Leave her. Have the courage to be happy, and I swear I will be there for you every step of the way. I know you were scared of losing us, but you won't.

But how can I ask him to have the courage to leave, when I don't even have the courage to give him the words that might make it easier?
10:05 AM :: 0 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink


May Morning

Thursday, November 10, 2005
A Blessing

Just off the Highway to Rochester, Minnesota
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

-James Wright

On my one day off last week, I walked downtown. It was at 65, sunny, and as "Light and Day" started on my mp3 player, I lost it. I started skipping down the street like a ten year old, and there was no room for cars on the street because my smile took up two lanes. I knew that I appeared insane to anyone witnessing the spectacle, but I couldn't stop and, frankly, didn't want to.

I get that way sometimes. When the weather is nice, and I'm out somewhere by myself, I will literally lose my breath in how happy I suddenly am. It always takes me by surprise, and it is nearly always gone in a moment or two, but the intensity of joy of those moments shocks me every time.

I'm a pretty average kid, and sometimes even a little below average, but I will always know that my superpower is to occasionally have these moments where I know, where I have no doubt at all, that things are perfect and wonderful and almost more brilliant than I can handle. Eat that, Superman.
11:16 AM :: 0 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink


Friday, November 04, 2005
Detachment

I keep the things
that are too close
far away

But sometimes they visit
during commercial spots
and meaningless anecdotes

The salt tracing
lines
through the detachment

I laugh
write it off to beer
and insomnia

I'm a little less happy than I was
but then again
I'm a little less sad
-Me (see the elephant now?)

A few years ago, I did something awful to a friend. Me, who was always so convinced of her own superiority. Me, who loved to pretend that she was so above all small superficialities that made people place their own needs above what was right and good.

Suddenly, I was down in the muck with the rest of them. I was just a pathetic, needy little girl who took what she wanted without a thought as to the repercussions. Fuck that. I knew the repercussions, but apparently, I didn't care about them. In return, I lost one of the most meaningful friendships of my life.

I crumpled after that. It was the fact that I had hurt someone I loved so much, but also the fact that I had become someone who could knowingly wound another human so easily. I live my life with a fair dose of guilt anyway (my fantastic catholic upbringing), but for a while there, I thought I might drown in regret and sorrow. I packed up my car and left. It became three months on the road, sometimes not speaking to another human for days at a time. I had nothing but time to wallow and think and try to figure things out.

I gained some distance from the situation in that trip, and some distance from myself as well. I became a watered down version of the person that I had been only months before. I had no interest in getting to know people in my new city of residence, I had no desire to drink or play, and found myself completely uninterested in the opposite sex. But the strangest thing would happen: smack dab in the middle of a completely normal week, I would spend two or three nights in my bed until 5am, sobbing for no reason at all. Or, over a drink with an old friend, tears would start streaming down my face. My composure, it seemed, was precarious at best, and it made me cling to the detachment all the more.

When I finally awoke from this two year self imposed period of sleep walking, I was like an infant absorbing the world. I developed one of those harmless, meaningless crushes on someone, and I delighted in how much fun it was actually liking a guy. I had honestly forgotten what it was like being attracted to someone. And I can still remember waking up one day when Boston was coated with a foot of snow, and wondering how I had missed the beauty of the city for the past couple of years.

It's all back--all the highs and lows of everyday life. I do, though, find myself a bit mellower than I had ever been. I am slow to anger, quick to forgive, and hesitant to judge, all of which would have been foreign concepts to KaseyBeta. But the crying jags have left almost completely, unless "The House of Mirth" comes on cable, or some asshole catches me off guard and makes me watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
11:19 PM :: 2 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink


Psalm of the Disarranged

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
That's What I Said

It pricks the arms like poison,
knowing that some things, once chosen,
are yours and that meanwhile the night comes
much too soon this time of year.
There are things you will not be allowed to say.
You think them anyway, until they become you.
The two boys in shirt sleeves are in the street
again, skateboards balking
where the sidewalk buckles in geologic fault.
They seem mirthless, as they yell and fall
and the cold mist tries to veil them from passing cars.

Yesterday’s storm slammed the leaves to the ground.
Hiss, hiss, the tires go, against the scraps
of piano music, not Chopin today, from upstairs.
Someone tried to understand you once
and he’s dead, though not from trying.
Clunk, clunk, goes the landlady’s daughter,
trying out her new boots on the back stairs.

Things have narrowed to a point
and no gorgeous diction can get you out of it.
There’s just the flats of your feet,
willing each new step out of empty pockets
where change, keys, pens once rattled.
You threw them into the bushes on the next block
and then came home with the grey linings hanging
from your jacket like socks.
You forgot to check the mail
and when you opened the door
you brought the night in with you.

-April Bernard

One of the reasons that poetry holds such power for me is the fact that I cannot write it. I once wrote a letter to a friend, saying, "I can write elephant poetry that stomps and tramples you with meaning, that you can hear coming from twelve miles away. You don’t even have to scramble to get out of its way. You can take your time, have a cup of tea and discuss the weather before I get there."

I have always envied the subtle because I am anything but...in my real life as well as my writing. I don't even know what to say about these people who chose each word with such presion, who can call up eleventy million phrases to describe the exact sound of a fall afternoon . I am astounded a thousand times in a line of poetry, a trillion times in an entire stanza.

But of course, part of the dilemma in poetry is that its very purpose is to describe the indescribable. Words are so ineffective in relating the best and worst that our minds can throw at us, and though poets use sounds and devices to attempt it, there are just some things that must remain unspoken and unknown except in the hearts of those who feel them.

I wrote something down a while ago, questioning the responsibility you have to those you love, regardless of circumstance or reciprocation. It was long winded, wordy, and in the end said nothing I wanted it to. Then I found this, and in just two lines, it was there "knowing that some things, once chosen, are yours." Precisely what I was trying to say but couldn't achieve. Oh, relief. And then, "Things have narrowed to a point/and no gorgeous diction can get you out of it." Because sometimes, words are just words. And all the perfect poems in the world can't change that. And other things, other things that it seems Ms. Bernard wrote just for me, just for tonight.


I am in love with this poem this evening. Head over heels. Man, this is fun.
10:19 PM :: 1 comments ::

Kasey :: permalink