Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stray Thoughts

I think that a lot of people I respect don't take me particularly seriously.  And that it is probably my fault.  I trip myself up with my insecurities, my self-consciousness.  I sweat through poetry readings and worry too much about what people will think of me.  I tend to be an anxious person in front of groups.


I have a strong recollection of being with Charles Bernstein, back in the day.  I was nervous and mispronounced a word which I knew perfectly well how to pronounce.  He corrected me.

Rather perversely, the next time I saw him, I deliberately mispronounced a word.  He corrected me  again

These memories are paired in my mind with an anecdote  New Zealand editor and poet Tony Green told me many years ago when  he stayed with us for a few days at our old house on Marilyn Street  (which reminds me--we've been in our current N. Pearl Street residence for 20 years now, the longest amount of time I've lived in the same place).

Anyway, just before Tony stayed with us, he spent time with Charles in NYC.  Charles would have still been living on Amsterdam Avenue,easy walking distance from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. At some point during the visit--they were out somewhere, I don't remember where--Tony wanted to make a call from a phone booth.  He asked Charles if he had a "ten cent piece."

Charles responded: "We call them dimes."

I love that story.  Charles is a natural teacher.  He can't help himself.


I'm way off pace with the Appearances project--a portion of which (15 pages or so) is slated to appear at some point in Lynn Behrendt's and Anne Gorrick's great e-zine Peep-Show. The fever dream that is The Tammy Trilogy sidetracked me.  Tammy's still very much on my mind.


Tammy is, in its way, a series of raunchy fairy tales.  With many happy endings.  It's hopeful, in that way.  It's easy to imagine, though, a dystopic version of the book.  A version where fantasies become hard and ugly realities.  That's something I've been thinking about also.


It might be interesting to write a list poem cataloging the constellation of things I don't want to think about--possibilities I'm fearful of, say.  It might wind up being a pretty long poem if I decide to write it.


Had one request for Tammy yesterday.  Had another today.


Looking in
the mirror.

Not caring
for the one

in front
of me.

The profound importance of the mirror scenes in Tammy.

Touching oneself
wishing one
was touching
someone else.


  1. Oh well, Tom. Us poets'd be awfully rich were we paid for our missteps, or by sweatdrops on our back or brow, for whatever reason. I remember axpariancing a few myself, while sitting tette-ah-tette, wiff Charles, o'er lunch, a few years ago, in Helsinki. Can you imagine that! No, I didn't correct him pronouncing it Hel-SIN-ki, as ev'rybody das, but I DID give him an E (for "Error") when he utterred (sic) a slight, if reasonable, fumble concerning Baseball Facts. Sow their!

  2. Good hearing from you. Are you axparianced? Gosh you just gave me a title for my next post.
    Thanks, Karri.