Tina Rowley

writer + (performer) + [space left open for surprises]

Filtering by Tag: poems

you can't peter out on day TWO

Oh, fuckin' hang on, there, Sloopy. Blogging for a year, you want to at least make it through a couple of days of January. No, I'll do it, I can do it. I'm in, I'm on it. It doesn't have to be inspired all the time. I'm just going to be here.


In poetry news! Dave has done it again, man! He just got published in a journal that he's very excited about, and you know I'm going to link you to it.

It's this journal, Stirring, and it's this poem, Poem Addressed to a Door. I love this poem.


This morning, Finn was wandering around in one rubber frog boot and one bare foot. I was trying to convince him to let me put on his other rubber boot, and I was showing him my boots. Look, mama's got two boots on. One, two. Finn looked at my boots and said kindly, "They're wonderful." And he wandered away, tossing back over his shoulder, "Wonderful boots."

He was humoring me, and I totally liked it. What a nice guy.

i, like john berryman, am a published poet

Ain't that a kick in the head....that's a phrase, right? For something unexpected and good, something kind of jaunty or whatnot?

Me, I don't like to be kicked in the head. But proverbially, it's pretty good! And a kick in the head is, my friends the League of Concerned Citizens about Literature had a thing where they wanted submissions for this public health project. Poems about toothbrushing or safe sex or handwashing and stuff like that.

So a long time ago I sent them a thing I wrote about handwashing. And I just now heard that it will be published on some kind of placards somewhere and put somewhere for people to see while they wash their hands!

Maybe everybody who sent something in gets to be on something somewhere. OR MAYBE MY POEM IS AWESOME. Or maybe the pickings were skinny.

This is my poem:

I Sing of Soaps and the Hand

This isn't a poem, it's a fact. I sing of soaps and the hand. I will tell you about the greatest handwashing of my life. It was at Mrs. Newoman's office, in her house which she shared with her small grandson.
The soap:
Jason's Lavender. The handtowel: old, small and violet. On the sink: a little blank mother goddess and child doll. By the sink: a little red stepstool for the boy I never saw. In the tub: boats. On the window: hanging necklaces. Through the window: leaves. What it was like: who says I cannot wash my hands twice? What it was like: does it matter that I am too tall for this stepstool? What it was like: I will stand on the stepstool, stoop and soap. I bought a little mother goddess, I bought Jason's Lavender soap. I installed them in my bathroom.

But you know and I know that it was not the same.

But far more awesome is this scrap of a John Berryman poem. Never read him until tonight. This bit is from The Dream Songs. It's my new something. My new anthem or something! It also would be my new email signature if it fit. But it's too long. But I might tack it on to some emails anyway. I would like to be associated with it. Dave showed these poems to me, and then had me listen to a recording of John Berryman reading one of his poems. I would link you to it but I don't know where we were and Dave is asleep now. But I bet you can make that happen if you really want it to. AND YOU REALLY WANT IT TO.

I don't operate often. When I do,
persons take note.

Nurses look amazed. They pale.

The patient is brought back to life, or so.

And now, because I imagine that you enjoy good things as much as I do,

LOOK AT FINN, who is apparently a poem about toothbrushing:

it's vewy possible

A poem for you, by Jim Hall. Dave showed this to me. I can't get enough of it.

Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem Too

All my pwoblems
who knows, maybe evwybody's pwoblems
is due to da fact, due to da awful twuth

I know, I know. All da dumb jokes:
No flies on you, ha ha,
and da ones about what do I do wit all
doze extwa legs in bed. Well, dat's funny yeah.
But you twy being
SPIDERMAN for a month of two. Go ahead.

You get doze cwazy calls fwom da
Gubbener askin you to twap some booglar who's
only twying to wip off color TV sets.
Now, what do I cawre about TV sets?
But I pull on da suit, da stinkin suit,
wit da sucker cups on da fingers,
and get my wopes and wittle bundle of
equipment and den I go flying like cwazy
acwoss da town fwom woof top to woof top.

'Till der he is. Some poor dumb color TV slob
and I fall on him and we westle a widdle
until I get him all woped. So big deal.

You tink when you SPIDERMAN
der's sometin big going to happen to you.
Well, I tell you what. It don't happen dat way.
Nuttin happens. Gubbener calls, I go.
Bwing him to powice, Gubbener calls again,
like dat over and over.

I tink I twy sometin diffunt. I tink I twy
sometim excitin like wacing cawrs. Sometin to make
my heart beat at a difwent wate.
But den you just can't quit being sometin like
You SPIDERMAN for life. Fowever. I can't even
buin my suit. It won't buin. It's fwame wesistent.
So maybe dat's youwr pwoblem too, who knows.
Maybe dat's da whole pwoblem wif evwytin.
Nobody can buin der suits, dey all fwame wesistent.
Who knows?

un, deux, trois

1. Dave is taking a poetry class, and one of his textbooks is Jane Hirshfield's book Nine Gates. One of my favorite poems is in there - a Japanese poem by Izumi Shikibu that Jane Hirshfield translated. It's not her translation that I love, but the raw translation from the Japanese that she includes. First here's her translation:

Why did you vanish
into empty sky?
Even the fragile snow,
when it falls,
falls in this world.

And here's the raw translation:

why you empty sky in disappear did (?)
Frail snow even ! when falling falling world in

The poem is about Izumi Shikibu's daughter, and the snow that fell around the time of her death and melted away. The raw translation feels so much more accurate and helpless.

2. I baked this bread here, from a recipe I got from the New York Times. Make it. You can't screw it up. It is invincible. And it is un-be-fu-lie-cking-vably delicious.

3. And this guy. I made this guy. I can give you no recipe. He is unrepeatable. Also, if you see him around, please don't give him yogurt. The results are heartwrenching. We attempted this yesterday for the first time, and later that night he screamed and screamed in my arms. I said to Dave about it today, "My heart was in my chest." Wait............