Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Prophecy or Hex

My mother was the oracle of Daisy Street. She divined prophecies with playing cards, the same way gypsies would. Fancy tarot cards were costly when the truth could be predicted for with a 25 cent pack of bicycle playing cards. At one moment you could be betting a full house and the next moment you could find out your house was falling apart if the four of clubs showed up to warn of changes that would only be for the worse when betrayal and loss showed up. The Ace of Spades was the worse, foretelling death.
Some of the neighborhood women, all housewives, would come by daily for tea and destiny. Some learned of love late in life when the four of hearts made a rare appearance.
I envied those women. They were allowed the cards. They were allowed fate or chance to step in, I was never given that luxury. My mother always prophesied for me through the gods. They would slip into her head and spill out of her mouth during a possession phase. The gods were right, even now, I cannot fault her for their words: “you’re fat and ugly, no one will love you.” “your mouth is acid to all who come in contact with you.” “Any man foolish enough to want you, will beat you, the minute you open your mouth.”
And I want to know which God told her? Which God shifted behind her blue eyes back then and showed her the peacock squealing today, “Shut the fuck up. Your questions and comments ruin everything. Take what you get and like it. Your ugly fat ass won’t get better.” I want to know why he is not the only one. I want to know why she or God couldn’t have been kinder, turned me mute, so I wouldn’t speak. Turned me dumb, so I didn’t understand the words. Turned me numb so I couldn’t feel the bruises. Turned me deaf, so I can’t hear the phone at midnight telling me no one else is calling. Turned me blind so I can’t see the text calling me baby, the way mother should have. Turned off my memory so each man would not remind me that my mother was a prophet.
My mother turned each prophecy into a hex.

Immortalizing Live Thunderstorms

It is the nature of the writer. We will immortalize those that enter our lives, and sadly those who leave. Whether they enter with thunderstorm beauty, screaming their entrance and lighting up the sky like vertical fireworks, or ebb in with the tide, moving closer to the toes with each thrashing of the current against the shore. It doesn’t matter how they leave or when, they will find their way into our words.

I remember this past February hating every word I wrote about one person. Hating that somehow he got the benefit of my words immortalizing him. Resented when I did an open mic and read a group of poems, I would walk away with compliments on the poems that featured him. At one point I said I would not a write a damn thing that had to do with him (of course that lasted, not)

But it made me look back at older work and see who I have written about. So many people. People I have forgotten about and people I can never forget about. I reworked some poems, two about Andrew Demcak, whose birthday was the 23rd, one has been accepted by Eunoia Review, and should be up soon. The funny thing to me, was who I had not written about, like the one man I had agreed to marry (it never happened) I had written one line about and never went any further. Terribly odd that four years amounted to:
this is where I want you most
with ratted hair,
smelling of cigarettes
and last nights booze.
Around the time I was looking at this Aleathia Drehmer asked me to submit to Durable Goods, her publication. Of course I was honored by the request, how could you not be? I wanted to be sure I sent her something new and just sat the day and worked on the poem and sent it along with three others. I am surprised and happy to say that after after ten years the groom that never was has been immortalized. “And This Is Home” is the poem Aleathia took. (on a side note, isn’t that the coolest name? Aleathia.)

Weirdly I was at Veggie Grill with Alan when the email came from Aleathia and I didn’t immediately act excited or happy, and it was because I thought about the who of the poem. I don’t even recall telling Michael, the who of the poem, that I wrote. But Alan has known pretty close to the beginning of our friendship. Michael=four years in my life=1 poem, Alan=nearly 3 years in my life=14 poems.

Just Weird.

Monsoon Season in India

It coincides with peacock mating season. But of course. They really aren’t that destructive, more beautiful, they leave Kerala luscious and green. The vegetation succulent and demanding. It is needed for the economy of India. Shaan says that it is not uncommon for people to write the government and rain gods complaining about the season when it isn’t strong enough. This year the season has been below par.

The little I know about monsoons is that the peacocks cry their tone squawking cry, to welcome the monsoons and the mating season. As the season continues their cries fade. Usually the monsoons end in September. Maybe it will for me as well. Maybe this time when September ends the cries will not just fade but disappear. Maybe this time I can sleep through an entire night, no matter how much I miss the rain.

We Need To Talk

WE-it’s supposed to be beautiful. The threading of two. Bringing individual pieces together to create something far more powerful. Something that couldn’t be on it’s own.
NEED-basic. survival. Not a want that can be selfish and thoughtless. A foundational necessity.
TALK-communication of ideas, dreams, desires. Sharing what you believe, know, understand, or simply a story. Or a story that can turn to into laughter, memories, and reasons.

Strung together they can become earthquakes. Rattle the ground you stand on, shift everything you believed in, move your life in a direction you never intended, or teach you the definition of loss in all it’s forms.

Those measly words with no negative connotation when separated into individuals yet destructive when linked together.

Doesn’t matter who it comes from, the doctor with news your kidneys have failed, your mother with news your father won’t be returning, the lover who needs to tell the truth, the boss down sizing, or the friend who looks more beaten then you as he crushes your hopes, maybe your heart.

I know in the end as much as I hate that phrase, it is the brick foundation I have been built on, so I wouldn’t want then wasted on anyone else.

The Value of Numbers

I love students.
I love that today a student walked into my class and Stephen Colberted me the RNC platform dead pan, and when I knew what he was doing and begun agreeing throwing out the tea party platform, he said, “Women have opinions? Isn’t there a bunt cake you should be Making?”
I love that students are sitting at my door in the morning like cats waiting to be let in, after a night of wandering, with debris stuck in their fur. If I bother to pull a piece and exam it an entire other life would unfold at my feet.
I love that they enter high school scared freshmen afraid of getting lost navigating buildings, teachers, and classwork then leave as scared Seniors afraid of getting lost in society, bosses, and finding a career.

I hate being told only API counts.
I hate that the administration finds it appropriate to list average CST by teachers for the department to compare and compete.
I hate that the administration values scores more than the individual student.
I hate that when they list achievements at the school they list scores, sports, band, but forget the fact that 32 students were published or won money last year, or discuss the drama department.
I hate that they can turn an UC approved Creative Writing alternative English class into an elective on a whim.
I hate that art, which only comes from individualism, cannot be expressed in a mandatory state test therefore it is devalued.
I hate that the education system is only a microcosm of the world.

But at least I have the Republican Party. They won’t lie to me and pretend art matters, they simply cut those funds and run on a platform that tells me so.

Manifesto for a Muse’s Birthday

I’m not allowed my feelings to be verbalized, it makes him horribly uncomfortable. The words solidify what he knows but remains uneasy with the knowledge. I supposed I understand, but I really do not give a damn. But then again, maybe there is too much weight on his shoulders, anyone’s shoulders, to know you are that important to another. And a another who doesn’t require anything from you, except the occasional risky car repair on Pacific Coast Highway. Yes, let’s go with that.

At any rate there is strangeness to how people bulldoze into your life but then turn off the lights as they are reversing out of your life, as if you don’t hear the motor. Yet there are the exceptions that bulldoze, take a wall down, perhaps cause a little damage, and help you rebuild a new wall, a stronger reinforced one. I guess he is that. No, he is that.

So though manifestos have been banned, what is he going to do, rewrite the constitution to deny me free speech? Get a law degree to sue me? Sure.

This is why I want to celebrate his birthday even when he does not want to:
*Without him, I would have never started writing poetry again
*no one would be pushing me to publish
*no one else believes in me or my talent
*he never made me feel bad about UCLA a.m. trips
*running errands with him is more fun than dinner and drinks with anyone else I know.
*I would give up a date with a tantric driven beverly hills trainer/model with the hands of Pygmalion’s sculptor to pick up shoes at JC Penney with him. Oh wait, I did.
*I now know what my own laugh sounds like
*he’s an accidental muse, without being Greek or pretty.
*no one has taken me to more closed restaurants ever.
*he has strong teeth (no seriously) once he squeezed a lime with his teeth. weird
*he’s an optimist on paper and in life
*he answers 85% of my texts. (it’s actually a feat if you can read 85% of my texts-I texts a lot)
*he can sleep anywhere: car, against a microwave, on a desktop
*he will stand in line for over two hours for a grilled cheese sandwich
*he has become my personal copy editor
*work would suck without his daily visits/fly bys
*his explanations are always the best thought out bullshit I have ever heard, and he believes every allegory, every metaphor is working to the point where I want to believe them, and might for a minute.

so how am I not supposed to write a manifesto celebrating his birth? Why isn’t everyone writing a manifesto for him?

In the end he is not what I wanted him to be, but He is everything I needed him to be
that brings me to a prayer wall. . .another time.

Gutter Eloquence

Yes today starts work, and I am up at 7am fully dressed for the stream of meetings that will attack me around 8:30am. But all is not lost, I also was greeted with an email from Jack T. Marlowe, the editor of Gutter Eloquence, as my poem “Cycles” appears in the current issue. Many thanks Jack, for making today more than bearable, hell, I’d say enjoyable.

Real Life Knocks the Poet Down

This time tomorrow I will be in faculty meetings. Listening to the plans of the administration. They will say it is school plans, but for me that is not exactly true, as a school plan would theoretically include the input of all the members of the school. I suppose it is impossible to do that, because it would include an open forum for students, parents, teachers, staff, and admin. Still there is a utopian hope of perfection in bureaucracy that is unattainable.

This time tomorrow I will be missing my rather loose schedule that shifted between doing nothing and trying to accomplish everything.

I did do a bit of what I wanted to do this summer. A lot of poetry. Time spent with friends. Navigated through three to find myself all alone, yet again. Though none of them were more than a way to make the nights more bearable, in the end.

So right now I am sitting at my kitchen table, (rarely used for eating) with poems strewn all over. Wondering how many nights I will get to do this. Does it only have to be on breaks? And wondering more than anything how selfish it is to make my writing and me first?

Worst Poet, Less Worse Than Before

I’m still not a good poet. I don’t submit work like I should. There should have been an onslaught of submissions from me, after all it was summer, but I only mustered up 14. Which I guess is far better than I did at any other time, ever. Because technically I have submitted more this summer than I ever did in my entire life. I have gone to more poetry readings alone than I have ever done before. Well sans the Tuesday Night Poets days (but those days were gatherings of writers, not actual poetry readings. gatherings of friends to drink as much as share poetry). So I am making strives forwards.

My issue is, I guess like every writer, I always think that no poem is ever done. So hard to submit. I’m constantly changing things. I literally was forced to handwrite a poem (because of my possessed printer) I had on the computer for a very long time, “Abel” and as I rewrote it prior to a reading. As I rewrote it through my hand it changed. Went from 20 lines to 16, and I think better. though I hate single word titles and that haunts me.

But “Abel” leads me to a week of learning that submitting actually pays off, and perhaps my downward spirals are not to be traveled with such zeal. My friend, Alan often tells me that rejection means that I am doing it right, because no rejection means you aren’t even trying. I felt like I was doing it well, after 6 straight rejections. But Monday when I woke up I had an acceptance from Bop Dead City, and while I was at the dentist, Eunoia Review took three of my poems, but not to become arrogant I was put to bed with another rejection (#7 for the year). Wednesday “Abel” was taken by San Pedro River Review, and they actually offered me help to make it even better. Last night I was put to bed with an acceptance from Gutter Eloquence. Well with the acceptance and a five-line poem about Jessie, my AA friend who is cool enough, but I like drinkers, because there is always somewhere to hide with a drinker.

All good news, right?

Now the problem, I only have 3 submissions out, so before Sunday closes its eyes on me, I have to submit. It’s the only way to do this right. And as a less worse poet than I once was, it is a requirement to continue.

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