Oh, Happy Day

Walt Whitman is unbeatable at expressing, to use a word of his, athletic joy. The opening lines of “Song of Myself,” pictured above, are worth committing to memory for they express a private, but generous, feeling of celebration. Today, I feel like celebrating. The sun is shining here in Aspen, Colorado, happiest of happy places, where […]

I, too, Am America

“Langston Hughes, although only twenty-four years old, is already conspicuous in the group of Negro intellectuals who are dignifying Harlem with a genuine art life. . . .”wrote author Du Bose Heyward in the New York Herald Tribune in 1926. Despite such praise, Hughes was derided by his fellow black writers of the time for allowing race to be a […]

Transgender in the Air

  A few weeks ago, I finished Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Middlesex.” For those who haven’t read it, it’s about a hermaphrodite named Calliope, then Cal. The book’s merits have been sung far and wide, so I won’t repeat them here. I did want to share a passage from the novel that I loved though. […]

Recital

I can’t get over the week I spent in a tiny Colombian town for the 30th Annual Encounter of Women Poets. It was a week of many firsts for me. But, the biggest one was reciting my poems for the first time. I could not have asked for a better place to do so. The […]

“Oh, Zelda” – A Poem

East Coast Ink Magazine published my poem “Oh, Zelda,” inspired by F. Scot Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda

It Existed

This post was written from Roldanillo, Colombia, a tiny town toward the west of the country.  I was there all week attending the Colombian Women Poets Festival for the first time ever. So I had time for a quick post featuring U.S. Poet Laureate Mark Strand, taken a few months ago in a páramo, a cloud forest located […]

“The Napkin Trick” in Dagda Publishing

  It’s been done before: The inten­tion of con­ver­sa­tion starts and ends with a slow walk around a famil­iar, short block – the light purse or empty pocket. (Tonight after all should only call for some cash.) A set of doors is cho­sen but not broached, and reluc­tance comes as a reminder of iso­lated drinks where […]

A Week with Colombia’s Women Poets

I am in the small Colombian town of Roldanillo for the 30th Annual Meeting of Colombian Women Poets, held at The Rayo Museum (above). I will be here all week, the longest I spend alone in such a small town. Below is my official badge, which features an emblematic work by Omar Rayo, one of […]

Poetry Makes Nothing Happen

In honor of today’s World Cup final, I am posting a photo I took of W.H. Auden’s poem “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” while in Rio last year. I love the line that goes: “Poetry makes nothing happen.” It is, somehow, true. But then, somehow, it’s not. Read Rio de Janeiro, Sept 2013

A Poem for Women Who Don’t Want Children

I come across all sorts of poems in my continuous hunt for literary journals that might house the verses I wrestle to write. Recently, I came across a jewel. A simple, stunning jewel. The poem was a finalist for Rattle Poetry’s 2013 Contest and was written by Los Angeles-based poet Chanel Brenner, pictured above. To read more […]

New Year, New (About) Me

The Drugstore Notebook recently turned one. To celebrate, I updated what truly was a pitiful “About Me” section. Please visit my new About page, which now includes links to my published works. As always, thank you for reading!

Ivy League Sex Education

On a recent trip to New York City I made an obligatory stop at The Strand bookstore, quite possible the world’s best. Their poetry section is so rich with options that it is almost impossible not to make an interesting discovery. Among the discoveries I made is Taylor Mali’s book “What Learning Leaves.” I picked it because […]

Transit Poem

  The way it happens proves too much   Russian weapons carved for a dead menace sold to hungry Hezbollah   Borders get pierced   A regime firm as bone takes in the Shiite mobs   An ayatollah fingers a final prayer bead before the burnt fridges of Homs   This is called ash That is called […]

The Dictionary Art of William Kentridge

South African artist William Kentridge’s ink drawings on dictionary pages direct our attention to the uncanny, almost magical way that language and meaning function. There must be a Wittgenstein reference in Kentridge’s work, as it was Wittgenstein who transformed metaphysical coffee house chatter when he said: “Meaning is use.” In other words, we create meaning by […]

Sylvia Plath by a Balinese Pool

Poems that soothe, that create a mellow mood can be difficult to find, particularly so in a collection of Sylvia Plath poems. For this reason, I was so thrilled to find the poem “By Candlelight.” Its backdrop is one of recent abandonment and of deep cold. But there is a candle well lit and a […]