NOTES & NOTIONS: The fabulous Rupert Fike featured at Java Monkey Speaks on Sunday night. I love his long, narrative poems about his days living on a commune, growing up misinterpreting blues music, traveling in Africa and all the other tales of his fascinating life. Other fab readers included Theresa Davis and Bryan Pattillo, who are always dynamic performers.

I read a couple of poems in progress, one of which is about Patty Hearst and still isn't scanning the way I want it. Sometimes I post rough drafts on the blog, but I don't even think this one is ready for that. The other was a "memory poem" about an incident at a movie theater when I was a kid. I feel better about this one, but it also still needs work.

I've been going through my notebooks and files of older work to see what's salvageable and what can be cannibalized for other work. Even a "bad poem" usually contains a line or two that might work elsewhere. I wrote a poem yesterday...very rough first draft...but I think it has promise, and then this morning on the way to work, I was sitting in traffic downtown and this woman was standing on the bridge over the expressway with a long scarf dancing in the wind. The way she was silhouetted against the gray sky triggered some words and images that might eventually become a poem. I never know when inspiration is going to hit, but I'm glad it does.

I've gotten a couple of rejections lately, including one today from Bloom (with a note attached saying, "Sorry, no, not these." Also got a rejection from New Southerner, an online zine. The editor said the poems were "wonderfully accessible," but I guess not wonderful enough to publish. Ah, well... I'll probably make a few more submissions over the next month or so, but with Slow To Burn on the way, I'll be looking for reviews more than individual poem publication.

In other news and notes, I interviewed the poet Mary Chi-Whi Kim on Sunday for The Business of Words. It begins airing on January 23 on Leisure Talk. Mary's chapbook Silken Purse is being published this month by Pudding House Press and her work is really moving. I'm taping a couple more interviews this weekend as well, so there will be some fresh Business of Words after a holiday break of repeats. I'm thrilled that people continue to listen and that the Podcasts of the show are among Leisure Talk's most popular. Thanks for the support.

I watched the Golden Globe Awards last night. Well....watched at them. They were a huge yawn. Was thrilled to see Mary Louise Parker upset the Desperate Housewives to win Best Actress for Weeds, which is one of the best shows on television. A new season starts in the spring on Showtime. Emma Thompson was hilarious introducing the clip for Pride & Prejudice and, sadly, Anthony Hopkins looked quite frail accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award. He's my favorite actor, and can take a shitty film and manage to rescue it and make it watchable. Brokeback Mountain won four awards, but I still don't get what all the fuss is about. However, the fake poster (above) with Bert and Ernie is hilarious! While the Golden Globs were on, I kept switching over to 24, which was very suspenseful and exciting. I've watched a few of the seasons, missed others. This one looks good. A new season of American Idol begins tonight. Will I be watching? Of course.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin should be recalled. He seemed like a hero with his expletive laced pleas just after Hurricane Katrina, but his comments yesterday about God destroying NO because he's mad at America and that the Big Easy should be a "chocolate" city were just fucking ridiculous. He's flipped his lid. This kind of rhetoric is exactly what New Orleans does not need at this pivotal time in its history.

I've got the sniffles. I feel a cold coming on. Somehow I managed to avoid every stomach virus, cold and flu going around for the last few months, but now I think it's catching up with me. Sigh...


nolapoet said…
On Mayor might want to check out today's post. There's a WHOLE lot of local context to understand...and you'll note that he hasn't apologized for the substance of his remarks.

There's a lot more to New Orleans than the black-and-white case the media frenzy is making of it.

Wonder why no one holds Bush accountable for his many, many outrageous statements?...but the whole world wants to jump all over Nagin (and Hillary!) for saying in public what many people are saying privately?

Ultra-hypocrisy. The substance of what they are saying is completely lost in the dustup over bits taken completely out of context.

Mmmm, chocolate! Goes good with gumbo!

Collin said…
Mayor Nagin may have good intentions and his comments were aimed at the "home crowd," but his choice of words make him sound like another crazy Pat Robertson. The majority of people hear crazy talk like this and whatever good intentions Nagin had go right out the window. It was a very poor decision on his part to use those analogies, whatever the context might have been.
nolapoet said…
That's what folks say. I think that it's a tempest in a teapot, really. In the face of sooooo much destruction, and the opportunistic power grab by the Uptown rich whites fielding Peggy Wilson for mayor, the national spin on this is far more insidious. New Orleans is not going to lack for white residents.

What also went unreported on the national scene was the King Day march through the Ninth Ward which Nagin studiously did not attend.
Collin said…
Nagin apologized this morning, apparently after being pressured by the African-American community leaders who were also offended by his comments.

Yes, I agree the national media does latch on to things like this and distorts, but nevertheless, Nagin needs to reconnect his brain to his mouth before he speaks. This just aids in keeping the city divided down racial lines when it needs support from every color to rebuild and not let the Ninth Ward and other areas be grabbed up by whites and greedy developers.
Anonymous said…
Divisiveness of any sort is EVIL!
nolapoet said…
I agree divisiveness is bad. I just wasn't offended in the least by his comment.

Is his choice of words being used against him? Yes. Is it being presented out of context as divisive? Yes. Does Nagin not have any media sense? Obviously he doesn't, but we knew that already!

Mayor Ray's brand of political slickness is very different from the Beltway version of political slickness.

I think we in the U.S. need to take far greater offense at the rhetoric of a particular criminal who let thousands of innocent people drown in their own homes. Given my choice, I'd take Nagin over Bush ANY day.
nolapoet said…
Oh, p.s.--what precisely did he apologize FOR?... Examine the *rhetoric* in his apology, as well as in his speech, and I think those who took offense might not deem his apology proper, either.

As a native, I'm worn out with people from outside New Orleans telling New Orleans how to act. Folks are STILL living in a WAR ZONE NO SEWER NO POWER TRASH HEAP outside of the Quarter, CBD, and streetcar line. Better to spend time and energy and outrage on that issue. At least Nagin is DOING something about it, unlike the so-called President and his PsyOps spin factory!
Collin said…
I wouldn't want Nagin or Bush, personally. I was reminded today that Nagin also stuck his foot in his mouth last month when he expressed his concern about too many Hispanics coming to New Orleans to help in the rebuilding effort and that they might stay. I think Nagin has a number of issues about race that he needs to work out before he tries to step and be the voice of the African-American community in New Orleans. He's not doing the city any favors.
nolapoet said…
The favor Nagin is doing is beating the bushes, literally and figuratively, trying to get the basic infrastructure up and running. He's not the greatest orator, true. But he's the guy in charge and he is dealing with things way outside the scope of any normal city. I think folks need to redirect their racial outrage to Bush's handpicked white FEMA contractors, who are hiring undocumented Mexican workers for half-price and then refusing to pay them at all.
nolapoet said…
How 'bout my fellow schoolmate and band member Wynton Marsalis' excellent speech? Check out my man!!! Wynton for mayor!!!
Teamaster said…
FUNNY Bert and Ernie spoof pic! Now we KNOW! They're gay! Hahaha!

As for your wonderment at the overrating of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, I'd say two things: First, it's all about Hollywood narcissism and political see-sawing. Second, your take on the film shows your sincerity of opinion. Just because your gay you don't go batshit over something just for its advocacy.

I think THAT opportunism could be a big reason why folks are gushing so much. And many of the straights who are kissing its ass could be doing so to earn an inside seat on the social bandwagon.

The alleged bravery of this film? It's no more brave than MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO back in 1991.

Supporting something (a fad or film or movement or person) for the mere fact that that thing IS alike or of the same persuasion (whatever that may be) is just as dull or wrong as whites for the sake of whites or blacks for the sake of blacks or Americans for the sake of Americans NO MATTER WHAT.

So...bravo. :)


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