Wednesday, May 31, 2006

tennis, plants, and me

forgot to mention last time that the french open started on sunday! my favourite tennis tournament of the year! haven't caught too many matches yet, but just finished watching a very plucky performance by frenchman marc gicquel against german nicolas kiefer. unfortunately kiefer (whom i can't stand!) won - 11:9 in the fifth set! i look forward to seeing more tennis on the weekend - playing seems out of the question with the weather being horribly cold, windy, and often rainy (though not at the moment - blue skies, but still cold.)

dushevina vs mauresmo

quick plant update: i hope none of my darlings will die, the temperatures are shocking, especially at night!
this one's about to bloom:



tomatoes and carrots

and here are a couple of pics of me - not sure when i will blossom, because, quite frankly, the cold temperatures are getting to me! :) oh and they may just be the slightest bit digitally enhanced. ;)

collage collage!


song of the day - athlete's twenty-four hours

Monday, May 29, 2006

ethel, rain, and a confirmation

before arlene tells me off for not posting the second ethel poem, here it is:

Angela follows Ethel's call

The dark moon drops into Angela's dreams.
Shadows leap onto her walls, limbs twitching,
frantic as Namarrgon's cloud of grasshoppers,
antennae getting tangled in her heavy hair.

The memory of a name swirls in her belly
as she wakes. On her tongue, two syllables
sucked dry and the metallic tang of woman.
Echoes of tobacco whisper on her breasts,

mingle with the dampness of her sheets,
invoke the outline of a most unlikely face:
Ethel. Like a tired clockwork, Angie's fingers
stop their blissful dance beneath the quilt.

She turns on the light, plucks seven sweet
grapes in the kitchen, but that face won't go
away: Ethel's eyes like fires under a dripping
crimson moon, lips frozen in the shape of an O.

Sounds reverberate through Angie's head,
sounds she's never heard that woman make,
deep and throaty as didjeridoos. In tall grass,
Ethel becomes the rolling, greedy surf.

Afterwards, she smells like an iron red desert.
so there. i'll try to follow this up with more ethel tales.

sepp left for his parents' in upper austria on thursday, and i followed on friday, straight after work. the weather forecast was not good, but we did not want to postpone the visit again, so we took a chance. and we got rain, rain, then some showers, a bit of a drizzle on the side, followed by downpours, and the occasional dry spell in which clouds moved in to bring some moisture. shame, really. the countryside (as you can see below) is really beautifully green and i would have loved to go for a couple of longer walks, but no such luck.

it did clear up on saturday afternoon, but i had the most terrible migraine and spent several hours inside, lying down with my eyes closed. i hate it when that happens, especially since it was the only chance for some outdoor activities! but i was in real pain, feeling as if my brain would be squeezed out through my nostrils ... ugh. not nice.

here are a few pics sepp took:

lots happening on the balcony - a few marigolds will bloom soon! i'll post more pictures soon.

i just took another one of those blogthings tests - which language should i learn? and i am so relieved that the result was - SWEDISH! good thing i am already learning that; saves me signing up for another class!
Fantastisk! You're laid back about learning a language - and about life in general. Peaceful, beautiful Sweden is ideal for you... And you won't even have to speak perfect Swedish to get around!

and just in case you were wondering - if i were a mixed drink, i'd be a strawberry daiquiri. very yummy, that is. ;)

and if i ever have a band, it will - of course - be called The Blowup Goldfish. i actually like that. now all i need is the band ...

song of the day: it's raining again - supertramp. because, unfortunately, it is.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

work, ethel, and another package

looong day yesterday, verrry long. after my usual morning class from 8.30 to 12.30, i taught "my" senior citizens one last time, from 1 to 4. a bit tough since i had a headache from about 11 until 4 - blah! i had a couple of hours until the two english classes; they're not mine, but their teacher kathi is away this week. with the first group, the theme was australian animals, especially the dangerous ones (of which there are plenty) - it was fun. the second class seemed to enjoy the quiz lesson as well. i was pretty knackered after all that teaching, and all these hours in stuffy rooms. today, just my usual class, and then an afternoon with gudrun, catching up, and a look around a few shops. i hate shopping at the moment, i need a few more summer clothes, but i really can't be bothered. saw a nice pair of shoes, but of course they did not have them in my size. sigh. actually, i saw a couple more nice pairs of shoes, but the prices are appalling. not too long ago, you used to get three pairs for that kind of money.

so, since i told arlene i had written an ethel poem (part of the neverending and increasingly successful, er, um, increasingly weird nigel series), she asked me suggested demanded that i let her see the new addition, so i thought i might as well post it here:

Ethel rolls cigarettes under the railroad bridge

one for each smile she has not dared to offer
that girl who seems too gritty for angel wings,
no matter what her six letters proclaim:

half of them angular, too sober for secrets,
three suggesting soft limbs. From Ethel's lips,
her name melts into thin white paper;

it will go up in smoke thirteen times, hide
in wobbly rings stretching towards Angela -
uncertified goddess, unspoiled territory.

A strange desire will nest in her black hair,
drive her from the quiet house sniffing out
another woman's scent, the dark moon silent.

Yes, Ethel whispers, she'll find me and
wake beneath tobacco-sweetened fingertips.
After our first kiss, she'll turn the other cheek.
so there.

speaking of arlene - i found a BIIIIG package in my mailbox containing two poetry zines (carousel, rattle) and a cute little notebook for yet more nigel-related adventures! so: HUGE THANKS to angelic angela arlene ellen ang! (and no i won't post photos of the zines' new home, new friends, or me kissing them!) actually - italian mail servies outdid themselves. i've never heard of anything posted in italy that actually arrives in another country within a week, let alone a couple of days!

cool here today, which is nice after all the stuffiness yesterday. public holiday tomorrow, which is NICE. sepp's going to his parents', i'll follow on friday, straight after work. unfortunately the forecast isn't too great, but what can you do. we already postponed it once, so we are going.

song of the day: the other end of the telescope, aimee mann & elvis costello. love it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

vienna views, bunny's whereabouts, plants again

yay! vienna lit has accepted "one of my texts" for their anthology, vienna views, due out in october. now the only thing i would like to know is which of the poems i sent will be published. i sent an email to find out, because i would like to submit the other works elsewhere. but i am happy! there'll be a vienna lit festival in october where, among other things, the anthology will be presented. i'll keep you posted.

here are a couple of pictures of dr raul thornbush, so sharon knows where he lives now, and who he's hanging out with. he is surrounded by books, music, and has a bottle of port within his reach, so it can't be too bad a place. ;)

dr raul thornbush and his new friend constanze

michi kisses dr raul thornbush

another update on the balcony - unbelievable how fast everything's growing! we've already eaten 10 radishes, and today i saw that a few of the marigolds already have tiny little buds! :)

song of the day: jane siberry - bound by the beauty.

editing in, i am tempted to change it to lordi's hard rock hallelujah which just won the eurovision song contest. *LMAO* FINLAND ROCKS!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

an acceptance note, a cento, and three packages

it's been a good day - after a bad night (couldn't sleep until about 1.30, kept waking up), i found an acceptance note from flashquake in my inbox - including short comments from the editors (which is cool). my poems after the shipwreck and dream in c major will be published in their summer issue. getting published in this case also means a check, and a cd version of the site. the editor, debi orton, even apologised for being a day late with the acceptance note (not that i'd noticed)! wow.

submission sent: 10 april 2006
acceptance note received: 17 may 2006

started writing another cento yesterday, inspired by listening to belle & sebastian for a couple of hours. made a minor change today, but here it is, rachel (she challenged / tagged me). not that it makes that much sense ...

"This is no declaration, I just thought I'd let you know goodbye", said the hero in the story

lovesick on a sunny afternoon, lisa's kissing men like a long
walk home, kissing girls in english, at the back of the stairs.
she dreamt about the girl who stole a horse, saint theresa's
calling her, the church up on the hill is looking lovely:

     you are the girl left on the shelf, your diary's
     looking like a bible with its verses lost in time
     you'll read it in a book, you'll read it in a book tonight

on saturday I was an angel shining fair,
you shone louder, longer, you put my shine to shame.
but there is too much history, too much biography between us.
a hand over my mouth, a hand over the window:

     don't look back, like dylan in the movies
     cause the other boys are queuing up behind us
     you are looking at the working week in the eyes of a gigolo

rain washing against the lonely tenement,
the woodland spring will put the darkness from your thinking,
with a star upon your shoulder lighting up the path that you walk;
tenderly you turn the light off in your room.

album: if you're feeling sinister
title: get me away from here i'm dying
stanza 1: mayfly, like dylan in the movies, the stars of track and field, judy and the dream of horses, if you're feeling sinister
stanza 2: mayfly, the fox in the snow
stanza 3: the boy done wrong again, me and the major, seeing other people
stanza 4: like dylan in the movies, seeing other people
stanza 5: get me away from here i'm dying, the boy done wrong again, judy and the dream of horses, like dylan in the movies

i hope i met all the guidelines!

when i came home, i found THREE packages in my mailbox, instead of only junk mail. :)

package 1 contained collin kelley's chapbook Slow To Burn - i look forward to reading it!

package 2 contained a nice surprise from allen itz - a cd with music co-produced by his son, chris, who also plays bass on it: andre lamar - remember. i'm listening to it as i write. -- thank you so much, allen!

package 3 contained my very own Dr Raul Thornbush, an orange bunny knitted by sharon, who was kind enough to offer making me one when i left an "awww! i want one too!" note on her blog a while ago. can you figure out why on earth i'd call a knitted bunny Raul Thornbush? ;) i'll post a picture as soon as i have one. he'll get to sit with constanze, an aussie ex-pat. -- thank you, sharon! you rock!

so, michi's also a happy bunny now. and the downpour has stopped, too, and the sun's out. :)

song of the day: kaizer's orchestra - maestro.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

life, death, and poetry

here's an update on what's happening on the balcony, pictures taken on sunday. three of the radishes have disappeared by now: eaten, i'm afraid, on sunday evening. yummy! :) the first harvest of the year!

might be old news for some of you, but i only heard early this morning - stanley kunitz died on sunday at the ripe old age of 100.

i've been reading the loch raven review's first annual print issue, enjoying it enormously. the poems, stories and reviews can all be found online too, so no excuses not to read.

song of the day: mad about you, hooverphonic.

a dream, a film, a cemetery with lilacs

i dreamed of writing a poem last night. as far as i remember, it did not make any sense. the strange thing is that i woke up once, and later dreamed of writing that poem again. i am sure of this. now what did that tell me? to pick up the pen and start writing again? is it that simple? looks like, because i did write a poem this morning, the first since i finished the last round of 30 at the beginning of april. it starts with a line i thought of last night before falling asleep: We had a plan. We worked it out in whispers .... it's not the greatest i have ever written, but it is something.

rachel has challenged me to write a song lyrics cento, and arlene has kind of asked me to come play with nigel once again, so we shall see.

we went to see capote yesterday. i am very impressed by the acting. brilliant. and what a strange man that truman capote must have been. i found the film very interesting in that it did not scream at me "he only used them!" or "he was only interested in himself!" at least, i did not feel it did. i thought it was interesting to ponder what must have gone on inside him. did he use the two murderers? to what extent? did he know that he was caught up in all that was going on, emotionally, more than he realised? the quote that i remember best, what i found very revealing, is this: capote says to nelle (harper lee) that he could not have done anything to save them, and she says "maybe not" but that in truth "you didn't want to".

anyway, i must put in cold blood on my reading list. i've only read his breakfast at tiffany's.

before the movie, we spent a couple of hours at the old cemetery at st. marx in vienna's third district.

i had long wanted to go there, because it is supposed to be especially beautiful when the many lilac trees are in bloom.

i think last weekend would have been even better but i did not think of it until wednesday. on our way there, dark clouds moved in, we heard thunder twice, but the rain did not come. the cemetery has not been used for over 130 years, so everything is *really* old. so many headless statues, many wingless angels, faceless madonnas, crumbling inscriptions.

what i found fascinating were the hundreds and thousands of caterpillars that have conquered plenty of trees, spun strange webs among branches, around half-eaten leaves and yellow blossoms.

of course we took many more photos (especially me, as usual). you can find them in the st. marx photo album.
there's also another album with miscellaneous pictures taken after the visit to st. marx.

today's song: dum maro dum, kronos quartet with asha bosle.

Friday, May 12, 2006

books, music, books again

i received the 2005 annual print issue of loch raven review today; that is, i picked it up at the post office today. it took me about 50 minutes for what normally takes 5-10 minutes! i went to the post office around the corner to "quickly pick it up before lunch": spent 5 mins in the queue, then the clerk started looking for my package. and she looked and looked, and searched and searched - nothing. after at least 10 mins, she rang the other post office, the main post office of the 10th district. she told me my package was THERE. but of course. so i walked there, 10 mins. spent 17 minutes in the queue (nice to see time ticking away like that! not!) and got my package within half a minute. 10 min walk back. sigh. i am in good company in the book: arlene ang, teresa white, christopher t. george, gary blankenship, georg trakl, erich fried, rainer maria rilke and others.

i also got jeannine hall gailey's book becoming the villainess today and i look forward to reading that.

i visited pris campbell's blog lately and followed a link to a national geographic world music site. pris linked to a sami song, music from lapland, northern scandinavia, which reminded me of the cd i bought in lapland last year, sleangacuoivvat by sancuari. one of their songs can be found on my blog, an entry from back in august 2005.

and today i remembered one of my favourite austrian folk songs, sung by a small choir from my home province, carinthia. it's called i hab di gern, and it's a beautiful love song - don't you think? it's my song of the day.

btw - i have added a recently read / currently reading section below the poetry links in the navigation bar, and i intend to keep it up to date.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

yes! * YES! * happy!

acceptance note from tryst yesterday, short and to the point: alice takes issue with the queen, part of my alice in wonderland series will be in their june issue!

submission sent: 22 april 2006
acceptance note received: 08 may 2006

this morning i found yet another acceptance note in my inbox, from a little poetry - i was especially thrilled to read the following:

I am pleased to let you know that guest Editor Lisa Zaran has chosen the following for the site:
so my five poems will be up within the next 2-4 weeks.

submission sent: 10 april 2006
acceptance note received: 09 may 2006

sooo ... not only my inner child is HAPPY.
You see life as simple, and simple is a very good thing. You're cheerful and upbeat, taking everything as it comes. And you decide not to worry, even when things look bad. You figure there's just so many great things to look forward to.
how is your inner child?

song of the day: no surprises by radiohead, though i am not sure i agree with the title. ;)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

quirky me, bad head, green babies

it's official now - i am 80% weird. this is what i am told:

You're more than quirky, you're downright strange.
But you're also strangely compelling, like a cult leader.
and all that because i admitted to a machine that i sometimes sleep in the nude?

how weird are you?

my head is still not quite okay today - i could not sleep until after half past four, sepp slept before me although he only got home around 03:30. so unfair.

here are a few pics of the green stuff on our balcony:

assorted green stuff (carrots, flowers)

assorted flowers

chives and radishes

Saturday, May 06, 2006

headache, e-(chap)books, chapbooks

blaaaahhhh! headache all day. soooo NOT FUN! therefore, no partying with léa and friends tonight, sepp had to go alone, out into the wind and rain, thunder and lightning. i watched grosse pointe blank (again) which happened to be on tv. i have a thing for mr cusack, you see. and for black humour.

alex stolis, one of my favourite poets, has an e-chapbook up at andwerve. after you've caught up with things here, do go and read it. (if you follow the link to andwerve, click on current issue, then scroll down to features and click on winter solstice.) it is called winter solstice and was inspired by suzanne frischkorn's spring tide (which you really should buy if you haven't got it yet). alex wrote the poems recently when writing a poem every day, and he sent them to me day by day. i knew it wouldn't be long until someone snapped them up for publication. i'm happy for you, mr stolis, congrats! :)

bought annette m hyder's the real reason the queen hated snow tonight, an e-book of over 100 pages. you can find info on the book on annette's website. i look forward to reading the poems and background info on mythology / fairy tales, i'm sure it will be an intriguing journey through tales and myths!

shopping spree - i also ordered jeannine hall gailey's becoming the villainess, and collin kelley's slow to burn. i look forward to reading these two books.

not much music today - but i am just listening to the tindersticks' sometimes it hurts for the third time, just the right song for me at this moment.

Friday, May 05, 2006

two books, three links, and a few other things

i have finished the lovely bones by alice sebold. while it was a beautiful book, very well-written, touching, and sad, i find it was just a little OTT for me at times to ... how shall i put it, for me to embrace it fully, if you know what i mean. what touched me most was the relationship of the little boy and his father. my friend bo said that there's something wrong with you if it does not make you cry. well, there you go, now it's official. ;)

began reading tunnel vision by keith lowe, on wednesday, and finished it yesterday. it's about this guy who makes a bet with a mate to go through each and every london tube station within a day. a lot is at stake - so he'd better win it. i think it might appeal more to people who have actually been to london and travelled on the tube, and since i have been there many times, i found it quite interesting and fun to read. anecdotes throughout, and the hero's pace became my own - while he went from station to station to station, i turned page after page after page. enjoyable book.

here are three links for you, in case you have a little too much time on your hands, or are fed up with whatever you are doing at the moment, or you have run out of excuses for procrastinating. :)

flashface (to "build" faces; i hope it's working again, i think it was too busy to access it earlier today)

panoramic photography (you can find a few pics of austria among the photos)

all look same? (can you tell who's japanese, chinese or korean?)

have you heard of a magazine called PRIVATE? i received an invitation to submit work and wanted to ask if any of you have ever contributed to the magazine. it turned out that sharon was right about taj mahal review - they had not mentioned anything about paying for a copy at first, only when i asked, thanks for alerting me. i'm a bit careful now. *S*

i received an email about my chapbook from a friend a little while ago which made me *exceptionally* happy, because - among other things - he said this about my poem Virginia:

It's the sort of poem that makes me realize exactly why I read and care about poetry. It takes a simple theme that has been dispatched and devoured in so many different ways that we think we know everything there is to say about it, and miraculously conjuress a new, fresh insight, not by resorting to cleverness or trickery but by steadfastly engaging in the essence of the matter; by "looking life in the face."
i actually felt he could not be talking about *me*, and i am sure i blushed at least a little (though i have no witnesses); this is it, isn't it?

isn't that such a wonderful feeling, to come across a poem that opens up new ways of looking at things, shows you something from a new perspective? isn't it great to read a poem whose author takes you by the hand and not only manages to show you something you have never seen at all (which is good), but shows you things you have looked at or thought about a million times in a new way (which is more difficult, i think)? i love this feeling that makes you go "ahhhh!", because someone has found the words to put it exactly like that, because something clicks into place, because something makes sense on some completely new level, because someone has captured what, somehow, had been there all along but nobody had ever quite put their finger on it.

i was very touched and honoured that what i admire about certain poets and their work was attributed to me, to one of my poems. so - thank you, you know who you are.

i only worked two days this week - the guy who'd taught my class on tuesday and wednesday really wasn't any good, i had to go over everything again. sigh. the students' reactions on ms michi's triumphant return (ha!) were heart-warming though: "michi!! please don't ever do that to us again!!" access is my least favourite programme to teach, with the possible exception of the theory module (which i always reduce to the bare necessities the students need to get through the exam).

third session with our therapist/counsellor this afternoon, and i am looking forward to it - the first two sessions were very good.

dinner at gudrun and harald's tonight, should be fun.

song of the day: the voice, eimear quinn.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

a long weekend, a review, and a heart-shaped pretzel

we had a long weekend here in vienna after all - the weather forecast was so bad that we did not go to see sepp's parents as planned, probably a good idea. we spent the weekend relaxing, cuddling, talking, watching all three lord of the rings films (long planned), cooking dinners together, playing games, reading, listening to the rain, and sleeping. we also saw the danish film festen which i had long wanted to see. well worth staying up until 2 am. very disturbing. yesterday the weather was better, though it was still rather cool. we walked from south station to the city centre via the belvedere palace and park and schwarzenbergplatz. it was good to be outside. lots of people about, tourists and natives, it was a public holiday after all.

these pictures were not taken yesterday, but they're still nice. :)

we saw brokeback mountain, about time too, don't you think? loved the landscape. really good acting. heath ledger has come a long way since ten things i hate about you, and michelle williams has certainly improved since the days of dawson's creek. had dinner afterwards at a cosy place in the city where they serve delicious food.

terry lowenstein's review of my chapbook is now online in centrifugal eye - a big thanks to terry! oh and read the poetry once you are there, alex stolis has two poems in the issue, and he is in very good company.

i found a heartshaped pretzel in my bag of pretzels this afternoon - unbroken, too.

still reading the lovely bones and making love, and poetry.

if you have any poetry books you absolutely love, please do recommend them. i have some on my wish list or my must-read list, but it's never wrong to ask for more tips.

song of the day: burn it blue by caetano veloso and lila downs; goosebump music.