Sunday, December 31, 2006

definitely the last post of the year

i love this poem.


Speak to me, aching heart: what
ridiculous errand are you inventing for yourself
weeping in the dark garage
with your sack of garbage: it is not your job
to take out the garbage, it is your job
to empty the dishwasher. You are showing off again,
exactly as you did in childhood – where
is your sporting side, your famous
ironic detachment? A little moonlight hits
the broken window, a little summer moonlight, tender
murmurs from the earth with its ready sweetnesses –
is this the way you communicate
with your husband, not answering
when he calls, or is this the way the heart
behaves when it grieves: it wants to be
alone with the garbage? If I were you,
I'd think ahead. After fifteen years,
his voice could be getting tired; some night
if you don't answer, someone else will answer.

Louise Glück

* * * * *

happy new year once again.

song of the day: change the world by nellie mckay

Saturday, December 30, 2006

i got myself a couple of new names!

instead of simply michaela, i am now Baroness Michaela the Edible of Old Throcking in the Hole. doesn't that sound dirty?

and instead of calling me michi, you may now address me as Her Excellency Michi the Mellifluous of Westley Waterless.

and who are you?

another song of the day: i spy by pulp

possibly the last post of the year

this isn't the big end-of-the-year post. i might have some things to say about 2006, but not this morning. i'm leaving for my parents' tomorrow and will try to think of a few things to say while i am on the train.

* * * * *

christmas was quiet. watching pippi långstrump (pippi longstocking) and emil i lönneberga (emil of maple hills) has become a tradition. some channel is always showing a couple of those films on the 24th. not much singing, but nice food. and a bit of bubbly. no snow this year, not that i mind that much. it was a treat to receive quite a bit of christmas mail - both snail and e-mail. thanks, you lovely people out there! spending my days (and much of my nights) reading poetry (very impressed with louise glück's meadowlands, some good stuff in 180 more, and quite intriguing pieces in c d wright's steal away), writing, been going over the collaboration manuscript, frantically trying to catch up on mail (pathetic really *L*), talking to friends, working a little, doing some shopping, and i am starting to worry about work.

* * * * *

i am still writing every day. i know i said i would not force myself to, but i think it has become such a habit that it feels funny not to try. the last couple of days have been tough, but i did not want to give up. that's so like me. :)

latest poems:
day 101 - sulphur (s) - blonde
day 102 - bromine (br) - west of callisto, nine minutes past twelve
day 103 - boron (b) - east of the sun, seven minutes past five
day 104 - vanadium (v) - fólkvangr, between midnight and dawn
day 105 - iron (fe) - southeast of mars, two minutes past winter
day 106 - titanium (ti) - northwest of titania, ten minutes past eight
day 107 - Sonnenizio on a Line from McClain (He says: I'll write you a sonnet, a ballad, a poem ...)
day 108 - phosphorus (p) - southwest of venus, eight minutes past dawn
day 109 - the loneliness of the long-distance lover (an abecedarian)
day 110 - december mattinata
day 111 - thirteen things to do while waiting for your lover (another abecedarian)

so as you can see, i have returned to my periodic table series. and it seems as if i am developing a series within the series. i'll have to get a lot more research done when i am back in vienna. most of the elements poems are based on or inspired by paintings, mainly miró lately. and i am quite obviously hooked on abecedarians and sonnenizios. i had been warned. :)

here's my latest:
thirteen things to do while waiting for your lover
(an abecedarian)

assume a new identity every quarter hour:
        be saintly, paranoid, the lonely owner of a

cat. butter a slice of bread on both sides.
        drop it. frown at the result and repeat your

experiment seventeen times; take notes
        for posterity. sing a song he doesn't like.

gather dust balls and put them on a shelf
        high above your head. plant a baby spider

in the middle of that cosy nest. go and
        jot down three questions for him: one that

keeps repeating itself, one containing a
        little bit of weather and traces of music.

make the last available in five languages -
        no morse code, no braille, no invention

of your own. practise oddly puckered lips,
        prepare your tongue for unfamiliar twists.

quit something. anything. sudoku. zen, a
        road to nowhere. replace with new addictions.

search anagrams for patience is a virtue -
        train active pie use; stir cutie, naïve ape!

unhinge a door. lose interest in pot plants.
        verify a rumour that involves him and a fruit.

write a five-step manual: how to play the
        xylophone with closed eyes: do re mi fa sol

yank out the phone cord. count back to
        zero from your chocolate bar's use-by date.

my turkish friend özge is in vienna at the moment, with her boyfriend and another couple. we met up on thursday for a chat and a drink and some lovely ice cream, and i'll see her again this afternoon. i am sure there will be a few pictures to post eventually. it's lovely to see her anyway - we have known each other about nine years or so, and only met once, in budapest in 2002.

* * * * *

if i don't speak to you or blog again before 2007 - have a great new year's eve, and a not-too-hungover start into the new year. may it bring whatever you wish and hope for.

song of the day: oh yeah by roxy music.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

loch raven review

my two poems how to prepare for winter and december rules of conduct are now up at loch raven review. what an issue - i'm happy to be sharing zine space with liz gallagher, annie bien, jude goodwin, gary blankenship, allen itz, corey mesler, laurie byro, s. thomas summers, et al. chris george and jim doss have done a great job once again.

had a rather nice rejection letter from eleventh muse, saying

We are sorry to inform you that we will not be able to use your poetry for our publication at this time. We did take additional interest in your work and considered it stronger than most of the poems we reject.

song of the day: cupcake by nellie mckay

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

happy holidays!

okay, i meant to embed this in the blog post, but that does not seem to work with mp3s (and when i converted it to .wma, it went all chipmunky-squeaky *teehee*), so you have to follow the link, if you dare ;) - and possibly turn up the volume. i hope that works - it does for me. (if i sound like a chipmunk to you, something is wrong. really. no matter what my wife says.)

song of the day: fairytale of new york by the pogues & kirsty maccoll - the best christmas song. ever. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

101 poems and other things

first things first: a big THANK YOU & HUG to each of you lovely people who emailed or posted congrats re my chapbook news. being able to share this with you and knowing that you are happy for me, has made this so much better! :)

* * * * *

it was a good week as far as poetry was concerned - i had acceptance notes from eclectica ("a driving instructor has a recurring nightmare" - written for my second spouse, of course) and loch raven review ("december rules of conduct", "how to prepare for winter"). the preview of LRR tells me i am in good company - i know half the people in the upcoming issue. nice. i'll post links once the issues go live.

* * * * *

so: this is day 100 of a-poem-a-day. i'm quite impressed, if i say so myself. and the funny thing is, i have actually written 101 poems, because i wrote two today. it just happened. the second one is much better than the first one though. i cannot imagine not writing my daily poem, though i should probably take a break. i've challenged myself lately, and i'm a little exhausted. if the words still insist on coming, i will let them in. or out.

so, as promised, here are the titles (some actually still need proper titles):
poem 01 - he is (an abecedarian of sorts)
poem 02 - reading the dictionary on a sunday morning (a double abecedarian aka utter madness)
poem 03 - Sonnenizio on a line from Barber [2] (On a morning like any other, she wakes to find ... )
poem 04 - Report, with Love in the Air (cento with lines from McClain)
poem 05 - Sonnenizio on a Line from McClain (And I imagine getting my chance to talk; to finally tell ...)
poem 06 - Introducing Navels: Griseldis (a rare prose piece)
poem 07 - Sonnenizio on a Line from Barber [3] (No one can see you now. You are unglued. ...)
poem 08 - Meet My Breasts (another short prose piece)
poem 09 - Afterglow (another abecedarian of sorts)
poem 10 - Goddess - Sonnenizio on a Line from Barber (She will be goddess. Fall to your knees and pray. ...)
poem 11 - Shadowland - Sonnenizio on a Line from Barber (A light snapped off and you're gone. You're in the dark. ...)

here's one of the poems - otherwise you might doubt i have ever actually written anything! ;)
reading the dictionary on a sunday morning
(double abecedarian)

aphrodisiac: something that makes your body fizz.
breath. a drink. a sliver of food, maybe moist, possibly
clam-shaped, suggesting soft folds, proposing sex.

darling: term of endearment. whisper and see how
electric skin can become. two syllables, a leitmotiv
for nights between the sheets. alternate with du,

gentle caress, almost blue around the edges, almost
heart-shaped in your mouth, before a tongue flicks
in and out - short sudden movement, a tease: enter,
jiggle, withdraw. like a yes. like the A to every Q.

kinetic energy – produced when something moves: up,
like a back arching, a knee bending, an urgent hand to
mounds; down, like rivulets, like lips closing in on
nipples; skin against skin, limbs learning a rhythm.

oh – whisper your desire, shiver with surprise. feel
parts of you respond in their own way. forget to think.
quiet becomes impossible. trust your body to be the DJ,
rotating soundtracks of monosyllabic delight. "yes, oh, i ..."

string together moans, caresses: add yours to his with
tingling fingers, one by one. brush, graze and cling.
under the weight of a black night, follow the network of
veins. leave the known roads. read him like braille -

writing in raised dots, tiny bumps. do not sign a bold
x on his back, sign with a cry sharp as a blade, ecstatic
yes to a rhetorical question. sign with a gasp, a sob.
zoom in on bliss. a close-up of love. you, the camera.

i missed a trip to the christmas market with friends, the company christmas party (not that i was in much of a mood to go there anyway) and my sister-in-law's and niece-in-law's birthday party in upper austria, because i have been down with a cold and fever since wednesday evening. the weekend was the worst. i spent half the time asleep. seems like my body was telling me that no, i cannot go on like that, sleeping so little. i am better now, the temperature has gone down, but i am still rather tired, and as i said elsewhere, my head feels the size of a small european country, with all of its inhabitants gaily jumping up and down. i hope that i will be fine by tomorrow. i need to get things done, and i am getting sick and tired of bedbedbed and channel switching late at night (a health hazard in itself).

* * * * *

i promised to post a few muse pics - and i've finally got them edited. so there you are - courtesy of julia.

song of the day: sundress by ben kweller.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

really wide grin

ohmygod! yes yes yes! i just heard from kristy bowen at dancing girl press - my chapbook manuscript "the secret meanings of greek letters" just got accepted and will be published in october! i am so, so, so thrilled! (good thing i am still up at 3 a.m. for such news ...)

** editing in to say that another wonder woman has had a chapbook accepted: congrats, nicole!! we rule! **

song of the day night: greek song by rufus wainwright.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

bad news and good news


it must have been too good to last. i've been doing great lately, i was happy with work, the writing, and myself. butbutbut. yesterday i heard that there will be only half as many classes at the floridsdorf branch of the company i have been working for since april 2004. it's a little surprising, really. but unexpected or not, it means that i won't be teaching there anymore. i honestly felt like crying when i was told. i have never felt so comfortable in a workplace. especially this year, things have been great. nice colleagues. lovely students. and i have always liked the fact that this centre was rather small and we were not too involved in office politics. oh, and not too many female colleagues (none lately, since bärbel went on maternity leave). i often feel more comfortable working with men (unless they're sexist bastards, of course). so. this means, i will have to go get my stuff next week. i don't even want to think about it. [insert head-in-hands-and-sobbing icon here]

* * * * *


thanks, airliner, for the envoi tip. i sent a sub around 01.30 last night, and had a reply at 12.30 today - and it looks like jan wants to publish all five poems! yay! two of them are sonnenizios on lines from ros barber poems (one written only yesterday! hot off the press so to speak ...), two are part of the periodic table series (lithium, nickel), and one is a kitchen conversation (tired cheese grater). the magazine is due out in june 2007 and i already look forward to reading it, not least because ms angle will be sharing zine space with me (again. that's what happens to married people, you see. can't seem to do anything on their own anymore. *rolling eyes*).

* * * * *

saw little miss sunshine with gudrun yesterday. quite good. some hilarious scenes. and proof that the word lolly-gagging (as introduced by mr mcclause) actually exists. :)

just spent aaaaaaaaaages at the post office - seems i am not the only one sending snail mail at this time of year. but i beat them all with my 18 cards/letters. the rest will be sent tomorrow. i'm late this year. sigh.

** editing in to post some saturday pics: **

song of the day: toto dies by the delightful nellie mckay.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

nine times thirty, and aiming for one hundred

i finished my 9th round of 30:30 on friday. unbelievable, but true. it was my third consecutive round, and i think it was the toughest, most challening, and definitely best round to date. alex' project came at the right time - half the poems i wrote are "letters", the rest a few sonnenizios, a couple of so-called "cherylians", and ekphrastic poems, as well as some abecedarians (another thing i never thought i'd be able to pull off) at the end.

here are the titles 18-30:

poem 18 - Sonnenizio on a line from McClain
poem 19 - Sonnenizio on a line from Rilke
poem 20 - Letter # 10 (The past is one fifth lime juice, one fifth auburn, the rest ...)
poem 21 - The Guidelines Tell Me To Send Between One And Five, No More Than Three, And Up To Ten Of My Best Poems In A Single Word Document - .rtf Format - Within The Body Of An Email During The Reading Period From October Through June, With A Deadline On April 1; Previously Published Work That Has Simultaneously Appeared In Print Journals Is Welcome, A Cover Letter Required But Optional, Provided A Brief Bio Is Included (No List Of Publication Credits, No Trivia) (a cherylian)
poem 22 - Letter #13 (Oh yes, Asian eyes. I used to dub her The Dark Rapunzel. She lingered ...)
poem 23 - I Said To The Expert: "I Heard Typoitis Is A Very Seriuos Condition And It Might Be Best To Seek Tretment As Soon As Possible – I Undrestand My Hands Will Be Given Something Esle To Touch; But Are You Sure It Can Be Cured?" (a cherylian)
poem 24 - Letter #14 (Unlearning to love you is like sucking back sand through the narrow ...)
poem 25 - A Ladies' Guide to Writing the Love Poem (an abecedarian)
poem 26 - zirconium (zr) - north of gondwana, three minutes past four (an ekphrastic )
poem 27 - Sonnenizio on a line from Barber
poem 28 - Letter #15 (Outside my window, a bird is chirping in the darkness. Madrugada, ...)
poem 29 - still life with blue voice an abecedarian)
poem 30 - yes! (an abecedarian)

it's been a lot of fun, especially with alabama and nebraska and their craziness!

i have not stopped writing, however. i am aiming to get to at least 100 consecutive days, and i wrote a poem yesterday, and one today - #91, and #92. i'll post all the titles when i have done the 10:10.

* * * * *

received a rather nice rejection note from no tell motel. they said they were sorry about having to reject quality submissions. i'll try them again next year.

* * * * *

on friday, i went to see MUSE in concert - with the niece-in-law, julia, who's only 20 years younger than me. *LOL* but i would have gone anyway. the concert was quite good, actually, even though they did not play three of my favourite muse songs (endlessly, thoughts of a dying atheist, and muscle museum); but they played hysteria, and starlight, and plug in baby, and a lot of other gooooood stuff. julia was over the moon because she was in the front row, soooo close to darling matthew. i enjoyed myself, apart from the quarter hour when three teenage girls pressed up against me, unable to decide whether they were brave enough to push through the crowd or not (they weren't). i thought two of them were going to, erm, have an orgasm when matt appeared on the stage. *L* oh yes, and the weird guy (there is always a weird guy, at any given concert) who obviously thought muse were only playing for him. but then, he might not have thought at all. yes. that is far more likely. once julia sends me pics of the show, i will post a couple.

* * * * *

yesterday we had brunch at gudrun's. here's a snapshot of her son simon & me. more to come.

song of the day: roads by portishead.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

isn't this great news?

an email from Poetry Salzburg Review editor Wolfgang Görtschacher:

Dear Michi,

this term I teach a poetry course for second-year students. They have to write a term paper of 8-10 pages analysing one poem. Among other poems published in Poetry Salzburg Review I have selected your poem "Nigel's World Turns on Its Axis" to be analysed by one of my students. In case s/he wants to contact you and ask questions, would you be willing to answer them?

Best wishes
who would have thought, once upon a time, when i said not so nice things about the name nigel, and my dear other spouse angie started the nigel series!? i wonder, does this say something about the state of austrian universities?

song of the day: mad about you by hooverphonic.

Monday, December 04, 2006

redactions, or: how to make a girl's sleepless night

yes! yes! just when i was about to send an inquiry to redactions magazine, i received a note with the subject line "This Is Just To Say" ...

Congratulations! "Redactions: Poetry & Poetics" would like to publish "Sodium (na)," "scandium (sc)," and "radium (ra)" in its upcoming issue 8/9, due out in February 2007. As payment, you will receive two contributor copies.
and this came a couple of hours after nadam had told me he had two poems accepted by them today. looks like we will be sharing zine space. :)

the three poems redactions accepted are all part of the periodic table series, and ekphrastic poems (ie inspired by / based on paintings).

* * * * *

i woke up sniffling today (yesterday, really, it is 3 am on monday here), with a headache and a temperature, after a horrible night, but still went to reinhard's birthday do - his 40th birthday. though he does not look much different from when i first met him 15 years ago. i'll post a pic when i've got them edited.

* * * * *

oh - and i wrote my first abecedarian today! it's mr mccouch's fault, of course, as usual.

song of the day: the things we never said by the wonderful thea gilmore.
I lipsticked "Fuck You" on the mirror
As a mark of my respect
And wandered out into the street
Well what the hell did you expect
And the old laundrette is hissing our song
Like it doesn't give a damn
And the cars are all french kissing
In some lonely traffic jam
And I've been talking to the radio
Cos it doesn't answer back ...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

writing, reading, and listening to music

i am still writing daily, of course - day 24. some regulars are back at 30:30 now, sarah and annie, for example. i've written some more "letters", and alex has sent me some new ones. it's going really well - the feedback has been really good. we have between 25 and 30 letters now. :)

* * * * *

i went to a reading yesterday evening, an open mic. the labyrinth group are putting on open mics every first friday of the month. i met up with sylvia, a now-vienna-based writer, at 7 and we chatted a little about poetry, stories, and life in general. before i had really made up my mind about reading something, sylvia informed me that she was "going first, and i put your name down after me". so. i had to do it. i am glad though. i read one of alex' poem and my reply, the one i refer to as "Rome Revisited". i was nervous in the beginning - there were quite a few people there - but i was alright after a while, except for the dry mouth halfway through my poem. people clapped a lot after i finished, and i got some encouraging nods, and later on quite a few "i really liked what you read" comments. so, i was quite happy. i am going again, and i am also going to read again. i bumped into a few people i met at the lit fest in october, so that was nice. some of the poetry i heard was good. i was happy to hear szmyborska read in polish for the first time - not that i understand it, but it was nice. they had the translations, too. one of the poems was "The Railroad Station", one of my favourite szymborska poems. i also liked a few of the poems in german and austrian dialect(s), and the songs a couple of people played towards the end - especially the fun one about england and the football world cup. :)

* * * * *

i sent out quite a few submissions lately. does your head in after a while ... here's a "cherylian" about it.

The Guidelines Tell Me To Send Between One And Five, No More Than Three, And Up To Ten Of My Best Poems In A Single Word Document - .rtf Format - Within The Body Of An Email During The Reading Period From October Through June, With A Deadline On April 1; Previously Published Work That Has Simultaneously Appeared In Print Journals Is Welcome, A Cover Letter Required But Optional, Provided A Brief Bio Is Included (No List Of Publication Credits, No Trivia)

I submit.
* * * * *
i've found some terrific music lately, eg emily haines, thea gilmore (beautiful lyrics!), the decemberists (and i just found out they are playing in vienna in february and i went and bought a ticket straight away), band of horses, nellie mckay (just a delight), the fratellis. you can find links in my navigation bar on the right. i also look forward to hearing muse live on dec 8th.

* * * * *

had an exceptionally busy week - even without work. and december will be filled with lots of socialising, and more writing, and also subbing. had my hair cut today (finally), and am meeting friends for a drink soon - alex is visiting from south tyrol.

and here's a little me ...

song of the day: where did my baby go by john legend (thank you, nusic-man! *wink*).