Wednesday, October 31, 2007

my second "baby" :-)

ten months after being accepted, my second chapbook, the secret meanings of greek letters, has come into the bookworld. judging from the pictures – and that is all i have for the time being – kristy bowen of dancing girl press has done a terrific job, and secret meanings is not actually a book, as you can see here.

if for whatever reason (and feel free to name it!) you would like to get hold of a copy, you can either buy it from DGP and support a wonderful small press), or get in touch with me (the book is $9 or €6, shipping cost depends on where you are); if you are really lucky, i'll even sign it. ;)

if anybody has a chapbook out and wants to swap, let me know! i expect to have my copies within the next two weeks.

and here's a poem from the chapbook:


deep in the belly of eve, seed in the shape of a dragonfly
sleeps until the morning a crimson drop announces a flood.

thirty days pass; thirty times the warm hands of summer
smooth wrinkly flowers, pluck them at bedtime – shhh.

seaweed grows among the rocks where eve's bare feet
slip, urge her into mad waves where she'd be a mermaid:

fish could teach her how to wash away the faded red
of loss. she'd learn silence, the freedom of black depths.

every day the wet cheeks of apples remind her; every
day, the snake criss-crosses her path, triumphant, cruel.

there's a wind that lives for weather vanes, the craz
swirl of technicolour meadows; it sings into hollow hearts.

eve listens; lilting voices pull until strings snap. sunset
draws a window on the far horizon, a drake takes flight.

stones do not grow softer over night, do not sprout
rivers or plants. eve kneels, sacrifices a fistful of time.

she gathers cotton for a bed. at new moon, she will join
the goddess, press her head against that empty womb.

song of the day: halloween song from the nightmare before christmas.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

images and words

i went to see another film, savage grace, at the viennale festival on saturday. skipped the coen brothers' no country for old men, because i did not fancy queuing up for an hour with a slight chance of getting a ticket.

savage grace (directed by tom kalin) is definitely worth watching. it is based on a true story, that of barbara daly baekeland, her bizarre and eventually incestuous relationship with her homosexual son tony, who appeared to suffer from schizophrenia, and who killed her in 1972. tony later went on to stab his grandmother, and committed suicide in 1981. the movie raises the questions of who is the victim / who is whose victim in this extraordinary mother-son relationship, and who really killed whom. julianne moore as barbara is fantastic once again.

* * * * *

the new issue of tipton poetry journal is now online. read work by liz gallagher, sharon hurlbut (ann walters), c l bledsoe, patrick carrington, shanna germain, et al - and yours truly. the print version of TPJ was in my mailbox today. fast! :) still no sign of pebble lake review though. :(

* * * * *

the pills are still making me nauseous, which in turn doesn't make me happy, but i guess that's all part of the process. went to see a therapist yesterday, she's nice, but i still want to check out another one or two to see who is best for me.

* * * * *

the truth about me (and i know somebody who'll love this!):

You Are A Vampire

You have a real thirst for bliss, and you consider yourself a true hedonist.
And you're not afraid to walk alone in life, if it means getting what you truly crave.
You truly enjoy entrancing people. Not to mention the ensuing pleasures of the flesh.
Your tastes have been called decadent and bizarre. You usually give in to your temptations, no matter how primal

Your greatest power: Your flawless ability to seduce and charm

Your greatest weakness: Human flesh

You play well with: Werewolves

* * * * *

and here are a couple of pics of the really young ones:




* * * * *

song of the day: diferente by gotan project.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"you can freeze like a 30th century man"

i had a follow-up appointment with the doctor at the clinic on tuesday. we talked about my ambivalence about medication for quite a while. i do know that the medication can help me, but i am still unhappy about having to take it. one of my main issues at the moment is a fear of losing control, and so many things that are happening this year *are* actually beyond my control. and what these pills do, is also beyond my control, and that might be why i am not comfortable with it. when i said that i have accepted the fact that i need help, which was difficult in the beginning, the doctor didn't seem to be entirely convinced, because of my reluctance to take medication, but he did see that i really wanted to start psychotherapy. i thought about it for a bit, and found that there was a difference in that *i* play a part in psychotherapy ("*i* am in it" was how i put it, i think), while with medication, well, i take it and it does something to me. after listening to what i said about my anxiety and the panic attacks, the doctor suggested additional medication. he said i could either increase the dosage of trittico retard (a whole pill instead of 2/3) or take an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), but he would definitely suggest the latter. but of course he left it up to me to decide whether i wanted that or not. he ended up giving me a package of sertralin (zoloft): "you decide whether you want to take it or not." i am taking half a pill in the mornings now, and of course it makes me nauseous, and even gives me cramps for about 15-20 minutes. yesterday i felt slightly sick well into the afternoon. and i find i want to eat even less. so i am not particularly happy about this.

of course something else happened this week, just so i don't get the impression that this series of unfortunate events might actually come to an end. wednesday evening, when the washing machine cycle was finished, i opened the machine, and next thing i knew, the bathroom was under water. so – looks like the washing machine is dying on me. just what i needed on a day i heard about more taxes to be paid in advance, and with social security payments coming up again. i wasn't very relaxed, kept dropping things, then i knocked something over, and that did it – i just sat down on the floor and had a really bad crying fit. after that, i kept bursting into tears again and again, and felt anxious and nervous and panicky, so i decided to take half a xanor, because i didn't think i would be able to relax enough to fall asleep without it. i don't know what people do who take more than half a pill, because even that dosage makes me really, really tired (though the doctor says it is partly due to falling stress levels). at least i could sleep.

i now know that the day sepp and i have to appear in court to finalise the divorce, is november 7. i don't even want to think about it. i honestly dread it. i am already scared i might have a panic attack before it, or while there, and it is still 11 days to go! of course they had to make it a date when i am working, and a time i cannot make without finding a teacher who can sub for me or having to leave work early, etc. can nothing be simple?!

my friends continue to be the most wonderful people in the world. :)

* * * * *

thursday evening i went to see the stephen kijak documentary "scott walker – 30th century man" at the film festival. very good. walker is one of those artists that are hugely influential (at least in europe), and yet remain a mystery and are far from being a commercial success. a true avant-garde artist. he was one third of the walker brothers (remember "the sun ain't gonna shine anymore", that sixties classic?), but then discovered french songwriter jacques brel, translated him, and drifted into songwriting. he does really experimental, monumental stuff, industrial music. (fantastic to have the cameras in the studio the day he needs the sound of raw meat being slapped: he does not have it produced on a computer, he has raw meat brought into the studio and a percussionist "plays" it, to get the sound just right!) not everybody's cup of tea, and not music you simply put on as background music, more something you need to explore and that constantly requires your attention. or at least most of his more recent stuff does (um, that gives the wrong impression, because he puts out an album about once a decade). i have somehow always neglected to dig deeper, i must confess, and only started listening to him more (again) a little while ago when i saw his video "jesse" on austrian station gotv.

david bowie, richard hawley, alison goldfrapp, marc almond, jarvis cocker, radiohead, et al talked about his influence. so, this one's definitely recommended. particularly interesting: the sequences where walker speaks about inspiration and the creative process, and about his lyrics (which are worth checking out).

i need to share this quote that's on walker's album "scott 4" and which he mentioned in the interview in context of his creative process and the reason why he's in it (ie music):

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."
Albert Camus
director stephen kijak was there, to talk about the film and answer questions afterwards. an old girlfriend of scott walker's, an ex-playboy bunny, happened to be in the audience as well.

* * * * *

poetry-wise: chapbook's not quite out yet, but soon. watch this space.

a poem's up at stone table review: nocturnal triptych from room 116.

song of the day: 30th century man by scott walker.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"damaged in handling"

on february, 9th, a letter is posted in the united states.

the letter never reaches its destination. someone does not receive her first ever valentine's card, but she knows about the mail-that-should-have-been. the words gone missing.

seven months later, a man breaks up with a woman.

on october 23rd, someone opens a mailbox in vienna. this is what she finds:

the envelope looks like it has been slit open deliberately. it is empty.

there is a poem in this somewhere. maybe some day. i can't write at the moment. :(

song of the day: norwegian wood (this bird has flown) by the beatles.

Monday, October 22, 2007

autumn colours

here are some autumn pictures taken last week at wienerberg near where i live. ah, it was still warm and sunny and lovely! if you want more ...

* * * * *

this song has been haunting me for days now - your ghost by kristin hersh with michael stipe (of REM).

if I walk down this hallway, tonight,
it's too quiet,
so I pad through the dark
and call you on the phone
push your old numbers
and let your house ring
till I wake your ghost.
let him walk down your hallway
it's not this quiet
slide down your receiver
sprint across the wire
follow my number
slide into my hand.

song of the day: your ghost by kristin hersh with michael stipe.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

i follow my heart

yes, i am supposed to be working, catching up on about ten different things, and what am i doing instead? reading blogs, watching videos on youtube, blogging. sigh. :)

i am honing my procrastination skills this weekend: friday evening i went over to babs and andi's (it *is* convenient that they live less than a five minute walk away from me) as i was in need of cheering up and company. we played herzeln, a card game that can (and does!) go on for hours. could go on for days even, if you added more categories. of course, once we stopped playing, babs and i had some girl talk, and it was 2.15 by the time we went to bed. between 8.40 and about 10 andi and i had a conversation about languages, mainly japanese and english, and then babs joined us and we managed to keep one another from various tasks and duties until 4 in the afternoon. it was great. lots of silliness. outside, a few snowflakes, rain, grey sky, wind, cold. not tempting at all.

i managed to get all my prep work done for monday and tuesday, and jotted down a few ideas for the rest of the week, and at night joined babs and andi who went to a friend's. home shortly after midnight, but instead of going to bed, what did i do? i picked up the phone. (yes, it rang.)

tonight, two films at viennale film festival - michael clayton and medium cool.

* * * * *

and here's a song by an austrian band called velojet - i follow my heart. (oh yeah. and is that smart or dumb?) good, solid pop song, though i like the singer's voice better on other tracks. but i love the bass line.

song of the day: i follow my heart by velojet.

Friday, October 19, 2007

All my friends say that of course it's gonna get better

my business english class in amstetten is going well. i have 15 students aged 25 to 60, they really want to learn, are not afraid to talk, and are having fun. i am not really teaching specific business related topics yet, but revising tenses and building vocab, still getting a feel for how much they know / remember (more than i expected, actually). i don't really mind the train journey all that much. i borrowed a laptop, so i can work, write emails and such on the way to and from work, and that's two and a half hours every day. and since we are starting at 9 instead of 8 in the morning, i only have to get up about five to ten minutes earlier than i last did when starting class at 8 in vienna. the morning light is fantastic, one day it was beautifully foggy with the sun a dark yellow disc behind the mist, and today i saw some deer grazing near the train track.

i am still feeling nauseous every morning, though not as dizzy as i used to the first couple of days. on wednesday i had a bad panic attack. i started to feel anxious on the tram home, it was really packed, and i always feel uncomfortable on crowded public transport these days. i tried to stay calm, succeeded for a while, but on my way home from the supermarket, it got too much. i tried to control it somehow, but decided to take half a xanor after about 20 minutes. it made me very tired, i fell asleep for a while, and i felt subdued for quite a while after waking up, and nauseous, too. after taking the pill, i got really angry - angry with this ... this "thing", this illness that is taking control of my life. i found myself sobbing with frustration, banging my fist against the wall.

i know there are worse things than having panic attacks and mild depression for six weeks, but that doesn't mean i have to be okay with it, does it?

the weather broke today. beautiful indian summer changed to clouds, rain, and the forecast for the weekend is really bad - strong wind, rain, sleet, even a possibility of snow - and not just in the mountains. ugh.

been listening to regina spektor a lot this afternoon, so here are some of her words ("fidelity"):

And suppose I never ever met you
Suppose we never fell in love
Suppose I never ever let you
kiss me so sweet and so soft
Suppose I never ever saw you
Suppose you never ever called
Suppose I kept on singing love songs
just to break my own fall
Just to break my fall
Just to break my fall
Break my fall
Break my fall

All my friends say that of course it's gonna get better
Gonna get better
Better better better better
Better better better

song of the day: fidelity by regina spektor.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

hush, hush darlin'

i took 1/3 of trittico retard both friday and saturday; slept really well friday night; not quite as well last night. the side effects the doctor mentioned are definitely bothering me: i feel nauseous and dizzy when getting up, for a good hour on both days. i took 2/3 of a pill today, because it is really important that i sleep well tonight - i have to get up at 5.15 tomorrow morning to get to amstetten, where i will be teaching business english for the next 6 weeks, by 8. it's about 120km from vienna, so a rather long train ride there and back every day.

can't say that my mood has been lifted by the meds, but that may be because of what i mentioned in my last blog post - significant date(s) this weekend. i had a panic attack at my friends' place last night, not the worst ever, but i felt dizzy and tense, with numb hands, for quite a while. i decided not to take one of the "emergency pills", though i might have done, had i been on my own.

i wish i could write, as in: write poetry, but i simply cannot. maybe it's because i can't concentrate on anything very well.

* * * * *

babs, andi, and i went for a walk yesterday afternoon, at lobau, part of the donauauen nationalpark (danube floodplains n.p.), and i brought back some pictures (click to enlarge):

* * * * *

been listening to the song below a lot this weekend, since i came across it while channel-hopping yesterday afternoon. got the old no doubt album out, which i had not done in years!

Our memories
Well, they can be inviting
But some are altogether
Mighty frightening
As we die, both you and I
With my head in my hands
I sit and cry

Don't speak
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me cause it hurts (no, no, no)
Don't speak
I know what you're thinking
I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me cause it hurts

It's all ending
I gotta stop pretending who we are...
You and me I can see us dying...are we?

song of the day: don't speak by no doubt.

Friday, October 12, 2007

mind matters

my fever's gone, my neck doesn't hurt all that much anymore (i was actually able to sleep about 4 hours last night!), and so i finally made it to that clinic (kriseninterventionszentrum) i mentioned a few days ago. sepp came along, because i'd asked him to, as i was a little scared that i might feel uncomfortable and very nervous or not go at all. the doctor/therapist i spoke to was very nice, and i found it easy to talk about everything that had happened, about my symptoms, fears, worries.

i told him that i am off alcohol and my beloved earl grey and darjeeling tea (which he thought was smart), but that no way would i go off chocolate, no matter whether it is good or bad for certain processes going on in my brain. i need my dose of happy hormones! ;)

i also shared my concerns re taking pills, and while he can see why i am cautious, he told me that the most important thing seems to be my sleep. so he suggested that i take a small dose of trittico retard every day before bedtime to treat my insomnia; it's also a mild anti-depressant. he also gave me a couple of xanor (alprazolam) just in case, for really bad panic attacks. he thinks the mere fact that i have those pills might make me feel safer, less anxious.

of course he agrees that therapy would be best. i'm going to contact a couple of therapists next week, and on the 23rd i have another appointment at the clinic.

i've been rather down the last couple of days, not so panicky, but sad - because of a (non-)anniversary (tomorrow), and the fact that 2 months ago i thought i might be going to california again around this time.

* * * * *

poetry news:

poemeleon has accepted two elements poems (Silicon, Caesium) for their prose poem issue due to be published in December.

womb editor michelle detorie informed me that she'd love to use one of my poems (who's keeping time with the timekeeper's daughter, when the timekeeper's out keeping time) for a special "daughters" issue. i was especially pleased since i was not sure whether my submission was still under consideration, and because i am partial to that poem.

the issue of cahoots with some of my work is scheduled for 3rd december.

and kristy at dancing girl press is busy putting the finishing touches on my chapbook! yay!

* * * * *

here are a few pics of my sunday stroll through a nearby park, oberlaa:

song of the day: if i have to go by tom waits.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


since several people tagged me, i'd better play along, right, else i'll end up having bad luck for seven and a half years or so, and that is the last thing i need.

1. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
hmmm ... pleasure doesn't usually make me feel guilty, but if you insist - it's nice to sit in a viennese café, reading or writing, when the rest of the world has got to work.

2. How do you take your coffee?
as an ice cream flavour

3. Who were you in a previous life?
a witch. in red & black. in english. such a one who, according to others, didn't know what was good for her. and loved it.

4. Who or what is your greatest influence?
um, life?

5. What is the worst film you ever paid to see?
jurassic park. my brother martin, who was just a kid then, wanted to go. i felt like asking for my money back.

6. What is the best thing you can buy for a dollar?
0.70791 Euro

7. What is the worst present you ever received?
when i was about 8 or 9, my mom had a tartan skirt tailor-made for me, even though i told her i did not want it. i don't think i ever wore it. and then there's that porcelain buddha from some asian restaurant which adds a new dimension to the concept of kitsch ...

8. What is your favorite word?
what, only one??? can't have just one. among my top favourites: madrugada. bumble-bee. murmele (in my dialect, the word for marmot).

i tag the untagged. those who'd been tagged before, can sing along to the song of the day instead:

song of the day: philosophers song by monty python's.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

more of the same

slowly but surely i am beginning to think that there is a big neon sign flashing above my head, spelling out "I AM HERE!" so that more shit can be dumped on me. *sigh* last week i was coughing badly, and since the weekend i've had a fever. also, sunday morning i woke up with a rather stiff, sore neck, which i hoped would not bother me too long. oh but bother me it did. does. it got so bad monday night that i could barely sleep - it was impossible to find a sleeping position that did not hurt like hell, and i spent hours awake, at times pacing the living room, trying not to whimper, cry and/or pass out with frustration and pain.

monday was my last day at the crap company. so yes, i did go in despite my fever and neck problem. tried to find a sub for the afternoon, but was not successful at such short notice. i had a very bad panic attack during my lunch break, by far the worst / most intense attack i've had at work. i don't think i've felt as bad and scared since that attack three weeks ago. i was on the phone with sepp, poor guy, and that helped, but still ... don't ask me how i got through the afternoon. it was not exactly fun.

this morning i went to see the GP for the neck pains, got some tablets which make me incredibly tired, but lying down still hurts very badly, and instead of sleeping at 01.30 am, i am sitting here writing a blog entry. in fact, the pills had brought some relief, but just before going to bed about two hours ago, i inadvertently made a wrong move ... yay. not.

of course the fever and the neck pain made me stay in, and i did not go to the clinic nor did i go to the tennis tournament at stadthalle, where i usually go each year, at least on tuesdays, ladies day, when it's free for us girls. :( we'll see how i am in the morning. if i feel up to it, i'll go, if not, i'll go on thursday.

i'm really pissed off, because it happens so often that i get ill when i have time off. and the weather's so glorious too! and it's not like i don't have work to do either. *sticking my tongue out at life*

* * * * *

my poem selenium (se) - serenade in f minor: sixteen people, locoweed and cattle at full moon was among the top 10 poems of the poetry super highway contest. 8th place out of 497 poems, which means i did better than last year, when one of my kitchen conversations was in 9th place. and funny, once again it was the poem i thought i "might as well throw in". i won a book and 10 euro. :) the top three poems can be read on the PSH website. congratulations!

front porch told me they were "very impressed by my writing" but that my particular piece "was not a right fit". hm, my "particular piece" was actually five pieces, but never mind.

but: i'll try and get some sleep.

song of the day: hit me baby one more time by travis.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

panics & poetics

the panic continues. sometimes i have almost normal days (or maybe i have just gotten used to somehow expecting the next attack to happen), but other days, it can get quite bad, like last thursday, and saturday. fortunately i was not alone. thursday during that attack i felt dizzier than ever, and for the first time, my hands went a bit numb for a while. very scary, that. i have begun to feel somewhat claustrophobic on crowded trains and in busy places. i sleep really badly, and often i wake up with a start, finding myself sitting upright in bed. i could also do with a few massages. i've done quite a bit of research, and talked to many people about anxiety/panic attacks.

i want to thank everyone who left comments on the blog and/or back-channelled me about this. i've had the loveliest emails from friends near and far, and of course ongoing support (phone, emails, in person) from my viennese friends - you all make me feel loved, and i really don't know what i would do without you.

i am not doing particularly well tonight, because despite promises, the company hasn't paid yet. things are pretty bad. some colleagues really don't know how to go on anymore, they have to support their families, and not just themselves, and i have heard of people who are owed over $23,000 by the company. my not-quite $9,000 sound like peanuts compared to that.

i have an appointment next week, at a free centre/clinic. i've had some replies to a query i sent out to all doctors, therapists, and psychologists registered at a very useful website called - some helpful tips, and maybe i will check out one or two of the therapists, arrangements may be possible where i don't have to pay the full price for their services. i'll keep you posted.

* * * * * * *

poetry-wise, i finished my round of 10:10 yesterday.


06 Open Letter to A Poet
07 dyspnea
08 glossolalia
09 Copper (Cu) - The day I fell in love with a mirror
10 panikos

the new issue of pebble lake review is out, and i cannot wait to get my hands on my copy! my poem you've been flirting again cannot be read online, but some of the contributors read their poetry on the PLR website.

i have two octoberish poems and four photos in a magazine called in the fray, which you should check it out. nice thing is that they also pay me $20 for my work. :)

Still Life with Mellifluous Strings, a collaborative poem written with nathan mcclain about a year ago, can now be read in the latest issue of eclectica.

hiss quarterly has accepted one of my poems, after the fever, for their themed november issue ("slip out the back, jack").

and stone table review should be out any day now ...

and of course, kristy is busy working on my greek letters baby ... i am sure that one will be a beauty!

* * * * * * *

i guess one lesson i have learned lately is not to make too many of *my* songs *our* (as in, his&mine) songs. (though tough to do for a music junkie like me who loves to share.) there are so many tunes i find i cannot listen to these days. lines, meanings, memories ...

here's a heartbreaker that i *can* stand listening to, but just. just.

I know, you will not see me, but I know you have a daughter
And I hear she has my eyes
They say she calls him "father", and he's proud of her
And even believes all of your lies
But for all your faithless beauty, I'd give all my tomorrows
And if you're still thinking of me
Louise, Louise, if it's true
Tell it to me

ah the world cannot be all bad as long as there's a tom waits in it.

song of the day: tell it to me by tom waits.