Saturday, October 30, 2004


I'm using the wireless access in the lobby of the Crystal City Hyatt. Chris is doing some side work with Do It Sports for the Marine Corps marathon so we're staying down here for the night. Silly me. I just assumed a pricey D.C. hotel would have high speed Internet access in all the rooms. Some, not all, and not ours. So I'm pissed. They're lucky we're not the ones paying for the room else little Miss Bitchy Pants might have made an appearance this evening.

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Page

No Tell Motel has been discovered by another exceptional site dedicated to poetry. This latest one is The Page which is edited by Andrew Johnston, a New Zealander living in Paris working for an American newspaper. An awfully glamorous sort to be acknowledging our little pink inn of naughtiness. But who can blame him? Everyone loves loose housewives. And Amy Gerstler.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


The Genius of Simplicity

Something was rotten in town, experts desperate for explanation.

They agreed to allow the surgeon to deconstruct me and determine how cute I could be disemboweled.

I feared his hypothesis, my lungs weren’t what they heaved, in the wild, eyebrows were mustaches, gray eyes, raw easels and anvils.

I confessed to being merely glue and mirrors.

Admitted allure was decoy, a giant syringe, a skillet of biscuits seconds from singe.


No need for alarm, they said as they strapped me to the cutting slate, true beauty withstands all scrutiny.

The surgeon demonstrated his brilliance by sectioning and scooping me in buckets, which proved the following:

* Fancy perfume : Can’t mask intestinal stench.
* Breasts on pikes : Not titillating.
* Lips alone : Simply fish bait.

Try to love her now, just try. (wide-palmed applause)

Commence the new ideology.

Entrails : Evidence : Inconceivable : There was never an Eve.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Close Ups

Here I am tonight (24 weeks). Probably the last bigged-up photo I'll post of myself:

Whenever I want to appear thinner, I'll grab the nearest cat for cover:

The sexy lamp:

The bamboo floors:

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Aubergine Morning

The new aubergine sofa and matching chair arrived this morning. Pictures to come later. The delivery men made a funny comment to me, they asked if my husband picked out the rose-colored accent pillows. Why would they think it was my husband that picked out red pillows unless they thought it looked freaky? The salesman applauded my choice in the store last month. Made me feel like a freakin' genius. Hmm . . . well you guys can decide and let me know when I post the pictures.

The furniture smells a little chemically, but that's probably because I got it treated so all bodily fluid will bead and easily wipe off. That's right, I'm now concerned about bodily fluid seeping into my furniture.

Check out Tony's poem at Verse. I don't think it has much to do with bodily fluid, but it does mention baby elephants and one time on the Discovery channel I saw what mommy elephants feed their baby elephants to help with digestion and ew, talk about bodily . . . I'll never kiss an elephant on the mouth again.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Dizzy Me -- The Sexy Life of a Knocked Up Poet

Wish I could say I haven't been blogging because I've been fabulously occupied with exciting things or even poetry-related things. Occupied, but with the fairly mundane, hell, outright domestic.

Friday I got a mean letter from the VA DMV saying that if I don't pay them $105 by November 4, I'm going to lose my driver's license. You see, I lost that pesky Daniel Nester speeding ticket. Well, it really was just for my expired registration, but speeding sounds so much naughtier. I had figured it would eventually turn up and I fully intended on paying. I'll send a check out today (if I can find my checks!). We've been doing so much renovation that I can't find much around here anymore, including my instructions for what I have to do before I show up to the doctor's on Weds for my mandatory diabetes test. If I don't do everything right beforehand (which includes chugging an orange glucose mixture at exactly an hour before I show up), they'll subject me to a battery of torturous tests. So I have to find that instruction sheet or call them up today or tomorrow morning and get a new one.

Saturday we were supposed to do a bunch of errands, but Chris ended up being on call until 8:00 p.m. I spent the afternoon putting together my shower invite list for Tender Buttons and Chris scraped paint off the windows. He remembered last minute that we were out of prescription food for our diabetic cat, ran out to the vet, but they were closed. We watched a bunch of Dr Phil episdoes stored on Tivo. When Chris finally got off call, we only had time to pick out one new lamp for the living room. A white one from a lamp outlet store. Later that night we did a bunch of online research about cloth diapers and pondered buying a front loading washing machine in the spring if we possibly have a single dime left to our name at that point.

So Sunday we tried to fit in two days of errands into one day. The first thing we did was pick out a second, very sexy red lamp, at Zaidee Coco, one of my favorite stores. On the drive home, I held the lamp between my legs and giggled because I loved it so much.

Here's a photo of the sexy lamp from afar (albeit, not a close up so you might not see its true sexiness) and the new floors:

Next on the list was a quick run to Pottery Barn Kids to match paint swatches to nursery items. That's right, we decided on a "theme" (gag) and I'm going to stencil stars and moons on the walls like a big fucking goober parent and I'm excited about all of this. We always joked about our friends with their dumb "Disney" themes and said we'd have a "South Park" theme and paint a giant mural of Mr. Hanky in our nursery since it was probably going to reek of shit anyhow. But it must be the hormones because I suddenly no longer have the urge to paint a giant turd on the wall.

Then we drove out to Babies R Us to pick out a different jogging stroller for our registry because the one we picked last month is out-of-stock and my dad can't find it anywhere. We also registered for a few more things and hopefully this means we're done doing all of that.

By the time we got to Home Depot, they were closed (because Chris insisted on stopping to eat at the Silver Diner where they were out of both chicken noodle soup and biscuits). We went to Target and purchased about a three month supply of soap, shampoo, toilet paper, moisturizer, cleaning products, tooth paste, tissues and a hand-held steam cleaner. I wanted the steam cleaner because I'm going to try to clean a white chair that I love, but is filthy from eight years of cats and a 1996 wine cooler accident by Sam. Ok, the wine cooler accident was really just a couple of drops, but the chair was brand new at the time and I was never able to get the stains completely out and I told Sam not to sit on that chair in the first place and yes, I never forget anything.

But dear reader, please don't think my weekend had no poetry whatsoever. We carved out some time before bed. Chris picked a book on my bedside reading pile, Monkey Time, by Philip Nikolayev and we took turns reading poems to each other. This book has a bit of rhyme and form and Chris loves that shit. That and monkeys.

This Week at the No Tell

Laura Cronk is a young divorcee this week at No Tell Motel.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Floors, Whores and New Doors

The new floors are installed and look fabu. You heard it here first, bamboo, wave of the future. Pictures will be available shortly.

Last night I crashed a nerd party at Citis throw by Time Warner. Chris was invited, I wasn't, but since he's fondly (or perhaps just mockingly) referred to as "Mr. Big Time" and Chris "Mother Fuckin'" Morrow by industry types, Mrs. Big Time had no problem getting in. It was a nice party; cheese, shrimp, buffet and dessert tray, socially challenged men walking around in pleated dockers and blinking appliances in their ears. It was nothing compared to what AOL used to throw in the mid-90's. No mimes on unicycles, no smoke machines, no D-list celebrities and no drunken CEOs promising all of us (ugly) leather jackets. I'm showing my age reminiscing about a decade ago.

Apparently in every circle (no matter how dorky or obscure) there are groupies, hanger-ons, people attracted to influence and power -- even among these computer types. I've seen them at work at poetry conferences and readings, at least one grizzled grandfather poet refers to them as "star fuckers" and happily dates them. If you're not in "the circle," it seems pretty goofy. I mean, so what if that guy invented a new way to track "denial of service attacks" across the globe, he has green teeth. Or so what if that guy wrote a sweet poem about a dead lover, he has liver spots. I guess I don't understand "star fuckers" in any circle. Well, I guess I understand Monica Lewinsky, but that guy was the president. People heard of him.

And last, but not least, welcome to Zachary Schomburg and his new blog, The Lovely Arc. Zach has poems upcoming in November at No Tell.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Surrounded by Junk

The cats and I are being held hostage upstairs in Chris' overly cluttered office for the next three days while workers install our new bamboo floors on the main level. There's barely enough space in this tiny boxy for my big . . . It's going to be noisy. I'm just hoping one of us doesn't piss ourselves.

Sawing has begun. One of us is definitely going to piss ourselves. Here's hoping its not me.

Monday, October 18, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Jill Alexander Essbaum is reading poorly transcribed erotica this week at the No Tell Motel.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

And the Winner is . . .

The winner of the first Vs. debate has been announced.

There are new poems in the Criticism section by bloggers Jeffrey Bahr, Laura Carter, Laurel Snyder and other poets.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

This Won't Become the Baby Blog

But since a few of you have written me or commented here on my belly and breast size, here's a pic of me at 21 weeks (taken last week). A few of you have already seen this. I'll post another one when our new aubergine sofa is delivered on October 26th (yep, that's right Aubergine poets, eat your hearts out, there's a matching chair too). I'll be 24 weeks (six months) and should be a real hog then. I don't imagine I'll be posting any more photos of myself after that. I don't want to contradict the cruel jezebel image I've worked so long to cultivate.

Now back to your regularly scheduled cackling jackal.

Friday, October 15, 2004

A New Reply for Randall

In regard to this discussion that took place in 1999, I add the following:

It's like running a marathon or even something as simple as getting your name mentioned in the local newspaper. Sure lots of people have already done it and plenty more will follow, but it's still a big deal when it happens to you. It's a big deal in that offending person's little world. Not because it's an amazing or unique thing (I agree it's not), but because life as one knows it -- well let's just say things get really fucking strange. I could go on for hours about my new bra size.

And if everyone waited until they could afford a nanny and summer-long camp, the world would be populated (albeit, sparsely populated) with Paris Hiltons. And you know what that means, reels and reels of really dull porn.

Still not special,
Reb (but damn I gots me some big boobs!)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table

Sam, Chris and I are dealing with our losses and letting the healing love begin. Tony, I lost all of your wonderful critiques of my manuscript! My mother's latest suggestion for baby names I'd never consider -- poof! Oh little Trevor, Caden, I never knew ye and ye never had a chance, even my mail server didn't like your sound. Ah, but I still have the e-mail from my very good friend who called my editorial direction of No Tell "superficial and posuerish" and the poems published there as "short, hip, empty of calorie." Oh, don't get too outraged, he apologized (after I tore through his sincere ass with my phony fist) and I plan to forgive him, soon, very soon. Oh love is in the air, like a microscopic parasite set on infesting one's liver. We can't run, we can't hide, so let's just breath in all that nasty stuff and play house together. What do they say? We're sent what we need, not what we desire.

I appear to be getting my e-mail, but if you have sent me a message and it bounced or you get an error message, please let me know here. Or better yet, forward the e-mail with the error message to cecilpopanski (at) hotmail (dot) com so I can ask Chris to figure out the problem. Now you know one of my many evil identities. Shhh, don't tell anyone. Cecil has cultivated quite a few enemies out there.

Mmmm, forbidden Halloween candy. You know, you got to buy it before the grocery store sells out. Don't want to let the kids down. They just better get here before it's all gone.


My e-mail is back up and the messages sent over the last two days are slowly arriving in my inbox. If you sent me a message over the past two days, it may take a while for me to get it and I may take a little longer than normal to respond. Pip pip for Chris for working almost 36 straight hours on fixing this.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I haven't had access to e-mail since yesterday late afternoon. The hard drive that our e-mail server was on crapped out. Chris has been working on copying the data off the old drive (took over 12 hours) and is setting up a new one. Not sure when I'll have access to e-mail again, but hopefully soon. I'm going bonkers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Ghost Girl

Sending you over to Verse to read a review by Kirsten Kaschock on Amy Gerstler's latest book. It's an intelligent and fair review although I don't entirely agree with it. I sense that some readers come to the book with certain expectations based on the title and the cover design. People seem to expect Amy to be a medium and the book to be a series of seances. She does that to a degree, yet I'm not sure if that was ever her main intent or if that's what she was trying to do. But that's what titles and book designs are meant to do -- frame it for readers and give them a first impression.

Ghost Girl is one of my favorite poetry books in 2004 and I'm happy Kirsten reviewed it because I don't think it's received its due consideration and attention. It's haunting and eery and beautiful and tender all at the same time. I consider Amy to be one of the most thoughtful poets writing today.

Monday, October 11, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Allyssa Wolf's appearance this week at No Tell Motel has nothing to do with a booty call.

Tonight's Helpful Tip

We all get angry and sometimes say hurtful things to friends that we quickly wish we could take back. Often these gaffes can be smoothed over by a prompt and sincere apology.

The example text below (or anything in a similar spirit) does not constitute as a sincere apology and will do little to soothe the offense:

"Sorry for calling you fat and ugly, it's just that when I see your ass all I can think of is cottage cheese and every time I look at your face my eye sockets twinge in pain. I hope my frankness doesn't change your willingness to respond to my drunken late-night booty calls"

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Come On Down!

Over the past month I've added a number of new links to poets' blogs. I'd list them all but I'm afraid I'll overlook somebody. The latest one is Allyssa Wolf's Gateway Songbooks. Allyssa will be next week's featured poet at No Tell Motel.

Friday, October 08, 2004

When I Rule The World . . .

. . . and am a tenured MFA professor I'm going to require all of my straight white male students write exclusively about the one subject that is true to their being and lives. I know hundreds, probably thousands of straight white guys, have them in my family, have always lived in their neighborhoods, attended school with them, hell, I even married one. Some of my best friends are straight white guys. I feel quite secure that I know what they're all about. That's why I'm going to insist that all my straight white male students write about titties.

I know, I know, there will be some initial resistance from some of my students. One guy will claim, "Well I'm more of an ass and leg man myself." To that I'll quip "Wrong culture darling, embrace your true self. Fight the urge to pretend to be something you're not"

Another guy will whine, "Sure, I like titties, but there's so much more to me than that. I have interests in . . ." This is where I'll cut him off and give him the speech about his responsibility to his culture. How can he turn his back on his forefathers like Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione who fought against all odds for his right to purchase titty publications. Larry Flynt took a bullet and is a wheelchair. How can he deny his sacrifice? What about all of those men who toiled in medical school learning to create the perfect big breast? They pay very high fees for malpractice insurance and they do it gladly for men like him.

There will always be that sad, pathetic man who'll say "Don't tell me what's important in my life and to my culture, Ms. Never-Had-A-Dick. I'll define myself, thank you." To this I'll explain that the first step to becoming a true poet and getting an MFA at Rebbie U is to stop hating oneself. Then I'll throw a Penthouse Forum at him and tell to write more like those white guys. It's time for him to get real. Like it or not, everytime he steps into a room all the women are thinking the same thing, "He's looking at my tits."


All I'm going to say about this is one should write about what he/she is passionate about (whatever that may be), not what someone else thinks that person should be writing about. Especially when that someone else is a snarky hater lacking the chops to come clean with his/her identity.

Tony is an awesome poet and there's no need to feel sorry for him. His poems rock because they're passionate and he didn't need the help of that MFA program to make that happen.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Big Money, Part 2

Last month I asked, how on Earth is Tupelo Press offering a 10k prize for a poetry book contest? Tonight, Jeffrey Levine, publisher and editor-in-chief of Tupelo, thoughtfully e-mailed me to explain:

"Our focus this year is to show that poetry matters, and we're taking that challenge seriously. No, we don't collect anywhere near enough in contest fees to cover the cost of this prize.  If you have any of our books, you'll understand when I tell you that our production standards alone (paper quality, cover stock, matte varnish, real offset printing, the best designers we can find, and the best printer we can find) bring the cost of our simply producing our books to $8,000. On top of this, as you rightly point out, we pay our judges (rather handsomely), and then there's the cost of marketing and producing a country-wide reading tour. Nor do sales begin to cover these costs. Distributors demand such a steep discount and selling fee to sell our books to the bookstores that, in point of fact, we lose a little bit of money on every book sold through our distributor (not true, thankfully, of books we sell through readings and directly from our own website (

"All this said, we are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) press, and all of our shortfall is covered by donations and, frankly, from my own rather pocket. We have been furiously writing grant proposals to cover some part of this prize, and we have also been pounding the pavement looking for just the right person or organization to endow -- or underwrite -- all or part of the Dorset Prize. What is not covered by these efforts will, as always, be covered by generous members of our board of directors and, well, by me."

Wow, a book contest that isn't being used to raise cash for the rest of the press' costs. A book prize that's going to cost the press a lot of money.

You know, if I stayed at AOL one year longer before quitting to start my MFA, became a millionaire, managed not to piss it all away on blow and prostitutes, maybe I could have started a poetry press like that. Or maybe I would have just became a fat troll with 100 pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes and matching handbags.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


My friend Eugene recently got back from a trip to Turkey and took these gorgeous photographs. If you want to breeze through (and you're not using IE) you can hit the space bar to go forward.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


The participants in first debate at Vs. were informed of the winner. I'll save that news for the site to announce on October 15 along with general submission info. But I will let slip that my poem came in third. My little cashew of a mind was hoping for a Red Lobster gift certificate but I guess I'll have to settle for inclusion in the print anthology.

Monday, October 04, 2004


When some wives go out-of-town they have to worry about their husbands' extramarital hijinks. When I go out out-of-town, I have to worry about Chris cutting big holes in the house.

Here are some floor boards in the dining room that he replaced this weekend:

And now you know where we've hidden the gold doubloons.

This Week at the No Tell

Hugh Steinberg was spotted loitering near the ice machine at the No Tell Motel.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


Yes, the new venue for Dodge was god awful and completely ruined the entire experience. Skipped the evening readings because it was so miserable and I was weary of crouching in a muddy port-a-john. If they have it at Duke Farms again, I definitely won't go. Hey, I'll probably never go back again anyway. But we did enough grumbling about it while we were there so I'll stop here.

On a positive side, I had fun hanging out with Allyson and Laura and got to ride in a school bus.

There was a lively exchange between FW [Name Removed] and Philip Levine on a panel about poetry and class. I only caught the last 20 minutes, but it seemed like Levine had a counter argument for everything Wright said. Wright: (I'm paraphrasing) "Hart Crane didn't have a formal education in poetry but he was a technical genuis." Levine: "Yeah, but that's because he was a genius."

Someone in the audience asked the so (yawn) tired question of "Do you need an MFA to be a poet" and FW went on a tirade against all MFA programs and why would anyone want to go and blah blah blah. He suggested that aspiring poets seek out mentors instead. That's great, if you can find a poet you admire willing to spend time with you. I wonder how many aspiring poets that write to him get a receptive response? "Oh yes, please send me your manuscript, I'd love to critique it." A lot of older and experienced writers I know have neither the time nor interest to spend helping a young new writer in the rough. Unless of course, they're teaching in a program or getting paid to run a workshop. If you want someone who's an "expert" in any field to teach you how to do something, someone or some instituition is probably going to have to pay for his/her time. I don't know much about FW upbringing and early experiences, but most of us didn't have James Wright as a father or exposure and access to other talented poets that I'm guessing FW had growing up. Lots of us grew up in houses that didn't have a single volume of poetry on the bookshelf. I never met a poet until I was 18 and an undergrad. The only reason I had access to those poets was because I was student.

Three years ago when I started beading and making jewelry, I bought a few books and ordered supplies. I read the books, then I practiced, made a number of sub-part pieces (Tender Buttons was my free sample tester and would give critiques "This necklaces lays funny" or "The bracelet falls off my wrist" or "Ow, this burns"). Every piece I made I learned something and each one got a little better and in a few months I was making jewelry that people were willing to pay money for. I never took a class (although I'm sure there's much I could learn from one) and I don't have a jewelry making degree. It's not something I worry myself about. I enjoy making jewelry. I get giddy seeing a $500 necklace in Neiman Marcus and making something similar for $40 in supplies. I'm even more giddy when I sell that necklace for $100. If I spent all my time worrying about all the "certified" jewelry designers and moaning about how they have access to things I don't, well there would be little time for jewelry making.

What I don't understand is why this is such a difficult concept to grasp: An MFA program is one of many ways to study the craft of poetry. Different programs vary widely and they're a good idea for some people, and not for others. You will meet poets with MFAs who are wonderful and some who are awful, same as poets without an MFA. If you decide an MFA isn't the path you wish to take, you're probably better off not pursing it. So just go on with the path you believe you should take and stop worrying about all these MFAs with their "access" and snooty degrees or whatever else bugs you about them. Just read and write god damn poetry.

Ugh, what else is there to say. Not too much to report. Oh yeah, my hotel is pretty nice. Good thing because its only 11 p.m. and I'm already back in my room. I'm going to order breakfast in so I get an early start on driving home tomorrow. But there's no freakin' omelet on the menu. What am I going to get?

I'm a little behind on reading No Tell subs, so I'll do that tonight. Nah, I'm going watch some TV instead. I'll read subs tomorrow when I get home.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Bring Your Shit Kickers

Hey, I have an idea: Let's hold a poetry festival in the middle of a field of horse manure!

Allyson only packed sandals.

There's some kind of prom/homecoming event going on tonight at the hotel. A bunch of well dressed kids and two hags with mud up to our knees.

FW [Name Removed] gave a good reading, but didn't punch anyone. Tomorrow is always another day.

Off to the hotel bar!

With a Six String on My Back

When I'm president it will be federal law for all hotels to offer high-speed Internet access.

Arrived at the Marriott in Bridgewater, NJ for the Dodge Festival. Will be meeting Allyson in the lobby in a few minutes. Going to see FW [Name Removed] read tonight. If any of the poets in the line-up are going to do something nuts, it's going to be him.