Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As Gideon's mother, it's my responsibility to make his New Year's resolutions until he's old enough to do so himself.

His resolution for 2009: Stop getting into and busting shit.

Today he cut his face shaving. He found a disposable razor in a vanity drawer and I guess he wanted his skin to be smooth for all the kissing tonight. Yesterday he cut his hair (again) and applied my cream-based foundation over his snot-dried face. He wrote all over the dining room high board with a black sharpie. Stuck googly-eye stickers to the living room coffee table. Spilled macaroni cheese powder all over the kitchen counter. Smeared peanut butter all over the sink. That's just the last 48 hours. I don't have a box big enough to put him in anymore. He's figured out the combination lock on the dungeon. I don't know what else to do other than cease sleeping, going to the bathroom and showering.

Speaking of New Years, we're not leaving the house tonight. Long ago I came to the conclusion that only cheese-dicks go out on New Years. We're not cheese-dicks.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Resolution

Stop repeating the same bone-headed mistakes. In general I’m a trusting person and for the most part, this is a good quality, but not without its pitfalls. Its pitfalls were too numerous and costly in 2008. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes I give this benefit to people who brazenly exploit it. I make up excuses on their behalf to explain away their obviously poor behavior. Too often I ignore my inner voice that tells me from the get-go to watch out, someone is trouble or lying or being manipulative or just plain nuts. I am not going to give up on humanity in an effort to protect myself, to stop repeating my bone-headed mistakes. Instead I’m going to lean more on my intuition and less on my thinking. My formal education heavily weighed on logos, which itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not my thing. I’m much more an intuit type. I’m going to try to unlearn some of my logic training and learn how to better embrace my own qualities. I’ll be stronger and more effective that way. Hopefully even happier. This doesn’t mean I’m going to become completely irrational and hang my shoes from my ears. It means I’m not going to let rational thought do as much of the leading. To be honest, I made this decision a little while ago and now in my dreams instead of punching and yelling at Chris all the time (in dreamland he’s stands for my logical aspect) we work together and lately he even gives helpful advice and completes useful tasks. In fact, just last week (in dreamland) he handled a mean boy from my high school at a reunion. Finally! The night before that, while walking through C. Dale’s home-crypt, Chris pointed out a shared tomb of a man and a woman, pondering their relationship. Something I hadn’t even considered. See, balance, baby. It all works in balance. I’m working towards that in 2009. Spiritually and shit.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gideon and I settled into a lazy routine today. After speech therapy we went to the grocery store where I explained why we were buying healthy food instead of more cookies and candy. I think last week's pre-Rebeccamas shopping trip led him to believe times were changing in his favor. I disabused him of that notion. Then we spent the afternoon watching cartoons. It felt good.

Now Gideon's working at his easel. He received all kinds of great art and craft gifts from everyone. Today is mixed media: robot and animal stampers, colored pencils and stickers on recycled printer paper. I tried to capture the moment, but was told "no pictures" and to stand back, that he needed "room to work." Joy, another temperamental artist in the house.

I'm starting to work on my New Years resolutions. Don't worry, I'm not going to waste either of our time with unkeepable resolutions to lose 20 pounds or to quit writing paradelles about fucking the devil. I have every intention of remaining fat and mean in 2009. I'm gonna keep these resolutions real.

This Week at No Tell

Kate Schapira invites the bird of spite to live in your mouth this week at No Tell Motel.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Immensely enjoying the post-Christmas time with family. This evening Chris, Gideon and I visited the light show at Bull Run park. Christmas through the eyes of a child, there's nothing like it. Seriously. I'm not the corniest person in the house anymore.

I'm going to mostly stick to my promise of no publishing work until January 1 -- but let me point you Intern Kurt's favorite poems in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor.

I also have some happy No Tell news to announce in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Morning and the Hidden Birdhouse

After we opened all the Santa gifts I asked Gideon if he got everything he wanted. He sadly said, "No, but that's OK. Santa's busy." I asked him what he wanted that Santa didn't give him and he said "a birdhouse."

But Santa wasn't too busy. She's just a little mean and likes to hide the most desired gifts.

Merry Rebeccamas

That's the hand, just a moment earlier, I used to catch Gideon's "holiday" barf (it was green!):

Don't feed brie to this guy:

And in case you wondered, this is what I look like opening birthday presents (I pose between every ribbon):

Monday, December 22, 2008

This Week at No Tell

Stuart Greenhouse reads from the stone slab at the basin’s head this week at No Tell Motel.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gideon Gives His First Poetry Reading

Reading This Afternoon

I'll be reading with Jennifer L. Knox and Casey Smith this afternoon:

3 PM - DC Arts Center - In Your Ear Reading Series
2438 18th Street in Adams Morgan
(south of Columbia Rd. on the west side of the street)
All readings are on third Sundays at 3 PM, Admission $3, FREE for DCAC members

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ornament Conversation

Me: Oh look, a hummingbird!

Gideon: I do like hummus, very much!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I (finally) responded to every single No Tell Motel submission from the October reading period -- there were so many, lots of good submissions, it took a long time and we probably declined the most "quality" poems from this period than ever before. I hate that part, but it's part of the job. In some cases we turned down work that was quite good, but felt like we already published a lot of similarish pieces already. We want the magazine to keep growing, still surprise readers.

Aside from updating the No Tells blog, I am done doing publishing stuff until 2009. I need a break. It's going to be all Christmas preparation and family stuff -- maybe after the 25th I'll read some books and write a poem or two.

We put up (but not yet decorated) our tree tonight, triggering some tree anxiety. Last year I insisted on a really big tree and it was too big, so this year I told Chris to pick one. I thought the one he selected looked too big, but he said it wasn't, but turns out it sort of was, branches pressed up against the walls and it hadn't even "settled" yet -- Chris needed to cut a lot more off, which he really didn't want to do cause he said it weighed 100 pounds and he didn't want to take it out of the stand. But I was unhappy so he took it out of the stand and cut a bunch off from the bottom and now everything is OK. We have a big, but not ridiculous tree.

Now the house is covered in glitter and pine needles. I haven't even mailed out any of our "homemade" Christmas cards yet. We made a bunch of ugly ornaments. Happy Birthday Jesus, hope you like painted crap covered in glitter.

After the extra trimming:

Delirious Hem's Advent Calendar

I'm today (day 19) at Delirious Hem

Be sure to check out the whole calendar

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Galatea Resurrects #11 featuring 72 new reviews!

Woke up this morning to a generous and thoughtful review of Your Ten Favorite Words written by Tom Beckett:

Your Ten Favorite Words is a smart, funny, angry and very adult book of poems about the power and pitfalls of eros, about the ways in which men and women stumble into one another, and about the fall-out from those collisions.

The book has been out for a year and there haven't been many reviews, so I'm extra grateful for this Rebeccamas gift.

Steven Karl reviews Hugh Behm-Steinberg's Shy Green Fields:

Shy Green Fields allows you to see the quiet, sensual, world anew seven lines at a time like a slow undulation of light falling, shifting, seeping, and retreating.

Also there's THREE reviews of Collin Kelley's After the Poison. 1, 2, 3!

Who knew Collin had that much sway? I did, actually.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family Christmas Sing-Along

Why is Mommy the only one singing?

Surprise Appearance! Omigod, it's him.

Final Reading of 2008

I'll be reading with Jennifer L. Knox on Sunday, December 21 at 3 p.m. at the DC Arts Center (2438 18th Street NW, just south of Columbia Road in the heart of the Adams Morgan neighborhood).

It promises to be a very festive reading. So holidayiffic, I'm bringing Gideon. He's excited to hear Mommy's work -- his first poetry reading. Don't you want to be there to share in that? Be seen with the cool kids?

Speaking of cool kids, I must go. Today is the Family Christmas Sing-Along at the preschool. The only Christmas song Gideon recalls learning is "Jingle Bells" -- it's a two hour event, so this ought to be awesome.

When I get back I'll package books and heads to the post office -- thank you to everyone who purchased No Tell titles during the Holiday Book Sale! It's good to get a few dollars in the coffers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Day for No Tell Books Holiday Sale!

Get any 2 No Tell Books titles for $20 (shipping included within US, complimentary gift wrap on request).

Paypal only -- send payment to

Offer good until December 15.

Please indicate which titles and where you want the books shipped.

Thank you for supporting independent poetry publishing this holiday season!

This Week at No Tell

Laynie Browne is holding something in one hand as you walk away from something else this week at No Tell Motel.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Moria

I have five poems in this issue.

The complete list of contributors:

Camille Martin, Charles Perrone, Heller Levinson, Philip Byron Oakes, Trish Falin, Rebecca Eddy, Chris Major, Onur Caymaz, Maw Shein Win, Daniel Wilcox, Joshua Ware, Caitlyn Paley, Sean Burn, C. John Graham, Peter Ciccariello, Alana Madison, Ruth Lepson, Vernon Frazer, Paul Siegell, Mary Kasimor, Barbara Daniels, Daniel Y. Harris, Christoph Girard, Ron Czerwien, Michael Bernstein, Elisabeth von Uhl, Adam Fieled, Matina L. Stamatakis & Jeff Crouch, Mara Galvez-Breton, Robert Mueller, Charles Freeland, Cindy Savett, Bobbi Lurie, Amy King, Naomi Buck Palagi, Carol Dorf, Reb Livingston, Jessie Janeshek, Francesco Levato, Jeff Encke, Debrah Morkun, Matt Johnstone, Andrew Topel, Shane Plante, Marthe Reed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This Year's Holiday Kill

Friday, December 12, 2008

Best Poetry Books of 2008 and Holiday Guides

all month long at No Tells.

Recent recommendations by Dora Malech, Michael Farrell, Kathleen Jesme, Kim Gek Lin Short & Chris Collision, Chris Tonelli, Janaka Stucky, Rauan Klassnik, Evie Shockley, Donald Illich, Adam Fieled, Steven Karl, Jessy Randall and Kim Roberts. Upcoming suggestions by Bruce Covey, Scott Abels and more!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Act Play



The scene opens to a suburban townhome at 8:40 AM. A mother prepares her son for preschool.

[MOTHER enters stage down staircase.]

MOTHER: Son, I heard Darla throw up. Do you know where? [mother sits down on step and puts on boots]

SON: Darla threw up?

MOTHER: I think so. Did you see her do it?

SON: Um . . . [SON looks around]

MOTHER: Oh wait, my butt is wet, I think I'm sitting in it.

SON: Your butt is wet?

MOTHER: Yep, looks like it.

SON: Why?

MOTHER: Cause I sat in cat throw-up. I'm going upstairs to change my pants, hold on.

SON: Why?

MOTHER: Cause there's cat throw-up on my pants.

SON: Why?

MOTHER: Do you want me to take you to school with cat throw-up on my pants?

SON: Yes, I do!

DARLA the CAT: Meow.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There's a local radio station that every year starting on the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day changes its format to all Christmas music, 24/7. I imagine this annoys many people, but it delights me and probably a number of other holiday freaks. I'm trying to initiate Gideon into my tribe by introducing him to the many wonderful renditions of carols. Yesterday on the drive to school "Little Drummer Boy" (best guess circa 1960's) came on. I turned it up and was all pa rum pum pum pum and Gideon was all It's too loud! Turn it down! So I yelled If it's too loud, you're too old!

Kind of loses its oomph when you say it to a 3 year old.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No Tell Books Holiday Sale

Get any 2 No Tell Books titles for $20 (shipping included within US, complimentary gift wrap on request).

Paypal only -- send payment to

Offer good until December 15.

Please indicate which titles and where you want the books shipped.

Thank you for supporting independent poetry publishing this holiday season!

Love Child

I just ordered books to give for the Secret Santa. I was holding off because I wanted to wait and see who I was buying for -- you know, try to get him/her something I think he/she would like, but I woke this morning on a Secret Santa power trip and decided I don't care what he/she wants, I'm going to give him/her what I think he/she should want. So there. I should be finding out shortly who I'm secret santaing and put an end to all this ridiculous "he/she" nonsense. This person is gonna get lots of books, lucky shim bitch.

Two weeks ago I announced No Tells' Pushcart nominations, and when I was away I learned that Bruce Covey nominated my poem, "Lament for Fronting" for the Pushcart as well. I am grateful to Bruce for all the support and love he's given both my poetry and to me. I'm proud for my poems to appear in Coconut and for my book published by Coconut Books. I happy for opportunity to be able to publish Bruce's poems in No Tell Motel and both his most recent and upcoming books. For two poets to be able to mutually support one another's work in such an extensive fashion is a great gift. When so much of poetry publishing is one-sided, with servant-poet-publishers carrying the bloated, me-me poets who take everyone's cups without ever filling them back, my relationship with Bruce is one of my most precious poetry friendships.

This is my third poem nominated and the fourth year nominating other poems. I don't mean to nix anyone's hopes, but (here I go nixing the hopes) but not a lot of online publications get selected for inclusion -- this isn't limited to Pushcart, it's the same for BAP and other established, honor-bestowing publications. It's this editor's opinion that much of the "best" poetry is being published online -- and by these honor-bestowers putting an overweighted emphasis on print publications, they're missing a gigantic segment of contemporary poetry. I say this as a poet who publishes her work both online and in print. I'm not picking one or the other. Sometimes that confuses folks. If I extoll the virtues of online publications, I'm not damning print. I've read some very good poems on paper.

This oversight of online publications is going to change, sometime, probably embarrassingly late, it's starting to get a bit embarrassing already. This won't be any big favor to the online magazines, they're going along just fine, doing exactly what they intend and reaching many new readers in the process. These online magazines don't need the legitimacy, an "illegitimate" child is still a child, right? Some even grow up and do amazing things.

When these honor-bestowing publications begin to better acknowledge the work being published online, it'll be their long-needed correction and step towards balance. It'll be good for them.

For now, the Pushcart nominations are going to have to be the honor for the poems that statistically are going to be overlooked at a ridiculously high rate. It's an honor for an editor to select one's poem for publication, it's an added honor for that poem to be nominated for something additional over all the poems selected for publication by that editor. Let's not forget that. Let's not confuse recognition and honor with "winning" -- as if poetry is some sort of competition.

Recently a stranger informed me that his friends consider me to be mean and vampy, and my DIY act is just vanity publishing that reeks of desperation. He further said that my past inclusion in BAP and places like The American Poetry Review proves me disingenuous and wanting nothing more than to be mainstream and invited to the parties by those I mock. Well, I never mocked BAP, APR and I'm not mocking Pushcart or any other publication that is trying to promote poetry. I believe one should be gracious when bestowed with an honor. If you admire the work published by a big, "mainstream" publication, then of course you submit your work to them! I have also recently sent work to New American Writing and The Chicago Review because I admire what they're doing. I am not sending to places like The Paris Review, Poetry and The New Yorker because, well, I just don't care for what appears on those pages. But I would never mock anyone who sent work to those places if they admired the poetry published there. I would (and do) mock those who send for contrived status purposes -- maybe believing in the existence and hoping for an invitation to these so-called parties.

What I most mock are contests that charge fees for a chance to be published. I don't think they do a very good job promoting poetry and believe there's much better ways to use that money to create, promote and distribute books, to support both poets and poems. To me, paying somebody money to consider (i.e. read) your work is desperate. Let's be perfectly honest with ourselves, ALL publishing is vanity on some level. Poets are consistently vain, self-centered individuals. I never claimed to be an exception.

And WTF? What parties exactly am I hoping to be invited to? Everybody knows I'M THE PARTY.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Back! (in bed)

We're back! Well, I'm back. Chris was back, but now he's on a plane to California, probably developing a blot a clot in his leg. I really hate flying and wish we had a better train system. That's my suggestion to fix this ailing economy. Put everyone back to work building a massive, kick-ass train system. Managing the robots, of course. Who wants to get all sweaty pounding rivets? Does one pound rivets? Wow, a few short sentences and already my ignorance on just about everything is exposed. I also propose a superfast train that crosses oceans. Some type of hover train -- or if that's not technically feasible, maybe floatable tracks. Happy Monday! I'm trying to get on American time, cause I'm patriotic and really want this relationship to work out cause everywhere else people talk funny. I woke up before Gideon this morning. Feels like a new dawn. I asked him to crawl into bed with me so we could read books together, but he declined, cause he's working. Maybe on a new train system for Mommy so she never has to board a plane again. He's promised to take care of me because I'm sick. I hope somebody taught him how to make soup while I was away.

I have a long list of things to do this week which includes finishing the No Tell subs, a bunch of galleys, trips to the post office, an ass ton of laundry and about 50 craft projects with Gideon. We're gonna be crapping glitter, that's right, cause all week I'll be cooking with it. I really love the holidays. I just tried to lure Gideon into bed again and now he has to exercise. Geez Louise. Well, I suppose I shouldn't discourage that considering the obesity epidemic. I always wondered who the hell could get away with wearing skinny jeans tucked into boots -- everyone in Europe, that's who!

Now Gideon just gave me a picture with Thomas the Train stickers for my almost birthday. I turn 36 on Rebeccamas. For the past six months it's all I've talked about. He's practically 4 and can't play the age card to get out of giving me presents anymore. Hey, Thomas the TRAIN. Now that's synchronicity for ya! Me and my boy are psychically connected.

Ah, he's finally in bed -- playing Tic Tac Toe on his camera! God bless America!

This Week at No Tell

Jill Alexander Essbaum dreams of doors and ceilings this week at No Tell Motel

Friday, December 05, 2008

I'm sicker and every time I go outside I get worse. I believe I ate a delicious meal last night, but I'm not sure since I couldn't taste it. I'm meeting Heidi later this afternoon, so I'm staying in bed, gathering my strength, until then. Yesterday I trekked out to the National Museum to discover it's closed! So I went to the National Gallery next door, I liked the Finnish painting exhibit the best, but admit yesterday I wasn't much up for art. Are poets allowed to say that? Turns out I missed the Yeats Museum by a week. Bastards!

Afterward I went to the Christ Church where I prayed, wrote down my prayer and lit a candle. So I should be all squared away on that front. Thank God. Then I went down into the crypt which was pretty awesome. I decided I could live in a crypt and last night dreamed of a young lady vampire who didn't remember that she was a vampire and was surprised when her hand lit on fire when sunlight touched it. Maybe my prayers are already being answered.

Tomorrow is Saturday and Chris doesn't have to work meaning he will be blessed with me by his side all day long. Now looking over these websites, I'm thinking the part of the National Museum I'm most interested in seeing is actually open. Well, if that's the case, you know what we'll be doing tomorrow. I've been more than a little confused in Dublin. I'm not sure if it's the poorly marked, twisty streets or delirium from my cold. Thank God (again) that "Look Left" is painted on every crosswalk, else I'd be road patty. Luckily every time I pull out a map, a darling Irishman arrives to my rescue. Darling Irishman vampires? Maybe tonight I'll meet Angel.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So I have a wretched cold and just emptied the hotel room of tissues. Of course. I spent the morning in bed, the early afternoon at the flower market and shops near Dam. Now I'm back in the room eating the last of the complimentary chocolates waiting for Chris to get back from the conference so we can train to the airport and go to Dublin where I hope to meet up with Heidi Lynn Staples.

Yesterday I decided to mix it up and go to the Amsterdam History museum. Eh, not sure if that was the wisest use of my limited time. Then I went to the Holland casino where I won money! Then, being the generous American, I gave it back to them. I walked out even and was happy. Sadly, I did not hook up with Chuckie Craig.

Jetsetting Runs in the Family

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I did not dash downstairs to join Chris for breakfast this morning. I'm taking my time, indulging in a proper shower, putting my clothing on right side forward and will then enjoy my meal in sweet solitude. Probably best considering how badly my throat my hurts -- caught a cold early on this trip. I haven't decided what I'm doing today -- the plan was the Rijksmuseum, which I may still do, depending how I feel after breakfast.

Yesterday the Van Gogh museum was crazy crowded, but still quite good. After that I went to "Our Lord in the Attic" because secret rooms intrigue me. There was lots of stuff on St. Nicholas which excited me because as a child we used to put out our shoes out on St. Nicholas Eve for him to fill with gifts and candy. My grandfather told us he was the German Santa Claus, but there's more to it than that. These past few months, I've been dreaming a lot about secret rooms and connecting with Christianity, so I sat in front of the altar, said a little prayer and waited for a sign. If a sign happened, I missed it because there were loud children running about. Or maybe that was the sign: Don't Spank the Children. That's a pretty good sign, I guess.

In the evening we ate at an Indonesian restaurant, paid for by some nerd company, I'm not sure which. This group of nerds were on good behavior and we had mostly a non-nerd conversation, which of course I appreciated.

Now Chris is sending me links to casinos, which I don't think I can afford. Besides, why hop on the tram when there's a room right outside my hotel window that says GAMBLING/ARCADE, a few doors down from the erotic shop, the same chain that was next to our Berlin hotel. Chris argued that it was a CD shop, but trust me, it's not. Of course, considering the 12 cents I have left in the stock market, maybe a casino would be a smarter investment. Maybe tonight I'll ditch the nerds and meet up with Daniel Craig. I didn't pack my evening gown although I did bring a cute jean skirt. Maybe I could hook up with his little brother, Chuckie Craig?

Monday, December 01, 2008

The second cold, very gray day in Amsterdam. I'm not used to it being dark at 7 a.m., let alone 8 a.m. I dressed quickly to join Chris for breakfast downstairs. Now I realize my sweater is on backwards. I'm going to change my clothes and head to the Van Gogh museum. It's opens in 20 minutes. I'm told it has an excellent cafeteria.

This Week at No Tell

Rebecca Loudon talks about the dead woman, the movie star as if she never lived, this week at No Tell Motel.

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