buzkashi

Day 23/30: What whittles down by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Unfortunate enough to catch a cold with this resurgence of chilly weather. Being sick means fog in the brain, and poems worse than usual. Am not despairing.

Notes:

"Buzkashi (iii)"

  • - Can't recall anymore through the thicket of my skull if I borrowed/adapted this form from somewhere else. I only remember trying to find a median between the first and second buzkashi poems.

  • - And also, some lines from the latest Hannibal episode.

"Getting the Hero to Speak"

  • - Idea from a poem in Monica Youn's first book, Barter--in the notes section, she mentions one aspect of Greek hero workship in which supplicants pour blood down a funnel through the grave of a hero in order to get the hero to speak. Subsequently Googled all I could find about Greek hero cults. So awesome.

  • - JB assigned me some James Tate reading from his Selected--and loosely took the scaffold of the poem "Loyalty."

  • - Realized that I can't really be funny in a poem.

"From the Conch"

  • - Poem I sadly eked out while sick in bed yesterday. Totally embarrassed, but this might be the closest to funny I can get.

  • - Scaffold of poem from James Tate's "Annual Report."

  • - Totally a coincidence that JB's poem for this day also used more than one parentheticals. Funny because we were in separate states while composing our poems.

  • - The line "Last week the mermaid died of breast cancer" borrowed of course from Yoko Tawada's Where Europe Begins. She's my myth-genius.

Over & out--

Day 20/30: Remarkable, as if it were not the work of my hands by Diana Khoi Nguyen

How could it be? Yes, total disbelief that I've written all these poems so far. Twenty! That's more than a carton of eggs. Which means . . .

ONLY 10 MORE DAYS LEFT YESSSSS PLEASE GOD

As JB would say, "Calm yourself."

The sun broke through today and I'm feeling more lively than I have all week. Though it is sincerely possible that I might be coming down with a cold--JB was ill last night and still he turned in his poem. 10 more days. 10.

This time last week I had $0.00 Tupelo donations for this 30/30 endeavor, but part of that was because I wanted to wait until I had at least a week's worth of poems before reaching out. Then came 7 poems and no time to reach out--or my balky perceived lack of time. I just learned the word balky and already I'm using it incorrectly.

I finally took precious time on Tuesday to write personal letters to close friends/mentors. And I was so deeply moved by the response that came back. As of yesterday, I'm at $415! My goal is $600, but I think I can get there--the support and generosity of those in my life somehow surprised me--and certainly, it stirred so many feelings and poem feelings--and yet I was so tired in this second leg of the marathon.

But not today! It's a sunny day before my weekend (which are Sundays/Mondays), and I wrote another buzkashi poem. It could be crap, but I feel great.

And the notes . . .

"There are No Stables in the Jungle"

  • - It's true, it's too dense for stables. I mean, for them to occur naturally.

  • - This title is actually something I said randomly to my co-worker Alex a couple of weeks ago. Or was it days? I think it was because I was burnt out after writing "Buzkashi ii" and didn't feel I had anything left to say about horses. Or that my horses didn't have anything left to say.

  • - This is my Mowgli poem.

  • - Also appearing in this poem is JB's explanation of why Radiohead is awesome.

  • - Sat with LBB, Mark Levine, and you know, the law of the jungle.

mowgli.jpg
hair.png

"The Mailman"

  • - It seriously feels like I wrote this yesterday, instead of a couple of days ago. I have no concept of time anymore.

  • - I asked JB for an assignment and he told me to read Mark Strand's poem, "The Mailman" then write a poem from the POV of the mailman.

  • - JB's been helping me with paring down my drafts. Of course he's the keenest editor I know, but it also means I'm getting floppy.

"Self-Portrait as Justin Boening"

  • - I couldn't resist. No idea what came over me during this poem, but I believe in it.

  • - Borrowed LBB's form from her poem "Self-Portrait as Kaspar Hauser"--and also, Joanna Klink, Ben Lerner . . .
  • Sat with Plath's Ariel and Timothy Donnelly's recent essay on Harriet titled, "Quasi-unintelligibilty (Part 3)"--he writes quite possibly my favorite prose about poetry. And thinking. And being human.

Day 12/30: A slowing down by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Definitely feel a lot of resistance in both my body and my brain today--struggling to even post notes/updates here! I think the grey rain outside isn't helping much.

"Remember Which is the More Dangerous Instrument"

  • - Was lucky to have recorded Lucie Brock-Broido'a AWP reading from the front row--and even luckier to have read her poem in the back row at Jorie Graham's reading the previous night, "You Have Harnessed Yourself Ridiculously to this World." After writing a poem like the second buzkashi one--I needed something to ground myself--and LBB is always so infectious.

  • - I spend a lot of time thinking about Harry Harlow and his rhesus monkeys. This TAL episode always conjures the well.

"Nocturne in Autobiography of Daughter"

  • - Watched the season premiere of Mad Men twice this week--and then played Chopin's Nocturne in E flat major on loop all day yesterday.

  • - Was sitting with Julie Carr and what LBB refers to as "a girl ago"

  • - Also found this list of youngest birth mothers under 11.

I earnestly hope I can make it through to Monday--at which point is the halfway mark! I need a resurgence of energy and FEELINGS. Or a nap.

Day 10/30: Backlog; Temporary Spring by Diana Khoi Nguyen

A squat man on Nostrand waved to me as he was walking along that major street as I approached Nostrand from my apartment street. I squinted because the sun was bright and rising from the direction in which I walked. Today will be the warmest day NY has seen this year--considering it's been only winter temperatures. Anyway, the story is that I walk quickly on my way to the subway in the morning and soon overtook this man. He whispered a mega-creepy "helllooo" as I passed him and I responded with "fuck you." So that's the kind of person I am: someone who says "fuck you" instead of "hello." There are other factors I'm not listing here--the demographic of the neighborhood and the machismo culture of some denizens. I'm not kind to creepy-eyeballing strangers on the street. In any neighborhood. I'm not sorry, but I wish I were a nicer person.

It's been hectic trying to maintain sanity while writing the best poem I can muster each day--but here are some notes for the last three:

"Notes on the Sport (i)" and "Buzkashi (ii)":

  • - Both will bear the name "Buzkashi" with a number after it. Will likely do a trilogy--feels so lonely to just have only 2 parts.

  • - There's a lot of early Mark Levine in the first one--and come to think of it, it's impossible to not think of Brigit Pegeen Kelly's "Song"--even though I wasn't thinking of it at all while writing the poem.

  • - (ii) is just another dialogue between animals. Horses! Goat! Maybe! I don't actually have any other poem that is a dialogue between animals; I'm just mean to myself.

Baba Yaga:

  • - Of course my obsession with Baba Yaga. Finally forced out a poem about it. Rough, hewn, needs more work, but dammit it was my Sunday and I wanted to enjoy the sunshine, spring weather, and just being lazy!

  • - Didn't know that Baba Yaga can also refer to a trio of sisters who all have the name Baba Yaga. But they don't live together or hang out.

  • - Even though I was lazy on this day, I read Gillian Conoley's Profane Halo, and that was the book I was sitting with while writing this poem.

  • - Ugh, another mommy poem.