rust and stardust

"don’t let a wishbone grow, daughters, where your backbone should be"

Jan 14


during my worst times
on the park benches
in the jails
or living with
whores
I always had this certain
contentment—
I wouldn’t call it
happiness—
it was more of an inner
balance
that settled for
whatever was occuring
and it helped in the
factories
and when relationships
went wrong
with the
girls.

it helped
through the
wars and the
hangovers
the backalley fights
the
hospitals.

to awaken in a cheap room
in a strange city and
pull up the shade—
this was the craziest kind of
contentment

and to walk across the floor
to an old dresser with a
cracked mirror—
see myself, ugly,
grinning at it all.

what matters most is
how well you
walk through the
fire.

-Charles Bukowski

Mar 20
How is Your Heart?
refugeinthesilence
Mar 25

refugeinthesilence

(Source: belleviebelleame, via itwasalltemporary)

"I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

(Source: hamandheroin, via anotherfeminist)

Apr 26

I’m not feeling strong yet, but I am taking
good care of myself. The weather is perfect.
I read and walk all day and then walk to the sea.
I expect to swim soon. For now I am content.
I am not sure what I hope for. I feel I am
doing my best. It reminds me of when I was
sixteen dreaming of Lorca, the gentle trees outside
and the creek. Perhaps poetry replaces something
in me that others receive more naturally.
Perhaps my happiness proves a weakness in my life.
Even my failures in poetry please me.
Time is very different here. It is very good
to be away from public ambition.
I sweep and wash, cook and shop.
Sometimes I go into town in the evening
and have pastry with custard. Sometimes I sit
at a table by the harbor and drink half a beer.


-Linda Gregg

May 3
The Letter

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell by Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

May 3
Survival poem #17because this is what you do. get up.blame the liquor for the heaviness. call in lateto work. go to the couch because the bedis too empty. watch people scream about loveon Jerry Springer. count the waysit could be worse. it could be last weekwhen the missing got so bigyou wrote him a letterand sent it. it could be yesterday, no workto go to, whole day looming.it could be last monthor the month before, when you stillthought maybe. still carried plansaround with you like talismans.you could have kissed him last night.could have gone home with him, given in,cried after, softly, face to the wall, his heavy armaround you, hand on your stomach, rubbing.shower. remember your body. waterhotter than you can stand. siton the shower floor. the worddevastated ringing the tub. buildingscollapsed into themselves. ribscaving toward the spine. recitethe strongest poem you know. a spellagainst the lonely that gets youin crowds and on three hours’ sleep.wonder where the gods are now.get up. because death is notan alternative. because this is what you do.air like soup, move. door, hallway, room.pants, socks, shoes. sweater. coat. cold.wish you were a bird. remember youare not you, now. you are youa year from now. how does thatwoman walk? she is not sick or sad.doesn’t even remember today.has been to Europe. what songis she humming? now. right now.that’s it
- Marty McConnell
May 3

Survival poem #17

because this is what you do. get up.
blame the liquor for the heaviness. call in late
to work. go to the couch because the bed
is too empty. watch people scream about love
on Jerry Springer. count the ways
it could be worse. it could be last week
when the missing got so big
you wrote him a letter
and sent it. it could be yesterday, no work
to go to, whole day looming.
it could be last month
or the month before, when you still
thought maybe. still carried plans
around with you like talismans.
you could have kissed him last night.
could have gone home with him, given in,
cried after, softly, face to the wall, his heavy arm
around you, hand on your stomach, rubbing.
shower. remember your body. water
hotter than you can stand. sit
on the shower floor. the word
devastated ringing the tub. buildings
collapsed into themselves. ribs
caving toward the spine. recite
the strongest poem you know. a spell
against the lonely that gets you
in crowds and on three hours’ sleep.
wonder where the gods are now.
get up. because death is not
an alternative. because this is what you do.
air like soup, move. door, hallway, room.
pants, socks, shoes. sweater. coat. cold.
wish you were a bird. remember you
are not you, now. you are you
a year from now. how does that
woman walk? she is not sick or sad.
doesn’t even remember today.
has been to Europe. what song
is she humming? now. right now.
that’s it

- Marty McConnell

DON’T WRITE A POEM ABOUT RAPE
by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

For the editor who told me
rape is not a fresh subject
(he knows who he is).

Rape is a cliché.
Unless it happens to you.
But don’t write a poem about it
or the editor might say
it’s just not fresh.
Rape is not fresh.
It’s been done too much.
It’s too emotional, confessional.
There are too many words.
People are not shocked anymore.
Don’t write a poem about it
especially if you were in the dark
university parking lot, a little more than tipsy,
and he forced you into his car with a gun.
Dark parking lots and guns are so overdone!
Don’t write a poem about it
especially if the digital time on his dash
was 12:00. It’s too much like the Twilight Zone
especially if those stiff red numbers
still ring in your brain sometimes
when you’re in the grocery line
and you drop everything you got, and the tomatoes
and the peaches, and the can of cream corn
go rolling down the aisle.
Don’t say he drove you down a dead end road.
Don’t tell how he bent your fingers back,
slammed them with the door over and over.
How heavy-handed can you get?
Don’t tell how he took the right to bare your arms,
your legs, your goose-bumpy little nipples,
and when he ripped your shirt in loud red shreds
you were trite enough to worry
what people would think about you.
For God’s sake, don’t say you were a virgin.
Honey, save it for the Movie of the Week.
Don’t tell about the fistfuls
of sand and gravel in your open mouth,
your open face, up your open legs.
It’s just not fresh.
Maybe try a different point of view.
Don’t tell how he held the gun so tenderly
in your ear, under your tongue,
deep inside the stretched-out skin
of your nostril, and you could smell the click
as he cocked it, and you could taste the click
in your throat as he made you call him Lord.
With the right music, it might work for a porno flick
but not for a literary journal.
Don’t tell how you looked up at the full moon
with its mouth torn into a little o
as you waited for it to be over.
Don’t you know the moon is overused?
And there are inconsistencies if you say
you almost laughed out loud
cause you were a stupid little twit who thought
who actually believed the first time would be romantic.
Don’t write a poem about it. Just don’t.
Especially if you went crazy when it didn’t end
and the only defense you had was to black out
and dream the damnedest dreams about a book
you used to have when you were a girl
and you dreamed a little song about the silvery moon,
the moon on the breast of the new fallen road
the Carolina moon that kept shining, shining,
shining on the one who’s raping you.
And when you woke up, it wasn’t over
but the Goodnight Moon was gone,
and you saw an old woman in the distance
come out on her porch to hear
what all the Hell raising was about,
turn out the light and go back inside
and you might’ve thought Good Night
to the Old Lady Whispering Hush,
but that’s too obvious, and anyway
we’ve heard that story before.
Don’t say he dragged you down the road by your hair,
the gravel chewing your back to bits.
Good Night Bowl of Mush, it’s just
the caveman syndrome. Get over it.
We’re sick of wenchy women poets
who are always bashing men.
And the part where he was gentleman enough
to drive you back to your dorm
just doesn’t fit the character.
Don’t say he told you he’d kill you if you breathed
a word, then asked your forgiveness, told you
not to worry and go get some sleep.
Would he really say that?
Don’t say he drove off in a limp line of smoke
as the sun came blinking over the horizon
and you staggered and puked your way back to your room,
knowing you wouldn’t make it to Psychology class that day.
Don’t talk about the guilt for not turning him in.
Take your ass to a talk show or a support group or a priest,
stop throwing the reader around.
Don’t tell the never ending end
of your whiny little poem. Get a grip.
Especially if your roommate laughed and said
Why would anybody want to rape you?
And the counselor said you’ve got to take control
of your life, and your boyfriend tried to understand
why even his understanding would never be enough,
why even his softest fingertips would always be too much.
So you drank yourself into a quiet rage
and now six years later it’s backed up in a corner
of your throat, bristling, sideways, ready to lunge
at the thickest, closest, slickest, hardest vein.
Nobody wants to hear about it anymore.
And the editor doesn’t care that
you’ve already cut half the words
and many of the details.
It’s still too sprawling, too baggy,
too talky, not fresh.
Go tell it to Ginsberg, we’ve
got a comma to perfect.
But if you’re that damned stubborn, go ahead.
You’ll write the poem alone
and it’ll live in a junk drawer
swelling up like a belly
under a pink pile of rejection.
Serves you right.
So stop acting like a bitchy female poet.
It just won’t work. It’s just not fresh.
May 17

DON’T WRITE A POEM ABOUT RAPE


by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


For the editor who told me

rape is not a fresh subject

(he knows who he is).


Rape is a cliché.

Unless it happens to you.

But don’t write a poem about it

or the editor might say

it’s just not fresh.

Rape is not fresh.

It’s been done too much.

It’s too emotional, confessional.

There are too many words.

People are not shocked anymore.

Don’t write a poem about it

especially if you were in the dark

university parking lot, a little more than tipsy,

and he forced you into his car with a gun.

Dark parking lots and guns are so overdone!

Don’t write a poem about it

especially if the digital time on his dash

was 12:00. It’s too much like the Twilight Zone

especially if those stiff red numbers

still ring in your brain sometimes

when you’re in the grocery line

and you drop everything you got, and the tomatoes

and the peaches, and the can of cream corn

go rolling down the aisle.

Don’t say he drove you down a dead end road.

Don’t tell how he bent your fingers back,

slammed them with the door over and over.

How heavy-handed can you get?

Don’t tell how he took the right to bare your arms,

your legs, your goose-bumpy little nipples,

and when he ripped your shirt in loud red shreds

you were trite enough to worry

what people would think about you.

For God’s sake, don’t say you were a virgin.

Honey, save it for the Movie of the Week.

Don’t tell about the fistfuls

of sand and gravel in your open mouth,

your open face, up your open legs.

It’s just not fresh.

Maybe try a different point of view.

Don’t tell how he held the gun so tenderly

in your ear, under your tongue,

deep inside the stretched-out skin

of your nostril, and you could smell the click

as he cocked it, and you could taste the click

in your throat as he made you call him Lord.

With the right music, it might work for a porno flick

but not for a literary journal.

Don’t tell how you looked up at the full moon

with its mouth torn into a little o

as you waited for it to be over.

Don’t you know the moon is overused?

And there are inconsistencies if you say

you almost laughed out loud

cause you were a stupid little twit who thought

who actually believed the first time would be romantic.

Don’t write a poem about it. Just don’t.

Especially if you went crazy when it didn’t end

and the only defense you had was to black out

and dream the damnedest dreams about a book

you used to have when you were a girl

and you dreamed a little song about the silvery moon,

the moon on the breast of the new fallen road

the Carolina moon that kept shining, shining,

shining on the one who’s raping you.

And when you woke up, it wasn’t over

but the Goodnight Moon was gone,

and you saw an old woman in the distance

come out on her porch to hear

what all the Hell raising was about,

turn out the light and go back inside

and you might’ve thought Good Night

to the Old Lady Whispering Hush,

but that’s too obvious, and anyway

we’ve heard that story before.

Don’t say he dragged you down the road by your hair,

the gravel chewing your back to bits.

Good Night Bowl of Mush, it’s just

the caveman syndrome. Get over it.

We’re sick of wenchy women poets

who are always bashing men.

And the part where he was gentleman enough

to drive you back to your dorm

just doesn’t fit the character.

Don’t say he told you he’d kill you if you breathed

a word, then asked your forgiveness, told you

not to worry and go get some sleep.

Would he really say that?

Don’t say he drove off in a limp line of smoke

as the sun came blinking over the horizon

and you staggered and puked your way back to your room,

knowing you wouldn’t make it to Psychology class that day.

Don’t talk about the guilt for not turning him in.

Take your ass to a talk show or a support group or a priest,

stop throwing the reader around.

Don’t tell the never ending end

of your whiny little poem. Get a grip.

Especially if your roommate laughed and said

Why would anybody want to rape you?

And the counselor said you’ve got to take control

of your life, and your boyfriend tried to understand

why even his understanding would never be enough,

why even his softest fingertips would always be too much.

So you drank yourself into a quiet rage

and now six years later it’s backed up in a corner

of your throat, bristling, sideways, ready to lunge

at the thickest, closest, slickest, hardest vein.

Nobody wants to hear about it anymore.

And the editor doesn’t care that

you’ve already cut half the words

and many of the details.

It’s still too sprawling, too baggy,

too talky, not fresh.

Go tell it to Ginsberg, we’ve

got a comma to perfect.

But if you’re that damned stubborn, go ahead.

You’ll write the poem alone

and it’ll live in a junk drawer

swelling up like a belly

under a pink pile of rejection.

Serves you right.

So stop acting like a bitchy female poet.

It just won’t work. It’s just not fresh.

Song Against Natural Selection The weak survive!A man with a damaged arm,a house missing a single brick, one steptorn away from the other stepsthe way I was once torn awayfrom you; this hurts us, itisn’t what we’d imagined, whatwe’d hoped for when we were youngand still hoping for, still imagining things,but we manage, we survive. Sure,losing is hard work, one limb severedat a time makes it that much harderto get around the city, another worddropped from our vocabulariesand the remaining words are that much heavieron our tongues, that much furtherfrom ourselves, and yet peoplego on talking, speech survives.It isn’t easy giving up limbs,trying to manage with that muchless to eat each week, that much moremoney we know we’ll never make,things we not only can’t buy, butcan’t afford to look at in the stores;this hurts us, and yet we manage, we surviveso that losing itself becomes a kindof song, our song, our only witnessto the way we die, one day at a time;a leg severed, a word buried: thisis how we recognize ourselves, and why.
- Edward Hirsch
May 19

Song Against Natural Selection 

The weak survive!
A man with a damaged arm,
a house missing a single brick, one step
torn away from the other steps
the way I was once torn away
from you; this hurts us, it

isn’t what we’d imagined, what
we’d hoped for when we were young
and still hoping for, still imagining things,
but we manage, we survive. Sure,
losing is hard work, one limb severed
at a time makes it that much harder

to get around the city, another word
dropped from our vocabularies
and the remaining words are that much heavier
on our tongues, that much further
from ourselves, and yet people
go on talking, speech survives.

It isn’t easy giving up limbs,
trying to manage with that much
less to eat each week, that much more
money we know we’ll never make,
things we not only can’t buy, but
can’t afford to look at in the stores;

this hurts us, and yet we manage, we survive
so that losing itself becomes a kind
of song, our song, our only witness
to the way we die, one day at a time;
a leg severed, a word buried: this
is how we recognize ourselves, and why.

- Edward Hirsch