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art predator comes of age

June 30, 2008

On the night of the time change from daylight savings last November, I decided to see if I could get a blog going in that “extra” hour. ART PREDATOR is the product!

Heading into my ninth month of blogging, I’m about to achieve 18,000 page views (by July 4, Independence Day, and my actual anniversary). Getting to 18 (thousand hits!) makes me feel like I did when I turned 18–a sense of coming of age, a legitimacy for what I’m doing here, offering here. I’m overjoyed and astounded, and recognize some responsibility too–just like I felt at 18. (In the US, you can vote at 18 and be killed or drafted by the government but you can’t drink until you’re 21–now that’s gonna be a party over here in a few weeks!)

One of the highlights was getting 5,000 hits on my blog in 30 hours around the lunar eclipse Feb. 19. That was a truly amazing, stunning experience. At first, I thought something was wrong with my stats page when I saw how many readers had viewed my blog! I am thrilled with the steady growth of this blog (averaging 100 page reads a day this month–3,000 in 30 days!) and immensely pleased to have regular visitors, both old friends and new.

Another highlight is becoming part of the ReadWritePoem community and the Monday Poetry Train. Participating has been a great excuse for getting around and seeing, reading, and experiencing other blogs. I am looking forward to finding and developing a similar on-line community on wine!

Being able to post images, video and audio is an additional highlight of my foray into blogging. I loved being able to post the mp3 by Emil Brikha of my poem “I want to be that man.”

I can honestly say blogging has changed my life. It has opened me to a new way of teaching and using the net with my students (the write alley), it has helped me with raising awareness and funds via the Art City blog, as well as a new direction as a writer. It’s given me a new, international audience for my writing, especially my poetry, and it’s shown me the work of amazing writers, like Australian Paul Squires (hello, gingatao!) and east coast jillypoet, and more, poets who I would never have discovered otherwise. And it’s fun to keep up regularly with long-time poet friends like Danika at Open Channel.

My first blogoversary isn’t until early November 2008 but I hope you will help me celebrate my coming of age by sharing your favorite poems and posts from this blog (see my page “favorites”) and with this poem. Maybe you will share your coming of age story below or link to your blog!

The following prose poem “Navigation,” published in ART/LIFE’s 18th anniversary issue, is my “coming of age poem:” In some ways it is also a found poem, and a list poem in that it lists items found in my VW van.
To extricate myself from my vw van, the one you helped me buy, in order to take it to Dan the Dismantler I must undress the dead, reveal the forgotten, remove all articles of personality, leave only the corpse.

And I find myself on my 18th birthday facing the immensity of adulthood, my mouth stirring form novocaine numbness. Instead of returning to school this January morning, I walk along Surfer’s Point avoiding surging waves, stumblingly alone in this salty wet world. Reaching down, I grab a piece of driftwood, connecting with its salty wet world. The earth holds my hand; I let go of childhood with the other.

And I find myself at 36 stripping my van. Old stamps I will return for new: 29 cent Buffalo soldiers from the post office in Moose Wyoming, 13 cent Old Glories, 29 cent Statue of Liberties. Matchbooks I check for function and phone numbers: two from a trip to New York City for Jane’s wedding, the SOB’s light up, but not the St Moritz even if I got lit there; I never went to Chico’s Lounge in Reno but Alix must have because here’s her phone number, also Dave’s address in New Mexico and Carolyn’s in Oregon. A false eyelash stuck to the rear view mirror after a party. A note from the Dungslingers. Three pairs of new bobby socks–pink, white, cream–still in the bag with the receipt. Both hot pink hoop earrings I wore th night of the burn in 1995. The aluminum stovetop espresso machine I bought at Peet’s when I worked there. The plate I promised to return after I ate its ceasar salad. The American Airlines overseas flight bag from a flight I never took complete with socks, comb, listerine, and partially used nail file. An unused condom. The driver’s side floor mat. Learn in Your Car Spanish.

Earplugs covered in glitter. The temporary rose tattoo Patty gave me the day of Bunny’s memorial service. A lace ribbon from when I recited poetry at the Renaissance Faire. A shiny costume jewelry pendant on a gold colored chain my Great Aunt Irene gave me grandmother who died last year. A bottle of Elope, a knockoff of my favorite perfume, Escape. Parts to a nail clipper. Incense that won’t burn. A memo pad with nothing in it I want to remember. The abalone lighter holder I found in the Sierra and a working lighter. A rhinestone hair clip I wore to the opening of the San Francisco Ballet with Robin. Chicken fried rice I’ll never eat. Notes about a white corvair I will never drive. A snap I’ll never know the function of. Raid I didn’t know I had and swear I never bought. Two carabiners, one magenta, from Teton Mountaineering. A handful of sage from Nevada. Cut glass from a chandelier in the blue house in Moss Landing. A dream pillow, lavender and sweet smelling when squeezed. Your shaving kit with the broken zipper I claimed six years ago. The orange ribbon you gave me. The residue, the resilience of you.

And I find myself recognizing that every six years the days and the dates are the same. We watched the sun set on your 39th birthday, a Friday; this, your 45th birthday is a Friday. We will not be together. Every six years, all the cells on the body are replenished. These cells–the skin on the small of my back, my nipples–never knew your touch, never touched you. Muscle memory fades.

You face me as I decide fates–toss, recycle, keep. But what do I do about the glow in the dark stars? These ancestors, they shine on the corpse I must let go. Holding on to their illumination, I seek redemption.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2008 8:21 pm

    You really put a lot into this – I’m a VW fanatic myself and I hate seeing VW vans go to the scrapyard. I do like your blog and I’ll be back to read more.

  2. June 30, 2008 10:27 pm

    Thanks, Sweet Talking Guy! You’re right, I did put a lot into this post!

    The end of the story of that van? I had a for sale sign up, and before I took it to Dan, someone bought it to use for a road trip movie! Didn’t matter that it barely ran since they didn’t plan to drive it, just film with it!

    I’m glad you like what you’ve found and will come back!

  3. July 1, 2008 12:34 pm

    There is so much more to blogging than just the random clicking through posts.

  4. nila permalink
    July 1, 2008 7:03 pm

    just an aside…whass happening for fourth of july? you guys camping or anything? i’m lookiing at options…would like to get outta nevada, tired of desert camping!

  5. July 1, 2008 8:09 pm

    Blogging has really broadened my life in so many ways. I feel the same as you have described. And I’m so glad to have met you in the blogosphere. Can’t wait till your official blogiversary!

    Your piece about the dismantling of your VW is wonderful. I’m really attracted to list poems. Probably because I’m a sentimental keeper of things. But each piece speaks so eloquently about the whole.

  6. July 1, 2008 9:09 pm

    Yayaya, champagne corks popping!! You’ve come of age and now you are allowed to do anything you want. Thanks for the mention, community is what bloggedy blogging is all about. The wine community sound like a great idea and your prosepoem is very cool, rage on, life is an amazing adventure,

  7. July 1, 2008 9:46 pm

    Whoa, you’re off to a fantastic start!

    Keep on poetry training; I hope word spreads about it again. So much fun…

  8. July 3, 2008 6:59 am

    Woohoo, I have made the “some things are not ghosts” tshirt. There is a link from the comments section under the poem to the tshirt in the shop. I have the flu, poor me. Hope you are a having wonderful daynight thingy.

  9. July 3, 2008 3:37 pm

    coolio, paul, can’t wait to check it out! and get it on!

    i’m going to write a post about my new vw van shirt that i got while i was waiting waiting waiting…and guess i’ll have t write about my new gingatao poetry shirt too!

  10. nathan1313 permalink
    July 6, 2008 10:27 am

    That’s a great list poem. You’ve captured the way so much of who we are is in the stuff that collects around us.

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