Friday, February 25, 2011

(Early) Motivation Mondays: Show Me Your Notebooks!

I'm posting this early because I've got the Praxis on Monday; I need to forget that the internet exists so I can get all unscattered by then. I've moved on from tears and worry to determination, so that's a good sign. Send me good thoughts if you do that sort of thing.

This week, I’m curious about your notebook-life. What do they look like? How many do you have going at a given time? You can even send me pictures, if you want. I’d be fascinated to see them. (

Unsurprisingly, my notebook-life is neurotically specific:

--As recommended by Lynda Barry in What it Is, a nice looseleaf binder for first drafts.

---A regular wide-ruled 1 subject spiral notebook for morning pages.

Ever since the first time I did The Artist’s Way, (on the advice of a therapist, way back 11 years ago in Laguna Beach) I’ve been writing 3 pages every morning as soon as I wake up, before anything. Well, not before making coffee.

If I miss my pages, I feel groggy and weird.

The first forty minutes after you make up and 40 minutes before you go to sleep is called your hypnagogic state. As I understand it, your mind’s defenses are lowered during that time, so that things can more easily work their way out of your subconscious—something like that.

It’s not that I write anything good in the morning pages. Usually it’s just gibberish, default phrases, and petty nonsense that makes me glad that my handwriting is illegible. But getting that stuff out of the way makes room for other things to come out, I think. Also it’s a good way to remember your dreams, if you like that sort of thing.

---A Happiness Book

Unitarians are big on gratitude journals, but keeping one made me feel unworthy and annoyed, so I switched over to making a list each day of 10 things that made me happy the day before. “Washing the dishes” shows up a surprising number of times.

---An Anxiety Book

I think I’ll write a whole post about this sometime, but suffice it to say, when it gets full, it goes RIGHT in the recycling.

---A little paisley notebook in my purse. It has some notes in it, sure, but mostly it’s full of drawings by my nieces and nephews and by the children of family friends. This makes me feel like a millionaire!

Friday Love Poems: With Dan Elman's Beautiful Furniture!

Dan Elman was a student in my unblocking class last summer, and I guess it worked. He's been a valued cheerleader for the Philly poetry scene ever since.

Since there's no more poetic profession than furniture restorer, I asked him to send me some photos of his work. Beautiful, right?

Foreign Particles
  for Yasser

the times

I was ugly
I kept from you I

showed you only what you need

to see the eyes underlined
the borders without boundaries

blown away like sand inhaled

the porous nature of the light
poked holes between my fingers

shadows raised for shade

that blushes when the light has turned
its tanning cheek revealed

and humbled, light admired dust

that settles on the air, illuminates within
a casual breath acknowledged

floating, your gaze, your sigh, your welcome face

when I asked you if you knew that light in dust
had shed its ugly skin

Dan Elman is an emerging Philadelphia poet whose work can also be found in Referential Magazine.  He is active at readings in the area as well as on Twitter. He works in Fishtown recycling antique furniture.

Poetic License Horoscope for Feb 25-March 3 (With nerdtastic video.)

Poetic License Horoscope for February 25-March 3

***The video is courtesy of Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, whose laugh should be on every recording.

***This week’s horoscope is in celebration of Shappy Seasholtz’s birthday and Spoken Nerd Revolution book release! You can come celebrate Shappy and read your own poetry tonight, Friday, Feb 25 at the Philly Poetry Slam. (InFusion Coffee and Tea, 7133 Germantown Ave. doors at 7:30, reading starts at 8:30)

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): To the Pisces drunk-texting me while playing a sorceress in Dungeons and Dragons: In his very enjoyable book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt says “If the victories we create in our heads were let loose on reality, the world we know would drown in blazing happiness.”

Aries (March 21-April 18): I’ve been rereading the Little House on the Prairie series lately, and it is AMAZING. Sometimes they play in a haystack for a whole chapter! As Pa said to Half Pint as they were settling in at their Plum Creek home: "We must do the best we can, Laura, and not grumble. What must be done is best done cheerfully. And someday we will have horses again.” And you will!

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Concerning ships that made the Kessel Run, time trials of: a parsec is not a unit of time, but of distance. Measure the parallax between you and language, the distance between you and your favored star. Close one eye, and open the other.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): In Stand by Me, Gordie Lachance wakes up earlier than his friends and wanders back onto the tracks they’ve been following. He has a very meaningful moment meeting the eyes of a deer as it’s crossing the tracks. He decides not to tell his friends about it. You can do this too: keep glimpses and treasure them to yourself.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Once you notice a pattern, it’s hard to un-notice. For instance, I may need to stop watching The Big Bang Theory because I’ve noticed that their laugh track goes off most often in response to guys showing affection for each other. Humans notice patterns as a means of survival, though, so I guess I’ll go with it.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Here are some things that my wife says are not nerdy: Lolcats, 30 Rock, Patton Oswalt, the 1990s. She says that the mere fact of me liking something does not make it nerdy. I’m not even sure what the difference is between nerds and geeks! Are Venn Diagrams nerdy?

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): According to Star Wars According to a Three Year Old, “The shiny guy always worries.” You can relate to that, right, Virgo?  This week, ignore your inner protocol droid and venture out across Tatooine, with no concern for the sand working its way into your metal joints.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): If you’re Jesse Eisenberg, you’re more Adventureland than The Social Network. If you’re Michael Cera, you’re more Scott Pilgrim than George Michael Bluth. And you sure do deserve to get the girl. And the coins.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Nobody can really understand what was supposed to be so great about Cho Chang, unless it was just her pretty face and her Quiddich skills. Everybody knows that Hermoine was the real dreamboat of Hogwarts, especially after she went renegade and (GASP!) stopped returning library books.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): (Paraphrased from my Praxis prep book.) In this Venn Diagram, what does the shaded part represent: A. All rhombuses B. All parallelograms C. All kites D. All love letters you’ve sent out with hopes of reply that will pay off dividends soon, we promise. (Answer: D, of course.)

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Like Leslie Knope with the words to “Poker Face” stuck in her head because she was out all night dancing at the gay bar after she became a town hero for unintentionally marrying two male penguins, you have a lot to celebrate.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Don’t worry, Liz Lemon. There’s no reason to put on the fanny pack, to stop brushing your hair, to get a cat named Emily Dickinson (Oh no, a hawk got her!) Anyone and everyone would create elaborate subterfuge, just to buoy your spirits.

Poetic License Horoscopes is a free syndicated series which appears weekly on such lit blogs as The Serotonin Factory, Crit
ical Mass  and The Legendary If you are interested in adding the Poetic License Horoscopes to your lit journal / lit blog, please email me at

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Song of the Week (Plus a Shappy Poem!): Belated Grammy Edition

Way back when it was the Grammys, I was real headachey toward the end from studying in front of the TV/thinking too much about Eminem/Rhianna/spousal abuse. So after I saw Arcade Fire to Month of May, I crabbily went to bed. And missed this. Thanks to Hannah McDonald for providing the link.

Meanwhile, my pal Shappy was having a surprising and very, very DIFFERENT Grammys experience. I had hoped the ubiquitousness of Bieber would never reach this blog (Remember, like, a YEAR ago, when you'd never heard of him?) but this is just how much I heart Shappy. I'm assured that this poem is totally sincere.

And I believe it.

by Shappy Seasholtz.
This Just In!
I've got Bieber Fever!
I never want to get better!
I'm like baby, baby, baby hit me up on the Twitter!
Cuz I'll never be bitter
As long as you're clever
I'll never say never!

Justin you are so real
You should be in 4-D!
You are the best new artist
Even without a Grammy!

Your bangs are so dreamy
Any one can plainly see
OMG! You just got a haircut!
At least you didn't pull a Britney Shears
And have a breakdown on the TMZ!

I can't believe someone shot you
On that episode of CSI
And when I heard you were dating Selena Gomez
It made me want to cry!

No one woman should have you, JB!
You belong to all of your fans!
And even though you're from Canada
I believe that you are A MERRY CAN!

A can I can put my secrets in
A can that I know I can trust
A bright shiny can, as bright as your eyes
A can that I know will not rust!

I can visit you each day on the You Tube
You're most viewed, most discussed, most disliked.
JB, to me you're Just Beautiful
And your music just gets me all psyched!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Unintentionally Sad Quotation Marks

The Big Test

I'm not really myself the last few days--storm troopers of panic have been descending on my brain. I've been crying over dumb stuff and getting into dumb arguments. The Praxis is in 5 days. I'm all set for the reading and writing sections, but in math, I'm just on the cusp of getting enough points, and that is setting off why-am-I-so-stupid alarm bells in my head that make it hard to focus.

My math-tutor pal came over an helped last night, shined some light on geometry and probability, so that should help.

Being anxious like this makes me worry that I won't be able to be a good teacher, so things are having a tendency to snowball at the moment.

Off for a quick walk and then more studying, I guess.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Pantoum Therapy

I'm writing this with a sunbeam shining directly on my heart, because later today I get to go to THE ADVENTURE AQUARIUM with my niece and nephews and then have cupcakes to celebrate Holden and Quinn's birthday! Hooray.

Anyway, so I've decided to include some writing games in with the Motivation Mondays. If you decide to try any of them, you can email me the results at I'll post them. :)

Anyone who's ever been in one of my grown-up poetry classes knows that pantoums are the best thing for writing about something that obsesses you, something impossible, something you can't get away from. The repetition lets you just go ahead and obsess to your heart's content. Here's one I wrote about the Gulf Oil Disaster last summer. I don't know how else I'd've ever put that feeling into words.

Going with the Wikipedia definition from last summer: "The pantoum is a form of poetry similar to a villanelle. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next. This pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern. The first and third lines of the last stanza are the second and fourth of the penultimate; the first line of the poem is the last line of the final stanza, and the third line of the first stanza is the second of the final. Ideally, the meaning of lines shifts when they are repeated although the words remain exactly the same: this can be done by shifting punctuation, punning, or simply recontextualizing."

Here we go!

Stanza 1:
Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Stanza 2:
Line 5 (repeat of line 2 in stanza 1)
Line 6 (new line)
Line 7   (repeat of line 4 in stanza 1)
Line 8 (new line) 

***Write as many stanzas as you want to.***

Last Stanza (This is the format for the last stanza regardless of how many preceding stanzas exist):
Line 9   (line 2 of the previous stanza)
Line 10 (line 3 of the first stanza)
Line 11 (line 4 of the previous stanza)
Line 12 (line 1 of the first stanza) 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Love Poems: Scott Beal!

Scott Beal is one of my favorite friends that I haven’t met yet. We became pals through the magic of 30/30 (Every April! Everyone writes and posts a poem a day! It’s like poetry Christmas. Is it weird that I’m already excited?), exchanged mixes, and now we’re poetry pals 4life.

Relationship Tips from Us Weekly
I could use a deep slice from the lid of a cat
food can to bring home how I hate working
with one good hand to stanch the screw-up
of the other. I need to lose a pint
of beer into the disposal to show my throat
how to work through its thirst. A better vandalism
to inhabit my bathroom and punch out the mirror
I’ve fogged to blindness practicing apologies on,
and burglars to fence the shards back to me
as gems. A canteen to lug over dunes
between the couch and the bed after my mouth
meaning to speak softly has again spit sand
from my grinding teeth. I need to teach
my throat to swallow in the midst
of your magazine story I have worked so hard
to edit myself out of and once the cats are fed
back into.

Relationship Tips from Leviticus
“If a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both of them shall bathe in water and be unclean until the evening." ―Leviticus 15:18

Miss, I believe we've had an emission.
A fine mess this is.

I'll perform the prescribed purifying rites
on the sheets while you draw the bath,
though water will not be enough, water
is merely a way to start the clock
for our uncleanness to lift by evening.
So you might as well add bubbles
to the bath, and bring the luscious sponge,
and bring the Penthouse Forum and the rest
of that merlot. And before we venture
forth and multiply the gestures and flows
that landed us here, let us toast
the implausible success of the author

of every letter that begins “I never thought
this could happen to me,” the miracle
arriving despite his lack of faith.

Scott Beal’s poems have appeared recently in Indiana Review, Dunes Review, The Legendary, and in a split book with Rachel McKibbens and Aracelis Girmay entitled Jangle the Threads (Red Beard Press, 2010). His first chapbook, Two Shakespearean Madwomen vs. the Detroit Red Wings, was published in 1999 by White Eagle Coffee Store Press. He earned his MFA in 1996 from the University of Michigan.  He teaches poetry and fiction workshops at the Neutral Zone (Ann Arbor's teen center) and serves as Dzanc Writer-in-Residence at Ann Arbor Open School.

Spring Fever Mix Tape: Poetic License Horoscopes

***This week's springtastic picture comes from my sister, Katie Carter, who is my favorite photographer!***

Poetic License Horoscope for February 18-24

Spring Fever Mix Tape

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Write About Love (Belle and Sebastian): Whatever cubicle nightmare is glitter-hazing your head, your heart needs some fresh air. Go outside and get sunbeams on your face. Map the snowmelt rivers, or better yet, follow them.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): (Portland, Oregon) You’re My Home (Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen): “We’re so thankful for everything we’ve got, and we’re so sorry for everything we’re not.” Except that you never have to apologize. Your heart is as bountiful as a Portland food truck. You are the opposite of an ironic mustache. Like the Rose City, your aim is true.

Aries (March 21-April 18): The Cave (Mumford and Sons): “The sun, it rises slowly as you walk/ Away from all the fears/ And all the faults you've left behind.” You are now leaving Plato’s cave. Things aren’t shadows anymore, they’re three-dimensional.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Firework (Glee Cast Version): Everyone has come to the field and spread out their blankets as the blue fades from the sky and the stars appear. They’re waiting for you with a soundtrack of sighs. You are only for special occasions, only for glimmering across their upturned faces.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): The Suburbs (Arcade Fire): Things may seem end-of-the-worldy, but a lot of it plans to stick around, I promise. Ride bikes around like little kids. Take out your camera and record every angle of your living sight. Have faith in the horizon, and even in the cul-de-sac.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Animal (Miike Snow): You shapeshifter, mixing your signals, fading in and out like a pulse. You can decide what you are on any highway. “Now you’re pulling your disguise up. Are you free or are you tied up?”

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Home (LCD Soundsystem) and Home (The Magnetic Zeroes): Get there and stay there, or carry it with you. Everything you hope for is stacked up around your ears. Remember your best friend is your breath, and most importantly: come back, come back, come back.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): El Scorcho (Weezer): Somebody is always reading your diary, decoding the heart-doodles in the margins. Follow love with or without mistranslation, whether or not you are even legible. Send out sparks like homing beacons, it’s okay for now, the waiting.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): You Can Do It (Ice Cube): You are my very own living room dance party, and this is encouragement you can trust. “Don’t stop, git it git it.” You will.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  Touch the Sky (Kanye West): Any pessimists I ain't talked to them,/Plus, I ain't have no phone in my apartment.” Feel free to be oblivious to anything that might hold you back. Pull out all of your household wires if necessary.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Born this Way (Lady Gaga): It doesn’t matter if you were born this way or not—the you that you are creating out of the materials given (hardship, music, TV shows, imaginary limits) is so perfect that it is too beautiful to look at. Get yourself to a disco ball, and refract all over the place.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Awake my Soul (Mumford and Sons)  “How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes/ I struggle to find any truth in your lies/ And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know/ This weakness I feel I must finally show/ Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all/ But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall/ Lend me your eyes I can change what you see/ But your soul you must keep, totally free”

Poetic License Horoscopes is a free syndicated series which appears weekly on such lit blogs as The Serotonin Factory, Critical Mass  and The Legendary If you are interested in adding Poetic License Horoscopes to your lit journal / lit blog, please email me at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Song of the Week: Born This Way (?)

1."A billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head. But in you is the presence that will be, when all the stars are dead." Rainer Maria Rilke

2.Born This Way is the platonic ideal of a gay bar song. The SECOND I heard it I immediately texted my wingwoman and made plans. (See you at Woody’s tomorrow night!) It does sound a lot like “Express Yourself” but I think it has some important updates.


3. The idea of having to assert that one was “born this way” seems kind of old-timey to me. I like the idea that god or whoever made me a bisexual chaste/slutty lazy polyamorist femme-inatrix, (Did I make up that word? I hope so. But probably not.) but it also seems like a fine thing to have chosen. I think that self-creation is just as divine as whatever we were born with, maybe more so. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next era of equality work focused on self-determination. (Kujichagulia, y’all!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Pantoum

As I've talked about ad nauseum, this time last year I was in a scary job situation and as lost as can be. I'm happy about how far I've come, but I can't help but be a little falshbacky. So heres a thing I wrote about it at the time.

Hostile Work Environment
I wish you no worse than your own commute,
garments against the drizzle
shielding your own safe face,
while mine is a membrane of jokes, a ghost.

Your garments against the drizzle,
I am an ex-ray peep show, a fish bowl.
I remain a membrane of jokes, a ghost,
in the comfort of paranoia confirmed.

I am a ex-ray peep show, a fish bowl.
I'm not crazy, you're just awful,
my comfort in paranoia confirmed,
cells no longer shocked to move.

I'm not crazy, you're just awful,
and of course I was being watched, throat cut,
bones no longer coaxed to move,
but panic, a visceral clock.

If course I was being watched, throat cut.
Bone-scraped daily, I did not develop thick skin,
just panic, a visceral clock,
you hear me, just barely, scraped and skinless.

Scraped daily, I did not develop thick skin,
but a festering chorus, a bloody cacophony.
You hear me, just barely, scraped and skinless,
blush-mortified, paralyzed with doubt.

You festering chorus, you bloody cacophony,
learn to control your facial expressions,
blush-mortified, paralyze yourself with doubt.
I wish you the crush of sadness you rolled your eyes at.

I've learned to control my facial expressions,
shield my own safe face.
I wish you the crush of sadness you rolled your eyes at.
I wish you no worse than your own commute.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This is Love in 2011

(Husband and wife hug)

Wife: You smell really bad. Why don't you ever wear deodorant anymore? Is it because your girlfriend likes it that way?

Husband: (Nods, shrugs.)

Wife: (Makes a cute-annoyed face.)

(Husband and wife hug some more.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ten Things I Love About My Wife

Just like I’m usually sick of Christmas songs by 12/24, I am pretty sick of lovey dovey stuff today. But I couldn’t let today go by without acknowledging the best force in my life.

1.She is really really cute.

2. She loves the couch and the TV almost as much as I do.

3. If someone is mean to me, she’ll offer to glue their car doors shut. I have never taken her up on this.

4. She’s doing an art project a week right now. This household is happiest whenever she’s making something beautiful.

5. I love that she’s an atheist. One of my favorite parts of the week is coming home from church and hearing the tail-end of whatever weird sci-fi show she’s been watching.

6. She’s worked really really hard all these years, supporting me as I follow various dreams and recover from various nightmares.

7. Falling asleep to Radiolab. Then going back and listening to it later.

8. She gets choked up whenever there’s anything on about a gay family, even if our family just consists of two ladies and two cats.

9. The ways we like to make out whenever there’s anti-gay protestors around-like, that’ll teach ‘em.

10. She is the most monogamous person ever and she loves me even though I am (lazily) not. That’s unconditional, son!

Motivation Mondays: Jealousy is a Map

-Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

(You can go here to read the whole poem.)

The first time I heard that line, it was such a RELIEF. I was always worried that I was the only one feeling a disloyal stab whenever one of my pals beat me out for a NYFA grant or got to meet Mos Def or whatever. (I realize that sentence is kind of braggy-by-association, sorry.) The feeling of oh-no-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-anyway is overwhelming sometimes. The matter of successful friends is complicated and sticky, but I think it’s really best to learn to see your friends’ successes as a victory for you as well. (Cristin, incidentally, is the most generous successful person I know. She has really helped me to feel like my voice counts. It was my New Years resolution to do whatever she says, and that’s turning out pretty well, I think.)

There’s even a word for being happy for someone else’s gain: mundata. (Translated from Sanskrit). I learned it from Jen “Flash” Andrews on TBTL, the day they were feeling a little sting about their pals Garfunkel and Oates getting a Showtime show.

Julia Cameron says that jealousy is a map to what we secretly want. So in addition to practicing mundata, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you’ve left yourself out of some part of whatever your friend just got…did you try for it? Can you try for it again?

It also occurred to me embarrassingly recently that if someone is accomplishing something you’d like to do, it’s okay to ask her how she got there. Maybe even to ask for help.

(another Valentine) Videos from Light and Honey, Philly Slam

I feel a little shy about these, it's the first time I really did videos intentionally. I hope they're okay. The first one is from Apiary Corp's Light and Honey Series, and the other two are from my own beloved venue.

Friday, February 11, 2011

In Case Love is Being Mean to You

This should ease the pain.

Friday Love Poem: Teresa Gilman!

In the Rooms of Evening

See here the shadow of her face
how it bends darkness into the shape

of her noiseless arrival at your door
amid feathers of nightfall, starry bollettos,

a thousand crickets chanting in unison.
Wait patiently  as she wrings the gold

of a late supper out of nothing
and feeds you, her calm hands holding

out morsels of blue fish, and pickle,
Smyrna figs, some tangy camembert.

She sweeps pale hands through falling dusk
to cull the the phrases of a quatrain out of night air.

She springs to life as you close the door behind
departing loved ones, the best in you

following them out into the dry fizz of eternity.
Imagine that she tells you how the shape

of your eyebrows fastens to her, how hair
curling behind the ridges of your ears lights up

her midnight spine,  leaves her lowing
in pastures of green stem brokenness,

her gown a storm of light, desire a  purple stain on her
long after you and she have parted.

[ published in Roses in the Sand, Your Hand, Foothills, 2006. ]


T.G. writes poetry, nonfiction, and letters.  She has received prizes in the CNY National Penwomen’s poetry contest, Abacus and Rose poetry contest (Mus. of Sci. & Tech., Syr.NY), Rebecca Eddy poetry contest, and others.  Her poems have appeared in KalliopeJust Us (Toronto), Comstock ReviewPeregrineCo-evolutionIllya’s HoneyLake Affect, and others. She has two books of poetry published by Foothills, Fumbling for the Flesh of Song    and  Roses in the Sand, Your Hand. 

Poetic License Horoscope Valentine to You (plus a song.)

Dear Readers,

I heart you so much, I’ll be your Valentine any year. May the stars spell out your every silly wish. XOXOXOX, Jane

Love and the Science Museum
(The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA)

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): At the science museum, there is a Cell Phone Disco. If you stop there and call someone, it records your phone’s signals in sparkling red lights. It’s beautiful and terrifying, kind of like communication itself.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): To the Pisces who fixed her own fireplace: You stopped yourself from being suffocated. You purchased tools and parts. You restored your home to warmth and woodfire. You’re my absolute hero.

Aries (March 21-April 18): In the words of Kanye West, (and the Roseanne theme song, and, well, Nietzshce) “That-that-that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger.” Whatever pretty thing you’re waiting for, hang in there. It’s coming.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Electricity is the only thing fast enough to carry the messages that make us who we are.”-Dr. Rodolfo Llinàs, Neuroscientist.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): On the Earthquake Simulator, you can build a little structure with magnets and see how long it withstands the shaking. Reinforce the foundation and build low to the ground.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): “Chain reactions are beautiful. Like a ballet of falling dominoes, a finely tuned chain reaction seems to generate its own energy, powered by the tiniest push.” –Sign on the wall next to the Rube Goldberg machine.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Black holes, though they may be the “Monsters of the Cosmos,” spew out matter as they suck it in. They seeded the universe with all the stuff we’re made of. Thanks, black holes!

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): I should have known that the hallways inside the giant heart would be unnervingly narrow. There were movies of blood cells moving across the ceiling. Its pulse was faster than my own. A machine told me I have 35 cups of blood, and I believe it.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): There is nothing quite as romantic as falling asleep to Radiolab. (You should go back and listen awake, though. It’s really good.) Let your dreams float in and out of posited situations, through language lost and love letters found.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  There are many ways to get mild shocks at the science museum, including touching a key that simulates Ben Franklin’s famous lightning. Be careful what you touch, but watch for pretty revolutionary flashes.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): The Benjamin Franklin statue is surrounded by children’s hands-on experiments. Enlightening things are happening to Dixie cups, pencils, yeast. Start your own miniature experiment, see what eurekas you tonight just before sleep.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): To the Capricorn giggling in the church aisle about a first date: ‎"Some cried out, they tried to take it to the streets/But I wanted it to be heard so I said it in the sheets"-Josh Martinez. Take the revolution to bed and make it your own.

Poetic License Horoscopes is a free syndicated series which appears weekly on such lit blogs as The Serotonin Factory, Critical Mass  and The Legendary. If you are interested in adding the Poetic License Horoscopes to your lit journal / lit blog, please email me at

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To a Particular Aquarius (And his sister)

I don't know when your birthday is but I don't think it's weird that I remember your sign.

I'm really sorry about last summer, sorry we didn't end up friends. I was all brokeny, is all I can say. 

I still miss you a lot..

I hope you're doing well. That's it.

And happy birthday. And Valentines.

Also This Song: More Portlandia

"We're so thankful, for everything we've got. And we're so sorry for everything we're not."

Song of the Week: Whatever You Like (Not the radio edit.)

I don't know how this song manages to entirely bypass feminism in my brain. Maybe it's my inner submissive. T.I. can buy me stuff any time.

Although I'm not sure he's giving the shorty enough options. And gassing up the jet= too much carbon footprint.

All that aside, I like to imagine it's a direct message from the universe.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Few Pictures from The Franklin Institute

 It was surprisingly claustrophobic inside the giant heart.
 Turns cell phone signals into light.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Motivation Mondays! Playlist

So I've decided to make the "How to Stay Motivated" series into a regular feature.

Being a slacker at heart, I am pretty new to the idea of being motivated, so if you have some ideas, feel free to comment or you can email them to me at

Here are some things that motivate me and keep away the Winter blahs (Besides a full spectrum light bulb.)

1. Spite
2. My cute cute students.
3. Knowing that life is finite and stuff.
4. Carrie Brownstein
5. My complicated feelings about Kanye West.
6. Too Beautiful to Live

This mix celebrates all of those things.

Walk Fast

1. Stronger--Kanye West
2. Catch My Disease--Ben Lee
3. Ready to Start--Arcade Fire
4. Dream of the 90s--Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen
5. Portland, Oregon (You're My Home)--Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen
6. F**k You--Cee-lo Green
7. I Can Change--LCD Soundsystem
8. Crooked Teeth--Death Cab for Cutie
9. Hurt Feelings--Flight of the Conchords
10. Hands in the Air--Girl Talk
11. Good Day--Nappy Roots
12. You Can Do It--Ice Cube
13. Tight Rope--Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi
14. Poker Face--Lady Gaga
15. Animal--Miike Snow
16. Dance Yrself Clean--LCD Soundsystem
17. Whip My Hair--Willow Smith
18. Touch the Sky--Kanye West

"Dance Yrself Clean" from Hung Low Films on Vimeo.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Love Poems: Therése Halscheid!

Sanding the Wood

I know the perfection of white pine
in its natural state of being
unfinished wood,
before the sawing starts
to show the grain, and of areas
disturbing the grain, the circular knots
which surface after
the tree is cut

like what they found
two days ago with some tissue
creeping along, thin membranes
appearing harsh-white
in the x-ray and of that spot
behind the nipple, like a hard knot of wood
that might be removed.

What kind of stain
will I wear, what sheen will it be,
what shape, if the breast is cut back and
cut back, once the skin is pulled taut,
sanded smooth,

this place where your lips fall
on my flesh and stay and stay with
your mouth and move with
your hunger there.

["Sanding the Wood" has previously appeared in River Oak Review, Iguana Review, and Coffee House Poems anthology]

The Asking                                                        

 I have just finished sweeping
a place in the glade where
a bed is now made of
star moss and blossoms.
I have ordered a moon
to come softly, its white
through the trees,
birds for the sky, a waterfall
lovely to listen to.


step out of the dream
of your house
onto the path of warm fog
in the scented opening
of the forest.
Follow the birds I have sent
and the light between leaves
where the pale of the moon
angles down through
the branches.

Be led
by only these things.
Nothing you leave will be missed.

Take no clothes,
you will not need them.

["The Asking" has previously appeared in Blueline and  Off Line: Anthology of NJ Poets]

Therése Halscheid was awarded a 2003 Fellowship for Poetry from New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is author of four poetry collections, Powertalk(1995) and Without Home (Kells, 2001), and Uncommon Geography (Carpenter Gothic, 2006). Uncommon Geography received a 2007 Finalist Award from the Paterson Poetry Book Prize. She also won a chapbook award by Pudding House Publications, as part of their 2007 Greatest Hits series, which is a collection of twelve poems spanning the writing life of the poet, prefaced with a narrative that weaves the poet’s life with the body of work.
Her writings poetry and prose have appeared in numerous magazines among them Karamu, Rhino, New Millennium Writings, Faultline, 13th Moon.
She teaches creative writing in varied settings, including Atlantic Cape Community College as well as being a visiting writer in schools through NJ State Council on the Arts. She has been an artist in residence at Acadia National Park, ME, and has received a Dodge Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, June 2005.
Aside from artist residencies, since 1993 she has been a house-sitter to write. She cares for people’s homes, gardens, and pets while they are away. Some of these house-sitting experiences have allowed her to write in a rugged swamp in FL, an elk farm in PA, a log cabin in the pine barrens of NJ, and an adobe home in NM. She finds simplicity as well as a nomadic lifestyle fosters a deep connection to the natural world and greatly assists the writing process.
An outcome of this nomadic lifestyle is her one woman exhibit, Visual Diaries, which has been on display in galleries. Visual Diaries a multi-sensual exhibit of photographs and poetry, along with a taped commentary chronicles earth images across varied terrain, beginning with natural settings in New Jersey, then moving to sacred environments as far as New Mexico and beyond, including the Ural Mountains of Russia, where she has taught. She travels widely through teaching and cultural exchanges, and once led women writers to South Africa to meet with South African Writers.