Everything and nothing

I have just finished reading Bukowski in a Sundress, the ‘memoir’ of Kim Addonizio.

It isn’t really a memoir in the linear-narrative traditional sense, it is a series of essays, illuminating facets of a life via the equivalent of a short story collection rather than a novel. Clever girl.

What it is about? She staggers drunkenly (sometimes literally so) between being passionate about the importance of her life, and dismissive of its absurdity. She doesn’t know where or how to live, caught between two binaries and liberally quoting Keats’ concept of ‘negative capability’ along the way.

“I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”

Don’t you just hate binaries?

A few weeks ago as I sat with my father for the last time, he spent a lot of time imagining he was drinking from a plastic tot of orange juice. His hands were actually empty, just manipulating empty air. The cup of juice was on a table beside him, untouched.

Is there a difference?

What do we write about?

Everything, and nothing. So quit with the silly questions.

Bukowski in a Sundress

I have previously speculated on these pages that anyone who says that they like the poetry of Kim Addonizio, but not that of Charles Bukowski (or vice versa) may well be, at the very least, labouring under a certain amount of sexist hypocrisy, the kind that perhaps leads to an indulgence in objectification.

I therefore laughed out loud to find that Kim has just written a memoir entitled “Bukowski in a Sundress”.


The title apparently comes from a review by a critical critic, but nevertheless she gets the joke (“why not Walt Whitman in a sparkly tutu?”).

Can’t wait to read it.


Having a chat


I was supposed to be taking a break but hell, all these people chattering. Chat, chat, chat….

First Li Po, talking to his friend, talking to me. Last night it was Dorianne Laux, talking to me in bed. Something she said set me off, and set me off, and set me off. I had to answer so I got up and wrote Remainder. It was dark outside which is always promising.

Conversations with the living, conversations with the dead,
the poets sound the oceans, the echoes in my head,
the future tensed within me, the lines you’ve never read,
so sit with me, break bread, come on and talk to me instead.


I have been a little quiet.

After the news that my old colleague from years ago was dying of brain cancer, just over a week ago one of the regulars at the poetry night I go to died. Then last Tuesday the wife of my closest work colleague (we are only a small firm with half a dozen staff) got up, collapsed and died too, out of the blue. Massive brain hemorrhage. I have struggled to feel particularly creative since.


As a fallback, here’s another Addonizio poem I really like. You may be getting a few of these 🙂


You turn away. I remember again
the first time you turned toward me,
knocking over your glass.
We sat at a table, getting drunk.

The first time you turned toward me
I knew this moment would come:
two people getting drunk at a table,
getting it over with. And though

I knew this moment would come
I couldn’t help kissing you,
getting it over with, although
we might have stayed friends, otherwise;

but I couldn’t help kissing you,
starting things up—the hasty undressing, the love
we might have kept as friends, if we were wise.
Now, stupidly, we’ve come to the end.

Starting things up was hasty, love.
Knocking over your glass
I stare stupidly. We’ve come to the end.
You turn away. I remember again.

The Test

I have an off-the-wall theory.

If someone likes the poetry of both Bukowski and Addonizio, the chances are we will get along like a house on fire. If they like neither, we will get on but I will need to watch what I say.

If they like one and not the other then sooner or later I will become irritated by them. A man who likes Bukowski but not Addonizio may be comfortable with himself, but can’t really hack the reality of women. A woman who likes Addonizio but not Bukoswki may have the reverse trouble. Both are riven with double standards.

Both of the latter are likely to looking for the “perfect” partner (who does not, of course, exist).

Back when I used to do internet dating I got a message saying

Hey I read your profile and I think you’re perfect

I used to answer everyone (as it is rude not to), but in this case it was a straight up thanks but no thanks. I don’t need another woman storming off because she is disappointed I’m no better than she is. I think it was Milan Kundera who said…”There are two types of womaniser. Those that are looking for the perfect woman, and those that think all women they meet are perfect”.

My “test” is of course completely and utterly useless.

Hi. What do you think of the poetry of Bukowski and Addonizio?

…is not going to get me anywhere. Nuh-huh. Perhaps a better question would be

Do you prefer men to women, women to men, or are we all about as bad as each other?

The problem with that one is that you are not guaranteed to get an honest answer. Not many women will readily fess up to believing that women are superior, or vice versa. It’s a bit like “Are you materialistic?”, which 90% of people will answer “No” when they mean “Yes”. (Worse, when I say I’m not, they assume that I am really and am just saying that).

A new-ish female friend of mine recently said to me “Well a lot of women are twatty bitches”. I added that a lot of men are arrogant pricks. We get along just fine.

Feeling Sexy

Can’t resist pasting up some more Kim Addonizio. We all love her, right?



Feeling Sexy

There’s an arrow wound in my amygdala
leaking honey into my parietal lobe.
It makes me want to say things
disallowed from serious poetry
and employ instead the lexicon of porn spam.
I want to make crude statements involving fluids.
Obscenity, expletive, body part.
Imperative verb, possessive pronoun, body part.
I want push to show up at shove’s office.
I want to change my address
to last night’s wet dream,
I want a plot in that cemetery.
Come and unearth me anytime.