• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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You Were ALways Waiting For This Moment to Arrive

We call them pull quotes. Quotes you can pull from reviews for the back of the book. Here are a few from today’s NYT for the poet Michael Robbins.  “This man can write.” “It’s a declaration that feels nearly as fresh as anything in Elvis Costello’s first LP or Quentin Tarantino’s first film…this is a linguistic booty call.” “What puts these poems over is their sheer joy and dizzy command.” “Here’s a book to hand the (as yet) nonpoetry reader in your life.” Praise the lord. Dwight Garner has a major bone for Michael Robbins. And Garner is the only critic I read and admire 98% of the time. This review is a love song. And the lines he quotes make you want to run out and buy the book or click through. I just did. Finding a new poet for me is like finding the perfect Tori Burch clutch for most girls. I’m in.

Oh, good morning guys. I didn’t post last night because I working on my erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Beige. What were you up to?

Poetry

Alien vs. Predator

by January 12, 2009

Praise this world, Rilke says, the jerk.

We’d stay up all night. Every angel’s

berserk. Hell, if you slit monkeys

for a living, you’d pray to me, too.

I’m not so forgiving. I’m rubber, you’re glue.

That elk is such a dick. He’s a space tree

making a ski and a little foam chiropractor.

I set the controls, I pioneer

the seeding of the ionosphere.

I translate the Bible into velociraptor.

In front of Best Buy, the Tibetans are released,

but where’s the whale on stilts that we were promised?

I fight the comets, lick the moon,

pave its lonely streets.

The sandhill cranes make brains look easy.

I go by many names: Buju Banton,

Camel Light, the New York Times.

Point being, rickshaws in Scranton.

I have few legs. I sleep on meat.

I’d eat your bra—point being—in a heartbeat.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/poetry/2009/01/12/090112po_poem_robbins#ixzz1vn1mGMUl

37 Responses

  1. Thank you, Betsy, for sharing those lines by Mr. Robbins. That’s the nicest thing that’s happened to me since what I was up to last night (it was erotic, but it wasn’t writing).

    But curses, Betsy, I cain’t afford me no book thang er nuttin. Me an the waff, we’se havin to move back to the slums due to the ongoing an incurable economickal catastrophe our lavs has turned unto.

    Still… still… it’s hard to say no to poetry worth reading, given how unreadable most contemporary poetry is. I haven’t looked at the price of the book, but I could go without a few lunches for a higher cause. I’ve been wanting to lose a few pounds anyway (can’t see my ribs yet).

  2. my Last Night devolved
    consumed by that other world
    where binary actions confuse
    and phantom people
    with suspicious names
    hover
    electronically
    among my files
    within my photos
    insisting
    this reality
    must be
    Reset.

    click and whirl
    arrows poise
    circles twirl
    and I return to the Past
    reconnect
    reboot
    relief
    regret
    for an evening lost.

  3. My afternoon was more interesting than my evening. I went to a special school assembly at my daughter’s school. I was invited because I had done some volunteer work the past couple of months after one job ended and another had yet to begin. The assembly was like a big pep rally with loud music and kids high fiving everyone they saw along the way.

    I never had a principal so cool when I was in school, dressed casually and with no attempt to be anyone other than who she was. She fired the kids up even more with promises of what was to come in the program. Then she said something about the volunteers and two 5th graders got up to read a list of names inviting all the volunteers to come sit in the folding chairs that were facing the assembled kids. They stumbled over my name, but that happens all the time. My daughter was sitting in the second row and we waved our special wave to each other. We were thanked for volunteering and each of us received a rose and a pen. The kids cheered and some of my daughter’s friends giggled when I made faces at them. Our group consisted mostly of women, but a few other men were there, self-consciously telling everything that things were a little slow so they could manage to get away for awhile, though in reality, if they were like me, they wouldn’t miss it for the world. Blue collar guys, we had cleaned up pretty well for the event. We were on display, but it was a friendly audience. Awards were given out to different classrooms and students. My daughter got a good citizenship award because she behaves better at school than at home, and other classrooms were awarded the Golden Dustpan for keeping their classrooms clean (impressive because the class that won it now has chickens in the classroom they raised from eggs) recycling awards and others. It was fun and afterwards we stopped for ice cream at a little stand then went to the park, smiling and waving at the people passing by.

    After dinner my wife, daughter dog and I went for a walk in the woods just to watch the time pass by. We were at the last night of keeping a Nielsen TV survey diary, but it was too nice out to sit inside. I’m sincerely hoping the quality of TV is not influenced by me.

    Talk about shades of beige! These times are my new drugs.

    After reading just one of Michael Robbins poems, I would like to read more: it’s nice to realize there is still more to see.

    • Damn, I left out the part about the woman sitting next to me at the assembly who was slowly caressing her angled elbow like it was the knob of a penis. That was going to be the erotic part of this missive, although it’s possible she just had a sore elbow.

      • Did you notice if her pupils were dilating or she exhibited any of those other, TMI-type descriptions found in E.R. books? THAT would have been quite an experience.

      • She had her eyes closed, head tilted back … but really, it was an inappropriate setting.

      • There’s a technique for rubbing inflamed tendons, that’s like tapping. Then you rub them because the tapping hurts. All to get the blood flowing. Lord do I wish it was erotic. Truth is inflamed tendons are a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Sometimes the imagination is way better.

      • Ppfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff (– the sound of my ego deflating).

    • My fav part of your story: “My daughter was sitting in the second row and we waved our special wave to each other.” awwww

      • Thanks, Mary Lynne. I did manage to embarrass her when she realized I was secretly taking photos of the assembly.

    • All my kids behave like superstars in the real world and assholes when they get home. We call it the magic door. I may need to nail it shut from the outside.

  4. Fantastic, that Robbins. Thanks for my morning coffee accompaniment.

    So, last night I rewrote my own beige shaded thing.

    My latest project, affectionately known as the Dead Cheerleader book and shit out over the past 2 months, seems to be popular with those to whom it’s been flung. Had a fan-fucking-tastic call with my agent yesterday which was followed up with two, count ’em, two track-changed versions of the ms based on her take and another reader’s take. So into the wee hours, there I was in my meth lab, tweaking the product.

    This morning I have a writer’s hangover. Complete with mad-scientist hair and armpit residue and outside it’s doing the Portland rainy spring thing. I couldn’t be happier.

    • The Dead Cheerleader manuscript needs its own cheer: Gimme a D!

      We spent yesterday viewing houses in Tigard and submitted our application for one last night, then almost immediately got a call from another homeowner with a place in West Salem for $450 cheaper. We got the key code, so we’re going to take a look this morning and see what we think. The commute would be a bitch, but $450 isn’t nothing.

      • I’m all about the cheerleading puns now. I think I’ll go buy one a set of pom-poms and wander around with them like they’re sage sticks, ridding my house of loser energy.

        $450 buys a lot of gas. Well, maybe not that much, actually. But probably enough. It’s a good day to test that commute, with all the splish-splash on the I-5. Just make sure the house has that writing room, and that it’s conducive to steamy scene development.

        As it turns out, I’m donning my soccer mom gear and heading to Salem myself this afternoon. Give me an S!

      • Yeah, I mentioned the gas issue to my husband, and there’s no question we’d like to be in Tigard. I think I’ll pretend to leave it up to him while quietly inserting arguments in my house’s favor.

        Neither home has a room for me, though; we just can’t afford it. I’ll be writing in bed as usual. (Shoot me now.) Maybe we can put some dual-purpose hooks in the ceiling, for traction and kinky Shades of Grey sexcapades.

      • Look for good sturdy studs to attach to. Ah, I’m talking about the collar ties. Um, I mean, you know, the lumber that spans the rafters. Aw, never mind; this just keeps getting worse.

  5. Now, Betsy, if you keep working on 50 Shades of Beige, what happens to a great agent when her novel launches as the next best-seller?

    Not sure I get the poem, but hey, the words sure trigger the imagination.

    • I don’t get it—yet. It takes me multiple readings to understand any but the most literal poems. I love your name, Beryl.

  6. 50 Shades of Beige is perfect.
    What does your girlfriend say when you are having sex?
    I love you!

    What does your hooker say when you are having sex?
    Fuck me! Fuck me harder, faster! Oh yes!

    What does your wife say when you are having sex?
    Beige, I think I’ll paint the ceiling beige.

    Don’t know why but I love this joke. It reminds me of twirling my ankle to examine my sock as a teenager so engaged. Somehow I always managed to leave one sock on. No one ever commented.

    • thank you, ruth. i had not heard that joke before–even though i am married–and it made me laugh.

    • This joke reminds me of a complaint by one of my designer friends. Rather than contemplate paint colors, her distraction during The Deed was a feud with another designer. She was incredulous that her husband could even think about sex when she was so upset about work. It was no surprise when that marriage, a second and several other relationships all failed. With her Type A personality I was surprised she wasn’t more fluent in multi-tasking.

  7. I always wondered what you could do with a PhD in English. Now I know.

    Usually I go to bed in sweats and a tee but last night I fell asleep naked. I was working on my WIP, as well. 50 Shades of Flush.

  8. Talking my sister the psychoanalyst through a school decision for her kindergartener.

  9. Thanks for this, Betsy. I like rickshaws in Scranton more than any red wheelbarrow I ever met.

  10. I was backplanting clues that suddenly appeared in chapter 24, damn them.

    And listening to the Rat Pack.

  11. Okay. This stuff I love. I WON’T apologize for that.

  12. I had to head to work early so I missed your fifty shades of hemoglobin. You guys are too much.
    What a bunch of sex crazed word mongers.

    Hey, I thought of a bumper sticker just for us…Writers do it with a Dixon extra hard #4.

    Anyway, last night I spent the evening in a synopsis hole. I climbed out just before my eyes glazed over and I fell off my chair.
    There is no erotica in my novels, and about all that S&M stuff, please people, M&Ms are my thing.

    I can’t write sexy scenes because my computer has only 50 adjectives for ‘wet’.

    • Ha! Hell yes to M&Ms over S&M! Bumper sticker idea – excellent! I can go to bed on a happy, laugh-relaxed note now. Thanks, WW.

  13. I put Alien vs. Predator on Rap Genius though I have yet to have a chance to discuss w/Ilan… whole anthology is a trip

    http://rapgenius.com/Michael-robbins-alien-vs-predator-lyrics

  14. I wrote. I’m over halfway now through writing the book that got me punched in the face…the day I endured a spinal tap (it was a diagnostic procedure for MS, which I have).

    I wrote another book and I would like very much to see it published.

    The punch book is non-fiction. The one I just finished is fiction. It is, I swear.

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