June 22, 2011

Summer of Weddings

I'm sure I've been to more weddings in the past month than I have in my entire life. I started a gig catering weddings out of a nearby restaurant. The  pay's good, and I really like spying on all these weddings. That's what it feels like, too, spying. I get the same thrill as one gets out of driving by houses at night and seeing how stranger's laid out their kitchens.

It looks like the only weekends where I won't be catering are the weekends where I'll be attending weddings. Going to so many weddings has transformed me into a middle-schooler who can only think about what I'd want my wedding to look like. Cupcakes instead of wedding cake. Whitman instead of the Bible. But oh wait. I can't get married. Maybe I'll have an Alice in Wonderland "Un-birthday" theme, except it'll be an "Un-married" party, and we'll serve unwedding cake.

It's looking more and more like New York will pass gay marriage in the coming weeks, which will be good--if nothing else--as a morale booster in gay politics. It seems that ever since we lost the gay marriage battle in Maine in 2009, it's been one disappointment after another across the country.

During the month of June, Beloit Poetry Journal is hosting a symposium and discussion on gay poetry and aesthetics on their blog. I've been trying to formulate some thoughts on this, as it's something I think about a lot, but I haven't been able to articulate much yet. Mostly because what I have to say seems either overtly apparent, or concerns my own personal experience, in which case this blog would be better suited. Or my diary, for that matter.

Books by Friends

In the last few weeks, two friends of mine recently had their books published, and my god, these books are gorgeous: both the poems themselves and the production of the book. I highly highly recommend these.

Northerners, winner of the Green Rose Prize, by Seth Abramson, New Issues Press

The Lifting Dress, winner of a National Poetry Series award, by Lauren Berry, Penguin Books.

As always, I'm lucky to know such talent.

June 9, 2011

A Bit of a Rant

Since ending my last job, I've been working a lot on generating new material, which has been going fine. Good news is that I've been writing drafts of new poems nearly every day. But these poems are lifeless. It's a strange experience to spend all this time writing and know that at the end of several hours of work, these poems will never go anywhere except into a folder. I know it's good; I know it's all an exercise and that I'll probably collapse several of these 'meh' poems into better ones in the future; that like any art, it's practice, but it also sucks. It's been months since I've hit one out of the park.

Joint Finance Committee (JFC) hearings have been going on at the Capitol this past week, and in response, progressives have erected a tent city called "Walkerville" around the Capitol. So far, the JFC has made decisions such as ending the early release program for nonviolent offenders (which will end up costing the state more) and cutting back meals for prisoners from 3 to 2 a day (which also won't save money when they become malnourished). Decisions of this ilk are becoming commonplace here in Wisconsin, and it's becoming increasingly difficult not to be desensitized by all of this because everyday seems to bring more and more and more depressing and soul-crushing news. All the work I did for canvasing was for (almost) nothing, and realistically the best we can hope for is to can some of these politicians, elect better ones, and maybe some of these things will be untangled, but that will take years. And this bill is so infuriating. I like to see the complications in such hotly contested issues, but this isn't complicated. It's evil, and it has an agenda. The idea that by giving tax cuts to big corporations such as Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart will in turn offer more minimal-wage, no heath-care job openings, but in order to this, we've got to fire 5,000 teachers (and even more state workers) so that they can get a job at Wal-Mart, which will drastically lower the quality of public education in Wisconsin, so that our students can also work at Wal-Mart.

I worked at Wal-Mart for a brief stint (very brief, as in less than 3 weeks), and before I started, I had to sign a waiver that if I was hurt on the job, I would not hold Wal-Mart accountable legally. Near the end of my time there, I did get hurt on the job. I smashed my thumb into a sliding meat case, breaking open  my thumbnail, so that blood filled the thumb of my latex glove. I thought I was going to pass out, so I stumbled out into the backroom and  held my head between my legs. My supervisor came over, grabbed my swipe card from my pocket, punched me out, and then asked me if I was okay. Because this was store policy. Because Wal-Mart could later argue that I didn't get hurt on the clock. And this is how our fired educators will be treated.

I'm so angry I'm numb.