A little Friday night love poem

My love for you is not metaphorical
Elliott batTzedek

I love you like the moon loves the sun,
I love you like the desert loves the night,
love you like the honey loves the bear

love you like the tree loves the chair,
love you like the hand loves the sleight.
I love you like the shore loves the hurricane

love you like the signal loves the moving train.
I love you like Hollywood loves love at first sight,
love you like New Jersey loves New York

love you like the swan loved Bjork,
love you like the vampire is loved by the bite.
I love you like Peter loved the pumpkin shell

love you like gravity loves rappel,
love you like love poems love the trite.
I love you like a star loves the universe,

love you like the body loves the hearse.
I love you like Lutherans love uptight,
love you like yeshiva bochers love payis,

love you like Evangelicals love to save us,
love you like Baptists love to smite.
I love you, Love, like love loves love,

love you like the hawk loves the dove,
love you like every little thing is gonna be alright.
I love you like the habit loves the nun,

I love you like the moon loves the sun.


Revising as writing, not revising as editing

Crashing headlong into the deadline for the 1st packet of my 4th semester, when all this writing and reading is supposed to gel into a manuscript, I’m deep into reading and thinking about the purpose of revision. What are we doing when we revise, as opposed to all the endless fine-tuning of word choice or meter or line breaks? What role does revision play in how we live in language and strive to express that?

What is revising when it is part of writing, not part of editing?

I’ll be doing a lot of reading, and talking with other writers, about these questions, and trying to make sense of the various answers by writing about them. Stay tuned.

Notes toward a poem about Hedda and Lisa

Having just read an amazing poem by Jane Mead about Hedda Nussbaum and Lisa (do we still in good conscious use the last name of the man who beat her to death??), I’ve been thinking on them all morning. These are very rough notes toward something, although nothing like the firm calm grasp of an actual poem. But every start is a start, and everything that is grows from having been willing to start.

Hedda and Lisa

I understand, Hedda, I do,
I do, what happened to you, how
the shame bound tighter than
the pain, how you could no more
have saved yourself than Lisa. No more
have saved Lisa than yourself.

Lisa was yourself.

But I’ve been that child, too, and you,
goddamn you, were an adult and really-
really?-there was no single time when you
could have run, could have called 911,
could have locked out me out, made me
wander the halls crying until someone could
no longer refuse to see me?

Let’s talk about how traps work.
Let’s talk, let’s call Oprah, let’s weep
about how a coyote in a trap
will chew off her own leg.

But who sets the trap?
Nevermind, we’ve talked that to death.
Whose hands bear the animal’s blood?
We all know we all do and also
how we’ve made popular the wearing
of red gloves to make fashionable what is true.

But who made the trap, whose job
is forging, polishing, packaging,
boxing, driving, opening, pricing,
placing just so on a shelf?

The whole world betrayed you, Hedda,
and Lisa – hell, you weren’t even real
enough to own the expectation of a right
and the wrong done to you was barely
a crime at all. Manslaughter? As if
a six year old girl were a man, as if
one could slam a child into a wall
and say I did not mean to kill.

But still.
A coyote who would leave her leg in a trap
would not leave her cub trapped there.
She would stay, fight, face the hunter
and his club, his gun.

Or so I need to believe. Better
that you stayed, Hedda, when you could not
get her free than that you were too crippled
to run. But could you have crawled,
dragging shattered legs across the ground,
your cub in your teeth, across broken glass
and burning ground?

In the Disney movie, you would have.
In the Lifetime movie, too. In the starring-
Angelina-Jolie film you would have twirled
and blasted Joel with blazing guns; in the
sisterhood version, a tribe of Amazons
would have rescued you.

But in the real world, the easiest plot
was for the hunter’s clan
to club you. Hedda, battered
by one man and then the whole world
felt justified in beating you while Lisa
just went on being dead.

Half-Rack at the Rendezvouz

Half-Rack at the Rendezvouz
by William Notter

She had a truck, red hair,
and freckled knees and took me all the way
to Memphis after work for barbecue.
We moaned and grunted over plates of ribs
and sweet iced tea, even in a room of strangers,
gnawing the hickory char, the slow
smoked meat peeling off the bones,
and finally the bones. We slurped
grease and dry-rub spice from our fingers,
then finished with blackberry cobbler
that stained her lips and tongue.

All the trees were throwing fireworks
of blossom, the air was thick
with pollen and the brand-new smell of leaves.
We drove back roads in the watermelon dusk,
then tangled around each other, delirious
as honeybees working wisteria.
I could blame it all on cinnamon hair,
or the sap rising, the overflow of spring,
but it was those ribs that started everything.

“Half-Rack at the Rendezvouz” by William Notter, from Holding Everything Down. © Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2009.