Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Writer’s Way Workshop Syllabus
Presented by Karin Falcone
Part One: The Ground
People say to me, “I want to write a book. Can you help me?” I always give this one assignment. Write three pages, every morning, and throw them away. This is from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”. It is so simple, yet very challenging. Try it and see. When the inspiration comes, you will be in good form.
Exercise: Write three pages, freewriting. Mine it for ideas and key words. Pass it to the next person. They will then create a piece based on your themes, words, ideas.
Home work: Do the morning pages every morning for a week.
Part Two: Inspiration
Maybe you hit a stale place, an unforgiving place. Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” can bring you back into communion with yourself and your work with gentleness and discipline. These exercises bring clarity to the process of inspiration. The book is a classic for creative writers.
Exercises from Writing Down the Bones. Sharing.
Part Three: The Buddha and the Beats
Allen Ginsberg wrote and spoke extensively of his and the other Beats’ Buddhist path. He was also a scholar of wide ranging interests. His “Mind Writing Slogans” are a great syllabus for study and address conceptual elements of creation.
Lecture, reading, Q&A pick a dharma to work with this week.
Part Four: The Collective Consciousness
Bernadette Mayer wrote something to the effect of “One thing people generally do not wish to share is their anonymity.” Our ego wants to own our words, so to free ourselves from that is powerful. William Burroughs was working with cut ups and the Surrealists with collective games like Exquisite Corpse, which invite random elements into the act of creation, and bring “Painterly” qualities to writing. Both are not only radical experiments but also a lot of fun to do.
Carl Jung discusses the “collective unconscious” as a shared conception of experience, and I see these collective exercises as a way to explore that, help us feel more human and true to experience.
Part Five: “I need someone to address in order to begin…”
Again a quote from Bernadette Mayer from the seminal book “Disembodied Poetics”. A recent trip to New Orleans Found me at a book party at the Fairgrounds. The book, stories from the backside is a collection of letters written by people who work behind the scenes at this historic horseracing track, from jockeys to vets. Each letter is addressed to a close loved one, and discusses in great detail a specific day of work, creating a great whole picture of the place. The publishers also created the Neighborhood Stories Project. They can be reached at…
Exercise: Address someone to begin. See what happens. Share.
Part Six: Form and Function
My most inspiring moments at Jack Keroac School undoubtably happened in Bobbie Louise Hawkins fiction writing classes at “the Bijou” a room off of her house with a stage to read aloud upon. Her book “My Own Alphabet” is amazing, playful and unstuck as it gets. Create your own: mine was: Eco Erotica: stories, quotes, poems by Karin Falcone. Read No Submerged Purpose.
Collective project: Our own Alphabet. See Tree Bernstein’s box set alphabet poems.
Try a sonnet: I will fit chaos in 14 lines Edna St Vincent Millay, Bernadette Mayer
Field Trip: write haiku and senryu : 3 line nature poems outside.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Writer’s Way
at YogaPolarityCenter

Friday, August 12

$30 at the door
32 Church St
Malverne, NY

"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"
-- E.M. Forster

Share an evening of Surrealist games, collective exercises, cut up postcard contest, dharma poetics and insightful intention from Allen Ginsberg’s “Mind Writing Slogans”, Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s “The Call”, Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” and other soulful believers! All skills and abilities: all welcome! All materials provided.

“The exercises we participated in were fun, different, and made me think of the act of writing in new terms. I highly recommend this workshop for anyone who has a love for writing and wishes to expand their horizons."
-- Rob Trimarco, President, Pantheon Press, co-author "Fortune's Fool"

Teacher Bio: Karin Falcone holds a Master of fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, a college dedicated to Buddhist inspired contemplative practice. She has taught writing for twelve years as an adjunct professor at area colleges, and is the published author of many articles, poems, stories and chapbooks. In addition, she has earned Registered Polarity Practitioner status and 200 Hour Yoga Certification from Yoga Polarity Center.

Find Karin Falcone on Facebook!

Contact and RSVP:

516 528-5829

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Mystery of Her Brother

Who would go in his room first, after his death, the ashes in a cheap box she carried in her lap on the airplane, no tears, that wasn’t her way. (On the airplane, in his seat, what a fiasco having the name changed on the ticket, there was no other way to do it. To die at fucking Disney!) Tough, sweet and smarter than everyone else, she gets things done. Her shining brunette bob like Thelma, to his Gen X Shaggy, the underachiever who could light up a room with his promise in a laugh and that acquired metrosexual style, the beautiful black girls, the cigarette aura, the early silver hair, getting more handsome yes the years were kind to him after the awkward pudgy adolescence. Could she even find photos to do him justice, a photo anywhere?

“I have some on a broken phone from your birthday,” a friend offered, unhelpfully.

Elusive, what was there to hang onto in the mystery of a brother?
Whatever was in his room would have to serve as her answer, a month later. Who knew what was in there, what mold growing on glasses of soda?

“Ignore it, Jen,” said her dad.
But like Thelma, she knew, “And then you know, Dad, eventually it will creep down and get you.”
Her husband advised, “Open the windows, strip the bed.”
“Get the ghosts out,” she said.

She could feel bad for her dad about losing a son so young. She could not feel bad for her dad about all the rest of it, and that was a hard line to draw, to take, to make clear in her mind, going back (to the house she grew up in), going back and (really) knowing so little about these two men and their hearts, their conversations, their day to day (now very many) years of life lived together as bachelors in the (now) sullen smoke smelling house. Contrast it with her smart suburban accomplishment against her mother’s (also) sudden young passing, the black humor and bets of “Who will make it past 40?” (Their mother’s age at death). She would think of every other disaster, but not the lively happy lucky devil may care on the go self avowed bachelor fool living for fun, day to day, and then one day his heart just stops. At fucking Disney. That was Robby. She’d never known him to be any happier – so perhaps that was a moment to remove himself from the game, to say I won and I surrender at the same time? The game of Risk, Life, and Trouble. They played so many board games as kids, impulsively, competitively, constantly. She avoids the memory, back to driving the hours to the old house. She realizes that in the 25 years he lived in that room, she had never been in it.

Would his room have the dreaded imagined moldy soda glasses, filled ashtrays, some nice Diesel and Eddie Bauer clothes stinking of smoke on dusty hangers? Would it have sex toys for the black girls, porn on a laptop, piles of New York Times, bongs, mirrors colognes, watches, decks of cards, wads of small bills, boxers or briefs, secret writings on legal pads taken from the office, undeveloped throw away cameras from the 1990s, CD’s and DVD’s floor to ceiling, oh yes that was him! A game system and games ceiling to floor, perhaps. 4 remotes on the bed for an old 25 inch hooked to everything, Ikea lamps, a closet with accordion fold doors from the 70’s from when it was her room before she moved out to college, a closet full of old comic books and model airplanes, maybe. Old stuff he couldn’t throw away like numchuks and fishing rods? A boombox and gift shirts still in boxes never worn and crushed from years of ignoring, shoes in boxes and out of boxes? Scuffed plain walls and burgundy sheets from Target on a king size bed?

She pulls up to the house and ends her imaginings in this all too real beginning. The bright morning turned to a grey afternoon as she attempts to fill her brother’s role in her dad’s life in two days or less, with the bills and the doctors and the lawn getting mowed, two states away is another world where women contain and keep men from the folly of changeless dusty dens of men being men without influence of women.

“Why should I shower and have my wet hair absorb the odor?” she thinks in the morning. It’s cat and pipe and Lysol spray. Did they still make that stuff? Was it under the sink since her mother’s day and dad pulled it out for her benefit?

There would be every excuse and distraction not to make it up the stairs to his door. The doorknob with the do not disturb sign taken from the Trump AC.

“39 years of living at home. What could he have been thinking?” Only she could do it.

She stripped the bed and opened the windows. There wasn’t anything moldy, but there was so much booze but that could last forever so she left it there maybe his friends would want it. There were so many souvenirs and books and late night only sold on TV gadgets. There were things she imagined and others she hadn’t. Her dad just wanted his TV, it was better than his.

In the end the hatchback of her spanking Prius was filled with every conceivable musical instrument, rattles and shakers and egg shaped shakers, a rainstick, djembe drum, bongos, xylophone, ukulele, wooden flutes from the far west and far east, three thumb harps, a digeridoo, castanets, electronic drums, a Casio keyboard, penny whistle, slide whistle, squeezebox, cowbell, harmonicas in every key, and the one left handed guitar she knew he had, the one he played at her 40th birthday party. It was enough to put something in the hands of every child in her second grade classroom, and that is exactly what she intended to do. Who knew?
Rescue Attempt

When I came back to Long Island from Colorado I imagined a place called home that I missed, but there was no way you could get there. The songs about how you can’t go back or you can go back, and what is there to say about that.
I had been gone a long time, so far removed from prim suburbia that it was a culture shock. It was the 90’s, there was that gay leftist artists pro-labor scene up in Albany, there was the hippie sexual sharing, there was the freedom to throw away TV’s and razors, and that all got continued when I decided to leave the east and try my hand as a writer in Colorado. I could write a name dropping tell all of Aging Beats and outrider Buddhists, if I could remember it, beyond some small perfect details: Lawrence Ferlinghetti eating a purple Italian ice in the lobby of the Boulder Theatre. We had both skipped out on some performance and we caught eachother’s attention in that stolen moment. All I could muster was a shy smile. I couldn’t tell him that “A Coney Island of the Mind” was the first book of poetry I ever bought and loved unconditionally. That just doesn’t translate to anything anyone I knew could understand on Long Island.
In Boulder I had a box of thrift shop rags to wear, a bike helmet, a 1920’s typewriter.
One day, back on Long Island, I took 3 busses to get to Long Beach. I had a ragged bikini of multicolor crochet, a backpack. I body surfed in the rough waves slightly terrified and amazed after years of living inland. Some guy tried to pick me up and then graciously went away. I fell deeply asleep curled on my side. I awoke to the lifeguard whistle, a rescue attempt: Two swimmers are too far out, one fights his way back in but the other’s arms go up while the frantic brown lifeguard morphs into a dolphin cutting the waves to get to him. The helpless swimmer goes under, is swept away. The lifeguard is still diving until two others reach him and escort him back to land . “It’s fine John. Good work.” Pats on the back to a devastated man. A beach patrol jeep keeps driving up and down as it reaches the orange hour when all the people start to leave. I never found out if the rip popped the swimmer out somewhere else on the beach, but I was shaken and sun stroked, badly burned but only on one half of my body. I decided to try my hand at getting home by train.
There is a line of demarcation in the city of Long Beach, and that line between black and white gets blurred at the area around the train station. Blacks live to the north, traditionally servants to the wealthy south shore mansion dwellers, but even as times have fully changed as in other places the line remains, and as I window shop in culture shock along the line of strip mall stores waiting for the train, three black girls pass me and one says loud enough for me to hear “Her mamma don’t love her!” and the other girls fall apart laughing. I look at myself in the plate glass: my hair is long and matted with salt, I am wearing thin baggy jeans that were once pale blue but have turned yellowish, an androgynous pair from the men’s dept held up with some kind of belt and rolled up at the cuffs. My vintage 80’s tank is a faded fluorescent pink, the arm holes so low they show my hairy pits and bralessness. What was on my feet, I prefer not to recall given my long affair with a pair of moldy Birkenstocks. Even the ghetto girls are in pain just to look at me. I walk right into the nearest store, that staple of the low budget multicultural trendy New York lady, Rainbow Shop. I leave wearing the first things I find, a tight black tank and a rayon print wrap skirt I put on in the dressing room and purchase. I toss the old clothes in the trash can outside, and just make the train back to my parent’s house.
Back at home my family was living as Italians do, “like a bunch of grapes.” There were something like 5 cars piled up in the driveway, because of some stupid law that you could not park in the street at night. So every evening was a long, loud negotiation about what order everyone had to leave in the morning so the cars could be arranged in the birth canal of the driveway. By that time my brother in law gave me his old Ford Escort, and if I happened to have work the following evening I was blocked in by 4 oclock in the afternoon, the hour my father would serve us all dinner. Late at night I typed and typed god knows what into my ancient Mac while myriad TV’s battled the din of low flying jumbo jets. When it became clear that there was no getting the knots out of my hair I succumbed to the reverse mullet: buzz cut from the earlobes down and long on top, so it could be hidden or worn in a pony tail to show off my radicalness on errant trips to the city.
I decided to shave my arm pits too. My sister found the hairiness especially offensive. She had never left Long Island or seen a woman with hairy armpits before. I shaved one armpit and called her over, “Hey Andra, Look!”
“Wow your finally normal now. Isn’t it great to be clean?”
“Here feel how smooth.” When I got her really close I lifted the other unshaved arm to see her scream and run away like she had just seen a spider when we were still kids.
The next day she took me to the mall to buy a bra.
From “Stories of Houses”

The widow Tina lost her husband in a moment – one minute he was eating dinner with her and the next he was dead. She wasn’t so old but her children were grown, so she was left alone in the sprawling split ranch with the thought of him.

She grew figs on the south side, though the doctor told her she shouldn’t eat them any more. In back she had all the big trees removed so the sun could reach her garden of pole beans and night shades. She stayed out of the sun herself but covered from head to toe at dusk and dawn she would tend to them, cooking through the day with the Italian TV talk shows, or her friend would pick her up for senior classes at the library. With her blonde swept over hair and sad brown eyes she seemed so genuinely hurt it was hard to fathom her power.

First the downstairs apartment was for her oldest son, then for the youngest, a spare adequate bachelor pad built new in the 80’s and well cared for, everything wiped clean by the old widow’s hand.

The first tenant was a divorced fireman who stayed for many years. He wasn’t there much but there would be times when the lights would tremble, the bulbs would hiss and pop, the ceiling fan groaned starting up, the toaster would blow a fuse. His solution to these odd sporadic electrical problems was to convince his buddy, an electrician, to rewire the whole affair to code at his own expense, so he wouldn’t have to bother the old lady to get in the cellar when the fuses blew. “Problem solved,” because that was how he did things. Except for one recessed light which dimmed and flared for no apparent reason, and he would assess its discussion with him. One day he said he was getting married, a woman with two kids, the place was too small. She would have to find another tenant.

The place sat empty because Tina didn’t really like the people who came by from the Pennysaver ad.

When Tina’s friend Mary sold her house after her husband died she wasn’t sure what to do, which grown daughter to follow to which state, what to do with her frail mother who had to come and live with her while the deal went to closing. So Mary and her mother lived there for a few months, Tina cooking them dinners because life is so hard with a sick mother and just not knowing. The mother went to live with Mary’s sister and Mary went to Virginia to live with her daughter, a nurse. Like molecules of water that cluster together the women returned to each other in a new configuration.

But Tina’s children didn’t come much at all. The oldest son looked like her husband, the blue eyed Sicilian. He came and sat at the table on a Sunday and the exhaust fan over the stove whirred out the scents of sizzling spattering things, eggplant and cutlets, then he’d disappear again for 6 months. Sometimes Tina would go stay with her daughter for a day, but the daughter never came either. Why do her children stay away, the new tenant wondered. She is the nicest lady.

The new tenant Julie was one of those small women who is mistaken for a teenager from behind, until she turns and her face reveals not just a few years but decades. Her smallness allows her so many extra do-overs, because she seems so just out of college or fresh from an annulled marriage. Tina likes her, though, that she is easy to smile and works for a dentist, and her son is a handsome boy, that her parents are Italian and live in the next town. Paisan, something she can understand, capice?

It is true that Tina’s children want nothing to do with the apartment, the tenant, the house or any of that. They want her to sell it and keep her condo in Florida. But as long as she can have a tenant she can keep the house where her life was fullest, where her husband liked to sit outside smoking in summer under the awning with the lanterns while she cleared away the plates, where the old neighbors would come over and play cards while the children set off bottle rockets in the street or played in the rumpus room. The new neighbors are Korean and they smile but who knows what they are saying. Tina went to English classes on the bus for years at BOCES. She tried but they don’t want to try.
She doesn’t wear black but she wears her wedding ring and the cross. She goes to Florida three weeks each spring and winter and fall. She leaves Julie all her children’s phone numbers written in a careful eauropean hand on a pink shopping list and asks her to take in the mail.
When she leaves something always goes awry. Her children know why and that is why they stay away.

By the third day that the water is acting weird Julie considers calling one of the sons, but then thinks better. Water only comes out of the cold side in the kitchen, leaks hot in the bathroom sink, and the shower control spins in full circles, impossible to tell if the water will spray from above or run into the tub.

The hand held shower was left from the last tenant, so she could wash her mother’s hair from the chair. Julie had no feelings about it. She did try it out a couple of times for that mythical purpose of Playboy Channel fantasies, but was generally unimpressed by the experience. Now it started to leap out of its holder and clock her on the head. It hurt and it was scary.

She came home from work knowing all of this and it added to the fire in her belly that devoured the flesh from her bones as fast as she could remember to eat, making everyone dieting in the office jealous, but if only they knew her problems. Her ex sent her no money, disappearing then reappearing in her son’s life like an epic hero every time. Her parents were mean people, stingy with love and money and time and everything. Her son was a latch key kid so young, it was a secret that she held in fear. The last married boyfriend, she swears to swear them off, lost his job, so she stops answering the phone. If it is not someone you can call in an emergency then there have to be other benefits. No one knows because she can get away with junior department clothes, then to see her riddled face is terrifying.

Now at night there are little taps at the window, the door, it’s just goddanm Stella the poodle itching and licking or is it? Was the light on or off or was it? Of all the things to worry about.
“Michael, Michael did you do this?”
All three TVs are on the same scrolling blue channel, the program guide with out of synch muzak, just another thing scraping at her nerves.
“Oh why can’t you stop asking me?”
“I’m taking a shower.”
“I’m going over to Brian’s”
The water pours top and bottom and she leans in to adjust it so more comes from the top than the bottom, at least, then the hand held shower head pops out of the holder and gets her good. She gasps and angrily tries to turn all the water off, but the cold just spins around and around, blasting full force in either direction. It will not turn off. The tub starts to fill: the water will not go down fast enough.
“Michael?” she shouts to no one.
She runs into the kitchen naked and gets a Chinese soup container and starts bailing into the sink.
She gets it low enough to buy some time, to think and act. Without Tina, she can’t get into the basement to shut off the water.
She pulls on shorts and a T, grabs the long pink paper from the refrigerator and goes down the list, home and cell, first the oldest son, then the daughter, then the youngest. By the time she leaves the last message, on Joe’s cell, she is emphatic and clipped and out of breath watching the tub fill, “This is an emergency. This house is going to flood. Someone has to come here. Even if I call a plumber he has to get in the basement. It’s Tina’s tenant. It is an emergency in the bathroom. Call me back right away.”
Back to the bathroom, bailing. Soon she realizes she can point the shower head into the toilet and still use the phone, redial redial, ring. It’s Tina’s daughter.
“I called Joe. Joe will come and fix it.”
“Right now, right now, you understand,” she shouts over the endlessly flushing toilet.
She runs out to call for her son again, but he’s on wheels by now somewhere in the neighborhood, scared by her pitch even if he could hear her, he knows enough to flee.
How much time has passed? Now she is in a groove with it, spray, bail, pause. She can even leave the bathroom for moments to escape the din of the roar of water.
Tap tap on the door like late in the night but she doesn’t hear. Tap tap and the dog goes berserk. Finally.
“Stella! Stella!” she grabs her collar and puts her in Micheal’s bedroom. Opens the door and sees a youngish man with Tina’s old sad eyed face.
No words transpire. He goes into the bathroom and puts his tool box down and sits on it and does what he can do.
“She’s gotta give me the key for this stuff, nothing like this has ever happened before. It just won’t shut but maybe you can shut it….” And then she just can’t stop talking, standing in the doorway to the bathroom.
He stands and looks so sadly defeated, the same look as his mother, an ancient sadness, generations of sadness. He smells of smoke like Julie’s father. This is what he does for a living. He fixes things. Joe yet to say a word, goes outside and around to the back door of his mother’s house, and unseals it, the doors sticky with all the quiet. His shoes on the floor Julie can hear above her, her little part of the house with the separate entrance sandwiched between. In the cellar he muscles the wheel shaped valve shut and it turns so quiet she can breathe and smell the odd cold waterfally smell.

The shoes again and back he comes with his melty face.
He’s needing a cigarette, but not wanting to do it in her place. She is in the doorway to the kid’s room, holding the dog, her back to him. She looks like a child. He is confused by it. Then he thinks maybe she wouldn’t care that he is short, too. He looks at the place and it is so clean. He didn’t expect that. When he lived there, it wasn’t long until Florida called, there was a pool table in there.

“You stripped it.” Tina’s son told her. “You shouldn’t shut it off so hard.”
“But it was leaking.”
“But now it’s stripped. Gently,” he motions closing a faucet. His voice was gentle, too.
“Really I wouldn’t, I couldn’t…”
She thought of Lou. Maybe he had shut it hard. Or even Micheal could have shut it hard.
“And the whole, the …,” she is waving her arms, “The shower fell on my head today. It won’t stay.”
He sees the dozen shampoos and conditioners in a caddy. He thinks about it, about women.
“God, what a day. All I wanted to do was take a shower.”
Her hair is the color of when girls play with their hair color.
“Well finally you are here so… thank you.” She waves her hands to leave and let him work.

Later he is outside, after buying the parts and taking it apart and laying it all out. Outside he can breathe, have a cigarette, think before he puts it all back together. He calls his sister.
“I’m at mom’s.”
“Pop’s at it again…. Every time she leaves.”
“Oh please.”
“How bad is it?”
“It’s fine. I got it.”
“So I can tell her…”
“It’s fine. Did you meet this girl?”
“The little one? The dental assistant?”
“The house is very clean.”
“So no flood. Is it flooded?”
“No its fine.”
“Tell daddy to go back to bed. Tell him mom will be home soon.”

He looks across the yard and Julie is also there smoking and talking on the phone, too, and they look at each other as it starts to get dark, because it is starting to stay light a little later in spring.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

artICHOKE is online!
Thanks to all the contributors whose dispatches from every corner of the nation made this such a personal and joyous reunion of friends. Hope the PDF's hold up... I needed this rainy Sunday to scan and contemplate a paperless existance. The pleasure of this as an adolescent impulse and 1990's throwback I do relish, but I am also happy to share it in cyberspace. Paper copies are available for $5. If you sent your earth address, please be patient. My date with the postmaster is still a few weeks away.
Click on each page: It will open large enough to see.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Star Spangled Breakfast

Yesterday I did something I have never done before: I called the customer satisfaction line to complain about a product I had purchased. I have sent letters before, but when I saw the 800 number on my box of Olympic Rice Krispies, I could not resist the quick fix, a phone call.

Elaine who answered my call somewhere in Battle Creek, Michigan was very nice, but I could only imagine what she told her husband when she got home from work yesterday.

I called and said, “I just spent the last half hour sifting red and blue stars out of my Rice Krispies.

“I know that food dyes are perfectly safe to eat, but I do not want to eat them, that is why I like Rice Krispies. If I wanted food dye, I would eat Fruity Pebbles. I like Rice Krispies because they are always the same. They have been the same since I was little, then these stars…”

Elaine kindly explained that the stars were to celebrate the Olympics for a limited time only, but that I should look carefully on the package because in the near future there would be boxes of Rice Krispies with red and green shapes to celebrate Christmas.

“There must be other ways to celebrate besides putting dye in the food,” I heard myself saying to this professionally nice lady on the other end of the line.

When I was a kid, there was a prize in the box. A little sports car with a toothed plastic strip that you would have to snap out of the mold and pull through a hole in the car where the teeth turn a wheel and the car goes. We all got prizes then. We were not fed such weird things as red #4 and Blue #2 in celebration of Olympics or Christmas. We ate food that was just food, not genetically engineered food and not dyed to match the season.

“May I send you some coupons for your next box of rice Krispies?”
“Will Rice Krispies be available without dyed shapes?”
“Only the ten ounce box.”

The ten ounce box, designed for ancient widows living alone. Party poopers, hags, forever on the shelf, without shocking colors.

The colors are for kids after all.

As if Rice Krispies could be any more entertaining? Snap, Crackle and Pop are now not good enough. They will be more appealing with colored pieces in them. I suppose you could get used to food that has enhancements as entertainment.

I returned to the kitchen, no more satisfied than before. There were two bowls on the counter. My Rice Krispies had gone soggy and a huge bowl of full of red and blue stars with a few pale pieces speckled in. Also on the counter were ten pounds of potatoes. I had taken them out of their bag because the mesh window was the perfect size to allow the Rice Krispies through and keep the red and blue stars out. I had tried the pasta colander and onion mesh bag after I grew tired of picking them out by hand – an endless task.

I looked at the bowl of red and blue stars which were destined for the trash and thought of all the starving children and all the bankrupt farmers. Something is wrong with this world.

Take the cost of the food dye to ship these cereal stars to the people who need to eat. Put that on the box as my Olympic celebration. Tell the children the truth – even the farmers are starving as you eat shit that can kill you.
No Submerged Purpose:
A Collection of Poems, 2008

By Karin Falcone

“Only emotion endures.”
-- Ezra Pound



the moon is a banana
there are many peaches
inside out bathing suits
hanging on doorknobs
drown out the jumbo jets
hibiscus’ twisted blossoms
landing in our above ground pool
grown up as spoiled weeds.

I pluck the bottle from
my sleeping baby son
late July
he came like when you order a pizza
and it comes…


Koans of Self Esteem:

If I understand things will be as they are
They will be as they are
If I don’t understand things will be as they are
They will be as they are
God’s got me where he wants me but I don’t know what he wants
I can accept it but I don’t have to like it.

The past is but the beginning of a beginning
The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear
To remember God, forget yourself
The way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing

Trying is effort without action
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
There is nothing in the way but me
Nobody is going to set your dreams for you
Without faith it is impossible to please God

Wallowing in the complete loss to regain the new truth
Why would God give me more than I could bear?
When I get to the point of anger to find the grace
Emotional sickness is avoiding reality at all costs.

How can I create my own reality?
Be a magnet for heart’s desire
Are you wearing your dreams?
Desire vs. intention

Even if others lie to you it is ok.
They are lying to you because they are afraid
you will discover they are not perfect.
Process not perfection

To find your own way you must close your eyes and walk in the dark.

(Constructed from found phrases from my notebooks: Alanon. The Four Agreements. Instant Zen. Hour of Power. Adoption Crossroads. Yoga and Polarity.)

Green Grows Wild in His White Guy World
(for Dale Pendel)

It agrees with him, means go, greets him
blip blip blip
just when he boots up. Green
is his high tech and rustic
green is his mansmell and distant
all the things that make him say
what’s your favorite color
It is…
political; it is primordial
And it is working, working for him
at this
speed of life – Karma --
can’t catch up to verdigris
can choke out open space
Old Spice – green
Fucking on pine needles green
“It’s not easy being green.”
The frog who moves with ease
from water to land and to jump into the air
Let’s take the frog to be our
mascot for green:
moving through the elemental
daring to slip through all occasions

Weeds up from cracks now
Corroded battery patina green
Green eggs and grouches

Weekend warrior stalking the wild_________
has paid the highest price
There in his pocket is where the arrowroot
exhuberance exhausts itself.

Clearly this is a winner!
A remarkable absinthe!
A romance of next thing!
A manly kind of plant like ivy:
It just grows, pinate and foliate
one leaf at a time
I’ve got Fibonacci’s number…
A new leaf every day!
Green eyes and bottle flies.
Seven Years of Dreams (Excerpt 2)

Up in the old dark walk up
he had decided after wandering
hilly and brighter streets
the presence of nothing working
at the rock and roll homeless shelter.
The rock and roll homeless shelter
movie is being made by Ron Howard,
Tom Hanks and a system.
Joe had decided after a few
months working at the homeless
shelter that it was a system
like any other and he decided he would
dedicate his life to
smashing the system.
How did they get that shot?
The place, the woman, Cameron Diaz
walking through the desert?
They mail the dedicated films
back overnight to the mother of
a smashing extra making
many comments on it as the
system gets cut off.

(Palimpsest, two dreams)

Someone is habitating Lafayette everywhere.
By virtue of the 2 sexes he found
he was like Noah with the creatures.
Nothing could stop the tape player
could confuse books and dogs
ride til you hit the curb “surprise”
group shot at with razor tipped arrows
after many filmic near misses they finally get it-
children women and men. Roaches
swarm outside the door. After a performance,
hair hennaed blue only sticks to roots and tips.
Japanese technicolor beer labels: chameleon
is a well loved lizard. Talent show: I am #11,
turns out to be last. I have no material
plan to read dream fragments from a notebook I forgot.

Meaningless Oaxaca: Elegy for Brad Will (1968-2007)

“I went through that whole damn web site and I still can't figure out whatthe riot started over, though.”–Tara Stone

After moving to the suburbs to raise a child, we’d lost touch
When my Stuy-town roommates locked me out, he let me stay:
the famous Ave. B squat, the one he scaled as the wrecking ball struck,
so reported the New York Times, while I nursed my son, safe.

When I was broke back in those days he encouraged me to not be ashamed
to accept the DSS worker’s verbal abuse in exchange for food stamps,
and he knew an all night bodega, pleased to accept them as legal tender
When we couldn’t afford the admission price at St. Mark’s, we could still drink
bodega Fosters, roam and sing with the other beautiful lousy lost white kids.

When I felt guilty I could go home to a shower, when someone would buzz me in,
I invited him over to do the same, (he needed it), fix a little dinner, sing another song.
Dinners meatless and high protein, songs Woodie Guthrie and Neil Young,
One time we fooled around, (after a shower), but when you know someone so long
you don’t know how to be. With our hands I’ll touch you and you touch me.

When I met Brad at Naropa, it wasn’t politics, nor poetics, but damn my solid friend,
roll up on his bike, freak flag flying, and I would abandon my writing, off to the foothills we went, unwinding all of the ideas and shamanic herbs, there to get me so massively high before the evening poetry readings that my ears would pound with their own blood, and his indiscriminately loud laughter. I would shush him all the time. Allen Ginsburg! Ferlinghetti! Brad laughing too loud! We had fun in Boulder.

When you are young and from the suburbs, like me, and meet someone like Brad who is young and from the suburbs and does not go the traditional way, who makes his own way, you get a little courage. I probably spent as much time telling him to actually enroll in college as he did trying to get me to put in a summer of hard labor at Dreamtime. One time he disappeared. A rich, beautiful visiting Chilean poet fell for him and sent him a ticket to Santiago. You can’t do that when you have school the next day.

One day we stopped at Boulder Cemetery after a bike adventure – he knew of some legend, some famous people there, and I shot his photo, lank in purple leaning on a broken tombstone, which of course takes on some prophetic air now but I don’t buy it. It was just our moment in time. I propped it by my computer when I got the email from David K, Brad Will’s Memorial Service, and one of his house, the random ice sculpture that happened because the gutter was broken.

When I got the email, I was fighting to hold onto my crappy career at the university, compare side by side with, Brad was fighting for the rights of striking Mexican teachers in Oaxaca, compare side by side with, Brad’s passionate life, my petty midlife life crisis.

I passed the email to my Tara, my oldest best buddy, who found me again, who actually had a lot of sex with Brad in Boulder. After all of the stunned remarks, my god I can’t believe it, dead, shot, my god, surreal, could it be true, she said one thing that really inspired me. “I still don’t exactly understand what is going on down there.”

“Do not underestimate the power of markets fueled by blood.” Which I wrote
in all seriousness, in a pompous ass essay, as if I could explain it to the world in a way that would further my mission. The university dismissed me soon after.

Fuck the university and fuck Oaxaca, too. And so Brad,
did you die doing the good soul work? or on some misguided mission to fix
everything broken inside you? A kick in the gut to ask yourself this, but ask it.

Don’t you know that wherever you live, whatever you do, you work and they bleed you and then you die. Or then you have to go and go off the map and die trying to change
all that?

Brad, our loveable goofball friend, the one guy no one would take too seriously,
he is the one who had the tenacity, to create a remarkable anarchist resume, a legacy
which we read about in Rolling Stone, postmortem.

Easter at Sebago Lake, 2003

Today I come to you
Broken by my own stick
Together we nailed each other on every sin of self
Could all plans be fought against grace?

Live in this skin and the horror is final
I thought I found the one and I did
He is lone wolf. He is beyond reason.
He teaches me his tricks and forests.
He stays or leaves. He stays absent,
Sounds from the bursting trees fall
Abandoned to the casual

Late at night we talk by the fire
under the stars in gorgeous desire
Late at night we bicker by the fire
Bottles clink against this half moon
A severe semi circle, half empty, half full.
How could one night be so perfect and the next so ugly?
Palm Sunday and Good Friday?

It is tough and we suffer, but not endlessly.
Perhaps this is the end.

What could possibly be created from the shards of this war?
What resurrection?
“What you fear the most has already happened.”

Accommodation vs. acceptance

Faced with lies and passionate love
All is dramatics and pain.

Your dark side pressed into service by my hunger.

Third Date Sex
(after Sharon Olds)

There is no point getting in the way of this any longer.
I was just in it for the knowing
You all night, to see you in the morning
We are athletes in the bed,
Peeking at you peeking at me, a squinted eye
An embarrassed and shy, see me see you like this
Grinding in oblivion
Will I be your booty call now?
Or do I get to meet your friends?
We couldn’t call it making love.
Did giving in to lust ruin that?
Would I have grown more capable of letting my heart in
In a month or a decade?
Sex without love, again.
But closer and closer, to getting and giving the real good thing.
You are adorable, but too risky to call it
That kind of love.
You ask me to stay all night
The most delightful invite
Will one day you ask me to stay longer?
What will I say?

Letter to my birth mother
It is evening and my young son is snoozing beside me in bed.
A touch of cold comes in through the window and a familiar pain
touches my temple as my mind tries to take over the writing of this.

Just a postcard of my life, nothing really profound to say.
I imagine making a picture album of my life as I do for my son
so that if we ever meet you could see it.

I am concerned about you.
I had a vision and you looked so tired and worked to the bone.
Your hair was colored blonde and your thin face worried. It feels sad.
I have no idea if this is true.

Something in me likes to preserve the mystery of the past.
Something else fears our meeting:
“Everything is ok now – what can of worms will this open!”
Just the opposite of how I felt not long ago:
“I am not good enough and you will think I am after something.”
How funny the range of sabotage!

I get angry at the laws and the government, the lies of life, but truth is
I’m not sure. I know that there is a rage to know.
I am trying to get to know myself. This does not end.
I cannot imagine your earthly life – just the idea of you
except in very small frightening moments, like a memory of a beating heart.

There is a woman named Lisa
(I am no longer Lisa)
who has my eyebrows
a fascinating thing.

Somehow I think Lisa can help me find you.
Awareness of self is something I preach.
I know not from where I came. Is this any mystery?

If I lay this to rest… I know nothing works like that.
Imagine at 30, at 50 getting a new parent, a new kid, how odd… and messy.
For the kid in me who misses you and longs for you and the kid in you who feels the same, I pray. I pray these heartbreaks can be told, Amen.

Love, Karin
Notes: 1. I was given the name Lisa at the time of my birth but my name was changed and those records sealed at the time of my adoption.
2. My birth mom and I were reunited three years later.

(Exhibit, Museum of Natural History, 2/26/2002)

Multicolored pearl, species unknown
Cumberland River, Tennessee
River poluted with iron and manganese
Giving the pearl its unusual color

Victorian heart, given to m’ lady in 1843
Four Scottish pearls, fresh-water, ultra-white
“which I am delighted with,” said she.

Forged to lilies of the valley, and
Lillian Russell’s chrysanthemum
Layer upon layer of lustrous nacre
And then, all the rage, pearl buttons

Four years after the spat left the hatchery
Mabe’ pearl seed oysters, hauled aboard harvest
Raped (on video) of their Japanese mystery

“Pearls to strengthen the heart,
amber and garnet to stem the flow of blood.”
logic of the jewel encrusted handle
vintage circumcision knife.

pussy willow, acorn, wing-ed seed pods
“The Blossoms of Thoughts on the Most Precious Of Stones”
One irritating mistake, such fabulous baubs

Just call me La Peregrina, the pilgrim.
Up from the cold dark wet and sexy
Into the mouth of an unsuspecting patron, lunch
Oyster bar, New York City, 1873.

(from found words and phrases: exhibit’s note cards)

Notebook’s end

What else can I do with the night
now that it’s too late?
It is my time.
It is night.

It is summer.
Its waning days
dampness, fan’s engine
neglected gardens
shifting wardrobes
An occasional scent:
the first hint of autumn

On that Brooklyn rooftop
a wistful feeling
a premonition perhaps
Who has sketched lives
Over this rings?
“How far Is Manhattan
as the bird flies?”

Could we guess it?
2009 Writer’s Group Dates
Come together in a community of writers as we share our process, our work and our hearts in a beautiful, new contemplative space.

Friday Evenings, 7:30-9:30pmJuly 31
August 28
September 25
October 30
November 20
December 18

YogaPolarity Center Annex
333 Hempstead Ave., Suite 202
Malverne, NYFee: $20
Facilitator:Karin Falcone, MFA
RSVP Please
516 528-5829

All are welcome. Just bring your pen, paper and desire. I will lead some exercises and experiments in collective memory and rare literary traditions from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School. We will have some fun in community and see what happens!

"What I seem to have to do is have someone to address in order to begin, then lose that, mix it up, get mixed up myself, let the language take over, work out some structures within that, see an ending, bypass it and see how much longer I can last, then collapse at some false ending, casting the work aside with some unspoken hope that I may have made some discovery."-- Bernadette Mayer, from "Disembodied Poetics"

Karin Falcone holds a Master of fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder , CO , a college dedicated to Buddhist inspired contemplative practice. She has taught writing for ten years as an adjunct professor at area colleges, and is the published author of many articles, poems, stories and chapbooks. In addition, she has earned Registered Polarity Practitioner status and 200 Hour Yoga Certification from Yoga Polarity Center .