Monday, December 31, 2012

A New York Moment
Harvey C. Hamby was drunk.  Usually he held his liquor well, but tonight he was off his form.  Stumbling over an ottoman, he landed on the floor in a sodden sprawl.  As he fell, his left foot shot out behind him and socked Glenda Steinberg in the back of the knee, and she fell, too, taking the waitress, Elena Rosita AllendĂ© y Marquez, and a tray of champagne glasses with her.  Roger Steel was looking at himself as he passed a mirror and he tripped over Harvey. As he fell he reached for Edith  Pemberly-Smythe and she went down on top of Roger.  Harvey grabbed the ottoman and tried to get up as Sheila O’Callahan was sitting down. She screamed when she felt a hand under her ass and Jimmy DeLuciano, startled, took a step backwards and fell onto the couch, landing in the lap of Judge Anna Pavlorroti. They had never been friends.

 The Plaza banquet room was crammed with well-heeled New Yorkers, and all this falling, pushing, pulling, and tripping continued to have a ripple effect through the crowd, who had gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve with newly elected Mayor Mary Flanaghan-Silverman.  The Redhead and the Machine chugged along with the giggling, cursing, crying, and moaning coming from the crowd, who were almost all on the floor.

The big screen T.V. was tuned to Times Square, and the ball was about to drop.  Harvey, whose muscles were extremely relaxed, and so was still in a heap on the parquet, turned his head toward the screen, but was sidetracked by Lenora Black's fabulous cleavage. She was lying on her side and her breasts were roughly at Harvey's eye level. He'd always been hot for Lenora Black, and he was drunk enough to sneak a feel, as he faked trying to get up.

 Lenora hissed, “Harvey, dear, get your fucking paw off my tit!”

Harvey complied. The Mayor, realizing there were journalists and photographers in the room who were upright and busy, couldn't come up with any idea other than turning out all the lights in the party room.  So she did. It's anyone's guess what happened in the dark after that, but the big ball did its thing, and the New Year began.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This is the car I drove in Albuquerque from 1973 to 1979.  There isn't a poem about it in my book, so I've given it a picture here.

Nonnie Interviews Herself

Clifford Garstang,, the editor of Prime Number Magazine, published by Press 53, has invited me to participate in The Next Big Thing series, a chain of self-interviews where authors talk about their new/forthcoming collections and projects. Thank you, Cliff. My book of poems has only just been published, so this is a welcome and timely opportunity for me. Answering these questions has also helped me climb some of the way out of the hole dug for us all by a shooter in Newtown, Connecticut.  It feels good to write.
 If you click on Cliff’s link above, you’ll see not only his answers to this list of ten questions, but you’ll see links to the writer who tagged him as well as links to the blogs of all the writers whom Cliff has tagged. Down at the bottom of this page I’ll link to the Diana Ferraro’s  and Marty Lopez's blogs and they will link to other writers. We are all answering the same questions, and you can discover new writers, or read about the projects of people you know, by following the links. So here goes:

What is the title of your book?
My poetry collection is called One Day Tells its Tale to Another, published by The Linnet’s Wings. on December 16, 2012.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
My poems are loosely based on my life. There is one about a witch, and two about murderers (one of them had good cause) and I’m neither a witch or a murderer and the very last two lines in the collection give advice, and I’m not usually a giver-of-advice, but all the poems come from something in my experience. Although it may be that there is only a line that links directly to what I’ve seen, heard, touched or been touched by, each poem goes through me to you, hopefully. When I read a favorite poet, there is a sigh, or flash, or breath of connection and my inner world becomes slightly, or vastly, changed.

What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry: with and without rhymes, formal (well, there are two villanelles, one sonnet, and a sestina. (Writing sestinas is a form of masochism.) informal, with serious themes and not so much. I have a poem about Chinese noodle soup, for instance, and there is a poem about taking care of my mother during her last year of life. There are some sexy poems, too. Breasts are mentioned. And lips. They are one to two pages long; no epics or allusions to Greek or Latin poets. And there are pictures in my book of poems! My brother Robert Knisel’s wonderful photographs start each section. (I can say that because this is, after all, my blog.)

 Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What a question about a poetry collection! I have to skip this one because I’m heading into crazy daydream territory and I’ll never get on with the interview. In fact, there might be a poem about George Clooney simmering. Johnny Depp is already in my book. No. I’ll do the next question.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Um. No. I can’t do this question either.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?
The Linnet’s Wings, a literary magazine, published my book. It is available online through Click on SHOP, but please read the stories, poems, flash fiction, micro fiction, and editorials in the magazine, too. Marie Fitzpatrick is the managing editor and she manages it artfully. It is also available on Amazon. The link is to the right on this page.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Nine years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. That’s probably a stretch.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In 2001 I had open-heart surgery (I’ve had two!) and soon after developed a crush on my cardiologist. I had a dream about him, and an image from the dream became the first line of the first poem I’d written in many years and I’ve been writing poetry and fiction ever since. Here’s the poem:


we will walk on gravel paths 
studded with gemstones.
Our plates and bowls will be chipped
porcelain exquisitely painted.
When we drive in our weary car
we will listen to Mozart.
Sunlight will fade our carpet
and our windows will be
draped in fine French lace.
We will dress for work
and undress for pleasure.

Sway and I’ll steady you.
If I should slip, you’ll put me right.
Each will soften the landings
of the other’s great leaps.

As we sit at this cafĂ© table 
in Montmartre, sheltered
from the downpour, I see our future.
I will write it down on torn paper, 
using a sapphire pen.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It is safe for me to say, I think, that if you read this blog, “Augustine’s Confessions,” you will enjoy reading One Day Tells its Tales to Another. I hope so.

Diana Ferraro will be talking about her book, The French Lesson, on her blog on December 20.

Marty Lopez will be talking about his book, Void & Sky, a Collection of Prose & Poetry, on his blog on December 28.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What exactly is a Well-Regulated Militia in 2012?

What exactly is a "well-regulated militia" in 2012?
Who needs protection in this country, the world, if not the innocents? Those children hadn't even lived a decade.

White Star-Gazer Lily symbolic of sympathy, purity, hope
I'm in the 6th decade of my life. I've lived a full, incredible, sad, joyful, foolish, and useful life. I've gotten to go places, do things, love and be loved as a child and as an adult. I've been a giver and a taker.

I've never needed to own a gun. And here I am! I have been frightened by guns, though. The "D.C." snipers killed their first victim only a mile from me. And there was a more private time when a gun owner scared me badly, both for his sake and my own, because I won't tell that story here. I ran far away from that person and stayed away from him and his guns.

Did you read "In Cold Blood?" They were all asleep, weren't they? I could reread it and get my facts straight, but I won't today. I'm sadder today than I was yesterday. Why is that, I wonder? 

I used to be a Kindergarten teacher. Emotionally disturbed kids. I taught older children, too, who were also handicapped one way or another. Not "right" for some reason. I was happiest with the youngest children, because when I tried to help the little ones, I felt like they still could be helped...

You know what else? I would have lunged at the killer on Friday and been killed myself. Like that principal, that psychologist, those teachers in Sandy Hook Elementary who died. I've no doubt that I would have done the very thing those adults in that building did. It is in your blood when you teach little ones. Keep monsters from hurting them or die trying? It has come to that.

Do we really differ so much, that some of us think we need to carry concealed weapons, buy assault weapons, keep weapons in our homes, locked away from our children or, in too many cases within their reach one way or another? 

If a killer comes into my home with a gun, will he give me time to unlock the gun safe and get my own gun? Do we all need to have guns so that we are all safe from people who have guns?  That's the right to bear arms extended to everyone, isn't it? We can all shoot each other, then. Is that a well-regulated militia? Who will protect who? I'm, like so many of you, so sick of this national insanity. 

And something else: there is profit for people who make these weapons. They exploit the paranoid and selfish. Profit. Money, money, money. Trumps decency every time, it seems. Out there in the world; the big bad world. Come on. Really. Does it have to be like that?