Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Seven Reasons to Read and "The Same Seven"

It's 10:50 p.m., and I'm sitting pool side at my hotel in Palm Desert because a) it's 86 degrees and this means I don't have to blow dry my hair; I can sit outside for a few minutes and let Mama Nature do the deed and b) it makes for a good introduction. The security here is top notch, no worries. Also, doesn't it sound very grown up and important to say, “I'm working pool side”?

The last time you caught up with me – or I caught up with you – a dear family member passed away leaving me to tidy up behind him.

I'm still tidying up. Which is why I'm back in California. In our last connection via TVFH poetry realm I neglected to point out that in addition to being a Spiritual Life Coach, columnist and editor, I'm also a mother, a grandmother, a fiance and a daughter. That's me up there in that picture (Buddha Beach, Red Rocks Crossing Sedona, AZ. in May of this year). I chose it because it's an excellent representation of my personal environment; I'm wrangling more than I ought to right now – burning the candle at both ends, which reminds me of the first poem I ever memorized, “First Fig” by Millay:
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh my friends –
It gives a lovely light!”
Speaking of things that give, what gave in the midst of my personal chaos was the opportunity to connect with our additional slated “Featured Poets” for their interviews. This causes me some serious remorse and I've pinned notices to my 2011 calendar in bright red screaming at me to “get on it, no matter what.” That's a hefty threat to the Universe! Although these days I'm practicing pro-noia, the belief that the Universe is conspiring with me, not against me.

I have the “Same Seven” from Cyndi Dawson that I'll post at the end here for your reading pleasure – it's a “mini interview” I'm going to insist that you take a time out to peruse her web, listen to her rhythm and feel the gritty goodness of a true word rocker.

My goal is to catch up with her to finish what I started, then bring the brilliant, dreamy goodness of Jaime Robles to your table.


In light of recent developments here at TVFH, we're going to make some minor changes to the Rear View and give the rest of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 some themes.
For those of you who have a print subscription to the 'zine, you were graced with poetry slated for all the Mothers in the world last May. In the USA we celebrate Mother's Day early in May, and I wanted something to reflect the importance of this event.

However, as of this month, we're going to begin sharing our poetry selections on line as well as in our print version – we don't want to leave our online subscribers without our poetry any longer.

For those of you interested in submitting, here is what we're looking for:
  • In September “The Decisive Moment” is what it's all about.
  • October is wrapped up with haunting goodness, so don't bother. We're good to go.
  • November: “Regret For Dinner”
  • December: “Empty Rooms”
  • January 2011: “Absent Light”
  • February: “Sweet Nothings”
  • March: “Forget About It”
  • April: “Fools” (Get it?)

These themes are open to your interpretation. Anyone who sends an inquiry that even mildly resembles a “what does that mean?” will be gently ignored.

If this turns out as well as I believe it will, then we'll continue with directing your thoughtful traffic. Enjoy the rest of your summer, be safe out there.

Now, as promised --

The Same Seven (questions) from Cyndi Dawson:

(1) Who is your Muse? May we borrow or rent her/him/them/it?
My 'muse' very often changes, and often not according to plan! Sometimes my muse is a very naughty muse. She plays hard with my friendships and relationships in order to set a fire under my ass. She likes me unprepared. It makes for more spontaneous writing! I profess to love stability, love and peace. My muses, however, are more punk rockers than hippies.

(2) Have you written something, crumpled it up and tossed it across the
room, then rescued it and smoothed it out - - only to spill
coffee/tea/Koolaid on it? (If so, did you write about that?)

I am very serious when I tell you NEVER. I am very careful with my work and write straight to online blogs so I cannot do those things. However, I have been known to have treated bills and past due notices that way! One must have priorities.

(3) How does your daily life affect your writing, and vice versa?
Any event of the day can spark a thought in me, and once I have a thought I have ideas for poems. This, as you can imagine, is very frustrating since I have ideas for poems pretty much 24/7. This is the curse of an artist. I often feel I view the world very differently than most of my friends and neighbors, which might very well explain why they draw their blinds and turn off their lights when they see my car pulling up to their houses.....
On the other hand, I have a fairly accessible outlet that requires little more than a keyboard. I am blessed to not have the expenses of a visual artist, and I need very little space to do what i love.

(4) How has your own writing been affected by the "rules" (whichever list
you use), and by teachers, programs, seminars, etc?

This is a brilliant question. I am, by nature, rebellious. I used to be one of those poets that felt my poems were divine messages penned 'through' me and not 'by' me, and I would not edit.I refused. Rules were always a problem for me. A dear friend, and very talented poet named Elliot Katz once told me, when I first began writing, "Cyndi, you have to edit your poems!"
"No, no-", I would say to him. "They were meant to come out exactly this way!"
Of course, once I matured and read those poems years later I could see how right he was. So I began workshopping and reading a lot more work by others. I took advice from more experienced poet friends and kept some work private to work on later. It has certainly improved my work, and I no longer look at editors suggestions with scorn. Now I appreciate the time they took to care enough to even MAKE the suggestions.
As poets, we often need to step away from our egos. If we can learn to separate ourselves just a bit from our work once we have a rough draft, we can make better choices on what really needs to remain, be changed or deleted.

(5) When did you start writing, and why?
Not to sound like a stereotype, but I began writing at a very young age as a way to deal with pain I was feeling. I was the youngest of a family who divorced while I was very young and it divided my siblings and myself. One lived with my father. One lived with me. My father had some chemical dependency issues and our relationship was very strained. So I left home at 17 to study acting in NYC, lived with a punk rock band for a short time on the Lower East Side and then found a wonderful artist named Rene whom I began doing performance art with at his Soho gallery. They were good times. My writing was most likely horrendous then, but you can't buy that kind of experience. I felt touched by a greatness of history- CBGB's, the booming art community in Soho then, and the deliciousness of NYC. And I wrote about it daily.

(6) Best rumor about yourself?
I know some not so nice rumors about myself, so hmmm.... a 'best'?
That I was in Playboy Magazine. Now, I must clear this, I was NOT in Playboy! I once did an art piece that was aired on the Playboy Channel, but NO! I was NEVER in Playboy Magazine, but I thank everyone who thought I was a candidate..........Actually, I salute you.

(7) Where are the best and worst places you've ever been?
The best place I have ever been (and where I still go) is Windsor in England. My brother-in-Law has a pub there called The King Henry VI and I actually was lucky enough to perform there once. The town is gorgeous. Little winding streets and Eton School just down the road with the Tuxedo-clothed school boys all fresh faced and smart looking.... There's a little tea shop where I get my tea, eggs, beans and tomato. It's about the most perfect place on earth. And a lot of drinking goes on there, which is good if I am on holiday!
The worst place I have been to, believe it or not, was Paris. Now, Paris IS beautiful, but as an American girl, it was not the nicest place. I love the french. They didn't love me. I was spit on there and called some very rude names. That 'may' have had something to do with my high school french, and 'maybe' a little something to do my thinking they would find it adorable, which they clearly did not. But I must tell you, poems did not come from that holiday.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Not the infamous album by Fleetwood Mac. No, instead these are rumors associated with an editor running amok in Joshua Tree, Big Sur and Palm Springs, CA. I am, without a doubt, still here and still reading. Please do blast all the conspiracy talk and revel in the truth.

I left for a two week vacation mid February, believing with all my heart and soul that I was going to replenish my heart and soul. I dutifully left a "vacation setting" on all my correspondence:

"Sydney Nash will be "out of the office" from February 10 through March 1. If your inquiry requires immediate attention, please contact Mike French directly via the "contact" information at the View From Here"

I returned home March 10.
In my real life, when I'm not reading poetry and networking for The View From Here, I am a Life Coach, a spiritual columnist and something of a pretty decent psychic. Sadly, my foresight was sincerely lacking when I packed my suitcases and headed off to the airport a month ago. In my own defense, I generally avoid questions such as, "Who will die while I'm on vacation?" when I head out of town.

Thus, what began as a nice get away trip ended as a very traumatic and expensive journey in to the center of my family. My oldest cousin decided to trip the light fantastique while I was visiting. He did not have a wife or children and his parents had passed some years ago. That left my incapable and very frail mother or her incapable and very frail sister to make decisions.

Enter in the only relatively (pun intended) sane person left to handle details. The man left behind a business and two homes without a Will. By the way, please don't die in the State of California on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The Coroners office is not open. Budget cuts, yanno?

In any case, travel was rescheduled, a funeral was arranged, attorneys hired, grumpy priests reckoned with and more. It was an oddessy of great patience, much telephone wrangling, a lot of "hurry up and wait" incidents; I am no longer an innocent when dealing with the art of death on this side of the coffin.

Arriving home to a multitude of additional worries including a mountain of email, work to be done, clients to be contacted and schedules to be reorganized all over again left me needing a vacation, from my vacation.

The result of this mess did not allow me to update and inform our poetically inclined readers of our most excellent February Issue and March did come in like a Lion. I am hoping it retreats like a lamb. But not one of those lambs from a Tim Burtonesque sort of romp. No no no -- we want peace.

ALL THAT BEING SAID - - however belated, our February Poets are an outstanding crew of intellect, humor and more including a most intriguing, thought provoking piece I could not say no to by the eloquent Jamie Robles; inspired by a piece of jewelry viewed at The British Museum which you will find just below our February Line Up Here:
  • Franz K. Baskett
    "Getting Started Outside Barstow" & "Between My First Sleep And My Second"
  • Carlos Hiraldo
    "Stiletto on the Still Earth"
  • Paul Handley
    "Marrow of Breath"
  • Christopher Woods

  • All of this goodness can be found in our print version. Feel free to purchase an individual issue or a subscription by following the tags at the top of the page.

    Now, as promised, "Gold Body Chain for a Small Woman" by Jaime Robles.

    “Have mercy and pity on me and let me rest my heart in you.”
    --translated from French and incised in a twisted gold brooch, 14c.(Scottish National Museum)


    Cross my heart. Place the long X of woven chain
    across the clavicle's horizontal bones: four-petalled; an ornament
    marks the junction with stones--front and back, roped:
    such discs serve as calculations of the heart's orbit.
    In the midst of tumult a man's voice curves--
    carves lines of gold--across the body's turfs

    seam settling over the seized heart

    as an amulet amethyst and garnet

    resplendent pearls passed into dust


    Can the earth have corners? Bisected twice in perpendicular,
    long loops collapsed into the rectangular--.
    Her breast a globe hung from the shoulder's
    cross, pressing flat against the cage of the lover's
    chest. A cloven circle. Stealthy in its advance, the heart passes
    through gates, buries itself beneath the earth, unlooses
    the foreign. Her arms flow upward--a gold cord remakes
    their embrace--his arms sketch the lower legs of the X,
    across her back, fixed. Each feels the arc of other between
    them and the open line of severance.

    three threaded thick seeming and

    four fingered into a fulcrum each

    strand strung from a single terminal


    The bird rushes into the window. It does not see
    the glass but believes its flight forward will be unimpaired, free--
    pursuing the mirage of sky on the utter surface, branches of trees,
    image smeared flat, highlighted and darkened, strangely:
    the flyer's reflection veers outward, hurtles head on.
    Shifts in blue cloud its small eye, miniscule evidence
    skims the black iris. The flyer plunges in.


    His voice follows as precisely as a finger the chain
    that paths under her arms, bright like a coin among many,
    more than a thousand: edges of silver clipped, the gold
    pliable, fluid. Her face, a linen coffer opened like a fold.
    Surely something dreadful must have happened
    for no one returned--the treasure left, never retrieved.

    loop-in-loop links of gold

    ends turned toward the center

    fused fracture filleted into the prior

    Picture Credit to Andrew Mason on Flicker for "screaming hand" in banner above.

    Sunday, 24 January 2010

    Where Was Mine? -- Cyndi Dawson, word rocker

    The Rear View publishes accepted poetry in our print version, although once in awhile we will place a few selected poems online. The April issue of "The View From Here" will feature an interview with Cyndi Dawson in The Rear View section, take a moment to read this piece out loud and then visit her MySpace. Tell her we sent you.


    Where Was Mine?

    So what? Leaves blew. I was bundled in soft fleece
    umbrella tightly wound
    Dead center of patio table
    a sure sign your smile had altered, stitched
    as it were
    The crows. Everywhere.
    Telephone wires filled with them.
    Everything comes to some remnant of self,
    we say...
    Everything gasps for last gulps of before
    to become refugee in newer seasons, falling leaves and all.
    You became a fugitive within your own skin.
    You shook thunderous rage when storms grew luminous
    in your eyes
    brewing winds, warning signs. I chose blindness.
    There. Had I only seen.
    This world told us move on but we stalled and fought.
    We held trunk of tree white knuckled revealing shadowed
    not to let go.
    So what? Stiff crimson leaves blew:
    cold wrapped around. Us.
    Time is cruel as frost
    Yet we engaged it.
    I pulled loose threads from your blue lips
    tugged upwards for one full smile
    (trees were small in comparison)
    Around us worlds reached for survival.
    Isn't that what living things do?
    What we did, too?
    I reached for your smile
    it hung there like a crescent from one single thread.
    Winds roared, then descended down. Willing to kill.
    Where was my crescent, I wondered...
    Where was mine?
    Poem published in the January Issue of The View From Here
    Photograph By Julian Povey