Octopus' Garden

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I've moved my blog headquarters to a new blog space: Running Brush.

Octopus' Garden and A Woman Who Loves Insects archives going back to 2002 have all been relocated to the Running Brush site as well.

Hope to see you there? :)
posted by Artichoke Heart at 12:40 PM | link | 1 comments

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


My horoscope:

The sirens are enticing and wooing and tempting you again. This time they say have a really fabulous deal, even better than before. They're sorry, by the way, about the somewhat deceptive advertising they used on the last occasion you came their way. They want to assure you that they'll never again pull the bait-and-switch routine. So are you ready to give them another chance? Don't look to me for advice on what you should do. I'm simply here to report the situation. Besides, you need a good stiff test of your powers of discernment. Oh, one other thing: To demonstrate their sincerity, the sirens are offering you their first song and dance absolutely free.
posted by Artichoke Heart at 9:47 AM | link | 2 comments

Saturday, January 10, 2009


It's been brought to my attention that my blogging has been particularly slackerly as of late and yes, I'm afraid it's true.

Some of this has been due to the end-of-the-semester maelstrom. Some of this is about being out of town. Some of this is about the holidays -- otherwise known as The Season of Despicable Mental Hygiene. Some of this is about being sucked down the blackblack hole that is Crackbook. Some of this is about being preoccupied with meatspace issues. Some of this is about having written myself into a blogging corner in which I've abandoned the more casual, conversational posts in favor of drafting, poeming, and conversing with my Japanese Mother to the point that I feel kind of weird/self-conscious about writing the casual, conversational post about nothing.

So, um . . . yeah.

Here's a partial compilation of what's been going on with me:

I was totally distracted and forgot to make a New Year's resolution this year. Is it too late? What should I resolve? Perhaps it should really be something about procrastination? [meta tag] But I'm not ready to make a resolution yet, so will think about it for awhile longer. Perhaps by the Lunar New Year? [ / meta tag]

The Gaslight Lounge in Soo Foo is, just for the record, the consummate blend of kitsch and squalor. I <3 it!

I attempted to throw an Absinthe Party following the departmental X-mas potluck, but as it turned out, everyone became distracted by mezcal instead. Power tools were left behind, which engendered a lot of saucy post-party badinage on Crackbook. Drill eventually exchanged for cupcakes in complex hostage negotiation at Carey's bar. Absinthe Party? Still on the horizon.

Crashing a wedding at the Eagle's Lounge with girlfriends will concomitantly lead to such epistemological concerns as whether or not the correct version of the chicken dance involves a do-si-do or no and whether or not Stacy's mom has got it going on.

During the winter months, I adore acorn squash with a love that is irrational, obsessive, and -- quite frankly? -- just a little bit unholy.

I spent ten days in residency at the lovely Lied Lodge over X-mas break with wonderful colleagues and students, teaching for the University of Nebraska low-res M.F.A. When I returned home, I discovered that my friend John had left a hibernating Fairy Queen(?) insect in my refrigerator for me in a plastic baggie -- wings enfolded down into a clever, compact origami. What could be better than that?

I have been trying to stretch and learn and grow in certain key areas. I have been trying not to let my past blindly dictate my future. I have been trying to arise to challenges that I would not have been able to rise to before. It's hard. And scary. And painful. But there's a kind of joyous openness to all of this, too. And I think it might also be, ultimately, very very good for me?

What's new with you, oh blogosphere???
posted by Artichoke Heart at 2:50 PM | link | 10 comments

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Frozen morning's bedside lamp an intrusive klieg light slicing away sleep's velvety privacy. Cold air rushing in through the window frame, shiver of snow outside. Blurred plume of car exhaust toreadors up in a lazy nebula spotlit underneath the alley streetlamp, drifts like tangled strands of hair into the thorny crocheted lace of bare trees.

Late afternoon light's lazy drizzle palely honeycombing in. Sticky glitter braising the cat's fur, sallow yellow striping floorboards, brush of shimmery butter basted on the bookcase.

Tungsten's photons brightening in winter's early fade-out; gas flame's blue fandango; Coltrane's sax a hot gilded bird tracing radiant orbitals.

The cool glow of this screen. These words burnished pennies refracted into an inverted beam and slide-projected onto the lens behind your retina: electric filament glittering along the optic nerve, sizzling upward where the light of your mind will coppersmith them into jingle and shine.

See how the reflected wedges of rapidly-dimming windows kiss the handblown glass into some kind of quiet incandescence?
posted by Artichoke Heart at 2:42 PM | link | 0 comments

Thursday, December 04, 2008


What I Wish I Was Doing this Afternoon:

1. Writing, writing, writing

2. Reading Murakami

3. Confessing all my secrets to the river, and secretly trysting with the sky

4. Sipping absinthe in the bathtub while listening to Thelonious Monk humming in the bright gilded spaces underneath the keys

5. Transgressing

What I Wish I Wasn't Doing this Afternoon:

1. Preparing an important, but frankly-sort-of-completely-fucking-boring document

2. Grading and commenting, and grading and commenting some more

3. Procrastinating grading and commenting, and grading and commenting some more

4. Self-flagellating in completely tedious/predictable/not-even-vaguely scintillant way re: procrastination of grading and commenting, and grading and commenting some more

5. Resisting transgressing

* * *

Recent Linky-Lou Who's:

Interview with Superstition Review

Poems in Fall 2008 Issue of diode

Poems in coconut 14
posted by Artichoke Heart at 1:29 PM | link | 3 comments

Thursday, November 27, 2008


In what has become a time-honored, albeit exceedingly silly, tradition here at Octopus' Garden, I present to you aerial and side shots of the T-giving trifle prior to heading over in a little bit to spend my T-giving with lovely friends E. and J. and their funny/smart boys and E.'s parents. Happy T-giving, o blogosphere!!!!!

posted by Artichoke Heart at 3:28 PM | link | 6 comments

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


You dream your feet are tender and cold and bare. It is winter. You wear an ember-colored blouse. Someone is reading poetry. It isn't like you to take off your shoes like this.

(Prism, nacre, calcite, aragonite, abalone, mother-of-pearl, spiral, whorl.)

Coin ricochets down in a metallic clatter, ropes shudder and creak, velvet shimmies up, and you slow dance in your clear glass fishbowl with your eyes closed. Center page for eight minutes, all languorous swirl and trope: sequin scales' illusion, allusive fan of silk sleeves. Idee fixe with nowhere else to go.

At night, you shut the blinds against late afternoon's too-early dark. You want to hold all the light inside. You don't want to become a silver top unspun. You don't want to be unribboned.

(Prism, nacre, calcite, aragonite, abalone, mother-of-pearl, spiral, whorl.)

Wait for morning, wait for the wind to please stop blowing because you are brittle paper palimpsest with words you can't quite make out pressed down by a too-hard pencil on a torn-away top sheet: vastuary? unrinded? bromeliaphilia? n-ache-r? Wait for morning, wait for the wind to please stop blowing, wait for your chest to unclench enough to take another breath, wait for the weak-tea November light to come and lick the stubble fields into a quiet burnishing.

(Prism, nacre, calcite, aragonite, abalone, mother-of-pearl, spiral, whorl.)
posted by Artichoke Heart at 10:43 AM | link | 3 comments