Monday, January 28, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 4 - Peter Pereira

Oniomania - Peter Pereira

Not so much the desire

for owning things

as the inability to choose

between hunter or emerald

green, to buy

just roses, when there are birds

of paradise, dahlias,

delphinium, and baby’s breath.

At center an emptiness

large as a half-off sale table.

What could be so wrong

with a little indulgence?

To wander the aisles of fresh

new good things knowing

any of them could be hers?

With a closet full of shoes

unworn back home,

she’s looking for love

but it’s not for sale —

so she grabs three of

the next best thing.

This poem appears in Peter's newest book, What's Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2007). Peter is a physician in Seattle, and was a founding member of Floating Brigde Press. His previous book, Saying the World, was also out of Copper Canyon.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 3 - Margaret Stawowy

Wanderlust of the Comatose
- Margaret Stawowy

Somewhere in Neurology, questions swim before you, elusive,
cryptic as the phantom fish they expect you to catch.
What trail of synapse are you warping, each day as long as two years?
If you want to go home, try counting backwards from 100 by 3’s—
just follow the lizards crawling across the ceiling—
when you reach negative 1, look down.
See the women on the shore? That’s your name they’re calling.
Your dog is in the driveway waiting,
while the lotus eaters prepare your homecoming banquet:
goat and hot links on the grill.
Great deejay, but it’s still a boring party with too many good old boys
pissing in the bushes.
What they don’t get is that you live in two places now, disconnected
as your broken ribs served up on a platter.
Your eyelids suspend over bruised sunsets, hot as infection.
Just one twitch and subterranean seas will rise again.

Margaret writes concerning this poem's connection to addiction/compulsion: 2007 was the year when I became one of the women on the shore, calling names of friends in hospital beds. Watching them slide in and out of consciousness/lucidity, listening to their startling pronouncements, they seemed in the thrall of some sort of interior odyssey, charting odd roads of brain geography. Heady stuff, yes, but at what price?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 2 - Michelle Billman

Left to Right - Michelle Billman

Missing Student’s Body Found on Golf Course. Duke Grad Student Shot to Death. At Least 33 Dead in Virginia Rampage. These are the yellow bricks I follow after the time for sleep has come and gone, fingers tapping the mouse as my eyes accept the glowing text—click, scroll, left to right, left to right, click, scroll. I’m validated. My checking—the locks at least twice, the too-big walk-in closet, the bath tub behind that opaque curtain, underneath the bed—is reasonable, responsible, a part of my daily routine. Click. My window checks, when I peer out into my sleeping neighborhood from the bottom corner of a drape or blind just to make sure, are normal, something everyone must do, surely; with these headlines you’d be stupid not to. Scroll. I make sure that no one’s hiding in the garage, stalking the back yard, or crouched underneath the bathroom sink. If the heater gives an occasional burst of cold air, I search for the opened window. Left to right. Around midnight or one, the heater’s clicks and drums start to murmur. My dog’s irregular snores whisper. The smoke detector’s green light floats like a target. Left to right.

In daylight, even though I can’t “check” things, I take inventories of which classrooms have what windows—big, small, I could fit through that, easy-to-open, first floor, second floor, how many steps to get there?—what exits—nearby doors, flights of stairs, long and bare hallways—and what ducking places—desks, tables, cabinets, where else? My inventories include people, too. A woman alone in a movie theatre, a man with a hood pulled over his head, anyone without a visitor sticker at work, crowds. Virginia Tech Gunman Identified as a Student.
I search because I didn’t see it the first time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Addiction as Ecotone - Part 1 - Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

A Brief History of Colonialism - Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

i (the early years)
. . . on the bed, my knees touching the refrigerator
. wherefore art thou. this hotel
looks just like the last one. the last time i was in total disregard of flesh
. it

lasted for what seemed an infirmary. an eternity of colonialism creates a wealth
of subtraction in which your ladle always fits
. i sip up your secret tusk like

pathogenic noblesse one by one. i feel the vertical celebration of misuse
approaching at great speed
, transparent as whim. over absence and

withdrawal, various imprisonment strategies masquerade as prayer, more
or less sustaining this readiness for future monopolies of spaciousness & nostalgia

ii (the middle period)
. . . on the table, my knees
against the wall. wherefore art,
though? this hostel
looks a lot like the last one don't you think. the last time
i was in total
disregard of mesh-like bellicosity lasting
for what
seemed an eternity an inferno of
colonialism made a muck
of collapse in which your pitchfork always fits. i lap up
your secret musk like

pathological nothingness one by one. a
virtual celebration of mayhem
approaching at great speed, transparent as bling over absence and

withdrawal, various survival
strategies masquerade as plans, more
or less sustaining this blueprint for future monographs
of disquiet & largesse

iii (dream of the future)
. . .
on the sofa, my hands
grabbing the table
. wherefore art
has gone no one knows
. this brothel
looks like the last one pretty
much. the last time
i was in total

disgust of .... it
lasted for what
seemed like an umbilical
. an emblem of
colonialism creates a stain
of subservience in which
your cup is always filled to the brim
. i am impaled
by your secret bulkhead
luck like perfectionistic nonsense
one by one
. a
visible celebration of misogyny
following at great speech, trashy as spring, flash over substance

and wherewithal, mysterious forms of
sabotage masquerade as paralysis mostly
sustaining the myths of
speciousness and neuralgia


Jane Joritz-Nakagawa is an Associate Professor at the Aichi University of Education in Japan, and writes concerning this poem: Currently I am reading a book titled Dreaming the Actual (SUNY, 2000), which includes translations of Israeli female poets. One of the poets included, Hedva Harechavi, is described therein as having a "passionate, obsessive, unrelenting" poetic voice. I think much of my recent work, especially those poems and essays which less covertly have as their theme capitalism, war, feminism, and ecopoetics, are written in a voice that could be described in much the same way. Some verge on hysteria. This poem is part of a large series of such works. I thought of using the word "capitalism" rather than colonialism, but to me the word colonialism confers more responsibility, illuminating better the process and the relationships. This poem will be included in my forthcoming (third) poetry book to be titled EXHIBIT C.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Series 2 - Addiction as Ecotone - An Invitation to Submit

(NOTE: Submissions for Series 2 - Addiction as Ecotone - are now closed.)

Ecotone: a transitional zone standing between two connected, yet separate ecosystems.

Addiction: the state of being enslaved to something that is
psychologically or physically habit-forming to
such an
extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. *

We're interested in exploring addictions (particularly their beginnings and, in some cases, their resolutions) as an ecotonea transitional place separating past and present, reality and fantasy. We thus invite you to submit artistic expressions you have related to this idea. (We're open to anything: striking text, video, finger paints, sand sculptures...)

Has your body served as the vessel for a chemical addiction? Your mind ensnared by an online addiction? Your soul trapped by the lyrics of a bad 80's band? However you view addiction as an ecotone, we're interested. Surprise us. Give us something brilliant, something edgy, and we'll launch your piece into the blogosphere (also called rogue publishing). You never know who might be watching.

Submission Guidelines:
  • While we are most interested in pieces that are unpublished, and will be more likely to accept your submission if Reimagining Place is its first home, we will consider previously published works during moments of weakness.
  • Our aesthetic tastes are as divergent and diverse as the landscapes we encounter. Language poems. Confessional narratives. Lyric essays. We'll consider anything sharp; however, given the nature of this site, brief is better. On rare occasions we'll publish something over 1,000 words.
  • This current series is tentatively slated to remain open through March, and submissions are welcome through this period.
You can send submissions to davidhg[at]

*Definitions are adapted from