(steve) JOBS

apple

you took away my last bookstore
it was You or that eight year Republican administration
callouses of financial markets or the friendly Walmart greeter
but I forgive you
bespectacled innovator oracle extraordinaire
running your delivery truck on the information super highway
windows rolled down for every drive
and honestly, I’d read enough of the Classics

I was processing your whole life stored
at the top story of the Academy of Arts building
in San Francisco, a home for City Lights
it was you and me and the shadows cast by our streetlight
before we got booted
out of our corresponding board rooms
for paperless slips
while constantly preparing to step down

now we belong to a fourth generation
and 21st Century Love is a touch screen
a stainless device
a link we copied, the highlight of living
before we paste away
I was still hoping you would
show me a resolution not too far from Eden’s tree
and some application

Copyright © 2015 · Elizabeth Ganot · All Rights Reserved ·

dear september (wild myths and berries)

       And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
        Until they think warm days will never cease.
– John Keats

Dear September 2014,

lantern

I read somewhere there are six daughters and seven sons in the main myths of the Hawaiian Islands- but when you’re sleeping ten minutes from the mouth of the Halema’uma’u crater- there is only Pele that matters, and maybe Hi’iaka hidden in the night around her. I never found out for sure, I heard someone else say that I had it all wrong because there were forty sisters- though admittedly, this was when you counted the thirteen incarnations of one of them. And if you do begin to count those, I am not sure where you’d ever stop, as it seems the Hawaiian gods are not limited to one body- they can be themselves, human, a fern or a wild boar, coral, a gourd, a type of banana, or the rain in a season like September.

campfire1

I slept in a small green tent and ate a cob of sweet white corn and ruddy potatoes balled in tin foil around a campfire. I remember laughter and paper plates, the first bite of ono, red wine, eggplant, a wedge of gouda, and hodgepodge of grilled vegetables. There was also someone else’s birthday cake one night followed by an unparalleled consumption of marshmallows. I remember strong coffee in the morning, writing postcards overlooking the crater, haphazardly taking pictures of arbitrary scenes and wondering if I would be able to write anything definitive or explicative about hiking trails on the back of a volcano for so many days in a row.

I had a few bad fights on the camping trip- which I can not fully blame the other person or people involved for, as much as I’d like to. I think I’d been caging things for a while inside walls and cars and offices that had nowhere to go in the absence of available doors to lock responses behind.

And truthfully, I had no temper to sort anything out on the trip. Instead, I lost myself in miscellaneous wads and wisps and endless unnamed wild things.
volcanohikemiscellany

Then, back home to mondays and laptops and indoor plumbing and writing some letter like a man in the trenches inching forward on his stomach and elbows as close to the truth as he can get.

Still not understanding the juxtaposed warnings of various incarnations of myths, I left the red ohelo berries on their branches.

love and campfires,
Elizabeth

volcanogreenery

halemaumaucrater

campfires

 

 

dear June, July, August (buzz, jungle, salt)

The new day rises
as heat rises, 
knocking in the pipes 
with rhythms it seizes for its own 
to speak of its invention— 
the real, the new-laid 
egg whose speckled shell 
the poet fondles and must break 
if he will be nourished.
– Denise Levertov

 

Dear June, July, August 2014,

The summer was so long again. A runaway sentence. The consecutive jazz solos of timeless rhythm experimentation. A line out the door. A rope down a well.

summer2014I find myself outside midday- somewhat pestered by the golden swelter and childish glow of summer afternoons. It’s too bright and I need a straw hat. I’m restless and I want darker sunglasses, books with a harsh sensibility and ice cubes that don’t melt. I can’t help but feel like I’ve written a decade of descriptions of summer in Hawaii. I sent all those letters away last year or the year before that- when I was not so unsatisfied with the strawberry moon, seaside notions, cotton dresses.

I was born in June. It was 6:40pm during a summer of blood, oppression and chaos of political unrest in Guatemala City. My adoption had been well arranged prior to my birth and at 2 and half hours old, I was in already in the arms of my new parents. When I was 14 days old, a giant hand propped my infant head up and snapped my first passport picture. What next? Florida. Islands. Buzz. Jungle. Salt.

I have never been back to Guatemala. In the summer of my 21st birthday. I went on a tour of Mayan ruins in Belize and looked across the border to Guatemala. My impressions of Guatemala are mostly from a handful of photographs taken decades ago on streets I don’t the names for and fields of vetiver that are likely no longer even there.

summer2014My dad passed away the same summer I was born. I was too young to remember him but people were always talking about him in those early years and I grew up on stories of the man who had named me Elizabeth. What I remember first is all in Canada- but what I am remembering just now is specifically Aunt Melva.

zmelva2 copyWhat I remember about my aunt is a wooden cabin, a piano and a box of toys just for me, horses and camel stools and a lot of singing. It was Aunt Melva who nicknamed me ‘Luci’ after my father. His name was Lucien and so for the first eleven years of my life and every summer I spent back in Canada my family called me that.

Sometimes I am still ‘Luci’ in the summer.

I suppose I grew up with the sense that you could be whatever people called you- down to the very name you had. But one day I had the feeling that I was putting on a school uniform that was suddenly too tight in all the wrong places- and that I wasn’t Luci at all. It was something my mother had said in passing- that Lucien had chosen the name Elizabeth for me. camelstoolsAnd I had the sense of something then that I’d never had before- that he had dreams for me the way parents do and somehow I knew he had dreamt I would be my own person.

There were such exotic African and Indian names in Trinidad. I think I wanted to belong there in my keen adolescence- and I was ‘Zabe’ there first. Zabe, rhymes with cafe- which is the way I always describe it when saying it out loud. I suppose Zabe is that young feisty teenage girl brimming with spunk and ambition somewhere island hopping between Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and St. Vincent. I took on plain Elizabeth when I came to Hawaii. Everything stripped away to start again. I tried to match Isabel and even Isabella when I lived in the spanish district of the Mission in San Francisco- like Maria or Juanita as if a name could connect me to a heritage and culture I know very little about. Both Isabel and Elizabeth are the names of queens- but peering in the mirror as perhaps all queens do from time to time- I still dream of what it might feel like to be more than I am. I still want to know what it feels like to be a great person or even just to be great at being yourself.

summerjungle For my birthday this year, we went down to a buzzing beachhouse on the east part of the island. I went swimming in salty ponds and walked over cracked mossy sidewalks and felt my history long and tangled like jungle vines that wind through everything.

June. July August. I guess I’m still living in the past. I didn’t sit down to rehash namesakes and history. To be quite honest, this is the stuff all your friends know- but not the stranger you imagine stumbling haplessly upon your story with fresh ears. I hope next summer I am writing about what is happening in the present- and that what is happening will be a great adventure worth writing about.

There’s not much to else say for now. I want to tell you that I have started my Chapbook and it feels a lot like my life- scraps of brilliant and mediocre moments piled on top of each other- a jumble of seemingly impossible seasons. I wonder how I will ever make any sense of it all, if it could ever have some discernible meaning or message, and if that message could ever make a real difference.

I revisited Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to A Young Poet this summer. I reread the following paragraph many times during the long afternoons.

My dear Mr. Kappus: I have left a letter from you unanswered for a long time; not because I had forgotten it – on the contrary: it is the kind that one reads again when one finds it among other letters, and I recognize you in it as if you were very near. It is your letter of May second, and I am sure you remember it. As I read it now, in the great silence of these distances, I am touched by your beautiful anxiety about life, even more than when I was in Paris, where everything echoes and fades away differently because of the excessive noise that makes Things tremble. Here, where I am surrounded by an enormous landscape, which the winds move across as they come from the seas, here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own; for even the most articulate people are unable to help, since what words point to is so very delicate, is almost unsayable. But even so, I think that you will not have to remain without a solution if you trust in Things that are like the ones my eyes are now resting upon. If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor:then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.

love and the great silence of these distances,

Elizabeth.

 

blowpops:

blowpoppic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tongue-colored teenagers, the mouthfuls play
forsaken, lolli-popped in flavor trade
fuchsia oral fixated stains decay
vagrant innocence by candy swirl fade
dissolving taste of a faint youthful sweet
blow pop-boulevard slag, cigarette dreamers
who bite in disbelief and still secrete
cravings with stomachs for naked redeemers
nail polish chipped, prophet pinstripe patrol
drip modern saliva on whimsy war
though not yet fail-stained cold, teeth sinking told
or unmasked apple rotten at the core
but plum eye shadow dark, goth ghetto charming
forming in bubblegum anthems unsung
so eager tattoo and bra‐strap revealing
are old lolly‐cuts that start on the tongue

Copyright © 2015 · Elizabeth Ganot · All Rights Reserved ·

 

ANDREW (bird)

andrewbirdcanter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

asterisk black, castaway drafty
tangles of Grimsey, finglerlings jangly
the first poem betrayed, strays down the stairwell
lacking canter, yawning Zinfandel
brimming his whims, swimming hymnals
buried Valkyrie cries, furious symbols
swallowing quotients of scattered rattle
a valiant tangent of flat-out battle
clenched bouquet rhyme, morning glories
plucked from the last of our very first stories
when with swollen emotion
I stole your devotion
on emigrated floorboards, homeless soupçon
whistling all this with nothing to stand on

but the first poem is never poetry
and you should not waste your time
not for a flowery word or two
let me save you from that crime
it’s Manhattan prattle bat out the window
to chap patter flat out there on the street
and you must not fall for these diverting antics
because you think you hear a beat
it’s just a trick of a fickle meter
solvent run off with another line
do not let it run into your arms
I have cast it out of mine
as our lives are in wingspan, soaring out of view
in the physics of psalms, flighty as you

around the time my only heart broke
sometime before the last time I ever spoke
or mentioned ascension, the sonnet twinge
isochronal grammar, the orchestrated fringe
captured in letters, signed love and a thing
but free as a Bird in lines you could sing
all in effort to inhabit plumed compositions
all in good measure, but lost in auditions
days made of joints to digress and describe
marrow graffiti, bare bones of an outline
you had some glockenspiel to forget me
and find yourself along the way
a body of work
for everything else I could never say

which was fine for a year exactly
in a flood of organs, riverside khaki
until you suggested rather matter of factly
if you think there’s something else
Well, you’re right.
There is.

Copyright © 2015 · Elizabeth Ganot · All Rights Reserved ·

advice :

advice

find and eat a handful of sugar snap peas
they are better than you remember
midsummer leaning on lattice, on lampposts
pommes frites and lèvres pomme
fenceposts and the late blooms and barbed fire
of the late sauvignon sun

do not underestimate straw light
spinning centuries on the face of a coined phrase
as we head out and high tail it down the boulevard
bon mots and mot justes
a young night deepening in an oak barrel
constellations of ripened blackberries inside

Copyright © 2015 · Elizabeth Ganot · All Rights Reserved ·

ERNEST (hemingway)

hemingwaythumb

put your cigar out, let me gypsy your hands
away from gripping stories, trains, rails
I am wearing your worn aviators
with impressions taken from your face
so let me buy you a new jacket
and let me pay for your past taxes
let me write off your wars

come on, down this old-fashioned
errand of feasts removed as I remember
I have to run with the bulls in Pamplona
I have to leave a trail in the dust
I have to mail Dylan some boots

You are me at my best end
I am as horrible as you ever started
off headlong into wrestling icebergs
away from the end of the line
apprised nobly, in cold fiction

every one of them thinks
they could have been your friend
you and I know those unborn promises
the length of a life where everyone is your lover
had or having no time for the great depressions

I was your unclaimed and nameless imagined friend, Ernest
and I am your friend now
the phantom outside your door
who beckoned you to step forward
who beckoned the future with its blind cruelty and
merciless farewells
to my own birth in arms

to the future that was waiting
past sunshine and also roses
where I remain nameless without you
burrowing up the last beauty as a beast hoping
in a lost generation
I can save you at least

Copyright © 2015 · Elizabeth Ganot · All Rights Reserved ·

2014 summer playist

Dear Summer 2014,

I feel a lack of understanding flare against the whole sunny afternoon. The horizon still refuses to bend when a question isn’t answered, though obviously, there’s no harm in asking everyday, everynight with light interest. I think about lovers crossing countries and continents on boats and trains just to spend a few months together. I find myself thinking it might be good to travel somewhere just to stand in front of a particular artifact, or someplace like Venice that some people say will soon be gone, gone, gone. It’s nice to dream about the future, though it feels a lot like I am talking backwards through daydreams. I’m losing a rock paper scissors game with the long season and I sincerely wish I understood the strange wars of that summer feeling.

love and refrains,

elizabeth

PAUL (muldoon)

paulmuldoonpoem

the moon is a pirate hook
forget about Bin Laden
Orwell never knew him
forget about Simon & McCartney
and get in line to save Muldoon
from 600 poems a week!
I read somewhere
He reads somewhere

the sun curves on a saber
we will keep from rising in the East
you forget Neruda and Picasso
how to interpret their language
I forget what cannons say
what message arises from tombs
God is your burning Bush
God is your New King’s Translation

the stars turn like fallen men
we are all Newman
there is nothing to Revere
except some shorter hem and haw
in Sarah’s purse for some make-up
the Pope absolves in so many words
the dimes I took from Peter
for debts I’ve already forgotten

Copyright © 2015 · Elizabeth Ganot · All Rights Reserved ·

dear May (what about a chapbook?)

Dear May 2014,

The website. A creative endeavor? Or just a popular distraction?

I haven’t written a real poem this year. I haven’t finished a new chapter on my novel. Those are just the facts, the drapes pulled back as you stand in nothing but your skivvies, the milk from the back of the fridge, the dirty laundry kicked into the center of the room with the suggestion that someone is going to do something about it.

clutter1

What about a chapbook? It’s an idea that been kicking me around for a while.

My heart is full of modern ambitions and yet cluttered with this strange connection to the past. I’m in the same situation as a lot of artists. I am exactly like musicians who don’t need to make real records anymore. Music is on the internet now, the digital there (wherever there is) in spots and clouds for streaming, for downloading, for easy and sustainable purchase and transport. Our creativity is alive on Tumblr. We’re living on only a handful of newspapers and magazines now. Everything else is clutter. I mean, c’mon, we’re trying to save the planet here. But there is still a magic when you hold a real record in your hands. There is still something to be said for holding a book. And maybe there’s always more than one way to save something, a planet or otherwise.

I made a choice this year to get this website together, to build something out of nothing, and however I feel about it now- a healthy mixture of shame and pride- it’s something I made on my own. I don’t feel like I haven’t tried to join the modern chorus of contemporary expression. I am still trying. And the truth is that I have a lot of ideas about what this website could eventually be someday. More than it is. Less about me. More about taking a look at the letters this generation is writing- about music, to their heroes, about the future, to politicans, and to each other. When I think about it growing, I see great things- but as far as something tangible- I am not sure what I will be left with. A tangible change. That’d be nice.

In the middle of sifting through my thoughts on all this, a good friend posted this video. It felt like a confirmation of everything I am feeling. I realize this is a conversation that my whole generation is having. We are coming to better conclusions every day. It’s nice to think we still have time to come up with more answers.

What about a chapbook? Something real to give away. People still need real things.

love and clutter,

Elizabeth.