Hey, got a poem published!

It’s “If I Only Had A…” Warning for creepsifying, heh.

Apex current issue


Persephone Lied

This has been kicking around the internet pseudonymous!y for years, and since it’s turned out to be the most popular thing I’ve ever written (so far, anyway!) I figured I should actually have it attached to my real name somewhere.

Persephone Lied

The truth is, I was bored.
My mother blissing ahead of me, rosebuds rising in her footsteps,
And I skulking behind, thinking,
Oh look. She walks in beauty.

Her power could boil rivers, if she chose.
She doesn’t choose. She scatters
Heliotrope behind her.

And me, I’ve no powers. I think she’d like
A decorative daughter. A link to the humans
She feeds with her scattered wheat.
A daughter wed to a swineherd’s just the thing
To show that Demeter’s a down-to-earth
Kind of goddess.

Do you know what swineherds talk about?
Diseases of, ways to cook;
“That ‘un’s got no milk for ‘er shoats;
Him, there, he’s got boggy trotters.”

And when he leaned in, smiling,
While we sat in a bower sagged with Mother’s honeysuckle,
When he said, “Now,
My herd’s growing and I’m thinking I could feed a wife—”
That’s when I snapped, I howled, I ran.

And when a hole opened up, a beautiful black, in all the pastels of my mother’s sowing.
Let me fix the lie: Nobody grabbed, nobody pulled.
I jumped.

I thought it was a tiny earthquake,
Thought I was killing myself,
Starting a long journey to Hades.
It was a more direct trip
Than I’d imagined—
I landed in his lap.

He just looked at me, said “Well,”
And kept driving his chariot down,
Flicked his leather reins near my face.
He did not give me flowers.
He never spoke of pigs.

Didn’t speak much at all. Just took me down in darkness
And did dark things.
I liked them.

I stumbled through his grey gardens, after,
Sore and smiling.
And the gardener said, “Little girl,
Little sunlit flower,
You belong in the world above.
Trust that they’ll come for you,
But while you wait
Don’t eat the food of the dead, for it will trap you here.”
And I said give me the fucking fruit.

But when I ate I could hear her howling,
See her spreading winter on the world.
My poor mother, who missed me after all;
My poor swineherd, starving.
Huddled up for warmth with the few he hadn’t eaten.

I spat out half the seeds.

So now I suffer through the summers,
Smile at the swineherd who tells me
Which shoat is off its feed.
Smile at my mother and walk behind her.
My powers have come to me now, and in her candy-colored wake I scatter
Sundew and flytrap, nettles and belladonna.

I smile and wait for November,
For when I come back to you.
Your clever cold hands and your hard black boots.
I don’t ask what the leather is made from.
I don’t think I want to know.

Library Yays!

Things of awesomeness: at Job 2 we finally moved into the renovated space, which means I have a real chair instead of being perched on what was basically a barstool with a back. This feels MUCH better. Also it’s a lot quieter in the new space. (For the MOST part. We share a wall with the meeting room, and Wednesday the Seniors group was having their monthly meetup, and I tell you what, those seniors were PARTYING. There were raucous piano renditions of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “Babyface.” I kept hoping for “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” but no dice. Anyway, as background noise goes, that was pretty FUN.)

And at Job 1, I am going to get to co-weed the Juvenile Reference section with the Children’s Librarian. I’ve weeded the paperbacks and the knitting section, but this is my first crack at reference and I’m looking forward to it–we’re cleared to cut the collection approximately in half, so it should be INVIGORATING. New shelf space for books that actually get used!

Also at Job 1, I asked the director if I could put together an LGBTQ read-alike brochure for the young adult section and got a yes! I was not entirely sure that was going to fly in our tiny town, so I was pleased. I made a list a while back for a local high school teacher to share with the school’s Straight-Gay Alliance, so I’ve been going through that list to make sure we still have the titles. (They tend to get disproportionately stolen–parents  have access to the records of their underage kids in our system, and probably a lot of the kids who are questioning their sexuality don’t want their parents to know. Poor kids.)

So, interesting projects and less painful seating, a good week all around in the work world. 🙂

Life update!

I live!

Things that are happening lately:

Pete just played Old Montague in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the school where he teaches.  Went  well & he got to swordfight. A bit further back, his second book came out and got a stellar Slate review. I am most proud of him.

Ian decided against law school at Rutgers, partly because financial aid was taking a while to get sorted. He might apply to another round of schools this year; meanwhile he’s applying for better jobs while supporting himself working at Chili’s. He and Awesome Girlfriend have been together for a year–they went to Bonnaroo together and went camping together last week, so their relationship has survived more than one tent; pretty promising, hah.

Dixon is kicking ass in the college theater department as well as the local pro theater scene. Just saw him in a Bootleg Shakespeare production in which he was a bitter, bitter little eunuch. Heeeeeee.  He is still with HIS Awesome Girlfriend. Both boys and both GFs will be with us for Thanksgiving, YAY.

And me? I started working at a second public library in May, doing cataloging and also interlibrary loan. (At my other job we’re still doing paper requests for ILL–at the new place I’ve trained on WorldShare & I looooove it.) This puts me up to about 38 hours a week. No benefits though. And, y’know, straightup fulltime would pay a lot better…

I’ve also been writing some poetry (and submitting it, after not doing that for ages.) And getting back into weightlifting. And knitting a lot. I actually got my first knitting commission!  (Four pairs of fingerless gloves, Maine Morning Mitts pattern.)

And yes, I voted. 🙂

Lukewarm on All Fall Down

Jennifer Weiner’s newest is a mixed bag. There are, as always with her, lots of funny and real-feeling moments, but I had a lot of issues with the ending. (SPOILERS AHEAD.)

Although I get that during the rehab stay the heroine was required to focus on what SHE did wrong and not on blaming other people, I was baffled that by the end of the book she seemed to be heading for a reconciliation with her husband without EVER discussing the myriad ways he had messed up, some of them pretty severe. He moved them out to suburbia without ever asking her if that’s what she wanted; he kept signing up to train for marathons without ever saying, hey, does me being gone for huge stretches of time work for you? He seemed to resent her work success instead of being happy that she stepped up to the plate when his career stopped paying well, and he refused to go to couples counseling when she tried to  talk him into it.  So, yeah, I was not buying the whole REUNITED (MAYBE) AND IT FEELS SO GOOD vibe.

Pretty Great Spawn

Just had to tell you that in the last week I

1) Had a conversation with Ian  wherein he was recounting chatting with a co-worker about his eclectic music taste and the co-worker said, “You’re probably into, like, punk-folk-ska!” and Ian excitedly said, “Yeah, you mean like Camper Van Beethoven?” and the co-worker said, “That’s a REAL GENRE?” Ian was disappointed that the guy was being sarcastic–“I thought we were about to have a music moment!”–he said.


2) Got an email from Dixon about a recent show he’d done that included the line, “I (*&(ing love  Shakespeare’s early plays!”

My kids, man. Love them so much.

Book recommendation: Rivers of London series, Ben Aaronovitch

I’ve read the first two books of this series, and they’re just delightful–I want to hand them out to strangers on the street.  The first was called Rivers of London in its original UK edition, and is Midnight Riot in the US edition.  (No idea why that change was made.)  The second is Moon Over Soho.

The series reminds me to some extent of Mike Carey’s Felix Castor novels.  But where the Castor books are urban fantasy crossed with detective noir, Rivers of London is urban fantasy crossed with police procedural.  Taking the noir out of the mix makes it, well, lighter. (Hah.)  There’s some fairly grim stuff going on, but the hero, Constable Peter Grant, is mostly fairly certain that he is at least attempting to do the right thing, a moral semi-certainty that was largely missing from Felix Castor.

Grant is already ensconced in the London police when he discovers his wizardly talents, and he remains a policeman, trying to work within the rules and regs.  He’s mixed-race, and is very well aware of how that affects his job and his life.  He drops the occasional pithy line about class and gender issues as well. He’s also very, very funny.

I’m really hoping we find out more about his mentor in the next two books.  In my head he is played by Rupert Graves.

I’d  call these a definite buy for any library with patrons interested in urban fantasy.  (And if your patrons AREN’T interested, CONVERT THEM!)  As for reading level, this would certainly be accessible to a high-schooler or a high-level-reading middle-schooler.  (If the middle-schooler is not British, I would modify that to “high-level-reading middle-schooler who would not be frustrated by occasional British terms.” Well, and whose parents would not be too upset about the occasional sex and cursing.)  Some of the magic-inflected violence, while not wallowing in gore, is truly upsetting in concept, so it is perhaps not for the seriously nightmare-prone.

I’ve got the third one waiting for me on my Kindle, and the fourth one is supposed to come out this summer!  YAY.  Five squees out of five!