Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From the Postcard at Vertigo Bookstore in D.C. *

Update: Who knew? You can post something to appear before your latest post? How dumb am I? Except this is great. Aha! I can rest easy (sort of). xo svs

It's still National Poetry Month & I've not mentioned it. Always have mixed feelings about it. That says much more about me than about NaPoMo (or whatever it is that people call it nowadays). I feel so exhausted by all of it & it's me, not them.

With all this writing-with-help-of-images, I thought I'd put in something by friend Reetika Vazirani. A few weeks ago Vertigo Bookstore, a beloved DC-area institution, announced that it was closing. Reetika would have had a fit. I'm sorry she's not here to pitch one. I can't put in the postcard image, though I've seen it. Copyrights being what they are, who needs the worry? Not only that, it's a prose poem describing the postcard image & thus, better not to use it. Instead, here's a pretty headshot of 1940s Billie from Jessica at myvintagevogue.

Note: This is not the poem layout from World Hotel; it's from my copy of Ploughshares. I do not know what Reetika intended; if she had to compromise because of the book size or not. I don't know. This is a problem in prose poem & other narrative layouts. Aieee. I forgot what it's like to be an editor. Widows, orphans. Etc. I'm going with this for now because I am tired. This Smith College link has more non-sensationalist information about Reetika. Her "stuff" is all over the Web. I wish someone would get this in order...I think it's being done...but I should finally screw up the nerve to ask. Touchy subject. Which is why I'll schedule this for 2am & another photo at 7am. So this won't have time to attract nuts. So why do it? Because I love the poem, postcards, the images, the person who wrote it, Vertigo Bookstore, it's NaPoMo or whatever...& Hazel at Clever Pup has been talking about synchronicity. 'night.

*From the Postcard at Vertigo Bookstore in D.C. (by Reetika Vazirani)

In the photograph of Billie Holiday taken by Mickey Pallas at the
1957 Newport Jazz Festival, she wears a low-cut evening gown & a
fawn-colored stole. Her rhinestone earrings are shoulder-dusters, &
her necklace falls almost to her cleavage in heavy leaves of glass
stones, or maybe they are real (though paste gems on Billie Holiday
never subtracted from her quality). The bracelet on her large wrist
spans wide as a man’s shirt cuff, & her nails are frosted. The
cigarette comes out at you, foreshortened over a score where the notes
are few with wide spaces between . . . Her hairline is even as
Nefertiti’s, eyebrows painted on in thick confidence, & her lips, most
likely red, are round in generous laughter for the photographer it
seems. She is not performing: that was before, or she’s going on
later. Billie Holiday is chic on her break; & when women open their
little drawers of half-used lipsticks two shades off, & mascaras
bought in anticipation of an event like the Newport Jazz Festival, they
know as I do looking at my stash of packaged glamour—we look for
it, & it’s not there.

Copyright © Reetika Vazirani
World Hotel

Copper Canyon Press, 2002

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