What Does Self Know? A Post About Erdrich, Ephron, Facebook, Kasischke, and Tagatac

The book she returned to the library a few days ago, Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, which self couldn’t finish, stays in her memory.  While the book she is currently reading, Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck is getting just a wee bit tiresome.

In the Fall 2012 issue of Willow Springs is a poem by Laura Kasischke called “The Drinker.”

Self has always envied this writer’s last name, she doesn’t know why.  She likes to repeat it, pronouncing it wrong, of course.  Boy, what if her last name were Kasischke and people wouldn’t know she was from the Philippines blah blah blah.  The worst of it is that now she decided to get at least 30 Facebook likes for her second collection, Mayor of the Roses, and there are some who say, “Hope your sales increase!” as if that were the point.

But, self, what is your point?  Facebook is a marketing tool.  Isn’t it?  Isn’t it?  Guess that’s the way it comes off and who knows why self set herself this goal for the week, she just thought:  How awful it would be to die and only have five people who “like” Mayor of the Roses!

She knows it came out quite some time ago, but still it hurts that the woman who reviewed it for the Chronicle gave it only two stars on Goodreads (The woman is not Filipina, thank goodness, or it might hurt more)

So, back to the Kasischke poem.  Here are the first two verses (and for the rest, you’ll have to go to Willow Springs)

“The Drinker”

Who paid his taxes
Who raised his children
Who buried his dead
Who put his fist through the drywall once
And, once (just

once) sipped
from another man’s cup

But who never arrived late for the christening
Who kept, as suggested, his receipts,
Who, when the crippled girl needed
his seat, leapt
to his feet


    was smarter than we were, truly, so that
    in order to under-
    stand us he needed to drink

And, finally, a fragment from Geronimo Tagatac’s short story “What Comes After Nineteen” (Chautauqua Literary Journal, Issue 2, 2005).  Self has been reading Tagatac’s stories here and there, and is much impressed and wonders if he has a collection?  She’d love to buy it, if he does.  He deserves to be widely read:

“What Comes After Nineteen”

When she looked up, the guy was standing there, on her side of San Pablo, holding a cardboard sign that proclaimed “East.”  He had the easy look that her father had when he appeared to her, three days after his funeral on a Berkeley street.  And the hitchhiker stood, as her father had, with most of his weight on his right leg.  Around him the same indentation in the air, as though he were leaning against the background of the street and might push through it and vanish.  He was smiling like a man who’d solved a complicated problem.  Much later, Sandina would wonder why she stopped for him.

Self found, after googling, that Geronimo lives and writes in Salem, Oregon.  Which makes him practically shouting distance from the fabulous folks at Calyx Press.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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