Posts Tagged ‘Holly Anderson’

And this is how…

August 31, 2012 Comments off

by Holly Anderson

And this is how it was for a long time and she was your only sister until she climbed that ladder and stretched out across the night sky to sleep.


Pyroclastic     characterized by explosive gas, ash and pumice

Bastard Measure      odd point size (9 pt.)

Lapidation               the act of stoning


Now the wine woman could change into any off-kilter or improbable thing or person she chose to with a simple ‘yip’ or by baring her teeth.


No more ‘Chopsticks’ — now it was all Glenn Gould all the time.


Sleeping under dirt blankets         Sleeping under ice blankets

Sleeping under chalk blankets      Sleeping under slate blankets


Research Ellen Key, Swedish feminist Free Love proponent

wrote  Love and Marriage  1912


I speak. I talk. I crow. I sing.


Sregolatezza               intemperate immoderate debauchery disorder


There are modes of intellectual and sensuous reality founded not on language but on other communicative energies such as the icon or the musical note. And there are actions of the spirit rooted in silence.
George Steiner, ‘The Retreat from the Word’


They ate shark meat, drank rain water from their blistered palms
and listened to high church music from an unknown hell. Raw wound
sound ‘submitsubmitsubmit’. So difficult to submit. Whose metaphors
are these? Whose ghosts pack the choir loft that stinks of myrrh?


This vehicle has been checked for sleeping children.


Art is what you have to do when it doesn’t have to be done.


Rt. 28 Economics:      Stimulus Sirloin Steak Dinner 7.95


The tiny tufts of impatiens every six inches like cheap pink & white buttons
annoy in this half-assed spitting rain.


Her name was Number. His name was Skin.


Mordbrenner             criminal gangs that roved central Europe


people here will give you food  /  threatening might get results  /  money here  /  stay away, people want you to work


Picasso: This target on my eye might bring heaven closer. In my soft little slippers and my stained, frayed shorts.


Thin Spots Galore touched the clouds/sky/weather from her 30-foot perch, an aluminum ladder named Doug.


Stirred up the milk of amnesia.


Goodhue County, Minn.  Research poetry barns outside Red Wing.


Stenciled white paint    Breathing in leaves ashes…drawing the harvest inside us


She put pine needle in her vein. She dreamt tree’s dream.


Straight lines in the landscape help the aviator.


Notebooks are the quarries of artists.

Author’s note: I’ve still got a file drawer full of notebooks/journals & datebooks that go back to the late 70’s. I randomly grabbed a 1980 lab book and a pocket-sized notebook from 2008. Working quickly I skimmed lines and pulled bits from both books and dropped them straight into a single Word doc without noting either year.

Funny how little my interests and obsessions changed in that 28-year period.

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Holly Anderson’s The Night She Slept With A Bear, published May 2012, is a collection of flash fictions and mesostics shipping with an original soundtrack CD written and played by Chris Brokaw from Publication Studio in Portland, Oregon. For more about Holly, see her page on the Mission of Burma website.

Categories: Fragments Tags:

AKA Annie

November 9, 2011 1 comment

by Holly Anderson

So    now
I take the car service way out there for what?
To THE Bronx? What is that anyway?
Some wrong turn a Dutchman took?
It’s all gone. None of it is
here: Fulton cobbles dipped in pewter, the shitting,
shrieking gulls
wearing their necklaces of fish guts and dawn-tinted tiaras.
This new joint looks like an airport.
The sweet sweet reek and bladderwrack all gone.   All gone.
Some of those weisenheimers always called out ‘Nice rack, Annie’
my buoyant my
bouncing clouds of joy       Oh!
how the boys enjoyed the chest that some god somewhere
gave me to share
joyfully with all the world. All gone.
A bit of luck for the really young ones now.
A floppy bit of rest for me old market boyos.
Game over.
Nothing left to sell.
Better to bundle these riddled bones and storied skin
mottled blue and tallow yellow, red bursts and pin dots. What the hell happened to the queenly scroll of vellum that men pored over, studied and adored?

so I just watch wonder
and wait now for warmth to find me    again.
Tucked up in a tidy corner with some busted flat, waxed boxes underfoot
and a tower of clean crates at my back.
Dozing.   Nothing left to sell.
I’m happy to sleep. When I sleep I can fly. Not so dramatic that
just    me running    hard
running full-out down a lake road    sun-blistered and so
much hair   where is that hair now?
The way it wagged like a tail   like a curtain   like water tumbling over rocks
my mouth laughing the panting   he is chasing my fine frame wanting me again wanting to worship at my freckled altar
but    I’m always running   hard          and then
and then I’m lifting off     tanned legs bicycling over spruce tops far
far beneath the skittish clouds    and I can read all the
alphabets of pine pitch birds bottle green and blue sky symbols.
Flying             high    where it’s clear and it’s cold as pack ice.
Where it’s polar. Where it’s quiet. It’s so quiet.

Maybe I’m a satellite.

‘AKA Annie’ was inspired by a
New York Times article about Gloria Wasserman’s storied life dated Oct. 10, 2010

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Some of Holly Anderson’s recent work can be heard on Peg Simone’s 2010 record Secrets From the Storm (Table of the Elements/Radium). Forthcoming in 2011: ‘The Night She Slept With A Bear,’ a collection of flash fictions and mesostics shipping with an original soundtrack by Chris Brokaw from Publication Studio in Portland OR.

Categories: Worship Tags:


October 5, 2010 Comments off

by Holly Anderson

So you know how a stray dog will dip its face into any dirty bit of puddle? Well, when Taller began doing the very same to Smaller people screamed real loud that they were out to swindle us somehow or bring the railing wrath upon us. Take your pick.

And didn’t we all think they looked suspicious and shifty, walking right up to our triple-strand razor-wired barrier with their swollen lips and sun-damaged eyes. No Identity card, no permanent address, not even vaccination or gender verification marks. No acceptable explanation for where they could have been. We’re looking to share something so valuable with all of you. Their wild eyes blinked slowly as we gathered in the center of our compound, unable to decide should we beat them straight up, or immediately banish them or be the audience they seemed to want. We were bored and the Pheedwagon was still hours away from arrival. They praised something out there in the murky blue beyond the furthest gate when we said we’d watch.

First we’ll lay down the golden ground said Smaller as she unfurled a moth infested length of yellow colored, old style fiber blanket. They paced it out in half-steps, then stood dead still and both of them went into a wheezing, winding story about a roaring comet of flying trash they’d been hit by out on some unnamed plain. They said they’d been plastered in torn or burnt pages and read many of the old words that had been eliminated by a series of court orders.

We’d sold off our names for credit vouchers long ago in the earliest days of The Curtailment but we had our assigned logos and we had the might. So then we roared in unison start it now as the swarms of black flies chewed us and left their trail of poisonous Braille across our faces and tattooed limbs.

It was right about then that Smaller took Taller into her arms and started rubbing against her in a shape like a wagging tail.

We looked hard at each other and some of us were falling to our knees, throwing our arms up high and begging forgiveness. Contact of any sort was routinely forbidden. Every one of us knew that.

After all the talking they pressed their mouths together tight. We heard some humming, then some moaning sounds. They stripped right down to their smallest, barest gestures even though the wind was scrubbing all of us raw. Taller made that Smaller shake real hard when she slipped one thin as a new moon hand between Smaller’s legs. It was then that the dogs started howling like they always do on days when the sun doesn’t come up and stay pasted tight right there in the sky.

By this time the very last of their strange words had stopped. There was a sound from somewhere we couldn’t see like that long drawn out sigh before a dust storm gathers itself up into a high, spinning mass. Our eyes lost their focus but our fists knew the way.

The dogs tore their filthy tongues out first. The dry ground was soon dimpled with dark spots like rain. It hasn’t rained here in memory.

But now green things grow where we laid them out.

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Some of Holly Anderson’s most recent work can be heard on Peg Simone’s 2010 record Secrets From the Storm (Table of the Elements/Radium), or visit her at

Categories: The Crowd Tags:

On Suzanne

February 23, 2010 3 comments

by Holly Anderson

(May 9, 1960 – October 5, 2009)

Frigid night, tramping through a grove of young birches, then — fairy tale you!

Vintage, grey curly-lamb coat — shrugging it off, rivers of hair undone.

You threw blazing light: blue comet flashing wild, pulled into your orbit.

We drank red wine until our lips cracked black telling stories through the night.

Yes, the hair was a carnival, a conniption that framed your fierce soul.

Winter day’s diner lunch where we toasted delicious men we’d enjoyed.

A Supernova Remnant releases heat inside the Milky Way.

So apt a definition of you and your hell-for-leather mission.

Mentor, muse to many, your own painted photos hung glowing — at home.

You heard music with your body, huge heart and wide-open awareness.

Your truest sister: Euterpe, muse of music, ‘Giver of Delight.’

We danced to 60’s Ethiopian bands under summer night sky.

How you loved bliss-state love, so ready for love to smack you once again.

SriPraPhai, your fave: too many Thai plates, laughs, bottles of Yellow Tail.

Radiation round, you ate three bowls of my chicken soup, hungry day.

In hospital you drew kohl round your eyes, then ate fresh-picked blueberries.

Six episodes of ‘Hung’ back-to-back, suburban dad is pretty hot.

The morning bath: long bones emerging from the garden of your body.

Lipstick, kohl crayon, multi-button japanese dress, warm scarf — car’s here.

Black car, grey rain — you said you love rigor, difficulty, hate jam bands.

Bottomless chocolate eyes, brows arched like a bird wing: brand new beauty.

I’ll paint my lips a rich, hard red again in your memory, darling.

Author’s note: Allen Ginsberg westernized the haiku (sometime in the early 90’s I believe) — he kept the same 17 syllable-count but set them out in a single sentence. He called them ‘American Sentences.’ I’ve written these about a fiercely vibrant friend just lost to lung cancer, and despite the ravages of the disease and the nuclear fallout from western medical protocols, Suzanne retained her essential, flame-lit core to the very end. That is, to me, a form of health that cannot be taken from someone no matter how vicious the attacks.

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Holly Anderson’s poetry and prose has been anthologized in Up is Up, But So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992 (NYU Press), The Unbearables (Autonomedia), and First Person Intense (Mudborn Press). Her limited edition books Lily Lou (Purgatory Pie Press) and Sheherezade (Pyramid Atlantic) are in library collections including MOMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Anderson’s lyrics can be heard on Consonant (s/t), Love and Affliction (Fenwayrecordings) Mission of Burma’s VS, OnoffOn (Matador), Jonathan Kane’s Jet Ear Party (Table of the Elements/Radium), and various other albums.

Categories: Health Tags:

The Slovenian Grandmother To Her Daughter The Platinum-Haired Dervish Just Before A Chunk of Stove Wood Was Hurled But Missed Its Blue-Eyed Mark Widely

January 9, 2010 1 comment
Categories: Words of Power Tags:


December 22, 2009 3 comments

by Holly Anderson

14 August 1971 (Picasso is painting)

I lay the yolk-y yellow ground      down
now here goes my triangulated body
here is my flesh-colored jock strap
my flesh-colored wings ready for take-off.
It’s hot as blisters and look how the sweat
still runs off me like a young man.
My balls hang heavy and damp.
My dark-veined stones.
Still here. Still have it. It’s all in here.
I’m bringing it out bringing it forth.
I can do this. I can always do this.
The paint still listens.
I talk to the colors and they come —
from the fields this yellow mustard
from fields seen from a train trundling south
then blue canvas awning stripes
sandy Torremolinos days with mother
green seedlings black taxis in the Paris rain.      Drunk
and taking Fernande home to finally touch her      secrets.
Finger her notch her crook tongue her cleft
heft her high and bury my      self.
Now I have wings.
Flesh now yes it’s always been flesh to flesh
and light shifting shapes changing course
of course I’ve followed the light all my life
and strung the string of shapes that tell the stories.
All the stories I’ve lived them all.
89 and the line still excites still makes me hard
the kernel of sex was and is and will always be there
as it should be as it must be forever and ever
so help me god.
So help me work these hands wash in pigment
wash in rapture.
The seed is there
the bursting is still there.
The bursting remains.

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Holly Anderson’s poetry and prose has been anthologized in Up is Up, But So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992 (NYU Press), The Unbearables (Autonomedia), and First Person Intense (Mudborn Press). Her limited edition books Lily Lou (Purgatory Pie Press) and Sheherezade (Pyramid Atlantic) are in library collections including MOMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Anderson’s lyrics can be heard on Consonant (s/t), Love and Affliction (Fenwayrecordings) Mission of Burma’s VS, OnoffOn (Matador), Jonathan Kane’s Jet Ear Party (Table of the Elements/Radium), and various other albums.

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

Our Rowdy Pack Song

June 10, 2009 3 comments

a hay(na)ku*

moon, wheeling
just like me.

synaptic trash
caught sweet
in blue-violet mercies

glory-headed girl,
smashed diamond skies

tilt a-whirl,
twist and all-fall-down.

river coursing
bloodstream’s ancient dreams

into beatitude
unravelling like me,

somersault into
infinity’s unformed matter

that fire-
eating the open door?

peat-y fingers
down my throat?

a hot-blue-star
unhitched and free-wheeling

a pleiade,
bartering my soul.

this cage
of inkblue heaven

my mercies,
fill my mouth,

deep beyond
the oh-so-watchful stars,

non-stellar objects
wheeling lopsided within.

by Holly Anderson and Caroline Beasley-Baker

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*Hay(na)ku is a 21st century verse form invented by poet and publisher Eileen Tabios, who launched the first Hay(na)ku challenge to the world at large via the web on June 12, 2003 (Philippine Independence Day). The “traditional” form of a hay(na)ku entails:

  • A tercet: 3 lines.
  • A total of 6 words: 1 in the first line, 2 in the second line, and 3 in the third line.
  • There is no restriction on syllables, stresses, or rhymes.

Then, in 2007, Tabios issued an online invitation to poets to join in groups of three or more to create “chain” hay(na)ku with each tercet moving between voices as in a conversation or a traditional “parts” song. “Our Rowdy Pack Song” is a poetic duet that loosely interprets the form.