liturgical surgical by Laura Kochman

I started reading Edmund Jabés' The Book of Questions again today—it asks, among other things, how to write after the wound/disaster, how word and silence interact. I have been interested in white space and silence and the gap in poetry for a long time, so I'm always interested in these questions. The space around the object. What is / for the body. I finally repotted the orchids today, which need air pockets in their potting medium, which I had left waiting too long in moist, dense soil. I cut away the rotted roots and put the plants back in chunks of bark and pearlite. After it was done, I had the urge to do it again.

The density and lightness and contrast of prose and verse is something that I hope I don't get over. To be left dangling after the line. In how many times the spacebar / the backslash / the threshold is the word and the blank surface upon which the word.

by Laura Kochman

Springtime smells like breakfast, manure, a little sour sunshine breath. I feel more awake / alive / in my own spacetime / you name it. All our windows are open and last night a dog somewhere yelled all night long for the joy of it (which was not our joy). My 5K orchid is in bloom again, for the first time since we move here. Alice Girl orchid continues to grow roots. Yesterday I buried my face in a cone of gelato and ate it desperate in the sun.

by Laura Kochman

This morning I brought my breakfast into the living room, so I could sit in the sweet spot of early light and work on writing, and I sort of screamed (okay, I really screamed) when I saw this: IMG_2009


To be clear, I screamed out of excitement, but it does also look like a snake monster.

This feels appropriate. Things are blooming around here. I'm going to send my thesis advisor a chunk of poems and an explanation of my book today, and then I'm going into the type lab to cut paper and letterpress print one of my poems. B and I are going back to Birmingham to celebrate his birthday early, and next week I'm reading with other Artifice writers, and then I'm driving out to Atlanta to stay with one of my closest friends for a few days. I've been reading and writing and swimming in rivers and biking to campus and cooking. After a creatively dry summer, my brain is moving again. Is it the start of the school year? Can I replicate this feeling without a new semester every few months? Or—my secret hope—will life outside of school feel like this all the time?

by Laura Kochman

..."It—the writing of Alette—" "was alive once" "scaldinggold of it" "bitter jet black thunderous train roar" "and the quiet caves"

"and quieter still, the" "incomplete dark Paradise"

- Alice Notley

I made myself finish Mysteries of Small Houses, but it was more useful as a learning experience, rather than enjoyable as a reading experience. The Descent of Alette is probably one of my favorite poetry books of all time—I've read it 3.5 times, that half read only because I left my copy in the seat pocket in front of me on a plane. Since I'm interested in books that are not sectioned off, that have no obvious framing device, that are just poems that all come together to do the work, and since I so loved Alette, I made myself finish. But I kept checking to see how many pages were left, and I didn't read it all in one sitting, like I usually do with poetry collections. I'm intent on not being a hater, though, so I'll just say that I'd like to emulate Notley's honesty.

I found my camera battery charger, predictably, in a safe and obvious place. So here are a couple of orchid blooms, taken accidentally with flash:


by Laura Kochman

This is a friend's blog. She is basically doing the thing that I am dreaming of (you know, other than writing). One day, I am going to scrape something and put flooring down and DAMN I am going to tile a wall. I can just feel it. Every time I go home, I try to convince my parents to take my home improvement advice, but they are so complacent. Once, when I was home from college, my dad left on a work trip and I painted the bathroom while he was gone. I loved it. He thought it was okay. If I could find the very safe and obvious place I stored my camera's battery charger during the move, I'd put a picture right here of the nine little orchid blossoms I've been checking on every morning. This is the first time one of my orchids has bloomed while in my care, so that is really fucking exciting. To be fair, it's the orchid that still has the flower stalk it came with—neither of the other two have ever grown a new one. But I believe in them.

by Laura Kochman

After the race, there was a crawfish boil, and then boyfriend and I ate lunch and Dippin Dots and I got an new orchid. I beat my old 5K time by about 3 minutes, and I think I could have been running faster. Sprinted to the finish and boyfriend took a really unsharable picture of me looking like I was going to vomit. I think these magic new shoes are working.IMG_1835

by Laura Kochman

Last fall a friend gave me one of her orchids, in need of some TLC (its roots were scraggly, its leaves were cracking and curling, and it promptly lost a leaf when I brought it home). Not only is it currently growing a new leaf, the first growth I've seen, but it is growing THREE NEW ROOTS. I recently admitted to both my landlord and myself that I am not an outdoor gardener, so it's nice to know that I can grow something. My other tiny orchid is also growing a new leaf, because it is all about growing new leaves but never any roots or spikes, so I'm hoping it pays attention to its larger sister. OH HEY THERE ALICE GIRL--



and, gratuitously, because I caught him sleeping like this: