Erratic Sleep in a Cold Hotel
poems by Marie Kazalia
...beyond the styles, definitions and jargon of poetry, there is a voice, a narrative that is the foundation of the craft -- a story that must be told... this one is by Marie Kazalia.
The second edition, completely re-designed, re-edited and re-formated with previously unpublished poems and new photography.
Street Date: April 20, 2001
paperback . 80 pages . 5x7 . ISBN: 1-930935-15-3
Cover photograph by Cesar Rubio
In this collection of 46 poems, Marie Kazalia, whose work has been described as "hellmouth candids," offers a vivid reality of a disengaged life through sometimes disturbing yet intriguing images of a woman immersed in the urban struggle, faced with compromising accommodations in run down hotels in San Francisco's Mission District, encounters with street derelicts, homelessness and her own sense of sexuality. The poems capture with poignant vitality the observations of the author as she readjusts to American life on her return to San Francisco from 4 years as an expatriate in the Orient.
As she says in the introduction:"When I arrived, I entered into such a state of culture shock I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere. Stayed in a tourist guesthouse South of Market. I made friends there who were living rent free because they managed to stay past the 28 day limit, and had become legal residents so couldn't be kicked out. They taught me lots. I stayed for 27 or 28 days then the manager asked me to leave. so ended up going to a shelter for women, not even knowing what a shelter was or what to expect. Right away I became interested in the lives of the people there. Stayed 3 months, at what the staff psycho-logist called my "free rent gig," which it basically was."
From there she bounced around until she came to the Crown Hotel. Here, she found "the conditions under which I can write."
"And so I lived and wrote in that tiny room at the Crown Hotel an old wooden 4 story structure hammering under my feet, below my single bed the health food grocery in the street level storefront under construction for months, replaced by too loud new-age muzac coming up through the thin old carpet on the floor when the store finally opened. Cold air seeping in through every crack visible and invisible the antique steam heater in a corner of my tiny room hissed for about 30 minutes most evenings unless I heard the managerone of the members of the endless Patel family of Indiafinding his wrench, disengaging the old elevator to take him down to the basement where he clanged on pipes and did something to the ancient boiler to get it going yet one more time." Like black and white photography these confessional poems explore, without contradiction, the reclusive and sacred, elements akin to the struggling class. They will draw you into a world that is frighteningly beautiful and deeply personal.
[Marie Kazalia] "has a real, strong voice. I'm tempted to say she writes like a female Bukowski but I'm not sure that's a compliment or not... Some of those poems make your skin crawl with their immediacy and intensity - you just know that she lived the life... I can't say that I remember ever reading anything of hers before but I honestly say, I certainly will look forward to reading whatever I see of her." -- Alan Catlin, author Killer Cocktails
"Marie Kazalia's evocative and powerful narrative poems take the reader through pockets of intriguing urban ecology, poverty hotels in near Third-World conditions in our cities for a revealing look at the cheap hustles of drug addicts, dejects, schizoids, and the unfortunate. Her acute observations are tempered with an understated humor to all the more poignantly engage the reader in a woman's struggles with the disengaged lives of substandard conditions of American life where her courage is evident in every poem..." -- Koon Woon, author The Truth in Rented Rooms
"Marie Kazalia has gone out of her way to experiment with the low brow life, and these bin-rummaging poems stand testament to the value thereof. They also provide a surprise-inspection glimpse into some of the low-lifes to be found on the other side of the globe, as well." -- Mark Brimm, editor Royal Vagrant Press
"Marie's book carries on the tradition of writers going to the society's underbelly to capture the reality of the outcasts...she does it chillingly" -- Frank Moore, The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary
"Kazalia finds the perfect poetic medium between saying too much and not enough. Her poems end like a severed reel of film leaving the rest to resonate in the reader Sometimes sad; sometimes funny or witty, yet always on the mark, these poems made me feel the full extent of my posh, suburban white-boy existence and step outside into the terrors of the poor and forgotten Kazalia establishes herself not only as a fine poet, but a competent story-teller as well." -- Nathan Graziano, editor The Brown Bottle
Marie Kazalia lives in San Francisco. Her poems and short stories have been published widely in the small press and in numerous electronic magazines online. This is her first collection of poetry.
Back cover photograph by Emjay Rust
published by phony lid books