n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Monday, December 26, 2005

not a baby!

I don't understand why my family thinks I'm such a kid, to give me such presents...

does your family

feed you this kind of thing for Christmas?


Or, does your cousin send your family this type of email message?
We are thankful for the blessings that each of you have brought into our lives. We are also thankful for our salvation and for Jesus coming to this world as a baby, knowing that He would ultimately die and take all of our sin upon Himself. He conquered death for us and offers the gift of eternal life. If you have accepted this gift of salvation, we rejoice with you! If not, we pray that you will come to know God as your personal Savior and accept His free gift of eternal life.
By the way, there is a five dollar + blog publication for the best response to above message. As part of this assignment, you must assume the following about your "narrator": she and most of her family are profoundly Not Christian (which is not the same as Anti-Christian or Anti-Christ) and lean much closer to the following: Buddhism, Taoism, Agnosticism, Paganism, It's-My-Own-Business-ism. Not to mention, she's very sarcastic at times, and doesn't appreciate judgment.

Here's me and sister, waiting on your response.

I will try some more Christmas thoughts later, but might not get to it because I'm spending the afternoon scraping and cleaning skylights, and then might hop in a car and drive to Portland to top it off.

Oh, I better mention this so my mum doesn't kill me: the above purple food was Not So Bad, and besides, it was accompanied with sushi, enchiladas, salad, alcohol and three types of pies... all of which rank in my top ten of favorite foods.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

wrapping da gifties

Aha, who needs what? Who wants what? Where is this person going to put this present on the list of presents they receive from those both caring and less?

paper, jagged cuts, straight lines attempted, evaded, folded and taped over; ribbon wrapped, stretched, scraped, curled; spirals of boxes taped together, paper cut too short and patched over, tape running out; pen marks on corners to differentiate. santa paper for the jewish-brolaw; crinkled, crumbled paper to fill in the spaces; rocks placed in a plastic baggy, then doubled over, to foil even the cleverest of present shakers; bulbs divided and repackaged for stocking size; beer bottle slowly losing line.

thoughts of friends in Chicago, c2 away from her blog, the texans I love, some fleeing to and from home like inhalations of panic, kansas city leavings, kansas beckoning with flat farm winds, sweden and little typing babies, new york tressings and tall books of words lined to and fro, translations from Polish, and books assigned to me in such a way I haven’t been bossed in years. Note to self: incredible gratitude. This world is lifted up by generous openings.

deaper meaningsrain slogs the ground, warm huff of wind degrees away from the snowballs I would like to rub in my sister’s face, muddy slippers, and a little doggy face looking out over the rim of our hottub beseechingly (he is the monk of the dogworld, striving for perfect absolution and abnegation of his innards in subservience to grace and glory of all who are higher than him, which is everyone), a car passes by and the dogs run left, a car passes by and the dogs run right, a little breezes shimmies the deciduous trees but leaves the evergreens righteous.

thoughts of friends here, the girl I went to Narnia with who also read those books like they were whole worlds, Natalinchka who has so far dodged me but will be hunted down like the cherry on a cupcake that must be succulently savored as the tip of holiday itself, my sister who wiggles her butah and gets the brolaw laughing hard also by suffocating him with her paws, the father who gives me 250 pages of his novel-in-progress with a sly note implying that comments would be welcome. The dinner forthcoming.

Will they like their presents? Should I regift anything? Should I give up the hat that I like so much? Does my butt look cute in these pants, and even if it doesn’t, why does that even matter? Will Ali call me cranky tomorrow, as she has done every Christmas since 2002? Will I be cranky tomorrow? Am I a bah-humbug with relentless self-righteous fury in my heart?

Rosario called me yesterday and the opening to the conversation was:

“Hello. Hello.”
“Rosario? Is this Rosario? It’s Rosario, isn’t it!?”
“This is Rosario.”
“Oh, I’m so glad to hear you. I thought I wouldn’t again.”
“Well, I tried hard to hate you, but I couldn’t. I’m just no good at hating anyone.”
“Especially me, right?”
“Well, yes, I guess so.”
“Merry Christmas, girl. I’m glad you called.”

And I was. I wanted to know how she was, and that she couldn’t stoke her heart with the same kind of hatred I’m capable of. I tried so hard with her, but had to let myself know when it wasn’t right anymore. Oh my, Christmas re-realization: it’s been ages since I’ve been willing to have a girlfriend, a more than a sensual-moment-between-acquaintances, in my life. How young I was: funny how flickers the naïf, innocence. Rosario tells me about her family, and herself, and we avoid all the topics I know she doesn’t want to touch on. We are gentle with each other, and there is much going on in our lives.

woodpile, drifts and slices of pine from the trees that fell over on our lot, and they are piled, covered in tarp. I pull the bottoms, let the tumble, watch my toes. I toss chunks ten feet, aim for fifteen, feel the pull of deltoids, of quadriceps. I move the china hutch to the new house and bully my mother into getting rid of the ugly pieces, wipe off the rest and settle them down into a pattern of choice, windows washed with faux-windex, bamboo floors swept and vacuum, I slice across them on my socked-skating feet, jump up and bite my mom on the arm (some things never change), the decorations are re-arranged, and I rehang a painting of a Russian Orthodox church so it’s not right next to the avant-garde Chilean geometries.

the walls here are painted: orange, yellow, blue in my room, purple in my sister's, green in the bedroom and bathrooms. Tiles are growing in corners, a stove coming to rest upon it.

santa will come tonight. after a few shots, my sister and I will sneak out of bed at four o’clock and make sure of that. in the morning: coffee and wide yellow reflected sun and a new year approaching. tonight: my packages reach conclusion, labeled with words like “for the jew” and “bad bad bad, no shaking” and “I love you” and “how many chucks can a woodchuck chuck” and “merry christmas.”

To all of you too. Peace.


First morning, a new bed. Outside the blue framed--bare branches. No rain, that will come later, but frost coating.

Within the smoke that silts off our tub, a few stars revealed, a cat sitting on the living room table, thinking this lap is hers, if only she were brave enough to reacquaint. Out in bromine, it is discussions of Bush that I carefully navigate away into discussions of this land, the land bordered by a country.

Outside pine trees lined up in road balustrade. A land tuckered by fog, a land grey in the making, boats that slow down when they enter this harbor, not because it’s the rules, but because the place takes something down three or four or five notches. A sheet of hydrogen like repression, glued with the something awake held notched down on either side.

mum-lambMy mother greets me in the morning by hopping onto my bed and inviting all the animals. The white fluff one like a sheep on steroids climbs up on top of me and flops with his elbow right into my bosom. His chops lower down and lick lick, he licks his chops and then his big brown eyes, he reminds me of the long distance we’ve gone together, the window he jumped out of on the freeway and the cast he had to wear on his leg so we wouldn’t have to give up on him. Lick lick, he tucks his fifty-pound head into my neck and snuffles, a polar griffin with his wings tucked in, proud and cuddles.

The wind, flickerings of lights, computers on the bust.

C’mon ol girl, c’mon. I helped the black little bloated tick dog out of the back of the Honda and down onto the concrete parking lot. And thought, no dog should only see concrete around right at that time. She’s been waking up with pee all around her in her bed and I’m home for the holidays and nobody wants to follow through on the wheel tracks swerving on the freeway ice.

Mom holds her as she breathes, holds her afterwards. My mom is lying on the ground. Her body is tucked around this creature that trusts us. We have to trust ourselves, my mom coos to her, tells her she’s a good girl, you’re such a good girl, we love you. The dog is panting on a white speckled comforter that someone donated to the clinic and we carry her in it afterwards. Mom pats our old girl’s cheeks, wiggles the fat cooling body with her hand. Pats her, a primitive urge to ask if this is what it’s all come down to, a body no longer breathing with catheters hanging off a leg.

As little suckling sniff sniff, the drip, the good girl, I pat the old girl’s body, sometimes my mom’s leg—for a thump-thump dog, for my mom. I am imagining a situation where I have to let go this way, and there it is right in front of me.

The vet, a rolly woman who once took our old girl’s liver out, gives us platitudes and we are grateful for her affirmation of the choices we have to make. That’s sometimes what it comes to, people saying you’ve made the right choice to let things follow their course, and we having to believe them, try to dig out the truths that lay imbedded in the clichés we don’t want handed over to us. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Wake. Sometimes things can’t be salvaged. Try again. Nothing can harm you more than love or hate, nothing can blast you wider.

We used a backhoe to rip open the thresholds of soil back here. Tree roots wrested unwilling, the curl of their distain, the gravel pea dirt running downslope. We put her in with her doggy bed, with her blankie. We agree it wouldn’t be fitting without doggy food and some chocolates... because she snuck under every Christmas tree that ever was and ate any chocolate she could find, and sometimes topped it off with bath beads. Oh if Santa could have such a reindeer, she’d snuffle through any crack in the foundation... cr hands me a shovel and I toss the dirt on and it is surprisingly easy, her little tucked nose, like a creature truly snuggled in.

Some phone calls, not related. Some emails too. Some sadnesses dissipating, as I work to put a huge bodyache below. Coming home is so full, the fog, the difference in pattern as I’m tossed from my favorite locking, the friend who walks along the beach and my head run running back, sad, hard-headed knowing exactly what it will never let go of, knowing that once it decides there is no going back. And so all that must be faced is ahead, the truth, the fight beyond what the heart has found, the ground sogging and thawing, hardening, I find crystals five inches tall in the back yard as I muck around looking at the way things have changed—seasonal, progressive—and the way everything is exactly exactly the same. Some things will always be the same—there is acceptance and mourning in the losses that come from stability.

I feel sometimes that this place, seasmell, grey flat ocean with all its cooing wash, all its overlap… has lost me for good. She wants me sometimes, asks to have me back walking her, running my fingers through her yellow bracken wilt, loving the drip drip, the twinkling moment before a morning falls, and I will always return here, but mourning and different, someplace else speaking inside my head, all the energy and motion and movement and unexpection to be found in the city at every moment I walk, every time I put myself out there. In the city, I feel that at least there are some returns on risks. Hit and miss like anywhere,

but this town, little town, full of friends and well-wishers, teachers and dug dirt, places where I stuffed slugs into my pockets, places with pets buries, swimming holes, music listened to, sisters laughed with, love kissed pressed against a building – an open possibility with a case of mistaken identity, kayak water currents, beaches nude, boats tipped over and family born, possibilities, poetry readings where I lurked crazy full with this community, balconies where I begged to low, dumpsters walked by, students growing, new suburbs christening the land with bulldozer breakings.

the place where I realized I would never be anything but alone
just like all of us.

and also the place I left in order to realize how the struggle lies in twisting the knob, the radio sketchings, of what each letter of that word means.

I will always be here. I don’t know if I can come back though, I will have a month to recycle and build. It’s hard to climb past though, but with music. And the truth that I loved the best I could, but I’m not an Ideal for anything, just another person like everyone, every single one

but I’m fond of people

even if I am fighting to embrace the truth that I will always be alone.

I received a postcard before I left. A breath.

I went to a party before I left. Ieóyn smoked menthol with the crew. And that’s Ian to the rest of the world, the accent not shifting anything.

“Where’s that from?”
“That’s ghettóóó, girl.”
“You see, the mothers gotto be pretty creative out there. And they’s damn creative.”

Yes, I would imagine so. And c2 called me a story sucker. I don’t feel too much like a story sucker lately, I just feel lazy and I spend a lot of time with my sister or drunk or up in the hottub, or working to not feel desperately poor, or sad over Maggie and Elizabeth, or walking with a friend, and now I will go off to wrap presents.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


me, well, before the fightwell, it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten caught being a bad girl.

Seven things I’ve done recently I shouldn’t write on this blog because I’m ashamed of having done them:

1) Admitted to virtual strangers that I once sang to seals. [I didn’t mention I used to sing to geese too.] They asked me what type of music I sang to the seals, what the particular genre the seals were attracted to, and I had the sensation I was setting myself up perfectly as the hick-sealsinger dipshit drunk at a party.

2) Flipped someone off (in genuine anger) under my leg. There is absolutely nothing, in my opinion, unsexy about a simply mini-flip off. And by unsexy, I mean: it can convey love, anger, fury, a compliment, etc. That’s sexy… sort of like a butt slap. But flipping someone off in a non-simple (in particular, an under the leg) style is just too much.

3) Rolled my eyes at a blond mother who told me after I had accidentally waited for five minutes, that I “would need to go to the end of the line… way down there.” It would have been better to have thanked-her politely for setting me straight.

4) Showed up home at 4am the night before flying home (at 6:30am) … when my roomate had told me she’d wait up for me and I assured her I would be home by 2am to go over any last minute items. I fell asleep on the subway I was so tired.

5) Told someone that I like to be the center of attention. It’s close enough to the truth to embarress me. But I think a more accurate version would be like “I like to be within the hub of attention.” For some reason, accuracy seems important on that one.

6) Responded to an ex who was bound to make me feel shitty about whatever I wrote.

7) Came home with no gifts, an empty checkbook, and less writing than I meant to have done.

***You might notice that being 86’d is not on this list.

Just a question: how many people have I told how excited I was to go home and shoot pool and play air hockey with my sister and brolaw? The answer is definitely within the twenties, but in the first week, nay, the first three days, I’ve managed to cause an excess of trouble (which did include the underleg flipoff, but that seemed the only whoops part of the evening).

The long and the short is that I got kicked out of my favorite local club, boring and banal though it is, but part of what feels a rich history for something approaching ten years now. Yes, it was the club I snuck into when I was still underage and danced and flirted with all the hot chicks before it turned from Gay Bar to Gay-in-Name Bar.

How did this happen? Well, the bouncer said “because I bounced into the snow globe even after he had asked me not too.”

This snow globe was a 10-foot tall, 5-foot in diameter plastic blown up snow globe with three snowmen inside with the irresistable sign “Let it Snow.” Totally hot. Ali says there are bunches in the yards of yuppies everywhere these days, and apparently they are plugged in - the interior blows snow all over the place. My mistake - I thought you were supposed to bounce against the exterior in order to shake it up a little.

So yes, I bounced against, Chicago hoodlum that I am, but not really hard because I didn’t want to bust it or anything, but just get a little bounce. And instead of saying any of the following rhetorically acceptable approximations--

Hey, don’t bounce against the snow globe. It’s not very strong.

Please don’t bounce against that; it’s fragile.

Hey, chill out girl, that snow globe is likely to burst at its cheap Walmartian seams and spew styrafoam kernels out into the air, which would get the health inspecters totally down our throats.

--the bouncer instead decided to cop a little Oh, I wish I was a Bouncer in a Much Bigger City Attitude, and said something along the lines of:

Don’t do that or I’ll kick you out!

But he used an obnoxiously mean, muscleflexing voice, and if anyone knows me…

(anyone really, ask my friggin kindegarten friends)

…they know that nothing chaps my chafe faster than a little patronising demand that involves some mixture of imperitive/threat.

So, I rolled my eyes. Interestingly enough… my friend, sp, took the picture above somewhere around that very moment.

Well, to make short the evening—drinks, pitchers of beer, brolaw won one game of air hockey and I won one against him, one against sp. Pool, raffle tickets for a tattoo, flirting, dancing, s/m funny cheap bondage stuff on the stage. Etc.

Except I bounced against the snowglobe. Well, bounced wouldn’t really be fair to say… I bumped against the snow globe. Maybe two times, and the second time, I was heading outside with sp for a breather. And as I passed the front desk, the bouncer waved us over and said, not calmly, but prickily like someone had shoved a stick of sanctimony up his ass,

“I already warned you about the snow globe, and now I think I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

So, the truth about why I got kicked out of Rumors, which used to be my joint, used to be my digs before it turned into a testosterone fratboy partyhouse with buffoons. I leaned over the desk at this point and inquired very politely:

“Does having that marine hair cut, all nice and neat around the edges, make you feel you have to be an incredible dick?”

I’ve never seen anyone take a few minutes to register something, and then say in true umpire fashion,


Not only that, but he tried to kick me out in my t-shirt without my coat or anything, and when I said fuck that, and went to get my coat, he followed me back and started yelling at me as I was telling ali and brolaw what happened. “Get the fuck out of here.”

Ali told me that at this point I got right up in his face and started really shouting. I remember this of course, I mean I was drunk, but I remember it – it just seems to weird to be true.

I only got detention once from jr. high to high school – and it was for passing someone else’s notes.

And then the bouncer got all pussy scared and went to whine and tattle to the bartender and shit, and before too long, we were out of there. Not before I did number #2 on the list, which I do feel embaressed about, of anything about the evening.

I’m sure I could go back, but hell, I was waiting to have fun with my friends and family and I plunked down money, and I’ve always been a responsible driver and been polite and never dropped a glass and tipped moderately well and so forth. And why should I have to suck up to some prick who identifies one of his appendages with a


Anyhow. a kinda funny fitting welcome to the Big City

Home Safe

one happy familyJiggety jig. Nice airplane ride, albeit too long. Lovely week saying goodbye to friendses and bidding adeiu to the first part of my re-awakening into communities. Family here. Incredible new house. I will attempt to keep writing about things…

dad, ali, peter, mesexy-boy

Saturday, December 10, 2005


blowin in the snowMan oh, man. Aside from the wicked cold that infiltrates every known crevice, the house, the streets, the elevators… the snow and me are buds.

Yeah, buds.

I love the hats. Lets make a paragraph on hats. There was a great one the other night that was a black average everyday howdydo hat worn by every fisherman known to the sea. Only this had at a strip of blond scruff fuzz—the kind you’d find in a 70’s shag carpet extravaganza held at your local carpet store—sown to the top of it. It look like the black hat broke open and blond hair that had been dyed far far too much had burst out of the crack like some manic disco lava boiling over. That’s a hat.

I got complements on my hat today, the hat I carted from Ecuador, where I bought it for a whopping buck-fifty on a day that was surprisingly drizzzzzzly, just before I went to the jungle and met lush and spiders and rope vines that I actually swung on, which reminded me amazingly of all the many rope swings//buoy swings I whipped back and forth on–-including the one that not only tore a piece of flesh from my hand, but also managed to drop me (after best friend pushed me ruthlessly) about 20 feet to the earth where I knocked myself out on a stone and woke with my sister and friend hovering solicitously above me. Yeah, hat to jungle to swing to back again to hats. That hat has some serious memoryoverlap imbedded into it, and golly be if I don’t believe this might be what is so wonderful about it, above and beyond the fact that it is wool and not quite warm enough for the weather here.

Other hats: the Russian ya slatkaya ee seelnaya tozhe hat. Fur ruffled into a mane. Um, the scarf hats, aren’t those handy little beasts, allowing one to cut a piece out of the winter layering. Or the “I’m not goin’ wear a hat, because that’s not sexy enough” hats—-bare hair. Or the winter hunter in Chicago, the don’t you wish you had ear flaps too hats.

I love snow. Let me count the ways.

1) Burying myself upside down by the road. Waving feet as the cars pass. An underestimated pastime. Note: even with all the snow compacted by your head and surprisingly warm and suffocating, you can hear the cars slowing down. The folks wondering if you are really suffering and then realizing that of course you’re not. It’s obvious you are messing with their heads.

2) Here’s one that calls into question my status as an Older Sister. Kodiak, AK is gifted with dratloads of mini-lakes, ponds as it were. There were two within walking distance of my house. And before a month of freezing cold had passed, I the elder sister had developed a system.

First, throw small rocks all over the pond. If they don’t fall through, maybe it’s solid. Second, throw large rocks. Dig them out of the snow. Heft them as far as you can and develop a competition with your butch “ain’t gonna be weak ever” little sister. Third, dig a stick out of the snow, throw it and then let your 50lb dog run out on the lake. Occasionally he breaks through, but if he does, it’s just a paw because he’s a dog and nimble and can pull himself out. Fourth, send your sister, whose roughly 70-80lbs and still young enough to not notice you are testing the fragility of ice with her weight. Third, send yourself, 110lbs and much more likely to break through, but it never happened.

I was very clever at testing all the ice, and then banning sections. Don’t worry, although I was dreadfully evil and a wicked sister,

(not unlike most older sisters. I feel the need to defend myself here. I used to fight anyone my sister sassed and who wanted to kick her ass. As a matter of fact, these were the only fights I ever—with the exception of the three kids who decided to egg my house—got into a fight with. She had the biggest mouth of any kid ever around and depended mightily my strength to roust her from ill-garnered situations. Which meant she’d flip someone off and they’d push me over. Or it meant she’d get all her money stolen, and I’d punch the kid in reprisal. All that good big sister stuff. In return, she walked on ice. True, I taught her to be a master thief and that means I was a bad sister, but also true, I protected her ass massively and took her on trips to the zoo when we were latchkey kids. Oh, by the way, the theivery involves:

a) learn which thieving sites are evil in a sense, such as 7-11 versus a locally owned store

b) check out the candy (or goods to be stolen) in said evil store

c) have a good sense of who is paying attention to you, on video or otherwise

d) pick up the goods

e) pick up extra goods

f) some of goods go to pocket

g) some of goods stay in hand

h) be quick

i) go buy a few jolly ranchers

j) toss the change into the change jar for poor penniless suckers

k) appreciate the goods before you go home

l) never tell this to your mother 15 years after the fact on the assumption that she will understand that time has passed and she did such a fine job that she won’t be heartbroken to hear of said corruption.

Anyhow, that is the way of sisters, completely corrupting and mean and brutal and horrible, but also… something else.)

I had my standards. No playing on not-solid ice. No sir, sister, stay away from wetweak-ice.

3) Fights fights snowball fights. Icy slushballs: off limits. Facewashing: only if you’re pissed, and even then, you’re evil. Forts: necessary. Mom had a boyfriend who decided one year who even decided to teach me how to build an igloo. I never figured out the roof. Such construction was beyond me.

4) Tunnels. The most fun is worrying about cave-ins.

5) Everything out of order. My favorite.

6) Sledding. Once my sister and I got very very drunk and snuck out onto a ski slope and she was the “brakes” and I was the “steerer,” which meant no brakes and some pretty fucking manic steering under the face of 60 mph winds. We got kicked off the slopes after two fabulous moonlit face-erasing burns down the slope.

7) Hot chocolate.

8) Calvin and Hobbes.

9) Hot tubs, or saunas and naked freewheeling bodies groping your way through the tumbling tumblers to find the heat. Feet freezing, nipples hardening, thighs burning, hand numbing, hair stiffening, lip chapping, stomach heaving, oh yea baby. Hot. Not cold, hot.

10) Tracks. Figuring them out. Messing with them. Tonight the clouds look like snow with the tracks of rain rippling its surface.

11) Snowshoeing. Always way more effort than you ever signed on for, but the conversation tends to be good since you are moving at mock minus two.

12) Animals in snow. We like to bury our animals in the snow, which involves digging a hole, putting the cat in, piling lots of snow on top, standing back, and then: boiiiiiing… jack n the box. Good thing our cats love us, or they’d think us awfully mean. And the dogs, how they rub their bellies or try to pull you off sled (because you’re going too fast, obviously), or wrestle with you because what’s going on?, or snap and snipe at the snow like they’re facing a personal affront.

So, that’s that. Tonight I watched “DEBs” and it made me laugh. I like any plot where the evil archnemesis is a hot lesbian kungfu fighter who doesn’t turn straight in the end when she realizes how she has wronged the patriarchy. Funny bad-spoof. Mini-dyke-Demi-Moore: moderately sexy. Ssssssss.

But outside, snow. And hellow, let’s make it through the presentation I haven’t prepared for and keep getting this sense that I’m going to BS my way through. Hmmmm….

I went instead to a little post-critique getogether where I chatted it up with a girl from Greece and another girl from Romania, all the while thinking how lucky I am to be in at an intersection of international art-making. Oh yea, I think there’s something to be gained there. I am going to make an effort to take at least one class outside my department next semester, even if I haven’t found it yet, because wow, what a chance, how it makes me sooooo excited to realize where I’m at, what an opportunity this is – to meet such a diversity and keep it here inside my bones.

This girl here, right here (yeah let’s be happy we know each other) was meant to connect to allovertheworld. Hot snowy stuff. Snow, meetings, snowball, powsers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

critique zing

spin cycleoh, it went well.

it made me realize something: it's been so long since i've had comments that got me churning. i've been more or less writing in a vacuum cleaner for awhile. inside a dusty full baggy, without comments that made me re-see.

one of the critique panelists told me she wished she could have seen earlier drafts. i got the impression she thinks my drafting procedure might sometimes mess stuff up, which is true. very true.

but the outside perspective of someone who might see where i'm trying to go but haven't figured out yet, was amazing. it made me realize that i need to find those people who can get me moving in directions i haven't come up with on my own. i'm so damn stubborn that i often end up rejecting commentary. it's not that i'm not open, but that the openings i make must make sense to me, and so few people's comments make sense to me.

a few comments here made bright sense--particularly Beth Nugent's frank bzzts. she's funny because she'd give a compliment or something like that, and then she'd be like "oh, and this place, ugh. i didn't want to read it. it sounded like something i've already read. i'm not making any sense, you can ignore me. but here's why i thought it was weak:..."

the overall gist was that sometimes my language stalls out when i'm writing about moments of stasis. another comment that was interesting: that i describe landscapes and areas with more creative oomph than i do with people. And one that i didn't expect: i might be more self-conscious, or have a more self-conscious narrator, than i do (i thought the narrator was overly self-conscious). And then the idea that if i'm organizing the way i am (using nautical charts as a means of locating the relationship of semi-seperate narratives/momentitos), then i might try to mimic the feel of the currents and motion of moving from x-space to y-space... a little gimmicky, but it might change the writing in a way that builds a feeling of relation. all intriguing ideas.

anyhow, it made me realize i have more work cut out for me than i was hoping for, but i reckon that's okay, as long as it's directed rather than the aimless self-motivated and rationalized wandering i've been doing with that piece.

the fattening

my street in zeee snowsteak, potatoes, and spinach, oh my. I’m becoming a midwesterner.

Tomorrow is the day… a day, another day. Four panel artist/professor folks will critique the the story I gave them awhile ago, a nonfiction story that I want to be nearly done, a story that I’ve been working on for a year, on and off, and certainly not worthy of that kind of time. I feel happy with it though – perhaps because I’m starting to realize some of my interests within it.

What are these interests? The interweaving of story, the merging of nonfiction and dream and storymaking and point of view shifts. It is an initial realization of my twisted fascination with stories that have little narrative. Or small moments, momentitos of narration – not quite poem, but lyrical hippityhop beats of motion. In that story, I learned much about making momentitios come together, and even if it sucks, I’m happy with what I learned, and I think this will help me with my next overambitious endeavor.

Modular lyrical narrative makes me think that one day I might make it in this world.

So, even if I go in tomorrow and everyone is like “what the fuck,” I think I will be okay. I feel cocky and arrogant and I have friends in this world and that matters more. I try and that also matters more. I can find a million things that matter more, and a million things that matter less.

Here’s two little pieces of the overall story (midway, not the beginning), which is called “Start with Layers” and there's another changed piece of it floating around somewhere on this blog:

[zeee prose haz beeeeen removed. drafting, 'n all that.]


Last nights winenight matters more than a critique-week panel. Whoooooooosh.

You know a party is raring when folks make a beer run after 10 bottles of wine are emptied.

A great ouchy conversation about bikini waxings, always better apparently when delivered by Texan-familiar celestial-doters who loves the women, and “pssssha’s” the men. Ouchy. Strange how that was the second not-initiated-by-me bikini-waxing conversation I’ve had in the past week. Everybody’s out to make me blush these days. Ouchy. This particular conversation didn’t head towards the Hollywood gay-men oral-fixated practices of the other talk, which had me slinking under my covers in an attempt to hide my prudishness from the cellphone. But this conversation was nevertheless sufficiently ouchy.

Next, one friend going to Vietnam, I’m jealous and intrigued. I even allowed myself to be peer-pressured into a Pabst Blue Ribbon, something that hasn’t happened for some time.

Another friend gets the set up from los parentes, who have decided to introduce a “nice boy” to their daughter who is not interested in being introduced to a “nice boy.” What makes that story even better is that it’s not even a blind date, but a gathering of his parents, her parents, and the two love birds themselves. How I laugh and want to recommend the film Saving Face, which was great and sexy too.

Mom: if you ever think about it, remember how I was with the clothes you bought me. If you really thought I’d wear all those skirts and that black/blue 80’s sweater with the V-line, how could you possibly think of setting me up.

Mom: if you really need to set me up, make sure the person is really hot, so I can have a one-night stand and say thanks to you the next day with a little smirk on my face that makes you blush worse than conversations about bikini-waxing makes me blush.

I danced a good one with c2 and j, both of whom swooped and swirled and did that little twirly thing very well. I like dancing on empty dancefloors. I like swoops and drunk folks flirting and meeting strange Andrews and Dales (from Conneticut, not Kentucky like I drunkenly suggested).

Winenight progressed past the party, past the cat scratches on my hands, past the good food, the bikini talks, the heat lusts, the admirations, the word arrangements (mp and j and I had enough fridge letters for: “get pez’d” and more beyond that, which I'm sure ended up being poetry), the americangogothic, the discussion of dead plant starts, the comparison of interview/critique-panels to an elaborate game of flirtation, the newmusic, the picturetakings, the discussion of future dancin’, and many little details I swore I’d remember but didn’t. Yes, winenight lasted to walks on the sidewalk.

Winenight hS me sliding across the ice and laughing and hopping, and oh, and oh. je and I had a wicked-bad scarf fight in the subway station. She is one violent kungfu scarf fighter and I was pleasantly happy that neither of us was forced off the platform onto the tracks as we wove our way around, whipping each other’s eyes with wool and slashing each other’s skin with crochetwounds.

Not to mention the fish that flirted with l and me when we lifted our fingers and waved them in front of the Johnny Cash not-saltwater aquarium.

I got home late, found two emails waiting me, one of which I answered with little semblence of astute case of drunkeness (good since it was my cousin).

Today… um, today. Meat n’ potatoes. I’m fattening myself up for the winter, putting on layers of blubber to float myself through the waves of irony that ask me why I, the person who adores and thrives on heat, ended up in a city known for weather like this, subarctic freezings guarenteed to turn me into a wallowing blubberwhale trying to load up on protective barriers to cushion the wind against these cold-blooded innards. One answer: I am here because of the everything I am finding. The wind is just toughening me up.

Monday, December 05, 2005

pitterpatter pitterpatter

c2 says to always put a picture, so this is complianceYesterday I decided that I need a couch more than I need a bed. Priorities, priorities, and now I’ll watch my back. Hope that it doesn’t go out on me again. The end result however, is that I’m finally comfortable in my living room and have a couch to write on again. I put up my holiday lights, all sparkly colorful and lulling the room. My guitar’s on the wall and the coffee table is within reach, and I found some candles to light in the window. I snipped back my plants, which look about as dehydrated as I do these days.

On a side-note, it’s bitterly cold here… out of curiosity, I looked up the temperature on the internet and although the weatherpeople predicted 26°F, it was actually 16°F at about 10:30pm. That’s fucking cold. It’s supposed to be 20°F tomorrow, and snow again on Tuesday. It’s actually been snowing with a fair amount of frequency now—about every two to three days, but Saturday it really dumped a few inches on us. Not lots, but enough to dip your toes into. And I’ve been thinking that pretty soon, I’m going to have to ditch my fall coat and the extra down vest I wear inside of it, and the sweater inside of that, and find an actual bonafide winter coat.

Not that a coat would help with the way my eyes dry up and get achy, my lips crust over, my skin shrivels dust inward and my hair completely frizzes in the dryness of this cold. But it might help with the freezing to death.

Speaking of freezing to death, I went out to Chinatown today and froze to death. Enough so that I had to duck into a Vietnamese Pho restaurant and get myself some soup… such a shame. There’s nothing like steak, brisket, noodles, jalapenos, lime, sprouts, hot sauce, oyster sauce, and basil to get the nose running with the heat. By the time I was halfway through, I was sweating so profusely I had to peel off a layer and mop my brow. I’ve put myself on house arrest until I get home and can work for mum to earn a little mula, but in the friggin cold, that soup was worth it.

I did, however, leave a puny tip.

There were about 4 waitresses and about 5 tables occupied, so you’d think things would have been covered. Not so. I had to turn around and flag down a waitress to get my order taken, and once my food was deposited, I did not receive another piece of attention. No refill for my water, no question about whether things were good, no inquiry about whether I wanted something else to drink. Nothing. Just lots and lots of giggling girls in the background. At one point, the waitresses’ gossip and chortles got so loud that the chef came out and hushed them loudly. Not that it enhanced their service.

Just as I was getting a little cranky about it, I noticed a woman at another table who was looking seriously pissed off. She and her daughter had been eating when I got in, and now they looked ready to leave, but bereft of check. Both had on their coats, and finally they got up and walked back to the counter. I didn’t hear what transpired because I was paying attention to the soup, but I did notice the mother start to drag the girl out the door, and then she paused, turned around, and twisted her face into cross-eyed demon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a face pulled like that in a restaurant. She also swooshed her hands around in the air like she might be making fun of a cheerleader. Obviously a dumb-waitress parody.

I didn’t know mothers did that sort of thing.

She then spun her daughter out the door. As she passed by the window, she waved her finger in a circle to indicate that someone was seriously crazy. Although I sympathized, I wasn’t sure who was crazy after seeing that particular parodic motion. I looked behind me and saw one of the waitresses roll her eyes and then turn to yap to her friend again.

Puny tip. But the hot soup did the trick and got me back home, where I went back to reveling in my couchful digs.

The downside of having a couch, as I mentioned before, is having no bed. I’m wondering about this. Right now, I have a thermorest pad and a pile of blankets. I won’t have to rely on the pile of unread books to keep me company on the enormous hard mattress, but maybe my back will go out. I don’t want my back to go out, so I guess I’m going to have to start working out. Maybe I’ll do sit-ups on my new couch.

Anyhow, I’ve been an incredible homebody for the last few weeks—maybe because of the cold, maybe because I only have two weeks in Chicago before I get to go home, and I really want to go home. I miss the PN. I miss my family. I can’t wait to see my gold-friends (as opposed to my silver-friends here, all wonderful wonderful peeps). Or maybe because I put myself under house arrest for awhile. And so, I’ve been burrowing down trying to make myself do work, which seems to be next to an impossible task. I haven’t been a good student lately, and I haven’t been a good writer, and I’m hoping that a visit home will do the trick and make me a better person. But in the mean time, I lock myself up, skip bowling fun for instance, and do an ADD reading of the books I should be reading, a more thorough job on the books I shouldn’t be reading, and make decisions like “oh hey, I don’t need a bed anymore.”

Speaking of mood rings, I found one today for 99-cents. For that kind of money though, you don’t get the definition chart along with it. So, I was sitting here on my couch trying to figure out what my mood was. Very confusing stuff. So I went online, and just so you know, for the past four hours, I have vacillated between: “relaxed” (blue), “average” (green), “jitters” (bronze), “stimulating ideas” (orange), “excited/energized” (red) and even “sensual” (purple). Right now I am either “full of love & passion” or “very happy” (dark blue). All of which confirms what I thought: I’m a moody little girl. It’s a good thing I have this ring so I can figure out what I’m feeling – I’ve been missing that in my life.

Back to the discussion of procrastination (I once read the preface to a dictionary before I realized what I was doing), I also manage to send out emails that say very naughty things about being a dyke, and also very naughty teasings of my friend’s girl who I have dubbed “Snickers” because she wooed my friend with baggies of snickers… but instead of sending it to the friend for whom it was carefully crafted, I hit the “reply to all recipients” button, which, as he tells me, included a fair amount of Born Agains. I then paniced and manically begged for forgiveness, only to be scorned as an “innuendo laced lesbian beeeeeeaaaaaattttcccchhhhh” (cut n’ pasted). Fortunately he was also cracking up.

But, I still manage to get out every now and again, thankgoodness to my silver-friends who drag me out. (I promise I’m going to winenight tomorrow. And the Tea Party Wednesday after my… gasp… panel critique of the piece I hope I’m near done with. No classes next week! True—extra hours at the tutoring center in hopes for Jan rent, and true—a big presentation coming up next Monday that I’ve done hardly any prep for, but no classes! And only one week of classes after that!) So, here’s an account of some of my good fun:

--Pride & Prejudice--

Overall Assessment of Film: Yuck.

Some beautiful cinematography in interludes. Great acting from the mum (Brenda Blethyn), and pretty good from the eldest sis (Rosamund Pike) and father (Donald Sutherland). Kiera Knightly didn’t blub it as much as I thought she might, although her smile still makes my hair stand on edge. The younger sisters overacted, and the two main male characters were bizarre. I thought the cousin was sufficiently toady, and there was one dance scene I approved of. But any last scene that triggers esophageal fibrillations is a blah to me. I do so like a movie that leaves me wondering… or at least feeling ecstatic.

One that ends “Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Darcy” is not likely to do that for me.

At least I enjoyed the company of my friend who took me with her and then gave me a baggie of scrumdilliumptious peanut-butter cookies with hershey’s kisses on the top of them. Sugar. Mmmmmmm… Cookies on a new couch. Mmmmmm… Movie with friends. Mmmmmm...

--Poetry Reading--

Frolic, licking lexical love—raking letters into leaf-pile, jumping in and burying ourselves, covered by this transfigured thick-flat land that defines the distance between

fat handshakes // old grudges; little knickerfeet mobilizing under a mountainous slide of down-coated warmth // a woman so old her gums don’t even remember the taste of dentine (wig askew, hands so large and graceful); “My mommy is my hero” // “Sometimes I think I’m becoming just like my mother”; chalkboard // desk; sanctity of marriage // legal protection; the airplane // the house // the splatter of concrete // how many wounded? // my son, my son!; ribosomes // vacuoles; chicago beebop bowling for citystreet jazz sweet subway, run // alaska wash fishing for pineneedle ash radio-news solitude beach, walk;

my life // your life.

What would it be like to climb right up inside?

Well, I went to a poetry reading unlike any poetry reading I’ve ever been to before. I went knowing very little other than I’m usually up for a poetry reading, and then Peter Cook stalked out with his buddy, Kenny Lerner, and they—honest to god, and I’m not being a smarmy little critiwiggler—made me think of language differently. To “speak” a little more precisely, they made me see language differently.

As an intro question to assess whether you’re primed to hear my poetry praises without skepticism: have you gone through a stage of being obsessed by sign language?

My introductory obsession took place junior year of high school and limited itself to a brief jaunt to the library, where I learned the alphabet very poorly and not even out of order. This intro obsession was due to a Florida boring class (American History) that happened to have a certain boy who was deaf and had an interesting-looking interpreter (read: hot) who sat at the front of the room, a little off to the side, and made words with her hands. Of course, this was really far more interesting than paying attention to anyone else in the class.

But once I realized that sign language is hard and I felt uncomfortable and silly (ah, second languages!), my obsession screeched to a halt and I forgot everything except:

pinky-swoop, four-fingers meet thumb in circle, fist with thumb to side, fist with thumb tucked two fingers in, fist with thumb tucked two fingers in, fist with thumb to side.

Yes, very egocentric of me. But now I’m once again ready to become a sign language guru because this ASL Poetry Performance was incredible, self-consciously incredible too. Think combination of miming, acting, film technique, dancing. Then add language. Put it all into one act, and think how amazing and completely distinct from any other language the words of sign language are.

They are: signifier. Certainly. Yes, certainly, Saussure would agree. But this language is also signified because it slides through the body, presses through the skin (and muscle and sinew and swinging of bones and dancity tap tap), and creeps out to the tip of fingers, hands, wrists, arms, face—the movement of the self in language, the ability of motion to mediate the distance between. If you disagree with me on theoretical ground, I will whup you into submission with a wet wet crunchy wet noodle.

The title of the performance was The Flying Words Project, and my favorite piece was a poem on language itself, in which letters (thumb out, pointing-finger high, three other fingers tucked—touch finger/thumbtips with other hand which is doing similar action) actually fly, words actually fly, the hands fly // the mouth cannot. One could conceivable cut up a book and throw the paper into the air to create other flying words, but the disadvantage of that version is that it wouldn’t make sense. Duh. Not Poetry.

The show got started with a Pablo Neruda poem interpretation (very different). Peter Cook’s the main performer, whereas his friend Kenny Lerner, who is hearing, narrates the poems breathily and adds some sound effects. They make a good team. Peter Cook is hard to look away from, he is so expressionate and bizarre looking. His face alone is sufficient to entrance. Add this to the sound effects he also makes with his mouth, and my jaw plopped open. I didn’t notice for awhile and then I closed it, feeling a little embarrassed of myself.

From there, we went into a “Déjà vu” piece, which recurred sporadically throughout the performance. This was enjoyable mainly because Cook & Lerner had made up a new sign for déjà vu that was totally sensical, long, and quite funny. I can’t describe it, sorry, although I will say that there is a “moment of recognition” sign built into the new-word.

A piece they performed later on almost made me cry. It was about a dog, Charlie, bought at a grocery store and trained to be a war dog. Cook spoke/acted his life growing up, and intercut this with scenes of Charlie running through the Vietnam fields to find the Ho Chi Mihn tunnels, which he marched through and attacked the enemy… but was in the end left by the too-full chopper. I felt like I was seeing Charlie’s life, hearing his life, and I chastised my friend, sb, who invited and went with me, for not having given warning that it was sad beforehand.

An audience participation performance had us all “being smoke” as a rocket lifted off from the middle of us, then signing the land flattening out, followed by spinning around in the space on Nasa radar, then an inter-galactic flirtation including a pen, and finally a black hole tried to suck everything in, in particular a large man who was forced to lift slowly out of his seat as he attempt to avoid our gravitational power. It was fun.

Also, a series of interpreted interviews about why students go to college. This poem involved beer (I learned the sign for beer, hopefully it’s international), puppy love, pot, sex, and so forth. Very funny.

All in all, with no good summation here, I’m going to have to say: go see ASL poetry if you like poetry and you like motion and you like words and you want to get excited about something. Both Cook and Lerner are suffused with enthusiasm for their language, and although Lerner’s voice was a little to breathily-dramatic for my tastes in poetry reading, their dynamic works well together, and half of what I was watching was their obvious affection for each other. Lerner’s gangling cute awkwardness and Cook’s complete submergence into performing, into speaking, into lexical negotiations.

--Too Late--

It’s too late for me to make this any more massively long. So, pitterpatter to bed I go.