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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

that motel betwen montana and illinois

Kenyon: Natalie ProjectI haven’t decided yet on its/his name. She began as Lucifina and then became Luciferous (no) and then Galadrial, but settled upon Thaddeus and Chester. Chester fits as a name for a hummingbird who’s fallen from nest as a tiny grey item, found and subsequently named. Chester would need a solid box with an old tossed towel—blue with washed-out stains. The inbetween nectar bottle sits on the edge of said solid box and faces Chester during those moments I’m not with him. My mother comes in and makes sure he’s okay when I’m not with him. The cats are locked out. A heat lamp when I’m not with him, and minimal violent nighttime thrashings when he’s curled to my throat—this would be advantageous.

Words feel like heavy blocks when you’ve been away from them. I went for a limbo walk yesterday—the same old walk I do, the one that feels good while walking it and sad before and afterwards. I’ve been arranging the rhubarb and rhododendrons in my mom’s yard, and thinking of her koi pond as one for general swimming. I imagine the placement of blueberries and the arrival of plums. I laugh at how the dogs slip the raspberries off the bush on the lower levels, and feel the grate of bark under my bare feet. That walk I take—over and over again—feels like something I’m trying to invest in. The possibility that has to do with the third tier, the one nearest the water I pretend smells like an ocean even though it doesn’t. It has no smell. It is smelless.

On the concrete streak nearest me, which leads to a light marker maybe for tunneling barges, Russian fisherman accrue to string their long lines and gossip, and I enjoy watching for their blue thread so as to not walk into it and tangle everything up. Here, I’ve never seen a bucket with a fish, nor anything other than a washed up gym-short. Last walk, I saw a Russian man dip with a long pole for that washed-up gym-short.

But this sensation has to do with the tiers on the Chicago walkway. Old concrete edifices that walkers can understand the once-use of. That third tier that almost looks like a natural rock formation, ripped with hills and upheavals, stories of trading and lovemaking and crack-dealing and all-family barbeques. When I walk along it, the exertion almost feels like exercise: up, over the concrete bridge, around the shredded tarps, over the coke can, the needle, the graffiti, the plastic bag and hot-dog wrapper, the seagull shit, the change fallen from pockets; up, past the secrets, the names called after memory, the tarnished cans and a doll head, over the concrete bridge and down again, through the spiked weeds. I imagine sometimes that I’m hiking in Nepal. Then I open my eyes and see the kids playing in the sand nearby, forming sand castles and love words that the seagulls will pick away for the ladybugs whose shells line the nearest low tide.

I like that lower tier; it rests nearer the sunset light, that last bit of yellow thrown through the west withers, through those lives held at high altitude.

In between the spokes of cement, the bridges, the fisherman and the teenage adventurers, are holes drilled into the sides of the third tier. Near as I can figure, these metal holes once held lines to temporarily hold the boats that passed through. Sometimes walking, I discover pilings shelving architecture that could only elsewise be traced by archive; the possibility that men once grimaced as they belted from the lake homes they made, and made off from, the lines strung to boats strung to cabins, up to the second tier—the level of language and the graffiti that people place to make sure it lasts. Then to the first tier, the land of walkway and smiles and trees turning maybe green. Along that last landing, I imagine red kites strapped to gas lamps and unavoidable swamp as men jaunt away from the lines strung to metal holes made and still held by the third tier I now make my short summit.

I received an email from an absentee student today that read, paraphrase: ‘Sorry I’m not in class today. I had a miscarriage. Sorry. See you in two days hopefully.’

This last week I went dancing twice, and the first time was okay, but the most recent time was gospel, and literally. I went into an local lesbie bar only to discover an unexcavated portion partitioned by dark draping. Turned out I became one of the two white girls on the dance floor at a bar known (at least by me) for its Andersonville twosome babypushing lonely girls down the sidewalk, and I was certainly the only one dancing alone. Ah, and a dj who starts you out normal and enjoying, who then moves to a mix including black gospel and outtown people mixed with speeches you can’t pick out but know are silent and present in the middle of heat and sweat and my thighs, which look like bloated white whales of inopportune metaphor, dancing fat as the underbelly to the sounds of bodies paying attention to the body in between sound and finding amen, and finding not just women from home, but women and men and, well, maybe I was drunk, but I found myself wanting to wave, to congratulate. And at some point, I felt ashamed of myself, maybe for no reason, maybe because I am myself. So I hovered in a corner near the fan, but a woman came and grabbed me and pulled me out from that nowhere with both her hands open and her eyes looking to the music, not me or my embarrassment. What I love about being pulled out by women is when they aren’t looking for you to get or save them, they’re just looking for you to not hover in a corner like a dumb git. I raised my hands and toes and felt good.

Chester’s wings flitter when I ask him questions; it is agreed upon between him and me, and I’m not sure a baby hummingbird can be saved and then released. Delicate, delicate Chester.

I’ve been noticing my hair lately and how it rapidly alternates between falling out in massive future dustbusting quantities, and turning white. Originally I was hoping for a sweet white streak in the front where the hidden red hairs used to cluster—sexy, a white streak. Now I’m pretty sure I’ve got the streak, but it’s not as noticeable as I would have preferred because the rest of my hair is also turning white. I’m thirty-one and my hair is going completely white although it’s still brown towards the back. Would dying it change the fact that it’s white? Would dying it make it fall out less copiously? Does using the word ‘white’ make it less gray?

I’ve been contemplating words like white and failure and courage. I keep remembering the kid who came north to work at our unfortunate fishing site. How he liked to walk the rails of the boat and toedive from small standing to small standing. How I reckoned that this was what fishing was partially about, but how the other part was about me watching and gauging and catching what or whoever fell. There’s nothing like seeing the courageous use of youth inhabit each ligament available. I’ve been thinking about how I drove that boat and watched a stream and streamline tendon make its way forward and aft, because on a boat nothing is left to metaphor. It’s all body. And the mind in tandem with its synapses within body—an element not multiple but mobile.

And I’m not sure why I’ve been thinking about this other than I’ve decided that the courage of youth is in regards to the unknown, and the courage of age is in regards to the known. One makes its way through the air to water, while the other makes its way up from the bottom, the surface maybe miles away, and the bold just hoping to hold their breath long enough to dive down and start again, this time without that first adventure present, that initial brave body lined up against the currents of what will soon be known.

Oh, and my freaky-roommate’s cat humps the wall to get my attention, and it works. He’s such a little dancer. He is such a master of the clawless and insider domain. He scatters at our trespass, and sneaks outside only to look back inside through the windows.

And la’, man, but I keep teaching, you know, or at least trying, and it’s making me feel like shit. I have no job really (twice-week, nothing turned in, 50% attendance at best doesn’t seem to count), when I think about it. And although I am aware of one student’s loss of child; another’s babysitter who was arrested ‘due to the warmth in the air’; another’s car accident; the cancer in the father of a fourth; the new children growing for the fifth and the sixth; and the learning disability of the seventh, which makes her language far more twisted and arraigned than even my own; (and now that Chester is batting against the windows I have draped with dark cloth to prevent his braining himself, and now that I have considered Chester's fragility and the likelihood of someone easily crushing him, or his dietary needs are too subtle:) I still can’t make a dent in anything. There is no change. In writing or endeavor or whatnot, and what better proof of uselessness.

Plus, I haven’t been called back for any interviews on those jobs I know I’d be good at if only I could find a way to sink my mind into them. Which I’m unsure about. But I also haven’t been called back even for jobs I could do in my sleep. Then, to add to the taxonomy: I haven’t had a girlfriend in years, I still don’t know what I want, period, and lately multiple friends have been telling me about how they wake up in the night feeling death as a visitor, and sometimes life as a visitor as well… and I don’t know what to say.

My dreams involve manic narration of nothing and boats with empty crabpots set resting to tilt on the bow. And dreams of everyone with some easing and some easing inexplicable.

Chester, in the middle-meantime—where I grow squash from big pots on the deck that is my mother’s not mine—drinks nectar from his box. He is the MobyDick of my open limbo, interrupting intricate mechanisms of altruism, immaculate conception, alien abduction, heroism under impossible conditions, angelic angulations and wise words stolen from absurd conditions. Chester’s heart beats a thousand times per minute, and in my off minutes I imagine introducing him to vibrant flowers so when I release him in a catless location, he at least has a shot at the purple.

P.S. Also, I’ve been thinking about Uhauls. And kayaks.
Wow...that's a lot of thinking,my friend.
Hope Chester is still good and growing, miss momma hummingbird.
How lovely!
Try not to worry about the job thing. Not getting the one at WCC might just leave you available for something even better.

Are you, or have you, or might you apply at WWU?
You'd be great there!
-Much love,
ah, yes, fictional Chester is doing splendidly. :)

As for teaching, I'm considering a bunch of places, and also whether hussling to teach only comp is worth the hassle. (I don't mind comp, but teaching only that one class can be draining/boring).
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