- Meals I Have Eaten
- Jess's New Blog
- One of Jess's Old Blogs
- The Stop Button
- Jenerator's Rant
- The Rejection Collection
- Pockets Stuffed With Notes
- The Silkie Road
- Informed Comment
- Talking Points Memo
- Spoken & Heard
- Ever So Strange
- Marvelous Prompts (& Responses)
- Only Words To Play
- So Misunderstood
- Acknowledge & Proceed
Profile & Email
- If I Were to Take 4 Photobooth Moments With You Th...
- upon examining a picture of Trotsky
- spring break 2013
- Um, howdy there. I think it's going to take a bit...
- Uber MIA
- Thankie Thankerson
- encrazed (with three exclamation points)!!!
- My Adorable Chickens
- Some days, some days most recently, I just don't k...
- re: teaching / learning
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- August 2008
- September 2008
- October 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- January 2009
- February 2009
- March 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- June 2009
- July 2009
- August 2009
- September 2009
- October 2009
- November 2009
- December 2009
- January 2010
- February 2010
- March 2010
- April 2010
- May 2010
- June 2010
- July 2010
- August 2010
- September 2010
- October 2010
- November 2010
- December 2010
- January 2011
- February 2011
- March 2011
- April 2011
- May 2011
- June 2011
- July 2011
- August 2011
- September 2011
- October 2011
- November 2011
- December 2011
- January 2012
- February 2012
- March 2012
- April 2012
- May 2012
- June 2012
- July 2012
- August 2012
- September 2012
- October 2012
- November 2012
- January 2013
- March 2013
- May 2014
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
the best and the brightest
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I'd like to have something to say; it's not as though my life is boring, or I'm not experiencing anything, because I am. Each week seems to be over before it begins, and I can't help feeling a little panic over how fast it goes, and it's not just that I have little to show for its passage, but that I can't keep track of it so well anymore; it just seems to blur, one day following upon another, and I'd have to say that I have a pattern finally, and even more patterns seem to be emerging, and I'd even go so far as to say it makes me feel more content than I've been in awhile because I'd rather be too busy to accomplish everything I want than to be aware of the ways in which I flounder around. Better to flounder without too much attention to the details.
That said, let me pay attention.
I have two classes this quarter and I have to say that more than any classes I've taught in a long time, I'm really enjoying these ones. I like the material I'm teaching, at least somewhat... and I like the fact that I'm teaching a newish class, English 100, which I haven't taught in quite some time.
For this class, I decided to ditch a set text and cobble together the readings out of a bit of this and that, and so decided upon two units, one that clearly builds off of the other. The first unit is about advertising, and includes the usual hoo-haw about advertising's ill effects on impressionable minds. But I went ahead and included a fairly difficult text (fortunately in a youth-friendly Internet-Essay mode) about semiotics, social codes, paradigms, and cultural common-sense. The text, truthfully, is a bit challenging for even me, and very challenging for this class, which is made up of 90% Running Start students (read: I'm a high school teacher without a high school teacher's training), but I've been thrilled to see how many of the students seemed hungry for a text of this type of complexity, and when you add my impassioned speeches on story-telling, cultural movement since the sixties, the collective conscious, and the nature of cultural constructs - well, it feels like there's some genuine engagement and debate happening in the class.
Having ditched the set comp anthologies has allowed me to incorporate texts that take on multiple perspectives that more accurately reflect the nature of our political spectrum (not all the liberal-leaning culture readings inherent to composition textbooks), and I think this has, as I hoped, included more students than I've managed to reach before.
The college I teach at has always been composed of a fairly equal mix of religious conservatives and PacNW liberals, but I've always lost out on the possibility of connecting with those outside the tight confines of English-department bias. And in this 100 class I have the gauntlet, including two very smart home-schooled, ultra-religious fundamentalists, who are nonetheless really, truly engaging me in conversation with their writing. And by branching at least a little bit across spectrum (it's hard to be hugely inclusive in cultural studies, as it appears to not be something that attracts the attention of too many conservative academics, though I don't know why), I am finding overlaps in thinking that I never before understood: these two boys, although having a truly different perspective on issues such as feminism (I fear we will at best merely learn to understand each other a small bit and maximize communication between), have a very similar perspective as I do about capitalism, global warming, humanitarianism, and social critique. And among the other students as well, more variation and interaction than I've found before.
Anyhow. Although I'm not trained to meet the specific needs of this age group, I am nonetheless feeling more connected and involved in their process, more affectionate and patient with their points of view, and encouraged, no matter where they are on developing their critical thinking skills, their writing talents, or even their work ethic. It of course helps that I am not grading their work, and am instead acting as their "coach" for the mysterious academic panel they will be submitting their work to at the end of the quarter. It allows me this area of "them against us", well, them not so much against us, but I am the one who has all the winks and tricks of the trade and secret admiration to share without them worrying about whether I am judging them. It also makes me feel more neutral, so it's a kind of two-way sensation.
This overlaps with the side-job I have, which has picked back up again. And I fucking love it to the point of wondering how I can make a job out of it.
Last year I picked up this tutoring gig off of Craigslist, where I was tutoring a student with dyslexia and helping her with her community college classes, mostly the writing part of her studies. She was taking a variety of classes - the two I predominantly helped her with being an ecology class and a gender-studies class. For both of these, I got to do some of the reading with her, and so found myself learning new things, but I also had the pleasure of realizing again the overlaps between genres -- i.e. that what I'm teaching in my classes does have practical applications outside of English, and that English is undeniably tied up with other modes of seeing the world.
Well, she did well in the classes, and we worked through a bit of frustration writing papers together - me learning how to walk that line between suggesting/helping and processing information for her. But after those classes, she rather disappeared for a bit, and although I helped her with her application to the local University, we really didn't work on anything together.
Then she went and got herself accepted at the U, and felt a full panic over entering a larger academy. After about six months of no tutoring, she contacted me with a new proposition: I am now effectively her reading tutor. She gives me the readings - not all of them, but the important ones - and then we talk about them together. I am still negotiating how much talking I do in the tutoring session (how much I act as oral Cliff Notes), but I kind of had a break-through in realizing that as long as she does the reading along with me, and as long as there is dialogue, it's okay if I do quite a bit of summarizing, noting important key points she's not noticed, i.e. apply my very strong reading skills to better use than keeping everything to myself.
So, I get to read about America and religion this quarter, and a little bit about sociology of the family, but mostly I'm reading about the origins of religion in America and how it has affected the fabric of American life. Truly interesting shit that makes me appreciate religion, even religious fundamentalism, in a way I never thought possible after all the recent gay-targeting, de-secularism of government and the racism the religious right seems (to me) to be inflicting on those who are different from them. I feel like I understand the political-religious present in a new light - a light very tied up with the origins of our government, our notions of justice, our ideas about activism, and mainly this idea of living a live in "covenant with God."
If the religious right truly believes in the collective experience, that the collective experience somehow shapes the future (i.e. for them, the relationship they have with God, or what I think of as fate-mediating entity), then they have more reasons than prejudice to react against those influences they see as disrupting the communal experience.
I don't agree, of course, but understanding takes some of the bitterness off of things. Not that I have any reason towards bitterness - I mean, I don't even have some girlfriend with whom to share a future denied. But I don't like the idea of all the opposition, all the hatred around, including the recent "Protect Marriage" coalition in WA that most recently has acquired enough mysterious signatures to add a referendum to the current state ballot... in order to deny not marriage, but equal recognition for same-sex unions at the state level. I mean, what a misnomer - "Protect Marriage". It's not even about that. But even though I still see the group and its participants as being all about hate and denying equality to those different from them, it nevertheless helps to know the origins of such deep-seated beliefs.
And it's pretty sweet to be involved in a discussion about such issues with a student, to be able to churn through information and history in order to find the main ideas, the crucial aspects that she might think about, that her teacher might be wanting her to think about. I like gearing my tutoring to someone else's pedagogy, acting sometimes as the devil's advocate (she's inclined towards religious prejudice - haha), and to be enabling a student towards greater understanding. I have to say that the process is helping me understand that teaching isn't always about holding back (to get them to do the leg-work themselves) but also about giving freely of my talents (reading comprehension, general knowledge, a sense of the academy).
Plus I get paid. I mean, it sounds weird to me, but I love feeling like I'm finally being paid for what I'm good at. And I can't help but wonder: is it possible to turn this into a career? Working for the learners, and not for the institution.
In addition to all this, I've been working on a WriteAThon with my buddies, and I don't know where it's taking me except towards more writing than I've done in a long time. I'm all over the place, and seriously have all the following questions about what I'm doing (questions I guess I have to answer myself since I'm no longer in school):
How do I alter my rhythm? How do I create voices that don't smack of my own (i.e. long-winded and convolute)? How do I combine my skill at internal thought with my lack of skill at external action? Why are my works so doom and gloomy (especially considering how my own life leans towards the blessed), and how can I change this, alter mood? What is the best way to combine dialogue and thought, dialogue and action? How do I best maintain my interest in the characters while trying to follow a purposeful plot? How do I channel my ADD attenion-span? What are the parts of my writing people engage the most with and what might push them away? How do I get more playful? How do I retain my interest in language and experiment and include those readers more interested in traditional language and structure? What is the best way to fictionalize personal experience into something that best reflects my interest in, and love of, the sheer variety of people in this world?
And on a sending-shit-out / professional level: How do I make myself adhere to a schedule? How do I let go of work I'm not fully satisfied with, or even downright irritated by? How do I make space for my own writing, not just daily (WriteAThon) but focused and for a purpose (a novel, an eventual endpoint) with all the other stuff I want to do? How do I balance visual work and being a part of the Bville community with writing, especially when I'm so tired at the end of the day that I just go home and watch TV, thus relegating only Friday/Saturday to the studio? How, now that I might have the possibility of artistic interaction, do I create collaborative moments and opportunities?
All that and such.
And then there's the other life. The life where I'm still a mooch off my mom (trying now that my garden is done to consider how to otherwise participate in the upkeep of the household, and how to eventually move out and create my own space when so much of me is meshed with this place).
Herald is growing up too, and I'm sure it's weird, but he's such a little person. Since this quarter began, I've not had the time to spend with him I once did, and I'm struggling to take him on walks once, or at best twice, a week. And it's not like he's just a cheerful go-along with whatever I have to offer. The bloody dog wants me all the time, wants more walks, and if he doesn't get enough attention, he gets really wild and bizarre. Yesterday he woke me up early in the morning whining, got let out, then back in (by CR), and jumped up on my bed on top of me with his head on my breastbone, looking me in the face and whining every few seconds until I pushed him off, and even then, he rested his head on my bed whining until I finally got up screaming and bawling about my lack of sleep. I imagine like it's a low-key version of having a baby, and shit, it made me glad I don't have a baby waking me up way way more frequently. But, well, I have to remember that Herald's needs are not that different from a child's - not pretend, but real, and there's a responsibility I have if I love him (which I do) to make sure he's getting the action, play, and attention he needs.
And shit, if he doesn't hate my papers. "The dog ate my homework" is taking on new dimensions, a la "The dog ate your homework while I was trying to grade it."
Well, there's other stuff too. Like my pumpkin carving party, with excellent people and kiddos. Like a guy interested in me and me for the first time in awhile considering dating outside of my supposed affiliation (if I haven't yet met that partner who I'm matched with and who is also interested in treating me well for a period of time longer than a month or two, why I am so welded to a fixed sexual identity other than it's easier to maintain one identity than explore others? A big issue, not likely appropriate for the blog, but being queer sucks, in short, especially here in Bville, and on reflection, I think I'm more interested in making a real future than holding my aesthetic ground). And like a reading I'm going to have the weekend of December 18/19th with a bunch of folks, including my two out-of-town friends, Nat and Louie (probably - I still have to arrange flying Louie out here, and it depends on flights, etc), but I'd like it to be good, well-attended, and purposeful. And coming up with a home-map for Jess's exhibition in CO. And suchlike. Stuff.
Halloween this weekend. Damn, I don't even have a costume, 'cause I can't think of a damn costume anymore. But I can still make an awesome pumpkin.
Anyhow. I thought I'd also include excerpts from the WriteAThon stuff, even if they're disconnected so far. Because, like, I doubt I will be on here for awhile and it gives something for those interested to glance at in the meantime.
From re-write start of Swallow
But to hell with that, Will concludes, pleased with the garden, which is now a ripped-away negative of what Edith had grown. At one point actually the garden had been the exact negative imprint of her garden, but that version ultimately became more painful to see than the leftover, unweeded version of the original. The same garden but opposite—every contour guided by what was there before, what would no longer be there; if a corner, then a continuance; if a bean, then a squash; or if a cabbage, then lettuce. Will finally realized one could read in the garden the imprint of Edith, her footsteps, her favorites, all of it, almost as if she still were there, but acting through the mirror version of her self, which was no doubt so firmly imbedded in Will that he’d never plant a garden again that didn’t hold traces of her, and in holding traces of her, hold traces of the way she’d left.
But finally, finally, the contemporary moment—obviously something still to be built on, Will notes as he looks at the orange through the fields of nearly dead, mildewing vines and leaves with little pumpkin mines out shining, each waiting to burst open their guts and continue their little plot into the next year and the following year, only not them, but their pumpkin offspring—if they had their way, tons of them. But still, the garden carries the ghost of ‘in reaction’, but for a second year, Will thinks, maybe that’s okay. Maybe next year, the garden won’t seem related to what the garden used to be, whose the garden used to be; maybe next year the garden will simply be what it needs to be. But in the meantime, Will has two shelves of squash preserves, in just about every recipe that ever was invented for squash—some of them wholesome, some of them odd, all of them full of vitamins, but quite possibly not edible, not perfect or even what Will prefers to eat. They just are, and what he really likes is that he grew them, and loved watching them, and he thinks, tossing a sideways glance up to the house to make sure that Rodney isn’t watching him wax rhapsodic to himself, maybe even loving them.
Same story, different character
Next to their bedroom, the door to their spare room is open. Right now, the room is made into a kind of study—not really a study, not precisely David’s or Gus’s. A computer with its beady green light gapes out at the books that line two walls of the room along tidy bookshelves. Near the third wall, a thick leather armchair rests, and David resists sitting in it; instead tries to imagine the space as what they had planned for it: a room for the child they wanted. They wanted. Plans to paint the walls green, gender neutral, and on one of the walls, maybe a baby mural. Just like all the movies where families have children and express their creative self through a utopian interior design. It’s fucking silly, Gus thinks, it’s really stupid too. Why paint only a child’s room? Why put all these ideas on the wall when those ideas don’t exist in the rest of the house? Why separate and project and bring around some generalized notion of a starving artist and “give him a space” to create the future?
David talks about these things, about his desire and about how perfect it is to have a crying, growing, complex little individual to nourish. It won’t be easy, David says, there will be sleepless nights. We will have to work hard, and life won’t be simple, and the child will definitely fight us, resent our difference, but also accept our difference because she’ll know that we love her. David wants a girl, preferably with beautiful skin and grace, or barring that, brains and intelligent conversation. He has all these plans, so elaborate—Gus can see a kind of hope within them—and above all, David wants to believe that they are strong enough to accept whatever future is there to create from the elements that arrive.
Gus has friends who tell him: you don’t know what you’re getting into, at all, until it arrives. Then you face it and it becomes meaningful because it’s something you didn’t expect, but still grow with, grow into, adjust to, and change. Children change you. You think you can’t do it, then you do, or you think you can do it, and it startles you in its difficulty. But above all: it’s worth it. It makes itself worth it. This is life, and it continues to amaze, or else. Or else you get bored, lose direction, stultify and stutter. You see the long corridors of freeways that run past your apartment (three blocks away), and the desperate, searching people on the streets with their ragged shoes and gazes, who you wish were okay, but they’re not, and you can’t solve all the worlds problems. Sure, you can volunteer, donate, and you can shine your light, the light of your self, and be kind and let people cut you off in traffic without flipping them off or imagining denting their perfect hybrid gas-efficient vehicles with your Jedi mind power. But actually, what you can really do is make a beautiful room, make a beautiful child who will take on the burden for you, make it right where you fail. Or maybe, they’ll always lean on you where they fail, and you’ll thrive under that pressure to stand up, as if between you and your offspring you’ll have both the poles covered, and thus all the rest that falls in between.
David had it all, Gus thinks, and David wants to pass that on. But what about when you don’t have it all, when you lose every time, no matter what you put into it?
Gus leaves the study door, its daydreamed wall murals and the rotating mobile that plays Handel’s nocturne in D over and over, more slowly within each repetition to match the cadenced pattern of their daughter falling asleep. In the kitchen, Gus starts the espresso, breaks two eggs into a frying pan, adds ham, cheese, and jalapenos. He pulls his hands through his long hair, and for the first time in a long time, remembers the VW bus—the little corner that Taro rigged above the table for Gus and later, Bastian. He sees the masking tape he used to mark the platform, to cover the whole rim of that platform in tape. Then drawing a row of skull and crossbones across it to stretch from his head down to the end (which his toes eventually jutted off at night), and then 90-degrees to the side of the bus. For a week or so—it couldn’t have been much longer than that, with Swallow and Esme down below (later Naomi, and Bastian above with him)—he’d pretended to growl and plank all invaders—invaders meaning mostly his family and sometimes the odd stranger in their midst. Then he realized his could flip over the rail, do a somersault down onto the mattress below, sometimes even land on Swallow’s legs and get away into the bathroom before she was fully cognizant and capable of damage. Gus smiles, thinks about the mural of their space; their mural, their patchwork made out of sharpie poems and crayons, news-clippings and smooth chestnuts that he held absent-mindedly in his fingers during sleep, rubbing their hills and brown dips…
Same story, different character
When Swallow first saw the house—after days traveling to place after place, looking for the one that allowed her some unforeseeable peace—she stopped caring about evacuating her memories, and finally wanted to be somewhere. Kulwinder’s blue heart, the greenhouse with its hammock and Mo’s frail eyes, her absent brother, her absent father, her absent future, her job terminated, the deadly ungrowth housed unpredictably in the only home she’d been given, the only structure that never seemed like it could fail, suddenly fallen, and the words she’d wanted to say, the new square she had drawn in the corner of her left breast, the little small piece she had marked and the words she had placed there to protect it from being penetrated and quartered with soldiers, Kulwinder’s box, but it was too late—it is still here, inside of her like a deadly animal in the dark. All she can see is its red eyes staring back at her, not giving anything away, and Swallow’s mind just keening like wind, a pressure system that won’t stop building. But when Swallow sees Rosa’s house, she finally hears something outside that sound.
They drove to it at night, and Swallow’s first view was of the headlights sweeping up past the rose bushes along all of the walls. In that one flash of light, she caught brief glimpse of the red tile of the roof, the gaping patches in the stucco where some kind of ribbed, bumpy surface stood out white against the painted yellow. Even in the headlights, the yellow was particularly bright, white only at the center of the beam that scrutinized it so quickly—the shutters closed and the interior dark and potentially abandoned.
First Rosa collects the coffee in the espresso contraption that sits on the gas stove and hyperventilates. She mixes the coffee with another grain that she once explained is cheaper than coffee but still adds to the flavor. Then she adds water, tightens the metal parts and sets it down. They sit across from each other, each looking at the hearth, and Swallow finally dozes, not watching the bats or thinking of the greenhouse where Mo grew her nasturtiums and hammocks. Mita would like it here, she thinks as she rests her head against her fist and slowly leans into the table. When she wakes, a cup of cold coffee is in front of her and the gaze of the German flits to her face, then back away. Swallow’s certain this is what has awoken her, the pressure of unclear study—a different silence than the one of Rosa moving about the kitchen, then into the pantry as she takes the rice tub from the fridge and adds a portion of bran and yeast for her two dogs, then a touch of white fish to the mixture for the cats.
“Bonjourno,” she says carefully, waiting for the German to transition to English, waiting for the day to begin.
From random thoughts about spiders and my spider project
This is one aspect of spiders I admire, among the many: that they rebuild every time their web gets wiped away by someone walking down the trail. We wipe our faces and arms and curse quietly, sometimes loudly, at having been caught by the sticky grey material that makes a spider’s net. We send those people who are less afraid of spiders (me) first because we are afraid of spiders (most of friends), so much so that the less afraid will take care of the webs before the disgusted even get to the unsafe portion of the trail, and everyone is happy at having averted more disgust and violence in the world than is already there, but it’s the spiders who get to rebuild again.
This is their truest strength, but it is a strength that goes along with not having a choice. It is hard to say where they grumble to themselves, whether they are extremely disappointed or more like the devastated refugees of flooded or avalanched towns—webworks of human activity that disappear in a force of nature nearly as unpredictable and strange as a person walking down a trail with a nervous friend behind them. But regardless of whether they grumble or feel their plight in ways native to spider mentality rather than a human who is anthropomorphizing spider mentality, they still begin again, and they start from scratch and what they make is never the same as the last one.
-It’s not fair, said one friend, to see one person in light of another.
But how else can we see each other, I want to know? Against a white sheet, with numbers describing our actions? Beautiful ignorance, you are only who you are? To what extent are we the spaces between—between ourselves, between two, between animals, spiders, or the world of others? If we are located in places outside ourselves—in memory, perhaps, then where can we find each other?
Perhaps in the burning, alive smolders along the sticks we set to infested limbs, but even after the coals and cinders have found new life in the soil, a strange awareness of that bridge, the one that once was, still exists. Even past, dead connections are still alive.
Internet and the Dalai Lama are both a part of this—the former being an entity that claims its basic value in networking, and the latter an entity seeing life in principle as networked. I am pissed off at both of them. I imagine my present state now resembling the thrumming spider in its net—a dog barking in the distance, a leaf closing in, violent breath upon my forehead. But I want to know the distance that occurs between a spider thrumming and its ability to build again when the trail is broken, fear always walking behind destruction, never in front.
Oulipo Exercise - following Duel/Flee to Dual/Flea
Hey, you, this is the end pointed directly against your face. There it is, can you find the ridges that form its border? How do you feel about the dirty grit leaning up against your skin? That’s my man at your back, and that’s your future at your face. Likely, you don’t like the look of it. Nobody does, and nobody will. Including you, who walked right into this game.
You ever play those scenarios where you imagine you have a choice between impossible ends—your mother or your baby, the President against your best friend, your own self against your morals? I wonder what you chose at night when weighing out all the potentials. As for myself, I used to imagine a white hot lava flow, the metal bridge that always crossed it, a demon man, his pale skin all aflush with the choices he was offering, and the two people I loved more than myself dangling equally before me. I always thought, well, shit, I’ll save them both at the sacrifice of myself. I’ll dive into that lava like hell itself were pursuing me. And everyone will be saved, everyone but myself, but then again I will meet the waters, and the covenant between myself and the Lord has always been firm. But in real life, it’s always you sitting behind the barrel and it’s both you and the devil calling the shots, together; you and him, offering the choices and before you know it, you’ve looked the wrong way and the two people you love the most are there in the lava, and you’re standing above holding both the gun and their socks.
Sometimes you have to leave that scene, make it on down towards the warm weather and sit in a hammock without anyone else, just your sunglasses sitting over the eyes and a copy of Crime and Punishment landed in your lap without any will on your part, other than you going to the bookstore, buying that book, packing it and opening it before finding yourself on the sunny beach with the sandy bikini girls looking your way, and not very much cash, but enough to experience the world for a change, and to buy yourself a drink in the meantime.
That Raskolnikov, you realize in the end, had far too much to think about. That’s all his story is about—choices. It’s not a story about being in the middle of no good and making do with what you’ve not been given. I hate that dyspeptic shit, and I toss Mr. Doestoevsky’s book in the surf afterwards, but not before I find snorkel gear in the wooden box provided for the use of hostel users.
My two friends were named Malcolm and Hezekiah, and neither of them were of the kind that likes to stand out. Malcolm frequented the bookstores and invested himself in history in between pining over my little sister. He really liked her, and I’m not one to interfere with flowers, haiku, and that kind of nod we sometimes give women, the nod that let’s them know we’re waiting but we’re not pushing. He knew he had my fathom, and the three of us—Malcolm, Hezekiah, and I—all knew after years of growing up in just nowhere, that life only comes in the holes of Krispy Kreme, but not Dunkin Donuts.
That doesn’t make sense, probably, but I send myself into the corridors of Costa Rica coral, following the herds of fish, then following the small sharks that follow them, then after that, the one big fish (a whale-shark, I find out later) that doesn’t really vie with any of them, but makes battle first with the distance and then with the skein of the reef. That’s how I want to live my life, now that you’ve heard it, like that big open mouth sucking in all the tiny plankton that I can pretend don’t mind it. Don’t mind it like Hezekiah who decided he was going to drop out of school, skip the shit, take the tests and move away as far as he could. But like he said, not like they do in the movies. He was always moving back after he learned about agriculture and making gardens, enough that he could come back, no matter where back turned out to be.
In the end, he started drawing—mostly little doodles nobody would ever notice, but every now and then some funny crap that made me wonder. He could have made a book, maybe he even did once I look through his stuff. But Hezekiah caught cancer, went through some of the treatment although his parents didn’t have insurance and so he only went through some of the treatment, and then he died, and then Malcolm and I both went to his service. His mom didn’t want the funeral open—had the casket burned although I think that would have scared Hezekiah, the idea of nobody waiting, not even the worms, but I went to the service and even went up to the front and said a word or two—can barely remember what I came up with. Malcolm went up and cried. It was dramatic, those tears, his words, the idea of a final redemption being found ultimately in the tenuous connections we form on earth.
Later we got drunk and fell down under the Maple tree, talked about what we wanted. Malcolm wanted to be a politician; oh, he wanted it bad. Too bad he fucking got hit by a car, and too bad I’m sitting in this hammock, nearby, a ratty old dog without a lower jawbone poking at the remnants of food I pretended to eat a few hours ago.
As I watch, an insect hops off the stray dog’s head, leaps and it’s onto my leg. I capture it in between my thumb and pinky. Can’t see it, it’s so small, but I know it’s there, just me and the little fucker that would suck me dry given half a chance and a significantly larger build. I can feel it wiggling between my fingers, and I think about what might happen if I flick it on out past the oasis, into the sand where it would have to make it without the help of flesh. I’m hallfway torn in my current choices. The stray dog looks at me, its head cocked, ears perked up and jagged with the bits that have been torn off. After awhile, it turns away and curls up under a nearby table, its tail wrapped about its head like patience, its body pulled in as tight as possible. Just you and me, I tell the insect I’ve removed from the dog’s fur just before I snap it in half with my fingernails. Mono y mono, no choice about lava, nobody to save and only you left to die.
P.S. Go Phillies!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I'll take it
The left card represents an important element of the past. Five of Swords (Defeat): A success earned through personal degradation. Separation from friends brought about by an unfeeling and coldly calculated act. Temporary victory tainted by dishonor and providing fuel for eventual defeat.
The middle card represents a deciding element of the present. The Sun, when reversed: Loneliness and uncertainty. Nostalgic memories. The warm passing glow of dusk. Peace without vigilance.
The right card represents a critical element of the future. The Star: New hopes and splendid revelations of the future. Insight, inspiration, courage and enlightenment of the spiritual self. Body and mind and converging towards the light at the end of a dark time.
Provided not via myself. Oh, and soon I'll post pics of the Artwalk and my garden, pre and post the first fall frost.