25 December 2008
'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the house / not a creature was stirring--except me.
realized sleep wasn't coming, and picked up her head.
she reached for the lightswitch to turn on the lamp,
hid her eyes from the brightness, and muttered a "damn."
even Santa'd be sleeping by now, she was sure,
having made his deliveries hours before.
so what's left to do in that time before dawn
when you can't get to sleep and the light's turned back on?
for a college kid back in her parents' abode,
not a hell of a lot. she'd been terribly snowed!
(but not by the white stuff that falls to the ground;
it was 50 degrees. there was none to be found.)
her mama was dozing, and papa still snored;
with no waking companion, she really was bored.
her brother's room just down the hall was quite dark,
but it wouldn't have mattered; her bite beat her bark
when they still lived together, and even though now
their exchanges weren't violent, she barely knew how
to keep up conversation. they weren't much the same:
she was into linguistics, he liked video games.
her frustrating awakeness forced some contemplation.
she figured she might as well try meditation.
she discovered her efforts were most absent-minded . . .
at least by that lamp she was no longer blinded.
philosophy wasn't the thing for tonight;
she could make up an answer, but it wouldn't be right.
she was too old for Santa, she knew that for certain,
but she couldn't stop peeking through her bedroom curtain.
maybe, just maybe, that sleigh would swing by
(but no one would believe her; they'd think she was high),
and Santa could give her a Christmas surprise:
a sure-fire method for closing her eyes.
she considered her options: she might have tried reading,
but she'd just finished one book, which had left her needing
to get out of bed if she wanted another,
and she knew squeaking floorboards would waken her mother.
so she did what any angsty teen does at home:
get a pen, and start writing a stupid-ass poem.
i will capture the spirit of Christmas! she thought,
then she realized the chances were practically naught.
although many had tried, and their copious verses
were some poor librarian's seasonal curses,
she couldn't help thinking the effort a crime,
for how could one fit Christmas in meter and rhyme?
even though Christianity no longer suit her,
despite years of nuns who had tried to recruit her,
she still hoped that Christmastime might do some good,
because Jesus was actually a pretty cool dude,
and the people who now gave Him another thought
might remember his message, so often forgot.
because Jesus had nothing to do with the gays,
with the war in Iraq, or with 401k's;
nothing of global warming or oceans that boil,
and although Middle Eastern, didn't care about oil.
His message was simple, and plain from the start:
BE NICE TO EACH OTHER! why is this so hard?!
she was quite sure that Jesus would not want the blame
for the majority of stuff people do in His name.
and that's what makes Christmas important each year:
the message goes out. maybe someone will hear
and remember to let petty differences lie,
because who wants to make the Baby Jesus cry?
with that thought in mind, she had new hope for sleep,
though the hour grew late. if only they'd keep
to that message, the new year could really be rockin'!
(but that might just be the insomnia talking.)
she sighed as she finally turned out the light,
"Merry Christmas to all! and to all a good night."
16 December 2008
writer's block: the inability to write. "the temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to a lack of inspiration or creativity," as per the almighty wikipedia. "a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work," according to dictionary.com. (so dictionary.com is slightly less optimistic/more realistic, it seems.) the OWL at Purdue (one of my favorite writing resources as a student) lists several symptoms (which look more like causes) and possible cures for writer's block, but all that is aimed at academic writing, and only one "symptom" approaches a psychological cause for writer's block. wikipedia also suggests a few causes of writer's block, but it sounds--forgive my impertinence--like it's just a wikipedia article, whose writer may very well have been attempting something just like this (i.e.: self-analysis).
you would think that writer's block would happen most often in times of great personal stress or depression. this is sometimes the case/these are sometimes the cause. in times of stress, yes, i have trouble writing, but that's mostly because i have neither the time nor the energy to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) (that does actually help, often, because the words can flow faster and keep up with my thoughts). but then, when i have time and energy--or at least energy--i want to spend it doing other things. i want to live the things you get to write about later, not spend time recording them. at least, that would be an excellent excuse, wouldn't it? i haven't decided yet how much it's true. in times of depression, i think i write most copiously, even if no one else gets to see it.
so if the obvious psychological states aren't the cause of my writer's block, what is it? how about this: i quite often find myself unable to write in times of tremendous boredom. i want to write for lack of anything else to do, but that doesn't mean a story, a poem, an insightful essay falls out of my brain.
maybe it's the way i approach writing. i really don't see myself as a creator, in any meaningful sense. i consider myself an instrument for the creation of the piece; something else is working through me. this is why it's so hard to force. i can't just make it happen. (it's why my sonnets, the few i've been able to write in the last couple years, have been so bad: it's just fitting rhyming words into a well-worn meter, regardless of whether they should be there. it's like trying to put together a puzzle without having a painter to make the picture first. all the pieces are beige and blah, and if you ever manage to make them fit together, the result will still be essentially meaningless.)
so should i blame something external to myself? what is the muse? can you chase her down if she won't find you on her own? how long should you wait to try?
09 December 2008
People like to codify that which gives them power.
There are English-speakers who fear that Spanish-speakers will become the majority, and they want to make sure they will be able to maintain their power, even if they become the minority. [Therefore, they want to make English the official language of the U.S.]
but this could really apply to anything.
30 November 2008
They are crowned for ever and discrowned now.
Whether they triumphed or suffered they are mute now,
or at the most they are only a sound now.
The high song is over. There is none to complain now.
No heart for healing, and none to break now:
they have gone, and they will not come again now.
They are sleeping at last, and they will not wake now.
The high song is over. And we shall not mourn now.
There was a thing to say, and it is said now.
It is as though all these had been unborn now,
it is as through the world itself were dead now.
The high song is over. Even the echoes fail now;
winners and losers--they are only a theme now,
their victory and defeat a half-forgotten tale now;
and even the angels are only a dream now.
There is no need for blame, no cause for praise now.
Nothing to hide, to change or to discover.
They were men and women. They have gone their ways now,
as men and women must. The high song is over.
--Humbert Wolfe, in Requiem, 1927.
this book has a story. but doesn't everything.
in a hot garden, like bees in a cup,
and, like light through branches, now gay, now dimmer,
thought touches a face that is lifted up.
My bees, with the pollen under your feet,
when the thought we shared is no longer alive,
will aught that we dreamed of together be sweet,
will there be honey of ours in the hive?
It is dark in the hive. There is fear, there is shame,
there are tears, and ugliness unto death.
Sweet thieves of the sun, must it still be the same,
or will not the flowers you rifled bequeath
a glimpse of the vision you saw at my knees,
when the teacher was taught by the Keeper of Bees?
--Humbert Wolfe, in Requiem, 1927.
this book has a story. but doesn't everything.
29 November 2008
that doesn't mean it belongs to the internets.
it's been quite the month. and of course, better than half the things i meant to have accomplished by now, i don't....it'll make the next two weeks, and winter break, all the more interesting. i'd love to blame senioritis, but i don't think that covers the better part of it. i decided some time ago (freshman year?) that people are more important than homework, which only works because i know when i have to really focus and get stuff done, but which has worked pretty well for me. there's always going to be homework. there's always going to be stuff i ought to be doing. but there are not always going to be these opportunities to make connections with people, to spend time with them, to talk about important things--and not so important things. school will happen whether i want it to or not; people go away.
that interpersonal connection thing has been kind of a theme this past month, i suppose. with several manifestations, and no lack of confusion.
the football game yesterday was amazing. i don't usually geek out about sports, and i won't here, but it was an incredible experience to be in that stadium. i went up on the winning run (my favorite thing to do at a football game). and my parents said they didn't see me on TV (probably all the better!).
time to go check on the laundry...
18 November 2008
except for this:
i know this has been all over the internet for a couple weeks already, but i couldn't resist the opportunity to put it in one more place, so that maybe one more person will see it.
this a tremendous act of allyship. i have difficulty describing the respect and the gratitude i have for Keith Olbermann, and the hope it gives me that a straight, middle-aged, white American male can discuss this issue with such passion in such a public way. maybe things are finally changing.
11 November 2008
"Brighter than Sunshine" - Aqualung
"I Will Possess Your Heart" - Death Cab for Cutie
"If She Wants Me" - Belle & Sebastian
"One Thing" - Finger Eleven
"Everlong" - Foo Fighters
"Soul Meets Body" - Death Cab for Cutie
"Night Drive" - Jimmy Eat World
"In My Head" - Anna Nalick
"There's a Girl" - the Ditty Bops
"Times Like These" - Foo Fighters (the acoustic version, for some reason)
06 November 2008
i live and work on a college campus in a district that voted for Barack Obama, and i knew it was over at 11:00 tuesday night when i heard screaming and cheering outside. i am privileged to have had the opportunity to join a crowd of thousands in the streets, where i was overwhelmed by the magnitude of sheer joy around me. this was not a riot--this was a celebration. we celebrated victory, we celebrated freedom, we celebrated change. we celebrated progress: who would have guessed, even 5 years ago, that we would be witnessing what we did on tuesday night?
but most of all, we celebrated hope. i didn't understand what Obama and his supporters meant by that word they'd been using so much until monday morning, when i woke up and realized that i honestly did not know what i would do if John McCain were elected, if the conservative regime were to be allowed to continue its oppression of the American people. this is strong language, and i mean every word. i honestly believe that Obama's election brings to America the potential for deep change, and i am excited and anxious to see whether he successfully stands up to the challenge. this is just one step: we have a lot of work to do.
i am alive and young in an amazing age. as i wrote in my journal when i finally got to bed around 5:00 wednesday morning, "i want to remember this day forever." i have never been prouder or happier to be an American. i owe deep thanks to all those who shared their joy, their passion, and their energy with me, and i look forward to the challenges we face in changing this country for the better, together.
04 November 2008
but i feel a change coming, and i feel good about it.
(so this is that "hope" they've been talking about....)
i am praying the only way i know how. (i.e., sending my thoughts--my pleas--out into the universe, and hoping they are heard.)
i was listening to "handlebars" on my way to class this morning--twice--and it got me even more excited and antsy. [that song always makes me think of marc, as does any impending political change. (let's just say there are people in my life i'd rather not see die in pointless wars.)] "i can guide a missile by satellite....and i can end the planet in a holocaust." there are people i do not want to be sitting in front of that button....
i am terrified for california. in 2004, every state that had a marriage referendum on the ballot went republican. and california is huge in this outdated electoral college system. and i'd love to say "oh, it's california, they'll be liberal," but everything i know tells me that this is naive. i can hardly begin to imagine what the ramifications will be, whether Proposition 8 passes or fails.
no matter who gets elected, i think i will be happy if the overall voter turnout in the country is greater than 66%, and thrilled if it is greater than 75%. i can be happy with the process, if not with the results.
i am prepared to stand in line for hours tonight. i can't vote until after 5:30, by which time much of my neighborhood will probably (hopefully) be doing the same. i just found out that there's a polling place across the street from my house, but i'm zoned for one several blocks away. i don't understand how this works.
i'm scared of the electronic voting machines, too. i have no way of knowing that it will record my vote correctly, i don't trust it, and if something should go wrong, there will be nothing i can do.
i didn't support Obama in the primary, although i am registered no affiliation and don't vote in primaries so it doesn't really matter. but i have come to believe that his election is the only way this country can move in a positive direction. i would love to say i'll expatriate myself if we elect another Republican administration, but i know that i won't. everything i know is here. this is my home and my culture and my country, and what would it say about me if i abandon it in disappointment instead of working to make it better? i don't think i could continue to call myself an activist, in any sense of the word.
so i know it's a little late to be making this post, especially with my readership being, oh, y'know, non-existent and largely politically active anyway, but please. vote. vote for the positive change we all know this country, and the world as a result, needs.
28 October 2008
this is an idea that i learned from Steph, who had learned it from some writing book, a number of years ago. you designate a notebook, and every morning, first thing when you wake up, you write three pages. just freewriting; whatever comes into your head. the leftovers of dreams. goals for the day. strings of letters that have no discernible meaning. and it gets your brain going, and the theory is that it makes it easier to write later in the day. i did it for a few weeks one summer in high school, and i think i ought to start again.
the problem now is that i wake up and i have a certain amount of time to get showered, get dressed, get fed, and get wherever i'm going. and i really don't want to wake up that much earlier. motivation is the main issue with most things, i find.
i don't know if they really do make it easier to write consciously, but it can't hurt. and maybe it would help me sort out some of the things that go on in my mind.
24 October 2008
16 October 2008
it seems like years since we had last conversed.
my pen is full, my paper blank and white;
my rhyme is fit to meter well-rehearsed.
this is a puzzle, more than poetry;
syllables to iambs must be matched.
the meaning doesn't matter, frequently;
to structure it's only loosely attached.
will this ever become writing again?
words in creative flow, not pieces split?
i miss what my words in the past have been,
when i had pictures whole, not puzzle bits.
is my muse gone forever? i hope no . . .
sadly, she's hidden somewhere i can't go.
i think this pretty much speaks for itself.
14 October 2008
05 October 2008
i walked past the Catholic church on my way to work this afternoon, and there were two or three dozen people lining either side of the street in front of it, holding signs that said "Abortion Kills Babies," "Abortion Hurts Women," "Pray for an End to Abortion," and "Lord, Forgive Us and Our Nation." (my favorite was the iteration of the last one, being held by a 5-year-old girl.) there were a few others that i don't remember so clearly, and one hand-drawn one (the rest were computerized and identical) that said "Babies are gifts--don't throw them away!" and had pictures of gift-wrapped packages on it. at least they didn't have the gory placards.
the one man i spoke to, while i was waiting for the walk signal to cross the intersection, told me that he was with the Catholic church, though he didn't make it clear if all the members of the group were. i had hoped so, because it doesn't make any sense for them to protest the Catholic church, which is staunchly pro-life. (we used to have the opportunity to get service hours for skipping classes in high school to go to the March for Life in D.C. i always thought this was only fair if they would give me service hours for going to the counter-rally with my congregation, which i never did, but would have been interesting to make a fuss about.)
it is often true, at least for me, that we don't know what we believe until we encounter something that stands in opposition to it. i have said for some time that i am anti-abortion, but also pro-choice: i would rather work to change the social system that makes women feel they need to have abortions than to make the practice illegal. i don't believe it should be legislated. but walking down the street made me think of all the arguments i could make in favor of abortion, if only i hadn't been on my way to work and had time to get into a conversation with these people. (i love talking with picketers, especially ones who are supporting something i oppose.) for example: what about those babies that aren't gifts? are you really going to tell a girl who got pregnant because she was raped that that was a gift from God? what about the fact that the planet is already overpopulated and there are children who are starving, children who don't have basic healthcare, children who have no place to live? shouldn't we try to take care of the people who are already here before those who aren't? and how does abortion "hurt women," anyway?
so maybe i'm not as anti-abortion as i think i am. i still think it's a terrible thing, and i would love to see a world in which no woman ever felt it was necessary to go through that, but in the meantime, i can hardly argue against it.
feel free to dispute!
04 October 2008
i am excited for hoodie weather and changing colors and a new sense of things. i hope we have a long autumn and a short winter.
change is good....moving forward is good....these are reaffirmations of things i have already known. it's easier to be reminded when all of nature is doing the same.
27 September 2008
17 September 2008
05 September 2008
30 August 2008
mixed Feb 26, '04 (junior year of hs)
1) "Ready For You" - Hoobastank
2) "Sorry to Burden You" - No Way Josie
3) "Think Twice" - Eve 6
4) "Minority" - Green Day
5) "Graduate" - Third Eye Blind
6) "Take Five" - Dave Brubeck Quartet
7) "Mad World" - Gary Jules
8) "Drain You" - Nirvana
9) "What You Are" - Audioslave
10) "UR" - Alanis Morissette
11) "Oceans" - Pearl Jam
12) "Save Me" - Hanson
13) "I Am the Walrus" - the Beatles
14) "Disenchanted Lullaby" - Foo Fighters
15) "The Motivation Proclamation" - Good Charlotte
16) "Idioteque" - Radiohead
17) "Numb" - Linkin Park
18) "What's My Age Again" - Blink-182
19) "My Beloved Monster" - Eels
20) "Wasting Time" - Collective Soul
21) "My Own Worst Enemy" - Lit
22) "Cast No Shadow" - Oasis
23) "When the World Ends" - Dave Matthews Band
24) "All Eyes On Me" - Goo Goo Dolls
25) "Push" - Matchbox 20
26) "On My Own" - the Used
25 August 2008
23 August 2008
a loon cried out over the lake. there was a lonely creature.
silence is not very silent, she thought to herself. thunder, crickets, rain; the occasional bullfrog or loon; the persistent lapping of the water. water always moves toward the shore--where does it move away from?
the first band of storms had gone. her curiosity tempted her outside just soon enough to see that the second band was darker, lower, and moving much faster. the clouds made her feel exceptionally small. the trees were dead still as the clouds relentlessly rolled forward. the low branches began to flicker first. she shivered, and went back inside before the clouds overtook the last evening light.
she sang into the storm and thought of how much silence, though not silent, is enveloping. as soon as the last syllable was past her lips, it was swallowed by the quiet, and it was as if her voice had never been. but then, she knew that her vibration still traveled out, even if it was now so small as to be unheard, carried on the wind and the rain into the lake and the trees and the world, and that somewhere, her voice would touch some life in a way that neither of them would predict or understand.
the lightning lit the forest like milliseconds of day.
13 August 2008
the trouble is making them all fit together, because there are only so many words in this language for kinds of relationships (and only one word for "love," which is endlessly problematic), and there are so many people who don't understand that the ways to love are limitless.
i hesitate to say i like the way one's language shapes one's culture, but i am intrigued by it.
09 August 2008
i'm also reading the Watchmen graphic novel, which is pretty much the opposite story so far.
strange things have been happening to me lately. i guess no more strange than usual....just particularly noticeable. there was the man on the crowded bus who chose me to talk to one evening, saw me to my core, introduced himself, and told me to grow out my hair, which was funny because that's exactly what i've been trying to do. there was the woman at work yesterday who gave me a copy of her book, on her spiritual journey as a Western physician incorporating concepts and practices from Eastern medicine and philosophy, and who signed it for me, with the message "Follow your heart's passion and the universe will conspire in your favor!" (i have mixed feelings about her, i'll admit, but i was pleased to meet her very grounded 17-year-old son.) there's learning how to live in an entirely new set of circumstances....
so yes, it's reassuring to see a movie about finding where you need to be. especially at a moment when it seems as if the life i want (?) has no place in the world i know. here's to new-found definitions of self, and struggles with their implications. (and vaguery on the internet.)
06 August 2008
i go back and forth. yes, i will marry you; yes, i will dedicate my life to you; no, i'm not too young. there is no "too young" when you know as certainly as i know. i have never loved anyone the way i love you; i could never love anyone the way i love you.
what are the risks? the risks don't matter. we're smart; we'll be safe. and even if something goes wrong, we're mature enough to deal with it, no matter what they say. we will make do if we have to. it'll just be starting our life sooner than we'd planned. funny how the parts we don't want to rush and parts we want sooner than possible run into each other.
this goes on for weeks, then months. this spans every other argument. every disagreement ends with i-love-you's and a discussion of this. how badly we want it, how practical we could make it--how real we could make it.
yes, i will marry you; yes, i will dedicate my life to you. i belong more to you than i belong to myself. in private, he calls me by his last name.
when the phone call comes, it is like a sign from God, if we still believe in Him. the timing is too perfect to ignore. the opportunity is too perfect to reject. practically every permission has been granted; practically every decision has already been made.
we stall, even then. it's almost as if we know better. then on the last day, it happens, reluctant and slow, readily and rushed, on someone else's couch for fear that my mother will suddenly come home.
he kisses me, holds me, tells me everything i never knew i wanted to hear. let's keep this just between us. it's too special to share. he goes home and i go back to my family, the one i wish i no longer had to claim. i try not to smile too much. i limit my words, remembering that everyone is still sad and i am supposed to be, too.
it hurts but it is a good hurt, and the kind of sore i am afterwards tells me that i have accomplished something. it is a tangible reminder that i am changed. when it goes away, i want it back. it is a sick-sweet secret, and it is mine, and i own it. with shame and shamelessness in good measure.
i go back to school the next day, and when my best friend meets me at my locker in the morning, it is as if nothing has changed. but i know we are speaking to each other across that rift, the one that separates the girls who have from the girls who haven't, and only i know which side i am on.
it continues this way, as often as we can make it: yes, i have married you; yes, i dedicate my life to you. let's keep this just between us. it's too special to share.
i go back to school, and when my best friend meets me at my locker in the morning, neither of us knows which side the other is on. it is not open for discussion. so we stop talking.
he becomes my everything, just the way we said we wanted it. there is nothing but each other. if they notice, they say nothing. but who needs their notice?
yes, i have married you; yes, i dedicate my life to you. but why don't you think of it this way? why can't you agree with me? why do you antagonize me? you're doing this on purpose, even though i love you so much. let's keep this just between us. it's too special to share.
why don't you pay me any attention when we're around other people? why do you need me so much? why can't you make everything better the way you used to? why do you rely on me to be the sole source of your happiness? yes, i dedicate my life to you, but i am not living enough to give you this much.
at first it hurt, and then it was nothing but pressure. then it was nothing but the hemp around my neck and the tears that stung my cheeks. yes, i have married you, and we've kept it just between us, but now there is no one who can validate this feeling of divorce.
04 August 2008
"wow" is the best compliment i could have received as i came down the stairs.
i kiss like a woman, not like a girl.
you are beautiful, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
i wonder what i will look like when i get old. i wonder [often] what old women looked like when they were young. i aspire to be a crone...
sketches on M.C., 4 years later:
too old for her age. hard on the outside--thick--but soft if you can reach her. ice-blue eyes that burn like acetylene. soundgarden, mudhoney, pearl jam and nirvana. confidence that is usually genuine. beautiful to those who don't know they're looking for it.
lewistown junction, 3:46 pm
mommy is home! daddy and two little boys are waiting to greet her and her friend with flowers, hugs, and kisses. the smiles on their faces, and the way daddy kisses his wife, trying to hug her with a stroller between them, busy and adult and yet so full of how much he has missed her, brings tears to my eyes. not jealousy--anticipation.
as we pull away from the station, five children and one woman are sitting on the curb, waving goodbye. i and the woman behind me wave back, and i wonder if they can see us.
"ice-blue eyes that burn like acetylene" is my favorite phrase that i have ever written.
30 July 2008
that's about where my train of thought stops and goes, "this is not ok," and then gets stuck.
i'm having a hard time coping with this, so of course i need to write about it. when i'm at my parents' house, i go to a Unitarian Universalist church, and when i'm not being obnoxious and identifying my religion as "lapsed Catholic," i identify as a UU. it's a religion i came to when i was 16 and needed something, but Catholicism was quite clearly no longer working. (maybe more about that some other time.) for more on Unitarian Universalism, check out the Unitarian Universalist Association. cool people, really. there's no fixed creed for UUs; it has been described as "one religion, many faiths." and instead of something like the 10 Commandments, we have 7 principles, like a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. it is one of the most liberal religions, which is why the shooter targeted this congregation.
the shooter, Jim Adkisson, reportedly told police that he believed "all liberals should be killed because they are ruining the country." he targeted the UU church because of its support for gay rights, among other progressive issues.
my knee-jerk reaction is that this is the logical progression of all conservative attacks on the liberal movement. and i hesitate to use the phrase "movement" for either side, especially where a church is concerned. these people were not out protesting the war in Iraq or a ban on gay marriage--they were sitting in their church watching a children's play. liberal, conservative, moderate; Christian, Muslim, or atheist--it doesn't matter in this setting.
i do not understand how anyone could walk into a church with the intention of killing people.
i do not understand how anyone can hate anyone that much.
i think what i'm having a hard time coping with is the fact that this could have been my church. this could have been people i know, people i marched with in the DC Pride parade as part of that church, people i have delivered lay sermons to on my own liberal beliefs, religious or otherwise. people whose children i have volunteered to teach in religious education classes. the children i've taught, who i've watched grow and move from grade school to middle school to high school in some cases, at whose changes i'm always surprised when i go "home" (which i feel i can use in this context because that church is more my spiritual home than my parents' house is home in any sense at this point), could have been the kids in that play, who saw their parents and grandparents spattered with blood as this crazed man full of hatred destroyed something they'd worked so hard to prepare.
it's bad enough when hatred manifests itself so egregiously, but it's even worse when it hits so close to home. would i be writing about it if it had happened in a Metropolitan Community Church? probably not, and i'll admit that. as Sara Whitman wrote in her Huffington Post article on the shooting, "this just got really personal."
and as one other blogger i read in the past few days noted, if this man was trying to harm Unitarian Universalism as a religion, he thwarted his own goal, because a lot of people who have never heard about our liberal faith are hearing about it now.
i could go on for pages about this, but what i really want to get at is the physical realism of the culture wars. verbal attacks are no longer enough, and in some arenas (race relations, gay rights, etc) have not been for a long time. something has to change. people cannot keep killing each other over ideological differences. religion is never an excuse for killing anyone, because if you take away all the trivial differences between religions, they all teach the same thing: Be Good to Each Other. it doesn't matter how many gods you believe in, or if you believe in any at all, or whether you think women should be subservient or whether it's ok to eat pork. contrary to the adage, God/god/g-d is not in the details, at least not in this sense. and if you look for her/him/it there, you're going to miss the bigger picture and the really important things.
i will not be surprised by a few tl;dr's here, but i had to get it out.
28 July 2008
Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is completely deserving of all the hype it's gotten. i choose to believe i would be saying this even if he were still living. the only phrase i can think to use is "completely psychotic," and i'm not sure which sentence to put around it.
i wish i could see the film without knowing everything i know about Ledger. it sort of goes back to the whole world-in-isolation bit: how would you experience anything if you could come to it with a completely blank slate? how would you watch star wars episodes 1-3 if you knew nothing about 4-6? how would i view the Dark Knight if i hadn't spent time in the theater thinking "this is the role that killed him" and "i would have gone completely crazy too." i can't help wondering if i would have taken something different from it.
so yes. in summary:
1) Dark Knight = very good movie.
2) Heath Ledger as the Joker = absolutely incredible.
3) you should go see it, but i'd have to be heavily persuaded to pay to see it again.
21 July 2008
Why This is Stupid:
1) We already have more people than we can take care of. All this talk about fixing health care, welfare, and social security would be moot if the population—especially the lower-income segments who would ultimately be most affected by this policy change—weren’t already overwhelming the system. I’m not saying we should enforce mandatory breeding laws, but it makes no sense to take away means of reducing births when this country, not to mention the planet at large, has so much trouble taking care of the people who are already here.
2) It is more expensive to care for a child in the welfare or foster care system than it is to provide a woman with contraception and educate her as to its proper use. Anyone who is unhappy about the amount of money the federal government takes from their paycheck should be opposed to this policy.
3) Preventing women from accessing birth control will only increase the incidence of abortions. There will be more unplanned/unwanted pregnancies, and women who might not have become pregnant in the first place will abort.
4) Restricting legal access to abortions will only increase the incidence of illegal, unsafe ones, and cause greater harm to women. If a woman is determined to abort, she’s going to find a way to do it, and unfortunately, not everybody has easy access to a Planned Parenthood clinic or a sympathetic doctor.
5) Contraception cannot be abortion, no matter which (established) definition of pregnancy you use! The whole point of contraception is that it works against conception—preventing pregnancy by its very definition! It is irresponsible and totalitarian for politicians to attempt to redefine medical terms in order to further a moralistic agenda.
6) From the job discrimination perspective, rather than the reproductive health one: If you are morally opposed to any aspect of a given job, you should not take that job. I’m not going to go work for Focus on the Family, for instance, or for
16 July 2008
when we both have joy, we laugh together, and she lights the sky with her laughter. she is the most beautiful creature i could never define; she is the most beautiful creature none could ever defile.
her blood flows in my veins. my face is reflected in her own. we are one and the same, but worlds apart. she guides me like the tide of an unwilling ocean: even when i disagree, hers is the only guidance i have, and i follow.
i'm not sure i like this yet. i was composing it on the walk home, elated just to have real words again. i'm working on something else, too--not sure how long it will take, but i think i may be even more excited about that one. i want to get it really good.
13 July 2008
the sound and feel of the train as it passes through the tunnel under my street
the way the cathedral is lit at sunset
finding stars in the city
silence after sirens
the wind after the bus drives past
little children who wave even though they don't know you
grass under bare feet
the moment that the sun comes out from behind a cloud....and the moment it goes back
hearing your favorite song from 5 years ago on the radio
meeting the eyes of a stranger and smiling
flowers that close at nighttime
knowing you will probably get a sunburn--and not caring
the way the grass dances in the wind
10 July 2008
i could write about intramural softball. or about my impending birthday. or about the letters i've stopped sending, partly because i know they won't be received and partly because so much has changed so fast. i could write about the weather, or the books i'm not reading, or the water spot in my ceiling that has only grown since the maintenance guy came to fix it. i could write about public transportation or polyamory or my failing research project. i could write about those people who, much to your dismay, present themselves so much better than it seems like they should. and yet, none of this inspires more than a line.
i could, perhaps, write about the piece of paper taped to my wall which reads, "TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME." but i can't remember if i already have, or if there's any more to say about it than that.
or i could write, once again, about the times when words are simply inappropriate.
07 July 2008
on july 2, i got my first tattoo: an ohm on the top of my left foot. this is something i'd been thinking about for years, and finally decided it was time. (i actually decided a year ago that it would be time now, based on a suggestion from a friend of mine who had a good rule about how long you should think about putting something permanent onto your body.) i had an excellent experience with it and will gladly talk details with anyone looking to get a tattoo done!
the reason i wanted an ohm in the first place stems from the fact that, as i've been telling people for the sake of simplicity, it's the Sanskrit symbol for the divine. in truth, it's a bit more complicated than that, as the wikipedia article will automatically tell you just by its length. ohm is supposed to be the most sacred syllable you can utter, which is why it's so often used in meditation. there seem to be a bunch of different ideas as to its true meaning, but my favorite comes from a story i found in, of all places, a jewelry booth at a renn fest several years ago. the story goes that in the beginning, there was nothing but the Goddess, and the Goddess made a sound, and the sound was Ohm. and out of that sound reverberated all creation. so, ohm is the basis for all existence, the common thread that ties us all together and ties us to the source of our being. the way i prefer to think of it is, ohm is the piece of the divine that exists in all of us.
i decided a long time ago that if i ever got a tattoo, it would have to be an ohm, as a constant, permanent reminder that there is divinity in me, and that i am connected to all that is around me. furthermore, the process of getting a tattoo of that symbol--of physically having it put not just on me but literally in me--would serve to reinforce its meaning. so as i was in the chair, under the needle, whichever prepositional idiom you like, i was thinking about this, and breathing, and doing the most simple meditation i know and sort of channeled everything Up, and it barely hurt at all. when i was doing it best, it actually felt really cool, in a completely unpainful way. and i knew exactly what i had been hoping to learn through this process, even though i don't think i could articulate it at all.
so now i have this constant reminder of what i am--what you are--what we all are and where we come from. and i couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out:
05 July 2008
just made a rough recording of the last song i finished. i do not have good equipment, but i want some record of its completion. my written notes don't do anything justice.
wall-e is an incredible movie. you should all go see it.
productivity continues to elude me.
29 June 2008
recorded on an actual cassette tape
mailed to a friend who's driving an old old SUV for her job this summer
1) Left on Laura, Left on Lisa - The Avett Brothers
2) You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go - Bob Dylan
3) I'm On My Way - The Proclaimers
4) We Will Vacation, You Can Be My Parasol - Be Your Own Pet
5) So Nice! - Win A Sheep Free
6) I vow to thee my country - Libera
7) Yukon Sally - Peter Mayer
8) Once In a Lifetime - Talking Heads
9) Why Don't We Do It In The Road - the Beatles
10) The Boy from Ipanema - Ella Fitzgerald
11) Skyler - Brad Yoder
12) Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash
13) You Will Love This Song - Amber Rubarth
1) Scarborough Fair/Canticle - Simon & Garfunkel
2) No Rain - Blind Melon
3) When The Night Feels My Song - Bedouin Soundclash
4) Skylark - k.d. lang
5) Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
6) I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today - from Avenue Q
7) Carey - Joni Mitchell
8) Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam - Nirvana
9) House of Earth - Mad Agnes
10) Thorn In Your Side - Namoli Brennet
11) Wonderwall - Oasis
12) Yellow Ledbetter - Pearl Jam
19 June 2008
what is it about wanting what you can't have.....the chase is always the most interesting part.
i've been waiting for years for this to become untrue.
i feel like i've written this here before, but i can't find it.
timing really is such a tricky thing.
sorry; that's all i can muster right now.
11 June 2008
takeoff is my favorite part. that single moment when the wheels are suddenly no longer on the ground, when everything familiar falls away from beneath you and you think, "there's no turning back now"...when the added gravity pushes me back into my seat, i get a rush of elation and realize i am Free.
the Midwest is FLAT!
we are chasing the sun as it sets.
i am still, i think, happiest when moving. it has been this way for a long time. change is good; stagnation is suffocation. every adventure, no matter how long, is not only worthwhile but vital.
i have felt since i was a child that i [would] belong among the clouds. perhaps not to live, but certainly for a vacation. my conviction has only grown as i have become older that the clouds are populated by some glorious, celestial beings--not angels anymore, but mystical queens and kings of this realm.
the person behind me just closed the window i could see out of. this makes me sad. i like sitting just behind the wing, but it does limit my field of vision a bit.
i am flying parallel to a thunderstorm, and this seems fitting somehow.
nothing quite like hearing "Defying Gravity" when you are literally miles above the ground.
i'm troubled by the idea that if i start working now toward the life i expect i will want when i'm 26 (that once arbitrary number is now well-established), i will undoubtedly do something in the next 5 years to mess it up irreparably.
i'm always so reluctant to sleep on the plane, especially when i'm flying over a new part of the country, because i don't want to miss anything!
where are these mountains i have so greatly anticipated? are we too far north? i was sure they ran all the way up....
the sun has sunk below the clouds, and sets them ablaze
this has got to be the most beautiful sunset i've ever seen.
06 June 2008
02 June 2008
While I think there must be plenty
Words awaiting just beyond the reach of my imprisoned brain;
Still I grasp for self-expression,
Knowing I must make confession,
if I am to conquer this, to make a literary gain.
I suffer silence, lacking nightly
That which I'd been using rightly
'Til my words escaped and I was left with nothing more to say;
Rack my mind with constant fervor,
Wond'ring if I might deserve her,
Realizing it's my guilt that makes me now still feel this way.
We wandered the streets aimlessly
And silence once more cornered me
When she next uttered words to me beneath the streetlight's misty glow;
She said without a look, "I'm leaving."
How could I explain my grieving
For this thing I'd barely had and never fully come to know?
The greatest loss is loss of chance,
To know that every second glance
Could be your last and you may never get to see her face again;
Potential's its own entity
And so has personality,
For which it's possible to grieve, just like a well-beloved friend.
Stanzas 1, 2, 8, and 9 of 16--obviously there's a lot more, but you get the idea.
I had the meter in my head and needed to write about this, but think it might be prudent not to publish the rest at the current time.
Needs some revision.
29 May 2008
It all started with peeling oranges.
there was something about the smell of navel oranges from across a crowded cafeteria. that initial burst of juicy scent, full of citric acid and musty freshness, grabbed Katrina every time. it smelled like Christmas to her, when she and her brother would always find a plump navel orange in the bottom of their stockings. some old tradition her mother kept; she wasn’t sure where it came from or how long they’d been practicing it, or what significance it was supposed to hold. but anytime she walked into a cafeteria and anyone had an orange, she instantly knew, and she had to remind herself that it was not acceptable to find the person in possession of the elusive fruit and ask for a slice.
it wasn’t even that she liked Christmas, so much.
the lounge in the biology building was almost big enough to be considered a cafeteria. especially at lunchtime, when it was full of so many people that you couldn’t always see your friend waving from the other side of the room. and somebody always had a fresh orange when Katrina was there for lunch, and she was determined to figure out who.
it didn’t take long. he wasn’t the sort of person you expected to find in the biology building, she thought. he had long, dark hair, and he wore a trenchcoat for most of the year. she probably would have given him a wide berth in the halls of her high school, for fear of the Columbine-like tragedy that she’d been raised to expect and deter, where possible. she never would have picked on him—never would have spoken to him, in fact, largely for fear of saying the wrong thing. she hoped that now that he was in college, he might be a bit more stable. of course, that required the assumption that he had been unstable in high school, and even to make that assumption was unfair, and—she’d better stop before her politically correct imagination ran away with her.
but the thing that caught her attention more than any other attribute of this seemingly incongruous citizen of the biology lounge was that his fingernails were, without a doubt, longer than her own. Katrina wasn’t one of those girls who went out for a manicure on a regular basis, had never had fake nails and didn’t plan to, but she didn’t bite her nails either. they looked neat; all were a uniform length, and she clipped them before they started to bother her. but this boy—assuming he was trying to look like a boy, which she knew she had no real right to assume, but did anyway—let his nails grow until they broke, or so it appeared. one more reason why he didn’t look like he belonged in the biology building—didn’t they ever get in the way during labs?—but they were perfect for peeling oranges.
25 May 2008
22 May 2008
19 May 2008
i know you weren't talking about me.
you will never be able to attract the attention of any woman who is truly worth it. i hope you live a long, lonely life full of meaningless sex and empty relationships.
16 May 2008
2. a short sketch about orange-peeling in a cafeteria. may be developed into a short story, if plot occurs to me. will probably be posted, at least in part, at some point in the future.
3. pieces of a song. it's still not long enough, but it's longer than it was when i started. it needs or a chorus, or a bridge, or something. and another verse or two.
4. stream-of-consciousness journal entry, facilitated by a computer keyboard. not to be posted.
i feel like there should be more than this, but i also feel like it's rather a lot, especially since it's all happened in the last few days. this not having internet business is reducing my blog posts for the month of May. apologies to anyone who might be bothered.
09 May 2008
01 May 2008
i kind of hope you will redo my room sooner rather than later, because coming back to this place is like opening a door into my past, and it's a past i'd rather be done with. that's why i seem so over-eager to move the rest of my things, even though, as you keep reminding me, i don't know where i'll end up in a few years--or even next year.
i couldn't tell you why i'm still trying to visit people from high school. i hope i find a sufficient answer for myself tomorrow.
25 April 2008
22 April 2008
as i listen to the conversation--or is it an argument?--between two [warring factions/entities] who complement each other but do not necessarily communicate
(your poetry is evoked)
i wonder if we will ever be able to reach an understanding.
i want you to know that your music has brought a tear to my eye, that your intensity has inspired me--inspired her--will inspire [countless] as soon as it is given the opportunity.
his broken bow string speaks to dedication.
18 April 2008
14 April 2008
like just now, when i put a pen away in my pen garden (which deserves explanation at another time), and one of the stones that had worked its way to the top of the bowl caught my eye. my ex-girlfriend had taken it from the bowl a long time ago and written "PEACE" on it in silver sharpie. the letters are starting to get rubbed away, but the message is very timely.
i didn't end up seeing her, or our other best friend from high school, this weekend, because i wasn't around when M* was in town. i think that may have been for the best, although i couldn't explain what i mean by that.
and then there's everything else that's going on...and this by now years-old invocation for peace chose to resurface at exactly the right moment. the hope is still real.
10 April 2008
we're always left wanting time to prepare;
if i knew what to say to such a loss,
i might not feel so trapped--it's more unfair,
when everything is taken from your hands,
to be left so unable to express
the cruelty of cold, indifferent Chance,
your anger with it--worse, i cannot stress
that i keep close emotions worth more time.
more than my hate for Chance's awful game,
i feel the love that makes this such a crime,
and hope, since you can't speak, you feel the same.
if i had words, i'd share my sadness not,
but happiness that we're given this lot.
06 April 2008
the four of us sat at a table in the window, ordered pizza and an appetizer sampler, and went about our business: one read the paper, one drew a labyrinth on his placemat, one tried to maintain conversation in the midst of it, and i watched people.
there's something about urban neighborhoods where the people have been there for their whole lives that grabs me. it just feels more real than anywhere else....there's grit, there's honesty, there are no games.
our waitress was white, middle-aged, skinny, and very tired. not the kind of tired you get at the end of a long day, but the kind of tired you get after years of long days, one after the other. almost everybody else i saw in or around the restaurant was black. there was a man who came to wash the windows, and i'm not sure if it's his job or if it's just what he does. there were these kids there, couldn't have been more than 11 years old and were probably closer to 8 or 9, who came in and talked with each other, always leaving one outside because they didn't have a lock for their bike, and the swagger on these kids was amazing....this little 8-year-old boy acting like a thug, and you knew he was trying so hard to project that image, and i couldn't help but wonder what made him feel he needs to do it. is it a matter of safety, or just a matter of pride?
one of the boys, maybe a little older but i couldn't say for sure, had pants hanging off his butt and this big silver(ish) medallion of jesus hanging around his neck. the medallion was what struck me most yesterday, that apparent contradiction of terms....presumably, he wore it to show that he belongs to christ, trusts god to protect him, or something like that....but then, doesn't it boil down to idolatry? it's still bling--still this attempt to show that you have enough money to decorate yourself so egregiously, so you must be successful or at least have connections to people who are and who think highly of you. so even in his attempt to humble himself before his god, if that's what it was, the means he used to do so showed that he put something else--namely, material worth--before god.
maybe i'm just making stuff up, but the irony grabbed me by the throat.
02 April 2008
to check my thoughts so words can be restrained;
it needs a dose far too high of foresight,
and after three full years, i'm still not trained.
though i don't practice often as i should,
i'd hope what skill i had would not decrease;
but like a muscle not moved when you could,
an unused talent of mind atrophies.
and so, this afternoon, i'll exercise,
and fit words to this meter as i can;
a sonnet takes its shape before my eyes,
despite my early lack of any plan.
perhaps it's not as bad as all of that--
you can't forget in whole what was old-hat.
i fell behind on sonnets....there are a few i haven't posted yet.
it's never certain if i will.
28 March 2008
23 March 2008
1) Better - Regina Spektor
2) The Origin of Love - Rufus Wainwright
3) Blackbird - the Beatles
4) Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
5) Unfinished Art - Amber Rubarth
6) Made of Steel - Our Lady Peace
7) Little Star - Stina Nordenstam
8) Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town - Pearl Jam
9) Glass Vase Cello Case - Tattle Tale
10) Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie
11) Kids Will Be Skeletons - Mogwai
12) Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect - the Decemberists
13) Another Little Hole - Aqualung
14) I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You - Colin Hay
15) Your Wrists - Julie Sokolow
16) Name - Goo Goo Dolls
17) I'm Lost Without You - Blink-182
happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it. for the rest of us, happy spring! maybe it will get warm soon.
20 March 2008
it's been a week, so i have to post something, right?
she read it =)
i started writing a sonnet today, but i didn't finish it in time, and nothing rhymes with the words i want to use. also i don't know if i'll have the same motivation to write it now. things seem much less....dramatic? that's not the right word. "hurty" comes to mind.
new mix tape will be posted after you tell me you've listened to it.
i ought to be asleep. roommate things. lease things. nonsense. drama. words.
see? sometimes silence is best.
this belongs to a paper journal, but i can't get there from here....i can't reach it. i ought to be asleep. at least i finished my homework....i think. i hope. it better be done. and it better be better than the last one.....why is it the class i'm most interested in is the one i'm doing worst in? i'm lazy. the end. i could write a more eloquent explanation but it would probably all be a bunch of bullshit.
does this even have a place being published? (does that even make sense?) honestly, what is artistic about stream-of-consciousness? unless you're talking about something like James Joyce, but that was constructed; it was made to look like stream-of-consciousness but it wasn't just the discharge of someone's brain. he tried to make it look like that.
i've never actually read any Joyce.
12 March 2008
revived march 7, 2008,
when it suddenly became strikingly relevant again.
this was originally intended as a gift for someone i can't explain things to.
i never gave it to her.
i kind of hope she reads it here.
the piece is what i'd like to call "semi-fiction":
the fictionalization of actual events,
with many of the details maintained,
in order to make them easier to contend with
(and in order for the author to explore other possibilities).
the artist quoted in part i is
they slowly stood and walked, half-asleep, into the other room. as soon as they were both under covers, she could have sworn she'd never been more awake. sleep...come on, sleep!...
...is she awake, too? four eyes open, seeing more than it seemed like the darkness should allow. but who had been caught looking at whom?
each breath was heavy, and yet each somehow managed to hang suspended in the air between them. it was the kind of tension you could cut with a knife if you had a penchant for cliches.
the only thing to do was to break it, or there would be no rest for either of them, and there was only one way to do it--
--and she kissed her--
--and in some parallel universe, unbearably far away, their hands were suddenly again all that mattered, all there was, no longer searching each other but now exploring the sweet velvet heat of something which was not love but which might have been easily mistaken for it.
the next afternoon in both universes, they woke up next to each other and spurned the advances of an overeager sun. the same question weighed heavy on all of them: what happens next?
09 March 2008
she shuffled into her bedroom and reached for the journal she kept next to her bed, searching for a pen that still had ink in it. her journal fell open to a page that said only, "i fall asleep next to him and i feel safe, like i've found that place i'm supposed to call Home." it was dated two weeks earlier. she took a deep breath and flipped to the next empty page, uncapped her pen, wrote the date and time in meticulous print, and stared at the blank page before her.
the words would not come.
her thoughts spun so fast that they wouldn't allow words to catch up, and she was left with no explanation.
she slammed the book shut and threw it to the floor, ready to give up and descending again into the memory of her hands...her hands, so soft in her own and so tempted but so hesitant; that was what she wanted, an end to that hesitation...wasn't it?
any new situation that might arise would be so artificial that it would be impossible to tell what was really happening.
07 March 2008
she sank into the sofa, finals over, nothing to do for almost a month, but preferring to spend her boredom here rather than in that uncomfortable place she could no longer call home. the clock on her roommate's stereo blinked unforgivingly, every second accusing them of being too lazy to reset it. the little LED light for "CD1" reminded her that it still wanted to play the album she had put in on a drunken impulse the other night. she wouldn't reset the clock, but she supposed she could give in to that much.
"bouncy-ball lovers exploding in colors as they lean down over the pier"...this artist was going to be big someday, or deserved it at least. nevermind that she'd unwittingly become the soundtrack to a bad lesbian movie, acted out in a sparsely-furnished college apartment with no cameras or production crew.
you were so impressed by my own voice, then, she remembered, although she would never understand its appeal, summoned in wide-awake exhaustion at an hour at which she was usually afraid to use it. that wasn't the only thing she couldn't understand...
head on hands, elbows on knees, she tried to replay the events of saturday night...a brilliant plan, thwarted by sobriety...what had or hadn't happened mattered less than how soft her hands had been in the moments between speaking...
...and was that all that was left of it? a memory of hands that had twined with her own, fingertips brushing palms in a ritual of hopeful reluctance that needed no rehearsal? more communicated in one instant of skin-on-skin than in three hours of uncertain words and silent hesitation?
and what would come of it now? if there had really been nothing, then nothing would change...but she couldn't help feeling like she'd lost a bet. the big one that could let you buy a new house and retire early, if only you didn't blow everything you've already won.
she had been convinced that she had done nothing wrong; she had tried so hard to do nothing wrong...
maybe, when you know without a doubt that something is right but you find yourself incapable of doing it anyway, it isn't really the right thing after all.
she turned off the stereo.