The Most Familiar

Originally published August 12, 2014

When the theme “no where to go” was announced I immediately thought of house poems. So here is mine.

The Most Familiar Where

When inertia weighs on me like stones in a suicide’s pocket there is nowhere to go but home.                                                                    Nothing but to crawl into my childhood bed. Heartsick, exhausted.                                                And hope to feel it’s protectant charm.               The warm, worn comfort of something familiar.

Red bricks, bay window, garden in the back.     A house happily haunted by generations past   and present and near to being.                                     My grandmother’s house is my mother’s, my sisters’ and mine.                                                        The kitchen linoleum is cracked and faded, outdated and far from fashion.                                   I no longer see it.                                                         The ignored, forgotten comfort of something familiar.

I was a child in that house, as was my mother.   She is a woman there, as I am too.                   Even if only to visit.                                                To eat her food at the scrubbed, wooden table on a night with no ghosts.                                    Just dinner and dishes and quiet routine.               The simple, unassuming comfort of something familiar.

My children will know this house- as children, but as women too I hope.                                     And that is legacy. Girls and women.                                                                                       Child, mother, grandmother. And ugly floors.                                                                        Nights when the static of chatter fills every room.                                                                 Gathered to celebrate.                                  Gathered to mourn.                                       Gathered to walk the carpets and lean the door frames of that always known place.                        To share the supportive, embracing comfort of something most familiar.

What Homes Are For

Originally published June 25, 2014

This month’s theme is “Nowhere to Go.”

I tried to write a poem about Dorothy and the Wizard and how she could never actually go home. Sure, she’d go to Kansas and see her aunt and uncle again, but it wouldn’t be the same. She’d be different. Her home would be much smaller somehow.

I stopped half-way through that poem. It was a shitty poem. I made a to-do list to help me finish the poem and then make it better. Here’s the to-do list: 1) Research cults. 2) Research what homes are for.

The to-do list was a much better poem than the poem about Dorothy was ever going to be.

Nonetheless, I did find a poem I wrote as a wee Freshman that fits the theme.

Here it is:

The Taxicab

A cab yawns, pauses in orbit.
After I have ended parties I did not start,
hid behind cameras,
and shook so many hands,
I enter its jaws.

The carpet smells of yellow bottles,
and the paneling is fingerprinted,
the taillights broken.
Closed windows and air-conditioned,
a gate between me and the driver.

I am no nun, cloistered and holy.
Jazz and riots, litter and lawyers
Stick in my eye.
I am not even a pilgrim,
but a used bandage.

As the cab drifts like a dreamless somnambulist
towards the dawn, a final thought flickers:
For nights like these,
I ought to have constructed a place 
for which I could be homesick.

Song for the Pumpkins

Originally published May 27, 2014

Song for the Pumpkins

We could pretend that the word prosaic

is a portmanteau of prose and mosaic–

a series of broken stories arranged just so

     to make art.

But I confess I do not find the way

you leave the bathroom

splattered in beard-hair

after your weekly shave

–as if your razors were a machine gun scatting bullets–

particularly arresting.

Nor do I find your habit of chewing-gum,

thrashing, and snoring,

usually at the same time, usually as soon as I fall asleep,

endearing.

I reach over to shake you awake as if breaking you

from a seizure.

Awake, I don’t tell you that I dreamt I knew

what love was,

that it’s when you want everyone else to think

you’re a decent human being,

except for that one person who knows

you’re terrible and great,

who knows that you are King David

with his harp and his murder.

That made me worry.

But this is a song for the pumpkins,

and not for anxiety,

because they deserve recognition,

each a small, bumpy world for the aphids.

This is a song for the pumpkins you made

by tilling the earth and laughing,

despite the floods, the weeds, the sun.

This is a song

for the pumpkins, growing under your care

not breaking, or dreaming, or turning into shrapnel.

At night, I swear I can hear them breathing.

I'd Like You to Know Who I Am

Originally published April 27, 2014

Five bars boxed conceal my fate,

opulent stiff trees sit outside an iron grate.

I can’t leave this prison for I’m the secret’s committee–

my captors want the source of my surreptitious serendipity.

 

In the surreal landscape stood a man

laying in the vertical catamaran;

he’s not a man queer and unknown,

but a queer man with the same face as my own.

 

I stare as I stare, and a smile breaks

like a mirrored leaf fallen, ripples a still lake.

The forest becomes him, for blurred vision ensues.

Teared freedom he uses, for to blink I refuse

 

My oppressors’ gaze won’t break away.

Believing I pine to nap under the trees’ shade

Yet I’m as liberated as I am confined,

so my life alone I will never mind

 

I’ve done, will do, and am doing everything I want,

so when I close my eyes the wind is my confidant.

Speaking to me I follow its every elision–

the eurythmic breeze unleashes my inhibitions.

 

Leading me to the dark corner of my cell

with beauty all around me I stay in this hell

As night falls the bars rise in turn,

for the clear, star-streaked sky I yearn.

 

On queue the creek of a door latch is heard

I must choose but my decision won’t be deterred:

the door leads to my guardians’ labyrinthine maze,

the window– a drop to the darkness, who preys.

 

So what do I do? Flip a coin with no sides.

With the decision face up in the moon’s candlelight.

Frozen by fear of the known and untold.

Convinced I’m not ready, my merits must mold

Satanism is Boring

Originally published April 20, 2014

Finding communities post-college can be difficult, as college has the neat advantage of a community already built in. More than that, there were always people to do things with—have a smoke with, take shots with, gossip and flirt and loiter with, and, on occasion, study with. After college, in the maze of cubicles that has somehow become your life, there’s not that sense of community, prepackaged and orderly. Sure, you can grab a drink with some coworkers on Fridays and talk about the weather and spreadsheets, but it’s not the same. Or you could find hyper-specific groups on the internet, but “liking” the same picture of a kitten covered in spaghetti with a caption that says “Mondays” does not really qualify as an activity.

At times like these, it’s tempting to turn to religion. It’s not existential crises or tragedy, but ennui and loneliness and preemptive middle-age. I, personally, cannot return to the religion of my childhood. There are too many reasons to list here, but suffice to say, I don’t fit in. I cannot become a Jew; I have all of the cantankerousness but none of the dignity. Islamism just isn’t my style. Paganism of any sort would be too pretentious and stereotypical for a girl who has been called the whitest in existence. As for a nice, normal brand of Protestantism—well, that just seems too white-bread, picket-fence, and fifties house-dress for me.

Naturally, I decided to look into Satanism. Their website is as one might expect—tacky fonts and a confusing layout. The content, however, was surprising. Most of the website’s information is clearing up misconceptions. Satanists do not, in fact, worship Satan—which was a relief and a disappointment all at once. Satanists are atheists who don’t believe in any paranormal phenomena or deities, They seem like decent, normal people. I found myself agreeing with, or, at least, respecting most of their ideas. For example, Satanism stresses the importance of consenting partners in sexual relationships. Satanism states that if you hear demons, do not contact the Satanists; get mental help. Satanism supports autonomy and individual freedom. A sin against Satanism is being pretentious, which I’m all for…as I post this on a blog. And I couldn’t help but imagine a plump, white, adolescent stating “I became a Satanist because I’m just, like, really against pretentiousness, y’know?”.

And then, then everything was ruined. According to the website, Satanists support a world where everyone has a robot sex-slave. That’s right. A robot sex-slave. It’s right there on the site. Well, religion has certainly supported worse things over the years, but my goodness, that’s just bat-shit crazy. Shouldn’t you not put that on site you made to tell everyone what nice, normal people you are?

The problem with groups isn’t that I wouldn’t join one that would have someone like me as a member. Woody Allen didn’t quite get it right in that joke he made famous. (Then again, Woody Allen doesn’t quite get a lot of things right, does he?) The problem with groups is rules. You have to as a group make boundaries that define who is in and who is out. You have to draw a line somewhere. The problem isn’t that the other members are creeps like you; it’s that the creeps are almost like you, but not close enough.

In a dark embrace of the godlessness within, in a final acceptance of my autonomy, as the lack of Anton LeVey’s ghost looked on, I did the only thing I could think of. I closed the window in my webbrowser. Membership costs two-hundred dollars anyways.

The Wax Castle

Originally published March 12, 2014

February’s theme is integration. 

I have a hard time taking the things I know to be true and making them a part of myself. I think a lot of people have this problem too. I have been told “You’re smart,” or “You haven’t gained that much weight, really,” or “You’re a good person,” or “It’s not your fault,” and I suppose them to be true. The scientific, specific evidence is in their favor. You could make charts and graphs or repeat them a hundred times. There could be a PowerPoint presentation. 

It’s not that I outright disagree or even not believe them….But some days, I have a hard time making it feel true.

 

THE WAX CASTLE

 

The turrets came out in one solid piece 

each from our ears

like candles from a birthday cake.

They had numbers too.

 

The rest–the drawbridge, the walls, the keep–

were harder, hammering flakes

into putty, then into brick, 

after pliers breaking open, 

digging with fingers and arms

for long-ago sounds.

 

And further back, we needed a jack,

the kind you use to change tires,

to yank our heads wide open

for wax formed against brain

from when we first heard

our own crying.

 

Our heads split open, teeth jutted out

in jaws like rocks.

Spelunking gave us the bends.

We had hoped what we heard would keep us safe.

The Melding

Originally published March 6, 2014

He hissed as a drop of the hot resin landed painlessly on a cluster of neurons.  Connection severed, no longer could he remember his first time with Kim.  Was it good?  Did the seatbelt buckle dig into his back?  Did she make those soft almost mewling sounds that set his every fiber on fire?  He could ask, make new connections, but they would not be the same, never the same, and so the memory as he knew it and held it was gone.

But in its place, new connections would form.  Tiny motorized hands mirroring the motions of his own average sized and a bit pudgy hands lay another fiber optic line, anchored by the drop of now cooling resin, through one of the valleys of his many-folded cortex.  The lines were almost invisible, would be invisible if not for the way they caught and refracted the light like prisms made of spider silk.  He could not lay them with his own hands, so he built the machine in which he was now strapped, his head held steady by a number of taught vinyl straps and buckles of rubberized styrene.  The contraption left the top of his head exposed, and exposed would be the first thought to run along the neurons of anyone who saw him in such a state.  For scalp and skull and membrane had been removed with utmost care to allow the small robot hands access to the pink recursive folds of his cerebrum.

Most would consider Kevin Pollard insane if they saw what he was doing to himself.  Upon explanation of what he was trying to do to himself, those who withheld initial judgment would also admit the man was crazy.  “Become one with the ‘Net?” they would ask.  “Why?”  Kevin had never bothered to formulate an explanation.  He had no need to.  He did this in secret.  In a clean lab he built himself with his own money, cash winnings from illegal online gambling and dividends from clever trading of quasi-legal crypto-currencies, he took the principles laid out by the disgraced theorist Harold Maas and applied them to himself.  Maas was correct—as disgraced theorists often have an annoying habit of being—the human mind could be ‘wired’ with the use of certain organic resins and compounds to a fiber optic network that would operate as a sort of antenna allowing access to the ark of all human knowledge and experience, the ‘Net.

So when Kevin forgot the way it felt to plunge into Kim that first time in the back seat of a Hyundai hatchback, he simultaneously remembered the Top 40 Charts for every single week between the years of 1927, when they were introduced, and 2019, when Billboard ceased to track the Top 40.  He could recall them photographically, but not only the charts.  He could recall each song in its entirety, bringing up lyrics and score if necessary, recalling perfectly writers, producers, and performers.  He gave up the memory of fumbling passion on a cold October morning for an encyclopedic understanding of American pop music stretching across a century.  Many, Kevin Pollard among them, would consider that a fair trade, would consider the recipient of such knowledge to have come out ahead.  That wasn’t his only time with Kim.  There had been many beyond counting, each better than the last as they learned more about themselves and each other.  Many of them in less compromised and uncomfortable locations.  He would happily trade more memories of sex with his ex for, say, an encyclopedic knowledge of American films and actors or a complete record of the minutes of every Congressional committee between the post-war years and the dissolution of the Federal Government.

Besides, filmographies and debates didn’t become dreams that awoke him in a cold sweat with a sense of empty loss and longing.

As Kevin Pollard continued his work, establishing more and more connections between his mind and the recorded produce of the minds of others, he came to spend less and less time with his friends, those few he had left after the breakup with Kim.  They always liked her more, her chipper attitude and effervescent smile a more winning combination than his snorts and cynical retorts.  He suspected many of them wanted her to themselves.  And these days, meeting with a few of them at Chucks’ [sic], the sports bar where they watched baseball and he regaled them with a literally encyclopedic knowledge of baseball statistics including obscure Negro league numbers, he could not but help and wonder if some of them had consummated those wants since the breakup.  His friends did not question his knowledge.  They had more important things to ask:  “Are you seeing someone new?”  “When are you going to get over Kim?”  “Why do you wear that stupid beanie when it is ninety degrees outside?”  How could he answer these?   How could he explain the process he was undertaking to get over Kim?  How could he explain the cuts and the ligatures that held his skullcap in place between sessions in his machine?  It was better to point out that no Major League pitcher had ever thrown a perfect game in his first outing of a season, but a Japanese transplant who played for Texas came the closest to doing so.  That might awe them.  And if it did not, at least it changed the topic.

At night he wondered if the dreams would stop when the melding was done.

Kevin Pollard worked from his home now, rewriting broken codes and debugging programs for a nameless entity whose software was integrated into every facet of late 21st Century life.  A shadowy force with powers akin to the governments that had collapsed back in the middle of the century, Kevin Pollard’s employer controlled one of the largest databases of personal, professional, academic, and technical information on the ‘Net.  It was while researching this database for information on an organic ion bypass system he was rewriting the code for that Kevin Pollard discovered Dr. Harold Maas and his theories regarding Human/Information Integration.  Had he not left Kim the prior week over an argument that then seemed momentous but now, after severing so many connections, felt petty, he may never have had the time to read the files and discover the goal that now dominated every hour he could commandeer for himself.

After a time, it became hard to even remember her name.  At first Kevin was delighted.  Without a name to dwell on, his thoughts were not distracted.  He could focus more closely on laying the lines, soldering in the new connections.  His mind grew more encyclopedic.  No longer just in memories, but now in conscious thought, as if his mind was an antenna that could be tuned in to the infinite channels of digital communication.  For the first few days, it was frightening, and Kevin wondered if he was feeling what those late 20th Century yahoos with the tinfoil hats and late night terrestrial radio programs felt.  But after time, he learned how to focus his concentration.  Now, when he wanted, he could tune into the text messages sent between an African warlord and his lover or the message board of a local neo-patriot group or the phonecall between two women with oddly familiar voices speaking of their concern for a man who shared his name.

If someone had been there with Kevin Pollard, he or she may have been able to tell him that was Kim and his mother, and they were speaking of him.

But Kevin Pollard had forgotten his own name too.  The process was almost complete, and with his connections to the ‘Net nearing completion, his connections to his own self neared obliteration.  Soon, there was nothing left but the dreams and the cold sweats they brought, and even those lasted only a fleeting second in the light of consciousness.  How could he connect to them?  Hold them in the short term?  Create a bond between that and the long term?  When he woke, he was inundated with box scores and stock tickers, police scanners and social media threads, ones and zeroes.  He was connected to the sum total of human expression, but he had severed himself from the humans themselves.

Months after completing his project, Kevin Pollard received a visitor.  She knocked on his door early in the morning, a young woman with worried and concerned eyes.  “Kevin,” she said with mixed enthusiasm and trepidation, “it’s so good to see you.  Your mother and I have been worried sick.  Oh, Kevin, I’m sorry for what I said.”

It took Kevin Pollard two long minutes to realize he was Kevin.  A search amongst dating profiles identified this woman as one Kim Olive, 27, from North Hampstead, Michigan.  He searched for a Kevin Pollard profile and a cross connection, but found none.  Why had this woman come to his door?

Amnesia

Originally published December 28, 2013

and its not amnesia

not exactly

its like

 

i bought my head

at a consignment store

and then they changed

 

addresses and

the other one

the new one

is over in a different city

 

that would take so much

gas and effort to get to

and i lost the receipt anyways

 

**

STILL LIFE

 

We had forgotten why

she always left the crackers

in the fridge until she died.

 

It was to keep them from going state.

 

**

INNER BEAUTY

 

He said you never let

anyone know what you are

inside.

 

After five shots

of tequila,

I sure showed

him.

 

**

INTIMACY

The thing I like most about you is

 

**

BREAK

Playing cards in coffee bars.

You’re not here, and neither am I.

 

**

PHYSICS

I had forgotten how hair

is permeable by fingers

other than my own,

and that all solids turn into liquid

given the right amount of heat.

 

**

MAPQUEST

I never know the right questions

when meeting someone after a long, long time.

Have you turned cannibalistic?

Do you still believe in God?

Are you a time-traveler

now that she died?

People change, you know.

 

I am trying to invent a method of cartography.

 

**

WHERE

Ruined childhood books.

Torn corners, spilled juice.

All the Waldo’s have been circled.

 

**

TWITCH

The way inanimate objects pull—

an old doll missing an arm

and a name,

too small shoes,

a set of keys going to

nowhere.

Where Do The Teeth Go?

Originally published December 12, 2013

This month’s theme is “Secret Worlds” and “Better You’s.”

I decided to write about death and combine both themes because death is good at combining all manner of things. I haven’t written about death since I stopped wearing gobs of eyeliner and drawing “</3″s on my Algebra notebooks, which, blessedly, was a long, long time ago. Death is  pretty big secret world. What goes on in there? For some reason, when I think about me being dead, I don’t picture a ghoul or an angel; just someone with different problems. 

 

 

Where the Teeth Go

People have often told me that at the end of the world, we will all get our bodies back, and I believed them. But for some reason, I had always imagined it was our job to go find them.

So if you died millions of years before the end, you’d have to search through deserts of dust to find the particles that once were yours. You’d have dig up old buildings to find your fingernails and scavenge through old sewers to get back your hair and fecal matter.

My own situation in this scenario would be less die, I imagined, because I had planned on being alive during the apocalypse or shortly before. It would be a simple matter of retracing my steps. Most of me would be in the three bathrooms I’ve inhabited over the years. I’d go through my old showers until I had a full set of hair and the toilets until my stomach was full. I’d go through my work and car to find the lopped-off fingernails and glue them back on. Bits of old skin from calluses and my lip would be lying around my apartment waiting to be reattached with grout .

For this reason primarily, I am uncomfortable with the idea of being an organ donor. Awkward conversations would ensue, and I would definitely lack the documentation to prove rightful ownership.

Except, I do lack my wisdom teeth due to my parents’ advice and will die that way. I have no idea where they are kept now. At odd moments, I find myself hoping to god they’re not ground into powder or abandoned in some dumpster like broken chairs.

I’d have to track down my oral surgeon, and storm his office. I’d dig through his storage, and maybe there’d be an open safe where they’re all kept, dusted and pristine. (Mine would be clearly labeled.) Then, I’d reach into my jaws and pop them back into place. But before I went up, maybe the surgeon would be there too except for a few of his ribs. Take back, he’d say, standing in front of his magnificent safe, Take back all that you once knew…

Ignorant Illusions

Originally published November 6, 2013

Ignorant illusions
fall on the hot cement like an empty bottle
breaking into a thousand pieces
shining in the neon lights
pretty pictures catch flame
and burn quickly
releasing acrid smoke into the moonless sky
leaving nothing but memories
stained by ignorance

by Nathan Lowery

Nate is also an accomplished musician. Click here to see some of his work.

Broken Glass

Originally published November 1, 2013

This is the first poem I’ve ever really shared, and the first I’ve written in years.  Context: my mother underwent surgery last week.  Nothing major, and she’s fine now, but this poem came about largely as a result of my frustration at being unable to be with her (my parents live in California).

 

Broken Glass

I’m standing here looking at broken glass
I mean the kind of broken glass that never wanted to hurt anyone
it’s big, big pieces and it’s easy to avoid and really
it doesn’t want to cut anyone
it just wants to be left alone or maybe even be put back together
but mostly it just doesn’t want to be
in the way.
You could put it back together and it wouldn’t be any safer
it wouldn’t be any more or less likely to hurt somebody because
it’d still be broken glass only now it’s with duct tape or glue or just
stuffed inside a big plastic sack.
You could pick up the pieces after you dropped it
and sweep it all up and fit it back together
and you’d never get it right
but you can’t stop trying, either,
because you’re the fuckwit that broke it in the first place.

And I’m standing here looking at this glass
and I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe
bodies don’t need glue, they just need time,
or maybe love
but love heals souls I don’t know if it heals bodies.
Time, time heals bodies and
time also tears bodies apart,
age and wear and tear and
love and hate and wisdom and folly
and all those little cracks
in the psyche, in the brain, in the body
they get a little bit wider.
Cracks that run deep, deep enough to run
from outside in or inside out
and split you in two, in three,
in a fucking hospital bed
where you can’t even tell you were ever alive
and all you know is pain and death and brokenness.

And I’m standing here looking at this glass
and I can’t stop thinking about my mom.
I’m starting to see the cracks and I know
it’s gonna split her in two
and no amount of love or glue or time
is gonna make that better.
Your body breaks down you get a new one, right?

And I hear them telling me it’s all right
routine procedure
better now than later
better late than never
better wait outside now
better just stay where you are
no need to come visit
I’ll be okay, son, I’ll be okay.
My dad’s got these lines,
these cracks in his forehead
and his eyes and his hands
and he looks like he’s been patched up too many times already
but nothing could have prepared him to watch his wife go under.

Time heals all wounds until it doesn’t.

And I’m standing here looking at this broken glass
and I keep thinking I can put it back together
and make it work
and give it a purpose.
But now I’ve just got glue on my bloody hands
and I can’t tell if it’s my blood or hers.

But somebody’s singing something
so beautiful that it helps me breathe again,
starts to fill in those cracks and I remember
how young I am,
and how ashamed I should be to cry
over the loss of something
that was never mine to begin with.
Somebody’s singing something
so beautiful,
and if it isn’t her voice I’m hearing
then it damn well better not be mine.

The Story of Hands

Originally published October 20, 2013

This month’s theme is “broken glass.”

When I think of broken glass, I think of bottles and how the bits can catch on flesh. I also think of Modernism–how Eliot and Wolfe and Pound make art like mosaics. Making a whole out of parts. You can see the plaster. Take, for example, “Mrs. Dalloway.” We have the story of Clarissa and  the story of Septimus, and we can’t quite pinpoint how one relates to the other–after all, they never meet–but they are important to the same whole, and it’s lonely and beautiful and sad.

When I think of broken glass, I think of how it catches light but is still an echo of what was lost.

This is the story of hands, and how they’re falling apart. (Eczema is no fun, but it’s the sexiest of all the skin diseases, I’ve always said.) This is the story of hands catching like broken glass and being alone. 

 

THE STORY OF HANDS

 

The story of hands is sad.

The story of hands is broken glass,

spoken of only as a dry whisper

under a dusty stair.

 

I. When I Said I Wanted my Hands to be as Eggs, This is Not What I had in Mind

 

I want my hands to be as eggs,

large and soft,

but, oh, the potential inside.

 

Think of the ostrich egg,

speckled and looming,

waiting for something rare.

 

I have the cracks already.

A genetic dryness on fingers.

Pink and brown like rivers through stone

or just-fall leaves.

 

I cannot say, this is a church,

here is the steeple,

or coax them into clever gestures.

 

They grasp nothing,

the world around them is

dry sticks that the egg has

nothing to do with.

 

 

II. Do Not Forsake

 

His hands are lonely, 

folded adult-slender 

as if he were praying to himself.

 

It should not surprise us 

that they’re sometimes brown or pink or yellow

because the Christ-Child came for the world all-over.

 

The accompanying menagerie,

however, never changes.

A camel, a sheep, a donkey.

 

We simply cannot have the ridiculous,

a sanctimonious panda or rhino.

The ostrich, certainly, is left at home.

 

We picture its great hose of a neck

plunging towards sand,

telling himself his invitation was lost in the mail.

 

Eyes like black moons

blinking underground,

blinking out insect carapice,

and perhaps a tear or two.

 

III. Ostracized

 

The man who wishes to hurt himself only a little

is like the castaway. My god, to be surrounded

by so much ocean. One day, he makes

a cup of his sunburt-pink hands to get

the sting of salt. He tells himself, this will

only happen once but wonders out loud

if he can drink himself to shore.

 

IV. Unhand Me

 

I am industrious.

The thumb bulldozes the index

to flatten the hills and valleys 

into virgin-pink lands.

 

The extraneous flesh

goes inevitably into my belly.

Conscientious, I don’t want

to make a mess.

 

Will this make me appallingly fat and unlovable?

Or shall I disappear altogether?

 

Does this not hurt?

Only a little.

 

You hold my hand to make it stop

and watch it curl into itself

like a bird trying to get off wax.

 

My eyes go big as black moons.

There is darkness in our bellies,

and we are terrified.

Mirage

Originally published September 23, 2013

I wrote a song called Mirage. The lyrics reflect the “36%” theme I chose awhile back. The music reflects the “deserts” theme that was selected the month after. I know I’m super late posting this. But it’s kind of like when you eat a salad, and then you poop it out later. When you flush the toilet somehow there’s that leaf that comes back up and just floats there until you flush again. It’s kinda like that.


Bizarre Foods America

Originally published September 10, 2013

A lot of my quibbles with my significant other have to do with food. I call it “being picky.” He calls it “honesty.” It’s not enough that his foods have to be well-balanced, fresh, stem-free, adequately sauced, boiling hot, possibly re-heated, salted, never sweetened, simple, varied, and banana’s still half-green; his opinions must extend to what I am eating as well. He asked me once how I can eat egg-drop soup when it was luke-warm (it wasn’t, just not boiling), and I said I could with a spoon.

I also told him about  the Starving Children in Africa.

 But when it comes down to it, people are picky about the things they’re picky–or honest–about. I like to read in 11-page segments. I like parting my hair on the left, and don’t like it when men wear rings, unless they’re married. Giving voice to the thousands of little judgments we make each day isn’t necessary a bad thing. It can lead to quibbles and banter, but I think  it builds personality.

At least one man has made a career out of it.

 

Bizarre Foods America

 

What a way to think of meat.

We all say mutton, beef, poultry, ham,

or else the vegans win,

To divorce, as if with a cleaver,

what a this is from what it tastes like.

Andrew Zimmern does it especially well.

 

In the only episode I have watched,

his hands are spelunkers of bones.

He slimes and crawls through carcass

of an elk to get to the kidneys–all eight–

and tells the camera, as if it’s a secret,

that eating meat raw enhances flavor,

and to never mind the bacteria.

 

He says: rich yet lean. He smiles.

He says: great undertone of herb, hearty,

and something about flavor profile.

I can’t picture a lot of what he’s saying,

and I find the term flavor profile, well, distasteful,

but there’s a humility here, too, an honest

assessment of what he feels in his mouth,

not what he’s expected or supposed to think.

(His least favorite food is oatmeal.)

 

I imagine him kissing his wife goodnight

and saying to her Flakey, like a croissant.

Underneath the crust, some contained gel

like a fried egg. Hint of mint.

She’d roll over and sigh,

half in amusement, half in exasperation,

and she’d think Oh, I am rarer than rare

to up with you, and her dreams would be of nothing

but green people and photosynthesis.

But he’d smile to himself,

having gotten the beauty of it raw.

The Man Who Was in Love with a Desert

Originally published September 3, 2013

Once there was a man who was in love with a desert. Most other men feared the desert and stayed away from her. The man recognized that she had grown ever more petulant over the years, even going so far as to murder any hapless men who lost themselves on her rugged gown.

During the day, she burned with fury for her many centuries of loneliness. At night, she adopted a chilly demeanor, snubbing and howling at all who came to see her. Sometimes she cried large, silent tears from the sky, at which she wailed all the lonelier.

But our man was in love with her nonetheless. He found her raging demeanor charming. He would bring her baskets of fruit and animal skins, which she would delightfully suck dry of all their moisture. The man would then eat the dried fruit and pitch tents with the tanned skins, thanking the desert for her gift. She would thank him back with a cool breeze, sighing with a tenderness of which he had never known her to be capable.

Where others dared not to venture, the man would go. He often traveled across her façade and admired her lovely dunes, plodding upon her voluptuous frame.

Although the man felt the desert was tickled by his persistent nature, she nonetheless became irate with him at times and would send gusts of sandy storms across his route. The man would only smile and cover his flesh with cloth, chuckling at her fierce and beautiful temperament.

She liked to pick up her long gown in a flirtatious manner, smoothing it out in some places and ruffling it in others, until the terrain was all but unrecognizable. The man would only laugh at her for trying to confuse him and look into the sky for the celestial bodies to find his way, admiring her sense of humor.

Sometimes the man would visit his love in the freeze of the night where she sulked, pale and blue. She blew icy winds down the man’s back when he came and chilled his fragile body until he began to shake from the cold. The man would only close his eyes and sing laudatory dirges to her porcelain complexion and her kind embrace, feeling suddenly warm. He attributed this to her vanity.

One day, the man met another group of men in the desert who had taken to marauding the wilderness.

They beat the man and took his shirt and his animal skins. They spilled his dried fruit on the ground and urinated on the once-sweet remains. They fed sand to him and made him drink it down with the last of his water.

They left him bleeding in the sand, calling to him that he would not survive and ought to give up hope, for that night he would surely die from the cruel desert’s wrath.

The man coughed sand and blood from his throat as the marauders disappeared on the horizon. The sun was setting and the desert’s cold night winds were beginning to blow across his face.

He thought he heard a kind whisper in his ear. Perhaps it was a word of encouragement. He managed to pick up his broken frame and drag his wounds across several dunes. When he felt he had reached a familiar spot, he searched the sky, only to find thick clouds blocking the heavens.

And the man did die in his desert that night, for it is impossible for a desert to love a man; a desert is, after all, nothing but a desert. And whether the feelings that emerged in his heart when he spent time with her were the makings of his own dreams or some echo of God’s grace, this has yet to be determined, and is rarely questioned.

Deserts Music

Originally published September 2, 2013

(I really hope this works)

This is my first crack at animation in any form (if it isn’t painfully obvious) and I really enjoyed having my song come to life. I, unfortunately, had to rush this process due to the rather unpleasant August I’ve had to endure but I am happy to finally be able to post something on here. The music i recorded weeks ago and was not really intended to be a CoCo project. I did my best to inject some relevancy into it, however, with some construction paper, the camera on my phone, and a slew of unfriendly editing apps. The story moves quickly and is packed with just about every cliche in the book but I do hope you all enjoy it.