There Would Be a Goal Involved

Sunday Poem, October 28, 2012

Driving West in 1970

My dear children do you remember
The morning we climbed into the old Plymouth
And drove west straight toward the Pacific?

We were all the people there were.
We followed Dylan’s songs all the way west.
It was Seventy; the war was over, almost;

And we were driving to the sea.
We had closed the farm, tucked in
The flap, and were eating the honey

Of distance and the word “there”.
Oh whee, we’re gonna fly
Down into the easy chair. We sang that

Over and over. That’s what the early
Seventies were like. We weren’t afraid.
And a hole had opened in the world.

We laughed at Las Vegas.
There was enough gaiety
For all of us, and ahead of us

Was the ocean. Tomorrow’s
The day my bride’s gonna come.
And the war was over, almost.

—Robert Bly, Eating the Honey of Words (1999)

Sunday Poem, October 21, 2012

Before Anything Happened the House Had No Skeleton

the termites had deboned the thing
it was clean there was no saving it

in one bedroom a dresser with blue drawers
its peg-legs rested on pure membrane

a girl just stood in her underwear
ran the tips of her fingers over her ribs

thought greyhound no one knew no explaining
why she didn’t fall through the floor

the kids were drinking beer in the yard
the tetherball rope caught one girl’s throat

her mother’s face obscured
behind the porch screen the mesquite shadow

no one could make her out
her feet rested on hot sashes of dust

the sounds on the television were far away
as that big caliche mound looked like a waving man

the president got shot
the boards stayed together for another three days

it was a matter of apathy or swelling
or everyone was too hot to move

—Karyna McGlynn, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (2009)

Where the Magic Happens

So this is The Bed:

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Eh-Oh

I keep seeing this guy walking around my neighborhood in rush-hour traffic hawking things to the people stuck in their cars. And for weeks now he’s been carrying an enormous blow-up chair shaped like a Teletubby. Not one of the actual Teletubbies, mind you—sort of a blue Tinky-Winky, maybe, although the shape of his head-thing (oh language you are failing me again) is more of a parallelogram than a triangle. And I dunno I have been sort of obsessed with him/it? Like I actually sat down at one point and wrote a little vignette about it that I meant to be funny but which was actually just gross and sad—it included the line, “That’s what he was really selling—redemption, light blue and hollow inside”—seriously—I KNOW—which maybe means things are not All Clear on Kate Island? Or maybe I am a person of such natural gravitas and empathy that I cannot help but tap into ze Weltschmerz even when grasping for levity (I KNOW). Or maybe I am just Really Not Funny. Anyway. The point (hahahahaha no there is none PSYCH) is that today I saw him again and I was taking out my camera to capture this little slurp of copyright-infringement for all posterity but when I turned back around he was selling it! Like actually stuffing it through the open window of someone’s Datsun and taking some cash and walking away Teletubby-chairless. And then that car made a break through the gridlock and was gone, with the Teletubby chair, just driving away like a jerk with my blue hollow redemption to give it to their jerky child whom I will never see. So. ALL CLEAR I GUESS

My Father Is a Fish

There’s a little take-away place on the walk between work and home called Mama Oliech that I’ve been wanting to try for weeks. All they sell (for approx. $4) is these dudes, which they deep-fry in an ENORMOUS cast-iron witch-cauldron that a woman in a very bedraggled toque stirs with a spoon AS TALL AS SHE IS while another dirty-hatted dude stands over an GIGANTOR fish-and-fly pile and cuts in those side slits and then throws each fish into the vat while humming tunelessly along to the gospel radio station and this is a long run-on sentence so I hope you have all had time to absorb how (HUGELY) rad this place is.

Plus this little guy (Jerrold) reminded me of one of my favorite moments this past summer—sitting with my dad on the steps of an abandoned church outside Decorah, frying up some little brookies we’d caught that morning. But getting reminded of that made me kinda bummed, so I did what any sane human would do: yelled “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD” to the no one in the apartment, went outside for a cigarette, came back, ate Jerrold with some Thai sweet chili sauce, and called it a draw. IT’S OKAY HE’S NOT MY DAD

Sunday Poem, October 14, 2012

Waterfall

The most romantic thing a human being can say
to another human being is Let me help you vomit.
No human being has ever said this to me
& I keep going to god too clean as though god
is frightened of muddy feet. If I am missing
a hairpin I don’t go at all. Please describe
your vomiting; it is like a psalm for me
a place where wilderness might be new.
Other people’s dirt makes a lovely frock.
Grant I be forgiven in the gush.

—Melissa Broder, Meat Heart (2012)

Nightmare #1

Okay so last night I dreamed that I went to Fellows Elementary School to vote but because I was an absentee voter they wouldn’t let me unless I took a Xerox of my bare butt in front of all of them and stapled it to my ballot. I know this sounds like some hilarious hijinks but in reality (okay, dream-reality) it was deeply deeply disturbing so if you laughed/snorted/thought to yourself, “That’s funny” LIKE A FUCKING ROBOT you should take a moment to feel bad now.

How Much Do I Want This to Be My Life

HEY what are you doin there

WHAT are you doin there

What are you DOIN there

HEY what are you doin BEAR

(see what I did bear)

Sunday Poem, October 7, 2012

Essay on Crying at Night

I am just like my mother. I buy books and tell myself that I am buying
wisdom and at the end of my life, I own a house full of books. When I
was little, I thought that the water came out of the showerhead
because it was crying. This is because I heard my mother crying and
thought it was the showerhead.

—Ken Chen, Juvenilia (2010)

Breaking: Showtime Series Not As Radically Critical of US Foreign Policy As Possible, Local Girl Bummed

This year’s Emmy voters seem pretty convinced that Homeland is the best show on television, and I wouldn’t put up much of an argument. It’s plotty and fast-paced and deftly shot and, yeah, phenomenally acted. Damien Lewis has been the major of my heart ever since Band of Brothers, and while it sort of pains me to watch my Dick Winters going all dark and twisty it sure does suit him. The permanently clenched jaw, the hellpit eyes, the kind of forearm veins you only get by maintaining a constant low-level rage stroke—it’s all kinda hot and kinda scary and totally, totally watchable. I even like Claire Danes’ weird bug-eyed scenery chewing:

(though that’s mostly because it’s just so refreshing to see a female character who’s smart and sharp and kind of hates everyone, not to mention a portrayal of mental illness that’s neither infantilizing nor played for laughs.)

So yeah, whatever, give them all the Emmys, I won’t stop you. But I’ve got a bigger bone to pick with the show, one that goes beyond its quality as an aesthetic object, one that can’t be patched over by the bizarrely rad faces its leads make from time to time.

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