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Archive for May, 2003

 
|| May 31, 2003 || 2:14 am || Comments (6) ||

Dear Fellow Traveller and Snake Oil Salesman Handler,

So I’m sitting here with this laptop careening at a crazy angle and threatening to take a dive off of my lap, trying like hell to get the gist of this PencilEraserMouse thingy or whateverthefuck the guy at the shop called it (whatever the moniker, I hate the motherfucker). It’s late, and I should be in bed early as I’d promised myself not long ago that I would engage in this sort of healthy, proper behavior. In truth, it’s probably just a ruse, and not a very good one. I can use this as an excuse for not being proliferate in my writing, you see. Anyone who knows shit about me knows that I produce things of a delicate, heartfelt nature –beautific agony, if you will– when I am bag-eyed and muddle-headed and just generally angsty and surly and sleep-deprived.

Back to the ‘in truth’ thing; the truth is that I’ve not really been moved to write shit or shinola because a significant hunk of brain matter is taken up with thoughts of you. And you and I both know that nobody but nobody gives two diddly-fucks of anything about two star-crossed buffoons and their little buffoonery dancin’, much less vague references to donuts or purses and reams of crap poetry about too-much-too-soon and too-little-but-never-no-never-too-late.

April Love (how endearing that you’ve given her your own nickname: “Momma Looooove”) gets quite tickled when she hears me say, ‘oh honey, that will never do.’ She likes it so much, in fact, that she has folded it into her own vernacular. What once used to be merely a pithy phrase seems to be my mantra as of late: Here I am looking at this thing and that thing about/within my life and I find myself saying over and over, ‘that will never do.’ with regard to a myriad of things.

I fear that this is somehow making me a negative person, and being a negative person is something I am hesitant to embrace. I’ve never been a gushing optimist, preferring instead to wear the shoes and hat of a realist with a strong sense of faith and hope. Maybe all this ‘never-do’-ing is the manifestation of that faith-having, hopeful realism. I’d like to think so, anyway. I’d like to think that I am one-stepping my way boldly into a bright new tomorrow for myself and everyone along for the ride will benefit enormously from it.

And you know what? I am long past giving a fuck if it’s conventionally ‘right’.

“Break it down all corny for me, wouldja Jett? You know and I know that’s when you say it pretty okay, if not the best…”

Well, okay. Today happens to be a day when I feel more suited to aim to please rather than being pleased to aim. June Carter Cash died recently, ending one of the most ardent and dedicated of love-based partnerships of our time. She and her husband were bound to one another, though their lives were tumultuous at times, and they had it something fierce for each another. Although they shared writing credit on the song ‘Ring Of Fire’ and most people solely credit Johnny for the song, it was for the most part penned by June and dealt with their relationship.

“I never talked much about how I fell in love with John,” June said in an interview. “It was not a convenient time for me to fall in love with him, and it wasn’t a convenient time for him to fall in love with me. One morning, about four o’clock, I was driving my car just about as fast as I could. I thought, ‘Why am I out on the highway this time of night? I was miserable, and it all came to me: ‘I’m falling in love with somebody I have no right to fall in love with.’…I thought, ‘I can’t fall in love with this man, but it’s just like a ring of fire.’”

“We hadn’t said, ‘I love you.’ We were afraid to say it, because we knew what was going to happen: that eventually we were both going to be divorced, and we were going to go through hell. Which we did,” said Johnny.

They married in 1968 and had thirty-five years together. Imagine that: Thirty-five years loving the person that consumes you. Even though they met at ‘the wrong time’. Even though they tried, for over ten years, to do ‘the right thing’ by not forsaking vows to others.

But what of it when the Real-and-Truetm ‘right thing’, we’re told by others, is ‘the wrong thing’? What of it when you subconsciously, and quite without knowing it, seek out that real, true ‘right thing’ in little traits and characteristics of others, though that tongue-on-teeth habit only comes to light and makes sense on the back end of things, when it drops you on your butt with a startled ‘oh.’ at the realization of it? The bloody tongue, the salty-metallic taste, the glistening red on your teeth further proves it, are further evidence that yes, you were holding your tongue…just….so.

You’ll never know the sense of mourning that enveloped me when you said so matter-of-factly, “I feel like, now, this last ten-some years has been filler. It’s just been filler.” You’ll never know the stab of pain I felt when you, dropping your cool-but-not-fooling-me facade, asked plaintively, in an uncharacteristic beggar’s voice, “Why, why did you turn from me and go?”

“We could’ve had ten babies by now.”

“We could’ve been so happy those years.” Yeah, other people scoff, but I know it to be so. The voices in my head and my heart sing in unison on this one, so fuck all else; fuck the naysayers and their opining. Fuck the non-believers and the jaded and the jealous and those simply too afraid to get on their tiptoes atop the wobbling chair and reach, reach like hell for the treasure awaiting on the top shelf.

There is a reason they call it ‘top-shelf’, after all: It’s placed up there because it’s a cut above and well worth the reach, well worth the scrapes you may encounter, well worth the strained tendons sung awake in the grasping and the bumps you may suffer on the way down with it finally –deep, contented sigh– hugged to your bosom.

Finally.

Ever yours in deed and in song (not to mention some stuttering, clumsy poetry),

Your Travelling Companion and Foil Of Snake Oil Salesmen Everywhere Charmer

::: :: ::: :: :::

so i walk like i’m on a mission / cuz that’s the way i groove / i got more and more to do / i got less and less to prove / it took me too long to realize / that i don’t take good pictures / cuz i have the kind of beauty / that moves

Ani DiFranco, “evolve”

 
|| May 29, 2003 || 8:17 pm || Comments (3) ||

I’m trying the title ‘Honky Cracker Dixie Girl’ on for size. So far it’s pretty okay.

I love T-shirt Hell:

How could someone NOT find that funny? This shirt is the one I really have my eye on, however. Maxim was horribly apalled by it, spurring my need to have it further onward.

Stop being a prude, Maxim!

I read an article one time (I’ve picked and picked my brain to try and recall where and when, but the info is not forthcoming…are you surprised?) that quoted Mother Teresa as saying something along the lines of how she really didn’t like people all that much, but she was called to serve them. Now that is dedication to one’s mission, m’friends.

 
|| May 26, 2003 || 8:57 pm || Comments (7) ||

I do not eat any meat that has been ground up and then stuck back together again.

My word, how I laughed. This girl’s a keeper.

Eerily true. In my case, at least. I seem to be a Minor Vidiot / Minor Artsy Vidiot / Major Musichead / Indie / Minor Literati / Minor Bookworm / Major Infoglutton / Minor Toyman / Minor Boardman.

The ‘party is back up and running (sort of). I missed all my military Superior Muffinasses! [insert disgusting kissy-face noises here]

What happens when your extended family finally all get computers and join us out here in Cyberia?

You get spammed off the fucking planet. That’s the way it happens to me, anyway. You?

But sometimes there are pretty good jokes. Observe:

A teenage granddaughter comes downstairs for her date with a see-through blouse on and no bra. Her grandmother just pitched a fit, telling her not to dare go out like that!

The teenager tells her, “Loosen up Grams. These are modern times. You gotta let your rosebuds show,” and out she goes.

The next day the teenager comes down stairs, and the grandmother is sitting there with no top on. The teenager wants to die. She explains to her grandmother that she has friends coming over and that it is just not appropriate…

The grandmother says, “Loosen up, Sweetie. If you can show off your rosebuds, then I can display my hanging baskets.”

…and….

An old man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, Bubba (who used to help him), was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

Dear Bubba:

I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my potato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.
Love, Dad

A few days later the old man received a letter from his son:

Dear Dad:
For heaven’s sake, dad, don’t dig up the garden, that is where I BURIED the BODIES.
Love, Bubba

At 4 AM the next day, F.B.I. agents and local police showed up and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from Bubba:

Dear Dad:
Go ahead and plant those potatoes now. It’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love, Bubba

Hey, at least they’re not sending me e-mails advising me on how to make my penis larger.

 
|| May 26, 2003 || 12:17 am || Comments (10) ||

As someone who is quite frequently mistaken for a man based on my words alone (pictures up top notwithstanding…they weren’t allus there, folks), I find this set of questions a bit of measured sophistry at best. While I can see the author’s reason(s) for posing them, I feel that a scribbler’s gender should not weight the discussion of their writings.

Simply put, some places are rife with suckitude and some places simply shine, four hits a day or four-hundred. I’ve found that this generally has nothing to do with what’s between the legs, but more to do with what’s between the ears and in the heart. I couldn’t tell you whether or not my readers are mostly male or female, because a big percentage of them prefer to lurk around the edges (it’s okay, meekish Superior Muffinasses, you can come out to play…) for whatever reason. Maybe they don’t feel they have anything worthy to contribute. Maybe coming ’round these parts is akin to watching a trainwreck for them. Maybe I’m the example of all the literary ‘don’ts’ for some writing class in Pacoima or Walla-Walla or someplace else I’ve never been….who knows?

I think, though, based on the comments, more fellas come around than women; I’m pretty positive that it’s always been that way, even before my picture got slung up there at the top (nod to Mr. Hatley, who brought up via e-mail last week the question of whether or not my readers are here to hit up on the mouthy proprietress or to actually read).

My own tastes are fairly evenly divided between the sexes, although the fellas might edge out the gals to a minor degree. There’s an easy explanation to even that: Despite the fact that I seek content that is presented creatively and –more importantly– with heart, I’ve always been the most comfortable in the presence of males. This is due to a variety of factors, not least of which are the fact that I was raised in an extended family comprised mostly of guys and the fact that I find most women, to put it simply, ‘triflin’.

There I go, chasin’ the rabbits.

When I click through on a link, I never even think twice as to whether or not there are two exxes or one ex, one why responsible for what I am reading. I just care if it is good by my own standards, if it captures my attention and makes me laugh or cry or drop my jaw. If it breathes up there on the screen. If I go back and back again, I’ll then be moved to find out a few this or thats about the author, attempt to frame them up a bit as a person. There again, though, their words will have already done that for the most part. The rest is just stage dressing. Chum is one of the most raw, poignant writers I know. Melly is one of the most profanely funny and honest. Waistdog’s choppy style and pat humor had me hooked way back when. Lizard can be writing about politics or dead bees or music or pain or birthday parties (or even the painful politics of music at dead bees’ birthday parties) and every word is like a gift because she twines them together so well. TheDane’s doodles are far above-par, he speaks intellectually, eloquently and non-judgementally of his faith and is an almost-obsessive listmaker of Important Thingstm like film noir and preferred modes of transportation. Fish is boldly eclectic, and whatever she touches –words or paints or pixels– is transformed into a thing of beauty that makes you think. Out of all these, Melly is the only one whose gender was immediately known, because she goofs on being a girl of unabashedly different stripes.

So, what I’m really trying to say in my bloated fashion is that it’s not so much the works (in a physiological sense, of course) of these writers so much as the workings of them. I would be no less enthralled by any of them were they male, female, or orange-assed baboons (the jury is still out on a couple of my links as to whether or not they are the latter). They wield a certain amount of influence and power over me, and that power has nothing to do with their genitalia.

At least until I meet them outside of Cyberia, that is.

 
|| May 25, 2003 || 2:02 am || Comments (6) ||

I could pretend to not remember, and maybe even eventually con myself into actually not remembering at all.

Why the fuck would I want to do that? I have a big box of glowing wood (& a brass lock that has never, ever been used–”Here! Take a gander at my bits and pieces!”) handcrafted lovingly by an uncle, that is filled with smaller boxes. In those smaller boxes are letters and pictures and souvinirs of a life lived and not dallied with. There is my first paystub and W2, my spelling bee ribbons, this award and that award (some of them seeming to be so utterly foreign to me), enlistment papers, nubby yellow baby blanket, prayer book, first corsage and on on on…

The letters, the cards; they are my most prized possessions and I will scrounge through them every now and again, laughing and crying over snippets of life that are encapsulated there and come surging off the page.

I look back at the younger me with a tenderness that surprises me. Where I should be scornful I am understanding and where I should be understanding I am near-apathetic. Yet they were things that mattered so very much at the time. There are petty grievances there, full of hurt feelings and loaded words, and there are things of such magnitude that I cannot believe they were covered with such brevity.

Some people have a whole box dedicated to the storage of their correspondences to me, others are limited to two or three pieces of mail, carefully filed together for continuity’s sake. Sometimes I think that one day I might hunt up some of the people that put their names to their words and gifted me with them. I’ll send them the letters that they invested part of self in, so that they can know the same joy that I know; the one of reacquainting with an earlier, untested and less-polished version of self.

I did hand-deliver a packet of notes to someone one time, with the disclaimer that he fork them back over in three days. It didn’t even take that long. He sat one night, a bottle of Beam between his knees, and read every one. He tells me that as the dawn came he lie back and cradled them beside him while he slept hard and deep. “You’re the same,” he said, “but your bangs are longer.”

 
|| May 23, 2003 || 9:44 pm || Comments (4) ||

Okay, let’s just say that, ahhhh, you left your favorite summer-weight, positively sunny and shiny peach-hued lipstick in the pocket of your lightweight, semi-sheer jacket.* And, for the sake of something to write about, let us say –as well– that you washed the jacket and dried the jacket. Since we’re already fabricating a full-bodied story, let’s throw in the little detail that has you finding the lipstick, –which has sort of gigglingly transplanted itself from the twirly base and now chooses to reside stuck to the top instead– sucking in air sharply, and in general just acting horrified.

But thank God that ole lid didn’t pop off and ruin half your clothing, right? Yes, darlings, there is that.

But there is also still the matter of a seventeen-dollar tube of lipstick to contend with.

Here’s the part where I come in and advise you that were this to actually happen to you, that you may just wanna go on and throw the lipstick away before all sorts of repairative notions settle in your noggin. You know the ones, those kind that say things such as,

Ah-HA! If it got all melty and fucked up, I can re-melt and unfuck it.”

Before you proceed to boil water in a saucepan and hold the eedle lipstick top gingerly in the boiling water with those great big ole salad tongs, you should know that steam burns can serve to provoke great ire, and that eedle top will grow more and more slippery as the moments leading up to the quite crucial ‘perfect melt’ pass away. You should also know that you’ll never, ever succeed in getting all the lipstick back into the tube; in fact, it will form a summer-weight, positively sunny and shiny peach-hued film on the interior surfaces of the lipstick lid. It will, and there are no two ways about this, and no way around it, either. You will not, even though you so foolishly and brazenly think it, be able to clean the inside of that top of all summer-weight, positively sunny and shiny peach-hued guck left behind.

Even as you place the newly-repoured tube elatedly into the freezer to re-harden and cool, there will be a sense of disappointment in yourself, because what was nearly a full tube of lipstick pre-wash is now only two-thirds of same: A summer-weight, positively sunny and shiny peach-hued shadow of its former self.

Just let it go, fine reader. Fuck that seventeen dollars, and any cheap-assed notions toward same that you might have. Is your dignity not worth at least a sawbuck?

*The fact that it was in a semi-SHEER garment makes this scenario all the more infuriating. Yes, it certainly does.

 
|| May 22, 2003 || 11:32 pm || Comments (11) ||

They never did see this part of him, and he could not decide whether or not he found a measure of comfort in that. They did not know this name, or the workings of this face, or the tousle of this hair. They did not know that he had a mushroom-and-hearts-of-palm pizza without fail every Friday night. That he liked the feel of the clay of this place slip firmly beneath his bare feet the day after a good rain.

For knowing so much, really, they knew so very little. He didn’t feel the anguish that one particular realization might drop onto others; he regarded it as something else to slow-sweep with an apathetic eye. He felt, really, like this was the only one that counted, the only one that gave a true measure of the facts.

He gave up dressing for success long ago: The standard uniform was an oversized fatigue jacket, jeans and whatever shirt fell under his hand when he shrugged on his clothing at wildly varying times of the day. The shoes never quite suited the outfit, because he could never bear to wear a pair more than ten or twelve days before purchasing new ones. Some days there were running shoes, sometimes there were heavy boots and there had even been a pair of wingtips, black and white to be exact. But always new-looking, always drawing the eye downward. Why this was he could not begin to tell you, though it’s hard to determine whether or not this is because he had troubling remembering or he had trouble telling.

He used to talk to people, really talked to them, but more importantly, he had mastered listening, the magic skill of being right there in the moment when someone was speaking and not off making a mental list of things on his plate today, laundry to be done and things to be written and ‘what-am-I-gonna-eat-for-dinner’. They started calling him a philosopher, at first whispering it behind their hands to one another and then quite boldly stating it to him directly, and that is what stemmed the flow of words, what caused them to be few and far between, succinctly and quietly delivered.

Not, as you might think, from humility, but from fear. A simple, meaty fear. It didn’t overwhelm and consume him, as the big fears are wont to do; it sat there in his exact middle cold and thick, juicy and still. This made it all the more imposing.

It did not panic him, but it kept him operational.

Things like ‘More than the sum of my parts.’ and ‘Survival of the fittest.’ made him chuckle low and slow to himself. Pat is good; patronizing is shameful. He lived his life by this and other small nuggets: Eat, shit, fuck, sleep, smile. Once around, then around again. Sometimes he would only accomplish one of those a day, but he never viewed those days as failures, only aberrations from the time before. So then, every day was an aberration, which could never be confused with ‘the norm’. Every man should have it so lucky.

‘CHAINED TO NONSENSE SENSIBILITY’ was a phrase that floated down to him one day, hovering some two feet in front of him, a foot up, written in crumbling hard block letters. They were yellow, those letters, and he embraced them as a gift. Maybe that’s why they stayed, anchored and floating in front of him, for so long.

He used to date a lanky backup singer named Michelle. She was from the midwest, impossibly beautiful, but yet he knew her to be real because he took meal after meal with her, made love to her countless times, woke up smelling her hair and warm skin morning after morning. She ended up leaving, of course; the shoe thing really, really unnerved her. She found it most troubling when the electricity, a one-hundred and fifty dollar expense, was cut off in favor of one-hundred and eighty dollars’ worth of new shoes.

(The clerks knew. They knew that when he tried a pair on, that was not the pair that he would be buying. He would be buying the ones that he would send them to the stockroom to retrieve, always in the exact same size, style and color. The ones that had not graced the feet of any others. And he tipped them for their efforts in this arena.)

He rarely thought of Michelle since the words appeared. The words had supplanted almost everything else. Only the best of gifts can do that.

He had taken to climbing, relishing the broad faces of rock that the earth had pouted through its crust a whenever ago. He would climb until the only ropes he was aware of were the ones screaming out in his body, ‘Stop now, stopnowstopnow, stop. NOW.’ and his knuckles and knees were stubbly gristle. When he finally ascended to a stopping point that seemed right, he stretched out into a dot on the horizon and took the breaths into himself like mother’s milk, needed and savored.

There were times when he’d roll back down. There were times he slept, quick to fall deeply away from consciousness, but the words never took their leave of him..

He just didn’t mind. They kept the fear from seeping out of his center and far into his dreams. As it was, the fear only decorated the edges, looking remarkably like a gilt frame, one so heavy that if it fell it would break everything for miles.

The frame of fear, the words floating solidly and crumbling in the center of it, the elaborate mindscape a backdrop. He could always separate the dreams from reality, because his dreams were the only time he could see the fear. And the shoes never looked new enough.

But the words, in waking or dreaming….the words never left him.