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Archive for January, 2009

|| January 29, 2009 || 1:04 pm || Comments (2) ||

a pile of people I love

a pile of people I love
:: mathias, my little sister emma, scout ::

Emmer’s kinda their hero.

She says that I am hers. This quietly embarrasses and thrills me at the same time.

|| January 28, 2009 || 12:48 am || Comments (3) ||

Just skip this one if you’re not the one I’m talking to

Regardless of all else, I do value the last moments, because of how we used them. We dragged that mattress out, flopping it in front of the fireplace, and camped out there just like the first time. Only, unlike the first time, we used those last moments to sit and rock and mourn our love, each exercising command over the other’s ragged breaths and surging blood.

I was foolish to have ever thought I could write you a poem with my life. I am full of trouble and it’s all I can do to stutter through the working-out of my own name.

You took a single picture of me that night. I still have the photo: My leg is stuck, unruly, out from under the coverlet, I am pressing the pillow tightly to myself and there is a look in my eyes which I’ve not seen on film before or since. This is because they –my eyes, that is– usually only betray me in a face-to-face fashion. But here, in this particular photograph, my eyes busied themselves with the telling of how we relinquished one another’s hearts, duly acknowledging a bad trade.

Ten minutes after it was all done for good, I could have given you a list (the paper covered over on both sides) of regret, but here-now-today the only one I really have is that we don’t have our own song that I can sit and bruise myself on.


(partly because it looks like a rolling beer cooler)

I am suddenly (as in, the last three days) overcome with the maddening desire to own an Airstream. It is this way with my wants: They are few and far between and when one settles itself between my shoulderblades, it must be satisfied, like a hard-to-reach itch.

….and I now want an Airstream. I figure, hell, I live in Hellabama, there’s got to be some fool within a forty-mile radius that has one of the blame things up on blocks in his side yard. I’d be willing to stake my eye teeth that there’re at least TWO. I want to find that man, saunter up his driveway and sweet-talk him into making me a real fine deal on it.

Dig it: There’s me, scuffing the toe of my boot a little in the graveldust of the drive, looking down at that toe as I do so. Then me, raising my face to him, head a little cockeyed, mouth a bit of sideways slash, nothing in the eyes to give me away because I’m wearing my favorite mirrored aviators. “Mister, I’m pretty sure that there’s a way for you’n'me both to come out satisfied. I want a trailer. You got a trailer.”

And then, you know, I’d place an index finger on the bridge of those glasses, sliding them down enough so that he could see both the sincerity and spirit in my eyes. Looking over the tops of those lenses, I’d lean in toward him a little and say with all earnestness, “I promise to love that trailer and take it fun places and pretty places and in-between places. Sometimes I’ll do it on a whim. Other times I’ll plan. But mister, I’m fair certain that trailer wants to come home with me and live a good, gooood life.” And right there maybe a little conspiratorial wink would be in order, I’m not sure. I’d have to suss out the situation as it presented itself to me.

Wouldn’t that speech work some fashion of mojo on you, oh Muffinass?

Here are my goals for the year: Take family on surprise jaunt to New York City for Christmas (reservations already made, more on this later), pay off credit cards by March (on track for this), purchase Airstream trailer because those things are riveted together with pure awesome and maybe also just a little secks0rs.

Speaking of teh secks0rs, I love-love-LOVE the Ford Airstream concept car,

ford airstream concept car

because it is just so boldly uglyawesome. They go on and make this thing? Wellll, then, I may just have to change my stance on purchasing Fordcars.

|| January 20, 2009 || 2:22 am || Comments (4) ||

Er, ahh, hey.

Let me explain to you why I’m wearing bunny ears.

All week I have been tearing out and rearranging and giving away or repurposing or donating. I found the bunny ears haphazardly tossed into a big silver plastic bin that I’d mentally stenciled “TO BE SORTED LAST, BECAUSE I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED.” They were near the top, so on my head they went. They are light brown, floppy and soft, the sort of ears that I imagine I’d wish for myself were I indeed actually a rabbitcreature. In the midst of sorting the silver tub I lost interest and decided to move some furniture about. Please don’t be exasperated with me for quitting that damned silver tub….I threw things away and donated some of its contents, leaving less than when I started. I think that is acceptable progress on so torturous a task.

So one of the things I was moving was the hope chest (I think I’m finally ready to call it a blanket chest; the only problem is that there are a whole lot of paper goods in there but not one single blanket); before I did that I had to move the stereo and a stack of ceedees and a couple of journals from its top.

Of course, with the top barren, it should be opened for a little peek and….I’ll be damn! How did all that stuff get scattered about me? Even as I was sorting through all that stuff I was cleaning out. Things I’ve saved for decades are now suddenly devoid of meaning. How does this happen?

How does it happen that the slip of paper that serves as record of me paying the processing fee for my driver’s license when I was fifteen becomes just another thing I’ve no use whatsoever for? My book of business cards, the one I’ve carefully assembled throughout the course of my adult working life is just a thing to me now, not A. THING. Sam thought it was awesome, and he wanted to save it from the trash bin. I let him; he was there because I’d called him down to my room, grinning as I handed over all the vintage tees that I’d stored up in that chest. There was AC/DC and Aerosmith and The Cure and White Lion and Queensryche and The Beastie Boys, a handful of textile for each of his eager fists. He was excited, “THESE ARE ALL DATED IN THE EIGHTIES.”

Fuck yes they are, son, and I’d no idea when I tucked those away that one day I’d be handing them over to a handsome young man who would pick such a fine guitar and call me ‘mom’. It seems sweetly fitting, though, and I like the cheesy quality it is weighted with.

I paused for a couple-three minutes after he left to stare intently at a picture of the Young Marine and me. I marvel through the novocaine that is time passed at the love and want that just bleeds out of that substantial little sheet of glossy paper. We were a force not to be taken lightly. We were generous and expansive and demonstrative with one another. There is no indication in those early photographs of what was to come, what would quietly and –strangely enough– calmly unfold between us before we knew it.

If he is to be believed, he now is aware of what an absolute fucker he was. I am well-versed in human behavior and should be inherently cynical, but I DO believe him. I don’t think that he had any idea back then the magnitude of what he was doing. I am almost positive that he was not calculated in his actions.

And then, before I got too much further in, I scooped up what had been scattered but had escaped the trash or giveaway bin and placed it all back in the respective boxes, which were in turn seated back into the chest. There was a tiny bit more wiggle room than before. Some day soon I aim to go through that chest to organize and discard and return words back to their rightful owners, but this weekend was not the time. I closed the lid on my past and shoved it twelve feet across the floor to its new home. I pulled off the bunny ears and went to get ready for a night out with some friends.

For a few days now I have been attempting to get at the middle of some writing that is making me very skittish. See, Maggie is rolling out this new place and it will deal with domestic violence, focusing on survivors with a story to tell. It’s not like it’s a secret or anything that I was in not one, but two (one boyfriend, one spouse) abusive relationships as an adult, but I’ve only ever skimmed the details in my writing, skittering across the surface so that the ice won’t crack causing me to go arrow-straight and startled into the freezing drink, my heart seized and killing me altogether by pulling the warmth from my limbs in order to preserve itself. Ohhhh, heart, oh what you will do in pursuit of self-preservation….

So I’ve been circling this matter in my head, distrustful of what it may become if let out of the box for one fool minute. I have mapped out what I might say and how long it might take me to say it, because God knows when I get spooked I will explore the machinations of every little nuance in emotion mercilessly. Clinically. Unforgivingly and with an eensy little bit of what some folks might refer to as ‘malice’. After days and days of doing this in the back of my mind, I finally reached a place where I could maybe sit down and turn the stage lights on and pound out the re-enactment of all the details that stuck with me: Shocking moments like the one that brought the knowledge that I no longer cried because I was in physical pain from a blow I’d received; the humming, hot flesh ripening into bruised knots was secondary at best. I’d cry because I was disappointed that it was happening again, not because that shit HURT. That’s the point where you realize you are part of the fucking sickness, feeding the crazy, and you have got to either decide to reclaim sanity for the two of you or to resolve to die spiritually or emotionally or physically.

There are lots of stories, too, down this avenue of foulness. Hard to know which ones to give away, if any.

I reached a point tonight where I felt like maybe I could sit down and see what happened when I let go and let fly with my memory and fingers and carefully-held breath. Not holding myself to any promise of publishing, just maybe kicking the tires and then cruising the block to see what went down, you know? As I was sitting on my bed, lotioning my arms, my hips, my stomach, those bunny ears caught my eye and I put them on my head, pushing back my bangs. Tess says I use them to hide too often, these bangs; she urges me to cut them right off and see what happens as a result. I tell her to mind her fucking business. “You ain’t nobody!” she exclaims, “And I’m GROWWWN.” It is a phrase we’ve used on one another since the beginning of our friendship, because we are both headstrong and neither of us likes to be bossed.

I put those bunny ears on because I earnestly can’t imagine myself having a complete emotional breakdown while wearing them, sobbing with my forehead melting into the desk while the monitor glows cold over me. The mental picture of this occurring, in fact, could easily be stated as horrifying to me because it is the sort of thing that just seems so Lifetime movie-esque. In other words, not for me: I’m feature film all the way, baby.

So I’m wearing bunny ears and I’m casually stepping up to the subject at hand, giving it the best blank stare I can muster. Hopefully it won’t make any sudden moves.

the quiet gets all over
:: the quiet gets all over ::

I did this shit on purpose. Without a plan and everything.

If I win the lottery this week, I’m gonna go out and buy me one of them high-toned replicas of the bird girl statue (the big one) and then have a garden built up all around it. And also I’m going to buy one of them fancy outdoor beds. If I were really dreaming big, I could mention that having a hanging outdoor bed would be exponentially awesome, because it could double as a pirate ship on Hey Let’s Play Pretend days, natch. Also I would erect a freestanding wall –maybe five feet by five feet, one foot thick and made of brick- or stucco-encased concrete– and paint it orange (less sherbert-ish and more burnt-ish, but leaning gently toward a sort of pumpkin notion of ‘burnt orange’ rather than the ‘burnt orange’ notion of ‘burnt orange’), which I would string with fat yellow bulbs. At night the place would look somewhat like a Mexican cantina, I imagine, but I’m thinking I’ll prolly be okay with that.

Maybe I could divide the garden up into sections and give each section a theme. Like, the part with the wall could also have a wee statue of a burro and a fountain flowing with tequila! You could flee there and become a wealthy resort property owner should things not work out quite like you planned in the rest of the gardens!

Thematically, I’m thinking a ‘Ninja Garden’ would be a decent concept. And also probably a Junk Food garden. Most of the other ideas for various sections I should probably not ever, ever make a public record of. Some of the things in my head would just maybe confuse people in a quasi-scary-and-probably-detrimental-to-me-personally way. I’ll just save us all the trouble and let you ponder the magic of the Ninja and Junk Food concepts.

And marijuana would be legal in my country, whose borders end at the street’s duty-bound easement, as per the governing city law. And getting my pressure up (A.K.A. “NO HARSHING MY BUZZ, DOUCHE”) would be illegal, as per the governing law of my right fist. And I would buy books and music once per week. It would be an excursion to do so, full of pomp and circumstance and sprayed with fancy-named colognes that have that magic ylang-ylang mojo goin’ on. We would dress like Lords and their Laydehs to hit up on Barnes and Noble’s poetry section. And also, clearance items would be bought in bulk to be used in my exuberant pursuit of Giving A Gift Basket To Everyone I’ve Ever Been Acquainted With, Even My Enemies.

And I would rent the mall carousel one day per month and dedicate that day to a specific group of the populace, who would then ride free all fucking day long. I mean, think about it! Wouldn’t a carousel day in honor of Retired Telephone Operators be something worth seeing alright? How about Elementary School Janitorial Staff carousel day? I bet those fuckers would ride so many times they’d puke, knowing it wasn’t their turn to clean up. I’d even go so far as to say that janitors likely throw some fairly kick-ass parties, you know?

And also maybe there would be a cabana boy, even though I’ve no cabana (and no aims toward one, really…), just so I can say the phrase ‘cabana boy’ on a semi-regular basis. Only he’d be part time because, really, it’s just either pretentious or ostentatious or some other more grave -tious word to have a full-time cabana boy.

I sit and hammer all of this out in my head, knowing full and damn well that I did’nt (I have been typing contractions all wrong for days and days now; I’m being a bit lazy about correcting this because I sort of like it, in a strange little way) even buy a ticket this week. In fact, it has been many weeks; it always is a sporadic and not-often thing. I figure if I’m destined to win, probably a ticket will find my hand whether my own wallet paid for it or not. Things just often seem to work themselves out that way for me.

pee ess, whatever you do, do not go and look at Craftastrophe’s latest last Thursday offering. doing so will make you a saaaaad little strawberry.

UPDATE, one hour later: I’m pretty sure I will keep one of these on hand for instances where I have to leave the tequila fountain and go to other areas of the grounds. Life is hard when you have imaginary money.

I would just like to preface this by telling you all that I received very many quality bottles of wine as holiday treats. Of course I’m thankful, because if a specific cousin got me even one more gigantic tin (“The tins are so useful after the popcorn is gone, aren’t they??” is what she has always queried. My brain has –each and every time– wanted my mouth to move on impulse in these situations and grin back, “Why yes, I put them over my head and bang furiously until the spoon breaks.”) of popcorn –even the splurgey three-variety kind– I was going to behave like a big-ole-spoiled-and-lacking-in-humility-or-simple-gratitude jackass. Sure, the birds in my backyard think the week between Christmas and New Year’s is just fanfuckingtabulous because they get to feast on what is billed as gourmet popped kernels, but I’m stuck with one more thing to stuff with other things so that I can justify not discarding it altogether. HOW FAIR IS THAT?? Not to mention the fact that I’ve always held the quiet fear that the caramel bits of corn may cause some grievous illness in birds causing me one day to get a knock at the patio door. Which, of course, I’ll answer cautiously only to find a pissed-off cadre of dainty little airfowl who will challenge the notion that raising children is like being slowly pecked to death by (INSERT NAME OF CHOSEN FOWL HERE).

Have you guys ever heard that saying? It never fails to make me laugh, but somewhere on the inside I get a little uneasy because I have an extremely vivid way of thinking and then there I am envisioning that actually happening. The hearty laughter then turns to a nervous sort of titter as the big WHAT IF?? looms large in my consciousness.

You know, I’m always saying that I live by a ‘no regrets’ sort of philosophy, but lately I’ve come to know that the balancing-out of that (there is a balancing-out to every element of life that ever was and will be, how terribly cool and horribly macabre is that shiz, huh?) is a hearty sense of WHAT IF in just about every arena of my existence. Sounds pretty incongruent, yeah?

I’ve let sink the knowledge that life in general is one big point-counterpoint that we all have to weave our (largely-unequipped, lurching) ways through. Sure, I could get all maudlin about that shit, but I choose for the most part to recognize its overall magnificence.

When I was in the neighborhood of two years old, my father was getting rid of an eight-foot-tall bookcase that stood in our living room. Now children, Once Upon A Time furniture was made of solid wood (I! Know! Right?!) and this bookcase was seated squarely in that Onceupona. That thing was heavy, so my father was sawing it into pieces to more easily get it out the door on his own. For some reason, despite the demolition going on, a picture of my cousin Lonnie was seated way up yonder on it.

Lonnie was my older cousin who had, until he shipped out for Vietnam, come over three or four nights a week to read me a bedtime story. He was one of my mother and father’s very favorite nephews; Lonnie was a promising rags-to-riches success story in the making and I believe they sensed that and tried to mentor him to the best of their abilities.

After he left, I mourned greatly for him; my mother attempted to remedy this by pulling down his picture from its home on the bookcase and allowing me to kiss it, saying goodnight to Lonnie on a nightly basis.

Here now, the bookcase disposal: Mid-task, my father left the room to get a glass of tea. Thus began my longish and storied career of making impetuous and life-changing decisions: I took a mind to retrieve Lonnie’s picture myself, so as to cradle it in the bold midday. I want to say that I aimed to catalog the exact green of his eyes, stoically seated under the bill of his dress uniform’s cover. Maybe he was somewhere thinking of home and I somehow was nudged by that. Whatever the impetus, the situation started with me climbing that bookcase and ended up with a sizable chunk of it pinning me to the floor with my right leg at a grotesquely unnatural angle to the rest of me.

This resulted in a complexly-broken leg, weeks of traction, a body cast, my having to be trained to walk and use a toilet all over again. Re-learning to walk is a distinct art I’ve approached twice now in my life, sweet reader, and I’m suddenly startled that I am ferociously proud of my having done so effectively.

I have one vivid memory of that time (though there are lots of spin-off stories, to be sure…I know because my mother tells the tales grimly and delightedly in turns) which I’ll maybe share in the future, because it is so late and this is already so alphabet-heavy. I caught myself wondering earlier, though, at how that situation has maybe affected me in the long-term. How did it shape me, being two-and-a-half, splayed-legged, lower extremities being hung mid-air for weeks on end so that I would not end up dislocating a hip or unable to run and chase and jump? Am I somebody whose screaming desires to not be pinned down source from being encased in a body tomb of plaster at so formative a time in one’s growth experience? My propensity toward a towering formation of mental chutes and ladders, ideas overlapping and intertwining and jostling and never slowing the fuck down, is that a result of such stillness at what should have been such an active time in my life? How much of this, of who I am at this minute, results from what surely must have been a fearful and massively frustrated toddler?

Mother and daddy will be coming for a long visit in February. They’ve taken a notion to buy a camper and make a wicked loop around This Great Nation Of Ours, maybe even selling their house at the end of the tour and becoming nomads full-time as long as they’re able.* They will visit my older sister Laurie first, starting tomorrow. As they slowly make their way about the country, I will be the second child visited. I am glad for the length of this visit, because momma and I have this exquisite and (what I now know to be) unique relationship that many mothers and daughters just don’t share. Now, more than any other time in my life, I have some very pointed and maybe painful questions to ask her about her perspective on how I got to where I am today.

Late last week I read something so singularly gorgeous that I can’t help but quote it here. I hope its youngly wonderful author doesn’t mind:

Life, I’ve realized, is not about a series of races to the finish line of some achievement. Sooner or later you get tired of running. It’s more a kind of artwork. Like having a giant canvas and an ocean of glue. Your job is to stand there and attach pieces. The funky rock you found at the beach, your first bike, pictures of people and places you love. Up close it’s the biggest mess since the smoke cleared from the Big Bang. But stand a little farther away and it seems pretty. A beautiful swirl of colors on the wall of a pristine white gallery, with sun coming through the window at just the right angle. Done with yours for a while, you can run into the next room and see someone else’s combinations.

The thing is, you have to earn the pieces. They take work, even if that work is entirely pointless right now. Sometimes you just have to let things be. Eventually you’ll know why it was that way. And you’ll have a new piece to glue to the wall. Just keep going. All of a sudden you’ll realize how far you’ve come.

Here’s to you, oh Muffinasses, and the notion that in The Year Of Our Lord, Two-Thousand And Nine, you make a beautiful connection between your world and your precisely magical place in it. Happy New Year, and thank you for continuing to run into the next room to see how my combinations are coming along. Tenfold thanks are due to those of you that hazard to remark on the way that they seize upon your senses.

“Here’s to you and here’s to me,
The best of friends we’ll ever be.
If by chance we disagree, well then

*I heartily support this idea. Old people of America, travel until you become part of its dussssst!