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Archive for August, 2009

 
|| August 31, 2009 || 11:09 pm || Comments (1) ||

*scuffs toe in dirt*

I was going to clue you in, oh Mighty Muffinass, when it was closer to my turn for a submission, but the tale is gathering steam and begs to be read. Over at Polite Fictions, there is a collaborative story –written by fourteen individual authors– underway.

There will be four new paragraphs added to the narrative at least once per day (sometimes more often, because many of these writers are just so fucking eager to gouge your eyes out with words and wiggle their way into your literary mind) until, until, until….

Well, as the site itself says, “Round and round we go, where we stop, who the fuck knows.” Join us, ‘cos it’s smelling like fun up in there. Don’t forget to check out the blogs listed, because there are a mess of good writers stacked up in that sidebar. I know how you people love your easy-access fun.

pee ess….happy birsday to my baby sis, who is all legal and stuff today. twenty-one a-go-go!

 
|| August 28, 2009 || 7:11 pm || Comments (3) ||

oneupsmanship

At ten o’ clock yesterday morning the office was devoid of doctor and patients so –as they often do– words poured out into the air between me and Tessa. There is lots of nutbaggery in her extended family as of late, so I was doing my share of listening and nodding and scandalized ‘nuh-UHHH’ing.

Yes, girl!” she would say before stacking up more words, prefacing them with phrases like, “And you know what else?”

After about twenty minutes, she dove into some complex family history and then waited expectantly for my affirmation of that being, like, The Most Fucked-Up Shit Ever.

My mom accidentally married a polygamist when I was thirteen-ish,” I deadpanned, reminding her of the incredible and nearly unfathomable bit of my own history; I told her the complete tale a couple of years ago via a journal project she and I were doing.

“You win, asshole,” she said.

 
|| August 25, 2009 || 10:48 pm || Comments (2) ||

these are matters for trees

It is the kind of sick that has me scrambling to suss out my wants, the same wants that with the usual day-to-day me tend to dance out from everywhere; I only have to stretch out my hand and one will alight there, burning and insistent and clear. How do I have so many wants, anyway, when I know better, when I was taught better?

It is the kind of sick that defies every over-the-counter solution I can throw at it; orange juice is tinny and the go-to-sleep stuffs leave me –tossing and insistent about my absolutest of all desires, to slumber dead and hot as a brick oven– what must be the level opposite of unaware.

It is the kind of sick that renders even the most mindless of all television programming so undecipherable as to make me fairly sure that everyone is speaking in lumps and sucking clots of heavy consonants with no vowels to smooth them over and salve my eardrums; here, then, my eyes have no faculties for the reading of lips, so they fix elsewhere…

It is the kind of sick where, flopping and seeking some form of comfort, I end up thoroughly backwards with my head creasing the tangle of heavy, beautiful bedlinens while feet cleverly rest among the branches and leaves of iron that make up my headboard. The eyes (you remember? previously described as fully ignorant in the lipreading department) manage to settle on the early-shedding tree outside my bedroom window. It is so, so black, this tree, and the gentle blue sky that frames it insists that my eyes are keenly correct in their assessment: Black, yes. The tree is black. It is also probably much, much wiser than me and I am content to study it, to push questions at it from my stretched-thin brain.

It is the kind of sick that has me slide amongst thoughts regarding the tiny marchings-about in my body that I (and you as well, most likely) give no pause to ponder on an average day. I remember one time, one time when I was glowing otherworldly and my eyes were glassy in a way that lifted the veil, being able to see the smoky gray cloud that drove itself into my mouth, pouring into my chest and expanding there. I spoke in a monotone fashion, Maxim told me later, a droning, eerie voice that clinically observed these goings-on. I was cataloging them from somewhere else entirely and reporting them back to this plane ‘just in case’. I fell into deep and careful rest before he could make up his mind on whether or not to take me to the emergency room.

It is the kind of sick that has me waving my hand in the timeless gesture of ‘leave me alone’; so great is the tobeleftalone desire that I won’t even call for the popcorn that one of the vertebrae in my spine has so loudly announced that it wants. The vertebra (such a shame!) can’t raise up and signal anyone on its own and even the most cooperative hand (the right one, for the record) won’t do it, no-way-no-how, so the lone spine bone is adrift in melancholy for the want of lightly-buttered, hot, airy-salty goodness. Oh poor bone of yon back! See if there is any more dextromethorphan running around in my system and mount it, quick-smart! There will be plenty of popcorn on down the road; it’s not just every day you get to exceed the maximum recommended dosage of things that require the pharmacist to see your drivers license before selling them to the likes of you.

It is the kind of sick that inclines me to be purely selfish, to take a thick slab of hours midday and leave the office to nap before dutifully returning once I can remember the date and how to write it one more again. In those hours I twitch and forget, twitch and remember, twitch and crack, leaking quiet, saintly tears and a sinner’s best snot….they mingle in my throat, in the three layers of kleenex that it takes to do the job.

It is the kind of sick where things inside of me that have nothing in the least to do with Germ Theory silently stir, rearrange themselves and then settle down to gather what dust they will once again.

It is the kind of sick that causes me to fall away from my pain, examining it…the kind of sick that causes me to question the proximity of that pain to ecstasy, causes me to remember that I am always just one inhalation away from losing them both.

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

And in my best shoes I started falling forward down the street

I stopped at a church and jostled through the crowd

And love followed just behind me, panting at my feet

As the steeple tore the stomach from a lonely little cloud

// Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, ‘Darker With The Day’

 
|| August 20, 2009 || 11:21 pm || Comments (4) ||

what if we could

If you could go any single place that you wanted to –no constraints or concerns or obligations– right this very minute, where would that be?

You play too, lurkers.

 
|| August 18, 2009 || 9:23 pm || Comments (4) ||

oh how the mighty fall

Okay, there are those of you that have been reading lo these three-thousand and a half some-odd days who operate under the banner of belief wherein my husband is a saint. Conversely, I am (lovingly, sure) viewed as the raucous asshole thrown in the mix to test his patient and longsuffering ass all to Toronto and back.

In the interest of fairness, and in order to ding up his halo just a tiny bit, I find it necessary to share with you our post-dinner conversation of earlier this evening.

“Yeah, I sent Watson a message on Facebook yesterday telling him I was sorry for stacking his books so that they’d fall every time he opened the locker….the bad thing was, he gave me the combination and I don’t think he ever even suspected it was me.”

Maxim was mean to another person. Purposely. I KNOW, RIGHT??

But that’s not the half of it. He tells me stories about his Boy Scout days from time to time, and while most of them are indeed hysterical (with some having the caveat of being some degree of disgusting, as well) they involve a fair exchange of that merry-pranskster-mildly-homo bonding that boys of all shapes and sizes and all income brackets share; it’s typically not one-sided (to read in girlspeak, ‘cruel’) in nature.

After the lockerlanche confession, he let fly another:

“Maaaan, we were at Boy Scout camp one year and while nobody was around, I pissed on the roof of Watson’s tent. When the scout leader found out, he made me sleep in the tent with Watson.

“Under the side I pissed on.”

“Ahhhahaha,” said I, “ooh-hoo, heehee, you deserved that, nasty.”

“Didn’t matter,” Maxim replied smugly with a no-teeth grin, “I waited around in my sleeping bag until everybody went to sleep, then I got out and pissed on the other side, too.”

 
|| August 13, 2009 || 12:10 pm || Comments (9) ||

the devil has my babies.

So, for about thirteen years now I have been boycotting a certain large, ubiquitous ‘restaurant’ chain. I use the sarcastic little quotey punctuation around the word restaurant because their food is like, “KACHUNK! Have a hamburger. KACHUNK! Fries. KACHUNK. Shaaaaake, baby.” Thus, ‘restaurant’ is a mere loose approximation of what these folks actually are.

I started the boycott because late one night I was on the phone with my friend Johnny Everybody, who lives on the west coast and chanced to ask what I was eating during our weekly post-club telephonic drunkfest. “Johnny Everybody, I am eating a Pig Pac –my first Pig Pac ever, in fact– and it is gooood. I got it with cheese, and I don’t even like cheeseburgers!”

“Jett,” Johnny Everybody said (and I could hear his lip curling in that fetching way it has, no doubt about it), “That shit is disguuuuusting. How can you put that in your body?”

And, uncharacteristically, I was immediately stricken by his proselytization, the veil falling away from my eyes to reveal the heinousness that sat in the little cardboard box on my lap. Apparently it fell from my tongue as well, because “Blub-blubblub, pffft, cardboard, it tastes like elaborately disguised cardboard, this overprocessed, wrongly-colored prefab foodthing!” Johnny Everybody, who was one of the biggest partyheads I’ve ever known in my entire life, gave me a Road To Damascus Moment. Even, probably, as he was ingesting his twentieth tab of acid in as many hours.

In the following week, I was moved to investigate the nutritional value of the ‘restaurant’ chain’s menu and in so doing found information on some questionable business practices they engaged in and about which they apparently had no moral qualms. It was then that I decided, without a great deal of pomp and circumstance and overall drama, that I no longer wanted to be a part of their business model even if it was ‘only’ as a consumer. Even if I had only been an occasional patron of their establishment. Even if their fries were so fucking butter that the mere thought of never consuming them again incited feelings of great woe and maybe even slight panic. There are, after all, so few satisfying post-club foodstuffs available to your basic all-American girl, you know?

So life flowed on and over the years my children –safe in the confines of booster seat and seatbelts– often looked longingly out of the car’s backseat window at the ‘restaurant’ sign boasting that forty-eleven kanzanillion people had been served; it floated high above us like a taunting specter while my babies noted in their sad little hearts and projected with their quietly forlorn visages that we were not, in fact, part of the kanzanillions.

Oh sure, there were the brief, illicit runs for a Giggly Meal with Nanas and Memoms and Great-Grammas, but these were covered in the magical realm of Acceptable Grandparently Transgressions; you know that one….it’s where your parents tell your kids, “Now, babies, don’t tell your momma, but today you will be a triumphant member of the Tribe of Kanzanillions!

“Don’t tell your momma, don’t tell your momma,” the grandparent singsongs as they snake their errant way through the drivethrough line, “for she will harsh our french fry buzz and smash all of our good tiiiiiiimes!”

And I heard Sam and Scout’s lispy preschool whispers to one another about their sinful glee, but recalled the sanctity of the pact I had with my OWN Memaw, who allowed me to do things like climb trees in my best dress and eat a double-portion serving of her Magically Angelic Homemade Coconut Cake for breakfast. For breakfast!! It is in the throes of this memory that I turn a mostly blind eye to being played a fool by parents or in-laws (ohshutup, you do it too); and now each child has one more person with whom to have an intimately wonderful, inside-jokey experience. And also, they’re ‘getting one over on the man’ (where I=’the man’), which is a valuable lesson indeedy, because one has to learn how to safely and responsibly buck authority on occasion.

At least in my world.

Let me not forget to mention, too, that when in the care of my parents, their judgment about whatever issue is at hand regarding the children rests entirely with them and has nothing to do with me, really. If I disagree enough with said judgment, it is my responsibility to lay down the law or stop letting my kids hang out with my folks so that I don’t feel foolish and disrespected. This doesn’t often happen, because my people, obviously, have most of the same values that I do. And sure, I have boycotted this establishment for over twelve years now because they don’t subscribe to what I consider acceptable behavior, but not everyone sees this issue in the same light as I do. Ultimately, I am okay with that.

GOOD DAMN THING, because as of last week not one, BUT TWO* of the Superior children are serving the kanzanillions in pursuit of possessing things like cars (Scout) and newer cell phones (Sam). After that come things like time at the Jiu-Jitsu gym (which Maxim and I have taken to mockingly calling The Jiu-Jitney Jungle Gym) and a laptop for Sam and further proof of her fashionista prowess for Scout. Oh. My. Jesus. To be young and without mortgage!

So I have not given the kids any crap about being in the employ of my Arched Nemesis (haha, get it?) because despite holding tightly to what standards I do possess, I feel strongly about NOT fobbing them off on others in an aggressive or ugly manner. And –in the interest of full disclosure here– also I like the fact that they will pay for their own school lunches.

I guess that this is all my fault, because when they were tiny I used to pray over my kids daily, and I taught them to pray too: I never hesitated to tell them about the power of fervent and ardent faith and boldly-yet-humbly requesting something while brandishing a pure sort of hopefulness. Never in a million years would I have guessed that the little monkeys would spend their prayers on unlimited access to fried apple pies and bacon double cheesburgers.

*upon hearing of Scout’s having been hired, I turned to Mathias at the dinner table and said, “That’s four-fifths of this family that are employed; when are you gonna stop being deadweight?”

“But I’m only tennnnn,” he replied.
“Stop making excuses, son, excuses really irk me,” said Maxim.
Mathias blinked. Blink-blink. Blink.
“I think you guys are scaring him,” Sam said between mouthfuls of salad.
“SHUT UP SAM, THIS CONVERSATION IS AWESOME AND I WANT TO SEE WHERE IT GOES.” That was Scout.
…and here is where I remind you that the baby is petted ninety-eight percent of the time by God and everybody and we have to build character in him somehow.

 
|| August 7, 2009 || 12:27 am || Comments (0) ||

He was asked every time…every time that he could recall, anyway.

“Is this really the hill you want to die on, son?” This was his father, head so impossibly distant that to peg its details against the sky the boy had to squint.

“Yes,” the boy said each of those times, once he was sure he was looking his father in the eye, once he had squared his shoulders in a stance that he approximated as brave.

The boy was given this passive out in a myriad of situations and outright fuckups and still he said with his ‘yes’, I am not a quitter, I am not a coward, I would rather find myself foolish than forgotten. And he would continue to push headlong into mistakes that became lessons that became Knowing.

Wasn’t Knowing, after all, a mount worthy of shedding ones tears and guts upon?

One day, when the boy was of an age that he no longer had to cock back his head and squint to find his father’s eyes, an old woman approached him. He had been mindlessly tending the inventory of his hurts while seated on a bench beside a fountain. It was autumn, and the bare fingertips emerging from the wool tubes that fit snugly against the fingers’ knuckles worked at a corner of the boy’s jacket.

She shuffled across the wide brick walk, this stranger, until she stood facing him; the messy fluff of her hair busied itself defying the sobriety of the look on her face.

“God wants me to tell you,” the old woman said, “that you can stop fighting. Put those hands of yours down and let Him do your fighting for you. That heart of yours is for something else altogether.”

Later that night a brutal pain ripped across his chest as he sobbed into the phone’s receiver.

“Then she just walked away, leaving me with all this frustration! Leaving me right there where she found me, but taking my equilibrium with her! And I only had one question, just one, I just want to know how? How do I do that? How do I just stop fighting when I’ve had my dukes up the whole of my life and it’s all I fucking know?

“Why won’t He tell me how to do what it takes to achieve His desires instead of just telling me what His will for me is??”