Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lies My Parents Told Me and A Few Truths, Too.

Your face will freeze.
Keep a $20 in your bra.
It's never too early to make ready for Shabbos.
For this, I stuck my hand in the toilet?
A little knuckle blood improves the flavor.
If you don't wash your ears, potatoes will sprout in there.
Never wear white pants, unless you're late and want to bring it on.
Do what you want today, you could be dead tomorrow.
Do what you want today and you could be dead tonight.
Give the other guy the right of way.
Ask me later, I'm busy.
I stood up for you and said yes, you were fit to live with the pigs.
Carry an extra pair of underwear in case you end up in the hospital.
Go ahead, I already have a foot in the grave.
You want to do what?!?!?

All these homilies and the loudest is the silence.

Lament of the Broken: Cyclocross Haiku etc

I want to lick the
mud from pink polka dotted
cyclocross skinsuit.

Grass berms climb the stairs
through mud over obstacles.
Urban assault boys
kick the crap out of
sissy tire roadies.

I have to try it.
Grab my mountain bike, clip in.
Take off after them.

My deductible
is met. Future injuries
will be paid in full.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

thing i wish would work for me

i'm a lousy typist. i'm reasonably fast, but inaccurate. and i'm an email addict, so i've lost the ability to capitalize. which is all fine. i write in longhand. i like thick pens with heavy black ink and lined notebooks, cheap 70 page college ruled notebooks, pack of 10 for a dollar at target. well, used to be price is now 7 for a dollar, still an amazing bargain. i'll also write in small notebooks [purse or car] on the back of shopping lists, margins of the newspaper, stubs of papers, whatever is in the console of my car, paper napkins [fermat's theorem? is that what was written on a napkin?'s_Penultimate_Theorem]
et alteri.

thing is, my handwriting is abysmal. it has deteriorated to the point that i rival my left-handed, dyslexic brother for illegibility.

and i'm prone to tendinitis in my right wrist and have a permanently dislocated right thumb. well, i think that's what's wrong with my thumb, i REFUSE to spend any more money on MRIs or x-rays [2007 and 200 total: over $2,500 out of pocket for doctors to look at my insides and say nothing is wrong, it'll heal itself. that was my out of pocket. none of this was covered by my medical insurance, if i'd gone through the insurance company it would have been $3,800 out of pocket. go figure.]obvious solution: get a mini-tape machine, talk into it.

only that doesn't work for me. i need to feel the ink, be moving my hands, my fingers.

okay, rant over, back to work.

New Project 8

Once upon a time, there were seven deadly sins: gluttony, lust, greed; the sins of wanting things. Sloth or apathy, the sin of wanting nothing. Wrath, envy and pride, the sins of wanting intellectual superiority and triumph. The greatest of these, the source route of all the others, was envy.

Envy, thwarted, discouraged, gave birth to apathy. Envy of property gave rise to the bearing of false witnesses, theft, embezzlement. Envy of relationships resulted in coercion, adultery, rape disguised as seduction. These and myriad variants pepper our world: wanting what isn't yours, what can't be yours, what shouldn't be yours. There are so many ways to try to get around it but unless it's root is killed, it comes back, bigger and meaner.

Was that the real reason she kept secrets, so no one would envy her? Try to take the crumbs she hoarded, the pebbles she used to find her way home? Was that the real reason?

She frowned, turned off the kettle and poured the boiling water over the freeze-dried coffee powder. Convenient, tasteless and still containing the caffeine punch she craved.

She wondered at people who made coffee properly. It was a skill she'd never acquired either by natural born talent or accumulated knowledge and practice, despite its seeming ease. With some people, coffee making was as easy as breathing. Take the pot, measure the beans, boil the water, et voila! Coffee. Grinds, whole, drip, perc, some people had the knack. Even her neighbors's kids knew how, but she preferred living in a state of ignorance, taking the simple solution of purchasing pot, filters and grinds instead of instant to be unnecessary and unworthy of the space it would consume in her brain. It served some purpose in her psyche, keeping this need unfulfilled or gratified in only the most cursory way possible. Some need.

New Project 7

She reached into the closet, all the way in the back and pulled out a folding screen. Snicked it open and transformed it into a narrow bookcase. Not very sturdy, it was decorative by design, not functional, but it would have to serve. They needed something to hold the statuary which had accumulated in the past year or so and were too cheap or lazy to go shopping for something new.

Moving it from corner to corner, the prayers frowned. It looked wrong everywhere. Perhaps they'd have to go out and buy something after all. Even if they bought raw wood and wall brackets or braces, at least it wouldn't be visually intrusive.

She shook her head. "Think inside the box, just once, just give me a chance." She opened the closet door wide and replaced the unit in the closet, closed the doors on it. "There. It fits, it serves and we don't have to look at it."

The others nodded in agreement. "It'll do. Let's load it up. We can sort through what we've got later. For now, being neat is good enough."

The small statues smiled, bellies full of the ashes of strips of paper. They liked the idea of being in the dark, behind closed doors.

Behind A Steamy Mirror, Look.

Awake, but by choice
Tonight avoiding sweet dreams
for sad memories

A relationship?
Versus having relations?
Act honestly? You?

I know you. Inside.
Hear what is behind your words,
selfish child; bully.

Learn some compassion
You can't come into my life,
break my toys. No more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pop Tart

Pressing down the lever to the toaster, waiting for the smell of sugar and warm jam to fill the room with morning sweetness, she frowned. Pop-tarts were the only real sweetness she ever found in this kitchen lately, in the morning. In the afternoon and evening, too, most days. Sweetness here was forced or Splenda fake.

Used to be, steaming pots of tea scented the air. Measuring cups of flour and milk, eggs and a dash of cinnamon, all beaten together, puffed on the griddle. But that was then and this was now. That was the way Saturdays used to be, before she had to move in with Clueless Aunt Shari and all those annoying stray cats she fed, before Mummy went away and everything fell apart. It felt like so long ago already and so forever coming up, even though she knew, KNEW, it was only a few months, maybe a year or two, and in the meantime, they had internet and webcam sometimes, snail mail or phone calls now and then, so they'd manage, they would, her and Clueless Aunt Shari, they would, until Mummy came back and everything would be okay and they could live together again.

So for now, she had an aunt who bought her every damned microwavable, single serving, convenience food they advertised on TV instead of cooking, even something simple like mac and cheese in a box or canned soup, or even just plain asking, ‘What do you want? What do you like? Are you hungry-hungry or would you rather just have cinnamon toast?'

Her aunt knew how to cook, she just didn't care to do it. They'd eaten at Shari's lots of times, dinners and lunches and cupcakes and fancy colored drinks in glasses with umbrellas and olives for the grown-ups and flourescent cherries for her. Only thing, each of those were special occasions or holidays or sorta specials anyway, not everyday. Everyday was work and hurry and homework and school and feed the cats and no time to do the laundry, ‘I'll just pick you up another shirt on the way home', and pages to turn and trying not to be fussy but it was so hard and she missed Mummy so bad.

"I miss her, too."

Well, she had snaps because she was just a kid and a kid missing her Mummy got snaps over a lady missing her sister.

The toaster popped and she put the charred around the edge pastries on a plate, poured a glass of water, no milk again, no juice either, and sat down, flicking on the TV. Mummy played CDs in the morning, ‘nothing good on, nothing we need to see this a.m. Let's just listen to some... some... How about this, it's zydeco/Japanese/French/creole? Yeah, that's good. If we can't understand whatever it is they're singing, we can really concentrate on the music, right, honey? Hey, is that a zither/calliope/hurdy-gurdy/shawm? How often you hear one of those, hon?'

Another repeat of some stupid, perfect, packaged life, kids show where everyone had a nice haircut and house and real dinners and money for whatever they wanted and it all ended in a happy free-for-all in twenty-two minutes or so. She clicked the power button on the remote. If it was a weekday, she could go to school. Today, she'd have to be cheerful, anything Aunt Shari suggested, she'd say, ‘Sounds good there, Aunt Shari. Let's do it!' even if she'd rather have needles in her eyes.

Shari walked in, grabbed a mug from the cupboard and leaned against the counter. "Hey, honey, you up so early? It's only 8:15, what are you doing up? You eat? Good." She glanced down at her plate, surprised to see that both Pop-Tarts were gone. She'd eaten them both? When had that happened?

Shari scooped out coffee and poured water through the coffee maker. "I am so glad I don't have to perk coffee. I remember when your Momma and I were maybe your age, perking coffee for your grandparents. It sounded great, smelled great, but drinking it, well, that was something else again, always a surprise: strong, weak, grounds all over the place." Shari patted the stainless steel appliance. "This thing, same taste every single time. It's a miracle."

She tensed up, here it comes.

"So, babycakes, what you want to do today? We got the whole weekend ahead of us, lots of time for fun and yeah, we got some chores, gotta get some of that special diet cat chow, but we'll have time to catch a movie or go to the library or do puzzzles or or or"

Or anything at all except what she really wanted.


How can I get shoes like that? What they say about her, her skills, interests, abilities, income level, all the socio-economic crap we get buried under, as opposed to my cheap generic foot coverings, multipurpose plain which means that they are good for everything but really good at nothing. You cannot be all things to all people and a shoe cannot be all things on one foot.

What leads a person to make the moves, choices in life that allow her to afford those?

Why do I end up making the wrong choices or what feels like the wrong choices certainly, over and over, looking back, all shot to shit, my lifeview widening as I move away from the now, all the choices I rejected, by design or misinformation or hidden agenda or need for approval, a river of choices, and back to the now, tunnel vision staring at a pair of shoes on someone else's feet on a sad, foggy evening.

The Shoez: The Mighty Have Fallen Arches

We're sick of this, of being locked away in the dark. She never does anything, goes anywhere anymore. Our lives are just so much drudgery, so drab. How do we get her out? It's not that she's being recalcitrant or in a state of flux or surly, it's just that... It's just that...

Aw hell, we're bored.

We can't go anywhere without her and she doesn't take us with her. We'd be happy even if she threw us the proverbial bone by throwing us in a bag and in the car, took us out of this box, out of this closet, got us closer to the light of day or maybe please, please, oh please, the dark of night.

We live for dark of night, seeing the headlights reflect off our gleam, watching cars come to a screeching halt at our glory, and then, when Venus and Mercury rise, sky tips from ink and turns us diamond bright, we live.

We want out.

After all we've done for her, ungrateful chit, how we protected her, advised her and avenged her, what do we get? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Which proves we have to take charge, take care of us same as we take care of her, remind her we are here for her, all she has to do is look down and we'll take her out of herself, kick open the gate on that new life she's been mooning over. All she has to do is look down.

Only if she looks down now, she won't see us, not hidden in this box behind a stack of other boxes and bags and reject sweaters and gifts from pricks who aren't worthy of being stilettoed by our perfect heels.

Why? Why are we buried? Are we more demons and memories she can't acknowledge, another Bad Place she can't revisit? Why?

Only way to know is to get out and confront her. She never liked confrontation, but it's honest, it's true, and it's so much easier on the heart than avoidance and duplicity and sarcasm. If we wiggle a bit, a bit more, a little bit more, more.


oops. Damn. Still buried. Well, she sees this mess, she'll have to clean it up and once she sees us again, we'll slide onto those elegant painted toes and figure out what's what. We will. She won't deny us, not after all we've done for her.

Now, we wait.