Friday, February 29, 2008

feast and famine

The orange cat eats shredded carrots.
The grey cat eats hamburger.
Orange cat eats cantaloupe.
Grey cat eats tuna fish.
Orange cat eats power cords and shoe laces.
Grey cat eats mice.
Orange cat eats the hibiscus.
Grey cat eats catnip.
Orange cat eats receipts and papers.
Grey cat eats cat food.

reading the New York Times
weather twelve plus inches of the fluffy white stuff for the morrow

Thursday, February 28, 2008

in like a lion

fever dreams
a cacophony of coughs
commas of cats

reading Plant Dreaming Deep
weather hot cold hot again

Friday, February 22, 2008

indecisive sunsets

What are you trying to accomplish, hidden under hair, bangs shielding from the world? Curled in a ball. Camouflaged. Hidden in plain sight: disappeared into the center of the room. Do you want to be noticed? Do you want approval? Do you want love? Is any attention preferable to no attention, an inadvertent kick, bruise, scuff better than the death of not existing?

We exist only when we are acknowledged. To become an integral aspect of someone else's reality thus validating the value of our own footprint, contribution. The immune system falters if the pack is incomplete. Without external support, daily habits morph and disappear.

Work. Push papers. Eat. Buy groceries. Shop. Take out trash. In this we have no meaning; the daily routine unvalued until it is someone else's trash, someone else's laundry, someone else's dinner. Through their existence are you fulfilled, the payment a scritch behind the ear, the cost an occasional bruise. Would you have it any other way?

The code of civilization soon lost, the language, rules, expectations forgotten, but the lingering memory that civilization brings with it warmth of lit fires and tastes of cooked meals and treats of affection: the strength of the memory of the promises that were, the deal in your grasp, if you would follow the rules and wait your turn, watching from behind your hair for the opportunity to become the axis, the keystone, the lynch pin. And so you wait, curled in a ball, hidden in plain sight.

Sextet [apologies to Philip Glass]

One. Heavy breathing.
One. Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.
One. Heavy breathing.
One. Heavy breathing.

Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.
Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.
Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.

Three. Papers rustle.
Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.
One. Heavy breathing.

One. Heavy breathing.
One. Heavy breathing.
Three. Papers rustle.
One. Heavy breathing.

Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.
Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.

Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
One. Heavy breathing.

One. Heavy breathing.
One. Heavy breathing.
Three. Papers rustle.
Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.

Two. A dog barking.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.

One. Heavy breathing.
One. Heavy breathing.
Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Three. Papers rustle.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Five. The interminable tick of the clock.

Two. A dog barking.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.

Three. Papers rustle.
Two. A dog barking.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Five. The interminable tick of the clock.

Two. A dog barking.
One. Heavy breathing.
Six. Water.
One. Heavy breathing.
One. Heavy breathing.

One. Heavy breathing.
Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.
Two. A dog barking.
Three. Papers rustle.

Five. The interminable tick of the clock.
Six. Water.
Five. The interminable tick of the clock.
Four. Scratching. Scratching. Pen noises.
Three. Papers rustle.
Two. A dog barking.

reading html
weather you guessed it! more snow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

lunar eclipse

Three in one year, then not another for another three. Rather metaphorical, what?

Eat beans, one more than the years of your age,
        and repeat,
"Out with the devils, in with good fortune."
            Japanese proverb,
            from Calendar Moon, Natalia Belting

One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.

Feel the youth, within you, the rooting, the branching, the spreading, the maturing, the strain against skin indicating physical space requirements in excess of current capacity.
The eyes opening wider and wider as the pupils struggle to take in more than they can see, scenes and visions that vanish and fade from view before their physical shape is imprinted on the retina:
          the shadow, the concept, the outline
          the only observation.

One more than the years of your age.

Remember reading the Little Golden book even though it was several fewer than the years of your age.
Remember stretching to reach the light switch, placed for someone who has grown into their age.
Neither are for you.

One more than the years of your age.

This is what it always returns to: the focus on growing into a perceived potential.
The drive for the promotion for which you aren't quite qualified, but know how to grow into.
You are too small for the britches that will soon be last year's style.

Wearing the uniform of the establishment, using mimicry to secure access, pantomiming the secret handshake so they think you belong.
Are you one of them?
Are you one of us?

One more than the years of your age.

The eighteen year old carrying the woes of the middle aged; the observations of death, of heartbreak.
Seeing loss before having the emotional language and detachment to allow loss to tumble into the abyss, to age, to ripen:
experience too soon ferments into bitterness and fatalism.

One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.

Have you taken the Real Age Test? Is 60 the new 40? Is forty "over the hill"? Where is middle age? Will insurance cover Botox?

One more than the years of your age.

Before the year is over, will you die? Leave a family struggling without your support? Have you considered a life insurance policy?

One more than the years of your age.

You could go at any time. Car accident. Food allergy. Bee sting. Staph infection. Flu. A lump in your breast. A heart attack.
Someone, somewhere, died while you read this sentence.

One more than the years of your age.

Do you have insurance? Life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, fire insurance, property insurance, liability insurance?

One more than the years of your age.

Or do you have faith, that god will provide, that your spouse will be promoted, that your ship will come sailing in, that your raving lunatic of a supervisor will move to Bali and you will become the manager. That you will die before April 15 and leave the tax paperwork to your heirs and none of this will matter anymore.
Eating bonbons and playing easy listening versions of spirituals on your harp in the heavens. You were surprised to discover that god is an avid golfer, but you have all eternity to pick up the game, so pass the bonbons, please, and nobody knows the trouble I've seen.

One more than the years of your age.

Where were you when Kennedy was shot?
Do you know how many children don't give a damn that Kennedy was shot? He was just some white guy in a car that was gunned down. They weren't even born yet; their parents weren't even fertile yet.

One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.

Feel yourself growing into the next year. The next hair turning grey. Each strand slightly closer to grey as it grows, a quarter inch per month. Root touch ups every six weeks, then every four weeks, then every two weeks.
You remind yourself that the grey is premature.

One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.
One more than the years of your age.

Are you turning into your mother? Are you turning into your grandmother? Are you still acting like a teenager? Have you saved enough for retirement? Would you survive a month without a paycheck?

One more than the years of your age.

Always playing dress up in the part of the adult that you hope to be, shoes too large, your mother's lipstick.

One more than the years of your age.

reading the history of the Mason Dixon Report, as published in the Philosophical Transactions, 1768

weather single digits again

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a pause

For the third time in six months, the cat chewed through the power cord. It should arrived repaired later this week, but low battery power equates to no new postings.

reading books about books in the New Yorker:
Benjamin Franklin abridged his genius, his character, his life. But he reads better unabridged; and “The Way to Wealth” makes a poor epitaph. Maybe it’s wiser to repay his wit with irreverence, and remember him by the epitaph he wrote for himself, in 1728:

The Body of
B. Franklin,
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost;
For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new and more perfect Edition,
Corrected and amended,
By the author.

And sweet, tenderhearted Poor Richard? Maybe he’s best remembered by his annual farewell: “May this Year prove a happy One to Thee and Thine, is the hearty Wish of, Kind Reader, Thy obliged Friend, R. SAUNDERS.” ♦

Books Briefly Noted
"People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks (Viking; $25.95)
February 11, 2008

When an Australian rare-book conservator named Hanna Heath finds a butterfly wing, a salt crystal, a white hair, and bloodstains in the recently rediscovered Sarajevo Haggadah, a late-medieval illuminated codex of uncertain provenance, she sets out to solve the mystery of the book’s origins. To her disappointment, analysis of the specimens reveals little. “It’s too bad,” an organic chemist tells her. “Blood is potentially so dramatic.” Brooks, beginning where science leaves off, uses Hanna’s finds as entry points to richly imagined historical landscapes peopled by the Haggadah’s creators, protectors, and would-be destroyers—a female Muslim slave in Convivencia Spain, a Jewish doctor in fin-de-si├Ęcle Vienna, an alcoholic priest in seventeenth-century Venice. Their narratives alternate with Hanna’s own, and the final, multilayered effect is complex and moving.

weather foggy

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

my funny Valentine

Mae West quotes, courtesy of this site.

A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.
A hard man is good to find.
A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.
A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that's subtraction.
A man in the house is worth two in the street.
A man's kiss is his signature.
A woman in love can't be reasonable - or she probably wouldn't be in love.
All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.
An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.
Any time you got nothing to do - and lots of time to do it - come on up.
Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Cultivate your curves - they may be dangerous but they won't be avoided.
Don't keep a man guessing too long - he's sure to find the answer somewhere else.
Don't marry a man to reform him - that's what reform schools are for.
Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from.
Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.
He who hesitates is a damned fool.
He's the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of.
His mother should have thrown him out and kept the stork.
I always say, keep a diary and someday it'll keep you.
I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.
I believe that it's better to be looked over than it is to be overlooked.
I didn't discover curves; I only uncovered them.
I enjoyed the courtroom as just another stage but not so amusing as Broadway.
I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.
I like a man who's good, but not too good - for the good die young, and I hate a dead one.
I like restraint, if it doesn't go too far.
I never loved another person the way I loved myself.
I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
I only have 'yes' men around me. Who needs 'no' men?
I only like two kinds of men, domestic and imported.
I see you're a man with ideals. I guess I better be going while you've still got them.
I speak two languages, Body and English.
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
I'd like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do.
If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.
I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
I'm a woman of very few words, but lots of action.
I'm no model lady. A model's just an imitation of the real thing.
It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then, just so long as you don't break any.
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
It takes two to get one in trouble.
It's hard to be funny when you have to be clean.
It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men.
It's not what I do, but the way I do it. It's not what I say, but the way I say it.
I've been in more laps than a napkin.
I've been things and seen places.
Look your best - who said love is blind?
Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.
Love isn't an emotion or an instinct - it's an art.
Love thy neighbor - and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.
Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.
One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it.
Opportunity knocks for every man, but you have to give a woman a ring.
Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.
Personality is the most important thing to an actress's success.
Right now I think censorship is necessary; the things they're doing and saying in films right now just shouldn't be allowed. There's no dignity anymore and I think that's very important.
Save a boyfriend for a rainy day - and another, in case it doesn't rain.
Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.
Sex is emotion in motion.
She's the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.
Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I'm tired.
The best way to hold a man is in your arms.
The score never interested me, only the game.
Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.
To err is human, but it feels divine.
Too much of a good thing can be taxing.
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
Virtue has its own reward, but no sale at the box office.
When choosing between two evils, I always like to pick the one I never tried before.
When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad I'm better.
When women go wrong, men go right after them.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

reading Conan Doyle
weather vicious

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

loose ends


Light sleeper. Heavy sleeper.

Wake up to the sound of rain on the roof, the flash of lights from a truck, a neighbor on the stairs. Sleep through the pounding on the door downstairs, the knocking of the radiator, the cat curling up on the pillow. Wake up to the nightmare of a child in the next room, the panicked gasps of an infant with the stomach bug, the sudden memory of an extra item on the grocery list. Sleep through fireworks, television news, a burst pipe. Wake up to the smell of popcorn and someone smoking pot.

Sleep through surreal dreams where you wear all white and fly, hovering only two feet above ground, barely faster than your pursuers, men in business suits. Wake up to a dream about a litter of puppies, soft warm noses and floppy ears. Sleep through playing card games and working on the crossword puzzle while in your pajamas in church. Wake up to singing in a choir in Spanish with your family. You don't know Spanish.

Sleep through early morning trash pick up, the noise of civic snow removal. Wake up as horns honk in support of early morning voters for Hillary Clinton for president. Sleep through the evening tally of votes from across the nation. Wake up to read the midnight email sent by the Obama campaign. Sleep through another year of the Bush presidency. Wake up to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, in a country where everyone else is sleeping. Sleep through the bourbon cocktail that sent you into your dreams.

Wake up to a splitting headache fueled by the pain of a lost love. Sleep through the final days of a relationship as a lover turns into a stranger. Wake up on Christmas morning to a house full of promise and generosity and freshly made cinnamon rolls. Sleep through the cacophony of small children. Wake up to the dream of having a knife stabbed into your back as you climb the darkened staircase. Sleep through becoming lost in a foreign city where everyone stares at you malevolently and flashes their teeth in a gesture of intimidation.

Wake up to the smell of bacon. Sleep through the alarm clock.

"There is not a train. / There is no cricket. / Let's not panic." Margaret Atwood


The stomach tightens and the palms shake and the mind skips skips skips skips and is unable to focus focus focus on any topic without falling back into the well of
should could would must.

Repeat that: should could would must must.
Inexcusably. Indubitably. Inevitably. Must.

Hear our prayer.

Paralysis. The inability to must.
Anxiety. The fear of must.
Panic. Failure in the face of must.

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done.

The clock ticks. Where are you? Your hands shake.
The clock ticks again. Did you? Did you forget to? Panic.
The clock ticks. The stove left on. The gas bill unpaid.

Forgive us our trespasses.
Forgive those who have trespassed against us.

Pulse speeds, eyes dilate. Anxiety.
Each hair turns grey, from the temple: the brain dies, one cell at a time.
The temple the signifier of the health of the body politic.

Politics. Panic. Passion. Panic.

Lord have mercy.
Missing the train. Missing the boat.
Missing the point. Missing the beat.
Lost. Long for what was never there.

Beat. The throbbing undercurrent of life uncataloged.
Heart beat. Ticking of a clock.
Panic. Hair greying. Palms tingle.

The letter from the doctor:
Anxiety. Death. Early death.
Death before calculating, cataloging. Death trumps taxes.

Lord have mercy.
Thoughts race.
Train of thoughts.
Train decoupled.

There are no more cabooses. No one to watch for decoupled cars.
Disconnect. Connect.
Couple. Passion.
The loss of the caboose, the train derailed on its irrefutable journey
to to to to to

The train sloughing cars, meaning lost in progression:
Discharging love, passion, ambition; panic and worry embarking,
Carrying onward the seedlings of misery.

Lord have mercy.
Crescent moon. Lent. The fields lay fallow before sowing.
Thoughts skip, the clock ticks.
Weed out the invasive panic: flourish in an untended garden.

We have done those things which we ought not to have done.

reading election results
weather thunderstorms

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pudding in the News

Well, not Drink Your Pudding!, who usually tries to stay below the radar, but two articles from the Atlantic Monthly and one from the New York Times.

Northern Comfort
The Wages of Rice Pudding
Lovin' Spoonfuls

It's always nice to be ahead of the curve.

The Story of Drink Your Pudding!

Drink Your Pudding!, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GibbsCorp, Int'l, was established in a diner in Chicago in March, 2005.

While the full company of DYP! was not present, the Matriarch, the Golden Son***, and the Eldest were contemplating the depths of metaphysical meaning in bowls of tapioca with whipped cream, trying on nom de plume variations for Pippi [Aubergine], and desperately trying to drink the worst coffee ever served in a Chicago diner. When the Matriarch tired of these diversionary tactics, she picked up her spoon, and declared:
"Drink Your Pudding!"

And we did.

***(Tanner LaBlanc had been christened the previous summer, when GibbsCorp., Int'l was formalized; Fifi LaRue acquired literary alter ego status in February, 2005, when she was turned into an exotic dancer in Las Vegas and murdered for the sake of a mystery competition)

reading Joy of Cooking: peanut butter cookies
weather wet

Monday, February 4, 2008

Big Day Preps

February is full of big days.

Groundhog Day. {He saw his shadow. I didn't see my shadow, it was cloudy. Thus, we ignore the groundhog and follow my wiser and more considered opinion.}

The Super Bowl. {Can I just say that I saw this coming?}

Mardi Gras. {Woo-hoo! Crepes and brandy.}

Super-duper Tuesday. {Vote early and often, but only if you support Obama. Otherwise, stay home. It's cold outside.}

Ash Wednesday. {read Eliot and think of mortality.}

Lent. {This year will give up self-criticism.}

Valentine's Day {after Lent? why? 'tis harsh, 'tis cruel.}.

Lincoln's Birthday. Washington's Birthday. President's Day.

Minor events conflated into major occasions by the deep and heartfelt desire for winter to conclude.

reading contentment in a sink full of suds
weather yes, of course, yet more snow

Saturday, February 2, 2008

what, when, how, & why

Who are you?
Do you have a plumb line into the future?
I want to know.

Other people have accountants.
Futures trading:
        stock markets, card-playing, pollsters,
        crap shooting, weathermen, horse races.
I would like an accountant, but I don't know how to find one.

Why do you ask?
Other people pray.
What happens next?
I would like to pray, but don't know how to ask.

I want to care.

reading predictions for Snake in the year of the Rat

weather clearing, supposedly