Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I think a lot of things just happen and they aren't really fate. But when you are looking for a sign, anything can be one. It's not really a sign, it's happenstance. And when you start basing feelings and decisions on a concept so sketchy, it's not going to end well. But if you believe in fate, you believe in everything happens for a reason, so you'll probably blame your failures on that.

I mean, there are only so many songs on the radio.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A few new poems. If you are coming to Court Street Gallery on Friday and don't want to ruin any surprises, stop reading now.


In any cluster of stars I see the Big Dipper,
though I've been taught the distinctions.

They, with some authority,
name the constellations.
Trace them in the sky,
connect the dots with their pinkies.
Explain the science of shooting stars.

I don't listen. I look for airplanes.
Flashing lights, visible motion
tangible but, in this moment, celestial
From where I'm sitting they look
like they will crash right into
one of the dippers
(or Capricorn or Virgo?)

And that is where I make my wishes.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm

I use Burt's Bees lip balm because
I once liked the way it tasted
on someone's lips.
He used it because
he was allergic to other brands and
I don't know much about allergies but
we could probably trace them to his
childhood environment or something his mother
ate while she was pregnant

I use Burt's Bess lip balm because
it's habit now.
I barely think of him but
if you like the smell of my smile or
the faint tingle when our lips touch
you may find yourself buying it after I'm gone.
After awhile, you'll for get why and
when someone asks why you use it, you'll say
"I just like it, makes my lips soft"
and she may buy in on that endorsement alone
continuing the chain without realizing
how it began.

Mannequin Factory

Rubber and plastic
continuity, repetition
one mold for each:

set of feet
and legs
(no, not belly, torso)
arms, hands

immaculate conception
immaculately stored
in bags, on shelves

And on their own wall,
the faces.
A row for each
transformed into perfection,
mathematical beauty:
eyes slanted to the same degree,
cheeks perched at the same height,
bumpless noses,
evenly toned skin,
(save for pink post-sex cheek flush)
the lips
plump and neatly aligned
lacquered, slightly parted
and not a single pair

Untitled (an iTunes FOUND poem)

I am a revenant. I am a rock. I am the one.

I am trying to break your heart. I apologize. I been gone a long time. I bought you. I can't help it.

I can't stay mad at you. I can't wait.

I can hear the whisperings. I can learn. I can only give you everything.

I could have lied. I could say I don't care. I don't care. I don't know why. I don't wanna be friends. I don't wanna hear it. I don't want to die in a hospital bed. I don't want to talk about it.

I dreamed I saw St. Augustine.

I fall, I feel alright, I feel it all.

I fought the law. I got knocked down, but I'll get up. I got mine, I got no, I gotta go.

I hate everything. I hate myself. I hate myself for losing you. I have a major weight-lifting problem. I just don't know. I just make faces I knew Prufrock before he got famous. I left my wallet in El Segundo. I like giants. I like your hair.

I lost it.

I love you more than you like me. I miss that band. I must not think bad thoughts.
I need somebody.
I never, I never loved a man the way I love you. I never promised you a rose garden. I only want to be with you. I promise this won't hurt.

I say a little prayer. I shall be released. I should have known better. I stand corrected. I still have to go pee. I still love you, Julie. I think I'm in love. I think I smell a rat.

I thought I could find you, I thought I saw your face today. I understand, I used to love her I used to love him.

I wanna be sedated. I wanna be your lover. I wanna see you bleed. I want something more. I want to be alone. I want to conquer the world.

I want to save you. I want you. I want you to want me. I was born on a pirate ship. I was made for you.

I was on a mountain. I was only joking I was there I will I will bury you I will not apologize I will play my game beneath the spin light I wish I took guitar lessons I wonder

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Booze: A Love Story for the Ages

At some point last night there was a bottle of Black Velvet on the table. The most obvious thing to do seemed to find shot glasses and throw down. Before it was time to leave the apartment, I was having a hard time walking. By the time we came back, I wasn't walking.

Not my first night like that. Not by a long shot. I love drinking. I'm not physically dependent on alcohol, I don't use it to supplement any self-loathing, I'm not influenced by peer pressure. I genuinely and sincerely love drinking. I know it's not socially acceptable to say so, but I can't deny it.

My grandpa gave me my first sip of beer when I was about a year old and the legend goes that I reached for another. I don't remember, but I've got to imagine something in me knew great things were to come.

The first time I got epically drunk in a tent in my uncle's backyard with my cousin and best friend. I drank so many Mike's Hard Lemonades that I threw up in the grass and spent the better part of the next day retching in my parents' bathroom. I look at that night like a married couple looks back on a first date where the future husband forgot his wallet and the future wife spilled wine in her lap - a silly misstep that we can all laugh about now that our love has solidified.

And I learned a valuable lesson: premium malt beverages are for people who want to have a drink or two, not for people who want to have a dozen. Had to move on and quick. Then there was vodka. 5 O'Clock vodka, to be exact. Mixed with anything (literally. We made vodka floats one night. Pitchers of 5-0 and neopolitan ice cream. It was terrible, but I didn't [and still don't] approve of wasting alcohol, so I drank it all. And threw it all up). I had a pretty solid group of drinking buddies and rotating party spots. These were the glory days because everyone just loved everyone and we had no real responsibilities but someone always had weed. I didn't know my limits yet and threw up a lot. Sometimes on people.

It wasn't until I turned 21 and realized what alcohol cost in bars that I started liking beer. And it wasn't until I moved to Saginaw and started going to Steamers on Thursday nights that I realized the value of a drinking routine. I got pretty good at planning which bars to go to on which nights; I learned the best deals and what crowds to expect. Steamers Thursday became an early favorite on account of the half-off drinks and divey atmosphere. A crew of friends began assembling every week and I haven't looked back since.

It hasn't all been hearts and flowers. The sauce has landed me in the hospital and in jail. And I've made countless other questionable decisions with varying degrees of consequence. But there's room to learn in every relationship. I'm more responsible these days. No drinking and driving. I can go out for a drink or two and be satisfied. Working on overcoming drunk texting. We're constantly evolving.

Some nights I'm a hot mess and it's not always cute, but if romantic comedies have taught me anything it's that true love is messy, but it always wins. I intend to grow old with alcohol and expect my homies to pour out 40s for me when I pass. Isn't that all anyone wants?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

so, I have a blog.

Alright, so people have been asking why I'm not blogging lately and people have been anonymously commenting (which is odd and I wish you'd show your pretty faces) and so here I am updating and I will promise to do so more often.

All I have to say today is that I've been writing a lot lately, and though I've been told repeatedly to "write what you know" that feels like a cop-out to me and I've been writing about things I completely do not understand or that plague me. Things like:


But not in any pretentious grandiose sense. That makes no sense unless you hear what I've been writing, which you can do on September 29th at Court Street Gallery (self-promotion! Why the internet was invented! Or at least why it continues.) I guess that's why I don't love talking about writing. I always feel as though I sound like a tool.

But I have been talking about it lately, because I've been talking about everything lately. Even though the joke is always that I know everyone, I'm a loner at heart. Except recently I've become one of those people who needs to be talking to someone at all times. I'm constantly with people or texting/facebooking/IMing people. Technology makes introversion nearly impossible. And the shift from a few close friends to piles of aquaintances is slightly disturbing. I've always felt that I night out with 20 friends is far more lonely than a night at home with a good book. And yet I've found myself going out for drinks with people I've met once or twice and texting long conversations with people who were otherwise drinking buddies and asking millions of questions to customers at work. It's a strange new world. I still have a habit of keeping folks at a safe distance, there are just more of them now.

I'm also really into sassy, lovesick British girl singers more than usual lately, but that's a discussion for another day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iran insanity

I just watched the "Neda" video. I won't post it here because it's incredibly disturbing, and it's easy to find on youtube or facebook if you are so inclined, but if you haven't heard about her, Neda was a young Iranian woman killed while watching a protest. She died in the street. Shot in the heart. The video shows her bleeding out her chest and mouth before she goes blank-eyed.

When all this mess started going down, I felt like a lot of my peers were being overly romantic about the revolts, talking about how we are all Iran and calling them brothers and sisters sort of seemed like folks were just looking for the next Che t-shirt. And maybe most of them are, but I started to read up on the situation. Something like 70% of Iranians are under 35. Most of the protesters are college students. Then I read this article on Jezebel and articles referenced therein about the election's huge effects on women, and the huge effects they are having on the protests. Then I watched the much talked about Neda video and saw someone brutally martyrd just for being there.

It's overwhelming. I just can't wrap my head around the situation. Women my age are being beaten and killed on the other side of the world. It doesn't make me feel romantic, it makes me wonder if I'd be brave enough to lay it on the line for what I believe in, to fight for my basic rights. It's a luxury to have that as a thought instead of reality.

my history, via my lack of history

I'm not shy about discussing the fact that I'm adopted. I understand that it's part of who I am and it's interesting to people. But lately it's come up more often, I'm not sure why. Maybe because I'm reading The Girls Who Went Away so it's been on my own mind lately. The book is full of heartbreaking stories about young women, most sheltered and uneducated about sex, who found themselves pregnant and sent away by their parents. Some of the parents were supportive but had to do what was done at the time, others were monstrous and made their daughters out to be evil.

A few weeks ago, my cousin and I were talking about the circumstances around my adoption. Well, what little circumstances I actually know. I know my mom was 26 and a college graduate and that my dad was tall and moved to Colorado before I was born. It just sounds like a shit situation and I've always been afraid to seek more details. Records show she had little prenatal care and I went into foster care instantly. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, ya know? But this cousin of mine, she points out that I have a college education, am nearing 26 years old, and am not in a serious relationship and asks the question: what would you do if you got pregnant right now?

I'd live. It'd suck and not be ideal, but it wouldn't devastate my life. My parents support me through every ridiculous thing I do and would nowhere near dessert me (especially with my mom's baby fever). I have an incredible group of friends. I have a giant web of cousins, cousin's cousins, and cousin-in-laws. None of those people are incredibly conservative, and none would disown me for being an unwed mom. Quite the opposite. Lots of people don't get that lucky with their adoptive family. And maybe she wasn't that lucky with her family. Though 1983 is well out of the era of the girls who went away, her parents may have still been in that frame of mind. Or maybe she didn't even tell them. Or maybe she didn't have parents. Maybe she just didn't have the means to raise a child on her own and couldn't ask for help. I'm the undisputed queen of foolish pride, could it be hereditary?

The first time I ever put in any real thought about her was on my brother's birthday, probably 5 or so years ago. A product of an open adoption, he got a birthday card from his birth mom and pictures of his young half-brother. It came addressed from the adoption agency and to my parents' name. And though I'd not consciously been thinking of her, my first thought was that my mom was trying to contact me. I fervently opened the card and started crying, I mean sobbing, when I saw what it was. I cried first because I'd invaded my brother's privacy, and then because I was jealous that he knew so much, and then because of course it wasn't her. I told my mom I wanted to find my birth mom. That afternoon I spent hours on the phone with my caseworker, the same caseworker who did my brother's adoption and remembered me showing off my halloween costume on a home visit. I got all the info, contacted all the sources, obtained all the paper work and did not go through with it. Wasn't there, wasn't ready.

In the past couple years, I've started to think of her with empathy. It took almost 25 years, but empathy is not easy. I've written a lot about her. "Someone Else" is about her. "The History of Your Life, Page One" tongue-in-cheek as it is, is about her and my father. I used to think about what if she doesn't want to meet me or what if she doesn't like me. Those are possibilities, but I don't think of her in terms of what our relationship would be like. I don't need that.

I have a knack for noticing shared family features. I laugh to myself when people say I look like my parents or brother. At a cousin's wedding last summer, a friend pointed out how alike the girls in my family look when you see us all standing together. I've always wondered who I look like, always noticed women who'd be around her age who vaguely resembled me. At the same time, I'll be okay if I only ever look like myself.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


(better title soon)

At first, I just liked the feel of the ring on my finger. I liked to nonchalantly place my hand on any flat surface just to see it, just to watch it shine. I liked the feel of it. I would spin it around, first to see the angles it could take on and later out of mindless habit. When I was a kid I would put my hand on the sidewalk and rotate my shoulder until I couldn't anymore, just to see my arms from those angles. The ring was an appendage at that point, I wanted to see what it could do.

I kept pushing. When spinning became old hat, I started taking the ring off, moving it from finger to finger. It felt like a secret, like my ring did something special. I would roll it across my knuckles, carry it around the house in my palm, put it on upside down. I concentrated hard on not making it a habit, but a special ritual I did only in private. Who knows what could happen if I took that ring off out in the world. I could drop it in a sewer grate. A criminal could catch me off guard and snatch it from my hand. It'd be much easier than snatching it from my finger. My phone could ring and, startled, I could drop it on the concrete while reaching to answer and not even realize it. The ring could slip right though my hands. I did it anyway. I started taking off my ring randomly, in and outside of our home.

Sometimes I took it off and set it next to me. It'd been years since I'd seen my finger without the ring. It looked naked, slender, clean, maybe a little aged. I'd never really looked at that finger before the ring. My finger had angles, too. And was lighter without the ring. No one could take that finger, and I couldn't drop it.

I was having lunch in the park one afternoon, watching the pond and thinking about how the ring could slip off while I was feeding the ducks and sink to the bottom of the murky water. I didn't want to think about the ring anymore. It was dull, didn't shine like it used to. Didn't look right on my finger anymore, wasn't worth the worry anymore. So, in the end, it didn't slip through my hands. I threw it.