Slow Crescendo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In the crime shows I’ve been watching, things culminate into worst case scenarios and long drawn-out scenes of broken pool cues and smeared mascara.  A Rottweiler lies down in the snow to die with the prostitute he swore to protect.  Around here, all that happens is I wait until four to nap and then have to listen to the family below get home and clomp around like a drunk fourteen year-old in a tube top and clogs.  A whole family made up of multiple copies of the same drunk girl and her sad feathered hair. 

I should put more beautiful words to this.  I should say, the near October light through blinds.  Or just, I have a proto-human growing in my abdomen.  He weighs a little more than a can of Coke. 

Yesterday was cracked and somber, and I made my way uptown, seeking out any odd moment to be weird and gentle after a bummer of a rough morning.  Then I lay in a darkened room while a Caribbean lady jabbed a sonogram wand at me to get Peanut to pose right.  He acted pretty put out.  I wanted to cry.  The screen on the wall showed the bones and snow.  The beautiful part is that everything’s fine. 

I’ve been off coffee, and much of my life is a slow movie on an art gallery wall.  You climb into a room with pillows on the floor and watch it all swim around.  You are in love with someone you just met, who’s lying there, too.  You barely touch, but you’re also the same person.  Part of the movie is a tiny spine, tiny kidneys.  A four-chambered heart.  Look at all the wonder. 

Quote from Mom

Monday, September 17, 2012

When you were a fetus I read everything about teaching little kids so I could be sure to teach you myself even if the school didn’t or instead of the school. I loved John Holt then. The educator, not the reggae singer.

[FYI:  My mom was 18 when I was a fetus.]

Three or four things

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1.  I received my copy of the new issue of Ping Pong.  I have a poem in it, as part of the folio "Poetic Responses to Jean Arp's Poem in Translation 'What Is It?'."  I'm in excellent company in the journal.  My poem lives alongside work by Elaine Equi, J. Hope Stein, James Harms, and many other cool poets.  Nice!

2.  Two chapbooks I worked on this summer were finalists at a press I really admire, Bloof Books.  Huzzah!  And onward!

3.  I'm sitting at my desk in my office at home.  Now that it's not 100 gazillion degrees, I can actually sit up here in the attic and think deep thoughts with only the ghosts for company, as I am wont to do.  Someone next door left a box of books on the sidewalk, and I can see pedestrians stopping to examine the books, then walking on with or without a book.  I like catching people in the act of being interested. 

4.  If you tell someone you like sock monkeys, your life will become total sock monkeys.  But at least you are loved. 

Something about ghosts in the fall

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I am smarter in the early- to mid-fall, so I'm waiting for that to fully kick in.  I read that scientists have found that if you want to be happy, have cool air blown up your nose.  Happy.  Warm air up your nose:  Less happy.

Also, I'm writing a new book, and I won't mention ghosts in it once, even though I already did (oops).

My mom says, "What is it with you and ghosts?"  And I say, "I don't know."  Then I say something about the early twentieth century and free-floating anxiety.  She seems to understand, or at least to understand that that's how my mind works.  We are standing in a room in a Hampton Inn in North Carolina when this conversation happens.  That's where the ghost might have been.

Later I agree to go with her to Hardee's so she can eat a biscuit and gravy and I can eat a biscuit with jam and an orange juice.  I tell her that at my previous job, I kept doing things like filling in for tenure-track faculty who would go on mysterious medical leave without telling their independent study honors students what to do.  I'm not sure anyone noticed the extra work I did, besides the students.

One time I put in a request with the department secretary to get a screen put on my office window.  I told her that a squirrel kept looking at me from the ledge and threatening to steal the lunch out of my hands.  The secretary laughed then in a way that made me feel both foolish and appreciated.  That job came with a time limit, but I miss the students, many of them.

This all seems to have to do with whether I'm secretly appreciated or haunted or not.  That's how I feel in the fall when cool air circulates through my nostrils and lungs and around my body.  Secretly appreciated.  Affably haunted. 

Some of what my grandmother told me

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

You become like those with whom you associate.

Back in the old days, they called children by nicknames to keep the devil from knowing where they lived.

Mountain people won't tell you anything and they resent you asking.  [About some of our family.]

Fools are found in high places.  Beware.

I have a funny mind.  I'm watching it all, the passing parade. 

Mom and grandmother

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I think my grandmother said that the jeans my mother's wearing were called "devil dogs."  (Is that right?)  Also, they are in the telephone alcove at my great-grandmother's house.  People had little nooks for their telephones back then.

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