Monday, March 31, 2003

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry-
the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

e.e. cummings.

Friday, March 28, 2003

when i was in high school, i volunteered as a tutor in the life skills program. that's what they called the effort to mainstream physically and developmentally disabled kids into the "regular" high school world. except the only time i could do it was fourth period, which was lunch for most of the kids in the program, so my work with them ended up being this kind of lunch-routine that i went through every day with one particular student, kevin. kevin was pretty severely disabled--or at least, it seemed to me. he had a physical disability that made it hard for him to walk--one foot seemed to be pointed the wrong way, and his body was sort of twisted around his own spine, with one arm bent at the elbow and twined up so that his hand rested by his own shoulder. also, there was a lot of drool. kevin couldn't control the muscles in his mouth very well, and so copious amounts of saliva would roll down his chin most of the time. he was capable of wiping it away himself, and his parents and teachers had tried really hard to impress upon him the desirability of keeping the drool at bay, but kevin, like most people, really hated being constantly nagged, and a lot of the time, wiping away the drool was just not something he was into doing. the aides had come up with a lot of joshing little verbal cues to get him to do it ("kevin, you've got a drool snake!" "kevin, there's a slug on your chin!"). it took about two reps of each to make me want to punch the aides out and say to kevin, hey, buddy. drool all you want. while i understood the value of small accomplishments in the context of the mainstreaming program, the choice of whether or not to wipe away the drool was one of the few things kevin got to decide for himself on a minute-by-minute basis, and i kind of respected that. it wasn't like the drool bothered him. i sometimes wanted to say to the nagging aides, you guys, it's not really the giant saliva string that's keeping kevin from going to the prom.

because it was lunch, my big thing was helping kevin eat in the cafeteria like some regular joe. his parents packed him a very detailed lunch every day . . . kevin had extremely limited dexterity--like, none, and there was the previously mentioned lack of mouth muscle control. folks who can't keep their saliva in their mouths usually can't keep their lunch in there, either. so the lunch, everyday, was some sort of casserole, a nutritionally-enhanced milkshake, and at the end, some chocolate.

here's the thing: i have never been a casserole fan. the idea of mashing a whole bunch of foods together has never been attractve to me, although i don't mind, say, quiche. but these casseroles were everything that grossed me out about casserole. they smelled funny. they looked gross. and i simply could not separate those casserole attributes from the ones that made it a viable lunch choice for kevin: casserole is easy enough to navigate that someone who has a lot of trouble using a fork can get enough into his mouth and swallowed to call it lunch, and when it gets slopped with drool and lands back on the plate in a puddle, you can mix it back with the rest and call it edible again.

it makes me feel small, but i was horribly depressed by the casserole lunch, and trying to help kevin eat it. even though i knew the casserole was one of the vew viable, sensible choices his family had when trying to pack a lunch that kevin could actually eat at school, when i got the big tupperware that contained it out of the fridge each day, i always kind of expected it to be labeled, "Disabled Kid Chow," as if it had been made by purina for feeding ease. it felt sort of dehumanizing. more than anything, the presence of the casserole was a big waving flag that read, i will not be going out for a cheeseburger with my friends after band practice. and then when the casserole was finished, the chocolate was its own small battle. it was usually a small-sized kit kat bar, and my job was to unwrap it and break it into manageable chunks (without singing the "gimme a break, gimme a break" song from the commercial, which for some reason really pissed kevin off) so that kevin could eat it with his fingers. except . . . man, if you thought drool was a problem with casserole, you should try chocolate. you know how your mouth waters when you get something yummy in it? yeah. personally, i've had problems with chocolate drool myself, and i'm not someone who has to wear a dishcloth around my neck and listen to people tell me i have a slug crawling down my chin.

this is all to say that when i opened the microwave at work yesterday after someone's lunch had been heated up, i smelled casserole and i immediately wanted to throw up. and then i heard a bunch of marketing guys making iraq jokes, and . . . well, shit.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

i just realized that this will be the first sunrise wedding i've attended in which i can say i took an oral sex workshop with the groom. there were two workshops, actually, a cunnilingus night and a fellatio night. i, of course, attended both, although groom only showed up for the licking girl parts one. i remember that at the beginning, the leader said something like, okay, everyone needs to respect everyone else, especially because this workshop is open to the public and you might see a co-worker of yours in the second row, and groom and i looked at each other in mock horror.

he didn't have any good tips to share, though.

it's funny how time will get you over just about anything. (and by anything, i hope it's plain that i mean the sheltered-life version of "anything," like broken hearts and petty-to-medium abandonments. things that seriously sting, and make you cry a lot. god knows there's plenty going on in the world that it's not cool to be pollyanna about.)

i was thinking yesterday about how long i was a foolbasket over this one guy, and how now when i say his name inside my head, there's just nothing there. the whole idea of him is inert, like milk. i was afraid it wasn't going to come, although that's silly. i remember waiting and waiting, and thinking how ridiculous it was, being ashamed of myself and knowing it wasn't worth any more distress, but still. funny to look at him now--most of them, actually--and think, oh, thank god.

the monkey's coming to a sunrise wedding with me this weekend. and it's old news, and not even news, but i was once pretty attached to the idea that the now-groom would some day decide we should stop flirting and start firguring out if we were in love. now? he's another thank god. and i'm exactly where i would choose to be, watching with a smile from the sidelines with my best piece of love in my hand.

to life, i say: karate chop! hiiiiii-yah!

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

romance is not dead, my friends. the monkey booked a ticket to come out here for the weekend last night, last-minute airfare and common sense be damned. i couldn't be more thrilled.

and yesterday i exercised both this corporeal body and whatever muscle i've been leaving to atrophy while my plays and stories wither on a hard drive. sure, the running lasted only twenty-five minutes and the writing only ninety, but . . . well, jeez. so much better than nothing. where has my head been? good intentions don't finish the novel. and coupled with my notorious lack of discipline, they seem also make for too many tortilla chips, large laundry piles and reruns of the simpsons.

i don't know what's inspiring the mini-leaf-turning-over. i'm embarassed to say i think it was the oscars. awards always make me take stock of my own doings and find them lacking, sometimes in an unhelpful way (remember when zadie smith won the whitbread? i ate five snickers bars) but sometimes . . . well, nothing wrong with a kick in the pants. at least not these pants, right now. the vast seriousness of everything that happens when i turn the news on might be part of it, too. for whatever reason, i went running, i showered, i started writing and i actually had so much fun doing the work that i was late for my evening phone date.

entirely separate: when the prospect of something possible makes you so overwhelmingly happy, it's hard not to get married to it right away. see, this magic new possibility that means the monkey could be with me in july and august--and without my having given up any of the spring and summer opportunities i previously deemed so unmissable that i put off our reunion--seems so heaven-sent and perfect and made of sugar blah blah blah that it's hard to believe it won't happen. but it might not. and i need to smarten up a little (i think my mother used to say that). if it doesn't happen, i don't want to be heartbroken. but i can tell that i believe, i believe, i believe . . .

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

we were looking for the answer to a crossword puzzle clue we couldn't figure out, i swear to god, and that's why we ran a google search on the words "cheetah" and "luck" that turned up something i didn't know existed:

cheetah porn.

the story is set in a post-apocalyptic animal kingdom where an army of monkeys has enslaved all the felines. our hero is a young male cheetah quartered with a bunch of lions and . . . well, whoever, in a draconian work camp. while laboring with sledgehammers and fighting to save his tattered humanity in the face of austerity and oppression, the young cheetah comes of age. with the help of a slightly older male lion mentor, the cheetah accepts his homosexuality and experiences a physical awakening that involves "paw work," "droplets," and "hormone based daring."

in case you're wondering? the lion's manhood is three paw-fingers across and gently curved.

Monday, March 24, 2003

one day before it got springlike, this year, i had to be at the theatre very early in the morning. it was cold and snappy outside, and it was early enough that no one was using the outside tables at the starbucks in the first floor of the building. no one, that is, except a pair of mallard ducks, male and female, hanging out under one of the metal tables. they weren't doing anything, really--in fact, they looked like they were on a date. a coffee date, to go get a cup of (admittedly corporate) joe. i smiled. they seemed like regulars.

remember when holden caulfield asks where the ducks go when the pond freezes over, the pond in central park? i think i know.

Friday, March 21, 2003

you have to read this (sarah b., if you're out there, this means you):

this made me laugh until pee came out.

there's a boy in new york i need to thank for liberating my inner fart joke. i used to have a kind of surprising ladylike thing that caused me not to eat messy foods in front of other people and avoid saying words i found ungraceful, like meat and dog poop. apparently, not anymore. and i say, the lovers who make fart jokes have way more fun. probably second only to tantric yoga practice.

(confidential to folks who may be having problems with the above link: send a comment, wouldja?)

Thursday, March 20, 2003

right now, my favorite parts were the stomach zerbets and the monkey teaching me how to make barfing sounds with chunks. we also figured out how to use hand puppets to solve domestic disputes, and there was a very small amount of crying, one great movie and shrimp with fresh pasta.

it all seems so eminently doable, and happy-making, and pretty calm in a sort of fait-accompli way. it's where i belong, right now, and i am no small bit antsy, here on the other side after having such grand access to the start of something big.

i sat on the bank of the pond--still some ice, but some ducks, too--with his head in my lap, and thought, i'm already here. it's already started. these are my photograph vendors by the museum, that is my stoop chalk drawing, those are our cotton percale sheets, this is my partner for the whole shebang. i'm back now, but i feel like there is back. if i'm home, where is the bottle of wine we opened on tuesday?

Friday, March 14, 2003

that's it. i'm leaving town. stay cool, all you jokers. i'm back on thursday.

despite the morning goo . . . great jesus, but it feels good to know that in twenty hours or so, the monkey'll breathing his smell all over me and being who he always is. this is the stuff, jake. this is the great good stuff.

i guess every time it's your turn to comfort the other person for an extended period of time, a small part of you starts to fear for your own safety. a lot of time being the comforter rather than comfortee doesn't necessarily call into question his . . . i don't know, abilities as a nurturer, and my brain knows it's perfectly reasonable, that everything turns and turns about in time . . . but in the moment? in the fifth phone call when i'm talking soft and trying all my reassuring words one more time and worrying that they've lost their pixie-magic . . . i'm not proud that i begin to wonder, this will come around, right? you'll be the strong, sure man i met again, right? we won't spend so much time in this puddle that we change anything important, right?

me of all people. sheesh. like i haven't taxed the people around me into comfort-poverty with my petty middle class dysthymia.

the city people are not coming around to my genius plan to see them all without interrupting what is essentially the monkey's trip. sounds like the office hours i'm setting up at the bar won't be attended . . . so maybe that solves that problem. silly, i guess, to assume what lengths people will travel to see you, and then be disappointed.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

funny how the prospect of joy makes me antsy and crabby. otherwise, i would never have been offended when you asked me to please stop talking about the job you might get and how it meshes with our plans because you're superstitious. also, though? i really do think figuring out future plans is more important than your jinx-phobia. i'm juggling a lot of stuff, here.

bleh. distance makes me . . . i don't know, weird, sensitive, un-please-able. suddenly someone else isn't a person-presence so much as a collection of a) moments that delight you and b) moments that aren't good enough. although i'll admit there are way more of a), and what b) exist are only the small ones that have to do with being human . . . it's just never as good as rolling over to steal your covers back in the night. some days six months apart seems like such incredible folly.


short visits are hard. there aren't so very many people in the city i need to see, but enough. and not all of them are the closest friends, but close enough that i'll feel bad saying, i don't have time for you. but it really is time for the monkey, and for us to be together, and maybe to feel for a couple of days like the giant six-month gap until we can be in the same metropolis isn't all that giant. gulp.

i am bringing: my book of neighborhood walks, a card, my hair dryer, some wool clothes and a warm hat. i am not bringing: more than one book, a sexy cocktail outfit (not even the beautiful boots), any pajamas. it's going to be low key and right.

it's lovely to be anticipated. i have never in my life felt so strongly as i do about this, and . .. for five days, it will be so good to enjoy it in real time. sigh.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

the kids were so kind and fearless yesterday. by the time we left the school, two of them had told me they loved me. and one stopped me on my way out: "by the way, you're beautiful."

also from the last couple classes:

"you looked like you were wearing a skirt, but now it looks like pants. what's up with that?"

"i don't feel brave. i feel retarded."

"you look really good for your age."

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

remember, once, when we were high and in the bathtub, you wished we'd gotten water before we got in because you were thirsty, and i had stashed a pint glass of water on that triangular tub ledge but was wedged into that corner so that my head obscured it? and then i reached back and made a glass of water appear out of my head by pure magic?

gosh, i loved that.

Monday, March 10, 2003

so, i felt inferior and it turned me into this bitter crabling in front of people i liked. i don't know what it is--rather, i don't know *who* it is, the person who shows up when all my confidence scrambles underneath a far off rock. i wish i were better at heading it off at the pass.

on the other hand, it's depressing when you show up somewhere where you kind of already feel unwanted, but you're game, and then a handful of people you haven't seen in a while tell you they thought you had moved away. maybe i took some time out, but i was not under the radar that long, or that deep. and when they ask what you've been doing, and you shuffle through the past months for things that are acceptable answers to that question, and you come up with nothing? you know you have been doing more than nothing. most importantly, even though you have often been kind of a barnacle (and are turning back into one in the present moment because people seem to have erased you from your circle when you sat out a few dances), you are now and have been for months demonstrably happy, and instead of people getting to observe your newfound joy, they get to see you become yourself at seventeen. blech.

not one person asked me about the monkey. and not once when someone said, "so what have you been doing?" did i say, falling in love. or something . . . happy. blech.

Friday, March 07, 2003

i bet you one million dollars i did something this morning that none of the rest of you did.

i got naked in a swimming pool and posed for art photos with my college roommate.

and i got paid.

i'm a little disturbed that i'm . . . i dunno, envious of her because she could do cooler poses longer underwater than i could. silly. like that's ever going to come again. yeah, but how long can you drape saffron-colored chiffon around your naked self in a semi-heated pool? i do, think, however, that some of the pictures of us are going to be very nice (in case you're wondering, this is not slutty stuff. not that i have this terrifically high slut standard, because, um, i don't. but it isn't). later, i will show my children:

"who is that in the mermaid pictures?"

"that's me and your auntie K."

"that's not you. where are your fat rolls and ceasarean scar? and what's that shiny earring in your bellybutton?"

"oh, eat some pudding, whydontcha."

Thursday, March 06, 2003

the priest who said mass last night was just fruity. also, the only priest i've ever met who used product in his hair. Father Roll-up had a very wide-gauge thumb, so everbody's crosses of ash were really big. forehead-sized. and we sat near the back of the church, so as i was walking back from the annointing, there was a sea of kind of pensive-looking people with giant marks on their faces. they seemed like refugees. it's trite, but i got scared. there's a lot of frightening going on, and what drives it home is a giant house full of folks with ash crosses on their faces. maybe it's the generous, peasant-thumbed ash crosses in a world where most faces we see are airbrushed and look like egg shells. it takes a big deal anymore to get someone to put ugly stuff on her face.

as i left, the fruity father shook my hand vigoriously and said, "Have a great Lent!"

yep. roger that.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

yesterday i was driving toward the exit in the parking garage, and all the left turns made that thomas kemper ginger ale bottle on the floor of the passenger seat roll around and clink like a real beer bottle. i was busy thinking about how cool i looked if you thought it was a real beer bottle when i came within six inches of plowing into a parked car.

the best one had a temp assignment that required her to work in a cubicle decorated with 36 photos of this man. if you like seal, sting and billy joel, maybe you should check him out. we have definite plans to form a tribute band, as soon as someone's roommate learns to play drums.

Monday, March 03, 2003

sorry about that. i had to start over. today's postings in nutshell form go more like, if you think i'm not good enough i am going to punch you in the fucking nose. while i cry.

seven points to the monkey, who was trying even though i was too pissy to allow myself to be consoled.


don't dangle legitimacy in front of someone who is genuinely starving for want of it, and then leap back and yell, psyche. it's below you, or at least you ought to hope so. and also, it's unnecessary. i'd already be planning what i'm doing with the next few months if you'd been honest in the first place. i'm not at all pleased with the kind of dominion you have over my self image, and when you behave badly you make it all ten times worse. you fucking fuckers.

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