mirror mirror on the wall

A reflection on self in the pursuit of Academia.. email millay_@hotmail.com

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Theme Week 15: Jux Suppose

This time I want to do it a little differently
Speculate, imagine
a quick in-and-out
Mysteries can still be written
pearls of beauty
Turns and curves and rabbit prints in the snow
A lot of quiet
The little girl dreaming
Imagine being the girl laughing
A little short of breath
It’s inevitable
Everything you want me to see
Smoky, sad, boozy
approach it with dread
run right past it without hesitation
resign ourselves to the inevitable
peek at the weaknesses
all those thorns
inimitably me
simmering rage directed inward
The inner trash
Thoughts curl back on each other
with a stranger, someone who had no face
Unusual circumstance, peculiar feeling
Check your horrors against our own....
Beat the poet out of you
Hit me that way a little.
Drunk on those tequila shots
enough to find some calm
Something magic about that
A rush of pleasure
bits and pieces of secrets
it came out of your mouth too
something new: in the past
he would probably have been safe
Find a new place to be gone to....
Something pleasant to think about
Temptation to be wrestled with
pretty much says it all.

Theme Week 14: I Am The Risk I Take

“This is a week where you take a few risks…”

Every word is a risk. Yes, even the ones that flow with their own life despite the meaning I’d have put to them are a risk. Every one.

I don’t worry after the grade or your thought of the words. I don’t worry about that unseen audience that may or may not read them. Each of those scenarios carry the same weight.

Every word is a risk because the wrong one, the wrong placement could say something that I didn’t intend. Each one could betray a vow of secrecy or offer a window where before there was nothing but wall.

Once those words are put together and posted they serve as a challenge to me, a risk to do better or differently or not so much or more.

For those of us who are not authors, who do not dream of being authors but only write because it is need, for those of us, Mr. Goldfine, every word is a risk.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Theme Week 13: Bar Fly: The Return

I watched her move across the bar hoping that she wouldn't see me. It was obvious from the wide eyes and the speedy nature of her gait that she was still using.

"Oh my God! I can't believe it's you. I mean I was talking to Larry just a few minutes ago and I said that I never see you or your sister anymore and asked if he knew what you were doing now and he never does because he stays on that tractor day and night and never goes anywhere and when he does he doesn't go to any of the places that you guys go which I don't even know where you guys go anymore and what you do because you never call me anymore and the only time I ever hear anything about you is from one of the kids and even then they don't tell me much because I think they worry that it will hurt my feelings so they don't really talk about you all that much and frankly I don't have any friends anymore except Steve and he can't really be considered a friend because he's only with me for one reason and I don't think I have to tell you what that reason is because you remember when we were hanging out we never talked about Steve except for about one thing so I guess that you must remember that thing now and I can't say it because everyone here knows him..."

"You're talking too fast." I said to her. She only paused for a second then resumed the pace of the conversation exactly where I had interrupted her.

"...so if I were to say anything about him and it got back to him then there would go the last friend that I have and no one should be without at least one friend and I don't have any friends anymore because you guys stopped talking to me and not even the kids talk about you anymore because they worry that it will hurt my feelings which I know I said already but I felt that..."

I sat and looked around hoping that she'd get the hint. She hardly knew I was there anyway so I got up and walked away.

As I put my coat on and headed out the door she was still sitting in the same spot. Her mouth was moving as quickly as when I stood up and the guy that she was talking to was looking around for help. I shook my head and stepped out into the quiet.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Theme Week 13: Bar Fly

I watched her move across the bar hoping that she wouldn't see me. It was obvious from the wide eyes and the speedy nature of her gait that she was still using. "Oh God don't let her see me." She did. She came over to where I was sitting and started jabbering almost incoherently.

"Oh my God! I can't believe it's you. I mean I was talking to Larry just a few minutes ago and I said that I never see you or your sister anymore and asked if he knew what you were doing now and he never does because he stays on that tractor day and night and never goes anywhere and when he does he doesn't go to any of the places that you guys go which I don't even know where you guys go anymore and what you do because you never call me anymore and the only time I ever hear anything about you is from one of the kids and even then they don't tell me much because I think they worry that it will hurt my feelings so they don't really talk about you all that much and frankly I don't have any friends anymore except Steve and he can't really be considered a friend because he's only with me for one reason and I don't think I have to tell you what that reason is because you remember when we were hanging out we never talked about Steve except for about one thing so I guess that you must remember that thing now and I can't say it because everyone here knows him..."

"You're talking too fast." I said to her. She only paused for a second then resumed the pace of the conversation exactly where I had interrupted her.

"...so if I were to say anything about him and it got back to him then there would go the last friend that I have and no one should be without at least one friend and I don't have any friends anymore because you guys stopped talking to me and not even the kids talk about you anymore because they worry that it will hurt my feelings which I know I said already but I felt that..."

I sat and looked around hoping that she'd get the hint that I was no longer interested in what she might have to say. Fact was, she hardly knew I was there anyway. It was more a monologue than a conversation so I got up and walked away.

As I put my coat on and headed out the door I noticed that she was still sitting in the same spot. Her mouth was moving as quickly as when I stood up and the guy that she was talking to was looking around hoping that she would think he wasn't interested. I shook my head and stepped out into the quiet night.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Theme Week 12: The Reflection 4

She looked like a miniaturized version of herself. Everything was perfectly in its place and in all the right proportions but there was something not quite full sized about her. Standing next to someone she was almost shocking to look at, sort of like Alice after her mis-adventures with the cake only she was real which gave the experience the undeniable edge of the surreal.

Theme Week 12: Post Mortem 3

She folds down the sheets on his side of the bed. Every night. It’s her new religion. Her face is worn, aged beyond what time would have done on its own. So much is different now. The kids are grown or nearly. She missed whole parts of their lives. They missed whole parts as well.

40 just pushed her over. She wasn’t ready for that. She didn’t need any more tastes of mortality. She eats it every time she checks her reflection or turns down the sheets on his side of the bed.

You can tell by the way her lipstick is always a little askew and the clothes a bit too revealing that she’s fighting this wave full force. Holding nothing back for prosperity or pride. Her lines have all changed and knocked out entire belief systems in the havoc that ensued.

There’s a vast distance in her eyes full of indifference and lack in its stead. No further meaning to be derived from the life. It’s been reduced to its lowest common denominator. She treats it like it’s something to be endured.

It shows on her face. It hangs like smoke around her. It turns everything gray and distorted until there is no measure of time other than in the number of years since he died, as if that were her only marker.

Still, she folds down the sheets on his side of the bed. Every night. It’s her new religion.

Theme Week 12: Blue 2

A green ribbon: That’s all that it is and all that it’s meant to be. It lies in a tattered heap on a crowded desk atop the stones and seashells of the past. It’s one green ribbon. It doesn’t speak of the volumes that it’s held. It doesn’t cringe at the thought of the fingers that have pinched and twisted it into pretzel-ed forms. It doesn’t acknowledge the holes that festoon the sides of it or the fact that its color is faded in bits here and there. It was once a shiny green ribbon on a present that someone opened gingerly, taking care not to pull too tightly so as to crinkle it into misshapen string. It is a green ribbon. It’s just one green ribbon.

Theme Week 12: Eventide 1

A stack of unopened mail that’s been accumulating for months lies in a heap on the kitchen floor. The color of the stovetop is indiscernible under all of the goop that has spilled and been left to dry there. There is never anything but beer and sandwich fixings in the refrigerator and the occasional bottle of wine leftover from a date. Life doesn’t touch this house much. He moves in and out of it as needs must but mostly avoids the loneliness trapped between the walls. There’s a sinister silence that follows him from room to room. It makes him crazy to hear his name whispered by no one but shadows. He tells himself that it doesn’t mean anything that he can live just fine alone with his absence of memories but in the pale morning light when the end of the ragged sleep falls from his red and tired eyes there’s a rumbling inside of him and an emptiness that he just can’t erase from the other side of the lonely bed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Theme Week 11: In Its Entirety

We travel this distance you and I, daily, sometimes hourly. I watch you move towards and I back away. You eye me standing close and turn. There’s a moment each time that feels close, like it could come to pass without our consent or acknowledgement. But it doesn’t and it won’t because it can’t. You stay there. I’ll be here. You play those dice and I’ll stick to my house of cards. I won’t let the moments pass aware until I am unaware that the moment has passed at all. You can wrap up your time in its pretty little box and put it back there behind the beer in the fridge. Bring it out for company’s sake on those nights when there’s little else to talk about. I’ll keep the car and you take what’s left. We can separate everything down to the bones of it if you’d like and walk away knowing that we stood our ground piece by piece. I won’t waste time thinking of guilt and you can leave your blame sitting squarely on top of that box. Neither of us will touch it. There is no coming back to this spot. With my panicked storm of “No more! No more!” I renounced the road back and burned the dirt floor of memories. You smile that smile that I detest and say, “We’ll see”.

1178 days have passed since “we’ll see”. Blame still sits on a box though even guilt has grown bored with its rants. Every now and then I sit and look on the edge of that charred road back and I’ve seen the green sprigs of hope that you’ve planted. But there is no back.

“Love” you said “will be what brings you home.” You were wrong. I wonder at that love. Wonder at the potency of a charm that only sparkles in the sun. Maybe, if I were younger still and you more handsome I would rest these laurels on that faint sparkle and, calling it magic consider you again my god. But I am not younger and your face has grown tired in your hunt. The crack shows. The whores show. And not even the love that you profess could clean the dirt from under your nails.

“You only wish you could be bitter. You’ll come back ‘round, eventually.” Those were your words. 1177 days later, those were your words. I wonder at their truth. I am not so bitter as to be blind. I have proven to myself that I am still capable of love and passion and want. I just don’t think that includes you anymore. Remember though when it did? There’s some sadness in that lack, that absence in me. I gave you some pretty good love though I’m not so sure anymore that it was the best of what’s left in me.

So you go back there and do that. And I’m going to stay right here for a while and do this. Not yet, but one day I’m going to be ready to love that kind of love again. You too. Each of us with others. And I think we should both stop counting the days since we left, each our own distance.

This...this is done. Even the cigarette is ended.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Theme Week 10: Vantage Point

Funk and Wagnall’s gives Irony’s definition the following:

“3. A situation, event, pairing, etc., in which main elements are rationally or emotionally incompatible because of contrast, conflict or surprise, but are nevertheless undeniable.”

Sounds an awful lot like life, love, relationships, hell-all of those things that definitions fail to tame. The definition is an example of its ability to twist and turn on itself offering first one perspective and then another in sweet, succinct and sometimes murderous tones.

On one of my visits to New York, I was in Battery Park watching a chess game when a woman dressed in a long, brown man’s coat and mismatching boots sauntered by me asking herself over and over in a hushed whisper, “Ironic? Ironic? Ironic?” I don’t know why the word resounded so strongly in my otherwise chess distracted mind, but I couldn’t ignore the fact that her whisper and that word conjured images both horrific and polite and at the same time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about irony this week. I’ve tried to make its definition conform to some simple measure that I could follow but as F & W confirms, irony is not rational or emotionally inclined. Even its best examples verge on its own fine line. What chance might I have at glistening its possibilities and relating them in some nonfiction fashion to satisfy an assignment? It isn’t a line well placed or well intended. It’s the underlining of particular words in a way that their measure is lost in their weight.

As you yourself stated “You don't create irony usually--you find it.”

And I’ll be sure to let you know the minute that I do.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Theme Week 9: The Meaning Beneath

The brakes fail. I see myself careening toward the edge but I'm helpless to stop it. Somehow I know that there are only seconds before it happens but I'm lost in the minutes that come just before. He whispers something. I'm looking at his mouth move but the words aren't registering in my mind. I'm begging him to stop, pleading that he find the brake and apply it before the inevitable happens.

It's too late. Through my window I watch as the earth falls away into the sky and they spiral together into the hard thud of bottom. The sound of shattering glass and breaking bones fills the silence of the words that I lack. I look down at my broken body and can't recognize anymore my limbs. Pieces of me are strewn all about and I wonder at the complexity of the puzzle that is me. I can't see him anymore. That must have been what he was whispering, that he was going to bail out. Thrown clear, without a scratch is what they'll say of him.

What I'll remember is that the sun burned brighter and the air was too warm for a late October day. I'll remember the vague sound of voices trying to reach me and the rush of adrenaline as I tried to pull myself, bent and bleeding from the burning heap. I'll remember the pounding of my chest just before it ceased and the heaviness of my eyelids against my attempts to hold them open.

And just before the end, I'll fold the letter, put it in my pocket and take my broken body to bed.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Theme Week 8: Physics in Action

I’ve been reveling in the nature of black holes and other almost unbelievable phenomena for as long as I can remember. I visit the Hubble site pretty frequently. It’s easy for a queer girl like me to get caught up in the sexuality of the nature of our vast sky. It is charged with particles and hostile gases insinuating themselves into the vastness of the unknown. The things that we don’t know about what lies in the infinite reaches far outweigh the speck of the knowledge that we’ve acquired. That thought intoxicates me and has the power to bring me to my theological knees more quickly than any church.

The chapters of my Physics book read like an erotic novel. “The Uncertainty Principle, Potential and Charged Conductors, Displacement, Velocity and Acceleration in Two Dimensions, One Dimensional Motion with Constant Acceleration, The Concept of Force, Momentum and Impulse, Rotational Motion Under Constant Angular Acceleration and finally The Cosmic Connection. These are just a few examples of the sexual nature of the physics of the night sky. For as long as there have been us we have lain with our lovers under those skies and wondered at the magnitude. That is no small coincidence to my way of thought. The fact that we are “star stuff” makes my skin tingle. Add to that the fact, and it is fact that my body is in tune enough with the tides and that beautiful moon that my very clockwork is affected and I’m adrift in a sea of wanton lust.

It is this queerness of my nature that understands how the queerness of these principles applies on a smaller scale, the relationship between man and woman. An electron is emitted by an atom and instantly is retrieved, integrated into another changing the dynamic of both. They bond in various, predictable positions to form a substance different than either of the wholes of each other. Two hydrogen atoms, one electron each see this oxygen atom. There are two beautiful holes, two delightfully empty spaces: naturally made for a union. They race toward one another like lovers on a beach and then magically they bond. Is it a violent process for them or a subtle almost musically synchronized movement that brings them together? Suddenly there is a droplet of water that falls into an ocean of other unions. I have had relationships less sexually charged than those words.

Now, we see the man and woman atoms on the beach reveling in their own afterglow lapping at the toes of man and woman on the beach reveling in the afterglow of their union as they stare into the heavens of man and woman chemistry of the stars banging and free falling overhead reveling in the afterglow of their union ad infintum.

Shall we talk about the seductive language of mathematics next or shall I let you finish your cigarette first?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Theme Week 7 - Building A Bigger Bridge

To Do:

1) Dishes
2) Vacuum downstairs
3) Put laundry away
4) Bloom where you’re planted
5) Water plants
6) Chemistry Chapters 1, 2 and 3
7) Get off the fence
8) Ethics Chapter 5, Study for Quiz
9) Email GP and JM
10) Fall in love again
11) Clean out car
12) Scrub bath
13) Snap out of it
14) Organize junk drawer
15) Sweep off Porch
16) Giggle like a girl
17) Dust the furniture
18) Clean the baby’s room
19) Remember
20) Forget
21) Do 3rd prompt
22) Get winter coats from closet – to cleaners
23) Register van
24) Inspect van and dinger
25) Call JAFA
26) Feel feel feel feel
27) Rework budget
28) Call USDE
29) Package for Chris
30) Card to Peta
31) Redefine yourself
32) Get over it
33) Aska’s Birthday List
34) Call mom
35) Find a higher purpose
36) Dance more
37) Organize desk (computer upstairs?)
38) Grocery list (Go to Dougs)
39) Represent belief system
40) Unwind the clocks
41) Burn the walls
42) Build the bridges

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Theme Week 6: redo...No Place Like Home

There isn't much left of the house. Look how it sits alone here on the edge of this field, wrapped in shrubs and trees malnourished by the house's decay. The wood poles are still holding up the chimney, what's left of it. I used to wonder what kept those things from busting up. I've learned that it's pure faith. Those old boards are there for the duration. I still wouldn't walk under one of them, if I were you.

You have to watch your footing going across the porch. Best to pull those brambles back and let them close behind you. Worst you'll get from them is a swat on the butt after you've passed. Don't you love the way these old southern porches seemed to stretch so lazily? I can picture a swing over there though any sign of a hook for it has fallen with the roof. Really have to use your imagination...Squint your eyes. There, see it? Mind now. Best be getting off this old porch. No telling what's living under these boards.

Door just sort of hangs. Yeah, those are new hinges. I put them in last time I came. House like this needs a door. Besides, I camp in here sometimes. Like to give myself the impression of safety. Usually that's enough to afford sleep. You'll want to step where I step. Those holes were made first time I came in. Followed that lonely road down and couldn't resist opening it up. Had to be a treasure in a house like this. There was a painting where that graffiti is now. Bad painting. Least to these eyes. Beauty - beholder, though. Someone liked it well enough to come in and take it. Just through thoseFrenchh doors ( imagine them there - I do) and we can sit. Like you to see what brings me back every time I come. Most of the back wall is gone. Here. Sit right here. Now we'll wait.

Every time I come I leave a little something behind as a trade for all of the things that I take with me. Last time I left a bottle of red wine and a note. Before that a book of poetry I found at the yard sale right up the street and an emergency candle from the glovebox. See how that wallpaper is scratching itself from the wall? Like it's reaching across the room to get a better view. And see there, on that wall there initial carved into the door jam. FGB + EDB then those underneath: KHB NAB LEB. Figured that must be one of the families that grew up here. Touching that wood you can almost feel the pride in adding each one. Certainly has withstood the test of time. If we stay long enough we'll have to make up names for them. I give them new names everytime I come.There's more too. There's the cuts where he measured them. In that room off the main there's a hole cut out of the floorboard. Looks big enough for a shoebox. I imagine all sorts of things were hidden in there, slaves with their precious few treasures - something from home or from momma or poppa. Maybe some 10-year-old's box of baseball cards and bottle caps. We ought go have a look. But wait, before we go see, here's the reason I always come back...aside from the house. Watch. Just as the sun begins to disappear over the horizon. Yes. There it is...can you make it out? Ahhh...that's Beauty dancing in delight. Ever seen a reflection like that before? I didn't think so. Could just drink it in like a tall cool glass of sweet tea.

We best go now before dark settles in. Hard to make out the holes if you let the light get away from you. And we still have to figure out what we'll leave behind.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Theme Week 5: Driving With The Endangered

The cars were passing her as though she were sitting still. A glance at the speedometer indicated she might as well have been. 25 in a 65. Ain't nothin safe about that. She pushed her foot down harder on the accelator and let that first rush of speed find its level. 60 felt comfortable and certainly was safer. Let em pass.

She was flipping through the few cds that she brought with her. None were right. She was sad and wanted to be sad with sad music surrounding her like the exclamation point at the end of her mood. All the cds were upbeat and carefree. That wasn't what she felt. She opted for the bad music on the bad Bangor stations. At least it was sappy and slow and matched beat for beat with the tears streaming down her face.

Love lost, or the possiblity of love, lost is different for a woman in her 40's than to one in her 20's or 30's. A woman of 40 recognizes that there is nothing that is forever especially where matters of the heart are concerned. The pining and wooing and woeing for it is replaced by a kind of indifference or, if not replaced at least conditioned. Today she was 20 emotionally. Singing loudly to bad songs through the veil of tears covering her eyes.

Blue lights and a siren cut immediately through the mood. "Shit." One look at herself in the rearview and she knew what that cop would be thinking...drugs. Her eyes were puffy and red and black streaks of running mascara stained her cheeks. She pulled over as delicately as possible and tried to erase the look of madness from her face as the cop meandered up to the window beside her.

"Any idea how fast you were going, ma'am?" Oh sure she thought. Add insult to injury by calling me ma'am. He must have been all of 22.

"No. Ya know what? I have no idea what my speed was."

"Are you a little distracted?"

The reference made her smile. She didn't think he had it in his 22 years to understand the distraction.

"Yea, I guess I am. But I'm heading home and feeling better. I won't cruise too fast on the way back."

"Gonna need to see your license, registration and proof of insurance before I can let you go. You were driving about 35. On a road like this one, ma'am you want to be able to keep up with the traffic and not have anyone unexpectedly ram into the back of you. There's a minimum speed on the highway just as there's a maximum."

"No shit? Probably safer that way." She clumsily handed him the requested paperwork and watched in the rearview as he got back in his car and called it all in.

Her fingers were idly playing with the keys in the ignition. The bad radio station was belting out a bad Elton tune and her face was still covered with black streaks. She leaned back against the seat and pushed her lids down over her painfully swollen eyes. Letting the bad music and the bad vibes coming from behind her fade away, she drifted off into a quiet kind of sleep. She was in the space between not quite sleeping and not connected to awake either when she heard the state trooper's car fire up. She roused her self the rest of the way to awake just in time to see the trooper squeal his tires out from behind the car and the blue of the siren cut through the foggy air. As he pulled up next to her car he pointed behind her and she could make out the paperwork in the middle of the strip. And then he was gone.

She got out of the car and stood looking at the spot where he had been as if the empty space could tell her whether or not she was meant to stay and wait or if it was okay for her to go. The paperwork started drifting into the oncoming traffic. She snatched it from the air and returned to her car. A lucky break, she figured. And not a minute too soon. Must be something big to drag him away so quickly. Bigger, at least than her crazed 35 mph.

She got back in the car and moved it back into the stream of traffic opting to turn around at the exit and faithfully return home. As she turned off the bad music and put it the Amos Lee hopeful tunes, she decided that, really, in the scheme of things, better to keep a faster, smarter pace and your hands firmly on the wheel whether you're talking about driving or matters of the heart. She silently thanked the young cop for reminding her of that and relating it so well to what had led to her under minimum and then thanked whatever gods may be for sending the cop on his way. "No need to beat it into my wallet," she thought.

The thought calmed her. She checked her speed. 66. That's just about right. She congratulated herself and headed toward home, the slightest outline of a smile forming across her black streaked face.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Theme Week 4: The Ghost of Him

There was something devastating in the way that he looked at me. I couldn't tell if it was fear or just brutal attraction that kept me pinned to that spot, his eyes washing over me, flooding the distance between us. He was the cool, calculated way that a watch moves. Everything timed and in sync.

I watched him move to the seat in front of me. His eyes never left mine, or mine his. My heart was pushing it's way through my organs trying to get out...was its intent to or away, I couldn't tell. It didn't matter. I was not a participant. Just an observer.

He was beautiful. Strong face, centuries old. He devoured me - every piece, every hidden nuance of me with those green, transparent eyes. I could see straight down to his desire and it was fierce, unfettered by want. Pure need. I was embarrased by the depth with which I let this stranger touch me. His affect was torturous in the lack of expression that followed. I was his property and I'm not accustomed to being tagged.

He played me through the entire length of the ceremony. His eyes would hold mine then leave their shadows to guard my cage. I felt unveiled, uncovered...naked. The ceremony ended and he filed out into the stream of the moving crowd. He stole one last glance back at me before rounding the corner out of my sight. Finally, he smiled, the ghost of me dripping from the corners of his mouth.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Theme Week 3 Do Over: What language is that anyway?

It was my first full day in Rhode Island. I woke up earlier than the others and decided to venture out for coffee. I had just arrived from south Florida to stay with my sister. She lived in a small town impossibly situated in the middle of the woods with city all around. A shoebox forest we called it.

I knew that I had passed a small store on my way in the night before but not much of anything else. Surely, they'd have coffee in there. It was dark when I drove in so I didn’t see that there was a diner right across the lot from the store. “Perfect.” I thought as I pulled in.

I knew before I moved up that things would be different. A small town in New England may as well be another country when you’re coming from south Florida. But I was absolutely not prepared for just how different it would be.

She was standing half way between the counter and the door and before I could even step inside she asked, “Waddle it be?”
“Excuse me?”
“You want something?” She had a bank bag in one hand while her handbag, coffee and cigarette dangled precariously in the other.
“Just a large coffee, please.”
She started around the corner of the bar and dropped her burdens loudly on the edge.
“You want that regular?”
“Yes, please”. I watched as she scooped two big spoonfuls of sugar into my beautiful coffee and then drown the whole thing in milk. “Buck 7”, she said.
“Um. I didn’t want cream and sugar”.
“Well, you said reglar dinacha?”
“I thought you meant regular or decaf.”
“No. Reglar.”
“Oh. Well could I just have it black?”
“I spose. You aint from round here arya?”
“No. Just got in last night. Ahh….nice and hot and black. Thank you.”
“You wouldn’t be looking to work woodcha?”
“Excuse me?”
“A job. You wantin work.” She looked as if I were already late fo my shift.
I really should have thought about it longer than I did. I was coming from 3 years in a south Florida commercial insurance agency. What do I know of diner digs but eating at them? And as far as I could discern we weren’t even speaking the same language.
“Sure”. I said. “I could do this”.
“When couldcha start? My girl just got done and I gotta go to the peoples and make the drop”.
“Well, I‘m not really sure what to do.” (or what you just said).
“Aw that don’t make no difference. You just pour the boys their coffee and ask if you got questions. Everybody round here knows how it goes. I’ll be back to the ower.”
I knew that nothing good could come of this even as I was putting the apron around my neck. But it was an adventure and I’m always up for that. Besides, how tough could it be? I just have to pour the boys their coffee. Maybe fry something. Easy enough.
First customer arrived 45 minutes into my “shift”.
He walked in, ball-cap pulled just so down the middle of his forehead. His t-shirt, worn around his bulging belly proclaimed that he’d rather be fishin’. Okay. This is it. First customer of my diner career.
“Hi. What can get you?”
“I’d like a coffee cabinet.”
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“A cabinet, a coffee cabinet.”
“Well, I might be able to scrounge a few pieces of wood together from out back, but I’m not building anything”. I said with my wittiest smile.
“What?” He smiled not at all.
“You do know that this is a diner, right?”
“Yeah, what? What was it that you wanted? A cabinet right?”
“Yeah. I want a cabinet, you know a frappe”.
This is just getting weird.
“The machine” he said, his eyes darting over my left shoulder. “The frappe machine, you know?”
“What did you say?”
“The Frappe machine! The frappe machine!” He was practically screaming at me and pushing his finger over my shoulder.
“’That frappin machine?' What does that mean? Are you cursing at me?”
We eyed each other suspiciously for a few seconds while each of us tried to fish out whatever reason we could from the nonsense that had just passed between us. Finally, he broke the silence.
“I’ll have a coke and a cheesebuggah...to go.”

I didn’t keep that job. I got done as soon as Mrs. Hill got back from the peoples. I decided I’d wait and look for work in Maine after I learned the frappin' language.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Contents of a Serial Suitcase

Reading my journals makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel a little more of that distance that I almost pride myself in maintaining. I don't talk a lot about my kids or my family. I leave out the wonderful little stories that my boys give me and they give me real gems. I don't ever mention Keith or really anyone who is important to me. Words hit the paper like spit on the concrete. They all have that same thump. What woman spat this nastiness?.

I wasn't ready to call this Unpacking My Journal. If you knew me at all you'd know that I never really unpack anything. I like the notion of a Serial Suitcase. Full of dirty laundry and cheesy souvenirs. Course you know that by the time any person reaches the beginning of their secondary education they've kept more than one journal. My second grade teacher, Mrs. May required my first one. Everyday we would pull out our little pads of that funky lined paper and practice.

"Okay, class, let's work on our letters."

Whether we see it or not we begin from the first Aa keeping our journal: pieces of paper left when we've gone. Even if it's anonymous...It's still ours. Some we share. Most we don't. What we do share is our polished view. The one that you'd write in a "complete profile". I was always a funky ID. Did some of my best writings on those things. You can get really creative when you're an avatar. At the end of the night though when you finally close your book on the day you realize that mostly you are the things that you left out.

Maybe that's why my journal makes me feel guilty. It's all of the things that I leave out.

That ain't such a bad thing...Better out than in.

Thanks for this. I needed that ... Bit of air for this musty old closet.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Theme Week 2:

I just moved the desk in my house to over by the window so that I can look out while I work on homework. It wasn’t a big move but it’s completely changed my perspective. The other day while writing a prompt response I watched two squirrels scurry around the tree outside my window. They were fighting over some tidbit of something that they were both determined to have. The first squirrel got a hold of it and took it straight up the tree with the second one following close behind. They then disappeared from my view.

I just moved the desk in my house to over by the window so that I can look out while I write. It was a big move and it’s completely changed my perspective. The other night while writing a prompt response I watched two squirrels scurry around the tree outside my window. They were fighting over some tidbit of something no doubt tasty that they were both determined to win. The first squirrel got a hold of it and ran straight up the tree and onto a branch. The other was not far behind. They fought on that limb for several minutes and then disappeared in a screech of violence. I was left with an empty window and no response for my prompt.

I just moved the desk in my house to a wall over by the window. When I want to avoid writing I can look out the window by pulling my chair back and moving the plant. It was a monumental move for me. My desk is one of those huge oak writing desks that must have adorned some accountant’s office back in the 70’s. The other night while avoiding the writing assignment I watched out the window trying to find something more interesting than the task set before me. Two squirrels were fighting over a piece of someone’s garbage no doubt disgusting and germ ridden. The first squirrel wrestled it from the other and tore across the yard trying to win his trophy by virtue of distance. The other was behind him screaming and screeching. They fought ruthlessly for 5 minutes each winning by small measure then losing by great default. I ran from window to window hootin and hollerin right along with them screaming from the very core of my primordial self, “Give that to me! Give that to me!” In a heightened state of awareness, sweat beading on my massive forehead I returned to my writing prompt and from the soul wrote a response that made the instructor’s knees buckle. I was given the Nobel Prize for literature and my praises are still sung throughout various regions of the woodland elite.

Theme Week 1: And as the sun sets....

So I'm thinking that this will be my last journal entry on here. Oh, I debated about going on with it but I think I will return these thoughts to my journal which is feeling a little betrayed these days. See it over there? "Why do you have time and notion for those keys and not for me? What do you think your grandchildren will think of the BLOG you leave for them to find in the attic? Not very romantic, Amy". So I'm going to try and return to my ramblings in written form. (Don't tell the journal but this was actually a little easier on the hands. Though it missed the pictures that are so often included in the handwritten text.)

The weekend has settled into a nice rhythmic quiet. All the chickens are home and in their roost. The smells of Sunday supper still hang in the air and soon the sounds of Star Trek Voyager will replace the Noggin ones that bounce around now. I love the sounds of Sunday though frankly it's always been my least favorite day. Sunday evenings were brutal. Always felt so alone no matter what I was doing. It was like I was missing something really important. Not these Sundays recently. My life is so full and filling. An hours quiet here and there is a blessing. I relish it.

I can't tell you the relief that I feel in making the decision to drop ENG101. My belly was in knots, I spent more night than not up until 2 or 3 trying to make certain that I stay just enough ahead that falling behind is the difficult task. I know that I dropped it because it was the course that would require the most structure from me. There's a little guilt in that. Kind of like proposal writing. I know I need it and I will take it. Just not this semester. I'm going to let myself ease into this just a bit. I'm looking at years of this. Best not to get burned out in the first week.

I can tell that this is my last entry and probably a good thing. I don't want my writing here to become used and tired. Best to let it go and write nothing than to write what is forced and unbelievable.

Thanks for the exercise. Thanks for the vent. Next time you want a peek into my journal you'll have to take a listen to the final cut of pink and follow that map. Ahh again the dance..............

Theme Week 1: The Bitten Word

It's late. I was supposed to take the whole 24 hours off from my studies but I just couldn't do it. I've been going round and round about my schedule. I'm afraid I've bitten off too much for my own good. Two writing courses is tough. Especially when I consider the other courses as well. It's a difficult decision for me to drop a course but I really feel that I should give myself the benefit of sanity. I know that my family would certainly appreciate it. So yep...ENG101 has to go for this semester. Next semester I'll take it in a classroom environment. I've been struggling with the decision for a few days and I'm certain that this is the right decision for me. There. A little of my own housekeeping. More tomorrow.

Friday, September 09, 2005

"So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me." -- Albert Einstein
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I'd like to get this pic and quote to be on the page and not appear as a post. Maybe I'm braindead but I tried the hello proggie and it puts it here. I even read the help section. Any advice? Anyone?

Theme Week 1: A moment, please.

"Here you are dealing with your kids...and the periodic table. When you get out of journal mode and want to create that reality on the page, how do you do it? Plain jane, whitebread? Or something a little disconcerting to match the disconcerting material?"

Remember in my last entry I said that words [the way that we put them together] are as individual as fingerprints? I've been thinking about that comment since I wrote it and wondering what my "fingerprints" might say of me. I wonder about the things that I say and the way that it comes out. My hands can hardly keep up with my thoughts and even the words fall short in catching the nuances. Still, there's a tension as it were between those words. Like the steps of a quest.

I have this distance about me. I don't think you'd notice it if you passed me in the aisles of Doug's but when you get to know me you know it's there. It isn't a wall or an aloofness. And I did the whole child within thing and got through that baggage. It isn't about that. It's about something else. It's that disconcerting material in my thoughts. Everything a story waiting to unfold and everything just a bit higher than whatever is happening at the moment. Science. Philosophy. Math. Languages that speak to me. I've made excuse after excuse to reason away school. Made a couple of attempts that I've always managed to sabotage. Who cares after the psychological reasons. They've all burned out in the scent of homemade bread and the sounds of babies. What mattered was the lack of result. I FEEL that result. I FEEL in some being inside of me.........

Yech. I can't get my point out. The words - so puzzling. Pieces, pieces...bits and pieces.

What might happen, indeed. I guess we'll see, wont we?

Theme Week One: Whatever Happened to Thursday, Anyway?

Well, we don't know what happened to Thursday. Ever have days like that? Ones that just disappear into somewhere else? Sometimes it's Saturday or Sunday before I realize I've lost Thursday. I'm taking 5 courses and a chemistry lab this semester. It isn't too much. Nothing thrills me more and I feel like I can stay caught up. But none of us, me, Keith, Aska or Hagen are used to this new routine yet. Especially me. Last night I came home from class and Hagen was still up (he's the two year old) So I sat down in the recliner with him and when I woke it was 5:30am...time to go get the twins off to school. Thursday disappeared in a flurry of activity and then a deep descent into nothing. Lots of thought though.

I can't believe that this is me. That was me driving home last night, my head full of chemistry. I'm taking ethics. Algebra and these two wirting courses. Yep. That's right. This is MY life. I'm not reading about it, I'm livin it. That's a huge deal for me. I'm going to make. I'm not going to stop this time. My dreams are jealous of my life. I don't know if I said that first. I just woke up one morning and there it was laying right on the tip of my tongue so I spoke it. And truer words could not be applied. Futhermore...I ain't skeert. I am, however going to have to insist that everyone who knows me call me Doctor for the first year after I get my doctorate. Even my kids. I think that's only fair.

Today is quiet. No class tonight. Hagen is sleeping soundly and I actually get to listen to tunes for a while. Music and words...ahhhh life - she be very very good to me.

I thought we were supposed to be able to see other student's work. I was looking forward to that. I'm like you in the respect that I enjoy peering in to someone's written word. I've heard it said that all the words have been combined in all possible ways. I say Peeeshaw. Words are as individual as fingerprints in my book. Especially when they're allowed the freedom to flow from their own source. I keep checking out your page to the prompts and I only see our bits. Should I be looking somewhere else or simply minding my own business? Either way, my feelings won't be hurt. I've just never been afraid to ask.

I don't think that this will be it for the day. I just have to get some of this housework done. My desk is the only thing here clean. I'm impeccably disorganized except with school and work and there i am just impeccable. (Oh I love the written dance)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Theme Week 1 - Witness this Wednesday

I hope that this is what you meant. Shall I do a new post for each day? I can run on when I don't really mean to. Seems there's just more to say after I've said everything that I thought I needed and probably more than you wanted to hear. I think you were absolutely right in your assessment of my "baggy" writing - I am definitely sometimes in the mood to make the reader dance. That's especially true in my journal keeping. I wondered after if I should try and reshape the way that I keep this particular journal and have another locked away that I could write in and just be me. "Well", I thought to myself "wouldn't that be nice? While I'm at it, this wishing game, I wish for a maid, a pair of shoes that fit and a little quiet time in which to write in that other journal." I've been neglecting it for months. I go through those spells every few years. I can't decide if I'm too busy living it to be writing it or afraid of what I might see when I look back, which I frequently do. So, to sum up all of these bags :) I'm afraid that sometimes you'll just have to dance with me a bit if you're asking to look inside my journal.

Today the reality of this undertaking caught me by surprise. I turned the corner to go into my Ethics class (Robb taught that last year in case you never asked your old roomie) and there it was....seriousness and let me tell you, it was a boatload of it. Not the Ethics class per se...no, it was something else. I was early to class and had just printed out my syllabus for ENG101. I was so excited...another online course and it's WRITING!! Praise be! Well, turns out that this is one tough cookie. This isn't going to be an easy A. Not that I hoped it would be but I kinda hoped it would be. Immediate thought was DROP OUT! Run do not walk to your nearest admin person and drop the hell out of that course. Well, what kind of example would I be to my 14 year old son watching everything that I do? No kind that I could live with. So I'm going to trudge my way through it and hope that I don't offend her somehow. I just feel like I might. Writing is such a personal little demon to me. The grammar and usage and all that I DEFINITELY need. I'm hoping that I can contain the whirling dervishes of my mind and be a little more precise...a little less.....Baggy.

I can assure you that my other theme assignments will be a lot more polished. Maybe if I didn't keep a journal already I could be different in it but this feels like my turf. Well it is my turf...it's my journal. I don't want to give you the impression that I'm offended or being defensive though it may sound that way. I'm just backing up my own self to my own self. I need to be real here. and free to have that. Otherwise you will never get a feel for that me which is what I think you're after as much as allowing me the opportunity to have that glance into my own self. Clever. See how I figured you out?

That's it. Goodnight, Mr. Goldfine. That boatload of seriousness story will have to wait to be fully revealed and resolved for me. Let's see what the dream fairies have to say.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Me, in three persons or Of me, her and the girl in the corner


I am a writer. I always have been and likely will ever remain so. I write poetry and journals and business letters for friends. I write notes to my children and my lovers and my family when needs must. I have taken courses and read fervently books that speak to me of techniques and style. I have a couple of pieces that were published years ago in an obscure trade magazine for convenience stores. I have attended Duke University's conference for writers which was a real treat For years that was my dream, to be a writer. I never really defined that dream...What constitutes being a writer? Being Published makes one a writer? I suppose. I have refined my own definition of a writer as "one who writes". It's in my blood. When I don't write I am meaner and more vicious. I am confused and sometimes go for months without any means of marking my progress. That brings a sense of desperation to one so fully dependent on the process. How do people remember things, the small details of a scenario or of a person that can only be caught for that instant in time? The important details must be placed squarely on that rectangle to be assimilated. Some days my only entry is "bleh" but I remember that "bleh" when reading through the journal and quickly turn to the next page.

I don't specifically have any course expectations or hopes. My writing will improve, I know that to be fact. Mostly I am excited to just let the whole experience bring all the triumphs and failures, all the self defending punctuation errors and "huh"s that I know will come and be glad just to have had the balls to do it.

That's me.


She wasn't confident. Her movements indicated that she was a bit withdrawn but trying to peer from beyond those glasses into something bigger than she felt. The words were there for her but getting them out, putting them out there for anyone to read, that was a different matter. What if they could peel back the personification and see the person? Would they laugh at her words? Would they judge her by them? She had a knack for coyly distributing her ideas in conversation without really being committed to them. That was her art. Age would refine her. Make her less self conscious and more brave than youth ever could. Experience taught her compassion for those words that drove her. She learned to believe more in herself and less in the artful dodgings that so peppered her youth. She was never really published. No books to her credit, no public audience that sang her praises. Her writing was a personal journey into self. And it was enough...

For her.

The Girl In The Corner

You're young. You can be anything that you dare should you follow it up with effort. You have words that fly from your fingertips to electrify the page. Everything comes so clearly and easily for you. Your mind coils itself around an idea or a word or a phrase and won't let it go until you can feed on its promise completely. Everything about you in that room means business. You cut and carve your way through paper after paper, some landing in the stack neatly by your arm. Others litter the floor with their unimportance and irrelevence. You breath and eat and sleep those bastard words until you give them a family and a home and a name by which to call them. You hunger for more when the sheet is blank before you. What now comes? What now? For you there will be no end to the want for more for you are

The Girl In The Corner

Theme Week 1

Tuesday Tremors

School starts today. No really!! Furthermore, I'm a STUDENT. What in the name of corn on the cob is up with that?? Me...a student. Finally. People ask what I'm going to school to be. When I answer that I'm going for my doctorate in Physics, well the faces are ....ummmm....doubtful, surprised ... noone nearly as surprised as I am. Tonight is Chemistry. I already looked it over and tried to catch up a bit from the appendix. I love the periodic table and the idea of chemistry and I am ever so passionate about what I'm doing. New frontiers...new journeys. A life full and dare i say it? complete. I know from my own personal experience that a journal is a very personal experience and can be boring for the unintended reader. who cares? This is my theme for the week and, having kept a journal for years anyway, i know that if i strive to write for you i will fail to write for myself. if grammar and punctuation are important, well likely there i'll fail before i fully begin. Today I am too excited and nervous to contemplate any massive contemplation. Perhaps after class I will have more to say and less to say on saying it. :)

Post Traumatic Chemistry Syndrome

Alright. Really I did okay. I even remembered things that I didn't know that I even knew. Funny the middle-aged brain. I like the instructor because she enjoys what she does. In anything, that's nearly half the battle.

My family can read these blogs. My kid can read them. Anyone caught in a web can read them. Somehow that heightens my desire to be a little riskier and say what's REALLY on my mind. You know, those first thoughts that get backspaced before they actually come to fruition on the tongue or on the page. Those are my words. Give me those over the tired rank and file response that I sometimes feel conditioned to sacrafice. Sometimes I hear myself say something and immediately following there's a curse under my breath. "Where is your bravery now, girl?" it asks of me. Who ever has an answer for a question of that magnitude? You can't answer with a "but i" and you can't say "well, i" without knowing that you're going to sound like a complete liar...even if only and especially to yourself.

So here I sit tonight, the rush of excitement settled already into this quaint little smile that tugs at the corners of my mouth, and I'm wondering what I think of it all. Of me taking this step into chemical, ethical, algebraeic creative non fictional english comp - step ones in a series of 2 and 2a and 2bs of steps on my way toward something there...up there in here bigger than what i can imagine that it might be. of you, sitting there reading all these blogs from all these people peering so stealthfully into what, under most circumstances I would password and pray and throw myself in front of to keep you (the collective you) from seeing. Funny, this. Funny, that.