Archive for January, 2008


(QuickTime Required.)

Art Glass Bowl and Kitten Centerpiece

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Enormous tumbleweeds of wind cycloning in off the plains tonight–jangling the windowpanes like a glass tambourine while the windchimes dance a spastic, frostbitten tarantella. The bathroom fan clatters open and shut like a mechanical high hat. Wind so strong that, from a distance, it sounds like the dramatic rumbling of timpani mallets rolling thunder and storm forward from the back of the orchestra.

I love the unease, the unsettledness of the wind. I love how it gives anxiety an exteriority. How its excessive spectacle, its hubristic grandiosity–the Romantic grosse fugue of it–can’t help but shift one’s focus away from the obsessions of the interior–which, lately, feel too much like endlessly fretting over tiny puzzle pieces in a mismatched puzzle that will never go together anyway.

Cold drizzle on snow today. Slipperiness and treacherousness and mess. What else is there to do but put on sensible shoes and tread carefully?

And yet . . . the horizon this evening marbled with creamy streaks of orange and raspberry sherbet. The band of darkness that wraps each day like a tourniquet loosening its grip. There is a slight easing of things.

In the dark, the resolute stars with their obsolescent light from some other lifetime seem almost like an offering–a candle tribute mourning whom? Or what?

You’d think the wind would blow them all out and extinguish the sky. But it doesn’t.

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(QuickTime Required)

A Story About a Box, Part I

A Story About a Box, Part 2

A Story About a Box, Part 3

A Story About a Box, Part 4

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(QuickTime Required.)

Biting the Book

Bathing Beauty

WWF Presents . . .

In other news, I dreamed last night that I had to crash land a small airplane. I was pretty sure that I was about to die. Somehow, though, I managed to maneuver it through trees and rocks and fields and past the roofs of houses, and then through the opened bedroom window of my apartment, over the bed and through my bedroom and over the entire length of my dining room, and then land it right smack dab in the middle of the throw rug in my living room. Really, it was absolutely astonishing. I had no idea how I was able to manage this. I still have no clue.

(Oh! And then there was this thing involving a giant sponge Rubik’s cube . . . ? Or wait . . . that was just something I read about myself on a poster somewhere.)

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Birthday Phone Call:

JM: We don’t get schedule yet. Why don’t you send schedule? Now too late and we have no idea where supposed to go for conference. We been waiting, waiting, waiting, but no schedule.

AH: I put a schedule in the mail for you on Monday. You really should have received it by now.

JM: But we don’t get. So don’t count.

AH: That’s strange. You should have.

JM: You say you sent. But we don’t get. Who the liar? Now too late. Why you do such lousy job organize conference? You don’t even make schedule yet?

AH: Of course the conference is scheduled. It’s just that everyone else has e-mail access, so I distributed electronically, and I’ve been really busy, so I forgot to send you a hard copy until Monday.

JM: Always such big lie excuse you have to make for yourself. So you send schedule to everyone else except your own parents. Why you treat complete stranger better than your own parents?

AH: All you had to do was ask, and I would have gladly told you anything you wanted to know about the schedule and sent you one.

JM: We shouldn’t have to ask. We paying customer. Customer always right.

AH: Do you wanted to be treated like customers, or like family?

JM: You treat so poorly. Stranger get better treatment.

AH: I’m sorry you feel that way.

JM: I not accept that kind of insincere, side-of-face apology. You should think about what you did! We old!

AH: You’re not even going to wish me a happy birthday, are you?

JM: Shame on you! (Hangs up phone.)

At the Super 8:

JM: I so worry about motel because usually we stay at other one, but you wait such last minute to make reservation for us so we have to stay this one instead. This one cheaper. I hate pay so much money stay motel. This one have ice box, too! (She gestures to the dorm fridge in the motel room like a game show hostess, and opens it up to show me.)

AH: I’m glad you like it.

JM: Next time we stay here.

AH: Good.

JM: Hey. You want piece of cold chicken? I can keep all nice cold chicken in ice box.

AH: No thanks.

JM: Your father, I bet, want cold chicken when he come back inside. Who know what he doing outside such long time with car! (She puts a piece of cold chicken on what appears to be a plastic plate ensconced in about a gazillion layers of tinfoil.) You sure you don’t want?

AH: I’m sure. I had soup and salad at the coffee shop during the poetry slam.

JM: Wah! You have to spend money? (Conspiratorially). Hey! I show you something. When done eating cold chicken you just wrap up in top layer of tinfoil and throw away and then you can use same plate again next time eat cold chicken. Isn’t smart?

AH: Very smart.

JM: And guess what plate is! Can you guess?

AH: No.

JM: You can’t guess, can you?

AH: No. What is it?

JM: I show you! (She lifts up the gazillion layers of tinfoil to reveal a plastic frisbee. My parents, it seems, have apparently been eating cold chicken from tinfoil-covered frisbees.) Guess what?

AH: What?

JM: I got it for free! They giving away frisbee for free at Washington Park this summer! I don’t play frisbee. But I take it anyway and now make such nice plate.

AH: Wow. I don’t even know what to say. That’s great!

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Gray/Blue and Apricot kitten is named Aiko (Beloved) and Orange/Black/Gray/Cream Tabby kitten is named Tampopo (Dandelion).

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Cold so cold you feel like a crime scene — flashbulbed open into a tremulous lesion policed by bright yellow tape.

You stay out too long and too late and come back pink as a rare flank steak. You Google hypothermia. Just in case.

You decide you’re like vodka. You can stay in the freezer as long as you like without getting burned.

So you go to a party with a six-pack in your purse and even though you’ve been sad, or maybe even because you’ve been sad, you laugh and talk and laugh all night long and it feels really, really good.

Cold so cold you turn on every single light and keep all the candles burning.

You simmer a soup on the stove until the kitchen window steams over with mist and fog.

You cheer yourself up with different kinds of apples: Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Delicious.

The kittens sequester themselves in your armpits at night. You sequester yourself like a snail in its shell.

You wait for the pending depression to cash itself in like a bounced check ricocheting into an overdrawn account.

You think if you stay inside and don’t leave the house, you can avoid the angry villagers with their sticks and flame.

You keep telling yourself you’re like vodka. You can stay in the freezer as long as you like without getting burned.

Outside, late at night in the Hy-Vee parking lot, wind Spirographs the snow under the metal halide parking lot lamps and everything is a frozen discotheque of glitter, glitter, glitter . . . and you think you could stay out there in that beautiful deadly tundra forever.

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