Archive for November, 2008


In what has become a time-honored, albeit exceedingly silly, tradition here at Octopus’ Garden, I present to you aerial and side shots of the T-giving trifle prior to heading over in a little bit to spend my T-giving with lovely friends E. and J. and their funny/smart boys and E.’s parents. Happy T-giving, o blogosphere!!!!!

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You dream your feet are tender and cold and bare. It is winter. You wear an ember-colored blouse. Someone is reading poetry. It isn’t like you to take off your shoes like this.

(Prism, nacre, calcite, aragonite, abalone, mother-of-pearl, spiral, whorl.)

Coin ricochets down in a metallic clatter, ropes shudder and creak, velvet shimmies up, and you slow dance in your clear glass fishbowl with your eyes closed. Center page for eight minutes, all languorous swirl and trope: sequin scales’ illusion, allusive fan of silk sleeves. Idee fixe with nowhere else to go.

At night, you shut the blinds against late afternoon’s too-early dark. You want to hold all the light inside. You don’t want to become a silver top unspun. You don’t want to be unribboned.

(Prism, nacre, calcite, aragonite, abalone, mother-of-pearl, spiral, whorl.)

Wait for morning, wait for the wind to please stop blowing because you are brittle paper palimpsest with words you can’t quite make out pressed down by a too-hard pencil on a torn-away top sheet: vastuary? unrinded? bromeliaphilia? n-ache-r? Wait for morning, wait for the wind to please stop blowing, wait for your chest to unclench enough to take another breath, wait for the weak-tea November light to come and lick the stubble fields into a quiet burnishing.

(Prism, nacre, calcite, aragonite, abalone, mother-of-pearl, spiral, whorl.)

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Coasting down foothills into Laramie. My father’s old gray Jeep: vinyled and squared, filigreed in lace cuffs of rust.

Rockies’ chilled crust thrusts up hard, distorting the horizon.

Perspective all askew: Mountains much too large and much too blue, looming up much too close too fast. I am not a child, but I slide back and forth in the middle of the front bench seat, knees jogging the gear shift. The parents in the car are not my parents. Alco’s cracked neon on the left closed down years ago. Lost effervescence of wind-bobbled balloons frantically bubbling in the no-longer-there car lot.

Clouds spill down off the mountains, twisting into dangerous, spiraling wraiths.

Are those tornadoes? I ask.

They flame in the too-loud wind like black dry ice, slivered with bright threads of lightning.

Is it war? I ask.

They dervish off the sagebrushed plains toward the road.

You have to stop. You have to pull over, I say. I’m not wearing a safety belt.

The sound of unfurling metal, burning, shattered glass, hot wind. Everything goes blank.

An eyelid blinks open to sunlight, emptiness, the heart-shaped white behinds of curious antelope retreating. Empty car, empty highway, everyone else gone. Mountains’ bright prong ringing an empty town.

Radio’s static crackle, then chipped advertisements, like faded billboards in the wind:

it’s Joe Albertson’s supermarket . . .

on a sesame seed bun . . .

you’re in good hands with All State . . .

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Regarding the Conservation of Twine:

[While unloading car full of shoulder bags, garment bags, canvas bags, duffel bags, plastic bags, plastic bins, and many, many, many, many boxes for my parents’ three-night stay.]

JM: Wach!!!! You be careful that one! Don’t drop! And no, too close to ground! Don’t let drag that one! Get dirty! Oh, you going to drop it! No! Put that one first! Other one on top! No! Other one!

AH: Which other one?

JM: Other other one!

AH: This one?

JM: No, that one. I think I put something fragile inside. I don’t want break it.

AH: What on earth do you have in there?

JM: I not sure. I can’t remember. Too many boxes.

AH: This one?

JM: No, that one. You put that box on top medicine chest. You put down there! Right there! [Having recently been apprised that overly-sensitive progeny such as myself need self-esteem bolstering, my mother has recently taken to occasionally providing positive verbal enforcement when I manage to do something particularly clever.] Good girl! That’s good job! [Aggrieved.] Oh, I so sweat! Your father! He never know how to travel light!

AH: [Suddenly spotting Fruit of the Loom underwear elastic wrapped around some of the boxes] OMG . . . is that . . . ???

JM: What’s your matter?

AH: OMFG! Do you have underwear elastic wrapped around those boxes?!?!

JM: So what! Don’t have to spend money on expensive twine. Instead, you cut off when underwear get wear out! Just like big rubber band!

AH: [crickets]

JM: Why you make ajapa face? You probably think you some kind of Rockefeller and so careless, buy twine anytime you want, don’t you? No wonder you can’t afford own house and force your own parents stay in motel! Nobody believe when I tell them you make us stay in motel when come visit you!

AH: Yes. That’s exactly it. My indiscriminate twine-buying habits have brought me to financial ruin.


[Following dinner in my parents’ room at the Comfort Inn involving fried chicken, frisbees, and tin foil.]

JM: [sighing] Oh! We ate it! Don’t you wish you eat fried chicken?

AH: Not really.

JM: Here, you put orange in your handbag. And make sure you hide it when go by front desk. Come from continental breakfast this morning.

AH: Um, okay. Thanks. Oh . . . here’s a bunch of condiments I picked up at the deli.

JM: Oh, you good girl! Such smart for once! Goody goody!

AH: Yeah, I thought you might like that.

JM: Hey, where your father go this time?

AH: I think he took something out to the car.

JM: Always! Always have to wait for him! You have no idea what I put up with! I have to pack all sock and underwear and everything and all he worry about is soda pop! And he can’t remember anything! He left fried chicken in the icebox in Nebraska! Can you believe it? I tell him exactly! I say, Don’t forget fried chicken!!! And then he forget it!

AH: Sounds like grounds for divorce to me.

JM: Hello, divorce! You don’t know what you talking about! First somebody have to want to marry you before you know what you talking about divorce! But nobody can stand put up with you! Such drama queen!

AH: Excuse me?

JM: Yes! All big hysteric and big fight all the time! Such kin-kirree kin-kirree screaming all the time! Make me want go deaf. All the time too, famous big slump from your father side family, and then always you never happy unless make big fight!


JM: Yeah, nobody can put up with you. Only your parents can stand you. So you better buy house and then we come and live with you. But you live in separate apartment. And get rid of your brat cats first.


JM: Oh! Here come your father! I have to pick out sock and underwear for stay in Nebraska motel tomorrow! I bet he don’t know what I talking about. He going to give complete wrong answer. You watch. Try to fight with him is like fighting with tofu!!

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