Tuesday, February 23, 2010


But I heart the Muppets.

"Grab your partner by the ears, lash him to the wheel.
Do si do, step on his toes, listen to him squeal."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Practicing War

Trying to keep myself busy, I practice war.
I count the motes of dust on my screen, Out Loud,
One by
One by
One by
Because I must be careful with detail
And dust is nothing if not detailed.
I say “motes of dust” to nobody in particular
Because it feels good to put words into my mouth.
I make a list of weaponry
That I will need for my practice of war
Because it feels good to make lists.

A blade,
Thin and sharp and shiny.
I want something new—I will test it on myself.
It should be so sharp that I do not feel the wound until later,
Much later,
When I am sitting at my desk
And suddenly notice that my shoes are filled with blood,
That my hands and calves are damp,
That I have left footprints, tell-tale and horrifying,
From the car to the coffee-shop to the classroom.
The blade, unlike my blood-filled body,
Will be neat and sharp.

A shield,
Preferably something fit for a dragon
But more likely it will be a metal garbage can lid.
In a pinch, those are pretty handy.
I will clean it with rhetoric and antimicrobial sponges
And strap it to my body with coral-colored ribbons.
When I take the elevator, I will make sure to stand at the back,
So nobody has to maneuver awkwardly around the bulk.
This will also minimize the stares, I imagine.

Blood Red Leather and tall-tall-tall.
I refuse to sacrifice elegance for practicality.
I do not think those things are mutually exclusive, and
I am carrying a garbage-can-lid-shield, after all.
This is war.
I must use all the weapons in my arsenal if I plan to win.
And I do.
I plan to win.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It's snowing again. And I wish I were in New Orleans. Actually, not-so-much. NOLA during Mardis Gras is kind of the opposite of fun. That being said, a buncha gropey, drunk-ass frat boys and some tragic, topless Bowheads are a damn sight more fun to spend a Tuesday with than stupid zombie articles and more snow. Gah.

On to New Matter: This weekend offered several revelations--which I now will share with you, dear reader.

1) It is difficult to judge a debate when your feet are cold.
UMass Amherst is cold, and I don't just mean the outside. Those buildings are arctic. On the first day of the tournament, I wore thin canvas shoes, and I regretted them for the rest of the day.

2) I try to practice love toward everyone I meet, but the people with whom I fall in love are rare.
I talked with one of the debaters about his rubric for people-in-whom-he-will-eventually-be-interested. His is more complicated than mine (it contains ratios and corollaries), and yet... he falls far more frequently than I do.

3) Peanut butter cup cookies taste better with strawberry jelly on them.

4) I do not have a clear standard of evaluation for manner v. substance.
This is not actually a revelation. I mean, I struggle with this occasionally while grading class assignments. But. When grading papers and speeches, the measurements need not be as concrete. Those aural moments, visceral reactions, epiphanic intuitions, whatever you want to call them--these are the ways I read and combine effective turns of phrases with elegant constructions of arguments--the classroom set-up and the authority of the class-designer allow for more room to move. In debates, however, the clashes between attitude and content are (a) more noticeable and (b) more demanding of keen attention. I need a clear standard of evaluation for manner v. substance.

5) My favorite debaters practice kindness AND perspicuity.
That is a heady combination.

6) Hipster Zombie Lovers versus Hipster Binge-Drinkers is a false choice.
Nobody wins that fight.

7) I am not as good at sharing as I hoped I was.
Mostly, I want the things I want.

8) Vans are better than buses.
Because they have CD players. And the ability to stop at not-McDonald's.

9) My sense of direction is pretty fucking awesome, even in the darkest, iciest New York night.
My new apartment is a ten minute walk from the subway station--a little longer on icy sidewalks. After we got home, late Sunday night/early Monday morning, I could not find the right bus to take me from the subway, so I walked. I am indomitable, bitches.

10) As hard as all of this has been, and as heart-breaking as it may promise to become, you are worth it.
Seriously. I am for you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Or Snowpocalpyse. Which do you prefer? I can't decide. I do know that the weather people are absolutely beside themselves with the excitement of predicting amounts and duration of this (cue ominous chord progression) Cataclysmic Storm.

Anyhoo. This is an image of my neighborhood. (I particularly like the gate hanging open, like someone was so eager to get the hell inside that they just left shit wherever: "Forget the gate latch and Run, Ivanya! It's the Snowpocalpyse!")

It's still falling. The snow, I mean. It has been falling pretty regularly for hours. HOURS. We in New York are not getting the Worst of It, though, according to our over-agitated weatherpeople - The Worst is happening in Philadelphia. Which makes sense. According to Steve the Weave, everything bad happens in Pennsylvania. (I mean, just look at that goddamned rodent. He saw his damned shadow and then we lost Washington DC to the Blizzard of Last Week.) Stupid Pennsylvania.

While I still cannot decide which title I prefer for this Cataclysmic Storm, I maintain that "We are not getting the Worst of It" is my favorite sentence of the day. Because what the what? Define "worst," you sons-a-bitches. I am from ALABAMA. This does not happen in ALABAMA. I thought to myself earlier today, "Self, you need some clean underwear. You should drop your laundry off at that new place down the street. It's less than a block away."

"How bad could it be?"

The answer might surprise you: Bad. It's fucking cold. And the snow is blowing pointedly... Like sharp, little icy darts into the eyes. And the sidewalks are death. Slipping, sliding, slapstick comedy may look fun, but it is not for the faint of heart.

So I dropped off the stupid laundry, then I minced my way back down the street and proceeded to consume almost an entire pan of brownies. I think that's a fair trade-off.

I am not going outside again until April. I know, I know, TS Eliot said that April is the cruelest month, but he also thought fascism might be a good way to go, so, clearly, he got some things wrong.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The One about Performances

1. Where's your number one on your top 8?
Definitely Young Guns Two

2. What is your favorite possession?
My yellow platform peep toes

3. Do you own a gun?

4. If you could tell your last ex something what would you say?
I miss you, you douchebag.

5. Do you get nervous before doctors' appointments?

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I'm for them.

7. What's your favorite Christmas song?
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Coffee and a sidecar, Wilmington, ma boy.

9. Can you do push ups?
Can YOU do push ups?

10. Is your bathroom clean?

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
The ring my Grandmother left me.

12. Do you take painkillers?
Every chance I get.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Rhetoric. Or boobs. Depends on the situation, really. Which makes it all rhetoric. So, there.

14. Do you have A.D.D.?
My powers of concentration are legendary.

15. Still have a birthmark?
I don't know what this means.

16. What are you doing tonight?
Drinking with people I don't particularly like. Unpacking in a desultory fashion.

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
February sweeps are AWEsome. Thank you, Michael Leff. I like vodka.

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought?
Pears, eye drops, blackberries.

19. Name 3 things you drink regularly:
Tea, vodka, Coke Zero.

20. Are you on a diet?
Diets are for pussies.

21. Who's number one on your top 8?

22. Current worry:

23. Current hate:

24.Favorite place to be:
In the sun.

25. How did you bring in the New Year?

26. Where would you like to go?
Somewhere beachy.

27. Why do you wanna go there?
Winter is stupid.

28. What shirt are you wearing?
Eh. Something black.

29. What is your current relationship status?
I have many irons in the fire, son.

30. Favorite color(s)?

31. Would you be a pirate?
Yes. I look good on boats.

32. Are you gay?
All the time.

33. Do you sing in the shower?
All the time.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
My rabid dog. Where is Atticus Finch when you need him?

35. What's in your pockets right now?
Lint, most likely.

36. What are you going to do after this?
Call my mom.

37. Who do you want to be with right now?

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
I got dysentery.

39. Best feeling in the world?

40. Worst feeling in the world?
The end.

41. Who is your loudest friend?

42. Who is your quietest friend?

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
Who doesn't?

44 Do you wish on shooting stars?

45. What is your favorite food?
Skillet enchiladas. Or macaroni and cheese.

46. What is your favorite candy?
Anything Swedish

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
Get in My Car by 50 Cent

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
See 47.

49. What were you doing @ 12 AM last night?
Watching 300.

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Zombie Haiku of the Day

Last year, my friend M sent me a book called "Zombie Haiku" by this dude named Ryan Mecum. The premise of the book is that a bad-poet-turned-effective-zombie journals about his undead experiences.

Here's the sad part. I totally lost that book for, like, months. But then I moved and What ho! She is found again!

Here's the happy part. In honor of the finding, and of the move, and of the new-apartment awesomeness, I will share two of my favorites with you:

Blood is really warm.
It's like drinking hot chocolate,
but with more screaming.


They are so lucky
That I cannot remember
How to use doorknobs.

It's funny because it's true, son.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Poetry Night at the McGurkens, Part Two

So I'm moved in to the new place. There are Russians everywhere--which makes me wish I'd done more, um, retention practice in my undergrad years. That said, we did have a good time in that Russian class, B and I--she spent more time in my classes than she did in her own. Perhaps it was the delicious, full-palated nature of the Cyrillic alphabet. Mostly, though, I'm pretty sure that it was this: Tuscaloosa is just eons cooler than Starkville.

I hired professional movers. It was a cold Sunday, and a good day to not be lifting/axing heavy objects. The McGurkens were out of sight--but totally within listening range. Even as I was putting the last few bits into the bed of the truck, I could hear the cursing/yelling/money-begging/groaning. They were an adventure to live near--but I will not miss their troll voices or the creepy interest they demonstrated in my life.

Anyway. The move happened mostly flawlessly. Not effortlessly, but flawlessly. The only thing missing, really, is Schnapps. But I guess that might be poetic justice. Perhaps there is some value to cycles and circles--other than rhetorically, I mean. Maybe personalities leave and enter our lives in similar fashions.

If that is the case, I wonder... can I predict endings? Am I like the Oracle of Delphi, but with more control over the meanings of my own utterances and deliveries? Are we as formulated and sprawling as TS thought? I like that idea, sort of. I like that idea better than pedantic priests telling me what it is I say and do not say. Balls on someone else's misguided interpretations. Balls, I say.

Considering my new-found skills of prophesy, I was thinking of doing some predicting. But that might be (read: is) way too morbid for a Tuesday night musing.

So. Instead, I will let you imagine the ending, dear reader. Show me what you're working with.