April 30, 2016
Today I looked out on the hilly cemetery surrounded by gold-tipped gate. Before it a man paused with his black terrier, the kind you see on charm bracelets. He lifted it, held it from under its front legs, and pressed the dog into a gap –just like you’d do with a tot to point out something flying or scurrying beyond the gate. The way he held it made it look like the dog had armpits. It didn’t bark or sniff, it just hung there, complacent, looking with the man. I tried to see what they saw but the only thing that stood out to me among the graves and crosses and patches of dead grass was an Easter basket full of plastic eggs. Then I realized that the black terrier was peeing, and that his owner merely wanted to watch the stream arc beyond the gate.
Today I watched a baseball field and young people with Frisbees. There was a little boy named Skylar chasing a ball, and a little girl named Summer chasing him. This time of year, the puffs blossoming on trees turn mustard yellow at sunset, right as the birds make their horniest racket. I dug my toe into dirt and I party-planned. I spend many minutes each day party-planning my evenings. I plan how I’ll roast sprouts and I plan how I’ll buy beer and I plan when to water my basil plant and whether to use my green sock for dusting or my blue one. They both have polka dots. I plan whether or not I’ll ever use the can of pumpkin puree in the pantry. We bought it in October and now it’s too late for pie. I plan what to do with the yellow guitar picks that Sam scatters in the house like he had a handful and began spinning and let them go and there they landed and there they stay, by the tissue box, snug in the couch, on the rug, by the candle, beside the toilet, where we keep old magazines. I planned to arrange them like leafs so they would look like the glowing tree the color of warmth and field dust. When I got home, though, it was already dark and the leaf clusters had turned navy, like berries.
April 28, 2016
(willem van aelst)
Today I saw a single Hasidic family occupy a whole row of a subway car bench. The children: two boys with curly Qs, a daughter with glasses and a Torah on kindle, baby twins, a teen popping a pimple, and a toddler in a mini navy uniform, her legs splayed apart. I saw her panties. Pink, orange, white stripes. Seeing those panties I thought: when she looks at a rhinestone on the subway platform floor does she think it’s a pink diamond? When it’s Seder and she can’t have leavened bread does she most crave the donut, the kind with chocolate frosting that sticks on front teeth like grubby piano keys, the kind that lady’s biting, getting sprinkles on my coat sleeve? Does she have a special plate at home that’s always hers –the one with the deer or duck on it, or a primrose wreath on it, a halo? Is the plate made of a squeaky plastic that never breaks whens she throws it on the ground to explode the fried egg? And the yolk on a good day is orange on a bad day is mustard clot green? I thought about the-diamond-the-donut-the-deer-plate after one quick glance at her, but the other children didn’t make me feel anything except the smell of curling irons. I’m wearing those panties.
(george hendrik brietner)
April 21, 2016
darling nikki by prince was the song that helped me sort out my sexuality.
Today a bird nest fell on my fire escape. It was not brown or twiggy or shaped like a wreath or cup or abalone shell. It was a fluffy tuft of blue and red strings, hair, street detritus, crumbling magnolia leaves. A sparrow hopped around it thinking of what to do. The bird was too small and the nest too heavy to retrieve it and return it to its post in the tree above. Soon, a bigger bird came and pecked it through the metal grating, to the sidewalk below. There, the neighor’s pitbull sniffed it and barked and then his owner dragged him away, calling him a bitch, a dumbass, a trash-smelling dipshit.
I remember deep blue skies. They’re always that shade around my father’s birthday.
I remember after he’d tuck me in bed at night I’d demand he stay. I’d clutch his arm, sure that if he left I’d wake. He would face the ceiling and mumble under his breath. The words sounded like curses, like whisper spits, like he was calling me confounding names in his sleep. Years after I found out he had been reciting lesson plans in Chinese, going over lines of Ming-Qing poems and ancient phrases written in characters that looked to me like brick buildings falling apart, broken insects, and people.
(john bratsby, jew chew honeydew”
April 16, 2016
(Vincent van Gogh, View from Theo’s Apartment, 1887)
Father liked to sit on the stool Bob Dylan farted on.
Mother liked to sit on the hammock on the porch, the yellow ropes leaving red tartan squares on her ass.
Daughter lay down on the carpet. She lived in those patterns, dreaming of Scotland.
Son drank a Moscow Mule. He disliked their summer rental.
Mother and father went to the tall grass garden and right there, right there, they did it. In front of the forest, in front of the wind.
Daughter could sense it, down on that rug, the paisleys making bug shapes.
Son could sense it, the mule in his drink humped another.
Mother and Father pretended they were old, complaining about the lamb chops and sauv, but they were as young as billie goats, burrowing their horns in hills in search of red ants to snort. Mother got grass burn on her back and father got a tick bite, soon just a mole on his shoulder.
Serves you right, daughter said on the drive back home, and Yes the son added.
“Forever young,” Father sang. (Ohara Shoson)
April 2, 2016
(Old woman poaching eggs, Velazquez)
Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal:
sweat drizzled on my tacos,
chili on the street mangos.
jicama, charimoya, avocado.
jacaranda and pollen and christ.
one night, we saw the cotton candy man finish his load, pouring the rest of the sugar in his hot vat and soon it all swept into the air in nets and streams and webs and cottons of blue and pink. the boys and girls and men and a woman in a wheelchair tried to catch them, jumping, bouncing, running (the wheelchair woman just moved her arms up and down). the uncaught streams of candy snagged on telephone wires, tree branches, and the church spire.
it’s frenetic and slovenly there, all at the same time.
March 6, 2016
At five, we went outside and under the tree put dirt clumps and pebbles in the coffee grinder. She stood over my head, took the handle, and twisted and twisted. I writhed in the sun like an animal plucked out of sea as she coated me with a constellation of dust. “Like Parmesan at the restaurant,” she said. Or pepper, or salt.
At six, she saved me from a tree.
At eight, she moved away.
At ten, we went up to the basement with brown light and yellow furniture. “Let’s try it,” she said, “you first.” And I sucked at her neck; first it was nice, then it hurt. “You’re supposed to do the ear, too.” “Isn’t that a wet willy?” I said. I had heard about those. “And what if I suck wax out of your ear?” A hummingbird levitated outside the single window, incandescent green, watching. It had raspberry stains on its neck, too. Like tribal tats, I suppose; but ours faded.
At twelve, we tried on her mother’s bras and tangas and photographed ourselves like pinups. On the same roll of film we photographed our shit bobbing in the toilet, took a picture with the rat-tailed mailman, and one of the sticky lollypop that moved in and out of her dog.
At fifteen, she watched a boy hold me, push his purple mentos into my mouth. We drank daiquiris afterwards. She saluted me, gravely, for conquering a man. She put ointment on my pink summer itches.
I don’t know where she is now or what kinds of insects flutter around her garden. Perhaps they crawl or burrow.
February 20, 2016
surely unsatisfied for good reason, a noblewoman painted by Bartolomé González in 1615.
it was nearly 9 degrees.
we had fried corn balls and vodka,
paid a chinese man to massage my toes,
bash my legs, bruise my ankles,
all to get me warm.
we clapped our hands to a fiddler on the roof,
until our hands were meat,
ran to catch the bus,
screamed into the grass,
chewed chilli chunks,
then it was 10 degrees.
(jacob van hulsdonk)
January 26, 2016
Not once in the snowstorm did I slip
I slipped not once
In the snowstorm, I slip did not
(maurice denis) (hilding linnqvist)
I couldn’t see my fingers stretched out in front of me, it was so static white. But once I put some goggles on I could see the kids and dogs jumping and sliding and yelling in glee and trepidation. I looked like a scuba diver, burrowing in those snow heaps, or more like a girl trying to touch the bottom of the pool, trying to fetch a bright pink baton to pass on.
just incase you haven’t listened to jackie wilson this winter:
January 9, 2016
Familiarize yourself with the album “Who is William Onyeabor?”. Maybe the best CD I’ve bought since my first White Stripes album.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of churning butter at my kooky elementary school. We shook jars full off cream and maybe a little salt. Shook them like maracas, up down, up down, dancing to the beat. When we saw little granules of cream we were told to keep on going until it was thick like yellow vanilla ice cream. I felt nor here nor there about the finished product, slightly repelled by the blobby parts. Ni fu ni fa, as the nonsense saying goes, in Spanish. It sure wasn’t ice cream and neither of my parents wanted it on their baked potatoes.
There was plenty of it in Greece. It wasn’t as good as FAGE and it wasn’t as good as the blocks of feta that accompanied each meal. We would slice off crumbly pieces as if it were a loaf of bread. After Greek feta dinners we’d light the green coils for the mosquitos and walk through that incense smoke to the patio, where we sat on plastic chairs and smile at passing boys who whistled at us.
My dad put a glass down of it with every breakfast. I disliked it so much that I would chase it with the fresh squeezed juice from our porch oranges and it would curdle in my tummy.
A Dervish patchwork cloak from Iran.
Milkshake: dream kiss. Latte: first time at Starbucks. Lassi: mango, mango, mango. Cheese: goats, and their dangerous slit eyes, making rectangles out of me and oceans out of the hay fields.
a really handsome looking corn from New York
December 31, 2015
(the good ole van van)
At Mount Baldy Lodge there’s an orange light falling on the brown and bright blue and the nutcracker men warming their tufts by the fire. Rosie orders a drink called Girl Scout Cookie which has peppermint schnapps and hot cocoa, I think. It is melancholy in California because the silence is chock-full (of nuts? –No. That was in my grandparents’ house, back when they had a house and watched the BBC with little saucers of salted pecans and cashews) of memories that make me wonder about what it means to be a child and go back to a childhood home. In highschool, I ate a lot of cheese bagels with cream cheese and drank a lot of smoothies and pressed my breasts together and put sparkle lotion on my shaved legs and yelled at boys from moving cars. Now, I drive my dad’s new automatic car down the mountain with tangerines rolling around the backseat. I didn’t think the orange 5pm light was special back when I lived here, but maybe I did. Though I was a distracted child, I am a distracted adult now, too. Nature light distracts me. The West distracts me and this state reminds me to eat more medjool dates and rub my face against more carpets, lick the oil off my fingers. But they say bro here too much and there’s too much hair dye, the bad kind of orange. But the Girl Scouts are sweet. (an asafo flag from ghana, 1957)