Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Take Your Life

Darling, dry your eyes
With the black lace you despise
You're too late to cry

Now, compose yourself
It's late, it is time to take
Your own life (in pictures)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Taller than five-four, shorter than five-five; five and a half inches circumference at the narrowest (wrist), thirty-six at the widest (hips). Such are the limits of my body and do not begin to measure the limits of the mind.

I don't know when the sun sets. If there were a real beach around, I'd sit and watch the water every chance I had. The ocean affords a lot of second chances. Waves wave on without a ripple.

That was very last day of first semester there. You were in school. I was reading the Washington Post on the beach and taking on sand through those side eyelets. I've taken a lot of pictures of myself in the last year and I shook out all my ballast.

The ten cuts on my shoulder - left shoulder, because I'm right-handed - are yellow, specked with red, blushed with pink. I'm not interested in watching them bleed. They hold pain I only must feel when my bra strap bites into my skin. I want to watch them heal. It's a failed abstraction. I was trying to draw an X because I thought it would be beautiful. It's an abstraction on failure.

I want someting to record people with. I have empty shelves I could fill with discs of interviews. I'd need a typewriter to write up transcripts. "What's your best memory of your grandparents?" I'd ask my subjects. "When you're trying to make a pen work, what do you draw? Do you get premonitions? Who am I? Do you eat a lot of cheese? What kind of animal would you like to be?"

I've long fancied being a fruit bat. Bridget said I'd be an ocelot. I think she's an otter. Yesterday was about narwals and tomorrow's shaping up to be a panda. Today is an inchworm. Put your thumb and middle finger on a table and do the inch.
Don't you know,
After wiring the thing to explode
Wired for sound,
Wide awake here for days in a row

- The New Pornographers, "Sing Me Spanish Techno"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Take Your Time

I'm not seeing a way out of this, which scares me in a purely claustrophobic way. I'm not actually concerned at all. I've wondered if this the manic part of the cycle, my carefully slow overcaucious mania of rash and restlessness. Whenever I've had occasion to wonder, I haven't cared.

Here you are in your last bathhouse with fake mirrors. The line from Lolita that's had oppertunity to stuck with you most is Humbert's "perfectly blended shower". Time to find your dictionary, time to reread.

Here you are getting your first glimpse of those two skateboarding blond boys who speak French and whom you desperately want to meet. Here they are on the street the next day! Here's you not daring to smile at them. Here you are blowing past the men outside the bar hitting on your ice cream, back to the crammed boutique Duval Street to fetch a wrinkly, baggy brown sundress out of a cardboard box in the back corner.

Here you are on a bus full of drunk crazy old men who all know each other, like the one who ran his face down a cheese grater and tells you he's a fisherman and was in an accident, then falls asleep and is woken by the bus driver and then tells Stevie (who wears a straw hat with a ribbon and a feather and says he lives in a sailboat) he was beat up for his money and then asks everyone in turn why weed was outlawed and whether they've got any and then starts to warble and mix old songs about West Coast cities and flowers.

Here you are, is it that same night? because it's running together smashingly, with a boy from Montréal, a sixteen-year-old Alex - watch it, it's Aleex - sitting on the pool table, feeding in quarters, failing miserably shot after shot, making embarassing mistakes with the alphabet and mixing up tenses. "Take your time," he says. He can't remember the English word for "aim", but it's what you need to work on. He wrote this thing, this little thing that's like your mental magic chant. L'universe est mon imagination..., it goes. You wrote your address with the "USA" at the end in his book and jumped on the wall to look back on him and his brother before you went away.

Here's you buying VOGUE and your newspaper, here's you a day and a thousand miles away writing the pronoucation of your last name on the back of the receipt. That girl's name is Erin, remember to say hello tomorrow.

Here's you listening to "Chicago" in the taxi before you make it out of city limits (you heard your little sister singing "all things go, all things go" once, you didn't call her on it becuase you didn't want her to stop), here's you cuddling under the icy covers and finding a better song for David Bowie's 60th birthday than the radio did (hmm, a birthday marks a change, what Bowie song could we play about things changing?).

Here you are in the morning, wondering if that sailboat of Stevie's is actually afloat or beached somewhere. Here's glamor you'll be soaking up until you cut it to pieces on Friday, here's Anna Wintour's name where yours could be. Here's Jenny with a big smile, here's Ophelia moving to your table, here's Hannah giving away gingerbread, here's your favorite teacher saying here's the guy who never shuts up, here's the guy who brings only a pencil, and she, she's artistic. And her hair changes color. Here's people being nicer to you than you expected.

Who taught you to expect the treat to be bait on the hook, I wonder?