Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rusted Nails

I'm wasting my life
You're changing the world
I get drunk and watch your head grow
The sidewalk between me and home says "A.M. '06", and I step on the crack. "Good times, bad times, sweet wines, bad wines," goes the song I'm playing, becuase I listen to Dark Reactions, if you don't.

I dreamt a film. I was the actress, the cinematographer, and the emotional moviegoer, crying in the cinema as I focused on myself and Alison, sitting on a orange sofa. We were comparing carbon-copy forms you fill out when you lose someone. Alison filled in the circle for "No longer friends". Anna filled in the one for "Would like to be friends", but in sky-blue colored pencil that didn't show on the canary copy.

Earlier, she and I and some other girl were dancing in a rainy courtyard at a sophisticated pary, wearing voluminous ivory dresses with violet and green trim. The third girl and I were dancing it backwards; she figured it out and turned around to match Alison. I knew if I turned I'd still never get it right, and I didn't try.

Three diplomats came to watch and Alison told them she was Secretary of State under President Beck. "Oh, really?" they said, and laughed, even though I'd believed her.

In the stone-flagged living room with the tangerine sofa, I zoom the camera up on the DVD case on the mantelpiece. The movie's called Don't Break My Heart With Rusted Nails. The final scene is the letters TIL, tall and white on the DVD case's black background, filling all the screen. TIL, TIL, TIL, 'til what? Those letters don't even appear in that order in the title. "A six-year-old's choice for a favorite movie," scoffs Annie's little sister from another sofa.

Your favorite imaginary friend lies awake mornings having flashbacks, nights thinking of mean things to say. I hope you go deaf and blind - then you wouldn't have to hear the way I talk or see the faces I make (and then maybe you could be nicer to me).
Well, it's been a long slow collision
I'm a pit bull, you're a dog
Baby, you're foul in clear conditions
But you're handsome in the fog

- The Cardigans, "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer"

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Same Girl You Used To Love

Anna sits up in bed at twelve noon, more or less, all three buttons on her Diesel jeans undone, skimpy blue racerback top alternatingly clinging to and hanging off her torso. Her pink-striped bra and the smirking Pink Panther on her thong - thanks, Shelby - are clearly visible. Her stack of bangles is on the floor to the left side of her bed, her earrings to the right. She's slept seventeen and a half hours, recovering from her hectic schedule of procastination, phone calls, and public radio.

She's been reading Vogue, and narrates compulsively in the tone of haute style. "I'd like to try writing as Alex, you know, 'You're so caught up in yourself,' all that rubbish," she says. "I was going to do Victor Hugo first, though. Do you think anyone would understand?"

She rarely brushes her teeth as soon as getting up - that comes after her shower, clothes, and makeup. She arranges tasks in order of decreasing number of body parts involved. This morning, though, she has no real memory of what she may have eaten the night before, and she's guessing she didn't brush her teeth.

She's disorganized mentally, she tells me. She takes off everything before getting into the shower, even the embroidery thread around her wrist. In fact, she's already got shampoo in her hair when she remembers what today's the anniversary of.

She remembers what she was wearing that day - yellow racerback, Forever 21 jeans, green flats. She almost knows what underwear (blue-and-green, Victoria's Secret, perhaps) and bra (same one, she thinks). She may never be quite so enthused about being Irish again.

The White House, 1814
Moscow, 1812
San Francisco after the earthquake
I loved you then as well
The library of Alexandria,
And all of Rome at least twice
And I know this is the biggest blaze
I've ever seen in my entire life

A million firefighters
And ninety-nine alarms
An ocean full of water
I will burn through it all unharmed
I will burn through it all unharmed
I will burn through it all unharmed
For you, you're so beautiful
Goddamn, you're so beautiful

- Bishop Allen, "The Same Fire"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Wanna Be A Suffragette

I'm deathly sick of that picture of the goddamn dead sunflowers. It's at least three years old, it's been seen before, it's a terrible way to think about beauty in death. It's not part of my color scheme.

I keep thinking of the greatest titles and no content to go with, which is fine because I keep forgetting the titles. I wish I'd been born in 1902 or so. Fountain pens and streetcars! Brownie cameras! I could grow up to be a flapper!

I want massive collections of vibrant color. I spent hours and hours at a lecture today, drawing a huge collection of patterns and taking no notes. I spent all yesterday afternoon singing, "get out of the office, and into the springtime!". I haven't seen so many people in public for months.

I'm wearing maroon brocade pants. I dropped my coat in the mud to chase a boy up my street. I numbed my toes wading in the river. I fell over on the stairs. I ordered a sundae and got an ice-cream cone. I'm getting a tetanus shot next week. I've been worrying for weeks about how I'm going to explain that I will not be able to put on a Band-Aid.

I've had this romantic image of going running. I'm going to try and appreciate every warm day this year. I wanna go kite flying.
The springtime is the season
Where everyone's a friend
Loneliness and desperation both come to an end
No matter how you died through winter,
In spring you're born again
Your life might not be going good,
But spring helps you to pretend

- Of Montreal, "Springtime Is The Season"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Let's Hear It For Pipe Dreams

I like old-fashioned anatomical diagrams of hearts. If you have some, I want to learn to draw a heart from memory.

Let's hear it for the people you would kick out if only they lived with you.

My eyes are stinging, have been for hours. There's always been salt in my tears, so why does it hurt now? There's salt in the sea, salt in the bath, and salt on pretzels.

I hate pretzels. Let's hear it for tables of junk food you can't bear not to eat. I was sick and asleep all Saturday, and I'd like to go crawling right back.

Let's hear it for waiting all day to get a pile of junk mail on your welcome mat. I'm thinking of writing you letters, but I'm sure I'll come to think better.

My wrist - "nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers", and I hope that image haunts you - my wrist, it has stars, curvy brackets, ivy, birds, flowers, and "DENIAL DENIAL DENIAL DENIAL" drawn on. I did it reading Kafka in church.

Let's hear it for long-term deception, for decades of repression, for bad reception, and for concealing depression.
On Monday evening,
The cloudy skies
On Super Tuesday,
I wanted to die

And so you love me,
Sometimes I'm fun
But you only need me 'til
The darkness takes the sun

Away from me,
I've lost you

- The Submarines, "Vote"

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Empty Emotional Life

The memory of a movie from biology class chills me still. A woman in a lab coat was opening little taupe drawers, years' worth of flu strains, all ice-encrusted. I'm shivering remembering the creaking and scraping and crunching. I kicked a piece of ice down the sidewalk Friday night and spilled my hot chocolate at the cold clattering. I crave warm weather.

I've had nothing to write about for ages. The "with girls" is rubbing off my low-tops and they're getting to say "You're gonna have to change or you're gonna have to go". Just where?

I bought plaid short-shorts. I want to learn to cartwheel on the lawn at the middle school where Stefanie tried to teach me years ago. Her brother, the one we were at the middle school to pick up, he's in college.

I need to find a box, pack up all the rest of the cookies, have a shower, pay Vogue, re-red my hair, find my hemp and beads and Neko Case album and clean socks. I'm running my lips over a quarter that hasn't been clean since 1976. It's getting to the point at which I'm willing to just round up and say I haven't had a boyfriend for a year. Seventeen and Jamba Juice and professional blonde and Tiffany silver and Gwen Stefani would probably win me one. Fake it 'til you make it? Take it 'til you break it?

I always remember a phrase from the days when I got teen-girl magazines, some terribly typical list of ways to get the attention of "that cutie in biology". I thought it was silly, because I wasn't in biology, and there wasn't a "cutie" anywhere, and I tell everyone how much I like them and they ignore me anyway.
Working the village shop
Putting a poster up
Dreaming of anything
Dreaming of the time when you are free from all the trouble you're in

In the mud, on your knees
Trying hard not to please
Anyone, all the time
Being a rebel's fine
But you go all the way to being brutal
- Belle & Sebastian, "Lazy Line Painter Jane"