Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 12, 2009

I can't sleep, so I drive. My gas tank is nearing empty, evident in the way the meter's needle hovers so near red line. But I still drive.

(It's different when you live alone. You have no one to say goodbye to or come home to. No one to send your future coordinates to before departing.

I don't really live alone. I only pretend to. Kind of like everyone else. "I live alone." Hah!)

Catch my drift?

And I come back to this poem by Amiri Baraka, also known as LeRoi Jones. Its formal merit is debatable, but I still dig dig dig like all good Beat lovers should: with a whole lot of appreciation folded into a few tablespoons of whipped skeptical analysis.

Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
"Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note
(For Kellie Jones, Born 16 May 1959)"

Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelops me
Each time I go out to walke the dog.
Or the broad-edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for the bus...

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night,
I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there...

Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 8, 2009

Perhaps solitude and quiet, ukulele strumming and sleeping late are to be my grand achievements for this summer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009

Toward the end of this past semester, I responded to an online advertisement listing a one-bedroom cottage near Proctor's Hall for rent. I decided to take it for the summer at around $150 per week, utilities included. I moved in on May 12th.

The threads of the shag carpet in the living room hold must and stench of cats long-dead, hit by cars and ravaged by lean mountain predators and fat flies. Its shade is a lava red and black, combined in interlocking Rorschach inkblots of one color, then the other. The pattern continues to my bedroom, where the color combination abruptly changes to avocado and Grey Poupon.

It has a bathroom with a terrific view of a wood paneled house belonging to Dr. George Poe, whose French class I took freshman year. J'ai fait un tarte aux pommes pour il et son épouse quand je me suis déplacé la petite maison.

The kitchen is very small, its dark green refrigerator and fast-heating stove on the left and a small sink and counter top on the right. Cabinets hold the year-round owner's groceries: off-brand chocolate diet shakes a la Slim Fast, Lays potato chips, five boxes of rice, flax cereal, outdated spices, and unopened jellies and jams made by Amish folk from rural Pennsylvania.

From there, a door leading out to the back porch where I keep potted herbs. Deer graze in the grass between Lake Bratton and my porch. They hardly flench when I go out to sit in chairs wearing (perpetually) their pollen coats.

The interior of the cottage itself stays very dark, even during the sunniest of days, with the blinds drawn. It is the deeply stained wood paneling, made from trees felled on the property. But I keep the windows that way to prevent cataract-afflicted eyes from spotting thick puffs of white, moderate nudity.

The elderly couple next door double as my landlords. They can't or at least pretend they can't heard my responses to simple questions or my side of daily polite conversation. "How's your manuscript coming," Mr Lotti asks as I open the driver's side door of my car. I shrug slightly and say, "Fairly slowly." He grins, back lit by noon sun. Its rays render the veined cartilage of his wide ears nearly transparent. "I'm sure it'll be a bestseller," he says. His hands decorated with liver spots resting one atop the other on the plastic handle of a brand-new spade. "I'd like a signed copy for my bookshelf!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 10, 2008

I join the hungover herd, filing into Kroger early on Mother's Day. I follow directly behind a man in a rented tux he wore to a wedding the night before. I watch his shoes shine as he walks, slightlight hesitantly, definitely hung over, toward sliding doors.

A man in a motorized scooter grabs at every Mother's Day-themed card within arms' reach. Pink roses. "Dear Mom..." Cartoon lady mice in tea-time bonnets. "Mother" in pink French Script. "I'm building a shrine," the man says, his bulbous belly stretching lintynavy polo, his curly-thin arm hair growing up around the stretchy band of his watch. Pause. "Outside my apartment."

The guy in the rented tux rounds the corner with a gallon jug of water. He places the distilled liquid on the Kroger tile, rubs his eyes to redness, and plucks a card after a brief period of discernment. The man in the scooter says, "I'm building a shrine," and adds another card to his stack. I glance at rented tux man. I slept in yesterday's clothes too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009

One half of my college experience has been blown through. I've gained a year, two pounds, and tiny wrinkles at the corners of my left eye. I've lost a smidgen more of my sanity, a good many brain cells, and the desire to make a million dollars before age 25.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 3, 2009


Ritualistically, trudging on despite our lack of enthusiasm, my roommate and I take hesitant swigs from cans of Steel Reserve at 9:30 AM. Propping our t-shirted selves against the chilly metal of a bike rack. Looking at each other with lackluster smiles.

Hours later, during the stupor that precludes deep, substance-induced afternoon naps, I find this nugget of unintended genius on that godforsaken "social network." It is a response to a question along the lines of, "How did you think the final for Whatever Subject went?" The penultimate word is supposed to be "definitely" but came out more like "defiantly:"

"it was so hard... i defiantely failed"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 28, 2009

There is a real sort of lonely misery that gradually builds in the packed, smoky atmosphere of a frat house during an ear-ringing concert. The cops are outside and the marker scribble on my hand indicates that I am not an underage individual, though I am. Which is quite fine, as I will not be drinking anyway.

People I rarely ever speak to in my day-to-day movement across campus high-five me, shake my hand as they walk by. Some linger for a longer, slurry chat.

I don't know why I'm here.

Then the red light hanging from an extension cord above the makeshift stage brightens. The voice of the band's front man grows louder, climactic, as the drum-dominated beat of their current selection drives harder on. I stand in the corner and exchange a tense glance with a former friend, looking equally as rhythmless as myself, who stands at the opposite corner of the room near tone-distorting speakers. I am comforted by the fact that someone else in place is as disconnected as I am.

The dancing grows wilder. Burning cigarettes rake against flailing items of clothing. Three women from my English class grab annoyingly at my jacket, attempting to remove it, to bring me in to the gyrating ring of spaghetti-strap-top-wearers. A couple leaves no room for Jesus 20 feet away from me.

The girl in orange faux Ray Bans and pearls spills her Keystone on my shoes.