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I'm back, baby!

Yup. I'm back from the dead to terrorize ya.

But in all seriousness, I'm back from the beyond, and where I've been I don't know how to tell you--I've been in the darkness, but I've seen a great light. The light from a spotlight on a stage:

So Saturday I went to a concert. I haven't done that in a long time; I've been pretty much living in my parents' basement, like some it was a bombshelter for my life. So I went to a concert. I saw Paul Westerberg, ex-Replacements leader, who I've followed since I was 13 (which isn't all that long ago), but who I've never seen perform, and somehow thought I never would. But I found out that he was playing here in Philly, and so I got my ticket, met some of the nice folks from alt.music.replacements, and saw the show of my life. But that's not even the important part--not the brilliant songs, not the fact that I'm seeing this guy perform, no. What was the best part? I met him. Yes--I got to meet him. I was a bit of a star-struck ass, but he was cool about it. I blurt out "Oh my god, this is like meeting J. D. Salinger or King Arthur or something; I can't believe I just said that." Which started a little conversation we had about the book Salinger's daughter wrote.

But doing this, going to the concert and meeting an artist I've been more or less idolizing, has galvanized me to get off my ass and start working again--start creating like I used to, stop cutting myself off from the whole damn world.

"I know damn well I'm tired of all this cryin'
I'm on my feet as far as I can tell"--"Waiting For Somebody"

Damn it, maybe rocknroll doesn't save your soul, but it can sometimes save your life.

Today was a good day.

Rattlesnakes, coiled inward on themselves,
impossible and ancient on little-tread paths.
Owners of the trails, the spaces between the trails.
They are pregnant with silence, marinated in stillness.

I sidestepped one today on the way in from the resevoir; when I close my eyes now I can see copper diamonds, can hear that dry shamanistic buzz. I was careless. Two more steps, three perhaps, and my sandaled foot would have grazed her, but she stopped me. A warning from a diamondback is delivered directly to one's lizard brain. My heart seized at the sound, my legs locked like faulty pistons. The snake regarded me for a moment (yellow gaze slashed with black), found me distasteful, and silently melted into the brush.

After I remembered how to breathe again, after time restarted, I was struck by how clear the sky was.

Now I know why such creatures are worshiped. What but a god can take breath so efficiently? And the flood of aliveness that comes after a rattler encounter - can that be anything but divine?

'When a girl takes off her sunglasses, I can hear her better.'

-Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself

It's getting hard to write. The words don't come in floods anymore; a boring sober sputtering is all I muster (or mutter). So take me back to Brooklyn, give me my walking hat and my flask, and I'll spin you tales you'd love to believe that even I know aren't true.

I haven't felt this level in so long that I have little to say about it. I need a change, maybe my name. Get me back on the train, your face. It's all I see here, between the tracks, between the lines, the long steel lines to Brooklyn. All glass and chrome is what I need, cement and grime, not grass dying for want of some taste of rain. The pain I do not feel is what I need to spin these tales. I can't complain, so I'm left with little to say.

this little middle finger is for you.

Do not touch me tonight.
I am funky.
A full day's work's sweat
clings crusty to my body.

I live in a fairy tale
With some awfully nice people.
He told me to imagine the prettiest thing I'd ever seen.
And make it glow.
But she already glows.

And I mean without the help of LSD! Did I just ruin the mood...?

My shadow is getting smaller.

I found out this morning while walking beside the Mayflower Hotel. The sun was at my back and the new she was thrown in front of me. She has a waist now and smaller hips and the sleeves of her shirt seem too big. Her hair seems too big to be allowed. Her walk is different from mine, more confident and possibly even cocky? Swish, swish go the arms of my shadow, making use of the morning commute to get my heart rate up. I used to loathe her. She was too wide everywhere and not at all as shapely as she seems to be now. The sight of her would make me cringe.

"Let's go driving tonight, we'll take Al's Comet. He'll never know. We’ll top it out on 95, yeah. I know my driving makes you mad. But just this once, will you do that for me," sings Ida as I turn the corner to Connecticut Ave. My mp3 player is about to die again, and I wonder what my shadow thinks of me.

So, we're finally back on the 'net. 5 days without internet service really got me to thinking. Top it off with the a/c in the house has died and we'll be the rest of the summer living with no relief from the sweltering humidity. Well, you can see how the brain would definitely over-react and cause me to think much harder than I should.

I think back to the days before I even realized there were computers... well, before I realized there was such thing as a PC, I should say. It seems I've always known about computers. I took a class in high school (oh so very many years ago) and learned all about punch cards and the like.

But I digress. PCs are such a common thing now, and internet access falls into pretty much the same category. We went out of town for a few days and I felt almost disconnected from the world. Then returned home to have our cable modem die the next day. Disconnection is scarey! What did I ever do when I didn't have the ability to hop on and chat with people I know, people I've never met, and even people I don't like?

It was towards the end of my single parent years that I first got connected. I hocked my tush to purchase a computer on credit gasp. I discovered a local BBS and entered a world I hadn't realized I needed so much! My modem was slower than a turtle, and while I was a whiz in the work place I found I knew nothing about PCs. With the promise of a home cooked meal to a group of single geeks I managed to get colored text! It was great (the advent of some very wonderful relationships and my marraige).

My kids are spoiled rotten. They each have their own computers. Oh, they're not the fastest or bestest around, but for teenagers it's better than sharing with MOM. Hubby and I each have our own, plus lap tops. Add the Idiot Box that's connected via wireless to our home network on the TV (complete with music piped through the surround sound). With no training and only my books (I'm a resource material collector) they have managed to put up their own websites, learned the basics in CGI, and my oldest has even started transferring her artwork to the computer to alter as she sees fit.

It's a wonderful world we live in. The ability to research, chat, or play with millions around the world can be staggering if one gives it too much thought. It becomes even more staggering when one realizes how much we have come to rely on this ability. I, for one, will try not to forget just how lucky I am to have the world at my fingertips. I miss it too much when it's gone!

Chasing the siren song - Day 1

As I wake up in the guest bedroom in my brother's home, the glow-in-the-dark stars have blended into the walls. I've realized I haven't packed a toothbrush, and I'm sure I have to go to the outside world and buy one while I'm cursed with morning breath.

The bus ride last night wasn't much of a challenge. All I did was sit on my ass listening to my Walkman straining to hear the overture of Wagner's Parsifal. I was carrying three bags most of my time in the station filled with my clothes, a tripod, food and my suit. The wonderous little suit that has gotten me through most of the women I drooled over.

The moonlight was good to me last night. I rarely see it reflected on little rivers underneath bridges, covered in clouds. Keeps me quiet while the kids in the bus are throwing each other around.

I'm also looking for a good lens to buy in Chicago. I've e-mailed a few of the stores I've found out there, and it's amazing they're open on Saturdays. We don't have that in New York City, because most of them people out in the bigger-name stores are out on the Sabbath, and I'm lucky.

Dinner was a night out with the family for drinks. I had a few glasses of Guinness, and some chicken fingers. I was surprised one of my brother's buddies went in and paid for everything.

Today I've come to a realization. If I don't graduate from college, my life is meaningless. My life plan, my destiny, revolved around a cushy, high paying job. The kind you get from graduating from college. After that, the many things I imagined, the wife, the kids, the vacations, the retirement, all revolved around one simple accomplishment. So what happens if I can't do it? If I'm unable, through my own personal shortcomings, I will become a pointless reservation of space. I don't want to wallow in Jal, NM for the rest of my days working at the convenience store. I may as well be dead at that point, as much good as that would do me. God knows I'd never have children, forcing them to be raised in the hungry squalor of near-poverty that I was raised in. I could never do that to a child, especially my own. But in less than a week I must convince a panel of strangers that I have the willpower and dedication to complete college, to appeal my suspension. How can I convince them when I cannot convince myself? I don't know if I can do it. This last year has taken every bit of faith I had in myself academically and flushed it down the crapper. I'm either too lazy or in over my head. Lazy I can overcome. In over my head means I made a bad choice that will destroy my life forever. Which one of these it is will determine my fate.

I am speechless.

For the first time in my life, I find myself unable to express my emotions through words.

Probably because I've used every cliché in the book already, and this would mean actually sitting down and coming up with something new.

This is something new.

Yes, I had been in relationships before. I have been in love before. But this is different.

I have never been quietly and peacefully happy before. It used to be all bells and trumpets and cartwheels and being drunk on the wine of life. Now, I feel... I don't know. Like I'm sipping on the wine, not chugging it down. Still completely sober, yet, happier than I ever was when drunk.

I've tried writing a poem about it, but I can't.

And so, I cry. It needs to come out somehow.

40 Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  1. Overthrow a corrupt communist government
  2. Overthrow a corrupt capitalist government
  3. Tour the world
  4. Publish an uncensored newspaper
  5. Release an album
  6. Invent a new word and see it in the dictionary
  7. Save someone's life
  8. Be the WWF champion
  9. Be the world heavyweight champion in boxing
  10. Be the world chess champion
  11. Write a novel
  12. Be a guest on Jay Leno
  13. Be a guest on David Letterman and make fun of Jay Leno
  14. Revive Politically Incorrect as the new host
  15. Command a military force in World War III
  16. Put everything I own into monetary assets (cash)
  17. Put all monetary assets into a Swiss bank account
  18. Stop writing this list
  19. Buy Mazda back from Ford!!!
  20. Build a wearable computer (and wear it)
  21. Beat AnacondaHL at Starcraft
  22. Try pizza from every pizza place in New York City
  23. Own a bagel shop
  24. Be the head chef at a restaurant
  25. Own Cuba (buy it from Castro)
  26. Use Cuba as a nuclear testing ground
  27. Get keyboard lessons from Ray Manzarek
  28. Head the Saturday Night Live Band
  29. Host Saturday Night Live
  30. Create a cartoon featured on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block
  31. Live in an underwater city
  32. Live on Mars
  33. Terraform it first
  34. Using that terraforming machine (Genesis) from that Star Trek movie
  35. Steal most of Bill Gates' money
  36. Live in an abandoned missile silo
  37. Retire and do nothing
  38. Grow everything I eat
  39. Do something to the IB coordinator's car
  40. Shave my head

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