Tuesday, December 11, 2007

plans of attack from the voice of pacifism

espressitos and loverbeans. monterrey - the place AND the word. thick black ink. therapeutic cleaning parties. rendezvous - the accidental kind. the aloha stratus that could.

we get nostalgic [for disaster] when it's cold and the snowplows rumble outside at night. even when we are rushing along in tennis shoes and pencil skirts and wearing too many scarves for such a chaotic evening, we get nostalgic. that's where the aching comes from. if you could choose when to remember things you used to have, but then you lost, anyone but the most masochistic would choose to forget. nostalgia has its price. but you get to look back! all those things you reveled in, the tiny bits: the little one on the city bus; falling in to a drawer full of fire alarms; running from the swing-set across the street in a rainstorm. we get to look back.

1. digital love [daft punk]
2. arc of time [bright eyes]
3. all my days [alexi murdoch]
4. alright [john legend]
5. mascara [killing heidi]
6. parting of the sensory [modest mouse]
7. these days [nico]

things to read about over break: peter coyote, sweet willie tumbleweed, and the san fransisco counterculture revolution. about 50 of ginsberg's rambly interviews. the ocean. t.c. boyle's take on humanity. if i die in a combat zone. more: borges, vonnegut, rushdie.
find out how to: get to africa. become employed at 826. pay for a TEFL certificate.
make plans for: traveling to mexico & seattle. finding a conversation partner. being the room lady.

"excitement blew out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light" - j.k. this is how i feel about next semester. about next year. generally, the next in every category you can think of. but the thing about it is, we don't have to love every day - sometimes there are blizzards and snow plows, unexpected phone calls from people who we had almost forgotten were in existence. there are all of these things that make us holler and stamp our feet, feel the need to clean excessively because it is the only way you can get anything to slow the fuck down. this is just fine. sometimes, in small moments, we hate these days.

learn how to revel.
if you practice, it comes. ever so slowly, but it does.

i belong to an unholy disorder. we call ourselves 'Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.' - k.v.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

the middle of november not so blues

i've been out walking | don't do too much talking these days | i had a lover | don't think i'd risk another these days | i don't do too much scheming these days | please don't confront me with my failures | i have not forgotten them

favorite things: outrageous flirtation under the writing table. spontaneous coffee dates with the smart mouth. acting boldly. being ballsy in wine bars. montmarte on unnecessary evenings. frida kahlo and her grilled vegetable quesadillas. anthony kiedis. wanting to be anthony kiedis' baby momma. riding my bike. the smell of oak tree leaf litter. love & basketball. DARJEELING. the kinks. wes anderson festival showings at the hamilton. the sparrows on the terrace. sassy writing TA's. something corporate kicks. understanding the roots of my social conscience [my grandparents]. graceful days. not-so-graceful days. awkward soccer games. ghetto fabulous monitor swaps. being irresponsible. san fran, seattle, and bangor. regina spektor as love,asia in musical form. kabamba jasper. rachel carson. sweatpants and roadtrips and gorgeous lake views from bumpy rollercoaster roads. skipping class to write. telling g. kitchen ridiculous stories.

not so favorite things: tfa (only for now, because i am bitter). being picked up by inappropriate people in parking lots. bad timing. the incident with the singing bowl, & sold-out modest mouse.
wanting to cut off all my hair. becoming chuchaqi in the middle of lecture. cashews. rejection by bassist.

i make lists because i have to. and because anastasia krupnik got it into my head when i was eight years old that it was the perfect way to make sense of your life when things like babies and boys and awkward neighborhood barbeques were causing problems. smart lady.

mochasnmonopoly: if i was a man, and a bassist, and you sent me a drink, i would have sex with you in the bathroom of the bar.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


with wings like these...
it's real hard to keep myself from getting so close to the sun.

one of us must know (sooner or later) : bob dylan
battle : colbie caillat
carry you around : ani difranco
just for now (live) : imogen heap
omaha : counting crows
honey honey : feist
stacked crooked : the new pornographers
pray for us : the melanesian brotherhood

buying watermelon in the morning. sauteed carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms {three things i never used to like}. doing the dishes to louis armstrong. talking to my father about beer. the hamilton girls. cloves on the front porch, and laughing too loud. sassy black russian bartenders. sassy vodka katherines. MJ on the violin. turquoise sheets. finding old photographs of dance parties in vacant apartments. new skin, pink skin, growing a thick skin. seeing your ghost on the sidewalk. trying not to hope at the hint of green. caramel apple empanadas. running for literacy. antifall reunion plans, grocery shopping, and the view from our bathroom window.

the UW-stout is naming their library after my grandfather.

did you hear? | are you scared? | huh, these feathers | i fly like a bird.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

someone who knows better

scabs on my knees and blood
in the trees but the world has been struck
by a greater disease
no worse than the lovers
{the gravity of light}
but at least we'll lie in the aisles

i will never be the woman in white who brings an umbrella every time it looks like rain. (this would be too logical. and i like being caught in a thunderstorm. the tea tastes all the better that way.)
my tennis shoes will never be clean. i run through the mud on purpose.
the 5 way intersection outside my window is lonely at night, except for the blinking red of the stoplights.
that window will be open, even in winter. i get hot when i sleep.
sometimes i write metaphors that will not make sense to anyone else on purpose; this is a subconscious ploy to find my soulmate. it has not worked, but there is time yet. i do not give up.
the best way to make a baby stop crying is to tell her a story as if she were a grown lady. about things like martinis, and heartbreak, and willow trees which fall down in wind storms. she still wants to know about things like that, even if she can't do anything but cry.
three places which will always have my heart: the pacific, the mississippi, the lake.
be gentle in october.

I'm coping, okay? I'm coping! So uhh... shut up, and look at all my crap!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

ginsberg yelled at me from the countertop

Sitting cross legged on the counter-top and letting the sounds of the street wander into my ears, while Ginsberg stares at me, melancholy from the cover.

“you aren’t trying hard enough”
He is shaking his head as he says it, because he knows how I’ve been wasting my time.

“at least, if you’re going to let the summer roll by like it happens every day as easy, write it down. at least, goddamit.”

I know he’s saying it like he’s gonna cry, and I’m gonna cry, too, but not for the same reason. maybe it is…I can’t read his mind. but it’s a soft warning, making me turn the spotlight on myself even though the cord is plugged in to the back of my head, and when it spins the hot phosphorescent glow through my eyelids, the base of my neck tightens with the pressure. the self-deprecation is amusing, I think, to the passersby. Can everyone see my pretense? my loss of purpose, of the shallow quality my day in existence has been driven to?
“no. now you’re just being egotistical. No one pays attention. Even the barista in the café who was shouting about the degradation of the whole ‘goddamn fucking universe!’ That’s the problem, see. people will fight for the grandeur because they see the results, the glory of their sacrifice. but no one loves enough beyond the fragment. the title they can place on it. ‘I’m an activist. I fight for the rights of the downtrodden.’ What the fuck does that mean? Seriously, where is the definition of your life in that sentence? Nowhere. So you say activist. That could mean any number of things. You could write pages for pamphlets on free trade wage thieving and pass them out on the corner during the sidewalk sales. But that’s not what you meant, because you’ve never worked for fair trade, you usually lend your extra time on Thursday afternoons to women’s health education services; and now people will be confused, and when you try to explain you will be misinterpreted, leading to your embattled, righteous, holier-than-the-taxi driver personal vendetta to enlighten the world. but you are bitter for it, for the weight. that the charge of the universe has been passed to you in a paper bag, instead of the bottle of wine you were promised. well, the fuck to you, it’s your own fault for taking it on. Stop complaining, and get to work.”

quite the rant, but he's right. i'm still sitting on the countertop.

she sings it for me, the reason why I kept trying with this. because I adore you. that’s all, really. the truest reason. I don’t have another one, because everything else that comes to mind is a contradiction. you don’t really fight for things the way that I do; maybe it’s because I know how fast they can be taken, how fast they are ripped away (this makes me cling, but not with my hands, or with a wailing plea; I remember everything with a fury born of grief). you don’t really seem to care either way. I’d like to think otherwise, but many better women have fallen at the feet of the apathetic fools who knew they were the lording kings of beating hearts.

[july 23]

I ran away. In the dark. by myself. To drift into my room and savour in my irie. I am hiding. but you gave up. I lose myself in songs and my words fight to escape soon enough, like butterflies spilling into my mouth up from my throat, but my lips are stuck tight. This is repression. I am repressing things. I think I’m having a mental breakdown of sorts, because I am questioning everything I do lately, and I feel like I’m changing so many habits out of fear that they are destroying what I want my life to be instead of what it actually IS. I don’t want to be afraid like this for the rest of my life; questioning every decision I will ever make again? I need to stop this, I’m freaking out. [district and the calming gospel of chick rock]

Because I am only out for the good ness in life, and as long as the negatives do not topple their weight over across the gracious and witty and absolute spectacular moments, everything is okay by me. perhaps I could say I am an opportunist in search of hedonism; ready to jump from the train as it curves at seventy-five miles an hour around the cliff. I will fly, and it will be like gravity evaporating as I fly towards the sun, ready to dismiss the myth of icarus. You have finally pushed me hard enough so that the energy builds beneath my bones, I take flight. I try not to hate, because it just ends up making me angrier, and then I become like a balloon about to bust. I will, at times. In the end, however, it will only be unabashed, illogical, adoration that I hold in my chest.
[september 9]

Oh tell me a secret and tell me a story
Lets make up plans that will never come true
This is delicious, hey thanks for the dinner
hey you know, all the stars that shoot in the sky
They're falling in love with the sun (mirah)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

welcome to the 2 1 9

honestly, i'm trying to be better here. i really am. sometimes though, you just sneak back in. and i hate you! i hate you. i'm sorry, i don't actually i hate you.

the little green house
on this busy bustling barbarous corner
[there are gang fights and street riots - just like i said.
on pickney street! do you
is full of windows and wood floors and
too much noise.
the pots and pans are crooked sometimes, and the
wine glasses are cracked.
the stairwell will probably break bones before
the end of next summer, and the garbage disposal is
forever and hopelessly clogged.
but we sit on those stairs and tell stories about
hearts and
old soccer jerseys and
how the wine glasses got cracked to begin with. we eat
peanut butter and chocolate
just as often as we eat
roasted squash and sundried tomatoes and black beans.
the lights in the living room are mismatched paper lanterns, but they
are perfectly aligned with the
melted candle rack which sits in the fireplace
during dinner.
the boys who work at the market
across the street are beginning to recognize us
as the girls who need
ben & jerry's at midnight, but
the girls in this little green house on this
busy bustling barbarous corner are
fighters. we fight back.

september 1 - september 14.
1. we're both so sorry : mirah & the weeds
2. house by the sea : iron & wine
3. a case of you : joni mitchell
4. inkwell : the blue scholars
5. change is gonna come : otis redding
6. slow west vultures : the mountain goats
7. god's country : ani difranco
8. fidelity : regina spektor
9. asthenia : blink-182
10. something pretty : patrick park
11. nothing better : the postal service
12. dolores : miles davis
13. hey ya : obadiah parker
14. me and julio down by the schoolyard : paul simon

"we passed a teenage couple in leather and studs, she with
a mohawk and he with shaved head, his dented bruise-blue
skull covered in messages rendered in ink the color of raw
mo got a running start and - 'HiYA!' she yelled - kicked
the man in the thigh. he was shocked. hand and i were less
shocked. the girls were learning karate at school, and
liked to try it out on people who looked combative.
'daaaaamn... freak,' the skull man said, wiping the
footprint off his jeans. i apologized. i gave hand a look,
making sure he didn't start talking.
'they're not well,' hand explained."

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I am evening the score
I am cutting the umbilical cord
curled with my teeth against my knees
I am scratching at my consciousness
like a bitch with fleas
I think you'll be greatly pleased
to learn that yours was the hardest
itch to relieve

this is me
without my hair
welcome to my open stare
I got nothing to hide no more
why disguise what isn't there
I am an eyesore
I am a detour
you can find me crying on
the shoulder of the road
and I will tell you
what you want to hear
before you go
and that is that
yours was the hardest itch to relieve
yours was the hardest itch to relieve

I've mapped out my course
looks like it's all uphill
I've got a heavy heart to carry
but a very strong will
it's just hard to travel
in the shadow
of regret
in fact it's so hard
that I haven't actually left yet

i can't believe i ever thought it was a good idea.

Monday, August 20, 2007


once upon a time there was candy & dan.
things were very hot that year... | all the wax was melting in the trees.
he would climb balconies, climb everywhere, do anything for her | oh danny boy.
thousands of birds, the tiniest birds, adorned her hair |
everything was gold.
one night the bed caught fire.
danny the daredevil | candy went missing.
the days' last rays of sunshine cruise like sharks.
then there was a gap in things | and the whole earth tilted.
this is what we're after | with you inside me comes the hatch of death | and perhaps i'll simply never sleep again.
the monster in the pool.
we are a proper family now with cats & chickens & runner beans | everywhere i looked.
FRIDAY - i didn't mean that mother of the blueness | angel of the storm. remember me in my opaqueness.
you pointed at the sky, that called sirius or dog star, but here on earth | fly away sun
ha ha fucking ha you are so funny dan.
a vase of flowers by the bed, my bare
blue knees at dawn. | these ruffled sheets & you are gone &
i am going too.
i broke your head on the back of the bed | but the baby died in the morning.
i gave him a name | his name was thomas | poor little god
his heart pounds like a voodoo drum.

- words on the wall -
candy [novel: luck davies, film: neil armfield]

Sunday, August 05, 2007

beauty in the breakdown, part II.

throw a little more love my way, baby.
singing and swaying and softly speaking.

spontaneous, triumphant returns.
running down hallways wearing only tennis shoes and swinging chainsaws maniacally.
tiny dancer chorus revivals in busses with bruised egos and bad acid trips.
wanting to be the girl with the vaccuum, if only for the czech.
stories about the circus.
letting go a little bit more in a rainstorm.
mr. bojangles; or, little.
growing in to my love letters.
wanting to write a screenplay, live by the green rules, dance more loudly on streetcorners.
vintage bachelor party bonanzas with megs.

i have been in a very strange place all summer long. not like last year, which was just a whirwind, a maelstrom; one of those anecdotes you try to explain and never can because no matter how hard you try to verbalize it, you just had to be in it to understand. not like that. it hasn't been all that i've needed it to be, but i have high expectations. and it was a transition. the last one, besides all that. (not meaning for life, just in terms of this identity, because after this, it all goes out the window, and i'm somewhere else without even blinking an eye.) if anything, my dissatisfaction has made me recognize more of what i need to do to make it all worthwhile.

advice from mediocre madison in the summertime:
don't waste daylight. appreciate cold showers. wine goes well with everything. naps are necessary, as well as a little soul. journey can explain a lot of things; so can ani. keeping up with the jones' is hardwork. porch sitting alley cats exist outside of san francisco. thunder in the nighttime makes for interesting illumination. don't live too far into the future. keep your eyes level with the horizon. time in one place gets shorter - revel. being honest is never a bad thing, even when it looks messy on the outside. sometimes people take chances you don't expect, and then you have to take a chance on them. bartenders don't have to be nice, but the good ones always are. driving faster only helps for so long. eyes are tricky. jacques cousteau is one of my trump cards. and living inside a glass bell only feels like a menagerie if you acknowledge the onlookers on the outside.

let go.

Friday, July 20, 2007

lost in the circus, again.

or the elephants will get out and forget to remember what you said
and the ferris wheel junkies will spin there forever instead
but if dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts
we'll all be moving slowly slowly south on down the coast

i am wasting my time. [this is me, being restless.]
chain smoking cloves, i am wasting my time.
maybe it is the claustrophobia that i have been
expecting and half-heartedly trying to fight off...
or the sneaking suspicion that i cornered something merely
because it was exhausted from the fight.
my laundry is damp, and refusing to dry.
the pinot grigio hums at the back of my throat, while my thoughts
chase the blue speckled lights of the
circus across the canvas ceiling.

i am reharmonizing to the wrong song. the piano line inspires the words for a moment, but then they flicker and fade away as my fingers race to write them down. i think my heart has grown lazy, and i am having the hardest time bringing it back to zero.

there was a glimpse. sometimes that's all we get.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

dirt on the ground

the buzz of black cloves on my lips.
a ring of blue back where it belongs.
passing the alley cats on the corner.
the faint red glow of brick at dusk.
organic. vanilla. feta. tortilla chips and cheddar.
waking up as an oven.
letting my honesty show through.
the crying tree.
adrenaline on the surface of a river winding.
iced coffee with the ghost of allen ginsberg.
procrastination, involving: research, heartache, empty threats.
ciao bella & pinot grigio.
breaking writer's block wide open.
track 11.
boys who don't look away when i catch them watching me.
gravity laden phone calls.
the alice in wonderland complex.
broken social scene, brian eno, bill jones, black cadillacs, and blink.
"oh, perverse pentagon poets..." - the professor who dared to climb the plain of jars after king heroin and the drug lords.
letting all of the stitches fall from my face where his fist bruised the fragile skin of hers.
the mississippi river valley
irish brogue.

I think that it's absurd
that you think I
am the derelict daughter

Sunday, July 01, 2007

where the sidewalk ends

i wonder what it's like to know that i made the rain | straight up, what did you hope to learn about here?
i wish the real world would just stop hassling me, and you, and you and me...

i've lost my ability to concentrate on one thought for more than thirty seconds. really only when i'm trying to write. and i hate writer's block. but its more than just that now; i'm living in a state of constant hyper-sped thought because there are these pieces of the sky just falling through the sidewalk right in front of my face, and i have to be three steps ahead of everything if i want to survive. i dodge by thinking, and talking, and spinning in metaphorical circles. in emotional spirals.

and we carry each other (but i carry your heart, i carry it in my heart)

tangential. i am, you are. that's where it's coming from, i think. it really couldn't be any other way, because there is no other logical explanation. not that this is logical. but nothing has been logical for years, and i've gotten used to living in a chaotic sort of calm. [is this depressing? that i've learned how to live through things? because i never wanted to know how to do that. it's not that i wish that i could be shattered. to be broken so hard that i'm gasping and watching the world fade out in swirls of colored light, as if i had been hit in the face, or held my breath too long. but it is becoming more difficult to fracture me, because i've stopped putting all of the pieces back when they fall out. its like a self-continuation of the slow decay that gravity is causing.]

the world owes me nothing | and we owe each other the world

i could try to express how lucky i am, but it's impossible. and i could attempt to write down in words why you are my person, and how much i would cease to exist if something ever happened to you, yet i can't. but if there ever comes a day when i can no longer turn to you and have you explain the way my heart works, because you're gone, i'll be done. you can't leave me first. not everyone has that in someone, and i promise to whatever fucking other-worldly omniscient or otherwise deity that may or may not exist out in that great wide universe, i do not take it for granted.

does anyone else feel like we're all just living in a cosmic game of russian roulette?

the things they carried:
1. keep moving forward when things are scary. chances are everyone else around you is just as terrified, and their strength is resonating from your skin.
2. protect each other. wield your heart like a weapon, and watch the repercussions flicker through the waves you make in your friends.
3. refuse to forget. [this is not synonymous for wallowing.]
4. let your scars heal.
5. sing with tears in your throat. the pain that hides in the back of your mouth will escape, and it will seem that the stream is unending. but it will. all things will pass, in the end.

and i have learned
that even landlocked lovers yearn
for the sea

baby prairie dogs. going to the zoo, and being something more than what i'm used to. crying in the middle of a sidewalk full of strangers. playing with cards. being excited to spend time. finding strips of film at james madison park. water people. raspberry chocolate chip cookies.

sæglópur, á lífi
kominn heim
(a lost seafarer, alive
has returned home)

[the big ship]: brian eno
[brothers on a hotel bed]: death cab for cutie
[hold on, hold on]: neko case
[real world]: matchbox 20
[sæglópur]: sigur ros
[somebody to love]: queen
[straw dog]: something corporate (live at london park)

clementine: but you will! but you will. you know, you will think of things. and i'll get bored with you and feel trapped because that's what happens with me.
joel: okay.

Monday, June 25, 2007

kleptomaniacal coffee house parties

So hum hallelujah

The universe of numbers that represents the global economy. Millions of hands at work, billions of minds. A vast network, screaming with life. An organism. [pi]

relating stories. blasting fall out and driving toward the weekend. buying mini bottles of booze in waukesha. chocolate raspberry martinis, jazz bands, and grumpy bartenders. "do you taste as good as you look?" pancakes. the little black dress. nailpolishremover dip. to common grounds. the awkward curly headed mumbling boy. the rollarblading family, and the coffee fall. stealing the inverted watermelon cup. qdoba! back to pazzo. barhopping. f-ed up dreams about car accidents, den conversations, horseback riding in iraq, and train tracks. planning camping extravaganzas. mind-fuck movies. vignettes. chickenshits.

three things:
And one day we'll get nostalgic for disaster

Sing, until your lungs give out

isn't it tragic?

sometimes, i wonder if i'll ever be able to write anything that has never been said before. or find the words that will explain the emotions of a stranger to themselves. because a lot of people have done that for me, and i can't help but wonder if i'll ever be that good. on a totally different note; i have beauties for friends. assholes, and lovers, too. that's the best of it, though, because i wouldn't have it any other way.

Best friends, ex-friends to the end
Better off as lovers and not the other way around
are we all wrong?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

come hell or high water

I remember when the whales had wings, she said. Whatever happened? I said. It got to be too noisy with all the airplanes & other stuff, so they flew into the ocean & never came back. Some days, she added, I think about going too.

"Be clearly aware of the stars and INIFINITY ON HIGH"
said Vincent Van Gogh, to his brother Theo.

how are we aware of infinity on high? being clearly aware...do i have to keep my eyes open until they are scalded by the light? because the light from the stars is late. 60 million years too late. it's not even really there anymore; we're only seeing the residue it left in traveling time particles. am i the only person whose heart stammers at the thought? because staring at the shadows on your face and not being able to touch them is like this to me. you know what i mean. [this reminds me of singing gloria in excelsies deo, and i have no idea why.] how can we move through our own lives without questioning our knowing that the forward motion isn't actually sideways, or worse yet, imaginary? i think the breaking point comes when you're sitting across the room from someone and you can feel the space between. i'm real close to that, man. i told you once, i told you twice. if i have to tell you a third time, i might evaporate.

you want to travel? you hate foreign countries.
i did. but i don't anymore. and you've turned me in to someone else. you've made me want things i never thought i would want.
black shirt leaning quiet into my ear following my ankles with rusty eyes.
i run far and wide and know that i can return to that, still steady.
nothing is steady like that. except for now.
trying to avoid the thought of leaving. sneaking around corners with lenses
attempting to capture the perfect
the perfect unknowing glance.
i am leaping through the water, but i dive up and down
over the surface of the waves as if it
were not a barrier;
i can see the underside of your heart from there.

these are the names of my love songs:
nearly crying at the epiphany of [saeglopur] sigur ros
"i am a monster! i am a beast!" - large black man on library mall. he was cute.
blowing bubbles at passing folk from the platform.
"it's easy to lose your mind, being on planet earth and all." - denis; a phone conversation at shakti.
boys in my kitchen.
[chelsea hotel no. 2] leonard cohen
flirting with the mysterious colombian man at work.
"this is two years of everything all wrapped up in one human being... my god, i'm sexually frustrated for you!" - the wife.
[bang the doldrums] fall out boy.

let us go!
though we know it's a hopeless endeavor
the ties that bind, they are barbed and spined
and hold us close forever.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

the release and the regression

and it feels like nothing has changed, everything remains the same. except, of course, that everything is different.

i tried to give it up | as if that could have been enough | but it didn't work | because of that shirt you're wearing | that shows every freckle | i know | every freckle i want to follow.

black feather dusters, and other interesting stories:
the post op mix, take II. pressing my luck. walking to my (former) castle in the rain. half-naps. fat squirrel. being on the inside of my head, and looking out through a backwards mirror. girltalk, with peanut butter. showing the world to kate. the smell of lakeshore. water at the high top, and the shy sidling eyes. being assured of telephone wires. lake mendota, the amazing guitar, and black jacks. dirty girl scouts and green fish bowls. running down three flights of stairs, and still not being far enough away. the release of fear. parking lots. fences and alleys and sidewalks under crescent slivered glow. knees. small voices in early morning hours. chocolate cake pans, washing the dishes, and falling asleep to [bob, ani, simon, & rob]. mike droho and his covers of [the freshman, your song, crash]. riding in vans. seeing sully from the other side. reenactments. horrible spanish. too much drunk. being warm. revelations, realizations, resignation, and rage. getting lost in milwaukee (kind of). my person. chick flicks, waltzing in grocery stores, and playing chef with avocado and ham. SING. olive garden ala sex and the city. 40 year old jaeger bombs. the card trick table. spooning. not having to talk, and only needing to listen. roadtrips.

if i push too hard, its because i want things to be better.
i want us to be better. i want you to be better.
sure, i make waves.... i mean, you have to.

if i'm better off | better off

Monday, May 07, 2007

rule number seven

7. write as if it were for only one person. if you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
[ rules for creative writing 101, introduction to bagombo snuffbox. k. vonnegut]

this is my ecuavida.
living in wooden houses, with too many cucarachas, and twice as many rats. rain at night, flooded muddy roads in the morning. constantly greeting everyone, even when i’m in no mood to be friendly. red beans and vegetables and crispy burnt rice. the pacific (at night, by sunset, in my hair, in the pages of my books, in my heart). herba luisa [fresh, not from the tea bag]. mold. the bats (murcielagos) which swoop through the (sometimes) flooded river valley at exactly 620 in the evening. the crack in the shower wall that looks like a spider when the light isn’t right. trying not to slip and fall in the mud on the way to the bathroom in the nighttime. the triple curves in the road to tabuga which i count subconsciously in my head on the way to school. playing politics in spanish. being trapped by a flooded river with andrea at the house of a wide-eyed Italian man in the middle of the ecuadorian costal campo, having calamar, fresh basil, and espresso, and talking about international politics and futbol. taking pictures of pictures. my chicos. leading them into the reserve, and watching as they fall in love with el bosque, and each other. panaderias and the fruit market on the corner. the springwater of pd (a rum and coke). taking over the dance floor, crazy gringa style. the loud ass ecuadorian polka music at six o’clock in the morning. the “bombed little man” that is our chef. being sad to watch the baby aullador scramble inside the rice sack, and being happy to watch the wild troupe take him back up into the trees. attempting to understand the social class balancing act I have found myself inside. angelito, gisela, moises, deci, jonathan, andrade, and duana. being escorted down a dark dirt road by a parade of small children. bear hugs from lorena. cooking beans in hostel kitchens. fumigation headaches. being not-so-terrified to give speeches, in spanish, in front of more than 100 people at the town meeting. helping to begin an environmental association, and calling for the vote. hummingbirds, and mosquitos, and camarones del rio. camarones al ajillo. contemplating the loss of memory while watching the coast blur by on a bus. rancheros and the wind. riding in the backs of giant red pickup trucks after rainstorms. spontaneous freestyle jam sessions on the beach, at 3 in the morning, with harmonica mac and joe’s guitar. being awake by 730. hearing news of a massacre, and feeling my lungs collapse from remembering how it is to be stunned, claustrophobic, of needing to be elsewhere and not being able to get there fast enough. drinking tea beneath the trees. free grapefruit, oranges, maracuya, and watermelon. conversations about soul with the lanky longboarder [ how it can get lost in LA and how there is more in the california waters, and why walking on the tips of the waves is more than just a meditation on the impossibilities of eternity]. three, or north through manabi. inappropriately comical situations. beach writing. reading the lorax. the parrots in the menagerie (how many birds have died in cages, thinking the ceiling was the sky?) galloping. watching “the thin red line” in a party bar. ridiculously vivid dreams about sharks, and climbing stairwells with falling rocks, and giant tarantulas on the streets. the traveler v. the tourist, and expanding my reality. collecting new music. reading, and bawling, and being all the lighter for it. maybe thinking I know what I want to do, at least for now. making friends with fishermen, and a strange encounter with land owning, awkward English-speaking ghouls. mercedes, and her artesanian heart (she calls me “mi hija”). vultures on the cross in pedernales. the hanging of the red plastic chair. everything is dissolving.

a collection.
way down deep (past the light and the sound, where the squid and the whale fight battles in the dark) this is where our dreams go in the morning. our eyes open, and they float, like plastic bags with tentacles and moving metal parts. as they sink, they rust and scatter into bits, but only physically. they stay there forever, and when we die, we are plunged back into our forgotten, long lost subconscious thoughts. haunting? maybe, but at least it is the truth. and no one can avoid that. close your eyes, and think of all the bubbles of love you’ve made… [medusa dreams]

but what happens to people who forget each other? are there holes? like rotting windows in our solemn dreams, our salty bloody seas? gravity is infectious. the weight of it, I mean. the bodily feeling of falling, especially in water or through air, passed buildings and towers and ravines eight miles deep. the poet who wrote about the death of the flying stewardess (1968) caught in photographic words our human obsession with the war against the weight of the earth. to fight, and fail – to flail and cease endlessly – is such an ugly truth, but at the same time, horribly delicately beautiful. is this wondering, this desire to test fate, and flight, why some choose to jump without a parachute? I wish their final thoughts were made into documentaries and broadcast in 8 mm silent frames on the walls of subway stations, like a fleeting glimpse of their eternal struggle, caught in flickers of light on the cement. [for existing in the first place]

you’ve got me by the hand and I can’t quite remember the sensation of being alone of how to stand this vertigo its got me hanging on with both hands (to your untouchable face) and how I can’t remember why we even existed in the first place

there are ants in my pants, or ants in my shoes; ants in my shoes and my pants and the grooves (between your nightmare necessity needing, and my absolute apathy towards disaster). what a place, what a sound they must make, if we set them ablaze from our match burning betting. I sink heavy in mud, in barbed wire mud, loaded with rain and the awareness of fear. my feet carry me through doors, and windows, and walls, but one candle bright cannot compete with them all. careful where you step my friend, my lover of light, and I’ll carry you there on my back, in my bones. I’ll carry you anywhere – your heart is my home. [careful there]

I’m done leaning over my shoes; out over the ocean and singing the blues. and why for this within, can I find no without? but for the searching the rocks are crumbling, and I can’t say that I haven’t always been this way; we are from another time, you and I; our bones are from the sea but at their depths only where the light comes from the enigmatic glowing. where time has not yet reached (and so it is nearly one hundred years before). are the fishes lonely in their vacuum, missing the movement of the soul as it grows older? [rainer on the point]

breathe breathe breathe. ocean. breathe. ocean, breathe. ocean ocean ocean. breathe. ocean. breathe breathe.

this ink is everywhere.

two sides of the abyss not given a page a photograph or a paragraph written to claim them at 7th and Jackson the microphone’s open the moment of the music never will you see me be a judas to the movement used to be a student of the beat until I mastered it and then I set it free to be let it be the energy. . .
the blue scholars, [evening chai]

Monday, April 02, 2007

an amalgamation.

GINSBERG. i wanna go out in a car | not leave word where i’m going

the rest of the earth is unseen | an outer universe invisible | unknown except thru language | or prophecy of the secret heart the same | in Waterville as Saigon | one human form: when a woman’s heart bursts, a woman screams equal in Hanoi |


but i will die only for poetry; that will save the world.

god but i loved his murdered face when he talked with a mouth full of rain in 14th street subway—

i am talking to myself again (everybody must have been a spy)

he threw up his hands & wrote
the universe don’t exist
& died to prove it.

(an amalgamation).

three, their bellies lit gold feathers dripping molten drops of yellow sand melded from the tips of sunflares too close, like icarus, they float passed the sun, and across the steps. where have they come from? deep. others come in droves, like fighter planes in formation. wings outstretched, catching the invisible channels of air, and sleek like metallic humming engines with heartbeats, they arrive across the seas. (petrels are the smallest.) between the mountainous peaks of
pacific pelagic swells
and out
quick! on their feet. skimming.
great silent wind beaten rises steady as the pelicans glide, gulping. the frigates dive and wail, stealing fish from the mouths of the gulls of the red-footed boobies. pirates, corsairs of the skies. the rest, they come in
ten’s and twenties, in the shape of their bodies, spread through layers of the atmosphere as if it were a glass staircase, and they were resting on its forward moving steps out to sea. to their element. where nothing is sacred but the spray, and the precarious return to waiting chicks? or scattered feathers, to deathly cold flesh. no bird knows the truth. like a chandelier of paper cranes strung on tinsel wire above the volcanic remnants left by the crushing waves, they seem to spin, float, freely flying without movement, the expenditure of energy. the invasion comes as the sun is dropping heavy on black satin set to undulating. their droves fight the currents in the air, and I watch them, tumultuous, unable to resist leaping from the bow to join in their persuasion.

beach as eternal sunshine. the infinite abyss. photons bounce up and over gullies of sand which have been furrowed by feet and waves waves waves. bioluminescent glow from turquoise lamps hidden in the ocean floor. the distance disappears where they have faded and all sound has been sucked out into the rolling and rushing of the water as it swings wildly into the Pacific basin (coast to coast, the currents driving the wind from beneath, the fishes leaping as their dorsal extravagances break the tidal blue tierra)

there is something about total blackness that is comfortable to me. it allows my brain to fold into itself, find layers of sound that had been obscured by other senses and in memory I can remember these firings of synapse and recall their exact location. one day, when I am old and unable to see I will live in these sounds, cataracts smiling with the recollection.

ahhhh! this is my barbaric yawp.

I hate the circus. but I’d run away to one in a heartbeat, elephants and all. I could set them free.
there would be a stampede!

even the jungle can become like habit. one foot after another, along the ground, your body becomes rhythmic, almost mechanic. but the strain on your muscles is the reminder of the distance you’ve covered. fluid movement, around bends and through trees, its like a walking meditation. something more ephemeral than the congregation of all the minutes in your life. like, for the moment as you pass through the holes in the canopy towering, you are made of snake skin, of speckled air.

(the shins make me miss home. and “backyard” makes me think of 894, of driving solo unbeknownst to my mother, to visit k. of wispirgish road trips. of Milwaukee. the harmonica makes me cry.)

we are all obsessed with our own origins. where our blood began. in the scheme of things, none of it really matters, I guess, but when attempting to look backwards over the magnifying glass on your miles, you need a point in the distance to center yourself. an umbrella for the tightrope.

the snipers zero in on us. each shot becomes a word spoken by death. death is talking to us. death wants to tell us a funny secret. we may not like death, but death likes us. victor Charlie is hard but he never lies. guns tell the truth. guns never say “I’m only kidding.” war is ugly because the truth can be ugly and war is very sincere. – gustav hasford.

the ink spills black and sticks; you scrub your skin with stiff haired wire and still it stays. the sand between your toes slides slow and silent into the sea, where there are fishes floating still in the midst of all that salty dreaming. (whatever will we do with ourselves when we’ve got nothing left to talk about; nothing left to love without. my ears are yours and only time will tell how long their echoes will remember the sound). and in the end, you’ll see, there is nothing so glorious as this blood racing terror we’ll be trapped inside, because within that painful thumping, the great racheting breach of your ribs, there is the sensation of visceral life, without which, no one would ever be really sure of their living. and in the end, this is all that really matters.

to everyone who has given me words. beautiful ones and heartbroken ones and angry ones too. you are the reason I have the memory that I do.

…waiting for me to hold on, for me to breathe out.

we warm ourselves on bloody songs and sunny dreams. bloody psalms and salty dreams. bloody palms and sawdust dreams. Aristotle, like a long lost lover; ma universe blows, and the planet spins heads or tails with her man, watching, waiting to engulf her. on the axis, even she tries to reverse. there is nothing so fragile as me, when it comes to you.

Dolabrifera dolabrifera: warty sea cat (so cute!)
Oceanites gracilis: Elliott’s storm petrel

to remember:
bronze skin.
revel. let it be.
pretty mcdimples face and gordito mcnasty pants.
the surfers five and their sailboat of chaos (the wynndakken)
april fools day.
[evening chai]
impeccable drunken spelling.
conversations on benches in art museums.
it is okay to be a girl. (even in Ecuador)
ginsberg: [witchita vortex sutra] [iron horse] & [don’t grow old]
the short-timers, by g. hasford.
[sympathy] and [can’t get it right]
grey’s anatomy, and missing.
dreams about the pool, and the stable.
swimming with fins.
jesus and the glass tiendita.
the look, and those eyes, and the reason.

god says yes to me. (kaylin haught)
i asked god if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes.
i asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is.
i asked her if i could wear nail polish or not,
and she said HONEY
(she calls me that sometimes)
she said you can do just exactly what you want to.
thanks god, i said.
and is it even okay if i don’t paragraph my letters?
SWEETCAKES god said,
(who knows where she picked that up)
what i’m telling you is
yes. yes. yes.

Friday, March 23, 2007

and this is when everything gets a little crazy.

maybe we´re not meant for it. maybe its as it should be. but at least, while we were here, it was good.

in the islands, everything seems more like an adventure.
this could also be due to the fact that i´ve just celebrated my birthday, in the middle of the ocean,
and we have parties on sailboats.
not our sailboats, mind you.
the surfers´. did you know there would be surfers sailing the world? i wasn´t expecting it.

and this is when everything gets a little crazy.
"i disposed of my little green man long ago"
thumbs, and the question master, and other circle of death festivities.
camarones al ajillo.
gillian welch and the fugees and michael jackson, all within minutes.
dance parties under galapagaenian skies, on deck, sans shoes.
4 second meteorites.
barhopping professors. tequila shots. birthday parades.
spontaneous trips in pangas.
smoke and mirrors.
five boys on a boat.
the british brothers, and the explanation of a "twitcher"
making up words.
being a sound young lady, and also la chica mas seria en el barco.
the invasion of prince phillips´steps (the flight of the booby)
pretty black eyes.
jazz on street corners.
the hat party.
marching squads of shouting soldiers, with guns.
tales of pirate attacks, whale beachings, twin confusion, firefights, and angry french missionaries.
telephone dates.
ice cream, coffee chocolate cake, and banana pancakes.

we wanted to jump. venice beach, california. 1997.

we wanted to jump, but we couldn’t. it was right there in front of us; the surf, the space between the balls of our feet and the sand as we sailed through the air. but we couldn’t do it. not after what we had seen.
you first, I said.
no. it was your idea.
it was both of ours.
but you said it first.
that doesn’t matter, I said. what matters is that it’s here, and if we don’t take it now, it’ll never happen. and then we’ll be sitting on our asses in Minneapolis in November some day in three years, and you’ll be drinking a cup of that horrible tea. the one that makes the kitchen smell like rotting fish. and then you’ll say it’s a shame we didn’t take it. in that voice you always use when you’re talking about things you wish had happened differently. like when you told me about –
ok, we’ll do it, he said. why Minneapolis?
are you going to count?
sure. I guess so. do you want me to count?
no. it’ll be easier if we just do it. without the build up.
yea. without the build up. you ready?
since this morning. let’s go.
what do you mean, “when”? now.
well now just happened, so that’s not going to work. without one of us counting, how will I know when you’re going to jump? he said. how will I know if you are even going to follow through? I could just be doing it by myself, and I’d spin in mid air and see you standing there, your eye staring off all sideways like it does, your thumb up your ass. meanwhile, I’m flailing about in the water, and then those bright green motherfuckers come floating up, and I’m done for. down for the count.
we looked at each other. he turned, and started walking back towards the boathouse. I stood, rocking slightly as I let my knees relax. they had been tense, anticipating; the muscles in my thighs had been coiled like springs. my eyes caught a piece of sea glass, the remnants of an old Heineken bottle, caught in the gravel between my toes, and I bent. then I heard him. the shish shush of the sand as it spun out wildly from beneath him. he was running. I spun on one heel, and caught his eye just as he came rushing up behind me.
now! he shouted. and then there was silence. all I saw was his silhouette as he left the earth, his arms and legs flapping haphazard in every direction. like when you’re a kid on the playground and you’re in a swing jumping contest, and the more space you can put between yourself and the ground the better. so you flap, as if by some stroke of genius, you might be the one to finally discover how to fly. of course it never helps, no one ever gets farther by thrashing their limbs in the air. if you think about it, I’m sure it probably makes things worse; the physics of it, I mean.
I watched for a moment as the wake from his body sent white spray skipping across the surface of the sea, and then I realized I was still hunched over at the edge. without even thinking, I pushed off, soaring blindly in an arc over the water. I went in head first, and my stomach filled instantly with salt water. I had forgotten to close my mouth.

xviii. brick (inspired by the film)
its like walking home in the morning with a coat
you haven’t slept, and the wind cuts straight through the wool,
where holes in the silk lining give you away. across the field it’s
especially bad,
because there are no trees,
and the valley pulls the air down like a drainpipe.
but it’s not the cold that gets to you. it’s those words he whispered in your ear just before you let the screen swing closed.
they are spurring you across the street, your heels rubbing the skin
raw near your toes.
no one wears heels in the winter. except the girls with fake pearls in their ears. the girls with fancy black cocktail parties to go to on saturday nights, but no one to take them home on sunday mornings.
so you walk.
it was a mistake to stay on the couch. it would have been worse
to sleep in his bed,
but you should have left when the going was good, when the booze was still swimming
weighty in your veins. when he was still too gone to hide. but by light fall, he always remembers what he’s got to lose, and all bets are off. the cards sit on the table, growing yellow. the queen of spades is fading gray.

there was an impromptu piano jam, with spoken word, and

in pitchers of red wine. every once in a while, someone would forget, and pour, igniting the sides of the glass like they were made of oxygen. it never dripped, never left a stain; that’s how fast the fire spread.

you were waltzing on wood floors, your shoes hardly making a sound as the silk of your dress clung to your chest. the girl at the piano, who was singing about some jazzy bird named eleanora, who tells everyone she meets that she was born in missouri even though it’s a lie, asks you what you want to hear.

nina simone,
you croon, and sway
on the balls of your feet,
with one arm in the air,
eyes closed.
whatever you say, lady day, he laughs from the corner, eyes glowing bronze from the candles. (he’s not even right. you knew it then, but you let him say it. he was looking. he was watching. this was all that mattered in the moment. but billie holiday was lady day, and nina simone sang about birds in cages.)

by three, there were only a few still sitting on bar stools around the kitchen counter,
the roses and slurring slightly.
he tells a joke about an old man from Brooklyn, and everyone smiles, their teeth catching the first flecks of daylight as they s k i d across the ceiling. from outside, a man on a bicycle could see the sadness in you, and if he’d had the chance, he would have swept you away on the back of his spokes.
like sixth grade romance.
but you never looked, never saw him in the street. so he rode away, and you stayed til dawn.

he pulled you into the living room, his hands dwarfing yours (like they always did when you used to sleep curled inside his shell, arms entangled). as you’d brushed the black paint around your eyes
that night, pupils dilated in the mirror and searching for the strength not to notice the truth, you had promised not to stay. not to let him stay in your way.
but there is nothing so convincing as the promise of a miracle, the exception to every deceitful rule.

the chimes of the grandfather clock struck seven, and the morning light shone through the window

revealing plastic cups in corners
and a pile of ash on the stained couch cushion.
though his knee was pressed against yours, its presence was tentative, and you almost choke on the tears as they slide down your throat when he says
you’d better leave.
(he has to work.)
you should probably go out the back door.
( it’s more quiet that way.)
creaking porch steps draw his attention to your feet as he steps toward the car door from behind the garage. for a moment, you think he’s going to say something,
the way his mouth opens slightly,
the way his breath freezes in the air around his eyes.
but neither of you can find it in the other to speak, and as he drives away, your heels
sink (sink heavy heavy heavy)
into the layer of dead leaves in the yard. the sidewalk is empty; no one is up this early on a sunday.
the coffee shop on the corner near his house looks different in the daylight.
the letters on the sign are still blue, but
without the luster of their electric luminescence,
it is difficult to think of anything but a
broken bulb.

the lake is rocking steady against the rocks behind your house, it’s hushing rhythm abrasive behind your eyelids. the door doesn’t open – the lock is frozen shut. as you creep hesitantly through the dried brambles of the garden under the second story window, your foot catches on a rock, and you stumble. the wool of your coat too thin rips slowly,
stitch by stitch,
and as you press your way through the french doors downstairs, the wind swirls up the staircase.

your bed is cold when you sink into the sheets.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

it´s a long story, i´ve already told you that

it’s a long story, I’ve already told you that. if I were to tell it to you, you wouldn’t believe a word. no one ever believes everything. you know?
it is never, ever possible to hear everything…what do you hear? it’s not only all those animals you have seen, and all those you haven’t seen, and all those no one will ever see, making sounds. and that which isn’t possible to hear, the song of the fish that once cheered the waters, though now they no longer know how to sing. and if they still sing, they do it, most certainly, with no sound. with notes our ears are not able to hear. silently they sing, on another plane…
within our very being there sound the memories of all that we have heard throughout our lives, dances and flutes and promises and lies and fears and confessions and the cries of war and the murmurs of love. the voices of the dying that one has been or that one has merely heard. true stories.
memory is more, it’s much more, do you see? true memory conserves all that is to come. and even that which will never come, that is also conserved. imagine. just imagine. who could possibly hear it all, tell me that?

who could possibly hear it all, all at once, and believe it?

-ino moxo

living in the rainforest for three weeks is a very interesting thing. not only because of the reasons you hear about in the “most extreme tropical adventures gone wrong!” sort of tv shows [examples: nearly being attacked by giant conga ants, tarantulas with a leg span of approximately twelve inches, cryptic snakes with deadly venom and a nasty temper, or the possibility of contracting various afflictions ala yellow fever, malaria, lechmeniesis (that is spelled incorrectly: it is a flesh eating protozoan) or a botfly which could one day burst out from under your skin after months of chewing miniscule parts of your muscle away.]

not only because of los monos. (monkeys). they clamber through trees, swinging from their prehensile tails and plucking fruits from nearly unreachable branches. they stare down through the canopy at their binoculared fascinated cousins, their curious black eyes illuminated against the darkness of the tree shadow. woollys will stick around for a while if you’re quiet, because they are calmer, mas tranquilo, than the rest. if you listen closely you can hear the howling of los aulladores (the howlers) which resembles the growling of the stealthy jaguars in the distance. squirrel monkeys are more likely to jump over your head, carrying babies on their backs and squeaking their annoyance at your presence. they are curious too, but a bit more skiddish than the larger species, probably because they know not everyone is a friendly presence in their trees. the tiny ones, like the pygmy marmosets and the golden mantled tamarins are a rarity, but if you can see them amidst their vine tangles, their little faces will make your day.

spending so much time in the rainforest is interesting not only because of the charismatic megafauna, although they are definitely a highlight. along the river banks, you can see capybara, the world’s largest rodent, bounding their round not-so-little butts back into the cover of the forest. there are birds of every color, and every combination as well, like the scarlet macaw and the paradise tanager, and even the ancient hoatzin, which resembles (especially when still young) the archaeopteryx from eons ago. there are oropendolas, who send out sounds more similar to the dripping of water in a cave than to that of the orioles they are related to. there is the cacique, capable of mimicking everything from a parrot’s harsh crackle to the grumble of a riverboat engine. and there is the laughing falcon, who, along with the cackling witch toad, haunts the early morning hours with its eerie laughing call. there is the tapir, happy as can be, trundling along the bank and searching out leaves with its elephantine proboscis. the otters, swimming and playing graceful along the banks.

you couldn’t be more wrong darling you misunderstood no meaning I’m not falling for this one if love is surrender then who then who’s war is it anyway? do just what I tell you and no one will get hurt don’t come any closer I still don’t know how long I can hold my heart in two just look at the state of you babe you’re not listening to this and just for once could you let me let me finish a sentence if you know what’s good for me why would I be loving you now I’ve had it up to here don’t ever try that again why are you so quiet so suddenly go on a bit, you’re just dying to try me

living in the rainforest for three weeks is a very interesting thing because of the way it brings out the truth in people. being sweaty and dirty and covered in mosquito bites all day long is taxing, but a necessary evil in order to enjoy all of the pleasures of the jungle. but when living with other people who you don’t know all that well, who don’t know your insecurities and obscurities and eccentricities, it is difficult not to become exhausted of human presence. It’s eye opening, really, to discover so much about yourself that you adore, but that seems to rub others the wrong way.

I ask questions. sometimes they’re not very easy to answer, and sometimes they seem random and out of place. I have a tendency to ramble, and digress, and go off on tangents that are not central to the main idea. But I don’t talk much when I don’t find it important, when I don’t have something to say, so I’m not very good at relieving uneasy or awkward silence. I need time to myself to digest, but I hate being left out (this may be paradoxical. I am paradoxical.) I love discussions, especially about uneasy things, like indigenous acculturation, and the way western conservation idealism often comes into conflict with the conserved. I could argue for hours. I’d rather talk about books and the end of the world than anything else, but I could also go on and on about my favorite movies, and even quote some of the best lines. I like to watch movies that will make me cry, too.

I’m not particularly funny, but I find just about everyone else absolutely hilarious. I sing to myself, even when other people are around. Sometimes this appears to become excessive to others, but I never get sick of it, and I find it difficult to stop, even when I know someone is about to hit me over the head with their binoculars. I could spend my life on the water, and I would never regret it. Any kind really, but preferably large, and close to a sunny beach, where I can wile away the older hours of the day and watch time pass. I am indecisive. Consequently, I never really know what I want the most, although I have plenty of glaringly obvious ideas about what I don’t want. I can’t choose between many things, and would gladly take them all in stride. I am always happier when I have fruit, or coffee and some sort of dessert. Like cake. Or chocolate pudding. Listening to music while in the rainforest isn’t ignoring the natural sounds of the world. It’s creating a soundtrack. I could tell you all about my soundtracks.

living in the rainforest for three weeks is a very interesting thing because of what you miss while you’re away. the world seems to have disappeared without communication, without newspapers and the internet, and television shows blabbering on about the collapse of modern society (they never say that, but that’s what it is). and then we came flying back over the andes while reading headlines about: the impending attack on iran, and britney spears and her mental breakdown extravaganza. how is this what the world has come to? that headlines like that serve to garner equal attention? and that an attack on iran is actually feasible? really now. did we learn nothing the second time around in iraq? no, I suppose we didn’t. if the world blows up, I won’t be surprised. humanity is asking for it, if you want my opinion.

and all I am is holding back can’t you hear I’m not myself well go ahead and lie to me you could say anything small talk will be just fine your voice is everything and it all depends on you I refuse to believe that’s it only me I’m a slow motion accident lost in coffee rings and fingerprints

(I hate generalizing like that, because there are so many people that could be encompassed under ‘humanity’ that do not deserve to be incinerated, or that are doing their utmost to change the parody of a paradigm our international community has developed about “first” and “third” world interactions. there are plenty of people who recognize the hypocrisy of our policies, and are yelling. hollering. like the howler monkeys. [who are disappearing, by the way.] people like my profs. joe and catherine. you should all meet them someday. and mayor. my seventy year old ecuadorian pseudo-grandfather, who used to be a hunter, but now wanders around the jungle showing monos to hapless tourists without a clue about the ecosystem he understands better than anyone. these people are not asking for “it”.

but you! you who contribute to the continued deforestation in brasil, and indonesia, and the congo. you who contribute ignorantly I should say, because everyone contributes to this, as much as I hate to admit it. unless you live on a desert island and the only products you have consumed in the last fifteen years are your own tattered, dirty clothes, you are included as well. even conservationists use petroleum to get where they’re going. we should all listen to tommy the firefighter in “i heart huckabees”. the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t even believe in hell, and I understand the sentiment of that sentence.

you! you who encourage the pet trade. you are included. monkeys and parrots and snakes should never be found outside of the their original habitats. you may not notice how lonely those amazons are when they sit on their perches, preening their feathers absentmindedly, or how terribly sad the capuchin babies are as they leap from hotel tree to hotel tree, waiting for a cast-off french fry, and being greeted instead by a skinny man with a scar above one eye and stick in his left hand. the toucans are the worst, because they hop along the ground, their flight feathers clipped, clacking their bills together in the air and staring at the walls. you may not notice how horrible all of this is because you haven’t seen these creatures in the wild. but I have. I’ve seen them. they are not supposed to be like that! they are supposed to be sitting in cecropia trees, and eating grasshoppers, and flying over the canopy under the sun. ) that was my ranting tangent.

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free I wish I could break all these chains holding me I wish I could fly like the birds in the sky I wish I could be all things that I could be then you’d see and agree everyone should be free

soundtrack for my rainforest serenade.
acetate prophets & lesson 6: jurassic 5
variation #2 on canon in d major: unknown
(this is) the dream of evan and chan: dntel
nature boy: david bowie
eleanor rigby: the beatles
i wish i knew how (it would feel to be free): nina simone
don’t come any closer: frou frou
post-war: unknown
gravel: ani difranco
lean on me: bill withers
track 9 from (black woman and child): sizzla
hoping for a miracle: bloc party
a distorted reality, pt II: elliott smith
whose blood is this?: unknown
ziggy stardust: seu jorge

the smoke too thick to breathe the tile floors glistened I slowly stirred my drink and when you started to sing you spoke with broken speech that I could not understand and then you grabbed me tightly I WON’T LET GO I WON’T LET GO even if you say so, oh no I’ve tried and tried with no results I won’t let go I won’t let go he then played every song from 1993 the crowd applauded and he curtsied bashfully your eyelashes tickled my neck with every nervous blink and it was perfect until the telephone started ringing ringing ringing ringing ringing off…

favorites: people with smiley eyes. the curly haired ecuadorian hippie and the old man in the canadian hat who lead native americans through the jungle. parahuaco, especially la playa of the tapir, the valley of socrates, and the log bridge. ceiba trees. tang (not really, but it became sort of traditional). real coffee. choclo, burrito night, and the biggest pizza slices in the world. olvidio and his hysterical laughter. monsanita. the monsanita vs. lucho debate (the only reason to choose lucho is because the name comes from louis armstrong, a trumpeter just like monsanita…or is it lucho?) watching the life aquatic with steve zissou in the station’s library, eating popcorn and reveling in the humor of pseudo-biologists gone crazy over jaguar sharks. reading to educate myself, but not forcibly (confessions of an economic hitman and song for a blue ocean). spit. egyptian rat screw. adventurous walks in the nighttime through vine tangles and leafcutter pass to the tower, and sleeping surrounded by the sounds of the canopy. sunrise with macaws, and woollys. banana pancakes with peanut butter. reese’s. raisins. bracelets made of chambira (palm) leaves. the matapalo. brown eyes. otters on the bank, and saving turtles by the trees. tortoise sex. trying to count painted conga ants (not). russian roulette over insect orders. meditating in the dark. heliconia, bauhinia, capirona, and duroia. reading genius indigenous literature (latin american literature in general). reminiscing on the chaotic events of last summer, and last semester. seeing the andes above the clouds. the huaorani in the dugout. debates. caciques and their mimicry. plotting paintings and epic memoirs and trying to decide what to do with my life this summer. wanting to ride on a fishing boat back to the west coast of the us and hitchhike/bus through the country back to wisconsin. my person.

put a dollar into the machine and you’ll remember when say the money just ain’t what it used to be man how we used to tear apart this town put a dollar into the machine and you’ll remember how

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

your name is the splinter inside me

hark I hear the harps eternal | ringing on the hollowed shore | as I hear the swollen waters | with their deep and solemn roar | hallelujah

there are many things that I wish I could record in my head, and replay later, on blank white walls, in three dimensional loops. bits and pieces. like the flashing by of quito in the night as the taxi driver stops, “bendita la luz” singing mournful in the background. waiting for the girls outside a little jazz club on la calle de Isabel, and watching a boy on a bicycle make his way through the city. the tingle of caiprina on my tongue. pictures of old presidents lining the walls of bathrooms overstuffed with art. hide and seek, Ecuadorian style.

we found the center of the universe! ok, not the center of the universe. el mitad del mundo. which IS the center of the world. world meaning earth. there are street dogs taking naps, and tienditas with leftist propaganda clinging to the walls, and even strings of laundry hanging in the sun. who knew the center of the world could be so like a pueblo?

to el pahuma, where the lima family resides. efrain, and rene, and susanna (a most wonderful cook). but the most adorable of all are stalin and javie. two little boys, nine and ten respectively, who know oh so much about everything in their montane orchid wilderness haven. stalin, while younger than javie, is most definitely more outgoing, coming on adventures with us [going through los yumbos, a quichua trail used for millennia by people traveling toward the coast from quito] and guiding the way. everyone loves him. it’s hard not to, of course, because he will grow up to save his country and its landscape.

a las cascadas! to look up, into the falling drops of a waterfall, as it tumbles over cliff sides, through drooping vegetation, towards the tierra, the andes, these mysterious magnificent mountains, is to watch time slow. vertical time is slower than regular time. have you ever noticed? looking up through the falling drops, they slow down…slow down, way down. as soon as you’re out from under, they come back to life speed; but so, so, so slow while you’re underneath. and you can catch each individual drop in your eyes as they fall. it reminds me of this summer under the river sun, high and dreaming of deeper things.

sticky sweet charades, vines, and the strangled strangler fig. RAIN. the smell of it is sinking into the earth, and falling all over our faces, our skins. being covered and fog, and as darkness descends, the night walk commences. walking stick contests. frogs. spiders. a spinx moth the size of my hand, who alights on my hip, and decides to stay for the rest of the hike.


what was that?

we are silent, sneaking, creeping.

a toucan? a shy, stealthy, spectacled bear?


bamboo in the nighttime looks like kelp in the sea. floating on currents, stillness, in the water which is actually only clouds come down to look for its lost light.

Plate Billed Mountain Toucan : Ramphastos laminirostris
Sangre de Drago: Croton magdalensis
Gorgeted Sunangel: Heliangelus strophianus

I love this. viscerally. breathing in this rainforest air, pressing my hands into the ground and soaking it in…

funneling pathways, down mudslicked slopes. we go to el pahuma (which, in quichua, means the flattened place). and it is, for the most part. mora, growing wild and purple on vines covered in prickles. hopefully they do not become hallucinogenic, because the pathway back could become treacherous under the influence of imagined things. to the lookout, where we can see down into the Andean valley, through the cordilleras, between a break in the clouds, before the fog rolls in once again. wanting to leap from the top, to fly across el piso del cielo [the floor of heaven] gliding along the surface, through all of those canopied trees.


ngo’s, and the formation of orchid reserves, and the politics of crazy things.

candalosa: puntas (Ecuadorian moonshine, made from sugarcane) + jugo de naranjilla + fire. warms your soul, from the pit of your stomache way up into your nose.

mountain toucan sitings in the early morning hours, before walking meditations along mountain sides, and through the frigid cold waters of the waterfalls of the quichua persuasion. humming birds. toasts made of pilsener (the beer of the Ecuadorians) to things like salud, and amor, and la vida. choclo. tostados. besos de ciao.

and thus it has begun.

eres mio, y soy tuyo.