Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"I think I might do it. I'm going to visit the Help pages."

After the drool, the blood falling onto my jacket, the gauze, the sulking, the pea-soup-on-the-face, the vicodin, and THE NAP:

Sometimes it really is the thought that counts!

When it's all over, I'll come back for another year

Quick coffee that turns to "Highway to Hell," milkshakes, and playlists -- quick visits that turn to "Facebook events" -- Voicemail 1: "Diana, I'm dying, save me!" Voicemail 2: "By the way, this is Caralyn" -- "Only you would get your wisdom teeth out and plan a road trip," and of course Beth and I would go to Albany -- images of "training" -- "Thank God you answered!" Rachel says -- the way we laugh when we laugh together --

Another year closes, and don't you know? Once again with the best of people.

Monday, December 29, 2008

falls on me

"Besides, there are so many right paths."

So it is. I feel this way. You don't really have to do this. But I will. They give you hell. I make my hell. Their voices rise and fall but I open myself to the gentle indifference of the world--I live as such.

I know, you know.


Hi, Angie!!! :-D

Saturday, December 27, 2008

sprinkle cheese and noodles

"It'll be summer soon enough," my mom says as December fades.

Even so, I hate January, February, and parts of March.

Too much gray.


New Year's Resolutions (yes, actual goals this year!):
-get published.
-finish the tale of Nick and Pete.
-find an outlet for mi espanol.
-run ten miles without stopping.
-or more.


I'll be sore tomorrow for certain,
but it feels so right to fly.

"If words be a Tsuk,

let me stick the landing." - Mike Mc

"What do you think about Jesus?"

"Can I get his number?"

"Do you think she has the potential to be ____ Scher?"
"...I just put salsa on my hamburger."


Oh, friends, you truly have my soul!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

la Nochebuena

At 2:30 in the morning, the duty phone warbles and wakes me. I answer, hang up, sit in the dark to orient myself for a moment.

I am here.

But before I move, before I can remember dreams, a thought whispers -- so very clear -- so genuine --

and it is something worth saving, I think, in paths frozen by ocean breeze and nights with blood run red, the one thing to turn thunder into mist.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a relaxed walk

This is how we should live right now: no words. Just the look. That look.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fall (we laughed, we cried, we sang)

Shades of spring and summer (something about forgiveness)



My stories will keep me safe.


My stories will keep me safe. But I am allowed to smile.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bist du bereit, es mit deinem Leben zu erkampfen?

Sprecher: Ihr Fremdlinge! was sucht oder fordert ihn von uns?
Tamino: Freundschaft und Liebe.
Sprecher: Bist du bereit, es mit deinem Leben zu erkampfen?
Tamino: Ja.

Speaker: Stranger, what do you seek or ask from us?
Tamino: Friendship and love.
Speaker: And are you prepared even if it costs your life?
Tamino: I am.

-The Magic Flute

"Oh, my God, a rubber (rubber) (rubber)"

I don't feel like being awake today.

Let it be, lady. Let it be.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

decisions we make

A fantastic summation of life by the one and only Laurel Frega:

"Because for me, this is idiotic but it's like a car accident - you don't want to stare but you can't look away..."


This is one of those rare clearings in life where I take a seat, look back to last night, and wonder, What the heck HAPPENED?

From "I'm sorry if it's lame" to Beth on the phone before she arrived at my house to three in the morning at some rave-type event we didn't know existed, looking at each other in bewilderment and dancing anyway, Sarah yanking sketchy guys from Beth by screaming, "That's my girlfriend!" to driving home with no headlights for the sake of listening to our CD--

It seems that we always make this life work for us.


This is one of those clear times where I know exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing, and have a decent enough sense of what will come of it.

"It's like they kept you on a leash in Cortland, and then you went to Southampton," she said. Timing-wise it's a strange place to begin--I'm older and wiser by now, you'd think--but evidently there's something yet unstirred in me.

And it's all a phase. I know this. So it's easier to laugh.

The difference? I once knew it all wouldn't matter, so I never tried.

Now I try anyway, knowing that it will end just the same.

Friday, December 12, 2008

On the second glance of last night:

"We Are the Champions" and "A Whole New World" will forever hold new meaning.

As well as Irish brogues.

And I think that's what kept me buoyed throughout the whole conversation, which turned out well enough anyway. But a few moments I saw it turning sharply the wrong way.

Yet I knew that no matter what was said, I could walk into the next room. And they'd scream my name and laugh and hug me.

We've all made it to Friday once again

How many times have I literally screamed this week?

Oh, life!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I write.


Well, it began because I loved words, could leap over them faster than my classmates, quickly learned what it was to stack them like blocks and knock them down.
I was good at it, you see.


I write to scream. To keep myself from screaming. I sing when I write, I hit just the right pitches, don't you hear? My words are the gymnast I am and the gymnast I never can be, they elevate and I watch, they are nonsense and so goddamn clear.

I write about you. I write about what's not about you. You are sometimes what I write, but never why. Do you know who you are? Do you try to find yourself in my syntax? What would you think if I wrote you out, deleted you with a swift press of backspace?

I write to be tall, to be pretty, to be enraged, to remind myself of humor. I write to race, I write to obfuscate, I write to clarify and mystify you with simplicity. I want you to be bewildered and torn and thrown to your knees. I contradict. I make perfect sense. I slash cliches.

I can't write when I'm bleeding, only after the scar begins. I write with joy, write when I am joyous. Write to draw you into the dance with me, around and around until we fall down breathless.


Today's had an interestingly perfect balance of positive versus negative.

There are some risks that I am no longer willing to take.

However, with the unsolicited chocolate cake from Joey and wonderfully random mix CD from a "secret snowflake" whose identity I'm fairly sure I know...

I shut the door before inertia gets the best of me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I know you know I know

If you won't tell, they will.

She sits across the table from me. She has no idea but I have an inkling. And I calmly eat my clam sauce and pasta as she tells me what I ought to know.

I hesitated for the right reasons.

Monday, December 08, 2008

there was fire.

I laugh under lights but as I pull up my hood and shine my flashlight over the dark sidewalk - dark walls - the wind wails and sighs through cracks.

I am scared.

Stars and distant highway lights are the brightest illumination right now. Wind whips clouds from moon. The windmill sits dark. Silent. Blue Christmas lights hushed for now.

They tell me that the transformer blew, that they saw it. "It kept pulsing and then all of a sudden it exploded and there was fire," they say. People in Bridgehampton said it looked like a lightning strike.

I smile as they play cards in the dark - scream as the handle to the vacant room gives way and sprint up the stairs, leaving Deana bewildered but chasing me. We sit in the common area and the emergency lights extinguish. One. By. One.

Outside, wind warns.

And yet for light, for the electric pulse and collective sigh of relief - the return to just another night -

I will wait a moment longer.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

For a storyteller

The broken light on the freeway
left me here alone
I may have lost my way now
but I haven't forgotten my way home

For you who is most likely "waaasteeeddd" right now in a manner that only an SBU main campus student can dream of, who giggles mischievously and answers simply, "You love me!" if I even begin to look at you crossly, who rides shotgun when I decide to traipse to 7-11 or the drive-thru to stave off boredom for another few minutes, who does not cringe when I sing, you who know that you are not meant for this sort of place and will leave sooner rather than later, but whom I am so glad to have met:

Happy birthday! :-)

"That's the sound of a shitshow."

Children named after presidents. Chicken and ranch. I thought tonight would be a quiet sort. No; I sing "Down With the Sickness," Lauren and I watch UPD lay down the law, we escape to the drive-thru before much else can happen.

Chris rambles. KC shakes her head. Faces and feet shuffle in and out, smiling brightly and stepping over me on the stairs. I hear the texting jingle of my phone upstairs. I know exactly who it is. Moments slide to 3:00 a.m., I quote Anchorman, Katie nearly cries with laughter, and I realize that we're all cracked up, all of us here, and there's something in us that loves it, loves this.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

now running on or close to schedule

As we all recover from Lauren's 21st, I've banged out six pages about the return from Mexico (ironically, though I've used "fuck" as a verb in other tales, I'm too embarrassed to say "constipated" in this one), made cookies, offered some peer feedback, found the location of books that I haven't read for tonight's class but will pretend to have, and printed the directions to an address in Quogue, in whose quest I'm fairly certain I'll get lost in.

And I'm left wondering, Will I sleep tonight??


"To be honest, I'm not sure if I'll ever finish this story," I say, gesturing to the final half of the final chapter of Nick and Pete.

"I was hoping you wouldn't say that," he replies.

Looks like we're in for it now, boys.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

redemption in dreams

I've never met her but in my dream she has large, beautiful blue-green eyes. I almost stare.

But this is my opportunity. I stand in the parking lot tonight. The crowd has thinned. She's waiting for me.

I won't bring up what I really want to. Who am I to be entitled? What can I demand or conclude? But I have my first opening.

She looks at me. We are just about the same height in this dream.

"I'm really displeased that you brought my brother into this situation," I say coldly.

She starts to cry. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

That is all it takes.

Monday, December 01, 2008

the stories I find

"I asked Joe if he would give me a piggy-back ride and he at first said no. Then I just stopped walking and he was like 'fine' and I lept onto his back, stole his hat, put it on myself backwards and kept calling myself 'ghetto.'"

Rachel, you will always have my heart!

In the rain, the pavement shines like silver

Mind-altering stories.


I cannot get "Miracle" out of my mind.



Still there...


Dear Diana,

I'm sorry.

It's just that I can't stop being myself.

the part of you that knows better

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shall we take a rain check?

I look at the clock.

I have passed the first test.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

For Emeline to stumble upon

During a fantastic phone call from Laurel just before, we established the two grand questions of our time:

1-How does Emeline dance the way she does?


2-Why don't our bodies do that?!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I must have built up some good karma



"That makes you the most KICK ASS person in the entire world!!!!" -- I love my friends. :-)

just like deja vu

Are you okay with that? Well, of course I am. Did I think this could happen? Of course I did.

Naturally, in fact.

Fingers to face.

I close my eyes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

it's all in how you finish

"We learn language to tell the stories within us," he says. "Part of the story will be in this novel. Part will be in the next story you write. And the next.

"Don't lose sight of the character. There's a reason he's so important to you."

I like that--that this matters.

And outside, it starts raining

It's snowing up north but raining here after a warm, calm cloudy day. I hear Deana's laugh and everyone passes from room to room, here and there, in pajamas and smiling and ready to linger.

It's raining out there and cozy in here, though I haven't written nearly enough.

Maybe I shouldn't mind. Maybe these are the nights I've always wanted.

I want to think that I am elevated. Hardly parallel yet far too similar circumstances come to us still. Someone makes a metaphor of melody.

I have come to understand you better.

Friday, November 21, 2008

elliptical epiphany:

Suddenly this has gotten easier.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

especially right now

I feel inspired in the rush of after-class moments. I sit still and type. I'll leave for dinner in fifteen minutes, everyone's antsy already and I know this will be gone when I return.

Where does it float away to?

Something needs to take hold.

I will find it. I will.


Beth said it so perfectly that night on the cozy couches in Starbucks: "There have been enough words."

I think I've made it rather clear that I can be a bit all over the place--especially right now--and somehow my hair always gets messy or my eye, you know, turns black or those damn eyelashes disappear again, and then I start laughing because I'm too nervous to say anything.

I think you see this.

And you know what? I like you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

you know the rendezvous

And as my ankle gives way on the side of Montauk Highway, I wonder not for the first time--and certainly not the last--if something really is improperly wired on the left side of my brain.

two beds and a coffee machine

I left the gym and walked to my car. The pine scent in darkness flowed everywhere. And suddenly I remembered the lines of a song I hadn't thought about in years: There's hope in the darkness, you know you're gonna make it through.

I walked into Deana's room not much later and there it is playing: Another twist in the road, you keep moving. Another stop sign, you keep moving on.

What are the odds of two nods to an obscure Savage Garden song in one day?


I feel guilty. I want to hold everyone close to me.

I wish her story of what's happening now didn't sound so much like mine, only with the names and details changed.

I smile and smile, but where do I go from here?

Monday, November 17, 2008

afternoon delight

It's November 17 and I just went for a run down Montauk Highway in shorts, sunlight hitting the rifts in the road and leaves still spinning down.

You're all right, Long Island!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

capital notions

Mike: "It's either the carousel or AC/DC!"
Lauren: "The carousel!"
::Mike and Lauren storm off in opposite directions::


::Finger up:: "Tag it."

Lauren and me in unison: "Ooh, a port-a-pottie!"

Kristof: "Did you just quack?"

I don't want another pretty face...

"You're my tiny dancer!" Jess declares as we link arms on the sidewalk.

"Where are you?" Mike asks on the phone.
"Umm...13 and F," I say.
"Okay, I'm at 12 and G, do you see me?"
"No, F," I say. "Like 'fiesta.'"
"Fabulous," Jess says. "Fun. Finger. Frolic. Food."
"Okay, I'm walking up..."
"Fantastic. Frank. Fork."
"Where are you?"
"Far!" I say.
"Good one!" Jess says.

"Mike, why don't we take the metro?" I ask as he opens the cab door.
"I'm ready. I have pandas on my ticket," Jess adds, sliding in behind me. "Buckle up, kids."

As we drive and Mike talks about the embassies:
"That's a big tower," I observe.
"You're a big tower," Jess retorts. She pauses. "That didn't make any sense."

How big (or small) is it?

"Do you know what the highlight of my trip was?" Lauren asks this morning as gas very slowly flows into her car.
"Besides the carousel?" I say.

"I'm glad we got to see the penis thing," Lauren says on the Jersey turnpike.
"The Washington Monument?" I ask.
"Is that what it's called?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

south glances north

Have I finally become all right with staying put? No longer running away but instead lingering?


Still too close to call.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is too ridiculous to pass up

I could try to make up an excuse for this...but there is none.
Oh, best friends of mine!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

To marry a porcupine

We've had a good amount of tears in the suite this week, Sarah and I concluded before.

And if you hold on tight
to what you think is your thing,
you may find you're missing all the rest

And then:

Turns out not where but who you're with
that really matters

"Living On a Prayer" as performed by Deana and Sarah beneath my window, first walk in the woods, 7-11 encounters, photographs of sunsets, "Southold?", 4:00am bedtimes, singing Chris Brown and Jason Mraz in harmony, the possibility of Cortland OR D.C. next weekend, uncontrollable laughter in professional settings, new decks of cards, the Coriolis effect, deforestation, familiar faces talking their ways out of write-ups, free Capital One tea, King Kong stripping, white jackets, "I'm getting dinner to go" "WHY?", 8th grade dances, genuine exclamations of, "I'm so happy to see you!"

Would you expect any other sort of resilience?

Would you not like to be
okay, okay, okay?

We make this world shine for us.


(Ah, and sometimes, when we just need something nice to happen, it does.)


Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday afternoon

"We're not religious or anything but my mom was watching this sermon on TV and the priest was talking about divine connection. Like you meet some people and they change your life SO much for the better. It's not even just love -- it's with friends, too. And you know that something was behind it, like it was more than coincidence. That's how I feel about you. You have NO IDEA how glad I am that I met you."


I've made some odd decisions this week. Beth will read this and feel out of the loop, but she's already received a hint and she'll get more. She'll be a bit bewildered. I am, too, but it keeps this life fluid.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

lady in reddddd

"I don't know if you remember this, but we were outside one day," Deana says. "And you yelled, 'I hate it...I HATE IT!' and I swear birds flew out of the bushes."

"Shit. I know what happened to the CD."
"I took it out when Sarah and I went streaking because we wanted shit that would pump us up."

"Dusty?! Is this a dream?!"

Caralyn and Sarah fill out the RA evaluation form.
Caralyn: "Things Your RA Could Do Better...are you serious?"

Sarah: "Things Your RA Does"

It has always happened that I live with pretty awesome people. :-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fog through branches

I knew as soon as I started that first paragraph that I had no idea where this story was going. I picked a name. I picked "them."

It's been two months and I've thought I'd just let Nick and Pete stew in the Adirondacks for a time, let them figure some things out until I pick them up again - if I ever do. Because now I've got at least seven others running through my mind at a fictitious school and they're trying to get a whole lot done and they grab me and say, "Listen! Listen!"

So I typed, printed, and forgot.

"Who wants to start?" the professor asks after everyone has pulled out their copy of my chapter and I've read two pages aloud - wondering why he asked me to read this particular portion, wondering if my spoken voice will provide a better understanding.

Everyone glances at their papers.

"Okay, I'll go first." The professor turns to me. "I don't think this scene could have been written any better than the way you wrote it."

Well, how about that?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"How about, 'Sex, Lies, and Burning Guitars OR How I Spent My Summer Vacation'?"

[Diana]: maybe she'll say, "i'll call you, okay?"
[Lena]: yeah!
[Diana]: or
[Diana]: "But I'll call you"
[Lena]: or
[Lena]: "Don't let the door hit your ass"

I've spent more time than usual in fiction today - "But WHY would she lie?" I ask, sandwich forgotten, passerbys with fluffy dogs irrelevant. We pause for a moment to discuss how creepy it can be when people speak of their fictional characters as if they're real.

But I'd be lying if I said that my heart didn't speed up as I wrote how Nick begins to find out what has happened.

I've spent more time than usual on beam today - "Are you implying that I just saved your life?" I ask, putting my hand to her back for the next back handspring. "Yes," she says with a laugh.

I've spent just enough time in reality today - the four of us in one room, a conversation that began with Heroes and then tears and rough days and then turned, somehow, to bra sizes.

"At least you know what you want," my mom said this morning. "Yes, but I don't think it helps," I said.

But it does. It makes things clearer, although harder. I know what I want. And so I must do the opposite.

The rest is silence.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

autumn lens

I'd thought that I certainly couldn't look more attractive than I did last night: sopping wet hair smelling of dye, glasses rubbed hastily on shirt, saturated jeans sticking to legs. Today could be a close second, though: messy hair air-dryed after rain, slow blinks of bleary eyes, purple socks, chipped nail polish, and still, the glasses.

Between the black eye and running out of right eye contacts, this is the first time I've worn my glasses for more than a day since I was fifteen. Sure, this pair isn't quite as round. But I can't quite shake those ninth-grade connotations: uncomfortable, uncertain, unpretty.

"You look different now with glasses," Kim says as we walk under late-afternoon sun on the Rocky Point track. "I remember when you had the bangs..."

"And really long hair..."


"I was such a loser," I say, watching my shadow grow taller on blue track.

"No, no! You were a dork," she says with a smile, "but so am I."

I still am.

We begin to run and my legs move quickly through the mind's fog.

I always think of goals, a purpose to this - the same difficulty with nights at Spins this summer - and by lap three I remember the Thanksgiving Day Races and that there's one I've never tried: the five mile. It might be lame compared to Joy's marathon in Athens, I think as I round a curve, but it sounds just about right for me ahora.

Glasses bounce on the bridge of my nose. I ran at Ridgewood with glasses, around and around the indoor track at Suffolk West, in the woods with Kelsey as snow began to fall.

Feet bounce to the beat in my ears. I hear less, see more. The breathing's more than all right though the training's been less than regular...

I hit that final curve - "One more!" I call to her as she walks - today will be one of those perfect kicks -

Do it for yourself.

I'm breathless but the best I've felt in awhile. I saw all of the bulky black braces while I ran but today my legs are strong. The knees turn in and the scar's pink as ever, but these are my legs and this is my strength.

And isn't that lovely?


I want to always be this girl.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

such a day

Between el dia de los muertos and festive skulls (I can't believe I ran out!), delicious wraps, free hugs, papers placed in my mailbox offering such free hugs, wrestling, napkins with professions of love for me, M&M's picked from trail mix, having another week to plot where the heck this novel is going, the blue bruise now wrapping under my eye, the hint of an excellent approaching weekend, sore legs, Tanya's e-mail about parentheses, real laughter between young and old, the ability to finally just relax and hang out, having one last year to break free (so they say), a new toothbrush, and one of the two ninja parking spots...

This life is treating me pretty well, you know?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just to note

"For the record, you're still beautiful with a shiner."

Well, thank you! :-)

small roads with small names

Nothing will change the highways I've taken. I could care less for gas or miles or money.

It was always worth the drive.

And now?

Dark fields, stars, one headlight that flickers on and off.

Would you believe me if I said I was happy?

Monday, October 20, 2008

soft, round

One's enough to take the edge off this night. White dashes flick past - past - past. Goo Goo Dolls sing the soundtrack for this short drive.

And you're not thinking 'bout tomorrow
'cause you were the same as me.

Everything so soft, so round. Friends so close to me minutes before and they will be again shortly.

This aloneness is all right.

When I step out into the parking lot to walk back, the cold wind hits my face, taunts my strides and takes my hair. The same wind as a year ago. The one that knew, The world you are living in is not real.

Swipe in, open door, I nod to wind and step inside.

Perhaps still not quite real, these situations and circumstances here. But closer, I think with beautiful music still singing softly.

This is my life now.

And I'll become
what you became to me.

That girl is so dangerous

"You look even more brawlic," KC notes.

I'll take that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

raising everything

completely dare be beautiful

-e.e. cummings

An hour ago the shoulder of my UTEP T-shirt was wet from her tears. I lose it altogether when we dance - the room's so warm, our shouts and music raising everything anyway -

"I need a miracle!" we sing again and again, and she's smiling for real and I'm sorry to keep anyone awake but we need this -

I pause briefly when he needs to talk - What should I do? he wants to know - Be who you are, I say sincerely - and then we dance, we dance -

And right then, what more could I want?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not surprisingly,

Ed Gal knows what's what once again:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a portrait of the artist

It came at a weird time; in fact, as I was sitting in Lauren's bathroom (yes, indeed) during a quick break from our Sing Star training. Flush with success from "Move Along" and "Baby, One More Time," I mentally prepared to get back in the game.

And then I semi-saw it in quiet coolness. Maybe why the part of me that was so adamant about the MFA instead of an MA eventually won out. Why I feel increasingly discouraged that I will never have a story worth writing or any publication beyond The Blog. Why I know that regardless, to add would be fine (espanol, por ejemplo, otra materia) but to give up would be wrong.

Because if I hadn't happily chosen gymnastics at age 11, I would have been a dancer. We all know I'm a bit of an actress and if I wasn't so timid to sing and improve that pitch, maybe I'd give it a try.

Published or not, I am a writer. And if it wasn't writing, it'd still be something impractical. Something emotional, something that breathes. Something that dreams.

Sunday, September 28, 2008



1. very diesel or strong; ready to fight at any time.

ex.: "You mad brawlic."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

more than halfway through weekend duty

And isn't this who I have wanted to be?

Things That Are Black, "Who wants ice cream?", Things With Spots, God-awful ring tone, directions to the nearest barbershop, fog and fingers touching windmill, Wainscott, running running (but not away this time), okay let's go -

four in the backseat, both windows down, one CD blaring, many voices laughing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

why so serious?

One person's trauma is another person's...laughter?

I was convinced that what I'd written was, at most, melodramatic and, at the minimum, emotionally charged. Hell, just writing it had put me in a bad mood. And by the time it came my turn to read out loud, I slumped a bit and hoped that maybe she'd pass over my story this week.

I read the first page. I look up.

And everyone is...grinning.

"This was really amusing and fun to read," one classmate says.


"It sounds like you're mad at him for doing exactly what you did!"

"He sounds like a nice fellow and he really seems to care about you."

"This could be a sitcom!"

They pale in comparison to how I've felt about her for my entire life.

Italicized lines are from someone else about someone else, but I see just how right they are. They all are.

Because, well, it hurt like hell but if I know now that I can forgive, that we are very much human and no matter if I cry or swear certain things to myself -

isn't this a test, after all? -

"Despite all that, I'm here," I told you my first night there -

that I will still feel the very same if not stronger -

I feel strongly that I can overlook that, because of how much she matters to me.

then, well,

why not smile with them?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the story's in the first paragraph, they say

"It is narcissistic, vain, egotistical, unrealistic, selfish, and hateful to assume ownership of a town or a word.

"It is also essential."

Inconsistent courage pisses me off, but tonight I choose to be stupidly brave. To walk on dark path under trees instead of in safely-lit areas the way they tell us to.

"Your words used your way will generate your meanings. Your obsessions lead you to inner life."

Grass crinkles softly in yellow lights. I see no one. I see thoughts.

This place is haunted, you know.

Compromise: dark path with solid lights from buildings ahead.

So many dark windows. Who is like me?

I can't cry. Would you believe that? Well, last night I looked up at the stars while I was driving home and they made me so sad. I don't know why. I mean, hell, they're always there. What else is?

But besides that.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

a break like this <-- my cousin is the pizza delivery guy!

To Eric and Matt

Feet pause. "Is that a finger?"

"I'm talking to the nice man," she says.

"We're bored here. Can you drive onto the grass or something?" he wants to know.

"Later," we promise.

Sashaying with umbrellas past bright facades and brick pathways. "Don't have a cow!" and we groan and laugh.

Sprinting over sand - cool but not yet wet - meet grey crashing white grey again and again -

I stand at the shore, watch crashing grey and know that the desperately rushing tide runs to meet me - I smile - this overwhelming chaos, this beauty - I have finally found a place that is me.

"Let's break out the wine," Kim suggests as the trouble alarm beeps loudly and emergency lights shine on the residents in the hallway who look at me.

We play power outtage instead of power hour. Never have I ever kissed a cheerleader. Giggling fits take us outside. Intriguing basement conversations next to the room with one chair. Kid in the blue poncho, what's his story? Keep it on the DL.

"You two were in bathing suits and I was wearing a tank top," she'll claim later. Rain and wind slap our skin like the volleyball that keeps soaring under the net. Orange lights illuminate laughing bodies in the night.

White skirt,
soaking rain,
brilliantly clear morning.

This is the best time I've had in three years.
What have you been doing?
You don't want to know.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

silent dim way of spirits

It's ten o'clock and we're already yawning. She pulls her fingers through reddish blond hair and talks about traffic court and moving south.

So who's the adult who lives in here?

Radio stations come in as crisply as headlights on dotted lines. Laughs come as sharply as plastic ball to plastic bat.

Are they, like, the school gangsters?

Ghosts on the highway each night. If I were the ghost in the windmill, I'd come down to this field to run from sweatshirt to sweatshirt, laughing in the silent dim way of spirits.

The thing is that you can't be afraid. You have to push through.

Reading about writing and as I listen, something glows again.

I should be here.

We should go sometime. I don't need to drink. I just like to dance.

I like learning to love small towns. But as she drives through the two stoplights that separate us from my car, I have the urge to tell her to keep going. Keep moving. Past these places.

I've lost the old nostalgia that upstate skies had for me, even from the start. I'm south and the stars are sharp and she laughs, good friend, keeping me clear, present.

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

I want to be the ghost tonight and not the driver. I want to get lost tonight, flowing through forests under the red slice of moon until someone whispers softly for me to turn back.

Monday, September 01, 2008

to the next to the next sort of life

What I've learned:

RCR's = death. There's nothing quite like the desperation - yet liberation - of knowing for certain, "I am fucked." Everyone has a story. Everyone. I can function on one hour of sleep, apparently. Never think that you won't run into someone again. We may be exhausted but I will always be trying to make you laugh - and laughing even if you stay silent. My friends roll deep. Always. These bathrooms do not include soap. Or towels. I say I'm nervous but I walk up and down as if this is in fact mine. As if those answers are mine.

And I love this dizzying jolts of words - laughs in slow times - quick quick feet - one hour of sleep smile and pass from the next to the next to the next sort of life.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"I'm pretty sure they don't let you major in geography if you don't know where Iowa is."


for just two days,

between driving back and forth enough times to accumulate the distance it would have taken to drive to Binghamton or Albany (but not El Paso...yet), infected cysts, being that smiling yet stoic girl on the table as they lifted the needle, 9 pm panicked escapes to Riverhead, beer pong on armoirs, boo lovin', ghost stories, lack of Interwebs, strawberries and bananas, 5 am pained steps towards painkillers, Windows Updates, Olympic rings, bulletin board supplies, fervently missing Spanish and gymnastics while both aren't far away, being alternately bewildered/annoyed and amused/upbeat, text conversations, unsolicited compliments, the standard Beth Grinnell ridiculousness that I've come to expect, whispers on a very small campus that turn to shouts picked up by wind, and trying to figure out how the hell I'll walk that line of carefree and 22 and 22 and mature writer...

...looks like I got that life change I was seeking, all right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

hard enough to wake me

I have a lot to say.

For once I want to be the car crash
Not always just the traffic jam

Dreams again: Fell asleep while driving. Too many hours at the wheel cannot keep my eyes open. I deny it - I can't remember - but my mom says disapprovingly that they saw the marks on the side of the highway -

vaguely I recall car spinning -

Hit me hard enough to wake me.

I had been leaving your house, but you were no longer there.

And if the road gets rocky,
just steady as we go.

"Jeep rider's disease." Delightful. Antibiotics remind me of why I never cared much for medication - sudden thirst and sudden sleep.

Steph: "dear diana, cortland is not the same without you ... lets rewind k bye."

For no reason at all, friends have come out in full force these past few days and I realize how many people I love - how many love me.

I've got this adventure coming up. They want to hear. Wish me well. But want me back sooner rather than later.

I'm gaining pounds
on the precipice of too late.

Seems that I've recovered a couple of the pounds I'd lost the past few days. Probably for the best. After all...

Dear Diana:

Please learn to plan ahead better; i.e., when exercising and driving for an hour each and preparing to cater in decently warm weather, eat more than three slim slices of cinnamon bread and a glass of orange juice.

the black spots in your eyes and ringing in your ears

Reach out
and take it
'Cause I'm so tired of all this fear.

Jingling cell phone music shakes me awake each morning. Sometimes earlier than I'd intended - a random call or message. Sometimes precisely on time.

Call me silly. But each morning the ringer sings me from sleep - always startled, disoriented - I wonder if it's from you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'll read to you here, save your eyes

It's easier not to be great

It's easier to resist the suggestion and of course I never will. Something aches when I stand still, but the moment I begin to run, it nods, clenches, runs with me.

You'll always be able to count on me to throw a full at random times in random gyms. Just to remind myself that I can.

and measure these things by your eyes.

"Have you made a lot of friends?" Matt wants to know as I lounge next to Riverside's trampoline, holding my leg in the air as an afterthought. "If I saw you like that, I'd be like, 'Damn. I'm being her friend.'"

I alone love you

Clear night again, dark trees bright stars. My lower back expands and burns and I shift uncomfortably, idly wondering what'd Emeline say -

then a star falls.

No arch. No streaking farewell. A straight line. A simple tug of gravity wanting theirs back.

Fear is not the end of this!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

warmer falls

Of course, who knows what will happen, but I'm so glad I got the job!!!

I haven't really admitted them to myself yet but there are perks in this place. Many, in fact.

And imagine: a winter less than bitter with a sun that stands aloof but stands nonetheless?

Yes. That would be all right with me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I didn't realize you were serious about this RA thing. Diana, that means you actually have to yell at people.... can you do that? on a regular basis? ... the creative programs and late nights I know you can handle :)"

Oh, Emeline!

Friday, August 15, 2008

4 (oh, I am nervous!)

Drama already: Bela and Bob Costas concur that Shawn needs to upgrade her barani to a rudi. Gotta agree, she can definitely pull it off. Amber French sure can! :-)

Six tenths... can Shawn pull it off? I'm hoping for a finish like Carly's in 2004.

Now Tim's picking up on the drama.

Jiang: Aw, this routine is so cute. Let's see how it goes today. See, the Chinese can do more than one pose between their skills! Low landing on triple full. Low on full-in. Not good triple turn. Or was it a double? Tim calls it "easy," after all. She seems a bit less thrilled. Last pass...again, low landing. Crowd loves her, though. 14.775. Let's see how the US girls score...

Is this the elusive Anna Pavlova? My goodness, she materializes!: Very aggressive. Long lines like Nastia. Cool front layout step-out. She moves very confidently. Feel like the choreography could be more intense to reflect the music. Intriguing ending pose. Psh, Elf, NOBODY is like Lilia. Besides Brittany Wiesner, who is the exception to every rule. 15.05.

This lack of commercials is awesome. And I've certainly just jinxed myself.

Ksenia: Cutesy, bu she does smile. Height on the tumbling isn't great. Putting on the Ritz, eh? Lots of energy, which is nice. Good routine, but not sure if it changed my life. 15.075, I think they said.

Yang: Dramatic opening pose. This music sounds promising. Very clean tumbling so far. Not that third pass. Switch ring not as good as others. Long wait for last pass. Low landing. I bet they'll let her slide, though, judging by how scores have been. Very pretty overall, though, it must be said! 15.00. Really? Thought they'd give her more.

Nastiaaaaa's turn! Oh, USA....: COME ON, Nastia!!!!! I'm nervous! Wavering in my certainty!: I like Tim's advice to "land on your feet and stay in bounds." Good first pass! Nice double front! Beautiful leaps. Was that out of bounds? Even the commentators are silent. Last pass!!....NICE! And of course a lovely ending pose. Good for her!!! Aw, her dad looks so happy. Yang just hugged her, too. This is suspenseful! 15.525! SWEET! Finally, a decent score for her!

OHHH, Shawn!: Wow. 16.125. Do-able, but could be tough... Tim says nay. Wait, didn't she score around that at Trials? Nice and extremely high first pass. I really hate her dance or lack thereof, but she's so damn cute. Second pass....Good, stayed in bounds. This music is cool. Good ending, good for her! She shouldn't be ashamed of second, if that's where she ends up. She looks slightly tired - what, she's human? :-p

Score score score.....


Nastia for the win! Wow! Good for her! Aw, they hug.

Wow. Nastia really brought it. I can see the touching comeback stories starting now. But Shawn brought it, too. Good job, USA!

And now Steph and I don't have to cause a ruckus...tonight, at least.


"The American kids are doing good," says Bela. Gotta agree that the scoring seems a bit conservative with respect to the Americans.

"Look at Shawn. Look at Shawn!"

If Shawn hits and doesn't win, I will be pissed. So far, neither she or Nastia have nohing to be ashamed of -- they're doing solidly.

YES, beam! This should be a pleasure.

I want to see Nastia calmly and cooly punch an NBC cameraman.

Shawn is .750 behind? How is that possible?

Ooh, I hope the delay isn't making her too nervous....*sarcasm.*

Here we go: God, I love that series and how she lands it! She moves so damn fas into everything. Gotta agree - first time I've seen her wobble. Low back leg on switch leap. But she's got it oing on. Lets see this full turn: hot! Emeline is proud right now, I know. Cool cartwheel thing - Beth must learn it. Solid!

Replay of that series confirms that I want to be Shawn Johnson.

16.050 - an improvement despite the wobbles.

Yay, Jiang!: Pink clips are fun. Whatever, Tim, let's see you mount the beam. (Flashbacks to Gary Babjack randomly tossing front fulls on Tumble Track.) Hesitation before front tuck. I think Angela Calvano's sheep jump is superior. Not too impressive today. Pretty dismount. 15.425. Definitely high.

Steliana: Yeah, sticking that double layout! Ahhh, another floor routine with three poses betwen skills for choreography. Doesn't go with the music. She doesn't look too thrilled. But, hey, if she's got back problems, nice tumbling! Awkward lack of applause. 14.500. "That not good." - Al Trautwig.

"I don't know what's going on," Tim says.

Oh, the message boards will be full of it!

Haha at the photographer in Yang's face. Shawn looks sad. No sad!

Loooong unnecessary filler talk while gymnasts sit or stand.

OMG PIRATES MUSIC!!!! WHO IS THAT?! Is she swordfighting?!?! AHH! The end cut is the same as mine!

Steph calls because she hears the music! "China is cheating their way through the Olympics! I want to go there and sue their asses!"

Ksenia (I can barely concentrate): (and why aren't they showing Anna Pavlova?!): Cool front aerial to scale. Not the same! Text from Beth about the music. Looks like a pretty good beam set. 15.925.

Yang: Seriously don't know how she is winning over Shawn. Pretty mount! Mine definitely didn't look like that when I tried to learn it. Silence in the gym. Okay, maybe I can see - she's definitely got some flair. OOH, not good full turn. Awkward side aerial. My God, she is skinny. I like her perky poses. She does finish every routine looking thrilled, which I always appreciate. But "it's beatable," as Elfie notes. 15.750. Eh.

Nastia!: Yeah, press handstand! She looks so incredibly tall, all 5'3" of her. Nice switch leap-half. Stay calm. Get rid of that side somi -- it breaks her nice lines! She shouldn't try to look like a ninja. Slow to connect that wolf full. The Liukin is a hot skill. Love that switch ring! NICE!!!!! Stuck dismount!!!! She better effin' get in the mid 16's. Or Steph and I will be causing a ruckus overseas. 16.125? Are you kididng?? FOUR TENTHS HIGHER than Yang's routine and that's it? Wow.

HAHA, a "definitive walk" from Nellie Kim. Thanks, Al.

What is going on here?!

Good for Nastia taking the lead! Oh, I am worried for Shawn.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Nasta's score in contention? Fair enough. But then again, not the highest difficulty. I like her bright pink leo. Quite the bold statement.

Shawn Johnson "recovered"...yeah, I'd say she looks pretty under control from a simple step forward.

Steliana Nistor: nice Hindorff, legs apart on her bar transitions (Tim sees what's up), ugly dismount but she stuck it. Wow, 15.975? Generous.

Okay, now it's really rotation two:

Oh, geesh, enough of Bela Karolyi, please!

Nastia: beautiful Geinger. Low Tkatchev. Yay, good Pak salto! I wonder how much the form breaks on her giants cost her. Apparently not too much. Eeks, awkward landing but she made it through! And, of course, she's barely breathing afterwards. Between her and Michael Phelps, I'm feeling like a slacker.

Replay: Yikes, she's so close to that bar! But safe.


Shawn: Little close on the Geinger - I agree, Tim. YEAH, stick! Haha, she looks quite relieved. Good work. I'm not sure why everyone knocks her bar routine all the time. She's solid. 15.275. Hmm.

Jiang Yuyuan: Cool leo. Beautiful Pak! I feel like she's not quite as innovative as other Chinese gymnasts on bars. Pretty dismount.

Steliana: Nice connection out of the front aerial. Yes, Jil, straddling the beam is never an overly positive experience. I hate side somis. Terrible full turn. She's a little loose and keeps doing her front moves in the same part of the beam. Lacks polish. 15.550? Generous.

Ksenia Semenoa: Cool name. She looks so little! They should show more of Russia, even if they've struggled. I respect anyone who can swing bars without grips. Nice releases, as Elfie notes. She's on that high bar forever. Very cool dismount! Nice! 16.475.

Why are they talking about Anna Pavlova but not showing her? Putas, por favor.

This gym is quite tame compared to 1996, even during the team competition.

We could show her routine instead of focusing on Nastia's face.

"Nice music," my mom says.

Yang Yilin: She's got that style on bars. Looks like she's working pretty hard every time she kips up. I don't know, Tim, it didn't really blow me away. 16.725. That seems a bit high for some missed handstands, especially when they hit Shawn so hard.

Shawn and Nastia move to the balance beam - hell, yeah!


Yes, I am going to blog through every rotation. And yes, I will love it.

Yang Yilin - nice start.

Nastia's vault = amazing! And the reason why I started blogging at this moment.

15.025? Lame. I can't see four tenths in execution.

Solid from Shawn Johnson - of course. "This is very scary," says. Tim Dagget as the judges pick up the phone. Please stop talking. Was it really that iffy? Roll us the replay again, please. Can they legally zoom in that close to a judge's computer?

Jiang Yuyuan - I like this girl's spunk. Sloppy....fall to the back. Sucky way to begin. Did she really have a shot for the gold? Hopefully she gets it back together - I like her style.

Damn you, Water Cube!

Whilst eagerly awaiting the women's all-around final

Since, not surprisingly, I've perked up substantially (isn't that always my way?),

a few thought-provoking quotes for y'all from Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman:

"Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body. But you haven't learned how to read the wisdom of the body. So you can only read books and listen to experts and hope they are right."

"Softly, he said, 'It is better for you to take responsibility for your life as it is, instead of blaming others, or circumstances, for your predicament. As your eyes open, you'll see that your state of health, happiness, and every circumstance of your life has been, in large part, arranged by you - consciously or unconsciously.'"

"Anger is stronger than fear, stronger than sorrow. Your spirit is growing. You are ready for the sword."

"Stressful thoughts reflect a conflict with reality. Stress happens when the mind resists what it is."

"There are no ordinary moments."

-What time is it?
-Where are we?

"You do have a terminal illness: It's called birth. You don't have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason - or you never will be at all."

-"So what do I do now/ Whwere do I go from here?"
-"Who cares?" he yelled gleefully. "A fool is 'happy' when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That's what makes happiness the ultimate discipline - above all else I have taught you. Happiness is not just something you feel - it is who you are."

"Feelings change...Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness."


"...This is the final task I will ever give you, and it goes on forever. Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"I'm emotionally devastated right now."

The text message from Brittany Galla after Alicia Sacramone's fall on floor said it all:

"What the fuck? Seriously."

After the exhilaration of the US men catching beautiful release skills, sticking dismounts, and skirting through pommel horse with a triumphant finish by Alexander Artemev to win the bronze medal, hugging and shouting in joy, tonight was quite the opposite.

Tonight, the stony-faced US women sat silently after finishing the meet, watching the grinning Chinese women smile through stumbles on floor that proved to be meaningless.

Yes, the silver is indeed an accomplishment, and yes, the Chinese had the mathematically victory even with a theoretical 1.6 added to the US score.

But it's one thing to know for certain that you could have done no better and quite another to recall every hesitant landing, each missed handstand, and two unsalvagable falls.

But chins up, USA. You'll likely live to compete another day. For all the talk of "experience," not one member had competed in an Olympics before. You are all innocent.

And nothing could be as bad as the Sydney Olympics, anyway.

As an aside, I appreciate the sagacity of Holly Fitzgerald: "You should be out there, I KNOW you wouldn't dare step or land out of bounds during your floor routine and you would have kickass accompanying music as well." :-)

And at least Danielle, Beth, and I were able to practice our full turns and cheerleading routines during the commercials!

I'd love to see Jonathan Horton stick his landings all the way through the all-around final; why not add another bronze? The Shawn Johnson-Nastia Liukin one-two punch would be fantastic. I appreciate Nastia's artistry, but I'd love to see Shawn win just so that I can finally believe that it IS possible to hit just about all of the time. I'm also not particularly sold on Cheng Fei. I'd much rather see spunky Jiung Yuyuan win some hardware, regardless of how old she really is.

Ahh, yes, we are all innocent...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Preliminary thoughts

In the wise words of Jeremy Lavine...

"Please, a little less drama!"

Yes, we'd all like a lot more gymnastics and far fewer "in-depth back stories," inane commenary from Al Trautwig, and interviews with George Bush and Bela Karoyli.

Bela: "...And Chellsie."

Bob Costas: "Chellsie Memmel."

Bela: "Yes. Obviously."

But since that's all essentially a given in different permutations in any Olympics...

Enough with the lamentations over the loss of Paul and Morgan Hamm to the U.S. mens' team. Yes, both have big names and big scoring potential. And they're out and many experts consider the team "out," too - barely in medal contention.

But isn't that the fateful justice of gymnastics? That sometimes it all comes down to who maintains their balance and who wavers?

From what I've watched and read, the men have hardly called it a wash. And when you've got routines like this from Alexander Artemev - something to make the most casual observer pay attention to pommel horse (on the NBC replay, even competitors from other countries applauded) - and an extremely clean full-twisting layout Kovacs from Justin Spring (not to mention the triple back) - you can't help enjoying the US men and their "nothing to lose" attitude.

On the ladies' side, it's certainly questionable as to whether some of the Chinese athletes are even a day over 14, let alone 16. But when tiny He Kexin can pull out release moves like these, I almost don't think it matters.

My fellow aficionado Danielle and I were quite disappointed to hear that Sam Pezsek had sprained her ankle and to watch Alicia Sacramone bounce out of bounds. But I think the US will pull through - maybe not for the gold (China's become so balanced on every event that it may be near impossible despite the clean slate), but solidly for the silver. And in the all-around, as much as I sigh at the lack of choreography and overabundance of rigid arms in nearly every pose in her floor routine, I hope Shawn Johnson dominates.

Also, the US mens' swimming victory over France in the 4x100m freestyle relay was quite fly. Literally.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

law of conservation of words

The law of the conservation of energy states that energy may be neither created nor destroyed.

I put words together in enthusiastic spurts at the beginning of the summer and over the past few weeks. Here was one - maybe not that - oh, yes, this very one - plucked from blue-grey haze.

Selected or not, they were all ready to laugh after I'd finally righted myself from getting lost on a straight line on a beach. They smile each time I fail my "need to be obscure" and choose something honest and, yes, emotional. They have rushed to surround me - words of all colors and inflections - each time I returned in tears.

Sometimes they pace with me, keeping me company - telling the same stories to soothe me. Other times, they cringe - so much noise, so little sense. Sometimes they dance outside of my open-then-shut mouth, hoping for once I'll scream.

Now I pull none.

They wait, watching.

They look up as I enter the kitchen, sweating from a run. The same songs play through my ears. The table is set for dinner. "Are you going to the gym tonight?" my mom wants to know.

"Yeah," I answer automatically.

They sit back as I dance to the same beats again again again, nod their approval.

Now it is dark and I would turn away to sleep, but they nudge my chin so that I have to look up.

We look at each other for a long while.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Book of Emeline

In regards to an F&V paper:
"Maybe it will 'flow' better this way..... although even smoothies are chunky at times."

In regards to The Future:
"Why can't we both take a year off and make money doing nothing and then go to Bingo and be roommates?"
-I can't think of anything better! :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

driving home

Arm dangles out the window, indifferent. (But this is summer.)

Stations come in clearer at night. Blue and white digital screen pauses at nearly every number. (You wouldn't want to overlook a chance, would you?)

Silent lightning blinks but the tension is dull, distant. The first wind before the storm sighs.

I am restless, too.

Low murmur and buzz from softly swaying trees - not urgent but not silent.

Headlights on the curve and my foot leaves the gas. AC/DC's on the highway to hell, but still I hear the buzz beyond the noise -

Too many words.

I need to listen to the night.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

These dreams both nights:

Menace at the doors or the window. I do not know why. I run back and forth - but where to?

I am never alone. They look at me calmly. One continues to read.

The answer is up. But I never see myself take the stairs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


When I was younger - nine, ten, eleven, twelve - I'd sit down at the laptop on the dining room table on Saturday mornngs. I had no real interest in the Internet, found instant communication awkward, and instead did what came so naturally then.

I wrote.

I wrote epic tales of the Key West Suns. There must be over thirty stories. As Lena remembers, one was 200 pages. Size 14 font, single-spaced.

And then I started middle school and my writing began to turn to gymnastics tales that were essentially actual people with different names and semi-fictitious situations.

And then long fiction faded into bursts of poetry. And then I don't remember fiction at all. I began a few stories here and there, got to ten or forty pages, and stopped. I did not know how they should end. So I ended before they had the chance to.

At sixteen, everything became real. Friends, night skies, burning limbs, thoughts of love, tired mornings, and the tension already - here-or-elsewhere, this-or-more.

It's been that way for six years. I needed to live instead of spinning fiction from more fiction. What did I know, anyway?

I wanted to write in fiction so many times this year, hoping to maybe be slightly less vague through clear metaphors, but it happened again - that ending thing. I still don't know.

So I settle for flashes - urgent writings to be done in a few hours or a few days where something happens and ends. Like the writing I get paid for: start, story, done.

Because what do I know, anyway? I'd like to think a little bit more, at least.

I woke up this morning and realized I'd dreamt of love with someone who does not exist and unrealistic monologues and movie danger. Not grad school, not whatever-this-is, not strange-events-that-I-somewhat-dread-to-cover-but-know-will-be-fine.

What a relief it was: to dream in fiction.

relentless momentum (still)

"This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object."

I reject calm, it seems. So much has changed. Do you see that? Even my face, the one that won't convince a stranger that I'm over 16 without proof. The one that's nearly always amused, shifting theatrically, or listening intently.

I saw it tonight in the movie theater bathroom. I saw it when I walked into the gym this fall, winter, spring, glancing at the mirror - after scanning to see if my shorts length was appropriate - before looking down inevitably to the scar on my knee -

The face: emotionless, observant, and yes - older.

We left this place more or less equal, and now I see it split down the middle - those with nothing, floating, searching, grasping. And those sprinting. Dreams. Distance. Desire.

And I am in the middle, split.

So much is wrong with every choice and I will still want to run, but the slightly amused, slightly tired look of these eyes in that older face shrug at me:

It does not matter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

moving the stars

"...Human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to move the stars."
-Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I could be wrong.

And today is just lovely: resoundingly deep blue sky. A mind decided. A pulse that tingles eagerly now, not deliriously. A light yet solid touch of the hand in mine, swinging.

And I could be wrong. I could be wrong.

And I will always wonder.

But now, I will see.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

that this too, too sullied flesh would melt

Rain falls in March:
another step on worn pavement,
a pluck on the window screens -
just another reminder -

Snow would drop
thick fast and silent
then, exhausted, fall onto itself -
how to live, they say -

Or maybe not so.

We see our sins in rain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

june is running out and i would like a week off

Dear Miller Place High School,

I am sorry for throwing up on the side of your track. At least the orange vomit complemented the red color scheme.

a citizen who ran too quicky too soon after eating sweet potatoes.


"You're never this blah."

Strange, but I carry thoughts and desires and duties as well. Strange, but I just want to rest tonight.

Why, yes. I am mortal.

Your arm around me and I immediately lean in. "Is that what you wanted?" I sense you've smiled.

Well, of course I'll always want that as long as you're next to me.

My eyes close briefly. I have carried myself for so long.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

she touches the lightning

Lightning frightens me not at all tonight.

My shoulders strong against the rain.

Go ahead. Go ahead.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

you and me and secrets in dirt

I caught up to you and me in the woods today. I was the same height, maybe a bit less muscular. You had a few inches to go, but you had enough on me.

We were walking, of course, our mouths moving faster than feet and heads turning at the sound of approaching steps. The unspoken: Who actually runs? ... Should we?

You and I let me pass and watched me move out of view. To give us credit, I thought, we would have at least pretended to run as I ran by.

Then the woods were ours again. Our secrets in dirt. But spoken, of course.

Ten years and so much now unspoken, I thought.

I could have slowed my steps - you never asked me - maybe I should have known -


I ran.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

pain lies on the riverside

or so it did, once.

Creaking heavy door (aren't we all older now) my creaking knee - dinghy lights and ragged looks -

Oh, old lover, the years have not found you well.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

central, thinking neither north nor south

I feel safe to be anxious in this old town. Hills cling to heat and faces lift to fireworks.

Here I feel brave enough to leave. For so long I'd wanted to take that interstate north, but now I'm better off heading south...

Neither matter tonight. I drive through here and suddenly feel you, palpable as humidity: desperate desire on skin and just as invisible.


I drive.

Dark windows tonight and silent doors in houses we had called ours, chipped paint, crooked floors, tilting fixtures and all. Our shithole, our palace, our fire trap, our fortress. Our place.

I drive. I hear you laugh -

nearly in my ear, full sonorous range from high laughter to deep chuckle -

softened by walls in rooms I cannot see, but I know your eyes gleam as they always will.

I feel you, though it does not matter.

But the streets have not forgotten me. I drive.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Enough to make you nervous.

"You know when you indirectly know a lot of information about one person, and it makes the situation funny for you and really awkward for them?"

"How much do you know?"

"Enough to make you nervous."

a little night music

I'm dancing in the room
as if I was in the woods with you
No need for anything but music
Music's the reason why I know time still exists
Time still exists...

So I just put my arms
around you,
around you,
And I hope that I will do no wrong
My eyes are on you
they're on you
And I hope that you won't hurt me

-Elysa, "Dancing"

Saturday, May 31, 2008

southern night, thinking of north

All roads lead to some pulse, yes, but what of empty dirt paths winding grimly and inevitably towards the blade that draws blood?

I'll never have my mind entirely made up, of course, but when I see white buildings glowing in desert night and find myself wishing it were snow, I have a hint.

But I could be just as alone on snow-coated nights.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May summer (the awakening)

Your songbird steps, stumbles, and smiles in a bright flowered dress, in chorus with green green grass blue sky blue water.

Children push each other on swings and play checkers with rocks – they call out in some cacophony and you never hear a word.

You touch her palm, swing her fingers with yours - a light graze – she needs not coaxing nor restraint – she can hold her own –

She laughed and looked at him with eyes that at once gave him courage to wait and made it torture to wait

She moves over pavement, laughing talking – always a dance – your arm around her and for a moment, you hold her.

She likes that, the being held.

Oh, but the tide holds her later, tugs her ankles – I am coming – taunts and recedes -

She could have shouted for joy.

She closes her eyes instead as sun strikes pale face dark hair wide smile – she neither invites nor rejects -

And you kiss her – before she can laugh – before her eyes turn sky-bound again in her dance against gravity –

- while she is quiet girl with closed eyes and you for this moment have her.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Be still.

So I'm not the only one who thinks that any form of treading is better than standing still.

And because of that, I like this portion quite a bit:

"...As Thoreau observed, 'It is not enough to be busy. The question is, what are
we busy about?' Life will be unsatisfying to those who sew and grind and run
in circles for what is merely self-interested. Life will be unsatisfying also to
those who confuse their jobs done for money with their work done as a moral
being in a humane world. Life will also be unsatisfying if empty of dreams.

"As Hans Selye wrote in his book, The Stress of Life, 'Realistic people who
pursue practical aims are rarely as realistic or practical, in the long run of life,
as the dreamers who pursue their dreams.'

"Among the wise, life is a celebration, a celebration of the realization of one’s
potential as a human being. That potential peaks at the confluence of the
currents which energize our lives, our work (not jobs) and our dreams. Where
these currents join we make our greatest contributions, contributions always to

"As you head off in pursuit of your work and your dreams, recognize that to
travel far you must travel light. Therefore, live below your means, say no
often, don’t just do something - sit there. Sit there until the direction is clear.
As you head off in pursuit of your work and your dreams, may you be joined
by good health, good books, good friends, good laughs, and good memories.
In the somber times they will lift your spirit, lighten your burden and lengthen
your stride, that you may travel far. So go. Head for the confluence. Keep
your soul aloft. Strike a blow for humanity."

Tom Goodale, "Waste, Work and Dreams"
Commencement Address
SUNY Cortland, 5/17/08


"There's a guy outside wearing a sack," Lena says.

We look out the window. Sack-wearing person strums his guitar as girls dance and someone takes pictures.

"Is this normal?"

"Pretty much."

"...Is that a dude?"



In honor of discussions about Emeline doing important things at Arcadia with her ten hours of class and double-Masters program:

"Why didn't we choose useful majors?!"

Diana: mmmm
that came later
Beth: seriously!?
Diana: HAHA
Beth: laughing is not an answer diana marie

That's right.

We need people to tell it straight up. Like when I get pissed when you say I'm singing out of tune. Or when he tells her to do a double back. Or when any of them tell me that I'm making a mistake. Or when they tell you.

And then we need them to nod. To say, "I understand." To say, "I don't understand. But I support you anyway."

Thank you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"No homo/no emo!" :slap:

The Gallagher brothers caused a fitting ruckus, ducks were fed, I sat between my two best Summa Cum Laude friends, Wes Weaver made fun of Stony Brook with four graduates of that school standing right there (e.g. every male in my family), and everyone made it home without EdGal throwing too much of a fit.

Oh, and I do feel the gap already.

I'm at work on something "real" right now. Of course I am. What else would I do -- accept the claustrophobia?

I want to write because I've always got energy, because I don't see anything else moving right now, because it will help me hover just a bit above boredom and a good deal above sadness, because I've got time and motivation and have yet to choke these out of myself.

Nobody knows what to say. You could be silent forever and still a character who fascinates me.

Because it all went down so beautifully.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You'll never know what your best writing is, probably.

In that setting (with frequent shifts into the back-story), the reader is shown the character's mind trying to figure out what is happening.

For me, this is a central tension. There is on one hand the urge to be astounded (which is usually handled through lyrical language and images of storms and stars and other natural phenomena), to manage disappointment and fear, and to come to terms with ambition--all in pretty elliptical language shot through with laconic conversation. It's unusual. I wonder who your heroes are going to be as you continue to read in this genre of creative nonfiction memoir.

I’d also like to see you play with being goofy. Funny. Off the wall. You were faced with some very serious stuff this last year and you chose (probably wisely) to write out it with respect and sobriety, but don’t be afraid to look also at the absurdity of it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

you'll find what you think you're gonna be, child

Text message from Doug Gallagher:
"We hope to be there around 6. Dennis is ready to party...he brought his funnel."

My thoughts are just jolts-

Grad school update:
Four acceptances
Two rejections
One pending


Schools I have/will say yes to:
Two (maybe three)


Little bags of dark chocolate M&M's eaten:


Schools I've actually decided on:

not yet formed-

your words, I hope. Share them all - the filler, the mumbles, the mistakes, and more often than you'd believe, the beautiful.

-but finally ready to shake and shatter and spark in this sky that has always watched patiently, waiting for the birth.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

all things.

warm spring night sky and damp drizzle. arms around my raw shoulder, hard stools, and liquid down throat, down arms -

i gasp -

we rip ourselves and catch our feet on the sidewalk. someone distant laughs. i cannot yet form a smile.

i will learn, they promise, inevitably.

but now air water light rip me and i clutch at my uncomfortable skin-

the pain of birth.


mist settles on cool grey stones to watch lights on roads and dark hills.

i wish you were with me.

quiet steps on soft ground. nothing whispers but the silence is calming, knowing.

you are always with me.

death sees not nothing but all things.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

in progress

Water spins off light-shattered glasses
Dripping down
Dark skin dark rooms
Burning beats burning wood
Against blistering feet
Someone’s laugh shakes
Head swiftly and finger
Touches finger softly -

But only after today -

glass dropped by small hands
skin split on dry concrete
in the sprint inside from
lightning-shattered sky
radio in the living room
interrupted by storm warning
the half-hinged stubborn back door
her heart upstairs –

someone laughs
shatters thunder.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

sweatshirt song

There's nothing quite like unsolicited comments about my sweatshirts as I walk down the sidewalks of Cortland.

Random wasted boy passing Emeline and me: "St. Joseph's is...nice!"

Random wasted boy walking behind Emeline and me: "Don't speak to her like that. She's a League Champion!"

Random boy on cell phone as I walked home from my Spanish final: "I'd like to thank my parents and the nice little people of C-State Cheerleading..."

Thursday, May 08, 2008


On the road to page 10 of este ensayo tan fantastico, I couldn't help but be a bit amused/intrigued by what pulled up for me como respuesta:

chasquido: m (ruido) crack
(de la lengua) click
(de los dedos) snap

Versatile, indeed.

There is something so urgent going on in this poem and I hope I can capture it fully.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"Siempre protegido en su torre de marfil..."

I thought only of experiences, but ahora me da cuenta de que una parte of me has depended on este escapismo this year -- cierta distancia, if you will.

And I am willing to go anywhere -- small northern towns, countries with half of the population below the poverty line, cities of screeching lights and lake shores -- if it will take me.

I am protected right now at this table in Mexico, New York, 8 pages into my Spanish paper, as Emeline talks to her parents about the deals she's made on books off of Ebay, her sister YouTubes songs in the next room, and her grandma likely concocts more hilarious remarks ("Did you just say, 'Get 'er done'?"). A stream moves quietly through rain-darkened green grass.

Distance makes me safe.

Yet the always-running part of me is stared down by the other part that just wants rest. A small-town, intimate, smiles and pies and forever love sort of life. And I will sit by the window and write my stories. A beautiful, reflecting silence.

Well, I will always be writing.

Pero eventualmente, inevitable, como sabemos demasiado bien, tengo que volver.

He salido y he vuelto.

Monday, May 05, 2008

(writing a list to postpone doing below items)

Honors Thesis = DONE!
German skit = performed, confounding every spectator (probably not in a good way)
As You Like It paper = DONE!
Spanish research paper = 3/10 pages...oops
Publishing Niche essay = about to be revised
Publication piece = likewise or completely rewritten
Publication place = FOUND! (Lena = a god...You're a god and I am not...)
Last radio show = roar! (courtesy of Rachel)
Mexico, NY = impending
Spanish and German finals on the same day = beautiful
Fabulous times with fabulous people = ongoing!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I turn my head to the side

and smile

serenely - knowingly.

I once wished I could stay, but now I only want to move. Skirt swishes, hair whispers across eyes, I smile because you cannot see me. I duck behind taller bodies but I am not hiding.

I feel no shame from passing beats.

Oh, but I still know it

head still sideways - your lies disgust me -

Let's go - it's our song!

I look but will no longer watch.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

tributo a la mujer.

As I began to glide into that wonderful delirium born of late-night inspiration, finding all sorts of sources and connections for my thesis that I hadn't anticipated, I found one link that said it all:

Women Feeling More Stress in College.

Yes, hombres. I know you're working hard, too. You're expected to be the breadwinners. To be the big pimps. To please your mother. To kick ass at every sports event and in every round of beer pong. To sleep when you're dead. To never show that you're cracking. And to get pretty good grades.

I understand this.

And then you've got the mujeres. Still caught in double expectations: yes, be emotional and vulnerable all you wish. But you're a liberated woman these days and you can take care of yourself. You can cry to your mother but in the end it's you who's up all night finishing your work. You wonder what they might say about you but you're busy creating your own words, making yourself appear - and be - original and capable in - yes - a still male-dominated society. You're good at multitasking, and therefore you take every task every activity every role every teary friend and take it to heart so that everything comes out neatly in the end. And I know that for most of you, "neatly" really masks the desire for perfection.

But how about you? How do you come out?

Do you give yourself time to wonder?

Mike from Cortland and Mike from home will never know how invaluable they were in simply calming me down this year. Kevin has never once laughed at my emotional outbursts. With a look, Jesse lets me know that I'm being ridiculous. Priedes, although we don't speak often, never fails to make me laugh.

Yet what's impressed me most in these months since September is the strength of the women around me. Emeline, that kitten and ticking bomb. Tanya, venturing to Wisconsin. Brittany and Amber, never afraid to battle and raise their voices. Mindy's complete audacity. Rachel - yes, you, my dear! - who, though stepping softly, has made great changes for her own happiness.

I went to play Mario Kart one night and came home the next morning with a story so much like hers. And Natalie's. Cassandra came to practice with a story too much like mine. Beth understood too well. Jess and I wonder out loud together, but soon shake our maracas and dance - we will not sit still for you. Kristen finally said no. Danielle and my cousin Meghan blaze through life with the energy of five small children.

And the wonderful part is that they are a sampling - not the whole.

We look to each other. We smile. And we keep moving.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

a softening of the storm

Is it strange that the history in these sidewalks and streets make me smile? That I no longer want to run and may, just may, learn to let myself flow?