Monday, March 31, 2008


I'd been about to cross the street, splash sneaker-first through that puddle when you caught my arm. Rain-straightened hair spun across my face.

I should have felt you coming.

"Long time, no see," you said. Your smile was the same under the dark hood. "How've you been?"

Do you want to know?

"Of course I do."

You hadn't always.

"Yes, I did."

I smile.

"You look great, you know."

Thank you.

"Hey, can I come by later? You're usually around after practice, right?"



But just to warn you -

I might not always be there.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I am on that sidewalk around that corner I'd once thought about so much. Late-afternoon sunlight keeps the cool breeze at bay.

Nearly a year later and I only feel the breeze.

Church bells send deep reverberations and although I am on the other side of the street, I feel closer to something religious than I have in a long while.

I remember the October night that made me write that little piece, "Sidewalk Song," two days after. I look for the crack that sent me bouncing. Here? No, too obvious; it had to be something subtler to unsettle me.

I do not know which one it was. But that night I tripped and then I laughed. You didn't laugh. But you were smiling.

What happened the next day and in scattered late-nights in months afterwards do not matter.

You were happy, you know.

Friday, March 28, 2008

886 words despues

I'd forgotten how much I love "Mad Season" (though many say, "Hey, it's your song!" when it comes on).

Girl outside: "It's snow."
Indignant male: "IT'S NOT SNOWING!"

There's no finer triumph than realizing that your traumatic experiences at eighth grade dances can be converted into excellent writing material.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Your attention, please

"All students: read through ALL the Batch 2 submissions. In the folder titled 'Recommendations for NeoVox Contest Winners,' post a message that lists the submissions you think should be in the contest competition. Also, if there are any high quality pieces in batch 1 that should go into the contest..."

Really, this is the least of my concerns.



It's been one of those I'll write something brilliant/I'll stalk Facebook, I'll laugh about spating/I still have to read 15 Spanish poems, I'm leaving this world/Keep me safe, I'm not convinced/Yes, please, 8 pages on Falstaff done/Why am I taking 19 credits? Start to run/A new injury (on the right foot - again) tingling in warning...sort of days.

And then this song plays on the list I created in honor of skimming through those NeoVox entries. Turn the radio up and push the pedal to the ground. And I have to smile.

And though I may not have words, the moment - the moment - is all right.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

fine instants

Some perfect timing or misfire creates those breathtakingly fine instants -

On dark and winding North Country Road, eyes indifferent to curves and music louder than pulse, something sent that deer across and right around the car - a flash, a perfect arc.

It runs. I drive.

My breathing shakes. But I could not have done a thing - could not have missed it so perfectly.
Awkward acquaintances in familiar places -

walk walk head down head down sneak a glance eyes caught -

you here how? Hey hey gone, cheeks flush a bit. I am sorry that I am not more graceful right now.

Something cautions me against the mistakes I could make.
About one minute from now, you will be one foot away and I will realize that I have intentionally unarmed myself, that the strength I cultivated all this while rushes my words and shakes my fingers, that I may very well hurt myself more but do not do not want to stand up and step out -

Because I'd only gotten a few feet away when something told me to turn around, told me that I would find what to say.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

put your blue jeans back on, girl, and go home

Despite the cold winds of spring and the cold I may face soon enough -

Four years after graduating high school - states and cities and countries between - drinks and lips raised to other people -

There will never be anything like what happens with these people in these small towns on this island in all of those years.

And now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

states of self


The wooden planks sway under pounding steps. Body catches up to where mind pauses, pacing. I stop at the edge and gasp. But not for long.

Water would not soothe or suffocate. Today it would be pushed away as I jumped, green-blue shoved away in a frenzy. Cooling for a moment, refreshing in the instant, and then I would return to land, dripping running gone.

My eyes make calm waters dizzying. The wood still rocks. I am at the edge, yes -

between sprinting and stillness - between this extremely audacious possibility and this very familiar path - between laughing and screaming - between spreading my arms to the winds of this world and -



A cool and sunny afternoon instead of snow. I catch my breath and sit on the peeling red limb of the porch.

I will always be too curious - always be imagining the corners I cannot see into.

But today I only see a slow car, a tall man and a shorter girl far down on the sidewalk, light on pavement, soft green amidst brown.

And suddenly I feel the blood running over knees and down calves, through fingers clutching wood - for once lively but not destructive in the brain.

I am here.


Same place, same action for forty minutes.

I see 34:23 -

The last twenty minutes of my life passed in rapid breathing, eyes blinking against bright lights, and thoughts I will never remember.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Another afternoon of linguistics coding. Another dark and damp Cortland winter day. Freezing rain patters outside. The basement is nearly as cold. I listen to the recording, fingers ready to mark lexical substitutions and inflectional errors.

“La farmacia abierta ofrece medicina muy cara.”

I am in Mexico.

“What should we do?” I ask Ashley. We’re standing uncertainly by a newspaper kiosk on the sidewalk. Huge buses rumble by – green, purple, green-and-white. The signs in the windows announce Centro, Xochicalco, La Selva (the jungle?).

Our host padre had directed us to the Estrella Blanca bus station, but the woman behind the counter had shaken her head when I asked if there were any routes to Tepoztlan. “If you go by the corner past the newspaper stand, the bus stops there,” she said in Spanish (at least, I thought so).

We asked the young guy with the sunglasses who sold newspapers and magazines. He nodded in concordance with what the woman had said.

And so we are standing and staring at the bus station across the street, although the bus we need will clearly not emerge. Taxis screech by. They slow down and we wave them off. Someone whistles. I am wearing shorts and the warm breeze wraps against my legs. I’ve already taken a few sips from my exceedingly large plastic water bottle.

“We’re going to Tepoztlan,” Ashley says again. The wind tosses her perfectly straight brown hair as she glances down the street. She tightens the drawstring straps of her backpack.

“But what if the bus never comes?”

“It will. We’re getting there.”

I admire my roommate’s determination. When I met her in Norma’s class, I’d thought she was the “pretty girl” with perfect dark eyelashes and a wide smile. Little did I know that she’d spent six months in Africa and would frequently talk about her desire to return there. That she was the strong, focused sort of woman that I wanted to be. Finding a bus to Tepoztlan, to her, was only a tiny nuisance in what she assumed would be a worthwhile adventure.

Mercedes was the first to mention Tepoztlan to us, and Mama had nodded enthusiastically. Un lugar mistico. In our second house, Pilly’s mother had agreed with this assessment. La energia, she kept saying. Mucha energia diferente.

I want to go to Tepoztlan. But it’s already been half an hour. I’d be able to live with frolicking through the centro under the sun and perhaps swinging by an Internet cafĂ©. But I hadn’t touched the Internet in a couple of days, and I had to admit that the break felt like relief.

I do not want to be reminded of that hard winter-streaked place, of what it would mean to be back there.

“Let’s move down,” I suggest.

We walk to the corner. The pharmacy next to us offers all sorts of cheap pills and potions. Mothers with small children stride past us, knowing exactly where to go.

I’m not sure which of us leads the way – but our feet bring us around the corner and stop next to the pharmacy window – we keep our eyes on the main road, watch another series of Centro, Xochicalco, La Selva buses pass –

And then we turn our heads to the street in front of us, the cross street, as the bus with the green-and pink letters “Tepoztlan” pulls up before us.

Before we turn back to the bus, we turn to each other, eyes wide.

Friday, March 14, 2008

coaxing the wheel

With that
first breath of invention,
the manmade learns to
defy its maker:

factories of fabric, plastic suffocation,
the soft snow shedding from slim pills,
the cooling metal of
the blade -

the wheel:

The clouds squint, but only a few drops fall. My father crouches under the car. I lean against another and watch the turning metal wean off the clinging screws - a loosening of the tight, an undoing of the knot. Almost relaxing, I think.

He tugs the tire. The semi-squashed, semi-deflated rubber does not respond.

He tries again. Then he prods with a metal rod, coaxing the wheel, trying to persuade without force.

The wheels watches. Waits.


Rolls crookedly, spitefully, mockingly - Look what you have made me.


Strange to say, but it's really, genuinely good to be home.

I think I have an idea of what I want to do, which of course involves more paperwork - but I think it is reasonable enough to all those with vested interests.

I know exactly what I want to prove, but I do not know if I will see that confirmed. My mind comes to contradicting conclusions. The only answer that comes to mind is Time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

a driving melancholy

Blasts of wind rock the small dock. Sneakers step assuredly across wobbling wooden planks. Ripples of water glance at the wood, roll away towards the Sound.

Keep going -

walking -

How would skin feel in dark green-blue water mid-March - good, yes - and the smelling salt of sea putting all thoughts to sleep, waking touch sensation and breathing and ears - closing eyes -

Open eyes versus water now, so much water to fall into becoming a part of a driving melancholy beat in the ears -

But eyes win, moving slowly but lucidly. They shift back towards sand towards solid.

Not now.

Not now.

(This is

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Last night I dreamt

that an OXXO was being built in Miller Place.

Which flashes back to Ashley and I walking into the convenience store to discover Kayla, Kim, and Heather drinking at a table and eating cookies before our final night of mayhem...

Ah, Mexico!

We cannot pace any longer

After warm times with old friends and long talks of identity crises in Lauren's basement, I returned to the final section of The Thesis. And now I see a mirror - summer/fall, winter/spring.

I've had many ideas - hints of direction -

but now I must forget them all because suddenly I see one path, running as straight as time towards May, and I write along it now. Perhaps later there will be time for a glance. But for now I hold my breath against this fracture and run - somewhere [Somewhere is There] -


And if I move enough, I begin to think this was all a dream.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A masterpiece is on the way

(of course!), but in the meantime, I am really, really enamored of my wondrous new computer. Yay for speed and no random shutting down!!!

And as I work on the NCGA website (holla!), I'd like to thank MIT - those technical wizards - for teaching me a new word: triskaidekaphobia.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008


"Asshole." Brittany glares at the white car who dared budged into her path. We successfully complete the lefthand turn onto Groton. "What is he doing? I had the turning signal! Right?"

"No," I admit.

"Oh. Oops. Sorry about that."

"It's cool."

And it was.


Angela's tiny townie, stuck in a backward roll: "A little help, please?"

(Ahh, another one of those classes where Kelly and I just wanted to pull the fire alarm.)

And from the fabulous Angela herself, as the wee children stretched and we did not help them: "So what's this about grad school? Are you going?"

"Well, I got in one place so far --"

"Ah, yes, I heard about that. And by 'heard,' I mean 'read.'"


"Rachel said, 'Tell Diana that I love her,'" Chris recalls as I test my balance on the "Vew-Do" board. "And Chase said, 'Well, I don't think I'll say that...but tell her I say hi.'"

Chuck Norris has counted to infinity -- twice.


I saw what she wrote.

"Wanted: someone willing to be used."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A clean break

I broke down today.
There were no witnesses. No music. No gasps for air.
A clean break.
Everything concentrated into rigid white
and I
swallowed it

And what does all of that mean?

Dear Emeline,

I know you predicted that you’d find my painkillers unused five years from now. But since I have been disobeying your orders to rest and have instead raced on the stationary bike for one hour and ten minute-long intervals, and then waken up in pain each morning, I have decided that it is time to take one for the team.

Your impatient patient

P.S. Brittany would like to share, “I can’t believe you broke something. Again.”


I look at my pictures and realize that I have every reason in the world to be happy.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

an old song/ a bright night

I like it; I find it fitting.

Hope dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption
Winding in and winding out
The shine of it has caught my eye
And roped me in
So mesmerizing, so hypnotizing
I am captivated
I am vindicated
I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right
I swear I'm right
I swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself
So clear...

So turn
Up the corners of your lips
Part them and feel my fingertips
Trace the moment, fall forever
Defense is paper thin
Just one touch and I'd be in
Too deep now to ever swim against the current
So let me slip away...


The night glowed deep purple Tuesday night. A snow fell that silenced wind. White trees, white land, white curves held steady under the gaze of a blurry moon.


The creek rushed against wooden barriers -- Beaver Creek, perhaps, or some nameless waterway that was dry dirt in summer and rejoicing runoff in winter when all other life moved reluctantly.

Then there was another noise: brush against glass, systematically swiping the glow from the windshield. An unnatural noise.

I smiled then.

Who was I to disturb this night?