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.