Dec 5, 2010

Each Moment a White Bull Steps Shining into the World

If the gods bring to you
a strange and frightening creature,
accept the gift
as if it were one you had chosen.

Say the accustomed prayers,
oil the hooves well,
caress the small ears with praise.

Have the new halter of woven silver
embedded with jewels.
Spare no expense, pay what is asked,
when a gift arrives from the sea.

Treat it as you yourself
would be treated,
brought speechless and naked
into the court of a king.

And when the request finally comes,
do not hesitate even an instant--

Stroke the white throat,
the heavy, trembling dewlaps
you'd come to believe were yours,
and plunge.

Not once
did you enter the pasture
without pause,
without yourself trembling,
That you came to love it, that was the gift.

Let the envious gods take back what they can.


-- Jane Hirshfield, from The Lives of the Heart

 

Nov 18, 2010

way past the stars / that ignore our fate, all twinkle too late to save us / so we save ourselves

The little river twittering in the twilight,

The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,

   This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,

All the troubles and anxieties and pain

   Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft 'Sh!' of the river

   That will last for ever.

And at last I know my love for you is here;

I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,

It is large, so large, I could not see it before,

Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,

   Troubles, anxieties and pains.

You are the call and I am the answer,

You are the wish, and I the fulfilment,

You are the night, and I the day.

   What else? it is perfect enough.

   It is perfectly complete,

   You and I,

   What more-?

Strange, how we suffer in spite of this!

- Bei Hennef, DH Lawrence

Oct 24, 2010

you said we might get into red flag danger

Words, Wide Night

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

- Carol Ann Duffy, 1990

Oct 7, 2010

a short list of things Southern girls still expect

15 Ways to Charm Her
Southern Living, July 2009

By Amy Bickers

“Want to impress a Southern girl? Just think “What would my grandfather have done?”

Number one: We still expect you to give up your seat for a lady. On a bus, at a bar, on a train. . . we don’t care where you are. Unless you are at a restaurant and the only lady in sight is the one taking your order, stand up. Now.

On a recent Friday night at a bustling restaurant bar, two friends and I waited for our table to be called. The bar stools were occupied so we stood patiently, sipping wine and chatting about the workweek. When a couple nearby stood up, another woman – who had been there less time than we had – swooped in, reaching across us to put her purse on the stool. This isn’t the worst part. It’s what happened next: Her male companion then slid onto the other bar stool.

Hang on while I do a geography check. Are we not in the South? If ladies are waiting for a seat and you have a Y chromosome, do you sit down? No, sir. No, you do not.

We know modern life is confusing. The roles of men and women have evolved over the years. As Pink once sang, “Shorty got a job, Shorty got a car, Shorty can pay her own rent.”

But come on, let’s keep some things old-school. My late grandfather – he of the East Texas upbringing, U.S. Navy captain status, and Cary Grant good looks – would never have allowed a woman to stand while he sat. And if you want a Southern woman to love you, neither will you. So, men, here’s a short list of things Southern girls still expect from you.

We still expect you to:

1. Stand up for a lady. Actually, this doesn’t just involve chairs.

2. Know that the SEC has the best football teams IN THE NATION. Big 12 fan? Hmm, perhaps you should keep walking.

3. Kill bugs. Delta Burke as Southern belle Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women said, “. . .ya know, when men use women's liberation as an excuse not to kill bugs for you. Oh, I just hate that! I don’t care what anybody says, I think the man should have to kill the bug!”

4. Hold doors open. This goes for elevator doors too.

5. Fix things or build stuff. I once watched in awe as my stepfather built a front porch on the house he shares with my mother. He knew just what to do, cutting every notch, hammering every nail. The project was complete by sunset.

6. Wear boots occasionally. Not the fancy, l-paid-$l,000-for-these kind. We’re talking about slightly mud-crusted, I-could-have-just-come-in-from-the-field boots.

7. Take off your hat inside.

8. Grill stuff.

9. Call us. If you want to ask us out, don’t text and don’t e-mail. Pick up the phone and use your voice.

10. Stand when we come back to the dinner table. ”Just a little half-stand is enough to make me melt,” my friend Stephanie says.

11. Pull out chairs. Wait, that’s not all. Scoot them back in before we hit the floor.

12. Pay the tab on the first few dates. ”If you ask me out, you pay,” Stephanie says. “If I ask you out, you should still pay.” Listen, guys, it’s just simpler this way.

13. Don’t show up in a wrinkled, untucked shirt. Care about your appearance but not too much. Don’t smell better than we do. Don’t use mousse or gel. You shouldn’t look like you spend more time in front of the mirror than we do.

14. Never get in bar fights. Patrick Swayze might look cool in Road House, but in reality, bar fights are stupid and embarrassing. You don’t look tough. You look like an idiot.

15. Know how to mix our favorite cocktail just the way we like it. Fix your favorite too. Sit down on the porch (it’s okay if you didn’t build it), tell us how your day went, and we’ll tell you about ours.

We’ll leave the long list to the girl who falls in love with you.

(Credit: @SouthernLiving @ this post @BlueEyedBride)

Oct 2, 2010

i'm walking in my old footsteps, once again / and you say, just be here now / forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be   
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it moving
Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,   
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices tying   
His father’s tie there in secret,

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.   
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope   
Behind their mortgaged houses.
- Donald Justice (1966)

Sep 12, 2010

It was an outstanding way to end this long-ass summer...

...seeing the boys at Chastain on a perfect September evening.

Here are a few favorites from the video setlist I'm attempting:







(photo credit/all images: nixnaegie from the boards)

Sep 10, 2010

Let me count the ways I love my Farmer Boyfriend...

...who single-handedly talked me out of almost 20 years of vegetarianism. I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for unknowingly deprogramming me and bringing me back to my One True Love: THE HAMBURGER.

Aug 25, 2010

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."

 Flannery O'Connor & peafowl at Andalusia

Aug 21, 2010

Before (just a few of eleventy hundred parts):

More before (avec un soup├žon de OCD):
After:
 And there was much rejoicing...Stage Five, bedroom complete. And it only took 10 months (and ::cough::3years::cough::).

Aug 12, 2010

On the circle of Hell known as dating after 40.

To paraphrase a puppet childhood hero, it’s easy being GenX. We are a laid-back group, caught between the sheer numbers of the Boomers and the sheer bravado of the Millennials. Our numbers were never large enough to drive sociological changes, so aside from some overachieving exceptions, we're mostly just cruising along, taking in life's scenery and settling comfortably into our middle years. (Half of us, anyway. I find it hilarious--if “hilarious” also means “maddeningly ludicrous”--that women tend to get their emotional ducks in a row at pretty much the exact point in time men lose all track of theirs.)

 As for the women of GenX, we were raised to believe that we could do anything, be anything, as long as we got there under our own steam, without needing to rely on a man to power our trip. Well, it worked. We believed it. We did it. And promptly scared off our male counterparts (who were apparently never given a copy of the fine print on our self-reliance manifesto) in the process.

We are the daughters of the feminist movement, taught from an early age that nothing can stop us, that we can rise as high and achieve as much as any man. And in some ways that's true, we have taken great strides, stepping over traditional gender roles and going after and getting exactly what we want. But part of being powerful is knowing when to take the back seat, look at life from another perspective. Because the thing is, in a relationship there is no CEO, it's a delicate dance of push and pull, of back and up and down. But we endure because at the end of the day we don't want to go it alone. And when we find someone, a partner, we compromise, loving everything we can, and putting blinders onto everything else, because love isn't perfect, but it's the really great and perfect love that keeps us evolving, happy, and in the end...isn't that what life is all about?
-- Men in Trees, “Taking the Lead,” 2006

I realize, of course, that if it gets out, the treatise I’m posting could effectively end my haphazard dating career, but I find that's a risk I'm willing to take. I can no longer sit idle and silent while another amazing, emotionally intelligent, grown-ass woman is patted on the head and told that the reason she’s unpartnered at this age is because she’s just too picky.

People, I'm here to tell you that is officially an Untruth.

Below is a list of empirical generalizations based entirely on an anonymous mash-up of my own dating experiences and those of my numerous single female friends. (So if one of our prodigal dates happens to find this and start thinking libelous thoughts, don’t. You’re simply one among many, many, many.) And y'all tell me...if it were you rowing along in this slipshod, leaky boat called Dating After 40, with which of the following candidates would you choose to go over the falls?

The Bitter & The Divorced: News flash: we are not your ex-wife. Just like we don’t want to mother your children (they exist, so we’re pretty sure they’ve already got one), neither do we want to be a proximity-based repository for your failed marital residue. Just because it’s sticking to the bottom of your psychic shoe does not mean we want to see it all over our clean floors.

The Kindergartner with a Salary: If you’re over 40 and have never been in a long-term relationship, we’re happy to use you for sex but don’t think for one self-congratulatory minute that we’ve ever considered plumbing your non-existent depths. Our wicked smart mommas taught us to recognize All Hat & No Cattle long before you rode off into your very first solipsistic sunset.

The Wolf in Husbandly Clothing: You’re so busy saying everything you think we want to hear (in our pathetically marriage-starved state, natch) that you’ve failed to notice we stopped listening to your enormous pile of practiced horseshit somewhere around “...with a white picket fence and two Golden Retrievers.” Dude, sometimes we just need to get laid, too...why not try asking first and saving us both some effort?

The Genuinely Nice Guy: You’re out there. Trust us, we know this. We enjoy spending time with you. We just really, really wish we could be attracted to you.

The Throwback: When you appear out of our past, spouting compliments, we’ll admit it--our inner teen drama queen is flattered. While using us to abate whatever angsty drama has been percolating in your head for x years, you should probably know that--shock!--those pesky “what-ifs” weren’t yours alone. Aaaand...scene. We’re living in the now, too.

The Mover & Shaker: Yes, yes, we get it -- you’re a self-made, one-man wonder who is never, ever sick at sea. Or so you keep telling us and anyone else within earshot. ::yawn:: Guess what? We’re pretty awesome, too, and are definitely not content to just trail along in your bombastic wake. (Though we do enjoy the giggles induced by replaying your “Well done, Me!” soliloquies for our girlfriends.)

The Mama’s Boy: Quick test: does your mother still buy your underwear? If the answer is ‘yes,’ you have no business whatsoever wading in our dating pool. ::car horn:: Also, your ride’s here. Run along now.

There you have it. And it’s by no means an exhaustive list, merely a tiny sampling from me and my subset of optimistically single friends who want to believe that the right one is out there somewhere, compiling his own list of dates-gone-awry and wondering where in the hell we’re hiding, too.

Aug 10, 2010

i think to myself that i do this a lot

OK, it's possible I may have developed a tiny obsession problem interest.

Jul 15, 2010

I'll come back home without my things / cause the clothes I wore out there I will not wear around you.

Writing the Blues: A Starter Kit

Dug this out of an ancient email last night and decided it's apropos for current times. (Btw, using the word 'apropos' most definitely ain't the Blues.)

Writing The Blues: A Starter Kit

1. Most Blues begin "Woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes...sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch--ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs, and broke-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the runnin'. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass
Bad places:
a. Dillard's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses
11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you sleep in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
a. you older than dirt
b. you blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied
No, if:
a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund
13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.

14. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues.
Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. nasty black coffee
The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast
15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broke-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling
17. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
18. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make-Your-Own-Blues-Name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jakeleg Lemon Johnson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore.

20. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.

Jun 16, 2010

questions & answers

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.

Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is to live everything. Live the question now.

Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.


-Rainer Maria Rilke

May 27, 2010

May 17, 2010

sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

- Saint Francis and The Sow, Galway Kinnell, 1980

May 16, 2010

Plug it in and change the world.

I still remember the outfit I was wearing as I sat in front of our newly cable-fied set the day MTV signed on. (Given that it was 1981, a time when all fashion was unfortunate, let's just mouth the words 'sailor pants' and move along.) However, it's not the details that are important here...it's the fact that I still have them at all.

Things I have to concentrate stupidly long to remember: conversations I had yesterday, the back way to my brother's house, whether or not I've fed my dog today.

Things I long ago abdicated to Google: algebraic formulas, names of high school classmates, the proper usage of i.e. vs e.g.

Things I can recall with zero effort and stunning clarity: lyrics to Gimme Three Steps and Buffalo Stance, my seat number for a 1987 U2 concert, which Brandenburg Concerto was playing the first time I knew I was in love.

Are you hearing a theme here?

My mother once lamented that if I'd only give as much attention to test questions as I did to music, I'd be a great student. Putting aside that this was in the 80s when song lyrics weren't exactly brain busters, clearly she was on to something. Maybe if I'd been allowed to sing my college biology lab answers in lieu of attempting written hypotheses, I wouldn't have had to take the class [inaudible mumble] times.

ANYWAY...

All of this is just one long-ass, only vaguely related way to announce that my eyes were irrevocably scalded by the video for MGMT's Electric Feel last night. Harboring a nostalgic love for original glam rock and its subsequent roller-rink-ready pop babies, my first thought upon hearing MGMT was naturally "All skate. All skate." (And if you have to ask what that means, GO AWAY AND DO NOT RETURN TO THIS BLOG, YOUNG INFIDEL.) It's a great song, adaptable to both hard time on the elliptical and driving around at night with the windows rolled down.

For reasons having to do with my own aging but mostly with the music video channels deciding somewhere along the way that slut programming is the new black, I don't have the foggiest idea what passes for music videos these days. So imagine my confusion when I catch this on a soundless TV over a noisy bar:



What am I seeing? What is this cheesetastic mashup of the worst parts of Legend, the underground-Club-Med-on-Viagra portion of The Matrix Reloaded, and, I'm sorry to report, what appears to be several main cast members from the Country Bear Jamboree at Disney World? At my request, the bartender clicks on the closed captioning and slowly, sadly, it starts to dawn on me...I know those lyrics. Why couldn't I leave well enough alone? Because now I'm always going to remember exactly where I was sitting when I finally understood that I am old.

No, not ready-for-my-trip-on-the-ice-floe old, just garden-variety old in that I've officially crossed over the River Styx of pop culture. I'm no longer down with the kids, man.

Apr 11, 2010

Put your pom-poms down.

Oh, but how I adore explicated lyrics.


from Urban Dictionary: hollaback girl

It seems as though Ms. Stefani has had some incidents in which another young, presumably female, individual has made some disparaging remarks about her character. Upon learning of the situation, Ms. Stefani is informing this “culprit” that she intends to handle this matter physically. Ms. Stefani’s character is such that she is not the type of person who counters verbal attacks with verbal attacks, or “hollering back.” Using terminology that is commonplace among today’s youth, this is shortened to “hollaback.” Additionally, it appears as though this altercation will take place somewhere near the bleachers.

Mar 9, 2010

If you wear a helmet while cooking, this post is for you.

Hi from Snapple. Uh, I mean, EZ Cracker.

Via The Consumerist ("You know what piece of technology confuses a lot of people? Eggs."), check out this amaaaaaaaaazing new discovery:



Here are some other products currently in development by the people who brought you the amazing EZ Cracker:
EZ Switch Flipper (Are you living in the dark because you just can't lift those heavy switches?
EZ Cover Puller Uppper (brand name pending)(we might just call it Mom)
EZ Sitter (Does your ass have trouble finding the seat? Let us help!)

Feb 25, 2010

"I'm on a horse."

OK, alright, I'll admit it. I didn't watch the Super Bowl this year. (Grab jaw. Remove from floor. Not.) So it's entirely possible I'm the very last person in America to see this.
WHATEVER.
It's still so damn funny, there should be a continuous loop option on YouTube:

Feb 21, 2010

certainty

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way
because I don't know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I nor you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep
it is your eyes that close.

- Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda

Feb 14, 2010

Because nothing says "Be Mine" like affectionate road rage.

Perhaps some dating fundamentals need to be defined instead of just implied here:

Gentlemen, always remember to shut the door after opening it for her.

(Wow, I'd forgotten how entirely inappropriate and creepy these old illustrations really were.)

Source: found here on 7 Deadly Sinners

Jan 31, 2010

Sweet.

I'm pretty sure this score is based on my morally questionable willingness to use a kid as a human missile.
\/\/
Bring it, rugrats.

22

File under: it'd be funny if it weren't true.

From Big Fat Whale, a (non)comic(al) depiction of the galloping anthropomorphism of Citizens United v FEC:



Source: Big Fat Whale