Saturday, December 31, 2011

psychic refugee

stir-crazy here, going somewhere just to go, keep it low-key, hope it all gets straightened out, hoping the dread is overblown because this isn't starting out too well, at least there's a couple couches to crash on in the meantime.

drink a cup of kindness yet, and say goodbye to our regrets...

It always comes together, everything working out except for that whole business of the lock on the apartment not locking and then being impossible to open. I called the landlady, and she says she'll change it and call me back but that was several hours ago now so I'm pretty much just waiting and starting to wonder what is going on and if I made a mistake.

Who knows, and everything seems to be closed except the swanky establishments, and didn't feel like being the three's a crowd extra with my friend and her new boyfriend. I appreciate the thought, but sometimes that just makes it more awkward, wondering what, if anything, to do next. Everything seems fraught with social peril, but I know it's just me this time.

Resolutions? I got out of Ohio, maybe I can try to get out of the country for a few days this time. Otherwise, not much. It'd be cool to start a band this year and have it click, I guess, maybe get back into the world of zinery to share the love of arcane artistry and general strangeness. Learn more, consume less, I don't know anymore. The time just keeps slipping away.

Friday, December 30, 2011

and I swore I'd never go there again.

Another year another move, boxes piled up, everything in the middle room, wondering how I ended up with so many paintings, why half of them suck and why I feel so shy about sharing my art and end up piling the canvases in the corner.

So grateful yet stressed on the eve, hoping this will be the last one for awhile, hoping those who said they'd show up actually do, getting better at this kind of thing, feeling bad about putting others out but I make it up to them in cash or booze or coffee or furniture.

I have plans for New Year's Eve should I choose to take them, but my throat is getting sore, and I'm between three houses, drinking tea with a little Anubis dog resting her head on my lap. If I wouldn't be a neglectful parent, maybe I'd consider canine ownership, there's a loyalty there that's strange and sweet.

Sleep before the storm, needed so much.

a life spent waiting in cement

When women complain about how men don't have feelings, I wonder if they listen to Jawbreaker.

That being said, I can't remember how many times I've felt like this.

Been hearing about you.
All about your disapproval.
Still I remember the way I used to move you.
I wrote you a letter.
I heard it just upset you.
Why don't you tell me?
How can I do this better?
Are you out there?
Do you hear me?
Can I call you?
Do you still hate me?
Are we talking?
Are we fighting?
Is it over?
Are we writing?
We're getting older.
But we're acting younger.
We should be smarter.
It seems we're getting dumber.
I have a picture
of you and me in Brooklyn.
On a porch, it was raining.
Hey, I remember that day.
And I miss you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

give it away now

The piles of boxes keep rising, more and more of life in compartments, inventorying the legacy of inheritance and consumption, as words of gospels and epistles of sharing with others come to mind, of he who has two of something giving to the one that has none, and the thing is there's not just two, there's three there's four there's six. I didn't realized the extent of possessions until it's all pulled out of closets and from under the bed and laid out in front. Most of it was given to me, but to whom much is given much is expected right? So what does one person need with all this?

And it's liberating to pile these things to send along, to let go, to hold what is in one's hands lightly.

I take a break from this because one of my good friends from way back, my partner in geekness and grunge calls me to hang out with him and what I assume to be the companionship of his girlfriend, but I think it's possible it was a blind date setup or something. Props to his smoothness I guess, for good conversation over coffee and punk rocking it up old punks style standing in the back and nodding along while the Kids pogoed away. Nothing will come of it but getting to be geeky with a new soul was nice for a change. I wonder if it's bad that I've gone so long without the sentimental and the romance that I can't feel it for anyone anymore.

Monday, December 26, 2011

other places

Enough of culinary goodness and conversation as I leave the house to walk in the woods where the palette is grey and grey and brown under the relentless clear azure to be alone with the thoughts and with God because people are exhausting as much as I enjoy them and it feels strange to have this much time unstructured, time to be alone and hover in that transitional time of years turning over and living out of a backpack at the homes of others while my life's possessions reside in boxes and in piles for others to sort through to see if they need anything or can give it to someone who does.

I played around with the new baritone guitar because the people downstairs weren't home, though all my attempts at real songwriting were really nothing except noise and noodling. A few adjustments of the tone and reverb resulted in a pleasing crunch of distortion and satisfying waves of sludgy wavering tremolo like the blackened waves of Lake Erie breaking on the littered beach, the coherence elusive.

there's not much to say, just the unexpressible.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


The rituals continue cyclical, shifting with age, as we're no longer required to do cutesy little kid Christmasy things like sing "Away In A Manger" to bemused nursing home residents, or plays for the grownups involving costumes made of 1970's colored bath towels and faded bedsheets, until we retreated to the basement to run around and be ninja turtles or whatever, buzzed on sugar.

Most of us are older now, old enough to drink or vote. There's fifteen years between me and the youngest, skinny with glasses and bangs like I once was, her room pink and glittery, an island in a house of sports trophies and pennants. She's a sweet and awkward kid who seems somewhat younger than her tweenage cohort, whose girliness is still ballet slippers and fairies instead of celebrity crushes and lipgloss. She tells me about her dance classes, that she likes to draw, and that she built these fairy houses out of silk flowers and cinnamon sticks for her dolls but seems embarrassed that what she perceives to be her cool older cousin sees this part of her world.

I tell her it's really cool, and I mean it, though I wish her imagination had been stretched even further, that there were more books in the house to be absorbed by osmosis instead of videogames. I wish I had copies to give her of all the fantasy novels I read when I was her age, all the Robin McKinley and Lloyd Alexander paperbacks checked out countless times from the library and read over and over. I wish she had volumes of fairy tales (she'd never heard of Andrew Lang) with illustrations by Bilibin and Dulac and that she'd read the Lord of the Rings instead of just watching the movies. Maybe this will come with time.

I end up missing the vigil this year, because this time we're actually enjoying each other's company and talking about what's actually going on with us even though the ones my age take the cynicism further than I do into borderline paranoia, as we roll dice over a board of the world map and snark about imperialist stoogedom. There is choir music on the radio as I drive home and I commune with the Divine on Route 2 to the crystalline voices floating through the static under the dark skies.

I wake up with scratchy eyes and whisper through the microphone as the others sing, and tonight I find I enjoy the company of pretty much everyone, and as the wine bottles empty, no one's arguing about Iran, but we're talking about books and I don't even know what's on the bestseller list because I've been reading about the Balkans and medieval people and Herodotus so I end up cooing over the baby and trying to speak wisdom into the lives of The Kids who are still caught up in nascent hipsterdom or high school hierarchies remembering when I thought I knew it all.

The drive back to the soon-to-be neighbor's house is quiet, and there's more lonely souls than I remember wandering the street, empty buses, a solitary figure framed in the laundromat window, a pack of young punks scowling beneath the awning of a cell phone shop. The cats are hungry and the street is quiet. A week ahead of sleeping, friends' cats, and packing boxes, feeling like a wanderer with a pile of clothes and sundry in the trunk, grateful for the introversion.

Friday, December 23, 2011

the end of the week

Gifts exchanged, moving soon, boxes stacked, pets watched, piling items to give away, needing to find a suitable old church for midnight mass and a gift for my cousin who appreciates the same weirdness, looking forward to hanging out and sleeping in.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

it's just rain

I should know by now that dark clouds in the distance and the multiblued sky mean something, but we got caught in the rain walking back through downtown with my sweater wrapped around my face babushka/hijab style and I've never been more thankful for the space heater beneath my desk.

It feels like April and not mere days before Christmas, even the rain was warm, not that I'm complaining, because I prefer this to spinning across four lanes of I-90 like that one time three years ago when somehow God saw fit that we didn't die.

There are boxes piled up everywhere in the apartment, the unneeded and broken beginning to be purged, last minute details needing to be considered and planned for, meals cooked from miscellaneous cans to lessen the clutter of the freezer, and drink coffee and dig through journalist's papers and photo albums of times long gone amazed that I get paid to this, and that I have an entire week off with no plans whatsoever.

I want to get to the art museum again, and to the greenhouse, and to drink coffee on the balcony at the West Side Market watching the world go by, to grasp the return of inspiration to write something worth reading, and catch up with those I never get to see.

So much of last year was coming to terms, healing of wounds, and I came to embrace solitude for both its beauty and protection, because those who are alone are less likely to be hurt by others. My lack of pursuit turned into a kind of fleeing, and only recently have I been able to crawl out of the introversion, only to feel that life has passed by, with everyone in my shrinking circles married or dating or getting the heck out of a dying city.

Sometimes I wonder what's left.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

and death's dark shadows put to flight

We were the youngest by far, entering late through the side door past the aged faithful, as the organ played Bach and we settled in on the far side in the corner, lost in meditation gazing up at the blue ceiling, the candles illumining, the scriptures read once more, the chants of Advents past in Latin, the words of hope in a time as turbulent as this if not more, if Josephus was right... overreaching and bloated imperial powers, corrupt local authorities sucking the people dry, religious strife between rival factions, and lunatic fringe groups all fighting for domination, of voices in the wilderness, dreams deferred and hopes longed for.

I don't know why someone arranged O Come O Come Emmanuel in a major key because the whole longing for redemption and salvation in a dark world is lost when it's kind of maudlin, but otherwise, the austerity of a stripped sanctuary devoid of ornamentation was good for my soul that still resonates to the liturgical cycle yet is relieved not to sit there awkwardly during Communion because they didn't have it, because I feel it's disrespectful to take the body and blood if one does not believe it to be such.

We return to her house and drink tea at the kitchen table, pondering the state of the world, our residual Catholicism within our certain ethnic blood as her roommates disappear up the stairs laughing in Amharic, the dog and cat chase each other around the tree, and the time slips deeper into night and I drive home through cold streets revived even in near-sleeplessness.

Friday, December 16, 2011

They could care less about you, they could care less about me

The number of people I'll even talk politics is down to one hand. I don't want to hear the partisan ranting. Both sides say the other side's wimpy or crazy but a vote that has the potential to screw over anyone who pisses off The Powers That Be was pretty damn close to unanimous. But it's different when the other side does it, right Dems? Oh he's not doing enough to keep us safe and he's a wuss, Reps? We can argue about abortion and gay rights but look at what we're doing to the rest of the world.

Have you crawled out of the echo chamber at all and taken a look around in the last six months to a year to ten years? Didn't think so.

I couldn't sleep last night, and lay awake staring up into the darkness feeling the despair of inaction, the weight of encroaching authority, of two minutes hate involving abstract enemies, of a population so numbed by pleasure and violence, every year seems more and more like a brave new world in 1984. I used to think my distrust was just an adolescent pose, now it's only grown more intense.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

it still doesn't feel like Christmas

Not that I'm complaining about the lack of snow. It's pretty awesome and I can't help but think of this.


Too somnambulant to think straight, too antisocial to talk, too brain-dead to read or write, and it's dead in here except for the local freeloader who claims to be a man of God but I know better. I know too much, which is my strength and undoing.

It's hard for me to keep my mouth shut sometimes, but there is a place for everything, and this is not the place. It's hard for me as a believer to listen to the sanctimony and the lies, the manipulations, a life of false piety and preying prayers.

The blood is angried up, but it's not a pleasant feeling. There's too many scumbags all the way around.

The Powers That Be continue to justify the unjustifiable, the same old same old goes on, in half an hour I'll be out of here.

Monday, December 12, 2011


So I've been wanting a baritone guitar for awhile, because I love the sound thanks to Corin Tucker and Ian Mackaye and countless others. I like the possibilities of being an octave lower, of being able to play bassline-like or heavy chords and have the advantages of the higher end too.

And there's someone selling one on Craigslist that looked really nice so I emailed the guy about it and through the course of the correspondence I asked about giving it a try as far as playing goes and he kind of flipped out and said that these were collector's items and if I played it it wouldn't be in mint condition anymore and how if I wanted to "test drive" instruments I'd be better off going somewhere like Guitar Center.

Well, okay then. Last time I checked, the majority of people who own instruments intend to play them, right? I mean, it'd be like buying a car without taking it for a drive to see if it actually runs. I'd want to know that the pickups work, and the neck feels good and the tone is what I want, which is why I don't buy things like this over the Internet. I'm sure that being a female didn't help my case either, because we all know that ladies never play anything except piano, violin, or an acoustic guitar like they're in Lilith Fair.

So I'm a little miffed and also glad that the Red Flag of Douchebaggery has been raised so I know better, and say never mind and omit the "sorry I asked," and got an email back about how he was glad I was being honest about not being a "serious buyer."

Really now. If I wasn't serious, I wouldn't have inquired, right? But yeah, I guess I'm not worthy or not serious, because guitars are meant to be in glass display cases and collected like sports cars and baseball cards instead of played. Who would ever do that? How could I be so dumb?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

little things

the ache in my jaw, the boxes in the front room, the social obligations of consumeristic holidays, the final exam in three days, all things will pass, and that week of slack is looking less and less like one, but being able to sleep in for a week straight will be a beautiful thing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The chill piercing marrow, the darkness comes so quickly, the apathy of sleeplessness and I almost didn't go anywhere last night, curled up on the couch drinking tea and watching movies like the true bachelorette that I am but it was right around the corner and I'm glad I showed up, because sometimes you go and hang out with people you don't know and it sucks so much you want to run out screaming and then other times like this one, it ends up being pretty awesome, and more of the geekiness slips out but no one seems to mind.

And now to study, to shake the ennui, to get through the season and remember the light.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I have yet to figure out if geekery is inevitable, as me and my youngest sister were raised in the same household and exposed to the same influences as children and I absorbed all the books and music that sent me plummeting down rabbit holes of history and subculture even further, yet none of this never quite caught on with her.

My mom likes pretty classical music: Bach and Vivaldi, and my sisters and I rollerskated around the basement to "Beethoven's Greatest Hits" scratched slowly to death on a plastic Fisher-Price turntable. Since part of my learning process involved home education, she'd take us to organ recitals at Trinity Lutheran or find cheap tickets for the orchestra or Apollo's Fire, and while I'm not so adept as to pick out a composer's work most of the time, it's something I still like, even if my tastes in the non-electrified realm tend to veer more towards the cathartic melancholy of Arvo Part or medieval polyphony.

But I love live music, and old churches, and things that are free so my parents and sister and her friend, and we sit there. My dad falls asleep because he's been up since 3am and prefers Zeppelin, and I soak in the golden glow of the light, the carved marble angels and the perfect mesh of strings, the intertwining baroque melodies, loving that it's not just the older folk enjoying the concertos, but crusty activist kids, and bandannaed bikers and those of us with peon jobs who can't afford the tickets to Severance but like to get our culture on nonetheless.

It makes me think of my old roommate and coming home to her playing Tchaikovsky on the viola, back before everything kind of imploded. I wonder how she's doing. I wish I could feel a sense of closure as the music concludes with carols about God and sinners reconciled. It's hard for me to believe in the brotherhood of man and world peace when it seems impossible to make amends with someone with whom there should theoretically be no grievance and maybe it's the sentimentality but I long to be the peace as much as I can, I've done what I can but it never seems to be enough.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A paper in need of revision, books uncracked due to the winding down of the semester and the tiresomeness of digesting selective narratives. It's said I need to know these names and dates, but drained of all vitality, this process fails to ignite the spark.

In between the patronizing tone of the textbook, I've been reading Ryszard Kapuściński's 'Travels With Herodotus' and Herodotus, the "Father of Lies" himself. The writing of both is beautiful and captures the wildness of the world, and the stuff of legends and truth stranger than fiction.

We joke that one could make a fantastic doom metal concept album based on Herodotus's observations. "Fish-Eaters and the Crystal Coffin," "Snakes With Wings," "The Dead Are Buried in Honey." And I know not everything has to be literary, but I like the visceralness, the writing about people and the tales they tell, that make these distant times come alive in a way that didactic sermonizing and names and dates cannot.

But it's only one more week, and the skies grow darker, and I feel so detached from all this business of holidays and stripped of all real creativity. Here's hoping it comes back, and here's some sonic beauty for the meantime

Monday, December 5, 2011

these shrouded temples

The pallor of grey and mists obscuring cathedral spires and housing projects in the distance. "It's disgusting" she says, just as I say I love this. If it was still daylight upon the end of my shift, I'd be out tromping through the cemetery taking photos of angels through the gauze of condensated rain.

Instead, I feast on leftovers and the communal coffeepot. Such is the glory of the Peonage, especially given that I broke Rules We All Forgot About 4.126 involving accidentally dropping a cussword in class in regards to United States foreign policy. Randal was of course amused, I'm of the school of thought that while salty discourse is more effective in small doses, there's no other way to describe despotic nations that we deal with as either being on the shitlist (Libya, Venezuela) or not (Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia).

Oh well. Either I'm not as worried about how I'm perceived or I was slightly amused to be reprimanded for a slip of the tongue when my classmates are talking about how we should drill everywhere and blow things up but this is where I am totally like my dad, or something. Oh well. If I'm the Jennifer Finch of the class, so be it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

winter sun

Cherishing the last days of hoodie weather while driving around the old haunts of Parmastan running sundry errands and listening to loud tuneage with the windows down while I still can, drinking massive quantities of coffee with my mom to compensate for the insomnia of loose siding clank and the unwanted company in the walls that kept waking me up at strange hours. In less than a month I'll be in a new place, and despite the stress of packing up and trekking to the next almost-hood over, the change is welcome. It's time to go.