November 30, 2005

Fiona rocks, rugby fan freaks... RATS!

Sometimes when things like, say, work and life and bills and small paychecks get me feeling a little sadistic, I like to seek out stories of those more unfortunate than me, just for kicks. Such a scenario brought me to this story about a gentleman who was playing "hide the polska" with someone other than his wife, and was tattled on by a parrot who is clearly more intelligent than he. I imagine that was quite a blow... to the marraige, you perverts.

A completely unrelated story also currently posted on Ananova describes how some Russian men were eating a large bag of potato chips and discovered a whole dead rat at the bottom of the bag. Apparently the rat had been cooked and seasoned like a chip and had somehow made it into the package. Even with cooking and seasoning, I imagine the rat was still unappetizing enough to put them off chips for a while and onto another potato-based Russian staple: vodka. I say the rat may have done them a favor. Vodka beats chips any day.

Rats in food are no good -- and either I'm a magnet for rat-in-food stories or this happens more than we'd like to imagine. I have a colleague who swears she found clumps of rat hair in a Subway sandwich and has since refused to eat at the establishment. She actually bit in to the sandwich, chewed and swallowed before she noticed that there were what looked like clumps of brown rat hair baked into the bread.

And peanut butter, according to my junior high school biology teacher, is FULL of rat feces. This is really sad news for me, as PB is a staple in my diet. The long and short of the story is that peanuts are approximately the same size and shape as the doo of the rats that crawl around on, eat, and doo in, the piles of peanuts in the field before they're transported to the processing plant. So I guess the doo falls in the crusher/baker/blender along with the shelled nuts. No wonder it's so high in protein...

Gross. Subject change.

I saw Fiona Apple at the Moore Theatre last week. My seats were the worst in the house. No, really. I was up at the veeeerrrrry top --exactly 3 rows from the highest seat in the building. This was painful for me, as I had initially been under the impression that a friend of a friend of a friend was going to be able to get me in early and put me in one of the front rows. But although my seats nearly gave me vertigo (it really was scary way up there), the concert was flawless. That woman is just fantastic, even if she is a little eccentric. You absolutely MUST download/buy Extraordinary Machine. Listen it to three times in a row, suspending judgement until the third. You will love it if you have any taste in music at all. If you don't, you should probably pull a Van Gough because you're worthless. Click below for a sampler:

I have never understood crazy, violent rugby or soccer fans. This is just another (painful, unbelievable) example of why.

November 24, 2005


**This was written for the 7th Poetry Carnival, hosted by Garnet with the theme "music".**


In the dark I am one of many, fingers to lips just so,
exhaling my melody into the throbbing, smoke-filled room

where bodies warm with swaying nodding tapping lilt behind
the meter of the spotlit island's tight blue cadence.

Ice clinks in short glasses while I tap my thumb;
frosted ashtrays slowly fill with perfectly timed conversations.

My words scat along the bar now, rythmic and stacatto;
my heart pounds, crescendoing, in twos and fours

trading eights with yours across the table.

November 21, 2005

Maternal Instinct Schmaternal Schminst... well, you get it.

So today I was clicking around on Myspace through my friends' friends for absolutely no good reason when I stumbled across a girl who looked like this girl I went to elementary school with who used to always pick her nose and wipe it on the bottoms of classroom chairs, but who was also really, really good at finger painting. No joke. Anyway, I clicked on the girl's profile and went right to her profile pictures to see if she was who I thought she was. Well, she wasn't. But what I discovered while nosing around was much, much more interesting than if she had been who I thought she was.

What I'm referring to is this:

Yep, it's a closeup of 3 little porcupines lined up in the palm of her hand.

And if you're currently saying things like : "oooh! cute!!" or "I WANT one!!!" or something similarly affectionate, you are the very reason I'm writing this post, convinced I'm predisposed to be a bad mother.

You see, all the comments under this photo were about the "cutesy wittle babie-wabies" and other cheesy shit like that. Meanwhile, I've recoiled from the computer screen in honest-to-God horror.

All I can of while looking at this photo is how much these horrific God-awful little things look like three totally dangerous spiny anuses all lined up giving birth to tiny hairless aliens. Seriously. I find them scary and basically fucking disgusting.

Do you think that means there's something wrong with me? Or that, because I'd rather step on these little guys than bottle-feed and name them, I lack maternal instincts? Why don't I find these nasty little critters adorable, or even walking the fine but definite "ugly but cute" line? Why is it that those three helpless babies are haunting me as I type this, preparing to give me spiny-asshole horror-flick nightmares? I'm a generally nurturing person... and I love animals and am a vegetarian (which I obviously just mentioned for bonus points, because now I'm worried you all think I'm a porcupine killer).


November 16, 2005

It could certainly be worse -- a little.


was a comically bad day.

Of course, I should have known it would be when I woke up an hour late. I never do that.

But I didn't realize how everything was aligned to go wrong as I swung my legs out of bed to stand, which is why I was suprised by this funny feeling that the ground had fallen out from under me, or I was falling to it. The suprise was followed by the unmistakeable THUD of my body hitting the carpet next to my bed. So it turns out I WAS falling, and my legs had fallen asleep overnight, unbeknownst to me.

Of course I was still optimistic at that point, thinking of it as a hilarious freak accident, and spent a good 3 or 4 minutes laughing hysterically while laying on my carpet in a tank top and undies clutching my now-tingling legs, until I was distracted from them by a telltale headache from hell. That was when I started to get suspicious that the day would be a little different then every other day this year.

It was like my brain was old growth and was suddenly the hotspot for a new strip mall. I was all buzzing and sawing and thumping to the forest floor up there, and let me tell you - the spotted owls had flown the proverbial coop.

I also lost the ability to put subjects, verbs, and objects into phrases, sentences... really anything of meaning, much less eloquent groupings.

Anyway once I arrived at the office, I proceeded to fall UP the stairs and bruise my knee. Then I threw away a file I needed later, lost $1 to an evil Pepsi vending machine, spent two hours trying to find a parking spot near the bank and missed lunch (which wasn't healthy, considering I'm stressed out anyway and have been spending way too much time at the gym). And I was further stressed by my worry for my grandmother, who last weekend broke her neck, (can you believe that?) and I hate to bother anyone by talking about it (and once one breaks up with the boyfriend, there goes the built-in support system -- but you'd think I'd be used to it after 3 months, wouldn't you?) and so I spent the day a tightly-wound, hungry, anxiety ball.

Oh, and then someone used my least favorite word in the universe, and our computer system was being fixed so I was unproductive at work, and when I got home, my cat was sleeping on my PILLOW (which is not allowed, FYI) and the house was as empty as a tomb -- an emptiness surpassed only by that of my fridge. Which was bad, because I just wanted to cook and dance around in my slippers and not go to the grocery store to face humanity and the very small balance in my checking account.

And I can still hear those damn loggers in my head, even though all that was yesterday.

But it's OK, because I've come to a realization: I just need to tip over my T.V. tray life, spilling out all the stupid trivial crap that sits in it, packaged in little plastic cubes in a soggy cardboard box. It'll fall right on the carpet in the middle of the family room, and I'm just gonna leave the mess sitting there for someone else, for once.

The T.V. guide and all it's little black and white blocks of wasted time will lay there, pages spread all caddy-wompus like broken wings of a magpie (don't feel bad, magpies are annoying). The little cardboard spoon that came with the sick-sweet dixie cup will be broken under the weight of the main course -- a frozen block of gray brown ice -- which will fall on top of it - dead weight - something that used to be animal.

I think I'll hang on to the tray, though. The tray I like, because on it I've painted an ocean scene which I like because I like the ocean.

Also, T.V. trays are handy if you ever need a table for a spur of the moment picnic or a place to play Scrabble (which I love) or somewhere to let the leaves you picked up in the fall dry out and crinkle that rusty red brown that looks like it has to smell like every fall since the beginning of time...

And after that's done, I'll smile and sleep on a plane headed somewhere far away -- maybe the East Cost, maybe the Far East -- and let the maid clean up the mess that isn't mine anymore in my family room hundreds of miles away.

Really, a vacation COULD probably fix almost anything, minus world hunger and whatever's wrong with that guy who invented the bologna with the pimentos in it, right?

Thanks for being my hostage. You may go now.

I wish you everything on the list of good things the rest of the week (you know... that one on the right?) :)

I feel much better, now.

November 15, 2005

Greyhound, Seat 4C

So Erin at Poetic Acceptance gave me an assignment recently: to write a poem with the opening line:

"The clock runs in the shadows
as well as in the light"

Here is my attempt:

Greyhound, Seat 4C

The clock runs in the shadows
as well as in the light
but still she hides it
in her pocket.

Swallowed by the humm-thump of bus tires,
the pounding of her swollen heart
and raw, heaving ribcage,
she watches the blurry world

spin by with unnatural speed,
a palate of rust
and slate
in the dawn.

Dizzied, she fixes eyes to the horizon,
on that point where the dull, potholed highway
meets young lemon light,
and fingers the change in her palm --

enough for perhaps a few more transfers
and another cup of bitter coffee at the next stop,
last time so black
she couldn't see her reflection in the styrofoam cup.

Squeezing her eyes against the glare,
she leans her head to the vibrating window,
letting go.

A shudder shakes through her like a current
and a single salty orb slides from its swollen womb
to hang heavy
on long, damp lashes.

It slips onto velvety cheek,
waning as it purposefully rolls,
leaving part of itself -- a telltale trail--

But when it lands in one final rush,
pooled, glistening sorrow at the corner of her curved mouth,
it is much to familiar
and she much too weary

to notice it's flavor
like the sea on her tongue
or the man in 4D,
in awe of her,

offering his handkerchief.

The 6th Poetry Carnival: Ars Poetica

What is a poem? Why do we write? As poets, what is the experience -- the process -- of writing, and how is it different from the experience of having finally written?

This, the 6th Poetry Carnival, explores works inspired by "Ars Poetica": today our poets speak on their art. Not suprisingly, each keyboard clicked a little differently, each eraser, every wastebasket, all 52 spirals on each notebook looked and felt and meant differently to each poet.

Sometimes the significance of the poem was simply the act of discovering it, as in "Poetry Happens", by Adam Graham. He describes the writing of a poem as a sudden experience -- perhaps divine inspiration?:

"It comes in a moment,
In an instant, in a flash,
It comes without warning,
And it demands written down."

For Martin at Complete and Utter Poetry in "Ars Poetica (Occasional Flashes of Lucidity)", poems also emerge unpredictably -- sometimes from the fog of sleep. He describes the experience of learning to capture and cultivate those gifts:

"I grope for things just out of reach-
At last, a phrase is caught
I explore its form
Learn its texture, shape and weight"

In an untitled, two-line poem, Troy Oster expresses the frustration of a struggle for inspiration and purpose -- perhaps that is the discovery of the poem?:

"Stifled in the mundane with an absence of prophetic epihany I exist in unknown pursuit of that unknown which I am to pursue. There would be other days but that was the only day never to repeat itself."

In That Which Drives Me at My Serenity Vijay ponders a poet's need for inspiration in the first place:

"With every passing second, a new life,
With every uttered word, a perfect statement,
With every action done, a perfect event,
Such perfection, this harmony, beyond limits.
Is there a need for reason to write poetry?"

Regardless of why we write, few poets find their work and their approach static. In "Love of Fare", Violet leans on some delicious food imagery when describing her relationship with poetry. She fancies herself a chef, sampling from the plates of many as she assesses and develops her skills as a poetry chef:

"Wine of symbol and sound
liqueur lyrics abound
I’m becoming an addict of diction ..."

Daniel Barkowitz at Talking to Myself discusses poetry as a state of being in "ours, Poetica" -- and its being, perhaps, a metaphor for itself:

"Imagine, were it possible to see
a world where every object was expressed
as reference to another, every tree
a metaphor, and every one addressed

by 'rose' or 'poem' or 'ancient crooked man'."

At GlitteringMuse, Garnet also explores this idea -- does a poem inspire being, or does being inspire a poem? In "Writing a Poem", Garnet discusses a moment spent trying to create, and finding perhaps he already had:

I see the shapeshifting reality bulge
around the illusory hibiscus I could never match.
Veils of words needs constant shattering
to lighten thick, moldy layers of thatch.

Perhaps a poem is an invitation. Andrew Nichols at briefly encourages his poetry, and his readers, to BE the experience in "Philosophical Poetry":

"Dance on God’s fingertips.
Don’t pay too much attention to my reckless advances.
Bitter or sated, always be bright.
Speak to me alone; sing to many universes.
Cry with me, laugh with me.
No matter how we’ve aged, let us touch like new lovers.
Dance with me."

What should a poem do and mean? At Words To Go With Poetry Renee likens a poem to the changing and change-making water in her version of Ars Poetica:

"Sometimes the beauty of the wild water
Sometimes the ease of a canalled stream
Freedom to flow, shaping rocks to pebbles
Raging in canyons, an ever changing path."

In Erin Monahan's Ars Poetica, a poem appears to act as the healing of a self-inflicted infection, a passion, a child, a relief:

"Let it be a draining of pus
from infected palms, wounded
by the blunt edges of your own
spoiled and sod-soiled nails."

Ed Kidhardt's Beachhead explores a related theme of burying that which inspires a poem, (love? fear? passion? hope?) only to find that it's a hardy little bugger, and lives like a rockflower in the most barren and forgotten places:

"The one fatal flaw, it came from the act
of hiding this thing so deep in the earth
though we never watered or tended it
divine intervention gave the seed birth"

In the end, maybe none of us really know why we do it -- just that we're compelled to. In Billy The Blogging Poet's version of Ars Poetica, Billy says he writes:

"To plead to my lover,
to strike an accord,
to relieve my disgust
with my broken down Ford."

And ultimately, he says, perhaps we do it simply because we've discovered we're able to, and it feels good, and that is reason enough.

**To participate in the next Poetry Carnival, join the Google Group!**

November 11, 2005

I am actually confessing that I am the stereotypical female driver. This will only happen once, so you'd better read it now.

I am a not good driver. By which I mean, of course, I am extremely bad.

I am so not good that when my most laid-back of friends rides in the car with me, her fingers get all white and claw-like from gripping the "oh, shit!" handle the entire time we're driving.

I am so not good that I have honest-to-God almost killed myself more times than I have fingers doing something stupid like turning out in front of a semi or floundering around for a CD for 3 minutes straight, the whole time forgetting that I have to actually watch the road to know where to point the car.

I am so not good that I have knocked over entire mailbox "ports" -- those huge towers of mailboxes with, like, an entire street's mail in them -- SOBER.

But, you see, in typical me form, I will now demonstrate to you why it is not my fault that I am the stereotypical (OK, worse than stereotypical) bad female driver.

I grew up on a petting zoo. It wasn't a real petting zoo, I just called it that. It was really a house sitting on 3.5 acres in a Seattle suburb. Which meant that we had a lot of space to play with. This meant different things to each member of my family. To my mother, it meant that we could have a small farm's worth of animals: goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, geese, guinea hens (yes, guinea hens), rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, etc. To my brother, it meant he had 3.5 acres and a reasonable amount of yard equipment (hedge clippers, saws, hammers, even a wood-splitter) with which he could accidentally nearly kill or maim himself a number of ways. To my father, it meant that he needed "man-toys" with which to act out a very serious internal make-believe settlers-and-indians game he'd been playing since somewhere between 1949 and 1954. Which meant that, along with a good pipe and regular bonfires, he also needed settler-ish stuff, including a tractor.

Which is why I ended up, one day when i was 7, seated on a tractor going 5 miles per hour towards my garage. I had been told by my father to park said tractor in front of the garage, and initially I was doing great: the vehicle was slowly making its way to the garage thanks to my diligent steering. The problem was that I hadn't been entirely de-briefed by the "chief" on how to park the tractor once I got sufficiently close to the building. So i just kept going, having faith that the Chief would give instructions when it came time to take action. Only he didn't -- well, not until the bucket of the tractor was penetrating the door of the garage. Then he must have heard the ruckus and been stirred from his wigwam work or something, because he came running at me screaming "CLUTCH! CLUUUUTTTTCCHHH!!!!!" as I dutifully steered the tractor straight through the garage door.

I mean, I was SEVEN. Years old. I didn't know what a clutch was. I was busy thinking about what my Barbie was going to wear on her hot date that night, not studying the DMV's illustrated driver's manual.

So anyway, we turned the gaping hole into a very large doggie door, which I crawled through when locked out (or stealing frozen food from the garage freezer) until I grew hips my sophomore year in college.

I think that pretty much set me up to have driving anxiety for the rest of my life. Also, my dad is absolutely worse than me, which is really scary, because while I usually drive badly sober, he usually couples his inability to drive with a few martinis and is really lax on the whole seatbelt thing. Which is not to say he's a drunk, just a... well, nevermind.

There's more on my bad driving, but it will have to wait until next time, as my geekiness may reach dangerous levels if I remain in my office much after 5:10 on a Friday night. So, adieu, my friends. Have a good weekend. And don't worry about me: I now take the bus.

November 02, 2005

Translator, please?

I love this blog (click title for link) but I have no idea what it's about, as It's not written in English.

Anyone out there fluent enough in Spanish to enlighten me? I can pick out bits and pieces, but am hesitant to do so if one of you can scan and paraphrase. Who is the blogger? What's their purpose?

Many of these are clearly not original, but some of them might be. And most of them are really cool. The mystery of what's inspiring this blog might be half the allure for me, but you take a look and tell me what you think...

The Poetry Carnival is here!

Welcome, one and all, to the 6th Poetry Carnival!

Ars Poetica: A poem or verse which sets forth a poet’s principles for the art of poetry. Horace wrote the original Ars Poetica somewhere between 18 and 20 B.C. It reads like a thesis on the art of poetry – its purpose, its form, its intent.

Later, Archibald MacLiesh and Czeslaw Milosz were both inspired by Horace to craft their own verses with the borrowed title “Ars Poetica”, MacLiesh’s version can be read here.

This Carnival’s challenge is to create your own Ars Poetica. Dabble in art for art’s sake. What is your personal rulebook for the function, craft, form or purpose of a poem--or are there rules? What motivates you, a poet? What you seek to accomplish each time you set pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard, as it may be)? What is a poem? What mustn’t it be? All mediums and formats welcome -- after all, you're the poet.

Submissions due by November 12 (next Saturday) at noon. They should be submitted to, or via the "email" button at the bottom of this post, and should include the following:

Your Name (or pseudonym):
Title of Blog:
URL of Blog:
Title of Poem:
Permalink URL of the Poem:
Excerpt to showcase:

To join the Poetry Carnival google group, go here and sign up. Or, click on the title, above, to link to danweasel's Poetry Carnival page. All are welcome!

Looking forward to your submissions... the carnival will be up Monday, November 14.