Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Place I'm Determined to Live

This morning, walking, I was half asleep. I always walk the dog when C walks to yoga. Then we start the day together. Sometimes I'm sleepy and grumpy (I often wake a mite irritable, usually just from naps though if someone else is around, not usually from night), sometimes I'm grumpy and/or quiet because I've been working for several hours already, sometimes I've woken up three minutes before and something about being in this space between awake and asleep sparks the hilarity in me. This morning I was hilarious, even though I was annoyed that I didn't have time to have C change my bandage (I can't reach it well and it doesn't go well when I do it myself. Hopefully just another week of this). One of the things I like about my relationship is that I'm way funnier than she is. And she laughs at all my jokes. Sometimes it takes a while to go to sleep, just for this simple fact. But when she says something that's actually funny (and not just what she thinks is funny), it blows every clever comment I've ever made out of the water. This morning after blocks of my supposed hilarity she asked why I get all the good lines in this script.

This morning I cut the lawn. I am reminded of a sticker I saw once that said "I wish my lawn was emo so it would cut itself." The job I actually do of mowing looks kind of like an emo boy's haircut. I think. I don't bother with the edging.

Yesterday I think I walked about 14 miles. Give or take. I was so excited to try that new mexican place in Fairhaven. But it made me sick. I don't think it was the food's fault. I think my stomach is changing. It wasn't terrible. I just felt a little ill for an hour or so, slept on a bench on the green. Then everything was fine.

I have a list of things I need to do today, but all I want to do is walk around town again, me and my ipod looking at girls and men in the park who shouldn't take their shirts off no matter what. Or sit under the trees out front with a book.

Last night nobody showed up for drinks. I felt like a loser. But I was a loser with a book, as always. I had a drink by myself. Then to show I didn't care that no one showed up, I had another, which is all it takes for me these days to get to the edge of sloppy. I was tipsy and walking downtown and there was a parade. Mostly children. I cut through it, nearly sideswiped some girl with a baton.

I do love a marching band. I don't know what it is. Sometimes in the afternoon I can hear the high school marching band practicing, even though the high school is more than a mile away. I can also hear the highway on cloudy days. Just a little. It sounds like water.

I want to live in a world that looks like this:

It's Narelle Autio, which I'm probably spelling wrong. I think she's Australian. Takes lots of underwater photos, which are cool, too. But I like the beach ones better.

My new favorite timesuck, is "i can read." Often the entries are uninteresting or downright dumb, but there are some gems. And anyway it makes me think of different ways I can integrate text into my visual work. I don't know. So much of it makes me melancholy, a place I'm determined to live. Here are a few examples from this week:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

on running away



I had dreams of walking out the door for months before I left. The first one I remember: a hailstorm. Great pock marks and blocks of ice in the yard, holes in the road, the roof caving in under so much thunder. The car groaned from the pressure, but perhaps that was me with hands over ears bending the back of my throat to drown you out. Your hands on the wheel, your head cocked sideways under the concave arc of the roof. It was my fault you said. And our front door seemed so far away and the night still so treacherous what with the sky spitting white bricks, ice breaking weakened limbs off of trees. It was my fault, you said. But it was you who dented the car. Night after night drunk on the ways the world had gone wrong. Drunk on her memory. Your mother was dead. And I left the car, moments before your tongue left your face forever, circled the sky and ate up the clouds in an attempt to get at the cold. But what would I care? I took one last look at your hair, which was the only part of you I was certain I still liked. The car door barely opened. I thought of broken bird wings and downed planes. I thought of you in the sky above me. Dodged bricks. I walked in the front door only so I could turn around and leave. In the car you carried on, beating your hands on the seat as though it were me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Composition Book Clouds

I always marvel when the air is so clear that from certain places I can see mountains all around--the Cascades to the east, the Olympics to the west and the smaller blue bumps of foothills and the San Juan Islands. Often it is near sunset when I notice this, the low angle of light baking the Cascades in a pink alpenglow--a term I learned just after moving here (and just as Voltaire said if god did not exist we would have to invent him, I would have to invent a word for this effect if one didn't already exist).

Today the cloud cover is thick, pretty with striations, stripes of darker and lighter clouds. So like lined paper I put down my book and the words exist there in negative.

The rain stopped. It was brief and hard. Sharp, big drops--all of it unusual for here. Like a regular spring storm elsewhere. We don't get those. I can't see anything of the peaks, the ragged mountains, but the smooth ridge of Lummi Island radiates with purplish hue, the light just right that everything there has such clarity. I feel I can see individual trees and the spaces between them, and the small stretches where the slope's so great nothing but rock and dirt will hold.

And across the bay to the peninsula, the monopalette of gray shades is broken by a flash of bright green as just a bit of light rips through.

I like this place. It's like no other.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Grass, Blood, Books

Today is day three of recovery. Much of the bleeding has stopped and Carol's mom is on her way home. The patient is at present sleeping soundly on the couch with the (big) dog. Both snore quietly, but don't let on that I said so.

Outside the sound of lawnmowers is comforting, even considering I know what damage they do (putting more crap into the atmosphere per gallon than any other engine). It seems as soon as one mower stops, another starts up. The boy next door just mowed their small patch and now the house on the other side of us has started up. Soon, if the skies stay dry for now, I'll probably go out and make the big squeaking sound that I make when I mow. The sound that does not sound like the rest. The push mower. It takes some sweat, and I'm my own self-propeller. A week and a half ago (the first mowing of the year), I learned that the extension cord for the trimmer only reaches half the front yard. If the neighbors didn't think we were batty before, me on my hands and knees trimming the grass around the picket fence with a pair of scissors probably pushed the general consensus over.

I haven't felt much like writing lately, not writing anything, emails, poems (napowrimo be damned), revising the novel, none of it. Somehow getting dirty on long dog walks and from gardening (you should see my backyard!) seems more vital to me than it does. It ebbs and flows. I try not to get too anxious when I don't want to write. It's like getting infant me to eat peas or carrots. It was a mess and most of it ended up on the floor or in my hair. I'm not sure the metaphor is right, but there it is. I just don't want to. In the past three years I've accomplished more than in the rest of my life combined. I'm pretty happy with where things are. Reading also takes precedence.

This year, thus far:

1. The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity – Slavoj Zizek
2. The Capital of Solitude – Gregory Orfalea
3. The Automatic Message, the Magnetic Fields, the Immaculate Conception (Atlas Anti-Classics) – Andre Breton, Philippe Soupault, Paul Eluard
4. Bad Alchemy – Dionisio Martinez
5. Singing from the Well – Reinaldo Arenas
6. Dreamtigers (El Hacedor) – Jorge Luis Borges
7. Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object – Kathleen Rooney
8. Only This Blue – Betsy Warland
9. In the Devil’s Territory – Kyle Minor
10. The End of Rude Handles – Jen Tynes
11. Earth in the Attic – Fady Joudah
12. Too Close to the Falls – Christine Gildenour
13. The Art of the Poetic Line – James Longenbach
14. Names on the Land – George Stewart
15. A Humument – Tom Phillips
16. In the Land of the Free – Geoffrey Forsyth
17. Bloodroot – Betsy Warland
18. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
19. The Bride Minaret – Heather Derr-Smith
20. Blessing of the Animals – Brenda Miller
21. Meteoric Flowers – Elizabeth Willis
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
23. The Massacre at El Mozote – Mark Danner
24. Becoming Abigail – Chris Abani
25. Airport – Emily Kendal Frey
26. The Doorbells of Florence – Andrew Losowsky
27. This In Which – George Oppen
28. Pain Fantasy – Jason Bredle
29. Eva Hesse Drawing – Catherin de Zegher, ed.
30. Falsework – Gary Geddes
31. Seeing is the Name of the Thing One Sees: a life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin
32. Areas of Fog – Joseph Massey
33. Travel – Yuichi Yokoyama
34. Nada – Carman Laforet
35. In the Mode of Disappearance – Jonathan Weinert
36. Dark Thirty – Santee Frazier
37. Blood Dazzler – Patricia Smith
38. Quadrifariam – Frank Samperi
39. The Man Without Qualities (Part One) – Robert Musil
40. Undersleep – Julie Doxsee
41. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
42. Wetlands - Charlotte Roche