Sunday, October 31, 2010

in love with love and lousy poetry

Opening Ceremony

Isn't it funny, what you notice?
Her hair falls around her face, short,
not too much cared for.
Skin, in this light, is scarred with blotchy teenage battle-wounds.

Eyes with a magic laugh in them,
that she does not bother to guard from view.
Doesn't shy from looking at you
Doesn't need anything from me, but wants my attention

Full of life,
full of knowing everything
You anticipate her presence in every moment:
She's there,
where she wasn't before

hurry, hurry, hurry, before i go insane


uncomprehending streetlights
looked askance at a dim,
hazy talk about nothing really [don't you just tend to agree with people]

we three blanketing someone else's car
philosophical after half-a-bottle [only]

she burned me with a cigarette,
And I didn't even notice she was there.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

en briques


Maniac is me
want it now
and perfect
like bricks
on top of the

the mason's plight,
ours too:
No thanks
for making what is perfect.
Does his job too well,
dies unhallowed.

intricate machinery of mortar
all that's left
to put to our faceless names

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rambling again

I've made a huge mistake, find myself being drawn intractably into maw of a terrifying, uncomprehending bureaucracy whose only end is to perpetuate itself profitably. Don't assume that profit is valued over perpetuation.

* * * * *

How can you ever hope to produce something great when the way you conduct your business is so narrow-minded? We are looking for cogs, not people, and we will gladly numb your personhood into nothing if you yearn to be a cog, find your place, catch the same notch on another cog, again and again in increasingly arcane shades of meaninglessness. You will take consolation in HAVING BEEN OF SERVICE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sketch 1

W- The face of the popular girl from high school, thirty years on. The eyes still have the girlish twinkle. There are some lines around them, but not many. Even in her late forties, she still has kept some of that spark about her. She wears skirts short enough to draw the eye and introduce a vague question involving dress codes and seemliness, one that fades. She tends to say 'blahblahblah' to quickly gloss over something that doesn't need to be pounded out in detail.

Her whole aspect is a double entendre, and begs another question of how to interpret her. Is she the attractive older woman who has held her power to turn people's heads? Or is she rather the desperate fortysomething who has, frighteningly, never changed? [Would I be considered an anti-feminist boor in some circles for the manner in which I pose these questions?—A separate question entirely, you will agree.]

[bracketed digressive interspersals doing anything for you?]

I saw a shock of gray emerging at her hairline yesterday and was struck by how well the dye had done its duty: I never once considered how old she must be. It was all I could do not to stare at it after that. Does she know that I have guessed at her secret? [A hint here at the secrets we all keep in plain sight and we think people don't notice. They must have, though, no?]

These questions I'm inclined to pose about her make her one of the only people in the department who is truly interesting on her own merits. What happened to her? How did some part of her become arrested in a stage of growth, before it was fully mature [I am presuming, but what is life without presumption?]? I can only hope that it is not one of the darker mysteries that is hinted at by the evidence. Assumption: she married young to a high-school sweetheart, felt trapped, but stayed in it, and acts out in barely perceptible ways to assert her lost freedom. And who says you can't judge your elders and postulate their life stories based on appearances and surface perceptions?

Monday, October 25, 2010

the beginning in the middle

I wish I could just wrinkle my nose and furrow my brow, just so, acutely as I do, and make it go away. Famine in Niger that goes unnoticed, any thought of HER, and the legacy of fear in her wake in my life.
This is written not to memorialize my love and pain for HER. That would be to succumb to it, and that can no longer be tolerated. This is written to write HER out, drive HER away from the gates like the ragged horde before my vanquishing knights—words. It is not so simple as that, you may be certain. And yet, it has to be. It has to be spelled out, in black ink, on ruled white paper, in certain terms that leave no room for maneuver: NO MORE.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

cars as brogues

I surveyed the lot. 5:30 on a Wednesday, there was no doubt that R— would still be lurking in the office. Her car must be amongst the last picked-over remnants in the stew pot parking lot. Which one?

Consider the source. Micromanager, another one of those people who seems to have a work face they put on every morning, giving you the eerie feeling of talking to the face, not the person. There must be a car for her here, one that fits.

I saw it clear, like icy water in a steel sink: the Honda Accord nestled in a corner spot.

Moderate luxury without ostentation.
Modernity without hipness.
Practicality without ugliness.
Comfortably, tenaciously situated right in the middle.

That it was beige went without saying.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

'give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments'

You will come to know all this, that Martin Cronin was a good man, not entirely without fault, but meek and honorable. That he could be hard-hearted at times is true, but this is immaterial to the question at hand. That he could often be short-tempered and petulant, none of his intimates would deny, but whom among us is fit to cast these stones at a poor man, departed as he is, and unable to speak on his own behalf? You, who so well know the measure of this man, will not presume to judge him for his acts. As events unfold, all will come to see that the charity dispatched to Cronin was not freely given, and was not without peril, and that his willingness to trust to strangers was to be his undoing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

an Allston hypothesis

In response to a query from John B

Interesting topic for sure. I don't really have any data about Allston, so whatever I say is based on anecdotal evidence. I found relations between the students and the other residents to be mostly harmonious, although there's definitely sort of a sense that actual human interaction is to be avoided. This is not really stated by anyone, but it's an unwritten rule. When you see people on the street who are maybe hispanic, brazilian, or older asian people, you both ignore each other mostly, I think. It's basically respectful, but you're really acting like the other person is not there. In that way there are two separate worlds. People don't mix too much. Each group has its own stores and its own gathering places. The places that the groups have in common are probably limited to liquor stores, fast food joints, thrift stores (sometimes), and some ethnic restaurants where students might interact with the mostly immigrant community.

It's also interesting that while the students are certainly better off financially in comparison to the immigrants, they are also mostly interested in living on the cheap. There's definitely a certain type of person who is drawn to the neighborhood, usually more thrifty types among students. This may be a large part of the appeal of Allston; it's relatively cheap for Boston, and by taking advantage of some of the institutions that the immigrant communities have brought with them (cheaper ethnic restaurants, laundries, and groceries) students can save money. I also think that the privileged type of person that you find at BU, for example, might consider living in Allston something of an adventure. It offers cheaper living, ethnic flavor, and something of an art and music scene, plenty of bars, without the dangerous, violent urban side that places like Roxbury and Dorchester have. It makes you feel like you're "slumming it" in relative safety. And if you ever get tired of Allston, there's also Brookline right nearby, which is comparatively white and affluent, and probably even safer than Allston.

I do think, though that a lot of the students (and to a lesser extent, the immigrant community) don't give any respect to Allston as a place, precisely because they are usually not long-term residents. They are more likely to leave trash on the streets, break bottles at random, and make noise at night, because they sort of don't consider Allston a real place. It's just a place where the poor immigrants live and where people go to party and temporarily live cheaply during their college years. It is not, in this mindset, deserving of respect; it's not a 'real' neighborhood. I'm sure that this is also partially because people often come to Allston to visit the bars, and so are intoxicated. This is unpleasant for people like me (and I imagine for older, long-term residents), who just want to live quietly, go to work, and occasionally enjoy some of the many restaurants.

I hope that helps you some. Let me know if I can provide any more information, or if you want me to expand on any of these points.


Friday, October 8, 2010

I used to live in Pittsburgh, now I live in New York

-What was that sickly sweet smell that flashed through the train car? I narrowed it down to blue cheese, bourbon, or my own sweat fermenting.

-Please notify a crew member if you plan to vomit at any time during today's trip. You will be swiftly dispatched.

-Bernard's bald head and teeth gleamed in the advertisement's photo, and seemed to welcome the inference that earning an MBA in Philadelphia would be safe for a black person.

-Gleaming against the murky dusk, the repair bays stretched efficiently into the middle distance.


-Eternities spent in station stops were really only a minute or two, and the train bolted down the line so quickly that it had to slow to keep from reaching the line's terminus too early.