April 29, 2007
To send a dehydrated porcupine
By letter post, with love. It did appear
That is was such --- a gift, but more a sign
Of love, from her I love, that girl of mine.
I did not think it too exceptional
(Acceptance being one part of being in love)
And yet I thought it strange, for you could call
It strange to send a dried-up porcupine
With love. My dear, I thought. O darling mine.
And stroked with love its quills so soft and fine
At which I saw is was not animal
But vegetable. Yes, it was a vegetable --
The prickly part of some old hoary pine
She had detached and sent me, plus a line
There scribbled in her dear and silly scrawl:
"I hope it did not prick you, dearest mine,
I did not mean you to be hurt at all."
--Ian Hamiliton Finlay
April 25, 2007
But my polish didn't shine the hole.
If you stand in a circle
Then you'll all have a back to bite back."
(I am only able to think through music at this moment.)
April 24, 2007
April 21, 2007
it was the black glasses,
perched on her nose,
reflecting fluorescent light
in an office hallway
8 floors up, in a forgotten
they made her look like,
a soft professor,
a determined gentle wit
for the disinclined,
they made me throw away, succinctly
an empty future
i'm afraid nothing in my resolve
the black glasses,
perched on her nose.
April 18, 2007
How do you open a bottle?
How do you make orange juice?
How do I dream in English?
I immediately whipped out a little book in which to jot them down so I wouldn't forget. I was totally intrigued but having trouble making out anything beyond the first three items. When a single seat opened up he got up and moved--perhaps he sensed me reading and taking notes over his shoulder?--and I felt desperate to see the rest of that list.
I found myself plotting how I could get another look. I fantasized about snatching it out of his hand and running with it. (Is that completely wrong?) I figured I could just get up and go stand beside him at his new seat, although that would be pretty obvious. As I was determining that I did not actually care if it was obvious, he got off at Judah.
And now I will never know.
April 16, 2007
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I think, like many girls, that my ever-changing understanding of the human anatomy, sexuality, and the complexities of relationships as a child was reflected in my Barbies.
For quite some time, I didn’t have a Ken doll. I was forced to create imaginary male figures—boyfriends, husbands, fathers, and brothers—or else to play at a friend’s house so as to take advantage of her Ken-doll-possessing good fortune. I often ended up at my friend Katie’s.
There were pros and cons to playing at Katie’s house. On one hand, she had fancier Barbie accessories than I, such as the dream house and the pink corvette. But much to my dismay she wanted her Barbies to do devious things.
“Let’s play like my Ken sleeps with another Barbie and you divorce him,” she would always suggest. I hated this.
“Can’t we just play like they love each other and take a vacation together?” I would counter.
“Nah, that’s boring.”
So we usually did it her way. I found I got into it very quickly.
We’d dress up one Barbie all slutty-like: in a short skirt, tight sweater, and high heels. She would saunter casually up to Ken, place an ever-rigid, outstretched arm on his, and say, “Hey baby, wanna come over to my place? My parents aren’t home.” Ken, of course, was always game.
We only had a vague understanding of what Ken and Slutty were supposed to do together, but we knew it was wonderfully bad and involved being naked with a lot of moaning. And we had very little concept of the seduction process. “Let’s pretend the air conditioner is broken and it’s really hot, so they can’t stand to wear their clothes,” I would suggest. So Ken and Slutty would lounge together naked in the dream house on a little plastic couch with their legs sticking straight out.
“Can I lay on top of you?” Ken would ask hopefully.
“Sure!” Slutty replied.
Sometimes that’s as far as we ever got; other times there were some little plastic “clack-clack” noises as naked, plastic body parts rubbed together. Once Slutty’s legs even ended up straight up in the air. But no matter what happened, Slutty always ended up pissed off and throwing Ken and his clothes out the door. “And stay out!” she would huff, angry and naked.
Meanwhile, Wife Barbie would be stuck at home blowing wisps of frazzled hair out of her face with three filthy, screaming kids, an old wood-paneled station wagon, a dog with chronic diarrhea, a burning dinner on the stove, and a husband missing in action.
One Christmas, I was thrilled to get my very own Ken doll. I was dismayed, however, that he wasn’t a “normal” one with a painted-on helmet of yellow hair. Instead, he had a sort of white man’s frizzy Afro of synthetic hair that framed his chiseled features like a puffy cloud.
While I was now able to enact my own Dirty Barbie scenarios, I was also increasingly disappointed with naked Ken’s flesh-colored, painted on underwear over his vague hump for a crotch. But I came up with a brilliant plan. I cut off his hair close to his head and glued it onto his crotch. I sat back to admire my work. I realized that Ken’s new pubic hair only told part of the story of what was down there, but I was still satisfied with the results. I pulled on his pants not really realizing how ridiculous he now looked with the hairy, bushy bulge that now made them too tight.
I rushed into the kitchen to show my grandma what I had just done, apparently feeling she would praise me for my ingenuity. She was talking to my great-grandmother on the phone, and waved me away while silently mouthing the words “I’m on the phone.” I tapped my foot impatiently for a moment, and then decided I couldn’t wait any longer. I thrust Ken into her face, and flashed her by pulling down the front of his pants so that his fluffy black and still glue-damp pubic hair dramatically burst forth.
“Oh, my God!” she cried. “Mom, you won’t believe what this child has done!” Some stray tufts of damp hair fell into clumps on her lap. I quickly realized the magnitude of my error, and ran with Ken back into the bedroom to hide.
Soon afterward, the glorious hair disappeared and I was left with an awkward-looking Ken with a bad haircut and a scaly crotch.