3.31.2005

5-minute poem #3

(speaking of unnecessary prolificity...)

my primary love language is 'acts of service'


like the smell of Thursday
sweet and thick with friday’s inevitability
service is fragrant to me,
is rose-like, is
like the sound
of the small, slow stream,
whose soft rippling the wind blows by.

like the smell of almost-thursday
on wednesday night
is the thought of what drives
her service,
is
the question: why?

Overrated things

Installment #2

4. Ryan Seacrest. Honestly, Rod Stewart is the only person I can think of who has gotten more out of so little actual talent.

5. Prolificity. This is a tricky one, and might slip by unnoticed by many an overrated lister. (Also, it might be useful to note that the overrated value placed on one’s being prolific is related to overrated thing #3.) The best explanation I can give for this one is as follows: everyone knows that Mozart, in his 35 short years, composed a mind-boggling amount of music, everyone knows that Shakespeare wrote a ridonkulous (see thing #6) number of sonnets and plays, and everyone knows that DaVinci was prolific in multiple fields. What I struggle to understand is the phantasmal relationship between prolificity and quality in the minds of my contemporaries. Taking blogs as a current source especially rife with examples, I pose a question: does the size of one’s blog correlate in any real way to the worthiness of its subject-matter?

The answer, I think, is no. The two are not mutually exclusive, of course, but I must take this opportunity to plead with the world: create all you can, but do not let the quantity of your work speak for its quality. It is true that for every masterpiece, there are untold numbers of works that preceded it in preparation. Let us not, however discard the truth, that preparatory work is often for our own growth, and is as such unfit for public consumption; divulge at your own risk.

6. Clever Lingo. “As if!” “You are the weakest link!” “Don’t go there!” We all know these phrases, and we are all able to pinpoint somewhat specific time periods during which they were exceedingly popular and, consequently, beaten to death. It should be noted that lesser-known phrases, having sprung up in minute localities (a lone high school, a church, or even a group of 5 or 10 friends) can have a similarly strong affect on the few individuals with knowledge of them.


I must admit, I have no viable explanation for this phenomenon, save the notion that such phrases, given the power of language, may provide us with a certain sense of continuity with our society, contemporary or past. Again, I pose a question (though a largely self-directed inquiry it may be): why can’t I stop saying “ridonkulous”?

3.29.2005

5-minute poem #2

butterfly, butterflying


butterfly:
my mind and me
and mind my
butterflying.

today
is the reciprocal of me:
i think of food, i eat
i think of books, i read
i read, i think of books
i eat i think of food.

a bowl of cereal and then
a glass of milk,
5 minutes warmer than
i’d like;
the New Yorker, then
Lao Tzu.

and tomorrow will be
the reciprocal of today,
butterflying.
my mind and me
and mind my

butterfly.

"overrated, meta-style." Posted by Hello

Overrated Things

Installment #1

1. Socks. That’s right, socks. They’re badly designed, and that’s all there is to it. Surely even those who design and manufacture socks have had plenty of those irritating moments, moments we’ve all had, when they realized the seams of their socks were doing a funky little dance around their toes. I refuse to believe nothing can be done.

2. Ignorance. Excuse me, “Ignorance is bliss”? I guarantee an ignoramus came up with that one. Let me set the record straight: ignorance is in no way directly proportional to the level of a person’s happiness; it is simply a warning signal to the rest of us to avoid prolonged conversation.

3. Blogs. You heard me right, now they’re overrated, meta-style. Let me propose some rules that could serve to reduce the number of useless blogs:


1) If your knowledge of grammar and syntax is limited to what you read on the internet, you may not have your own blog.

2) If you want to start a blog to promote, in any fashion, NASCAR or Britney Spears, you may not have your own blog.

3) If you have a blog that is excessively stylistically limited (e.g. poetry about your boyfriend/girlfriend, poetry about your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, rants about the deplorable state of the world, but without sensible thought-provoking insights about possible changes), you must delete your blog.

4) If you have a blog that proudly and consistently displays your possession of overrated thing #1 or #2, you must delete your blog.

Perhaps if these rules were followed, we could begin cleaning up this mess.

That does it for now. Remember, when in doubt, it’s overrated!

3.28.2005


the new yorker - mar. 28, 2005 Posted by Hello

5-minute poem

getting dressed for a funeral


“progress is an invasive procedure,
undertaken only with an understanding
of the risks.”

“yes,” she responds.

“mourning is an ongoing test of character
performed on the unsuspecting–
a beloved bisque that’s just a little too hot.”

“yes, yes,” she responds.

“the weakened chill of too-bright morning
on the first sunday in april
is heavy, nonetheless.”

“i know,” she responds.

“some people just look better in certain colors
than others. i think you should wear
the darker dress, the black one. that dress.”


“let’s go,” she responds.

3.26.2005

quasi-drunken haiku

1.

at times friends can stink
they stink when they make you think
these friends right here stink

2.

mitch* is a moron
mitchell is a poopsicle
mitch is a farthead

3.

guitar on his lap
the drunk sings us a sad song
silliness abounds

4.

a barren red rock
teetering, barely balancing
on another rock


(*names have been changed to protect the innocent)

3.24.2005

Prophecy

A non-play

The Players: Prophet, Miss Winston, A Cigarette. (Also, a Crowd.)



Act Only

Late morning. A Bus Stop.

Miss Winston is standing at the bus stop, along with a small Crowd of others. Prophet walks onstage, wearing a t-shirt that reads,

PROPHET
(generally)

and joins those already waiting. Prophet stares directly ahead, into the street, and says nothing.

Miss Winston: (Feigning amusement) I like your shirt.

Prophet: (Without turning to face Miss Winston) Thank you. (He nods politely at her, holds her gaze for a long minute, and looks again into the street)

Miss Winston: So, is that, like, an official title, or what?

Prophet: (Very seriously) It is quite official, though not in the way you might think.

Miss Winston: Really.

Prophet: Indeed. Everyone should own a shirt like this one.

Miss Winston: (Sarcastically) I’m sure they’ll all get right on that.

Prophet: Indeed.

Miss Winston: So, why “generally”?

Prophet: You’ll see. (Sighs. Smiles with satisfaction)

Miss Winston shrugs. She removes a pack of cigarettes from her purse, chooses one Cigarette, and replaces the pack. She next pulls a lighter from her purse, and prepares to light. Prophet suddenly intervenes, verbally.

Prophet: (Facing the street, his head tilted upward. Shouting) Behold!

Miss Winston, about to bring the flame of her lighter to meet the Cigarette, instead lets the flame die and looks toward Prophet in bemusement.

Prophet: (Still shouting. Raises his arms toward the sky) Behold! I bring word from on high! (lowers his arms) Your ways are filthy; thus says the Lord!

Miss Winston looks at her hand holding the Cigarette, looks around with growing embarrassment at the others, all of whom are now watching Prophet. She puts the lighter back in her purse. The Cigarette is still not lit.

Prophet: (Still shouting) If you do not repent, your death will be a (raises his right arm so his hand is level with his chin, and clenches his fist ) swift and untimely one!

Miss Winston, now clearly embarrassed, drops the Cigarette, folds her arms together, and looks away from Prophet.

Prophet: (Lowers his arm. In a normal tone) That is all.

Prophet walks offstage. Seconds later, the squealing of tires, the Prophet’s scream, and the sound of a vehicle impacting are heard.

Cigarette: (To the audience) He never did say who he was talking to. (To Miss Winston) Hey, baby, I know you’ve got a light, so how ‘bout it?

Curtain.

3.21.2005

Less than Pants

A non-play

The Players: The Man, The Anti-Man, a Bus Stop



Act Only

Afternoon. A Bus Stop.

The Man, wearing dress slacks and an oxford shirt, walks onstage, sits on the bench, and begins humming. Soon after, The Anti-Man, wearing a ratty pair of jeans and a t-shirt, walks onstage from the opposite direction, and sits next to The Man on the bench. The Man smiles nobly at his companion’s arrival. The Anti-Man smiles meekly in return. The two are silent for a moment.

The Anti-Man: (Hesitatingly) Are you waiting for the number 9?

The Man: (Stops humming. looks down the street to his left, looks at The Anti-Man, looks down the street to his right, then looks at The Anti-Man again) Yes.

The Anti-Man: (Relieved) Good. I thought I’d missed it.

The two men are silent for a moment, until The Man begins singing to himself.

The Man: (Quietly) On your way... to your church...

The Anti-Man: (Thinking The Man had been speaking to him) Beg your pardon?

The Man: (Slightly louder) Kick the can... at your feet...

The Anti-Man: (Confused) I’m sorry, are you talking to me?

The Man: (Still louder) And the men you see... with your eyes... makes you feel... makes you feel...

The Anti-Man: (Understanding) Oh, what’s, uh... what’s that song you’re singing?

The Man: (Ignoring The Anti-Man. Shouting) Soooo... good!

The Anti-Man: (Slightly annoyed) Okay, never mind. (to himself) Sounded like a stupid song anyway.

The Man, having finished his display, resumes humming and begins looking around, apparently for their bus. The Anti-Man sits motionless and looks straight ahead. A bus arrives, and The Anti-Man gets up to board, but The Man remains seated.

The Anti-Man: Hey, this is the 9. (no response) Aren’t you getting on?

The Man: No.

The Anti-Man: (Confused) Why not? It’s the only bus downtown at this hour.

The Man: I’m already there. (begins humming again)

The Anti-Man: (Still confused, but newly indifferent) Whatever.

The Man: (Abruptly stops humming) If I may offer some advice...

The Anti-Man: (Hesitates in response. shrugs his shoulders) Shoot.

The Man: Do you see these pants I’m wearing?

The Anti-Man: Yes, what about them?

The Man: They’re not really pants; They’re less.


The Anti-Man: What does that mean?

The Man: It means they’re less than pants, that’s all. (mildly indignant. to himself) Seemed pretty self-explanatory to me.

The Anti-Man: (Agitated) Yes, but what is “less than pants?”

The Man: It’s more than you’ve got, friend. (points toward his companion’s pants)

The Anti-Man, embarrassed, gets on the bus. The bus drives off. The Man sits back on the bench and, humming again, brushes something off his pants. After a moment, he stands up, turns to his left, and walks offstage.

Bus Stop: What a dope; shorts! (pauses) Except... he wasn’t wearing shorts. (pauses) Oh well, downtown’s for saps anyway; that’s why I’m just one of the stops. (begins singing) On your way... to your church...


Curtain.

the fools and the not whole

"He is a fool who would not know what moves the human heart to action;
He is not whole who would dare name the mover reason, and not passion."

~ Blaise Pascal, "In Defense of Sentiment"

3.17.2005

nice dream

i will lay me down
in a bunker, underground


so i had this dream last night: i'm playing halo 2, only i'm really inside the game. i'm doing unreasonably well, for whatever reason, even though i'm staying basically in the same area in the level - it's almost like i'm the hero in one of those old kung fu movies where only one bad guy attacks at a time.

i decide to move to a different area in the level, but when i emerge from behind the building, i find myself in a shopping area, with shelves twenty feet high, sam's club-style. naturally, i begin to look for a copy of halo 2. i don't find one, but i do notice an attractive young woman stocking shelves. she gives me a kind look, and i move on.

i turn a corner, leaving the aisles of shelves, and i am on a second-level back porch that looks over a huge yard. the yard appears to be prepared for a large gathering, as there are several long folding tables set up with picnic-style, red-and-white checkered tablecloths. the tables are unoccupied, except for three people sitting together at one table: my father-in-law, my buddy pete (whom i then suddenly recall seeing in the store a moment earlier), and another young man whose identity i cannot quite discern.

i go down to meet them in the yard. we discuss for a moment what we will each eat, and the dream ends.

go figure.

no alarms and no surprises.

3.16.2005

sitting pretty


my sister-in-law, "sitting pretty." Posted by Hello

Yatta!


josh says, "Yatta!"

do you?
Posted by Hello

3.15.2005

escape the engulfing nullity

a bit of poetry from the late charles bukowski, poet (1920-1994):

dumb,
Jesus Christ,
some poeple are so dumb
you can hear them
splashing around
in their dumbness. . . .

I want to
run and hide
I want to
escape their engulfing
nullity

*end*

(selah)

the countdown has begun: the vernal equinox begins at 7:34 this coming sunday morning.

"winter, you bloody whore, may yours be a particularly gruesome but rapid death! may your remnant be quickly erased from the good earth's visage, and the memory of your disease be wiped out forever!"

(selah)

on a lighter note: the biblical curse generator. rather repetitive, but the idea deserves at least a couple gold stars.

The Nurse

or, "Stuck"

Beware the Ides of March, indeed. The nurse was only reasonably overweight, and her right elbow bore a scar from some surgery. Mandy, I think her name was. Mandy was competent enough and quite pleasant. She looked over my right arm, in search of a good vein, quickly discovering a rich bounty. For mobility’s sake, I suppose, she chose the back of my hand. Upon the placement of a rubber quickie-tourniquet, Mandy nearly jumped back in mock fright at the size of the vein that swelled before her. The nurse in the next station found the whole thing quite amusing. I wanted to get back to my New Yorker.

Mandy opened with little attention a sealed package containing a needle and tubing and such. She prepared herself as we sat in silence. I decided I did not like, but was not bothered by, her smile. “The funny thing is, these,” referring to the vein she was about to stick,” are the ones you miss.” She took a hold of my right hand, which was still turning darker shades of red from the tourniquet, and said, “Ready for a little stick.” She said it as a statement, the way people do when they’re about to do something mildly unpleasant, but unavoidable. I watched the needle go in, recalling my mother’s shock at my doing so, many years before.

Beware the Ides of March, indeed. Mandy, despite Murphy’s Law, did not miss. Like a fan, forced to face a 94-mph fastball, she watched the needle and my vein just too long before realizing she would not, despite any efforts otherwise, be able to stop blood coming out the butt-end of a needle with no tubing. I thought, this will be interesting; I must write about this later. She quickly held down the vein, in vain, but the back of my hand was nevertheless soon colored by that thick red of fresh blood.

I left the hospital three hours later. Mandy had seemed oddly impatient the entire time, and it had made me nervous. Even still, the infusion went well, uneventful. When I got home, I washed my right hand for three minutes, just to be sure that red was gone. I sat down on the living room couch to finish my New Yorker; I realized I already had. It was Tuesday, but I put in a Carpenters CD, turned it to “Rainy Days and Mondays,” sat back, and waited to feel good again. Beware the Ides of March, indeed.

3.14.2005


the new yorker - mar. 14, 2005 Posted by Hello

3.06.2005

googling identity

"In a bizarre surreal bow to the power of perception on the web, what you say about a page becomes just as important as the actual content of the page. The page must be what other people say it is. That Google adheres to this rule and is by far the most effective search engine raises many interesting issues, none of which I will attempt to discuss or explicate." (courtesy uber: "better than you, daily.")

"Purposeful social identity is the result of external entities granting credentials attesting to and tying a unique set of identifying attributes to a unique person." (
identity planet)

"For we never finding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude, that, whatever exists anywhere at any time, excludes all of the same kind, and is there itself alone. (completing the transition from rank amateur to philosophy god, john locke;
essay II xxvii 1)

ahh, the aroma of philosophic thinking... pine fresh, yes?

to conclude on an unrelated subject: i think my next clothing purchase will be an obscenely obnoxious belt buckle. perhaps this one:



perhaps not. we'll see.

3.01.2005

Split

A non-play

The Players: Henri, Marcy, a Dead Rose

Act Only

Evening.

Henri and Marcy are arguing in a sparsely furnished dining room. The room contains a table with two chairs; on top of the table is a vase, holding a white Rose that has died. Henri and Marcy are standing on opposite ends of the table, and Marcy has her back turned toward to Henri
.

Henri: (Sets his hands on the backrest of one of the chairs.) Look, I know you won’t appreciate this, but it’s like the song goes: “It was really, really going, you made me happy every single day, but now I’ve got to go away.” (to himself) God, that’s a great song...

Marcy: (Turns to face Henri) What the hell does that mean? You said yourself, that song is the ultimate “It’s not you, it’s me” speech.

Henri: I said that? That’s pretty funny. (laughs to himself softly, nervously)

Marcy: You did. (pauses) So what is it, then? Are you going to actually explain yourself, or are you going to leave?

Marcy
folds her arms in waiting for a response. Henri thinks for a moment before speaking; he furrows his brow, as if working through a difficult math problem.

Henri: I think I’ll go. (he turns to leave, stops, and turns back toward Marcy.) That was a split infinitive, you know.

Marcy: (Confused) What?

Henri: A split infinitive. (no response) You know, when a word is placed in the middle of an infinitive. (still no response) A verb that starts with to. (nothing) You know, to sing, to laugh, to leave–

Marcy: (Interrupting, with a low, barely controlled voice) I know what an infinitive is.

Henri: Right. Well, you asked, “Are you going to actually explain yourself,” when what you should have said was, “Are you actually going to explain yourself?”

Marcy: (Screaming) Are you kidding?!

Marcy picks up the vase and throws it in Henri’s direction. Henri ducks out of the way, and the vase smashes against the wall. The Dead Rose falls to the floor. After a moment, Henri stands up and
speaks.

Henri: I’m just saying. Anyway, I, uh, think I’ll go now. (turns and walks offstage)

Marcy,
fuming, walks offstage in the opposite direction.

Dead Rose: (Still lying in water, amid shards of the broken vase. Sardonically) Oh man! Talk about a good way to (with emphasis) quickly make a bad breakup worse...

Curtain.