Showing posts from 2005

Stranger Than Usual

Have you ever seen a stranger on the street and known in an instant that they'd be an excellent person to date your ex? Something about the carriage of their head, the way they meet your eyes, unashamed in public, grinning at you a little from under their fluffy hat. He could love you, I think. Easily. He could love you and you'd sing songs together and romp around and have adventures in odd places. And I'd hate to hate you and probably love you too after the jealousy faded. Cause you look awesome and fun and I've always had trouble understanding ownership anyway. I wondered once what she was thinking, peeking at one such girl on the V train. Did she look back at me thinking her ex would like me too? Or maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe she was just looking at me alone, dreaming little dreams, a half smile turned away at the last second. Who knows why people stare at each other in the subway anyway?

Getting There (a strike story)

"I'm sorry. It's awful, I know." "It's- Yes." "I tried four times. I can't write block letters. It's the reason kenan never let me draw the stadium posters. I was only allowed to color them in." "Look, it's fine. Do you have a ruler we can use to hold it up?" He folded the piece of paper in half so that the lettering was more prominent and the crossed out M resembling a W was no longer visible underneath. "But nobody will be able to understand what it says." "It's ok. Anybody who sees two kids with a sign is going to know they want a ride and that they want a ride to Manhattan." "Greatest city in the world." Yesterday and the day before, some desperate drivers took us in through the tunnel to meet their quota. So our plan was to try to shorten our walk and get a ride TO the tunnel, or even better, to the bridge. "Look, this time let's not get in just any old car that stops f


      Well, this week beats last week's gig as a waitress at a money-laundering operation for Albanian thugs. That blog was too hard to write, so I skipped it.       "Ok, here's the pitch." The producer slid into the chair between the piles of vhs tapes and invoices, pushing aside the giant rubberband ball and the plastic keyboard accessories that we'd been throwing at each other earlier. He shoved the storyboard in front of us. "So there are these people and they're driving in this car. They're having so much fun that they don't want to leave. We need music for it that is classical but still kind of poppy. You know, fun and cute but sweeping and orchestral. Something hip but not too young. Something moving, but not powerful. You know, popular but not too recognizable. And we need it in an hour."       So the task fell to us to dig through our music files and memory for our favorite songs that could be used for the pitch. It was the first

summer in the city

Spring was joyful but short-lived. Now the air is like dirty bathwater and there's no easy place to go swimming. It smells like rot and exhaust and there's always some guy on a jackhammer outside my window in the morning. On the subway, I practice careful breathing. Sandwiched between so many damp bodies, the air is sick with the sweat of multiple ages and genders and ethnicities. The other day on the bus, a short man standing next to me looked down and inadvertently wiped his sweaty, bald head on my arm. Not wanting to embarrass him, and not having anything with which to clean myself, I let this stranger's sweat dry on my body. And still, I am so glad to be back. New York! I spend my free time puttering around my new apartment, running my hands on the windowsills, breathing into my little potted plants. Buying lamps and growing roots, slamming them into the ground. home home home home home home. Then at night, practicing guitar up on the roof where it's cool, the eas

fifth grade math

      In the particular type of neighborhood where my parents live, a ringing doorbell can only mean one thing. It's an event which occurs every spring with only three variations. The variables this time: let x= two, y=girls, and z=pecan pies (whose value is greater than wrapping paper). The result of the equation has always been a constant, the equation being: x plus y plus "doorbell" plus "fundraiser" plus "selling" plus z = "please come back when my parents are home."      "Oh!" the x y giggled. "Sorry, we thought you were a grown up."      "I'm not," I assured them with utter confidence.      "Wow! You look like a grown up."       "I'm not."      Then they complimented my earings, and we talked about the redsox, and they marvelled at the twelve foot tropical tree that has turned my parents' foyer into a jungle. (So I told them the story of the tree in our entranceway, th

pieces of moses

and cookie crumbs -both oreo and chocolate chip, and wrinkled diner receipts, and the wrapper from greg's secret affair with beef jerky, and the soggy toothbrush that disappeared the first morning, and a plastic spoon with peanut butter dried around the edges, and a cracked stick of insence smelling a bit too strongly of fruit and flowers and venice beach, and the rainbow of dirt from the frozen dawn in the New Mexico mining town or from the golden afternoon in Tennessee searching for a cemetery or from the twenty other states when we, with or without winter coats, sometimes hatted and scarved, sometimes light and thin in our t-shirts, brought pieces of America into the car, trecked it in on the bottom of our boots. It all disappears into the vacume hose or trash bag. Now my car feels cavernous. I'm parked in front of my parents' house. Five thousand four hundred and twenty two miles later. Back where I started. My sigh doesn't echo, but it could.

mile 340

After the first three hours on the road, the land softens. Losing the tension lines of the rough crags and heavy brush of los angeles, it slopes into rolling greens, hills shaped like a woman lying on her side with white turbines in her hair. Everything green and grey and white and soft. Gliding through a rain storm then out again into the sun, we watch the greens give way to the pales: Pale sand, pale sky, pale green cacti, darker joshua trees, the land flat and severe. We round a corner and the sand becomes piles of boulders, a giant's rock collection arranged by shape and size. The pales turn to dark, rich tans, and there are joshua trees and joshua trees and joshua trees assembled like an army, like lichen in the valley below the boulders. And beautiful seems like such a simple, stupid word, but for a while, it is the only word I can say. Then the sun is gone and the colors are gone, but the shapes remain and we're speeding alone on a one lane highway under a full moon wh

mile 3161. city museum, st louis

      He was our cheshire cat, all smiling white teeth appearing out of nowhere. "That there's our giant slinky," he said, first materializing in the hallway to answer our unspoken question. "It's how you get to the third floor."       We hesitated in front of the narrow coils of steel suspended three flights above the lobby. "You want us to CLIMB this?"       "Sure do. Press your back against the bottom bar there and push with your legs."       "Really?"       "It's easy."       "Really?"       He grinned at us. "Sure."       So we did what he said, squeezing our way through and up, looking down at the lobby floor, then up at the ceiling as we twisted and kicked our way inside the slinky until, upside down, we slid out to the third floor and the steel tunnels that awaited.       He appeared again after the skateless skate park when we were looking at the shrunken heads glowing in la

mile 2342, Ellsworth, KS

   &nbsp"Do you think it would be stupid to name him Moses?"     I looked back at the giant tumbleweed perched over the entire backseat. "No. No, I don't think naming it Moses is stupid..."

mile 703, Sedona AZ

I rounded the bend to find greg emphatically poking a prickly pear. "What are you doing?" "I want to be blooded by a cactus," he said, squeezing the pinprick, looking for red. But there was red everywhere. I bent down and picked up a piece of it at his feet. Running the rock through my fingers, I moved on up the path, leaving him to study his wound.


three things I saw today... 1. a dragon made of sand 2. a man using the energy of his chi to draw water upwards from a basin to his outstretched palms 3. a batterypack-toting, electric-guitar-playing, turbaned man on rollerblades The northeast was hit by the biggest blizzard of the season today. So I went to the beach, wriggled my toes in the sand, and tried to remind myself that I wasn't on vacation. This is where I live . Snowmen, sleds, wrestling and forts will have to wait for next season.


Toby calls it the disco jesus. It’s the only thing adorning our living room wall: a gilt-framed mirror about twelve inches high and ten inches wide. It seems innocent enough, if a little tacky. But there is a switch at the base of this mirror which controls a series of lights concealed behind the glass. Once activated, the mirrored glass becomes transparent to reveal (of course) a miniature jesus writhing in agony on a plastic cross. This morning I caught myself using the mirror to fix my hair. Needless to say, I’ve felt a bit odd ever since.

keeping balance

If I stand on my bed and hold my laptop above my head, I get just enough of a wireless signal to watch strongbad e-mails. The tricky part is seeing the monitor from this angle. from myspace:

it's not easy being

After ten days of rain, the sand-colored mountains are now a wealthy new zealand green. I can't look away. Which of course makes driving quite difficult.