Showing posts from 2008

a bird thing. or- what I learned about chickens.

The first thing I noticed was how much they talk. It must be a bird thing. They start talking even before they hatch, waking into consciousness and peeping while still crammed inside the egg. The baby chicks peep all day long. The sound doesn’t seem to come from their beaks, but from their bellies, like the center of a squeaky toy: happy little balls of fluff running around and under the fence and into the woods and out again, with their mother hen ruffling her feathers and running to catch up, clucking at them the whole time. She’s too large to fit under the fence, so she flies over it to stay near them, making me wonder if the rest of the chickens are just too lazy to fly. Such a gossipy, clucky, crowy bunch. Always with an opinion about something. One of the roosters got laryngitis and lost his voice, but it didn’t keep him from talking; hanging out where I worked, cocking his head sideways at me and rasping his judgements in a barely audible croak. Then he turned his head t

comes with age

It didn't need to be something to get through. But then there was a message left on my voicemail: "I've been going through my things, throwing stuff out, and I found this letter from 68 Jackson street. Do you remember writing this poem?" Followed by a clearing of the throat and an impassioned recitation. Then there was a phone call at nine-thirty on Saturday morning. "Batshoo Magooo! I'm up in Maine, here with Moses. I can't keep him any longer so we're going to release him to the wild. Do you want to say goodbye?" He held the phone up to our partially decomposed pet tumbleweed, so I could coo a goodbye across the wires. The following day, this e-mail: "My parents and I gave Moses a Dixie-land parade down the street to the river, then we tossed him in and I sang a fitting hymn: Give Joy or Grief Give Ease or Pain/ Take life or Tumbleweeds away / But let me find them all again / In that Eternal Day. It was a guezfully good time!" A f

and tasty too

When I first moved to Brooklyn five years ago, I lived in Williamsburg. Around the corner from my apartment was a funeral home that displayed in its window a large, garish clock. I called it The Death Clock. The Death Clock was huge, easily visible from all corners of the street. It filled the whole window. The Death Clock had numbers on its face written in a crawly roman numeral in a font reminiscent of a Burton film. And finally, The Death Clock was neon, glowing whitely all hours of the day and night. It was in all, a very strange way to advertise a funeral home. The Death Clock glowed at us impassively as we strode past towards the subway late for work, as we brooded over our lives on our way back. When we walked home drunkenly in the middle of the night, it washed the street with a blue and white light that followed us all the way home. I never once used it to tell time. I just shrugged past its message of inevitable endings until I was safely past. Last week, walking h

still more straws

We were on the roof, two rounds into the song game. I had the guitar, noodling through the sudden silence. "How are things?" he asked, looking at me. I turned my face to the overlapping brownstones sleeping below us. "Fine." "I don't know why I have such trouble telling people…" He played with the pick in his hand. "I'm moving to Portland" "oh." My fingers fell silent. "when?" "September." Down below, people were walking home. A garden cat darted past into the shadows. Somebody called out to her friend, her laughter floating up into the air where we sat. "well… congratulations." "thanks" "you'll have to tell jen to be cool with me sleeping on your couch when I come to visit," realizing as I said it, that it was never going to happen. "ok. I will," he said, watching me. "I mean, it's fine. It's a good decision for you. And I barely see you anymore anyway

act 1

There are times when my life resembles a bad scene in Bridget Jones' Diary . Monday morning, while out on my run in the park, I encountered the perpetrator of my broken heart and his new girlfriend. They didn't see me, as I was jogging behind them, and so I began a panicked dance of skidding right, then left, then right again, in a desperate attempt to find the appropriate direction to flee. The people walking past must have thought I was dancing with a ghost or doing some enthusiastic warm-up exercise involving flailing limbs and an expression of terror. Finally, finally, I chose a direction and sprinted past, hoping that I remained invisible, or at the very least, looked super fast and sporty. (It never did occur to me to just turn around and run the other way). On my ipod, Erin McKeown lilted into my ears, "I'm the kind of lover who won't run for cover. What kind of lover am I?" It's nice to have a sense of humor about these things. So that if h

on a thursday

To his credit, he didn't even hesitate in response to my idea. "I know a few places that are great for that," he said. "Rocky can get us there, easily." It sounded perfect to me, so a little after 1 am, he arrived at my door with a spare helmet and soon we were speeding down empty roads to the bridge. The only place still open at that hour was the strip club, illuminating the filth and back alleys of Long Island City, red lights on steal beams, the awning lit like a hotel. We parked on a side street nearby and went the rest of the way on foot: up the stairs, halfway across the bridge, to the spot where the moon challenged the largest billboard, stuck between both islands. The bridge supports crisscrossed forever above us, the towers on either side of the water distant and dark. I climbed over the railing and threaded my fingers through the fence. "You ready?" "I don't have anything to scream about," he said, suddenly shy. "Just screa

short hair domestic

So next week, my dear little kat is leaving us for the sultry summers of Washington DC and the warm companionship of her Suzy. The whole thing has left me at a loss. Who is going to wind around my ankles when I cook dinner or take naps on my bed while I sit hunched at the computer? Who is going to follow me around the house and snatch at my toes when I prop my feet on the coffeetable? And walk me as far as the front door when I leave? What, oh what am I going to do without my kat? So last week, I went out and brought home cat. He doesn't have a name yet and spends most of the day cowering under the bed. He's just like me I think. Kat scoffs at his shyness and rolls over into the sunbeam by the pillow. "What is he so afraid of?" she asks and purrs.

old friend (november 2004)

What would you do if my love ran out of gas on the interstate and abandoned the way between my ocean and yours? What if it decided to get a cup of coffee instead and linger amid the plains and diners of the middle. Maybe it would find your love on the side of the road. And our loves would laugh and tell stories and talk about those days. Maybe they'd run away together and leave us to wonder what happened. (nov '04)

walking blind part II

Powerwalking up 8th avenue one morning, late for work and trying to close the gap between where I was and where I needed to be fifteen minutes ago, I was struck with another sobering thought. If a portal to another dimension magically opened up on the sidewalk beside me, and by some stroke of luck I happened to see it, I wouldn't use it. I would not use it. sigh.


today in an effort to reduce the baggage in my life, I threw out all of my socks with holes in them. now my feet are cold.