Secret Pop

Mar 30, 2002

"Whatever bubbles bubbles up."

Hours just drain away. But in their passage I run and sweat and appreciate the sunshine. I made BLTs for me and my dad today. And got my money's worth out of some of my recent technology expenditures. And caused Beulah's dog Tasha to fall in love with me all over again.

Children are having Easter egg hunts and churches have set up bounce houses in their parking lots. Perhaps to lure in unsuspecting heathens to come worship within those bouncy, air-filled walls...

Mar 29, 2002

Easter, pastel colors, and the scent of a fertile mind

There's a lovely fireplace at the Tiki Lounge. And Bossanova is as good as I remembered it. Although I think "rare" actually means "raw" in Portuguese. Well, if my steak was any indication...

I felt like the little figure on the cobblestone road in that mural tonight. On my way somewhere. But faceless. And small. It rained a little. And the sky was all gloom and foreboding throughout the day. Hardly the sort of setting for picking out pretty spring outfits to wear to Easter Sunday festivities.

Easter is a good time of the year if you like hard-boiled eggs.

Mar 28, 2002

Three in one blow

Dudley Moore, Milton Berle, and Billy Wilder all died yesterday. There are a number of rules of three that apply. Including the fact that it's three times as sad.

"The new is always sweet, and the familiar is always stale."

There are little bits of wisdom lurking right under my nose. On my own web site, even.

Persistent twitching of the eyelid

"Long ago, in someone else's lifetime, someone with my name who looked a lot like me..."

So, I know I must be tired and stressed out and in all manner of a funk. My old friend blepharospasm has returned -- for good, it would seem. Echoes of last year. Unpleasant echoes.

I was industrious, all right, but it all ran afoul. I overslept this morning and got in later than I wanted to. I guess that's what happens when you're running on Red Bull fumes and you do a mountain of housework and furniture rearrangement well into the wee hours. Deep Space Nine airs at four o'clock in the morning here. The fact that I know that is probably responsible for my sudden shortage of alert cells. Fun is all well and good. As is industry. But it's almost April, for crying out loud. And there's still so much to do.

"In a way, it's someone else's story. I don't see myself as taking part at all."

"Isn't that right, Kilty McBagpipes?"

Oh, I've been terribly industrious. In the span of a day that started with a bit of a hangover and only a couple of hours of sleep, I still managed to plunder the local grocery stores for Cadbury Mini Eggs before Easter takes flight, enjoy Japanese food and snowbubbles, marvel that I get asked out in the unlikeliest of places, ruminate on the importance of a well-mannered upbringing, do a spot of work, unpack the last of my kitchen wares, make dutiful use of the trash receptacles out back, tidy up like a pro, deflate an air mattress, experience indecision about the persisting edibility of a bit of leftover Chinese noodles, mop the floors, rearrange my bookcases, spy a bit of TV, bathe, hang a kitchen shelf, hang a brass Ganesha, dust, stack old-fashioned board games, discard unwanted unmentionables, and disapprove of Jay Leno. Not necessarily in that order.

I've been a busy, busy girl. Who deserves sleep more than I do?

Mar 27, 2002

What am I? 18 again?

What a night. Too much to drink in too many places with too many obligations looming on the morrow. I'm likely to look very, very tired when I show up at the office in the morning. I saw the guy who played Noah on The Sopranos talking to someone outside of Max's tonight. What a haven for HBO celebrities my neighborhood is. I didn't see anyone at Tahiti or Formosa Cafe or Canter's, but by then I wasn't looking.

Note: this entry is devoid of brilliance.

Mar 26, 2002

Digital cable is a foul temptress

Well, of course I'll never go to sleep. Not when Paris When It Sizzles is playing. And then whatever comes on after that.

I'm not the man I think I am

My dirty martini at the Sunset Trocadero Lounge was so strong and vile and tasting of lighter fluid, I couldn't even eat the olives in it. And afterwards, there was no gelato to be had. I am not in favor of restaurants being closed on Mondays. I am very likely to want something on a Monday. What am I supposed to do in that event?

I have been feeling things at a distance. As if my experiences are being relayed to me in braille. As if I am recording them at arm's length and only with the very tips of my fingers. And gingerly. I remember once hiding in my mother's closet, amongst dresses and suits and fur coats. I remember feeling fur and fabric all over me, pressed against my face, tangled in my hair, embracing me from shoulder to shin. I remember thinking how very like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it all was. Is it possible to feel things in that fashion when the unguardedness of youth and inexperience has been put away for good? I have a feeling that it is caution that keeps me from feeling things that are waiting to be felt. But if I am ever to paint this canvas properly, I will need to address it with bold strokes. With self-assurance. With forthrightness. If I am ever to create anything, I may have to get my hands dirty. Fortunately, I believe in soap and a great deal of washing up. But that's for after.

Mar 25, 2002

"Child soldiers to swap guns for PCs"

I'm not going to make a habit of cutting and pasting unusual headlines for sport. But this one seemed worthy of a few keystrokes. It's an article from the BBC that says Sierra Leone wants to compete with India as a source for low-cost technology development. I'm sure that arming gun-toting, teenage mercenaries with Pentium power is a healthy place to start. At the very least, they can start catching up with the rest of the world on logged Pac-Man hours.

"Their son Peregrine is at boarding school."

Julian Fellowes has a son named Peregrine. What's that about?

Whirr, click, buzz and low-flying birds of prey

I did almost everything I was supposed to this weekend. Much to my chagrin, I did not win an Oscar. But I'm trying to be gracious about it.

Mar 24, 2002

The rain sounds like marching

I am still and cold. Shows were good. Friends were good. Not enough food. Too much cold medicine. My thoughts are coming in pieces. Something is burning in me. When I am a tower of strength, I am not.

I remember exactly where I was a year ago. At the time, I didn't know all that I was on the cusp of. I hope that the same is true today. I would like to be surprised by what the coming days hold for me. I would like to be delighted. These past twelve months give me reason to insist that I deserve to be.

I miss looking forward to the sound of certain voices.

I hope it isn't raining in the morning. I have running to do. I imagine myself running forever, off into the distance without looking back. I will be running to rid myself of things. And I will be running to catch up with my sanity. Wish me luck.

Mar 22, 2002

"Days go passing into years. Years go passing day by day."

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the child in my face. I remember being an eager youngster with ribbons in her hair and rainbow-colored shoelaces. As important as everything seemed back then, none of it persists. The Duran Duran posters. The eraser collection. The puffy yellow and white checked pajamas. The book of fractal patterns I used to color with markers. How will I teach my one day children to savor their youth? When I feel as if I raced through mine without stopping to take a breath.

I visited the Musei Vaticani with my parents and my younger sister once on an Easter weekend. Beulah and I raced on ahead of my parents, intent on seeing the Sistine Chapel and then getting on with our day. We had no idea how many galleries we would go coursing through. An endless parade of room after room -- many with painted ceilings -- but none of them the Sistine Chapel. We never even stopped to look and see what else there was. And by the time we got to the Sistine Chapel, it was sort of a disappointment. Just another painted ceiling, but this one atop a room swarming with people and their human smell. We left a bit disenchanted and took a bit more time going through the remaining galleries. Stopping to look at the modern pieces and feel that sensation you feel when you realize this is a REAL painting by the REAL painter. A Dali. A Miro. Whatever it might be.

We got to the end and waited. And waited. And waited. And began to wonder if my parents had mistakenly left us behind. But my father was just taking his time. He has this way -- particularly in museums -- of looking at EVERYTHING. I once watched him stand in front of a large placard -- all written in Italian -- in a museum in Naples. And he stood there until he'd apparently read every word. Even though he does not speak Italian. That's just the way my father is. He takes stock of things. He pays very close attention. He reads newspapers cover to cover. He reads the instruction manual. Ask him to tell you the story of how he earned a medal in Vietnam for reading an instruction manual. It's a marvelous tale.

So he moves more slowly than I do, my father. But I'm certain that he sees more, as well. And I wonder if there isn't a huge portion of wisdom to that. I'm whipping from place to place at breakneck speeds, but am I ever really in one place? Am I ever there long enough to absorb any of it? Can I make memories if I never stand still? I'm not content to just do more than most. I want to also feel more. Experience more. Retain more. Share more. I want to take more away from the day than my paycheck. I want to take more away from the world than a few smart pictures.

Even now, my mind is racing. I flit past ideas and lose them and realize I've lost them and bemoan the fact of it. And sometimes I can trace back through my experiences of the past few seconds and recapture the inspiration. Other times not. I'm always on to the next thing. It was like that in my younger life. A teenage girl waiting for her chance to break out of where she was and into what comes next. It's habit-forming. A habit that has often kept me from ever being anywhere but in my own projection of what is to come. I have thought about seeking out clarity through some form of meditation. But when I settle in and try to distill my thoughts down to one single thing, I find myself saying, "Ow."

Which leads me to my next non sequitur. (Child am I of disorganized thinking.) I like that so many languages have unique words for the expression of sudden and surprising pain. There are corrolaries in Chinese and Japanese and plenty of other languages for our "ow" and "ouch" and "!@#$%!" to name only a few. There are pause words. There are words that serve all sorts of uncanny purposes. Language is a fascinating thing. Isn't it?

So maybe my original point was that time passes quickly and there is no need to hurry it. And sometimes parents are right. And you shouldn't run through the Musei Vaticani. Italy is a foreign country, after all. If you fall and hurt yourself, the insurance paperwork would be a nightmare.

"Even when you're feeling warm, the temperature could drop away..."

Climates have been unpredictable. I have been caught off-guard by sudden chills. I have been dismayed to be wearing wool when the mercury begins rising. I have felt the cells in me being flooded with rhythm. I have felt them go flat and sedentary. From second to second.

"You can tell a man from what he has to say..."

I am a creature in conflict. I seek out obligations and then loathe that they lie in wait for me. I crave company and cherish solitude. I drink both red wines and white. I watch cartoons and science fiction and I read literary criticism. I write poetry and eat Mars Bars. I can open a bag of potato chips and eat just one. I love the warmth of sun and the smell of rain. I cook with garlic.

"It doesn't pay to make predictions..."

It's easy to see how sinus congestion can be mistaken for dissatisfaction with life. When I feel the pain behind my eyes and have that burning scent in my nostrils, I tell myself there is no value in anything. And then I take a pretty-colored liqui-cap and wait for the onset of the high. It feels like taking a bath in 7-Up. Which doesn't sound like a bad idea.

"Finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain..."

I need to hang things on the walls. Make this place mine. Open windows where there are none. Stimulate. Inspire. Remind. Relive. I need to spend more time in the parts of my mind that are dimly lit and unwelcoming. I have a feeling I have left a lot of important things there. As with moving, I expect to unearth surprises and reminiscences. When you move, you lose things. You find things. You let go of things. You hang on to things. You make choices about what's important. And sometimes you regret the things you threw away in previous moves. Sentiment is enigmatic. It needn't reside in a corrugated box. But it often does.

"Only one step away..."

Stormy weather and unbearable calm. I have seen little of March's lion. Even less of her lamb. I have seen the spoiling effects of Southern California living. Days that seem to fold into each other because of persistent beauty that goes unnoticed and unmeasured. Impossibly beautiful moments that don't linger because they are indistinguishable from those that follow. It is beautiful here much of the time. So beautiful that I have to look at ugliness every now and then just to remind myself of the contrast. When I lived in Guam, I once played the part of a preening princess whose selfish ways could only be softened by the humanizing effects of candy. Today, I'm eating Cadbury Mini Eggs and wondering whether they're changing me in some fashion. They don't seem to be. But such changes are likely to be subtle. After all, everything is chemistry. We are just electromagnetic energy sparking in an organic soup. It is entirely possible that chocolate might be capable of effecting powerful changes in my soul. How does memory persist anyway? Some physiological imprint? A groove? A whorl? A mark on the surface of a moment. I haven't eaten enough madeleines to follow after Proust. But I imagine a key awaits me. Something that will unlock the vault of memory and engulf me in electricity and impulse and energy.

I used to wait my turn to swing on the monkey bars. I used to check out a tetherball and curse the sound of the bell. I used to play just like all the other kids.

Mood Indigo

Wilshire Boulevard is like a Monopoly game to me. I watch the billboards change like Community Chest and Chance cards being turned over and I wonder who owns what plot and how much it will cost me to stop for a while. In the building with the blue-tinted windows, someone else is daydreaming, too. I think I will be the top hat today. I'm not feeling the part of the wheelbarrow. And I refuse to ever be the thimble.

"What I wouldn't give to have your weasel genes."

I don't think there is a fair and honest way to get anything anymore.

On the up side, I smell unbelievably delicious.

Mar 21, 2002

The cruelest thing since they shot Babar's mother

So many things I didn't get to do today. So many chances missed. So many hours squandered. At this rate, I will never own a homemade tattoo gun.

I get no kick from champagne

We drank asti spumante in my house. Look down your noses at me if you will, wine snobs.

I would drink champagne. But I seldom have cause to. And much of the champagne I have been served on recent occasions has had an unpleasant yeasty smell. The sort of thing that promises a headache. Well, I guess you shouldn't ever plan to drink the champagne that comes with the limo. It just comes in a champagne-shaped bottle and has a label with a name that pretends to be something fancy. Like Moet et Champion. Or Perrier Joulet. It could just as easily be bubble bath.

But I do like the sound of the cork being popped. And I do like golden beverages that effervesce in the glass. And I do like having cause for celebration. Even when there will be headaches afterward.

It may as well be Christmas

I wake. Unable to sleep. With the giddiness of anticipation. The ill-at-ease of promised wonder. The Goldilocks-caliber dissatisfaction in the weight of my covers. The cat-caliber curiosity for getting up and at 'em. I am itching. Where my skin yearns for touch. Where my secrets seek chastisement. Where my shame hides.

I have fingernails, so I scratch.

Mar 20, 2002

Tropic of Cold Medicine

I will wish me away to a far off place where there are leafy banana treas and little grass shacks and drinks with coconut in them and drinks without so much coconut. I am in a torchlit mood.

At 11:16 A.M. today, it became spring.

This photo was not taken tonight.

Culinary is the worst kind of guessing

This happens to me. You're at a restaurant and you see someone enjoying a dish that looks right up your alley. You look over the menu and -- by way of your powers of deductive reasoning -- you determine which menu item it is and assure yourself that you will order that thing when you come back the next time. But when you next dine, you order the item you thought it was, and it turns out to be something entirely -- and disappointingly -- different. And you carefully go over the menu and still think that there is nothing else it could possibly be. And it occurs to you that you observed someone who has a special relationship with the chef and can order something that isn't on the menu at all. This is more prone to happen in a Chinese restaurant, I find.

West Lake Beef Soup, my eye.

Tingly restlessness

A pseudoephedrine-induced high keeps my feet from touching the ground today. And my guts from touching my ribs. I'm in a goosebumpy chill with cold fingers and a ticklish crawly sensation all over my skin. I wish I hadn't had to come to work, but I'm glad I'm here. I feel a burst of productivity coming on. Followed perhaps by lunch.

It's just an artifact of the lighting, but I look like a freak in this picture. The eyes. Black oil? How I would look if my eyes were milky blue? Something. Freakish, but I like it. It seems to me I would make a rather nice vampire.

Is it just me, or is Orange Blossom Special kind of a stupid song?

"This looks familiar. Vaguely familiar..."

Tingly sleeplessness and a strange sense of urgency for the passage of time -- or the halting of it. I know this. I've been here. I wonder if it is entirely pharmacological.

Time is marked differently for me now. Milestones take shape in my memory for different reasons. Immediacy has been redefined. As has protraction. I feel each moment stretching and squeezing. Pinching and punching. Is it distortion? Or a lapse of perception? Or is it just the way time moves through me when I'm not looking?

It has occurred to me to be less concerned with getting THROUGH and more concerned with getting ON.

Mar 19, 2002


I think I'm getting sick again. Well, my candle hasn't just been burning at both ends. It's been fairly engulfed in hellfire. I suppose it serves me right.

I can congratulate myself, though, for cooking a great meal tonight and for having enough Alka-Seltzer Cold and Cough in the medicine cabinet to nudge myself along. Good for me.

"She got married in a cornfield in 1967 and named her daughter America."

Someday, I will write something good. But I wonder how much of it will be brazenly lifted from the statements of everyone else I know who has something more interesting to say than I do.

It may not sound like a good idea, but corn bread tastes good with coffee. At least it does this morning.

"I made you."

Bobby Hill tells it like it is. Just like I told it years ago. I've always been ahead of my time.


Mar 18, 2002

Space tourists

This is an article I found interesting. Space tourist vehicle unveiled in Russia. In the same issue was a curious discovery that rejection decreases the IQ. The world is not a fair place, but happily you can ride off its face into the cold of space in your new Cosmopolis 21. Thank you, Mother Russia.

"They're making a movie in Sevaglio."

Film crews and equipment obstructed my path to work this morning. It looked as if they were filming something in a ramshackle little manicure shop in that stretch of Little Ethiopia on Fairfax. I'll wager it isn't a period piece.

Weekend Bullets

When you're driving home at 6:15 A.M., you actually see the sun in the east. Even when you're bleary-eyed and afraid to catch your own reflection in the rearview mirror. It's been a long time since I saw the sun in that spot while driving anywhere. I'm glad I'm making new memories.

When you don't go to sleep until 7 A.M., it's hard to wake up before lunch. And even harder to make productive use of what little daylight is left

There is something funny about shredded wheat being used as a measuring device. But you had to be there.

There was a roundish old man carrying a bag of something. When I ran past him, I caught the scent of his perfume. It was nice.

My parents love slapstick comedy.

Everyone loves the girl who brings the crudité platter.

I can still sing relatively high notes.

I can still run a few miles and feel like a champ.

There are a few people left in the world who like me. But it seems their numbers are dwindling.

Mar 15, 2002

"I'm feeling more alone than I ever have before."

Me and my patchwork song lyric pull quotes.

"I feel it now. I hope you feel it, too."

I am something that approximates free today. Like a great weight has been lifted from me. I fully expect it to be lowered back onto me as soon as I straighten out my posture and begin stretching my arms. But in the meantime, I feel as if I am floating. The sky is so clear. Dollops of clouds sit above the Hollywood Hills. They look as they did to me when I was driving up to this office on that first day of October. I said then -- as I do now -- that they look like Simpsons clouds. And they do.

My desk is golden, with long shadows running across it. Brilliant sunlight. Severed light in prisms above my keyboard. And I can see my reflection in the window. And I feel as if I am beginning to look like myself again. I was afraid I might have lost that altogether.

Maybe Jo was right. Maybe it was the phase of the moon.

The green looks different today. I see trees that are the color of ripe peas. And sherbet-colored houses and out-of-place turrets on Angle-inspired apartment buildings. There are a million shades of green in the trees today.

The flowering plant on my window ledge is thriving. I will pretend not to know that it is artificial.

"Et tu, Brute?"

I'm not afraid of the Ides of March. Bring it on. I'm unstoppable today. Confident conqueror. Violin-playing vanquisher. Asinine alliterator. Winner.

Mar 14, 2002

"Monkey moves cursor by thinking"

That was an actual headline on today. Am I living in some futuristic simian paradise? It's as if all of my dreams -- telepathy, robotics, and chimpanzees -- suddenly decided to band together and come true! I think the point of the article was actually about giving aid in movement back to those who are paralyzed. Which means Superman may walk again. I'll admit that was not one of my dreams, but I'm not against it.

Today's Salon also featured the following subhead: "A brilliant biologist's embarrassing new memoir reveals that even with a Nobel prize under his belt, a 24-year-old geek finds it hard to get laid." And something about Andrea Yates.

Mar 13, 2002

Dare to disappoint!

Am I actually carrying the world around in my handbag? If I go by the way my neck and shoulders feel, I'd say yes. I am in need of a good massage. And that coma I've been talking about.


The sun is going down. On many things.

American Beauty

It's so windy outside today. I just saw an empty plastic bag soaring high into the air, being carried south past 12th floor windows. It looked like fun.

Word of the Day

indomitable \in-DOM-ih-tuh-buhl\, adjective:
Incapable of being subdued or overcome; unconquerable.

Mar 12, 2002

I am what I am. You are what you drink.

Nothing is easy anymore. Not in my estimation. Not for me anyway. Nothing is ever easy. I tell myself it used to be, but I'm probably lying.

Jo says I'm tired because of the phases of the moon.

I got a great deal done today. And I felt charged up at times. But overall, I am so drained, and I see the exhaustion on my face. It's disheartening.

The sky outside is pale blue-grey with clouds that look like hazy pink cracks. It reminds me of the fake sky ceiling in the shopping area at Caesar's Palace. It's always just before dusk there. And there is the sound of running water and foot traffic.

So, I listen to Muppet songs and try to decide how much longer to sit at my desk. It will be tomorrow soon, won't it?

"This is not a weather segment. This is just a look at some maps that have weather on them."

Maybe I was just a snob before. Maybe I was overcome by my predisposition towards disliking broadcasters. But I've only recently discovered that Al Roker is occasionally amusing.

They change the art at Max's constantly!

I was paid a number of fine compliments tonight. "Atoms move more quickly around you." And then in response to my statement that I'm not from L.A.: "You're so not from any city." I'm fond of a compliment at any hour of the day, but these were particularly memorable.

And a pair of friendly fellows admired my hair and asked me if my lovers get tangled up in it, and I laughed and said I'm just amused by this notion of a world in which I have this mess of lovers to contend with. They laughed, too. I would have liked to talk with them at length. I'm sure of it. A guy in the elevator at my office tonight also commented on the length of my hair, but I didn't get the sense that I would have enjoyed talking with him at all.

What else. They finally fixed the air conditioning vent in my office. I am looking forward to being able to wear tops with sleeves on them again. Alex and I had a fine exchange about Middle Earth. I discovered that he eats scary kinds of cheeses and that we both would like to live in The Shire. Although I would rather be an elf than a hobbit. I just like the idea of having a round door. And we are both keen on second breakfast.

People wait outside of Cafe Largo and press their ears to the glass to hear what's going on inside when the comedy show is sold out. I have never seen such an absurd thing.

I made Adam laugh when I told him the made-up anecdote I told about Jo in the limo at the bachelorette party. That's always gratifying.

And when I was driving down Fairfax on my way home, I saw a man working on the road with a lit blowtorch waving around in the air as I drove past. It was strangely beautiful, and I promised myself I would remember it.

The unburningest log in the world still sits -- half-charred -- in my fireplace.

I wish I had eaten a hamburger tonight. Instead I had eggs.


Mar 10, 2002

The Borg Queen's got a plan.

I once had a dog named Mitzi. She was a keeshond. And she would always get excited and start peeing all over the place. She had a sweet furry face and a tail she wagged with such enthusiasm that her whole back half would wag with it. I brought her home on the Fourth of July. She was never really my dog, I suppose. My parents adopted her. I lived in an apartment and couldn't have a dog. But I had her in my car for a while.

Later that day, I drove to Vegas.

"Always Sunday"

It begins.

I have felt my skin tingle in the heat of many fireplaces. Tonight, I swelter and shiver. Tonight, I tingle.

"I did not miss you much. I did not suffer. What did not kill me just made me tougher."

I only heard the second half of that lyric when I heard it last night, and I thought it said, "What did not kill me just made me suffer." And I would have wanted to write that down. But it turns out I misheard it. Typical.

Sweet Justice

Sarah and I saw Angie Everhart at Nate-n-Al's today when we were having lunch. And she was checking US out. There.

Harry Belafonte sings Hava Nagila

So, Jo and Sean are married. Yesterday was an ordeal for me, but it also held moments of great fun and excitement and relief. I was happy to be there and happy for them.

And I caught the bouquet. That was a first for me.

Mar 9, 2002

Snap. Crackle. Burn the house down.

I felt lousy today, but the day itself was good. And tomorrow promises to be festive and hectic and everything else it could possibly be. I'll face it as best as I can.

Mar 8, 2002

"Do you ever get the feeling that the world is passing you by?"

I am surrounded by the hopes and expectations that I create and ignore. It's time to start picking things back up again.

Mar 6, 2002

Oh, yeah.

I almost forgot. Last night, in the extra wee hours when I usually tell myself it's time to go to sleep if only for the sake of staying alive, I was watching this ultra-keen episode of Walt Disney Presents about Mars and life on it. I have never wanted to live in a pressurized city more. I hope there will be a place in my future that is as colorful and grand. I am also fond of compartmentalization. I liked making blanket and pillow forts with our coffee table and our couch. And I remember being charmed when watching a news program that showed a newfangled Japanese "hotel" where businessmen were basically renting a space the size and orientation of a morgue drawer in which to sleep and watch television. I like defined spaces. I like the feeling of it being mine. I like privacy. And I like being able to keep my eye on all four corners.

If I ever do get to live on Mars, I hope the street names won't be stupid.


I feel as if I have been old for so long. And now I am...youthening? Time rolls backward. Your hair gets in your face. A fixed expression of concern fades into careless laughter. You reach for the onion rings, no longer worried if everyone else has had their fair share. Who cares what's fair. And you think about wearing roller skates. The kind with four wheels and a toe stop. And you argue about where the best pizza is. And the best hot dog. And you stop thinking about what time it is. It seems later than it is, but it makes no difference. You catch yourself looking around more. Seeing more. Making more eye contact. You catch yourself wondering things. You catch yourself judging. And the night envelops you like a thick blanket of drizzle and rain smell and shiny asphalt. Like a big thick blanket you clutch around you -- the way you might if you were out in the mountains camping and you needed to get up for something in the middle of the night.

You think about camping in winter. You think about plans you once made. You think about opportunities you missed. And you shrug. And you tell yourself it doesn't matter. The thought, "I have plenty of time," doesn't even bother to occur to you. It's irrelevant. You work hard. You sigh. You stretch. You make things nice for everyone. You plan for giddiness. You forget to write things in your calendar. You dismiss grudges. You lose track of them. You stop asking why.

You have steaks in your freezer and eggs in your fridge. You're set.

A brush with near-celebrity

I went out with some office mates tonight and had beers and the Lakers at a local Irish pub. Chris Farley's brother was there. I saw him standing in such a way as to bar the entrance to the ladies' room. A clever trick.

And the fog rolled in

The sky is white. The streets are dark with moisture. There is weather upon us.

I feel somewhat grey myself today. Grey and gloomy and worn around the edges. Whether it's sprinkling or dumping buckets on my bowed head, I love the rain. And at the same time, I can't stand it.

Today is my mother's birthday. I hope she is being shown a nice time.

Mar 4, 2002

"I've got an open mind so why don't you all get inside..."

The weekend was long. Full. Interesting. I feel thoroughly drained. But the advantage to that is that I am ready as ever to be filled back up again.

Mar 1, 2002

In like a lion

Last year, in the month of March, I went to see a poetry reading by a guy called Tim Gibbard. I had had dinner at my sister's house and was planning to meet someone later. That never happened.

The poetry reading was at Claire de Lune in North Park. It was the first time I'd been there. I saw a notice in The Reader about a poetry reading that sounded interesting, and I was in the habit -- at the time -- of concocting agendas for myself and attempting to go out and do more and see more and spend less time on my sullen couch in front of a television with nothing playing on it. It was a Tuesday night, wasn't it? And the featured performer was Tim Gibbard. And I had no idea who he was. But I went just the same.

Tim Gibbard was British and tall and bald and frenzied. And I loved watching him and listening to him. And I was annoyed by the number of high-schoolers taking up space, chit-chatting and writing in their slam books. I bought his book. He signed it for me, "To Mary, My 1st Fan." Here are some things he read that night:

The Ruby Slippers

So I retreated to my room, I couldn't stand to talk to watch. I found the cracks widening, the darkness welling like smoke to choke me, thick and sticking, blinding and hot.

From the earliest memories of swapping lines, the smell of warmth, mutual comforts, to this, so shallow, so fleeting. An outstretched hand so shaken and forgotten.

The memories of the depths we reached inscribed in the tracks of an outstretched arm. Grown purple now: the bruising incisions where I let you in each day.

All day, every day, day in day out, by the week, by the month, by the years that built us like giants, twinning us like pillars, strength and knowledge, humour and pathos, sweetness and sorrow.

Now parted we have become the furthest points of a right triangle. The square of our hypotheses, an immeasurable value, holding us at the perfect distance for forgetfulness.

At odds, me becoming the sea against your mountain, you the road that leads from my door. We will never return to Narnia, lamplight on snow. We have become our own wardrobe, the doors always opening away.

The darkness at our backs, the depth of our time together, an uninhibited place, a collection of furs and damp overcoats shared and exchanged, now sickening and blue. The pale blue of envy, distrust and sorrow, misunderstood loyalties and the backtracking of beliefs.

It is the smell of a sour autumn, too long gestated and never wholly aired, left to hang in a clear winter sky.

Take the blessing, it really is time for you to go.

Just think and you'll be there, at a speed unattainable in our lives. Just think and you will be there, where you want, there, where you need, there, where you can sleep soundly, there, a place where you are happy, a place where I do not live.

There; a place where I could only ever be, the jester, the confidant's fool, the privy listener.

There; where you are the dealer to my addict, the smiling priest to my rabbi, the slowly withdrawing thorn from my heart.

There; where I would always be the Siamese brother to the Surgeon General.

We are half-clasped hands, gritting our teeth against the cyclone that tears at our palms.

You are right and if I grow to understand, we will once more take flight like birds of a nest but for now I am lost and if one day perhaps you grew to understand, you would come looking for me.

You would come looking for me because I am lost. You would come looking for me because I am lost. Lost to you and you need me and perhaps if I am lucky, if I am very, very lucky, you will find me.


It was only an old blue summer dress; white flowers small and pretty but I kept it to remind me of the night I fell in love with you.

When, as if from the lips of gods, I heard the thunder call your name, the lightning that showered you, your image burning in my eyes.

The rain that soaked the cotton, clinging to your skin, as you have clung to me. The torrid sweat that ran between us, a flooded sidewalk at our feet.

Just one kiss was all we needed, one kiss we could both believe in. One kiss that would let us know that somehow this was meant to be.

The one kiss I could not leave without stealing on that early mroning when my departure swept away the distances between our lives.

And when we were far apart, the eloquence of letters brought me close enough to touch you, when we didn't know the words to use.

Then of our second meeting, how we fumbled it like children and the tenderness of your touch when we learnt we didn't need to speak.

And your flight into my arms when we had already said goodbye, that night of chasing constellations, wishing on the stars

And of the day that I asked you and the day you said yes to me, the nights that we made love as if we knew the dawn would break the spell.

Only an old blue summer dress, white flowers, small and pretty but I kept it to remind me of how the seasons come and go

And the day that you decided that you didn't want it anymore and left it, like abandoned poems, in some dark and dusty room, was the very day on which I learnt forever is a lonely place. No message, in an empty bottle, lost upon the sea

And how I was such a fool, when you said we could be lovers because I thought of rivers walked and games beneath the moon and so I just cloed my eyes to my own crucifixion, while your passioned breath was calling for, another sun to rise.

Only an old blue summer dress, white flowers, small and pretty but I kept it to remind me ov every day that ever dawns

And every drop of rain that ever falls to make the deserts bloom, now falls upon my hopes and dreas, the fragile times we found together

But it will

Never quench the flames that burn in my heart, turning memories to ashes, cast into the winds that sweep across your land

And sometimes if you will wonder why the future doesn't seem so bright, then maybe you're remembering how our gardens used to grow and you will stare into the distance, see the smoke on the horizon and tiny blackened petals will bring a tear to your eye


Burning, like the memory of the night I fell in love with you, that old blue summer dress will match the fires in the sky.

I was wearing new boots that I had bought several months previously and was thrilled to wear. I was wearing anticipation. Urgency. I was wearing a blue shirt with velvet and lace and interesting prints on it. I was wearing the knowledge that it was time to give up and go home.

He was a cool guy, this Tim Gibbard. If you ever have the chance to hear him perform, you should hop on it.