Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I have made so many cookies this week and I plan to progress to actual meals.
I am obsessed with subtle flavor. I want to be one of those people who can taste a dish and tell you what spices are in it. Or taste a tea and tell you what herbs are in it. Or smell a perfume and tell you what scents were used. I think it's a manifestation of my underlying desire to pull out the subtle strands that make up everything. Opinion and perspective from statistics. Emotion and power from interaction. Balances are really incredible. They crumble when examined. It's like Heisenberg. I never wanted to fix radios or anything, but I think it's the same concept. Taking a TV apart and putting it back together. Building a Tesla coil. It's all these really specific obsessions that I've always had but now have time to cultivate.
Tomorrow I am going to a chamber music concert at the home of a philosophy professor. He has a shrew named Shrewbert (like Schubert) that runs loose during concerts. It will be a guitar quartet. And I am excited because now that I play in an orchestra only once a week and see a concert maybe once a week and still miss a week here and there, music means a lot more and I love that.
I guess what it comes down to is now that I have time on my hands, I feel like I am allowed to fall in love with my life again.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The backstory to this is that I had decided I wasn't going to bring many books in English, so that I could force myself to learn Spanish and eventually read entirely in Spanish. However, my day to day life is too boring and too empty of Spanish books of the proper reading level to sustain this goal, and I am sending for English books in my Christmas box from my parents. I have a few thoughts on what type of books these should be.
First, they should be long, difficult, multi-layered books I can read more than once. I have a lot of time, solitude, and few distractions other than this computer. Therefore, it seems like now would be a good time to read that sort of book you always intend to read but you're intimidated by it and read shorter, easier works instead. I don't know if I have a lot of these. Mostly from lack of literary knowledge. I guess this may mean "Russian Novel?" Or maybe "Philosophical Treatise" or "Thick Non-Fiction."
Actually, that may be my only thought. I want to be able to read it in school, though that makes little difference. Even if it were pornographic, the only thing I would have to be careful of is cover art. No one can read what I'm reading. Does anyone have any thoughts on the relative advisability of asking for Star Wars novels?
Eileen, did you read all of Wandering, or enough of it? Should I ask for it? The Amazon reviews are some of the most incredibly positive I've ever seen of any book, I think. I also am considering a Biography of Hesse. Other than that, I have few ideas. Fill me in, everybody. That means you too, Alex.
Edit: Tentative list:
The Brothers Karamazov -- Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment -- Dostoevsky
The Once and Future King -- T.H. White
Gulag Archipelago -- Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn
A Language Older Than Words -- Derrick Jensen.
Cosmos -- Carl Sagan
The Diversity of Life -- Edward Wilson
Anna Karenina -- Tolstoy
Godel, Escher, Bach -- Douglas Hofstadter
Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Hermann Hesse: Pilgrim of Crisis -- Ralph Freedman
Light in August--Faulkner
American Gods -- Neil Gaiman
The Death and Life of Great American Cities -- Jane Jacobs
Gravity's Rainbow -- Thomas Pynchon
East of Eden -- John Steinbeck
Leaves of Grass -- Walt Whitman
Tristes Tropiques -- Claude Levi-Strauss
I am living at home with my parents, and am waiting for something to happen. In the meantime I decide to go back to post-grad at Interlochen until whatever it is happens. For some reason, Interlochen is actually in my house, and my mom is with me. I see no one I know there except Shawn, who gives me a warm welcome. Me and mom go to a lecture in the south chapel (a place in my house, you wouldn't understand.) and she takes notes. However, her notes are only lists of people we meet at the lectures.
One of the lectures we go to is a Mr. Dean lecture, and it turns out to be absolutely wonderful and revelatory, as of course it would be. I somehow have a typed-out transcript of the lecture immediately after it, and then go into the office to read it and think. I don't remember what the lecture was about; it seemed to be a comprehensive history of something to do with philosophy.
I am now out in the wilderness, though still thinking about Mr. Dean. It looks like Alaska or the Upper Peninsula or something. It is mountainous, heavily forested, and covered in snow. I am walking on a trail, moving northward, towards a body of water. I take a moment to look back, and see in the distance groves of snow covered trees penetrating the sky, groves of great beauty. I have a moment of reverence for the beauty of life, and appreciate being alive.
It is difficult to be certain how I am travelling, because I am moving extremely quickly, but I seem to be exposed to the air, and have no obvious vehicle. Also, periodically big tires appear on the trail and I have to squeeze my body to be sure I don't hit them, as I am going fast enough that any impact would be quite inconvenient, if not painful.
I reach the water, where it seems there is a large group of students preparing to go on an expedition. I am in a group with Marlene and a boy I don't know, and we set out. Our mode of travel is a fairly small floating chunk of ice. We make it halfway across, to a sort of staging point in the lake, and switch to a fresh chunk of ice. This time, it has a long, thick board running down the center, with metal parts holding the ice to it. However, it is also melting fairly quickly, and as we set out, riding the log essentially, with our legs entirely underwater, I look at Marlene and realize she is wearing only a sweatsuit, which seems dangerously inadequate, and also realize that this seems like an extremely dangerous expedition overall for a group of students such as ourselves, and begin imagining death in a freezing sea.
Last night I vomited for the first time in a very long time. I felt dizzy, too. I suspect food poisoning, from quesadillas, specifically. I didn't leave the house all day, I ate the same breakfast I always have, soy milk and granola, and then made myself quesadillas with cheese, mayonaise, and tortillas later in the day. I felt fine all day until around 9 PM, threw up, went to sleep, and now feel fine again. So I assume I am not sick, and that I simply had a problem with that particular cheese. I mean, I eat quesadillas made from that same cheese source frequently, and have that same mayonaise on many things. I blame the cheese, though my host mother seems reluctant to agree, as it hasn't actually gone bad.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Tourist Town, Late January
The town recedes in winter as if it was in reality
what it is in the imagination of June's tourists.
The people pick up a subtlety,
an unwillingness to see their own faces in the mirror,
that dampens and buries the place.
It would be wrong to say they go to sleep.
The out of place fluidity of sleep (I dreamt I washed clothes
in a bucket of clay) is present in the summer
more than the winter, when everything grows solid.
Cabins turned bulwark; fortresses of poolhouses--
what's not lost is over-assured of itself.
The monomyth of winter--
an axe follows a tree, follows a storm--
fades into a collection of stories:
jet fuel from South America,
the flaking snake skin of a woman's boots,
a medley of working voices.
The blueprints torn and redrawn, patched,
obscured by the white grace of
sun behind clouds.
The women in the summer:
Cadillac women with strong faces and hair like
swimming-hole ropes. Long brown arms.
A mix of sweat (how sharp and wonderful sweat smells after a winter!)
and bare, soft stomachs. You can smell on them
all the places they've been; their voices
arching and lowing over the day's offerings.
Bathing suits--green stripe and white yard.
Yellow blossom. Small noses and flashing teeth.
Money pours in. Business owners count their fiscal years and dog days.
Apples come from foreign states in wooden crates.
In the distant city,
Hot fog from street vents.
The skin pales and slips thin.
Laundry strung from the gap-toothed buildings, their windows showing
a cuticle of sunset before it slips to dusk.
the creaking and hissing ribs of the electric track.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This is an indication of the way I spend my days, by the way. Of course, now I have a marimba, which changes things significantly. I go to school and come home and sit in this room, on this computer. Tuesday, I went on a walk around the Colonia, saw a dead turtle and another miracle stream of ants, some of which were monstrously huge. Another definition of magic can be found in looking at a stream of ants carry pieces of leaves and limp flower petals. In addition to reading short stories online, I sleep, write a little (all of which is posted on this site), think about writing more, dream, do pad, listen to a lot of music, eat fruit, blow my nose, and struggle with the conflict of having a hot computer in my lap while my toes are freezing. Don't mention socks to me, please.
Novalis, Hymns to the Night
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rappaccini's Daughter
Jorge Luis Borges, Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote
Borges, The Library of Babel
Borges, The Lottery in Babylon
Borges, The House of Asterion
Borges and I
Borges, The Gospel According to Mark
Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths
Borges, Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
Gary Snyder's Poetry, or some of it at least
E.T.A. Hoffman, The Golden Pot
E.T.A. Hoffman's Romantic Short Story, The Sandman
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tale, The Sandman:
"The metaphysicians of Tlön are not looking for truth or even an approximation to it: they are after a kind of amazement. They consider metaphysics a branch of fantastic literature.
... One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time: it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present memory. Another school declares that all time has already transpired and that our life is only the crepuscular and no doubt falsified and mutilated memory or reflection of an irrecoverable process. Another, that the history of the universe - and in it our lives and the most tenuous detail of our lives - is the scripture produced by a subordinate god in order to communicate with a demon. Another, that the universe is comparable to those cryptographs in which not all the symbols are valid and that only what happens every three hundred nights is true. Another, that while we sleep here, we are awake elsewhere and that in this way every man is two men."
Jorge Luis Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
In particular, the kingdom was notable for epic and extremely long poems apparently derived from nomadic songs and stories. In general these consisted of a few core stanzas which were repeated almost endlessly with minor but significant changes in the lyrics. The name for these poems was urik-yamga, or "endless river," implying that, in theory, the recitation could be infinite. Indeed, on during major festivals, a poem relating to the festival was often recited for days on end by a school of reciters working in rotation.
From a faux wikipedia article on Uqbar. It no longer exists, and this bit is not quoted from the story. The reason I include it is for its relatively direct references to modern composers like Steve Reich (the endless repetition with minor but significant changes) and John Cage, who wrote a piece called "As Slow As Possible" for organ.
One evening, he caught them unawares as they were, in few words, speaking of him respectfully.
Borges' Gospel According to Mark
The professor of poetry and eloquence took a pinch of snuff, clapped the lid of his box to, cleared his throat, and said solemnly: 'Ladies and gentlemen, do you not perceive where the trick lies? It is all an allegory - a sustained metaphor - you understand me - sapient! sat.
E.T.A. Hoffman, The Sandman
This is the first of this type of experience I have had here in Mexico, though they happened all the time at Interlochen. Back then I always tended to interpret them as indications of some sort of foreshadowing or predestination in life, though that's probably just a more fun way of talking about them, rather than any legitimate philosophical evidence. They are really only images that appear in dreams, vaguely, with a specific perspective and a few big objects, but without a purpose or story involved. They seem to hang around in the mind until they are dispelled more or less after they have been experienced in waking life.
That said, an important dream, fraught by that everpresent problem with dreams, that is that we are left with an incomplete and jumbled narrative. Therefore, when recording a dream, we tread closely the line between faithfully recounting our memories of it, and telling a cohesive story, one which is filled in by waking interpolations. Preferring to fall on the honest side of the line, I will give these as a series of images and events that all relate to the same subject, allowing the reader to reach toward their true formation in the same way I must.
I am in a kitchen, I believe in the future, although it looks as though any kitchen might today. It is white, but wooden white, not sterile white. I am with my cousin Brandon and an attractive young girl, his wife (though this woman is clearly not his real-life wife, which is why I don't name her as such). They are across a counter from me, with the woman to the left, where the refrigerator is, and Brandon directly across it. There are others drifting around to my right. Brandon is telling me about the important and fascinating discoveries this Doctor has made. The doctor's discoveries were not clear to me when Brandon explained them, and I did not form opinions on his work until later on.
What is also clear is that Brandon is currently married to two women: the young attractive girl here with us now, and some older, fatter, and uglier woman. It seems that this older woman had some sort of practical use to him, and perhaps this doctor's discoveries have in some way undercut her usefulness. Regardless, it seems he and the younger wife have some harmful intent towards her, perhaps murder.
We are in something that is most accurately described as a space car, white, with a big blue glowing engine exhaust on the back and a big clear windshield. I am in it with Brandon and his younger wife. One of them is driving. We are in space near an asteroid field. There are other space cars here with us, though it is unclear who is in them or what we are doing here. They are related to us somehow (not by blood, I mean) and we are interacting in some manner.
In the car, I find a gallon ziplock bag containing a white pill bottle and some papers. The papers detail the work that the doctor has done, his experiments, their goals, and his product, these pills. His experiment took a single young child and did something to him, though I am not precisely clear on what they did. Regardless, they had to give him painkillers, and the paper specifically outlined the amount of painkillers he could tolerate, as his experiments were daily and his tolerance grew greatly as time went on. I get the impression they were injecting him with something, and this was what pained him, but this may not be true. Regardless, the boy changed in some fundamental manner over the course of the experiment. The current objective of the project is cloning the boy, that or they have already succeeded in doing this. However, this does not mean cloning directly, instead they are cloning either a specific aspect of him or putting it into the pills or something like that. I have no idea what the pills do, or why his discovery is important.
Upon reading this paper, I grow vengeful, and through some means, we obtain this doctor from one of the other spacecars and strap him to the engine exhaust of our car. Here he dies, though more slowly than one might expect. Then the other cars flee through the asteroid belt, and we follow. I believe several of the others are destroyed, though not all.
The three of us arrive back on Earth alone, at least for a time. We land in a neighborhood with some extreme importance. When we arrive, we were the only humans there, although there are a few odd jellyfish-like creatures hovering a few inches above the ground, coming down steps and generally moving slowly around the neighborhood. There is no noise except birdcalls, and the entire scene is very beautiful. We don't speak, and exit the car. The neighborhood is American standard, perhaps American ideal. The houses are white wood, two story, with porches. They are not identical, but they are aesthetically united by these characteristics. The lawns are green, natural, and healthy, not landscaped, and the trees are huge and green and full of birds.
Emerging from the spacecar, we encounter the house we are parked in front of. This house stands out from the rest because it has two giant campaign signs in the yard. They are blue with white letters. One stands above the other. On both is written a short poetic line that alludes to ravens, including some word like Caw or Claw in each. More information becomes clear about this neighborhood. It was created by this same doctor, and this is his house. It is not yet inhabitated, nor does the doctor himself yet live here. However, he and some men associated with his project will arrive soon. Our presence here is suspicious and urgent.
Me and my parents are riding in a semi, part of a larger semi convoy. In another of the semis rides the doctor and some of his associates. There are police chasing us, or some of us. I believe I want the police to catch the doctor. They are ahead of us, and gradually we become separated, which is alright with us. We stop at something that at first seems like a rest stop. We park on a hill, exit, and find ourselves in the midst of a cult religious ceremony. I find myself on my knees, saying Christian prayers I don't know well enough, and then in a discussion of theology with some of the group's leaders. I feign ignorance of theology, though in reality I know more about it than some people.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Homemade wheat bread, toasted with butter
Goat Cheese (I have a winey goat cheese)
Miso (used as a spread)
Mushrooms cooked in
It is amazing. Amazing.
I was sitting at my desk in school, about a week ago, after we had just finished watching Spiderman 3. A large group of my classmates was standing around, talking and having a good time, in front of my desk. I was neither talking nor participating in the good times. Of a sudden, the scene seemed to take on a significance that could only be granted in retrospect, and it became clear to me that I was revisiting a cherished memory from the future, through some means of time travel or psychological magic. I could not see what I could be looking for, if I indeed would have been looking for anything more than a trip to an emotional important or representative event.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
She answered that she doesn't remember dreams and she doesn't think in words.
She said it's not images, she just lets her head run and it doesn't gravitate towards words. It's more like feelings.
I told her that was pretty neat.
She, very cleverly, said: "Not really. I have to translate a lot."
If you're wondering, she clearly meant the irony.
I think there may have been a wedding going on or something, too.
And something about boats.
I don't really remember.
Friday, September 19, 2008
There is a big fat handicapped woman in a hospital for some reason. That is, she is conducting business or visiting someone. While she is there, she falls ill or somehow something disastrous happens to her, not a physical event but an internal medical one. She is rushed into an elevator and two male nurses hoist her onto a cot. The elevator is big and blue like the elevator in Frolich and has some computer equipment in it. She is up against the far wall and her head is towards the viewer. The woman is a TV stereotype, the bitter, sarcastic woman with a biting wit, who doesn't take any bullshit. The doctors are trying to figure out what is wrong with her but they can't. She stays in the elevator with them. The nurses cut many strands of her hair, from the root. Her hair is wet, matted, dirty, and disgusting. They put each strand into the computer and on the screen a distinct abstract shape and color are identified for each. Below the displays of hair are indicated the chemical compositions each shape and color represent. In each strand of hair is trapped evidence of a different chemical compound she consumed; some sort of toxin or dangerous substance she ate. They are trying to isolate the one that caused her illness, but are not succeeding.
More importantly, this dream fragment:
I bite into a nut. It comes in half as it ought to and I see tiny ants crawling around inside on the end opposite from where I bit. I set it down on the table and the ants scurry away.
A song title: A healthy appreciation for heavenly bodies
Moments between classes, when I am crossing any of several greens, have a definite unreality; a movie-like quiet. The trees rustle in slow waves; dust and helicopter leaves and white pinprick fluff fall very slowly. Light plays (really plays; that word makes so much sense here) across the ground; and something about how the air moves around my legs beneath a skirt speaks to a fall that neither Memphis nor Michigan quite had.
I am busy--fantastically busy--with readings and some writings, meeting often with my professors, and slowly discovering the people around me. I cook. I write home. Mostly I read.
I think, a little, I am learning how to be full up and be alone. I don't know it very well, but mostly I think it has to do with sleep, reading and moving around; excersizing more than excorsizing. For today, for this morning, I am very content.
B.Anne, I really like what you wrote. I would love to correspond with you about these things; maybe even small, daily things. And quotes.
From Rumi: " To praise is to praise/how one surrenders/to the emptiness."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Why was Santa Claus so excited about Christmas? He couldn't wait to post on Adam's new blog.
Sorry it took me so long to get here I am a stupid asshole and lazy.
I want to scan some of my drawings and put em up here, along with maybe my Zinge comic, and the photos I took at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. But I won't be posting any more than that.
And I forgot what else.
I also had a pop quiz in Creative Writing yesterday; the teacher gave it to us to make sure we were reading the assigned chapters. Well I did the writing assignments, but just didn't read. I didn't forget to, or not have time, I just... didn't. And so, first assignment/pop quiz of the semester, I received an F.
But, the good news is I received a 5 (which is the best you can get) on my art project from last week. Hooray. Today they are having a blood drive in the alumni lounge, and I am going to give blood before I go to work. Maybe if I'm lucky, I will feel faint at work, and get to go home early. I would really love to quit that job, since it is not what I expected, and I am purely not happy with it. But, I have to stick with it until I can find another one (which will hopefully be soon, and well-paying).
But now, I'm going to eat with Emily, so maybe I will write something later this week.
Monday, September 15, 2008
...my mind today has been focused on my favorite Rilke quote--Adam, have you read Rilke yet?--and that quote is "Everything terrible is something that needs our love." I don't share this because I want others to know it as much as I need to live it. The terrible things--the selfish, the indifferent, the greedy, the cruel, the thoughtless--trigger such anger in me and such drive to want to enlighten them....but isn't that just as selfish of me? I need to love them...somehow, I need to find a way to love them....and then maybe out of that will come the wisdom needed to enlighten...for now, I need to see myself as just another one of the terrible things in need of love...
Friday, September 12, 2008
I am returning to Cass City sort of hectically and quickly, in a car with some friends. I enter town on foot from the Wast, over a rough footpath. I go in to a house or a hotel and get a room looking south over the town. I am sooo tired. But it is a festival of sorts occurring in the city there, and there will be fireworks. I fall asleep and drift in and out, and wake up once to see a firework or two to the south, in front of a really beautiful sunset and clouds. I look out the window more closely and see my parents, in front of the thin white metal fence outside my window. I reach out to them and touch my mother's hand, and then clasp the hand of a boy on my side of the fence. Then I fall back to sleep. I dream a bunch of things. I walk with Tigre in a street where there are a bunch of semi trucks, toward baseball diamonds. All the colors are green and gray and silver. Everything is very very real, vivid, and I think to myself, “I am not dreaming; this is REAL,” but when I wake up I realize I was wrong. I am in a room with a few other people, and looking out at them I see the way the light hits their faces, and remember this is one of the things in the real world that one never sees taken care of in dreams. So I know that I am no longer dreaming.*
At one point I awake again for a short time, looking really sleepy apparently, and feel arms around my sitting-up torso. I put my arm around her waist to return the gesture, feel kisses on my head, and give a squeeze. It is Dalid, who I have seen do similar things to her friends many times. It always looks really nice. I explain to her that it is weird to have her here in my hometown, and Eileen as well (Eileen was also in the car), but however much I wanted them to come here, I have no idea what to do with them now, since all my friends are gone from town.
Later, I am more awake, and my mom opens the door to the room and a really fucking excited Stanley enters the room. He is so excited that he literally bounds all the way to the ceiling and hits his head and hurts himself. I go to him for sympathy, and see that Rachel has dolled him all the hell up like an Emo kid. It's bizarre. But I give sympathy and have a brief reunion with a dog.
*This whole sequence of events seems to have taken place with a very specific purpose. I recently completed or will complete a general overview of Descartes and his epistemology, and he raised this doubt against the existence of the material world that did not make sense to me before. He claimed he'd had dreams in which he was convinced he was not dreaming. He dreamed he was performing certain tests and applying qualifications to his dream that proved they were not dreams. That meant that when he awoke, he could not be certain that he was not still asleep, dreaming real life. I thought this was stupid when I first read it because I had never had such a dream, and thought any person could obviously tell the difference between a dream and real life because of certain factors, like the impermanence of objects, the lack of detail, the lack of direct sense of your own body except in certain situations, and the fact that life is continuous from one day to the next, but dreams change every night and within each night. I guess this proves my dream-giver is a pretty cool guy because it helps me understand philosophy on a very prompt schedule.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
to acknowledge drainage ditches:
the cement; the jurrassic slabs
unhinged from each other
by the plants with the long orange flowers,
and bamboo, tall grasses,
blue eyelet blossoms and kudzu,
poison sumac, a bramble bush.
To watch how they
break the city so that it seeps
the same way blood seeps
out after radiation:
after half-atom bombs:
coming from every hole!
and the rest of the body paling,
a failing levy.
Try to outwalk the split ground,
to miracle collage the lots long, to watch how the
birds (brown finches, mostly, and some hesitant robins)
dilate out of bartlett pears and contract
the same way a heart might--lucid,
sporadic, flaming--on fire! before
narrowing back into itself.
I am on the set of some sort of Mythbusters show. It's a sinister group of people, and I have no idea what they're trying to prove. They have at one point in the past killed a girl in the process of testing a myth.
I am in my house, with Bola there for some reason. I leave him alone and suddenly he is out in the parking lot, making a break for it. He looks injured and deranged. I tell Mom, and then head out after him, but by the time I make it to the parking lot, someone else has already headed out. I see that it's Joe Rule. Bola is actually already gone, however, and Joe is chasing Thomas Levalley on a bicycle. Joe is tired by now but I manage to catch him in the grass to the west of the church. There we find his parents and a few other people, and they start fencing. I fence with him.
Over some period of time, the area is transformed and there are two big ovens or kilns or something heating the area. It's cold, and we're glad they're hot. My friend is explaining to me how the kilns work, because together him and I are going to give a presentation on them to a group of kids from a high school who are coming to learn about them. The kids, mostly girls, arrive. I am leaning against one of the kilns and the kids file past me as they come in. I am holding a pillow and as I enter, the girls (the group is all girls at first) rest their heads against my pillow for a moment. Finally a taller black student with an afro enters also, and he hesitates and then does the same. We give a presentation on the kilns but it seems like things are much more like a warm living room with hearth fires.
Eventually we leave and go to a store. The living room is in a house in an aesthetically Mexican area. In the store, Omar finds a half-empty can of baked beans with a fork in it, weighs it, buys it, and we leave to travel back to the house. A girl named Amelia is with us for part of our journey. There seems to be something significant about her. We move around a lot, go back to the house, leave the house, drive some, and finally end up on a train coming back toward the house. We stop a few blocks away and leave to walk home.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I just wanted to say that it's a cool thing to put 69er on the end of stuff. I got some good usernames like that.
Some of my favourite '69ers':
Does anyone else have a favourite '69er'?
a green star,
What does love
Ay! But lose itself?
The ruined towers
with the cold mist,
How have they seen us
with their tiny windows?
A hundred green stars
Over the green sky,
they don't see a hundred towers
white, in the snow
And this anguish mine
to make it alive,
I have dressed it
with red smiles.
Federico García Lorca
Translated by myself and a few friends from class
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Yonkers: The houses mostly look like someone discovered three small houses made of disparate materials and tore them down and combined all the materials into one new house. For instance, on one house, the first floor and front steps (a full case of them) were built with painted cement, the second floor out of red bricks, the third with white siding. The front doors of these houses, all made of thick glass and wood, are on the second floor, with big staircases leading from the sidewalk, through the yard and up to them. It gives the middle class homes the feeling of looking up to an estate, or a poor man's
imitation of the great walkways, or something. Maybe it is more like the brownstones, with their staircases--but stretched out, parodied by suburbia. In the front yards, there are so many flowers! Pansies and roses and begonias and lillies and crysanthemums and little blue eyelet flowers and long purple stick-out flowers, and pink trumpet flowers in the bushes. Even tomatoes and peaches, all tended carefully, kept in good plots. Also, there are many straight hedges and rot-iron fences, usually low-lying and white, and many stone lions or fading grey cherubs guarding entranceways. The houses are close
together, but they have ample lots for growing things. I took my walk from 6-8, so the sun had dropped to a point where only
the thick of the big oaks was cast in light, and the rest of the street was pulled into that light pinkish grey of coming-dusk. Stop lights have more color at that hour. I walked for awhile down the main road, then turned off when I saw a park where a girl's softball team was practicing in the diamond and their fathers were leaning against automobiles with the trunks popped open. I watched the action of the park--a big park, only used in the baseball quarter--for several minutes, resting my chin on the post of a chainlink fence, and then continued through the neighborhood. By this time, dinner was beginning
to be put on in all the houses, and I could smell meat and tomato sauce, barbeque and beans being cooked. I passed a house where the smell of old woman was unmistakable, even on the street. The front yard drooped with half-brown crysanthemums. A pair of porcelain swans, their backs replaced by potted plants, faced each other on her stoop. The neighborhood reminded me a lot of old women, of green polyester couches and mustard-yellow refridgerators and thin-grain carpeting in
the dining room.
I followed the street until I could see that the neighborhood is on top of a fairly steep hill. On both sides of the main street, the area continues for a half-mile or so and then drops off into a tiered valley of red-brick apartment complexes and wiry,
staircase fire escapes. In the distance, a church stands on top of the next hill. I could only see it's middle tower, the two open slots where the sunset came through, and the lesser peaks to the side of it. Very strange to see a silhouetted cathedral--probably a cloister--in America, and especially in suburbia. It contributed to an air of cultural displacement. The laundry lines, the food growing in the front yard, the smell of cooking, even, and the white stone lions that gaurding the gate. I feel it is a neighborhood of well-situated, second or third generation immigrants. Italians or Mexicans or some other swarthy race.
That's it. Campus is clean and old and fine.
I am on some sort of big adventure with Eileen. It is dark, though the dawn will come soon. Our adventure is serious, high-stakes, and seems to involve some element of crime or deception. I believe we are in a hospital, though it isn't clear. I leave Eileen to her work and head to a house, per her directions. The house is owned by someone Eileen knows somehow, but it is not with their permission that I'm going there. I'm there to prepare things and await Eileen.
The house is on the river, or perhaps on the other side of a street on the river. The front door and lawn and big windows look toward the river, however it is. I break or get into the house somehow. Dawn is breaking while I enter. The house is warm and old and very brown. I spend the majority of my morning struggling to get lights turned on. All the lights are yellow. The windows in the front of the house are huge, so I must be on the West side of the river. I struggle with dead light bulbs, weak light bulbs, and hidden switches until it is evening. I turn on the floodlights in the front yard accidentally and quickly turn them off, fearful of drawing attention from neighbors. The damage is done, the neighbors are on to me, and I hear voices out back. I quickly go into the kitchen to cook up a Huck Finn-style cover story. There may have been brooms involved.
I suspected I was pregnant and it was night and I went to an observatory on the top of a hill to get an ultrasound from my brother's swim teacher to make sure. Turns out I was and I raged at God and then decided to tell my parents but instead I rode away on a bike down the hill and into a field to find Ariella because she needed to know. I couldn't find her and I walked through piles and piles of leaves and then I finally saw her and sat down and told her and she didn't care. I woke up crying.
I'd like to add that, as teenage pregnancy is all the rage these days (exemplified by Juno, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Bristol Palin, Jamie-Lynn and the Gloucester Pregnancy Pact), I'm fabulous even when I'm asleep.