Tuesday, March 30, 2010


by Alice Fulton

born gorgeous with nerves, with brains
the pink of silver polish or
jellyfish wafting ornately
through the body below.
An invertebrate cooing
on the mother
tongue shushes and lulls them into thinking
all is well. As they grow they learn
salvage: tear-out
guides to happiness say apologies can outshine
lies, guilt be lickspittled from their lives, bad
glycerined to good. Like a child's first school pencils
in their formal brilliance
and sharp new smells, they lie
as lovers. Maybe one cries
the wrong name and the night skinning
them pleasantly alive
leaps away in shards.
Then it's time for restitution:
a tin of homebaked,
holding gingham safety, fetal
as the light through mason jars of beets and brine,
or jewelry, clasping and unclasping
aisles of fluorescence from great department stores,
a distracting plenitude, and tempting.
Still, the beloved may stay bitter as an ear
the tongue pressed
into, unwanted.
And the word end: spiney, finally-formed,
indents them and is
understood. They learn
the hard way as hurts
accrue, and the brain is cratered as a rock
by rain that fell ages past
on unprotected mud. An insult keeps
despite apologies. When it vaporizes at last,
its space fills with grains that harden
to a fossil shaped exactly
like the insult.
They grow up when they know that
only a gesture responsive as a heart-
shaped parachute above a jump
a life depends on
to be perfect
the first time will ever do.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Late for work, cursing school buses and attempting to do physical therapy exercises while driving was how she found me. Sucking down bus fumes, I watched as a car caught her and spun her. It had barely been going thirty, if that, on a four lane stretch of road occupied by three yellow buses in very close proximity, all flashing lights and outstretched stop signs. How confusing it must have been for her, even at that speed, tying to follow the primal paths branded deep into her DNA. The car must have hit her low, she spun halfway around then crumpled. Then my line of sight was ever so briefly blocked. When I caught sight of her again, she was laid down on the road, legs beneath her. With her single intact leg, she kept reaching out, trying to pull herself to her feet. Her neck straining forward, towards escape. It was obvious, this would not be accomplished. Her three other legs were splintered beneath her. It was silly to think I could imagine the stark fear, pain and confusion she must have been feeling. Silly, when I could so easily just continue on my way. And what is one animal's suffering to us, all sheathed in our business and self-importance?
It's seems always to be when we are at our most hurried, harried, hectic state that life grabs us and spins us round. Our mundane, routine, banal interrupted by someone elses' devastation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A poem about geese

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
--over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
© Mary Oliver

There are a few things about this poem that I really, really like. That are resonant. I love some of the very first lines, "You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." I love the image of relenting and letting "the soft animal of your body love what it loves." Usually in the body/mind divide, the body is branded as this raw, primitive, barbaric thing mastered by the brain only through constant grappling. I love the idea that your body is this separate, gentle being that only desires to love. I also like "the clear pebbles of rain." When the verse finds its way to the geese, it ends up losing me - I am anti-goose for my own petty reasons.

Graffiti seen around my neighborhood

"NARC" carved into the sidewalk.

"Mortons absolutely the BEST PRIME" sharpied onto the remnants of a sticker on the back of a signpost.

Please discuss amongst yourselves.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rainy day

Apparently, I will be quietly coloring with my crayons inside all weekend. Actually there's a snowball's chance in hell that I'll actually make good on that. I'm sure I'll be flitting here and there per usual, leaving my poor dog to wonder if Mama's a by-the-hour escort.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ab Don't

So this story starts out with me watching infommercials. At the nail salon. Because they're two lovely plasmas (or LCDs, or whatevers) were both tuned in to the hour (plus?) long Ab-Doer infommercial channel. Natch what I expect to be viewing as I sit in the surprisingly brutal massage chair and have yet another shade of taupe applied to my toenails.
Anywho, this thing's been around for years and we've all seen it (http://www.thane.com/products/fitness/abdoer-twist/abdoer-twist08.php.) It's an exercise "device" designed to "target" the general abdominal region. Lo these many years that I've been laboring under the impression that the name, "Ab-doer" referenced the fact that it "do" your "abs." (Quotation signs reaching potentially lethal levels of saturation - awesome.) NOW I learn that the "inventor" of the Ab-doer is, in fact, one Mister John Abdo. Um, wha WHA? Which begs the inevitable question; did he name his invention after himself? Or did he legally change his name to mark the historic event? File under things that make you go hmmm, though there are too many to number...