Sunday, July 20, 2014

The structure of a new building


I can’t believe there’s really an organization called the Family Equality Council. And, Cynthia Nixon wants me to support it! Now, if Richard Nixon asked me to support the Family Equality Council, that would be something to think about. Meanwhile, I just realized that fecal rhymes with equal. Wait: someone invented the word shampoo. What were they thinking? Every time there’s another stunning report on climate change, I’m stunned that people still need these reports. Oh, no—an entire fabric softener factory just blew into my apartment—I can’t believe people still use that shit. Sorry, when I said hip retro diner, I meant gross gentrification atrocity. I’m wondering if the United Colors of Benetton are still united, after all these years. Suddenly I’m thinking about the kid who always ate glue during sixth grade art class. I wonder what happened to her. Funny how you can go to a school where 40% of the kids are Jewish, and the worst insult can still be to call someone a JAP. Somehow I grew up not thinking JAP as an insult had anything to do with being Jewish, even though I knew it meant Jewish American Princess. Is this a novel? One day you will read it, and ask the same question. These days, of course, we call our novels essays.        

There must be a word for the word everyone is trying not to use.

Sometimes we wait so long that we’re no longer waiting, and sometimes we wait so long that we’re dead. The difference between satire and what’s going on in the world is that the goal of satire is to illuminate hypocrisy.

I like to pretend that when people are staring directly at me from outside, they can’t see me at all. I’m pretty sure that’s true, right? Sometimes I’m suddenly shocked by hierarchies of language, for example: Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Chancellor of Vice. Chancellor of Mice. Chancellor of Lice. Lice Chancellor. Watch out, world—I’m having an old-school outfit moment, and cutting the sleeves off this sweater I bought for two dollars at a garage sale and it fit so well, but it wasn’t the sort of thing I would wear. Except now, I’m looking for stripes, contrasting with stripes, contrasting with stripes, contrasting with stripes, so this will be perfect. Earlier I saw someone working gray on gray on gray for the first time, I mean for the first time when it actually worked. I wanted to stop him to say something, but of course he did the usual stare at me and then turn away.

          It used to be that whenever I saw someone wearing sunglasses in the rain, I thought: what’s up with that diva? Now I’m that diva. Migraine realness—oh, the glamour of it all. It’s not a good moment when I’m thinking about all the things I’ve had to turn down because of how awful I feel, so let’s skip that moment. I must admit that I get a bit confused whenever I hear that a political process is getting “too political.” I love it when a child taking medical cannabis oil for seizures, when asked what it tastes like, replies: Charlotte’s Web. Oh, this must be the part of the construction process where they pave the road after digging it up after paving it after digging it up. I hope they do this a few more times—I really like the sound of that machine grinding into the asphalt. Once, I met someone who wanted to be on jury duty. Remember: the best way to do everything on your to-do list is not to make a to-do list. Well, that was quick: here’s the new construction vehicle already, lifting something kind of wood with black mold that matches the black mold on the frame of this new building. This new thing is going to the fifth floor I guess. Don’t worry, I always check the bus schedule when I’m running late.

          It’s probably significant that my only reference point for these suddenly more embodied states after various healthcare practitioners is to say that it feels like I’m high. Also, there’s the crash, of course, but it’s not as bad. I mean, I come out of it faster. Or, maybe I’m living in the crash—there’s that too.       But where in my head is that essay I was writing while I was sleeping—it felt so eloquent and present then, but now I don’t even know what it was about. Still can’t help studying the black mold on the frame of the building across the street—that is black mold, right? I mean it’s black streaks on exposed wood, and then on the second floor it spreads out into bigger areas a few feet across. I guess at some point they will cover that with something, so before then I will take photos, in case anyone ever needs them.

          Oh, there goes my energy. And I haven’t even gone on my morning walk yet. Maybe there’s a song about the uncovered wood at a construction site that sits out in the rain and rots, and then they use it to make a building. Of course, I’m not an expert on black mold—maybe that’s just called seasoning. Maybe black mold is good for the structure of a new building, helps it to grow, organically. I wonder if this black mold is Leed-certified.

Oh, good—they’re spraying toxic chemicals on the carpet in the hallway again, so they can call it clean. Maybe I will have a picnic in the hallway, once there are enough toxic chemicals in the carpet. Oh, I get it—whenever the carpet outgasses chemicals, they have to spray more in to keep it fresh. There’s a new Goodwill in my neighborhood, and half of the customers are drunk. The other half are smashed. I’m just sitting on this chair because I can’t get up. One problem with having two computers is that when I turn one off the other’s still on.

          I don’t know why there are so many joggers in Seattle. I’ve never lived anywhere before with so many joggers. I love parsley. That’s it, right now. Maybe I’m thinking about all the ways not to get back in bed. Oh, that breath of fresh air, it really is a breath—maybe I should take off my sweatshirt, I’m sweating. If the point of a sweatshirt is to sweat, maybe that explains why I only wear sweatshirts in the house. I don’t know why I refuse to call anything a hoodie. Cooking tip: if something is rotten, it might taste better when you cook it, but it will probably still be rotten. If I still made mix tapes, I would make a mix for what to listen to with the construction noise in the morning. It’s a good thing I’m not a night person anymore, otherwise my life would be ruined. An update from the windows of the yoga boutique: a match-clashing pink-and-white bikini top with a henna pattern pink-and-white miniskirt. This one’s on sale. Get it while you can. Otherwise you’ll have to settle for the shiny black capris with a soft gray crotch of sweatshirt material, $128. Something’s burning in my kitchen. One problem with cooking is there’s always more. Maybe it’s time for the news. One problem with thinking about somewhere you could never live again is when you’re not so sure you can live where you’re living. People who talk about being on the wrong side of history like that’s a bad thing must not have read a lot of history I’m trying to remember if there’s something I’m trying to remember.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Without words

Faced with the latest US-supported Israeli obliteration of Gaza, I’m finding myself without words. As the bombs destroy homes and lives and land, I think of the patriotic fervor in the US last weekend, the red-white-and-blue blasts of complicity. The US celebrates its imperial anniversary by getting ready to deport thousands of migrant children, the ones who have survived the violence of a criminalized journey for hope. In Detroit, thousands of people are losing their water and I’m finding myself without words. Faced with tyranny, I do not believe in words and I do not not believe in words. I hope for hope, and I do not believe in hope. I do not know if I will ever believe.

Friday, July 04, 2014

The back burner


Cooking tip: if you can’t find the chopping knife, it might be in the sink. Cooking tip: always do the dishes before you decide you don’t have enough energy to do the dishes. Cooking tip: rotten vegetables are only good if you don’t eat them. Cooking tip: when something’s boiling over, it might help to turn the heat down.

Oh, good—the update on the best worst song you may never have heard of before. Traci Lords, Okey Dokey, off her highly acclaimed 1995 dance album 1000 Fires. The lyrics: “okey dokey doggie daddy, yummy yummy sugar mummy, okey dokey doggie daddy, yummy yummy sugar mummy”—you do see how Traci Lords was switching it up? Wait, did I mention that Traci Lords WINS AN OSCAR in that song? Worth listening for that moment alone. “I rarely transgress in a dream; I dream of the guilt that follows transgression.” Elisa Gabbert, The Self Unstable. “If information has replaced the story, what will replace information?” Speaking of information, when Gabbert chooses “the data” instead of experience, I do feel unstable.

If you’re going to tell me something, we should plan this together. Cooking tip: it’s true that rotten food is better when cooked, but whenever possible it’s better not to cook with rotten food. Somewhere between maybe and no way is a hard place to make a decision, I mean other than the obvious. So I’ve never figured out how to eat without thinking about something else. I try to focus on chewing and taste and texture but that only lasts for a few seconds and then I’m somewhere else. I know this is trauma, and I don’t know how to unlearn it.

“What is the use of a violent kind of delightfulness if there is no pleasure in not getting tired of it.” Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons

This headline is clearly too good for words: “White House Issues New Guidelines on Sexual Assault.” Today’s cooking tip: always use high-quality sturdy pots—that way, if you leave something on for an extra 12 hours, you will burn your food, but not the house. “He wasn’t an android, he was my dad. But I thought he was a fucking android.” That’s the song I’m listening to now, David Holmes.

This guy in the elevator at the medical building says I like the way you let your cuffs hang long—I would be dressed nice too, but I just had a vasectomy. Oh, wait—was I supposed to be doing something today? This survey tells me I can make a difference. If I fill out this survey twice, will I make more of a difference? What is the difference between making a difference, and faking a difference? Faking inference is the new making, which is called making so often that making may now mean faking.

Meanwhile, I just lost all my energy. If that was energy. Periodic reminder that the only way to end sexual violence in the military is to end the military. As they start building the fifth story of the building across the street, I’m thinking about the woman who told me it would be four stories, because of the picture at the construction site. I think she bought a condo across the street on the fifth floor, she was worried about her view and there it goes, say goodbye if you’re in there. I might as well admit that I met her in the elevator of that building, I wanted to see what it looks like. It looks pretty good. I wouldn’t mind her view.

What rhymes with indifference? Oh, advertising. I was going to go on a walk to be out in the sun, but now it’s not sunny so I think I’ll make a doctor’s appointment. Now that the construction across the street stopped for a moment, I can hear this wonderful hold music.

Okay, I did that—now I will try to do something else on my list. Wait, now the construction is too loud to talk on the phone, what’s next? Oh, no—the author I was just going to read posted scary gay marriage propaganda, now I better choose a different book. “It is so rudimentary to be analyzed and see a fine substance strangely.” Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons

I will always have an appreciation for graffiti on the window of some posh restaurant that reads SMASH THIS. I find it fascinating that, in conversations about a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, there is debate about whether a “small” business is one with less than 500 or less than 250 employees. Meanwhile, where is that picture of someone’s elbow and a huge camera with the headline Cleaning Up After.

When someone asks about my headache, I wonder: which one? I can’t decide whether it’s a good thing when I fall asleep on the stretching mat. Wait, am I awake now? It’s hard to tell. There’s a nice breeze outside.

I guess if I succeed at turning the computer off, that means I’m awake. Whoever created that phrase about leaving something on the back burner must not have been using the stove. But what is the difference between desire and helplessness? Trying to decide between helplessness and hopelessness. Trying to decide between desire and hopelessness. And why do they make fake plants that look half-dead? I have so many ups and downs on the internet every day, it’s almost like real life. You know you must be a child of the ‘80s when you’re trying to remember the brand name of the electric toothbrush and you think it might be Soloflex.