Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Confessional – An Irreverent New Tradition on the Blog :)

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. As a child I used to rush to confession regularly and rattle off my list of juvenile transgressions to my patient priest, who bit his lip to keep from laughing and assured me that my horrid behavior would be forgiven for the price of five Hail Marys and seven Lord's Prayers.  These days I’m no longer a Catholic but periodically feel the need to confess my evil deeds. From now on, this blog functions as a confession booth every Sunday! I will confess my wicked thoughts and actions (mostly tongue-in-cheek) and you should do so as well in the comments. Confess and save your souls!
My misdeeds this week: Impure thoughts
1.       Whenever I see someone bent over with their ass in the air while picking something up, I briefly feel an urge to push them down.  
2.       I’ve had so many naughty dreams about George Clooney that I feel as though I know the guy. At this point, he should have a key to my apartment and keep a toothbrush in my bathroom. Maybe even meet my folks. I think he and my dad would hit it off.
3.       I avoid using the garbage disposal because every time I turn it on I fight an irrational desire to stick my hand inside.
4.       I’m imagining you naked right now.
5.       I think most newborns are hideous. If I ever told you that your baby was cute, I lied.
6.       I have a ginormous crush on Rachel Maddow. I daydream about spending an evening with her, engrossed in passionate discussion about the Middle East peace process over grilled cheese sandwiches and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Could you please pass the ketchup, Rach? I can call you Rach, right?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

100 Words: On an Ugly Day

On an ugly day, my wrinkles and pimples and dimples and scars taunt me mercilessly, like the playground bully who once lifted up my skirt to reveal my day-of-the-week Barbie panties to the entire student body. My intractable tresses resist all efforts to contain their nappy nature, and hairpins fall like wounded soldiers on the field. My skin mirrors the ashen winter sky and my colorless fingernails snap one by one like the icicles that cling futilely to the banister outside. I am at once too fat and too thin, too pale and too dark, too plain and too peculiar.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Funny in a Creepy Sort of Way

A few months ago I wrote a short story called You Can't Swing a Dead Cat. The story was based on an incident that happened when I was a teenager. Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with an old friend who is intimately familiar with the event that inspired my narrative. He shares my dark sense of humor and thought I should repost the story with this picture of a sign he encountered several months ago while driving. If you haven't read the story yet, check it out and you'll understand why this photo makes me laugh! :)

Correction: The friend who sent me this picture informed me that he did not take the photo; it was sent to him via a mass text message. I'm not sure who actually took the picture. Sorry!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

R & J: Roz Chast's txt version - i lmao and u will lol 4 sure

Tonight I scoured the internet for fun texts and activities to incorporate into a Shakespeare unit for twelfth-graders. We are not reading Romeo & Juliet, because (a) most students have already studied it by senior year and (b) it sucks. Seriously.

R & J is by far Shakespeare's most overrated and overstudied play. It always saddens me that for the majority of American students, R & J  –  and at times the similarly hackneyed Macbeth and Hamlet  constitutes the extent of their exposure to Shakespeare. Clueless teachers continue to argue that the "star-crossed lovers" conflict in R & J resonates with hormonal teenagers. I have found that teens actually tend to dislike R & J and that if they must read Shakespeare at all they would rather read those plays that have  more compelling characters than a fickle dude and his ridiculous young wife. Some alternatives: Othello or The Merchant of Venice, both of which concern issues of race relations and religious persectution still prevalent today and contain complex characters. One of these plays could be paired with one of The Bard's nuttier plays, such as Titus Andronicus.

At any rate, during my online hunt for useful teaching ideas and texts, I came across this hilarious interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. It's a modern version of the play by the brilliant Roz Chast of The New Yorker. i lmao when i read it. pls take 2 min & c 4 urself- u will luv it and lol

Romeo and Juliet Text Messages

Act 1

Login: Romeo : R u awake? Want 2 chat?
Juliet: O Rom. Where4 art thou?
Romeo: Outside yr window.
Juliet: Stalker!
Romeo: Had 2 come. feeling jiggy.
Juliet: B careful. My family h8 u.
Romeo: Tell me about it. What about u?
Juliet: 'm up for marriage f u are. Is tht a bit fwd?
Romeo: No. Yes. No. Oh, dsnt mat-r, 2moro @ 9?
Juliet: Luv U xxxx
Romeo: CU then xxxx

Act 2

Friar: Do u?
Juliet: I do
Romeo: I do

Act 3

Juliet: Come bck 2 bed. It's the nightingale not the lark.
Romeo: OK
Juliet: !!! I ws wrong !!!. It's the lark. U gotta go. Or die.
Romeo: Damn. I shouldn't hv wasted Tybalt & gt banished.
Juliet: When CU again?
Romeo: Soon. Promise. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu.
Juliet: Miss u big time.

Act 4

Nurse: Yr mum says u have 2 marry Paris!!
Juliet: No way. Yuk yuk yuk. n-e-way, am mard 2 Rom.

Act 5

Friar: Really? O no. U wl have 2 take potion that makes u look ded.
Juliet: Gr8

Act 6

Romeo: J-why r u not returning my texts?
Romeo: RUOK? Am abroad but phone still works.
Romeo: TEXT ME!
Batty: Bad news. J dead. Sorry l8

Act 7

Romeo: J-wish u wr able 2 read now poisoning & and climbing in yr grave. LUV U Ju xxxx

Act 8

Juliet: R-got yr text! Am alive! Ws faking it! Whr RU? Oh...
Friar: Vry bad situation.
Juliet: Nightmare. LUVU2. Always. Dagger. Ow!!!


By cartoonist Roz Chast, first published in The New Yorker

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Carrion-Eaters

Where are the carrion-eaters,
Merciful heralds
Of a long-awaited sigh?

The Reunion

Last night I dined with Death.
He had the chicken
And I the grilled cheese.
He smiled mercifully
As he passed the ketchup.

We sat face to face
In that liminal place
The hell before hell
And though it was I
Who had died
I wished him well.

I prattled of old jaunts and haunts
He regaled me with a dirge
And I relished our reunion
Among the sometimes-living
Until the end that was my contrivance.

He reached for  the bill
And tipped the pepper mill
And it was hell before hell
To die a new life
And wish him well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Letter to January

Dear January,
Who invited you?
Each year you barge in,
Unsought and imperious,
Cocksure and clad
In elaborate attire
Of sludge and soot.
You interrupt my holiday,
Upset my decadent repose.
Your officious demands
For the dawn of a new era
Of tedious restraint
Congeal the crimson dreams
That lately danced within me.
Your frigid manner
Sticks to my boots
And blanches my step
And if you will not oblige me
With your departure
Then I will take my leave
And return with the purple martins
On a daffodil morning.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Beer and Candy Hearts

Love is not easy listening
Magnet poetry
Or conversation hearts.

Love is the dregs of stale beer
Streams of mascara
Words strewn about the floor.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On Dreams and Duty

Mine is a discreet delusion,
Never showing its face
In daytime public space
With buoyant effusion,
But sifting wanton intention
Through sieve of wary care,
And sending hints of wild invention
Wafting through the prudent air.
Each private death is cloaked
In civil banter, satin smile
Each enchanting hope is choked
By Duty's serpentine wile.
But a few unruly exhalations
Manage to escape the scene
I watch their willful emanation
Into a sky of errant dreams.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It's freezing outside, so I spent the evening cocooned in my apartment, fantasizing about spring. Somehow stream of consciousness led me to thoughts of spring cleaning and trash piles heaped along the curb. The result of my musing is this poem:

On the first of spring
A cast-off scrap of obsolescence
Hapless victim of domestic zeal
Is salvaged from the curbside
Gingerly returned to relevance
By the veteran hands of an antique soul.

Monday, January 3, 2011

In Memoriam

You are text and subtext, my sound and my caesura,
The verdant meadows of adolescent summers,
And the fallow fields of a dreamless winter.
You are sigh and gasp and bated breath and I
Your restless child and somnolent woman.
You keep a home in the curve of my earlobe,
In the scar on my wrist, in the white of my fingernails.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On Writer's Block

After two days of maddening writer's block, I sat down determined to write about writer's block itself. I was inspired by Kid in the Front Row's post about the frustration of what he calls "stuckness." You can read his insightful post here. The eventual result of my contemplation was this poem, which heroically bore a hole through my muddled mind and freed itself of its owner, landing on my blank page.

Word empty and blank full
An imagination interred
 In a sepulcher of white pages
Heavy as marble
And wanting even an epitaph.

This is the tomb of an unknown
Defeated in combat by a shadowy foe
Her language plundered
And her remains shrouded
In disquieting silence.