Goodnight friendship.

•October 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

“Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously.”

-Singing in the Rain

Suppose you and I went out on a walk one cool April night. Suppose it was on a dark night that we decided to circle around the entire residential side of campus and run into spiders, dancing college students, and beavers.

Suppose along the way you asked me, “Suppose your boyfriend, your best friend, and me, we all suddenly called you up because we each had a problem. Who would you go to help first?”

After questioning you regarding the magnitude of those problems, in complete honesty, suppose I said “You.

Suppose you were very taken aback by this and asked me why. Suppose you wondered how little the other friends meant to me that I would put you first. Suppose you considered yourself relatively insignificant in comparison to the other two and were thus surprised by my answer.

I don’t suppose you remember that at all now, do you?

What do you suppose that it means when I say no, you are not insignificant compared to them? That someone who was first much closer to me does not deserve to be put last in my thoughts?

Do you suppose I was around you for any reason other than because I genuinely enjoyed your company? Do I ask you for anything—food, homework, advice—without offering it in kind? Do I ask you for anything and simply leave you once I have received it?

Did I ever lead you to physical or emotional pain or discomfort due to complete disregard for your feelings? Did you ever come to unequivocal harm under my hand?

You were first the most open, affable, strange, and charming person I had met here. Through you I met many, many other friends that I enjoy being around, but none so much as yourself.

I remember listening to you play Chopin at the piano, the time we stayed up all night and spent the early morning flinging cards all over the hallway, the Sunday breakfast with fried mantou, looking out of the clocktower, missing the bus after a long dinner, hot chocolate at midnight,  so many nighttime walks, the escapade through FAO Schwartz, missing the subway, wandering through the gallery of modern art, Central Park, trying on clothes at J Crew, eating a flaming ice cream, the bouquet of red and yellow ribbon roses on my desk, the Dickson laundry room social disaster, skipping class to explore the gorge behind Upson, running all the way to Balch Arch to hear my disastrous news and give me a place to cry, and the fact that you took almost an hour to bring me a cup of tea when I only mentioned that I had a sore throat. Yes, I still remember that, even if you don’t.

Maybe the time has passed for those things. Maybe they should just remain in my mind, in the past, as all good memories ought. Maybe we did end up growing apart.

I hope you don’t read this, because you shouldn’t need a second wake-up call. So I am putting this friendship to rest with a peaceful countenance. Good night.

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Omphaloskepsis/Etre

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I
Sleeping face, I came to you in a dream,
in the form of words, in the shape
of waves crashing through the windows.

The sand remains undisturbed, a pyramid
behind your placid brow where we lie
and make a knot like Gordias’.

II
What eyes do I gaze into unblinking lights
deliberate and inconsolable to be
deceit to be penitence to be

To be comprehensible to be unsure to be
Fibonacci numbers to be
square roots on ink and paper lines.

III
Yes, there is something it is like to be
me without you to be nerve endings
and clock hands tracing into the small of your back

So between believing without knowing
and knowing without believing
I choose the latter, I am sure will come around.

In Death

•September 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

they say—in death—all questions are answered
so I lay prostrate beside you
on the pavement, on the side of the road,
with long weeds tending over our heads.

they say—grace—it is a virtue
and here I find grace in the curve
of your silent tail, in the solemness of the bent grass.

they say—smoking—it kills, but
the two of us are long gone
yourself on the outside, myself on this road.
my stiff fingers roll the paper loose,
your whiskers peeking through the ends,
sniffing, ever curious, ever questioning.

they say—nine lives—are what you had
but I have lived nine times over
felt nine times more
shed nine times the tears
over the proof of your existence.

they say—He giveth—and He taketh away
and I give you a light, to be polite.
up curls the smoky whiteness and you
are warmed.

I take in your life—
yes, me, on the roadside,
with a cigarette and a burning cat.

Carving the Roast Beast! (an experiment)

•August 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

First off, no labia jokes. : P

So, if you have not already heard about yesterday’s culinary exploits, the Great Blevin and I decided to hit up a few sandwich chains and do a qualitative taste test to determine which place had the best sandwiches.

This all began as a conversation last week where Blevin proclaimed “Jimmy John’s is the sub of the gods. Subway is Jimmy John’s little bitch,” along with “Quiznos is okay… but I think it’s overrated by people who shun ‘mainstream’ Subway to try to be cool.”

When I mentioned how much I liked Quizno’s “awesome and spicy” smell, he agreed that Quizno’s was better than Subway, but that Jimmy John’s was “far superior to both.”

Instead of arguing it out, we agreed to go around to all of these places, order, and taste test the same kind of sandwich: roast beef on white, with provolone, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Simple, right?

All three chains had a store located downtown, so the Great Blevin and I met up at Subway at 7PM. The first sandwich went off without a hitch, except that Blevin ordered American cheese instead of provolone while I was staring off into space. Sandwich shop cheeses don’t really do anything to taste but add some salt, so it probably didn’t matter.

The Quizno’s was closed for renovations, so we went to JJ’s. Service there was incredibly fast; we spent no more than five minutes inside the shop. With two out of three sandwiches in tow, we drove down East Broadway to a complex housing another Quizno’s. I was griping about how it would also be closed when we got there—surprise, surprise. Closed for renovation.

But nearby, there was a Roly Poly, which did carry roast beef. I’d never had Roly Poly before, so we got one from them too. Only right before it was done, did I realize that ‘rolled sandwiches’ means ‘wraps.’ Fuck wraps.

We got back in the car and drove all the way back up Broadway to a third Quizno’s (open!) then back down to Lakota Coffee. There was a really cute girl at the counter! : )

We found a table and unwrapped them all:

RES01888from left to right: Roly Poly, Subway, Jimmy John’s, Quizno’s

Yeah… while we weren’t paying attention, Quizno’s toasted the sub. Was that unfair? We’ll see.

I’m not going to factor in the cost—we spent about the same amount (5-7) at each place, so it’s not too important.

Touch/Sight Test:

Roly Poly – Again, it turned out to be a wrap, not a sandwich. Cold flour tortilla wrapped around two skimpy slices of roast beef. We looked at it rather disdainfully. Its only selling point was the lovely, deep green color of the lettuce.

Subway – This was the first one we ordered, plus there was probably too much mayo. As a result, the ends of the bread were getting a little soggy. Decent amount of beef though.

Jimmy John’s – Bread was very smooth-looking, but kind of hard. I tapped it with a fingernail and it sounded quite solid. Too much lettuce, in comparison to meat.

Quizno’s – Again, it had been toasted without permission. It looked pretty normal, except for the roast beef, which had specks of herbs on it.

Smell Test:

Roly Poly smelled awful, the reason why I refused to ever eat flour tortillas as a kid. Subway and Jimmy John’s smelled the same/normal, and Quizno’s had a really nice spicy smell.

Listening Test:

Ha.

ROT02898Note-taking skills. Pen borrowed from cute barista.

First Bite Taste Test:

Roly Poly – “Uck, tortilla.” Bland, not very good, since there was barely any filling.

Subway – Bread is soft, otherwise not much to say. Average.

Jimmy John’s – Biting into it was a battle. Bread was a little too chewy. Roast beef was good, but covered up by too much lettuce and mayo.

Quizno’s – Roast beef was slightly peppery. Bread has sesame seeds.

ROT02890

Next Five Bites Taste Test:

Roly Poly – Would actually be a really good sandwich if there was bread involved.

Subway – Still average.

Jimmy John’s – Eating it is pretty interesting. My jaw is getting a little workout.

Quizno’s – Kicking ass.

RES01896

“I don’t get it,” Blevin says, squinting into one of the sandwiches. “Jimmy John’s is letting me down today.”

“Could just be the roast beef sandwich,” I suggest.

“Could be.”

“So I win this round?”

“…Yeah.”

Final Standing:

1. Quizno’s

2. Subway

3. Jimmy John’s

4. Roly Poly

I took the leftovers with me for the next day’s lunch. “Maybe we’ll do non-chain shops around town. Or just a different type of sandwich.”

“Yeah, maybe turkey or something,” said the Great Blevin.

As we parted ways, the moon hung up in the sky like a dollop of forgotten mayonnaise.

Regression, or House Number One

•August 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

wide skies, red dirt, open prairie story
a little house with a clear well held our attention

what is it about dry heat and dried grass?
a red rock sunset by the grand canyon cannot compare

a jujube tree, sour green and red handfuls
a crystal rock, cut finger, rust-covered windchimes

epiph—epiphany, apoplexy,
a white horse and scattered toys
the spelling of a word
s-c-h-o-o-l
s-h-c-o-o-l

cups spilling over with mud, pine needles, peeling bark
hot black tar from the street

grape juice and a boy on a bicycle
oak trees, honey cookies, a swing set
sidewalk chalk and a pink bucket

a young apple tree and clover chains
ten feet long
crowns, bracelets, and rings
knotted stems

yellow sheepsour, red snapdragons
white radishes stuck deep in the ground

a girl with black patent shoes
a boy with his head cracked open
twice

always wandering, searching for something
a jewel in the grass, a bubble-gum pebble

a library and a pleated dress, roses and buttons
a shaky wooden bridge, afraid to cross it
afraid to fall

peanut butter, pickles, and crayons,
so many crayons
a bathtub and a frosted glass window

a knot around my neck
a pink bow in my hair

dancing to a tchaikovsky suite
pirouette, a grand jete

singing before bedtime about bay windows
sha-la-la-la aliens intergalactic
scribbling over important papers

and driving home at night, seeing all the lights
in the distance fade out over time

when we say “i want to go home,”
“i’m going home,” what makes it so?

how to define a home, how will i know
when i get there?

Panning

•July 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Somewhere on a rocky beach, I lay,
Half in and half out of a morning sea.
The waves push around me like my divine madness,
Calm today like the sky—pale, sweet, and soft.

My arms stretch out, cradling the rising sun,
Fingers closing around young, yellow rays.
My legs stretch out, submerged in the falling tide,
Grey and translucent, the thoughts restless in my brain.

A steady percussion seals this together,
Beating through my being, bearing on the shore.
A song from a memory past steals through my ears,
I understand inflections, if not words themselves.

A cold wind ripples and shivers over my skin.
Bitterly, I bite my sea salt lips,
Hands grasping at pebbles and sand—
A makeshift hourglass to pass the day with.

I’m panning for something not found by the sea,
But should you find me before time runs down,
Before the end of this fleeting music,
Before the higher tide begins, before the sun sets

Tell me what it all means, tell me the words to this song,
Tell me what I’m doing here, lying on this rocky beach,
Calm this madness of mine, sit by and watch the sky,
In nuances, in inflections—pale, sweet, and soft.

On the Catskills

•July 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve never been either, different or the same
Nothing to call growing or changing, only
Swept along from peak to sun-soused peak
Along valleys of solitude, led not by
My hand but impassable Fate.

On the Catskills, it doesn’t take belief
In God or self or mankind
Because Time flows relentless, regardless of Will.

On the Catskills, rain falls and rivers run
Intangibility bursts through the venerable pines.

Shrouded and solemn, on a morning like this—
Shrouded and solemn on a morning like this.