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Archive for January, 2010

This is everything I look for in a music video, from the era in which I was raised to the gender bending I crave! from the get-the-message-out placards to the narratively necessary male crotch shots. And O! for unstructured dresses, her voice at 1:31, music from my childhood, lyrics I know, 1989 video quality so clear, abandoned boxcars in bad neighborhoods bespeaking the abandoned dreams in our hearts! Alas, for graveyard gambols like the ones in Now and Then; alack, an audience in raptures like the audience in raptures in my fantasies; alay, anger and elation in equal measure.

But enough poeticizing. Let us auspicate more proselike stylings…

I sort of have a bandleader jacket like Amy’s. I feel I can call her by her first name because we grew up together. At camp. When she was being sung by the older girls in the lodge during mealtimes. And I didn’t know they were singing a song by the Indigo Girls. I just thought it was another camp song like Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog and Put Your Foot On the Loud, Loud, Bang, Bang Pedal. How was I to know? I was young. It was 1996. I listened to Enya and KDWB. How was I to know? How far I would fall?

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And breaking me up, and drifting my continents all over the earth


The little I know about plate tectonics has always made me terribly sad. And can’t you see why? Solely from this lonely, dark hued graphic? Wholeness disintegrates, intimacy crumbles, the east coast of South America is obviously supposed to be cosmically kissing the west coast of Africa, as seen from space,  forever. When I visited Mount St Helens, I became pretty mystically obsessed with the eruption (blame plate tectonics! and by extension, the world we live in), manifested mostly in memorizing the date and time of the eruption (May 18, 1980; 8:32 am) and buying lots of before-and-after picture books. Something about a stately, pretty pastel reposed mountain erupting with a “force comparable to that of a hydrogen bomb” and forevermore existing without a snowy peak but a crater, pluming ash all the way to Idaho and Alberta made me think less that it was an active volcano in the Pacific Rim of Fire and more that it was terribly sad.

I guess I just started thinking about this again with the apparent two tectonic plates upon which Port-au-Prince sits (Caribbean Plate and Gonave Microplate), grinding and smoldering for hundreds of years before exploding. I know my interest is obviously drawn of my pesky reflexive humanness, and my species’ ability to anthropomorphize (Alright, I like what they said in the Community pilot: “People can connect with anything. We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, and we can give Ben Affleck an Academy Award for screenwriting.”).

Clearly I can connect with a mountain and plates, and I don’t want to be broken apart! I don’t want to explode or be reduced in size from 9,677 to 8,365 feet! I’ve just had a nightmarish interconnected Haiti-and-Helen fantasy of metaphorical personhood and I’m going to share it: A mountain like a person, seethes for centuries, explodes lava and steam, pumping ash and magma for miles, collapsing Presidential palaces, cathedrals and shacks in a dust bowl of rubble and blood and swamps and oil but then time imperceptibly passes and screams die, motion stops and silence stultifies everything in a frozen dreamscape-within-a-dreamscape of white noise and darkness, nauseous loss, all in darkness, soundless and then drifting like a continent for millennia, soundless and forgetful. Till one day you wake up coughing, with a headache, sad over visuals of Pangaea breaking up and sleepily remember that you too were once a supercontinent and a mountain and a luckless Caribbean country and the long-repressed retrospective sadness builds, the indignation over former connectedness (mother and child, fetus and womb, in utero idyll), now irreparably topographically, geologically, temporally separated by oceans and the state of being born and the necessity of growing up and not having prospects; you think, man, wouldn’t it be easier to be a mountain…

But o! the east coast of South America can never be reunited with the west coast of Africa, ancestrally marine rocks sit thousands of meters above sea level in the Alps and everything drifts, breaks and explodes. Acceptance, sadness, resignation, reality (I am not a volcano, I am a writer of WordPress posts (or, I am no longer a perfectly symmetrical volcano for my tip has become the massive Crater Glacier, sunken and concave as a fallen souffle, but still I soldier on, full of icefall and contested in name by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names)).

I seriously cannot stick with one linear thought. Someone please elect yourself to be my editor. I’ll pay… in words.

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Womanhood, in a dozen free associated phrases or less: lipstick, sports bras, skin tone underwear, wilfulness, not daintiness, porcelain, pathos, pelvic thrusts, clitoridectomies, humiliation, limitation, a Hasid who becomes a matador. Sarah and I are starting a movement. A womanly movement.

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It’s hard to keep a simple narrative linear and cohesive, right? No? That’s just me? Here’s what I wish I could do:

“Since Paul had led his parents to believe that school lunches cost a dollar, though the actual cost was only seventy-five cents, Paul gave Maundy the profit. In order to avoid being beaten up. So Maundy waited for him every day, making jokes like Hey, Paulie, we’ve got to stop meeting like this! HA! HA! HA! HA! Then Maundy moved into the academic arena with Paul. Coming down the long hallway that ran along the gym, he would break free from his platoon of handlers and harass Hood over by the water fountain. Pass your test over to me during math. Just do it. Maundy always smiled during these demands, as though he were engaged in an act of philanthropy. Paul wished, as in after-school specials, that he had lived to see Maundy brought low, or that he would learn of some terrible tragedy in the Maundy family–his father’s cancer, his mother alcoholism–that would explain their son, the thug. But Paul never told anyone about the situation. He never turned Maundy in. He just took it. Wendy also lived with the responsibility of isolation in public school. He had seen public school kids turn away rather than talk to her; he had heard her called whore and freak by the children of judges and social workers. In the dark, under his tweed jacket, Paul got stuck, all over again, on his parents and their chemistry. What kinds of genes gave him a life like this?”

But If I Had Blood Pressure….

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