[super raw]



“you’re a bit young for this,

 don’t you think?”

 she asked,

 gently placing the needle

 in my vein


She asked this like a mother

looking at a daughter in high

heels, awkward, the right

shoe size but

the wrong body


I simply blinked, staring at the tiles

 overhead and said, “Yes”

 the test tubes filled with blood

 right size, wrong body I thought –


It was my third needle

of the day and I had

begun to question if

this was my new routine –


like diabetics, drawing blood

daily, testing,

one, two, three –

like the fabled young cancer

patients, spending their youths

in sterilized white rooms


A week ago I had been

dancing, drinking, mapping out

a clear path, a delicious love


now I lay white, wasted,

a cush-pin for syringes and



I grew up in the breast cancer

capital of the western world –

at Sweet 16s most girls were

dedicating candles to survivor

mothers, aunts, cousins –

we accepted that it had come,

we accepted that it would come for us

but after

the degree, the wedding, the children,

the cruises, the photos with Micky –

after, when there seemed to be

time for it.


We secretly believed though

by that time – Our time,

there would be a cure;

a pill we could pop

just like our Prozacs,

a pill that would save

our womanhood.


So when it came to be

my time, I was ready,  

in a way – open-mouthed,

awaiting the cure in a

small white form or

perhaps it would be

multiple, it did not matter,

what mattered was it

worked –


it would work –

it tried to work –

I tried to work.


There was no answer.

No single pill. Not even

a simple round of tests,

what they prescribed would

ease the symptoms but

not cure the condition.


Meeting my stare, the nurse

told me, “Don’t worry,

you’ve got your whole life

to figure it out”.  


(no subject)


Next to Godliness

In school, we learned

about the saints –

the eight year old girls

whispering about their white

dresses in line for the practice

wafer, were each given a placard

of St Agnes, patron of children


(You see, you only become

 a patron saint, never a patroness.


And so Agnes, aged twelve, was

the patron of children)


Her picture on the plastic card

showed her with a lamb,

her gentle light of purity

encircling them both,

patiently smiling at you.


It was her picture in the

Children’s Lives of Saints

that defined sainthood for me:


tied to a tree, arms back,

her young, proud chest forward,

hair tossed amiably to the side,

an arrow in her heart –

Agnes was experiencing a

most diving torture,

her white gown stained with

her own blood.


According to the holy legends,

according to the passed down facts,

it took the pagan huntsmen

three different arrows,

repeatedly stabbing her

to kill the patron of children.  



Years later, preparing for


we learned that twelve years

old wasn’t so young – in fact,

it was the beginning of adulthood;


Agnes was passed out again, a

the ideal young woman

pierced several times with no

complaints for her choice

 to be a bride Christ –

dressed in white and bleeding for him.


The legends weren’t lies,

but prophecy, warnings of

what was to come for each of us,

lined up in white.



21st Century Myth

21st Century Myth


I wake and find myself

    an hour later, picking

    pancake batter off my fingers

    and scrambling for the last one,

    reading arts reviews, sipping

   coffee on a day ordained

     super sunday in my country,

    where again, I am

    where still, I am though

   this dream seems to have

   mixed and mangled with

   another, I seem to be

   awakening from one into another;


Not without some travel burn, some

   lose of skin, best symbolized by

 the batter peeling off my hands,

 shedding itself unto my keyboard -

 Ovid’s 21st century myth,

   the pancake goddess -- what does

   she awaken into?



Years and weeks ago,

   I had wondered another city,

   nearly my home; realizing

   I had lost my first life

   and wondered what would

   become of the girl I was --

   the blazer I had been wearing

   daily for some time had been taken

   off in some fit of passionate nothingness

   in the back of a cab and in the morning,

   it was gone, my bags had been packed

   for me, and I watched a girl who resembled

   me, lying in bed, the passion escaping her

   eyes, suffocated under sheets and

 I left,

   raw skinned, newly birthed. 

Funny, I found this as Belle and Sebastian's "Dress Up in You" came on ...
"If I had a second skin, I'd grow into you"

Breaking the Ice

leaving the city
i felt an old
familiar silence -
though i was hungry,
i did not want,
though i was lonely,
i did not crave -
drinking in the changing
landscape from brick
red to evergreens,
altitude climbing,
air shifting, ears popping -
change, it seemed, was enough.

it came back to me,
comfortabley, like an
old friend returning a
nickname from years
past -
the commanding silence
of mountains.

and though miles davis played,
my lover snored in the passenger seat,
and the brakes, rusty with city winter,
squeaked along curves,
the silence persisted,
just as the roadside buds
did through a spring snow.

peace, the mountains whispered,
i am still wild.



today is my first real teaching day. i am going to ps 54, a 50 or so minute commute from my house via two buses. praying i don't get lost in eastern queens. i am going to plan a residency teaching yoga to second graders. the program, LeAp, uses teaching artists and arts classes to teach academics. i'm not quite sure what yoga connects to in the second grade curriculum, but today i find out.

there is a lot of paperwork to do and i'm (finally) getting fingerprinted at the dept of ed. i think this is the only way i could teach anything not at the college level.

however, it dawned on me how much i may love this. and i am contemplating going back to hunter and sorting through my mess by going for a cerfitcation in dance ed. i have the dance stuff done, just a couple of methods classes, stats, and the education classes are available on weekends and nights. so it might happen.

if i can get over my hate for the system.

Finding Home

Recently I have found myself wandering the halls of nostalgia - not yearning, simply observing. From finding a (really, lovely) bracelet from Ian to getting an email from a junior high classmate, I am seeing my simple evolution. Or rather, all the ways I have lived. And lately I have been recognizing the part of me that works towards a home and is enjoying having a house in Queens. In retrospect of the halls, it seems funny (ironic and haha alike) and all too fitting that at such a tender age (the constant theme of my life it would seem) I would be in such a place. But so it is, and I acknowledge that I chose this path, which led a mile off the LIE. I am now trying to adjust to working from home, dealing with Bret's hectic schedule as spring nears, and making this house more of my home, as well as Brets. Small steps such as setting up an office for Bret so that I can move my dresser in to the bedroom, planning an herb garden for the spring, and candles in wine bottles help. So does entertaining guests. So, come by for dinner.

I would like to have my literary dinner party some time soon. Using Kafka's Soup and Hemingway and Bailey's Bartending Guide as menu plans. And I would like everyone to bring books to swap, and I would like to have someone play our piano.  If I could convince people to brave eastern Queens, I do believe it would a grand time.

Speaking of Hemingway, I have been plowing through The Nick Adams Stories - published by Scribner, put together by Philip Young. I seriously question the order of some of the stories, as I find "The Last Good Country" to be preceding "Light of the World" "The Killers" and "The Battler". Having "...Good Country" follow them makes Nick at least 18 on that suggestively incestuous camping trip, which leads to serious questions about Littless, as well as Nick. The story was published after Hemingway's death and is probably unfinished, so who knows if it is really supposed to be the same Nick Adams. No matter what age you put Nick at, its a twisted piece and it contains every reason I love Hemingway. Yes, there you have it, I admitted it. I love Hemingway. Oh how the early feminists cringe, but really, I don't believe that macho bit one bit. And because I have come-of-age in the post-post-modern age (or so I'm told), I think I am granted some leeway for this love of Papa.

What has been really astonishing is reading this stories right after reading My Antonia. It is even possible that my love for this work is clouding my reading of Nick Adams a bit. What I have in both though is a wonderful sense of a young America, a changing America. No doubt because of the state of the states right now I am connecting to these works in a very special way. Jim's America changes and grows as he does - as of course, does his relationship to Antonia. The characters are so beautifully developed, without being over sentimentalized - which one may expect from the narrators' introduction and even some of Jim's personal reflections. This work had me reunderstanding the great America concept - I think it actually endeared my country to me.

And then to read of Nick, some years later, camping and fishing and loving the forests (okay, and his sister, but that is besides the point - nay, perhaps she is the natural America Hemingway held such a love for as a boy. Oh I smell a thesis in the making ... ) -- it really brought home this idea of, well, my home. Not Queens, not New York. Certainly though there is this concept of young America, full of wild land and the people who loved it. Loved her (America) for it. Land of possibilities, all of that. That is not to take away the terrible history regarding the acquisition of these lands - but both Hemingway and Cather deal with aboriginals in one way or another and do not carry the message of white supremacy. Rather, both seem to see the land as something to be shared.

While its beautiful to fall in love with that,  it involves a hard recognition that it is a past place. I wonder, if its possible to go back to that love while moving forward?

So I sat down on the couch next to America
There were holes in her veins but she was pretty just the same
And she laughed in a strange, innocent way
And said, "Let the soundbites rush over you, you won't feel the pain
See that man by the door, his name is Sam
I am only his whore is what I am
And he will dive for my pearls till I am dry
See, the American mind needs its antidepressants
And it's evil villains and heroes and wars
But I am just a simple girl
But I once had a garden, I once was wild
But he poisoned it, bit by bit
Left me to fend like a motherless child

[Antje Duvekot, "Milk and Trash"]

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Steele-ing Back the Party

I go through phases with politics like other women go through with male celebrities. Some people have TomKat and BradGelina, I have the leaders of the House and parties. Well, okay, I'm not fanatical, but it is something of a gross hobby. What's the opposite of escapism? That's what it is. Indulgence. 

Important note of philosophy: I think conservatism is important. I think fear of a large and active government is airing on the side of realism. I don't believe in theocracy or the government telling me what I can and cannot do with my body - this means I do not support the "pro-life" agenda. It also means I don't support universal healthcare. Think about it. 

Back to indulgence: Someone thought it would be a good joke to put a conservative with a brain as the new face of the Republican Party. Michael Steele is a wonderful choice to help the Republicans revamp their style a little, so as to assure survival in the opinions of the populace. Unfortunately for Steele, every fat Christian white man this side of the Atlantic is jealous and can't seem to keep their mouths shut. Steele has had to explain and come close to denying statements because people like Bill O'Reilly are under the impression that their political stands and ways of communicating -  namely, speaking loudly  and flapping about their arms excitedly while telling everyone else they're wrong - are right and Mr Steele, a man who favors public speaking in a calm and collected tone, is wrong.

This: is what has interested me most lately. 

I know as a believer in human rights I'm supposed to hate the Republicans etc etc but here's the thing, that's just as bad as Republicans hating on Democrats because Dems want communism. Both are mostly wrong. Yeah, mostly. Don't kid yourself.

Here's the thing about Steele and those choice comments. That's what it IS about. Always and forever this country is about choices - educated ones, we hope. And the Republicans would do well to overfeed Rush Limbaugh into a heart attack and let Steele reshape the perception of the party. Let go of Jesus and abortionless Mary and get to work on what matters. Like not nationalizing our banks. Like bringing fiscal conservativism back in style because the other option is going to make Orwell seem tame.

Where's Ron Paul when you need him?

  • Current Mood
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Dendur II

years later i returned
having lost my way again,
this time by spinning
in circles, staying in
one place for too long.

there were no talks
of engagements or any
other jubilees i would not
be partaking in, just
the light buzz of dusty
track lighting and the
duller murmurs of tourists
in March.

outside the great windows
the world was struggling
to renew itself neatly.
an impossible task. wall
street indexes plummeted,
unemployment rose, the numbers
were all very bad -

but inside, in the hold
of Egyptian ratios
perfected for worship
of extinct gods, for the
easying of ancient

retired women, art students
in black barrets, men in
cowboy hats and babbling
toddlers gathered, with me
for a moment outside
ourselves, our world,
inside dendur.
that might be two poems.

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Fictionous or How I Came to Love the Establishment

Before the dawning of the age of Barack Obama, I used to try to humanize the president of the United States. Coming of political age under Dubbya was an interesting experience, one full of apathetic whining and secretly hoping that Ralph Nader and Ron Paul would form the ultimate coalition. Don't try to tell me you didn't think of the possibility of a political platform based on demolishing the central government's agnecies and seatbelts .... In order to cope with the political ridiculousness that was the time, rivaled I think only by Nixon and Andrew Jackson actually convincing people that aboriginals had stolen the white man's land, I began to picture the presidents and their family as people. Not just Bush and Laura, but Clinton, and members of the administration - Coni Rice and later Paulson. Never Cheney though. Robots of Hate don't have lives, simply objectives.

I would be watching our actually-elected-this-time President Bush giving a speech about terrorists, but really I'd be seeing Bush in jeans and a polo, sitting at a dive bar, knocking back a shot of Jack. Or sitting at a dinner table, and laughing, like a man with a family might at a comfortable,  normal dinner. He loves his kids. He's that dad on the block (or you know, in the country club) who's a little dumber than everyone else, but all the more likable for it. Oh, that George the other dads in polos say on the course. Always goofing up. But you know, things work out for him, because they always have, always do. This fact is what allows him to never really question anything, and he goes to bed only half curious, just enough to fall asleep at night.

Clinton really just wanted to play sax in a jazz band. He tested well as a kid and was put in advance classes, but chased skirts as he got older. He loves music. He loved Hillary, but didn't know how to say it and wasn't ready to settle down. They did though, as so many couples do and rather than let a good marriage go to waste, he let her take full advantage of whatever was bestowed upon him. It was the least he could he figured and this helped him sleep better at night. The truth is, Clinton doesn't know Serbia from the Czech Republic, but its only because once he heard that there existed a jazz club on the Israeli-Palestinian border where musicians from both sides of the border came to jam*, he figured it didn't matter.

Condoleeza Rice went from a Secretary of Doom to a preppy woman who enjoys tennis. Is she married? I always thought she was too scary - which in my humanizing fantasies became smart - for that kind of thing. I would watch her talking about the threats from far and near and think that you don't get there - not as a black woman - without some absurd brains. I began believing that she spent her all too rare free moments in the Smithsonians of DC, memorizing cultural wonders, which enhanced her love of treaties (she could recite all the world war i and ii treaties from memory, in addition to the camp david accords!).

This made me start to change my view on American politics. And the system. The man. It began to resemble everything else in our lives - the divisions of kids at recess, high school cliques, economic classes, fraternities and college admissions. I began to settle with the notion that American politics happen without me, on the other side of the lunch room. Its legacy, its the country club. Bush probably IS that guy, except he was born into a world beyond just country clubs, he was born into the world of politics. And I'm sure that Condi has proof of being the great-great-great-------grand-daughter of Thomas Jefferson or Jackson or some racist son of a bitch and thus, she was born into this world too. I mean, Othello was a Moore and mingled with the fair Desdemonda, so race isn't the only answer to exlusion. Its class, but not just poor and rich.

So while Ralph Nader is going back and forth between the drama kids table and the punk tables with an Amnesty International petition, and Ron Paul is getting ready for the next big debate, exercising his oratations on the chess club, Dubbya is spewing milk from his nose, on a dare from the football team, who are his champions. Sara Palin is at the next table, with the cheerleaders, thoroughly disgusted but still hoping one of them will ask her to prom.

And so, just as at some point - whether its fourth grade recess games, the high school lunch room, or watching the Dubbyas of the world get scholarships to Yale on account of legacy - you begin to accept the order and even embrace the stereotype that is your own, I began to distance myself from well, America. In true expatriate fashion, I thought of leaving, but realized I didn't know where I would really go. I never was one for the cafeteria, but theres no where else to go for lunch.

Can't say having that rarity of a cute, smart boy win student council makes me feel better either. After all, he had to get the milk-spewers to vote for him.

*such a club does, or did at least exist. A dear friend of my grandmother had settled in Israel some thirty years ago and brought his jazz with him. He helped found a center near the border which was open to all musicians. The philosophy/theory/belief was it didn't matter where you came from if you loved music and jamming was the best way to bring people together. He died about three or so years ago.
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