Monthly Archives: July 2008

Red sharp and shiny

Leaning on old elbows at Chinese lunch, tired of both the company and the food, he made a half-hearted decision not to do this again.  He was not a fan of dim sum, but he did like Chinese food generally (his mind he had a faraway definition of Chinese food—think orange chicken).  There was something essential about dim sum that turned the food lackluster.  Eating at the whim of others—what they wanted to eat, what they decided you’d eat, this lack of choice and control from older women yelling and nudging into dining space.

He’d always thought at the table, hands pretending to be busy with tea or twisting napkins, while others were happily clacking their chopsticks together and on tin bowls, I motherfucking hate dim sum.

In a move not unlike him, he went back on his promise to himself, going to lunch with a Chinese girl, and in an effort to impress her and to make her happy and to get into her high-waisted skirt, he told her he’d take her out to eat wherever she wanted, and he just said it, threw it out there and didn’t think much of it, but her eyes lit up.  She used to go to Dim Sum every Sunday morning with her family, she said.  And since she moved to California she hasn’t, not because she hasn’t been dying to, but because she hadn’t anyone to go with, and wasn’t she so excited she now had someone to go with?

And so he said yes, because he liked this girl so far and because she looked pretty and bright, wearing red lips and shoes, and he knew he would hate the feeling of disappointing—not like he wasn’t used to it—but if he could, he would resist it.  And because, she now had him.

They met at a coffee shop, she looking sharp red lips and shoes and smiles, and they walked to the dim sum restaurant, and he knew he felt disgruntled and unsatisfied at the start.

Months prior at a popular karaoke bar, he had the same dissatisfaction when a black man turned to him and told him how pretty his friend was, and told her that she loved to travel (as if she didn’t know), and that he was a psychic who had his own radio show and inferred his answers through date of birth, only.  Then the psychic turned towards him. “You think too much, and this will fuck you up,” and he laughed.  Not because he didn’t believe it, but because it was that obvious.  That’s not psychic power, that’s intuition, he thought.


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On a good day I read to one child.  The neighborhood doesn’t have that many kids on account of being in downtown, but a couple do come in on Saturdays.  Most kids go to the library not to read, but to– play computer games.  So I try to walk up to kids, tell them that if they want, I can read a book to them or they can read a book to me, if they want.  They just look at me and every once in a while, will turn their head around and peek a glance at me, and smile, a wholehearted innocent meaningful smile that gets corrupted and lost with age.

One boy, a six-year old Judo expert, asked me to read a book about the earth.  He would ask, very often, questions like, “What is that part of the rocket?”  “Where is Antartica?”  “Do Jaguars eat other Jaguars?”

Then, two twin girls came:  four years old with black hair, long enough to sit on.  I let the three sit together, and we looked for Waldo.

“I found him!”  they yelled.  The boy, very frustrated and being a bit bossy while still being as polite as he could, said, “Can you guys move your arms up?  I know I can find him.”

Girls aren’t paying attention.  Arms splattered on the book and giggles.

Then he says, after terse silence: “My dad told me not to do Judo on nice people.”

“No, dear, let’s not do that,” I said.

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I killed my six-year old blog last night.  Six years!  During the process I felt quite traumatized, and then afterwards, I was completely over it.

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To intermittent wishes of hermit life.

Michael, a self-taught butterfly collector, had stripes of dew on the sides of dirty khakis from running between two pines while trying to catch a rare white butterfly.  He retired at age 24, from an illustrious accounting career.  One day, while crunching numbers and thinking about coffee, a nice fresh bitter cup with powdered cream– he came to the realization that coffee– goddamned coffee– was the highlight of his day, so he left the office in March, prime-tax season, and never came back.  His clients’ taxes didn’t get filed that year and neither did his.  He moved into the mountains, in a small house with a red door on the side of a lonely twisted road with no neighbors, and he liked it that way.

He stopped paying taxes, not because he was rebellious or an anarchist, but because he believed in paying for what you use and being accountable, and he wasn’t utilizing roads or infrastructure or plumbing or electricity.  And he was not sending kids to schools.  He did not go past 8th grade himself.  He did not have any children, but that is not to say he never had the opportunity.

He did not receive any mail and he did not send mail.  He only ate food he grew, so he was not subject to any regulatory practices.  And that is why he did not pay taxes.

He was in love with the monarch butterfly at the pupa stage, well before it turned into its final beauty and full potential.  He liked it when no one else cared, when it was still ugly and useless for anyone’s enjoyment.  You understand.

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You never start out being an alcoholic, I told you once.  Not one of those wild-haired wild-eyed women that have turned the robe as the official alcoholic’s uniform.  It’s a drink at a time, that one nightcap swirling in a glass over the day’s reflection.  Then it turns into two, maybe one more after that– and the next thing, you’re enjoying a couple bottles of red– by yourself, while watching the unraveling of the love lives of some fictional characters you are unquestionably heavily invested in and devoted to, while ignoring the absence of your own.

You didn’t start out looking like an alcoholic.  Eyeliner mascara smoothy shiny hair– that so-perfected bedroom hair.  Now it’s bedroom hair.  You smelled like Grey Goose, red lipstick, cigarette smoke and a lonely ballad but it least it was something.

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To those who say words don’t mean much but actions do– would they like to be evacuated?

Learned something from watching television today– granted, HBO ‘isn’t just tv’, but ‘The Wire’ is an extensive course in the definition of a city, and more than that, jurisdictional issues, grant issues between local and state governments– the intergovernmental relationship.  So really, I’m learning something.  Theory put into art into practice into theory.

Although what I was referring to earlier is not anything government-related.  Word related.  Choice of diction and usage.  A reporter writes in a column, “Sixty-five people evacuated.”  The editor tells her that people do not evacuate and that if they are, it’s through the use of an enema.

The reporter goes back to her desk, and refers to a dictionary and says, astonished, “he’s right.”

So if people are evacuated:  that means their insides are being emptied

What you mean to say is:  the building was evacuated, not the people.

Watch which word is modifying what!


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Been Busy.

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