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Saturday, March 28, 2009

He decides to write some haiku becuase it's supposed to be peaceful and he's supposed to be peaceful. So he writes this:

Ringing in my ears
Stinging in my eyes
Try not to flinch

because fuck them. Because he doesn't give a damn what the fuck he's supposed to be. Except that he does. He's supposed to be successful, and it hurts like hell that he's not. There's honor in fighting the good fight, he hears, in plodding along in stalwart, Victorian good cheer. His is apparently not to make reply, his is but to do or die, but by God, if it's the last fucking thing he does on the face of this materialistic, judgemental, hypocritical, self-serving, hopelessly egotistic planet, he's going to reason the fuck why. Why that superior, pompus, pseudointellectual, hyperbolically anti-fashion, condescending motherfucker gets recognized every goddamned year for having a master's degree in self-importance and a PhD in bullshit and a goddamned smirk on his face in lieu of an original thought while he gets chastized for not lying about what paperwork he's turned in and what paperwork he hasn't, and gets shoved from open job to open job because he simply doesn't have it in him to stand the fuck up and say no. He used to say, see, that he was too kind to stand up, too tolerant, too accomodating, too blah blah blah, but the reality is that he's not capable, and he wonders. He wonders. He wonders if maybe they're all right, that it's the assholes who get rewarded, which is no fucking secret, but that it's the assholes who get rewarded and that they deserve it. He wonders if Somerset Maugham was on to something when he wrote "The Ant and the Grasshopper" and that it's time to man the fuck up. Man the fuck up.

And then.

And then.

And then he prays. He prays that he's fucking wrong, and wishes he didn't need an answer, that his faith was that strong, that he had Faith instead of faith, but what he has is Doubt.

So he waits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Been a While

I have a girlfriend and I'm going to a Kurdish New Year's celebration this weekend. And I have a beard again.

I love having a beard.

My grad school professor liked my idea for my contemporary lyric poetry seminar paper. I plan to discuss Plumly's manipulation of tense and the subjunctive as an effort to subvert the traditional notion of temporality.

I love being a nerd.

I now own two signed McMurtry first editions.

I have a number of students with whom I would be more than pleased to spend extended periods of time in conversation. I can't think of another job which would involve my getting to know such a diverse range of personalities and talents. Some of my students are just stunning people. I can't wait for them to get away from the shithole they've grown up in.

I have stacks of books in my apartment because I don't have enough shelf space for all of them. I like the aesthetic effect.

I have mastered the use of the comma. I am confident enough with the English language that I feel comfortable rebelling against grammatical rules which I find counter-productive.

I am alive.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ay, there's the rub(s)

So here's the thing. I actually really like her. I did not expect to. When I told her to call me if she found herself in need of someone to buy her dinner on Valentine's Day, I was mostly thinking that it would be nice to be a gentleman to a young lady for a night. I in no way expected her to be what she was, which was terrific company. I had no clue that my sister's friend she had introduced me to at the bar the night before, who was smashed and absolutely threw herself at me, would be anything other than a kinda fun but shallow and dingy (and slutty, based on her behavior at the bar) way to spend Valentine's Day. But, lo and behold, she's actually intelligent, nice, much more reasonable without like eight shots in her, a Democrat (what?!), a reader, and a grammar nazi. So what I expected to be a short, diverting evening capped off with some xBox and a glass of wine ended up being an eighteen-hour date. (I did not sleep with her. Literally I did, but not euphamistically.) I actually really like her. It's like Ron Livingston says at the beginning of Swingers: Somehow they know when you're really over it. You can't just act like it. But when you are, it somehow just happens. At no point in the decision-making process which led up to my asking her if she'd like to be asked out did I think about my divorce. Which only occurred to me later. Not that I'm fully over the divorce, but it's no longer in my mind all, or even much of, the time. It's not behind my decisions (as far as I can tell). Which feels really good.
So here's the thing. I did only get divorced in June, though it really ended more like in March or February, which makes me nervous. I feel pretty good, but you never know. And I'm really not ready to go from single guy to full-blown relationship guy. I'm just not. I have space issues, people. And probably trust issues. And probably other ones too. So that makes me a bit uneasy. But then, there always has to be a first time. Or, rather, a first time after the other time.
So here's the thing. She has multiple kids. All by the same father. She's not a Jerry Springer episode. I'm not looking to rush headlong into anything serious, which I told her. But then we had an eighteen-hour date, which didn't exactly drive the point home, and I feel badly about that. And I think she might REALLY like me, which makes me a bit nervous, because I only really like her. There will be no meeting of the kids. I'm not that guy. Right now, I just want to hang out with her, but the kids are looming in the background. Do I have to buy into becoming a father at some point in order to date her? Or is it okay to just date her? Hm.
So here's the thing. My sister hates when her friends date/make out with/hit on/etc. her brother and her ex. She flips out about it. And she's nuts anyway. And when she loses it, she drags my mom down with her. And then I get phone calls from my mom about how she's "not telling me what to do, but..." Which are the most enfuriating phone calls ever. Oh, and I work with my mom. Awesome. So while, as a general rule, I try not to allow my family's dysfunction to dictate my behavior, sometimes it's just not worth it. This one isn't really a so here's the thing, though, because I'd never let my sister's instability ruin things for me. I'm just saying.
So here's the thing: I really like her. People date all the time. Almost every single time they eventually break up. Does that mean you don't date? Do you only date people you see yourself marrying? How do you know if you don't try?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quote of the Day: Life's tough in the aluminum siding business. -Sam Seaborn

Poem of the Day:
Postscript by Seamus Heaney

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A day off, a day off, my kingdom for a day off

Boy, do I feel better. (Except for feeling like crap, thanks to the ducking and weaving of this hybrid alllergy-cold thing that has me trading off between like 6 kinds of medicine in an increasingly futile attempt to find an effective treatment.) I'm finding myself thinking about things -- money, career, dating, identity, etc. -- and realizing that I no longer have the ominous specter of the divorce floating in the background. I didn't really realize how much I was allowing the divorce to define me until I stopped doing it all the time. It's awfully liberating not to have to use it as the starting point for everything. I'm not clear of the whole affair, of course, and won't be for quite some time, but, oh, this is what moving forward feels like.
Also, boy do I feel better drinking less. I didn't really realize how much I was drinking, and how it was affecting me, until I cut back. The whole thing just kind of snuck up on me a bit at a time, a couple after work, a couple after work again, three or four turns into a six-pack on Friday, and so on, until I looked at my recycle bin and had to blink a few times. So no more drinking during the week, and all of a sudden, I'm in a better mood, less tired, more alert, and feeling miles more responsible. An entire trip downtown to see my friend perform and I stop at two beers and get home at a reasonable hour. It's like I cleaned my windshield and realized how dirty the damn thing was and how badly I was driving as a result. So, whew. That's much better.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quote of the Day: The road to hell is paved with adverbs. -- Stephen King
Poem of the Day: Goodbye to the Poetry of Calcium by James Wright
Dark cypresses--
The world is uneasily happy;
It will all be forgotten.
--Theodore Storm

Mother of roots, you have not seeded
The tall ashes of loneliness
For me. Therefore,
Now I go.If I knew the name,
Your name, all trellises of vineyards and old fire
Would quicken to shake terribly my
Earth, mother of spiraling searches, terrible
Fable of calcium, girl. I crept this afternoon
In weeds once more,
Casual, daydreaming you might not strike
Me down. Mother of window sills and journeys,
Hallower of searching hands,
The sight of my blind man makes me want to weep.
Tiller of waves or whatever, woman or man,
Mother of roots or father of diamonds,
Look: I am nothing.
I do not even have ashes to rub into my eyes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Breaking forcefully with Bush anti-terror policies, President Barack Obama ordered major changes Thursday that he said would halt the torture of suspects, close down the Guantanamo detention center, ban secret CIA prisons overseas and fight terrorism 'in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.'"

I. Love. America.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I almost cried today. I was absolutely amazed by the ability of one man, whom I have never met, and never will meet, to inspire me. I worked out harder at the gym. I did an extra twenty minutes of work before going home. I'm going to bed at a decent hour. I want to do better, to be at my best, so that I can meet the challenges set forth by our president. I'd forgotten, after eight years of torpid intellectual languor and myopically self-serving cultural prejudice, what a leader looks like, and to be reminded gives me hope -- a word that has been bandied about for months, tossed around until it became a catch phrase more than an idea, but today it was redeemed and its power to inspire and heal restored. For the first time in years, I want to say, to pronounce, to declare with a voice stentorian that I am an American.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote of the Day: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -- MLK
Poem of the Day: Another Time by W.H. Auden
For us like any other fugitive,
Like the numberless flowers that cannot number
And all the beasts that need not remember,
It is today in which we live.

So many try to say Not Now,
So many have forgotten how
To say I Am, and would be
Lost, if they could, in history.

Bowing, for instance, with such old-world grace
To a proper flag in a proper place,
Muttering like ancients as they stump upstairs
Of Mine and His or Ours and Theirs.

Just as if time were what they used to will
When it was gifted with possession still,
Just as if they were wrong
In no more wishing to belong.

No wonder then so many die of grief,
So many are so lonely as they die;
No one has yet believed or liked a lie,
Another time has other lives to live.
How odd... People actually read (or at least have at some point read) this blog. That was unexpected. I can't possibly imagine why anyone would want to read this. Scanning old posts I always feel like I'm reading the ramblings of a malcontent teenager. I'm one whiny bastard. But if I've got that stuff floating around in my brain, best to unleash it on the spectacularly anonymous blogosphere and keep my public identity as a grown-ass man intact. If nothing else, it's an excuse to practice typing without being on a deadine.
I can't figure out why I sleep on my couch. I don't remember the last time I slept in my bed. Not that I pass out like the ne'er-do-well antihero in a cliche cop movie, mind you. I've moved my alarm clock (which is about to go to the great Kohl's in the sky and I can't wait because the thing was poorly designed in the first place and it was a gift from my ex-wife but on the other hand I don't want to have to buy another one) to the coffee table, along with the bulk of my bedtime reading (which consists of about seven books at any given time -- I like to have options). I make "the bed" every morning, and keep the room clean. I thought about sleeping in my bed a couple of times, but it just didn't seem right for some reason. Perhaps it's that by sleeping on the couch, I streamline my life just a bit, eliminating the bedroom, and I'm all about streamlining; perhaps it's that I bought the couch right after I moved into the apartment, because almost all the furniture in the house was my ex-wife's, and, dammit, it's mine; perhaps it's that the TV is in the living room and I can go to sleep watching DVD reruns of West Wing and Studio 60 and Californication; or perhaps it's that it saves time and money not having to wash the sheets, and I'm all about streamlining. Maybe when I move to Austin I should just take the couch and easy chair and rent out a room rather than taking up a whole one-bedroom or efficiency. That would be a terrific excuse to get rid of almost everything I own, which would be so fantastic that the mere thought gives me goosebumps. Not sure how the owners of the abode would take to the guitar(s), though.
My coworker keeps trying to find word games on Facebook at which she can best me and I keep carving her up like a Thanksgiving turkey. I'm starting to feel a little badly for how obnoxiously I beat her high scores. But it's AWESOME to be a bad-ass at something.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I am witty. I am educated. I am usually flippant. I am foul-mouthed, but would never, ever swear at someone because I'm upset with them. I am reticent but not shy. I am reserved but not insecure. I am introverted but not anti-social. I am, generally, quiet. I am a good listener. I can be passive agressive but I'm okay with that because it's less harmful than being physically aggressive. I like to get to the point. I am patient. I have learned to (almost always) defuse my temper. I love diversity and react to homogeneity with a degree of judgementalism that I find a little disturbing. I am attracted to brainy girls. I think glasses are sexy. I choose the path of least resistance as long as it leads to where I want to go. I have trouble following through, but I'm okay with that because when I'm on, look out. I love how introspective I am. I am uncomfortable with polish. I could never date someone who didn't like "The Princess Bride." Seriously. I don't say the pledge of allegiance. I detest Robert Browning. I want less. I hate being angry. I refuse to be an emotional crutch for my family. I will never get there, and thank God for that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lines written a few feet beside by loud-ass neighbors

Book recommendation of the Day: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Explains the four agreements you make with yourself to achieve fulfilment. Very empowering. Useful for tearing down old constructs and building new ones.

Well that holiday season sucked. I drank too much, wasted too much time, wrote, worked out, and read too little, frittered away most of my alloted sixteen days doing I don't know what, and did almost no work. Hence the three hours of work a night all this week to catch up. I hope I've learned my lesson, young man. No more stretches of unstructured time for me. Apparently I can't handle it. New Year's resolution: impose order in my life when none exists. I suppose sixteen days of depression is worth it if it means I learn never to go down that road again. I feel like I survived some sort of crucible, which is an invaluable experience, but only if you never repeat it.

The silver lining, it seems, is that I've knocked something loose, and for the first time I really feel like I'm grieving the loss of my marriage. I thought I had, but really, in retrospect, I was angry, or sad because I was lonely, or feeling like a failure, or impatient to move on, or frustrated. But now I feel grief. Good old-fashioned healthy grief. I feel like I'm just now realizing that I'm divorced, and that that means that I have a new life. I feel like I've come from a funeral, like I'm honoring a loss, honoring all that was good about what was, respecting the cyclicality of life, and accepting that all that comes must go, and go where I cannot. Like I'm no longer tethered to my marriage. Which works out nicely, because my ex-wife is finally taking over the mortgage and the house officially. All that's left now is to strike out for greener pastures, and find the new me.

Or maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep and it's making me a bit loopy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Okay, enough. Really. I'd like to go back to being married and having money and having friends now please. I'm not sure I deserve this. Does resolving to move to Austin count as showing enough sack to get some kind of karmic payoff? Because apparently fighting the proverbial good fight teaching public school doesn't cut it. All I wanted was to drink beer and smoke cigarettes in a bar with a couple of friends surrounded by other people who have nothing better to do than go to a bar on New Year's Eve. But, alas, I ask too much. So here I sit, alone on my first New Year's Eve alone, which is painfully poetic. I'm out of words, which is monumental for me. I have nothing to say.