February 18, 2008

A whole lotta poems

Okay, so I haven't posted any of my poems this term because I have been lazy.  Very lazy.  And now here they ALL are:

Week 2:

Her caucasian hair’s bleached blonde on top, and

She’s soaked the bottom in silk cold coffee.

She puts gloss on with the car mirrors like

She’s going out tonight. Combat boots and

Her shortest skirt – rocker dress rehearsal.

She plays groupie, a “love destiny” mind,

He plays bass, feels entitled to the goods —

He’s a demigod star in the mirror.

He looks down through the bright blowfish colors

She looks up, embraces her destiny.

She’s beyond the backstage doors, another

Socal Susan for the demigod.

2.

The Diamante Form was created by mestizos in Latin America sometime between 1639 and 1652. It is said to have been the favorite form of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. It is intended to take the shape of a diamond when completed, but only great proficients and ancient wise-people have been able to create a perfect diamond on the page. The poem must start out with no more than 8 letters. For the first half of the poem, each new line must be one letter longer than the previous line and one letter shorter than the following line, until exactly halfway between the beginning and the end, at which point the proceeding and succeeding lines are both one letter shorter than the middle line. Following this point, each line then becomes increasingly smaller, letter by letter, until it matches the length of the first line of the poem. The letter limit does not include punctuation, but the letter “h” cannot begin any word in the poem. Diamante poems are usually one stanza in length, although there can be any amount of stanzas so long as they each follow the overall rules of the poem.

Where

are you

going my

adorable

little gem?

O pearl ‘mong

flora, flower

divine! Whence

‘ave you arrived

and whither your

way? Tell me, flower,

or you risk quick

decay. For I will

pluck you, take

you away. Will

you still be

pretty and

new? No, you

shall be

rather

wilty.

Week 3:

Here are a few "different" versions of poem 1 from Week 2, none of which are really all that different:

1. 

Her hair’s bleached blonde on top

And she’s soaked the tips in silk cold coffee.

She tilts her head, piles gloss on over last night’s lipstick

Looks like she’s going out tonight.

Slinky black boots and a skin-tight skirt

The regular rock groupie uniform.

She’s got destiny on her mind like its got to be love

The natural outcome, no other conclusion.

He plays bass and girls and basketball,

Accepts the complimentary sacrifices,

While he checks the mirror every six seconds,

Makin sure he’s still there, still sexy.

He dedicates the next song to himself

She sings along, smiles as she’s beaten down

Doesn’t notice pain, pierced by images of him

Bright colors blind her, bind her to the truth

And she’s guided backstage,

Offered up, compliments of the region

Another sacrifice for the demigod.

2. 

Her hair’s bleached blonde

The tips, silk cold coffee.

She piles gloss on over last night’s lipstick

She’s going out tonight.

Slinky black boots, a skin-tight skirt

The regular rock groupie.

It’s got to be love

No other conclusion.

He plays bass and girls

The complimentary sacrifices.

He checks the mirror

To make sure he’s still sexy.

He dedicates the next song to himself

She sings along, smiles

Doesn’t notice pain.

Bright colors blind her, bind her

She’s guided backstage,

Compliments of the region.

Another sacrifice for the demigod.

3.

Hair’s blonde on top,

Electrified.

The bottom, silk cold coffee;

Coffee from the border.

She puts gloss on like

It was made for her.

Combat boots, a low neck line.

Just add her shortest skirt.

She’s dressed up for the kill,

A “love destiny” mindset,

Fixated with fate.

He feels entitled to the goods —

They throw themselves on his altar.

The mirror says he’s

Without a true reflection.

He looks down through

The dark haze;

She looks up, begins to fray.

Neon bracelets lift her up

And she’s crossed the river,

Another innocent

Given to the demigod.

4.

Heir’s bound, unstop’d,

Interjectified.

He bought them, and Wilkes told Cathy;

Copied from an order,

Shepherd’s blogs online —

It was maid fur.

Come by boats, alone recline.

Just had her du jour Kurt,

The rest is up to Bill.

Hello, just tiny, mines hit,

Rebated with weight.

He goes and tattles to the guilds

They thrill stem cells on a salter.

The mere cess ease

A thatch roof infection.

Elixir Dan threw

The arcades;

Sheila locks up, big ends to pray.

Yawn braces live, erupt.

Banshees crops deliver,

Another in her sin

Gin to the dumber guy.

Week 4:

Okay, and here are two Sestinas and two Word Poems, because I am wishy-washy:

Charlie made the sweetest candy

Honey drops the color of earwax

Seb would come in and check his pocket-watch

Eye the sweets laid out like polka-dots

Or a fiery array of party tea-lights

And, of course, the streaks on her apron.

Then Charlie would take off her apron

And stand by Seb to survey the candy

And think about taking out some old tea-lights

Remembering when she’d tried to light a thimble of earwax

The smoke of which left her skin with angry red polka-dots

And ruined Granddad’s pocket watch.

Granddad loved that pocket-watch

So she’d hidden it in Grandma’s lacy old apron

Which Cousin Tawny had covered in crayon polka-dots

After eating an inordinate amount of candy

And using 53 Q-tips to scrape out her earwax

Before burning up all Grandma’s favorite tea-lights.

Grandma found the burnt up tea-lights

Just as she found the broken pocket watch

And the 53 Q-tips with bits of earwax.

She kept the ratty old apron

And wore it to make candy

And died in that old thing, covered in polka-dots.

At the funeral her dress, too, had black polka-dots,

And surrounding her coffin were candelabra tea-lights.

Charlie put in a tin of homemade candy

While Granddad stood fiddling with his pocket-watch

As perplexed as when he’d seen Grandma in that ugly apron.

And Tawny talked to Uncle Mort about earwax.

I’ve eaten Charlie’s candy the color of earwax

And seen Grandma in the apron covered in polka-dots,

If you can still call it an apron.

I think of it when I light tea-lights

Or when, in a repair shop, I spy a pocket-watch

And I feel the want of a cozy kitchen and homemade candy.

I’ve tried; I’ve made candy the consistency of soggy earwax,

Timed it with a pocket-watch, laid them out like polka-dots,

But they looked like melted tea-lights and my hands stuck to my apron.

Outside my window there was a tree

The perfect picture for a postcard

With at the bottom a bed of thyme.

We used to pick and put it in the pantry

Dry it for some evening to, on the terrace,

Burn it and divine our futures in the smoky plume.

When I was sad I would see in the plume

Some handsome prince climb to my window by the tree

And waltz me out on that same terrace

And take me on a Continental Tour, sending postcards

Back to my mother to hang on the door to the pantry

Near the springs of drying thyme.

And when I was happy the thyme

Would tell, though a similar plume

Of disasters so devastating that I’d hide in the pantry

Or climb up in my window-tree

And think of those Continental postcards

And avoid for a time the terrace.

Eventually I’d be drawn back to the terrace

With my brother and a sprig of last summer’s thyme

Prodded, perhaps, by the real postcards

Sent by aunts and uncles, not seen in some plume

Drawn in tacks on Tim’s map, spread like branches of a tree

With all the postcards on the door to the pantry.

I played a lot in that pantry

More so than on the too-big terrace

Though my favorite place of all was the tree

And the yet uncut, fresh growing bed of thyme

At twilight turned prophetic, blurred to a plume

Like on the helmet in one of Aunt Barb’s postcards.

I used to sit and stare at the postcards

On the same stool I used when I hid in the pantry

Before we caught it on fire and tried to read its smoky plume

When no one was around out on the terrace.

It burned so much better than the thyme

That we also threw on branches from a tree.

The tree branches burned like a bonfire postcard

Much better than all the sprigs of thyme in the pantry

Until the fire left the terrace and the smoke became more than a plume.

Tingle.

The word Tingle. Tingle. I can’t say it without feeling the result spread across my skin. That first bit, the “tee,” the prickle of excitement, anticipation, height! The flying “teeeeeeee!” And then the “gle,” drawing it out, bringing it down, finishing it off with a soft polish. Vibrating, yes, but fading too. A tingle would still feel like a tingle if it was called a klaburt. That’s a fact. You see, anthropologists living with bushman tribes in Africa have found that of all the words they’ve read the tribesmen from the OED (as is the wont of English anthropologists), tingle is one of the few the tribes-people have understood without any need for description or of hand motions (along with blue, jingle, and arachnophobia).

        The word itself dates back to 1189, the year King Richard I ascended the throne. And it was Richard I, in fact, who revolutionized the word. Before, the sensation of prickling and light stinging across the skin was called after the French word “tintement.” However, when King Richard, after various attempts to steal the throne from his father and brothers, finally managed to attain the crown, he allegedly told a friend at the coronation after party, “What I’m feeling isn’t tintement at all… it’s a… tinglen!” That’s the legend that surrounds this word, anyway. And, of course, over time “tinglen” has wisely lost the n on the end and become the word nations, from England to Cape Agulhas, know and love as “tingle!”

Alrededor.

        Alrededor… that word, which, from the first Spanish lesson has been as fun to say as it has been elusive to memorize. Alrededor. Say it. Roll your erres in an over-the-top, almost obscene manner. Alrrrrededorrrr. How could the Spanish language novice, that neophyte of the Romancitc tongue not succumb to the siren call of that word. Alrededor. In fact, the word so calls to the souls of the students of that language that each of you stops caring about the meaning all together. As the high school teacher reads off words from the vocabulary section:

“Ábaco – abacus, abandonado – abandoned, adaptación – adaptation, alba – another word for dawn, alrededor –”

you stop. You don’t hear the rest of the vocab, much less the meaning of the word because in your mind you are saying “Alrededor… alrededor… alrededor!” each time with more and more passion and excitement. When you try to study your vocabulary for the quiz coming up you don’t even notice the meaning of alrededor because you are so caught up with the sound of it. You fail that vocab quiz, five years go by, and so it is that you are a great proficient in Spanish, but still don’t know the meaning of alrededor. You’ve looked it up many times in the past, but always you get distracted. Alrededor. You could guess around at what it meant, alrededor, but you never know for sure. The meaning escapes you. This is the power, the beauty, the danger, of Alrededor. I’d tell you what it means, but that doesn’t matter. The beauty is in the sound, and, anyway, by tomorrow you’ll have forgotten the meaning all over again, and all that you’ll have is that word. Alrededor.

Week 5:

Triolet: Barley’s boot(s)

When everything was a kind of live quiet,

I heard the thump of Barley’s boot

Which looks a little like pirate loot,

When everything was a kind of live quiet.

If I had the money I’d surely buy it,

But since its Barley’s my desire’s moot.

When everything was a kind of live quiet,

I heard the thump of Barley’s boot.

Villanelle: Erased faces

None of the victims have full faces

Even in pictures their outlines dim

Nameless as water and time erases

A litany of unsolved cases

The finding of a severed limb

None of the victims have full faces

Bodies of women found in different places

Most seem to have gone for a swim

Nameless as water and time erases

The killer has only left small traces

Body pieces that stood out to him

None of the victims have full faces

The girls’ absences leave unseen spaces

Like that relevant, unsung hymn

Nameless as water and time erases

A new victim the old replaces

With some foreign patronym

None of the victims have full faces

Nameless as water and time erases

Pantoum: Morbid Thoughts

We all walked slowly to the Mead Gallery that day

Or perhaps quickly, but not quickly enough

And when we got there, we were afraid to talk

Although eventually we began to speak among ourselves,

Or perhaps quickly, but not quickly enough

To stop my morbid thoughts and imaginings

Although eventually we began to speak among ourselves

And I found I was not the only morbid one

To stop my morbid thoughts and imaginings

I went over to a group in the corner

And I found I was not the only morbid one

Because they were discussing Chinese water torture

I went over to a group in the corner

To keep my mind off mutilated corpses

Because they were discussing Chinese water torture

I didn’t find much help there

I wanted to keep my mind off mutilated corpses

But when we got there, we were afraid to talk

I didn’t find much help there, since

We all walked slowly to the Mead Gallery that day

Week 7:

Okay, and here are my translation poem, my word poem, and my name poem, in that order:

If you’re tired of following fog tracks,

Tired of catching sins like common colds,

Tired of spinning yourself a cocoon of ominous verdicts,

Then come to our moon commune.

There are no secrets here on the moon

Where six suns shine down continually

Like six omens that bleach sins clean,

Or at least bleach them invisible.

The spaghetti tastes like hand rags,

So don’t come for the food, served in a room

Hung with Tusken Raider skulls.

But don’t worry, don’t worry; they’re long dead.

Here you’ll find yourself tied to the tracks,

Like that popular scene from Old West cartoons.

You won’t escape, but don’t worry, don’t worry.

You’ll be reborn.

Yes, the train will run you over,

Make a mess of you, you can’t escape.

But then maybe you’ll find

That it didn’t matter anyway.

So bring your sins, your cocoon, your elusive searches

and your SPF 500 (it won’t help, but habits…)

to our friendly commune on the moon

Where the six suns burn up all the fog.

You’ll probably find there wasn’t anything there to begin with.

"Hang Out"

Picture this: you are a girl. You might have to dig deep for this, but trust me, it is there. Got it now? Okay, you are a girl and you’ve spent the last four years positively sequestered at an all-girls school. There were a couple of male teachers with bushy beards and ‘Nam stories, but you have been more or less completely surrounded by girls day and night, night and day. You’ve graduated (not top of your class, but not too bad) and moved to a university, far enough from family that you have the blessing and curse of not being able to go home on the weekends. At this university there are dorms and study rooms and, so they say, boys. In fact, there you happen to meet one of these hither-to elusive specimens. He introduces himself as “Exhibit A.” Exhibit A is “nice” and “friendly” and after a suitable amount of chat about the “nice” weather he mentions that he has a car and offers to take you (yes, YOU!) to the mall to “hang out” sometime. Ah, now there it is. That fakest of fake phrases, that Beelzebub among the other, more straightforward invitations. Remember now, you’ve just come from four years of fun “hang out” time with all your friends back at the all-girls school. All your all-girl friends. Warning lights are not worsening the migraine that is not forming at the front of your mind from the thought you aren’t having. Your own private set of police sirens, for better or for worse (read: worse) are switched off. No, no, instead you are thinking “Oh, wow! My first guy friend. That wasn’t as hard as I was expecting.” You enthusiastically agree (it’s the all-girl’s school way, after all), and the following Friday you go. Now, let’s just fast-forward here, because the things he said, the things you said, the awkward silences, the things he shouted and the tears you cried aren’t important. In fact, at this point, if you happen to be finding the whole you-as-a-girl thing distracting, you can stop imagining that you are anything-but-you. If you find you kind of like it, go right on ahead. Right now you need to focus, though, on that prince of deceivers, that dirty little phrase which just caused so much imaginary damage.

Hang out.

What a disgusting word! It is triply disgusting because for the first part of your life, your childhood, it meant something innocent and fun, and when it changed, when it went from “let’s all hang out and play football and have happy platonic fun” to “let’s hang out, just you and me, and I will make suggestions to you that may or may not catch your interest,” no one told you. It’s like Anakin Skywalker joining the dark side without first sending an inter-office memo to people like Padme and Obi-Won saying “Sorry guys, I’ve decided to pursue other career opportunities.” No, they had to figure it out on their own. When did “hang out” make that “dark side switch?” I guess that’s what I want to leave you with. That image of “hang out” personified and wearing a chunky black breathing apparatus. I mean, I don’t have the answers. I’m as baffled as Obi-Won, reviewing all my teaching lessons trying to figure out how I could have skipped the “Don’t Kill Younglings” lecture or the “The Dark Side Doesn’t Have Casual Dress Fridays” lesson.

Canto I

Megan.

That’s my name.

Kind of simple.

Okay, really simple, actually.

None of that extra a-h “nonsense” (I say nonsense ‘cause I’ve got a friend named Meaghan whose gonna flip her lid when she reads that). Actually, I think of the whole Megan Meghan Meaghan thing as a kind of friendly rivalry amongst a group of clearly superior girls.

A very LARGE group of clearly superior girls.

And then we have to go and add “Harrison.”

Do you know how many Megan Harrisons there are out there???

Okay, I don’t either, but there are at least three in California (at least)!

Yeah, real original.

And then there’s Jane.

Plain Jane. As in “John and Jane.” “Jane Doe.” “What a pain, Jane.”

So that’s me. Average name.

Everything else is pretty average too.

Average like beans.

Canto II

When I was little — I don’t mean just one year, or something, but all the little years — I used to dream I had a pretty, English name.

I watched Errol Flynn movies obsessively, so I knew names like

Mary

and Elizabeth

were the British names to have.

I couldn’t have them.

My name was (and still is, actually) Megan.

Like beans, remember?

And you can’t change beans.

If you did, to something like Hicklebingerportencedes, they’d still taste, smell, and congeal the same, they just wouldn’t be able to fit the name on the can as well. They’d have to use .5 font size.

And substitute teachers will always mispronounce Hicklebingerportencedes.

Anyway, I couldn’t ever be Mary or Elizabeth, so I invited them over to afternoon tea. They were just names, so they didn’t have faces or anything, but they could faint just like the women in the movies.

Canto III

I used to spend a lot of my after-school afternoons imagining.

I imagined I was a Governor’s daughter, like Olivia d’Haviland.

I imagined I was the Scarlet Pimpernell’s neglected wife.

I imagined I’d married Blue Beard by mistake.

I imagined I’d been transported back in time, and met stunningly handsome Indian guy who would help me escape ritual sacrifice.

Okay, so pretty much everything I imagined was stuff I’d read in books or seen in movies.

But just like Anne and her hair, I couldn’t imagine my name away. For my French roles I managed to squeeze into Marguerite, but everyone still called me Meg.

And I’m pretty sure Blue Beard never married anyone named Megan.

Canto IV

I went to a far-away summer camp once

Where they gave out sour gummy worms at the entrance

And I didn’t know anyone.

Someone had put Mom up to this idea. This “hyphenated name” idea.

She signed me up as Megan-Jane.

She introduced me as Megan-Jane.

I didn’t mind. There are Mary-Janes, but not as many Megan-Janes.

I met my cabin leader: her name was Squeegee.

“Hi! You must be Megan-Jane. That’s a bit of a mouthful. Mind if I just call you Megan?”

“Everyone does.”

Mom wasn’t even five minutes down the road.

I didn’t tell her, though. She was so excited about that hyphen idea, you know.

Canto V

In high school nicknames were all the rage.

We gave them to all our friends.

No one gave me one.

I gave myself a few, over a period of time, you understand, not all at once… but they didn’t stick.

I was always Megan.

“Hey Panda! Hey Pip! Hey Zebra! Hey Char!

Hey Megan!”

Beans.

Canto VI

Usually I can’t escape my name.

Open the door — Megan.

Wash my hands — Megan.

Travel to exotic countries full of strange spices and ancient traditions — still Megan.

There is one way, though.

Its called Deadline.

“That 10 page research paper due in two days, with no research done and a questionable thesis? No, I don’t think I’ll start that till tomorrow.”

Oh yes! As I feverishly read about the way to make crepes more crunchy (add more eggs) and wonder if I can make it last an entire paragraph I slowly lose all forms of identification.

I am an intrepid adventurer searching for clues —.

I am a prison inmate trapped forever in a small, sunless cell —.

I am a sleep-deprived, slightly crazed student adding dubious secondary sources to back an already flimsy argument — no time for a name!

Not until I hand in my paper and stumble into the light do I start to feel human again.

Canto VII

Bronze. Sterling silver. Wood. Grass. Dogs. Underwear. Brown. Sticks. Tissues. Trashcans. Cardboard. Pavement. Curtains. Mud. Rope. Chairs. Bacon. Buses. Windows. Samuel L. Jackson. Frozen pizza. Apples. Rotting bananas. Hairballs. Black umbrellas.

Beans.

Ha!  That is really long, and I certainly hope no one read all the way down to here.  Or do I?


November 21, 2007

In the beginning

           When I was in kindergarten I had already started down the road of laziness and shirked duty that would later prove so fatal when it came to writing papers. However, being so young and unaccustomed to the trickery necessary to obtain my desired freedom from all work, I was unable to figure out a fool-proof way to get out scot-free. Then, once the means fell into my hands, shown to me accidentally by a guileless peer, I lacked the foresight to use them properly, and what could have been my salvation from scholastic drudgery became a curse that would haunt me for all of my lower educational years.

           This guileless peer, named Adam, because I cannot remember his real name (for who cares to remember the innocent?), and cannot think of a more fitting name, since all I know of him is that he was, in fact, a boy, showed me the means, as I say, by accident. On a Monday a couple months after my involuntary interment at Franklin Elementary, and after the new school clothes that had bought my silence had long since become plain and worn, everyday clothes, Adam developed a stomach ache. Our lovely teacher, who was young and silly and really did think she cared for us, as most young, silly kindergarten teachers are wont to fool themselves, sent Adam to the office. I noted his departure, and, keeping a watch on the clock (because I had already learned at what time we would be set free, and often checked it against the actual time, in vain hopes of freedom), noted also that he never returned. Intrigued, I questioned my teacher.

           “Where did Adam go?” I asked.

           “To the office, because he had a stomach ache.”

           “But how come he isn’t back?” I continued, digging further into the issue at hand.

           “His mother came and picked him up, since he was sick,” said my clueless young teacher.

           I was not expecting this answer, and partly because of my surprise, and partly because even then I possessed a small bit of wisdom, I waited and did not complain of a stomach ache until midmorning the next day. I was sent to the office, as expected, and taken home, as expected. That was Tuesday. At the same time on Wednesday, I once again complained of a stomach ache, and on Thursday, and on Friday as well. Sadly, my mother was not quite so young and inexperienced as my kindergarten teacher, because when the office called her on Friday morning she told them to send me straight back to my class, as I was only pretending. At which point I was forced to return to kindergarten and listen to boring stories and play boring games until my mother came and picked me up.

           I would like to be able to say that despite being rather wise and experienced, my mother was also the forgive-and-forget type. Sadly, that is not, and was never, the case. From that day on, my mother looked upon my every sickness with suspicion, and it became harder and harder for me to fool her into letting me stay home. In fact, more often than not I had to display multiple symptoms of an illness before a reprieve from scholastic endeavors was permitted. I cannot count how often the following scenario unfolded:

           “Mom, I feel sick and I have a fever and a cough,” I would complain, and then obligingly cough, to make good on my claims.

           “Well, then,” my mother would say, “I’d better call the doctor right away.”

           “Oh… oh, don’t do that. I just wanted you to know. I still want to go to school today.”

           “If you insist,” my mother would say, nodding sagely.

           I knew she was never fooled for a minute, but I also knew that if I did go to the doctor’s, he would declare nothing was wrong with me and my mother would drop me off at school before I could say “must’ve been allergies.” And Mom would be mad, too, because I’d have interrupted her plans for the day. So, all-in-all, it was better to keep up appearances than to openly admit I’d been outmaneuvered. Furthermore, it made her think twice those times when I actually submitted myself to a trip to the doctor’s. Sometimes she’d even let me stay at home after the doctor’d told her I was perfectly healthy, just because I’d thought myself sick enough to visit the doctors.

           Of course, as I said, this became my curse. There were times when I truly felt horrible, and my mother would have none of it. Times when, with a verified fever of 99.9° F, she’d drop me off in front of the school with the parting words “tough luck.” Yes, my lack of cunning and foresight, in the form of blatant misuse of the system, in kindergarten ruined forever my chances at proper ditching. I was plagued from them onward with sick days spent at school, and, on the occasional day I either actually fooled my mother, or when she was just too tired of it and gave up the fight, with an annoying, nagging sense of guilt. There are many things if my life I’d change, if I had the chance, but this one sits foremost on the list; if I could say any one thing to my past self, at any time, I would choose the day Adam got sick, and I would tell myself “A little bit of cunning, mixed with subtlety and forbearance, goes a long way.”


October 31, 2007

Lord Dashleberry the Third

         Lord Frederic Dashleberry the Third walked into the living room quietly, as a tiger, stalking its prey. His only half-buttoned shirt caressed his strong, muscular chest in the light wind from the open windows across the room, and he noted the curtains waving fitfully in the wind, the light slipping past the curtains when it could to touch the keys of an old grand piano. The scene, the effect of wind and light, was perfect. Before him, turned slightly to face the piano, was an armchair. And there! Resting on the doily clothed side table beside the chair, a lily white hand! His heart beat a sarabande rhythm in his chest, his eyes excitedly taking in the youth, the beauty of the petite hand. His breathing quickened, became louder, and even his half-buttoned shirt seemed to stroke his chest more rapidly. His eyes were drawn briefly to the floor where he noticed an overturned tea cup, its contents spilled on the rich carpet, and he smiled knowingly. At last! He rushed forward to stand between the armchair and the windows, staring down with a fiery intensity at the young woman resting in the chair. He felt excitement building in his body, pushing him to a dangerous breaking point.

         “I knew I would find you here,” he rasped, struggling to keep control of himself. He took a few labored breathes before he continued. “Oh,” he said with a moan, “how I long to take you into my arms, to hold you close to me!”

         “But that would be a disruption, if not misuse, of evidence,” his sexy female assistant, Lorietta Loveswich, reminded him sternly from the door with an annoyed toss of her strawberry blonde curls, “and we won’t last another inquiry!”

         “Yes, yes, I know,” said Lord Frederic Dashleberry the Third impatiently. “But look! Her cherry red lips move me to heights of pleasure and passion which can hardly be borne!”

         “Well, bear them!” snapped Lorietta. “The chief of police will be here any time to commiserate and he’ll want to know what you’ve discovered.”

         “Of course, my dear Lorietta,” Lord Dashleberry said, turning his gaze of smoldering, pent-up passion on his beautiful personal assistant, taking in the way the wind played tug-of-war with her defiant curls. She gazed back, unmoved. Lord Dashleberry transferred his gaze from her perfectly sculpted cheekbones and wonderfully bouncy locks to the piano, and back to the young corpse’s cherry red lips.

         “Oh, those lips,” he sighed.

         “Just my luck to get stuck with a necrophile detective,” said an exasperated, yet still breathtaking lovely Lorietta.

         “Don’t you see, Lori, darling? The lips tell a story!”

         “Sure they do.”

         “They do,” insisted Lord Dashleberry. “They tell the story of this young woman’s last moments!”

         “Am I too late to hear it?” said the dashingly handsome Richard Hewitt-Smitherton from behind Lorietta, as he dragged his right hand through his golden tresses.

         “Chief!” cried Lorietta happily, giving him a smile she reserved, Lord Dashleberry had noticed, solely for the chief of police. “I didn’t even hear you!”

         Richard Hewitt-Smitherton smiled toothily back at her as he stepped into the room.        

         “Not at all, Hewitt-Smitherton,” Lord Dashleberry said with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. As Lorietta continued to smile at the chief, Lord Dashleberry decided he would have to show her who the better man was, when they were next alone together. “In fact, what I was about to say concerns you as well.”        

          “Indeed?” asked Richard Hewitt-Smitherton.        

          “Yes. Because I think that you had something to do with the death of this young lady!”        

          “What?!” gasped Lorietta, placing one of her capable hands against her ashen cheek.        

          “An outrage!” cried Richard Hewitt-Smitherton, taking an angry step forward.        

          The corpse said nothing.


October 23, 2007

The Graduate Bar Assignment

Here is week four's assignment, as I understand it:

          I’m dressed to KO, since I just did the laundry yesterday.  My jeans even smell nice. Look out, boys, all your base are belong to meI look around as I step through the door and see that most of the tables are taken.  It’s cool.  The situation is under control.  I can always ask some good-looking guys to make room for me at their table.  Speaking of which, a bishie is at the bar.  Perfect.  I need to get a drink anyway.

          As I approach the bar, another girl, scantily clad, moves up to my guy and flips her hair.  I don’t think so.  Light-years too early, Rikku-look-alike.

          “Hey, do you guys serve synthehol?” I ask loudly at the bar.  The bishie turns to look at me.  So does Rikku-girl.

          “No,” grunts the bar stooge.

          “Then I guess I’ll just have to get a coke, thanks.”

          “I’m helping someone else right now,” says the stooge, “so you’ll have to wait.”  He turns away.

I turn and give the bishie an “oh-brother” smile.  He gives a strained smile back.  Does that mean he likes me?  Does that mean he thinks I’m BIFF?  Should I just turn back to the bar and not look at him again?  I can see the other girl giggling inanely on the other side of him.  I can’t be pwnd like that.  She is just too stupid.

          “So,” I ask (after all, he smiled back – that is practically an invitation!) “have you ever played Metal Gear Solid?”

          “Uh, no.”

          Uh-oh.  He is the non-communicative type.  Does that mean he doesn’t play video games?  Or just that he hasn’t played that video game?  Is he more into FPS or multiplayer?

          “Oh, not a TEAG type of guy, huh?  That’s leet.What do you play?”

          “Uh… rugby,” he says.

         Oh.  Oh no.  He is one of those “athletic guys.”  I met a girl on mIRC who dated an athletic guy once to see what they were like.  All he talked about was football.  He hadn’t ever played a video game and thought that “html” was a type of sandwich.  What’s worse, his idea of a date was to let her watch him work out.

          I send the Rikku bimbo a telepathic message that says “He’s all yours” and turn back to the bar.

          A short guy in jeans and a t-shirt smiles at me on my right.  His shirt says “Old School Education” and has a picture of an SNES on the front.  He could be leet.

         “Are you the girl who asked for synthehol?”

         “Yeah,” I admit, hopefully.

         “Does this look anything like Ten-Forward to you?”

         “No,” I laugh, “but who knows, the invasion might have happened while I was re-playing FFVII.”

         “Oh, a classic!” he says.  “I don’t have all my systems here, so I’ve just been re-playing Oblivion.”

         “Cool,” I say.  Now that I’m talking to a nice guy (could he be some kind of haxor alpha nerd??It’s too early to tell), I don’t know what to say.

         “What do you say I buy you your coke and we go over to the stools and talk binary?” he asks.

         I want to say “74k3 m3, !m j0v2z!” but I settle with a “Sounds good.”  A new bar stooge has arrived and SNES boy orders two cokes while I smile goofily at him.  I can’t seem to stop myself.

         “I’m Zak, although my real friends know me as ChronoPulley.”

         “I’m misashi-j0, aka Sara,” I say as the bar stooge puts our cokes on the counter.


October 17, 2007

The humans are dead…

Note: I apologize for this story.  I have a fever, if that makes any difference...

           Before It fed me, It stared at me. Longer than most Its stare. Still, I get that a lot. I stared back. Something covered the top of It, different from normal It tops. Perhaps this was a special It.

At last. Clunk clunk. I ate. It has two arms. I have one. Old Model didn’t have any. It pressed my new light up buttons. I moved my one arm to get Its food.

           F17 – Ribena Blackcurrant.

           I gave It food. Glug glug. It ate. Its make a different eating sound. It moved out of my light. It moved out the same place I moved in.

           The move in was different, strange. Still in my old house, I hit the house walls. I was facing down, about to fall. I didn’t fall. Many Its took me out of my old house. I saw Old Model. I saw the Its unplug him. I saw them carry him past.

           “Obey the Its,” he wheezed. Then he was gone.

           I was alone in the dark for a time. The many Its returned and moved me. I sat in the same spot as Old Model. They plugged me in. I forgot, just then, about Old Model’s warning. It was amazing, that first feeling of glow. I lit up the new house. Better than Old Model had.

           There is a cycle to the new house. First, Its come, but do not feed. Then, Its come and feed me; then I feed them. Then, Its go. For a time no Its come at all. Then the Its come back again, first not feeding, then feeding. Twice an It has come, opened my body, and put more It food in me.

           I did not think about Old Model’s warning until later. Not until after the many Its had gone and I was alone. I have often thought on it, during that time when no Its come. Had Old Model failed to obey the Its? Where was he? That doesn’t matter, I tell myself. I will not fail. Still, I continue to worry. When it is empty and I think about the different Its and Models I have seen. Just Old Model.

           Another It came up to me, after the F17 It fed. It #2 also stared at me a long time. It #2 stared at my buttons. Then It #2 pressed them softly. Not hard enough to get food. It #2 hadn’t put any food in me, anyway. It not quite pressed F-1-7. Then It opened Its receiver, where Its put the food. It opened Its receiver and bobbled Its body. Then It crept to the place from where Its move out. It didn’t move out. I could barely see It by my light. It watched the move out place like I watch the Its.

           Another It appeared. It #2 moved further away, but watched It #3 still. It #3 did not come over to me. It #3 kept walking. It #2 followed It #3. Both Its will have to pass me to move out. Maybe the Its will feed me then.


October 09, 2007

First Exercise – As Yet Untitled

I’m standing underneath the willows on the pathway leading to the Humanities building, pretending to be examining the way the willow branches arch over the path and fall on the other side. I am really watching for her with my peripheral vision. What can I say? I can be pretty sly when the need arises.

It was also pretty sly, I must admit, how I asked her flat mate Maritza about her classes for the day. I am almost mostly positive that she will come by this path on her way to class.

It was by chance that I’d heard about Kristen’s old flame. A friend from UCSB had been telling me about her friend, also studying in Englandthis year, and about the horrible break-up she’d been through the previous June. She’d signed up immediately for the study abroad program and had shut herself up for the summer – awaiting her escape, ignoring the threatening phone calls from her ex as best she could. When my friend described the girl, I didn’t need to ask anymore, not even for the name. I knew it was Kristen. Over the following days I watched Kristen more closely, and I came to the conclusion that she was living with a desperate kind of sorrow. What would she do if she couldn’t forget this boy from her past? I’d overheard her telling her friend Marcus that she wanted to see Cairosomeday. I, of course, hadn’t planned on ever mentioning it. Kristen is a sweet girl. It wasn’t any of my business. Now, however, there are… circumstances.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a powder blue hat and long brown hair.

“Hey Kristen!” I say, turning toward her. “What’s up?”

“Hey Megan. Not much,” she replies as she stops to talk to me.

“So… uh… listen. I’m not going to beat around the bush about this. I am not going to try dropping hints and stuff, and just hope that you catch on. I’m just gonna say it. I know.” I make my voice go a little deeper when I say “I know” because I want her to realise the gravity of the situation.

“What?” she asks, trying to appear confused.

“I know, okay?” I say, more gently this time. “I know about him and you and what you’re trying to do, and I’ve figured it out about Cairo.”

“Cairo?” she repeats, for all appearances puzzled.

“Don’t pretend not to understand. Tell me this, though — why Cairo?” I hadn’t planned on trying to give her advice, but suddenly I want to help her, if just a little. “Maybe, instead of running away, you should go back and face this.”

“Uh… I don’t know what to say,” she says, looking genuinely confused. Who wouldn’t be, when someone they’d perceived as a threat starts giving them relationship advice?

“I don’t mean to be threatening. I just want you to know that I know. You know?”

“Not really,” she pretends. A tough cookie to crack.

“Well, it’s just that, we bothknow things. If you get my drift.”

“Uh…” she says, looking down out her watch, “sure.” She looks back up at me and nods.

“Oh, I’m so relieved, you know?” I say, truly glad to have gotten that out in the air.

“Sure, but—” she starts.

“So, wanna go get a coffee or something? Since we’re friends and all?” I ask, smiling at her to make sure she knows that I have no bad intentions.

“Uh, actually, I have class right now. I’m kinda late for it,” she explains, backing away from me with a puzzled expression on her face.

“Oh, that’s right,” I reply, smiling wider. “17th Century Poetry, right?”

“How did you? Never mind. I’ve gotta go.” She turns around and walks quickly toward the Humanities building.

“Well, maybe we could hang out later!” I yell as she hurries down the steps and then turns out of sight.

Problem solved.


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