Wednesday, April 30, 2008

america vs. afghanistan: a non-survival story

I read The Sewing Circles of Herat last year. Hosted book club at my house. My husband and boys dressed up like Pashtuns and served us all tea.
At the same time, NEWSPEAK! was calling for real-life survival stories.

The confluence of those two influences led me to write the following words (with minor revisions) just over a year ago:

I have survived 12 years of marriage to a short-tempered squirrel-shooter who grew up in Afghanistan as the son of a diplomat.
I have not survived marriage to a short-tempered Afghan tribal warrior.

I survived English Lit 101, strolling through campus to class with a backpack full of books, paper, and pens.
I have not survived reading James Joyce knowing I could be hanged for doing so, having smuggled in books, paper, and pens under sewing materials in my handbag.

I survived the reelection of George Bush in 2004 when we thought the world would end.
I have not survived a military coup in which two of my cousins, my brother, and my uncle were all captured, tortured, and murdered.

I survived a body cast for four months when I was one, hot and itchy and immobile.
I have not survived years as a woman in a burqa, hot and itchy and invisible.

I survived two pregnancies and two natural childbirths.
I have not survived a bloody miscarriage in a war-torn country.

I have survived my boys playing war games with guns and swords in the backyard.
I have not survived my boys being given Kalishnikovs on their 5th birthdays.

I survived my father leaving my mother for his secretary when I was four years old.
I have not survived my father being dragged by his feet down the hallway by a dozen men with rifles, never to see him again.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Best. Parody. Ever.

My friend Johanna and I went to see the film 305 today as part of the 2008 Indie Spirit Film Festival in (gasp!) Colorado Springs. It contained every element you could possibly imagine in a hero-quest movie, and then turned them upside down and inside out, leaving no facet of the genre unmocked. It was pure brilliant absurdity: a he/she club-dancing oracle, Spartabucks, a lost dog named Zeus, sharpened carrots, reality TVesque commentary, a game of truth or dare, a book club for torturers.

My throat still hurts from laughing so hard.

But the beauty of it isn't actually the film, however, it's the story behind the story. In 2007, twin brothers (one of whom came out and answered questions after the film), graduates from Air Academy High School here in Colorado Springs, produced a short 5-minute parody of 300 with some of their friends and posted it on youtube. Called The 305, it was described as "The Office meets 300". Bloggers picked it up. Friends told friends. It circulated far and wide via the Internet highway. Fans of the short film demanded more. Eventually, an investor found them and offered them the dough to turn it into a feature-length film. It's the American Dream writ large on the movie screen.

The whole thing was filmed in three weeks with a green screen, and has been in post-production for nearly nine months. We who were at the Pikes Peak Center this afternoon were served a real treat. I'll be getting me a $50 weekend pass next year.

Even the trailer is funny.

Friday, April 25, 2008

m is for marina

Marina is moving to NYC. Today is her birthday.

for Marina

I stand and stare
out my kitchen window
to where I know you (only
a few blocks away) are
also standing
also staring

the water
weeping from our
faucets is
temporarily ignored
as we pour
our own into the
and down the east face

we who are friends of Charlotte
spin delicate doilies
and know
that friendship is a train station
sketched in pencil

the wind whistling through the
hollow spaces
will carry us away on
winsome silken strands
to other lands we have yet
to weave

the World Wide Web is not the same as
“Can you get the boys today?” or
a coffee in your kitchen or
a summer Smoky two-wheel ride or
a shared laugh over the antics of our offspring

when you arrive
please try to find
a kitchen
with a window
facing west

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

karma defined

Bennett was lovingly tormenting some millipedes on Sunday when an unknown critter bit/pinched/stung him on his back. At that point I asked him, "Do you know what karma is buddy?"


After ruminating for a few seconds on my prolix explanation, he finally said...........

"So the Universe pinched me?"

And people wonder why we have kids.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

excuses, excuses

I wanted to go see Amy Goodman today. Really I did. But the sun had the audacity to shine the way Obama's flock has the audacity to hope.... unapologetically.

Time became a Twizzler and I became the midwife of the tender garden once again. I don't really think it needs me, the way a healthy baby doesn't really need a midwife. The Mother does though. Noone is really sure yet what the Father needs.

I am pretty sure my job is to eliminate all that is dead, and that I am to do this at just the right time. I am also to observe and take note of what has decided to return and what has not. Inventory. Two delphinium gone. One lupine. The annuals, of course, expected, but nonetheless. Tragedies all. In opposition- an abundance of yarrow, fleets of White Nancy, strawberries that have hopped their walls. I dabble in futility, trying to contain species within little rock circles.

I wanted to go see Amy Goodman. Really I did. But there was lasagne to be made and a flute to be played, stories to be read and flowers that were dead.

mid-life defined

When "all the time in the world" suddenly becomes "never enough".


Thursday, April 17, 2008

shiver me timbers!

Bennett came home from school a few weeks ago with this drawing started. It had a few outlines, but no shading or detail yet. Over the following week, he spent hours polishing it. Hours. I sat in silent awe of his patience, as he sketched and erased and filled in. My friend Brandy draws. My husband draws. I don't. Therefore, I admire unabashedly people who do.

I am watching my son grow into an artist, and I am amazed and humbled.

His drawing "Crazy Hair" is currently on display in the 46th Annual Young People's Art Exhibition. Here 'tis, for your viewing pleasure:

Did I mention that he's in first grade?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

oh brother.....

Here's why:

Sexy - 6x
Breast - 3x
Death - 2x
Porn - 1x

It helps, I suppose, that "sexy" is one of my labels, not just a word used randomly in various posts. And then there's the fact that my mother died of breast cancer. Yes, Ron Jeremy did pass through Colorado Springs last year, but he was touring with a holy man (click on "porn" above for the details). It should be obvious to everyone that these things combined hardly warrant an NC-17 rating.

I'm also wondering why it picked up the word "breast", but not the word penis. And what about whore? Who created this rating program anyhow?

Anyway, I suppose my new rating (which I am rather proud of even if it is suspect) gives me license to recommend this movie. I watched it last night. As it ended, I had a silly happy grin on my face while the tears were gently falling. I was acutely aware that these were genuine emotions, not ones that had been manipulated in the usual Hollywood fashion. It's a beautiful film. And funny. Really. Just watch the trailer:

Or perhaps you would rather take a look at this website. Oh, wait, it's for teens. Damn! Stupid rating. (If you have teens, or if you will soon, please check out the link and watch at least one of the episodes. It's brilliant) I just think it strange how we condone and allow violence in absurd amounts - the average child has seen X* number of murders before he/she is 17, and yet the words breast, death, sexy, and porn are enough to send me into NC-17!? Why is crime and punishment more acceptable to us than sex and relationships? WTF is wrong with our society people!?

More sexy stories about death and breasts and porn to come! (I'll let you decide if that pun was intended or not)

*I'm too lazy to go looking for the stats right now, but I know they're out there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

on safety and adventure

I met Jim Thomsen! We dined last Saturday night at the Rialto Cafe in Denver, amidst the warnings of several well-meaning friends and the understandable misgivings of a loving protective husband. It was great! The most fun I've had with a complete stranger in a long time. But you see, we weren't complete strangers, we were that 21st century breed of something heretofore unknown: blog friends. To sit across the table from someone you've never met, yet you are familiar with personal details of each other's lives... well, it was a little disconcerting at first. But only for about 30 seconds. We talked and laughed our way through dinner, and high-fived over 80's songs for which we share a mutual love.

One must always balance the safety/adventure ratio to one's own sense of comfort. I have always valued the adventure side of my life, especially when it comes to people. There are so many interesting, talented, funny people in this world, and I am grateful to have met another one of them.

The news, TV, the compartmentalization of modern American culture..... all conspire against any sense of community we might create by reaching out. Were my friends and husband being unreasonable? Of course not. Are there wicked people out there? Certainly. Should you do everything you can to avoid being a victim? Absolutely. Should you allow the paranoid fear of a minute percentage to overrule the possibility of a newfound friendship?

I think you know my answer to that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

a date with a train

And there will be nothing left
for them
to say except,
“We saw her last, tight-rope walking on the rail, balancing Sexus upon her head.”

And there will be nothing left
for them
to find, only
The contents of her purse scattered in the passenger seat:
One last cigarette
Some chewing gum
A banana peel
The keys

And on the floor
a collection of rusty ancient nails and unknowns

And Jimmy will swear he saw her
just moments before-
slip a hand up her billowing skirt, turn her smiling face up to the sky,
and lie down upon the track

And they will say (later-
when the story had turned to legend) that her cries
of pleasure
echoed through the abandoned warehouse
of runaway fantasies

And they will know,
Yes! They will surely know-
that when you have
a date with a train......

there is nothing left
to do
but to keep it

[April 2008]

Monday, April 7, 2008

three six-word memoirs

1. always wanting guarantees- should know better

2. one foot in, one foot out

3. abandoned runaway lost and found awakening

it seems silly, when you only have six,
to waste one on

but it's a
a connector, a holder togetherer, a clause binder!
More than a hyphen or a comma that splices,
"and" is
the blown egg containing fragments of confetti
the frame holding fast the shattered glass of a car window
the sleek cylinder imprisoning the colors inside a kaleidoscope

"and" is
the only thing that keeps my world from
exploding like a fucking space
i implode-
into colorful patterns and shattered fragments
yet is it not beautiful?

First I read this one, and then this one. Then it was my turn. Now it is your turn: Friar Tuck, Kate, Daisy, Jim, Zak, Brandy.

I just listed six 'cause that's apparently what the rules say: Write a 6-word memoir about yourself and then tag six people.

But then some people feel left out, and I hate feeling left out, or making someone else feel left out. So fuck the rules and do it if you want.

You can also just post your 6-word summary of your life in the comments if you so desire, or don't have your own blog (yet). Just don't do what I did and let the idea roll around in your head for two weeks and drive you crazy. Six words indeed!

It's WAY harder than it sounds. That's why I have three.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

empire lite?

Yesterday, a graphic representation of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States was published. It's called, simply, A People's History of American Empire. Real American history in comic book form! What more could we possibly ask for?!

Here is one of the most amazing 8 and a half minutes of succinct video I've ever seen. It's Howard Zinn's essay "Empire or Humanity? What The Classroom Didn't Teach Me About the American Empire", and contains images from the newly published book. Viggo Mortenson narrates. The video is worth watching, if not for the content, then for the sexy way in which the word "Louisiana" comes sensuously rolling out of Mr. Mortenson's mouth.

You can read the full text of the essay at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

sexus 123

I read about this meme awhile back at Maria's place - Just Eat Your Cupcake. The story of how her blog got its name is particularly hilarious and worth reading, especially for those of you with young children.

Here's the deal:
You are supposed to look up from your computer, look around the room where you are sitting, and pick up the closest book. Open the book, turn to page 123, count down to the 5th sentence on that page and then post the next three sentences. Easy enough.

Well, the book I have been reading for the past two weeks or so is Sexus by Henry Miller. I finally finished it while driving home from Utah, but it's still sitting here on the floor by my bed, waiting to be shelved on a bookshelf I'm afraid will topple over and kill me in the middle of the night, loaded down as it is. Here's what Mr. Miller has to say on p. 123. At the moment, he is driving out to Long Island with some interesting characters when he realizes that Walt Whitman was born somewhere nearby and mentions going to visit his birthplace.

"Do you know where?" shouted MacGregor.
"No, but we could ask someone."
"Oh, the hell with that!"

Sorry it wasn't one of the more sexy or philosophical bits! But in its own way, I think perhaps it is. Sometimes it is better to go somewhere, to just drive or travel, without never know where you will end up.......... or with whom. :-)

Consider yourself tagged. I look forward to reading about your page 123's..... or just put them in the comments if you'd rather.

P.S. I wish I would have read this book when I was 20.