Friday, November 30, 2007

Many drunk men from hence forward will say to me while leaning in and nearly touching my clavicle with an extended index finger, "Are these the keys to your heart?" Guess I should have seen that coming.

Working at the Cantab was fun. Made decent money. Makes me less broke. Everyone is nice and dancing. I get free beer.

I think I may just stay here for Christmas. It's too soon to go back to Indiana, and my brother won't even be there. We'll see. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

God, I missed Boston. I'm so over Indiana, not including about eight people.

First night back and Derek and I go to Chris's feature at The Out of the Blue. It's my fault, really, because when Chad called me last minute after a cancellation, I said I couldn't do it and gave him Chris's number instead. Sam is there. Jme shows up. Chris is wearing a paisley tie. There are forties and whiskey and various other substances. There is walking down streets and climbing up fire escapes and loudness and gestures and satisfaction and dissatisfaction. God, we are an attractive bunch, someone should say.

I got the final draft of my novel in, typos corrected and everything. My agent started querying today. I talked to her this afternoon and she said she already got two requests to read the manuscript. That doesn't mean anything, but it feels good. "This is the best part," she says, "after the interest, before the rejections start." I say "I am realistic," and she says "I know, it's very cool."

I gave away my Starbucks shirts today because I am not going back, and I've been drinking green smoothies. The movie about Dylan is out. I'd like to see that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

one poem

as fires in the trees
become flashes of candles,
we race through the falling leaves.

echoes predict conjoined
flames burn twice
as bright, as fast.

for others there are
corpse photographs
of ivory dresses,
there are children,
there is cascading
vicarious immortality,
and flowers for names
carved on tombs.

handprints scattered
in brittle brown skeletons
across the cooling earth.
how quickly they crush.

howling sky,
have us ripe rich
and dripping juices.
suck us dry
before we rot.

leave for them
the cold paper hands
and the quiet sick deaths.

let us die
feasting
at fifty

and let
no one
eulogize,
no one
recall.

let no
women wail
in black veils
for us.

let the
setting
of the
red sun.

let the
coming of
soundless night.

let the
falling of
the leaves.

call them aflame
in autumn
when they've lost
their green.

call what
we do
burning.

if you must
call out
our names,

do it in houses
empty, gutted,
singed, with
broken beams.

then snuff silent
lurching echoes

and drink
tart ciders
and set us
to crackle
and hiss

until there
is nothing
to remind –

no bone relics,
no fillings of gold,
no English names,

no smoke,
no ash,
no scorch

on the
earth.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My brother and I are amusing separately, but when we're together we get in this zone. It's like we can read each other's minds, taking cues from the slightest intonations, and we'll go off for an hour on the randomest tangents. Before we know it we're reminiscing about frying Nazi soldiers in Dresden and eating them like bacon after convincing ourselves they were just pigs in helmets, and Mom and Val are watching on amazed.

"It's like they speak their own language," Mom says.

"I just sit back and watch," Val says.


I miss my brilliant physicist brother. Fuck Michigan. All cool people live in Massachusetts.

In Indiana two more days. I miss my Boston family.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things get better. They get worse and worse and worse and they get better. You spend months alone sweating in airless rooms, staring at lonely pages. Your mind becomes a shrieking spiral back into itself. You think god, really, I cannot do this. Really I cannot.

You keep going. You become new. You wriggle out of your skin and you are now pink again and uncalloused. You change your patterns, the way you speak, maybe your hair. You quit jobs. You meet people. You remember but you are not anchored, no not tethered to any hills after you've already climbed and descended them. You keep going, keep moving. One day you find yourself in a new city with a new name, and you are whoever you decide to be. You live. You choose.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So when the fuck did people start calling me a poet? What is that? I'm not a poet, I'm a novelist, goddamnit. Remember, remember.

Poetry is cute and fun to fuck around with, but I'm in love with fiction.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Because it's too damned cold to sleep on a park bench and I have extra room anyway, Jeff's been staying with me the past week while he looks for a job and a place. We watch Woody Allen movies and he tells me his theories about society. Sometimes he plays my guitar better than I do. He is always getting phone calls from women wanting to buy him coffee. You work fast, Jeff, I say. Just don't bring any of those nineteen-year-olds round here. I know it ain't illegal, but I'm a woman of principles. And none of your chess-playing transients from the Harvard Square Au Bon Pain, either.

He got his job, and now I say Jeff, just stay here these next six weeks. Pay me rent. Then we can both figure it out. I'll miss your musings on Infinite Jest and Gravity's Rainbow, and you're so good about doing the dishes.

So I have a roommate, finally, with two months left to my lease. Mysterious ways.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Things suddenly are quieting down. I will be on a plane for Indiana in a week. Holidays coming. Good good. I'm always so hungry. Gobble gobble.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just a little hemorrhage, only the tiniest rupture, and well worth it. By 2am sleep is good. If I wake up dead, I say, make sure Jme Caroline reads the face-fucking poem at my funeral.

When Kinko's printed my manuscript, they put all 338 pages in this 8 1/2 by 11 cardboard manuscript box. It was so sexy. I wanted to be inside of it.

I saw No Country for Old Men. The Cohen brothers are the hottest brothers. They did such a good job of capturing the stark poetry of McCarthy's prose. Every frame of it was filthy and beautiful. The acting was impeccable, and it had the most. badass. villian. ever. I should see more movies.

In other news, I open my big mouth too much. Bitches.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One Week

It's Halloween and I've just gotten my skeleton key tattoos beneath my collarbones, the word clavicle coming from the Latin "claviculus" meaning "little key," but I get them to open doors. I go to the Cantab to a party of dead poets.

He apparently always is there, but I have never seen him. I am Sappho and he is John Berryman and when he reads I am drunk on whiskey and High Life and I'm turning to Sam saying "Who's that?" Next thing I know I'm outside pulling a cigarette out of his pack and we're talking about something, then someone suggests we go to Zuzu and we go and we're dancing and drinking more whiskey.

When the bars close we climb in the back of someone's car. Jess and I are too drunk. Lights are blurry. When we stop in Allston Jess and I hold onto each other's waists as we wobble. He and his friends get in a fight with some Mexican guys, and a girl pulls out a butterfly knife, but all I hear is Jess saying "What's going on?"

Jess and I are tired and we go to sleep in his bed. Sometime during the night, Jess is carried away and I hear "I promise I'm not a creep, I just need to wake up in the morning," before he climbs in and puts one arm around my shoulder.

The next day I walk back over the bridge in my toga to get my car. When I get back to Brighton, I get a call from a literary agent who wants to represent my book, pending minor rewrites. "How long do you think it will take?" she asks. "Oh, about a week," I say, then cringe at my own words.

After hanging up I walk back to my old Starbucks to tell Al and Mallory. I run into an old regular customer who asks what I'm doing now. I tell him I'm recently unemployed and he calls his boss and gets me a writing job.

That weekend, we see each other again. I meet everyone. Outside the bar he kisses me and I say "I'm glad you got that out of the way." I get too drunk again and apologize for it. He says "Don't worry, I don't care at all. It just can't happen all the time. I'm not good at taking care of women." I am coherent enough, and say "Well, that works out, because I don't like to be taken care of."

I do my rewrite, get the contract in my inbox. I start the real job and instantly get more work. I go to a party at the Lizard Lounge and everyone is full of love.

Back at The Cantab, I read a piece about a guitar, string theory, and my father. He says "Good. I was worried for a minute about what I would do if your poems sucked."

Over breakfast, we make an handshake agreement because I don't have a pen to draw up a proper contract. We will not read poems about one another at the Cantab, unless they are so well-veiled that even we can't tell what they're about.

The revision is done. I'm sending it off tomorrow.

What a week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So here's my update. Since Halloween:

- I got an agent for my novel.

- I got a new job writing for a website. I have a title and a business card.

- There's this guy. He's a Leo. Here we go again.

I'll fill in the story later. I have to finish a rewrite on my novel, sign the agent contract, and fix this website by the end of the week. Also read poems.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

On Writing

There are those who talk and those who do.

If you want to be a writer, you must know that you will lead a miserable, poor, lonely life. You must accept that you will never make money, never be known. You will eat day-old bread. You will be a leech. You will date people for money or ask your mom to pay the rent. You will be laughed at. When you tell people what you do, their eyes will roll subtly. At family gatherings your elders will whisper about you. You will not sleep well or sleep too much. You will always be the one who is too drunk or too sober. In relationships you will always be the one who is too intense, or you will be a titanic asshole. You will chase people away. You will procrastinate. You will never finish anything when you say you will. Your work will never be read, never be understood, never get you laid. You will show something important to someone important to you and they will nod and smile and say "Um, yeah. I totally think I get that." You must understand that you will never write anything good. You will never be happy with anything when it's finished. You are doing it, essentially, for nothing.

You must truly accept and expect that you will live a pathetic, painful, fatuous, cringe-worthy, worthless existence. Then and only then will you maybe begin to earn a gram of respect.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Wake up in Allston in a strange bed still drunk and in my Sappho costume. Jess and I wander out to the grey street wobbling. Jess and I have the same cowboy boots as Regie Gibson. My car is still in Cambridge.

I am staggering over the bridge crossing the Charles at 8:30 AM on the first of November in a toga and sash and Greek sandals.

Some days it all makes sense. Some days the fabric of space just vibrates with the rhythms of your beating heart. This crazy, oxymoronic universe sure plans some random days.