Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fling. And then no fling. And then fling again. And then, once again, no fling.

Just to give you an idea of what the last two weeks have been like.

Surprisingly, I feel ok. Though ready once again to take my vows of poverty, don my wimple of crocheted dog hairs, and settle down into the red (with white polka dots) chakra of self-inflicted celibacy. Actually, I'm not totally ready to do this but I'm going to do it anyway.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hi, I'm Shrew and I'm Codependent.

Several months ago, I may have on several occasions used this phrase: "I will never be in a relationship again." It's the kind of thing you whip out when you're desperately miserable and for the 10 millionth time in a day your brain makes you think about your lame ex having intimate relations with his lame teacher. While I don't experience the jealousy I once did (you know, because they kind of deserve each other and the lame sex they're probably having), the above phrase has lately turned into "No, seriously. I will never be in a relationship again." There's not really any drama around it, it just seems like the only choice.

The main reason for this current choice (and I can't really say that I'll do ANYTHING forever or never again, including coffee, cigarettes, or trying on fake outfits in the H&M virtual dressing room) is that I just really can't see how I can be a completely authentic shrew when I have to share time and space with another needy human. I can't foresee the day when this seems like a good decision: to risk losing myself and forfeiting time and energy I now spend on my inner work. And I would be totally fine with this, if it weren't for the fact that there's this other part of me that likes to couple. It may be the whole twin thing. Or maybe it's biological. As much as I hate it (but also love it) there is this weird electricity right now between me and this guy. It doesn't matter if it's the right time, or if I want a relationship or not--the little lightning rods between us don't care about that. Ignoring the lightning rods feels unnatural, but so does giving into them. So right now we're just in this kind of holding pattern of "I like you I like you I like you...stay over there." I wouldn't even say it's sexual tension--more like a drawn-to-ness. He claims that he can sense when I walk by his house--that I broadcast myself somehow. And it pains (and intrigues) me to report that this little phenonmenon seems to work both ways.

Anyway, we're kind of dealing with the lightning rods on a day-by-day basis. My purpose here is to ask any interested reader a question: how (either now or previously) have you negotiated your time, space, and SELF in the midst of what I can't help but see as a soul-sucking endeavor? How do you remain your authentic self? How do you resist codependence in the face of the lightning rods? If anyone has stories or insights, I really am so curious about how other people have made this work. Lord knows I am clueless.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My last vice

I think I'm going to give up caffeine. I'm not sure how this is going to work, since I've been pretty solidly caffeinated since about 1990. I think it makes my anxiety worse. And it dehydrates me.

I'm drinking a venti Awake tea from Starbucks right now, and my head is saying "What the fuck. YOU may call this caffeine, but you might as well be drinking some damn vitamin drink for all the good this is doing me." If I can make it through this headache, I may be able to make it to the roses and bunnies on the other side. Next maybe I'll give up gummies. And then Ambien. You may not even recognize me the next time you see me...I'll be the one glowing with health, or the effects of a raging migraine. Either way, I'll be squinting and cringing, because this is what the sun does to me, and the sun appears to be back for another round of summer happy happy joy joy, beckoning to the tank topped and the flip flopped of this town. Actually, here's who I'll be: the one on the widow's walk in my widows' weeds, spitting on them. Sorry, I just don't really like summer very much. It brings out the wizened divorcee in me.

Last night I dreamed that I was riding a flume ride, and every time the log went over a huge drop, I would fly up out of it, and a huge rubber band would snap me back into place.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dead Crush #14

I first recognized art
as wildness, and it seemed right,
I mean rite, to me

climbing the water tower I’d
look out for hours in wind
and the world seemed rounder
and fiercer and I was happier
because I wasn’t scared of falling off

from “Ode to Michael Goldberg (‘s Birth and Other Births)”

Happy Ashbery Day everyone (thank you to Dan for making me aware of this). It’s also my dad’s birthday.

I don’t even know where to start.

Let’s start with the appearance, because that’s where I start everything. Delicate but wiry. Portrait-worthy (HOW many portraits does this guy have? Larry Rivers’ is my favorite). Flaws obtained by acts of violence (I am a huge sucker for the broken nose. Or any sort of broken anything that heals wrong.) Small and Irish. A dapper dresser. A drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other, a phone in the other, and a book in the other (busy busy busy—he creates implied arms). The voice: flat and nasal, apparently indistinguishable from that of Ashbery. And you just know he had the best walk in the world. You just know.

The poetry. I can’t really say anything about it. If I were to try, I would probably just do some kind of high-pitched ecstatic whining thing, or jump really high on a trampoline. Or read you the poems. So instead I’ll just read you the poems. (Actually, you will read them.)

To John Ashbery (not just cuz it’s his day, but also because it’s one of my favorites)

I can’t believe there’s not
another world where we will sit
and read new poems to each other
high on a mountain in the wind.
You can be Tu-Fu, I’ll be Po Chu-i
and the Monkey Lady’ll be in the moon,
smiling at our ill-fitting heads
as we watch snow settle on a twig.
Or shall we be really gone? this
is not the grass I saw in my youth!
and if the moon, when it rises
tonight, is empty—a bad sign,
meaning “You go, like the blossoms.”

A Raspberry Sweater
to George Montgomery
It is next to my flesh,
that’s why. I do what I want.
And in the pale New Hampshire
twilight a black bug sits in the blue,
strumming its legs together. Mournful
glass, and daisies closing. Hay
swells in the nostrils. We shall go
to the motorcycle races in Laconia
and come back all calm and warm.

The only way to be quiet
is to be quick, so I scare
you clumsily, or surprise
you with a stab. A praying
mantis knows time more
intimately than I and is
more casual. Crickets use
time for accompaniment to
innocent fidgeting. A zebra
races counterclockwise.
All this I desire. To
deepen you by my quickness
and delight as if you
were logical and proven,
but still be as quiet as if
you would never leave me
and were the inexorable
product of my own time.

If I could go back in time and be anything (aside from or including Gram Parson’s girlfriend or Jean Seberg) I would be one of Frank O’Hara’s female muses (of course most of his muses were of the male variety). Not that I would ever be beautiful or talented or loopy enough to qualify, but it’s my fantasy and therefore I can make myself however I want. Jane Frielicher and Grace Hartigan (pictured above) were two painters whom he revered, and wrote poems about them and for them and just in general adored them. He loved painters—he told Larry Rivers in a poem about him “you do what I can only name,” which is often how I feel when looking at the visual art of my friends. So not only do I want to sit around with Frank and drink with him, I think I just would prefer to a painter. Frank didn’t want to be a painter, but he wanted to absorb them. He wanted to absorb everything he loved—absorb the world, transform it somehow in that birdlike skull, and give us result after result straight from that factory, which I imagine to be filled with toy birds, jittery squirrels, and even more cigarette smoke. He rarely revised, often wrote poems in rooms full of the din of his drunken friends. Typewriter clacking. When I try to picture him, I often picture a blur.

Frank O’Hara would love this day. Though I’m more partial to gloom myself, this is a day for purchasing beautiful things, for teen hormones, for shiny details. Background details that almost go unnoticed because of a preoccupation with an obsession. I love Frank because he’s everything I’m not—his sadness hits him just as hard as lust or joy. It is everything, embodied by skinny, quick-moving legs on a noon sidewalk. No dream world for him. He is his own anima.

It’s so strange how I’m still so drawn to that explosive life, especially at a time when I’m trying to be more introspective. I think it’s because of this plan: after I spend some time in my own skull listening, I plan to do quite a bit of living. Although really my plan is that I have no plan. Inner, then outer? Frank could do both all at once: is still doing it all and it’s called Love.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Shrew's Spleen Corner

Dear Readers:

I am so full of hating right now. But it's a sedate hating, full of PMS and lethargy. Here's what I hate:

This town
Being single (I hate it today...all it took was that teeny reminder of what couplehood is like, and now I'm feeling like part of a whole again. Fuck stupid crushes I'm never having one again)
My job
Students, especially white ones who are really tan and talk really loud and are everywhere
Acne (is it really possible to have it for over 10 years?)
My wardrobe (I swear if I could find one store that sells Levis 545s I would feel much better today)
How boring I am...I can't believe I'm even posting this. I obviously need...something. I tried wine and Buffy last night. Tonight I may try a combination of yoga and meditation, maybe some light narcotics.

Sad Shrew

Monday, April 03, 2006


It turns out that I'm not really capable of having a fling, at least not right now. Maybe not ever. I have nothing left over to give someone else right now. I'm trying to make up for the 15 years that I ignored myself, and this doesn't leave much room for any of the stuff that comes from any kind of romantic relationship, temporary or not: all of the when are we going to hang out stuff, the my place or yours stuff, the whose dogs get ignored for 10 hours while we hang out stuff, the obligation to check in constantly because by sleeping together we somehow magically became attached to each other stuff. Amazingly, I have no desire to use a person I care about for my own selfish desires. It would backfire anyway. Because for the first time in the adult shrew life, I actually respect someone I'm attracted too. I feel like this is someone I could potentially have a not completely fucked up relationship with, but I can't do it now. And instead of getting into it because of my low self-esteem or some kind of twisted attempt to not hurt him, I just told him I can't do it. This is the first time I've EVER done anything like this. He listened and understood, in the way that he very often listens and understands. There was a good deal of hugging. And then we took our dogs for a really long walk. And then I went home and cried for about 2 hours.

So no smooching for now. It really is ok. (Am I convincing anyone?) I've been made aware that maybe, as a divorcee with a crappy track record, I can still be attractive to people who have their shit together. I may, in fact, have my shit together. And I have a new friend. And soon I'll be gone gone gone.

And I still have a lot of dead crushes to write. Any votes: Joseph Cornell, Frank O'Hara, or Charles Addams (creator of the Addams Family comic)?