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Oct. 28th, 2008

Singin' in the Rain

More of the Summer Writing Class By Product

Gypsies, Handbags, and Life in Excess

            I’m getting a cramp between my eyebrows from squinting. The sun’s burning peacock feathers in front of my eyelashes and steaming hot, dirty tracks down my face. I’m hot, I’m tired, and I haven’t peed in nineteen hours. This is the best day of my life. I stare down at my feet, they’re covered in a fine layer of black soot, embalmed in sweat, from the cobblestoned streets of Rome.

Rome.

We’d touched down after eight hours, flying on ecstatic hope, wrapped in unprecedented freedom and a scratchy biohazard Delta considers a blanket. Six of us, ranging in age from fifteen to twenty-three all of us students at or relatives of students at Truman High School, a institution of ill repute in my hometown of Levittown, Pennsylvania. Our sole moral compass was a cannabis-consuming, recently retired art teacher, Mr. Double. I had known Double since I was five as he used to teach at the same elementary school as my mother. He had become like an odd, old uncle, always with a kind word at the tip of his tongue and deep lines in his face from living hard and laughing often. We were lead by our guide Andrea, (On-dray-uh, not An-dree-uh) a fine caramel wisp of an Italian man who swirled around us like steam from a foaming espresso, gently informing us which places and behaviors to refrain from in order to avoid jail or death.

I cut my glance across the Spanish Steps, the stone settee on which my ragged group was scattered haphazardly like human litter. My best friend at the moment, Susan, sat on the step below me, back arched against my shins, declaring how comfortable they were as she picked little pieces of the Spanish Steps from her stark white legs. Her sister, Kim, the oldest of our troop sat next to me, both were über blonde, fair-skinned, near-dwarves, small but vociferous. An arm’s length down from Kim was Stephanie, a quietly pretty girl with sharp features and her pretend boyfriend Nick. Nick was all things, slight, Polish, and clearly homosexual. They leaned into each other as Nick fiddled with his camera which was stowed safely in a blue Igloo lunch box.

All of us exhausted, all of us restless, all of us yet to fully absorb the reality of where we were. It was Susan who brought us back from our disjointed awareness, half whining, half demanding we get up and explore our temporary surroundings. We collectively responded with our own curses, groans, and words of contempt for the heat, Susan, and world famous Roman ascending architecture.

We barely made it fifty feet before we were halted by Susan’s demands to digitally record where our little American backsides had only been a few moments before. The mid afternoon sun cast the dramatic type of shadows and brought out brilliant colors one would expect of the many postcards we had already begun to collect. The piazza would appear enormous if it weren’t for the astounding number of people, all different colors, all different nationalities, and primarily tourists. The black cobblestoned streets were set off by that rich golden color people paint their walls with when they want a ‘Mediterranean’ look in their kitchen. The surrounding buildings rose high out of the ground, blocking out much of the azure sky with their old world charm straight out of the movies. It was at this moment I decided that after Johnny Depp, Italy was the single closest thing to perfection this world could offer.

My musings of beauty and rogue Hollywood actors were, alas, cut short as Steph spouted forth the first of many similar inquiries.

“Where’s Nick?”

            Initial annoyance turned to panic when we spotted him a few yards off in the clutches of a dark Italian, using his entire English vocabulary to keep Nick engaged in his sales pitch, complete with such phrases as, “I give you for ten”, “very beautiful”, and “you help me, you buy”. This is what our teacher had warned us about in our pre-trip meetings where we addressed rooming situations, wine prohibition, and the best place to hide your passport.

Gypsies. Honest to God Roman gypsies.

I began to have vivid flashes of that poor, pale, slip of a girly boy being clubbed, beaten, and thrown into the back of a beaded stagecoach never to be seen again. As his grandmother had told Susan and I a week earlier. “Nicky would make a terrible hostage. He can’t keep quiet, they’d either let him go because he was so annoying or kill him.”

I rushed to his side, grabbing his hand in mine, batting my eyelashes in false pretense of looking like a girlfriend and cooing behind a tight smile. “Nick let’s go.” He spoke silent words, mouth gapping like a land locked fish eyes riveted on his other wrist. The gypsy was clutching Nick’s other arm tightly as he feverishly attempted to weave a primary colored and cheap looking bracelet around our boy’s wrist.

I tugged at his arm again, “C’mon Nick.” I knew nothing good could from this man macraméing Nick into some gypsy handcuff. I looked around the piazza anxiously, hoping for a cop and wishing my Italian wasn’t limited to menus, swearing, and polite conversational questions. Steph was shifting from one foot to the other a few feet away looking nervous and helpless, Susan was oblivious to our crisis as she fawned over the cab horses idling in the shade cast off from the surrounding buildings.

“Nick, c’mon, let’s go!” I was about a second off from yanking his arm out of its socket. Frightened what will happen if the gypsy completes his friendship bracelet of doom. The stupid boy just stares at me and I knew if I left it to him he’d end up in a Roman brothel before he protested. I snatched for his other hand and yanked his wrist from the gypsies’ clutches, telling him firmly, “no, mi dispiace” and “no, non grazie”. Perhaps ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘no thank you’ was a bit polite for a reconnaissance mission such as that but my mother raised me to be courteous, even to nomadic muggers.

The gypsy, as I’m sure is the way of his people, had several choice departing words for me, only adding to my expansive repertoire of Italian obscenities.

“I’m pretty sure he called you a bitch.” Nick said as I pulled him further into the crowded piazza.

            I shrugged him off, “You call me a bitch.”

“But that’s only because I know you.”

I could have brought up the fact I just saved his sweet behind from an imminent future in human trafficking, but I prefer to remain modest in my missions work.

Soon Nicholas the Ungrateful and I were reunited with our group. I tried to recount the harrowing tale of Nick’s near-abduction, but the other three had collectively moved on to haggling prices on knock off Coach handbags.

The alleys were filled with imposter luxuries, scattered across dirty blankets, a poser’s picnic. It all looked so out of place, the bags’ pastel graphics juxtaposed by the rough, unwashed hands of their sellers as purses’ gold painted buckles smiled nervously in the sunlight.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Welcome to Louis Vouitton hell.

Damnation, however, was short lived as the police invaded the alley. Their mere presence sent the street vendors into a panic, folding their wares away in street-blackened tarps and scurrying in a thousand different directions, disappearing like roaches into invisible cracks. I had only ever seen a display that disconcerting before when the previous winter I had opened a supply closet in my chemistry class and a mouse and his beetle cohorts disappeared before my eyes. Melting under the fluorescent light.

Susan of course was dejected, clearly distraught at having missed out on the best bargain on a name brand purse you could find outside of Chinatown. She quickly rebounded, moving on to fondle garments at every legit vendor and boutique in a five mile radius. If these items had been children they surely would have been given the ubiquitous command, ‘show me on the doll where she touched you’.

No doubt the candy colored Euros were searing burn marks in our pockets but we were all afraid of popping the souvenir cherry, fearful we’d spend all our allotted money on screen printed The David boxers and starve before our next prepaid airline meal.

After a few minutes I was growing tired of my fumbling compatriots. When I traveled I fought a righteous battle against tourism and its cultural oil spills. I never asked for directions, I didn’t take pictures, and I never addressed natives in anything but their mother tongue. I tried, no matter how blindly, to navigate these unfamiliar streets with the same confidence il Papa would the Gospel.

We perused shops and other sites for the remainder of the afternoon, rewarding ourselves with some gelati for it before deciding to return ourselves to the Spanish where we were instructed to be by 4:30. It was at this point we experienced our second major crisis of the day.

“Where’s Kim?”

I don’t remember who said it, but we all nearly gave ourselves whiplash as we snapped our necks in all different directions to scan the area. We were on one of the many minor side streets most would consider an alley, nothing larger than a Fiat could fit down this narrow, winding path. To our dismay and annoyance the only blonde girl under five foot two in sight was Susan, her sister was gone. Putting on our search and rescue thinking caps we split up. Susan spear-headed the Spanish Steps while Steph, Nick, and I searched the adjacent streets. Our hope was that Susan would fare better at playing Where’s Waldo: We Lost Kimberly Duffy Edition, since it was her own flesh and blood she was trying to pick out of the living canvas that was the face of the steps. We synchronized out Swatches and agreed to meet at the Spanish Steps at the previously designated time. Time sure flies when you’re afraid your friend is lost forever in a foreign country.

“Maybe she found the embassy.” Nick said a quarter after all hope was lost.

“How would that help? It was closed for construction.” Steph said, pushing an unruly strand of auburn hair behind her ear. Honestly, at this point I did not care if we found Kim or not. It was hot, I smelled questionable, and I really, really had to pee.

This was the worst day of my life.

We barely managed to stumble back, finding Susan along the way, she hadn’t found her sister either. Fan-frickin’-tastic. We were fast on our way to becoming a Dateline special about when paradise turns ugly and an unsolved missing persons report.

Slumping back down on the hot, sun-seared stone we waited and hoped that like Lassie, Kim would find her way back on instinct alone by the end of the episode. That is until Double showed up. He was all warm smiles, eyes creased with joy, shaded under his golfer’s cap. You could tell the Roman air and several thousand miles between him and his wife was working its wonders on his soul. The four of us glanced at each other with ashen expressions, no one wanted to be the one to tell him that in our first twelve hours here we had forsaken the first rule of the buddy system. Susan finally manned up, fictionalizing a tale of a car in the alley separating us and Kimberly wandering off with her inability to remember simple directions. Anything to defame the name of the name of the departed in turns makes us look less culpable.

Double stared at us for a long moment, brow furrowed as he rubbed a large hand over the back of his neck in confusion.

“Kimberly’s right over there, she checked in with me already.” He pointed to a spot about ten yards away on an upper right step. There she sat, back hunched, leaning on her knees, staring off deep into the piazza. This is either a miracle or God just Punk’d us. If I weren’t so exhausted I would run over and hug Kim, squeeze her tight and make sure she was okay. Then I’d knock her teeth out. I was overjoyed and enraged. This entire day had been a swing from one polar opposite to another.

Fear.

Ectasy.

Anger.

Apathy.

Worry.

This moment was like the greatest moments in history, a full spectrum of the human experience. Every bit equal parts heaven and hell, a wild animal charging off in every direction at once. This is what it meant to be human. This is how you know you’re living, chaos in just an assurance that you’re doing it right. I was only sixteen but now I knew what it felt like to live. This was one of my first moments as a sufferer from a chronic over-abundance of life. Living life in excess, it’s the only way I’ve ever known.


Knoxville

Shit I Wrote Over the Summer for Non-Fic Writing

Pallid Refuse

Hello there and thank you for choosing Levittown, Pennsylvania as your summer vacation destination. Before you depart, there are a few things you should know.

Founded in 1951, Levittown is a three-of-a-kind place. One in New York, one in Puerto Rico, the other, right under your feet. As, what’s considered by many, the largest suburb of Philadelphia we’ve sort of become a race unto our own. Levittowners have their own indigenous dress, mannerisms, and little idiosyncrasies.

Around here folks refer to their neighborhood as ‘sections’. When William Levitt designed the town to have different developments, each with its own name and streets all beginning with the same letter. For instance if you were the Whitewood section you would come across the street names Wildflower, Winding, and Water Oak. Then of course there’s the drive, every section has a road named after it and is called the drive, from this road you can access any and all roads in that section. Another tip for traveling in Levittown is knowing your landmarks. No one gives directions by streets as they tend not to remember the names of half of them. Again, landmarks here are a bit, unconventional. We go for the large, loud, and assuming. A dance studio in a shopping center with a huge couple painted on it is one such marker. The Paso Doble. Another the Cow Barn, it has since been converted into all manner of things but once was a convenience store, shaped like a barn with, you guessed it, a life-sized cow on top. Classy. And when asking for directions don’t forget to punctuate your sentences with ‘yo’, ‘dude’, and ‘yous guys’. It may go something like this. “Yo, can yous guys tell me how to get from the cow barn to this dude’s place over in Indian Creek?” Now remember, practice makes perfect.

As you navigate the fair streets of Levittown please be advised to mind the potholes. There should be one every six feet. With your new grasp of Levittown dialect you will now be able to locate a seedy mechanic which you’ll need to have your front end repaired after driving these roads. Trust me.

Oh but watch out, any time you drive through a residential area you will undoubtedly nearly run over a minimum of three children. Don’t honk the horn, it only makes the angry. These wild creatures can be found just about anywhere as their territory can span from the basketball net on the curb in front of the house (because the safest place for children to play is most definitely the street) to the nearest Wawa and baseball field. These specimens are highly volatile, prone to swearing, throwing balls, rocks, or as typical ignoring your presence as you to pass them riding down the middle of the road on their ten speed. Their numbers tend to decrease with age due to school and jail. Try not to slow down too much as you pass though, it gives them a chance to grab onto your bumper, tiny fists locking around metal as they trail you on skateboards. Again, this is where a good mechanic can come in handy.

All that traveling must have made you hungry, so you’ll surely want to stop in somewhere for a quick bite. The best food can be found at the sports bars as they are the pinnacle of cultured refinery in these parts. As every Levittowner knows if you can’t walk out after a meal with a six pack, the place is clearly a slum. So stop wherever you are and look around, chances are you’re within thirty feet of one or more bars. Now use what I taught you and approach the nearest stranger and demand, “Yo, where can I get some wings and beer man?” Before you actually enter the establishment be forewarned that patrons don’t take kindly to outsiders. To be truly Levittown you need not only to talk, but dress the part. For men be sure to wear your hair short, although it will be difficult to tell tucked under the requisite Phillies hat. Ripped or dirty pants with double layered t-shirts cuffed at the sleeves are the traditional dress. Neck tattoos are also a must.  And if you’re a lady be sure your entire outfit is two sizes too small. Tramp stamps and tongue rings only enhance your demure beauty. Your hair should be pulled back into a ponytail tight enough that you feel physical pain and the back should be scrunched. This is accomplished by squeezing the strands while still damp and unleashing a full can of hairspray onto it. This will ensure your hair remains immobile even in the unlikely event of a hurricane. Now that you’re in you’ll need to know what to order, wings or cheese steaks will be your best bet for a delicious and nutritious meal. If you’re looking for anything organic, vegetarian, or any vegetable or fruit, may I suggest you leave town. Quickly. On to beverages, don’t expect to find iced tea or a diet Coke, there are no such things as designated drivers as everyone lives within walking distance, even the bartender. Asking for wine selections will ensure you get mugged before you can say Pinot Grigio so stick to beer. Choices are But, Miller, and Yeungling, and since carding leads to less beer sales it is an outdated practice so be sure to tell junior to drink up. Once you’re finished there be sure to dump you to-go beers in someone’s front lawn. This is absolutely socially acceptable, empty out your car’s ash tray while you’re there.

Now that you’re back on the road, but wait- you see flashing lights behind you a hear screaming sirens. First of all, don’t panic, sirens are merely a background noise in this town, like birds singing, and horns honking. Like those other noises, the cause of them is completely ignorable, so don’t pay them any mind. No need for you to take time out of your busy schedule to pull your car over to let these guys through. Who do they think they are anyway? They’re probably just on their way to arrest your best friend’s sister, the ‘dancer’, or barge into the meth den next to in hopes of making an arrest. Please note, this never, ever happens.

Of course, now that you’ve been here you’ll for sure want to make your stay permanent. No need for realtors, one hundred fifty thousand in cash will do just fine. All the weak of heart highfalutins are moving out anyway since things have gotten ‘too ghetto’. Moving in at this point ensures that all your new neighbors are of high status in the Trenton Bloods. Some key home owning practices include decorating your house at the holidays to rival that of the Griswold’s. This is Christ’s birthday, your neighbors can sleep in January. This is the time when you unplug that glorious, glimmering, rainbow spectacle and stow the lawn reindeer in the front bushes. Why take down lights that took you three weeks to put up? Another thing, don’t feel an urge to mow your lawn with regularity. Only once your Labrador stops being visible when he goes out to use the bathroom is it time for a trim. While you’re at it, just rolls the mower over the cracks in the driveway to get the grass growing there too. Edging is for the richies who can afford to pick up Jorge and Miguel at the local Home Depot. It is also crucial that you have minimal interaction with your neighbors. They’re way too loud, have an absurd number of children, and always park in front of your house. Be sure to in turn, make a lot of noise, have just as many unruly children and park in their yard. The only chances of a block party here are if one of your houses burns down. Then be sure to wake all the kids to go outside and watch. Deterring the police and fire units are always fun.

Not all is fun and games for Levittowners though. As a resident you’ve got a very important job to do. Voting, and rooting for the Eagles. Both seasons kick off at about the same time. This is marked by green beer, Eagles jerseys on sale at the supermarket and men in suits roaming your neighborhood. Ah-ah, but down that broom. These fellas aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses, they’re politicians. They too, live here and if they could just have a moment of your time, would like to speak to you about your voting preferences. This is a much shorter speech than that of your fate in the kingdom of heaven and is thus acceptable. Chances are you’re related to one of these smarmy men so be sure to put at least one sign with their name on it, per square foot of land in your front yard. Also be aware voting for them is totally optional. Game day attendance however is not. Don’t worry about prior commitments because everything in town will pretty much be shut down. Only the state stores and supermarkets will being doing business and the game will even be on there should you run out of Mike’s Hard Lemonade or ranch dip. Keep in mind this is a one religion town, any evidence of you supporting another team will have you deemed a witch and burnings will ensue. To prevent this from happening watch every game, travel to the Linc at least once a year, getting thrown in the stadium’s jail is a plus for then you will be with your own kind, men with beer guts painted green and black, bird heads tattooed on their arms, reeking of beer and chanting every other word of the fight song.

Made it through all that? Congratulations, you’re officially a Levittowner. No we’ll need you name and finger print, we’re booking you and taking you downtown.


Aug. 14th, 2008

Audrey

This Ain't a Fad, I Love You Dear

Me and Stephy are getting married.
I love you like whoah biddy, and that's what impulsive people do.
I don't care what's on the radio or where Lindsay Lohan rests her head at night. We're hardcore girl-on-girl, magic porn in the making in love.
Well maybe we'll settle for holding hands and the occasional tastefully placed hickey.
I love her as much as I think one human could another. 
We drink, we swear, we kiss, we smoke, we make artistic endeavors, and let her cat rub his junk on us. 
But I think the part I like about you best is you open my mind up in ways I otherwise could not. You pull me, light and airy, into another near realm of consciousness. You're the prettiest kind if acid.
And I can cross my heart not once, but twice, that I miss you something awfully awful. If we broke our names apart and tried to glue them to another, they'd never quite fit, tongues slipping through the sharp cracks, slicing your mouth like a vengeful chipped lollipop.
Like Regis and Kelly. Ebert and Roeper. 
Me on my won is wronger than than Joey the TV series, Rory when Jess moved away, you'd leave me broker than DJ Jazzy Jeff with out his Fresh Prince charming.
So lover please, let's take a handful of quarters to the supermarket. We'll play the twenty-five cent toy machines until I get you the perfect ring, too small for our near-grown up hands with sparkling pink lucite catching the florescent lighting. We'll walk away, hand in hand, chewing our bubble gum that looses its flavor much quicker than we do, matching tiger tattoos clawing their way up our arms, as permanent as our commitment to avoid soap and water.
Everything lighthearted, temporary, and throw away to contrast our together foreverness.
We can knit each other scarves in the winter, weave jewelry of beads and fishing line on our anniversaries. 
We'll hit every Sunday Early Bird Special and make the blue haired ladies and their no haired husbands jealous. 
Another cup of coffee darling, quick take the rolls while the waitress is away, we'll save them for the ducks in the park.
We'll scare the kids at the lake's edge telling them Charlie's in the bushes, adopting accents from countries we've never been to. Assuring them that yeah, the world's ending, you need to live the rest of your dirty faced, sticky handed life in the next three days. What are you going to do?
We'll share a tiny apartment with reject animals, not particularly grateful to be rescued, a little round in the middle and nothing really intellectual in their heads, even for a half run over cat. The place will have huge windows to blow our smoke out of and a tiny kitchen. All we need to survive is a microwave for Spagettios and a pot to boil water for Top Ramen. I'll get you a blender for smoothies on your birthday one year. It'll have polka dots.
I'll drink my tea while you read me the newspaper in French everyday. We won't know story of the day is, but there's no  need to, we've got a well-tuned ukulele and the first season of It's Always Sunny on DVD. 
Set for life is what you'd call it.
I think people do have soul mates, even if they're not meant to be 'in love' they're meant to be together, keep each other company, but Stephy, you're mine. My alternate personality, if I went crazy, I'd create a manifestation of you in my head to kill people with. No lie.
So, Stephy, I guess my point is you're my best best lovely biddie biffle. I miss you. I miss you.
I miss you still.
Come back and watch critically acclaimed softcore porn with me. We can snuggle up to each other and a bottle of straight liquor. 
This is true love.

When we evaporate into specs of dust, my spec will hold your spec's hand.

Jun. 11th, 2008

Cap't Jack

Jack-Of-All-Trades Vagrant Seeks Like-Minded Catastrophies To Form Community

 

So. With the dawn of summer melting off my layers of clothing and my schedule I am once again free to spend useless hours, roaming through deeper meaning of my waking life.

 

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking lately. As I creep closer and closer to my future self, cap and gown, diploma in hand, proud recipient of a B.A. I’m for the first time, thinking about myself as an ‘artist’ and what that means to me. It seems kind of ironic as before that was a title I fought so hard for, desperately tried to make myself into, yet somewhere, I blinked, and I am that person. I am an artist. It’s what people call me, for good or bad. Now though, now I’m not sure that I like it. People hear I paint and they want a painting, they see me draw and want me to draw their dog. It comes with this strange common acceptance that those who create visually are not masters of their own destiny, bend them, break them, they’re a dime a dozen. You have the ability to record objects in one way or another with great integrity, that’s all that matters. Forget your own desires. Abandon the spiraling, rapturous, complex thoughts in your own mind. You are no more than a breathing photo printer, heart and mind removed and replaced with toner. Leave your soul at the door, there’s bigger plans for you kid.

 

Sure that’s how classical artists operated. Certainly artists of the Renaissance, some of the greatest artists of all time, were commissioned to do their work. Michelangelo didn’t climb up the Sistine Chapel and paint the ceiling for shits and giggles. Some of the most influential art we’ve ever seen was made to order.

 

I can’t do that. I don’t know if it’s a mental block, a lack of faculty to perform at the drop of a hat. Perhaps it’s pride, maybe I just don’t operate that way. I’m not sure that I want to. Obviously being a made to order artist would let you make more money. You’re tapping into an obvious market, giving them the buyer exactly what they want. But is there integrity to this? Who knows, I don’t. My opinion of myself is more of a recorder and interpreter. I’m visual, I see things, I experience things, and I think one of the most key elements of the humanity and consciousness is to share those occurrences and ideas with the rest of the world. For me this comes in the form of writing (clearly), drawings, paintings, speaking, creating. It’s what I’m pretty sure I was put on this earth to do. I don’t think about it too much. I just accept it. If the Greater Plan for me changes at any point, I suppose I’ll follow it, but that’s a whole ‘nother shit heap.

 

But I digress. I’m not sure I want to be an artist. I want to be a vagabond. That’s my final answer.

 

Anyway, I’ve decided I’m starting my own school of art. I’m inviting all my friends, it’ll be like a party, we might invite England too. We’ll obviously need artists, definitely a musician or two, at least one really skinny pretty girl who self-destructs at the drop of a hat. At least one semi-respectable individual to do average to sub-par work in the film industry and maybe a poet, ya know, for street cred.

 

Anyone interested, apply below.

Nov. 25th, 2007

Marla

My So-Called Therapy

Dear Jordan Dana,

So this seemed to work for Angela in getting Jordan Catalano's attention, and if it's good enough for Jordan Catalano its good enough for you. Then again, Jordan Catalano can't read, so just ignore every word over five letters long.
Wait, I should backtrack a bit.
I've always had what even I deem as an unhealthy addiction to My So-Called Life. Mostly due to the fact that Angela's life parallels mine with sickening accuracy, that and Jordan Catalano is beautiful.
Anyway in the episode titled "Why Jordan Can't Read", Angela writes this five page love letter about every feeling, every thought she'd ever had about Jordan. So considering my present climate, which must be mental instability, I've decided to do the same. Whether or not you'll ever lay eyes on this depends solely on your ability to feign illiteracy. 
Enough about Jordan Catalano, no you.
I guess I should start at the begining.

1. I still remember quite clearly that day you followed me home. Well not so much followed as tagged along for the walk. Brienne (sp?) said it was because you liked me, but she was a lying cheating whore so, who knows. After that you were permanently implanted into my life. I mean why me? Out of a class of six hundred and you choose me to follow home? I was awkward and shy and had those horrendous braces and had about three friends in the whole world. I still don't know why, I'm just glad you did.

2. You refused to talk to me after that. Wouldn't even make eye contact for about a year. I still wonder what would have happened if you kept avoiding me.

3.Junior year was by far our most prolific so this may take a while. To sum it up, I loved you, I hated you. I didn't want to so much as see you but got disappointed if we didn't talk. I was basically your typical bipolar, nutso, 16 year-old convinced they were in love. More on that later. I remember there was about a month where you used to call me randomly and we'd talk about jack shit. Those are honestly some of my favorite memories of you. At the beginning of that school year Nichole Posey and I passed this note back and forth. It more or less assessed who was in our classes, and who we wished were or weren't. Next to your name I wrote: 'He is loud, annoying, and dumb, I hope I never see him again.'
I still think you're loud, and you drive me crazy, but my ultimate fear is that one day you'll decide you've had enough of me and all my bullshit and that'll be the end of it. I need you, whether simply as a friend or, whatever the fuck is going on with us, I just need you in my life.

4.11th grade was also the first year I realized just how schizo you are. The way I figure it you work on a three month calendar. For a while you're totally engaged and interested to the point I'm convinced something is going to happen. Then you're off again on some new conquest, unreachable and not to be heard from again for another few months. If I could change one thing about you, that'd be it, it's fucking confusing and just as annoying. It doesn't make any sense, what makes even less sense is that instead of moving on you at some point end up back at me. Why? Am I safe? Am I just stupid enough to take you back every single time? Or do you actually consider me? Which is it?

5. Remember those CDs you burned me but never gave me for...whatever reason. I used to imagine what was on them but I could never think of anything besides "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. I still wonder what was on them sometimes. I might compile one for you one day, if only to make myself better. It would include such works as "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and "Fuck It" by Eamon. 

6. You could have had me at 'Hey, my name is Dana, this is my number...', if it weren't for my overwhelming and ever present insecurity. Whenever someone shows any interest in me. I immediately assume its an elaborate prank, like Ashton might jump out a tree at any moment and tell me I've been "punk'd". Although I must say you do an excellent job of leading me on without the help on any That 70's Show alum. I'm defensive, and at times you give me warrant to be. All I've ever heard is how unsatisfactory in every way I am, I've been hurt a lot, even you're guilty of that. So tell me why, WHY do I set myself up for it?

7. I'll ask you again to remember back to junior year, Valentine's Day. I was being my usual pissy 'I-hate-Valentine's-Day' self. And you gave me that fucking card. You said all these things, that I'm still not sure if you meant or not. The card had this goofy cay on the front and you signed it "Love, Dana" who knows if that's significant or not. I still have it, mainly because it carries with it the innate ability to make me both smile and want to cry. I think that pretty much sums up our relationship, just add anger, resentment and stir...

8. I was convinced that once we started dating it'd be this huge thing. We'd be together all the time, making out, holding hands, fucking, all that fucking shit. Dugan's said since 9th grade he sees us getting married. (Fuckiing spooky.) I never planned a wedding, but I never planned a break up either. Not like I do with everyone else. Maybe that means something, maybe I just have shit for brains when it comes to you. I'm opting for the latter.

9. More on that magical little queer known as Michael Dugan. Let's face it I'll never know what you said, or even if you said anything. I still doubt you, but you haven't given me a whole lot to have faith in. All I know is that while I was upset on Dugan's count I found it to be an ever-so convenient excuse to never fucking see you again. I don't feel bad for that considering all the shit you've put me through. Years of yanking my chain, leading me on, and false hope. Every time I had to be your friend and listen to you recounting the tales of your exploits. Guess what, it fucking sucked. You fucking suck for that. So that's my excuse. It was any easy fix, never see you, never talk to you, never have to admit to myself how much I actually wanted you. I'm sorry if that hurt at all but you fucking deserved it you twat. The worst part is, I have even less of a clue of where I stand then I did before. Go figure.

10. I'm not sure if you actually don't know this or you're just playing dumb, but you're gorgeous. You always have been. Especially when it's just us, there's a side to you I don't get to see with anyone else around. That side, that guy, he's an incredible person. I love that guy. Then again, maybe it's an act, maybe I'm in love with a bunch of smoke and mirrors. But the thought that it's honesty and not something imaginary, it gives me hope.

11. I truly do not understand you sometimes. You're willing to drop whatever the fuck it is you're doing and drive 69 (huh) miles up the turnpike and back for three fucking hours? I'd say you're just desperate for a fuck but I didn't even get that satisfaction. Last I checked that'd been the only thing on your agenda for as long as I've known you (six years) and all of a sudden nothing? What the hell? Am I not what you were hoping for? Am I different now, unattractive, slutty? I mean what the fuck is wrong with me? I think I deserve to know that much,

12. I hate you sometimes. I do, I really fucking do, I hate you right fucking now for instance. You have a gift sir, A real fucking gift. Nothing gets me this pissed of besides the Eagles losing to the Pats or Paris Hilton on CNN (which are completely unrelated grievances). But then you have to go and fuck it up. You have to call me, or see me, And I'm always, ALWAYS happy when that happens. As exasperated as you fucking make me, a few words in and you're golden. You piece of shit, I hate you for that. If I could headbutt my space bar I would. (And I think "DC" would agree.)

Alright, I'm pretty sure I've covered all your shit, Now a brief glimpse of mine. 
Believe it or not I hate talking about myself. It makes me feel like a petty narcissistic bitch. Fuck maybe I am, but now I'm rambling...

1. I hate being a girl. Not in the transgender or even feminist sense. I just hate feeling weak, hate being emotional. Like Warhol said "I want to be a machine." I suppose this is the major by-product of being raised on M*A*S*H by a WWII vet whose pet name for you was "Butch". I just hope that to some degree you feel the same way, not the part about Vietnam lampooning TV shows but that you feel that way about me. Even if it's not how you feel about me as an individual. I just hope that whenever you hear I've been fucking around with someone you get just the slightest bit jealous. If not, I've wasted a shitload of time on you.

2. I never want to be "that girl". I don't want to be the annoying girl who calls all the time. No matter if I miss you, or hate you, or just want to fucking talk, there's always that fear. I don't want to be the weirdo girl you talk to your buddies about. I don't want to be the retard whose number comes up on your phone and you hit ignore. Basically I don't want to be Susan Duffy.

3. I want more than anything to just know where we stand. Friends? Fuck buddies? Potential relationship? Future murderer and victim? Anything? Just fucking tell me! I don't care what the answer is, just fucking let me know. 

I think it also should be stated that you are the type of person that makes people drive nine hundred miles in an adult diaper to commit murder. Thanks for clearing up that enigma.

Sincerely,

Angela "Red" Chase
Aim

Nov. 19th, 2007

Knoxville

Bad Boys, Worse Decisions.

I'm in desperate need of a change. I'm tired of just about everything in my mundane average life. 
I hate most of the fucking assholes in this so-called institution of higher learning. I'm sick of having a tyrant senior and an array of rent-a-cops breathing down my neck. I'm tired of being ignored by the only people I want to listen. I'm also quite through with under-stimulated and over-worked. 
More than anything I'm sick of myself. My inability to ask for help when I need it, or maintain any control over this thing called my life. I'm tired of being the only one who gives a damn, or who sees through the bullshit. I want to get down off this soap box. I wish I could stop being who I am, or at least go back to who I used to be. I've been too receptive, learned too much, and now all this new-found enlightenment weighs on my conscience. 
I'm over not knowing. I'm done with being unsure. Now more than ever I just want 'yes' and 'no' answers. Yes, you've been accepted. No, you're not talented enough to be cast.
I've gone and fucked my life up again by asking 'what if'. I can't just have faith in my abilities as an artist and my desire to work. I'm too piss scared of having to work a dead-end job the rest of my life. I guess I just don't want to turn out like my mom.
And that gets ya down, so you don't go to class, and that just digs the hole deeper and now you can't even feel bad for yourself because its your own damn fault.
You're torn between mediocre familiarity and a frightening new chance to start over. But it's not really starting over as much as it is building on the past and looking like an idiot in the process.
Bad decisions covered, then there's the boys. Hold on, let's make that singular. 
What the fuck am I gonna do. I' ve been walking in circles now for six years and I still don't know which way to turn to get out of these woods. I thought I'd found it but I only figured out that Red Riding Hood seducing the wolf will only lead to bite marks in sensitive places. Then again, what makes you think luring him into the domesticity of grandma's house is a good thing. Just as Aslan is not a tame lion, neither is he, nor are you. So why do you bother? Is it just because it's an easy trap to fall into? A simple pattern to follow, one that you can do even in a coma, not unlike the one you're in now. Maybe. Or maybe you really mean it when you drop that single word bomb that makes your stomach knot and your heart just want to give the fuck up already. You have to ocassionally think you're not meant for any of that. Perhaps you really are Andy, born of few decades late, and Mr. Warhol never did marry. 
Maybe you're just doomed to repeat these patterns until your heart just stops beating.

Sep. 14th, 2007

Sweeney Todd

Untitled [9-12-07]

Do you feel it? 

The twitching in your fingers, this uncontrollable urge to do, just do something.

Do you see it? 

Look into my eyes. 

Do you fucking see it? Do you see it in me? 

Because I can feel it, I can feel it so strongly. Like it may overtake me, take me over. 

Am I the only one? Does this feeling, this urge, this fucking thing affect anyone else? 

It's like the swell of the ocean, rising, knocking you down, dragging you back into it's hold. 

Do you feel it? Do you see it in my eyes? 

Look at me, look harder, it's there, I know it's there. 

Do you see this thing? How can you not? 

Because I can feel it, in every fucking inch of me, I feel it. I feel it all over, this fucking urge, this damn need. I don't think muse is the right word. For last I checked muses sang and this thing is screaming. I hear it, it drowns out everything else, it's deafening. And I can feel it. My skin crawls from it. I see it, I hear it, I feel it, I fucking breathe it. It's this overwhelming desire to create something. To make something. To be something. 

Do you see it? 

Look into my eyes. Tell me you don't feel it. 

Am I the only one, the only one who sees? 

Tell me you can hear it. 

Hear it whispering, hear it screaming. 

Feel it grab you? 

Am I the only one? The only one afflicted with this force, this pull, this beast. 

Did they feel it? All the artists, gone and past. Is this what they feel? This need to do. This need to be. I have it in me, and it begs to be let out. Through a pen, a brush, a movement. This thing pushing to be unleashed. Is this inspiration? Is this what it feels like? This unnerving give and take, if you don't use up this surge in creativity, it uses you up. If you can't make something of it, it breaks something inside of you. It's all a balancing game, innovation or destruction. 

Is this what all those artists felt. All those artists before me.

Did they see it? 

Could you see it in their eyes? 

Did they feel it taking over them? 

Is this what made them do it? Write the perfect love story, find beauty behind asylum walls, compose a symphony they'd never hear? 

Is this what made them do it? Cut off their ears, overdose, take their lives? Is that what they get for not listening? For fighting this thing? 

Did they feel it? 

Is this what it feels like? 

Look into my eyes, just look. Do you see it? 

Do you see it? 

Because I can feel it. I can feel it, and I can hear it. 

Do you see it? 

Did you tell them you didn't see it? Is that why they took their lives? 

Did you tell them you saw nothing? 

How could you not see it? 

They felt, I know they must have felt it. Because I can feel it. I can feel it.  

They felt it, and they heard, didn't you see it in their eyes? 

Because I can see it, I look in the mirror and I see it. I can see it in my eyes. I can see them, and I see what they saw. I see it, and I feel it, I feel them in me. It's all in me. The life of an artist, one recycled soul, used over and over. Over and over, they've felt it. I feel it. 

Did you see it then? Do you see it now? 

It's in me, it's all in me. 

Because I can feel it. It's all I feel, it's all I need. I'm merely a vessel for this pre-used soul. Recycled over and over. 

In my hand-me-down soul I feel it. I am not unique or special. I am just an means to an end. I'm a slave to my art, to their art, to all of it. 

I can feel it, and I know what I'm supposed to do. 

I feel it and I know who I am. 

Do you see it? 

Look into my eyes. Tell me that you see it. 

Because I can feel it pulsing in my veins, I can hear it. 

I feel it and I know. I know what I am. What I've always been. What I'll always be. 

I feel it and I know why I'm here. What I'm meant to do. To let it out. To always let it out, or be crushed under its weight. It's done them in, so many before me. It's squeezed the life right out of them. 

They tried to fight it. They'll never win. 

I'll never win. 

I feel it, and I'm letting it out. All these words, they release the pressure, ease the pain from the extreme need. 

I felt it. 

I still feel it. 

But now I can breathe. It's what I breathe, it's all I am. 

Do you feel it? 

Do you see it? 

Look into my eyes and tell me. 

Look into my eyes like you looked into theirs and tell me. 

Do you see it?

Aug. 21st, 2007

Brokeback

Ode to a Wonderwall

In Corinthians 13: 4-7 Paul writes:
          
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres."

I'm a hopeless romantic, but at the same time, I'm a grounded realist. I know we don't live in a world of perfect loves, of Romeo and Juliets, or Cinderellas and handsome princes, or even Jack and Sallys. We live in a world of harsh realities, of Desdemona and Othellos, Jack and Ennis'. The type of love that Paul describes is a perfect love, only capable of being expressed fully by God towards us. And while some may argue that God does anger with us, I prefer to think he's not mad, he's just "disappointed". Love is imperfect, it envies, it's selfish, it holds grudges. It is mistrustful and at times hopeless, because we are. We are miserable, self-serving, shallow creatures barely capable of pure unifluenced thought and thus so is love. What elevates love, true love at least, from any other debauched human feeling is perserverence. Being in love, really being in love doesn't mean never having to say you're sorry. It means that you will mess up, and you will sincerely seek forgiveness and it will be granted in good faith. Being in love means you can mistrust and freak out and be forgiven and thus gain trust. It's how the game works. It's hard, and it's rare, but I think it's something we all ultimately aspire to, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. 
It means accepting someone for their flaws, and loving them anyway, it means compromise, and sacrafice, but doing it willingly. It's not blind adoration and trust, its trust based on history and experience and thought. Love isn't blind, it means having eagle eyed vision, of seeing someone under a microscope and accepting them and letting them do the same. It's being a well-informed idiot. That's what it takes, that's what it demands, and it's a risk, but then again, isn't everything good in life a risk?

On that note, I would like to announce my undying love and affection for Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. I'm sure we'll be quite happy together once we meet.

[Yes, I'm a sap STFU.]

Aug. 18th, 2007

Spinal Tap

$8.60/hr

Okay so I've been slacking on this thing, so sue me, now fuck off.

Okay so I moved dorm rooms again. And yes I say dorm res. life because you're all a bunch of whiny ass bitches who have fucked me over so many times I feel like I should be getting paid for your continual rape of my rooms. 
Bitches.

My shit is all over. ALL OVER. I need to have it at least put away, if not organized by the time Mandy gets here. That'll be Sunday. I'm really excited to have her back but at the same time I'll desperately miss Kate as she was my best and only friend this summer. Not that I feel abandoned by or have abandoned my other friends but I never really saw any of them. Kate's been my wingman for lack of a more fitting term, or maybe I'm hers. Yeah, that seems more appropriate. We had a lot of "incidents" this summer. I can't even begin to remember all of them, but the best ones involved a parking lot. Wegman's kicked both of our asses, and we snuck in and out of Wal*mart countless times without contracting any type of STD or fungus. We made it to King of Prussia and FINALLY found that damn Indian restaurant. We looked up the the economic type for Newark. NJ, duuuuude there's no listing!!
Scary? Yes.

We also learned how to befriend lesbian pro softball players, how not to layer fondant, and how to make it rain. No seriously, it was on controlling the weather.

We left Shark Week on 24 hours a day all week, and drank enough Starbucks to fill a moderately sized swimming pool.

I drunk dialed like a pro and made a "monument". Steph was suitably unimpressed.

I started smoking, then promptly quit a week later.

I gave up, I gave in, I learned a boatload and inivitably repressed something else in the process. I learned girls are fun to look at, but not so fun be near, kind of like a porcupine. 

I've completely unmade up my mind and made my bed all at the same time. I'm driven and aimless and hopefully desperate. 

I've nurtured the lives of two fish and killed countless insects with extreme prejudice.

I saw Suge Knight die, and bought Oktoberfest beer mugs for $0.99

I've become an isolated, self-sufficient piece of machinery and I like it that way. I'm one step closer  to becoming Andy Warhol.

I don't know what I want or how to get it. If you scratch an itch you just get another one somewhere else.

What am I talking about? the fuck if I know. That's why they call it a stream of consciousness.

Jul. 20th, 2007

Dominic

Garden State Parkway [7-20-07]

Driving, nothing seems to deliver earth shattering clarity quite like a long car ride. So much time confined in a box whirring 70 miles and hour down the road. Everything seems to be put into perspective when you're looking at the world through a side-view  mirror. On a road trip my world seems to be shrunk down to all the things that truly matter. The earth, the sky, this beautiful world we live in. At times like these all I can think it 'God I want to see every inch of it'. And here I am, in this little slice of perfection, floating somewhere between the tang of salt air and the roar of the ocean. Not quite touching the earth or heaven, suspended in this transient bliss. I could be alone here forever, chasing this poetic ideal of the quiet hummings of a small town that thrives on the sand and the sea. I'd paint oils onto canvas, filling books with words like, these, words that only I'd see until the ocean breeze blows away the last of me, like the woman in that story where the rain talks. Speaks volumes more than any human could. 

Then there'd be nothing left but filled up pages and covered canvases. A quiet and lovely legacy for no one special to inherit. It's so tempting and alluring, like a sailor giving into the beckoning siren call, accepting his untimely end, for it will be a tragically beautiful one.

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