the construction fellows solved tuesday's job issues by mutilating our phone line; i was free to race to safeway and discover that their restrooms were closed for maintenance. i'd liken the whole affair to the pee-addled child scene in magnolia, but i hear that the sequence was based on something that happened to fiona apple. we avoid comparisons to fiona apple at all costs.

spoke with the east coast today. it wasn't especially interested in scansion as a precursor to magazine editing, but it did seem to think it could be reasonable for me to come to new york for the summer. my mention of the prospect undoubtedly throttles the whole thing - see entries on davis, seattle, los angeles - but news is news.

e-scrabble: mail-based games don't deliver the real-time gratification one might find at games.com's official site. they are a fine way for paul and i to talk trash without feeding the phone company.

strong bad popped up at enjelani's the other day, and the lazy hipster in me wants to steal the credit for him: i had the tee shirt months ago, man, and i infected the new year's party with tap your toes, check the e-mail... in short, it's weekly animated letters from a superior being in a mexican wrestling mask. if you fail to appreciate guitar and dragon, i don't know what to say.


waiting for a job-related phone call from the east coast. i hate phone interviews, though i'm told i have a lovely phone voice. this i credit to the sea of beverages consumed as i wait for job-related phone calls. when i worked phones at the spca, i was the only employee brave enough to use the waiting room drinking fountain. necessity is the mother of infection.

we weren't told that the construction guys would cut our water today. that's fine - i have plenty of diet soda - but i have plenty of diet soda. okay, so we'll go to the grocery store and use their bathroom - but i'm waiting for a phone call.

these times remind us of how power really works. art leads to ego, careers lend direction - but if you haven't the freedom to pee, you haven't much at all.

perspective, y'know.


this finished product, says the bar of soap, not tested on animals. i'm hanging on to that loophole; i can buy sneakers all day long now, since foot locker isn't a sweat shop. i'm not an ethical superstar, mind you; we simply hates being treated like we just tumbled from the logic truck. the soap was a gift, happily, and the perfect size to lob at the nasty neighbors across the alley.

logic truck, throwing arm: my pile of 'finished' poems was whining for attention, so i broke it up and sent the survivors to the mailbox. little verse armadas are sailing off to editors around the country as we speak. i have a silly fear of those editors getting together and shredding manuscripts with duplicate cover letters, so i penned a fresh one for each entrant. penned: i still can't compose at the keyboard. phobias are murder on the wrist.

send luck.


strange dreams courtesy of AEROS, a romanian gymnastics collective that performed at uc davis last night. at one point the troupe crab-walked, a la linda blair in the exorcist, in white body suits under black light. as their extremities were invisible, they looked like a living dali painting: limbless, headless forms limping about to a soundtrack of abstract jazz. one wonders how it must feel to go from the olympics to something like that.

having moderate success with sonnets; i've promised myself that i'll send a few pieces away by the end of the month. cheap way to fill the hours of waiting for job calls, you see.

on names, or the sort of anecdote one might want to skip if gratuitous autobiography annoys:

an hour ago, i'm bent double with a craving for candy: i liken it to a pregnant woman's midnight need for bologna and chocolate, or something. joe refuses to accompany me but requests almond roca, so i dash off to walgreen's for said roca and sour straws (it was a very specific urge).

at the door, i get a huge HELLO HOW ARE YOU DOING? from a guy with a cup of soda. i figure he's an evangelist or some such, so i escape to the candy aisle, where i get the same HOW ARE YOU DOING? from three employees. i notice the soda guy is following me. CAN I HELP YOU FIND SOMETHING? i'm thinking i must look like a shoplifter, or i forgot my pants. no, everyone's just creepy-nice. i ask for almond roca and the three start handing me jordan almonds, mocha bars, hershey's with almonds. i'll just keep looking myself, but thank you. now a couple has joined me and soda guy and the three. "what are you looking for? we've got to know." almond roca, which is not really that important to me, but now it's a kind of quest. "it's our quest now, too." they're very solemn. they're handing me candy. i grab a heath bar and flee.

mister soda is outside, waiting. CAN I ASK YOU SOMETHING? WOULD YOU GO OUT WITH ME SOMETIME? oh, he was just nervous. okay. i live with someone, actually, but thank you. that's very flattering. OH, SO YOU'RE SEEING SOMEONE? he's processing. i start for home. YOU'RE VERY PRETTY! and he follows me for the next two blocks.

i'm quite nondescript, actually, so this little attention blizzard wasn't a beauty queen moment. joe confirmed that there was no snot on my face or clothing missing, so...ABNER strikes again.

i told my sister that i enjoy personalized stuff with names other than mine, so she bought me this dubious pair of red satin underwear and painted ABNER in glittery script across the front. i've only hit the streets in ABNER a few times; when i do, this shit happens. i dress conservatively and keep my head down, but ABNER's influence persists.

i apologize for the long story about knickers, but it's cathartic to share.


the french house's own vienna teng is on letterman tonight! get on the horn!


tom threw together a fine primer on do-it-yourself politics in partial response to yesterday's apathy spiel. thank you, stanford, for friends who kick ass in fields i can't navigate.

sociology majors, this one's for you: when joe woke up this morning, i mocked the weird, beatific smile he'd been wearing in sleep. i dreamed i was mother nature, said he. i walked around handing out little purses full of precious metals, and i'd leave the room every once in a while to make a nuclear reaction that kept the sun going.

it's a lovely dream, but it's not especially heterosexual. couple this with his superlative mushroom risotto and fondness for thrift shopping, and - modern women have come to accept nay expect sensitive new age characteristics in their partners, but i get worried every now and again.

and you, ebay circuit: i'm teaching myself to identify fiestaware at thrift shops, but my aptitude is weak. if one finds, say, sea foam green tea cups with appropriately spaced concentric circles and an italicized black F stamp, does one have the real thing? i have two dollars riding on this, you see.


we passed through the tail end of the day's protests this afternoon. i'd like to feel proud that san francisco hated bush with such...volume, or guilty that i was bringing laundry home instead of running around with a sign, but i feared/scorned the whole process. these weren't hippies; these were the sort of people who threatened me with violence in junior high. i got kicked out of homeroom in seventh grade for refusing to salute the flag - when did the tables turn, exactly? as for the scorn, i'm still kung fu fighting with my lack of faith in civil disobedience. joe and i worked for a toothless government official and a toothless nonprofit, respectively, yet i consider protests the lamest common denominator in the business of Making A Difference. i can't believe in change from the middle, and something tells me i'll never be at the top - as i do consider myself an active leftist, shouldn't i be sweating with the folks on the bottom?

for now, the short answer is no. when i think of a more constructive way to loathe this war, i'll let you know.


i missed the news that diane middlebrook, one of my favorite professors, became an emerita last year. phooey, as i had big plans to force my sister into her plath and hughes class. on the other hand, viking is to publish a marriage of true minds (on those crazy poets) this year; if it holds a candle to her work on anne sexton, buy buy buy.

on biography. i chucked aside my publisher's proof of the disastrous mrs. weldon, an utterly uninspired treatment of a peripheral victorian naughty girl. the copy was free, you see, and i thought it might be exciting to read it before an editor came through. pleh, however. source material was apparently so scarce that the author resorted to nonsense like "thackeray's daughter was roughly georgiana's age at roughly the same time, and she too had blue shoes". i moved on into an edna st. vincent millay biography; this one looked like high cheese, but it's tasty. no lack of material on vincent, who posed for naughty photos with her husband and is said to have seduced most of north america. does one become a bombshell after recognition as a poet, or is that supposed to come first? i'm eyeing the red hair dye again, eyeing it and planning.

on middlebrook. i've yet to find a template to help me explain that she should accept me as her serf, read my poetry, and maybe write to grad schools on my behalf. the plan is to be honest about my professional crush and hope that she's willing to speak with me. if that fails, i enjoy housework.


disturbing anthropomorphism happening over my shoulder from the television. The Internet is whining that it's so vast...how can [it] fit through a teeny little phone connection? this Internet may have a point; considering the quality of our current access, i think someone attached our line to their small intestine. it may be time to make the switch to cable. i'll have to reprogram the cat, as he's trained to leave my lap when the server shrieks GOODBYE!, but change builds character.

jen has posted more incriminating photos from our pilgrimage to tucson (set 1 is available at julia's corner of medianstrip). saguaros eat cats, you know; think of the kittens when you get to those majestic shots of desert flora. stewart claims that they can be retrieved, but i wasn't born yesterday.


long ago when the earth was flat, i got excited about collaborative mail art thingies and registered at nervousness; yesterday the mailperson gave me a handmade book from georgia and the command to write'n'illustrate haiku. okay.

a waxy finger
taps at the pantry: hello?
potatoes want out.

i made a superlative potato collage with lots of angelina jolie's eyes. it's very sinister. you'd be impressed.

on adaptation. like julia, i admire its nuts and bolts; fun movie to watch, fun movie to discuss. i developed a tic as other folks in the audience laughed at the sort of comments the MFA kids made about Writing like three years ago; what are we to understand about craft when i, a professed hack, consider its trade humor old hat? i suppose i was hoping for mysticism, like maybe you learn a secret handshake when you become a Paid Writer. and the metasmugness, o the metasmugness. i'll enjoy art so much more when i have a job.


i'm no good with fancy cameras; i prefer to buy disposables and stash them in my purse, my car, my couch. it's pointless to keep photo albums in chronological order, as i'll snap maybe five pictures on a single occasion and let the camera disappear again. it's great fun to get one developed and remember a vacation that happened years ago.

today's roll was wacky: a valentine's day bouquet, a shot of me thirty pounds heavier, joe and i looking startled at the space needle in seattle...and my parents posed at the dinner table, christmas eve. i learned maybe a month later that their divorce was finalized hours before i took the picture.

who recalls things in a linear way, anyhow? in 1999, i met an old boyfriend at a party in london. i didn't really remember that we'd been close until he smiled a certain way, and our breakup didn't hit me again until i was waiting for the bus to take me home. photos remind me that i had joe's shirt tied around my waist all night for moral support.
pack the brain's auditorium
with inexhaustible swarms of beloveds.
Spatter laughter from eye to eye,
sate the night with former weddings' glory.
Fill every soul with a jocular mood
so that this night is forgotten by no one.

(vladimir mayakovsky, from "the backbone-flute")

on myth. the foo-foo grocers near my father's house sold me a beautiful bottle of pomegranate juice last night. i 1) wanted to use the glass as a vase and 2) have a weird thing for persephone, so i guzzled it before we left for san francisco this morning. i haven't felt so ill since, er, new year's day.

on myth. scrawled at the upper left corner of my new chum, the oxford companion to english literature (1932):





PHYLLIS - FEB. 28 - 1959
on myth. joe and i crawled around los angeles and discovered a marvelous apartment - built c.1911, hardwood floors, fireplace in bedroom w/city views - in san francisco. i've determined that no zesty new city wants to take me in and help me figure out my twenties. this place has no great love for me, mind you, but my mail's already coming to this address. in this case, at least, i'll go for the path of least resistance.

jake and tom have, at long last and with great fanfare, taken to the web. they are fine men. visit them early and often.

the little-site-meter-that-could registered my ten thousandth visitor last week. though i failed to block my own page views for several of the first months online, it's pleasant to think that my mom and paul's mom have been checking up with me. ladies, friends, and random hits from developing countries, welcome and thanks.


my grandfather wasn't very happy, yesterday, about my eyebrow piercing. then again, he said, he once saw a boy in london with a safety pin in his cheek, and i might have done worse. he thought that i would turn out fine.

grandpa met joe for the first time. he wished that we would make it legal, but he'd known people who stayed together without marriage and were happy.

he sang:
Fare thee well, for I must leave thee,
Do not let the parting grieve thee,
And remember that the best of friends
must part, must part.
Adieu, adieu, kind friends adieu,
Adieu, adieu
I can no longer stay with you,
I'll hang my harp
On a weeping willow tree,
And may the world go well with thee.
he shook hands with joe and hoped that he would be a part of our family. he said he didn't believe that men shouldn't cry, and he cried.

on the drive back to her condominium, my grandmother mentioned a passing YIELD sign. it reminded her of tennyson: to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

maybe two years ago, i wrote grandpa a letter that explained how he was my favorite relative; he reminded me of it when i saw him at the hospital. i don't consider memory often, but i'm beginning to understand its value.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are -
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

(tennyson, "ulysses", 1842)
tales of the monks from the gesta romanorum (trans. ed. 1928):
the black pit and a drop of honey

barlaam says that a sinner is a man who, being afraid of a unicorn, stepped backward into [goodyear, arizona]. but when he had fallen he laid hold of a [glittering cardboard tiara], and drew himself up.

looking below, he espied at the foot of [steve marlowe] by which he had ascended a very [small italian greyhound named captain nemo], and a horrible [full bar] encompassing him. [marlowe] appeared to expect his fall with [shots of jim beam]. now, the man was constantly being gnawed by two [clouds of smoke], one being [a leopard-printed hookah] and the other [camel ultra lights]. and the man [sang "sweet caroline" while fishing empty fifths from the swimming pool]. there were also four [unemployed college grads] at his foot, which filled the pit with their pestilential [dancing].

lifting up his eyes, the man beheld [rum] dropping from [marlowe]; and wholly forgetful of his danger, he gave himself up to the fatal sweetness. a friend, stretching out to him [a glass of water and tylenol], would have raised him entirely out; but, overcome by the allurement, he clung to [a cactus], which [ripped his clothes], and cast him into the jaws of the [italian greyhound]. the [times square ball] immediately descending to the lowest pit, there devoured him. he thus died a miserable death.

dear god, what a party.


the guest blogging will happen, truly it will; in the interim, paul has detailed our arizonan debauchery at slithy tove.