charlie is loving his post as the head of our apartment's cockroach patrol. we have either the world's fastest cat or the world's dumbest pests - yesterday he took a winged fellow down, no sweat. i'm hoping for a transaction similar to boston's, where i let the first one go with a warning and he told his buddies to steer clear of my stuff. i'm supposed to have faith in rehabilitation.

about to conclude my heart-to-heart with samuel beckett. the biography is a real enabler, as SB lived with his mother for nearly thirty years before catching the serious publishing train. moreover, his youthful volleys were often laughably short poems. we like this.
Is he his own strength?
What is its signature?
Or is he a key, cold-feeling
To the fingers of prayer?

He is a prayer-wheel, his heart hums.
He is eating the wind -
In patient power of appeal.
His footprints assail infinity

With signatures: We are here, we are here.
He is the long waiting for something
To use him for some everything
Having so carefully made him

Of nothing.

(ted hughes, "crow frowns")

placement is everything. at the shakespeare garden in central park, a robin built her nest atop the romeo and juliet sculpture - you could see her babies' beaks peeking out from juliet's bosom. goddamn ridiculously cute. later that night, i found myself talking to a random british guy in a club. what's that smell? sez he, and it turns out he had dropped a burning cigarette butt directly into the cuff of my jeans. which were, at that point, on fire. i knew the resurgence of pants in my life was going to end badly -

the aforepictured paul wouldn't crow about getting an 800 on the GRE lit exam. me, i have no problem bragging about him.


Paul got new glasses.


addendum & microrant: ray, one of our favorite renaissance men, is a strong supporter of nyc tap water. i'm happy to concede that questionable pipes may be my culprit - excellent excuse to commandeer friends' tubs.

ooh ooh, make that addenda - my new favorite commercial, in turn, is for the nissan xterra: "a million uses and counting", spoken over the opening strains of the velvet underground's "heroin". i love television.

and hate annika sorenstam, supergolfer and the first woman to compete in a PGA tournament in something like half a century. (admittedly, an excerpt from) her sound bite on failing to qualify for the second round: "i know my place." you've come a long way, baby.


manhattan folk: norman rush, author of whites, mating, and (now) mortals (also known as the peace corps author i discovered when hunting for a copy of the satanic verses) will be speaking at the barnes & noble near the lincoln center on june 3. drop me a line if you're interested in coffee around then - it's the night before my corporate internship kicks in, so i'll be overdosing on idealistic books.

i gave barnes & noble a few dollars, which was bad. it gave me a decent women's journal (kalliope), though. not sure how the following ties in with their theme issue ("desire"), but i liked it (go go MFA students gettin' published) -
It hurts to have three goldfish
in a five-gallon tank. Two gold, one black.

To lord over living beings with eyes who see
me coming, flutter madly at the surface to tell me

they are hungry. I decide when and if
everything, clean water, food.

They are meant to bring luck
and after two months, I know what it is:

not "good", but the staving off of bad -
the humility of the oppressor who faces

her terrible power every day.
Who tries to imagine trading places

and achieves it, fast as a fin ripple,
but then it's gone and I am still out here

putting my face to the glass; their expressions
are not so alien, we are animal and animal,

but still we do not meet. They refuse.
Especially their leader, the big gold one.

He wiggles and gasps through his gills
bobbing pockmarks in the water's surface

to imitate the spray of food he wants
as badly as an addict, relief

from boredom and confinement.
It works every time. I know

I could wait, for days if I wanted, but I stop
what I'm doing and drop in the pellets,

watch them gulp the floating bits. No gladness wells
from my good deed, only a mild pause in the horror

that eats at me, the knowledge
that I own, possess, three fish.

(elly clay, "surface tension")
i'm hip to that guilt.

at long last, another rejection trickled in. the editor complimented my spelling and productivity ("Well, you've written at least 6 poems, plus those published. Promising.") and guessed at my last name's origins. again, i seem to get more attention for my cover letters than i do for my work - if only job applications turned out that way. maybe i'll tell him i'm a blender heiress when i write back ("Send again. NO promises.").


local tap water adds an element of intrigue to the tub: i try to be imaginative and think that the fizz and color are the result of a fancy bath bomb, am mostly successful. again, germs are only as potent as one's misgivings. it's certainly soak weather, as the news promises drizzle and gloom for most of the weekend. spectacular view of the hudson river from the roof - the water meets the clouds when it rains like this, as it does on the best days in san francisco.

post script to tuesday's thrills and spills: tom is now tom, esq. lordy, they grow up quickly (congratulations, darling) -


the day's horrid news, of course, is the buffy series finale. its holy shit stupendous news, on the other hand, is that stanford accepted my little sister (the rock star). congratulations, baby jo - they have good taste.


i've been on the subway 33 times since our move. something like half of those rides were to/from our peaceful apartment in the middle of nowhere, so i'd say i've spent about 20 hours peoplewatching. which breaks down to

- 3 spoken word recitals
- 1 a capella "the lion sleeps tonight"
- 2 fistfights
- 1 trip that began at night and ended at dawn
- 10 passengers who gave me directions

and one cute baby. elsewhere, it's been an extravaganza of cute babies - when our outgoing plane was stalled in south dakota, three pairs of wistful grandparents-to-be convinced parents to lend their infants for cuddling sessions. the older couples had grown children who refused to have kids of their own, they said. six tired people caught cat naps after giving their babies away; six misty-eyed people cooed and paced and traded sad looks. is that my mom on solo trips? thankful, so thankful for little sisters who plan to breed.


if i had piles and piles of money, i'd be tempted to swap them for buffy set pieces on ebay - most are generic crystals from the magic box or tchotchkes from buffy's bedroom, but giles's leather satchel is awfully tempting. with huge piles of money and the right connections, i'd go after spike's chip or an orb of Thessala. favorite show, how you'll be missed.

good mail (highlights from a recent junk forward):

Dear Sir,

We are pleased to introduce WASHING MACHINES to you as follow, if you are interested them, please don't hesitate to contact us, we will send you our WEBSITE to you by return e-mail for your considerations.

If you are also interested some of the follow items, kindly let us your detail requiries:

A05 leather/fur dress
B09 water fountain
C01 food, beverage & tobacco machine
D06 saloon car
D14 drumper
E04 submarine vessel
F01 ball
G06 scraping machine
J02 robot and mechanical hands
J03 automatic system
N01 highways & roads
N09 intelligent projects
N13 elevator installation


Thanks again for your kindly assistance and waiting for your instructions.

excellent mail (from douglas):

>so how important is it to sanitize one's hands after the subway and such?
>i have this theory that my antibodies will have superpowers if i allow a
>certain amount of grime into my life - like if i don't stress now,
>someday i'll be able to drink mexican tap water. my theories usually fall
>apart, though.

I've never done the hand-sanitizing thing, and it never seems to have been

an issue. Or check A.E. Housman on the same subject:

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white's their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
- I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.


previous entry courtesy of metameat's p.r. kerschen. apologies for my lack of introduction; i invited him to appear at will.

though i have been beyond writing distance for a good portion of the last two weeks, i'm also plain old reluctant to speak about new york. i do love to explore, but i'm too poor to engage with most of what i see. i dearly love writing in cafes, pubs, what have you, but the new citywide smoking ban (while excellent for employees) is fatal to me. if cigarettes are illegal indoors, alcohol should clearly be legal outdoors. look (cough) to las vegas. bringing a candle and a notebook to the roof, in turn, will fizzle when the weather turns and the tar begins sticking to my bum. how did emily dickinson accomplish so much indoors?

the museums are lovely, though - joe agreed to accompany me back to the butterfly conservatory, where the atlas moths were as jaw-dropping as i remembered. can't say that i fully appreciated matthew barney's cremaster cycle at the guggenheim (we missed the film screenings, so i amused myself in the installation portions of the exhibit by rewriting boston's "more than a feeling": deeply annoying, you're so pretentious, &c), but the picasso and braque pieces were impressive. we joined an intensely excited crowd for the matrix reloaded yesterday - i'm prepared to praise its choreography and effects, of course, but even laurence fishburne's outrageously shakespearean delivery couldn't elevate sloppy writing. cardinal rule of junk food consumption: if you don't interrupt your candy with something substantial, you'll ultimately feel ill.


I spent Thursday and Friday in the dying town of Goldfield, Nevada, population 350 +/- 25, seat of Esmeralda County (said to be named after the dancing gypsy in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, on the grounds that this barren land was a dance of wilderness and destruction, or some such). There are no motels in Goldfield, and one place to eat, dubbed the Mozart Club. At the Mozart Club you can get a hamburger, or a cheeseburger, or a "Mozart Burger," which is a cheeseburger topped with a thick slice of ham. Vegetarian options are restricted to grilled cheese, and a salad bar which essentially affords you the opportunity to dump ranch dressing on a big plate of lettuce.

On my second day at the Mozart Club I met 83-year-old Mr. Karl, who paid for his lunch at the same time as me. I know that he was 83 years old because he told me several times. He also told me his birthday (3 June), his sun sign (Gemini), and then he asked me if I had a car.

"Sure," I said, "but it's down at the courthouse."

"Would you do me a favor?" he asked. "I've got to walk down - got to pick up a TV antenna - my dog destroyed the TV antenna and I got a fella to fix it. Need to pick it up. It's windy out there."

"I see."

"Would you give me a ride?" he asked. "You seem like a nice young man."

As we walked to the car he explained that he knew where platinum was located in the surrounding hills. He went dowsing for platinum, he said, but he refused to divulge the particulars of his method. He claimed to have found a billion dollars' worth of platinum. He also said that I should buy stock in Ford, since Ford had sent a disease to China to disrupt the Chinese economy, and it showed their business savvy.

In the car he told me his name several times: Karl, used to be Karlstein but he changed it to avoid anti-Semitism. I could look him up in the telephone directory, he said, and went on to give me his number anyway. Maybe he could hire me. He had a bunch of projects that he was working on, which he hoped to give to the government as a way of repaying his country. He had been in discussions with President Kennedy and his brother the attorney general, but after their assassinations the dialogue stalled.

We stopped at a trailer; nobody was home, but Mr. Karl's antenna was on the front porch. He picked it up and we drove to Mr. Karl's house, which was situated on top of a hill. He had a view of all of Goldfield, such as it was. He asked me to note that he had the best property in Goldfield. There were a billion dollars of platinum located on the property. An aged yellow Lincoln Continental sat in the front yard amidst heaps of scrap metal; he asked me to admire it. He said that he had taken out the steering wheel - who needs that? - and then explained the engine. It was an implosion engine that required no energy to run once you gave it the initial kick. People said that such an engine defied the laws of physics, that if it existed we couldn't have a universe, but there it was. He had known Buckminster Fuller and they had talked about impregnating the metal with carbon compounds, so that it would run more smoothly. He and Fuller had devised a planned community along the lines of Fuller's geometry - not those domes, but using those angles. You could put up three more Renos on the highway outside Goldfield, and it was going to happen. The hotel downtown, that had been tied up in litigation for a decade, had just been sold and they were going to reopen it, with a real coffee shop. It would turn Goldfield around; all those towns would spring up on the highway, and the thing, he told me confidentially, by way of thanks for giving him the ride, was that you could still buy the property. Anyone could buy it. Now was the time.

Mr. Karl had trouble working the handle mechanism on the passenger door. Several times during his speech, I leaned across him to push the door open, but it kept falling back closed.

"You're getting your exercise today," Mr. Karl noted.

"Yes," I said.

"How old are you, anyway?"

"I'm twenty-four."

"Twenty-four. Two eggs. Double yolks. My God, you have good teeth."

He had never married any of his girlfriends, he said. He wasn't a queer, he just was never able to tie himself down. There had been five girlfriends. His dogs were running around inside the house, I should see his dogs. He'd put in vinyl floors himself. But did I have somewhere to be, he asked? Oh, I had to be back at the courthouse. Well, I should give him a call sometime. Maybe he would hire me. I pushed the door back open for him and he stepped out, carrying his TV antenna, then started up the path to his house.

1. someone asked me for directions on wednesday. my answer was (accidentally) half wrong, but it was coherent - and it was too early in the evening for her to end up anywhere horrible.

i'm invariably mistaken for a local, but it usually takes longer.

2. to impress ladies at bars, fancy nyc guys purchase bottles of alcohol instead of ordering drinks. a bottle of absolut, for example, would cost about $300. can't say that would work on me; $300 in ferrets or roller skates, yes.


via the toronto star, the story of jessica lynch as told by iraqi hospital personnel.

unfortunately, successful living at the tip-top of manhattan demands absolute subway mastery. friday's dinner at bolo (one of bobby flay's restaurants, considered by some to be the best spanish food in the city) was a fine start to our evening, but we managed to spend two hours trying to get back here, thanks to a wacky late night local train schedule. phil and friends entertained us in chelsea last night, and it seemed that day 2 would end well - until we hopped a train to the bronx, a horrible detour that got us home as the sun was rising. i'm investing in brass knuckles.

mail order leeches.


here we is, after a two-hour emergency stop in south dakota (someone on the plane had a heart attack - no word on what happened to him). our luggage got to the fifth floor with the help of our new neighbor, a sweet man with a front door that reads ENTER HERE AND YOU WILL BE KILLED in two languages. this is the second living arrangement i've made without having actually seen the place - if my experiences can be any sort of standard, that's the way to go. it's gorgeous up here.

more soon. haven't eaten in two days.


oh, and ye olde home town in yesterday's new york times -
HAWAII: THREATS DIVERT CRUISE Because of a woman's threatening notes, a cruise was rerouted last Wednesday from Hilo to Oahu to let 120 F.B.I. agents search the liner, the Legend of the Seas. The woman, Kelley Marie Ferguson, 20, of Laguna Hills, Calif., faces terrorism charges after admitting she planted the notes in hopes of stopping a family trip so she could return home to her boyfriend.