Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
By John Updike,
She must have been kicked unseen or brushed by a car.
Too young to know much, she was beginning to learn
To use the newspapers spread on the kitchen floor
And to win, wetting there, the words, "Good dog! Good dog!"
We thought her shy malaise was a shot reaction.
The autopsy disclosed a rupture in her liver.
As we teased her with play, blood was filling her skin
And her heart was learning to lie down forever.
Monday morning, as the children were noisily fed
And sent to school, she crawled beneath the youngest's bed.
We found her twisted and limp but still alive.
In the car to the vet's, on my lap, she tried
To bite my hand and died. I stroked her warm fur
And my wife called in a voice imperious with tears.
Though surrounded by love that would have upheld her,
Nevertheless she sank and, stiffening, disappeared.
Drawing near to dissolution, had endured the shame
Of diarrhoea and had dragged across the floor
To a newspaper carelessly left there. Good dog.
The Telephone ConversationBy Wole Soyinka
The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self- confession “Madam, I warned,
“I hate a wasted journey- I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurised good – breeding. Voice, when it came
Lipstick-coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette- holder pipped. Caught I was foully
“HOW DARK?...... I had not misheard……
“ARE YOU LIGHT OR VERY DARK?” Button B, Button A, stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and –speak
Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real. Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis-
“ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?" Revelation came
“You mean –like plain or milk chocolate?”
Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality, Rapidly, wave length adjusted,
I chose “West African sepia”- and as afterthought,
“Down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent
Hard on the mouthpiece. “WHAT IS THAT?” conceding
“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS” “Like brunette.”
THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” Not altogether,
Facially, I am a brunette, but Madam you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
Are a peroxide blonde. Friction caused
Foolishly, Madam – by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black- One moment – sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears- “Madam” I pleaded “wouldn’t you rather
See for yourself?”
By Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
she being Brand
by E.E. Cummings
she being Brand
know consequently a
little stiff i was
careful of her and(having
thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.
K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
minute i was back in neutral tried and
again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity
avenue i touched the accelerator and give
her the juice,good
was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens i slammed on
brakes Bothatonce and
brought allofher tremB
by Judith Ortiz Tofer
Blood tells the story of your life
in heartbeats as you live it;
bones speak in the language
of death, and flesh thins
with age when up
through your pores rises
the stuff of your origin.
when I look into the mirror I see
my grandmother's stern lips
speaking in parnetheses at the corners
of my mouth of pain and deprivation
I have never known. I recognize
my father's brows arching in disdain
over the objects of my vanity, my mother's
nervous hands smoothing lines
just appearing on my skin,
like arrows pointing downward
to our common ground.
by Robin Morgan
for Isel Rivero
Gunmen attacked a school in northwestern Rwanda last Monday, killing seventeen girls.... The Attack took place after the Hutu gunmen ordered the girls to separate into groups of ethnic Hutu or Tutsi, and the students refused to comply.
Insane, sadistic gods to whom I offer
only my denial and disgust,
how do we bear witness to each other
when such defiance gleams beyond our trust?
They stupify us, these small, nameless girls
in whose name Love linked arms with her best friend.
Courage skulks shamed before these little skulls
rotting on the grassy school playground.
Let me be worthy of such children, slain
where they stand, who in the face of dying, cling.
Let me be equal to my small, sufficient pain
and in the broken teeth of horror, sing.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I accidentally left my leather jacket at Mike's house during the nacho party. And I let Vero Awesome keep wearing the trench coat after our date. So I ended up unable to a) find my coats or b) remember that I'd left them places last night when we were getting ready to go play Speed Scrabble at my friend Squeaker's house last night. So I decided to just go without it, since Wiggle was waiting downstairs for me and the roommate I don't really have a name for on my blog yet, so let's call him Sharkbite arbitrarily.
I figured we'd be in the house or the car the whole evening anyway, so no big whoop, right? Besides it's not like I forgot to bring Scrabble, like SOME people (ahemwigglecough).
So after six games of Catchphrase (My partnership won five of six games, though we kept switching teams), we headed back home. We dropped off Sharkbite and I decided to go with Wiggle to her house to watch the next two DVDs of Lost that she checked out at Hollywood. Well, Wiggle decided to go to bed early like a kindergarten baby, but I won't be able to watch with her any other night before they're due because of Evergreen (gonna try it again tonight), my home teachers coming, the date with Kelly, and the efy Christmas party this week. So Bekachu and I stayed up and finished them by ourselves, while itty-bitty baby Wiggie went sleepy-bye. Ok, so it was mostly my suggestion that she do so, I'll admit it.
Anyway, when it was over, I realized that it was now about 4:30 a.m. and I had to get myself the four blocks home without a jacket. I concocted a plan with Bekachu. I decided to run all the way home and then call her when I got there. If I hadn't called by the time fifteen minutes had passed, she was to wake up Wiggle and come in search of me in the car. I didn't know if you could die from just being out in the cold, but I was pretty sure you could because of that old guy on Groundhog's Day that Phil can't save, no matter what he does. I could just see myself face down and frozen solid, wedged into one of those stupid exposed gutters that people are always driving into around here.
Anyway, I made it home alive. Barely.
I have had asthma attacks intermittently my whole life. Usually every five years or so. In fact, just the other week I was wondering if I weren't due for another. Well, turns out I must have been.
When I came into the apartment, I was wheezing so badly I just collapsed onto the floor and lay still for as long as I could. My breathing and heart rates were exorbitantly high. Luckily I had collapsed near a computer, so in my panicked but dazed state I signed on to MSN messenger. Topsie was on, and it sounds like she's going to have a ridiculous day of finals and her sister's wedding, after no sleep at all last night. Poor girl. You're in my prayers. Anyway, I wasn't typing much because I could hardly breathe, and moving my fingers a lot was out of the question. Plus I kept vomiting into the trash, which sure wasn't helping anything.
I guess I got the message across, though, because she came back and said she'd prayed for me. Right after that, Pinetree signed on. I splained to him what was happening, an he said he had some Albuterol, and would bring it right over. That was great, since that was my prescription way back in the day.
About five minutes later he was administering it, and I felt my lungs and bronchi clear up immedately. The only problem was that that stuff comes with several possible side effects, according to Medline Plus Drug info. I have all of these (there are others listed):
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Monday, December 12, 2005
A CTR ring. I like the nice green ones. I'm a size 11. Like this, only green:
A heavy winter coat.
A flesh-colored body suit.
Really cheap scriptures (I plan to lose them).
A cell phone.
Things I do NOT want:
A graphing calculator.
A T-shirt with the word "fart" on it.
A Boyz II Men CD.
A box of wine.
"Hey, I heard you have a girlfriend!"
"Actually, no. We broke up on Wednesday."
"Oh, I'm sorry! [pause] But that means you're single again!" [Drapes legs over mine].
[laughs] "Yeah., I guess so."
"Oh! You know who has a crush on you? Kelly from the ward."
~flashback to two days earlier, conversation with Purple Brad~
"So you guys broke up, huh?"
"Yeah, but I think it's ok. In fact, I think I might ask out Kelly from the ward next weekend."
~flash forward back to Berta on Friday~
"Wow, that's incredible! I was just telling my roommate Brad that I wanted to ask her out!"
"Well, you should. Last week she turned to me and said, 'I could totally date him,' and I said 'Oh, I think he's dating someone.'"
"Sweet. I definitely will ask her out."
"Okay, but you can't tell her that I told you that unless you two end up married some day."
~Flash forward to today, right after getting hugged by Kelly~
"So, are you still dating that girl?"
"No, we broke up."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"No, it's okay. It was actually a really good breakup. She ended it, but she said she'd prayed about it, and when she said that I could tell that she was right, that it just wasn't meant to be."
"Oh, well that's good. I like your sweater."
"Thanks, my friend Chris gave it to me."
"I just love old vintage sweaters."
"So do I."
"We should go to Savers some time and go shopping for them."
"How about Friday?"
"That would be great!"
"Awesome. Make it a date? And go do something else after?"
"Yeah, that sounds like fun!"
"Cool, I'm excited."
Kelly returned to her seat, where she was sandwiched by her roommates.
I found my friend Kenny and sat with him next to Amber and Stephanie, my home teachees. The choir sang two songs, and it was funny because when I went up to sing with them, I ended up in the middle (the perks of being the tallest in the choir), so our director Jake's head was obstructing my view of only one person: the Neverbird. Not that I minded seeing her, but it was good to be able to sing without looking at her. Anyway, there were some talks on having the image of Christ in your countenance. A kid in the ward named Gavin spoke last, and he talked about how he could look out at the congregation and see the light of Christ in people's eyes. Then he said, "I don't wan to include or exclude anyone, but I do want to mention a few specific examples." Then he mentioned Kenny, and the great testimony he bore last week. Then he mentioned the ward greeter, megan. And then he started talking about me, and said he didn't really hang out with me on weekends, but that he'd always felt the love of Christ in me and my smile whenever he saw me, and that he's since come to learn that I have a strong testimony and that he could tell I don't cast my pearls before swine, but I still share my beliefs with those around me." I couldn't help but smile, because Gavin himself is one in whom the light of Christ shines. It was a bit embarassing, and really ridiculous, but it made my day to know that people see me the way I always wish I were seen.
Elders' quorum was great because we talked about the nature and conception of evil, and it was taught by Bro. Giauque, one of the ward old guys. It was a profound and interesting lesson. I went to Gospel Essentials, where Karan, our Indian friend from downstairs was. We talked about the Holy Ghost. When he was asked to introduce himself in elders' quorum, he stood up and talked about how at church he had felt at home for the first time since he'd left India, and that he felt he should tell us all about how welcome everyone in the ward had made him feel. He came with us to Salt Lake City to see the temple lights tonight. I think we are making great progress with him, getting him to come to the gospel.
Rob and I went home teaching after church. First we got Jeremy, who is a really great guy. he lives with Rob, actually, and the two are best friends. He was sick and asked for a blessing for health and for clarity of mind, and I was able to tell him some things that I've never felt inspired to say in a blessing before. Then we went over to Amber and Stephanie's. The four of us joked and talked and laughed, and then we had Rob's lesson, which was great, and then before we left I told them that I hoped they knew how much Heavenly Father loves them, and that every time I saw either or both of them, I could feel that love that he had, and that he wanted the best for them, and that they should never think they deserve less. The spirit was strong there the whole time, and it was great. I love home teaching these guys, and Rob and I have a great rapport. He is also an English major, and he revealed today that he plans to transfer to Harvard. I think that's great.
Then it was off to Mike's nachos party. The nachos were first rate, and the conversation was great, too. I made friends with some kids I'd only really known in passing. One of them, my new friend Garrett, mentioned that he had been to the fireside I gave a few weeks ago, and his friend Chris said that Garrett had even blogged about it. I tried to Google that blog tonight, but I couldn't find it. Anyway, after that we went with the ward up to the temple in SLC, and I rode in Gavin's car, and we also had Tony and a different Rob, and Ben. Those guys are all really funny. Wwe walked around up there, and looked at the lights. I wandered around with Jake and Megan and a kid named Willis, who is getting ready to go on a mission. I was glad to be hanging out with him; he's a smart kid. Near the end of the evening, Rob II and I ended up cornered by some sister missionaries, and I was afraid, because usually those ladies trick me into giving them their phone numbers and telling me they'll call me at home after I've been given the chance to think of some names of some people to whom I'd like to send the missionaries. And then they call EVERY Wednesday morning, and don't leave me alone. And I mean, I had the only person I know who isn't already LDS with me at the temple that evening. So I was a bit worried that they'd start putting the pressure on. Amazingly, though, the sister missionary who focused her attentions on me asked about my own goals, and then shared an awesome scripture that helped me to see how I can work toward them. All in all, the discussion we had was uplifting and positive, and I really enjoyed it. Then we came home and I slept. I'd only gotten in three hours of sleep the night before. And now I'm awake again, and blogging.
Everything has been so spiritual lately. I don't know if you can tell that from what I've written here, but I feel so directed in everything I do lately. I love life. I fasted yesterday, which I know I'm not supposed to do for health reasons, but I was doing it for a friend and a verygood cause. The blessing for which we'd fasted came about that same day, and I felt no ill effects of the abstenance from food. There's so much joy around here. I hope everybody has a merry Christmas, and can find some gift to give to Christ for his birthday.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
So I decided to try that out during my job interview, because what the hey?
The secretary at the desk was a demure girl with an apologetic smile. I matched it, stating who I was and saying that I was "just" there for my interview.
She smiled slightly warmlier (warmerly?) and said to wait one second, then went in search of whoever it was that was going to give the interview.
Barbara emerged a moment later. Or maybe I should say she erupted. She was wearing a muumuu that was louder and more floral than an ibex stampede through and Alpine meadow. And her neck. Her neck bounced her head around flacidly like one of those stupid dashboard bulldogs. I suppose she thought she was nodding enthusiastically, but it looked more like some sort of disorder. Slinkineckitis. Now, I had already resolved to be like her, so I started in.
I moved my head up and down and up and down and around and around like I was trying to get water out of my ears or something. Her own bobble head kept moving even more sporadically than mine. After a little bit I noticed that her head didn't merely go up and down, but in a bit of an orbit, like the way the north pole goes in little circles on its way around the sun. So I threw that in, too. I also matched her Jewish-talkshow-hostess breeziness, and smiled confidently after everything I said, like I just knew she was going to love it and might even be considering writing me a little "thank-you" note for saying such wonderful things. After all, that seemed to be the reaction she expected from me.
The thought did fleetly flitter through my mind that maybe she really did have some sort of disease, and what if she thought I was mocking her. Then I realized that if it were a disease, she'd have no way of knowing that I didn't as well. If she just couldn't control how she moved her head, then she'd have to assume that neither could I. Besides, maybe my head during that interview was the only thing in her world that wasn't moving up and down all the time. Maybe it was a relief to her to see such a level-headed young man when all the world around her seemed to be moving up and down like a storm-tossed ship at sea. Okay, probably not. But SOMETHING worked.
At the end of the interview she offered me two dollars per hour more than they pay the other employees, because, as she said, she had "a good feeling about" me. Then she handed me a blank piece of paper and a pencil and instructed me to write my own schedule. So now I work when it's most convenient for me, and I love it. I'll have to remember to tell you about the retards in orientation. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.