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Last February, De-bunked:
3. True, then false.
8. Was false, then strangely enough, true.
15. False, but that CD does exist.
20. True. The wine turned my lips blue, which may have played a role in the anticlimactic evening.
21. 99% True. I didn’t really want to hear about the Electoral College.
The Crow Visits, Part I
The skylight over my bed provides a seasonal window into the natural world, with a murder of crows taking up residence in an overhanging tree eleven months out of the year. They wake me most days, but their presence is strangely comforting, once the tree is bare and frost obscures the pane: every other living thing has left, but only we remain.
I’m greeted one morning by the largest; fat and black and distinct from the surrounding whiteout. It sits on the fence outside my porch and does not flinch when I open the door.
The Crow Visits, Part II
At my feet is an unmistakable femoral head. Non-human; the greater trochanter is blunted, the head not globoid enough, with a slim covering of articular cartilage. But the neck has been cut clean, the edges smooth from the careful hand of a man-made tool. These are carrion remnants from hunters, displaced. Not uncommon in these parts, but my thoughts drift to the salacious:
Small Town Murder, Nancy Grace Tonight. Dateline Investigates: New England Secrets and Lies.
I look back up, but the crow is gone.
I turn a baggie inside-out, and bring it to work.
The Crow Visits, Part III
I was looking for you, I say, stopping the bone pathologist in the department hallway. He adjusts his girth, shifts his fresh coffee from one hand to the other, and grunts. I hold up the baggie: Deer? I ask.
He does not say anything as he turns the bag over and over. The silence is uncomfortable.
“…or small child?”I offer, grinning.
“Nah, it’s structured for different weight bearing than a biped. Definitely a quadraped. Probably a deer.”
“Deer. Got it.” I continue down the hall but turn when he speaks again:
“Eh, could be a goat.”
The Crow Visits, Part IV
When I return home that evening, I run into my neighbor, who shares the same front door. I’m eager to tell the story again, but I begin with the tree over my skylight.
“…or a goat,” I finish. He shares nothing of my fascination, and looks at me curiously.
“Death is following you, no?” He is from Ghana.
“I don’t think I understand.”
He laughs at my misplaced reverence, and at my ignorance. “No, no… You do not pay attention to mythology? A crow, a crow is the harbinger of death.”
Literature trumps science again.
Any public flea market, garage sale, antique store, tag sale, or auction has a box of someone’s unwanted memories. Christmas ornaments from Christmases past, magnets from that family trip to Niagara Falls, half-knitted sweaters, grandma’s jewelry.
The most promising from the writer perspective is the shoebox of undated, crusty and yellowing photographs, no longer inanimate lifeless trinkets that only hint at a secret history but instead real-life evidence of people and places and events gone by. Priceless at the time, now going for $1.00, O.B.O.
Someday, someone’s going to get my college years. That shit’s worth at least two bucks.
There’s a pop culture addicts anonymous group—PCCA—that meets at the YMCA on 42nd every third Friday. They serve gluten-free Newman’s Own cookies and Starbucks instant coffee. We sit in a circle and discuss our transgressions: Lucy spent last Saturday watching a marathon of
I Love the 80’s
; Josh started a science fiction watch-blog but has since lost his apartment after he quit his day job. There’s a new girl, too; she says she’s a web intern for Gawker.
At the break, I bum a smoke off of Chuck Klosterman and fantasize about having his musically hyper-aware children.
I once knew a man from Nantucket.
After about the sixth run of the day on the mountain, I propped my snowboard against the base lodge and retreated inside, finding myself in the company of three classic shoremen and just as many Pabst Blue Ribbons.
Tom worked a Nantucket cab company in the summah, was twice divorced. Joe played the straightman, but would bicker with Tom like they were married. Bill was an ex-competitive skier and 100 pounds overweight; he had black eye and liked calling me Sweetheart. I called him Sugar Tits, and we called it even.
Sterlings were dropping from the sky.
Into driveways, onto cars, manicured lawns, playgrounds. Clogging gutters, drains, backyard pools, puddles, pet dishes. Unceremoniously tumbling to earth, sporadically over the morning sunrise, and later at perfectly timed intervals, like lightening and thunder. (They were getting closer.) We held hands and smoked cigarettes on the veranda while our neighbors prepared for the Rapture.
We did not know, then, that it was scheduled. We did not know, then, that it was an attempt to thin the herd. “We did not know, then, the rapidity of which the new pesticide would work,” apologized the EPA.
Why do professional photographers insist on shooting waif-like androgynous girls looking pensive in wheat fields? What is there to contemplate in a wheat field, other than why one is in a wheat field wearing designer clothes? I thought photography was about gritty reality. These ingénues need to come to apartment and learn about real life. In real life, we sit around in old boyfriends’ boxer shorts and ratty old tee-shirts, drinking pretentious imported beer, and calling our moms nightly to hear about the dog’s gastrointestinal upset. We check our Facebook and rifle through Flickr photos of models in wheat fields.
She took me out into the desert on the edge of a shitty Nevada bust-town. She had a revolver and wore designer indigo jeans, slung low at the hip so that I would see her tattoos. In her left hand, she carried a tophat, and her Salvation Army man’s vest was popped at the collar.
You’ve shot a gun before, right? She asks. I said I have. She walked twenty feet ahead of me, placed her right hand at her side, kicked out her hip, and held out the hat like a magician’s assistant. Go for it, Crackshot, she said.
Things Wrong With This Picture:
1. The caption says it’s a 1963 Mustang, but clearly it’s your Dad’s Toyota with a Barbie Fairy Princess Magic Pegasus duct-taped to the grill.
2. Photoshop, whilst fixing your rather large nose, has failed to eliminate the presence of your fat, shirtless, photog boyfriend’s reflection in the rearview mirror.
3. Using the City Dump as a backdrop does not make this photoshoot “deep”, even in avant-garde circles. I know. I asked the guy who tied a chicken to his naked body for a week in the gallery Uptown. He said your boyfriend’s a douche.
Rejected writing ideas, as scribbled on scraps of paper gunking up my car and home:
-Gondola-Confessions: “Skiers are assholes.”
-God, not from concentrate.
-Pi, If I Were a Mathematician: 3.14
-Consumption of words, literally.
-Fun with Sharp Objects, Part 1: Box Cutter
-Fun with Sharp Object, Part 2: Ice Scraper
-People upstairs: Ew.
-Dating a Chemist is Not Fun: Pushing arrows Vs. Pushing Boundaries.
-Old lady at tanning salon proud of luscious tan/leathery skin (Corollary: First time ever in a tanning bed in desperate attempt to get warm/light/happy/pigment.)
-Something using the word “automaton”, because robots are awesome.
-Bitching about things, stuff.
After sitting here for, oh, say, three hours and having nothing to show for the page, I’ve given myself an arbitrary deadline to spur creativity. Should this brief trial work, I shall consider incorporating the twelve-minute design into all aspects of my life: if it takes longer than twelve minutes to do, it’s not worth it; if it takes less than twelve minutes, then
I’m sure there are downsides to this if I don’t allow exceptions. For example: This entry took me four minutes, and based on the aforementioned stipulations, this exercise wasn’t worth it.
You ask that I come sober and vicious.
I can promise one of the two.
Does that mean anything, or did it simply sound cool? You send it in an email, in regards to attacking the page.
“Come to the blank page with the teetotalling rage of Henry Rollins, the most straight-edge, hardcore motherfucker on earth. Veins popping out of his neck, biceps barely confined to the sweat-drenched white tee. Military crew-cut, strong chin, a skull structured for the sole purpose of head-butting at a moment's notice. He, reading poetry, crooning quietly over ethereal soundscapes, tearing your heart out.”
Move fast and swing your hair so that I can catch it at the exact moment it stands on end. I have a fast shutter speed; my dad got me this camera for my birthday, and the guy at Sears said it got good reviews. I like your hair, red is pretty. Is it real? I mean, I’m not trying to insult you by asking that question, I’m just curious. It’s pretty either way, really straight too. You must have spent a lot of time on it. Your friend has really straight hair, too. Does she, like, have a boyfriend?
This song is amazing. It reminds me of the time at the middle school dance, when Tammy Mansford was getting high under the bleachers, and the nuns found her, and she ran faster than any stoner I’ve ever seen. You remember this song, right? It was one of the last songs they played that night. You were into Tina Turner way more than Cyndi Lauper, said Tina’s stood the test of time and Cindi was a flash in the pan. You can’t deny how rad this song is, time after time. Ha, get it? So, like, whatever happened to Tammy?
…I hope you’re well, really. I miss Brutus, but I have a Shepherd puppy that looks just like him when he was little. I’ll have to send you pictures. Since I quit the hospital I’ve had some time, been doing a lot of hiking with Buckeye—that’s her name, the puppy, I mean—and things get real quiet out in the White Mountains this time of year. So. I thought I should just write. I suppose I should have thought about what to write ahead of time. But, I remember you; you, telling me: Do what you have to do.
Meadow? I think… well, I vaguely remember her. Smelled like patchouli, always had that look in her eye, you know the one, the one that says NOBODY IS HOME. She was a brunette, wasn’t she? Which is kind of funny, because when we were laying in bed that one Sunday morning, the sunlight from the window casting shadows as he wiggled his fingers over my exposed tummy, creating a puppet show on my blank canvas, he said, “So, you’re blonde, naturally? You should go back to that.” I mean, I think I know who she is.
Why do you ask?
Jorge got his shit together. No, really. No… Yeah it was something to do with—dude, can you NOT eat your phone when I talk to you? It’s all muffled and shit. No… no that’s not better. Dude, take me off speaker. OFF. SPEAKER. Hi Julianne. Hi. Hiiiiiii. I’m fine. Your friend just broke up with her boyfriend? That’s too bad… Friday? I’d have to check my Blackberry, and it’s kind of against my ear right now. Can you put Troy back on? Ok. Ok. Byyyyyye. Troy? Yeah. Jorge found religion and is off the smack. He’s a Scientologist now.
Oh Honey, there’s still hope. I read
, and I’m telling you, it made a HUGE difference in my life. Now, I know what you’re going to say, that you don’t believe in that anymore, but I remember Once Upon a Book Club, you gushing over
I’m Ok, You’re Ok
. But that’s where
comes in. I know your divorce was hard on you and Nathan, but life’s about putting out what you want to get back. For instance, today at the supermarket, I only had enough money for ONE pack of Camels, but it was a buy-one-get-one-free!
Cinnamon Girl worked at the pastry shop in the food court at the mall. She was 16, because she had just gotten her license and would drive her older brother Tommy’s Cavalier around town after her shift, chain-smoking, with her friends multiplying in the backseat with each pit-stop. Jenny would be waiting at the 7-11 with her Cherry Big Gulp, and Tracey, sitting shotgun, would relegate Jenny to the backseat; Tracey, the cool, sophisticated older girl who worked at Banana Republic, would steal entire piles of jeans off the display shelves, and pass them out to girls she deemed worthy.
The stuntkid would be everywhere, but no one would know exactly where. He was at Thad’s, once, but he blended real easy into the surroundings. He was less like a chameleon and more like that little troll thing in the
cartoons—Loo Kee, right?—that would give a lame moral at the end, when all you wanted to know was where he was hidden in the episode.
stuntkid would show up at the end of the night, appearing to let us know that the best way to get around our inevitable hangovers was to chug some water and B-vitamins.
I’ve been playing in the Never-Never Land region of my brain again, creating random characters that exist only within my gyral folds and, as an extension, as the black and white of the computer screen. The latter is two-dimensional, the former—the consciousness—is something that, totally sober, I’m convinced is probably the fourth dimension.
I’m stepping back, now, to try and round out the month with less mind vomit; something more tangible, something real, something legit. A parable. An inspiring anecdote. Informative scientific theory. A harrowing tale involving common human-person themes.
Truth is stranger than fiction, they say.
I spoke to Samuel Shem, MD.
“Spoke” in the most abstract sense.
The esteemed Physician-Writer was the Very Special Guest of a professional society’s Web-seminar. I could see and hear him, and the attendees, through the magic of a jutty, pixelated real-time stream, with a chat room sidebar.
I listened intently whilst folding laundry, wondering if he could telepathically discern what I really wanted to say in between the benign lines of the Q&A: Which came first, the writer or physician? Did you know your book, one of my favorites, completely fucked with my head (as all good books do)?
I think you should know, that under the snark and posturing, under the tangential rants and comically indifferent self-involved and sarcastic vignettes, that a real human with real human feelings and thought resides on the other side. One capable of love, and compassion, and tactile affection. One that is capable of rational thought and serious discourse. A functional member of society with important questions and concerns about the status of this generation, future cultural impact, and sciento-medico-technologic advancement. Part of a sentient conglomerate of others.
One that wants to know how far off are we, really, from creating human-robot hybrids?
The first night, I had a dream that you left your residency and re-entered the match, only to end up in Saratoga. Then, you called in real life, and woke me up.
The second night, I had a dream that I was back there, doing an away rotation; he was there, too, doing an elective, and we laughed at the coinicdence. Then, he texted me in real life, and woke me up.
The third night, I stayed up all night, with a cross in one hand and the Bible in the other, waiting for the dream gremlins to posses my communication devices.
"Turing and turning into the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold."
I've reneged on my promise to keep the entries this month coherent, sane. There's something pulsing under the surface, something I can't articulate at present. I've been lazy, and impatient, and scattered.
"Two fish/ one swimming upstream/ one swimming down/ living in a dream."
I fall back on the quotes of others who have been there first, and have said it better.
It's coming; something profound, authentic. Something that I've been meaning, living,
Hee hee, I said "coming."
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