The Most Familiar

When the theme “no where to go” was announced I immediately thought of house poems. So here is mine.

The Most Familiar Where

When inertia weighs on me like stones in a suicide’s pocket there is nowhere to go but home.                                                                    Nothing but to crawl into my childhood bed. Heartsick, exhausted.                                                And hope to feel it’s protectant charm.               The warm, worn comfort of something familiar.

Red bricks, bay window, garden in the back.     A house happily haunted by generations past   and present and near to being.                                     My grandmother’s house is my mother’s, my sisters’ and mine.                                                        The kitchen linoleum is cracked and faded, outdated and far from fashion.                                   I no longer see it.                                                         The ignored, forgotten comfort of something familiar.

I was a child in that house, as was my mother.   She is a woman there, as I am too.                   Even if only to visit.                                                To eat her food at the scrubbed, wooden table on a night with no ghosts.                                    Just dinner and dishes and quiet routine.               The simple, unassuming comfort of something familiar.

My children will know this house- as children, but as women too I hope.                                     And that is legacy. Girls and women.                                                                                       Child, mother, grandmother. And ugly floors.                                                                        Nights when the static of chatter fills every room.                                                                 Gathered to celebrate.                                  Gathered to mourn.                                       Gathered to walk the carpets and lean the door frames of that always known place.                        To share the supportive, embracing comfort of something most familiar.

What Homes Are For

This month’s theme is “Nowhere to Go.”

I tried to write a poem about Dorothy and the Wizard and how she could never actually go home. Sure, she’d go to Kansas and see her aunt and uncle again, but it wouldn’t be the same. She’d be different. Her home would be much smaller somehow.

I stopped half-way through that poem. It was a shitty poem. I made a to-do list to help me finish the poem and then make it better. Here’s the to-do list: 1) Research cults. 2) Research what homes are for.

The to-do list was a much better poem than the poem about Dorothy was ever going to be.

Nonetheless, I did find a poem I wrote as a wee Freshman that fits the theme.

Here it is:

The Taxicab

A cab yawns, pauses in orbit.
After I have ended parties I did not start,
hid behind cameras,
and shook so many hands,
I enter its jaws.

The carpet smells of yellow bottles,
and the paneling is fingerprinted,
the taillights broken.
Closed windows and air-conditioned,
a gate between me and the driver.

I am no nun, cloistered and holy.
Jazz and riots, litter and lawyers
Stick in my eye.
I am not even a pilgrim,
but a used bandage.

As the cab drifts like a dreamless somnambulist
towards the dawn, a final thought flickers:
For nights like these,
I ought to have constructed a place
for which I could be homesick.

 

 

Writing Workshop May 2014 (Votes Due by 6/1)

Its time for everyone to decide who was best able to create a fictitious situation with the minimum amount of space allowed. So here, once again, be the rules. The goal is to accomplish two things:
1) Show that these two people are fighting.
2) Despite the fight, show that they still love each other.

“Show” is a very important word there. As Robot Devil put it, “You can’t just have characters announce how they feel. That makes me feel angry!” He has a point. So for workshop one, everyone cast your votes. Who did it best? Once again, its worth a six pack. Also, in the nature of a workshop, if you have any constructive criticism, email me back and I will forward it to the author. This way we get criticism without the potential hurt feelings. If all goes well, I will be back next week with a new exercise for us to cut our teeth on. Send emails to homanclature@yahoo.com

 

#1

Him: I don’t think I’m going to be eating anything— I’m not very hungry.

Her: Sorry, but I don’t think I’m going to be eating either.d——

Her: You didn’t answer my question.

Him: Yeah, I was hoping you’d forget.

Her: Why?

Him: You can only be told so many times that someone loves you, but isn’t in love with you.

Her: Well, to be honest it sounds like you’re giving up. There is definitely someone…

Him: What? Someone who will say ‘you’re perfect, you’re sweet, you’re everything I’ve ever dreamed a guy would be,’ then explain that’s exactly why I’m undesirable? I don’t want to just open myself up again—even a cat has a finite number of lives.

Her: I know someone will love you with all she has.

Him: Well, until she decides to come forth, let her eat cake.

 

#2

Him: I’m sorry.

Her: And now it’s all better. It’s not that easy and you know it.

Him:I’m so sorry.

Her: Shut Up! You know what? Fine. You’re sorry? I’m sorry too.

Him:You don’t mean that. We can still fix this.

Her:Yeah? It’s “we” now?

Him:It’s not just “we”. It’s you. It’s always for you. You know that

Her:Doesn’t feel that way.

Him:I was trying to protect you.

Her:I don’t need a Goddamn body guard. I need you to be a partner.

 

#3

Him: No, please explain how we will be fine after you…God.

Her: Baby, it was a mistake. I know you don’t want to forgive me, but I can make it up to you. Just please don’t leave.

Him: It’s not about forgiving you. I could give a shit about that.

Her: Then what?

Him: How am I supposed to sleep in the same bed as you again?

Her: If you need time…

Him: It’s not about time. It doesn’t matter how long its been. He is going to be there any time that I touch you. You gave him everything you’ve given me.

Her: I married you. You have me the rest of my life. It was a drunk mistake. It meant nothing.

Him :And I’ll always have to trust you that that is true.

Her: If you trust me and you do, you’re a better person than I am.

#4

Him: The faucet is still running.

Her: Mmhmm.

Him: Fine. I’ll get it.

Her: mmhmm. Happy now?

Him: That I get to fix your shit? Ecstatic.

Her: Like that pizza box I got from under the couch?

Him: touché.

Her: Or the stains on your shirt?

Him: Ok Ok

Her: Think you owe me a back rub and a thank you.

#5

Her: That’s really funny, because I saw you staring at that girl’s ass.

Him: I wasn’t staring at anyone’s ass. I was waiting for you. And, like I said, thinking.

Her: You were totally staring at her ass! Thinking schminking.

Him: It’s over my livelihood. It’s not an easy decision. And I wasn’t staring.

Her: She didn’t even have a nice ass.

Him: Look, it’s just really hard. It’s a big move for me.

Her: Changing careers is like changing girlfriends.

Him: You really want to talk about this, Miss Ogles-the-Booksellers?

Her: I don’t ogle. I take orders.

Him: It’s just that you looked at me that same way — on that day when you took my order.

Her: Yeah, because I caught you staring at my ass.

I Strive, I Seek, I Find Sometimes I Yield

I hated my last job. It was supposed to open doors and turn me into one of Tom Wolfe’s Masters of the Universe. But I couldn’t do it. For the first time in my life, I sized up a life goal, went for it, and found myself horribly lacking. Now, I don’t cotton to Camus’ belief that Sisyphus was a hero for striving to roll his rock up hill, knowing it was pointless, and doing it anyways, but I have never had anything but contempt for quitters. As I was doorknocking in Austin in a suit while it was 100 degrees out, I kept focusing on a nature metaphor that we see all the time. Magestic salmon swim miles against the current to go reproduce. We applaud their effort because we see that they reach a goal and it validates the effort. I quit the day I realized I wasn’t in a stream. I was in an Endless Pool.

Aesop had a fable about the wisdom of Sisyphisean effort: The Oak and the Reed. The two plants have a competition over who can better withstand the wind. The oak fights with all its might, and is blown over because of his resistance. The resilient reed bends to the wind and survives. The part Aesop doesn’t mention is that no one stop to admire a reed.

Sonnet #2

The reed withstood wind that would fell an oak,
But when does bowing become bend and scrape?
Enlightened men from hurricanes escape
To find shelter when their backs creak and croak.
Did they kiss the dirt? Stop? Stand to be broke?
It’s the true slave that stands with mouth agape
While the man free in mind tries to escape.
Fear the dead fish that floats to rot and soak.

Stand up and cheer. Not for Aesop’s hero
Who bows to the tickle of a light breeze.
Only from great height can we be brought low
Man cannot stand head bent low to appease.
None will admire the height a reed grows.

Illustration: Sisyphus by Friederich Johnimage

I’d Like You to Know Who I am

Five bars boxed conceal my fate,

opulent stiff trees sit outside an iron grate.

I can’t leave this prison for I’m the secret’s committee–

my captors want the source of my surreptitious serendipity.

In the surreal landscape stood a man

laying in the vertical catamaran;

he’s not a man queer and unknown,

but a queer man with the same face as my own.

I stare as I stare, and a smile breaks

like a mirrored leaf fallen, ripples a still lake.

The forest becomes him, for blurred vision ensues.

Teared freedom he uses, for to blink I refuse

My oppressors’ gaze won’t break away.

Believing I pine to nap under the trees’ shade

Yet I’m as liberated as I am confined,

so my life alone I will never mind

I’ve done, will do, and am doing everything I want,

so when I close my eyes the wind is my confidant.

Speaking to me I follow its every elision–

the eurythmic breeze unleashes my inhibitions.

Leading me to the dark corner of my cell

with beauty all around me I stay in this hell

As night falls the bars rise in turn,

for the clear, star-streaked sky I yearn.

On queue the creek of a door latch is heard

I must choose but my decision won’t be deterred:

the door leads to my guardians’ labyrinthine maze,

the window– a drop to the darkness, who preys.

So what do I do? Flip a coin with no sides.

With the decision face up in the moon’s candlelight.

Frozen by fear of the known and untold.

Convinced I’m not ready, my merits must mold

Satanism is Boring

Finding communities post-college can be difficult, as college has the neat advantage of a community already built in. More than that, there were always people to do things with—have a smoke with, take shots with, gossip and flirt and loiter with, and, on occasion, study with. After college, in the maze of cubicles that has somehow become your life, there’s not that sense of community, prepackaged and orderly. Sure, you can grab a drink with some coworkers on Fridays and talk about the weather and spreadsheets, but it’s not the same. Or you could find hyper-specific groups on the internet, but “liking” the same picture of a kitten covered in spaghetti with a caption that says “Mondays” does not really qualify as an activity.

At times like these, it’s tempting to turn to religion. It’s not existential crises or tragedy, but ennui and loneliness and preemptive middle-age. I, personally, cannot return to the religion of my childhood. There are too many reasons to list here, but suffice to say, I don’t fit in. I cannot become a Jew; I have all of the cantankerousness but none of the dignity. Islamism just isn’t my style. Paganism of any sort would be too pretentious and stereotypical for a girl who has been called the whitest in existence. As for a nice, normal brand of Protestantism—well, that just seems too white-bread, picket-fence, and fifties house-dress for me.

Naturally, I decided to look into Satanism. Their website is as one might expect—tacky fonts and a confusing layout. The content, however, was surprising. Most of the website’s information is clearing up misconceptions. Satanists do not, in fact, worship Satan—which was a relief and a disappointment all at once. Satanists are atheists who don’t believe in any paranormal phenomena or deities, They seem like decent, normal people. I found myself agreeing with, or, at least, respecting most of their ideas. For example, Satanism stresses the importance of consenting partners in sexual relationships. Satanism states that if you hear demons, do not contact the Satanists; get mental help. Satanism supports autonomy and individual freedom. A sin against Satanism is being pretentious, which I’m all for…as I post this on a blog. And I couldn’t help but imagine a plump, white, adolescent stating “I became a Satanist because I’m just, like, really against pretentiousness, y’know?”.

And then, then everything was ruined. According to the website, Satanists support a world where everyone has a robot sex-slave. That’s right. A robot sex-slave. It’s right there on the site. Well, religion has certainly supported worse things over the years, but my goodness, that’s just bat-shit crazy. Shouldn’t you not put that on site you made to tell everyone what nice, normal people you are?

The problem with groups isn’t that I wouldn’t join one that would have someone like me as a member. Woody Allen didn’t quite get it right in that joke he made famous. (Then again, Woody Allen doesn’t quite get a lot of things right, does he?) The problem with groups is rules. You have to as a group make boundaries that define who is in and who is out. You have to draw a line somewhere. The problem isn’t that the other members are creeps like you; it’s that the creeps are almost like you, but not close enough.

In a dark embrace of the godlessness within, in a final acceptance of my autonomy, as the lack of Anton LeVey’s ghost looked on, I did the only thing I could think of. I closed the window in my webbrowser. Membership costs two-hundred dollars anyways.