Sunday, August 31, 2003

the rumors are true...

... parrish, my dorm, is eerily quiet. there's more noise outside my window at the rose garden/roundabout than in the hallway outside my open door. speaking of my door, why aren't people knocking it down? don't tell me this is one of those situations where i'll have to learn to be assertive again. you think i came to college to learn?

currently i'm eating leftover sesame tofu with my fingers, then wiping my fingers on my jeans and using them to type. this bodes well for the future, both in terms of hygiene and the condition of my keyboard. but i have no silverware. i have no roommate either, and no boyfriend (well, at least none within arm's reach). something, people, has got to give.

well, i have a pretty view outside my window, which is taller than i am, and my walls are so tall i can barely even see the ceiling. the ceiling is like a dimly glimpsed horizon. it may well just be a mirage. everything's white, except the furniture (light wood stained) and the floor (linoleum. what? who ordered linoleum? not that i'm complaining, mind you. the other dorms i've lived in on campus had cinderblock walls and floors made out of compacted grade F meat). (still, i could use a rug.)

if you are someone i know, or the sibling of someone i know, you should stop by parrish 246 and get the awkward first "oh hi!" moment out of the way. i swear i'm not intimidating: at the moment, i have sesame sauce dripping down my chin. mmm, sesame ...

Saturday, August 30, 2003

one brother gone, one brother going

who is this man
and why does he start each day
by rolling out the white carpet
as though he expects a paint-covered god

what are the blue odorless flowers sprouted
along the carpet, following the banister up six
flights of stairs

why are rooms
changing tones like mood rings

she wouldn't understand
the books spat from shelves, either,
the knickknacks plucked from walls

she could have tried asking
the house, which
in twenty years had never before gone under
the knife, but the anasthesized house
could not have answered

she would have dashed
out the door every day the man
was painting it and crouched, waited for us
on the lawn to coax her back in
to what we'd reassure her was her home
the biggest shift to me
is not the bathroom, cornered
and stripped at last
of the paper i've hated for years, or my brothers'
suitcases piled in the hallway like oversized
building blocks the biggest shift
is having to imagine her
confusion, instead of petting it away.

Friday, August 29, 2003

i have a cellphone

i do. i didn't expect or ask for one -- that's always the best way to get something. my older brother's heading off to iowa, where his plan doesn't work. instead of cancelling the plan, the t-mobile lady (not catharine zeta-jones, sadly, but i guess she's at home nursing) convinced him to give the phone to me.

at the phone store the phone guy, who reminded me a little of our foreign study coordinator, and my brother badgered me into getting the best phone available for $50, instead of the $50 one that's less reliable but better looking. so my phone is sweet but ugly. hopefully it will grow on me. please feel free to say helpful things like, "don't worry, the good-looking ones break your heart in the end."

i have this phone for a year. in the best of all possible worlds, adam will return from iowa, and i'll head there, and we'll handoff the plan again. meanwhile, call me. i leave for swarthmore this weekend for my last year. i won't think about that. instead i'll play bowling and check my email on my sexy-ugly phone, for which i now need to think of a name.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

no, eliz, you're just a follower

i haven't been in the dc public library in years. i would prefer to put the number at around 10; in fact it's probably closer to 3 since i came here to borrow the LOTR books instead of buy them. since i ended up never bringing them back, the guilt kept me at arm's length til desperation beckoned me in.

actually the reason for the gulf between the time i came 10 years ago and the time i came 3 years ago is also attributable to my library kleptomania. it's terrible, absolutely terrible. the only stealing i've ever done! i don't deserve to be a swattie, or at least to be thought of in the same breath as true, socially-minded leftists who never steal, or only from corporate congloms which deserve it.

since reading nickel and dimed i've become vehemently anti-walmart. fyi.

i find it funny that they even allow me onto the computer without checking my record here. if there's a black list, i'm on it. if there's a ten most wanted list, i might be on that too. oh dear. i wouldn't be here, listening to the inexplicable minnesota accent of the librarian helping a woman in a housedress behind me, if a storm hadn't racked our area, depriving many of power and my house of internet.

at home mostly i've been filling out applications. out of convenience/laziness, i've narrowed down my choices to: stanford, nyu, columbia (film), ucla (film), bu, emerson, and iowa. in the course of this, i've become as dissatisfied with my poetry as i've ever been. it's too late now to burn the lot and start over. maybe when/if i get into some grad skool program. i'll view that as a new chance.

if not, i'll do as ben discreetly suggested. see myself as a recreational poet who writes things for people when they need them.
(at the time, less than pleased with that prospect, i said, "they could just buy a hallmark card!" to which he replied, "there are no hallmark cards for ... pain ...") talk about a niche market.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

"itchy, scratchy seek poochie"

my new salon personals profile has reaped me an invitation to be the playmate of a 30-something new jersey couple. i don't know between which lines about dorothy parker or lars van trier these people read "swinger" but i got a kick out of it anyway. at least they can quote the simpsons.

i'm back from the beach. it was beachy-keen, you could say, if you were lobotomized, for example, or a cheery redfaced fella. i came the nearest i've ever come to buying a two-piece. that is to say, i tried one on. it was bright red, the idea being that people would be so dazzled, or blinded, that they wouldn't notice my not-quite-washboard stomach.

the primary drama of the trip occurred last night as we wound our way home from delaware via new jersey and pennsylvania. my mother called my grandmother and discovered that something was wrong with my grandfather. immediately my father shifted from Speed to Fly. immediately my not-quite-sturdy stomach reacted. when we finally made it to our house, merely a stop for my parents on their way to the hospital, they discovered that no one brought the new keys to the new locks on our new door.
ultimately we had to ask a family friend, an ex-priest and present sociology prof at umd, to break into our house for us. you wouldn't necessarily think that an ex-priest or a sociologist could possibly be useful in the real world. but believe me, this one is a lifesaver. this morning he and his wife served us brunch.

Friday, August 15, 2003

counter culture

it's a common correction of a common misconception that housefraux in the fifties had sex drives. but even better, sez this article, apparently they had sex records and went to hear sexy stand-up routines. not bad for a generation of women in bobs and girdles.

i'm off to the beach for a week. hopefully our power will manage to stay on throughout. & i will manage not to think about grad skool or the GREs even once.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

shaken, not stirred

the fucking gres, man. why didn't anyone tell me they were hard? or was that what people were telling me implicitly with their raised eyebrows when i told them i didn't feel like studying?

well, at least they're over. i did fine on the verbal, which is what counts. but it's hard not to be affected -- and by "be affected" i mean "have your eyeballs leap from the sockets and plummet to their gooey deaths on the keyboard" -- after seeing your beyond-pitiful score on the math section. they need to make up a new word for how pitiful my math score was. & by "they" i mean the assholes responsible for putting clearly imaginary words in the verbal section to trip me up.

sigh. let's just hope it gives the admissions people at iowa and nyu a good chuckle before they admit me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


i updated my profile at salon. i'd completely forgotten i had one; i posted it in 2001. it was completely out of date. still, i can just hear the naysayers now: internet is on its way out, who would answer a personals ad, don't you already have a boyfriend? what's next, friendster?

i say, you can never be too careful.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003


a random oldie, revised:
you are a cat

No matter how many times
I kill you off:

drop you out of poetic windows;
drown you; chloroform you; then
wipe my hands
on a page,

you come back, dripping, merry,
your eyes greener than ever,
and your fur still soft

You curl up against me, purring,
and though I hear it�s bad for cats,
I feed you warm milk words.

Monday, August 11, 2003

the pillow book

last night i dreamt that henry ward beecher walked in on me hugging a boy, pulled a gun and shot the boy six times through. i screamed and screamed but didn't wake up. for the rest of the dream, in which i was supposed to be under beecher's control, i had to pretend that boy hadn't been murdered and that i didn't keep seeing replays in my mind.

it couldn't have been what i was reading before i fell asleep, because i was reading sei shonagon, a copy of which i only just located at second story books years after i stopped looking. the snicket books are lodged close enough to the forefront of my mind to potentially cause nightmares, and so are ehrenreich's nickel and dimed and c mcc's member of the wedding, both of which i began recently. but holding literature responsible -- isn't that what nazis and censors do?

it couldn't have been what i was eating, because i had fruit salad for dinner, and nothing bad ever happens on account of fruit salad.

i suppose it could have been what i was watching. the sopranos are notoriously violent and they showed the episode last night where dr. melfi gets raped in the parking garage. but i watched sex and the city immediately thereafter and the wedding was so cute that surely it gooed and cooed over the morbid residues in my subconscious, rendering them harmless.

or it could have been a result of the general recent topsy-turviness. my grandfather's still in the hospital, recovering from kidney failure. my house still seems to expect my dog to return. the house itself is in the midst of a face-lift. and i'm applying to mfa programs.

i managed to write a draft of my Who Am I, What Do I Want admissions essay today. perhaps that will inspire dreams of satisfaction and optimism tonite.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

all about the gay

as occasionally happens, when one is lucky, my train ride -- which extended an extra hour, as often happens when one is NOT lucky, or every tuesday and thursday -- was brightened by the presence of a stranger. i did not handpick my gentleman companion. friday afternoon amtrak rushes wrest the power from your hands and put it in fate's. but fate's hands deposited me gently beside an elderly distinguished african-american man, a man who revealed himself to be, once we began to talk, once of the gayest adults i have ever met in my life.

he dressed as though awaited the second coming of the 70s. he wore three chunky silver rings on one hand and two on the other. one after another he mentioned his "friends." he said, "the other night, when i was watching sex and the city..." he quoted dorothy parker. or, misquoted, actually -- i got to correct him. mostly i listened, starry-eyed. he invoked lana turner. in fact when i confessed i hadn't seen imitation of life he nearly leapt from the moving car and with me in his well-maintained hands marched to the nearest blockbuster in aberdeen, maryland. he told me about living in miami. he told me about working in television. and last but not least, he picked up on a subtle reference i'd dropped into the conversation and said, "that's right: i pulled a scarlett o'hara."

my family greeted me at the train station and we all went out to dinner. we parked, as usual, in a church lot next door to a family friend of ours. he pays for the parking lot lights; we get to use one space.
after dinner upon returning to the car we heard a distinctive voice. "mr xxxxxx?" i said, turning around, and my brothers turned too. there, standing next to us, was our old science teacher & our unanimous favorite. born a catholic in the wild, he converted to judaism later in life and got a position at our school for spoiled jewish kids. he used to urge us to embrace our faith with, well, a convert's zeal. if my friends and i, the good kids, talked when we were supposed to be praying, he would approach us and beg, "if gold rusts, what will iron do?"

and here he was, in dupont circle, on shabbes, in a church parking lot, standing very close to a man who looked like he belonged to the church. (he didn't seem amused when we explained our deal with the lights.) mr xxxxxx exclaimed, we exclaimed, we said hi and made introductions. but the awkwardness was palpable. we knew he was gay, of course, but i never would have imagined that even in his other life he would not wear a kippah.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

i'd never had granola for breakfast before. that shit is strong! first i couldn't even finish the 1/2 cup. then it knocked me out: having contact-ed and everything, i fell back into bed and slept until 1. there should be a warning on the bag, or something.

what prolly assisted the granola was that i spent yet another night meaning to go to sleep straightaway and instead staying up all-hours talking to el(she who once was lazyqueer)iz. with no apparent desire to accomodate our need to Would You Rather... each other til the early a.m., her alarm went off both this morning and last. ugh.

of course i should be doing stuff to prepare for my departure on friday. so far i haven't been able to motivate myself. but instead of focusing on the negative, i should be proud of what i have done:
  • watched the first part of kissing jessica stein and the last of american pie 2
  • went up to the counter of the cafe where i ate lunch yesterday to ask for a doggybag and had the guy at the register ask, "what, do you want my number?"
  • crossed the brooklyn bridge on foot
  • nailed down 2 recommendations for the grad skool process
  • learned from my parents i racked up a whopping $450 cell phone bill because (heh heh!) no one told me the plan wasn't an unlimited one (heh heh!)
  • spent only change on lunch today
  • made plans to visit hipster brooklyn so i can cross that off my to-do list too
  • bought a train ticket home. bye bye ny ...
that's relatively extensive, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

i think i'm having a blog identity crisis. i'd call a specialist for help but my phone mysteriously stopped working. i'd turn to my constant companion for advice but tragedy whirlwinded him away to his family late last night.

my life is neither boring nor depressing. somehow i just can't seem to write about it. maybe cause the issues occupying thoughtspace are at once weighty and banal (death, for example. and the future. ha! what's to say?

except, i miss my dog. i'm bracing myself for going home and for the first time in 12 years not having her smiling goofily and wagging her tail, shedding, looking vacant, or plopping melodramatically down on the carpet. my family's had to cope with her sudden cancer and sudden death up close. i've had the luxury of condoling via telephone and letting my last days in new york city distract me.
right there, that's guilt, see? a domestic species: familial, it says. don't tap on the glass, you'll wake it up. just look.)

i'm still doing stuff, running around research, reading screenplays at work. but it's all winding down.