Thursday, April 29, 2004

i'll fly away

last day of classes. tomorrow. i've been so busy being busy that i haven't thought about the momentousness. indeed, even as i write these words, they signify nothing. how very postmodern.

three days straight, i found something to cry about. today my store of righteous indignation carried me through rough situations and fuzzyhappy 60's-style love for the sunlight carried me through the rest. that formula works as well as johnson & johnson shampoo to produce No More Tears.
also, i guess, today didn't put itself out to make me feel tiny and worthless the way monday, tuesday, and wednesday did. it did, on other hand, make me want to write poetry, specifically my friend stefanie's lovely reading. i haven't decided whether it's useful to post drafts here but without workshops i'm not sure how else to solicit commentary.

oh, what the fuck. i'm a senior.
my last day at hapkido

one twist
and the world shifts, the mat rises like a wave,
blue like a wave, reminding me of whale watching
where, instead of watching whales, i watched a porthole
as sea and sky squabbled for space
to peer back in at me

another twist
and i can feel the sea filling my eyes
to get a glimpse of this man who, with that grin
and that motion, could be removing
the cap from a bottle

i'm recalcitrant. i should be bursting
open with a shout of foam, an amber wave
i should be hitting the floor, content to blink
as sea and sky and others in the class squabble for space
to peer back in at me

but this is not a whale watching trip: i swore
i'd never, never again and this man
as big to me as he would be to a bottle
is supposed to be my peer
He twists again, and then.

so many mornings of schoolbus nausea
i prayed through, kneeling on toilet-white tile, while
the nurse, accustomed to my ministrations, worked
outside i didn't always vomit but
i lost my faith in that unhelpful god.
and that day, in the bathroom, away from that grinning
watching, watching the welts
undulate on my arms, i thought never, never again.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

in case you're dying to know

i "aced" the typing and the grammar tests at the Company yesterday, according to the nice lady who administered them. the only thing i got wrong on the grammar test, which turned out to also be a spelling test, was "correspondent." i spelled it with an "a." typing though: i did twice as well as they require you to. so.

however! lest you think that meant yesterday was a victory, heh heh, remember that my Good Luck Fairy is shooting up in a dark alley somewhere, trading jokes with the well-brandied inigo montoya, and that, this spring, i'm in the hairy, sadistic clutches of the Real Life Fairy. the Real Life Fairy squeezed hard when, in the impromptu interview with the director of human resources after my grammar&typing tests, mr. dhr informed me that --
if he likes me he'll pass me to the vice president
if she likes me she'll call me back for another interview (#3)
if she likes that, she'll hand my file to a panel
if the panel likes me, they'll call me back for ANOTHER interview (#4 -- is the NSA this rigorous?)
if they like me, then ... maybe i'll get the job.

i left crushed, demoralized, hearing in the back of my head the cigar-in-mouth guffawing of my Real Life Fairy who, when i concentrate on picturing his florid face, looks remarkably like the evil man who phone-interviewed me for columbia. why is my imagination so short on villians that it produces the same one twice?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

let's set a new tone in this country!

did i mention i saw john kerry speak this weekend? that was pretty noteworthy. the crowd -- about 3,000 including my darling mother and ben who gives a lucid description -- wore red and white shirts from planned parenthood and naral and enjoyed his speech. the man is not on fire yet but according to sources within the administration he will only get bigger, and angrier, and more passionate until his takes this country BACK FOR US IN 2004!!!! YAYWHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

i also did a lot of screaming this weekend. "what do we want?" "CHOICE!" "when do we want it?" "now! er, always!" and "bush, bush, go away! racist, sexist, anti-gay!" and some screaming, of which ben didn't approve, at the pro-lifers waving death-sin-holocaust signs at us. it was the holocaust references that got to me; you can't show me night and fog-type pictures in non-night and fog-related contexts and not expect me to become the estHulker. ("the only h in ester stands for HULK")

if kerry had spoken at the rally, i think he mighta swung the momentum a little away from "more bush less george" to "ke-rry! ke-rry!" etc. but as it is, most everyone i saw wore a kerry sticker, aside from the "we're pro-choice republicans!" folks who i didn't understand. that means they don't vote pro-choice ... why are they announcing that?

my favorite sign might have been "roe roe roe your vote." that was pretty cool.

the point is, i'm off to new york for today for a visit with The Company followed by a Gala, & i need a happy face. the sunshine is soothing, like an huge lozenge that's sucking on ME. wow. now, with metaphors like that, how did i get rejected from so many mfa programs, i ask you? they don't know what they're missing.

Monday, April 26, 2004

twenty oz. of perspective! stat!

the good news is, the nyu draper program confirmed that they have received my application (sent two weeks ago). the bad news is, i may not hear from them until early august.

the good news is, i had a lovely weekend home with a women for kerry rally on friday, the march for women's lives on sunday, a lyrically gorgeous day on saturday ending with a party, and lots of time with ben throughout. the bad news is, my suspicions were confirmed in terms of how stressed i need to be in this my last week of classes.

the good news is, i handed in my thesis to the english department last friday. yay! the bad news is, i also have to turn in a copy to the history department this friday and though i gave my advisor a copy a long time ago, she never got it back to me. well, until today. annotated. dripping with purple. her comments, in addition to being lengthy, are (a) tardy, as i now have only four days to revise with everything else i have to do, and (b) tactless, as, over the course of 110 pages, she couldn't write the word "good" once. i would dare the FBI to comb through and find a single scrawl that even resembles a compliment.

n.b. to anyone reading anyone else's creative work: use the word "good" in your reaction, even if only once, even if only in reference to the font choice or the effort. people who produce creative work are notoriously sensitive and are likely crying in front of their computers right now because of you and your stupid purple thoughtlessness.

see? i should have written after i'd taken an a pied tour of bethesda with my b.loved, or after dinner with high skool friends, or after seeing kill bill which i actually liked, or after attending a history-making feminist march with my mother. before i got back to swarthmore and morphed into my more-and-more-frequently grumpy swat self.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

problematic man pays me a visit

Problematic Man: ho there, little girl! how are you today?
me: not so great, problematic man. i've had a hard afternoon.
Problematic Man: really? were you made to feel like a hysterical second-wave feminist in your film class? were you alienated by misogynistic student theater? and were you subsequently frustrated by the insidious classism of the O.C.?
me: yes and yes! and yes, Problematic Man! it all began ...

scene one
video production workshop, where the two groups -- one being mine and the other composed of four, white, broad-shouldered sophomore boys -- show segments of our group projects. my group's presentation went fine. then the broad-shouldered boy group showed theirs, a collection of genres: an art film, a cartoon, a sitcom. and THEN ...

[the four females in class suddenly sit up, gape at screen. film finishes.]
broad-shouldered boys: so, what did you think?
one female: why, uh, did you choose to put porn in your film?
broad-shouldered boys: what, do you hate porn?
another female: no, but what's the point? it's not as innocuous as your other genres. some people are offended by porn, you know.
b-s boys: really? they are?

problematic man: wow! they are unaware of any social ramifications or controversy of pornography! indeed, they are amazing. what happened next?

third female: and while we're on the subject, why is the only african-american in your movie the aggressive, sexualized black male in the porn?
b-s boys: is he? uh. we didn't think about that.
fourth female: you know, that's a stereotype.
b-s boys: [silence]
fourth female: a harmful stereotype. STEREOTYPE.
b-s boys: but that wasn't our intention.
females: still, you have a responsibility to consider the images you're presenting.
b-s boys: [silence]
females: you have to think about how the film will be perceived.
b-s boys: [silence]
females: STEREOTYPE!
b-s boys: ... so, you hate porn?

scene two
my good friend's production of sarah kane's Phedre's Love.

phedre: strophe, my daughter, i'm in love with my step-son, your step-brother, even though he is cyncial, egotistical, nihilistic, unhygienic & unkind!
strophe: mother, stop! can't you control yourself?
phedre: no! i'm a woman!

phedre: oh hippolytus, i love you, even though you're my step-son, cyncial, egotistical, nihilistic, unhygienic & unkind!
hippolytus: go away. i hate you. fuck someone else.
phedre: no, i must have you! because i am an irrational woman, governed by my emotions! please, let me fellate you. i will not enjoy it and you will transmit to me your various venereal diseases, and i am your step-mother, but i do not care because i love you!

strophe: hippolytus, my mother killed herself because she is an irrational woman governed by her emotions and she loves you too much.
hippolytus: i told her that you and i are fucking. and that you fucked my father, theseus, her husband. i told her these things because i am cynical, egotistical, nihilistic, unhygienic and unkind!
strophe: you monster! yet i love you anyway, because i am a woman! let us have sex, though you will transmit to me your various veneral diseases!

theseus: here i am, back home again! what transpired in my absence?
hippolytus: i am accused of raping and murdering your wife, my step-mother.
theseus: oh no! i will kiss you, and then kill you, but not before i rape and kill my daughter strophe, for no conceivable reason! then i will kill myself!

scene three
the o.c., an excellent show that sadly trafficks in stereotypes

the o.c.: domestic violence only happens in chino!

problematic man: a troubling afternoon indeed, little girl. are you feeling any better today?
me: yes, problematic man. and this weeked i'm going to march for women's lives: that will make me feel even better.
problematic man: then i've done my job!
me: but you haven't done anything -- can't you talk to those b-s boys? or my friend the director? .... problematic man? problematic man? where'd you go?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

the same four notes

i have been happy every day since the sun came out. how primitive of me.

in an attempt to take charge of my life, i went to the bookstore and shelled out for:
mounting squares to hang up posters & make my room less skeletally bleak. yes, this is way overdue.
a new (disposable) fountain pen
three folders
and a free-standing file folder organization type system.

i bought it all, returned to my room, and snapped my fingers. nothing mary poppinsish happened, or sword in the stoneish for that matter, but i figure i'll keep trying every day til my honors exams are over. it'll take persistence and dedication, i know. i'm willing to put in the effort, at least until my snapping fingers get tired.

both of the papers i need to revise for friday have been dealt with -- which is to say, i changed the date at the top to 4/25/04. and the paper i need to write for friday has been written. by thursday afternoon, twill all be done and handed in, right in time for me to disappear from swarthmore for the subsequent few days. score.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

a happy list

my SKIN is happy because it is tinged tan from the hours i spent outside in the summerliketime.
my TUMMY is happy because this morning i had brunch. real brunch.
my LEGS are happy because i wore a skirt without tights.
my HAIR is happy because sunshine makes it ruddy.
my SOUL is happy because i read names today for holocaust remembrance day.
my HEART is happy because ben is here, and because he cleaned my refrigerator for me. i'd been afraid to go near it since he informed me, months ago, that some mold had grown. naturally, since i ignored the problem, some spores had become an evergreen forest, but ben fought the forest-fire with fire. afterwards he asked, "does it meet your standards? if you want me to scrub harder, i'll scrub harder."

Friday, April 16, 2004

attorney general ... of fashion!

the front page of the washington post today critiques janet reno's turn before the 9-11 commission. no wait, just kidding. they critique her CLOTHES.
Her jacket hung loosely and the skirt was long -- reaching to the mid-calf as always -- and without any fetching details. Her lapels were two uninterrupted plains, free of American flags or any other conspicuous announcements of patriotism. Notice the neckline of the jacket -- open, unadorned, practically crying out for a scarf, a strand of pearls, some tasteful Redbook kind of accessory. Albright would have tucked something in there, just to finish off the ensemble and give it a little polish. Not Reno. All of that nothingness speaks of refusal. She will not pretty things up with a few beads.

On her jacket, there were no seams to emphasize her waistline or bosom. There was nothing to remind the viewer that there was a body -- a person -- hidden underneath that gold-buttoned cloaking device.
"a body -- a person"? wow. that hadn't been made explicit to me in a long time. and honestly, so reno has no time for "fetching details." so she doesn't care whether you can make out "her waistline or bosom." what is this, 1955? is it really that noteworthy anymore?

even though the author pays reno's "refusal" some necessary respect, the fact that the wp would print a fashion column on the front page makes me spit.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

me & mrs. o'leary's cow

the qsa (queer straight alliance) flame war has suddenly stopped. for over 24 hours, innocent freshmen and irate seniors overflowed everyone's inboxes. actually not all the blame can be laid on freshmen: if the senior who was the first to respond my initial email hadn't done so, he wouldn't have touched off the blaze.

maybe that makes me mrs. o'leary and him the cow.

the amazing things is that it was my initial email, the first i ever sent to the list, my poor little email that started this great big war. ben says i shouldn't be naive about this, that in sending the short message about dan savage's latest (and, in my opinion, patently offensive & unfunny) column, i should have known what would likely happen.

in my own defense, i did not. the vehemence of disagreement astounded me and i lay low throughout the war, happy to let others explain how his column was "some phobic shit." now an uneasy silence falls across our inboxes. a gloomy peace this morning with it brings/ the sun for sorrow will not show its head. (except it was gorgeous when i woke up and so bright my first thought was, Did i sleep with my lamp on again?) the war has had its climax but not yet its denouement. perhaps we will be treated to none except a gradual slide of this event into the forgotten past.

but never was there a tale of more wow
than this of me & mrs. o.l.'s cow

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

two articles, both alike in dignity
in fair charleston where we lay our scene ...

read this article about charleston, va.
then read this one.

same city? uh huh.
same newspaper? yup.
same day? you betcha.

so is charleston the best city in the country despite the racial profiling? or were the black men getting their mouths swabbed just too busy to vote?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

it's a trend!

semi- almost- kindof- looksgood- success! what strange half-luck i have. today i heard from The Company. i made their 2nd cut and NOW i have to go up to new york and 1) fill out an application; 2) take a grammar/proofreading test; and 3) take a typing test.

having worked in as many offices as i have, if i manage to fuck up any one of those three things, i will classify myself a moron and go into hiding. ben suggests i should find books on proofreading. perhaps i should, but honestly: proofreading? i proofread for fun. i proofread in my spare time. i once found a typo on a plaque in that big fancy art museum in new york. you know, what's it called.

the point is, i may be in, just like i may be in the NYU program for which i sent in my swiftly-but-not-hastily written essay this morning.
semi- congratulate me!

Monday, April 12, 2004

for a change, a nice surprise

in my evil, dastardly mailbox this morning, i found a thin envelope from nyu. "bastards," i thought. "you're rejecting me twice!" as it turns out, that's not exactly the case. with my permission, they're going to consider me for an inter-disciplinary program. i've never heard of it, but who am i to turn down anything? maybe they'd let me research new york city history and write more movies about it, which would be supercool.

maybe even more supercool than just writing poetry. well, we'll see.

i'm all jazzed up cuz i'm getting drawn into the ASSassins game happening on campus. wisely i decided not to play again -- never to play again, in fact, after it nearly ruined my fall semester junior year. although i made it to the top five and accumulated hilarious stories involving sprained wrists and insidiously-motivated trips to new york city, losing crushed my fragile spirit. over the course of my lengthy recovery period, i realized that i can't take games like these with the right combination of "To The Death!" spirit & cunning with hipster insouciance (& cunning). plus i can't run fast enough.

but it's still fun watching other people get paranoid, and plan, and get frantic, and pull themselves together to plan some more. and grab each others asses.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

self-pity will ruin society as we know it

this video is amazing. i feel like i should watch it several times over with a pen in hand. unfortunately i don't have that kind of time. it's chock-full of nuts though, that's for sure. (thus, kosher for passover!)

despite the rain, despite not being able to eat bagels,
despite the fact that my film group is filming tomorrow and we haven't prepped quite as much as i'd like,
despite the fact that there's only one episode of the apprentice left,
despite ben's absence and my future being as uncertain as ever,
despite the fact that the bulk of my reading for class tomorrow is in the one book i didn't buy and which isn't in the library,
i think i'm okay. but. it's been a long semester.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

on the subject of cinema:

i had my interview with The Company. it went ... fine, actually. i have no more specific sense of it than that. & i'll hear -- "one way or the other" -- in a couple weeks.

columbia hates me. moving on.

i saw eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. oh. ohhhhhhh. as soon as it was over i wanted to see it again. until i see it again, i'm not sure i'll be able to articulate why i liked it so much except that i so approved of the moral.

columbia hates me. no really. i got my rejection this morning. however, at least now i've heard and i don't have to spend the next month or so waiting & hopingagainsthope.

i'm supposed to be reading film theory about third world cinema. can't bring myself -- too tired. imperialism bad! giving oppressed people a voice good!

no wonder columbia hates me.

Monday, April 05, 2004


here i am, again. waiting.

when ben got into nyu, my father praised him for being a good waiter.

i'm usually a good waiter. i always bring a book or my notebook with me, so if people are late (people are always late) i can read or write. but i'm too wound up to read.

here i am writing though. that's something.

when i got back to my room on friday, still in the throes of my 4-day emotional future-related meltdown, i found that The Company I Really Want to Work For had called and left me a message requesting an interview.

The Company had called around noon. i had gotten the message around 4:30. i called them back, just in case, and a secretary told me the Woman I Really Want to Work For would call me back right away.
i waited for two hours. (see? i can wait. but i was too wound up to read then either.)
i called this morning. the Woman is in a meeting. (a different) secretary said she'd call me back.

waiting again. i've never had the experience of being on a wait-list. my life has been very Yes or No, and often enough it's been Yes to make me worried that the Nos are choosing this moment to assert themselves.

here are some savage quotes to tide us over:
  • it's fun to speak at a college i couldn't get into with a crowbar
  • nowadays marriage is whatever 2 straight people say it is
  • it's psychotic of this country to give us a kid and not a marriage license
  • you can't queer the nuclear family. the nuclear family will straighten you out.
  • it's hot in here. let's make it a strip lecture! ... instead of picturing the audience naked, i'm picturing me naked. it's not working.
  • parenting trumps gayness
  • the measure of a community's health is not the ability of all its members to get laid every 20 minutes
  • none of my actual brothers ever gave me an STD or a rope burn
  • a gay health agency is like a unicorn -- i'd love to see one
  • female sexual reserve exists. it acts as a check on male licentiousness. gay men need to find that check within themselves
  • straight people should have more sex than they do and gay people should have less sex than they can
  • i don't hate myself for being gay. i hate dumb gay people for being gay.
  • the 1948 version of the patriot act was about lesbians
  • if you're not a gay quadriplegic with a born-again christian mother in your room every day, i have no sympathy for you
  • i'm going to have my wedding reception in Red Lobster just to see the thunderbolts
  • lesbians who want to have a kid just need to find a guy who wants to have an orgasm. & that's easy, especially a guy who wants to have an orgasm in a lesbian. gay men need power and privilege to have a child.
  • when you make a generalization about 5 billion people, there are bound to be 10 million exceptions. and the odds are that the exceptions are at a liberal arts college.
  • my column will be pried from my cold dead hands the way ann landers' was pried from hers

Sunday, April 04, 2004


the sopranos this week wasn't quite as anxiety ridden as last week. last week set a new record. last week was one of the tensest hours of my late -- or least the tensest hour of my life i spent in front of a television set. this week was just amazing television. i yelped once or twice, and buried my face in Mendel Katz, the stuffed tiger my dad brought back from the zoo a few months ago.

i CAN yelp because i'm currently watching tv in the privacy of my own house. i'm home, and not because i've cracked up (although i kindof have). wait. no. i know that i have not cracked up because my father and my older brother both started making fun of my "fear of graduating" as soon as they were done hugging me hello. i must be okay.

i feel perfectly sane. right now. but at least once every day for the past four days something has hit me and i've collapsed. it's as though i have no emotional reserves, no bumper. maybe it'll help to be home, even if only til wednesday. at least being home gives me things to look forward to: seeing folks, seeing eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (at LAST), my little brother downloading back episodes of the O.C. for me off the internet. and i can't over-emphasize the healing properties of Mendel Katz.