Friday, September 29, 2006


"And that's your father when he was a police officer," she said, pointing to a newspaper cutout of her son.

"Why was he in the paper?" the four-year-old asked.

"Well, you see that girl?" She points to the teenager standing awkwardly next to her son, decked out in his blue uniform.


"Well. Her house was on fire, and your daddy got there before the fire department. So he climbed the tree outside of her window, pulled her out of the window and carried her down the tree."

The four-year-old gasps, smiling so big his eyes almost shut. He sucks in a gutful of air and tries to speak.

"My dad's a SUPERHERO!!!"

He jumps up, does his best Mr. Incredibles impression, and then sits back down, putting his hand on his grandmother's knee.

"Show me more pictures, Mamaw."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Turtles an Oscar Oversight

If you allow that we went into Iraq too late, too clumsily, and for all of the wrong reasons...

That still doesn't detract from the fact that Saddam Hussein is responsible for some terrible atrocities. I remember the first time I saw a photograph from Saddam's 1988 "campaign" against Kurdish Iraqis. It looks a little like this: a baby, maybe 6 or 7 seven months old, wrapped tightly in a pretty blanket. Mouth frozen open, head thrust back. And the body of his/her mother extended atop. As residents in Kurdistan, they'd been victims of poison gas attacks orchestrated by Saddam's regime.

But that was one of the more "peaceful" deaths afforded to this ethnic minority during the 1980s. In many instances villages were raided, civilians were slaughtered, and the children left standing were generally orphaned.

And that's what Turtles Can Fly (2005) is about. Kurdish children displaced by Saddam's army (though if we are to believe the chronology, much of the inciting action took place in the late 1990s); most of them without parents and many, even, without aunts, uncles or even grandparents. They're alone at a refugee camp near the Turkish border, and so build a network wherein they look after each other. The oldest of these kids, Satellite (Soran Ebrahim), is essentially the leader of the pack.

He's bossy, a braggart and generally quite annoying for the viewing audience. But the younger kids look up to him and, when you get right down to it, he genuinely cares for them and even risks his life, on more than one occasion, to save one of "his kids."

You can't help but like Satellite as a result. Even as he insults the armless boy or lies to the village elders... even as he shouts for the little kids to help him build bunkers, and barters for weaponry. You see all of this and remember that he, himself, is just a boy in his early teens.

And because this movie focuses on Kurds in Iraq, I appreciated being able to see the American invasion through their eyes. I mean, when you consider the sort of torture (both literal and metaphorical) the Kurds had been subjected to because of Saddam, wouldn't the Kurds in Iraq thus anticipate the arrival of American forces?

Iranian writer/director Bahman Ghobadi provides a subtle answer to this delicate question. Americans are neither demonized nor glorified in Turtle (this movie isn't about them, remember... it's about these children). And it's true that many Kurds were so eager to see Saddam removed from power that, yes, they were excited to see the American tanks come
rolling in.

But that excitement was tempered by a much harsher reality: there were still American-made mines buried by the hundreds (thousands) around the Iraqi countryside... all remnants from previous conflicts. And these mines were often "discovered" by Kurdish children. So what does this "welcome" invasion mean for them?

You sort of get a sense that these people are the victims of dictators and "peace keeping" forces alike. They're in the middle of a conflict that is exacerbated, rather than mollified, by a seemingly endless cycle of wars.

There's also a fairy tale subplot to this story, as rumors circulate about a boy who can see the future. But this subplot is so beautifully woven into the main story line that it actually becomes believable. Add to that this film is oftentimes charming - even comical - and you can't help but think that a film about children should be for children.

But there's much more to this story, and Turtles Can Fly emerges instead as a message for the rest of the world.

Last Kiss Needed More 'Scope'

The Last Kiss (2006) wasn't awful but, given my current time crunch, I don't exactly feel compelled to dedicate much energy to reviewing it, either.

It was... OK. Not as good as Zach Braff's previous film, Garden State (2004), but not as bad as some of the other piffle I've reviewed here. I'd put it up there with The Break-Up (2006) in terms of movies that offer a semi-accurate portrayal of relationships (which compares to most romantic comedies), but I also enjoyed The Break-Up more than I enjoyed The Last Kiss.

So what's missing?


I don't mean fire, brimstone or any other such dark force of vengeance. Just... a sense that, much as in reality, things cannot always be mended.

And so while I appreciate that this film shows what many people "do," I don't like the implication that everyone "does" it (ergo: everyone ultimately deserves to be forgiven).

I suspect many other females will be likewise annoyed, in which case I'd caution less-than-blissful couples against watching this together. It's better reserved for movie night alone at home whilst adorning your voodoo doll with shiny, multicolored pins.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The (Not-So-Great) Pumpkin

After four years of tranfsferring Pumpkin (2002) from one "Movies to Watch" list to another (I tend to carry such lists in a notebook, which gets quite tattered over the course of time), I was a bit disappointed to find it full of stock characters and humor that, while dark, preyed a little too much on annoying stereotypes.

Sure, I can handle the occasional I.Q. joke. But when you take a group of mentally handicapped young men and turn them into caricatures of indiscernable ailments, my stomach turns a bit. One of the biggest "gags" in this movie, for example, consists of a photograph of the title character looking - for lack of a better word - "goofy" (hair tussled, crooked grin, exaggerated features, etc.). Every time that 8 x 11 close-up is on the screen, you want to laugh. And I hate that.

Ditto with Reese Witherspoon's character, Carolyn McDuffy. She was such a cardboard cutout of everything that's wrong with sorority girls that I almost felt sorry for decent sorority chicks out there fighting against the perky, unintellectual materialist stereotype represented by Carolyn.

But, wouldn't you know it... Carolyn has to work with Pumpkin for a sorority house "charity" project, and she falls madly in love with this "creature" she can't understand.

At which point Carolyn rebels against her sisters as she starts sees them for who they "really" are. She then - GASP! - expands her horizons all the while making otherwise poor decisions.

I actually like the idea of this movie; add to that Pumpkin qualifies as a dark comedy, and it's not hard to understand why I've maintained such an interest in seeing it. But the actual experience of watching it did not meet with my expectations. That is to say: it's not so much a "smart" comedy, as it is an annoyinhg parody of itself. An exception to this is at the very end, where Pumpkin almost redeems itself with a simple glance over a shoulder. If you've seen the film, you know what I mean.

So is this a case of a horrific film, or an OK film at odds with high hopes? It's somewhere in-between, though if you - like me - are the sort of geek who keeps "Movies to Watch" lists... don't fret if you forget to add Pumpkin to the updated version.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In Search of Zerzura

"But nothing's lost. Or else: all is translation // And every bit of us is lost in it... " ~James Merrill, "Lost in Translation"

If I had had my camera while jogging tonight, here is what I would show you:

A twenty-something couple out walking their dog:

When they stopped on the grass for a bit, they sort of reached in for each other and embraced while the dog ran circles around them. The dog was on a leash and every so often I'd think the couple was about to find themselves lost in a mess of rope... but then something would happen and they'd somehow spin themselves, in unison, right out of the mess. The dog kept running around them.... And they never stopped holding on.

At the risk of indulging too greatly in the saccharine, I must admit: that was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed between two people. So much so, in fact, that I had to look away.

Shortly therafter -- as I took a break midway through my jog to stretch, think, and observe -- I saw five people, all of them elderly, looking out over the water. Two were in wheelchairs, which afforded the moment a supplemental degree of poetics.

I mean... I'm watching these people watch (really watch) the water. And I'm watching as two of them push the others back onto the path, their thin white hair stirring as they twist away from the tide.

That's when it hit me.

When I finally leave this city, I'll miss the lake most of all.

Sometimes watching it -- and observing city-dwellers gather around it like nomads in search of Zerzura -- I'd swear it were the ocean.

There's something to be said for that. Something to be said for finding a momentary oasis in this city of smoke, steel... and cold shoulders.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Naming of Children

A conversation between my 4 1/2 year-old nephew and my sister, as relayed to me by the latter.

Nephew (Leaning onto a Counter): So. What are you going to name the baby boy?

Sister: We don't know yet. Do you have any ideas?

Nephew (Deep in Thought): Well, I'd say "Luke," but that's what I named my lion. So that's definitely out of the question.

Sister: Yeah, I suppose so. Any other ideas?

Nephew (Deeper in Thought): How about "Obi Wan"? That's an honorable name.

Sister: That is a very honorable name, but I'd worry the other kids might make fun of little Obi Wan.

Nephew (Sighing): I guess you're right. Some kids make fun of little babies.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Study of a Rainy Afternoon

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Portrait of a Dining Room Wall

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Potty Till the Cows Come Home

Senator Lincoln Chafee won the Republican primary in Rhode Island, which has some folks very excited. You see, Chafee has a history of not supporting President Bush, which generally upsets his fellow Republicans.

But I mention this not to continue the string of politically petty posts I've added to this blog in the last week or so. But, rather, because I first heard about this news on NPR this morning, when a Chafee supporter slipped into his thick Rhode Island accent and — I swear — said something to the effect of "Chafee cuts through the potty lines."

Now, I realize he actually said "party," and it's very un-p.c. (not to mention juvenile) of me to find humor in someone's accent.

...But I'm doing it anyway. It made me laugh. I can't help that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


By far, my commute home from work is generally the worst part of my day. And my commute to work is usually the second worst part. There are, at times, horrible exceptions to this. But this is almost always the case.

As a result, I generally arrive to work irritated, and I return home angry. What happens in-between fluctuates day-to-day, but has been especially chaotic the past 2-3 months.

But back to the issue at hand: trafficking. The ordeal that bookends my day, raises my blood pressure and generally robs me of any remaining shred of faith I might hope to harbor for the human race.

A city-to-suburb commute is generally an awful experience. And I'd strongly urge all of you to never regularly engage in such a dehumanizing ritual.

Think I'm exaggerating? Maybe I am. Below I'm recounting actual encounters from the last 24 hours. Tell me what you think.

To Work

  • A woman attempts to cross at a crosswalk where she has the right-a-way. A man in a truck waiting to turn left determines man law trumps traffic signs and proceeds to honk at her. She begins to run. He flips her off and squeals his tires the moment he has enough room to get by.
  • A cabbie decided to park in a lane that doubled as the right lane of traffic. I was in this lane. I see the cab in enough time, I think, to signal and get into the left lane. The car some four car-lengths behind me in the left lane sees my signal, speeds up, and prevents me from getting over.
  • One lane on a major city street is closed down for sidewalk construction during the mourning [SIC] rush hour. I wait quietly while some honked and gestured, as though that would get us anywhere faster. It took us 15 minutes to travel three city blocks.
  • A big part of this delay, for the record, is that cars in the right lane waited until the last minute to get over — despite repeated warnings that the lane was going to end
  • Just before the expressway exit, while still on a city road, I'm stopped at a traffic light in a lane that is both for those going straight, and those turning right. I'm going straight. The man behind me wants to turn, and so honks his horn for me to go. Mind you, the light was red.
  • I'm in the right lane just before the exit to get onto the ExpressWay. The lane to the left of me is NOT an exit lane — it's for those continuing straight on the city street. During mourning [SIC] rush hour, that lane moves considerably faster than the one I'm in. And yet cars in the left lane will speed ahead of the line, and then cut in front of others who had patiently waited in the right lane. This happens daily. Today was no exception.
  • Much closer to work, I wait five cars behind in the right-turn lane for those folks in the left-turn lane in the opposite direction to no longer have the green "turn" arrow. My light turns green, which means theirs is red, and yet people continue to turn left as though traffic had suddenly become a game of follow the leader. This continued long enough that I did not get to turn on the first green light.
  • Between the time I left for work, and the time I arrived, 65 minutes had passed (in all fairness, the construction really put me back — generally the mourning [SIC] commute is closer to 50 minutes]. If you're keeping score, I live 20 miles from where I work. I averaged, then, about 18.5 miles per hour.
An exception to the 24-hour rule, as this happened Saturday but is nevertheless vital to understanding my daily frustrations with traffic mentality.

As I entered a parking lot, a man's car stalled in front of me. I stopped and waited. He started his car again, continued forward, and it died again. He motioned for a woman to go ahead (she was exiting from the direction opposite him). She motioned for him to go ahead. He was visibly frustrated and motioned again, then pointed to his car. Just when she finally caught on, a guy in a white Jetta behind me honked for me to go. Mind you, with this oblivious woman in one lane and the stalled man perpendicular in front of me, I couldn't go. And because I felt badly for the guy in the shoddy car, I wasn't about the honk at him. My stomach burned with an immediate distaste for some anonymous guy in a white Jetta. The guy in the stranded car looked at me — probably thinking I was the one who honked. I looked back and sort of waved to try and let him know I hadn't. His car started, and he sputtered out.

From Work
  • They started work on the ExpressWay yesterday, and reduced three lanes to two. They don't say how long it's expected to last, but for the two miles prior to the construction, I was moving at about 5-10 mph. Luckily, traffic picked up considerably after the third lane opened up.
  • During this insufferable jam, I became obsessed with a hideous mural on a bus: the caricature of a train conducter, with his big cartoonish face smiling at me from the backside. He looked like a demon-possessed nutcracker that may very well come to haunt my dreams.
  • City side streets that are two way are often very crowded with parked cars. When someone approaches from the opposite direction, both generally slow down and pull in closer to the parked cars. Occasionally, someone decides to not obey that etiquette, and you're at risk for a reasonable side-swipe. Yesterday I had a close call.
  • It's also generally accepted that, when you park in the city, you check your side mirror and peer over your shoulder before you exit the car (I sometimes sit in my car for a considerable period, just waiting for the opportunity to exit). Some people don't get this and, shortly after the aforementioned, a chick in a parked car decided to open her car door WITHOUT checking. She did this just as I approached her. Luckily, no one was coming in the opposite direction, and I was able to swerve to miss her.
  • This city is replete with roundabout intersections. These are tricky when turning left because, legally, you are supposed to go AROUND the roundabout to turn and NOT cut in front of it. I obey this rule, but I'm starting to realize that most don't. Not to mention, most are so ignorant of this that they'll even cut me off as I go around it to turn left. Yesterday as I searched for parking, I was cut off twice.
  • Parking in my neighborhood sometimes means either parking three blocks away [three blocks away of the direction I need to go in the morning OR three blocks in unsafe territory], or driving for 5-15 minutes until a space opens up. Sometimes I get lucky and find something on the first shot. But often, as with yesterday, I'll turn around in an alley when I see something open up, only to have someone "beat me to it."
  • Remember, this commute is 20 miles. And yet my return trip, including the search for parking, took 85 minutes (or 14 miles per hour). That's about average, though sometimes the trip takes considerably longer.
Once Home
Once I find parking and go inside, I try my darndest to not leave again — not in my car, anyway. It's more difficult to find a non-meter spot as the night wears on and, even though parking on the main thoroughways becomes free after 9 p.m., you have to move your vehicle by 6 a.m. when they (claim to) "clean the streets." This lesson cost me $50.

"R & R"
Generally when I return home from work, I spend a few minutes catching up on blogger while tending to an attention-deprived cat. If I didn't workout in the morning (which seldom happens these days), I do so after work. This helps work out any aggression, but at times my efforts are halted by other "obstacles," shall we say.

Yesterday's obstacle: after coming into my apartment three times in the last week and a half (once without asking permission), my landlord had sent someone again to address (and re-address) the same two issues: a broken lock on my back door, and a window that was broken when I moved in. When I returned home yesterday, I was met with the following:
  • My front door was unlocked
  • Assuming someone was there, I called out. No one answered.
  • I noticed the blinds were askew in every room, which meant they'd been searching for the broken window (I told them exactly where it was)
  • I proceeded to the living room, where the cracked window was, and noticed it wasn't fixed. Not expecting, then, for there to be glass on my floor, I moved in to pick up a piece of broken wood.
  • I then stepped, barefoot, in glass.
  • Maude approached me. I shouted for her to get back, realizing then that there'd been broken glass on my floor for possibly 2-3 hours. She'd been loose the entire time, and I started to panic that she may have walked in it as well.
  • I locked her in my bedroom and proceeded to clean up the mess while on my (now sandaled) tip toes.
  • Why my tip toes? — Because I had glass in my right foot. That's why.
  • After sweeping up the bigger pieces, and then running a damp cloth to try and pick up the smaller specks, I let Maude back out and proceeded to the bathroom, where it took me 30 minutes to extract a very small piece of glass from my foot. I actually wish it'd been bigger — would've been much easier to remove. In actuality, I'm not sure I got all of it out — I heard a crunch and assume I broke a majority of it.
  • I grabbed Maude, who kept licking her paws, and inspected the pads on her feet. She didn't cry when I touched any of them, so I assume (hope) she's all right.
In Sum
This final blurb may have nothing to do with honked horns and middle fingers... but it is a manner of soul trafficking. It's that proverbial "cap" to an experience that leaves an altogether nasty taste in one's mouth. Sometimes after a terrible commute, you just want to come home and relax. But then, sometimes, the city (the parking regulations, the tickets, the crowded streets, the dirty sidewalks, the traffic, the me-first mentality, the living standards, the anonymous landlords) has determined otherwise.

For the record, in the past 24 hours I didn't honk my horn. I didn't gesture or yell. I don't do these things. And even when I called the landlord to request that they just leave the window taped up, I like to think I wasn't mean about it. And later last night, I was gripped with the fear that something horrible had happened to the maintenance guy.

But somewhere, between the traffic yesterday, my experience last night, today's mourning [SIC] commute — and then writing about all of the above — my frustration has transformed into a sort of... embarrassing sadness.

Is writing catharsis, or does it propel us further into a melodramatic, self-righteous abyss?

I confront these questions, and then disregard them, returning to work. Hoping that somehow, somewhere, my doppelganger is smiling.

That makes one of us.

Haiku/Gesundheit (Volume XXXV)

on developing ocd after a near-tragic accident

check the bathroom door
and all floors for stray hair bands
twice before leaving

elvis lives in my building

big tinted glasses
long black sideburns and suede shoes
surpisingly thin
on being redirected to one of those sites

ambiguous words
can confuse those search engines
type carefully please
i swear i'm losing depth perception

vision needs distance
not four by four pink fabric
my days grow blurry

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pavlov's Political Doggerel

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what topic will ripple throughout the blogosphere today...

  • Where were you when it happened?
  • How were you impacted?
  • Are we safer now than we were five years ago?
  • What does Iraq have to do with 9/11?
And so on. And so on. And so on...

For now, I'm only interested in addressing those questions insofar as they relate to my experience yesterday morning. I was driving Washington to the airport — he was flying out of one of the biggest cities in the U.S. and into our nation's capitol. Suffice it to say he was originally set to fly into D.C. on the 11th, but opted to go a day early... in part to avoid the unease that comes with travel on that day. In part because he has friends in D.C. that afforded him a reasonable excuse to go a day early.

And while I find us both to be rational people (hold your snickering, please) — the sort who engage in that veritable contradiction of being anti-Bush, anti-war and yet simultaneously supportive of troops — I found it interesting that neither of us were thrilled with the idea of a 9/11 travel date. Did I think there'd be another terrorist attack on the five-year anniversary? Not really. Do I think the next terrorist attack will be a repeat of the last one? Not really. Not to mention, D.C. is possibly even one of the safest places to be today.

But to understand and rationalize these things doesn't necessarily negate inscrutable human response. The expression "fight or flight" comes to mind. I've determined that, as much as we may hate to admit it, the biomechanics of human nature tell us to get the heck out of Dodge long after the dust settles.

It's like that proverbial stove we're told, as children, to never touch.

"That's HOT" our parents say to deter any physical impulse. "Don't TOUCH" And what should happen if curiosity ever gets the best of us, and our little fingers make their way onto the heated surface?

We know to never touch it again. And not so much because our parents told us not to, but because we understand what happens when we do.

So that's what "hot" means...

And while I don't intend to downplay the horrific events of five years ago with such a silly, poorly-composed analogy... I do mean to say that somewhere inside of us, those old parental caveats (nurture) have intermingled with innate response (nature) to create a sensory overload of sorts.

Somehow the wires have crossed. And even as our rational mind determines the stove is turned off... somewhere inside of us, a synapse fires and we wonder: "What if..."

We keep our hands, then, safely at our sides.

But it's also unfair of me to rest all of the blame on unadulterated human nature. From Milgram's experiments to Pavlov's, to Skinner's... human nature is swayed — whether consciously or unconsciously — by external influences.

And these "influences" (television commercials, billboards, political rallies, news programs, etc.) somehow condition us to respond to stimuli in ways that often defy what we think about ourselves.

That's what bothered me yesterday: not the electronic readerboard itself, but rather my immediate response to it.


it said


"Orange Alert," I said. "That's just one level below red."

That's when it hit me: I've often mocked and satirized that frivolous alert system and yet, suddenly, it meant something to me. And I was ashamed.

"Is that Bert or Ernie?" Washington asked, referring to the icon on my blog.

"I can never remember which is orange, and which is yellow. I know Elmo is red."

  • He then slurped down the rest of his coffee, which he couldn't take on the plane.
  • He then grabbed his carry-on (free of toiletries) from the trunk, and then his check-in.
  • I looked at his shoes, and thought to tell him he should've worn disposable socks.
And then I wondered when on earth all of this would end. The terror alerts. The security increases. The liquid ban, the shoeless scans, the wire taps.

And then I remembered, a month or two ago, driving past a billboard that read "ARE YOU READY?"

It was a disaster preparedness message, catered specifically towards terrorist activity. Suddenly I felt like I was a character in Brazil (1985) or even V for Vendetta (2005). Here I have a government telling me to "be prepared" (i.e. Be afraid. Be very afraid.) all the while recommending I put on a pretty face and go about my business.

Talk about a mixed message. I heard yesterday afternoon that the federal government has spent considerably more money advertising and stumping airport security and this color coded "THREAT LEVEL" system than it has spent actually improving airport security (I've got to imagine it's considerably less for other potential targets... trains, busses, water supplies, etc).

Which then brings us back to the very beginning. Where was I five years ago today? Do I think we're safer now then we were before?

Five years ago today, I had just moved to the city where two of the planes left. And when I boarded public transportation to make the commute home — some six hours earlier than expected — all of the city was stuffed on to the train with me. Some families. Some students. But mostly business men with their heads down, and their laptops at their side. It was 10 a.m.; everyone was on their way home... and no one said a word. I didn't think I'd ever again experience something as surreal as that.

But as I saw that readerboard at the airport — as I mumbled the words "That's just one level below red" — I realized...

I was wrong.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Pseudo-Political Rant about the War (Not-So-Cleverly Disguised as a Review of Syriana)

For the first 45 minutes or so of watching this, we couldn't get the subtitles to work. That meant countless "huh's" and "what'd he say's" that most assuredly frustrated my movie-watching companion.

When we continued the film later on a different DVD player, the feature started working and, at long last, I realized that we'd been watching one heckuva good film.

Essentially, Syriana (2006) is a movie about all of those things we don't want to believe. It's a "fictional" account of the goings-on in the Middle East: the makings of terrorists... the oil wars... and the American politics behind it all. It paints a picture of what we all "suspect" is going on... but that few of us are willing to believe.

That's the aspect of the film that scares me, and for two reasons:

•I generally take issue with any book, film or story that takes a very serious and very "real" issue, and fictionalizes it on a highly influential medium. It's scary what these things can do to sway the masses — sometimes appropriately so, but sometimes... also... blindly, or in the wrong direction
•I don't want to believe that everything I see in Syriana is true. But if this were an all-out documentary (just to clarify... it's not), it confirms my worst suspicions. And that's terrifying.

Here we have a movie that shows how an ordinary Islamic man becomes a terrorist. We see how American politics impact the Middle East. And we see the role oil companies — American and otherwise — play in it all.

And Syriana does this without painting all Americans in a negative light (on the contrary, the CIA agent George Clooney plays is an innocent pawn who tries his darnedest to rectify wrongs committed by his organization). And you don't sympathize with all Arabic men (there are two Saudi princes in this film, for example... one will essentially go to work for American oil companies; the other wants to do what is best for his people but is not necessarily anti-American).

The real beauty of this film: much like Thank You For Smoking (2006) — a movie about smoking in which no one ever lights up — Syriana brings to mind the workings of the Bush administration, and our current role in Iraq — without ever once referencing our current president.

My biggest complaint: with 4-5 story lines unfolding at once, I wasn't always able to follow along... but this may have resulted from the aforementioned "subtitle" issue.

But back to the pseudo-political rant:

Given the recent headline about Prime Minister Blair stepping down, at the bequest of his people, why on earth haven't we accomplished the same here?

I realize Parliament can actually "vote" someone out of office, and that realization likely played a role in Blair's decision. And I know that's not a feat as easily accomplished here. But, goodness, if we could impeach Clinton for his husbandly misgivings... what's missing from the equation here?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Portrait of a City Twice Removed


  • A teenage girl in full Muslim garb (including a hijab) — jogging
  • Old women convened at a park bench
  • Walkers and wrinkles
  • Two little girls, ages two and four, running towards a woman and her Yorkie, bouncing and laughing
  • Grey squirrels scrambling to cross the path
  • Love letters on tree bark
  • The moon rising over Michigan
  • An ant doing laps around my rearview mirror
  • That little plastic "protector" (broken), rattling against tire spokes
  • Quivering Russian and light laughter
  • Two little girls, ages two and four, yelling: "Doggie! He-wo doggie! Eeeee!"
  • Cat Power's "I Found a Reason"... three times before letting the iPod shuffle on
  • Cicadas that grow louder from all directions
  • Waves mistaking themselves for the ocean
  • Crickets just audible over a passing train
  • My neighbor counting to 12 through an open window
  • His son shrieking just when he's been found
  • Gnats that appeared from out of nowhere
  • Citrus spit from xylitol gum
  • Sweat from lip corners
  • The sweet nothing of water after a long run
  • An ache that comes from shins worn by hard pavement
  • Sand that fell in my shoelaces
  • Needles from the evergreen near my entryway
  • The pedal against my knee
  • A metal door knob pressing into my back
  • The reverberations of a cat's purr
  • Fresh water in motion
  • Old food and mildew in a trashcan as I stretch to view the etchings on a tree
  • Exhaust from a city bus that leaves passengers in pitch-black
  • Toxins and saline accumulating on my shirtsleeves
  • The faint hint of charcoal (a barbecue's last call)
Stream of consciousness victim to the five senses. Perception dictated by failing vision.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

On the Wrong Side

Friday, September 01, 2006

Haiku/Gesundheit (Volume XXXIV)

on being mistaken for a store employee the umpteenth time

i don't work here but
my degree is in english
how may i help you?

cool painting, awesome headline

it's not often that
a lost scream is found again
i wax pathetic
thoughts concerning city life

part i - on driving

hummer cuts me off
jam speeds up to a snail's crawl
abandon all hope

part ii - on jogging

the skinny chick glares
bigger ones offer a wave
with a lone finger

part iii - in sum

i'm ready to leave
this city of cold shoulders
is your couch taken?
this is getting to be a little ridiculous

i'm glad you have that
cell for your emergencies...
but what about mine?