Archive for March, 2005

Pink Strip

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Mood: Over it
Drinking: Diet Coke with a dash of that magical vanilla

Pink Strip

Blame it on the genes.
They’ve betrayed you.

Curvaceous Helix Traitors.
Deoxyribonucleic Renegades.

And if you think proteins and
sugar phosphates
can’t have an
ulterior motive, a
sinister agenda, the
last laugh, you
have not done your homework.

It’s a biochemical mutiny,
and you’re walking the plank.

Blame it on the boy, if you want.
He double-crossed you, too.

Malefic Civilian Informer.
Treacherous Morrissey Fanboy.

You should know by now
that you can’t trust a man
with magnets for eyes. He
carves your initials
into his arm
just to infiltrate the psych ward
to find you. It’s so bloody, it’s almost
romantic. But then he doesn’t just
push your buttons, he
threads a needle and sews them
right into your skin. He’s a card
carrying member of Nicole’s
Black Cotton Mafia and you
are his heroin moll.

It’s a Dark Boy conspiracy
and you need witness protection.

Blame it on Jesus. Everyone does.
Isn’t silence a breach of good faith?

Deficient Deity.
Inadequate Savior.

Just when you’re ready to seek
and to find, that’s when
he goes into hiding.
He goes into stealth mode,
radio silent.
He goes incognito.
He goes away.
(It’s almost like he wants you
to beg for it.)

So you do.
You get down on your knees
in the bedraggled back bathroom
of Andy’s Chinese.
You assume the position
and you say “Our Father,
pretty please.”

Then you wait for heaven
to crack wide open
and spit out an angel
but you’d settle for something
smaller and less brilliant.
You’d settle for an answer.
But all you see is the ceiling
the white paint falling in flakes
to reveal a yellow sheen
circa 1973
hidden underneath.

You start to think
the colors in this room
have formed an alliance against you.
White is never as innocent as it
first appears. There’s always a secret
seeping through like a yellow disease.
And this pink in your hand,
so nauseating
so Pepto Bismol
so far from pretty.
You never did like the pastels.

So you’re left with the pink strip
and the absolute absence of
divine intervention.

Jesus
is busy.
Boy is oblivious.
And your genes, well,
they’re just too dangerous.

So you blame it on yourself, finally.
You make such a good villain.

And villains don’t make good mothers.
(The defects are hereditary.)

-Lo, who knows that not all poems can be taken at face value and not all Morrissey fanboys are treacherous.

Betty Blue, She’s So Fine

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Mood: Anticipatin’
Drinking: Nu-uh

It’s a great day for a motorcycle ride.

And that’s just what I’m gonna do. What we are gonna do. And I’m not ridin’ bitch on the back of some boy’s Harley, either. (I’m not necessarily anti-Harley, but I don’t think that Harleys are the be-all end-all of cycles, either.)

I used to happily ride bitch. I few times I even fell asleep b/c the road was smooth and the sun was warm and the motor was purring and I just couldn’t help myself. So I’d nod off but somehow manage to hang on and it would freak the Boy right out. He used to joke that he was going to get himself one of those T-shirts that says (on the back) “If you can read this, the bitch fell off.”

But I soon got bored with the backseat. There wasn’t a whole lot to do except hang on, stare around and try not to clonk your helmet into his helmet when he came to an unexpected stop. So after awhile I stopped riding along and Boy got offended. He thought that either I had lied and didn’t really like motorcycles or that he must smell real bad. Neither of those are true. I just expected more from my motorcycling experience.

So Boy got all brilliant and signed me up for a motorcyle-riding class. At first I wasn’t that into the idea. I hadn’t seen many girls riding bikes and most of the ones I had seen fit more into the “broads” class. Their skin was more leathery than the fringed chaps that they loved so much. They were also unnecessarily into riding in bikini tops, wrinkled stomach flab hanging over and obscuring their turquoise belt buckles. No thanks.

But San Francisco is a two-wheeled town, the streets full of all manner of bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. So I decided that maybe I could be a scooter-girl. An Amelie in the driver seat. And Boy convinced me that the motorcycle class would serve me well as a Sassy Scooter Maiden. So I went.

First there was the classroom thing with the book-learning version of riding. (Here is the clutch, here is the throttle.) There were a few too many of the Driver’s Ed style videos with the horrible acting and violently grinning talking heads saying stuff like “Always wear your helmet. It’s the law in California. If you don’t wear it, the whole world will see the exact color and consistency of your brain matter as it smears across the pavement like so much cream cheese.”

I had never paid much attention when Boy was in the driver’s seat, and I had never ridden a dirt bike, so I had some trouble remembering to shift with my toes. So the first day on the driving range as 20 of us lined up in our jeans and boots and martian-sized helmets, I kept muttering to myself “Clutch on the left hand. Gas on the right.” And then the instructor pointed me to a little red Nighthawk and my Scooter delusions skipped right out of my head.

Even backseat bitches will tell you there’s nothing like riding a motorcycle. The freedom. The exhilaration. The power. Well, when you’re the one doing the actual riding instead of just sitting, you can multiply all that exhilaration by ten thousand.

From the moment I first rolled on the gas and leaned into my very first turn, I was a goner. I loved it. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out that I was a motorcycle rider. I couldn’t wait to get my license and hit the open road for real. And Boy, he knew it all along.

The day I finished my class and received the little white piece of paper that told the DMV to give this girl a Class M license, Boy picked me up in the Jeep, drove me home and rolled open the garage door to reveal a shiny blue motorcycle of my very own. It was better than Christmas.

She was so obviously a chick ‘cycle, so obviously meant for me. Tall enough to make room for my long legs, thin enough to let me lane split without fear of taking off car mirrors and blue like the blue of the morning sky on this fine motorcycle ridin’ day. I named her Betty Blue. (I name everything. Our Jeep’s name is Dana, and he’s a sexy gay man.)

Betty Blue is a badass bitch of a cycle. If she were a human she’d be a Betty Page in boots and garters. We’ve been together for nearly two years now. And when the rainy season keeps us indoors, I start to get an itch in my throttle hand and begin making random comments to strangers like, “God, I miss Betty!”

So when I woke up a few minutes ago and saw that the sky is the perfect twin to Betty’s gas tank, well, I started shinin’ my riding boots.

I’m going to let Boy sleep in but as soon as he’s up we’re going to fire up our bikes and head down Highway 35 through the mountains and the woods to Alice’s for a biker-sized burger. Then we’ll cut over to the Pacific Coast Highway and head back north along the beach, watching the sun turn the surf to liquid light and listening to the hum of our engines pulling us home.

-Lo, who is in no danger of becoming a gearhead.

Invincible

Monday, March 21st, 2005

Mood: Growly
Drinking: Yup

There’s a girl
down in Georgia
who doesn’t feel pain.

Cut her, she bleeds.
But the sticky redness
doesn’t cue any panic.

It might as well be fingerpaint.
Clot and color.

And you,
you are made up of panic
and pain.
Balls to brain.

I wish you were her,
bleeding
but oblivious.

-Lo, who once saw a boy drink his own blood.

Freaks? Yes, please!

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

Mood: Scheming
Drinking: Coke of the diet vanilla variety

In the course of my recent Internet stalking of a fellow poet, I was elated to read this post on her blog:
“After reading 4 volumes of ‘best american poetry’, i am willing to make the statement that i really hate a lot of poetry. perhaps i am not a poet at all. perhaps, as (friend) suggests, i am actually a text dj. because i don’t wanna have anything to do with what those folks do. and likely? vice versa!”

To which I say a very loud, “Hell, yeah!”

This is probably one of the reasons why I enjoy her poetry…because we are part of the secret poetry-hater sisterhood. If only there were such a thing. (By the way, I’m not going to keep her to myself. Her name is Daphne Gottlieb, and you can check out some of her work here.)

Back in the school daze of sack lunches and dress codes, there was a “Literature” class that scarred me forever. We studied the collected works of long-revered poets and it all merged into a mush that sounded like this:

“From cocoon forth a butterfly
As lady from her door
Emerged–a summer afternoon–
Repairing everywhere,

Without design, that I could trace,
Except to stray abroad
On miscellaneous enterprise
The clovers understood.

Her pretty parasol was seen
Contracting in a field
Where men made hay, yawn yawn etcetera…”

And although her name is the first that comes to mind when I try to root out the source of my poetry hatred, Emily Dickinson is not the only one who bored me into endlessly doodling “Mrs. Luke Skywalker” in intricate curliques all over my unicorn notebook. I never met a poet in textbooks that I actually liked. And the first time someone referred to my writing as “poetry”, I was equal parts horrified and offended.

I didn’t want to be one of “those people”, writing about the wonder of bees and trees and crafting rhyming Hallmark couplets about friendship and daisies. I’m all too aware that there are legions of people who think Miss Dickinson is a genius. And even more who spend their hard-earned quarters on mawkish greeting cards. And far too many more who think that they are a “poet” because they wrote something along the lines of:

“I know you’re watching me from heaven
with gossamer angel wings of love.
But I still miss you, Grandma,
you were a gift sent from above.”

Heartfelt, schmaltzy rhymes do not a poet make.

For years, I thought I was the only one who loved words but hated poetry. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve picked up a volume of poetry and started reading, waded about two lines in, rolled my eyes, and tossed the book back on the shelf. I have always wanted some blood and tears in my poems. Make me feel it. Make me see it. Show me some beautiful pain. Some rawness. Some sacrilege. Some reality.

And then one glorious day I found Sylvia and her poppies. (“If my mouth could marry a hurt like that!”)

She and her suicide were too scandalous for them to teach in the uptight private school I attended, but I found her anyway. I still remember the moment I read “Mad Girl’s Love Song” and swooned…

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,

and arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

Sylvia Plath erased my fear of poetry. And after her there was Charles Bukowski with his women and his whiskey and his affinity for dogs and racehorses. And then came Nicole Blackman and her black cotton mafia. And now I’ve met Daphne and her blooming grenades.

Kindred spirits, all. Misfits and freaks and raging voices in the night. My kind of people. Be they poets, drunks or text DJs, I don’t care. Whatever it is that these pens pull from paper, it is good. It is real. It is true. It frightens away the bees. It separates the daisy people from the bloody poppies. And if it doesn’t, I don’t like it.

If you’re the biggest Dickinson fan in the world and you think I’m an arrogant snob and an awfully naughty poetry hater, that’s just fine. Go ahead and toss your sticks and stones. Me and the freaks will be over here in the corner sharpening our pens.

-Lo, whose favorite Nicole Blackman line at the moment is: “I want matches in case I have to suddenly burn.”

Guest Speaker

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

Mood: Fine
Drinking: Nope

My friend S wrote a lovely little poem the other day and I found it particularly inspiring, so I’m posting it here for all to see (with her permission, of course.)

She calls it “Being Seen All the Time”…

Her mirror is from the interrogation room
where they questioned Cain.

Her calipers, last used by the Masons
who threw over God for architecture.

The red pencil is from Office Depot.
It feels insecure about its ostensibly dull life story
and so avoids the mirror
and the calipers
at cocktail parties.

All of this looking
is about asking a big question.
She wouldn’t tell you what it is,
even if she could.
She tilts her head and furrows her brows,
sleek black wings of gulls in a photo negative.

Meanwhile, the world looks, with more mundane purposes:

The sharpener who fell in hopeless love
watching her cross the street
does portraits of her on the edge of
every knife blade.

The racetrack called: They’d like her to return
as soon as possible the elegant lope
of racehorse legs.

Paris leaves golden apples
in plain brown paper bags,
anonymously, on her doorstep.
(Helen of Troy is pissed.)

Her agent called with two voiceover gigs:
a marshmallow Peep and a five-alarm fire.

Lightning is so jealous of her style
that it smashes sand together
to fuse wicked gossip about her
in forked bits of glass.

In a few seconds
she will put down the calipers and pencil.
She will sharpen all knives with a glance.
She will teach the horses about the mysteries
of restrained grace. She will make a pie
from Paris’ apples and feed it to silly anorexic Helen,
who hasn’t eaten in years. She will laugh
like an inferno of marshmallow chicks.

It takes her three seconds of laughing
to break centuries of glass.

-Lo, who thinks S is the SHIT!

Nemesis

Friday, March 11th, 2005

Mood: Determined
Drinking: The Usual

No.
Can’t eat yet.
Can’t call my sister back.
Can’t finish checking email.
Can’t move can’t blink can’t breathe
until I get this down.
Until I get it out.
Get it aaaaall out.
Until I drag the
scantily-clad secrets, the
cats trapped in bags, the
brittle breaking skeletons
until I drag them all screaming
from the closet
and dash them to dust
here on the sidewalk
here on the street
here on the internet
out in the open
where everyone can see
just how deep the deception goes
just how much they really don’t know.
(They thought I was satisfied.)

***

I found her today.
And she’s better than me.
She’s LaDonna 3.0.
She has everything that I’ve got
but she’s added nifty new features
new buttons and bows.
And once you see her,
you’ll be begging for an upgrade.

She’s got accolades
and book deals. She’s got titles
and teaching certificates. She’s got
dreadlocks and baby bangs. She “writes
in the dark with an
exacto blade.”

I write by electric light.
I write with a black ink pen.

I am so soft core.
I am off the rack.
I’m the kind of drug
that requires no prescription.
I am midwestern.
I am milquetoast.
I’m the $6 matinee
with the conventional happy ending.
The one where the girl always gets
her guy.

That’s why they still call me sweetheart
no matter how cold my shoulder gets.

***

And I want to be one of the dark girls
one of the tough girls one of
the girls with the history and
the mystery and the dirty dirty laundry.

But I use too much bleach and salvation.

I want the heroin friends and
the industrial tour bus. I want the fan
girls and the band aids. I want
the suicide scars and the razorblade
haircut. I want the rollercoaster ride
after hours. I want the cigarette voice and
the whiskey fingers. I want some goddamn street cred.

I want to see her. I want
to be her.
No.
I want to be better
than she ever was.

-Lo, who has dreams of cultivating a cult fan base in Germany.

Freezerburn, the cinépoem

Sunday, March 6th, 2005

Mood:
Drinking:

It’s here.

The first cinepoem, freezerburn, is up and ready for viewing. You can see it in The Library.

Many heaping bucketfuls of thanks go to a few of my fabulous friends:

*Carly, who had the idea in the first place. It was her artistic vision that made the whole thing happen.
*Michelle, who jumped right in with all the stuff we needed so we could make the whole thing happen. She let me take over her microphone and her high-tech soundbooth. And she got to show off her fantastic shooting and editing skills.
*Chris, my web guru, who got the video files up online for your viewing pleasure (with the help of Eric).

What are you waiting for? Go take a look!

-Lo, already ready for the next one.

Twofer

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Mood:
Drinking:

It must be my lucky week.

I’ve got three more poems online elsewhere. This time they’re published over at Subter, an online ‘zine.

Take a look at the whole thing…lots of interesting people contribute. Or you can just go look at me. Right here. And then go check out the other stuff.

Which is what I’m gonna go do. Right. Now.

-Lo, with mouth full of crunchy bagely goodness.