Saturday Night Social

I spent today busy with the 24 Hour Project. I wasn’t sure I could handle the non-sleeping, body-punishing walking, photo- and story-finding work of that challenge and make a poem, but Jezebel saved me.

I worked my erasure differently today. I’m not sure the result does what it should, but I have a poem and I’m sticking to it!

Saturday Night Social
(An erasure of a Jezebel article about Sotheby’s auction of a codpiece.)

White House hoopla fades
into the drunken oblivion of evening.
(After intense bidding, I suppose.)
But when you turn it around,
maybe it’s just the kind of gag item
the wealthy pass around.
Shit has its way
of making you examine
things that are essential —
and things that are not.
Career stuff, stuff collected,
stuff in general.
Boxes in the spirit,
a collection of stuff.

 


 

It’s National Poetry Month! Every year, I choose a specific form and try to write a poem a day in that form. This year, I am trying erasure poems and I want to use news articles as my source texts. I’ve practiced a few times, and it’s already feeling difficult! We’ll see how it goes.

Here’s an edited version of the Wiki definition of this form:
Erasure Poetry: a form of found poetry created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. Erasure is a way to give an existing piece of writing a new set of meanings, questions, or suggestions. It lessens the trace of authorship but requires purposeful decision making. What does one want done to the original text? Does a gesture celebrate, denigrate, subvert, or efface the source completely? One can erase intuitively by focusing on musical and thematic elements or systematically by following a specific process regardless of the outcome.
Also, Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest has some good points to add about ethics and plagiarism:
Quick note on ethics: There is a line to be drawn between erasure poems and plagiarism. If you’re not erasing more than 50% of the text, then I’d argue you’re not making enough critical decisions to create a new piece of art. Further, it’s always good form to credit the original source for your erasures.

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Washington International School

Pour me a cold one?

Maybe I’ve been indulging in Thirst Aid Kit more than I should? I don’t know, but …

For weeks now, my PT routine has been Tuesdays with Jared and Fridays with Jeremy. Occasionally Yu-Lan has been slotted in on Fridays if Jeremy wasn’t able to see me, but mostly I’ve been Jared and Jeremy, Jared and Jeremy. (It’s been interesting working with different therapists. They have different styles, different things they do with my arm, different ways of talking about what’s going on with my arm. I feel as if I’m getting more from my sessions by having more than one therapist.)

On Tuesdays when I get to the PT gym, Jeremy is there, getting in a workout before his shift starts. He smiles and waves, sometimes salutes, as I head for the changing room, then gets back to work.

When I first wrote about Jeremy, I mentioned that, while I can see that people would find him attractive, he’s not the kind of attractive that does it for me. My favorite of the PT boys — because they are all ridiculously young — was Daniel, who turned my head by looking like Takeshi Kaneshiro. Jeremy is a little too BMOC jock dude-bro. Not a type I go for. He has a big, overtly-muscular body, also not a type I go for.

In these last weeks I’ve discovered that I am, in fact, a liar. That it’s my burning pants setting off the smoke detectors in here.

Seeing Jeremy working out has been a revelation. Seeing sweaty Jeremy post-workout on his way to shower … well … yes.

(Yes, I do feel 100 percent inappropriate!)

This morning, I discovered that I am not alone. I was sitting under a giant ice pack as one does after a session. Jeremy came down for his shower, and the woman beside me expressed disappointment that she’d have to wait for her own shower. Yu-Lan told her not to worry, that Jeremy would be quick. She looked at Jeremy for confirmation, and he nodded.

“I just need a few minutes,” he said. “I have no hair.”

And the woman — surely involuntarily, surely without thinking about how it would look to the rest of us — ran her eyes down his body. Slowly. Yu-Lan, Jeremy, and I burst out laughing.

“On my head!” Jeremy said, still laughing. “On my head! Everyone: get your minds out of the gutter!”

Yeah.

The woman was younger than I am, maybe in her mid-forties? After Jeremy ducked into the shower room, she shrugged. “What’s the point of filtering?” she asked. “I’ve lived long enough to see that censoring myself hasn’t gotten me  anywhere. Men  certainly don’t worry about filters!”

I nodded. Yu-Lan laughed and gave a thumbs up.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be showing up at Friday PT sessions with my nose wide open. As if. It did make for an an amusing start to my Tuesday, however. And it’s interesting to see that — given the proper circumstances — a type of guy I didn’t find attractive can suddenly look like a tasty treat!


It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! With hundreds of folks participating, there’s more than a little something for everyone … and plenty of room for you to join in!

The Cure for Cranky

I was a bit off this morning. Wrong side of the bed and all that. Listening to music wasn’t working to snap me out of it, so I scrolled through my podcast subscriptions … and found the answer: Buzzfeed’s Thirst Aid Kit! Bim and Nichole make me laugh, make me blush, make me shake my head in wonder. I don’t always agree with their thirst object choices, but I love everything they have to say about those choices. If you want a good laugh, a quality pick-me-up on a cold, cranky morning, these ladies might have just what you need. They certainly did the trick for me today, sent me out of the house with a smile on my face and some residual giggles in the back of my throat.

(Fair warning: this podcast isn’t for the excessively prim, the overly faint of heart, the easily scandalized … and it’s definitely NSFW and not to be played when young children are in the room!)


It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! With hundreds of folks participating, there’s more than a little something for everyone … and plenty of room for you to join in!

I’m a Hollaback! girl, but …

I’m no fan of street harassment.  As the title says, I’m a Hollaback! girl, and a fan of Maggie Hadleigh-West’s amazing War Zone and of Holly Kearl. I’m happy every time a harasser is challenged, every time one is charged.

You can already hear the “but” coming, can’t you?  Yeah, it’s there.

I stepped off the bus this morning and headed for the subway.  As I approached the corner, I saw a young guy turn, see me, give me a serious once-over. When he gave me the second full-body stare and opened his mouth, I took a breath and set my face.  Whatever he was going to say, I was ready.

So here’s the but (or, to be crass — and give away the punchline — here’s my butt).  He started singing.  Started singing Queen.  Sang out loud and proud, “Fat-bottomed girl, you make the rocking world go round!”

I could have gotten mad at him, but really all I wanted to do was laugh.  First, I love that song.  Second, I often sing that song in reference to myself.  (I know I once wrote here claiming another number as my theme song, but who says you can only have one?)  Third, I just never expected him to sing, and certainly not that song.  Wasn’t he too young to even know that song?  And who sings Queen to strangers on the street at 8:15 in the morning, anyway?

I didn’t laugh.  I didn’t hug him, either.  I just kept walking.  But I won’t lie and say I didn’t have a little bit of a smile on my face for the next two blocks.

Note to the other harassers out there: this trick isn’t going to work every time, so you can put your songbooks away.

My Life as a Cougar

No, this isn’t some poignant tale from my Swedish childhood.¹  This is me struggling with the weird reality of going out with a guy young enough to be my son.  You know, dealing with the discovery that I am a “cougar.”²

Ok, so I’ve said it.  I’ve said both “it”s — I’ve gone on dates with someone who isn’t AC, and that not-AC someone is ridiculously young.  Take a moment to denounce me if you like.

Done?  I’m not sure I am, but let’s continue.

We’ll call the little whippersnapper I’ve been talking to Tarik.  On our third date I made the mistake of asking his age.  I knew he was young.  Even in the dark dance club where we met, it was clear I was the senior partner in our couple.  It’s just that I had convinced myself ours was a single-digit age gap.  Yeah, not so much.

I am finding this May-December thing decidedly icky.  And I’m surprised by how much it bothers me.  I don’t know if Tarik ever had any kind of boyfriend potential, but I do know that learning his age chilled my interest.  How annoying that I care.  Why do I care?  After all, AC is younger than I am, too.  Ok, only by two years.  We’re practically separated at birth compared to me and Tarik.  But really, what’s the big deal?  A man “of a certain age” dating a woman in her 20s would be envied and admired — ok, maybe not by everyone, but by many.  But when it’s an older woman and a younger man, suddenly there’s something animal and creepy going on:³

Shall I photoshop my face in there?

Again, what’s the big deal?  According to this handy chart I found on the internets, Tarik’s in my half-plus-seven dating range:

Mercifully, I will be saving myself from having to agonize over this too much longer.  It seems that my little trip to Cougar Town is going to be a short one.  Tarik is mostly irking the mess out of me these days, and is about to get that final goodbye.  I just wish I could figure out whether or not he’d irk me half as much if he weren’t half my age.

__________

¹ Tell me you never saw that movie.  What’s Netflix for, friends?

² Oh, so many issues with this use of “cougar.”  I suppose it’s better than “cradle robber,” but what is it really supposed to be saying?  And, while we’re figuring stuff out, how is it that I’m finding myself in this category?

³ Check out The Gender Blender Blog for a good articulation of some of my problems with this whole cougar business.