Sunday, May 31, 2009
"Not That Great of an Evening" by Mark Halliday
Yeah I went to the talk, and the reception.
Yeah I went to the dinner, and the party.
It was not a terrible evening. It was okay.
I don't think I did anything especially stupid.
But I feel kind of crummy. Not wretched, you know,
but just kind of lost or left over—
like I'm the little cup of overcooked beans
somebody covered with plastic wrap and pushed to the back of
the fridge. I might drink a little Scotch
just to get sleepy. Everything is okay. But it's like
there's so many voices—all these voices
still skittering around in my head like mice—people
having things to say. Everybody finding lots to say—
this professor gave a talk about the interpenetration
of coexisting cultures—I think that was the concept—
I kind of drifted away in some sections—and then
people clapped so I was clapping and then I was standing
with a cup of wine and trying to have on my face
the I'm-so-interested look. I'm so interested but
I'm also witty and cool. Then I was part of
several little exchanges—not really conversations,
it's more like we're throwing peanuts at each other's mouths.
My peanuts just bounced off the chin or the cheek of
whomever I spoke to. This was partly because the room was so noisy
and my voice is phlegmy and weak. In my next life
I want to have a voice nobody can ignore. But then
I would need to have things to say. Tonight I tried
but I could feel how unriveting I was. I don't blame people
for sliding away from me at the reception, and also at the party.
If I met me tonight I would slide away from me too.
But how do they all do it? Are they happy?
I know some of them are not happy, but at least they seem to be so
present. Whereas I was like glancing at the door
waiting for my interesting life to show up.
My cup of wine kept being empty
which made me feel as if I was standing there in my underwear
so I kept refilling it. I was a blur.
I was a blur on its way to becoming a smudge.
And this was not about the evening being terrible. Actually
that's the scary part of it. This was a normal evening
with me being a fuzzy blur. At dinner I kept trying
to look very interested in the conversation on my left or my right
so it wouldn't be obvious that my only true companion was
my plate of salmon and potato. At one point
the troublingly attractive woman across the table was talking
about the talk we heard on coexisting cultures and suddenly
I felt potentially witty and I said loudly, "Who would have thought
that interpenetration could be so boring?" and I grinned at her
and I felt quite rogueish for a quarter of a second
but she just blinked as if I'd thrown a peanut that hit her eyelid
and then she kind of tilted away from me so she could finish her observation
about the ironies of postcolonialism. My face then felt
like a huge decaying pumpkin. Then for a while
I pushed a piece of salmon around on my plate, seeing it as
a postcolonial island, and I imagined the natives muttering
"Things were better under the emperor, at least you knew who you were."
Then after coffee I drifted along to the party upstairs and I thought
there must be a way to have fun. What is it?
So I ate three brownies. While nibbling the brownies
I tried to maintain the I'm-so-interested look. I'm sure I chatted
with a dozen people. Several times I started a sentence with
"It's fascinating the way" or "It's so fascinating the way"
but at the moment I can't remember what I was saying was
so fascinating. It was something about memories of high school
at one point. At the party there were at least four women
who seemed very attractive and I just wanted one of them
to give me some big eye contact, that's all,
the kind of gleaming twinkling eye contact that says
"I am intensely aware of your masculine appeal"
but this did not happen, and I began to feel resentful,
I resented the feeling that the focus of the evening,
the focus of existence, was always over there or over there
and never like here where I was standing.
So yeah. It was like that. At some point pretty late
people were telling jokes and I started telling several people
the old long joke whose punch line is,
"Let your pages do the walking through the Yellow Fingers"
but somehow it took forever and only one person really heard the punch line
and he just patted my shoulder and said something like
"Time to get this old steed back to the stable."
Then we both laughed and actually I was happy then
for a second. After that I sat on the sofa
drinking something that looked like wine
and I felt I was such a blur it was like I was the sofa's third cushion.
And then apparently my shoes carried me all the way to this room
where it's just me and the Scotch and the empty bed.
Okay, so not that great of an evening, but no tragedy either;
but I'd just like to feel how it feels to be
in focus at the focus, to feel "Hey, you want the party?
Seek no more! The party's right here."
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"Regret" by Stephanie Anderson
I think of how I would rather sleep,
but I say nothing aloud:
I don't believe in being pretty anymore,
or know why I watch you read in bed.
We are simple:
There is nothing between us,
we are merely skin—
little-trained of more.
I shift my head,
see the compliments of the lamp's shine
strong against the light and dark of your face—
I want to lay against your back,
and urge your horses to gallop.
Instead, I give you my back.
We close our books and eyes—
I want to be beautiful,
but I say nothing aloud.
Friday, May 15, 2009
"My Waiting Brain" by Bruce Weigl
There are certain pathways he must follow when he goes into my brain,
or else something catastrophic might happen he said. He said
any kind of bleeding in the brain is not good and should be avoided.
I think he was talking to himself. Meantime, my waiting brain said
Love yourself; love your pain and your illnesses
waiting down the road for you like old friends in the shade. Better
spend some time tonight looking at the stars.
Empty again like the dead hawk's heart is empty of blood on the
where it must have slammed into the truck's windshield at say
sixty-five miles an hour,
is how my brain says the world looks today,
although it may be this unseasonably warm winter of green grass,
who don't know which way to hoot
that has my head spinning;
the way a too warm December evening
can hold still its last moment of light, right before your eyes.
Help, my waiting brain says, and then, Fuck you.
He woke me up at four a.m.
with his pal, Mr. Spinning Room,
in our private field of opiates,
so all I could do was lay there and listen to rain murmer in the night,
the sound like someone who is lost,
talking to herself in darkness.
Good morning highly polished chrome nightmare tool.
You look fine this morning, like a silver snake
bristling alive in every scale,
longing to be inserted into my waiting brain
to wind down the tunnels of me, once and for all.
We were celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior,
by stuffing our bodies with food and wine,
so like the Romans,
we fell into a stupor afterward,
a semicomatose state, especially the men.
Everyone was otherwise preoccupied,
and though I was surrounded
by the snoozing, snoring bodies of my people,
it was as if I were alone,
just my waiting brain and me. Night came
with its enormous rotation of stars,
so something seemed possible, even if it wasn't hope,
even if the thing we spend our lives moving toward
is unknowable, until it's too late to turn back.
In the dark I wanted peace,
my waiting brain told me,
as if that's too much to ask,
as if sacrifice is too much to ask,
given everything I've done for you
my brain explained, and how could I argue.
In the end, my waiting brain said
Dismantle me but don't undress,
the blue spruce watch us through the blowing snow;
forgive my forgetfulness,
but I don't remember my name.
"A Night in Martirios" by D. Nurkse
the author will have one character say
I have a hard time believing this
and the other explains:
it's the axle working loose,
the fog in the orchards,
controlled fires in the canebrake.
Now we are resting at twilight
on a frayed floral quilt
and the dimity curtains open
in the wind from Orizaba.
Now the author has the characters undress
and sleep together, they are naked
as the space between words,
the lamp is unlit, the bed unmade,
the silence is absolute,
occasionally a faint hiss of rain
or the scritch as the author
erases his own name.
"Evora" by D. Nurkse
Maybe we may talk our way out of death
given that the I disappears so disingenuously
whenever you look for it, so does the poem,
leaving only the track of a snail
in the stucco alcove where we catnapped
in Evora, in late summer, scrunched
in the osier bed, before you knew me,
before I didn't know you, when the future ended,
cracked sun in the mirror, when the finches
instructed us in thin scattered voices
to stand our ground against delight.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
"Inter-library love" by Tim Love
ISBN 075510904X request
ISBN 075510904X dispatched
ISBN 0571137326 request
ISBN 0571137326 dispatched
ISBN 042514724X request
ISBN 042514724X dispatched
ISBN 0263108201 'Jilted' request
ISBN 0708983758 'The Unforgiven' request
ISBN 0263108201 dispatched
ISBN 0708983758 dispatched
ISBN 0880016647 request
My shelves are overflowing with you
ISBN 0226306690 dispatched
Let's share archives
ISBN 0226306690 overdue
Let's exchange backups
ISBN 0226306690 overdue
Let's merge catalogs
Monday, November 03, 2008
devil's details, ghosts in the slot machine, etc
(Though, on a more serious note, I'm troubled by how many people seem to have forgotten that the presidential decision is not the only item on the ballot. Part of me is kind of pleased the dude was invested enough to say anything at all.)
I am in no way opposed to legalized gambling per se. It's not the wisest pastime, and anyone with a cursory understanding of statistics might just as soon toss coins into a wishing well. However, it is not a legitimate function of state (or any) government to prohibit gaming or gambling on these grounds. What people do with their time and money, no matter how stupid, is their own business, provided they do not actively infringe upon the rights of anyone else while they're at it.
Upon closer examination of this particular proposal, though, I am no longer enthused, namely because:
(1) The purpose of the state constitution is to set forth basic framework, with details left up to local jurisdictions or enacted as regular legislation (for the record: the slots ban in the 1960s was the latter). This hardly qualifies as a fundamental aspect of governance, and the proposal as written contains too much minutia to warrant constitutional amendment status.
(2) The specifics spelled out in the referendum, once ensconced in the constitution, would be incredibly difficult to change. Any alterations would also need to be adopted as constitutional amendments and subjected to another referendum to state voters.
So, if we wanted to allow slots in Cecil County within 2.5 miles of Interstate 95 instead of just within 2 miles of Interstate 95, we would have to do this all over again. This is a needlessly laborious way to correct zoning issues, a waste of time and tax money, and a perversion of the amendment process.
(3) The proposal inappropriately encroaches on the authority of local governments by specifying which parts of Maryland can and cannot have slots. It would be far more prudent to enact legislation lifting the ban on slots statewide, and to leave specific decisions such as where and how many up to individual communities. Among other things, this amendment is an underhanded way of castrating county legislatures.
(4) It only legalizes slots in five specific locations around the state. Slots in other areas would still be illegal. As such, this referendum is as anti-slots as it is pro-slots, as it would effectively constitutionalize the slot ban for all but these locations.
(5) While money would go to education, the initiative does not say that this is ADDITIONAL money for education. Right now, funding for public education comes out of the State’s General Fund. If the budget crunch continues, it is not unreasonable to assume that slots money will simply supplant General Fund money, resulting in no NEW money for schools.
(6) Why the hell is 7% of the revenue being allocated to "horse racing purses"?
Basically, I'm of the mind that the vast majority of this proposal has no business being a constitutional amendment (and that horse racing has no business getting 7% of the spoils), so I'm voting no.
In conclusion, this excerpt from some online personality test would be much more suitable:
"Which is a better nickname for a male porn star?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
like birds in the wilderness waiting
for a table.
Mouths watering, surrounded
by cigarette smoke and laughing soldiers,
I bury my head in my hands to drown out
my empty stomach.
I am riding on fumes.
Smith, party of 4, your table is ready.
Smith, party of 4, your table is ready.
Smith, party of 4, we sincerely hope you're not
dead in a ditch somewhere,
but there are other mouths to be fed.
After the summons,
we're whisked away,
some bread exchanged for rolls.
The soup of the day
is tomato stem cell,
organic and grown locally.
My fuel light fades.
The regular sits in his own company at the table
across the universe.
For 1/3 of a second,
he is 2/3 face,
1/6 full glass,
1/6 empty glass,
body unseen but assumed
behind an ionic column.
Then he empties his cup,
downing its contents in gulps and starts,
like light quanta
except with dark
rum instead of photons.
I forget to pretend
to watch the television in the corner.
I chew with my mouth
He finds me out.
It's impolite to stare.
It's a tragedy to be ignored.
His eyes narrow, and then, gruffly,
he informs me that he drinks
to suppress his appetite.
He looks too thin to
You don't look like you've got a weight problem,
He smiles the weedy smile.
"I'm not talking about food, sweetheart."
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Sweep me up.
However, I will, WILL be successful this time. First of all, I have come ever more to understand that I am utterly mediocre and have nothing novel enough to offer the world, or at least nothing brilliant to justify my continued existence. I will not be happy, as I seem to be incapable of being happy, and I will not be satisfied, because my ambition by far outstrips my ability. As such, to continue living is to continue suffering and nothing else. Moreover, to continue living is to continue wasting valuable resources on a person (me) who would be better off dead.
I had considered giving it another shot, but this is the last straw. For a brief bit this summer, I entertained the notion that I had onstage performing talent that might amount to something my academic talents never would. However, after I was cast and as time wore on, I came to realize that this was untrue, and furthermore that the new Hayley, the Hayley that emerged as she came of age, would be damned in theatre just as she was in all other parts of life. Eventually this came to a head for every possible reason, but the big overarching one was that I just wasn’t worth keeping around. I am still not worth keeping around, but rather than waiting around for Godot to cosmically fire me, I am simply going to do myself and everyone else a favor and take my own life.
When a person’s bad traits by far eclipse her good ones, and when she rarely if ever experiences positive emotions but frequently is overcome by negative ones, what point is there to continued existence? Duty aside, I am contributing to overpopulation and resource scarcity by remaining alive and offering nothing back, whether it be in the form of art or academia or even personal relationships. Ryan, my boyfriend, made a dire mistake in choosing me, a fact that I believe he has slowly realized as time has worn on, and which he will surely and thankfully realize after I am gone. I am grateful for him, but I am also sad that I kept him from finding someone better all these years, and for all of the times that I made him unhappy. I hope at least that I was a decent lay.
I wish I could cite a ‘duty to die’ as my reason for killing myself, but in truth, it is a duty to myself as much as if not moreso than a duty to others, and thus far less noble than the word duty would normally imply. It does a service to others, certainly—to my boyfriend, who deserves someone prettier and more local, to my parents, who have enough on their plate with one problematic child, and to my peers, who will have more air to breathe. More importantly, however, I will finally be free of the pain and anxiety that has plagued my existence in varying amounts for over a year now. I have had enough of wondering whether the next day will be bearable or downright horrible. Theatre no longer brings me success or happiness, I am unable to focus on anything consistently enough to properly achieve good things—I only attain them by accident, through sheer luck, and at that point they hardly qualify as achievements. Other things that would at first glance appear to be to my credit reflect me as I was years ago before this condition rather than me as I am now, and in that sense these things don’t really feel like achievements, or at least don’t testify to my worth as a human being. For instance, I guarantee that were he to meet me now for the first time, Ryan would want nothing to do with me, as every interesting thing about me and every intelligent thought in my head that attracted him in the first place has been replaced by constant, anxiety-ridden static upstairs.
I am continually frustrated with my inability to function competently on a regular basis, and my apparently increasing capacity for utter, outright stupidity. I just want to curl up into a hole and die, and I am going to ensure that I do just that. I have led a very unsuccessful period for a while now, but this time, at this, I will be successful. I will kill myself. It will not be sexy, nor will it be heroic, but it will be the smartest move I ever made.
I don’t care what happens to my stuff or my body. I don’t care about anything, I think, and that’s the problem.
I do not enjoy being alive. I am happiest when asleep. I hate awakening. I hate every day of my life, and I hate constantly dreading the next moment. I hate being ugly, I hate being stupid, I hate being careless, I hate being oblivious, and I hate being so uncaring and unmotivated despite ample desires and ambition. I hate the word hate for being such a strong word, and I hate myself for being too much of a pansy to use it with conviction. I hate everything, so I’m going to make everything going away.
If there is a God, I wish he’d make it all easier. But apparently prayers fall on deaf ears. I always knew this deep down, but some mornings made me want to believe so badly that I came within a unit of doing so. Maybe this time I’ll be lucky.
I used to put off suicide because I felt like I had to write a note before I left, and I knew I'd never be satisfied with my writing because my writing is generally quite lame. Not wanting to leave a less-than-perfect legacy, I could never bring myself to even try to write it, though I managed to attempt the deed itself without bothering with a note a couple of times. However, I have decided to write something here less out of self-interest than as courtesy to those wondering what happened, wondering why I did what I did, or, god forbid, wondering if someone else did it to me.
This is it, folks. I love you guys, especially some of you. This is not your fault; if anything you've convinced me to give myself many more chances than I deserved.
So long and thanks for all the fish.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
ask which books were His favorites
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
OMG OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!111!!11!11!!1LIM (X-->0) (SINX X/X)
...but seriously, I like the guy. He's my first pick for the oval office right now.
That said, I'd like him better if he planned to fund his education intiative by eliminating the costly yet retarded War On Drugs rather than by reducing NASA's budget. "Let's inspire kids to excell in math and science by making sure they can only become astronauts if they move to China." Good one, Hope Man.
Buzzwords aside, it'd be a real shame if kids had to choose between uncensored internet access and space dreams. That's not what America is supposed to be about.
Note: NASA only accounts for a tiny portion of the federal budget anyway.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I am going to get this tattoo.
It was only then I made out the tiny words
tattooed above the hairline of her vagina.
And what will you say of this?
Much to my credit, I've never said anything,
but I admit to having thought about it a lot.
However, in the name of mystery (?), I might put mine below the hairline, so that it will only be visible when I'm naked and not when I'm wearing certain swimsuits. I'm still not entirely settled on this part, though.
Monday, October 08, 2007
If the Abu Ghraib travesty was really an isolated and officially condemned event, then why the need to pervert the Geneva Convention and file away certain individuals as "illegal enemy combatants"? Why would it be necessary to invoke a dubious distinction that voids Convention-granted human rights for a certain class of people if one had no intention of allowing those people's rights to be violated?
Even if one were to throw out the testimonies of individuals who claim to have been victims of the United States' outsourced torture program, as well as the testimonies of their families and friends and the testimonies of former government officials, it simply does not make sense for the Bush administration to go to such lengths to create loopholes in both international and domestic policy without any intention of exploiting them. Between this, the testimonies, and additional trails of physical evidence such a flight logs that match the accounts of detainees, the 'benefit of the doubt' I'd afforded my country has pretty much been worn away.
As if the torture, the suspension of habeas corpus, and the bastardization of international law weren't enough, the United States also does not seem to think it necessary to observe the legal jurisdiction of other countries. What happened in Bosnia is a political kidnapping. Along similarly arrogant foreign police lines, the administration's response to the Canadian inquiry was both condescending and unacceptable.
It is ironic that an administration which frequently tosses around phrases such as "the culture of life" should have such a dramatic lack of respect for human dignity. Moreover, their arrogant and secretive 'tough guy' approach is liable to do more harm than good for the nation's security (which is the supposed rationalization for all of this crap). Newsflash!: Torture doesn't actually produce reliable confessions, dipshits. As if the inherent ethical problems and the country's reputation weren't enough, torture has been shown time and time again to be a comparatively ineffectual intelligence gathering strategy.
The Bush administration's means of gathering intelligence and apprehending suspected terrorists bear an uncanny resemblance to those of Barty Crouch in the Harry Potter series, so mad with power that he was willing to stoop as low as or lower than his enemy in order to accomplish some kind of security---even when his rough tactics undermined his goal by punishing the wrong people, and in turn putting innocents behind bars. I realize it's a nerdy analogy, but it struck me enough that I thought it worth mentioning nevertheless.
Part of what made American so endearing internationally once upon a time was our courtesy toward and respect for both our own citizens and people from other countries. We accorded both friends and enemies the status of 'human being', instead of unaccountably demoting some of them to 'illegal enemy combatant'.
Given the current state of affairs, I'm not sure how "proud to be an American" I am. For now, I honestly cannot wait for this administration to leave office. I have had enough.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
My 'blog' sucks0rz.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Billboard Top 100 Hits (1987 through 2003) - free mp3 downloads!
1987 / 1988 / 1989 / 1990 / 1991 / 1992 / 1993 / 1994 / 1995 / 1996 / 1997 / 1998 / 1999 / 2000 / 2001 / 2002 / 2003
Thursday, February 22, 2007
"Patenting Life" by Michael Crichton
Genetic projects are costly enough without charging scientists for working with material that is found naturally in the human body. Gene patents may help offset the cost of their holders' research, but only to the detriment of future research by anyone else in the field.
The intent of patent law is to encourage innovation. Gene patenting is not doing this. Instead, critical work is either rendered financially unfeasible, or the exorbitant licensing fees are passed on to the patients.
Gene patents also have the ethically dubious effect of granting their holders ownership of (part of) other people’s bodies. Maybe it’s just me, but the prospect of being someone else’s private property, in whole or in part, just doesn’t sit well.
FYI: Michael Crichton is the author of Jurassic Park, among other things.