Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting to thaw

The chalkboard outside Muddy Waters reads "Days 'til Spring: 23." I think everyone's counting down.

On a related note, it's snowing.

EDIT: There is a snowstorm coming to Western New York tonight. Expected snowfall: 12 inches.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A big fat societal problem

I'm working on a paper for Western Humanities that addresses the ethical issue of airbrushing from the perspectives of writers we've looked at thus far--Locke, Franklin, Wollstonecraft, etc. It's an interesting assignment, but reading articles about airbrushing while looking at botched photoshop jobs of women is reinforcing the fact that my brain has been effectively tuned into the lie of fashion advertising. When I see a "photograph" of a woman whose head is wider than her hips, my first thought is Huh, lucky bitch instead of OH MY GOD THAT IS CLEARLY UNNATURAL AND ANATOMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. The reigning image of beauty is that of marzipan pulled taut over a wire hanger. I hate that it's a problem in our society, and I hate that I feed into it.

One of the most disheartening things I read was that even the recent Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" that featured 'real-sized' women used airbrushing to smooth things out. Apparently, one of the goals of human perfectibility is to become aerodynamic. My goal? To rewire my brain so that when it processes an image of a woman whose cheeks have been hollowed out with an ice cream scooper, I can recognize its inanity.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coffee, coffee everywhere . . .

. . . but not a drop to drink this morning at 97 Main because my travel mug is lost! After tearing apart the kitchen and my room in frantic search, it was painful looking at the pot of brewed coffee I couldn't possibly drink at 8:52, eight minutes before Western Humanities. I considered making it in a ceramic mug, but the thought of balancing it all the way down the icy hill to class seemed destined for failure.

I've seen two people today carrying the same Muddy Waters travel mug as my lost one. Everyone's a culprit.

Friday, February 5, 2010



After it all went dark, he whispered to her
low growl reverberating, low note
a bow pulled along the bass string
of her spine the better to keep you close,
my dear
while Grandma whimpered softly.

And that is how Red found herself settled
in the swelled belly of an unlikely lover,
cradled woman that now lived at the pace
of his caged animal heart. She sang him lullabies
until the ceiling of her world rose and fell

in slow heaves, traced letters on the fleshy walls
of his stomach, spelling words he guessed or couldn't.
When he laughed, she was anointed by faint light
from a place unremembered, because maybe
this is all she ever wanted or could want.

He came to her draped in canvas tents,
unhinging jaws to swallow whole the glowing flame
of all she was, the empty filling the empty:
the sunken cavity of his abdomen
bloating to the belly of a stone Buddha.


When the axe ripped through his furry coat
Grandma fainted mid-novena, leaving Red
to protest too late the cesarean that had torn apart
her world. Standing above him, she felt his nose was cold
and wet. She knew it couldn't have lasted.

Grandma didn't speak again, only rocking
back and forth, bloody organ in a jar
now her always metronome. Red's eyes
looked for something and nothing, both empty and full.
The wine from her basket was gone.

These days, it is always too bright for the lonely,
who whisper the coming of a prophet reborn

cloaked in the trappings of a wolf's hide.
She roams the woods at night
howling lullabies in hollow tones.

This is the first draft of a poem I have to hand in on Monday . . . I have one due every week. We've been reading a lot of poems based on myth and after coming across an Anne Sexton poem called "Rapunzel," I decided to try something in that vein rather than come up with an original theme, which more often than not (read: always) turns out being totally unoriginal and painful to write. Anyways, for reasons unknown I started thinking about Little Red Riding Hood and the bastardization above is what happened . . . unwittingly, an exploration of Little Red's Stockholm syndrome. Oh dear.

I'm only up this late because it is Thursday in Geneseo, and the sad reality of living on Main Street is that if I'm not asleep before 11 o'clock, I can't fall asleep until after 2 o'clock when the bars close. Unfortunately, I didn't make curfew . . . but I did get my poem done at the very least. Other good news: it is officially Friday. TGIF!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Update from the hideout

Confession: I'm at Muddy Waters, hiding from my disaster of a room. Since I have an early morning class and a late afternoon class every day Monday through Thursday, my routine has been to pack up all my work, take it with me in the morning, then go to the coffee shop for the 3-5 hours between classes and get schoolwork done. The plan has been working spectacularly work-wise--I have my assignments finished for all classes until Monday--but because I'm I've been trying to stay focused on work, the state of my room has suffered quite a bit. Most of my outfits for the past week or so have been chosen at random from the floor, and I've narrowly missed breaking a few limbs while tripping and stumbling across the land mines scattered between the door and my bed. I'm not sure why I'm confessing to this giant gap in domestic housekeeping . . . maybe in acknowledging it, I'll be inspired to do something about it. Maybe.

Last night was our first intramural basketball game of the season--there were no subs, so my strategy for the game was simply to stay conscious, which I more or less did. Little victory. We won the game, and Erin walked off the court with a jammed, swollen finger and I with a smashed, bloody fingernail. The elder Pipe sisters may have to abandon any dreams of becoming hand models, unfortunately, but a Geneseo Intramural Champion tee shirt will be a pretty sweet consolation prize.

In other news, it's snowing.