howeverbrief: (Black)
I keep meaning to update about Utah, but my sinus infection has come back full force (with prednisone completely out of my system and round seven of antibiotics finished on Monday), and I have felt pretty tired and awful. Still, here's a start to that. If I don't end up finishing it in one go (and you're still interested), come back for edits and updates. (Also, if you're friends with me on facebook, you'll have already seen the avalanche of pictures. Haha, oops.)

Read more... )

EDIT: And wow, I think that's pretty much it.
howeverbrief: (Temp)
I wanted to write a post about social awkwardness tonight, but I have been doing physical therapy (went Monday for baseline measurements and yesterday to actually start) as well as exercises at home after work. This has made me increasingly tired and brain-dead long before I want to shut down for the evening, which means the posts I construct in my head earlier in the day tend to fall by the wayside while I'm staring at things on the internet until it's time to go to bed. Kind of sad, really.

Sheesh, I knew my endurance had declined, but I didn't think I had none left and would have to build it back from the ground up. Oh well. I guess it's good I'm getting cardio (in the form of riding the bike Mike got me for Christmas) and starting to do specific stretches to get my range of motion back. I can now put my foot on the ground and kind of walk, but it's pretty pathetic because my foot doesn't bend the way a normal foot would when walking. This makes sense considering I've been told not to do anything for the last three months. Still, it's hard to work out in real time, especially given how much I used to do before I injured myself.

And Patton Oswald just said, "I'll make your dick smell like Duck Dynasty!" on @Midnight, so there's that.

Good.

May. 3rd, 2012 10:16 pm
howeverbrief: (Black)
"So--"
The question becomes
what I haven't said versus
what I haven't done
-May 2, 2012

I think this April was the worst "poem a day" challenge I've ever done. I kind of figured out it wasn't working when a couple days in, I could see the days piling up while my ideas were either stuck in my brain or half-formed. I still have a fair amount written down in various places which probably won't make it here. Somehow I'm okay with this. The tradeoff's been worth it.

Sorry if I've been kind of absent around here. I've been trying to keep up with everything, but the same kind of things keep happening. Lots of talking and losing track of time. This isn't an excuse. It's just what's going on. Life and all that. I must say I appreciate not being completely alone most of the time, even if it's not necessarily what other people consider having a social life. I missed being able to bounce all sorts of things things off of someone else and pick at someone's brain and not be so trapped in my own weird analyses. I missed being accepted, even when I'm not 100% coherent or pleasant. I'm not saying I didn't have this before, more that I kind of lost track of it for a really long time and thought maybe it was a myth I'd invented with which to torture myself while it was gone.

My coworker asked me at the concert how I handle the distance. I guess her son is in a long distance relationship with someone who only lives six hours away, and, "I don't know how you deal with someone who's a few states away!" How do you answer that? It wasn't something I'd thought of before. Really, more people are dealing with much bigger distances than I am for much longer times, and who am I to say much about that? I'm no expert. I have no reason to complain.

I'm not saying any of this is easy or that the distance doesn't get to me sometimes. Maybe because we've only been together a couple times in person, maybe because we talk all the time anyway, maybe because it's still relatively new, I prefer not to think about it that way. A friend of mine once told me something about how you can feel the ancient form of longing in your solar plexus, that you can tell by the ache. I don't recall exactly, but if I think about it too long, it hurts. I've spent way too many hours in the last few years hurting. Still, I can take it. What's life without a little pain, if for nothing more than at least you still remember how to feel something? I don't want to abandon anything as it's beginning for fear of what could be. That just messes up what already is.

I'm not all that good at living in the moment, but given the way I've lived and what little success that's brought me in the past, I'd rather try savoring each moment I have now than worrying about all the possible directions and forms this could take. People come and go, and Tom Robbins keeps echoing in my head, asking how to make love stay. I figure if I don't know, neither does anyone else. If everything continues to go well, we'll deal with any and all complications later on. If not, the same holds true, just in a different way. All I know is in the meantime, I keep hoping. Hope being one of those dumb things you can always do free and clear of any other solid proof of anything. If nothing else, there's hope.

Do the best you can with what you have. The rest will come whether you like it or not. That's good enough for me.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
As you might have gathered from my previous post, I stayed up way too late last night despite being exhausted. This lead me to forget that my dad might stop by in the morning to pick up the portable coffee maker my mom left behind. Low and behold, I got a phone call from my dad at 9:45 asking me if I was awake. Ha, whoops?

Well, we ended up going to breakfast at a dinky restaurant down the street, which was actually pretty pleasant. The conversation didn't stray far into politics (thank bog) but rather stayed fairly consistent around Ireland and old family stories. Stuff about his childhood (catching razor clams), first being in America (how a kid who was bigger than him took an eye dropper full of ink and sprayed it on his khakis, "And I wasn't going to take that! So I challenged him, and he was bigger than me!"), and the path his dad (a plumber, welder, and boxing champion) took to immigrate to the U.S. (a much more complicated story than I had heard before; apparently, he could have ended up in Canada and never met my mom).

My dad told me this story:
"Yeah, I used to ride my bike everywhere. My car broke, so I had to. You know, on some days, my dad would take me to work because, well, they were staying with me at the time. Anyway, on most of those rides, we wouldn't really talk because I was never really all that close to my father. Well, one day when it was raining, we pulled up to a light, and out of the blue, you know, out of nowhere, he turned to me and said, 'You know, your mother can't cook.' Haha! So I feigned surprise and said, 'Oh?' Trying to elicit a response. He went on to tell me a little more. I mean, my mother was a very educated woman. She was educated as a secretary, so she never knew how to cook. After they came back from their honeymoon, you know, my aunts lived down the street from her. So after my father left for work, she went to my Auntie Kit and asked what he liked to eat. She said, 'Steak.' So they went and got a steak, you know, a roast that would last for a few days, and she told my mother how to make it. Well, we had a really old turkish stove, and my aunt forgot to tell her to open the flue, so you know, the heat could actually get into the stove. So my father comes home after a twelve hour day, ravenously hungry, and of course, she goes to pull it out of the stove, and the meat is completely raw. And here he was, fifty years later, still talking about it."

These are the times I wish I knew how to ask the right questions. I get so wrapped up in avoiding politics and other topics that I forget there's still so much I don't know about him. Oh well. Such is life, I suppose. I'll take what I can get.

Yep

Apr. 12th, 2012 10:14 pm
howeverbrief: (Black)
Not my poem (and I need to go to bed), but I'm posting it anyway.

“I know you little, I love you lots”
Shel Silverstein

I know you little, I love you lots,
my love for you could fill ten pots,
fifteen buckets, sixteen cans,
three teacups, and four dishpans.

...

Okay, goodnight.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I come back to this again and again--
It's such a strange paradox. I mean, while, technically, I'm closer to the end of my life than I've ever been, I actually feel more than ever that I have all the time in the world. When I was younger, there was a desperation, a desire for certainty, like there was an end to the path, and I had to get there.
I know what you mean because I can remember thinking, 'Oh, someday, like in my mid-thirties maybe, everything's going to just somehow jell and settle, just end.' It was like there was this plateau, and it was waiting for me, and I was climbing up it, and when I got to the top, all growth and change would stop. Even exhilaration. But that hasn't happened like that, thank goodness. I think that what we don't take into account when we’re young is our endless curiosity. That's what's so great about being human.

-Waking Life

I worry sometimes that this is all some sort of dream, and I'll wake up one morning back in my old life where I didn't have anything together and nothing making sense was the only sense of normalcy I had. I'm not saying everything makes sense now, but it sure beats the hell out of whatever I was doing in my early 20s. I look back on that time and remember feeling so inspired by everything around me-- the strife, the injustice, the very core of what was wrong with society and my own inability to fix it myself but desperately believing change was possible anyway. I suppose I should feel guilty at the lack of progress I've made. My previous self would be oh-so-disappointed in the person I am and would probably write volumes on how I've surrendered myself to living a half-intentioned life with little to no passion for anything. She'd be right in some respects. I do feel a little guilty, I guess, but at the same time, I don't call on other people to feel guilty with me just so I don't feel alone any more. I think that's a large part of the messed up origins of this place-- wanting to fix things but not knowing how and berating others for the very same shortcomings because it seemed better than doing nothing at all.

I still have some of the same problems. I feel very strongly about certain issues, but I don't tend to talk about them as much because of my job and the nature of these issues in the first place. There are things you just can't fix on your own. There are always other people to fight, always other opinions that won't jive with yours no matter how fine you tease out your premises and conclusions. There's an abundance of experiences and perspectives that prevent us from agreeing on the best way to answer even the smallest questions, and that's why there are still problems. We're better at arguing about who's right than we are about working together and finding compromises so we can actually get somewhere. It's easier to bicker among ourselves than unite against common problems, no matter how great the reward will be for everyone eventually.

Even though these things still exist and flare up in my head from time to time, I find I don't feel as frantic as I used to. I don't feel like tearing off my skin or drowning in my own sorrows. It was simple enough to open a vein and pour out every single thought and perceivable emotion, nuanced or not, back in the days where I had time and angst to spare, but while that might have been my one dream and passion, it didn't amount to much when it came to long term goals or anything resembling reality. I may have known the use of counting stars and staying up way past my bedtime drinking and carrying on, but no one pays for that. Eventually, it's sink or swim, and I took my damn time figuring out the swim part. I'm pretty lucky I made it here at all.

Of course I don't have it figured out. I probably never will. I'm just glad I don't hate myself as much as I did ten years ago. I'm glad some of this seems to make sense even if I'm aware that it can all disappear as quickly as it comes. Maybe I'm not as on-fire as I used to be (and maybe that's part of why we all eventually become part of the problem), but I don't necessarily think settling in to life as we know it means there's no room left for dreams. Sure, they may seem muted, changed or further away than ever before, but nothing says you're not allowed to want things, to strive, to keep walking forward in the hopes that it'll all work out in the end despite the way you've seen reality play out. If there was no room for that, I don't think life would be very interesting, especially given all the time we have to waste on day-to-day drudgery. There will always be routine and responsibility, but what of the splendors of life and love? What of the always elusive lure of happiness? What if you really can have it all, even if it's just for a star-splitting moment?

I don't know the answers to these things. I suspect no one else does either. That makes this journey all the more important for each of us, I think. Even if it seems like no one else understands, we're all in this together, each of us in our own way. I can't say I've mastered much of anything at all, and I've barely cobbled together what I have now after years of working hard on trivialities and finally succumbing to what I should have been doing all along after getting a lot of things wrong. It's a given that I've messed up, sometimes royally, and part of me says I shouldn't be anywhere close to where I find myself. Still, it's nice to say I'm happy. It's nice to be cautiously optimistic. It's nice to feel hopeful again.

I'd almost forgotten how it felt. If this is a dream, I don't want to wake up.
howeverbrief: (Temp)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Oh, there are so many. At the very top of the list--

A Clamation Christmas

They used to play this every year when I was a kid. Now no one seems to remember it. There are seriously so many bits I love from this, even years later. My mom finally found it on tape a few years ago, and I always think of it this time of year.

I won't name everything, but here are a few others.

A Muppet Christmas Carol

Oh dear. When your whole family is as goofy as mine is, something as silly as muppets usually brings everyone together. It's one of the best versions of "A Christmas Carol" in my not-so-educated opinion.

Charlie Brown Christmas Special

It's the classic. I even referred to the $40 lit Christmas tree I just put together as "Cheap but not a Charlie Brown tree" earlier this evening.

Houseguest

This movie is so lame, but I can't help it. Like I said on facebook, whenever I think of dumb Christmas carols, this comes to mind. (Hillary is in your chair and she won't get out!) Ah, hahaha.

And if we're going to talk Christmas movies, I'll end with mentioning the two that get played over and over and over every year.

A Christmas Story


Scrooged


When we get tired of the marathon on one channel, we switch to the other and then vow never to watch them again... until it happens again the next year.

Okay, I've overdosed on Christmas. Now if only someone would finish wrapping all my gifts and bake my cookies. Oh, right. I'm supposedly an adult. At least there are eleven days left, I guess.

Cold Feet

Nov. 1st, 2011 10:11 pm
howeverbrief: (Default)
Winter is coming. I can feel it. Snow is predicted for later this week. First snow.

How many years have to come between me and these memories before they fade completely? More importantly, do they matter? No, I suppose not. Only so much as they have helped make me who I am today, like a myriad of other experiences that are a part of me but I am simultaneously detached from. This is me wistfully moving through life, not sure what's on the horizon yet wrapping myself in wool coats and long scarves against the cold.

Every season is the same but different. The leaves fall as the temperature dips, and I think about how much I hate spring but love autumn, which makes no sense at all. Given how much I hate being cold, you'd think I'd hate the slow, steady slide into ice and skidding into traffic and shoveling snow for months on end. Not so. For some reason, I sleep better when it's cold. I like the jeweled colors and sharp contrasts in the trees. I revel in painting my face and pretending to be someone else if only for a night. Anyone but me. Where is that in spring? Who likes pastels and rabbits anyway? I think once spring hits, I get impatient after being cold for so long that I crave the instant gratification of summer warmth over the stupid back and forth warm then cold then warm then HOT weather that seems to happen around here every year. I'd take autumn over that any day, even if it's the same process in reverse and is sure to drive me into depression for a while.

Last year around this time, I could barely function. I was unemployed (though I had interviewed for the job I would eventually get), and I was still very hung up on a lot of things I couldn't do anything about. I find I think about the past less and less, and I'm okay with a lot more than I used to be, things that just are what they are. Reality and such. Actually, I don't think about a lot these days. Well, that's not true. It's more that I have a lot of thoughts I probably shouldn't mention in polite company, and I don't seem to have enough energy to express them in a satisfying way.

Still, the background noise reminds me of things that make me nervous and skeptical of happiness and how difficult it is to nail down, even if you secretly believe in it with all your heart. Maybe I just can't stand being happy for too long. Who knows how to make love stay? I don't really trust it anyway.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
"You guys! My dad owns a dealership!"

Wait, that's not what I was going to post. Uh, hmm...

The wholesale pastry company my sister works for in San Fransisco is opening their storefront tomorrow! If you're close, you should stop by. (Check it out; it has good reviews.) I hope it goes well for her. Wish I could be there, but what can you do?

And I need to go to bed. I should have gone to bed like an hour ago, especially since I've been putting in voluntary overtime because I:
A. am greedy
B. have nothing better to do
C. like working
D. am a gigantic cake
E. all of the above?

Don't answer that! Or, uh, do? Whatever! Yeah, go to bed. Good night.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
A few things from other places that have resonated with me lately--

A Softer World's take

Qwantz talks about being angry

Celebrities with messed up teeth (I heart Steve Buscemi, in case I've never mentioned that.)

Lastly, a poem I hope to understand better one day--

"Starfish"
Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
Saturday (6/5/11) begins at 10:00 a.m. Around midnight, things start to get pretty dicey.

6/6/11
1:00 a.m.(ish): I overhear one of my coworkers claim to be so tired, she's nauseated. I realize I feel the exact same way.Read more... )

And after a 17 hour day, I am home and have never felt so relieved. And home for more than six hours. Home on a rare Tuesday after working 16 days straight (two 80 hour weeks back to back and over 40 hours in the last three days). Home to sleep and good lord, maybe even shop for groceries or something besides work, before I have to go in at 8:00 a.m. and back to some kind of normal on Wednesday.

Home. Ahh, home. Let me go home. Home is wherever I'm with you.

Carry On

Jun. 2nd, 2011 10:30 pm
howeverbrief: (Default)
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Winston Churchill

It's okay. Well, it is what it is. I can either be honest or say what you want to hear. Either way, we'll understand each other in one form or another. Let's go back to making things ambiguous for now. Hopefully that will let certain other pieces come into focus. If not, at least I can console myself by claiming I didn't spend too much time worrying about it. Yeah, sure.

Until we meet again, my friends--

Petals

Apr. 27th, 2011 10:13 pm
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I'm blocked again and, what, five poems behind? I thought this might happen, but I really wasn't prepared for this particular onslaught at the beginning of the month. Probably something to do with the fact that this week will be a seventy hour week, minimum, and this is the first night in a while where I've gotten to come home on time rather than making lunch, feeding my cats, and going to bed. Still trying to catch up. It is what it is, so here's another poem and a story.

Though I've been interested in poetry for most of my life, I've never really had an interest in poetry workshops, mostly because I don't see the point in having others critiques in my head over something that's a personal hobby of mine. Because of this, the only poetry class I ever took was Modern Poetry during one of my last semesters at UNR. Read more... )

I rambled quite a bit in there about various topics, but the poem I want to share is this. I'm not a big fan of Ezra Pound, mostly because I find his modernist forms and reliance on references really stodgy and annoying, but this is one of the poems that came back to me years and years after I forgot most of what I learned in Modern Poetry. The brief haiku form broken so perfectly, it is in want of nothing.

"In a Station of the Metro"
By Ezra Pound
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Explode

Apr. 8th, 2011 09:06 pm
howeverbrief: (Ink)
A poem and a story--

"A Dream Deferred"
By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

...

Long before I decided to study writing or thought of it as a viable field, I took a long-distance community college class in English as a senior in high school. The lady teaching the class was kind of weird, as most English teachers are. I remember her having really long red hair to match the long skirts she wore mostly, not much else. I don't think I ever saw her outside the context of a television screen. But she had us read poetry, and one day she mentioned that poems can be read in different ways. I had never thought of this before and didn't really know what she meant until she read this poem to us twice-- once where she whispered the ending, and once where she screamed,

EXPLODE.

I have never, ever forgotten that.

Be Me

Oct. 23rd, 2010 11:04 pm
howeverbrief: (Black)
I just took a two hour break to watch "Harold and Maude" and eat chicken tenders, crispy crowns, a salad, and peach pie. It was pretty glorious. You can do that sort of thing when you set your own hours. Ha.

Oh wait, I'm supposed to be working this weekend? Yep. I'm doing revisions to a project I started a few months ago, only this time I have a Monday deadline. One of the lovely parts of working freelance-- you never know when you'll get work or when it'll be due. Can't complain, though, and actually, I don't really want to. I like it. I just wish I had more of it.

(And ahem, state job? I'm never going to hear about you, am I? Oh wellz.)

Let's see. What else? My mom's in Italy on a quilting trip, and I surprised my dad yesterday by buzzing down to Smith for a few hours to see how he was. I don't think he eats very well, and I was hoping to see if he'd eat dinner, which he didn't. Then again, Mom says he goes to bed at 8:00 at night, and one of his life mottoes is, "Food is a hassle." Still, I had an enjoyable time talking with him, even if he did start spouting off about politics and how the current administration is running private enterprise out of the country because of too many regulations, taxes, and unionizing. I tend to nod my head and try to change the subject when he does that, mostly because I learned not to try to debate with him a long time ago, but it doesn't always work. He gave me an Anglo-Indian dictionary to read, though, so that ought to be interesting.

I have other thoughts, but they don't want to come out right now. So, I'll do the cliche thing and leave with a quote from the movie I just watched. Hope things are going well on your end too. <3

"Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much."
-"Harold and Maude"
howeverbrief: (Default)
Does it ever seem like everyone else is more popular than you are? Apparently, it's mostly math.

Also, this struck me last night--
"Compromise, eh? Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlie. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddies and save the world. Then you get a little but older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside you, that maybe you're a part of it. And then you get a little bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all. You start talking about ten percent."
-From Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Anyway, I've got a phone call to make (done) and an email to return (done), both of which I've been avoiding all day. Be back later.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
The commentators on this dinosaur comic mentioned a weird novel this morning: If on a winter's night, a traveler.

From the Wiki-- Alternating between second-person narrative chapters of this story are the remaining (even) passages, each of which is a first chapter in ten different novels, of widely varying style, genre, and subject-matter. All are broken off, for various reasons explained in the interspersed passages, most of them at some moment of plot climax.

After reading the first chapter (which is really the second chapter of the actual book), the reader finds the book is misprinted and contains only more copies of that same chapter. When he goes to return it he is given a replacement book, but this turns out to be another novel altogether. Just as he becomes engrossed in that, it too is broken off: the pages, which were uncut, turn out to have been largely blank.

This cycle repeats itself, where the reader reads the first chapter of a book, cannot find the other chapters in his copy of the book, so he goes out to find another copy. But the new copy he gets turns out to be another book altogether.


Sounds fascinating! Has anyone read this book?
howeverbrief: (Ink)
"Some of us learn from other people's mistakes and the rest of us have to be other people."
-Zig Ziggler
howeverbrief: (Default)
Kind of busy working on my questions for the 12 witnesses I have to interview tonight, but I read this on my friends' list and thought you might like it too.

“Textbook Statistics”
Arkaye Kierulf

On average, 5 people are born every second and 1.78 die.
So we’re ahead by 3.22, which is good, I think.

The average person will spend two weeks in his life
waiting for the traffic light to change.

Pubescent girls wait two to four years
for the tender lumps under their nipples to grow.

So the average adult has over 1,460 dreams a year,
laughs 15 times a day. Children, 385 more times.

So the average male adult mates 2,580 times with five different people
but falls in love only twice in his life—possibly

with the same person. Seventy-nine long years for each of us,
awakened to love in our twenties, so more or less

thirty years to love our two lovers each. And if, in a lifetime,
one walks a total of 13,640 miles by increments,

Where are you headed, traveler?
is a valid philosophical question to pose to a man, I think, along with

Why does the blood in your veins travel endlessly?
on account of those red cells flowing night and day

through the traffic of the blood vessels, which if laid out
in a straight line would be over 90,000 miles long.

The great Nile River in Egypt is 4,180 miles long.
The great circle of the earth’s equator is 24,903 miles.

Dividing this green earth among all of us
gives a hundred square feet of living space to each,

but our brains take only one square foot of it,
along with the 29 bones of the skull, so

if you look outside your window with your mind only,
why do you hear the housefly hum middle octave, key of F?

If you listen to the cat on the rug by the fire with
the 32 muscles in your ear, you will hear

100 different vocal sounds. Listen to the dog
wishing for your love: 10 different sounds.

If you think loneliness is beyond calculation,
think of the mole digging a tunnel underground

ninety-eight miles long to China
in one single night. If you think beauty escapes you

or your entire genealogical tree, consider the slug
with its four uneven noses, or the chameleon shifting colors

under an arbitrary light. Think of the deepest point
in the deepest ocean, the Marianas Trench in the Pacific,

do you think anyone’s sadness can be deeper? In 1681,
the last dodo bird died. In the 16th century,

Queen Elizabeth suffered from a fear of roses.
Anne Boleyn had six fingers. People fall in love

twice. The human heart beats 3 billion times — only — in a lifetime.
If you attempt to count all the stars in the galaxy, one

every second, it’ll take 3 thousand years, if you’re lucky.
As owls are the only birds that can see the color blue

the ocean is bluish, along with the sky and the eyes
of that boy who died alone by that little unnamed river

in your dreams one blue night of the war
of one of your lives. (Do you remember which one?)

Duration of World War 1: four years, 3 months, 14 days.
Duration of an equatorial sunset: 128 seconds, 142 tops.

A neuron’s impulse takes 1/1000 of a second,
a morning’s commute from Prospect Expressway

to the Brooklyn Bridge, about 90 minutes,
forty-five without traffic.

Time it takes for a flower to wilt after it’s cut from the stem: five days.
Time left our sun before it runs out of light: five billion years.

Hence the number of happy citizens under the red glow
of that sun: maybe 50% of us, 50% on good days, tops.

Number who are sad: maybe 70% on the good days—
especially on the good days. (The first emotion’s more intense, I think,

when caught up with the second.) So children grow faster in the summer,
their bright blue bodies expanding. The ocean, after all, is blue

which is why the sky now outside your window is bluish
expanding with the white of something beautiful, like clouds.

Fact: The world is a beautiful place—once in a while.
Another fact: We fall in love twice. Maybe more, if we’re lucky.
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Stealing a poem today. Does that count? I think it does.

"What Lot's Wife Would Have Said (If She Wasn't a Pillar of Salt)"
Karen Finneyfrock

Do you remember when we met
in Gomorrah? When you were still beardless,
and I would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing
you, when we were young, and blushed with youth
like bruised fruit. Did we care then
what our neighbors did
in the dark?

When our first daughter was born
on the River Jordan, when our second
cracked her pink head from my body
like a promise, did we worry
what our friends might be
doing with their tongues?

What new crevices they found
to lick love into or strange flesh
to push pleasure from, when we
called them Sodomites then,
all we meant by it
was neighbor.

When the angels told us to run
from the city, I went with you,
but even the angels knew
that women always look back.
Let me describe for you, Lot,
what your city looked like burning
since you never turned around to see it.

Sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin
of our countrymen. It smelled like burning hair
and rancid eggs. I watched as our friends pulled
chunks of brimstone from their faces. Is any form
of loving this indecent?

Cover your eyes tight,
husband, until you see stars, convince
yourself you are looking at Heaven.

Because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors
are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.

I would say these things to you now, Lot,
but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue.
So instead I will stand here, while my body blows itself
grain by grain back over the Land of Canaan.
I will stand here
and I will watch you
run.

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