Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's Imaginary!

The initial fall line-up for the spanking new Imaginary Press Reading Series is SET!

Come to Opposable Thumbs Books in Northeast Mpls on

September 22nd to see Joshua Poteat and Allison Titus!

October 20th to see John Colburn and Sarah Fox!

November 10th to see Rachel Moritz and Juliet Patterson!

We are so lucky! I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Slowly I'm getting around to movies most everyone else has seen

This past couple weeks in film:

Expected to like but HATED:
The Da Vinci Code

Jubilee (the 1977 punk movie starring, among others, a wee
Adam Ant)

Expected to hate but LOVED:
Fight Club

Friday, August 25, 2006

Elegy for Pluto

A series of wires connecting nine variously sized sacrificed Superballs to a grapefruit center. Now my solar system is off. An idea of the firmament goes out of fashion like a hemline.

The first job title I ever wanted was “astronomer.” It was a practicality: I needed to know which Christmas lights up there were the planets so I didn’t curse a wish by aiming it wrong. And I was fine with the disparate ideas that stars were something to be both wished on and comprised of basic elements. I knew all the constellations. I slept with a special lamp that turned them across my ceiling and bedroom walls all night.

What does it mean to us when even planets can be redefined as not? I always root for more players on the team. Contrarily, what freedom can we find in shaking off a shoe that doesn’t fit? As in, “you are not planet, you are dwarf planet. You are not burden, you are minor irritation.” I miss Pluto already. As if it has gone somewhere.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ignorance on a Stick

My Grandma Stella was a great collector of Polish humor -- from every tasteless Polack joke to novelty items such as her "Polish coffee mug" (the handle was on the inside) to tales of survival that hinge solely upon the ending line "if it weren't for my thick Polish skull, I would be dead and none of you would be here today!"
(My favorite of those stories is from when she was a flapper: once, on a double date, she and her girl friend found their dates to be such desperate bores that they jumped out of the rumble seat of a moving car...At this time, my great grandmother was still pretending not to understand a word of English so that she could eavesdrop on her teenagers, which pissed off my grandmother enough that little Polish was spoken thereafter.)

My family isn't the type to sit around discussing Milosz, Chopin, Szymborska, Herbert, Lem or anybody else. We have kluski dinners and Polka weddings and work...and laugh... a lot... mainly at ourselves and our luck -- with a very respectable dark humor. Or, like many families, we just let the distance between us increase over a series of long winters.
Last week I was called a Polack by someone. Can you imagine? And it didn't really offend me; as I've said, I was raised with the world's largest Polack joke compendium at my disposal. It just made me sad that the little ignoramus had no idea what he was saying. And, in that moment, what I was surprised to feel was no personal offense, but a solidarity with and a violently protective instinct toward my "clan."

So! This evening I am heading to the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand to see the Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, and the Magic Numbers, and in honor of my family, (especially my father who brought me to see them for the first time with no explanation but, "oh, Paula, didn't you know there were Polish chickens?" and so I expected he was taking me to see pigs with wings tied on or birds that had been trained to walk backwards or anything else that would end in a punch line) I am going to make a stop in the poultry barn to see these
fine specimins first!

Friday, August 18, 2006

e.e. cummings

if up's the word; and a world grows greener
minute by second and most by more --
if death is the loser and life is the winner
(and beggars are rich but misers are poor)
--let's touch the sky:
with a to and a fro
(and a here there where) and away we go

in even the laziest creature among us
a wisdom no knowledge can kill is astir --
now dull eyes are keen and now keen eyes are keener
(for young is the year, for young is the year)
--let's touch the sky:
with a great (and a gay
and a steep) deep rush through amazing day

it's brains without hearts have set saint against sinner;
put gain over gladness and joy under care --
let's do as an earth which can never do wrong does
(minute by second and most by more)
--let's touch the sky:
with a strange (and a true)
and a climbing fall into a far near blue

if beggars are rich (and a robin will sing his
robin a song) but misers are poor --
let's love until no one could quite be (and young is
the year, dear) as living as i'm and as you're
--let's touch the sky:
with a you and a me
and an every who's any who's some) one who's we

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Young A's Fun With Photoshop

This entry is mainly for the handful of friends I have recently been pestering to pleeease take a decent picture of me. It is no easy task; I am wriggly and unnatural when a camera appears, and I could practically be a cast member of "My Name is Earl" for every rotten mid-expression photo of me. The above fulfills my criteria for a passable photo as:
1. my eyes are open
2. I don't have that dingy "I've never had a thought in my head" look, and
3. I don't look like a complete b@#*ch.
Oh happy day.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bowling is Okay!

My family takes its bowling seriously. My parents, with their matching bowling bags and monogrammed shirts, were sometimes on two (three) leagues at a time, and they watched the televised sport every Sunday. Ocassionally, the entire family (I have two brothers and a sister who are between 7 and 11 years older than me) would go on a bowling outing. Though I was the smallest, there was no special treatment -- no handicap, no placing the ball on the ground between my feet and giving it a good push: that's for babies! "If you are going to bowl with us, bowl right and try hard, even if you suck, even if it's miserable. Otherwise, you'll never improve." That was the motto. And the whole family was so good! The folks breaking two hundred and the sibs breaking one hundred consistently -- while I struggled to keep my ball out of the gutter and perhaps break sixty. One time my ball was rolling so slowly that it stopped halfway down and we had to get an employee to walk down the lane socky-footed to nudge it the rest of the way. This interrupted not only our game, but also the game of the family next to us. In the lanes, I was a wild disappointment to my kin.

So it has been with great ambivalence that I, as a grown woman, have accepted the ocassional invitation to bowl. And as ever, the sound of my father's voice repeating, "You're spinning with your thumb! Come on now," haunted me last night as I approached my fellow bowlers, my fellow poet bowlers, at Memory Lanes.

It was "black light bowling." I got off to a bad start -- three gutterballs in the first two frames. I blamed it on the distraction of the day-glow balls, and truly, once I switched to the only non-neon ball in the joint (which was a lovely merlot color and nicely matched the flowers on my skirt), my game improved.

I was okay with the fact that I was going to lose. I decided to keep my mouth shut about it; after all, I was there for the fellowship not the torturous activity. And the fellowship was very fine. As the game progressed, and our team began to bond, I confessed my bowling history to my teammates, Gunner, Rhonda, and Don (These were bowling names. Mine was Gladys.) and Don very compassionately said, "I recall crying while bowling as a child." This was a revelation! There are others who suffered traumatic childhood bowling? I'm not alone? Don asked Rhonda if she had ever cried while bowling, and though she hadn't, she had cried post bowling, which is much sadder in a way. (We never asked Gunner, who was busy kicking our asses...and with perfect form.) Looking across the expanse of lanes then, I saw all the bowlers in an entirely different light. There was a good chance that the majority of them were in those rented shoes, hurling those bowling balls, and having a good time after overcoming equally, perhaps worse, difficult childhood bowling experiences. I felt a new kind of kinship. I was proud to be among the number there.

We finished our game and had to leave for elsewhere before we even got to play the table version of Ms. Pacman, but I will not soon forget this evening at Memory Lanes.

And my score? 89!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Faithless -

This song has been playing in my head all week.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I think I found my touch-up artist.

She is Megan.

Particularly stunning is the sleeve of Frida Kahlo. Then again, one must appreciate the muppet Chef. imagination is doing inky cartwheels!