Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lazy Protagonist Faces Idealized Antagonist's Failure to Disappear

How about some Lloyd Cole today?

She walks into the bar
And there you are
No longer angry
No longer young
No longer driven to distraction
Not even by Scarlett Johansson
A few moving parts
Need to be replaced
The engine starts
But only on Tuesdays
but look at it this way -
Now that the children are asleep
You want to play
But you’re so lazy
She walks into the bar
And there you are
Idealised vision of a woman through a smokefilled
twentieth century screenplay
Towards protagonist with paperback and beer
Manifestly failing to disappear...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Repentant Madeleine

Drinking juice is a big waste of fruit--empty calories. I don't do it often. But this morning, after a night home with my husband drinking wine and watching Viggo Mortenson get tattooed on demand, I packed a tall glass with ice, OJ, grapefruit juice, and water and got my ass a pure Proustian moment:

At 15 years old, my weekend schedule went like this: Friday after school, shower and over to the country club to haul steak and bourbon around until about 11. Drink and smoke with a pack of other waitresses, bartenders, sous chefs, and a few wayward slumming husbands, either at the closed-down grill room bar or at the odd little tavern across the street, floors and walls about 80 years old, cold in winter, fresh in spring, a jukebox with the Commodores and Elvis Costello side by side. Sometimes sleep over at my boyfriend's condo--a golf pro with a bad shoulder. Up Saturday morning for the tall glass of ice, OJ, grapefruit juice, water, to still the headpounding and get me through the long subway ride to the Corcoran, for all day art class. Snooze through the long ride back, and head back to the country club to do it again.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Screw "The Secret," Get a Lap Dance

Over-and-overing Four Winds from Bright Eyes. Nice wild fiddle.

"Hold us at the center while the spiral aligns
It's knocking over fences, crossing property lines
Four winds cry until it comes..."

I just read the loveliest essay by this stripper witch (witch as in pagan, dear, not an insult). She blogs here. In the essay, after she gives a guy a lap dance, he says she made him "feel really good--I feel things I haven't felt in years." And here's what she tells him: "Good. Pay attention to those feelings and you'll keep having them."

What strikes me about that is not just the compassion but the practical wisdom of that statement. Because whether you're talking lap dance or artistic venture or building a birdhouse, the trick to being ALIVE--not just slogging day to day--is just that: pay attention to what energizes you and makes you sing. Screw the rest.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Free Sample, Like at Trader Joe's

So horribly burned out from work. Afraid to turn anything down--when we look back, we'll realize a recession started about three months ago.
This one is based on the Lifetime Movie "In the Best Interest of the Children," in which Sarah Jessica Parker (wha?!) plays a white trash bipolar mom whose five kids become the subject of a court battle.
Men aren't the only ones with a death-and-resurrection cycle. We invoke and destroy the bad girl, over and over.

The Manic Mommy
Even though she’s broke and bipolar,
Her house is bigger than yours.
Sure, it’s tumbledown, but so is her long blonde hair,
The kind of richness of ringlets you’ll never have.
Five fucking kids and she’s still skinny as a whip. Hah!
And how many cowboys have rolled
Over her mattress on the floor?
Smart, too, and so are those kids.
When the baby cries, the oldest girl
Goes to the kitchen to find something to feed him—
Deftly smashing one roving roach
With the base of the baby bottle,
Baby in one arm and holding the bag
Of nearly all-eaten-up potato chips in the other.
She rocks the baby and sings to him and feeds him
Potato-chip crumbs softened with tap water.

You fat barren bitch handpicked by the state,
Do you think you’re a match for the manic mommy?
With your Barney song and your farmhouse cookies—
Dinosaur, sitting on your big purple bottom,
Crying about the interests of the children—
You haven’t got a prayer against her.
She’ll get out of that hospital.
She’s scooping up those kids and speeding ahead,
She’ll crush you like a potato chip.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Leave My Adulterous Cousin Alone!

I found the Lifetime Movie Title Generator in my poetic research. Its creators acknowledge that while the machine is inventive, it takes a human mind to come up with something as precious as "Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?"

My faves so far are the headline and:

God, Don't Leave Me Paranoid
Maria's Story: A Teacher's Brutal Lover
Brought to Justice: The Dark Bethesda Infidelity

You can choose all kinds of professions and situations, and it generates a Lifetime Movie title for you. I put cousin in there just to make things interesting. Oddly enough, my favorite cousin just called and is coming up for a visit.

He's currently unmarried, but attached, so yeah, leave him alone anyhow!

Monday, January 7, 2008

"The Coin Don't Have No Say"

I don’t get out much to first-run movies (childcare). But here are three lines that stuck with me from three I did see this year.

“The coin don’t have no say.” No Country for Old Men. Opting out of the game is the last and somehow, maybe, the most powerful move toward freedom one can make when it appears one is powerless.

“I will sit here with you all night if you want me to.” Into the Wild. A “temporary” road relation is willing to give more than a “real” family member would. So what is the true nature of commitment, blood, time itself?

“You have a niche.” Michael Clayton. People do not want you to change. And most everyone’s afraid to find out if they can really pursue “old,” left-behind dreams. But if you’re lucky, something blows up and you end up having to do it anyway.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Up is Easier

I'm still running. It still hurts. It hurts more going downhill. I need to find an all-uphill course.

My brother got a calf injury recently and says it hurts more going downstairs. He said he's going to the M.C. Escher Rehabilitation Facility, where all the stairs go up.

This just over from our Mad Man friend: 100 Best Indie blah blah of all time... What a lad list. PJ? Minutemen?

"Which ones do you own?" he asks. All my vinyl went to a good home long ago. I can tell you which ones are maybe not the best, but which ones mattered most to me: DKs, Fresh Fruit (got me thru 20-hour shifts working for an alcoholic harasser, playing it in my head, because then you weren't allowed to listen to music at your desk); Half-Jap, Greatest Hits (young love); Eno, Another Green World (listened to Eno in labor); Bloody Valentine, Loveless (best. sex. music. ever.); Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted (brought me back to life in Miami).

What about you? I don't care what's the best. I want to know what it meant to you.

Oh, and, happy Tolkien's birthday.