Ephemera

October 4, 2011 2 comments

Ephemera

  • I’m solving that old equation: Exactly
    How to undo
    The geometry that holds us
    Suspended

  • The diagram takes
    A cunning shape
    Sharp to the touch,
    and precarious:
    A cat’s cradle tangled
    A jangling mobile hanged
    On a steel wire net

  • It’s an acrobatic trick,
    Disarming this love
    Trip one wire, and the shock
    Will set the rest to humming
    Vibrating our small constellation till it shatters

  • Holding my breath
    I clip at your heartstrings
    Hoping this whole thing doesn’t shake apart
    If I’m subtle enough
    To slip the knots
    You may never notice me let go

  • Even now I can feel us
    Fragmenting
    Hurtling
    Casting off the vestigial
    and essential
    Indiscriminately,
    And without forethought
    All the while attempting
    A casual disregard
    for regret

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    Paralysis by SENSE OF IMPENDING DOOM

    October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

    Life used to be a death sentence. Just ask any fifteen-year-old. They can’t imagine being thirty – they just don’t have the life experience. But now that I’m thirty-four-point-seven-five, I find I can’t really remember what it’s like to be fifteen. I’ve got notebooks, old diaries in which I sporadically penned (penned! with a ballpoint!) entries about the usual politics of adolescence, AP exams, glee club practice, dieting, awful sitcoms – those were the days of my life.

  • Take a giant step back, and it’s pretty much the same these days. Do the politics of humanity ever really change? I remember reading Douglas Coupland’s “Life After God,” in which the characters were all preoccupied with the bomb; that was how the end was going to come for them. My generation doesn’t concern itself with nukes (although they’re still very much out there), but with plagues and zombies. The images in Alan Weisman’s “The World without Us” are alternately heartbreaking and comforting. They always feel compelling and somehow right. It’s probably human nature to feel like we’re on the cusp of the end times. (Also, maybe I should stop reading books about plagues and zombies.) Like a fifteen-year-old, I have trouble imagining the future 10 or 20 years down the line. The center will not hold, or it will not hold steady. Empires do fall, yes, and history repeats itself. But how quickly? Would I have time to build a family, grow old, have grandchildren? The economic climate makes it increasingly unlikely that I could ever provide even the basic needs of food and shelter to anyone.

  • But, still. Whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, tomorrow will be another day. So maybe I should get on with my life.

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    Kaleidoscope

    September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

    This is not the first time the world has ended,
    The sky in pieces on the floor,
    The towers of Babel tumbling down,
    The Big Bang, and the mushroom cloud
    Diaspora.

     

    I want to say:
    Have some perspective.

     

    9.8 meters per second
    Per second
    417 meters
    and 3,000 lives
    Flash-burned.
     

    History circles
    and devours its own tail
    Shedding scales of kaleidoscopic debris
    Radioactive origami confetti
     

    Witness the parade:
     

    Walking northwards in sensible shoes on Central Park West
    That was real.
    A car radio stuttered with static and news
    at the corner where I lent a cheap pair of sandals
    to a woman in heels,
    And we shared a bottle of water.
    Hours later, the stragglers came home painted in dust,
    Pale as ghosts,
    Or a memory.
    My memory
     
    My kingdom for a heart.

     

    A fun night out, with music!

    September 1, 2011 2 comments

    Yesterday, my Twitter friend Bentley scored an invitation to see Mike Doughty perform at Moscot Music. Bentley was kind enough to let me be his +1, so I got see one of my favorite songwriter-musicians ever play at a release party for his new album, “Yes and Also Yes.” Now I can say quite honestly that YaaY is wonderful, and everyone should own it.

     

    According to its website, Moscot is a “New York City eyewear institution renowned for its iconic eyewear” but “remains, at its heart, a neighborhood optical shop” (since 1915). Moscot does indeed offer lovely, classy specs with pedigree, but for some reason the ground floor of the shop doubles as a performance space. I guess* Sol Moscot had two great passions in life: spectacles and rock and roll. As if to illustrate these noble yet oddly twinned obsessions, Moscot’s stage area sports both a “wall of fame” and artsy models of heads displaying eyeglasses. It’s clean and bright and absolutely charming.

     

    *The following scenario is absolutely unsubstantiated by facts looked up by me, but I like to imagine it’s true.
     

    Anyway, the show was awesome! Since the space was small and the audience limited, I actually got to see what was going on. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Doughty perform with Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, who plays something that Wikipedia identifies as a double bass. (In retrospect, a lot of popular music suffers from a distinct lack of double bass.) Both men are obviously true and gifted musicians with all kinds of skill. It’s so refreshing to see artists play real instruments and (in the case of Mike Doughty) sing with real vocal cords.

     
    They performed a lot of songs from the new album (have you listened to it yet?), such as “Na Na Nothing,” “Day By Day By,” “Telegenic Exes, #2 (Astoria),” and others. They also played songs from Doughty’s previous work, including “Lorna Zauberberg,” which is my current favorite. (I vacillate weekly.)  The show had a companionable, easygoing but energetic vibe perfectly matched to the mellow Wednesday night.

    Mike Doughty & Me: Guess which of us is which


    After the show, Bentley and I got to meet Mike and Scrap! They’re super nice. And so fashionably yet functionally bespectacled in Moscat eyewear. Mike assured me he’s met shorter people than I, and some of them weren’t even children.

     
    This is the first time I’ve ever met any of my Twitter friends in person. Perhaps it is some sort of tipping point, because on Saturday I’ll be meeting another. Bentley set the bar very high for future Twitter friends. Bentley – Thanks so much for the invitation and the ride home!

     

    Zen

    August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

    Sometimes the nothing seems so great
    It’s as if it has a weight
    Something invisible but dense
    Devouring light, escaping sense
    An absence that takes up a space
    A phantom limb that stings and aches
    A hungry ghost whose fading cry
    Eclipses sun and earth and sky

     

    The world is filled with reflections and shadows
    That the mind draws into likenesses
    So you imagine something like
    An unborn twin
    Or better half
    Someone to share coffee with, perhaps
    Someone to accompany you
    On the long train ride home

     

    But the emptiness you feel is just an outgrown evolutionary mechanism
    That underpins the motivation
    to survive
    and produce
    viable offspring
    Contentment
    is the death of striving
    So the human condition
    Is one of perpetual want
    Deal with it

     

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    Crush It

    July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

    Don’t know why I have to dog the days
    Cry havoc and let slip the strays
    I’m foaming at the mouth again
    And you can’t hold me down

    Too much caffeine to look before I leap to the fray
    Tripping wires that conspire to awaken the dead
    But the faithless need foxholes to lead them to grace
    And you can’t hold me down

    I need to run just one more lap round this block
    Score on my body’s accounts one more notch
    And will to be still my vitreous heart
    You can’t hold me down

    This exhaustion knows no bounds
    Still I’m running down the hounds
    And though I long to lay me down
    You can’t hold me down

    You know I’d love to take a nap
    Keep myself calmly upon your lap
    But you’re in an alternate time, and while it overlaps mine
    You can’t really touch me at all

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    Ante Meridiem Redux (the same damn thing, but now it rhymes)

    July 26, 2011 Leave a comment

    These days, above all else, I am sane
    Sleep seven hours a night
    And vow not to fight with the morning sunlight
    That colors the air with its stain

    I’ll take a handful of vitamin pills
    For the fruit I’ve forgotten
    Has begun to go rotten
    A large coffee will do for the thrills

    I take a walk in the cool a.m. air
    For once I’m making good time
    While thin yellow sunshine
    Grants grace to the world that is there

    In a heartbeat it all becomes real
    Objects snap to their places
    For a moment their faces
    Resonate with platonic ideals

    Time stands still in the crystalline shine
    Fragile and lit like a microscope slide
    Suspended in its span, I briefly understand
    It’s not enough for a life, but it’s mine

    Clarity dissipates silently
    The fine balance is lost
    But I know it’s the cost
    Truth returns if I just set it free

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