Gold star

Despite the best efforts of the Embassy Suites chef, I have reached my second goal.



The automatic stapling function is the B. T. E.

It’s 8:15pm and I’ve got my feet propped up on the spare chair. My suit jacket is flung over a third chair, and my pantyhose are balled up on top of it. My shoes are around here somewhere. The only sound in the office is the click of the keyboard as I type, and the whirrrrr-thump-click of the copier down the hall. Read the rest of this entry »

thoughts from the hurricane

one of the things i enjoy in both my blog and my poetry is creating the title. it’s sometimes the most creative part of the process, and i love finding the allusion, the verbal snapshot, the evocative phrase or lyric that really captures the rest of the piece.

this is not one of those titles.

today, i can’t be much more than straight descriptive with a dash of pwedictaboo and a smattering of cliche. it’s been a long day, and tomorrow will only be longer. on the one hand, this is what i do. i like deadlines, and i can feel my brain clicking into high gear as i survey the wilderness of reminders and to-dos that festoon my desk with post-its and my white board with three colors of ink.

that is, IF i am allowed to do my job.

my morning began at 9:00 AM, when i walked through the door, laden with my pocketbook and totebag. allen (my boss) and pam (assistant boss) were talking in the hallway. “good morning,” i said, heading down the hall to my office.

i heard footsteps. surreptitiously, i glanced back. pam and allen were following me. “well,” i thought as i unlocked my door, “they must need to talk to john (mucketymuck) or thomas (higher mucketymuck).”

i set my bags in the spare chair, dropped my keys in the pocketbook, and turned around. and nearly ran smack into pam, who was now standing between me and my computer chair.


is a wonderful woman, with many talents and good qualities. one of these is that she is a teacher who is accustomed to lecture halls. and when pam is stressed, pam projects. i’m pretty sure she has the lung power to announce a football game sans microphone or sing opera.

my office is about 9×10 feet. it’s like standing. in. a. speaker.

pause for a moment, and rewind to 8:30 AM, when I went in the garage, cranked the car, turned it off, went back in the house, got my cell phone, went back out, re-cranked the car, turned up Salt and Dimitri the Greek, and got on the road.

no, rewind even further, to 7:45 AM, when i woke up calculating how to most efficiently create badges for three disparate groups out of a single database. the mental checklist was clicking along as i drove, equal parts van halen (all i neeeeed is a beautiful giiiiiirl) and inventory – packet inserts – what’s due when – who do i need to call – must remember – what am i leaving out.

i live for that stuff.

until i’m trapped in my speakerbox, on the wrong side of my desk chair, LOOKING AT THE MESSAGE BLINKING ON MY PHONE, can’t get to my computer and i KNOW I HAVE EMAIL and GOD WOMAN SHUT UP ALREADY. i haven’t had caffeine of any kind, i haven’t even sat down, for chrissakes, and she’s freaking out about god even knows what, i can’t remember now, because it wasn’t important.

oh yeah, it was name badges.

she apparently awoke in a cold sweat, fearing that when she gave andjie her crappy 2006 badge as a design suggestion, i would interpret that as “hey, do it exactly thus-wise.” a thought which, incidentally, had never entered my head. i told her as much.

and yet she kept talking.

i had to ask her to move so that i could log into my computer. i got about halfway through a two-line email, and she was back. some other crisis, some other freak-out, some other decibel damage to my eardrums.

remember that whole gears thing from a few paragraphs back? yeah, kiss that goodbye. i felt like i was standing in a newspaper office in the aftermath of a hurricane, watching shreds of good ideas drift down around me. i literally couldn’t remember my name. it took me till lunchtime to get back to where i’d been at 8:30 AM.

but after lunch

mel and i were a couple of finely-tuned symposium-planning machines.


(Before anyone freaks out, these are quotes.) ;-*

What I am about to say is tricky, and it is a statement about my own relationship with bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia is linked, in my life, to periods of intense passion, passion of all kinds, but most specifically emotional passion. Bulimia acknowledges the body explicitly, violently. It attacks the body, but it does not deny. It is an act of disgust and of need. This disgust and this need are about both the body and the emotions. The bulimic finds herself in excess, too emotional, too passionate. This sense of excess is pinned to the body. The body bears the blame but is not the primary problem. There is a sense of hopelessness in the bulimic, a well-fuck-it-all-then, I might as well binge. This is a dangerous statement, but the bulimic impulse is more realistic than the anorexic because, for all its horrible nihilism, it understands that the body is inescapable.

The anoretic operates under the astounding illusion that she can escape the flesh, and, by association, the realm of emotions.

Read the rest of this entry »

the horseshoe nail

i flipped open my book of instant karma
— binding stiff, unopened since
the exchange of funds in February
made it mine —
and it told me:

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing
because you can only do little.
Do What You Can.

i marked the page.

i went to a meeting, where
we share equally a virtue and a vice,
and i heard:

You don’t have to run a marathon,
or benchpress your weight in hammers to succeed.
Do What You Can.

the memory of ubiquitous wisdom tugs at me:

You must be the change
you wish to see in the world.

and at the same time whispers rise
of tall oaks and tiny acorns
like wind in the branches that will one day toss
above the shriveled seed that gave itself
for its descendant


that rains life in sharp thwacks of capped
crusaders on dead leaves, missionaries spreading their gospel of growth
over the forest floor.


like a wind in the door, change ripples
over the microcosm
through the macrocosm
vibrating ley lines and space/time and we must
Do What We Can
in the now, in the here,
for we cannot conceive where the ripples may go —
the pattern’s too big

the message

written in stone, great grooves in the floor
of the city, too big.
it’s right there, we’re inside it, we’ve touched it,
but still we can’t see

only in hindsight, we might perceive
and stumbling, lost, lacking that hint, all we can do
is Do What We Can.

lost —
the message, the battle, the war, the kingdom
lost —
for the want of a horseshoe nail.

relentlessly, she understands you

it’s a cynical little poem, i think, but that closing phrase lodged itself in my head sometime in high school, and it’s never really shaken free. i was thinking about it today, about how those two halves — relentlessly and understands — seem so dichotomous. we think of understanding, of being understood, as a good thing. and yet, don’t we all know someone (maybe a mother, maybe not) who just knows us too well? from whom we can’t hide, can’t placate, can’t brush away? they’re there — even when we want to simply crawl in a hole, away from the seeking light of that knowing gaze.

when i’m under stress, i find myself inventing excuses even when none are needed. it would be fine to just say, oh — i don’t have time. or, i just ate, sorry. i don’t actually think my friends would pour molten tar on my head and whack me with feather pillows.

well, the rational me doesn’t. i’m not responsible for what the other side whispers in the wee sma’s.

as much as i’m not a religious person, there are truths in the bible that i believe completely. one of these is be sure your sin will find you out. it’s not a statement of faith or dogma or any of that — it’s just an inconvenient, annoying, why-even-bother fact. it’s easier and simpler — not to mention more honorable — to just tell the truth in the first place, because a lie in act or a lie in words always comes to light at the most awkward moment possible. i know this.

and yet, what are excuses but one baby step away from lies? the reasons may be valid, but just because i really do have x, y, and z that i SHOULD be doing, does that mean that i’ll actually do them? or will i cite them when i beg out and then spend that stolen time sacked out on the couch (an equally important but much harder to justify previous engagement)?

you can tell co-workers you have a meeting or appointment that prevents you from working late, when really that appointment is with your husband and a dvd. you can blow off acquaintances with a non-specific reference to the “something” that came up. but once you hit a certain tier of friendship, there’s a certain level of mutual respect that demands you deal better with those you love. they deserve the truth.

the gamble is: will they still like you if they know it?