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Is that you, irony?

15 Mar

My dad hands me a rejection from a literary journal, addressed to me in my own handwriting (as SASE have a tendency to be, being self-addressed and all).

He says:

“You know, there are other ways to make yourself feel popular.”


Dear Bachelor Season #17 I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH THAT GIRL

8 Jan

I watch the Bachelor. I’d say this confession ranks up there on the shame-level for me with throwing up in public– which actually I’ve done — Let’s move on.

I haven’t watched the first episode yet– I’ll watch it tonight with my friends– we like to DVR it and watch it later so we can fast-forward through all the boring parts. It’s much shorter that way. But I can tell you this:

I know a girl on the show this season. I went to school with her K-12. That’s 13 years, you guys. Catherine Guidici! Good luck! 


Yes. I can’t really explain why this show suddenly became so much more exciting now that I know someone on it. My level of emotional investment is disproportionate to how well I actually know Catherine. 

This is my favorite (and only) anecdote:

My high school football team sucked. You know that old joke, “Our football team doesn’t have a drinking problem…It’s that our drinking team has a football problem.” Yeah. 

So Catherine was a cheerleader, obviously, I’m pretty sure you have to be a former cheerleader to be on the Bachelor, and it so happened that our junior year a new cheer coach took over and remade our cheer team into a much more competitive stunt-based squad, who won their competitions much more often than our football team did.

And part of the cheer squad’s training was that– wait for it– at the football games, they did push-ups every time the other team scored. By the end of football season, they were in pretty badass shape. 

So we’re in chemistry class one day and it’s game day, so the cheerleaders are in uniform and the football players are wearing their jerseys with their jeans. And someone must’ve been teasing– we’ll call him WM, who played– god I don’t know, he was sort of short and stocky, maybe a tackle? Anyone want to help me out?– about the team’s record, and Catherine maybe threw down about how she was sick of doing push-ups?

The upshot being that Catherine challenged WM to arm wrestle.

Ms. Schwentor, our chemistry teacher, was always interested in seeing our jock-based social hierarchy topple a little, so she didn’t exactly step in to stop it. I think she helped pull the desks together and held their hands steady while counting down.

Catherine won.

I’m hoping she repeats the performance with Sean. Although he looks like he could arm wrestle an elephant and win. 


God I’m so excited. I hope she takes them all. This doesn’t mean I want Catherine to win. No, no. Picture this: what if she comes in second or third and gets to be the BACHELORETTE on the next season?!? 

That’s what I’m rooting for. That’s what we all should be rooting for.

Or maybe over there

21 Dec

Perhaps the World Ends Here


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

“Perhaps the World Ends Here” from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.,

Source: The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1994) via The Poetry Foundation

Hey, guys? “Never Say Mayday While There’s Still Marzipan”

21 Dec

Terror of the Future / 4


You had to win the sweepstakes
to get a survival kit. Some of the smarter
Sunday painters kept suet and Saran Wrap
stowed amongst their stencils. My sponsor
disappeared with nary a splash. I didn’t speculate.
I said he was “snowed under.” All we ever did   
together was play “Simon Says” and try to outrun
our shadows. It was a rotten routine and I’m not
going to romanticize it. I wouldn’t have put ribbons
on his wreath but I was hoping to qualify for
the preharvest and a few jars of preserves.
In the meantime I sent my remaining relatives
postcards with phoenixes on the front.
No need to be a pessimist and think about
the family plot. Yes, the panic-stricken and pain-ridden
continued to dive into the Pacific, but one
could get overstimulated thinking about it.
I was no onlooker. I went shopping for
a new look. I studied myths. I even invented
a motto for myself: Never Say Mayday
While There’s Still Marzipan. When I was feeling
low-spirited, it helped to think of the lion
who was being given only lichen to eat.   
The lily-livered wouldn’t look through the lens.
I looked and saw that the scientists
in the laboratory were looking for keywords
in the Judgment Book, still hadn’t jettisoned
that piece of junk. It was time to make a home
in the hedge and try not to hear the gunshots.
So what if the grass was really green glass?


Source: Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007) via The Poetry Foundation

It’s the end of the world as we know it

21 Dec

A Song On the End of the World

by Czeslaw Milosz
translated by Anthony Milosz
On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

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