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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Humbaggers

In by Chris on March 29, 2011 at 11:27 am

Do you know what’s in those big buildings over there?
They’re chock full of cows.
Weird, huh, that with all this Central Valley space
(and it’s even green this week!)
they’d have the cows cramped up together inside.
The stock-hauling trucks pull up on one end,
and the Safeway trucks leave from the other.
Now you see what’s going on.
Now it seems like it’s a pretty good idea that it’s all inside.
Can you imagine what it’d be like to be driving
and suddenly see a gruesome park outside your windshield,
full of dusty, smelly pens and dismembered cows?

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Judgmental

In by Michael on March 29, 2011 at 1:52 am

How do you tell your friend he’s too judgmental, and that he should stop imposing his way on other people? The hypocrisy is too obvious, as you’d be telling your friend not to tell people what to do.

The other option, besides telling your friend what to do, is to lead by example. The trouble is that you’re not modeling a specific thing that you want him to see. It’s more like you are just being nice, and hoping he catches on.

And you never know, maybe you’re being overly judgmental yourself in thinking the way you act is superior.

The Start of Something

In by Wyatt on March 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

It begins with sunshine, of course. A bright, open, enveloping radiation, not the kind that causes birth defects or cancer but the kind that soothes and enlightens, rolls you up under its tongue, and nestles. It’s a chirpy day, with crisp air and something buzzing organically just too far away to pick out. And the sheets are warm, pillow cool, the window bright but not glary. And there’s a friend knocking on your door, with a smile and a donut, an old-fashioned chocolate buttermilk, and you laugh together and hug and look outside and marvel because this, this is Spring.

Timeline by Claudia Leger

In by New Author on March 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

65million BC Meteor creates Firestorm
2800BC the Great Flood annihilates
Sept 22, 1850 500,000 Chinese die in earthquake
Sept 8, 1900 Hurricane claims 6,000 in Galveston
Sept 1, 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Tokyo and Yokohama claimed 143,000
Dec 5-8, 1952 4-day London smog poisons 4,703 people
Mar 27, 1964 9.2 Alaskan earthquake in Prince William Sound kills 131,125
April 26, 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster kills 200,000
Dec 26, 2009 SE Asia 9.0 earthquake kills 230,000
2010 Gulf explosion, 10 die, drilling and sea life jolted
2011 Wars and Natural Devastation abound
2012 Dire Predictions loom
World without End, Amen?

Albert Bierdstadt Reveals His Grandest Painting Yet

In by Chris on March 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I can hear them gathering out there, trying to be quiet like proper connoisseurs of art. But their anticipation is too much; someone is arguing that he was shoved out of his position. Ten more minutes and they will be ready.

My latest canvas hangs behind the curtain, the full glory of the Sierra Nevada ready to burst like a revelation at my East Coast audience. They will revel in my brushstrokes, fall into the resplendent valley.

They believe me. To them, my masterworks have become the divine vision of the Western gods. I contain the transcendence of open wilderness.

Marks on a Cell Wall

In by Chris on March 18, 2011 at 7:54 am

Sometime between breakfast and lunch each day, the guard brought a hammer and chisel to the prisoner. The prisoner chipped another straight line in the concrete wall, then passed the tools back to the watching guard.

One day the prisoner turned to carve the day’s line, but an idea stopped him. After clattering the tools together, he returned them, leaving no new scar on the wall. For two weeks he repeated this, and at the end he looked at the empty patch of wall. No marks left meant no days had passed. He had created limbo in the eight-by-twelve cell.

Moving a Life

In by Fannie on March 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm

So much stuff pushed and shoved into so many boxes so that it will all fit in one crammed-full car and be stored in a tumbling pile in a garage somewhere so that it can be unpacked topsy-turvy into a new room with new people but all of the old clothes and bedding and shoes and “miscellaneous desk needs” will remain intact as my old life turns into a memory etched in my apparel.  How do I have so much stuff even though I move so frequently and each time get rid of another deeper, older, more dear layer of…stuff?

Shark Circles

In by Fannie on March 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’ve been dreaming of sharks swimming in circles above me.  The sunlight that makes it down through their swarming bodies sparkles in ever-changing pockets.  Shark DNA sequences  too swim around me.  I flounder as I reach to grab these sequences and in doing so, try and trace back those letters to one of those swimming sharks.  I’m no water creature though and the more I try, the more the elegant CTGCCAATAGTAs flit just out of my grasp, those double helix devils.   The simple matching game is made so much harder than previously imagined!   Speak to me sharks!  I beg you.

Going Nowhere

In by Michael on March 11, 2011 at 1:43 am

I was talking to this girl the other day. Actually she’s my close friend, and this was last week. We weren’t talking – we were IMing. Texting I mean. And she was saying the sexiest things. It wasn’t really what she was saying, but how. She hinted at stuff. I’m not sure what exactly. It was really exciting. Not “really exciting,” like in the traditional sense – it was more interesting than exciting. And I feel like she was right there with me and kind of distant too. The perfect balance. It was different from how she usually talks to me.

 

Relations

In by Michael on March 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

There is a finite number of logical relations in the world. Take two entities, A and B, and they are related somehow.

A is necessary for B

A is sufficient for B

A is part of B

A comes before B

A is more X than B

A becomes B

A is near B

This makes learning things easy. There’s a set of relations, and learning is just about plugging in different values for A and B. Biology isn’t that different from music or chess. Analogy is the root of all cognition. The more you learn the easier it gets.

Coming Back

In by Chris on March 9, 2011 at 1:54 am

I’m on my way back from a dark journey.
My outlook has turned itself upwards;
I can taste a fresh scent in my throat.

On my journey I must have stepped in pungent puddles,
though I can’t now recall where they lay.
It was a gradual shading of my mind,
re-working what I imagined to be natural,
turning me to tics found bleak by others.

Only now, when spasmodic happiness returns,
do I see the cloud-like tendrils of my journey,
and propelled by a lingering ink that stains my lungs,
moments jump towards grins, spontaneous mantras,
instead of grim asthma.

Home

In by Michael on March 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm

And there it is. The last day of winter break.

Since college, my relationship with Chicago has become a wintertime thing. It’s always the holidays, always cold. Time is spent in diners, at house parties, on friends’ couches. It’s the same old scene, and it’s easy to imagine the place is frozen year round like it is at Christmas.

Some things change. I don’t know anyone still at my high school. And I get lost in the city more than I’d expect. And there are all these new buildings.

I’m still learning what it means to be from the place.

They Were Never Fans of Hard Alcohol

In by Michael on March 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

At their wedding, good friends gave gifts of famous imported alcohols. They kept it on display in their first apartment. They moved when they had their first daughter, Amy, and the booze stayed in the pile of unpacked boxes in the basement.

In high school, Amy found the alcohol. The dust on the bottles told her her parents wouldn’t miss it. By the time senior year of high school was half over, the bottles were gone.

Her parents never found out; no one saw the empty box until Amy, when she was looking through the house after Mom passed away.

 

Smoothie

In by Michael on March 7, 2011 at 5:27 am

Hi, welcome to Smoothie Hut. How can I help you?

I’ll have a boom boom berry blast.

Can I add a supplement to that for you?

What kinds to you have?

Well, we have ones for if you’re feeling weak, or tired, or sick.

Hm….

Or angry, or melancholy, or overly-enthusiastic.

Um okay let me see.

Or angsty or anxious or fucking furious.

Wow really?

Or genocidal or suicidal or nihilistic.

Gosh, so many choices. I’m feeling all of those things.

Wow really? Even genocidal?

Yeah man, it’s been a weird day.

Well that’s okay. This shit doesn’t work anyway.

Moving to New York

In by Michael on March 7, 2011 at 5:20 am

It was a hard conversation that she had with her college boyfriend in the weeks before graduation. Truth be told, it was harder for him than it was for her. What he couldn’t understand was her conviction to move alone to New York.

She said she was excited to live fast, to be surrounded and busy, to crash into humanity. He just wanted to build something solid with a nice girl.

She moved to New York, and to nobody’s surprise she met a new boy. And then another and another. It never became easier to settle down to something solid.

 

Somehow, His Story Will Pull the Pillow Out from Under Your Head

In by Chris on March 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

The story finished, a pall quivered over the audience.

“Questions,” said the moderator as the unshaven author peered across the effect he had produced.

A woman stood. “Why do you write this? Who needs to hear it?”

“I write for children.”

The audience collapsed into a jolted, angry clamor.

“What!” shouted the woman. “Children? A story where the protagonist encourages kids to commit suicide?”

“So that those kids might avoid a life of suffering. Yes, I think children ought to think about it.”

“You’re putting darkness in their minds – or poison. Dark poison,” she sobbed. “They’re kids, for heaven’s sake!”

Succor for a Seed

In by Chris on March 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm

After being blown off its father by a prying wind, snatched up into the rough claws of a sparrow, stolen away by a chittering squirrel, and dropped into a stream, the seed finally found itself half-buried in warm loam.

Knowing it had finally come to a place where it should sprout, for hours the seed heaved against its husk. But nothing happened.

The seed gave up in exhaustion and slowly leaned into the most undisturbed sleep it had ever known. While it thought of nothing, only feeling the dark soil around, the first green tendril, blind and rubbery, broke through.

Counting (song line prompt)

In by Lara on March 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Counting all different ideas drifting away.
No matter what I do,
I can’t seem to stop my mind from going blank.
Images flit in and out, about as graspable as a fish out of water.
Faces. Places. Memories.
A distant past,
A possible, but possibly implausible future.
I know that all I’ve got to do is be present,
but nothing is illuminated.
Nothing is bright or shiny or new.
I’ve found that it’s an unfortunate consequence of being the way I am – Passive. Unnoticed. A wallflower in almost every regard.
It’s a miracle I can even articulate these thoughts here.

Is

In by Lucía on March 2, 2011 at 1:23 am

To have others believe in you, and to know that others believe in you: this is a gift.

To be afforded space for honesty, for wholeness, and for self-full-ness: this is love.

To hold hands, high-five, lock eyes: this is well.

To rendez-vous with a pillow, to flop into bed: this is rest.

To sit in the sun, to give you a hug: this is life.

 

To hear the words: it could be worse; to think, simply: “It” could be bad – This Is.

 

Because even the things that are bad are just non-good.

And that – well,

That is good, too.