focusing/not focusing. school and such is dragging (god, i can't spell anything these days) on me. making me tired and making me hate it. i spent this evening in the bar, trying to explain the difficulty of relationships to someone who is but five months into theirs, while i myself am inching my way towards three years of marriage. somehow i become incredibly articulate explaining the need to find commonalities in a sea of lost passions. explaining how it will always be hard and that perhaps you can only hope that the firsts of childbirth and rearing will provide you with the emotional excitement you once seeked in one-night-stands and the freshness of new relationships. how you must find the spaces where you work with your significant other, however cramped and slender they might seem. how you must remember and rediscover the reasons you decided to be where you are. why is it that i decided so many years ago to be with jon? what was it that stuck me like glue to him, so long ago (and yet we are "supposed" to be in our "honeymoon stage" even still)? what was it that made me know so thoroughly, so inside and out that he was the one for me, that he was the person for me to share my life with? and how could i ever imagine letting that go? i told erik tonight that it was about how we work, how our relationship has extended beyond sex and passion into the familial, that we have found, somewhere outside of ourselves, a way of reconciling the mundane with our passions and our goals. that we are still, to this very second, finding that. i explained to erik that jon and i are searching in nooks and in crannies for that something that holds us together - that we don't always understand what it is or how it affects us. that we learn daily how to love one another and how to go on with one another and how to replace the emotional thrills of the former newness of our relationship with something that is somehow more important, though we haven't the language to explain it, though we are born without the ability to articulate it. we understand somehow that what we have is different from what every other long-term realtionship has. we understand that the sequence of experience differentiates us from everyone else on the planet, but that there is a commanality there - the commanality of searching deep within ourselves for our faith - what can be described as nothing besides faith - in one another and in ourselves and in our relationship and our interraction with one another. we have somehow found faith, even within the constraints of our deep-seated atheism, we have found faith, finally, in our relationship. so we know that beyond everything, beyond ourselves even, we have a commitment that outweighs our psychological desire for that which is new and stark and striking and beautiful. we have found a new realm of understanding - a new way to understand and reconcile ourselves, as both individuals and as a couple, to that which is emotionally stirring and resonant. we create and find new ways of seeing each other and ourselves within the constraints of a partnership, within the hope for a future.

all this, regardless of my having drunk four to five beers and my tiny weight of ninety-eight pounds.


and how it goes. gone for the weekend and having returned, i can say that the things that bothered me before are not so bothersome anymore. i have bought books to try to explore things in my life further. jon and i have spent time alone and time talking in the car, time chatting and singing along with the radio, time making fun of dale chihuly just because that's the sort of thing we like to do. we're feeling like we once did again. we're feeling like we're nineteen again, ready to elope any second. in fact, last night, for the first time in a while, i dreamt about jon. we were discussing something - maybe going on vacation - and he said, "and after that, we'll get married." that would be our third time getting married. which i'm okay with. i think we should get married again and again and again. getting married tells him i love him enough to want to do it for the rest of my life. doing it over and over says that i love him enough to actually do it for the rest of my life.

now that i've returned, i have a whole google of new things to bother me. like school started last week, and it's continuing this week, and my classes are terribly dull, and i hate the fifty bagillion kids i go to school with, and columbus is filthy, and it is raining, and it is getting cold - all of which leads me to question what the hell i'm doing here. why bother with school? the degree will not help me. i wanted to learn about art history, but really, at what cost? i am mildly interested in all of my subjects, but there is homework and there are students and teachers that get in my way. school prolongs my life, prolongs the time it takes to read something or learn something, all under the guise that i am learning this fully and completely, more than if i had merely spent some time with some experts and read a few books, for one reason - the fact that i am tested on it and expected to write papers explaining what i know. and shouldn't i be busy working on my first novel? getting it out of my head, where it is buried, unearthing it and making it beautiful? shouldn't i be busy commenting on the nature of fall and how i love it and how nostalgia fills me up and breathes me leaves burning and wet ground and cold seeping in slyly and pumpkins for sale by roadsides? shouldn't this all be poured into the computer, like the thoughts in my head, and explained as prose and ejected finally as a manuscript and folded nicely into manila envelopes and sent around the world to beg for help in editing it and making the public see it to satisfy my own egotism, to reconcile my narcissism (that i speak so often of) with my urges to create something? shouldn't i be busy proving myself to the world and not some silly college of arts? wouldn't i rather be working towards my true future, than some idea i've got stuck in my head about careers and the ability to attain jobs? shouldn't i at least be attending a school without walls, or majoring in creative writing, then? should i spend all this time learning about the eighteenth century in european art, knowing full well that i will not remember it and that it is not all that interesting anyhow? wouldn't i rather spend my time focused on the nineteenth century? shouldn’t i be instead reading rolling stone, holed up in some coffee shop, drinking coffee? shouldn't i be downing whiskey and smoking packs of cigarettes a day and typing furiously like some old beatnik man? shouldn't i be staying up late with my thoughts coming out of my head and writing awards flying towards me in time? shouldn't i at least be focused on my writing, on improving it, and making my prose work well? shouldn't i be forming writers groups and doing research in the library and experiencing something more to write about? should i perhaps be showering in preparation for my first class rather than sitting here wondering which wall to lean on, which direction to point myself, and knowing full well that i will not attempt any of it until i have suffered through school and taught myself something besides how to count the number of times the teaching assistant says, "um"?


what it is. this is abstractions for the purpose of disguise. this is discussions, serious and otherwise. this is love, hurt feelings, doubt, new love, old love, trying to find love, sex and questions, passion, shared perspective, old friends, new friends, confusion piled on uncertainty. this is the start of school, getting up early, drinking coffee, sitting in the bagel shop, watching the bagel girl, explaining how the bagel girl looks like a different person since she cut her hair, is now less intimidating. this is watching nicole, remembering nicole, not really knowing nicole but for drunken seconds on rooftops explaining the birthday, the loss, years ago... this is lovemaking and remaking and unmaking and tying up feelings to heartbreak. this is memory and dreams taking over. this is this moment in front of the computer having come expressly from ordering the new york times and jon newly out-the-door, class but an hour and a bike ride away, the text of biology sitting, unread, on the bed. this is the telling of secrets to those unexpected just to get it out. this is not understanding any motivations for anything at all. this is not wanting to feel adolescent again. this is poems not so late at night explaining, "you have made me seventeen again and all filled up with emptiness." this is "your magic is sighs impressed in heart-wrenching detail and yet your hands and thus your pen, are left in the dark." this is me, "i am losing myself in myself, you have shot the first arrow, cast stones in the pool of my heart and all the while your face has been turned the other way, over your shoulder, asking vultures for their wings." this is the confusion of the poem, "you have left me terrified, unwilling to escape my life, to unravel it." this is the confusion itself, "i am ignorant of these devices, these loves two at once and uneaten sandwiches fallen out of palms." this is trying to figure, amidst all the confusion, the true path and the path most right, the path most me as i am, the path to be taken, and "i am begging for someone to send help: the stars have not yet crashed into my eyes, i am holding them at bay, trying, as hard as I might, to trap them in jars." this is the confusion that comes in attempts to not disclose too much, even to myself.


when will it end? when will this all become just a memory? when will i be able and willing to function inside my head like i do, as me, as me without bomb threats and me without planes careening into space? when will my dreams return to normal? why is it that every step taken and every channel turned is connected, somehow, to all of this - to this black tuesday? nothing, not even words can break apart me from my environment and though people walk down streets as they've always walked down streets and push in lines as they've always done - somehow everyone's brain is focused in the same direction. we are ever ready for the conversation regarding it. the news stories unheard to be retold. and i am sitting in corners, trying to think about my relationship with my husband, how his memory fails him; about the novel and the fact that i've been ready for a while now; about just, our evening together; about scribble, stuck in my dream; about school starting and all that is required of that; about the coffee shop being torn down next saturday and how i must find a new place to dwell during breaks between classes, how i must convene with the others on this point; about not wanting to participate fully in the world just now. i am learning to just shut up because i don't want to talk about it anymore. i don't want to argue about it anymore. i don't want to persuade or explain or guess at the future. i don't really want to exist here now. i want to dive head-first into my dreams, etch them out on paper, live in some other life in some othertime. i want to be enveloped by books and try to concentrate my body into them; focus myself to exist seperately from my world. i want to disappear, to drown. i want to be merely myself all the time and not some concerned citizen or some liberal mouthpiece. i don't want to think about it. i want to fall fully into narcissism, to think about myself and where i am headed, what that entails. i want to focus on figuring the knots of my brain, unraveling my motivations and all of my desires. i want to find my future and perhaps try it out for a bit then change my mind. i want to fucking go somewhere. i would like very much to escape this and live fullly and freely as best as i can. i want to see the world with my own eyes and not stare forever at the new york skyline all filled up with holes. i myself am filling up with holes like sinking ships or loosening lips. i myself am, or may very well soon be, collapsing in on myself, tumbling inward; spontaneously imploding, folding like so much cloth. perhaps i am being put away somewhere, to hide me, to circumnavigate my innards and know them entirely. perhaps i am merely wishing for ends to these trains of thought, for a way to get off and find again solid ground upon which to rest my weary heart.


sick of it all. terrified of what is coming. why not promote peace? how will peace ever be achieved if the world is so blood-thirsty? if we are so blood-thirsty? so much bullshit. so much patriotism swelling up and looking ugly and full more of hatred than of concern or feelings of loss; grief. everything is ugly. and i find myself defending myself relentlessly - i am not unamerican, i am not uncaring. i do indeed give a shit. i just don't trust the government. which i shouldn't because they want to bomb everyone. i am so inarticulate right now, it is ridiculous.


look at this. and this. and this. which i got from this. and he said this. he also said this.
the poetry of war cannot be pretty. this is of nightmares and rubble. how do i say without anger and without emotion the truth, what i feel - that i disagree with national sentiment and certainly with national policies and it is because of the "terrorists" who founded our country that i have that right and should be expected to feel such. i believe that all killing is wrong. i believe that we should not boast ourselves to be morally superior to the rest of the world. i believe that the sentiment that is building - this us versus them mentality - is a bad thing. i believe that guns are being jumped. i believe that military action will be in direct opposition to that which we supposedly support; that our freedom is being ridiculed by our actions. i believe that the separation between church and state has suddenly blurred. i believe that this whole thing is turning into one huge rationalization for racism and xenophobia. i believe that money is disappearing to ensure our right to gas-guzzling machinery, nice running shoes, and a starbucks on every corner. i believe that what was intended was a questioning of american values, or the lack thereof. i believe that in our fight for civil rights, we have, are, and will eliminate the civil rights of others. i believe that these words "freedom" and "democracy" are being thrown around like so much confetti. i believe that it is possible that bin laden is not, in fact, responsible. i believe that this is all terrible. i believe that people died needlessly. i also believe that people die needlessly every day at the hands of america. i believe we have blood on our hands as well, and that before we start throwing criticism around like snow (or sand as the case may be), we should take a look at ourselves and our policies and admit what this act was intended for - to smash our national illusions of not only security, but superiority.


there are not words enough. i am watching the world in its confusion and it is terrifying.


just now it's about waiting. doctors and kidneys and waiting and videos not yet late and waiting. and in lines and on hold and in telephones in wires through words whispered and caught by the other side, just barely unearthed in the thick mucousy sinus-infected breath. the words are waiting, the walls are waiting even. the solid glass of the moment is waiting, the sunlight is waiting, holding on in air-conditioning and in autumn colors. in-long-sleaves-though-sunday-was-hot sort of waiting. the almost waiting. the unsure waiting. the waiting to wait. and things happening sort of waiting. the actions are rising in waitinghood. we've found in the past that while we were waiting - waiting to get old, waiting to have fun, waiting to come down, waiting for the sun to come up - is when everything interesting started to happen. now we have found that there is hardly time to wait and we are always waiting for time to free up that we may begin again, start over, wait, so as to see something interesting (hoping the old formula will work again). and yet instead - we are faced with the simple, lonely waiting, the mundane, boring waiting-stuff you read about or hear jokes about, stuff of which deaths are made, stuff of which commercials are sat through and cobwebs are cleared from ceiling panels. waiting until there is nothing left to wait for, so the tasks you've put off are the things left to be done - which is not exactly waiting, now is it? it is merely having more things to do and doing them. it is now about this sort of waiting. this all-consuming waiting. this never-a-second-to-waste sort of waiting. waiting on the clock to move and the days to pass. waiting to be done with the things before you. waiting to have done the things you'd like to do. waiting for a time beyond time when there is nothing left to wait for but death, that you might look back - might remember fondly, all the things that passed you by while you waited to think of them in past-tense.


in the morning i am waking and stumbling out the door, feeling clean after the shower, hair wet. i spot a dime glistening in the morning sun on the sidewalk on the way to the car. i pick it up, squeezing it tightly in my palm, wishing, hard as i might, "please let this be a good day." i am already feeling the onset of negative feelings, just a split second and i am hoping, praying even, for it to pass and for me to make it through today, if just barely, if by fingertips, if by skin on teeth. and i remember that each night, from wherever she may be, just before sleep, applause is echoing across the country for me from mara, her hands pounding hard against each other, palms slapping, in tribute to our survival of the day, that we made it through. it is a good thing indeed that there are people who love me, whoever they may be, wherever they may be hiding out, whatever they may be doing. i am in need, constantly, of reassurance, of attention and love. i am needing to take time out and to breathe. i am in need of seeing myself, of knowing and understanding each task before me, to outline it in my head. i am in need of telling myself what i think of things, what i feel. i am needing deeply to rest a moment, to catch myself before i fall, to know where precisely each path is headed and how. i want so badly to go back sometimes, to review what it was, to try again. it does not make sense to me, truly, that we only get one shot at this life, that we die without answers and alone. it is water torture - the idea to pick one path and do one thing, make one living. i would like so much to spice it up a bit and have more fun than that. yet, i am talking of stopping and sniffing at flowers, realizing the good in the everyday. there must be mediums to reach for. achievments that encompass all that is good about living one life, with one person and one goal, wasting one's youth properly, as one should, and still taking time to figure it out reasonably and logically, planning it so as to not waste it properly. there must be some middle ground to reach for and attain. but perhaps, and what seems most likely, is that you do what you do, however and wherever and whyever you do it, and ask questions later, try not to pause for too long or too often to be stumped with questions about where it all came from or where it is all going. you try not to consider the impossible or the unfathomable, end up doing it anyhow, end up confused and lost, searching and occasionally finding and realizing and revolutionizing and forgetting again. history is not the story of what not to do, it is the story of how it will all be done. it is not that which we build upon, but it is that which knocks us down. it is of our fairy tales, it is our hopes and our fears and nothing more. history does not build achievement. we are not moving forward admirably with civilization on our arms. we are not coming to ends or to crossroads. we are forever in the same spot, figuring the same things, knowing nothing, getting nowhere.


my poverty is becoming my savior. suddenly my television has abandoned me; has lost its cable charm, its hbos one through six, its sundance channels and bravos. no more inside the actor's studio. no powerpuff girls or dexter's laboratory. no daily show. no sex and the city. not even friends or er. the television now sits quietly. the cat has been relocated from atop the cable box to sleeping atop the vcr. the giant digital clock from the cable box no longer winks at me as i'm grabbing bagels, late for work, warning me of the minutes. now i run errands after work. i don't watch the six o'clock friends and the seven-thirty frasier on fox. i don't have the learning channel's six-thirty trading spaces. now i go to the library and take the recycling to kroger. now i finish reading waterland and start finally reading fight club. my life has taken on order because my poverty demands it. everything must be planned to prevent unforseen expenses. i've started the first harry potter book. i'm balancing my checkbook. i'm going to bed at a reasonable hour. i'm ready for school to start. i'm spending quality time with my husband with videos borrowed from the library. i eat three reasonably healthy meals a day. we cook dinner every night. the cats are fed. suddenly my organizational tendencies are manifesting themselves where they are most expected to occur. my opportunities for creativity have suddenly increased tenfold. i must make use of them. i swear to try.


i have always had my own way of organizing things. when i was little, i used to take string and tie it to anything that was standing still. since i was extraordinarily small, even for a five-year-old, the string was all very low to the ground. i created immense anna-webs. my mother said i used to organize her shoes also. now that i am somewhat older, i still have incredible urges to organize or list things. i love blank legal pads. i cannot wait to fill them up. the yellow ones are especially nice. i would like very much to make my very own high fidelity-esque lists of five things. but lots of people do it. here are some good ones. i did some lists of ten recently. then other people did some. so here goes.

top five reasons i'm typing this right now

1. i'd rather not be doing work.
2. i have this idea that people actually read this.
3. so someone will e-mail me their list.
4. i'm an ego-maniac and like the idea of publicizing myself.
5. i'm a control freak and making lists just seems appropriate.


so zha said something nice. so did some other people. or at least they said something.
painting until four-thirty in the morning is good and i am grateful for it and i am grateful for all that i am incapable of seeing and all that i am incapable of seeming to be, to myself, to my life, in and of myself. i am grateful for the things that come when they come, that i cannot force them, that writing is all about sitting down to type. which must mean that painting is all about sitting down to paint, that living is all about starting to live and loving is all about feeling love - it comes when it comes and comes freely when it must and if you think too hard it will stick, frozen in your skull, itching you and never freeing itself. it is so irritating to be an artist, to make art, to be crazy. we are incapable of ever being satiated - we are tantalus, the mouth of the river, ourselves, and it is not coming out properly, we are never reaching that which we desire though we see it perfectly. and all that is clear to us is nearly invisible to the world and all that the world might worship in us, or might see and appreciate in us, is invisible to us. we cannot simultaneously be objective and creative. when it comes to ourselves, we can never be objective, and art that we make is merely an extension of us, another limb that we carry around; it pokes and prods and itches and aches, like love and of love and sometimes the definition of love itself. it is about being narcissistic and wanting to reconcile the differences between the artist and the audience. we want to reconcile that which is intended with that which comes out; that which is painted or written, or scrawled in fits on walls with that which is permanent and fixed in our brains; that goal - to achieve the impossible and reconcile that which is real with that which is not. the emotional with the logical. the structured with the chaotic. the perfect with the ugly. the world with ourselves, ourselves with each other, ourselves with ourselves. all that is reconciled with all that can never be. it is about being self-absorbed and thus owning and manipulating the coatings of our insides - expressing more perfectly the conditions of being, yet never being capable of expressing it perfectly. the work we do to satiate the thirst makes the thirst grow stronger, and you find yourself ending things with phrases like this: i cannot think to think.