Sunday, November 29, 2015

Charles Manson 1967: Arkansas



I had a dream a few days ago that life/death cycles were like a series of loops leading back to a center. When I woke up, I saw the image that had been revealed, but I couldn't find it expressed online. The first below is a similar representation, of a Spirograph image. The main difference here is that the inner points of the loops lead out to other loops, whereas in my dream, they first led directly to the core before looping out again. The second image is probably more representative, though much cruder. The third image might be the more complicated reality, if indeed anything about the dream indicated reality.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Weird passive-aggressive shit

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday...

Yawn. Brother and Mother both live within a 2-mile radius of me. I don't have a car. (I sold it in 2007 when I moved to NYC; since I moved back to Austin in 2010, I haven't had enough spare income to get a new car, and am doing fine with public transportation without one.)

Where the weird shit comes in:

Let me first take you back to a Thanksgiving in the early '90s: My brother and I both lived in Austin, my mom in San Antonio, an hour away, south of Austin. My brother lived further north than me, so the initial plan was for him to pick me up so we could drive on south to San Antonio. Only, he got it into his head that I should drive north to his apt, so we could then drive south... Uhhh... No. Common sense said that he should have headed on south and picked me up and headed further south to San Antone.

Recently, a similar issue popped up: A birthday celebration this summer for my nephew at a pizza place a mile up the road. "A mile up the road" is nothing for a car. But for me walking for 15 minutes in 100-degree Texas heat? I turned up at the pizza place with my hair and face sopping wet because my brother didn't want to pick me up at my apartment a mile away.

For tomorrow's Thanksgiving, my brother has again refused to say when he'll pick me up to take me to my mom's for our meal. My mom says that the meal will be served around 4pm. And I told her that there's no way that she, since she's doing all of the work, should have to come pick me up.

My brother's waving his dick around. And there's absolutely no reason for doing so. I absolutely hate this kind of weird shit. (It's already been 100% clear to me for a while that once my mother is gone, I'll be completely alone in the world. It's creepy, though, to have my brother drive the point home ahead of time.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Joan Crawford, 1960.


Too soon? (11/25/15 from

Here's your Tarot Reading for today, STEPHANIE: 
 There's a new friendship on the horizon today, dear STEPHANIE, which will bring you a great deal of fulfillment. The association of the Magician with the gentle Moon means that you are now ready to open up to others again, maybe even to fall in love, after a period of withdrawal, perhaps caused by a disappointment in love. Leave the clouds behind, life is good! In the professional sphere, a new opportunity is on the horizon. Signing a contract, obtaining a loan, a large order from a client - nothing's impossible. Under the combined influence of Justice and the Magician you can be sure to have the necessary qualities to take new things on board and handle them with intelligence. You also know how to weigh up the pros and the cons, and you are able to make well-informed decisions...

I'm so fucking good at what I do!

Yeah, I am! (That's either "YEAH, I am" or "Yeah, I AM.")

My job has its irritations, but... I really am a GREAT editor.

After coming back to Austin from NYC in 2010, I temped for 4 years, usually as a secretary. Twice after long-term gigs, I was up for the permanent position but didn't get it. And I WEPT each time. I felt traumatized: They didn't want me/What was I gonna do, etc.

In fact, I was only a mildly competent secretary. I was, indeed, COMPETENT, but I certainly wasn't SUPER at what I was doing. The first rejection that upset me so: A friend of the head secretary got the job. (I checked Facebook: The two were indeed longtime friends.) The second: A Hispanic friend of my Hispanic boss got the job. (The woman applied after the job listing had been closed, but my boss made an exception after they both attended a university "Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association" meeting and my boss encouraged her friend to apply. The friendly, talkative new hire told me this while I was training her for the position I'd held for 3 months.)

Each position would have paid close to $40,000 per year, with full State benefits. After temping for years, I was desperate for such. And, as I said, I wept (not cried; "weeping" is much more from the gut) after being rejected. While I knew that friendship/race had indeed played a part in the two hirings, I also knew that I was not EXCELLENT at what I had been doing. While I liked and got along with most of the execs I was working with, I also found a lot of the smiling and posing pretty tedious. And when my immediate secretarial bosses asked for stupid things, I'm afraid that I did, indeed, roll my eyes, at least subconsciously. One example: My Hispanic boss at the second job weighed about 275 lbs and could barely walk up stairs. One day, she sent me upstairs to retrieve some office supply, which I did readily. Only, it wasn't the right supply (not my mistake, but rather, she'd asked for the wrong thing). So she sent me up again. And it STILL wasn't the right thing. Back up I go... When you're a secretary, you have to deal with this kind of low-level bullshit constantly.

After numerous temp rejections, I now have an editing job (paying much more than the losses that I wept for) that is intellectually stimulating, and with a boss who was a good teacher when I first started, and who now leaves me space to do my job, sans bullshit stuff like "You must leave for lunch exactly at 12:00 and return exactly at 1:00." (RE this: My latter above-mentioned secretarial boss once chastised me for leaving for lunch at 12:20 --- because I'd been finishing a project for HER boss, a professor. I'd stayed past 12 to get the job done; the professor appreciated it, but my secretarial boss could not grasp the concept of rearranging a schedule slightly in order to accomplish something.)

At any rate: I kicked ass today at work. My boss is out for this Thanksgiving week, and she left me in charge of incoming editorial assignments. I juggled things left and right, and got a thousand things done and a thousand things assigned, all with pretty good clarity. It felt GREAT. Almost like wrestling a poem to completion. I was completely in tune with what I was doing. I am SO grateful for this job. And I can't explain enough how having one part of your life in a rational place carries over into the rest of your psyche. Sometimes nowadays I actually wake up feeling GOOD and looking forward to what I'm going to be doing in the day ahead. I haven't felt like this for more than 5 years. I'd forgotten what it was like to be able to BREATHE and LIVE a little without feeling like shit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CAROL Trailer Deutsch German - Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara - Drama 2015...

Thank goodness for seeing Cate Blanchett touting her new movie on Jimmy Fallon last night. Until I saw her glimpse back in the fur coat, I'd almost forgotten I was a lesbian.

Lecture: Jonathan Bate on "Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life"

Something I'm looking forward to going to on Wednesday night! I just bought this book a couple of weeks ago, am about two-thirds of the way through. Just found out from my mom about the lecture tomorrow!

Lecture: Jonathan Bate on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life - UT Events Calendar

This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I want to be doing, but haven't been doing.

One thing in the back of mind about this: There's a guy that I work in the same area with, whom I often chit-chat with while we're waiting for the bus. He's @60, always (ALWAYS) touting what "Austin event" he's just participated in the weekend before. He still goes to SXSW, he still hangs out at clubs, he participates in City Meetings (his idea, for instance, of a solution for the rent problem in Austin is to build 12 x 12 apartments --- how affordable!). Just last week, he was going on about the usual bi-annual "studio tour" in East Austin (where he's never lived, where I lived for a decade), complete with 19-year-olds floating fluorescent inner-tubes in a local creek. Sigh.

I like the guy, and I don't want to be mean, but... Why in the world are you still, at 60, "into" completely generic things like SXSW and "East Austin Studio Tours"? These were once stimulating 20 years ago, but today, they're barren hold-overs of an IDEA of Austin. They're not "Austin" any more at all, just something to say you did in Austin.

Still, he makes me feel rather inferior with all of his goings-on. I want to run into him the Day After Ted and, when he asks me what I've been doing, say snootily, "Oh, I was at a discussion of the latest Ted Hughes biography at the Harry Ransom Center. And you? (you glib, shallow, desperately-trying-to-be-relevant motherfucker!)"

A post-script: I didn't feel like going all day (too much trouble, I feel tired), but at some point in the afternoon I told myself: "Just do the fucking thing just to DO IT. Just to NOT go home and get on your computer for once. Do something different." And so I talked myself into it. About 40 people there, mainly 60 and over. (I overheard one lady in a group of friends as I was walking in: "I see the same faces.") Also 2 gay guys concerned with "Ariel" and Hughes's re-ordering of the poems years ago.
The author, Jonathan Bate, read the most obvious quotes about Hughes from his book. I didn't learn anything new about either his work or the subject.
Overall, though, it was indeed good to go out and DO something, be in a different environment for a couple of hours.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Buying Christmas candles... if I'm going to be a Holiday Hostess, or something! :)  Ha!
I don't care if I'm single and live in a crummy apartment and will feel no Christmas Spirit from anyone... I personally enjoy the Christmas season and putting up a wreath and lighting the fucking Christmas candles! Dammit!

Working on a wall...

...behind my desk, of photos devoted to early emotional idols: Plath, Sexton, Crawford, Jessica Lange as Frances Farmer (and Farmer herself). As I've aged--say, past the age of 40--I've grown away from them. But, for instance, I just saw the below lobby card from "Frances," which flashed me back to EXACTLY what I was once so infuriated about and driven by -- in a good kind of way. It wasn't the "die" in Plath and Sexton, but rather, the utter emotional and intellectual honesty of all of these women (though it might have killed them).

Schengen comes home to roost…/Paris-attack-sees-150-dead-Eag…

Schengen Agreement, anyone? If the results weren't so horrifying, it would make me laugh, the multiple warnings that have gone out from Conservatives over the years re having open borders in the EU. France just got a taste of it. Germany, thanks to Merkel's inviting in over 100k Syrians, is about to.

p.s. Sweden (!) and, now, France have closed their borders; France for the first time since 1944. Things are truly serious now, huh? Imagine if you'd thought so a few years ago.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tarrytown, Austin, 2015

Here's what drives me nuts: I used to walk around with lines constantly coming into my head from the ether and could later turn them into a full-fledged poem. Now, though, every now and then something will come to me and I'll do something half-assedly clever with it... but not profound. I used to be able to see intellectual seeds through to germination; now...ha!

That said, here's a sad example of an idea I was really interested in: Back in June of this year, I'd spent the night with someone I once had a crush on back in the '80s, and was re-in-love-with via the Internet (with occasional meetings) since 2008 or so. Our "time together" went stupidly, despite what I felt ahead of time was a deep connection. Here's the haphazard poem that I was not able to flesh out to its full potential:

Her wrist rests on mine, just for a sec
Later I wash/wish her back

We hold hands briefly on a black listless street
where a judge will later be shot

A swish, a flick
of the wrist --
all gone.

OK: "Later I wash/wish her back" is fucking brilliant! :)  In the Olden Tymes I could have built something around that. Today, I am obviously creatively incapable of doing so! Aside from my time with my love interest back in June, I was also interested in the fact that a federal judge was just weeks ago shot in the same neighborhood where we were walking my friend's dog out in the dark. It's a rich neighborhood, but with hardly any streetlights. Conducive to grabbing hands for support in the dark, I suppose, but also, if you were so inclined, to hiding out and shooting someone when they pulled up in their driveway.

You see? There are billions of things going on here, but I was only able to distill "Later I wash/wish her back." I have lost the mental capacity for taking the idea further than that.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Prayers and personal ads...

...are answered only when a person draws himself, his own needs and prerogatives, so movingly that he conjures an "answering" presence where none existed. This is also what poems do, always leveraging old losses to reap the next harvest of fresh and unforeseen gains.

[-----Dan Chiasson in the 11/02/15 New Yorker (review of poets John Wieners and John Updike)]

And I suppose a blog could be used for the same purpose!