Monthly Archives: July 2010

Yoga Sessions

It’s three minutes to 4 and I’m in a basement on Main street, stretching.  For 11 days straight, I’m attending a 3-hour yoga class.  4am, I should add.  I’ll be upfront – I have time to sleep.  Some get a paycheck, writers get naps.

The course instructor is legit.  Less stereotype hippie, more qualified person. Mid-fifties dude, no dreadlocks, no ankle-bells; with the confidence he exudes, put this guy in office attire and you’d think he owned the place.

At roughly 4000 square feet, the room is huge, and there is plenty of space to move. We do a brief warm up, and really get going with a stretch.  Seated, legs in front, we lean over as if to touch our toes, and, without straining, hold the position.  For thirty minutes.

Picture that.

You remain seated, you remain leaning forward, your arms remain on your legs (scratch your nose if you must), you remain convinced it’s worth it as every muscle in your body fights your will power.

Lean back.  Roll over.  Tuck your knees in.  Go home.  Accept yourself as you are.  Get some sleep, I think.  Or, instead embark on something, well, beyond.

I chose beyond, hanging in for what seems like, honestly, only nine minutes.  Music (worthy stuff) helps the half-hour pass.

The goal is to focus on tensions, and work through them.  I peek through squinted sleep-ready eyelids to see others with their foreheads touching their shins and notice I’m lucky to have one hand pass my kneecap.

We hold another pose for 30 minutes.  For two days, it was the Lion.

With knees down as wide as possible, big toes touching and crossed, heels spread to form a seat, I ease my weight down, set my hands on the floor to balance.  Wrists turned out,  I flat-palm the ground beside my knees, thumbs tucked and resting beside my legs.  Curl my tongue back, open my eyes, look up between the eyebrows, with head held proud I breathe through my nose, and wait.

Thirty minutes.

With roughly two minutes remaining, we’re asked to stick our tongues out, and holler.  All that needs releasing, sounds of joy, grief, pain, calls to a loved one echo in the dawn hush.

A clock beeps, and we raise our wrists like Egyptian mummies, easing back onto floor mats.  Hard part over.

My wrists buzz like a bumblebee choir, one that grows louder as I spread my arms, softening to a hum as I lie still.  This, friends, is what people talk of when saying money can’t buy everything.

It’ll probably just end up on the side of the road anyway

She said, “This is all ours” and lay on the floor, spreading out her limbs to express her ownership. I lay on top of her, wanting to crawl inside of her, feeling her tremble almost undetectably the way she did before we made love. These are the things I remember at bus stops, in between bites of sandwiches, waiting for the cashier to press a button. We used to drink seasonal beer on the couch; we’d lie every which way, always inventing new comfort positions and teaching each other, getting tangled and giddy. Once she got carried away and spilled her beer on the sofa. She started crying, surprising both of us. Minutes later she was done, and we fell asleep that way. We woke up hours after the sun had set and the small yellow spot on the corner of the couch had dried.

Things I Did On My Sister’s Birthday

Woke up. Fell asleep. Woke up; left my bed.
Ate Golden Grahams—whole milk; beige ceramic
bowl (IKEA); stainless steel teaspoon, blue
hard plastic handle (IKEA)—; undressed.
Showered—Head & Shoulders; Irish Spring soap.
Dried off; blew nose—toilet paper—; applied
deodorant; cleaned my ears—Q-tips—; dressed.
Checked gmail; peed, washed my hands; brushed my teeth.
Checked facebook; checked twitter; read—webcomics.
Started a poem; checked gmail again.
Finished yesterday’s poem. Ate grilled cheese—
Kraft singles; Wonder bread; George Foreman grill—;
called my sister. Finished today’s poem.
Picked up In-N-Out. Ate. Read—comics. Slept.

Jabba’s Palace — San Diego, 2010

Her hair is French braids, not Cinnamon Buns
wrapped warmly around her small elfish ears,
and her snow white skin glistens, a new kind
of hope, exposed to the heat of two suns.

But soon I see beyond her bright breast,
whose curves are lined with serif’d gold,
and the flow of maroon, like a cape from
her waist, and I can’t help but notice the rest:

a belly with rolled yellow flesh that would seem
to be more at home on a Hutt, with bulges that
spill out from the top of her way too small boots.
You’re not the Slave Leia I saw in my dreams!

Hydraulics Warehouse, Lunchtime

Skilled hands turn Ivory bars
into leopard paws,

miss ring fingers
like wisdom teeth,
seven fingers work Wonder Bread
sandwich trumpet

gang sign oil print butterfly
turns shocking Picasso.

Leaving Elias’ House (2)

This is an extension of last week’s 500-ish words: Leaving Elias’ House.

“Mom, you ready to go?” She had moved on to thinking about how it had felt to kiss Elias when Daniel interrupted her. “Everything’s all packed.”

Maynard’s grandmother opened her eyes to two men who were unmistakably related to one another and to her late husband. She thought about those science book illustrations from grade school that showed the evolution of man, starting from a tadpole up through a monkey until the guy at the end is wearing a suit, as though the evolution of man ended on Wall Street.

“We were thinking of grabbing some food on our way there. You hungry?” Maynard asked.

She smiled at her grandson, “You’re a sweet boy,” she said.

“Thanks, grandma,” Maynard said. He looked worried the way all the men in her family eventually did.

“You hungry or not, Ma?” Daniel said.

“You’re not as sweet as Maynard,” she said and stood up. “And yes, I’m starved.”

Maynard climbed into the middle of the truck.

“No fast food,” his grandma said as she climbed in after him, sounding as though she were in the middle of a disagreement. “We’re going to sit down to a meal like a goddamned family.”

“We’re going to Goldens,” Daniel said.

The ride was silent.

Maynard thought about riding home with his father after dropping his grandma off at the home. He felt nervous the way he did before a date that he didn’t expect to go well, a mix of dread and inferiority.

Maynard’s father thought about the shelf in the truckbed. He wondered if he should have tied it down himself instead of getting Maynard to do it. He thought about having to go back to the empty house and clean. He stopped thinking about it when it felt like it might make him cry.
Maynard’s grandma thought about the night Daniel had found her flipping through old photos in the basement and crying.

“You can’t dig up old times,” he’d said. “It’ll only make you sad.”

He hadn’t meant it to be mean or tough, he had meant it out of genuine concern for an old woman whom he didn’t expect to live much longer. An old woman he thought should have happy days to tie up her life.

“You never look at them,” she’d said to him. “Your whole life you gather up pictures, but you don’t really look at them again. Not while you can still enjoy them anyway.”

She’d stopped talking, knowing she couldn’t tell him anything, he didn’t hear anything he hadn’t already said. She’d wanted him to leave, to go back upstairs and worry about her where she could cry in peace. Where she could talk to Elias out loud without feeling like a crazy person.

Daniel parked the truck near a window so he could watch the stuff while they ate. There wasn’t much of anything anybody’d want, but it made him
feel better to have something to do during dinner. Something to look at other than his mother off in the space she’d been occupying more than the present tense lately and his son’s face that was always asking him to knock sense into it.

They emptied out of the truck. Daniel noticed how Maynard didn’t lock the door behind him, confirming again something he already knew about his son. Daniel lagged behind, making a show of reopening the passenger side door, locking it, slamming it shut, then pulling on the handle to demonstrate the purpose of locking it. Maynard held the door open for his grandmother and her son.

“Thank you,” she said as though to a stranger.

The smell of the place reminded her of Elias: the butter from the corn, the salt from the fried chicken, the mayo from the coleslaw, all mixed in with the coffee and the ice cream machine that made you feel like you were inside a refrigerator. It actually smelled cold.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The War Wolf

Alexander the Great was born on a day
that was too powerful for most men.
It did Bruce Lee in, inflamed brain or poison;
it almost had Hitler, but missed, the bomb
going off inches from where it was planned;
Jerusalem lay under siege; Chartres, too,
later that century; Stirling Castle
fell after Edward One of England set
his War Wolf on its walls. The Battles of
Ankara and Peachtree Creek; rioting;
hijacked planes; IRA bombs; explosions
on boats; assassinations; major train wrecks.
I learn history from Wikipedia;
there’s no space for “This Day in Comic Books.”