Monthly Archives: August 2010

What She’s Done, What She’s Left to Do

When she was much younger, Dana wanted to be an actress. Rather, she wanted to be famous first, an actress second. She’d wanted to be known around town as something other than the girl who used up all the machines at the laundromat with her little brothers’ Spiderman underwear and her grandpa’s pants soiled with God-knows-what. Something other than the movie theater girl whose fingers always felt slightly greasy no matter how many times she washed, who often had popcorn in her hair from snacking while the movies played. She shook those connotations for the first time when she married Conor Philips, the UGA grad who started teaching at the high school the year she graduated. They married in the summer after she walked across the field in a purple gown with gold tassels. Everyone knew what that meant – that a student and a teacher had been romantic while one was a student and one was a teacher – but to admit that that happened between people with a forgivable age gap would be admitting it happened between others, and those were cans that remained closed unless pried open.

The second time she shook those connotations was almost a year later when she baked her first-born in the backseat of her Honda Civic parked in front of the Winn Dixie. She’d forgotten he was back there, the way she sometimes forgot to cut her nails before leaving the house or forgot the milk at the grocery store that she’d specifically gone to get. She’d forgotten the milk that particular day, not remembering until she’d made it to the threshold of the store, where the blasting air conditioner met the hot air from outside creating a palpable barrier, like the place that feels like a moment where a rainstorm begins and ends. She’d turned back around, muttering some obscenity and rolling her eyes at herself as the cashier who’d just rung her up swiped the perspiring gallon across the sticky checkout counter.

Later, in the parking lot, sitting indian style on the hot asphalt amidst the sharp sounds of the ambulances and the cops shouting – what had they shouted at her? – she didn’t allow herself to calculate the time she’d spent backtracking to the refrigerated aisle for the milk, the seconds spent deciding between the 2% milk her husband preferred and the fat free which she felt she needed after having Ben, God rest his soul. The time – the critical minutes, the doctors said – that she could’ve reversed the damage the sun had done. She tried not to picture the blisters, the open mouth, the sweat that at first she thought were tears. Of all of the horrible things she’d feared would befall her son, she’d never seen this one coming. This was not a broken heart, a college rejection letter, a broken limb.

Conor came from school; his hair was mussed and he was crying. She had not called him, had not been the one to accuse herself to him, and she was surprised to see his red Ford pull into the parking lot. She watched as the cops tried to turn him around, realizing too late that he was the father, that he was allowed to witness the rolling away of his son. They waved him through, and even in his hurry he pulled the truck perfectly into a spot. He didn’t see Dana at first and she sat watching him. Since that first day when she realized the crush she’d developed on her younger brother’s English teacher was reciprocated, she had always seen Conor as someone older, someone in charge of her, as though she’d simply passed between babysitters. With the overlap, she’d never felt the lull between finishing school and starting everything else. That afternoon was the first time she felt the significant emptiness of something ending. She watched Conor punch the side of her car. She saw in his face that this was not something he was prepared to overcome; they would not band together. She picked at the edge of her tennis shoe and knew her husband would leave her.

Her trial fell a week after Conor packed up a suitcase and headed to Memphis to his parents’ house. He couldn’t drive around on those streets anymore he’d said. She had pretended to understand, pretended that the world was not tilted slightly since what happened, that she couldn’t look at things straight anymore for fear she’d lose her balance. She was in a constant state of motion sickness.

The night he left, she walked into her parents’ bedroom – the judge had ordered her under house arrest with constant supervision until the trial. She stood in their doorway, a familiar stance she’d taken many times as a child. Her father was asleep; her mother, still up, was reading an old Reader’s Digest and moved over to make room for Dana to lay. Her mother held her and did not say anything. All she’d had to do was keep her son alive and now all she had left to do were so many other things that were easier.

Family Visiting Haiku!

Sorry, folks: no new
poem today; my sister
and cousin are here!

Claremont/Loeb: Red Reign X (part 1)

Part 1 in a 4 part limited series.

Meanwhile, famed X-Men scribe Chris Claremont found refuge in the Holodeck Training Room of the mysterious alien space craft. Yes! This will be an excellent position from which to prepare my counterstrike against HULK writer and newly announced Marvel Executive Vice-President of Television Jeph Loeb, the mad cretin against whom I most battle in order to satisfy my lust for vengeance! Chris Claremont furrowed his British brow as he contemplated his next move. I contemplate my next move, he thought as a subtle wind from a recently opened door nearby rustles through his bold, white, British beard, returning his focus to the present. What was that? A subtle wind, rustling through my bold, white, British beard! It must be from a nearby door that was only just opened! That can only mean one thing — Jeph Loeb has found me! But how could he find me so quickly when I am hiding out in the Holodeck Training Room of the mysterious alien space craft?

No sooner was Chris Claremont struck by this thought that he was attacked by a Type 3 Subsonic Plasma Blast. The explosion hurled his fat British body into a wall nearly 30 feet behind him, the force of which dented the metal and sent mysterious alien rubble crashing down around him. He soon found himself buried up to his waist in debris. The force of the blast knocked me into the wall nearly 30 feet behind me! It must have been at least a Type 3 Subsonic Plasma Blast! But who is capable of wielding such power?

At that moment, Chris Claremont’s angry British eyes — until now hidden by his furrowed British brow — collided with the eyes of his attacker. “Of course!” he cried. “Who else could it be but —”

“It is I! Jeph Loeb!” the attacked belched with a smarmy grin. The lights of the mysterious alien Holodeck refracted off of Jeph Loeb’s shiny forehead, as revealed by his receding hairline, and his LA TV executive sunglasses absorbed the energy in order to convert it into Type 3 Subsonic Plasma Blasts for his next attack.

“Tell me, Chris Claremont,” said Loeb. “Have you read HULK #24 yet, the latest chapter in my Red Hulk epic, a modern classic?” Chris Claremont spit daintily at the foot of his aggressor, as his proper British upbringing prevented him from engaging in any less polite or more combat-appropriate etiquette.

“Ha!,” replied Claremont. “Do you truly believe that a master of the form such as I would have the time to read such filth?”

“Perhaps if you stopped relying on such lengthy exposition, you would find the time! You should try phoning it in like me, rather than relying on convoluted storytelling like you always do! Then you will become a true master of the comic book from.”

“Only a master of evil, Jeph,” responded Claremont as he reached for his laser sword.

“Chris Claremont — there is something you must know. You are actually the gender-swapped alternate reality cyborg clone of the Red Christine Claremont from Earth-418, who is a writer on the HEROES remake in the 33rd century!”

Chris Claremont’s body went prostrate from the shock of this revelation, causing him to drop his laser sword, his last line of defense. “No!…that’s…that’s impossible!”

“Search your feelings, Chris. You know it to be true! Joe Quesada uncovered the truth when he got drunk with Stan Lee at Comic-Con last month. But he didn’t tell you, because he hates you and only keeps you around out of pity!”

This revelation filled Chris Claremont with a rage that his otherwise well-mannered British self had never encountered. A tingling sensation began to flow through his veins, like feet regaining feeling after falling asleep, and his skin turned a shade of blue-ish grey. Loeb was terrified, frozen in fear — he knew what this meant, of course, and it was as unexpected as it was inevitable.

“Loeb,” said Claremont as his body stretched and grew. “It’s %&*#in’ break !@$# time!”

To be continued!

How I Would Rescue Anne Boleyn From Her Execution (Assuming I Had A Time Machine):

  • Dressed as one of her weeping ladies-in-waiting, I accompany Anne as she leaves her lodgings in the Tower.  I thrust her hand under the nose of one of the guards and ask, “Does that look like a sixth finger to you?”  As he leans forward to investigate, I knee him in the gonads.  We take off in the ensuing scramble.
  • Just as the swordsman is about to lower the blade, I pop out from under a black robe and yell, “Holy shit!  Look — it’s Martin Luther!”  Then I grab her and run.
  • Using a chamber pot, I singlehandedly dig a tunnel underneath the Tower until I reach her lodgings.  She is surprised and amazed.  I tell her I’m bringing her into the future, and she won’t be needing quite so many clothes.  On the way through the tunnel, I give her a crash course in the events of the past 474 years, pointedly avoiding any mention of the Spice Girls.
  • I decide to bypass any ruse altogether and just land the goddamn thing right there on the goddamn scaffolding.  As I grab Anne – blindfolded and whimpering – I chastise the crowd for believing a fat fatty like Henry VIII.  Then I shove her into the time machine and we soar over the Thames.

In Dreams

In dreams
I love you
till the sun turns black

till minute hands
give up,
fall loose and slack

till the timbers
in your voice
have long stopped to crack

to the edge
of the sea
when full sails tack

turn back,
anchor sterns,
beach bows,

till my feet
touch sand
and lips speak vows,

and praise the ground
each night in turns
you attract and arouse

until the day
allows
this track

I wake
and wait
till my heart comes back

Macaroni is a Southern Vegetable

I’m in the A for the week visiting the fam; soaking up sweet tea, my dad’s lame jokes, wind from four wheeler rides, and Chickfila. Working on writing the Southern dialect and designing a tattoo of a Mason jar. See you next week, y’all.

Ramona v. Flowers: A Play in Verse

Judge Wells: Andy Griffith will make arguments for
the prosecution, and Clarence Darrow
will speak for the defense. Ramona claims
that Flowers is more popular than she,
though she cannot understand why. Is that
correct, Ramona?

Ramona: It is, your honor.

J: And Flowers counterclaims that Ramona
is a crazy bitch.

Flowers: That’s right, your honor.

J: Let’s see, now. Ramona, it seems you were
a popular novel back in the late
1800s, and no less than four films—

R: And a telenovela.

J: Yes, have been
made from your life, including one by famed
director D.W. Griffiths, of
The Birth of a Nation renown. Also,
there seems to be a pageant held in your
name in California every
year, a song by The Ramones, a couple
towns, and a series of children’s books by
author Beverly Cleary.

R: Yes, sir. Though
you left out a cargo ship from Tintin,
a computer program, and a Guster
song.

J: Oh, well how could I have missed all that?

R: I don’t know, sir.

J: Please shut up, Ramona.
Now, Flowers: you are the reproductive
structure found in many plants; the blossom
of said plants; an ornament; adornment;
the best or finest member or part of
a number, body, or whole; sometimes a
verb; maybe a vagina or slang term
for virginity; generally a
word connoting beauty in all its forms,
pick your definition.

F: That is correct.
Everyone with half a brain can see
that I’m fairly important to the world,
naturally, aesthetically, and
sexually.

J: Noted. But Ramona
says she should be more important than you?

F: She does, but she is admittedly a
Ramona fundamentalist, so she
doesn’t care much for trivial things like
logic, reason, evidence—

R: Objection!

J: Sustained. Stick to the facts, please, Miss Flowers.

F: Ramona is dumb and doesn’t make sense.

J: That’s fair. Rebuttal?

R: Flowers smell like crap.

J: I need some time to deliberate now.
Okay, that’s quite enough, I think. Flowers?

F: Yes, your honor?

J: Ramona is much more
important than you, and so should be more
popular as well, despite the fact that
no one can explain why this is, and that
her own books make her out to be quite an
annoying little shit.

F: The racism?

J: That argument is rejected on the
grounds that Griffiths played such a major role
in the evolution of cinema
around the world. His films should be screened for
arts students despite their blatant support
of racism, lynching, the Ku Klux Klan—

R: That was really just the one time, honest.
He tried to make up for it after that.

F: So did the Nazis…

J: As I was saying:
Ramona is more popular. The end.

F: Clearly I am going to appeal this
backwards ass ruling. People need to know!
We have a responsibility to
our children!

R: All our children need to know
is that I am the greatest thing ever.
Glory to Ramona in the highest!