Monthly Archives: June 2011

Damn, We’ve Got It Good

When it was
My turn

To complain,
The jukebox songs
I wanted play,

Turn to

The rain,

I had numbered
Lists, now

If I knew origami,
They’d fly away
As cranes.

Haiku Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, part 2

Harry is seriously so annoying in this book.

<em>Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 20: Hagrid’s Tale

What I Did On My
Summer Vacation, Hagrid
Edition: Giants

Chapter 21: The Eye of the Snake

Prof. Umbridge audits
Hagrid’s class. Harry kisses
Cho and bites Ron’s dad.

Chapter 22: St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

Weasleys and Harry
head to hospital, visit
snake-bitten Arthur.

Harry overhears
adult conversation: he’s
possessed by Voldy!

Chapter 23: Christmas on the Closed Ward

Harry is angsty
until Ginny sets him straight.
Hermy ditches ‘rents.

Back at hospital,
Harry and co meet Neville’s
gran and addled mom.

Chapter 24: Occlumency

Snape and Harry start
anti-mind-reading lessons
(Dumbledore’s orders).

Chapter 25: The Beetle at Bay

Death Eaters escape
from Azkaban. Harry and
Cho go on bad date.

Hermione has
Rita Skeeter write Harry’s
story for Quibbler.

Chapter 26: Seen and Unforseen

Tabloid star Harry
sucks at Occlumency and
sees Voldy’s bedroom.

Meanwhile, Umbridge sacks
Divination prof. Sibyl;
Dumbledore hires horse.

Chapter 27: The Centaur and the Sneak

Centaur Firenze—new
Divination professor—
says war is coming.

Cho’s friend snitches so
D.A. disbands. Dumbledore
evades Fudge, arrest.

Chapter 28: Snape’s Worst Memory

With Dumbledore gone,
the twins take their mayhem to
a whole new level.

Then, Harry sneaks peek
at Snape’s worst memory: picked
on by Harry’s dad!

Chapter 29: Career Advice

Despite Umbridge’s
protests, Prof. McG vows to
help Harry find job.

Harry talks through fire.
Twins build portable swamp, fly
off into sunset.

Chapter 30: Grawp

Hagrid’s bro-giant
is hidden in the forest.
Weasley is our King.

Chapter 31: O. W. L. S.

Fifth years take tests. Fang,
McG knocked out. Hagrid sacked.
Sirius tortured?

Chapter 32: Out of the Fire

Harry’s annoying;
he won’t listen to reason
about Sirius.

Rescue plan devised
but thwarted by Umbridge,
who Hermy then deceives.

Chapter 33: Fight and Flight

Umbridge abducted
by centaurs. Then Grawp rescues
Hermy and Harry.

Ginny, Neville, Ron,
and Luna duel Slytherins;
all mount bat-horses.

Chapter 34: The Department of Mysteries

Flight to Ministry:
Harry and friends search for Black,
find only weird rooms.

Chapter 35: Beyond the Veil

Harry finds glass orb;
Death Eaters arrive, chase kids,
try to steal the orb.

The Order joins in.
Dumbledore to the rescue!
Black killed by cousin 😥

Chapter 36: The Only One He Ever Feared

Dumbledore! Voldy!
Duel of the Century! With
help from some statues!

Defeated, Voldy
retreats. Fudge finally sees
Dumbledore was right.

Chapter 37: The Lost Prophecy

Harry learns truth ’bout
Voldy: neither can live while
the other survives.

Chapter 38: The Second War Begins

The Wizarding World
now knows Voldemort is back.
Dark times lie ahead.

Harry heads back home.
The Order inform the Dursleys
they better be nice.

I guess Hogwarts needs
a new Defense Against the
Dark Arts professor…

My First Bar Friend

Sometimes I see him on the street, and our eyes will meet briefly before darting away, the way you look at that girl you hooked up with that one time and it was totally weird and you never talked to her again. “Do I say something? Do I wave?” you wonder. “Does he even remember me? Does he know my name?”

I think of all times we spent on barstools at the local pub. He was always there when I was, and one day, we just struck up a conversation. I think he asked about the book that was I reading, then he bought me a round, and we started talking about girls and bands and everything else that guys talk about once they’ve had a couple beers. It’s not all that unusual, at a bar like that. His name was Paul, and at the time, he had just recently moved to the neighborhood. A former Navy SEAL, he was going back to UMass Boston to finish his degree in Anthropology. Said he was part of the team that took down those Somali pirates. I told him I was impressed with the shot they made over alternating waves; he said the shot was easy, anyone could have done it, and he was a little irked that he was on the shift before the one got the shot, because those guys got all the glory.

I don’t know why I remember that. I don’t even know if he was telling me the truth. I’m not even sure what I might have told him about myself, or what he remembers of it. Other times, we’d both be at the bar with our friends. We’d shout “Hey!” and high five, introduced our friends to one another in hopes of triggering the other one to remind of his name: “Hey, this is my buddy Chris” “How’s it goin’, I’m Paul” and so on. We’d get excited every time the blonde behind the bar would put on London Calling — as if it was such a rare coincidence that we both liked The Clash — then we’d turn and watch the Sox game in silence, only turning to each other to say obligatory things like, “Youk was in a funk, but man, he’s got it back,” or “Beckett’s gotta sit for a few more games, they should pull him out and get Papelbon back out there,” and of course, “Let’s go, Papi!” If the game went well, then he might buy a round of PBRs for my friends as well as his. We’d shoot the shit some more, then say good night like we’d been bros for the longest time.

I don’t even think we’re Facebook friends.

But in those hazy, drunken moments in the low, musty lighting of the bar, you’d swear we were the best of friends, and at the time, perhaps we were. So when I see him now, I can’t help but feel some strange sense of camaraderie, fueled by nostalgia for nights that I hardly can remember.

The Napkin

I salt my napkin. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. My husband is used to this, and after years of marriage, after years of going out to eat, he now does it as well. It’s simple: Your drink arrives with a little cocktail napkin. You thank your server, and then you reach for the salt shaker, pick up your drink,
and shakeshake a little salt on your napkin, and for the rest of the evening, your drink won’t stick to that napkin. But when I am with people who don’t make it a habit to dine with me, it’s as if I’ve performed some kind of obscure pagan ritual, something so completely foreign it’s as if they are looking at me with new eyes, like, ohmyjesusgod what else does she do – paint herself with chicken blood? And I say, I do it so my drink won’t stick to my napkin, and there’s this moment of stunned silence. And then – gratitude. Because I’ve given them something. They reach for the shaker, they salt their napkins, and then they pick up and put down their drinks over and over again, thrilled, much like babies who’ve figured out how to transport Cheerios from their chubby fists into their mouths. Every time. I tell them that I learned this from my grandfather. And I realize this is what it means to be immortal.

I raise my glass to Big Neil, and the napkin stays on the table.

The Travel Hangover

You’re toast
You can’t
Go back to bread

You’re checked out
You can’t go back to bed’

I was in
An Inn in Louisiana,

Bus stop

We’re all waiting for the bus: The girl who wears rubber boots through the whole winter, the guy who works at the Ruby Tuesday’s, the eight-year-old kid who takes the bus to his school five blocks up. Each morning a group of us, give or take a few, come out here and hover around the bench that ices over in the winter, burns through fabric in the summer. It is useless for any purpose other than hovering.

The guy with the stubble and the red Columbia jacket is late today. He’s always running late, his eyes droopy and his hair a mess that he covers with a hat when he catches his reflection in the window of the Indian restaurant behind us. He and his fiancee have usually been going at it until two or three in the morning, and not in the good way. Not in the way you’d expect a handsome couple such as them to be going at it. I only know this because he’s been getting more frantic, and once I heard him on the phone with who I gathered was his sister. I thought, How sweet, that he was on the phone with his sister. I imagine she lives in the Midwest and stirs pots of boiling soup while her baby brother tells her about the falling apart of his engagement. I imagine picking up those pieces for him. I’d love to meet that sister some day, to have her tell me that she’s so glad I came along when I did. That her brother was going through rough times and she’s never seen him so happy.

I’m listening to a song about a girl telling someone she loves that he should probably start writing love letters to someone else. She’s giving him permission and it sounds sweet, but there’s also a bit of accusation in it, like she expects this is what he wants and she’s blaming him for it. Even though she’s the one telling him to move on, telling him she can’t be in this relationship.

The bus is a block away from us; I’m bummed Stubbly Columbia won’t make it today. I love watching the back of his head rock with the bus, the music in my ear like a soundtrack. Then there he is, rounding the corner with a coffee cup in his hand. He’s running so fast that the coffee’s spilling on his ungloved hand, and I wince, wondering how hot it must feel.

You getting on? the bus driver says.

I step onto the bus in answer. Wait, that guy’s coming, too.

What guy? The driver goes to close the door, but Stubble is so close, so droopy-eyed and covered in hot coffee that I can’t let him just miss the bus. Not today. He was probably up all night, and the stress of being late to work on top of falling out of love with a woman you once thought you’d marry, it’s just too much.

Wait! I know I shouldn’t do it, but I grab the driver’s hand on that lever and I squeeze tight.

Hey, lady! What are you doing? He yells other things, and I’m yelling things and we’re in this dance until Stubble climbs in behind me.

He’s out of breath and trying to shake the coffee off of his arm, so it takes him a moment to realize what he’s walked into.

Get off this bus, right now! The driver has my hand gripped in his in what could be mistaken for a moment of passion, out of context. I retrieve my hand from his, straighten my skirt against my shaking legs. Stubble has stepped into the bus behind me and I step off, back onto the sidewalk. The adrenaline is still in my blood, and the wisps of a migraine stir in the top of my skull.

Haiku Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, part 1

Book 5!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Chapter 1: Dudley Demented

Dudley’s soul almost
face-sucked out. Mrs. Figg knows
Harry’s a wizard?!?

Chapter 2: A Peck of Owls

Harry gets expelled;
his aunt explains dementors;
Dudley voms on porch.

Plus foreshadowing,
yelling, a bit of intrigue,
and so many owls.

Chapter 3: The Advance Guard

Hodgepodge wizard pack
lies to Harry’s guardians
and fly him away.

Moody, Lupin, Tonks,
Shacklebolt; how does Rowling
come up with these names?

Chapter 4: Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

Who’s a little prat?
Harry is. He’s finally
with friends and flips out.

Chapter 5: The Order of the Phoenix

Sirius explains
the Order, updates Harry
on Voldemort news.

Chapter 6: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

Summer spring cleaning:
Grimmauld Place dolled up; house-elf
Kreacher hates Hermy.

Younger brother Black
is dead Death Eater. Blacks and
Malfoys: related!

Chapter 7: The Ministry of Magic

Apparently it’s
Take Your Youngest Son’s Best Friend
Harry To Work Day.

Chapter 8: The Hearing

Cornelius Fudge:
pretty much the wizarding
world’s own Judge Judy.

Dumbledore and Figg
to the rescue! Harry is
saved from expulsion.

Chapter 9: The Woes of Mrs. Weasley

Ron, Hermy: prefects!
Mommy Molly Weasley’s fear:
her family dead.

Chapter 10: Luna Lovegood

Only Harry and
Loony Luna Lovegood can
see weird bat-horses.

Chapter 11: The Sorting Hat’s New Song

Who is this Umbridge
joker, and why is Seamus
suddenly a tool?

Chapter 12: Professor Umbridge

Umbridge is a bitch.
She gives Harry detention
for telling the truth.

Chapter 13: Detention With Dolores

Harry gets “I must not
tell lies” tattooed on his hand
during detention.

Chapter 14: Percy and Padfoot

Sirius speaks through
fireplace. Percy sends Ron mail,
condemns Dumbledore.

Chapter 15: The Hogwarts High Inquisitor

Ministry passes
stricter school laws. Umbridge starts
reviewing the profs.

People seem perturbed
by Umbridge’s promotion;
Hermy has a plan…

Chapter 16: In the Hog’s Head

Hermy convinces
Harry to head up secret
dark arts defense club.

Less than legal club
formed in dingy side street pub?
Nothing could go wrong!

Chapter 17: Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four

All Hogwarts clubs banned,
including those recently
started up in bars.

Sirius attempts
firespeaking with Harry, has
near miss with Umbridge.

Chapter 18: Dumbledore’s Army

Start with the basics:
Harry teaches Dumbledore’s
Army to disarm.

Chapter 19: The Lion and the Serpent

Harry and the twins
are banned from Quidditch for life
post-punching Malfoy.

Make sure you come back
next week when we finally
learn where Hagrid’s been!