Welcome To My Bed

New year, empire state of mind.

This post is nearly a week over-due, but I am still basking in the afterglow of all the wonderful that took place between December 31st and January 2nd. I was telling my friend Brian about it last night at the Cantab and he literally said, "I don't think I've been more jealous of anyone in my life. I am restraining myself from pushing you off your chair out of spite."

Anyway, let's get into it. New year, new decade, new everything--well, not exactly. I thought I was leaving the trial and tribulation of the 365 project behind with 2009, but I just don't know when to quit and have signed on for another year. We'll see if I can make it through this second round.

I rang in the shift of time with Sean and Sophia in Manhattan and Brooklyn, my first New York New Years ever, a criminal situation since the city and I have been loving neighbors to one another my entire life. It was time to break my former tradition of quiet evenings at home with Dick Clark and cheap champagne, so I made it a saucy evening in Clinton Hill at Roger Bonair-Agard's brownstone dancing the night away with the New York all-stars. One of my favorites moments of the night--Roger's mother joining us on the dance floor and looking like she was having the time of her life. Another that I'll never forget or be able to replicate--the midnight champagne toast turning into an "Empire State of Mind" sing-along where absolutely everybody knew the words and absolutely everybody was on their feet having the best possible time.

After the party, Sean, Sophia and I hopped on the subway back to Sophia's apartment and continued our festivities more quietly, sharing a hot pretzel, going for a late night walk in the park, letting our cases of the champagne sillies get the best of us. The next morning after homemade waffles, Sean hopped on the Holtz's grand piano and played an epic medley of his old standards. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to harmonize, being that we don't get our car-radio diva sessions nearly enough.

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After the private concert, we had a hearty diner meal and a healthy gossip session (as poets tend to do whenever there are several in one place). I could help but smile, no matter where the conversation turned. It's so seldom that we get to spend any substantial amount of time with Sean. New York isn't terribly far from Massachusetts, but it's far enough to keep our lives too separate for my taste.

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But with not even twenty-four hours-worth of reunion, Sean was Boston-bound to do some more visiting, so Sophia and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm January weather and went for a walk around her neighborhood, eventually stopping in at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, one of her favorite places, to do some talking and marvel at the architecture.

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When I have my first Christmas tree, whenever that may be, I want it to be a huge nest of paper cranes like this one. I was so taken by the sight of this one in the church--like a bunch of wishes floated down from wherever just to roost in the tree. I am getting all romantic about then for literally no reason, but I love them. They literally made my day.

Sophia's parents invited me to stay for my very first Shabbat dinner, and after a glass of wine and lots of laughs and stories of the most famous Israeli poet and his attendance at dinner parties, I made my way back to Brooklyn to drop in on Evan and James for a long overdue visit. Also, Theodore was there, adorable as always, and probably twice the size he was when I last saw him in September.

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The next morning, the subways back to Manhattan were all wacky with service interrupted on at least four different lines out of Brooklyn for track repairs, but I eventually made it back to New Jersey in one piece in time for a family dinner and some more champagne to finish out the week. If I'm not careful, I'm going to start getting used to the stuff.

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I have my fingers crossed that the sun will keep shining on me as brightly as it's been since the first. I am so grateful to have kicked off this very important year with good friends and a clear head. At lunch with one of my high school English teachers on New Year's Eve, I got a compliment I wouldn't have known how to take a year ago--that I am "empty and marvelous". I am going to keep that in mind from now on, that emptiness isn't negative, just a better state from which to accept all the lemons Life juggles and then drops into your lap when you least expect them. Empty, I can easily be a pitcher of lemonade with a little elbow grease.

Furry friend.

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Introducing Theodore T. Cat, AKA the kitten living in Clinton Hill with James and Evan. I am so jealous. I need something to distract me from doing my poetry theory readings that is warm and fuzzy and will fall asleep in my lap without thinking twice. Pets are pretty much the only creatures capable of genuine unconditional love, as humanity has proven time and again in the weeks I've been back in the wilds of Western Mass. But there have been more than a fair share of good times here at the Lady Poet house. Updates to follow, including (but not limited to) stories of my first attempt at beer pong in five years, a praise chorus for my Doc Martens, and lots of poetry business. I'm reading selections from Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook and I feel like my brain is melting out of my ear because of how dry and boring it is. Maybe I'm not cut out for this writing business?

Metro-area visitation, in pictures (Part Un).

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My brother Owen, the lounge lizard I miss terribly living so far from New Jersey. He is literally glowing with awesomeness.

In spite of not missing much else besides family, I had a surprisingly good visit this week when I trekked home for my sister's graduation. The main event was tedious, as graduations typically are, but the rest of things were wonderful. There's not much to write by way of description of events, so I'm going to let the cell phone pictures do the talking.

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I missed this room, and the lady it belongs (Galen, member of the Rohrs' posse from way back in the day) was having a birthday, so naturally, we had to celebrate. For us, celebration meant driving into Brooklyn after midnight to do some Bedford bar hopping.

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The array at our first stop, The Gibson, where we did tequila shots with lemon wedges (which I actually liked better than the traditional lime), had beer adventures, were chatted up by strange men twice our age, did whiskey shots with said strange men. I performed a few poems on the sidewalk out front for Galen's friend Jesse who was drunk before we'd even gotten started on our journey. He told me that my writing was very violent, and though I'd never thought of it that way before, I now feel inclined to agree with him.

The bartender was adorable and hysterical and I feel awful because in the whirlwind of hysterics and storytelling, I forgot to leave him a tip. Ugh. In a happier (or perhaps stranger) vein, there was a three legged dog present, which made everything more special. We then moved on to the Abbey, where we were pleasantly surprised by $3 IPAs and the perfect atmosphere. SLZ and I had many an illuminating conversation over our beers.

By the time we started heading home, the sun was coming up over the FDR drive and the early bird morning commuters were speeding along on the other side. I can't remember the last time I was out so late. As a result of a combination need to pee and a desire to absorb the night from a pretty vantage point, we pulled off 9W for a pit stop at one of the many scenic overlooks.

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SLZ, Galen, and Jeff checking out Yonkers from the wall


I'm not sure if I've ever been drunk upon the sun coming up, but I couldn't help thinking that it would be impossible to wake up later that afternoon with a hangover if my "night" ended like this:

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Right now, I leave you with the view, and will return with (Part Deux) later today.

Preventative technology.

There's plenty to talk about- the show on Tuesday went swimmingly, New Jersey is much better than I expected, bar hopping in Brooklyn is now part of my repertoire, etc. But I didn't bring home my laptop, and the computer I'm on now is barely functional, so there's no way I can trust it to allow me the huge update I need to make (which includes a litany of cell phone pictures from the BK adventures). I can't wait to share everything that's been happening these past few crazy days. But in lieu of making an attempt at the moment, I am going to give you more Kaki King:



And there will be a real update as soon as I'm back in the 401 with proper internet capabilities and the comfort of my futon. The Peter Pan bus tomorrow should be mind numbing, but I'm hoping to get some good poems out of it.

Best reunion ever.

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I'm not sure if I remembered to mention this or not, but my very best friend in the whole world is coming to visit me in dismal snowy Western Mass next weekend, and I could not be more excited. She'll be here with a purpose, naturally. James cast her in his Div III and thus she must spend all of Saturday acting (10 AM- 7 PM, we get real serious about movies sometimes), but she is all mine on Friday and whatever time on Sunday she stays for. I envision breakfast at the diner. We will make fun of the food because, being from New Jersey, we have the best diners in the world. We will have quite a bit of fun at that hi-lighter party I mentioned the other day. And I will not have to be so homesick (a near-constant state for me) for a few days. The respite is more than just welcome. I am in dire need of some Jersey love. I don't care what anybody says, I love that place more than any other.

On Thursday night Maggie will be on her way from Brooklyn, and thank god.

Recession is NOT the new chic.

I am so tired of the word recessionista. It's not a real word. It makes me want to stab my eyes out with the pick end of my comb.

While sorting the newspapers this morning, I noticed that the Boston Globe ran a fun little article in their lifestyle section about how saving money has now become cool, something to brag about even. I am insulted by this, endlessly insulted. Suddenly everyone who used to be shopping at Barney's is buying their Armani suits on consignment. Big fucking deal. Speaking as someone who has never been able to afford Armani (Exchange or otherwise), I don't understand why the formerly wealthy need to publicly declare a curb in their spending habits in order to be okay with them. And don't even get me started on the way the fashion world is handling the economic slump. I have had it up to here with articles like "50 ways to be a recessionista" or "Tips from a Recessionista: 5 ways to be cheaply chic", which imply that women cannot survive without money and will have to do their best to fake it until they get some cash again. I think I have it on pretty good authority that none of these people would ever go digging through this:

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looking for a bargain. These are the people who think that Beacon's Closet is a bargain bonanza, but I'm pretty sure that selling people's used clothing at the retail prices of the average mall storefront is highway robbery and should not be tolerated.

It's people like this that make me ashamed of myself; they make me self-conscious by drawing attention to themselves. I haven't bought a new piece of clothing in six months, probably even more than that. And here they are, unable to live without famous names on the insides of their t-shirts. Buy gift cards off eBay? I think they should probably save their money until they have enough to buy their souls back from the consignment store.

Read me!

A little something that James brought to my attention:

There are so many people on campus up in arms about the call for the death of hipster culture. But I have to say I am totally down. I really wish people would be sincere again. Irony is so frustrating. I miss when I could say that I enjoy Phil Collins without someone smirking in agreement because they think I'm saying it in a mocking way. Cos I really do like Phil Collins. I have ever since I can remember. There is no irony in it.

Down with Williamsburg!

Also, fuck PBR. What an awful beer.

Fall Essentials

red zelnik


It hasn't been time for a list in awhile. But now is definitely the time. The leaves are starting to change. It is below forty degrees outside. I am sitting at the reference desk in the library waiting for someone to ask me about something. They won't. So let's enumerate the things I deem integral to the passage of the coming months.

1 - Movies that feel like fall.

2 - Ryan Adams' Love is Hell on vinyl.

It is impossible to find. There are only rumblings of it on the internets at large. I am very distraught. I want this album, I need this album. With the highest quality sound available. I ran my mp3's of it into the ground this summer, which is not even possible. But if it was, it would've happened.

3 - Dawson's Creek.

I don't care what anyone says. My sister just sent me season four for my birthday, and I could not be more excited to watch twenty-somethings pretend they are in high school. Yessss.

4 - Mountain climbs.

5 - NYC.

I miss Maggie, and she is all the way in Brooklyn. Plus New York in the fall is my favorite, hands down. Yes, I know I live in New England and we supposedly have the best foliage ever. But to me, there's nothing like a brisk walk down Bowery when it gets frosty out. Or a sidewalk table at Virage for french sandwiches and delicious conversation.

6 - 40s of Miller High Life.

Champagne of beers. Duh.

7 - Spliffs.

8 - Writing as much as humanly possible.

9 - That burger with apple chutney at Amherst Brewing Company.

10 - Photoquests when the leaves start changing.

11 - Bicycling at night.

The wind toothing its way through even my heaviest jacket does not deter me from loving every second of the ride to and from James's house.

12 - Sex. Obviously.

13 - Reading more than my brain can handle.

14 - Tins of Bali Shag.

15 - Free piercing at Lucky's for my birthday.

16 - New tattoo.

Depending on the money situation, this one may or may not make the cut. But I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am trying to be diabolical and am hoping to save the fifty dollars my grandparents gave me for my birthday to go towards one. Because I know how against it they are. And they never have to know what their money was spent on. But I'll know. And I'll smile about it all the time.

17 - Strong coffee, chai tea.

18 - Sending and receiving snail mail.

19 - Hampshire Halloween!!

20 - Making awful choices about the things I put into my body.

Save for the multi-vitamin and fish oil I take on a daily basis, the semester so far has been nothing but bad times for my body. Ramen, various illegal substances, among other things. But mostly I just haven't been eating very much at all. The reason this is an essential, is that the food in the dining hall here is nigh inedible. Being on the full meal plan without a kitchen at my disposal is situation very different from what I got used to last semester. That is to say, deciding when I ate and what I ate. Which made me want to eat. The dining hall is a fate worse than death. So I will stick to my Trader Joe's microwaveable noodle boxes and sesame crackers in the middle of the night. I am sure I can survive the winter this way. Absolutely sure.

Under table, also dreaming.

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Listening to music that I love by people that are all too hate-able right now is an activity more draining than it deserves to be.

Last night degenerated big time. I fell asleep very drunk in a bed I haven't slept in since over a month ago. I feel like I could've ended up blindsided by a kiss if I wasn't as careful as I managed to be. Even when I am a lush, I am a conscientious lush. Thankfully, never have I been an angry drunk. Things could have gotten ugly otherwise. At any rate. I am going to miss that backyard gazebo, giggling until all hours, the cats enjoying the smell of my shoes, fast food on the way to bigger and better and out of state. Brooklyn this afternoon was culture shock, and I felt like crying but held it back in an attempt to be a comfort instead of a burden. Maggie and I took a Polaroid together and (as far as I know), it's the only picture on her temporary dorm room wall.

Tomorrow morning is another attempt at a yard sale, hopefully at least slightly more successful than the last one. But I won't hold my breath.

Right now, I am floating. My feet are sore from all the running around I've been doing. All the everywhere I've been. I'd pass out right now if I wasn't so wired from doing absolutely nothing. Work makes me crazy. Dive bars are not ideal places for the barely legal. Not that I can really claim that title anymore, being that my birthday is on the inside of a month from now. A marine on his way to boot camp wants to take me out this week. We'll see if I have time for any of this. So many people to see, so many things to get done. So many extra shifts that have been thrust upon me by well-meaning co-workers. It's not that I can't use the money. I just feel a little overwhelmed at the moment. Maybe more than a little.