Welcome To My Bed

The mouth fills with string.

1. I have a toothache, a condition that implies an abscess that must be drained (ew), a wisdom tooth that needs pulling (ow!), or a possible future root canal (ugh...). None of these options is desirable, and nothing I've tried as a pain remedy has helped. I've done several suggested home techniques (dissolving a baby aspirin over the tooth, holding a mouthful of whiskey in the cheek of the affected side, biting down on a hot Tetley tea bag, using mouthwash, etc.) but they're not as effective as I need them to be. I doubt I'm going to sleep very well, if I can ever get to bed. I just drove to the 24 hour CVS in Chicopee to buy Orajel as a last resort, and even the maximum strength stuff has only slightly dulled the throbbing. And when is my dentist appointment? Sometime after December 17th, when I'm next in Jersey for an extended period, and then at the end of December, my dental insurance goes poof! Hopefully, this swollen, painful situation is resolved by then. I would scream very loudly, in hopes that making a loud noise would distract me from the pain, but Cass fell asleep hours ago, so for now I will just mime screaming, and you will get the idea.

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2. While in Jersey, I went to Loser Slam for the first time. Any other time I've spent in Long Branch up to this point has been in service of a family reunion. I much prefer being there for poetry, even if poetry in Long Branch is not at the beach. I ended up winning the slam, much to my surprise. Read about that, and other poetry exploits of mine, here.

3. My G-ma went on a tirade this afternoon while I was hanging out with my family in our kitchen about my nose ring. She asked me if the money it took to pay for the piercing couldn't have been better spent feeding a starving child somewhere. Chrissie (who also has her nose pierced) and I just looked at each other and bit our tongues to keep from laughing. Couldn't the money spent on anything be put to better use feeding a starving child?? A direct quote from the rant: "You're not jungle bunnies." I'm glad she didn't start in on tattoos. I'm still not sure she's seen the 82, and if she has, she hasn't mentioned it. I'm fairly certain she disapproves of almost everything about my lifestyle. I cannot imagine what kind of conversation will ensue the first time she and I discuss touring poets or other such semi-starving artists. But she did give me a bunch of bananas and some vegetable lasagna to take back to school, so it was difficult to be mad at her.

4. The Posthumous Voice in Women's Writing from Mary Shelley to Sylvia Plath by Claire Raymond is one of the most intellectually pretentious collections of essays I have ever laid eyes on. It does have the word "posthumous" in the title, so I suppose I should have known better, but I was holding out hope that there were big, thoughtful ideas to back up the massive, wordy titles, and no cigar. Just lots of reliance on Derrida (blech), among other pretentious academic fall-backs that typically prevent an essayist from having an original, inspiring thesis. Sample sentence:

Indeed, the self-elegist claims her understanding of the cultural mechanics of mourning, her exquisite schooling in private poetics.

Seriously, Claire Raymond, what does that even mean?! You go on for twenty-five pages, and I made your same argument (that Plath's "The Rabbit Catcher" both takes agency from and gives it back to the speaker of the poem) in less than two pages. D. H. Lawrence, or Keat's treatment of antiquity really don't have anything to do with what you're saying, nor does the imagery of the rabbit from Alice's Wonderland, nor the discussion of Aurelia Plath's elevation of her collection of Emily Dickinson poems to the status of family Bible that you open the essay with. How do these things even get published?

5. It feels silly to be back at school only to be leaving again on Wednesday afternoon. I wish I could go to the Cantab this week. I am dreading Christmas break because of how totally it will separate me from the things that have been making me creative lately-- the Cantab, the Lady Poet house, the umbilical cord connecting me to the Five College library system. I promised my parents they would see me read poetry in public at least once this winter (I should have swallowed such a promise before I ever uttered it, but it's too late to go back now...) and I am scared of what they will think of me. They nod a lot when I try to explain my experience at open mics, but I know they don't really get what I'm trying to articulate. Maybe once they see it (if I don't die of embarrassment in the middle of the experience) for themselves, we'll be on more level ground. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever stop feeling like a foreign object shoved uncomfortably into the middle of my family that doesn't belong there even out of irony.

Five things (11.17).

1. I gave myself a haircut today. I keep getting indecisive about whether or not I want to venture growing the stuff out, but the scissors are always triumphant.

2. I have a headache that will not quit. I am not happy about this. I have to drive to New Haven to retrieve Sean from the train (somehow, this train station business sees fit to plague me on a semi-regular basis) and I'm not looking forward to it. I must keep the gas money in mind.

3. Ticketmaster has to be one of the worst and most disorganized companies EVER, and here's why: after selling my sister our Lady Gaga tickets not without much strife and page-reloading (I won't even go into the ludicrous pre-sale issues we faced and eventually gave up on), they contacted her several days later to notify her that they had accidentally given us handicapped seats and thus had to cancel the sale, and sadly could not provide replacement tickets because the show was now sold out. Now, besides being sloppy and aggravating, they were basically lying. TicketsNow, a resale company that they own, is still selling tickets (although the "cheap" seats are upwards of $130). Now, I don't care how much red tape they'd be sidestepping, if we made a big enough fuss, we could probably have tickets. But who wants to sit on hold for hours at a time only to be told by multiple representatives that no one is at fault. UMMM EXCUSE ME: if your computerized ticket-choosing system gives us tickets you cannot technically sell us, then I'm pretty sure it's your fault. No wonder they have lawsuits on their hands. So much for scalping being illegal. FAIL, Ticketmaster. EPIC FAIL.

4. After deciding to go home to Jersey this weekend for happy, carefree reasons (getting writing done, spending time with my family, etc.), I found out yesterday morning that a family member passed away and now the weekend will be spent in funerary ways. On top of the already awful impact that had on me, I also had to grapple with the fact that no one even told me he was sick, and his death wasn't exactly sudden. I'm getting very tired of my family try to "protect" me by withholding things. It's amazing-- sometimes I feel like I absorbed all the emotional sensitivity in the house, so that I can be sad enough for ten people, whereas the rest of them act like robots and don't discuss anything that isn't Jesus or dinner menu. I was really looking forward to a little R & R, and now I'm dreading this trip; I'm probably going to spend the whole weekend biting my tongue to keep from reprimanding my parents.

5. In happier news, I just had an aimless meeting with my committee member about community service, concert tickets, writing process, and slam poetry. I never thought I would be discussing the aforementioned Lady Gaga disaster with one of my writing professors, but I'm just so frazzled today that that's where the conversation ended up, besides discussing Bob Dylan and scamming seats at a Cream show in Albany back in the day. The conversation eventually turned to our final meeting for me Div 2 (this whole thesis thing is basically happening NOW), and then we realized she'd be free to be in Boston on Wednesday night for once (she lives in the city and commutes west for little chunks of the week to work at Hampshire). Just so happens, that particular Wednesday is the Cantab semi-final for season champ, which I could potentially end up competing in (if I EVER win a Cantab slam, that is). Regardless of whether I end up slamming then or not, it'll still be exciting to introduce one of my professors to my unofficial writing classroom, especially because many Hampshire poets love her dearly. And there I go, talking about her as if she's some retired old fogey. She isn't. She's really rad. She has a framed picture of Joe Strummer above her desk in her office and a doctoral degree in anthropology. Sometimes she makes me seriously consider what my life would be like if I became an academic. But shh, don't tell anybody.

Lazy unseasonably warm Sunday.

The weekends last so much longer here than the actual week. I feel as though I haven't been to class since last Monday (even though that is a bigger lie than saying I saw any respectable hour of today's morning). The days keep spilling into one another, which is probably symptomatic of the amount of writing (read: editing) I've been doing. If this is how much I get done while still taking a more-than-full course load, I'm not quite sure what exorbitant ridiculousness I'll manage once we are fully into December. Oh, Thesis Project, be afraid! Be very afraid!

Besides seeing George Watsky perform on campus, followed by a basement black light party, I spent last night sober and incredibly exhausted. Today I slept late and decided to do some housekeeping. I shifted my furniture around, grouped drafts for revision, made a burrito, took out the recycling, blah blah blah blah. Also, I picked up a book of poetry for a short breather.

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I don't spend nearly enough time with all the bushy-bearded old men on my bookshelf. Virginia has scared them all into a corner by talking to her sparrows in Greek.

I'm taking a little road trip to New Jersey this weekend to trap the magic of these crazy-long weekends and harness their power-- I have a chapbook to pull together, a retrospective essay to write, and maybe twenty or thirty books to plow through for that pesky final paper (the last of its kind before we plunge headlong into Creative Writing Land). Everyone keeps asking me about graduate school. IDON'TWANTTOTALKABOUTEDUCATIONTHANKYOU. I am already overwhelmed enough by this leg of college, let's not jump the gun. I need to wait tables all night and write all day for at least three years solid before I think about subjecting myself to further lecture hall torture sessions.

She wore western style boots, foreshadowing things to come.

I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight.

Here are some pictures of Cassandra and I exploring the graveyard of the Blauvelt family around the block from my house in Jersey. Some of the headstones date back to the 1600s and most of the families that married into the Blauvelt line have streets or entire towns named after them nearby. Although, oddly enough, the town named after the Blauvelts is across the state line in New York. Long story short, there is really no rhyme or reason to how things are organized where I grew up.

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I'm going to go do laundry now. Maybe. And pretend that it's not already morning. Daniel Johnston helps with this.

FX make-up, layer by layer.

If you took a gander at the video blog in the last post, you know that Cassandra and I spent the better part of last night looking at least slightly terrifying. Or awesome. Or terrifyingly awesome. At any rate, as promised, I've got pictures of the making-up as it happens. And whenever Maggie uploads them, I'll be sure to share our more professional shots (which were replete with in-character groaning and limping) which were an absolute blast to take. I need to remember to follow whims more frequently. Enjoy!



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Maggie starts in with the nose putty

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the finished facial wound, replete with exposed cheekbone

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"it looks like somebody beat the shit out of you" was the night's refrain

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halfway to undead

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fully undead

VLOG # 2



And stay tuned for an epic photo shoot of how our faces got to look so fucked up. No seriously. By tomorrow.

The weekend, in brief.

Kidnapped Cassandra. Got BK. Hydroplaned coming off the bridge in NoHo. Rear-ended some French Canadians. Drove home anyway. Watched Drop Dead Gorgeous. Passed out in the living room. Slept through the entire morning. Watched Entourage. Ate mozzarella sticks for brunch. Went on a thrifting adventure. Scored driving gloves, more tops that facilitate super sock-wearing, quality time. Delicious assembled frozen dinner. Project Runway and Deadly Women on Lifetime until exhausted. Slept for 13 hours. Diner lunch mid-afternoon. Cigarettes for under six bucks. Typewriter quest. Read aloud from my high school life. Walk around the block/finger-freeze time. Chex Mix. Work out playlist while silently coexisting, unmoving. This is Jersey.

(de)Parting words.

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semi-reliable proof that I am not dead


No, not dead, just having a love affair with super-socks. And spending the weekend giving Cass the Jersey tour of my teenage self. We're going to the Hoboken waterfront, we're going to visit cats, we're going to have to find ways to entertain ourselves without poetry for the weekend. This may or may not involve a visit to the second largest mall in America. I have this sinking feeling fairly frequently that the only times I leave the house are driven by a need for poetry. I've slammed twice this week, and it doesn't sound like a lot, but it feels like a pretty big thing. One win, once the runner up; not too shabby. This whole plan of making an NPS team that I've been kicking around quietly seems a little more tangible that I had originally expected.

Now, packing and middle school-esque antics. Also, Burger King.

Methods of coping.

I will admit, I am very homesick. Not for Jersey, though that would follow logic, and I do miss the place in some ways. The home I miss is Providence. The Broad Street apartment that Kait and I will never live in together again. It's odd to think of it that way, a space we once had some ownership of is now a space we can no longer access. This homesickness is something I have tried to remedy by several means, the first of which was a camping trip the Wednesday after my birthday and although it did not entail me going to Rhode Island, I got to build several fires (see example below) and hang out with my sister.

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But tonight, the homesickness will get some satisfaction, for I am driving out for a brief visit. Kaitlin and I are going to go to dinner, probably drink a substantial amount of wine and reminisce about our summer of sometimes wild antics, but mostly just serious couch time for GH and whatever else was on the DVR at the time. And next weekend, I'll be visiting the place I should be homesick for, hopefully sneaking a Brooklyn visit in among all of the errands that must be run. All bases covered, all systems go.

Last looks.

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So it's done now. I had my last cigarette on our porch the other night, and now that I'm back in Jersey for a brief family visit type layover situation, it is truly done. I sat in the sun all day and read, the way I wanted my afternoons to be back in May. The Rhode Island rainy season definitely conspired against me there, but I'm attempting to make up for lost time now.

I'm currently burying myself in non-fiction and self-help books as a detox in preparation for the most serious undertaking of my academic life, also known as Writing A Novella. Today I read The Last Lecture in one glorious golden afternoon sitting, and tonight I am tucking in to Julia Child's My Life in France, which is already witty and wonderful. But in the background, I am making my preparations for said novella, which at the moment means paring down and building up my Netflix queue with every vampire movie and documentary I can find. Suggestions are more than welcome. I've already added the bulk of this list, but I'm still trolling for more titles to contribute to my full immersion into the genre. This is going to be the best year ever, when watching True Blood will count as research, when I get to dissect the theoretical implications of manipulating the politics of fictive worlds. Yes, yes, and double yes!

And apparently there is History Channel special on Dracula playing in the living room right now, so you know where I'll be.

Pause for ensuing shoe parade.

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This is my there-are-five-days-left-to-move-out-of-this-apartment-panic face. Five days seems like a decent amount of time, but I have to work every single day Wednesday through Sunday and be out of here Sunday night. Where did the summer go? Was I not paying attention or something? This seems somehow unfair. There were so many things I wanted to do. I wasted so much time griping about the rain and now the excess of sun (that has given me the worst of work uniform tan lines); this must be punishment for that. Or something.

I've begun packing, and I have the attention span of a gnat soaked in Pop Rocks, so I decided to take a time out and admire all my fancy shoes, many of which were acquired this glorious summer.

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brown leather Frye cowboy boots, Udelco, last summer; black suede ankle boots, Marshall's, last fall; blue suede cowboy boots, Beacon's Closet, summer '06; black stiletto Jessica Simpson ankle boots, TJ Maxx, today; black leather cowboy boots, Urban Renewals in Allston, July

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Miss Me Mary Janes, Berk's on Thayer, July; brown suede Seychelles platforms, TJ Maxx, today; all-black spectator pumps, TJ Maxx, last summer; red patent peep toes, Nordstrom, spring '07; black patent Jessica Simpson stilettos, Cohoes, June; brown wedges, Old Navy, June

And now I have to cram all of them in a suitcase and get ready to make the drive back to Jersey where I will regroup and make moves for Amherst. I hate packing. It makes me panicky. It also makes me want to play dress up. This is going to be a long day.

Ticking off some check-boxes.

As my summer lover affair with Providence is winding down, I'm trying to get in all the little bits and pieces I've been dying to include since I arrived her back in May. Over the past few days, I've crossed a few things off my to-do list.

Wednesday night I let myself do a little exploring before Writers in the Round at Tazza. Walking around downtown aimlessly with no real destination was something I haven't let myself do nearly enough in my months here. And I got to see this -

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Now, Federal Hill is always incredibly striking, but the pink sky made me smile so much, like raspberry lemonade on a dusky porch or something equally as wonderful and worthy of swizzle sticks.

I've also been reading a ton more than I was even a few weeks ago, probably because I've gotten into the groove of things. Just before I have to leave of course, but I guess I'm glad it happened at all. Current reading list:

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Lit Riffs edited by Matthew Miele; The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks; Black Book Magazine's rebel issue (starring Evam Rachel Wood and Juliette Lewis); Infinity Blues by Ryan Adams; and Metro Pop Magazine. Not pictured (but almost always in my purse) are the latest issue of Nylon, Dave Eggers' How We Are Hungry, and Hampshire Slam Collective Fishes For Satellites. Black Book has one of the best fashion editorials I've seen in forever. It made me regret all of my high school prom dresses instantly and wish I had been just slightly more obsessed with Grease as an adolescent.

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Metro Pop also had a great greaser-inspired spread that made me proud to have short hair. It also made me want to go out and buy a motorcycle, but the feeling has since passed.

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But the one rebel impulse that I am powerless against is the compulsion to get tattooed. I've been itching for one all summer and kept making excuses, but today was completely free and Providence Tattoo on College Hill apparently takes walk-ins (and has the best collection of traditional-inspired flash I've seen yet). So I am now freshly inked and very happy.

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82 is my house number in New Jersey, and since moving away, I've learned it's possible for me to feel at home wherever I am. Providence is home now, but I've had glimpses of home at Hampshire and on my visits to Allston (I figure those can be attributed to the poets, but who knows). The tattoo is a symbol of that new level of comfort. And it was test drive for the parlor, because I'm in the market for an artist for when I move here next spring. Judging by the bedside manner and the impressive portfolios at Providence Tattoo, I'm fairly certain I've found the place I'll be getting my graduation present to myself come next May.

And now it's time to go pick up some tortilla chips for the leftover bean dip I brewed up as part of a culinary adventure I had yesterday afternoon.

New Jersey is excessive.

Besides finding that fabulous cruise portrait of my grandparents while visiting the homestead, I got a lot of important things accomplished while I was in New Jersey. First off, I was able to assess the recent freak tornado damage firsthand.

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It doesn't look like much from the street, but most of the gutters are askew and a good deal of shingling has been torn from the roof as the result of a rogue falling tree. The living room ceiling is actually cracked from the force of the falling branches, something that unnerved me quite a bit, and I wasn't even around when it happened. I guess natural disasters and the effect they have on their victims got stuck in my head (along with a lot of chain saw buzzing from around the neighbor), because I ended up writing a poem using them as a motif for the different ways people devastate you without realizing it. Sometimes just one smile could knock a house down, although more often than not, it just sidelines me from intelligent conversation or any kind of coherent attempts at judging a situation for what it is. But I digress.

The main reason I made the trip was not assess damages, but rather to reclaim my beloved Oldsmobile Wendeline from the possession of my little sister. To celebrate the occasion, I resurrected a set of Valentine's Day-themed fuzzy dice I've had lying around probably since middle school (I did not then and do not now have any understanding of why I buy the things that I buy, but sometimes these odd impulse purchases come in handy) and hung them from the rear-view mirror.

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The reason I was able to reclaim Wendy was because my little sister just bought herself her first real car. It's a Saturn, but she got it from a GM dealership and while she was signing the papers with my mother, I got to sit and ogle Corvettes.

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All the while, I couldn't help thinking that older model Corvettes were much more attractive cars.

Perhaps the most exciting (or useless, depending on your perspective) thing I did while in Jersey was go to a mall I haven't been two in over a year under the pretense of taking my brother sneaker shopping. He only likes slip-ons and my mother invariably buys him weird dorky shoes from L.L. Bean that have bungee cords or look like they were manufactured for the kinds of people who only look like they're having fun in catalog-land. So I bought him a pair of Vans that happened to have skulls on them, which precipitated a ludicrous argument with my mother and grandmother (not the one in the picture previously posted) about how I was encouraging him to don "symbols of the occult". Right. Anyway, while on this mall visit, I finally got myself a new watch to replace the Target watch that broke at the beginning of the summer. In honor of this new watch, I decided to pull out my box of costume jewelry (most of which was purchased at various thrift stores, antique shops, and gem shows throughout my high school career) and color coordinated all of my wristwear.

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The pink mother of pearl is one of my daily bracelets, but the rest were stacked on simply for the joy of being heavily accessorized. I used to be one of those hundred rubber bracelet kids (come to think of it, I had a skull cuff I wore all through middle and high school that my mother and Gram frowned upon heavily back in the day), a phase that was analogous to my love of Power Beads and my collection of large plastic bangles, so I guess it makes sense that I feel the need to pile on bracelets again every once in awhile. A watch has been a mainstay in my life, and I guess I just get scared that it will be lonely, or that my wrists are in some way strange if not encumbered by various points of interest. I'm probably just overly-obsessed with jewelry, judging by the cookie tins of necklaces, fingers full of rings, and various extra holes in my head. Everyone from Jersey has their own particular brand of excess - I'm just glad mine does not involve hairspray.

Yes, these are my relatives.

Gem of a portriat found on my family's computer while checking my email and running other internet errands:

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A few important questions:

Why do grandparents always have to be so awkward?

What is with their prom pose?

Why is my grandma wearing a tank top with a flamingo embroidered on it?

And why did they have their portrait taken while on a cruise? Did everyone do this?

None of which will ever be answered to my satisfaction. I guess this is what happens when I visit New Jersey - more points of confusion than I can negotiate. I'm going to ignore said confusion and take a nap in preparation for my meet-up later with SLZ and Matty in Hoboken for a slice of actual pizza. New England has brainwashed me into believing that Papa Johns is somehow acceptably termed as a member of the 'za family. Not so my friends, not so.

Photographic time capsule.

I just woke up from the deepest sleep I could have imagined, following a double's worth of work down at the beach. And I have a lot less money to show for it than I should. Kait made more than me on one shift than I did on my two combined, which is unacceptable. But I guess I just have to take things as they happen. Speaking of which, I've been going through old photos and came upon a funny thing. There are pictures of me on the internet from around this time for the past few summers and looking back to the oldest one, I look like I have reverted back to that person. Maybe because the summer before I left for college was the summer I was most myself - no boyfriend, no overpowering friendships, nothing to prove except to myself. It's funny to look back on that time as one when I was most sure of myself, especially because I felt so indisputably unsure of everything else. But anyway, here is the timeline of the past few years.

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Sandy Hook, NJ July 06

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Emerald Isle, NC July 07

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Northampton, MA September 07

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Amherst, MA October 07


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Amherst, MA April 08

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Emerald Isle, NC July 08

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Amherst, MA September 08

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Amherst, MA December 08

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Philadelphia, PA March 09

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Providence, RI right now 09


The thing that gets me the most is how much the length of my hair has fluctuated in three years: shaved head twice, too many different kinds of bangs, neon wigs, more bobby pins and texturizer than I care to lay down here. I feel a lot like the girl in the second picture, sitting on the couch waiting for something of great magnitude to happen to me. But unlike that girl, who was very timid and scared, I am much more likely to get up off the couch and grab my important experiences before they pass me by. If that is the only thing that ever changes about me over time, I'll be more than happy living in this skin.

Get a grip.

Barely enough time to sleep with how much I've been working lately. Only this is keeping me sane. And this:

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I have read and watched so much about vampires over the past few days I feel drained. Sorry. Bad pun. But seriously. Right now it's about small pleasures, at least until I find enough time to post the second installment of my trip to Jersey. Until then, it's waiting tables in questionable weather for me.

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.

Happy and not so happy places.

So tomorrow night is the night I have been waiting for since the week I arrived in this Noah's Ark of a city. Yes, ladies and gentleman, tomorrow night is my first real feature in the world beyond Hampshire. I am absolutely having a heart attack about it, but in a good way (if that's even possible). Being that work was canceled (again) because of the rain (it never stops), I spent a good portion of today memorizing and/or performing for Toby and Lucy (otherwise known as my sister's cats). Hopefully it shows. I want to do excessively well tomorrow night so that everyone under the sun buys product and puts lots of money in the hat so that I have at least some cash to tool around with when I'm home in the next few days. If you're in the area, come over to Blue State for organic, fair trade beverages and a decent-sized helping of poetry.

In further reference to the return to Jersey, this impending journey marks a turning point in the summer. Wendeline (my 1992 Cutlass Ciera S, who just recently reached the 60,000 mile mark) and I have to go our separate ways until the end of August, when we will triumphantly return to Hampshire together. Until then, she's got some work left to do for my family. I'm pretty bummed out about this, but in the process of dropping her off, I'll be stopping off at my little sister's high school graduation, possibly having a meal with my family (who knows how long it's been since that happened) and seeing SLZ. I'm trying to accentuate the positives of this visit, because going back to Jersey always destabilizes any kind of mental clarity I acquire, either at school or elsewhere, and based on how wonderful Providence has been for the restructuring of my world-view, I am worried that I'll get back to the apartment Thursday/Friday and be completely destroyed. Hopefully that's not the case, but I'm trying to be at least partially prepared for the worst. We'll see if it works out.

These are the two things I see when I close my eyes to go to my happy place currently:

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As long as there are tapirs making funny faces and Kaki King in the world, I have reason to smile at least halfway.