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19 February 2011 @ 04:08 pm
Hard, fatty coconut oil melted soft and clean after a shower and now shines weirdly on the skin of knees emerging nude from my boots. In this early morning glow, gloppy shoe grease melts tenderly into abused black leather, moist from a saddle soaping, and an inky lustre begins to glisten beside my skin. Meanwhile, beneath my fingernails, the black boot grit mingles with oily brown winter bike chain filth and the sickly turquoise of phil's grease that fills my snow rusted bearings. As the mountains of snow outside succumb to the mild sunlight of noon, I meticulously go about melting away the salt and grit of the week with oils and salves in the hopes that my bike and boots and I might survive another here on the midwestern tundra. 

Location: mother fools
Music: white stripes
14 February 2011 @ 11:41 pm
The sealegs and hiccups of drunkenness are alleviated by lying lateral, but the slicing tinnitis in my eardrums rises lofty above the pizza in my belly when my muscles grow still. Too cold, my shoulders clench, frozen with goosebumps under the covers, but the wine is no match for Wisconsin, and outside today's sunny snowmelt is freezing clear and hard, black and sinister against the asphalt in the in the night air.
28 November 2010 @ 10:31 pm
A young yellow light lay across the covers on our first mornings. Your words rose, strong and new above us, mingling with dust that shimmered in slanted bands of morning air. They danced like whirling dervishes through literature and music and philosophy, an assortment of collegiate fascinations to match my own. Was it Milan Kundera you'd been reading? You'd certainly been listening to Beirut. In those days you followed music nearly as closely as politics and we'd both read the most recent New Yorker and Economist.

You worry someday we'll run out of things to say.
Here's hoping we haven't even reached the best of it yet.

Location: Madison
Music: Robyn - Fembot
15 June 2010 @ 11:23 am
The raw, spent muscles of my shoulders cook in the steady heat radiating inward from my sun-baked skin. Meanwhile, with the halting diction characteristic of early cognitive development, a little boy begs me to do chores all night with him in this house full of macaroni and cheese, high fructose corn and maple syrup encrusted dishware. The snot drools like lava from his sister's nose as she silently stacks and restacks the tiny medicine cups that she knows so well.

For 13,000 years, ending just about when the Mormons think Jesus came wandering around North America, lava was gushing up from the earth in Idaho, between the Rockies and the Tetons.
29 May 2010 @ 05:32 pm
Today in the Idaho desert, the dark sky slides fast down the mountains. Ominous, it is inky as the raw grey crude bleeding upward from the ocean sands in the Gulf. It spills like some advancing army into the sunlight across this flat expanse. An icy rain at the edge of the shadow consumes the soft morning light that had promised an afternoon warmth ahead. When it reaches my toes, its darkness sinks into the meat of my chest.

I am cold in this kitchen, and it occurs to me that it's been nearly a decade since I felt suited to this kind of desert solitude. Of course, the monsoons were sweeter and warmer off the Jemez than these bitter storms off of the Rockies. That desert came to me through wilder eyes than I look through now, and the imperfections of isolation at least offered a compelling novelty in my youth. No doubt, too, the responsibility for my mood was more obviously my own then, and I dared not neglect it as I do now.

Location: Idaho Falls, ID
Music: the national
28 April 2010 @ 11:03 pm
My ill stomach burbles with a sad soft sickness while on the phone you relay to me the story of your food poisoning. I quietly contemplate a flipbook of postcards that I will send to you daily without return addresses. I compile secret messages that I will mail letter by letter. Each glyph sliced from its magazine will travel lonely hundreds of miles in an envelope addressed, in the scrawl of my left hand, to your apartment. The 365 characters of the year will tell the story of your distance from me, no longer merely physical. Or perhaps, deftly crafted but foolishly deciphered, they will excite you to fantasies of secret admirers, spurring your courage to pursue trysts with the unwed women of Chicago.
I would send elephants in flat rate boxes. 
I would train carrier pigeons to fly to your office.
I would hire public radio personalities to leave you voicemail.
Anything for you.

Location: faux-op
09 May 2009 @ 05:10 pm
Drinking dark earl grey from a purple teapot, I am reminded of oatmeal.

The man closest to me here in this cafe could perhaps be mistaken for your cousin, your brother even, but he could never double as you. I can't imagine he knows the proper way to eat applesauce...

02 May 2009 @ 08:26 pm
The most enchantingly beautiful girl is sitting on a temporary fence on the sidewalk in downtown Madison. The wayward light brown hair around her face is strung with the bright blonde rivers of a winter away in South America or Australia or Madagascar. The sunshine bleeds through her white teeth and the honey in her smoothly tanned skin, dark amber around her toes and in the creases of her neck. Her shorts and her shirt are the green gray that I inexplicably associate with camping.

She has a foot tall pinata on her hand and smiles softly when she jiggles its bright colors at passers by.

Some of them are drunk and, bewildered, they crinkle their dull foreheads. Some wave. Some are uncaring and desensitized by the overstimulating world. She watches their ankles and the sway of their hips as they walk past.

Two dreadlock girls amble past with their dog, smile, wave, and talk to each other about her looks.
Frat boys antagonize her over it and try to apprehend the pinata for themselves.
A man on a bike stops to talk. He's tall and thin, with powerful, wiry limbs, and an easy smile. They know each other, so he sits with her while she continues to jiggle the pinata.

The cops don't wave.

Music: feist
24 February 2009 @ 10:05 pm
I used to walk filthy into Dominick's and nibble the samples on the way to the bananas and bakery in the back. My legs, mostly nude, would begin to get cold in the hyper-conditioned supermarket air as I fingered the chocolate bars of the checkout line. I would read their nutrition facts, as if someday I expected them to involve less saturated fat.

Soon, outside again, I would lean my bag between my bike and calves and lie on my sweaty back on the Illinois Avenue park benches. Like the ribcage of a firm lover, their smooth hard slats would press into my spine as I squinted behind my sunglasses, smashed my banana inside an asiago cheese roll, and felt the sun bake my sweat into my tan.

Now my skin is pale and chlorinated... my legs sparkling clean, cold, and unsweating... and I'm hungry... for bananas... for cheesy bread... for summer.

28 January 2009 @ 10:33 pm
At dawn, the stretchy crotch of my long underwear hangs low between my frigid thighs and the tips of my toes against the chilly floor go white as Greta's winter fingers. In my drowsy shower-steam fictions I wander the aisles of HPP carrying giardiniera peppers.

Though the steamy clouds of daybreak are nearly scalding to my toes, once they roll up to my face and away from me they instantaneously crystallise against the frosty windows of the bathroom. Still dreamy, I contemplate chocolate bars with names like Renew and wonder if today will be the first day I buy a black and white cookie in the checkout line.

Soon though, I'm awake and clean, and the little cashier has vanished along with his dark sparky eyes. Instead, in his place I am met with snow, miles of snow rolling out across the lake. It's dotted with tents and remnants of bonfires, but Lake Mendota is still too expansive in its winter garb, and I miss the summer.

My arms feel strangely as if they are full of bottles of peppers while I bike to work, and when the fluorescent whine of my office raises the roots of my body hair, I drown it in the deep, clean bass drums and broad swooping instrumentals of sunny sweaty summer music festivals long past. 

But my toes are still so cold.

Music: the national, m83, animal collective