Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pencil Poisoning

Abbi is here in less than a week. There's going to be a woman in the house. I hope we all come through this OK. I think we will.

People are starting to get the letters I wrote them. I'm anxious for responses. Politely anxious. Anxious in the way of looking out my window hoping this thunderstorm doesn't become a tornado.

Book, book, book. Working on the book. I'm obsessed with rattlesnakes right now, so there's a rattlesnake on the first page.

I have snake bite dreams at least once a week. In these dreams, I'm always trying to catch some sort of snake. I never just leave it alone. The last snake bite dream involved a cobra launching itself at my neck. I'm always envenomated in these dreams, but I insist I'm fine. I go through the rest of these dreams refusing medical care.

In states with lots of rattlesnakes, there's special training for dogs on how to avoid rattlesnakes. Dogs are naturally curious/stupid.

I don't know anything about wolves. Are they smarter than dogs? In one recent dream, I did battle with a wolf. I tore his jaws apart. It was a gruesome dream. I was on my way to get pizza, dream pizza, and the wolf came at my throat. I'm having a lot of throat anxiety, apparently. According to something I read once, the throat is the power center for Taureans. OK. I'm a Taurus. I have a throat. Spooky.

I have a nearly imperceptible Adam's apple. Maybe I'm ashamed of its size. Maybe a snake bite would make it swell. Maybe I just made a smoothie with yogurt, prune juice, blackberries, a banana, and a little Kentucky honey. Maybe my bowels.

I have two pieces of pencil lead embedded in my right hand. When I was in elementary school, I put my hand in my pocket to grab a pencil. The pencil was sticking lead up and I was stabbed. The nurse went picking through the wound. She assured me there was no lead in my hand. When my hand healed, there was a little black piece of lead under the skin like a dead bug. I was convinced I would get lead poisoning at some point in my life. I tried cutting it out with a pocket knife, but I couldn't go far enough in. Then I found out pencil lead is graphite, not lead, and I quit worrying about it. My hand is now a sort of time capsule.

The other piece of lead is from working at the museum. We're supposed to have pencils in our pockets in case visitors need them. I had a pencil sticking lead up again. I was stabbed again. It's small, just the tip (ha ha), but it's history. It's there if a visitor ever needs it.

I have learned my lesson about pencils in pockets.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

American Jackal

Oh, Beyoncé.

Josh has been gone all week. I've been home alone. I've been industrious. I made pesto. I made a quiche. I wrote like a dying deer, just me and my black gumball eyes. My novel(la) has grown a plot. Characters have names. Cigarettes have smokers. Museums have sculptures. Today, the story got away from me. By the time I caught up, someone was dead.

I wrote some letters using an ink that probably looks like dried blood. If you requested a letter, you're getting one. If you didn't request a letter, you still might be getting one. I went crazy, folks. Drawings and everything. And I cannot draw.

Josh cut my hair last week. My female coworkers finally noticed today. I'm not complaining. All my female coworkers have bangs. Like on-the-brow bangs. I hear you can catch bangs from kissing. I want to blow on these bangs so they sway like grass skirts.

I woke up the other night with the fear that my car would not make it to work the next morning unless I got gas RIGHT THEN AT THAT VERY MOMENT. So I got up and got gas. It was like when you have to pee in the middle of the night. It seemed so necessary. I came home and went back to sleep and had a love dream. I've been holding Josh's pillow between my legs every night since he's been gone. We've been together seven years. People tell me that's a long time in "gay years." I want to pinch their cheeks and say, "You are just so precious and stupid."

The septennial is traditionally celebrated with gifts of wool or copper. We could use some copper mugs. I have enough wool. I once went to a sheep farm to learn how to shear a sheep and clean the fleece. The shears get so close to the sheep's skin, they sometimes make the sheep bleed. The sheep farm had a guard llama. The farmers went out one morning and found the trampled corpse of a coyote. There was blood on the llama's toes. The farmers cleaned the blood from the llama's toes and the llama chewed on whatever it had in its mouth. Grass, probably.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doing My Jobs

People are asking about the book I'm writing. They want to know what it's about. It's about a man named Jake. Jake is me, not me. Jake is going through some of the same things I'm going through. Jake has seizures. Jake likes men. Jake works at a museum. Jake has something living in the walls of his duplex. Jake is sure he wants to be alive. Jake likes bodies of water. Jake isn't afraid of ghosts or dogs. Jake is a person, not a place, but sometimes he is a place. I don't know what happens to Jake. When I find out, I'm not going to tell you, I'm going to show you. We will meet AT JAKE in 2013.

My favorite reaction about my book has been indifference. One of my friends said, "Writing books is your job. Why are you so excited about doing your job?"

Everyone has two jobs these days. This one and that one.

I hate it when people say they love their jobs, because then it means I can't trust anything else they say.

At my other job, the one I love, the supervisors keep saying they hired a hot new man. I haven't seen the proof, but maybe the proof is in the pudding, in which case I have to eat all the pudding and then maybe there will be a hot new man on the bottom of the dish.

Sally says hot new men are trouble. I say only if they open their mouths. Sally says they always open their mouths.

I would like an entire shelf of preserved animals in jars. I'd like to think the stillness of dead animals is beautiful. Maybe someone could draw me a squid in a jar. I would put it on my wall. I would like more art that's not mine. I don't need any of this, but I'd like it.

I've filled my fountain pen with a reddish-brown ink. If I've promised you a letter, you'll get it this week.

There's a tiny hair on one of the labels at the museum. It's in the display case with the Chinese porcelain rabbits. The rabbits are white with green glazed ribbons around their necks. They have precise little claws and red eyes. One of them has pink skin inside its ears. The other, blue. One boy, one girl. Ladybugs get in this case in the summer and I have to call someone to get them out. I want to call someone about the tiny hair on the label, but it's just a hair, after all.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Release the Beast

There's a painting at the museum of a woman rowing a canoe like she's going to row right out of the painting and bisect you with the tree bark looking mess that is her canoe. The canoe appears to have stitches, so don't ask me how that works, how the woman isn't sinking in the canoe she stitched together just moments ago. I don't trust the power this painting has over visitors. They stare at it as if they're seeing the future.

I do trust I've had a big, unbelievable week. I had a story at wigleaf. It used to be a poem. Then I quit writing poetry. People freaked out over this story. Eat it up, people. This story contains the precursor to venison. I don't know. Can you eat a deer you've hit with your car?

I also agreed to write a book for Tiny Hardcore Press. Oh my God, Tiny Hardcore Press. Readers, I have alerted you to the existence of xTx before. Also, Roxane Gay. They are writers I love. They are the writers publishing my book. xTx says some unfathomable things about me in her latest blog post.

I don't think about it very often, but I have moles all over my body. They're cute like brown marker dots is what I tell myself when Josh presses them like buttons. I bet it looks like chocolate chips have melted flat to my skin. Don't worry. You'll never see me shirtless. You don't have to know.

This is the season for shirtless men to run past my house. Bonus points for hairy chests and hairy legs and any sort of bizarre tan line. I like contrast.

One of my friends fetishizes Adam's apples, so I'm writing a story about one hell of an Adam's apple. Adam's apples remind me of the lump in a snake's body after it eats. Josh has an Adam's apple like a little fist knocking from inside his throat, like he's swallowed a baby who wants out. Oh, Josh, let that baby out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The story is that I went away for almost a week and then came home for a couple days and then went away again for a couple more days. I'm home again, where home really is Kansas City. Josh is going to be gone next week. I'll pace the apartment a lot, thoughtlessly eating.

I don't have a concrete mental image of how I look. My weight fluctuates so much. Today, I look like this, where "this" is a slight chinstrap of fat. Tomorrow, I look like I can wear a t-shirt and be OK because the t-shirt won't strain at my belly. I'll exercise this evening. I'll eat vegetables, primarily, for dinner. I like vegetables. I'm sorry some of you don't like vegetables.

We have new upstairs neighbors who are also our landlords. They walk around like they own the place. Ha ha. They do own the place.

Josh got a subscription to Annalemma. I just read Salvatore Pane's story, "This Is How the Century Is Born," from issue seven. OH-EM-GEE, it's a good story. I cried. There's a scene at the end where a character who has died appears online available for chat. The narrator knows it's not his friend back from the dead, but he also wants to believe it's possible for them to chat anyway, death be damned.

When I was a freshman in college, one of my friends from high school died. Someone signed onto AIM using her screen name the night after her death. I knew it wasn't really her, maybe her roommate or something, but I sent her a message. All it said was, "Why?" There was no response. That's all I needed to know.

I need to know how I sound when I speak out loud. A girl asked if I was coming to her art show on Friday and I said, "Sure," but apparently it sounded unconvincing. I had no idea. I say everything that way. Only now, at 26, have I been made aware of my disingenuous voice. When I tell you I love you, I mean it. Even if it sounds like I don't.

We were in Josh's hometown over the weekend. He did some face painting for a school event. This one girl asked for a peace sign. Josh used the biggest brush. The lines inside the circle were too thick. They made the circle into a dot. Josh asked the girl if she liked her peace sign. She looked in the mirror and said, "Yeah, I guess." Josh shrugged his shoulders. It's just face painting.

One boy asked to have his face painted like an opossum's face. He was given a black nose and black whiskers. He went around hissing at people. I don't know if I've told you, but I don't like opossums. I'm sorry, opossums. It's your teeth, if anything.

I've finished the boat story. I'm sending it somewhere I trust. I'll let you know what happens.

All day I've been trying to track down four things I've ignored for too long. I may have found them. I need to make some phone calls. Hold please.