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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Friday, December 30, 2005


A friend asked me to create a wishlist on amazon,
so click the link below for list of material items I yearn for:

me me me

Friday, December 23, 2005

uh oh

I'm happy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Lay Of The Love And Death Of Cornet Christopher Rilke

"And they cannot part. They are friends of a sudden, brothers. Have more to confide in each other; for they already know so much each of the other. They linger. And there's haste and hoofbeat about them. Then the Marquis strips off his great right glove. He fetches out the little rose, takes a petal from it. As one would break a host.

'That will safeguard you. Fare well.'

Von Langenau is surprised. He gazes long after his Frenchman. Then he shoves the foreign petal under his tunic. And it rises and falls on the waves of his heat. Bugle-call. He rides to the army, the Junker. He smiles sadly: a woman he does not know is protecting him."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I need my own digital camera

because right now there are five deer on my front lawn.

poetic fellow, that shelton

I received this email today, as did other yahoo accounts that start with "cgmc" from someone named shelton sylvester:

"diffusion a adair a coagulate the hurty not confess be merciful but chivalrous some bug a skirt ! tristate the brew see fritz it gazette not anxious it's bouffant may cauldron but junco the conceit and scratchy see alabamian be resiny ! rich try tumultuous see isle in pediatrician but applaud it's drove but sallow be rhodesia on phosphoric see jeroboam but lundberg ! device try handsome not
Keine email heir the intercom not neutrino but
and oxonian may carnation try
sherwin some coincidental try
a tokyo it's eric but"

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Monday, December 12, 2005

zen wisdom

this thanks to Mari'L'Esperance


-- Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481), Japanese Zen master

sin like a madman until you can't do anything else
no room for any more

€ € €

don't hesitate get laid that's wisdom
sitting around chanting what crap

€ € €

I've burned all the holy pages I used to carry
but poems flare in my heart

[translated from the Japanese by Stephen Berg]

Friday, December 09, 2005

now it's REALLY snowing

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Victor LaValle asks this about last week's blog:
"I wondered how a woman's stalking seems different than a man's. All the things you brought up are things men do too, so what makes it different?"

I thought I'd go ahead and respond here in case anyone else wonders the same thing. First of all, if you read the essay, you understand that while she spends all sorts of time tracking her ex, she doesn't actually contact him. I used the word because she does. Wikipedia defines stalking as:

  • repeated following;
  • unwanted contact (by letter-writing, or other means of communication);
  • observing a person's actions extremely closely for an extended period of time; or
  • performance of actions or skits designed to frighten or terrorize

I guess what she was doing falls under the third category. While I didn't mean to gender privilege stalking, or imply that it's a constructive way to spend anyone's time, I do think some kinds are worse than others. The internet has radically changed what we can know about a person, before, during and after a relationship. While spending that much time "watching" someone might be creepy, it also doesn't directly impact their lives if they don't know about it (unless they own their website and track the IP addresses of those who visit, which might be equally creepy). I admired the candidness of Pollitt's self-examination; her humor and humility allowed me to examine some of my own actions and impulses, which led me to probe where they might come from.

So, do I think it's any more sensible for women to waste time pining and peering than men? No. Do we all get our heart's broken and have difficulty letting go? Of course. Do I think men's tactics might be more likely to openly convey anger or aggression? Maybe. Do I think women are more likely to confess to feelings of abandonment/ loss and analyze/ blame themselves and their impulses? It looks that way to me, (although my high school students taught me about "emo" last summer, which may or may not forecast a shift for future generations). Finally, the question of whether there's more at stake for women than men at certain stages of life depends on who they are. As for the other definitions of stalking, or anything that involves an actual physical threat, there might be a gender difference to consider if you look at the statistics around violence, but that's another issue...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Caitlin needs

Got this from The Virtual World
Go to google, type in "(my name) needs" and collect the first lines from the first page of hits.

Caitlin needs a diet.
The doctor said Caitlin needs to go on a diet!
I can't believe the doctor thinks Caitlin needs a diet!?
Caitlin needs to grow and develop her own sense of self.
Caitlin needs her own division because she does martial arts tricks like a grown man.
Caitlin needs to be swaddled too.
When Caitlin needs someone to fill in for "Blue" she gets "Brett" to do it for the money he needs.
Caitlin needs a drink of water.
Caitlin needs money fast.
Caitlin needs help with this.
Caitlin needs some fluids.
Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 meetings to get all the things addressed for Caitlin's needs.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

feminism and disregard

I woke up angry today. Old anger—a fire that’s never gone out, but recent iron prods to my coals have revived the flames. I kicked some clothes on the floor. I accidentally cut my finger, yelped, cursed, kicked some more, and had to go teach anyway. (Like many women, for me, anger often inspires self-injury.) Luckily, I was showing a movie; I showed Sylvia to my American Women Writers class after a month focused on Plath. It’s not bad. It’s Hollywood, it’s Gwyneth Paltrow, but it’s too easy to dismiss her because she’s become an oprafied byproduct, a clotheshorse. She can act. She’s smart enough and she delivered the lines well, intuited something about embodying the physicality despite the fact that she’s coltish and sleek, lacks Plath's ironic sturdiness. Her rage was too contained and pretty, but Plath's too was tempered by deep vulnerability. I liked that they used her height—had her dancing with Daniel Craig, (with his ill-defined accent) and looking aggressively at him eye to eye. When they fought they looked well-matched. I’d liked to have seen Plath played by Janet McTeer, who I saw play Nora in A Doll's House on Broadway. By casting an actress who was large boned and towering rather than frail, the director fused the battles with a palpable sexual tension that upped the ante.

Been thinking about feminism lately. I dabbled in the primary texts in college, like we all did at those small liberal arts schools in the 90's. I can't say I've kept up with all the recent players, but I know enough to know I'm not interested in the pseudo-backlash wolfian feminism or sassy short skirt wurtzeled upper east side feminism, but our good old Steinem foremothers, the ones who spoke up when there was something at stake. There’s something at stake again.

I read Katha Pollitt's review of Hughes' Birthday Letters from the NY Times while researching prep for class and ordered Reasonable Creatures from amazon on the spot. I’d read a few poems in the past and liked them; her prose held the poet’s unflinching rage, a woman who speaks with her hand on the coals. Only after I was well into the book did I realize that she was the same woman who’d written the controversial, confessional essay in the New Yorker a few years ago about cyber-stalking her ex. I don’t talk to a lot of people, but even among my small circles there was a buzz about it, (the way there was a buzz about Kathryn Chetkovich's piece Envy in the British Granta). Every woman I’ve spoken to about it admits to relating to it; every man seems either amused, unnerved, irked or threatened. The question is as old as time: why do otherwise intelligent, capable, fascinating women turn into driveling, needy, terrorists when it comes to romantic disappointment. Why do they spend hard earned cash on books with titles like “He’s Just Not That Into You,” (I prefer this recent spin-off). It strikes me, (and, well, duh) that it’s a problem with the framework. All that needy stalking drivel is aggression without an outlet, outrage, utter frustration, a demand to not be disregarded.

I was thinking this morning about a time an ex told me a story about his past. I’d asked if he’d ever impregnated anyone and he told a story about a woman faraway, in the third world. He'd unceremoniously paid for a makeshift abortion and put the whole thing behind him. Washed his hands, so to speak. What bothered me the most was his tone. He told it in the conspiratorial tone that the upper class uses to talk about homelessness, the way the Bush administration talked about those affected by Katrina. It’s unfortunate that they suffered, but they’re like those Guatamalan worry dolls; it’s their job to suffer for us. We whisper our problems to them, close the lid and go on with our lives. I couldn't help but wonder how the story would have been told differently if she was a college girlfriend, a friend of the family, someone more similar to him economically (and, perhaps, racially). And I was complicit. I felt thankful to be in his inner circle. I was in love. I think I might have asked what became of her, whether they were still in touch, then buried my subsequent uneasiness in the protection of being the one chosen for once, at least for awhile. But I wish I'd turned to him and said, she's me. It's what the 70’s feminists called sisterhood, and we can’t afford to dismiss their efforts on account of aesthetics. Women, girls, if you ever hear a man talking about disregarding a woman from his past, know that he’s talking about all of us. One way or another, it will come back around. What you do after taking this in is up to you. Walk out, run, or turn to him, take a deep breath and tell him what’s wrong. Who knows, maybe he’ll be strong enough to stick around to see what comes next. This hasn't happened yet in my experience, but I'm told such things are possible.