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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Fate would have it that in the last two days I've paid good money to see both SUPERMAN RETURNS and MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND. And the heat wave is over, so I can't even blame it on the need for AC.

Both movies amused me, (the later more in ways that seemed intentional on the part of the writers/directors) and both disturbed me. They came out at roughly the same time, so one could not be a direct parody of the other, but MY SUPER EX certainly plays on the superman story. When not saving the city from missiles, (or men from dangling off the statue of liberty) G-Girl (Uma Thurman) is disguised as a mousy brunette with glasses and an alliterative name. The similarities don't end there. Both super-exes take their love interest on a flying trip over the city, although G-Girl's flight laughs in the face of metaphor as she coaxes (perhaps too gentle a word) a weary Matt (Luke Wilson) into getting it on as they dip and swirl over Broadway. Superman's trip w/ Lois seems more to show off his importance; he sweeps her off a roof to give her an aerial view of all the people who need him. Both also stalk their exes. Superman flies over to the house where Lois and her new boyfriend and child live and uses his superpowers to eavesdrop on their conversation. G's tactics are less subtle, and involve showing up at his place of employment, stealing his car and throwing sharks through his window.

Their respective relationships are different too. G turns Matt down when he initially asks her out, but develops a crush on him after he tries to help her when a man steals her purse. "I help people all the time," she says, "but nobody had ever helped me." Unfortunately, she got involved with an emotionally unavailable man who had not yet come to terms with his love for someone else. Superman, on the other hand, is returning after some time on Krypton aligning his chakras and apparently expects he can just pick up with Lois where things left off. She, however, has moved on--with Richard, a hapless co-worker she has somehow convinced is the father of her child. The child, (who looks about 11 but is only given lines like "You're bald!," "Who are you?" and "I like him!") is also convinced Richard is his father, which is his saving grace, as his real father (SM) only has time to slither in through his window while he's sleeping and whisper passages from Robert Bly in his little ear. His mother, meanwhile, forgets to pick him up at school and drags him with her as she walks into super-villains' homes. It's no wonder the kid walks around clutching an inhaler when he could be throwing pianos and breaking locks.

The real difference between the two is that while G-Girl is a joke, a craaazy (but HOT!) ex-girlfriend, SM is still purported to be a hero. Or is he? Clearly both movies play with the state of affairs between genders. Clearly most of us think a man looks silly in tights. But what are we supposed to do with a movie where the same man who saves the world from giant meteors abandons a pregnant woman and then re-inserts himself into her new life? Is that the moral ambivalence of the new American male the New York Times was talking about a couple months ago? And what about Richard--is he a saint or a fool for playing taxi driver to his partner while she visits the man she really loves? He is the "good man," loyal, reliable and supportive, and what does he get for it? He is robbed of the truth about his own life.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I'm teaching a bunch of high school students up at Columbia this week, so not in the most poetic of moods, and yes, it's HOT in New York. The kind of hot where people on the street look slightly desperate and apocolyptic. I'm back at M's now, (in the AC zone) but still feel heat rising off my skin.

Here are some websites I've been enjoying of late:

this (for sick humor)
and this (for soulful witticisms and perspective)

Also, saw a literary star-studded reading at Galapagos last night, through the progressive reading series. Much to my surprise, it was hosted by my ex, who is apparently in town from California. It was only a matter of time before such a run-in took place and it was surprisingly normal, a little chilly, anti-climactic. The highlight for me was Paula Fox, who looked a little like a librarian in her sweet floral dress and (as Coles pointed out) elegant legs and stilled the room with her fiercely serious angrogynous voice. I'm not totally sure what was going on in her novel, (there's a woman who's called a heretic, a stolen dying baby...) but there were a couple of lines that gave me that top of my head coming off sensation. Something about love and hate, hating the baby because of the way she loved it, that voice speaking through you kind of truth you can't turn away from.

Also, I'm going to be teaching poetry at this cool new space in September.

The only other news really, is that I keep thinking about my friend Joaquin's apartment, which I saw for the first time the other night. It is quite possibly the most beautiful city home I've ever seen, a spacious floor through with clean lines and bleached floors and original art by friends and family on the walls. Money helps. The best part though, as M. pointed out, is that it seems to be designed to nourish the desire to MAKE more cool stuff...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Happy Birthday to Malinda Markham,

sorceress with words, creator of magical glass worlds:


The girl throws fruit at the squirrels. They dodge
and do not approach. The picnic was fine,
there was tea and sweet milk. Watermelon and salt,
that's how the men like it. Children put olives
on their fingers and dropped them on the ground.
This is the path. They must be waiting for us
over that hill. Night reels itself in.
First color drains from the trees, then stars
are drawn across the grass and away.
It is summer, and children can play outside
until dawn. They cannot.
Night birds awaken and stitch the leaves shut
with their cries. Trees breathe at the periphery.
Sing night songs, and the dolls go to sleep.
The ceramic teapot fell off a rock and burst
into stars. See, there is light now. We tell all the stories
we know. Gather the pieces,
you must gather the pieces. All will be well.
We are pirates and tie the dolls up. Muted leaves
billow like sails. Bees halo around the young boy's head.
I did love you so, the girls says, and turns
into a small crop of fern. This time,
the pineapple is sweet. The children divide it,
breaking off chunks with their hands. Asleep,
the fox curls into its ribs. This is not grief.
There is no evidence that animals can feel.
The pineapple is sweet, why will you not eat it?
The day is not so far yet away.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When in the Course of Human Events...

When they read the Declaration of Independence on NPR yesterday, I couldn't help but hear it as the American People speaking to the current administration:

...He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power...

Later, on a williamsburg roof, the hipsters would occasionally pause from their cynical, unimpressed ooohhhs and ahhhhs at the pretty simulated war powdering the new york skyline to wave to national security, circling overhead with searchlights...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Abeer Qasim Hamza

for now, just wanted to remember that name.