Sunday, December 23, 2007

DOAEN 16: Driving Your Monte Carlo

I drove you to the airport to make your red eye flight without knowing that you wouldn't leave that morning because everything was overbooked and you were rerouted via San Jose to Houston while I spent my weekend driving around in your Monte Carlo listening to the Eagles on your killer sound system, woofers in the trunk. I didn't care where I went, up and down the street to the supermarket, to the mall acting like I was looking for parking without pulling into a spot. You left me the keys and a full tank of gas. I thought about burning a stick of incense or spraying cologne on the dashboard but decided not to extrude my personal statement into your silver NASCAR look-alike. It's just that you weren't around to distract me from the smoke-smell and it got inside the underside of my gums and tooth cavity that was stitched up the week before with black thread. Now you're on medication to help you quit the habit, but it's not going according to plan which was a one-shot deal to walk out hypnotized, smoke-free, a new man. We all want somebody to fix us up, but it doesn't always happen that way. The only way I want to fix you is with me, although I must say that when I'd finished driving around I went upstairs and discovered I'd lost my favorite earring, the silver one with the topaz jewel on the end, and I'm hoping to find it inside your car.

DOAEN 15: Winter Break

Last night you read me your Declaration of Independence while I sat on the couch watching the Food Network with the sound turned down. All I could do was to listen, a goldfish whom you'd dumped out of her glass. I'd never heard you speak to me like that before. You told me to bug out of your life and how you were an adult and not some 14-year old girl and how you knew the difference between good and bad people and I was acting crazy and didn't know what I was talking about. That kind of stuff. I think you went on for 10 minutes while I sat there remembering who I was when I was your age and no one could tell me shit. I resented a bunch of grownups dictating what I should do and how I should do it when it was my life and I knew what I needed better than anyone else, and I was right. So my darling, we have reached that point with each other as I step aside to let you to make your own mistakes. I give you my blessing as you give me your own gifts, making me glad that I'm an older woman who's already learned the bittersweet lessons of the heart.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DOAEN 14: Tears Make us Who we Are

Daughter of my body, your eyes clogged with tears, I want to find the right combination of words to make it better. I don't know what to say. This is not the same as when you scraped a knee or lost a favorite sweater. Back in your middle school days, I watched you fit your heart back together with Super Glue after a week of sobbing in your room with the door shut. I stayed up with you when your father died as you emerged changed forever. His death placed you in a setting apart from your young peers forever. Now more loss, the injustice of an indifferent world, your love extracted from your arms to do jail time as you listen to the tide wash his voice through collect phone calls, his face a vision behind sealed glass. These days I watch another layer of sorrow seep into your eyes as you stand on a hillside like his own Red Cross. Daughter of my body, I recognize your loyal heart that scorns common wisdom. But I fear for you, while at the same time, I don't wish to confuse your love with my past loves, with the way I tried to rescue people in my lifeboat from diving into the surrounding grey waters. All I can say from my rusted iron perch is that our hearts heal, and tears soften us to who we must become.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

DOAEN 13: Strip Mall

Looking for a large number of bars to appear on my cellphone while I walk inside the strip mall doing research. All hands-on deck to install a new set of assumptions. Santa is scheduled to make an appearance through metal detectors.  Does he remove his belt buckle? Parking lots are full and I'm a Linux know-it-all who runs my open system next to yours. Hear me out. Projectionists say electronics are hot. Illusionists?

He: What do you want to buy today?
She: I don't know. What do you want to buy today?
He: I asked you first.
She: I asked you second.
He: Why so perturbed, my pet?
She: There are so many choices and so little time.
He: Buy now. Save later.
She: You think?

In the parking lot and there's a woman whose head is covered by a kerchief. She places  a 24-roll pack of toilet paper and jumbo jars of spaghetti sauce into the trunk of her car. Her children offer more packages. They speak a language that could be Farsi. Clouds meet at a central checkpoint, portending more rain?

Not so long ago, the sky fell over Baghdad. No one picked up the pieces. Not to worry. This is a level playing field. We all must show a receipt to to get past the surveillance cameras. Don't want to be arrested for shoplifting.

She: I'm sorry.
Woman with head covered: Miss?
She: I had nothing to do with it.
Woman with head covered: I miss you altogether.
She: I'm flattered.
Woman with head covered: Very kind of you.
She: I mean none of it was my fault.
Woman with head covered: I'm at a loss.
She: Here, use them next time. You can clip out coupons. (Holds up shopping flyer and points to the dotted lines.)

Voice over a Very Loud Speaker:  Shoppers, it's a great way to spend the afternoon. What you see before you is the top ten: Wal*Mart butting up against Sports Authority next to See's Candy next to Big O Tires. History lesson. The mall was built in the 1970's, a salt marsh where bugs shot the breeze with birds, Now look at this place. Nothing luxurious. Sure, the white parking dividers need to be repainted. It's not one of those big suburban malls, but it's our mall. Just like a home team that refuses to take steroids.

Enter Santa, parking lot left.

Music: Wyclef Jean, "Carnival, Vol. II"
What's Been Happening: Walk around Lake Merritt and PEN Oakland awards
On a Personal Level: Jefferson in Santa Rita, Mischa at home
Keywords: open hand set alliance

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

DOAEN 12: I Have So Much to Tell You

did I tell you how I feel when you towel me off from the shower like I'm nine years old and about to run downstairs to play? did I tell you how I can be hypnotized by your lips and then I don't listen to whatever it is you're saying? sometimes you smell from cigarettes but sometimes you smell like straw and clover, and did you know I smile to myself on the elevator because I can still feel you inside me? do you know I'd wear anything for you if you asked me to, as long as it wasn't alive, but even if it were, I know you'd make friends with it and feed it dinner? do you know my favorite time of evening is when you call? do you know I've spent more money on underwear since I've known you than I have in the last ten years? do you know how much I enjoy feeling your chest against my nipples and holding your head with my hands? did I tell you when you bought me gloves because my hands were cold I knew everything I needed to know about you in the Quik Stop? Do you know before I met you I believed love only happened to other people in this house near the coast that has brought me here with you with you into you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

DOAEN 11: Putha from Jammu

I'm Putha from a refugee camp in Jammu, which is in the southern part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. My family was part of a mass exodus from Kashmir in 1990 after violence aimed at Hindis. Whenever I looked out at night, I saw the pointed tops of canvas tents and the smell of cooking rice.

My father was an alcoholic. His job was to ensure that bodies were fully cremated. If children of the deceased weren't available, he pierced skulls with a sharp stick in a sacred Hindu rite. My mother married him at 14 and was never educated. But she didn't want me to have the same kind of life.

I can remember when I was seven and watching her carefully mix a half-cup of lentils in a pot of boiling water. She said, "You will grow up and get away from this place."

"Why would I want to go so far away from you, maataa?"

"You are such a stupid child." She added more water to the pot and stirred slowly. "Who wouldn't want to leave this hell hole? There is nothing here but sorrow."

My father usually came home at night drunk and as red as a chili. I did want to go somewhere else. But I didn't know how I could go.

I spent several more years growing up in our tent, collecting government-issued rice bags whenever they became available. I dragged them home because they were too heavy to carry. When I got a little older I'd walk around the edge of the camp until it became dark, and the lanterns from inside the canvas tents glowed with antique warmth.

On the weekend when my mother was busy cooking her few lentils, I'd walk to the central office where they stored our papers. But they also had a television set that was as big as a table. If I promised to be quiet, the manager, Sunil, let me have a lollypop and watch the programs. I always promised to be quiet. I was 12 years old.

I watched women on television dressed in long silk saris, lime green, purple, and saffron, with their hair brushed to the brilliance of a cascading waterfall. Their fingernails were long and red and they wore silver rings fashioned with the faces of gods and goddesses, walking in a trance inside a cave where they were waiting to find out by a tree trunk that grew inside the center of the universe what service the Lord Shiva wanted them to perform.

I'd sit in front of the television on a metal folding chair sucking my lollypop and sigh at how beautiful they were. Sunil would laugh. "A speck of dust longing after split logs."

"Look Sunil how beautiful they are. I want to look like that." Sunil was a grandfather with grey hair who was good to the kids living inside the camp.

"You are that beautiful now, my little raven," which is what he always called me. But the television programs filled me with longing.

One night when my mother had to go to the hospital to pick up my father, who had hit and cut his forehead on sharp glass, I remained inside the tent. I was bored. My eyes fell upon one of my father's empty bottles near his bed mat. It was a brown beer bottle. I picked it up and smelled its sourness and clasped it to my chest, feeling the hard glass against my breasts, which were beginning to bloom into pink hyacinths. It was a warm evening and the coolness of the bottle against my chest soothed me until I lay down and closed my eyes.

I hoped that my parents would return soon, but at the same time, I didn't want them to return. For I knew there would be a fight that would last throughout the evening. I kept rolling the bottle over my body, feeling the cool glass until it became warm like me. I placed it at my warmest place, my center, what my mother called my river stump. I felt a jolt inside my body that sent shivers down my arms.

Carefully, I nudged the lip of the bottle through the hole of my river stump and eased down over it. I knew now what the Lord Shiva wanted, and slowly began to stir the bottle with my hips the way my mother stirred lentils with a spoon, slowly and carefully, feeling the smoothness of the glass inside my own smoothness, adding my moans to the breath of the camp at night. For the first time, I felt a glow inside myself, a light from my own tent.

Yes, I could see that my mother was right. I needed to go far away from this place.

Friday, November 16, 2007

DOAEN 10: Fractals

Digits escape me as the digital world invades me. I am lucky to remember my social security number that places me bobbling on a sea of paper work. Soon it will end with a closed file.

On a good day, New Deal institutions linger in my mind like the Unisphere from the 1964/65 New York World's Fair in Flushing, Queens. Links of distant memory are excavated on the Internet. Memory is in remnants and I am a rag picker going through boxes.

My EuroDNA report indicates that my ancestors have lived for equal amounts of time in Northern and Southern Europe. I have acted out a similar migration path, living on both east and west coasts. I am not convinced that DNA is destiny. My geography is in fractals. I do not want my dreams to inhabit the linear world.

This morning the radio in the coffee shop played "Greensleeves." Donut holes, scones, buttermilk bars, and glazed crullers orbited around the flourescent light fixture. I stood in line wondering whether to buy a lottery ticket.

My life has been a series of movements in quarter time: civil rights, anti-war, women's, HIV and AIDS epidemics. Global warming and the environment. The half-off sale on democracy. The occupation of Palestine and the War in Iraq.

What is the sound of justice? This is a Zen koan.

Music: Abbey Lincoln, "Abbey Sings Abbey"
What's Been Happening: Pina Bausch
On a Personal Level: Motorcycle convention in San Mateo
Keywords: dreams (drama) on the other side of the door
whirlpool of further losses
face glued to the moment
awoke with a taste of soda in my mouth
the linear world does not inhabit me / I do not inhabit

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

DOAEN 9: Dream Therapy

I sit wearing one coat of red next to Carol who is doing someone else's nails. Shop stylists run past me for their next hair appointment or maybe for a quick stop to the bathroom.

Carol says: My daughter doesn't want to leave. She's terrified of Ms. Fontana, who's the substitute teacher there. She says, Mom, she yells alot. That's not good, a girl being scared of school. She's only six years old. She never used to be like that. She's always loved school. She's scared of leaving me. I stand there in the morning. She says, Mommy, I don't want to leave you. I talked to my landlord because her daughter's in the same class and she's having the same problem. So it's not just her. Her little girl doesn't want to leave her in the morning either. That's a terrible thing for a six year-old not to like school. We have to see if we can have them transferred from Ms. Fontana's class. Or maybe there's another substitute teacher. I can't stand Ms. Fontana. My girl never was afraid of her old teacher.

My nails are already chipped. I'm back at home now, dreaming of the colors blue and green outside my patio window that hold the trees and sky in a rapture I can only imagine. It must have something to do with love and the power of forgiveness, moving on with self-knowledge as a gyroscope. My son and daughter are green and I am sky blue. They are growing and I am expanding. The universe is always expanding, but scientists do not know at what rate.

At the center of the universe there's a crossroads where everything has been reduced to the common denominator of commerce. It's all in the numbers. A sort of Star Wars intergalactic bar where everyone can dig the dirt, music, and the action. A man sits there with a peaceful look on his face like he's been masturbating for the last half hour. Off to the left, there's a store where you can find row after row of international best sellers that can be translated into any language. There's one case of slightly more literary and less formulaic books. They cost more. The numbers keep these books in their place.

Through a Romanesque arch, there's the snack area with beverages, mostly flavored waters in different colors, plus drugs and toiletries for those who have run out of cold or sinus remedies, vitamins, immune system boosters, or just a standard pair of nail clippers. They're there. Magazines and newspaper are loaded on throw-away minicomputer screens with profiles about the latest candidates and why they are any better or different or more attractive than the next person on the overhead flat TV screen. Or for those who need to buy a gift, there's an assortment of mugs, t-shirts, shot glases, tote bags, or paraphenalia from the local sports teams. Be prepared to spend more.

For me, I'd like to rent a sleep cubicle for a week and listen to the conversations of people as they pass through this area. So what if my children are off and doing there own things. Because once obsessed, always obsessed. The particulars are a matter of focus.

Music: Lou Reed, "The Raven"
What's Been Happening: Return from Matthew's bar mitzvah
On a Personal Level: at home with a cold
Keywords: dream therapy, pre-approved

Monday, November 5, 2007

DOAEN 8: Good-bye Miz Pele de Lappe

You showed me photographs of Frieda Kahlo and told me how you used to lie on a bed together and draw each other naked. All your shelves were filled with books and your walls with pictures, every inch was covered with your lithographs and political cartoons, newspaper clippings, bulletin boards, and later, with the canvases of your lover, Byron Randall. You sketched characters with your tongue. Every month you traveled to San Jose and visited your son in the looney-bin. You sailed across the Atlantic in a merchant marine ship. We both loved Archy and Mehitabel written by Don Marquis about Archy, a cockroach with the soul of a poet, and Mehitabel, an alley cat who claimed she was Cleopatra in a previous life. You named one of your cats Archy, and had a garden with a stone walk-way. Decca Mitford was your lucky card. Everyone was your friend. Once you had a face-lift because you didn't want to develop a turkey neck like your mother. You had fights with a lover in prison. Your cooking pots hung from a pegboard in the kitchen. You threw parties every New Years Day where people crowded along the staircase drinking and eating your good food and snaked out the front door. You edited my copy until I became humble. Your daughter played jazz in New York City and then in Woodstock. Blue was your favorite color, translucent silk scarves tied at your neck. You choose to to be a part of history, documented time in a sketchbook, told me stories and jumped on jazz keys with a lithographer's stone.

It's not about black and to white.
It's about wrong and right.
Reverend Chicken Wing
He was sitting behind the counter of a store with the lights off
The TV's never on anymore in the locker room.
A knat on the windshield.
Joe Cocker

Thursday, November 1, 2007

DOAEN 7: Quoting Folks

"Much in the week of rollers passed along my head, and porridge it was also. It finished to only fill kontentom the newly-made RU- project, as it shaded me thinking to inspect the thickets of vordpressa and to look what interesting in it still there is. Site simply was not opened. And something in the region of heart began at that moment, it recalled suddenly besprobludnye nights after kompom, sorting out kontent, line after the line, each word should have been verified and corrected, while friends pull beer and wenches. Now I do ask in all, whom I can - knows who, as this to restore and to correct? In the furnace of dialap, Ancient Chinese. Recently I rummage in the Russian pit."

The above is not from a character in Anthony Burgess' "Clockwork Orange," but a portion of a blog entry written by a 27-year old Webmaster and translated through the online auspices of Babelfish. And while the translation service did its best to render the Russian into intelligible English, what remains is something mongrel, pit bullish, some quality of a Russian landscape lined with porridge and thickets. Bears do not sleep in autumn here, which is where I fit in.

As I now possess black leather pants together with a black leather motorcycle jacket that contains as many zippers and pockets as Marlon Brando's in "The Wild One," I decided to do battle with the local parking police at UC Berkeley and to attend the 11th Mario Savio Memorial Lecture. I rode no motorcycle nor wore my leather attire because I didn't want to draw attention unbeknownst, but walked into Pauley (now King) Ballroom together with clearly 1,000 other people, thinking about the car I had illegally left behind with my AC Transit badge on the dashboard. Drums ratcheted outside of Zellerbach Auditorium. Food wagons were still parked on Telegraph Avenue, one week before we turn back the hands of time, serving chicken kababs and burritos. Or I could be a Webmaster in Moscow wrestling with kontentkom?

But no, I sat in the front on the wooden floor to the right of the microphone where two young people were given a "Young Activist of the Year Award," but since in the interest of saving trees no programs were printed, and I can't guarantee the correct spelling of their names so bearish kindly with me. Patricia Colours (sp??), 24 and from Los Angeles, a member of The Labor/Community Strategy Center, a multiracial "think tank/act tank," and Christopher Goodman (sp??), 19 and from Baltimore, who is demonstrating in Annapolis with others for "quality education as a constitutional right," both speaking to a national movement led by young people, and how the system is "intentionally miseducating black and brown youth by underfunding our school systems."

Shadows clogged around the edge of the room move to the front -- Fanny Lou Hamer, John Brown, Fred Hamptom, Jonathan Jackson, Asada Shakur, Elaine Brown, Cesar Chavez and other freedom fighters.

Standing ovations on behalf of both young people and now one of the former leaders of the Free Speech Movement, Bettina Aptheker, speaking in the deep voice of a thousand lectures, introduces the evening words, Angela Davis, Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz and life long teacher, writer, and political activist. Her talk is on "From Jim Crow to Guantanamo: Prisons, Democracy and Empire," all in 40 minutes.

Angela invokes the spirit of Antonio Gramsci who was an a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy, writing in his prison notebooks about culture and politics. Gramsci wrote (she, Angela said), "that the pessimism of the intellect must be balanced by the optimism of the will," kindly words in these days when we are being Bushwhacked and Schwartezeneggered here in California with the largest prison system in the country. But Angela, her hair slightly tinted golden, dressed in black standing at the podium, representing a link to that not-so-distant past of social activism says, "as disheartening as our contemporary situation appears, it could be worse."

Angela says that without the people who have come before us, we would not have "the imagination to struggle."

She is fighting for prison abolition. She is working with other organizations to create a different notation of justice. She is imagining this. It's in her head.

I go back outside again as a clump of young people form around Angela to help stop the bleeding. There is always Keats and a ticket on my car. Right away, I didn't look to see for how much.

Monday, October 29, 2007

DOAEN 6: The Bottom Line

I keep reminding myself to vist FemiMacus and write a check for the $25.00 that I owe them for last week's pedicure. Remarkably, they do not accept ATM or credit cards and I had no checks with me at the time, having finished writing all my monthly bills and since I do not subscribe to an online banking service, my last Luddite holdout because for some reason I am convinced that my account numbers will be hacked by hucksters; well, you know what I'm trying to say here. I'm feeling guilty and need to go by Park Avenue one day this week to clear both my name and reputation from the soapy registers of local manicure parlors.

"What's the big deal," you maybe ask. Black marks weigh heavily upon my personal credit rating. And I can't stop being a throwback to another century when there were standards of acceptable behavior that weren't updated online every hour by the local Webmaster. Certain precepts were chiseled in stone way back then: the Ten Commandments, the golden mean about doing unto others, playing fair and square, and so forth, phrases that are broken links now to another seemingly innocent place and time. Now I keep up, subscribing to lists so I can stay abreast of new content. I also read daily cascades of email that arrive at no special hour in my ever expanding and contracting mailbox that would overwhelm the Queen of Contractions, Martha Graham. I am on an unending treadmill that ceases only when I deliberately refuse to take my laptop along for the ride, which doesn't happen often, because I actually enjoy this electronic high.

"So what are you whining about?" you maybe ask. Well, I'm not so much whining as reflecting, which was Hamlet's big hang-up although he lacked a good Sunday morning breakfast like myself of coffee, eggs and potatoes. It's what I do best, given my job that keeps me in front of a computer for most of the day with occasional breaks for rides on the elevator. But today isn't like that at all, Virginia. Today I'm thinking about my weekend, this unbelievable thing that has happened in my life which stands outside the doors of email. Something that has caused me to believe that love possibly can exist in this world, or that maybe I've done enough leg work and taken a sufficient number of Pilates classes to know the real thing when I feel it, which is my bottom line.

To be continued (I hope).

Music: None
What's Been Happening: the weekend
On a Personal Level:
the weekend

DOAEN 5: Creating the Links

Maybe Jerusalem needs to wait. After all, I have to request time off from work, and then there's the Oral History Association that's having its 41th Annual Meeting here in Oaktown. Downtown at the Marriott where there are apples for the picking at the front desk for the asking you get a smile and directions up the escalator to where everything's happening in a honeycomb of rooms. It's autumn in New York except it's the Bay Area and trees are shifting their color palette, and I laugh to recall when I first moved here I couldn't tell autumn from madam, but now it's obvious with light changing and Southern California burning, more than 500,000 residents being evacuated from their homes and President Bush and the Gobernator surveying the damage from private helicopters. More political spectacle.

Tony from FemiMacus where I sat today getting a pedicure, my favorite part is the end when my foot becomes a candle dipped into wax, said that his twin girls are up from the University of San Diego and my daughter says that her friend from San Diego State has taken refuge in one of the UC Davis dorms. Some people say that the corporations have deliberately burned down Southern California the way New Orleans was sacrificed to the Crips & and Bloods, but I'm still witholding judgment myself, someone who subscribes to the Wall Street Journal and watches how Rupert Murdoch is needling the NY Times about their low stock evaluation and inability to balance their portfolio, someone who's been working with a web team from Chevron these last several weeks since my employer, AC Transit, is testing 22 biodiesel and gas-to-liquid fuel buses for the next six months. I get to create the links. At the Oral History workshop this afternoon on the Problem of Place in Post-Holocaust Life, Shana Penn said that in today's Poland there are Jewish Identity Crisis Hotlines for young people who are trying to connect the dots. Walking back to work from the Marriott, I passed City Hall, the second day of demonstrations against police brutality. People chanted, "No justice, no peace." There was a police officer on the opposite side of the street and I waited for the light to turn green before I crossed, despite my New York inclination to go whenever I see an opening, I didn't want to openly flaunt his authority. But given the demonstration, I probably could've gotten away with it.

Music: Herbie Hancock, "River, the joni letters"
What's Been Happening: sending out Halloween cards to the kids of my nieces and nephews
On a Personal Level: fighting a cold
Bay Area Aerosol Heritage Assn.
the hinge generation
a foreigh tourist who speaks the language

DOAEN 4: The Harvard Moon Does Not Shine on Me

I need coverage as I duck between cars and hide from breaking news that rains over me in casualties and partial prisoner swaps. I'm roaming. From meeting to meeting I hear the same thing. It's falling apart. It's going to pieces. There's no hiding from media blab living here our own condos stocked with emergency blow-up rations for the Big One. Where we're entitled to have our own opinions, but none of the facts, which makes us stupid and fat and lazy and very monolingual. I genre to the best of my ability and try to make it work. What else can I do? That's all we can do. So I rename myself. I am now DoAnne after my blog entries which rhymes with Joanne who has a large chain of fabric stores named after her, at least here in the Bay Area where the autumnal rains have arrived early and the fog sits in ruffles over the Bay like a bag of soggy potato chips that someone has spilled on the table. So I intend to repattern myself. I'm not sure what that means except I know it will require a trip to the store and that makes me happy because I've been born and bred to be a good consumer. But will the civic center hold, a question probed by Alexis de Tocqueville some time ago when Benjamin Franklin held the winning hand and the new nation didn't want to hear about it. Still doesn't. But I'm getting too old to just sit around and let the grains of sand run out, even Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz knew she had to fly with the monkies, so I vow as Big Momma of the Empty Nesters to fight for truth and justice and the Palestinian state. Then maybe to find a way as a diaspora Jew to understand the humor of a God who does this number about the "chosen people," puts us through hell for thousands of years to burn off any impurities, fixes us up in a nice little place to have Israel become as vile and intolerant as the next country. Feh! What kind of plague is this? So I spend time on the Internet fishing around for the cheapest round-trip ticket to Jerusalem and then go to the store to get a strong cup of coffee. When I see my friend sitting in the cafe, I feel better.

Music: Frank Black, "Teenager of the Year"
What's Been Happening: Monday
On a Personal Level: Coordinating daughter's birthday weekend
where the miles are
genre to the best of your ability
Harvard moon
partial prisoner swap

DOAEN 3: Identity Theft

I sit on the couch reading books with the cats purring beneath the living room table as the dishwasher thrashes in the background, turn the page and realize I haven't watched television for a week. How long has it been? Open the refrigerator and there's several jars of pickles on the side door that face nothing else. I turn on the television, just to make sure I have the right remote attitude. Later that very same week when I realized I hadn't watched television, I bought a pair of black leather pants online and wore them for real because now I am Bad Momma of the Empty-Nesters.

Where did she come from hidden in Purdah all those years of Motherhood, which was its own special trip? But suddenly she's more recognizable, this woman who always has been my drive and my friend, who wishes to realize her obsessions through me. I feel okay about being a vehicle for someone else's obsessions. I'm a woman, aren't I? But that doesn't mean I have to like it. On the other hand I think it would be more correct to say that I have a gay relationship with myself, and like any good one (Benny Goodman), we're always working on it together. I heard growing up that if you can't love yourself, you can't really love someone else. Which has been my starting point. It's just that I haven't gotten very far.

Music playing: Dance of the Dead
What's been happening: Symposium at UC Berkeley "Continuous Bodies" performance, Space and Technology
On a Personal Level: More of the same :>}
Key Words:
call center operators
identity theft
data surveillance
sell some books from inside a trench coat

DOAEN 2: The Big Leave

Almost an entire week has gone by since she's left for college, and today is payday with one of those virtual pieces of paper slipped beneath the door that says a certain amount of money has been deposited on my behalf into a bank account. What's important is that the money is there and not particularly how it got placed there, but even as I write those words I shudder as I hear the moral implications of my statement which sounds entirely too Machiavellian although I understand that the M-guy got a bad rap and his world view was actually more than the end justifying the means which is how his writing has been handed down throughout the ages although his emphasis on the skill of applying morality to practical political life lesser so the case and I think of Arnold Schwartzenegger and wish him success in brokering a Northwest passage of medical insurance in the state of California particularly to further the national discourse on the issue. Last night I heard Immaculee Ilibagiza speak at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, author of "Left to Tell," story of how she survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994 by hiding in a 4 by 6 foot bathroom for 91 days with seven other women and went on to develop a profound personal relationship with God, faith, and hope for the survival of the planet in the midst of brutalizing war. Even her name with all those Is and As rolls off the English-speaking tongue like some dazzling miracle on a Cirque du Soleil scale with visceral joy and beauty, which seems to be the kind of thing human beings respond to from the center of our beings, and there's nothing virtual about it.

My daughter is at college. I'm here and my memories of her are real.

DOAEN 1: Pictograph

I think writing with a typewriter or a pencil was a different kind of writing, more physical, while writing with a computer eliminates a tactile energy that goes into forming words by pressing a pen to paper or by striking the hammer of a keyboard; with the computer I hear the sound of words in my head, which makes laptop writing a more private affair happening within a small theater that sits a half foot away from me with fewer mechanical interruptions having to do with inserting paper and rolling it on a platen; it's more about the flow of words on a screen, which in some ways makes the creation of meaning more direct, faster, but how has that changed anything, a question from an empty nester at a time when I can indulge in such thoughts listening to jazz playing after midnight rather than deciding to make a sandwich for lunch tomorrow, not that I was ever a sandwich maker. I got as far as peanut butter and jelly and then stopped. But on the other hand, writing letters was always easy, and I can remember learning language, which is what took me to forming letters like some iconography of my soul.