Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The double-zeros

I started with a party and am ending the same way.

I began with a wandering heart and wound up madly in love.

I set off with dreams and went out to achieve them.

Bring on the teens.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Adam, horrified

"The fact that she may actually be getting some dick and that she's working really hard to be the most cat lady that she can be ..."

Friday, December 25, 2009


Hanging out with my boy and my kitty. Fun fruitcake adds to it. Ask me for the recipe.

Merry Christmas to all my favorite goyim. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Fam at the Farm


It was a rip,
an expulsion.
It was a birth.
There was no choice
but to accept paralysis
at bedside:

Wish you were here
did not begin
to cover it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today's writing

It is perhaps most strongly felt in dreams.

Within that smeary half-landscape something peels away, something else pokes out an ugly head, waves a warning finger.

I am rendered mute by abandonment. I am blindsided by loss.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A hero lies in you

I'm working at a tea shop in Russian Hill, reading up on commercial-backed mortgage securities. Mariah Carey's "Hero" comes on. I remember my father telling me that that song gave him strength during the divorce. I don't find this funny because it wasn't meant to be.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This morning

I had one of my dreams. "I do this to myself," I said.

Adam said: "I beg to differ."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adam on Tiger

"Apparently it's too hard to play golf and not fuck other women. Aren't you glad I don't play golf?"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Adam, 7:18 a.m.

"There are way too many people who will argue against you for you to argue against yourself."

Why is accessibility a bad thing?

I've been having a debate with a former MFA colleague about this article. In it, author Joan Houlihan argues that accessibility in poetry is killing the form:

(An accessible poem) is a poem we can understand. Immediately. We feel no drive to delve. It is not a poem we need to analyze. There are no pesky layers of meaning. What you see is what you get.

Houlihan bats at poets such as Billy Collins and Ellen Bass:

In some ways, such writing is worse than that which obfuscates and fancy-dances in order to create a dazzling surface, a distraction from its basic emptiness of content or intellect. The (too-obvious) meaning in a Bass poem cannot compensate for the lack of a dazzling surface.

Houlihan can keep her academic snobbery. It's a major contributor to the sad fact that many people loathe poetry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A "real job"

A friend congratulated me on getting a "real job."

A real job? Haven't I been doing a real job for the better part of a decade?

No one can tell me freelancing's not a job. It's one of the hardest jobs I can imagine having. You make your own structure, your own schedule. You are ultimately responsible for ... everything.

And it's rewarding. Oh, it's rewarding as hell.

Full-time telecommute combines the best aspects of everything: the freedom of freelancing plus the security of full time. That said, it is no more real than any other way I've made a living.

New position, familiar territory

I'm thrilled to announce that next week I will start work as News Editor for Commercial Property Executive, which has relaunched. I worked for CPE's former incarnation, Commercial Property News, and am happy to be back!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

From my Czech piece

There was a reason Jaroslav called Mama and Tata your family, a reason he refers to them by the Czech names for Grandma and Grandpa. They are warm like that, protective. You can see Tata kneeling to teach a young boy how to ride a bike. Mama is an awesome cook. I know because she’s left me a plate of dinner and dessert and puking or not, I’ve managed to chow it all down.

Yet in all the warmth there is a chilly streak. That streak is me.

When Mama and Tata hugged me goodnight, I fought the urge to push them backward. Each time they smiled at me, indulgent and protective, I wanted to cry out: You don’t know me! Why do you care? Let me alone!

More than anything, I want to punish myself, put my head through the bathroom mirror, cut my wrists with the dull butter knife until the blood reluctantly comes. You want someone to treat you like shit? Here you go.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Never been the same

Something changed after I got home from MacDowell: I became truly aware that Oliver's health needed to be watched and managed.

While I was in Boston, Adam told me he wasn't eating as much as usual. We switched food type, but to no avail. When I got home, he wasn't his typical self. I knew it the minute I walked in the door and picked him up.

Three days later he had 215 ml of fluid drained from around his lungs.

That first week afterward, I thought he may not make it. It all depended on whether he responded to the medication that would reduce the fluid -- helping the heart, but not the kidneys. He did respond. It's been two months. But every time he twitches -- literally -- I freak out.

It's never been the same. It will never be the same. Some days it's harder to accept.

I'm thinking of the day after the fluid was drained. Our vet saw what she thought were three nodules on his lung (turns out two were just congestion, which cleared up; who knows what the third one is) and diagnosed it as cancer. (Two months later, I'm not quite convinced, and neither were the other vets he's seen since.) I asked what his prognosis was. She said: "Not good."

After we hung up, I sat in the sun next to him and bawled. Then I did something even harder than having to listen to the diagnosis: I called Adam. I kept saying over and over: "I'm sorry."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Adam, when I asked him to check in on Oliver

"Of course. I'll give him a bunch of treats and scratch his prostate."

Abandoning the Planet

The Abandoned Planet bookstore is closing. I had a burrito for lunch. The Mission feels flat and windswept today, a winter victim. This song wants me to hold my prayers. Perhaps I'll listen.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinking Jewishly

A major part of my reason for taking the Introduction to the Jewish Experience class was to learn more about a religion that has both always and never been mine.

Last night Rabbi Adar told us that much of the purpose of the class was to help us find our own place in Judaism -- to identify our individual interests. Mine are:

1) Judaism and meditation
2) Sex, love, romance and marriage in Jewish life
3) Bacon.

I plan to pursue these in the future.

What did you expect?

My mother tells the story of the snake and the savior (not The Savior; we're Jewish). This person rescues a sick snake and nurses it back to health. As soon as the snake is well, it bites the person. As the person is dying from his wounds, he says: "But why?"

"I'm a snake," the creature says. "What did you expect?"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Little Beater

Since we bought Ringo last night, it looks like my 1989 Toyota Corolla is getting sold back to the state for $1000.

It's not an opportunity I can pass up. Who else is giving to give me a grand for a 20-year-old car with a hole in the roof? (Don't ask, or better yet, ask Adam.)

I bought that car in August 2004 as I was starting grad school at St. Mary's. I was single then and living in Oakland. I needed to replace my Celica convertible. I'd beaten the thing to all hell and I needed a reliable car to get to school.

Enter Little Beater. I bought her for $1500 from an extremely responsible girl named Erin. The car was in gorgeous shape for a vehicle that old. I've only put 40,000 miles on her in the past five years. I've driven her to Los Angeles several times and San Diego once -- I think, but am not sure. We've been to Reno together, Santa Cruz too.

She was one of the last decisions I would make on my own. Last night Adam asked me if I needed more space to make unilateral decisions.

"I left for a month in September," I said. "And two weeks in July. If that isn't unilateral, I don't know what is."

Still, I'm going to miss Little Beater. Lord knows I don't want to be single again, but those days were fun.

Blues for Roberto

It’s an ugly circus, to leave you again.
It’s a carnival act: bound, chained
underwater in a glass tank, near-drowned,

I’ve gotten free. I’m incredible.
I’ve gotten so good I’m terrible.
Bring on the elephants, their great legs hobbled.

Bring on a lion, I’ll feed it my head.
Bring a small scrap of paper to wipe up the blood.
I’ll hang myself from the high wire, nude…

Once you loved me, but walked away.
Once was too often, for a girl like me—
Since then I’ve made you pay and pay.

Don’t call me, ever. I’ll tell you I’m sorry.
Don’t call me, I tell you; it’s boring, boring
always to leap to the end of the story.

And this is the end. I’m leaving town.
This is the end: the tents torn down,
the animals making caged animal sounds.

Kim Addonizio