The Battlefield Where the Girls Say I Love You

That's just the thing: we will never tell you we love you. In fact, we're here only to hold hands across state lines and yell at the world. We're here to try to touch you across this chasm of flown things. Not even that. At most, I will teach you how to make a gin smoothie when there's nothing left in the house. Hannah can teach you several languages and what to do when your car breaks up with you. Thanks for coming out.

Monday, June 30, 2008

something's better than nothing. i suppose...

an old guy just tipped me with a mood ring. it's on my first finger. a gleaming, electric, cobalt blue. i feel like i'm in a cheesy dolphin painting.

more this evening. we promise.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dear Mamie:

This day, you were born. And because of this, I owe you a love letter. I just stared at my screen for a full twenty minutes, drumming my fingertips on the table.

This guy just walked in, and I was all, “I hope he drinks his coffee here because I’d way rather stare openly at him than write this post.” Then I realized that we know him, and that you declared him hot a full five years ago. And I felt a combination of guilt and annoyance. Damn you, and your presence everywhere.

This past weekend should have been spent in Greenville and in case I didn’t make it clear by sobbing, I have never regretted more being so far away. As in, I wish I could have been there in person last night to have heard your sister say to you, “Oh my god, in that knit dress I can totally see your ass cheeks moving. Separately.”

Instead, I ran into someone who remarked that he’d never have a chance with a girl like you. And then he asked me out.

This is not the best train of thought to generate my more tender (gross, sorry) feelings for you. But I know how you love for me to talk about you, so. This past year has been, in many ways, a train wreck for both of us. But it’s the truth that I would never have made it, had you not distracted me with your shouts and abuse. Hard to curl up in a ball and deny the world, if someone calls you at 7am to say sweet nothings like, “You’re pathetic. You’re the worst friend ever.” Or to panic about isolation if, as you’re talking about it, your best friend just hangs up on you. None of this will, or should, make sense to anyone else, but you know the way to my heart: abuse and inconsistency. And of course the fact that behind it all beats the biggest and most generous heart. Am typing v. fast now to get this over with. You make me laugh when I’m pretty sure jumping is the best idea. That’s it. That’s all you get.


Monday, June 23, 2008

exhibits A and B

exhibit A:

out of all our lipstick lesbian olan mills shots, this one is the best. shot in my childhood best friend anne-elizabeth's new nursery.

let's just say: as kids, anne-elizabeth drove to tryon each morning at 5 am to shovel shit to earn money for a horse. she's been known to spit tobacco. once, i caught her getting out of her F-350 at a gas station in NC...preparing to buy dorals, boiled peanuts, and a jelly doughnut.

which is why the nursery is so funny. pink and beige walls. pink UGG boots. a glass tear drop chandelier. twenty plus smocked dresses and monogrammed booties for a baby that will not be born until august...

most importantly, i learned this at the baby shower: BUMBO!!!!!!
bumbos are baby coozies. not coozies for the bottle. an ACTUAL coozie that you sit your baby in. like a bean bag chair. the little person just sort of conforms to the shape. it even comes in a shade called "lilac."

exhibit B:

my mother's been keeping a very large birthday present for me in my sister's old bedroom at home. which has made me crazy with curiosity. a bike? a chaise lounge?

well, they all came to my place tonight....

it's an ironing board. a very NICE ironing board. and, as my nephew unwrapped my birthday presents as i sipped gruner veltliner, we unraveled something else. they bought me a very NICE michael kors piece of luggage.

only, i told hannah this tonight and discovered...she has the very same one. so, this post is quite cyclical, actually. we will be the cutest matching lipstick lesbian couple on our flight to...


tell me about it, morgy.

needless to say, my older sister's karma is that she gave birth to me. me on girlpowerdivanessandwit steroids. so, the above is a physical representation of how morgan feels today. she's sick. it hurts in her "throat and the middle of my brain." which must suck. also, she wants to color but will only color along the right hand side of the notepad. she's even, apparently, inheriting my OCD.

my own house is making me stupid, the adult form of sick. i can't work here. am only able to watch the secret diary of a call girl and the soup. my greatest ambitions here are to unload the dish washer and frame my seamus heaney print. but i must critique the thirty-four poems my students gave to me friday. by tomorrow.

so i go out for a drive. and there's no better time than the four-dollars-a-tank present. only, in the outback, i have two emotional temperatures warring with one another: one begs to blare l'il wayne's "lollipop" and M.I.A's "paper planes" (thanks to the seniors who exposed me to it). the other is listening to "if it's the beaches," by the avett brothers, and crycrycrying.

finally, i settle on the sushi bar. for a glass of red wine (to which i am allergic) and some edamame. my eyes cross after working on four poems. it feels like i've crossed out the word "abyss" 800 times. i turn to the outlining of a nonfiction piece i'm forever outlining and not writing.

the jacked up bartender says:

"you know what's cool about you?"

it's rhetorical, and yet i look at him, annoyed.

"everyone else seems to come here to rock out hard."

i stare at him, trying to keep my eyes open. the men beside me take shots of "gran mon."

"but you, you come to relax. it's SO WEIRD."

in the background: a singer-songwriter covering matchbox twenty...

Thursday, June 19, 2008


a prelude: hannah is somewhere rolling her eyes.

so, earlier in the week the boyfriend made mention of cooking dinner. something to the effect of, "you're off wednesday night? i'm off wednesday night. maybe i'll cook." i mean, it was that casual. as in, we might stay in. just as easily, we might go out and play darts.

i should have known. there were clues that dinner wouldn't be chicken and rice. one: he's a chef. but two: as i stepped out of the house at 6:15 for a faculty reading, he was coming in...with about a thousand shopping bags for just as many grocers. and, inexplicably, sake.

when i got home he said, "perfect timing. i'm just about to plate the first course." seriously.

the menu:

I. heirloom and melon salad, served with fresh goat cheese, mixed greens, sunflower seeds, and a lemon thyme vinaigrette

II. tuna, served rare, rolled in sesame seeds. over cabbage, garlic and shallot slaw. topped with honsemheji* mushrooms

III. seared rack of lamb, served with a vegetable hash

IV. strawberry mochi (kinda like ice cream) topped with peaches and cream

and i, i contributed a bag of ice.

*i asked bo--no lie--eleven times what kind of mushrooms they were. then, i woke him up this morning at 6:45 (when i was walking out the door) and asked him again. then, i just sort of stared at him sleeping. not in a creepy way. as in, this motherf*cker gets to sleep for FOUR more hours. which made me want to punch him in the stomach.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

what light

*click on individual pics to blow them up

in equally divine matters: i'm heading to greenville this weekend to celebrate mamie's bday with her. i can't wait to be there already, with her falling sideways into rose bushes... because right now, she's doing that micro-managing thing she's always talking about her mother doing. except, she's totally oblivious to doing it.

mame: i don't micro-manage.

me: you just told me when to come, as in what hour i needed to leave wilmington. i'm going to blog about how micro-managing you are.

mame: just as long as you open with...

me: i can't hear you because i just hung up.

earlier that day...

me, upon hearing the bloop-bleep sound of a fancy car: what's that noise? did a car just honk at you?

her, from her outback: no, it's me. see, my car's just like me. it thinks it's a lamborghini.

yeah. and there was this one time i may have slept with a bookmark they signed.

about a half hour ago, i woke to alarms coming from one condo over. kate, my neighbor, had fallen asleep with black beans and rice on the stove. sweet kid, but she's clearly going to kill us all before it's over.
so other than a glass of hibiscus tea and octavio paz, watching avett videos on youtube is the only thing that makes me feel sleepy and safe. (what? the boyfriend's out having a man date with seven of his friends.)
so, here 'tis: your monthly avett fix.
i choose this one not because scotty avett is shirtless and smirking in parts. frankly, i resent those allegations. clearly, my motivation is the artistic tension created by pitting the domesticity (cereal?! seth avett, god of concord, eats cereal?) against the rootless life of the road. obviously, that is my motivation...

Monday, June 16, 2008




The bank account is one that I have in reserve, i.e. not my primary accounts, and so I somehow missed that these amounts were drafting. And they were posting, not as AOL, but as TWX*. And and and, get this: an attempt had been made to hack into that account before that, and so it had fifty different security measures in place. Apparently, not enough.

And now, AOL needs 3-6 months to 'investigate' before they consider refunding those charges. I had to fight to speak with a manager ('he'll just tell you the same thing') and he, in turn, said I should call another department. What's their number? Oh, they don't actually take PHONE CALLS, but they do have a fax number, and their response time is estimated at 4-6 weeks by post.

The account screen name, ironically, is cancel1120.

Unfortunately, I know the truth: which is that even I, a person who is beyond determined and merciless in these situations, will not be able to expedite this process. It took me 45 MINUTES to get a live person on the line.

A few years ago, Sprint double-billed me for 6 months and refused for another year and a half to compensate me for those charges, offering minutes instead. I was routinely hung up on, and once actually thrown out of their store after asking (politely!) for a manager.

I'm ill-suited to this aspect of our modern world. And am afraid I will be bewildered and outraged and spluttering every time it happens. Here's what I predict: in 12-16 months, IF I spend countless frustrated hours taking down names and printing off statements and making phone calls and being put on hold... nothing will happen. So, because in these instances I actually cease being human and become bulldog, I will pursue it for another 2 yrs, and finally get a quarter of it back ('We are prepared to settle for 3 months of charges') and buy myself a bottle of lithium because by then I'll be insane.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

sybil: a post in four letters/voices

I. to the jerk who was mean to morgan at cheerleading camp:

listen, kid. i don't know who you are and she won't tell me. but something happened in that gymnasium between 8 am and noon and i want to know what it was. she didn't speak the rest of the day but claimed nothing was wrong. which one of you stole her cheer? i know, of course, what the impetus was: you're all threatened by her outpouring of spirit. no six year-old has mastered the creepy smile, the rod-straight arms above the head in a V, the way my morgan has.

listen: i will mess you up. in case you didn't know this, kid, i lack the filter that makes adults sympathetic toward little people. man to man. and if you think for a second you can hide out the rest of this month in your carpool leader's highlander, you are sorely mistaken.

II. to the ford taurus with that damned bumper sticker, "i love my wife."

i don't believe you. seriously, guy, if you need an i-love-my-wife sticker...i'm convinced you're spending a great deal of time not loving her. and, i imagine, loving a great deal of graham evangelists instead. cancel the dinner reservations when she's tired. take the kids, for once, to chic-fil-a so she can, you know, breathe. SHOW DON'T TELL. or, OR, she's done this. SHE put the sticker on your ford. in which case: GET OUT. GET OUT NOW.

III. to my way2save account at wachovia.

i don't say this a lot, but: i love you. i love everything about you. i love that when my tab is $3.47 at starbucks, you charge me $4.47 and call it a day...thus shoving a WHOLE LIVE DOLLAR into my savings account. i have saved 24 dollars in ten days. it feels like playing the slots. i check that shit hourly. and, frankly, while i know this has to be some sort of bank scam: i don't know how to quit you.

IV. to table 24, last monday.

call off the wedding. seriously. when you sat down and ordered wine ("she'd love a glass with a bit of sweetness, and i'm down for a heavy cab") i fell in love. after all, you people were and are goodlooking. you were polite and funny and knew wine. i wanted to, you know, hang out at marble slab on our off day. but then, THEN, the weird stuff started to happen. you began fighting about the impending wedding. loudly. as in, "JEFF DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT IF HE SITS BESIDE BETSY AT THE REHEARSAL DINNER." and then crystal left the table THREE times. and you, guy, called for her to "sit the f down" while diners ate around you.

but that's not so weird. what's totally psychotic is when i approached (because I HAVE TO. i'm you're waitress) and said, "how are we doing over here," you guys said, in unison, without a trace of irony, "we're awesome. just relaxing. babe, you wanna stay for another glass?" "whatever you want, honey."

creepy. getouttathere. now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

it wasn't a dream it was a flood:

if you have ever picked up an old Nehi bottle buried in a ditch
for two cents and poured the muddy water and seen a tadpole
beating his tail on the new hot mix asphalt that the prisoners
was made to lay down just the other day that stuff still crawling over the weeds
and all and you see that tadpole like the black rag of a flag
flapping on a dead mast then you know what i mean you know
what people will do to one another
-frank stanford, the battlefield

strange, i think, that we've named our sarcastic, often glib, blog after frank stanford's battlefield where the moon says i love you. to be fair, hannah and i are blubbering, emotional idiots much of the time. true nerds, to the core, who will argue a book's arc, its intentions, its character the death. but rarely does that part of ourselves come to light on the blog. and for good reason, you ninnies.

this morning i woke and put on the dress i wore yesterday and the day before yesterday. i went to a local coffee shop and proceeded to devour the battlefield. i cried on and off at the outdoor table for three solid hours. it didn't help that they played josh ritter's "girl in the war," seemingly, on repeat.

at brown, in 1983, c.d. wright (stanford's lover and estate supervisor...following his suicide?) staged an all night reading. students took fifteen minute intervals to read from the 400 page poem that lacks any punctuation. this included undregrads, but also michael ondaatje, alan dugan, and forrest gander. people camped. the reading began at sundown and lasted until 10 the next morning.

i must say this is what led me, first, to tears. the sheer desire for poetry and for the communion of poetry. how foreign this seems to me, and distantly familiar.

tomorrow morning hannah is taking the children to new york, where they will then fly westward, until they wind up in the east. i am beginning a pedagogy class in the morning where i am to teach fifty year-olds how to write poetry. it is ridiculous, this life, and strange, and beautiful. and so, if we often forget to say so, we feel these things to the dams of ourselves, which is why we often choose to laugh instead.

because none of you know what you want
follow me
because i'm not going anywhere...
-frank stanford

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Last Days (and how we're choosing to spend them)

We knew we were in Myrtle Beach when Eric spied some massive dude wearing a shirt that said “This is Bush & Cheney Country 04.” Which made me think of that awful movie The Langoliers (based on Stephen King's book), only the whole country is stuck in a time-warp, and in nothing so pleasant as an airport.

The kids, thankfully, were completely oblivious to anything less than magical. Like, oh I don’t know, the shirtless daddy felons pushing strollers along. A woman coughed, spat, took another drag off her cigarette. Kan said: “It’s just like Disneyland, except this is BETTER because here there is AN AQUARIUM.” (Flash forward ten years to her sense of utter betrayal because I did not correct this.)

We went to an IMAX film called Dolphins & Whales, narrated by Darryl Hannah… from Splash. The movie was the emotional equivalent of a bad acid trip. It’s good and it’s lovely… until it’s THE DEATH OF ALL HAPPY THOUGHTS. It was organized into vignettes with silent-movie-esque titles and descriptions; each would begin with Darryl Hannah whispering things like, “Looking into the eye of the Blue Whale is like looking into the soul of god” and close with, “But we’re killing it. It will soon be extinct. How many are left? Not many! Our grandchildren will never see it. And it’s YOUR FAULT. DO SOMETHING. NEVERMIND, THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO.” I almost started weeping because my life has ultimately led to the rapidly shrinking manatee population off the coast of Florida. Only three hundred are left! Aaron was gripping my hand and alternately muttering, “wow” and “oh no… oh no.” My happiest moment was when he leaned forward to pet the fluke of a whale, only to pat a man's bald spot in the next row. At the end of the movie, someone who sounded suspiciously like Sting, bemoaned the loss of the dolphins and whales in a specially written song.

I will not go into what took us to Planet Hollywood. Maybe because there were no rational steps, but only the exhausted aftermath of a Day with Children. Let’s just say that it was a blur and suddenly I was in a shabby room with life-sized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle statues and faded red carpet. The waitress gave us an orientation on our way to the table—“to the right, you have your ladies’ room, to the left you have the gift shop…”

At the table, Eric said, “Do you want to leave?” And I remember viciously saying, “YESYESYESYES.” And him going, “Really?” And the waiter walking up to take our order. It was like eating dinner in a Lou Reed song. There were crack addicts and tourists. There was a naked Jeff Goldblum hanging in a glass case above us. At the next table, a fat little girl was screaming, “MOMMA, STOP STEALIN MY FREAKIN FRIES!!” Charmed, I’m sure.

*The kids, by the way, are flying with me to New York Monday, so I can put them on a plane to Hawaii the next. There's no telling how badly I'll handle this in public. Am envisioning a dignified quiet on my end, but it's like how you envision break-ups to be (you know, the visions in which you're so stoic that people comment suspiciously on your self-reliance and pride). Only to find yourself swimming vats of bourbon and finally washing up at a bar to shout drunkenly at the crowd in the middle of your karaoke rendition of Free Bird.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

i think i speak for both of us

when i say that we are happy to scratch the move to ontario. obama for president!

Monday, June 2, 2008

so, uh... two guys are sitting in a bar: the crowd warmer

because that is what i am. the crowd warmer. mamie calls & tells me to blog already. i can't, i tell her. i'm waiting on pictures of the naked jeff golblume from planet hollywood.

but, i say, i could totally blog abt you and bo and how it's making me sick.

long pause. yeah, she says. i mean, anything will be better than nothing. (IN OTHER WORDS: you couldn't really HURT the blog by writing something, and if you do, i'll fix it later)

here's the go: bo has resoled her boots, given her flowers, taken her to brunch. she has done nothing. maybe she's made him her zuchini and sour cream dish. today, bo asked for her house keys and instructed her to leave for a few hours.

oh jesus, i interrupt. i don't think i want to hear the rest.

oh, don't worry, it's not so romantic or anything. he just brought over a pressure washer and did my patio, put sealant down, and trimmed the hedges.


i have been designated the following tasks in relationships: weeding, hedge-trimming, mowing, raking, painting, trash. occasionally i have been chastised for getting spray paint on the lawn which i had just weeded and raked.

goodnight, chicago!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

built ford tough: the movie

hannah, eric, and the children are at the ripley's museum in myrtle beach. really, we could just end the post right there.

but we won't. and, due to her absence and obvious dark fall into insanity, you've got me. who loves you, baby...

so, it's so odd, really, that the boyfriend and i just had the conversation about women's fashion and the male interpretation of it. this, spawned by my brand-spanking-new gladiator sandals.

i come home from work and he's craig-listing VINTAGE VESPAS. okay, yes: maybe in milan or siena these will do. but, my ex-football player/wrestler on a VINTAGE VESPA.

anyway, he says, "we could have matching ones. we could joust." then, without skipping a beat, he motions to my feet. "you've already got the shoes."

so, it has been brought to my attention that men do not like/don't understand:

*the capri pant (hey. i don't blame you on this one.)
*skinny jeans
*the loops in the shoulders of our dresses/blouses that keeps them on hangers. "no," i said to the boyfriend, "they're not supposed to CONNECT TO THE BRA."

anyway, long story even more long-winded, we meet at a swanky restaurant downtown for brunch this morning. i am wearing a black wrap dress and espadrilles. he, in all of his charm, is at the foot of the staircase in khaki shorts (the ones with SO MANY POCKETS), new balances, and a worn blue t-shirt that says "BUILT FORD TOUGH."

i shit you not. now, aside from initial mortification, this only makes me like him more. when i hissed, "jesus christ. this is a nice restaurant," he said, "not all the time."

not all the time? what the hell does that mean? keep in mind, he's the sous chef at an equally swanky restaurant. it's not like he doesn't know.

anyway, i've been fending off this sex and the city premiere stuff for three days. and i'm tired. and weak. so i'm going. it's going to be awful. I KNOW THIS. and what's worse, i'm going to be sober. no female-pack-of-trendy-wolves, even, could make me drink a cosmo.

oh yeah. a question for the boys: what else do you dislike in women's fashion? i'm just curious.

p.s. george bush spoke at the local college's commencement yesterday. thankfully, there were protests galore and many professors stood in protest. he said--GET THIS--he thinks america should work to build A CULTURE OF RESPONSIBILITY. george-i-level-entire-peoples-and-still-don't-understand-what-all-the-hoop-la's-about-bush. that's rich.