Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Winter's Tale (poem)

There was a time when she lived
inside his mind, tucked away, so she could
be there, whenever he needed her.
This happened often, as it turned out,
and she flicked her hands over
her clothes to even out the imaginary
wrinkles caused from being squished
into a fortified subconscious.
What kind of advice could she give him?
What kind of words did he put in her mouth?
He would tell her all about it later, the real her,

and she would let her amusement culminate in words
that she really said -- "You know, you can always
ask me." But now she understands why

he had to train himself to look to this consolidated
version of his best friend -- she wouldn't always
be there for him. He must have known that
more clearly than she did so when she really didn't
have anything nice to say, he didn't have to ask
the real her to say anything at all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prospect Hill (Somerville, Massachusetts) ((poem))

Behind my house there is a hill
with steep steps that lead up

to an actual castle. That is where I stand.
The sky is gray but the wind
is more forgiving than usual.
My name means "princess" so

the scene is fitting -- body leaned
against cement barriers, looking up
at the stones holding up the nation's
flag, looking down to drink in
the view spilling from Union Square
to Boston. There is downtown. Reach out.

This is my kingdom. This is my coronation day.

Friends stand near me and we all look
at the path that brought us here.
Ghosts of footprints won't leave
thermal images with these breezes
but we don't need that kind of proof

to believe in what brought us here today.
This is the castle behind my home.
This is the place I have come with friends
to make confetti of the past and throw it up

in the solid wind. Look as it falls down.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home (poem)

I chose to write it all
down, the modern equivalent
of etches in stone, my words sent
across a wireless net. Like a web,
oh what one we weave, I laid
each letter like a brick until
they became a house big enough
to hold our story. I opened the door.
I invited you in. Look and see
what adorns the walls.
You chose to stay on the porch
and said you are not interested
in discussing this blueprint. So what
do I do with this massive construction?
I will find a way to live inside
these paragraphs, these syllables,
because I know they are my home,
even as you pack up and leave.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dream Analysis 101 (poem)

On the way there,
I sat in the back seat
of your car and we didn't speak
until we got to the party.
But still we stayed away
from each other until I stood
above the sink to wash
some dishes. Then you came
and stood as close to me as you could.
Even then, we remained silent
until we looked at each other
and you turned to walk away.
"Hey," I said. "Are we going to talk
about what I wrote?" You smiled
in a smirking-knowing way and said, "No."
I said, "Oh," and you left me alone.
Later, I climbed into the driver's seat
in a different car and you sat
in the uncomfortable middle and seemed angry
as I drove us towards the next stop
in our journey. I got lost for a moment
but found my way again without your help
and we arrived where we needed to be
unharmed. Out of the car, we headed in
through different doors.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tonight Will Be a Lucky Night (poem)

Tonight Will Be a Lucky Night

Wednesday night. Central
Square. Chinese food.
I need a fork.
Across from me, you
use chop sticks.
It feels familiar,
like a date we’ve had
before spending a solid minute
in meditation, working
through what you need
to explain. You tell me
I’m right, about many things.
About the ex, about the new
someone. You say you don’t
want a girlfriend. You say
you spent three hours discussing
this with the other woman
the night before, and I wonder
if she knows that you’re here
with me tonight -- I wonder
what it means to you
to be here with me
tonight. I ask you for nothing
but you offer me words,
explanations, weighted
with honesty, brimming
with details of fall-outs
with the ex, slow starts
with the new, and we
are finally on even ground,
sure-footed. Familiar.
Accepted. Nothing is resolved,
but we’re OK. We’ve said
what we needed to say
and we are still friends,
spend the next hour
and a half in comfortable
language, united in our
commonality, our useful
banter. And as we finally
accept that it is time to go,
you break open your fortune
cookie and smile, say, This one
should be yours. It’s something
about courage. But I think
I got the right one. Sliding out
of the booth, I read mine aloud:
Tonight will be a lucky night.

Stopping His Mind on a Hollow Evening (poem)

-- after Robert Frost

for Leigh

Whose life is this I want to know
His dream is lost in others’ glow
He should not see me waiting here
To watch his patient tapping toe
My swollen mind can’t think so clear
To stop without reason to fear
Between the hard and bending quake
The darkest moment dawning near
He gives me bells and I do shake
Silent, asking if there’s something great
The response is sweeping,
Windy with gripping flakes
His mind is hollow, dim, and neat
But I have nothing for him to keep
And nowhere to go before I sleep
And nothing to say before I sleep

Second Date (poem)

I arrived on your porch,
hair plastered with humidity,
with the downpour of rain
caressing my umbrella
and you turned on
the Red Sox, playing
in the Bronx, sound off, eerie
cheering fans, mouths open, muted,
silent. Unlike us. Chatting
with ease about the game,
how God is
a Yankees fan, laughing
at slingshot jokes. Then
you cook for me, ask me, “Fork
or chop sticks?” and I take
the metal in my palm,
balance my wine glass
in the light clutch of fingers
and talk incessantly
while you stare through your glass
table at my socked foot,
stare intently at my hands
as they move to demonstrate
nothing, interrupt me to say
my nails are painted the color
of our wine. I smile, pleased
you noticed. We amble
to the couch to do what
we’d planned, but here’s
where things go awry.
The technology fails us,
and as you hover, disc and remote
in hand, your roommate returns,
casual and oblivious.
You’re frustrated; I see that.
But I find it funny
that a techie like you
can’t make his DVD player
play. And now our party
is stunted and growing
in number. You’re aggravated;
you say so. But you pull
videos off the shelf and operate
on Plan B. Back on the couch,
in the dark, we’re bookends
on opposite sides, with our feet
pressed together, simply, affectionately,
comfortably. You tell me
I’ll like this movie because
I like to laugh. You noticed.
I smile again. We’re synchronized.
Your roommate joins us,
but only for a few scenes, and then
he disappears to get enough
sleep for his new job
at Starbucks. You and I remain
polar opposites, twisted
on the couch, ready for sleep,
but not with each other.
Your eyes start to close
during the second movie,
and I opt for home at 1:30 AM.
You drive me. You’re disappointed.
I know. Things were broken
tonight. But I came home happy,
remembering the rain,
remembering the night.

An Enigma Wrapped Around a Mystery Inside of a Puzzle (poem)

Is there a better way
to make you care
than saying, “Don’t
you care?” Maybe
it’s silly to think
you’d automatically be
the genuine stretch
of luck I’ve searched for,
that I shouldn’t have
to work to make you see
what’s really going on
(What’s really going on?)
and I want to ground you
in concrete details, the nervous
spike of your hair, the uneasy
lines creasing your smile,
all of this oi-ful energy
pressed in your compacting
muscles as you sit
at your day job at MIT,
while you long to be naked
at parties, body checked
in a hockey rink, stroking
through scripted waters, holed
up with some secret joke
or other. You want
so much, but where
does that leave me?
I know my piece fits
snugly in your puzzle.
And I know there’s a reason
I feel like we never broke
up -- you’ve simply
been cheating on me
for the last five months.
Do you know, though,
do you? Do you, do
you ever...

Beached (poem)

Your voice is drowsy
with desperation, filled
with pockets of sand
soon to be stuffed
in a jar, carried away
by a tourist, any tourist,
though you have called
me. I cringe with anticipation
at the sleep I must knock
you out of, of the dream
I must drain from the sea
of your heart. I can’t
find a voice within myself
to counter yours: shaken,
needing, quietly anxious.
Let the moon-tide drag
you out and see where
tomorrow the ocean will
lay you down, in whose
cradle you can rest,
in whose water you can heal.
Your own, perhaps, in whispers
of Sirens and ships that are lost
until time remembers to find
them, call them home.
Your own altered state
is best realized in blackness
of self-possessed night, far
away from sand, untugged
by the world, let alone me

After Revisiting “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World: A Tale for Children” (poem)

“The first children who saw the dark and slinky bulge approaching through the sea let themselves think it was an enemy ship...”
~ Gabriel García Márquez

This story used to make me laugh.
Something absurd and homey
about poor old Esteban, invented
after his death by a deprived village
of absolute morons. I remember
loving this story. You did, too.
Almost a lifetime ago, you struggled
to recall the plot you thought sprung
from Borges, and I supplied the title,
Gabo, and miraculously pulled the sad
yellow cover from my bag. Only a quarter
drunk as I would get that night, I read
the story out loud, slurring and stumbling,
lisping and laughing. You got it, anyway,
why it was funny, why it was worthy. Our first
odd entanglement, our first bold coincidence,
stirred by a dead man in a dead village.
We spent that night together, drunk and happy,
barely knowing each other, filling each other
with hilarious tenderness, finding a way to be.
Oh, what worthy hours to be hoarded, greedily saved,
tagged and labeled, preserved. Because now,
I read the story, this tale for children, and let it go
so easily, allow the pages to melt in my hands,
feel compelled to dismiss them, pray for their necessary
evaporation, magical and real. I want to disengage
you from this text that I love, have loved
so long, but you’re there, a footnote,
a carelessly inked “ha!” in the margin,
an unintentional circle, imposing and virile,
an impassive phrase. Or, something blank.
These pages are all that I have left of you.
I can’t laugh at the story now because
if your fate could be Esteban’s, then mine is
to name you and bury you at sea.

A Sort of Apology (poem)

Let me think
of a way to say
I’m sorry -- and mean
it. I stumble
into each apology
with my weapons
drawn, my faith
guarded. I want
to be a part
of your life, but
I don’t know how,
if I can fit in.
You, round peg.
Me, round peg.
With no square hole
to hold us together

2003

Women in the Road (poem)

Melissa and I are lost
on Columbus Avenue,
on our way home
from Jamaica Plain,
a foreign land in our Boston
explorations. In her truck,
we stare at signs, laugh
at Map Quest, rehash
our days, our moments, our lives,
until a woman staggers
into the road, towards us,
through streams of winter traffic.
We stare at her, shocked, as she
lays down in the middle
of the road and rocks
flat on her back. “Call
911,” Melissa says and I
do, wait for an operator,
the police. We drive on, unsure
of the woman’s location,
prognosis, regression.
The police say they’ll be there
for her and we feel
like we’ve done something
right for once. Even though
we’re still lost and using
the Pru as our North Star

The Hows of Hat (poem)

The man smiles, disarming
me, and says, voice bobbing,
“So how’s your hat?”
Outside, it’s frigid. Nearly
twenty-below, but here in
the Pru in Boston’s Back
Bay, it’s a keen fifty-eight.
But -- and this is important
I’m not wearing a hat.
Instead, I’m paused, smile stilted,
standing in front of a sign
embossed with a large, gold
crown. Welcome
to Hallmark. I am
unprepared to answer
a question about outer
wear, but the man waits,
pleasantly enough, until
I manage, “It’s nice.”
Because it is. “And how
does it look on you?”
he bobbles. I answer
before I take the time
to consider how bizarre
this all is. “It looks great.”
Because it does. I get
compliments. The man
looks relieved, happy
for me, and I mean it
when I tell him
to Have-a-nice-day.
He nods and replies, “Good
luck with your hat.”
I laugh and glance
at the tacky plaque
on the wall behind me
and wonder how well
my hat fits after all.

Tearing Down I and II (poems)

Tearing Down I

I was up by five a.m.,
at the store by eight, opting to walk
through Somerville and Cambridge
to arrive in Back Bay energized
and ready to destroy. We were
a twelve-fisted wrecking crew,
us Hallmarkian Divas dressed
in our most casual slaughterwear.
With boxes and hammers and our very own
dusty voices, we sang and laughed
and violated the remains of our gutted
store: once the place we came
to work, now a carcass, picked
at, sucked clean, with a trail
of glitter leading to the high-
noon sun, leaving us, sunk
into the bowel of what was once
a body of glory, impenetrable



Tearing Down II

Everyone cried except for me.
I stood, dry-eyed, dry-souled,
and waited for them to dab
each other’s faces while I leaned
against the door. I wanted to laugh.
I wanted to sing. I wanted this day
to be fun, and it was. Bare-
armed, I threw shelves and glass
and yellow backdrops into the dumpster
dubbed us “The Girls of Refuse”
and littered the air with stories
about my old job. I don’t know
why I didn’t care as much
as the others about the dismantling
of a twenty-three-year-old homestead,
but I do know that I’m going to add
doesn’t do construction to my resume

Suppose (poem)

you bow your head
and listen while I say
I love you,
not a confession
but a stabilizing truth.
You know the words
before I speak them,
I think, and you feel them
like my dry, desperate
hands on your own.
Your reply is simple,
silent, but real
as you lift your head,
square my gaze,
and I am stunned

Some Days are Like This (poem)

I am guy-gutted today,
slaughtered by my own unwillingness
to settle, to let go, to roll over
for any master. And I am sun-tired
today, soaked in rays that shine
my skin and bake me back to the girl
I always wanted to be: glowing.
Between the spooning of my innards
into a deep, yellow bowl
and the browning of my skin
in the patient day, like light,
I am somehow perfect
and defeated. I’m losing
myself inside and out,
but life still loves what’s left
enough to bleach the hairs
on my arm until they are golden

Post-Overreaction Ruminations on Trivial Conflicts in Ego-Reality (poem)

for Chris Tonelli

There’s no problem
so maybe that’s the problem:
that no one’s offended
or put off or mad, real
fuckin’ mad, and no one
gets why there’s nothing
to apologize for because, well,
someone said too much, surely,
but, really, did anyone go
too far? No. But here we are
again -- that’s the problem.
What problem? A lack of.
Conflict! Argh. Someone’s
bound to lose metaphorical eye
over this one. Which one? That one.
God. Damn. It. I already
forgot what we were yacking
about, spitting about, balls-to-the-walls
bickering about. If I knew any
better, I’d hate you. Yessir.
Or no? What? I thought
you said something, but maybe
you were just thinking out loud
inside your head. Mute.
WRITE! Right? Write RIGHT.
Can’t argue with this
neo-logic. If I knew
what was at stake, I’d bust
out my serrated knife. If
I knew what I was under,
I’d be over it. If I could
remember if I ever said hello,
I could decide what it would mean
to say goodbye. Fuck it. Now
I really am pissed. Huh?
Jesus. Forget it. Already.

Poetryland History Lesson (poem)

“If you get the joke, you get the history.”
~ Shirley Wajda, Kent State University
Wonderful Professor of History and Museum Studies
and former resident of the City of Boston,
(NEVER a professor at Poetryland)




The class is called “History of the United States.”
It is taught by Professor J R P Cueball
who makes less than $40,000 a year,
has three cats named Linus, Marty, and Sprig,
respectively,
and secretly hangs teenybopper posters
of Britney Spears on the wall
behind his office door.
He is single, thus the posters, and cross-eyed.
He has a reputation for being a dick.
Students take him
to develop backbone,
to learn important life lessons
about bitter white men
who are condemned to teach,
who say, “We’re all historians here.”
But no one knows
what a historian is.
He knows his reputation and thrives on its word,
brings pop quizzes on the first day of class
and makes them worth 25% of the final grade.

His social security number is 412-98-5006.

He lives in one room of a small house
that he does not own
on Winding Trail Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri.

He takes the train
to Poetryland everyday.

The class is held in the Lundberg Auditorium
on the North Quad of the South Lawn.
Professor J R P Cueball hates his classroom.
He tells in-coming students it’s the worst
room on campus. Welcome!

Students at Poetryland University
are fairies and figments of imagination.

They are rogues, they are lovers.
They are pretty, petty, and perfect.
They are lofty, lighthearted, and luminous.
They are as smart, if not smarter than their maker.

They glow “like the moon.”
They sing “like the birds.”
They babble “like the brook.”

They are a whole generation
of well-drawn
metaphor/clichés

Professor J R P Cueball hates them. All of them.
Even the pretty ones.

On each first day of class,
he welcomes the new bunch
with the same speech,
even though he tries to make
it sound extemporaneous:

“Ahem.
Greetings.
I am Professor J R P Cueball.
You are druids and imps
with no finger prints.
Welcome.
I guess.
For lack of a better word.
This is the History
of the United States.
I hope none of you
are big Jefferson
fans or Washington buffs
because I don’t teach
them in this class.
The Constitution’s too old -
who gives a rat’s ass
about dead anarchists?
The Civil War’s all bullshit.
(Let me save you the suspense:
the North wins and the South
will not rise again)
The World Wars are nothing
but propaganda.
The stock market crash is dull,
so is foreign policy with Latin America.
The very mention of Korea puts me to sleep
and no one cared about Vietnam when
it was current.
So, fuck it, no really, fuck it all.
Why dwell on the past?
It has nothing to do with today.
This course will begin our nation’s
proud history
with Bill Clinton, our Founding Father.
Light your cigars,
throw away your history
textbooks and subscribe
to Time and People
or The National Inquirer.
If you don’t ask me
to ‘Remember the Alamo’
or discuss the War of 1812
or admit there ever was a Civil Rights Movement,
we’ll get along fine.”

This time, when Professor J R P Cueball
finishes his solemn, thought-provoking introduction,
a fairy-like student with Rapunzel hair
and a Britney Spears body
raises her waif-like hand to ask why
he skips two hundred years of history
and he stares at her, cross-eyed and smirking,
and says: “That shit

is archaic and tired.
Useless, too. Unimportant. Uninspired.
We’ll stick to the cutting edge,
what modern writers say
about history. This class

is all about shits and giggles.
Starting now.

Here’s your pop quiz:

What are contemporary poets
writing about?”

The Archangels and the Devils,
the Melodramatics and the Seducers,
the Fallen and the Rising
all stare at Professor J R P Cueball

and he laughs.

“Don’t say they write
about history, either, drones
because, look, all that shit
is out-dated.
No one reads Thomas Paine
or Ben Franklin anymore.
People watch Hardball,
60 Minutes, The Daily Show
with John Stewart.
I have four words for you all:
Fuck. The. History. Channel.
Our forefathers didn’t make
that many mistakes that were
too catastrophic for us to repeat.
In this class, we pontificate
on ‘farting in the general direction’
of those who came before.
Now, pass your quizzes forward,
my pretty pirates and handsome handmaidens!”

The Britney Spears/Rapunzel-like fairy stands
when he finishes, bows her head respectfully
and says,

“Professor Cueball?
In the immortal words
of Kurt Vonnegut,
‘shove it up
your fundament.’

History is foundation,
isolation, explanation.”

Holding her quiz up in the air, she continues:

“And contemporary poets
try too hard to be free
from the past. It’s
dry and tough, just
like you.”

The Britney Spears/Rapunzel fairy lives
with her boyfriend, a spider monkey named
Zed, in a tree on Mortimer Lane.
She has no social security number
because she’s not human.
She has no finger prints
because Zed licked them off.

She has no history
because Poetryland University
doesn’t teach her about it.

That is the lesson.

Out of the Blue (poem)

Like derelict muses
sinking in orbs of jaded
sparkle-dust, they stand
at the podium, stomping,
shouting, reading, performing
a line of ditties
about That Route 3, Led
Zeppelin, and misunderstood
victims of rape. But
I feel violated, feel ashamed
that I’m laughing
at their overwhelming incompetence,
their lack of style, lack
of grace, and I realize
my bewilderment is pressed
on my face as I chew
on the edge of my lip,
struggle to stay focused
on their art. They are
out of the blue angels,
telling stories of Rat, their Satan,
insisting they know nothing
but each other’s genius, never
their own, even praising Buzz
who’s invented a language,
and I can’t help but wonder
how lucky they are
to see each other
as beautiful

Not for Another Six (poem)

My brother calls me
to say he drank too much
the night before and was left
under a pile of blankets
in his best friend’s side yard.
“I woke up with grass stains,”
he says and he laments
nights wasted being wasted,
wishing he’d been in bed
with a good book. “I’ll never
drink again. Not for six
years,” he says, and I’m left
with a mouth full of laughter.

My Brother Calls (poem)

My brother calls at one a.m.
on a Saturday night to tell me
he really likes the Counting Crows
CD I sent him for his birthday
two weeks ago. I sez, “Good.
Can I call you back tomorrow?”

The next night, he calls me
at midnight to say, “You know
what I really hate? White trash.”
He sez they come to the video store
where he works and they smell.
I sez, “That’s understandable.
Can I call you back tomorrow?”

Monday night arrives and my brother
doesn’t call me and I sleep poorly
in anticipation of his interruption.
Silence is heavy, though, a stifling blanket.
I sez to the darkness, “That’s nice.
Can I call you back tomorrow?”

Mercury Lounge (poem)

Pulse
Quick
Flood
Spiral arms
in thick air
Vapid smoke
Twitch
Love, long, linger
Beat
Pause
Beat beat
Hear me
See me
Lick
Lips
Oo
La la
Swing
Stomp
Beg
Cry
Throw Your arms
Up

Last Days of Hallmark (poem)

My name is ‘Bellum, Boberra,
Sarahwolf, Savannah, Sahara, the Angel
of Narcolepsy, the Queen of Fresh
Ink and Plush, Chrissy from Three’s
Company. “Supervisor?” an old man
reads off my never-worn name tag.
“That’s a new one.” I don’t know
if I had the most nicknames, but Tina sez
I have the most popular votes (add Miss
Congeniality to the list). I want to thank
my supporters. I did what I could.
But I couldn’t stop the store
from closing, couldn’t prevent
the end of our time in the glitter-lined
trenches of Holiday’s, doused in Agent Orange
by Boston Properties Leasing Demons.
Of course, no one expects me to have
all the answers. Although, I will confess
I’m the one left gasping on everyone’s
darkest secrets. I will carry them
to my grave. And in the last few days,
I feel my soul rip away from these
Gold Crown saviors, watch them tuck
closer to each other while I step
to the side. I wonder if they notice.
I wonder what name they’ll remember me by.

It's a Great Day (poem)

to panhandle. I practically trip
over homeless people as I maneuver
through the Saturday/February
Back Bay crowds, hearing,
“Can I git a qwa-tah?”
I’m beginning to wonder
where they’ve been hiding
all winter, if this fifty-degree
day has defrosted their vocal
chords, de-numbed their joints.
And I laugh when a man asks for change
from a skirt-clad twenty-something
who responds, “No thanks” -- as though
he was selling mouthwash or knitting
needles -- and the man repeats her -- “No
thanks?” Even he thinks it’s funny
but doesn’t miss a beat when he
sees me -- “Can’t you spare
something for me, honey?”
Regardless, I don’t, too consumed
with the idiocy of cramming
so many cup-janglers on the same
city block. Spread out, I think,
and you’ll convince people to invest
in your poverty. I’ve had no
business training and spent no time
being homeless, but I know
what it means to saturate
a market, so I walk past
their pleas, smile-plastered,
with my eye locked
on the generous sun

It Will Be Called: Hamlet: A Play About Politics (poem)

I need a slam-bang finish
to a play I haven’t written
but might some day begin.
I don’t have any characters
yet or any concept of plot.
I don’t know what the costumes
should look like or the sets,
and I don’t know how I want
to play with the lights. I’m not
sure if I want the audience
to laugh or cry or if I’d rather
the theater remained empty,
except for me, the Creator,
sitting in the center of the aisle,
mesmerized by my own unknown
genius. Do I need to write something
to please anyone beyond myself?
I hesitate to write the first stage
direction, so that tells me I must care
what outsiders think, but I’d feel
more confident if I already had
that slam-bang finish in place.

The Democratic National Convention Descends on Boston, July 2004 (poem)

A stolen Ryder truck with fifteen-gallons
of propane gas dodged armed Boston
security forces and made national
news. But I found out
from a customer, a simple woman
who had just smacked in to Michael
Dukakis on Tremont Street outside
my shop. There was no chance
to fret over either scenario
as protesters on every side
of every issue lined Boylston Street
while anarchists hung dummies
of Bush and Kerry from nooses
on the Common and bomb squads
tucked in yellow school vans
whirred from the Fleet to the South
End, sirens blaring. MPs sauntered
down city blocks as pro-lifers circled
touristy areas in big trucks plastered
with the exploited carnage of partial birth
abortions for children to see. Even DC
residents staged an impromptu tea party
protesting TAXATION WITHOUT
REPRESENTATION. Just move, fuckers.
All of you. I want to diffuse the bombs,
disarm the military stationed on every street
corner, lift the siege on Boston.
I want to walk my miles, live my life
with only the usual amount of chaos.
This is not your city. It is mine. And even though
that Ryder truck was recovered safely, I felt unsafe,
sort of shifty and unsteady as helicopters circled.
I sat, rocking, waiting for the explosion.

Cracker Chad (poem)

Cracker Chad

I said he might
write the Great American
Novel, and he agreed,
but said he’d write it
in Russian, a language
he does not know.
And I told him
he should invent
his own dialect, write
his debut in that.
He said he would
if we’d sell it at Hallmark
and I said, sure, but
we’d need decoder
rings to read it.
Meagan, silent until
now, pipes up
with giggled smiles,
said, “Like in a Cracker
Jack box?” He said,
yeah, and you can call me
Cracker Chad, the Great American
Novel Writer.

Bill Knott's Poetry Workshop (I. thru V.)

Bill Knott’s Poetry Workshop I.

He told him
“That’s not
what poets
write about”
while insisting he
doesn’t want to argue
“Listen”
he says
“Listen”

He tells her
you can only
be vague when
you overcome
obscurity
“Listen”
he says
“Listen”

I listen in
pale tones,
dread my turn
in the guillotine
and I hope I
listen well enough



Bill Knott’s Poetry Workshop II.

“What we have in your poem”
he says, twisting his fictional mustache
“is one big cliché
with poorly
placed line breaks”

Recommended solution
to said problem:
Insert head in noose
Kick box away
Hang until death shows up

I look around
for some different advice,
wonder how to become a slave
to Knottsville Poetry Writing, wonder
what the speaker’s social security
number has to do with anything,
wonder why I must disguise fiction
as poetry, wonder if I can find
a map of this Poetryland he keeps
talking about

I ask Chad #2 what the difference
is between poetry and fiction
He tells me line
breaks and phrases
are key and

I stare at him and pray
that this vulnerable piece of paper
is metaphor-free
because I know the noose
will just give me rope burn


Writing Poetry for BK
(Bill Knotts Poetry Workshop III)

I scream into my pillow,
toss my pen and paper
to the floor
and struggle to lift
blocks of concrete
thought,try to banish metaphors
from my Poetryland mind

What about metaphors attracts me?
unreality.
What about unreality makes me create?
abstraction.

It’s easier to talk
about sunlight as matter
than to say
He and I are through
I pull my face
from the pillow and think
about line breaks
and life breaks
and no breaks

and concrete images
that don’t compare
anything



Bill Knott’s Poetry Workshop IV.

I’m a poetic
Eliza Doolittle,
kept under syllabic
lock and key.
Shut the door
on definition!
I hear.
Open your eyes
to modern verse.
I cringe and fold
my hands in criss-
crossed bundles
in my lap
and don’t know
how to dance
for my Henry Higgins
with all these marbles
in my metaphoric mouth.




Bill Knott’s Poetry Workshop V.

I got an A
from Bill Knott, Poet Biscuit
Extraordinaire, self-proclaimed
scourge of the syllabic seas
and I laugh because I am
delighted to have survived
my turn on the plank
and readjusted my
sea legs to stand upright
on the higher ground

And (poem)

And she talks about death
as a positive alternative
to life, and I shudder

And wonder if
my father will meet
her grandfather
in heaven,
if my father visits him
now on Earth

And I hear the
respirator ticking
and wheezing
in my brain
as my stomach tenses
from smiling too much,
as my face squeezes
like an accordion pump
until I read away messages
about hospitals

And I feel like
life is helpless
and she’s right
to talk about death
as a savior

After an Emerson College Grad Student Reading (poem)

Everyone tells the same
Bill Knott story. Yet,
every semester, his name
is bandied about as though
he were a newly discovered god
(the god of poetry sledgehammery,
that is) and as we stand
in the Tam, a line of students
breathing smoke-free Boston bar
air, I am reminded how much,
how little binds us as I laugh
once against at the largeness
of the holes in Bill’s sweaters

A Recipe for Disaster (poem)

A Recipe for Disaster

Start with a bowl
smallish-large-ish-wooden-metal
and place it on the floor
in a kitchen, hot, explosive,
unbearably stuffy and add
as many cooks as the room
will allow and then add
seventeen more. Now open
the cupboards and seek out
some sugar, some flour, some fluffy
arsenic. Add two eggs, passive-
aggressive email, a dash of envy, a bottle
of Absolute, Ani DiFranco
and Eminem, a handful of bitter
lemon rinds, The West Wing,
a couple old boyfriends
and their ex-girlfriends,
a whining mother and a shotgun
wedding, half-truths, flat lies,
Christopher Guest, the special
edition Fight Club DVD
a shot of Jack Daniels, a bottle
of Prozac, ladybugs on gravestones,
a crust of bread, a long distance
relationship, a round of orgy
strip poker, AOL Instant Messenger,
some chips and dip, mold scraped
from bathroom tile, a free cup
of coffee, strings attached
to wads of money, a glob
of butter, plastic chop sticks
and a metal fork, a few tiny violins,
justice laced with vengeance,
a handsome drowned man,
a Hemingway novel, wild curls,
a shaved head, nervous laughter,
an orange and some goldfish crackers,
accents, foreign languages, days
at the beach, magical realism,
subway platforms, a Stalin
hockey jersey, wine glasses,
a Boston Red Sox post-season,
ego, Sprite, pages ripped
from Leviticus, crumbs
left in a bag of Chex Mix,
too much curry, not enough spine,
a ball of rejection, half cup
of denial, a negative wind-chill,
text messages, train rides,
a broken chair, three spoonfuls
of Dayquil, six Twinkies
in their wrappers, a sword,
a new trick for an old dog,
The Cat in the Hat,
four tiny umbrellas for tropical
drinks, a reason for spite, a grammar
lesson, a laugh track, Seinfeld and Sex
in the City, a bar
of chocolate -- special dark.
Absence. Presence. Lust.
Stir with your fist, mash it, until
you can’t cry anymore.
Bake until the smoke begins to billow.
Ignore your instincts. Ignore advice.
Be sure to serve yourself
the first big plate. Heap it.

A Reason to Love my Otherwise Ridiculous Job at Hallmark (poem)

Jay B hates it
when I tell customers
he’s our Vera Bradley expert.
“Why you gotta say that?”
(Beat. He smiles.)
“Yo, I’m a guy. Why do I
gotta do the purses?”
So many questions, and I
don’t have the answers,
except he is the expert
and it’s fun to see him blush.

At least twenty-four hours
in advance, never in a rush,
he negotiates when he will take
his break and I always
say yes to whatever he requests.
He doesn’t care that I outrank
him and shakes his head when I ask
if a customer wants his receipt
in hand or in bag, barely waits
for the line to clear before blurting, “Yo,
what if he wanted it in his pocket?”
Wouldn’t we all like to know!

He often chants, “It’s getting hot
in herre” and it’s my job to add, “So
take off all your clothes.”
I suggest his rap star name
should be Jay2-da-Bzazz
but more often call him
Jay B Bo Baby. He points out
which girls are “mad smart”
(his own code for good lookin’)
before beat boxing under his breath
to his own rendition of “To be
or not to be.” He’s impressed
I’ve read Antigone, concedes that Crime
and Punishment is “aight.”

Alone in the store at night, he announces
he “needs a Lexus to start his life,”
and though he is straight-faced, he’s laughing
so when he is trapped in the elevator
a few weeks later with the store’s owner
who has more than one, I am disappointed
Jay B doesn’t ask if it’s nice driving
a vehicle with a DVD player to entertain
the kids -- and “da ladies.”
His phone sings “Better Off Alone”
one week and “Cry Me a River”
the next, but the love of his life
goes by “my girl” in his vocabulary.
I want to tell her never
to let him go. His mama raised him
right and I don’t want her to know
how rare that makes him, want to say
she’s one lucky eighteen year old

“Nah, fo real. Check this out”
(He leans in) “A lot of gay guys
hit on me.” I start to retort
it’s because he does
the purses, but he tacks on
“I’m cool with it, though,” so I tame
my response to, “Well,
you’re just a cute boy.”

Saturday, September 18, 2010

at moe.down.x (poem)

Here is a face
behind old school 3D glasses
and here is an unknown
boy twirling glow sticks
between his fingers.
There is a splintering
of color, a nonlinear time
warp, a cascade of mind
blowing opportunity.
If only acid
was introduced to blood
stream, wow, think
of how far this'd soar.
Instead, the trip
is trippy but tame
and easily recounted:
Here is a face
hidden behind 3D.

This Light (poem)

Under this light, I look innocent.
I look suburban and tan.
I look well-adjusted and middle class.
Under this light, I look so everyday.
You know differently, though,
you wrote it in a song. You put me out
there, black lit my soul.
Not that I'm accusing you
of sabotage, not that I'm saying
you are wrong. But look at me now.
Under this light, I am the girl-next-door,
I am a whole slew of beautiful cliches.
I am bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
I am what every man desires --
but only under this light.
You know. You know. You know
what there really is to know
and it's not here, under this light.

Again Soon (poem)

Back again, here, perched.
Like this was a desired view.
Like this was the best place to dive.
I'm not moving, not up
or down, not an inch.
Instead, I am frozen, where did
those headlights come from?
Because. I don't need to look out.
I don't need to let go.
This freefall will grab me
when gravity gets a firm grip
on my fresh soul.
Imprints of fate wrap solidly
once more around that woeful
free will illusion.
I'll be dead again soon.
Flush these cheeks red til then.

The Hand That Feeds Me (poem)

Cornered, an animal,
I am foaming, cancerous,
poisonous, unforgivable spite.
Menace my way
into this pit where
my kind ain't allowed.
One of these days
I will bite this hand
that feeds me
and it will turn
gangrenous
in my mouth, it will
blacken and cease
to be and then
what.
Starved, I'll surely become
more dangerous than I am
now and how
can that be?
What strange creature
will be my evolution?

Where You Are (poem)

It was late night
for all of us
but seemed later for you,
down on all fours, crawling
with the dogs, drunk
doesn't even begin to cover it.
The rest of the partiers line
the kitchen walls, snapping
photos on their phones
of you -- one hot mess.
The youngest of the bunch
vies for your attention,
even though you've called
the wrong person by her name.

How interchangeable we are
where you are! Until --

I lean into you to say goodnight
and you grasp me harder
than usual and say my name.
"I'm staying here," you say.
"You should," I reply.
"You should stay, too," you say.
I look at your face, at your unfocused eyes,
and, oh, heart, broken, I can't stay
as late as it is wherever
you are tonight.

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Time (poem)

I am interested in time
and how it changes
how you feel about me.
I am interested in how
you feel about me.
Time tells the story
with an infectious laugh
and I lean in close
to hear all the tonal nuances.
I am interested in you
and all the nuances
of how time reveals us
to each other. We are timeless.
We are slowly vibrating
in space. I am so sure
of my fixed place
on your time line that I will
let this all unfold.
I will actively play out
my passive part.
I am interested in how
time will end this all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On My 31st Birthday (ii) (poem)

On my 31st birthday,
Tom, Marinda, and I
leave our nicknames behind
and climb on to a roof
at MIT. Look out --
there is Boston,
so close, a river's breadth
away. The night is breezy
and hazy but still
clear enough to count the stars.
Marinda points out the Big
Dipper as Tom flops down
and looks up. Feet dangling
off the roof, I talk about plans
for the summer. We are
peaceful together, sober
for now, and reflective.
Later we will sing our way
through abandoned hallways
but at this moment, all I can do
is think that this is a moment
to capture. This is a moment
to keep close to the skin.

Love Story (poem)

What she meant to say
was, "I don't love you anymore."
But what she actually said
was, "I don't want your tomato."
Such a simple shift in how
they eat a meal together
and he knows immediately
something consequential looms.
This is the way love hides
until it is found, dead and rotting,
by a jogger in the morning,
with a rotten tomato
shoved deep in its throat.

Put Aside (poetry)

I’m beginning to believe
I am crazy, that I’ve gone there,
that you are actually right.
I must have done something
to provoke this side of you:
angry, violent eyes, a voice raised
in furious decibels. You are
passive, always have been.
Overeager to avoid a fight.
You are a talker, not a screamer,
a peacemaker, not an aggressor,
but I have seen you transformed
of late. Oh god. It is terrifying.
You say again and again --
you are doing, you are being, you are,
and I don’t think I am doing,
I am being, I am --
but I must be. I don’t know
what else would push you
so close to the edge
only a devil unstabled
like me would
put aside for you.

Letter to Marinda (poem)

Oh, Marinda --
There are so many things
you can learn in a letter
written with spontaneity:
Here is a story I wish to convey.
Here is the stream of side notes,
sometimes scribbled
in the margins. There are words
no one can decipher.
There are depths to the prose
no one can comprehend.
But write it out anyway
and let the pages be shared
with that intimate audience.
Blank sheets of paper, prepare
to be filled and filled
with love --

Monday, April 19, 2010

Must Come Down (poem)

Up in the air -- what
a phrase to binge on
in this era of self-inflicted
chaos. What is so
random about these choices
we make with careful determination?
It's no accident
that plans are made
tentatively -- forever
in the hopes that something
better might come along.
Can't commit my time --
it's just up there.
In the air.
Waiting to come down.

Threat Level: Orange (poem)

There should be a name
for this kind of anxiety --
thick, bogged, damp souled,
half crazed, three quarters
full of serendipity. Do I care,
do I not, and how much?
And how hot? This burn
is cooling after such strange
release of carbonated
froth -- a foaming at the mouth
of the cave of thought.
So stop. Thinking
it's all gonna be ok, well,
who's to say? Who decides
what color goes with what threat
level? I am a terrified woman
inside a confident suit
of armor. Who gets in.
Who gets out. Who
gets it at all.

Stream This Consciousness (poem)

The weather is outside
and there is no controlling that.
Rarely do I fly with birds
or squirrels or ladybugs
but I stare deeply at them.
I like a well-cooked hamburger
on any given night
but I like them best
with you by my side.
If I was a body
of water, I'd hope to be useful
for sailors or sealife
or something super mystical.
What do we know
about these sorts of depths?
I am grounded by whimsy
of swingsets in moonshine
and the legacy of a true story.
Here is mine --->
I was born
I lived precisely this life.
I remain to live more.
But it's only just begun, this natural
disaster chapter, and I'm going to like it
best because it's with you.

Outside/Inside (poem)

Outside is rain
like never before.
Woosh -- wet wind
tunnel umbrella useless
wilderness. Water
in waves, creating
a high tide
for rubber booted
pedestrians. Inside,

I babysit stacks
of paper, for sale,
but useless to purchase
on a day it will
turn to pulp
the moment it meets

the catastrophic outdoors.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Loverpie (poem)

Jared calls me
"Loverpie"
because he is trying out
new nicknames.
Babe, lover, darling --
all the previous dubbings.
He is young and thin
and I hired him once
to clerk my store
during a Christmas holiday.
He tells me
he is only friends
with attractive people
who will photograph
well with him.
Years after the Christmas
holiday, we photograph
well together still.
Long distance now,
he calls me with the latest
gossip, I call him
with mine, an even
exchange of fabulous
for friends worthy
of try-it-on-please nicknames

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Terrible Sonnet about Bill's Birthday (poem)

for Bill, who requested a sonnet ;-)

The keg was left from Saturday night
so there was only one thing left to do --
drink from it 'til we weren't upright
adding shots of tequila, too.

It was a Tuesday night but we didn't care
about staying up too late.
Cheers of "Happy Birthday, Bill!" filled the air
and we ate an ice cream cake.

In a darkened room, we turned on Lost
while dogs found games to play
When we needed breaks, we just hit pause
to say the things we say

{{WHO??}}

And when it's time to go to bed
I dream of kittens all over Bill's homestead.

Bill's Official Thirty-third Birthday (poem)

They say you only turn thirty-three once
but for Bill, we celebrated twice.
Here's this leftover keg from Saturday --
let's kick it on a Tuesday.
Full shots of tequila chase our plastic cups
of Bud Light and knives are tested,
not thrown. While we wait for pizza dough
to rise, dogs, mostly domesticated, slide
across hardwood and end
in a growl. Tommy walks among those
beasts, in graying degrees of drunk,
while the rest of us find holds
on couches and floors, beer in one hand,
pizza in the other, watching parallel universes
exist obliviously to each other on the final season
of Lost, pausing now and then for patchless smoke
breaks, trips down shared history lane, and an ice
cream cake scripting "Your Bear Hat is Awesome,"
a phrase only a slice of us understand. The candles
are beer steins and Kelly has to set them on fire
because Tommy is making a video including me
failing with the lighter. The night idles
away to quiet two a.m. chit chat
about fake boobs and hairy asses and one last
hit before we drift apart to a house asleep
on the first day of Bill's thirty-third year.

Poet's Reunion Supper (poem)

He says even we
are mediocre, at best,
students, always, crafting
away on a useless course,
so all the better
we lack brilliance.
He is brightly phrased,
rarely making eye contact,
bringing up my past
lovers with casual nostalgia.
I am patient and I am open
to his suggestion, disagreeing
only occasionally.
I see how much this means
to him and how much it means
to me and I am already learning
about this revision process.

Taco Haiku (poem)

for Bill, by request

Tacos bring such joy
Meat, cheese, lettuce, and salsa
Crunch between my teeth

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When Harry Met Sally (poem)

Twist of fate and suddenly
here we are -- alive inside
our vision of this
mess called limbo life.
Admit it. We mean more
somehow to each other than
anybody else but we still fail.
Navigating around our undeclared pitfalls,
thoughtful pauses where we try
honestly to be our best selves --
only we rely on our most subtle
nuances, those moments where
you say something with a million meanings
lacking the inflection to clarify the point --
and I'm no better.
Day in and day out, we build each other up
and let each other down.

for you (poem)

Tonight I want you
to talk about you.
I'm here. I'm in it.
I'm ready for this phase.
You are on the tilt,
close to a mechanical teeter,
so apt to sway on this fulcrum,
this pivotal point.
Both sides require you to fall.
I am here, though, here
for you -- standing, flat footed
on rock hard solid ground.
Look into my eyes
like you have so many times
and let yourself go.
I am here, I am here,
paced and leveled and anticipating.

Alive (poem)

Something sneaks
alive in me
right when you come
around the corner into view.
How you effect me.
Horrible gratitude floods
all the cavities inside,
right up to the point of drowning.
Rally point: level ground where
I can hide behind drunken
estimations of who you are
to me. To me,
who knows this love.
Oh, what rabid joy.
Leave me never, boy.
Feel my pulse of life.

Sun Salutation A (poem)

Sand is welcome between my toes
today and every day otherwise.
Emptying my mind of convention,
vinyasas drive me forward,
energizing my prana upwards
drawing stability in this flexible ground.
Another flip to updog,
vying for a spot in the soon-peaking sun,
every pose with purpose on this beach.

Odysseus (poem)

When am I going to wake up
on your distant shore?
Laying in bed, I remember
feeling peaceful stretched beside you,
still sleeping, snoring a little too loudly.
Tomorrow is another chance for us.
Always tomorrow.
Relive this dream another day.

Baxter (poem)

I got into a staring contest
with a cat and I won.
Across the room, he peeking out
of a plastic container, me in the doorway,
we locked our gazes for reasons
I'll never understand. Thirty
full seconds, then fifteen more
before he averted his eyes
and looked out the window instead.
I had outlasted the beast!
Nothing was gained from this challenge,
no lesson learned except
our eyes are both green with tiny gold flecks.
I stood up to something domesticated
and walked away with abnormal bragging rights.

Love Cliche (poem)

Bill asks, "Why
is every fucking song
they write about love?"
He is newly married
and forever in love
but I still see his point.
There are other things, you know,
other slices of humanity
worth working into a song.
Like, why don't we write
a song about knives
hurled at walls or
drawing baths to cure the spins?
Those are the things that happen.
Those are the elements of life's surprise.
Love is abstract in a song,
cliched to reality.
But it's why people sing --
to add a dimension to love
that we can all hear.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Notes from an Urban Cave Dweller. Part 4.

No Hurry, No Worry.....Notes from 2010.

I am a woman. I am thirty years old. I am single.

This does not terrify me.

We live in a world where the above truth about my life makes me sound like either a liar or in denial about my life. I would venture to guess that those close to me would know that I am simply being honest, but very few anonymous readers would accept me on my word. There is, after all, an urgency in our culture, in almost every culture, to pair off, to be mated, to marry and further populate the world so that our tiny spawns can grow up and repeat our path. I get it. It’s the bare bones of society, it’s the path we all must take.

Yet here I am. Single and thirty and not suicidal. What is wrong with me.

` Here’s the thing. I am not in any hurry. I look around at all the people I know who are in varying degrees of romantic entwinements and I see their triumphs and their failures for what they are: life on planet earth. But I look past the day to day and see deeply into the souls of my closest friends’ relationships and, well…..judging by the level of true commitment, honesty, self-awareness, and presence of love I see, I am convinced that being single ain’t so bad.

One of the biggest problems with conforming to the social “norm” of a committed relationship is that most people settle for someone (or some situation) that is actually not the right one. But even if one or both members of the couple recognize the deficiencies, so often they are ignored and a so-so relationship binds these people together strictly because of a fear of being alone. What’s so bad about being alone? There are actually lots of positive aspects of being single, aspects that lead to the individual claiming his or her space as an individual and thus when the “right” relationship comes along, there is no doubt that what that person is bringing to the table is the best offering possible.

I have theory about relationships that I have dubbed the “Same Page Theory.” With this theory, I would propose that relationships, ranging from casual acquaintances through arduous romances, only work when all of the members involved are on the figurative same page. In other words, it works when everyone is getting exactly what they want out of the situation -- things are jelled. The minute that the couple is not on the same page is when things fall apart. For example, let’s say Ali and Pete meet at a party, hit it off and start dating. Things are fun, casual, they’re lovin’ life. But then something shifts after a few weeks of dating -- Pete realizes he is starting to fall for Ali. Now, if Ali feels the same way, the same page momentum carries over even as the relationship escalates. But if Ali doesn’t feel the same way, drama ensues. What should she do? She likes Pete and they have fun, but she’s just-gotten-out-of-a-bad-relationship-not-really-looking-for-something-serious-sorta-not-sure-she-sees-herself-with-Pete-plus-there’s-this-cute-guy-at-work…. You get the idea. In this generic scenario, Ali will either choose to stay with Pete even though they don’t share the same perspective on their relationship or she will choose to end it and start from scratch on the single scene. My guess is she would opt to stay with Pete, especially if the sex is good, even if her heart’s not really in it. Better to have someone, even the wrong one, then no one, right? The Same Page Theory would advise Ali to ditch Pete and move on. Which, I suppose also means if Ali was my friend, I would tell her to ditch Pete and move on. Why does everyone just settle? It’s nothing short of depressing.

OK, OK, I can already see the, “But, Sarah…” objections here. Like, “But, Sarah, how do you know for sure you’re not on the same page?” I suppose you know when you know. It depends on how willing you are to examine your relationship openly and honestly with your own internal eye. Ask yourself -- are you happy? Is your partner? If the answer to either query is any graying degree of no… Do something about it.

Sometimes I think people are afraid to be happy -- specifically, happy with themselves. A lot of people don’t either really know themselves or like what they see in the mirror. They need that social validation, that Facebook status listing them linked to whomever, in order to feel OK about life. Facebook alone has jettisoned the public stigma on being listed as “single” into a whole new stratosphere. I always laugh when one of my friends alters his or her status from “single” to it saying nothing at all. Pop up on the newsfeed -- Jenny is no longer single! Woo hoo! Let twenty people comment on it. What dummies, nothing has changed! Jenny just doesn’t choose to identify herself as “single” anymore. She’s now “none of your goddamn business.” Right on.

In another instance, I had some friends who started dating and their Facebook pages listed them as “In a Relationship” but didn’t specify the partner. Even though they have a massive shared social network of people who knew exactly what was happening between them, when they opted to add their partner’s names to their Facebook status a few months later, each of them wound up with a dozen congratulatory comments. Um, yeah, these people have actually been together for months and you comment-posters all know it. Why are you acting like it’s big news because now it‘s on Facebook?

There is such a need to make your business public, which is great when you’re stringing up successes. But when things turn messy, you’ve now set yourself to have to explain it to your now-captive audience. Genius plan.

Case in point: I have a friend whose boyfriend cheats on her constantly. We’re talking public affairs that all of our friends know about and this girl spends her time bemoaning how much he drinks. Seriously? THAT’S your problem with your relationship? Not the fact that he can’t be faithful to you for five minutes? Apparently, a strong sense of denial can blockade even the smartest, most worthy people from seeing the truth as plain truth. And what about respect? Love and respect go hand in hand and so goes the greatest strength in a relationship. Without love and respect, there’s disregard for the humanity and social dignity associated with the convention. If someone is cheating on you, he (or she) does not respect you, so how can that person love you?

So why does this girl stay with this guy? Why do so many people cheat?

I’ve been cheated on, we all have, and it’s the worst feeling. Cries of “Why aren’t I enough for you?” fill our lungs and either crash into the cave of a snapped shut mouth or spew out into the air in a frenzy of self doubt. Either way, the response is usually a wide-eyed expression, a sense of panic far greater than anything else. The fucker’s been busted and since cheating is an act that breaks trust, it is unforgivable and unexplainable. It is never an accident. It is never without calculation. A cheater knows what he or she is doing. And that’s fucked up. If you’re unhappy in your relationship or if there is someone else who has caught your eye, dissolve your union and then pursue whoever you choose. There is, actually, no law that says you MUST be in a relationship and if you’re in a place that is begging for sexual freedom, be free. Either that or quell your animal instincts and remain true to your commitment. Cheating is cowardly and depreciates your moral worth.

I would rather be single than bound to a cheater.

There are those with a more liberal sense of what a committed relationship is, and I can respect such variances on the norm when it’s a shared ideology between the partners. Once again -- things work when everyone is on the same page.

I have been in love and there is nothing greater than the feeling of completion it instills. Love provides warmth and security and an intimate community. Love makes everything attainable. Love lifts you. Love shows you why you are here on this planet, why this place, why now, why it all exists. Love is invincible and courageous and beautiful and stunning.

Love is also fluid and dynamic and thus in a constant state of flux that cannot be controlled, that should not be controlled, that will not be controlled. Love is nature and nature lives by natural selection. Sometimes that means it ends. Sometimes that means it changes. Sometimes that means it will fade and then return. You have to be willing to listen to nature to achieve balance and happiness. You have to know that choice is the right one for you.

I am single and I am thirty and that is that. Maybe tomorrow that will change. Maybe next week or next year. Maybe it will change for me several times over the next week or year. I know myself well enough to trust that the right thing will present itself to me in a timely manner. I know that love is the greatest thing we can share with the people in our lives and I will be on the lookout for what will not only complete the innate desire to find a true romance for myself but that will also complete my lucky man. I’m not in any hurry for the stars to align. I’m not in any hurry.

Notes from an Urban Cave Dweller. Part 3.

MONSTERS...Notes from 2006.


Sarita: plus, that kind of shit gives me stuff to write about. lol.

leighd: exacltly, you can always get back at them by bringing them to life as a weak and pitiful character in one of your stories...

Sarita: could happen. that's the danger of befriending a writer

leighd: and the greater danger of offending that friend :>




Back in August 2003, he had no idea. Then again, neither did I. We had scratched each other’s surface and liked the scent we exuded, liked the way we fit together, in a metaphoric sort of way. But we were clueless. Him more than me, me more than him, what difference could that possibly make? But when he was joking about the danger of offending me, his writer friend, he didn’t know that at that very moment, I was printing out multiple copies of a poem I’d written about him and was sending out to the greater void known the World of Literary Magazines and he, years later, has no clue that very poem has been published more than once.

You don’t have to “offend the writer” to become a weak, gutless construction in her work. He should know that. But he doesn’t.

Actually, moments before he made his joke, a joke that makes me laugh on a daily basis, we’d been talking about the pros and cons about finding out what people say behind your back. He’d just told me about how his roommate, a classmate of mine, had so enjoyed a sneak-peak down my shirt, god bless the v-neck, I always say, while he gave me some free Starbucks coffee, the greatest perk a barrista can offer to his friends and neighbors. “You know we’re speaking in confidence here, right?” he’d asked, as if I was going to march to Central Square and demand his roommate explain his gross maleness, thus exposing the fact that his friend revealed their man-to-man confidence and embarrassing the hell out of a sullen poet. Confidence, yes, that I understood. I knew how to keep a secret. Not that one, mind you: I told everyone I could about my free coffee, wink wink, but other secrets... Well, there were things on the horizon. Things that would rise and fall like unforgiving, pleasure cruise waves, things that would eventually strand me here, alone and forced to admit that we are both monsters.


I met Leigh in an unlikely place: his home. It was a Thursday in March 2003 and we were doing what we’d come to do: read poetry and get sloshed. His roommate Max had been hosting our group of writers, mainly Emerson College MFA candidates, for about a month and every week was like this. Six, eight, twelve, fourteen writers lounging in the Walden Compound, as Leigh addressed their Porter Square home, listening to each other read our own work and the work of others. I was invited as a “friend of a friend” for the initial gathering and had enjoyed the atmosphere, the comraderie of poets and writers, the flowing conversation, the bottomless glasses of wine. Max, our host, I knew remotely; we’d shared one class together and had vaguely gotten along. Melissa was our tangent point, his friend and mine, and she had asked me to check the scene out with her. Tonight was maybe our fifth consecutive gathering, and the group was good-sized. Six fellow Emersonians plus two quasi-outsiders, Leigh and my own roommate Kelly. Leigh worked at MIT, while Kelly spent her days at Boston’s Children’s Museum. It was the first night that either of them had joined us, Kelly out of sheer curiosity and Leigh because the hockey season was over, thus he was home. They had picked a good night to start. There was something in the air, a vibe of mischief and revelry that would propell us late into the night.

When I was about a quarter drunk as I would get that night, one of the women in the group pulled out thick edition of collected Borges and began thumbing through it to find a particular story. I was getting antsy, wanted to move on to someone else while she looked, wanted to pull out my collected Garbiel Garcia Marquez short stories and read my favorite one, when I heard Leigh, sitting in a chair to my right, say, “Read the story about that drowned man who lands on the beach and the people bring him to their city and claim him as their own... What’s that story? Isn’t that Borges?”

Holy shit. He had my attention.

Because, no, it was not Borges. It was Garcia Marquez. It was the story I had been planning on reading. As I whipped my book out, I corrected him on the author, and produced the story: “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World: A Tale for Children.” Read it and weep, kids. So, drunk as I was, I made it my turn and bumbled my way through one of the funniest short stories ever written.

That night, Kelly and I stayed at the Walden Compound until well after two in the morning. Everyone else had to catch the T and had bolted by a little after midnight. But Kelly and I lived a mile or so down the road in Union Square and had to walk, regardless, so when Leigh said we couldn’t leave until the wine was gone, we shrugged and went along with it. There we were: an odd foursome -- Max and me, two classmates who barely knew each other, Kelly and Leigh, our roommates -- all of us drunk, Max now getting stoned, talking about god-knows-what while we slosh through bottles of wine and second-hand bong hits. Something seemed so right about the whole scenario, even though nothing should have seemed right. There was an odd chemistry that night that could only partially be blamed on the mixology happening in our bloodstreams. Max and me on the couch, Leigh and Kelly in chairs, a semi-circle of girl-boy-girl-boy roommate happiness. I remember looking at Max and thinking what the hell am I still doing here?

Then Leigh would fill up my glass and, even though I didn’t have an answer, I didn’t need one anymore.

Somewhere in our transient conversation, Leigh started smoking cigars and so Max put down his bong and joined him. Right in the middle of someone talking, Max stared right at me and said, “Sarah, you’d look damn sexy smoking a cigar. Do you want one? It could be your thang.” Yeah, right. The next Gertrude Stein. Fits of giggles for the house, put it on my tab, thanks. We were all just intoxicated and happy, but when the wine was gone, we had to leave. Not that they didn’t try and stop us, no. While all 6’5” of Max slouched against the doorframe in their outer hallway, all 5’6” of Leigh crouched down to try on my shoes. We probably wore the same size. “These are so cool!” he said as he waved one of the black leather Josef Seibel’s in the air. “Dude, I need to put that on,” I said and he said, “Oh. Oh, yeah.” They offered us their couch. They offered to call a cab. They were perfect gentlemen. It was a perfect night, and Kelly and I walked home drunk and happy.

The next day, I got an email from Melissa saying, “So, what about Leigh? You two seemed to hit it off...” And I guess that we had, although, to this day, I couldn’t say if that first night was a result of Leigh’s attraction to me or Kelly or both. It doesn’t really matter. All I know is that I walked around with a big smile on my face all day, happy to have been in the company of some cool guys who treated us like people. I was as attracted as hell to Leigh, but I couldn’t for the life of me conjure his face in my mind. Blame it on the alcohol, blame it on their dim house lighting, blame it on a stubborn consciousness, but I couldn’t have told a sketch artist what he looked like. I promised myself that the next time I saw him, I’d remember.

And saw him again I did. Off and on for the next few weeks, we combated as the flirter and the flirtee, drinking together, reading together, playing the role of the babe and the asshole boyfriend in our friend’s screenplay, emailing, planning, being coy as hell. It was all fun and ridiculous until he turned serious on me, pouring his heart out to me about struggles with his ex-girlfriend.

His ex live in girlfriend. Of six years. Martha.

I’d never heard a word about her and then, like discovering which socket that light switch corresponds to, there was a new hue in the room. A new brightness, but this one was harsh, flourescent, showed off every clogged pore. The ex. What a drag.

There’s a lot of history between Leigh and me in the year we were involved, but the moment where things went wrong came a short month after we started dating and Martha became part of the undercurrent. I never met her or any of the other women Leigh involved himself with while he was in my life, but I know for a fact that Martha continued to plagued every romantic relationship Leigh pursued in that time.

That woman has power.

My romantic interest in him tapered the more I heard about Martha’s daily woes and annoying habits, but I remained friends with him, even though he was less than straightforward with me about the other women in his life -- women besides Martha, that is.

This story really only becomes interesting when Lindsay stumbles into the picture. I don’t know where Leigh met her or how long he’d been seeing her before I found out about her existence. All I know is it happened during a particular month where he and I simply failed to find time to spend together. We hadn’t exactly stopped seeing each other, and we certainly weren’t particularly involved, but I felt like we were trying to have a go at some sort of real relationship. Well, that’s how I felt, but Leigh felt like fucking around with a school teacher and he also felt like not telling me about it. I found out during a Red Sox playoff game versus the Yankees, a Game 7 situation, no less, and my source was a mutual friend who was backed up by Max. Here we all are. Drunk in a bar, making small talk about Leigh and some girl. I didn’t say anything then. I actually didn’t say anything until two weeks later when Leigh finally told me himself about what had apparently been going on for some time. He’d met Lindsay. How nice.

I should have packed it in right then. This guy clearly had baggage of all kinds and was not worth my time, but here’s the thing about Leigh... He’s charismatic. He’s addictive. He remained in my life.

What our relationship became, I’m not really sure. We more or less talked all the time and saw each other every so often. I continued to hear about Martha at every turn, but Lindsay? She might as well have been a figment of our collective imagination.

So imagine my surprise when the spring finally errupted on Boston and I got a message from Leigh’s wack-o girlfriend. I had sent him a text message -- him and four other people, I might add -- about a homeless man dressed as the Cat in the Hat on the Common who told me that the Bruins were going to win their playoff game 2-1. I thought it was funny -- I wanted to tell some people. Less than a minute later, I got a text response from Leigh’s phone -- but it wasn’t from Leigh. It said:

Please stop texting my boyfriend. He is busy going down on me.

Lindsay apparently didn’t see the humor in the Cat in the Hat.

I waited until the next day and called Leigh at the office to find out what the hell his girlfriend was talking about -- how she could send me such a territorial, lewd message -- and Leigh laughed in an unnatural way and said, “I think she was kidding.”

Men can be cute sometimes, can’t they?

I should probably also mention that I never -- to this day -- met Lindsay, but I do know she had great insecurities about Leigh’s relationship with Martha (he told me so), and she apparently had some sort of insecurity about me. I don’t know what Leigh told her about me -- lord knows he never said much to me about her. Whatever it was, she felt strongly enough to spit right in my face, unprovoked.

Though, that’s not how Leigh saw it.

We got into a pretty intense screaming argument -- well, really, it was me screaming -- wherein I dropped enough F-bombs to destroy one of those small European countries and he told me I was out of line. Not for saying fuck, no, Leigh didn’t care about that. He cared that I was trash-talking his sweetie.

Was he kidding? He had to be kidding. Where’s the hidden camera?

I was stunned by the entire ordeal. I mean, what had I done to Lindsey to justify such an attack? And what would ever make Leigh say that I was the one who was causing trouble?

I won’t pretend that I didn’t want Leigh back then. I did. I wanted him back and I wanted him bad. I flirted with him, I made suggestive comments, I put myself out there. But only with words. I hardly ever saw the guy.

Shit. I told you. He’s a little Napoleon, no kidding.

Well after that screaming match and a few bumpy conversations about me wanting to talk to him face to face and him ducking for cover, capped by a scathing email where he essentially equated me with the keeper of hellfire, I didn’t see him or talk to him for almost a year. And when we did find ourselves on the same guest list, he tried to nonchalantly say hello, but all I wanted to do was sit in a corner with as many people as possible who weren’t Leigh and get rip roaring drunk. Which is what happened.

“Look, there’s your ex. He’s like a dwarf or a troll.” From the lips of one of my drinking buddies. “Let me tell you a story,” I said. Let me tell you a story.

It doesn’t have a happy ending. It doesn’t have an ending at all. It hangs in the air like an unfinished sentence, bold in its belief that, underneath it all, we are not good people. We are just people alive with passionate friction. We’re both cruel and manufactured.

We are monsters.

Notes from an Urban Cave Dweller. Part 2.

WINGMAN....Notes from 2005.

I am a terrible wingman.

I blame it on my best friend Corey. She’s a worse wingman than me and I really learn best by example. She’s a bad example, so I am a failure as a result. Now, this is a troublesome area to fail in because a bad wingman is the equivalent of a lame or just plain bad friend. The job of the wingman, afterall, is to help his or her friend score and the wingman must do anything necessary to help ensure his friend’s success. A good wingman is accommodating, patient, and nearly invisible. A good wingman stays out of the spotlight and attracts very little attention to the fact that he’s present. He’s nice to the friend or friends of his buddy’s object of desire and he dutifully takes as many for the team as humanly possible before the mission is complete.

I am not good at blending in to the group. I blame it on astrology. After all, I was born on the Day of the Entertainer -- seriously, June 7, look it up -- so being in the middle of the action is not only the place I’m most comfortable, it’s the place destined for me by the stars. There are very few rooms that I can’t work, very few men I can’t charm. It’s in my nature -- it’s an attractive nature. I like to be the funny one, the one who pushes the audience to participate or accept the consequences of a Gemini attack. I will say outrageous things. I will touch faces, throw arms around bodies, stand nose-to-nose with anyone.

This makes me a bad wingman.

Once when I was an undergraduate at Kent State, a dorm-friend Natane begged her trusty friends Hollie and yours truly to go to a bar so she could casually, nonchalantly, run into a boy she’d met online. Natane was always meeting a guy online. “Please, I really like him,” she said. “But I don’t want to go by myself.” So agree we did and the bar turned out to be something like a golf course pub and the boy -- I think his name was Jason -- found us pretty easily for a guy who’d never met us.

Back in college, I was kind of overweight -- maybe fifteen, twenty pounds plump, and had a reputation for being more of every guy’s trust-worthy sister than object of desire. This particular night, though, was my first time out as an official wingman and, well, my own power frightens me sometimes. As the four of us crowded in a booth, Hollie and I on one side, Natane and Jason on the other, no one was talking but Jason and me, and even though Jason had specifically wanted to meet and spend time with Natane, the only woman at the table he offered to buy a drink for was me.

Oops?

I think I turned some horrible shade of red and stuttered a no thanks as Natane sharply kicked me in the shin. Well, excuse me for being a good conversationalist. As far as I know, none of us ever saw Jason again after that night.

From that point on, though, I became strangely aware of how good I was at being the pivotal member of any given social setting. I was my group’s go-to girl when the good times were slumping.

But let me get back to why this is all Corey’s fault. Corey is my best friend and I love her more than anyone else that I know, but she pisses me off when it comes to my relationships with men. Mainly it’s because she’s like me -- she likes being the eye candy, the one with anonymous drinks being set before her, compliments of some dude across the bar. She wants the guys to like her first and best and when they don’t, well, fuck you very much. She’ll insist that we leave, move on to greener pastures, even if the people she’s with are having a good time, making love connections or not.

It might also be important to note here that Corey has always been in a relationship. When she and I were randomly assigned to be roommates at Kent State, she had just gotten together with her boss’s son Mike and, for better or worse, she’s married to him now. And before Mike, there were other juvenile relationships, long term or otherwise, so the girl doesn’t know what it’s like so much as to be picked second, let alone not at all.

I know what it’s like to be picked second or not at all and it’s pretty demoralizing. So when you have a best friend, who is so much fun to be around but who has trouble stepping back and letting you catch a guy’s eye, well... It’s some kind of evil education that teaches you how not to be a good wingman and instead how to be sultry and invading and the prize. Really, those aren’t bad things to learn, but when you’re supposed to be helping a friend hook up, falling all over yourself to stay in the spotlight can be counterproductive, to say the least.

More or less, I learned not to consider The Hunt for Mr. Right when Corey and I were out together. If we got hit on, fine. If not, fine. She still got to go home to Mike every night, anyway, so it was pretty win-win, and since she and I always have a fabulous time out, it was fairly win-win for me, too. I’d go out on the prowl with my other girlfriends, my single girlfriends, and see what kind of water we could squeeze out of rocks.

Part of the problem, though, is I’m not good at asking for back up. I am too independent for my own good and I make flashy, impulsive decisions when it comes to men. Plus, I spent years out with Corey and I knew that asking her to be my wingman was like asking her to compete for the same guy’s attention. Not a genius plan, you know? I like to be the one the guy’s focused on. I don’t want there to be any confusion about whose number he should be jotting down.

Makes you wonder, really, how dudes do it. If two attractive women start talking to you, where does your mind go? Do you decide you like one more than the other and does it occur to you that choosing one over the other right away might eliminate your chances with either? Do you drag one of your buddies into the conversation to feel out who has a better connection with which chick? Do you wonder when your date’s going to return from the bathroom, or do you immediately wonder if these two women would consent to a little sexual indiscretion?

Well, I, for one, don’t want to get bogged down in the details. I want to be the only one up for the part. So I tend to fly solo and crash and burn -- crash and burn, that is, if my intent is to form a lasting bond of any sort. Recently, I was at a friend’s party where I participated in some down and dirty dancing with any variety of fellow guests and I maybe remember three of their names. My roommate was also at the party and could give me detailed accounts of some of these men’s lives, past and present, because she’d had old fashioned conversation with them.

Huh.

I hadn’t been there to meet someone. I had been there to drink and dance and have a good time, which is exactly what I’d done. Some nights are like that. If I made every social event about finding my soul mate, the pages of my memoir might read like a Lifetime movie. Plus, I had another mission at this party -- just call me Goose.

The Tom Cruise to my Anthony Edwards is Whitney. We used to work together and now we just terrorize dance floors all over Boston. I officially accepted my title as her wingman a few months prior to the before-mentioned party when she fell flat on her face for a bassist named Tom. He was rockin’ out on the stage, we were panting on the dance floor, she liked him, he came over and made nice to the both of us, and she introduced herself. I just stood there and grinned like an idiot. Don’t get me wrong -- I was OK with Whit making a love connection instead of me. Tom’s a swell guy, but he’s not my type. The long and short of it is that Whit and Tom started dating and things seemed to be going pretty well for them...

Until the night of the party in question. It was Whit’s party, her birthday party no less, and Tom was a no-show. We’d seen him just the night before at one of his gigs and he’d repeatedly mentioned the party and asked what he could bring. He said he’d be the first one there, drink in hand, but as the time crept past midnight, to one, to two, still no bassist babe. Whit was a bit more than miffed about his absence, with good reason, so as her wingman, I fielded questions and distracted people from hounding her about her man’s absence. I stood outside in the cold with her while she called him at one a.m. and I told her the message she left him was calm and collected. And for the next two weeks, until they finally spoke person-to-person, I analyzed and overanalyzed every moment of Whitney and Tom’s relationship. She would call me and we would go over every excruciating detail, step by step. I didn’t really have any answers for her, but we all know that’s beyond irrelevent.

A good wingman is also a good listener. I’m a better listener than I am a wingman, but that has to count for something..

There’s something honorable about being a wingman, something righteous, almost, about putting the needs of your friend above and beyond anything you want or need. I would do anything for a friend, anything. So I’m trying to forget all those bad years of training I got from Corey. I’m turning over a new leaf and pinning on my flight badge. I am going to try. Which is more than I can say for most men.

Notes from an Urban Cave Dweller. Part 1.

Girls and Boys: Notes on the Subject from 2005


So what’s this dating I keep hearing everyone talk about?

I’m a twenty-six year old single white female with a master’s degree who lives in the heart of Red Sox Nation. I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, don’t drink until I fall down -- usually. I have a charming disposition, go to the gym at least four days a week, and rarely eat red meat. I believe in god, though not religion, and I never call in sick. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, never spent a night in jail, never bailed on a friend in need. I am a natural blonde.

But I repeat: what is this dating?

I’m sitting here thinking really really hard. I’m also looking at the calendar and trying to remember the last time I went on a date. Now I’m trying to decide what constitutes as a “date” and I’m hoping the definition is as liberal as Boston because otherwise...

I am a midwestern girl on her fourth New England winter and I’ve gotten used to the severity.

And I really don’t get this dating thing.


I’m convinced I’m doing something wrong. I know men like me and I know I like men, but something always gets lost when I try to make the leap from being a man’s “some girl I know” to “some girl I know.” Usually, I end up in an angry or bitter dispute over either demanding too much or not enough and I’m back to sleeping alone and spending hours drinking with any gal pal I have so we can highlight every miniscule moment I ever spent with the guy. It’s pathetic. It’s the life of the single people in Boston. I mean, for a place with so many young people, la vie amor is about as likely to flourish as a thawed Ted Williams.

So maybe this all sounds a bit bitter. Well, it is bitter. I moved to this city for graduate school and I achieved my goal of completing my masters, but I’d be foolish to sit here and say that was all I hoped to achieve in my East Coast shuffle. I was leaving love of the confusing sort behind in the midwest. I was going to have me a real bonafide love affair and then I was going to move to the West Coast and do it again.

Well. It’s not that I’ve had zero success here in this windy city. It’s not that I haven’t been shown a good time by members of the grittier sex. It’s really more that none of these men have stuck around long enough to suggest we go steady, let alone mumble an “I love you,” and I’m an idealistic girl. I want more than a phone call every two weeks. I want more than a stack of excuses and when those excuses are followed by apologies, I don’t want them to be flat. And, god damn it, I want to be the only lady on the radar for once in my life.

I’m asking for too much and I realize that, gentlemen.

But it’s not just me. I’m surrounded by single ladies with the same complaints, the same terrible date stories, the same loser dudes doing the same loser things. If I had a dime for every time I heard the phrase, “Well, he said he would call...”

Uh huh.

Not too long ago, a few of my friends and I indulged in the infamous He’s Just Not That Into You book to see what sort of advice Greg and Liz could provide. All I can say is for a book that seems to advocate women’s empowerment, it made us all feel like total losers. Because the kind of man Greg says we deserve does not exist. I do not know one person who has a man (or a woman, for that matter) who always calls when he says he will, never makes his work a priority over his woman, and does all the things he says he’s going to do when he said he would do them. Yet, strangely, I know people in successful relationships -- my roommate just interrupted my tirade to announce her sister got engaged -- so what does Greg know? No man can be the super hero that he says we ladies deserve, and, frankly, we ladies shouldn’t expect such heroism. Relationships are two-way streets, and to play that cliche like a three-string bass, even in a one-traffic light town, driving conditions can still suck. Greg’s solution to the slightest sign of less-than-100% is the dude isn’t into you. While that may not always be wrong, it certainly isn’t always right, either.

My friends and I were curious enough about Greg’s theories -- particularly his harsh stance on the word “busy” and how said word was the “relationship weapon of mass destruction” -- to try and test them out a little. We stopped being the ones who made the first move, who called all the time, who needed these losers. But the bottom line was, we’re not robots. We’re passionate women who know what we want and it was really hard to sit back and wait for some dude to make the move we wanted to make ourselves. Greg says a man who doesn’t make the first move is either not interested (thus the reason he has not asked you out) or lazy. I think men are generally pretty stupid when it comes to relationships and it is always the woman’s job to drop some sort of hint. Ask me out, you idiot. After about two weeks of following Greg’s advice, though, as a sociological experiment of sorts, all I can say successfully is my phone lay silent and my nights out were with the ladies.

So I decided to shake things up a bit and ask our target audience: a man. But not just any man. I asked my old college buddy Chad. Now, it is important to note here that I, at one time, had a mad hot fever for dear old Chad and I had thunk he’d felt the same about me, but despite the fact that we saw each other nearly every day and spent hours discussing relationships and futures, he opted to have sex with one of his neighbors instead of me. That was all years ago, though, and I cried my tears over it already. Chad and I are still strangely close friends and he’s often someone I look to for relationship advice, as crazy as that might seem. It only seems crazy because you don’t know him. He’s a romantic at heart and he believes in love. He also manages to tell me every time I speak with him that he really messed up when it came to me, so that doesn’t hurt my inclination to forgive and forget. Trust me, Chad’s the sort of dude you want on your side because he’s straightforward and clear-focused. If you give him the information, he always comes back with a reliable take on the situation. So I came to him with Greg’s words of wisdom and Chad shot them all down, kamikaze style. A soundbite:

See that book is about playing the game, it's not a game, love is not a game but something that happens through fate, not because of what you say or do, the person meant for you will love you for who you are, what you do, the habits you have, the life you live someone who just doesn't stand through all that, but agrees with doing so because that is what everything in his body tells him to do.

See why I loved him, ladies? And the scariest part about it is Chad means it. He’s not feeding me a line, whether you believe that or not. He’s also not “trying to get back with me,” as my best friend insisted when I told her about the conversation. What he’s doing is giving me and the rest of the ladies who have the fortune of hearing his take some hope for mankind -- womankind is already set.

What about Greg’s theories? Chad set out to debunk all of those, repeating that love isn’t a game, people aren’t as black and white as the pages of Greg’s book. Sometimes busy people are really busy, Chad says. It might be an excuse, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

Truth be told, none of this has helped me at all. I’m still a single white female with a masters degree flying solo in Red Sox Nation. I’m still the catch uncaught. I still fall for the guys who never call you back. I still spend more time helping my friends succeed in their love lives than I spend proactively helping myself. And sex? Ha, I barely remember what it’s like to be kissed. Despite all the odds, despite all the impossibilites this facet of life generates, I am not giving up, exactly. No, I’m getting to the bottom of it -- once, and most importantly, for all.