Sunday, February 12, 2012

Three Descriptive Writings


The suede couch is far too small for me. My legs jut off the side and dangle above the floor. The entire house smells like green peppers. It is quiet. Once in the while the refrigerator makes a loud buzzing noise, and every time it does I jump slightly.

Three of the five bedrooms in this house are occupied by family members in various states of sleep. I hear my sister's television playing from her room. She uses it as a way of falling asleep, and infomercials will bleed through her bedroom door well into the early morning.

Something in the kitchen just fell over. The sound was soft, like a plastic bag falling to the linoleum floor. The ceiling creaks as somebody upstairs walks around. The footsteps are slow and heavy. The house is not so quiet after all.


The boxer is barking loudly as the realtor opens the door to the apartment. The boxer's owner holds him by the collar though he still struggles to get closer to me. His heavy panting becomes a wheeze as the collar presses against his windpipe. His owners apologize with slightly embarrassed smiles. Hopping on his hind legs grants him momentary freedom as his owner's hand slips from around the collar. He leaps against my leg and huffs my coat. I reach down and scratch his head. His short brown hair is coarse, like beard stubble. My hand is suddenly warm and wet as he sniffs, then licks it.

As I come back through the living room on my way out he has settled down and is sitting between his owners, staring at the television. He cocks his head toward me, but barely makes a sound. He rests his head on his front paws.

Character Sketch

It was hard to figure out where the question came from, because she was so short. We just heard the disembodied question "Were you just talking about Bono?" float into the deli. Turning around I saw a short woman, not much taller than the deli counter. She was looking at me and smiling. I told her we were, and her eyes widened slightly. Her smile was full of yellowed teeth as she began to discuss Bono's work in her favorite movie, Across the Universe. Her perfectly flat-ironed but thin hair shook as she spoke of this movie and of The Beatles. A surprisingly harsh voice for such a quaint-looking woman, who may as well be mid-level management at a retail store with her nondescript, inoffensive appearance. Bono was great in that movie, she said, but she wished he acted more. He has a pretty face, she said. She stopped her discussion as abruptly as she began it. She ordered a pound of ham, which I served to her. Taking the bag, she looked at me and winked, saying "I am the walrus" before turning and walking away.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Three Poems


Ramble on, talk, banter,
pander with candor as you trim.

The barbershop is us;
my mother, and my brother, and
another, and another.

My mother, clearly weary,
watches her Rapunzel bundle
land in angles on the floor.

Ding dong, hair gone.
The barber says to us
"Sleep creeps, rest now,"
and slowly starts to sweep.


I see myself in the bathroom mirror,
pink and smooth as a baby, naked
as a sphynx and just as old. I'm cold
and shaking, quietly crying.

The doctor said it was more than likely
that I would end up like this.
They said I'd no longer be Rapunzel;
they didn't tell me I'd be an ogre.

It fell out like dead leaves fall
off an aging tree. It landed everywhere
and wherever it landed it stayed,
as though it might take root.

I see myself in the bathroom mirror;
smooth as a baby, cold and shaking,
naked and crying.


Bill feels a chill, a thrill
if you will, as he spies
a customer in the lot.

Bill, in his tweed blazer,
stands to adjust his tie
and his smile. Both are

He grabs his sunglasses,
licks a spot off his shoes,
pulls out the crease in his slacks.

He throws back his shoulders
and strolls into the lot, speaking
and laughing loudly.

His laughter is matched by
the man at the car, who points
and giggles at Bill's head.

Bill's smile falters. His fingers
crawl to his crown and find
his toupee askew.

Bill feels ill, a chill
if you will, as he leaves
the customer in the lot.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Free Post ("Irises" by Li-Young Lee)

I've been going through Milosz's anthology of poetry and particularly enjoyed Li-Young Lee's poem "Irises." It's interesting how multifaceted his short poem is, and the use of repetition in the second stanza is particularly enjoyable. The entire piece has a romantic feel to it, but is still jarring in some of its description (I am thinking of the abrupt change from a meditation on beautiful flowers and the scent of a woman's hair to the line "I'd like to tear these petals with my teeth.")

I've particularly found the second section of the poem the most appealing, in its visual display (slowly dwindling into a small point) and its literary message. There's a strange juxtaposition in the second stanza talking about death and sleep, then connecting our perpetually entropic existence as humans to the aspirations of an iris, who wishes for that which is inevitable to humans. It's a really neat point to make.