Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's not about me

I'm supposed to be writing a paper on Parmenides in preparation for another paper on Plato, which will eventually wind up in a thesis on mood affect disorder as an influencing factor in ancient Greek philosophy. 

Instead, I want to talk about my kid. M— is a special kind of wonderful. Her life is kind of hard, what with ugly bouts of anxiety, and crappy ex-boyfriends who jerk her around, and having to deal with high school in general. But life is like that, for all of us in one way or another. What I'm proud of, though, is the beauty she leaves in her wake. 

These are just a few of her latest pieces. Yeah, genius.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

They've taken to calling us "women"

I'm not dumb. We got the tickets because we pulled a 6-7 month inactivity stunt that's still sometimes hard to be over.

But we went to this, the first ever General Women's Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, hopeful that a few questions would be answered. And we were not disappointed.

Before we went into the Conference Center I turned to my girls with mild apprehension to remind them that, "the errand of angels is given to women." They wanted clarification, but I couldn't give it in mixed company. Because, you see, we were dressed in purple for those who are requesting female ordination to the priesthood. I am not a part of that group, but I feel their petition is valid, because if angels work by the power and influence of God, what power and influence would that be if not the priesthood?

We were not given sure answer to that query, but it certainly wasn't denounced during the meeting, and the expanded scope of a woman's role on earth and in the gospel was unquestionably highlighted. 

It was tremendous to be there with my girls, M— and L—, who both think I'm some sort of medium that fifteen minutes before Sister Burton quoted from "As Sisters in Zion" I uttered the same words.

My little women. My beautiful best friends.
I'm not saying this experience was worth inactivity, but I'm not one for jumping out of line for this sort of opportunity.
Just sayin'.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Oingo Boingo sang about this once

This evening began innocently enough—a walk to Maverik to get cocoas, to get M—'s mind off of a boy who jerks her around, to get my mind off of everything I've got to do this weekend, including getting over an upper respiratory virus from hell. And then, somewhere along the way, I said, "You know, breaking the law can sometimes be fun." And even though the signage says to keep out after dusk, M— and I went for a walk in the cemetery that turned into a full out dance party beneath the streetlamp. We talked about how graveyards aren't anything frightening, how sometimes they feel as soothing and peaceful as temples. Yes, it was against the law. It was also exactly what we both needed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Swimming in it

This is the deal, I have a shitload of work to do even though I'm sick, home from school with two kids who are also sick and home from school.

Pressing: a Poetry analytical project that is due at 4 p.m. After that, quizzes to grade on Hume and Aristotle. And surrounding on every side, Greek. Once this is done I can focus on Presocratics and Parmenides, which needs to be all I do this weekend.

And on top off that, I've got poetry bleeding in the lexicon of my prefrontal cortex. No biggie. Scribble a line here and there.

Five weeks. You can do this. You are talking to yourself through an imaginary persona on a public blog, but by god, you can do this.

Even if you must indulge in German techno to focus. Read five poems. Grade one quiz. Parse five words. Rinse. Repeat.

You already know this method will backfire. At least you had a plan for a starting point. This is the best way to gauge success vs failure.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


...or, why Greek is a good fit for a wordy girl. This is a translation we constructed Tuesday after nearly an hour of unscrambling participled phrases. This language is only beginning to unfold its complexities.

Lassoing something golden and meaningful

Five weeks left. I count every Thursday that passes as one more academic week survived. I'm going to start counting Fridays as well. Because even though I am being so good, I am completely focused on two things: Mr. PNU, and staying rational and balanced and keeping my behavior within the acceptable normative.

But there continue to be chats after lecture, and in the Liberal Arts hallway, and once I settle into a comfort zone I am a flirtatious woman. I'm teasing him now. I reached out; I touched him.  I find myself during lecture bargaining between not meeting his gaze and letting my eyes fall into his when he is obviously looking to me on the back row. (I check. The other TAs are lost in their electronic devices. He is looking at me.)

So we're becoming comfortable as coworkers and friends, but I'm lost over reasoning this problem out. He will continue to be faculty. I will continue to be student. I've read the consensual relationships doc in university sexual harassment training twice. It is completely reasonable for both faculty and students to avoid consenting, even if it is permissible once the student/supervisor relationship has come to an end. 

And there is no way around missing this man when the semester ends. No way at all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Mavrodes: a holiday greeting from Bertrand Russell

April isn't the cruelest month. That would be
November when cricketsong slows to an asthmatic
wheeze and we anticipate the death of the arthritic

organ grinder. In April, crocuses diddle the sky,
monkeys get their wingbuds, and we wake
to the pulse of forgotten rhythms, some pagan,

others entirely in praise of blades of grass between
the toes. Maybe if you'd written a letter to Nietzsche
then he could have explained, could have said,

"The Buddhists and Christians, with their detachment
and bloodlust are lost to the beauty of suffering and water.
P.S. The buckets of stones you carry are a Sisyphean

epitaph, all the happiness you will know, all the words
you will leave behind." No, it's November that's cruel
because Easter rabbits line purses and Christmas is right

around the corner, begging the warmth of bodies
of future offerings long before the cooling off,
before footprints track snow across the flowerbeds.

The hum of life slows to the funeral pace of muzak
carols in a mall and everyone forgets how to dance.
That's how queer this world gets, George, every time.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Paper cranes and roller skates

Remember last summer when M— went to Japan?
Saturday afternoon Japan came to visit us.

Her name is Hitomi. 
She is 17, and just about as precious a child as a host mother could hope for.

She and M— quickly reconnected, and they've been joined at the hip since her arrival.
Hitomi is pretty fluent, but M— still chatters on and on in Japanese 
whenever she can.

So far we've done roller derby (American culture at its finest), 
Bryce Canyon, Frozen, spaghetti, and Costa Vida. 
Tomorrow we'll visit Springville Museum of Art to see M—'s work,
and then go bowling at FatCats. We're hosting Hitomi until Tuesday. 
I knew from the moment she stepped off the bus 
it wouldn't be long enough.

I want you to notice...

Friday, March 21, 2014

So far gone

I suspect there's no way to redeem myself. 

I am beyond the point of "like." L— claims I'm in "like like" mode.

However do I go cold turkey in five weeks? I live for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 2 p.m., for chance encounters in the Liberal Arts building that stretch into 45 min long discussions cut short only because we are late for lecture.

I've got it so bad.

In my head I practice—"I'm going to miss seeing you. If you have any extra time this summer we should get together for lunch, hanging out for whatever, catching a band, seeing a movie, to talk."

You know how it is. Like like.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


My ego tripped me this week—I realized I am one of "the shit" students. 

Hello 39. Hello sudden out-of-control fandom. Nerd girls are the new jocks; Mr. PNU said so himself right after I handed him the first three found poems derived from his paper. (I've promised three more. The series asks for the voice of delusion, God, and Christ. My ego thinks I can manage.)

But back to being the shit.

I am invited to faculty soirees and lunches and coffee. I am included in the shoulder rub with visiting poets. I have more opportunities to read my work than I actually can stomach. Professors ask for my input on how I'd like them to order their upcoming courses. Professors pull political strings to have me work with them on publications. Professors tell me they wish they wrote as beautifully. Professors order Thai food with tofu because they hope I will try it and they aren't certain whether I eat meat. Professors request my friendship on FB. Professors want me alone in the car to guide along my future path. Professors want to press in their thumbprints, somewhere. (Inspectors might want to dust Mr. PNU for mine. If only. Still, he's flattered and flattering in return; told the other TAs that I am an excellent writer. I flashed him my favorite shade of coy.) 

However they're waved, the palms are reaching when and where they can, hanging off every hint I drop about my graduation time frame. These people are my friends, but it's odd because suddenly I feel I have no peers. I'm an island; floating in between a PhD and only a handful of undergrads with whom I share anything common; uncertain where all of this ego will land when the action falls.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kantian want ad for the ideal Mormon robot

complete persons
who know, they are
greater than others,
separate, embodied
clearly obvious.

Those deserving of praise
label neatly, sense
damage, avoid others
with questionable family
history, social flaws,
and poor genetics.

Whatever the difficulty—
fill their natural born character,
as a matter of duty, and contempt 
for excuse or struggle.

Persons of a strong body
that does not break down,
and knows the way to flip the switch
on stress of severe mental snap,
who face death—all or nothing
—choosing life.

Finished persons keep
their word
are rationally categorical
fulfill obligations
and responsibility
and responsibility
and responsibility
with no need to be forgiven

will not abuse Christ with weakness,
make good agents.

Answer by writing a profound letter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday School Psychotherapy for the Bipolar: a found poem with Daddy issues

He is a good parent. But there is not enough space
in the boat for all of us heroic cowards. I need an excuse.

Some are left in the psychological current, bound
in Kantian irons and a counterintuitive duty to live.

I struggle against the force of God’s headwind,
blown by the irrational weight of his dichotomous belief

in divided kinds of persons. He demands these
differences: good and skew, level and mood, function

and desire.  Stress is temptation’s mental undercut
to the moral roots and stems labeled “disability.”

I want to be committed, but the delusional damage
is deep, and atonement is a drag. It takes a psychiatric Christ

to repair a disordered reason. A borrowed weight
to hold our bodies under, to heal the subtle spots,

our loss of reality, and the flaw of internal experience.
We need a physician against our false sense of rational acts,

against the opposition of a parent incapable of seeing His
mistake; blind to the suffering attempts of all His broken children.

Monday, March 17, 2014

After Phyllis: Aristotle's final word on Nicomachean Ethics

My son, an end comes to all men;
when his nature finds him naked,

crawling up her stairs in the night, eyes
downcast, gazing at gritty stars floating

the icy sea of her darkened chamber floor.
And she, waiting barefoot, laden in scent

of pomegranate, offers the cold restraint
of a bit and fingers, sticky like figs

in your mouth. Like an animal, you will beg
for the bridle; to take the sweet heaviness

of her persimmon hips and the warmth
of her starburst calyx upon the stallion

curve of your back. She will ride the battle out
of you, my boy. The delicious grain of her curls

leaping like disheveled creatures against your
flanks, until the lather is thick beneath her.

Saddled, your soul will groan to grant her
Eudimonia. Only then, will you understand telos:

Man as beast, carrying a golden queen along
a chance approximation of some virtuous mean.

Aristotle never gets lucky

He leaves everything to chance.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

You never thought you'd hear me say...

Sunday School rocked this afternoon. The young man who teaches gospel doctrine is all over my questions and questions and sometimes rambling comments, and once I got over intimidating him with my doubts and outright skepticism I realized that he's a pretty great discussion leader. I had to share that. 

My love for Relief Society, not so much, but M— is in her "I'm 17 1/2 and I'm done with Young Women and the boys my age" phase, so I had her as company for both. Know what? I'm digging this part of parenthood.

I didn't sleep well for the aches of the first 8 mile hike of the season, but I woke feeling positive for the first time in I can't remember. 

Now that I'm home from church (third time in a month...that's almost considered active, right?) I need a little nap, a run to the grocery store to restock the fridge for the next week, and then a crash run of Greek and poetry until bedtime. I aim to have two new poems done for tomorrow morning's reading with Danielle Dubrask. At present these poems are either a smattering of unorganized words or only inklings of what might be done when I weed more words from the next section of Mr. PNU's text.

How did I end up doing so little in ten days?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

When no one thinks you're serious enough to take seriously

Prove them wrong.
Even if only for the last ten to fifteen minutes to the top,
and then prancing about on the summit,
whooping and yelling in answer to the squaw's blood that fills your big toe;
even if only to tap extremes to remind yourself
that there is more living worthy of your sticking it out;
even if it is a publicity stunt in stubbornness,
because, by god, you said you were going to do it;
even if there is absolutely no sense in following through,
hike, dammit. 
Hike naked.

Everything's better with butter

Felt better today, but didn't accomplish anywhere near what I wanted to. Worked on the found poem. There's something piercing in there, I know it. Worked my upper body to a pulp at the gym. (I've been a few times the last week when I thought I'd fall apart if I did anything else. I think I made it four days.) Tanned, because I'm helping speed the death process and because when people ask what I did for Spring Break I'm going to tell them I went to Mexico. I took M— for burgers. Watching the film About Time and parsed the final sentence on my final. All I have left is rendering. (AHH!!! Kind of freaking out.)

I was also lacking in enough judgment and restraint that I messaged the Gym Rat and finally told him how disappointed I'd been to learn that he was a dick on the inside, when physically he's quite striking. He read it and didn't respond. I'm glad about the no response part. 

I miss Mr. PNU and I've come to realize that the last six weeks have got to be a gearing up for not being around him three days a week, again. There is an assumed intimacy in gleaning and molding a person's original text into a found poem. The first two pages of this paper are exquisite. If my head wasn't beginning to anger at my need for sleep I'd stay up and push what I've got toward completion. I have something to look forward to in the morning.

I'm also looking forward to an extended hike sans as much clothing as possible. Saturday is a busy day in the canyons of Happy Valley. I'd threatened nudity except for hikers. The sensible part of me says I should opt for a pair of boy shorts and a sports bra. Come morning I may back out altogether.

Quixotic, gutsy, poetry girl.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Writing this by phone. Forgive typos.

Quite sick. Asked Ex No. 1 to take the kids for the evening because I've been coming unglued over every small irritant, and I hate myself as the bad mother. I become so much like my own and I've been seething with anger for her the last week.

I focus on movies that I ignore with Greek and scavenging for words from the text of Mr. PNU's recent article on disabled agency

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Today I asked my therapist to read back her notes at the end of my session. First on her notepad: "Doesn't look forward to the future, and yet is experiencing success."

I'm tired. Success does not change that there is nothing but hard work, disappointment, further years of mental illness, and death in the future. Really, who can blame me? I have no desire to live another 39 years. None.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Absence crushed

I found a band whose music sounds like the warm scent of this longing.

I've parsed all but a pair of difficult verbs on two Greek sentences. There are three more sentences once I've rendered (translated) those. My Ethics section is completely graded, and I spent a good hour last night pulling apart fragments and testimonia of Parmenides, the philosopher I'm dissecting for my first Presocratics paper. 

I dreamed last night about Mr. PNU. I've missed him today. Crushing is an entirely impossible pastime.

I'm missing the mountains, climbing things, running trails, feeling wild in the wild.

I can't convince myself to go to bed, but once my kids have gone to school in the morning I'm free to be. Maybe even sans the clothing, since the canyon should be next to deserted. This is bordering on the border. Edging up on the teeter. Asking for poetry and sex and skin heated by a network of fluid beneath the trapeze and her artist.

Swing a little. They're only words. We only ever speak words.

I adore you enough to waste my time thinking about the last time I saw you.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring lichen

The hardiest creatures are first to wave their colors
come the end of a long, hard winter.