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Automatic Universe

I can't call it "Auto World" because there was a real Auto World once, it was in Flint, Michigan, I went there, it was awesome.

Updated: 2014-10-02T21:23:10.184-07:00


On Foreign Policy and Our Reputation Abroad, by Natalie


Foreign Policy/Our Reputation AbroadThe United States is currently marred by the Bush-Cheney approach to foreign relations, an approach that 1) is based in a unilateralist approach 2) believes the only way to “get tough” is to blow things up and 3) relies on a dangerous refusal to talk to leaders we dislike. These approaches have made the United States, amongst other things, less safe and have brought down our moral standing in the international community. McCain and Palin offer a foreign policy strategy that is unnervingly similar.• According to several reports, including research from the State Department, the war in Iraq has harmed security in America and has left the nation more at risk. A survey of more than 100 foreign policy experts, conducted in February 2008 by Foreign Policy magazine, found that three-quarters believed that the United States was losing the war on terror. Cleary the Bush/Cheney strategy has not worked.• McCain staked out anew his position on Iraq, staunchly defending his support for a continued U.S. military mission as the war enters its sixth year and the U.S. death toll tops 4,000. He derided calls by Clinton and Obama for withdrawal.A coherent foreign policy must be comprised of several tools, including strategic military use and diplomatic efforts. Obama gets this! He is nuanced and understands the complexities of the world we live in today. He understands the need to engage the international community; he also understands that diplomatic pressures are often more effective than military intervention. However, the military is an important tool for Obama, as well: Obama and Biden fully understand the importance of a strong and fortified military and the need to deploy it when all else fails.• Obama’s foreign policy focuses on ending the politics of fear and emphasizes the need to move beyond a hollow "democracy promotion" agenda to one that promotes dignity. This approach aims to “fix the conditions of misery that breed anti-Americanism in the first place and prevent liberty, justice, and prosperity from taking root.” An inextricable part of that doctrine is a relentless and thorough destruction of al-Qaeda. “When considering any presidential hopeful's foreign-policy promises, it's important to remember that what candidates say is, at best, an imperfect guide to their actions in office. What proves to be a more reliable indicator of presidential behavior is a candidate's roster of advisers. (If the press had paid better attention, the country would have seen through Bush's pitch about a humble foreign policy and realized that many of his advisers, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, were conspiracy-minded warmongers.) Obama's foreign-policy advisers come from diverse backgrounds. They are former aides to Democratic mandarins like Tom Daschle and Lee Hamilton (Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes, respectively); veterans of the Clinton administration's left flank (Tony Lake and Susan Rice); a human-rights advocate who helped write the Army's and Marine Corps' much-lauded counterinsurgency field manual (Sarah Sewall); and a retired general who helped run the air war during the invasion of Iraq (Scott Gration) Yet they form a committed, intellectually coherent, and surprisingly united foreign-affairs team.” (The Obama Doctorine)• Obama and Biden will convene a bipartisan Consultative Group of leading members of Congress to foster better executive-legislative relations and bipartisan unity on foreign policy. This group will be comprised of the congressional leadership of both political parties, and the chair and ranking members of the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Appropriations Committees. This group will meet with the president once a month to review foreign policy priorities, and will be consulted in advance of military action.• McCain’s foreign policy has been derided as “schizophrenic” and “out of touch,” a “policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers.” A foreign policy expert and re[...]

On Women, by Natalie


Women are different: we come from different backgrounds, occupations, families and places and we have different beliefs, values and opinions. However, I believe our differences-wide as they may be-are small compared to our powerful similarities: I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t think about the economy; about her job, her financial security and her work/life balance; about taking care of her family, her children, her parents, her siblings and her friends; about the safety of this nation in the face of war and terrorism; about healthcare and gas and food prices; and about the desire for peace in her neighborhood, her country and across the globe. Women also care about their ability to make their own decisions over their bodies and their reproductive futures, about whether they are paid equally and about sexual and gender based discrimination and violence within and outside the home.Obama and Biden get this; McCain and Palin do not. On their website, McCain/Palin claim that “there is only one candidate (John McCain) who has answers to the most basic concerns facing women voters.” I have scoured their website and there is absolutely no reference to the particular challenges women face in the work-force, including balancing work, personal and family demands and the specific obstacles women face in owning their own businesses; there is also scant discussion on the variety of other issues that matter to women. They do however discuss Cindy McCain’s travels. Take a look for yourself. Obama and Biden, on the other hand, have a lot to say-and it makes sense.On Women and Work• While women have made unparalleled gains in the American economy, we continue to shoulder substantial economic burdens and unjust practices. Over the past eight years, female workers have faced stagnating wages, declining health care coverage, erosion of pension protections, rising personal debt and have been hard hit by the housing crisis.• While 62 percent of working women earn at least half of their family’s income, women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work. This is a national shame. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have championed the right of women to receive equal pay for equal work. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama cosponsored and voted for the Illinois Equal Pay Act, which provided 330,000 more women protection from pay discrimination. In the U.S. Senate, Obama joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Fair Pay Restoration Act.• 3 out of 4 low-wage workers have no paid sick leave. It is fundamentally unfair that a mother, working hard and playing by the rules, can get fired or lose wages because her child gets sick. Obama and Biden support efforts to guarantee workers seven days of paid sick leave per year, a moderate proposal that should not impose too onerous a burden on employers.• The Obama economic plan will also give 8.4 million working women a raise of up to $4,700 per year, by increasing the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011.• Obama and Biden will extend Child Care Tax Breaks to 7.5 million additional workingwomen and provide high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs to an additional 2 million children. Their plan also supports paid paternal leave.• Women business owners are more likely than white male business owners to have their loan applications denied. Obama and Biden encourage investing in women-owned businesses, providing more support to women business owners and reducing discrimination in lending.• Obama/Biden will help 8.7 million women business owners grow their businesses and create jobs by setting capital gains rates to zero for small business and entrepreneurial ventures.• In McCain’s website issues section on the economy, which includes topics like “Supporting Small Businesses,” “Workplace Flexibility and Choice” and “Relief for American Families” neither McCain nor Palin illustrate even the slightest understanding of the specific economic or work place triumphs and chall[...]

Haviland & Riese Vloggetry: The Music Behind the Mystery


Vlog 25: Ladies Love Cool Carlytron0. IntroJimmy / M.I.A.1. Two Girls and a GayDrag King Bar / Bitch & Animal2. We're Here Today Because We Love YouComfortably Numb / Scissor Sisters3. The Way We WereS.O.S. / Rhianna4. Internet LoveThe Love That I Crave (strategy's strata club remix) / The Blow5. What I Want, When I Want ItWhat u See (Is What U Get) / Britney SpearsVlog 24: House of Wax0. IntroStarts With One / Shiny Toy Guns1. Tinkerbell Takes HollywoodCalifornia Girls / The Beach Boys2. Camera One, Camera TwoGimme More - SiaPaper Planes - m.i.a.3. She's Got the LookShe's Got The Look - Roxette4. EndingAin't No Sunshine - Bill WithersVlog 22: Whatever You Want Whatever You need0. "Intro"Heartbeat / The Knife1. "Dancing with the Rising Stars"I Want You Back / Jackson 52. "Tinkerbell Wants a Vodka Tonic"My Baby Just Cars For Me / Nina Simone3. "My Favorite Sport is Lozoball."Memphis Belles / Prodigy4. "Come on kids we've got trees we've yet to live in."Overprotected / Britney SpearsVlog 21: Littlefoot Moonwalks0. "Intro"Ice Cream/ New Young Pony Club1. "has anyone ever told you that you look alike?"Two Little Girls / Ani DiFranco2. "cavity search"When I See You Smile / Bad English3. "Gold Star"Hot as Ice / Britney Spears4. "For Kalitter."Come on Kids / Tegan & Sara5. "The L Key""Gin and Juice" Snoop Doggy Dog6. Ending Credits"You Better Work" Ru PaulVlog 20: And On and On and On0. "Intro" ("This is the fourth time ...")Do It / Nelly Furtado1. "It's How You Play the Game."Take my Breath Away Remix / DJ Sammy2. "The Kid Stays in the Picture."Hey Pretty / Poe3. "Lexicon."All the Things She Said / T.A.T.U4. "(4)"Build me up Buttercup / The Temptations5. "Outro" ("This isn't a golf match, Lozo.")Only You/ PortisheadVlog 19: The Show Must Go On0. "Intro" ("You're the hot one, I'm the cool one."Ramalama (BANG BANG) / Rosin Murphy0a. "Intro Part 2" (Alex: "I don't know what I'm doing right now.")Born to Run / Bruce Springsteen1. "Haviland and Lozo: One of These Things is Not Like The Other."Showdown / Britney Spears2. "The Sport."Let's Get Ready To Rumble / Jock Jams3. "A Lozo PSA"Do You Realize? / Flaming Lips4. "I Believe That Children are the Future."Baby, it's You / SmithVlog 18: We'll Always Have MiamiPuttin' on the Ritz / Shiny Toy GunsAct Naturally /The BeatlesBOYZ / M.I.A.La Isla Bonita / MadonnaBreathe In (Aphrodite Full Vocal Mix) /Frou FrouVlog 17: Jig it OutSenorita/ Justin TimberlakeDeja Vu/ Beyonce & Jay-ZMiami / Will SmithThese Days / NicoWhat I Am / Edie BrickellDecepation / Le TigreFuck Me Pumps / Amy WinehouseSummer Never Ends / Northern StateVlog 16: Seasonal Displays of AffectionLindsay Lohan - RumorsThe Blow - Babay (Eat a Critter, Feel Its Wrath)Ludacris - Growing PainsParis Hilton - Stars Are BlindAir - Ghost SongKanye West- Breathe in Breathe OutJay-Z - Girls Girls GirlsVlog 15: Year in ReviewOutkast - VibrateDepeche Mode - I Just Can't Get Enough (Schizo Mix)Bruce Springsteen - Born to RunAfroman - Because I Got HighBritney Spears (Jack D. Elliot Radio Mix) - StrongerVlog 14: Nice ShoulderBritney Spears - EverybodyNine Inch Nails - CloserScissor Sisters - LauraCyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have FunJohn Lennon - So This is ChristmasBig Punisher - Still Not a PlayerJustin Timberlake (Linus Loves Remix) - SexybackVlog 12: Are You Ready for Winter?Joan Jett - Bad ReputationScisssor Sisters - Comfortably NumbBritney Spears - Ooops ... I Did It AgainDavid Bowie - Ground Control to Major TomJay-Z - Can I Get A?Kanye West - Jesus Walks[...]

The Automatic Universe Glossary


This here is under construction.

i. Some Abbrevs
Because We Are Very Busy, we cannot say every word all the way through. We understand mortality and its implications, and shortening words packs as much excitement into life as possible.

Some shortened words:

w/r/t=With Respect To
Probs = Probably
Obvs = Obviously
Totes = Totally
Defo = Definitely
Mos Def = Most Definitely
Whatevs= Whatever
This's=This is
Hands Down Totes = Without a Doubt, Absolutely.
JK=Just Kidding
LOL = Only intended for past tense usage or oral speech, not appropriate to represent present tense laughter as in "lol" w/o the "I am loling" or something like that.

ii. Definition of the word "Critter."

I've asked Cait, the Critter authority, to provide a definition of the word "Critter."

Critter: A critter is someone who does things that normal people do in a way cuter than the average person. It can be used as a noun, adjective, or a greeting. For example, Haviland is a total critter. Alexandra Vega has critterish tendencies. If I was to see you on the street randomly I might say, "Hey Crit."

Examples of critter behavior are as follows: being super cute and fun all the time, not causing drama, wearing hoodies that make you want to cuddle no matter what your relationship is, a stranger being super nice for no reason for no personal benefit for themselves, making the best out of awful situations, always being up for anything.

Critter is totally not a sexual term at all, although obvs we've probs all had sex with critters, it is by no means a qualification for the term.

Pop culture references to critters: Brandon Walsh, Uncle Jesse, Charlotte York, Shane when she's your friend, ALICE obvs, Marie Lyn Bernard/Riese.

iii. The Name "Riese"

As a little girl, my Mother used to call me "Ree" or "Ree-Ree." She also sometimes called me "pumpkin-head." "Ree" of course is short for "Marie," my real name. Howevs, Marie conjures images of powdered wigs and other such things, not fitting to a rascal like me. This nickname continues to this day.

Krista and Ingrid were my suitemates in boarding school in 1997-98, we were very busy, they too often called me "Ree," but with a sort of soft "s" at the end. We called Ingrid, "Ing," that's how busy we were. So, we wrote a lot of notes to each other, as suitemates, e.g., "took your shirt," "meet me at the mel-caf" etc, and Krista always wrote "Ris" -- pronounced "Reese." I don't know why, it's just what she did.

When I met Haviland in '06 she said she didn't think the name "Marie" fit me -- and I think she saw something somewhere in my room where Krista had written something to me and written "Ris" (Krista and I also lived together as adults) and so Hav started calling me "Ris" and introducing me to everyone that way. Then we realised that when people saw that written out, they thought it was pronounced like it rhymes with "Kiss." So, 'cause I also felt it suited me better, my agent and I figured out a better way to spell it, and thus it became me. Ta-dA!

February Auto-Fun Archives


quote: "If somebody is superfunny, you have to assume that there's some hell that broke loose somewhere that's really a fountain for them. I know that for me, once I realized that I could not only make other people laugh but make myself laugh, I used to laugh to keep from crying. So it wasn't a choice: it was, 'If I don't laugh today I'm gonna feel like I'm doing a slow dance with death, so I'd better start chuckling it up.'" (Nicey Nash)
links: Writing Sex Work (@bookslut), Goodbye to All That: Why Obama Matters (@the atlantic), What the Waitress Saw (@The Financial Times), Just Watch This Please (@youtube)
quote: "Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone." (Paul Tillich)
links: The King of Kong (@fourfour), Clinton & Obama: Realistic vs. Romantic Worldviews (@NY Mag), Atlantic Archives Are Free Online Now(@the atlantic), which means you can read The Future of the American Idea AND Lost in the Meritocracy!!

January Auto-Fun Archives


1.30.08quote: "If reality isn't my picture of it, I'm lost." (Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless)**links: On Second Person (@NYMag Book Review), The Antinomian Crisis, by Jean Gallagher (@pebble lake review), Can The Novella Save Literature? (@The Guardian UK), Amateur Photo Contest: Hoodies (, Gay For Pay (@Radar)**1.29.08quote: "I want to pick lemons off my tree and sell this house and go everywhere." (Eileen Myles)*links: RECAP! The L Word, Episode 504 (@autostraddle), The Murky Demimonde of Amazon's Top Reviewers (, Books That Make You Dumb (@Virgil Griffith), Nominate Me For Lesbo Blog of the Year! (@TLL)**1.28.08quote: "The internet is, for loners, an absolute and total miracle. It is, for us, the best invention of the last millennium. It educates. It entertains. It transforms. It facilitates a kind of dialogue in which we need not be seen, so it suits us perfectly. It validates. It makes being alone seem normal. It makes being alone fun for everyone." (from Anneli Rufus' "The Loner's Manifesto")*link:Ten Famous Writers Reveal Their Works That Never Made it Into Print (@Independent UK),Dr. Dippy, Meet Dr. Evil (@NY Times), The Ballad of Heath and Michelle (@Radar Archives)**1.27.08quote: "There are so many different ways to be connected to people. There are people you feel an unspoken connection to, even though there's not even a word for it. There's the people who you've known forever who know you in this way that other people can't because they've seen you change. They've let you change." (My So-Called Life)*link:Exercpt from "The Face of Seung-Hui Cho" (@n+1), A President Like My Father: Obama (Caroline Kennedy @The NY Times), Nominate Me For Lesbo Blog of the Year! (@TLL),**1.26.08quote: "I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, anybody's life, my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got?" (Bladerunner)*link: Primary Choices: Hilary Clinton (@The NY Times), My Preferred Medium is Prejudice (@fourfour), A Life Less Cartoony (@The National Post)**1.25.08quote: "The reading of these [excellent] books seems to perform a curious couching operation of the senses; one sees more intensely afterwards; the world seems bared of its covering and given an intenser life. Those are the enviable people who live at enimity with unreality; and those are the pitiable who are knocked on the head by the thing done without knowing or caring. So that when I ask you to earn money and have a room of your own, I am asking you to live in the presence of reality, an invigorating life, it would appear, whether one can impart it or not." (Virginia Wolff, A Room of One's Own)*link: Finally Good News w/r/t Publishing (@mediabistro), Calling Out of Context: I Worked the Phones at the Victoria's Secret Catalogue (**1.24.08quote: "Big city, hmm? Live. Work, huh? But. Only peoples. Peoples is peoples. No is buildings. Is tomatos, huh? Is peoples, is dancing, is music, is potatoes. So, peoples is peoples. Okay?" (Pete, The Muppets take Manhattan)**link:The Ticking is the Bomb (@Esquire Magazine), Nominate Me For Lesbo Blog of the Year! (@TLL)**1.23.08quote: "There is one lovely word, darling, you have underlined to make me pull myself off better. Write me more about that and yourself, sweetly, dirtier, dirtier." (James Joyce)*link:Kickstart My Heart (@n+1), NEW L WORD RECAP: Episode 503: Lady of the Lake (@Autostraddle), Heath Ledger, Alex Balk Finally Says Goodbye to His Soul (@Gawker), Nominate Me For Lesbo Blog of the Year! (@TLL)**1.22.08quote: "I do not consider myself less ignorant than most people. I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me." (Herman Hesse, Demian)*link: NEW L WORD RECAP: E[...]

Complete List of Reader-Submitted Ideas for the Top Ten


Riese's most played songs on itunesRiese's favorite things to put in her mouth.Things to Do on a Snow DayREASONS HAVILAND WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD...Reasons why the gays always win arguments.Reasons Hollister was created by the devil.Stage plays/musicals that have been adapted to screen where the film version has been as good (if not better) than the original. Favorite songs of all time that make Riese want to get up and dance no matter what.Phrases that people say that make Riese cringe on the inside.Styles (clothing, hair, etc.) Riese wants to come back (ie: side ponytails, acid washed jeans, parachute pants, mullets)Best CDs of all time.Movies that Riese doesn't want to admit that she's watched.Reasons why Riese is obsessed with DetroitReasons why gay parents are the best thing everReasons to call into workWhy Jew is the new BlackWhy Riese doesn't do SportsWhat Riese should be/have been doing instead of writing top 10sReasons commenting on autowin is better than bedtimeMovie/tv scenes to cry toRiese's ideal boy/girl as composed of the top ten personality traits/physical characteristic/style points/whatevs from various peeps of admiration.Countries to live in when old and richMemory-pregnant childhood/adolscent things hiding in the recesses of Riese's mindSongs to sing/dance along toMusic-related memoriesPlaces to drinkTop ten of top tensThings That'll Never Get You A Date With RieseThings That'll Surely Get You A Date With RieseThings That Riese Would Do For FreeThings That Riese Wouldn't Do If You Paid Her A Million Dollars(Famous) People Riese Is Attracted ToTop Ten Drunken MemoriesReasons Lint is the New CashmereReasons Haviland should watch Empire RecordsMost comment-garnering postsReasons people read my blogGreat cups of coffeeBlank is the new blank for 2008Auto-universe Collisions with the 3-D Universe First 10 thoughts that pop into my headTop 8 things happening on 125th Street right nowWays to eat a ReesesSmells/songs tied to a memoryThings I should do at least once or only once or never or everydayWays auto-apparel can improve your lifeBuilders/Architects Who Just Didn't Get It...featuring the 10 most out-of-place eyesores of new construction in NYCFuntastic things to do with your fave inanimate object (e.g., bottles of vodka)Which L-word character are you? Create the test...everyone auto-wins!...except if you land on Papi b/c she's in the vortex with Mark creating nonconsensual vlogs or whatevsInappropriate sexual advances made by Lozo (successful and/or failed)Creative uses of/ mock ad campaigns for Auto-Win Apparel (The pics/vlogs of Riese and Hav will make or break this one)Anything Tegan and Sara relatedPics of Riese, Hav, Carly and the rest of the Auto-Win team sporting boy shortsAll-time fave places to visit after getting hopped up on smack and nose candyReasons why Mr. redacted is probs still reading Riese's blog...and loving it!Things Riese'll do when her t.v. show gets picked up and Riese becomes rich and famous Comments/suggestions Riese'll make to your BFF, Ilene Chaiken, when she comes to her senses and starts answering Riese's calls.Things people should tell you within the first month of knowing them.Books (or anything) that are overrated but you'll hear everyone say they are just fantastic anyway (and you'll agree).Things Riese Wishes She Could DoThings Riese just wants to throw out there (Riese's height, Lozo's, etc).Automatics (.38, winners, straddles, apparel).Worst moments of The L Word Ways to get your own vodka on the cruise this summer, so you don't have to pay $9/drink.Strangest emails sent to you by readers.Reasons not to gouge out your eyes after seeing Kate hanging out with Paris pictures. Memoirs Shows Riese refuses to watch[...]

"Each From Different Heights" by Stephen Dunn


That time I thought I was in love
and calmly said so
was not much different from the time
I was truly in love
and slept poorly and spoke out loud
to the wall
and discovered the hidden genius
of my hands
And the times I felt less in love,
less than someone,
were, to be honest, not so different
Each was ridiculous in its own way
and each was tender, yes,
sometimes even the false is tender.
I am astonished
by the various kisses we're capable of.
Each from different heights
diminished, which is simply the law.
And the big bruise
from the long fall looked perfectly white
in a few years.
That astounded me most of all.

[1989. Stephen Dunn, Between Angels.]

Autowin/Autostraddle Soundtrack Track Listing


Everyone who ordered Auto-Merch pre-Christmas got a CD filled with unidentified tracks. Isn't this fun, like a mystery game where you don't know what music you're listening to? If you've managed to get through the whole CD without killing yourself and want to know why, here's a hint:

OK ... because itunes is weird and has even more feelings than I do, there's two versions of the CD.


Soundtrack Version #1:

1. Your Ex-Lover is Dead - Stars
2. Good Luck (featuring Lisa Kekaula) - Basement Jaxx
3. Don't Cry Out - Shiny Toy Guns
4. Cruel and Clumsy - Chris Pureka
5. This is Everything - Tegan & Sara
6. If I Ever Feel Better - Phoenix
7. Piece of Me - Britney Spears
8. You Wouldn't Like Me - Tegan & Sara
9. Fidelity - Regina Spektor
10. Hear Me Out - Frou Frou
11. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
12. Umbrella - Rihanna
13. Heart - Stars
14. Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix
15. Because of You (Jason Nevins Remix) - Kelly Clarkson
16. Say So - Uh Huh Her
17. Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
18. All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey


Soundtrack Version #2:

1. Your Ex-Lover is Dead - Stars
2. Good Luck (featuring Lisa Kekaula) - Basement Jaxx
3. Don't Cry Out - Shiny Toy Guns
4. Cruel and Clumsy - Chris Pureka
5. Lilac Wine - Jeff Buckley
6. This is Everything - Tegan & Sara
7. Hear me Out - Frou Frou
8. Fidelity - Regina Spektor
9. You Wouldn't Like Me - Tegan & Sara
10. Piece of Me - Britney Spears
11. If I Ever Feel Better - Phoenix
12. Umbrella - Rihanna
13. Heart - Stars
14. Because of You (Jason Nevins Remix) - Kelly Clarkson
15. Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix
16. Say So - Uh Huh Her
17. All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
18. Ave Maria - Franz Schubert

Auto-Fun Archive: December


12.31.2007quote: ""We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come." (Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being)*link: The Golden Suicides (@Vanity Fair), 2007: The Year in Pictures (@The New York Times), The Books of The Year 2007 (@Guardian Unlimited Books)**12.30.2007quote: "What I've learned about comedy people is that they are define by the harshest level they've been to, their personal Aushwitz." (Bob Saget, Esquire, "What I've Learned")*link: The Amateurs' Hour: Is the Internet destroying our culture, or is it just annoying our snobs? (@Reason Magazine)**12.29.2007quote:'They always say how mean I am. But let me tell you, the smart ones get it. When I took out the jokes about Cher, she said, "Why am I not in your act anymore?" (Joan Rivers)*links: "I Did it for Science: Jen Miller's Sex & The City Endurance Post" (@nerve) "Inside Apple Stores, A Certain Aura Enchants the Faithful" (@NY Times), Lozo's Year-End Wrap-Up Post**12.28.2007quote: "Here I sat on a boulder by the winter-streaming river and put my head in my hands and considered time--which is next to nothing, merely what vanishes, and yet can make one's elbows nearly pierce one's thighs." (Galway Kinnell, "The Road Between Here and There")**link: Vulture Celebrates the Year in Vulture (@nymag), The Trouble With Mary: Beyond Belief (@The National Post)**12.27.2007quote: "And how else should an angel land on earth but with the utmost difficulty? If we are to be visited by angels we will have to call them down with sweat and strain, we will have to drag them out of the skies, and the efforts we expend to draw the heavens to an earthly place may well leave us too exhausted to appreciate the fruits of our labors: an angel, even with torn robes, and ruffled feathers, is in our midst." (Tony Kushner, on a letter tacked to the backstage bulletin board for the cast & crew of Angels in America)*link: The Guardian's 2007 in Books Quiz, "Alma" by Junot Diaz (@ The New Yorker)**12.26.2007quote: "God, there is so much emotion to navigate where family's concerned. Vicodin, anyone?" (Aunt Sarah, Six Feet Under)**link: What's Wrong With the American Essay (Cristina Nehring @truthdig)**12.25.2007quote: "Jesus' words have become so perverted over time -- it's been like a game of telephone. If he existed he would fuckin' kill himself." (Sarah Silverman)*"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him mightbe saved." (John 3:17)*links: Sedaris and Crumpet the Elf: A Holiday Tradition (@NPR), Buzzwords 2007: All We Are Saying (@NYTimes)**12.24.2007quote: "This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone." (Kevin McAllister, Home Alone)**link: You Are What You Read (NY Times), Sacha Baron Cohen: Killing Off Borat (@Daily Telegraph), Auto Apparel Store obvs (!!)**12.23.2007quote: "I'm very sane about how crazy I am." (Carrie Fisher)*link: Sacha Baron Cohen: Killing Off Borat, Auto Apparel Store obvs (!!), Reasons to Love New York (@NY Mag), Esquire's 10th Anniversary 'What I've Learned' (@Esquire)**12.22.2007quote: "Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers." (Rainer Maria Rilke)*links:The Twilight of the Books: What Will Life Be Like If People Stop Reading (@The New Yorker), Bonfire of the Disney Princesses (by Barbara Ehreich @The Nation), Year in Review (@NY Magazine)**12.21.2007quote: "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy." (Abraham Heschel)*link: "One Day" (Poem, Grace Paley) (@The New Yorker)**12.20.2007quote: (from Our Town, Thornton Wilder)Emily: Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you. [she looks toward the stage manag[...]

Auto-Fun Archive: Novemeber


11.30.07quote: Love is not/enough. We die and are put into the earth forever./We should insist while there is still time. We must/eat through the wildness of her sweet body already/in our bed to reach the body within the body.(from "Tear it Down," Jack Gilbert)*link: Everybody Needs Writers (The Guardian Books), Gifts You Give Yourself (Nico Muhly)11.29.07quote: "Harry, you're going to have to try and find a way of not expressing every feeling that you have every moment that you have one." (When Harry Met Sally)*link: New AutoStraddle, w/Vlogs!, FourFour's ANTM recap11.28.07quote: "Why not make your life easier? I mean, life is so fucking hard, even when it's easy." (Margaret, Six Feet Under)*link: This Always Makes Me Happy, (DD), Full Throttle (SFU), Dance With Me (Angels in America), Brenda Dickinson: Welcome to My Home.11.27.07quote: "But there come times--perhaps this is one of them when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die; when we have to pull back from the incantations, rhythms we've moved to thoughtlessly--" (Adrienne Rich)*link: Calling All Angels (SFU)11.26.07quote: "For the explosive word /falls harmlessly/eternal through/the compact generations/and except for you/nothing/denotates/its sweet-scented dynamite."*link: Subject, Verb, Object (poem @ The New Yorker)11.24.07quote: Occasionally something will give pleasure, will actually charm or divert or entertain, will, to use that terrifying word, disarm. Insofar as our fearful, compulsive, rigid natures allow, I think we should welcome what follows, since for natures of this kind, there is no embrace until one has been disarmed. (Louise Gluck, "Fear of Happiness," The Michigan Quarterly Review)*link: 100 Notable Books of The Year @ The NY Times, A Few Words With Chevy Chase @ NY Mag, Have Mercy! A "Full House" Marathon @ EW's PopWatch.11.23.07quote: "These subversive characters [Huck Finn and Jim], like Ellison's Invisible Man, Fitzgerald's Gatsby, Hurston's Janine -- all outcasts who refuse to comply -- are part of a tradition in American fiction. Like Huck, they risk hell but trust their own instincts and experiences above static convention. They are thoughtful and reflect upon these experiences; they are critical not just of others but of themselves, and they act upon their reflections. This is the American idea I would like to return to: a slight subversion, an instinctive urge to do the right thing, which, in the eyes of the "correct" world, might seem to be exactly the wrong thing." (Azar Nafisi, on "The American Idea" in The Atlantic Monthly)*link: Ali Smith's "Literary Top Ten" (pulp net)"Things I've Bought That I Love" (Office writer Mindy Kaling's blog, hilarious)11.22.07quote: "Happy Thanksgiving! The Apple Store has my computer for 3-5 days, I am obvs dying a slow and painful death. Luckily, I'm using Hav's laptop right now, and there will be a Vlog." (Riese, "Haviland's MacBook")*link: Johnny McGovern's Plymouth Rock Band Gay Pimpin' Thanksgivin' (LogoOnline/Carly's hot editing skills, holla!)11.21.07quote: "A woman with desperately bony calves, made stark by her big high heels, grinned at someone across the room, her grin a signal of deep things inside both of them that nobody else could see. Sometimes I saw the goodwill and the deep things and longed to know them. Sometimes I saw the thrusting jaw and the bony calves and thurst up my nose. Because I could never fully have either feeling, I stayed detached. It was as if I were seventeen again and longing to live inside a world described by music-- a world that was sad at being turned into a machine, but ecstatic, too, singing on the surface of its human heart as the machine spread through its tissues and silenced the flow of its blood. In this world, there were n good things, no vulgar goodwill, only rigorous form[...]

Azar Nafisi: "The American Idea: Sivilization"


On the first page of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck informs us that the Widow Douglas decided to take him up and "sivilize" him, but

it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out.

The way Huck subverts a whole way of living, a way of thinking and relating to the world,by misspelling a word is to my mind a pure expression of the American idea. That idea is always threatened by another: the secure and smug world from which Huck and Jim turn away. Throughout the book, Huck and Jim turn the "decent" and "sivilized" world on its head, and we come out in the end with a new definition of these words.

These subversive characters, like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, F. Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby, Zora Neale Hurston's Janine -- all outcasts who refuse to comply -- are part of a tradition in American fiction. Like Huck, they risk hell but trust their own instincts and experiences above static convention. They are thoughtful and reflect upon these experiences; they are critical not just of others but of themselves, and they act upon their reflections. This is the American idea I would like to return to: a slight subversion, an instinctive urge to do the right thing, which, in the eyes of the "correct" world, might seem to be exactly the wrong thing.

The idea that I want to believe America was founded on also depended on challenging the world as it is and, by standing up to civilized society, redefining it. That idea was essentially based on a poetic vision, on imagining something that did not exist. It has been pointed out that the man who wrote the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence -- who could state with simplicity and beauty that every individual has the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" -- was himself a slaveowner. Jefferson lived in a slave-owning society, one in which half of the non-slave population, the women, were not equal citizens. Yet for all its flaws, that society's saving grace was its foundation on a certain set of beliefs that transcended on the individuals, their prejudices, and their times and allowed for the possibility of a different future, foreshadowing a time when other women and men, a Martin Luther King Jr. or an Elizabeth Cady Stanton, could take their ideas and words and suffuse them with new and risky and bold meanings, and with new dreams.

Huck closes his adventures with this statement:

But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.

This, of course, is the whole point: In order to keep the American idea fresh and new, it must be constantly challenged. For the American idea to endure, we have to "light out," and to find new ways to resist the "sivilizing" impulse of the Widow Douglases and Aunt Sallys among us.

And yet today it seems that America, gripped by social and political crisis, has become almost forgetful of that idea. Cyncial, shallow, defensive and at the same time arrogant and greedy, it is unfaithful to its instincts and refuses to be reflective, mistaking blame for criticism and self-criticism, and believing that success at any cost is more important than failure with honor, taking as its idea the Widow Douglas's paradise rather than Huck Finn's hell.

The question is: Can we still hope to be a little less "sivilized"?

By Azar Nafasi, Atlantic Monthly November 2007, "The American Idea"

The Cure: Lovesong


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Sunday Top Ten: You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea


Hi,I'm kinda sick of talking about myself [this won't last, obvs] and I had this idea for a Sunday Top Ten that I want YOU to help out with ... there's been a lot of discussion lately about the perils of emotional honesty, cyber-honesty in particular. Um, and not to sound like Dr. Phil/Oprah ... but I've been privy to a lot of "What I Want to Say But I Can't" stories this week (slash-always) -- personal secrets you can't share for logistical reasons, emotions you don't feel comfortable expressing to anyone sometimes not even yourself, or stuff you do talk about all the time but can't talk about online ... for example, probs a lot of you are crackheads or something, right? You can't be any geek off the street, gotta be handy with the steel if you know what I mean, earn your keep, regulators, mount up! So .... here's where you come in, if you want to come in: Tell me your secrets. What is something you'd like to write about on your blog if you have one, or even just talk about in real life, but for whatever reason, you feel like you can't? Something you'd never divulge on the internet under your own name, something that's happening in your life that you want to say or talk about ... but can't. Or even just a funny/embarrassing confession/desire. It's like PostSecret, but Auto-Secret. I won't use your actual name [unless you want me to?], so give me a fake name if you have a preferred alias or I'll make one up for you. I'm also gonna re-write what you tell me in my own words/style, so you don't need to worry about someone identifying your work 'cause of your writing style or Australian spelling or English-as-a-second-language thingie. When I am done butchering your stuff, it'll all be in Australian spelling and abbreviated to head-explosion-worthy proportions. You can also send pictures or something. I don't know, your hidden tattoo? A drawing? I dunno. Whatevs floats your hot boat. Also, feel free to email me back from a different email address if you know me and want to participate but don't want me to know your secret, either. Just put "Secret Sunday Top Ten" in the subject line. You may be asking yourself: why, Riese, should I do this for you? The answer is: Why NOT? Is it your birthday? Are you bathing your children or washing your hair? Okay, well, when you're done, do this. Also, you could not do it, too. I can't tell you what to do, you have to go your own way and make your own path in life ... I can't think of any reasons why. Just um, because. If you don't get it into me before Sunday afternoon, that's cool, whenevs, because I'm thinking there probs'll be enough to do another installment or many, and I'll probs put an open call on the blog if it goes well. And there's nothing I love more than installments. That's right -- nothing, not even you, Haviland. (JK I love you more than installments) I probs forgot to add people to this email and everyone is BCC'ed, so just um ... ... feel free to pass this on to whomevs. Mostly-Sincerely, Rieseathonmarielyn176@gmail.comP.S. If you do want me to use your own words, link to you, or anything, obvs I will. I'll do anything, you say jump, I say tell me more.P.P.S. Or if you prefer to express yourself in visual images, go for it. I'll publish anything. Just tell me something good.[...]

Stephen Dunn: "Parable of the Fictionist"


He wanted to own his own past,
be able to manage it
more than it managed him.
he wanted all the unfair
advantages of the charmed.
He selected his childhood,
told only those stories
that mixed loneliness with
rebellion, a boy's locked heart
with the wildness
allowed inside a playing field.
And after he invented himself
and those he wished to know him
knew him as he wished to be known,
he turned toward the world
with the world that was within him
and shapes resulted, versions,
In his leisure he invented women,
then spoke to them about
his inventions, the wish just
slightly ahead of the truth,
making it possible.
All around him he heard
the unforgivable stories
of the sincere, the boring,
and knew his way was righteous,
though in the evenings, alone
with the world he'd created
he sometimes longed
for what he'd dare not alter,
or couldn't, something immutable
or so lovely he might be changed
by it, nameless but with a name
he feared waits until you're worthy,
then chooses you.

(from Local Time, 1986, or New and Selected Poems 1974-1994)

Raymond Carver: "Your Dog Dies"


Your Dog Dies

it gets run over by a van.
you find it at the side of the road
and bury it.
you feel bad about it.
you feel bad personally,
but you feel bad for your daughter
because it was her pet,
and she loved it so.
she used to croon to it
and let it sleep in her bed.
you write a poem about it.
you call it a poem for your daughter,
about the dog getting run over by a van
and how you looked after it,
took it out into the woods
and buried it deep, deep,
and that poem turns out so good
you're almost glad the little dog
was run over, or else you'd never
have written that good poem.
then you sit down to write
a poem about writing a poem
about the death of that dog,
but while you're writing you
hear a woman scream
your name, your first name,
both syllables,
and your heart stops.
after a minute, you continue writing.
she screams again.
you wonder how long this can go on.

(From All of Us)

Chris Pureka, "Everything is Free"


Everything is free now,
That's what they say.
Everything I ever done,
Gotta give it away.
Someone hit the big score.
They figured it out,
That we're gonna do it anyway,
Even if doesn't pay.

I can get a tip jar,
Gas up the car,
And try to make a little change
Down at the bar.

Or I can get a straight job,
I've done it before.
I never minded working hard,
It's who I'm working for.

'Cause everything is free now,
That's what they say.
Everything I ever done,
Gotta give it away.
Someone hit the big score.
They figured it out,
That we're gonna do it anyway,
Even if doesn't pay.

Every day I wake up,
Hummin' a song.
But I don't need to run around,
I just stay home.

And sing a little love song,
My love, to myself.
If there's something that you want to hear,
You can sing it yourself.

'Cause everything is free now,
That what I say.
No one's got to listen to
The words in my head.
Someone hit the big score,
And I figured it out,
That we're gonna do it anyway,
Even if doesn't pay.

Auto-Fun Archive: October


10.31.07quote: "First of all, are you our sort of person?" (Sylvia Plath, "The Applicant")**10.30.07quote: "Until I was in my early thirties, I never sent a Birthday, Christmas, or anniversary card. Not because I didn't think to, but because I could never get it together in time. I had no training in this simple, respectful task. I specialized in chaos. In nearly destroying myself, and then rebuilding myself, which is exactly what I watched my mother do, year after year, throughout my childhood. It's amazing how this happens. How you become your parents, even though you are determined not to. And sometimes, you become them in ways that are quite transparent to your own eyes. Such as, becoming the opposite." (Augusten Burroughs, "Santa Shrink," Black Book)*link: fourfour's ANTM Recap: "Despite What She Says, [T]yra [B]anks is Not Jesus Christ."**10.28.2007quote: "From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few." (John Updike)*link: "A Teenager in Love (So-Called)", New York Times. (opening line: "To a certain sort of woman who is somewhere between late youth and unacknowledged middle age, the name Jordan Catalano isn't a television reference, it is a sense memory.")**10.27.2007quote: "What makes humans human is precisely that they do not know the future. That is why they do the fateful and amusing things they do: who can say how anything will turn out? Therein lies the only hope for redemption, discovery, and -- let's be frank -- fun, fun, fun! There might be things people will get away with. And not just motel towels. There might be great illicit loves, enduring joy, faith-shaking accidents with farm machinery. But you have to not know in order to see what stories your life's efforts bring you. The mystery is all." (Lorrie Moore, "People Like That Are the Only People Here.")*link: David Sedaris interview, The Chicago Tribune**10-26-2007quote: "After all, your style is you. At the end the personality of a writer has so much to do with the work. The personality has to be humanly there. Personality is a debased word, I know, but it's what I mean. The writer's individual humanity, his word or gesture toward the world, has to appear almost like a character that makes contact with the reader. If the personality is vague or confused or merely literary, ca ne va pas." (Truman Capote, Paris Review Interview)*link:'How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read' Proves its Own Point [New York Magazine]**10-25-2007quote: "One day, standing in the river with my flyrod, I'll have the courage to admit my life." (Jim Harrison)*link:Video of Tegan & Sara covering UmbrellaAuto-Straddle "L Word" Pilot Recap**10-24-2007quote: "I want to get up early one more morning, at least.And go to my place with some coffee and wait.Just wait, to see what's going to happen."(Raymond Carver, "At Least")*FourFour's ANTM Recap 10-22**10-23-2007quote:The past around us is deeper than.Present events defy us, the pastHas no such scruples.(Jack Spicer, "Six Poems for Poetry Chicago")* link: Marjane Satrapi-Interview with Deborah Soloman at NY Times Magazine**10-22-2007quote: "I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!" (Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes)*link: My Favorite part of this is the Comments [Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog?]**10-21-2007quote: "None of us seemed to know the nature of the coincidences that bound us together, as I know now,[...]

Lorrie Moore, from the short stories of


"... her husband had said, in the circuitous syntax and ponderous Louisiana drawl that, like so much else about him, had once made her misty with desire and now drove her nuts with scorn."
("Real Estate," Birds of America)

"She glared at him and tried not to cry. She hadn't loved him enough and he had sensed it. She hadn't really loved him at all, not really. But she had liked him a lot! So it still seemed unfair. A bone in her opened up, gleaming and pale, and she held it to the light and spoke from it:
"I want to know one thing." She paused, not really for effect, but it had one. "Did you have oral sex?"
("Willing," Like Life)

"It is like having a book out from the library.
it is like constantly having a book out from the library."
("How to be an other Woman," Self Help)

"Sidra. This is not right! You need to go out with someone really smart for a change."
"I've been out with smart. I've been out with someone who had two Ph.D's. We spent all of our time in bed with the light on, proofreading his vita." She sighed. "Every little thing he'd ever done, every little, little, little. I mean, have you ever seen a vita?"
("Willing," Like Life)

"That had been in Agnes's mishmash decade, after college. She had lived improvisationally then, getting this job or that, in restaurants or offices, taking a class or two, not thinking too far ahead, negotiating the precariousness and subway flus and scrimping for an occasional manicure or a play. Such a life required much exaggerated self-esteem. It engaged gross quantitities of hope and despair and set them wildly side by side, like a Third World country of the heart. Her days grew messy with contradictions. When she went for walks, for her health, cinders would spot her cheecks and soot would settle in the furled leaf of each ear. Her shoes became unspeakable. Her blouses darkened in a breeze, and a blast of bus exhaust might linger in her hair for hours. Finally, her old asthma returned and, with a hacking , incressant cough, she gave up."
("Agnes of Iowa," Birds of America)

"The only expression she can get from Andrew is a derisive one. He is a traffic cop. She is the speeding flower child."
("Charades," Birds of America)

George Szirtes: "Questions for Stan Laurel" and "Canzone"


From Guernica/Two Poems:by George Szirtes(link to Gurenica)*Questions for Stan LaurelHow could the body not be comicalwhen the music it plays is the fiddling of bones,the deep fart of flesh in the stalls,the high whine of bagpipes in the ear,a fusillade of drumming automatics,a small rattling of hollow balls,the faint harmonics of the queer?How could the body not be comical when oneis fat, the other thin and the belly droopsto the crotch, and the sliding tromboneis the ripping of pants in the sunshine,when comedy is being unhurt in the shadowof the great cliff having fallen from airand proving the hard ground harmless?How could the body not be comical when graceis the other name of loss, along with scapegrace, disgrace,the un-grace entailed in clumsiness?How could your body not be mine and mine yoursin the constant exchange of bodies, from the svelteathlete, the ploughman with his lunch, the groanof the almost defeated Bulgarian weightlifter,when it is the child’s body that holdsno surprises? When the song and danceyou break into begins as something twangsin the doorway and the barbershop boys singyou into the eternal bar kept open for such as you,and the terrible force of the mallet on your headmakes you break into your one true falsetto.*Canzonefor Marilyn HackerSomewhere there is a perfect architecturewhere light, form, shadow, space all moveto form a language beyond architecture,where to dream of the wrong architectureis to dream of dying. But waking bansthe dream and reinvents the architectureof the empty day that is all architectureand no dream. Is there somewhere a culpritwe might blame for this, and is the culpritourselves? We make our own architectureand live in it as in a house of ill fame,it being all we desire of fame.Our fame is inward: it is a private famefor which we must create an architectureof outwardness if only because famecannot remain private if it is to be fame.We know our names and must pronounce the bansfrom the pulpit of our anonymous fame.Who can object to this? It is our own famewe give names to, couple with and movehouse with. It is ourselves we moveand no one else. We proclaim our fameto the walls that recognise a culpritwhen they hear one: name itself is culprit.And what, after all, is it to be a culprit?It is to have a certain portion of fameand take it for self, blaming the culpritfor desire to survive merely as a culprit.It is the self building an architecturein which it may be possible to be a culprit.But who could bear always to be a culprit,a culprit, what is more, at one removebeyond the self, unable to movea culprit in a pulpit perhaps but still a culprit,subject therefore to all the usual bans,both hating and welcoming such bans?There’s a certain kind of building the city bans,the builder of which it treats as a culprit,applying not only these but other bans,because cities depend on applying bansin case the rampant self obscures the famedue only to cities. Order dictates bans:bans dictate anonymity. No one bansno one. None may construct the architecturethat is merely a building calling itself architecture.The self may bar itself against some bansbut no self can afford to stay still. It must move.There’s always another building, one more move.Self is an architecture that must movein order to accommodate. No self bansmovement because it knows that to moveis to survive. Heart must beat, blood movearound the building. To live is to be a culprit.And then another enters with a neat moveslick as a poem that is obliged to movethe heart, which is all a self can know of fame,b[...]

Micheal Cunningham, from the novels of


"We become the stories we tell about ourselves." (A Home at the End of the World)

"If the life you lead is not the one you dreamed about, then flee." (A Home at the End of the World)

"She always surprises you this way, by knowing more than you think she does. Louis wonders if they're calculated, these little demonstrations of self-knowledge that pepper Clarissa's wise, hostessy performance. She seems, at times, to have read your thoughts. She disarms you by saying, essentially, I know what you're thinking and I agree, I'm ridiculous, I'm far less than I could have been and I'd like to be otherwise but I can't seem to help myself. You find that you move, almost against your will, from being irritated with her to consoling her, helping her back into her performance so that she can be comfortable again and you can resume feeling irritated." (The Hours)

"Perhaps, in the extravagance of youth, we give away our devotions easily and all but arbitrarily, on the mistaken assumption that we'll always have more to give." (A Home at the End of the World)

"Like many of us, she had grown up expecting romance to bestow dignity and direction." (A Home at the End of the World)

John Updike, random quotes of


"From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few."

"The true New Yorker secretly believes that anyone living anywhere else must somehow, in a sense, be kidding.”

"Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.”

Stephen Dunn: "Corners" and selections from "Loves"



I've sought out corner bars, lived in corner houses;
like everyone else I've reserved
corner tables, thinking they'd be sufficient.
I've met at corners
perceived as crossroads, lonved to find love
leaning against a lamp post
but have known the abruptness of corners too,
the pivot, the silence.
I've sat in corners at parties hoping for someone
who knew the virtue
of both distance and close quarters, someone with a corner person's taste
for intimacy, hard won, rising out of shyness
and desire.
And I've turned corners there was no going back to,
in the middle of a room that led
to Spain or solitude.
And always the thin line between corner
and cornered,
the good corners of bodies and those severe bodies
that permit no repose,
the places we retreat to, the places we can't bear
to be found.

-from Not Dancing (1984) and New & Selected Poems (1994)


From "Loves":

"I love love, for example,
its diminishments and renewals,
I love being the
stupidest happy kid on the block."

"So good to find htem:
he people who've
discovered fraudulence in their lives
who've cast off, say
a twenty-year lie."

"Those who've gotten away from me:
read this, and call.
Those whom I've hurt:
I wanted everything, or not enough.
It was all my fault."

"I love the number of people
you can love at the same time,
one deep erotic love,
radiating even to strangers,
cynics, making a temporary sense
of the senseless, choreful day."

"Listen, my truest love.
I've tried to clear a late century place for us
in among the shards.
Lie down, tell me what you need.
Here is where loneliness can live
with failure,
and nothing's complete.
I love how we go on."

-from New & Selected Poems (1994)