26 February 2009

modern art, a cover, and words

i. one of these things is not like the other

did you miss it?

this was the best placard i found in the whole museum when i was at the met last weekend. it's for this piece:

i have a lot of thoughts about modern art, but i also checked out during the second semester of art history when i decided that debating what can be counted as art is not going to stop wars or feed people. not that i think learning spanish will do either of those things, but the people in those classes don't ask the teacher idiotic questions like "can you comment on the influence of art on popular children's films such as the use of figures from ancient grecian urns in disney's hercules?"

ii. "i'm sure there's something in a shade of grey"
craig owens: anna begins [counting crows cover]

iii. a glossary of my homes so far

i’ve lived in three different cities—pittsburgh, cincinnati, and philadelphia. get ready, there are a lot of quotation marks coming at you.

+eggs: while i was going the met, i ate breakfast with a girl who ordered bubble eggs, which confused me and the guy who worked there, until i realized she meant dippy eggs, which confused the non-english-speaking waiter even more. after a lot of explaining and hand motions, he told us that we were looking for huevos estrellados, volteados, pero no muy fritos. oh, of course. and thanks to the man at the table next to ours, i now know the normal word for these is “over-easy” eggs.

+jawn: hand down the best word ever. i don’t actually think it exists anywhere outside philadelphia. it mostly means thing, but can also be used to talk about a girl [never a boy]. i.e. are you going to his party jawn tonight?, check out that hot jawn over there, give me that jawn, what’s that jawn called?, let me get two of those jawny jawns. you can’t go wrong with this one.

+mum: i used to be able to call my mum “mama,” but now it just feels weird since that’s what i call everyone else. if i ever manage to find a job, i can see this being a problem since i am the queen of ending up in awkward situations. like, i’ll be working in a restaurant and i’ll have two girls at my table and obviously one will be big and one will be really little and i’ll go to take their order and the little one will say “you go first, mama” and i’ll get her order and then be all “what can i get for your daughter?” and they’ll look at me like an idiot and i’ll realize what i did and my face’ll get all red and i’ll start laughing too much and then scamper away. that’s what’ll happen. [ps did you know that the word for “mother” begins with “m” in almost every language? the “m” sound is one of the first sounds that babies learn to make and so the mum hears her baby and says “look, she’s saying my name!” talk about desperate, mums. [jk, mums are the best!]] [pps what do you call your mum?]

+nebby: pittsburghese for nosey. i think this one is cute.

+please: people in cincinnati say “please” when they don’t understand what you’re saying, causing non-cincinnati people to ask “please what?” this is apparently left over from all the germans who immigrated to the city. i’ve never really gone for the whole “please” thing; i like “what” or “sorry,” which i pronounce so that it rhymes with “gory.” i also do borrow, tomorrow, worry, and horrible with long “o”s. lots people from jersey say “harrible” [huh?] and everybody from philadelphia says “woo-der” for water [huh? x2].

+slippy: when it snows and it’s hard to walk outside, it’s slippy. you might say “no, it’s slippery,” but you would be wrong, stop adding extra ers. i think this is a pittsburgh thing.

+soldiers: soldiers are you have when you cut your toast into stripes so you can dip it into your dippy egg. i’ve never met anyone else who eats their toast like this or knows the word “soldiers” except for my grandma and the rest of my family.

+with: philadelphians are not fond of their prepositions. coming from a place where people like prepositions so much that they tend to just throw them in at the end of sentences for kicks ["where are you going to?" and so on], this is strange. people here are not “done with work,” they are “done work.” they will call you when they are “done class.” wtf philadelphia?

+yinz: second person plural! this is the pittsburgh alternative to y’all.

+yo: yo is one of my favorite words, mostly because i didn’t think real people used it until i moved to illadelphia. i remember laughing in 7th grade when i had to read dialogue that started with “yo” out loud from a book because the word felt so weird in my mouth. now i know that “yo” is a fantastic way to get someone’s attention, answer the phone, or just use to start a sentence.

what words do you have from where you live?

22 February 2009

did you really think you could just put it in the safe behind the painting?

i’m stuck in a room full of half-thought thoughts; they stack up like boxes that need sorted and my room just gets smaller.

you know that feeling? being trapped by quiet? it’s not a good silence, it’s an empty kind, but one that feels distinctly solid in some way. you can’t trust it. the density weighs down on you and you can’t understand why. everywhere else you run, you’re bursting against the sky. but now, in this room, they’ve got you shut in.

i’ll list all the reasons. i’m figuring out why and how and when, so can’t you let go? girl, you’ve got to find some grey or you’ll alienate them all. this drama is tiring, and i can’t deal with the exhaustion; i’m ready to rest.

i wonder what went so wrong. we’ve all done so much damage to each other in games of unfeeling and isolation. we’re dancing around tension, doing anything we can to avoid honest conflict; in its absence, the strain festers and warps until the friction becomes too agonizing to handle. so we give in. we’re doing things we’re not supposed to; willing our sweetness to fade.

right now, i’m so far away from anything close to home, but you’ve got two, maybe three.

my whole world is in black and white; you know what i’m saying. that was one of my favorite things, when you turned ugly things into pretty words. like "grave gardens." you have this way with candy-coated heartbreak, but do you feel it? i’m wearing stitches to show what’s missing, but you? you’re jumping around so your feet won’t get burned. look how easy that makes it to escape; how convenient, then, to have a ready-to-wear apology. are you afraid to admit to it or are you just scared of being the one to lose?

loss is so natural, so common, but it scares me more than anything. when i love things, i want all of them. it's like eating ice cream; even though it makes your teeth too cold and your stomach hurt, you keep eating. it's a horrible and fantastic kind of want because you know that it’ll eventually be gone, but you keep eating because it's the only way to even taste it at all.

instead of loving you less, i’m learning to love you differently. it’s not an active love, or a love of you with me, it’s a love for the pieces i took. somedays, i’ll walk past shades of you, like someone screaming or the sidewalk to your old apartment. and i’m still crying to iron and wine, buried in my bed on cold nights. i’m trying to be calm in the wake of your happiness, but it’s hard when you look through me.

i want out of my head and into the world. i need more noise and less space or something to make my eyes start taking in the color again.

18 February 2009

rima xxxviii

¡los suspiros son aire y van al aire!
¡las lágrimas son agua y van al mar!
dime, mujer, cuando el amor se olvida
¿sabes tú adónde va?

+gustavo adolfo bécquer

[breaths are air and go to air
tears are water and go to the sea
tell me, woman, when love is lost
do you know where is goes?]

01 February 2009

the trapeze swinger