Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peer Pressure

Another assignment--the last one actually--from my intermediate poetry class. It's a sestina so there's a pattern of repeating end-words. And POOF. I'm mostly posting this because my friend Eve was there while I was working on it and wanted to see the "finished" product. Don't read into it too heavily! Haha.

When entering my veins it sets me free
from worry and embarrassment, save
the kind that follows alcohol. Only
those never bother me, and my friends
need reminding now and then. Alcohol
will be your greatest friend till dawn--

No, I'll keep the parting going, even dawn
can’t stop me when I'm rolling free
of inhibitions thanks to my pal, Alcohol.
Although the bar is not the place to save
your money, if you’re cunning you can ask a friend
to buy a drink or two. Tell them only

one if it helps. Or find a stranger, only
for a few if needed. Don’t forget to ditch at dawn
unless you want to end up “more than friends.”
For now, stick around and drink for free.
With the right plan for the night you’ll save
your cash. Reserve it for more alcohol.

I think of my first taste of alcohol--
I was just thirteen, but it was only
for the Seder. I learned to save
my appetite. That day starts not at dawn
but sundown. Those stories show us how to free
each other, remind us not to leave any friend

behind. I still won’t forsake a friend
even when we’re in the throes of alcohol.
Who would’ve thought a liquid could free
you from concern and constraints, though only
temporarily? At least before dawn
arrives and contrives to save

you from yourself. I'm trying to save
everyone now. Acquaintance or friend
I'll stay or walk away at dawn
as needed. Especially when I and alcohol
socialize--we want to save the world. Only
it’s too far gone. It already thinks it’s free.

In this strange yet familiar dawn, sobriety arises to save
us, always, from being free. I say my goodbyes to friends
and my farewell, for now, to alcohol. The morning-after full of if only.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pantoum Diagnosis...

Loosely emulating "Pantoum Evangel: Billy Sunday" by Gabriel Calvocoressi for an assignment in Intermediate Poetry. I highly recommend her poetry to anyone! This is not as metaphoric and is more narrative than her poem, but I wanted some of my family to be able to read it easily so there you go. This is not quite the final draft either so maybe I will update this when the poem is really finished...

Pantoum Diagnosis: Renal Cell Carcinoma

My dad is the strongest man I’ve ever met,
but that autumn we could all tell his headaches
were driving him crazy. Our family never saw doctors
so I knew it was serious when he made an appointment.

That autumn I could tell these headaches of his
were getting in the way of managing his life,
and I knew it was serious when he made an appointment
with a doctor to find out what was happening.

What could get in the way of his expert managing?
He must have been in so much pain to let
doctors try to find out what was happening.
They said it was anemia: a kidney tumor.

He must have been in so much pain to let
them schedule a complete nephrectomy
to stop this anemia by removing his kidney and tumor.
They even gave him morphine for the pain.

They scheduled a nephrectomy for December
 so he would be okay in time for Christmas.
The morphine they gave him seemed too much.
One day he could barely get out of bed,

but we needed him to be okay in time,
so they did another test. An MRI when it snowed,
the same day he could barely get out of bed,
and by evening his eyes were empty ghosts.

After the other test, the MRI, while snow piled outside
mom started packing. She asked me to sit in the car
with Dad. I could hardly meet his eyes--empty ghosts
looking blankly at me from under drooping eyebrows.

Mom finished packing and came back out to the car
telling me they had to go to Spokane right away.
Dad’s eyes staring blankly, under drooping eyebrows,
I asked “Why?” Tears contained she says: “Brain tumor.”

They had to go to Spokane right away
or he might not make it. He might not make it?
I ask myself why and cry over the words brain and tumor
haunting my mind all night. I went to school

thinking he might not make it, he might not make it,
while smiling at friends and teachers, waiting for a call
haunting my mind all morning. I'm at school
while everyone else is at The Sacred Heart with Dad.

I keep smiling at friends and teachers, waiting--
the call comes in the middle of English class.
While everyone else is at The Sacred Heart with Dad
they call me and say “He made it through surgery.”

The call came in the middle of English class
and I had to start talking about who it was
that called me, and say who made it through surgery.
We never thought the hospital would give life and infection.

I had to start talking about Dad’s cancer
and the surgery coming up in December,
except the hospital gave him a staph infection.
Then they gave him I.V. antibiotics for eight weeks.

With the surgery pushed to early spring,
or whenever he could rid his body of the staph
his eight weeks on I.V. antibiotics was too much.
His strength began to melt off his bones.

Whenever he could rid his body of the staph
was enough for a nephrectomy during Spring Break.
His strength had melted off his bones
but somehow I thought the worst was over.

His kidney was removed during Spring Break,
and they gave him an infection there, too.
Somehow I thought the worst was over
before he spent three days in the I.C.U.

They gave him an infection in his blood
and it all could have ended right then,
but his three days spent in the I.C.U.
let him come home for a while.

It all could have ended that spring,
but even though we kept looking for cures
that let him come home once in a while,
we had to start accepting he might leave

even though we kept looking for cures.
His body now weaker than the mind could handle:
We had to start accepting he was leaving.
My dad was the strongest man I'd ever met.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SUPRISE! New typewriter soon!!

I love the interconnectedness of everything.

First of all, I know this woman who used to be the Image Studios office manager when my dad was still alive and boss of everything--she was also a staple at Christmas Eve dinner, and a lovely person to run into unexpectedly working in one of the engineering offices at the university when I was working there.

Well, her eldest daughter messages me on FB the other day...
"Hi there! I have an odd question...do you still collect typewriters?"

I'm thinking, welllll maybe. Depends. And then I read on.

"While cleaning out my grandma's house we found an old typewriter in a black box/case...a Smith~Corona. I'm not sure what year it is or anything, but it looks to be in pretty good condition. I looked on ebay and similar ones seem to sell for about $30. Would you be interested in it at all? I thought of you when I found it so thought I'd check and see. If you want a picture I can send one when I get home from work. smile

Hope all is well with you my dear!"

So that sounds pretty cool. Could be a nice machine, but could be one I already have...but for $30? Sure I'll take a look! (that's what I was thinking, not what I actually said to her which was much more polite)

So she sends me this picture:

My response: (this is pretty accurate, I was looking at it at work with my friend/colleague Eve, who rolled her eyes profusely at the excitement)

Whaaaaaat!!!!!! OMG. WUT IZ DAT. I want it! Oh yeah!

I'm really excited. She said it was in pretty good condition, and as long as there's no mechanical malfunction I'm pretty good at cleaning, and have new ribbons if needed! AND nobody has to pay postage or risk the damage of mailing this beautiful machine (even though she is in Post Falls) because her lovely mother is going to bring it to Moscow sometime in the next few weeks! It'll definitely get some NaNo use if all goes well.


I'm ridiculously excited about this.

Life is wonderful. Even if it's cold, raining, and I have no raincoats and no umbrellas.

Why can't it be a couple/few weeks later already!?

Oh right...exams, homework, and other things have to get done too. I guess I need more than a millisecond between weeks. SIGH

Satchmo Weezel signing off.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hey Typospherians! It's Hanx at those keys again...

Not sure if any of you had seen this yet...pretty neat though!
It seems some folks from Nerdist sent Tom Hanks a neat typewriter as a bribe an incentive for getting an interview.

And hey--it worked! Haven't had a chance to listen yet...but after school today I'm all over it.

Yes, but now time for Calculus. Mmm, series......

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Auto-Coffee is the best. Ever.

Blog posts don't have to be a big "thing." I know this, and yet my blog sits dormant most of the year, only experiencing brief and occasional bursts of This must be shared somehow--I know! The blog! What I would really like to do is get used to posting, oh I don't know, maybe not every day, but more often.

I have everything I need: a computer, and internet at my apartment. (FINALLY, well since August) So it shouldn't be so hard! And when I get my camera back I can even typecast some of my posts!

I also have a great (free) computer desk chair my grandparents gave me recently (last night) which is definitely a game-changer. I can sit comfortably and high enough to use the keyboard on it's little slide-out thing, then raise the chair up for using typewriters on the desk's surface! THE AMAZING RAISING CHAIR! I haven't had one for a few years so it's maybe more exciting than is necessary or natural.

That's okay. That's just how I roll.

Here is something fairly adorable:

An old picture of me and my (sniffle) late best-friend Samuel Rex-Manuel the Kitty. That was a few weeks before I shaved my hair off, so it was taken over two years ago. Someday I'll take a picture of my current hair and we'll go from there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

For AFTW...thank you, thank you, thank you.

This album (Away From The World) is changing my life right now...partially because I can't tear myself away from these songs to focus on reading assignments for poetry class tomorrow! ARG! But YAY! 

It's streaming for free on iTunes until the 10th. Released on the 11th. I should have it 2-4 days after that!!! I sprung for the super-deluxe edition...because when it comes to DMB I can't help myself, really.

For instance, an excerpt from my particular favorite (and having only heard the entire album once all the way through...well I've heard this song five times! haha) The Riff:
Sitting in a box away from the world out there
a world piled high with boxes just like this
but please don't ever leave me alone in here
take me out, shake off the dust, shake off the fear.
Remember how we used to dance, baby
just like it was everything?
(crazy great guitar riff and accompanying wonderful instruments, esp. drums)You stay with me
and that don't mean we have to stay the same
you stay with me
baby, you and me can make the change
you stay with me 
but that don't mean I wanna stay the same.
And then of course there's If Only:
Well maybe it's a game
You win some and you lose some
But when you've found a good one
Don't you let her get away
Don't let her go

Oh yeah
If only I could have you
Just the way I want you
Oh, to have you back again
Back again baby

Oh, I'm just a fool baby
Playing Mr. Cool baby
Rolling round like I got nothing much to lose
But I know you and you know me
And I know you can see
So help me find my way back to you
Back to you

Those two songs...those two songs make me ache and groove and hope and reminisce and smile and want to cry all at the same time.

I guess you could say I'm a fan.


BTW I have a new apartment! And INTERNET AT HOME! IT'S A MIRACLE! So maybe after I spend some time uploading much-delayed photos to my FB friends and family I will wrangle a typecast out of my school/work/etc schedule.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Brainstorming/freewriting...cancer and curiosity

This is sort of brainstorming for an essay I'm working on...it began with my recent research into "rcc" that was motivated by writing a terrible essay for a class I really enjoy. I am working on ideas for the revision and began looking it up...it spawned a few epiphanies, not all of which are mentioned here, but this is my trying to tie in enough ideas to possibly weave into another narrative along with the patterns of time of year. Cancer and curiosity was only how this began...I was surprised to tie in so many ideas into one free-written piece...it will of course change while being intertwined with other things by the time it's finished, but it's progress! (Progress in work as well as emotions.)


I tend to think of myself as a naturally curious person. It doesn't take long from the moment I hear of a new idea or word to the moment I type it in a search bar or grab a dictionary. Yet it took me over five years to type the words "renal cell carcinoma" into any sort of search engine. Those words are listed on my dad's death certificate that was hanging on the back door of what we call "The Old Studio." Listed as "cause of death," I carefully memorized the words five years ago so I would know how to talk about it with people when they asked "but what kind of cancer?" as a follow-up to the usual inquiry about his passing. I wanted to know after the fact, but I didn't even know what it was called for most of the 10 months we were watching it maul my father's body and wrack our family's support system in ways we would never have imagined.

I knew it was kidney cancer, I knew it had metastisized in his brain, but not once did I look it up to see what was happening to his kidneys, to his blood and brain. I didn't know that from the time they diagnosed him with a brain tumor from the kidney cancer he only had a 5% chance of living through the next year. I didn't know that until I was 21. He died when I was barely 16.

He left in the summertime, right as the feverish August arrived when Moscow usually reached temperatures in the 100s. We had never been in town for that particular time of year as a family, taking our vacation to the Oregon Coast for the last week of July, first week of August, trying to bring the clouds and rain back with us from the beautiful, blustery never-above-80-degrees coast. When he died I was in California visiting my half-brothers and friend of my grandparents. They lived near San Francisco, and we happened to be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge when my mom called with the news. They were 7 and nearly 5 years old at the time, and could hardly understand what was happening, but their words of solace meant more to me than anyone else's could at that time.

I tried desperately to see him in my dreams that night, or to imagine how I might change my flight home to go to the cremation with my mom and sister. I wasn't able to, and in the long run it was probably better to be there for my little brother's 5th birthday instead, but I still wish I had seen him. I wish I had seen his body somehow so I wouldn't have spent months hearing him coming around the corner, or with my heart pounding when I heard loud steps on the stairs or someone solidly shutting the front door. Years later I can still hear him, although briefly, in the next aisle at the grocery store, or in the voice of a friend's parent, before I realize it is someone else's father, or brother, or partner.

Soon after that day on the bridge I began dreaming of his return. In the dream his arrival was subtle to everyone but me, and I would rush into his arms and whoop and hollar and happy tears would run down my face into his big belly....the dreams used to end there. After some months we started having time to make plans, and a few years later I almost had enough time to ask him questions like "Are you proud of me?" and "When did you take your first photograph?"....but I still don't know the answer.
Sometimes I can go for months without a dream of him, and then a wave breaks over my nights and at least once a week we'll see each other, but always the restlessness of my disbelief at seeing him again wakes me up too soon. Waking rips me out of his big-kahuna arms into a cluttered, dark room, with me under the Disney comforter he bought when I was 12. (It is still the most comfortable one I own.) His impossibly red, bushy, curvy eyebrows slowly fade away in the relief of orange streetlights peeking through my blinds.

Then time goes on, I talk about the dreams and his death, write a poem or two. I move on...for the most part. Moving on from losing a family member like that really means you move forward, you continue living, but you never leave behind those feelings, those days spent worrying about, realizing, and accepting something like renal cell carcinoma moving in and tearing apart your life, among many others, so quickly and thoroughly.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I hope this keeps happening!

Apparently it's the month where my friends post on my wall whenever they see neat typewriter things. Even friends that I don't speak with very often! Hooray! Gotta love 'em.

This is definitely not a new thing, but I'd never seen something like it! Typewriter Art!

Not for me, perhaps, but a very cool way to put typewriters to use. I'll have to acquire some for my walls, it would go nicely with the multi-colored everything I own. Some B&W. Yes.

Time for some trig review and learning derivatives of trig functions! Yay!


P.s. About calc homework, I am not being sarcastic. It's great to be getting into math that isn't completely review for the first time since high school.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hey, you there, with the eyes...

You with the green-blue ocean eyes and dark curls peeking out of your baseball cap.
I'm feeling sappy today, and you're the subject of my thoughts for a moment.
The first time we met our words worked over and through each other for the evening,
I will never forget the way you tell stories with your eyes wide open,
and how much you love your dogs, and how you had to leave them home when you came here.

You with the pure brown eyes and coarse black hair:
I still want to go to Maine with you. Maybe my feelings for you are stuck deeper in my heart than is necessary,
or appropriate, but I still want to adventure with you, and regularly do in my dreams.
We went sailing and caught some fish with no small effort.
We cooked over a fire on the beach, ate mushrooms and laughed the stars into being.

You with the sometimes blue, sometimes green, sometimes grey eyes,
I am sometimes not as honest with you as I should be.
Sometimes you get on my nerves, but you are the one who's always with me.
I want to be alone more often than I am comfortable admitting, and I know
part of that feeling is because I'm scared.
I love you too, but we both know the end will be different for us. I want you to feel loved by more than me,
You need things I don't think I will ever be able to give,
and you will find them, hopefully soon. Never forget you are amazing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

USB Typewriter? For REAL? Yes Please!

Anyone want to give me 74 dollars? I could really use this DIY USB Typewriter Kit. Okay, to be honest, I am not capable of putting that together myself, but with $700-$900 I could have one of these!

When my roommate posted this on my wall, I thought it was a joke. But seriously? I could write on a typewriter and not have to re-type my writing to edit papers for school? FANTASTIC!

In other news, I have been blog-absent for a long few months. Being busy with school, family, holidays, and re-starting classes a couple weeks ago has been good and crazy. I got straight A's last semester. I haven't done that since 5th grade!

I still don't have internet at my apartment.

My room is so much like a Picasso painting that I haven't dug my typewriters out for a couple months, despite finding an Olympia SM9 at the Storm Cellar and being ecstatic for a few days. I wrote a few letters and then lost them.

Real updates coming in a couple weeks (I would say a few days, but let's be real here), and letters hopefully going into the mail sooner that that.

First I have to finish writing the key events of "My Life Journey" in 750 words before class. The main problem is keeping it down to 750 words.


p.s. My roommate also posted these stickers on my wall. Seriously considering them! I'd have to get the "p" key on my (new) laptop fixed first though.