Pimp to the mouth-breathers

To Be a Fish

I wish I wish I were a fish
Or maybe just a grub
I’d swim away to foreign shores
Or hide inside a shrub
But sharks can be a problem
As is the robin in the tree
Perhaps I’ll just stay here a while
Content with being me.

Crawling into my bed at night, I feel like a little reverse sheep, all my heaps of wool piling back on. Tucking into so many warm familial layers, one can’t help but warp time backwards a bit.The oldest cover is the big one with all the Indian people on it. I remember making friends with those guys on my parents’ bed when I was probably four or five or younger. Like any good discoverer of ancient people, I would lay on the bed staring at them, trying to make sense of their square heads and chevron patterns and too still eagles. Navajo, Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi, read the block text over and over. A wiped out people calling out to a little white girl laying on a bedspread. War whoops, headdresses, dappled horses, revenge. 
The next oldest thing is the flannel blanket, which also seems to have some kind of Indian thing going on. Perhaps my pseudo hippie parents’ homage to the bed linen spirits. That blanket and its twin used to keep my sisters warm on the cold nights when they used to share a room together in our old house. I slept next door to them, but anxiously, and would often high tail it to their room, snuggling under these same sheets, looking for any way out of the loneliness of my own room. 
The last two bits are from this year. The sheets of blue (a blue which matches the pale slate color in the Hopi blanket) were a Christmas gift from my parents, and the sheered looking thing at the foot is a Christmas gift from my much warmer friend living in L.A. Those Venice Beach dwellers love to donate their wool to the poor and downtrodden of Chicago. Plenty of happy naked sheep over there. 
Easy to find sleep when smothering yourself with Indians, I think, as I pull the many-historied covers over my head and drift into a slate blue place where the white man loses. Where the smiling sheep hold the sheers at last. 

Crawling into my bed at night, I feel like a little reverse sheep, all my heaps of wool piling back on. Tucking into so many warm familial layers, one can’t help but warp time backwards a bit.

The oldest cover is the big one with all the Indian people on it. I remember making friends with those guys on my parents’ bed when I was probably four or five or younger. Like any good discoverer of ancient people, I would lay on the bed staring at them, trying to make sense of their square heads and chevron patterns and too still eagles. Navajo, Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi, read the block text over and over. A wiped out people calling out to a little white girl laying on a bedspread. War whoops, headdresses, dappled horses, revenge. 

The next oldest thing is the flannel blanket, which also seems to have some kind of Indian thing going on. Perhaps my pseudo hippie parents’ homage to the bed linen spirits. That blanket and its twin used to keep my sisters warm on the cold nights when they used to share a room together in our old house. I slept next door to them, but anxiously, and would often high tail it to their room, snuggling under these same sheets, looking for any way out of the loneliness of my own room. 

The last two bits are from this year. The sheets of blue (a blue which matches the pale slate color in the Hopi blanket) were a Christmas gift from my parents, and the sheered looking thing at the foot is a Christmas gift from my much warmer friend living in L.A. Those Venice Beach dwellers love to donate their wool to the poor and downtrodden of Chicago. Plenty of happy naked sheep over there. 

Easy to find sleep when smothering yourself with Indians, I think, as I pull the many-historied covers over my head and drift into a slate blue place where the white man loses. Where the smiling sheep hold the sheers at last. 

Eating Your Way Through War (Or, How to Cook a Pigeon)

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I’m so hungry right now I’m eating my fingers. Chowing down on that particular appetizer reminded me of M.F.K. Fisher’s essay, How To Cook a Wolf, about surviving both wartime and the horrible rations that come with it.

We’re at war right now. Maybe that explains the eating of the fingers.

Anyway, the woman loved the heck out of eating pigeons. And even as a vegetarian, I can’t blame her. It seems like a great idea. There are a million of them in Chicago and a lot of hungry people.

Why, with a few shots from the BB gun and a mess of butter, we all could be dining on roast pigeon a la Logan Square. Here is Fisher’s recipe, note the pigeon is referred to as a “her.” Hmmm.. (Also, if you’re all out of BB gun, feel free to substitute your cold murderous hands)

Roast Pigeon

1 pigeon
1 lemon
2 slices fat bacon (or 2 tablespoons butter or oil)
parsley
red wine (or cider, beer, orange juice, tomato juice, stock…) about a cupful
water
salt, pepper

Melt the fat [if bacon is used, cook it until crisp, and then remove it until time to serve it alongside, over, or even under the little bird.] See that the bird is well plucked, and rub her thoroughly with a cut lemon and the seasoning. Push the parsley into the belly. Braise well in the hot fat. 

Add the liquid, put on the lid quickly, and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, basting two or three times. If you are going to eat the bird cold, put into a covered dish so that it will not dry out. [And if hot, make a pretty slice of toast for each bird, butter it well (or spread it with a bit of good
pâté de foies for Party!), and place the bird upon it. Swirl about one cup of dry good wine and 2 tablespoons butter in the pan, for 4 birds, and spoon this over each one immediately, and serve.]

My favorite part of all that is: make a pretty slice of toast for each bird, butter it well…and place the bird upon it.

Like little coffins for a pigeon funeral. Why play with your food when you can give it last rites instead?

Ode to Llewyn Davis

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Oh Llewyn Davis!
If only you were more interesting and less long
And those songs, my god.
The ears can only take so much T-Bone Burnett
same sounding folky music
Jerk off
Before blood begins its merry journey down the lobes.

I love T-Bone Llewyn Davis, don’t get me wrong.
He’s a big juicy steak that usually tastes like Oh Brother Where Art Thou? and The Big Lebowski and that great Johnny Cash movie with the brunette Reese Witherspoon.
But this time my teeth met an overcooked hunk of someone whose fat must have been sapped away by other, better-arranged movie soundtracks.

And why, Llewyn, the lackadaisical David Mamet homage?
Were words other than “fuck” busy that night?
Were their dance cards all filled up?
And what about talented writing?
Did its vacation coincide with all non-fuck related words?

And finally sweet, sweet Llewyn
That random ass John Goodman car scene
That made neither good nor man of anyone doomed to grace its frame
The many rambling mumblings
The opposite of saying something
The synonym of suck.

A scene, Llewyn, which like the movie’s other parts
Drives the lonely road to nowhere-ville.
Indeed, it was the finale’s cowboy ass-kicking
For which I did greatly pine.
For any enemy of yours, Llewyn
Is sure a bosom friend of mine. 

Conversation with a Shampoo Bottle

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Today the Herbal Essences bottle was saying all this stuff about Ancient Greeks believed roses became red from the blood of Aphrodite, who pricked her feet on a thorn trying to save her beloved Adonis.

Wow shampoo bottle, I said back. That’s heavier than the usual rinse when ready. What gives?

But that must have hit a nerve because then it started back with all that jazz about rose hips and jojoba.

And Jesus Looked Down Upon ChiBeria

in chicago
we live in igloos

but I’m pretty sure we’re not alive. 
surviving. is more like it.
like jesus christ get me out of here

only jesus is like, man, it’s freezing
i’m not touching that scene

like, you may have the face of god,
but you sure chose a goofy ass place to call home.

that’s what the almighty silently thinks at Chicagoans as he sets another blizzard cloud on a crash course with lake michigan

shit man, even the devil’s got that warm thing figured out.

i’d sell my soul for 10 degrees
i’d get on my knees

but they’re buried two feet deep in ice

instead i’ll just fall backwards and watch the white stuff blow
tell the lord to take a hike
and make my angels in the snow.

Time is finite for all of us, whether one of us goes or everybody goes, each of us only dies once. We may be having a party on the Titanic but it’s still a party.

—The insatiable, ingratiable, Robyn Hitchcock

New year

I bought some flowers yesterday with the last $5 in my wallet. Out with the old yellow moldy flowers, in with the snappy purple ones. I’m not particularly religious, but I’ll take a healthy dose of symbolism any day. Last night I was at a party where people were writing their 2014 wishes on pieces of paper and burning them. Then some of them laced their drinks with the ashes.

I’m not doing that, said one girl who spoke fluent french and held a poorly made Manhattan.

She showed me her wish. It said something truly merry, like out of Dickens. “A happy new year, and all our health in 2014,” or something. A wish for us all.

But I don’t really remember. It was her secret wish after all and anyway, I’d had a whiskey or two. 

Bathrooms of Chicago

Well there’s the northshore sect, the many mirrored one at that asian place along Broadway and Belmont. So much self staring, angling, turns and double turns and faceted figurings out while pretending to scrub soap off one’s hands, but instead just hitting the air dryer for effect.

There’s the pulley doors on the far north north side, clark and much norther of Foster. Weighted doors with white string that snap back into place in order to keep out the strollered mothers, ipods strapped to their hands. Maternal women wishing hard for older days, longer hair, less babies. The little sinks and stacked paper rolls. The smell of breakfast creeping in and mixing, familiarly, with the smell of shit.  

And there’s the very small one, that matchstick Milwaukee place, an angled loser of a street which leads and gives up and then leads again in the wrong direction. Bathroom bigger than the place, crawling over misfitted drop out people who beg to tell you stories and then, insisting anyway, hurl ex-wife wonders and tales of times without the phones, without the boxy brief computer, the better days, they not-so-silently weep.

Sky high ones whose floor length panels block waitresses keeping pace outside, fingering credit cards belonging to men whose names are memorized with passion. And gross ones with bad lighting and bad-er heat, gas stations and pan asian places where food smell and bathroom wall are one, a zen-like fusing, veritable yin yang of in and out holes, life and death creeping up from the sewage tanks we all eek out of in the end. 

All on the northside it seems. So point taken back. Not the bathrooms of Chicago, just the safely lit lovely bathrooms of the north. It seems my life experiences are not as mirrored as the bathrooms I frequent. The shit boxes I shut myself into are one too many.  

Big Whales

Last night I dreamt of whales in the aquarium. My old boss wasn’t in the publishing industry anymore, her family owned a zoo and she gave me the tour. In one cage, a snake had been accidentally set up with a lizard. The lizard ate the snake. In another room, a large tank contained a killer whale and a shark. They didn’t bother each other. Another cage had a five foot tall Trex.

Like the tornado and large wave dreams before it, the good old reoccurring whales in the aquarium dream seems to be about uncontrolled big, looming things. There was a point last night where I woke up from the dream and didn’t know where or when I was. I saw a room unfamiliar and strange. A life that I didn’t want to claim as mine.