Monday, March 31, 2014

So far I still know who you are, but now I wonder who I was...

Maybe we're both stepping back a bit, it seems, and that's good, that it's probably mutual, there always seems to be this unspoken something every time. One might mock celebrity uncouplings, but californistan-new-age-therapy-absurdity aside, I understand it. Not everything has to end in tears and incinerations, be it significant others or roommates or whatever. Not everything has to be bridges burned, it's just that we cross over those spans much less.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

long division

a friend's birthday, all of these faces and friendships sustained over the last decade, borne out of peonage and punkery and roommating and conversations both sublime and absurd, and I had a conversation that gave me a moment of clarity and when I thank her she says, "I listened to you but you know what you needed me to say" and she's right.  you both deal with your problems differently, and there's no way you can reconcile that... 

and I don't know how to let go, how to let down easily, how to let it die back without it hurting either of us, though I think we've both been doing that, but then I'm always been proved wrong, and despite the lack of demarcations and the plethora of ambiguities, I know it will hurt, whether now or later, and that I will have to reckon with returning to the solitude, of wondering if there will be anyone else who will make me feel so blissful even for an imperfect moment in this town where everyone leaves.

Friday, March 28, 2014

got a thousand miles to take me...

somehow I get my homework done and ace these assignments and find time to clean the apartment in between the hanging outs that have happened all this week. I don't know how either. I could use some sleep maybe though. 

What do you want to do? I donno, what do you want to do? Wanna hang out? You don't have to. Should we play some music? Maybe? I don't know. What about dinner? Do you want to chill with someone or not or with someone else? Oh screw it, let's do something.

We are tired and indecisive, it's been a long day for both of us and neither of us wants to really admit it, and it's late by the time decisions are made, after I've gone and glazed a few ceramics and ridden my bike and made myself a bowl of leftovers. But he has dishes to give back to me and I have things for him and so we meet up.  The roommate's ladyfriend is over cooking dinner and we feel weird being there so despite the insistent cold, we decide to head down to the valley to wander in the darkness along the river.

Our sense of forest isn't much of one, because you can still hear all the cars roaring over the bridge and humming on the roads on either side, there are the lights from the dog park and the animal shelter and the houses on the overlook. The clouds interlace with the stars, and despite the light pollution, I can pick out the big dipper and Orion and Sirius. We wander by the closed-up boathouse down to where the ice piled up when everything melted.

Neither of us want to go home, he switches out the Grant Hart in my CD player for Kyuss, we do terrible Valley Girl impersonations. I am an unconvincing ditz despite dealing with the Clevelandian equivalent on a daily basis, and we end up at a diner full of other lost-looking souls, slouching in a booth, talking about Cleveland and band stuff and life stuff.

One of my old roommates comes over last night with a third of a bottle of wine and some mango juice, and I cook her dinner. She's just quit her job and was offered another one by people who should know better than to ask her to take a paycut beyond the little she was already making. She's in the process of figuring out how to sell her possessions in the next few months and leave the country to save the world somewhere, some place like Kenya or Nepal. I know this is a long time coming, that her soul is more gypsyish than mine even though I look a little weirder.

The apartment is cold and there is snow on the ground which saddens me. I have a bunch of bananas going soft so I make banana bread to warm up the kitchen. We're listening to the songs we fell in love with in our dorm rooms a decade ago. I learn a lot about her immigrant families that I didn't know, and that our town has been a good fit for the Lhotshampa diaspora that was kicked out Bhutan for not being the right religion or ethnicity for the "Kingdom of Happiness." Evidently other families are coming here because the experience has been positive, which is something I didn't know and something that makes me feel good about this town even though there's giant potholes everywhere and a lot of political shenanigans and heroin addiction.

The next night, me and Neighbor go out to eat deep-fried bar food and watch some blues at a bar at the half-gentrified neighborhood next door, where the crowd is refreshingly unhipster. The band covers Gram Parsons, Social Distortion and Curtis Mayfield, we chill out and people-watch and soak in the atmosphere. I am tired but it's nice not to have to stress.

One of my college radio homegirls is sick so I wander over her way with a stash of tea and we sit in her dining room talking about various and sundry, and then homie and I talk on my walk home, he says he liked what I played on my show, we talk about other things too but we're both tired and maybe say things that don't mean much.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

i feel the half that is missing...

it's cold in my apartment, a weekend that began with my dad in the hospital again getting more blood transfusions for another internal bleed, running errands for my mom, picking him up the next day, all of the family coming in for her birthday last night, going out with Kentinista ladies for smart lady talks, out to the east side for a friend's birthday and getting existential about the state of the city while driving through the hood. I got news that a friend's kid ran away and that he's now okay, I'd run away too given the situation. I attempted to counsel friends on relationships (while ignoring once again the problems inherent in our own), rigged up the milk crate to the back of the three-speed for errand running and bike-riding in weather too cold for such things due to the cabin fever, getting frustrated as people fall of the wagon again and again and knowing there's not much one can do.

And now I've awakened after passing out on the couch early and cancelling plans due to strange bone chills, feeling a little sad when he says we're so much alike and I can only think of the irreconcilable differences that make those compatibilities irrelevant, is it sickness or the drop in temperature or a tired body finally dealing with the weight of the mind, it's hard to say, probably a bit of everything...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

sister corita goes before us

so one of my favorite neighbors, with whom I have occasional Clevelandian adventures and who is one of the few optimists in my circle, calls me to talk garden stuff and tells me that she has some artwork she thinks I might like.

It's funny because every time she's recommended something to me, it has been completely up my alley, we've loaned each other books and snarked through civic debates on corporate welfare over Slovenian beer, and gone on drives through the hood to visit gardens because despite being of a different generation than me, she is unafraid, having grown up in New Jersey.

Her father had an art gallery in New York that specialized in primitive art and such, and her mother who lives upstairs gave me a tour of all the paintings they never sold and kept, of farms in New Jersey and self-described "Greatest Artists in the World."

She knows I love art and printmaking and have oddball religious leanings and hands me a box of Sister Corita Kent prints from an art book that came out awhile back and tells me to take whatever I want. Her dad was one of the first people who exhibited her work before she got really popular, and since I'm not up on my pop art, I hadn't heard of her, but I like a lot of these pieces strewn on her bed and hanging on her walls and end up walking home with a folder full of ones that jumped out at me that are now framed all over my apartment. They're definitely emblematic of a certain time period but the messages still resonate and the colors and words are still vibrant.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

for a start take two grant harts...

so it was my favorite member of Husker Du's birthday yesterday and also that of a fine lady from Lush, so I played quite a bit of those on the show. I saw Grant Hart a few years ago playing a solo show at a certain hipster bar and it was wonderful even if he looks a bit worse for the wear these days. Anyways, I always liked his songs the best and they were a substantial soundtrack to my college years when one could still find cheap punk records before The Kids discovered vinyl.

and the solo stuff has some gems, especially that live solo album that's been spinning in my car.
also, bonus Lush, one of those bands where I like their dreampop phase as much as the britpop one.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


existential crises, tearful phone conversations, spiritual angst, tactless words to near and dears and subsequent heartfelt apologies, moments of healing catharsis, walks down to the frozen water, listening to garage records, reinspired guitar playing, dystopian French movies, moments of incredible closeness that are a salve for the restlessness of the eternal questioning, and also questioning that closeness and savoring the ability to live this strange life and survive the sadness to come out to the other side.

The weather has finally broken, at least for a little bit and I am so relieved. It feels so liberating not to need so many layers to survive the cold. I played music this morning and despite the lack of sleep the past two days, feel renewed somewhat.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Don't mind me, there's a week out of every month when I'm a little bit crazy,  I tell him. He has sisters, he's lived with other girls, he knows the drill, sometimes he knows it better than me.

I enjoy and love the men in my world too much to get down on the patriarchy, and working in a female-dominated field gives me a skeptical view of a world run by women, especially when some of one's overladies engage in pettiness of varying degrees.

But working customer service, especially in dealing with dudes from societies where you're supposed to do everything for them and making eye contact means that she'll sleep with you, gets really frustrating. Also, the green card aspirants and the ones who just assume American girls are easy if they smile, and sometimes the interaction is so awkward I get thrown off kilter and then frustrated because it's hard to do your job well without these other things going on.

the day was so long I forgot what day it was because I was just dealing with all these clowns and people who violate personal space or are too busy staring at my body to tell me what they need and was so exhausted that when I stumbled into my friend's house it took me a little bit of time to even be coherent. But she had chili and tea and her friend who does cheap haircuts now that she's got kids, so I got my now-long locks chopped off in favor of something way more Carrie Brownstein-esque rather than going full-on Sinead like I threatened. .

And I played some tunes yesterday, made fun of paczki eaters, ended the set with some girl rock. I have a strict no Kathleen Hanna policy due to never being a big Bikini Kill/Le Tigre fan but everything else is up for grabs. I got an acoustic guitar to bang around on this weekend, and a new pedal to make noise on and want to make music, and feel frustrated by my seeming inability to put words to songs even as the music flows freely. Maybe someday.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

under the weather

I called in sick on Friday because I woke up and felt dead, something's wrong, I succumbed to the exhaustion that's haunted my last week, felt a little guilty but couldn't imagine staring at a computer screen. Not totally a mental health day but that was needed too. I never give myself a break and then I did, and was all thrown off because it felt like Saturday. I'm currently obsessed with the song below and wondering how I missed this bit of 90's alt-rock esoterica.

Evidently the Sonics were mindblowing live but I went to a birthday party and danced in the living room to Devo and had awkward moments with people who were once friendly with me and even contemplated testing the dating waters until they realized I'm not quite who I come across as, which happens a lot. Our common affinities are not always indicative of common fundamental beliefs about God man and the universe, and despite everyone saying they're so tolerant or open minded usually that's where it stops.

But I went to a festival on the east side, noshed on pho with Neighbor, slacked and played guitar with homie, went hiking for the afternoon and spent a bachelorette night procrastinating on homework and listening to sad-sack music while eating ice cream which is the single girl's birthright. I want a haircut and a tattoo and wonder what that means, if this is somewhere between a quarterlife and a midlife crisis or if it's just the cabin fever manifesting.