On Accomplishments and Procrastination

If you don’t like your classes, the work seems like a chore, a bore, a what the heck am I doing this for? You feel overworked, maybe miserable. You might cry about it. You might vent to your wall.

I got lucky this semester. I love my classes. I want to marry my classes. I do. I do. I do. OK, not really. But for classes, they are pretty compatible. It’s like I matched dot commed those suckers. For real.

Which is why I’m an inconsistent over-achiever. Sometimes lazy. Often tired. I draw doodles when I should be creating art. Lucky for me, the accomplishments listed below have been the norm of the first couple months of this, the second to last semester of my graduate program. Senior status, I’m this close to out of here.

Accomplishments of the weekend, and week thus far:
Finished my second column for Column Writing
Volunteered at the fort
Bought an exuberant amount of groceries
Laundered things
Attempted finding the meaning of life
Folded things
Pondered what it would be like to be famous
Sent a Web submission to McSweeney’s
Found solace in television
Watched Beauty and the Beast on my computer
Sent e-mails to prospective interview subjects
Researched superheroines (not to be confused with an extreme version of the drug)
Showered
Wrote this post

For tonight: The beginnings of a restaurant review. Ethiopian food awaits. 

For tomorrow: Samba lessons.

I’m on a roll.

An on-the-spot poem about procrastination:

I’ll do it later.
Really,
I will.

Bronchitis and Trash Cans or Why I Have to Stay Home from School

I kneel on the floor of my college’s health center, hunching over a blue trash can that’s insides smell of cologne, the smell of which I was not expecting. I talk to someone, take fifteen minutes to fill out a form that should have taken me two, and look down: a Dunkin’ Donuts cup and plastic lid, a cologne box, and white things, probably tissues or napkins. This is embarrassing. I fixate on the cologne. Was someone trying to smell good for the doctor? I didn’t get it. It hurts. A throbbing pain, my head exploding.

Doc’s orders: take your medicine, take a taxi instead of the T, rest, stay home, get better. I sleep for a while, tugging on to a blue blanket and adjusting my feet on the footrest that extends from the exam table. I take a taxi then head back to my apartment, dizzy. 
 
So here I am, attempting to get well soon.

An on-the-spot poem about how much it stinks to have bronchitis:

Breathe in, baby
it’ll be all right
a cough,
a wheeze,
a cough again
a breath
white pills, then red
then one pink
a cough
again
again
again
white pill, then water
soup, then water
a cough, a breath
again
again
breathe in, baby
just breathe.

A Picture’s Worth a Word or Two

I’m not going to lie; lately my creative gas tank is running on empty (see what I mean?). I can come up with ideas for other people, but when it comes to my artistic needs I am Romeo sans Juliet, bread without a toaster. So, in true Alexa fashion, I decided to choose a photograph and write an on-the-spot poem. Let’s hope it doesn’t, well, suck. I shot the photo below at a beach on Staten Island.

  
Gull by Alexa L., written today, at this exact moment

Water,
blue like bruises,
watches me.

Perched and patient
I feel the stare,
point my beak downward
then up to the sky,
blue like cotton candy
sticking, then covering
cloud fingers.

Water, jealous,
calms quiet.
Poles jut to
ugly thrones
and I sit,
king.

Note: I started classes this week and I adore them. I’m taking three, which is considered a lot for a graduate semester, but I feel comfortable with my choices, all focused on magazine publishing and writing. Wish me luck!

An End to Califorvacation

So I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my California vacation (or what I’ve labeled my photos as Califorvacation; try saying that three times fast). One week in Los Angeles. One week in Oakland and San Francisco. But since I’ve already shared my L.A. experience, including the men with no pants, I thought I’d give a brief overview of the week I spent in Oakland with my family (which was slightly less scandalous).

In Oakland I stayed with my cousin Seena and her husband, John. When I first called her about the trip, she warned me there might be a lot of down time; this was a few months ago, of course. But as soon as I stepped off that plane and into her car I realized she’d set up a makeshift itinerary, a list, an epic journey.  

So this is what I did:

Got a manicure, pedicure, haircut (in which they cut four inches off my locks); went shopping and got what Seena calls my Marilyn Monroe dress; saw lions, tigers, and elephants, oh my! at the Oakland Zoo; went to the California Academy of Sciences on a behind the scenes tour (also went to the planetarium and watched a show narrated by Whoopi Goldberg); saw Wicked (which was glorious) and a frozen rat; watched pieces of about fifteen movies plus part of a marathon of Rocko’s Modern Life; ate my first buffalo burger; visited more family; hung out with my friend Karl in San Fran (and ate delicious Thai food); watched old home movies showing my grandma as a little girl; walked up and down hills (which means I got in my weekly workout); realized I don’t like heights; realized I don’t like flight delays; and realized I’m going to miss my family more than they know.

Seena and John, thank you for an amazing week. I love you.

An on-the-spot poem about a San Francisco hill:

Stairway leading up to nowhere
my feet wait breathless at its base
and farther up my friend is waiting,
laughing at my tired face.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…Oh wait, it is a plane.

Today, I go to California. To L.A. To vacation. To some sense of I’m out of here.

I don’t have long before I board, but I wanted to write a poem about airplanes (because I’m amazingly weird wonderful like that).

An on-the-spot poem about airplane windows:

The window, rectangular and unclear,
beckons mouths into an O
and hands like suction cups,
splayed wide-fingered on the plastic casing,
blow fingerprint kisses to the sky.

Aflutter, indeed.

What makes your heart flutter?

I was asked the question, but I didn’t have an answer. Here is an on-the-spot poetic version of what I should have said: 

What Makes My Heart Flutter, a poem
(I know, such an original title)
by Alexa L., written August 11, 2010

little notes that say I
really really really
like you

songs written,
in metaphor
and melody

a construction paper rose
made with tape, love, scissors

a drawing, a likeness
of you and me

a chance meeting,
you planned

my little hand
in yours

I like your smile,
your eyes

an approach
of lips

I love you 

I need you 

a first,
a wanted kiss.

Hearts on Fire…or How to Make Something Beautiful with Colored Markers

I decided to try an on-the-spot rewrite of an older poem. Point is: the longer amount of time you stay away from a written piece (and I guess this can apply to most forms of art), the more constructive editing you’ll be able to accomplish. And today, you not only have the opportunity to read my poetry, but in this particular post you’ve been honored with my lovely art skills as well (hold for applause/laughter).

Sometimes
by Alexa L., written May, 21, 2003*

Sometimes I hope
you know
that we could be together
or will you go out with me?
or can’t we just be friends?
That’s what you say to me.
But do you mean it?
Every word.
Every breath taken.
Do you mean any of it?
I listen.
I listen with my eyes,
taking in you.
Your face.
Your expression.
But does it mean anything?
Is it all a lie?

Sometimes I wish
you know
that you were closer to me
or will you kiss me?
or will you love me?
That’s what you say to me.
But do you want it?
Every touch.
Every heartbreak.
But do you want it?
I ask.
You say you want it all.
The love.
The moments.
But do you really want it?
Are you willing to give in?

Sometimes I hope
you know
that it was easier
or will you hurt me?
or will you always be there?
That’s what you say to me.
But do you want to risk it?
You made a promise.
You promised yourself.
You promised me.
You promised your heart.
But are you willing to risk it?
Are you willing to take that chance?
on me?

*I made minor capitalization and stylistic edits.

This is my on-the-spot, written-close-to-seven-years-later version of Sometimes:

Sometimes
by Alexa L., written today (July 21, 2010)

Sometimes,
you know,
my heart catches fire,
glows with flames of blue,
green.

Hey, hi, how are you?
as fire licks my tongue,
my mouth an ashtray,
gray,
white,
my heart in ash.

Sometimes,
you know,
my heart catches fire.
Sometimes,
you know,
it burns. 

Note: I have included my lame attempt at drawing a heart on fire (a huge thanks to Colleen for helping me at least make it good enough for the computadora). Plus, I love coloring. 

A Poetic Love

I liked the idea of on-the-spot poems, since they moved me to write similarly to how I write my song lyrics. It starts with a line or an initial image (in this case the verb, then the heart, a fragile thing) and in the three poems below, I take that line or image and use it to feed the rest of it all. This is just a small window into how my mind works: with a hint of darker things, a dash of optimism, and a tendency to make things rhyme.  

Three brief, on-the-spot, sort-of-OK poems about love: 
He chewed her heart, a fragile thing,
and spit it on the floor
then ripped his own out of his chest
because he wanted more.
or
She bashed his heart, a fragile thing
and kicked it with her shoe
and said the words he couldn’t hear:
“My darling, we are through.”
and maybe
He cracked her heart, a fragile thing,
and fixed it up with glue
then added macaroni
and in glitter, “I love you.”

And on a completely unrelated note, I am thoroughly enjoying the following two CDs: Eminem’s Recovery and Scissor Sisters’ Night Work.

Snap, Crackle, Bang

In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July celebration, here is an on-the-spot, yes-it-was-just-written poem about fireworks:

I launched her love into the sky
and set it on fire
blue
gold
violet
black
her little heart went bang.

Note: In case you are following the books I’m reading, I just started A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

Words of the Day (because a very nice IT guy brought this issue to my attention):

  • dissemble: to trick or deceive (let’s call people who do this Dissemblicons…maybe we can make a toy line out of this?)
  • disassemble: assemble’s disjointed counterpart