fair game

aprilie 28, 2008

this is exactly what i asked for, or the beginning of it

but oh-my-god what they are doing to him oh-my-god what they are doing to him oh-my-god what they are doing to him oh-my-god what they are doing to him oh-my-god what they are doing to him

and oh-my-god how he can’t handle it well

i’d take it for him, i would, i guess i would. but no, nope, to each their own misery. ahahaha, supporters of the loser, welcome back to the fold. we’re ahead and we’re handwringing, waiting for the sky to drop. locked in a country, basement, headache, penilessness, loneliness – why doesn’t the sky drop already so we can be done with it? we the people, the non-deservers, the kossaks&co? this morning i was being very pro-progressive, berating obama and daring him to go back to DKos and patch it up with his fervent base – silly, foolish. we’ve been fucking duped all along. another four months of my life i walked on willingly with a paper bag on my head.

it’s like when your kid steps into a shooting saloon, and you wanna scold him, but then you see the blood from the wound. what the fuck do you do?

if someone kills my american dream, it will have probably been today.


the non-kindness of the non-strangers

aprilie 25, 2008

i know it’s freakin self-evident, but here it goes again: nothing coming from a friend (or family, duh) can be free – because connections = ties are the opposite of freedom. my personal (i.e. doesn’t have to be yours) next step is to ask: is it less kind if it’s not ‘free’?  well, it’s just more tainted, more of a burden to carry. i love my smell of freedom in the evenings by the ocean at point grey, sweet surprising scents of flowers i’ve never seen before and could never feel entitled to speak about. freedom is cluelessness, amnesia, alzheimer’s. brace up, people i love: living is a lose-lose. love, memories, lessons, attachments, duties, common sense, decency, and any break from them will follow and smother y’all, – free or not – all the same.

the kindness of strangers

aprilie 25, 2008

someone stayed with me while i bruised my legs all over from the pedals of a bike i was trying to ride, which someone else had lent me. in return i washed dishes and i spoke romanian for a minute and peeled a mango for salad.

someone helped me file my taxes – which is pure pain in the ass, and would cost an immigrant hours of her life and hair torn off, honestly; even if most of what had to be done was put a 0 (= my income) in about 50 boxes.

someone typed an improvised resume for me, and waited in the street til i went in and left it on the manager’s desk.

people i met at some social gathering message me on facebook and email me and invite me to free events. (i lose count of inventorying, and i know answering emails back is not enough to qualify as kindness).

yes i got two hugs today, from someone i know. it’s someone who hugs people on a general basis, but in my most rigid frame of mind it wouldn’t occur to me to avoid her when she comes forward, with her arms spread – yes giving me the space to signal no.

easter is the crappiest holiday ever, and i’m glad no one here knows it’s my easter. theirs went by pretty mundanely. somehow i feel compelled to send a shoutout to accidental acquaintances and ask them to come for a weekend picnic on wreck beach, or at point grey. (not mentioning easter.) but i know i won’t, cause it’s just not me. or is that the reason?

the last time i gave someone something (except for time) must have been on another continent, for sure. except for the spare change, which only makes me more ashamed. (you have the kindness, or you don’t- probably?)

waiting for lora in front of the army&navy on carrall and abbott (that street is becoming a huge part of something i’m not sure of), a woman stopped by me, and waited too, for a while. blond, ponytailed, the lot, in a top and the normal tracksuit pants. her face a bit splotchy, but nothing too strident. and then i fucking saw her arm for a second. the rest of the time she was there, i tried to look at her, but not at the arm. i tried to not ignore her. this is not an apology.

with lora and the bikes, we crossed peoples pigeon park through the middle. i waited to turn onto cordova before i said, with fury, „in my country at least there are many more roofs than here”. is this hypocrisy?

back on my west van street, with my backpack, a father and two about 4 year-old daughters cross my way. „daddy, look!” i am an amazement all of a sudden. „she’s got a backpack!” – „yes, just like you!” he says to his youngest, who indeed has a mini pack, and she turns around to show me. „hello, little backpack person”, i say, and shake her hand. her sister comes forward: „i’ve got a doll” she tells me, very solemn, and so i shake hands with her and the doll, smile once more and move on. „where is she going, daddy?” – „to her home. just like we’re going to our home.”

„everyone is essentially alone.”

feeling eastern-european

aprilie 23, 2008

sure hope it’s just a stage, but everything i can think of ‘s in here:

” we are the needy relatives, we are the aborigines, we are the ones left behind – the backward, the stunted, the misshapen, the down-and-out, the moochers, parasites, conmen, suckers. sentimental, old-fashioned, childish, uninformed, troubled, melodramatic, devious, unpredictable, negligent. the ones who don’t answer letters, the ones who miss the great opportunity, the hard drinkers, the babblers, the porch-sitters, the deadline-missers, the promise-breakers, the braggarts, the immature, the monstruous, the undisciplined, the easily offended, the ones who insult each other to death but cannot break off relations. we are the maladjusted, the complainers intoxicated by failure.

we are irritating, excessive, depressing, somehow unlucky. people are accustomed to slight us. we are cheap labor; merchandise may be had from us at a lower price; people bring us their old newspapers as a gift. letters from us come sloppily typed, unnecessarily detailed. people smileat us, pityingly, as long as we don’t suddenly become unpleasant. as long as we do not say anything strange, sharp; as long as we do not stare at our nails and bare our teeth; as long as we do not become cynical and wild.”

(gyorgy konrad, „to cave explorers from the west” – quoted by slavenka drakulic in „how we survived communism and even laughed” – this is what i’m reading, from lora)


aprilie 23, 2008

no real beans, but i would just like to know who in this world gets to my humble blog by googling matt sarnecki. it’s the kind of question that sticks into my brain like a glass shard, because there’s really no relevance…and also makes me feel damn guilty for smth i’m not (or am i?), i.e peddling matt’s name, as if i should have let matt know every time i mention him (which turns out to be also impossible, since i mention him quite alot everywhere. anyway – )

ya, so you start smth without thinking, but then it gets you to think and retrace your steps. it’s smth i dislike about semi-anonymous blogging. a shade of dirt on my basement window to the world: should i start replacing all names by initials? should i stopit altogether? why? why? why? how much does it say about me anyway and how much does anyone care? no idea. i’ll just go and take a thorough shower.

peoples pigeon park (aha, that’s more like it)

aprilie 21, 2008

well what d’you know. after a full whole half-day pummelling the pillow and chasing people on the internets (more proof that when you’re looking for X you’ll find Y, Z and their mother) i went to ef’s concert on the Drive. more important than the concert per se (as usual) was what i learned there – how to use chopsticks. hurray. you know the frustration and puzzlement when one second before your hand couldn’t move the right way, and was just clenched there pushing idiotically, and this next instant IT JUST HAPPENS, but what’s worse is that the fact it’s happened – „you mastered the skill” – doesn’t make you less moronic in your eyes. you still don’t know how it’s done, and that’s what you were after, you fucking wanted to know how it’s done.

well. round midnight i headed downtown with lora, which was insane but nevermind, cause it wasn’t the usual bus route for me; however, it proved totally worthy. lora lives on cordova (i knew that) bout two blocks away from my bus stop on pender street, and also two blocks away from PIGEON PARK. yeah right. we were on her bus, when i saw it written on a plaque on a building: „pigeon park (something)” and i almost cried „WHAT IS pigeon park?”. lora, obviously not understanding my excitement, said „it’s…a place…right here”. – „like a bus stop, or…?” – „it’s a park. right here, look.” and there it was, my corner of the street, better-looking than in the daylight, still with the pink trees, and still with people there in the shadows. the graffitti reads as above, not as my impressionable mind saw it the other day. as we got off right there, in the street, a man and a woman, bird people, were fighting over some object: „you’re gonna lose it. no, i told you, you’re gonna lose it” he kept saying , and she was grunting, grabbing at his arm. he tried to walk on, fending her off with the one arm, smoking with the other hand (obviously). we crossed, and lora went home, and i went to my bus. i was so grateful she didn’t ask the usual „you sure you’re gonna be alright?”

owing facebook big time for the sweet sweet lie

aprilie 21, 2008

people pigeons park

aprilie 20, 2008

actually, i don’t even know what this is about, so i’ll just let it air out…downtown, right past the waterfront, so very close to a whole street lined up with tourist fare by the ocean, i just move eastward a bit trying to find gastown where we’d been to that night at that pub (it’s a really small area, it’s there close alright, no sweat), and i go on a weird loop and wake up on carrall street, and on a totally different planet. yes it does matter whether your own nose can smell the piss in the alleys, it does matter when you yourself pass along a street trying not to blink, not to cringe, with headphones on no less, careful not to seem inconsiderate or avoidant though, and you still hear yelling after you „hey, where you going, girl?”, leering. i am obviously going in the wrong direction.

on this empty unemployed day of cold spring, me, elitist, sheltered and pampered all my life, accidentally slip ONE street, three meters and a corner away, and they have been there all along, flashing back at me from vancouver short stories and non-fiction articles. with the smell and the jeers added for good measure. it all takes less than ten minutes, till i walk the length of the street, trying to get back westward, to a known portion of cordova. i’ve seen homeless men in their 50s before, even on campus, with wild grey beards and scruffy looking caps, with pushcarts. i’ve seen women with a slightly deranged air (and it’s ME saying this) where you always have to stop and wonder where the line between deranged- and non-deranged is, well now there’s a whole street of them, and it is clearly their street and i stand out like a sore thumb. i have a huge backpack instead of a cart, i’m not smoking, i’m caucasian, my clothes are not torn or smudged, i look healthy and young and ashamed of it. even the buildings are torn, and maybe it’s not so dramatic to see it in old van, sudden clean wall facades, with not even only graffitti, but ugly, stamped graffitti; excavation holes; decaying hostels; sleazy-looking tiny bars, dubious entrances; the backyard of old gastown, meant to be „historic”. (five minutes later i find the gathering of pubs, the ship-like building i’d noticed, some statue i’d wanted a picture of that night, i remember – and some people actually photographing it. but five minutes later, of course, i’m still shuddering)

and right at the corner there’s the „park”, and the wall; probably the back wall of a building with a bar or something. i don’t even know what the graffitti on it means, but it’s, in big pink letters, „people-pigeons-park”. there are pigeons there, and indeed, there are people, gathered on benches, under trees, in that small space. it’s a day of cold, provisory sun, and there are some pink bushes in bloom even here, by the ugly buildings. but EVEN i can smell the stench from across the street, of course i’m overwhelmed with bad and sad feelings and knowing i don’t even deserve to get close, i do cross and cut right by the park, and they are 30 or more; some sitting in wheelchairs; some smoke, and again, smoking is rare enough here to make me blink in sympathy; their faces, men and women (none young, or young-looking) are indeed somewhat birdish, shrunken small, jerked forward, beaked. one woman moves and laughs loudly, shrieks – of course i’m thinking back to when i used to talk to you guys in the street, what did the regular citizens passing by me think? but it’s not like this, and still it is. the woman looks like an older janis joplin, mad hair and dirty bandana. i want to stop the flow of presuppositions and pity, and can’t, i want to run away and can’t. the pigeons are big, many, and have no problem milling around. two minutes away, there are the tourist shops of cordova.

the cellist launch

aprilie 18, 2008

zilele astea sunt ciudate intr-un fel…ciudat. am stat in pat 2 zile, cu migrene, ameteli, durere de dinti (sau urechi? nu discern, dar banuiesc dintii)…iar sara m-am pregatit s-am mers la chef. 🙂 ieri, la absolvirea MFA-ilor mari (s-a citit vro trei ore, is multi ca naiba) si azi la lansarea cartii lui steven. ieri a fost trist, si un pic pleostit, desi toata lumea a mancat cat a putut, aplaudat, chestii…nici nu stiu ce sa tin minte, decat ca eram prea trista ca sa fac poze, si am stat pe scari cu elena, pe care o durea spatele (i know, scriitori invalizi – pathetic!) azi a fost mai fain.

in primul rand, prin natura intrunirii (= lansare de roman viitor celebru, cu potential de giller sau governor’s award) se cheama ca toata societatea ‘literara’ a vancouverului era de fata (sau, dupa cum a numit steven fenomenul, „a free bar can do wonders”). imediat am constatat, surprinsa, ca in afara de ef, (si de sonia z – sandra-elena) toti oamenii de care imi pasa cat de cat in vancouver erau in camera aia. plus cativa de care nu-mi pasa neaparat, dar ar exista potential – = niste flacai de la SFU. erau lora, si yael, si sonja , john, joel si bruce. as vrea sa dau niste detalii hazoase, dar ma voi intrerupe just a bit pt ca constat ca am uitat ceva foarte important.

[13.04. duminica, la sonia z. am ras ca idioata, cu elena si sandra, facand poze la niste jucarii pe care le-am gasit eu pe un dulap de-al soniei. pentru prima data de cand am sosit in van. m-am simtit ok cu alte persoane. nu ok in sensul ca imi place de oamenii aia, sau ca ei incearca sa ma faca sa ma simt bine – din astea am mai avut o groaza. nu ok ca si cu elizabeth, unde nu ma pot descotorosi de tot de ideea ca e un fel de eva’s shadow passing…ci pur si simplu. si nu a fost toata seara, evident, restul serii a fost placut si normal vancouver-like, cu branza, vin, fructe, chips&dips, stuff, sonia cantand la chitara – o sa va dau sa ascultati „the giantess” la vara pana va saturati. dar in minutele alea in care radeam ca nebuna, cu celelalte nebune, si efectiv trebuia sa plecam acasa ca femeia avea avion a 2a zi, dar tot nu ne lasam duse pt ca radeam prea bine…ca am trecut toate prin politete, si prin jena, si prin bunavointa, la nivelul de 5 ani, e incredibil. e ceva de tinut minte. in onoarea momentului, m-am dus acasa pe jos, ascultand inregistrarea proasta de la „the giantess” pe drum non-stop; e un cantec de-al soniei despre circus freaks. e …frumos.]

si sunt deprimata. efectiv nu stiu ce sa fac. evident ca in acelasi timp stiu ca o sa mearga mai departe (circul/showul/tot), ca e doar lene, dezamagire, sentimentul inutilitatii blah blah. si pe urma brusc ma trezesc intr-o camera cu multi oameni, free bar (just 3 glasses of wine tonight, i swear), si incredibil fac frumos si stabilesc sa ma intalnesc cu o multime dintre ei in vacanta, sa bem/scriem impreuna, faze. hm. evident ca am cumparat un exemplar din roman, dar nici nu am incercat sa-l salut pe steven, si-asa trageau tot soiul de oameni de el din toate partile…mi-a placut ca am apucat sa vb cu john despre cum s-a gatat scoala si ce cursuri ne alegem la anu (sper sa fiu colega la craft cu el) si cu bruce despre novella lui (si acuma tre sa ne intalnim la cafea ca sa schimbam critiques). joel la un moment dat era cu o colega de-a lui (de la chapters?) si o sfatuia sa agate tipi, pe care el ii clasifica in „obama people” = fresh& innovative, si „hillary people” = seasoned &experienced. (inca mai rad de la faza aia.) caleb se chinuia sa bea 24 de beri, ca sa se scoata de chinul pe care cursul lui steven l-a constituit pt el (cand am plecat era la 13, da tineti cont ca sticlele canadiene-s mici).

next, SFU. n-am vorbit mult cu lora, dar e lejer ca ne vedem la concertul lui ef. yael tocmai se muta si si-a dat catelul la un shelter ca nu-l mai suporta (si m-a sfatuit sa vizitez bostonul! e primul om care se ofera sa m-ajute cu decizia). sonja e fenomenala – am mai zis si inainte cand am cunoscut-o la beehive: ce femeie fantastica. e foarte usor sa discut cu ea, si ma aventurez sa spun lucruri destul de aberante, pe care nu stiu cum le-as verbaliza in fata …elenei, de exemplu, sau sandrei. (de fapt e aceeasi chestie de care ziceam: ca mi-e mai usor cu oameni care nu-mi sunt colegi, pt ca o vad ca „om” si nu ca „student la UBC”, deci cadrul de referinta se schimba total, de fapt devine global). de genul, ii explicam sonjei cum e cu comunismul la noi, si cum lucra taica-meu „la firma”  – ideea nu e CE anume ii spuneam, sunt lucruri pe care ma gasesc in pozitia de a le spune si respune canadienilor, ci verva pe care o provoaca in mine faptul ca discut „cu ea” – making me actually feel that i’m funny and interesting. si, cu toata rusinea, am dat-o pe politica, si ii explicam ce implicata sunt in fenomen. sonja, la inceput sceptica: nu, zice ea, ma tem ca obama o sa piarda; ca oamenii in cabina de vot, la toamna…or sa se trezeasca fata in fata cu spaimele lor familiare – (exact ce am zis eu in ianuarie, in prima saptamana in care a inceput sa-mi pese). pe urma zic, si atunci, tu ce faci, nu te duci la vot? (sonja e americanca – pt povestea vietii ei trebe un episod separat) si ea, pai ba da, o sa ma duc, de fapt am votat deja…ca de fapt sa aflu ca  votase pt prima data intr-o primary, de cand are drept de vot incoace= 20 de ani +. ha! si se ascunde ! (nu ca nu i-am promis ca-i aduc si ei un tricou obama, din state, ca sa le putem purta impreuna pe strada:). 

in mod oficial is destul de alcoolizata. dovada clara e faptul ca expun o aroganta destul de…vizibila, o incredere destul de mare (in special avand in vedere dezbaterea de ieri) in sansele candidatului meu, si in principiu faptul over all ca am inceput sa scriu despre lansarea cartii lui steven, and i ended up with obama again…and i still think it’s funny. and i do think it’s funny ce minune e viata mea, in absenta oricarui „lucru” de facut, a oricarui rezultat de pe urma unui an de ‘studiu’, a formularelor de taxe pe care nu le stiu completa, a duzinilor de emailuri la care mi-e lehamite sa raspund(lehamite cuplata cu groaza, pt ca unele sunt mandatory), in ciuda invidiei si dezorientarii si migrenei si singuratatii acute, si paraliziei oricaror ramasite de atasamente, i do think it’s so fucking funny, everything is.

where do i want to go?

aprilie 15, 2008

yep, i know we’re all sick and tired of me. acuma stau si binevoiesc sa ma simt rau (draci, raceala, durere de cap, stomac, dinti, atitudine generala, take yr. pick) si sa sed inchisa in casa, desi am lucruri de rezolvat afara (ii mult mai usor sa nu iesi dintr-un basement decat sa nu iesi dintr-o casa normala) motivand ca am de rescris la piesa, la care NU rescriu. thumbs up for end-of-semester security, yo. anyway. poate maine dupa chef, sau poimaine dupa the galloway launch, sau duminica dupa concertul lui elizabeth, sau…sau… dupa ce citesc toate revistele literare necesare ca sa ma conving unde sa trimit submissions…sau dupa ce cele 2 poezii si juma de povestire nedigerate in capul meu GO AWAY in some form…and not even politics is enough anymore, cause it’s the same sad regurgitating talking points ever and everyone is tired of whatever’s going on, until another 15 point defeat will regig this show.

so where do i really really want to go? i am asking you, call it a survey for god’s sake, (so many polls there days, i can even apply the term „outlier” wham-bam in the middle of workshop, as in ‘we thought her style was more the structured, grounded, realistic kind, but that short story turned out to be an outlier to her general writing’). where, except for NYC that is, do i want to go? in the US? this summer (june)? i haven’t talked to matt in detail, but he’s cramped bout keeping me 2 weeks and would like to send me flying(well, bus-ing, coach-ing, train-ing) on a midtrip trip. and i’m generally loving the idea (especially if i can play the lost girl card well enough for him to come with me.) except:

it would have to be northeast, so the trip is affordable , duh, and i’ve also decided in a breath that it won’t be chicago JUST because i want to avoid the stalker label. (by the same token, it can’t be washington DC i guess, but that’s a bitterererer, much less hopeful story.) matt suggests boston or philadelphia, pretty obvious choices. my dreamy dream would have been atlanta (i’m not even thinking new orleans right now :(( ), but i’m afraid that’s way too far. what do i even fucking know??? and we’re back to where we started.

so now i know bout non-elitist middle america, diners and bowling alleys:) and rallies and neighbourhoods. but how much of the elitist, cultured eye is left in me, to see what it should be seen on a 3-day choice trip to somewhere? i could say it doesn’t even matter, just put me on a greyhound and let it go. why not new jersey, i ‘ve heard so many things about it? why not just any town, out of anywhere, because it would still be american, and so different from NYC?

so, trying to be reasonable, cause i’ve got some weeks before i buy ticket and lay out „plan”, i am launching the survey action. where would you good people send me, in NE of the great US of A? remember : i am your eyes and ears and eastern-european conscience, nothing i spot as significant will pass by unrecorded. by helping me decide you are furthering your reach etc etc etc. thank you.