Thursday, September 28, 2006

Snow-covered bridge over Cascadilla Gorge. Copyright Anne G., 2006. (Not really). Isn't it lovely? I took this picture last winter (hereafter known as the Time of Hell that Bears No Mentioning), and only recently rediscovered it. Ithaca in the winter really can be lovely, if you can get over minor difficulties like 1) having things INSIDE your nose actually freeze 2) walking up Libe Slope when they haven't plowed and the snow is a foot and a half deep 3) thirty-seven consecutive days without sunshine 4) debilitating seasonal affective disorder.

I'm kidding, of course. The winter days aren't bad. It's the nights, when the wolves come out, that you have to worry about.

That aside, it's poetry time! (The answer to the question, "What do you write when you have a moderate fever?")

Rondeau

I dreamt your hands last night,
your memory a light
flickering in my skull, and sleep
too distant to grasp– I keep
waking up hungry for a bite
of your flesh like fruit; I fight
like Tantalus, but your sleight-
of-hand denies me. I’m in deep.
I want your wanting.
I watch myself as if from some great height,
curled up alone in bed, my muscles tight
as a bow new-strung. You’ll reap
what you’ve sown in me; I’ll seep
into your dreams some hollow night.
I want. You’re wanting.
-AG

Nor’easter

It’s been snowing
since early this morning,
clouds spitting splintered prisms
as I consider
that you’ve been gone since
early this year,
something I remember
each time I roll into the sweet
indentation you wore in my bed.
The radio prophesies the snow
will continue
through the afternoon
and wear itself away at the edge
of tomorrow,
two feet deep. Funny how
every present freezes
and becomes a past.
Funny how it’s tomorrow already
and the whiteness
still laps at the windows,
a grief without color and of
immeasurable depth.
-AG

Seudat Havra’ah
(The Meal of Consolation)

My tongue is split. I cannot eat.
-Sylvia Plath

There are no words–
only egg and lentil,
too thick with meaning to swallow,
a heavy consolation.
I haven’t seen my own face
in days and we just covered the mirrors
this morning,
another erasure.
And still you draw me near to you--
a gesture which is nourishment enough--
and press life to my lips
one split pea at a time,
pregnant with more
than the death I imagine,
waiting to rend the veil
and be reborn.
-AG





Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I have pneumonia. I feel like I'm breathing fire, and I have a crazy fever and the best that's come of all this is that every few hours I wake up and write down my fever dreams in a notebook I keep by my bed. Mostly it's been inspiration for slam poetry; occasionally, a more coherent stream of consciousness.

I quote from the notebook:

what can you do when you're on fire for someone who doesn't even know what a match is,
what do you have to fear when you've never known darkness,
what is there to aspire to when all the mountains have become dust and the plains
are buckled and warped like lumber
left out in the rain
what would I give to run my hands over the sweet contours of your face
and map your body again?

Facts about today:
I had a therapy appointment that I was too feverish to get much benefit out of. (Yes, I know I ended with a preposition. I'm not apologizing).
I am applying to five medical schools for REAL now that AMCAS has received my transcripts. Glory hallelujah.
I had four vials of blood drawn downtown and then had to walk the better part of a mile uphill (a steep, Ithaca hill) to get back to my house.
Today the new york state gubernatorial debate was held at cornell university, in bailey hall.
Meanwhile, President Musharraf was speaking at Cornell Weill in New York City.
i'm too tired to punctuate or capitalize consistently.
My lymph nodes are literally the size of ping-pong balls, which makes it hard to swallow.
I still don't fully understand middle high german, even with a dictionary.
today I walked three miles, but made up for it by not eating much (I can't taste anything, and texture only gets you so far).
I'll be having a ritual on friday night to exorcise one of my biggest, scariest demons. There will be three other women with me. Before the ritual, we'll have a dinner that I'll prepare (God willing, and I stop hacking up chernobyl-green phlegm...Isn't phlegm such a disgusting word? It sounds like exactly what it is...sputum is a nicer name, a little more detached, not quite so thick...I think it's those heavy dipthongs, the ph and gm, that make phlegm sound so viscerally gross... and mucus is likewise narsty). Anyway, the dinner. Warm pitas with baba ganouj, hummus bi tahin, and feta-tzatziki...rice and bulgur pilaf with saffron and almonds...and for dessert, a Lebanese sweet called halva (not the Joyva Halvah you buy at the grocery store, which is basically a block of lard and made with sesame seeds...this is almond and wheat halvah, much lighter, but also much sweeter). Funny how the idea of cooking it revs me up so much, but the though of eating it (especially the halva, which, even in this reduced-fat form, is still a very very dense source of calories...like a neutron star of sugar and fat) freaks me out.

Since Telluride won the dorm-chef competition, I've been feeling pretty confident about my cooking abilities... we did a bang-up job. In two hours, with only a microwave, a fridge, and 'dorm' ingredients (peanut butter, ramen, chips and the like) we came up with three surprisingly delicious and nutritious dishes: Desiree and I made a grape-apple crisp; Michael and Calvin put together a cold citrus noodle salad; Jim and Sid and I figured out the coup de grace, a cashew-chicken chili with herbed sour cream, quesadilla strips and grape-orange salsa. We rocked it hard; the whole team was great. Maybe I'll go be a chef somewhere.
Or a painter/poet/doctor/chef. A Renaissance woman. A Jill-of-all-trades. A Queen of DIY. Now all I need is a lady to share my queendom with...

Monday, September 18, 2006

I think I did something to my foot. It hurts again, the same way it hurt when I had a stress fracture. What was I doing? Not running, although I did that today as well--no, I was dancing. I put on some elegant-yet-punchy music and was doing plies and grand jetes and pirouettes all over my room, but got a little excited and ended up crashing during one of my jumps, which seems like a very 13-year-old thing to do. I'm not sure how I'll explain it to my doctor.
"So you were...dancing?"
"Yeah, and I couldn't do the pirouettes right in bare feet, and I didn't have slippers with me, so I was dancing in my socks and I slipped."
"Damn, that was stupid."
Silence.

But enough about that. I've also begun using a "mood tracker" on my psychiatrist's advice...a piece of paper on which I quantify the unquantifiable stuff of emotion. There are columns for anxiety, depression, elevated mood and obsession, all on a 1 to 10 scale; a place to write my caloric intake and the kind of exercise I did on a given day; and lastly, a space (the equivalent of perhaps half a college-ruled line) for "general comments." Half a line to describe the vicissitudes of mood, the swaths of emotion. It reminds me of a tour I recently took of Cornell's entomology collection--one of the largest in the world: you catch something, whether a glorious pale-green luna moth or an horrific stag beetle, and rather than watching it, or revering its beauty, you kill it with acetone and pin it in a box (complete with a number and a name).

But enough about that. Let's talk magazines--specifically, indie-ish magazines that I love and haven't mentioned or linked to already.

Bust magazine, at www.bust.com is what a feminist version of, say, Marie Claire would be. It's pretty fluffy, but sometimes that's what you want. It's a glossy magazine, too, with great photographic work. My favorite columns are News from a Broad and Eat Me (though One Handed Read is good too).

Though I'm not Jewish, I like www.heebmagazine.com a lot, too. It's "The New Jew Review," entertaining and thought-provoking at once. I study it so that I don't seem like too much of a goyische putz at Shabbat dinners.

Bitch Magazine is my favorite ever. "A Feminist Response to Pop Culture," it dissects everything from trans rights at the Michigan Women's Music Festival to the spate of weight-loss reality shows to Big Pharma's search for female Viagra. It's smart, readable and witty. Go to www.bitchmagazine.com now!

More to come; and I'll finally get the pictures off my digital camera this week (God willing and the creek don't rise) so look forward to some eye candy!

Friday, September 15, 2006


Well, I'll be damned if it isn't halfway through September already.

And I haven't submitted my common application yet because certain, nameless entities deep in the bowels of Cornell's bureaucracy haven't yet changed my incompletes into grades. And I would rather be shot in the leg than send out a transcript with that tawdry INC on it...it's the academic equivalent of a scarlet letter, isn't it? Not like an F...an F is failure, pure and simple...but an INC, like Hester's vermilion A, has a story behind it; one that you want to know but don't feel wholly entitled to ask about... Was she just not able to hack the class? Did her mother die in the middle of the semester? Did she have a nervous breakdown and go skipping naked across the Arts Quad, handing out posies to strangers? Did she have mono, or possibly cancer? Unless you ask, you never know...and after the grades have been entered into the system, there's still that indelible asterisk after the grade (eg, A*), like a little scar reminding you of what was, or rather what wasn't--at least not on time.

Furthermore, there's trouble in paradise. I have developed (another) wholly unfeasible crush. I thought for while that I was getting those vague 'hey, how you doin'?' vibes that we lesbos do so well; she was animated and interested and stood very, very close to me while we were talking. HOWEVER (and there's always a caveat, isn't there?) she is at least 15 years my senior, possibly a little more, which makes her old enough to be my mother; she may have a lover already (though she's spoken in suggestive terms about polyamory); and, last but not least, she is--drumroll, please--one of my instructors. Oy veh ist mir.

In our next episode: less self-centered bitching and more social awareness!