Friday, June 30, 2006

The day that I got over you
The sun was gold, the sky was blue.
I went to Woodleigh, went by train.
What fate, or sense, had tried in vain
to say so many times before
I heard at last. At last I saw.

What sense, or fate, had tried to say
Was that a stunning summer's day
And all life's other little treats--
kir royales, sports cars (leather seats)--
Could never be enhanced by you.
You are not good. You are not true.

You are not brave. You are not sound.
Outside the pub I look around.
Your absence gave the village scene
That perfect glow. It might have been
Paradise, or the South of France.
For giving you a second chance

Fate could have scolded me with sleet,
Dark grumbling skies. Instead, a treat
Your joyless hand could not describe.
No chance. This shining day's a bribe
I'm way past ready to accept.
Briefly I missed your rude, inept,

Changeable, narcissistic form.
Then I cheered up. It was so warm,
The sun so bright, the sky so clear
The day I made you disappear:
Today, the twenty-eight of June
Have a nice life and afternoon.

-by sophie hannah

Friday, June 23, 2006

it feels so good when it hits your lips

When I was five, my brother used to be in charge of our after-school snacks. We lived in Plymouth Gardens at the time, a rambling apartment community surrounded by an imposing metal fence. Sometimes we would have to climb that fence which would scare the bejeezus out of me. After school, I would walk with my brother to the 7-Eleven down the street where he would buy us a slew of candy to tide us over until dinner: Poprocks, Bubblicious, Blowpops, Ringpops, Now n Laters. Then to round things out nutritionally, Slim Jims for himself and a Firecracker for me.

A Firecracker, for those who grew up in some remote village far from civilization, is a processed sausage that usually sat right next to the cash register, unrefrigerated and theoretically fully cooked. It was packaged in a plastic sheath that was clear on one side, looking a bit like a used condom--though certainly I didn't think so at the time--marinated in a fiery, vinegary, heavenly brine that you could see through the loose plastic film.

Oh how I loved the Firecracker. Having been raised almost exclusively on a breakfast of scrapple, I had a very refined palate when it came to processed meat products. This particular sausage was milled to a wonderful smoothness, like a hot dog, but with a powerful kick that marked the beginning of an inexhaustible affinity for eating spicy foods. I would eat it slowly, one meaty bite at a time, gently pushing the sausage up through the wrapper until it was gone. Succulent. Then I'd tilt the wrapper upside down and let the hot vinegar seep into my mouth... And if my memory serves correct, I proceeded to suck that thing dry.

Somewhere along the way I seem to have lost my tolerance for heat. This was made abundantly clear the other night at an Ethopian restaurant where a stuffed jalepeno kicked my ass, a change in me that has only occurred in the last year or so, making me suspect that my tolerance for spicy foods is somehow tied to the viability of my eggs, if it is true what Max B. says about my declining years of fertility. He informs me I have at most 4 good years left. But at this point, my greater sense of loss is not over my unborn but over whether or not I will be able to enjoy a Firecracker in the same way ever again. But I daresay, it's worth a try.

It only now strikes me, after writing this, belching cheap and watery sentiment, that maybe I'm not writing about Firecrackers at all but about sex and blowjobs. In the process of recounting this story, I seemed to have lost my bearings and for an instant I really thought that I was telling you a revealing and affectionate story of my childhood. I should know better by now... a story about sausages is always about sex.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

someone tell me what is up with this weather!?!?

I swear it's not the bottle of wine talking, nor the salmon shitake parpadelle pasta with ginger dressing salad that is making me think that tonight is the most beautiful of early summer's evenings when the kiss of picnics and bbqs are in the air, nor the smell of jasmine or whatever the fuck kind of white flowers they are that have haunted me ever since i've moved to l.a. that i've never figured out quite what they were, nor the korea-togo soccer match (actually screw that cuz i don't think i really care) , nor the coffee that i had midafternoon with hijoo with an illicit cigarette or two where we talked about absolutely nothing and still had a good time, nor that quiet beauty of dusk when i can barely hear the traffic anymore and the pressures of late night have not yet set in, nor the feeling like i still have an entire summer of fucking around left to do without major recrimination for the real responsibilities of papers, writing, conferences, deadlines, where my neighbors can screw as loud as they please because i'm just happy that they're getting some and that it's all really just funny anyway when you listen to people having sex and but what is that ouie-ouie sound that that guy is making how very californian, and oh, the sun is gone now but still warm enough outside for a constitutional around the block to make the day last just a little bit longer... yeah that's right all you indolent motherfuckers, finally, finally, finally.

Now that I think of it, maybe it is the bottle of wine talking.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


"...We have located the enemy fleet under the command of Admiral KompĆ¼ter, but do not yet have visual contact. We suggest the best course of action is to fire at random into their vicinity and listen for the impact of the shells..."


"...We believe this battle will not be over until one or other fleet is sunk in it's entirety. Our gunners await your commands. We're counting on you, Sir..."


You sunk my battleship!

(Awesome photo not my own.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

elephants' graveyard

I don't know why but a lot of old people go to Carl's Jr. to eat salads. There's something depressing about this. Partly, it's just annoyance at having to eat my six dollar jalepeno burger in such an environment of reprobation. This afternoon, I was biting down into this formidable creation, my eyes closing involuntarily to get a good mouthful, jaws unhinging like a boa constrictor, when I felt the gaze of the grey-haired lady next to me, clutching the perversity that was her low carb bunless and seemingly meatless "burger" in hand. She had a pair of those wraparound sunlight resistant sunglasses on so I couldn't really tell what she was thinking. But I imagined that her eyes were sending me darts of jealousy, suppressed torment, resignation. Her companion, unaware of the tensions being exchanged, was stirring fat-free Italian dressing into his salad.

When people get older, and are that much closer to death, I think they should enjoy what is left of life. Instead of squandering away their last available years of pleasure on illusions of good health. Isn't it a little late for such preventive measures? How many more minutes will they be adding to their lives by eating one more salad? It's unethical to eat salads at burger joints. And senior citizens should be particularly prohibited from this type of behavior. Those sorts of people are probably the same ones who convert to Christianity on their deathbed, futilely searching for truth in the cliche "better late than never". I'm sorry but sometimes it is too late.

Only slightly more depressing is the MacDonald's in Koreatown on 8th and Western. That branch is popular with old Korean folks who have no place to go during the day. If they were in Seoul, they would be meeting their friends at Pagoda Park, flirting with other seniors, playing chess outdoors under the hum of the cicadas hidden in the canopy of trees. But in LA, where there are no parks and only blocks of concrete, they amass at this MacDonald's with packed lunches and thermoses of tea, too frugal even to buy themselves a cup of coffee. I was told that the owner of that location felt so sorry for them that he erected a tent outside and put picnic tables out there for them. So now you can see them lounging about a little more comfortably, but still with that displaced look about them like they didn't know how it is that they came to be in America.

When I get really old, that's when I plan to be truly debaucherous. My current regimen of exercise and healthy eating is all just part of my greater retirement plan. I figure that once I pass 60, that's license to start drinking continuously from morning to night. I'll take up smoking again and live exclusively on fried chicken and pork products. All of us need goals and have dreams. Some are more attainable than others. I feel very fortunate right now that I have the foresight to work towards a tangible future and achieve these goals though they may loom distant and daunting. I vow to let nothing stand in my way.