Sunday, February 28, 2010

Turning 31

well, it's 10:12 pm on a sunday night. i'm up to my usual restless tricks. geof is asleep in the bedroom, coughing his poor little lungs out. I have a movie on quietly (Aviator), and am online looking for jobs and yes, occasionally giving in to my recent obsession to Farmville. I have gotten out of the habit of reading, and don't seem able to complete anything lately. I was reading one of my favorite type of novels, something contemporary that nobody's heard of that mom bought at some yard sale in san pedro or something, but that wasn't doing it for me, i wanted something more epic, so I tried to start War and Peace, but it wasn't quite for me, and now I'm trying to make myself stick it out through what seems MAYBE able to hold my attention, graham greene's The Tenth Man, checked out from the North Hollywood Library, when I was there tutoring one of the couple tutoring clients I have left. I can't even finish a scarf lately, before crocheting another one. these should be bday resolutions: finish what i start. stop playing farmville. watch less movies, read more (though boy did i see an impressive slew of films this weekend, especially in terms of gore: Jennifer's Body AND Drag Me To Hell -- I didn't even know I liked gore so much but I seem to be in the mood for it).
if any of you are millionaires: i'm still making and trying to sell my beautiful scarves. also, i just put an ad on craigslist for my tutoring services.
it's been really neat, to meet children as their tutor, to help them.
also, anyone creative and macro-managing who entirely trusts me and my instincts and wants to hire me to do something that will prove heroic, please write to me.
tomorrow morning at 3:55 am (what it says on my birth certificate) supposedly I'm going to wake up and remember to say Rabbit Rabbit because that's good luck for the first day of the month. I will be 31 years old tomorrow. I still feel 17, and sometimes 19. I still feel elusive as an eel, maudlin as a clown with an ulcer, beautiful as a trapeze artist, special as the personalities of cats, doomed as doomed can be, but somehow also hopeful. i have a cow valve in my heart and reproductive problems. I am wild but also boring. I am getting up there in years. someone please publish my novel. give money to nice homeless people but sidestep the bullies and don't let them touch you. that's my advice, from this 31 year old woman.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

and now, for your reading pleasure....

here are 4 poems i've written in the past few years that i sent to many literary journals, to no avail. actually, a literary journal called Poetry Motel told me they would publish "saints" but I could never reach them after that one letter from them, so, who knows. well, here goes.... a bit dark in places:

4 poems by Robin Crane


For you the saints of love appear
They ask you what you’re doing here
You say you’ve needed them so long
You’ve since forgotten what was wrong.

Female Traveler

In Washington they’d probably
Prefer to just remember me.
In Michigan my ma and pa
Left for me what as kids they saw.
Savannah with its sexy grins
Is where I threw up all my gin.
New York New York the laundry hangs
On lines that line the sky with veins.

Los Angeles I made my home
But panic freezes up my bones
The only words that comfort me
Are “Coast to Coast Cab Company.”

All This Could Be Yours

As in a farcical mystery novel
Whose hapless hero falls unconscious in a den of murderers,
But who wakes up in someone’s nice bed,
Only bruised and curious,
I went out trapped
On a cold table
A mask to my mouth and huffing a gas
So sweet it made me gag,
But when I came to,
I was alive.
Manhandled by a nurse with an axe
To grind and no nice manners,
But alive.
All that I could tolerate,
But what has been so bad,
So baroquely sickening,
Almost like a joke,
Has been the return to all this.
The red white and blue of the neighboring lawns,
The lonely secretarial days.
The quirky off-tempo beats of a Frankenstein’s Monster heart.

The doctor’s red-blooded skepticism towards a self-proclaimed
Buck up, Bucko.
The only pretty parts have been the
languid suicides of purple and orange leaves
And sometimes love.


Aren’t you tired of your beauty, your singular way of threading a plastic saint heart and a sentimental John Lennon pendant on a silver chain and wearing this heartbreaking, too-poignant jewelry around your dirty neck?

Sometimes you have appeared at a birthday party or other event, mercifully restored somehow, in a worn-through, not-laundered but beautiful dress, looking pre-Raphaelite and sober. But sometimes you’ve needed a diaper, and the lenses of your glasses have been smudged with chocolate and tears. This is all unbearable, it causes house fires and little fissures in the tissuey walls of the heart.

But aren’t you tired of your beauty, its ghost, on all the days and in the years when you were okay at least for awhile? Sunny, jingly-belled laugh afloat in the sudden wellspring of happiness of a manic episode. Moments when a certain tranquilizer didn’t make you drool but instead allowed you to articulate last nights’ dreams. Months of being pregnant and having a recognizable function in society, a sudden usefulness to a race of strangers. The memory of such triumphs is no good right now, it’s like an animal trap, a steel jaw garnished with some delicious sustenance. Take a step towards this gift and slam! Your leg is caught for good. The only options are to lay there watching your soul drift out of your body through your mouth, or to chew through your leg.

Drugs, drugs, life of drugs
Alcohol and Fun.
Who can count the down and out?
Count me in as one.

It was so messed-up feeling and such hilarious fun, to be on vacation from my sad sex education life at the college in another state. To be on winter break in my hometown, at a Christmas party for adults, the two of us gigglingly guarding our vodka bottle, getting drunker and nicer and more sentimental about the Holidays as the night stretched out. Feeling the holiday spirit, the nervous anticipation of magic. Little colored lights defining the cold night air and making us feel like children. We were two too-charming women, smoking and drinking, a mother and daughter variety act. We knew what we were doing and that it would come to no good. Even then, we were telling them laugh-stained anecdotal miseries.

There is a lineage of mental illness and dependency, abuse of all kinds. The women of her family have uniformly prostituted themselves in one way or another, and for the purpose of absolutely ruining all joy. They’ve been moms who had stomach flu or a migraine that was just a hang-over.

Women already carry the burden of self-sacrifice. These women of my family created for their sisters and daughters elaborate ceremonies in which to frame our sacrifices. Here is a bag of her pills the ER nurse handed to me. I am throwing it into the mouth of an active volcano. The volcano is still hungry and I am beautiful, honeyed and pink as a barbecued pig.

So I dive in.

There had been some fun in this kamikaze sisterhood, and now there is none.

The question can be asked “Why not?” Or “Why me?" Or: is God an ambivalent miner, drifting off to sleep in a bar somewhere, his arms on a sticky table, his head resting on his arms like they are pillows?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In the Absence of God

Lately I've been wondering what the meaning of life is. doesn't that sound cliche? but it's true. I was a sort of christian for awhile when i was a child. i never believed in hell but i believed in heaven and God. I used to pray every night, it was such a bizarre prayer though because it was a litany of all my paranoias and fears, i remember a part of it went like this: "And please don't let mom die of AIDS and don't let there be an earthquake in the year 2000 that knocks the earth out of orbit" and I ended the prayer with "in your holy, sweet name i pray, amen." but one day when i was in 6th grade and i was at a restaurant with family, i was just seriously bummed that day, i was the #1 punching bag in my junior high that year and was actually suicidal, i realized there was no god, and i stopped praying that day.
it's been part of my identity for a long time to be someone who "hates christians." i don't really hate them, but when i was in high school and was a weirdo i was called a devil worshiper a lot and harassed really badly about it, so my reactions to that (like, things i'd write in my zine) made people be like "boy, that robin sure hates christian proselytizing."
anyway, all that information is by way of saying that i can't believe in a christian heaven as the meaning of life, because i'm repulsed by all things christian. i'm interested in jewish culture, & often play up my "jewish side" (my dad's family is jewish, my mom's family is catholic), but ... my jewish interest is in woody allen & shit like that, not in the religious aspect of being jewish. i'm not at all religious.
one day when i was driving i had what seemed like an epiphany, that reincarnation is real, and i felt so happy when that thought hit me, and for a long time i believed in reincarnation, but i grew out of that a few years ago.

i try to be an existentialist, because to me (i know there are die hard existentialists that could correct my understanding of it), existentialism means accepting the present tense as the most important thing and making the best out of it. i had more fun calling myself an existentialist when i was younger though, because it was my way of .... euphemistically speaking...partying too hard, without feeling guilty, because i was living in the moment. the concept of existentialism lost its allure for me, though. i don't even try to read Nietzsche or Sartre or blah blah blah now, even though those books are at my fingertips, on my husband's shelves in our bookshelf.

i lived in philly from 2006-2008 and those were really my kurt vonnegut years, i think i read his novels practically every day i was in philly, and thanks to all that vonnegutness (i did my thesis on him, to boot), i am now slightly inclined to say i'm a "secular humanist."
but i'm really nothing. i don't really "believe" in anything.
when i was younger i used to have all sorts of epiphanies about what the meaning of life was, it had to do with experiencing beauty, etc., but not coincidentally, these epiphanies coincided with my time at college, my first time experiencing "freedom" and not for nothing, my first time experiencing getting stoned.

it just seems to be bad days heaped on top of bad days lately. i forget to ponder. i forget to be special. and i don't have any tagline for the meaning of life. what do you think is the meaning of life?