The Blue Pitcher

that which may be filled and emptied

Month: August, 2007

Woman, Bird, Crowbar

This is the view from my desk. There is a naked woman and a red bird. If you look closely, you’ll also see a gash in the wall just above the naked woman. It’s from the time the yoga studio next door called me and Cody to tell us that we were missing an entire row of bricks. Come on over, they said, and we went. Here, the guy said and handed Cody a crowbar. I bet if you stick this crowbar through that drywall, it’ll end up in your apartment. He was right, of course, but it does seem to have been a bad bet on our part.

There are other holes in our walls too. If you take down almost any painting in our home you will see that Cody has sawed a rectangle in the drywall. What are you doing? I kept asking. Looking for bricks, he said.

I sometimes worry that out of some sort of desperation, I’ve surrendered entirely to metaphor and made all of this up. The walls were only figurative! the therapist would yell. It is in these moments that I go to the paintings, tip them up from the bottom and find great solace that there are indeed holes, that, if necessary, and with nothing but a big ole knife and a platform shoe, I could, in a matter of an hour or so, be doing downward dog.

Weather Forecast: "Abundant Sunshine"

There may have been a more perfect day, but I certainly can’t remember it.

Light Coming Through

Roget: "To Pray"

This is Gabe. Gabe likes spaghetti, and spaghetti likes Gabe. I can’t tell you how many dark roads I’ve ridden down with his mother; she sang songs that would break your heart six ways to Sunday; I stared out the window. Today is Gabe’s first day of school. It’s also (hopefully) his father’s last day of chemo. So send a little prayer their way, and if you’re not inclined towards prayer, do whatever it is you do when you try to make things right in the world.

If (sadly) somewhere between the lattes and the cabs, the ink pens and the spin classes, you’ve forgotten what that thing you do is, you can always consult your thesaurus:

Roget’s New Millenniumâ„¢ Thesaurus
Main Entry: pray
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: plead
adjure, appeal, ask, do a little dance, beseech, brace, call your mom, commune with, crave, write a poem, cry for, entreat, take a long walk with an old friend, implore, importune, slice zucchini lengthwise, invocate, invoke, wash the dishes in soapy water, petition, recite, wish your stepmother the most wonderful birthday ever (Happy birthday, Linda!), request, flap your wings, say, solicit, sue, love, supplicate, urge.

Hickory Daily Record

It’s been a while since I made the front page of my hometown newspaper:

Finally, I did it again:
Read the full story here.

Seventh Grade

There are occasions in teaching when a student walks in and you know just by looking at her that she’s smarter than you–not just capable of one day acquiring the knowledge that you’ve spent thirty-some-odd years gathering, but that’s she’s surpassed it, and likely that she surpassed it in, say, seventh grade. Such was the case of Courtney Chatellier. Last fall, Starbucks in hand, she stepped into my classroom. You’re Courtney, I said, and she wasn’t even fazed by my psychic abilities. Anyway, Courtney just had two essays that she wrote in my class published in NYU’s Mercer Street. My favorite of the essays is about how we’re all in seventh grade, how we’re all walking down the halls clutching our bathroom passes and staring into classrooms; we live every moment simultaneously, as Courtney puts it:

We are creation and destruction at once, we are change and mutation, we are the skin cells of our twelve-year old noses and the domino effect of all the particles in ourselves that we rattle around and knock together in all the restless fidgeting before class starts. Tense falls apart, lies limp on the page like a word you’ve repeated so many times it turns into unsignified gibberish. We are what we were and what we will be. You and I are in seventh grade on the day the world possibly ends, the same day it endures into infinity when all of our atoms, star-like, are nothing but the resonance of every body that ever existed.

In honor of Courtney, here’s a picture of me in seventh grade:

Can’t you hear the lockers banging shut? Can’t you see Clint Eliot hiding behind the tree getting ready to dump me? Ah, but the pen…even then it saved me.

Health & Fitness Tip #17

Don’t rely on magic.

Between the nachos and the Kentucky pie, I had somehow convinced myself that at any moment a magical bride gene would kick in, and I’d be noshing on steamed veggies and tilapia with glee. The gene failed me folks, and today staring down the barrel of squeezing into a white dress in seventy-two days, there’s a new sheriff in town. Yes. It’s true. I pulled out the measuring spoons: exactly one cup of Special K wetted with exactly one half cup of skim milk.

Reminds me a bit of a man I once dated who, for breakfast, would allow me (what seemed at the time) only four Cheerios and an eyedropper-full of milk. You’d be amazed how little we truly need, he told me. I never was.

Longing #808

Sometimes I long for a driveway that curves around, a driveway that, in the late morning after having eaten fresh berries with a touch of brown sugar and cream, I can wander up with a stack of fresh envelopes–the deep blue ink barely dry–and there at the end of the driveway, a mailbox. I’d work the jaw of it open, place the notes inside and lift the red flag.

Of course, all of that would lead to the next longing: walking back up the driveway in the afternoon, opening the mailbox and finding it not empty but with a letter. Filled with good news. From you.

Something Borrowed

Looks like rain.
If I knew this woman, I’d borrow one of her umbrellas.

Sexy UPS Men

I once knew a woman who was in love with her UPS man. From what seemed like dawn till dusk, she and her little tow-headed son would sit on her porch waiting for the truck to make its way around the bend. I couldn’t for the life of me understand the impulse that compelled her–and approximately 700,000 other American women–to order deliverables in hopes of simply seeing that man in brown.

Today, though, as I sit waiting for packages and desparately cranking my neck towards the window every thirty seconds or so, I think it might have more to do with guarantees than with love. How nice to know that he has to show up, how nice to know that if he doesn’t you can simply call the number on the website, how nice to know that when he does finally arrive he won’t be empty-handed. Lemme tell you people, one of these:

is worth a whole boatload of these: