Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moments of Terror and Inconvenience

Worth considering are those brief moments where life could end or at least where life is on the edge - when you throw a huck and you're not sure if it will turn over, when you don't know whether the bee will crawl down your shirt or will fly away, when the flag is spinning up in the air - and worth considering is the curious feeling of ecstasy and horror that sinks into your stomach like a parasite; worth considering also are those times where life is nothing but slightly under the ordinary: homework or dirt in your eye or stubbing your toe or any other species of mediocrity and ennui; worth considering is that at any given moment I'd rather get a sunburn than slam on the brakes when that deer jumps out at my car; worth considering is that the world could explode tomorrow and what we're going to end up with is a big list of times we didn't make the layout or times we were afraid of hornets or times we would rather be at home with a piece of dirt in our eyes and that is concerning but mostly it is just worth considering.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Secrets to the Perfect Photograph

In June, photography major Finnegan James realized everyone in the whole world is faking it.

It happened at a museum downtown, where he accidentally wandered into through a door he wasn't supposed to go through, and then, after he left, witnessed a guard lecturing an obvious tourist who tried to sneak in to the same room.

That night, he scribbled it into his moleskin - "secrets to the perfect photograph: get the angle. look like you know what you're doing."

Finn tried it out a few weeks later, when the president was in town for a visit. Without a sideways glance, he strode confidently onstage, lifted up his camera, and snapped a few quick frames.

They ran in the next day's paper - front cover.

Two months later, he had quit his filing job was and was freelancing for most major U.S. papers and a few overseas. The competition couldn't figure him out - a rookie photographer fresh out of school with a knack for getting within two feet of pro quarterbacks and world-famous vibraphonists.

With the money pouring in, Finn began taking advantage of other situations. He stole drinks at the pub simply by coolly hopping over the bar and snagging a beer. He met famous people all over the world by looking more important than their assistants. He touched paintings. He wandered into vaults. It's not that he knew more about anything than anyone else - he didn't - it's just that he knew that everyone else was as blind as he was. He knew that everyone was just looking for a person who knew what was going on.

And then one day, dawdling an hour or so away with his feet propped up on the pope's desk, he met another. A girl wandered in wearing an old t-shirt and jeans.

Finn had long learned that the best defense is a good offence. "What are you doing here?"

"I need to speak with the pope," the girl answered casually, walking over to the window, "what are you doing here?"

He responded. "Family emergency."

There was a brief pause, and then the two met eyes.

"How did you figure it out?"

"I strolled out of a Best Buy with eleven flatscreen televisions. How about you?"

"Museum accident."

"Oh, huh."

It got awkward pretty fast, so he made some excuse about being an astronaut and left a few minutes later. Sometimes he wishes he had asked her for a number.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Pantoum for The Imperfect Layout

It was, in the end, just
for a disc, but
he loved it
so, once. He laid out

for a disc, but
it escaped his hand.
So once he laid out
but he missed. Because he dived too late,

it escaped his hand.
He loved it
but he missed because he dived too late.
It was, in the end, just.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

All Gone

The ideas dried up. All of them.

We took longer going for words, at first. They hesitated on the tip of our tongue for just a little longer than we prefer. Time passed, though, and it got worse. Cars crashed because people forgot how to drive. Speeches petered out in the middle. Books stopped getting written. In the end, people's brains just stopped.

I don't know why the two of us were only ones left. I spotted him on the way back to my house, a few of my choicest friends in the car with me, mouths open, eyes wide. I could still make them eat, if I put the food right in their mouths and closed their jaw for them. He was walking back from the grocery store holding a few breads. He was surprised to see a car moving.

He did bio research for the city university, before everyone went off the air. We organized a system - he stayed in the lab all day while I brought him everything he needed: food, equipment, subjects to experiment on. I tried to stay out of the lab while he operated.

He never used anesthesia, and they never flinched.

And then, just as I had started pondering how long this whole thing might take, it was over. I came back from the chemistry building on campus with some glassware, and he was just sitting on the floor, smiling.

"What's the matter? Why aren't you working?"

"I don't... I can't think right now," he giggled.

I leaned down to his level and tried to breathe. "Listen man, you need to pull it together. I'm counting on you here."

He sat up, serious, and then let his face break into a stupid grin. "Sorry," he cooed, baby-voice style, "all gone."

Monday, August 03, 2009