Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Polar Vortex

A salute to all my friends who are soldiering on through the current polar vortex. I almost feel guilty that I escaped the Midwest before it set in. On the other hand, I almost wish I were there, snowed into my apartment, working from home and donning 6-10 layers just to get groceries. Snowmageddon 2011 was so fun, after all. That was one of the best birthdays I've ever had.

Of course, I recognize that I'm speaking from a position of warm weather privilege. The high in Vegas is 63 degrees today. I'm going to go running. Outside. In a t-shirt. So I guess all I have the right to say is: good luck to all those of you in Chiberia! Or Choth, or whatever other portmanteau you want to use.

Yesterday I wrote a new section of my novel for the first time in...let me think. Probably at least a year and a half? It felt great to do so. Let's hope I can keep churning it out! Along with other stories, of course. I've been plotting out a few flash fiction pieces involving the history of Zion, IL. It's right near where I grew up, and all my life I never knew that it was founded by this insane faith healer named John Alexander Dowie, who banned medicine and cigarettes and alcohol and theater, who was challenged to a prayer duel by a prominent leader of an Islamic sect, and who is supposedly buried beneath 6 feet of concrete so that he cannot rise again. Why don't people who are aware of this stuff--namely, my parents--think that this is relevant to my interests? I love bizarre history! I used to perform in musicals in an auditorium that's still named after him! Just think of all the story fodder I can get out of this stuff.

Remember the poem I wrote the other day, about the unhappy marriage, and how I said I based it off a flash piece I wrote? Well, now you can read said flash piece on All Together Now! Again, this is the fiction/poetry/whatever-other-way-you-want-to-write blog that Leta, Gena, and I started. We failed to keep up with it last year, but a new year calls for renewed determination. There will be a new post every Tuesday and Friday. There's a handy link to it on the right side of this blog. I think Gena's writing the next one, if I recall correctly. Rumor has it that it will be a poem.

Speaking of poems, it's time for my poem-of-the-day. This time I wrote an ode to my spirit animal, David Bowie. I literally copied the rhyme scheme of John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn," but whereas he never repeated an end rhyme, I accidentally did, BECAUSE I'M NO KEATS, OKAY? So sue me. Anyway, here it is:

Ode to David Bowie

A shapeshifter and timeshifter who glows
with innovation ever in his head,
no matter red or white. Your music shows
revision prevents one from living dead.
A voice that swims so low and rockets high
that it could be two different people. Two
who master synthesizer and guitar,
the alien and son of man, they who
look up and down this earth with mismatched eyes
and sing the mysteries of who we are. 

When born you must have been a mystery.
A glitter starman, bitch, Aladdin Sane,
soul lover, diamond rebel, him, her, me.
All those who knew the truth sang your refrain.
And when the milk and peppers were too much,
to Germany you flew with all your friends,
at music's altar, altered us once more,
and saved yourself, and also died as such.
You DJ rose, you swung the boys with lore
of damaged carpets. Beauty, beast that ends

not in one decade, for in decade new
you changed your hair, your clothes, again the world
cried out for you, for something to dance to.
And dance we did--our toes were tightly curled
inside red shoes. We danced in the moonlight,
we lived as cats and burned the whole place down.
We danced in modern labyrinth, could see
our children dancing, hairspray heads alight
with something better. You, a teacher-clown
on silver screen, on stage, on MTV.

You never stop, do you? With heavy bass
you thumped us into newer, stranger times.
Technology was yours, and it erased
you whole, and sketched you, made you rhyme
with Nine Inch Nails and nine-eleven. Your
new music loved us in new ways, old ways.
An aging alien, a god, a fool.
When death did try to make you mortal, soared
inside your heart, bestowed human's malaise,
you didn't die. Perhaps it was a pool

of bloody human love that saved you. And
although you disappeared, we knew it was
a temporary flight. Your ampersand
curved back around years later, and because
you taught us well, you found us waiting there,
so ready for new stars, old stars, old boss,
new scars, new loves, and newer worlds. Somehow
transporting us to the next day, you glossed
our eyes o'er with old drugs, new drugs, and where
should we dance now, king-queen? Where are we now?

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