Thursday, February 17, 2011

location: pho cali

I woke up this morning and really wanted a glass of "salty plum", a vietnamese drink they serve here. Today they are out and I have to settle for "salty lemon" instead. I've had this happen before. The salty plum and salty lemon aren't that different in taste. It isn't a bad compromise. Salty plum seems a bit more far removed from the norm though, salty lemon just sounding like lemonade with salt in it.

A woman just knocked the window pane accidentally as she shaded her face with her hands and peered into the restaurant. We made eye contact and she seemed slightly embarrassed. She then entered the restaurant.

My salty lemon was just delivered to the table by the man who I have always assumed owns the place. He's a friendly middle aged vietnamese man that is best described as adorable. A friend of mine and I come here often so I figured he would be the one to drop off my salty lemon in order to say hello. He said "always the salty for you" as he set the glass on the table. He then asked if I had graduated and where I am currently working. He asked where Jenny was and why I now come alone. Jenny is in Portland I say, teaching art to young children. She is happy there. He smiles and says that he is happy for the both of us and I say thank you and he then walks to another table to resolve an issue that has arisen between an old woman and a girl who I am assuming is her grand daughter. The old woman is complaining that she didn't get what she ordered. She says her pho was supposed to have shrimp in it and that she is very upset. Her grand daughter is loudly exclaiming that she is wrong. They are causing a scene now. The grand daughter makes the point that there is no way the old woman could have ordered the pho with the shrimp in it because she wasn't even turned to that page on the menu when she ordered. The old woman is not stepping down from her position in the argument, responding that whatever she read off to the waitress had the word "shrimp" in it. The whole restaurant is staring at them. This includes a couple seated near me who have been quietly arguing amongst themselves and it is obvious to me that they are going through a break up. They have got to be somewhere just over or under thirty. The young woman has barely spoken a word as I hear the young man state that he feels the two of them just aren't on the same page anymore and that clearly this is what's best. She isn't facing me. Her back is towards me but I can tell she is crying because I can see as she lifts her hands to her face that she is wiping away tears in her eyes. I never understood why it is that men break up with their girlfriends over dinner, in a public place. Perhaps it is seen as a great way to avoid getting slapped or hit with a household object, such as a lamp or a dish. They think there will be less yelling, things will surely be handled more calmly and rational if you take the girl out in public. She wouldn't dare start screaming at the top of her lungs in the middle of the restaurant. Beware young fellow. There is always the one woman who will not hesitate to sand up and dump a bowl of pho on you and leave egg noodles dangling off your forehead. Hell she might even chuck some silverware your way, or go for the common drink throw to the face as she shouts out everything she possibly can to humiliate you in front of everyone.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Sorry I Went Away For A Year.

I wonder what the old woman thinks about as she prunes the bushes in her yard wearing a floral bathrobe, her hair in rollers. Her daughter died in a car accident two years ago and her son committed suicide earlier this month. She has no children left now.

My mother always says that no mother should ever have to bury her children.

Location: Pastry Art

A girl I know is sitting at a table behind me. She is using the free Wi-Fi here at the cafe. I'm not sure she noticed me as I entered. If she did then I should feel guilty for not having flashed a smile or gestured a wave at her. She is a friendly girl, one I would expect to have tried to grab my attention and let me know she has spotted me. She did not do this so I think I am safe to assume she hasn't seen me and is now peering over the top of her Dell pondering whether the blonde haired girl sitting here writing is indeed a girl she knows as me.

The table I am seated at sits four. It is comprised of two smaller tables meant for two that have been pushed together. Two women entered the cafe just now and began to whisper about whether or not they would be justified in splitting the tables apart to claim two of the three seats that still remain available in the dining area. I cannot hear them, I just know by their eye contact and subtle pointing that this is what is being discussed. I don't mind. I love eavesdropping and will do just that the minute they seat themselves next to me. They ordered drinks and pulled half my table away only about 6 inches or so to form a semi-private bubble of their own where they are now free to converse. I wonder if they are suspicious of me tapping into their bubble. I doubt it. They probably are assuming I am some local college student scribbling away in her journal writing about a boyfriend or perhaps working on a poem or venting about a bad day. I am doing nothing of the sort, but am instead listening to every word they say. One woman worked at Stafford as a teacher. The lady she is with is similar in age. The ex-teacher is blonde. I can see her out of the corner of my eye. They both are not native to the area, and both lived in Washington D.C. at one point in their lives. The blonde moved here recently, the other has been here since '02. They seem to both agree that "there are a lot of idea people here, " says the blonde "...but no follow through." says the other, finishing the blonde's sentence. Doesn't that apply to almost everybody in any town? They are now discussing non-profits and setting up practices, having "familiarity with the medical side of things". They do not know one another well or they would not be discussing where they went to school, where they have lived over the past twenty years, and what their husbands do for a living. The Stafford blonde's husband writes software and works for G-Whiz, a hands on science center here in town. I am now lost. It is hard for me to keep up with them in between answering text messages. I now have to go. A sushi date awaits me a few blocks away. Should I walk or drive?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the afterward.

I am marked with ink stains and curiosity and a dirty tongue that hides behind a smile that won't let you down.

It's like that rush of ambivalence that comes from accidentally letting go of your birthday balloon and watching it roam freely through the transparent blue expanse of our atmosphere. A balloon disintegrating into space into nothing.

Illusion! I know it floats on, where it ends I will never know. Just because layers of depth have clouded it from view doesn't mean it is not still going. Just because I can't see you doesn't mean you aren't there waiting.

Waiting beneath my bed till night falls and you rise, like Queens of the Night. From ghost to flesh, I felt you're flesh, tore you flesh, and watched it slip like water through my finger spaces. You fold up like paper when the sun hits your body, leaving me with nothing but wet hands to remember.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A farewell.

She sees a ghost wandering the forests of her mind. It passes through dead trees and she feels the subtle tingles of nerves dancing within her. They howl joyously to the beat of the transformation from it's flesh to a memory to a something that isn't really there, soon to vanish into the closing of a time no longer ticking.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Come on, let's go down to the river where the water flows. Then into the trees, where the caterpillars hide on the underside of the leaves. You can whistle with the birds as I run away screaming, into fields with butterfly wings catching the sunlight, gleaming. I'll grab a stick and draw you a picture. You can laugh at me as I start to vanish. Beneath the water's surface I'll swim deeper and deeper. I'll grow gills and you'll grow impatient. Over the waterfall I'll have went by the time you've given up searching. I'll send you a letter from Atlantis, tied to a gulls leg. Oh leg, legs! My legs are now one, a giant fishes tail. I am one with the sea, will you sail? Sail the great ocean to one day find me?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


At 10:37a.m. on March 11th 2009 I was traveling at a speed of 492 mph, 37,502 feet above Georgia. 

March 10th, 2009

Billy's Bakery - There is a horseshoe hanging above the doorway, and I can't take my eyes off it. Mint tea, buttercream cupcakes. A man is sitting in a window seat at his table singing an 80's song playing above us all. He has his knee up, holding his iPhone. A much younger man of asian decent is seated next to him. Are they dating perhaps? There is an elderly man at the other end of the table.

The window seat man, in his 50's from the looks of it, is wearing a brown fedora with a matching brown strip of ribbon with off-white piping lining it's brim. 

He changed position and is now leaning all up in the window. 

The asian and I just made eye contact. 

They are both leaving now.
"It sounds like that is even a stretch for me" says the older man as he leaves the table. I could not make out the asian man's response as they exit. 

Here I tune into the friends that accompany me at my table. They are discussing how specificity has been the word of the month. 

Out beyond the doorway there is a red van that reads "Doro's Annex, Inc." parked on the street. A man entering Billy's Bakery just blocked my view and I shift my eyes to the elderly man who remained at the table as the brown fedora window seat man and his asian friend got up and left. He was not a friend of theirs. 

The old man is reading. A 400 page book by the looks of it, about a hundred pages left. He just lifted a chunk of his red velvet cupcake into his mouth with a metal fork. He has yet to take his eyes off the book. 

I can't help but take notice that his head bobs. I am not sure why this happens to certain elderly persons. I decided their neck muscles are straining greatly to support their head, these muscles are weak, deteriorating due to the process of aging and having gone through so much. These muscles, now so close to the end. I've heard the human head weighs 7-8 pounds. 

My attention returns to the book he is staring down at. The napkin holders on our table are blocking my full view of the book. He is using his hand to support his forehead as he is lost in the pages of his mysterious reading material. 

He just started a new chapter. I can tell because of the formatting of the text on the left page he is currently reading as I peer over the napkin holders praying my spying goes undetected. 

He is gone now. He flipped through his index and got up, pushing his chair in. I missed the scene of his exiting through the doorway out onto the street. I was distracted by a conversation I over heard my three fellow friends were engaged in. 

It is so sweet smelling in here I could throw up.

March 18th, 2009

"Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering." -Carl Jung

Dominique Nahas has very distinct hands and forearms. These pairs are so delicate, their gestures so whimsical? Pristine? Dainty? You get what I'm getting at. His voice is almost just as gentle. His collared button up long-sleeved tinted blue shirt is too large for him. I know this because of that seam that connects the arm of the shirt to the shoulder part, that seam that makes a band around the end of the shirts arm and dives into and back out of the armpit area, you know the one... anyway this seam should lie just on the angle created by the meeting of the shoulder to the upper arm. Instead, if the shirt is too large, the seam falls somewhere too low, resting on the upper arm and not up at the shoulder where it should be. Larger men and women often wear shirts in this fashion. I never find it benefiting to their appearance. It only emphasizes the fact that you are large. I wish he'd wear the correct size shirt. Perhaps he usually does. The only other time I have seen him was in Florida giving a lecture, wearing a suit jacket that could have been hiding the same problem. I'll never know.

I am still entranced by the femininity of his hands and arms. Unlike his reddened face, the skin tone of these parts is fresh and glowing, completely flawless. There are no signs of immense amounts of dark hairs spread across his arms. In fact from where I am seated maybe 4 feet away, I notice no arm hair at all. There is so much youth captured in those hands and arms that is lost in his grayed diminishing hair and the wrinkles that branch out from beneath his eyes. Eyes magnified by the sharp rectangular lenses of his dark brown frames, a combination of metal and plastic supporting glass. 

"If artwork isn't pulsing with vitality, it isn't art. In fact it is dead." -Dominique Nahas

The Inanimate Object.

I was at work. One of the duties on the list we follow to close up the store each night is to restock the spoons. I grabbed the bucket used to hold the spoons, the same bucket that was once used for our famous "Vermonster Sundae". We don't make those at this store anymore, thank god. Scooping 20 scoops of ice cream for one group of costumers while I've got a line out the door is wretched, so to avoid this scenario we retired the Vermonster. I've never made one.

I stared down at the layers of upright spoons crammed into the half full bucket and on this night, at this moment I became intensely concerned with the ones I could make out at the very bottom. They never get used. Will they ever get used? A spoon's purpose is after all to aid in the process of eating food. Will these spoons ever be paired up with any consumers? Feelings of sorrow and depression overcame me, and then an uneasiness towards these feelings. How odd was it that I would be showing sympathy for a non-living man made object. They were nothing more than plastic eating utensils. Disposable ones, to make it even more ridiculous. No! But the spoons at the bottom will always be buried each night over and over by new spoons! Spoons that I am responsible for placing over the old ones. How long have they been down there!? I mean the spoons are restocked every night by an employee. I have never seen the half full bucket below half full, before being filled tot he top with more spoons.

Then one night not too long ago, it happened. I actually witnessed the spoons dwindling. One by one they were snatched up by costumers and stuck into a serving of freezing cold ice cream. The supply truck hadn't come in yet, and when I searched the cabinets looking for the box of new spoons I was informed we were out of them. There was a box coming in the next morning.

I surprised myself in recalling the night I felt emotional over the spoons eternally resting in the bottom of the bucket, and was now overjoyed. I felt rather childish and silly, but the very thought of even a few of those spoons finally leaving the dark confinements of that bucket was too good. Come on, those spoons I had been feeling sorry for were finally meeting their match in the line of costumers who grabbed at them in need of a plastic disposable spoon to cut out bite size portions of their purchased ice cream.