The January Project 2005

Sunday, January 02, 2005

01.02.05--11:03 p.m.
(really 01.01.05)

i was asked to read at the new year's day marathon reading
and they ask if you have any preference on the time you'd like to read
and i didn't give a preference
because i know what it's like to organize a big event
and figured 75% of the readers were giving times they'd like to read
and that i'd make it a little easier on the poproj troika.
and when the schedule was finished i was reading eighth--
from the end,
in the midnight to 1 a.m. hour,
or later if they were running late.
and i knew i wasn't going to make it
and called the church
and spoke to cori
and she called me back and said
anselm saidthat people don't show
and just keep reminding him during the day and he can hook me up.
and i swore i'd do my best to make it to the end,
as the end two hours of readers are filled with my peer group,
and the end is fun.

and i show up for at 145pm,
15 minutes before the beginning of the reading,
so i can catch nathaniel,
and anselm tells me to tell him if i feel like reading earlier and he'll hook me up.
and then i remember how these readings work.
you listen for 90 minutes,
begin to hate poetry,
leave for an hour,
return to not be able to find a seat,
stand for 10 minutes until one opens,
listen for 50 minutes more,
until you hate poetry some more
return an hour later exhausted,
listen for an hour more,
as the stained glass windows turn dark,
and tell anselm that i'd like to read earlier if at all possible.
go get food with nathaniel,
return to cori telling me anselm is looking for me,
find anselm in parish hall.
i put you on before bob holman,
it's in like three or four readers.
thanks, i say.
heading inside to review the four pieces i selected,
cutting the first and last of them
because they'd work in a 20-minute reading,
but in a two-minute reading there's really no time for niceties.
think, fuck, bob holman,
not too happy about following bob holman,
but he's not nuyo bob,
but soft bob,
a nice piece i'm not worried about following,
and i read my two, editing as i read,
get some laughs
and a minute later leave the stage,
pack my bag as i listen to sharon mesmer,
as she finishes walk toward nathaniel,
kiss him goodbye,
grab my windbreaker,
head to the bodega diagonally across second avenue,
it's a $15-debit card maxmimum
so i buy two two-liter diet sunkists, one diet mug root beer, one diet 7-up, one diet pepsi,
a half-gallon of tropicana orange juice, original, and a bag of small twist pretzels,
and grab a cab home.

01.02.05--11:17 p.m.

as my soon-to-be-old roommate tom took one of the last looks around his room
checking that everything was packed as his friends were due shortly
he looked across to me and said,
"listen, other than me making you have to go to court,
i don't regret anything about living here.
it was great."

"when i was living in albany," i told him,
"i wrote this really long, five-part, 20-minute poem
about gary from the tv show thirtysomething.
and part of it talked about how they killed gary on the show,
and that whenever i would see reruns afterward,
from before they killed gary off,
all that would go through my head was,
'yeah, he's cool, but he's gonna die.'
and now tom it's like,
'yeah, tom's cool and all,
but he fucked me over and i had to go to court twice because of him.'"

"hopefully that'll go away," he said.

"yeah, hopefully," i told him.

01.04.05--11:56 p.m.
(really 01.03.05)

after two hours at work
my new roommate calls me
he's 15 minutes from the apartment
so i leave work and walk home,
and 20 minutes later i find jason on the street with his ex-girlfriend's pick-up,
and begin to help him move in,
or should i say make the move a quick one
so the old biddies don't ask any questions.
and to make it fast

01.04.05--11:59 p.m.

my oldest niece amy turns 16 the end of march
and she's been itching to go to a non-arena concert in the city
but my sister-in-law and my brother haven't wanted her to yet,
my sister-in-law maybe thinking back to when she was that age
and Joan Jett was signing the back of her leather jacket.
and amy complained to me about it,
and i told her that i saw my first concert a week before my 16th birthday,
and then with a chaperone, my sister's then-fiancee,
and that i thought her turning 16 and me escorting her would help her chances.
so today i called her up
and told her to keep checking the listings for friday or saturday night shows in the city,
and once she found one i'd call her folks and do my best.

01.08.05--12:38 a.m.
(really 01.05.05)

i looked at
it told me what i knew was on already
at 9 p.m. a new West Wing
and against it the two-hour season premiere of Alias.
i wanted to see them both,
watching West Wing
and taping Alias
but that would have meant at eleven o'clock
i'd have a two-hour taped program to watch
instead of a one-hour one.
but more importantly,
when i watch channel four while taping something else
channel four's reception is a bit funky.
so i watched West Wing
and didn't tape Alias,
which i've never been a dedicated viewer of,
though Jennifer Garner's hot,
though in kind of a smart girl way.

01.08.05--12:47 a.m.
(really 01.06.05)

there were only 20 people at the reading i hosted tonight,
and that included the readers, the gallery co-owner, and me,
but the editors of the visiting press were some of the nicest ones i've met
in the year-and-a-half of running this series,
the mood in the room a genuine one.
it was a good night.

01.08.05--12:56 a.m.
(really 01.07.05)

the first person who looked at the room i had for rent
was great,
i wanted to offer the room immediately,
but my instincts said i shouldn't offer it to the first person who looks,
that i should compare her to others who look,
and then decide.
so a few days later she called me and said
her and some friends had decided to get a place together in brooklyn.
so i decided i'd act a little quicker on the next potential roommate,
but she found a place closer to school,
and the next one found a place closer to her boyfriend.
so now i decided i had to act even quicker.
so on a sunday, this guy jason came by,
and i thought he was great,
and i didn't want to lose him,
so at the end of the day i saw that i had four people coming on monday to look at the room,
and i called them all with to review the things that had been sticking points with others--
the january 1st move-in date (now only six days away),
the needing first, last, and security up front,
and that the apartment is a one-bedroom, not a two-bedroom.
the first person said they had meant to call me,
that the one-bedroom apartment wouldn't work for them.
the second person said the january first move-in date was no good.
the third person said the three months up front was going to be to much.
i left a message for the fourth one,
Stacy Lynn Spierer.
We had talked on the phone,
and she asked if she could come later at night because of a dj gig,
so we set up a 10:30 p.m. appointment.
She had sent me a link to her website,
so i checked it out
and found out that she had been Miss Long Island
and had been acting in bit parts in television for years.
There were pictures, too,
and let's say she's pretty.
But i didn't hear back from her quickly enough,
and didn't want to lose another potential roommate,
so i called Jason up and offered him the room and he accepted.
So today, 11 days after she was supposed to check out the room i had for rent,
i'm reading the local gossip columns online as i do each morning,
and in the daily news' rush and molly column
there was an article on derek jeter's new galpal, Stacy Lynn Spierer,
a former Miss Long Island who had been acting in bit parts in television for years.

01.09.05--12:55 a.m.
(really 01.08.05)

the show ran smoothly tonight,
all the acts good,
us finishing early.
and we took in $423 to help make Sean's book.

when it was over
12 of us gathered outside
to go somewhere and eat and drink,
and we ended up somewhere i didn't want to be,
so i went inside,
sat down for a minute,
and then threw my sweatshirt, scarf, and leather jacket back on,
said my goodbyes,
cabbed home,
turned on tv sports to see news on the jets game
ordered some baked ziti and garlic bread,
which just arrived,
and now i'm going to squeeze some lime into my plastic mets tumbler,
and drink some caffeine free diet pepsi with my meal.
much better.

01.10.05--12:08 a.m.
(really 01.09.05)

beltran a met
hawaiian punch
caffeine free diet pepsi
florida natural grapefruit juice
skim milk
favre throws four picks
book sinead o'connor show
friends spinoff joey wins a people's choice award
eggplant parmigiana and ziti
orange slice
cherry italian ices from my freezer
(the pizza place doesn't sell ices anymore)

01.11.05--12:06 a.m.
(really 01.10.05)

i saw the organizational flow chart for my company on a coworker's cubicle wall
the inner circle the two big bosses
then the lesser bosses on the next circle
the higher underlings on the next circle
and the monkeys, as we like to call ourselves, on the last circle.
but on the monkey ring, or any of the others, there was no sign of me.
just like there's no sign of me on the staff roster,
replete with addresses, phone numbers, and emails.
and i took this job as a transitory thing
and the company fit me into a hole that didn't exist
and now, 13 months later, i'm still there.
i've liked when i wasn't counted among the employed in the past
because it made me feel like i wasn't really there
whhich i don't want to be
as i'm a copy editor and not a monkey,
but that said lately the exclusions are felt.

1.11.05--9:01 p.m.

joanna fuhrman lost her stocking cap today
and was upset about it in public
a man came over to her
and asked what she was upset about
i lost my stocking cap, she said.
he began to tell her how much of his family had died in the holocaust.

1.12.05--11:34 p.m.

mom's sick,
so no kosher fried chicken
i'm so tired
i can't gather my laundry to be picked up by the laundromat
doctor said
ice under my left foot for 20 minutes,
it took 10 minutes for it to cool down,
it took 10 minutes for it to cool down.

1.14.05--12:16 a.m.
(really 1.13.05)

i walked in to my apartment after work a little later than usual
having just renewed my driver's license
and mentioned to my new roommate
that i was going to have my laundry picked up
did he want to have his picked up, too.
he said he was going to use the building's laundry room,
but guessed that it didn't cost that mcuh to have it picked up.
about $25-$30 for a week's worth of clothes,
as long as you don't send a blanket,
which they charge by the piece, $5 i think.
makes sense he said,
they probably have to use a separate machine for it.
yeah, i said, and walked to my room.
i sat down to do what i do every night i stay in,
which is almost every night,
watch tv, sports leading into primetime, leading into recent reruns,
all the while surfing the web and tending to my small press,
at 8:30 p.m. i realized i hadn't called the laundromat
and i had passed the 8:00 p.m. cut-off they recently established with their ownership switch,
so come morning i'll be putting on my dark burgundy-and-black checked laundered shirt with the kinda visible stains,
and packing dirty clothes to be launder at my parent's house this martin luther king day weekend.

1.15.05--2:37 a.m.
(really 1.14.05)

on the greyhound from new york tothe boston poetry massacre
i watch the mandy-moore-as-first-daughter movie "chasing liberty"
missing the final 40 minutes when the bus broke down
and the driver shut the engine off as we all waited for the bus we'd be switched on to.
it was ok, edging toward eh.
tonight, at my folks' house,
i turn on "chasing liberty" at midnight when my mom and sis say goodnight on the phone,
us missing the first 10 minutes,
and somehow the movie has improved.
my mother claims it's the company.

1.18.05--12:20 a.m.
(really 1.15.05)


1.18.05--12:20 a.m.
(really 1.16.05)

i've been thinking about cutting my beard for a while
it had developed into a paul mccartney let it beard
the kind where hair is growing from that patch of cheek below your eyes
and you never trim it so the bottom of the beard is almost into your shirt
it's partially a look,
partially a way to cover-up how obesity has been hitting my face,
but mostly just a way to make life easier by not having to shave, at all.
but i've been wanting to step back into normalcy,
to not scare off parents as i peek-a-boo with their little ones on the crosstown bus,
to gradually prepare for the job search i've promised myself,
to make wiping my face a little easier during meals,
and so,
visiting my folks,
them at a condolence call for a friend's father,
i turn the kitchen tv and my parents' bedroom tv to fox 5 and crank them,
hearing the end of Vikings at Eagles playoff game as i start to use my dad's clippers,
the hair on my chin defeating them,
so i go to the kitchen and grab a pair of scissors,
and start to cut away at all the hairs,
shearing them down to a clippers-friendly length,
and then having back at it,
until the shape of my face comes back into focus.

1.18.05--12:30 a.m.
(really 1.17.05)

my parents and i got to talking about eyeglasses last night while watching the golden globes,
and my mom said they had a credit at the local eyeglass shop,
would i like a new pair of glasses,
sure i said,
as the ones i was wearing were pretty old and basically my back-up pair,
but had become my daily ones when i fell asleep in an old rimless pair of my dad's,
broke the joint,
and my optician told me it couldn't be fixed.
there are certain purchases i take prettily seriously,
and eyeglasses may be atop that list,
as they're the first thing people see when they see you.
i mean,
a pair of blue jeans i can pretty much find my size and my brand
try them on,
and leave,
all within 10 minutes, max,
but a pair of glasses takes me a while,
something my parents discovered today,
as we hoped to make the 3:30 coach carter in rockville centre,
but i went through every frame in the place,
a bunch of them twice,
and after 90 minutes ended up with a nice rimless pair,
much like my dad's.

1.19.05--11:00 a.m.
(really 1.18.05)

barret robbins,
the former all-pro center for the oakland raiders,
was shot numerous times by miami police
during a struggle when they attempted to apprehend him on suspicion of burglary and there was a fight over the officer's gun.
robbins is most famous for disappearing the saturday before super bowl XXXVII after going off the medication treating his bipolar disorder, his manic depression.

i always listen a bit more when i hear his name on sportscenter,
knowing that he's passed that point where you hear about him because of his athleticism,
and reached the one where you hear about him because of the disease he suffers from, the disease i suffer from.

1.19.05--10:53 p.m.

i ate dinner early tonight, comparatively,
ordered eggplant parmigiana with ziti and a two-liter bottle of orange slice
(i wanted to stay away from diet pepsi's caffeine,
as my sleep patterns have been edging this manic-d boy toward a low-level depression)
it arrived at 8:53 and i was finished an hour later,
an hour-and--a-half to two hours earlier than normal,
which is why my late night desert--cherry marino's italian ices tonight--is earlier than usual
and my nightly poem, too.
within the half-hour i will be sitting on my bed,
watch a That ’70s Show rerun,
kill my end table light,
set the alarm for 8:28
get under the covers
and hit the sleep button to sports radio 66, wfan.

1.22.05--12:56 a.m.
(really 1.20.05)

four years ago today
ian and kimberly and i
were on a bus for $25 each to d.c.
to protest dubya's first inauguration
we crashed at my apartment that friday night
after the unauguration event i threw here in the city
and then saturday morning we were up
and at madison square garden for six a.m.
marching and protesting by noon.
it was a cold day, a very cold day.

1.22.05--1:02 a.m.
(really 1.21.05)

trying to cut down on my liquid intake
especially carbonated beverages and juices

took a two-hour nap to regenerate
phone rang twice, didn't answer it
must shut the answering machine volume off,
figure out how to silence the ringer

called my parents back when i woke up
they wanted me to come out to to long island,
to stay with them so i wouldn't have to be alone during the snow storm,
told them i was fine,
i had no plans to leave my apartment this weekend anyway,
that if i could make it through the post-9/11 week not leaving my home,
i could make it through a snowstorm

my left foot is still aching,
but i've only done the exercises the podiatrist gave me once,
only iced down my foot twice,
though i am taking the aleve twice a day,
although it might cause a heart attack or a stroke.

last thursday night i realized that after paying some bills
i had 13 days until my next paycheck
and $15 a day to spend.
and then tonight i checked my back balance online
i have five days until that same paycheck
and $55 a day to spend.
i can't remember what i haven't paid,
but all my checks have cleared and are entered in my check register.

i'm going to go slug some orange juice from the container,
fill my 20 oz. mets tumbler with water,
squeeze some lemon into it.

1.23.05--11:32 p.m.
(really 1.22.05)

my steady phone sex partner char is online
so we chat a bit
before i mention how i miss her voice,
"i know you do baby," she says
and i tell her we can fix her headache with a little phone fun
and eventually she im's
"call me in five minutes."
i grab my cell phone and the handsfree headset,
the roll of paper towels in my nightstand,
ripping two off and laying them beneath the roll,
grab my porn bag from beneath the bed
and pull out my store brand k-y jelly,
wait until eight minutes have gone by
and call
and get a busy signal.
i try every so often for the next few minutes
and the signal's still busy,
i'm figuring a headset has been kicked off its cradle,
and keep trying,
hoping she'll see it
or try to get back online to check why i haven't called yet.
after 40 minutes i put the cellphone back with its charger,
return the porn bag back beneath my bed,
the paper towels to my nightstand.

1.23.05--11:47 p.m.

i called the laundromat to pick up my clothes
hoping they'd be able to push their cart through the blizzard of 2005, the day after,
they said they were doing pick-up and delivery today
and i asked if i'd be able to get my clothes picked up and delivered back tonight,
and he said yes.
i went back to sit on my bed
to watch the patriots and steelers play to see which one would appear in the super bowl this year
and 15 minutes later my intercom rang and i buzzed the laundry guy in,
and rushed to gather my clothes,
answered the door,
and rushed to strip my bed.
it was a different delivery guy
and he mentioned to me,
"tomorrow, have for you tomorrow."
and i said, "no, all my clothes are in there.
i'll have no clothes for work tomorrow."
and we go back and forth,
me asking if he understands what i'm saying,
him nodding that he does,
me speaking to him and realizing he doesn't,
until i call his boss to make sure i'll be able to get my clothese back tonight,
"yes, no problem."

1.26.05--7:34 p.m.
(really 1.24.05)

my therapist asked that i bring in some of my nightly poems
and after a month of forgetting to
i printed out the previous seven days worth of poems,
and brought them to session.
i mentioned to her how it was a bit weird writing poems
knowing we would be reviewing them in therapy.
And she asked if i had censored myself
because i knew she would be hearing them.
No, i said,
i might've thought of you when i started to write,
but once i figured out what that daily poem was going to be
and began writing it,
all thoughts of you were gone.
i've never censored myself in therapy.
it might take me a little bit to say something that's a bit uneasy,
but i eventually say everything.
hell, i even told one therapist i had a crush on her.
why do you think you had a crush on her and not on me, my current therapist asked.
i thought for a minute.
it might have been the position of the couch, i said.
here i lay on the couch and face the window while you are unseen behind my head.
with her i laid on the couch and my head was angled down toward her chair,
her almost always wearing miniskirts.
i thought about dr. ratner's legs and long blonde hair.

1.26.05--8:15 p.m.
(really 1.25.05)

where have you been,
the korean grocery's owner said to me.
i haven't seen you in a while.
i've been trying to cut down on the amount of soda i drink, i told her.
my mother yelled at me, "you have to drink less soda."
she laughed and rang up my bottle of hawaiian punch and three lemons.

1.26.05--8:37 p.m.

i'm a monkey,
it's what ryan and i call each other at work,
us low-level employees
who perform all the tasks no one else wants to,
but we don't care because we know none of it really matters,
and, besides, we get to listen to sports radio all day and bust each other's chops, too.

1.27.05--7:48 p.m.

take a shower
get some sleep
order dinner
turn up the heat
it's the small stuff,
you know.

1.29.05--11:35 p.m.
(really 1.28.05)

one of the database consultants at my job
who works out of our office
tinkered with the main database on a new computer
and now the back computers,
one of which is mine,
isn't able to open up the database program,
which i need to do for a good chunk of my everyday work.
but the big boss is on sabbatical until march
and everyone has left his office empty.
so now i'm using it to do database work,
to stare out his window instead of look at my wall,
and to use his remote-controlled stereo
to alternate between sports radio and the band pantsuit's debut cd
and back again.

1.29.05--11:41 p.m.

i set my alarm today
which i almost never do on a weekend
hop in the shower almost right after wake-up
eat some crunch berries at the kitchen table
and then start working on book city,
reading all the copy electronically
reflowing it in my layout ruff of the paper
tweaking each page's design
until the paper's good enough to run out a page proof
and i can forget it exists for the rest of the night
order some eggplant parmigiana with ziti
and watch that katie holmes film i never saw a few years ago,
pieces of april,
which the credits say was filmed on suffolk street
a few doors down from nan and matt.
i'm gonna email them,
see if they know.

1.31.05--12:53 a.m.
(really 1.30.05)

the plastic half-gallon container of skim milk in my fridge
"sell by feb 02
nyc jan 30"
and i want some for the two jello chocolate puddings
i want as a late-night desert tonight.
so i bring the milk and puddings into my bedroom
watch the end of the crossing jordan episode i taped
while i watched the hallmark sunday movie
where kerri russell gets pregnant during world war two
by a g.i. who denies responsibility
and she enters into an arranged marriage in a small colorado town
when i lick each pudding lid clean,
pour in some skim milk at the beginning,
and continue doing so throughout as i finish each pudding cup,
leaving the half-gallon about 20 oz full,
so i downed it in three gulps,
unsure of how soon it would turn.
twenty minutes later a little bit of throw up comes up my throat,
before i swallow it back down.

1.31.05--10:38 p.m.

tom nattell is dead
and if you didn't know him i don't know how to tell him
and if you never met him i wish you had
’cause tom nattell is dead.
i met him when i was studying up in albany,
where he was everything to that city's poetry community,
hosting the longes-running open mic,
organizing the annual 24-hour readings against the end of the world
to benefit the albany peace and energy council.
i even published his first chapbook in the early days of boog.
he would do block prints on my publications' covers
as he passed through new york city on state business.
when i would travel to albany for a reading i would crash in his son noah's room,
and he crashed at my studio when him and dan came in for a boog anniversary party.
i've been reading some of his emails that i've saved,
i have.