the life of richie

CAN MONKEYS, IF GIVEN A TYPEWRITER AND ROOM OF THEIR OWN, REALLY COME UP WITH SHAKESPEARE?

Posted in was by Rich on September 30, 2009

Ye olden typewriter languished in the closet (beside the white chickens) and the tree. The tree grew pomegranates and would grant wishes occasionally. (But never for Richie, nay.) One day when he was very young, the closet was invaded by monkeys.

Mommie! Mommie! There are monkeys in my closet!

Richie’s house faded into a photograph and the sun stroked the hues sepia; jaded away with the nice manning and the naked priest. Bye-bye, Mommie. Bye-bye, Daddie.

–Writer! writer! yook at the monkeys!

Monkeys?

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SUPPEREGO

Posted in was by Rich on September 29, 2009

Richie’s mom stood over a pot, stirring the delicious weggemobobbles.

I want some little trees, Mommie!

She cracked butter over the broccoli, which ran thickly yeahyo [yellow] and hot over the green forest on the plate. THE STEAM where –– there was god escaping the food with all the other demons Mommie had exorcised in her cauldron (begone, bekrishna).

–Will Daddie not eat trees too, Mommie?

Daddie liked stuffing himself with meat, flesh fallen from bone (besides, trees gave him gas). Richie much preferred the crunch of weggemobobbles. When he grew, he would be a weggemobobblitarian. When he was older and grown.

–What about the monkeys? Do the monkeys want some, Mommie?

Monkeys?

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I, WHO IS I

Posted in Uncategorized by Rich on September 29, 2009

Somewhere, between “Rich” and the world, is I, who is “I”.

“Rich” goes for a walk, and I here-write: Rich goes for a walk.

I stand beside “Rich” and world to interpolate and interpret, amanuensis and avatar alike; the until-now silent epiphenomenonfollower of the life of richie; the still-now stalwart shadowscribibbler.

There might be (present and future tense) suitors; the suitors that were or would’ve been’ve been dispatched: I’deed the dispatching myself, indeed I did, Daddy. The rabble are put on mute; told to cease and decease themselves. So much for the peanut gallery, then; so much for them. We roast them below, burny and roastem. Here, there is only him (and now me, sort of). Here, where “Rich” is reconstructed, in Edenville where there is a “tree”.

READING AT THE O.C. ARTS CENTER FOLLOWING ASSESSMENT

Posted in is by Rich on September 25, 2009

Rich updates his Facebook status in the morning: “Campus all day; in-service.” Dana likes this. Rich responds: “I’m having second thoughts; I’m thinking of ditching.” Dana: “you badass.” Rich: “I might go hang out down by the railroad tracks and throw pebbles at squirrels.” Dana: “so basically a typical friday.”

But he does not go down by the railroad tracks; and, no, he would never throw pebbles at squirrels. He goes to the in-service, he does. The in-service on assessment and “purposeful planning”, which is ironic because, were he not at the in-service on “purposeful planning” he would be home planning out his classes for next week. Purposefully.

The Dean of Assessment, who is like a cross between Betty White and Hitler, insists that we always ask ourselves as teachers, “Can you put a percentage on it?” Everything we do here is meaningless if we can’t quantify, is the implication, the edict. We are given samples of curriculum mapping. Rich wants to ask if they can all agree to call this pedagogical cartography instead; he has always wanted to be a cartographer, and so it would make the day more romantic for him if they could. He is then distracted by thinking about truth tables; he would like to sit home at night writing up truth tables; he would like to post an ad on Craigslist: “Seeking attractive partner to truth table with.” His mother later tells him that he will never marry; that no one would ever be able to put up with him. He will be a bad Jane Austen novel, a cautionary tale, an old man bent over his truth tables, a truth-tabling spinster.

In the afternoon, another friend posts, “Anyone know anything about the Out in Atlantic City events this weekend?” and Rich responds, “I’m going to hear Mark Doty and his BF read at the O.C. Arts Center tonight!” He expects they will be more lovely than Lance Bass. But his friend does not respond.

The BF reads from his memoir about the shore, and coming down to the shore from Cherry Hill. Rich thinks about the David Sedaris essay he has assigned for his online Comp 1 classes this week; most of their responses to it were “it was nice”. Nice? (He considers outlawing the word nice for the remainder of term.) Then he thinks about the Chris Updike story he read with his Intro to Lit students in the spring, about a summer spent in a lake house falling in love. “Isn’t this what summer must be?” he had asked his students. “Didn’t we all spend our summers at the lake falling in love?” His students laughed, because this was none of their experiences. In the summers, they were sent to work on the boardwalk, making french fries for peanuts. But Rich would like to re-imagine his summer: lake/shore house, indolent days spent cultivating crushes like irises, misdeeds under the boardwalk and such. Instead it was mostly sweat and grease and escaping the throngs of vacationers into a congested bedroom (his parents did not subscribe to a.c.) and the realization that he was young and would never be young; that some of us are born old, perhaps. Proposition: Rich believes that youth is best lived in summer. Proposition: Rich was never young. We put these in the table. On the curriculum map, we would gauge if objectives are introduced, reinforced, and/or applied. Objective: youth is best lived in summer –– in summer, and at a lake house, would be –– nice. Suddenly, he imagines the two poets having sex, and feels horribly guilty that this porno has been switched on as he sits next to an older woman who has no idea what film has accidentally started in his head; as the words act like cool compresses on his brain.

“Can you put a percentage on it?”

Yes, it was –– well, it was –– in truth, better than ––

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AUTISM FOR TWO

Posted in is by Rich on September 23, 2009

Jane Austen notes that “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. […] It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.” So Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins. It is always the most uncomfortable though realistic moment in the novel: Charlotte Lucas, with no romantic ambition for intimacy or anything more, marrying the unctuous Mr. Collins.

This is the end of the wedding season for Rich; a brief respite until the winter. Now he is back to school and back to the socialistical community of the two-year college. He attends a meeting of the Fine Arts Club today to recruit students for the literary arts magazine he is co-advising, and here is his happiness; here among the burning, gem-like novitiate of artists who speak of harvest rather than planting. This, the advisor announces, is the theme of the season and of their projects for the festival in November: harvest. It is a lovely word; and, so fall! Rich himself would like to lay scythe to the world, to the dying-dead/moribund world, and prepare the wasteland for winter. Everything ruined in the world; the heavy rains in June ruined Jersey tomatoes, which are just starting to appear on shelves; we had no corn this season; and the cantaloupe was not great. There are seasons of cantaloupe and seasons without, and one learns to accept the seasons without; learn to toss in hungry sleep, dreaming of lush, round melons in distended bellies; belies the optimism we are told is already here, the hope having arrived (didn’t you notice? were you too busy dreaming of cantaloupe?); we are saved, we are told; they have saved us. (But these, these are not our melons; not Jersey melons. Don’t fuck with us. Don’t give us a bank and call it a cantaloupe.)

In Harper’s, an anonymous author, arrested for terrorism, has written the following (Rich harvests it for the blog): “The couple is like the final stage of the great social debacle. It’s the oasis in the middle of the human desert. Under the auspices of ‘intimacy,’* we come to it looking for everything that has so obviously deserted contemporary social relations: warmth, simplicity, truth, a life without theater or spectator. But once the romantic enchantment has passed, ‘intimacy’ strips itself bare: it is itself a social invention, it speaks the language of glamour magazines and psychology; like everything else, it is bolstered with strategies to the point of nausea. There is no more truth here than elsewhere; here, too, lies and the laws of estrangement dominate. And when, by good fortune, one discovers this truth, it demands a sharing that belies the very form of the couple. What allows beings to love each other is also what makes them lovable and ruins the utopia of autism-for-two.”

*Jeanette Winterson: there is something very disgusting about intimacy.

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TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS GREED

Posted in is by Rich on September 23, 2009

Rich writes to Golchehreh: This article was rather interesting from the current issue of Harper’s… [Attachment]

I guess this G20 thing is gonna be a big hollow spectacle this week, huh? Lots of talk of “springtime for the world economy” and such. Lots of bravado and false(?) optimism. There are so many students on food stamps now at school, Gol. They wait in line three hours and then are told to come back next week and have to figure out how to manage for a week without stamps for food. Because you can’t eat optimism. Hope is not all.

My aunt who lives out near Pittsburgh — she’s worried because they built a Starbucks near her house (Note: I don’t know why they would build a Starbucks near the one-lane mountain road my aunt lives on, but whatever; Starbucks, I’m sure, has researched it) and rather than worry about how she’s going to afford heat this winter, she’s worried that some terrorist will bomb her this week. My mom says, “I really don’t think they’re going to bomb you,” but she insists, “Oh, they would — we have a Starbucks now, and I heard they’re targeting the Starbucks.” She watches too much Fox News, though, too.

When do you leave for Tokyo, yo?

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ANNE TURNING

Posted in is by Rich on September 21, 2009

Anne’s birthday is Saturday, the same day as Caroline’s wedding.

Rich texts her: “Happy birthday!! I’m wearing a seersucker blazer I got at Target for $15! A little short in the sleeves, but, pfft! Wish I was there; you would appreciate my stylish thrift.”

Her response: “Meet us in New York! I would have insisted you come, but thought you had a wedding! I appreciate your thrift.”

The conversation continues: “I do have a wedding!”

And: “When are you coming to dc?” ––

Not soon enough! I need to show the GOP what a REAL tea party looks like. “Nancy, be a dear and pass the clotted cream, luv.”

Oh man those people are crazies. They wouldn’t know watercress if it walked up and gave them health insurance.

I hope we can at least all agree to death panel the marmite.

For sure. Do you keep spotted dick or not?

Hello! Spotted dick = public option! : )

Sc sc.

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CAROLINE GETTING MARRIED

Posted in is by Rich on September 20, 2009

Karen is wearing a skirt. This is how you know it is happening. That Caroline is getting married.

The day is one of those days in September when everything seems possible again; when you wake and see the sunny sun and feel the cool, fresh air and think, this is what life is; this is what it feels to be alive. Crossing over the dunes at the 58th Street beach, they see the wedding party assembled further along, where there is a small jetty and remnants of a pier. Her dad greets Karen and Rich; he looks so proud, so happy. Caroline looks radiant and blushing (which will later turn out to also be a bit of burning) in her thrift store dress. We come to bear witness; all of us, anyone welcome to the wedding, which is what a wedding should be: outside, public, democratic. There are people in beach chairs watching, strangers bearing witness; Golchehreh says, “It’s strange –– that there are strangers watching,” but Rich finds it very beautiful, too; and also “very Caroline”, who has always welcomed anyone into her heart, her life. “Caroline’s wearing flipflops,” Golchehreh smiles. The bride wore pink flipflops.

A boy with long hair plays the guitar while another plays the violin as the procession begins: Caroline –– coming over the dunes –– getting married. In nature –– it all seems so natural. So: two people –– meeting one judge and his family –– and their friends and family –– on a public beach –– on a perfect mid-September’s noon –– to pledge their troth. In the car on the way to the reception, the Richards in the front seat and the women in the back (mom, Karen, Golchehreh), mom says, “I like when they say in sickness and in health; I like that part about let no man put asunder; I like the word asunder.”

Karen adds, “And: I pledge my troth.”

“Yes! (I like that too.) It was so beautiful.” She is still crying, Rich’s mom (I still remember her from middle school parties).

At the reception, where there is much drinking and dancing, Moira begins her speech, “When Caroline and I were young, we never planned out our weddings. When we played Barbies, we never had our Barbies pretend to be marrying Kens. When we played Barbies, we always had adventures.”

Rich smiles. His friend Caroline –– married –– starting a new job working with Burmese immigrants in Atlantic County –– having adventures.

Karen says, “I can’t wait to read about this on your blog later.”

What blog has joined together let no one put asunder.

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WATER

Posted in is by Rich on September 18, 2009

Coming over the bridge this afternoon, he thinks about a woman in the first Composition class he ever taught at the college. In her second paper (the Narrative essay), she wrote, I tried to kill myself twice. The first time I actually asked my daughter to get me the water so I could take the pills. Rich has never been able to wake from that image. The simplest request in the world: “Could you get me some water?” Water, the simple and primitive liquid […] all the dubious modifications man has been able to add to nature’s essential kindness cannot change the beneficence of water, notes Foucault. I asked my daughter to get me the water so I could take the pills. Her daughter: she understood the act; his former student wrote that her daughter could never forgive her (but she understood). Now I take medication every day to control the depression. But it wasn’t enough. This woman: she fell apart –– a little –– again; she never returned after the midterm.

Rich has spent the last two years searching for her. Sometimes he will be in a store and wonder if he’ll see her; to see that she is still here.

For others stick to us (humectant humans, we) and are absorbed into the body; and races to the heart.

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COFFEE

Posted in is by Rich on September 18, 2009

The slow, deliberate drip… Rich stopped at the Starbucks twice yesterday; always the same order (grande regular, room for milk: $1.98), but in the afternoon he could not bring himself to iterate those instructions; instead asked for medium coffee with milk, like he would when he purchased coffee from the carts around Manhattan. For five months in Queens he lived in small studio apartment in the back portion of the house of a man who owned several of those coffee/doughnut carts you see around the city. The man would drive his carts into Manhattan each morning before there was a sun. Rich would sometimes hear the carts going out; sometimes he would be coming in after they’d already left. By early afternoon they were back, outside Rich’s front door, in the driveway.

He often thinks of Foucault when he is in the Starbucks, watching the men and women order their lattes and chai. Heat, Foucault notes [in Madness & Civilization], in fact, dilates the pores of the organism, distends its membranes, and permits humidity to impregnate them by a secondary effect. Heat clears the way for liquids. It is precisely for this reason that all the hot drinks the seventeenth century used and abused risk becoming harmful: relaxation, general humidity, softness of the entire organism –– this is what threatens those who consume too many such infusions. And since these are the distinctive traits of the female body, as opposed to virile dryness and solidity, the abuse of hot drinks risks leading to a general feminization of the human race.

So is Starbucks now destroying men? Or in these new coffeeshops, will a kinder race emerge? And will the next Enlightenment come with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top?

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