TRIPLE THREAT

horsebutt

No genre is safe from me! Here are beautiful poems I wrote from my heart because sometimes it is good to stretch your boundaries and exercise your creative muscles (brain kegel!) and produce beautiful art that will live on through eternity! And also I got stuck while writing my new book. I hope these poems what are filled with poetry touch your heart and other places too but very respectfully.

The Greatest Limerick Ever

There once was a fellow named Tommy
Who bought a stick of salami
He took it and hid, who knows what he did
But I’m pretty sure you can guess and the first two don’t count.

Where Have All the Bananas Gone

I was hungry for a banana.
I had a really good planna.
I’d go to the kitchen
And it would be bitchin’
Because yes, we had some bananas.

An unexpected but inevitable betrayal
The bananas were only a day old.
But they were not there
Gone into thin air
Because my roommate steals all my bananas.

Fang, You Are Fat

Fang, you are fat.
Do you remember how, once,
the sink backed up
And the landlord came over?
He brought lots of towels. He fixed the sink.
And I was so glad, because really,
what good is a bathroom without a sink?
You don’t have to answer that.
Anyway, he fixed it. The sink.
And gathered up all his wet towels
and was leaving to go do landlord things
as landlords do.
You came to investigate. You looked
at him and he looked at you. He said,
“Wow. That is a very fat cat.”
He shook his head. He looked at me
like it was my fault.
Fang, I was so indignant on your behalf
I didn’t want to pay rent anymore.
That’s how indignant I was.
But probably also broke. That happens
sometimes. But I will always
buy you kibble. No matter how broke
I happen to be. Because Fang,
you are fat. And that is okay. That is
more than okay. That is who you are.
This is the beautiful lesson I have learned about things
As I have gotten older (which is okay)
and dumber (which is okay) and more awkward
(slightly less okay but really, what can you do?).
You Have to Be Yourself. That is a brilliant
Idea that no one has ever had. I will
embroider it on a pillow
and then patent it
and sell it on etsy.

Fang, you are fat, and that is okay.
But you’re also an asshole and dude that is so not okay.
Get your goddamn paw out of my goddamn face
and let me go the fuck back to sleep, asshole.

Cookies: A Love Song

Cookies, cookies, cookies
Cookies! Cookies (cookies) cookies
Cookies cookies. Cookies—cookies!
In my face.

Here Is a Poem I Wrote You

The first line talks about how I wrote you a poem
The second line explains that it’s because you inspired me
The third line talks more about that inspiration
And also the fourth, because seriously you are so hot.

Here’s a new stanza. It starts with a sexual innuendo
That is also somehow sincere. I don’t know
how I’m going to pull that off but
I’ll try and hopefully by this point
you won’t even notice that it’s not a very good poem

I mean, it doesn’t even rhyme. But
it’s totally sincere and it does that thing, the thing
where sentences are split across lines all
dramatic-like. Because that is a thing that is in poetry.
I’ve seen it.
I hope you think it’s sexy.

Because I am doing it (and here is where
another innuendo goes because
I just can’t help myself. My bad habit is comedy
and also seriously, you are so hot) that means
this is the greatest poem of all time anyway.
And probably I’m totally going to get laid.
Because you really do totally think it’s sexy.
Right?

This is the last stanza. It gracefully
sums up all the sentiment of the last four stanzas
by subtly echoing the imagery
that has come before—only somehow,
it has grown into something larger
and more beautiful, like your face or similar.
That was not a fat joke.
Let’s make out.

An Incomplete and Unannotated List of Things I Like

1. Ponies
2. The scratchy sound of a match when you make fire
3. Fire
4. Fireworks
5. Ponies
6. Cats who are not very good at purring
7. Dogs who snore
8. Puns
9. Sleep
10. Getting sleep
11. Sleeping for days
12. Never waking up until you’ve slept enough
13. Napping
14. Snuggling
15. Snuggle naps
16. Nap snuggles
17. Ponies
18. Lists
19. Diet Pepsi
20. When my boss asks if he should stock the office fridge with more “DP” and then doesn’t understand why I’m snickering
21. Lists with ponies in them.
22. Uneven numbers. Shit.

Someday I Am Going to Be Rich and When I Am I Am Going to Buy an Island and Fly Everyone I Love to that Island (and Install Some Kind of Science Barrier that Keeps Hurricanes and Tidal Waves Out but Keeps Science In, Because Science, Bitches), and When I Send Out the Invitations I Will Be Sure to Not Only Include You but Also the Boy You Like Even though I Find Him Kind of Irritating because Love Island Is a Place for Love and Loving but Only Out of Earshot Please.

Let’s go bikini shopping.

inventions

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1. A bread squeezer. It squeezes bread for you, into satisfying balls that are excitingly spongy-yet-dense in texture and are a joy to eat. It has many off-label uses, none of which this manufacturer wants to hear about.

2. A hobby horse. It’s a horse that does hobbies for you. Because it’s important to have hobbies, but who has time for them? Your hobby horse does!

3. nü shüs. They are the mighty morphin’ power ranger of shoes, transforming from ordinary–to extraordinary! Your nü shüs are the best shoes in the world. But then you get bored and they are not any longer the best shoes in the world. So a thing happens that you do (patent pending) and suddenly you have shiny NÃœ (NEW) shoes on your pretty, pretty feet. It’s a 3-D printing thing, you wouldn’t understand because science.

4. Portable comedy. Are you feeling sad? Of course you are, it is the human condition in these, the modern dark ages. But what’s this? There’s comedy in your pants! And not the kind your ex-girlfriend accused you of having that one time in public. Pull out your Portable Comedy Kit and you are guaranteed laughs for miles, and miles for laughs. Wherever you go, and whatever you do: it’s comedy that’s always there for you! Probably there will be a monkey in it, and maybe some fart noises and a butt.

5. Kittenponyotterbunny. Welcome to the glorious future of bioengineering, where all the cutest animals have their cutenesses extracted and then poured into a new, stronger better faster vessel of heart-crushingly squishy happiness. The kittenponyotterbunny is guaranteed to make you stop screaming after you witness the manufacturing process because that level of cute will just BLOW YOUR MIND.

6. Y-ray vision. It’s like X-ray, only BETTER. Why just see through one thing when you can see through ALL the things? Once you try it, you’ll go from saying “why ray?” to “hoo-ray!” if your mind withstands the crashingly soul-crushing vision of infinity.

7. An ostrich hat. Don’t put your head in the sand literally, because that will just muss your hair. Don the microfiber ostrich hat and blissful oblivion of your surroundings is yours.

8. 3D printing. You print things IN THREE DIMENSIONS. Note to self: explore extraordinary medical uses that can transform healthcare forever.

9. Life-size caterpillars. Not their life-size–yours! Play Kwisatz Haderach in your own backyard with your giant fuzzy friend. Charge neighbors for tree services. And when your big buddy becomes a beautiful butterfly, you’ll never pay to check your luggage ever again.

10. Spare hearts. Things happen to hearts. They break, or break down. They fall, they flip, they beat double time. They get worn out! Muscle fatigue is real, you guys. So a spare heart isn’t just a luxury–it’s necessity.

Note to investors: Call me!

unexpectedly dropping dead of memoir writing

This weekend I found my MFA thesis—a novel. An excess of novel, actually. It’s 465 pages long. It overflows with metaphors and is jam-packed with quirkiness and sticky with meaning and it’s got my greasy thumbprints all over it and it’s just pretty much an embarrassment to everyone involved. By which I mean “me.”

This was the book that I thought was totally going to launch my literary career. Because a literary career was the kind where you wrote important literary novels about important things like Adult Relationships and blowjobs and the like, and that’s what I did!

Readers said, “it’s good!” with a strained kind of enthusiasm in their voice. Then they said, “But…” And I did not listen, because surely some literary agent with a Vision would see through the flaws and pluck me from the firmament and settle me on a throne made of melted-down Pulitzers and lined with lucrative six-book contracts and tell me how pretty I am.

That—didn’t happen. My query letter was a MASTERPIECE. It garnered me some interest in seeing pages! My pages were not found impressive. I thought probably I’d die in obscurity and then they’d be sorry! If they ever found out what happened to me, which was unlikely because of the obscurity.

I tried to revise but I was overcome with horror of my own prose and face-melting shame, so I threw it away from me and fled, weeping. I stopped writing fiction, because fiction made me sad and not having a literary career that was super-easy made me sad too. I was blogging about being fat. Then I got weight loss surgery and blogged about being less fat. Then I started blogging for Conde Nast about being less fat.

Then I thought, I’m really, really, really tired of the sound of my own voice. But maybe I should write a memoir about this. I don’t think there are weight loss surgery books in the world yet; I am not sure there is much in the way of books about weight loss that aren’t about The Triumph of Being Thin but are more about The Terrifying Sensation of Not Recognizing Your Own Face in the Mirror and Realizing Your Life Isn’t Perfect Now That You’re Not Fat Anymore.

I will tell you, I was delighted to find out that you can technically sell a memoir with just a proposal and sample pages. I made those happen; agents wanted it. I selected agents. I had agents! They ruled! But I wasn’t a fiction writer. I was a memoir writer. How the hell had that happened? This wasn’t how it was supposed to go at all. I didn’t even know if I could write a memoir. I didn’t think it would be much like blogging. (Spoiler: It really, really isn’t.)

It took me two years to write it. Two years! I wrote down every awful thing I ever thought and did. I ripped the ropy veins from my arms and wrung them out over the page! But also told some hilarious jokes, because comedy.

And of course the first draft was genuinely terrible and, again, huge. Because I have SO MUCH TO SAY. But this time I couldn’t run away weeping with my silken hair streaming out behind me. This time I had to revise the damn thing. I brutalized it down to an acceptable length. I added even more Pain. I felt embarrassed to read it. I figured I had done something right if I was embarrassed for the narrator.

I sent the copyedits back to my editor last week or possibly the week before, and I think it is a damn fine book and an honest one and when I think about people reading it, I shudder a little. When I daydreamed about being a fiction writer I imagined that maybe somehow I’d be reviewed by The New York Times Review of Books; now the idea sends me into a panic.

The idea of a book I wrote being in the world is the most wonderful, amazing, bizarre thing. The idea of such a personal, incredibly painful book in the world is also a hideous prospect. This is not what I expected to happen or how I expected it to happen. I am simultaneously delighted and terrified. I am proud and afraid. I can’t wait to talk about it; I am scared what of what people might say. I am only writing fiction from here on out.

my fitness routine

Every day I look at the class schedule at my gym—my gym, I say, as if I have some kind of claim on it, having been there so often and really marking it with my sweat glands—and I fantasize about what it would be like to go to a class. A class! Me in comfortable clothes, my sneakers unearthed from the back of my closet, filled with endorphins and joy and joyful endorphins and FITNESS.

Tomorrow, I say. Tomorrow I’ll just—I’ll go to a class! It will be so good for me! It will be good for me emotionally, and spiritually, and for my heart and for all my powerful muscles and all my strong bones. I’ll go to one of those lifting classes, where you lift things up and then you put them back down, all in unison with the rest of the class, who are lifting things up and also putting them back down, and no one will notice what amount of weight you are lifting and putting down! Because we’re all in it together, you, and me, and our classmates and our teacher and the techno music that thumps as loud as our hearts in our chests!

Or I could go to yoga, where the Official Gold’s Gym Yogi can fix all my back problems and my front problems and my middle problems and also put me in a soothing state of being soothed, where my body is relaxed and wrung out and my soul is so at peace you’d think someone had injected me right in the earhole with a turkey baster full of liquid morphine.

Or forget the class, because someone’s always looking at your butt in class. I will load up my phone with many delightful audiobooks and I will while away an hour on the treadmill, lost in a story, my mind exercised at the same my butt is.

But if I’m going to walk/jog/run/lurch/limp/stagger, speaking of butts, I should just take the dog, and we should walk briskly through the crisp mountain air, strengthening our bond and our love for each other even as we strengthen our cardiovascular systems and our senses of self-worth!

Except it’s cold out. So I’ll just go to the 4:30 Body Pump thingum. Or is there a yoga class? I could get on the treadmill any time I want. But I should just take Crommy out—it would be rude and selfish to not take Crommy, to kill two birds with one stone! But it’s so cold, and it’s icy too. The gym makes the most sense. But I hate what time the class. When’s yoga again?

And thus, my fitness routine. Mix it up however you like! But please remember to make sure you consult with your doctor before attempting any physical activity.

revolutions

Every once in awhile I develop this overwhelming desire to become a better person—someone who smells better, looks better, acts better, is better. I think this is a unique phenomenon that should probably be studied by scientists as something brand-new and unusual that no one on earth has ever experienced ever in the history of time, or when the new year rolls around and the calendar looks all shiny and new and blank and filled with possibilities. For instance: the possibility that this year, you won’t suck.

This year, I’m not going to suck. There, I said it. This year it is very likely that I will suck. Four days into the new year, this shiny fancy 2012 we’ve been given, it’s pretty likely I have already sucked any number of times. That I have messed up in countless tiny ways, leaving nothing but pain and disappointment in my wake. But I have decided not to think about that, because that way lies madness.

The opposite way lies new year’s resolutions, which is a bunch of pledges you make solemnly to yourself and the people around you, whether they realize it or not, that you will do your best to quit being a bad person and instead become a better person with whom no fault can be found, and also to develop (or invent) new excellent qualities to be admired by all.

I spent a week thinking about the person I wanted to be in 2012, the accumulation of which would make me the person I end up being on January 31st of this year. I hope that I’m going to pat myself on the pack gently, admiringly, and say good job, Jen. You tried really hard, and look how well you’ve done.

The other reason I want to make resolutions and write them down and be all conscious and alert is because I have no idea if I made resolutions last year, if I wrote them down anywhere if I did, and whether I kept any of them, even accidentally. It is highly unlikely. This vague sense of unease I have about 2011, most of which I do not remember, probably springs from that fact.

But this year will be better! This year I will cherish the people I love, related and un-related by blood. This year I’ll stay in touch with them. This year I will only make promises I keep. This year I’ll pay off my credit cards and finish the majority of the unfinished projects that languish on every floor of the house.

This year I’ll be creative—super, extra, crazy-fancy ultra creative. I’m going to learn to use my camera, and I’m going to finish this book I’m writing and start a new one and revise an old-old one, and work on sewing projects. I’m going to write flash fictions. If you were to take me at my word, you’d believe I’m going to be writing flash fictions every day and posting them on a secret website somewhere on the internet every day, even when they’re truly terrible. I have this feeling that there’s going to be a lot of truly terrible flash fiction written this year.

This year I’m going to be bright and shiny! This year I will go to the gym! This year I will breathe in, and then I’m going to breathe back out again! This year I will keep at least one of my resolutions—this I swear! You heard it here first.

winter, winter, i’m through

This is the time during the winter where you officially are obligated to say that’s it, I’m finished, I’m done, it’s over, another snowfall will kill me and if it doesn’t, I will kill myself, because really, winter, you’ve gone entirely too far. Really, winter.

When E and I booked our fancy vacation the hell out of winter, I thought we should go as soon as possible. No, E said sagely, as he has lived in winter climes for the entirety of his life, we should go as late in February as possible. Because that’s when we’re going to be sick of winter. That’s when we’re going to need a break. But I want to go nooooooow, I whined. Believe me, he said. You’ll be grateful at the end of February. You’ll be glad we waited.

I would like to be grateful and glad we waited but I can’t right now because it is a week and a half before we’re in temperatures above freezing, and in the meantime, snow keeps falling from the sky in blizzard-like sheets, and I can’t get warm and I keep slip-sliding over the ice, starting to fall, jerking up, starting to fall, jerking back, starting to fall, jerking sideways, so that I look like a marionette with a clumsy drunken monkey at the strings. I kind of wish I would just fall already and break something and never have to leave the house again. I kind of regret writing that sentence, because my next post is now obligated to start, “Remember when I said I wanted to fall and break something? Funny story…”

This morning, three cars were stuck in the snow that came down last night. The snow is now almost to the top of my boots. The top of my boots is almost directly below my knees. I have stubby legs, but that is still, you must admit, a lot of goddamn snow. It is less snow than some people have, I am sure, but it is more than enough snow for me, is what I am saying. It is snow that used to make me go “snoooooow!” but now makes me go “graaaaaah!” which is a sound that neatly combines rage at the elements with despair for my continued survival.

My hands are blocks of ice and my fingers barely bend. The tip of my nose is gone. I am snow and freezing wind all the way through to my core and back outside again. Blankets do not warm me, hot showers do not thaw me, life is very difficult and I miss you, the sun. Where have you gone? Why have you forsaken us? You are yellow and warm. I remember yellow warmness. I remember having toes. Those were good times.

There are some things I like. Pretty pictures. Hiking around the mountains with the dogs who love bounding through the snow and catching snowballs. Not being in the snow, because you are inside with a guy who’s got a core temperature like a furnace and does not mind being used as a blanket. I’m fond of hot cocoa. Tiny marshmallows are a miracle of the future, but it’s not enough any more.

Winter, I am done with you. Won’t you please get finished with us? Won’t you please wander off somewhere else where they are very tired of high temperatures and sunny days and picnics in the park and swimming and ice pops and bare toes? I’m sure they’ll be happy to see the backside of all that bare skin. So to speak. Go where you’ll be appreciated. That is my advice to you. That is my advice to everyone, in fact! Go where you are appreciated and loved! Thank you, winter, for making me see an important life lesson. Now get the fuck out.

the future

Sometimes I am taken up by such a tornado of amazement and wonder that I land three states away, blinking and with two broken legs and only one shoe. Probably because I have a gentle and completely credulous nature which makes me believe you when you say that it was you in the big dance scene in Flashdance (true story, and I don’t want to talk about it). It’s never beautiful, mystical and sensitively spiritual things like dew drops on roses and the small and wondrous pink nose of a kitten that makes me contemplate the nature of a loving Universe and blows my hair back–no, what usually astonishes me and makes me wide-eyed with awe is when I am struck anew by how much in the future we are totally living.

It’s always the little things that get me. I am dutifully impressed and fascinated by monkeys controlling robots with their minds and the creepy-cool Large Hadron Collider, but it’s the daily evidence in our lives that while we may not be living in a future with personal jetpacks–yetit’s still a goddamn amazing place filled with wonders and miracles no one could have imagined a century ago, a half a century ago, ten years ago.  THE FUTURE!

Usually I go about my business here in the future as blithely and unconcernedly as anyone else does, taking it all for granted because that is what you do, if you are of my generation and later. But like everyone else does, usually of my generation, this weird set of kids (and we are so often still just kids) that somehow straddles the divide between the quaintness of the 80s and the brilliant flashing diamond of the millennial years, sometimes you have to stop and marvel at the marvels, and go wow. You know, that is just cool. I appreciate that I live here in the future, with access to hot and cold running water, adequate sanitation and access to sophisticated medical care. And also the internet.

Yesterday, it was two things, practically back to back, that made me stop and shake my head, and feel a little old and also grateful for penicillin and antilock brakes. I had to get my book manuscript into the hands of a reader, I don’t have a printer, they live all the way across the country. I uploaded the document to FedExKinkos , and this very morning, even as I type, they are printing it four blocks from her house and then they are going to deliver it right to her front door, in a box, bound with rubber bands, fresh and hot off the printer. And for some reason, it absolutely blows my mind. My file went from being here, electronic in Utah, to a hard copy in New York, delivered within a day. Maybe my astonishment is all hayseed yanked off a farm in the mountains and set loose in overalls, blinking up at the bright lights of the big city–boy howdy, that’s shiny! But I tell you–that’s brilliant.

And as I was uploading and marvelling over the futuristic convenience of on-demand printing and shipping, I looked at my twitter page, saw that a friend was stranded because his train was delayed by an oil refinery explosion along the tracks. I didn’t have my cell phone on me, so I emailed his phone instead and asked him if he needed a ride. We messaged back and forth while he was on the shuttle bus. “I think the driver is lost,” he wrote. But no, he doesn’t need a ride. “Holler if the bus driver starts heading towards Vegas ,” I write back. When we don’t hear from him for awhile, we check Google News, and see that the trains are running, if slowly, and he ought to be home soon with Arby’s bag in hand.

And okay, I want to jump up and down and yell oh my GOD do you REALIZE how many AMAZING things just HAPPENED in that SINGLE PARAGRAPH! Today a wonder we behold. These things are so commonplace and ordinary and I feel a little dopey when I get that urge to bounce around and take people by their sweet little chipmunk cheeks and look deep into their eyes and urge them with uncomfortable-for-everyone sincerity to say hallelujah, amen! I should just take everything for granted until we get ourjet packs that are guided by the minds of the monkeys who run the Large Hadron Collider . But probably tomorrow I will become speechless with wonder over the miracle of heated automobile seats and those sneakers with the little wheels inside.