the color of wax

Photo from
Photo from

“What is the color of wax?”–an old poem by me

“The average child in the United States will wear down 730 crayons by his 10th birthday (or 11.4 boxes of 64s). Kids, ages 2-8, spend an average of 28 minutes each day colouring. Combined, children in the US spend 6.3 billion hours colouring annually, almost 10,000 human lifetimes.” –

Ninety-six slivers of the rainbow stood shoulder to shoulder in their bright yellow box,
beckoning me to splash color onto my blackwhite world and ignore
the advent of laws and lines. Purple pizzazz adorned an apple
growing on a tickle-me-pink tree towering over the
robin egg blue of my mother’s stick figure body, floating in the air.

Every day I pressed the pigment to the page like a mortar to a pestle,
swirling and grinding the paraffin sticks into blunt nubs,
as I tried to shape a world out of shades I could barely pronounce
yet somehow understood from the color wheel whirling in the
bending corridors of my imagination.

Hungry to sample the wild watermelon, the granny smith apple, the macaroni and cheese,
I placed crayon after crayon into my mouth, hoping the color would translate taste to my tongue, but instead discovering that light red and bright green and orange-ish yellow
don’t taste like their color or like their names but like the sweet
smell of wax that lingers on their skin.

Photo From scottwillis
Photo From scottwillis

We were inseparable for years, the Crayons and I—
At night, as they slumbered on top of my desk, lying horizontally in their bunked, alphabetical rows in the shadowy darkness of Midnight Blue, I would scrub their remnants from beneath
my stubby fingernails, and relive the colors of my day.
An afternoon under a periwinkle sky, a meal at the burnt sienna table, a goldenrod smile.

But now I have traded my Electric Lime, Pacific Blue and Razzle Dazzle Rose for black, gray and white, for a precise fine tip pen and .5 mechanical pencil, for small bottles of correction fluid
with wet wands that sweep over inked mistakes bleeding on ruled notebooks.
For the black type born from the blinking cursor and the tap tap tap of the backspace key,
I have traded my yellow chest of magic.

When I went back home last Sunday, I found the Crayolas in my bottom desk drawer,
spilling out of their crumpled box and splayed across a stack of blank paper.
Their limbs snapped in half, their sides stripped of those thick paper overcoats,
they were naked and smooth and screaming like abandoned infants,
aching to be born again.

he could read her like a two-bit cook

photo from nouvelles images
photo from nouvelles images

“Jack + Judy” by Doreen Fitzgerald, from Cake: Selected Poems. © The Ester Republic Press.

She was stuck on him like a three-cent stamp
on a postcard showing a roadside diner
shaped like a hat;
stuck like a stool on a chrome stem
waiting to swivel a customer,
or the naked thigh on a summer day
clinging to the vinyl seat.

He could read her like a two-bit cook
reads a scribbled order
jammed on a spike,
fluttering under the greasy fan;
like egg on a fork between the tines,
or a hot beef sandwich between the teeth.

Together, they’re waiting on the night,
halfway between Peoria and Baton Rouge,
where the word OPEN, in red block letters,
hangs under the words, EAT HERE,
spelled out in perfect blue.

[Is it weird that I find the second stanza, particularly the first four lines of it, terribly romantic? I always waffle between posting this poem or not, unsure if it aligns with my feminist views…

But I like it. So there.]


Interesting piece from last week’s NYT Sunday magazine…It’s nothing groundbreaking, that’s for sure, but it’s always a good question to contemplate. When I fell in love with Sylvia Plath’s poetry during 10th grade of high school, I loathed Ted Hughes. Vehemently. And when I read some of his poetry later that year, I willed myself not to like it, even though I knew I did. So many wonderful artists are maniacal, misogynist, downright cruel. How easy is it for you to disconnect an artist from his work? I’m tired. Just read the article and think about it.

Can You Hate the Artist but Love the Art

missed connections illustrated.

I haven’t been on craigslist since I settled into my apartment, happy to take a break from checking it constantly for housing, for a hand blender, for free stuff abandoned on the side of some road. Because of my craigslist hiatus, I’ve also not visited another section that I occasionally clicked through in the past: the missed connections. A lot–maybe most–of these electronic shots-in-the-dark are pretty absurd. The cringe-worthy, error-laden message seem to be more about a w finding the m at the gym who may or may not have been giving her bedroom eyes at the elliptical than about that w locating the m with whom she actually had a connection.

But there’s still something undeniably romantic about the prospect of finding someone with whom you did, in fact, connect, if only via a shared amused grin at the checkout line of Whole Foods. Maybe it’s just the crude, incredibly unromantic format of craigslist that really makes it all just seem a bit seedy. If so, that might be why I’m currently slightly smitten with Sophie Blackall’s Illustrated Missed Connections. These slightly Maira Kalman-esque renderings of selected missed connections change a few lines of awkward, uncomfortable text into something quite lovely and, dare I say, ridiculously hopeful.

(Thanks to my friend Emily, whose tmblr lead me to this link).


There’s no frigate like a book…

IMG_0960Here are some of mine… and the shelves that I pseudo-constructed for them…

and  then blogged about at the venerable Sunset Magazine, where I am interning this summer. Check it out here

I will always be a public library girl at heart, but I certainly have dreams for a bona fide home library one day. And I’m well on my way.  This is what happens when all of your “textbooks” in college are novels and when you can’t stop wandering into used bookstores.

But I really do love my books. I only truly felt at home in my new room when these were all situated.


Will we walk all night through solitary streets?

Can’t help but think of Allen Ginsberg as I stare at my fruit bowl on a summer evening in California…


A Supermarket in California--Allen Ginsberg (listen to him read it here)
          What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for
I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
          In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
          What peaches and what penumbras!  Whole families
shopping at night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?

          I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
          I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops?  What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?
          I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store
          We strode down the open corridors together in our
solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen
delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

          Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close in
an hour.  Which way does your beard point tonight?
          (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
          Will we walk all night through solitary streets?  The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be

          Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
          Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and
you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?