Category Archives: college

Comedy & college & Sam Cooke & be your own fairy godmother (Amy Schumer).

Amy Schumer is a comedian. I value comedy; making people laugh seems to me a useful and smooth way to move through the world. Humor helps me get to know people, become closer to people, tell people the truth, show people how much I love them, and so on. My dream thirtieth birthday party would be all my friends at a long wooden table, each standing up on by one to tell a story where they make fun of me. When someone makes fun of you the right way, you know it’s because they love you. But here I am at love (again), when the speech below is not so much about love, well, maybe it is, maybe it’s about loving yourself enough to get the fuck out of bad situations. It’s Amy Schumer’s speech from The Gloria Awards and Gala (no idea what this is) and I value it. Enjoy. (Source.)

 

Here I go, and if it doesn’t go well, please just don’t blog about it.

Right before I left for college, I was running my high school. Feel it. I knew where to park, I knew where to get the best chicken-cutlet sandwich, I knew which custodians had pot. People knew me. They liked me. I was an athlete and a good friend. I felt pretty, I felt funny, I felt sane. Then I got to college in Maryland. My school was voted number one … for the hottest freshman girls in Playboy that year. And not because of me. All of a sudden, being witty and charismatic didn’t mean shit. Day after day, I could feel the confidence drain from my body. I was not what these guys wanted. They wanted thinner, blonder, dumber … My sassy one-liners were only working on the cafeteria employees, who I was visiting all too frequently, tacking on not the Freshman 15, but the 30, in record-breaking time, which led my mother to make comments over winter break like, “You look healthy!” I was getting no male attention, and I’m embarrassed to say, it was killing me.

But one guy paid me some attention — Matt. Matt was six feet tall, he looked like a grown-up von Trapp child, and he was five years older than me. What?! An older boy, paying attention to me? I must be okay. Uff. I made him laugh in our bio lab, and I could tell a couple times that we had a vibe. He was a super senior, which is a sexy way of saying “should have graduated, but needed an extra year.” He barely spoke, which was perfect for all the projecting I had planned for him. We grew up in the same town, and getting attention from him felt like success. When I would see him on campus, my heart would race, and I would smile as he passed. I’d look in the mirror and see all the blood rise to my face. I’d spend time analyzing the interaction, and planning my outfit for the next time I saw him. I wanted him to call. He never called. But then finally, he called.

It was 8 a.m., my dorm room phone rang. “Amy, wassup? It’s Matt. Come over.” Holy shit! This is it, I thought. He woke up thinking about me! He realized we’re meant to start a life together! Let’s just stop all this pretending that we weren’t free just to love one another! I wondered, would we raise our kids in the town we both grew up in, or has he taken a liking to Baltimore? I don’t care. I’ll settle wherever he’s most comfortable. Will he want to raise our kids Jewish? Who cares? I shaved my legs in the sink, I splashed some water under my armpits, and my randomly assigned Albanian roommate stared at me from under her sheets as I rushed around our shitty dorm room. I ran right over to his place, ready for our day together. What would we do? It’s still early enough, maybe we’re going fishing? Or maybe his mom’s in town, and he wanted me to join them for breakfast. Knock-knock. Is he going to carry me over the threshold? I bet he’s fixing his hair and telling his mom, “Be cool, this may be the one!” I’ll be very sweet with her, but assert myself, so she doesn’t think she’s completely in charge of all the holiday dinners we’re going to plan together. I’ll call her by her first name, too, so she knows she can’t mess with me. “Rita! I’m going to make the green bean casserole this year, and that’s that!” Knock-knock. Ring ring. Where is he?

Finally, the door opens. It’s Matt, but not really. He’s there, but not really. His face is kind of distorted, and his eyes seem like he can’t focus on me. He’s actually trying to see me from the side, like a shark. “Hey!” he yells, too loud, and gives me a hug, too hard. He’s fucking wasted. I’m not the first person he thought of that morning. I’m the last person he called that night. I wonder, how many girls didn’t answer before he got to fat freshman me? Am I in his phone as Schumer? Probably. But I was here, and I wanted to be held and touched and felt desired, despite everything. I wanted to be with him. I imagined us on campus together, holding hands, proving, “Look! I am lovable! And this cool older guy likes me!” I can’t be the troll doll I’m afraid I’ve become.

He put on some music, and we got in bed. As that sexy maneuver where the guy pushes you on the bed, you know, like, “I’m taking the wheel on this one. Now I’m going to blow your mind,” which is almost never followed up with anything. He smelled like skunk microwaved with cheeseburgers, which I planned on finding and eating in the bathroom, as soon as he was asleep. We tried kissing. His 9 a.m. shadow was scratching my face — I knew it’d look like I had fruit-punch mouth for days after. His alcohol-swollen mouth, I felt like I was being tongued by someone who had just been given Novocain. I felt faceless, and nameless. I was just a warm body, and I was freezing cold. His fingers poked inside me like they had lost their keys in there. And then came the sex, and I use that word very loosely. His penis was so soft, it felt like one of those de-stress things that slips from your hand? So he was pushing aggressively into my thigh, and during this failed penetration, I looked around the room to try and distract myself or God willing, disassociate. What’s on the wall? A Scarface poster, of course. Mandatory. Anything else? That’s it? This Irish-Catholic son of bank teller who played JV soccer and did Mathletes feels the most connection with a Cuban refugee drug lord. The place looked like it was decorated by an overeager set designer who took the note “temporary and without substance” too far.

He started to go down on me. That’s ambitious, I think. Is it still considered getting head if the guy falls asleep every three seconds and moves his tongue like an elderly person eating their last oatmeal? Chelsea? Is it? Yes? It is. I want to scream for myself, “Get out of here, Amy. You are beautiful, you are smart, and worth more than this. This is not where you stay.” I feel like Fantine and Cosette and every fucking sad French woman from Les Miz. And whoever that cat was who sang “Memories,” what was that musical? Suze Orman just goes, “Cats.” The only wetness between my legs is from his drool, because he’s now sleeping and snoring into me. I sigh, I hear my own heartbreak, I fight back my own tears, and then I notice a change in the music. Is this just a bagpipe solo? I shake him awake. “Matt, what is this? The Braveheartsoundtrack? Can you put something else on, please?” He wakes up grumpily, falls to the floor, and crawls. I look at his exposed butt crack, a dark, unkempt abyss that I was falling into. I felt paralyzed. His asshole is a canyon, and this was my 127 Hours. I might chew my arm off.

I could feel I was losing myself to this girl in this bed. He stood up and put a new CD on. “Darling, you send me, I know you send me, honest, you do …” I’m thinking, “What is this?” He crawled back into bed, and tried to mash at this point his third ball into my vagina. On his fourth thrust, he gave up and fell asleep on my breast. His head was heavy and his breath was so sour, I had to turn my head so my eyes didn’t water. But they were watering anyway, because of this song. Who is this? This is so beautiful. I’ve never heard these songs before. They’re gutting me. The score attached to our morning couldn’t have been more off. His sloppy, tentative lovemaking was certainly not in the spirit of William Wallace. And now the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard play out as this man-boy laid in my arms, after diminishing me to a last-minute booty call. I listened to the songs and I cried. I was looking down at myself from the ceiling fan. What happened to this girl? How did she get here? I felt the fan on my skin and I went, “Oh, wait! I am this girl! We got to get me out of here!” I became my own fairy godmother. I waited until the last perfect note floated out, and escaped from under him and out the door. I never heard from Matt again, but felt only grateful for being introduced to my new self, a girl who got her value from within her. I’m also grateful to Matt for introducing me to my love Sam Cooke, who I’m still with today.

Now I feel strong and beautiful. I walk proudly down the streets of Manhattan. The people I love, love me. I make the funniest people in the country laugh, and they are my friends. I am a great friend and an even better sister. I have fought my way through harsh criticism and death threats for speaking my mind. I am alive, like the strong women in this room before me. I am a hot-blooded fighter and I am fearless. But I did morning radio last week, and a DJ asked, “Have you gained weight? You seem chunkier to me. You should strike while the iron is hot, Amy.” And it’s all gone. In an instant, it’s all stripped away. I wrote an article forMen’s Health and was so proud, until I saw instead of using my photo, they used one of a 16-year-old model wearing a clown nose, to show that she’s hilarious. But those are my words. What about who I am, and what I have to say? I can be reduced to that lost college freshman so quickly sometimes, I want to quit. Not performing, but being a woman altogether. I want to throw my hands in the air, after reading a mean Twitter comment, and say, “All right! You got it. You figured me out. I’m not pretty. I’m not thin. I do not deserve to use my voice. I’ll start wearing a burqa and start waiting tables at a pancake house. All my self-worth is based on what you can see.” But then I think, Fuck that. I am not laying in that freshman year bed anymore ever again. I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they had it in them to do it. I stand here and I am amazing, for you. Not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you, and I thank you.

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Filed under ain't that the truth, awesome, boyz, college, comedy, swoon

“My Life as a Minister” (wedding poem) (mine).

My Life as a Minister

(for Kathryn & Andy)

 

To say “You may now kiss the bride”

is a treasure far beyond

most treasures I’ve known.

A treasure of love (my bests,

 

my only kind of treasures),

a treasure built of words (my tools),

a treasure said in public

in the presence of a trove

 

of dearest friends—

a treasure known by all, the words

learned early on, the script, that scripture,

holy words of matrimony, most of which

 

I banished from the ceremony. But not

those words, and not the kiss

which with light within me

I gave permission for.

 

You may now and you may always

and may you for all the days

kiss and kiss and kiss

the bride.

***

photobooth_420-X3

 

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The past month or so in photographs.

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This is one of the farms that will not be our home.

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This was at the farmers’ market in Montpelier, when Ellie was visiting, and we met up with Kenzie, who is also a Suzie’s Farm Person, and she had those long fabulous dreadlocks.

ellie scott misha in a crown

This was when Ellie and Scott and Josh were staying over. I made Misha wear my happy wreath because he was happy, too. And we drank that whole bottle of bourbon. And life was sweet and Scott jumped in the pond and Josh ended up getting a free Suzie’s Farm hat.

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This is my favorite photo of my friend Andrew, because the sun is all up in his face.

IMG_0122Those ladies? Oh those are my ladies.

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These are some bodacious poppies and some pretty Unidentified Other Flowers that grow beneath the grapes in front of our house.

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This is another farm which we won’t live on. But boy, was it pretty.

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This is my pen pal, Shannon. She’s even better in person than written. Plus, she’s married! Also, a poet!

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This was the fourth of July. Misha didn’t even mean to wear red white and blue and we had sausages for dinner.

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This is Misha with flowering mullein on Cape Cod. He really loves that plant. And in this photograph, he even matches it!

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This is my family in the early 90s. I don’t think I’ll ever be as baller as I was that day on Cape Cod, with that stance and that minnow net and that belly-bearing bathing suit. Also: how cute is my sister. Also also: notice how all our bathing suits match!

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This was leaving the Cape just today, admiring the font of the Sagamore Bridge, admiring structure.

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Love & friends & verklempt (something in prose).

I don’t think I’m a poet of the atrocities, or even of the victories. I think I’m a poet of the people I love. I’m trying to make sense of how much there is to love in the world. I’m trying to put into words the moment when someone reaches out to touch someone else’s face, but then doesn’t, and then that person never knows that that other person wanted to touch them. And so that touch will never be in the history books. But I might just get it into a poem.

 

Do you have any famous friends? Friends who people know because of something they did or wrote? I have a couple of great friends in a band and it makes me insanely proud and insanely baffled to know them and to see them progressing in the music world and to know that they are an entity outside of the dudes that I got to know in college. And to think that I knew them in a dorm hallway, with their morning hair and their late night gaits. How I’d leave the coed bathroom when I’d see one of them with their sneakers facing outward in a stall (pooping!). 

 

I have a lot of friends who really impress me. Not just because of their jobs, but sometimes because of their jobs. I have some friends who were born knowing how to be great friends. A lot of my friends aren’t the same as each other. A couple of my friends are attempting similar back-to-the-land plans as I am, but most of them aren’t. I’m here as a human and as a girl and as a poet and as a farmer-in-training to say: my friends, I love the shit out of you. I know you know it already, maybe because I told you recently in an email or textual exclamation or maybe I sent you something recently or maybe you read a poem here that reminded you of it. Either way, I might as well say it often, because life is short and fast (especially in summer).

 

So here’s a music video that really impresses me featuring some dudes I know. For some reason this video is making me want to hug people (BAD), probably because I’ve been drinking wine and I live with a man I adore and because it’s summer and there’s quite nearly enough sunlight to provide for all the words I want to write and say each day. Amen.

 

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Filed under a camel, artiste, awesome, boyz, brunch poem, college, east coast, famous, friendship, halleluyah, manifestOH, musics, new york, shake the baron: THE BAND

New Year’s Eve Brunch Sonnet (#5) (mine).

 

Max is also a Pisces

He hands me the astrology book while reading my “Lovepoem” out loud

My photograph is on the refrigerator

This is my first time at their apartment and my photograph is on the wall

At midnight a blonde girl lights my sparkler after two minutes of matches

Sam in her black turtleneck with a small cup of water and grooving

Kathryn dancing with her hair

Mallory on the couch getting the scoop

In Andrew’s room the bed is stripped

Max makes coffee and the room is mugged

No taxis in all of Brooklyn, no taxis in all of New York

After 4am I’m not especially human

Math and sleep are both about the numbers

This year, again, is all about the words

 

 

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Off to brunch, New Year’s Eve (song).

 

 

 

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Filed under ain't that the truth, BACON!, brooklyn, college, east coast, friendship, holidays, musics, new york

Poem I’ll recite today (Schuyler).

Today is my last day of classes. Most significantly, today is the last day of the intro to creative writing class I’ve been teaching this semester. I will miss my class; they made me laugh & taught me about the Fibonacci sequence. They worked hard and wrote risky poems. We all have to recite a poem in honor of the last day, and then they will hand in their portfolios, and then I will want to hug them all, but I will not. And I will begin by reciting this, by James Schuyler:

 

Letter Poem #3

 

The night is quiet

as a kettle drum

the bullfrog basses

tuning up. After

swimming, after sup-

per, a Tarzan movie,

dishes, a smoke. One

planet and I

wish. No need

of words. Just

you, or rather,

us. The stars tonight

in pale dark space

are clover flowers

in a lawn the expanding

universe in which

we love it is

our home. So many

galaxies and you my

bright particular,

my star, my sun, my

other self, my bet-

ter half, my one

 

 

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Filed under california, college, epistolary, i love him, literary, memorized, poet-love, poetics, poetry alive, san diego, sigh, swoon

Tomorrow, tomorrow! I love you, tomorrow!

She’s only a DAY AWAY!

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Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad.

He hated boats and her mother

lived on one. She invited him

to go, he went, no horror stories

from that December on the ocean,

at least not ones I’ve heard, the two

of them in t-shirts I now wish

I owned, sleeping under and on

top of polished wood, I imagine

that the fish they ate was very

good, flaking off in chunks to fill

their mouths and bathing suited

stomachs, the swelter of the sky

like a unrelenting aunt, and the noise

of wind rushing through their hair

was the loudest noise their ears

could comprehend

 

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Filed under college, family, photography, poetry alive, travel

Poet of today (John Berryman).

The excerpt below is from a poem entitled “In Loving Memory of the Late Author of Dream Songs.” It was written by John Berryman’s good friend, William Meredith. William Meredith taught at Connecticut College for many years, and when he died our school held a memorial for him. I  picked up Richard Wilbur at his house in Connecticut in my 1998 Toyota Camry LXE so that he could read a poem at Meredith’s memorial service. His house was in the beautiful Connecticut countryside, and I was a little early so a woman who I assumed was his caretaker had me wait in the sitting room. It was late autumn. I sat on a very stiff couch and his Siamese cats entered while I waited, upright on the sofa: two of them. They stared into my soul with their four blue eyes. Richard Wilbur was much easier to be around than his cats. We talked about weather and dangerous curves of the highway, and he told me a story that took place in Key West, and he told me another story where the punch line involved some sentence which proved a poet he admired knew Latin even better than he did. His voice was very soft and I did not mention that I wrote poetry, or that I had found poetry relatively recently and now knew I had to study it and  keep writing poems. I stole a line from something he said to me during that car ride and put it in a poem, but I changed the phrase by taking out a word, and I didn’t credit him, though there’s an invisible footnote there that only I can see. I can show you to that poem, it’s in my thesis.  It’s a love poem, but that doesn’t help you much: they all are, especially the ones since the thesis.

Do we wave back now, or what do we do?
You were never reluctant to instruct.
I do what’s in character, I look for things
to praise on the riverbanks and I praise them.
We are all relicts, of some great joy, wearing black,
but this book is full of marvelous songs.
Don’t let us contract your dread recidivism
and start falling from our own iron railings.
Wave from the fat book again, make us wave back.

We are all relicts of some great joy, some of us even newer than relics–some of us perhaps just made.

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