Saturday, June 04, 2005

Tag Sale

I've been tagged... TAGGED!

I've never been blog tagged before, it's quite an honor.
Thanks RitaPita - and see, I've proved you wrong, I am responding.
So now I'm required, by law, to answer the following questions:

1.) Total number of books I have owned:

Egads. I have no idea. During college I was required every semester to purchase at least 14 tiny tiny books that cost at least $150 each. Most of those are gone - traded those suckers in right-quick for cash.

Right now I only have one bookcase in my apartment - and more books in the closet. I have maybe a hundred on-hand here. More at my parents house.

2.) The last book I bought:

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

What a trip. Vowell (Who was recently the voice of Violet in "The Incredibles") follows three presidents, and three assassins - visiting prisons, presidential libraries, and more. Vowell manages to make it quite an entertaining and funny trip. Highly recommended.

3.) The last book I read:

McSweeney's Issue #13
There are a lot of reasons to dislike Dave Eggers experiment in a quarterly literary experiment. #13 is not one of them.
Edited by the incredible graphic artist Chris Ware, Issue #13 is an exploration of classic and contemporary graphic storytelling. It includes the work of over 20 artists, all incredible, but Ware's is easily the best of the lot.

4.) Five books that mean a lot to me:

This is very hard.

A. Totally typical, but I still have a thing for Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Go for that brass ring!

B. The Big Book of Hell - by Matt Groening. Before he created Simpsons, there was more humor, interesting commentary and a lot more rabbits.

C. The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton
Easily re-readable at least once a year. God and Anne Sexton's estate lawyers forgive me, here's my favorite poem, The Break. It doesn't get much better than this, folks.
It was also my violent heart that broke,
falling down the front hall stairs.
It was also a message I never spoke,
calling, riser after riser, who cares

about you, who cares, splintering up
the hip that was merely made of crystal,
the post of it and also the cup.
I exploded in the hallway like a pistol.

So I fell apart. So I came all undone.
Yes. I was like a box of dog bones.
But now they've wrapped me in like a nun.
Burst like firecrackers! Held like stones!

What a feat sailing queerly like Icarus
until the tempest undid me and I broke.
The ambulance drivers made such a fuss.
But when I cried, "Wait for my courage!" they smoked

and then they placed me, tied me up on their plate,
and wheeled me out to their coffin, my nest.
Slowly the siren slowly the hearse, sedate
as a dowager. At the E. W. they cut off my dress.

I cried, "Oh Jesus, help me! Oh Jesus Christ!"
and the nurse replied, "Wrong name. My name
is Barbara," and hung me in an odd device,
a buck's extension and a Balkan overhead frame.

The orthopedic man declared,
"You'll be down for a year." His scoop. His news.
He opened the skin. He scraped. He pared
and drilled through bone for his four-inch screws.

That takes brute strength like pushing a cow
up hill. I tell you, it takes skill
and bedside charm and all that know how.
The body is a damn hard thing to kill.

But please don't touch or jiggle my bed.
I'm Ethan Frome's wife. I'll move when I'm able.
The T. V. hangs from the wall like a moose head.
I hide a pint of bourbon in my bedside table.

A bird full of bones, now I'm held by a sand bag.
The fracture was twice. The fracture was double.
The days are horizontal. The days are a drag.
All of the skeleton in me is in trouble.

Across the hall is the bedpan station.
The urine and stools pass hourly by my head
in silver bowls. They flush in unison
in the autoclave. My one dozen roses are dead.

The have ceased to menstruate. They hang
there like little dried up blood clots.
And the heart too, that cripple, how it sang
once. How it thought it could call the shots!

Understand what happened the day I fell.
My heart had stammered and hungered at
a marriage feast until the angel of hell
turned me into the punisher, the acrobat.

My bones are loose as clothespins,
as abandoned as dolls in a toy shop
and my heart, old hunger motor, with its sins
revved up like an engine that would not stop.

And now I spend all day taking care
of my body, that baby. Its cargo is scarred.
I anoint the bedpan. I brush my hair,
waiting in the pain machine for my bones to get hard,

for the soft, soft bones that were laid apart
and were screwed together. They will knit.
And the other corpse, the fractured heart,
I feed it piecemeal, little chalice. I'm good to it.

Yet lie a fire alarm it waits to be known.
It is wired. In it many colors are stored.
While my body's in prison, heart cells alone
have multiplied. My bones are merely bored

with all this waiting around. But the heart,
this child of myself that resides in the flesh,
this ultimate signature of the me, the start
of my blindness and sleep, builds a death crèche.

The figures are placed at the grave of my bones.
All figures knowing it is the other death
they came for. Each figure standing alone.
The heart burst with love and lost its breath.

This little town, this little country is real
and thus it is so of the post and the cup
and thus of the violent heart. The zeal
of my house doth eat me up.
D. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Ever felt like to don't quite belong? That you're groomed for greatness and have just wasted opportunites and it's all your own fault? So did Sylvia.

E. Requiem for a Dream - Hubert Selby, Jr.
Quite simply, four lives, and the destruction of hope. An incredible work.

5. Tag five people and have them fill this out on their blogs:

Ah, I don't want to bother people, but I know Lori's list would be interesting.


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