Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gypsies, and Egyptians

Are there any strippers named Phyllis?

Sometimes I like to clean ruthlessly with bleach.

Once during the summer (I think it was my last day at work), the drain smelled horribly foul, and I called up to the office and said, 'Mahmoud, it smells like something crawled up and DIED in there!" and Mahmoud just said, "Pour some more Chlorox in it," on the other end of the phone. Haaa, Mahmoud. He was a great believer in Chlorox. He was such a skinny person, and he liked to feel like a king in his own small kingdom, which is why he had a lot of rich persian rugs in the secret quarters upstairs next to the office, where there was a bed and a shower and a kitchen and lots of secret luxuries.

Margery is sitting in half of the desk chair, and I am sitting in the other half, because we are companions. Although sometimes she is a silly duchess.

Sometimes all we need is a good restorative.

Yesterday in the Medieval Latin workshop, we continued the account of the life of St. Lutgard, and apparently in like 1220, Saint John the Evangelist appeared to her in the form of an eagle, and stuck its beak into her mouth, and filled her with torrents of glorious sweet communion with the Lord (it is true. Medieval people had a really fucked-up view of the world, and mystics did a lot of outrageous things that one would not normally think to do).

And I thought, if an eagle just appeared and tried to do that to me, I would be like, "Damn, eagle, why you all up in my GRILL?" and I might try to pluck out its feathers if it kept trying to stick its beak in my mouth, because how the hell would I know it was Saint John the Evangelist? And that is why I am not a medieval saint, nor would I like to be, because you have to participate in a lot of fucked-up experiences like that.

And sometimes, as happened to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Mother Mary herself appears to you and squirts her breast-milk into your mouth like a serene fountain, and there is even a painting of it. If that happened to me, I would be like, "Girl, you put that shit BACK! You keep that shit to yourself! I am a VEGAN!" It is true.

Back in the olden times, people used to kill ostriches and other birds, and savagely pluck out their plumes, and wear them for decoration.

Also, people thought that Irish people wore nothing but a large unwashed blanket (or Irish Mantle) wrapped around them, and no underwear beneath.

If I had lived in the medieval or early modern times, I probably would have been a tapstress, or worked in an alehouse, and tried to avoid giving birth to lots of children. Although, if I lived back then in England I guess I would also be considered a Moor (since I am part black), or people might mistake me for a Gypsy, or an Egyptian, because people in England back then had a fucked-up conception of the world, and thought that Gypsies and Egyptians were the same thing, and that India and Africa were in the same place. It is true.

Last night I was explaining to someone why it is great to be naked in the privacy of your own home. "We are all naked on the inside," I said, "and plus, we were BORN naked." And then I paused, and thought for a minute, and said, "Well, we were also born with no teeth," and then my entire argument was negated.

Also I learned that over 1 in 4 pregnant women in Kentucky smokes.

Some cats are really interested in looking at people's naked bodies (like Tasty), but others just do not really care (like Margery).

But the real Margery Kempe (in the medieval times) was really concerned about other people's naked bodies, because once she was on a journey back from Prussia, and she was travelling with these poor people, and in the night they all encamped outside a city and took off their clothes (because that was just what they did) and were naked, and Margery Kempe was really uncomfortable, and she kept her clothes on.

Also she had nightmare visions about all manner of priests and holy men and devils exposing their male genitals to her, and it troubled her deeply.

Next quarter I get to take a class in which we read The Book of Margery Kempe in Middle English and I shall force Margery the cat to read it along with me, because it is her origin. Perhaps I will force her to listen to portions of it in the mornings before I reward her with a savoury seafood feast.

My brother and sister used to play this game where their names were Clarence and Penelope, except my sister was Clarence, and my brother was Penelope, because they did not know the proper gendered nature of the names, and my mom thought it was hilarious, and she laughed for a long time.

Sometimes I speak to Charles FitzGerald (my computer) as if he is my slave, and I force him to come along with me.

And that is all.

Cooked Chicken Legs

"Making sure our children have a quality education is a top priority," said George W. Bush in his speech last week.

"Oh, my foot," I said dismissively.

Sometimes appliances really just want to be let alone, so they can recuperate, and restore their energy, and powers. Sometimes when you think an appliance needs to be fixed (which is a drastic intervention in the life of something like a printer), it really just wants to be let alone for a while.

"I never tire of Black Sabbath," I said. In the privacy of my household, sometimes I sing along in a dire-sounding and demented Ozzy voice, and force Margery to participate with me, and even sing in her face.

"Let's gather together a harvest of GARBAGE!" I said to Margery, and we took out the trash together.

Then I tried to make her ROCK OUT with me to Queen, but she meowed at me in protest.

On a Flavor of Love clip, this broad was wearing a skintight pleather silver dress with frightening side cut-outs. "Girl, somebody is not your friend, who told you that was cute," I thought in a black-woman voice. It was also a tribute to Janine, who taught me that saying (once I was high, for I was smoking in my room for a spell, and I heard Janine say in the kitchen, "Somebody is not your friend, who told you that was cute," and I wrote it in my chronicle). And it is a good thing to say. Actually I think it a lot, like when I see certain things while walking around campus,

"You shall allow yourself to be rolled forward like a wheelchair," I said to my laundry-basket-on-wheels as I pushed it out of my room. And then I was a grim laundress.

In the olden times, laundresses were thought of as being sexually promiscuous, and people assumed they were prostitutes on the side, and abused their names a lot, and disparaged their virtue.

Well, when I ran down the stairs of my apartment, the stairwell smelled like cooked chicken legs, but then when I ran up the same stairs several minutes later they smelled like pepperoni pizza, and I was perplexed.

Haa, I went to and saw an article headline that said, "How full is your quiver?: In a new movement, Christians 'open their wombs to God'." "Oh, no!" I said, because it just sounded really frightening, and indeed it was, for it reminded me of religious home-schooled families we had known in the nineties.

Some are rabbis, and others are rabble-rousers.

Apparently manatees are very smart, and we should all respect them, and not catch them in our nets.

Sometimes Margery thinks that life is a great war, and all must take part.

And that is all.

Closets, and Places Unknowable (whoa, that sounds like an essay I would have to read about Queer Theory, except I made it up myself)

"Well, Saddam, that's why you shouldn't KILL," I said to Saddam when the verdict came up the other day. Not that capital punishment is any better, because in the end you still KILL, but that was not my main focus, because I like to talk to Saddam in a personal and reproving way as if I know him, and his nature. Although, like I have said before, I do think he might end up being secretly jolly if he was kept from weapons and chemicals and all kinds of power, but that does not excuse him, or his acts.

"Why must you hide in closets, and places unknowable?" I just said out loud to Margery.

I do not like the voices of robots. They are unsettling.

I saw my keys sitting on the stove and I thought, What if you baked a pie with keys in it as a festive joke?

I threw Margery's catnip mouse at her, but she just looked at it, and then looked away. "WHY won't you be enchanted by petty toys?" I demanded.

"Damn, Santorum has a lot of kids," I thought as I was watching his concession speech online, and cackling with a devilish glee. And on television the Santorum children were all weeping and trying to console one another, and I just felt bad for them, because their last name is SANTORUM.

Although you shouldn't be an asshole, and then be surprised when your name is vilified, and turned into that frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter which is the byproduct of anal sex.

Sometimes English grad students go out after class and drink pitchers of beer and talk about anality, and what it means, and how it functions in American culture today. Those are strange conversations.

Also, one should never buy the generic cheerios from Target, for they are nasty, and unpalatable, and not even fit for DOGS (except maybe that last part disparages dogs, and is not correct to say, for it implies that I think of dogs as somehow being lesser individuals than humans, and therefore their lives have less value, which is not true at all, although it does frighten me when some people dress up their dogs in little outfits, and outlandish get-ups. Often there are pictures of Tori Spelling and her dog with the dog all dressed up in a whole outfit, and shoes and accessories to match, and it looks really appalled at what its situation in life has come to, and miserable as well).

In our medieval Latin workshop last week we translated this selection from the Life of St. Lutgard (who was this 13 th-century Flemish saint), and it was all about this one episode in her life where she had a fever, and started sweating (and back then a fever was NOTHING to shake a stick at, for people DIED of fevers), and so she was like, "You know, I'll protect my life, and stay in bed during Matins" (which were the 2am prayers that the nuns of the convent had to do, and Lutgard was like a spiritual leader by then so she kind of was expected to go to them), but then this frightful voice appeared to her (it was the Lord) and was like, "Girl, you get your ass UP, and you GO to Matins!" and she was frightened, and quickly arose from her bed and rushed off to the church, for Matins had already begun.

But then at the doorway of the church appeared the figure of the bleeding Christ on the Cross, and it was rushing to meet her (I kind of imagining it levitating a few inches of the ground, like those fancy magnetic trains in places like Japan, and Germany, although incidentally those are also places we fought in World War II [is that a coincidence?]). And Lutgard was like, "Whoa, Christ," (and she probably also thought she could be hallucinating, for that is what can happen when you have a fever, especially if it is at 2 in the morning in a church), and then he took down his right arm from the cross and embraced Lutgard with it and pressed her mouth to the wound in his side (and it was the famous medieval motif of Christ offering the wound in his side as a BREAST to sinners, where he would be like, "Hey, guys, anybody want to drink blood and water from my wound?" in a creepy drug-peddler voice. It is true. I saw paintings of it), and she drank of the precious sweetness (ugh, that was what the text said) and was magically restored from then on. And everyone in the medieval Latin workshop was like, "Wow, that is a really fucked-up story," but of course medieval mystical and devotional literature is FULL of fucked-up stories, and images.

And after class I did an imitation of Saint Lutgard pulling away and being like, "Damn, Christ, why you gotta be so NASTY?" and not accepting the drink of water and blood from his side. And plus, I am vegan. Although in the medieval times people did fucked-up shit, and doctors tasted their patients' urine in an effort to diagnose what ailed them, which is ALSO a nasty thing to do, and for birth control some broads resorted to vaginal fumigation with special potent herbs, which could not have been pleasant, and also there was a lot of infanticide.

Haa, that is all.

The Seafood of the World

Margery often thinks she is an Imperial.

She loves the Ramones, and her fur smells like baked goods.

Tonight I kept addressing Margery as a Gay Escort (I had been reading the news a lot in the preceding hours, and there was that whole thing about the Evangelist from the Religious Right who bought meth, and the Gay Escort, who talked of going to the gym at like 5 in the morning in this interview I watched), and saying, "Margery, you are a Gay Escort!" and laughing hysterically, because she just kind of pretended not to notice.

Supposedly the seafood of the world, or at least that which we eat, will be gone by mid-century. It is true. I have been worried about that for awhile, because I have a vegan guilt that I buy Margery canned seafood (like Ocean Whitefish and TUNA, or the Savory Seafood Feast, because that is what she LIKES, and she does not like the fowl, or the beasts of the field, by which I mean the cows), and thus contribute to the deaths of the fishes, it grieves me that I am deliberately contributing to the destruction of our great Earth by buying cat food with fish in it, but otherwise Margery would not eat, and end up like Nicole Richie, or some other skinny-ass broad. And that is my vegan dilemma.

The other day I was frolicking upon the shores of Lake Michigan, because it was sunny weather and good for a frolic, and I saw two very large dead fish, with their eyes gone, and holes in their bodies, but I was not surprised because that is a sight I got very much used to on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland. But dead birds and squirrels still freak me out, and appall me, and disturb the rest of my day when I see them lying on or beside the sidewalk. But Margery does not eat birds (by which I mean chicken, or turkey), or squirrels for that matter, so I am not directly contributing to their deaths. Still, it is a grievous thing to see.

"Heed the fire," I said to Margery when I opened the oven. And she obeyed.
Sometimes I used to worry that Tasty or Motor might harbour a secret Hansel-and-Gretel complex, and leap into the oven without warning when I opened it, so it was something I guarded vigilantly against, when I was making Tater Tots, or a glorious squash.

"I've been nothing but good to you," I just said to Margery, and laughed. Although sometimes I make her do rap-arms when it is late at night and I am being a secret rapper in the privacy of my apartment whiel finishing an assignment, and I am not sure if that exactly counts as good.

Some people do not heed the scales of justice.

Heed is a good word, I have decided. I must bring it further into my vernacular.

In class there was a debate over whether cats go through Lacan's mirror stage.

And then at the very end of class (when we were all quite ready to leave) this broad suddenly burst out, "But what is a woman? What is a VAGINA? What is a UTERUS?" and we all just looked her and thought, "Whoa, dude, we just want to leave," but she ranted for a good while longer, and we were like, 'Dude, this is crazy. Is this what grad school is?"

And that is all.

Postfeminism and the Souls of Computers

My lungs have been burnished by the fire.

There is a great good afoot.

"Girl, yo ass is FOUL," I just said to Margery. Haaa. Sometimes I just amuse myself horribly.

Oh how I love to be jolly. One of my professors (she is a medievalist) has a chapel built in her house, and she worships there with her cats, whose names are Felicitas and Oxymoron and Conundrum. Also she wears fantastic red robes with jeweled she-bobs all over them. I am not even kidding. I had seen black women and Indian women wear such robes before, but never a white woman.

"Oh, Margery, your eyes are so soulful," I just told her. Once when she madly ate all her dry food in a day, I was tempted for a split second to call her Largery, but then I felt bad, and didn't. And plus, she is a small but hearty cat.

On Friday night I smoked with a Bolivian whose hair is just the same as mine, except he does not use as much conditioner as me so his is more untamed, and he knows a lot of things about the souls of computers because he has devoted his life to physics and mathematics and quarks and other particles, and we talked for like an hour about computers, and their human attributes, and the behaviours they exhibit.

One thing I do not understand is why computers have to be told things in codes, and why you have to write codes to get the computer to obey your will.

At one point I said, "Well, you know, sometimes I suspect that Charles FitzGerald is trying to connect to the Internet behind my back," and he paused and said, "Uh, that's called MICROSOFT!" and I said, "NO, it's just that my computer thinks he knows what my will is, and he is trying to be helpful, but he is not always RIGHT!" And it is true.

My computer's older brother is Clarence, who belongs to my sister, and is a temperamental 2-year-old laptop who has had a lot of misfortunes (like once he got pushed off a desk by accident, and to him it felt like being pushed off a very tall building, for it was also a very tall desk). So I cannot really blame him, because things like that are not his fault, and probably contribute to the willful things that he does.

I try to treat Charles FitzGerald with more responsibility, and care, and so far I have been quite good to him, as he has been to me. Except there was that time when he refused to access the Internet for awhile, but that was not his fault (I thought an evil spirit had entered into him, as the computer people on the phone had told me, but it turned out that he only needed his modem turned off, and unplugged from the surge protector, and then plugged back in and turned on after 20 seconds, and then he was right as rain).

My father was the one who healed him, over the phone, as he has also healed Clarence many times as well (although sometimes he has to heal Clarence in person, because Clarence is of a difficult temperament).

Charles FitzGerald's name came to me in the summer, when I was high, so I wrote it down, and from then on I was certain of it, and it suits him well.

"I am glad I do not have to lay eggs," I just thought for no reason.

The problem is, I am still trying to figure out what postfeminism is, because I have to give a presentation on it on Wednesday, and I'm just like, "Dude, what the fuck IS postfeminism, and why won't Microsoft Word recognize it as a word? Is Microsoft Word behind the TIMES?" and so that is the theme of my presentation, but dressed up in polite academic language, and structure. But only the first part of that question is the theme behind my presentation, and not the part about Microsoft Word, although we'll probably bitch about that before class, or after.

And now I am getting a pretty good idea but postfeminism is, but I still think it is a strange and unnecessary designation, because Third Wave feminism or postcolonial feminism would work just as well, and be less prone to misinterpretation.

Margery just willfully knocked a library book of recent critical essays on Titus Andronicus off my table, and looked at me defiantly. She behaves like Tasty in that respect, as they both like to challenge gravity and its consequences, and do not always believe in it.

"Yes," I said as I poured the last drop of coffee into my mug. "Every drop is an ELIXER."
Elixer is a good word to use. I have incorporated it into my vernacular over the last few months, and I use it a lot.

Haa, that is all.