29 April 2007

Some Things I Realized I Love

Recently i've been feeling so healthy, and happy and calm. it's hard to explain why exactly. yoga and good green tea possibly. must be the sun too. and the fact that we're done with all of our mfa formalities. and also, that i have an apartment in chicago now. and i ordered the new feist album. thank god, the build-up of this year has passed like a spring storm. now i just have to finish my japanese class and do well on the exam and i'm straight.

Here are a few things i (re-)realized recently i really like:

1. The weight of certain languages. i really love the way japanese--and italian--feel in my mouth, the way certain words have a certain vibration and strength, they way some words feel on my tongue, lingering on my lips, like a sweet powder. it's both sensual and metaphysical to me when i speak those languages.

2. Asian and latina girls. i don't know why. i've pretty much been emotionally opposed to dating asian--usually, japanese--shorties for as long as i can remember, but something has happened in the past 2 years that i can't quite figure out. if desire has biblical roots, then it must be part of my intelligent design.

3. My body. i know that might sound strange, but i feel like it's super important. and recently, since i spend more time outside and i'm eating more greens, fruit, nuts and juice than i did in the winter, i've started to love the experience of being inside my body. i think human anatomy is one of the greatest miracles of evolution.

4. Soba. i bought this great frozen japanese soba noodles, and after i added a nice miso base, and added okonomiyaki sauce, it was like something out of the jetsons.

5. Other people's laughter. it's a contagion, and i can see why comedians become addicted to it. it's not just that it feels good to be funny, it's that it feels good to be a light source, to be the origin of human flames, to compose moments where laughter is the song.

6. Sex. i forget sometimes, and then i remember and i go, oh yeah, god that stuff's great.

7. Health. i don't take it for granted. but everytime i go for a run, i feel like i'm giving my body love. everytime i meditate or do yoga, i feel like my body is purring. and everytime i eat something that connects me back to nature, i think my body celebrates. it's a strange thought but it make sense: one of the best ways to overcome your alienation in the marxist species-being construct, is to eat foods that remind you where you came from. somehow, i feel less fragmented socially and less ostracized structurally when i eat food that comes from the earth, it's like my food becomes a complex synthesis of memory, a retrieved vitamin source for my lost origins. and sometimes, we really need that.

8. Calmness. yeah.

9. Forgiveness.

27 April 2007

Stuck in a Moment

It's so strange. . . well, for me, it's not, but. . . tonight has been just like 1,001 nights. my frame narrative subsumes all these little minnie narratives until i've forgotten what the frame narrative was. it was like this:

I was fucking around online, and thought i'd go to the website of this japanese singer i really like--遊びセクス--when i thought, hm, i should compare the shipping costs of having this cd sent overseas from asia with the costs of having it sen via amazon, so then, i'm on the amazon website, and before you know it, i'm looking at new ds lite videogames, rpg, yoshi's island, final fantasy 3 reviews that i've already read before, and then somehow i ended up looking up anime dvd's, which led retroactively to manga, and before i knew it, i found my way back to music, and there was asobi seksu's eponymously named album, and sure enough, it was cheaper. well, i was about to buy that, and then the amazon add said, spend, i dunno, 18 more dollars jackson, and shipping is free. well, i thought, that's not alot, so then i took a peak at other cd's, and i found feist's new album that comes out 1 may, and i thought, okay, i wanted this anyway, and i fucking luv her shit, so i'll just buy this and that should do it, but because amazon is selling it so cheap, i was short by like 2 dollars for free shipping, so then, i ended up back where i started, video games, anime, lit magazines, manga, and then, after looking up legal drug, i realized, i really want to order issue # 2 of that one manga, what was it called? i couldn't remember so i plopped down in front of my vent, near my other manga, freebies from my hachette internship and japanese books, and before i knew it, i forgot ALL ABOUT THE WHOLE POINT OF SITTING THERE, and i ended up reading two short stories by junot diaz i'd never touched before, "edison, new jersey" and "boyfriend," and it was only when i was flossing in the bathroom, that i realized, oh shit, that manga's called "eternal sabbath," so then once i was finished, i came back to my computer, my order in waiting, was still, well, waiting, to be ordered, and then i found a 2nd issue of eternal sabbath, and FINALLY placed my goddamn order. that has got to be the most complicated things i've ever done online, besides try to send a complete stranger porn in saudi arabia.

There's not doubt in my mind that Scheherazade would have been proud of me.

25 April 2007

All Done with the MFA Reading, Motherfuckers!

God i'm glad the mfa thesis reading is done. i'm gonna sleep good tonight. peace and props to all the writers and poets that made it happen. we done, and in 2 weeks, we out.

24 April 2007

Miso Swimming Pool

Sometimes i wish i could swim in a big bowl of miso soup, and, you know, when my legs got tired, i could just float on a giant piece of tofu and stuff.

21 April 2007

God Bless the Nihonjin

Well, my birthday ended up being really nice. at first, i had my doubts: lynne and colby left early cuz i was late, like always--the waiter at the thai restaurant I ate at for dinner disappeared. On top of that, kpg and d were out of town, Silpa, Beth, Brian and Ed, Shero, Little Shoes, Cyu totally bailed on me, T had to write a paper, K never responded, Lily didn't respond to my call, Monica was still working, Coleen and Ava had family stuff to attend do, so pretty much i got ditched by the entire creative writing department. I'm not gonna lie. It really hurt my feelings. Like a lot. I know I have my flaws like every other person, but I'm a good person + I care about people in my life a lot. I just don't get it.

But, then, in the middle of my pity party (can you fucking blame me?), thankfully, Emi and Shiga sensei stopped by, and we had a really nice time talking and hanging out, drinking japanese beer and geishas. then, we came back to my place, drank some ochya, ate snacks, talked and listened to music for many hours. it just goes to show: there are people you think are your friends, people who actually are your friends and then there are people who surprise you with their friendship. i'm so grateful that today was a beautiful day. it felt nice to walk in the sun, i loved my nap, my mum's care package was hella sweet, talking to em made me happy, i was stoked to wear my new shoes today and i'm grateful i was in great company tonight at noma's. today was a good day.

19 April 2007

It's On People! It's On!

I think i found the perfect place in chicago. it's right on humboldt park, 2 blocks from the chicago bus line, within biking/ dedicated ghandi walk-a-thon walking distance to wicker park w/o being inside the circus either. and it looks like i'll have my own bedroom AND office--hells yeah. also, my future roommate sounds amazing. she's an illustrator and graphic designer, loves photography, traveling, has two 猫ちゃんs, likes good indie music, spends alot of time at home working, she's super open minded, chill, smart, funny, intriguing and obsessed with japanese culture, just like i am, but, um, you know, for more narcissistic reasons. i think this is gonna work out wel.

Also: in my incessant roomie hunt on craig's list, i've become friends with AT LEAST five new women, all of them, sound cool* and i think i'm gonna kick it with them once i make the big move. i'm gonna have new friends, which is great, and they're my age too, which is even better.

And: i'm gonna be working some on this online hip-hop magazine that i have mad respect for, which will be cool.* so i'll get to reveiew new singles and cd's, and maybe write some feature pieces and discuss some of the cultural aspects of hip-hop. this is really exciting for me cuz i only have a small--but excellent--rep. of hip-hop cd's, so hopefully i'll learn alot.

Then: i bought tickets to go see AIR at the riviera with my magical friend Em, in early may, so that should be a sick sick show. i've never seen them live even though they're one of my fave electronic groups of all time.

Of course: the new macbeth shoes i ordered, came today, and i'm fucking ecstatic.

Even better: for my b-day, i told me mum just to send me lots of 和食、and goddamit, that's exactly what she did! when i opened up the box, there was a small pile of:

Miso shiru
Rice crackers
Japanese chocolate. . . yes, it is really different. it's smaller and helps you with your math Homework.
Good shrimp ramen
Spicy drired squid
Wasabi peas
Much more
Okonomi yaki

To me, this is comfort food, especially the miso and the kabayaki.

The sweet taste of grape juice: yes, i have been knocking down the grape juice, it's true, but actually, i turned in the last of my forms for my MFA thesis and i just received the okay from the HBIC, so my thesis should be all done! that's fucking huge man. what an enormous relief. now, at my leisure i'll finish the 3rd section, in the next few weeks.

18 April 2007

The Cutest Couple

I saw the cutest couple today. they were having a pic-nic on the grass, right near main building. at times, they sat right next to each other and talked, and at other times, they did their own thing, he'd wander on the sidewalk for awhile, only to come back afterwards to be with her again.

The thing was, they were ducks. and they were in love.

14 April 2007

Ravi Shankar Concert

I felt so high after listening to Ravi Shankar and Anoushka play the sitar tonight. i was both calm and turned on. in the 3rd row, it was a blessing to be that close to such a legend, and see him and his daughter play the raga together like children dancing on a playground.

12 April 2007


that's the only word to describe this weather. . . the 3 inches of slushy rain, my wet feet that stayed wet all day until i separately dried every article of clothing using the hand dryer in the men's locker room . . . the purgatorial gray . . . my anabolic craving for sun.

10 April 2007

Adios Ayer

As i walked around my hood for an hour tonight to get some fresh air, listening to music, including jose padilla's "adios ayer," i suddenly realized that--barring some nasty power play by william--i'm only gonna be in sobe for another 6-7 weeks. that's fucking insane. and to think a year ago, i left for new york in 5 weeks, and now, in 6 i'll probably be leaving for Chicago again. it's just so hard to believe, that's all. it feels like just a few months ago we were the newbies, trying to figure out who we were as the 2nd years flaunted their shit at us and we snarled and spat on the ground. and now, we have only 3 more weeks of classes and then we graduate and we're all done. and the world continues, like in la peste.

09 April 2007

I Think I'm Addicted to Anime

or at least yakitate japan. how do i know i'm addicted? i can't find any more episodes on youtube past episode 21 (at least none with english subtitles) and once i realized that, i got sorta depressed.

04 April 2007

I Won the Sparks Prize

I can't fucking believe it. i won the sparks prize. i really did, i won it. i keep telling myself this over and over again cuz i don't really believe it. for those of you not at notre dame, the sparks prize is a competition open to 2nd year MFA students in notre dame's creative writing program and the winner gets 20k and has no committments except one public reading of his bip (book-in-progress) in january. it's the sweetest deal ever and i never thought i'd really win it cuz it's so unpredictable.

Unofficially, i'm planning on moving back to chicago, and coming down for some of the Lula readings, some of the guest fiction readings, and some of the football games. i most def. want to have a stronger presence on campus than the past 2 winners--no disrespect to them at all. and i think chicago is a perfect compromise: it's close enough for me to still be part of notre dame but far enough that i get breathe in urban culture, eat thai food more often, and--imagine this--possibly date again.

Perhaps even cooler than this prize, is just the love and encouragement from my fellow writers and friends. when coleen called me, i thought i was having an out-of-body experience. no, for real. i think i almost stepped out of my body i was so stoked. coleen's excitement was so touching, i almost started crying right there. and then when some of my peeps wrote me, and told me "jackson, you deserve this," god man, that moved me so much, that almost meant more than anything else. i mean, if they approve of the prize in any way, then i feel like, hey, maybe i do deserve this as much as anyone else.

Today is the antithesis of yesterday: yesterday, it was 73, i was wearing a t-shirt, and i found out the JET program rejected me. today, i was wearing my winter coat, it was 37 degrees, and i found out i won the sparks prize--the complete reciprocal image of yesterday in every possible way. wednesday has always been the day of change for me, a period of transition between energy fields. but i enver expected it to work out THIS way. not in a million years. a humdulilah.

02 April 2007

No JET Assignment for You, Hoppa!

I'm in shock.

I just found out that i got rejected from the fucking JET program. i can't fuckig believe it. for those of you that don't know my work history, i just got rejected from a program that sends fresh-off-the-press college graduates without any teaching experience to teach in japan, and my cv includes:

1. Teaching english to middle school kids in burkina faso (peace corps)

2. Teaching creative writing to sophmores and juniors (notre dame)

3. Teaching adult literacy to mexican-american students ranging in age between 17 and 70

4. Tutoring emergency english to cuban refugees (IRCO)

5. Tutoring black and hispanic kidz in humboldt park in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and creating an international culture club and a creative writing afterschool program (americorps)

6. Tutoring college students in ESL, English, writing and french at the information and academic support center (PSU)

7. Tutoring literacy to low income kidz in seattle (Catholic Community Services)

8. Oh, and i'll have a MFA in 6 weeks (with a 3.97 gpa from notre dame)

9. Add to this: i'm part japanese and have never been to japan, i have family there i've never met and i have tons of cross-cultural experience. . .and it's not like i went in wearing jeans and a t-shirt. i wore a brand new gray and blue pinstriped suit with a new blue tie, new black shoes and i answered their questions (some of them, peevish and accusatory) really well, with poise, humor and honesty. . . and they fucking dropped me. Ageistic assholes!

Man, i'm not even sad. well, actually, no, i am. but more than anything, i'm fucking pissed. i'm totally pissed off. i can't believe they rejected me, they didn't even put me on the alt list, they cold-out rejected me, and i've GOT TO BE ONE OF THE MORE QUALIFIED APPLICANTS. i know people who did the JET program, and they didn't have any teaching experience at all. god, what a fucking nightmare man.

In a weird sort of way, though, i'm relieved. when i got my lip pierced, i sort of felt like i was making some life-changing decision that would endanger my integration into japanese culture. the japanese are hella xenophobic, it's true, and when you're outside you're always outside, but i knew that getting my lip pierced made it that much harder to belong even superficially. and yes, i was willing to go along with that anyway. but now i don't have to worry about that. yes, i still want to go to japan real bad and see my family. hopefully someday i will. but not this way.

And the other feeling that's been racing through my veins the past 3 months is: as much as i'd love to spend some time in japan, i'm not going to write that much if i'm there cuz JET volunteers generally work their ass off, and i know that if i was teaching, i'd work really hard. plus, i almost didn't apply to the JET program cuz i was concerned it would distract me from writing, from submitting, from ongoing projects, stuff liek that. i've been worried since AWP that it woulc disconnect me from this culture of writing i'm now part of. well, fuck, i don't have to worry about that *laughing.*

You know, i can deal with this. i mean, i'm still kinda shocked and i think it's kinda riDICulous i didn't get a JET assignment. but fuck, what can i do except:

Keep writing
Travel when i can
Devote myself to becoming a better fiction writer
Publish my novel
Help people
Yadda yadda

I know it doesn't look like it right now since i've gotten nothing but rejections since the year started, but 2007 is gonna be a good year, i just know it. i'm just waiting for the universe to agree with me.

We out,


My Apartment is Falling Apart!

No, it's true. all the kitchen rugs are mysteriously sopping wet, even when i don't use the kitchen sink, my ceiling leaks sometimes, i've never had to buy so many light bulbs in my entire life. word. one time, i put a new light bulb in my kitchen light, and it literally blew out the next time i turned it on, as in, five second later after i tested it. and yesterday, both my desk light AND my kitchen light went out. this house is slowly falling apart at the seams. it's been really good to me, but i'm also gonna be glad to get out before it collapses into a pile of mush.

01 April 2007

Surreal Night

One of the strangest nights i've had in awhile. to begin:

We all made it to Coleen's, which was totally rad. the food was absolutely delicious, i drank good red wine despite my better judgment and then talked with Marcella about dialects in spanish and turkish, the way one spanish-speaking country says i have to catch the bus now, and how another spanish-speaking country hears "i have to go fuck the bus now."

A better example is the difference between ankara turkish and azeri turkish: true story: an azeri friend of a friend told me how when he was in turkey, he told his friends in azeri turkish that he wanted to go to bed, but since the regional varieties are quite different, the turks heard "i want to fuck someone now" and yes, it always come back to that. anyway, talking to Marcella in spanish, i realized how bad my spanish has become. not that it was ever great, but at least when i was teaching literacy to mexican-american niños, i FELT like i was speaking spanish pretty well. no mas my friend. no mas. later i had a good conversation with Eva about semiotics and freud, but not the pretentious kind that ph.d students have at bbq's and at kegger's, we were just saying that we thought freud self-projected and basically didn't understand the sexuality of little girls, and then we talked about how emergencies creates clarity of speech, which is true, and how when she had to tell the doctor about her apendicitis in anjer, and when i had to tell the gendarmes about a burglary in montréal, our french was greatly simplified, our language, almost perfect.

It also felt really good too to play piano at coleen's. i kinda felt like no one can really understand me without hearing me play music that i write, it's like looking at someone without hearing him speak. at least for me it is. and though i don't necessarily think people will care less or more about me after i played, still, i feel like they were forced to get my composite, which feels similar to knowing, even if someone rejects one of your manuscripts, that at least, they read all of it. and i wanted to play for coleen cuz i know it makes her happy. she was sweet, and hugged me, even kissed me on the cheek, i think she had tears in her eyes. she's been getting emotional with me recently cuz she's starting to get sad about the fact we're al leaving. that touches me alot. this is the end of the sane part of the night. now shit gets crazy.

So Marcella practically pleaded with me to go with her to the oyster bar. now, i'm not a fan of that place: there's 3 floors of lameness instead of one, the jukebox is backlogged, i pretty much suck at pool, and i don't smoke. but i went since she seemed pretty intent on it. but how do i get there? i drive with Marcella and Pablo, and i'm thinking, this is so strange. he's like the novelistic superfluous man in this program for as long as i can remember, and all of a sudden, he and i are cracking jokes about how drunk Marcella is, which she denies, though she keeps asking me if she has lipstick on her teeth, and i have to tell her no, at least threre separate times. possibly related to this, she says "Jackson you a genius" and i ask her what she's talking about and she says "you play piano, you write, you speak many languages," "so does pablo" i say, and then she says "you can do so many things. . . oh," switching to pablo, "you too," then pablo says "No. Too late." finally we get there, and on the second floor, there are 20 people in the biology department, and Marcella re-introduces me to half of them, most of them seem uninterested, a few stick around and chat, or ask me about my tattoos. here's one pic of us before Marcella introduced me to her biology friends for the second time:

Eventually, i talk to one hawaiian shorty who's interesting, eye-flirtatious and perceptive. we talk about the big island v. the small island. i try telling her that one of the most liberating things i ever experienced is when i moved to a village without mirrors, how as an american, we are the most self-scrutinizing people in the world. we're always trying to be more attractive, wealthier, stronger, funnier, better dressed. and look at self-help? it's a multi-billion dollar industry predicated on our inability to love our lives as they are. but in a tiny african village without mirrors or enough money for people to care about things like fashion, deodorant, sexiness, self-improvement, you are liberated from yourself. you are free like a child before the great fall of morality. she didn't totally appreciate what i was saying. she was very nice, but wasn't buying it. she kept pointing out how metrosexual i am, and she's right of course, but this liberation i was talking about, it was mental first and foremost, and though i don't claim to have it, i know that for a matrix second, i did, and that changes something inside of me. this is when she started looking around at other people, and i realized the window had closed. soon, it occurred to me she was with the guy with a pitcher who was circulating the 2nd floor. i didn't want her anyways, i though, you can have her, i was just talking, which is true. but she has flirty eyes and i think he knows.

Then shero and i played pool. he won after i knocked the 8 ball in, which is just like me. i liked my come-from-behind momentum though while it lasted.

Then, shero and i walked in the rain and he asked me if i was his friend and i told him he was but that i was waiting for him to forgive me for asking him about l'affaire Silpa, and he said he hadn't, and this time, we had a civil exchange of ideas about that, and so he called silpa and said good night. so now i'm walking into the "library," a bar i've never wanted to be inside of, even once i was leaving. eventually i find pablo, he's standing by himself. i talk to him. he says, you better go talk to her. fuck, i think. on the dance stage she's dancing and doing these crazy moves with her feet, kicking to the side. once i go up to her, she hugs me, and the guy that was dancing with her pats me on the shoulder like, you can have man, she's too crazy for me, and walks away. we dance for a little while. i can tell she wants me to spin her, so i do even though i think it's kind cheesy to do that to bad 80's muzak. i make sure she doesn't fall off the stage. and then, she asked me if i knew where the bathroom was, and i mean, i have no idea, i've never been there before, i only came cuz i told her i would, and i'm pretty sure my students from last year are everywhere and i pretend not to see them. i hope they're marvelously drunk and delirious with barlust. she disappears. i dance by myself. i'm super comfortable with this. and then a good reggaeton song comes on. i get real happy. i dance. i look over at pablo. he's just standing there, kinda thinking. i sorta hope Marcella comes back soon cuz this shit is danceable. ah, she doesn't. Pablo says good bye, hands me my satchel that he was watching for me. finally, they put on "the piano man," turn on the lights, and i'm like, all right, i've got to get the fuck out of here. but i wanted to make sure she had a way to get home. then i run into the hawaiian girl with her now-obvious-boyfriend. she still looks cute which is impressive cuz dim-lighting makes alot of people look good who aren't, but i wasn't really thinking of her sexually before, okay, maybe a little, but now, i'm like, shit, this is really weird, and i ask her if she's seen marcella, and she says, oh, your girlfriend is kinda of crazy, and i'm like, oh no, she's not my girlfriend, i just met her tonight, and she says, oh, wow, okay, well, she's over there, and then i see her, she's in a circle of people, all swaying and singing along to the piano man, thanks i tell her, then i walk over to marcella, tap her shoulder, she hugs me again, i say, okay, well, you take--and then she's like no, no, no, no, Jackson, no, come on, so i join the circle, i sway, i sing, almost like it a little, the white guy to my right says hablas español? más o menos, i reply, pero no fluidamente, he looks disappointed, the asian guy next to marcella, shakes my hand, tells me spanish is his maternal tongue, i say cool, we sway, sing, and then i feel like marcella wants to go home with me, maybe i'm wrong, but i keep asking her, so, do you have a ride home, i just wanna make sure, and she says, oh, don't worry about it, i'll take a taxi, even though all of her friends are there, and they have cars, and they're driving home, and finally one of her friends takes pity on her, and then i hug her, tell her to have a good night, and i walk home and now it's 4:36 in the morning and all i wanna do is eat chocolate cake and sleep until the early afternoon.

My ears are ringing like mad + I'm proud of myself for turning down some action. It's been a while since I've gotten laid, but I can wait longer.