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Brokedown Girl

Mood: Ever-changing
Drinking: Water to melt the vicodin

I was twelve the first time it happened.

Like millions of other twelve-year-old girls, I dreamed of owning a horse of my very own. I would have even accepted a pony. What I got was a donkey.

His name was Jackie. He lived for years on the farm of some unfamiliar relatives. I ended up at their house, along with my family, for one of those generic end-of-the-year holiday celebrations that bring all the unfamiliar relatives together, the overly-attentive uncles, awkward cousins, and busybody aunts with their sweet corn casseroles and green jello desserts.

Being the loner tomboy type of twelve-year-old girl, I wandered out to the barn to inspect the herd of lumpy sheep and long-eared goats and hide from a blue-haired and frightening great aunt. And that’s where I met Jackie the donkey, lumpy and long-eared and bored out of his fuzzy little burro brain.

Somehow I convinced my dad that Jackie wouldn’t be as much of a “hayburner” as a horse would be. He was smaller, for one thing. Almost pony-ish. And somehow my dad convinced our cousin-twice-removed Martin to part with his much-ignored donkey in exchange for two tens and a five.

And that’s how it happened, the first time I broke my arm. Because donkeys are really nothing at all like horses, and Jackie had no intention of making my equine dreams come true.

I’d try to gallop off into the sunset and he’d plant his tiny hooves, do a little fancy bunny hop with his back legs, lower his stubby neck and whoop! Off I’d slide, right between those rabbit ears. Which was great fun, in and of itself.

Yep, it was all fun and donkey games until the day our friend Nathan wanted to pony up and ride double. I hopped on first and my mom hefted Nathan’s bulky bottom up into the air. He had barely touched down when Jackie decided he’d had enough and showed us all a new trick ? a very fine impersonation of a real bucking bronco.

Nathan flew right back off the way he came and immediately set off howling.

I hung on for a few more seconds before sliding off Jackie’s other side and slamming my shoulder into the ground much harder than I ever thought possible.

My first broken bone was just a cracked humerus requiring only a sling and the indignity of wearing button-up flowered pajama shirts to school. My mom took over pigtail duty and I remember only a few aspirin and a quietly persistent achiness.

This second time around isn’t nearly as cute. Boy isn’t very skilled at ponytails, although he does try hard. And I’ve got more than one bottle of doctor-prescribed painkillers and plenty of pain to kill.

There was no bucking burro, either. Just me and a four-wheeled ATV and an unfortunately placed sand dune.

Here’s how it happened: Boy, LeeLoo, and I went down to Pismo the weekend before last to meet up with my sister, her just-home-from-Iraq husband, and their marshmallow of a hound dog, Yoda.

The plan involved a lot of food, fun, and four-wheeling on the Oceano dunes. It did NOT involve me snapping my left wrist in an unnatural manner whilst hitting a mogul kind of, um, fast and hard.

But here I am, a one handed typist, with my ulna and radius bones broken at the wrist joint.

Tomorrow I’m going in for surgery to become part bionic woman as they insert a metal plate to hold my wrist together. I’m hoping this means future fun times in airport security lines!

In the meantime I’m trying to come up with a good technique for covering the keyboard with just five fingers. Oh, and I’ve got a skull and roses sling on order. No pajama shirts this time.

Wish me luck, internet!

-Lo, who got not only riding lessons, but an actual horse out of the last broken bone mishap. Wonder what I’m gonna win this time?

every day is a cliché


every day is a cliché

the things you do to keep hope alive
to keep yourself from falling
to keep her satisfied.
the things you do are worse
than you expected
and far more dull.

every newborn morning
comes your chance
to make a run for it until
the clock beats its ringing hammer
against the drum inside your ear
singing: “No more dreams,
bring no more dreams.”
and every morning
you wake up
and fall for it.

the floor devours your feet
the mirror’s horrified
to see you. the toothbrush
shrinks away in terror from your teeth.
your daily routine is blinding
you to what you have become.

once you were a denizen
of imaginary continents.
once you sang an aria
in a papier mache dress. once
you were a pirate. a bareback
ballerina. you were anything
and everything
all the time and all at once.
you had impeccable timing
for making believe.

but once upon a time runs out
and then
a paler version
takes your place
fingers your pulse
changes the dress code
talks you safely away
from the ledge and further
flights of fancy.

Her logic is immaculate:
“You need a marketable skill.”
“Get a degree. And a real job.”
“Poetry doesn’t pay the bills.”
“After the man comes the house. And the dog.”

and it might be wrong
but it soon feels right
and this is how
these things become
the things you do
to keep yourself
from falling…

-Lo, who wonders if dreams are stunted by safety nets.

That Brokeback Got Me Good

Mood: Exhausted
Drinking: Definitely should be

Finally saw Heath & Jake. God, what a beautiful movie. I’m still caught in its spell. Had to sit in the darkened theater and compose myself during the credits so I could see to walk out safely.

If you haven’t seen the cowboys yet, you’re missing out!

That is all.

-Lo, who went location scouting all over the city for an upcoming Patti Monaghen photo shoot all day and was already beat before those brokeback boys did me in.

Boots Are Made …for Watching

Mood: Forgetful
Drinking: Done for the day

You know that there’s a new cinepoem on site, right? Did I forget to mention that?

Every time we finish a new one, I think, “Now this, this one is my favorite.”

But this time is different. Boots is special. She was an accident, actually. The unexpected child. See, M and I decided to put together three cinepoems for submission to film festivals. We chose Object, Slow Roast, and the not-yet-finished Alice is my middle name. But we needed something to string the three poems together. A transition piece.

So I started writing about a journey — a long and winding road, and then Boots quickly took shape. And the more time I spent with this little four-part poem, the more I fell in love with her.

When M and I went out to shoot the video, we were surprised with a glorious day, and the shoot that we thought would be “bare bones” (we didn’t even take our usual crew along) turned into something more spectacular. We decided then and there that Boots was more than a transition piece. It was its very own cinepoem, with its own two legs. So we edited the festival version, and then we went back and stitched together a solo version.

And here’s the part with the secret confession: Boots is the first cinepoem to make me cry. Trust me, that’s a damn hard thing to do. When you write these things, and you plan the shoot, and you stand in front of the camera, and you sit in the editing room for hours, it’s kinda hard to be surprised by what you see. It’s even harder to actually cry about it.

So if that doesn’t sell you on seeing it, nothin’ will.

So. I’m very proud to introduce Boots Are Made, playing now at a Cinepoems page near you.

-Lo, who’s a sucker for the third chapter. the one with the rabbit trail.