The death of a moon cowboy

I am a somewhat-youth with ideas and thoughts and too many dreams that sometimes overflow as these little dribblings from my fingertips. I guess you can try to collect and capture them.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The general state of things

The weather of each day is generally starting to improve; we've got upwards of 70 degree weather and all that snow that Mount Timpanogas was showing has already melted away--though it did take a week or so. I've got this glassy office window view, right there looking up at the mountain, but I'm all climate-controlled and barricaded by double-paned windows, and so it seems sort of alien to me to even look out there at all the cars passing by and flocks of women with their single, double, and triple joggers as they speedwalk right past me, right before my eyes, up the slight little hill and onto somewhere else. And I've got work to do. And writing to do. And I'm behind on all my schoolwork. And readings. I had to ask my fiction teacher--Dr. Bruce Jorgensen, an amazingly intellectual older man with a large head and these staring spells where he lectures while apparently studying the clock--for an extension for a story. It's just brief extension, only until tomorrow morning before 9 AM. I have this story idea about a tomato trucker and a deer, but I don't know if it will work.

I'm so self-centered lately--that is, I suppose I'm alway self-centered, but with school and work and all this stuff, I'm just beyond reach. It's so awful, coming home multiple nights each week where Amy has already put Jarom and Bella to bed--and not to mention how to rarely I even get to see Amy. Tonite she's going to Kathy's house and she and Kathy and Carrie and (?) are going to engage in a fun-filled all-nighter girls' night of scrapbooking. So that leaves me with Jarom and Bella; we're going to get some time. Not sure yet what we'll do.

Jarom and Bella both have night terrors. It's a very interesting problem. Jarom's are worse than Bella's, and seemingly more traumatizing. He wakes up crying and shouting things--last night's were "I don't want to!" and "But I love you Daddy!"--and can't be woken up. So last night I take him into the kitchen to try and wake him up with pots and pans (sounds brutal I know, but I was desperate, and I now know that trying to wake him up is worthless, so I won't try anymore), and nothing works. It wasn't his worst. The poor kid. He's so smart; he's in preschool now; he went this morning. It's twice a week. He's got homework, and he comes home all boisterous and excitable. We might get Bella to go too, to a different class. I know she would love it.

I just finished reading Frankenstein. Sure, I read it for class, but sometimes being prompted to read something is good motivation. It's fascinating. Written by an eighteen year old girl, daughter of writers, acquainted with writers, married to a writer. It's profound and thought-provoking, and entertaining. I could associate with the monster, for some strange reason. I felt for him. I would be his protector. There are many other things I need to catch up on reading.

Today is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday. I will be productive.

Audio: Lover, The Lord Has Left Us | The Sound Of Animals Fighting
Video: Point Break [1991 | Kathryn Bigelow]
Text: The Wine Of Youth: Selected Stories | John Fante

My word of the day:
: the artifices and intrigues of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government); also : a group engaged in such artifices and intrigues

[why: I read it in a short story, Gryphon by Charles Baxter, in my Writing Fiction book.]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Heather, Dad and I were going to a deserted, woodsy cabin in the middle of nowhere--it was either a polar region or a rainforest, Amazon-type area.
Heather and Dad were already there. I came on a boat, but there had been a flood. There was a paved road that lead to the cabin and I reached it just as the floodwaters rose up entirely around me, soaking me and covering the road. If I had been in a car I would never have made it.

I walked the short distance to the cabin. There was a very deep pond or lake out in front, and three different breeds of dogs were swimming there underwater, as if they were amphibious or something.

Once in the cabin, I pointed out to Dad that there was a mountain lion across the pond, out in front. And I was no liar.

... ...

Then Russ and I were packing our snowboard packs, like he was there with us and he and I were going to leave the house.
We talked about how it would be okay if we brought our packs, because if worst came to worst, we could just let them float off in the flood while we were climbing on floating sheets of ice. The ground underneath us was rippling and breaking like we were in the middle of an earthquake.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


[Last year I wrote about the rain; it was the same time of year--the equinox--and it rained angrily for a day or two. I actually dreamed about it beforehand. This year, instead, I should write about the snow--how September is misleading and so on. But that's so commonplace--or maybe it's just differentplace.]

There's the earthshine you see, the shadowy nether-region on the moon that you think you see if you barely focus on, say, a highrise building slightly off in the distance, not far from the moon but not too close. I have two eyes, my left is an erased scantron bubble with a partial crescent, my right is Venus. I focus on them. They guide me. I'm a sailor on already-discovered, already-explored ground, land foreign only to me.

Fifth grade fire-red crayon shading clogs the horizon, about half of it. The mountains are purple, they are liquid, they are grey. They are disappearing.

I madly wish that I were mad. I want to be insane and isolated, holed up in a cabin somewhere, taking walking tours of countries I've never seen, prophetically afraid of consumption, addicted to drugs that I need and that I want, burning out bright and dying young and accomplishing all I ever needed to accomplish four years ago.

So then I'll just live in the earthshine--a place where you can never see me. Sure the rest of the moon will brighten and everything, its little monthly cycle thing, but when it shines loudest I'll be gone.

It is round, after all, and I know how to run.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The monsoon

So there's a monsoon this week. The mountain that we intended to climb only a few days ago is saturated with snow. It's 37 degrees out. It's September. Tonight's the autumnal equinox. May as well be winter solstice. Rain is everywhere: it's in my shoes, my hood, my skin. I like it, mostly. I'd prefer if it were only raining in the mountains as well. I don't like to wear hats in the rain; I like my hair to get wet, soaking wet so it drips to the ground from strands in front of my eyes. It's even better when my hair is longer, like it is now. I think I see bits of snow in the rain. I'm pretty sure that I do. I was even inspired to write something about it. Sometimes I inspire myself, but lately I just depress myself. It's degrading, really, how unimpressed I am with my own work, my own intentions. Over time I'm sure I'll wade through it all, figure something out. But for now I can't look past the rain.

I'm planning on this rain letting up, and the real post-summer early-fallness taking over. I expect at the very least: 70 degree days, sweatshirt weather, lukewarm nights--the occasional rain is okay too. I expect that, when Joey and Mom come around Amy's birthday next month, we will still climb that mountain, and it'll rain and it'll snow and we will be wet and frozen and have black toes, and once at the top we may see cloud instead of city, but we'll be up there regardless and it might be 1 AM or 7 AM but we'll be there. That's what I expect.

This morning I stopped at a gas station on the way to work. I bought gas, two sodas and some licorice belts.

My word of the day:
: mechanical, learned or memorized as from a crowd, unthinking routine or repetition

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A scene [1]

I had just picked up two blocks of cheese--both of them cheddar: one mild, one sharp--when I felt a tap at my shoulder and turned around.

"Hey," she said. It was Sarah. We made brief eye contact second until I looked down at my shoes.

"Hi Sarah. Hey, this is unexpected. It's been a while, huh? How funny."

She smiled. "What's so funny?"

"Well, just that there you are, and here I am; both here shopping at the same Safeway. I guess I just never thought I'd see you."

"I guess that's funny." She was holding one of those blue supermarket baskets by its handle; it swung down by her knees. In it was a single loaf of bread, a half-drunk 20 oz. bottle of diet cola and a bag of chocolate chips.

"That's some serious shopping."

"Yeah, you know how it is--there really isn't that much you need, but you end up here anyway."

"Yeah." I was still holding the blocks of cheese. "So I take it you moved?"

"Yeah, I'm about three blocks down now, the Grandview. Third floor."

I knew the Grandview--a little old hole of a hotel that they fixed up nice and new with a slick white facade.

"That's a nice place. So why'd you move, are you still working for--"

"I'm doing real estate," she said. "Connelly Brothers Realtors, it's called. I manage the office, things like that."

"You've moved up--good for you." I didn't believe her when she said office manager; she was probably just their secretary, having to wash out garbage bins, bring them lunch and coffee, all the fun stuff. My cheeses were starting to get warm.

"So what about you?"

"Working? Yeah--can't seem to escape it."

"Have you finished writing your book yet, that one about--"

"Oh no, no. I dropped that--it wasn't really getting me anywhere." (As if I needed to tell her that.) "I've been doing this stuff with computers, you know, designing logos and things, marketing, I don't know. It's fun I guess. I like it."

"That's good. I'm glad for you." Her mouth perked slightly at each end, creating a sort of false smile, with v-shaped smile lines that framed her lips--those lips that were barely familiar to me but still so easy to recall.

I let my eyes wander randomly around the store, as if looking for something I still needed, and I latched them onto an aisle endcap filled with cereal boxes.

"Hey, well, I better get going," I said.

"Me too," she said.

"Good luck with your real estate business."

"It's not really my business--"

"I know, I know. I just meant, good luck with everything."

"You too, with your computers and stuff. And I think you should start writing again. You had potential there."

"Thanks. I'll think about it."

"Alright. See you later."

"See you. Take care of yourself."

I slid the two cheeses into my blue basket.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Doll at the supermarket

I went to the supermarket today
to find the doll my daughter had lost.
The clerk in guest services searched
through those unmarked bins of unclaimed items,
but returned to me with only,
"I'm sorry," and/or
"Someone must have taken it."

It's not that my daughter will be much distraught,
or even remember for that matter--
it's just that now I can't be her hero,
bearing the spoils of a victorious crusade.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


We are awakening from our hibernation.

We are rusted grills.
Black charcoal, glowing sun-orange.
Dusty lawn chairs.
Lifeguard booths.
Car wash lines.

We are in bloom.
Turning skyward during the day.
Flopping rhythmically in sandals.
Open longer hours.
Rattling swamp coolers.

We are ocean clouds that burn off at noon.
Packing our things.
Long open highways.
Red-stained popsicle hands.
Crushed ice stands.

We are shedding layers of skin.
Fresh as rain, warm on sidewalks.
Melting ice cream on sugar cones.
Running traffic lights.
Baseball diamond lawn clippings.

I am a regenerating tree.

I live forever.

My sister said

[This was selected to be read at BYU's September 11th 5th Anniversary Commemorative Service remembrance (is the name really that long?) on 09/11/06. 13 poems were selected overall, but only two of those were selected to be read. Just thought I'd boast.]

If you had seen it, she said,
you'd have cried--
how the sun is blotted out
and everyone wears a mask.
They gave me one, but I gave it up to the couple
standing near the mound of brick and glass.

I did see it, I said,
all over television.
We watched it for hours at work,
didn't do a thing, because we couldn't--
just stared at the tumbling images
over and over, all day long,
sitting in shock--everyone cried, made phone calls.

Everything's a mess, she said,
you can't get anywhere.
None of the phones work,
(except payphones like this).
And people search your face as they pass;
sometimes they walk past again, just to make sure.

Everyone's so glad you're safe, I said,
Can you imagine? Could you ever imagine?

Yes, she said,
I can imagine.
And we should be thankful for life—

Because you should see it, she said,
how everyone's lost, everyone is family.
A woman came up to me and hugged me,
buried her face in my shawl
and wept
little muffled I'm sorrys into my shoulder.

We embraced there for a moment,
while the people streamed past
and dust clogged our throats and nostrils,
both telling each other it would be okay.

And everything will be okay
we have newfound unity;
we have newfound love.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Class in Salt Lake

Class in Salt Lake is a bit of a joke. My teacher is always at least ten minutes late. The class consists of five students, two of whom are the teacher's friends (read: older women), auditing the course. Last night only three of us even showed. I guess it makes for a personal touch, and it seems that the grading isn't going to be terribly harsh, but it's still just weird. It's intro to folklore by the way. So there's this definite feminine-touch thing going that I don't fully have. I don't mind it all--let me be as feminine as you like--but, for example, last night we discussed quilts as part of an occupational folklore discussion. So there's all this talk of tying, batting, stretching, quilt tops, polyester vs. cotton, length, thickness, and anyway, I was the only one unfamiliar with most of the terms. "What's a quilt top?" I would ask. "What's batting?"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Swarming, impeccable, feather-tipped by evening,
in their dark suits with straightened ties,
at their empty mahogany tables spread across floors of glass,
with leathery wings tucked neatly into leathered belts,
they smile sincere beaked smiles--

revealing fresh stains left by juicy red pith--
that widen when I reach into my pockets.
They are crouched at the edge of their chairs,
feet and hands placed intricately, prepared and ready to pounce,
to smile and always devour--

always hungry,

never limping, never lame, always wishing for the same,
if there were enough it would never be,
because they are hungry
and they feed upon me.


As the day grows to a close
and the sinking sun saps every last ounce of my strength
and the grass is still damp
(and I wish I'd taken that paper route)
I am a void---unfilled

But I can imitate and perpetuate
and follow like the lambs
whose woolen clouds cloud the last dusted remnants of daylight,
and I am one of them,

secretly believing that within
I am perfect
I am better, above,
beyond their words and their ways--
their passive attempts at assimilation.

So with love in my head,
I walk softly and listen carefully
and gently I find my way back into the migrating herd.