Tag Archives: Words

After the death of Kit’s husband

“But her eyes remained open, staring upward almost as fixedly as those beside her. These were the first moments of a new existence, a strange one in which she already glimpsed the element of timelessness that would surround her. The person who frantically has been counting the seconds on his way to catch a train, and arrives panting just as it disappears, knowing the next one is not due for many hours, feels something of the same sudden surfeit of time, the momentary sensation of drowning in an element become too rich and too plentiful to be consumed, and thereby made meaningless, non-existent.”

–Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Erotic French poetry translated without a dictionary

Con large comme un estuaire

Con large comme un estuaire
Où meurt mon amoureux reflux
Tu as la saveur poissonnière
l’odeur de la bite et du cul
La fraîche odeur trouduculière
Femme ô vagin inépuisable
Dont le souvenir fait bander
Tes nichons distribuent la manne
Tes cuisses quelle volupté
même tes menstrues sanglantes
Sont une liqueur violente
La rose-thé de ton prepuce
Auprès de moi s’épanouit
On dirait d’un vieux boyard russe
Le chibre sanguin et bouffi
Lorsqu’au plus fort de la partouse
Ma bouche à ton noeud fait ventouse.

–Guillaume Apollinaire

Vagina Large Like an Estuary

Vagina large like an estuary
Where my sperm goes to die
You taste like fish
The odor of the butt
The fresh scent of holes
Oh woman with the uncrushable vagina
That I can’t forget
Your niches distribute the sauce
Your voluptuous thighs
Even your menstrual period
Is bloody and violent
The pink tea of your pubes
Makes me faint
A person might say it smells like an old Russian drunk
The buffered and happy place
When my mouth inhales your nest
With more power than a vacuum cleaner.

–Guillaume Apollinaire

MignonneMignonne, sais-tu qu’on me blame
De t’aimer comme je le fais ?
On dit que cela, sur mon âme !
Aura de singuliers effets;
Que tu n’es pas une duchesse,
Et que ton cul fait ta richesse,
Qu’en ce monde, ou rien n’est certain,
On peut affirmer une chose:
C’est que ton con vivant et rose
N’est que le con d’une putain !
Qu’est-ce que cela peut foutre ?
Lorsqu’on tient ces vains propos,
Je les méprise, et je passe outre,
Alerte, gaillard et dispo !
Je sais que près de toi je bande
Vertement, et je n’appréhende
Aucun malheur, sinon de voir,
Entre mes cuisses engourdies,
Ma pine flasque et molle choir !…

–Stéphane Mallarmé

Hey CutieHey cutie, do you know that people blame me
For loving you like I do?
Swear on my soul people say that!
It’s so weird that
You’re not a duchess
And yet your butt makes you rich
It’s also weird that in this world
Where nothing is certain
We can be sure of one thing
That your rosy and spirited vagina
Is only the vagina of a prostitute!
Now you’ve done something terrible to my penis
And I don’t like you anymore.

–Stéphane Mallarmé

Les bijoux

La très-chère était nue, et, connaissant mon coeur,
Elle n’avait gardé que ses bijoux sonores,
Dont le riche attirail lui donnait l’air vainqueur
Qu’ont dans leurs jours heureux les esclaves des Maures.
Quand il jette en dansant son bruit vif et moqueur,
Ce monde rayonnant de métal et de Pierre
Me ravit en extase, et j’aime à la fureur
Les choses où le son se mêle à la lumière.
Elle était donc couchée et se laissait aimer,
Et du haut du divan elle souriait d’aise
A mon amour profond et doux comme la mer,
Qui vers elle montait comme vers sa falaise.
Les yeux fixés sur moi, comme un tigre dompté,
D’un air vague et rêveur elle essayait des poses,
Et la candeur unie à la lubricité
Donnait un charme neuf à ses métamorphoses ;
Et son bras et sa jambe, et sa cuisse et ses reins,
Polis comme de l’huile, onduleux comme un cygne,
Passaient devant mes yeux clairvoyants et sereins ;
Et son ventre et ses seins, ces grappes de ma vigne,
S’avançaient, plus câlins que les Anges du mal,
Pour troubler le repos où mon âme était mise,
Et pour la déranger du rocher de cristal
Où, calme et solitaire, elle s’était assise.
Je croyais voir unis par un nouveau dessin
Les hanches de l’Antiope au buste d’un imberbe,
Tant sa taille faisait ressortir son basin.
Sur ce teint fauve et brun, le fard était superbe !
Et la lampe s’étant résignée à mourir,
Comme le foyer seul illuminait la chambre,
Chaque fois qu’il poussait un flamboyant soupir,
Il inondait de sang cette peau couleur d’ambre !

–Charles Baudelaire, Les fleurs du mal

The Bangle Bracelets

My sweetie-pie was naked, knowing my heart.
She was only wearing jewels of some sort,
Which made her look like a conqueror
That owned Mauritian slaves back in the day.
When the conqueror shouts a lot of things while sexy-dancing,
This world shiny with metal and rocks,
Making me ecstatic, and I love to a furious pitch
The things where the sound gets mixed up with the light.
All of that wore her out and allowed me to do her.
And from the height of the couch where she smiled with no problem
At my love deep and gentle like the sea
That mounts her like she’s a boulder,
Her eyes staring at me, like a male tiger.
With a vague and dreamy expression she tried out some poses
And her candor made her wet
Giving a new charm to her metamorphosis.
And her arm and her leg, and her thigh and her kidneys,
Polished like oil, undulating like a swan,
Passing before my calm and all-seeing eyes.
And her stomach and her chest, her grapes of my vine,
Advanced, more callous than nasty angels,
To trouble my reposing soul
And to disturb my crystal rock
Where she sat down calmly by herself.
I thought I saw the haunches of an antelope
united to the boobs of an umbrella
Which her body was sorting out.
On these brown colors, the farts were superb!
And the lamp was okay with being turned off
Because the room was lit from the lobby
And every time a breath of light came in
It drowned the antelope’s skin in blood.

–Charles Baudelaire, Les fleurs du mal

Taking the story for a walk

When I am struggling to write a short story, I often elect to take it for a walk. I’m like, “Come on Story, let’s get some fresh air.” So the story and I go meandering through Central Park, where my story can inhale the pure-bred piss of other stories, where it can take huge dumps in the grass, dumps which I can then pick up and discard in labeled shit receptacles, where it can try to hump the legs of more attractive stories, and sometimes novels. Occasionally I let the story off the leash, letting it charge across the meadow, kicking up dirt and cigarette butts, delighting me with its freewheeling ways, but then an urban park ranger fines me $100 ($5 for every curse word, $10 for every inapt metaphor), and my story and I return home, both of us tired, demoralized, and hungry for bacon scraps.

Big-time dictionary drama

My chief complaint about being a student is that I no longer have time to blog about other peoples’ mistakes. Between drinking espresso and smoking self-consciously and wearing knee socks, I’ve been forced to neglect all the truly exciting, schadenfreudy stuff like typos on the GOP website and arts & crafts gone bad and fashion faux pas(es?) documented by the Fug girls. But tonight I couldn’t resist taking time away from my studies to note the following fuck-up. From my inbox:

Word of the Day for Tuesday, November 3, 2009

sommelier \suhm-uhl-YEY; Fr. saw-muh-LYEY\, noun:

To involuntarily repeat a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.

If the wine list is not online, drop by the restaurant in advance, look over the list and talk with the sommelier. It’s a small investment in time that will pay big dividends.
— Ernest Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises

I want to feel terrible for the Dictionary.com intern responsible for this, I really do, but at the same time I’ve made so many embarrassing errors this semester, from going in for the hug when someone was just stretching, to bombarding my professors with PLEASE FIND ME CHARMING emails, to cringing in class because I burnt my wrist with my skinny gold bracelets while drunkenly cooking pasta over an open flame, resulting in a week of appearing to have slashed myself for attention, while simultaneously fending off a recent compulsion to lick my front teeth at every idle moment, I think because my oral hygiene’s not so great, basically declaring myself a cutter with a coke habit, preventing me from raising my hand confidently in class and from excusing myself for the restroom without sending up a red flag, that I. . . um. God, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged.

In short, I really need to feel superior to someone right now, and so I choose the person who spells Hemingway with two m’s and gives him a web-surfing habit and who, even more delightfully, attributes Tourette’s Syndrome to wine experts. On Tuesday, after I’d notified my father of the Dictionary.com mistake, he forwarded me his own word-of-the-day definition from Wordsmith.org. I don’t think it’s coincidence that “daymare” landed in his inbox an hour after “sommelier” landed in mine. These vocab people must all know each other:



noun: A terrifying experience, similar to a nightmare, felt while awake.

The limits of my vocabulary meet the Foxfield Races

Here is a girl who got a perfect score* on her verbal SATs, but who can’t find a synonym for “awesome” in quotidian** conversation. Or who finds herself stuck with “interesting” as a default adjective whether she’s discussing a Great American Novel or the pizza she had for lunch.

The verbal portion of my brain freezes up completely in mixed company. All I can process are the ways in which people are looking at me. I try to be articulate – I really do – but I get distracted by the sweat running down my back or by the scrutiny in other peoples’ eyes or by the fact that I lost track of what I was talking about a long time ago. If I’m going to say something borderline intelligent, the social climate has to be right to within an eighth of a degree. For example, the sweat glands, the digestive system, the state of intoxication, the room temperature, what I absorbed on the internet right before the party – this all has to line up perfectly or I will start blabbering.

This is all a prelude to an important lesson I learned over the weekend. If you really want to feel eloquent, hang out sober with a bunch of people who are balls-to-the-wall wasted. I picked up my lovely little sister and her adorable friends at Foxfield on Saturday, and I plan to take on the DD role every spring from now on. Not only did I get to be the hero who arrived in the nick of time to shuttle the kids back to town before anyone else got arrested, I also got to be the cool cucumber who knew just how to nonchalantly accept all the praise heaped on me for being the “awesomest.” I was driving a 12-seater van, I was cracking jokes, I was telling the drunk people about the salad I had for lunch – and they were all riveted and enamored by me, I swear to God. And when I walked along Barracks Road on the way to the field and was passed by all the undergrads in pickup trucks who shouted, “You suck!”,*** it didn’t even matter because I knew that I’d be able to recite the alphabet better than anyone within a mile radius. What a great day.

I’m wondering if maybe I should become a late-night taxi driver. I can try out some smart-person vocabulary on drunk passengers, give my self esteem a boost, and make some money in the process. I wish that I could be that sober all the time, but sadly, slight intoxication is the millstone I must wear around my neck in order to deal with average social events like lunch and dinner. I tried yoga, deep breathing, and meditation, but they’re so much harder than a mixed drink.

*STILL bragging even though it was over 10 years ago and those smarty-pants brain cells are all gone now. And please don’t ask me about the math portion – just give me my moment in the sun.


***In fairness to these people, after they harrassed me they would typically notice the purebred dog I was walking and then they would forget that they’d just yelled, “You suck!” and politely ask, “Aww, is that a Bernese?”

The NYTimes is not letting America get stupid

Front page headline updated six minutes ago:

William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82

Mr. Buckley marshaled polysyllabic exuberance and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse.

Someone studied for his SATs.

Five Year Anniversary of Gawker

Here is a good article about Gawker.com from N + 1 Magazine. It’s about the perils of being a young, ambitious, and sarcastic woman who loves to write about life in the big city. I was careful not to learn any life lessons while reading it. Well, I learned one lesson. The internet loves bitches. Ten million page views a month! All for mocking easy targets like New York socialites, too-smart-for-their-own-good Ivy Leaguers, and Ayelet Waldman, who loves her husband Michael Chabon a little too much.

I can has LOLcat Wasteland

An excerpt from “LOLcat Wasteland” by Corprew Reed, inspired by T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”:


april hates u, makes lilacs, u no can has. (1)
april in ur memoriez, making ur desire.
spring rain in ur dull rootzes.

earth in ur winter, covered in snow
can has potato. PO-TA-TO.
im in ur hofgarden, drinking ur coffeez.

at archduke’s haus, invisible sled!
im in ur moutainz, holding on tight.
no can has cheezburger.
oral sex metaphors in ur poem.

in ur stones, whar r treez? (19)
whar r bushez?
ceiling cat cannot say.
im in redrock, hiding from sunz.
commin ze redrock.
im in ur handfull of dust,
showing ur fear.
redrock, redrock.

whar r wind?
in ur homelandz, freshening ur windz

can has hyacinths,
no can has tongue.
Isolde u down teh rivers.
Sosotris Cat has smartz, (43)
can see bukkit,
dead sailorz in bukkit,
hooked on fonicians.
belladonna in ur rocks,
situating ur situations.
man has three staves,
turning wheelz,
Sosotris Cat no can has hanged man:
avoid bukkit or u drownz.

Editor for Hire

I wish that I could hire myself as an editor, but I am much better at telling other people what to do. It’s hard to detach myself from my own writing. That being said, I have a lot of editing experience, and I’d love to help you get your book published.


Last night in writing workshop, Middle mentioned NanoWrimo, the National Novel Writing Month that owes much of its popularity to being fun to say. Not only can people churn out novels like robots, but they can actually sound like robots when they explain what they’re doing. “Na-no-wri-mo,” I thought. “Hehe.”

“It’s only 50,000 words in November,” Middle said. “We can even get a head-start.” Annie, a full time student at UVA, looked aghast.

“I’ll do it,” I said. “What’s the big deal?” Selvi reminded me that some people had jobs.

Middle and I smiled at each other, complicit in our marathon novel-writing plans. I imagined that the whole coffee shop was solemnly witnessing a historic event. It reminded me of last Saturday when Darren and I played soccer for the Crutchfield team, and he scored (what could be considered) the game-winning goal. I ran across the field and slapped him ten and gave him a kiss. I assumed that all the other players were watching us, thinking “Aww. Look at those lovebirds. That is so cute.” Then I heard “Hustle back, Crutchfield! Get in position! Anyone need a sub?”