The obscene genitalic protrusions of my houseplant fill me with strange misgivings. The leaves,
can we call them that?, rise up erectly, each rimmed by urine-yellow borders. The forgotten life
sits baldly and without preamble on a coffee table. Each leaf is too upright, animated by some
starchy backbone unseen to the eye. Almost spiny. It is somewhere between water-drinking and
cactus, but I’m not sure. One of the leaves has mutinied and has tipped over in a dramatic
playing-dead pose. Then, another. They are falling like judgments. WHAT DO YOU NEED, I
ask. That the fallen leaves are dead is unambiguous and nearly insolent- the state change from up
to down. I pour water over it, filled with resentment.
Then, the cookie crumbled before it was even removed from the package. What to do.
I kept reaching for the crumbling cookies with resentment
Dirt-tan brown, ribbed for my pleasure, they are bite-sized moons that keep breaking apart
Which reminds me of going to see the flowers, the other day
Fat, pink indulgent faces
Rising from pollution-soaked meadows
Grossly beautiful, I wanted to merge
Except the flowers get a little closer, and then they go further and further away
No matter what, it is all:
the project undertakes turning solid to save time
The garbage won’t get out.
I really can’t tell you enough.
Email Subject Lines Sent to Myself From Myself
To tell Cuong:
not perfectionist vegan
Psychology Carrot Cucumber tomato
Holy shit living arrangements
Ask Cuong to bring:
for people ACT mouthwash
Cuong asked me where the goa poem i wrote was
Keep in touch with:
Bell hooks psychic mutilation men
Tattoo: Apollo and Daphne
Dear Polly advice
Breathing, affirmation, smile, moxie,
Skin. Unruly bodies
Bad girls throughout history
Thelma, homeless, underwear bras
Separation from women (reminds me of bell hooks & audre lorde)
Grace lee boggs
Living life without romance
To do today:
Eat healthier, run more
Upper body and yoga (serious)
Write about a little life
Asanas pranayama meditation
Alternate nostril breathing
No coffee or huge dinners
Breast cancer & drinking
Make my own shampoo
Only shop secondhand
Journal on missing my essence
No phone after 9; dessert not daily
Prioritize health...yoga, healthy foods, good things for my body
Poem on loss
Coconut oil hair treatment, wash face with honey
Don’t check phone in morn right away
Each day I commit to one thing
Anxiety is being an alien to yourself
The feeling that life is small
I’m with myself all day.
To say to cuong:
About living a juicy creative life
Do uncertainty, but do happiness. That’s an order.
Actually, the more I write, the more I read
The older i age
The less words make sense to me
Oh, un-self-conscious reading
Once, twice, thrice
To get it
It’s like language is becoming new to me
Or I’m becoming new to it
Fresh discovery sounds better than confusion
There are some words I’ll bump into often
And still lack the social grace to converse with
Some words I am lost around
Aphorism, discourse, epistemology
And this feels like a global process
In my life.
Actually, everything feels new and threatened.
It’s like I’ve torn out all the pages of the Dummy manuals
The ones with yellow covers
Cooking for dummies
English grammar for dummies
Small talk for dummies
Sex for dummies
In the corner of my eye, someone more practical than me folds the loose papers into origami desks and
chairs, sits down, and writes an essay.
Is it a good thing?
Relationships for dummies
Being a daughter for dummies
A little bit of everything for dummies
The person has folded the papers into structures, into semi-permanent homes, and has solved
homelessness in the bay area.
I stand, a dumb ostrich
In front of young faces
One is asking a simple question
Can I have a moment?
These days, as I write
I approach the words like they are endangered animals
Full of awe, eaten by worry,
I nudge them together.
Is this right?
Does that mean something?
The people who live in the semi-permanent homes read their walls, which tell them about the present
perfect, how to fry vegetables, and how often to call your mother.
Ilse Griffin received her BA in English literature and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MA in TESOL/linguistics from Hamline University. She teaches English at home and abroad, and has been published in Where is the River, Funny Looking Dog Quarterly, Pif Magazine, Talking Stick (forthcoming), and Bending Genres Journal (forthcoming). She loves in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.