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"Epithalament," Brenda Shaughnessy

Epithalament

BY BRENDA SHAUGHNESSY

Other weddings are so shrewd on the sofa, short

and baffled, bassett-legged. All things

knuckled, I have no winter left, in my sore rememory,

to melt down for drinking water. Shrunk down.

Your wedding slides the way wiry dark hairs do, down

a swimming pool drain. So I am drained.

Sincerely. I wish you every chapped bird on this

pilgrimage to hold your hem up from the dust.

Dust is plural: infinite dust. I will sink in the sun,

I will crawl towards the heavy drawing

and design the curtains in the room

of never marrying you. Because it is a sinking,

because today’s perfect weather is a later life’s

smut. This soiled future unplans love.

I keep unplanning the same Sunday. Leg

and flower, breeze and terrier, I have no garden

and couldn’t be happier. Please, don’t lose me

here. I am sorry my clutch is all

tendon and no discipline: the heart is a severed

kind of muscle and alone.

I can hear yours in your room. I hear mine

in another room. In another’s.

 

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Welcome to Night Vale

Corinne suggested I listen to this podcast, which apparently has developed a strong fan base among the rest of the Internet. It's presented as a community radio update for a town straight out of HP Lovecraft, and it is SO GOOD. That having been said, I cannot guarantee that you will like it. It's not for everyone. 

I think a lot of my affection for it comes from the fact that, as previously documented, I've lived in a LOT of weird places, none of which seem to know that they're weird. I've been working on the Great Bradenton Essay, in a variety of iterations, for what feels like forever, and I still haven't gotten a handle on it, because here are just a few of the things that make that town unique: 

And now my parents live in a small town in Appalachia with a radio station that is unironically named WETS, and they live in a house next to the most polluted lake in the entire state and have a regular source for buying moonshine. In case you hadn't guessed, it's a weird place too.  And I live in the District of Columbia, a city that keeps electing Marion Berry, so.

Again, none of these places plays up the weirdness. In fact, I would venture to say that they don't actually know that a lot of things that happen there aren't...normal; I grew up joking about how Bradenton was crazy, but I definitely didn't get the full picture until I left the state and realized that when I talked about my childhood I got a lot of weird looks. What I'm trying to say is that no one has adopted a tourism slogan that says, "Visit East Tennessee. It's WACKY!"

So that, in a nutshell (a large nutshell), is the main reason that I like Welcome to Night Vale. Despite the fact that the town includes hooded figures, the Sheriff's Secret Police, a glow cloud, and a dog park that you are NOT TO GO NEAR, the presentation as community radio really drives home the fact that this is the town's normal; there's no wink-wink involved. And I think that underscores the fact that there's no such thing as normal, really, not when you get down past the surface of a community. Besides, is there really that much of a difference between a glow cloud and a mysterious scent of burnt oranges that pervades the morning air?

 

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"Dog Videos I'd Like To See On The Internet," Heather Monley

From McSweeneys:  

I want to see dogs wearing crisp uniforms on the first day of school, dogs sitting at little dog desks, dogs gluing together paper pilgrim hats, dogs practicing math problems on educational software or, for a more old-timey feel, sitting in a one-room schoolhouse and writing letters on black slates. I want to see dogs packing Conestoga wagons and setting out west, dogs homesteading, dogs committing atrocities, dogs realizing that atrocities have been committed and taking precautions to ensure that the same atrocities are not committed again. Dogs drafting the Magna Carta. Dogs developing a new, more advanced optical disk storage media format.

I'm not sure what it is about this essay that keeps bringing me back. It's funny, obviously, at least if you're amused by dogs dressed like pioneers (I am). And it sort of indirectly addresses the question of why we are so fascinated by non-humans that resemble humans in some way. But there's also a wistful quality to it that I like - and I don't want to elaborate any more, because I'm not able to say exactly what I want to say. If I figure it out, I'll let you know.

 

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The Record-A-Poem Project

I love that this acknowledges that we get something out of reading others' poetry out loud. 

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2013/03/record-a-poem-on-soundcloud/

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How Not To Be Alone

 We often use technology to save time, but increasingly, it either takes the saved time along with it, or makes the saved time less present, intimate and rich. I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the further it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or — being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology” — but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.

- Jonathan Safran Foer, "How Not To Be Alone

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