Do I start blogging at my new website, or do I link to my Tumblr (after going back and doing some cleanup…)?
The Boys of the Midwest 1
The Boys of the Midwest grow up dirty, covered in earth like recently dug up root vegetables. They don’t have eyes until they reach 12 years of age, and even so they run the cul-de-sacs of their neighborhoods in groups of twenty like blind puppies. They are covered in hundreds of fine cilia. Their boyhood is porous and lunglike, branched and gooey, tender to the touch. On weekends after church they disappear into uncultivated strips of prairie to tend their silent wounds. To inflict still more wounds upon each other. They call this happiness. At dusk they file back home to their mothers’ Cloroxed hands, their fathers’ too-small polo shirts. The charcoal briquettes are ashy gray in the grill and the trampoline is the most treacherous fun their homes are capable of. So they fling themselves onto it, again and again until they have forgotten what it means to be a boy. And again, until they are winged creatures. And still more, until they are planets in space. The lucky ones hang there, in orbit. The unlucky ones must always come back down for dinner and submit themselves to questioning. They call this another kind of happiness.
The Boys of the Midwest 2
The Boys of the Midwest prefer to move about the house underneath the carpets. They move as fluid furry mounds. They call this mode of transportation the Rug Node. It is a form of protection, though it is not without its own kind of danger. On chore days their mothers’ Cloroxed hands push the vacuum cleaner through the house. The Boys of the Midwest tell a story of a boy who once got caught by the vacuum as he ran his circuit on the Rug Node. His delicate fur came off first, then his cilia, then his flesh like fine wet silk. How was the mother supposed to know, her boy a warm secret under the rug. The Boys of the Midwest tell this story each year in a secret meeting out in the strip of prairie behind the golf course. It is a cautionary tale, complete with ritual weeping. Secretly, some have lost faith that the story is true. An alternate story springs up, in whispers, with a happy ending. In it, the mother’s hands come upon the true, uncarpeted Boy just in time. In it, the mother discovers her hands had forgotten to turn the vacuum on all along. That her hands led the mute vacuum through the house silently. The Boys of the Midwest call this a great joke. The two factions of Boys, the believers and the unbelievers, become contentious. They take to the prairie with sticks to decide, once and for all, which story is true.
At her finest.
This is embarrassing, but the last half-week has been nothing but good hair days for me, and I’m pretty sure that’s why my productivity is skyrocketing.
Now that there will be no Triple Crown, the world will go back to paying little to no attention to horse racing, except for a mild uptick in interest around the Belmont that will be about 3% of the fanfare they’d be getting if Orb had won (see also: Funny Cide, Real Quiet, Smarty Jones, I’ll Have Another, etc. etc. etc.). I sometimes feel slightly bad for the Belmont because people only really find that race exciting if the Derby and Preakness were won by the same horse, whereas people are always pumped to watch the first two races because that’s where we find out 1) who will be the great hope this year, and 2) if they actually have a shot.
Because the Preakness really, really does matter in Baltimore, I’ve always known lots of people who go to the race, including my dad. He used to bring home these little commemorative glasses every year when we were kids — they would have the race logo on them, and then a list in tiny text of all the winners of the race listed by year, with diamonds next to the horses that went on the win the Triple Crown. I have a nutty trivia brain, so I latched on to that list and to this day can almost always remember offhand all the TC winners and, for the most part, their years. (I also just realized I know maybe a weird amount about Eddie Arcaro, who rode both Whirlaway and Citation to Triple Crown wins. Honest to god, I don’t know why.)
Anyway, my point is: there were three Triple Crown wins in the 70s (Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed), and nothing since, and people freak out about it every year. But before Secretariat won in 1973, the last TC winner was Citation, in 1948. That’s a relatively wide gap. It’s been more than a decade longer on our end, but in our culture of impatience I think we’ve sort of forgotten how to wait for something that’s a pretty big deal.
I also wish we had more match races. My great grandpa was at the Seabiscuit-War Admiral race, and that story is *still* told in my family. Head to head races between great horses would be good for the sport. Plus maybe we could then have a conversation about horse ages in racing. Seabiscuit was a five-year-old when he ran that race.
Little It’ly, Hon. (at Little Italy)
Filed under: sports things that make me happy — as opposed to sports things that make me feel sad, such as no chance for a Triple Crown. Again. Sigh. At least my girl Rosie showed on Mylute…
The Milky Way rises over Long’s Peak (14,259 feet) as seen from 9,600 feet up Trail Bridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Photo: Pat Gaines
“Our Lady of Having it All”
I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency. I will not watch baseball on my residency.
Who is not the blood in a wine barrel
and the wine as well? I too, having lost faith
in language, have placed my faith in language.
Perfect sendoff. I’m going quiet (ish) for a couple weeks while I do this thing. Happy start of summer from the lovely, greening foothills of the Big Horns.
The hardest thing about planning, by the way, is figuring out which projects *not* to spend any time on. As usual, I have too many brain-irons in the time-fire, and I absolutely hate prioritizing. But it has to happen or I’ll wind up in the middle of like five different things when I leave.
I think I know what couple things need the most attention at this point, but it’s killing me that I’m not going to give any time to my craziest project.
By the way, all this is occurring DESPITE the fact that I still have to wrap up my grading this weekend AND I leave tomorrow for a two-week artist residency that I have done no planning for. Almost negative planning. I mean I have a to-do list in my head but this has not translated into organization in any way. So tonight I’ll probably be poring over lab reports and making lots and lots of lists on notepads, because my productivity grows exponentially as time-to-launch shrinks.
Also R had to work yesterday because basically everyone who works with him is at this party, and he short-strawed it. So he came back to town because of that, and swung by the house before and after work, and when he came home in the afternoon I was dancing around the house in full makeup and a pair of XXL pajama pants listening to my “R is away” playlist of songs he hates. He cocked his head for a second and then asked if he could change the music. And I was like “NO, GET OUT!” And he went to shower and I opened another beer and listened to more Biggie without further interruption.