17 September 2003


I swear, this job wears me raw. I watch the clock constantly. I've read everything there is to read on the internet. I've peed well over six times. I click back to my outlook window every time someone is approaching so as to appear like I'm really working. Well, I'm not really working. I'm writing this. And frankly, there is nothing for me to do here but sit and get paid which one might imagine to be the best job ever. It is, in fact, not. It's demoralizing.

Other than that, life couldn't be better. Cut these eleven hours out of my life and I would be fine. I played with the worship team last night and enjoyed it over all, except for the nearly thirty minutes we wasted just hanging out and not playing any music. For the most part, I really don't know what I'm doing up there. I make a mess out of most songs, but I try hard so I suppose that's worth something. I think I'm done with the team though as I need to be spending more of my free time getting ready to go to Japan. DK and I are fundraising this week and getting our visas on Friday. We really need to get our housing deposit and airfare raised before we can think about anything, really. It's the patience workshop.

I started a short story today that didn't really get off the ground. It might down the road. During Senior week, we saw the Davenport River Bandits play (a AAA ballclub in Iowa), and I thought about writing a beer seller story, something that utilized harsh fluorescent lighting in the field contrasted with the darkness past the outfield walls. The shadows in a ballpark are so eerie. I see some scenes from the story, but I think I started in the wrong place and haven't really sold myself on a plot for it. I promised Monica a copy of it over the summer so she could read it before she had to teach, but I never touched the idea. I re-read part of my honors project, but just frustrated myself.

I read more from Jorie Graham last night, and kept getting turned over inside of the poems. I can't listen to music when I'm reading her. The first poem sets that tone, I think: a meditation on minnows in water moving, creating movement, being moved. The minnows spin, the water spins, the poem spins. I lost myself in it. Anyway, if you read Graham let me know what you think. It may all just be an academic hoax, but I don't think so. She read at Knox this winter and really made me believe that what she does is important, wildly important, in the time we live.

When I read that the Iraqi police chief had been killed, I was surprisingly bothered by it. I have these fleeting hopes that this will happen quickly, that we will be able to get out before we have done more damage than good. I think we've already crossed that line. I read a horrifying account of US soldiers seizing prisoners in Saddam's hometown and didn't know what to think or feel. It's all ridiculously complicated and makes me want to eat a ho-ho and forget about it.

Which makes me think of Rick Jackson:
Terzanelle of Kosovo Fields

The soldier thinks he can beat the moon with a stick.
His is a country where roads do not meet, nor words touch.
The walls around him crumble: his heart is a pile of bricks.

We sit with the sky draped across our knees and trust
that the shadow of planes whisper like children in the fields,
follow roads that do not meet us, speak words we will not touch.

The soldier lights a fuse that makes a tragic story real:
our words scavenge the countryside like packs of dogs, derelict,
abandoned, hunted by the shadows of planes that cross the fields.

It's true that the blackbirds fill the air with their terrible music.
How could we think a soldier wouldn't turn our stars to sawdust?
Now our words scavenge the countryside, and our loves are derelict.

I wanted to love you beyond the soldier's aim, beyond the war's clutch.
Now bombs hatch in our hearts. Even the smoke abandons us for the sky.
How could we think a soldier wouldn't turn our stars to sawdust?

We live in a world where the earth refuses to meet the sky.
Our homes are on the march, their smoke abandons us for the sky.
Our soldiers thought they could beat the moon with their sticks.
Now every heart is crumbling, every love is a pile of bricks.