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4 posts from April 2010


Kite Fighting

They meet in the blue far above the canal, diamond shapes with long tails dangling down behind the wall and out of sight. They're not fancy with streamers or bright colors. Not frivolous like the kite I bought in a toy store once, shaped like a parrot with a wing so fine a breath would tear it. These are street kites, tough and businesslike, made of old plastic bags and sticks of bamboo, their strings roughened with ground glass. They swoop like fighter jets against the blue; hungry for blood they circle and dance, avoiding entanglement until the last fateful contact, the briefest kiss of string against string. The winner is reeled back down to earth; the loser drifts up towards heaven.


Ominous Death Threat

I should be lucky enough to ever find one on my doorstep, to know that I've inspired someone to go to such trouble, to take such an interest in the termination of my life.

Will it be a black envelope, bound with a ribbon red as blood and a wilted white rose?

Or the ubiquitous sheet of bond paper, with mismatched letters torn from magazines and the obligatory misspellings?

I hear that in Mexico they go to the church and buy a mass card with your name on it --it's their tasteful way of telling you that somewhere, some unwitting congregation is praying for your soon-to-be-immortal soul.

If I ever receive a death threat it will be probably be for something depressingly mundane, like an insurance payout.

How awful.

Rather like realizing that the reunion is only a month away and you have nothing interesting to report, while all your classmates have won the Nobel prize, popped out ten kids and climbed Mt. Everest on the side.

I must save myself from such an ignominous fate; I had better run out and commit some really impressive sins.





she means to save the world

She means to save the world but it never quite works out.

When she was a little girl, did she say she wanted to be a superhero with a red cape and tights? To brandish a flaming sword and fight for justice?

It's harder work than she thought.

A well-ordered life doesn't provide the appropriate backdrop; you can't fall on the grenade if your life runs on rails.

Self-sacrifice requires the right ingredients and careful preparation.

A noble cause. To fight for.
Chaos. To struggle against.
Villains. Are in short supply. But with a little make-up, ordinary people do just as well. And they need never know what part they have auditioned for.
And an audience. It's nothing without an audience.

It's just no fun without an audience.

Someone has to watch as the train rolls out of control.
Someone has to say, "I saw it coming."
Someone has to appreciate the refinement, the skill, from one crisis to the next.

Someone has to provide the applause.