Sunday, January 29, 2012


i have a twitter account!/h_a_gardiner

Saturday, January 28, 2012


(from the reading at Rao's in Amherst on 1-27)

Head cold witchcraft

In the spirit of an age-old tradition my heart beats at 75 brand new moments every sixty seconds,
with wildly unrelenting skill and bridging the me that types here now and the me that typed into the chaperoned AOL chat rooms of yesterday, with their rapid screen names of red and blue

I used to whisper lyrics of profane romance into the scrolling abyss, a teenage loneliness parading as advanced eroticism and I can’t imagine now having to explain the internet to someone who died 500 years ago, and then necessarily having to explain electricity and vanity

this is me at 2,3,4 in the morning, twisting into shades of Nyquil and spooning the refresh button that lives in this seedy metal box, staring into the eyes of the cat on the porch in my screen saver, staring into the twice removed micro-lives that tell themselves through pictures and words and various advertisements of self, this is me realizing why I got carded for buying Nyquil [this shit fucks you up]

this is me getting lost in pictures of your eyes but not literally your eyes

your eyes like silly cartoons looping blue and sparkling pixilated evidence of a soul, and the Nyquil in me waxes nostalgic and says

' love is the happiest season of all 
love is the most tolerable loneliness [loneliness that forgets itself when pressed for details]
loneliness that can jump from the seawall without breaking its ankles '

I appreciate that it is easy to draw you: you look the flying dog in the never ending story, and I recall vividly the déjà-vous I experienced when you double wrapped the leftovers with cellophane

In my fit of Nyquil I make a fist towards the window behind my head and reach out desperately for sleep or for the street light or maybe for the people next door who are 900 years old basically,

this Nyquil in my veins presents itself as a flock of resilient hang-ups that won’t let me move forward into a rested future.

I swear if I sit still enough I can feel the earth moving and I can see that the moon is a glowy, milky rock suspended in the plastic slats, over the trees and then somewhere else altogether

I dream that I plant the beach in the shadow of a mountain, I dream of a dead mermaid on an ice rink on the beach, I wake up and I deeply regret taking my dad to see Underworld 3D

I wake up and recall a conversation where I remarked that time during childhood seemed so much longer,
and I recall being told that studies have shown that your life is already half over by the time you reach adulthood, in terms of your perception of time; I wake up and I practice telling myself that time has not been so long, and I make a pact to fantasize every year that I was born last year

I awake from another dream wherein I am playing my acoustic guitar in an ice palace and my sister is with me in the Chamber of Music, and the voices of dead saints and prophets issue from the sound hole and  my sister tells me it’s because I play so beautifully

Nyquil writes another poem and it is called “Poem by a misanthrope,” and it goes like this:
I wish all doors were automatic so I would never have to hold the door for anyone.
I hate those fuckers, the ones behind me

For the love of god, Nyquil- put me under the sleeping pile of lazy sea foam,
put your ear just below my navel and listen for the sounds of lost whales

this is me at 5 in the morning, twisting towards the bed mire of lozenges and tissues,
making love to the vix vapo-rub at the rate of
75 brand new moments every sixty seconds


the other poem i read at the reading was a poem by steve roggenbuck [] called 'somewhere in the bottom of the rain.' you can watch and hear that lovely poem here:


(from the reading at Rao's in Amherst on 1-27)


I want to move to Greenland, which is the largest island that isn’t a continent

We can live in the lipstick-red house I saw by the sea in the dream

A psychic in Pittsfield once told me I would travel to Scottland and instinctively know my way around because I lived there in a past life, but I think she must have meant Greenland

She wore many rings which led me to believe she knew what she was doing, and ironically she also told me that my boyfriend, who paid for the reading and was sitting to our left across the cafe, was not my soulmate, and I looked at him looking at me, sipping his coffee and I thought “this lady is an asshole”

The only way to get to Greenland by air is from Iceland or Denmark, or we can charter a ferry from Newfoundland

We can forget all our statistically suburban pain to the fjords, ride the earth to our respective deaths, eat seals for breakfast and be creative in the afternoon, celebrate our promenade of verve by being cold but happy in the evening

I had forgotten Greenland existed until fairly recently, when Wikipedia reminded me that it did
and I wondered if Greenland gets jealous for being so big and so unrecognized as a continent

And I wondered if I could feel at home in such a barren place, and then I decided that home can be any pre-felt land

The only way to feel at home anywhere is to leave a place after having spent some time there, learning subconsciously  the way the sunlight lays or doesn’t lay on its most important streets, its least important houses

and then when you return your spatial memory is activated  and you say “ah, good old Greenland” and you really mean it this time, you are home, you are in Greenland

Monday, January 23, 2012


An Unflattering Portrait of How a Bad Day Can Turn Me Into a Miser

Q: Why was today the worst day Ever?

A:  Actually, it didn’t start off as the worst day ever. I started out the day with a bowl of raisin bran and when I got to work, a coworker remarked that I looked happy, and indeed I felt happy and awake. I rang up the hot eggy breakfasts of many pleasant patrons and then the stream of hungry people ceased and I went to bag groceries for a coworker who appeared to be in need of some help.
I attempted to place the box of fancy fruit tarts into the bottom of the bag, which, contrary to what the customer argued later, can be done- just not by me, apparently. This is probably the 20th pastry/fruit tart/cake/bakery creation I’ve ruined  via trying-to-put-it-in-a-bag since I started the job, so admittedly I shouldn’t have thought that I could be so graceful and skilled as to not fuck it up. The box tipped and three of the fruit tarts appeared to grow uglier, however no less edible or delicious. When I remarked to the obese lady (I don’t care how unnecessary, ignorant or immature it is that I’m noting the weight of the woman; bitterness makes me immature and I’m entitled to be both sometimes, perhaps especially as a person who works in customer service) that the box had accidentally tipped, she said “ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
She sounded genuinely stunned, like there was a real possibility that I was just fucking with her. And I said “uhhhh yeah, I’m serious. It was a mistake, I’m sorry. Do you want me to go get you some new fruit tarts?”
At which point she went on a tirade about how she didn’t have TIME (!!!) to wait for new fruit tarts because she was going to pick her son up from school and the fruit tarts were for him and she was going to be late, and she emphasized once more that she “[couldn’t] believe it.”

It really surprises me sometimes, the things people can’t believe.

I offered to get the lady a full refund ($15) for her fancy fruit tarts, which she gladly accepted, although she didn’t leave the store without remarking to my supervisor (who is smart and nice enough to know that I don’t ruin fruit tarts for fun) that:
-I had left to get the refund prematurely, before finishing bagging the rest of her groceries
-Today was "not my day"

And finally, my favorite:

Immediately after hearing this last bit, I fantasized about being able to go back in time to actually drop the fruit tarts on purpose (I become malicious when accused of a fictitious maliciousness, possibly because then I become paranoid that maybe I’m subconsciously a miser and part of me did do it on purpose, though without realizing it. One of my biggest fears is being a secret miser). Only in the fantasy the dropping of the fruit tarts was much more fantastic and ended in me eating the fruit tarts.

This post might be incredibly boring and obnoxious. I’m self-aware enough to know that right now I might be one of those people who pointlessly gripes on and on about my job despite the fact that my audience might not care or might not be able to relate. In this way, this entry feels better suited for a Livejournal entry from 2003 [when I worked at a Soft Pretzel Franchise after school and would write nightly about the idiocy of a hungry entitled public and my general loathing of humanity. Corporate found my journal entries and I was taken aside one day and told not to write about the company anymore. In 2006, the year I took off from school to “find myself,” I would become a supervisor at a competing Soft Pretzel Franchise where I would spend the entire year being hit on by my engaged boss, reading utopian anarchist propaganda which made the job slightly more tolerable insofar as it equipped me with enough idealism to imagine a future without soft pretzel wage slavery and the sad malls that house it, and getting high in the McDonald’s parking lot after work ] or a conversation with a coworker. But please trust me: if you’ve never worked in customer service and you roll your eyes when someone goes off about the things that they endure, trust that if you were in their position you would most likely experience a similar irritation. The bullshit of an entitled public is endlessly entertaining, aggravating, and even disheartening if you’re one of those people who cares or is sensitive.

If you’re one of those people and you’ve worked in customer service, you’ve probably fantasized about ways to sabotage a work interaction, ways to subvert the role of customer and server- because it’s the firm belief in these roles that allows customer service employees to be denied their humanity when deemed inherently malicious for dropping some fruit tarts.

[My favorite recurring way-to-get-fired fantasy involves an unruly customer handing me a plate of food, and I just lay my head sideways on it, on the counter, silently, like a malfunctioning robot.]

After the fruit tart debacle I discussed benefits with a nice HR lady. I decided to have a buck something deducted from every paycheck so that, should I pass on prematurely, my mom will receive $35,000.

Then I called my doctor on my break to schedule a neurology appointment because my left temple has been hurting and twitching for two weeks.

Then I got a text from my sister stating that my mom received an eviction notice, despite my successful blog campaign to keep her from being evicted just last month. We accepted $2,500 from benevolent strangers, gave it all to the park that owns my mom’s house, and she’s still behind on rent. So now I feel personally like an asshole for feeling so proud of myself for executing this campaign.

The irony of the latter three occurrences is not lost on me, by the way.

Luckily all of my supervisors are wonderful enough to understand that I needed a “personal day.” It turns out that a personal day is a day that involves drawing the red curtains and sleeping through the things that are bothering you, waking up and crying into a cup of tea while your housemate tells you that your mom’s cats can stay here if she gets evicted, and then you say with a sob “but there’s four of them, and I love them so much”

As I was backing out of the parking lot at work, my car made that truly awful noise it makes when I turn the wheel for the first time after turning the car on.

An old lady in big dumb aviator glasses turned around to openly scowl at me and my lousy car, and I said out loud, regrettably: “what the fuck are you looking at? Buy me a new car if you don’t like it, bitch.” This is probably the first time I’ve used the word “bitch” in six months and probably the closest I’ve come in a much longer time to being like a person on a reality tv show, a person I don’t like.

I really don’t like how an onslaught of unfortunate events can turn me into a miser. But I’m not a miser otherwise; I’m just sitting at the café eating a banana nut muffin.