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03.20.02 2:14 p.m.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write for example, "The night is starry and the stars are blue
and shiver in the distance"
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not love her still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
And the verse falls like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing.
In the distance.
My soul has is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms,
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Thought this be the last pain she makes me suffer,
and these the last lines I write for her.


 -Pablo Neruda, Tonight I Can Write  




Previously in Xenology: Kate thought she was made a villain by my words. The WTC collapse because of terrorist actions. Jenks is smarmy and makes me further hate the education department. M and I have a relationship break at my request.

I'd Like To Think If I Was I Would Pass
I feel that I am currently in a time of testing with several of my close friends. Apparently only the females, so far.
I know that I am not testing them, because I wouldn't have interest in that. Nor are they testing my friendship with them, because I would hope that would hold just as little interest to them. But situations are definitely aligning themselves in this fashion. And, as would be expected, I bloody hate it. It seems like I am put in the place of seeing it this is a friendship that is beneficially contributing to my life and I to theirs.
I think they testing of Melissa and Sarah should be evident from prior entries. Of course, I think they both passed and the evil Fatalistic testing for them is at an end. Which should be an immense relief, save that I have other friends that I worry about.
So, who is on the chopping block now? Why, Kate, of course. Two night ago, she IMed me and, within the course of the conversation, revealed that she has bedded three guys "since me," that I am not at all true to myself, that I write in the journal to make her look like a villain to strangers, and that I am fucked up for not remembering the events of the night we kissed as she does.
It bothers me that she tries to call me friend, but doesn't share any of her life with me. I had no idea she had had sex with one guy, let alone three. Evidently, the latest is a boy named Ian that she has known for a short while. They have an open relationship, so they are both free to have sex with other strangers. This attitude is why my age group has one of the highest concentrations of HIV. I think it shows a decided lack of respect for yourself, your body, and those you are choosing to share it with to act in this manner.
I rather feel I have no part in holding a friendship with her. I don't understand her motivations and couldn't admire them at all. If I read about this character in a book, I would put the book down and try to find one a little more three-dimensional. To me, there is nothing of beauty in how she acts or what she says.
Worse, she treats me like some obsessive ex-boyfriend. That is so last year. Trust me, I have far bigger fish to fry than her issues. I also find it unbelievable arrogant to say the journal is at all about her, especially now. Even at its inception, it was more about Eileen, who I was still trying hard to romance. Even when I was lamenting the pain she caused me in trying to string me along, she didn't mind that I was writing about her. It's only now that I have moved on and she is largely a side note that this bothers her.
There is a Chinese parable. In it, a poor man borrows some silver spoons from a rich landowner. When he returns them, he includes many tiny spoons, saying that the spoons had babies. This greatly pleases the landowner, as this made him slightly richer. A week latter, the poor man comes to him again, asking for all the silverware the landowner has. Thinking that he will be rewarded with tiny versions of everything he lends the man, he gives him not only silverware, but also gold cups encrusted with jewels, precious plates, and silk placemats. The next day, the poor man returns, looking forlorn. He explains that everything the landowner lent him died and had to be buried. The landowner is furious and takes the poor man before a court. After hearing the case, the judge tells the landowner, "If you were willing to believe that spoons could give birth because it benefited you, you are obliged to believe what this man has told you." Similarly, Kate cannot deny the journal now just because it doesn't benefit her.
I asked her in the conversation why she wanted to be a friend to me if she felt these ways. She basically said she had no reason, she just wouldn't feel the same if she didn't speak to me. By this same token, I could talk to an empty chair for a while and not feel quite the same if I were to stop. That doesn't necessarily mean I should be talking to the empty chair.
I don't hate her or dislike her at all. I just feel that we are very incompatible people leading very different lives and I doubt that even a friendship can survive between us. So, in a very calm way, I think Kate and I would make better strangers. She is certainly not my enemy, but there is nothing in her that makes me want to call her friend. She has a long road ahead of her and I am not one to walk it with her. She chose it for a reason, even if the reason was that she didn't want to commit to a road.
I told several people of my intent to cease my friendship with Kate, wondering if anyone would say I was being rash. All of them thought this was one of the best moves I had made in a while. That I would be healthier for not have this complication in my life.
I will try to ease any confusion that may result in my readers mind here. Kate, as she is now, is not someone I recognize. She is divorced totally from the girl with whom I was once in love. As I have said in the past, I think the girl I loved was an unnatural form of Kate. A mutant, alternative universe Kate whom I called Katie. Who she is now is the natural progression of who she was before she met me.
Last night, I told Emily that she is distinctly different from Kate or Jen. She gave me a look as though this was quite obvious, but I insisted she let me explain myself anyway. Both Kate and Jen seemed to take some part of me into them and be different because of it. Perhaps because this pleased me and made me feel more warmly toward them, thus I gave positive reinforcement. However, Emily is very much whole on her own. She has taken nothing of me into her, as she has a strong sense of self outside of my company. As such, I know I can trust her more completely, because she is acting from her own, self-crafted concept of ethic and morals. No religion, no other person, tells her how to act (save for the shadow of her mother in her head, but that is just good Jewish guilt). She knows who she is and is not likely to drastically change overnight.

And the Choice of the Next Generation
I was pleasantly impressed with my classmates recently. Jenks ducked out of class early in a smarmy fashion so he could go on an exciting trip to Wisconsin (no, really, this isn't a joke), leaving the class to critique one another's classroom visit papers. A student behind me intoned before Jenks could get out of the door that he thought this was idiotic. He continued that he really couldn't care less what his fellow students had to say about his work because they wouldn't be giving him a grade. Furthermore, this seemed like busy work, especially given that Jenks was leaving. Jenks smarmed that it would be a good experience for these future teachers. Someone else said it sounded like Jenks was being lazy. He looked like a cornered wet rat. It was fun and I was hiding my glee that he was so little respected.
When Jenks finally left, I turned to the guy behind me, said I fully agreed with him and signed off that I had read his paper. He smiled and did the same for me and we both left. See, now I feel comfortable in the class, as I know I am not alone in my quiet contempt. It feels all warm!

The Way Anthropophagism Gets Done
Last week, Melissa, Liz, Boyfriend O' Liz (Anthony), M and I were at Melissa's house. The purpose was to watch terrible movies. We teased our way through The Rage: Carrie 2 and acquired the new random, homoerotic catch phrase of "All right! Drop trou." No, really. Trust me. It's funny. Seriously. Try it at your next party.
We were supposed to watch more terrible horror movies, however Melissa realized that there was a special about September 11th on that featured actual footage inside the buildings while they were collapsing. This seemed horrific, but in a reverent way. Of course, we had no opposition to watching it with Melissa, because we have hearts.
Unlike Snue Snell, who got a spike through the head. Stupid nosey Snue Snell, not learning her lesson when she killed poor, sexy Carrie... oh, right, real tragic death...
Before the special started, the president of Nextel stated how the next two hours would be presented commercial free, with only a few short breaks. I knew what that meant. These short breaks would flash the words, "NEXTEL IS CARING. NEXTEL IS GOOD. NEXTEL HELPS PEOPLE. LIKE FIREMEN. IF YOU LIKE FIREMEN, YOU SHOULD LIKE NEXTEL. NEXTEL HATES TERRORISTS. ONLY TERRORISTS WOULDN'T SUPPORT NEXTEL." I felt this was a safe assumption since this man said the word Nextel in every sentence. Who needs pronouns when you have NEXTEL?
The premise of the special was shocking in its simplicity. Two French filmmaking brothers wanted to show the progression from a rookie firefighter to a full-fledged one. They had been filming this one rookie named Tony for a few months, since he got out of the academy. Obviously, they never set out to capture what they did. They had simple aims.
The firefighters they were shadowing were out on a call when they saw the plane crash into the first tower. It was shocking to see it all over again, six months later, knowing how this would change everyone's lives. With one of the brothers in tow, they went to investigate what happened and start putting out the fire.
The filmmaker never stopped recording. We were treated to the inside of the building. All of these people standing in the lobby, because they were told not to leave the building. I knew for sure that a lot of these people were dead now. They weren't really making any move to get to safety, because they didn't think this was anything much to worry about. Emily told me soon after the attacks that she would have been one of the people that went back into the towers when told it was safe. She would have followed orders and trusted that she was being told the truth. I told her that, if I were there, I would have dragged her by the arm to a distant ice cream parlor. How many people escaped the buildings, only to return because they were told it was safe?
While watching the fire chief being filmed, I noticed that the lobby looked very familiar. I asked M if this was the building that we walk through the day we went to the farmer's market and ate in Central Park. She responded that it indeed was. And I had thought I had never been in the towers. Then I recalled that Emily was supposed to have been in the towers when they collapsed. She had therapy in the city every Tuesday and would have just gotten off the train when the first plane hit, sending flaming jet fuel down the elevator shafts. Just a few weeks before, she had changed her schedule for convenience's sake. I think Melissa was a little awed by that thought, I know I was. Emily, this cozy girl at my side, could have died in the attacks. Emily said she couldn't really think about it. It didn't seem like that was something that could have happened to her, that wasn't a door open to her by fate. Had it have only been two weeks later that she changed her schedule...
The footage cut out occasionally. Not because it got too dark to film, but because bodies were shown so it was seen as more dignified to darken everything and only play sounds. I have to agree. Melissa, Emily, and I were crying through this entire special. It gave me a lot of hope for the human condition. And a lot of hatred toward Nextel, who was trying to use this disaster to shill for their phones. Some decorum was required on their parts and they failed.
The end emotionally exhausted Emily, Melissa, and me from all the crying we had done. Liz had joked through it, which was her way of coping. We understood that and were fine. I don't recall if Anthony had a reaction.



Soon in Xenology: I get a witness to DwB idiocy. More stalking of strangers. Simpsons trivia. Spring break. Letters from Sarah. Stigmata. The church and religion. Existing on certain planes of reality more than others. I slip on a kiss and tumble into love.



last watched: Stigmata
reading: Sacred Contracts
listening: Ten
wanting: To know the moment that everything changes.
interesting thought: You only hate in others what you hate about yourself.
moment of zen: discussing theology with Emily.
someday I must: make a decision.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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