Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two [Oh! Oh!] Eight (in Formalist Poetry)

While I find lists deliciously erotic (oh sweet, reductionist powers!), I have decided that 2008 will be recapped in poem-chunks. Largely, these were rediscovered in bookbags/purses/wallets that found themselves in my favor over the last twelve months. I love giving people triolets, so there are several :)

A Triolet for James

Despite the fact that figs were out of season,
He lifted one and put it in my hand.
"A gift," he grinned, providing me no reason.
He could tell I knew that figs were out of season.
I tried to pay, but in the end he won
And watched me as he went back to the stand.
Despite the fact that figs were out of season,
I laughed to find one lying in my hand.

10 May

Curtain pull swings like a noose. I start
talking beauty and see the Death's Head. Sweet
taste of your flesh too much, I turn to
the walls and breathe deep. I never.

(One of) Jarek's Triolet(s)
Remember pouring wine with me, offshore?
The sailors passing by became our friends.
Impostor in the fancy clothes I wore,
I remember drinking wine with you, offshore.
The docks grew dark; with only seconds more
until our days in Szczecin aimed to end,
you poured more wine. ("Remember!") Just offshore,
the sailors passed us by, our distant friends.

On Expensive Outbursts

In pieces just an hour before the show,
my violin unwinds itself across
the backstage floor. It’s bridge beneath my boot
becomes like dust – a faint, or mocking, sign
of angry whim. Perhaps, I hiss, my lips
in string-tight lines, you ought to consider
this high-light the end of the band.

Convinced that nothing here is still intact,
I collect my wrath and now-empty bags.
They’ll have to find themselves another girl.

Los Angeles Limmerick

A bird has decomposed beneath the bridge,
An event the cars above have surely missed.
Its beak and wings and bone
Have formed a garden of their own.
By now I'm laughing: Only bums and I know this.

White Elephant Triolet (Regifted to Maxine)

I write these little fugues for when you’re dead.
Who else would ever think of such a gift?
In lieu of when you sang to me in bed,
I write these little fugues for when you’re dead.
The notes, I hope, will dissipate some dread.
In just the way you made my nightmares lift,
I write these little fugues. For, when you’re dead,
Who else will ever think of such a gift?

Goodbye, '08, goodbye! What a year you have been... I realized today, though, that my bloodstream feels like SPRING is just around the corner. The onset of that season always leaves me feeling electrified, and my current excitement over the beauty of things as they are, and the things to come, is the same. Oh, I am happy in this place! Shocked and different and wiser and happy.

I love you already, 2009!

-The Silliest Receptionist

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Sonnet for My Security Badge (Upon Drowning Slowly in a Toilet)

Amidst the paint-chipped walls, I heard you drop,
And, woeful, watched your face submerge ‘neath scum.
I tried to catch you, tried to cry out “Stop!”
But slow I was, and now I’m e’er so glum.
Oh loyal Badge, I miss you at my side,
Dangling lightly, nymph-like in your sway.
I’ll mourn the way you lightly slapped my thigh,
And how you rode to work with me each day.
Without you, can I ever be complete?
Or lonely Admin will I always be?
Have you gone on to sleep a blessed sleep?
Or will you still give ghostly gifts to me?

Do not feel afraid, my long lost friend…
For you shall be reborn when I push “Print.”

R.I.P 12/5/08

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A City Girl's Guide to Moving Out and Moving On


Has your current residence begun to feel like a passive aggressive minefield, an agro terrain that you must breathlessly tread across to use the toaster oven? Does your roommate party until 4 AM on school-nights, aware that your vile alarm will arouse you a mere two hours later? Has a sense of Janus-style two facery become The Norm chez toi? Is your personal space riddled with strife, distrust, and a newly discovered ritual of starting the day off with a steaming cup of discord?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, then girl, it's time to move out and move on.

Living in a big city with uber-competitive housing, you will be tempted to stay, a subconscious last-ditch effort to avoid more difficulty in these tumultuous times. After all, it's going to cost you a LOT of money. (First month's rent, last month's rent, security deposit....) And, after all, you have moved four times in the last 15 months...


That's right. Get on Craigs List. Immediately. Click on EVERY single opening for a roommate within a 30 mile radius. Write the best damn piece of self-promotion in the history of the Mission District. Tinge your honesty with some sparkly adjectives, dull that desperate edge, and charm you way into the hearts of some fabulously sane potential housemates. *

*This process will need to be repated on a daily basis. Responses will be sparse, as nearly everyone in your proximity is a)equally as quirky/fabulous as you certainly are and b)potentially much more cutthroat in their attempts than you are willing to be. So either start baking panfuls of pot brownies to get the Bribe Train rolling, or respond to Craigs List posts until your wee little fingers are mere BONE.


Make a spur of the moment decision. Trust the kindness in the singular email response that works its way repeatedly to the top of your inbox. Have a cup of coffee with the new potential sharers-of-your-life-space, recognize that they are neither axe-murderers nor faux Artistes Elite, warm to their utter lack of pretention and their genuine requests for radical honesty, and shake hands on it.

The house doesn't matter. It just so happens that it will turn out to be fabulously romantic and filled with fun, attractive people, but even if the place were a hovel.... shake hands on it. Remember, lady, you have got to stick to your guns at all costs. Remember that you only want one thing from people: The Truth! The Whole Enchilada of Honesty! This has been wildly lacking in your former casa, so spring for the Backbone Implant and march on out Guevara style.


You've moved before. It's a personnel issue, every blasted time. People are going to say shit about you when you're gone. Whoever (rapidly) steps up to fill the role you were hesitantly trudging through will learn of your strange habits, your moral shortcomings, your quirky and slightly disturbing collection of Found Objects. Assumptions will be made about your choice to leave. The chips will fall, and your sweet little anachronistic photograph will fade to nothingness, after having been graffitied with self-important words like "Uncollaborative."

Let not the whisperings distress you, you well-dressed warrior of the urban jungle! You've got the tenacity to keep up your quiet brilliance. And while you do not engage in the Obnoxious Trumpeting of Achievement (via egregious Facebook Status Updates, mass emails, or sneaky behind-the-back whisper sessions), the people who know what's what will provide you with an unshakeable support group and flourish alongside you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Make Way, Melvillian Novembers!

Well, dear reader, the times are a-changing, and rapidly.

As I stride away from my tattered, pulpy little heart-puddle, I can only hope that your lives as of late have been filled with a lesser dose of dramatic doom.

October Karen was sure that her life could not become any greyer. This was after a greatly feared/actualized horrific moving experience, a broken car window, a sinus infection/near-fatal fever, continued weep-fests over the death of a dearly loved one, and several other small explosions of less notable import. Little did she know that November Karen would peer over her shoulder and positively YEARN to trade places.

However, I have spent a good deal of time sculpting/decoupaging December Karen into being. December Karen does the following things:

+Ceases to live in Over-Rated Art Warehouse of Passive Aggressive Tension

+Gets sweet room (still in San Francisco' s Mission District) in old Victorian House; room is sunny, cozy, filled with books and arty-girl decorations made by December and all Future Karens' efforts combined

+Begins graduate work at the University of San Francisco, earning in two years time the greatly desired piece of paper called MFA, Creative Writing

+Continues to design/actualize hand-stitched clothing/accessory line (Etsy site coming soon)

+Gallavants throughout the streets of San Francisco with veritable hordes of trustworthy, charming, and talented lads and lasses in tow

Also, I want a cat. He/she will be tiny and black and will bear proudly its badge: Triolet.

This, for now, is all of an "update" I can deliver. I continue to reel from the chicanery of the last several weeks, but now (shakily) stand re-empowered before you, a thrilling amalgam of hesitance and excitement over my newly acquired life path. While it diverts quite extremely from the one upon which I had been lumbering, it is filled with a room boasting much better interior design. And that, darlings, is never a negative.

With love, as always,

Your Adjective-Slinging Receptionist

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Unbelievably, rush hour traffic asserted great diplomacy, delivering me to my doorstep no later than 5:30 PM. This is, my dear friends, a very rare and beautiful thing. Thrilled at the new prospects of lethargic self-indulgence now afforded me, I slipped through the apartment, shedding life's accessories in my wake.*

*This includes, but is not limited to: iPhone, keys, security badge, and sweater.

Juggling grape soda, trashy novel, and unlit Parliament like a Cirque alum, I porch-perched and sighed happily at the little patch of sunlight creeping towards my toes. She-Who-Shares-My-Living-Quarters soon paid me a quick visit in the outdoors, letting me know that she would be leaving to run a brief errand. I bid her farewell and returned to blissed-out post-work mecca.

Not long after, a chill crept about the space, and after several yawns and a gratuitous stretch of the back, I attempted to re-enter my home.

To no avail. Space-Mate had locked the door fast, apres our chat. Similarly, the front door turned a deaf ear to my pleadings for entry. Dejected, I returned to my stoop and dedicated myself to completing a book I have yet to take seriously.

Fence took on the role of post-modern sundial. As the light that climbed through its hatchings grew greyer and crept and crept, Agitation descended into the scene. Book quickly ran out of pages and exited. Two hours had now passed, and I feared that Space-Mate was gone for good, ne'er to return until the arrival of Day-Next. LandLord, I soon learned, was visiting family in another state.

I do so love to camp. However, my porch can and will not contain the prostrate form of a gangly female, and the concrete slab floor would offer little respite from the impending night's chill. I urged all 68 inches of self into verticality, and began an epic, stiletto-ed trek down The Way of the Kings.

Walking inspired blistering of the feet. Blistering inspired increased agitation. Increased agitation decreased self-composure. Soon, I was stumbling and fuming down El Camino like a drunken and rejected prom date. I can't say for certain, but I feel sure that I must have been muttering to myself, skirt balled helplessly in my fists. I apologize to unfortunate commuters-home who witnessed this, as it no doubt brought up repressed childhood memories of at least one unsettling episode of The X Files.

Directly betwixt my own domicile and that of Nicholas (Knight in Shining Jaguar), She-Who-Shares-My-Living-Quarters flew past, somehow failing to witness my manic eruption of arms and legs and everything flailable.

Well, friends, I turned around. My blistered feet and my bedraggled soul trudged and trudged. Mourning the loss of my entire evening, an evening which had (at first glance) appeared to be a bastion of lethargic glory, I passed another 30 minutes before trip-grunt-toppling through the door marked "3."

I've never hidden a key outdoors, for fear of masked vigilantes - dashing men with pillage and plunder in their souls, who could daintily pluck said key from its Nook of Secrecy and do all manner of untowardly deeds. My tendencies may, however, have been swayed.

Interpret the following statistics as you will.

Masked Vigilante Count (as of 8/14/08): 0
Impromptu Homelessness Count (as of 8/14/08): More than 0.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Today,  Conceptual Reception has been born in the form of Blog. (This choice is, of course, in opposition to my earlier, and rather grandiose, aspirations towards Delicious Zine-Distro.) In addition, my dear new blog also lends itself well to rapid disguise amidst corporate goings-on. Caught at work with blunt Crayolas in hand no more! The Mighty and Reductive Left Click shall, in dangerous circumstances, render my expository shenanigans well-nigh invisible.

I will now pander to my own need for Artificial Narrative Structure. Yes, that's right: I am a slave to life's little parentheses, and perhaps guilty of creating them where they have not voluntarily appeared. However, another gleaming quality of the Blog Realm is its patience with self-indulgence, and I would feel lax in avoiding this generous opportunity.

  1. End College/Ejection
    • 1. Freshly-printed diploma in hand, bearing some capitalized letters that mean important things to people with their own staplers, I made a research-free decision to move to the California Bay Area.
    • 2. Studio Apartment (-$1000/mo) +Professional Acting/Touring Career (+$HORRIFED GASP/mo). I traveled the West Coast this way, performed in a different city every day, acquired five shiny new stitches in my chin, and learned to live out of a Swiss Gear Backpack for two weeks. Valuable? Yes. Exhausting? Mais OUI.
    • 3. In mid-November, I proved video-game nay-sayers wrong, demonstrating that Tetris teaches some innordinately valuable life skills. I also discovered that somehow:
      Two Suitcases + One Backpack + Six Months = HUGE Amounts of Accumulated Knick-Knackery

    • 4. Who would have imagined that, in the process of moving one mile down El Camino Real, a rented vehicle would manage to find its way into a crash? This magnificent moment served as the hallmark of my second relocation in six months, and excitedly I strode forth into my new shared-apartment life.

  2. The Proverbial "Pair" Is Grown
    • 1. Sure, we all fly off the handle when we're worked 80 hour weeks and not compensated for it. The key is in the Marketing. (Here, of course, I refer to my continual insistence that ending my Children's Theatre stint was not due to an incidental moment of wrath, but rather to my evolved self-awareness. This slightly-fictitious entity told me that being able to afford food would be okay.)
    • 2. If there's one thing I find delicious, it's an impromptu overhaul! I danced my last
      witchy dance across a stage in Northern California, frolicked my way through the
      turning of 23 years, and dove into a solid week-point-five of Consideration. Here again we see a few guest appearances from Frosty Glass of Gin.
    • 3. RECEPTION! (Yes, we've reached the apex!)
      In a very grown up list entitled "Things I Like," I was startled to find appearances by: Food (And Eating It When I Am Hungry), Shelter (And Being Able to Pay for It), Books (And Stacking Them/Rolling Around in Them/Buying Them More Friends)...
    • 4. I sought and found a job that would let all of these things CO-EXIST! (I, too, bore a semblance of shock.) Despite the raised [perfectly waxed] eyebrows of Life's Voice-Over Commentators, I skipped through the doors of my first Silicon Valley Software Company and planted my excited butt right behind the reception desk.
    Two months later, I now begin my Compendium of Reception Knowledge. Hang on to your monogrammed mugs....