Power Love

Your definitive resource. That's all, just your definitive resource.

25 February 2011


In the morning she'll slip out of bed, get dressed quietly, and walk out the door. She won't lock it behind her. When you wake up, you hope she's gone for coffee. When she's not back two hours later, you know she's gone.

You drive. You remember her mentioning New Mexico and Arizona. You remember she hates the cold, but likes the seasons. You head northwest. It's gloomy. You hope she hasn't left the country. You pass one exit after another. Speedway. McDonald's. Gas--Food--Lodging. Truck stops. Holiday Inn. If she's gone to Europe, you'll have to learn to drive on the Autobahn. Or on the left. You'll have to ask for help. You think she set it up like that, it's just like her. "But you chose to do it," she'd say and you wouldn't be able to argue, because she'd be right. You hate her for that. But right now you are driving across the country for that.

Nebraska is greener than you thought. And hillier. You can't remember what she looks like. You tell yourself that's ridiculous, you've lived with her face next to yours for years. But now you realize you made up a face, you made up a voice. Then you put that face and that voice on a mirage and that mirage fell asleep next to you every night.

You do, however, remember her right index finger. You can see it clearly--long and thin, with a chunky ring around it and usually some ostentatious color on the nail--and you know this for a fact because she was always pointing that finger at you. You know it for a fact.

Except, after a few more exits, you begin to question even that. The Dennys have switched to Cracker Barrels. The frost has turned to dew. The once polluted air is now filled with the smell of livestock. You used to fall asleep with your head on the small of her back. You never asked if that annoyed her.

You remember the second you fell in love with her. She handed you a beer. First. There were other people around, but she handed the beer to you. And that's what you were looking for--someone to pick you out of the crowd, someone to give you the prize first. It didn't really matter who the prize came from. It doesn't matter even now. You wonder when she realized this.

You remember the fights. Screaming in the car. Slamming the bedroom door. Smashing the wine glass against the wall. You remember how your eyeballs burned you were so mad. You remember retaliating, then looking around you--at the empty passenger's seat, the empty bedroom, the empty kitchen. It's not possible you were fighting with yourself, that would make you crazy. Crazy people don't recognize their crazy.

You head north, to Montana. You're following the scent of her perfume. It invades the air. At a gas station in an empty field, you ask the old man at the counter if he smells it. He says all he can smell is cow shit. You keep driving.

You stop at a bar in Missoula. You think it should be peopled with locals, but everyone looks like a tourist. You remember how she'd laugh, loud and inappropriately, at parties. You remember that sharp tone she'd use to put people off. You remember standing in the living room, in front of the framed mirror, explaining the negative aspects of her abruptness, how she needed to watch that, how she embarrassed herself in front of others, they really didn't know what to make of her, she made them uncomfortable. You remember looking in the framed mirror, watching yourself talk to yourself.

At night, you wrap the pillow case around your neck like a scarf. It smells like her. You won't take off your paisley collared shirt because that smells like her too. You ache for something of hers to hold on to, but you can't remember what was hers.

In a small town just over the border into Washington, you're walking out of a diner and you see her. She's walking across the street, in a crowd, but you know without a doubt it's her. You can smell it.

You run. The crowd disperses. You can't see faces or index fingers or anything except the blind need that has crawled out of you and is pulling you forward. You grab her by the hand. You pull her into you. You wrap your arms around her and breathe her in and hold her while you hold your breath, until her smell is absorbed into your bone marrow. You lean back, to smile, and she disappears, like mist.

You drive.

21 February 2011


The snow is melting. You're welcome. It was a difficult negotiation and lucky I won that Pulitzer for investigative reporting, because that's how I simultaneously negotiated our way out of Snow Hell, and then also took perfectly accurate notes with my waterproof pen so that we can live in a free and open society of transparency and love.

It was last week, when we were in yet another Chicago Weather Time Warp. You don't remember because now it's 40 degrees and that's doable, so you've blocked out The Other Time because it's bad and you don't have the coping skills for that and also, you're a colossal pothead.

But there was a time when snowdrifts were as tall as the Tower and, basically, winter came into our home and made itself comfortable. Just because it happens every year doesn't make it right. So I'm sitting on my throne, protecting My Parking Spot. Armed gunmen are stationed in the turrets of the towers atop the snowdrifts to my left and right. I have my fly swatter at my side. I'm wearing spurs. My duster hangs on a hook frozen to The Left Drift. I don't know where my car went, but this is my spot now.

My spurs rustle so I pull out my kaleidoscope and peek beyond the boundary of My Parking Spot. The kaleidoscope shrugs its shoulders, but I'm like, dude--you gotta look AROUND (slow on the uptake, this guy--something about acid, the toxicity of the early 70s, and crazy Uncle George), so the kaleidoscope looks around and then I see it too: from a distance, it looks like a tumbleweed rolling toward us. Except everything in this time warp is bright white, hence my diamond sunglasses, so really, it's more like a snowball rolling towards us, but I may change it back to a tumbleweed because I'm wearing spurs.

The kaleidoscope slowly moves back the closer the snowball gets. I pull out my fly swatter. I hear the clicks of the armed gunmen around me. If that snowball gets too close, he will be showered with flags of every color--silk flags, thank you very much, imported from my fabric factory in Italy. I suspect the smart ass in Sector 8 has loaded his armed gun with spitballs, but that's not a battle I'm willing to fight right now.

The snowball is inside garrison lines. A quick flick of my fly swatter and the entire compound is at the ready. I remove myself from my throne and swagger out to meet him. My spurs are playing "Kashmir" because I can't get that song outta my head, it's almost like it's following me, which was something I once wished for, but now, in actuality, it's really rather tedious and it hurts my brain.

This is all Captain Hook's fault, I TOLD him not to use that for his entry song (Led Zeppelin is OFF LIMITS for entry songs, m'kay--WE ALL AGREED TO THIS), but does that guy listen? Deal with your Peter Pan issues, dude.

Snow flicks me in the forehead, "Pay attention, space lady."
"I'm a cowboy fashionista today, ass."
For the record, it's very disconcerting to be flicked out of a daydream by a weather mass.
"Where's your hat?" Snow asks.
I'm about to say, "Up your ass," but that would make two ass-es in a row, which is bad form. To be honest, Snow is another battle I'm not willing to fight. I'm feeling particularly fightless lately and really, I just wanna watch travel shows on PBS and be around people who are nice to me.

I look around My Parking Spot. My hat is off behind my throne. It's getting warmer so I don't really need it, and sometimes my hat and I need a little space from each other. No, we're not breaking up. This is actually a healthy move for us. Our therapist said so.

"Over there," I say, pointing to my hat. It's a fedora with a silk and chiffon train that hits at my ankles. Sometimes it gets tangled in battle.

Snow senses my defeat. "Sit?"
My assistant runs to The Neighbor's Parking Spot and removes a dining room chair. It's shorter than my throne because I don't allow weather masses to sit higher than me in My Parking Spot. I regain my composure.

"How may we help you today?" I say.
"By next week, this is all gonna melt," Snow tells me furtively.
"Uh-huh. Oh. Hmmmm."
"I suggest inflatable furniture."
"Do you?"
"Ikea. Cheap. Easy to set up. Directions in pictures, no pesky words."

Band name: Pesky Words. See us at various literary fests around the city. We also do performance art gigs. We just stand still for the 45-minute set and say nothing. We'll need a private space to prepare beforehand. We are artists.

"Dibs get called off when Snow disappears," I tell Snow.
"That's funny. I never disappear. During July, I lurk in the sewers."
"Not as gross as the humans who fill 'em up."
"There's humans in the sewers?"
"Have you recently had a lobotomy?"
I don't tell him about the calamity in Cancun. That's between me and Cancun's intelligence agents.

"Anyway," Snow says, "the market's in inflatable furniture. Jump in now while you can afford it, you'll be sitting on easy street in no time."
I don't like his metaphor. As you and I both know, Alert Power Love Reader, if I sat on easy street, I'd probably get run over.

"You've come to My Parking Spot to offer me a flimsy business deal?"
"They're not gonna keep dibs at bay forever. We've already headed down the slope. When the torrential rains come, we'll need--NEED--to protect our parking spots. When it floods, where's my spot? Oh, right here where I marked it WITH MY INFLATABLE END TABLE. When the sun slashes us like a sword and we all instantaneously erupt into sunburned tomato heads, where will we park? You guessed it--"
"OK. Thanks. I get it. Your idea is stupid and you're a hustler."
"That's untrue. I'm an artful salesweathermass."
"I never understand the pictures in those Ikea directions. It's like stick figures holding stick drawings and I always feel like I'm putting together a table when I should be putting together a book shelf."
"That's because you've smoked your depth perception out your ears. Listen to me: Get in now while it's good."

I stand. The armed gunmen are waiting for my signal. The ass in Sector 8 is indeed loading his armed armament with spitballs. About 99.999% of my me-ness is telling me to whip out my blow dryer and melt Snow's face off. But I'm angling for the Pulitzer of Peace to sit next to my investigative journaling award because I have this handmade shelf from Bora Bora--Wow was that an operation! Thank god for riot gear and parkour!--and it would add balance and peace to the universe.

I wave off the armed gunmen. From Sector 8 I hear, "Aw fuck that...Shut up, dude, she'll hear you...Well fuck it, what a waste of spitballs." I'll devise a plan for spitball retention and storage this evening. For now though, I say, "Snow, it's been nice having you. I have other matters to attend to now, however. I'll have my team look over your business proposal and reply to you shortly."

Snow stands up. He walks out to The Road. "You never thought you'd spend five bucks on a fancy coffee drink, but now you can't live without it. Opportunity."
I wait because I kinda wanna blow his stubby legs out from under him with a swift roundhouse kick. But I don't, because I have to return my neighbor's dining room chair. "Good day to you, sir," I say and Snow walks away, already looking into drifts down the road, ready for the next sucker.

You see how I did that, Alert Power Love Reader? I didn't have to go to battle. Apparently, humans do this all the time. It's called "Working Things Out." I think we can all agree it's a somewhat disconcerting option--let's face it, some weather masses NEED to be vaporized--but it's worth keeping around as an option.

03 February 2011


Because we're all about the public service announcement here at Power Love HQ, we feel compelled to tell you that a blizzard just regurgitated on Chicago.

That means I have to defer my Implementing Legislation Days. Day. I dropped it down to one day. I'm really busy. And anyway, my beloved Chicago needs me because who would make the snow angels? You see how I'm all about the priorities, Alert Power Love Reader?

Anyhoodle, there's no crime fighting at 3am in the middle of a thunder snow, surprisingly, so I decided to help the Streets and San guys and build a labyrinthinian maze of snow tunnels throughout the city, or, I guess I should say, in between the city and the sky because really, the city is under 5,739 feet of snow, so we're kinda like in the basement looking up. Well, SOME OF US are looking up. My snow tunnels are quite like the Catacombs of Paris, except without the dead people and above ground and with snow and not in Paris. So really nothing like the Catacombs of Paris, except for the routes, which are all marked in French, which is amazing, because I can't speak French.

I drew a map of the tunnels, and I buried it in a chest with many other treasures, which I locked with a combination lock, also in French, which may create a sticky scenario later, and in case you were wondering, you're certainly not gonna find my buried treasure buried under center field at Wrigley. On my way home from burying the treasure chest, I took a tunnel and got lost and that is embarrassing to say the least.

So then I'm sitting at the head of a three-mile long dining table in the forest and obviously once again on the set of Alice in Wonderland, but not the set they used in the movie, the set they rejected because it was shoddily made and then they had to re-evaluate their requirements and found the right set, but it was elsewhere, so they moved the movie and now here I am at the abandoned table and who's at the other end? The Hollow Human.

I hate The Hollow Human. You know why, Alert Power Love Reader? Because I'm afraid of becoming The Hollow Human. Do you have any idea how easily a super hero can get her insides hole-punched right out her back? Pretty easily. As easily as blowing a dandelion in the wind. Not the yellow ones--the white ones. What are those? Are they dead? Dead dandelions? Did they suddenly succumb to dandruff? Dandelion dandruff? Maybe those aren't dandelions at all. What if they're space ships for microscopic aliens who were sent to Earth to study the mucus membranes of humans? WHAT IF?

The Hollow Human and me? Not what I'd call friends. "Not after that snafu in Sydney," I growl down the three-mile dining table. My voice is reverberating perfectly throughout the forest. I don't have to use my stage whisper, which is good because I didn't do my vocal warm-ups yet.

"Oh. That," she says, waves her fingers like she's tired of waiting for her polish to dry.
"Don't you Oh That to me, missy."
"It was ONE high-powered, military-grade weapon. You are so sensitive."
"You are so lucky I'm a super hero."
"I know. You're good at it. I kinda hate how good you are at it."
"I started a new band."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah. Wanna know the name?"
"Back Handed Compliments and the Ass Kissers."

The Hollow Human slams her palms on the table, but they make no noise. I can see the tablecloth through the backs of her hands. I know I'm three miles down the table from her, but I have the vision of a finely honed animal/technological wonder that is known for possessing finely honed vision. The tablecloth has beautiful lacing around its edges.

I set my golden lasso on the table. The table creaks. I snap my fingers and then put the matchbook that appears in my palm under the table leg and voila! No more creaky table. "That is the stuff of super heroes," The Hollow Human says.

I step up on my chair then place a tentative step on the table. Sturdy. Because my matchbook is magic. So I jump up on the table and swagger down to The Hollow Human. There's a lot of cracked porcelain scattered about and I don't want to disturb it because my cracked porcelain may be someone else's charm bracelet but still I can't help but crunch a few pieces because I am wearing diamond encrusted cowboy boots and sometimes theses suckers have a mind of their own. My cape casts a ghoulish shadow behind me.

The Hollow Human looks up at me and I can see the gears in her brain matter start to churn. She has a huge hole where her torso should be. "Those are great boots," she says as I approach.

I do a Gene Kelly side kick because frankly, when the hell am I ever gonna be wearing diamond encrusted cowboy boots on a porcelain-strewn table? I mean, besides next Tuesday at the country club. It occurs to me that I have an uncanny sense for running into rejected sets from Tim Burton movies.

I squat down in front of The Hollow Human. "You don't really like my boots, do you?" I ask her.

She looks around. There are cobwebs dripping from the eucalyptus trees. A murder of crows. A gaggle of geese. A gallon of milk, a stick of butter, a loaf of bread. This place smells alive. The Hollow Human smells disinfected.

For my part, I smell like a bed of roses. And maybe a little bit of sweat that's aged a wee bit--I mean, what?! It's a velvet cape and I had to wear thick socks with the boots and like I should've known the wackadoodle reject forest would be 90 degrees and humid.

The Hollow Human looks through me and says, "You don't have to get all diamond encrusted about it."

I stand up. "Reframing the conversation. Love it." I unzip my chest. I reach into the gooey mass that I keep in a golden pouch right next to my heart. This is the greatest pouch ever invented. I got it during one of my special ops missions in Thailand. What you do is--you set it next to your heart and let it marinate there for 24 hours while you read a Faulkner novel while lying on the couch with the windows open and the summer breeze rolling over your outstretched legs and then the pouch is activated and no matter what's in your heart, thereafter the pouch and its contents maintain the summer breeze.

This is excellent because right now, while standing on the rejected dining table, in my diamond-encrusted cowboy boots, in front of The Hollow Human, I kinda wanna kick her teeth in. Instead, I squat back down and sink my fingers further into the goo in the golden pouch (band name: Goo in the Golden Pouch)--it feels like jelly. I hope it's grape jelly. I like grape jelly on toast. Recently, I've developed a taste for orange marmalade.

I pull my finger out and as it hits the air, my golden goo coagulates and I quickly stuff it into the hole in The Hollow Human's torso. I pack it in and squish it around so she's all connected. She takes a deep breath and exhales. She smells like dirt after a rain--by which I mean, stuffed with unapologetic aliveness.

I stand up. "How you like me now?" I say as I model my boots. The Hollow Human says, "I think they're kinda gaudy, but you can pull it off with the cape. But probably only at a party in a forest with a creaky dining table and cobweb-laced eucalyptus trees."

"Thank you," I say because I'm a lover of honesty and sometimes I'm not the quickest knife in the drawer.

Meanwhile, the Middle East explodes.