31 July 2010


i would have put you behind my ribcage
if i knew you'd
so far.

27 July 2010

day one of the bar exam

                Big tests inspire a very visceral reaction in me. I have always feared them in a way that is not normal. Probably because I am not very good at them. There are a few reasons for that. One is I just don’t test well on those large scale exams. Another is my aforementioned insane fear. Another, I think, is based in my diversion from competition. I don’t like being competitive. It doesn’t make me happy. It is kind of amazing I did so well in law school considering this fact, since law school is a bastion of competition where no one stops until they are standing in a pool of bloody bodies, covered in sweat with a smug look on their face. Not everyone is like that, of course. But it is a culture that is fed by the schools themselves.  Can we have a new word for law school now? I feel like it is cursing my happy little blog each time I use it. You know how when people go to prison, after they get out, they talk about it like “you know, during the time I was away…” That’s how I feel about law school.
                This time last year all of my fears about big tests became entangled with my fears about life and destiny and direction. I was so lost, just out of school after being a student for 21 years (not counting one year I escaped: then I was the teacher). I was afraid of loving and I was afraid of my instincts and I was afraid of the big bad world but mostly I was afraid of that test. The big one, you know? The one that sounds like a fun place just to mess with you? I was afraid of the bar. Very afraid.
So I just quit. I quit the bar, I quit New Orleans, and I quit life for a little while. I had a constant feeling of falling, as if I just kept going deeper and deeper and I didn’t have the ambition or energy to get back to the top, or even look towards the sky. I convinced myself that I was taking time to figure things out, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I was hiding. I was ignoring everything in my life- the debt that weighed so heavy on my shoulders, the job market and it’s never ending stream of rejections, my friends and family, myself.  

Now I’m starting to peek out again. And part of that is facing what I am afraid of. So I reached out to Paris, and guess what? It worked out. I reached out to my friends and family and they were all still there and supporting me.  And of course, I reached out to the bar. That pesky debt however…
So this morning I woke up in my hotel room a block away from Times Square and opened my toile curtains to a lovely view of a brick wall. I carefully placed the items I was allowed to take with me to the testing center. I was slightly terrified that accidentally bringing one too many pens, or the wrong flavor of chapstick, or a note with my walking directions would get me thrown out of the exam immediately so I packed only one pen, a water bottle, my wallet, and my laptop. I left the hotel around quarter of 7, which was a nice calm time- even in Times Square. The air was not too heavy yet and people were rolling up the shutters on their shops.  I felt calm and a bit dazed, oscillating between feeling blessed to be able to experience a walk in New York in the morning when it is still waking up, and petrified of the small booklet of test questions that awaited me.
The testing center was huge and disorganized. The tension was palpable from a mile away. People were everywhere drinking coffee, reading notes, and glancing around uncomfortably. We lined up for a lifetime, and were finally let into what I can only call a glorified airline hanger.
The room was huge, very huge. I am bad a guessing sizes but I will tell you there were about 2500 candidates taking the test in there, at rickety plastic tables for two, and a proctor for about every ten people with their own wobbly white table. I was 694. It was freezing. The entire room was concrete, the walls and the ceiling and the floor. Everything was grey. Everything. It was one of the saddest rooms I have ever seen.  There were no windows. Just rows and rows of those white tables, two chairs each, in never ending lines. The test began and it was four and a half hours of essay writing.  I tried to write and write but my brain kept drying up. I understood what they wanted but the words were just not in my head. I trudged through the three essay questions with a half an hour to spare. This is one of my test-taking faults. I always finish early. In law school it was a blessing because I could unplug my laptop and high-tail it out of the room before all the others finished and started commiserating about the test questions in the lobby. I like to think I always finish early because I can quickly organize my thoughts and have a good grasp on the material, but it could be that I just want to get away from exams as quickly as possible.
I looked around and everyone was serious. They were all slightly hunched over their computers, gazing intently at their screens. I could see some screens and it looked like they had written a lot more than me but it was hard to tell. The proctor was filing her nails and casually glancing up every once in a while, looking as bored as I was. What a terrible job, I thought, sitting there for five hours looking at stressed people facing a life altering exam.
When we were let loose for lunch, and that is pretty literal as we were herded out of the room and into the food court, I was torn between going outside to defrost my bones or forcing down some terrible cafeteria food. I chose the latter because I had been too nervous to eat breakfast.  I swiped a hamburger that gave me instant flashbacks to middle school because of its pure non-appeal and asked to sit at a table with a brunette snacking on a sandwich. After being seemingly surprised that I was talking to her she started to release a stream of negative comments. She is from New York, got a firm job, hates it, is avoided her other former classmates, ending it all with youknowhatimean and a knowing glance. I told her I am working in Paris even though I don’t like telling people that because it sounds like I’m bragging I think, even though it shouldn’t. But no one wants to know the nitty gritty about my fanatical life-long commitment to living in Paris, they just want to tell me about how they went there last summer and had really good mussels. Which is fine. I like to hear people’s Paris stories. And it means I don’t have to talk about my crazy situation.
Anyway, after lunch we were hoarded back into the room. I went in early to my seat while everyone was lining up outside of the bathrooms. I figured I would take a little break during the exam to freshen up, which is a huge perk of the early finish- breaks aren’t stressful. So I sat down at the table who had seen so many stressed elbows and I laid my head down and…. Well I do something I never do…  I prayed. I tried to make the room as quiet as possible and I said in my head

God, whoever you are, and if you exist or not, I hope you aren’t mad that I don’t really believe in you. And when me and Beth make all those baby Jesus jokes, we’re just kidding, you know? I mean I definitely don’t believe in Jesus but just in case you take that personally, I’m sorry. I need your help because this is really important to me. Just let me pass this test. Please. I don’t want to do this again. Just let me find all my knowledge and all my skill and make it through. I’ll never again ask for anything else.

Well it just seemed like all I could do.  The second half of the test started and I hammered away on my computer until time was called. We all filed out of the building looking vaguely drugged and slightly tight, as when you stay up too late drinking with people who aren’t really your friends but you end up telling them your life story. It was that kind of morning, but in the New York evening. I felt like saying “Don’t worry, guys, we’ll never speak of this again.”
When I walked back to my hotel the city was breathing gusts of hot air. It was awake and ready to sizzle. The roads were packed with yellow taxis and the sidewalks were flooded with people walking to and fro.  Half over now it didn’t seem so scary, but who knows? Tomorrow is day two, then I’m off to Brooklyn to knock any memory of this exam out of my mind for a while, with the aid of martinis and cute boys.  And I’m tired.

20 July 2010

three weeks.

new orleans where gigi says "i'm so glad you're here" and i believe it,
it is hotter than sin but we love it-- 
in the driveway at my old house there is a car from new mexico and i wonder if they repainted my bedroom? all the flowers are dead, including my giant hibiscus, though i prefer to think it left to another home after i moved out. 
next week new york and for bar, boy and bride, baby. 
pretty pizzas and central park. 
then a big bus will carry me to washington dc, to see the lovely lass zaza,
with every weight off my shoulders, every worry from my mind, every insanity settled....
we'll have cocktails on the hill and cupcakes in the cafes.

summer is its own planet. three weeks in space.

17 July 2010

post script

Attn: Mister Buchanan,

This letter is to alert you to the fact that you reneged on the oral contract formerly created. 

According to Section 8, B, ii: Neither party may be " roguish idle-headed hugger-mugger." 

According to my records, you have breached this agreement. Our relationship is henceforth terminated and I will be contacting my attorney about any future punitive damages.


16 July 2010


Dear Mister Buchanan,

I am writing to thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday evening.

I quite enjoyed the delicious dinner and selection of fine wines.

Your performance and presentation was more than satisfactory.

Please contact my secretary soon- I hope we can continue to build on what looks to be a promising future together.

Best regards,

haikus about men i have slept with, set six

We couldn’t have been
more different, in bed or
after gaps of years.

I robbed the cradle
and will blame it on the bar
and despondency.

I dressed up for you
In make up lace high heels
And it fooled us both.

(for more in this series, click on the label in the cloud) 

14 July 2010

its really happening

it is really happening. 
i'm moving back to paris- Permanently- with one of my dream jobs.
September can't come soon enough!
my head is exploding with butterflies.

12 July 2010

please excuse the absence

Sorry to say
I cannot make it to your
impeding nuptials. i
have some hair washing
to do and more
toe nails to be painted
maybe red this time.
i really would have loved to have made it
but i have plans
that day, plans with
someone very attractive and...
polish. he is polish.
perhaps i can make it
to your next wedding if
my schedule turns out to be
more open,
in the future,
if i am not in africa or baton rouge.
so please excuse the absence-
it appears you may have
forgotten to mail me an invitation--
but out of politeness i want you to know
that i wouldn't have been able
to make it,

11 July 2010

user instructions

when feeling crazy lost and impulsive:
drink wine, call meaningless boy (who you may or may not actively dislike), drink more wine while stripping and kissing in the yard,

lament lack of stars and inadequate kisses loudly (to make sure he knows you dislike him), roll around on a thin blanket over the grass, under the trees...

wake up in his bed at 2:00 with a throbbing head and many mosquito bites. 

dares and defies

05 July 2010

july poem

a remainder is a future interest in a grantee that...
a remainder is a future interest in a grantee that is capable or becoming posessory possessssrie possessory 
a remainder is a future interest in a grantee that is capable of becoming possessory upon the expiration of a prior possessory estate created in the same conveyance....


a remainder is a future interest in a grantee that is capable of becoming possessory upon the expiration of a prior possessory estate created in the same conveyance in which the remainder is created.

time for tea.

04 July 2010

where it all began

I received my first diary from my mother on Christmas Day, 1989. It was pastel and had a princess on the cover. The pages were scented with some sort of floral baby powder, and it was fitted by a small lock. To this day I think it is the best present I have ever gotten. I thought you might be tickled by my first entry:

A transcript:

DATE: 12251989 WEEK: Mon WEATHER: snow

Dear Diary my name is Brandy I am 6 years old. I love Jack. My favorite ant* is Jean and ant beth.
I love brian.My big brother is a pest. I go to kennesaw ELEMENTary school. My best friend is Amber. The best brbe** I have is holiday Brbe. From Brandy.


{ps i specifically remember that diaries were for writing down the names of the boys you liked and was obsessed with my brother finding the book, breaking the lock and reading it with his friends (meaning I secretly really wanted it to happen...}

02 July 2010

my feet are tender

Today I stepped out onto the front yard, and a sharp pebble stuck my toe. I squeaked and jumped.

When I was a little girl, I played barefoot kickball in the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood boys. You had to run fast because of the steamy black asphalt.
There was no way to cross the creek in shoes. You had to remove them and grasp them in your hand, and cross keeping balance on the slippery river rocks.
Feet were used for kicking away branches as you made a path through the woods, for poking at the neighbor’s dog, for jumping high in the air over the lake, landing with a splash.

Later my feet were manipulated like crazy. Smashed into pointe shoes 3 times a week, and taps and bare feet slapping the wood floor to move modern. The pointe shoes bent my toes and twisted my ankles, I would wear them for days.

My feet have become soft: blistered from impossibly high heels, and polished with pink. They aren’t for barefoot playing anymore, they are used to tromp through airports, press the gas petal, run for the elevator. 

New motto: be barefoot as often as possible.