10B - The Michigan Daily - Literary Magazine - Thursday, March 8, 2001
The Michigan Daily - Literary Maga
By Ckr7tbie M Lasek
I couldn't help but wonder at the irony
of gas fireplaces. A closely monitored
flame harmlessly enveloping ceramic
snow covered" logs, all nestled over a
bed of some kind of rock that glows
faintly to give the illusion of embers. My
mind was called back to Christmas Eve
to chestnuts roasting on real embers
surrounded by wood ash. But then, the
heat remains obscured, like breaths of
winter ruffling your hair on the play-
ground in July; so maybe it was just a
back episode of "Family Ties" after all.
Other people in the coffee shop seem
unaware of the mountain of pertinent
irony that refuses to crackle in it's
gaseous perfection ... so I forget them,
preferring my own thoughts to human
companionship, anyway. My chair was
pulled too close to the hearth: uncom-
fortable, like when you lock eyes with a
stranger you know has been watching
you. Elliot Smith played harmlessly over
the loudspeaker, and "E.T." danced gen-
tly on the crusty edges of my imagina-
tion. I made a mental note to get more
than five hours of sleep that night, and
continued drinking my Starbuck's cof-
fee; my life depends on it.
She came in with a bag of Krispy
Kream doughnuts, murdered snowflakes
glistened in her hair.
"I hate doughnuts," I said. She tossed
the bag in my lap with acquired agility.
"They're jelly filled," she said, and I
made a face. "They'll sweeten your dis-
I grumbled my reply, and attempted to
eat the doughnut around the filling. She
sat slouched in the overstuffed velour
chair next to me, oblivious to the gas
fireplace and its loaded irony.
"It seems," she began, from behind a
newspaper barricade, "that the trash in
the streets has finally succeeded in
changing the migration patterns of
"How so?" I inquired absently, grape
jelly consuming all but a small fraction
of my attention.
"By providing a ready food source all
year round ... and who says human
beings don't do anything good for the
"Sarcasm doesn't become you," I said,
sipping black coffee to try erase the
sweetness coating my mouth. "You
aren't going on another 'spiritual cleans-
ing by becoming vegan' are you? 'Cause
I'm not going to help you clean tofu out
of the carpet if it doesn't agree with you
"You think too much," she said. "I get
a little moody, and you're ready to pack
my karma off to bible camp. How do
you know I'm not just PMS-ing!"
"If you were PMS-ing you wouldn't be
sarcastic about the migration patterns of
birds, you would have broken down in
choked sobs about it."
She grunted from behind her paper.
"And you do realize," I continued, "that
I find it awkward to talk to you from
behind your printed page, be it about
PMS or otherwise."
"Well ... someone has to keep updated
on current events in this relationship. I'
read the newspaper so that you don't
have to ... just like you clean the bath-
room so I don't have to." She was still
holding the newspaper to her face, but I
didn't have to see her to know that she
was smirking at this. I knew that she was
just trying to light a match under my
foot ... but unbeknownst to her, I was
wearing flame-proof socks that day.
"You know as well as I," I said, folding
the rest of the grape jelly into a napkin
and putting it back in the bag, "that read-
ing the newspaper and cleaning the bath-
room are hardly comparable. Besides, if
your job is to keep me updated on cur-
rent events, you're failing miserably.
Current events consist of war and blood-
shed, not the migration habits of spar-
"Well ... my current events are nicer,"
she said sulkily. She's cute when she
does that, and if we had been alone, I
would have shaken her and asked her
BY JEFF WAIBEL
This is that moment
Full of promise and grace and turmoil
Which shapes your heart and changes your mind
And if you can believe in the unbelievable
You can stare into darkness and attain
All that is waiting for a moment like this
I wish I could tell you what I mean
I wish I could show you my heart
The Dinner Table
By Amelia Levin
They rolled in the rounded mass
Of newly chopped oak
With a surface clean and young
Oiled up around the edges.
They touched the sleekness of its texture,
Admired the simple beauty of its curvature,
While praising each other for a decision well conceiv
Until came the first stain.
But in its place I give you my thoughts
Full of honesty and confusion
Reach for the questions in life and love
And turn your head every once in a while
For that's where you find contentment
And the answers to questions unthought
This is that moment
Full of promise and grace and turmoil
Let it shape your heart and change your mind
Take this part of me, the part unseen
And use it as a mirror for intentions
And don't forget to stand amazed
At the power of reflection
why she needs to keep things in a con-
stant state of sarcasm. But I hate con-
frontation, so I didn't bring it up.
"Come on," I pleaded. "Don't sulk.
Fold your paper up. I didn't want to
come all the way here to talk current
events anyway ... we can do that in bed."
She let the paper slide down to the tip
of her nose, her left eyebrow pushed up
into her hair line. "Is that so?" she asked,
her eyes smiling at me. "What did you
See LATTE, Page 118
The Michigan Residency
Please join us for workshops, lectures, and special
events throughout February and March to coincide
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Oddly shaped and blotchy,
A tone too pale to match the chestnut hue
Produced a mother's agonizing nightmare,
Telling her the precious furniture
Was beginning to wear down.
Then emerged the mark of blood red wine during a toast
To cover the ashen dye from morning newspapers,
Corrupt the insides of its maturing crevices,
And amass with the blemish of evening messes.
Still, every Monday and Friday it received a prompt oiling
When the mother scrubbed the pitiful top
Cursing her frustrations
As she purified the tattered plane.
But the glossy surface had already vanished long ago.
It began to learn of politics and problems,
Bore the first beating of an angry fist,
Heard the shouts, the cries and the laughter
As they resonated throughout its wooden chambers.
And it became a need.
A ritual; a place of gathering;
The sanctuary of a growing child.
But upon that inevitable day,
They rolled it back outside the house,
Felt the scars and saw the stains,
Kissed it goodbye -
And put the polisher back inside the cupboard.
you know that little v
inside that says'
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