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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Southern New Hampshire University MFA Program Part 1: “Argh!”


We’re back! And while I’m asking the Doc to “cease fire” until the summer residency blogs are over (not sure how many yet), I was hearing the voices of two (knockaround) guys throughout our summer residency (conversations you’ll find from time to time below). There were also student and faculty readings and a collection of one liners (things people heard over the course of the residency that were then given to Katherine Towler (author of the Island trilogy reviewed here), which she read at the last night’s festivities.

Part 1 (“Argh!”)

While Anthony Weiner resigned, one of the Jackasses (Ryan Dunn) died and the FBI finally got around to capturing Whitey Bulger ... 16 years after he made fools of them (yeah, right, sending them after Osama Bin Laden would’ve been a great idea), Knucks joined the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) MFA troops on campus and at Shutter Island. It’s a group loaded with talent, students and staff alike, and our time together will be treasured for a long time to come (lockups breed camaraderie, don't'cha know).

The “argh!” above has to do with the Shutter Island portion of the residency when some brave staff and students ventured on a journey across the rough seas for Smuttynose Island (where a bloody axe murder actually took place back in 1873). The pirates of the SNHU program took their treacherous adventure on a beautiful sunny day (the last such day before the summer squalls and nor’easters whipped up the last four days of our residency).

It wasn’t just ghosts or goblins or various aggressive naval ships our SNHU pirates had to battle, there were the attacking pigeons (which, Robert 151 Curran later informed me were actually seagulls), too. Lots and lots of them (click on the link below).

Big Pigeons ...

That was the first time I heard the two guys voices ...

“What’s up with all the pigeons?” one guy said.
“Fuckin’ big, no?” the other guy said.
“Yeah and I heard a couple kids in the writing program say they got attacked by them. Had to wave sticks over their heads to beat them off.”
“Attacking pigeons? You’re shittin’ me.”
“I shit you not.”
“I thought they were peaceful birds, pigeons. I see’m on the Staten Island ferry sometimes, onna boats or in the terminals, but all they do is eat and shit.”
“Yeah, well, these pigeons, the island over there, they take your eyes out, eat them, then later shit them back out on your head for laughs.”

Some One Liners ...

This is a little piece I wrote about turtles.

We were snuggling a rat. Oh, that’s what they call it now?

I guess we’re having a hootenanny instead of a reading.

I love donkeys. They remind me of my days in show business.

Every time I do it with a student it’s different.

I am actually more of a moron.

This might sound strange because I’m holding a knife and an apple, but you have very pretty eyes.

Shane Remer’s reading:

This story takes place after a husband returns home from work shortly after his wife has. Each of their inner thoughts (italics) are followed by their verbal expressions, starting with the wife. It’s titled… I’m Sorry

Ah, there’s the asshole.
“Hey there, how was work?”
Slightly miserable, but manageable.
“Fine, how was yours?”
I flirted with the cute delivery guy so that I could feel appreciated as a woman, something you wouldn’t understand.
“Oh, same as usual.”
Shit, she just forced a smile. I did something.
“Should I make dinner tonight?”
Does he have to ask? Why doesn’t he just take some initiative.
“No, I’m still full from breakfast.”
Why did she mention breakfast?
“All right. I’m going to go change then.”
Did he not notice that I said something about breakfast?
“Okay, dear.”
Shit, she forced another smile AND said “dear.” I did something.
“How was your day?”
Oh… now he’s trying. ‘Bout time. We’re only seven years into this marriage.
“You already asked me that.”
Something’s definitely wrong.
“Is something wrong?”
Yeah, you didn’t leave me any milk for breakfast this morning you inconsiderate ass!
She’s still forcing that smile. Isn’t that counterproductive to avoiding those crow’s eyes she’s always worried about?
“Something’s wrong.”
Well whoopity-frickin-do, you figured it out. Do you want a Nobel Peace prize while you’re at it Captain Dipshit?
“Nothing’s wrong.”
Okay. Retrace. Is it her birthday? No. Is it our wedding anniversary? No. Shit, it’s probably one of those odd anniversaries, like the first time we kissed, or the first time I did something wrong.
“Are you sure?”
Are you sure? You’re an asshole. You didn’t leave me any milk, and, now that I’m looking at you I think you should get a gym membership and Rogaine.
“Yeah, I’m sure. I’m going to make dinner, how about steak?”
Steak? Why would she cook me steak if I did something wrong?
“That sounds great.”
It sure does, just like a bowl of cereal sounded great until I opened the fridge and realized that my husband is a douche bag. Even Hitler saved a cyanide pill for his wife.
She’s smiling again. Why is she walking to the fridge while smiling at me? God dammit this is bad.
“I’m gonna go change.”
Three… two… one…
“Oh no, we’re out of milk.”
We’re out of milk?
“We’re out of milk?”
Ding ding ding! And now for part two of why I’m going to cut your balls off while you sleep tonight…
“Yeah, I didn’t have any breakfast today.”
Wait. She didn’t have breakfast today? But I went out and got milk.
“I thought put some in there this morning.”
Oh god, and now he’s going to come up with pre-school lies? I hope you die in your sleep tonight so I can get to that “until death do we part” clause.
“You did?”
Is she really crying over spilled milk?
“Yeah. I spilled the rest earlier today and then ran to the store to get some more that way you’d have some for breakfast. I came back inside and… oh—”
His eyes are dropping to the floor. He’s being sincere.
I’m such a moron.
“I think I put it in the cupboard. I’m such a moron.”
Yep, there it is, in the cupboard. Oh no! I’m seven years into a marriage and guilt tripping my husband over spilled milk. Oh my god, I… AM… BECOMING... MY… MOTHER
“You are a moron.”
I’m a moron and she loves me.
“I love you.”
I… AM… BECOMING… MY… MOTHER… The same woman who had six marriages and not one made it past two years! And my husband’s still with me. The moron loves me.
“I love you, too.”

And then there were special musical guest stars (Eric Thomas and Helen Wolfson) who really gave all of us a thrill with their musical talents as well as the wonderfully warm smiles they exchanged with each other while playing their instruments; more than a few of us commented on how happy they seemed playing together (truly romantic). I had a short chat with Mr. Thomas the morning we were paroled off the island and made sure to buy one of their CD’s (My Slice of Forever) ... he and his wife were thrilled by the standing ovation they received from all of us grateful SNHU MFA’ers and even more so when we requested an encore (which they did after performing a Robert Johnson blues tune that had all of us clapping along).

This one is for yous Irish out there ...

More very funny readings (including at least one poem) and some more one liners coming ... and if yous thought you had bad weather last week ... here are some of us making our way to the boat home ...

But first, those voices on Shutter Island meals ...

“The fuck is polenta?” one guy said.
“I don’t know,” the other guy said, “but it looks like somebody already ate it.”
“Try the green shit. Tastes like broccoli rabe, but without the garlic.”
“No garlic?”
“I don’t think they know what that is up here.”
“’Tastes like’ means it ain’t. What is it?”
“Kelp, I think the kid said.”
“The fuck is kelp?”
“Or kale maybe.”
“The fuck is kale?”
“What am I, the green grocer? Eat the fuckin’ thing.”

And this is for all broccoli rabe eatin’ eye-talians out there ...