Friday, December 6, 2013

fear & loathing in provo, utah


I've been taking a poetry class from Lance Larsen at BYU for the past semester, and yesterday was my final workshop (aka everyone gets to say what they hate about your writing and also about your personality). So I'm posting the piece I submitted, and I also just want you all to know how much I agonized over this stupid dumb poem for, like, two weeks and about how I had crippling writer's block and everything I wrote was garbage and I even considered stealing the first line from Addy's latest poem because it is beautiful beautiful beautiful. But somehow I managed to scrape together this little beast and my class was fairly gracious about it even though they all basically said "you're really weird but this poem was okay, I guess". So, whatever forever, here it is and thanks for reading it and you're all super bitchin'.

Also, I have about 200 half-drafts of regular posts about things like living with people you don't like and trying to combat girl-hate and about how I've been crying about the real actual F I'm getting this semester at college and also a sermon of my emotions about Neil Gaiman (my personal savior), so I'll try to finish them and post them and blah blah blah blah blah. I think this is the end of the post.

"If you have one appetite, he thought, you have them all." (Louise Glück)
-Avery Jalaine

Thursday, October 31, 2013



by Avery Taylor

Lot’s Wife scrapes the fuzz off
and eats it.

Remember Lot’s Wife.

Hands steepled over a ketchupy breakfast,
head bent in prayer, or hangover.
Succubus, sandpiper, Woman of Men.

Remember Lot’s Wife.

Lady dressed in silk and cotton,
jeweled and deflowered, 34D
and sneezes into the crease of her elbow.

Remember Lot’s Wife.

To me she resembles a trapped thing,
a wild animal chewing off its own foot
that learns to love the taste of its own blood.

Remember Lot’s Wife.

Lot’s Wife cleans her teeth with her fingernail,
“It could use a little salt.”

Gotta go.
-Avery Jalaine

Monday, September 30, 2013

gloob glub goob

Greetings and salutations from my sophomore year at BYU, and more specifically from my twin-sized bed in my new apartment-townhouse-thang which is officially named Promenade and unofficially named "Amityville" after a certain Amityville Horror---or also known as "The Nightosphere", "Barad-Dûr", "The Outlook Hotel", "Satis House", "Mustafar", "The Snakepit", "The Nostromo", "Plato's Cave", "The Lair", "Bran Castle", and a myriad of other charming literary references---and despite everything, it has stairs which I like so all hope is not lost. 

This semester---along with a few mandatory annoyances like American Heritage and beginning French---I'm taking a women's literature class, a survey of Judaism and Islam, and a poetry class, and the latter is the reason I actually exerted the effort to write this blog post. Which is to say: I am going to post poetry on this blog and officially renege my previous resolution to do less of the (annoying?) poetry-blogging and more of the (also annoying?) blog-blogging. Because I want to. And because this is my blog. And because whatever forever. And most importantly, because yolo. 

So this is my latest assignment, which was to capture a "still life" with isolated images from somewhere we're familiar with (in this case: my bedroom), using prose-poetry. There were originally 5 stanzas (paragraphs?), but the last one turned out to be about Addy somehow, and I feel the need to rework it until it's good enough to gain her approval. So. Voilà. 

Lump Sum
a poem
In Galilee you fished for soda pop in the briny sea. It was summer, desiccant, little weed-flowers caking and crisping in the ditches and the dumps. You were parched and empty-netted—a Fisher of Men—craving sugar, crying salt; fishless. I came to you bearing fruit and protein, manna, Bagel Bites, honey, locusts—and still you thirsted for orangeade and Pepsi Cola, you thought you’d likely perish from the thirst; you were pathetic, frankly, and I very nearly left you on that boat to search the sea for a flash of aluminum until you drove yourself mad. 

I didn’t mean to bring them home, but a small part of the wild, cruel building of the Earth must’ve clung to me; she’s an anxious mother, after all, she put her fingers on me when I left her. 

On an early-autumnal Friday a little congregation of fairies and teenagers crouches by a dying blue fire, trying to bleed the warmth from it, palming it with their hands. An atheist boy’s skin glows like that of the proverbial Golden Calf, and when he tells them about the mating dance of the Great Frigatebird his voice shakes. Up and above the quaking aspens and the firs, over the scent of carrion and sap, his voice carries and eventually stops. He is reverent. He is revering.
Yes, like a Pagan goddess, I sat on my heels and made braids and pigtails in the dark, kicking off bogeymen and vampires, reveling in early-Paleozoic luxuries like teeth and bones and fingernails. You’d think I was a heathen princess, a cavegirl camouflaged in my furs, speaking a Babylonian tongue: mink, lycanthrope, wormwood. And still I needed the dollar-store lipgloss and Egyptian kohl—warpaint—velvet and acrylic and, yes, even tar. It’s Sunday night and I’ve fallen asleep on the floor again.

And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light, and it was fluorescent and iridescent, it was 30 and 40 watt, pink neon, dusty in the garage, crude and impartial and sloppy. There was light gushing through the kitchen window—the honey jar glowed red—and a moth hurled itself bloodily against the glass, muttering blindly in its grief and fury. Someone came home in the night, joints popping and teeth clicking, said idly, “Someone left the hall light on,” turned it off, and got ready for bed.

It's still a bit rough. 

Blah blah blah, etc.  
-Avery Jalaine

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Summer of My Discontent

My four-month hiatus from this blog has resulted in exactly eighteen drafts of posts that were essentially eighteen times I sat down at the computer and looked at a blank screen and cracked my knuckles and said, "Okay, time to write something beautiful" and then spewed a bunch of garbage that sounded exactly the way you'd expect some 19-year-old blogger-dweeb sitting down at a computer and saying "Okay, time to write something beautiful" to sound. It sounded bad, guys. Those eighteen post drafts aren't coming out of the vault, except for maybe in the distant future for comic relief purposes.

But I feel pressure to have something good to say after all this time without saying anything at all. I can't just come crawling out of hibernation to say, "check out this sweet music video bye" in good faith. In between writing posts that were (a) unbelievably sappy (think "Be the best you that can be!" and then try not to hate me) and terribly, terribly trite, (b) gimmicky, (c) hyper-political and Riot Grrrl-y and preachy about a myriad of things that you probably don't want to be lectured about, or (d) poetry, I have finally given up on Writing Something Worthwhile and instead am going to write about why this summer has been weird, and why I'm afraid for it to end.

This is the inexplicable, blazing hot, holy grail Summer of My Discontent, which I filled with whatever I could think of: midnight viking feasts of ice cream sandwiches and peanut butter and milk, degrading crushes on warrior boys, reruns of Friends, a kind of self-inflicted monklike exile from the modern world of friends and communication and bathing at regular intervals, all kinds of debauchery involving young adult literature/film marathons. 

I know a lot about being discontent: being vaguely unhappy and vaguely upset and vaguely horrified at the wet, mermaid-slip of time passing quickly and nastily, and I know all about using cable TV and the New York Times Bestsellers list as itchy insulation to the whole institution of my discontentedness, of wanting everything to fit in one hot fist. 

I am an idealist prone to pessimism, prone to exaggeration, prone to devastating and delusional crushes, prone fits of idiocy and brilliance, prone to laziness, prone to megalomania, impatience, calamity, tantrums, obsessiveness, egomania, lethargy, self-defeat, naivete, and pettiness. This summer---the Summer of My Discontent---has been a portrait of wanting things that I don't have, can't have, and won't have, but nevertheless, selfishly torturing myself with all these things that are not mine simply because I have illogically arrived at the conclusion that if they exist in the world, they must be mine. I have foolishly assumed that I deserve grandeur, deserve praise, deserve beauty and riches, deserve quality and quantity, deserve art and spirituality, deserve everyone, even you. I am just a girl, but I'm a violent one, and I have mistakenly taken pride in the bruises and ugliness that I beat out of my life this summer.

Although if you examine it carefully, I'm sure you'll notice that almost everything in my life is surprisingly beautiful, but hidden by a dull, strange veneer. Watching cartoons as a 19-year-old girl/woman, for instance, is something sort of glorious. Waking up at 1:30 in the afternoon, greasy-haired and zitty and full of motivation to do nothing and go nowhere: this is all part of a lazy opera, it is all gorgeous because I am young and everything is possible and the world is bright and sexy.

O Holy, O Sacred: my cup runneth over with body glitter and s'mores-flavored Pop-Tarts! O Rapture! O Fascination! O Weight Gain and Insomnia and Petty Arguments! Hear me, O Vulgar One, for this is a prayer of devotion and vanity, this is the ungodly extent of my banal and bored worship! O Boy Bands! O Daytime Television! O Blessed, Blessed Summer Thunderstorms! I have been ravished with thine lukewarm Shangri La and thine slutty, junkie, rainbow'd skylines! O Horror of Horrors! O Exquisite Perfection! Amen, and one thousand amens.

This summer has been neither productive nor proactive in any way. I accomplished almost nothing despite my better intentions to finish the novel, use oil paint, take up guitar, get a job (ha!), finish my short-film for the media arts application, learn Danish, all of these things among other noble, ambitious pursuits. The fact is: I am lazy, I am childish, I am stubborn, and I am unmotivated. I may be discontent, but I am usually content enough to just spend ten hours a day reading a book about a boys' school in East Anglia in the 1960's, maybe, or outlining a list of the virtues of John Cusack's performance in Say Anything. Though I want more---I want everything, in fact---I have so much that it's hard to fight my way out of the headiness of pirated movies and microwave pizzas and paperback novels and the quiet siren of my loneliness to do something about it. 

Let's take a look at this summer objectively:

1. Did anything terrible happen?

I mean, no. Bust also, yes, if we're going to be selfish and petty but mostly honest. Kaitlyn left on The Mission and while the Pennsylvanian masses/God/whoever else might be celebrating her exodus to the East, I was certainly disheartened by her departure. In fact, I was (am) thoroughly depressed about the whole situation. We can talk about starving children in Africa and deforestation in the Amazon jungle and the AIDS epidemic, but we can also talk about being 19-years-old and having no friends at college. Though it's technically yet to happen, the impending tragedy of of my Final and Ultimate Friendlessness looms like an executioner on the horizon of this coming week. Addy, to New York. Emily and everyone else I like, to Salt Lake City. There's The Secret Thing That Only Emily Knows About That Really Sucks that we're still trying to figure out how to fix in our blind, inexperienced way. There were---are---whole nights of vicious insomnia. Other mild devastations that are too trivial to really mention that have nothing to do with death or loss or plague, yet were inconveniences regardless.

2. Did anything wonderful happen?

I mean, no. But also, yes. There were moments of strange magic: brief, accidental pixie-nights in the last dregs of the sun, minutes of immortality and God, good food, art and air conditioning, so much music and confetti and glitter in Salt Lake City, hot evaporating rainstorms, days of endless hunger and thirst, yelling fights and silent cruel fights but they all ended, fireworks, animals, rogue beauties on the streets and in the grocery stores, showers, a glorious lack of make-up and hair conditioner, heartache, toothpaste, clearance sales, lotion that smelled like honey, whole discussions about politics and men and entertainment that only Addy and I will ever fully understand. These are all very small triumphs, very basic moments of victory. 

In the Grand Scheme of Everything, I live a very weird, unglamorous life of mundane pleasures and milk-and-water languor. Very few things are as interesting to me as what's on TV or a Damien Hirst exhibit or an article on the internet about axolotls, maybe, or fruit bats. I am constantly awed. The things that I lust for are very simple, but somehow unattainable: to have my hair petted, to discuss comic books, to eat a lot, to write books and poetry and then not hate them afterwards, to hear new music that is good, to stop worrying, to sleep when I want to, to keep the people I love, to have more time.

The things that I'm sad about are really just things that I was happy about and don't want to lose. I've heard that God works in mysterious ways, but I totally saw this coming. I went outside in the middle of this post to stand heavily in the rain, which was cold but the cement was still warm and the air smelled like grass and rocks, and I thought: It will never be like this again. You'll have to forgive me for being nostalgic and sentimental and afraid, but everything is just so good.

"Ah, the resilience, the blind, dumb persistence of youth." (Meg Rosoff)
-Avery Jalaine

Friday, April 12, 2013

my favorite movie ever: heathers

Hiii, welcome back to my blog. Get ready for a lot of gifs, guys!!! :D

This is a tribute post to the greatest social satire/black comedy/romance of the 1980's/ever: Heathers, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater (!!!) aka the Dream Team. It's sort of disturbing and unrealistic and romantic and ridiculous and awful and you feel bad for laughing at it and you feel bad for being in love with JD and you feel bad for being glad when they kill Heather #1 and I'm so so so in love with it. I have a lot of feelings about this movie, so bear with me, folks.

Watch this, omg:

Mostly it's just a movie that is holistically brilliant: it's visually beautiful, for one thing, which is weird considering that it's mostly just a combination of hot people + 80's clothes + fake blood + , but it's also the cinematography and the camera work and even the lighting. The film just looks good. And then the screenplay is, like, omgwow, smart and funny and quotable and poignant and moving. And Winona Ryder's character, Veronica, uses a monocle to write in her diary. And they listen to "Teenage Suicide" by Big Fun. Everything is good.

I just... I meant to only get a couple of gifs and pictures to show you, but it was really hard because literally every scene is really really good, so I went a little bit overboard when I was picking my favorites. 

*But just look at all of this cinematic magic and beauty*




And here are the cutests (awwww):


My emotions have gotten a little bit out of control while I've been writing this post, so I think I need to wrap it up. I just literally spent 7 minutes debating back and forth which version of the  Christian-Slater-pulling-out-a-gun gif I should use.

So that's all. This isn't even a post, it's just a very loud and very blatant declaration of my ultimate fangirliness. I'm obsessed with everything.

I like this movie and if you watch it, we could talk about it.

Love you.

"People will look at the ashes of Westerburg and say, 'Now there's a school that self-destructed, not because society didn't care, but because the school was society.'" (J.D.)

-Avery Jalaine