Estate Sale


Man and woman pictured with their dog in the garden of a home in Queensland


She will buy your shoes
and he, my blues
albums, the whole set.
It would amuse
you, their quips on our
decor. They cruise
the round two-toned couch—
a vacant ruse
to check out that vase,
softly abuse
my “quite kitschy” taste.
We will lose
what means the least now.
The dark bruise
of life fades gently out.
Our dues are
paid, our burdens light.




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Bluebird’s Modern Dictionary | The Ukulele and Kazoo Version


Newmarket Railway Kazoo Band, 1915


The ukulele and kazoo version

 /ˈthē/ /yü-kə-ˈlā-lē, ˌü-/ / ən(d)/ kə-ˈzü vər-zhən, -shən
n. phrase   An artwork that appears brilliant at first look, and middling-to-goshawful in retrospect:  Albert thought American Beauty was brilliant, until he saw All About Eve.  He then realized, to his horror, that American Beauty was the ukulele and kazoo version of a classic American film.  

{Orig.  Mod. Bluebirdian parlance, Texas-specific}


Library Appeal , 1973


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Becoming Continental

Byrd Airport terminal

I never thought I’d arrive again
unsure in my black gloves, pigeon-toed,
uncertain: This transition akin to states of grace—
But I have arrived to this terminal,
cross-eyed and wobble-legged—
I tried to brace myself against the truth
of that snapped inner thread, that wicked confusion
of air, sky, planes and landings.

I have learned entire continents this way,
landing hard on black asphalt—
with my empty stomach; a silly souvenir,
to wait out the gate in slumbering cities.
or shift heel to heel, almost dancing,
tired, worn and endlessly hungry.
Baggage mashed. Destined in my wrinkled suit
to board again. I have lived

For those seconds the large wheels turn
the slight bump before the sky appears.
I read Shirley Jackson for the fifth time, sip
water, soothe the sobbing child across from me—
knowing we will land again, her broken toy
mended, but transformed. By distance.

You know how I said last week that I only plan to post poems rarely? Well, I try to keep my words sweet, so that when I have to eat them, I don’t cringe. One more poem is scheduled for this week. What can I say? You all are inspiring me to go from drafts to finished poems at a faster clip than normal, and I thank you for your kindnesses.

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Bluebird’s Modern Dictionary | Demi-Digital Hiatus

Fotograaf eet boerenkool met worst / Photographer eating hotchpot


Demi-Digital Hiatus  ˈ/de-mē-ˈdi-jə-təl/ /hī-ˈā-təs/ n. phrase  1. An intermittent break from all digital devices and communication.  {See:  Di•gi•tal Hi•a•tus}

Digital Hiatus  /ˈdi-jə-təl/ /hī-ˈā-təs/ n. phrase  1.  A break from all digital devices including, but not limited to: the internet, cell phones, and most especially, Facebook.  2.  A polite term for taking a respite from the World Wide Web, as a non-Luddite exploration of the non-internet world:  Ralph had to take a Digital Hiatus when he went camping last year.  The upshot was, when he got back, he forgot how his cellphone worked and had 3,000 emails with the header:  Do you have a sparse moustache?  Make it Tom Selleck-thick using this one weird old trick! {Orig. Luddite Holiday, prob. deriv. of Normal Life.} {See also:  De•mi-Di•gi•tal Hi•a•tus.}

Library Appeal , 1973

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Our Sunday Best: Unexpected Beauty

Velvet Painting Girl

In the spirit of not wanting to inundate you with even more holiday hoo-ha, I’ve decided to focus on unexpected beauty today. That’s my favorite kind of beauty.

Ready? Here we go!

Earlier this week, I wrote a MASH NOTE about one of my favorite writers/artists Lynda Barry (which you can read here).

Lynda Barry now maintains a Tumblr blog called “The Near-Sighted Monkey” that I highly recommend. It is beautiful and charming, and full of the joie de vivre that all of her work contains.

My mother says that my love of kitsch is not genetic nor environmental. Every time I pick up another bodacious glittery geegaw, she merely sighs and smiles. I am my own woman. But, I am not alone. Kitschy Living is a tumblr blog that provides a feast for the eye and a little kitsch for your heart.

Street fashion blogs have become the norm these days, but some are clearly more evocative than others. StyleLikeU is an unusual blog in that it really looks at a wide variety of people of all ages and backgrounds who happen to share a love of style instead of surly, but beautiful 20-year olds with bottomless wardrobes. StyleLikeU’s closet features especially put a smile on my face.

One of the best expressions of unexpected beauty is language, a subject we’ve been discussing a lot in our household this week. (I confused my husband with a language discussion here.)

In truth, one of our common interests this year is dying and rare languages. We found Omniglot last winter, and it evokes the beauty and the …. Read on, Reader!

Merry; Not So Bright


This list/ list-poem is an homage to one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets, Michael Ondaatje.

His poem is called “Elimination Dance,”** and is based on a game (that I think he made up) in which something is called out that could happen, and anyone who has experienced the scenario must sit down.

The last one standing wins.

Anyone who has recently plugged in a set of ancient Christmas lights only to experience an electric shock so bad, it resets your clock.

Anyone that is a family member of the shocked Christmas light-checker who spent the rest of the day reminding your stunned relative that it hasn’t been 1981 for at least ten years.

Anyone who drinks eggnog straight from the carton every year without fail, and who also unwittingly walks around for an afternoon with a creamy mustache that smells like nutmeg.

Anyone who has ever laughed inappropriately at a very sad rendition of a popular Christmas song by Ernest Tubb.

Anyone who has sung a terrible version of this song.

Anyone who, in a fit of pique, roughly Scotch-taped a holiday present into an ugly red and green hobo baggie from the last of the holiday wrapping paper and then immediately regretted it.

Anyone whose last name sounds like a play on a holiday word, such as Merry, Kringle, or Bright.

Anyone whose witty parents thought it would be hilarious to name you something festive to go with your Christmassy last name— (e.g.– Holiday Merry; Christian Kringle; Light Bright).

Anyone who once undercooked or overcooked the Christmas dinner because you were exhausted from dealing with the relative who plugged in the set of crummy Christmas lights, a relative that tried to eat the children’s homemade ornaments, twice the night before, and once, today.

Anyone who has cried over the tree the cat knocked over the night before your family is due to arrive.

Anyone who has yelled at a cat for playing with the Christmas ornaments, and then felt awful about it.

Anyone who isn’t sure whether marzipan is …. Read on, Reader!

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 10)



[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Normally, I wouldn’t do two Marriage Interpreters in a row, but the ongoing conversation about The Room has been a fertile area for our conversational idiocy.  For more on that subject see The Marriage Interpreter (No. 9)  Thank you.]


Bluebird is sitting on one of two yellow wing back chairs across from The Husband.  It is morning.


Bluebird:  Okay, you know how when someone is learning a language, they eventually get to the point where they stop translating from their native language into their new language when they are conversing with a native speaker?

The Husband:  Um, all right?

Bluebird:  Well, this is what I read anyway.  From accounts of people learning languages as an adult, like a total immersion situation?  You know— serious language learners.  And you know how they always say that the breakthrough point is when they start to dream in their new language?

The Husband:  (Realizing the Bluebird isn’t making sense, but proceeding carefully)   Okay….

Bluebird:  Well, did that happen to you when you were studying new languages?

The Husband:  Which part?

Bluebird:  All of it.  But I wouldn’t know because I don’t have that natural knack for languages.  But that’s what I read from accounts where people learned a new language as an adult.

The Husband:  (Polite, but cautious tone.)   I guess so?  You just… you know, speak it.  That’s it.

Bluebird:  I think I need to go back to bed for a little while.

The Husband:  I think that would be best.

(The Bluebird rises and walks out of the room, muddled more than usual.)

The Husband:  (Shouting lines from The Room to Bluebird as she retreats down the hallway)  “Oh, haylo, Dhoog!  Ai trit u lhike eh prenzess, Lissa! ”Read on, Reader!

Because This Word Should Be In The Dictionary— theoretical husband

A bridesmaid looks at the bridal couple in a formal photograph.

Theoretical Husband  

thē-ə-ˈre-ti-kəl, thir-ˈe-  ˈhəz-bənd  n. 1. A real spouse that no one ever sees at public gatherings, but is known to exist by the evidence of verifiable anecdotes and photographs. 2. A real spouse who has never been seen by any one person in a given social group, whom now is suspected to be a figment of your friend’s imagination.  3. A spouse that actually does not exist, but lives fully in the imagination of someone who has watched one too many telenovelas and/or soap operas: “Oh, girl!  I know Alberta keeps talking about her theoretical husband Virgil, but I have never seen hide nor hair of that man.  (Whispering)  You don’t think she made him up did she?  I mean, what else could have made that butt-dent in her couch?  A yeti?”


{Orig.:  Neo-classical Bluebirdian, nor-southern dialect, early usage teeritikal hoosbend.} 


{See also: n.  TheŸ• oŸ• retŸ• icŸ• al Wife; n. SuŸ• per SeŸ• cret Girl/BoyŸ• friend.}

<img class="aligncenter" alt="Library Appeal , 1973" src="

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