The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand

Every time Ayn Rand’s name is mentioned, I have to reblog this amazing post. I’m sort of like Guy’s Zuzu. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”

Only in this case, “wings” = editorial decimation.


The Red Pen of Doom


Cover of The Fountainhead Cover of The Fountainhead

by Ayn Rand

Howard Roark laughed. (I approve of this. It asks a narrative question – who is this guy, and why did he laugh? – and I like short sentences anyway.)

He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him.A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water.(Whoah, whoah, hold up. So far, it was all tight and Hemingway-esque. “The pants fit him. They felt good.” Now you suddenly switch to purple prose, with granite bursting in flight? I didn’t know that granite rocks flew, or exploded when they did decide to take wing. No.)The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than…

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My Voice (Yodelay-ee-oo)

My voice.
Whispers in my ear
expresses through my fingers
wants, by the bend of my knee.
My voice.
Pushes with its elbow
in the small of my back
when it thinks I’m not listening
I am yours
You are me
and mine...]
My voice.
Struggles to KNOW
strains to feel
hopes, above all
My voice.

Coconut Woman

When I lived on Hawaii I ate
She said
When I lived on Hawaii I ate coconut.
When I lived on Hawaii I watched
Surfers sail
She said
Surfers sailing past the beach.
When I lived on Hawaii I danced
(A lot)
She said
When I lived on Hawaii I danced a lot.

When she cut up a coconut
Just for me
Just for me
She told these stories
when she cut up a coconut
just for me.


Ocean Girl

I’m an ocean girl.
Not a river person
(although rivers are fine)
and definitely not a lake person
(lakes don’t go anywhere,
they’re greedy, collecting taxes from streams).
I have to have an ocean nearby
like a security blanket:
I am still here,
your old home.
Everything’s alright.
I need to hear the waves
against the shoreline.
An infant,
craving its mother’s heartbeat.

Sometimes, Jazz Happens

The Lonely Shore

I was walking down
the lonely shore
of 5th Avenue,
the closed stores of our rendezvous,

How could you leave me there?

On some other night,
some other beach
of streets and taxis,
we might have wandered out of reach,

But you met me there…

It’s hard not to despair the ending,
it’s tempting when you’re walking on the shore,
to want… more…

I am walking down
the lonely shore
of Fifth Avenue,
past closed doors of our rendezvous,

On a Cold Day, A Coffee Drinker (Ok, Chai…)

One huddled group talking quietly, except when they want to be heard.
Little kids, future baristas, are shouting as their dad makes the drinks. They make the students miss the library.
One lady touched me on the shoulder. “Nice hat,” she said.
And every time the door opens, I look up. I am waiting on a friend or two or four. And waiting for my headache to go away.
Shared a smile with a guy in a puffy white sweater.
I cleared my throat. He grinned.
Does he think I was listening in?
There is at least one Rastafarian cap in every Austin cafe.
Usually, there are at least two Buddy Hollies.
There is a woman in the back. She’s coughing loudly.
She needs a doctor, not a latte.