Homemade Shelves


I needed to know how to make my own shelves, so this weekend while I visited my parents, I asked my mom. My mom knows how to make things; she’s comfortable with studfinders, drills, all that basic and slightly-above-basic stuff. Her dad, my Opa, was a mechanic, which literally saved his life. In the concentration camp, during the war, he knew how to make things, and how to fix things. He was valuable, so they didn’t kill him.

When I feel anxious, making things helps to calm and steady me. Cooking, sewing, hammering, measuring. Adjusting and correcting. It’s not even about doing it well (some things I’m good at; others I’m not), but there’s a wonderful feeling of becoming absorbed in a project for hours and hours.

So today, with my mom’s instructions and some friendly help from the landlord’s husband, this new mini-pantry came together. Highly imperfect, construction-wise, but I love it anyway.

It's a little hard to see, but the bubble in the center indicates that the shelves are level. I was so proud that I just left the level on there for like three days, just gazing happily at it from time to time.

Bed Bugs In Paradise


I don’t want to fight my landlord
over who will pay for bed bug extermination.
I don’t want to feel relieved
when the infestation’s epicenter
turns out to be in the unit upstairs.
Those men are broke enough as it is,
trying to stay clean and sober and keep a job.
Can’t afford a thousand dollars
for liquid CO2.

I want a building, a block, a cityland
where everyone is secure
in a shelter they love
where no one feels pressed to salvage
a dubious mattress
unless they can take it to the free clinic
for thorough inspection and cleaning.
No big deal.
I want to be free and open
to share the pains of infestation:
we’re in this together.
I don’t want to fight my landlord.
I don’t want a landlord at all.
I want a world without them;
bed bugs we can handle.