January 30, 2006
Kate as lover.
Eighteen. Asks first date. What is love? Take off your clothes and I’ll show you.
Early twenties: Tries date’s advice on several occasions. Gets a lot of exercise.
Twenty-four: Asks date. What is love? We’ll get married in Vegas. You have children. They love you. Takes date’s advice.
Thirty: Asks self. What is love. Self answers. When I’m in aswim.
How do I know? When in aswim, you meet a swimmer like you, you’re in love.
Goes swimming. Been aswimming since then. Sometimes water is cold, sometimes icy, sometimes dirty, sometimes kids get in the water. Sometimes dogs and cats and car tires. But its always wet.
January 24, 2006
Language matters. Like music. It has its own reflective quality. Like wine, you can see light through it. Like love, it can collapse. Like spun glass, it is altogether fragile. Music and language, when they meet scoop out time, they ask us out of ourselves. As if we could be angels. As if we always were devils. As if both made us as powerful as sin, or speech or the sound of a note sung very high and clear in the early morning as the fog sweeps back to reveal the beginning of sunshine.
January 19, 2006
You think that you want to be like Pinnochio. Grow up to be a real boy. Get a real job. Have a real career. That you can talk about at parties. Be a real person. So you start trying to be good so you can be a real boy/girl. But nothing happens.
You go on job interviews. They say, Are you a team player? You say that you never played team sports, so you doubt it. They shake their heads. Or you lie, you say, Yes! But they see through you. They know. Like Beetlejuice, you do not play well with others. You aren’t going to be Pinnochio. You aren’t going to have a life/career/job. Nothing.
Big secret here. Wrong story. You don’t want to be Pinnochio. You want to be Gepetto. You want to create your own story, play, dream, drama. You want to be the creator, not some boy running around in someone else’s story. Be Gepetto. Choose wisely.
January 14, 2006
Without alcohol your face looks yellow in the moonlight or streetlight or whatever light. Without alcohol I can trace your eyeballs filled with darkness. Without alcohol I can see my own face in the mirror and remember clearly what I didn’t do the night before. Without alcohol I don’t have as much sex, my legs tight as drums, they cannot loosen. Without alcohol my hair never comes undone, my bras remain strapped securely around my torso. Without alcohol I don’t laugh as much. Or cry either. Without alcohol the day is as clear as a bell. I remember everything that pissed me off as if it were happening again and again. Without alcohol I forget nothing. Without alcohol everything you do wrong rings in my head like the Liberty Bell. Without alcohol I hear the teen turmoil at my house like a loose mixer. Without alcohol there are no fuzzy edges only cruel realities. Without alcohol I face my life like staring at the open beach without sunglasses, or at the open sea without a boat or a paddle or even a buoy.
I feel the world raw and cold and red and completely unforgiving. Alcohol says, Darling, darling, open to me, it’s going to be all right.
January 11, 2006
Finishing Touches. When is it time? I don’t know when anything is finished. When are you finished making love? When everyone is happy. When are you finished writing? Never. When are you finished a book? If you are Walt Whitman… when you die. When are you finished sleeping? When you wake. I rarely get to finish sleeping. I wish. When are you finished living? I believe that life is all about the finishing touches. When you go to a dinner, the finishing touches are everything. When you write, dream, wrap a present, create a garden. All creation is the finishing touches. Lace and eyeshadow and the right crust and olives and bread with olive oil and the perfect last line and the way the light moved across her face when she woke and you realized for the first time that you are both getting older and getting older together, and that’s a good thing.
January 8, 2006
Upstairs. You can moan. You can cry. You can cry out. You can sing. Downstairs you have to behave. Behave decently. You can’t live your life upstairs. Up there is madness. Up there you say, Why doesn’t he care? Why does she scorn me? Why does she look at me as though I were a a centimeter high? Why do I feel small? Is it because I have no money? If I had money, I would never have to see her again.
You can do as you like upstairs. You can talk. You can talk to yourself. You can sing. You can undress and see yourself naked. You can admire your rack. Or not. You can see yourself with a mirror. You can touch yourself. You can decide that she and he do not matter. You can begin to dance.
You can decide you want to live upstairs. That you don’t care about walking downstairs. Behaving decently. The wide world of acceptance. Upstairs are witches, mad people, lesbians, outcasts.
Hester Prynne. She had red hair and was a hell of a bedroom dancer.
Damn you, Salazar!
January 3, 2006
Damn you, Salazar! It’s what my daughter says whenever something goes wrong or she doesn’t get her way. It’s a sort of short cut to Mater tua criceta fuit, et pater tuo redoluit bacarum sambucus – “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.” Which Monty Pythonesque sorts would say. But I like that idea of recognizing that you can’t let the bastards get you down. You really must not. Because there will always be more bastards out there smiling and smelling of elderberries and relishing their little victories which play out like Napolean’s grand march in their tiny little minds.
The reason I don’t care really is that what matters isn’t the thing, the desk, the job, the nametag, it’s poetry, children and love. I have poetry, children, love and a green place that I can swim back to, through the ugly muck of those little swivelling bastards in their little black chairs and up into the clear cool air of my own house. So when someone scorns me, I think, Damn you, Salazar, and I go home and read a book of poetry and my life swims to the surface like the stars appearing one by one when you are way out in the forest and can see them.