Thursday, November 06, 2008

there is no car magnet to describe it.

You want family values? Let's let our new president teach by example.
Not the canned love we've become accustomed to in our politicians, but a real blushing passion-
for his wife, daughters, and country. This is the first family of fables, something
we've only seen in the on-screen heroics of hollywood presidents, the good ones.
This is all so spookily familiar, a final sigh exorcising the last curses
of the Kennedys, one nation-wide recollection of our sweeter past that may not have really
existed- the one in our daydreams that is sepia toned and never, ever angry in church.
Never, ever in front of the children.
And what we've got, pulled up on that big screen is the larger than life character, not the celebrity.
A good man. Doing good things. How refreshing.

Your flag decal won't get you into heaven any more.

Friday, October 17, 2008

edible sentiment

I don't dislike Paul Newman's take on marital fidelity as much as I want to steal it while carefully avoiding the woman-as-meat metaphor. It is simple in it's purpose, to illustrate the great secret that is, I assume after fifty years with his wife, a great marriage. He said, "why go out for burgers when you have steak at home?" Truly.

It is so much easier to go on about people that don't mean anything to you. I am speaking of stories I have taken down with great amusement as if I were taking a dictation from Georges Sand. Oh the too-clever musings of a will-never-be. The problem is, or rather, the "opportunity" is that when I sit to do this now, my thoughts are remarkably clean. You. And thus everything seems filthy. The words that were born in the mash of erotic potatoes that seem to surround a relationship early on - the bulbous and attention-getting and looking vaguely like the indiscretions of past presidents, and for the most part somewhat uninventive and tasteless – those starchy dear ones are not there any more. The common burgers, the philandering fries. So I must move on from idle reporting, and the silly pursuit of ordinary hot potatoes. I simply cannot bear the lowly roots when I am faced with the possibility of poetry.

I'm looking into a tea of temperance, the lines on your face, and your unique take on godlessness. And cucumber water. I was indulgent, but limited. And now I'm rare wordless filet mignon in some ludicrous herbed sauce. I am a pound of butter and a gallon of fresh juice. I am culinary and clean, but decadent nonetheless - the finish of a fine pinot and your relentless check mate. You've made my love wholesome, and as I gag on that word, I will say as well that it is goodness on a wide spectrum, played out in a come to dinner bell of multi-tonal loveliness across the field of this new life – including the craggy cat's meow and red kettle air raid on a crisp October morning. That smoke tendril I hate and love. Remorselessly wearing aprons and giving myself over to your steady and kind rule over the kitchen. That bread knife fiasco. Being the baker – I'm an early riser anyway. Well just for old time's sake, here's a curse on you for making me happy and ruining my idle nonsense. For making me lose my apetite for fast food. But not for dining on dreams and if necessary to put dinner on the table, with second rate knives. And not for caring enough for me that I may dine on love and occassionally grilled cheese and tomato soup, which you will somehow make into a gourmet meal. I am fearfully but hopefully tasked now with writing a real love story.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


My dear brilliant daughter I hope that you are hiding your intelligence, your creativity, your natural ability with numbers and your sense of direction. I hope that you are saving them under a clever veil of government sanction ditziness so that they not be culled by a society that has no place for their vessel, lovely you. You are not a Regular. You are not an Elite. You are my Magnolia. Never mind if you've been renamed Long Mauve Truck, and are the assistant to the vice chancellor of knitting beer coozies - you are the shining flower of my genes and your father's genes (I will explain the difference between God and Biology in subsequent letters), Hopefully you are, by the age of 12 or so when you find this, capable of hiding your talents so that you are not imprisoned, or altered, and understand that you are not defined by being "one or the other." Act Regular. Be extraordinary.

and reuse this as something. It was a tree.

your mother

Monday, July 07, 2008

giving lemons to a sourpuss is fruitless

I can forget, momentarily, that young female business travelers are on occasion mistreated for not having a bunchy leather pillow stuffed with cash in their pocket, propped up structurally by an "it's ok, I'm on a business trip" flying man-buttress. Nor will I dwell on the fraying of my last nerve by the evil that are petroleum-laced cosmetics, staining with one nefarious "pook" my otherwise virginal white cotton summer dress, moments before the criminally placed hairdryer falls into the sink, cord still coiled like a southern black snake on a young pine, waiting to strike me.

But freaking Berkeley has lemons, on trees. And someone just smiled and gave me salt. And maybe the ghosts of the Claremont will break the life-long paranormal boycott on me. I'll bet Oppenheimer was here, the brush and sway of gentle St. John on his mind and a curse to the pink California horizon just flirting with a shape, "o...." And I'll bet those lemon-tree owners don't appreciate their lemons like I would, rosemary and olive oil, some coquette vinagrette that it is physically impossible to mess up.

I'm plucking that lemon tomorrow. That makes me a no-account sourpuss lemonnapper.

So be it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

vernal view

I do not mind sitting backward
sticks blur and pink blooms wisp
by in my single seat not by the others

I saw a subterranean march early spring -
little soldiers with lapel pins their weapons.
We hold the little secrets of ourselves
like treasured playing cards

And in the springtime they are so wet and full
in our quick hands dirt and creosote and birdsong -

But by crisp sudden autumn,
they blow away, the childhood leaves
turn vermillion and are gone

Friday, January 25, 2008

social justice and a hot breakfast

"You're looking very warm today;"
the sweet low twang of a southern man's voice
floated over the scrambled eggs and sausage
in the breakfast buffet. I said,
"I have to bundle up like nanook to be comfortable,"
matching vowels with him.
"I know that's right. Are you from the south?" he asked, I paused-

"Louisiana and southeastern Texas..and it doesn't get this cold there."
I wasn't sure why he wanted to know, but then came the verbal missive
on New Orleans, the humanitarian work out of Grand Lake his group
had done, the ongoing crisis, the old cypress guards of the fleur de lis
crumbling under the dismissive wave
of administrative orders.

It is not unreasonable to get nostalgic around this time.
Mardi Gras is around the corner. The displaced look for warmth in
each other.

He said, "you been back home
lately?" Home, I think about Home.

and he's right, Louisiana has always felt like home -
they say, where your bare feet first patter, that's the place that
matters, and to me - so deeply in my skin I feel it, I touch my chapped
winter hands together and think about the miracle in missing humidity-
he and I are suddenly in some space together, speak in the same voice,
and in that moment I feel a purple, green and gold emblazoned thanksgiving,
and when he says, "I'll get this one, you just do it for someone else
soon," I could just take off my hat and walk confidently
out into the bitter DC cold.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

but ohio is normal

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving

The little white handwritten placards above our heads say “SOB” “MRB” and “CUM” The kid next to me has never heard the term “dear John letter.” He is blond and friendly, from Pittsburgh, and speaking with a broad man would like everyone to know that he charges an enormous hourly rate to make his commute worthwhile. I only know my stop, and will perhaps not know it well. Cumberland is where I hope to be let off, perhaps I will bribe the conductor with my beer, which I thankfully thought to buy in Union Station. It’s a toss-up if I or any of us will be released into the fall night by the conductor; when he talks his voice is full of cotton, his thoughts are sloe gin. We are headed for Chicago, and this is the strangest of routes. At first told to be seated upstairs in the sleek double decker, our little band was reprimanded en masse as the train embarked on its rocking trajectory, that the car was a “deadhead” and that we were to move, by an attendant who was troubled to put together a sentence, or make eye contact. There is a man in our mini-car who does this every day. Every day, 150 miles. Every day, he greets the crew, he puffs up with satisfaction that he knows them by name and by bad habit, by terminology and baggage and perfunctory rule-mandering. There is a young deaf man in the seat ahead, and he is better off not to hear this confederacy of plucky comrades. I don’t think we’ll ever get to Cumberland, and I imagine if we do, I will step off the train and see Studebakers. A woman comes in mildly amused by the gerbil habitat nature of our little car, and offers reservations in the dining car. I take mine for 6:30. It’s a bizarre ride, but
the sunset is all peaches and blue foamy November, a warm Tuesday for this time of year, and we’ve come to know each other chugging along, and I risk my ticket off this odd machine by drinking up.