Monday, February 15, 2016

Going Away.

On St. Valentine's Day my True Love gave to me:

My beloved runs naked into my bedroom.
It's Otis! It's Otis!

And it is. Was.

I can't really get into it.

The worst/best  part was burying him in my parents' backyard
wrapped in a flowered sheet
Steven has brought incense
The kind I like
An expensive gift.
This will be a Buddhist ceremony, apparently.
He breaks the stick in two
hands me one half
lights them
put it to your forehead
then put it in with Otis.
I put it in
and burn my finger on Steven's embered end
And I am kneeling in the soft garden soil
sobbing
When I get up and around
Da is holding up the side of the house.
That was real nice he says.
And I weep all over him.

-----------------
I asked the Steven what he thought Otis' next reincarnation would be. "Magnificent." And that is a very fine answer.

Or maybe that is the highest one can be to enlightenment: a charming, happy, loving, weird, troublesome house cat. Our cat. The first we chose together. And Otis said, "Yes!" And loved us back.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Pink Prada eyeglass frames cateye, 2014

It was not a fucking good day today.
Locked out of N office, where my source files are kept.
Now her allie refused to let me in and only the co-director will
Who is there only 50 percent of the time.
Now there is a form
to check out files
It should just say
Mme: you are not wanted here.
Clip it to a heavy clipboard and tell me to bash myself over the head with it.

My job is now impossible.
I still don't know what I did or what I was supposed to have done.
N still won't tell me.
Too busy,
Well, fuck that noise.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A Tree Top Angel, 1980s. Nylon, lace, optimism.

I now understand why every hacky sack player I ever met was stoned. You need time to move a little differently when you are keeping something deliberately in the air.

My brother joined the Circus. And we couldn't be prouder. We. I love that my Da and I are a couple.
Odd, certainly. I like to think we might be friends.

ANYWAYS: My Brother Scott. Circus Shmrikus. Vermont. Heaven.

And he and his darling family came for Christmas and We were just in heaven, with the new Odessa.

So after a delightful two weeks they leave and Da says I want to learn how to juggle. Scarves. Scott said he learned using scarves. Buy a set for me on Walmart.com. I'll pick it up, two counties away.
Aw. No. Forget it.

Amazon is dangerous. juggling Scarves. Prime? Less than 12 bucks but more than three stars. Yes. Damn, I sent it to myself. Too much trouble to cancel so I send  him a fresh order.

He is delighted and confused and trying to rig them to make them operate in the air as he wants/expects himself/the juggler wants them to be.
We kind of see what Scott meant. but...

Week later: He bought bean bags from the 25 Cent Kiddy Bin at The Happy Dragon. Woop! That one has a different shape. The kids book from the library is on the bed in front of us, advising the bed lest one get tired of bending over for every dropped ball.

Week later I've knit him up three handspun spheres   filled with last years split peas. 150 gms each. But not this little 100 gm. Perfect for you. Good.

It's Wednesday, I'm alone at home. So now I am bouncing this 100 gm thing in patterns in the kitchen and I think this makes much more sense in this state, especially whist listening to Rosamund Pike reading the end five chapters of Pride and Prejudice and the new/refurbished headphones. It really is deeply pleasurable. Alone.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bowie and Books


Here are Bowie’s booktrysts, in reverse chronological order:
  1. The Age of American Unreason (public library) by Susan Jacoby (2008)
  2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (public library) by Junot Diaz (2007)
  3. The Coast of Utopia (trilogy) (public library) by Tom Stoppard (2007)
  4. Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875–1945 (public library) by Jon Savage (2007)
  5. Fingersmith (public library) by Sarah Waters (2002)
  6. The Trial of Henry Kissinger (public library) by Christopher Hitchens (2001)
  7. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (public library) by Lawrence Weschler (1997)
  8. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890–1924 (public library) by Orlando Figes (1997)
  9. The Insult (public library) by Rupert Thomson (1996)
  10. Wonder Boys (public library) by Michael Chabon (1995)
  11. The Bird Artist (public library) by Howard Norman (1994)
  12. Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir (public library) by Anatole Broyard (1993)
  13. Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective (public library) by Arthur C. Danto (1992)
  14. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (public library) by Camille Paglia (1990)
  15. David Bomberg (public library) by Richard Cork (1988)
  16. Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom (public library) by Peter Guralnick (1986)
  17. The Songlines (public library) by Bruce Chatwin (1986)
  18. Hawksmoor (public library) by Peter Ackroyd (1985)
  19. Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music (public library) by Gerri Hirshey (1984)
  20. Nights at the Circus (public library) by Angela Carter (1984)
  21. Money (public library) by Martin Amis (1984)
  22. White Noise (public library) by Don DeLillo (1984)
  23. Flaubert’s Parrot (public library) by Julian Barnes (1984)
  24. The Life and Times of Little Richard (public library) by Charles White (1984)
  25. A People’s History of the United States (public library) by Howard Zinn (1980)
  26. A Confederacy of Dunces (public library) by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  27. Interviews with Francis Bacon (public library) by David Sylvester (1980)
  28. Darkness at Noon (public library) by Arthur Koestler (1980)
  29. Earthly Powers (public library) by Anthony Burgess (1980)
  30. Raw, a “graphix magazine” (1980–1991)
  31. Viz, magazine (1979–)
  32. The Gnostic Gospels (public library) by Elaine Pagels (1979)
  33. Metropolitan Life (public library) by Fran Lebowitz (1978)
  34. In Between the Sheets (public library) by Ian McEwan (1978)
  35. Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews (public library) by ed Malcolm Cowley (1977)
  36. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (public library) by Julian Jaynes (1976)
  37. Tales of Beatnik Glory (public library) by Ed Saunders (1975)
  38. Mystery Train (public library) by Greil Marcus (1975)
  39. Selected Poems (public library) by Frank O’Hara (1974)
  40. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s (public library) by Otto Friedrich (1972)
  41. In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture (public library) by George Steiner (1971)
  42. Octobriana and the Russian Underground (public library) by Peter Sadecky (1971)
  43. The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll (public library) by Charlie Gillett (1970)
  44. The Quest for Christa T (public library) by Christa Wolf (1968)
  45. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock (public library) by Nik Cohn (1968)
  46. The Master and Margarita (public library) by Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
  47. Journey into the Whirlwind (public library) by Eugenia Ginzburg (1967)
  48. Last Exit to Brooklyn (public library) by Hubert Selby Jr. (1966)
  49. In Cold Blood (public library) by Truman Capote (1965)
  50. City of Night (public library) by John Rechy (1965)
  51. Herzog (public library) by Saul Bellow (1964)
  52. Puckoon (public library) by Spike Milligan (1963)
  53. The American Way of Death (public library) by Jessica Mitford (1963)
  54. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea (public library) by Yukio Mishima (1963)
  55. The Fire Next Time (public library) by James Baldwin (1963)
  56. A Clockwork Orange (public library) by Anthony Burgess (1962)
  57. Inside the Whale and Other Essays (public library) by George Orwell (1962)
  58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (public library) by Muriel Spark (1961)
  59. Private Eye, magazine (1961–)
  60. On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious (public library) by Douglas Harding (1961)
  61. Silence: Lectures and Writing (public library) by John Cage (1961)
  62. Strange People (public library) by Frank Edwards (1961)
  63. The Divided Self (public library) by R. D. Laing (1960)
  64. All the Emperor’s Horses (public library) by David Kidd (1960)
  65. Billy Liar (public library) by Keith Waterhouse (1959)
  66. The Leopard (public library) by Giuseppe di Lampedusa (1958)
  67. On the Road (public library) by Jack Kerouac (1957)
  68. The Hidden Persuaders (public library) by Vance Packard (1957)
  69. Room at the Top (public library) by John Braine (1957)
  70. A Grave for a Dolphin (public library) by Alberto Denti di Pirajno (1956)
  71. The Outsider (public library) by Colin Wilson (1956)
  72. Lolita (public library) by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
  73. Nineteen Eighty-Four (public library) by George Orwell (1949)
  74. The Street (public library) by Ann Petry (1946)
  75. Black Boy (public library) by Richard Wright (1945)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

She thinks of sex, death and David Bowie.

My entire sexual existence has lived under the shadow of a plague, one that deals death and fear. On the more delightful B-side: I have loved and lived, until last Sunday, in the time of David Bowie.

 We have lost thirty-nine million people to AIDS so far, the equivalent to the entire state of California.
Those people –had they been given futures- who would have dramatically changed everything. We lost the people that NOW needs. We lost vast cultural human potential  from 1975 to today. It is simply not there. The tastemakers, the writers, the patrons, the poets.  We lost young intelligent minds dancers, politicians, artists, thinkers, comedians, people to think and talk and would be participating in the world today. Everything would be different. But miraculously, the Divine preserved David Bowie. What a gift.

David Bowie the rock star of the flexible sensuality and outspoken sexuality managed to survive this plague, losing friends, collaborators and lovers. He produced a phenomenal amount of musical work and engaged almost all other art forms and made sure that concerts were held, encouraged other artists and graciously made space for them. He swam in the sea of art as it was polluted, drained and dried up. By some miracle Bowie survived the unthinkable. And then he quietly built his own landscape and ocean of work.

In an interview with Esquire he recommended that one should, at some point in one’s life, confront a corpse and experience what the absence of life looks like. The stillness, the part that is missing. The thing that is missing is the only difference between you as yourself and your body as a permanently vacant container. Then realizing what the absence of life looks like, he went out and fucking lived like a mo’fucker.

I wonder if an instance of this was part of the why this artist lived so vividly, gave himself to us so graciously, tried everything offered, maintained his privacy and loved his family so devotedly.  He left us better, as a people. He left us with anthems that allowed our lonely minds to be ourselves without tipping over into destruction. He wrote those songs in such a way that they encouraged each of us to move forward through our worst times. 

Much like the corpse advice, he advocated wearing large British shoes with a sharp suit; we need our footing to be substantial and bold. We – as children – are immune to the consultation. We are quite aware of what we are going through. Turn and face the strange… and that’s slightly easier in footwear we can’t tip over in.

No dainty Italian jobs at the end of an elegant leg, please.

I love the last photo of him, posted by his wife on his last birthday. He enters the grey street in a suit and fedora. His shoes are enormous. His wide sharp smile bursts forth over everything, joy exuding outwards, filling the frame. Here I am. Here.

This time we live in is a miracle. One can live with AIDS now and with current antiretroviral therapy mixed with some practical thinking can prevent the damned virus from sticking to us. 

We need to reclaim some space for Art. The hopeful vacancy left by those lost 39 million minds full of potential was gobbled up by the opportunistic venal corporations, by conservative small selfish thinkers, by politicians and small hearted people who closed their eyes and did nothing.

 We need that space, those resources, that joy. That’s ours. We need to be our own inspiration NOW.
Today 8.1 million people live with AIDS. Each and every one is illumination. The rest of us? The lucky ones that made it through the dark times and those blossoming afterwards? We are doubly blessed and unreasonably fortunate. Let us do something with our existence. Let us all live like the lucky mo’fuckers we are. 

Let’s dance.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It Did Not Occur to Me...

..that the title of the previous post has much to do with the content.

I have been lately writing in an altered state, so I might as well call this what this latest writing is and just go with that.  Read, if you like, Darlings.

Mme. L.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fanciful Ebay Posting Text: Collection of Hippie/1980s Floral Embroidered and Applique Belts 1980-1989

My mum. I don't know when I started calling her "mum". Much longer than after I moved out of the state and relied on PBS releases of BBC comedy for my lessons in culture, style and, occasionally, diction. This is not exactly make me the hot and witty chick the men I wanted WANTED. I was a bit strange.

To this day the word banana is pronounced "BAH-nah-nah". Anything too nasal just does not belong to fruit. No.

And as I write this: the sports bra I was wearing exploded. Danskins/Freestyle, front zip just separated company  and popped apart under my 2000 french blue man's shirt with the name 'Atticus" over the heart, on the pocket. My name is not Atticus but the character of Mister Finch lingers, close enough to remind me how people are, how mobs behave, where fear belongs.  Maybe I am still a bit strange.

I threw away the sports bra; it was the not the first instance of zipper divorce. I gave it another shot at my chest and BOOM mid-post. Like I've written much in the last year, five years?  Still: I am counting that as the one damn thing that does not succeed in what it should do that I am throwing away TODAY.

Anyway. (is it a word? will spell check scold me?). The word I use for a verbal bash of the typewriter bash of the carriage to the left with the right hand while the left advances the paper with a very clicky leaver: anyway. The "movin' on" word. Bash to the right, click to the left. Advance.

Anyways.

"Anyways, Mom..." sitting alone in the tiniest of hallways on the beige carpet, still wet from the cast iron tub I fill more than once a day, soaking up the heat in that huge cast iron vat in what is truly the basement. the cheapest sweetest apartment in Seattle. So I could live with just myself. Bob was the apartment manager although I was so young I thought of him and called him the landlord.

Gay Bob. Smallish man, very strong,  bald or shaved head. Skipping down 419 E. John steps of an early 1920 building on Capitol Hill in leather gear. Chaps. Hat. Greets his potential new tenant of the basement unit  who came with her mother to check out the unit by the dumpsters. Perfect first apartment for some young stupid girl, freshly crushed. And a bit odd.

Don't worry, Bob says to my mother, I will look out for her. An angel.

And my beloved Bob did just that. For four? six years? Two units, many lovers, and four cats/pet deposit fees, non refundable. He watched out for me.

I loved thinking that Bob was the first OUT gay man my mum met. That the outrageous-ness, the kindness and nobleness of Bob flavored how she thought of homosexuals and the fringes of men in general. There are men out there, near strangers, that will swear to you - you! A woman! - that they promise to watch over the dearest receptacle holding of  a piece of your heart. To help. Unbelievable.

Bob kept his word.

"Mom" became "my mum" after she died. Either I can be regressing into 1990 BBC productions, or I am distancing myself from the moment the one became the other.

And here I still am, sprawled on beige rental carpet of my first apartment, wet in a towel, talking into a red plastic phone on a World Market rattan chest. Talking on the phone to my mother. Who I miss.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Email from/to Mark

I love getting email from my older brother Mark. It's the most confused of all my relationships.
 August 15-16th
----------------------------
 Email from Mark: Mme?  Did the airline get u out?
 ---------------------------------
Email reply from Mme L:
How astute of you to remember.  Yeah.

Yes: by the very hair of my teeth. By FIVE stinkin' minutes and only because one of the pilots was double-parking his previous flight.
Many didn't make it home at all and I had no kids, no plans I couldn't get out of today. I felt very guilty and you know I don't favor guilt. There were two large packs of  Chinese high school student totaling more than 120; these were informed that there two flights connecting back home  had been cancelled outright. Confusion, mayhem, hysteria. Bad very bad.

I was a complete disaster: I may have burst into stress induced tears at the back of the plane on the first flight only to have two Marines, an off duty stewardess, a returning  co pilot pat me on the shoulders, hand over large amounts of Kleenex and prevent me from passing out/vomiting/collapsing completely. For I am a hysterical, dramatic person.

THE PRICE?: My elephantine embarrassingly purple bag may be lost forever. I hope the stinkin' Bag  Recovery Syndicate finds the cheese in time.

And if you see "Chris" from the Reagan Int'l airport (a building exactly as hideous as it sounds), feel free to punch him in the face for me. What an utter dick. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fwd: 4:35 AM Santa Cruz


Subject: 4:35 AM Santa Cruz

The Dream Inn has been utterly redone, from the ground up. It's maybe a little more Mod than my taste, (use of orange/avocado, blockier lines) but the sheets are very nice and it's quite elegant in its own right. Plus, there's the ocean: the perfect soundtrack.

Our room overlooks the pier and the Boardwalk. I can see lights all around the Bay and the odd car far, far away.

We walked to the Surfing Museum at sunset. It must have been Prom last night in Santa Cruz with every young person all glammed up and taking photos.

Prom dresses have become even more hideous, if that is possible. Neon orange, indecisive hems, dubious uses of chiffon. One lady wore a full length bronze sequin contraption that looked a bit like a massive fishing lure.

I sound ungracious. They were all young and fresh and happy and glorious. Perfect for a Friday evening in Paradise. Young men, alas, ALWAYS require the lecture on blue tuxedos and rented shoes, but they will outgrow those compulsions on their own. Hopefully.

Your rainbow socks are on the needles. Unlike the blue lace, they are plain stockinette so they are with me in front of books & telly, in meetings, through everything. The colors make me smile as they progress and though I know you'll wonder what the hell are you supposed to wear them with I am sure you'll like them too. They will be a present without a occasion. Perfect.

Thank you for letting us crash your Good Friday potato pancake party. Seeing you and Matt is always Good, but the whole clan in full party mode? That makes for a Glorious Riotous Friday. Jesus and all the Marys would certainly approve. Family, both conventional and created, is where it is at.

Thanks for letting me crash your family occasionally. The Brothers have the knack of making a girl feel loved and welcome. You,  in particular. Thanks, Darling. There is no other word than "thanks".

Okay, back to bed. Maybe there is some sleep in there for me.
Love to you,
H

Monday, March 17, 2014

Living in my Da's world.

Strangely I've been more involved my Da's life.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I lived to witness.

The other night I managed to coax the Steven for an evening walk down Market to the Ferry Building. It was lovely: pinky-gold bouncy light, the surprise of bright yellow antique street car, a clear deepening sky. And the holiday had hit and San Francisco can even make that shit look good.

 "Teenage American Graffitii" was sounding pretty good so we ankled-over to the North End and after a good long wait, there it was: dinner. As we nibbled each garlic fry it be came evident that
the large European family who had squashed themselves in to tiny table overlooking the ice rink on the Embarcadero was entering into a bit of an arguement.

The Father could not have been older that I, yet he had five kids! And was still together with the Missus! And had managed to a vacation and snow hats for all his family! In temperate California! Amazing. Flag green crew sweater, angular and expensive Euro glasses, red socks and long shorts. He looked like Tintin might look if he lost every caper, got 40 pounds older and now had to work Mid-Management at a bank. 

His oldest, a fourteen year old bespectaled girl in a pink hat was eating her dinner calmly as her father tried to face her down. She was the ordinary, garden variety fourteen year old adolescent volcano disguised a human. Nothing was hair-tossy, gooey sulks and " THIS call is very important" about her. She was the typical girl with her awkward, enormous family and no one was distracted by pocket-sized machines that go PING. Essentially it was your and my family vacation thirty-five years ago.

This blond haired-middle-aged German with a "coaches kids' soccer" physique, is talking very loudly into the disdainful face of his daughter. With complete unconcern between bites, she calmly snaps back an unknown comment that causes her Responsible Adult  to start bouncing on his toes like a boxer. The Boxer that going to be a bad cable memory in the third round and is already wearing that headline in six minutes into Round 1.

-  &  -

You want to grasp this doomed parent who is rebounding so hard his body is lifting off the ground. Calm him down from his current completely non-effective, non-creative rage. Get him a beer. Or a Valium.

And when the poor bloke* has taken five deep breaths in row and blotted his brow with the  fresh handkerchief from his Danish Climbing Polartech vest and once he has another swig of this beer and wondered where his promotional beer mat has got to: hurt him.

Pat him on the shoulder. Call him Friend or Pal. Think "soothing, calming cadence".  In this voice that has brought him back to himself from this Great Public Humiliation say "You will not win. Not ever."

Not me, not my Da. I hear Da's own pop considered the bottle earnestly when Marie hit high school. There must have been great-grand-uncles cursing that day sixteen years ago when he was just a little too happy/delirious to vacate the permises before losing his cleaning deposit entirely.

I often think Cloisters must been full of Second Children/Willfull/Possibly Possessed Daughters, making the only choice a creature barely valued for her gender could make for herself, if it wasn't made for her.  You can imagine the habits and the heavy wet blanket picture of convents, but in  1500-1600 in the more luxurious warm parts of Italy, the Sisters has actual quality lives.

They had servants and guests, they wore  whatever they liked, there was very little of the burning people fad from their Nan's time. Just imagine the freedom to not be part of a family who did not value you and now you can be a bit more of yourself in this controlled environment.
Composers, writers, the occasional artist: it must have been quiet a  nice life until the New Bishop of Rome saw opportunity for another kind of enslavement.  

And this guy? This paunchy man at the end of his rope? I know I'd never want to be a powerless, smart-ass of fourteen again and parenting was an allergy I consciously developed. Much like an irksome fondness for excellent gin.

-  &  -

She's gonna be fine, I'd say. She's plenty smart and just confused enough so that the friends/allies she develops will be distracting enough to ward off the predatory and creepy. Whatever you remember about high school is a lie. It was much worse. Chances are not good that there has been anything improvements. I mean, school weapon searches? Really?

You can't talk with her now: she's working on maturing that brain which has a delivery date of nine days past her 24th birthday. We would have had it mature when it was convenient to you, back before toilet training and you learned to hate the silly word your wife taught Little Miss Leakage about what  a lady would call her Fine China. But you were angry then too, yah? 'My father never had to do THIS!',  "Because of the babies, wife can't/won't ___________. for me." Yeeeeeaaahh. Public Relations ran out of that reel screening and was seen to be fumbling for epi-pen.  The current opinion is this: Things are different now. Sometimes it works and people are better.

That kid is enough like you to subconsciously soak enough of what you say for handy future use. She's still listening, even if it's just the tone.

If you changed the diaper anyways, kept the weird comments about her best pal OF ANY NATURE to your bad self, treat her at least the dignity of your other kids then YES. Fear not. She be back very shortly. She also wants to know if you still have the pyrex from last week's brunch.

No? Well, this is it. She might come back. She may not. It's really her call. Don't expect the kicked dog to pretend it all never happened.

Get up to date with how people her age live now. Does she have what she need or is something off? Is the government saying support will run out just as she becomes a grandparent? The kind of doubts and problems you had at 20 haven't changed to this day. She'll be uncertain every day for the rest of her life. The big thing she worries about might be you.

We have the same kind of small tragic/comedy tellanovela going on. The sets are recycled and so are the storylines. The writers get stuck more often than you think.

People change and hopefully for the better. And that there platitude? That's for the both of you so here are two forks.

As the father  stews and paces and the girl swoops up the smallest hooded kiddo and they munch the last luscious American bite in perfect companionable silence.

The other young kids enjoy their fries and share their burgers, completely unaware that Daddy has been drafted to fight the war he will not win. Not ever.

* Bloke: a word better than dude. Less derogatory than putz.