My House

Flash 2 My House

 

 

 

I live alone people think but in fact my house has so many inhabitants I have to be careful when moving through it. There are many men lurking about in my closets and bedroom all of whom seem angry and hungry. The kitchen contains some young ones with damp, slightly curled hair who cook gravy. I happen to hate gravy unless it’s on turkey which is tasteless without it. So many things are. I walk slowly through the detritus of my life so as not to stumble over hillocks of bodies and chirping young friends who think I am hopeful so I am. To them. I need young friends. The doors are unlocked and the flowers wander in and out flagrantly fragrancing the hours and the hallways making memories melt into the cracks and settlings of bones and earthquake reinforcement. People ask don’t I want an elevator but why would I when I can wander in an elevated state up and down and sideways into the dining room where the chairs are always filled with brilliance and I can sit with the thoughts of so many nights, so much laughter, the best wine, and no gravy.

Virus

Child’s Game

“Hold your breath!”

passing a graveyard we said

In the back seat of a 57 Ford

gravely

acknowledging the dead.

Now, out walking, I hold

my hand over my mouth

careful to not breathe in

air of living people

passing.

Dinner

Light the candles, dim the lights, serve the good wine, make people laugh, tell them to go home after 2 1/2 hours, go to bed, drink water, pet your dogs, Dream of passion.

This Afternoon

I like young old men.

Men whose twinkle never faded like some

lust or the memory of really good vanilla ice

cream. I like the round muscle of their arms,

the temptation of golden skin,

and the quick way they look at me for

what seems like a long time while we are

kissing. Each time I open my eyes there

is that gaze, eyes so clear and full of intent.

I don’t know what to do with that gaze.

It never varies. I’m so unused to direct

and constant I’m checking it, closing my

eyes and then quickly opening them again

like a child thinking it will be gone. The kiss

goes on and on like undulating waves in

a warm climate with hopeful palm trees

that clap their fronds for any passion seen

below.

I think it’s over but something like

one finger on my cheekbone

begins the spiral again.

It would not be sensible to want this

on a regular basis but everyone does.

Desire and to be desired.

We all wait.

A remembered afternoon in summer.

The Length of Winter

I forgot how long winter is.

It doesn’t extend from November to March

as it should but it’s disobedient and sometimes hides inside a heart and a chamber to the left or to the right and there you are with only a part of your heart functioning because of winter or it’s a fact. You think it will get better but in fact you’re wrong because once something is frozen it’s never the same. Even a hamburger isn’t as flavorful once defrosted. I used to think that people could learn over time that frostbite prevented circulation and thus freedom however experience has taught me that if you let something freeze it can never really be brought back to life appropriately again.

Our Front Hall

Our Front Hall

Our front hall had a very tall grandfather clock at the foot of the stairs keeping watch over the household. No one could wind it but my father and the clock defined the nights in regular chimes reaching everyone’s ears in everyone’s bedroom.There was a front hall table made of lustrous mahogany where mail and packages were placed daily.The legs of the table looked like a young girl with four legs curtseying all at once. I know because I spent a lot of time under there waiting for God knows what. My favorite part however In this wonderful area of our house was the front hall closet which no one could put anything in except for my father. It was his personal closet for his overcoat and his hats and his umbrellas and his galoshes. I don’t remember hearing we weren’t supposed to go in the closet so I went in the closet quite a bit. There was a shelf the hats were on that had a thumbtacked piece of decorative ribbon that was ruched: something I had never seen before. I took some delight in pulling a piece of it off and seeing what it felt like. My father had four or five coats in there and most of the coats were some range of the color gray. There were cashmere coats, and wool coats, and cotton coats, and canvas coats. The coats had a big life and seemed to go out a lot. Sometimes alone, and sometimes in pairs the coats went out in the world: across oceans and in airplanes, office buildings, and houses not ours, down inside boats, outside on sidewalks. They always came back home slightly different than when they had left. I knew this because when I went in the closet I would stand up inside each coat starting with my head going into the bottom because they were buttoned up, you see, and I would shimmy myself up to usually just the lowest button because my father was very tall and I was still short. I would stand there and breathe in the outside world imagining where he had been and who he had seen and the smell of old Spice would anesthetize me against the real world. In the closet I created whatever I wanted sometimes for hours. No one ever looked for me. I stood so still inside a coat I became a part of its life.

The Hard, Cold Snow

The Coming of the Snow

The hard, cold snow is here,

The kind that makes you wince.

The great, crackling steps one takes that sink unexpectedly,

Mother earth reminding you she’s but a heavy footfall away.

So a morning walk becomes impossible and the dog, depressed.

Your husband reminds you how he loves the winter but

You remember how warm sun feels and how each morning contains freedom.

There are those who live outside and those who live inside.

The watchers and the livers

Each needs the other to remind them what they miss

Not better or worse

Just different.

Letting Go When There Is No Rope Left

Letting Go When There’s No Rope Left

I have a friend who is trying to get divorced. This has been going on for two years. The marriage was a good length, (ten years), and a good part of it was not unhappy but the divorce has turned into a nightmare of hatred, accusations, bitterness, anger, paranoia and deep despair on the part of both parties.

There were no children involved, several properties purchased together, and a long stream of expenses for their life paid for by my friend who gave his partner free rein to do what she wanted in terms of the household accounts. By the time he realized most of his money was gone it was too late for reason or recompense: his life had become unbearable as daily verbal abuse had escalated to the point of physical pain. There was no surviving the atmosphere in the house, no love left between the two marital participants, and so my friend left.

His partner filed for divorce immediately and thus began the long history of demands for money, property, shares in imagined earnings, financial reports, tax returns, and appearances in court, depositions and more depositions. Interestingly enough, at this point in time my friend’s net worth had diminished to one tenth that of his wife’s yet she continued to threaten, hire new lawyers, fire old accountants, make new lists about what she wanted, hide possessions from my friend, and make her life’s goal destroying her husband.

Now I ask myself “Why?” If I were in the same position would I behave in the same way? Of course not. I am a reasonable person who likes to work things out and find reasonable solutions to problems. I like to have situations that are emotionally complicated solved as smoothly and expediently as possible as drawing them out only serves to upset one’s health and make oneself look like a fool in the community. People that continually fight over nothing and act in irrational ways are usually ostracized by others and find them alone and unloved in their lives. Who would actively make a choice to live like this?

Why am I writing about this today? I think it’s a really good lesson to all of us about how to destroy your life and your Karma. Holding anger, retribution and bitterness inside yourself is a good mechanism to destroy your own life. I think it does more damage than smoking. Imagine inhaling all that rage each day with every breath and then imagine not being able to release it. Imagine getting into arguments with everyone that surrounds you and then not having any real friends left. Imagine acting in a way that is dangerous to you and to others. Then take a breath and wonder why.

I think people get so caught up in their battles they forget why they began them in the first place. Much like all the needless wars we have been involved with we often can’t remember why we started to hate each other. We forget our compassion towards others and towards ourselves. We exist on our own fear and we can’t even see how it is destroying our lives. We lose all reason and all awareness of our own behavior and become fearful individuals who are living solitary lives as it becomes too risky to trust anyone else.

How many stories out there are like that of my friend? How many people hold on to old stuff as its familiar: pain is familiar. It may not be pleasant but sometimes fear makes us choose the familiar rather than the new as the new cannot be predicted.

I am no angel. Believe me I know that and I am aware of my own failings just as others are. I am writing this to make sense of the situation to me as well as to you as it seems so insane. The only thing I do know to be absolutely true is that operating from a fear based self will ultimately ruin your life and leave you with no friends or family to support you. In the end as they say we die alone but I hope when I die there are people who love me all around who can send me on my way to a new plane with love and joy. After all, there is really nothing else worthwhile in life but love.

 

Remembering something you thought you wouldn’t again

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Remembering Something You Thought You Wouldn’t Again

I believe in love and second chances. I believe in the power of memory. I love to reflect on whom I might have married or where I might have lived. I love nothing more than a glance from an attractive man in a public place which says to me “I am interested.”

What I love most of all, however, is the return of a flirtation you thought you had lost and the possibility of an old passion being rekindled.

There is nothing better in life than friendship begun at age four which continues to flourish. Nothing finer than an old designer piece which you wore at 30 still cupping your shoulders with certainly and still making you feel great.

I prefer the old to the new. I prefer the childhood memories to many new memories. I find the thought of an erotic encounter which took place at 24 infinitely more erotic in my mind today than any new ones I might have, except with one single man!

The art of writing romantic letters is seemingly lost today but I have been experiencing it recently with the greatest of pleasure. Imagine before going to sleep that you receive an email from someone you thought you had lost many years ago and that email was filled with love and remembrances of your past together, even painting a bit of what might be in future?

Imagine how that feels? How happy it makes you to think someone else many miles away is having the same thoughts you are having. Isn’t life grand? The really amazing thing is if you have no attachment to the outcome and only feel the joy of love, you can enjoy it even more.

Each little sound bite being sent electronically over IPAD’s  day to day add to the wonderful building and waxing and waning tension of this feeling of love and desire yet there may be no consummation. I think I have learned one lesson in life after all these years: don’t live in a fantasy state particularly when starting out in a relationship or the hope of a relationship. It’s a bad idea.  Really looking and listening and understanding what the other person is about is a good thing. Feeling giddy is a really good thing. Having hope is an even better thing. Holding hands is the best thing in the whole world even when it is done electronically.

Saturday Night: 1958

"Il Ballo" (in English "The Dan...
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Saturday Night

So it’s Saturday night and I am at a beach where the waves are still in shock from the thought of a Tsunami. The evening is still and even the sea grass floats more slowly. Nothing could happen or anything could happen and no one really cares.

They say the force of the earthquake in Japan knocked the world off its axis a bit and changed the coast of Japan by 4 inches. Earthquakes can happen anywhere and at any time just like any unpredictable violence yet we go on living our lives as if they could go on without us.

On Saturday nights in Connecticut in the 50’s the evenings were warm and sometimes fragrant with the smell of cut grass  and the families gathered in the muggy evening sitting on iron lawn chairs with small flowered pillows while placing their drinks on iron side tables with tops shaped  like large, flat leaves. The mothers dressed in longer cotton dressed with full skirts and pointy high heel shoes. The fathers had hair slicked back from their high, hardworking foreheads that glistened in the evening light.

My father loved dancing more than anything else and had one of the first outdoor dancing floors built in a private home in Connecticut. He installed outdoor speakers: large white globes that looked like miniature space ships and hung high from the corner of our house. The music came out of the speakers with a faint lisp as if speaking a foreign language from a child’s point of view.

On Saturday nights my parents would occasionally have friends over who would dress in that fifties way and everyone would have cocktails. These cocktails came in tall glasses with fragile stems and frosted sides and were usually a pale pink. By the time dessert was over the cocktails seemed to have melted away any formality and out to the dance floor everyone would go.

My bedroom from the age of nine until I went away to school was right above the dance floor and supplied me a perfect view of these evenings. I saw Mrs. Ewald slither across the floor doing her own version of the snake on her belly, and watched with fascination the antics of Mrs. Dewart and Mr. Green who were throwing leaves onto the dancers from high on top of a wall they had climbed on. Mrs. Simmons danced like a graceful gazelle with almost anyone and Mrs. Gagarin was surely the most elegant, but no one could begin to compare with Olive Cawley Watson.

Ah yes, the beautiful Olive Cawley Watson with her dark curly hair and her deep and ever glistening brown eyes and her bewitching way of looking at men  from a sideways glance and a gently tilted head. There was no one to compare with Olive out on the dance floor. Every man wanted his turn with her and she laughed up into their eyes with her neck tilted back and her tan arms around her partner like a wreath. The music never seemed long enough to her partners and they relinquished her with reluctance to another partner always following her with their eyes as she walked away. It didn’t seem to matter to Olive who she was dancing with, only that she was dancing as the beat of the music kept her heart alive and forced her feet to move and made her mind forget and dream about what never would be.

The night grew late and some people left while others found places in the curves of the terrace to sit and sip their sweet after dinner drinks made by the butler long gone to bed.

The dance floor was silent for a while and I, in my high bed, would almost fall asleep without the soft brush and whoosh sound of the slow dancing feet.

Then I heard it, the sound I always waited for, the sound of soft leather and scrape of shoe from Madame Arpel in New York, the sound of softly counting from a male throat and the warble of a closed throated sparrow in response. I rose from my bed to find my post and watched carefully from behind one curtain. The dancing pair was perfectly orchestrated to the music and each other moving across the floor in tandem with a natural lean and a curve like a soft crescent moon into the letter “K”. The soft sounds of bull frogs and crickets an orchestra to their dance and sometimes there was no one there at all. Sometimes they had no music. My father kept his tongue at the corner of his mouth in concentration while my mother closed her eyes thinking of nights when she was 17 and dancing with a movie star.

My father, concentrating on his dance lessons, may have missed the lightness and grace he had in his arms and my mother, lost in her world of memories, may have ignored the scent of my father’s Old Spice and the feel of his hand pressed firmly into her back. I could only see what was right in front of me and only sense what was real or what was imagined. I watched the float and twist of her dress and the half turn of her face into my father’s chest and squinted to count her breaths taken in to revive her spirit. I thought she was the most beautiful and fragile thing I would ever see and I used all my energy night after night to protect her as it didn’t seem to me anyone else was. You can’t protect anything that doesn’t want to be protected, not even the loveliest woma