What I mean

Autonomy

like monotony

but without the pendulum

marking time.

This time

Is monotonous

but for the autonomous

It’s fine

For a time.

What I’m Really Saying about life in California

I’m beginning to see

I need no one after a time.

I’m preparing for the lifeboat,

the buoy,

the evacuation of the planet,

no packing, everyone is coming.

I’m leaving everything

behind.

It’s meaningless.

People come and go.

I’m trying to be brave.

Now I realize people want to hear hope from me as I’m old.

So I hand them some perfectly ripe

tomatoes from my garden,

tell them how to chop the basil

add the olive oil,

mix with hands.

Serve at room temperature

perhaps outside with the sun

fighting to make its way through the smoke just for one last time.

It’s good to eat with others

as things digest more easily.

The Introvert

                                               Introvert

I can’t tell people

I like how it is now:

“Da Viwus”

as Rosemary calls it,

the restlessness gone.

 No days of yoga,

 no decisions,

few people, puppy

watching

the main activity.

I only want to see children

swim in the pool making

light of alligators and yellow cheese slices

made of plastic and air. The in breath

and the out breath like hand bellows

in my belly, welcoming and productive.

“What if it is like this forever?”

There will always be children.

I must keep this secret.

Along with the other

introverts of the world.

Someone Asked me

Someone Asked me How I Start a Poem

Someone asked me how I start a poem

And I said it had to do with scent,

I remember, summer 1957,

being underwater and chlorine and the vivid

look of other swimming beings.

Play “Tea Party”

“Why?”

I never understood “Tea Party”

or the scent of afternoon grass

in Connecticut

in June.

Lying there, listening to

airplanes floating, hawks looking

for sex, prey,

safety.

We lay there

among the blades, clipped,

eyes gliding across summer blue

skies reading cloud clusters like

braille translating childhood.

No language for bewilderment.

Listening Two

I would highly recommend learning the art

of invisibility at a young age.

Today’s world is crowded.

It’s useful to sit still, 

breathing but not moving your ribs.

At this time levitation may be possible 

which is helpful.

Taking notes is useful.

it’s in the details one

learns the ropes and

listening to neighbors in hotel 

rooms is lesson number four.

To cries, whispers, the click

of locks,

learning what stops listening 

like ear plugs or music or white

noise or meanness. Stop.

Other people will sometimes disappoint

you.

Stop taking notes

on life.

Listening

I would highly recommend learning the art

of invisibility at a young age.

It’s useful to sit still

breathing but not moving your ribs.

Taking notes..

It’s in the details one

learns the ropes and

listening to neighbors in hotel

rooms is lesson number four.

To cries, whispers, the click

of locks,

learning what stops listening

like ear plugs or music or white

noise. Stop.

Other people will always disappoint

you.

Stop taking notes

on life.

My Mother’s Hair

My Mother’s Hair

My mother’s hair always escaped

from under her red kerchief or the

hairspray

lacquered on  for control and the hair

often went

dancing in a night club in Manhattan

even when she was in labor with

one of us. You can’t control wildness.

My mother lay, legs askew, baby

coming, never having  to push as Dr. Leroy

removed us with forceps while her hair was

dancing at the Stork Club and her waist, so

thin

turning sideways she could have been

an exclamation point or a bent spoon.

Her hair, curled in the heat and the moist

music, was happy as rhythm was the

clef of curl and the smoke, the smoke,

smoothed her out and persuaded her

life could be El Morocco and the possibility

of finding Mr.Rich.

Even after she found him she

worried he wouldn’t stay. He told her to

make

her hair softer. It was always

touch and go but he made the rules.

Older, her hair curled around nurses

who loved her sweetness while her children

longed to hear her truth.

You see, life was a silken tendril and a

Frigidaire,

TV dinners and flowered dresses with waists

cinched by men who knew how to lead.

Scissors hadn’t been invented and music

could anesthetize freedom. Hair could go

anywhere.

Vol de Nuit

              Vol de Nuit

“This is your captain speaking” I hear as I look around my seat and curiously push the dimly lit buttons with the diagrams on them of what I may want to do for the next 10 hours.

 I love the deep voice of the captain especially when he’s British: so reassuring and yet sexy as if any minute he’s going to offer me a cocktail and anything else I might want.

“Ladies and gentlemen” he says “our flight will go over Newfoundland tonight. We expect no delay in our landing at London Heathrow and  it is our hope that you will enjoy your flight asleep or awake.Thank you for flying with us.”

 I am longing to hear that captain’s voice again.

 I want to be in the capsule of transportation.

I want a lady with make up on and coiffed hair to offer me a blanket and a billet-doux.

I long to be taken across the Atlantic, flying high through the clouds while someone else is in charge.

 Maybe I’ll fly to Charles de Gaulle and exit through one of the tube escalators up and escalator down into the customs area where I will be met by a chauffeur who will take me to a five-star Hotel in Paris where I will acquire several new outfits and a chauffeur.

At night when I can’t sleep I think of all those opportunities. My daughter kept saying to me, “Mom!Go live in France for a while. They’ll  understand you there.”

I know it’s too late and that’s OK but I still love to imagine the sound of that voice “Good evening ladies and gentlemen!Welcome to flight 27 from San Francisco to wherever your heart desires.”

I  am wearing my travel clothes so I will look perfectly chic when we land.

I’ve been wearing them for five months.

I’ll never stop dreaming just as I’ve never stopped  breathing so if I never stop breathing I can’t guarantee I won’t in-jest something that could easily kill me.

So that’s why I’m happy I’m a good imaginer.

I always travel light and rarely breathe.

Wasp Homelife

WASP- Homelife

I hate Italian families.

When you see them in a group they’re always laughing and eating,

kissing and hugging and touching each other as if they really mean

it and they don’t mind being close.

Don’t they know that they’re not supposed to behave like that?

In the best of WASP families you never touch anything but a cheek

with another cheek.

You have children but they leave the house

young.

To a WASP there can be no answer as

nothing is written down.

It turns out your family will never resemble an Italian family. 

Never.

Wasps require large houses because everyone needs a greater than normal

amount of space in which to sequester themselves from their

childhood memories.

So if they can afford it they move into mansions and most of the

rooms are left empty.

Certainly on holidays there is one long table but it’s like

Covid before Covid.

I’m trying to learn how to be Italian.

I’m a genetic aberration.

I used to have a friend in the mafia who definitely was Italian.

He used to take me to dinner at the Italian club and during the meal

the table would shimmer and shake according to who was shooting what

weapon at the gun range on the floor below.

Having dinner with Vincent made me feel weirdly protected but

also somewhat

apprehensive . Like having indigestion before you even thought

about eating. I asked him to adopt me but that wasn’t what he had

in mind.

I found out a year ago that Vincent had died. I hate that.

People that you keep thinking of for years

and years and then suddenly you hear that you shouldn’t

have been thinking about them because

they were dead.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we bury the upper crust!”

Motto from a WASP funeral company