Friday, February 24, 2012

Two Bits

Brother and Sister Hash it Out

“It’s better to have one,” said Simon.
“It is?” asked Maddy.
Simon got off the stool they used to reach the sink. “Yeah.”
“But why? I can pee good."
“I can pee standing up. You have to sit down. And I have something to hold,
and you don’t have anything.”
“But you have to sit down sometimes.”
“Sure, but we’re talking about peeing. And mine feels good. Do you want to feel it?”
“I don’t think so. Anyway, Mom doesn’t have one. I’m like Mom.”
“Right. That's what they said before. You and Mom have vaginas but Dad and I have peanuts. Okay. I gotta put my trucks away."

“Maddy, did you brush your teeth yet? It’s past bedtime.” said  Dory.
“Not yet, Mommy.” Maddy’s elbows rested on her knees, her head in her hands.
“Honey, are you sad about something? Was Simon mean to you?”
“He said it was better to be a boy.”
“And why did he say that?”
“Because boys had peanuts and girls just have a hole and it doesn’t show.”
“It’s not better to be a boy. It’s just as good to be a girl as to be a boy, and I want you to believe me about that because it’s very important.”
Maddy stood up and flushed. She stepped on the stool and reached for her toothbrush.
“You sure?”
“I’m sure.”
“Good. ‘Cause it wouldn’t be fair.”


Me, Jane

My sex life started in the back of a bus
on the way home from a middle school football game.
Dickie Young and I smashed our lips together
until one of us had to breathe.

Tongues got busy in high school-
necking was serious business.
I first did it on my 18th birthday.
It was time, and anyway, I was drunk.

Two months later, on a roof-top in Manhattan,
I finally got the kiss that plunged
from lips to spine, groin to knees.
And I'm telling you, I'd had no idea!
Take me to the jungle, Tarzan.
I'm ready to swing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nonnie's Poetry Trip: Part 3

So…the poetry festival over, signed editions packed, laundry bag bulging, I left Delray Beach to start my trip home to Panama City Beach. The feathers in the pillow that is me had been plumped and I felt fat and happy. (Er, let me be clear. I'd actually lost a little weight-lots of walking, fore-going restaurants except for lunches, and yogurt.) If I'd any tendency toward bluishness, it was insignificant, because I wasn't just trudging home. I was on my way to spend a night with Yvette, who I've known online for six years give or take, but only met in person last year, and from there on to Cormac and Nancy's. I've known Cormac my whole life.

Before heading out, I asked at the desk of my hotel, and no, there was no way to get to Titusville from Delray without using I-95. The young man made his point, with lovely patience, when he said, "you'll have a horrible drive and besides it will be ugly." But, you know? Once I drove through the south Florida crush, the interstate wasn't bad. And I got to Yvette's in the early afternoon. This was a good thing, because we needed to talk non-stop for seven hours. Only Downton Abby's new episode interrupted the conversation.

We talked about: books, writing, men, dogs, cats, parrots, horses, childhood, children, photography, journaling, home décor, books, poetry, The Linnet's Wings's, (the magazine we both help edit,) World War 2, Holland, names, death, books, cooking, (Yvette's good at this-I'm getting better) the many parts of the country we've in common, drinking, not drinking, Zoetrope Virtual Studio, money, money for writing, other people's writing, men, friends, being a twin (Yvette is) ancestry, pets, divorce, politics (we are both liberal, fairly sensible, and women) health, treasures, dance, music, road trips, films, films from books, and family. We talked a lot about family. Then, after all the superb conversation, chicken curry, and Downton Abby, we collapsed. Yvette had to get to work the next morning, and because she had to be there so early, (normally she gets to work at 6am, but she was going in a little later) I'd called Cormac and told him I'd probably show up at his place by 7am and he'd said that was fine. In fact I didn't wake up the next morning until 7:30. I called Cormac, Yvette and I had a final coffee together, she went off to her re-arranged day at her lab, and I set off to find my old friend and meet his wife.

They didn't mind that I got there three hours later than we'd planned the night before. Cell phones are great for situations when you are running a little behind, don't you think? Ah, well. Beautiful, sleek, airy house. Nancy, who I immediately liked, plied me with coffee and offered eggs, but I settled for an English muffin. Jeez louise I had fun at Cormac and Nancy's! He'd been Tarzan to my Jane when we were little. (I'd always wanted to be Cheetah, but hardly ever got to.) My brother Drago performed the ceremony when, as Princess Sunny Feathers, I married Cormac, who was The Chief. We had the best neighborhood to play in! Woods, a pond with a swampy part, front, side and back yards that connected to each other, streets that were ours to play in until the dads got home from their NYC jobs, a mob of kids, and in winter, ice-skating, a huge, by our standards, sledding hill, snow forts, all of that. Everyone knew everyone and the grown-ups got together on Saturday nights for a party at one house or other. Cormac's mom was my mom's best friend. I hadn't seen Cormac since the 70's, so this was quite a catching-up session. Funny, sad, astonishing lives.

Nancy made me maps for my trip home on the cross-state road that Cormac suggested. Rte. 40 was an uncomplicated drive through Ocala horse country and beyond. The easy drive was a good thing, because, man, did I have stuff to think about! My head and my heart were full-up. I made it all the way to Perry late Monday afternoon, where I stayed in a spiffy new Holiday Inn (the first chain motel I'd been in on this ten-day jaunt.) Tuesday morning I woke up at 4:30 (!) and hit the road soon after. I was that anxious to get home to Drago and our cat and dog. There was fog for awhile, but the kind I could deal with, and then the lovely Big Bend of Florida's Gulf Coast. I was unpacked by the time Drago got home from teaching yoga.  Since getting home, I've seen two of my three doctors, started the damn breathing machine, and settled back in to my quiet life. I know my loved ones are relieved that I made it home safe and sound, and I am too, and I can't say I'm anxious for another road trip just yet. Not just yet.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Nonnie's Poetry Trip: Part 2

Who would think, if they met me today, in bed with dog, cat and computer, that I am a woman of such passions? There has never been a time in my life when I haven't been deeply in love with something or someone. As a child my fervors were directed toward ballet and Catholic saints. I would read biographies of famous ballerinas, when I could find them, and the lives of cannonized women  with equal intensity. Could I somehow become the first ballerina-saint, I wondered?

With "boys" went my plans for sainthood, but my love of dance surged. And, indeed, I became a dancer of the daily class or classes; sweaty hours in studios; bloody ugly feet; living to perform and choreograph; GROW; variety. But I turned thirty and became a mess. Serious physical injury, a year or so of full-time drinking, and then, thanks to family love bucking me up and the help of a 12 step program (you know which one) sober living.
I believed, briefly, I could now become a less driven woman. I even pretended to be a secretary but was caught out.

After floundering about I became a teacher of children who were challenged by differences in mental, emotional, or physical states of being. The first priority for these lost souls was to help them "experience their environment with pleasure." Ah, yes.  Passion, for these kids, was back in my life. Then my heart got sick and I had to stop.

This blog was to be about my poetry trip, and indeed it will be. Poetry was and is a passion right there beside me, behind me and in front of me, leading me. From the first memories of my Nonnie teaching me nursery rhymes, I've been a fan. "My poets" have known, challenged, comforted, mirrored, and lord knows, amused me. One of the firsts dances I choreographed was inspired by a line from T.S.Eliot. My last group of special education students were able to recite, with sensitivity, and in front of the class (!) Robert Frost's, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Atlantic Ave, early morning
Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, Florida

Poet David Kirby

Me, blurred by passion

A few weeks ago I went to my second Palm Beach Poetry Festival, which is not the least concerned, by the way, with taking place in Delray Beach, Florida. (I don't know. Is that whole beachy yet utterly urban sprawl Palm Beach?) I had a full schedule of workshops (with scholar, poet, rock and roll historian, prince of a man, David Kirby), craft talks and readings by top-shelf writers who gave and gave and gave, an invaluable manuscript conference with Ginger Murchison (oh, yeah, I want to publish a book) and many, many walks between my hotel, The Colony Hotel and Cabana Club (I love that name) and Old School Square, the festival venue. Walks along Atlantic Avenue were exciting imput-events for me. Cafés, fancy restaurants, boutiques, antiques, great dogs, and old, young, rich, homeless, Jewish, Cuban, European, black, bohemian, Americans. I had an excellent time in Delray. Weather was great and all and…poetry astounds me. During the readings I discovered new voices speaking to me and of course, those who have always been around will not go away. This passion will carry on,  I think, forever.

There have been men along the way. Sex and great love and all that. I'll write about them in another blog or two, I think. No, scratch that idea. Poems, definitely poems, for all that.