Monday, October 22, 2012

where's a musician when you need one

I think it's worse when they are kind, when they are friendly, when they "let you down easy". When they offer a real promise of friendship.

Or worse yet, when friendship was all they ever wanted. 
Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake.

I think that is why I always dated jerks, 
jerk musicians, 
jerk writers, 
jerk artists; 
with a jerk you knew what to expect. 
A jerk would treat you badly, and you would love them more for it. 
A jerk would offer tiny scrap of affection, just when you were about to walk, 
and you would fall for it, again 
and again. 
And eventually they don't even bother to dump you, they just fade away. 
With a jerk you could be justifiably angry, 
you could have a proper snit. 
You could be injured, and cry about it to your girlfriends over bottles of cheap white wine and jars of chocolate icing that you ate with a spoon.

Decent men are dangerous. Decent men, they don't give you that option. When a decent man doesn't want you, you smile, chew on your cheek to keep from crying right away, and pretend your arse off that you are "Just Fine" with this. 

Later, you see yourself differently, and
then head straight back to the nearest motorcycling riding guitar player with a ponytail.

Friday, October 19, 2012

year of the dragon

When I turned 44, I let go of my inner critic (the one who warned of sagging, and distortion and of future embarrassment) and  I used the money my mother sent me for my birthday and I got my first tattoo, a 5cm in diameter spiral sun burst, it sits just above my heart. People can only see hints of its edges with most clothing I wear, which is what I wanted. I wanted a sun to remind me of my inner radiance, and I also wanted to tease people, just a bit. In Yoga you see a lot of tattoos. Not so many skulls, or flames, more OM symbols, butterflies, birds, flowers, all very, well, Yoga like.   In a Yoga top, in a few positions you can see all of it, which is great in Yoga, I fit right in.

My mother, who owns 20 cashmere twin sets, irons all bed sheets, and who is always socially impeccable, was appalled, which made me smile, just a bit. She warned how awful it would look when I was 70 and 80, when my breasts were racing to my waist, how I would regret this, which made me smile just a little bit more into my artfully arranged salad (we were out for a civilized lunch at the time).

My daughters were awestruck with my new coolness.

That was 4 1/2 years ago, and I want another, two actually. My oldest daughter, who has three (all small and very clever and tasteful) is thrilled. I want a Dragon, like the one I had airbrushed onto the back of my shoulder during a girl's weekend in Provincetown, to remind me of my inner dragon, and also to look just a little bad ass in Yoga. It's the Year of the Dragon, my year, and I am discovering the closer I get to 50, the less I worry about what other people think, or what I will look like when I'm 70, or 80, or even 90. Personally, I think I'll look kind of cool, but who knows, I'm not there yet.

The other tattoo I want will go along the edge of my right foot, so I can see it when I'm meditating. It's a line from a favourite poem "What I do is me: for that I came".

Any there it is. What I do IS me. It's taken nearly fifty years of trying things the hard way, of trying to fit what I am into everybody else's definition for me, for me to realize I like me as I am, and starting from there is as good a starting place as any.

Here is the actual poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself, myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

love, maybe



The Irreconcilable Differences between Mind and Body had become so profound
they were heard in the Court of Judicium. The usual reserved Attendants
were appalled at the excess of emotion and were given to making small 'tsk
tsk' sounds behind handkerchiefs and fans whilst disapproving eyes squinted
down at the proceedings.

Mens Mentis represented Mind, Corpus represented Body.

Mens Mentis presented an extensive past history of failures to illustrate
the likelihood of the present endeavor ending in heartbreak and
humiliation. An impressive parade of witnesses came forward to give
evidence to support the case. One spoke of stretch marks, belly fat, and
sagging breasts, another of age and foolishness, and yet another spoke with
passion about the need for caution and restraint in all affairs..

Corpus, not to be out done presented extensive physical evidence, stomach
sitting too high in chest, heart becoming larger, beating more quickly and
thus increasing blood flow, of the increased occurrence of deep breaths
with extended exhales, the memory of skin on skin, and the presence of a
hopeful smile. All these events occurred despite the extensive evidence
presented by Mens Mentis, argued Corpus, and therefore must be given more

Mens Mentis moved to strike from the record any memories because they
occurred within the Mind and not the Body.

Corpus then moved to strike all memories of past failures because they did
not occur in the Body.

Both motions were overruled by the Most Honourable Judge Iudex, stating
that both motions included events that could not be solely related to
either Mind or Body, and thus where considered Joint Property.

The proceedings have been going on for weeks, at times it appeared the Mind
would prevail, but then events would occur and body of Body's evidence
became increasingly stronger. Each time this happened, Mens Mentis would
argue that Body was incompetent to stand trail and should be removed and
placed in protective custody. The Most Honourable Judge Iudex has, so far,
overruled each of these objections, but the talk among the Attendants is
that with the passage of time and without fresh physical evidence
(memories, everyone knows, after a time become increasingly unreliable)
that the Judge will rule in favour of the Mind.

Meanwhile the jury continues to absorb the proceedings with passionless


It's been ten years since he died a long and difficult death. Ten years since she cared for him. Today, the dresser still contains his clothes, she still sleeps on her side of their bed. Ten years later and sometimes she asks me where is Charlie?

She says she wants to die as I comb her washed hair. She says she hates this place and I should go to Hell as she methodically swallows each pill with a sip of ice water and a bite of cracker. Ironic for an Atheist, but I understand her meaning. They tell me the strokes changed her, I wouldn't know I have only know her as this.

She would lie in their bed drenched in her own urine, rashes oozing under her ample skin folds,  teeth browning and unbrushed, dirty hair matted. She would sleep herself to death, if I let her. Or maybe she would get up, eventually,  without me encouraging, moving and pulling her from her bed, without me washing and combing the matted hair, brushing the brown teeth and washing and tending to her skin. Maybe.

Maybe her anger is at living for the last 10 years, at her heart beats, at her lung's breath, or maybe it simply lands on the closest breathing person. Maybe somewhere locked inside is the woman she once was, the woman I never knew.


Kian, he said, like Ian with a K.
I met him on the ocean, on the boat I took to see the whales, and fell in love with his voice and the warmth in his skin. After the whales, when I was still shivering from cold, I stayed on deck to sit with him. Our homes are separated by land and by ocean, but here we sat heads together and talked about the world.
Later, we met again at the wharf where you come to see the fishing boats and watch the seals open and close their nostrils and look at you with soft brown eyes. We talked some more, and I took pictures of seals and of seagulls.
I should have taken his picture, instead I took pictures of fishermen.
Now we send emails, mine long and detailed, too eager, his short, utilitarian, but still kind. I use many words, he wants only a handful.
I've build us a life in my head, but I don't tell him.