Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'll Just Keep Floating......

"This is not the end, nor the beginning of the end, but, perhaps.....the end of the beginning".....

I've toted that quote with me for a zillion years...
kept it in my back pocket, the center console of the car, the bottom of bottomless purses....

I've scribbled it in diaries, on bathroom walls, and borrowed books....

The words are weighted, heavy, good.

Suddenly important.

Just give me peace..... Until then, I'll just keep floating....

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just give me peace....

We used to toss pennies and nickels and the occasional dime in the Park Avenue fountain. Plop! We’d roll up our jeans and dangle our bare feet in the often green water, making swirly twirl currents with our toes. We’d stretch and piddly wink someone else’s wish with a big toe, send it plunking across the dirty fountain floor. There! We wished for you again! Feel the love. Your dime, our time….

Sometimes, if we were really desperate, we’d borrow a wish or two, you know, gathering loose change for a pack of Salems. But we’d always come back. Toss a random penny, a cherished quarter, over the shoulder, kiss the sky, and send a stranger’s secret wish back where it belonged.

Mama’s in velveteen jogging suits pushing velveteen strollers would scurry past. Shielding their velveteen babies from catching a glimpse of the hippies wading in the fountain. Men in three piece suits with James Bond Attaché’ cases would stride by, their long legs skipping steps, (“Don’t want to break my mother’s back”) approaching fast and sprinting out of sight. Their eyes always straight ahead. A beer-riddled bum, hair matted to one side, curled embrio-onically on the bench. Always. His feet pigeoned under him, his spine weeping forward, his smile stuck to his apricot-seed face with kindergarten glue. He watched us. He never borrowed from the wishing pond.

And then we got cars. We rarely traipsed to the haughty-taughty garden anymore. Bothering their world with ours. But we still wished. We wished on one-eyed cars and first stars. Turkey bones. Pennies in the street. Yellow butterflies and ladybugs. Red birds out the kitchen window. Blue skies. Red skies. Hummingbirds. Blooms on the Bird of Paradise. Sunrises. Sunsets. Full Moons, new moons, martini moons…..

I found a driftwood wish bone yesterday. It’s gray barnacle covered skin old, and worn. It weighed nothing. And in a second , between my salty fingers, the knotted driftwood Y was limp, snapped, broken. It’s sandy soul scattered in the wind.

I found this yesterday too. Buried. Deep under the coquina at the waters edge. Deep. Where the sand is cold and the earth is wet. Where pieces of ships and dreams and conch shells and reefs and coral are churned into confetti….

Silly heart shaped rock.

“I wish I may, I wish I might……”

To be continued….

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Critiques....and other chatter.....

“You have to paint more positive” “Draw happy things, you know, like
funny Valentines”
Oh my God, and should I sign my scribblings Hallmark?
“Well, you could just try. Try to not be so dark, so gloom and doom. So damned”
I like being damned. It gives me something to talk about.

“I don’t like that they all have nipples.”
Is it okay that they have noses?

“I know you’re writing about me. I know what you’re doing. Drawing those pictures and all”
It’s not all about you.
“Then what’s this one all about?”

“It’s kind of like airing your dirty laundrey, isn’t it?”

“They’re really pretty, but why are they all different colors?”
Aren’t we all?
“Yeah, but….”

“This house, all this, it’s nonsensical, really. Kind of like your brain on acid”
“There’s no place to sit. You don’t have a couch. You don’t even have chairs at the kitchen table. You have these step stool things. And cats everywhere”
“Everything is painted a different color. There’s no theme. It’s not smooth.”
“Kind of like how you think. All zipping back and forth like a pendulum”
“I’m not comfortable here”

“I kind of think they all look like me”
They do.

“You rock”
You roll….

“I would have been surprised if it hadn’t looked just like this. Your house”
You would have?
“Yeah, I always knew it would look just like this”

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fairytales always end....

With the same two words... The End.

Funny , isn’t it? That after hundreds of years no one has come up with a better line. Oh Yeah, sometimes it is preceded by the infamous silly little line… “and they all lived happily thereafter:” Abruptly followed by “The End”.

Good thing I’m not a fairytale writer, a Harlequin novelest….

I might have changed history....

To be continued……..

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Friday and we're off to the Parade......

“I hate men in costumes.” Please quote me on that.

I am not turned on by a man with a lopsided cowboy hat perched on his head, like a toppled bird nest, and pointy shoes. First off, men have big feet and the extra 3 ½ inches it takes to fit their toes into the point looks absurd to me. And I don’t know how they drive those big trucks that go with the get-up. It’s a wonder they don’t get their rattlesnake tips all caught up in the under-the-dash wires just shifting from stop to go. And besides that, I don’t think Fords look like horses. At all.

I’m not crazy about the baseball hat thing either. Not backwards at all. And toss in the “I just bought these today” white sneakers and tidy whitey under shirt cuffed at the sleeve, and I get all confused. Is this West Side Story? Should I run back inside and whip up a dress?

And then there’s “The Suit”. OK, OK, OK. I know you dress up like that all day in the Florida sun to call on all your VIP customers, but it’s hot here. We bake here actually. If you’re not Richard Gere, leave the pinstripes at home. This is the south baby.

And don’t forget “My Bad.” Yeah. His mama taught him well. His shorts are the size of a teepee tent, just flashing a little ankle below and a lotta Joe boxer up top. His neck is drenched in electroplate, maybe even a tooth or two to match. And the doo……. The gelled and moused spikes, poking straight up in the air…..I can’t see the “running my fingers through your hair” thing….

Nah. I don’t do men in costumes. I like mine in levis and button downs, T-shirts and khakis. Just everyday threads. With everyday hair. And an everyday smile. In an everyday world. My world.

No wonder you stood out in the crowd.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Secret Valentines.....

You couldn't walk into Winn Dixie to buy toothpaste without having to swat through a curtain of irredescent strings. The weightless kite tails to bobbing heart balloons. Gypsy tents were popping up in abandoned parking lots, giant red and white teddy bears stuffed with sawdust plopped on the pavement. "Be my valentine". This hocus pocus holiday was raining on our parade. Three chics. No valentines in the making.
We were silly. A little creative. A little brave. And a little bored.
And then we decided to fix that.
Einna, Pia, and Scarlet O' Dare Ya. Yup, those were the names we decided on. Skinny rented the post office box after explaining in detail to the "Pack and Ship" manager the need for annonyminity, the need to be able to slip quietly into the building, and exit gracefully, without getting busted with the keys in our hands. It took a little cajoling, but finally he was in cahoots!
So here was the plan. If we weren't going to be getting Valentined, probably a lot of other folks weren't too. So we sat at the kitchen table, beers in the left hand, markers, paintbrushes, and cigarettes in the right hand, and started to make a list..... But who wants a pity party card? Hell, we didn't even want one of those. Nah, we had to come up with a better idea. "O.K., girls, this is the deal. We're each going to send out 10 valentines, to 10 guys we don't know."
And we did. We made our list, checked it twice. It's technically not all that easy to valentine people you don't know. We had to do a lot of research to find out the plumber's helpers name, the name of the guy in the third row of Skinny's economic class, Annies upstairs-three-doors-down neighbor's name . The name of the insurance agent, that we didn't buy policies from, arrived on a follow-up letter just in time to be included in our mischief. And the list goes on. The billboard boys, the thirty-something doctor with an attitude, the lonely boy, the pompous Cosmo Boy with his picture on the glossy pages, etc, etc, etc....
We stuffed the giant red envelopes with Colored cards, puzzle pieces, and all that glitters, everything a Valentine should ever be. Cupid ain't stupid....
And bopped them in the mail.
And waited.
And waited.
Skinny would sneak to the front doors of "Pack and Ship" and the night manager with his night eyes would just shake his head. "not today, girls".
We waited.
And then they came. Mountains of makeshift cards. Hallmark hellos. Penned and penciled valentines. There were dares and scares and "I don't know who you are, but I love you"s. There were confessions, proposals, and "why are you stalking me"s. There were pictures and postcards. But most of all, there were smiles.
In the end, we got busted by a few of them. Dated two of them. Had to hide from one of them.
Sometimes, even secrets make you smile.....
Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 09, 2007

If the walls could talk....

It was the dawning of 1992. We sat barefooted at the kitchen table, smoking cigarettes, twirling little locks of straight blonde hair in our fingertrips. Babies laughed just out of our reach, tumbled on the empty carpeted floor.

Love beads, our millioneth set, baked slowly in the oven. We believed. The ugly years behind us, it was time to rock and roll. To love. To pray for peace. Again.

We celebrated slowly....the coming of hope....the deliverance of 1992 into our welcome arms. "It will be a good one" we clanked, bottles bottom up in cheers. We smiled at the promise and even, laughed at the past. "Hell, it's what got us here, isn't it?"

In the wee hours before dawn, I peeked at my sleeping little ones, chubby fingers and toes, protected, for now, from the chaos of the outside world, by the quiet hum of Led Zepplin .

Paigey and I started then. Took the last of the beads from the slow-cooking oven and covered the beerstained kitchen table with cardboard. Out came the cigar boxes filled with trinkets, shoestrings, old crayons. The water colors, the markers, pencils, pens, and india inks.

We blobbed and dripped and dribbled, shot acrylic paint through straws, drug dirty shoelaces through puddles of color until it happened..... Peace on the kitchen table.

The words just happened. A quiet after thought. A signing-off actually. Tiny little words lacing the circle.

"May the wizards work their wonder...
May the children laugh and dance with each other in a world with no man-made storms.
May we wish on stars and believe enough in ourselves to reach out to them.
May we always believe in magic and be brave enough to enjoy it.
May the guardian angels spread their wings and keep us near
and may we never forget God is watching us.

To peace and love and laughter in 1992
as always,
to dreams and the promise of tomorrow"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The horoscopes and all that hoo-hah....

Having spent my lifetime as a Pisces, convinced I am actually two separate people swimming in opposite directions, doomed to be battling the other's current in an ever churning sea, it was quite the pleasure to have this revelation on a Sunday afternoon walk...

"Isn't it funny, if you think about it.... how the Pisces fish... if they were black and white, and just blobbed on a piece of paper rather simple like, would look more like Yin and Yang?" "More like Peace?"

"Yin and Yang are dependent opposites always in balance. The opposites flow in a natural cycle always replacing the other. Just as the seasons cycle and create a time of heat and cold, Yin and Yang cycles through active and passive, dark and light, etc. Yin and Yang evolved from a belief of mutually dependant opposites that cannot live without the other. "

"So, what happens if you put two Pisces together in... say....
A Beta Bowl?"

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sometimes you can tell....

I’ve been on the phone for hours with Chey. She’s ripped. (Not the 5 beers and two shots ripped, the beating heart pulled from your chest ripped). Her boyo proposed. Her dance-together, grill-together, laugh until you cough or choke together, have mad passionate-the-neighbors-will-report-us-sex boyo. He comes with luggage. A lot of it. I tried to explain to her the difference between a lot of luggage and really, really BIG SUITCASES. That’s another post.

Finally, I pulled the ole soul mate sticker out.

“Yeah, Yeah, we are” “But we’ll always be broke” “and what if……?”

(This is where I think I should be hearing Danny’song, Loggins and Messina... if he really is her soul mate….but that’s just me. I listen. …


“I dunno, baby.” “But here’s the deal, if you love this man and he’s the one you choose, I love him and I wanta like be your maid of honor. Don’t throw the damn bouquet at me, but I wanta be your maid of honor. And if you think it ain’t right, I’ve got your back. And if you ever just wanta poke his eyes out.…. I’ll do it…..”

(I’m supportive like that, go with the flow…….)

Damage control is always saved for later.

He beeps in.

The Soul Mate thing got me going. Hell, you don’t always know it. I don’t know why I even asked her that. Sometimes it just grows. Love does that. Sometimes it just slap knocks you down.….Sometimes you’re wrong. And sometimes you’re right.

These are the soul-mates I know….

Nana and Popdaddy
There are not enough words, enough languages, to begin to explain their connection. She, in her go-go boots and yellow patent leather pocketbook and he, white haired and proper in his three piece suit. Him at the 2:00 card table with his Mona Lisa poker face, and her at Rosie O-Grady’s betting bartenders for rounds.

“Never wear panties to bed” she said. ( Our eyes the size of Oreo’s. )

"Let me tell you one thing child, when you're young you have resources but you don't have the balls to use
them. When you get older, you have the balls to do anything but you don't have the resources.” she said. (Skinny’s string bikini)

They spent lifetimes together. These two opposite sides of the coin. She’d smile at him with flirty eyes and he’d Mona Lisa her back. Soul Mates.

Kimbies and Papa
Oh, love grows. Nah. She didn’t know it the night they met. Or on the ride home, her hand clutching the aimed cannister of mace at his 15 -years -older face. We made her ride with him. He grinned. God, he loved her immediately. Even if she was gonna douse him in chemical rejection if he made the first wrong move.

I witnessed their soul-matedness grow. Watched it. Felt it. Was standing in the hallway for monumental growth spurts. Stop signs. U turns. Dances. Hugs. Silences. Soul Mates.

John and Linda Lou Lollipop
Innocents, in love.
How could they have ever known? All of this?
29 years later?
Soul mates.

The phone tweeps. It’s Chey. “He’s coming over”.

" Damn, I think. That means she won’t be meeting the fireman on Friday. "

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Just passing through my world......

I saw her this morning. Fluttering…dancing….doing figure 8’s in the morning sun. Free. She tickled by my Sunday morning winter window. Reminding me. Yes, Butterflies are really free. For everything else, there’s Mastercard….

Thursday, February 01, 2007

When Harry met “I can’t remember her name”….

There’s a little club in our neighborhood kind of like Cheers, only better….because it’s real. Passers-by would never think to stop there. It’s not aesthetically appealing from the curb. You have to cross the dirty gravel parking lot, trudge up the make-shift-dipping-deck-entry -“sit here and sober up”-patio and actually open the door to appreciate it’s appeal. You have to see the faces. Learn the names. Join the crowd.

And then it’s a blast.

In my world, nobody’s a stranger. Linda says men only murder on Mondays, so if a new face bops up to the bar on a Friday night, it’s safe to be the welcome wagon. It’s not my official job, but I take it seriously. I’ve met a lot of friends that way. And only a few creeps. Either way, most of them come back again.

I didn’t see him come through the door, but Chey did. He was on a mission. Probably his first time….meeting someone at a pre-determined “spot” at the bar, landing smack next to us. He zoomed up, leaned through the crowd , elbows on the bar and waited…..Jimbo, our favorite bartender-bouncer-keeper of peace, didn’t see him. He didn’t flash that “I’ll be right with you grin” and he didn’t, I noticed after a few minutes, even acknowledge him. Poor guy. He’s just thirsty. I nudged Chey. She nodded. I leaned over her, tapped the new kid on the block on the shoulder and asked if he was having trouble getting a beer. “I aaaammmmmm…” he drawled back at me. Grin. Cutest damn little accent I’ve ever heard. Chey and I chuck two coasters at Jimbo, he spins and thirty two seconds later our new friend has an iced cold Bud in his hand and is in leaning in for introductions. It’s loud here. A lotta rock and roll going on, but we talk over it. His name is Brian and he is new here. New in town. New to the club. New to our world. We scoop him up, with his baby blues ( I hear ya knockin’ Nadine!) and introduce him to every one that meanders by, drag him (well we really didn’t have to drag him) onto the dance floor and spend the evening telling stories and laughing. And dancing. And telling stories. And laughing.

We deja-vued it the next week-end. Same time. Same place. Different costumes. We had a ball. We topped it off with 2:00 a.m. coffee and get-to-know-you-late-night stories. We laughed.

And blah,blah,blah,blah,blah…..

We’re joy riding. Flying down a two lane highway, the top off, my arms in the air. In my world, I’m at the Fair. We’re laughing.

German potato salad. The waiter is polite. I crunch my nose. Waiting for the smell of vinegar to twist my face , the one he sees, into the KOOL-AID pitcher expression. Fake and smiling-grimacing. My Mama used to feed us this out of cans … on nights we ate salmon patties with tiny little bones floating in the greasy little bouffant blobs. I ate it all. I devoured it. And laughed.

On Tuesday he called to make plans for the week-end. And hemmed and hawed. And drug his accent out even more. He started back pedaling. To the night we met. And the moment we said hello. And all the people in the club. And how Howie called me Blondie, and Evey calls me Missy and Chey calls me Baby Girl and Sweetie Pie…..

I’m thinking he wants to call me names…

He sort of stutters.

I just want to know where we’re going on Friday night…..

And then he blurts it out. This man that I’ve danced with. Talked on the phone with. Swallowed German potato salad with…. This man I want to see on yet another Friday night.

“I don’t waaaaaannnnnnt you to be mad at me,
I don’t Knoooooowwww yer name…..”