How’s this for the first line of a short story? “They couldn’t avoid being slobs at the restaurant table during their first date.” I mean, anything can happen after that. Just anything. But I like… More
I sit in the morning, tweezing my eyebrows, my coffee turning lukewarm. Over the past few days, my hairs have gathered like the poppy seeds on my toasted bagel — a small colony near the tail of my left brow, spread out like the homes of a suburb on the periphery of a city. But in the same region of my right brow, there is noticeably less density.
In another hindrance, my laser tech fucked up my left brow years ago just above the inside corner of my eye, leaving it sparse, like the crown of a 70-year-old woman. So duh, of course I try to make the other one match, and therefore I tweeze appropriately. Or sometimes I will go in with a brow pencil — dark brown, which always seems to be a mismatched shade, anyhow — in an attempt to correct the scalded one.
In my psyche lurks the deep-rooted illusion of symmetry, a resident phantom that is only mathematically possible yet takes up quarters in the recesses of my brain’s frontal lobe, filed under “beauty standards.” But reality suggests that no two eyebrows are alike. On top of that, my right wrist is thicker than my left; the left side of my face is more flattering than my right; and I am a friendlier, more talkative person after coffee, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde, as many of us are.
I struggle with my brows. Defying all reason, I want both arches to crest above the outer borders of my iris, as is recommended in diagrams for the shape of my face. The lines must aspire to the appearance of bent iron or the malformed finger of the nun who scolded me in grade school when my desk failed to line up like a domino alongside the others in my row.
A stain like soot on my carpet —
you left your signature carbon exhaust
I spring, a flower
The bottom & top of my eyes
are not for me to see.
I think of this poem as splattered on the page, like a constellation. There is that brightest star, it represents your smile. A portal of scintillating light. Last night I had a dream that you were dressed in black playing a George Frideric Handel keyboard suite (No. 11 in D Minor) on the piano. I want to take you to coffee with your black-rimmed glasses on. They make your eyes look like the opposite of ivory rose. I want to see you laugh at a joke. I bought dark chocolate-covered espresso beans that came in an adorable tin. They remind me of you. Iridescent as a raven’s coat. You eyes are dense as marble, thick like the darkness when someone shuts off the lights in a room. Something about you exudes minor key tonality, a stirring inky onyx like the night sky. Impenetrable as the mystery of life.
- The tasks of everyday life
- My last gasp (when it happens)
- The memory of today
- Flavors I have tasted
- Water drops tinseled along branches during rainfall
- Notes on a lute
- A Baroque prelude
- Tears (tiny can be heavy, too)
No orchestral grandioso. I like little things come questo:
Prelude for Lute in C Minor, Bwv 1006a by J.S. Bach
Tiny nylon-string notes floating around the neck, across frets
barely registering in the great concert hall of the cosmos
slow pizzicato, tempos ranging from larghetto to marcia moderato
The early birds are whispering this morning
gossiping, making small talk as the others fly in
for the start of the mating season
I should have known — her ideal car color was red, she said. Red — denoting sensuality, violence. Blood and anger. Power, passion & war.
And I can see her in that car, too. Probably a sports car. A Lamborghini — the one where the two doors open at a predatory slant, like the wings of a vulture, en route to pounce.
But she came off as meek, sweet, compassionate. Almost childlike. Despite her explosive physical beauty. Despite the fact that her laugh was breathy, her voice frequently slurred. Like she was in the middle of sex.
And she had that glow, too. In fact, her cheeks swelled with so much blood & heat when she smiled that sometimes it would seem like the thermostat moved up a few ticks.
In my consciousness, red is akin to Venus (aka Aphrodite), the goddess of almost anything carnal.
- Venus, the goddess for whom a wine festival — Vinalia Urbana — was held annually on the 23rd of April, her signature month — its linguistic origin linked to the name Aphrodite.
- Venus, the one who fought over the mortal Adonis with the goddess Proserpina until Zeus intervened, decreeing that the pair spend a third of the year apiece with their object of affection, leaving him free to choose where he’d spend the remaining third.
In the end, Adonis was exclusive with Venus, until he was killed by a wild bore.
Rainwater from the rooftop
like a grandfather clock pendulum,
a plastic bucket hollow
or a slow beat on a bongo
No one would ever lay in the grass like that
yet there she was with leather on
embracing the code offense in the yard (gasp)
Her cami straps like overcooked angel hair spaghetti
I don’t have anything against making rent payments. I just don’t like to watch — just like when I get blood drawn. I look away when the needle goes in, then turn around again as the nurse is placing a band-aid on the boo-boo.
Granted, paying rent is easy enough these days. It’s all done online. I just don’t like to be the one to enter my card information and click “agree” to accept the so-called convenience charge.
Delegating this monthly task would be ideal. I’d log in to my account and have a designee do the dirty work. The person would then tell me, “Your rent is paid,” and I’d breathe a sigh of relief. Like when surgery is over and the nurse nudges you back into consciousness, tells you that the operation was a success.
I am in a chatty mood today, so I will discuss while at the same time trying to entertain.
It is not beneath me to steal napkins from the Whole Foods cafe area because my house is in need of them and I don’t want to bother with buying them after I finish my lunch due to refusal to wait on the checkout line just for a dumb pack of napkins.
I eat two pieces of teriyaki salmon and some mashed potatoes and declare myself on vacation from all responsible thought. Mashed potatoes provide a primordial joy, so it’s hard to take the world seriously when you’re eating them. I get that same who-gives-a-crap-about-anything-else attitude also when I eat ice cream, or, of course, have sex.
Regardless, after having stuffed a modest wad of napkins into my purse, complete with the Whole Foods logo and some facts about animal welfare and hormone-free meat, I meander over to the adjacent bookstore, drink a double espresso and purchase a fun literary magazine (Barrelhouse) and a new 5 x 7 journal. Then I scurry home with my treasures.
She went with the Bride of Frankenstein Look
I think ringlety hair on a woman is super hot. I think it’s because it’s big & wild & seemingly chaotic. Also, the idea of possibly being unable to run my fingers through her hair is oddly appealing. I cannot help but think that I would instead hold it in bunches, which is also an appealing thought.
In depictions of the devil
menacing looks — half human
A cauldron of women stirred,
someone dunked & drowned,
someone hung upside down,
archbishops, cardinals & priests
in the throes of beasts
Pan making it with a goat
What song shall we set to this? A sultry one?
A frail monk is in his underwear & a halo
being pitchforked & pronged
It is also shown that in heaven & holiness
there is a hierarchy that descends into hell.
I drove by a Japanese steakhouse where I had eaten dinner with an old boyfriend. It was where we had missed the flames flickering recklessly in the hot grease, the vegetables sputtering, the aroma of seasoned meats searing against the hot steal, the chefs’ dazzling sleight of hand.
After almost three years together, increasingly plagued by bickering and resentment, the two of us ended things. We had no more to give. The thing was, we had made no effort to turn it around, even though there was so much potential at the beginning.
In retrospect, it’s clear that we blew a good opportunity to create and enjoy something rewarding, exciting, long-lasting.
At the restaurant, we sat in a booth by the door. We ate and then left generally unimpressed, save for the decor. It was only later that I found out that the restaurant had a back room where all the good stuff happened. Stuff that made the trip worthwhile and memorable: there were teppanyaki tables as well as performing chefs cooking behind an open hibachi.
I wonder if my ex ever went back with someone else.
A middle-aged businessman, dressed accordingly, at lunchtime does not enjoy the presence of his wife. He does not appreciate her neon green footies, worn with black patent-leather loafers. He doesn’t think much of her tie-dye yoga pants, which ride up above her ankles. He does not go in for her emerald green velour pullover. They sat on stools at the wine bar inside the restaurant on a workday afternoon.
“Wallpaper to ashes to sky / sunrise to necklace to embrace / we are running our hands through our hair…” -Kevin Weisner, from a poem called “Memoire,” published by the Berkeley Poetry Review in 1992, Issue 26.
From miles away, downtown Vegas looked like a smoker’s lounge.
inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s beard:
i would have loved to have shared a pot
of espresso with Allen Ginsberg
to have touched his wild beard
when we grew cozy enuf
to have glimpsed his teeth while he spoke
were they caffeine- and nicotine-stained?
i would have loved to have gotten stoned
on his bookish intonations
to have listened to his musical rattlings
on machines and capitalism and the biggest cock
to have watched him smoke and then
crush the butt in a overloaded tin ashtray,
lifting a match to light another
before the molten glow of his last one fizzled
to have sat with him barefoot and cross-legged
on my living room floor
our voices straining toward
the threshold of dawn
to have seen him the following
afternoon, hunched over my stove
watching a bobbing egg in boiling water
then eating it shamelessly before moving on
to bump into another kindred soul