MY DAUGHTER

IMG_9828I adopted my daughter from China, and from the time I met her I have felt like she has a very strong and interesting personality. Well, all mothers love their children, right?

I remember once, before I had my daughter, when I went shopping with a mom and her young daughter, and I was a little taken aback at how much the mom controlled her daughter’s clothing. It was not just that she, the mom, did all the choosing, it was that everything that the daughter picked out, the mom responded with statements like, I don’t like that. I’m not buying that. That’s a stupid outfit.  Those are not direct quotations, but the general spirit of the thing. I felt as if it wasn’t enough to deny her daughter the choosing of the clothes, it was the addition of insult to each choice, as if the mother just could not get over how horrible and stupid her daughter’s taste was, and wanted her to know, to be put in her place.

With my own daughter I have faced some clothing challenges: number one, by age three she had given up pants. No more pants. Only skirts, only dresses. No sneakers. No shorts.
This preference means nothing to me, but drives my own mother a little crazy I think. Many times she has sent my daughter presents of shorts, and each time my daughter has opened the package and been sorely disappointed. Frankly I think she feels unheard by my mom.

The second challenge of having a fashion-determined daughter, her friends and/or their moms/grandmoms. My neighbor has a granddaughter who sometimes comes and plays with my daughter, but my neighbor will not take my daughter anywhere in a dress, and her granddaughter has zero dresses. Usually my neighbor will invite my daughter, then send my daughter home in tears because she says, “You cannot do (insert any activity here) in a dress.” Then I walk over and ask, “Are you really saying she cannot go because of her clothes?” And my neighbor says, “I didn’t think you would want her to go in a dress,” careful dodge there. And then, finally, my daughter can go, at last, in her dress. But, we always do this dance, each time her granddaughter visits. I think it’s simply cruel. My neighbor calls herself a liberal, but she is blind to her own conservative controlling ways.

For my child, for my neighbor’s grandchild, and for all girls who are, fortunately and unfortunately, raised by women, women who often are passing down their anxieties, and their prejudices about who and what women can be, prejudices that they received as gifts from their own moms or grandmas or aunts or sisters, I’d love to see this kind of in-home harassment stop.

This is what I want to try to make myself do, to curb all my own little micro-agressions against my daughter.

I want to make a pledge:

~If my daughter is chubby, too thin, or perfect, I will bless her, and help her to understand, feed, and regulate her own appetites as it suits her.

~If my daughter’s outfit is clashing, too loud, too feminine, too masculine, or just not my style, I will bless her, and let her go out into the world and find her tribe.

~If my daughter does not do or say or think or wear or eat what I would do or say or think or wear or eat, I will bless her. Let her go; let her grow, I want to be the place she can come back to and always feel accepted. You never know, someday, at some party, some future Supreme Court Justice might just get her and hold his hand down over her mouth so tightly that she thinks she’s going to suffocate and die right on that spot. Or some boy or girl might marry her, and go about taking her apart with little insults, or big ones, little injustices, or big ones, piece by piece, until she is trapped and so fractured she cannot free herself. Or someday maybe everything will evolve around her into the most perfect world and the most perfect life. Or any spot on the line in between…. And because anything is possible I will pledge that, regardless,

~I will kiss her, bless her sweet head, and try my damnedest teach her that I am always the place that she can come to, can run to; I want to always be the nest, the place of no judgement, the place she’s loved best.

 

ALL THE PETS THAT I HAVE NAMED HAVE TWO NAMES

oliverThere is my dog, Oliver Possibly

There are my cats:

Mister Jones aka Baby Jones

Finnegan Henry

Rosie Posie

 

I also adopted two cats away from my mother, and she had named them, so they are single-named:

Henry and Boyfriend.

I have nicknamed Boyfriend “Lil-Pigeon”

IMG_1310

because he coos, but truly he has but one name.

How many names (not including those little nicknames you apply later) do your pets have?

A NEW POEM

Car-Warning-Lights

Ha! For me poetry has always been the thing I used to salve my wounds.

Not so good for the poem, eh?

Today, I needed salve, and I wrote a new poem.

I don’t know if it is any good.

I sent it to a trusted friend, or two, to read, because I want a reader, dammit.

But, I now find myself too impatient to wait.

Here… is my new poem.

Thanks for reading!

 

It Could Be a Bundt Pan

Or it could be a springform.

I never yet been asked to fill one of those Barbie skirt pans, but maybe some day 

if I can keep my head 

together long enough.

It could easily be a sheet cake pan

for those who require multiple slices.

 

For that reason, it’s best if I am

vanilla.

Yellow box-cake mix.

Not even Duncan Hines, but the store mix, bad art, boring package, lots of glue at the seams-

and on the shoddy wax bag inside.

Nice load of preservatives to help me stay the course

as long as I may be wanted.

 

To be anything else is to commit a sort of treason.

 

The student in the back corner with the Willie Jess Robertson beard

tells the whole class this long unsolicited story about guns and school and Texas

so that we know we’d all be safer if He could legally carry a hidden piece.

He’s proud of himself when he finally breathes,

and I know, from that second, he’s probably got one on himself somewhere anyway

Metal, cold, itching at him like a chigger bite.

 

This day I am Devil’s Food Cake,

Homemade.

Oh baby look out.

 

I tell Willie Jess I am a gunsmith’s daughter

Which I am, people.

I tell him I have seen too many people

including my father,

who art in heaven,

do stupid things with guns.

Rusted cylinder makes no difference to those who think you mean to kill yourself. 

Little sister can’t see that it is rusted, all she can see is the intent you have, to scare us.

And yes, I know what a wad is, 

My father had a homemade machine to reload,

and he let me pour in the shot,

slot the wads into the little track that fed them down with precision.

My father was all precision,

unless he was drunk or jealous.

Then he came apart in pieces like a cupcake in a child’s hands.

 

When I say that I have seen too many gun holders be stupid

when I add to my cred with my wad and shot 

Willie Jess’ head whips back and up as if I have reached from the front of the room to the back

to slap his hairy face.

I wounded him by having experiences beyond this windowless room.

He’ll never learn anything now. 

WTF was I thinking?

 

In another room on another day at another school there is Levi, also in the back.

She is sassy. Her hair is any color but the one of her biology.

She has lived, in her young years, hard. I like her.

Right away I like her, and she likes me.

I am glad to tint myself to her stronger colors.

I am glad to sit silently encouraging while she tells her unsolicited story.

She is badass. I want to dump mulch and peat moss on her.

 

Stupid adjunct, stupid low-paying job that puts me on a shoe string,

the very next class

my car breaks down.

My kid gets sick.

There is no one but me to take the hurt pet to the vet.

Something interrupts, makes me miss a day with Levi.

 

When I return I am contrite.

I am disappointed in myself for my many failings.

I detest all my sins that offend thee, Levi.

-lack of money

-old car

-long distance

-scarcity of success

I come in with my waxy shoddy cake-mix bag tucked under and between my legs.

 

Some of the students are nice, glad to see me, but not Levi.

She is clearly angry. She won’t look at me.

She makes unwhispered whispers about me to anyone who will listen.

 

Lost 

a day of the semester.

Lost

a day of pay.

Lost

precious cache of self-respect 

Lost 

Levi

just like that

when I thought we were cool.

 

Sensei with the hip length braids, I road the subway 6 stops in the wrong direction

to be the one whose name you knew.

Maestro I sat by your good ear in restaurants, and listened and listened, so quiet,

anything for a second more of your words and stories.

Excusa Amado Profesor, you don’t remember me now

so many have come past your wire-rimmed eyes,

but one of them was me, and I know it; I know my luck.

 

It’s not my job to know it though.

It’s my job to be Funfetti for the ones who are bored

be colorful under sticky Crisco icing.

THE WALLFLOWERS RIPPED-OFF JOHN PRINE

prine

And, I am worried about it.

Does John Prine know? Do The Wallflowers know?

This weekend my daughter Sophie was at her art lesson, my husband Dave was fixing the headlight lightbulb on the car at somewhere not our house, and I was enjoying my alone-time by doing a lot of Devil’s Party Press work, drinking coffee, and enjoying some music on Alexa. Often I will ask Alexa to “shuffling songs by Jack Johnson,” but instead I had asked her to play John Prine as, for some reason, John (let’s just act like he and I know each other, why not? We should, anyway.) had popped into my head. After a considerable while of Alexa shuffling songs for me, I remembered one of my favorite songs by John, “Unlonely,” and I asked her to play it. She refused. Alexa is nothing if not capricious, and so she left me no choice but to stop working, and start searching for the song on “the Google” or any place else I could hear it. I found it, and now you can hear it too:

John Prine: Unlonely

And, as I am often wont to do, I replayed it… about a zillion times.

Then I took a shower, and while in the shower I kept singing it. And, on one go-round, I found myself mixing in the lyrics from another song:

The Wallflowers: One Headlight

At first I thought this might have been because Dave was out getting our headlight fixed.

Then I realized that the music, underneath the lyrics, the singing, was pretty freaking similar.

Go ahead, click back and forth between the two.

Does John Prine know?

Do The Wallflowers know?

I assume, with Jakob Dylan in the band, The Wallflowers know John Prine and his music. They would have to, right?

And yet, I never heard anything about this from David Dye, and David Dye would know:

David Dye

Add to that, now I was thinking about David Dye too, and wondering why he doesn’t look like he sounds… however the disconnect between voice and appearance is one I cannot hope to solve in this blog entry. No, no, no.

And then, my husband came home again, and I was telling him about the problem with The Wallflowers and John Prine. John Prine is too far away in style from the Pet Shop Boys for my husband ever to like him, and he felt the need to ask me if Eric got me interested in him. The answer is no. I was interested in John Prine before I ever met Eric, and that was because David Dye and Q102 got me interested in John. Eric, though, was a prior love of mine who was heavily into Irish music and Bluegrass. I never truly embraced the Irish music, but I did like quite a bit of the Bluegrass. I dated Eric for 10 years, and then I dated Mike the alcoholic, and then I married Dave. I had my other little relationships before Eric, but he was my first big one, and it was a big one.

And so this lead to me thinking more about Eric. He is dead now. Though he wasn’t an alcoholic (that I knew of) when we were together, he apparently died as one. Eric was my first big love, and, initially, when we found out we both liked music like John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, we were very compatible, and he made me very “unlonely.” I guess that part of what Eric did for me was to make me feel secure and attractive. I guess I made him feel secure in his own desirability, because he decided, in our later years together, to try it out and try it on with quite a few other women. I left him over the last one, and he seems to have married her at some point, all while never moving out of the house he bought for me, and then she left him, he was her 5th husband I think, and he proceeded to drink himself to death. It is hard, when thinking about Eric, not to romanticize the past, when we were both very young, and very in love, and he made me unlonely. And yet, I still have to think about the person who cheated on me over and over, and who finally had the bad luck to marry a woman who had divorced 4 times prior to marrying him, because she had cheated on her spouses over and over. And when she dumped him, I guess it broke his heart, or some part of him anyway. It broke him. He was broken and not unlonely, and so he medicated his pain quite heavily until he died quite messily. And it had nothing to do with me, except that if he could have been happy with the known, instead of feeling like he was missing something out there in the unknown, I probably would have made him unlonely for life. But, I never did.

And that story reminds me so much of the lyrics to “One Headlight”:

So long ago, I don’t remember when

That’s when they say I lost my only friend

Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease

As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin’ up at the funeral at dawn

The long broken arm of human law

Now it always seemed such a waste, she always had a pretty face

So I wondered how she hung around this place

Hey, come on try a little

Nothing is forever

There’s got to be something better than

In the middle

But me and Cinderella

We put it all together

We can drive it home

With one headlight

She said it’s cold

It feels like Independence Day

And I can’t break away from this parade

But there’s got to be an opening

Somewhere here in front of me

Through this maze of ugliness and greed

And I seen the sun up ahead at the county line bridge

Sayin’ all there’s good and nothingness is dead

We’ll run until she’s out of breath

She ran until there’s nothin’ left

She hit the end, it’s just her window ledge

Hey, come on try a little

Nothing is forever

There’s got to be something better than

In the middle

But me and Cinderella

We put it all together

We can drive it home

With one headlight

Well this place is old

It feels just like a beat up truck

I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn

Well it smells of cheap wine, cigarettes

This place is always such a mess

Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn

I’m so alone and I feel just like somebody else

Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same

But somewhere here in between the city walls of dyin’ dreams

I think of death, it must be killin’ me

Hey, hey hey come on try a little

Nothing is forever

There’s got to be something better than

In the middle

But me and Cinderella

We put it all together

We can drive it home

With one headlight

It seems, to me, eerily on-point for Eric’s story. Eric who once upon a time left love letters to me on my mother’s front door in the middle of the night. Eric, who danced naked with me on the lawn at Haverford College. Eric who used to sing with me all the time. All the time until he met the first woman who was better than me at everything I guess, because he never said, though I did ask, and then the second, and the third, and then he knew that though he could not tell me about them, he could tell me about me: that my voice was not good, that my hair was too short, that my waist was too thick, and I went away, and I was unlonely no more, and he got married, got divorced, died.

I didn’t find my husband until after Eric found his wife. Not that it matters at all when things happened when they happen in the past. Like Eric, my husband can both play the guitar and write. And, when we adopted our daughter, I think that made him unlonely. You only have to go to his website to see how happy he is in his photo with her.

But John Prine’s song has been stolen.
The first night that I knew The Wallflowers had ripped off John Prine I awoke in a sweat at 3 am. I love The Wallflowers. I love John Prine. How could The Wallflowers do this to John? Did they know? They have to be aware of each other’s music because of Bob Dylan. Have they never listened to The Mills Brothers?
You always hurt the one you love; the one you shouldn’t hurt at all. 

You always take the sweetest rose and crush it till the petals fall.

And, for awhile, after Eric made me not unlonely anymore, I lived with Mike.

Mike was my rebound guy. He was like the car you buy when the car you love totally dies on you forever, and you just need a goddamn car because you need a ride, a quick, cheap, low-heart-impact ride. Take me to the place I need to get to, Mofo, take me to where I can forget that I know things. I need a ride, so, fuck it, yeah, I guess I’ll buy that one. I just don’t care anymore. I mean, how many people are you really gonna find who will dance naked on the lawn at Haverford College with you, not just once, but many times?
You buy the third-rate car. Not a single part designed in Japan. And so of course it’s going to die on you sooner than the one you loved did. All the good things die on you, but so do the crappy cheap cars too, which is good, even if it means a long spell of….
Public transportation. Just, well, okay, I can do it, just anything but the bus. I’ll take a taxi; I’ll hop the subway; I’ll ride the trolley or the El, just not the bus. The bus, at least a SEPTA bus, is the lowest of the low. You don’t want to be standing in the rain waiting for it; you don’t want to be schlepping yourself and your shit on and off of it; you don’t want to be run over by it. Sad, exhausting, slow walk home when you ride the bus, Baby. The subway gives you grit and street credit; the bus will drive you right to an accidental meeting at the vet with your ex boyfriend when you haven’t showered because you were on your way to yoga class anyway, where there would be a lot of other unshowered women, and you just needed to pick up the flea medication. The bus makes sure your past and present collide.
John Prine’s song has a lot less lyrics than The Wallflowers does, but I find it affects me in and around the place where my heart beats in my chest way more.
You make me unlonely
I feel like the only
Person in the world
That ever had a girl like you
You make me feel wealthy
I almost look healthy
With you on my arm
Yeah, together we could charm
This whole wide world
Once I was lonely
Nobody but me
My heart in a prison
Love set me free
God woke up
He heard my plea
He sent you to me
He sent you to me 
You made me feel stronger
You made me love longer
Than anyone
Yeah, anyone in the whole wide world
Unlonely….
The song, even when it was first released, has always made me feel like I should be busy, on a quest, back-packed and booted. And I have been waking up, sweaty and worried, every night since I realized The Wallflowers song was musically the same. In fact, I wrote to the contacts for both acts, because I just need to know that I am not the only one who knows this, and also that I am not insane. I would feel less solitary, less on my own if I felt like someone else knew.
In the meantime, it’s got me wondering if there’s anybody out there anyway(Pink Floyd, give props, Pearce). So, how do you know?
When a person takes your hand in one hand, and a picnic basket in the other, and helps you climb up and onto a disused train trestle to have lunch and sex, and afterwards, legs dangling over the open air, the tea that you drink, from the thermos he packed, is hot, there is no question about whether or not there is anybody out there.
When you drink coffee pods in the early streaky daylight alone, there is.
As the sun rises on the day, there may be distractions, to distract you, from the fact you, are not… at all… unlonely. But then the 67th dumb argument occurs or your duty to inform John Prine wakes you up again when you should be sleeping, just as the light starts to drip in over the day at 100% humidity, and you know you are 100% not unlonely.
And yet, whether hot tea on a trestle or coffee pod coffee in a certain coffee cup that cost you 10,000 in student loans( a story for another day), your cup is still full. At least the coffee dripping in little gasps from the pod into your cup is not using the same grinds to make coffee for another girl after working out the kinks with you.
How important does being unlonely become? How many attain it? Is there life on Mars? (David Bowie people!) Possibly, there is. I hope so. I just expect it’s not on Mars. We’re looking in the wrong place. When we find the right place to look, will it make us unlonely?

A POEM FROM SOLSTICE

FRONT COVER-REV5

Well, it’s almost fall, which for me means it’s almost winter! I like to rush the holidays because I am a colored-light junkie.

In the collection called Solstice I published three wintery poems. This is one of them:

DRIVING HOME AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

My eyes like driving

on lonely winter roads

where, encased in shale,

topped with the scrub-like growth of evergreen farms

and the tired slump of empty apple trees,

mutsu, fuji, gala,

the road drops out from under the wheels in an alarming way,

making my breath catch,

and when the car touches down again it’s as if it is planing

skimming the road

here on watery, there on icy, glittering sheets.

When the car rises again

the red clay silos of Pennsylvania present themselves to me

a surprise bit of faded color among the five-o’clock-shadow

of the leftover stubs of crispy corn fields mowed late in fall.

As the car moves up and down

the washed out blue of the sky slips

between the soft swells of the worn-down mountains

brushing up against the ground.

My eyes roll along the road’s swells and curves

like the carefully hoarded acorn

the white-eared squirrel by the side of the road

dropped from his mouth so he could

twitch his nose disapprovingly at the rush of cold air

made by my car slipping and sliding by.

Sometimes it is almost too much to see.

The sharp wind stings my eyes,

the landscape as bare, naked, and unbending

as being beneath a man

heartbeat tuned to the radial thump,

hair streaming down behind me like wind,

face pressed into the rhythmic road

of neck curving into broad shoulder.

Want more of my poetry? Well, thank you very much! Buy the book! Solstice

MY AMAZON BIO

me

I updated my Amazon author bio this morning.

Love to hear your feedback on it:

WORKSHOP:

Dianne Pearce is the founder of The Milton Workshop (TMW), in Milton Delaware, also the home of Dogfishead beer~ Cheers! TMW meets twice a month at Dianne’s home and is in its 4th year.

DEVIL’s PARTY PRESS:

Working with the fabulous authors of TMW caused Dianne to imagine and create the publishing company, Devil’s Party Press: devilspartypress dot com. She started working on the press in 2017 because she believes that older writers are under-served in the publishing world, and deserve to have their work read. She encourages all older writers to “Finish your damn novel!” and then contact Devil’s Party Press about publication. The Press does not charge authors, and is not a vanity press. Devil’s Party Press is named after John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, and the namesake of the town of Milton Delaware. In his day, John Milton’s writing was considered so good and so scandalous that he was accused of being a member of the Devil’s party, and that is how the publishing company was named. Thanks go out from Dianne to TMW member David W. Dutton for that story and idea! Please check out David’s Amazon page as well.

WRITING:

Dianne writes short stories and poetry. Her stories are quirky and compelling, with an immediacy to them that makes a reader feel that he or she must push on to the end. All her stories are 100% fiction, so readers should not conflate her stories with her life, as one can do with some authors. Her poetry is more personal, though also not autobiographical. In her poems Dianne works to transmit an emotion to readers that she has had, though the motivator for the emotion may not be the same as what appears in the poem. She writes in free verse, and the poetry makes magical and absurd twirls.

EDUCATION:

Dianne earned her BA at Temple University. She is a graduate of both the West Chester University and Vermont College writing programs, earning an MA and an MFA respectively.

MENTORS:

Dianne has been extremely lucky to work one-on-one with some wonderful writing mentors: Luann Smith, Syd Lea (Vermont Poet Laureate), Juan Felipe Herrera (US Poet Laureate), and Chris Buckley. Please check out their Amazon pages for some wonderful poetry and short stories.

EMPLOYMENT:

Dianne is presenting at the 2019 Bay to Ocean Writers’ Conference. Her presentation is called “Don’t Die With Your Secret.” Dianne has taught writing in Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, and Delaware. She is an insightful developmental editor (DE), and will often take on editing projects for other writers, and does the DE work for Devil’s Party Press. She has also done both writing and advocacy for causes close to her heart, among them adoption, developmental disabilities, and animals.

INFLUENCES:

Dianne’s favorite writers include folks like Tom Robbins, Lemony Snicket, Raymond Chandler, Diane Wakowski, Agatha Christie, Caroline Keene, JK Rowling, Russell Hoban, Arnold Lobel, and Douglas Adams. A special thanks to Stanley Charnofsky, who invited her into his writing group in Los Angeles, which helped Dianne to form her own when she relocated to DE, and which also taught her to love writing again.

PERSONAL STUFF:

Dianne is an adoptive parent of a wonderful daughter and also an admitted cat hoarder, but, sadly, has only one dog, a fact which she blames on her husband entirely. Check out her husband’s Amazon page as well: David (6 pets are enough) Yurkovich.

Dianne is a failed vegetarian (damn you sushi!) and also a failed gardener of vegetables (she does okay with flowers), but keeps trying all the same. Her favorite vegetables are the green ones, and her favorite color is the same.

Dianne is in a committed relationship with the semi-colon, and coffee. She is most proud of being an adoptive mom, a feminist in her fifties, inked (for her birthday in 2017!), and the founder of Devil’s Party Press.

Dianne is, above all else, a late bloomer. Late bloomers rock, and they deserved to be published. She hopes you are one too. Keep writing, and share what you write. “Don’t die with your secret!”

OCEAN CITY LOVE LETTER

IMG_2305

I was lucky, thanks to my mother and sister, to spend a few days last week at my favorite place on earth, Ocean City, New Jersey. And I snapped the above photo with my phone (of course with my phone!).

OMGosh, I have been to Paris, Beijing, Tijuana, Los Angeles, NYC, how could my favorite place ever be in Jersey? Which exit is that?

Okay Jersey haters, back down.

Ocean City has a certain magic to it. Now, true, the magic does not entirely still exist. To be fair, they are doing their level-best in OCNJ to develop the magic right-the-heck out of it. Greed, it’s a terrible thing.

But, today, there is yet some magic there. Still I could see some of the old brick or clapboard houses that are not sky high, and do not stop the wind from caressing every structure and every person with the smell of a salty sea. And that, I think, if I’m honest and want to boil it down to the cause, is the magic of Ocean City: its smell. Or at least the smell is where the magic begins. It starts in the nose, as you drive the causeway and over the bridge to the island, if you roll down your windows, you can smell the salt smell. I live on “The Eastern Shore” now, and those beaches, though lovely and enjoyable, do not have that smell. I don’t know why OCNJ has it and they do not, but the smell is evocative like few other smells.

So, in my perfect world, I wake up; I step out on my porch to look out on the ocean or the bay (I would be happy with the bay, though I prefer the long scary swath of the ocean; who knows what tidal waves could be forming just beyond the reach of my progressive lenses?), and my nose is assaulted by the slightly dank salty smell; it’s like your best lover’s sweat. I love strong smells, and strong tastes, and I know, standing on the porch each morning, I would inhale that sea funk like jasmine, and I would still never get enough. And, in my perfect world, it is never summer at the beach, but more Ocean City in the transitions from season to season, when the landscape could be cold and bleak one day, warm and inviting the next. And, in my perfect world, I am alone, and slightly lonely. And I need to find some way to fill my time with purpose. It may be that there are shells I need to collect, or a dog I need to walk, or a bean soup I need to make. Of course there is coffee I need to drink, and maybe a jigsaw puzzle to spend a little time on. The house plants need to be watered. I will meet a friend for lunch, or to write, or to go to Ocean City’s excellent Chinese restaurant for dinner. My friend and I will talk about how we wish Shaftos and Campbells had never closed. We will talk about how we thrilled to see the mast of the Sindia before the dredging buried it forever. We will tell each other family stories. I will tell her how, when I was young, we would clam on the beach, and collect starfish from the jetties, and my grandmother would warn us about the two little boys she swore were sucked under the sand while wandering near the jetties, never to be seen again. She will tell me how her aunt found a Cape May diamond as clear as a real diamond, and the size of a filbert. I will brave the cold wind to get a cut at Mack Mancos almost every day, and though they’ve dropped the Mack from the name, and doubled the Mancos, blessedly the pizza remains the same. And all other pizza is some other thing entirely that is anything but pizza. I will watch the handsome pizza boy toss the crust in the air, and I will make my stupid joke about how I want this pizza to be my last meal on earth, and the server will Kindly chuckle each time. I will buy all my clothes at The Flying Carp on Asbury, and everything I wear will be voluminous and linen, and made for a tall thin woman with a long neck and hair, and yet, like my grandmother, I will most certainly be a short stout woman with little hair. But I will wear it anyway, elevated on my noisy clogs, and teach my back to straighten so I can walk with the long strides of tall women. I will treat myself to cookies from Wards more than I should, and I will not care about my weight. I will live in the mysterious purple house in The Gardens that used to have mannequins dressed up in the sunken living room, by the place where we sent my father’s ashes out to sea, or I will live in one of the big homes in the north end that are festooned with fire escapes because they grew so tall. I will never get in my car. Only jazz bands will play at The Music Pier, and Grappelli and Brubeck and Gordon Guaraldi and Getz will not be dead, ever, and will play there every other month. (Surely Brubeck should have changed his name to Grubeck.) I will be a member of the fishing pier club, whatever that is exactly, and I will finally have access to that long locked pier, and I will fish there with an old man named John, who will also be my friend, and who will take the fish off of my hook for me. In exchange I will flour and pan fry our catch, along with some potatoes, and invite him for dinner. I’ll open the can of peeled tomatoes and thicken them with flour, but no sugar. We will drink strong coffee followed by flavored brandy as we chomp some of the cookies from Wards. We will talk politics and play Stratego, and at least half the time I will win, and he will think I am smart and feisty, but we will not fall all the way in love, lest we lose our lovely lonely feeling. In the summer months I will escape to somewhere cooler or less crowded; I will trade my house with a family in Greece or Guanzhou. I will bring home souvenirs in the fall, and rearrange all the furniture to fit them in.

To be in a windy place is a good thing; the wind is constantly cleaning and sweeping everything. Los Angeles was never windy, unless it was the hot desert wind. City winds do their job well, but too roughly; they slice into you when you try to walk against them. But the sea wind is perfect because it pushes, it sweeps, but it also wraps you up; it twirls your hair and clothing around you. It makes of you a little package and then it holds you in its hand. I am grateful that where I live now is affordable, windy, and has the shrill sound of gulls from time to time to bring my mind to the sea.

Dear OCNJ, as the real estate agents stretch you thinner and thinner, may you find a way to keep your unique scent, your lovely wrapping wind, against the onslaught of the greed of men. I love you.

BACK TO WORK

IMG_5655

What time is it? 10:50 am, and I’ve just finished my third class of the day at a school 50+ miles from my home. I have to pee like a monkey’s racehorse (#HomeMovies). honky magoo

Went to bed @ 2, up at 5. What did Roger Murtaugh used to say?

shit

HA! But, in some ways, it’s like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to fall off!

Happy-back-to-school-back-to-work Everyone!