Friday, June 25, 2010

Never Ask a Question If You Don't Want to Hear the Answer

"I really like that purple lace." He reaches over and strokes her thigh, high up, then cups her ass.
"You know, these panties have a story." She wriggles down towards him and puts a pillow under her chest.
"Yeah? You're pulling my leg. No, I'm pulling your leg. Will you tell me?" He bites the back of her thigh. "You never tell me your stories, it's always, ‘Oh that's history, you'd be bored,' or ‘I don't want to discuss it,' or ‘It's unpleasant remembering.'" He bites her again. " Did that hurt?" She shakes her head. "Not even a little? You never tell me anything, you're so need to know basis I wonder if you're actually a CIA agent."
She shrugs, as much as it's possible for someone laying on their stomach with their head propped on their hands to shrug, and turns to look at him over her shoulder. "Of course not, I don't speak Russian or Arabic, I can't be a CIA agent. I just like to horde my words. I don't waste them. Watch, I want to turn over, my shoulders hurt." She flips over and puts the pillow under her head.
He flutters his eyelashes at her, ducks his face into her groin for a second and then looks up. "Please? Please tell? Pretty please with sugar on top?"
"Fine. I went to every Wal-Mart around here looking for my size, every single one."
"You went to Wal-Mart?" He hyperventilates for a few beats, holding his hand over his heart. "You went to all the Wal-Marts? To buy panties? And you admit it?"
"Stop or I'll stop. No, don't stop. Yeah, that's better." She pushes his head back down. "Good. I was there grocering when I saw them on the rack near the umbrellas. So I looked for my size. That purple lace, how could I resist? Of course, they didn't have my size, they only had extra-extra large, if they did have my size there wouldn't be a story now, would there? Wal-Mart, home of the uber-queen-sized. Stop, I'm talking!"
"Mmmfffle mmmfffle. I thought you didn't want me to stop."
"Men, you're all the same. No, you're not, you're actually surprisingly competent. Anyway, I looked the next time I was there. And the next. And the next. It became an obsession, a quest, a purple lace Holy Grail. Oh, god, that's good. I looked for these panties every single time I went to Wal-Mart, every single one of them, and there's how many around here? Three, four?"
He sighs, sliding his fingers under the lace trim, sliding his fingers along her thigh where his lips had been moments before. "Three in a five mile radius, four in a seven. That's devotion to the cause. So much trouble for a pair of panties, but so worth it. They're really nice."
"Yeah, they are. It's kinda almost a pity." She reaches down and strokes the cotton covering her lower abdomen, snaps the lace band a few inches below her navel. "It is."
"Oh?" He walks his fingers to the hipband and starts to tug them down.
"Only wearing them for maybe an hour. They're so comfortable, too."
He pauses in his ministrations and smiles. "I'm sorry, but much as I like them on, I like them better off. Maybe next time?"
"That would be a first. I've worn them lots of times. I've had them about two years now, but every time I put them on, before I know it, they're off." She smiles a dreamy half-smile, eyes almost closed. "The color's stayed so true and the elastic still has snap."
He does a rapid calculation. She's had them two years. They've known each other for about eighteen months. He's never seen them before although she's worn them ‘lots of times.' How could she have worn them ‘lots of times' and he's never seen them before and ‘before she knows it, they're off'? When did she wear them? Where? Why? What memory put that smile on her face? And most important, who? He starts to open his mouth to ask, but clamps it shut again.
There are some questions you don't want to know the answer.

Fifteen minutes of Fame or Maybe Less I Hope

She has this ‘thing' for vegetables. No, she's not a vegetarian or vegan or, god forbid, one of those weirdo raw foodies, smug in their disdain and ecoclaims, driving miles and miles in their itty-bitty hybrids to pick up ugly organic produce.
Segue: I don't care how ecofriendly your car it, driving eighty miles round trip is not green except for the auto industry. You might get 55 mpg, but driving still releases fluorocarbons and rubber particles and emissions, nocturnal and otherwise, and causes wear and tear on the asphalt/concrete/dirt roads way in excess of walking to the corner grocery store. You just doesn't see the bigger picture, but why should you? Your telescopic mirror reflects the narrow sanctimony of your own world, which is fine, just fine, and excuse me for screaming.
Anyway, she has this ‘thing' for vegetables. She likes to find heirloom breeds, what was lost and now is found. They're knobby, colorful, deformed when compared to the usual supermarket beauties, but she arranges them on hand thrown plates or wooden canoes or in blown glass bowls and drizzles them with bottled low fat bleu cheese dressing, pasty, chunky inedible crud that it is, or sprays them with imported first press rapeseed oil. Then, she snaps photos of her ‘art,' like those food porn writers everyone is so fond of, oohing and ahhing over fruit waxed to a tenth of its life, instead of the free website blogger she is in reality, ignored even, no, especially, by her friends and family.
Until she switches from bottled drek to handmade aioli. Aioli, made from garlic mashed with a mortar and pestle, whisked with vinegar, an egg yolk and a pinch of mustard until light yellow and thick, transferred to a blender and the olive oil added one clear, green drip at a time, finished with a dash of sea salt and one single grind of white pepper.
She plates her garden glories and this delicate mayonnaise variant, kicks that food porn up to notches previously unknown and hooks herself a book deal, with the requisite guest appearances on Oprah, FoodTV, followed by interviews in Cuisine and the New York Times Style Section. Carrots; new red potatoes; eggplants Italian, Japanese and white; various gourds and squashes; alliaceae from shallots to leeks to scallions to vidalia; broccoli rabe and all its cruciferous cousins flexing their muscles; mushrooms, bold and dreamy. All these, anthropomorphized into a triple X of desire under the cornstalks.
Man, I hate that bitch.

Too Close for Comfort

She doesn't understand what is right in front of her
How could she? She's too young too small too innocent
but they are ... distracting
It disturbs her, the way they fall into each other
heads almost touching, an intimacy thick as buttermilk
their voices softer than the fall of her hair
eyes flickering in the ambient glow of respective laptops.
He shifts his legs so they encase her knees, leaning into him.
She squints, absolutely sire there are sending little bitty tentacles out,
and she doesn't understand it at all.

Victoria Falls

He hears me calling in the water rush, door very deliberately left unlocked
Translating the storm to ‘help me', he breaks my solitude, appearing through the steam mist
Knowing he'll find me fetal curled, scalding the lunatic day off my skin,
skin covered with scars over scars over scars over scars, he squeezes inside
Picks me up. I cling, blind and weak as a baby opossum
Words spoken are lost in the susurration of the shower, grief swirling clockwise down the drain

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Holocaust Pantry

Eighteen cans of lima beans
Thirty-six rolls of paper towels
Stacks of tuna
Four can openers, none of them electric
A whole case of powdered milk
Fire extinguisher
44 and ammo
Lots of ammo
A framework of five gallon jugs of water
Paper pens pencils
Hibachi grill
A 3 quart and a 5 quart pot
Two cartons of pasta, sealed in plastic
A door that looks like part of the wall
Because you never know.

Yard Sale

You can tell it was precious
someone cared
cared lots
Now, it's relegated to the yard sale heap on a tattered blanket on the lawn
with limp stuffies, windup clocks and mismatched ersatz tupperware,
"As-Is, your choice, $1"
I wonder how long it took to work
to pick out the fabrics, threads, padding
if it was a child just learning to wield a needle
or an experienced grandma listening to the radio.
They have new, printed ones at Target.
But I'll take this one,
drape it over the sofa, and when asked where I got it,
lie, claiming it in my bloodline.