Monday, April 6, 2009

Wax Around The Cheese

Almost midnight Sunday night - to my surprise I'm
still alive. In fact, I feel quite chipper as I
nibble on cheese and crackers and sip some sort of
exotic brew - half tea and half lemonade and all
to the good, say I. These little round cheeses in their wax
certainly do delight in every way - not only the taste when
you finally get to it but the whole unwrapping process with its red
crackles and crinkles. Red is the key, red and
the whole Nantucket mystique. There's no way all this
tea and lemonade can come from that
tiny island; maybe maybe they drink a lot of it there, or
maybe it's as snobbishly superior to all other cool drinks as Nantucket is to
all other places one can visit. Personally I prefer the channel islands
off the coast of southern California - but Nantucket - oh, you know,
all those whalers, all those widows and their rooftop walks. Martha's
Vineyard with its blueberries is a really great place to be too, at
least for part of the year. There's a great merry-go-round in town with a
brass ring and there are community sings every week in a big barn. Com-
munity sings are the best, with the words up on a screen and a "follow the
bouncing ball" over the words to keep everyone together. And all this
with a little whole-wheat cracker and a tiny Edam cheese; I popped a
hole in the mesh around the cheese with a pen. Once I met a guy,
though, who though he'd met everyone there is to meet had never been on
Martha's Vineyard and, learning that I had been to summer-camp there,
and knowing that his girlfriend had lived there, thought this would be
a bond between us, not realizing that the campers were the bane of the
residents's existence. I had nothing against her of course but I sure
got the scornful nod of dismissal. Never mind, I thought, I was the
Best All-Round Camper then and I can be a good camper now, & I'll bet I
can swim better than she can, too. And memories of hot
blueberry-picking afternoons, hearing the bell-like sound of each
berry dropping into the pail, until the bottom was covered; eat a
berry, drop a berry in the pail, eat a berry, drop a berry. And back
at camp, singing the "Indian Love Song" while turning the freezer
handle for hours to make ice-cream to put on the pie. Although I know,
of course, that it was wonderful, I don't even remember eating the pie.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Little Night Music

I don't know whether to see this as willful idiocy or just
midnight hunger: I took out a box of Safeway whole-wheat
crackers and some of those little round Baby Bel cheeses I'm so fond of,
played with the charming unwrapping process until cheese and
cracker lay bare. The midnight hungers do hit hard some nights but
tonight I have already been feeling nauseated not only by the
paucity of interesting news but also by having combined some
foods at dinner that ought not be combined and are still working out the
space allocation down there where they all landed. All the while thinking of a
plan for kindly slaughter that I read about in a magazine put out by
autistic people. You treat the animals well, walk them up a ramp
single file. At the head of the line you draw aside one animal at a
time onto a separate track where it meets the guillotine all unaware.

After a half-hour or so of this, I decide that I am, after all, a
vegetarian, and need not trouble my mind with these matters. My
stomach has decided trying to settle down is a lost cause. As for the
rest of me, oh, good, here comes the nurse with a bunch of
tranquilizers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

(untitled) "I wanna know what it's like to die ..."

I wanna know what it's like to die.
Will I see Skye? Will I really
fly? Will I never be able to taste tiramisu again
and are there pleasures after death greater than taste? Soon I'll find out,
of course, but I'd like to know about it while I'm still
alive. This little pain in the middle of my chest
annoys me; is it trying to tell me not to worry? Well, really,
worried I'm not; I'm inquisitive. No
answers in sight, I believe, so I think I'll lie down and
close my mind to all that, think about
Leonard Cohen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

(untitled) "No, I can't have a"

No, I can't have a
breathing treatment; I just had one

not 20 minutes ago, don't I
remember? Of course I don't
remember; why
would I ask for one now if I
remembered? I wonder what harm there would be,
though, if I had too many
breathing
treatments. Too much breathing - can that be
bad? I guess it can though it's hard to see
just how. Too bad there's nowhere to store a little
extra breathing to use later on when I'm short. In the
meanwhile the cake crumbs are all gone so there goes
that entertainment. Guess I'll just have to sit here and
try to remember breathing until it comes
back to me. Meanwhile these
new glasses pinch my
nose. Always something, isn't there? I'll be glad
when it's time for breakfast and I can say
no oatmeal thanks, no
corn flakes either; what about a strip of
well-done bacon and some
hot buttered toast?

Monday, March 9, 2009

March 9, 2009 poem: Moonless Room

2009 March 9 poem: Moonless Room

Here in this room with the
curtains closed for many a moon, there
might as well not be a moon, for all I
can see, though no doubt there is one all right
going round and round (as I am too) up there with the
asteroids and debris - how much debris? I wish I
could see. I say goodnight to it anyway, imagining it
would miss me if I didn't, as I would certainly miss it if
it were gone. So many moons have gone by that I will soon be
87 - imagine! When my grandfather died at 80 we
thought he was really, really old (although a couple of years before
that
he made my mother angry by requiring us to visit a relative in
Taunton just because she was over 90. He wanted us kids to meet her,
but my mom did not think kids should be meeting old people just because
they were old - in fact, I don't think she thought we should be meeting
old people anyway, though my grandfather was already over 80 and
seemed old to us. Oh, Grandpa! Imagine - he took me to see Shakespeare
and also Gilbert and Sullivan when Mom wouldn't & wouldn't
even go herself; she thought these things frivolous. I remember her
arguing with a friend about Steinbeck ("I've lived "Grapes of Wrath - I
don't need to dwell on it") and Noel Coward ("He's very smart I'm sure
but what does he have to say? Nothing.") Mom liked to read The
Reader's Digest though she sometimes had to have her friend Coby
explain it to her. She frequently said that she felt sorry for me
because I was smart. Meanwhile I didn't feel that smart, though I did
feel she could be smarter if she wanted to be; once she said (though
she herself wore pants at home) "Women don't wear men's clothing," and
when I said "George Sands did" her retort was "Yes, but you're not
George Sands." This was how I learned that I could just ignore her, an
odd lesson but useful a few years later when she and her friend Scottie
were shocked to learn that I wanted to take German, not Spanish, as my
language requirement. Spanish they thought very useful in business;
German useless for anything and perhaps dangerous. Oh the craziness of
yesteryear and how odd that I had to take it seriously. And craziest
of all, Fraulein Schnieders, the German teacher, actually turned out to
be a real German spy! Just the same I learned some good German from
her and had some good arguments with her about Goethe (I didn't like
him - still don't). After the war I ended up, to my astonishment ("Who
cares how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?") in the
philosophy department with Suzanne Langer's "New Key," and have been
happy ever since to call myself a philosopher. And soon it will be my
birthday and I still don't know what phase the moon is in right now.
I'd like to have my grandfather's grandfather clock, tall as the room
and showing every day just where the moon was, in case the clouds
obscured it when looking through the window. Of course, though,
Grandpa had to get the key and wind it up every week or it wouldn't
show anything aright; how exciting it was to see the weights go up to
the top again, the pendulum swinging away. And you could tell it was a
pleasure to Grandpa to have us as audience for his magic act.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

2009 March 4 poem (untitled): "Calamites ,,,":

Calamities
abound but this is one of them - to wake wondering
what's for breakfast only to learn that it's about half-past one in the
morning. Now is when I long for that garlic spread from
Colorado and some Safeway crackers, but no
such luck; the garlic spread has yet to
arrive. In my next life
I will grow garlic - grow it, harvest it, twist it into braids,
roast it, toast it, hang it all over the doors and windows, swim
night and day in its smell, and above all spread it (roasted) on
Safeway whole wheat crackers and pig out. Right now
I'll dream it, I think. It's the middle of the night. I'll
dream it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2009 March 4 poem (untitled): "Where did it come from, that..."

Where did it come from, that
odd mix of doubt and certainty, that
more-American-than-thou feeling? On a hill
far away there's probably an old
rugged cross and there's a brand-new
red barberry bush too and I think some
goldenrod - which does not cause
hay fever - ragweed does - but which
used to get blamed for it, being so
bright and obvious. Walking down it in the mists of morning, seven
or eight years old headed toward wisdom and passing the
mountain of compost from the wealthy neighbor's garden,
walking down the footpath, meeting Bobby Hutchison's
bicycle path at the bottom, off past Andy's house to horse-chestnut
trees and Eddie the crossing-guard cop and school, I knew
the names of everything and everyone and said them over
to myself or to my
pretty little sister beside me.