Thursday, December 23, 2010

Strawberry Cigarillo

Today I was smoking a woman's cigar in the winter sun
and Frank sang to me from across light, filtered into stripes by the porch rail slats
I wore the peacoat that is too torn to wear for anything but adventure.

The peacoat, see, has housed me for all the baby epics so far:
it carried me like a wonder-dumb baby across Italy on a train; it was removed by the first impatient lover; it once hid an oceanic dress and revealed her to the strains of a low-lit opera house.

It is my adventure coat now. I suspect there are bugs living in it that I can't see (at any rate it puts up spirits and memories; they keep well in wool-polyester) and there are holes in the lining that play tricks on my hand as it slides towards the sleeve, but adventure takes no note of these things.

So I pulled it from the corner hanger for my first strawberry cigarillo (so cheap that it smokes itself in the wind) with china for an ash tray and the open sky for a gentleman's retreat.

You see, today I am a woman and a Christian hedonist. I eat pleasure for breakfast and love for lunch. The Lord has made me and he will unmake me again, slowly and with every most mysterious means.

I will wear adventure coat again tomorrow, and tomorrow will decide why.



I was taking a bath in the arts.

I wallowed in music--opera, folk, moody, soggy blues--dipped into the fluid emotions of a vivid alternative sound. I rolled in the glory of Impressionism's wake, and in the followers and rebels of all her daughters. I drank Keats, I slurped Wodehouse, I gulped a great mouthfuls of Shakespearian commentary.

I scrubbed my arms with a soupcon of post-war New Age abstracts and sudsed my thighs with the pseudo-poetry that was shaken and pieced together into frothy 50s hopelessness.

I was making myself clean, I thought, with the rough surfaces of the philosophy living on the bottom of these bottomless lakes

Until--one day--I noticed


That not every truth is equal.

That beauty does not equate with honesty
And abruptness is not synonymous with transparency
That the most open-armed (and highest) kites are still capable of self-deception.

I stood up quickly; the moist beauty slid off of me in rivulets
And when I turned around and knelt to look...
I could see them. They still shouted to me in chorus.

I stirred them around with a finger
and began
to ask them questions about themselves.

I pulled the answers out, dripping

and set them on a scale.