When Elvis Was Still King

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In “Navigating Trouble”,

it’s Mark Nepo’s belief,

that “Moving through trouble,

Is what leads us to joy”.

That reminded me of a time,

long, oh, so long ago,

before air conditioning

was standard equipment,

and Elvis was still King,

navigating the Mohave,

under a torrid desert sun,

seeking relief by

rolling up the windows

(for what the nuns called

a blazing eternity)

then rolling the windows down again,

surfacing for air, 

breathing in Pure Joy. 

…if,

if, only for a moment. 

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I’m Not Dead Yet…

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It’s been almost 3 years since I last posted on this site. Looking back over the material made me feel a little nostalgic. I began posting my writings as a way to work through grief over the death of my wife of 38 years to breast cancer. It’s now 10 years since she’s been gone, although as the saying goes, it feels in many ways like yesterday. A lot of stuff came bubbling up for me during these writings, much of it only tangentially connected to the actual loss. As I look back, I think the experience drove me into a search of self for a deeper meaning. I recognize that after looking back over some of the past writings. Actually, I find it hard to believe that some of these reflections came from me. So I thought I would start this up again to see where it takes me. I invite you to join me and perhaps we can do this together. Thanks for waiting for me.

 

On Food

Ode to an Eggplant

Deep, dark,

so utterly purple,

an ethereal hue,

beyond any painter’s palette,

with skin so smooth and firm,

submissive and yielding to the touch,

inviting to hold and caress,

with deliciously hidden secrets inside

you’re parted white flesh.

In Praise of Onion

You make me cry but I still love you.

Your thin papery skin hides

the complexity of your spirit

as I tearfully peel away any pretense of your inner intent.

Why don’t you love me?

I like to eat

I like to eat.

I like to meet.

Saturated, unsaturated,

baked or fried.

When we sit down together

you are the banquet.

I learned to eat at an early age

I learned to eat at an early age

and I have been doing it ever since.

Normally it is something I don’t really think about

but occasionally I get into the chemistry of it.

It all starts in the dirt which is my link to the past.

Dinosaurs and primeval mud enter my body with the help of fruits and vegetables.

A communion takes place very quietly and without notice.

Complex carbohydrates break down to simple sugars,

some are burned up right away and some are stored for another day.

The cycle goes on and on,

until the time I return

to the dirt.

Table for two

As the maitre de gently whisks us off to a quiet table in the corner of a candle lit room, I feel as though I am being swept up in a Chagall painting, drifting with my feet barely touching the floor, the gentle grasp of your hand the only thing that keeps me tethered to this world and keeps the flutter of butterflies in my stomach at bay. I think I’m in love.

Growing up

Growing up, the dinner table was a battleground. It was the time when the dirty laundry of the day was aired with the help of dry martinis with a lemon twist. Business disappointments and office politics dominated the conversation followed by finances, petty arguments, table manners (keep your elbows off the table) and school grades. Counting the gold speckles on the tabletop helped me to avoid eye contact, as over-heated topics were swatted around like poisonous tennis balls. I envied the cold tater tots on my plate that would eventually escape to the garbage.

Sex in a Foreign Land

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France 2009 1037

Under “Night Life”, the little French Phrase Book and Culture Guide has a useful section on sex in a foreign language. I just attempted to buy stamps at the French post office in the little southern town of Auch, which, in itself, is a little like having sex in a foreign land. Reading through the guidebook section sounds like a torrid novel. In the context of a real life experience of buying stamps, it seems quite intriguing.

The section begins with verbal foreplay: “Tu es tres jolie” (you’re very attractive (f) or “Tu es tres seduisant” (you’re very attractive (m), depending on your sexual preference. It goes through “Veux tu un massage” (would you like a massage) to “Comme Cela” (like this?) to the more graphic, “Attends, lassf-moi prendre un dreservatif” (hold on, I have a condom here) – in the interests of promoting safe sex, no doubt.

Now, all I really want to do is buy stamps for 40 postcard stamps to send home to family and friends during my vacation. It would seem that buying stamps, like sex, would be pretty much a universal experience. Orderly rows of stamps stand at attention in glass display cases against a cluttered wall littered with outdated flyers. Lines of impatient customers, resigned to their fate of waiting for a single clerk moving at glacial speed, can be found in any land. The ubiquitous smell of a curious blend of library and a locker room waifs through the air of most post offices. Faux marble countertops are worn like the steps of some medieval village. Armed with my French guidebook, I silently repeat a simple phrase to my rebellious mind only to have it go blank before I reach my destination.

Standing before a smiling postal clerk, I look up the French word for forty but my guide book stops at “Dix sept” (seventeen). What were the editors of the book thinking? “Non, pas commeca!” (That’s not it!). The thought of doing the math leaves me faint, as the line behind me gets longer. I flip through the pages of the guidebook and find, “Y a t il quelque chose don’t tu voudrais me parler” (You don’t have anything you want to tell me first, do you?). I hear some quiet groans from the line behind me. My hands are beginning to sweat. ”Plus forte!” (faster). I show my postcards to the woman on the other side of the counter. She smiles and says something that sounds like: “Pardon, puis je vous offrir un verre?” (excuse me, may I buy you a drink?). I show her my cards and flash up four fingers hoping she knows sign language. “Continue comme ca!” (more), she responds. I take out a fistful of Euros (while showing my cards) and say the letters U…S…A, each letter annunciated very slowly, almost seductively – so as not to be confused. The line behind me is getting longer and the volume of conversation is getting louder and more restless but to me it sounds like an angry waterfall of words and adds to the fog of my confusion. I page through my guidebook in vein. “Plus forte” (harder!), “Va plus loin!” (deeper!), “Plus vite!” (faster!) – the words on the page melt together like Tupperware on the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher. I am growing increasingly faint and my knees weaken. All I am trying to do is buy 40 stamps – not a long term relationship. “Merci” (thank you) is all my feeble mind can eek out as I despondently leave the counter. The clerk says something as I slowly walk away that sounds like, “Tu veux prendre une douche?” When I am safely back in my car I open my guidebook to the translation of what I thought I heard – “would you like a shower?” I light a cigarette and drive toward a roundabout with its multidirectional arrows plastered with words I just don’t understand. “Impossibilite.”