emma b. says

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

when the levee breaks, thompson twins, brown water and snakes

I can't really write, because I am too busy giggling. Had a yen for the Thompson Twins, somehow surged through the thick cawl of my brain, and now I am listening to a song called "the Gap", which is of course perfect. All of my nodules are set aflame with references, starting with the very first time I had gelato, it was in Nice, there were mirrors on the ceiling, I was thirteen. I probably was wearing electric blue eye shadow, which does nothing for my green eyes, I was probably wishing for better company and my mother was probably wanting to strangle me, but gelato was new, was exquisite, was refined like thin crust pizza. But that was a tangential opening.

because I had meant to write about the lovely blue veins that are surfing the swell of my aircastless cankle, and the tendon that glides freely when I swim. Because I think veins are fascinating conduits, why are they so blue?

the bluing in my veins wasn't even in my thoughts earlier, mostly it was guilt. You see, I was going to get on the internet full of pith and snark and snipe about how those fuckers in the red states had it coming to them good, and I was ready to write that all of the empathy that I had felt for the nations in the aftermath of the tsunami and the checksthat I wrote, well (snort) they'll get nothing from my blue state pocket book.

Except the crazy nutters already beat me to the punch, apparently the flood is due to the fact that Louisiana has nine planned parenthood clinics (don't quote me on this, but in the whole state). And did you see how the eye of the storm resembled a six week old fetus (that's unborn baby for all y'all nudniks out there) and it was even orange! I am sorry but a pronouncement like that just steals all my thunder and I rest on my laurel, aghast.

Except that every ounce of smug was leeched from me as I thought of the dirty waters rising, and the photograph of a woman grieving beside her husband who was fighting lung cancer and his oxygen had run out, and if I had left all my possessions save the clothes on my back. Sure, you are lucky enough with your life, but for the perils of bureaucracy and the jobs disappeared. And all of that gorgeous old americana gone. And it is the poor who will suffer, and just so we don't forget the legacy of racism, I believe that is was Wonkette.com who had identical pictures and captions of a white couple and a black man, guess who was looting and who "found" groceries magically floating by.

Our nation is sick and ailing, and it's appalling that our Feckless Leader cuts his month long vacation (what is he, fucking french) short for a photo op and a laundry list of mre's that he is sending south but cannot be bothered to mention the six-hundred plus Iraqi's who were crushed today at the rumor of a suicide bomber. They broke a bridge. Here an oil derek slammed into a bridge. Somewhere there is a poetic analogy, but I can't make it, because it can't be made. None of it is right and all of it is wrong, but Mother Nature is singular in her whims and levees like promises are meant to be broken, but the carnage in Baghdad we can lay at the feet of the president, like Powell said, you broke it you own it. I know I am not a true lefty when I say that do not believe we should abandon Iraq, we have a moral obligation to do right by them, but I have no idea what that would entail specifically, or even why beyond a sense of misguided justice I should consent to have my tax dollars misspent for arms and motherfucking intelligent design. Isn't the Scopes Monkey Trial underwater and can't we all just get along. And please, please Gaia do not let let the rumble in your belly sink my good city and submerge her Golden Gate, I've got no water stocked and am woefully unprepared to dwell in anybodies astrodome.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cry, Cry don't cry for me

Out in the dull dark whispers of foglet unfurl and I heed the illuminated median, like I mind all medians. like I am glued to the center, the very center that will not hold, it's like looking for a fragment of music in the recesses of yesterday. If you find it, will it hold, or will what you thought was unsurpassingly beautiful,will it stand, or will you watch it dissapate into the ether, recede into the fog, one of a hundred thousand lost melodies, or will it collide like Hong Kong fireworks and splash across your face like hot oil from a skillet, and it will have the same power that it had before, will it have more power, or will it have no power at all, will you lay your head down and will your breath be short. Will you choke on a note, will you cling to the median, will you bite your tongue, will you pay the toll, will you yield to the symphony of brake lights and tail lights, and know that the very piece of music you are listening to belongs to a war sixty years dead, when on the sabath, they threw rocks and molotov cocktails through the windows of temples across Germany, so Gorecki wrote a suite for his wife on that night for Crystal nacht, something beautiful, something that is ageless, something that outlived that night and will surely outlive it's history and me with it. And will you heed the relevance, or will you be dazzled by the brilliance of September.

But before all of this, all of this maudlin median hugging B, D and I are looking for Mars to the east and smoking a bowl (bole?), laconic in deck chairs, late Marin heat settling on the flag stones, dogs skirting the illuminated pool like black bottomed poison. Chicken on the stove, wine in the glass, two darlings and the sun waning in the hemisphere, and the slightest and alluring trace of fall on the horizon. Too close, too soon, shouldn't it be june still. Shouldn't it?

I had one of those some kind of wonderful dreams again the other night, the kind where I spend an evening in dreamland gazing upon myself making out, and making out and making out, replete with golden halo on the feather soft lawn, under a turquoise sky... right, and just like in the movies he reached out to carress my face, such is the fodder of dreams, when you roll over late on saturday morning to savor seventeen more minutes of dreamland, but on sunday morning the sun will break into the windows at nine something and I will shirk the sunlight and shield my burgeoning hang over (I have little doubt of that) And I will come to conciousness naked between the sheets and I might wake to holding my own hand, and since my subconscious has nothing but kissing on it's agenda while the rest of me is silently sort of coming apart, I've been rising from my kissing dreams with my lips plumped and hot as if, as if tongue and friction had been my nightly ablutions. My poor abused teddy bear, my synthetic lover, my knight in plush nylon armor, the one these past two years of absence I curl around the void. My synthetic solace. My malleable and discardable bear.

And it's one thing to be lashed to the sex demon, because one's battery opperated boyfriend provides a consistant simulacra, ah but the kissing demon is something else altogether, it's like a hunger that cant be fed and a thirst that cant be slaked. It's when you are running all over town with your mouth half open waiting to collide with another mouth you might as well be hunting butterflys. There is nothing to appease the make out demon, you can't do it on your own as sadly adept as I am at giving myself as orgasm making out with the crook of my arm simply doesn't cut any mustard, mayonaise or any other condiment. I don't care to practice on the warm and dry crook of my arm, I am too old and too experienced, and this hungry mouth of mine, this frank desire will have have to fly by the seat of hre drawers and pray for a soft landing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

and another thing

thank you, anonymous for your wisdom, how is it that it always comes unbidden from strangers and the not so strange, when we need it most, or conceivably it comes from the strangest of us all. But I'll take my pearls where I can get them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's not that bad or everybody needs a gay messiah

It's 1998 all over again in restaurants, three weekends hidden in my bat cave and I emerge to a plate of 30 dollar gnocchi, just like the grand old days, before the crash, when money coursed through my pocket book my like silt in the yellow river. The last decadent blast in San Francisco when even working waitress stiffs such as myself lived like swells. Sorry, but I am a little mefiant this time around... Also much more, dare I say it, fiscally conservative.

Although, tonigh, tonight was pink, and therefore I unpadlocked my wallet and actually put on a shoe. Yes, I said a shoe. That is, my right leg was (is) booted in the stuff of moon boots and velcroed into place, and my other leg put on a shoe that was not a sneaker, that even had a heel, that was even red patent leather. Yes. And then I did my hair, and carefully applied eyeliner, and sparkly powder to my paling cheeks (august, the most brutal of months to we here in fog city) and lipstick and earrings. Good God, even a matching set for my dainties, I was a right lady, albeit, off kilter and gimping.

P labelled it pink night, so we met at Jardiniere for cocktails and dinner. The perfectly charming pink bartender sold me on a mandarin cosmo which I was so ready to snub, but turned out to be more than entirely quaffable, somewhere between a pink Pez and a kumquat. Late summer tomatoes, avocado and baby arugula with a drizzle of dank virgin olive oil, and the 30 dollar gnocchi with braised duck and cherry tomatoes, a bass note of sage and lemon zest and those bread crumbly things that have a precise italian term, but is beyond all recall at this moment. Worth every fucking cent, just to be out in the world, in a skirt, in a shoe, with my favorite dining companions.

After dinner across the streeet the well heeled, the somewhat down at heel and those who are fabulously heeled were funneling into Davies for an evening with Ben Folds and Rufus Wainright. We caught a song of Ben Lee who was youthful in his enthusiasm but would be better cast as a hobbit. (and I totally heart hobbits!)

Intermission was a fight to the bar, and the fight was lost, so we sat out ben folds in favor of champagne and the odd flasher. Smoking on the terrace a homeless gentleman wandered up and proceeded to drop trou, perhaps he was trying on his hustling game. Needless to say the sight of a this side shy of elderly mad disrobe, display his flaccid member and spread his hindquarters was distressing and funny and horrifying. Thankfully the bells sounded and it was time.

It's silly, falling in love with a rock star, just as it's silly for a straight girl to fall in love with a gay man, and I, in a single coup have done both. I just can't help myself, I am completely enamored and I think he is the librettist of our time. And with pleasure and complete acceptance would I play Ashely Judd to his Kevin Kline clothes, music, men, all the men a man or a girl could swallow, double emphasis given in both the literal and the ephemeral. Yet, I like him just where he is, that dapper fellow on the stage with his huge voice breaking, and the disembodied voice in the earphones crooning the want we all know. I liked him best at the Fillmore with his voice up in the chandeliers. I like him for the first time that I heard him when D and J and I were driving south for christmas and I was sick in the car and being contrary, I love him for it being several years later and a particular song that I forever associate with D doesn't prick anymore, rather I felt a kind of melancholy peace and a kind of pride for a memory of a marriage that still lives in songs.

Separately but strangly alligned I would like to thank Salon for turning me onto Mahler, and his ninth symphony which I somehow can't dissasociate from the Great Escape.

Separately, yet still strangley alligned I dreamt last night that I was on a space station with my high school boyfriend who was looking for his mother, and it was whirly-gigging through space and I couldn't see the universes fast enough, but it was vast and blank and dotted with lights.

Separately and alligned to naught, I evidently owe the government scads of cash, a gigantic source of malaise, and I am rather not inclined to pay. But I must. So I went out and had a plate of 30 dollar gnocchi, because, you know, fuck the government and all that, perhaps tomorrow I'll go out and buy another shoe.

Monday, August 22, 2005

And so I wept

And grief seeped from my pores and my tears were saltier than the sea, and my heart, and my heart was coursing with salt water blood and the sobs choked and shook me. And it was all and only a TV show, there will be no reunion because the Fishers are all dead, now. And as ridiculous as it seems, I mourn, not their absence from my Sunday night schedule, but from the lonesome chemical blue of all of those diodes they made sense of a loss and they married and died, but they lived within the the script, within my imagination, they all got that last and most precious second chance and bore it with good grace and great patience and didn't rocket launch themselves brilliantly flaming, but short of fuse into the parched lawn. Nor did they let that gnawing bitterness microwave them from the inside out. Sometimes I would rather run a marathon than open my mouth to speak, lest my monsters fall out. Just like P said tonight, the only spirit left in Pandora's box was hope, all shriveled up and hopelessly resilient. The lone shadow boxer under the blighted noon day sun.

So I got in my car and I drove, I am, afterall an american girl, I drove windows down with the late night fog billowing through my windows and obscuring my vision, I drove with the music loud, I drove against the ache in me and I drove past where the street lights end and the only thing that is illuminated is the surf, by some curious phenomenon on a moonless, fog socked night and there is something primordially soothing and alternately depressing about mist damp sand underfoot and the rhythmic crash of another wave and another and another, breaking always breaking, heedless of me and my imaginary lover, and all of the the other lovers who have stood beside me watching the waves break. Are we destined to always repeat, with the queue of lovers past and present all lining up for a taste of ephemeral cotton candy, to susbscibe whole heartedly and without regret to the church of Derrida and on your dying day with the milky eyes and thre trace paper skin to utter, a reference is a reference is a reference, damn that Proust anyhow.

In the mean time me and my aircast have taken to trolling in supermarkets for sympathy, I am not so proud, not so proud at all. Since I am forever stumbling over my tongue on my way out the door, perhaps I ought milk this conversation piece for all it's worth, well a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, turns out three weeks without exercise equates to eight pounds, and a serious dent to my already tenuous self esteem, my fabulous new hair color notwithstanding. And no amount of pre-fab crumble-buttery madeleines are ever going to bring back all of those memories whistling on the deep grey marine layer up with the pelicans just beyond my grasp. I 'll just have to keep driving, but I always knew that anyway.

I am just not entirely sure this is what I thought it would be at all, and again, are we doomed to forever reconcile our adolescent versions of ourselves with the cold, hard truth, or at least today's truth, and last month's truth, then again, does anyone ever expect that at a certain age to be pouring perhaps the best, most unguarded part of ourselves into a medium for all to disect, for all to judge, what kind of narcissim is that (the very best kind, the only kind), the kind that has sand in her air cast and sand in her panties and is up past her bed time, but she of the sandy panties and the the words that flow like a hunger, like I could eat my keyboard and my glass and my half empty pack of cigarettes, and I can exhale smoke through my nostrils like a dragon, but really it's a just a ruse, everyone has an their achilles heal, their fragile scale, look at me, internets, I am falling to pieces, but I am falling into a replicated model, I am forever a hairline off, I am forever imperfect, I am forever dangling by a thread, only sorta half enslaved to my much vaunted reason, whatever that might mean, dreaming of a warm ocean without the hum of speedboats, at dusk, and the simple blue fusion of a warm evening and sea and depth, nothing to do but tread water with the stars singing in my ears.

Friday, August 19, 2005


How is it that the days of summer pass so quickly, one day you are lighting a half assed sparkler on the fourth of july and all of a sudden it nearly September and all of the stone fruit are bruising to the last silks of summer corn, and the fog that never quite quitted us gets more saline, and the supplest of trees are turning already.

I am three weeks laid up and going bat shit crazy, it's well enough to be off the crutches, but the immobility is rendering six shades of stir crazy. In my enclosing walls I am going to strip off the ugly, immobilizing boot and I am going to strip down and I am going to quit this willing prison and I am going to run through the panhandle when the sprinklers are on, fog and ankle be damned. I don't care if I have to drag it, I don't care if I have to hoist it, I don't care if I rip every tendon and muscle, and I don't care if the bones shatter as I run, as long as I am running, trotting, loping, moving... Rather than inert on the couch, letting the best of the demons best me, silent and running out of liquor and cigarettes and keening, furled over the still swollen ankle with a howl dying in my throat.

And that 22nd century gentility is the last vestige I am clinging to before I open my mouth and start screaming and screaming and screaming, I just pull my lips back and recline my neck and out if pours, and pours and dead soldiers and dead children and the hungry and the unseen and out, and out in pours and desicration, and dessication, and distended bellies, and fattened bellies, and pork bellies and a three hundred million bridge to nowhere, and the loneliness, oh god, the loneliness. Not enough booze or cigarettes on earth to quell that particular demon, and that nagging, sinking feeling that despite your best intentions, despite having set your alarm 15 minutes early, you are going to miss the life ferry, indeed you've missed it, there it is burning off fog and everyone is walzing on the deck as I stand bereft on the pier

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Right, so my tennis parter is lovely, the lovely B. Also cruel. I referred to my swollen ankle as a cankle and he came right back with an oh no, no, no what you have is a shankle. Which is what happens, I am guessing, when your ankles are the approximate girth of your shanks. And here I have to cop to a minor prejudice, thick ankles seriously creep me out, as do ginormous calves. Horrible isn't it, and also completely retarded.

Ah, but isn't karma a bitch, because now I have one, and a big ole gray air cast to boot, and on top of that since I am obligated to keep my body mostly prone I have developed an appetite worthy of Pantagruel, soon I'll have the overlapping gut to match my shankle, nevermind, it's already there.

I do like ace bandages, though.

And so upward and onward to the confluence. Well in the weeks that I quit writing, stopped seeing people and played a lot of tennis, enjoyed my work and spent an inordinate amount of time in my car fiddling with the a/c or the defrost, monitoring the gas gauge and half tuned to NPR, I realized that I have become a full fledged misanthrope. This coincides with the two year anniversary (dubious in nature) of not having any sort of reliable man around to change my lightbulbs.

And I am sort of desperately bemused by my current situation of helplessness and where I find myself on this slim plain of reality. Because, well alright, I have reconciled myself to the fact that I did indeed get married and, okay it didn't work but I made it to the light and I survived to make disparaging jokes on my behalf. And I know all about the paralysis of depression and standing in the middle of a room with no bearings and the tears that continued to flow when a body is dessicated and saline free, yes, but the heart beats, pummels the ribcage.

Here I am at thirty-four in a brand new kind of stasis, scary for the absence of feeling, have I become so independent that all I need is streaming music and and my dildo and my six-hundred count sheets, because I feel that all of those sylvan threads of connection are dropping away from me and it's a matter of moments before I slip up to the stars. Especially now, that I have been robbed of my mobility, when I have no....

(I somehow managed to delete the last four paragraphs of my musings) why does it always happen like that -- when... Oh well, whatever. If I were to condense I would say that I have become a deeply suspicious misanthrope over the course of a few weeks. And that I didn't ask for it and I don't want it, and that I have joined the minions strumming their key boards on an august evening with the windows wide open, when we should be out with the others sheathed in the evening and cobalt with the night at the hem of our skirts and smoke at our wrists, instead of falling asleep before midnight on the right side of the bed only to wake clutching at the absent middle.

I take solace in that I must not be alone tonight, the blessed internet, the broad sword of the lonely and the disenfranchised, pouring all of our perversities and banal desires onto keyboards and message boards across the globe, and it never sleeps, somewhere it's always morning, somewhere the sun is setting. Somewhere in the world is the man seeking the girl in the clown shoes and somewhere, anywhere, is the girl in the clown shoes throwing the gauntlet, in this world of ours she can send the photo of her feet from her phone. I, child of the eighties, have not quite caught up, I still amazed and perplexed by the fax machine.

The Apple II E's, and the black and the green of my grammar school days are another short story for another evening.

I am older and not old at all, mostly I still feel fifteen, but for the betrayal of gravity, and the pecular stray wiry hairs, I am older and so old at all, save the petty betrayals of my forgetfull and covetous flesh. I am young and not young at all, benign memory and her sinister sister promise swirl about my shankless ankles, back when they didn't snap and were tapered and tanned...

oh yeah, the vicdon just hit, that and it's late and I must to bed, sleep and dream of spaceships and talking birds, damp, empty mines. She tells me that I musn't let our our mutual friend be bedazzled by smelted gold bars and gigantic beds in New York City, but I am that afraid it is too late, nothing left then but a jigger and a long prayer.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Days slide like scoops from a cone in the heat of Marin, and nights are cloying vanilla milkshake blue. From sheets, to car, to work, shedding layers of clothing, to courts, to dinner, to drinks to bed again, from tendrils of damp to blinding sunlight.

At least, until Saturday.

On Saturday B and I were on the courts, I in my pink skirt and he in his wristband, the heat rising at our ankles and forehands a flurry, and a pair of matching hang-overs. We are hitting, hitting hard and the heat bites, and bites hard and good, just as the salt and sweat soaks through my shirt and stings my eyes. I am just hungry enough to push my poor body into physical oblivion when I reach for the ball, the one I wouldn't usually pursue, but I am competitive overdrive and I want that ball, I want that lob, I am going to fucking drill it right fucking past him and it is going to feel righteous. I want it at the expense of everything, I want it like Eve wanted the apple. And I did, and it did.

But for the funny thing that happened on the way down. My left foot hit flat, but racket flailing overhead post lob and arms in mid-flap I set the bulk of my weight on the outside of my right sole and immediately curled over it. Then there was that disconcerting SNAP, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP as I hit the ground and I knew that all was not well in right anklesville.

B of course, was chasing after my perfect shot and didn't see me go down, but the eagle eyed granola ranger with the long braid saw me go ass over tea kettle mid court and came running with an icepack, one of those mysterious otter-pop blue things that you shake wildly and it turns icy cool. B and I giggled for a bit about if you have to go out, best go out in style. I got the shot in.

I knew that the ER was order, but not before I had sucked down several cold margaritas and twice as many cigarettes, and some peaches with goat cheese. And a few more gulps and one last cigarette and off we go.

D, B's boyfriend escorted me to the ER (I have never met a more lovely and gracious couple, they are two twining angels, and Rick Santorum I will fight you to the death for saying otherwise)

never been a big fan of hospitals, how did the child's book published in 66 wind up in the ER, and has it been there since '67. And since we were in marin they advised us to follow the peach tiles to radiology, and as D pushed me and my now ginormous ankle towards the xray machine we griped that not for nothing those goddamned tiles were more pink than peach.

so I got to see all three-hundred something bones in my foot, which only made me think of leg bone connected to the thigh bone, and how elementally undressed bones are, and how banal and uncomplicated a frame in at it's almost marrow.

And so D and I waited in the industrial teal waiting room and he told me tales from his amazing history and we watched the clock tick past the hours and watched my ankle swell, we speculated on the others propped in chairs, clinging to compresses, twitching in chairs. We tried to establish camaraderie amongst the waitees by cheering when a name got called mind you I am still in my little pink tennis skirt and D is a phenomenally handsome man of a certain age and all ears are cocked in our direction when he starts telling about gay porn in the late seventies.

in walks the sketchy lepruchan.

He is huffing and twitchy and I don't like the way he looks at me.

After what seems a lifetime in that glacial teal purgatory they call my name and the big ole lesbian wheels me at mach speed through the ER and summarily parks me in the hallway. The twitchy lepruchan gets the room next to where I am parked.

Now d and and I are very thirsty and not for water and also food and my good soldier attitude is being surplanted by an agrravated case of the angries when the good, harried doctor shows up and waggles my ankle and tells me that I have torn the tendons attaching my foot to ankle and presents me with a hideous boot and tells me to sleep with it. I ask for a prescription, I get vicodin, when I wanted percodin and a nice pair of crutches.

And then, in rapid succession, D excuses himself to the loo, the twitchy lepruchan huffs and hovers over me, he is naked from the waist up, pale freckels and rage. D comes back as they bring in a woman flanked by cops, gagged and bound with tape over her mouth so she can't bite, and she is screaming bloody fucking murder and it's all I can do to clap my hands over my ears and cry. They won't let us leave, and I can feel the undercurrent of ugliness clutching at my thighs, I can hear her when the door is shut, I can see the cops confused and commiserating, I can smell the drugs, I am waiting to be released, my skin is starting to itch, all D and I want is a hot blast of settling summer and sweat on the car seat, anything to get away from the screaming junkie and colorless elderly cluttering the hallways and way beds in that terrifying place.

outside in the heat D has gone for the car. The twitchy lepruchan is cruising the parking lot, furtive and bent double he hovers over me. He sits down, he stands up, he is twitching over me, he smells rancid, and I have the first of many ass slapped revelations in as many days, I realize I am essentially captive I can't run, I might be able to deliver a pretty solid thwack with my crutches and every cop in Marin is hovering with disinterest over the screaming lady. That said I was really unnerved, I have never been this kind of injured, and I am pride myself on being lind of a tough old broad and not asking nobody for shit if I don't hafta. And all I can think is who is going to shave my right leg, and how am I going to disable the twitchy lepruchan.

so it turns out I am helpless, hard thing to be when you are a loner, hard to figure to out to get into the bath, and harder to figure out how to put on your drawers. So my angels swept me out to the sweet herealmostafter of San Rafael where I could gimp around and admire the stars, and love on their dogs and maybe wish for three seconds that for all of my good graces I might have a partner as fluid and as hot as lava and as sharp as obsidian to call my own.

That said, I have a date, the first set date I have had in months and months, of course it's at 9:30 in the morning with the orthoscopic surgeon, but it's a beginning....

I could be wrong, I could be right