emma b. says

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

One Hundred Years of Fortitude

It's been a hundred years since the earth shook here, a hundred years ago it took twenty-eight seconds to level a city, and what the earth didn't swallow the fires consumed.

It's been six years since any lover has said he loved me. And in the interim, when I have let slide those three dangerous words, the earth has shook for only me, and what remained after worm fodder the fires gladly took, until I was but a soot shadow hiding on a scorched wall.

So the city rises, incrementally, floor by floor out of the ashes and into something quite possibly improbable, and things get crushed, and things get lost to history, and you may or may not notice, but it might not matter anyway. But because we are human we will cleave to our hallmarks, benchmarks and bank holidays, and because we must commemorate there are those who will rise before dawn next year to mark the passing of the 101st anniversary of the cataclysm. That is, only if the next cataclysm doesn't completely benumb us or scrub us from the map. Only our fickle mistress could tell, if only she hadn't fallen out with the weather, and if only people hadn't yet discovered how to strap bombs to themselves.

It's been forty-five days of rain, with hop scotch reprieve.

It's been an evening of the first and last strong rays of sunlight, staggering between city blocks and setting fire to office windows, it's been ages since I have been able to track the creep of dusk to crepe paper blue and the sweet timpany of night blooming jasmine shooting perfume into the night, settling on shoulders, invisible mantles, and swirling about the season's first naked ankles.

It's been six hours since my first martini and an hour and a bath away from my last calvados, all across this risen city old friends and acquaintances are settling in for the night, at peace, aflame, resting on laurels, or struggling to breathe, curling into their beloveds, or happy, or unbearably lonely there in the middle of the bed. As for myself I am somewhere in the uneasy middle of the inbetween, I could just as easily open my heart to the lowing howl of all those anguished souls chewing the blue from the night sky and playing percussion with their very own thigh bones against a drum of their very own skin. And I could just as easily fall shortly in between the sheets swathed in a happy liqored haze, with my limbs furling about a certain charmed engineer, the one who said I might be dynamite, the one who is across town, but I've mapped his body like I've mapped his breathing. Cities rise and fall in a breath, a lot like love, a lot like living, a lot like fire gnashing at the foundations as fast as we can build them, or a lot like an earthquake, unexpected and unsubtle and rapaciously hungry.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's still raining and I'm not dancing, days and and a month of rain. Between the incessant patter of rain on the windshield and my deep desire to smoke anything flammable you can imagine I am a joyful bowl of cherries. Well the engineer gets a pass, because that is what the first throes of love do to you, render you helplessly cheerful when under other circumstances you'd be happily gnawing on the arm bone of the first offender who dared look askance. Mmmm, armbone.... hungry.

Hungry and also angry, the beacons of my hormones have set their flares, and all of this swimmily distilled in a languid haze of lassitude, angry enough to raise a wrist and watch it dangle, hungry enough to let thoughts idly stray to pantry, from my artfully prone position on the sofa, though no one is here tonight, I am clearly in rehearsal. I am hoping that I make a lovely dork. The anger, it's just a burble in my volcano, no real rhyme nor reason, just a tiny smokeless spate of rage, just because, just because I am angry and I miss the sun, and April is going to short change me, when I should be working on my serve in my best pink skirt.

I should just leave the house now, in my sweats and red velvet slippers and go jump in puddles and get all wet, the rain is likely to carry us all off tomorrow anyhow. I am waiting for the arc to make an appearance on Haight street to reject all of the hippies and the sons and daughters of the hippies and the tourists smoking their nostalgia, we'll all wave from our perches in front of ben and jerry's and the gap, and then so we'll all drown.

I should just leave the house now, in my red velvet slippers, with my wallet and my car keys, because as delightful is the ride up, the ride down is going to rip your heart out again and again. And I should know better, I should know better than this, because the absolute most terrifying thing, isn't that death defying plunge you take with a losing hand, it's coasting the plateau, it's the tucking in for the long haul and falling into bed without falling into each other and forgetting to say goodmorning, because I don't want to run out of things to say and I don't want to rehash cliche and I don't want to stop dying a thousand little deaths pinned under his arms and should that happen do I have the fortitude to stick, or the strength to run.

I have tread through an unknown future, and am grossly hedging bets, and these are traits I despise in myself, because if I took a deep breath and held loosely to saturday night then it would look something like this.

The heat lamps are far away but you are near. Six or seven floors up on the roof and Mission spools beneath us. We giggle. You tuck your watch cap into the gap between my jeans and my jacket because I am trying not to shiver, things have been said, things that are airily weighty, we both know the space on the roof and the space between my sheets will only be punctuated mediocre food and overpriced drinks and a cab ride, and in the morning you will surprise me and all the cauterized parts of my heart will burst open and start to bleed again, all the parts that I was pretty sure couldn't leech a drop of my precious ruby blood. And there it is again, there is my lovely heart, magically restored and leaking love, sweet love, all over the fucking place. So there it is, just like I said it would be, and please, though you won't have seen this, please don't break it -- not quite yet.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

the recalcitrant blogger
The rain has momentarily abated, and spring is
hovering at the edges of the pan handle, shooting tendrils of perfume into the night to kiss my cheek. Just there, just behind the gathering thunderheads. There is a ring about the moon tonight, which bodes well or bodes ill, I am sorry I have forgotten, in my self satisfied well being, I have been more than careless in searching the sky for omens. I could be heedlessly taken out by an SUV tomorrow and I will have not heard it in the raven's cry.

What I heard tonight were the vestiges of junky hippies gathering under trees around a lit match, what I saw was only a glimpse, what I did was speculate. Ring around an unfull moon, and I don't remember if it is waxing or waning, but there is a coolness about and the path is muddy and treacherous and I step gingerly in the dark. All of the blossoms are water logged and beginning to rot, too much water everywhere and the decadent promise of spring floods, swift and sudden, plains to puddles and permeating the carpets.

All of us trumped by rivulets, undone by the water cutting through the fields and the mountains and the crumbling, tumbling basements, thirsting for what we cannot drink.

And isn't that just the most perfect metaphor for the rest of it, for everything you ever thirsted for but couldn't quite slake your thirst, couldn't quite bend enough into the dirty water to wet your lips. Let it swirl about your ankles like an angry tide or a lazy river, stand above the muck, shoulders back, imperious, impervious, because like the ice age, this too shall pass.

And I miss cigarettes, my right hand dances without it's nicotine anchor. And my thoughts are hard to gather and all of the words I should be writing down keep skipping away, and I have decided that I don't understand the fuss over Death Cab For Cutie besides their overly precious name, but then I am secretly hipsterishly dense and there is a whole hellova lot simply leaves me mystified.

What's a girl to do but cloak herself in beauty. Take the nascent tendrils of an April evening and spin a cloak, take the underbelly of the next anxious storm and press it to the warmth of my chest, rock with it, roll with it, cleave to the flanks of the wind flailing into impermiable abutments, heave as we fall sidelong and headstrong into the conundrum of the blackest abyss, this is me wrapped in the velvet of the unknowable you, this is me tempest tossed and wracked by metaphor, singing this song and almost wildly in love.

The ten year old and the six year old saw it, saw it plain as day and flirted shamelessly, and tonight excreted every iota of charm, which largely consisted of exclaiming to their mother and I - my what large asses you have, and then poke, poke, poke. The the six year old declaimed that I was certainly not be married, not until he was old enough to declare his intentions. My engineer beware, I've got a third grader in hot pursuit....