emma b. says

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The life lessons they keep hurling themselves underfoot, you momentarily stagger and blithely walk on, and the lessons they just shrug, maybe you'll get it and maybe you won't, they are just heeding their mandate.

So tonight I had dinner with the hairdresser, he's got new hair now, then again, so do I. And we are a little bit more careworn from the last time we met, days and months and expectations all over simplified by the dimensions of a table for two, at a bar-slash-restaurant that is full of my history and full of his, at different times and different ages. And no matter how mediocre the food is we will safely retreat to familiar boundaries, for recognition for and bragging rights.

But this lesson, slapped me hard midway through my entree. Timing is everything. Not for we poor guileless females excercising our wiles on men with agendas across the globe and forever into the rosy cheeked dawn of time. It's just dancing for an indifferent and hurried moon, it's me be-bangled and burning with the whitest fires of bright and flagging love, it's the ignored shuck and jive, it's the universe inverted on it's axis, it's me flying through the stratosphere divesting myself of my bothersome entrails, flailing on the equator because the motherfucking timing is not right. In fact it's entirely wrong, it's gloriously out of sync, four years ahead of my time, always and eternally vindicated in the future that I will not be party to, just some blonde catalyst for someone else and way off the mark. Even Miss Congenial gets a prize, I get the winsome and obliged consolation that I mattered enough.

Maybe that is winsome in it's way, it's not enough to keep me warm through the winter, like the cold is going to ever break through the hot, like this desiccated indian summer so late in October, just like he won't come back and just like I am never going to be perfect, just like my drummer marching to his own peculiar contre-temps, a beat ahead, two beats behind, weary of the seasons, grateful for the light. Falling down often and stopping to sob. Starting over, gathering momentum, for a minute or two before dreamland. Me and my romanticist's timing, off the logic map and deep in the fissure, shortly before I shut the whole show down, and just after I start it again, but of course it will be too late. It will of course be too late. Or not late enough, or too early. I couldn't tell you, my metronome is beset by anomaly and my piano is out of key.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

sometimes you begin at the end, and you trace forward. Or you start in the middle and parse the beginnings and the endings. Or you are everywhere and nowhere at once and everything is immutable, and the symbolism are but symbols clashing all about your head, as cheap and as moving as a highschool band.

And sometimes you can't stop crying and it happens in the car and it happens in bars and it happens in restaurants while the object of love watches over you, a myriad of complexities playing over his face and the bus boy looks away. You cry like a goddamned girl because you are a goddamned girl. But good things are said, and though this is the end of a good thing it will have to be enough, so you go home and invite him in and make some tea and spend a long while not speaking, stealing glances of profiles and committing them to memory, and then you spend a long time entwined, and the clock strikes midnight and then two, well into the witching hour, still entwined, still bewitched, by the wonderment of his grasp, and the doubt that comes skittering across my skin, does he hold me only to assuage his guilt, am I being an idiot or an earth searing pragmatist. I rip my hand from his.

He said earlier that he wanted to see me (that is before he moves far up the coast and a little inland, in another state) before he goes and so I righteously speechified about empty calories.... but in the morning, up before the alarm, in the half light I told him that maybe I thought it was a little bit silly to deprive yourself of pleasure on principal, but no one ever said that I wasn't gladly a fool for love either.

And I guess that's ok, I am pretty sure that's ok, I guess it's ok. I know that I cannot bear the anger, and I cannot sustain blame, I internalize, extract the ire, set it aside, I cry a lot, that is until I am drained, and then I keep going, because I believe in love, I believe in love, in my love. Time will pass, and I will still love him, but it's not that it diminishes, it will just soften and remain innocuous on the sidelines, until the next time. And though I can pitch and keen, there will be a next time, it might be a decade from now, or it may be him again, it will come, and I will just as gladly and just as dumbly offer up my heart on a shiny, shiny platter, complete with parsley garnish. It will happen, eventually, just as sure as I sit here before this piece of machinery contemplating bolting to Switzerland.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's clear, it's as clear as crystal, it's as clear as a clarion call, whatever that might be, something straight out of fiction, something that was only ever imagined, like the angels and the satyrs, spun out of tales from the fabulist's web and thebunrepentent liar's neverending yarn, as home woven as the nearest senator, but tall as the tallest tale is to the nearest tower. In other words full of bravado, false candor and sacks upon sacks of lies, you only ever bite because you only ever want to believe. It's in our very natures, even the most deeply ingrained cynic repudiated because at one moment or another someone, certainly someone, kicked the magic from beneath his feet, her feet, their feet. And every breath got a little more calculated, mystery gets relegated to fraud, and god gets dead, again, and when you are not paranoid you get willfully ignorant.

Fall into rhythm, deviate not, wake, sleep, eat. Sex where it can be had. Go to work, clock the clock. Don't laugh, don't get lost, don't get lost in someone else, don't cry, please don't cry, just go, just go on, just above the fog, but not quite in the sunlight, maintain stasis.



Ok, I might take the sex where it can be had, but I am on the move now, and there will be no stasis. fuck the chysalis, I am already a beautiful butterfly (referencing a bug's life) so back the fuck off with your velveeta. In two and a half minutes I am going to sprint for my sheets. In a day I am going to sprint to dinner with the engineer, where he will render unto me what is mine, and I will sprint from dinner to render unto me my obsidian fortress of solitude.

And the truth is that I am ready to go now. Not just him, and it's not surrender, but I am ready to go, to go anywhere.

Friday, October 13, 2006

ad hoc

trundle down to the lower haight, hair freshly cut and kissed dried. Armed with mache and mint and wine. Drink at our former comforting diviest of the dives transmogrified into the the sort of oddly akimbo swanky Irish pub, like anyone didn't think that was an oxymoron, the jewel of a juke box has been replaced by the television and the walls that were green are a very tasteful ivory. It's just not the same.

ad hoc dinner for four, P said she had pasta and tuna....
sweat shallots in butter and oil from canned tuna.
forage in fridge.
find cocktail olives and various mustards.

In the salad bowl, liberally douse with salt, melt with rice wine vinegar. Fine slice cuc, drop into seperate bowl with icecubes and rice wine vinegar.

Slice cocktail olives if for no other reason than to prove to irracible friend that I am absolutely one hundred percent right all of the fucking time and my pallet is queen, good queen of all things. Add olives to melting shallots, add a swirl of the italian red you are about to drink, just for the fuck of it. Fold in the tuna, which sounds dirty.

Swirl in a little tomatoe, swirl in some olive oil, swirl a little sherry wine vinegar, blast with herb de provence, salt and pepper, wish he was standing at your shoulder, wish it were just that much easier. Because I can stand in anybodies kitchen with a bag of noodles and the scantest of seasons and make it taste alright

I learned a number of hard lessons from the Chef, easiest among them is always toss your salad with your hands, ha.ha.ha. And the perfidiousness of having your heart cock blocked by imperious indifference, yeah alain, I learned that lesson from the master. And PS, why is it I always fall in love with first names that I hate, I am beginning to think that I am conspired against.

that and the aftermath. Those eyelash fair antenae sent hurling to the ether in the wake of my heart ache-- I'll pick up the thread later, tonight I just want the sweet familiarity of my bed, I want to sleep a little....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

once I was the greatest (for cat power)

and as of now I am imposing a moratorium on cat power, no more love songs, not now, not ever.

but back then, back when I was twenty five, I was something else.

I had two friends tonight exhort me not to be old, and how possibly could I when I only yesterday mastered my laces.

(but I can't help it you see, I have begun to feel old, in that the time that passes I shall never see again, back then, when I was twenty five I scrolled though time as if were it was simply a function of rolling down the other window. In your grandfather's all automatic cadillac, sky blue gun metal gray, just like the rifle he will stick in his mouth, just like the bitterest dutch licorice, just like life. Just like inadvertant gunsmoke and penance. Just like mysterious phone calls and waiting.

waiting for absolutlely nothing at all, standing at attention for absolutlely nothing at all, wilting in the privacy of my centurion bear, tucking into the middle, or burrowing. His voice is not going to be on the far end of the telephone tomarrow, we are not going to laugh while I win at text twist. I will only fortify my silence and quietly choke in the very back corner underneath the back stairs.

but fuck me, fuck me, fuck me.
fuck me and my tender heart anyways, I called on this, cajoled the gods and my monotheist, and I got just what I asked for. A man I love, a man I could love, maybe not forever, but for forever for now. But he left, so he goes, so I go.

The part of me that doesn't want to get drunk and stay that way, says it's too late and it's too late again, says, says remember me, there on the beach with the wind in your hair and beguiled by love, he will take your hand in the late afternoon, or maybe it's your imagination again. maybe all these months you've only been dreaming.

what a lovely dream it was.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


leave work early, a few tendrils hanging in the breeze, but who gives a fuck, because I certainly don't. Home to my home for a last minute straightening and hiding of things, before my old friends arrive in their various states of motherhood for a night out in the city. I can hide the BOBs but I can't hide the fact that I have only condiments and booze in my pantry.

Out we go, out we go in underdress and overdress, belly and breast. Linking arm in arm we cross paths with a foursome wearing our very same costume when we were fifteen, and as H remarked in her wisdom, of course they are that much cooler than we, as their is less big. Ah, the eighties.

To dinner, we comment on incomes disposible and barely.... Deep in the mission - exotic names, this foreign cinema, that rooftop deck at medjool, that drunken fool.
We sit in my living room and play songs and marvel at thirty years of friendship and fall asleep sprawled in all corners of my very small city existence.


nine o'clock rolls around and we all stir, and the sun is shining through the slats in the blinds and I can tell without looking that it is simply just going to be a magical day. Two of us run and two of us walk, four of us go through the bulk of my linen and set out in the sunshine.

In a cab to the china town gate, in the name of beguiling trinkets for very small fingers and a trip to another land. Up Grant, into the shops, dazzled by volume and the unabashed frippery. I always forget just how beautiful it is, just how falling down it is, just how alien. We had lunch at the R&G lounge and couldn't persuade the ladies into salt and pepper crab, drank far too much tea.

And in the space of a few blocks you thread a continent, jump to Green, jump to the fancy cakes and the fancy bras and the opera singers in coffee shops, through the park and down past Bimbo's to the cannery, pause for a margarita, the day is already long and we have already travelled many miles through our childhoods and our mothers. And then BOOM! The Blue Angels have ignited the sky and there is jet fuel and vapors and astonishing, deafening noise, duck for cover noise, war noise.

And yet the mastery of these planes is mesmerizing, these war machines are things of ferocious beauty in tandem, and the liberalist of the liberal stand agape. Who couldn't love the precision design geeks and nascar dads alike. But what a peculiar dichotomy, the war machines over my beloved bridge and their terrible noise the prevalence of flags and facial hair. Walking through the crowd I became distinctly aware that I am nothing more than a pair of lovely tits on legs. For ever lovin' christ they were booming Neil Diamond's "they come to america" in all earnestness, I felt like I was in another dimension, the one where we all suckle freely on the big war machine and sign up for death transfixed by the sheer glory of a barrel roll beneath the golden gate bridge.

Later there was traffic, lord was there traffic.

And later I was sun scorched and chilled to the bone when I met P an M under the harvest moon for the hardly strictly bluegrass party, a wholly different crowd. A wholly different politic. This is where I become invisible. Blond girl at the bar, sipping tequila and soda, facing out and totally still and completely invisible. But hey, turns out I like cheese grits. tequila, tequila and some more and still stillness, becalmed, connected, but still, still and invisible. Conversations course over me and fragments tumble by, musicians swap the violin for the mandolin, but in my stillness I am missing the engineer I am missing the conversation that we are not having.

We gave a ride to an itinerant musician, deep into the park past midnight, I was jacked on cinammon gum and would have gladly driven him to the ends of the earth if only to start running.


I wake up missing something.

Out into indian summer and down to the cafe for a bit of dark liquid sustenance, shoulders in tank tops and jeans cuffed above the ankles and the promise of absolute lassitude and the tinge of bitterness that goes with a perfect day for recently brokenhearted. A cross town bus to his neighborhood to have my hair color righted, battling twin desires to see and be seen and to hide and cower, how utterly perfect that I should have to catch the bus on his corner, how do I explain that and why should I. Here I am, then. Standing on the corner, cowering for the bus, the bus I have forgetten to ride, styled within an inch of my life, the hair I wont be able to duplicate, the new color as strident as a banner heralding autumn, good lipstick, deposited in the middle of nowhere on 25th avenue, to my right I have the pull of baker beach and to my left the park and the hundred thousand souls come for a little bluegrass. I set my course towards the park, when what I wanted was the beach, not that he would be there.

Standing, no crouching in the grove, the cowards, elvis costello and t bone burnett, forty thousand middle fingers lift towards the sky every time a blue angel drags through the sky above. I feel accidentally protective.

The sun shines and the fog hangs back, and the sun shines and shines, my shoulders start to burn and my cheeks redden, but my fat curls hold, and my new blond expands as the sun starts to descend. I am still invisible, but I have decided that secretly I am going to become a creature of colossal beauty, I will be terrible and fair, even if I am unseen. But just before that I will be sprawled on a tiny yellow blanket with my two dearest friends and Emmylou will be singing as the sun is setting, just before the pacific chill sets in, when those many thousands of heads are connected to all those many thousands of shoulders, dancing and laughing, listening or not paying attention to this sea of life, to this sea of love, fraught with nostalgia or cementing futures, hungry for bed or hungry for life, peaceful in the crowd or searching for the next battle with the nearest convenient stranger, over this weekend I saw it all. All the dichotomies along with all of the lovers. It was the lovers that socked me hard in the gut.

Up through the belly of the park in the dark with the bats and the bikes, dragging my ankle like sisphysis up that hill to the nearest bar.

And then, and then because the universe is an extraordinarily fickle bitch, and because that is just that is the way it goes, I will open my email and there will be a tiny gem from the hairdresser, the genesis of this blog, he wants to know where I am, he wants to know how I am, he is four years too late, I just tipped my head and roared.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The first rain has come.
The clouds have been hanging around the hilltops for a couple of days, the pregnant kind, the old crones conjuring the wet season.

I left P's house tonight and went into the rain, in a fleece and without an umbrella. I realize I don't even have an umbrella, and didn't think to ask to borrow one. I thought I'd dash to the corner and hail a cab, but I had four dollars in my wallet, and then I thought I would take the bus, then it passed me. Right. Wait an eternity at the bus stop or hoof it.

Up and up and up Haight in the rain, and it was beautiful. Temperate and gleaming. All the good, green pungeance seeps out of the leaves and sturdy flowers. Perfumes that I can't identify, and the ghostly scent of plane trees which I don't think are even near. The man under the eaves smoking a joint. The near perfect music of water on tires, and falling, the falling of this first rain, as casual and easy as california.

I thought I might brood, trudge up the hill swathed in wet melancholy, disconsolate rain, disconsolate tears. Balk at my sodden pants legs, fret over my hair, scowl when I wasn't huffing. Instead I found myself admiring beauty and my mind strayed back to that terrible Anthony Hopkins movie where he went all feral ape or something, but there was a scene that resonated with me... He's sitting with the apes and it is raining, he's got a leaf on his head in a bid for a bit of shelter, and the apes are sitting placidly under the rain without shelter. He bares his head and the rain streams into his eyes, he lets go of shelter and so becomes feral.

I felt a little feral and a lot free with the rain soaking through my jacket and the rain trickling down my neck, I was unexpectedly delighted. We are hard wired to seek shelter, we revere it in song and in religion and political affiliation. We seek shelter in the arms of engineers and thread counts and red wine, at the hair dresser and at the cash register, in conformity and in rebellion.

I will soon seek shelter beneath the duvet, but for twenty or so minutes as I was walking home tonight I was free and feral, completely sensual, in that I was eyes and ears and mouth and nose moving forward without thought, drenched to the bone, content, defensive, hungry, watchful for prey.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Home for the weekend, weaving through traffic and accidents. Through the subdivisions new as lesions, taupe as the colorless sky, just as tepid and windless as this last day of September.

Home for a funeral, home for a barbeque, home to tell my mother that she needs to let go of her happy fantasy of the married me, the one with children and the mortgage.

There I go, watch me go up the interstate, in my shiny car with the windows down, can't you hear the same sad song on repeat, it's balmy and still enough that my howling trails me in the traffic, and just past the capital I am going to completely lose my shit.

It's not just that the engineer has gone, that his absence is an absess in my side, I feel like I am driving back, back though the diaphanous skins of various pasts, back before the Nut Tree was a suburban parking lot, when there were beacons and totems that weren't just signs listing towards decrepitude, before the big box and the miles upon miles uniform feeding troughs.

So home to my small town and my parents in their piece of paradise in a park, home to my childhood friends and their small children, home to bury the mother of a good friend.

I guess it's begun now. There was the thrill of weddings, and rings and things and the new found, freshly minted and legitimized adulthood. And then there were pregnancies, and in my case infidelity and divorce. Then the first batch of little screamers followed by the second, and now we stand together as we bury our parents. S's mother, always so manicured, always on the phone, sharp of tongue, deadly of wit and a right royal pain in the derriere gave up a battle royale with cancer.

On the way to the memorial I got a little worried about getting lost, I don't know any street names in the network of country roads, I know landmarks. Past the mine, past the house where we had that party that one night, the one where the first love was and we played poker, at the church where you had a piano recital and you got a little plastic bust of Brahms that smelled of plastic. Sitting in a pew towards the back with my girlfriends and my mother. Rocking back and forth between the years and sifting through memory.

That morning I had gone to play tennis with my mother, at the club where I had whiled away eternal summer mornings with the high boredom that only restless kids can have. Back in the late seventies my brother and I used to hunt tadpoles in the creek, later they put in a ping pong table, W and I would piss around on the raquet ball courts, I liked the echo. Still later when I was verging on adolescence they put in a pool where I would gawp at the highschool boys tending the desk, and strut about in all my newly acquired plumage. Also - water aerobics was the craze. In the mid 80's we had tennis camp and drills for the tennis team, our white pleated skirts and those horribly bulky spanky pants, back when the pom poms on our socks had no irony, and the coach had high hopes for my down the line forehand and I had high hopes for a certain blue eyed boy. The ping pong table has been replaced by a television, and raquet ball court is is defacto storage, the glory of the pool, my adolecent heaven has gotten doughty, and all the forested wilderness around the courts, subject of summertime adventures to stave off the herculean task to wait for my parents to finish a second set is paved, is "retired living", how's that for a little irony to go with the those socks. But the club itself, smells just like it did in 1978.

I played really well.

After the memorial I stopped in the parking lot of memorial park, to relive a bit of twin small town rivalry, and my indoctrination into certain illicit substances, but it seems smaller now, the intimidation is all gone, with it summer, the leaves are just starting to turn. By the time I wake up this morning on the first of October autumn will have arrived, having come in on the clear chill of the evening and sooty skies of waning wildfires. Everything and nothing will be different, everything will be a day and a season older, autumn colors and holidays and naked trees and then winter, and another baby due in December and that fulsome longing and daring not to hope and all that bullshit. But I will do it anyway.