Sunday, March 29, 2009
A while ago I heard that there were brush fires near a old friend of mine’s home. I e-mailed her to see if she was in the fires path. She wrote back that she was not, but that she did have bad news. She had breast cancer. She included a photo of herself bald, but with a great big smile on her face; sitting in her yoga class.
I hope I don’t seem self indulgent by posting this letter, that if the truth be told, I was rather proud of. But honestly my hope was that if I posted the letter I sent her, it might help someone else who may be feeling overwhelmed.
First let me say that I love you. I always have. Your note made me worry and wish I could be there to hug you and make you laugh. When I looked at those photos you sent, there was my funny, sweet, friend with the laughing eyes and goofy smile. There you are obviously going through some hard shit, but still with that light in your eyes. I touched your face on the computer screen and searched for the right words to write back. So I waited. Paced the room and went to bed. But before I slept I said my prayers. To God, the Catholic Saints I grew up with , my guardian Angel, you’re guardian Angel, Buddha, and the Universe. I was exhausted by the time I was done. Thank Goodness I was so close to the bed!
It was in that quiet calm after prayer that the voice came. A voice that was so much calmer and so much wiser then mine.
What did you ask her?
Are you on Fire?
Was her answer, yes?
You are surrounded by those holocausts of flame, that destroy one place and just as easily leaves another in peace. It swirls around you, heat and smoke, flame and passion calling on you to be that other Mo. Not the kind, loving mother, the supportive mother/wife. Not the housekeeper, but the keeper of the flame.
The other Mo; the one you keep hidden away so that others need not tremble and fear in your presence.
You, that is, She.
She, the fire Goddess that lives deep in your soul. She who wears a fur bikini like Raquel Welch in the movie: One Million Years B.C. She, who stand four inches taller then any man. Who brings home the beacon, fires it up in a pan; a pan that was forged in a fire made strong by the burning hearts of those that would try to hurt her or those she loves. You that is She, whose love burns hotter that then sun. She that is You, who breathes into her lungs oxygen that feed that fire. You whose breath comes out in warm and controlled. You that mocks the dark evil cells that have the audacity to make their presence known. You laugh at their meager attempts and brush them away like dust moats in the aura of your light. There is a flash of jungle red nail polish as your hand passes through the air. At the same moment there is a charge, a spark of electricity that dances around your dangly earrings. It amuses you the way they tickle. With long sweeping strides you head to your yoga class. A flaming spear tossed casually over your shoulder. Along the way you spot Osama Bin Laden sleeping at a bus stop and smote him with a glance. You flip open your cell phone and call the authorities. They’ll find him in a pile of ash under a turban. He can stick that in a birka, you think to yourself. Around the corner you effortlessly throw your spear through the heart of a pedophile, then turn to find a would be terrorist hooking up a large D-cell battery to six bound sticks of dynamite. You stare into his chocolate brown, almond shaped eyes. He begins to mumble something, but you stop his words with a kiss. Hotly and wantonly you press yourself against this man, until all he can think of is You that is She. Your curves, your softness, the heat of your raw passion. You gently bite his lower lip and smile, saying, “Allah is a woman and she forgives you, now put away the toys, go home and draw me a bath”. In the yoga room others gather to find their center and enlightenment. The yoga mat is but a postage stamp under your big toe. For You that is She are the center from which all love and passion, heat and flame come. You are the light in enlightenment. But no. That is too strong. Too powerful for such a small room. You have no wish to make those with gentle souls quake in the glory that is You that is She. So you breathe slowly. With each breath becoming more compact, more civilized, and more genteel. You sit on the cool wood floor, on your mat that is now in it’s proper proportion. The jungle red of your nails is fades to a pretty pink. The passion and heat of your goddess heart folds in on itself again and again like the tempered steel of a samurai sword. Now, You that is She fits in the room and no one would suspect your power. But for those brave enough to look directly into your eyes. There they will see the flame. And for those foolish enough to anger you, well, you’ll show them your Warrior Pose.
Tonight put on your fur bikini and go outside and find the full moon. I on the other coast will put on mine. (It’s nice a leopard number) and we will howl at the moon together across this long distance that separates us. Then grab your daughter and I will grab mine and we will all howl. And then dance!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
My grandfather had four brothers. They were all born in east Boston and lived in a brownstone with their two sisters. Their father was a furniture maker and they being by this time second-generation immigrants from England were doing pretty well.
It’s just that it seems fate had strange things in store for them. All of them except for my grandfather, who always seemed to live a charmed life.
A train hit the first brother at the age of twenty.
The second disappeared while driving a horse and buggy over a bridge on a sunny afternoon. He, the horse and the buggy were never found! The third brother also disappeared, however he did this disappearing of his own accord. According to my mother, when the second brother met his mysterious end, his fiancé thought that the third brother should take his place at the alter. So did her parents. So one night he just disappeared and was never heard from again. Although every time the phone would ring just once, my Grandmother was certain it was him.
Now the fourth brother was fine and graduated from a very good school for pharmacology. He then became addicted to Phenobarbital. He ended up a prison dentist out on an island in Boston Harbor. I always imagine him sitting in his dentist chair with the windows open to the fresh sea air, while he spun slowly around, stoned out of his mind. Was this because just because it was a new drug and they perhaps didn’t understand the dangers? Or was it the stress of waiting for fate to find him?
My Grandfather as you may have guessed by my being here to write this, did not die an early death or disappear. He came close once to being in harms way. While waiting in line to board a ship for Europe during World War 1, he was tapped on the shoulder and told to report to the fingerprinting department. There he was asked if it was true that he was an artist, which is what he had written on his records. He said that it was true, and was promptly made chief finger printer for the duration. He never left Boston until the end of the war.
He made money from his drawings all through the depression, for the racetrack or for the fights. All the gangsters loved him! He met the Archbishop of Canterbury who was in town visiting, while weeding his garden. They wrote to each other for many years. He was friends with Jack Benny, Jack Dempsey and Bobby Orr. But he never had more then one beer a week and he always looked twice when crossing the railroad tracks.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Ah, in praise of an orthodox childhood! My father ran away from his redneck home after writing an essay on civil rights that got him expelled from high school. He hit the road to become a Jazz musician. He ended up playing with Miles, Dizzy and Moody. He experimented with many drugs and had many affairs.
My mother was sent to a Catholic parochial boarding school less then an hour away from home. Her parents seldom visited. She would often sneak into the storage room of the school library to read the banned books. Subsequently was the only girl they did not ask to become a nun. She became a teacher and was loving and kind to every child that came her way. Specializing in kids with special needs. She tried it all at least once and had me as surprise gift after a weekend of tequila filled fun with my Dad. They were married some months after.
I am the only child of bohemian, 60’s, beatniks. Tales of my childhood have impressed some and horrified others.
In 1965 we moved to New York City. I only saw my Dad after 3:00 until around 6:00pm, because he played all night and slept all morning. I lived on the eleventh floor, the highest button I could reach on the elevator. It was my “Uncle’s Mikes” apartment that we sublet from him while on an extended tour of Paris. My father had no actual brothers, just honorary ones. Just cats with soul patches and shades that never showed their eyes in daylight. Our building was full of other musicians and actors that held day jobs like cab drivers and waitress. They would come home dragging their feet and hurry off to nap before the night would come and their real world would come alive.
Sometimes “Uncle Mike” would fly back to town, but he never stayed at his old apartment. Instead he would stay with a woman my mother told me was very famous, named Velveteen, like the rabbit. I was told that men paid lots of money to spend time with Velveteen, but that “Uncle Mike was so charming that he got to be with her for free. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, except for my Mom. Where my mother then looked a lot like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, Velveteen had big blonde hair in giant curls. She wore silver eye shadow that sparkled and smelled like incense. She was wonderful. She would bounce me on her lap and tickle me. Then hand me off to my mother. I would wave goodnight to her over my mother’s shoulder and then be put to bed and told to try not to come out to the party. But, more often as not I would sneak back into the room and end up dancing in my pajama’s, on top of the piano. Later that night or morning my Mother would find me under the piano, or in a chair sound asleep.
I was raised to be hip, a real cool kitten. My father read me passages from the Tibetan Book of the Dead and Shelley with a little Byron thrown in. But, I was never taught multiplication, spelling, grammar or fractions. I suppose since they did not come as easily, they were set aside. Besides there were so many more important things to learn like, the phrasing of Frank Sinatra was important, that I’m OK and You’re Ok, unless you’re a square and then your not, was important. That some Mommy’s and Daddy’s don’t let there kids go to nightclubs to hear an old friend playing in town. And they don’t think it’s funny to let your kid go up to the bar and order, “a Shirley Temple, rocks back hold the cherries.” Poor fools that they were. I felt sorry for kids that were not hip to the jive. That didn’t know what a fin is or who Chet Baker was or how to make a martini for their parents.
But, I have to say that there were times, as I got older, that it was hard being an adult as a kid. But, I would not have traded it for anything. Can you dig it?
Monday, March 23, 2009
You are all such good writers and storytellers that I often find myself frozen in place unable to write. I want things to be perfect and just right. So much so that I get in my own way and end up not writing at all. As my great friend Ana, at Truepenny has said, this will not do. I must throw myself into the fray and just write something everyday. Even if it may as that sentence just did, rhyme by accident. Sorry.
My lovely daughter Emma, who is both witty and wise, said that I must look at this as a sketchbook. Don’t be perfect; just get it on the page. So if you will all put up with my bad spelling and grammar I will try to be here more often. Not frozen, but warm. Writing and playing with all of you who are so brave and talented.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Last night the flu finally was officially gone. I proclaimed myself well and took my daughter to go see The Watchmen. What’s that you say? Is Beverly a nerd? Well, in fact I am a bit of a nerd. A sexy, red headed diva of all that is smart, fun and not boring, nerd. I confess to loving Comic-…err…graphic novels, the first Matrix movie and yes, I am looking forward to the new Star Trek film.
That being said, one of my favorite things about going to the movies is watching the previews. I am sure that I eat most of my popcorn while in a daze of the hard sell adrenaline rush of each 3-5 minute concentrated clip of the latest action packed movie. Well, on this night before even the previews, this video played:
Man, I was pumped! I was ready to sign my daughter up! My wonderful, nature child. My garden loving, beautiful girl. Then it occurred to me that sending any soldiers to war was no longer the best solution. Sending this video is.
Now, I love my country. If I had to say in what direction my political leaning turned, I would happily confess to the left. But, keep in mind too that my husband served in the Air Force for ten years and I was right there with him. We traveled the globe and I did my part to be a good military wife. So, I understand that no solution is an easy one and I am proud of any one who would put them selves on the line for what they believe in.
But I wonder if putting our men and women in harms way is the best move anymore? I say lets just blind our enemies with American sunshine. Lets block their satellites and put all their TV channels on MTV or NASCAR. Only stopping for Coke advertisements, and superhero movies. Let us parachute in McDonald’s hamburgers; KFC fried chicken, chocolate bars, and Playstations!
I know that America is often seen as the arrogant, teenager of the world. That many of us couldn’t point to Europe on a map, never mind a specific country. We don’t always respect other people’s cultures, history, or opinions. We also voted in office, twice, a bumbling cowboy, who was probably a lot more fun in the days when he was drinking.
But, I also believe that America is the cool kid. The one you want to invite to the party, because if we don’t show up it’s not really a party, it’s a gathering. I mean come on; we invented rock and roll! We are loud and brash, but we know how to dance, and we want everyone to have a goodtime. We also want them to have a big car and a big highway and a Big Mac.
Have I become the neo-hippy? Make hamburgers not war? Is this a bad thing? I am a little scared that I can’t tell.