Monday, October 24, 2005

Satin Chickens

Written 25 years ago…..

I got a note from my lover, vacationing in Austria. It was not the purple prose of a man in love; it was not the letter I thought I’d like to get.
I had a man who lives in Connecticut who used to write me these be-bop kind of letters that stretched my heart all out of shape and strained something in my throat. Those were the kind of letters a girl might expect from a man in love.
The day I got the postcard from Jonas he was to return from Austria, and laying around the apartment, waiting for his phone call, I got more and more upset and nervous. Where was he?
I had been thinking about this earlier letter writing person for several days because of a song on the radio. Steven used to use phrases of songs in his conversations, or in his letters, and not let on that they were not his own words. Often they were very cryptic, like the one about “satin chickens” and then, weeks or months later, I heard it, Lou Reed singing some thing about satin chickens, maybe an allusion, but there it was.
So, here I am, five, maybe eight years into my life and no real problems to speak of and here comes this Brooke Benton piece over the airwaves….”Ain’t it funny how time just keeps on slippin’ right away, and it stands out so clearly in my mind from one of those lost letters in a shoebox I keep stashed around here someplace.
For two or three days I try to remember the maiden name of Steven’s grandmother so that I can reach his cousins who live in the summer house down by the lake which is about a block away from the winter house up on the hill.
Eventually I come up with Mc Coy, how unlikely is that? I wonder, but it works and I reach Pierre, as I called the trombone playing cousin, and he says “This is so weird, Steve and Ruth just got married two days ago.” This is just too much for me, and having no decorum I ring up this two day bride who I probably got out of bed and say, voice from the past, not to worry. Steve was never one of your real big talkers and always kept up a strong guard. I don’t know what was going on there or how things were going , but as it was one of your four person weddings, I’d say she was pregnant (I was wrong) and that after living together the last few years, they had decided to get married.
I have to say that his voice on the phone did not give the impression that they were having any kind of a party.
It turns out he had been denied his unemployment benefits from the golf course and that eight years of college had not produced the famous fine artist I had envisioned him to become. “You pick the strangest times to call than anyone I’ve ever known” he told me. I apologized and explained that I really only wanted to talk about stuff, not get back together. He seemed so far removed and pretty cool, but I guess what else could he be?
Meanwhile I am annoyed at Jonas for not getting off the plane and rushing to phone me with his coat still on. I wonder where he is. When he left, his plan was to come back and live with me. Could be there’s a new plan in mind. Meanwhile, I’m lying here writing, thinking; ain’t it funny how time just keeps slippin’ right on away……

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bonnie's Farm

So, the last time I saw Bonnie, her phone rang and rang, making it almost impossible to finish a sentence. We tried, but kept losing track of our thoughts and had to start over a dozen times.

Then, one of her neighbors, a Nordic or German woman with sort of half a dog came by. The dog was some variety of Bassett hound, and his back end was held up by a harness.
He had to be heavy, and the womanwas struggling with him a bit. She said he was incontinent, mostly in the house. She could not make herself have the dog put down, and Bonnie, a pacifist and animal lover, said that even she would have had the animal put to sleep long ago.

We were in the yard where there were boxes of broken glass, frosted by the wash of water over long periods. She had gleaned them from beaches and water ways to use in her art projects. We were going to sort it except that we kept being interrupted.

I accidentally pushed bon's little white dog who was wet, a wiry compact little circus kind of dog, off the mini trampoline I was sitting on, and into a box of her glass that was all over the yard. The fact that there were copious amouts of seaglass and a trampoline in the yard was confounding enough but seemed normal, knowing Bonnie.

Eventually she said “all I really need is permission to throw it all away." I said "I think you can throw this away", but needed to choose a few choice pieces to take with me.

After that, the guy who rents a parking space dropped by for a chat and Bon insisted that “It is never like that here.” The parking guy agreed that the yard is usually quiet.

I felt like I was at a very sub-urban circus with all rings going at once.

The dog suddenly had blood flecks all over it, and we thought it was from the glass but no, just a snake for crap's sake, he had caught a snake in the yard, and the snake was bleeding.

We were just getting over that when her husband (the chef) came home with takeout, looking pissed and complaining that she had not answered the phone. They had not been married long, and he did not know me but appeared to suspect that it was my fault that everything had gone awry. I made away not liking the vibe at all.

There was some mention that he was closing the restaurant and making a full time job of music. Perhaps that would be a good reason to be cranky, but I had nothing to do with that.
I wonder how they are doing.

The New Scentsation

Perfume makes me gag. I used to wear a lot of it and made other people sick and did not understand their problem. Now it is my compaint too. I get a lot of magazines because they are a cheap diversion. Mostly I look at the pictures. The cats like the subscription inserts which can be wadded up into toys.
Most of these journals include a number of perfume samples which even when removed from the magazine, leave their essence lingering, giving my perusal a vaguely nauseating effect above and beyond the effects of the drivel offered up as prose.
Strangely, all of the scents smell the same to me. I keep meaning to write a short story where a young woman commits suicide with one of these perfume inserts. She slashes her throat with a fatal paper cut. Live fast, die young, and leave a good smelling corpse, that kind of thing.