Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beautiful Girl



She was a beautiful girl,

The daughter of a man as bland as an old dinner plate,

But successful in business

With a factory making ladies' apparel;

Empty dresses emblematic of his wife who had died.


She was a talented mimic

And mother to both herself and her younger brother,

A boy who could draw anything, and render it more soulful than the thing itself could reveal.

In the parlor of their dacha,

The year they were seventeen and twelve,

She would make silent impersonations at the servants' backs,

And soon her brother would roll over on his,

Helpless with stifled snickering.


She was a beautiful girl;

Pressed like a butterfly in a book,

Half sure that the warm weeks of 1917 would never end.

Her heart was a month of such summers

And she and her brother like rowers

Moving together on the same waters.


They were laying in the grasses, thinking of nothing, staring at the sky,

When the men on horses came;

The dacha and the factory gone like a summer storm.

Their father, after that, blank as an old dinner plate,

Unspeaking, vacant, and soon dead.


She was a beautiful girl,

And in St. Petersburg, she had to learn to survive the way such a girl with no other choices always has;

And when she drank too much,

Which became often,

Her brother would sit at a table nearby, drawing strangers' portraits

To try to pay some of her debts.

Through those days,

She only held on because he needed her.


She was a beautiful girl,

And there was one soldier who could look into a crowd,

And see only her, moving through it.

On the day before he was to take the crowded troop train east,

They held each other in a theater,

Shutting out the ridiculous performances, both on the stage and in the streets.

She knew

He was not like the others,

And that is why she knew

He stood no chance of ever coming back.


She was a beautiful girl,

Just twenty-six when she died, like a red leaf turning black in a fire.

But, in her brother's portraits of her,

She stayed young

Like she was in the summers at the dacha,

When she was his only and best friend

When she was spirited

When she was careless and bold

When she was

Such a beautiful girl.

______


And so, rather appropriately, I close out another notebook full of poems, with this one. I had begun it on November 20th, '09.


A note about "Beautiful Girl." All through my childhood and on into my younger adulthood, I always had the strong sense that I should have had a sister. I asked my mother repeatedly about it. Once, she told me she had lost a baby, which would have been a girl, between my brother and me. But when I asked her about it again, later, she said I was mistaken. Perhaps I was, or perhaps she just didn't want to talk about it, the great family trait. In any case, the feeling was so strong, that, in the 1980s I went so far as to check birth records, feeling that perhaps there was a twin who had not survived. I didn't find anything.


Those of you who know my background may intuit who this missing girl may have actually been. I rather think that may be so, myself. But, in college, in the early 80s, I was given a stream-of-consciousness writing assignment, and this story just flowed out. I could feel the breeze through the open windows of the dacha, it was like being there. Then, years later, under hypnosis, I "remembered" an entire past life, this life, as the brother. So, this story is true, and is my own....perhaps. Did I mention that I am a double Gemini (sun and moon), sign of the twins?


xo


Shay

______

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Picking The Lock On Love



Don't talk to me about the glass being half full--

There is no glass.

Just me,

With my hair on fire as usual,

And even if there were a glass,

It would only be filled with steam

--crying on the inside--

Weak.


I was never meant for being a good girl.

If I were,

Would Goddess have jammed every pocket full with a thief's inventory?

But if I were meant only for petty crime and skulking,

Could I turn the basin blue

Every time I wash my face?

Would Impressionist ladies bloom on my skin every time I undress?

Would I find their dear and fanciful hats

On the Adirondack chair

As I slip out the back sliding door

Ahead of somebody's husband?


One

Is the number of stars

Who know me by name.

One

Is how many times you die

If you've got any guts.

One

Is how many avenues of escape there are,

Always.

But two

Fills my dreams like surf on stones.


And you,

Smoky-haired tease with the California soul,

You will never let them search you, will you?

A thousand--

Is how many times you told me there was taint in the resin.

Zero

Is the chance

You would ever stay with a charming thief,

Because

Your heart loves charming thieves.


Don't talk to me about the glass being half empty--

There is no glass.

Just me,

Blind between Dolphin Queen and fish skelly--

Crazy to keep coming back--

With my hair on fire as usual,

The smoke birthing ten thousand solitary nights

And one persistent perfect tireless

Little...black...cat.

_______

Thursday, January 28, 2010

George



Years ago, in what seems now as if it were another lifetime, there lived a little zebra finch named George. The picture above is not George, but he looked just like that. This will be a story filled with debauchery, idiocy and also true love. Like the song says, "Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it...let's do it, let's fall in love."


This is a true story.


Once upon a time, I lived in a small house very much like the one I live in now, but it wasn't this one. I lived there with a woman, a boy, three dogs and....George. But not just George. George was never made for being alone. We went to a bird store and bought a cage, a nest, swings, feeding stations, and two little zebra finches. The male, with his sweet little orange cheeks and his happy song, was George. The other was a female named, briefly, Georgette. I did not name them.


George must have tried a particularly lame pick-up line on her, or else she was hormonal or just not very nice, or maybe she was a lesbian zebra finch, but in any case, she let George know right away that he was in her way and should leave. She basically beat him up for 24 hours, until we took her back to the store and asked for a different, perhaps less contentious female finch.


This second female, also named Georgette, became the love of George's life. He sang to her all day, every day. He loved Georgette with his entire little birdy soul. It was very sweet.


Now, zebra finches do not bond with humans the way that some other birds will. They are into each other, and into making new zebra finches. They are a little like rabbits in that way. George was amorous! George was Ready Freddie, all the time. He thought Georgette was Catherine Deneuve, Angelina Jolie, and Eva Larue all rolled into one. He had a very loving heart! And, well, a very healthy libido. But George, bless him, was not very bright.


The male zebra finch is supposed to make the nest. We had a store-bought straw nest for them, but he was supposed to fill it with torn strips of paper and grass and what-have-you. But he never quite got the hang of all that. In fact, George was so dense, that he couldn't even figure out how to get in the nest, at all. Georgette tried to show him. She would gracefully dance in and out of the nest as if to say, "See, George? It's easy!" But, to George, it was just too much to grasp. Finally, though, overcome by his desire to spend the night with his Love, he learned to back in to the opening in the front of the little straw nest. All night long, the two of them would nestle side by side, happy in their world.


Georgette was quite the girl. When she realized that George was a wonderful lover but not so sharp upstairs, she tossed traditional zebra finch gender roles aside, and made the nest herself. George serenaded her, and made passionate finch love to her, and pretty soon, she laid little white eggs in the nest. A family!


George was pretty noisy all by himself. (Georgette, ever the lady, was more demure.) When several finch babies came on the scene, it was pandemonium! Over time, there were three or four sets of babies who came, and eventually went, not to mention the stolen eggs that we hoped Georgette would not notice had been pilfered. The babies didn't care a bit about the humans outside the cage, with the exception of one of the later batches. They loved me! They really loved me! :-)


When I would come home from work, they would all go insane and chatter their little heads off for me. Of course, the telephone ringing made them do the same thing. Don't say a word. Leave me my illusions, please!


Then a terrible day came. One morning, after years of finch family happiness, I found George on his perch looking absolutely destroyed, because Georgette lay dead at the bottom of the cage. I never would have believed that a finch could look so horribly, utterly devastated as George did. Our happy George's heart was broken. His Love was gone.


Zebra finches are not meant to be alone, so we went back to the store and got a new mate for George. Her name was Georgina. Georgette had been the love of George's life, but Georgina turned out to be the lust of his life. He simply would not leave her alone, the old horndog. I began to be afraid he would court her to death, quite literally. And I use "court" because a more accurate word would be vulgar, if more to the point. I finally had to construct a barrier, out of cardboard, to keep George away from her for much of the day. He could still sing to her, and hear her there, but he had to make do with finch porn, or something. Georgina lasted quite a while, though not as long as Georgette had. Still, lusty, brainless George outlived her, too.


We went to a different store to get Wife #3 for him, and they ran a birdie dating service! George got to go there, and spend time with different lady finches until a match was made. Lucky old George! It must have seemed like a Playboy Mansion for finches, to him.


He outlived Wife #3, too. She actually didn't last very long, but they did seem to like each other while it lasted. George never lost his eager ways, through three wives and who knows how many little finch sons and daughters. After Wife #3 died, George was old and not looking too well, though he never again repeated the show of grief he displayed after Georgette died. She was to him as Beatrice was to Dante, and I am sure he is singing to her in Heaven even now. We never did get him another mate, as we knew he wasn't to be with us much longer. One day, George died, and we never had birds again after that. I miss the finches, especially old horny, good-hearted, cheerful little George.


He probably went backwards through the pearly gates.

_________
"Birds Do It" by Cole Porter

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dark Chocolate



You always seem to me

Like dark chocolate--

Sweet, but not too...

And the Mistress of a druggy and delicious craving.


Oh,

A woman would go mad

If she tried to make a meal of you;

No, darling,

You are to be nipped in shadows or by candle light

By admirers gone slaves to their willful tongues.


I would do better

To leave you alone,

But deprivation leaves me bitchy and snappish;

Coat half on, I'm already out the door...

I need to hold your smug face in my hands--

I have to kiss you,

'Til I burn with shame

And an illicit, incredible, inexpressible

Humbling satisfaction.

________

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sugar



When sugar burns,

The baking stops.


No longer white and flowing from the cup,

It turns hard and black,

Like stone.


Lips so sweet

Can also lie;


What's warming can wound--

Much in a kitchen can cut,


But burns are the most painful.

Though you bind them, they blister,


And heal only by slow degrees--

Like sun crossing the cutting board, left dumb and blank as a woman who believed.

_________

Prayer To The Mother Goddess



Spirit Mother,

It is me, your child--

The one shaken from your hair and falling.

I find myself

Here--

An Earth girl, set loose and wandering,

Never sure

If I am the stone,

The stream,

Or just the sound they make when dipped together into moving time.


Spirit Mother,

What is this homesickness?

I know--

A loftier view has been mine,

But sometimes,

When I look in the mirror

(though I know I carry your kiss)

I cannot find the Divine.


Am I a note

In a song I can't conceive?

This heaviness,

This body-ness,

This painful separation,

Is temporary, I know.

Everything I touch, breathe, or stand upon

Will melt and blow away, and me with it.


Spirit Mother,

Please tell me it's a circle and not a door--

Which, having turned,

Returns me to your hair

Blessed and at peace

Once more.

______

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heirloom



I am the little black cat

Who shocked your womb.


You have one.

I know.

I saw it,

With my steady yellow eyes in the half light.


A little dazed,

I circled around your feet,

Briefly,

Until I learned to hide among the cleansers.

Watching.


You could have founded a religion

Down in the basement laundry room.

I have always known

I am terrifically guilty

Of something...

Something...


I am the little black cat

Among the startling whites.


Look, I have brought the world back to you,

In the moments when I have not been

Drinking everything in sight,

Yowling behind cantinas

Or playing in traffic the way I always do.


I have slept with every woman

Who would mother me,

Because

I love foreign languages.


I am the little black cat

With her wild kittens, out in the barn,

And they are named

Confusion

Emptiness

Self-loathing

and Fury.


I carry them with me wherever I go,

As far as I can travel.

I carry them, one by one, tenderly in my jaws,

And I rename them

Isis

Athena

Boudica

and Cleo-catra.


We are the little black cats

Still alive and tearing up the flower garden

Despite the potent poisons

You set out for us, like gifts.

_________

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cupid



Cupid, drunk and stumbling,

Comes out of a bowling alley bar.

He drops his bow

~twice~

But finally gets a few arrows and curse words off.


His arrows hit some people in the foot, resulting in troublesome fetishes,

But, because he is Cupid, fucked up beyond all recognition or not,

A few times he hits people's hearts.


"There!" he crows, waving a bottle. "Fall in love, you dopes!"

Except it sounds like, "There!

Fawin la, y'doe," because Cupid is fried to a crackly crunch.


They do, you know.

Fawin love.

For a while, life is paradise, happiness, a candy-coated love song world.

But,

By the time Cupid has spent the next morning talking to Ralph on the big white phone, and shoveling down aspirin;

By the time he has sheepishly turned in his report to God, and completed his community service,

These unions have only led to

Disaster,

Divorce,

Dementia.


Cupid gives up bowling and starts hanging out in church basements, drinking bad coffee,

But he still can't resist firing off a few arrows before and after the meetings.

His sponsor, a former boxer, tells him to "cut that shit out,"

But at least, sober,

His aim is a little better,

Though far from perfect.


If you fawin love,

Don't believe it is fate, kismet, "meant to be."

(you thought that last time, remember?)

It's just that little fucker Cupid

Screwing around.

_________

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 101. The Blue Edition






Joanna, at The Fifty Factor posted this little meme and left it in the "free, take one" pile, so I swiped it and ran like hell. Oh all right, my running days are over. I looked around, slipped one into my shoulder bag and walked quickly away with my chin up and my dark glasses on. Now here I am, at home with the door locked, toying with it, deciding what to do with it now that I've got it.




There are rools. I do about as well with rools as Linda Blair does with holy water. I am supposed to post the little icon, list ten things that make me happy, and then pass it on to ten bloggers. I'm getting a little tremor in my pinky finger just from thinking about rools. And some of the bloggers I might pass it on to, did the thing already and didn't pass it on to me. I could be mature and rational, and simply realize that they don't have to pass it on to me if they don't choose to, and that, after all, it is only a meme. Nah. I am sharpening my labrys. *smile*




As you may have intuited already, Fireblossom isn't happy today. In fact, she is blue, blue as the ocean deep. (omg...hackneyed!). I feel about as chipper as a snail in a salt mine. As light-hearted as a homophobe on an Olivia cruise. Okay, let's do this happiness thing.




1. CHOCOLATE. Duh. My very favorites are Girardelli brownies with chocolate chips in them. Better than sex. Better than drugs. Better than anything.




2. CSI: Miami. Okay, about one episode in ten is too gory/weird for me and I can't watch it. I am really such a cupcake sometimes. BUT, Eva Larue is on this show, as CSI Natalia Boa Vista, and she is just so so sooooooo, omfg. Erudite, aren't I? I also like Horatio (Ho-ray-shee-o, Scarlet. LOL) Cane. David Caruso plays him. I love the way some bozo will run away through thirteen buildings, jump in a speedboat, crash onto the beach thinking he's gotten away, and there will be Horatio, standing there with his hands on his hips and his sunglasses on, saying, "Mister X. We meet again." How cool is that man? Very cool, class. I also like Eric. Yep, it's true, I do. And ya just GOT to like Calliegh Duquesne. She's one southern belle who will take you down, clown. Oh yeah!




3. Bosco, my dog. The handsomest, smartest, most loyal, bravest, best companion the world has ever known. Mama may be the tiniest bit biased. But still!




4. Music. I just this very day received a Leonard Cohen tribute cd from the incomparable Daryl. Thank you, Ma'am! I have loved music from the time I was a tiny child. I drove my family insane. I would pluck out 78s from my father's old collection (which he never played in my lifetime), and when I found one I liked, I would play the living bejesus out of it, until someone removed me bodily from the vicinity of the record player. I still have some of my own first LPs: Mary Hopkin, Rita Coolidge, Sarah Kernochan, Tim Buckley, Janis Joplin, It's A Beautiful Day. My late father (do ya know how much i love ya, Daddy? Do ya?) refused to buy me "that sort of music" when I asked for a Beatles album at age eleven, but he would bring me home classical stuff and New Orleans jazz. I still like all that stuff. I like everything from Vivaldi to Ultravox. And, you know, the Beatles. *grin*




5. Books. Double duh. Poet, hello. I can still remember my favorite corner of the grade school library. I was partial to Dr. Seuss. And later, biographies. Teddy Roosevelt, Black Hawk, Lafayette. Blame my father again. He used to read American history to me as a bedtime story. The house I grew up in was just filled with books. Occasionally, I would go on scouting expeditions, and I especially liked finding those old "Strange But True" paperbacks. Can you tell? LOL. These days I mostly read fiction written by female authors. Currently I am midway through "Blood Sisters: Lesbian Vampire Tales." What were you expecting? Danielle Steele?




6. Cooking (and eating). I love to cook. It's creative, it's relaxing, it generates wonderful smells and anticipations. Very sensual stuff, food. I love it!




7. Women. I love to be around other women. I love the feminine energy, the way women express themselves, the way we look at the world, the devil in a great many of us, too. All of my life, women have made sense to me. Men, not so much. There is one woman who completely loses me, though, and I think it's mutual. We love each other, but warily, from across a great chasm. Hi Mom.




8. Nature. So beautiful she is. Some of you, like Talon, capture her so well with a camera, that it takes my breath away. And, of course, the best thing is to take a walk with the Lady herself. I love to lose myself on a nature trail, or to sit by moving water. I love to hear the birds or watch different creatures go about their business. Living in Michigan, where we have four distinct seasons, Mama Nature can be quite the show off. Strut, woman! At the risk of sounding repetitious, my father was a great lover of nature, too. I hope they have cabins in Heaven.




9. Snark. (see #7). Witty women with an edge rule. I don't even mind if it's aimed at me. But, you know, the misfortunes of others are always the most amusing, dahling.




10. Scents. Agreeable scents are one of life's great joys, to me. Candles, food, clean laundry, little ones you love, flowers, spices. Sniffffffffffffff.




11. Breaking rools. Breaking rools makes me soooooooooo happyyyyyyy! But still. I'm blue today. Everything sucks. No one likes me. Where's the chocolate?


________

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Vampire Hunter



The Vampire Hunter hides in the shadows of a doorway,

Like a crucifix hung on the wall of some mothball priest's gloomy wood-paneled office.

He kisses the silver cross he wears around his neck.

All his life,

He has waited for this moment.

The years of training and study,

The hardships,

The self-denial and renunciation of women,

Vice,

And all things secular and sensual,

Culminate now.


The Queen Of The Vampires is walking towards him, down the sidewalk.

Her leather boots, her pea coat, her scarlet scarf and mittens,

All identify her,

For he has studied her.

Year upon year, through the miserable, solitary evenings, he has learned her ways

So that he might kill her

And find favor with God.


Now she is nearly within his grasp! He can see her, almost feel her, falling fatally into his trap.

Her heightened senses are distracted because she is listening to Morrissey on her ipod. The song is "All The Lazy Dykes."

She is dreaming of the latte she will get at Danny's Coffee Shop, two blocks away.


Giddy with anticipation, The Vampire Hunter is incredulous when a truck pulls up and a dark haired woman shouts,

"Heyyyy! How ya doin'?"

His eyes bug out and he gestures frantically for her to go away.

"Listen, dude, would ya like to buy some Girl Scout cookies? How about it?"

They must be able to hear her in the next county. How can this be happening?


The QOTV stops in her tracks and waits as the truck screeches in reverse and backs up beside her.

The Dark Haired Chick, for it is none other, purrs,

"Thin mint?"

The QOTV grins and gets in.

They head for Danny's.

Both women blow a kiss to the Vampire Hunter as they speed past.


At Danny's, Chloe is idly scanning the free newspapers by the door as the QOTV and the D.H.C. blow in.

"Hey girl," says the D.H.C.

The QOTV winks.

"Bitch-es," says Chloe, in a clipped accent, as if she were a maitre'd saying, "La-dies."

Then she casually reaches over and turns the lock on the door, just as the Vampire Hunter comes running up.

He pounds on the glass, nearly foaming with frustration.

Chloe goes back to reading her StreetBeat.

Denise, the waitress, is on her smoke break, and she squints at him through a cloud,

As if he were some odd fish flopping about on the sidewalk.


However, there is at least one tender heart in every room, and God walks over to the door and slips outside.

"Sucks to be you," She says.

"What?" he asks, wheezing like a leaky tire.

"Stop stalking my girls," says God, and with that, two beautiful angels descend from Heaven and carry the Vampire Hunter away with them.

Later, they deposit him in some guy's soy bean field.


Sometimes, even the best laid plans go awry,

And that is why

It is best to approach all endeavors with a certain flexibility,

And also, whenever possible,

A grande mocha from Danny's in a to-go cup.

_______


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recipe



A kitchen is a fine place to hatch a plot.

I will be your confederate--

The most agreeable evil

You ever met.


The sun falls through the curtains

Like fingertips on skin,

As we bring out the magicks--

Sugar,

Flour,

Cinnamon.


We work as if we were zealots

In basements, printing up pamphlets,

For the purblind left, or the palsied right--

Except that we are subversives

Of a different stripe.


We will lull them,

Make them lazy--

Say there's no more,

Make them crazy;


Then, when they are helpless,

We shall withdraw and decide our demands--

They shall be many,

And capricious;

Not from need, these wicked plans, but simply because

We can.

______
Art by Pablo Picasso

Monday, January 18, 2010

Novena For A Nonce Word



Every hopeless cause has its adherents--

Spouting doubletalk,

Holding down day jobs.


Look at old Zeus, with his television and his Tylenol--

While Athena

Does what she will,

Out all night

With her owl to guide her home down the flagstones in the morning.


It is some kind of holiday--

Bastille Day, or

Crow's Easter, who knows?

It isn't true that photographs steal souls,

But time does.


Let others riot in the streets--

All women hold the hours in their hands,

And so it is wise to kiss her wrists,

Her hip,


Hold the shell in your fingers,

Taste the halved apple,

Preserve her name on a silver chain around your throat, and if she remembers you

Tomorrow,

Next week,

Next year,

You will own a delicious secret;


Remember it when you are old and invisible,

Sweeping the flagstones in the morning as Athena goes lightly past,

Someone's name on her lips

As yours once was--


Crone,

Our Lady Of Impossible Causes,

Is it so unlikely to think that

Someone, somewhere

Still lights a candle

For you?

_______

Canada




Canada becomes belligerent.


Led by Wayne Gretzky, the aggressive new expansionist regime sends its armies pouring across the border into Minnesota.


So many Lutherans!


The land of ten thousand lakes becomes the new Poland, overrun by its neighbor and vanquished in a week.


Truth be told,


The Minnesotans barely look up from their hockey games,


Most of them believing they were already Canadian anyway.




Moose peer out of the woods, amazed!




Next, the Gretzkyist government in Ottawa sets its sights on Michigan.


The White House, occupied elsewhere, shrugs.


The RCMP rounds up the governor and her cabinet;


A kangaroo court is convened.


The mayor of Detroit escapes by night, with the help of his disgraced predecessor.


Investigating agents, sent in from Toronto,


Discover that the Red Wings are actually Swedish!




Apple pie is banned.


Donuts appear everywhere!




Canada, shrouded in snow and mystery,


Is a riddle to most Americans.


The invaders, with their strange accents, mobilize from Detroit,


Which they call "Detroy-it."




Ohio trembles.




Exotic French-speaking women, wearing half the creatures of the forest around their shoulders,


Hypnotize the world and neutralize resistance.




Can anything stop the Canadians?




Americans, driven nearly mad at the prospect of having nothing but "The National" to watch at ten o'clock,


Wonder,


Will Cincinnati fall?


Atlanta?


Will Miami be annexed and renamed New Hamilton?




Gretzky gloats.


The White House wobbles but does not fall down.


In Detroit, the puppet government reports temperatures in centigrade.


Confusion!


Upheaval!


Queen Elizabeth on the money!


Loonies resting in every palm.




Regardez! La guerre est ici!

__________

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Danny's



A large, older man walks in the employee entrance at the back of Danny's Coffee Shop,

And in a voice like an old tractor starting up, says,

"Good morning, ladies."


"Good morning, Dannyyyyy!" they sing back.

God, hurrying past with an order, stops to plant one on his cheek.

She lifts her heel as she does this.


Being kissed by God is a fine way to start the day.


Another waitress, Denise, chirps, "Hi Hot Stuff!" as she whizzes by.

So much caffeine!


The man's name is really Dmitri Danzipopoulos, but everyone just calls him Danny.

He is 72 years old.

Although he is Greek, his place does not serve gyros.

But the coffee,

Oh the coffee,

Is like lightning light on satin sheets;

It makes your eyes go wide like a cat's, when the nip mouse comes out.


He makes his way into the shop and sees the Succubus.

"You were in my dreams last night," he tells her.

"Is that so?" says the Succubus, the corner of her mouth turning up ever so slightly.

"That's right." His voice is like that of a chain-smoking rhinoceros.

He adds,

"You were a nun."

The Succubus snorts.

"You wanted me to go with you to the horse track, but I wouldn't. I was too pious." He drawls out the last word.

The Succubus laughs.

Have you ever seen a laughing succubus? They're rare.

"Fuck you," she says, sipping her latte, but she's smiling.

"Some talk for a nun."


Then he spots the Queen Of The Vampires curled up on the end of the counter.

"Get off there, you mangy cat!" he growls.

She wakes up and snarls, swiping at him with her fearsome claws, missing his nose by only the width of a coffee stirrer.

He doesn't flinch. "And you owe me for two new booths."

"Rowww," she says, which means, "I lub you, you old coot."

Vampire Queens rarely speak this way to anyone.


Once, a Starbuck's opened up across the street.

There were problems from the start, as if supernatural forces were arrayed against it.

The night of the big fire, Chloe was seen walking across the road, or really, sort of half dancing.

Anyone close enough would have heard her singing, in her cool clear voice,

"Start me up..."

Chloe bears not the slightest resemblance to Mick Jagger,

But she likes his songs.


The little bell above the door rings, and here comes the mail.

As she sets Danny's letters next to the cash register,

God, Denise, the Succubus, the QOTV, and Chloe all go,

"Thanks, Shayyyyy!"

"wOOt!" thinks Shay.

Danny's Coffee Shop is her favorite delivery.

____

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Toothache



The Queen of the Vampires has a toothache.

For her,

This is a serious matter.


She manages to find a dentist with evening hours, and presents herself at the reception window.


The Queen of the Vampires is accustomed to people reacting to her presence with a certain fascinated fear;

They tremble,

They plead.

They swoon.


A bored middle-aged woman slaps a clipboard down in front of her, and in an annoyingly nasal voice, says,

"Fill these out, honey."


People do not call the QOTV "honey."

They do not require her to fill out forms,

But her throbbing tooth induces her to sit down in one of the awful plastic chairs and begin.


She only gets as far as "age" before there is a problem.

Are they serious?

She skips it and moves to the next line.

Occupation? Vampire Queen.

How long at current position?

Fuck.

Fuckety fuck fuck fuck.


The QOTV goes back to the window and says, softly, "I want to be seen now."

The receptionist fails to consider her reply carefully enough,

And now the dentist will be hiring again, though he does not know it yet.


The QOTV shape-shifts into a black panther and moves sinuously through the inner door.

She sits down in front of the patient and licks her black lips with her surprisingly harmless-looking pink tongue.

Then she lets out with a heart-stopping feline scream.


Have you ever heard someone with dental apparatus in their mouth scream back?

Have you ever heard a novocained person say, "Holy shit! A fucking panther!"?

It sounds like this:

"Oh ee ih! A ucki anha!"


Then she finds herself alone.

~sigh~


The dentist had tried to run, like Ucki Anha Man had, but the QOTV did her best to persuade him to stay.

If only she could have resisted the instinct to shake him in her jaws.

(ouch.)

She is going to need a new dentist.


The QOTV, beside herself with frustration, goes running out of the building and onto the night sidewalk.

Turning dramatically and striking a terrifying pose in front of a woman walking by,

The QOTV lets loose with another blood-curdling feline scream.


"Pussy pussy," says the Dark Haired Chick, for the passerby is none other.

She reaches and scratches under the QOTV's chin.

"What's up, bee-yatch?" she asks, smirking.


These two are friends.


"Danny's?" says D.H.C. with a tilt of her head.

"Rowww," replies the QOTV, almost like a housecat. This means, "I'm so there."

They go in.

God is waitressing tonight.

She looks at the QOTV and says, "Kitty kitty."

She looks at the D.H.C. and asks, "Get the dishes done?"


The QOTV and the D.H.C. grab a booth, and the QOTV immediately begins contentedly tearing up the upholstery on her side with her fearsome claws.


God brings two coffees.

"Rowww," says the QOTV. This means, "Mommy, my tooth hurts."


"Well let me see..."

Two seconds later, the toothache is gone.

(God is a fine dentist.)


The QOTV rolls over on her back in the booth, switching her tail in the air and going, "Row row rowwwr row,"

Which means,

"I killed that fucking dentist, the one with all the stupid forms."


"Bad kitty!" say God and the D.H.C. in unison,

But they don't mean it.

_______
Photograph: Jordana Brewster


Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Aloha And A Rogues' Gallery!















Lambs, listen to this! (oops...wrong blog!). The warm and wise Cloudia, authoress, blogger and friend to be treasured, has honored me with mention in a post today! After a stint with my head stuck firmly inside the freezer, to take the swelling down, I just had to share it with you, my readers.



In her post, Cloudia talks about 60s poet Rod McKuen. I came to his books just a little after the fact, in the 70s, and I loved them. Okay, I admit, I liked the glorious women in the photographs that went with the poems, too, with their long straight hair. There I was, furiously taking notes on what they were wearing, when I managed to read the poems as well. I can still recite some of them from memory. The thing is, Rod McKuen was not a "serious" poet. How many of you read serious poets? Show of hands? Anyone? Thought not. What he managed to do was speak to people, to their hearts. I thought, that's what I want to do. I want to write something people will read and say, ah, I have felt like that, too.


When I was young, long long ago, when great reptiles ruled the earth, I loved my music. I have recently posted all about my discovery of the amazing Laura Nyro. Around that same time, I heard a song called "Suzanne" that simply took me to another place, the way the best songs do.


"Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river,

You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night beside her..."


These sensual lyrics were written by a Canadian named Leonard Cohen, who is also an award winning poet. Kind friends have compared me to Leonard Cohen, and also to Rod McKuen. Both comparisons please me immensely. Except for the man part. I do hope I look better in a skirt than they do. It's a close call. ;-)


In the 1980s, I reinvented myself, or perhaps more accurately, was given the divine grace to be reinvented, sober this time. My idol then, and evermore, was and is Joan Jett! Serious attitude, fem powa, you name it, she's got it.


"Ohhh....now I don't hardly know her...
But I think I could love her..."


Yes I know Tommy James wrote "Crimson & Clover." But Joan recreated it, better. I have always tried to keep Joan Jett in my heart, and not give a damn about my bad reputation! Amen.

But I'm a poet. So back to poetry. When I was 17, I walked over to the Little Professor Book Store in Birmingham, and dug up a softcover book of poems by a man named Grover Lewis, called "I'll Be There In The Morning If I Live." I sat outside on the library lawn and read it cover to cover and loved poetry from that moment, and "beat" poetry in particular, for years after that.


Fast forward to August, 2007. I visited the Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. I had begun writing poetry again the year before, after twenty years of losing touch with it. Standing in the very room where she slept, composed, and dreamed, I felt her there. I mean that I felt that she was specifically aware of me being there and knew me. I can't explain any better than that. It was a transcendent experience, one of those things one is blessed with only a very few times in a lifetime. I have felt the spirit of Emily near me many times since then. It's undeniable and precious.

So there is some more about how this poet arrived at this place in this lifetime.

Once again, thank you Cloudia, for thinking of me with your post today. You are a gem and I love you.

Shay