LATER TO THE FAIR with my Jules
how ridiculous to think the lovely, miserable music scratching out of this fifty year old Janis Ian lp would somehow lift my sinking, self pitying, weeping- into- my -morning-coffee spirits above perceived injustices and aged indignation, humiliation, worthlessness…
or that reading MIDNIGHT WATCH by David Dyer, sitting in the anguished heads of those on the Californian thinking they should have, could have done something, anything, to save the Titanic because they saw her rockets, failed to find any bodies, would inspire me to renew some thirty year old belief that my life would be the one to inspire all of mankind to perfection… not the corrupt, other worldy lives of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump…
or that reviewing all decisions made in my life all these many, many years and believing I made the best decisions to be made, given all the variables, would change the gut slashing pain from your sigh of forced tolerance, your slight roll of your eyes, your barely hidden disgust when we talk…
you, the one person who hangs my moon…
oh, how my mother disgusted me at one point in my life, with all her cold, deliberate moves away from all of us while never letting go…her looks, her style, her men, her incredible survival tactics… how I cried each time she visited, then left again…Dad died, she left again, and again, trying to keep it together… life is so rude
oh, and my self-assurance that I was so smart, so worldly, so advanced beyond her…that I understood what she did not…I, who am now the disgusting, old, pain- in- the -neck mother who fucked up royally, but who wants some of your time, who wants an occasional, spontaneous, surprise visit, an invitation to dinner on your patio with you and the kids, who imagines we have such laughs and remember such good times… and that you and my grands love being with me…(and who knows by writing this that I come off like some cliched Jewish mother, damn it…)
they weren’t all bad, were they, the days of our lives? or has your perfect, long-suffering mother-in-law convinced you that it would have been better if I had learned to sacrifice, to live with your father no matter how many slaps or put downs? are her answers better because she stayed with her asshole (I can hear you sigh at that)? I hated leaving you with him, but how can you know (and I, now, imagine) how cowed I was by him? I believed I had to leave to save us both… I believed that with all the idiocy of a twenty-eight-year-old battered wife.
isn’t there one good memory that makes you smile and glad I was/am your Mom?
Maybe not…not today, anyway, as I wait for you to call to say “let’s go to the fair!” (you told me Wednesday we would go today, but it’s eleven already).
I s’pose they may come later, the good memories, when I have no more memory, as when my mom had no more memory, and it was up to me to remember the good stuff…
and I did…
and while I was writing this oozing mess, you were texting me to meet you all at 2 PM to see the last big events and awards…and I can’t wait to get there and see you! and life is good and happy again…and I put on American Woman by the Who loud to celebrate, all the while thinking what a stupid thing to do…HAA
My word, her whisper startled me!
as did the closeness of her eyes magnified by my readers!
“I simply have to share this with you, ” words breathed in utter confidence.
I nod, trying to place her.
“I love to crochet…and I love all the crochet magazines, not just this one I’m holding.”
I cannot back up since we are so close to the counter…
“Well, it is the same every month, every month, in every magazine, see?
She holds it open to me, tapered fingers sliding down the spine,
“See?” dark eyes boring holes in mine.
I see it!
Someone has torn out an entire section of an article!
Someone has had the nerve to rip apart a library magazine, stealing the patterns, no doubt about it. Slight panic…I dart a look back into her eyes, trying to remember if I had done it. Then I remembered I don’t crochet, so…
“I’m going to tell this librarian over here right now. I’m going to tell her.”
slowly inched away, gathered my books, then hurried out the door, barely waiting for the automatic door to open… I do not know which librarian she nabbed.
“Ma’am,” she whispered, “I love to crochet…”
CATT IN SPRINKLER
Emil Catt has no clue
He is not supposed to like the water
Let alone sit like a statue
In the middle of the sprinkler
Soaking it all in.
don’t even THINK about coming in until you are dry, Mister
He is driving now,
Huffing at his mother as he stomps back in the house for whatever it was he forgot.
I cannot resist asking his mother, as I walk by, if he is the famous artist who at the age of five or six sold his oil paintings of trees from their porch one hot summer- gloppy, green leaves, thick, brown trunks and rigid, yellow rays of sunlight squeezed on the canvass- my favorite hanging to this day in my basement amidst other treasures.
That has been a while, she chuckles, pulling on her sunglasses as she smiles, looking back.
Just when did he grow up?
She is tall now,
And winning pageants with her dazzling smile, mile long legs, and elegant demeanor.
I bring out my pictures of her with pigtails and no teeth, recalling how we would sit on my porch having tea parties while waving at her mother from across the street; and how she just knew her daddy would love a silly little dried beef glass with stars around the top she took from the cupboard, wrapped with paper and ribbon, then ran home to give it him.
Her mother laughs remembering how she “yoved yipstick” at age three, and the color “lello.”
When did she grow up?
And how is it we have not changed?