Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Not long ago, I was with a man who called me a Goddess. He told me there was no one more beautiful, more wonderful, more lovely than I. We were like drug addicts together, and our drug of choice was romance.
Carl Jung said that romantic love was designed, among other things, to draw us together for the purpose of procreating, and every few years top news periodicals recycle this headline: Understanding The Science of Love. Although I'm convinced chemistry plays a big part in the pairing of people, I've always rejected the notion that science is the puppeteer, hiding backstage and pulling the strings, that surely matters of the heart are more mysterious than that.
The declarations offered by the man who thought me a Goddess felt like needles in my veins, and they fueled my seemingly insatiable desire to be adored. Every stroke, compliment and whisper in my ear made up for my father's absence, the vacant look in an old lover's eyes, and the string of disappointments I'd suffered since the search for my Knight-In-Shining-Armor first began. I thought the gestures of my beloved were meaningful, but at best they were his feelings in the moment; if they had been meaningful, we could have built a life on words alone.
I know a man who calls Hollywood romance movies "Love Killers," and though it may sound extreme, I think he's right. Every story is an adaptation and a reincarnation of Cinderella, and they add more and more fuel to the romantic fire that burns in most western women. But it's not a real fire, it's more like one of those petroleum-based logs you buy at the grocery store. You don't have to chop a tree or carry the wood. You don't have to cover it in crumpled paper to help it ignite. There is no work to be done, no mess to clean, just poof, like magic, the flames burn eternal.
I've always been a fan of the poet, Pablo Neruda, and anyone who knows me would understand why:
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me all day.
I hunt for the liquid measures of your steps.
I know what it feels like to crave someone, but whereas I once considered these sentiments the essence of passion; raw, untamed and unbridled, I now see them as limited versions of love.
I understand the intense feelings that would make me (or Neruda) go "... hunting for you, for your hot heart, like a puma...," but what I'd rather have is a man who considers my daughter, drinks wine with me while I cook stew, and stands beside me at a funeral. I no longer need him to see my hands as "... the color of a savage harvest...," I just want him to see me as a lover and a friend.
There will always be women younger than me, prettier than me, and smarter than me, but there will never be another me, so why would I want to be something less than me? Why would I want to be a goddess, or a girl in a dream, or a song, or a sonnet? I am already, as we all are, so much more than that.
I used to want a man to knock me off my feet, but now I want a man who inspires me to stand. I used to want a man who would take my breath away, but now I want a man who allows me to breathe. I used to want a man I couldn't live without, but now I want a man... I can live with.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I'm not sure how long it used to take to be carried on horseback from Rome to Florence, or the time it took travelers on the first train. I know that even now, by rail it can be a 3-hour trip, but I'm on the fast track and will be there in just over one.
This theme of running, this theme of time-does it keep getting put before me, or am I looking for it? Am I brave like my mama says, strong like the man who loves me says? Or am I just bailing out when it gets to be too much, and avoiding the mess by changing the view? I know that the point of power is in the present, and that peace can be found in every step, but I can't seem to stop this urge to bust things apart, even when I'm trying to put them together.
I was on the phone with my mother the other day and she asked, “How is your trip?” I laughed and replied, “Well, I brought me with me.”
“And did you think you wouldn't?” she asked. And my answer was true.
“I guess I always think I won't.” I said. “I guess I always hope that when I go away, I will leave me behind.”
I'm not looking for happiness anymore because I have it. I'm not looking for a man anymore because I finally understand how limited they are, as I am limited. I'm not looking for success because I already gave birth to a magical child, and I'm not looking for love because it's already everywhere.
I'm not sure how many more steps I'll take before I reach my final “stazzione,” but while I'm on my way I want to keep boarding trains that go fast to places that are new. And I'm gonna try not to mind that when in Italy, unless I can say something correctly I would prefer not to speak at all, and that when I'm here, like when I'm home, I can cry for obvious reasons as well as reasons that can't be explained.
I just wish I could have more time to breath, more time at peace, more time to sleep and dream of owls, and more time to travel at different speeds. I just wish that when I went away, I could go away, so that when I took me with me... I could take me with me.
Friday, November 18, 2011
There appears to be a lot less sex used in advertising here.
It seems that the men are less vulgar when looking at women on the streets than they are back home. It seems they are far more interested in what's behind a woman's eyes than in the shape of her behind.
The city, the country itself, is so ridiculously beautiful. I mean, it's not like you have to search for beauty here; it's everywhere. So if beauty is everywhere, maybe to the people of Italy, beauty is just a given. Maybe that's why it doesn't have to be manufactured, falsified, cheapened and worshiped.
Just a thought.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
In Spain, people thought I was German, in Argentina, they thought I was Italian, and in Italy, they assume I'm English.
After walking to the Coliseum, I couldn't get in because there was a woman threatening to throw herself off. For one hour I sat and watched as they talked her down, and then I went inside.
In America, taking coffee seems like taking drugs. In Spain and Argentina, taking coffee seems like taking a break, and in Italy, taking coffee seems like taking preventive medicine.
I don't make eye-contact with the men here because at the moment, I am closed in that way. It's okay though-there are so many other things to keep my eyes on.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Traveling far from home, I travel far from home. I stand outside the gates of my house and I see inside. Behind the doors, behind the curtains, under the beds and beneath the floors, I can see what's been hidden, and the things I only thought I'd thrown away.
Two hundred and twenty miles an hour on my way to Rome. I look to my left and see another life, and I remember the first time I ever stepped on foreign ground-how magical it all felt, and how long ago it all was. It was as if I had no idea there was a place on the other side of the world. I couldn't stop smiling then, just to hear the unfamiliar sound of a police siren, or see a traffic sign in a language I could not read.
I look to my left, out onto the Italian countryside, and feel the absence of that magic. And I miss it. I am at ease, at peace and in turmoil at the same time; a state of being that until now has seemed to define most of my life. Grateful for the solitude, sorrow for what is gone, pleased with the woman I've become, yet wishing I were were something else, something better, something more. Longing to feel what I felt in Madrid all those years ago; and always hoping to stumble upon the kind of love I once knew over the course of days almost three years ago.
Traveling far I travel far, and traveling fast I travel fast. All at once I want to leave it behind; my country, my city, my memories; and every undeserving man I gave my gifts to. All at once I want to leave behind me, and take hold of my own hand, and ride this train to Rome at 220 miles an hour until I arrive. I want to close the lids on my green eyes that a lover once kissed, and feel the instant warmth that is a constant because of my child. Then when it all slows down, I want to step off this train and into Rome-into the history and the beauty and the gifts of it all, and into the history and the beauty and the gifts of me.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 03, 2011
I remember a time when I felt born again, not in a God-like way, but in a life-like way. In a way that made walking down the street, drinking hot coffee, and listening to John Coltrane feel new. I remember when I wrote on this blog every little thing I thought, and every little thing I felt, because it was the only way to make a record of it; the only way to have a witness to what was taking place inside and around me.
I felt like a teenager again then, even though I was already grown, married, a mother, and divorced. Everything was loud and fast and unstoppable; passionate, confusing and awake. And I wrote on this blog every day, about the way things are and the way things aren't, and it served as proof that it all happened... just the way it all happened.
I know the slice of moon I saw tonight is the same full moon I've seen before, and I know that the whole self I see tonight is the same slice of self that I once was. And it seems to me that I'm just like the moon; sometimes whole, sometimes parts, sometimes visible, sometimes hidden; but always the same self, and always moving in solidarity and in solitude.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Me: "So let's just pretend we live in Paris."
Annie: "Why would we pretend we live in Paris?"
Me: "I don't know, imagining it just makes the pigeon crapping on the air conditioner feel less disgusting somehow."
Friday, September 30, 2011
but I don't miss cryin' all the time.
I miss his voice, deep and slow,
but I don't miss that he stopped pleasin' me,
like he used to please me.
I miss his hands, soft and strong,
but not their reluctance to hold mine.
I miss his eyes, dark and deep,
but not how he couldn't see me.
I miss the joy on his face when he listened to music,
but not how rarely it seemed he heard the words I spoke.
I miss how he held me close,
sent me songs and told me secrets-
and I miss how he called me lil mama.
Oh how I miss how he called me lil mama.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
"Please," he said. "Is this address I find?"
He spoke in a thick Eastern European accent, and the paper was covered in writing, including the number 606060.
"This doesn't look correct," I said. "Do you know what street you're looking for?"
He didn't reply.
"Do you speak English?" I asked.
"No English," he said. "I Ukraine!"
I took the paper from his hand. No street name, but there was a phone number at the top.
"Is this the phone for the address?" I asked.
He looked at me, again confused, and then said, "Yes! This is number!"
I pulled out my cell phone and dialed, and a woman, also with a thick accent, answered. I handed the phone to the old man, but he didn't want to take it.
"Hello?" I said. 'Do you speak English?"
"Oh yes!" said the woman. "I speak!"
"Well," I continued, "I'm standing on the corner of Bennett Avenue and 192nd Street with a Ukrainian man. Is he your friend?"
"Oh yes!" she exclaim. "I'm happy, so thank you if you bring him to me, please you bring him now."
She gave me the address, but I hesitated for a moment. Her building, number 60 (not 606060), was a mile out of my way and I was headed to meet my daughter after school. But I hung up the phone and told the old man to follow me; I would take him to find his friend.
We walked together in silence for some time, and when we approached a flock of pigeons drinking from a puddle of rain water, Honey shot forward, sending them into flight. The dog appeared pleased with herself as she watched the birds take to the sky, and the old man laughed.
"How long have you been in the United States?" I asked.
"Four days!" He said. "I come from Ukraine four days! I never was before New York!"
"I have 89 years!" he said proudly.
"89 years? That's incredible!" I said, and it was.
He moved quickly, fluidly; I watched his feet hit the ground, each step strategically missing the holes and cracks that would cause a much younger person to trip, or fall.
Honey spotted a squirrel and ran ahead on the leash. The old man laughed again and slapped his leg.
"In Ukraine, I have big park!" he said.
"My dog is Chinese," I said.
The old man didn't understand.
"My dog is from China," I said.
The man smiled, "Oh! China! Good!"
"I speak Russia!" said the old man.
"My grandmother was Russian," I replied. "She used to say to me, 'Te Kratsavitsa. Ya lu butbya."
"I understand!" said the old man, and I hoped he also understood the part about my grandmother because if not, I just called him beautiful and declared to him my undying love.
As we crossed streets and turned corners, I imagined how everything so familiar to me must look so unfamiliar to him. I began pretending I was in a foreign country, seeing with new eyes the old bodega, the brown-skinned boys shooting hoops, the deep red of a New York City firetruck.
When we arrived at our destination, I told the old man what button to press on the elevator and what floor to exit. But he looked at me as if I were speaking, well, English, so I slipped Honey under my arm and boarded the elevator with him.
When the front door opened of the old woman's apartment, the friends laughed and embraced. I made my introduction then said goodbye, but already the door was closing and the two were escorting me inside.
"You stay! Said the woman, her round body wrapped tightly in a floral apron. You have tea, we thank you now!"
"I really have to get going," I started to say, but I could see that not celebrating with them would be a sign of disrespect.
The familiar blue sky was right outside the window as we all sat down at the kitchen table. We drank hot tea with sugar and ice, and ate powdered cookies from an ornate tin can. I held Honey in my lap, and as the old man and woman talked, I listened to the sounds of their language and tasted the sweetness of their tea. I imagined I was the stranger in a strange land, just down the street from where I lived, and a million miles from home.
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Monday, September 05, 2011
Friday, September 02, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
"Excuse me, Miss! You dropped something!"
I looked behind me but there was nothing there.
"You dropped something!" he repeated. I looked back again but still saw nothing.
"What did I drop?" I asked.
He smiled. "You dropped my heart!"
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Don't be with a man one day longer than the day you look in the mirror and see that your radiance is gone.
Do remember the beauty and sweet moments you shared with a man who came into your life and touched your heart.
Friday, July 01, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I watched her poorly painted toes and her perfect pink nails, and when she stirred I snuggled up behind her the way I used to when she was born. Only now our bodies together were a variation of the way they once were. Back-to-back we slept when she was new, and back then, each time I woke and rolled over, I couldn't believe the gift waiting there for me, again.
This morning, as she rested her long legs and her feet sore from high heels, I pressed my mouth against the pale skin on her neck and breathed in. But all I could smell was hairspray, and I smiled at the recollection of only a few short hours ago, when I treated each curl just hoping they would hold.
I tried again to find her scent but couldn't, and as we lay together in the heat, under the click and swoosh of the ceiling fan, I whispered, "You're my favorite person."
"You, too," she whispered her reply with ease, then lifted her hand to rest it on mine.
I didn't love you better back then, I thought to myself. But I miss holding you in my arms. You weren't more beautiful than you are right now, but I miss freely kissing your face. I wasn't happier when you were small, I just long to sing to you like I did-and watch your eyes close, and see your hands the moment you slip into sleep, and smell your sweet baby skin, and believe that time will stand as still as those perfect curls we so painstakingly, and so joyfully made together.