(TOUCH): synonym

Posted: May 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

(brush) light fingers through my hair. let your tongue

(caress) warm on my skin. make a lovely

(collision) of ragged breath when your lips make

(contact) with mine. And I can

(feel) the

(graze) of a denim clad cock on my thigh as it

(gropes) for purchase against me. The way you

(handle) my laughter in your mouth as our lips

(join) makes me

(nudge) a little closer to the

(pressure) of your hips.

(push) past a pair of moistly thinned panties.

(rub) tighter on my thigh and

(scratch) the fabric from between my legs. You always

(stroke) tight inside me with a breath that

(tap) dances apologies into my ear. I can

(trace) your ear with my tongue and your smile with a finger every time you come in

(contact) with me.

It had nothing to do with privilege – no reasoning when it came to class or caste.

It wasn’t the green/greed of money or envy.

It was the green and gray of over-the-table-tinted eyes.

 

He was neither Old World, nor Nouveau Riche.

He was neither richer, nor poorer.

 

It had nothing to do with his wallet clip or car.

It was the suit.

 

“I like the way you’re looking at me.” He was nearly smug and it straightened the line of her neck.

 

“I look at the waiter in the same fashion. You, sir, project your own desire.”

 

“I do not project.” Oh, but he did. Even as he spoke its negation.

And the weakness in the argument he gave was as much a white flag as she’d ever witnessed. She gave him a gentleman’s surrender and just smiled.

 

The turn of a barely-haired-but-strong wrist was making a curve toward his wine glass and the cup of his palm against its roundness was a preview of the way he would cup a curve on one of her breasts. He lifted the glass and tugged invisibly at her hips, inching under the table so that the hem of her linen skirt lassoed on her thighs. His tongue inched the glass lip searching for hers.

 

She pinned her eyes upon the cufflinks that buttoned closed his sleeves. “Why do I think of policemen when I see a man in a suit?”

 

He sputtered the wine away, using the free hand to lift and wipe the evidence along. “Excuse me?”

 

“Why do I think of – ” She stopped the repetition of the question when he waved her off.

 

The gray-green (blue, was there blue?) of his eyes sparkled darker, “Uniforms?”

 

“No.” she merely shrugged bare shoulders, “Because sometimes the polyester of a policeman’s uniform rubs the same as the cut of a well tailored suit.”

 

He squinted. “Which means?”

 

“Cat tongue on the skin.”

 

The swell of his throat proved the swallow he made was thick and hard, plunging down, “Who’s projecting now?”

 

She only smiled and reached two tight fingers to the trim of his suit jacket, “I do not project.”

 

 

Oh, but she did.

And later when she laced her hands into his, lifted above her pressed-back head, he gave her a gentleman’s surrender.

If I were to ask you where The Oak Room was…you probably wouldn’t be able to tell me. Or, rather, if I asked many of the people I deal with day to day where The Oak room used to be…they still wouldn’t be able to tell me.

And I think that’s a damn bloody disgrace. Please, head on back to your English teacher and tell him/her that they’ve done you a great disservice. In fact, I’m going to tell BOTH nephews to go say exactly that to Mister Donald Frisk of Odessa, New York. You sir, while teaching me most everything else I know, missed one very important thing…

The Oak Room, The Round Table, The Vicious Circle, The Algonquin Hotel, early 1920s- mid 1930s.

The Oak Room: a dining room in

The Algonquin Hotel: wherein there was a

(The) Round Table: at which routinely sat

The Vicious Circle: also known as many authors, playwrights, poets, journalists, actors and theatrical masters of the 1920s.

Lemme know if any of these names ring-a-ding a brain bell: Franklin Adams, Harpo Marx, Frank Case, Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Tallulah Bankhead, Harold Ross, Ruth Hale, George Kaufman, Peggy Wood, and on, and on, and on…

The Vicious Circle began as a boomtime joke and became an early twenty-first century monu-moment to modern educated authors, playwrights, and entertainers. The hotel itself has become a historical landmark in Manhattan simply because of the presence of these artists. Sure, they weren’t the Hemingways and Fitzgeralds of their era… But am I? Are you? No… we’re just people who dabble in art and like getting together with our friends to tell stories and jokes and poetry and prose.

Their respected contemporary, journalist H.L. Mencken, once described them by saying that “their ideals were those of a vaudeville actor, one who is extremely ‘in the know’ and inordinately trashy.”

Um. SIGN. ME. UP.

Oh, my friends, how else do I describe them? Okay…hmmm. Let me put it in terms that most of you can quickly and easily understand: the Starbuck’s in the local Barnes & Noble? The authors that used to be painted on the walls? That’s an artistic homage to the Algonquin Round Table. Got it? Good.

Now… Now the owners of the hotel are shutting down the room that started as a salon and became a cabaret. The table is no longer there and the want of money, and more money, and even more money, has put a burned-out bullet-hole in the paper history of artistic expression in America.

Admittedly, I do not (yet) have the knowledge or experience to speak more on the subject. So, I will leave it to Wolfgang Nebmaier, the gracious surviving husband of Greta Keller (the woman who navigated the opening of The Oak Room) to explain why, as a nation, we shouldn’t be closing up and killing off the old avenues of our rich literary and theatrical history…

“The main reason to sign this [petition] and address the issue is the fact that what made this country (the US) great isn’t corporate bottom lines but the courage and authenticity to get up and do something – without a safety net.

Authenticity, courage, heart, that is what cabaret means, any of it, be it the vaudeville revues or the European caustic political cabaret or the true night club live performing artistry. You never know, night after night.

Another reason for me to sign this petition is because the Oak Room isn’t in Juno, Alaska but in New York City. Cabaret is theatre, and theatre is New York City… Let’s put it this way: Without New York, there wouldn’t be a “Chicago” (which I experienced previewing, ironically, in Philadelphia).

Frankly, without New York, there would be no Hollywood(land) either.

And it’s all about the love for an audience that makes a performer go through hell, stage fright, make-up, night after night, not to mention the mere factual troubles, it is love, not a bottom line.”

Mr. Nebmaier makes a grand point, my friends. At one point in early American history New York City was the capital of the entire nation. Toronto and Montreal will both have it out for me when I say that it still IS the home of North American theatre… I must point out that our theatre, as well as our cinematic adventures, more often than not come from books and plays and some of them came from these people. In this place.

This place was a temporary home and safe resting place for the writers you don’t even know that you know… If you even passingly understand modern pop-culture, you’ve heard or seen references to these people without realizing it.

I’m begging you (and, as some of you know, I am a maven of ‘The-Beg-And-Plead’), to sign the petition here:  http://www.change.org/petitions/algonquin-hotel-dont-close-the-oak-room

Now, to be entirely honest, an internet petition really isn’t going to do much… They’ve already labeled the venue as being “CLOSED”. So, no, frantically typing your name in the little boxes just because I asked you to will, probably, not do anything.

But, BE ON RECORD. Publicly declare that you don’t respect money more than art.

Even if it’s only because you think than I’ll think you’re sexier because of it. Because I will, I promise.

Then you can come sit next to me and we’ll make our own inordinately trashy Vicious (Half) Circle, mmmkay?

On Guard

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

She asked me to describe him and at first I didn’t know what words to say. What description isn’t fraught? What description doesn’t unguard this guarded girl? Then…then I told her to imagine her dream wedding.

 Breathe slow and sift to find, in her memory, the one man she knows will be standing at the back of the church silently. Or quietly off the shore-bank of the beach. Leaning in the doorway of the Justice of the Peace.

He isn’t the groom. And not the Best Man.
Lost-Lover-Left-Behind-Heart-Sentry.
The one that still guards you, while pretending you don’t exist…

Think about him…invited but not, leaving before the ceremony is over, out of sight but never gone.

And when her eyes closed and she nodded once, I told her…”That’s him.”.

“I live in America – why do I have to press #1 for English?”

Why? Because you live in The United States of America. That’s why. If you need documentation to support my reasoning please see one of two of the following documents (or both, if you’re feeling dangerous):

1. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America’. Please refer yourself to line 2, which begins “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…”.

2. The ‘Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10)’. Please see the First Amendment which does, in fact, mention that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”.

In case you still need direction, they both imply that people living in this country can speak in any language they want. Even Ebonics or via Eskimo poetry. If I’m in the mood, I can discuss the downfall of modern cinema in Klingon and you can’t do a damn thing about it but put your fingers in your ears and la-la-la louder than me.

In support of that particular ideal (and their bank rolls), many companies have attempted to make their businesses more user friendly (and richer) by giving the public a language option. If you’re too lazy to push a button…what are you doing dicking off on the internet, besides possibly getting your dick off?

 

***

“They came to America, they should learn our language.”

Your language or my language? Or the language the guy next door speaks? Or the language that the drunken grocery cart lady I see on the corner every day speaks? Because that is not anywhere near understandable English.

You know, more often than not, you’re speaking a primarily incorrect dialect of English, which is actually a European language. So I’ll stay here awhile and YOU can leave. You take the high road to merry old England and I’ll meet you…later.

I’m not even properly writing in English right now…and neither are you every time you PUSH BUTTONS to write “lol”, “wtf”, or “k” on the cell phone that has now  fused itself to your palm (when did it change from your dick to your phone? Late nineties? Just wondering.).

– This is entirely beside the point, but I would argue that people living in New England don’t even speak American English…

And the Southern states? Oy vey…

QUESTION: “J’eet some?” = “Have you had anything to eat yet?”

ANSWER: “Naw. J’wanto?” = “Why no, I haven’t. Would you like to have a meal with me?”

Oh, and one more thing? I nominate the person quoted here to be the “American” that goes to Hawaii and tells them to stop speaking Hawaiian ‘cuz now they gotta talk American just like all the other fifty-two states.

(If your brain did not just screech to a halt at least three times during that last sentence then…this entire piece is totally lost on you, isn’t it?)

 

***

“The problem with this country is the immigrants.”

Unless you live on a Native American reservation and you are actually one hundred percent Native American…shut the fuck up. In fact, everyone can shut the fuck up – because no 100% Natives exist.

You see, there was this little tract of land called a “land bridge”. It came aaaaaaall the way from a place that you incorrectly refer to as “Russia”. That’s right…you’re actually a fucking Pinko Commie. Psh. You red bastard… And I thought you were a true-blue-blooded-American.

Well, either that or you’re a Mexican… GASP! MEXICANS!? WHERE!? HOW’D THEY JUMP THE WALL?!

Pssst… Mexicans are “Americans” too. Do I need to provide you with a map of the Western Hemisphere? No worries, friend… I can do that. See below.

HUH. Canadians are Americans, eh? Ayuh. And Nicaraguans. And Brazilians. And Chileans. And people who live in Barbados…

TITUBA WAS AN AMERICAN!!! TITUBA WAS AN AMERICAN!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

(For the people that actually got that joke? I’m sorry. It was lame, I know. But try running down the street yelling “TITUBA WAS AN AMERICAN!!!”. It’s hilarity waiting to happen, I assure you.)

Sorry, I’m sorry. Enough joking around. Here now, for your personal use, is a concise list of people who are NOT classified as some sort of “American”:

– Europeans

– Asians

– Africans (the African kind, not the American kind)

– Australians

– Arctic-Type Peeps

– Penguins (Central Park Penguins are, as we speak, occupying Park Avenue West in an effort to be recognized as “forcibly contained Americans”)

***

Now, obviously, I’m anti-American for having written this. Also probably anti-democracy (because we live in a REPUBLIC!), pro-kinky-sex, pro-towelheads, anti-babies, and anti-Jesus. Also a kike. And more than likely a dyke.

But mostly I’m anti-“American”. And that’s all good, yo… I speak more than one language. Sometimes? Sometimes I push #2 just for fun.

My Pops introduced me to Mel Brooks’ humor very early in life. I think I was probably only around seven or eight when I asked him and my brother if we could rent “History of the World: Part Two” from the video store (yes, VIDEOS. Gasp!). And then they laughed at me… I didn’t understand until years later why that question was funny (and if you don’t understand why it’s funny then you need to educate yourself in campy cinema humor).

Anyhow, I was quoting the most noxious lines from Brooks’ films while aiming up the most innocent of smiles at the most wholesome of church ladies. I’m pretty sure my mother could have killed my father if he hadn’t been trained in physical defense tactics…

There’s one particular scene in one of my favorites, Spaceballs. An overacting Bill Pullman tells his brunette du jour that she can only bring with her what she absolutely, ABSOLUTELY, needs to survive.

Later on we find out that she’s brought a Great Dane sized, industrial strength vibrator…er, no… hair dryer. She brought a hair dryer. 

Now, ignore the satirical commentary on modern female vanity and stick with the line I quoted previously: “Bring only what you need to survive.”

…what do you need to survive?

Besides the obvious, I mean. I don’t want the basic anatomy class answers…

I want to know what you need.

Because I already know what I need…

At least ten things I absolutely, ABSOLUTELY, need to survive.

Art: Making it. Looking at it. Breathing it. Living it.

Banter: I adore witty banter. If you can keep up with me and my friends…you’re golden.

Beauty: There is beauty everywhere. You just have to look.

Books: I cannot live without them. It’s not just the words. It’s tactile. Physical. It’s true love.

Coffee: With cream or black. I don’t care…as long as it’s hot… Or not. Iced is good too.

Language: I speak two languages fluently. I can read four(ish). I know muttered bits of two others. Words are…in my soul.

Romance: I wish that sometimes I didn’t feel like romance was a dead art…

Sin: I love being sinful. That’s why it’s a sin.

Trust: You only lose my trust once. And that’s when I leave.

Work: Being a florist has saved parts of my life. I’m being  perfectly serious.

1. Freda Blanchard
2. Michael “Michelle” Esposito
3. Ellen Perry
4. Sarah Roscher
5. John Gibson
6. Patricia Brown
7. Gertje Turk
8. Judy Lynn Chrisman
9. Sue Lynd
10. Mary Ellen Schanbacher
11. Jack Blanchard
12. Angelo Bartolames
13. Tory Vary
14. Mildred Ellison
15. Orvis Swisher
16. Elsie McCray
17. Karen Carozza
18. Leslie Ameigh Osma
19. Clara Rolfe
20. Tom Nicastle
21. Erik Houseknecht
22. Henry Haight
23. Helen Bassett
24. June Brown
25. Bert Stewart
26. Ann Easling
27. James Johnson
28. Matthew Opdyke
29. Caroline Rexford
30. Mary Crouch
31. Barbara Schanbacher
32. Sarah Stockton
33. Donna Ayers
34. Harriett Reasor
35. Caroline Mead
36. William Berry
37. Elena Richardson
38. Christine Cosgrove
39. James Floyd
40. Lloyd Pierce
41. Amberly Rexford
42. Donald Roberts
43. Earl Fowler
44. Leon Eldridge
45. Mary Turner
46. Richard Hall
47. Elizabeth Parker
48. Rebecca Green
49. Robert Gibbs
50. George Buckley
51. Grace Gaige
52. Eleanor Martin
53. Olive Hammond
54. Jim Elkins
55. Cora Candell
56. Joseph Konopski
57. Peggy Costley
58. Luke Palmer
59. Clara Derrig
60. Linda Fazzary
61. Ray Oliver
62. John Oliver
63. Harry Rice
64. Robert Webster
65. Joan Kifer
66. Josie Moore
67. Judy Smith
68. Pete Mosher
69. Fran Isley
70. Earl Barrett
71. David Wilbur
72. Mary Owen
73. Beth Bailey
74. Gene Olson
75. Elaine Hazlitt
76. Bud Hathaway
77. Stephen Ebert
78. Robert Church
79. Sharie Felix
80. Sandy Dalrymple
81. Herbert Thompson
82. Lynn Marshall
83. Marietta Searles
84. Helen Sortore
85. Lee Houseknecht
86. Debra Dryer
87. Wilma Crout
88. Jeanette Stephno
89. David Heichel
90. Darwin Connelly
91. Evelyn Saunders
92. Margaret O’Grady Phelps
93. Anne Anagnost
94. Jane Mastin
95. Karen Clay
96. Richard Smith
97. Dorothy Huey
98. Janice Ameigh
99. Sharon Ray
100. Jacob Clark
101. Ernie Caldwell
102. Sharlene Snyder
103. Frank Macri
104. Sylvia Finley
105. Frank Fielder
106. Donald Brown
107. Gerald Newell
108. Virginia DeDominick
109. Norman Johnson
110. James Berry
111. Stella Lewinski
112. Sandy Marsh
113. Jennie Meiner
114. Robert Armstrong
115. Grace Huyler
116. Bill Herrick
117. Mary Perrazzini
118. Mabel VanAmburg
119. Pauline Woodford
120. Ann O’Reilly
121. Terry Lampman
122. Keith Cotten
123. William Barnes
124. Charlie Brown

These 124 people have one very important thing in common: they’re dead.

In thirty eight weeks I’ve worked on the funeral flower arrangements for each of these people. It may sound morbid, I suppose, but I keep a notebook at work. It is a list of names, dates, and the arrangements sent…

Each of them had families; mothers, brothers, wives, children or lovers. Two of them were brothers – they hadn’t spoken to each other in years but, strangely, they died on the very same day. One was a young mother, murdered by her ex-lover. One of them choked to death. I personally knew no less than four of them. One of them was my reading teacher -I would be a completely different person if I hadn’t met her. One of them beat the hell out of his wife every night after swallowing down too much whiskey. One of them really is named “Charlie Brown”.One of them crashed his car into someone’s home. Cancer. Heart disease. Old age. Pneumonia. Accidents. Suicides.

Today is the year anniversary of the day my grandparents and uncle were killed in a car accident and I’ve drained my brain for a way to memorialize them… something I could do or say… This list is the best proof I have of any memorial I could build. Sure, I get paid for my work – but the art in it, the skill and emotion – that’s a memorial to them and the other 124 people on this list.

So I’m adding three more names…

Donald Fisher
Arlene Fisher
Brian Fisher

Tomorrow is just another name on the list.