The most interesting compliment

so far, I think, that I’ve ever received came from a man a bit older than me, I’d put him 60-ish. He’s a badass yogi who comes to my classes pretty often with his gorgeous wife, girlfriend, lover… they have different last names yet seem dedicated to each other, qualities I appreciate.

“I have the weirdest thoughts when I listen to your voice with my eyes closed,” he said after class recently.  Yikes? Wait-

“Today I thought:  this is how I want to die. I want to take ayahuasca in a hospice and listen to you talk me through to the other side.”

 

 

 

Falling in Love

with my neighborhood.  A much loved neighborhood, not hard to love, but hard for me to love, because I’ve been investing all my energy in wishing to be elsewhere.  Far.

Tonight I walked my dog in the temperate mist, hazy moonlight pressing through clouds. The streets were quiet but not dead.

The alleys are magical.

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I was able to procure a well-made baguette at a shop where the clerks greeted me warmly by name, gave me a discount even, because my son worked there for a minute last fall.

The air on that block always smells amazing thanks to the bakery across the street.  Always cinnamon, always sweet.

Passing the firehouse, a small group approached from the opposite direction; two couples, two children.  I noticed the children first as they ran ahead laughing, twirling shirtless in leggings and rain boots.

Are you Abigail?  The younger of the men asked me.  I’m Andy Brown, he said.  Jingle Ball, Club de Ville and all that.

I remembered him immediately and even recognized his wife Sara(h?) who I’ve met exactly once, about 7-8 years ago.  Isn’t it weird what we keep?

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Bukowski

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RAR accepted my poem “Call in the Ents”, and shortlisted it for their Charles Bukowski Poetry Prize!

Unlike most, I came to Bukoswki not via Ham on Rye (that followed soon enough) but rather Hollywood, recommended by a film professor I admired.  She was Chinese, with a soothing accent and a down-to-earth glamour that included casual name drops (“I was talking to Wim on the phone the other night…..  Bianca was over, we were sharing a pizza…”).

In high school I’d stumbled upon the Warhol Diaries and was instantly hooked.  The combo of catty gossip, weird details about daily food intake, and high art was somehow irresistible.   Marty and Liza appearing on his doorstep all coked up after he’d arrived home via taxi ($5.70) and was ready for bed…  too delicious.

Warhol died his existentially sickening hospital accident death the same year the film “Barfly” came out.  I was a big Faye Dunaway* fan and especially loved her in this one for being “old,” drunk in a way that women weren’t really supposed to be, and not always pretty.   Hollywood came into my life soon after, contextualizing the film and a perfect fit to fill the lonely gap left by the Diaries.

It took me down the Bukowski rabbit hole; eventually I plowed through most of his fiction (those satisfyingly thick paper covers, a bit expensive, but worth saving for or seeking out second hand) and landed on his poetry.

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This is one of the pages I’d at some point dog-eared from  Love is a Dog From Hell.  The circumstances long escape me, and the book itself was hard to locate on my shelf.

It was stacked rather randomly between Kafka/Calvino and a three-channel video installation I’d made in the early 90’s called There’s a Last Time for Everything, title taken from a series of cautionary billboards along the highway between Vegas and the Hoover Dam.  Further complicating things, that part of the shelf was hidden behind this framed 8×10 photo of my parents (unmarried at the time but enmeshed  in a longterm , Mad Men-style secretary-boss affair) at Coney Island in 1959, ten years before I was born.

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By coincidence, “there’s a last time for everything” reappears in my “Ents” poem, though not by accident.  I think about those billboards quite a lot.

      *Mickey Rourke, not so much, though he was inarguably great in Barfly.  I met him once at a club in NYC; he was shifty and sketchy.  I was hanging out with a friend/potential boyfriend; a rich, socially plugged-in black kid — a film school connection?  He was taking a meeting with Mickey in a green room and brought me along (via limo with champagne), trying to impress each of us, I imagine.  I was having none of it. 

West Texas

While dreaming of a road trip to the Pacific Ocean, I made it only as far as West Texas.  But you know how it goes: you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.

I glamped, I camped, I made myself jump off the high dive at Balmorhea (terrifying for a height wimp like myself).  I climbed the highest mountain in Texas.  I drove through ranch land recently purchased by Jeff Bezos to use as the base for his space stuff. I shot billiards at a matriarchal dive in Van Horn.

I worked out some new yoga sequences to teach.

And I wrote, a LOT.

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