Anatomy of an Apology

I wish I had pulled the wings
Off your poisoned apology
When it came fluttering in
So unexpectedly,
Soft as butter in a boiled sun.
But it was so lovely,
Spun in delicate glory,
With colorful backstory;
I held out my hands,
Everything forgiven.

Apologies from men
Have been rare as Monarchs,
And I breathed in that golden dust
From your I’m sorry like a drug,
More potent than the heady bliss
Of your up against the brick wall kiss.
As bruised clouds slid past
The last light of that languorous day,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry
You whispered in sticky magnificence,
Sucking me into a sugar net seduction
I should have shot down.

I wish I had heard how hollow
Your sham regrets rang,
How they held no tomorrow,
Instead of feeling hypnotized
By the Blue Morpho
Of your eyes.
But it had been so long…
And you’re a charismatic guy;
That apology trapped me tight
In the crystal jar of your lies.

But only once:
When the glass breaks,
It shatters.
No molten gold
Can hold
Your broken soul together.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Unexpected

Graveyard Shift

Harold and I played Hangman whenever the computer went down. We’d form our linear skeletons on the backs of garbage printouts, sometimes adding fingers and toes to make the game last longer. When the analysts arrived, rumpled and muttering, we’d keep on playing as they typed in secret codes and yawned. We pretended not to listen as they devised new evacuation plans. Soon they’d tramp upstairs, arguing about the Redskins, and we’d drink pale, watery chocolate in that cool, grey-tiled basement. If they didn’t bring the system up, we’d play all night, plucking colorful, exotic words from the marshy reaches of our minds. Once, Harold kissed me by the printer and his warm breath swept my lips like feathers. As I moved away, the empty screens glowed like dark emeralds.

[originally written in 1989]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Screen

Swimming Alone on an Empty Stomach

I’ve been swimming alone
For a long time…
The water
First too cold
Now sublime;
I slide,
I glide
Through the darkness
Blind.
My wounds smoothed over
Are all on the inside–
When I bump up against you
All buttery sleekness
There’s nothing to hold onto,
No pain,
No weakness.
Two circling seekers
Float on unmolested,
Swallowed by the vastness,
No point of connection.
Bubbles of potential
More or less indifferent,
While stars shine beyond
This sea of solipsis.

[from Depth Perception]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Smooth

The Abyssinian

Watching Tasha watching me:
Her ears scoop up every sound
Like twin satellite dishes.
Whiskers twich, and she waits
On the knife-edge of sensation.
Round eyes glow
Like topaz stones;
I suspect she knows
The secrets of the universe.

But I don’t think Tasha ponders
Modern problems
Or ancient philosophy.
She breathes cat-perfect morality:
Instincts equal ethics.
Body and soul are one;
Judgments dance in flawless rhythm.
She knows how high she can jump,
And which window gets the strongest sun.

[originally written 12/07/1988]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Instinct

The Search for Nuance

The search for nuance
Came up nil–
Not a single folder spilled
Out a poem or post
In all these years,
Not even a ghost;
No evidence I ever
Used a subtle, filmy
Delicate negligee
Of a word,
A mysterious trail of lace,
Leaving a coy, flirtatious trace,
Instead of my usual
Bludgeons of bluntness.

But it is this, dammit, I scream:
Can’t you see?
My shrieks echo ’round the mountain,
But Narcissus long ago
Fell into the stream,
And everyone else has
Packed up their picnics
And gone home…
It looks like rain.

It’s time to stop yelling, Paula;
Whisper your pain
To the slowly swirling clouds.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Nuance

The Story of The Thing

Every year, for many years, I have had a standing order for The Thing via Mega Corp. This year was no different, except that I found The Thing for one-third the price on Amazon. Since Mega Corp was late in sending The Thing anyway, I called them and said hey I’m gonna order The Thing on Amazon from now on, so don’t send it, ‘k?  I got Mega Product Support on the phone, who said I needed to email Mega Customer Service to deal with this, so I did that.

Mega Customer Service said nope, sorry. See, unless you notify us by such and such a date, we must ship out The Thing. We can’t communicate with Mega Shipping after that date. But what we can do is this… send us the Amazon info, to prove to us you really did find it for less, yada yada, and we’ll send you a return label. When you receive The Thing, just pop it back in the mail and we will pay for return shipping.

I sent Mega Customer Service the Amazon info and waited for my shipping label.

The Thing arrived from Mega Corp.

I waited for the return shipping label. And I waited. And I waited. Weeks of waiting.

(I hadn’t ordered The Thing from Amazon yet.)

I emailed Mega Customer Service to remind them about the shipping label. No reply.

In the meantime, Mega Billing sent me an invoice for The Thing.

I called Mega Product Support to discuss the shipping label I was supposed to receive from Mega Customer Service. They said they’d send it. More weeks wobbled on.

Mega Billing sent another invoice.

I sent another email to nudge Mega Customer Service and told them I spoke to Mega Product Support. I received an apology and a promise that the shipping label would be sent immediately. Nope.

Mega Billing sent a delinquent notice.

This made me mad, so I called Mega Product Support again to express my outrage and to complain that Mega Customer Service never sent my shipping label. How could I return The Thing if I didn’t have the shipping label? The Thing was sitting right here on my desk! I’d love to return The Thing, but I could not! At this point, Mega Product Support said I should simply keep The Thing for no charge and my account would be fully credited. They were very sorry I had to wait so long yada yada.

OK, then. I finally opened The Thing and did what one does with such things that are The Thing. I tossed last year’s version in the trash. I tried to put the whole episode out of my mind and move on.

Closure!

But…

Today I received a final notice from Mega Billing saying they were cutting off my credit and were no longer going to ship The Thing to me ever again.

scream

Muscle Memory

Reality recedes
To stardust dreams
And spherical music;
I am more alive when asleep
At our midnight rendezvous.

Your embrace
Sedates me,
Lulls me like
Opium poppies…
An all-consuming peace.

In these drunken moments,
I could love you forever
Without hesitation
Or contemplation,
But alas my bottle is empty now.

Please overwhelm me
With the logical twists
Of your hot pretzel argument,
Until I surrender
To your superior salty wrongness.

If the heart is just a muscle
And love a learned habit,
Then why is it so hard
To break this last recurring
Muscle memory?

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Hesitate

Blowin’ In The Wind

Last evening after work I headed from my office in Irvine toward a poetry meetup in the city of Orange. I had my navigator on and was listening to oldies tunes in between the directions. Nav was telling me to get on the 55 in some convoluted way, but I’ve learned not to argue with her. Just follow along, like a sheep, baaaa.

As I was driving on Warner, I noticed there was something taped low on the passenger side of my windshield. An ad? Not sure. Usually ads are stuffed under the wiper on the driver’s side to make sure you see them, plus this looked too small to be an ad. I didn’t think it had been there in the morning when I drove to work ~ surely I would have spotted it then. But perhaps not, who knows.

I remembered that the homeless dude who keeps his stuff in one of the storage cabinets at my apartment complex left a note on my car a few weeks ago thanking me for letting him use my cabinet. First, I haven’t “let” anyone do anything; I simply didn’t shriek at him to go away like my neighbor did when she encountered him. I just shrugged when I saw him and got in my car. Second, it’s not my cabinet he’s using. Third, when he left a note, it was on a ripped piece of cardboard sitting on top of my trunk, not something taped to my window. This of course doesn’t preclude a leveling up of note-leaving by said homeless dude, so we can’t rule it out.

I didn’t go out at lunch yesterday, so the note (or whatever) couldn’t have been left from an advertiser in the shopping plaza nearby. If it was from someone like that, s/he would have been sneaking around a private garage during the workday, which is unlikely, but not impossible. Someone who has legit parking privileges could also moonlight as an Avon rep or whatever and be leaving ads on cars in the garage, I guess, though it’s probably against the rules.

Or… it could have been a nastygram from someone who found fault with my driving or parking, sort of a prelude to the guy who yelled at me later in the evening for parking on a street near the poetry place without a permit. I had to get back in my car and repark on a different street. What a pain in the ass that all was, but… pomes!

But my favorite idea is this… imagine that some man has had a crush on me (shaddap! it could happen!)… he sees me in the garage at work from time to time. Maybe he he’s even been in line with me at the cafe for a coffee or lunch. Perhaps he’s held the door for me and I’ve said thank you, but haven’t really noticed him. We may have taken the same elevator together, or possibly he works on a higher floor and uses the other elevator bank. Could be he doesn’t always get to work at the same time every day like I do, but he does know my car now. He decided that the next time he sees me he’s going to say something, but our schedules haven’t meshed for a while. So, he left me a note! It was something cute, witty, with a pic, contact info, whatever, idk. Nothing creepy.

All the above went through my mind in about two seconds and I decided I should pull over and retrieve the note. Because obviously it was from a secret admirer. Right?! Yes, yes. But I was in the left lane, and before I could move to the right and find a place to stop, the note detached and blew away.

The end.

secret-admirer

Blurry

blurry

This is one of my early cell phone camera photos, taken with my Moto. I loved that phone because it was so easy to deal with. It had internet access, but I couldn’t do “too much” internetting on it, or it would get overwhelmed and shut down. That was fine though. There was certainly enough time to stalk people and rabbit-hole down links from my laptop at home; I didn’t need to be doing that when I was out and about. But I can now with my Samsung Galaxy 5. Great.

The G5 also takes much better photos. Well, sort of. If I get everything right, then I end up with a perfect photo. But since I don’t understand 90% of the feechurs, and can’t be bothered trying to figure them out because there are people to stalk, links to follow into rabbit holes, books to read, pomes to write, socks to alphabetize, etc., I end up clicking away stupidly and getting pretty much the same variable quality photos as before on the Moto. Lots of blurry kitty faces half-turned away, basically.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m much happier with the Samsung now and wouldn’t go back. Once you have more technology you don’t want to settle for less. I have multiple ways to get in touch with my kids, for one thing. Actually, that’s the main thing.

But this pic is still a fave. I like the colors and the composition; it reminds me of the hectic pace here in SoCal. Most of us are not “laid-back” as people elsewhere think we are, lazing around on beaches, not working, chilled out. We are forever rushing somewhere, usually in our cars, and totes stressed. I used this pic as the cover photo for Gatsby’s Facebook page. Because of course I have a page for my cat. ^..^

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Blur

Crafty

crafty

 

I’m trying to remember the first handmade thing I created, in response to today’s “craft” prompt (which could be interpreted as boat or beer, but I’m not going in those directions). It was probably one of those ridiculous summer camp pencil holders made out of a frozen OJ can with glued-on popsicle sticks and covered with paint and glitter. Did anyone ever use these things, or just dump them right in the trash? This would have been when I was 6 or 7 years old, when we lived in Sleepy Hollow,  NY. We were there two years and both my parents worked full-time. One summer I went to camp with mean girls and the other I stayed with a grumpy old lady and her idiot grandsons. Both were horrible experiences. But I digress.

When we moved to Longuyland my new friends were into beads, so I made a ton of beady necklaces and bracelets. My mom saved some of them and possibly one of my daughters kept a few for sentimental value. This would have been when I was 8-9.

When we moved to New Jersey my mom made a giant house for my Barbies out of moving boxes and wallpapered it to match my room. We shopped for accessories to make rooms for the dolls, and she taught me how to knit and crochet so I could make teensy blankets and rugs for them. Later I turned it into a harem, but that’s beside the point. Well, there’s like one Ken for every 20 Barbies ~ Mattel must have foreseen this. Anyway, creating little dollhouse items was my crafty obsession around age 10.

In Jersey, my mom got very into DIY and sewing, so I tagged along and ended up learning some too. I embroidered a denim shirt for home ec and put together an outfit to model at the end of the semester (that I secretly took home at night for my mom to fix up on her sewing machine). I enjoyed that a lot and continued doing needlework after the class ended, buying kits and learning new stitches, making pillows and pictures. Mom and I made candles for a while too.

I stuck with the sewing type crafts for many years. When my girls were little I painted tee shirts. That was a lot of fun and the shirts came out great… I was thinking of starting a biz, until I overdid it and could no longer move my thumb without excruciating pain. Nixed my cake decorating career also. I switched to creating fancy photo scrapbooks, which became my obsession for the next several years. All along I still did the needlework, but as I aged I found I had less patience for it and nowadays have no interest in the detailed “art” type pictures, though I still would like to learn to knit and crochet (I’ve forgotten how). I know there are a million vids ~ maybe I’m not motivated enough yet.

One of the main problem with crafts is that they’re expensive. I priced out how much it would cost to knit a poncho (my ultimate goal)… and depending on the style it might be about 3x more than just buying one! I may do it anyway. And going down the bead path again (occasionally tempting)… yikes! I spent a ton of money back in my scrapbook days… and my tee shirt biz would no doubt have been a tax write-off. 🙂

Yesterday I wanted to go to an antique crafty show near my apt, but there was nowhere to park and I was trapped in the lot for few minutes, which was super stressful. ACK DRIVING ISSUES AGAIN. Anyway, I was happy to escape with my life and car intact. Will try again another time, another place.

*
The Daily Prompt: Craft