Monday, December 29, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

That song is one of the most irritating holiday songs ever penned. You're welcome. I know you wanted an earworm for Christmas.

Here's what I got:

-Ironman. You knew it. I knew it. There was not a way that this movie was not turning up. It was one movie that surprised me with its goodness this year; everything else was more or less exactly what I expected. I still feigned surprise, and Cap'n Jack saw right through me.

-New knives. They are lovely, but I only use three of the ones I have already with any regularity. I think these will not be used half as much as the giver intended. I apologize.

-A sparkly purple box. I asked what was intended to go inside it, and HRH replied, "Your THINGS." Oh. Sorry. How could I have asked such a ridiculous question?

-A sweet, meandering conversation with the man I hesitate to put a label on. It was not long enough by half, but it went a long way to luring the proverbial lemur into the light. It also made me long for his face and his hand to hold, but I will take whatever crumbs the universe tosses me at this point.

- A rousing game of Zombie Beauty Shop. This consists of sitting in a tiny purple playhouse, training a fake hairdryer on a ridiculous toy purse-dog, and alternatively shouting, "BRAAAAAINSSSS!" and attempting to lick the wriggling child opposite you. It is the best game ever invented, especially if it makes your eldest child shriek, "Quit staring at my forehead! You're freaking me out!"

I hope you got the things you wanted the most off your list, and I hope that you had your own Zombie Beauty Shop moment. Someday, your loved ones will be able to look back and say, "We're not sure why we love you so much. You are a sick individual." And that is the best present you can get.Link

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Now stop complaining I never get you a present.

Stella is sorry you didn't get everything you wanted, as she did not wake up under anyone's tree with a bow on her head. Maybe next year...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Okay, grinches, I get it. You are fed up with the crass commercialism of the holiday. You are disgusted that you feel obligated to buy the $12.98 dried fruit basket shrinkwrapped in the aisle closest to the register at Rite Aid while you're picking up antacid to see you through another soul-sucking office Christmas shindig. You don't know the person whose name you picked in the Secret Santa exchange, and you'd rather spend the $15 allotted for their present on two sophisticated cocktails at the salsa bar down the street. You hate that inane Alvin and the Chipmunks song that is playing on the radio with the same frequency as Maoist propaganda in Cold War China. You have been over it since finding out the truth about Kris Kringle when you were eleven.

Quit ruining it for the rest of us. Some of us are ready to surrender to the jingle jangle, and I don't want you pissing on my sparkle. If you are going to fly into a tirade at the mere mention of mistletoe, eggnog, or good cheer perhaps you should go someplace else for a little while, because it's time for my letter to Santa.

Dear Santa,
Remember two years ago? Because I do. I never did get the complete Sun Records Story, although I can forgive that because I have managed to cobbled together most of the most important or interesting bits. Actually, I didn't get my motorcycle jacket that year, either. OR my stereo receiver. That motorcycle jacket is still on my list.

Also on my list this year, Santa, is the Fishman ProPlat Bass Preamp. The longer I play with my set-up, the more convinced I become that I could use a little more control than I have. This would do the trick nicely. Of course, I would accept the Boss TU-2 tuner, because using a handheld tuner on a dark stage is for the birds.

While we're on the subject of my bass, I'm ready for an upgrade. I really love the vintage Kays (here's Bill Black with his) and American Standards, but I really want a King Double Bass 1/2 size Sparkleking. I thought I wanted a cherry candy coat over gold diamond flake, but lately I have been thinking about how cool it would be to have a sunburst, cherry into black or wine into black over a metal flake. That would be so pretty I would sleep with it every night. And I know it's custom work, but you and Brad at King are tight, right? I mean, you are both in the business of making people's dreams come true.

I know that it's a bit of a cliche, and that apparel with flash on it is losing its edge (thanks a million, Hot Topic!), but I still think these are the bomb. I would wear them every day. Or, you know. When the occasion warranted.

You know my favorite author is Neil Gaiman, right? I still only have the first four Sandman collections. And Mr. Punch is one I have searched for unsuccessfully: it's finally back in stock at Amazon, so that's one less thing in the elf sweatshop. Um. Factory, I mean.

I could prattle on and on about the things I want, but what I want more than anything is some lemur chow. You and I both know we're not talking about banana slices. I need enough to share; there is more than one now.

Seriously, though, Santa, I know as well as anyone that Christmas is not about the ribbons and wrappings or the presents inside. The real Grinch taught us that many years ago. No, Christmas is about staying in your pajamas all day and eating chocolate for breakfast and curling up in a huge pile under blankets on the couch to read all the books that Santa brought you while sipping hot cocoa. It's about being forced into scratchy starched shirts to take pictures and eat dinner while your cousins decimate one anothers' brand new toys. It's about believing in a palpable magic - you did come, you DID! It's about joy existing. If there is a prayer I could offer up for the season - and you must know that I am not the praying kind - I would ask: Let me be the vehicle for joy.

this was last year. I imagine this year will look much the same.

Bless us, every one.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Sometimes there are real predators. Sometimes they are shadows and rustles in the grass. A smart primate must learn to distinguish between danger which is imagined, and danger which is real. You know what helps? Someone to confer with. Thank heavens there are two of us.

-you hear something?
-no. did you?

You know what else helps? According to A., good warm soup, a hand-knit sweater, and staying out of the rain.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I only sort of love the sushi.

I have concluded that the real reason I always want to go to Little Tokyo instead of ordering in like a normal person is because of my love of craptacular music and their commitment to showcasing it while I consume my tekka maki and miso soup. What I mean to say is, the restaurant never disappoints when it comes to reaching in my head to get the scratchy FM station of my childhood and play it out loud. On Friday, HRH and I had ourselves a little lunch date, and I was treated to a guilty pleasures playlist that even I would never admit to aloud.

Doesn't it seem like playing the drums on a bar of soap might be sort of a risky proposition?

Seriously, this man claims to have slept with thousands of women. Thousands. This guy. Yeah.

This is not from my childhood, but it does play on the radio in my mind. And that hat. Oh, that hat!

Okay, this is the part where Youtube fails us by not allowing embedding. This song is a pivotal piece of instrumentation from my tender years, having formed the basis to a fifth grade talent show dance act complete with neon pink stretch pants and, if I am not not mistaken, headbands and huge sneakers. I could write a whole post just about this song and its attendant video... the sweet falsetto stylings of El DeBarge, the faux calypso keyboard work, the Jheri-curl mullets, the ballet dancers dressed as hookers dancing in front of the malt shop, the fedoras!, the unlikelihood of those boys cruising the strip in THAT CAR... And there's blue screen work at the end. Just go watch it. Go see for yourself.

This man, on the other hand, has never touched a naked woman. I know, weird, right?

Amy Winehouse WISHES.

I always wanted to steam up a man's glasses. I still do.

I had no idea this song was about roller skating.

I really had no idea what would pop up next, unlike Soft Rock Cliche Day, and I was not anxious to find out. If I had my druthers, though, maybe a little Madonna back when she was still fun instead of work?


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some of you won't get this.

Here is a little more evidence that Wil Wheaton and I should totally be best friends.

I have watched this three times and I am still helpless with laughter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by.

Sorry, kids. There seem to be some issues with my computer (I know, sounds familiar, huh?) and so I have been unable to entertain (or depress, depending on the day) you with the usual regularity. Rest assured that we are working to resolve the problems just as quickly as we can, and by we I mean Reber, because he is a genius and a superhero. I am building an altar for him. Or maybe a whole temple. I don't know yet.

Until things return to normal, please feel free to peruse my links bar, or just go type weird combinations of letters into Wikipedia. That's what I do when I get bored, sometimes. Or go to the Sugar Shakers' MySpace page and leave nice comments on how nice we all looked at the Grind, and how sad you are that you live across the country and are able to see us play so rarely. In any case, don't be morose. If you really miss my stellar wit so much, why the hell don't you call me more often? Or write me real letters? I love getting mail...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10 reasons why I'm awesomer than you

1) I'll laugh at inappropriate jokes. Filthy ones. Disgusting ones. I don't always LIKE that I laugh, but I do. Every. Single. Time.

2) I can hold a pretty good conversation about entropy, the laws of thermodynamics, and the tendencies of systems toward equilibrium. It won't be RIGHT, but it'll be more entertaining than any other conversation you've had about the conservation of energy in a long, long time.

3) I used to play a rogue just for the backstab modifiers. This was back when it was still fun to play D&D. Thanks a lot, WotC.

4) I look like a million bucks these days. I know it must be true, because not only are the usual suspects being more effusive, I have received appreciative comments from several men - and a few women - who have no vested interest in getting into my pants. Just tonight a perfect stranger witnessed my coquetting for my companion, and felt compelled to say my new jeans fit very, very well indeed.

5) I know how to make shit. Wedding cakes. Corsets. Cozies for... umm... BOBs. Buttered turnips. Dioramas of the Nile River Valley. Good radio.

6) I am not afraid of spiders or most insects. Except centipedes, but really. Those aren't even insects. They are some kind of nightmare made flesh.

7) I don't own any pantyhose anymore. Only stockings with garters.

8) I am not a snob. I am discerning, yes, about coffee and liquor and music and fashion and books and movies and scores of other things, but I am not a snob. I just have standards.

9) I always find fantastic places to eat when I travel.

10) I play the goddamn stand-up bass in a motherfucking ROCKABILLY band.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Love is a tiny, jittery primate.

I am not a great believer in destiny or kismet or what have you, but I am left stunned and wary by the depth and intensity of this thing I'm in right now, because the most worrisome thing about it is how perfectly mundane it feels. When we talk, or in the few brief hours I have had with him, there is no heart-pounding dizziness. I never feel tongue-tied or awkward or at a loss for words with him. I never wish I were lovelier or more articulate or vivacious. I am at home being myself with him, in a way I've never felt before, and all of a sudden words like fate start to ring faint alarm bells in my cerebellum. I am hesitant to bandy around words like love, but I don't have another name for this fragile egg of emotion that is rising in my chest. I'm afraid I will drop it and it will crack into a hundred thousand pieces too small to glue together. I'm afraid I will crush it by holding it too tightly in my hand. I am afraid that I will thoughtlessly leave it lying unprotected and it will be stolen, or I will forget where I put it.

I read Andrew Davis' The Gargoyle recently; I actually brought it with me on the plane to New Orleans. It touched me more deeply than I had supposed it would; since I made an offhand review of it on ing&ed, I have thought about its message of fate over and over again. Davis' metaphor makes even more sense than mine:

Love is not robust and love is not unyielding. Love can crumble under a few harsh words, or be tossed away with a handful of careless actions. Love is not a steadfast dog at all; love is more like a pygmy mouse lemur.

Yes, that's exactly what love is: a tiny, jittery primate with eyes that are permanently pulled open in fear. For those of you who cannot quite picture a pygmy mouse lemur, imagine a miniature Don Knotts or Steve Buscemi wearing a fur coat. Imagine the cutest animal you can, after it has been squeezed so hard that all its stuffing has been pushed up into an oversized head and its eyes are now popping out in overflow. The lemur looks so vulnerable that one cannot help but worry that a predator might swoop in at any instant to snatch it away.

That summarizes it very well indeed. There are predators at every turn. Even the specters of past loves can be enough to scare the skittish creature back into the safety of its dark branches. The worst part? That damn pygmy mouse lemur only lives in one forest on one island in the world. We aren't quite sure what it eats, or how it reproduces, or even how many of them there are in the world. Too few.

For those of you who, as Davis would say, cannot quite picture it, here is a pygmy mouse lemur:It's cute. And small. And very, very vulnerable.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Just no.

I warned you, Abrams. There is going to be hell to pay.

If you can't figure out what's wrong with this, we're not friends anymore. Don't expect a handmade Christmas present.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stella prefers to smell like herself, thank you.

Facebook makes me feel like a stalker. I say that because I suddenly have all of this information about what is happening in my friends' lives, even friends who are not-particularly-close friends, and while I hate myself for it, I can't help checking back and back and back again to see their status updates. In the single year since I've been on Facebook, I have learned more about some of my acquaintances than I was able to in a solid decade of speaking with them face to face. I have come to sense their moods and rhythms. I know what they're eating, when they're feeling sick, what movies and songs are on their minds. The people who name such things are calling this "ambient awareness" and it is a phenomenon that is so uniquely modern that it scares me.

I am not sure that I need to know all this stuff about these people. I am fairly certain I don't want to. Some of it is heartbreaking - a friend, whom I wasn't really close to in high school, but who I liked and admired very much, is flying Blackhawks in Iraq. I hadn't thought seriously of him in fifteen years, since he attended my graduation. Now I think of him in that fucking sandbox every single day, as I look at the pictures of his gorgeous fiancee and read his tender comments. Some of it is too much responsibility - I have access to info about my nieces that I'm fairly certain their moms are better off in the dark about. Some of it is baffling - inside jokes between my friends and their college or high school or summer camp BFFs, broadcast for the world to see, but not understand. Some of it is just plain irritating - political ugliness abounded recently, and some update TOO FREQUENTLY (you know who you are.)

The thing is, though, that I can't stop myself. All these people I didn't really get along with all those years ago? We are more alike than I ever dreamed. All these people I thought I was kindred spirits with? Turns out they have abominable taste in movies, or listen to the sort of Top 40 dreck that turns my stomach. And my real friends, my good friends? Facebook is just one more way to interrupt their work and force them to send me pictures of Jonathon Rhys Meyers dressed as David Bowie. I am addicted to knowing that I am connected, to knowing that people are following my story as I follow theirs. I really write this blog for myself - well, and La Fab - and I am never sure who is reading along and smiling or crying or caring. Facebook, though... I can rest assured that no matter how silly or obscure or profound my update is, someone will see it and get it, or ask about it. Someone out there gives a shit. Kind of. In an incurious, time-killing sort of way. I'll take what I can get.

For those of you who missed my Facebook update this a.m. (or who, heaven forfend, don't Facebook), I posted it as the title of this post. It's because I broke my bottle of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue on the tile floor in my hotel bathroom in New Orleans, and for a few days, before I could replace it, I used some other scents. This morning, when I opened my shirt drawer, the sweater I wore the other night was on top of everything else, and it smelled of some other woman's perfume. So did everything else in there. I reacted like I would if it were on a lover's coat rather than my own sweater: I reared back and wrinkled my nose in distaste. I dug something to wear from the very bottom, where it was least tainted, and shook it out before putting it on. Then I sprayed my hair with D&G Light Blue, just to maintain equilibrium.

I am obsessed with this song right now, so you have to listen, too:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Science Rules! as Bill Nye would say

I attended the Sitka WhaleFest banquet a few nights ago at the behest of a friend. Normally, it is not something I would go to because 1) I have no ties to the world of marine biology other than the tenuous connection of three semesters studying it and 2) it's kind of an expensive fund raiser, and I rarely have that kind of cash laying around this time of year, having spent it on the makings for Christmas presents. However, I didn't spring for the ticket, and it was a personal invitation, so what the hell. I threw on a nice skirt and a sweater, psyched myself up for the hour-long presentation on high-tech methods of tracking marine mammals, and headed out. Before I left, I fixed a polite, I-really-am-paying-attention-to-your-insufferably-dry-Powerpoint expression on my face along with my lipstick.

The big surprise, other than the icy cold grilled scallop in my salad, was that the presentation was anything but dry. It helps that it wasn't about gadgetry. The speaker, Russ Andrews, is a biologist associated with the Alaska Sealife Center, and rather than spending an hour talking about how he invents the technologies that allow us insight into the daily lives of whales and sea lions (wiretapping for the North Pacific!), he talked about Steller, which is a subject that interests me greatly. I am a sucker for stories about how natural historians in the 19th century faced immense tribulation in order to learn something about our place on this planet. Steller has the distinction of having every animal named for him ecologically threatened in some way. Scientists call it Steller's Curse. In at least two instances, the animals have been hunted into extinction - those would be Steller's sea cow and Steller's cormorant. Bummer. Anyhow, Steller was one of those guys that accomplished more in a single year than most people manage in a whole lifetime, and modern biology owes him a huge debt.

The best thing, though,was when he showed the critter-cam stuff. Basically, they glue a camera on the heads of various kinds of pinnipeds (seals and sea-lions) to get an idea of what kind of prey they're chasing and how much of it they eat. Do you know how extraordinary it is to watch realtime video footage of a northern fur seal swallowing a luminescent squid? It trumped every single thing I've seen since Obama's acceptance speech.

I now want to read up on Steller and his work. He might join Alfred Russell Wallace as one of my all-time favorite science-y guys. It will go on the bottom of the ever-growing pile of printed matter next to my bed.

Here's some footage of a Sitka legend, Old Earl. It's no critter-cam, and he doesn't do anything spectacular in this clip, but rest assured, he's a pissy dude who's been known to grab coolers full of fish off the cleaning floats.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And now the melody haunts my reverie...

It has been a whole week since the Stardust ball, which, as far as I am concerned, is the pinnacle social event of the year here in the sleepy seaside town I live in. I apologize for the lateness of this recap; instead of filling me with the usual glee, the Stardust Ball this year just helped spur the usual bout of blues that besets me each fall, only deeper, darker, and faster than ever before.

Here's the stuff that happened: My favorite boys in a band did not come back. Luckily I got the chance to see them this year when the carpet monkeys and I adventured in Seattle. I missed them anyway. La Fab and Miss E. and Mistress M. all came to town, and there was the sense that everything was just right again, although there was also the sense that something was missing. We got tarted up in our lipsticked best. La Fab wore my clothes and told everyone she was me. My costume was held on with strategically placed safety pins, a piece of gold tulle, and hope. The sum difference between the congratulatory kisses I received this year and the ones I received last year was five for birthdays and uncountable for playing. (That means many, many less this year than last year.) The band, while talented, was difficult to dance to, and I had either a drink too many or two drinks too few, as I reached a state of intoxication characterized by a bad attitude and a slight headache, rather than pleasant warmth or euphoria. Also, I broke my camera.

Perhaps my expectations run a bit high for this event. Perhaps it is just that I am finally coming to realize that the people I love the best really don't live here anymore; we have to fit a whole year's worth of each other into four surreal days. Perhaps I, too, am outgrowing this town. Perhaps it would be easier to not have them around if I weren't here, either. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, right? I am so skillful at second-guessing. Between the bittersweet experience of Stardust and the just plain perfect experience of New Orleans, I am having a hard time adjusting to the idea that I must resign myself the nonevent that is my day-to-day existence. I will drown my sorrows in rock and roll movies. It's what got me through the last two winters. If you have suggestions for good ones, leave them in the comments.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cool! I was there!

By the way, I am wearing three and a half inch platform wedges; Z. is wearing regular, no heel to speak of boots. Please note how short I actually am.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In which our heroine carries a metaphor much too far.

I have cried every day for more than a week. My near and dears are rolling their eyes, because this is hardly stop-the-presses stuff, but I have to say that even I am tired of it. In Peter Pan, Peter explains to Wendy that the reason Tinkerbell is so mercurial is that her body is simply too small for more than one feeling at a time. That is how I feel about my own self right now; my emotions seem so big that they overwhelm me, and they have go somewhere - in this case being right out my tearducts. I have wept from sorrow and grief, from frustration and anger, from exhaustion, from loneliness, from jealousy, from longing, from happiness, from fear and self-doubt, from the desire to not cry, and last night, along with so many, from relief and euphoria. I wish I could say that I was done with crying, that I have gotten all the crying out of my system, and we can return now to your regularly scheduled piss and vinegar, but lately the loneliness and longing have been particularly acute. Tonight I have to say goodbye - yet again - and I am already misty. I am so very, very tired of goodbyes.

I feel sometimes that there are fragments of my heart in pockets and purses all across the world. Every time I have to say goodbye, another little splinter chips off and falls into the corners of somebody's metaphorical messenger bag. Some people I know have a whole handful of the glittering flakes of me. There are even a couple of larger pieces out there, prisms, really, that refract rainbows when you hold them to the sun. Occasionally when I think of all the pieces of me that have been passed into other hands over the years, I start to wonder if there's anything left. Certainly it feels like there is an emptiness in my chest.

The thing I need to remember is that I have my own collection of trinkets and sparkles that have been handed to me. I should keep them in my chest instead of in my head, and the hollow won't feel so big.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Just a little housekeeping

Nothing very important to note. I just went back and tagged all the posts that I wrote before Blogger added tags - or possibly just before I knew how to use them - so now if you are dying to see all the ramblings I wrote about, say, corsets, you can search that tag and pretty much every single post I wrote about the MA project will pop up. Also, much to my surprise, the stupid boys tag added only a single post. I thought I was more efficient when it comes to whining about my love life or lack thereof.

I promise I will write more interesting things at some point. I didn't take pictures of my lame attempts at costume construction this Halloween, because my craft fu is not what it normally is. Plus, the time I would have spent over the optimal crafting weekend I spent tripping (literally!) the cobbled streets of the Crescent City. Sorry, all. I'll start work on a corset or something soon so you don't have to listen to my melancholy whining all through the winter months.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Easy does it

I just wrote half a novel trying to describe a perfectly indescribable experience. I waxed on and on about the meticulae of it; I hadn't even finished describing the first day I was in town. I figure it's a lot like telling someone a dream you had: they can't ever see what you saw, and they don't understand the glorious hyper-reality of it all, because it's not their dream. It's your more-brilliant-than-crayons colors, your angel-voice songs, your bacchanalian indulgences. Bear with me. The shimmering memories are like fireflies - they stop glowing when you hold them in your hand. I'd rather show you a fragment of a wing preserved in amber than a lifeless body crushed by enthusiasm.

Things I hated before I got there:
-the 45 mph headwind we took off into, shaking the plane on the runway
-the guy on the 194 who invited me to sit next to him
-the expensive glass of box wine I bought to pass time in the airport
-American Airlines

Things I ate while I was there:
-Bananas Foster french toast
-quiche with sausage and portabello mushrooms
-chicken smothered in cheese
-violet candies
-whole roasted cloves of garlic in a sandwich
-beignets and more beignets and not enough perfect cafe au lait
-blackened redfish and bacon dressed greenbeans
-etoufee with shrimp and crawfish
-an almond croissant and the first ripe strawberry I'd eaten in months
-a giant ice cream cone covered in rainbow sprinkles (or shots or jimmies. pick your favorite term)

Things I heard while I was there:
-Jimbo Wallace slapping his bass with one finger
-five of the oldest men on earth singing gospel songs
-Django-style hot gypsy jazz
-an unholy and compelling fusion of ska and death metal
-a few minutes of Scott Weiland sounding dee-runk
-a hip-hop artist asking an audience to "Please... put your fist in the air!"
-a siren, trashcan lids, a megaphone, and a theremin
-NOT Nine Inch Nails, REM, or the Horrorpops (I didn't know they were playing)

Things I saw that were animals:
-two turtles sunning themselves on the detritus on the canal near the city park where Voodoo was held
-a tiny lizard on a wall, pointed out by my companion
-an abandoned plate of unidentified something that wriggled when I walked past (I'm pretty sure this was animalian in nature)
-two awesome dogs in an Irish bar

Things I drank while I was there:
-two awful espresso drinks, the first a push button affair that tasted like plastic and the second pulled on a lovely brass machine: this tasted of disaffected hipster
-an $8 shot of Jameson's poured by a friendly bartender in a Quarter bar
-a $4.25 tumbler FULL of Jameson's poured by a friendly bartender in a not-quite-the-Quarter-anymore bar. He told us where to go to buy cheap bottles of PBR.
-bottled water
-not enough perfect cafe au lait
-a lovely cafe viennois with sweetened whipped cream

Things I hated while I was there:
- hand grenades in not-yard souvenir cups with stupid straws
-most of Bourbon Street
-the giddy tourists who don't know King Oliver from a hole in the ground crowding into Preservation Hall and gawking at these amazingly talented musicians like they're in Frontierland
-the empty houses and empty streets and broken cobbles
-not remembering how to get from place to place; the map in my memory would not superimpose itself over the streets I was standing on

Things I fell in love with a little bit or a lot or all over again while I was there:
-the thin pulse of a hand-muted trumpet
-the balconies festooned with boxes of flowers and flags, and in some cases mannequins
-the years you can feel through the soles of your feet when you walk the cobbles and bricks
-that statue of the lovers reclining in the back patio of Lafitte's
-the hole in the wall Cajun place with the surly staff and homemade tasso ham in their jambalaya
-jazz tuba
-sitting on a bench in Jackson Square close enough to share the liner notes on my new CDs
-burlesque dancers
-cafe au lait
-holding hands

Things I hated on my way back:
-not buying the shiny pink parasol the second I saw it
-American Airlines charging me for checking my bag
-buying a back copy of Rolling Stone before realizing it was three weeks old
-the coffee I overpaid for in the Dallas Fort Worth airport
-the Dallas Fort Worth airport
-holding my tongue and holding my breath and not saying all the things I meant to say or wanted to say, like: please. and: thank you. and: you are on that list, the one before this one. and: goodbye. I always forget to say goodbye.
-crying from holding it all
-getting a cold from the stupid airplane

Random marvelosity that is my new obsession:

During one of their shows that I saw, they showed a little video of New Orleans being joyfully inhabited by the sort of misfits and angels that I want to make friends with, while Clint (the lead singer) crooned I Can't Give You Anything But Love.

Not a single picture exists of me in New Orleans this time. It's like I was never there at all. If it weren't for the bag full of clothes smeared with powdered sugar from the piles of beignets, I might begin to doubt it myself.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I am not terribly Zen about this

I woke up this morning feeling out of sorts. This is not an entirely unfamiliar sensation of late; a kind of malaise has settled deep in my head, leaving me to wonder endlessly if I am coming down with something: the flu, perhaps, or a head cold that will linger for weeks. The most likely answer, though, is that I am simply under the weather. This is no mere turn of phrase in a climate where the precipitation can be measured in yards rather than in inches (about two and a half, for the curious among you.) If you refuse to venture into the rain, you run the risk of becoming a recluse who must order groceries online and designate a corner of the dining table as a home office. When the rain finally broke today, the clouds lifting high enough to see the peaks of the mountains, I wanted to take advantage of the situation. I went for a walk. It was a short one, the long way to the library, really, a jaunt to the entrance of the park and then back up the road. Twenty minutes. Twenty five if I was foot-dragging or listening to dreamy jazz. I hit the entrance to the park, and it began to rain. Pour, actually. Dump. In the time it took me to shield the books in my bag while I rummaged for my umbrella, the faux fur cuffs of my jacket looked like a cat who has inadvertently fallen in to a bathub. I was already wet, and so there was no harm in my continuing on to the certain refuge of the stacks. By the time I got there, my shoes were moist and the cuffs of my pants were dark halfway to my knees from the rainswept streets. I shook off my umbrella the best I could and went in, craving the quiet corners.

Every chair was filled. There was sopping raingear everywhere you turned; backpacks were shoved haphazardly under each table. The computer seats were taken up by tag-teaming teenagers from Mt. Edgecumbe High School. They were busy checking the MySpace and Facebook accounts that are blocked at the boarding school. There were bored ten year olds camped out in the aisle where the craft books reside, most likely because the children's room was full of damp, noisy toddlers and their harried looking parents. There was no peace to be found, not even in the usually deserted aisle housing the books on evolution and natural history. I grabbed the first few things that held even mild appeal for me - a graphic novelization of The Big Sleep, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, and a collection of fairy tales by AS Byatt, about whom I am a little ambivalent - and ventured back out into what I was sure was a downpour.

It had stopped raining. I was grateful and mildly amused at this Alanis Morrisette display of irony, until I sidestepped a puddle by stepping onto wet grass and promptly skidded to my knees, coating my already wet jeans with a fresh layer of mud and grass stains and filling my already wet sneakers with water from the puddle I had been hoping to avoid. Clearly I do not understand irony, and the universe thought this would be a good time to demonstrate it.

My mood is not significantly improved. It would, though, if someone would come over here and cook some lentil soup for me...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why I'm going back to the Big Easy

Well, I was invited, of course! Specifically , I was invited to this to watch the following:

How the hell is he getting that much sound out of that Shure 55? I think it must be gutted and replaced with better components. And I thought Jimbo Wallace, the bass player, was running guts, but those sound steely to me... Sorry. Dorked out for a second.

I will also get to see these guys:

And also:

Oh, yeah, and I might see Nine Inch Nails and REM and Stone Temple Pilots. And the Buzzcocks. If I really wanted to, I could watch Panic at the Disco and some other big name acts. But I am most excited about the traditional jazz, a la Preservation Hall. Well, and some crawfish etouffee. And a dose of sunshine. And maybe a glass of whiskey or two. And some handholding.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pop culture update!

If you've been wondering why I haven't been shooting off at the mouth about the things that take up my time and headspace, it's because my list of awesome things I'm consuming has moved over to ing & ed. As a matter of fact, there'll be new stuff up over there pretty darned soon. But I had to, had to, had to talk about two things:

1) If you haven't seen Iron Man yet, we're not friends anymore until you do. I hate movies that are poorly made with lots of special effects to disguise that fact. I love movies that are laden with effects, to good... effect. You know. Where the explosions and the glowy things and the badassery support an actual plot, with actual characters who actually develop. My one beef with this movie is that it does not pass the Bechdel Rule, but I will forgive, because Pepper Potts is inoffensive. She is not a damsel in distress, and it is implied that her relationship with Tony Stark is complex and deep. And my favorite part? THIS IS A (small) SPOILER. At one point, the computer displays a solid gold (think Oscar statue) rendering. The camera pans to a (stereotypical) glossy 'rod, and Tony says, "Tell you what. Throw a little hotrod red in there." Fuck. Yeah. Jon Favreau now has a lifetime pass, between this and Swingers.

2) Star Trek trailer. I will cop to the fact that I screamed, "HELLS YEAH!" out loud. To a television screen. At 10:30 at night. I am SUCH a geek. My friends, I love the Enterprise. In my head right now, I have an overview map of the bridge. I know how to get from there to the captain's quarters, on both Kirk's ship and Picard's. I cannot wait. Can. Not. WAIT. J.J. Abrams better not fuck this up.
In case you're not as cool as me, Kirk's Enterprise is registry number NCC-1701. Picard's is NCC-1701-D.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The radio does play...

That fluff filled piece of cotton candy below was the post I wrote in place of this one, because this one was hard.

The world is a quieter and less fantastic place, because Steve is gone.

It's all such a fucking cliche: hug your kids, take your chances, learn to play the guitar, go to Dallas, you never know when it'll all change. The only thing that never changes is that we all mouth these platitudes to each other to soothe our own pain.

V. has said a couple of times that the worst thing was not knowing where he was. We only know he's not here, and he's not coming back. Damn it. God damn it.

So. Take your chances. Join a band. Make some noise. Leave a mark on this world. A big, dirty, loud, imperfect stain, a Rorschach to last the ages. Shout until you don't have a voice, strum until your hands bleed, stand up and dance. Be such a cool motherfucker that the shine of you is too bright for most people to look at head on.

The only video of Steve playing his guitar I can find has really bad audio, so here's the song he played that I liked the most.


I like the reds.

Hi there, gentlemen! Are you here for salient political observations? Bittersweet childhood musings? Dry wit? You might want to peruse the links bar over there to your right, because this post is all about lipstick. You're more than welcome to stick around, of course, but I think my rather desultory wanderings today will have a significantly narrower focus - and appeal - than usual.

Obligatory disclaimer out of the way, I'll get down to business. The last time I was in Seattle I lost my favorite tube of lipstick. It was the next to last day of our trip, and God forbid I should try to go a single day without that silly tube of color. I frogmarched my poor protesting offspring to Nordstrom's, straight to the MAC counter, and requested my precious Ladybug. The woman working that morning (I always get the same lavender-eyeshadowed young 'un there, so unlike the delicious gay boy who helped me at Macy's in Midtown) asked if she could get me anything else. Yes, I said. Powder foundation, please, and another tube of lipstick: Russian Red. Oh, says she. You like the reds!

Yes. I do.
I wish I was the sort of lady who contented herself with a nice neutral toffee color, or even a peachy glaze that makes my mouth look like candy. No such luck, though. I prefer the eye-catching blaze of vermillion hues. I get a lot of askance glances here in this town, where brushing your hair before going out to dinner at a $35/plate Mediterranean restaurant is considered getting dressed up. I am pretty sure there are a few people who think I peddle more than coffee and rock and roll. Fuck them. They're just jealous.

For your viewing pleasure, close ups of my collection in situ. Ladybug
Russian Red

Viva Glam I
L'orealWine and Roses
MaybellineVintage Wine
Physician's FormulaNoir Red
Besame CosmeticsPlump My Pucker in Spike My Punch
The Balm

There was northern light from the window I was sitting next to when these pictures were taken, so the colors are not true. But you get the idea, right? The Balm lipgloss is the one I wear most, since it's work-appropriate. I have two tubes of it, one of my purse, the other for my pocket. Ladybug is my go-to for day to day; I've been sporting the true matte red of Russian Red a couple times a week. Viva Glam I is my favorite dingy bar lipstick, and I almost always wear this one on stage. The exception was our recent trip to Haines and Juneau. I had misplaced it, and so relied entirely on Ladybug for the whole trip. Grenadine was my favorite for a long time - it's pinker than it seems here. The Wine and Roses was an attempt to break out of my true red addiction; it's quite corally. Unfortunately, it is also smeary, too thick feeling, and it smells just like watermelon Bubble Yum, which I despise. If I can smell my lipstick over my perfume, it's a problem for me. It's too bad, because the color is flattering. They don't make the Physician's Formula Vintage Wine glaze anymore. I love the blood red color, but not the strangely gritty texture. And the Besame Noir makes me feel incredible and sexy, but I haven't had a chance to wear it out of the house yet. New Orleans may be its world premiere.

I was going to show off my Monday outfit, but it's actually quite boring. The skirt I am wearing is a little too big (!) and the sweater I am wearing now seems too short proportionally. Oh, well. At least I am wearing knee socks and heels.

Okay, boys, you can come back in now! I promise next time I'll talk about something less gender-specific. Although that's pretty biased of me, isn't it? There really shouldn't be a reason make-up is gendered, except our own ridiculous societal expectations. Next time I'll try to bow less to the constructs of our culture, how's that?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Comfort food for uncomfortable times

So La Fab and I had a conversation recently wherein she confessed that she had written down almost every meal that I had ever made for her. I was touched in a way I didn't expect. I don't really feel like my cooking skills are anything out of the ordinary, but apparently some people beg to differ. There are a handful that stand out in the constellation of meals, ones that I can recall the flavor of even now. They are mostly colored by the circumstances of their creation: here the pumpkin ravioli that marked our first family dinner, there the batch of jambalaya V. and I made to commemorate our first year since the Big Easy, over in the corner the picnic lunch of croissant sandwiches filled with swiss cheese and ham and sweet mustard and dreams. I remarked recently to a friend that in my circle, there is no more honest or powerful way to show you care than with food. Breaking bread, sharing wine, tapping through the caramel shell of creme brulee - every bite is a bond.

Not long before she left, Princess J. and I made a meal because she was homesick. I made a batch of pierogi for her, and sauteed cabbage and kielbasa. It was a huge, butter-soaked orgy of comfort, and I haven't made it again since then. (Mostly because there was still cabbage in my fridge from the last time, and that was more than two years ago.) Until tonight, that is. The talking heads were talk-talk-talking about the debate, and I was seized by the sudden desire for potato-filled dumplings. I was also seized by the desire for a stiff drink, but that's just because McCain started talking.
So I made some. Pierogi are a bigger commitment than I would usually undertake on a Friday evening, but I couldn't bring myself to give the debate my full attention, lest it cause vessels to burst in my brain. So I buried myself elbow-deep in sourcream and eggs and potato peelings, and listened to my blood pressure rising. Pretty soon, I realized that even eating a third of the filling wasn's going to cut it, and fried up a pan of polska kielbasa and a half a head of red cabbage, with half an onion and a healthy three shakes of caraway for good measure. Somewhere along the way I had a second stiff drink; soon after that I nicked my palm with my Global chef's knife. To be fair, I think that happened when McCain accused Obama of wanting to invade Pakistan, so the first kitchen injury I have received in several years was due to the Republicans.

I finally finished up right around closing remarks, and I sat down to the post-debate analysis with a plate full of this:
and sour cream. That is onions browned in butter on top of my pierogi over there. And apple chunks in the cabbage and sausage. I feel a little sick now, because this was about a week's worth of saturated fat, and because I listened to/ watched the whole thing. I think we might not win. I pray, desperately and fervently pray, that I am wrong, but I fear that I am right. I hope there is kielbasa in New Zealand, and I hope they need baristas and/or doulas down there come the fifth of November.

La Fab, I am sorry to sully this culinary memory for you. I swear I will make it up to you with some enchiladas or something. Broccoli soup. Barbeque. Something.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here's your hat, what's your hurry?

HEP: Hip, cool, righteous, in the know.

In the know, worldly wise, clever, enlightened, sophisticated.

HIPSTER: "Someone who's in the know, grasps everything, is alert."

Cab Calloway, actual hipster

Dear Williamsburgians, and associates on college campuses and in cities coast to coast,

We would like our word back. Until you start wearing zoot suits, slicking back your hair, and smoking REEFER instead of WEED, you are unworthy. Find a new word. Also, trying brushing your hair and mustering enthusiasm for something.

Thank you,
Jazz men (aka hipsters, aka the heppest cats around)

Seriously? Maybe they'll go away if we quit paying attention to them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumnal Equinox

The world balances tomorrow, until the dark begins to win for a little while. In other places, the coming of fall is marked with changing leaves. Here, we know that the wheel turns when the fish are in the river, fighting to spawn and die.
When I went walking this morning, the heavy rains had cleared and a rainbow was hanging low over the mountains. Everything felt clean, including me. I could feel the melancholy that had been creeping its way into my head rinsed away. It made me feel light and new.
When I lived in Colorado, there would be fall mornings when I would awaken and the world would have turned to gold. Every aspen leaf in the state seemed to lose its verdancy at the same moment; the sunlight on the aspen stands was twice as brilliant. There is no such drama here. Just the salmonberry leaves quietly shifting to the hue of midsummer's berries.
The rocks were littered already with bones. The river was full of gulls. The air was thick with their urgency; their cries were deafening. I thought back to the first time I saw this scene. It was raining that first day. I had walked from the campus alone, the first time I had been by myself in weeks. I went to the river and listened to the screaming of the birds, and it felt so alien that I cried. I wanted the world to burst into sudden autumnal fire, I wanted snow to dust the peaks that embraced me, I wanted to be far from the smell of death and renewal. Now it is just the lullaby before winter's rest.

Soon enough I will be lamenting the snow and pining for spring's merry dance. For now, though, I will let myself drift with the light.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Athos, Porthos, Aramis

I was going to make this a post about how I bagged on dressing like a pirate today, and caught some flak for it. It was going to be amusing and light-hearted; I was going to make fun of my geekish tendencies again. But when it came down to it, the real reason I didn't dress up today is because I don't have anyone around to appreciate my efforts. The two people who I would put on a corset especially for are all the way across the country. They might as well be across the planet today. Once upon a time, the three of us traveled to a magical city together, and we had some times.

This is Lafitte's. He was a pirate who retired as a blacksmith. This building is hundreds of years old, and feels it. We drank whiskey at noon here, while the heat of the day built around us. Every window and door was wide open; gleaming carriages guided by top-hatted drivers kept gliding past, the horses' tack gently jingling. The first day we went - the first day we werein town - we managed to all dress in shades of purple. This was unintentional. None of us changed, though.
Lafitte's from the inside. When I think of New Orleans, this is what I see in my head. You could feel the history when you touched these bricks; they felt alive.

This is La Fabulous trying to make a Frida Kahlo face. She made this face a lot; when we were reading ghost stories that scared her, when the primates seemed too human, when there were only hours left for all of us to be together. You can see she is wearing the saints in this picture. On our way back to Sitka, we thought she had lost them in the airport. Luckily they had only slipped down into her bag. They never leave her for long.

This is Lady L. internalizing the whole experience. She is doing that by eating pralines in the grass of Jackson Square. There was jazz playing. You can almost hear it. That might well be why she is smiling.

We look astonished because that is a mama elephant. She is pregnant, and we got to feel the baby moving. It's happening in this picture. Lady L. got to touch her, too, but I don't have that picture.

Sunburned, hungover, exhausted, and exhilarated. I don't recall buying anything at the French Market, but here is the proof we were there. Here is the proof that once, we were as inseparable as the Three Musketeers, if that cliche doesn't make you roll your eyes. Here is the proof that two of the best women in the world are my friends.

Dear Ell and Vee,
Happy birthdays, my darlings. I miss you both so much. Thank you, again and again and once again, for all that you are. No matter what, this city is ours.


P.S. - I don't know which of us is which of the musketeers, except La Fab is Porthos. Obviously.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Came of Age in Rodeo Country

And I still love a cowboy.

I learned the Texas two-step variation to this song, the George Strait version. After the Chattahoochee fiasco.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Holidays!

This is a festive sort of a week, unofficially speaking. Today is the First Annual International Wear-A-Dress Day. Friday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. And La Fab's birthday is this week, and Lady L., who has just been elevated to a title by yours truly. If we were all in the same place, I would have one giant Pirates and Harlots themed party where we could all wear our favorite luscious corsets and petticoats. And there would of course be cake. Flavored with delicious things. For the last pirate party, the cake was double chocolate with a hazelnut dacquoise and Frangelico buttercream frosting. I might go white cake with berries instead this time. And Chambord, because it seems delicious. And shaped like a TORSO. (Princess Japonski, do NOT click that link. You will regret it to the end of your days.)

Instead, I will celebrate today and Friday separately, and think intensely about my partners in crime on their respective days. Today was low key: I wore a dress. I also wore my silver kitten heels for a while, and then my new platform patent black peeptoe maryjanes from Target. They are not in this picture.

On Friday I will something appropriately pirate-y. I would love to wear this:
but I think 44 stainless steel bones would fry me on pizza Friday. Not to mention the fact that B. would frown at my revealing chemise. So it will probably just be my gauchos and a t-shirt.

Here's a new thing, too: Mr. B. and I are trying out a new thing. He was moved by my watching, listening, eating posts, so he launched a new blog, and we're over there informing the world about our tastes. It's right over here. Let us know if you like it, and if you wanna put your two cents in, drop one of us a line. Well, drop Bryner a line. I'm likely to just ignore you.

Brush up on your arrrghs and ahoys, mateys! I'll be quizzing you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?

New Orleans was a refuge from desperation the first time I went.

Winters in Alaska are long and dark. This time of year, right before the fall equinox, we lose about five minutes of daylight every single day. That doesn't sound like much; it shouldn't even really be noticeable. Well, except that it's better than half an hour of light lost every week. Labor Day weekend, you're happily throwing brats on the grill at 7:30 knowing they'll be done before twilight; by the first week of October, you're putting on your pajamas during the evening news. It's not as severe here in Southeast as it is further north, but it's still enough to make a sensitive lady feel as though she's losing her mind. One begins to use sonnets and Leonard Cohen as crutches to make it through the shrinking days and the lengthening nights; sometimes these are supplemented with lashings of blackberry brandy in tea and far too many meals based around dairy products. The second winter that La Fab was here in Alaska, we figured out that she would leave but FAST if we didn't take steps to ensure her survival. We planned a trip to a place that was warm and far away. We planned a trip to Maui.

Well, we started to anyway. Until we realized that we couldn't afford to go to Hawaii. Undaunted, and well-motivated, we watched the travel section of the Anchorage newspaper, hoping we could score a deal with a cut-rate travel agent, but to no avail. Finally, one January weekend, as the slush was coming down in buckets, there was a tiny, almost insignificant ad: roundtrip, Seattle to New Orleans, for $199. We lunged. We made reservations to leave on Easter evening. It was the first time I had a vacation without my (then) husband since we had started dating. That in itself caused a few rows; I put my foot down.

It was... liberating. I supposed a good deal of the affection I feel for the city is due to that very fact; I associate the time I spend there with a certain sense of emancipation. With self-determination. With freedom. I love the city all the more for it being mine alone, without compromise. I can't speak for La Fab, or for L., but it looms larger in my memory than a weekend getaway ought.

In celebration of my return to the city that helped set me free, I have been listening to the following:
Louis Armstrong, Basin Street Blues
Bix Beiderbecke, Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
Kid Ory, St. James Infirmary
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
Original Dixieland Stompers, Eh! La Bas
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Down By the Riverside (I have been listening to the George Lewis version, but damn! This woman rocks.)

And of course, although it is not about the city itself:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good news, everyone!

The Earth was not swallowed by a massive black hole created when the Hadron Supercollider was fired up! Yay! Okay, well, TECHNICALLY, no atoms were smashed. And therefore no potential dark matter was created. That is tentatively scheduled to happen in October. So there is still a chance that this ball of dirt we call home could still be sucked into another dimension. This has the potential to ruin a really great trip I'm planning. On the bright side, it is far more likely that instead of a black hole causing a dimensional rift that allows the gates of Hell to open and all manner of demons to pour forth, the collider will just produce a bunch of heretofore-hypothetical particles called strangelets, that will render our planet a lifeless lump of inert elements floating in space. Instantaneously, I mean. So we won't know it's happening. Whew! I really hope that when the end comes, it really will be painless and immediate, and before the election on November 11th. Because if the light of this world flickers and goes out, I'll be damned if it goes out with Sarah Palin as the second most powerful person in America.

Where was I... no black hole... dimensional rift... slavering hordes of demons... oh yeah!

I did something rather impulsive. I am not unknown for this; as a matter of fact I am well know for impulsively purchasing everything from candy-red T-strap maryjanes to an upright bass sight unseen. I will put almost anything into my mouth, provided I have been assured beforehand that it is edible. I speak without thinking almost every time I talk. But this is different. I'm not risking $20 on ill-fitting shoes or having a friend storm out of the bar because I thoughtlessly insulted her (admittedly rather ugly) jacket or even accidentally consuming raw mackerel. I'm risking letting myself consider things. I'm risking opening myself up to possibility. Ack. I'm risking more melodrama even than usual, apparently.

What I'm trying to get at is that I made reservations to fly across the country to spend time in my favorite city with someone I barely know. Someone I would like to know better. And stuff. I'm a little worried that I might get... how shall I put this?... stood up, just like ninth grade homecoming. I'm a little more worried that I will come home after not being stood up even more hopeless than I am already.

If nothing else, I will be spending my birthday looking at this while chewing pensively on a beignet with a candle stuck in it:

I wouldn't trade the chance to walk those streets again for anything in the world. And there is no better music for heartaches, the pleasurable and the painful both, than jazz. I intend to let the cradle of it rock me.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Figs. Fresh one are very scarce in Sitka; it has only been in the past two years or so that I have ever even seen them on the shelves here. We bought two exorbitant baskets of them from the fruit truck yesterday, and one is almost gone. The majority of the ones I have eaten were delicious, but still the close side of ripeness. There is always an exception that proves the rule. I bit into one that was precisely right: succulent, intensely sweet, musky, and complex. My knees actually weakened for a moment standing in the kitchen. I know I made a small noise of satisfaction. The smell and the texture and the layers of flavor were sharply reminiscent of... that very thing that figs are rumored to put one in mind of.

D.H. Lawrence speaks on them:


The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.
Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom, with your lips.
But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.
Every fruit has its secret.
The fig is a very secretive fruit.
As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic :
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is female.
The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part ; the fig-fruit :
The fissure, the yoni,
The wonderful moist conductivity towards the centre.
The flowering all inward and womb-fibrilled ;
And but one orifice.
The fig, the horse-shoe, the squash-blossom.
There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward ;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.
It was always a secret.
That’s how it should be, the female should always be secret.
There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough
Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals ;
Silver-pink peach, venetian green glass of medlars and sorb-apples,
Shallow wine-cups on short, bulging stems
Openly pledging heaven :
Here’s to the thorn in flower ! Here is to Utterance !
The brave, adventurous rosaceƦ.
Folded upon itself, and secret unutterable,
And milky-sapped, sap that curdles milk and makes ricotta,
Sap that smells strange on your fingers, that even goats won’t taste it ;
Folded upon itself, enclosed like any Mohammedan woman,
Its nakedness all within-walls, its flowering forever unseen,
One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from the light ;
Fig, fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,
Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and fertilization, and fruiting
In the inwardness of your you, that eye will never see
Till it’s finished, and you’re over-ripe, and you burst to give up your ghost.
Till the drop of ripeness exudes,
And the year is over.
And then the fig has kept her secret long enough.
So it explodes, and you see through the fissure the scarlet.
And the fig is finished, the year is over.
That’s how the fig dies, showing her crimson through the purple slit
Like a wound, the exposure of her secret, on the open day.
Like a prostitute, the bursten fig, making a show of her secret.
That’s how women die too.

I do apologize if you're flushed.