Carole Lombard was stunning. Dazzling. Bombshell? Most assuredly.
According to some, she was the highest paid actress in the late 1930’s. But the film I keep coming back to, the one I want to see again is My Man Godfrey (1936) with William Powell. I was mesmerized. I fell in love for the hour and one half that she was on the screen. It wasn’t for her platinum blonde hair. It was for her eyes and her smile, and most notably, she made me laugh.
You ask me to tell you a story about myself. My stories once frightened a child upon overhearing, and afterward, my mother did not speak to me for months.
Would you believe me if I told you that I used to be a ballerina in a troupe of fairies in East Cicero, Illinois? I didn’t think so.
Would you believe I ran off for a week with the plumber when he came to our house? I liked the look of him and he seemed keen on the idea.
When the kids came along I had to hide the little one’s natural ability to unclog the sink.
Once I joined the circus as a magician. I had ordered new doves at the last moment, but they sent me mockingbirds instead. I got fired after the first show. The Ringmaster thought they were making fun of him.
Would you believe I rode a bicycle naked through a crowd of traveling minstrels? By day’s end I had learned how to play the clarinet.
Once I owned a fruit stand on North Michigan Avenue. Every few months a Naval captain came by. He would squeeze my melons. He had the coldest hands.
I worked in a shop with a laundry in front,a psychiatrist in back and facials upstairs. Pressed or depressed cost the same.
Before that I worked for a tailor. He made mens suits to die for. He was amusing and kept me in stitches. But you saw that coming.
(Poem and reading both recorded in 2014, one on Sylvia Plath’s birthday anniversary, and the other on World Poetry Day. With no new material, I thought I would share them once more)
I’m sorry Sylvia, but on this day, the day we
revere you, the poet who could not be stopped
who could not be stopped, who wanted to go to her rest
and did. I loved you, you who were dead
when I was three days old,
wearing your gloves and best shoes.
I wanted to go, I wanted out, out of what
I saw as having no options at 17
And all I needed was for someone to tell me
There were choices, and then believe them–
That was the feat. At fifty-one
I do believe it now, and you in my ear
Talking about ‘daddy’ speaking of my daddy
that cruelty that knew no bounds
of that deep childhood well
the scars covering the bruises of my hell;
Your words, Sylvia, words that I’ve known since then
I thank you. Words that calmed and soothed me
when you, Emily, and Edward were my only friends;
words that urged me to give up, to lay over the tracks
with a worn New Testament in my hand, and you;
But today, I don’t need you to tell me life
Is not worth living. I’m turning off the reading–
I turn on a comedian, and laugh
a little out the side of my mouth, with effort;
Because I am not throwing my hand
No matter what you say.
My body is revolting. It is telling me things about the life I have lived and the myriad of ways I have abused it. I am 54. I could easily live 30 more years or more based on my health as I saw it 30 years ago. But now, I get warning signs. I lose friends. Friends younger than I are dying suddenly. I am surrounded by cancer.
Why have I written all these very not-cheerful words? Because we all have a time when we face ourselves. For some it is at 40. For others, 70. For me it was 50, but I ignored it until this past year. I became overly sentimental and mawkish about the smallest details. Everything meant something. A cough, a twinge, a sudden chill.
The trick in healing your liver with vegetables seems to be one of two things: Either hide the vegetables under and within other foods you like, or b. find more veg that you like and embrace those, and leave off the rest.
After all it’s not a prison sentence, the idea is to feel good
Door b. is best for me because I like almost all veg, but it gets more complicated with Mr. Street. Still, we have found an accord. He has informed me of the following: He doesn’t eat (ever) eggplant or kale, and b. if I am going to hide kale in something, don’t tell him about it
Ignorance is bliss?
His shirts from last summer fit better. Next day he said, ‘you could probably put more kale in my smoothies’