07 January, 2007

Erato or Thalia?

What follows is a poem I wrote a few years back, as Sariah and I were just getting to know one another. She was my inspiration then, my muse as I called her (she still is, BTW). I kinda like it. It goes so:


My name is shorter than yours
like one loose straw poking from the brim
of Uncle Henry’s fishing hat. A surprise
if you taste it: still sweet-green
after years of yellow from the sun
on Uncle Henry’s fishing hat. Listen

to the voices from the street. The girl’s
thin shriek pickled in peach brandy;
the piping bark of the dog, salty as ham,
like swearing; a very little laugh
not meant to travel. She is out without a hat

beneath a sky just waiting for morning. Why argue
if we have no answers, if the questions
won’t bring fine weather? Why ask
without a hope? Why look at me that way

through those glasses
cocked like Sinatra ordering a sandwich
at three a.m. That bird sees you.
The braying girl made happy
by the smell of new asphalt loves you too.
Have mercy. The sun may rise
as expected. For now, let’s watch the surfers
pack their cars, dreaming of sand
between half-open eyes. If you spread
your hands to me
I may crawl in.

02 January, 2007

Explosive Logorrhea

Greetings, all. I decided to start a separate blog from the family one because I wanted control over its look, and my wife ruled the Institute. So here I am. Starving.

That's right, starving. Two days ago, we started the so-called "lemonade diet" or Master Cleanse, because I stepped on a scale last week and lapsed into a coma. Lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and spring water for two weeks... and nothing else. After two days with no actual solid food, even the dog chow smells good. But it feels like it's working. That is, we're both starving most of the time, but we're not eating. And anyone who read my other blog will know that I was worried about my slipping mind. Well, it feels sharper already, along with my temper, probably because I haven't eaten for two days. Go figure.

It's not really so hard to do. But as we both have noticed, so much of our everyday life is taken up in planning, executing and consuming meals that we have these gaping holes in our days. I never know what to do about now -- suppertime -- and Sariah's at the same loss. No breakfast. No lunch break. No family hour over dinner. The world feels thin, "like too little butter spread over too much bread" to paraphrase, I believe, Samwise Gamgee. And I seem to miss meals, even though I'm not actually hungry. It's a little like how I imagine amputees feel when they talk about pain from a lost limb...only hardly so severe, of course. (beg pardon to any amputees reading this)

I won't talk about what happens to one's innards in this process, but you may fill in the blanks with some success if I mention that, before bed each night, one drinks or eats a healthy dose of herbal laxative, then in the morning, upon rising, guzzles a quart (yes, you read that right: a quart) of salt water. Then of course you dash to the water-cabinet and hunker down for the duration (an hour or so is recommended). We have laid in a supply of Charmin BIG rolls for our little adventure, and today I purchased some limes to alternate with the lemons and give a a whisper of variety. But let me tell you how lemonade, usually one of my favorite liquefactions, is ruined by the addition of cayenne. Initially, Sariah said it reminded her of a treat she used to get in Mexico when she was a child: jicama coated with lime juice and chili powder. Now she simply makes a face every time she takes a sip. A student in a childrens' lit class I used to teach once brought in a sampling of Mexican postres which included mango coated with chili. Even she could not explain its odd allure. My individually wrapped serving wound up in the bottom of the wastebasket, right beside the half-masticated morsel which had insulted my tastebuds. And now I have to drink the same thing between 6 and 12 times a day, for at least 10 days. If we make it, we'll have earned our merit badges.

To distract us from our misery, we attended the Magritte show at LACMA today. It will take me till tomorrow to process the brilliance, but more on that then.

Pray for me, friends.