Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm feeling this disconnect between higher ideals & harsher realities
I had the car for a few moments today, when D came home for lunch
lunch was homemade pizza, delicious - La Dolce Vita -
a variation of a favorite pie in a restaurant in town
tomato, gorgonzola, prosciutto, mozzarella, figs, arugula
we eat well, and for not much money, since I cook most everything myself
the turkey we've been dining on since last Thursday was
free with $300 worth of groceries bought over the past couple of months
easy - and no processed junk food either, except for the occasional bag of
tortilla chips - but even those, come to think of it, are from supposedly organic corn

last week's cut flowers in vases - no, not even last week's -
but ones from weeks before that, that have lasted til today
pink petals detonating, first like a dropped skirt on the bedroom dresser
then a small pool on the washstand in the bathroom
the third vase, intact by all appearances where it stood on the bookcase
that contains a lamp, a basket of dusty CDs, and a Christmas cactus blooming
perhaps a touch prematurely
disintegrated upon the impact of my hand grasping the bunch in hopes of
seizing it intact, so that I wouldn't have to pick up individual petals &
stamens that littered indecorously anyway on the tabletop and a few on the stairs as I summarily marched them to the compost bowl in the kitchen where I unceremoniously mashed them in with the coffee grounds and cooked beet peelings begun to go bad & cut away - the ruby center, like a beating heart, still good

So I've been in the house the last several days, and was feeling a bit housebound
enough that I wanted to go to the supermarket for fresh flowers
D came home for lunch & I borrowed the car
he gave me twenty dollars, but looked worried
are we that broke? I asked, when you work all the time, all those hours?
cash flow, he said. Will it improve? Yes, he said.
So I took the twenty, and the car, and drove down Route 9 to the mostly empty parking lot that fronts the supermarket, and the Fashion Bug, and
a corporately abandoned WalMart
(whose cynical ads prefacing Tavis Smiley I find particularly noisome)

I shopped for flowers
at least they weren't throwing them out today
preferring to throw them out rather than to risk the chance
of someone like me not feeling forced to buy overpriced ones for the holidays

(when I came home I found myself unleashing the f-bomb to D
at least they weren't throwing them out, I said
those f'ing capitalists - if they're throwing out flowers then
they should mark them down - to "what the market will bear" -
f'ing hypocrites!)

I surveyed the available bunches, dunked in black plastic bins
and selected a bunch of pink roses for $8.99
and a couple of stems of baby's breath (why? I don't even like it very much)
and a couple of variegated carnations - another flower I dislike -
but this one reminded me, perhaps of Toulouse-Lautrec cancan dancers
or pouffy hooped corseted lampshades in a Nevada brothel
(Nevada brothels, ones in Kansas too - only there they don't have brothels, I figure, just massage tables - figure in my imaginings, sometimes)

(just now, one of at least a half-dozen daily spam political emails comes over my virtual transom - tonedeaf, as always - what is to be done? I have no idea)

I selected my flowers, not thrilled with them but they'd do the trick
I have a hard time being in this house for days on end without them
I need the color & light
don't feel sorry for me! I'm fine - I just need a few things, creature comforts,
that make everything completely tolerable for me
to the point that I hardly care what time of year it is
it's all the same, up in the aerie - as long as I'm warm
as long as there are a few fresh blooms on my desk
and a bouquet on the dresser in the bedroom in which I no longer sleep
but I need that burst of apricot or pink to relieve the too-much-blue of that room

I have thoughts sometimes about how America doesn't support its artists enough
not really it doesn't
or it does - artists of a certain disposition
there's one around here - quite the self-promoter
she does quite alright for herself I think
I met her in passing once
I don't know
she's 'working it'
I feel a little cynical about her
though honestly, she seems nice enough

I digress - I was going to say something catty about her name
is it made up?
she relates her art, seems to me, to her unlikely name
mine is - here

anyway, x-out, x-out, previous lines uncomfortably revised
not to my satisfaction, and I do wonder about her
but - ultimately, seriously - power to her

So I selected flowers, and proceeded down the seeming half-mile of mostly empty registers
this is the most cold antiseptic impersonal supermarket ever (as are they all, in our Common(s) Era)
and I found myself suddenly behind a man walking slowly in front of me
who absolutely reeked - I mean just horrendous, obvious, medical, malodorous issues
I came close to gagging, but simply walked past
noted that he was in the company of a woman, perhaps his wife
who seemed oblivious to his high stench
the kind of stench one encounters, unfortunately,
in a forlorn corner of a city subway station, or street

I passed him, as he shuffled along, he and his female companion
He looked not terribly old, not at all - perhaps our age - or no more than his sixties?
which I think of as 'young' now
it is young when one is thinking of mortality
but he was in clearly devastated shape
yet here at the market, on his feet
I think he must have been a good looking guy once
not that much older than you or me

I found a register - the express-lane one, fifteen items or less
of which someone in front of me had either taken advantage
or for some reason the transaction was slow

I waited with my cellophane-bound bunches
roses bound with a single packet of plant food

a woman with a cart took her place behind me
leaned on the - what do you call the bar that you push the cart with?
she leaned on that
she didn't have many items
actually I don't know that, I didn't look, or check
(& not that I cared)
I noticed her tired, kind face
her hair pulled back
perhaps - yes, perhaps she was 'around our age' too -

she remarked on my flowers - how nice
yes, they make such a difference this time of year, I said
though today was balmy, she noted, rather poetically
yes - but gray, I replied
ah yes - but gray, she repeated with a sigh, and looked at me

and her companion, perhaps her husband, perhaps her most dearly beloved whoever it was this man to her
appeared on the scene
me with my flowers - no more than that - just fresh blooms -
and squeezed ahead of her cart and stood next to me

and the cashier rang me up and the transaction went quickly & smoothly
because as profoundly moved as I was in some sense by this simple moment
I had to hold my breath
for fear of choking
why did he sidle ahead of her, and close to me with my flowers?
should I have offered him a bloom?
but that would have been cheesy, and overdone I think
it occurred to me to do so - my heart went out to him
I'm glad -
what am I glad of? This chance encounter, so glancing

no, not cheesy - it would have been patronizing

the extraordinary thing? do you know - I haven't checked -
haven't tilted my nose down to inhale -
I don't know that the roses I bought have any fragrance at all
(they certainly don't have a tea-rose sort that I would have
involuntarily noticed)

but do you know what's extraordinary?
that malodorous desperate gentleman, still ambulatory
with his kind, beloved companion, perhaps his wife

I don't know how one could possibly become inured to odor such as that
but she seemed to be
she was kind & oblivious to the obviousness of him
the tenderness runs deep
as we chatted about supermarket blooms and balmy gray days


słuchaj sweetheart, am launching this poem as is, as a draft
a work in progress
it was all I could do to get it out of me
and so I know it has all sorts of issues, as to line breaks, and all the rest... but this is how it is --- on this express line of 15 items or less -- this is all that I have in me to unpack at the moment

except for - oh my love - warm hugs & many kisses

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