updatopia

Jan. 19th, 2010 10:10 pm
concretekiss: (Default)
small death
Favorite most recent flowershop card messages:
sympathy - "I miss you already."
holiday - "Sorry for being such a prick. Happy holidays from old St. Nick"
love - "It's been 6 months since an angel found me."
recovery - "When you gonna get up off your ass?"

My Sundays are now working at a plant nursery that grows everything organically. It's only seasonal, with the possibility of being employed permanent. My hopes are low that I'll get hired on because I'm a staunch pessimist and it is a dream job, to me, going home with dirt under my nails, learning about propagation, chill hours, soil content, paramagnetic rock. There is a butterfly garden, a labyrinth, two donkeys, some cats, chickens and goats. GOATS. That go maaaaaa. Did you know that pecan trees can have both male and female parts? Did you know peat moss has to age in a bog in New Zealand for 100 years?

Yesterday I was accepted into the city choir. I'm a contralto, the lowest of female voices. Aw yeah.
I have only done some community musical theater in my teens and took advanced choir in like, 8th grade, so I was surprised and excited that I made it through auditions.

We are big and beautiful. We sound together Gothic and omniscient and powerful. Our director is amazing and charismatic, calling to us enthusiastically. I would feel so godlike as a conductor, my every gesture a paint stroke of voices, deepening and fading at my fingertips. Can you imagine?
I'd forgotten how much I loved the experience, the acoustics, being part of such a colossal and profound voice. We are learning Cherubini's Requiem, and how Beethoven loved and owed much of his style to Cherubini.
Then on the way home from rehearsals I was singin my heart off, and a man who was staring at me while trying to make a turn hit the median and had to clomp over it. I was mortified for him.

Even working through the week without a day off I am derelict for the most part. I piece rent together from several paychecks. I am cooking every meal, perusing ingredients to make your own laundry detergent, consulting HillbillyHousewife.com for frugal ideas. I still have want issues, but I'm happy. I love my jobs. I am learning so much about flora and now busy with classical composers and Latin dirges. It's nice to be able to sing, especially when you're dirt poor.
concretekiss: (Default)
Surely, there will come a day I'll be the only one left here, rambling on all by myself.

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Men come into the shop with bluebirds chasing hearts in halos around their heads. They are my favorite, next to the elderly husbands. Some ask me to choose loose-cut flowers for them; What would I like, they ask. Would I think *this* is pretty, they ask, as though all girls like the same thing? Or as though I have the better taste to choose? It's a cute question, albeit odd to me. Instead of arranging an armload of blossoms I would want myself to give to another doe, which is somewhat depressing, I try to gauge demeanor and what hints of personality I notice to choose something compatible, that he would not look lost holding; Customary men date ladies who like roses and classical things. Scruffy boys date girls who love wildflowers and gerbers. The seemingly affluent or debonair get stargazers and delphinium. Not sure if it works, but I'm still learning.
I don't know of another place of employment where so many men walk in lovesick. It's not usually something a man wants to admit.

---------------------------------
The cold traps me into the apartment, which is necessary with the superfluity of my half-finished projects, boxes of boxes of notes to self, romantic fragments. I read somewhere that your living space is a reflection of your emotional interior. If it is cluttered, so must be your thoughts. If it is an attic of obsoletes and fossils, so must be your heart.
So I've hauled off about four boxes so far of donation items and the tower grows. I must extract these things quickly, before I over-analyze. Though I only want to hold dear things dear, I'm the sort of girl who can convince myself that everything is vital in some way.

I can't bear to part with my childrens' drawings and am wracking my brain as to what I can make with them; bind them into books, decoupage them onto a hope chest. I don't know. Currently they are in three large boxes, useful as cinder blocks.

Then there is a trunk of old books of poetry and confessions, I could have a bonfire that would drown a polar bear. For the first time in the 15 years I have been dragging it from home to home it has become incriminating evidence to me. I have a horrible fantasy of my family members finding these angst ridden, bloody hearted teenage lamentations while going through my things after I have died. I don't mind the mysterious receipts to hotel rooms, broken strings of beads, cassettes tape coils of ghost voices. They keep their secrets well.

There are not enough lifetimes to accomplish the ever-growing list of resolutions I continually set for myself, even without annual prompt, in self-admonishment or fantasy. I failed miserably to achieve the only (absolutely genius Gaynun) official resolution I made last year, to the point where I have a boy's t-shirt that I sniff and pet like a security blanket (look away. I am a monster.) BUT THAT'S OK.
I am poor as fuck BUT THAT'S OK. My dishes don't match but they still hold food. Even after getting laid off from a job of 3 years, and being too traumatized to be terrified, all told this has been one of the happiest years I've had in many. In my unemployed free time I have made more advancements in painting than all my years combined, getting me that much closer to having enough pieces for my own exhibition. I've traveled to beautiful places. my children have stayed happy and healthy. I go home from my current job often feeling wondrous, enchanted and fulfilled. And I loved and was loved back.

--------------------------------
The last poem I read of the year.
It's about much more than parenthood to me:

Mother and Child - Louise Glück

We’re all dreamers; we don’t know who we are.

Some machine made us; machine of the world, the constricting family.
Then back to the world, polished by soft whips.

We dream; we don’t remember.

Machine of the family: dark fur, forests of the mother’s body.
Machine of the mother: white city inside her.

And before that: earth and water.
Moss between rocks, pieces of leaves and grass.

And before, cells in a great darkness.
And before that, the veiled world.

This is why you were born: to silence me.
Cells of my mother and father, it is your turn
to be pivotal, to be the masterpiece.

I improvised; I never remembered.
Now it’s your turn to be driven;
you’re the one who demands to know:

Why do I suffer? Why am I ignorant?
Cells in a great darkness. Some machine made us;
it is your turn to address it, to go back asking
what am I for? What am I for?
concretekiss: (Default)
He loves a girl who yawns like an iris.
He hears the curl of her smile
when she speaks.

I take him by the arm through the shop
describing colors as soft, rich, warm.
Not dark, bright. Not autumnal.

His useless eyes in the nest of his face, blue
as robin eggs, motherless, tilt heavenward

I lift blooms to the swarm of his fingers
watch him trace the symmetry of oblivious lilies

by feel until he finds her
lashes in aster, tip toes in hypericum
her mouth in begonias.
concretekiss: (Default)
A man calls this morning to say that he had stopped by the shop yesterday to place an order with me to send roses to his wife for her birthday. I recall him, elderly, sweet faced, hound dog eyes, hunkering painstakingly over his card. I remember complimenting him on how well prepared he was, stopping by days ahead to take care of the gift.
Over the phone he asks if I will please open the card back up and write at the bottom "Your husband, George."
I grin and say, "Oh? but I bet she'll know it's you, George."
"Well...sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't," he replies.
My heart falls. I assure him I will sign his card for him. He thanks me graciously and ends the call.
The address to the recipient I find is in a nursing home.
Inside the card George has written "Sweetheart. I love you bunches and miss you so much, so please stay healthy."


O George, you have killed me.
concretekiss: (Default)
In my yoga class I keep my head down. I don't make eye contact or try to start conversations. Things are intimate enough, all of us attempting to loosen the daily debris of stress caught behind shoulder blades, in the muscles of the neck, heartbreaks rusting the jaw shut, all in front of eachother. It feels as though I am letting strangers watch me pray.
I go because I need the classroom atmosphere to spurn me into finishing the hour. It would be easier to get tired and turn a video off in the privacy of my own home than it would to abashedly pack up my mat in front of a bunch of people, because I was too weak or lazy to complete the class. Yes, I am using humiliation as motivation.
After and before, the students congratulate one another, talk about their favorite stretches, the returning pains they intend to conquer. I peek at them, without getting caught. I have learned many of their faces, having been to this class so many times I've lost count. But I feel it is best I keep quiet. I get too passionate. I blurt. My filter is faulty. I don't know how to speak to someone without them eventually coming to the conclusion that I am "weird," and not in some cute or good way.
A close, very tolerant, very kind friend tells me I don't make efforts to cultivate a social life. I wait for others to call me. I reach from where I stand. I come when called, but I am too nervous to risk approaching someone without express welcome or enter a life without having been invited first.

________________________________________________________




We are losing our beauties from the 30's and 40's. I have begun to collect them. At the flower shop I save their photographs from the obituaries. The senile stars of their eyes cold as granite. Lush filigree curls lap at their island faces. Their crimson grins so slight if at all.
In photographs from the early 20th century the smile began to emerge. Before then, camera shutter speeds were so slow that subjects shoved broom handles down the backs of their gowns to keep from slouching as they waited in the cold or heat. To hold one's face in rapturous repose for very long was so exhausting that one risked blurring her features if she attempted to do so, thus possibly ruining the only chance to have her image recorded.
Families were told by photographers to relax and let their expressions fall into their natural states, which were often wistful, stoic, prohibition, WWI, 19th amendment, recession faces.
I imagine the obit photos in the years to come of pretties in their primes will bloom with grins, wily, confident, curling like coffee cream, fibonacci, expanding with the years.

________________________________________________________



At the age of 7, I met a long whipping switch of a girl. Our mothers would visit eachother to share plant cuttings while we went looking for paint rocks and fossils, or we would soak her mother's hallway with soap and water and slide down it cackling like maniacs, deep south snow sledding.
She ended up my oldest friend. Neither of us was strange to the other. For ten summers I rode my bike to her house, my skinny black mutt trotting along side. In high school she wore drawstring hospital pants she found at the goodwill, because they were "comfortable." On the bus once, she beat a boy with her lunchbox for thumping me in the ear. When we were 15 we walked out of school and ran away for three days, sleeping in cardboard castles behind furniture buildings, stealing flowers from old ladies' yards to weave through our hair. We made our small town news and everything. We only came home because it rained so hard the streets flooded til stray dogs paddled through them. We lit cherry bombs in redneck bars. We sat in the bathtub tripping, taking turns pouring water over the other's head, feeling like candles, warm wax dripping down our necks. We were so brave we were fools. We lost touch.
I ran off to Georgia, grew up, knocked up.
Today, from all the drug use her skull is gutted like the burned house we trespassed through in our adolescence. Eyes blown out like the windows, throat clogged with ivy, dusty sink hearted. And I am the only one left who remembers our renaissance, building forts in the forest, picking wild black and blueberries from ditches, sailing paper boats in puddles, passing notes with pictures drawn on them of boys we loved, wearing crowns or horns.
I called her my best friend many years after she could no longer recall us, years after I became a vague stranger to her. My memory can be so precise and merciless in detail that I envy the forgetful. They heal so fast. They relinquish so easily.

________________________________________________________


I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows as a child and coming across a bit about how you can catch a raccoon by carving a hole into a fallen log and driving nails into it at an angle. You then drop a piece of cheap, shiny tin or plastic into the hole and the raccoon will come along and try to grab it out. Once he makes a fist around the bait he is caught. He will starve and howl until the trapper comes to kill him. The nails make a barbed funnel, and will not allow him to get his paw out unless he releases the trinket, but he won't. It's too lovely to let go.
concretekiss: (Default)
I didn't say "Is it ok if she's Mexican and wears a baseball cap?" to the woman who came into the shop today to ask "Isn't there someone here who is closer to my age? I need an opinion." I also did not say "I have many opinions, one being that you are an ass-faced donkey whore," or "She is out on vacation right now, but you are welcome to blow a lobster," or "You look like you're in your late 40s. I'm closer to your age than Blanche buttfucking Devereaux," or "Sure I'll go get her" and duck behind the counter only to hobble back into the shop all haggafied, with a scarf wrapped around my head, dark glasses and a walking cane.
Instead I politely went to get the manager who in her noble aged wisdom happily and proudly gave her godlike opinion on violets for a tea party, as I glowered in the back room. This kill them with kindness biz can suck my velvet balls. D'nay tells me I should've told the lady "I'm a mother!" like what the fuck would that do? People hate kids as much as Nazis nowadays. Everything always goes back to if I were a dolphin I wouldn't have these problems.

baby post

Oct. 27th, 2009 10:13 am
concretekiss: (Default)
Listen.

settled - stage one

It occurred to me days ago that the talent I give myself most credit for is that of self-admonishment.

In cluttered atriums there are domestic disturbances. Hungover fools who've worn out their welcomes. Fat calicoes in morning windows who dream of growing wings and snatching in midair the blackbirds that tease them. Blue girls who blush at old love letters, from prisoners in bare ventricles who mark their days on the walls. Your heart, the apartment complex, the impassioned fist keeping you awake, a peony, a cracked teacup, grenade, cardinal, apple, seashell, seed that loves to split.

puddle heart

Some days seem to follow a theme at the flower shop; It will be uncanny how many red-handed infidels file through the door with their tails tucked, pouting for consolation. Some days it is a succession of teary eyed families bereft of loved ones, stammering, their voices breaking over the condolences I pen onto cards for them. My hands are more steady.
I wonder if it is the stars, the moon's pull, some butterfly effect that eventually leaves them longing at the mouths of flowers to say what they find so difficult.
It's been muddy and wet out, perfect for staying in, which seemed to make last Friday the day for smitten boys who came in steady as the rain, one after another, their faces flushed in afterglow. Two of them grinned when asked to fill out the card, declining "She'll know...she'll know." One kissed my hand and almost floated out the door. And yesterday was in celebration of births, because 9 months ago people were doing all they could to keep warm.
concretekiss: (Default)
my desk

A man in red suspenders and a long white beard comes in to buy his wife a bouquet for her birthday. "She's gonna be 89 but don't go reminding her about that part, when ya bring the flowers." He sits down on the couch and I fill his check out for him. I notice his pants are heavily patched, so much that they seem to be almost made of patches. I wonder how long he has had them. As I help him out the door, in my thoughts I see an elderly woman willowed over a sewing machine.

A beautiful young woman in her early twenties, heavily sedated, escorted by her mother, wants silk arrangements for the graves of her infant twins. The (grand)mother breaks down thanking us, before reaching the door to leave. I have to collect myself in the bathroom.

Caroline and Anne are talking about another woman their age (late 50s to mid 60s I'd say), who wears leggings and brightly colored sandals and fluffy tops with long golden chains.
"You just can't do that. She has no class, I mean, you reach a certain age and you lose your dignity. She's ridiculous to wear things like that."
"Can you believe, skipping around in Barbie clothes and she thinks she looks great!"
I am the youngest woman in the shop. I look down at my clothes, wonder if Barbie would wear them.

A middle aged woman delicately hobbles to the door with her cane. She wants flowers for her aunt who has passed away. Quite often, those who have lost someone feel compelled to divulge to us as though we are counselors. Perhaps they feel more intimate as we fill out their sympathy cards with messages for their beloved ghosts. I write the words "I am/we are so sorry" at least once a day.
The lady goes on to tell of certain family members, coos over her new grandchild, complains of a feud between her and her sister. I am eavesdropping while waiting on another customer. She is having her 11th back surgery tomorrow she somehow proudly exclaims while limping away. When Caroline asks if she was in a car wreck, she confesses no. She was severely beaten by her husband. He would pick her up and throw her, dislocated her arms, and slipped almost every disk in her back. "If a man ever swears he won't hit you again, don't believe him cause that's what I did, and now look at me."
When Caroline tells her she hopes the doctors have given her medicine for the pain she says "Oh yes. I'm on some heavy stuff. I'm like Micheal Jackson," chuckling at herself.

The rugged, stubbly Marlboro man asks me to wrap a dozen hot pink roses. I tell him they are a lovely choice, to which he replies "Good, ahm hoping they will get me out of the dog house," nods, grins slyly and slips out the door.
concretekiss: (Default)
What is worse, a great mind wasted on a life of adversity or a great life wasted on a spiritless fool? Wait nevermind, I figured it out.

"Tell me do you wash yr hair in honeydew?" Camera Obscura
"Tell me do you worship him in running shoes?" Son

"Mama se mama sa ma ma coo sa" Micheal Jackson
"I'ma sell I'ma sell to microsoft" Son

"I'm a rocket man burning out my fuse up here alone" Elton John
"I'm a rocket man, burning all my fuse off. Hayull naw!" Son

Excuse me but I am still all romantic about my new job. We have the most fragrant compost pile. All my co-workers are women and mothers. We all talk to the plants as well, like a bunch of crazies.
P6040036
Each person who walks in or calls wants to commemorate a monumental transition in his life or the life of another, a birth, a death, another year of devotion, survival, love. Even if it's just to say they are impassioned for no reason.
You ask them one question and they spill out stories. Chatterly and emotional.

My favorites are the expressions of affection, the elderly men buying arrangements for their wives of 50 years I almost have to shoo out the door so as not to begin tearing in front of them. I have to toughen up.
Last week a mechanic bought daisies for his lady to be delivered at the dollar store where she worked. He kissed the card to be sent and circled the spot, a greasy love smudge.
A quite gruff looking biker came in today and asked that I choose the most perfect rose from the crop. "But not red. That's too forward for a first date." I wonder how many men I help to get laid a week.
One gentleman has a standing order with us: his wife's anniversary, birthday, valentine's, and mother's day all delivered each year like clockwork and charged automatically to his card, so he'll never forget again. Clever and lazy all at once.

pompon
The middles of flowers are tiny empires. Bumblebee mansions. 90 percent of life on earth is smaller than the human finger. We are this era's great beasts, our highrises jutting up through green valleys like dorsal fins. We roar down the highways in Chevy Tahoes, our Kelly Clarkson ringtones screeching ominously in the night.

You may not know
Maximilian of Austria was told by the bishop of Treves to search under his bride's dress for a carnation hidden there, which he reported to have done "at first tentatively and then with growing enthusiasm."

If you or your family do not pay for your burial and funeral service up front, the funeral home will put your dead ass in storage after a couple weeks and after a set amount of time, they will bury you in an unmarked "pauper's grave."

Gerbera daisies can have more than 1,200 petals. The ox-eye daisy has generally less and so would be comparably quicker to use in determining his love for you.

And I haven't made a photopost in a while. For those of you who don't have flickr accounts here are favorites from my misadventures May-June )

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