“We are the same being in different disguises!”
wildflowers near the river and brings
them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports
Levis and western blouses with rhinestones.
Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers
and T-shirts, a letterman’s jacket from Tupelo High.
They take long walks and often hold hands.
She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.
Emily’s poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,
Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard
Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.
Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon
he will play guitar and sing “I Taste a Liquor
Never Brewed” to the tune of “Love Me Tender.”
Emily will clap and harmonize. Alone
in their cabins later, they’ll listen to the river
and nap. They will not think of Amherst
or Las Vegas. They know why God made them
roommates. It’s because America
was their hometown. It’s because
God is a thing
without feathers. It’s because
God wears blue suede shoes.
And Elvis got his licks from Black folk.
Respectfully, if there is a God
(and only one God)
The fuck would It need shoes for?If there is a Heaven, undoubtedly Emily is one of its queens
With Kate, or maybe Sue.
She is not sexless; she has desires
And now there is more than poetry she can do with them.
When she does receive company
She probably hangs out with Gertrude Stein
Sits out on the porch with Alice B. Toklas
And Sylvia Rivera.
In any idea of Heaven I care for
The music is played by anyone who loves it
But crowds flock to the people who made it
Not to the people who marketed it best
The acceptable white face (if not hips) of blues.
By the end I imagine Elvis probably just wanted to be left alone for a while anyway.
Someday he will emerge, and maybe he won’t be thin and young
Maybe he’ll still be fat and wearing that godawful jumpsuit
Because he liked jumpsuits
And nobody will care.
Because if a God is running around like some kind of heavenly bookings agent
Finding people cabins and shit to live in
If It exists
I prefer Heaven not be exclusively populated
By de-sexed bisexuals, white bluesmen,
And a God who has to wear shoes to get around.
And maybe someday their hometown will be as safe
For fat dudes in rhinestones,
Maybe even people who don’t believe in God
But not without a little more breadth of imagination
When it comes to picturing Heaven.
My husband is from West Virginia and he says he never heard of anyone eating plain tomato sandwiches until he moved South.
I find that astonishing.
I come from a place where people argue about the correct condiment for a tomato sandwich. Duke’s mayonnaise or Hellmann’s? Or are you a complete heathen and use Miracle Whip? Is pepper too much of an addition?
For those not from around here, Miracle Whip is “salad dressing,” which is mayonnaise with added sugar. Southern cooks are infamous for adding a pinch of sugar to just about everything and this is a commercial variation on that theme. I loved it when I was a child but lost my taste for it 20 or 30 years ago.
Some friends and I had a conversation about tomato sandwiches, recently. I was amused to hear the voices from the Midwest and Northeast talking about tomato sandwiches with bacon, smoked turkey, cheese or other plants like mushrooms, avocados or onions.
That is not a tomato sandwich. That is a turkey sandwich with tomato. Or a BLT. Or a vegetable sandwich. Or a cheese and tomato sandwich. All delicious and delightful. But, NOT a tomato sandwich.
I acknowledge that to purists, the occasional sprouts and celery salt I enjoy are pushing the envelope. So is mayo made with basil infused olive oil. While they are very tasty, they are treading the razor’s edge where a tomato sandwich becomes Something Else.
If you are from some other part of the world, pick (from a garden, not a grocery bin) a tomato that slices like this:
Your bread may be toasted or not, mayo on one or both sides, salt and pepper are optional. You will need to stand over the sink to eat it because the tomato juice will drip from a truly ripe fruit.
THAT is the flavor of a Southern summer.
I need to mulch the flower beds.
I need to pull grass out from between the plants I have put there on purpose.
I keep thinking that I wish I had tools that would make that easier. But that requires shopping and, when I get to the store, I dither and the weed and grass pulling doesn’t happen.
It’s a perfect day for working outside.
Why am I in here?
Working non-standard hours has made me more aware of how we are aware of time.
I work 12 hours on each weekend day and 6 hours on one day in the week. Usually Tuesday, but that can be changed if either LabCorp or I need it to. And they pay me for a 40 hour week, so that works.
My husband has his office in our house and has to go out into the world for work related stuff about once a week. Usually, he does it on Wednesday. He’s a real estate lawyer and there are closings, title searches, recordings of deeds of trust and picking up and dropping off of checks all over 3 or 5 counties that have to happen in certain orders. That can cause his travel day to shift, but the shift doesn’t happen often. He is usually able to aim things so that one day in the middle of the week is the only driving around that is required.
I usually wake up in the morning and think “Today is …” and know when I am.
This week has been … off. I didn’t work yesterday because a friend was traveling through and we made plans for her to stop off here for dinner as she passed by. So, I swapped my week day work day to Thursday. And Chuck had to “do his running around” on Monday because that was when something that needed to happen was due.
Just now, I had to look at my computer to be sure what day of the week it is. It makes me wonder about how I will relate to time when I don’t have to go to work any more. My friends are getting to the age of retirement. I wonder if the things they do (classes, volunteering, religious services, regular visits to friends and family) are ways of regulating their time in addition to being interesting to them. Serving as a fixed point in the week.
I recognize that the way we divide days into hours and collect them into weeks and months and years is how we arrange to work together as a community. I suspect those collective nouns are also necessary for us to feel safe, to feel that there is some kind of personal control, in the enormity of infinity.
“At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing – not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision – a cocktail, a remix – of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes – we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare.”