Archive | Past Matters

peonies and pennies and twice is not a curse

Once when I had been making love for hours with a man I loved who loved me, he went to kiss my arm and kissed his own instead.

This was a man I’d seen on a subway and then on a sidewalk and then on a subway, a man who had finally strode up to me with a grin and worried, adoring eyes and said, “I fear I’d be terribly remiss if I did not say hello” and it was ok, the way he phrased it, because he was British and it didn’t feel like we were in the present so much as a noir of a neverexistent 1930s–

–a present that seemed like a future of a past infinitely purer and prettier than anything dreamed by this present–

and so we began circling each other, going for walks in the parks, meeting for chaste diner breakfasts, falling in step with birds, early spring air, the stoops of 90s brownstone brooklyn jamaican patties kids biking barbeque smoke smog pollen, until one day he bent down and his mouth met mine

and we fell into each other like it was where we were supposed to be all along. Continue Reading →

While You Were Snooping

Once when I had been dating a man for a few months and it was going really, really well– flowers at my door and long kisses at subway entrances and those unmistakable rosy cheeks–he read my journal when I wasn’t home.

I actually understood the impulse. When I’d been younger, I’d been the type to ransack everyone’s drawers. I never took anything; I just liked to know the whole playing field. Being intuitive meant I could fill in most gaps myself, but I preferred access to all information. Then one day I read a letter to a boyfriend’s roommate. It was from a guy with whom I’d enjoyed a heavy, unconsummated flirtation during college. He was a Marlboro Man sort from Montana with long legs and a craggy uneven smile that was just rare enough that you felt it in your toes when he bestowed it. This was back in the early 90s, when people still hand-lettered long missives to each other. (I still do; it’s so private and sexy.) This cowboy had written to my boyfriend’s roommate about a woman he had just begun dating. She’s tall, she’s blonde, she’s funny, he’d written. She’s just like Lisa Rosman except she’s not a crazy bitch. Continue Reading →

Clap Hands, Here Comes Ella

Photo: William Gottlieb

When I think of Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 101 today, I always flash on this image of her singing at The Downbeat in a fabulous coconut cake hat, Dizzy Gillespie visibly swooning by her side. Really, we’re all Dizzy when it comes to Ella. Hard-working and ever-radiant, she was a true Taurus goddess who channeled Venus at her most luscious and life-bearing. As a young person, I never understood this sign but now I relish its ambassadors, Ella especially, like sun-warmed soil between my toes. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy