(June Jordan at home in Berkeley, 2001; photo by Jill Posener)
Six years ago today, poet for the people June Jordan died in Berkeley, California after a battle with breast cancer. She published 28 books of poetry, essays, and fiction. She was a regular columnist for The Progressive and a prolific writer whose articles appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, Ms., Essence, the American Poetry Review, The Nation, and many other periodicals. She was one of the most widely published African-American authors, with her emergence in the 1960's and her homecoming among lesbian-feminists. She was founder and director of Poetry For The People, which to my direct knowledge has produced many other stunning poets and voices.
Poets all over the country still mark her passing on this day with deep loss.
"Jordan makes us think of Akhmatova, of Neruda. She is among the bravest of us, the most outraged. She feels for all. She is the universal poet." — Alice Walker
To hear a clip of her reading her poem "A Poem about Intelligence for My Brothers and Sisters", go to Poets.org.
"In political journalism that cuts like razors, in essays that blast the darkness of confusion with relentless light; in poetry that looks as closely into lilac buds as into death’s mouth….she has comforted, explained, described, wrestled with, taught and made us laugh out loud before we wept…I am talking about a span of forty years of tireless activism coupled with and fueled by flawless art." — Toni Morrison
Read some of her poetry after the fold.
Below are three poems by June Jordan. The first one I read aloud at the annual memorial reading of her work held here in Austin a few years ago.
POEM ABOUT POLICE VIOLENCE
Tell me something
what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy
then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man
then we kill a cop
you think the accident rate would lower subsequently?
sometimes the feeling like amaze me baby
comes back to my mouth and I am quiet
like Olympian pools from the running
mountainous snows under the sun
sometimes thinking about the 12th House of the Cosmos
or the way your ear ensnares the tip
of my tongue or signs that I have never seen
like DANGER WOMEN WORKING
I lose consciousness of ugly bestial rapid
and repetitive affront as when they tell me
18 cops in order to subdue one man
18 strangled him to death in the ensuing scuffle
(don't you idolize the diction of the powerful: subdue
and scuffle my oh my) and that the murder
that the killing of Arthur Miller on a Brooklyn
street was just a "justifiable accident" again
People been having accidents all over the globe
so long like that I reckon that the only
suitable insurance is a gun
I'm saying war is not to understand or rerun
war is to be fought and won
sometimes the feeling like amaze me baby
blots it out/the bestial but
not too often tell me something
what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy
then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man
then we kill a cop
you think the accident rate would lower subsequently
THE TALKING BACK OF MISS VALENTINE JONES: POEM # ONE
well I wanted to braid my hair
bathe and bedeck my
self so fine
so fully aforethought for
I wanted to travel and read
and runaround fantastic
into war and peace:
I wanted to
and be conquered
I wanted to pickup the phone
and find you asking me
if I might possibly be alone
(so I could answer cool
as the jewels I would wear
on bareskin for you
you comin ova?"
But I had to remember to write down
margarine on the list
and shoepolish and a can of
sliced pineapple in casea company
and a quarta skim milk cause Teresa's
gaining weight and don' nobody groove on
and next I hadta sort for darks and lights before
the laundry hit the water which I had
to kinda keep an eye on be-
cause if the big hose jumps the sink again that
Mrs. Thompson gointa come upstairs
and brain me with a mop don' smell too
nice even though she hang
it headfirst out the winda
and I had to check
on William like to
burn hisself to death with fever
boy so thin be
callin all day "Momma! Sing to me?"
"Ma! Am I gone die?" and me not
wake enough to sit beside him longer than
to wipeaway the sweat or change the sheets/
his shirt and feed him orange
juice before I fall out of sleep and
Sweet My Jesus ain but one can
and we not thru the afternoon
you (temporarily) shownup with a thing
you says' a poem and you
"Will The Real Miss Black America Standup?"
guilty po' mouth
about duty beauties of my
boozeup doozies about
cause love is blind
I can't use it
and the very next bodacious Blackman
call me queen
because my life ain shit
because (in any case) he ain been here to share it
(dish for dish and do for do and
dream for dream)
I'm gone scream him out my house
cause what I wanted was
to braid my hair/bathe and bedeck my
self so fully be-
cause what I wanted was
cause what I wanted was
From Naming Our Destiny: New and Selected Poems, published by Thunder's Mouth Press. Copyright © 1989 June Jordan.
POEM FOR SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN
Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world
The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire
And the babies cease alarm as mothers
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open eye
And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
even under the sea:
we are the ones we have been waiting for.
from Passion: New Poems, 1977-80; © 1980 June Jordan
(Poster by Ricardo Levins Morales at Northland Poster)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
(June Jordan at home in Berkeley, 2001; photo by Jill Posener)
Friday, June 13, 2008
Well, I succumbed.
I went to the LOLBuilder at I Can Has Cheezburger and went through the torrent of photos being submitted, captioning as dementedness and snark came to me.
Below is the rest of my efforts. Somebody stop me....
(A helicopter drops buckets of water on a grass fire that broke out in the East Bay Hills in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 12, 2008. Photo by Alison Yin for The Oakland Tribune.)
I woke up this evening to an e-mail from Kat in Berkeley reading "Maggie, the Oakland Hills are on fire again. I'm really freaked out. No evacuations so far, and it doesn't look like it's moving as fast as in '91, but it's the same place (Hiller Highlands/Tunnel Road)."
I immediately searched for the story, and found it covered by the breaking news section of the San Jose Mercury, which stated:
"A brush fire broke out Thursday morning across 3 acres of steep hillside above Old Tunnel Road — eerily close to where the devastating 1991 Oakland Hills fire swept out of control — prompting a fast response from firefighters, who contained it in about one hour, and evoking fear among residents."
The article went on to comment "For the residents living on Charing Cross Road and surrounding streets, the wildfire was a terrifying reminder of the fire of 1991." Kat wasn't the only one.
The neighborhood where I lived in Oakland, moving away in 1989, escaped being leveled by the 1991 fire by only blocks. I went back on a visit shortly afterward, when tendrils of smoke could still be seen among the ashes, and toured the devastation with a former neighbor. I've written about the Oakland Firestorm before at this blog in my post Escape Fires.
To see some excellent footage of today's fire suppression, especially the physical effort involved in dealing with these extreme slopes, check out two videos from the Contra Costa Times:
Video Part One and Video Part Two
Last night I watched extended coverage of the flooding in Iowa and the Wisconsin Dells, as well as the devastating tornado who killed four boys at a leadership gathering for Boy Scouts. The same system destroying lives, homes, and crops in the Midwest has us here in Central Texas entering our 12th day of 100 degree heat and 23rd day of temperatures over 90 -- before summer even starts. We're already hurting for rain, as is huge swaths of the West.
We (human beings) have altered the weather patterns and balance for the entire globe.
I notice that no evangelical hatemonger has suggested that the people of Middle America have brought on the flooding and wrath of god by their insistence on liberty and human compassion. I guess some acts of god are not a toddler version of vengeance.
Scott McClellan was on Letterman last night, and by most who've reported on it, Dave conducted the best interview with him to date about the revelations in his book What Happened. The tone was set by Paul Schaffer leading the band in a rendition of "Turn, Turn, Turn" as Scotty walked on stage. You can watch the whole thing below, and should -- Scotty is opening windows and doors, however late.
Some of my favorite lines:
Dave (referring to Bush): "If I was doing the job he's doing, or that I think he's doing, I wouldn't go to work."
Scott (on Cheney): "He has a very dark view of the world, and he certainly believes some of the means justify the ends. And this President showed him way too much deference, I think, in terms of carrying out policies, whether it was detainee policies or energy policy, or policies relating to the war itself."
Dave: "My feeling about Cheney, and also Bush, but especially Cheney is that he just couldn't care less about Americans, and the same is true of George Bush. And all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they're out of office (applause starts -- Dave counts out money as he continues) -- There you go, Dick, nice job, there's a couple of billion for your troubles. (Applause strengthens.) He pretty much put Halliburton in business, and the outsourcing of military resources to private mercenary groups and so forth. Is there any humanity in either of these guys?"
The bottom line is: Corporate values are not American values. The decisions about our environment, our food, our foreign policy, our military, our social services, our justice system, and all other rights which we accede to community control must be returned to elected government, not corporations. As Dave said, "We're screwed" until we do so.
(Click on image to enlarge and read the graffiti on the railroad trestle)
UPDATE: The number of Netroot Nation scholarships available has been increased from 9 to 20, and the deadline for applying/voting extended to June 13th. I've been deeply moved by the response so far -- more than I can express. But I'm hoping any of you who missed this the first time around will be motivated go here and voice your vote for my getting one of these precious windows to community contact and influence.
My readers, I have applied for a scholarship to attend the upcoming Netroots Nation Conference (progressive bloggers from everywhere), which is going to be in Austin on July 17-20. The application is through Democracy for America, and will pay admission (several hundred dollars) and lodging (which I may not need if I can get transportation to and from the site).
The nine scholarships will be awarded to "The applicant with the highest amount of support voiced on their application page by members of the DFA community will earn a scholarship. All other scholarships will be chosen at the discretion of DFA senior staff." Thus, I need your support!
Please go here to read my profile and register your support for me as a candidate. Spread the word, every vote will count. Click on the nomination box at the bottom.
The deadline for the contest is June 10 at 11:59pm Eastern.
Thanks for your help. I'll make great use of attending, you can count on that.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
(Sleeping Goddess at Heligan, England)
The Fifteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists is now up over at Rage Against The Man-chine, and NineDeuce did a SPECTACULAR job. (Honestly, I'd say that even if three of my posts had not been selected.) I feel like I can see a noticeable improvement in the breadth and quality of submissions each month -- I am learning and stretching from each installment. I had already read a lot of the posts included, but it's so handy to refer you over there -- scan the offerings and go partake. Like creme brulee, it is.
I don't want to distract you from reading ALL of the Carnival. However, I'll give you some free samples here:
"If giving information about the killing of babies (meaning fertilized eggs) is so important and these people want to ensure that potential parents know that their actions will lead to killing babies, why isn’t this group working to inform men that having sex with a fertile woman who is on birth control is a murder attempt?" (GREAT logic!) -- by Marcella Chester at Abyss2Hope in her post Protest The Pill To Protect Life Or To Mock It?
"There is a hidden code to exploit women in the whole cultural and social scheme of romantic love, mostly because the concept of romantic love has been authored by men, and is based on men’s fractured understanding of women as primarily sexual objects. The patriarchal concept always denies the individuality of a woman as a human being." -- by Sarojini Sahoo at Sense & Sensuality, in her post It Is Risky for a Woman to Deal with Female Sexuality in India
"Consent and sexual readiness has been presented to us, through marketing and media, to be a look-a set of features-embodied by women/girls. Thus creating a situation wherein, if the “look” is present, the sexual meaning is implied. When sexual meaning is implied the first layer of consideration for the women’s interest in being considered sexual by another, as well as her legal ability to even be so, is removed. A layer of 'no' is gone." -- by Pisaquari at Buried Alive, in her post entitled No More No(Sexual Stigma p.2).
"Since black women were brought on this continent in chains we have never been given the luxury of being 'soft'. We have been the ultimate un-woman. We lead because that is how we have been able to survive in a world that has proven to be predatory." -- by Renee at Womanist Musings, in Men Troubles.
Regarding that last excerpt, Womanist Musings is one of my daily reads, a hot new voice. I want to take this chance to promote the new WOC Blog Carnival being started by Renee at Womanist Musings. Go to the link above for read about it, PASS IT ON TO YOUR SISTERS, and if you want to submit to that Carnival, go here.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
(Sharon Bridgforth at Resistencia Books, Austin, Texas)
Hey, ya'll! Austin's bestest (now, sadly, moved to New Yawk) and the writer who helped me Find My Voice, Sharon Bridgforth, is the focus of a great story over at After Ellen. Go read all about her, buy her books, do WHATEVER you can to hear her read -- and look for Allie or Myra in the audience!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
(The Chess Game, by sixteenth century Italian painter Sofonisba Anguissola)
Here's the next (a little shorter) segment of my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates. This will follow my post of June 6.
If you are already a familiar reader, begin below. If you need background, check the links in the sidebar on the right, fifth item down, to get caught up.
The first Saturday in July, Myra more or less scandalized Ginny by arranging for delivery from an organic farm of two gutted and headless carcasses, one pork, one beef. When Ginny found out Gillam and Carly were in on it, she stomped outside to work in the garden. Myra had bought a galvanized tub from the hardware store and filled it with ice to hold the pig, while she spread out every chopping board they had on the counter to hold the beeve. Gillam and Carly had already sharpened all the kitchen knives. The three of them propped open The Joy of Cooking on the breakfast bar and began carving, amid intense discussion about technique and what constituted a particular cut.
Two hours later, the freezer was filled with newly-wrapped roasts, ribs, and steaks, except for those Myra meant to take for the Fourth at Allie's and a huge bowl of "trim" they intended to grind into hamburger. Myra's giant stock pot was already simmering on the back burner. Ginny came back in and said immediately "It smells like an abattoir in here" with disgust. She noticed a sledgehammer and a shiny new saw had been added to the array of dismembering equipment.
"Yeah" Myra admitted. She pointed her cleaver toward Beebo, who had parked himself on the dining table in line of sight of all action and over the heady updraft from the pig on ice. "He hasn't budged once. He thinks if we're going to start bringing home kill, he needs to get bigger to help with the hunt itself."
"I want lunch, but I'm not cooking a goddamned thing in here until you scrub down every surface with disinfectant" said Ginny.
"I'm hungry, too" said Gillam, a little guiltily.
Ginny sighed. "I'll call in an order to someplace and go get it, if you want."
"The Honey Hole?" suggested Carly. Ginny consented: They had excellent soups and vegetarian options, as well as sandwiches. As she took down their orders, she noticed none of them were choosing a beef item. She smiled to herself.
Myra said "I like their Cobb salad, but I also want a side of fries. And two of their Thomas Kemper orange cream sodas. Two, Ginny, don't act like you forgot one."
"I'll be back soon" said Ginny.
By the time she returned, the pig carcass had been split and the halves segmented roughly into shoulder, loin, ribs, bacon, and hams. All three of the butchers looked tired and sweaty. They returned pig parts to the ice bed and headed for different bathrooms to scrub down, returning in clean clothes to eat on the deck with Ginny. Beebo elected to stand guard over the tub.
"My hands are aching" complained Myra as she ate fries hungrily.
"Then you shouldn't be handling a knife any more" said Ginny, giving her a firm look. "I don't want to be driving you to the emergency room while the boys search for a finger among all that carnage."
"This has been a learning experience" said Gillam, trying to come to Myra's defense. "It makes me look at meat very differently."
"But I don't want to do it again" said Myra, and her companions breathed out in relief. "I mean, I don't mind buying a small slab of bacon that I slice myself, maybe. Otherwise, it's worth it to pay someone else for the...dissection. Organic, though, I'm sold on it. That flesh still smells like food, even after all this overexposure."
Ginny noticed they dawdled over lunch. Finally, they dragged themselves back in, put on old shirts, and finished their chore in another three hours. The last hour was spent in grinding with the manual crank Myra had clamped to the counter, and skimming from now two stock pots.
A small saucer of "icky bits" was put on the deck for Beebo and the pet door closed against his attempts to bring them inside for play before consumption. Myra shooed the boys upstairs for their second shower, while she stripped down and used several buckets of bleach water to compulsively clean the kitchen. "If it's just me, I know what areas I've covered" she told them. "When you come back down, you can haul that tub into the yard and scour it."
By the Fourth, they had recovered from their weariness with the enterprise and bragged to all the guests about how they had personally carved these T-bones and spare ribs. Edwina asked Ginny if she was going to now bring home an entire sea bass to cut into filets. Ginny turned brightly to Myra, who held up her hands and said "I'm retired."
A week later, Myra used some of the new thick-sliced bacon to make a weekend lunch of Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich, on an entire Italian loaf slathered with butter, toasted, then spread with peanut butter, banana and crisp bacon before frying in a skillet. She let Gillam and Carly take a bite first before having a try -- she wasn't sure about the flavor combo. They all agreed it was extremely tasty, however. Ginny snorted at them.
"He died trying to crap out the tref he ate" she said, offering a carrot stick to Myra. Myra accepted, saying "Again, I think this is a one-time deal. I just wanted to know what it tasted like."
Two days after that, Myra made leblebi for breakfast, a Tunisian soup of chickpeas poured over stale bread, flavored with harissa (which she found in a specialty grocery, looking claret and combustible in its jar) and topped with a poached egg, lemon slices, and chunks of cooked tuna. This dish scored a big hit, and Ginny said "You should keep experimenting if you include efforts like this. I'll eat this any day."
Myra was sending a daily e-mail to Margie, who was too swamped with course work to even come for the Fourth. She called her once a week, and often she managed this while Ginny was out of the house. Myra always asked how things were going with Frances, and Margie was always ready to talk about it. At one point, Myra commented "Well, I may be an old fogey but I think too many cooks spoil the soup, if you get my drift." It made Margie laugh so hard that Myra began referring to Imani as the Extra Cook, and eventually this got shortened to EC. Occasionally Margie came up with a different two words for the acronym, using terms Myra would never have uttered but she laughed dutifully with Margie, who was trying hard to work through her "stuff" about Imani, as she put it.
After the Fourth, Ginny extracted an oath from Myra that she would not go onto the upper deck until her birthday. Myra could hear the buzz of power tools up there after dinner, and Chris frequently joined Gillam and Carly, so she assumed a gift construction project was underway.
Ginny took Myra's lead on home delivery from organic farms and two or three times a week now, flats of fruit or bushels of vegetables in profligate season would arrive before noon. Ginny did most of the preparation and canning herself, insisting Myra focus on The Epic. Myra conducted phone interviews with brilliant, verbose, frequently profane old dykes all round the country, with the sound of a pressure cooker in the distance and a heady aroma of raspberry jam or marinara or mango chutney making her hungry all the time. Once Ginny was satisfied the new galvanized tub had been sterilized, she found countless uses for it and finally Myra went down to buy a second, remarking "I wonder how we ever got along without these."
At dinner, conversations often focused on what Gillam was absorbing about reading theory or what Carly was learning about how minds and muscles worked in tandem. Myra was fascinated with both lines of thought. At one meal, when Chris and Sima were there, Gillam said the Read Right program worked in any dialect, and it was being used by small tribes in the Northwest to reinforce the teaching of disappearing native languages. It relied not on symbols, grammar, or phonics, but on understanding how the human brain dealt with abstraction and closure. More than one poem came from Myra after these intense, wondering discussions.
Margie did come for Myra's birthday, arriving at 10:00 a.m. with Frances who had slept in the Cerebellum all the way, Margie said. Narnia's cries of greeting sounded enough like wails that Margie got tears in her eyes. "She's not seen enough of even me this summer" she said guiltily. Once they all went to the deck to sit and drink iced tea, Myra pulled Narnia onto the chaise longue with her and, during lulls in the talk, she sang her the song they'd all invented during her puppyhood:
Favorite dog who was ever born-ia
Myra's birthday barbecue was more carnivorous than usual. Frances joined Gillam and Carly in the kitchen, while Ginny told Margie exaggerated but hilarious stories about The Day All Pigs Would Die, as she had nicknamed it. After their feast, and a seven-layer hazelnut cream cake hauled from Portland by Frances, Ginny said "Now, Myra. We have a present for you that every one of us helped plan and create."
"But you already gave me my present when we woke up" protested Myra. It was a digital camera with a special zoom lens and flash for copying indoor documents, on a collapsible stand -- for when archives would allow photographing ephemera and pages too fragile to xerox. "And Chris, that priceless poster -- " Chris had given Myra the 1991 campaign placard for Wilma Mankiller when she ran for re-election of Cherokee Nation.
But Allie and Gillam were already heading into the house. They returned with what was clearly a piece of furniture draped with a sheet and topped with a bow. This was set in front of Myra. She pulled away the sheet to reveal a large, oval coffee table of polished teak. Inset in the middle was a chessboard of dark purple and pale green tiles. Each tile was delicately incised with a different sea creature.
Around the edge of the table, built into the wood in some way, were all of Myra's favorite marine hardware items she had bought in Anacortes. The tiny brass hatch could be opened to show the floor underneath the table; every object's use was respected in its placement.
She couldn't find words. Allie nudged her and said "Open the drawer."
She had not noticed a drawer on the side. She pulled it open. Lined with padded velvet, it held 32 thick metal disks, half each of dazzling copper or burnished sterling silver. She picked one up to heft it, noting the ridges around the edge which would allow it to be "kinged" as a checker piece. She turned it over, and gasped.
Inside the lip on the reverse was a full-color rendering of Yoj, the main character from her Skene sci-fi novels. It had been painted by Allie on thin wood, coated with clear polyurethane, and affixed into the metal frame. Each piece held a different character. The pawns were all children from the books, and the other pieces made immediate sense to Myra. It was as if someone had read her mind.
She of course started crying. Allie hugged her from behind and Chris began setting up the chess board. When Myra stopped for breath, her family talked over each other to explain: Ginny found the table and stripped it, Chris refinished it, Carly and Gillam attached the hardware and lined the drawer, Frances and Margie designed the tiles and got a friend of theirs in Portland to fire them, Sima had cut and shaped the disks, Allie and Edwina had plotted the chess piece assignment, and while Allie painted the portraits, Edwina varnished them and glued them into their rightful places.
"Who do you want to play first?" grinned Ginny.
"I -- can't. I'm too overwhelmed" said Myra. "I just have to look at it."
"This wood and tile will hold up to the elements" said Chris. "You can leave it out here on the deck, under the overhang portion."
Myra looked doubtful. "This is a freakin' work of art" she declared.
"Can we play?" asked Margie. When Myra nodded, Gillam said "I'm going to cream your ass" and took the copper side, saying Margie would need the advantage of going first with silver. As they descended into aggressive combat, everyone watched and talked. Periodically Myra would pick up a piece to examine it again, tutting away her children's protest that she was disrupting their concentration. "Best gift ever" she said in a soft but fervent voice several times.
Before long, Frances was sitting on the arm of Margie's chair, whispering strategy into her ear, which brought Carly to the bench next to Gillam as advisor. Chris laughed derisively at every move either of them made. Sima remarked to Ginny "You'd think they were negotiating a re-do of birth order". When Myra noticed Narnia getting restless, she stood and said "I'm going to walk the dog, while I have the chance."
"I'll go with you" Ginny said instantly. Narnia galloped to the front door and licked Myra's hands over and over as Myra tried to put on her leash.
They went right and right again, to reach the spot where they had first kissed. They stopped to recreate the moment, despite Narnia's impatience. As they let her pull them on uphill, Myra said "An amazing convocation of intelligence and art, in that table. But the original idea was yours, yes?"
"A way of respectfully acknowledging the meaning of my trip to Anacortes?"
Ginny grinned at her. "Yes. But don't let it give you any ideas."
"Ah, but you want me having ideas. As many as I can."
They laughed in agreement.
"Margie looks exhausted" said Ginny.
"So does Frances" said Myra.
"Margie said if she does finish her Master's next summer, she'll work at restoration for a year and by that time, they think they'll have enough money to start the restaurant. She says it will lose money or maybe only break even for a long time, and they have to plan for that."
Myra said "Has she asked you for help with it?"
"Not yet. And, of course, if it's her own place, Frances will be busier than ever. Margie says they need to make a big splash with initial publicity, enough to attract the attention of foodies and people who write about cuisine. Frances hopes to get guest slots on cooking shows as the exciting new thing out there, and eventually wants to have a show of her own" said Ginny.
"Really? You know, she's got the looks and sparkle for it, if she doesn't freeze up on camera" said Myra knowledgeably. Cooking shows were her not-so-secret addiction.
"They also plan on a line of cookbooks. Margie hinted at me painting the cover for the first one" said Ginny.
"Maybe a portrait of Frances in the kitchen" mused Myra. "We don't have one of her on our walls yet."
After another block, Myra said "I wonder how exhausted we looked after Margie was born. Maybe they're happy being consumed by what they're doing."
"Remember that time I fell asleep at the table and my face dropped into my soup bowl?"
"You blew broth out your nostrils" giggled Myra. "I used to watch Margie nursing, how she'd grab the breast she wasn't sucking on as if to point out it belonged to her, too, with this ferocious look on her face."
"I don't know how these women having babies in their 40's are doing it" sighed Ginny. "GOOD dog. Oh, hell, I didn't bring a plastic bag, did you?"
"Uh...no. Well, I'll just kick it into the gutter, no one's around" said Myra.
The next morning after breakfast, Myra again stood to walk Narnia and this time Margie joined her. Before they even reached the corner, Myra asked "How're things with the E.C.?"
"Well, don't get all I told you so, but I think you're right about her hoping for the impossible with Frances. She asks Fran to do things like concerts and movies. Frances almost always says no, but that doesn't stop her. The only time she gets a yes if it's something to do with cooking, and usually in those instances, Frances mentions it to other coworkers and it turns into a crowd event. And if I'm free, I go along, too, and Frances is glued to me. Sometimes I catch this brief look of pain on Imani's face."
"Is she dating anyone else?"
"Frances says she thinks so, but I've seen no evidence of it. And, Mom, they're really good in the kitchen together, like two halves of the same organism. Frances says the sex arose more from an extension of that connection than any sudden spark, at least for her. Does that make sense to you?"
Myra thought a minute and said, "Yeah. Me and Annie were like that -- Annie Gagliardi. We were good friends, and then we became co-chairs for this big women's conference, so we were together all the time. We agreed easily, and had this long affection, and when we went to bed, it was simply not romantic" said Myra.
Margie was momentarily diverted. "I know Annie Gagliardi -- how long did you two...?"
"Just the length of the conference planning, if that" said Myra. "A brief blip in a good friendship."
"Well...I think Imani wants the blips to blossom. I sometimes wish...Don't you ever repeat this, but if I could wave a wand and have Francies not sleep with her, I would" said Margie, her voice low and intense. "But, you know, me and Frances were friends for two years before our spark happened, best friends the last year, and we have that bedrock. Passion is the layer above it. And...we want each other's good more than we want to possess each other. If you can relate to that."
"Totally, Margie. You can build a lifetime on it, I believe."
Margie squeezed Myra's arm. "Listen, in September Frances reaches her one-year mark at Simpatico and we want to take a vacation, for at least four days. We're thinking about going to the coast in Mexico where Aunt Allie and Edwina had such a good time. But I don't feel okay about leaving Narnia in a kennel, not right now. And we'd rather not add on three hours each way to our travel time by driving up here to leave her with you. Could you maybe coordinate your Portland book research to happen while we're gone and come house-sit for us?"
"I'd love to" said Myra. "I'll have to talk with Ginny, but I bet she'll come along. We can move your little dining table into the living room and set her easel up by those sliding doors at the back. Do you have dates yet?" It would mean completely re-doing the itinerary she and Ginny had already arranged, which was irrelevant, she thought.
"We can all pull out our calendars at the house. I don't care if I miss a little school, even, I'm wild to get away from cities, kitchen and books and be alone with Francesca" said Margie.
© 2008 Maggie Jochild.
Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There are some really creative folks out there. As usual, those from little gator lead the pack.
Riffs on television/movie lines and song lyrics:
Bitter or quirky humor:
(I did this one)
Two riffs on the same image: