• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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City of Night, City of Night

Leaving L.A. What wouldn’t make me cry. Leaky bag am I. Why does every new beautiful step sweep up in its hem so much sadness? Where did we go? Sunset Boulevard? A lemon TR6? I lost my notebook, my glasses, my pencil case. I lost my camera, my wool cap, my son’s bandana. A young man with a slow smile. Angela Lansbury sips tomato juice like a queen beside me. Did it flush? Did it drain?  Is the driver Russian? Can you bear me? Am I too much? O, to not give an exquisite shit. Is Laurel Canyon a canyon? Am I the Pork King? In and Out Burger? Are those tits real? A small child with a port wine stain falls off a swing. I rented a car I didn’t drive. I watched the wedding and wanted to die. This dim light. This still life. A couch. A slant of Hopper light. You do not have a new idea. You do not have a new book. There are no pages left. The last typewriter died last night in Bangladesh.

40 Responses

  1. holy crap.

  2. August who?
    Damn that was good. I’ll be re-playing it all day.

  3. Pretty much sums up LA.

  4. No. I’m not complaining. Betsy, it’s great to have you back.

    That said, I have a hunch that if August had penned this post, he would have included a photo of the woman’s funbags, and then left it for the readers to decide.

    It’s called democracy!

    Because — when it pertains to specific features of the human anatomy, my thirst for knowledge is unquenchable — I just have to ask: Betsy, did the position in which these boobs were deployed appear to run contrary to the laws of universal gravitation that Newton decreed in his “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica?”

  5. Slow and easy, dear Betsy. You’re back, among the living. Allow your eyes to adjust, especially considering your glasses are gone. I’m sorry for all that you lost. I do hope nothing valuable was in that notebook. One time my camera got broke and I couldn’t breathe. At least I wasn’t in LaLa Land when it happened. I think that would have tipped me over, fur sure.

    • Why would she carry a notebook if it had nothing valuable in it? Or mention its loss, for that matter. No, I’m hoping it was valuable, that whoever found it (or stole it) is having his or her mind blown, reading it, at this very moment.

  6. oy.

  7. Wish you were here.

  8. I’m sorry for your losses but glad you’ve returned, healthy if not whole.

  9. It’s all real, yet it seems unreal.
    I hope that typewriter gets a proper burial; I like reading words on paper, but I like seeing the words I’m writing on the screen. Delete and backspace beat white out all to hell. Still, RIP typewriter. Now I’m getting nostalgic about changing ribbons instead of ink cartridges. Sigh.

  10. To go and have gone nowhere, to find the new idea made old.

  11. I try to lose the glasses and notebooks, but still find myself more of a female Clark Kent than Superman these days. At least Clark wrote good stories and was still kind of cute. Right?

  12. You’ve created beauty in despair…a slant of Hopper light and the young man with a slow smile. Go forth with your message O Betsy. The child with the port wine stain is waiting by the swing.

  13. Poem for the Last Typewriter Dead in Bangladesh:


  14. love, “a slant of Hopper light”. You have ideas.

  15. Yikes! Was LA that bad? And should LA be considered a proper city at all?

  16. 1. You need to travel more often!
    2. I could see this as a one-woman play.
    3. The tits are not real. Not most of them anyway. And don’t even get me started on the over-stuffed lips. They’re everywhere!

  17. Betsy-
    I never post on this because I don’t want to seem like a half-baked writer who wants you for an agent (which I am) or a pathetic fan who hangs on every word and imagines we could be friends (which I am), but I just found out my Mom has ovarian cancer so what the fuck. Will you please write more poetry? Lots of poetry. Will you get it published? And wear black and put on polkadot glasses and read it out loud in the back of a dim-lit bookstore that has creaky wood floors and plastic cups of Yellowtail Pinot Grigio?
    I know you can’t do this.
    But I like to think about it.
    And now I have posting on this blog out of my system and can carry on. Thanks.

    • Maria, wishing strength and luck to your mother. And good red wine doesn’t hurt either. Ovarian cancer CAN be beaten. I beat it. I hope she can too.

    • Yes, wishing the best for you and your mother, Marie.

    • Peace. Hopefully the cancer was found in time and the road to recovery isn’t too rocky. Best wishes.

    • am walking that road with a friend, a client and a family member. you and your mom are in my thoughts

    • Post more, please. This was lovely.

      I have a friend who’s seven years out from Stage IV Ovarian CA. Wishing your mother strength in her fight against it.

    • I, too, am walking the Stage 4 road with a friend. I send you and your mother a warm hug and positive thoughts for your journey….

  18. I was wondering where that typewriter went. You lost a lot, but at least you still have your virginity. Not easy to get out of LA with that intact.

  19. All that and Blue Velvet. This isn’t just another day.

  20. LA that seductive, desirable siren! Two hours before my plane was to leave, I stood knee-deep in the Pacific Ocean alongside Laguna Beach, debating whether I should return home. Only the knowledge that my young son waited for me got me to the airport. I flew home with salt water drying on my bare legs. It should have been my tears for having to make responsible choices.

  21. So much better to have swirling, contradicting emotions than none at all. So much better to feel, even if those feelings sometimes make you want to step off a curb in front of a bus. So much better do be a leaky bag than an empty bag.

  22. You should go to LA more often. Brings out brilliance in you. You are wrong about one thing, however. There is another typewriter. It’s here in Texas, a 1945 Royal with a very used ribbon and an S that needs cleaning.

  23. I’ll never look at a hem the same way again.

  24. Am I in the fortunate position of believing my own bullshit? Can I shove myself into this box, can I see through my own shame? Does my skin crawl? To say the least. Why am I poor in more ways than one? Does this look like a comb-over? Does this look like a vampire? Why, o why–this guest, this crawling skin, this grand gaze? Can I rant, can I write, can I figure which? Does my lame skin crawl? Is there a time in nature that cannot be measured?

    Who are you? What do write? Why are you an opinion about what should be written? Am I reading you wrong, if not worse?

    • Hahaha. August. You slay me.

    • O, to not give an exquisite shit.

      • You know me, Averil: born to collaborate.

        How’s the idea? How are the shoulders?

      • Sweet lord, August, it’s killing me. The idea is fucking Everest and I’m on a beach in Hawaii. How do I get there from here?

        And that co-worker next door is definitely suspect. There’s a gleam in her eye that I would like to replace with the business end of my letter opener.

        Who’s winking now, bitch?

  25. LA has ripened. Turn the fruit, there’s a brown spot here and there, but plenty of juicy sweet.

    Welcome back.

  26. I first visited Los Angelos when I was 12, right after reading Dante’s Inferno. The poem come to life. All artificial.

  27. betsy, betsy, betsy. were you born in a storm?

  28. Honey, don’t leave LA–You don’t know nothing ’bout San Tropez…

    Oops, too late

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