• 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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Cigarettes and Old Regrets

I’m obsessed. I remember when I was in graduate school putting my final collection of poems together. l lined them up on the floor, stalked around them, smoking, looking for the move. Flow, impact, modulate length, feeling, keep the line moving. Into the abyss, into the fray. Or so it felt, my fifty some odd messages to the gods of confusion and obfuscation. My beloved professor compared me to Fran Leibovitz, not as a compliment. To this day, when I read a collection of poems, I start with the first, read the title poem, and then the last. By then I’ll know. I’m so tired of people saying you should give him another chance. With this novel, it’s more like a sliced rye and a rubber room.

What is your idea of order?

10 Responses

  1. Whatever makes me feel calm…

  2. fits and starts and new beginnings.

  3. “What is your idea of order?”

    Hospital corners and spit-shined shoes? Such was the militaristic order in which I was raised. I fled from that at the earliest opportunity, trailing clouds of hempen smoke.

    Clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy? I can settle for that, it strikes my fancy well.

    Naught other than a tunic and a begging bowl? Not there yet, if ever to arrive.

    I’ve done the poems on the floor thing. How I do not miss those days. Yet, how I do. Days of hope, in striving after some ephemeral glory.

    I am tired, Oh, so weary. I could sleep for a thousand years. A thousand dreams that would awake me, different colors, made of tears. I should say, those lines are Lou Reed’s. Long gone he is, but linger on he does, song echoing down halls of memory’s mirrors.

    Now I’m losing track. What was the question? What is my idea of order? Chronological will suit me. Wrap me in that shroud, my love, think warm thoughts when I have gone. That’s an order.

    Would I like fries with that? I like that guy from the House of Commons — “Oduh! Oduh! This House will be in Oduh!”

    I’m trying to kick out some jams here. Watch out, don’t want it to fall on you. It may be heavy, it may be light, hard to tell. Searching for the new order, tea growing cold.

  4. Order is rhythm. In writing as in life, the flow of unfolding events has a pleasing this-then-that about it which I think we look for instinctively as a way of staying grounded in the chaos. Rhythm, a disruptive ripple, a shift in tempo. It’s the ongoing chain-reactive movement that feels like order to me.

  5. Order is the little box stamped with holes in which I shout for poison. Order is three cars ahead. Order is the kid in the window handing me my McD’s bag. Order is having just enough change in the cup holder or a debit card with a balance. Order is half way home when I open the bag. Chaos is when I realize the little shit in the window gave me the wrong order. Order is when I see that the wrong order feeds two.

  6. When I get serious I like to eat the best rye, toasted. It’s sobering. πŸ˜€


  7. “What is your idea of order?”

    A clean house. No laundry piled up. A desk that doesn’t have scraps of paper, stacks of books, too many pens and pencils scattered hither and yon, mail from a week ago, a dirty cup, or two, and a book idea that is baked solid. The trash has been taken out – along with the crummy ideas.

  8. Hi. I am very organized. For nonfiction books, I read topic sentences of every paragraph, unless I get hooked. Then read a few whole pages. For fiction, I start and if I feel like it, read the end to try to figure how the writer ended up there. I often do not read the whole book. For poetry, I do what you do. I recommend Inciting Joy essays by poet Ross Gay. He is amazing.

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