Saturday, July 9, 2011

Extreme Love

I know this woman.
She is all tenderness, and tendony, inside.
She makes pie.
wonderful, delicious love-pie, that she loves
because she loves, 'cause she's alive and
She loves pie.
Well, who doesn't?

She loves the pie and she loves the people who buy her pie.
But she hates the pie too.
She hates the hot, dirty kitchen (which she loves, because she do)
and she hates all the days gone by
sweating up to her elbows in blueberry goo.

And she says that she hates it but this is what she does.
She makes pie (and sushi) and loves it, because.

I visit her in her kitchen, where she rolls it all while bitchin'
and her six cats prowl around the margins
of her skinny, beefy-muscle, pie-making mama vibe.

She picks up road kill animals
and makes puppets from them because
she can't stand to see them die
on the side
And I used to think this was gross.
I mean, this girl's got a baby deer corpse on marionette cords
hanging just next to her bed from the ceiling
and to my mind
this i just some sick semi-taxidermy action gone astray--
"But... its because I love them so much," she says.
She say.

And now I get it.
This is just Extreme Love.
Love so convicted, it hauls back the dead
and strange as it may seem, they hang from a thread
beckoning with their hollow skin
and dead eyes.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen
she's pounding out more pies
working out the kinks in the dough with a roller
rolling up rawness in a sea-weed stroller

She wants a child yesterday,
so hopefully, tomorrow.
She wrestles with her discontent while
delicately shifting ingredients
in some new and tangy recipe.
Why does it go this way, she asks,
does it have to be?

With tears in her eyes now, she stifles a guffaw
and her flat bellied laugh spills all over the floor
'cause her neighbor just burst in from the back in a bra
and he's SO high... on something strange...

like fungus, or deer poo, or vegetable brain.
She has to sit down now, she's laughing so hard
and its time for that beer that makes it more bearable--
there's 30 pies finished, so nothing's that terrible.

I love her.
Like, Extreme Love love her.
Like, toss 30 excellent pies into the dumpster, love her
or fling-your-body-in-front-of-a-train to stop her
Haul ass cross-country in a three wheeled Ferrari
to put your arms around her in a crisis.
But she does not ask me to do any of this.

Because she's practical, not strategic.
She's tactical, and tactile, and heck, I'm allergic--
to the six cats, that is, not to her
so she rolls herself into them and falls asleep as they purr.

The next morning she's up early, and at it again
pounding her dough-flesh into raw pastry good-ness
that she imagines will bring joy into other peoples' lives...

The woman's got dreams

Meanwhile, there's pies.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Hate Americans

Oh Canada! July 1st is nearly here and Oh Boy! Kate and Willy are coming! (Now... who is it, Canada, that you think is ridiculous?) Maybe now that the Canadian dollar has trumped the US dollar by 4 cents we can finally stop hating Americans.

I was an American once. It wasn't so bad. For years and years I held on defiantly to that title from this side of the border, just to get in your faces, until a recent dunk across into the US made me realize I've actually grown uncomfortable with wide open vowels and large toilet paper. Oh I'm not saying that I'm Canadian, exactly, although I do carry both passports. But I have to admit, I have developed a somewhat Canadian sensibility in many affairs over my 13 years in residence. In other regards I remain definitively Yanquoise/Nouvelle Yorkaise-- daring, innovative, bold; welcoming to a disarming degree (if you're Canadian) direct, entrepeneurial. But my NY schtick has had a strong northern filter slapped on it; ie, I'm more in control of my cultural default settings.

Speaking of default settings, lets talk about hate. I mean, more specifically, lets talk about anti-americanism.

Now, your average Canadian will not openly admit... well... uh... anything really. Europeans, on the other hand, will tell you straight out that they hate Americans and then they will tell you why. Some of their explanations will make sense. In fact you may agree with them, and return to America as an anti-american American, (as I did, years ago) which is probably a positive thing in a nation of people awash in a lack of self-awareness and self-reflection. But Canadian hatred of Americans is different. Its friendlier. Its couched as humor, or sarcasm. Good wholesome beer-hall hahaha, can't you take a joke? Its in-bred. Its passive aggressive, and its completely socially acceptable. Its default, man. It isn't intelligent, or insightful or politically astute. Its knee-jerk, its mainstream and its elementary. Its bullied-kid-turned-JD Salinger gang of boys. Freaks out for vengeance. Luckily it is backed by very little fire-power, comparatively. But its culturally lethal, nonetheless.

Now what is bizarre as an American (who is no longer an American) is the bipolar experience of being hated and adored. In my individual experience, being American has earned me strange brownie points with other immigrants-- members of many groups who have been broadly disenfranchised, endangered and displaced by US politic and policy in either direct or indirect ways. "Oh!", they exclaim, brightly. "you're from The States!" they glow, putting their arm around me, pulling me in a little closer. "You will come to my family, for dinner. You will stay as long as you like. You can live with us!" I love these people. But why? Why are they not dripping with anti american hatred? Maybe it is the 'we are in this together' immigrant experience, bonding in the face of the relatively cold and insular Canadian cultural climate. Or maybe they want to associate with my US citizenship and the perceived privilege and opportunity it might afford. Or more likely, they recognize the difference between a government and its people, many of them having witnessed and experienced corruption in their own governments at home. Perhaps, for some reason, they just plain like me. Or maybe, they are just being very very polite, and are secretly seething below the surface.

As for you Canadians, I being kind-of one of you now, it is kind of understandable. Canadians take for granted a government that mostly does represent them. It is hard for them to imagine a dichotomy. They are outraged by the fluke election where a party sweeps into power without popular, majority support, whereas, I am always dumbstruck and bewildered by any dynamic groundswell of the people that manages to impact the actions and policies of any government. Its really about privilege, and sense of entitlement from a semi socially liberal democracy that has the comfort of the social welfare net in the background of Canadian lives. Its the 'well, you can always go on welfare' mindset that gets everyone of the accountability hook, instead of the do or die cry of 'give me liberty or give me death'. With the rate of unemployment and homelessness down south these days, death wins out more often than not for a lot of people. And no, we do not all share the views of our government. In fact, there are 30 million 'progressive' Americans whose political views and lifestyles reside somewhere in between the NDP an the Greens, with an added dash of innovation and communitarianism. That is almost the entire population of Canada! Put that in your snide and smoke it.

So don't teach your kids to hate Americans. Look to form alliances, liase across borders, celebrate the contributions from both sides, and open your minds. Me? Oh I can hate Americans on a bad day, if I want to, because I am one. Well, I was one. Well, anyway. You get the point. And go ahead, Oh Canada, have a grass fed hamburger and enjoy your extra day off. But stop wishing me a Happy 4th of July and then sneering behind my back. I don't do patriotic holidays anyway. Because national borders, insofar as they divide us, pit us against each other, and sic us on each other like a bunch of rabid boozed up soccer/football/hockey fans, are not all that much to celebrate, if you ask me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Angels Singing

Imagine, if you will. Imagine a force so powerful, it has the ability to shift the totality of your every microcellular vibration 180 degrees in a split second; from inside to outside to upside to downside to right-side up; from backwards to forwards, from frazzled to peacin’ out, from insomniac to sleepin-like-a-baby, from screamin bitch to sighing smiling happyface, for the skies have opened and rays of light like tendrils of god’s ET finger light-beams are shining down upon you! Imagine this moment of utter physio-energetic transformation that happens in an unseen instant; how it creeps around the corner and suddenly and quietly pours hot fudge sauce all over your life, (or at least upon your outlook.) And all of a sudden you’re like Oooooooooooohhhh you are swimming in the silkiest fudge sauce ever known to man, even European ones, while whipped cream clouds drift lazily by and cherries fall gently like dew drops from the heavens. What is this moment to which I refer? I’ll tell you what. I just got my period, beeoitches, and the angels are singing!!! All at once, I am floating on an endorphin laced magic carpet ride barely touching the treetops of reality and the world is all celebration. There’s a refreshing breeze in the air, the stars twinkle inside my heart-heart like a million fireflies come to life from inside. Simultaneously, I feel the insistence of earth power pulling down, down through my womb through my legs and feet, tension pouring out of my ether, releasing with the blood to fertilize the earth, unburden my soul, and I am free! I am free! Thank god almighty, I’m free at last!

But lets back up a bit. There is no greater hell than PMS. PMS should stand for something meaningful like ‘Please Massage this Sister’. Or ‘Puffed up Manic and Stinky’; or, ‘Possible Murder Suspect’. Or ‘Please Manifest Sex’. All of the nasty with all of the needy, colliding in one body, mine, yours, with a great array of un-delightful and specific physical symptoms, say, swollen tender breasts, or a migraine, perhaps? How about some searing low back pain, sore feet, an aching, sad heart, chronic resentment, manic mean lust, ridiculous cravings, insomnia, or persistent anxiety? Perhaps just aching teeth, skin eruptions and eczema, night sweats, weird dreams, hot flashes, the impulse to shove everything you see into your mouth, or a soul tearing massive crying fit to break up the mundaneness of never ending exhaustion, exhaustion, exhaustion.

Do you know what? I deserve a fucking medal every month for enduring 5-10 days of this miserable crescendo without killing or hurting anybody while other people are skipping down the street, whistling dixie. “Is it really that bad?” you may wonder. Fucking YES!! Who knew how bestial we all are, how controlled by biological cycles? When one minute I can be entwined and entangled in the slowest, most unbearable web of I-hate-everyone-and-everything-and-I’m-sick-and-tired-of-it-all, and in the next second, literally, I am the essence of god’s glory, the mist on an angels’ eyelash, and earth-godess-mama drawing all of life to her bosom’s embrace, well, then something whack is going on. Yea, it’s nature folks, doing its finest work, so fuck you, nature.

And so why bother with culture at all? When in the end of the day, I am but a moaning, bloated cow, desperate for some burly farmer’s hand-action, why do any other kind of posturing? I’ll tell you why. For the sake of your children. For public safety-- law and order. For traffic calming and reasonable driving behaviour on America’s highways. For God Save the Queen. For decorum or civility of any sort. For table manners. For sidewalks free of spit. For the pledge of allegiance, and church going grannies. For making it through the workday with your bra still hooked.

Ladies! We must, against our every peri-menopausal and pre-menstrual demolition engineer instinct, control ourselves. We must, as I do, harness all our self discipline, and reign it in, using all the underwire, willpower, masturbation and chocolate necessary. We must endure until that pivotal moment when the entire universe reverses itself with one smooth turn on its axis of evil and the blood comes flowing (out of us, not them), releasing flocks of doves in a ruffle of wings and choir robes as cherubs break out into a bombastic, celebratory anthem, just for us.

God knows, there would be absolute mayem otherwise.