Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Becoming a Man

Today the woman at the optical shop said,
"And how may I help you sir?" OKay, so I didn't put my lipstick on after the swim, and my hair was pulled back, and I only had on one earring, and my glasses were so stepped on at the EspaƱola pool that they were practically vertical. But really, have I crossed over? Has that hormonal shift taken place and I am now not afraid of becoming my mother, but my father?

It's true, once before at their country club locker room, Betty who was a red-haired I Love Lucy locker room attendant and friend of my mother, Beti with an "i," Betty said of me,
"She's Harry! Isn't she exactly Harry?" I am Harry. I have his olive skin, his white hair,
his height and weight almost. I am swarthy, but I don't have his golf swing, his taste for martinis, and his palate. In fact it was this very father who told me I'd never have a developed palate.

What I do have is lots of lipstick, earrings, and necklaces which I will never leave home without. I may resort to ruffles. I have books and an ear for a poem, and I liked dancing with my dad, we'd say out loud, "one, two, cha cha cha." I end up buying new glasses with a red pin stripe and hope it wasn't an impulse buy. The glasses on my head where cracked and scratched and I need to see, even more than be seen.

Upon coming home I see that Charles Simic has just written a small book of essays called Confessions of a Poet Laureate. It is only available as an e-book. I find both of these facts disturbing, to a man of my gender. I wanted to write that book, and if he wrote it, why can't I hold it in my hands. he also wrote poems called My Noiseless Entourage, and entourage is one of my words. My thunder is being stolen.

The good news is that the clouds are building in a gentle, not menacing way. We need the rain to quench the fire not to flood the denuded 140,000 acres. It's hard to be as in love with a landscape as I am with New Mexico as seen form our house. Especially hard since we had a solid two months of wind, followed by a month of fires, flames you could see for weeks of it.
I would go out back over and over, and watch the flames. I felt intellectually devastated myself, but it couldn't go into the emotions. It felt sort of stuck there between my throat and my heart, I think I only cried twice.

One morning we discussed, what if the plutonium burned. Would we leave or just leave slowly by illness? The bad thing about pouring yourself into a landscape and making such a sturdy home, is that it is just as temporary as a day, as a life. We all know this. Yet watching the sacred lands of Pueblo people burn night after night brings another time frame.

I have been unable to focus on anything, and so, since I can't write I am going to teach.
I call the class "Living Inside the Questions" and just setting it up has been a challenge.
One question I ask myself is about form, why short, why long, and why followed by a martini.
Why did I never play golf my entire life, when I liked things about golf, my mother,
the grass, the golf carts I adored, and the pretzels in the lounge after.

Wallace Stevens was a golfer, in fac

t when he died and someone in his foursome said something like, "We've lost a friend. And a great American poet." The other golfer answered, "Wally, a poet?" When I die they may say,"Joanie, a golfer?" Or, I always thought she was a girl.
DO you have any secret wishes? Mine is to be published in the New Yorker and I wish someone would send my work out for me. My brother said that he read a book about men and women and how they respond in business. A man given extra responsibilities says he is glad to have then and what is the extra compensation?" A woman just says, "Thank you for entrusting me with this work."

Maybe it was a compliment to be mistaken for a man in the Optical office in EspaƱola.
Maybe it means I will stand up for myself, take a swing and yell, FORE!!

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