Whenever I’ve named a dog or a cat. I don’t. Not immediately. And it’s not a poverty of ideas of what name I might like besides Jessica for example which used to be such an unusual name and where did you get it? I wait. Let the spirit reveal itself. I was almost a Gabriella. But mother did not want people to call me Gabby. If only she could have consulted me. Or added it later. I advocate for long names. With time awarded almost as girl scout badges but more to get their attention. If you want to summon a dog or cat you must invoke it by as many of it’s names as possible. That way. They won’t ever get lost.
I gardened yesterday. Not that I was in the mood. It was the howling and yelping. The law calls for a 25 dollar fine, but requires first an entire protocol of letter writing and documentation. The issue isn’t free range or incarceration it’s NOISE polluiton. 10 minutes or longer. I passed on the idea of using my iPhone recorder, out of memory anyway. It had already been 3 hours so I got my gloves and my hand shovel. Rather impulsively I rushed out not equipped for ranching. Wearing my Natori full length zip robe, more of a rayon lounger that you might nip out to go marketing in. So I was tripping not stomping as I approached the chicken wire fence seperating our properties. Between the ironwoods and the ti trees I thought I spotted a skin tone. I was spying obviously, in turquoise muddy perforated faux crocs. The offender was caught with his wife beater’s arm picking zits in a convex mirror outside of his big black truck, while the dogs pleaded for their lives; he pretended to be placid in his cultivation, but then zoomed off. With Meeschoo in tow, I kept the whining dogs company. I wanted them to know I’m digging for them and that someday I will dig a tunnel like they did for El Chapo. Not the best example but they understood I was crying back at them, to Meeschoo, telling them what good dogs are, and that I’m coming.
I’m a stranger to myself. Even writing this now I wonder if I’m not a deplorable narcissist? My shrink Sherry years ago praised my powers of discernment, even if she did fall asleep during our sessions. She said I could trust myself.
My recent query involves an incident of perception. It started with a sample of Agarwood. About a month ago, I was involved in a blind oud test with samples labeled A-H. I was certain “E” was sexiest most an unusual oud I had ever beheld. Yet when it arrived I recognized nothing about it. It wasn’t reminiscent of any of the samples from the blind.
It brought back memories of my mother suddenly not knowing me. Holidays, gifts, and destinations called off because of her bad girl. Disneyland revoked. Mother didn’t reward bad behavior. After mother married again we had Thanksgiving. But there had to be witnesses for us to celebrate and documentation that it really happened. I wanted a Christmas tree. BUT we were Jewish she said. When I got older I learned to negotiate and I asked for a Hanukkah bush. My mother wouldn’t subscribe, not even to hiding the cash of Hanukkah gelt. Our tradition was that my mother would demonize me and then rebound and I was her beloved Cicci-pie and best friend once again.
BUT now I wonder did any of that really happen? Maybe it was the other way around and suddenly I didn’t recognize her?
If you don’t know Agarwood it’s one of the most quixotic mysterious substances. The ancients used it to fumigate on special occasions. They added it to their drunken temple Kyphi incense made with wine and raisins. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in perfumery, but tricky because it over powers and alters everything in it’s wake.
So ridiculously rare it engenders a gambit of malfeasance including hold ups, poaching, murder, and forgeries. Unscrupulous scammers have become proficient at painting fine wood grains, then staining, even stapling smaller chunks together or gluing and then adding drops of oud oil. SOLD to the most deserving neophyte that travels to Singapore or Vietnam, or hazards a purchase on the internet.
I try to not to judge. To have a healthy respect for the fallibility of memory in general, false confessions, facial recognition. But my nose how could it be so off? I was taught by one patient sensei that the nose is the most trustworthy in the morning. That diet, hormones, placement, locale, weather, even sanity play a role in what the nose knows. I thought I understood, but this experience of bliss, and then to have it utterly altered the next time?
Anyone might grow an Aquilaria Sinensis in the right region, but that won’t produce oud. I considered myself lucky and bought seeds. I have so many requisite sick trees. But that’s not enough, because not only does the tree have to be sick and infected, but a particular antibody has to begin healing the tree before it renders it’s oud.
Sometimes it smells like gasoline, other times like incense, leather, and musk, it takes you on a ride. Changeling oud, and the variables are infinite beyond region and distiller. My first trip was tangerine and it went on from for hours. I didn’t believe my friend Rhonda when she said it was just oud, let it speak to you.
I accused POWDERNOSE not directly of course, the man in charge of running the blind trial. He must have swapped the bottles on purpose. I had made myself such a nuisance on the OUDADDICT forum, now now the other esteemed oud forum wouldn’t even allow the privlege of participation. Not even a thumbs up. The correlation had to be there, to drum me out, because I had written a less than positive review on a particular oud and evidently you just aren’t supposed to do that. It had to be a conspiracy. Right? He was the enforcer what else could it be? Isis?
I’ve always tried to bless my dalliances with paranoia. Appreciate it’s companionship to my loneliness. We in solitary find consolation in being hated. But of course nobody has that much time or cares. Should I apologize to Powdernose for what he doesn’t know? I can’t tell him it won’t happen again. I’ve read about it and there doesn’t seem to be a cure for paranoid disorders.
I lose my face more often now it seems and it’s getting worse. In roughly five years a triplicate of curtain jowls is preordained. The bottom of half of my face dropping, pulling over my cowl neck. My father the last time I saw him had developed into a handsome turtle, but he hid from me. I was no longer his daughter. He disowned me.
The Japanese listen to incense. Agarwood unfolds, unveiling itself over time. I will try again, maybe alter the amount of application. Try the other wrist. Wait a month. I forget it’s not a perfume, starting with tops notes that dissipates and dry down almost as quickly as you become aware. Top notes must be cradled with the heart-notes. To give them more than just short term memory.
My earliest memory, when I was 2, is of being in a sanatorium. An endless hall with iron cots resolving finally into a small garden. Everyday for an entire year I was consigned to a small bed with nothing to do. There were of course clown visitations and cheery decorations, but not really any movement unless you count lifting your tush for a bedpan. 3 times a day I was given handfuls of big white pills and I became quite adept at swallowing. Finally one one sunny day I was allowed to go outside into the garden where two other little girls were playing. Very quickly there was a tussle, maybe a doll wasn’t shared, I don’t recall the particulars, but I bit one of the girls. I made her cry. For punishment I was put in a straight jacket and strapped back into my bed. That was until my grandmother arrived furious. The one who rented an apartment to be close to me, moving from Wisconsin to California just to sit with me afternoons. My grandmother, who bought 100’s of Macdonald’s milkshakes for the other children in the ward, screamed at the barbarians to untether me immediately. It wasn’t long after that that I was released
When I went to bed I made note that I needed to figure out a bracelet I have that has a little bull on the end of it and I knew it meant something. But what? When I woke up to feed in the middle of the night, I mouthed one word to myself of course, because nobody listens. This closeted vestibule is quiet and isn’t want to wake anyone up. I said the word “Mithra.” Wondering what it meant and flipped open my MacBook light and wiki-ed it finding a cult that slaughtered bulls. Leaving me wondering how do I know what I do not know and not know what I should know before my next installation of sleep?
In my youth I didn’t recognize the mechanism of passing. I pictured my belly as one might a party balloon, but skin hued underneath a checkered shift, empty. A blimp without loft. Manifestations or exits on the event horizon issued not from the donut but the hole. With fermentation I’ve found a core of pain that migrates inside this outline of air inexplicably settling month to month without lease. Last week under my right breast on a scale of 1 to 10 a dull fist. Betwixt this mourn and the night before it retracted pulling up stakes circuitously moving to a spot above my left rear lymph node. Now a smaller knot in the back of my head rousingly greater than a pimple and all together dependably transient.
the garden folk want to know
whose the baby babba?
whose the baby babba ganoush?
the tail of how it is
she became the surveyor and Mayor
resident of these hills
it’s all metronome and song
and everyone here speaks
a different dialect
we nod a lot at each other
so the story is a bit scattered
but this I know
once upon a plastic squeak toy
a platypus pale from the sun pink
gone dirty peach
once upon this platypus
an infant eggplant
missed the grill and seeded the garden
for a period of gestation
and then a burp
from the earth she did
sprout pointy ears first
that fly double duty
a spinning salad
twirling the top soil
brown nose up
she dug herself out
that’s how she was born
with sheer panache
an underbelly of white
unsteady on her tiny paws
she made a splash using all of her mistakes
as porpoise and up the slippage
meant for the deck
the pail of white paint went bloop
assigning her surface
more black than white
but what’s to complain?
some of us were enamored
we flock together with our understood
even the birds whistle
summoning her to morning rounds
but keep their distance
she does have teeth and
after all they aren’t stupid
she is more black than white
yet daily are her visits to the less
fortunate her incarcerated fellows
all the barking you can tell where she is
the little dogs down in the next field
having a higher level of excitation
quiet while she hears confession
she’s everywhere Meeshoo
but comes immediately
for the chance of a pig ear
then she’s a trotter making a clip clop
clatter back to the homestead deck
racing herself circling
she’s the rich hot smoky creamy one
panting and game to play what
working dog breed?
maybe a public service party docent ~
I know I should be paying the bills right now and I’ll get to it. But I’m still upset about an incident that happened well over 10 years ago ~ I bought my mother in law ruby red slippers. If you know her name you would know how clever that is. (Evidently I’m not smart. I’m clever. According to one ex.) CUSTOM handmade, felted to her exact size. I don’t think she would mind me telling you she has big feet. Which is neither here nor there. I ordered them 3 months before Christmas. The slippers arrived looking very snazzy I’m told but for one small detail the custom handmade slippers were half her size. I had been communicating with the seller for months explaining the import of this gift. I told her all about my mother in law. That she was a writer and an academic. That she had retired. I wanted something extraordinary and comfortable and effortless for her to slip on. Something she would never buy herself, something luxurious. What arrived were instructions. An edict of sorts that gave directions on how to make the slippers your size. Form fitting. The directions instructed the recipient to put slippers on feet and then stick the slippered feet into a bowl of water and let soak for 15 minutes. Then walk around with sopping wet slippers for another 15. Which may have to be repeated in future months. PROBLEM. First of all I can barely reach my feet. My belly has grown in scope since you last saw me. Imagine my mother in law while naturally diminutive, at her age she shouldn’t have to reach. PROBLEM the slippers were so tiny my mother in law couldn’t squeeze them onto half of her foot. She had already packed them up and was posting them back to me. I told the seller we can’t use these. I need to return them to you after they get returned to me. I asked the seller who was very unruffled why didn’t she mention this detail in the listing? She was unwilling to refund my custom order. Luckily I had right on my side. I contacted ETSY and opened a case resolution. I had to submit a folder of documentation to headquarters in NY. I tried to be succinct and offered what I thought was the most germane information. A copy of the listing that never mentioned that the slippers would not come the size I ordered. A copy of tedious sizing instructions that would have to be repeated. Aren’t they an important detail? I went to the closest shoe store and found size 6 shoes with a huge size 6 tag and photographed them next to the size 10 ruby slippers to show what size the slippers I ordered actually were. But they could say I was lying so I also provided pictures of the the ruby red slippers inside the “Brannock” measuring device and provided all evidence to the witches of ETSY. I found out later after I lost and goggled the seller, that she was a lawyer.