Song of summer

There’s a wordlessness that exists just beyond softspoken, down some gentle inexorable incline.

It threatens tenderly, terribly, like a cooler season. Today the lakewaters churn and foam and savage the buoys. A wind quivers the leaves. So ends the world of yesterday, the world I’d most like to inhabit, the season of skin and sweat and burn and the cool fire. And here we come down the easy slope, pulled on by free fall, this controlled stumbling-forward, the cruel logic of forward, into the wordless valley.

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A new place

Tonight I’m writing you from somewhere different.

I moved to a place on the water. “I think you can make a real home here,” my mother said, stepping in, weighted down with boxes. I felt the dark wood moldings and breathed in the lake, a salt-dusted almost-sea smell, and agreed.

Now the place has some furniture in it, and I’ve stacked its shelves with what little I own, and it still feels like something borrowed. You can hear the waves in every room. You sleep to their pull, wake to their breaking. It gives new meaning to the thing we say about sadness, that it feels like living underwater. The waves, it turns out, don’t sound so different from under water than from three floors above it.

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Keeping

It’s been observed that these posts read like love letters, and I suppose they are.

I don’t write as often as I used to. There’s a mood to achieve–quiet, still, sad–and these days are unforgiving of moods, unforgiving of all but hard work and frantic play. But these can so weary the soul and I hope I’m forgiven for fleeing from them from time to time, for holing up in my tiny home and laying in bed and looking out at branches, out at nothing at all, and feeling for that quiet again. I have been at it for a day and it’s nearly here. This is who I am. I’m beginning to remember.

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Summer Bean Salad

Salad is good. But what’s this prickle of shame I feel when I say it?

I want to show you food that wets the tongue, that tickles the groin. Rich, lush, ecstatic food. And I know that this may not be it, that it’s hard to do belly cartwheels for a garden salad. Still, I love them, and like any stubborn affair of the heart, it troubles me a little. Because for me–and maybe not only for me–salad seems a fairly potent symbol for the failure of female desire.

Did that come out of left field? Sorry reader. I know you don’t just write sentences like that, not about salad, and then you certainly don’t leave them like that, orphaned at the end of a paragraph. Except on days like this. Finesse-less days. I mean hungry days.

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Eat a Peach

Someone needs to explain something to me about baking.

Because if this tart is any indication, I just don’t get it. Baking, I mean. I don’t get baking. The tart looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Don’t be deceived. It tasted… well, it tasted good but I definitely didn’t need to run back to the kitchen for another slice. This tart failed to make me giddy, so I’m pretty sure this tart was a failure.

Here’s what happens: you hunker down over a recipe, obsess over measurements, only half your mind on the food– which is, of course, the whole point of this fussy venture–and in the end, you get something to ooh and ahh at, you get something that looks impressive, but no part of you is growling for more. No part of you wants to swim in a sea of tart.  

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On Figs

Six months ago I wrote a totally failed piece about fruit and sex, a kind of meditation on the sensuous qualities of oranges, mangoes, pomegranates, etc.

It was fun to write because it gave me permission to use words that weaken the knees: juice, skin, pulp, flesh, pluck, lick, suck. A terrible essay, I realize now–embarassingly bad, written to please only the writer–but it remains a fairly accurate portrait of how I feel about fruit.

Fruit in general and figs particularly. When I was writing the bad fruit essay I decided that figs are the sexiest fruit to eat. It’s in the grotesqueness of their appearance: the bruised purple skin, the pink flesh, the green stems leaking punishing white sap. Then you taste it: the yielding texture, the almost aggressive sweetness, a subtle savor of dirt and earth, reminding you where it comes from, all of it.

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Cold Noodles

Too tired to cook. Too humid. Too hot.

I’m sorry. It’s been a week–I have been surviving mostly on Frosted Flakes and take out. Went out for a Subway sandwich last night. I brought it home and ate it in my dark bedroom, right now the only livable space in my apartment. I left Chicago in good weather and came back a few days ago to find my place sweltering hot and smelling like ripe, days-old garbage. The air is thick in this city: heavy, wet. When I went to bed it was still too hot and too humid and I dreamt of the dry summer heat of Los Angeles, and of central air.

But last night, patting bits of oxidized lettuce off the floor with a mustardy napkin, I decided I’d had enough of the mopey shit. And like Hemingway after his oysters, I began to feel happy and to make plans.

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