Cold-weather gathering

She had a cocktail in a plastic cup, and I remember her nose was a sort of red.

She wore a blue denim jacket at her house party and didn’t care.

The one thing I remember about her was her curls. I remember their frizziness, like if you washed a doll’s hair and just left it as is.

Her apartment floors had old linoleum, and the rooms were low-lit and looked comfortable. Everyone seemed to be happy.

She had an interest in me, and we both liked the Beatles’ White Album. We had discussed it at the student union. Continue reading “Cold-weather gathering”

Heroine of the hula hoop

A girl in front of her house was doing hula hoop tricks today. She reminded me of a flapper — maybe Josephine Baker, the way she stared dead ahead and smiled — perhaps knowing she had it down and that she would beguile onlookers.

The hula hoop never stopped moving, regardless of where it wound up — seemingly precarious but staying put, like a plate on a stick in a vaudeville act. What kept it gyrating? It reminded me of those yo-yo tricks, where the yo-yo appeared motionless, like a hummingbird probing for pollen. Continue reading “Heroine of the hula hoop”

Doris

Nobody in the congregation could imagine her not moving. Doris had always moved — as if made of rubber or as if a bouncy spirit had inhabited her.

People remembered her swaying across the gymnasium floor during the church’s centennial celebration. She was dancing to My Girl by the Temptations and all the other songs on the DJ’s playlist, all the way up until the finale of Sister Sledge’s We Are Family. People recalled her lips moving while singing, plump with rouge lipstick and her eyes going all expressive. But now they were still, and her lips looked buttoned and had a cinnamon tone that you could barely even notice. Continue reading “Doris”

The clever reference in ‘Show Me’

It’s so cool that Chrissie Hynde repeatedly refers to love as “the word” in the Pretenders’ ’80s-era song Show Me. It seems a suave intracultural reference to the 1965 song The Word by the Beatles. That song, of course, was referring to love, as well. Also, a beautiful and poetic line in the Pretenders’ song: Welcome here from outer space / The Milky Way is still in your eyes. That line makes me think of a newborn coming into the world.

Life

The old man was delivering seedlings to a nursery in a beat-up truck — its platform fenced in by scrap-wood panels.

It was the start of a new day: The man wore a yellow shirt — loud as unmitigated sunshine.

A shovel jutted up from the center of his flatbed— its handle to the sky, as if the spade were staked into deep earth.