Thursday, February 26, 2009

Along Bold Street

I thought I might find her on Bold Street. I’d hear the click of her heels and turn and there she’d be, smiling at me, the way she did on the U-Bahn platform years and years ago. I skulked along searching the half-hidden faces of the scousers in their hoodies and mufflers, fogged breath or fag smoke curling from their shouldered chimneys. She’s not here of course. Why would she be? Only the fog, the cold, gray mist clings to me. I think of a stanza from a McGough poem.

Without love
I'm justa has
been away
too long in the tooth.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dream Me

In your dreams
    dream of me
Bring my passion
    to your fantasy
Dream my lips upon your lips
    my hands upon your breasts
    my thighs upon your thighs
Close your eyes and
    dream me
Hear my sighs
Bind yourself to me
    bones of my bones
    flesh of my flesh
    heart of my heart
    soul of my soul
Dream me
    and make me be

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thinking of You

Working hard
at working hard
Keeping busy
Seeking solace
In a sort of
Ceaseless circumnavigation
of a circumstance
Never thinking twice
When thinking not at all will do
Wandering without wondering
Where or why
I wander to
Doing whatever I can do
to keep from

Thinking of you

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beginnings and Endings

“There are no beginnings and endings,” Jacob said.
“Well, things, you know, planets, stars… stuff, didn’t just appear out of nowhere.” Devon was clearly exasperated with Wande’s husband.
“Where is nowhere?” Jacob said. He was leaning forward in his armchair, elbows on knees, resting his chin on his fists, gazing at Devon with feigned interest. Wande knew the look all too well.
“Oh, for God’s sakes,” Devon said.
Jacob said nothing. Just kept looking at Devon, waiting for him to answer his unanswerable question.
“Look, I’m not a cosmetologist, or whatever, but the Big Bang Theory, you know…everybody believes it’s correct. The universe started billions of years ago when this tiny… this thing, uh, ball of material exploded. That’s the beginning.”
“You’re not a cosmologist,” said Jacob, in his maddeningly reasonable voice.
“That’s what I said,” Devon shot back.
Wande knew she had to step in. “How about another piece of pie, Devon?”


Jacob and Wande stood at their front door and watched as her sister Sylvia and her husband, Devon drove off. Sylvia and Devon appeared to be having a rather heated conversation.
“You can be such a pompous ass sometimes,” Wande said, continuing to look at the car’s fading headlights.
“I’m not a cosmetologist,” Jacob said.
Wande punched him in the shoulder.
“Come on. You need to help with clean up.”
Wande took Jacob’s arm and led him back into the house.


“The universe has always existed in an endless cycle of expansion and rebirth,” Jacob was saying as he placed a platter in the dishwasher.
Wande took the spoon from the bowl of mashed potatoes and licked it. “Um hmm,” she said, preoccupied with thoughts about her sister. She knew that Sylvia and the rest of her family had disapproved of her marrying a white man -- ‘that Viking,’ Sylvia had called him. And she had to admit she sometimes felt self-conscious when they went out together. She once overheard women at a party saying that Wande was haughty. What they failed to realize was that her behavior was meant more as a defense than an offense.
The truth was, that despite her PhD, her professional standing and excellent job, and her upper class life style, Wande felt something lacking in her life. It was if she were floating in a tank of warm water – everything was fine, but her life lacked sharp sensation.


Jacob looked at his wife. He thought that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her skin was so dark, at once empty and foreboding, like a panther, and at the same time drawing you to her irresistibly, like deep space. He moved behind her, put his long arms around her, and cupped her generous breasts in his hands. Her scent was spicy-sharp, almost louche.
Pheromones, he thought.
Wande stopped what she was doing, put her hands on the edge of the sink, and pressed her buttocks back against his hardness. “You want to fuck me,” she said in a low growl.
“Yes,” he said, his voice hoarse.
“Then finish loading the dishwasher,” she said, pulling his hands away.


Wande slid her legs over the side of the bed and sat on the edge watching Jacob. He was snoring softly, something he tended to do after having too much wine. She wasn’t complaining, though. His lovemaking had been energetic and adventurous. He’d used his tongue in a gentle and ultimately very satisfying way instead of the pedantic way he sometimes used to explain his views of the universe.
Wande was wide-awake. It often happened that she’d practically pass out after sex, only to wake up an hour or two later ready to sit down with a snack and a good book.


Wande used the hall bathroom, then went to the kitchen and got a container of yogurt from the fridge. She walked into the family room, picked up the travel brochures on Africa from the coffee table, sat on the couch, tucked her feet up under her and began thumbing through descriptions of 7, 10, and 14-day tours of Egypt, accompanied by carefully composed photographs of pyramids, gently rolling sand dunes, date palms, and graceful sail boats plying the Nile River. In just five days she’d be visiting the continent of her ancestors.


Wande’s parents had emigrated from Africa to Brazil, and then to the United States. They were Yoruba, from southwestern Nigeria. Her father had named her Yewande, which meant ‘mother has returned.’ He was not pleased to learn that while in college, she’d allowed her name to be transformed to Wande. He was even less pleased, to put it mildly, when she brought Jacob home and introduced him as her husband. It was as if she’d thrown live power lines in the house and everyone was dancing and dodging the snapping cables. And Jacob, chameleon-like, had turned himself into a patient, sensitive, culturally aware son-in-law, who spent all his time carefully doing his active listening routine, ‘I know how you must feel.’ Hardly. If she were honest with herself, Wande would have to admit that she wasn’t sure how she felt.


Wande fell asleep on the couch and dreamt of giraffes loping gracefully across the GSC parking lot as she watched from her office window, standing there in the nude. She saw her reflection in the glass. She was white.