We will practice it indeed. This weekend I had many opportunities to practice.
Saturday, Miss Cookie and I made a mythical voyage to our father’s homeland: Paterson, NJ, by bus, to hear my aunt read her award-winning villanelle at a reading. It was an important trip. Neither of us had set foot in Paterson since we were tiny kids, when our grandmother used to take us by bus to the fabric shops and chintzy department stores. I remember thinking back then that Paterson was a lot like Sesame Street, except the shopkeepers were mean and everyone was yelling all the time.
Now it’s basically the same, only with more graffiti, more abandoned buildings and an overall sense of airlessness. Statues of “great men” look down from their pedestals at City Hall onto what their gem of city (“Silk City, seat of the industrial revolution”) has turned into. Woops, OK that was some bad poetry.
The reading was great. The poetry itself wasn’t great but I was moved by its directness, covering basic life stuff: love, food, death, suicide attempts, Frank Sinatra. I felt gratitude and admiration for these people who got up and shared their experience with us. I was especially proud of my aunt who, at the age of 57, got up there and infused her reading with a breathy sexiness and intelligence and wit. She really had the audience eating out of her hand, not only because her poem was really good, but also cuz she interpreted it rather than just read it in that sing-song cadence popular with poets these days.
It was also a chance to hang out with Cookie for the first time since our big blowout fight from a few months back. We were both on our best behavior and it was just like old (good) times, yakking it up about every topic under the sun.
On Saturday night, Monkey and I were walking Coney and found a tiny adult male dog (kind of like a King Charles Spaniel mixed with a Shepherd or some other short-haired breed) wandering around 4th Avenue w/o a leash or tags. We asked people on the street whose dog it was and nobody knew…so I scooped up the little critter and brought him home. I fed him, made some “Found: Dog” flyers, allowed him to hump my leg a few times (he was so small it felt like a mosquito was doing the honors) and then took him, on a leash, back to the ‘hood where we found him.
We posted the flyers everywhere, and eventually, through some Columbo-type detective work, found his guardian. I am still feeling torn, though, about giving him back to someone who would allow him to roam a busy city street w/o ID, and no visible proof of vaccines, neuter or heartworm protection. I don’t enjoy being sanctimonious about it, but I also don’t want people to neglect their canine pals.
Sunday we threw a going-away party for FilmThreat and Hepburn at our apartment. A good half of the attendees were people I didn’t know, so it was like showing up at someone else’s party, in the privacy of my own home. It was pleasant, although not as personal an event as I would have wanted to create for them. I felt party hysteria that didn’t mingle well with sentiment, and I couldn’t stop eating crap. I felt numb, and tired in the soul... Got the impression that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, at least amongst my friends. Again, maybe it's a projection
We hung up a subway map and asked people to sign it for them, indicating their subway stop.
It was interesting to place FT in his new context, amongst the friends he’s cultivated in the past few years. He is an old boyfriend, and we have remained friends for the years since that ended, although neither of us really hangs out in the original gang that brought us together. These are his people now, sorta. They are all quite sunny.
Coney was exhausted by the end of the day, and did something unprecedented. Instead of sleeping with us, he went downstairs and curled up in his house-breaking cage! It was bizarre. He hates that cage, but he may have wanted privacy. My little pup is growing up and soon he will want to hang out with friends and drive and smoke, etc.
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