I thought I'd take the things I love out for a spin on the Redroom dance floor. "The way to know life is to love many things," beautiful crazy Vincent Van Gogh said, so here's my list. What's yours?
Getting up early, around 5:30 am, making coffee, writing.
My husband Kenneth. His green/brown eyes behind his uber modern European glasses.
My fabulous calico kitty, Zooey, or ZoZo or ZoZee or Muffin Puffer or Punker Skunker or Nutmeg or Baby Sweet Sugar Love Bug.
All of a sudden I'm having a poem attack: remembering this poem I love by Czeslaw Milosz:
"My parents, my husband, my brother, my sister,"
I am listening in a cafeteria at breakfast.
The women's voices rustle, fulfill themselves
In a ritual no doubt necessary.
I glance sidelong at their moving lips
And I delight in being here, with them, on earth,
To celebrate our tiny, tiny my-ness.
More my-ness I love: my two sisters, my father, my nieces and nephews, my friends, and certain strangers you meet and it's as if you've known them always...the list of people could go on too long, which reminds me of how lovable people can be, truly adorable. Sometimes I look at a person's face, and I nearly swoon at its wonder.
But loving the great people of the heart is an obvious I love.
Let's see...I love:
Making up operas about stuff like "OH, THIS CUP OF COFFEE IS SO DELIGHTFUL I THINK I'LL POUR A LITTLE MORE" or "OKAY DOKAAAAY ARTIE CHOKAAAAY," and singing them around the house or out in the yard (if my neighbors are in Italy visiting their parents, hey, I love my neighbors and their kidlets, Sam and Julia).
Tennis. What can be better than the thwack in the sweet spot on a blue summer day?
Playing with my tennis team members and winning for and with them. Winning, though, is a subject for another blog...there is quite a darkness to winning, isn't there...and it's not something I love...
Wild flowers. I often picked up Kenneth at the Rockridge Bart Station during the first year of our wild romance. This time, he was carrying a small battered brown leather suitcase and a bouquet of wild flowers wrapped in a damp paper towel. He wore his white chef coat and smelled like rosemary and garlic and fennel and merlot. Yum.
The bar at the Hotel Convento in San Juan. Old wood, many stories told over the perfect martinis. The slow swish of ceiling fans, the terracotta tiles, how humid it is, wearing hardly a thing, a light sundress, night coming on cool-warm and indigo, the sea close by, the thought of swimming in the early morning, the flaky croissants, the mango and melon, the coffee, COFFEE!, then rolling buoyant in satiny waves.
Beaches. Vieques. Taking a ten seater plane to Vieques, a very small gorgeous island near Puerto Rico where the teenagers ride horses down main street on a Saturday night.
Yes, I could live there quite happily. With my love and my fabulous kitty.
I love to think about retiring from my job at DVC. I love teaching and hate the system. The system is corrupt. The world is ending, isn't the world always ending? I was getting gas the other day in Concord, sitting in a long line of cars because the gas was thirty cents cheaper at this station. And because of all the fires in California, it appeared we sat in nuclear winter, but there we were, engulfed in pollution, pumping gas into those autos. What can we do? The trick is how to keep an innocent mind in a corrupt world...retire!
Ah, fuck. Let's return to love.
On retiring: I love to lie in bed-I have a great bed, an Aireloom--and look out at the moon from our room of windows, and see my favorite tree, a pine, and climb the ladder of it in my mind and sit among the stars.
I love my flannel pajamas with the faded roses.
I love expensive French wine. Sancerre! I once (lucky me!) went to dinner at downstairs Chez Panisse. The wine was incredible, the food stunning. I love food and wine. Kenneth is a fantastic chef and taught me culinary joy. Before I met him, my dinner often consisted of a sink meal, taking bites out of a block of cheddar still in the package.
I love listening to sad melancholy music and crying. Sometimes I play the song over a few times so I can cry some more.
I love when Kenneth suddenly asks, "Will you sleep with me tonight?"
I love cleaning up my house in the morning and setting things right once again. I love starting over.
I love stolen time.
I love looking at fashion magazines and nail polish ads and what to do about your hair although I rarely give myself a manicure or do anything different with my hair.
I love looking. I remember being in the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and looking at his painting, Wheat Field With Crows. I set off the alarm because I wanted to get so close. Step inside it. I felt like I was already inside it. I was the field and the light and the crows and the sky.
I love thinking about things and then letting them rest. I know every second how ephemeral it is. Like Anne Lamott said, "In a hundred years, all new people." Or like Gandhi, "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it."
I love to dance and be completely in the music and the moment, the twirl.
I love learning new words like perquisite and deliquescence.
I love washing Kenneth's clothes and folding them and putting them away. I never thought I would, but I do.
I love walking six miles around Lafayette Reservoir. About to head that way right now.
I love my own poems! Can't help it! I'll close with a poem from my second book of poetry:
Elegy for my Flannel Pajamas
Tonight, I'm wearing them for the last time--
they are nearly sheer from years of washing, the roses faded--
as I lie in bed under the print of Chagall's lovers
floating around the ceiling of the Paris Opera.
The lovers aren't wearing anything
except pink and green swirls of paint, gliding
past the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe,
and a smiling horse with a curly mane,
both eyes on one side of its head like a flounder.
I hope in the afterlife, my lover and I
float in afterglow, selves worn to transparency,
hearts transformed into invisible roses,
doves chuckling in the turquoise myrtle trees,
God like Chagall, flourishing his brush, saying,
"Only love interests me."
I turn off the lamp and sleep like the dead
until my love comes home and sits on the edge
of the bed, unbuttoning my pajamas.
Causes Susan Browne Supports
Run Together, A Race to Raise Money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society