Monday, February 8, 2016


Of course I noticed it in an art book. Whilom. That, I thought to myself, is my new word.  Better start using it. Betty, the whilom photo model, was now confined to the stables. Whose selfie was it? That was the question. Betty didn’t win the prize for best selfie; the man in the picture won a four figure number but the horse, or the horse’s owner’s, did not share in the prize money. Imagine, not your selfie.  Poor Betty.

“It’s flash fiction.”

I grunted, trying to sound happy about it. I was calling it postcard shorts, after my postcard short about Malta got published online. “Your book,” a friend said looking over the manuscript, “I didn’t know what to call it.” Her husband informed her that it sounded like flash fiction. He’s, in a way, right. “Your quotation mark use is incorrect.”

Hmm…I even used to put the periods outside the quotation marks. I dunno why, it just felt to me that the line was finished in silence, the terminus. Now I learned my capitalization has some idiosyncrasies.

“People like mistakes, they make us human.” I was gazing at a big digital board in the Conservatory. The idea did not soothe me, but did make me think the way out of my mistakes was to advertise and own them.

Right.  I would that my punctuation be regulated to whilom. I can imagine, because most writers write their own PR, stating, “Such whilom mistakes were a marked feature of Persephone’s development towards a muy recherché manner of finer expression; with so much linguistical tottering about, she was finally rendered comprehensible at a base level.”

Websters online politely requests readers to send in information where they found the archaic word whilom. I have half a mind to submit my sentence about me, but they most likely would object. My selfie unrewarded.

“Would you,” the man on the Muni bus leaned towards the passenger sitting next to him, “be friends with my cat on Facebook?”

It was a classic and told to me by a friend who had been to California on vacation. How much more San Franciscan could you go? Ah, when I lived in the Bay Area, I learnt to be most polite, and defer to whims o’ whilom with a smile.





Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Eleven in February – A Retarded New Year’s Resolution

“Eleven kilos,” K. said brightly.

I was standing on a Boditrax machine at the gym.  K. was reading off the machine generated numbers between my current weight and my ideal weight, taking into consideration the fact that I am of a sturdy type build. The super duper machine these days apparently takes into consideration a person’s build.

I didn’t react. The machine stated that I would be perfect at 56 kilos. A day later upon reflection I calculated that would be about 123 lbs. When was I last 123 USA pounds?  Thirty years ago. About when I was 18 and lived in California.  Or, here’s a thought: I was under that when I was starving in Paris and wore a (what is now) size zero then called a size two. Not by choice.

“Your bones weigh 2.4 kilos.” She added quickly. There was a little circle on the screen around my bone number, like a plastic bag. It reminded me of my cremated cat.

Perhaps I should have jumped up and down and held my head or something. I guess it was fairly obvious from my reaction that I was not going to do anything grandiose about my 11 kilo surplus. At least not that moment or even that month. Maybe she expected me to say, “But I am big boned.”

I am not. I didn’t attempt to say I was big boned.  I thought the machine was insane. Another way of making humans chase after numbers obsessively. 

“How long have you been coming here?”

Uh oh. I believed she was prodding me towards making a plan to lose the eleven kilos. Timeline thing. Graphs involved.

The zumba class was nearly about to begin.  That was a start. It was while waiting for the class to begin, inspecting the plasticized BMI chart on the table, that she had pounced and put me on the machine.

Here’s the thing:  I love jumping jacks now.  Ever since more than a kilo was shaved from my chest three months ago by a very kind surgeon, I have been noticing changes such as I can distribute weight evenly on the balls of my feet instead of trying to keep myself from falling forward by clenching my toes. This means yoga is vastly different.  Warrior two? Piece of cake. Eye of the needle?  I can actually do this pose now. Swimming?  I don’t need to hyper arch my back to pull myself up and forward in the water.

“Your arms will thin out.” A friend who has had the procedure said.

My arms have thinned out. I even have a strange suspicion that they might be longer, at least I don’t need to roll up my sleeves like I used to do. That paunch? It’s got a line in it now, something called a waist in fighting its way into sight.

But if I compare my pre-surgery weight (taken at the hospital) to the Boditrax reading, I apparently weigh more in kilos.  So what is the deal? Frankly I don’t care about what or which machine says what or witch.  I am much more interested in learning if I can finally get to the tree position with my foot wedged on my upper thigh. Now that would be da bomb, especially at my age. And oh yeah, I have another bag of too big for me now clothing to donate to charity. Eleven kilos my….

“You are more than welcome to come back, in the future, if you need any more work done.” My surgeon had said to me throwing a gallant smile my way at the final assessment consultation.  I politely replied I thought I’d stay put.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Worrying Kind

First the Gin Store, then the Thai Massage.  Gone. What in Holy’s name is coming to the world, otherwise seen as the other side of my street? That leaves the Sex Shop and the Drug Paraphernalia Establishment. Is my primal view entering in a gentrification phase, heading into a different reading of the slogan “Liberal Arts,” that granular freedom from our bodily prisons? Here comes Java I thought. Or more bike stores, I assessed looking at the Bike Store across the street.

“They left,” swaggered the tabloid, hoisting up its trousers and scratching its balls, “Amsterdam to save their marriage.” A shocker. Photo of geraniums on farm, blue jeans in sun, ragged surroundings needing a paint job.  Detox city for wood. Is Amsterdam the capital of vice?  The sinker and stinker of marriages, the rampant offerings of temptation?  And cow patties the answer?

What do I know?  Perhaps for some….maybe we need more Java stores.

I was sitting in the waiting room eyeing the tabloids. I was worrying as well.  I mean what would the surgeon think of me eyeing the tabloids? I wanted to come across as intelligent. Frankly I don’t know why I worry so much. He was puttering back and forth from his office to the reception with each patient.  I was back for my final check. I felt fine, other than the worrying. Maybe it was the place, I mean hospitals should make us worry, otherwise we might be delusional.

“I was convinced, convinced it was on Thursday,” the woman in a beige coat and 70 year old hair complained to the reception, “but now I realize I made a huge mistake.” We were sitting in Thursday. “I was supposed to come on Tuesday.” She repeated to herself her mistake, her ancient husband sat next to her silent. “It’s really rather stupid of me.” She fretted.  “Stupid.” She twittered on about it until she was called into a consultation room. The door shut. “It can happen to anyone.” Her husband said clearly to no-one in particular.

But really I wondered sitting on the 13 back to the center, listening to a quintessential Amsterdam accent over the tram’s loudspeakers, the sun was shining, my grocery list was forming in my mind, what vice?  Salad, apple, soda water, potato chips the really greasy kind, and maybe some cold cuts. Stones, I added to my list. Maybe I should put stones into the pots.  Or a gadget….as my colleague suggested.

“Just wait for the tourists to leave,” she paused in between clicks.  I was lying on my stomach in the rain on a fairytale bridge in front of my latest project, my A(msterdam) Pot Poems.  We were having a photo shoot. “You need to put something else in there,” she advised, “besides the poem.”  I held an A(msterdam) Pot Poem in each hand in front of a house. The wind nearly blew them out of my hands. Worldly temptation I’m guessing.