Five-fingered exercise

In Drafts, Food, Music, notes, Wine on January 1, 2014 at 9:24 am

We arrived in Japan just as the tide pulled away from California.

On the beach, far from Tokyo and other mad places with plastic-wrapped sushi served with fifteen-year old Scotch by phony geishas who work part-time for Nikon, and dream of traveling to Liverpool, to see Penny Lane, then to Canada for a look at Ann of Green Gables’ phony village.

We walk the beach, Ray and I, and there she is. Yoko. With her basket for the oysters and her shorts for modesty and her breasts for the free and her smile her smile her smile.


Good writing? No; something more in the nature of a writing improv with no revision. Is anything in the five small notebooks done last night worth keeping? The feelings tied to a photo, culled from a magazine, years ago. The Pearl Fisher photographed that day must be old and arthritic now, if she still lives. Her smile, the way she holds her basket. I’ve framed the photo. The smile greets me every morning. When dropping in for a visit, a friend of mine pays closer attention to the Pearl Fisher’s happy and proud chest with the perky breasts. Either way or both, she’s something like a personal talisman, far removed from heavy-set tenors pretending to pine for the goddess while the chorus pretends Pearl Fishers stand about in the moonlight, once their work is done.*

Walking to the cinema yesterday afternoon with the story playing tug of war in my head. Tides in, tides out. Eating, drinking and writing with friends last night. Reading out loud a writing exercise that meanders from French to English. Talking, late into the night, about the levels of speech and tone that register whether you know the speaker’s language, or not.

* yet, only in writing this down do I make the connection between the photo and the opera.


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