Monday, July 30, 2012

The Olympics

Emmy, to the ladies: What makes a man think "I'm going to become a master floor exercist"? Do they need sex that badly?

Odette: They are short, strong, and their moms are afraid of contact sports??
E: Their moms should watch Rudy.

Brooke: I was JUST thinking, "I would never do a guy who said he won the gold medal in floor exercise." It doesn't excite me.
E: I would do a gold medalist in anything. I need to add that notch to my belt.
B: You can have my portion of floor exerxists. I'd gladly do a swimmer. Or tennis player. Or any other gold medalist. good luck!
E: Ping pong! Beach volleyball! Lunge! Slalom! Figure skating!
B: I said ANY OTHER. Just not floor exercise.

Daniele: Maybe that's how one gets the ladies' attention in China or Russia?
E: Communism trumps everything!
D: LOL. All these guys are super short. Perhaps they had to resort to leaping and flipping just to get noticed?
E: I noticed. But I am certain that I have nothing to offer them. Except for my perfect breasts. Which all people, of all orientations, notice.
D: And all political/economic philosophies!
E: They are the great equalizer.
D: You (they) should probably sit in on the next round of Mid-East peace talks.
E: Alas: cleavage is unholy to Allah. Rude.
D: Oh come on. Is a little hijab really all it takes to neutralize the power of your breasts?

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Passionate kisses.
Coming home to us. Knowing.
(things I miss the most.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

fresh surface

she's the sort of friend
who already knows how you are
when she asks
if she doesn't
she truly wants to know

these days
i don't know how to answer

i could show her my recent nosebleeds
the first since my adolescence

i could give her
the sound of rain
falling cold and steadily
and peacefully and nonchalantly

i could tell her the story
of how on our last night together
you spilled red wine
because it gave us something else to do
we focused and vacuumed
and sprayed and poured salt
as if the carpet symbolized us

and if we could remove the blood-colored stains
we'd have a fresh surface for each other
as if trying to prove
we can do something right
as if
we can remove and create

i can ask her
where to put your pictures notes books letters clothes

i could recount you in numbers
of unreturned communication

i've got a whole wallet of receipts
with your last name

but none of that
says how
none of that
proves why
none of that
comes close
to measuring
or loss

-May 11, 2006

Friday, July 20, 2012


Every year of my childhood included Disney World. My grandparents' annual Christmas gift to me and my brother was a trip to Disney World. We often came again at Spring Break or during the summertime. (My grandparents had annual passes at the time, so this was not the astronomical expense it is today.)

I don't know how to talk about Disney World like it's an unfamiliar place. It would be like trying to explain to someone who didn't grow up with dirt or monkey bars or basketball courts. I'm not trying to sound like a spoiled brat; I'm simply stating facts. The place is ingrained in the recess of my soul. When I had nightmares as a little girl, my mother would tell me to think about the happiest I'd ever been, and I would always think about my time spent tucked away in this magical place.

At some point, we started staying at the Swan (warning: *terrible* music on that website). My grandparents earned Westin points, and, over the years, they earned super VIP status. We got upgraded to the penthouse one Christmas, where they had a tree decorated and set up for us. There was a baby grand piano and a full kitchen. My grandparents paid $99/night. 

When I found out this Spring that a conference I needed to attend was not only in Orlando but at the Swan, my heart soared. I knew my grandparents would come with me. I invited my beau. I thought that nothing could be more perfect than to share this sacred place with them, to reminisce about all of the memories we share, to create new magic.

Something you also have to understand about my grandparents is that they're the nicest people in the universe. Every time they visited, they brought gifts for the bellmen, valets, concierges. And because of whatever circumstance, the employees here remained the same, for the 15+ years we visited. 

Many of the employees are still the same. I recognized them immediately. We exchanged long hugs. They asked all about my grandparents, then gave me the royal treatment. 

After I checked in, I sat in my hotel room and cried for an hour. My mom "forgot" I invited her and my grandparents. My beau wavered for too long, so I told him not to bother. Spending time in Disney World alone is the opposite of any reality I've ever known. I simply don't know how to be here by myself, in this hotel I spent much of my childhood in, Eloise-style.

Today, after a particularly spectacular lunch conversation that led to new doors/possibilities/opportunities, I stopped by the concierge desk to talk to Leo, a beloved member of the Swan team. After filling him in on myself and my grandparents, he offered to pay for my--and my colleagues'--dinner tonight. The generosity of my grandparents was returned to me.

I joined my colleagues poolside, where I tried to explain to them about how much time my brother and I had spent in the water here. We had long conversations about our siblings: how we shaped them, and how they shaped us. We laughed at my brother's refusal to learn his alphabet or to become literate, because he didn't see the point, because I always read anything he needed. "Mimi do it," he'd say, his toddler mouth unable to pronounce the three syllables of "Emily."

Tonight, over cocktails, I proposed a toast to Leo.

One of my colleagues said, "And to Mimi!"

In that moment, I knew I was no longer alone. I'm sharing this place with the people I love the most, through their memories, the laughter that remains, the hope of what may come.

And that’s exactly the kind of moment that makes this place so magical.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


arrived in The Garden State on Sunday
got on the turnpike
going the wrong direction(s)
to the point where my GPS started sighing:

(New Orleans has ruined my sense of cardinal direction.)

took two students to dinner on Sunday evening
at a restaurant with a farm-to-family option:
3 courses, $19 a person, all locally sourced.


(They also had 20 wines for $20. Done.)

drove to Princeton Monday morning
my first time visiting
since I was the students' age
hoping that my reach school
was within reach


observed high school students' courses all day:
writing workshops. biology class. sociology.

ate in a cafeteria
for the first time in close to a decade

returned to Sunday night's restaurant
sat at the bar
befriended the bartendress
(who is fluent in five languages)
a man who might have been 118 years old
(who went to "a small college in New Haven," then worked for Merrill Lynch)
a man with whom I shared some of my $20 wine
(who used to be a lawyer for the Mafia)
and the former governor of New Jersey
(who ended up following me back to the hotel, just to make sure I made it safely)

today, Tuesday, included more classes--
literature, personal development, college admissions--
and another lunch from the cafeteria

students read from their essays
"Why I want to go to college"

I found myself fighting tears
as I listened to teenagers describe
the soft bigotry of low expectations

got a migraine.
closed the curtains of my hotel room.
took aspirin, a nap, a bath as hot as I could make the water.

met the program director for dinner
shared stories, ideas, enthusiasm

then alone
I walked around the borough
magical in the summer twilight

(I forget that some places are safe enough to walk alone
but none of them are the neighborhoods the students described in their essays.)

Nassau Hall
illuminated, glowing, inviting

children playing in a square
while fireflies danced

wandering further down
this tiny little slice of non-reality
where many places lack air conditioning (??)
because the summers are that mild (!!!)

I found Eastern Relax
where for $1/minute
any lingering moment of migraine
was massaged out

towards the end
all ninety pounds of my masseuse
leaned onto my back

the closeness of a stranger
breathing into me
moving into my breaths

was all that I needed
to exhale pain
to inhale acceptance
to be grateful.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


We have become the
couple I hoped (wanted) to
believe I deserved.