Today E and I have a date to see the Elaine Stritch documentary at Lincoln Center while eating bagels.
Then we’re going shopping for things we don’t need and can’t afford. We’ve already made an agenda of places we need to go.
This is an important day for our friendship.
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Oh, my heart.
Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.
Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.
Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.
A memory just popped into my head. My first piano teacher, who I hated, used to make us sing to her at the end of our lessons. Every week, in the same tune, she would sing, “Thank you for playing, [name],” and we would have to reply (in pitch), “Thank you for listening, Nechama”.
I hated doing that so much. It felt so contrived and stupid and inauthentic. I had to thank my teacher for LISTENING? Bitch, please. What is my mother paying you for?!
And, well, she’s dead now, so.