Art, Poetry, books, novels

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Shamed Zen Gardener



I feel you are ashamed of me. 

Uniform man at the gate knew my name this morning.
Not Ms. Gerardo by my license.

“Good morning C. G. The boss told us to valet your car. They’re in the executive conference room.”

Shuffled into a golf cart, I fumble with my laptop case. Where are my reading glasses and the Burt’s Bee’s lipstick for chapped lips, in case they ask me to read again? I’m not wearing a suit. Up at 3:15 AM wearing a knit dress with a rose print, its silly and out of fashion. No nylons, no layer of makeup; only creative ideas.

Thinking about your message. I put it out of my mind, bury my head under my zen garden. Mountains are weak to water so the monks tend stone to make her sure.

I feel you are ashamed of me. 


Beach Unavailable for the Umpteenth Weekend.

Kim, the assistant with an MFA from USC greets with enthusiasm.

“I got the Major Dickason’s cafĂ© au lait, as you like.”

“Thank you, wonderful-”

Its warm in my hands as protection, familiar dust in the pillows on my bed, filled with feather biscuits of earth.

“I read your poem in Flannery O’Conner Review, or was it Atlantic? The one: coffee and grounds composting, it was beautiful.”

I don’t correct her about the magazine, “Thanks for reading my work.”

“We all did.”

I smile with my lips closed because my teeth appear horsey.  The steam from the liquid in a studio cup meditates the meaning of life in my sinus. Her Anthropologie dress is one that I could not afford for my daughter and the wide smile the orthodontist failed to deliver.

“You pull off the Yoana Barashi dress with class.”

She giggles, “My roommate said the honeycomb gold was too loud.”

“You’re in a major studio and sound lot, you need to be noticed.”
She nods.

“Can you help me?”

“Anything C. G.” She pushes her bangs back eager to please.

“Is the band in there? Who makes decisions and why did they bring me to the executive offices?”

“Band’s waiting in another conference room they want you. The bosses watched video of you playing word games and reciting haiku, ghazal, luc-bat to any topic the boys threw at you.  Your drawing in Dry Erase on the glass enclosures mapping sounds pushed the band to write, not just your piece, but two other songs in one recording.”

“Was that bad?”

“Scares the f out of-”

She stops when the door opens, then whispers: “They are ready for you now. The Hawaiian shirts are the CEO and writer.”

Rectangle table created with one thick sheet of glass. Glass is silica heated in liquid suspension. It is turquoise on the edges like a cresting wave. The suits are lined on the right wall. Their elbows are permeating the watery surface, buried in sand. Two Tommy Bahamas shirts are at the head with one empty swivel chair.

A lingering feeling washes over me. I ought to have swum out past the kelp bed before sunrise today. The caress of heavy humidity wears on the spare traffic outside your window when we made love. Then rest open to the waves. Your voice is a blanket of freshly raked baby powder saying the tide will come caressing my feet. I am safe exhaling the ions of sea foam. Are you buried under the sand?

“Please take a seat.”

The suits inquire about agency and representation. Come ’on a poet cannot afford such luxury.

“But you had an agent.”

“Yes a famous one, we are friends now.”

“We know. He told you to stop using your talent for the sound- meaning- root- soul of words because poetry is wasted soup and the masses don't care for bouillabaisse.”

“He wanted me to only write long form-”

“Dam glad you didn’t listen. He says you’re the most creative genius he’s come across. Why are you not in the music business?”


Text in normal language.”
My kids say speak English. No Punjabi Spanish and Latin salads, I wish they were proud of me. 
I feel you are ashamed of me. 

Muso Kokushi told me to continue creating ink landscape paintings in the garden. Tending the earth is my form of prayer; this is why my flowers and vegetables do so well. I don’t audibly speak His name and He watches my bent over back.

Contract ready, they are pleased with the word brain. I flip to page thirty-four; near the end there are dollar amounts. Then I ask for a note pad.

“A yellow legal pad,” I have my moleskin in my bag. Surely a suit has access to paper.

“Take my pen.”

“Do you want a Dry Erase?”

My lips offer an abstract Mona Lisa. They speak over each other. I take a few notes and draw a diagram of interaction, physics in black ink. On a clean sheet I write: I will have my attorneys review your contracts. You have my word. I offer first right of refusal on my poetry and will cooperate with musicians. I don't write a dollar amount.  I sign it. The hand embroidered black Maui shirt smiles.

“We have a deal,” His hand reaches across the river table. I stand, which makes them all uncomfortable to rise and I hug Maui shirt.

The suits mumble, “We can’t let her work in the studio without a release-”

Maui shirt answers. “You heard the woman. I’d marry this girl if she’d have me.”

The taste of you saying you’re a turtle in the mud, and the part about not being a good mate is rough on my tongue.  It makes me chuckle because I’ve pet desert tortoise for now 29 years. He and I understand one another better than rhyme or rhythm. Building a trench or wall will not change his nature, and he expects me to rake the ashes.

I wish you were proud of me 
From my iPhone waiting for the band to meet me in the studio
To Paul McCarthy Mission Viejo Newport Beach Eclipse Messenger 
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