chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Monthly Archives: July 2013

sauce…

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ sauce
found poem © j.i. kleinberg

Advertisements

don’t worry…

land,

a single moment…

1932 - Dave Lando - Dottie
 
On the back of the photo, in neat handwriting that’s not my mother’s, it says Dave Lando, Dottie, May 5th, 1932. She’s 20, he’s — who knows? — a friend, a flame, a man upon whom she could lean for this moment of ease.

There are no photos of the man she would marry. All that survives of that liaison is her married name written on the cover of a sketch pad and a couple of pieces of wedding silver etched with her initials, D and A, flanking a large S.

But Dave Lando, whoever he may be, perhaps the Dave Lando who even then was studying to become a doctor, perhaps alive somewhere still, made the cut. If she looked at this photo and remembered that day, she never spoke of him. Perhaps she liked, as I do, her relaxed grace, her easy expression, the way he leans to support her as if he really likes her. Or maybe she liked, as I do, the faint ghost that surrounds their bodies, as if they were there and not there, still and moving, vibrating with youth, beauty, infatuation.

watches…

to make…

doors

DAK Hotel Sacher, Vienna 1969It’s a small thing, to knock on a closed door, but in our house it was a rule. A closed door meant Privacy. It meant knock, listen, wait. In our neighbors’ houses, I was amazed that doors seemed mere tissues in the air, without substance or meaning, things to swing aside without thought. Constrained by the constant nibble of small rules, always the good girl, I was envious of this reckless, feral behavior, this bound-less privilege.

But for my mother, who had few boundaries, this was a critical mark of civility, something that separated us from the shouters, the art-less, the bargers-through-doors. It was important, this evidence of etiquette. And she wasn’t wrong; honoring a closed door seems reasonable and polite.

But what she was trying to keep out — the foul air of an untold hurt, pain, fear, loneliness — had no respect for doors or rules. It invaded, inopportune, and smeared itself on everything.

. . . . .
photo: Dorothy gazes out, Hotel Sacher, Vienna, 1969

20 miles…

high summer…

when…

The airy…

nomadic…

FEATS…

this mysterious…

GENERALLY…

perfection…

your memory…

The Ravenous…

four dozen oysters

D and family at Earl Carroll

This photograph dates from the year my mother met and married my father, but he’s not in it, and whether that meeting — their blind date — had happened yet I don’t know. We see my mother, at the far end of the left side of the table, with her family — her mother, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, sister-in-law and her mother’s second husband — at Earl Carroll Theatre Restaurant in Hollywood.

My parents didn’t discuss the intersection of their premarital lifestyles, but there must have been an adjustment for both of them. My mother was used to privilege — fur coats and Oysters Rockefeller — while my father, a hardworking civil engineer newly returned from war, hailed from people of very modest means who were more concerned with family than with fashion.

In fact, my parents were opposites in many ways. Where my mother was emotional, my father was cerebral. He was quiet, she voluble. She was delicate; he was a rock. She said whatever came into her head; he rarely spoke an unconsidered word. He was serious, she was a party girl. He was loved, she felt unloved. My mother, who outlived my father, had a litany of physical complaints; my father had little use for illness and was hardly ever sick until the very end of his life. His family was deeply religious; her family saw religion as a social group. She loved dressing up, he didn’t. He loved children, she didn’t.

The extremes of their oppositeness contributed to their initial attraction and, over the years, tempered somewhat. My mother missed her fancy-dress life, but she eventually admitted that she would never turn my father into a man who would truly care about the cut of an elegant suit. My father uncomplainingly indulged my mother in her own taste for beautiful things, but drew the line when it came to man-jewelry.

And yet, after decades of marriage, it was their oppositeness that wore them down and, although they stayed together, pulled them away from one another. My mother wished for someone with emotions as hungry and uncensored as her own; my father would have appreciated some restraint.

In myself, I find them both — the needy and the withholding, the flamboyant and the modest, the satisfied and the discontent — looking for the words and the voice that will give expression to a single integrated identity.

you stroked…

%d bloggers like this: