Saturday, May 20, 2006

Endless Summer

So much of my youth was about sun damage that it's no wonder I live in Detroit now. Tanning was such a great thing in the 70s -- nobody thought about cancer or looking like leather or sun spots. My girfriends and I would slather ourselves in Crisco (yes, Crisco -- the stuff you cooked with that would also become verboten with all the diets that are now in vogue) and spend hours cooking ourselves. Crisco was hard core -- some people got results with Johnson's Baby Oil as well. The most protection I could stand was the lowest level of SPF (2, I think) of Coppertone. The smell of Coppertone may be my favorite smell in the whole world, and a whiff of it will bring back a homesick feeling so sharp that I can't believe it. Not that I have much use for it these days, but it's still nice to have around.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Paradise is exactly like where you are except much much better." Laurie Anderson

The Sunbather

1 shot of vodka
1 shot of lemonade
1 cherry
garnish with a sugar rim and serve as a shot

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in Confluence

Wherever We Go

We are everyone in our dreams, even
the dead or so say the books, the ones we turn
to when we struggle with the images
we can’t shake, 1001 Dream Meanings
and its variations. The smart ones forget
the meanings and play the numbers assigned
to each type of symbol, endless combinations
with their promise of money and possibility,
enough to cling to as the days pile
on top of each other like snow, making
everything more difficult and more beautiful.
Once a childhood friend said to me
of our small Texas hometown, Wherever
we go, we always know there’s somewhere
worse, and I thought of it as his parents
flew his body across the country to be buried
in the exact place he’d struggled so hard
to escape, a place where the snow comes
down so seldom as to be a miracle, covering
everything with a blinding white for only
a little while, just like when my friend was born
during a freak snowstorm in March. What
are the odds of that? he’d ask, but it wasn’t
a question. He died with his dreams, those small
moments where everything appears to glitter,
if only for a second before it all disappears.


cindy said...

Beautiful as always, sweetheart. Glad the Pistons won, even if they're not the Shock. For you. And you're right -- the sun is not our friend. It's evil yang energy. The Moon and its gentler light is much better for our skin and well-being, always. More mysterious, too ;)

Cindy, always

JR's Thumbprints said...

In my younger days I was the same way--baby oil--nice fast burn. My parents think too much sun causes melanoma. I gave up trying to explain to them that it's genetic. The sun doesn't cause melanoma; it only speeds up the process. SPF45 for me. --Jim

John said...

Dear Michelle,

Another lovely post and poem. And most importantly for now, the Pistons won! Thank God. Every game's a close one. We can only hope for a blowout tomorrow. I'm glad you live in pale Detroit now, where the Pistons reign and the clouds roil above us.

cindy said...


Beautiful profile pic! Sweet.


Cheri said...

The thought of putting cooking grease on myself makes me want to cringe! Whatever happened to the little Michelle?

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Cheri and everybody,

Little Michelle's family is a horror story all in itself -- its own post is in the making. Thanks for the comments!

Paul said...

I agree with the ladies on this. The sun is like napalm, a little goes a long way in the damage dapartment. I wouldn't care if I never saw either again. Hey, though, your new shot is foxy, I'm down with it!

R2 C2!