Monday, October 02, 2006

War Is Over If You Want It

When I was sixteen, one of the gifts I received to mark this passage into the hell that is womanhood was a homemade John Lennon t-shirt. The t-shirt, a sleeveless neon monstrosity, had been conceived of by my friend Curtis, a man without inconsiderable artistic talent, most evidenced by his own get-ups (he'd long since passed outfit), some of which gave Liberace a run for his money, especially a certain puff-paint blue jean nightmare that he reserved for nights we had the thrill of going to Captain D's for dinner (an half hour drive into the city and by city, I don't mean New York, I mean Weatherford, Texas). Weep for the little things that could make us glad! At any rate, my John Lennon had the iconic image from Imagine, done in yet more puff-paint (an 80s staple). Curtis, I saw, was making a huge effort to please me. John Lennon could not have been further from his decadent, Warholish, Basquiat-driven aeshetic. At the time, I spent not a dinky amount of time watching my SIX, count them, six hours of Woodstock video, the longest dullest documentary on planet earth, but not without its charms, even sober.

My then-boyfriend received a matching t-shirt, different color puff-paint. I thanked Curtis, but dear God, did he expect that we would actually wear these t-shirts together? Some non-hippie, you're going to regret this phase when you get a decent hair stylist, part of my brain was screaming, this isn't right! I've never been a fan of couples wearing matching anything, and my ex loved his and wore it so often that John's face started to come off in tiny lines, leaving his t-shirt looking as if he'd drawn on it in magic marker. Our relationship did the same thing, except it became very dark before it ended. A story, as they say, for another time. Let's just say John and Yoko we were not. As for my t-shirt, I never wore it, and it never faded or ruined. I had to throw it away whole, which is more than I can say for most things.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Love means having to say you're sorry every fifteen minutes." John Lennon

Cocktail Hour

Drinking music suggestion: Hillbilly Deluxe Dwight Yoakum

Benedictions and Maledictions

She Hasn’t Changed A Bit


My ex-husband shows me his e-mail Christmas
card for the year on a tiny portable computer. “I
didn’t like the baby’s face, so I photoshopped another
one in.” He sits back in the booth, and I look, nod
my approval. Good thinking! Our waiter asks us
what we want -- good question! My ex has time to kill
in Detroit, and I’m the only person he knows here. If
I bore him to death, I wonder if he’ll photoshop some
other conversation, say how good it was to see me or
how horrible, depending on the audience. She hasn’t
changed a bit
, I can imagine him saying, with varying
degrees of affection and horror. You have to grow up
eventually
, he was fond of saying when we were married.
He’s balding with a super-short haircut; I’m tired around
the eyes. I’ve seen a lot of things I couldn’t change, and it
changed me. I’d like to put my old face over this one, but
the scene won’t have it. I’d like to make things pretty, but
I’m only a writer, and it’s not quite Christmas-time yet.

7 comments:

Marty McFly said...

Dear Michelle,
Your writing has a kind of magical suggestiveness to me. When you write "Woodstock," I think of Diane Lane in "A Walk on the Moon." When you quote John Lennon, I think of Ali MacGraw in "Love Story." I can only conjure up these flashbacks when I'm under your spell. It's quite a rush. Thanks.

Michiko Kakutani said...

Hey Michelle,
Your poem,"She hasn't changed a bit," has the phrase, "time to kill in Detroit," in it. I remember that phrase from a previous Spell. In fact, it's the title of the Spell. I love the way you save and rework material. It's the sign of a real pro. Well done.

Mahatma said...

Dear Michelle,
I liked the way you gave your then-boyfriend in the Spell a matching t-shirt. You're a "quid pro quo" person in the best sense of the phrase. You're a very loving person. Peace.

Oprah said...

Those "decadent, Warholish, Basquiat-driven aesthetic" words are just flat out, bitchin' good. Honky.

Tim said...

I know I didn't have any t-shirts quite like that but I wish I would have saved a few of them that I had in the 80's. At the time I thought my "Darth Vader Shot J.R." shirt was pretty cool. Hmm...maybe just as well that one didn't survive.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
A lovely view and post, as always. I cannot imagine being married to you and not appreciating you. A champagne toast, with caviar. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Something about htis post moved me, but I haven't put my finger on it yet. Thanks.