Friday, May 04, 2007

A Snail Without A Home

When I was a child, one of my chores was to salt the slugs that made their way to our sidewalk after a rain. I couldn't look at them because of my fear and disgust so I'd salt them in a panic, not caring how much I wasted, and ran back in the house. Don't be such a little pansy, Michelle, my mother would say. And you didn't have to use so much salt. I haven't given thought to them in years -- they have receded in my imagination into a way of description, ie, I'm feeling sluggish, until a few months ago when a child I adore picked one up and told me that she thought it was a snail without a home. The slug sat in her tiny little hand, and for once I looked at it, not nearly as horrified as I thought, although I did have my eye on the nearby salt shaker just in case I should be called on for my former duties.
She played with the slug for a little while before returning it to the dirt. I had really looked at it for the first time, noticing how intricate it was, how small. The ones in my memory were huge and icky beyond belief; I'd have died before touching one. And in the interest of full disclosure, I did not touch this one. But I felt a little sorry for it, all the vulnerability it embodied. A snail without a home. Such sadness! The moment passed as they all do; the talk went to other things. Everyone washed their hands before dinner, but the slug had left an invisible trail over slime in my mind except that I realized that it didn't have to be slime; it could be a veil or a scrim. It could be beautiful if you didn't know what it was.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"To gaze is to think." Salvador Dali
Cocktail Hour
Drinking book suggestion: The Last Days of Dead Celebrities Mitchell Fink
Benedictions and Maledictions
Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors for beating the Mavericks! I hate Dallas and am so glad they got beat in the first round -- ha! I once read somewhere that there were two times in your life you could do something really hard -- when you don't know you can't do it and when someone tells you that you can't do it. They aren't my beloved Pistons, but I'm still impressed. Congratulations!


Claude Monet said...

That's a beautiful photo with an almost impressionistic air.

TV Guide said...

Thirty more days until the last day of the Sopranos!

Charles Gramlich said...

"It could be beautiful if you didn't know what it was." A great line. Opens the mind a bit.

D. Imus said...

I'm gonna sue CBS' ass.

George Rhymer said...

Everything's better with Bluebonnet on it!

Vito Spatafore Jr. said...

I'm like the slug in your story, Michelle. Just because my dad was homosexual, everybody thinks I need tough-love. I've got problems, but why kidnap me in the middle of the night to be sent to a boot camp in a far away state out West in the middle of the night? I don't know if you saw it, but Phil Leotardo said to Tony Soprano that the shit doesn't fall far from the faggot's ass. The next day I tooks a shit while showering in the boy's shower at school and stepped in it. Everybody saw me do it. I wanted them to. I was expelled. Thanks for your support of the Sopranos, Michelle. Only four more episodes after tomorrow. Please watch.
Vito Spatafore Jr.
Ogden, Utah

Red Auerbach said...

Good basketball enthusiasm, Michelle. You've got the oomph!

realbigwings said...

Wet veils that become clear and crisp when dry, like mayfly wings.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I guess pouring salt on slugs is better than leaving a small cap of beer for them to crawl in.

E-bags Rocky Mtn. Oyster co. said...

Salted slugs? And you didn't eat'em?

Paul said...


Achilles the snail said...

You need to publish this one glossy, m. A beautiful piece of art that completely reflects the the idea of vulnerability.

It reminds me of Judi.

Judi shared her shell with me when mine was broken and cold. I was on the street for a few days in my car. I was burning the last gallon of my fuel when a late night phonecall to an old friend hooked me under the arms and pulled me back in from the treacherous waters deep.
I slept in a small room, ostensibly--until she put her kids to bed, then as planned I'd ninja tip-toe to her upstairs bedroom with midnight as my scrim. She's the nut, not me. Judi goes to church every week and yells at PTA meetings all the time up in Shelby where every mom thinks they can out soccer all the rest. That doesn't make her nutty, it actually just makes her acutely aware of appearances. I'm a bit young for her, some might think that, or a similar line. I know the guys her age can't believe my luck. Five to ten years, numbers mean squat next to the randy tides of lust and the wrenching grip of hardship; I'm saying nothing more except that she doesn't look older than me, and you can paint your own picture of sweet beauty.
(or use m's, remembering that the two compared are blond sweetest oranges vs other-worldly apples of alluring mystery)
She even wanted me to park a half a block away and I came and went through her back door. I'd tell her little jokes that contained escalating bombs of the truth. Things like 'great job, now your neighbors think I'm the man servant', or ask her to give me a ride to my car since it's in another area code. She laughed and even gave me a ride once or twice--I didn't really want one but took up the offer anyway, just so I could have an old morning make-out with her in her big white truck before dawn.
I always had to leave before her kids woke up, and Judi left to go work at her family's office. That was no problem. I needed to find my own shell to call home, as much as I enjoyed the company of my benefactor and. Soon, the storms existence settled and pieces were put in their place with a mortar of spit and illicit substances. My home was boarded up, but ready for occupancy. I still visit, Judi still screams at PTA board members and out soccers all but the most manic of mothers in the upity town of Shelby. Midnight is still our scrim, and the back door my narrow path by the moonlight, a shell that will always welcome me home if the storms rage again. It may not be my home, but it cares not for my thoughts and calls me one of its own.

Glad to have a shell here, too. (an e-shell, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)Love the metaphors you work m. I'm always inspired here.
write well and have fun.

ps Dallas does suck! I was wanting GS to pound them too! Go pistons

scrim said...

That's right. I am the secret word of the day because She says so.

grand ole communicator said...

...and a pretty big "and" I left hanging. If Judi reads that, she'll give me fits of little mind games and it will be a few moons before I can ninja foot to anyone's bedouir to talk about "and"...

the other world said...

how do you like them apples? Better than salted slugs, I hope.

the walking man said...

When i was a child of about the age you describe all the slugs I ever saw were from human. Maybe i should have tried the salt thing.

Pizza Pizza said...

TWM cometh but not to speak? What gives?

Susan Miller said...

I try to hold onto those things that "invisible trail over slime in my mind". They seem so important, and I don't know quite why. So I'll just figure that they must be beautiful.

I gotta get caught up on my Michelle reading. Keep writing, girl!

Susan Miller said...

Damn, I just saw that I missed your birthday.

Happy Belated Birthday, Michelle!

the Sleepwriter said...

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
We need more holidays like it in this country.

How bout Ocho de Octobre?
m would go for that--if you don't already have one, or some equivalent! Of course you are tonight.
Everyday I'm ready for a holiday. Weekly observaces recommended. The devout should partake as much as possible.

Perhaps another could enlighten us as to what a german would say for, oh, maybe August? The 16th?

someone in margaritaville said...

Partied and read the month of dec, 'o6 a minute ago. I saw the piece about Hank and the vid.
Awesome stuff. So smooth a touch one must have to play slide like that. Brought a whole new understanding of Hank Ballanger, Texas Bluesman.

and gold stars
that I miss...
pics that I missed

many wonderful stories
god rest you merry, gentle woman.

Anonymous said...

This poem by Sharon Olds has stuck with me for years. Ahhh, to always be that full of wonder and innocence! To ever be that way...

Connoisseuse of Slugs

When I was a connoisseuse of slugs
I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the
naked jelly of those gold bodies,
translucent strangers glistening along the
stones, slowly, their gelatinous bodies
at my mercy. Made mostly of water, they would shrivel
to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt,
but I was not interested in that. What I liked
was to draw aside the ivy, breathe the
odor of the wall, and stand there in silence
until the slug forgot I was there
and sent it antennae up out of its
head, the glimmering umber horns
rising like telesopes, until finally the
sensitive knobs would pop out the ends,
delicate and intimate. Years later,
when I first saw a naked man,
I gasped with pleasure to see that quiet
mystery reenacted, the slow
elegant being coming out of hiding and
gleaming in the dark air, eager and so
trusting you could weep.

Achille's big daddy snail said...

nice work. I doubt I can pronounce the name, but nifty, none the less.

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