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Birds, Cats, Chopin and Hawaii

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“Did you sight the ever elusive Norton Bird?” Sandy chuckles mostly to herself as I turn to DL, questioning.
“That’s what she calls BLN.”
“Oh,” I nod. BLN is our moniker for Linda Norton, aka Beauteous Linda Norton. She also is known as the Norton Bird, evidently.

She is a woman deserving of much attention and many nicknames, so good to know that she’s also a Bird.
I respond to Sandy, “Nope, she wasn’t in the pool.”

“Does she still do the machines upstairs?” Sandy asks.
I shrug, glance over at DL for the answer. “Yes, she does,” DL affirms.
“Good to know,” Sandy slaps on some more lotion, then reaches for her red sweatsuit pants.

“Well, if she’s not in the pool, then I don’t see her. And as you know, Sandy, the pool is the only thing that matters.”
“I was waiting for that,” Sandy grins, pulling her red sweatshirt top over her wet head.
“The water is the best, though, don’t you agree?”
“It’s where I’ll end up,” Sandy agrees. “Just toss my ashes out into the sea under Diamond Head. …

Hey! I'm THERE!!!

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“Are you using this machine?”
I point to the towel wrapped around the seat,
He shrugs,
Takes the towel,
mutters, ‘no.’
And moves on.

Denise stands and chats
about this and that
as I pull down the weights.
Then she goes over to
another machine.

Again with the towel
Wrapped around the machine.
She looks around
No one there
She moves the towel
And
Wham!
There he is.
“Hey, I’m there!
I’m using that machine!”
He’s in her face.
Too close
She walks away.
Sicilian anger.
“Are you okay?”
I ask her.
She nods, yes,
But I know she’s not.
We continue to
Workout.

I Was There Man
Comes up behind
Denise, “Just to let you know,
I’m off that machine.”
I glare at him.
He walks away.
Denise continues to
Pump away.
We go to the treadmills
Denise chooses a machine.
“Hey! I was on that machine!
My water bottle’s there!”
We burst out laughing.
Water Bottle Man puts in
His earbuds,
Listens to
Water music?

“What’s going on
tonight?” I ask her.
She’s still laughing.
Starts using many examples.
“…

Toebox

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In the hot tub, DL and I rest for a moment, letting the watery heat therapeutic our bodies and brains. Then the water starts moving. We are in waves. Why? I glance to my side. On the steps floats a Large Bouncing Woman , jiggling her entire body up and down, up and down, creating wavy waves that jostle us back and forth. We both start to giggle.
“I remember when O and I went to Germany many many years ago,” I grin, trying to keep my balance on the seat as the waves continue to cascade outward into me. DL nods in encouragement? Actually, she has no choice but to listen to the story: Hot Tub captive audience. “And there was this beautiful indoor pool in a little town called, Garmisch Partikirchen. The pool’s water was calm and peaceful when I first ventured in and began swimming laps, but then I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to lift my head up to take a breath. The water was swooshing into my mouth? Why? So I stopped swimming and stood in the center of the pool for a mo…

Modicum of Awareness

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Stopping at the wall, I glance up through my foggy mask. A yellow snorkeled woman is making the circle swim motion with her hands, drawing ovals in the air with her index finger. “Can you guys circle?” she asks.

I hate circle swimming, but what are you gonna do, except ….there’s a situation in my lane.

“I’m happy to,” I lie to her, “but good luck trying to get him to stop!” I point at Maniacal Hostile Man, who has just turned at the wall in front of us, not stopping, completely ignoring the obvious request to circle swim. He had done the same thing to me when I’d tried to get him to acknowledge me upon trying to enter “His” lane. The lifeguard, though, uncharacteristically, had been on it. Had gone to the opposite side of the pool and stopped Maniac Man with his big red rubber guard thingee. Manic Man had stopped. Thrown off his cap. Gesticulated hostilely. Then had put his cap back on and swam back down the lane toward me.
Did I really want to share a lane with this guy?
Nope.
But no…

Something Big

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“Are you going to do something big?”

Through my foggy mask, I gaze up at the voice wafting down from a slight woman’s figure. She’s perched on the edge of the deck, feet dangling in the water. I think she’s smiling? But hard to tell.
I laugh anyway. It’s her question. What does she mean, am I going to do something big? Like change my career? Publish my novel? Swim in this cold pool?
I figure it’s the last item, but maybe it’s something else. I’ve had the lane to myself for all of 5 minutes here at the frigid Berkeley Y pool. My back and arms ache from the cold. I have to keep moving.
Maybe that’s the something big?

Or maybe she thinks, since she’s asking to share a lane (did she in fact ask me?) and I’d been swimming down the center, ‘something big’ means splashing with much spatial span the butterfly or large kicking up of waves down the center of the lane or…..
I have no clue, but she gets in and starts swimming before I have a chance to clarify.

She is small and splashless, which …

Orange Night

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Neesie's Poem

Ode to Orange
Once my mother's lipstick was almost
orange
but red was the actual color
of my wagon too
Yet the roses were kind of orange
and I thought about this alot:
Could the clouds be orange?
What about an eye?
And the weather wrapped itself
around me like the skin of an orange
and it was warm there
like lying in a lush warm sea
with orange fish
swimming about as if that was the only thing
and my small scoffed shoes
took on an orange hue
in the afternoon
I ran to the fence and climbed it
before night fell
and the street glowed from the
yellow lamplight
and I thought of an orange-eyed cloud



Ian's Poem

Ode to Orange

Oh oh the range, the danger
almost
Orange is an almost color
Almost yellow almost the sun
Almost red, close to the fire
But cooler, warmer too.
And then the odious of
Orange marches, banners
Almost as ferocious as the
opposite of the I.R.A., tho
O.R.A., the yellow and red
And Rusty the cat in orange
Fur, not at all ferocious, not
even almost. Mar…

Special Magic

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“You sound just like my twin sister!” Sandy jokes as I try to croak out a “I’m headed to the pool” farewell.
“Yeah, I have this cold,” I shake my head. “I need to swim it out.”
“I wasn’t gonna say that, but glad you did.”
I wave instead of more croaking, head out to the pool, which on the night before Thanksgiving at the Downtown Oakland Y I expect to be empty.
It’s not.
Damn.
Every lane is packed. Kids are screaming and hurling toys. The lifeguards are circling the deck, actually paying attention to the mayhem.

I choose a lane to split with a swimmer who seems to have the least amount of splashing. But then she gets out. I spy a Large Man at the wall. Damn, he’s getting in my lane. I hate sharing a lane with Large Men, esp. if there’s a Large Man on the other side of me too. I’m in a Large Man Splash Sandwich, being tossed back and forth between Man Tsunamis.
It’s hell. The 9 circle, of course.
I press on. Get through my swim portion of my workout, swallowing only 10 gallons of water,…