Archive for the 'zuzu' Category

Water sound water

Standing in the shower and the pipes are clanking and singing. I think there is a plumber in my garage, banging his wrench against the hot water heater. I think there is a criminal hiding in the crawl space, tapping at the brass piping with his keys, trying to frighten me out.
Standing in the shower I can’t stand all these stranger noises. Children crying, cats coughing, the shimmering sound of lizards running through dry grass.
I can’t stand these stranger noises in my home’s old plumbing. I get out of the shower, dress and go to Walgreens, where I buy a waterproof hanging shower audio system with mp3 capability and I hang it on the soap rack and crank it up.
The throat singers shuffling on the mp3 are deep as a broken water main. The clicking African women are knocking on my door. The rhythmic thrust of Spanish dance spills hot water from an overflowing bucket.
I am wishing for deafness, I think I am wishing for deafness. Deafness or just simple silence. Maybe there is silence somewhere in the world still, just like there may be a place without light in this world still. There is mua, absence of light and sound, somewhere, maybe in the dark of the ocean, where the far off drum of plumbing and the streaming red tail lights are out of range. Only the distance vibration, the hum of earth itself.
Standing in the shower, time to sing the morning shower song. Deciding to decode the sounds. Drip drip drip, rain and the end of drought. Swish swish swish, the tail of a brown trout in a clear green stream. Rushsssh, the falling of water over some high cliff into the white foam.
After I won the lottery, I had the best time ever. I had all the dry erase boards and dry erase markers I could ever want. I had a house on the beach. I had a piano. I’m still having the best time ever, except for this thing with the plumbing and the sounds, the lights, the jumping of grasshoppers, the pop of frogs.
I won the lottery and then all things were possible, all possible things were possible, and then everything got so big, so bright. White boards, running water, running cars, runways and airports and I went traveling. In Barcelona, I decide that water is okay, water is good. There is no criminal intent in water, no malice. I have an affair with a Spaniard whose name I can’t pronounce, so I only call him God oh God. It’s a good affair, and the water is okay now, the sounds are okay and the waves even, the waves at the ocean are inviting, cool blue white Mediterranean sighs.
It’s hard to have things, to have things, and hard not to have things, not to have things. I go back then, to my house with its old plumbing, its sinister flow, and I paint it, every room, the colors of water. The oily iridescence of gulf coast water, the angry blue of deep sea, the muddy green of old shallow rivers, the bright peaceful blue of a lake in British Columbia. Once it is painted, I leave again, to Peru, where I feel light headed and the pyramids are so big, so big, and I take a room on the second floor at the back of a bar where the open sign flashes on and off on and off all day and the flashing light covers the sound of beach, of wind, of toilets and sinks. I stay there for three weeks, watching the open sign blink its indifference at me, and when I go back home again, my water colored house is perfect, blue green white shiny perfect.

Omelette

Omelette

 

“Abshtinence led me ashtray,” was the first thing I heard her say. She was raising her glass high over her head. “Shalud,” she said to the glass, tossing it back and then keeling over onto the bed. She is going to feel awful tomorrow, I thought. I put on her camisole – why is it that women’s underwear are so much friendlier than men’s? I wondered, not for the first time. I carried my glass and her cigarettes into the living room and poured myself a glass of milk. It was late, not that late, but I was quiet, careful not to clatter around in this thin-walled apartment. I could hear her neighbor’s TV blaring, loud aggressive anti-everything propaganda with flag-waving and Jesus-invoking, and thought how that neighbor must drive Ginger up the wall. I sat on the couch and watched a movie about a crazed carnivorous eggplant-like alien zombie creature that decapitated unsuspecting teens for 90 minutes and was eventually destroyed by good old American ingenuity and a can of chilled whipped cream. Then, not sure whether to stay or go, I started to read her mail. None of it was addressed to Ginger. Hmm. Zuzu. Zuzu deGraib is her name. I wrote it down on a business card and put it in my wallet. Then I fell asleep on the couch.

When I woke up, the TV voice next door was still jackhammering. Light filtered in through the pale yellow curtains.  I took off her camisole and put on my shirt and slacks. In the kitchen I found coffee, eggs, oranges and some honey whole wheat bread. The coffee woke her up – Ginger or Zuzu or whoever she was – and she came into the kitchen in camisole and slippers just as the omelette was ready to serve.

“Good morning, anonymous omelette goddess,” I said, back turned toward the stove as I slid the omelette onto the plate.

Turning around, I caught her leaving, with cigarettes, coffee and omelette in hand, out the back door, to the landing just outside the apartment.

October 12th, poolside

Three months ago who would have thought that I would be here? The stars are shining on me. The stars are shining on my clean body, floating white and naked in a perfectly heated pool in the moonlight in October. October is grand, isn’t it? Is there any place in the world where October is not the gods’ favorite month?

Zuzu is eating olives and writing letters in permanent marker on 14×22” white boards. She writes letters to each of her old friends, and those lovers whose names she can remember and whose addresses she’s managed to find on-line or through other means. The olives are briny and fat. The French doors open to the pool, which is filled with filtered salt water. Warm and buoyant.

As she finishes each letter, she signs her name in red and black Sharpee. Zuzu de Graib. She gives herself various titles. Esquire, Lady, Mrs., Dr., Junior, Ph.D., Ph.Z. Doctor of Zuzulogy –  she laughs and sucks on a pit, a dark black kalamata pit, the kind that makes the underside of her feet itch, they are so strong.

Zuzu is the happiest person in her family, happy in her home, happy in her mind, happy in the astrological benediction that brought her here. Tile, sand, water, fish, mango, pineapple, light sheer curtains switching in the open doors. That smell, what is that smell? Frangipane?

She writes frangipane down on a dry erase board and puts it with the others. In all of her life, she never imagined she’d have all the dry erase boards she could ever want, and a place to keep them, where she could write words to be erased, and words to be kept. This is Zuzu’s first and only real home.

All alone on the telephone

There sits Zuzu, all alone by the telephone, thinking about picking it up and dialing. Zuzu is mad again, Zuzu is feeling betrayed. She picks up the phone, looks at the missed calls, checks for unheard messages. Nothing.  Bastard, she thinks. She puts the phone down and goes to the kitchen. Looks at the list she’s had laminated and put on the refrigerator door with magnetic tape. The list of things not to do. Number one on the list is do not sleep with strangers. Dammit, she thinks. Zuzu thinks maybe her list is a little restrictive, but she remembers having thought that before and regretting it later. So she calls her neighbor, Mark, who lives next door and listens to Fox News at top volume day and night. He’s hard of hearing and Zuzu knows from personal investigation that he does not have caller ID. She’s been calling him during the O’Reilly Factor a couple times a week to try and get him to donate to various liberal causes, using assorted accents and fabricated organizations. She’s not exactly hoping he’ll pop a vein, but she is happy that they both feel put out by hearing something outside of their own choir at least once in a while. He picks up. In the background, Zuzu can hear huffing and puffing and pontificating on the TV both over the line and through the wall, which is vibrating. For whatever reason, Mark never just lets it ring, nor does he hang up when he realizes it’s another one of those calls. Instead, he immediately repeats the talking points of the day over and over again until between O’Reilly and Mark there’s a resonant, chanting mantra – white man, brown woman, socialist, failure, terrorist. The rant begins to hum and buzz and throp like a sound whipping by on a train, clicking on the tracks and dragging the chattering chains through the line until she doesn’t hear words anymore, just the sound of anger. This is her one lone pleasure tonight, sitting here all alone by the telephone. Zuzu needs to find something to do.


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