Monday, January 3, 2005

Black-Eyed Peas, Luck Luck Luck

To each who has left me comments recently: thank you. I never went anywhere--just wasn't posting. Please do feel free to use the e-mail link. It is kind of people to care enough to check in after months and holler hey. Thank you. Happy new year besides, god, I really hope so. You all deserve it.

It was a new year and so we ate black eyed peas. Old tradition, new tradition. We used to eat roast pork and sauerkraut, fried apples and roast potatoes. On New Year’s Day Rosalie speculated that might have been Larry’s favorite meal. But then she said, she said, he had so many favorites, liking his food. We did not eat roast pork this year. We ate black-eyed peas for luck, for luck, in this 2005, a good year, it will be a good year. Battered, deep fried cod and black eyed peas and cole slaw, collard greens and corn bread, macaroni and cheese. A picnic round the kitchen oak. I think this must be a Southern belief, the belief in black-eyed peas. My brother asked if the Southerner’s have had such good luck, should we be eating their peas? Not a bad point, but this year we were looking for a little luck, a little calm, a little peace, so my mother with the buying of the peas.

For that matter, I love black-eyed peas, the earth and the grit, the grim stone-faced joy of their taste. My brother consented to eat exactly one, let him have luck, let him. And why not? What’s the harm of hope, of superstition? Two thousand four, a year, a point of planetary position come home again, I won’t blame, I won’t call bad, but it’s been a weird, hard year. The worst yet, some might say, but how to value the living, the dying? I won’t blame 2004, but I'll be looking forward to 2005, hoping time slows a little. I think it should be tired. Let it rest, let it roll slowly in tall weeds, let it bake in the sun, let it chew on old leather and eat paste.

Deaths at Christmas must be as common as any other time, they must be as common between Dec. 20 and Dec. 27 as between May 1 and May 8, don't you think? Still, they suck. My cousins lost their mother, my father's sister, right before Christmas. Same disease as my dad, almost exactly the same progression. Didn't hold off quite as long. Fuck it, I don't care if it's a plane or an asteroid or frozen goose shit, I just hope something gets me without choices, without too much time for contemplation and deterioration. No need to get into it here, but this aunt of mine, and who doesn't, deserved better. Funny, funny, crazy, brilliant, whacked woman.

Eating the black-eyed peas and smiling at the coming year with one hand over one eye, fingers crossed. A good year. God knows I wish one to each, to all even, knowing that for so many it's going to be an uphill slog through hot pink, curdled poodle vomit. But still, we hope, and why not? For each, for all, I hope good, or interesting, or sweet, or fat, or sassy, or slap happy, or horny, or lightly toasted and buttery, hoppy and bitter sweet or sweaty heady whole hearted blooming black passionate swirled rainbow sherbet, ephemerally loving tear-drawing breath-stealing loin-tingling chest-swelling good times are ahead of you, lurking in your water closet, in your pantry, in your closet under all the jeans you bought last year that don't fit; hiding in the strangely inviting trunk of your car--if only you were small enough to install a right-sized couch and lava lamp and move into that tidily sized, carpeted space--or maybe you wouldn't want to--but still I hope in your music which you will play, in the wonderful food you will cook, in the wonderful things you will write, in the wonderful lost moments with your infant you, thank god, forgot to video tape but will remember forever, in these moments, in these moments, in these moments of congealed bacon fat and pregnant diapers, in these moments of innocence, and it will all seem like innocence someday, fucking god damn it, for god's sake do I wish each his or her happiness. Love it, please, whatever moment it is, love it. Do the stupid, do the wise, do the taxes, but love it, love it. Be a little silly, go tell your lover thank you for the smoothness of the plaster and the horse hair, go tell your dog, thank you for the steaming turds and the plastic bags, go tell your roaches thank you for the entertainment. Telling these planets, these hard cold spheres thank you for the death of my father, thank you for the life, thank you for the mitochondria, thank you for the breath, thank you for the altar and the fat, thank you for the memories, thank you for the sweet brilliance of berry juice and strange fruit hairs. Will and thanks and hope and dread, this affliction, hoping this new year at least has some sweetness, some unnoticed moments to fuel future nostalgic memories.

And, I guess, that's about it.

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