Saturday, September 02, 2006

Morphing Through Babylon

So having failed to take my cues from inside my own consciousness and write about losing Don all those many end-of-the-summers ago, listening to a friend who said there was nothing that interesting about widowing, I doff my curls to Joan Didion who has done it better than anyone could, except that she was spared the additional gut-wrench of watching it happen, slowly, and unashamedly parodize her best title to tell you where I am now. Having settled in Brentwood, quite surprisingly an actual neighborhood in this spread-out locale where neighborhoods don't much exist, that is to say, those little patches of community one can feel a part of and walk the streets of without being stopped by a Black and White to ask you what you're doing there, not quite ready for the answer "Walking," much or most of the interaction being on the telephone, with any movement in cars-- not even a lot of splashing in the fairly ubiquitous swimming pools, since I seem to be the only one using them for exercise, at least in my building, the pool being at the rear of the parking garage so it offers little lure for lounging-- and having forsworn, for the nonce, travel,like Napoleon's army I am traveling on my belly. That is to say, I am donning the cloak of Foodie, and touring through my tongue.
Mimi and I have been lunchtime headquartering at an amiable trattoria called 'Sortino', where I can sit under an umbrella at a table with a friend I actually have something to say to, though that, too, has become occasional and minimalistic, as I got an e-mail from my Scottish Quakerly buddy Rosie in response to one of my poems, saying I am best when I travel inside, so I am paring off people rather than pairing off, and farming my solitude. Then, down San Vicente I found an exquisite Italian restaurant called 'Pecorino', where the fior di zucchini was as light and creamy when the crunch of the breading was bitten into, oozily, as opposed to that in an impossibly noisy restaurant in Hollywood called 'Jar', which is, as the late Paris Hilton might have said if she could speak, 'Hot', except it is also tasteless. The waitress, one of the few doubling as actress women in town who was charmless and funless, announced they had 'squash blossoms,' and when I asked if she meant 'zucchini blossoms,' that most delicate of summer dishes in Rome, gave me a stare as blank as her brainpan, and brought the dish, so flat and heavy it was, indeed, squash blossoms. All this to say I will do an extensive piece on Pecorino to inaugurate my new websites,, and I am transforming into my next skin, that of Foodie, since I am still cuter than Gael Greene and writing food is the same as writing about sex, with all the like adjectives, and I always did that better than almost anybody, Don would be the first to tell you if he were here.
In the meantime, I go for actual lunches, and write poems. Here, the one from Katsuya, newly opened just down the road on San Vicente.

Now whether or not you've been there
Japan is very pricey
So the tourist
Which I am,
Just passing through Life
On my way to someplace else
I sincerely hope
Feels somewhat pressed
At a sushi bar in Tokyo
So I recommend Katsuya
On the corner of San Vicente
Where the pale, stripped wooden floors
Recall a ryokan in Kyoto
And the recorded music
Sings of a vanished love
That only seemed like love at the time
For the heart was empty
And the arms ached to be full.

So much for the poem. The food, Pan-Asian or something equally affected and bullshitty unless you're having handrolls, --for example, the seared tuna and spinach salad comes with too much soy sauce. Mimi, however, enjoyed her water in a very fine ceramic bowl.
Much love to you all. We who are about to eat salute you.