Posts Tagged ‘Franklin Street’

When Jody Sings

January 10, 2022

I remember dancing to this song from Masters of Reality in a red and blue gingham check skirt that I had made from one of my mother’s old house dresses.

I was wearing a navy blue leotard body suit with long arms and had a black sweater or cardigan tied around my waist.

I remember the sun shone through the windows of my bedroom on Franklin Street in Madison.

The light dappled through the trees and I was wearing blue stained glass earrings in the shape of elongated tear drops.

My boyfriend of two years, at the time, had hung them in the window from the screen so they caught the light and put me in front of the window with his hands over my eyes.

It was likely the best gift he ever gave me.

I felt beautiful wearing those earrings with my hair down and long and curling.

I was twenty one.

He had introduced me to a lot of music that I had no clue about.

I also introduced him to a lot of music he had no clue of–jazz and blues mostly and some classical.

The music I had grown up with, my step-father’s much played genres.

My boyfriend at the time, the blue stained glass earrings boyfriend, turned me onto what I would now consider classic alternative music.

Jody Sings is from an album called Sunrise on the Surfer Bus by Masters of Reality.

I had never heard anything quite like it and I loved the album.

He also introduced me to Soul Coughing, Jeff Buckley, Beck, Cake, Morphine, Annie DiFranco, Tori Amos–all of whom we saw in various concerts.

To this day I get some kind of sneaky cred for having seen Jeff Buckley live in concert on his Grace album tour.

I will never forget his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” it blew my soul open.

I broke down into tears when I heard of Buckley’s death weeks after he had passed.

He introduced me to Phish as well, not that I ever became of big fan of them, and a lot of heavy metal, Pantera, Sepultera, and the like, as well as Primus, who I wouldn’t call metal, but I was fucking blown away by when I saw them in concert.

I don’t know why this week I thought of Master’s of Reality, it just popped into my head.

Listening now, fyi.

And I suddenly remember that girl dancing barefoot on the warm summer sun wood floors in my bedroom.

I didn’t know that my boyfriend was in the doorway watching me dance.

I spun around with my skirt flaring out and caught him staring at me in the doorway.

The look of love in his green eyes still haunts me if I think about it too long.

He loved me, more than I think he even understood, especially after I broke up with him five years into the relationship.

He never really knew me though.

I was nascent.

I was incandescent in my beauty and I never knew it either.

And as the relationship went on, painfully, unhappily, co-dependently on years after I should have left him, I gained weight and gained weight and suffered deeper and deeper depressions.

I had no idea I was depressed.

That 21 year old girl had no idea how dark life was going to get.

My boyfriend cheated on me, twice.

He got caught growing marijuana in our house.

We both wound up with felony charges.

Mine got dropped.

He went on probation.

He went bonkers when he had to stop smoking pot.

He started drinking really heavily.

I realized I was in love with another man.

Who, now I can see, oh can I see, quite clearly, was unavailable and the love was always going to be unrequited (though he told me once quite drunk how much he was in love with me), which was my way of staying safe.

The love of the unavailable man.

My music, blue stained glass earring boyfriend, lost it when I broke up with him.

Lost it.

Hit me.

Spit on me.

I ran off into the night.

One very cold January, Wisconsin night, dark as sin, snow piled so high, no cars driving down East Washington at that late hour.

I ran out of the house in my flannel nightgown and made a phone call to the police from the payphone in front of the grocery store a block away.

I was terrified.

It was a long, scary night, and a story for another night of blogging.

He stalked me for a few years.

I got a restraining order.

He broke it and because he was on probation for growing pot he went to prison.

He’s married now.

Two kids, wife–former classmate of mine in high school, my how the world is small.

House in Sun Prairie, I looked him up a few times years ago.

I don’t wish him harm, he was in a terrifying place and lost his mind.

I grew.

And I also stopped being available to available men.

There are many other reasons why.

I needn’t list them to underscore how the things I did to protect myself came back to haunt me later.

Oh siren song of unavailable men.

It’s been one year today, one year since I saw you last, my love.

My former lover.

And things.

Well.

They are a changing.

New therapist.

New year.

New PhD.

New dating attitudes.

New healing.

I’ve had three dates with three separate men this past week.

I have a second date with one of them tomorrow.

I don’t know where any of it’s going to go, but I do know, that I am moving on.

So when I hear this album, it’s still playing, but we’re almost to the end.

It’s only 45 minutes long.

I can still be that beautiful barefoot girl with the long hair in the long skirt dancing on the warm wood floor, my hips swaying, my arms in the air, ecstacy.

I’m 28 years older.

28 years wiser.

I have been to hell and back.

I have put myself there.

I have rescued myself.

I have had so much help.

I will never repay it no matter how much service I do.

I feel like I am breathing again.

And the grief that once choked me has finally lessened it’s grip.

Maybe it was the warm green eyes of the man on the date last night who said, “I would follow you to Wisconsin,” maybe it’s just God, maybe it’s the music.

Maybe it’s love.

The love I have chosen for myself and the realization that I can hold space for that beautiful girl because I finally belive.

Really believe.

That I am a beautiful woman.

Worthy of love.

And.

Worthy of an available man.

Jody Sings

Lucky one
I am too
Lucky three
The one for me
One, two, three

I’m on my knees
Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by
Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by yeah

Lucky one
I am too, yes I am
Lucky three
The one for me
One, two, three
I’m on my knees
Yeah, yeah, yeah
On my knees
On my knees
On my knees
On my knees

Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by
Jody sings
I get high
When she rings
Clouds roll by
Yeah

When Jody Sings, Masters of Reality, 1992

Impromptu Dance Party

May 14, 2016

My date cancelled.

And then.

I got my period.

It’s a Friday night.

And.

I’m at home.

AND I DON’T GIVE ONE FINE FUCK!

I finished my Clinical Relationship paper.

It’s done!

Done!

Done!

Oh sweet Jesus, the relief.

Excuse me, I just had another impromptu dance party in my chair.

Happy, happy.

Joy, joy.

11 full pages.

APA format.

References, title page, all the things.

Proper like.

3,744 words.

Thank you.

Thank you very fucking much.

Lucky one.

I am two.

Lucky three, the one for me.

One, two, three I’m on my knees.

Oh my god.

I’m in tears.

This music.

I get high.

I was listening to Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Surfer Bus, twenty years ago.

Twenty.

In that house on Franklin Street in Madison, my roommates were my boyfriend Justin–he and I shared the big back room–we had a couple of Bengal leopard cats and a tabby (Mia, Tiger, and Porkchop)–and a king size water bed (giggle), Matt, Justin’s best friend, and Naboja–the heroin junkie from Serbia.

God we were wild.

Pot growing in the closets, cats running ruckus throughout the house, Matt’s girlfriend and I were arch nemesis (why?  I have no idea, but something to do with drinking the last of my milk and leaving the empty container in the fridge), Justin playing chess and smoking bongs, Naboja running in and out of the house with nefarious friends and black tar (God I was naive).

Justin cheated on me twice in that house.

And I stayed for five years.

(five years of no writing, no poetry, no words, no journal entries, note to self you die when you aren’t writing)

Oof.

The things I put myself through not knowing there was a way out.

However.

It was not all bad, there was sweetness and light and just as I introduced him to classical music and Blues and jazz (he became a total jazz junkie) he introduced me to Soul Coughing and Jeff Buckley, we saw them both in concert together–Buckley touring for Grace at the Barrymore and Soul Coughing on tour for Ruby Vroom at the Eagles Ballroom.

He made me listen to Sleater Kinney–saw them too, at the Union South of all places on campus, tiny little space and they slayed it, fucking killed it dead on the floor revived the bitch, then killed it again.

We saw Annie DiFranco at the Civic Center.

I think Justin was the only man in the audience who was straight.

Although his hair was so long from behind he could have been a girl.

We saw Primus, fucking loved Les Claypool so hard; he turned me on to Sepultura, although I had to be in the mood, once in a while, well, I was.

We saw Beck, Morphine, Cake.

So much good music.

He found a stained glass artist at the Farmer’s Market one sunny Saturday morning, I had closed the Essen Haus the night before, a crazy German restaurant and brew hall I worked notoriously long hours for, and he’d bought a pair of earrings from her.

They were long, almost a tear drop shape, navy blue, with small striations of sky blue and robins egg blue and white at the tips.  I eventually found that artisan again and asked her to make me sets of those earrings.

I don’t have any of them anymore.

Maybe I should look her up again.

They were gorgeous in their simplicity and when I wore my hair up and the sun hit them.

Magic.

That was what there were to me that day.

Magic.

Sex and love and passion and music and youth and beauty.

God.

I was so beautiful

(and fat and ugly and ugly and fat and you better do something about that or you’re going to grow up and be alone forever)

I had no idea.

I woke up tangled in the sheets on the water bed, Porkchop meowing at me, rolled out of bed and took a shower, I smelled like beer and cigarettes and rinder rouladen gravy and weinerschnitzle and schnapps and dirty dirndl.

Justin was not there.

There was no note, it was late, afternoon already, past noon, past one, heading into the golden bright light bouncing off James Madison park and the lake and I supposed that Justin was out throwing a frisbee at the park with the guys.

I showered and enjoyed having the apartment to myself.

I put on my favorite A-line skirt and a leotard, navy blue, and dried my hair into its big mass of curls.

I went into our bedroom and turned on Masters of Reality and began dancing, barefoot, to When Jody Sings (how interesting! I just realized my professor’s name for the Clinical Relationship is “Jyoti” is it odd?  Is it God? Is it counter transference?  Read my paper and find out), the skirt a soft, small print, I mean tiny, it was such a tiny print you almost couldn’t tell it was a print, of navy, red, and green plaid (it had been a house dress of my mom’s that never quite fit me in the bodice, so I ripped off the top and reconstructed it as a skirt) flaring out around my calves.

I love a skirt that flares when I spin.

I danced in the sunlight streaming through the windows, singing the song and delighting in my own self.

Justin was standing in the door way.

Smitten.

The look on his face.

I won’t soon forget.

I can still see it twenty years ago like it was this morning.

“Did you find your gift?” He asked me, smiling, his head tilted, bright eyed (high, oh so high) and lit up.

I paused in my dance, flustered, but pleased that he’d seen me in a moment (a rare one at the time) when I felt truly myself, truly beautiful.

Oh do I ache for her.

(yes, I know, I’m emotional, I got my period, roll with it please)

He walked across the wood floor, that odd way he walked sometimes, high, on the balls of his feet like he was cantilevered forward always rushing off into the future where things were brighter, higher, more rare and real, and he took my hand and led me to the window.

“These,” he said pointing at the earrings.

I had not seen them.

Hanging from the window screen, blazing in the sunlight like the ocean at sunset tonight when I rode my scooter home, thank you God for letting me live in San Francisco and see the fire of the setting sun on the water, thank you, dancing alive and dappled with shade from the oak trees rustling in the breeze.

“Oh,” I said, softly startled, inordinately pleased.

“They are so beautiful,” I took them off the screen and put them in my ears.

“So are you,” he said and kissed me.

The afternoon melted into evening and I wore them that night to work, they matched my dirndl.

And oh.

How far this woman has come.

So very far, across the country, through valleys and peaks and the lowest lows.

My voice broke tonight.

Sitting in the front row, the low lights hiding my face, the sudden tears, but nothing could hide the break in my voice as I described how grateful I was to be there.

Sitting there in that chair there, still not done with my paper (had to do the references when I got home tonight), but almost, the writing was done all 3,744 words, and though I was tired, up at 7:30 a.m. to do the work before I went to work, I was so profoundly grateful.

Who knew I was going to be this woman?

When I scootered off after school on Saturday night I snuck through Minna Alley.

It’s a one way.

There were needles and shit and homeless people and tents and crates and a woman smoking crack out of a pipe, the scent sweet, rotten, rotting, aching with the need to fill that hole that just cannot get whole.

“I was that woman, twelve years ago, sitting on a piece of cardboard smoking from a crack pipe, and now, now, here I am riding my scooter, that I paid for in cash, brand new, riding home from the graduate school that I go to around the corner,” I paused, my heart broke open.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the fucking world.

And my paper’s done.

And my heart.

Well, once again, it is on my sleeve.

Exactly as it should be.

My love.

Exactly where it belongs.

Just there.

Love.

Just there.

 

 


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