Anasyrma

Penning my memoir Spurts of Ink has been an eye-opening experience for me, truly among the most expansive things I've ever undertaken. I've not only played the role of Morey Bernstein, but uncovered my own Bridey Murphy. In quite a few instances, merely writing on a particular topic has recalled things to mind thought left far behind in the mist.

For example, when starting the chapter entitled Tiny, I reckoned I only knew the big picture and wondered if I could really accurately relate that tale of something from so long ago, but as the typing began in earnest, more and more detail, long forgotten over these past forty years, came back vividly: the sounds of underground rock in full detail, the muggy Iowa evening and perspiration, skin and teenage arousal, nubile Iowa farm-girls, and yes, the repellent odor of fermented gallons soaking through the dingy shag carpeting. And I still bear the scar from the gash on my nose to prove it all really happened.

Similarly, Throw Away Your Glasses instantly popped to mind after some four decades, with concomitant remembrances of a new-found quirky free-spirit friend, as recorded in The Unitarian Center. For whatever reason, writing these pieces has truly unlocked memory in a startling manner. I see every jot and tittle now as strongly as though it was happening all over again.

I wonder, does writing do this to everyone? If so, why didn't anyone ever tell me of the side-effects sooner?

Anyway, today a couple things occurred to me. First, I have been so stinking lucky to have known, to have loved and to have learned from the most outré bunch of Aquarians living on the fringe imaginable. That I met them in the so-called "formative years" is where the luck comes in.

And then, I've also been pondering what an incredible language we have. I don't wish to sound like an English-chauvinist, but most days, especially today, I just shake my head in wonder at what our mother tongue has become. I'm not referring to slang or the weakening of recent years (speakers trying to sound profound without committing themselves), but rather of old gems unearthed, words long forgotten but so potent, worth reinventing. Speaking a language which draws upon Latin, Greek, German, French and Middle English has certain advantages when wishing to provide details which make all the difference.

You'll recall my writing of Kay, the wildcat, the first woman I ever took up with in a steady sort of fashion. However, if the name is new to you, then by all means look her up in 249 Norton Street, even if merely panting for some salacious reading. She really was crazed, don't you know, which is why I loved her so much, and at such an early age. A great guru for this chela, me.

So, the year is about 1975, and Kay is now living downtown with a gang of riotous and deviant friends (as seen through Baptist eyes, at any rate--to me, they simply were whatever they were.) One night this group, almost always destitute, subsisting on Food Stamps, fell into a small sum and decided to have a night on the town to celebrate being alive. They dolled themselves up big time, the men folk in formal white tie and tails, the ladies in elegant gowns and heels. Hell, for that matter the men were probably in heels, too. For Kay's partners were of that different persuasion not overly welcome in Oklahoma, very flamboyant, theater aficionados who could emote. For all I know they pulled some strings to get fancy posh frocks and duds from a stage wardrobe somewhere.

Kay looked especially nice in her purple satin (or knowing her, was it Satan?) ballroom dress, low-cut, exposed back, showing off her exceedingly silky shoulders. She really was a dreamboat, with an allure not unlike Greta Garbo. Anyway, she and the remaining four fashion-plates were ready for a formal night at the Colony Club.

Without wishing to cater to prurient interests unduly, I need to mention that Kay never wore undergarments as long as I knew her. And this night was no different. That'll be important in just a moment.

After an evening of laughing, dancing, clinking glasses of champagne and whatnot, they finally arose to wind their tiddly way home to that madhouse on Fifth Street.

Apparently they had put on a pretty good show at the Colony Club, as well I can imagine, and some of the patrons of the hoity-toity set were a bit miffed at the revelry. Keep in mind that our town is hardly situated on the Riviera, but back in those days we had quite a royalty who tried to pretend it was such: our Princess Grace was the wife of the head of the local dairy, our Count Von Kramm ran a filling station, our Duke of Windsor was a certified public accountant, our Duchess of Windermere married a bigwig at Carlson Craft. Aristocrats all, or so they thought. Actually, the entire lot were straight out of Lewis' Babbitt. Did you know that the word supercilious comes from Latin roots meaning to look down the eyelids, and presumably the nose thereafter?

These southern Minnesota aristocrats, after gathering their wraps from the coat-check girl (yes, they really had them in those days),  met up with Kay and her colleagues in the parking lot. At which point, the huffy Princess Grace, throwing eye-daggers disdainfully at Kay bedecked in her glorious satin gown which exposed the daintiest alabaster shoulders, rolled her eyes in an accentuated manner, brows arched upwards, and pompously muttered in an exaggerated stage whisper to her emasculated escort

"She doesn't even know how to wear a dress."

To that, under the full glare of the unsparing mercury lights in the parking lot, Kay responded:

"Oh, I don't, eh? Then how about this?"

A which point, Kay hoisted her frock from ankle level, completely up over her head, as though raising pleated window drapery, exposing creamy thighs with what's in between, up higher to a bare midriff, higher still to a sternum framed by jiggling. The whole shebang offered to dropped jaws.

Hence the title of today's entry.

Next vignette: Weight

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