© Ruth Lopez
Ranunculas, Rose, ranunculas. Specifically the Persian Buttercups—plump and tight like mini cabbages, doll-size peonies. As they begin to die, the petals become bladelike, and thin and dry like onionskin paper. Dems the flower on the DMV seal. (And what is the bird?) Onionskin paper. Rose, here comes a reverie. Falling on my head like a new emotion. Mother. Legal secretary. Summer days at the office when a babysitter could not be found. A great Victorian in Bayshore with a wide, wraparound porch. I would sit in the conference room—the former dining room with big wooden doors that slid into the walls—and write poems and songs. Who was that young lawyer? He always wanted to know what I was writing. One afternoon, he helped me up on the massive, long table as the partners entered the room and took their seats at one end. I performed my latest hit, a song called "Soda pop." They clapped. Politely. My mother saved my lyrics, typed on onion skin paper. I found it in her things after she died. Silly, silly. Believe me, they clapped out of politeness. Onionskin paper/when typewriters were queen/think I'll buy a ream. (The lyricist in me lives.) The bouquet of ranunculas are near death but I have a hard time tossing them. So I scan them. See above. Beautiful right? I choose the fattest, the ones that have retained most of their petals. Pollen dust falls onto the glass bed. The flowers have expelled their last breath; dancing their last waltz in a brightly lit but underheated ballroom.
Later in the day I attend a press conference at an Italian cultural institute. A jazz festival in Abruzzo is being promoted and I sit in the back waiting for the event to begin. The men file in—for they are all men up there—and their assistants, lovely women in heels stand in the back and the sides of the rooms, taking pictures, texting and flipping their hair. There is a video presentation to promote the wonders of the region, that are indeed wonderful. Candied almonds, olive groves, the sea. Earthquake survivors all. The VO is the only woman with a voicein that room—and it is lovely & seductive. The region offers, she intones, "miles and miles of psychopaths." That's bicycle paths. Rose, some things should not be shortened. That's as good as it is going to get in there, even with the promise of a wine tasting to come. I slip out. I had enough of the cliche-a-rama of the presentation, the lengthy circle jerk of intros; each dude signaling the next dude up as being even more important...without further adoo-doos, I bid adios.
Miss you mom.