Holy laughter was the theme for Saturday. First David came into my room with a great story about how he'd gone to check out a local bar the night before, thinking he'd like to find a neighborhood watering hole where he could just hang out and make friends...like on Cheers.
This place he found looked to be a good bet, it was close to our house, and there were attractive women there...in fact, there were a lot of women there. Well, nothing wrong with that. Some of them were really attractive, he reported, while some others were...kind of butch. Actually, on second glance, there were only women in this place--except for David himself, who still didn't get it.
He paid his $10.00 cover charge--the place was called Velvet--Nice name, he thought. As he sat at the bar, drinking a Guiness, and as the place continued to fill up with women, pretty ones and butch ones, it finally hit him. At this point, he tried to leave, but the people at the door were friendly and encouraged him to stay. Back at the bar, another beer appeared in front of him. A cute African American woman had bought it for him. "You look as uncomfortable as I feel," she said.
He ended up hanging out with her that night, dancing with her, and they are becoming friends. I love the Bay Area.
Then G and I finally had our long-awaited basketball game. I'd been trash-talking for months about how great I am at b-ball, how I was going to bury his ass, etc. He went out and bought a ball at Target for $16.00 and we took it to the courts near my house and...I sucked. I mean really sucked bad. I knew I wasn't as good of a player as my bragging but I was even worse than I remembered. Couldn't get the ball through the damn basket even when I was standing under the thing.
It was a tiny little court with kids playing. One of them, a boy named Shaquille, just joined our game without even asking. Just walked in, grabbed the ball, and started shooting. G and I looked at each other and shrugged. He was a cute boy, good with the ball, and took to G like a tic on a dog. We changed up from "Horse" which I was losing at to "21" which I lost at even quicker. I went to Defence, my specialty (read: foul), but mostly I enjoyed watching the boys play.
G's got the moves, he can jump, fake, twist, all that great stuff. Shaquille wasn't bad either, for his age, but he'd have to stop every once in a while because of his asthma. "Dang," he said, "You folks is wearing me out and I'm younger than you." When G got a bunch of 3-pointers in a row, he told him, "I'm getting tired of you." But he loved dogging G, loved snatching his rebounds, and coming up against the solid wall of the older man's body.
I thought he was 14--he's a tall kid, almost as tall as me--but he told us he was 12. What was most beautiful was his laughter. It was still the laugh of a child, like a clear waterfall, just bubbling out of him. He laughed every time I guarded him, partly because it was so funny to have a white lady in his face windmilling her arms (I admit, my technique could use some work) and partly just for the joy of it. His laughter was infectious.
All the while we played, Shaquille's younger sister--she must have been about 5 or 6 was riding her bicycle right in the middle of the courts. She'd scream "Excuse me!" or she'd just scream, demonically, and go charging right through the middle of the action on her pretty pink bike.
Then, later, C and I went with some Wing It! folks to see Beauty and the Beast at the Alameda High School. Everything made us laugh; the fog machine, the dancing knives, forks, spoons, and plates; the villain's untimely demise over a strategically placed set piece.
And then later that night the laughter continued...holy laughter.
Lest anyone think it's all beer and skittles out here in Poetryland, I also have to report that this morning I found out that my ms. See How We Almost Fly was AGAIN not chosen by CSU Poetry press for publication. Aaarrggghhh!!! This is heartbbreaking!! I have been trying to publish that book for five or six years, half the poems in it have been accepted for publication in magazines and such, some of them have won prizes, and I still can't get anyone to take the book. If it weren't for that damn break-in which set me back 6 months, I think I'd have it accepted by now.
Oh, and once again I did not get accepted into the Stanford program, which I was ambivalent about anyway, but 30,000.00 a year sounded like a nice ride.
And Tikkun called this a.m.--they love the essay about Barack Obama I sent them last week, but they don't pay any money! None. Not one penny. It's all for the glory. And I'm trying to raise several thousand dollars to go to Malawi this summer. Fuck!