I am now old enough to understand the moon.
We are the same type of creature, our own subtle
gravity guilelessly manipulative. We reflect the
Father’s light back upon creation so we may remain
obscured and at least halfway in comfortable, classic
black. Women slide so easily into the supporting
role, sit on the black-and-white-checked
linoleum kitchen floor with their husbands
taking shots of Scotch whiskey. One girl and two boys
sleep through midnight. She pretends to forget he fucked
a waitress in a pub bathroom because he was drunk and
wanted to feel young again and she really was the love of
his life and don’t cry and don’t leave him. Please.
She eventually did.
I am eclipsed at least daily by sensitivities that only a
rare few find valuable. A shadow of some heavenly
body slips through the floorboard cracks, through my
feet soles, through my marrow and hemoglobin, settling
finally at the base of my pelvis, and I am possessed by an
ancient entity known to the Spaniards and gypsies as the
Duende. My possession unites me with so many other
porcelain filament professors who are crushed and
blown over by wealthy uncles who tell them that they are
not normal and should see his very good friend who
happens to be the most respected psychiatrist in San Francisco.
I quote him the passage from the bible about the adulteress and
casting stones. My uncle and I eat our vegetarian meal in silence.
We look out at the gull-coated Bay to avoid eye contact. The
Lotus Esprit ride home up the Pacific Heights hills is
awkward, but Greens remains my favorite restaurant in San
Francisco and my oddities are my most valuable
possessions – completely un-indexed, free from stock
exchange schizophrenia and all that anxiety.
We both turn half of ourselves toward humanity and the
other toward heaven. Of course, we croon, of course he fathered
another daughter and another son so he could have a fresh start.
It is easy to erase us when we are half shadow. Of course, we sigh,
he spent $500 on a prostitute instead of a plane ticket to Los Angeles.
He didn’t want to, but he would have looked like a pussy in front of
his friends, and why did we insist on being so naïve? Our answer: we
see better by moonlight. Our pupils are too damn dilated for our
own good. We hang up without saying goodbye and still feel
nauseous when we run into him at a party.
I am a native Californian – born in Hollywood of all places. Writing is one of my great loves, and I have written and published many pieces over the course of my life – mostly academic. Here is proof that I am addicted to education: I have my B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA; studied Spanish language, culture, and history a la Universidad de Granada; studied finance at Emory University, and have my M.S. in Human Factors and Systems Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. You can read more about my engineering and design work at www.ashleykarr.com. You can also read more about my children’s books at www.lollylulu.com and peruse my blog at XOAsh.com.
Here are a few other tidbits about me. I graduated high school early and moved to Manhattan to model. I was with Wilhelmina NY and LA. I have taught statistics at the university level and Yoga and Pilates since my late teens. My favorite drink is Paris Tea by Harney and Sons. I am claustrophobic and have a very hard time spending extended periods of time indoors, especially when I cannot even open a window. I hate advice.
Editor’s Note: Ashley attended and read one of her original poems at the Whisky & Poetry Salon organized in part by Hometown Pasadena contributor Kim Ohanneson. Ashley’s parents grew up in Pasadena and she works here periodically in her professional capacity.