My Red Bench

This morning I brought my coffee and my journal to the porch and sat on my bench. I love my bench. Not long after we moved in to our house I saw that the neighbors two doors down from us had a bench and I wanted one too. Their bench was honeydew green and had two white canvas accent pillows. It sat on the front porch under, what I assume to be, their kitchen window.

My Red Bench

My Red Bench

I wouldn’t call our neighborhood modern. In fact, except for the trees and a few over-the-top remodels, if you were to drive down our street, you might think it was 1956.  Most of the homes on our block have grass and maybe a brick pathway that leads from the curb or the driveway to the front steps.

The house with the honeydew green bench had curb appeal. One of the two women that lived there was rumored to be a landscape architect. She designed her front yard in sections with rock borders and exotic plants and a winding slate path that led you to the front of the house. When Bill and I first moved in, we’d walk over and take pictures of their plants so we could buy them and plant them in front of our house.

“I want a bench,” I said to Bill. We were standing in front of their house. I snapped a picture of their bench.

“I don’t know why they have that bench.”  Bill said. “I’ve never even seen them sit on it.”

“You don’t know.” I said and turned to Bill. “They might sit on it when we’re not looking.”

“We don’t need a bench.” Bill said. He was standing with his arms crossed staring at the house.

“It’s curb appeal.” I said. “I want a bench.”

Bill turned toward me. “You probably won’t ever sit on it.” He said.

“I’m buying a bench.” I said. Bill rolled his eyes. He turned and headed back to our house. I followed.

He stopped at the foot of our driveway and crossed his arms. I caught up and we stood there for a few moments looking at our home.

“I’ll go on line to that garden store, Smith & Hawken.” I said. “I bet that’s where they got their bench.”

“Don’t.” He said. “I’ll build you a bench.” I reached up on my tiptoes, kissed his cheek, and walked up the driveway to the house.

Bill built me a sturdy pine bench. I helped him paint it. We chose candy apple red. She sits at the end of our porch under the kitchen window. I bought two black pillows with white piping and lean into them as I write and sip coffee in the mornings. In the summer, our neighbors Susie and Jerry join us for cocktails or beers. Bill and Jerry stand in the driveway and talk about boy things like boats and the weather and motorcycles while Susie and I sit and page through the latest Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn catalogue. Bill and I sit on our bench and watch the rain. On warm nights, sit and we’ll look at the stars and talk. I love my red bench.

The two women have since moved and a couple bought the house. He’s tall and she has platinum blonde hair. I rarely see them. The lawn is dying and the plants look tired and thirsty.  The porch is empty.

The View From My Bench

The View From My Bench

We’ve gone drought resistant. Our gardener planted lots of colorful dwarf trees and shrubs like Dwarf Day Lillies, California Redbuds, Dusty Millers, Evergreen Current and Fairy Lilacs.  What once was our lawn is now river of grey sand and rock with blue grass accents that runs through pea gravel the color of the beach on a rainy day. When Bill gets home from work, we’ll sit on our red bench and watch the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds drift from flower to flower.

This morning I brought my coffee, my journal and one of my black pillows with white piping outside. I sat on my red bench. The air was thick. The clouds hung low and heavy in the pink and blue sky. A woman walked by with her dog and waved. I waved back.  A man jogged pass on the other side of the street. A white Toyota slowed down in front of our house and stopped. I noticed the driver lean toward the passenger side window and aim her phone at our front yard. I think she was taking a picture.

A View From My Bench

The View From My Bench

Let’s Get Naked

Billboard at Washington & Hauser

An amazon blonde stretching her shirt in her hands, tugging, arms crossed pulling her shirt over her head. She’s frozen in time, staring down at me, as I wait at the red light at Washington Blvd.  Maybe she’ll toss it off, letting her top fly across the room so that it lands at her lover’s feet.   Maybe she’ll walk toward him, letting the shirt drag behind her on the floor.  Maybe she’ll get tangled in it as she pulls it over her head.  She’s staring at me from a billboard.  She’s teasing and taunting and wanting, smiling her big amazon smile.  She’s frozen up there. Taunting, “let’s get naked”.  She promises to freeze my fat and make me perfect so I can get naked.

The word NAKED is what grabs me.  Because I’m there, wanting to be naked, stripped down, listening to my hip circling erotic creature playlist.  I am on my way there, to the S Factor, where I’ll dress up to strip down.  Heels, thigh highs with little red bows with white polka dots, a black tutu, sheer tank that I’ll pull, tug, twist, and finally peel over my head revealing my black bra and my skin.  Naked.  Even before I arrive I’m stripping in the car, pulling thought after thought from my brain and tossing one by one out the window, littering traffic with to-do’s and to-don’ts.


Wanna Join me?
Pare down, let go, let loose
and circle in?
Wanna get undressed, be undone
and then leave the house?
Wanna be naked with me?

Come on…
it’ll be fun.

I’m peeling off layer after layer after layer
Slipping out of fabrics
Threaded together from
Days ago
Weeks ago
Months ago
Years ago.
I’m untangling myself
from the tattered and worn
patterns of my
habitual weave.

Its time to strip down
tell the truth
love myself
love my choices

I circle my arms around my back
I embrace me
with my off beat dance.
I embrace my words
sing song
sometimes only I can understand,
My blue grass, pink skies, green oceans
My paintings
My definitions.

I’m diving off road
cooking off recipe
living off book.

That amazon blonde, that air-brushed to perfection amazon blonde. That cooing at the drivers amazon blonde. That offering to freeze their fat, to become naked-ready amazon blonde.  She dares the world to get perfect and then get naked.  That amazon blonde has it upside down and backwards.

Get naked now, my voice whispers…

Shed my layers, shed my air-brushing, my striving for perfection, shed my trying to hard, my comparing myself to others, my pushing and pulling myself in and out doorways that have already been closed.

Watch me
as I slide a strap from my right shoulder,
as I peel a stocking down my leg, push it over my calf, past my ankle and let it float from my ruby painted toes to the floor.
Watch me
as I tug at the waist band of my panties with my left thumb.
Watch me as I unbutton, unhook, unzip, unleash.

Watch me saunter
wind, twist, swirl, writhe,  circle, curl, stretch, goddess my way into something much more simple.

Watch me…be naked.