A My Private Coney project Flash non-fiction, brief moments and old memories of a city and mother's emotional and physical real estate disappearing at the speed of heartbreak.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
My Mama Done Told Me
Florence is refusing to do much but lie in bed.
I say, "Fine. You don't want to get out of bed, then go lay down and die."
She yells, "Lie down! Lie down!"
I say, "You can't get out of bed, but you can still correct my grammar?"
She yells, "Yes! It matters!"
I yell, "THEN GET OUT OF BED!"
The Jonathan Schwartz show starts.
We settle in to listen.
I look at her butchered hair. That's because the week before I took the household scissors and chopped off big chunks of it. I did that because it was a huge halo of wildness, so thick and silver sparkling. Now it was a huge halo of wildness that got caught in a buzz saw.
Sinatra comes on. She sings along.
"My mama done told me... a woman is two faced... cry in the night..."
Knowing something of her dating history, I ask her if that's true.
She says, "I didn't make it up. That's what's written.
I start laughing. She asks why.
"You're singing with heart.”
Shrugs, "I'm just trying to get the words."
And then she - who broke many hearts of many old girls and garnered many angry love letters and hurtful looks across crowded dances put on by the local gay senior citizen group - she looks up and asks, "Is it true? A woman is two faced?"
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.