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Orange Night

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Neesie's Poem

Ode to Orange
Once my mother's lipstick was almost
orange
but red was the actual color
of my wagon too
Yet the roses were kind of orange
and I thought about this alot:
Could the clouds be orange?
What about an eye?
And the weather wrapped itself
around me like the skin of an orange
and it was warm there
like lying in a lush warm sea
with orange fish
swimming about as if that was the only thing
and my small scoffed shoes
took on an orange hue
in the afternoon
I ran to the fence and climbed it
before night fell
and the street glowed from the
yellow lamplight
and I thought of an orange-eyed cloud



Ian's Poem

Ode to Orange

Oh oh the range, the danger
almost
Orange is an almost color
Almost yellow almost the sun
Almost red, close to the fire
But cooler, warmer too.
And then the odious of
Orange marches, banners
Almost as ferocious as the
opposite of the I.R.A., tho
O.R.A., the yellow and red
And Rusty the cat in orange
Fur, not at all ferocious, not
even almost. Mar…

Special Magic

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“You sound just like my twin sister!” Sandy jokes as I try to croak out a “I’m headed to the pool” farewell.
“Yeah, I have this cold,” I shake my head. “I need to swim it out.”
“I wasn’t gonna say that, but glad you did.”
I wave instead of more croaking, head out to the pool, which on the night before Thanksgiving at the Downtown Oakland Y I expect to be empty.
It’s not.
Damn.
Every lane is packed. Kids are screaming and hurling toys. The lifeguards are circling the deck, actually paying attention to the mayhem.

I choose a lane to split with a swimmer who seems to have the least amount of splashing. But then she gets out. I spy a Large Man at the wall. Damn, he’s getting in my lane. I hate sharing a lane with Large Men, esp. if there’s a Large Man on the other side of me too. I’m in a Large Man Splash Sandwich, being tossed back and forth between Man Tsunamis.
It’s hell. The 9 circle, of course.
I press on. Get through my swim portion of my workout, swallowing only 10 gallons of water,…

Liars!

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“Did anyone turn in a purple water bottle?” DL takes a chance. Asks the 12 year old at the front counter of the Downtown YMCA: Time: 9:59. 1 minute till closing.
No way is she going to get any action now, right?

Wrong!

12 year old girl (actually, she’s probably 25) makes a pretense of glancing around behind the counter, a look of intense bored concentration. “I don’t see anything.”
“I think I left it upstairs,” DL continues. “I was on the treadmill and the bikes.”
“I’ll go take a look,” 12 year old nods, trots out of our sight.
I glance over at DL, shrug. “I gotta set this stuff down,” I motion to my hugely laden gym bag.
“Sure,” DL and I walk over to the chairs by the front door. I plop my bag down next to Large and In Charge Lifeguard who’s plugged into something, staring into space.

I stare at him. Wanting to fuck with him. What can I say? Oh, yeah, my favorite, complain about the pool temperature.
He sees my stare, takes out his earplugs, “WHAT?” he looks at us, aghast at our ef…

That's What I Would do!

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“Oh…..sorry…sorry…so sorry!”

I had felt the short stabbing pain a moment before. A kick to my neck. My bad side of course. I’d been placidly kicking on my back, enjoying my warm-down, after the blissful swim at Joanna Banana’s Claremont Community pool.

And then, wham! The kick!

After her 'so sorries', I watch her hot pink cap disappear under the lane line in a watery blur as I rub my now aching neck. Apology made. On to the next disaster.

What the hell? I mean, why do people do that? I get that she was trying to climb out of the pool at the steps. That she had to dive under my lane to do this. But, c’mon. She had a ton of time to do this. Why pick the exact moment before I turn at the wall?

I tell Joanna this later, and she just cracks up. “I know! I hate it when people do that! I time my laps.
I swim a 50 in 50 seconds. That means that there are at least 40 seconds, 45 seconds even, to duck under my lane line when I’m not at the wall. And I tell myself, why do people not…

Pick your Poison

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“Pick your poison,” Smart Ass Lifeguard stares at the pool testing thingamajigs for a moment before dumping the liquid back into the pool.
Rolling my eyes, sighing loudly, glaring at him, I resume my complaint about the water being way too cold for me to workout. SAL had given me some convoluted explanation about the door having to be kept closed because of the fires up in Napa and so the pool had to be kept a colder temperature too as a result. So, I could either have the door open and warmer water and smoky air, OR I could have the door closed and colder water.

Hence the Pick your Poison cliché. Cold water or bad air. Which will it be?
Frankly, give me the warm water over anything any day! I don’t care if I have to breathe smoke or fight crowds or suffer screaming children: I DETEST COLD WATER! I cannot swim in it without hurting myself. My poor shoulder hurts first. And then the pain moves down my entire arm and then to my back till I’m just a frigid hunk of hellish pain.

Is this wh…

3 Scenes.....

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“Arrrggghhhh! Too hot!” DL hisses, pulling her big toe back out of the hot tub, grimacing.
“Yeah,” I agree, “it does feel really hot today. Even for me.”
Botticelli woman floats blissfully in my favorite corner, a beatific smile edging out, nods toward the temperature gauge, “They took the needle away.”

DL and I both nod. The needle that tells the temperature has been gone for weeks.
“So, you have to believe yourself,” Botticelli Woman advises. “Or not.”
We both laugh. “Do you believe yourself?” I ask DL.
She shakes her head, “Never.”

Everyone laughs as another woman enters, serene until she too feels the too hot water. “It’s HOT!” she exclaims.

“Yes, it is,” we all agree.
DL is perched on the side of the tub, her large brown eyes sparkling.
“Do you wanna go in the sauna?” I ask her.
She nods.
We do. I notice BW woman heave herself out. Her pale skin is bright red. Like a wrinkled overripe tomato at the end of its lifespan.
That hot tub really is too hot! But like Sandy said, la…

Pool toys, Pringles and Cockroaches

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“The water main went out at my Club the other day so I had to swim here,” Sandy sighed, spritzing herself with a healthy squirt from her Utopian Spray bottle to cool down.
“How’d that go?” I ask.
“It was fine. Until I hit something with my hand.”
“What do you mean?”
“At first I thought it was a kickboard, or the lane line, but then when I stopped to assess, I saw it was a toy.”
I laugh. “Yeah, they like toys in the pool at the downtown Oakland Y.”
“Which is fine, but not in my lane. I had half a mind to pick it up and fire it over at the lifeguard.”
“Like he would have even noticed.”
“Exactly,” Sandy shook her head, leaned back into the hot wall. DL was below. I could see the belly laugh in its silent giggle.

“I noticed tonight that the swimmer next to me, in the lane next to the family chaos section, was just swimming through the toys," I start in. "At one point a pretty pink ball was blocking his way and he just plowed right through it, not missing a stroke. I was very i…