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planning

The other day Anna created a Pinterest board of wedding ideas (Cheesy, she knows). “It’s time to hop on the bandwagon,” she said. She insists every other girl she’s aware of - except her weird Yale roommates - has one.

We think her girls back home (in Oregon) - who didn’t go to college, are matching up with the Larrys and Gregs who stayed home to become auto mechanics and carpenters - and are now serially getting married. This trend seems to be exerting an odd, psychological pressure on Anna.

“You may be jumping the gun,” Sophie observes.

Anna’s never even had a long-term boyfriend before, but she wishes she had one now. A part time BF anyway, because who has time for more? Anna is self-proclaimed awkward with guys, especially cute ones.

She created a tinder account and uses it to see how many matches she can get - but she refuses to meet any guys there because she says she’s not “desperate.” She thinks everything about tinder screams awkward, unless people are just hooking up there - and that idea, in her mind, is absolutely disgusting.

saving the planet

Late last Friday night, a graduate friend of Peter’s threw a party at his house - far from campus. The house was packed with people and the music was thumping, the crowded rooms jumping - practically ******* - in time to a Sacramento horror punk band called “The cramps" that was playing on loop.

I made it through the living room mob to the kitchen, which was oddly empty and well lit. There was a disheveled girl gripping the island bar with one hand, like we’re on a rocking ship, while trying to light a cigarette with the other. I gently wangled the lighter from her - so she didn’t set her hair on fire - and gave her a light.

Afterwards, I slipped the lighter into her skirt pocket, and noticed half the island had coke spilled all over it. “I gave it a drink,” she said, slurring and wavering on her feet, “it looked thirsty.”

That’s when I noticed her now-empty *** and coke cup next to a soaking wet little cactus plant, two ice cubes now lodged in its dirt. I reassured her as I helped her onto a chair, “you were saving the planet.”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Wangle: “get (something) by trickery or persuasion.”
Anais Vionet Dec 2022
I’m at (my roommate) Lisa’s for the holidays and it was Christmas Eve afternoon. I was in Leeeza’s room (Lisa’s 13-year-old sister). One corner of the room is all pillows. A hundred pillows or more - Disney pillows like Mickey and Minnie but shrek pillows too and penguin pillows, minion pillows, mario brothers pillows and novelty pillows that look like bags of doritos, cheetos and ramen noodle soup - just about every toy pillow you can imagine.

Leeza was there on the pile with me, watching “La La Land,” my favorite movie. Leeza had never seen it and I hoped she’d love it as much as I do. In the end, she pronounced it a new favorite.

Later (still Christmas eve) Lisa, Karan (her mom) Leeza and I made our way to a lardy-dardy rooftop event space called “The Skylark,” where Michael (Lisa’s dad) was co-hosting a Christmas party. The rooftop is on the 30th floor and everything there is made of glass - even the staircases.

When Lisa told me about the party (at school), I brought out a few Anna Molinari bits I had stored under my bed (when I realized Yale wear wasn't very fashionable). I ended up wearing a black lace party dress, a black knit crop cardigan cover and white, satin bridal shoes. It seemed very on point as a "Wednesday" look. If you haven't watched the "Wednesday" series on Netflix - It's fun.

As we arrived the sun faded, as if timed, and natural light gradually gave way to the cityscape of artificial light. Once it became fully-dark, New York city glittered around us, as if the stars had dropped from the heavens to join the party.

A brass and piano ensemble played seasonal classics like Prokofiev’s Troika as we (Lisa, Leeza and I) explored the venue. Every surface seemed decorated with poinsettias, candles, and ornaments or ribbed by garlands of balsam, spruce and fir that smelled incredible.

There were (guessing) about 200 guests and servers wound their way through the crowd with trays of cocktails and champagne. These waiters were all good looking, as if picked from the sea of actors, in New York, just waiting for that big Broadway break. At one point, Leeza, with a mischievous holiday gleam in her eye, reached for a flûte à Champagne only to have the waitress twirl, at the last millisecond, like a dancer, leaving her grasping at air, disappointed.

Michael’s company had set up a tall, white and gold Christmas tree, in a corner of the terrace, under it were packages, for special clients, so beautifully, individually and uniquely decorated that you could believe they were wrapped by angels.

The papering was exquisite, handmade, thick as Liva and embossed, inlaid or pebbled with gold. They were topped with bows, brooches, angels, or snowflakes of silver, rose-brass, batic silk and even crocodile.

No doubt the wrappings were as valuable as the gifts inside and though those presents enchanted, teased and cajoled us all, they were reserved for people on the very, very nice list (a cop stood discreetly by). We were briefly transfixed by the spectacle, but the spell was broken when Leeza said, “I’m hungry.”

Cocktail parties are for adults, so after we ate, Karen stayed with Michael and the teenagers were sent home. We didn’t mind, after all, none of those presents were for us - our day would be Christmas!

Happy holidays!
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Cajoled: "to deceive with false promise."

Lardy-dardy = swank and elegant
Anais Vionet Aug 2022
The ***, I thought. Pirates drink ***, I decided, because then the world rocks like a boat. My foot was tingling, like it was asleep, but I was just sitting on it, which seemed funny.

I managed to free my foot and the whole world seemed more comfortable.
Then a spider was on my face!
I swatted at it, but it was just my hair, which I managed, with dizzying effort, to tuck behind my ear.

Everett, slid off the couch, in front of me, like an alligator off a sand bank. I hadn’t noticed him before. He worked his way over next to me, on all fours, like a lazy, wobbly panther.

“Everett,” I said, as if to establish the fact that that blurry shape was indeed Everett.
“ANN-Ais,” he replied, and chuckled like we’d exchanged punchlines. He was next to me now.
“You’re very,” he said, as if struggling for the next word, “PRetty,” he said, petting my arm like a cat.

Then, still on all fours, he lifted one hand and touched a finger to my right breast, as if it were a sleeping thing he was trying to wake. I watched him, detachedly. He looked distorted, like a reflection in a funhouse mirror. His backside slumped down, like a lion that was full and ready to nap, and he rebalanced himself on his left elbow and licking his lips reached over again.

I gently, preemptively, pushed his reaching hand away, “Stop thAT,” I said, “yourrrrrr drrUNK.”
“YOU’RE, are TOO!” He said, in sloppy accusation, which made me laugh and then him too.

“Leave me alone,” I managed to say, pretty clearly. Prompting Everett to frown and give me a jerky, dismissive wave as he, the proud panther, began to look for other prey.

I looked around and saw my purse, on the table next to the chair that was holding me up. The strap was just within reach so I yanked on it and my purse thumped roughly onto the carpet next to me. My glass, which was next to it, threatened to tip over but settled itself upright.

I fished out my phone, while fighting a curtain of my hair that had decided to attack me when I reached for my purse. “Hey, Siri,” I slurred, “callllll CHarles.”
It rang once. “Yep,” he said.
“Come get me pleaZ,” I said, trying to get my hair and tongue separated.

Two minutes later Charles was there. He held out his hand, which I managed to take while somehow shouldering my purse. He pulled me to an unsteady stance, shook his head and scooped me, effortlessly, into a cradle carry. “Do you have everything?” He asked.

I nodded and said, “Thank you for inviting me, EVVVV!” While waving wildly as we left.
Once outside, he said, “14-year old's do NOT drink!” With a real edge in his voice.
“I’m sorry,” I said, in a tone of tired melancholia. I couldn’t help resting my face on his warm chest as he carried me to our house just next door to Everett’s.
“You’re GROUNDED for a MONTH.” He said in a growl.
Somehow, I managed to make it upstairs and into bed without encountering my parents.

In the morning, while I was busy feeling like death, Charles told my parents, “She’s grounded for a month.” I was. They didn’t ask why, and he didn’t offer to say.

I love Charles.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Melancholia: a sad tone or quality.
calypso Feb 2022
from my new york window,
i can see tall structures,
see snowfall upon green rust,
tiny ants move busily on jobs,
with their lives, missing rides,
all of this from a glass wall.

from my new york window,
i can find peace.
if it means staring at life moving,
playing a one-person game

is new york always this quiet at night,
the stars not shining as bright?
does their light not burn through dark stone?
or bring out the best in all?
new york, new york
where are you?
where are your wonderful parties?
where have you been?

from my new york window,
i can tell its faint outside
where are your constellations?
they used to move around your city
i miss when they were nebulas
just starting to explore the world
i was never like a ball of fire
so eager to be thriving
so ready to leave being an atom,
joining molecules, being compounds

new york, do you miss me?
do you remember our memories?
of us in the snow, looking above, making angels,
talking about how life would never be enough?
new york, don't you remember,
you and i being friends, singing together?
new york, you don't remember me
because i was never there,
i have never been to your magnificent city.
you are for all the big lights, the huge suns
i was never made to be a fireball,
never so much one to live a free life
new york, don't miss me
I'm not worthy of being so precious like your sky.
i never was, i never will.
new york, my best wishes to you,
don't forget me,
when you don't know me well.
in the third stanza, im talking about new york during the pandemic.
Anais Vionet Feb 2022
Debilitating laughter
at the hands of a master
a ***** minded *******
who knows what he’s after

The ever subtle asker
he caresses and flatters
his clever patter shatters
cares that should matter.

Finally, we moved to extract her
the wobbling girl from Nebraska
from a drunken fraternal disaster
and the junior poised to shaft her

Uhh, sorry to interrupt
Anna, pick her up her stuff
We gotta go home ***, get up
Hey bud, touch ME and you’re ******.

***, you’ve had too much ***
when tomorrow comes
if you still want to slum
you can still bed the ***

We’re waiting for an Uber
Are you starting to sober?
No babe, you didn’t *****-up
Ughh, yep, she threw up.
Anais Vionet Sep 2021
Your life’s but a shadow
he’s a king of the earth
he’s secure in his place
he knows his own worth.

He‘s lacking all burdens
his smile merits bliss
by the King be commanded
you’re deemed worthy young miss.

The lady‘s so lucky,
as a rose meant for plucking,
this brawling, rough rogue,
- this heir to earths throne,
deems her worth the f—king.

I chuckle demurely,
“Be away drunken sir
- leave me to my studies
- go chase other skirts
with your fraternity buddies.”
boy, the weekend festivities seem to start Thursday afternoons on fraternity row.
Remember
Back in the day
When those parties
In Venice
That say would have 25 people or so
Walking through?

Now they were
Too big
Over-packed with
50-200?
With frat boy vibes?

Dana Rick and I
Arrived at one
And I thought a
At the sliding glass door
Oh God
And quickly escaped to the kitchen
Cutting through the living room
Where there was the make shift bar
Nothing much in the
Fridge

Anyway
I made my drinks
And turned around
To cross back
And somehow Dana was there
In front of me

She raised her hands
And wiggled through the bodies

While I
Said
NO
I will dance
When I feel like it
I choose

So I began to follow
And every elbow knees hip and arm
Reached out to touch me
Knocking all the contents out of
my little plastic cups

And though
I got to the other side
Contemplatively
Looking back
Empty

The three of us
Went to stand on the side of the house
Safe
By the water meter
And I laid down my cups
Laughing

So the moral of this story
Although I think it’s obvious
Is to
Go
With
The
Flow
Venice parties
You know those
200 in a space made for 50?
A monster that
You had to
Protect yourself from?

Three of us
In the living room and I got
To the Kitchen. For safety.

Serving adequate, and me
on my way back
Drinks in each hand
Bodies through Dana leading
Her arms above her head
bouncing she won’t spill a drop
The other hands follow
again, me with
stubborn arms
refusing
thus liquid contents emptied and
Sticky
the floor underfoot
Splashed

Outside
The water meter stood laughing
told us about the flow and to go with it
Bri Stokes Nov 2020
I never read your letter.
I can’t bring myself
to confront the sting of
budding,
simmering
Regret.
I can’t bear to
part the veil which shields
my failures from my
body,
from my lips
and legs
to listless
hours
spent
avoiding variables;
violent
vestiges
I ignore to keep
my weary eyes
above water.
See, reality wrinkles
its nose at the fantasies my insanity
can concoct
when I’ve yet to find a reason
to chase you away.
When the tethers of my grip
have yet to give way to anxiety, leaving me to wonder
if I feel too happy,
look too good,
want far more than what
my karma will allow.
I never read your letter, as I’ve been
consumed with playing
dress-up, draped in finery and fixtures
fit to outshine all the glow of
unshed tears
under pulsing
neon
light.
I'll coax it open it yesterday, but never tonight.
Anais Vionet Nov 2020
Some old movie plots
can't happen now, with changes
in technology...

You know, in a movie
when someone texts everyone
at school by mistake?

Who has EVERYONE
at school on their contacts list?
No way that happens.

Parent-less parties
where scores show up - with modern
surveillance systems?

or ditching class, heck
my parents are texted my
quiz scores real-time.

"why'd you get an 88
on that Calculus test, I
thought you studied?" Argh!
I'm all for technology but why EVERYWHERE?
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