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Nabi Sep 2023
i never knew i could write a love poem
until you walked by my side,
past 2 am
keeping an eye out
for drunken goons
while you maintained
your distance

and, perhaps,
you holding back
the urge to share another story
With a silly smile
at a corner store
just adds to why
i thought i could write this one

Because, you see,
I have been used to writing lines
along the streams of tears
And had known no voice
other than shame and fear
Until you held my hand
lightly that night

It was as if i could write a love poem
in a breeze
Penned with every letter of your name
As you walked by my side,
past 3 am
Slowly hoping for you
to close the distance.
i was sure i could no longer write a love poem, until we had that night
Anais Vionet Jul 2023
I’ve got it - woot!  Well, we’ve (Lisa and I) have it. The Covid.
After living carefully serpentine lives - for the last half decade - we both have it.

Lisa started feeling ***** Friday night, after work. Saturday she had some sniffles and we both took Covid tests, coming up positive. By Saturday evening, Lisa was laid-low and looked a flu-like death warmed over. I am asymptomatic, not a cough or a sneeze, although I do feel some fatigue and an occasional little dizziness.

“I hate you,” she said, in a moment of clarity and focus. I think it’s a temporary, fever-driven hatred - but time will tell.

Charles, our escort and consigliere, who goes everywhere we go, didn’t catch it. He’s become our designated shopper. When I asked Lisa if she wanted anything she said, “Orange juice and mango gelato.” Twenty minutes later, Charles handed me (masked and gloved through a door crack) two bags - one contained a large, extra-pulp orange juice, the other had a $70 selection of various ice creams, gelatos and ice cream sandwiches (the receipt was still in the bag.)

Saturday night, I texted my mom, who’s spending yet another summer overseas with “Doctors Without Borders.” She Face Timed me not two minutes later, from somewhere in Poland, or Ukraine - 4,170 miles away - and after checking I was ok - delivered what I think of as “family infectious disease lecture #17, full of “If you’re going to be a doctors” and “You know betters.” I love technology.

My sister Annick, a doctor herself, was knocking at our (her) door twenty minutes later. She gave us both mini-physicals and left a list of things to periodically check (like blood-oxygen levels) as well as two boxes of Paxlovid, “Do NOT take this unless or until I tell you to.”
We all have Apple watches and are now walkie-talkie connected for even more instant communication.

Rebecca, my fellowship surgeon, was, of course, very sympathetic and supportive when I told her but displayed a careful, verbal, clinical distance - addressing me as “Mz Vionet” once - instead of her usual “Anais” or the even more usual “excuse me.”

I’ve been promoted to nurse, cook and bottle washer - but the ice cream, topped with a little Bailey’s Irish liqueur, is spectacular.

Anyway, here we are. We’ve finally joined the Covid parade. I guess Covid isn’t over after all.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Consigliere: a trusted adviser or counselor.
Anais Vionet Jun 2023
Canada is afire and I’m confused, shouldn’t the snow put that out?

The Boston sky is an interesting shade of mustard yellow,
and there’s a pale orange haze where the sun should be.

Lisa, drowsily asleep-walked into the kitchen for her morning coffee.
“So this is Mars,” I observed, “Elon Musk will be so jealous.”
“Good,” Lisa said, “I was afraid it was nuclear winter.”
“There’ll be no breathing today.” I updogged.

We could almost hear the slow, delicate pitter-patter fall of micro-ash.

“There’s aaaa bright golden haze over Boston..” Lisa began to sing softly.
Lisa knows every Broadway score and can easily interpolate a song into every conversation.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Interpolate: inserting something, like music into a conversation,
Zywa Jun 2023
Teens in the school yard

like to play with the soft ***** --

of being in love.
Novel "Terug tot Ina Damman - De geschiedenis van een jeugdliefde" ("Back to Ina Damman - The history of an adolescent love", 1934, Simon Vestdijk), III-3, page 219
Anais Vionet May 2023
I'm like a Vulcan when you aren't around - logical, distant, evaluating you like a product with my friends. The consumer with a lifetime of buying.

But near you I’m a prisoner of some consciousness independent of thought, like a fever or the dreamer, with the merest semblance of control.

You are light and loose, hair like Spanish moss and skin like cedar resin, all laughter and agonizing beauty. The way you lean across the table I only think of kissing you.

I'm sure at times it must show, like a red stain on a white dress or some inconvenient *******..

You have some license on me, a key to a place in me I keep hidden and close, you fit some interior template of desire.

What good is freedom if I can't tell you!!?

Oh, the ragged vagaries of loves games. 1000 emotions and I am deserted to silence by some rule of thumb - by a faltering consumer confidence or some feeling of inward nakedness - when all I want in the world is an open kiss or to give you an intimate scented something...
Vulcan = a race of aliens who show no emotions (Star Trek)
Khadijat Bello Apr 2023
The street is swapped with bodies
Young, old and grey
A sea of strength and weakness
Soft, eager and fragile

These streets are filled with vehicles
3-wheels, cars and motorcycles
Vast need for speed with myriad speedometers
A different sense of focus, smothers!

Our focus is just to hustle
Be a cobbler, doctor or apostle
Variants of professions, you just have to shuffle
Not the best serenity, man just settles

We focus on vanity,
I wonder if we check deep within
The goal is to reach the top.
We often forget the master of the race herein

We lose our hearts to the matrix
Most times we even forget the margin
The apocalypse is yet to come
Yet we forget, it's most catastrophic

Have You looked within?
What are you yet to see
Is it the future you seek
Or deed incomplete?

Did you notice how much rest you need?
Or how anti-social you have been.
How much you seized to live though Alive
Have you noticed how badly you lost to Hustle?
How much do you hustle for? And what does it mean to you.  The end of the poem, is a question only you can answer.
Anais Vionet Mar 2023
Midterms are over and I killed ‘em (yes, even the physics) - yeah me!
I spent the last two weeks like prisoners do, marking off days until - freedom. Now the pressure’s off and I can chill. Spring break starts tomorrow, and I have NO plans.

It’s dinnertime and we’re (Leong, Sunny, Lisa and I) in the Commons dining hall, celebrating, with bacon-cheeseburgers and fries (Leong’s a cheeseburger ******).

Lisa Turned to Sunny, “What songs are playing in your ears today?”
“I’m looping "Good Riddance" by Gracie Abrams - which might be a little gay for you.”
“Sunny and I were discussing that earlier,” I chirped in, “especially ‘Amalie’ (the song).”
“Gracie’s not dating that guy anymore? Lisa asked.
“She broke up with him,” Sunny said.
again?” Lisa gasped.
“Yeah, she broke up with him for good, a few months ago,” Sunny reported.
“I thought that they got back together.” I said, trying to remember my Teen Vogue gossip.
“Nope,” Leong said, stealing one of my fries, “saw it on ‘the shade’ (theshaderoom)”
“Wait, wait, Blake Slatkin - or a new boy?” Lisa asked, holding up her hand like we’re in class.
Sunny laughs, “Anyway, Gracie isn’t dating a girl but in that ‘Amalie’ song she’s like, ‘where did you go Amalie, I’m crushing on you.”
“Amalie..” Leong said, searching for a last name.
“Amalie Homin,” I said, “That’s what I heard, but I don’t know it on my own.”

“Ooo!” Lisa said, “Speaking of carols,” and nodding towards the main entrance. Leong and I had our backs to the door, but we swiveled discreetly as a girl I’ll call “Monique” (I’m not doxing anyone) walked in with a group of her entourage-like friends.

My roommates and I, being young, single and curious girls - have ongoing chaz or chaste debates - where we judge people (quietly, in a non-mean-girl way, amongst ourselves), to be either chaz or chaste - based on their general *** appeal, style and swagger.

A chaz is a playa’, someone who everyone wants (sexually) and who’s probably “sactive” - a chaste, is a wannabee, a poser who’s trying hard but is probably “involuntarily abstinent.”

A big, beefy, but not overly attractive football player would draw a “chaste,” “chaste,” “chaste,” while, say, a tall, dark, handsome physicist would earn a “chaz,” “chaz,” “chaz!!”

Monique, who’s studying marketing (school of business), is an over-tha-bridge black girl from Jamaica who was once in a band that had some low-level success. As we watched her strut across the room, I brought the question to Sunny. Monique’s fem-facing, as is Sunny, so Sunny’s the expert on-hand, “Do you think Monique’s a chaz?”

I state my case, talking softly, “Monique walks around campus wearing a t-shirt with her own picture on it, under a blazer,” I snigger, derogatorily, “being like, all these ******* want me.”

Sunny gasps, “How DARE you call smart, modern, lesbian women *******!” She laughs.

“All these lovely ladies, these rad, sapphic-gals really want me.” I amended. “It’s farcical, isn’t it? I repeated, fashion aghast. “Wearing a t-shirt with your own picture on it - like you’re a rockstar.” I put the ultimate question to Sunny: “Is she actually pulling any veejay like that?”

“You doubt she’s pulling any strong, empowered women?” Sunny asked back rhetorically. Sunny rolled the question over in her mind and declared, shrugging, “She’s a chaz. It works - for the gays, hundo-p."

“Hard to believe,” I admitted, shrugging in the face of Monique’s sheer tackiness. We watched the strange group leave, loaded down with goodies, like pirates who came and looted the area.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Farcical: “performing a ridiculous act,”

sactive = sexually active
a carol = a hot, irresistible girl
over-tha-bridge = average looking
fem-facing = a lesbian
hundo-p = 100%    

“chaz or chaste” was invented by a couple of fem DJs on WYBC, Yale student radio.
Anais Vionet Feb 2023
It was Monday, June 20th, 2022. My roommates and I are in Paris to see Olivia Rodrigo (in two days). But tonight, I was doing a favor for my great uncle Remy. Taking my elderly great-aunt Yvonne to the airport.

In RL this all happened in French but I wouldn’t do that to you - but just so you know.

“I’ve always thought of Anais as a granddaughter,” Yvonne said too loudly into my phone, which she had picked up and I was afraid she’d drop. She kept trying to hold it to her ear.

She smiled at me with her old lady dimples. “That’s sweet of you to say,” I lied. She doesn’t fool me. She’s not innocuous. She’s as mean as a snake and she doesn’t like ME at all. How did I end up doing this? I asked myself.

“No Aunt Yvonne,” I said as I gently moved the phone away from her ear. “This is a CAMERA call. Hold it out so they can SEE you.” She’s saying a final goodbye to Remy and letting a cousin know her arrival time. As the Facetime call ends, I pocket my phone with relief.

Lisa’s with us (I told her not to come) and she doesn’t speak French. So for her, this whole task is an awkward pantomime. Charles, our escort, drove us to Orly airport and he’s circling in wait to pick us up.

Yvonne walks at a glacial pace, and it took forever to clear security. Lisa and I have special tags allowing us to escort Yvonne to her gate. I offered to get her a wheelchair, but NOOOOO.
“We need to hurry –,” I began, but she interrupted me.
“Why are you wearing that skintight nothing?” she barked loudly, irritatedly, “if I had YOUR figure, I’d hide those tiny *******” (“minuscules seins,” in French, loudly). Heads turned. As I flushed with irritation, she cackled like a witch.

It’s 8pm in Paris and 30.5°C (87°F). I’m wearing a sports bra and two tank tops. Sue me. I wasn’t planning on doing this at all. We were staggering slowly through the terminal when, like a gift from God, an Air France courtesy tram pulled up next to us.
“Get on,” I demanded, “or we’ll miss your flight.” She did - as slowly as humanly possible.

When we finally got seated at the gate, she sent me for bottled water, a sleep mask, a neck pillow, sugarless lemon drops and a Paris Match magazine. “Thank you, my dear,” she said upon my return, baring her teeth at me in what I suppose was meant to be a smile.

“You should come and visit me (in Libreville, Gabon, Africa),” she suggested, “I think there are things I could teach you.” This is like that gingerbread-house invitation we read about as children.

“I can’t,” I said, with feigned regret, "I'm in school,” (I wouldn’t go there if she lived with Timothée Chalamet).

I heard a familiar voice, and I looked up to see my Grandmèr arriving with her usual entourage of 7 or 8 lackeys, a couple of frazzled Air France employees and two gendarmes.
“Yvonne,” she said, pointing to the two Air France employees, “these people will see to you. Say goodbye to Anais.”

“Goodbye dear,” Yvonne said in a fake, fragile voice. I gave Yvonne a half-hearted Paris bises (two kisses on each side) and my Grandmèr shooed me away with a hand gesture and an impatient, “Go, GO.” I’m afraid uncle Remy’s in trouble.

Yvonne and her branch of the family are the slimiest people you could ever meet. They’re billion-heirs (not billionaires - billion-heirs) who (theoretically) stand to inherit handsomely when my Grandmèr dies (I am NOT in that grubby lineup). They’re liars, cheaters and scoundrels who’d stab you in the face for an olive to put in their martinis. They're legal reasons my Grandmèr has to put up with them from time to time - but every interaction is fraught with phoniness.

About fifteen minutes later, Lisa and I are in the car with Charles racing back to Paris for dinner with our roommates. As I texted them to expect us in 20 minutes, Lisa said, “I got bad vibes from that old lady - the way she LOOKED at you when you weren’t watching..”

“YOU,” I said with a chuckle, “are very perceptive!”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Fraught: “causing emotional stress or something bad.”
Anais Vionet Jan 2023
Everyone was lazing around, it being the holidays. The intercom buzzed and Lisa got there first to press answer. “Package, on the way up,” the concierge announced. This time of year, a package could be a late arriving gift, there was interest.

It takes a hot minute for elevator three to get to the 50th floor and in those moments, we waited. The foyer of Lisa’s suite looks like a half circle with three doors. To the left is the library (Michael’s office), to the right is a hall leading to bedrooms and straight ahead is the living room.

Lisa was already at the front door. Karen (Lisa’s mom) came into the foyer from the hall and Michael was heads-up at his desk, when the front door finally buzzed. An iPad sized monitor showed a messenger with a bouquet of flowers. “OOO!” Lisa said, opening the door and signing for it.

“Whad we get?” Leeza asked, flying into the foyer, like a vulture, from the living room and saying, “OOO!” When she saw the flowers, following up with “Who’re they for?!”
“Anais,” Karen said with a grin, reading the envelope as Lisa turned the vase for a 360 view.

I was in the living room playing “Disney Dreamlight Valley” on my Nintendo switch when Lisa, followed closely by Leeza, came in with the flowers. “Oh, WOW,” I said, sitting up when I saw them.
“They’re for YOU,” Lisa said, trying to make it sound all casual, but her grin gave the truth away. Leeza gave a hoot of suppressed excitement when I grinned.

Leeza had her phone in hand and took a picture as I accepted the vase from Lisa, setting it on the coffee table as I opened the card. A moment later Leeza pronounced, “It’s a “Warm Embrace Arrangement.” Gen-alphas can research anything, in moments, from their phones. “It cost,” She started to say, and Lisa elbowed her, “OWW!” She exclaimed, then “175 dollars,” as she completed her thought, rubbing her ribs, and took a seat next to me.

“They’re from Peter,” I revealed, (who really can’t afford to spend $175 on flowers).

A week ago (Tuesday), I woke up in a rage, on a vendetta. My eyes opened, and the world seemed dark, like a newly opened box of slights and irritations. Shadows seemed to reach out and the very air seemed gritty and annoying. I wanted to yell at people and maybe ****** someone.
“Remember last week,” I asked the room, “when I was in a funk?”
“I was a witness,” Leeza said chuckling, “I can confirm.” Lisa just nodded.
“Yeah, I needed to rant and you were there,” I patted Leeza’s knee, “Thanks, sorry.”
“All you listened to for days was Rihanna,” Leeza reported, shaking her head.
“It lasted for two days,” I said, wincing at the memory,” that’s when I sent Peter that message.”
“Ahhh,” Lisa nodded, “I get it.”
“Yep,” I nodded back at Lisa, “got my period the next day, it doesn’t usually hit like that.” I said defensively.”
“That explains a lot.” Leeza grinned.
“But look!” Lisa said, putting her arms out like Vanna White, “You got flowers!”
“Poor Peter,” I said, sighing, “I better call him.”
Anais Vionet Dec 2022
Gigi Hadid wore pearls, a t-shirt and jeans to Paris fashion week. So, our (Lisa, Leeza and my) theme for this New Year’s Eve is “Jeans and pearls.” To be accurate, Gigi’s distressed, slouchy bottom, boyfriend jeans were embroidered with pearls - the pearls weren’t worn as a necklace - but Lisa and I think anything involving embroidery is a trailer-park trend - so we’ll be wearing strings of pearls. If Karen (Lisa and Leeza’s mom) lets us, that is.

Karen has four strings of Tiffany pearls - called Essential, Ziegfeld, Akoya and South Sea Noble. They’re all 16-inch, single strand strings (which we all prefer) and they range in value from $600 (the Akoya) to the expensive (South Sea Noble) string - that she won’t lend anyone. The good news is, if anyone is thinking of buying me a string of pearls, I can’t tell the difference between the cheap string and the expensive string.

Leeza (Lisa’s 13-year-old sister) wants to be included in EVERYTHING this year, which is funny because last year she either attacked us or completely ignored us. This year, Leeza has a thirteen-year-old’s razor-sharp instincts and relentless curiosity.

As we’re Planning New Year’s Eve, Ethan Bortnick’s song, “Engraving” was playing. It’s a crazy song with middle-school, EMO, angsty vibes. One of the lines of the song is “strip for me”. As the song ends, Leeza suddenly asks us, “Have you two ever been to a *******?”
“No”, I answered.
Lisa said, “Once.”
“What?!” I asked.
“Really?” Leeza gasped, “Spill!” She demanded.
“This has random context,” Lisa begins, “I’ve been inside a ******* once in my life.”
Leeza and I tittered nervously. “I’m scared,” Leeza said, as an aside, grinning and rubbing her hands on her knees, clearly more delighted than scared.
“I was attending a middle school, Model UN conference, at Brown University,” Lisa continued, “and they took all the kids to a ******* for their model UN social.”
I gasped and blurted “There’s NO way this happened.”
“Yes,” Lisa insisted, “you can ask my mom.” she said, with a serious look, “And, and obviously, it was rented out for the night, but they didn’t, like, think to take away any of the normal features. There weren’t any strippers, but they didn’t take the poles down and they didn’t turn off the multiple TV screens on all the walls that were playing their normal rotating video content.”
“Wow,” I said, with my hand over my mouth. Meanwhile, Leeza was chortling like a mad woman and rocking back and forth.
“Everyone walked in,” Lisa went on, “and it was just middle schoolers, thirteen years old. There were pictures of the dancers on the poles, and our history teacher came in, and freaked OUT, saying, “Oh, no, No, NO!” Because it was a school event, we had taken school buses there, it was a boondoggle. They turned us all around and hustled us out of there.”
Leeza had stood up and was twirling with glee. Middle schoolers live for chaos.
“Taken out of context,” I said, “It was crazy you went to a ******* in middle school.”
“It was a jump scare, for sure,” Lisa confirmed, “we went from one vibe, a school field trip, to a *******.”

Anyway, for New Year’s, a lot is still up in the air - undecided - but we’re determined that we want to have a blast. We’re young and we want to support bad ***** energy (BBE).
“Oh, I have a BBE song!” Lisa squeals, “Mafiosa!” (by Nathy Peluso) She names it as it begins playing.

The songs in Spanish and when it ended, I’d looked up the lyrics because my 2 years of Spanish weren’t good enough. I tell Leeza the lyrics go: “Let the bad men fear me, when I arrive in my car - they speed off.”
“Yes!” Lisa Laughs, “We don’t drive - but, YES!”
“Emotionally,” I say, laughing too. “But verse two asks the great question, “What the frack is wrong with men when it comes to women?”
“It’s,” Lisa started, looking up and searching for words, “SUCH a timeless question.”
“Why’d you pick that song?” Leeza asked.
Lisa chuckled,” Because you don’t get more BBE than a female Mafiosa killer.”

Update: Karen agreed that as long as Charles is with us (and really, when isn’t he with us?), we can borrow the three inexpensive pearl strings (worth about 5k). So, I’ll be wearing the Akoya pearls, an Anna Molinari white, basic, cotton-shirt, washed denim cropped jeans with white bridal flats and Lisa and Leeza will wear their own, white tops, jeans, flats and pearls and we’ll be on-theme.

Happy New Year’s Everyone!
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Boondoggle: a wasteful activity involving public money or labor.
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