the last haiku —

Gone.

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NOT BASHO — me.

hot breeze down burbank

Nigella lifts her light face,

dry leaves loosening.

All summer long, the Gulf Fritillary butterflies have held me in wonder in the backyard here. First, they emerged from the dormant Passiflora vines. All summer, they flitted in great clusters all over the garden. They also dispel old ideas I had about butterflies– that they are only a spring thing.

Taken today:Emerged today. Underneath the bowl of the bird-bath. And the withering Passiflora vines continue to crawl with caterpillars. After i shot this photo, I saw a Fritillary depositing eggs on the leaves. The egg is yellow, about the size of a pin-point. I also saw a tiny newly hatched larva, orange, maybe 1/8 inch long, about the circumference of dental floss.

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FULL-ON CRUSH

I just love the way that Disney’s Ursula, from “The Little Mermaid”, sees herself as a femme fatale. Let’s see: multiple chins: check. Garish: check. Kitschy sea-shell accessories: check. Flea-market makeup: check. Bottle blonde: check. Rotund and squishy, especially down below (she’s half-octopus, you see. Spineless, and with an insatiable, grasping beak under all that swinging flab): check, check, and check:

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YES, I HAVE ROCK-STAR HAIR

So don’t be a hater. But all i can feel is pity for those with spineless, lank, limp, overbleached, overprocessed, trailer-trash bottle blonde, like this:

O.M.G. What is this woman’s excuse? ┬áThe drugstore claw-clip has made international news. Gives me a front-tooth-missing, rented-room, “Grey Gardens” vibe– come to think of it, a cashmere sweater wrapped around her head like a turban would be far more chic.

Like people who have a room full of exercise equipment and get more bulbous with every season. Although I must admit, the only thing my rowing machine was ever good for was air-drying my dainties.

The only answer for lank, weak, lackluster genetic material like this heah is a buzz-cut and an extreme arctic platinum– unless you’re angling for a guest-spot on “HOARDERS” or a reality TV series about lap-band weight loss.

Perhaps there’s a ray of hope, though. I can’t tell from the resolution on this image. But it ALMOST looks like Hill’s rockin a CZ skull pave earring.??

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WHY CATS ARE BETTER

1- They have the decency to cover up their own s**t.

2. They don’t yap and howl and growl so long and so much and so consistently, on all three sides of my suburban backyard, that i literally cannot sit in the garden and read a book.

3. They don’t stink like old socks, when, on those rare occasions, they get wet.

4. They don’t jump all over you and stick their cold snouts in your most tender of areas. This is the sort of behavior which causes my neighbor Mr. Bob to immediately begin bellowing, “No, No, stop, siddown, bad Morgan, see what you did!”, the moment he gets home from work in the evening. Adding his human vocal component to the general overall canine cacophany which makes it impossible to relax or read in the gorgeousness of the backyard this evening.

5. Not only do they have the decency to cover up their own s**t: they are smart enough to use a litter-box. And even a toilet, according to the National Enquirer. This means that they are not dependent upon you to allow them to relieve themselves. This means that they realize that you may have to work late, or you may choose to knock back a few tequilas with that charming co-worker, on a moment’s notice. Because you are a human being. Because you are a grown-up. You are allowed to do things without asking permission. Unless you have a dog.

6. Cats never want anything so much that they are willing to fling themselves against a wooden fence because this object of desire passes by. I have literally had to put up panels of black opaque along one of the fences, because Morgan and her companion batter themselves against the fence when the cats are taking their ease in the driveway.

7. I know it could be argued that bad behavior in dogs results from bad behavior in humans — bad dog-parenting, as it were. This is probably true. But it’s revealing that any human being would willingly enter into a suffocatingly co-dependent relationship of this sort, especially with another species. To create a situation where another living being is so desperately needy and dependent upon you….well, I smell a 12-step meeting coming on.

I’m not hating on dogs, or their owners. I just wish that the 8-10 dogs who live around me, along with their apparently neglectful owners, were more like cats.

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grow old with me

Fall brings Rilke to mind, even here in Los Angeles where deciduous trees are few.

Marcus Daniels, the most brilliant hair colorist in Los Angeles, has been on the run all summer. And as a result, my hair has been untouched for months. I have major skunk-stripe. Instead of hating it, it’s interesting to see that about 80% of my native cinnamon-toast pelt is now white. Not battleship gray, thank God, but really white, as was the hair of my grandmother who more or less raised me.

Lately I’ve been hankering for an eminence grise, but now i realize, in this threshold moment of kairos, that perhaps I am my own eminence grise.

Here are a few tips for other aging gals:

Never wear turtlenecks. Whenever I see one, I just grab my shears and snip off that neck, which effectively adds 20 pounds and 20 years. I use the snipped-off turtle, which is invariably ribbed and stretchy, as a chic matching hairband.

Pendants and necklaces around 18″ long are dangerous if you are short and busty. These make you look matronly.

Ditto for pearls. I love pearls, but they smack of soccer-mom or Eleanor Roosevelt, especially if you’re beefy. Wear with caution.

Fake eyelashes, or even lots of mascara and liner if your eyes are small and deep-set. i call them predator-eyes, which I have, versus the huge, bulging bovine eyes of a prey animal or other bloated, ruminating cud-chewer who can’t get off the couch. As the victim of many well-intentioned makeovers, big lashes make my small eyes look even smaller, like there’s something acrid in the air. Well, I do live in Los Angeles.

Nothing screams “middle-aged, menopausal, crazy cat lady” more than waist-length, all-one-length hair, the way you wore it in high school when you could fit into your coveted size 6 Daisy Dukes. Again, I love big hair — but when you start coloring it, it’s a drag to color a decade’s worth. No power-bob needed, but just sayin’. Granny jeans and a long ponytail are just sad. See “Swamp People”.

Laurel Burch. Anything with those demonic, fat-cheeked purple and magenta cats with turquoise and metallic gold eyes.

Since I am not quite ready to crone out, Marcus is refreshing my color on Thursday. Meanwhile, my wild, shattered, deliberately ragged, jagged post-Frampton (when he still had hair) layers just lift in the warm breeze of summer’s end like the exhaust off a Vespa scooter. Andiamo!!

And to the eminence grise, wherever you are, oooh, baby, I love your way.

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MAKE IT HURT SO GOOD

I’ve always been known for my appetites in many areas, including words, and yes, I’ve often had to eat my words. At summer’s end, it’s hard not to feel a certain tearing sensation. Partly because love hurts.

This is a passionfruit out in my backyard.

The pulp, like all things created by passion, is a bloody mess. Lately I’ve been using these en lieu of pomegranate arils in my frenzy of Levantine, Byzantine and middle eastern cooking. This seems apropos with the approach of Rosh Hashanah, too. These sticky seeds have the right color, but not enough acidity to replace Persephone’s fruit of passage.

A rabbinic soul told me that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, for the 613 mitzvoht (sp? commandments, acts of goodness, justice) to which we are summoned in every new year. And a Persian prince told me that in the old days, pomegranate juice was used to dye the wools used in the exquisite imperial rugs of Arabia– they DO have that extraordinary color, which words like “wine” or “burgundy” just can’t capture.

Were these sloe-eyed (a sloe being a sort of fig, or prune…) gentlemen just blowing a hot desert breeze my way on the etymology? Maybe.

But back to passion, and its fruits. People toss around the word “passion” very lightly. I’ve heard all sorts of things described as someone’s passion, many of them undeserving of such a weighty emotion.

A passion must literally be that for which you are willing to suffer. To shed your blood, your pulpy, shiny, purple-staining blood. If memory serves, our word “passion” is from the Latin “passus sum”, to suffer, from the Greek, “pathos”. As in pathetic. Sympathy, empathy. Suffering for someone else, with someone else– “compassion”, by any other Latinized name.

The lovely passionflower vine was not named for sweet smooches. It was named for its barbed flower, which to some botanists suggested the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ along the Via Dolorosa. It does occur to me that so many of these botanical references have churchy reverb, though this is not my intention.

The “Passion” referenced there is Christ’s Passion- – ie, suffering and death– upon the Cross. The term isn’t used much anymore in that sense. These days, romance, sex, and fun stuff are usually the context for the word “passion’.

But the passion of love, too, serves up agony along with the ecstasy. The lover’s heart pierced with an arrow does come close. When does the suffering become bliss?

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