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Tablecloths (Mouse Over)

Dear Kim,

Tonight, I am thinking about the geography of my clothes.

As I look down, everything is a reflection—no, an artifact really—of where I have been.

My jeans from the little Levi store off Columbus Circle from when I had my concert at Lincoln Center in New York. They are getting loose. I have been eating less and exercising more.

My tee shirt is from the Predagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference I attended in Los Angeles last spring. I cut the neck out. I always cut the neck on my tee shirts.

There seems to be a lot of Los Angeles.

My papers are stuffed into a red canvas knapsack they were giving away at the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival there last summer. I don’t like the Avis logo but the bag is so well designed, I pretend not to notice it.

Back to New York.

Today, I am wearing an oversized man’s watch that I bought on the street for $5 when I took my cousin to see “Fiddler on the Roof” with Harvey Fierstein. I buy a lot of watches in New York. I am very hard on them. Bang them up, take them off while I am writing. Forget and leave them places.

This one is red and it seems funny to me, like a tweak on its serious masculine presentation. I wonder how long I will hold onto it.

It is a casual day. So I am wearing a hooded sweat shirt that I bought on the board walk in Venice when the weather took a sudden turn last summer.

There is a lot of L.A. And a lot of New York.

Hmmm. That is telling.

Well, I got my underwear in St. Louis. At Target on Hampton.

But my bras were ordered over the internet. I don’t like shopping for bras in department stores, walking past the make up counters where highly made up women offer to spritz some fragrance on my wrist . Even if I have been feeling good, I suddenly feel like I have something in my teeth. And when you go to a department store, you usually have to ride the escalator and walk through house wares and electronics to get to ladies lingerie where there are just too many choices.

I am grateful for the internet. And how fun are packages that come in the mail. Even if it is just bras from Bali.

I like to wear my history on my back, like a turtle. To think about when I bought what I am wearing and where I was. Sometimes I like to think about the journey of the clothes before they came to me. Where were they? What did they see on their trip?

Looking down, I suddenly realize I am wearing my sister’s shoes. The last time I was in Chicago, I didn’t pack properly and she lent me a pair of black faux crocodile flats with a flexible rubber heel.

“Keep them,” she said. “I have plenty.”

I close my eyes and imagine her long elegant feet in the shoes and the steps she took. I try to imagine where she went in the shoes. What construction sites she visited or lunches she might have had with friends. What walks she took with Lilly and what appointments she might have had with her doctors.

And I think, I never want to take these shoes off.

Later,

Joan

Thursday, Jan 11, 2006

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