Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Clam Cakes in Summer

There's a good reason for driving 7 hours without stopping from Maryland to Rhode Island.


In the summer there's nothing like them . . . We stand in line at Aunt Carrie's on Ocean Road in Narragansett for more than an hour sometimes on weekends when everybody's blue from being in the waves too long.

The clamcakes in this photo look a little greasy. But you get the idea. My favorite parts are the crunchy little "tails" of dough that get extra fried so the crisp talks to you when you bite down.

My dad met us at Aunt Carrie's one time when we were staying at the Anchor Motel just down the road. He always ordered the New England clam chowder, which is white. New York chowder is red. Every time I pick "red" I can hear that 60s Beach Boys song, "Be True to Your School." And I can see my dad shaking his head and mumbling, "Meredith."

And don't even mention not really liking lobster. What kind of Rhode Islander are you? Um, the kind that left home for college in the mid-60s to go to school in DC because the drinking age was 18? Who would admit to that?

Certainly not me.

If you ask me, I've lived up here all my life. My heart and soul walk that beach every single day without fail, rain or shine, just after sunrise.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Cormorant Dries Her Wings

Published online at PoetryMagazine.com (Current Poets Summer 2007), this poem is deep in their archives now. Time has passed, new poets are posted. Old poems disappear every day from cyberspace unless someone who loves them reposts! So here's my Cormorant poem revived and reposted, exactly 2 years later:

A Cormorant Dries Her Wings

Next time you're driving up Race Point Road
on the way to the beach in Provincetown
don't be afraid of the solitary, black bird
you might find standing in the road,
as if waiting for a ride, rocking back and forth
from one webbed foot to the other,
as you wind your way around that wide curve
of beech trees and dunes. You'll be thinking
of the morning sun on your skin, the quiet
waves, the time alone. But the cormorant
is there of necessity, drying her wings
with great flaps and whooshes. After fishing,
she can't fly until the warm breezes funneling
over the dunes have time to dry her feathers.
Until then, she stops your car, and the cars
behind you. Her wings are huge. Will she
come to the window? Will she peck a tire
as you wait there like so much dirty laundry
piled on the front seat? Hope is a bird, isn't it?
Yes, hope is a bird. So, stay and wait a while
for the ranger to save you as he drives by
patrolling the road. He will shoo her away
and ask point blank through your rolled up
window: What's stopping you from everything
you want to do right now? This cormorant?
Don't answer right away. Give yourself some time
to think about it, think about every single thing,
what you're doing there and why.

Meredith Pond July 17, 2007

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dark Night in Tucson

July 1969. Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. The plan was simple. The four of us -- Alice, Alison, me, and Bill -- would camp cross country and down to Tucson. Bill's friend lived there, and he had a swimming pool.

And as we were soon to find out, a spider monkey. The little creature wore an infant-sized diaper that came up under "his" armpits. Do monkeys have armpits? Yes. Do monkeys like miniature marshmallows? Yes.

Do monkeys like it when their "mom" leaves for a trip to Denver? Absolutely not.

Have you ever heard a monkey cry? Let me just say, you don't want to. The sound is the same little whoop over and over again. Marshmallows are the only remedy. The small one fit like a plug. A silencing plug. With no harm done.

Nobody told us that the heat could almost boil that pool water in the daytime. But as soon as the sun went down, Tucson came to life. Grocery stores, open all night long, sold cold beer and wine and a fresh supply of miniature marshmallows.

One night towards the end of July around midnight on the way back from the store, the sky opened like a bathtub faucet and sent rivers down the sidewalks and arroyos, those dried up river beds that you figure belonged to the sidewinders and horned toads of Lone Ranger fame.

Black sky. Sheets of rain. And then under our tires, the sound of squishing. The road looked like it was lifting off the ground. And it was. The road was now a channel for thousands of frogs.
It's a lucky day in the desert when frogs are happy in the rain . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Woodstock Redux -- See You in August?

Has it really been 40 years? I guess so. I'm not 21 anymore, that's for sure.

I remember 21 . . .

Back then dancing around in the rain on a slippery hillside was a lot of fun. No looking for a towel. No whining that my feet hurt. Just happy happy happy. Rain rain rain.

In 1969, we lived well without cell phones, Starbucks, DVDs, and iPods. We had vinyl records and lots of velvet.

Anyway, I keep thinking that a whole bunch of people my age will show up in Woodstock, NY, somwhere around Yazgur's farm, just for the fun of it.

Just to see who's still around. See you there?? Last time, we (Alice, Bill, Alison, and me) arrived in Alice's VW squareback on Thursday afternoon, August 14. We left a few hours after Hendrix's sunrise anthem on Monday, August 18. I know the dates now. Back then I had no idea what day it was . . . or where we were headed when it was over.

A time machine would be perfect, wouldn't it?? Peace . . .