Yesterday, I tied up cute smarty pants Penny Pax.  My bondage is getting better, but it’s like poems – always one tiny thing I wish I’d done differently – always a way to make it prettier or simpler or more complicated.  Between scenes, she sat by the heater as I pulled the ropes around her ankles, and we talked poetry and hysterectomies and being a Spiegler girl.  This year, Penny tells me, they had a Spiegler girl Thanksgiving (like a Charlie Brown Christmas, but with more Uggs) and I remembered when me and Annette and Gia and Roxy were going to get matching sweatpants and ate a lot of mashed potatoes in Woodland Hills.  I’m thirty one now, and I’m trying, trying, trying to write this. Meanwhile there are scenes and scenes and scenes and a Christmas tree, bourbon, dog, poems on subject/object/sleep/money, and a family visit to the land of snowfall and corn pudding and peas my mother cooks in an electric wok, between tequila drinks.  In the place where most of my family lives, there are long, pretty drives and cheap, cheap groceries and knit hats and big houses with a lot of paint gone.  My grandmother believes she is so old and in the morning at a diner where the waitress knows her (one poached egg, one piece of salt-rising toast) she looks at a little tin poster of Debbie Reynolds that I brought her from Berlin, where I don’t tell her I went last month for the porn film festival, and she says “I’m eighty-six and it is so special when people think of me.”  I want to tell her how very, very much I think of her, but I will never be able to communicate this.  Instead we go to the cemetery and visit her friends.  It’s cold and she leans on my arm to maneuver the hilly grass and dry leaves between the graves.

Our tree has glitter balls and disco balls and I spend eighteen hours in front of it, trying to write.  When you are directing a porn movie you should always be watching for the moment when you are bored.  If you are bored it is time to stop what’s happening and invent a new action.

My mother does the splits at every party at around 11pm.  After that she moves on to arm wrestling all comers.

In the town where my grandmother lives, there is always weather outside the windows.  After turkey, after mince-meat and lemon merengue and coffee beside the big nameless silver tools and machines in my uncle’s warehouse, we drive through flurries that thrill our California brains, my teenage sisters in the back seat talking about vampire romance.  Back at the Days Inn, we hurry to our room to watch chunks of white fly past the window, too dazzled and tired to be out there tasting it.

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