The death of summer has me desolate.

Verdure goes gold, then turns  to tinder on the ground;
warm-weather birds have blown away
with the winds of autumn.

I have put my dear friends to bed—
sheared off their heads and abandoned them
to their sleep.

The first snow falls, leaving me cold;
a crow’s call cracks the sound
of silence.

Winter creeps in.

I have no illusions;  I am housebound,
until spring comes back.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016


The Unusual Suspects


Tell me if I’m wrong, but in your early life – say that time after puberty and before real-world adulthood, didn’t you find that periodically you would encounter the quirkiest of men? Were they struggling to find themselves, or perhaps emulating some celebrity icon’s strange behaviour? Maybe they were mimicking their fathers, or even their moms? What do you think?

Let me tell you about some of the strange birds I met along the way to my current state of matrimonial bliss. Let me open that locked door of my mind, wherein I stash away all the bizarre creatures of the past along with their oddball peccadilloes. Let me regale you with tales of the absurd and in so doing, just maybe I’ll shake a few skeletons out of your own closets and you can share them with me.

As I’ve made quite clear before, clothing does indeed make the man. I’m not saying they had to be dressed in designer gear, or the latest sportswear, they just need not have approached me in clothes that looked like they’d been sleeping on a park bench, or had been dragged out of a musty old garbage bag from under the stairs. I don’t DO dirt. I didn’t then and I still don’t.

In saying that, you would think that the following man I am about to describe would have been my ideal and in a way, he was. Still, it’s hard to feel entirely comfortable with some men and Rob was one of them. He came from an Italian background, but went to great lengths to suppress all what we used to call “the Gino” one might expect from such. In many ways, he was what I would call an aesthete. He was ALWAYS immaculately coiffed, clothed and cleansed. He had his dark hair cut regularly and always to the same shape – short back and sides, with a sweeping bang that fell just over his left eye. He wore pressed jeans, smooth, well-fitting suits – always perfectly matched to his shirt and shoes –Trinny and Susannah would have loved him!

I was quite impressed with the way this man in my life kept himself so tidy and remarkably kempt, but the first time I went to his apartment, I was a little bit alarmed.

I was used to men who typically had stacks of dirty dishes in their sinks, layers of scum lining the bathtub (have you never heard of “Scrubbing Bubbles”?) and clothes literally stuffed in half-open drawers or lying on the floors of their closets.

Rob’s apartment was a revelation! His kitchen was sparkling from floor to ceiling and there was not an item out of place. The real shock however, was his bedroom. No stray pieces of clothing hung on chairs or bed-posts or lay strewn about on the hardwood floor. More incredibly, inside the closet (he happily showed me the contents, without shame) everything not only hung on hangers on the rack, but each suit, shirt and pair of shoes was carefully colour-coordinated within the confines of the sliding doors. I was aghast! Not even my own father had a closet this organized (and he was anal with a capital “A”)!

Even more interestingly, this guy had a thing for flowers. Every day he made sure that there were fresh-cut flowers in his bedroom and on the kitchen table.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but you are dead wrong. It was just a cultural thing. He was brought up with an appreciation for beauty and he liked to have it in his own personal space. Still, it was definitely an eye-opener.

The other little quirk Rob had was to always wear leather driving gloves whenever he drove his little sports car. My mother still talks about them. “Remember Rob and his leather driving gloves”, she says. ” That always cracked me up!” It was a beautiful little car, mind you, a low-to-the-ground Mazda – white and spotless like his kitchen (of course, Rob wouldn’t ever have a dirty car!) and I think he fancied himself as Mario Andretti or someone, although he wasn’t a speedster.

In case you’re wondering, Rob dumped me for another girl who caught his eye on the dance floor at “Reflections”. I guess I just wasn’t tidy enough for him.

So, cleanliness was next to Godliness with Rob and that was a bit disconcerting, but it was a multitude of immature traits that put me off of Adam.

In the first place, Adam lied to me about his age, just so I would date him. I was 27 and he said he was 26. It wasn’t until I happened to pull his birth certificate out of his wallet (he was right there – I wasn’t pilfering, or anything) that I learned he was really only 23. I don’t like being hoodwinked. Tell me the truth, it gets you a lot further. So, that was a strike against him. Add to that, the fact that this guy was always pawing me – which really gets under my skin. I like my personal space and when Adam was constantly hanging over my shoulders like a Navajo blanket, I finally had to pointedly remove his arms from about my person and tell him in no uncertain terms to back off. It’s not that I don’t like intimacy, it’s just that I don’t like fawning and overt demonstrations of affection in public.

Strike two. I think I could have managed those issues, but when Adam took it upon himself to educate me in the ways of restaurant etiquette, I turned, irrevocably.

We went out to a meal at a local steakhouse and were sitting across from each other in a booth. Adam decided that I needed lessons in how to order my food, select wine, hold my cutlery and where to place them after I had finished eating. I recall (and I may be mistaken), but I think I vocalized the words: “Who do you think you are, landed gentry?” Strike Three.

Undeterred, he asked me out again and after only a few more dates featuring his persistent physical attentions and attempts at civilizing me, I told him I had had enough and he should not bother me again. He was crushed and to my astonishment, he had another go a few weeks later; to which, if memory serves, I said, “What, did you think if you waited long enough, I’d change my mind? Well, you were wrong!” (It really is a wonder how I ever did attain marital bliss, isn’t it?)

I’ll leave off with one of the most singular dating experiences I ever had.

I met – gosh, I can’t even recall his name, I just blotted it from my experience- at my favourite dance club, Raven’s. It was a huge place with a bar running its length far into its depths and a massive dance floor that was a converted “Towers” store.
This fellow was a friend of a friend of my sister’s. Let’s call him Sean. Sean was pretty cute. He had dark hair and lovely brown eyes and he was a pretty good dancer – if a bit stiff. He was pretty well-spoken and had a dark sense of humour, like my own and we got on well. In fact, I was pretty drawn to him – he had a certain mystique and I was definitely attracted to him. As was usually the case when I felt this way, I had an irresistible urge to kiss him, but I held off for a bit.

Well, Sean and I got to talking about this and that – you know, where do you live, where’d you go to school, who’s in your family – that sort of thing. Then the conversation turned to what we were currently doing. I had graduated from university with a degree in English and typically, was pursuing a career in the teaching field. Sean was studying Mortuary Sciences–he wanted to be a mortician. Other than the fact that I had always wanted to be Carolyn Jones on The Addams Family and I had gone through a vampire/David Bowie phase in my early 20s, I had never met, and certainly never thought about dating someone who handled dead bodies. It was a bit creepy, but I was willing to give it a go. I mean, at least he’d always have work, wouldn’t he?

A few drinks later, and a lot more building sexual tension and we ended up in the parking lot outside the bar, having a bit of snog (Brit-speak for necking). It was going rather well until I put my hand inside Sean’s dress shirt and discovered something missing. He had only one nipple!

Okay, try not to hold this against me, but I had never envisioned myself in a relationship with someone without all the requisite body elements. Let me disclaim and say that if it were an illness or debilitation or some such thing, I would definitely make the effort to work with it and stay committed. I did not think I could do the same with someone with only one nipple. Call me shallow; I can’t change who I am. Let’s say that deep down, it was really the whole dead body thing and leave it at that.

There have been many such incidents in my past, but I’ll save them for later; I think we’ve all heard enough. Now it’s your turn: what were some of the weirdest dates you’ve been on or relationships you were involved in? ‘Fess up! I’m not going to be the only one to open that closet door.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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Re: gifts

Photo by Melsky on Flickr

Bring Me No Flowers…

Bring me no flowers;
The cat will eat them
And get sick.

Bring me no chocolates;
They’ll give me spots
I’ll have to pick.

Bring me no vintage;
My sinus-linings
Will grow thick.

Bring me no baubles,
Boiled up with lead–
I’m allergick.

Bring me no candles;
I can’t light matches—
Too phobick.

Bring me no roses;
My fumble-finger’s
Sure to prick.

Bring me no buckskins,
No minks, no fox– I’m
Not that chick!

Bring me no presents;
Just come and kiss me—

Kathleen Mortensen©2008

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