31 December 2010

Finally! New Year's Resolutions You Can Live With! Hooray!

Because I believe that the main reason people drink so much on New Year's Eve is because they already feel guilty about the fact that they are going to break every resolution they come up with, here is a new, improved way of listing one's intentions. So now you don't have to drink! And now you especially don't need that bottle of Veuve Clicquot you just bought. So just toss that over here, wouldja? Thanks.
Signed, Your Conscience.

For 2011:

1) I intend to tell everyone I have stopped smoking entirely, and totally absolutely do so. -In public. Except when I bum one off someone. Or have a cigarette I don't tell anyone about. -Which means, I guess, that my New Year's resolution is to continue lying about whether or not i smoke. Both to myself and others. Hooray! 

2) I intend to write a list of nourishing organic veggies to use in my upcoming weeklong juice fast, and then I intend to take the list to to the market, buy the veggies, then notice there's a special on my favorite breakfast cereal,buy that, and then get some soy milk to go with it,and maybe a couple of other things, like bacn, bacon is good, and then go home and feel guilty as the vegetables stay in the crisper drawer eying me reproachfully as they wither, while the breakfast cereal and bacon and Mallomars* are gone in a weeek.-Okay, three days.

3) I intend to make an absolute ton of money this year. But this time?  Legally. God, it will feel good to have to stop harvesting kidneys.  Besides: I think eBay's getting suspicious.

5) I intend to have a ton of plastic surgery and then tell everyone I didn't have any plastic surgery: that I just look great because I did a week long juicefast, and completely let go of all of my resentments about my relationship.-Which I guess means that, once again, my New Year's Resolution is to be JUST like Demi Moore! -Again.    (Oh, Aaaaashtoonn........)

6) I intend to just go ahead and tell people the truth: my cat is a Scientologist.- Okay. Now you know.

7) I intend to just go ahead and keep lying about my age, except now in a different direction. Dammit, I'm PROUD to be one hundred and forty seven  thousand years old.-It's the juicefasts. Right, Demi?

8)This year,  I intend to be able to come up with more than seven intentions. -Done!

Seriously, I am truly just kidding about everything on this list, especially the actionable stuff. I love and respect all of my exes, I believe women should age gracefully with self love and acceptance, and that smoking is bad for you and I never do it. I also believe that truth is what you make of it,and most of all I believe that both my parents and my exes' lawyers all read this blog.

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank GOD 2010 is over. Glad to see the back of you, Year of the Tiger. 
Next year is Year of the Cat, so everyone should probably start now on practicing both complete indifference and licking themselves publicly. Thank you.


peri lyons

peri lyons
Originally uploaded by perilyons

Peri Lyons is kind of like a NYC version of Edith Piaf, except tall, blonde, and rather importantly, not dead.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

30 December 2010

Anniversary Poem: rough draft

anniversary poem:thinking about an apartment you painted a fresco of us, as "Orpheus and Eurydice" on the wall of, 1994, Greenwich Village

The problem was, we got our myths mixed, you and I.
You Orpheus, looked back , while I was  (wrongly?) singing;
And then that time you showered me with gold-  Danae!-
i loved that they were chocolate coins...the taste without the ringing.

And when we fought, we'd turn each other into trees:
Zap! Myrtle!  Daphne! Zap! The oak of Nimue! -There!
And we'd remain as trees and shake our leaves in angry glare

-But hey, at least we had SOME sort of belief.
Our lares and penates, homemade as they were, 
Were some relief.

part 2 (prediction: change)

The oldest myth of all is from gorillas: not exactly "told"
By them; (though silverbacks all are  raconteurs when old)

I read it at a zoo, a sign nailed to a "tree":
Where my friend (who is a goddess for a living)
took me as comfort for my poverty

The sign said: "Gorillas live in tribes; their tribal boundaries 
Are rigidly maintained; the only ones who travel troupe to troupe
with no trouble, fights or visas, and are the least forgiving
 of all the  social groups,
 "Females from 13-23, in human age." I read this carefully 
as though looking at a diamond, through a loupe.

Doing lines in bathrooms, behind red velvet creeper vines,
I dreamt gorilla "it girls", 13 to  23,
the wombs of whom: provoking, Che incendiaries
are criminals, all innocents. We"ll lay the blame on Time.

I was one of those "It Guerillas" once:
"We're REAL evolutionaries", we would sniff
our bright red bottoms and  Guevara tees distracting good gorilla family men. 
We'd shriek "As if!" and run away, displaying:
pretend to play "dismayed"- without being TOO dismaying. 
-And always, then...

Part 3 1/2 (the missing link)

Myths to me
be half apology 
half warning
half shaman
half danger:
all love.
The warning that no love at all, is itself, a gift;
as much as the presence of love, that gift, is taken, 
Or not taken,
at command or whim.
The words of "yes" and "no" are, finally, Man's. 
Yes, you know. Him.

So when I skipped the flowery Greek translations
And bluntly was a stupid vain gorilla in a tutu, young enough and cruel
Preverbal, premyth but, uh-oh , somehow, knowing mythic endings:
I knew, someday, I'd be replaced in school

by the New Gorilla Goddess on the block, whose fecund abacus
Had fewer beads than mine now. -But? Now I  had learned to talk.

You showed me that nurture may be red in claw and tooth;
She showed you that an It Girl's always climbing
But then you found palette'd colors where'd you'd hidden truth :
And, Love, I found my real job, while resigning.

We were a self; we are a history.
We helped each other translate, draw, identity

Not entirely gorilla free

Happy Baby:


peri lyons
"Dawdle: Some Poems"  2010 copyright 


For Adam Cvijanovic, friend, artist, former husband with love Dec 29 2010

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas, loves.

I am grateful for everything that happened this year: yup, finally got to that point. Everything. EVERYthing.

Voltaire, in "Candide", had a character named Dr. Pangloss, meant as satirical, who often opined that "everything happens for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

Since it's Christmas today, I'm going to go out on an optimistic limb and say I agree. And not even ironically. I believe that being with someone I loved more than I've ever thought possible, and then losing him, taught me more in six months than I'd learned in the whole decade previously. I learned how to take responsibility for my own actions; how to love someone when you don't love his/her behaviour; how to not say the first angry thing that comes to mind (mostly), but to take a deep breath and figure out what the real need is and how to communicate it lovingly; how important it is to remove all trace elements of "victim" from one's worldview--cuz there are no victims, just volunteers; ; how (apparently) not to be sick again, but to ask for nurture and attention instead if I need it; how to be more compassionate; and that envying someone for being 22 is simply silly,because I was 22 and had a DAMN good time being 22; now I'm having a damn good time being -thank God- NOT 22.

I discovered that people are kinder than I ever imagined possible; also that the kindest people can be cruel unexpectedly; I learned not to do unasked for favors for people and then reproach 'em for it; I learned that if people can be compared to pies, then we're all 9 slices Divine and one slice poop, and that's just how folks are.

My friends and family showed me love and support and infinite patience--but this year I actually really recognized and was grateful for it.

If you're reading this, I send my love, my gratitude, and my wishes for your best and most joyous and healthiest year ever.

Next blog will be funny. Honest. But for now? Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
love from

21 November 2010

Norris Church Mailer: The Purpose of Beauty, The Beauty of Purpose 1949-2010

Norris Church Mailer  has left us at 61.  The world is visibly dimmer today.

I hope it's okay to describe the arc of a comet...someone I only knew for three years, but who lit up the sky like a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

There are  no words to describe Norris Church Mailer .  Our language has superlatives, but they have been degraded by advertising, TV, our rackety culture. So when you meet someone who truly DOES "amaze" you, delight you, and whose achievements on the private AND public stages surpass (and subsequently expand)  your own ideas of what is possible..
.who inspires an adulation just short of worship in everyone she meets...
whose voice on the printed page, is just like her voice in real life-and is there a harder thing to do than that?---what words work here?

Some words to describe the Norris Church Mailer I knew, would be "radiant", "funny", "strong without seeming tough", "loving" and "self disciplined.". . If you met her once, you just adored her. Ever after.   -Oh and....Beauty. Her literally astonishing physical beauty was flatteringly backlit by her beauty of spirit, and her love of creating beauty and comfort for herself and everyone around her. 

She gave warmly, unstintingly, and with such grace, to her kids, her stepkids, her family, her friends, her fans....the last two categories numbered in the range of  "countless." Her love of beauty -and fun; her love of a family she found disparate and helped make whole; her love of painting.... Norris made  the people around her want to be their best real (and sometimes most mischievous) selves.
 The houses she decorated were both beautiful and delicious to stay in....the books she wrote were both hugely engaging AND beautifully written; it seems like everything I saw Norris do, I saw her bring her whole heart to. Is there anyone better to be around, than someone who brings their whole self to every minute? That quality also made her something as rare in New York city, as snow is in Arkansas: : a great listener.

I was a friend of her son John's: a man who, like his brother Matthew, shares his mother's astounding physical beauty, charm and tawny-eyed charisma.
The first time I met NCM, in Provincetown, she was supervising a house filled with her kids, her stepkids, the spouses, kids, and stepkids of her kids and her stepkids, their cousins, friends, wives..
and I remember thinking "how does she manage all of this and stay so damn gorgeous? It ain't fair."

(I also remember thinking "She's like: if Florence Henderson's character in "The Brady Bunch" was played by the goddess Athena.")

I never met her late, beyond-legendary husband, but I do have a love for his work, and I remember thinking "holy cats, ARE there people who, in their marriage, let themselves be THIS "matched" by a mate's charisma?  Guess so. But wow." Hard to imagine even meeting two such people in one lifetime. 

Even though one may know this act,  this passing, is really  just a passing from one room to the next,...even though the work I do has shown me this....still, just as a selfish ,regular person who was lucky enough to have known Norris, I want her back.
 Everyone who's \ met her, in life or in her books,  \will miss her .  We'll miss her emotional generosity, wry humor, complete unvarnished and sometimes blunt truthtelling; the " wicked-little-Soth'n-girl-" giggle, and the gloriously Technicolor movie-stah-presence that was NCM.

 She taught me to value qualities I had never valued before--as global as "femininity" and as specific as "neatness"--and I remember, every day, things she taught me without seeming to teach at all. 

For some reason, I  spent the last two weeks rereading all of her books: "Ticket to the Circus" (which is destined to be a classic memoir of its time); "Windchill Summer"; and "Cheap Diamonds."
( I remember my friend Ann saying she had proofread "Cheap Diamonds" and had stayed late -without overtime- at her copyediting job, in order to read it again-this time for sheer pleasure.)
Norris's  voice on the page has the same sideways melody as her real voice. Same quirky music and lightning flash insights.  Go read the books, now. -Please.

My deepest sympathy and condolences to John, Matthew, and her family and friends.

Norris Church Mailer was, to a dazzled young woman from a little town upstate, the definition of Glamour; the definition of Generosity, and most of all, the definition of what it is to be, well... a Lady.
To me, she will always be that gracious,  gogeous, dignified, and  just a bit rebellious  belle, who brought more than a roomful of light,  into every room she entered.

love. always.

05 November 2010

This is what happens when you stay up all night because you have to catalogue your song lyrics for publishing, while taking breaks to read Rudyard Kipling poems. While eating figs. You wind up rewriting a ten year old lyric of yours, in a very specific style: the internal rhymes,insistent rhythms and general showoffiness of the poems of Rudyard Kiplong.Then you ask yourself "And who exactly is going to sing this? Is Taylor Swift right now stomping her skinny-ass little feet and shouting "I WANT A CLASSIC COUNTRY SONG! YET WRITTEN IN A METRICAL STYLE REMINISCENT OF VICTORIAN WRITER RUDYARD KIPLING'S POEMS!! NOW, Dang it!"-Well, who knows. Maybe she is. And maybe i am a dish of eggplant parmesian.-You never know.
I also have a great lyric about the auction of the effects of a famous Cambridge-educated Englishman, who became a Russian Communist spy and wound up in alcoholic exile, in Moscow, in a tiny apartment filled, to the last, with the touchstone artifacts of his upper class ness: a silver martini shaker, a perfect Knox top hat, etc.
Yup. I bet Mariah carey is RIGHT NOW asking her people to find EXACTLY that song. For her. To sing. Yes!-Did I mention already that  the chances of that happening are roughly equal to the chance that I might actually be a delicious Italian dish with eggplant and tomato sauce? -Right. Okay then.
ALL LYRICS C 2010 PERI LYONS/Valley Cottage Music/Registered 2010 ASCAP

******************************************************************************************ThA Country Western Song, Written After Reading Too Much Rudyard Kipling Verse

When I first saw you I was nonplused
Your lips were wet and your hair was mussed
(Something about you my girl didn't trust-)
my mind said "something's missin'"
my heart said "I won't listen"
I tried to be dismissin you
Until it came to kissin you
I left my nuclear family and went straight to nuclear fission, you

And now my baby's bags are in the hall
The girl who really loves me's up and gone
You thought I thought I loved you
But I don’t return your call
And now my life's a country western song
You done me right- and then I done her wrong

when I first saw you I said to myself
she's whiskey walkin and she's top shelf
-sure she has looks, but I have my health-
-my baby said “You staying?”
I  didn’t think of straying
But five beers later on, it’s not my mind I was obeying

Well, I got home when dawn was in the sky
My baby said "You know this means goodbye"
I tried to bluff and bluster
I said she'd lost her luster;
She said "And you'll lose something,
 if you don't skedaddle, Buster...!"

My girl said “Bye, you’ll miss me when I’m gone-
You love her now but you won’t love her long”
Now I'm alone at night
Turns out my girl was right
I rue the day that I confused
True love, with  appetite

And now my baby's stuff is in the hall
The one who really loves me's up and gone
You thought I thought I loved you
But I don't return your call
And now my life's a country western song
You done me right and then I done her wrong
You did it right but baby it was  wrong
And now my life's a country western song.

03 November 2010

No Thank You, I Don't Want Some Dip. -Not Ever.

When you do a lot of yoga, live mainly on protein shakes, and work out two hours a day, three things happen:
1) You feel really really good;
2) You look a hell of a lot better;
3) You completely lose the ability to metabolize alcohol.

I haven't had anything in the nature of fun beverages for months, so last night's three glasses of Sancerre made me a very festive young lady indeed. (And a very somber and reflective young lady, when the alarm clock went off at 6 this morning. Eeep.)

After dinner at a pretentious yet overpriced restaurant staffed by waitresses who looked like they've just escaped from a Helmut Newton photograph, and decorated with taxidermy of animals that appear to be practicing yoga positions (the restaurant, that is, not the waitresses), headed off to go meet X and Y and go to a Posh Fancy Bash. The fashion alone was worth it:  Y and I spent hours walking around like freelance fashion critics, critiquing as we went. Here are some things we learned:

1) Extremely-and I mean EXTREMELY- short minidresses are in. This is a difficult thing to pull off: for one thing, you have to be VERY careful when wearing something crotchlength: one wrong move and the world is your gynecologist. Also, if you're over 19, it looks less like a mini, and more like you got drunk and forgot your pants. A problem. -One short, pretty girl was wearing a VERY short skirt, which, because she spent so much time essentially doing a very showy,wildly inappropriate, VERY territorial lapdance on top of her actor/hottie boyfriend, afforded onlookers rather more than they'd bargained for. Hey, it's only a black tie gala. Don't mind us. Make yourself at home. I bet you could use the dip as lube.-No no WAIT!-I was kidding!!! -Oh no...    (This might just be sour grapes on my part. That IS an absolutely surefire way to get a guy's attention. I wish I could do that sort of thing- it certainly Works- but alas, was brought up to be a Lady (in public) and alas,cannot. I am forced to rely on nonlapdance activities, some of which include: having really interesting conversations; listening intently to the people I'm with, and staying really,REALLY far away from that dip. )

2) The bubble skirt is back. And metallic silver is back. And the combination of "lots of pouffy fabric around your butt" AND "-the pouffy fabric is a light, shiny color", means that one's bottom looks preety much like the Goodyear Blimp, which I'm just going to say is not an optimum look for anybody. You very seldom hear a man saying "Yeah, she was so hot! She looked sort of like a dirigible." Bad. No. Put the pouffy skirt down and back away slowly.

3) Herve Legere bandage dresses. These are, essentially, dresses made of stretchy bandages sewn together. They take an hour to squeeze into. I saw one woman look fabulous in this dress, but unfortunately there were TEN women wearing it, and the other nine now owe me money for therapy, please. -And the only reason the other woman looked good in it was because she was Gisele Bundchen, whose face is, frankly, a little iffyy but no one notices because no one has ever actually LOOKED at her face. Her body is so fantastically good tha it's like God put her on earth to make the rest of feel bad. But man, did she rock that dress, although frankly Gisele does look a little horsey--sort of like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Secretariat. [There will be a brief pause while the writer stops to lap from a bowl of milk and then sharpen her claws on some furniture.]

4) Sequins: No. Just don't. I don't care what your reasons are. Nothing justifies sequin use. Especially not a skin tight, iridescent sequin dress, unless you WANT to look like a rainbow trout. If the onlooker's first impulse upon seeing you is to think, "hey. I bet she'd fry up good with some almonds and butter," you have not really succeeded.

Me, i was wearing a black strapless cocktail dress. My friend was wearing something cute from France, bu not from the xpensive part of France.. The outfits we were criticizing probably started at upwards of two grand. But we looked sorta cute, in a minimalist wa, as opposed to the beautiful Asian woman who was wearing a ten thousand dollar dress that looked, quite literally, like a glazed chintz window treatment. I had to restrain the impulse to run up and put an expansion rod through her sleeves.

Wobbled home to write some illconsidered emails, the kind where you check your "sent" box the next day and say "Oh GOD no", and so, after work this afternoon, will then make arrangements to change my name and move to the forests of Borneo to work with the gentle indiginous peoples, who live in harmony with nature and also don't have any access to the Internet. Trust me-It's the only way.

Nice knowing you. Keep in touch. Simply write to me at: The Tall Blonde Broad,c/o  Gentle Tribal Peoples, Big Forest, Borneo, and I will get back to you by the next available post, which is only accessible by a 12 hour dugout canoe ride up the Amazon so, frankly-- don't hold your breath.


28 October 2010

"What I've Learned" Peri Lyons, c2011, in a self help mode.

Greatest Hits: "What I’ve Learned"       all rights reserved c Peri Lyons

(Author's note: this is far and away the most popular thing I've ever written. It's gained an unexpected currency: there are life coaches and therapists, friends I sent it to, who give it to their clients. (Will someone please explain to me how to make actual money off that?) At the time, I was just trying to figure some stuff out by writing it down,...
Anyway, I don't always live this list, but it's a good feeling to try. : )

'what i've learned'

running out the door to yoga school, am suddenly consumed with desire to share what i've learned in the last two years of intense change and, well, growth:

1) Appreciate and accept people for who they are. Don't try and change 'em, or want something they can't give. They're giving what they can give. Enjoy it for what it is.

2) Trust your gut. If your head is saying "no, he wouldn't do that" and your gut is saying "but this is definitely what I'm feeling...", trust your gut. If a new job seems perfect but your gut is saying "NOOOOO!!!!", listen. Etc etc. Mostly, what you feel is happening? It's actually happening. Yup.

3) EVERYthing is there to learn from. How did you contribute to a situation in which you seem to be the pure and unadulterated victim? Okay, cop to it and then don't do that anymore. Usually, the bigger the "victim" you feel like, the bigger the lesson there is to learn.-Which doesn't take away from the bloody awful thing you just went through, but it gives it a much more empowering shape.

4) Have a spiritual practice. I don't care if you worship Kermit the Frog, do SOMEthing. Pray, meditate, chant "nam myoho-renge-kyo"...

5) Don't lie. -Just don't. It hurts you and everyone around you, even if you think you're doing it to be "nice."   You're not being nice: you're actually being- um, how to put this tactfully-  cowardly AND self serving. Being GENUINELY "nice" is respecting other people enough to be honest with them. Not lying seems hard at first, but then your life gets exponentially better. Besides, you will always get caught (if not at the moment, then-trust me-eventually) and you'll wonder why you feel subtextually awful even if you do get away with it at the moment. 

6) Don't cheat. If you are with someone and meet someone else, be honest about it, and/or end the other thing first, before acting on a romantic impulse.Otherwise you've doomed both your chance for a real relationship with the new person, and you've also diminished your own greatness, for a time. "It's easy to deceive someone who loves and believes in you" is a rueful observation, NOT an order.

7) Share your strengths, not your weaknesses. No one wants to hear your problems, not really. Maybe for a bit, but NOT all the time. Share your triumphs and joys more.

8) Don't overshare. Especially in a romantic context.

9) Learn to forgive. But don't pretend to forgive before you have. If you're nice to someone when you actually are still hurt, it just muddies the waters. Retreat until you've processed it. Or talk it through. If you can't forgive for a while, dont talk to em. You'll forgive AND forget eventually, then you can reach out. Or? not.

10) Don't make up stuff to torture yourself with. You can't know what's really going on in someone else's head or heart. If your beloved is now with someone else, and you are picturing their life together as one long feast of milk and honey, you may be right--but you are probably not. No one goes dancing down the flower laden path hand in hand singing show tunes together forever. -Unless there are serious drugs involved. -Get on with what makes YOU happy. Guessing about what's going on with HIM/HER, is a waste of time, because? you just can't know. Don't make up stuff to make yourself miserable about.- Besides, everyone turns into a human being (rather than an idealized Other) eventually, in a romantic relationship. She might be gazing at Prince Charming right now and saying "That whole crown thing? Really bugs me." 

11) Get some exercise, eat good stuff, don't drink too much. Your mom was right. You'll feel better.

12) Look outward. Reach out to a friend or do some volunteer work. Amazing how good it feels to help.

13) Support your friends. lean on them too --but not too much.

14) Go to every party you're invited to. 

15) Say YES. If someone says, for instance, "Do you want to go to East Harlem for the world's most amazing pastrami sandwich?", say yes, not "nooo, it's laaate.' Take reasonable precautions, but say yes to adventures. Fun is good. Pleasure is healing.

16) Keep an open mind. Not so open that things fall out of it, but open enough that you can change your thinking if new evidence presents itself.

17) Fall in love. If it doesn't work out, it hurts, but it's always, always better to love than not to love. 

18) People tell you everything you need to know about them on the first date. Listen.

19) Always have fresh flowers and perfume.

20) Tell me what YOU've learned.


Read more: http://www.myspace.com/perilyons/blog?page=3#ixzz13iD6xy9K

Read more:http://www.myspace.com/perilyons/blog?page=3#ixzz13iD6xy9K

21 October 2010

Synchronicity To The Rescue!

As I was walking to a class tonight, I wasn't in the best mood ever. Some kind soul had sent me a photo of my ex at a gala, with his date: so I was walking by the Reservoir, praying to Whomever to keep me connected to the Good, to genuinely wish them both love and happiness.-I'm not saying it worked every time, but it worked enough. So much that I asked for a sign, of any kind, that things happen -if not for a reason--then not completely randomly. Actually, I asked for a chance to be of use somehow.

On Park and 82nd St, I heard and imperious-if slightly cracked- voice say: "Young Woman! You! The Pretty One! Come here and help me across the street!"

I turned around, and there was a tiny, elderly woman, about the size and build of a capuchin monkey. She had a sort of modified shopping cart that she was using as a walker, and was very well dressed. But she was having trouble seeing over the top of her improvised walker, let alone WALKING. So I said "Of course, madam", took her arm--"not THAT way!" she growled; obviously this was a well rehearsed drill for her---and led her across the street. She issued instructions and commands the entire time. She was a little like Captain Blight in a robin's egg blue twin set. (Cashmere.)

She had stepped a little too far into traffic for my comfort, so I stopped, in order to holde her back a bit, as Buicks (ARE there still Buicks?) went whizzing past our noses, too close for comfort. She yanked at my arm.
"Young woman", she said, "I may be old, but I am not, as many young people think, a complete idiot. I would NOT walk into traffic. Not being gaga."
"Of course," I said. "It was a reflective instinctual thing."
She smiled, as though she was pleased with her ability to choose escorts. "Good vocabulary", she said, and smiled at me, just a tiny bit. Then she went back to issuing orders.
Feeling more sympathy for Fletcher Christian than I ever had previously, I tried to divert her with questions. Also, I was interested. She was a salty, upper class pirate, and I liked her.
"I have parents who are older, and they're still smarter than I am, so it's not likely that I'd assume you're bats. Or dopey. Is this slang dated?"I grinned at her.
She smiled contentedly, after making sure my arm was properly adjusted and secure for her clinging comfort. "I was the head nurse at (Rutgers?) Hospital. I was there when they did the first kidney transplant. Now THAT was a thing." She stopped and closed her eyes to remember, I pulled her out of the way of a speeding noncognizant limo. She didn't notice. She was thinking of the splendor of that moment.
"Were you a nephrology nurse? Did you know my uncle, Dr. Bricker? The famous nephrologist?"
She opened her eyes fast-and wide, as she realized we were in traffic--and skedaddled a bit as she asked,"Dr. NEAL Bricker? HE's your UNCLE?"
I smiled with pleasure. "Yup. And he's your age, and he and his amazing wife are TWICE as smart as I am, so no more prejudices about young 'uns, please."
We chatted some more. She had gone back to school and become a psychologist; written a book about breast cancer -"I wanted to call it "Renaissance", but the goddamn publisher said [here she adopted a mocking tone in sing song} "No one will KNOW what that MEANS, Yvonne!" She snorted in indignation, something I have not seen in person very often. "So they called it "You've Got A Friend." Another snort.
"You will pardon me saying so on such short acquaintance, " I said, "but that title somehow doesn't seem very...YOU."
She turned her pretty blue eyes towards me sideways, as if acknowledging reluctantly that I might be capable of cogent reasoning."No. It isn't."
We kept walking.
She said, "Okay, here's the UPS Store. We're going in here for a minute. You're coming with."
At this point, having smelled a whiff of distillery and juniper on her breath, I wasn't going to leave her by herself. I resigned myself to being late for class. "Okay," I sighed.
The men in the UPS store were more than kind to her- they were downright saintly gentleman.
While she was watching them Xerox stuff for her, she took to reminiscing. "My husband was a trombone player and a violinist, you know."
I said, startled, "Simultaneously?"
She looked at me sideways again for a moment, and then allowed herself to laugh.
:No, one at a time..." she said.
"Pity. He could been in vaudeville." I was funnin' her.
"Actually, he played for the house band at The Chase (?) Hotel, Played with Nat King Cole...Sophie Tucker..."
"NAT KING COLE?? He's my RINGTONE!" I cried, pulling out my phone and making it ring. Instantly it played King singing "Stardust."
"Sophie Tucker...now THERE was an unexpected broad." she said. "But you won't know who she is.
"Smile when you challenge me o showbiz trivia, Yvonne," said I. I then quoted some of Sophie' act to her.
She hooted with delight. "Yes! That's her! But you know, the damnedest thing..."
"What?" I asked, because she was drifting a bit.
She snapped to. "The damnedest thing is that, if you talked to her offstage, she had a very polished Back Bay accent. [She did a credible imitation of a lock-jawed Eastern pedigree girl.]
To me, Sophie was known for her thick New Yawk accent and vulgarity (funny vulgarity)--to hear that she was a tea drinking grande dame was causing me some trouble.  So I said, "I'm going to sit down next to you, and process the cognitive dissonance. Oh...may I see your ring?"

She was wearing a Claddagh ring. I have one-it was the last ring my ex gave me--and I have been looking for it for days. It is two small hands holding one heart, and means "I will be faithful to you always, my one true love."

"I have a ring just like that" I said, turning her hand to examine the ring.
"Oh? You know what it means, then?" she asked. She was looking at me with sudden kindness in her face.
"Yes. Yes I do. It's a lovely sentiment."
I stood up. "Oh they're done. Shall we?"
Another series of complicated maneuvers got Yvonne, her rolling cart, me and and umbrella  decanted onto the street intact. "I'm going to get a cab," she said.
"I'll help," i said. Another 20 minutes of maneuvering later, I put her into a taxi, gently. She said "Thank you , dear. You are kind. Remind me to tell you my favorite Neal story sometime." She started to close the door.
Then she opened it a bit and said "Hey! Young lady!"
I turned back for a moment. "Yes, Yvonne?"
She eyed me sharply. "What happened to your ring?"
I stood in a puddle, and thought about a photo I'd seen that day, that had changed my life a little.
"Well, young lady?"
I held up my two hands, ringless and manicured. "It's gone," I said. "It's gone." I smiled. "And I think I've just stopped looking for it. There are other rings. But yours is lovely. Goodnight."
She pulled the door to, and the cab sped away. She was going to the fire dept to complain about something, and had brought a "photo of my Daddy in his fireman's uniform in St Louis." she had confided. "That'll make em sit up and take notice. No one listens when you're old, young lady. So I bring props."

I walked a few blocks, already late to class, and already not caring. I ahd read in the Times this morning about 100 year olds and what had helped them stay alive, with joie de vivre, so long.
One woman said "Just put it behind you. Th past is the past. There's always better stuff in front of you. Never look back. Just don't." The other centenarians agreed. "Don't look back. Have fun. Don't dwell on the bad stuff. Look ahead."

I smiled, thinking about the article, and the cranky and vivacious lifeforce I had just bottled into a cab. Who showed me her ring, my same ring, and knew my uncle, who lives 3000 miles away, by first name. Who demanded my help and received it: exactly what I am trying to learn how to do in my own life, in so many ways.
Who might or might not have been "my sign", but who made me happy, as helping someone always does. As self forgetting in a good way, does. As I went off towards Sutton Place to my class, I thought "just keep looking forward...something better's coming", and thoght about the way the centanarians had repeated that, and thought about how it is what I'm going to be doing, from this step and that step on. Depite F. Scott Fitzegerald's seductively nihilistic sentnce" "And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past,,"...I resolved, with each step, not to be swayed by his lyrical, liquid romntics, And to be a better boat. And go forward.

I walked on through the darkening air. And I sang "Stardust"- not softly, not loudly, but just loud enough for my own soul to hear it. Just that loud. "Sometimes I wonder, why I spend the lonely night/dreaming of a song/a melody/haunts my reverie/and I am once again with you..."
And I thought, "let's save the sadness for the singing and the songs, yes? Put drama on the stage where it belongs." Something in me lifted and flew free. I walked, and sang, and said "goodnight" to the sleepy windows I was passing, and felt my heart, at last, settle cozily back into the nest it had fled from, in June.

Goodnight, city. Goodnight, Yvonne. And Yvonne?
Thank you.

love peri

19 October 2010

There Is No Title For This That Google Will Recognize, So Screw It: Random Things

Random notes from a random notemaker: or,
Brides, Princes, Laundry Rooms and Dead Union Organizers DO have a Common Denominator. So there.   (read on....)

1) Read today that Martha Custis "invented" the wedding veil. Martha Washington's granddaughter, she made herself a veil of white lace, after her fiance remarked that her face looked especially lovely when she peered through the lace curtain. What he was actually saying was "You look much better when your face is mostly hidden, but you're from an extremely rich family, so what the hell. " I wonder if he spent the rest of their married life positioning her behind drapes, potted plants, shower curtains, whatever.
It's a good thing he didn't say she looked good by lamplight. Women everywhere would be walking down the aisle with lampshades on their heads.  

2) The Italian Prince called this evening, inviting me for two weeks in South America. "Or maybe Barbados.", he said. His English is not good. Nor is his grasp of vacation geography. He calls like clockwork every few months, and every few months i turn him down, but damn if that boy don't keep calling. Bless his princely little heart. He wasn't born a Prince, but was made a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire for his Services to Italy: he invented a process to make olives GROW in pretty colors and thus made more money than God. Apparently the world was waiting breathlessly for a pink olive. Who knew. -I've used every excuse in the book to wriggle out of these kind offers, such as: "I can't, I'm seeing somebody," [no, I'm not];"I can't, I'm going to, um, Wauhegan"[pretty much a "no" there, too..where IS Wauhegan?]," and , "I can't, I'm awaiting canonization,"-but to no avail. --Yes, yes, i COULD just hang up, but really--is YOUR life exciting enough that you can do without a call from a prince begging to take you to exotic destinations? And neither is mine.

3) While in the laundry room of the apartment building I live in this evening, and while folding what seemed like more laundry than ANYONE could POSSIBLY have EVER, I sighed out loud, without meaning too.
The nice, elderly yet sprightly, man folding across from me, looked up inquisitively.
"You okay?" he asked, in a kindly fashion.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just that I just remembered, my servants are imaginary. Damn it."
He smiled. "My daughter just moved to China, for her work, and she has servants. She still can't get used to it."
I grinned back. "You know, I was in a place with servants last year for a week, and I was AMAZED how easily a girl who grew up singing folk songs about unions, could get used to it. I still occasionally forget, and snap my fingers to have someone bring me a margarita by the pool."
He looked puzzled. "There's no pool on this building."
I sighed again. "I know. Or servants. Or margaritas."
He pointed out that there might well be margaritas I was unaware of on the premises, and I realized that he'd been kidding about the pool. Then, after frowning thoughtfully for a moment, he said, "Union songs?"
I had to think back a few sentences, and then realized: "Oh. Yes. Union songs. Folk songs from the 30s and 40s about the need for unions, and the meanness of thug union busters. I was sort of a pinkdiaper baby." [Note to young 'uns: a reddiaper baby is one who was brought up in the 30's by liberal NYC Jews, who leaned to the socialist side; a pink diaper baby is a descendant of same, either literal descendant or spiritual.]

He stopped folding, put his laundry down carefully, stood up straight, and drew a deep breath.
"I dreamt I saw....Joe Hill last night...." he warbled, in a pretty sturdy baritone.
"-Alive as you and me!" I chimed in delightedly.
We sang the next part in unison: "Said I, "but Joe, you're ten years dead!" we caterwauled. In a nonetheless pleasing manner.
And I went high for the harmony:
"I never died, said he....I never died, said HEEEEEeee!"

We did the entire song.

I was about to ask him if he knew "Long Black Veil", but the laundry room was closing.

In the elevator, we talked our shared love of traditional folk music: not modern folk, which can be great and has some of the best songwriters alive committing it (Michael Peter Smith, David Massingill, Erik Frandsen) but the stuff that was written by plaintive and anonymous folk in the last five hundred years. And brought to the US in boats and planes, and then: transformed by the loved ones waiting on the new but homesick shores, into  songs that were the same- only different.

Then he got out, bowed deeply and dropped his laundry basket. I giggled and waved as the doors closed.

And that, ladies and jellybeans? Is why I live in this town.


How are YOU?


16 October 2010

Went to the Metropolitan Opera the other night to see "Boris Godunov". I love the accoutrements of opera: getting to dress to the glittering nines, getting to be with a handsome man in black tie, getting charged 32 dollars for a glass of Veuve Clicqout (Nope, didn't buy one; nor was the bartender amused when I asked him, since he didn't take credit cards, is I could trade colorful shells and beads, or perhaps liovestock, instead. He might have just have been bitter because he didn't have change for a sheep.) It's just opera itself I'm not sure about. Which is an irremediable failure on my part, but it's probably like sea urchin sushi or Justin Bieber: you either totally love it or you, well, don't.

I have written about opera before; I think it can be good for a critic to know absolutely nothing in the slightest, about the art form she's talking about. -Not good for the readers, maybe, but really- who asked them? Sheesh.

This production of "Godunov" was impressive but a little on the "hey, let's just do weird things and hope the audience thinks it's arty!" side. The sets were very, very minimal: apparently, someone walked into an empty warehouse one day and said, "Hey this reminds of me the scheming and power struglles in 18th century Russia!"- and the costumes were beautiful but a mite distracting. Partially because it appeared that the costume designer's approach was to close his eyes, open a book about "Costume Through The Ages", and simply copy whatever his eye first fell on. So there were ladies in 16th century ruffs; 19th centurey Empire costumes; and 20th century Gaultier suits; while the men cavorted in the priesthood robes of an oder that didn't exist at that time, as well as 19th century peasant, 21st century Generic Madman, and, with Boris G himself, a sort of Marilyn Manson-meets-Nine-Inch-Nails post Goth thing: he also had waistlength Cher Hair.  I kept thinking: "you're Tsar, dude: you can't afford a haircut? Even washing it would be a nice gesture."

You'll be surprised to learn that it didn't end happily. However, if I remember my history right, which is a pretty big "if, the REAL "False Dimitri" (he pretended to be the rightful Tsar, don't even ask, really) didn't stride out onto the stage proclaiming that justice peace and really good borscht-the kind you make from scratch--would now be readily available to all you smelly poor people. Nope. What ACTUALLY happened was that the peasants got fed up with him--turned out the borscht was storebought--and shot him out of a cannon, over the Russian border into Poland, a technique one almost never finds recommeneded in books called things like "How To Live A Long And Healthy Life". In fact, the number three rule, after "Stop smoking" and "don't date actors", is "Try not to get shot out of a cannon into Poland."  And I don"t. or do, or have, or haven't. Or something. Damn this grammar thing.- Anyway, good night.

07 October 2010

Giving It Up

I've always held the theory that people either "expand" or "contact" as they get older.

Not literally--well, okay, sometimes literally--but I've noticed, especially after 30, that a person's reaction
to, say, a difficult life situation, comes down to the most basic of two choices: we either move towards the situation or away from it. "Moving towards" involves stuff that doesn't feel good at the moment: feeling the pain, figuring out what one's lessons are, facing whatever truth needs to be faced. It's the path of growth, and, like most things that are good for us, is not that much fun. But like exercise, and broccoli, and writing thank you notes...it makes us feel better later. MUCH better.

 "Moving away" from the situation IS fun...well, it feels like fun at the time. In NYC, one can keep incredibly busy, which not only is distracting, but makes one feel important. "I'm really busy, therefore I MUST be doing something important", could be alternately the motto for either NY/LAers.,or a hamster in his wheel. I speak from experience: I have spent a lot of time as a rather glamourous hamster.

When you move away from a difficult situation--when you drink a lot, or lie to avoid "hurt feelings", or get lost in the arms of yet another Troo Luv, or do anything that distracts you while at the same time  feels really good--a necessary part of you is at risk of genuinely dying. I'm not saying "never have a glass of wine after a hard day at the office". I am saying that what I've learned recently is: sometimes, you need to be quiet, do nothing, and listen.

It's HARD TO DO.    -DAMN!

I've always been a "runner towards": I can't help it, it's part of my nature. I learned this in a very concrete way when, 15 years ago, a grownup was beating a child on the street, and I ran towards the situation, not away. I got my hand broken with a tire iron for my foolhardiness, but the adult got sent to jail, so that worked out as a reasonable trade. But there are nights when I can't find much good about myself--I'm not 22 anymore, or I'm not successful enough, or my nose is not currently fashionable--when just knowing I ran towards and not away, makes me think, "well at least there's that. " -More permanently, I learned that I can do that. I can face difficult truths. -Eventually. But there's always another growth step, isn't there? The next trick is to feel the bad stuff and face the hard stuff: without wallowing in 'em. As a songwriter, I can rationalize "wallowing" big time--this isn't selfpity, it's research for a song, dammit! I NEED to hang on to these emotions! They might be worth something someday!-Sheesh.

I ran into someone the other day who'd been a close friend, a long time ago. He had contracted. He didn't want to know anything knew: he had his ideas and beliefs, thank you. He had the same opinions as he had a decade before, but now they'd solidified into unshakeable dogma. When I first knew him, he was enthusiastic, curious,, and made lots of mistakes-but some of them turned out pretty well. Now he made no mistakes...well, not in his eyes, anyway. Other people made a LOT of them, according to him. His life philosophy had become "I don't want to hear it."

I've been like that. I recently had to grovel to a friend because I'd been so uncompassionate and so judgmental when she went through a breakup a few months ago. I was so busy feeling superior, that I couldn't and wouldn't feel her pain. I mean, she deserved it for making such stupid choices, right? -Well, ladies and jellybeans, the old adage is true: Karma IS a bitch. I had to get broken open, recently,to let the light shine back in. I had to look at some choices I'd made. Oooops. Not so hot.

It's been hard. It was the hardest time I've ever been through. There was a time when I was young enough to think I had the luxury, of having time to run away from the situation. I drank enough, "fell in love" enough, and ran around enough to distract myself from whatever the Universe was holding up in front of my face and saying"LOOK AT THIS", about.- But I don't have that time anymore. Never did, truth be told. Now the stakes are higher, and the world says "grow, or else." So I had to expand, to let in light, to look at what hadn't worked; I had to, essentially, choose what I wanted to be when I grew up.  And this time? No backsies, as we said in childhood.

So this time? I cried. And learned when to stop crying. I had some wine. And then didn't for a while. I looked at where i'd been lazy, or selfish, or had ignored my own inner counsel; I looked at how I'd lied, or been thoughtless, or ...or...or.... But I also learned that self-flagellation is no substitute for actual CHANGE; part of grieving was learning when to stop. I started to look at  the insanely painful situation with what my wise sister would call "radical acceptance" and my mom would call "emotional economy": I accepted it.
This thing happened. It can't unhappen. I wish it hadn't happened. But now i will accept it completely and move on.

The folks I know who choose growth--in ANY form--are the friends i've watched grow into wiser, finer, stronger folks. The friends I had who chose "running away"...well, I don't know what happened to them.
Every day I force myself to choose growth of SOME kind--reading, or thinking, or reaching out with hardlearned compassion--and every day it's a chore. But I look in the mirror lately and I see--well, okay, I see someone who could use a little Botox in places, but I also see a woman who has worked really hard to earn my trust and respect. I don't know if I would have met her ever, if the Terrible Thing hadn't happened.

But it did.

And weirdly?

I'm grateful.


17 September 2010

A completely silly lyric, because just watched "Pirates of the Caribbean"

The Chick Pirate Song        peri lyons 2010
in the morn I’m away
to far jamaica bay
Lad, I"m afraid I used you for my pleasure;
I’m a pirate lass
Drinks my fill and breaks the glass!
And you are just a coin in all my treasure...
The wind is in the sails--
The porpoises and whales
Will serenade us in our time together;
Bid home and heart adieu
For who will ransom you?
Yes you are now my captive lad forever
And if you do ignore me
or (much more likely) bore me...
Then I'll maroon you on a lonely cay;
Provision you-- then kiss you
And darling, I may miss you...
But by that time I'll be so far away....
Cuz Im a pirate lass
Drinks my fill and breaks the glass
And you are just a coin in all my treasure
But darling don't be blue
I used you, it is true...
But surely you would not deny the pleasure!

In the morn I’m away
to far jamaica bay
Lad, Im afraid I used you for my pleasure;
I’m a pirate lass
Drinks my fill and breaks the glass!
And you are just a coin in all my treasure...

But surely, you would ne'er deny the pleasure

peri 2010

 a little old fashioned but what the hell.

16 September 2010

Anymore: song lyric (peri's)

Well, this about sums it up. Switched up the genders: actually, it should be a male/female duet when sung.=PL xx

It's not something that is easily explained;
I don't even know what for.
We can argue who is crazy, who is sane:
I just don't want to anymore.
You want to reason with me: call me and complain
List all the good times from before...
I am sorry to be causing you this pain
I just don't want to anymore.
Look: Love is strange, and everybody knows that fact-
There's a helpful song for every heart that's broken;
Things rearrange: when love is leaving -and you've caught it in the act-
Then you forget every wise word ever spoken
Yes, I'm a heartless boy who's turned his back on love.
Yes, I agree now ,like before.
You throw your gauntlet down as I adjust my glove;
Demand just who and why and what I'm thinking of;
You ask me if I even know the cost of love...
Well, I don't want to anymore.
I just don't want to, anymore.

c 2010 peri lyons/valley cottage music ascap

31 August 2010

A Rather Silly Lyric In Honor of The US Open and My Recent Breakup

U.S. Open Your Heart, My Dear        c 2010 Peri Lyons, who wrote it and all

Though tennis I know nothing of,
They all know nothing equals love;
And all the sports fans know the call:
Love equals nothing much at all.

The poets tell us there's no cost:
It's better to have loved and lost-
But let me tell you something, hon-
It's BETTER to have loved and WON.

Sportsfans and poets all agree
That love's a bloody mystery:
If love's a game, as seems to be:
The heart's a lousy referee.

So though I loved and lost, it's true,
And played no games at all with you:
I've cut out sobbing into gin-
Cuz next time? I will play to win.

xx pl c 2010


One of the most annoying things about the career I seem to have fallen into by accident, is that I occasionally have to actually TAKE the damn advice I give to others, in such a blithe and breezy manner.. Like the annoyingly new-age question, "If you knew this awful situation was happening in order to teach you a very specific lesson very fast, what do you think that lesson is?" I love asking that, in a slightly pompous way. But now that it's happened to me? Jesus, I HATE answering it.
Because, let's face it, what is the fun of going through a very hard time, if you can't feel immensely, gloriously sorry for yourself, and therefore indulge in- and rationalize!- incredibly self-indulgent behaviour?
Of COURSE you're temporarily allowed to watch 5 hours of "The Tudors" until the sun comes up! (I would also do the whole "consuming a pint of Haagen Dazs" thing as well, but sadly, don't like sweets. Or lately, food.) Of COURSE you can stay up all night listening to sappy music and sobbing! -Of course, unless you can figure ut a way to get PAID for these activities, pretty soon you have to snap out of it and go be a Regular Person Without Misery Privileges again, which kind of sucks. I got a lot of free cab rides when I was being Attractively Wistful And Slightly Teary. But now I'm kinda over it, so I have to pay AND tip. Am considering hiding raw onion in hankie to bring back those pity-inducing-and-really-rather-profitable tears.

I do miss living with my guy: we really had a blast together, and I kind of perfected the half badass/half geisha thing, AND I re-learned how to cook. But it turns out I'm much shallower than I thought: six weeks and booom: all better. It"s hard to realize that while,yes, one can be deeply and poetically miserable as befits a tortured poet with a profound soul, one can ALSO be pretty much completely cheered up by finding a pair of Yves Saint Laurent shoes on eBay for 5 bucks. Damn it.

Well, am off to read 19th century Romantic poets and weep for the beautiful poignancy of it all.-Oh, hell, who are we kidding: I'm off to bid on that really cool pair of vintage Air Jordans. I'm pretty sure that Shelley and Keats kept their references to athletic footwear to a minimum. But you never know.

Those guys were deep.