& May

Mike Nichols and Elaine May were what “grown up” funny sounded like, floating through an open door on a cloud of Kent cigarette smoke. The sound was black and white with silver silences. Except for the recording of their Broadway revue, their albums offered no audience to cue laughter with laughter. They were desiccant-dry and precise as a tonearm stylus. Their characters were immediate, vivid, finely tuned in lilting disharmony. They were a knife and a fork, politely, delicately stabbing and slicing, feeding me food I’d never tasted and would forever crave.

And the movies… The movies.

Farewell, Mike. Thank you for sending up Vanguard.

Nichols & May

She Climbed at Midnight

a birthday gift of nonlinear nonsense for Angela
with deep affection and affecting depth
by D. St. Evencohen

She was the kind of dame who could enter a room just by climbing in the window. You know the kind I mean… stealthy, limber, the kind who could climb exterior walls with nothing but her Nikes and her suction-cup palms. I had given her a key, even left the front door unlocked in case the lock would jam, which it never did, but you never know. SHE knew, just not you. Not ever. She: always. You: never. That’s what drew me to her. The way she always knew while climbing in the window. Still, she’d knock over the planter each time. But she’d build a new one. Each time. And fill it with soil and seeds. You know the kind I mean. The kind that grow and then get knocked to the ground each time she climbed in the window. And that was why she had me. That and the steel-fiber-and-velvet cord she kept tied around my wrists and secured to the 1968 Rambler grill she used as a headboard. And even though I had long ago pulled free of the simple bow she had tied by pulling gently on the cord with my teeth, I stayed. Not just because she could enter a room (just by climbing in the window). Or that she always knew. Or even her carpentry and gardening skills. That would be enough to keep me through the holidays, because she trimmed a nice tree. That was another kind of dame she was. A real trimmer. But that wasn’t why I stayed. Although that, especially taken with the aforementioned, would be more than enough. I stayed… because she knew how to rumba… and the lessons were free.