"I like to think of the Golden Gate Bridge as a sexy red dressed woman." --from the back of a postcard sent to me by a good friend who was living in San Francisco.
Ah, the red dress. Apple of my knee, rhubarb of my waist, and tomato of my bosom. This sexy fashion statement is booming as a literary conceit. In the past 100 years, several American poets have published red dress poems that dance off the page and into our cherry-red hearts: Kim Addonizio, Anne Sexton, Dorothy Parker, Sharon Olds, etc. I probably don't have to tell you that the red dress in these poems symbolizes sex, attitude, confidence, and desire. I see the red dress a verb, propelling the wearer "into this world, through the birth-cries and the love-cries" (Addonizio).
Since I fall into new obsessions almost daily, it didn't take long for the red dress to totally consume my body and soul. For the past year or so, I have been accumulating red dress poems by some fabulous American poets--and I've even been writing some of my own! I am extremely dedicated to this obsession. For example, if I ever own my own business, I will call it The Red Dress. Hell, if I have a kid, maybe I'll even don him/her with the name Red Dress. Yes, this is an obsession I will work hard to preserve, even if it means that someday, somewhere, a 1st grade teacher might have to say, "Red Dress, please give us your answer for 2+2."
This red dress is driving me deliriously happy! And crazy. Some nights I stay up until 4am just contemplating the possibilities of its red-flame power! I often miss work after riding a 4-day red dress binge. At night I sometimes choke on my plateful of red dress, and not even 40 chugs of my red dress beer can unclog the red dress. She speaks to me, too:
Red is Courtney Love lipstick and chicken blood. Red, the color of a hooker's heels in Vegas or the flashing lights of a police car. Red is dangerous. Red is apple and cherry and pomegranate open mouths. It says lick my palm. Red is Richard Simmons cheek-glitter or the real color of blackberry stains. Rhubarb pie with strawberry. Red pepper chile ristra in the doorway saying enter, enter. Red wax of the candle dripping off the mantle and onto the white white carpet for 8 days straight. Red wine dripping infinitely onto coffee tables and doilies. Red give-ins . Red mornings when the sun seeps through red curtains. Roadkill. Ketchup on my red dress you can't see oh-no-you-can't.
Wow. Maybe I should learn to shake this red dress obsession. It may no longer be a healthy academic endeavor...
Red Dress Recipe Call-Out: Here's how I want you to join in my obsession: Email me a recipe that calls for beets at adabach at hotmail dot com. Yes, BEETS! What could be a more perfect Red Dress food! Beets are red to the fiery core. The stains they leave on your hands and lips scream out to you that they cannot be forgotten. They are Red Dress. Next Sunday I will post your recipes, poems, pictures, or anything else beet-related you wish to send my way.
On a final note, here's what novelist Tom Robbins has to say about beets:
"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious."
23 hours ago