Over the years, I’ve had many things confiscated at the border. At the airport they took my MAC lipstick. This happened sometime after the shoe bomber and before the 100 ml liquid rule.
I had just bought a $27 lip gloss, the seal had not been broken but the woman at security said I couldn’t keep it. And even though I said really loudly, “It’s Mac. I would never put a bomb in Mac lipstick, this did nothing to assuage her fears. She looked pleased that I had breached some form of security. In fact, when I turned back and saw her at the gate I am pretty sure I saw her doing her lips.
A few weeks ago when I went to the states for a writing retreat with the amazing author, Nick Flynn ( writer of Being Flynn and another Bullshit Night in Suck City) I had the following conversation with a border guard. It was so odd I pulled over, and jotted it down before my mind could embellish it. (much)
BG is border guard.
DK: is me
( the words in brackets are interior thoughts)
BG: Where are you headed?
DK: A writing class.
BG: And where is that?
DK: The Omega Centre.
BG: And where is that?
DK: Rhinebck New York. 4 hours from here.
BC: Where’s that?
DK (It’s your country. Don’t you know?) Near NYC.
BG: What kind of writing class?
DK: I will be studying memoir as Bewilderment.
BG: What’s that?
DK: We’re studying memoir and how you are bewildered when it comes to memory.
BG: I am confused.
BG: Are you teaching this course?
DK: No. Taking it.
BG: Its kind of odd you’re taking a bewilderment class at your age.
DK: I am always learning.
BG: What’s all that paper you’ve got there?
DK: Oh this? My driving instructions, and some poetry.
BG: I see. Let me see that. ( He takes the sheets and looks bewildered.) So, did you write this poetry?
DK: No. No. It’s not my poetry. It’s my friend’s poem.
BG: You’re taking a friend poem down to Omega to study bewilderment.
DK (Yes, I am transporting illegal free verse. Trafficking iambic pentameter.)
BG: So what has this got to do with….what did you call it?
BG: Yes. What does this poem have to do with that!
DK: We will be using the sentences from the poem as inspiration.
DK: No. No. If you use a line from another poet’s work as inspiration it’s called a Glossa.
BG: A glossa? So you a poet?
DK: No. No. God. I am a comedienne.
BG: Really. Really. So you’re funny?
DK:(Some people think so.)
BG: ( You’re not making me laugh, lady. ) I see. A glossa about bewilderment? I don’t get it.
DK (Perhaps you’d let me through faster if I had a rifle in my trunk.)
BG: Are you transporting any fruit?
DK: Just a pear.
BG: I’ll have to confiscate that from you..
I hand him the pear and he hands me back my friend’s poem.
BG: All right drive on through.
As I looked back the border guard I am pretty sure I see him having a nosh on cheese with my pear. But I am relieved I got to study with Nick ( and create new exercises for my Sept 28th workshop I have for you) And that the border guard didn’t find those sonnets I was suitcasing!