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Eileen Tabios – As Catherine Becomes “Kitty”

Eileen Tabios
As Catherine Becomes “Kitty”

Brunette and allergic to black velvet, she adopted
brandy-laced tsuris from Mama who instructed
her perfume must liberate memories searing
with Falstaffian grandiloquence and ruby lipstick—
e.g. foibles admired by Haile Selassie and Zasu Pitts.

From Mama’s background of bridge and violin
she learned ekphrasis as a “discipline to furnish
her mind and enable grace anywhere on any occasion.”
The goal?  A gentleman to finance expeditions
to the Pyramids, Le Pavilion (New York), Villa d’Este,

Palm Springs (of course) and inevitable London.
She bowed her demeanor—despite stock market
acumen permeating the veins of ancestors,
despite “Switzerland until the braces come off,”
she is familiar with “life on the fringe.”

She has worn dirndl and peered through lorgnettes
in “quick flop” movie scenes.  She designed
her wedding outfit from props of a regional play: a straw
hat over a red-and-white print dress.  She steeled
her backbone with “that terrible English strength

that makes you wonder why they lost India.”

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