Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poetry Thursday: Rupert Brooke

Menelaus and Helen

Hot through Troy's ruin Menelaus broke
To Priam's palace, sword in hand, to sate
On that adulterous whore a ten years' hate
And a king's honour. Through red death, and smoke,
And cries, and then by quieter ways he strode,
Till the still innermost chamber fronted him.
He swung his sword, and crashed into the dim
Luxurious bower, flaming like a god.
High sat white Helen, lonely and serene.
He had not remembered that she was so fair,
And that her neck curved down in such a way;
And he felt tired. He flung the sword away,
And kissed her feet, and knelt before her there,
The perfect Knight before the perfect Queen.

So far the poet. How should he behold
That journey home, the long connubial years?
He does not tell you how white Helen bears
Child on legitimate child, becomes a scold,
Haggard with virtue. Menelaus bold
Waxed garrulous, and sacked a hundred Troys
'Twixt noon and supper. And her golden voice
Got shrill as he grew deafer. And both were old.
Often he wonders why on earth he went
Troyward, or why poor Paris ever came.
Oft she weeps, gummy-eyed and impotent;
Her dry shanks twitch at Paris' mumbled name.
So Menelaus nagged; and Helen cried;
And Paris slept on by Scamander side.

Ok, so I'm a bit obsessed with the Trojan War. Which translates fairly naturally rather roundaboutly into a mild obsession with Rupert Brooke. It lessens a bit, as I get older and my affinity for youth and tragedy and tragic beauty wanes, but there'll always be room in my heart (and my lectures) for ol' Rupert.

So, Brian and I are in the studio today, and, as usual, he has the TV on while he's working, while I, as usual, have my headphones on and the music turned up as far as I can so that I can write and ignore him.

Until M*A*S*H comes on, that is. M*A*S*H is a show I used to sneak off to watch in our all but TV-free household, a bit of childhood memory-ville I find particularly hard to tune out. Especially when it awakens my other obsessions. As with this particular episode, which opens with Klinger lying out in the Korean countryside, reading Rupert Brooke.

"I love Rupert Brooke," I said to Brian.


"He's so tragic. He died on the way to the battle of Gallipoli, you know."


".....Rhumatic fever? I think? Maybe?"

"Romantic fever?"

"That's more likely."

It was sepsis from an infected mosquito bite, actually.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

It's freezing. Brr.

I want my seasonably hot weather back.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Too darn

It's hot. I always say that I miss the summer heat but really? Not so much. Not when it's actually here. The only times I like it are a: after dark, and b: when we're here in Brian's basement. Speaking of the Brian: how many times can he watch the same Sopranos episode? A: a lot.

This is becoming an annual tradition: the weather's hot for a few days, and I write a blog post about how we San Franciscans have a deal with the Powers That Be: a few earthquakes, the occasional heaping of scorn from the Bible Belt, and in return we get weather that hardly ever falls below 50 or rises above 70. Is that too much to ask?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Up in the air

I'm at the airport, killing time before my flight home, which has been delayed two and a half hours. You'd think that would be a good time to catch up on work or personal writing, but instead it's mostly been spent trolling airport gift shops, fondling the smoked salmon and books of Northwest Coast art. And now blogging. Productivity: not my strong point.

We had a good visit. My grandmother seems better everyday, which makes for a funny combination of feelings -- relief, of course, that her health continues to improve, with a touch of awkwardness. What to do, when she needs me less? And how to know when to step in, and when to allow her privacy? It's an odd balancing act, and one that nothing in my life thus far has really prepared me for.

Anyway. Home again. I'll heading back to Vancouver in July, when my darling seester will be up from CT. If anyone actually stamped my passport at the border (why don't they?), it'd be looking pretty fancy.

Anyway, that's enough for now. I'm gonna go try and find me some airport art to look at.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Even More Family Photos

My grandfather, beatnik phase

My father, eccentric phase.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

More Family Photos

My grandparents (and my grandfather's reflection) at their wedding.

Grandma, my dad and I found this in an album last night, after Grandma's birthday dinner.

"You look so young!" I said. "How old were you?"

"Twenty five?" said grandma.

"That is young."

"Twenty four? Twenty three? Twenty two?"

We all laughed. "Young!"

Family Secrets: More Prosaic Than You Might Expect

It's 8:31, and Grandma should've been up about a half an hour ago (no reason, really. She just set her alarm for 8 AM last night when I was putting her to bed). About a minute ago, I heard her stirring upstairs, so I went up, glass of water in hand, to help her get dressed and ready to face the day. As I walked into her room, she shuffled out of the bathroom and crawled back into bed. "Could I get fifteen more minutes?"

Could it be she's not really a morning person? Apparently, my up-at-six-and-off-to-exercise grandma and sluggabed me have more in common than previously suspected.

In other news, I've started moving like my grandmother. Last night, as I straightened the kitchen and again this morning, as I opened the blinds and made coffee, I found myself moving slowly, placing my feet precisely as if I were a much smaller and more fragile than I actually am.

I need to go out someplace and dance around like a clumsy maniac.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I've been trying to casually work this into a blog post, but it just won't cooperate.

So there's this urban legend I heard once, about this woman who's in an ice cream shop when she notices Jack Nicholson is standing next to her. She plays it cool, completes the ice-cream-for-money exchange, and heads outside -- only to discover that she no longer has her ice cream with her. As she's standing there trying to figure out what on earth has happened, Jack Nicholson walks out of the shop, sidles up to her and whispers, "It's in your purse."

So anyway, last Tuesday found me in the airport, passport and boarding pass in hand, waiting for my delayed flight to Vancouver. I'd just left an embarrasingly smooshy face message on Brian's voicemail when I truned around to discover myself right next to a small family who'd just disesmbarked from the plane I was going to take up to Canada & were sorting out their strollers and such. The mother looked familiar. I checked out the baby. Familiar. I checked out the dad. Familiar.

Ohmigod, y'all. It was Maggie Mason.

I stood there, openmouthed for a moment or so, then rushed away, all star struck and much too shy to say "helloIhaveyourbookandwowyouguysarecuteinreallife." And then I spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out what on earth I'd done with my passport (I'd stuck it between the pages of my book in all the excitement).

In other news, The Ice Cream for Money Exchange is totally the name of my new band.