Giving Thanks

November 27, 2014 § 3 Comments

photo 1 (14)

I’m thankful that my husband and cats are always excited when I wake up in the morning. I’m thankful that my mother wasn’t hurt badly when she tripped over a cement divider in the supermarket parking lot. I’m thankful that I no longer need to use a typewriter and carbon paper. I’m thankful that Charles is doing the dishes. I’m thankful that Fitzroy has woken up and is shaking his furry head to get rid of the ends of dreams. I’m thankful that I have indoor plumbing. I’m thankful that my clients pay their bills. I’m thankful that I can see pictures of beloved children on Facebook. I’m thankful for bitter greens, ripe pears, French cheese, and walnuts. I’m thankful that there is still winter. I’m thankful I don’t live in Buffalo, though, as a child, I always wanted it to snow up to the roof, just because. I’m thankful that my husband is incredibly cute at 72. I’m thankful that my cousins Roberta and Kate are so kind to my mother, and that my cousin Faxy works to save animals. I’m thankful that my sister’s health issues are better now and that my brother is happy with his vibrant poet laughing woman. I’m thankful that when Fitzroy stares at me, he reminds me of my grandmother. I’m thankful for the English language and its thousands of world-creating writers. I’m thankful for certain evenings I will never forget— the sun throwing rosy light over my bed and bare skin and promises like fireworks. And certain other nights in New Hampshire, Virginia, California, New York, in cars, bed, fields and forest. I’m thankful for James Taylor, Janis Joplin, Frank Sinatra and George Gershwin. I’m thankful that I knew Jesus, if only for a week in my teens after taking LSD. I’m thankful to history for having my back, and death for making sure nothing lasts forever. I’m thankful for Africa, the ocean, the Internet, and crickets. I am thankful that I have written books, painted pictures, made jewelry, love, money and peace. I am thankful that it wasn’t worse.

Quaker Meeting, The Sixties

BY ROBIN BECKER

Seeing my friend’s son in his broad-brimmed hat
and suspenders, I think of the Quakers
who lectured us on nonviolent social action
every week when I was a child. In the classrooms
we listened to those who would not take up arms,
who objected, who had accepted alternative
service in distant work camps and showed
slides of hospitals they helped to build.
On Wednesdays, in Meeting for Worship,
when someone rose to speak,
all the energy in the room
flew inside her mouth, empowering her to tell
what she had seen on her brief
encounter with the divine: sometimes, a parable,
a riddle, a kindness. The fall that we were seventeen,
we scuffed our loafers on the gravelly path
from the Meetinghouse, while maple and elm
leaves sailed around our shoulders
like tiny envelopes, our futures sealed inside.
Despite the war in Vietnam, I felt safer
than I ever would again. Perhaps
those aged, protective trees had cast a spell
on us, or maybe the nonviolent Quaker God
had set up a kingdom right there—
suburban Philadelphia. Looking back, I see how
good deeds and thoughts climbed with us to the attic
room for Latin, descended to the gym for sports,
where we hung from the praiseworthy scaffolds
of righteous behavior. We prepared to leave
for college, armed with the language of the American
Friends and the memories of Thanksgiving
dinners we’d cooked for the unfortunates:
borrowing our parents’ cars to drive
downtown to the drop-off point, racing back
to play our last field hockey match. Grim center forwards
shook hands before the whistle, the half-backs’
knee-pads strapped on tight; one varsity team vanquished another.

Cat Roaches

January 22, 2014 § 1 Comment

bedcats

Lovely walk today in the sun and snow, the park paths smooth and white, the sky bright blue, activity everywhere, the cold gnawing on my face. I wanted to walk a long time, but only managed the park and Citarella, pears and broccoli, salad greens. We’ve been inside without vegetables for a couple of days, because we’re pussies.

You’d think if I fed the cat bits of pork chop, on a plate on the floor, and he didn’t want it, I’d shrug and go on to other things. No. I put the greasy bits in the palm of my hand, sit on the couch and let him dine the way he prefers to.

“I’ve fed you by hand,” I said to Charles, who was laughing at us.

“I can’t remember when.”

“Fruit,” I said, “Berries, cherries.”

“That doesn’t really count. But it sounds nice—an orchard, summer—”

I was thinking of the grand feasts of our early days, eaten in bed. Delicious food was almost as exciting to us then as it is now to the cats. Before he met me, Charles didn’t live with anyone who cooked especially well, and I’d never had control of a kitchen before. It was vegetables and fruits we splurged on, not meats or cheeses or baked goods. Those were too expensive. When I was young, you could buy eggplants and peppers and squash for pennies, bags of fruit for a dollar.

California last week was a sweet break, perfect warm days, friends, family, Mom’s 89th birthday. If it weren’t for the droughts and fires, especially the fires, I might consider moving out there again. Fire scares me, far more than hurricanes or terrorist bombings. We were delayed on the way to the airport by the L.A. fire, and though it wasn’t a cause for alarm, it was unnerving.

We came home to thin cats. They’d been fed, but not the way we feed them. Mouchette bawled like a baby and Fitzroy growled and ran away from me. They got over it. They’re plump again now, like Handsel and Gretel.

I keep being reminded of all the stories I’ve read (fairytales & novels not newspaper accounts: reality is too much) about people kept hostage, kids especially, who don’t know there’s a whole world out there.

It’s not my fault my cats can’t go outside, but I do feel a bit like a mad jailer. And sometimes I feel like I’m the one in jail, and these creatures I imagine are pets are really pests, companions in filth and delusion.

There’s no doubt I’ve read too much fiction. My brain is pickled. I wish I had a boy to massage my feet and a coconut cupcake.

One of my poems, for a change–

Untitled

Inside the fake Chinese chest
painted with dragons
armloads of unfinished work.

The sheets slide like new snow over ice.
All the typewriters are junked now.

Why can’t I ever be done with it?

It must be that I didn’t know
what should happen in the story
about the librarian and the aging

hermaphrodite
or the poem with its mouth full of poppies
like the signature of a serial killer.

You didn’t want to know
because you couldn’t bear the truth

or I didn’t know.

This is still the wide-open place
with a scarlet comma
in the middle of the page.

A Shady Boon for Simple Sheep

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Lola

Mouche

I haven’t had the creative energy to write here since Delilah’s wedding. Too much work, exhaustion…how the days do pass. I learn a lot from editing, though it does make me itch to write my own fiction. But I don’t think this hiatus is a bad thing. My creative voice, which got polluted with…stuff…is airing out, hung on a line in the afternoon sun, eyed by squirrels and robins, ghosts and beetles.

I want to write a story with beetles in it, beetles spilling out of a desk drawer, a manila envelope, the bodice of a woman with dark-red lips…and maybe a claw-foot bathtub in the woods where the drunken man sleeps when his wife is angry at him. And in the sky, bothering no one, a talking sheep talking a lot. Yes, the images and characters are there; they always are.

Charles has a gig, subbing, playing with Sol Yagid, legendary clarinetist from the Benny Goodman era. Yagid’s over 90 and apparently cussed—unfortunate because Charles feels inadequate to play swing. It won’t be fun for him, I guess, but such experiences are always worth it. He’s in the other room now, practicing, practicing. He sounds great to me!

He doesn’t know enough of the songs, he says. He reminds me of a guitarist he met, used to play with Peggy Lee, who told him that one night he was busy and asked Joe Pass to sub for him. When Pass got to the club and heard the line-up of tunes, he said, “I’m not going to play that shit,” thereby losing the original guitarist his job.

“Just be polite,” I said.

I have to go meet a client later, then back for more editing and fractured thoughts of my unfinished novels, which will, I assure you, benefit from time passing. As long as I don’t drop dead, that is. The heat, the clamoring cats. I tell them it’s too hot and they’re too furry to sprawl on my melting body, but do they listen? They ignore my weak rejections, coming back and back until I give in. Charles thinks Mouchette is losing weight but he doesn’t have to spend heartwarming July afternoons underneath her.

At any given time, I feel like half a person (CFS); it’s a good thing I’m overqualified for most of what I do, although not in the organization department, nor housekeeping, nor memory. Charles and I need an overqualified wife.

Btw, as a wife I get points for not nagging. That’s easy, Sugar. Nagging is way too much work.

You remember the first line of this, but do you remember any more of it?

Endymion, Book I

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple’s self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast,
That, whether there be shine, or gloom o’ercast,
They alway must be with us, or we die.

John Keats

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19377#sthash.AW57JMNr.dpuf

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

April 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

Foot bath

Foot bath

I have a bad cold and can’t write much. The skin doctor told me the plot of a zombie show while I wasn’t allowed to open my mouth. I don’t like zombies. They have no charm, no wisdom, no horrible beauty or seductive evil, nothing that a good monster needs. Much scarier: phone calls from the dead.

I have two gifts for you, pretty pictures and climate news. Stick with the pictures if you don’t want the worrisome stuff. And remember that April is poetry month so there are likely some interesting events near you (for US residents only). Poets.org, national, and poetshouse.org, New York, list events. Go listen to some young or old or middle-aged poets! I’m talking to you.

As the legs close, the cat is squished
Cat caught between closing legs
***

Recent weather news from around the world:

“’Tsunami of Rain’leaves at Least 54 Dead in Argentina.”

“Australia broke 123 weather records in 90 days this summer. In January, Sydney hit a record 114 degrees and the south Australian town of Moomba hit 121.3 degrees”

“The British livestock industry is in crisis with tens of thousands of cattle and sheep having died in the cold. Cereal farmers have not recovered from last year’s deluges and winter crops and vegetables lie rotting in sodden, frozen, or snowbound fields.”

The Arctic, of course is warming and melting at breakneck speed, and the U.S. drought continues.

But, hey, it’s spring and Ramona is taking me out to dinner. Enjoy what you have, everyone. And remember to recommend me to anyone who needs an editor or some pretty jewelry.

(for my email readers mkdiehl.squarespace.com for editing; etsy.com/shop/margaretdiehl for jewelry.)

Sci-Fi

There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.

History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,

Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.

Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,

Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.

For kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.

The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned

To a Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.

And yes, we’ll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,

Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once

And for all, scrutable and safe.

Tracy K. Smith

Love in the Ruins

March 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

fitzmouch

I’m feeling sad so I will write about what I love.

The full moon on an empty road in the country, late at night, when I’d walk out on the light-drenched road, empty of cars or other walkers, aware of every movement in the underbrush and trees. The stream was to my left, down an embankment: sometimes rushing with rain, sometimes quiet. Even when there was no breeze and the stream was dry, I could hear the moon tuning the earth, a thrumming surroundsound like crickets—and maybe it was crickets, except that I also heard it in the winter.

But mostly it was summer then. I walked barefoot. The road ran gently downhill and around a bend; I was walking into a bigger bowl of sky. I didn’t care if the moon was a rock or a goddess, or if there was a difference. Her presence pulled at me. I used to make wishes on a full moon.

I wish I had my house, the mountain at my back, the deer in the roses. I wish I had that little slab of concrete porch where the mint grew wild and we’d eat steak and corn, bowls of string beans, homemade ice cream.

Not in the winter, though. In the winter, I stayed in the city, worrying about the house in the snow and rain. I waited for my birthday in March, the shock of turning 39, 40, 45. Life was still a package to be unwrapped, the great, terrifying gift in Plath’s poem.

What else do I love?

The dead mice of yore, whose little lives made mine so much roomier.

Daffodils, their shape and color.

The word “daffodil.”

My darling friend from France. “She brings tenderness to our life,” said Charles. “I’m tender,” I said. No, I didn’t say that. I was feeling that special kind of happiness you feel when someone you love is appreciated by someone else you love, and you think how easy it is to do nothing but love all day and all night.

Fitzroy and Mouchette, who, like every great couple, are exponentially better as a pair than individually. He’s a big lug, she’s a slim girlchild; they remind me of every older brother, little sister I’ve ever known, but feline so married as well (we pretend). I turn in delight from one to another; her snowy paws and black/white zigzag nose, his humped rug of a back, his forehead that smells of chocolate. He puts a paw out when he wants me, flexing his claws. She sleeps on my back at night like the child who never leaves home, or a very dedicated bodyguard.

Lola’s rage when she attacks Mouchette, her tail stiff as a toilet brush. Mouchette wails in warning, but when Lola doesn’t come, doesn’t dispute the territory—my boudoir where Mouchette rules and is imprisoned by her own fear—Mouchette goes looking for her. The enemy is seductive. Hate is as sticky as love, but with the unfocused strength of youth.

Love is so old, it often falls apart. You have to glue it carefully. It hurts to look at.

Glass, stones, pearls. I made a crystal necklace that sent a school of light-fish swimming around the room, and Fitzroy watched the new mystery.

The sound of the wind turning corners.

March.

Baudelaire.

Jaden and Jack and Daniel. Hannah and Myles and William.

Grilled asparagus with lemon.

Imagining America before the Europeans came, especially the abundant forests and rivers.

Portugal, Ecuador, Crete, Argentina, the Arctic Circle and all northern places where the ice is disappearing. My stubborn belief that I will see these landscapes.

My mother’s library.

My brother’s photographs.

My sister’s garden.

Charles, for loving me when I am unable to love myself; for loving the cats like children, which makes them more like children; for loving his music and never minding, as I do so much, whether there’s any reward for effort. For being pure of heart.

Language, which will still be here when we’re all gone. Language and music, gifts for the next brainy species.

***

I used to understand that fear was love inside out. That was when I was tender. Before.

A Birthday Present

What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful?
It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?

I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
When I am quiet at my cooking I feel it looking, I feel it thinking

‘Is this the one I am too appear for,
Is this the elect one, the one with black eye-pits and a scar?

Measuring the flour, cutting off the surplus,
Adhering to rules, to rules, to rules.

Is this the one for the annunciation?
My god, what a laugh!’

But it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
I would not mind if it were bones, or a pearl button.

I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
After all I am alive only by accident.

I would have killed myself gladly that time any possible way.
Now there are these veils, shimmering like curtains,

The diaphanous satins of a January window
White as babies’ bedding and glittering with dead breath. O ivory!

It must be a tusk there, a ghost column.
Can you not see I do not mind what it is.

Can you not give it to me?
Do not be ashamed–I do not mind if it is small.

Do not be mean, I am ready for enormity.
Let us sit down to it, one on either side, admiring the gleam,

The glaze, the mirrory variety of it.
Let us eat our last supper at it, like a hospital plate.

I know why you will not give it to me,
You are terrified

The world will go up in a shriek, and your head with it,
Bossed, brazen, an antique shield,

A marvel to your great-grandchildren.
Do not be afraid, it is not so.

I will only take it and go aside quietly.
You will not even hear me opening it, no paper crackle,

No falling ribbons, no scream at the end.
I do not think you credit me with this discretion.

If you only knew how the veils were killing my days.
To you they are only transparencies, clear air.

But my god, the clouds are like cotton.
Armies of them. They are carbon monoxide.

Sweetly, sweetly I breathe in,
Filling my veins with invisibles, with the million

Probable motes that tick the years off my life.
You are silver-suited for the occasion. O adding machine—–

Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it go whole?
Must you stamp each piece purple,

Must you kill what you can?
There is one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.

It stands at my window, big as the sky.
It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center

Where split lives congeal and stiffen to history.
Let it not come by the mail, finger by finger.

Let it not come by word of mouth, I should be sixty
By the time the whole of it was delivered, and to numb to use it.

Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.
If it were death

I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
I would know you were serious.

There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
And the knife not carve, but enter

Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
And the universe slide from my side.

Sylvia Plath

Charles’s Very Good Point

February 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

fitzroy2

On Thursday, Charles opened the champagne he bought me for Valentine’s Day and filled the glasses. My sister gave us these champagne flutes 30 years ago; they have outlasted all our other breakables, even the avocado-green mixing bowl from Charles’s first marriage, which I thought would be buried with us.

We were sitting on either side of the stubby, stained coffee table, surrounded by boxes, piles, stacks, shelves, cat-hair-covered black tee shirts, socks, towels, pens, knives, dental floss, two guitars, three cats and assorted detritus. This is Charles’ room. Mine is colonized by chocolate wrappers, books, papers, jewelry apparatus, lipstick and cat vomit. I lifted my glass and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He lifted his glass, thought a moment and said, “Let this be a lesson to everyone who thinks falling in love will solve all their problems.”

“This” being us, our life, etc.

“Can I put that in my blog?”

“Of course. I never remember what I’ve said until I read it in your blog.”

We drank, listened to Bill Evans, talked about the things we always talk about. Is it like this for you? Each time you relax and have a little wine, the conversation finds the old grooves, the child Goth merry-go-round, no matter that each person is (face it) bored by the other’s tales and obsessions?

Charles used to say he didn’t mind hearing my stories over. And over. Philip never remembered that I’d told him before. I’d say, “I told you that” and he’d say very forcefully “No. I would remember,” or sometimes he’d try, “Well, your family is so weird I can’t believe half the things you tell me and so I forget them.” My family was especially weird between 1966-1980. Not in the grand scheme of things weird, but weird to an Italian boy from Staten Island, whose own family suffered no deaths, divorce, untoward sex, over-indulgence in alcohol, or Southern relatives.

My family’s not so weird now, if you don’t count my mother’s home décor. But Charles and I make up for it. My peculiarities are well known to my readers, and Charles thinks the cats talk to him. “Mouchette told me I had beautiful eyes,” he said today.

He also dreamed last night that he was making jewelry out of dead bodies.

A cousin I hadn’t seen since childhood died this week. I didn’t really respond when I heard, but it affected me. I’d rather it didn’t. When you have suicidal thoughts with depressing regularity, the deaths of one’s peers seems so unfair. I would have taken that for you, I think. It would have been my pleasure to barter my remaining time. Why can’t that work?

I’d always meant to connect with those boys (men), my father’s nephews, but was for so long nervous about any connection to my father, who gave me the crazy gene and then made sure it was fully expressed, that I kept putting it off. And then there were other family dynamics I won’t go into, but I missed out on Mike.

His brother Arthur I knew a lot better because he came to New England as a young man to see a specialist for his diabetes. He was a wild boy, and it killed him eventually. But when he was in his early twenties and I was maybe 19, we had a few drinks together and then kissed in my brother’s room (the only downstairs bedroom in my mother’s house in Newcastle, N.H.).

Arthur said, “We can’t do this! We’re cousins!” I didn’t really see the problem, but we stopped. I kind of regret that, though I wouldn’t have wanted to make him feel like a pervert. On my side of the family it was a badge of honor but Arthur was raised Catholic in the South.

That’s all I know of Mike: his brother. Not really anything.

I was talking to Charles tonight about the Cathedral, and various people in religious orders. He thinks religion is on its way out, like the pope, that people are sick of it. I think that will never happen. I said, “I understand why people like religion. Believing that some deity cares, that their lives matter. It would be comforting to believe in Jesus, but I can’t.” I took a thawed chicken breast out of the fridge, stared at that bloody slab of meat with its caul of yellow fat and wished we could go out to dinner.

Then I noticed my cat. “Look at Fitzroy, “I said. He was curled up on the couch like an animal from a storybook, all neat curves and shining fur.

“Fitzroy will always mean more to me than Jesus,” said Charles.

Song to Celia

Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kisse but in the cup,
And Ile not looke for wine.
The thirst, that from the soule doth rise,
Doth aske a drinke divine:
But might I of Jove’s Nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee, late, a rosie wreath,
Not so much honoring thee,
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered bee.
But thou thereon did’st onely breath,
And sent’st it back to mee:
Since when it growes, and smells, I sweare,
Not of it selfe, but thee.

Ben Jonson

Throwing Snowballs at Philip Roth

February 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

snow

Snow, snow, snow. Pretty and all but I don’t go sledding or ice-skating anymore and I never liked snowball fights. The boys always threw better and put rocks in the balls.

Lola the Rat Cat saw snow for the first time: she sat on the windowsill staring fixedly at the swirling flakes like every other cat in the history of windowsills. Though Charles is obsessive about the animals’ diet, Lola has gotten quite fat all of a sudden: she looks like one of those fairytale illustrations of a creature eating, let’s say, three or four children—who then emerge just fine when the hero(ine) slits the monster’s belly open. And when she puts her butt up for me to rub…let’s just say, that’s when you know why she’s called Lola the Rat Cat. But I love her anyway. Not like my two, but in a stepmother kind of way—a stepmother not as I used to be (young, know-nothing) but worldly and wrung out, drinking all day while slowly attending to chores.

Actually, I’m not drinking all day or most of the day or every day. I meant that metaphorically. How I think, what I do, what I read, what I can’t write is equivalent to drinking all day. But also in a positive sense: playing with Venetian glass and pearls reminds me of the glamour of liquor, the pretty colors of scotch and crème de menthe and red wine, the ambience of fine restaurants when you’re dressed up for a date.

So think of this character, who’s me at an angle, as if she were someone who drank all day without becoming violent or maudlin or ill—one of those literary creations who embody the fallen Dionysus, post-Olympus, post-youth. I live here because the writer wants me to; I could vanish like smoke. I appear to be wise but can’t solve any problem. I enjoy the company of animals and in my company they gradually become more human. When I feel like crying, it rains.

When it snows, I’m reminded of what once made me humble: I loved like that, so fresh, so light, without aggression. Although when 30 inches fall overnight, there is the unfortunate chance of accident and death. There’s nothing without aggression. But the memory of lightness remains.

I joined an argument on Facebook about an article by Elizabeth Gilbert saying that Philip Roth was a big liar for telling a young, newly published author who approached him while he was having breakfast that writing was a terrible career, that he should get out while he could, that the first publication is thrilling and it’s all downhill from there. Gilbert insisted in her prayerful way on what a privilege it is to be a writer: how blessed to be able to be in one’s own mind all day!

Sez you, I said. Some of us would rather be in the mind of a saloon monkey. Some of the finest minds ever born—as attested to by what they wrote or painted or composed—were crossroads of ferocious winds, open to gods and demons, hateful parents and murderous children, cold-eyed collectors of impossible bills.

Whatever it might be, Mr. Roth has earned his opinion. No one can call it sour grapes. He did it all, won it all, and he’s 79 years old. If he says—in a private conversation—that the writing life is a terrible mistake, he may not be accurately predicting the other writer’s future, but he’s not whining. He’s not making an argument one can refute. He’s simply saying what seemed true to him that particular morning: I got everything I worked for and it wasn’t worth the shit.

Reading the quote didn’t make me think If I were that famous, respected, etc, I’d be happy, I’d never complain. Rather, It’s a privilege to say what you mean. And anyone can do it.

***
I think I read this poem as a teenager, but just thought it was weird. Now it reminds me of Proust, of many other writers, of therapists trying earnestly to clarify this dynamic so it will quietly tuck its tail between its legs and leave; and of course of myself and my friends. It doesn’t remind me of Philip Roth. He holds to a grittier tradition.

Against Fruition

Fye upon hearts that burn with mutual fire;
I hate two minds that breath but one desire:
Were I to curse th’unhallow’d sort of men,
I’de wish them to love, and be lov’d agen.
Love’s a Camelion, that lives on meer ayre;
And surfets when it comes to grosser fare:
‘Tis petty Jealousies, and little fears,
Hopes joyn’d with doubts, and joyes with April tears,
That crowns our Love with pleasures: these are gone
When once we come to full Fruition.
Like waking in a morning, when all night
Our fancy hath been fed with true delight.
Oh! what a stroke’t would be! Sure I should die,
Should I but hear my mistresse once say, I.
That monster expectation feeds too high
For any Woman e’re to satisfie:
And no brave Spirit ever car’d for that
Which in Down-beds with ease he could come at.
Shee’s but an honest whore that yeelds, although
She be as cold as ice, as pure as snow:
He that enjoys her hath no more to say
But keep us Fasting if you’l have us pray.
Then fairest Mistresse, hold the power you have,
By still denying what we still do crave:
In Keeping us in hopes strange things to see
That never were, nor are, nor e’re shall be.

Sir John Suckling

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