Another in the Academia.edu series, in which I make up poems for the titles of articles that adademia.edu thinks might by me.
Babies Over 40
The boys. The girls’ hair is just thinning.
They’re always crying about this and that, you can’t even tell what
they’re crying about. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I need a change.
Their driver’s licenses have expired.
They fall asleep on long drives. It’s the only way you can get them to sleep sometimes. At night they lie awake. Their sighs shake the bed.
They can’t see anything closer than end of their arms.
They have gas.
Don’t shake them, no matter how mad you are. Walk away and count to ten.
What are they crying about? Who knows. It doesn’t matter. Walk away and count the miles. One. Two. Three. Four. Miles are longer than kilometres. Six. Seven.
At home, they weep and lace their shoes. They run past you at mile nine, crying. They are training for a marathon. Their tears are not related.
In this term’s grad workshop, we’ve been reading a lot of Paris Review interviews. Thanks to Julie Fowler for tapping this one with Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen, conducted in Rome over three days in 1956. Blixen is blithe and charming and quite unselfconsciously colonialist. It is so 1956! And yet, not so very different than today. Witness the thrown-up hands of the publisher here:
“When I came back from Africa in 1931, after living there since 1914, I had lost all the money I had when I married because the coffee plantation didn’t pay, you know; I asked my brother to finance me for two years while I prepared Seven Gothic Tales, and I told him that at the end of two years I’d be on my own. When the manuscript was ready, I went to England, and one day at luncheon there was the publisher Huntington, and I said, “Please, I have a manuscript and I wish you’d look at it.” He said, “What is it?” and when I replied, “A book of short stories,” he threw up his hands and cried, “No!” and I begged, “Won’t you even look at it?” and he said, “A book of short stories by an unknown writer? No hope!” Then I sent it to America, and it was taken right away by Robert Haas, who published it, and the general public took it and liked it, and they have always been faithful. No, thank you, no more coffee. I’ll have a cigarette.”
We agreed in class that the charm of the interview had more than a little to do with the interviewer, who has a genius for setting the scene (“Outside the canon of modern literature, like an oriole outside a cage of moulting linnets, “Isak Dinesen” offers to her readers the unending satisfaction of the tale told”), and who clearly chose and shaped what he reported of the talk. So after class, I looked up Eugene Walter. Doesn’t he turn out to be a fascinating fellow, all by himself?
Great Black Woodpecker
Cock of the Woods
Great God Woodpecker
Good God Woodpecker
Lord God Woodpecker
from Birds of America, T. Gilbert Pearson, ed.
Still working on the details for the Vancouver launch of Gay Dwarves of America, but in the meantime, I can let you know about some other dates.
Wednesday, May 2, 7 pm
Brockton Writers Series, with 2 or 3 other writers
St. Anne’s Church
270 Gladstone Ave.
Thursday, May 3, 7.30 pm
Virus Reading Series, with Ken Sparling and Glen Downie
Patrick Sheehan’s Irish Pub
St. Catharine’s, ON
Friday, May 4, evening
East Village Coffeehouse
Women and the Spoils of Success
by Anne Fleming
Pat. The farm.
Brittany. Really nice pens.
Ndidi. Pot-bellied pigs.
Ruth. Waffle irons.
Maria. Pencil skirts.
Marina. Gym membership.
Maia. Private bouts of massive doubt.
Leigh. Executive assistant.
Sunni. Sleeping pills.
Farrah. Granite island.
Andrea. Several sunny meadows with horses in them.
Val. Healthy gums.
Ninu. Blue sky.
Rosmina. Organic lemons.