For people as immersed in television as myself, Upfronts is an exciting time of year. To be honest, I have already made a graph detailing my time-slot options for Fall 2012. No shame in my game. Here are a few shows I’m excited to sample:
The New Normal
The Mindy Project
The Mob Doctor
“Settle Down” – Kimbra
“Cameo Lover” – Kimbra
I had heard of Richard Siken, but I only recently took the time to research him, a choice I am grateful for. I feel like modern poets are often overlooked, as poetry itself has become almost a niche genre. Poets past, such as Keats or Shakespeare, hold an irrefutable place in our history, but it is much harder to pinpoint who will be deemed worthy of being archived from our era. Siken’s collection Crush, which won the 2004 Yale Younger Poets prize, is noteworthy to me in its ability to be earnest without sacrificing craft. When writing poetry, I feel the musicality of language is sometimes disregarded in favor of a surging wall of raw emotion. But we all possess those depths of feeling, and the mark of a good poet is the ability to convey them with restraint and beauty. On the other side of the spectrum, you have poets that are so jaded and self-conscious that they bury all their sincerity under imagery or construction, which is also a shame. These thoughts of mine aside, Richard Siken is a damn fine poet.
“Snow and Dirty Rain”
Close your eyes. A lover is standing too close to focus on. Leave me blurry and fall toward me with your entire body. Lie under the covers, pretending to sleep, while I’m in the other room. Imagine my legs crossed, my hair combed, the shine of my boots in the slatted light. I’m thinking My plant, his chair, the ashtray that we bought together. I’m thinking This is where we live. When we were little we made houses out of cardboard boxes. We can do anything. It’s not because our hearts are large, they’re not, it’s what we struggle with. The attempt to say Come over. Bring your friends. It’s a potluck, I’m making pork chops, I’m making those long noodles you love so much. My dragonfly, my black-eyed fire, the knives in the kitchen are singing for blood, but we are the crossroads, my little outlaw, and this is the map of my heart, the landscape after cruelty which is, of course, a garden, which is a tenderness, which is a room, a lover saying Hold me tight, it’s getting cold. We have not touched the stars, nor are we forgiven, which brings us back to the hero’s shoulders and the gentleness that comes, not from the absence of violence, but despite the abundance of it. The lawn drowned, the sky on fire, the gold light falling backward through the glass of every room. I’ll give you my heart to make a place for it to happen, evidence of a love that transcends hunger. Is that too much to expect? That I would name the stars for you? That I would take you there? The splash of my tongue melting you like a sugar cube? We’ve read the back of the book, we know what’s going to happen. The fields burned, the land destroyed, the lovers left broken in the brown dirt. And then it’s gone. Makes you sad. All your friends are gone. Goodbye Goodbye. No more tears. I would like to meet you all in Heaven. But there’s a litany of dreams that happens somewhere in the middle. Moonlight spilling on the bathroom floor. A page of the book where we transcend the story of our lives, past the taco stands and record stores. Moonlight making crosses on your body, and me putting my mouth on every one. We have been very brave, we have wanted to know the worst, wanted the curtain to be lifted from our eyes. This dream going on with all of us in it. Penciling in the bighearted slob. Penciling in his outstretched arms. Our father who art in Heaven. Our father who art buried in the yard. Someone is digging your grave right now. Someone is drawing a bath to wash you clean, he said, so think of the wind, so happy, so warm. It’s a fairy tale, the story underneath the story, sliding down the polished halls, lightning here and gone. We make these ridiculous idols so we can get to what’s behind them, but what happens after we get up the ladder? Do we simply stare at what’s horrible and forgive it? Here is the river, and here is the box, and here are the monsters we put in the box to test our strength against. Here is the cake, and here is the fork, and here’s the desire to put it inside us, and then the question behind every question: What happens next? The way you slam your body into mine reminds me I’m alive, but monsters are always hungry, darling, and they’re only a few steps behind you, finding the flaw, the poor weld, the place where we weren’t stitched up quite right, the place they could almost slip right through if the skin wasn’t trying to keep them out, to keep them here, on the other side of the theater where the curtain keeps rising. I crawled out the window and ran into the woods. I had to make up all the words myself. The way they taste, the way they sound in the air. I passed through the narrow gate, stumbled in, stumbled around for a while, and stumbled back out. I made this place for you. A place for you to love me. If this isn’t a kingdom then I don’t know what is. So how would you catalog it? Dawn in the fields? Snow and dirty rain? Light brought in in buckets? I was trying to describe the kingdom, but the letters kept smudging as I wrote them: the hunter’s heart, the hunter’s mouth, the trees and the trees and the space between the trees, swimming in gold. The words frozen. The creatures frozen. The plum sauce leaking out of the bag. Explaining will get us nowhere. I was away, I don’t know where, lying on the floor, pretending I was dead. I wanted to hurt you but the victory is that I could not stomach it. We have swallowed him up, they said. It’s beautiful. It really is. I had a dream about you. We were in the gold room where everyone finally gets what they want. You said Tell me about your books, your visions made of flesh and light and I said This is the Moon. This is the Sun. Let me name the stars for you. Let me take you there. The splash of my tongue melting you like a sugar cube… We were in the gold room where everyone finally gets what they want, so I said What do you want, sweetheart? and you said Kiss me. Here I am leaving you clues. I am singing now while Rome burns. We are all just trying to be holy. My applejack, my silent night, just mash your lips against me. We are all going forward. None of us are going back.
“Makin’ Whoopee” – Dr. John w/ Rickie Lee Jones
Chapter 5: What Shall a Young Wife Expect to Be to Her Husband?
She should be the willing mother of his children. Marriage comprehends not only wifehood, but motherhood. To-day this is hardly believed by the many, and we may well mourn it as fatal, not only to the future of the American race, but to the best and highest interests of the home.
In the line of intellectual development there is a danger that must be guarded against. In this day of literary clubs and reading circles, the ambition to excel and keep pace with the other women in mental culture, will prove a snare if not wisely held in check.
All that the wife can do in outside work, while not neglecting the higher duties of home and heart, will only freshen and brighten her for companionship, and give her glimpses, yes, extended views, of the world and bring her in closer touch with her husband in his wrestling with the affairs of life.
Thus far, my 1935 edition of What a Young Wife Ought to Know has encouraged me to:
- use the bathroom, immediately and frequently (Chapter 1)
- create a family tree of inherited shames and genetic shambles
- wear a bra that fits (Chapter 2)
- glide like a swan in flats, because heels are yucky
- cosmetically straddle the fence between pretty and prositute
- be mindful of my feminine brain, which is weak and easily swayed (Chapter 3)
- open the windows, fresh air is awesome
I’ll let you decide which advice is the most helpful. In the meantime, more excerpts!
Chapter 4: The Choice of a Husband
When it is no longer a disputed question that consumption, cancer, scrofula, insanity, and a host of lesser ills, are transmitted from generation to generation, any thoughtful young woman will consider her responsibility in the matter in question. If you have the spirit of the martyrs in you, and are prepared to give your life to nursing your husband and children, even this self-abnegation will not atone for the wrong of thrusting upon the world more degenerates.
You would need to trace the history of only one such family through a few generations, to note the mental, moral and physical degeneration, which results from the union of invalids.
In discovering the character of your daughter’s associates, the family physician should be a valuable assistant. If he be a friend, as well as physician, he will gladly come to your aid.
This is a song made to (allegedly) help you field the questions children have about death. Except the video is terrifyingly blase about the whole thing, and basically asserts that no one knows or cares what will happen when I die, as long as they can prop my corpse up on their porch to scare their friends.
“Where Will I Go When I’m Dead and Gone?” – Peter Alsop