Reading, in River Styx, a poem by Albert Goldbarth (who, self learns from reading Contributor Notes, “has written over 20 books of poetry” – reading that makes self feel like an absolute slug). Poem begins:
That Was the Year
of the salad of aluminum foil and iron filings,
Then the salad of hope in a cool sauce
The first line makes self think of a TV show she watched with hubby several nights ago: a new series, starring Rufus Sewell (evil Duke or Prince who slapped Jessica Biel in The Illusionist) as an investigator or FBI agent who specializes in investigating para-normal activity (only the nth reincarnation of Fox Mulder in “The X-Files”).
The case involved a whole community where people presented with electrocution-type burns. Rufus’ character decides there’s something about the skin of the victims that is intensifying electric charges – one victim died when he stuck his key in the ignition of his truck and the car battery drained him completely of life, or something to that effect. Anyhoo, when Rufus looks through the microscope (so he must be some kind of scientist), he sees metal filaments growing in the skin of said victim, and determines it is some kind of virus.
Self keeps asking hubby, Is that possible? Metal is not a living thing! How can it grow? (If anyone should know, it should be hubby, for his degree from Stanford was in Materials Science and Engineering). But hubby only nods sagely and says that it is possible.
Self is still not satisfied and keeps watching. Apparently, some research lab was experimenting with this new material that, yes, could be introduced into the population via skin, and there was a freak contamination of one of the scientists, who then spread it to the performers at a strip club near the lab (Of course, this strip club was a heavy favorite of the scientists – ha ha ha!). Then the virus/metal/skin got transmitted to all the other bar patrons, and then to the families of the bar patrons, and so forth and so on.
Got that, dear blog readers?
And it turns out that the bad guy was a male colleague of a female scientist who was so jealous of her that he was constantly sabotaging her samples by exposing them to radiation, which made them mutate, which skewed all her findings. But, in the course of x-raying the samples, this man himself acquired the virus, but a very non-lethal form, since he was the “ground zero” so to speak, but he did spread the virus to everyone else in the town. And then there was a freak electrical storm, and 40 people in the town presented with electrocution burns.
Whew! What a story. Since watching the episode, self simply can’t get it out of her head.
Okey-dokey, having gone on that very long digression, self feels it is only fair to share with dear blog readers the rest of the first stanza:
sweetened with mother’s milk and topped
with the plumage of chimney storks. And after that,
a slaw of remaindered books. Then next, the year
of mysalad.com. So many. Some, you’ve barely
nibbled at. Others, you’ve grabbed in your hands
and swallowed in swinish glee. It comes
from “salt”; who doesn’t come from salt, as witness
the tear, and the laboring brow, and the tang
of our sexual broths. The dictionary also says
“an incongruent mixture: HODGEPODGE.” That’s
familiar, here, age sixty; every day a little
too much to digest; too old to turn over a new leaf.
– from “That Was the Year” by Albert Goldbarth
Oh, self really loves the poem! Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.