Saturday Morning, Reading Poetry

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 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.

Short, Short List: NYTBR 22 February 2009

Through a very strange aligning of circumstances, self finds herself not teaching at all this summer.

When was the last time this has happened?  Six, seven years ago.

Is this a sign?  Let’s hope so.

Is this a change for the better?  Or for the worse?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, self decides that it’s better not to worry her head over such matters.  Let hubby worry about the finances, for heaven’s sake!  Isn’t that why she married a Stanford engineer?  (Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!)

Today, it pleased self enormously to give hubby a call in the office (It was 3:42 p.m.) and inform him that she had just successfully submitted an NEA fellowship application.  No happy happy joy joy yet, for self has the feeling all that angst, all that drama, all that wild excitement, nervousness and anticipation, will come to a screeching halt in November or December, when the list of annointees is released, and self will find there the names of people she knows, who the selection committee has determined to be more talented or promising than she (As for the promising part, she knew long ago:  she has no promise.  That’s why she spends more time blogging than writing).

But, anyhoo, let’s get down to the business at hand!  Which will be dispatched in just two minutes, because after perusing the NYTBR of 22 February 2009 very, very carefully, self finds only three books she is interested in reading.  Here’s the list:

(1)     After reading Leslie Garis’ review of Johanna Reiss’ A Hidden Life:  A Memoir of August 1969:

  • an earlier memoir by Johanna Reiss, The Upstairs Room
  • Reiss’ A Hidden Life:  A Memoir of August 1969

(2)     After reading James Wilcox’s review of playwright Marisha Chamberlain’s first novel, The Rose Variations:

Marisha Chamberlain’s The Rose Variations

*    *    *

Oh, and another thing, dear blog readers?  Self has just discovered that brother-in-law’s apartment in New York has no wi-fi.  How can any parent with three teen-agers get by with no wi-fi, self wonders?  An unkind remark by niece G comes floating into self’s brain, but she quashes it.  Will it even be worth it to lug laptop along?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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