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lundi 24 novembre 2003

Enfin! A fortuitous technological development in another part of the world means that the Loyal 4 1/2 will be spared tonight's planned entry about the usefulness and importance of being paranoid. (Augustine pretends that I have at least 1/2 a more faithful reader than my reckoning, but she forgets that the PC pair leave every time I put up a picture of a naked woman.)
Instead of the virtues of paranoia, then, consider this:

'To a Sad Daughter'

"All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
--all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn't expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say 'like'
I mean of course 'love
' but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.

One day I'll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don't care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don't be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I've given you.
You're 'sweet sixteen' you said.
I'd rather be your closest friend
than your father. I'm not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
--but that is greed.
And sometimes I've gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
--all those possible worlds!--
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

autumn forsthiaI cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don't care
but I'll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever.

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don't recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon's
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness."

If you don't think that's marvellous, truth-telling writing, you too can go and say something silly and dismissive at the Plagiarist, whence I stole it.
Until this weekend, I knew virtually nothing of Michael Ondaatje (Thomas Friedman's fine fan site, be warned, triggers a QuickTime movie on launch), who wrote that poem as well as 'The English Patient'.
Somehow, I have also managed to remain ignorant of the existence of 'Village Voice', an excellent Anglo-American bookshop tucked away in the pretty little rue Princesse in the Saint-Germain district, though it's been here for two decades, almost as long as me.
A friendly place, where they say they're more Anglo than American, the Village Voice specialises in modern fiction and other literature, poetry and the social sciences. It's far closer to me than W.H. Smith's, Brentano's or the increasingly grubby Shakespeare & Co. I am indebted to She who can Only be Adored for an intro both to Ondaatje and to the shop, which lies in a part of the district I'd thought entirely given over to high French fashion rather than prose and poetry.
I went there only for Ondaatje. Or so I thought, but as ever in such spots, I was wrong...

In gratitude, here's another priceless place, a work in progress where anybody can contribute.
The Open Poetry Project is a "wiki database". If you don't know what a "wiki" is, don't worry, it's easy and it's well explained on the site.

Today's floral gift for the Wildcat, chosen by Michael Ondaatje, comes from Leaf Peeper's Dream (All Creatures Org). Any connection there between one God's sixth day and how many days now remain twixt me and my long-awaited return to the Factory is, again, purely fortuitous.

6:59:56 PM  link   your views? []

nick b. 2007 do share, don't steal, please credit
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