Measured Extravagance

13 January 2002 - 4:56 p.m.

Ooof. I think I have a relief headache - I was "on" this morning, as hymn-leader for early service and then as co-moderator of a worship committee forum after second service. And then there was scolding the dog after she stole a fried egg straight out of the pan (still on the stovetop), and the Yeats audiotape I'll have to return to the library tomorrow because I didn't realize it was already munged up before putting it into my car player. Ooof, ooof, ooof.

On the other hand, over a cup of mint-and-tarragon tea at Second Story Cafe, I solved the layout problem that had been vexing me when I went to bed last night, and acquainted myself with the words of Taraya Darlington, via her book Madame Deluxe, which is a wicked bawdy scream in both the hilarious and violent senses of the word. "The New Ilk of Milk" is one of the best, but too long to reproduce here, but here are some quotes from the others:

You took your ecstasies literally, never
clitorally, and I watched you buy thinner
and thinner dresses, each of them hungrier
than the one before.

    - "Portrait With No Shortage of History"

Out of loneliness
I try on
your blackberry brassiere.

    - "The Student Asks The Poet Basho: What Is Victoria's Secret"

Last year Sappho came in a brown box with no identity. Just like Barbie. This year she shaved her head and started wearing suit jackets. Just like Ken.

    - "Madame Deluxe's Mail Order Brides"

You have come to the right place,
the in-between address
of moods. Be a darling,
take me from this lounge to my room
and tie me up before I can think of ways
to swallow you.

    - "Post-Deluxe"

I've also got William Matthews' A Happy Childhood out from the library, and it too has too many good moments to catalogue here, but here, just one set of lines, the ones that open the book:

I'd seen wallpaper -- I had buckaroos all over my
bedroom - but my friend the only child had ceiling paper;
in the dark he had a flat sky, if stars make

a sky. Six feet above his bed, where the soul hovers
when the body's in doubt, he had a phosphorous
future, a lifetime of good marks for being alone.

He's an only child, you know, my parents would say.

OK, but I slept with no lid, like a shoe left out-
doors or an imaginary friend, with no sky to hold
him down nor light by which to watch him drift away.

    - "Good"

It's not every day a gal can write, "I was just cleaning up the emu blood in my fridge..." (The Beautiful Young Man picked up a roll of frozen ground emu at the local organic store a day or two ago and put it into the meat drawer. It has thawed. He did not have a plate underneath it. Sigh.)

It appears we are now regulars at the java-house down the street. The BYM went for his usual without me this morning, and reports that the counter-guy asked, "Hey, where's Vanilla Steamer?"

One year ago: "Being culturally deprived, the BYM cannot transcend his belief that pickles should be green, so when I bring out the little red can of dark brown Taiwanese pickles, he gingerly tries to maneuver it as far away from his side of the table as possible."

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My book!




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