Measured Extravagance

2001-01-02 - 12:01 a.m.

One of my dearest friends is mad-fond of pomegranates, and I always think of her when I see one in a still-life. I've also been thinking of her over the past two days, because I couldn't resist purchasing one at the supermarket, but the subsequent thoughts have been more along the lines of "trust B. to pick a bleedin' daft high-maintenance fruit for her favorite. What's wrong with a nice uncomplicated apple or strawberry?"

I'm kidding, of course. I can see why painters like pomegranates, they hold up well and the surface of the peel is full of inviting subtleties. The innards are beautiful - the hive of jewel-like seeds nestled in their papery lining. Moreover, B. is deep into goddess and fertility mythology, rendering the pomegranate symbolically as well as visually suitable for her personal iconography.

That said, in attempting to consume aforementioned pomegranate over the past two days, I was once again reminded why Persophone only managed to eat six seeds out of the whole lot. What an inefficient fruit it is. What a bloody, juice-all-over, finger-plate-and-napkin staining mess one creates in getting at the good bits. I wonder if Persephone was wearing a white toga, and if so, which lucky Hadean peon got the chore of trying to launder it. I fear I may simply be too unsentimental to appreciate pomegranates - or, perhaps I'm simply tackling the pomegranate in the wrong context. I should wait until I want to write about pomegranates. I should wait until I'm feeling meditative - when I'm not compulsively reading while eating. I should wait until I'm sitting by a lake with a friend on a hot summer day, with an entire afternoon to kill and a tub of Wet Ones within reach. (Sorry, there goes that pragmatic streak again.)


As it happens, yesterday I went browsing through For Poetry and found Athena O. Kildegaard's "Homesick" there - an interesting riff. I also liked Kildegaard's translations of poems by Jaime Sabines, and there were some fine poems by Carrie Becker (*), as well as another entertaining riff on another myth in Steve Mueske's "Complaints from Pygmalion's Neighbor." Andarle, leggerlo...

And just when I thought

Id get some peace, it
really started to get weird:
I heard all these kissing noises
and thought, you know

that he was buggering
the pizza guy, but it turns out
he made this statue of a woman
and was carting it around...

    --Steve Mueske


(*) And do click on the link that takes you to Becker's article on when she got into trouble for using the word "babe." And then click from there over to Wench, which I knew was my kind of web-zine as soon as I saw Carly Milne's essay on why Ally McBeal and My Best Friend Need a Bitch Slap.

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